I’m inviting the attention of the Invisible Listener within you all the time, that except your Selfless Self, nothing is there. Have some courage, spiritual courage, to accept the Reality which you are lacking. “I’m doing something, I’m doing…”, what are you doing? You can’t do anything! If there’s no Presence, what can you do with this body? If there’s no Presence for a moment in this body, what can you do, nothing. And therefore I’ve told you, this Presence is just like sky or space. It does not know ‘I am space’, also it does not know ‘I am Presence’. Try to identify the Invisible Identifier within you! It is unconcerned with the world, unconcerned with all activities. How you were prior to identifying yourself? “I don’t know”. What does identification remains after leaving the body? “I don’t know”. ‘I don’t know’ means I am shapeless, I am formless. My Presence is there, but not in form.
We have a lack of confidence. We’re listening to everything, everybody knows ‘Atman’, ‘Paramatman’, ‘God’, ‘Brahman’, but a lack of confidence is there. Some impressions are there. We have to come out from this illusory circle. All our actions are within the illusory circles. So far desires are there, we’re under the pressure of mind, ego, intellect. What is mind? The flow of thoughts. Ego is there, “I’m doing something!”, what are you doing? Intellect is there. Where was the intellect, mind, ego prior to beingness?
Basically you are formless, no form is there, no shape is there. And therefore I am saying, everything came out of nothing and dissolves within nothing.
There are no restrictions. You’re not required to do any exercise, not to torture your body. Do your duties, have some responsibilities, be practical. “Oh, I’m a spiritual man, I’m a spiritual woman, how can I do this?” Not to do this. Be simple, be normal. Don’t underestimate yourself, “How can it happen?” Everything can happen, nothing is impossible. You’re not required to spend a single penny for this. It’s your knowledge!
Therefore my Master said, “I’m not making you a disciple, I’m making you a Master.” Because you are a Master. The moment you stop measuring yourself in body-form, the Master is not separate from you.
Maharaj: Meditation just means concentration and involvement. Not sitting like this: ‘Ram, Ram, Ram, Ram…’, not like this. Try to identify who is acting within this body. Just sit, calm and quiet, to see what’s happening. Who is witnessing the thoughts? Who is watching the dream? Who is that? It’s not the body at all. It’s called Brahman, Atman, Paramatman, God, the name given to the Supernatural Power.
Q: So, meditating…
Maharaj: Meditation means just to identify yourself. Invite the attention of the Invisible Meditator within you that you are Brahman! Except your Self, nothing is there.
Whatever knowledge we’re having is body-based knowledge. This is a food-body, it’s not going to remain constant. There are stages: you’re a child, then grown up as young man, then you become an old man, and some or other day, willingly or unwillingly you have to leave the body! What remains? After leaving the body, what remains? Nothing. So everything came out of nothing and dissolves back into nothing. What remains? How were you prior to beingness? “I don’t know”. After leaving the body? “I don’t know”. ‘I don’t know’ means that in a negative thought, a positive concept, a positive Reality is there. “I’m not in any form, I’m formless, I’m shapeless. My Presence is there, just like sky or space: everywhere”.
Q: And the same question about the bhajans…
Maharaj: Yes, yes, prayers, bhajans, which are required, because this is the weak point (sensitive point) of the Spirit, of spirituality. It creates an atmosphere. We’re playing with the various instruments, it’s creating an atmosphere. It’s ‘sattva guna’, three gunas are there: ‘sattva guna’, ‘raja guna’, ‘tamo guna’, you know? Spiritual science says this.
Q: Is it a specific kind of bhajan, or any general bhajan?
Maharaj: Any bhajan through which you are getting happiness, peacefulness, not a specific bhajan.. In our lineage we have bhajans. The purpose behind that: you should be one with your Selfless Self. There will be spontaneous peacefulness, not artificial peacefulness, not a material cause of peacefulness. Peacefulness is there, happiness is there, a tension-free life is there. And therefore I am insisting not to measure yourself in body-form, not to underestimate your Selfless Self. That grand secret is within you. We’re ignoring ourself. We’ve got so many expectations, so many concepts. We like to live within the circle of concepts – you have to break the circle.
