Be Indifferent to Pain and Pleasure
I am a Frenchman by birth and domicile and since about ten years I
After ten years of work are you anywhere nearer your goal?
A little nearer, maybe. It is hard work, you know.
The Self is near and the way to it is easy. All you need doing is
Yet I found my sadhana very difficult.
Your sadhana is to be. The doing happens. Just be watchful. Where
is the difficulty in
that you are? Your are all the time.
The sense of being is there all the time -- no doubt. But the
field of attention is often overrun by
sorts of mental events -- emotions, images, ideas. The pure sense
of being is usually crowded
What is your procedure for clearing the mind of the unnecessary?
What are your means, your
for the purification of the mind?
Basically, man is afraid. He is afraid of himself most. I feel I
am like a man who is carrying a
that is going to explode. He cannot defuse it, he cannot throw it
away. He is terribly frightened
is searching frantically for a solution, which he cannot find. To
me liberation is getting rid of this
I do not know much about the bomb. I only know that it comes from
early childhood. I feel
the frightened child protesting passionately against not being
loved. The child is craving for love
because he does not get it, he is afraid and angry. Sometimes I
feel like killing somebody or
This desire is so strong that I am constantly afraid. And I do not
know how to get free from
You see there is a difference between a Hindu mind and a European
mind. The Hindu mind is
simple. The European is a much more complex being. The Hindu is
He does not understand the Europeanís restlessness, hid tireless
pursuit of what he thinks needs
done; his greater general knowledge.
His reasoning capacity is so great, that he will reason himself
out of all reason! His self-
is due to his reliance on logic.
But thinking, reasoning is the mindís normal state. The mind just
cannot stop working.
It may be the habitual state, but it need not be the normal state.
A normal state cannot be
while a habit often leads to chronic pain.
If it is not the natural, or normal state of mind, then how to
stop it? There must be a way to
the mind. How often I tell myself: enough, please stop, enough of
this endless chatter of
repeated round and round! But my mind would not stop. I feel that
one can stop it for a
but not for long. Even the so-called Ďspiritualí people use tricks
to keep their mind quiet. They
formulas, they sing, pray, breathe forcibly or gently, shake,
rotate, concentrate, meditate,
trances, cultivate virtues -- working all the time, in order to
cease working, cease chasing,
moving. Were it not so tragic, it would be ridiculous.
The mind exists in two states: as water and as honey. The water
vibrates at the least
while the honey, however disturbed, returns quickly to immobility.
By its very nature the mind is restless. It can perhaps be made
quiet, but it is not quiet by itself.
You may have a chronic fever and shiver all the time. It is
desires and fears that make the mind
Free from all negative emotions it is quiet.
You cannot protect the child from negative emotions. As soon as it
is born it learns pain and
Hunger is a cruel master and teaches dependence and hate. The
child loves the mother
she feeds it and hates her because she is late with food. Our
unconscious mind is full of
which overflow into the conscious. We live on a volcano; we are
always in danger. I agree
the company of people whose mind is peaceful has a very soothing
affect, but as soon as I am
from them, the old trouble starts. This is why I come periodically
to India to seek the company
You think you are coming and going, passing through various states
and moods. I see things as
are, momentary events, presenting themselves to me in rapid
succession, deriving their being
me, yet definitely neither me nor mine. Among phenomena I am not
one, nor subject to any. I
independent so simply and totally, that your mind, accustomed to
opposition and denial, cannot
it. I mean literally what I say; I do not need oppose, or deny,
because it is clear to me that I
be the opposite or denial of anything. I am just beyond, in a
different dimension altogether.
not look for me in identification with, or opposition to
something: I am where desire, and fear are
Now, what is your experience? Do you also feel that you stand
totally aloof from all transient
Yes, I do -- occasionally. But at once a sense of danger sets in,
I feel isolated, outside all
with others. You see, here lies the difference in our mentalities.
