Is it destiny that ordains?
Calling it destiny explains little. When it happens
you cannot say why it happens and you merely cover
up your ignorance by calling it karma or grace, or
Question: Why do we need a Guru?
Nisargadatta: Somebody must tell you about
the supreme Reality and the way that leads to it.
Most of the so-called disciples do not trust their
Gurus; they disobey them and finally abandon them.
For such disciples it would have been infinitely
better if they had no Guru at all and just looked
within for guidance. To find a living Guru is a
rare opportunity and a great responsibility. One
should not treat these matters lightly. You people
are out to buy yourself the heaven and you imagine
that the Guru will supply it for a price. You seek
to strike a bargain by offering little but asking
much. You cheat nobody except yourselves.
Question: You say that we are the same, that
we are equals. I cannot believe it. Since I do not
believe it, of what use is your statement to
Nisargadatta: Your disbelief does not
matter. My words are true and they will do their
work. This is the beauty of noble company
Question: Some disciples are ready, mature,
and some are not. Must not the Guru exercise choice
and make decisions?
Nisargadatta: The Guru knows the Ultimate
and relentlessly propels the disciple towards It.
The disciple is full of obstacles, which he himself
must overcome. The Guru is not very much concerned
with the superficialities of the disciple's life.
It is like gravitation The fruit must fall
when no longer held back.
Question: If the disciple does not know the
goal, how can he make out the obstacles?
Nisargadatta: The goal is shown by the Guru,
obstacles are discovered by the disciple. The Guru
has no preferences, but those who have obstacles to
overcome seem to be lagging behind.
In reality the disciple is not different from the
Guru. He is the same dimensionless centre of
perception and love in action. It is only his
imagination and self-identification with the
imagined, that encloses him and converts him into a
person. The Guru is concerned little with the
person. His attention is on the inner watcher. It
is the task of the watcher to understand and
thereby eliminate the person. While there is grace
on one side, there must be dedication to the task
on the other.
Question: But the person does not want to be
Nisargadatta: The person is merely the
result of a misunderstanding. In reality, there is
no such thing. Feelings, thoughts and actions race
before the watcher in endless succession, leaving
traces in the brain and creating an illusion of
continuity. A reflection of the watcher in the mind
creates the sense of 'I' and the person acquires an
apparently independent existence. In reality there
is no person, only the watcher identifying himself
with the 'I' and the 'mine'. The teacher tells the
watcher: you are not this, there is nothing of
yours in this, except the little point of "I am",
which is the bridge between the watcher and his
dream. "I am this, I am that" is dream, while pure
"I am" has the stamp of Reality on it. You have
tasted so many things all came to naught.
Only the sense "I am" persisted unchanged.
Stay with the changeless among the changeful, until
you are able to go beyond.
Question: When will it happen?
Nisargadatta: It will happen as soon as you
remove the obstacles.
Question: Which obstacles?
Nisargadatta: Desire for the false and fear
of the true. You, as the person, imagine that the
Guru is interested in you as a person. Not at all.
To him you are a nuisance and a hindrance to be
done away with. He actually aims at your
elimination as a factor in consciousness.
Question: If I am eliminated, what will
Nisargadatta: Nothing will remain, all will
remain. The sense of identity will remain, but no
longer identification with a particular body. Being
awareness, love will shine in full splendour.
Liberation is never of the person, it is always
from the person.
Question: And no trace remains of the
Nisargadatta: A vague memory remains, like
the memory of a dream, or early childhood. After
all, what is there to remember? A flow of events,
mostly accidental and meaningless. A sequence of
desires and fears and inane blunders. Is there
anything worth remembering? The person is but a
shell imprisoning you. Break the shell.
Question: Whom are you asking to break the
shell? Who is to break the shell?
Nisargadatta: Break the bonds of memory and
self-identification and the shell will break by
itself. There is a centre that imparts reality to
whatever it perceives. All you need is to
understand that you are the source of reality, that
you give reality instead of getting it, that you
need no support and no confirmation. Things are as
they are, because you accept them as they are. Stop
accepting them and they will dissolve. Whatever you
think about with desire or fear appears before you
as real. Look at it without desire or fear and it
does lose substance. Pleasure and pain are
momentary. It is simpler and easier to disregard
them than to act on them.
Question: If all things come to an end, why
did they appear at all?
Nisargadatta: Creation is in the very nature
of consciousness. Consciousness causes appearances.
Reality is beyond consciousness.
Question: While we are conscious of
appearances, how is it that we are not conscious
that these are mere appearances?
Nisargadatta: The mind covers up Reality,
without knowing it. To know the nature of the mind,
you need intelligence, the capacity to look at the
mind in silent and dispassionate awareness.
Question: If I am of the nature of
all-pervading consciousness, how could ignorance
and illusion happen to me?