And this courage you’ll get out of meditation only. And I’ve repeatedly told you, meditation is not only sitting like this (Maharaj pretends to meditate), it is involvement. This body is called ‘man’, this body is called ‘woman’, and we accepted it, we’re acting as a woman or a man. You’re watching the dream as a woman or man, we’re totally absorbed. Your parents told you this body is called ‘man’ or ‘woman’ and we totally accepted it. Master says you are not woman, you are not man, you are Brahman! But we don’t accept it. You are the Supernatural Power. You’ve got tremendous power, hidden power, which you’re ignoring all the way. Then you will be fearless, no tension will be there.
What is the purpose behind spirituality? To live a tension-free life, peaceful life, happy life, fearless life. Everybody is having fear of the death: “What will happen?”. After knowing the Reality:“I’m not going to die, there’s no birth and death to me. It’s connected to the body only, and I’m not the body at all and I’m not going to remain the body at all!”, it’s fact.
Q: If all of us are Brahmans, the Brahma itself, is that correct? That’s the premise? Is that we are all…
Maharaj: It’s a fact! You’re measuring yourself in body-form! Bodies are different, bodies are different…
Q: No problem, so that’s the premise. So the question that is begged is: why is one Brahma willing to harm another Brahma if we are one and the same?
Maharaj: Because it is body-based knowledge. Brahma is not harming anything. Is the sky harming any sky? American sky is harming some Indian sky? Sky doesn’t know ‘I am sky’, Presence doesn’t know ‘I am Presence,’ Brahman does not know ‘I am Brahman’. Brahman is a word given to that Ultimate Truth that you are. The Invisible Listener within you is Ultimate Truth, it is called Brahman, Atman, Paramatman, God, Master. It is not an individual, there’s no duality at all.
Q: So then can one say that it’s okay for this Brahman to harm this Brahman?
Maharaj: No, no, no “Okay I am Brahman I will harm another Brahman”, there’s no two different Brahman.
Q: Okay, so it’s one Brahman, right, but bodies, there are two separate bodies. If I harm this body in some way do I just turn around and say it’s okay because we’re all one and the same?
Maharaj: Egoistic concepts are there, ‘I am somebody else’. That ‘somebody’ is supposed to be dissolved. Brahman is not harming anybody else.
Q: But if harm should happen, which you, I think, said earlier, was that nothing is really being done, no deeds are being done, ultimately.
Maharaj: There’s no doer there’s no deed. So far we’re measuring ourselves in body-form, all these concepts appear. I’m talking about that invisible Presence within you, where nothing is there, no thoughts are there, no concepts are there. The concept ‘Brahman’ is also not there. And as I told, the name ‘Brahman’ is given to that Ultimate Truth. Except your Selfless Self there is no Brahman, Atman, Paramatman, God, Master. So Brahman is not harming some other, “this Brahman is different, this Brahman is different”.
Q: Okay, so in other words, what you do to others you’re doing to yourself, right?
Maharaj: So far you’re considering yourself in body-form these concepts appear. No other is there. Because we are measuring in body-form, therefore ‘he’ is there, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’ is there, and all concepts appear. Prior to beingness any of these things are there? Prior beingness or after leaving the body, are you finding any different things?
Q: So, somebody who does do harm to another…
Maharaj: When did you come across with somebody? Prior to beingness who ‘somebody’ was there?
After leaving body any ‘somebody’ is there?
Q: …body, body, if this body harms…
Maharaj: (Smiling) I’m shouting…I’m shouting at you…because you’re measuring yourself in body-form therefore you say different bodies are there. Different houses are there, sky is one. This is called a bungalow, this is a cottage, something, something, names are given. If all the houses collapse what happens to the sky? Is it going to hell or heaven? And therefore I’m telling you not to measure yourself in body-form, it’s the basic thing. Since we are measuring ourselves in body-form, so many concepts appear. Bodies are different. After one hundred years what will happen to all these bodies? Even if you think intellectually – how were you prior to one hundred years, you say “I don’t know”, your answer will be: “I don’t know”. How are you after one hundred years – “I don’t know”. ‘I don’t know’ means “I’m not in any form, not in any shape”. As I told some of you: You’re alone in the house, and somebody knocks on the door “Anybody there?”, you say “Nobody’s there”. Correct? You want to say “I am here, except myself nobody’s there”, that’s the only thing. Except your Selfless Self, nothing is there.
And therefore I am insisting on meditation. Meditation means concentration, full involvement. For which there are no restrictions, no bondage is there. This is the base, foundation. Because only listening is meaningless, it is a temporary relief, painkillers. Temporary intoxication.
