Distrust your mind and go beyond
Distrust your mind and go beyond
Q: I am engaged in the study of philosophy, sociology and education. I think more mental development is needed before I can dream of self-realization. Am I on the right track?
M: To earn a livelihood some specialized knowledge is needed. General knowledge develops the mind, no doubt. But if you are going to spend your life in amassing knowledge, you build a wall round yourself. To go beyond the mind, a well-furnished mind is not needed.
Q: Then what is needed?
M: Distrust your mind, and go beyond.
Q: What shall I find beyond the mind?
M: The direct experience of being, knowing and loving.
Q: How does one go beyond the mind?
M: There are many starting points — they all lead to the same goal. You may begin with selfless work, abandoning the fruits of action; you may then give up thinking and end in giving up all desires. Here, giving up (tyaga) is the operational factor. Or, you may not bother about any thing you want, or think, or do and just stay put in the thought and feeling ‘I am’, focussing ‘I am’ firmly in your mind. All kinds of experience may come to you — remain unmoved in the knowledge that all perceivable is transient, and only the ‘I am’ endures.
Q: I cannot give all my life to such practices. I have my duties to attend to.
M: By all means attend to your duties. Action in which you are not emotionally involved, and which is beneficial, and does not cause suffering, will not bind you. You may be engaged in several directions and work with enormous zest, yet remain inwardly free and quiet, with a mirror-like mind, which reflects all, without being affected.
Q: Is such a state realizable?
M: I would not talk about it, if it were not. Why should I engage in fancies?
Q: Everybody quotes scriptures.
M: Those who know only scriptures know nothing. To know is to be. I know what I am talking about; it is not from reading, or hearsay.
Q: I am studying Sanskrit under a professor, but really I am only reading scriptures. I am in search of self-realization and I came to get the needed guidance. Kindly tell me what am I to do?
M: Since you have read the scriptures, why do you ask me?
Q: The scriptures show the general directions but the individual needs personal instructions.
M: Your own self is your ultimate teacher (sadguru). The outer teacher (Guru) is merely a milestone. It is only your inner teacher that will walk with you to the goal, for he is the goal.
Q: The inner teacher is not easily reached.
M: Since he is in you and with you, the difficulty cannot be serious. Look within, and you will find him.
Q: When I look within, I find sensations and perceptions, thoughts and feelings, desires and fears, memories and expectations. I am immersed in this cloud and see nothing else.
M: That which sees all this, and the nothing too, is the inner teacher. He alone is, all else only appears to be. He is your own Self (swarupa), your hope and assurance of freedom; find him and cling to him and you will be saved and safe.
Q: I do believe you, but when it comes to the actual finding of this inner Self, I find it escapes me.
M: The idea ‘it escapes me’, where does it arise?
Q: In the mind.
M: And who knows the mind.
Q: The witness of the mind knows the mind.
M: Did anybody come to you and say: ‘I am the witness of your mind’?
Q: Of course not. He would have been just another idea in the mind.
M: Then who is the witness?
Q: I am.
M: So, you know the witness because you are the witness. You need not see the witness in front of you. Here again, to be is to know.
Q: Yes, I see that I am the witness, the awareness itself. But in which way does it profit me?
M: What a question! What kind of profit do you expect? To know what you are, is it not good enough?
Q: What are the uses of self-knowledge?
M: It helps you to understand what you are not and keeps you free from false ideas, desires and actions.
Q: If I am the witness only, what do right and wrong matter?
M: What helps you to know yourself is right. What prevents, is wrong. To know one’s Real Self is bliss, to forget It is sorrow.
Q: Is the witness-consciousness the Real Self?
M: It is the reflection of the Real in the mind (buddhi). The Real is beyond. The witness is the door through which you pass beyond.
Nisargadatta Maharaj – I am That
Item 16. Desirelessness, the Highest Bliss
Item 16b. Distrust your mind and go beyond