With the Hindu, the
follows the thought. Give a Hindu an idea and his emotions are
roused. With the Westerner
is the opposite: give him an emotion and he will produce an idea.
Your ideas are very attractive --
but emotionally I do not respond.
Set your intellect aside. Don't use it in these matters.
Of what use is an advice which I cannot carry out? These are all
ideas and you want me to
feelingly to ideas, for without feelings there can be no action.
Why do you talk of action? Are you acting ever? Some unknown power
acts and you imagine
you are acting. You are merely watching what happens, without
being able to influence it in any
Why is there such a tremendous resistance in me against accepting
that I just can do nothing?
But what can you do? You are like a patient under anaesthetics on
whom a surgeon performs
operation. When you wake up you find the operation over; can you
say you have done
But it is me who has chosen to submit to an operation.
Certainly not. It is your illness on one side and the pressure of
your physician and family on the
that have made you decide. You have no choice, only the illusion
Yet I feel I am not as helpless as you make me appear. I feel I
can do everything I can think of,
I do not know how. It is not the power I lack, but the knowledge.
Not knowing the means is admittedly as bad as not having the
power! But let us drop the
for the moment; after all it is not important why we feel
helpless, as long as we see clearly
for the time being we are helpless.
am now 74 years old. And yet I feel that I am an infant. I feel
clearly that in spite of all the changes
am a child. My Guru told me: that child, which is you even now, is
your real self (swarupa). Go
to that state of pure being, where the 'I am' is still in its
purity before it got contaminated with
I am' or 'that I am'. Your burden is of false self-identifications
-- abandon them all. My Guru told
-- 'Trust me. I tell you; you are divine. Take it as the absolute
truth. Your joy is divine, your
is divine too. All comes from God. Remember it always. You are
God, your will alone is
I did believe him and soon realised how wonderfully true and
accurate were his words. I did
condition my mind by thinking: 'I am God, I am wonderful, I am
beyond'. I simply followed his
which was to focus the mind on pure being 'I am', and stay in it.
I used to sit for hours
with, nothing but the 'I am' in my mind and soon peace and joy and
a deep all-embracing
became my normal state. In it all disappeared -- myself, my Guru,
the life I lived, the world
me. Only peace remained and unfathomable silence.
It all looks very simple and easy, but it is just not so.
Sometimes the wonderful state of joyful
dawns on me and I look and wonder: how easily it comes and how
intimate it seems, how
my own. Where was the need to strive so hard for a state so near
at hand? This time, surely,
has come to stay. Yet how soon it all dissolves and leaves me
wondering -- was it a taste of reality
another aberration. If it was reality, why did it go? Maybe some
unique experience is needed to
me for good in the new state and until the crucial experience
comes, this game of hide and seek
Your expectation of something unique and dramatic, of some
wonderful explosion, is merely
and delaying your self-realisation. You are not to expect an
explosion, for the explosion
already happened -- at the moment when you were born, when you
realised yourself as being-
There is only one mistake you are making: you take the inner for
the outer and the
for the inner. What is in you, you take to be outside you and what
is outside, you take to be in
The mind and feelings are external, but you take them to be
intimate. You believe the world to
objective, while it is entirely a projection of your psyche. That
is the basic confusion and no new
will set it right. You have to think yourself out of it. There is
no other way.
How am I to think myself out when my thoughts come and go as they
like. Their endless chatter
and exhausts me.
Watch your thoughts as you watch the street traffic. People come
and go; you register without
It may not be easy in the beginning, but with some practice you
will find that your mind
function on many levels at the same time and you can be aware of
them all. It is only when you
a vested interest in any particular level, that your attention
gets caught in it and you black out
other levels. Even then the work on the blacked out levels goes
on, outside the field of
Do not struggle with your memories and thoughts; try only to
include in your field of
the other, more important questions, like 'Who am l?' 'How did I
happen to be born?'
this universe around me?'. 'What is real and what is momentary?'
