16A. Desirelessness is the Highest Bliss
Desirelessness is the Highest Bliss
Questioner: I have met many realized people, but never a liberated man. Have you come across a liberated man, or does liberation mean, among other things, also abandoning the body?
Maharaj: What do you mean by realization and liberation?
Q: By realization I mean a wonderful experience of peace, goodness and beauty, when the world makes sense and there is an all-pervading unity of both substance and essence. While such experience does not last, it cannot be forgotten. It shines in the mind, both as memory and longing. I know what I am talking about, for I have had such experiences. By liberation I mean to be permanently in that wonderful state. What I am asking is whether liberation is compatible with the survival of the body.
M: What is wrong with the body?
Q: The body is so weak and short-lived. It creates needs and cravings. It limits one grievously.
M: So what? Let the physical expressions be limited. But liberation is of the self from its false and self-imposed ideas; it is not contained in some particular experience, however glorious.
Q: Does it last for ever?
M: All experience is time bound. Whatever has a beginning must have an end.
Q: So liberation, in my sense of the word, does not exist?
M: On the contrary, one is always free. You are, both conscious and free to be conscious. Nobody can take this away from you. Do you ever know yourself non-existing, or unconscious?
Q: I may not remember, but that does not disprove my being occasionally unconscious.
M: Why not turn away from the experience to the experiencer and realize the full import of the only true statement you can make: ‘I am’?
Q: How is it done?
M: There is no ‘how’ here. Just keep in mind the feeling ‘I am’, merge in it, till your mind and feeling become one. By repeated attempts you will stumble on the right balance of attention and affection and your mind will be firmly established in the thought-feeling ‘I am’. Whatever you think, say, or do, this sense of immutable and affectionate being remains as the ever-present background of the mind.
Q: And you call it liberation?
M: I call it normal. What is wrong with being, knowing and acting effortlessly and happily? Why consider it so unusual as to expect the immediate destruction of the body? What is wrong with the body that it should die? Correct your attitude to your body and leave it alone. Don’t pamper, don’t torture. Just keep it going, most of the time below the threshold of conscious attention.
Q: The memory of my wonderful experiences haunts me. I want them back.
M: Because you want them back, you cannot have them. The state of craving for anything blocks all deeper experience. Nothing of value can happen to a mind which knows exactly what it wants. For nothing the mind can visualize and want is of much value.
Q: Then what is worth wanting?
M: Want the best. The highest happiness, the greatest freedom. Desirelessness is the highest bliss.
Q: Freedom from desire is not the freedom I want. I want the freedom to fulfil my longings.
M: You are free to fulfil your longings. As a matter of fact, you are doing nothing else.
Q: I try, but there are obstacles which leave me frustrated.
M: Overcome them.
Q: I cannot, I am too weak.
M: What makes you weak? What is weakness? Others fulfil their desires, why don’t you?
Q: I must be lacking energy.
M: What happened to your energy? Where did it go? Did you not scatter it over so many contradictory desires and pursuits? You don’t have an infinite supply of energy.
Q: Why not?
M: Your aims are small and low. They do not call for more. Only God’s energy is infinite — because He wants nothing for Himself. Be like Him and all your desires will be fulfilled. The higher your aims and vaster your desires, the more energy you will have for their fulfilment. Desire the good of all and the universe will work with you. But if you want your own pleasure, you must earn it the hard way. Before desiring, deserve.
Nisargadatta Maharaj – I am That
Item 16. Desirelessness, the Highest Bliss
Item 16a. Desirelessness, the Highest Bliss