The human body is an opportunity for you to identify yourself. Every moment is very important, it’s valuable. Complete concentration, complete involvement is most important. We’re not accepting it. Everybody knows ‘I am not body at all’, everybody knows. Some or other day, willingly or unwillingly we are to leave this body, what remains?
Because you’re Master of mind! So far mind was dictating us “do this thing, do that thing”, now we are dictating to the mind. It can happen. Mind, ego, intellect, these are only functioning organs. And after having Conviction you will be thoughtless, no thoughts will be there. And therefore for which, again I am repeating, meditation is the base, the foundation, which you are neglecting, you are not knowing.
Q: Maharaj, why are we so scared to find this Ultimate Truth?
Maharaj: Not like that. Because we are having so many concepts engraved upon us we are having some strong concepts: ‘I am somebody else’, ‘man’ or ‘woman’. And to dissolve all these concepts, again, you have to undergo the meditation. After having the Conviction that ‘I am not the body at all, I was not the body at all, I’m not going to remain the body at all, I am unborn, death and birth are connected with the body only, all desires are connected with the body only”. You are beyond that. So there won’t be any depression, there won’t be any negative thoughts. It is not your fault. Because since childhood till today we’ve had a long association with the body, thousands of concepts have been engraved upon us. And we are trying to live within the circle of those concepts, we are having some limitation. Our thinking process is also within the circle of limitation, ‘I am somebody else’, ‘I am a man or woman, somebody else’.
Q: And that’s the struggle when I meditate, I have so many distractions. I sit there and I don’t want to meditate…
Maharaj: Concentrate on meditation. Meditation is the only source through which all concepts will be dissolved. In the beginning there’s bound to be a struggle. As I’ve told you, mind, ego, intellect, so many concepts rebel against you.
There’s a nice example given by Nisargadatta Maharaj. Suppose you’re having your own building, and so many tenants are there, and you want to regain possession of the rooms and flats. While leaving the premises the tenants will abuse you, because so many years they’re staying there. If suddenly you say, ‘I want all possession of the premises’, they will abuse you.
Same thing. So many concepts are there from childhood. After having meditation, the bad elements or bad concepts, while leaving the body, rebel against you. This story is just for understanding.
So some things may happen, but it is a cleaning process. It doesn’t have any spiritual importance, but it happens in the beginning. When the devotee takes the Nama Mantra for meditation, some forces are there trying to distract you from the Reality. It may be your mind, it may be ego, it may be the intellect. They appear upon your Presence, they’re layers upon your Presence. The ego, mind, intellect are layers upon your Presence. They’re using your energy, they’ve made us slaves. “Don’t go against my mind”, you’re giving so much importance to the mind. Subtle ego is there, subtle intellect is there. Be the Master of ego, intellect, mind.
So whatever knowledge, spiritual knowledge you’re having, try to implement, try to absorb it. Not theoretically, be practical. So carry out your responsibilities, don’t struggle with your thoughts, don’t struggle with your mind. Mind means the flow of thoughts.
So be firm, firmness is most important. And for which you must have strong faith within you and your Master, who so ever is your Master. But Master is not in any form, it’s a formless Master, not this form (Maharaj indicates his body). The Invisible Identity within the Master and the Invisible Identity within the so-called disciple is not separate. They are one and the same, bodies are different. So Reality is not impossible.
Q: Master, the Conviction, Spontaneous Conviction can happen at any time, it doesn’t necessarily happen during meditation, is that correct?
Maharaj: It happens spontaneously after having the Conviction. After having this Conviction, it dissolves all body-knowledge. The moment body-knowledge dissolves…This is a food-body, you know this is a food-body. So far we’re supplying food and water, it happens. Who is acting in this body? Who is talking from this body? Who is experiencing from this body? Who is listening from the body, who is thinking from the body? Say I am talking something-something about spirituality. The invisible listener within you is analyzing the words, without your knowledge, and raising some questions. Who is that questioner?
It is very, very interesting. Go deep and deep and deep within Selfless Self and you’ll find peacefulness, ‘Oh, so That I’.
Q: Master, deeper and deeper into meditation, you’re talking deeper and…
Maharaj: After having meditation, through those meditation words (Mantra), all the concepts will be dissolved, melted. Body-identity will be dissolved. And you’ll see within yourself, ‘my beingness is everywhere and in every being’. ‘My Presence is everywhere’ – that Spontaneous Conviction will appear within you.
