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Excerpts from I Am That by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj - Part 43

read by James Traverse





I AM THAT
Dialogues of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


 
 
 43. Ignorance can be Recognised, not Jnana

   Questioner:
From year to year your teaching remains the same. There seems to be no progress in
what you tell us.

Nisargadatta:
In a hospital the sick are treated and get well. The treatment is routine, with hardly any change,
but there is nothing monotonous about health. My teaching may be routine, but the fruit of it
is new from man to man.

Questioner:
What is realisation? Who is a realised man? By what is the jnani recognised?

Nisargadatta:
There are no distinctive marks of jnana . Only ignorance can be recognised, not jnana . Nor does
a jnani claim to be something special. AII those who proclaim their own greatness and uniqueness
are not jnanis . They are mistaking some unusual development for realisation. The jnani shows no
tendency to proclaim himself to be a jnani . He considers himself to be perfectly normal, true to his
real nature. Proclaiming oneself to be an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipotent deity is a clear
sign of ignorance.

Questioner:
Can the jnani convey his experience to the ignorant? Can jnana be transmitted from one man
to another?

Nisargadatta:
Yes, it can. The words of a jnani have the power of dispelling ignorance and darkness in the
mind. It is not the words that matter, but the power behind them.

Questioner:
What is that power?

Nisargadatta:
The power of conviction, based on personal realisation, on one's own direct experience.

Questioner:
Some realised people say that knowledge must be won, not got. Another can only teach, but
the learning is one's own.

Nisargadatta:
It comes to the same.

Questioner:
There are many who have practiced Yoga for years and years without any result. What may be
the cause of their failure?

Nisargadatta:
Some are addicted to trances, with their consciousness in abeyance. Without full consciousness
what progress can there be?

Questioner:
Many are practicing samadhis (states of rapturous absorption). In samadhis consciousness is
quite intense, yet they do not result in anything.

Nisargadatta:
What results do you expect? And why should jnana be the result of anything? One thing leads
to another, but jnana is not a thing to be bound by causes and results. It is beyond causality
altogether. It is abidance in the self. The Yogi comes to know many wonders, but of the self he
remains ignorant. The jnani may look and feel quite ordinary, but the self he knows well.

Questioner:
There are many who strive for self-knowledge earnestly, but with scant results. What may be
the cause of it?

Nisargadatta:
They have not investigated the sources of knowledge sufficiently, their sensations, feelings and
thoughts they do not know well enough. This may be one cause of delay. The other: some desires
may still be alive.

Questioner:
Ups and downs in sadhana are inevitable. Yet the earnest seeker plods on in spite of all. What
can the jnani do for such a seeker?

Nisargadatta:
If the seeker is earnest, the light can be given. The light is for all and always there, but the
seekers are few, and among those few, those who are ready are very rare. Ripeness of heart and
mind is indispensable.

Questioner:
Did you get your own realisation through effort or by the grace of your Guru?

Nisargadatta:
His was the teaching and mine was the trust. My confidence in him made me accept his words
as true, go deep into them, live them, and that is how I came to realise what I am. The Guru's
person and words made me trust him and my trust made them fruitful.

Questioner:
But can a Guru give realisation without words, without trust, just like this, without any
preparation?

Nisargadatta:
Yes, one can, but where is the taker? You see, I was so attuned to my Guru, so completely
trusting him. there was so little of resistance in me, that it all happened easily and quickly. But not
everybody is so fortunate. Laziness and restlessness often stand in the way and until they are seen
and removed, the progress is slow. All those who have realised on the spot, by mere touch, look or
thought, have been ripe for it. But such are very few. The majority needs some time for ripening.
Sadhana is accelerated ripening.

Questioner:
What makes one ripe? What is the ripening factor?

Nisargadatta:
Earnestness of course, one must be really anxious. After all, the realised man is the most
earnest man. Whatever he does, he does it completely, without limitations and reservations.
Integrity will take you to reality.

Questioner:
Do you love the world?

Nisargadatta:
When you are hurt, you cry. Why? Because you love yourself. Don't bottle up your love by
limiting it to the body, keep it open. It will be then the love for all. When all the false self-
identifications are thrown away, what remains is all-embracing love. Get rid of all ideas about
yourself, even of the idea that you are God. No self-definition is valid.

Questioner:
I am tired of promises. I am tired of sadhanas , which take all my time and energy and bring
nothing. I want reality here and now. Can I have it?

