Awareness is Free
I have just arrived from Sri Ramanashram. I have spent seven
What practice were you following at the Ashram?
As far as I could, I concentrated on the 'Who am l'?
Which way were you doing it? Verbally?
In my free moments during the course of the day. Sometimes I was
murmuring to myself 'Who
l?' 'I am, but who am l?' Or, I did it mentally. Occasionally I
would have some nice feeling, or get
moods of quiet happiness. On the whole I was trying to be quiet
and receptive, rather than
What were you actually experiencing when you were in the right
A sense of inner stillness, peace and silence.
Did you notice yourself becoming unconscious?
Yes, occasionally and for a very short time. Otherwise I was just
quiet, inwardly and outwardly.
What kind of quiet was it? Something akin to deep sleep, yet
conscious all the same. A sort of
Yes. Alertly asleep. (jagrit-sushupti).
The main thing is to be free of negative emotions -- desire, fear
etc., the 'six enemies' of the
Once the mind is free of them, the rest will come easily. Just as
cloth kept in soap water will
clean, so will the mind get purified in the stream of pure
you sit quiet and watch yourself, all kinds of things may come to
the surface. Do nothing
them, don't react to them; as they have come so will they go, by
themselves. All that matters
mindfulness, total awareness of oneself or rather, of one's mind.
By 'oneself' do you mean the daily self?
Yes, the person, which alone is objectively observable. The
observer is beyond observation.
is observable is not the real self.
I can always observe the observer, in endless recession.
You can observe the observation, but not the observer. You know
you are the ultimate observer
direct insight, not by a logical process based on observation. You
are what you are, but you
what you are not. The self is known as being, the not-self is
known as transient. But in reality
is in the mind. The observed, observation and observer are mental
constructs. The self alone
Why does the mind create all these divisions?
To divide and particularise is in the mind's very nature. There is
no harm in dividing. But
goes against fact. Things and people are different, but they are
not separate. Nature is
reality is one. There are opposites, but no opposition.
I find that by nature I am very active. Here I am advised to avoid
activity. The more I try to
inactive, the greater the urge to do something. This makes me not
only active outwardly, but
struggling inwardly to be what by nature I am not. Is there a
remedy against longing for work?
There is a difference between work and mere activity. All nature
works. Work is nature, nature is
On the other hand, activity is based on desire and fear, on
longing to possess and enjoy, on
of pain and annihilation. Work is by the whole for the whole,
activity is by oneself for oneself.
Is there a remedy against activity?
Watch it, and it shall cease. Use every opportunity to remind
yourself that you are in bondage,
whatever happens to you is due to the fact of your bodily
existence. Desire, fear, trouble, joy,
cannot appear unless you are there to appear to. Yet, whatever
happens, points to your
as a perceiving centre. Disregard the pointers and be aware of
what they are pointing to.
is quite simple, but it needs be done. What matters is the
persistence with which you keep on
I do get into peculiar states of deep absorption into myself, but
unpredictably and momentarily. I
not feel myself to be in control of such states.
The body is a material thing and needs time to change. The mind is
but a set of mental habits,
ways of thinking and feeling, and to change they must be brought
to the surface and examined.
also takes time. Just resolve and persevere, the rest will take
care of itself.
I seem to have a clear idea of what needs be done, but I find
myself getting tired and
and seeking human company and thus wasting time that should be
given to solitude and
Do what you feel like doing. Don't bully yourself. Violence will
make you hard and rigid. Do not
with what you take to be obstacles on your way. Just be interested
in them, watch them,
enquire. Let anything happen -- good or bad. But don't let
yourself be submerged by what
What is the purpose in reminding oneself all the time that one is
The mind must learn that beyond the moving mind there is the
background of awareness, which
not change. The mind must come to know the true self and respect
it and cease covering it up,
the moon which obscures the sun during solar eclipse. Just realise
that nothing observable, or
is you, or binds you. Take no notice of what is not yourself.
To do what you tell me I must be ceaselessly aware.
To be aware is to be awake. Unaware means asleep. You are aware
anyhow, you need not try
be. What you need is to be aware of being aware. Be aware
deliberately and consciously,
and deepen the field of awareness. You are always conscious of the
mind, but you are not
of yourself as being conscious.
