56. Consciousness Arising, World Arises
When an ordinary man dies, what happens to him?
According to his belief it happens, As life before death is but
imagination, so is life after.
And what about the jnani?
The jnani does not die because he was never born.
He appears so to others.
But not to himself. In himself he is free of things -- physical
Still you must know the state of the man who died. At least from
your own past lives.
Until I met my Guru I knew so many things. Now I know nothing, for
all knowledge is in dream
and not valid. I know myself and I find no life nor death in me,
only pure being -- not being this
that, but just being. But the moment the mind, drawing on its
stock of memories, begins to
it fills the space with objects and time with events. As I do not
know even this birth, how
I know past births? It is the mind that, itself in movement, sees
everything moving, and having
time, worries about the past and future. All the universe is
cradled in consciousness (maha
which arises where there is perfect order and harmony (maha
sattva). As all waves are in
ocean, so are all things physical and mental in awareness. Hence
awareness itself is all
not the content of it. Deepen and broaden your awareness of
yourself and all the
will flow. You need not seek anything, all will come to you most
naturally and effortlessly.
five senses and the four functions of the mind -- memory, thought,
understanding and selfhood;
five elements -- earth, water, fire, air and ether; the two
aspects of creation -- matter and spirit,
are contained in awareness.
Yet, you must believe in having lived before.
The scriptures say so, but I know nothing about it. I know myself
as I am; as I appeared or will
is not within my experience. It is not that I do not remember. In
fact there is nothing to
Reincarnation implies a reincarnating self. There is no such
thing. The bundle of
and hopes, called the 'I', imagines itself existing everlastingly
and creates time to
its false eternity: To be, I need no past or future. All
experience is born of
I do not imagine, so no birth or death happens to me. Only those
who think themselves
can think themselves re-born. You are accusing me of having been
born -- I plead not guilty!
exists in awareness and awareness neither dies nor is re-born. It
is the changeless reality itself.
the universe of experience is born with the body and dies with the
body; it has its beginning and
in awareness, but awareness knows no beginning, nor end. If you
think it out carefully and
over it for a long time, you will come to see the light of
awareness in all its clarity and the
will fade out of your vision. It is like looking at a burning
incense stick, you see the stick and
smoke first; when you notice the fiery point, you realise that it
has the power to consume
of sticks and fill the universe with smoke. Timelessly the self
actualises itself, without
its infinite possibilities. In the incense stick simile the stick
is the body and the smoke is
mind. As long as the mind is busy with its contortions, it does
not perceive its own source. The
comes and turns your attention to the spark within. By its very
nature the mind is outward
it always tends to seek for the source of things among the things
themselves; to be told to
for the source within, is, in a way, the beginning of a new life.
Awareness takes the place of
in consciousness there is the 'I', who is conscious while
awareness is undivided;
is aware of itself. The 'I am' is a thought, while awareness is
not a thought, there is no 'I
aware' in awareness. Consciousness is an attribute while awareness
is not; one can be aware
being conscious, but not conscious of awareness. God is the
totality of consciousness, but
is beyond all -- being as well as not-being.
I had started with the question about the condition of a man after
death. When his body is
what happens to his consciousness? Does he carry his senses of
seeing, hearing etc.
with him or does he leave them behind? And, if he loses his
senses, what becomes to his
Senses are mere modes of perception. As the grosser modes
disappear, finer states of
Is there no transition to awareness after death?
There can be no transition from consciousness to awareness, for
awareness is not a form of
Consciousness can only become more subtle and refined and that is
death. As the various vehicles of man die off, the modes of
consciousness induced by them
Until only unconsciousness remains?
Look at yourself talking of unconsciousness as something that
comes and goes! Who is there to
conscious of unconsciousness? As long as the window is open, there
is sunlight in the room.
the windows shut, the sun remains, but does it see the darkness in
the room? Is there anything
darkness to the sun? There is no such thing as unconsciousness,
for unconsciousness is not
We infer unconsciousness when there is a lapse in memory or
communication. If I
reacting, you will say that I am unconscious. In reality I may be
most acutely conscious, only
to communicate or remember.