Q: Could you please say something about any practice that is silent, without words, that supports the aware Presence in recognizing itself?
Maharaj: After having Conviction, silence will be there, spontaneous silence is there. Therefore I am insisting on meditation. Because, there is no silence because we are having so many concepts, body-based concepts. Directly or indirectly we’ve become a victim of our mind, ego, intellect. For which you have to identify yourself in a real sense. It’s fact, forget about spirituality. You were not the body at all, you’re not the body, you’re not going to remain the body, the body is not your identity at all. Even if you think intellectually, it’s open fact. What is the value of this body? If there is no Presence for a moment, what is the value of this body? Nothing. And therefore I am insisting on meditation all the time, involvement. Considering the sensitivity of the Spirit or Presence, the words are given ‘Soham’ or some ‘Aham Brahmasmi’, ‘Sivoham, these are the words. Key-words, you see, key-words.
Q: Naam (inaudible) should be recited continuously at all times once one has received initiation?
Maharaj: You have to recite the Naam Mantra all the time continuously, at any moment. You need not sit all the time here like this (Maharaj pretends to meditate). You do your job, do your duties, no restrictions, no bondage is there. What you are doing, whatever you are doing, you recite the Mantra, the Naam Mantra, ‘Aham Brahmasmi’, ‘Brahman I am, Brahman’, like that.
Q: And it will still the mind so that the mind is not all over the place all the time.
Maharaj: Mind is always pricking from the backside. When you’re concentrating on the Mantra, concentrating on ‘Brahman’, it’s a kind of cleaning process. Mind will not allow you to concentrate on yourself. Mind is nothing but the flow of thoughts. We are giving importance to the mind – there’s no mind at all, no mind, ego, intellect. They came along with the body only, they appeared upon your Presence. If your Presence is not there, where is the mind, ego, intellect? But directly or indirectly we are becoming victims of the mind, ego, intellect. We are giving so much importance to mind, ego, intellects: “Not to go against my mind”.
Q: May I ask another question?
Maharaj: Yes, yes, ask a question.
Q: I (inaudible) with Vipassana meditation, which does not involve mantras, it is basically observing your breath, observing your body sensations. What are your thoughts on that?
Maharaj: This is a temporary relief. ‘Vipassana’, so many concepts are there. Temporary relief. So far you are doing Vipassana for a time, one week, two week, one month, after leaving the Vipassana again you come to the same place.
Q: But what if you practice Vipassana everyday? I mean, what are your thoughts on Vipassana versus…
Maharaj: The Principle behind Vipassana or any practice is just do identify yourself in a real sense. Whatever practice you are doing, is just for the principle that you identify yourself in a real sense. This is only a process: Vipassana is a process, meditation is also a process. But meditation is a strong process through which you can identify yourself as early as possible.
Q: But in Vipassana meditation there is no mantra…
Maharaj: You (go ahead and) do Vipassana meditation, but you are posing yourself in body-form and then doing some Vipassana meditation, so it is meaningless. “I am somebody else, I’m doing Vipassana meditation”, it is egoistic meditation. You are to forget your body-identity. “I am doing some sadhana, I am doing some meditation” – that ‘I’ is supposed to be dissolved, for which meditation is there. Through meditation you are inviting the attention of the Invisible Meditator within you that you are Ultimate Truth, you are Final Truth. Non-stop hammering yourself. At the advanced stage, meditation is no longer required. After having Conviction, no meditation is required. Meditation is only a process for the time being., till you’ve got Conviction, Spontaneous Conviction.
Maharaj: That ‘I am’ concept appeared upon your Presence. If your Presence is not there who will have anything to say about ‘I am’. To say ‘I am’ that Invisible Presence, Power, Energy, is required. If there’s no Presence inside, a dead body can’t say ‘I am’.
Q: Correct, yeah.
Maharaj: Correct. To see this world, if the seer is not there, what is the use of the seen? The entire seen is reflected out of your Presence. The entire seen is reflected out of your Presence, Spontaneous Presence. To say something your Presence is required. I’ve given the name ‘Presence’. To identify something you have to give some name – ‘Brahman’, ‘Atman’, Paramatman’, ‘God’, ‘Master’ – these are the names given to the Supernatural Power within you. I’m inviting the attention of the Invisible Listener within you that is called Brahman, Atman, Paramatman, God, Master, that it is not separate from you. No to underestimate you. You have great power, you’ve got tremendous power. But all the time we are measuring ourself in body-form and that is illusion. It’s not your fault. Because of long association with the body we’ve got so much attraction, we’ve become one with the body. Whatever happens we accept it: “I’m somebody else”.
