Nisargadatta's "I Am That" - chapter 15
Questioner: Without God's power nothing can be done.
Even you would not be sitting here and talking to us without Him.
Maharaj: All is His doing, no doubt.
What is it to me, since I want nothing?
What can God give me, or take away from me?
What is mine is mine and was mine even when God was not.
Of course, it is a very tiny little thing, a speck -- the sense 'I am', the fact of being.
This is my own place, nobody gave it to me.
The earth is mine; what grows on it is God's.
Q: Did God take the earth on rent from you?
M: God is my devotee and did all this for me.
Q: Is there no God apart from you?
M: How can there be?
'I am' is the root, God is the tree.
Whom am I to worship, and what for?
Q: Are you the devotee or the object of devotion?
M: I am neither, I am devotion itself.
Q: There is not enough devotion in the world.
M: You are always after the improvement of the world.
Do you really believe that the world is waiting for you to be saved?
Q: I just do not know how much I can do for the world.
All I can do, is to try.
Is there anything else you would like me to do?
M: Without you is there a world?
You know all about the world, but about yourself you know nothing.
You yourself are the tools of your work, you have no other tools.
Why don't you take care of the tools before you think of the work?
Q: I can wait, while the world cannot.
M: By not enquiring you keep the world waiting.
Q: Waiting for what?
M: For somebody who can save it.
Q: God runs the world, God will save it.
M: That's what you say!
Did God come and tell you that the world is His creation and concern and not yours?
Q: Why should it be my sole concern?
The world in which you live, who else knows about it?
Q: You know.
M: Did anybody come from outside of your world to tell you?
Myself and everybody else appear and disappear in your world.
We are all at your mercy.
Q: It cannot be so bad!
I exist in your world as you exist in mine.
M: You have no evidence of my world.
You are completely wrapped up in the world of your own making.
Q: I see.
Completely, but -- hopelessly?
M: Within the prison of your world appears a man who tells you that the world of painful contradictions, which you have created, is neither continuous nor permanent and is based on a misapprehension.
He pleads with you to get out of it, by the same way by which you got into it.
You got into it by forgetting what you are and you will get out of it by knowing yourself as you are.
Q: In what way does it affect the world?
M: When you are free of the world, you can do something about it.
As long as you are a prisoner of it, you are helpless to change it.
On the contrary, whatever you do will aggravate the situation.
Q: Righteousness will set me free.
M: Righteousness will undoubtedly make you and your world a comfortable, even happy place.
But what is the use?
There is no reality in it.
It cannot last.
Q: God will help.
M: To help you God must know your existence.
But you and your world are dream states.
In dream you may suffer agonies.
None knows them, and none can help you.
Q: So all my questions, my search and study are of no use?
M: These are but the stirrings of a man who is tired of sleeping.
They are not the causes of awakening, but its early signs.
But, you must not ask idle questions, to which you already know the answers.
Q: How am I to get a true answer?
M: By asking a true question -- non-verbally, but by daring to live according to your lights.
A man willing to die for truth will get it.
Q: Another question.
There is the person.
There is the knower of the person.
There is the witness.
Are the knower and the witness the same, or are they separate states?
M: The knower and the witness are two or one?
When the knower is seen as separate from the known, the witness stands alone.
When the known and the knower are seen as one, the witness becomes one with them.
Q: Who is the jnani?
The witness or the supreme?
M: The jnani is the supreme and also the witness.
He is both being and awareness.
In relation to consciousness he is awareness.
In relation to the universe he is pure being.
Q: And what about the person?
What comes first, the person or the knower.
M: The person is a very small thing.
Actually it is a composite, it cannot be said to exist by itself.
Unperceived, it is just not there.
It is but the shadow of the mind, the sum total of memories.
Pure being is reflected in the mirror of the mind, as knowing.
What is known takes the shape of a person, based on memory and habit.
It is but a shadow, or a projection of the knower onto the screen of the mind.
Q: The mirror is there, the reflection is there.
But where is the sun?
M: The supreme is the sun.
Q: It must be conscious.
M: It is neither conscious nor unconscious.
Don't think of it in terms of consciousness or unconsciousness.
It is the life, which contains both and is beyond both.
Q: Life is so intelligent.
How can it be unconscious?
M: You talk of the unconscious when there is a lapse in memory.
In reality there is only consciousness.
All life is conscious, all consciousness -- alive.
Q: Even stones?
M: Even stones are conscious and alive.
Q: The worry with me is that I am prone to denying existence to what I cannot imagine.
M: You would be wiser to deny the existence of what you imagine.
It is the imagined that is unreal.
Q: Is all imaginable unreal?
M: Imagination based on memories is unreal.
The future is not entirely unreal.
Q: Which part of the future is real and which is not?
M: The unexpected and unpredictable is real.