I am asking a simple question: there are about four billion people
in the world and they are all
to die. What will be their condition after death -- not
physically, but psychologically? Will their
continue? And if it does, in what form? Do not tell me that I am
not asking the right
or that you do not know the answer, or that in your world my
question is meaningless; the
you start talking about your world and my world as different and
incompatible, you build a
between us. Either we live in one world or your experience is of
no use to us.
Of course we live in one world. Only I see it as it is, while you
don't. You see yourself in the
while I see the world in myself. To you, you get born and die,
while to me, the world appears
disappears. Our world is real, but your view of it is not. There
is no wall between us, except the
built by you. There is nothing wrong with the senses, it is your
imagination that misleads you. It
up the world as it is, with what you imagine it to be -- something
existing independently of
and yet closely following your inherited, or acquired patterns.
There is a deep contradiction in
attitude, which you do not see and which is the cause of sorrow.
You cling to the idea that you
born into a world of pain and sorrow; I know that the world is a
child of love, having its
growth and fulfilment in love. But I am beyond love even.
If you have created the world out of love, why is it so full of
You are right -- from the body's point of view. But you are not
the body. You are the immensity
infinity of consciousness. Don't assume what is not true and you
will see things as I see them.
and pleasure, good and bad, right and wrong: these are relative
terms and must not be taken
They are limited and temporary.
In the Buddhist tradition it is stated that a Nirvani, an
enlightened Buddha, has the freedom of
universe. He can know and experience for himself all that exists.
He can command, interfere
nature, with the chain of causation, change the sequence of
events, even undo the past! The
is still with him but he is free in it.
What you describe is God. Of course, where there is a universe,
there will also be its
which is God. But I am beyond both. There was a kingdom in search
of a king. They
the right man and made him king. In no way had he changed. He was
merely given the title,
rights and the duties of a king. His nature was not affected, only
his actions. Similarly, with the
man; the content of his consciousness undergoes a radical
transformation. But he is
misled. He knows the changeless.
The changeless cannot be conscious. Consciousness is always of
change. The changeless
no trace in consciousness.
Yes and no. The paper is not the writing, yet it carries the
writing. The ink is not the message,
is the reader's mind the message -- but they all make the message
Does consciousness come down from reality or is it an attribute of
Consciousness as such is the subtle counterpart of matter. Just as
inertia (tamas) and energy
are attributes of matter, so does harmony (sattva) manifest itself
as consciousness. You may
it in a way as a form of very subtle energy. Wherever matter
organises itself into a stable
consciousness appears spontaneously. With the destruction of the
Then what survives?
That, of which matter and consciousness are but aspects, which is
neither born nor dies.
If it is beyond matter and consciousness, how can it be
It can be known by its effects on both; look for it in beauty and
in bliss. But you will understand
body nor consciousness, unless you go beyond both.
Please tell us squarely: are you conscious or unconscious?
The enlightened (jnani) is neither. But in his enlightenment
(jnana) all is contained. Awareness
every experience. But he who is aware is beyond every experience.
He is beyond
There is the background of experience, call it matter. There is
the experiencer, call it mind.
makes the bridge between the two?
The very gap between is the bridge. That, which at one end looks
like matter and at the other as
is in itself the bridge. Don't separate reality into mind and body
and there will be no need of
arising, the world arises. When you consider the wisdom and the
beauty of the
you call it God. Know the source of it all, which is in yourself,
and you will find all your
The seer and the seen: are they one or two?
There is only seeing; both the seer and the seen are contained in
it. Don't create differences
there are none.
I began with the question about the man who died. You said that
his experiences will shape
according to his expectations and beliefs.
Before you were born you expected to live according to a plan,
which you yourself had laid
Your own will was the backbone of your destiny.
Surely, karma interfered.
shapes the circumstances: the attitudes are your own. Ultimately
your character shapes
life and you alone can shape your character.
How does one shape one's character?
By seeing it as it is, and being sincerely sorry. This integral
seeing-feeling can work miracles. It
like casting a bronze image; metal alone, or fire alone will not
do; nor will the mould be of any
you have to melt down the metal in the heat of the fire and cast
it in the mould.