Nisargadatta:
Of course you can, provided you are really fed up with everything, including your sadhanas.
When you demand nothing of the world, nor of God, when you want nothing, seek nothing,
expect nothing then the Supreme State will come to you uninvited and unexpected!

Questioner:
If a man engrossed in family life and in the affairs of the world does his sadhana strictly as
prescribed by his scriptures, will he get results?

Nisargadatta:
Results he will get, but he will be wrapped up in them like in a cocoon.

Questioner:
So many saints say that when you are ripe and ready, you will realise. Their words may be true,
but they are of little use. There must be a way out, independent of ripening which needs time, of
sadhana which needs effort.

Nisargadatta:
Don't call it a way; it is more a kind of skill. It is not even that. Stay open and quiet, that is all.
What you seek is so near you, that there is no place for a way.

Questioner:
There are so many ignorant people in the world and so few jnanis . What may be the cause of it?

Nisargadatta:
Don't concern yourself with others, take care of yourself. You know that you are. Don't burden
yourself with names, just be. Any name or shape you give yourself obscures your real nature.

Questioner:
Why should seeking end before one can realise?

Nisargadatta:
The desire for truth is the highest of all desires, yet, it is still a desire. All desires must be given
up to the real to be. Remember that you are. This is your working capital. Rotate it and there will be
much profit.

Questioner:
Why should there be seeking at all.

Nisargadatta:
Life is seeking, one cannot help seeking. When all search ceases, it is the Supreme State.

Questioner:
Why does the Supreme State come and go?

Nisargadatta:
It neither comes nor goes. It is.

Questioner:
Do you speak from your own experience?

Nisargadatta:
Of course. It is a timeless state, ever present.

Questioner:
With me it comes and goes, with you it does not. Why this difference?

Nisargadatta:
Maybe because I have no desires. Or you do not desire the Supreme strongly enough. You
must feel desperate when your mind is out of touch.

Questioner:
All my life I was striving and achieved so little. I was reading, I was listening -- all in vain.

Nisargadatta:
Listening and reading became a habit with you.

Questioner:
I gave it up too. I do not read nowadays.

Nisargadatta:
What you gave up is of no importance now. What have you not given up?. Find that out and
give up that. Sadhana is a search for what to give up. Empty yourself completely.

Questioner:
How can a fool desire wisdom? One needs to know the object of desire, to desire it. When the
Supreme is not known, how can it be desired?

Nisargadatta:
Man naturally ripens and becomes ready for realisation.

Questioner:
But what is the ripening factor?

Nisargadatta:
Self-remembrance, awareness of 'l am' ripens him powerfully and speedily. Give up all ideas
about yourself and simply be.

Questioner:
I am tired of all the ways and means and skills and tricks, of all these mental acrobatics. Is
there a way to perceive reality directly and immediately?

Nisargadatta:
Stop making use of your mind and see what happens. Do this one thing thoroughly. That is all.

Questioner:
When I was younger, I had strange experiences, short but memorable, of being nothing, just
nothing, yet fully conscious. But the danger is that one has the desire to recreate from memory the
moments that have passed.

Nisargadatta:
This is all imagination. In the light of consciousness all sorts of things happen and one need not
give special importance to any. The sight of a flower is as marvellous as the vision of God. Let them
be. Why remember them and then make memory into a problem? Be bland about them; do not
divide them into high and low, inner and outer, lasting and transient. Go beyond, go back to the
source, go to the self that is the same whatever happens. Your weakness is due to your conviction
that you were born into the world. In reality the world is ever recreated in you and by you. See
everything as emanating from the light which is the source of your own being. You will find that in
that light there is love and infinite energy.

Questioner:
If I am that light, why do I not know it?

Nisargadatta:
To know, you need a knowing mind, a mind capable of knowing. But your mind is ever on the
run, never still, never fully reflecting. How can you see the moon in all her glory when the eye is
clouded with disease?

Questioner:
Can we say that while the sun is the cause of the shadow one cannot see the sun in the
shadow. One must turn round.

Nisargadatta:
Again you have introduced the trinity of the sun, the body and shadow. There is no such division
in reality. What I am talking about has nothing to do with dualities and trinities. Don't mentalise and
verbalise. Just see and be.

Questioner:
Must I see, to be?

Nisargadatta:
See what you are. Don't ask others, don't let others tell you about yourself. Look within and see.
All the teacher can tell you is only this. There is no need of going from one to another. The same
water is in all the wells. You just draw from the nearest. In my case the water is within me and I am
 the water.