As I can make out, you give distinct meanings to the words 'mind',
Look at it this way. The mind produces thoughts ceaselessly, even
when you do not look at
When you know what is going on in your mind, you call it
consciousness. This is your waking
-- your consciousness shifts from sensation to sensation, from
perception to perception, from
to idea, in endless succession. Then comes awareness, the direct
insight into the whole of
the totality of the mind. The mind is like a river, flowing
ceaselessly in the bed of the
you identify yourself for a moment with some particular ripple and
call it: 'my thought'. All you
conscious of is your mind; awareness is the cognisance of
consciousness as a whole.
Everybody is conscious, but not everybody is aware.
Don't say: 'everybody is conscious'. Say: 'there is
consciousness', in which everything appears
disappears. Our minds are just waves on the ocean of
consciousness. As waves they come
go. As ocean they are infinite and eternal. Know yourself as the
ocean of being, the womb of all
These are all metaphors of course; the reality is beyond
description. You can know it
by being it.
Is the search for it worth the trouble?
Without it all is trouble. If you want to live sanely, creatively
and happily and have infinite riches
share, search for what you are.
the mind is centred in the body and consciousness is centred in
the mind, awareness is free.
body has its urges and mind its pains and pleasures. Awareness is
unattached and unshaken.
is lucid, silent, peaceful, alert and unafraid, without desire and
fear. Meditate on it as your true
and try to be it in your daily life, and you shall realise it in
is interested in what happens, while awareness is interested in
the mind itself. The child is
the toy, but the mother watches the child, not the toy.
looking tirelessly, I became quite empty and with that emptiness
all came back to me except the
I find I have lost the mind irretrievably.
As you talk to us just now, are you unconscious?
I am neither conscious nor unconscious, I am beyond the mind and
its various states and
Distinctions are created by the mind and apply to the mind only. I
itself, unbroken awareness of all that is. I am in a more real
state than yours. I am
by the distinctions and separations which constitute a person. As
long as the body
it has its needs like any other, but my mental process has come to
You behave like a person who thinks.
Why not? But my thinking, like my digestion, is unconscious and
If your thinking is unconscious, how do you know that it is right?
There is no desire, nor fear to thwart it. What can make it wrong?
Once I know myself and what
stand for, I do not need to check on myself all the time. When you
know that your watch shows
time, you do not hesitate each time you consult it.
At this very moment who talks, if not the mind?
That which hears the question, answers it.
But who is it?
Not who, but what. I'm not a person in your sense of the word,
though I may appear a person to
I am that infinite ocean of consciousness in which all happens. I
am also beyond all existence
cognition, pure bliss of being. There is nothing I feel separate
from, hence I am all. No thing is
so I am nothing.
same power that makes the fire burn and the water flow, the seeds
sprout and the trees grow,
me answer your questions. There is nothing personal about me,
though the language and
style may appear personal. A person is a set pattern of desires
and thoughts and resulting
there is no such pattern in my case. There is nothing I desire or
fear -- how can there be a
Surely, you will die.
Life will escape, the body will die, but it will not affect me in
the least. Beyond space and time I
uncaused, uncausing, yet the very matrix of existence.
May I be permitted to ask how did you arrive at your present
My teacher told me to hold on to the sense 'I am' tenaciously and
not to swerve from it even for
moment. I did my best to follow his advice and in a comparatively
short time I realised within
the truth of his teaching. All I did was to remember his teaching,
his face, his words
This brought an end to the mind; in the stillness of the mind I
saw myself as I am --
Was your realisation sudden or gradual.
Neither. One is what one is timelessly. It is the mind that
realises as and when it get cleared of
Even the desire for realisation?
The desire to put an end to all desires is a most peculiar desire,
just like the fear of being afraid
a most peculiar fear. One stops you from grabbing and the other
from running. You may use the
words, but the states are not the same. The man who seeks
realisation is not addicted to
he is a seeker who goes against desire, not with it. A general
longing for liberation is only
beginning; to find the proper means and use them is the next step.
The seeker has only one
in view: to find his own true being. Of all desires it is the most
ambitious, for nothing and
can satisfy it; the seeker and the sought are one and the search
The search will come to an end. The seeker will remain.
No, the seeker will dissolve, the search will remain. The search
is the ultimate and timeless
Search means lacking, wanting, incompleteness and imperfection.
No, it means refusal and rejection of the incomplete and the
imperfect. The search for reality is
the movement of reality. In a way all search is for the real
bliss, or the bliss of the real. But
we mean by search the search for oneself as the root of being
conscious, as the light beyond
mind. This search will never end, while the restless craving for
all else must end, for real
to take place.
has to understand that the search for reality, or God, or Guru and
the search for the self are
same; when one is found, all are found. When 'I am' and 'God is'
become in your mind
then something will happen and you will know without a trace of
doubt that God is
you are, you are because God is. The two are one.