No memory will persist,
you lose interest in it, it is the emotional link that perpetuates
the bondage. You are always
pleasure, avoiding pain, always after happiness and peace. Don't
you see that it is your
search for happiness that makes you feel miserable? Try the other
way: indifferent to pain and
neither asking, nor refusing, give all your attention to the level
on which 'I am' is timelessly
Soon you will realise that peace and happiness are in your very
nature and it is only
them through some particular channels, that disturbs. Avoid the
disturbance, that is all. To
there is no need; you would not seek what you already have. You
yourself are God, the
Reality. To begin with, trust me, trust the Teacher. It enables
you to make the first step --
then your trust is justified by your own experience. In every walk
of life initial trust is essential;
it little can be done. Every undertaking is an act of faith. Even
your daily bread you eat on
By remembering what I told you you will achieve everything. I am
telling you again: You are
all-pervading, all transcending reality. Behave accordingly:
think, feel and act in harmony with
whole and the actual experience of what I say will dawn upon you
in no time. No effort is
Have faith and act on it. Please see that I want nothing from you.
It is in your own interest
l speak, because above all you love yourself, you want yourself
secure and happy. Don't be
of it, don't deny it. It is natural and good to love oneself. Only
you should know what
do you love. It is not the body that you love, it is Life
--perceiving, feeling, thinking, doing,
striving, creating. It is that Life you love, which is you, which
is all. realise it in its totality,
all divisions and limitations, and all your desires will merge in
it, for the greater contains the
Therefore find yourself, for in finding that you find all.
is glad to be. But few know the fullness of it. You come to know
by dwelling in your mind
'I am', 'I know', 'I love' -- with the will of reaching the
deepest meaning of these words.
Can I think 'I am God'?
Don't identify yourself with an idea. If you mean by God the
Unknown, then you merely say: 'I do
know what I am'. If you know God as you know your self, you need
not say it. Best is the simple
'I am'. Dwell on it patiently. Here patience is wisdom; don't
think of failure. There can be no
in this undertaking.
My thoughts will not let me.
Pay no attention. Don't fight them. Just do nothing about them,
let them be, whatever they are.
very fighting them gives them life. Just disregard. Look through.
Remember to remember:
happens -- happens because I am'. All reminds you that you are.
Take full advantage of
fact that to experience you must be . You need not stop thinking.
Just cease being interested. It
disinterestedness that liberates. Don't hold on, that is all. The
world is made of rings. The hooks
all yours. Make straight your hooks and nothing can hold you. Give
up your addictions. There is
else to give up. Stop your routine of acquisitiveness, your habit
of looking for results and the
of the universe is yours. Be effortless.
Life is effort. There are so many things to do.
What needs doing, do it. Don't resist. Your balance must be
dynamic, based on doing just the
thing, from moment to moment. Don't be a child unwilling to grow
up. Stereotyped gestures
postures will not help you. Rely entirely on your clarity of
thought, purity of motive and integrity
action. You cannot possibly go wrong . Go beyond and leave all
But can anything be left for good?
You want something like a round-the-clock ecstasy. Ecstasies come
and go, necessarily, for the
brain cannot stand the tension for a long time. A prolonged
ecstasy will burn out your brain,
it is extremely pure and subtle. In nature nothing is at
stand-still, everything pulsates,
and disappears. Heart, breath, digestion, sleep and waking --
birth and death everything
and goes in waves. Rhythm, periodicity, harmonious alternation of
extremes is the rule. No
rebelling against the very pattern of life. If you seek the
Immutable, go beyond experience.
I say: remember 'I am' all the time, I mean: 'come back to it
repeatedly'. No particular thought
be mind's natural state, only silence. Not the idea of silence,
but silence itself. When the mind is
its natural state, it reverts to silence spontaneously after every
experience or, rather, every
happens against the background of silence.
what you have learnt here becomes the seed. You may forget it --
apparently. But it will live
in due season sprout and grow and bring forth flowers and fruits.
All will happen by itself. You
not do anything, only don't prevent it.