You are Ultimate Truth, it’s fact. You are unborn. Birth and death are connected with the body-knowledge only, not to you. But we’re not accepting the facts. And therefore some involvement is required. Not to torture your body. Why torture the body for knowing your Self? The thing which is already within you, why to torture it? Give some time, some involvement is required: “Yes, I want to know myself! Who am I?”, you’ll get courage. “If I am not the body, who am I?”, ask the question. That question is supposed to be solved within you only.
Q3: How do you increase your devotion? I mean, how does one become more devoted? If you find you get distracted by the world and then you forget to meditate, or you need to increase devotion…
Maharaj: You have to accept it. Reality is placed before you, the Reality of the Invisible Listener within you. When you accept this totally, it is devotion.
So this body is called ‘woman’. Are you saying “I am woman, I am woman, I am woman”? You accepted it. I say you are Brahman, but you’re not accepting it, you say “Oh, you’re making fun of me”. I’m placing before you the Listeners Reality, but you’re not accepting it. But if anybody says anything wrong, you’re immediately accepting it, you’re immediately reacting.
So it is now up to you. Reality is placed before you, you have to accept it. You were not the body, you are not the body, you’re not going to remain the body, it’s a fact. Who is holding this body? This is the Invisible Listener’s story, the Reality. It’s called Brahman, Atman, Paramatman, God, Master, it’s not separate from you. You’ve got tremendous value, but you’re not giving that value, you’re underestimating yourself. Why to go here and there in search of any Masters? “Oh God bless me, Oh God bless me”, why? To say ‘God’ your Presence is required. If there’s no Presence who will talk about the ‘God’? Are you not the father of God? ‘God’ is a concept. Okay, it’s not bad, I’m not criticizing that God concept. If your Presence is not there who will talk about the ‘God’, how can you talk about ‘God’ and ‘Masters’? The moment that Spirit clicked with the body, you start identifying the entire world. The entire world is projected out of your Presence, it’s fact.
And therefore I’m insisting: to have this Spontaneous Conviction regarding your Selfless Self, you are to undergo the meditation. Meditation is not only sitting, again I’m repeating it. Total involvement is required. Recite the Mantra all the time, and you’ll feel some miraculous experience within you, you’ll feel some exceptional peacefulness, you’ll remain unconcerned with the worldly things.
Q: You talk about the spontaneous release of really strong emotions, and I have been experiencing that. What I’m wondering is: can that also apply to physical symptoms?
Maharaj: Yes, yes, it happens. When you’re going closer and closer to your Selfless Self it happens. It’s good. Because you’re experiencing those emotions.
Q: Yeah, the emotions have been pretty intense sometimes, like rage coming out of nowhere and lasting for a half hour and then just subsiding. But it’s the physical stuff that I was a little more perplexed about.
Maharaj: When there’s so much involvement in spirituality, so many emotional feelings, love, affection, appear spontaneously. It’s part and parcel of your Spirit, spiritual knowledge. Because you are full of love and affection. Exceptional peacefulness is there. After having strong devotion, strong meditation, total peacefulness will be there, total silence will be there. No confusion, no confusion, all confusion dissolves. Exceptional silence, you’ll remain untouched with the world. Why are we disturbed? Because we have some ego, subtle ego of this world: “I’m somebody else”. We’re having subtle expectations. So all expectation, body-based expectation dissolves. All body-based concepts dissolve. It happens spontaneously, it’s not difficult, it’s not impossible. You can do it, you can have it. Because it is your own property. As I told you: except your Selfless Self there is no God, no Brahman, no Atman, no Paramatman, no Master. It’s fact. Just remember it. Therefore Nisargadatta Maharaj said: “I’m not making you a disciple, I’m making you a Master.”
So practice is most important, practical knowledge is most important. You’ve got theoretical knowledge, you’ve read so many books, approached so many Masters. Practice is most important. Why is practice important? Because we’re wrapped with so many illusory concepts. We’ve got to come out from all these illusory concepts: ‘I’m somebody else’, ‘I’m a man or woman, female or male’. So many concepts are there, so many expectations are there. So far we’re holding the body, it’s okay. Whatever is necessary for the nourishment of the body, you can do it, you can have responsibility. But remain untouched with all these illusory concepts.