Nisargadatta: Neither ignorance nor illusion
ever happened to you. Find the Self to which you
ascribe ignorance and illusion and your question
will be answered. You talk as if you know the Self
and see it to be under the sway of ignorance and
illusion. But, in fact, you do not know the Self,
nor are you aware of ignorance. By all means become
aware this will bring you to the Self and
you will realise that there is neither ignorance
nor delusion in it. It is like saying: if there is
sun, how can darkness be? As under a stone there
will be darkness, however strong the sunlight, so
in the shadow of the "I am the body" consciousness
there must be ignorance and illusion.
Question: But why did the body consciousness
come into being?
Nisargadatta: Don't ask 'why', ask 'how'. It
is in the nature of creative imagination to
identify itself with its creations. You can stop it
any moment by switching off attention. Or through
Question: Does creation come before
Nisargadatta: First you create a world, then
the "I am" becomes a person, who is not happy for
various reasons. He goes out in search of
happiness, meets a Guru who tells him: "You are not
a person, find who you are". He does it and goes
Question: Why did he not do it at the very
Nisargadatta: It did not occur to him. He
needed somebody to tell him.
Question: Was that enough?
Nisargadatta: It was enough.
Question: Why does it not work in my
Nisargadatta: You do not trust me.
Question: Why is my faith weak?
Nisargadatta: Desires and fears have dulled
your mind. It needs some scrubbing.
Question: How can I clear my mind?
Nisargadatta: By watching it relentlessly.
Inattention obscures, attention clarifies.
Question: Why do the Indian teachers
Nisargadatta: Most of people's activities
are valueless, if not outright destructive.
Dominated by desire and fear, they can do nothing
good. Ceasing to do evil precedes beginning to do
good. Hence the need for stopping all activities
for a time, to investigate one's urges and their
motives, see all that is false in one's life, purge
the mind of all evil and then only restart work,
beginning with one's obvious duties. Of course, if
you have a chance to help somebody, by all means do
it and promptly too, don't keep him waiting till
you are perfect. But do not become a professional
Question: I do not feel there are too many
do-gooders among disciples. Most of those I met are
too absorbed in their own petty conflicts. They
have no heart for others.
Nisargadatta: Such self-centeredness is
temporary. Be patient with such people. For so many
years they gave attention to everything but
themselves. Let them turn to themselves for a
Question: What are the fruits of
Nisargadatta: You grow more intelligent. In
awareness you learn. In self-awareness you learn
about yourself. Of course, you can only learn what
you are not. To know what you are, you must go
beyond the mind.
Question: Is not awareness beyond the
Nisargadatta: Awareness is the point at
which the mind reaches out beyond itself into
Reality. In awareness you seek not what pleases,
but what is true.
Question: I find that awareness brings about
a state of inner silence, a state of psychic
Nisargadatta: It is all right as it goes,
but it is not enough. Have you felt the
all-embracing emptiness in which the universe swims
like a cloud in the blue sky?
Question: Sir, let me first come to know
well my own inner space.
Nisargadatta: Destroy the wall that
separates, the "I am the body" idea and the inner
and the outer will become one.
Question: Am I to die?
Nisargadatta: Physical destruction is
meaningless. It is the clinging to sensate life
that binds you. If you could experience the inner
void fully, the explosion into the totality would
Question: My own spiritual experience has
its seasons. Sometimes I feel glorious, then again
I am down. I am like a little boy going up,
going down, going up, going down.
Nisargadatta: All changes in consciousness
are due to the "I am the body" idea. Divested of
this idea the mind becomes steady. There is pure
being, free of experiencing anything in particular.
But to realise it you must do what your teacher
tells you. Mere listening, even memorising, is not
enough. If you do not struggle hard to apply every
word of it in your daily life, don't complain that
you made no progress. All real progress is
irreversible. Ups and downs merely show that the
teaching has not been taken to heart and translated
into action fully.
Question: The other day you told us that
there is no such thing as karma. Yet we see that
every thing has a cause and the sum total of all
the causes may be called karma.
Nisargadatta: As long as you believe
yourself to be a body, you will ascribe causes to
everything. I do not say things have no causes.
Each thing has innumerable causes. It is as it is,
because the world is as it is. Every cause in its
ramifications covers the universe.
When you realise that you are absolutely free to be
what you consent to be, that you are what you
appear to be because of ignorance or indifference,
you are free to revolt and change. You allow
yourself to be what you are not. You are looking
for the causes of being what you are not! It is a
futile search. There are no causes, but your
ignorance of your real being, which is perfect and
beyond all causation. For whatever happens, all the
universe is responsible and you are the source of
Question: I know nothing about being the
cause of the universe.
Nisargadatta: Because you do not
investigate. Enquire, search within and you will
Question: How can a speck like me create the
Nisargadatta: When you are infected with the
"I am the body" virus; a whole universe springs
into being. But when you have had enough of it, you
cherish some fanciful ideas about liberation and
pursue lines of action totally futile. You
concentrate, you meditate, you torture your mind
and body, you do all sorts of unnecessary things,
but you miss the essential which is the elimination
of the person.
Question: In the beginning we may have to
pray and meditate for some time before we are ready
Nisargadatta: If you believe so, go on. To
me, all delay is a waste of time. You can skip all
the preparation and go directly for the ultimate
search within. Of all the Yogas it is the simplest
and the shortest.