All Search for Happiness is Misery
I have come frown England and I am on my way to Madras. There I
shall meet my
and we shall go by car overland to London. I am to study psychology,
but I do not yet know
I shall do when I get my degree. I may try industrial psychology, or
psychotherapy. My father is
general physician, I may follow the same line.
this does not exhaust my interests. There are certain questions
which do not change with time. I
you have some answers to such questions and this made me come to see
I wonder whether I am the right man to answer your questions. I know
little about things
people. I know only that I am, and that much you also know. We are
Of course I know that I am. But I do not know what it means.
What you take to be the 'I' in the 'I am' is not you. To know that
you are is natural, to know what
are is the result of much investigation. You will have to explore
the entire field of consciousness
go beyond it. For this you must find the right teacher and create
the conditions needed for
Generally speaking, there are two ways: external and internal.
Either you live with
who knows the Truth and submit yourself entirely to his guiding and
you seek the inner guide and follow the inner light wherever it
takes you. In both cases your
desires and fears must be disregarded. You learn either by proximity
or by investigation,
passive or the active way. You either let yourself be carried by the
river of life and love
by your Guru, or you make your own efforts, guided by your inner
star. In both cases
must move on, you must be earnest. Rare are the people who are lucky
to find somebody
of trust and love. Most of them must take the hard way, the way of
of discrimination and detachment (viveka-vairagya). This is the way
open to all.
I am lucky to have come here: though I am leaving tomorrow, one talk
with you may affect my
Yes, once you say 'I want to find Truth', all your life will be
deeply affected by it. All your mental
physical habits, feelings and emotions, desires and fears, plans and
decisions will undergo a
Once I have made up my mind to find The Reality, what do I do next?
It depends on your temperament. If you are earnest, whatever way you
choose will take you to
goal. It is the earnestness that is the decisive factor.
What is the source of earnestness?
It is the homing instinct, which makes the bird return to its nest
and the fish to the mountain
where it was born. The seed returns to the earth, when the fruit is
ripe. Ripeness is all.
And what will ripen me? Do I need experience?
You already have all the experience you need, otherwise you would
not have come here. You
not gather any more, rather you must go beyond experience. Whatever
effort you make,
method (sadhana) you follow, will merely generate more experience,
but will not take you
Nor will reading books help you. They will enrich your mind, but the
person you are will
intact. If you expect any benefits from your search, material,
mental or spiritual, you have
the point. Truth gives no advantage. It gives you no higher status,
no power over others; all
get is truth and the freedom from the false.
Surely truth gives you the power to help others.
This is mere imagination, however noble! In truth you do not help
others, because there are no
You divide people into noble and ignoble and you ask the noble to
help the ignoble. You
you evaluate, you judge and condemn -- in the name of truth you
destroy it. Your very
to formulate truth denies it, because it cannot be contained in
words. Truth can be expressed
by the denial of the false -- in action. For this you must see the
false as false (viveka) and
it (vairagya). Renunciation of the false is liberating and
energizing. It lays open the road to
When do I know that I have discovered truth?
When the idea 'this is true', 'that is true' does not arise. Truth
does not assert itself, it is in the
of the false as false and rejecting it. It is useless to search for
truth, when the mind is blind to
false. It must be purged of the false completely before truth can
dawn on It.
But what is false?
Surely, what has no being is false.
What do you mean by having no being? The false is there, hard as a
What contradicts itself, has no being. Or it has only momentary
being, which comes to the
For, what has a beginning and an end has no middle. It is hollow. It
has only the name and
given to it by the mind, but it has neither substance nor essence.
If all that passes has no being, then the universe has no being
Who ever denies it? Of course the universe has no being.
That which does not depend for its existence, which does not arise
with the universe arising, nor
with the universe setting, which does not need any proof, but
imparts reality to all it touches. It is
nature of the false that it appears real for a moment. One could say
that the true becomes the
of the false. But the false is limited in time and space and is
produced by circumstances.
How am I to get rid of the false and secure the real?
To what purpose?
In order to live a better, a more satisfactory life, integrated and
Whatever is conceived by the mind must be false, for it is bound to
be relative and limited. The
is inconceivable and cannot be harnessed to a purpose. It must be
wanted for its own sake.
How can I want the inconceivable?
What else is there worth wanting? Granted, the real cannot be
wanted, as a thing is wanted. But
can see the unreal as unreal and discard it. It is the discarding
the false that opens the way to
I understand, but how does it look in actual daily life?
Self-interest and self-concern are the focal points of the false.
Your daily life vibrates between
and fear. Watch it intently and you will see how the mind assumes
innumerable names and
like a river foaming between the boulders. Trace every action to its
selfish motive and look
the motive intently till it dissolves.
To live, one must look after oneself, one must earn money for
You need not earn for yourself, but you may have to -- for a woman
and a child. You may have
keep on working for the sake of others. Even just to keep alive can
be a sacrifice. There is no
whatsoever to be selfish. Discard every self-seeking motive as soon
as it is seen and you
not search for truth; truth will find you.
There is a minimum of needs.
Were they not supplied since you were conceived? Give up the bondage
of self-concern and be
you are -- intelligence and love in action.
But one must survive!
You can't help surviving! The real you is timeless and beyond birth
and death. And the body will
as long as it is needed. It is not important that it should live
long. A full life is better than a
Who is to say what is a full life? It depends on my cultural
If you seek reality you must set yourself free of all backgrounds,
of all cultures, of all patterns of
and feeling. Even the idea of being man or woman, or even human,
should be discarded.
ocean of life contains all, not only humans. So, first of all
abandon all self-identification, stop
of yourself as such-and-such, so-and-so, this or that. Abandon all
self-concern, worry not
your welfare, material or spiritual, abandon every desire, gross or
subtle, stop thinking of
of any kind. You are complete here and now, you need absolutely
does not mean that you must be brainless and foolhardy, improvident
or indifferent; only the basic
for oneself must go. You need some food, clothing and shelter for
you and yours, but this
not create problems as long as greed is not taken for a need. Live
in tune with things as they
and not as they are imagined.