Since all is preordained, is our self-realisation also
preordained? Or are we free there at least?
Destiny refers only to name and shape. Since you are neither body
nor mind, destiny has no
over you. You are completely free. The cup is conditioned by its
shape, material, use and so
But the space within the cup is free. It happens to be in the cup
only when viewed in connection
the cup. Otherwise it is just space. As long as there is a body,
you appear to be embodied.
the body you are not disembodied -- you Just are.
destiny is but an idea. Words can be put together in so many ways!
Statements can differ, but
they make any change in the actual? There are so many theories
devised for explaining things --
are plausible, none is true. When you drive a car, you are
subjected to the laws of mechanics
chemistry: step out of the car and you are under the laws of
physiology and biochemistry.
What is meditation and what are its uses?
As long as you are a beginner certain formalised meditations, or
prayers may be good for you.
for a seeker for reality there is only one meditation -- the
rigorous refusal to harbour thoughts.
be free from thoughts is itself meditation.
How is it done?
You begin by letting thoughts flow and watching them. The very
observation slows down the
till it stops altogether. Once the mind is quiet, keep it quiet.
Don't get bored with peace, be in it,
deeper into it.
I heard of holding on to one thought in order to keep other
thoughts away. But how to keep all
away? The very idea is also a thought.
Experiment anew, don't go by past experience. Watch your thoughts
and watch yourself
the thoughts. The state of freedom from all thoughts will happen
suddenly and by the bliss
it you shall recognise it.
Are you not at all concerned about the state of the world? Look at
the horrors in East Pakistan
now Bangla Desh]. Do they not touch you at all?
I am reading newspapers, I know what is going on! But my reaction
is not like yours. You are
for a cure, while I am concerned with prevention. As long as there
are causes, there must
be results. As long as people are bent on dividing and separating,
as long as they are selfish
aggressive, such things will happen. If you want peace and harmony
in the world, you must
peace and harmony in your hearts and minds. Such change cannot be
imposed; it must come
within. Those who abhor war must get war out of their system.
Without peaceful people how
you have peace in the world? As long as people are as they are,
the world must be as it is. I am
my part in trying to help people to know themselves as the only
cause of their own misery. In
sense I am a useful man. But what I am in myself, what is my
normal state cannot be
in terms of social consciousness and usefulness.
may talk about it, use metaphors or parables, but I am acutely
aware that it is just not so. Not that
cannot be experienced. It is experiencing itself! But it cannot be
described in the terms of a mind
must separate and oppose in order to know.
world is like a sheet of paper on which something is typed. The
reading and the meaning will
with the reader, but the paper is the common factor, always
present, rarely perceived. When
ribbon is removed, typing leaves no trace on the paper. So is my
mind -- the impressions keep
coming, but no trace is left.
Why do you sit here talking to people? What is your real motive?
No motive. You say I must have a motive. I am not sitting here,
nor talking: no need to search
motives. Don't confuse me with the body. I have no work to do, no
duties to perform. That part of
which you may call God will look after the world. This world of
yours, that so much needs
after, lives and moves in your mind. Delve into it, you will find
your answers there and there
Where else do you expect them to come from? Outside your
consciousness does anything
It may exist without my ever knowing it.
What kind of existence would it be? Can being be divorced from
knowing? All being, like all
relates to you. A thing is because you know it to be either in
your experience or in your
Your body and your mind exist as long as you believe so. Cease to
think that they are yours
they will just dissolve. By all means let your body and mind
function, but do not let them limit
If you notice imperfections, just keep on noticing: your very
giving attention to them will set
heart and mind and body right.
Can I cure myself of a serious illness by merely taking cognisance
Take cognisance of the whole of it, not only of the outer
symptoms. All illness begins in the
Take care of the mind first, by tracing and eliminating all wrong
ideas and emotions. Then live
work disregarding illness and think no more of it. With the
removal of causes the effect is bound
becomes what he believes himself to be. Abandon all ideas about
yourself and you will find
to be the pure witness, beyond all that can happen to the body or
If I become anything I think myself to be, and I start thinking
that I am the Supreme Reality, will
my Supreme Reality remain a mere idea?
First reach that state and then ask the question.