What am I if not human?
That which makes you think that you are a human is not human. It is
but a dimensionless point
consciousness, a conscious nothing; all you can say about yourself
is: 'I am.' You are pure being
awareness -- bliss. To realise that is the end of all seeking. You
come to it when you see all you
yourself to be as mere imagination and stand aloof in pure awareness
of the transient as
imaginary as imaginary, unreal as unreal. It is not at all
difficult, but detachment is
It is the clinging to the false that makes the true so difficult to
see. Once you understand
the false needs time and what needs time is false, you are nearer
the Reality, which is timeless,
in the now. Eternity in time is mere repetitiveness, like the
movement of a clock. It flows from
past into the future endlessly, an empty perpetuity. Reality is what
makes the present so vital,
different from the past and future, which are merely mental. If you
need time to achieve
it must be false. The real is always with you; you need not wait to
be what you
Only you must not allow your mind to go out of yourself in search.
When you want something, ask
do I really need it? and if the answer is no, then just drop it.
Must I not be happy? I may not need a thing, yet if it can make me
happy, should I not grasp it?
Nothing can make you happier than you are. All search for happiness
is misery and leads to
misery. The only happiness worth the name is the natural happiness
of conscious being.
Don't I need a lot of experience before I can reach such a high
level of awareness?
Experience leaves only memories behind and adds to the burden which
is heavy enough. You
no more experiences. The past ones are sufficient. And if you feel
you need more, look into
hearts of people around you. You will find a variety of experiences
which you would not be able
go through in a thousand years. Learn from the sorrows of others and
save yourself your own. It
not experience that you need, but the freedom from all experience.
Don't be greedy for
you need none.
Don't you pass through experiences yourself?
Things happen round me, but I take no part in them. An event becomes
an experience only
I am emotionally involved. I am in a state which is complete, which
seeks not to improve on
Of what use is experience to me?
One needs knowledge, education.
To deal with things knowledge of things is needed. To deal with
people, you need insight,
To deal with yourself you need nothing. Be what you are: conscious
being and don't
away from yourself.
University education is most useful.
No doubt, It helps you to earn a living. But it does not teach you
how to live. You are a student
psychology. It may help you in certain situations. But can you live
by psychology? Life is worthy
the name only when it reflects Reality in action. No university will
teach you how to live so that
the time of dying comes, you can say: I lived well I do not need to
live again. Most of us die
we could live again. So many mistakes committed, so much left
undone. Most of the people
but do not live. They merely gather experience and enrich their
memory. But experience
the denial of Reality, which is neither sensory nor conceptual,
neither of the body, nor of the mind,
it includes and transcends both.
But experience is most useful. By experience you learn not to touch
I have told you already that knowledge is most useful in dealing
with things. But it does not tell
how to deal with people and yourself, how to live a life. We are not
talking. of driving a car, or
money. For this you need experience. But for being a light unto
yourself material knowledge
not help you. You need something much more intimate and deeper than
mediate knowledge, to
your self in the true sense of the word. Your outer life is
unimportant. You can become a night
and live happily. It is what you are inwardly that matters. Your
inner peace and joy you
to earn. It is much more difficult than earning money. No university
can teach you to be
The only way to learn is by practice. Right away begin to be
yourself. Discard all you are
and go ever deeper. Just as a man digging a well discards what is
not water, until he reaches
water-bearing strata, so must you discard what is not your own, till
nothing is left which you can
You will find that what is left is nothing which the mind can hook
on to. You are not even a
being. You just are -- a point of awareness, co-extensive with time
and space and beyond
the ultimate cause, itself uncaused. If you ask me: 'Who are you?'
My answer would be:
in particular. Yet, I am.'
If you are nothing in particular, then you must be the universal.
What is to be universal -- not as a concept, but as a way of life?
Not to separate, not to oppose,
to understand and love whatever contacts you, is living universally.
To be able to say truly: I am
world., the world is me, I am at home in the world, the world is my
own. Every existence is my
every consciousness is my consciousness, every sorrow is my sorrow
and every joy is
joy -- this is universal life. Yet, my real being, and yours too, is
beyond the universe and,
beyond the categories of the particular and the universal. It is
what it is, totally self-
I find it hard to understand.
You must give yourself time to brood over these things. The old
grooves must be erased in your
without forming new ones. You must realise yourself as the
immovable, behind and beyond
movable, the silent witness of all that happens.
Does it mean that I must give up all idea of an active life?
Not at all. There will be marriage, there will be children, there
will be earning money to maintain
family; all this will happen in the natural course of events, for
destiny must fulfil itself; you will go
it without resistance, facing tasks as they come, attentive and
thorough, both in small things
big. But the general attitude will be of affectionate detachment,
enormous goodwill, without
of return, constant giving without asking. In marriage you are
neither the husband nor
wife; you are the love between the two. You are the clarity and
kindness that makes everything
and happy. It may seem vague to you, but if you think a little, you
will find that the mystical is
practical, for it makes your life creatively happy. Your
consciousness is raised to a higher
from which you see everything much clearer and with greater
intensity. You realise that
person you became at birth and will cease to be at death is
temporary and false. You are not
sensual, emotional and intellectual person, gripped by desires and
fears. Find out your real
What am l? is the fundamental question of all philosophy and
psychology. Go into it deeply.