Easier said than done. Love of Truth, of man,
goodwill what luxury! We need plenty of it
to set the world right, but who will provide?
Nisargadatta: You can spend an eternity
looking elsewhere for Truth and love, intelligence
and goodwill, imploring God and man all in
vain. You must begin in yourself, with yourself
this is the inexorable law. You cannot
change the image without changing the face. First
realise that your world is only a reflection of
yourself and stop finding fault with the
reflection. Attend to yourself, set yourself right
mentally and emotionally. The physical will
follow automatically. You talk so much of reforms:
economic, social, political. Leave alone the
reforms and mind the reformer. What kind of world
can a man create who is stupid, greedy,
Question: If we have to wait for a change of
heart, we shall have to wait indefinitely. Yours is
a counsel of perfection, which is also a counsel of
despair. When all are perfect, the world will be
perfect. What useless truism!
Nisargadatta: I did not say it. I only said:
You cannot change the world before changing
yourself. I did not say before changing
everybody. It is neither necessary, nor possible to
change others. But if you can change yourself you
will find that no other change is needed. To change
the picture you merely change the film, you do not
attack the cinema screen!
Question: How can you be so sure of
yourself? How do you know that what you say is
Nisargadatta: It is not of myself that I am
sure, I am sure of you. All you need is to stop
searching outside what can be found only within.
Set your vision right before you operate. You are
suffering from acute misapprehension. Clarify your
mind, purify your heart, sanctify your life
this is the quickest way to a change of your
Question: So many saints and mystics lived
and died. They did not change my world.
Nisargadatta: How could they? Your world is
not theirs, nor is their yours.
Question: Surely there is a factual world
common to all.
Nisargadatta: The world of things, of energy
and matter? Even if there were such a common world
of things and forces, it is not the world in which
we live. Ours is a world of feelings and ideas, of
attractions and repulsions, of scales of values, of
motives and incentives, a mental world altogether.
Biologically we need very little, our problems are
of a different order. Problems created by desires
and fears and wrong ideas can be solved only on the
level of the mind. You must conquer your own mind
and for this you must go beyond it.
Question: What does it mean to go beyond the
Nisargadatta: You have gone beyond the body,
haven't you? You do not closely follow your
digestion, circulation or elimination. These have
become automatic. In the same way the mind should
work automatically, without calling for attention.
This will not happen unless the mind works
faultlessly. We are, most of our time mind and
body-conscious, because they constantly call for
help. Pain and suffering are only the body and the
mind screaming for attention. To go beyond the body
you must be healthy: to go beyond the mind, you
must have your mind in perfect order. You cannot
leave a mess behind and go beyond. The mess will
bog you up. "Pick up your rubbish" seems to be the
universal law. And a just law too.
Question: Am I permitted to ask you how did
you go beyond the mind?
Nisargadatta: By the grace of my Guru.
Question: What shape his grace took?
Nisargadatta: He told me what is true.
Question: What did he tell you?
He told me I am the Supreme Reality.
Question: What did you do about it?
Nisargadatta: I trusted him and remembered
Question: Is that all?
Nisargadatta: Yes, I remembered him; I
remembered what he said.
Question: You mean to say that this was
Nisargadatta: What more needs be done? It
was quite a lot to remember the Guru and his words.
My advice to you is even less difficult than this
just remember your Self. "I am" is enough to
heal your mind and take you beyond. Just have some
trust. I don't mislead you. Why should l? Do I want
anything from you. I wish you well such is
my nature. Why should I mislead you?
Commonsense too will tell you that to fulfil a
desire you must keep your mind on it. If you want
to know your
true nature, you must have your Self in mind all
the time, until the secret of your Being stands
Question: Why should Self-remembrance bring
one to Self-realisation?
Nisargadatta: Because they are but two
aspects of the same state. Self-remembrance is in
the mind, Self-realisation is beyond the mind. The
image in the mirror is of the face beyond the
Question: Fair enough. But what is the
Nisargadatta: To help others, one must be
beyond the need of help.
Question: All I want is to be happy.
Nisargadatta: Be happy to make happy.
Question: Let others take care of
Nisargadatta: Sir, you are not separate. The
happiness you cannot share is spurious. Only the
shareable is truly desirable.
Question: Right. But do I need a Guru? What
you tell me is simple and convincing. I shall
remember it. This does not make you my Guru.
Nisargadatta: It is not the worship of a
person that is crucial, but the steadiness and
depth of your devotion to the task. Life itself is
the Supreme Guru; be attentive to its lessons and
obedient to its commands. When you personalise
their Source, you have an outer Guru; when you take
them from life directly, the Guru is within.
Remember, wonder, ponder, live with it, love it,
grow into it, grow with it, make it your own
the word of your Guru, outer or inner. Put in all
and you will get all. I was doing it. All my time I
was giving to my Guru and to what he told me.
Question: I am a writer by profession. Can
you give me some advice, for me specifically?
Nisargadatta: Writing is both a talent and a
skill. Grow in talent and develop in skill. Desire
what is worth desiring and desire it well. Just
like you pick your way in a crowd, passing between
people, so you find your way between events,
without missing your general direction. It is easy,
if you are earnest.
Question: So many times you mention the need
of being earnest. But we are not men of single
will. We are congeries of desires and needs,
instincts and promptings. They crawl over each
other, sometimes one, sometimes another dominating,
but never for long.
Nisargadatta: There are no needs, desires
Question: To eat, to drink, to shelter one's
body; to live?
Nisargadatta: The desire to live is the one
fundamental desire. All else depends on it.
Question: We live because we must.
Nisargadatta: We live because we crave
Question: A thing so universal cannot be
Nisargadatta: Not wrong, of course. In its
own place and time nothing is wrong. But when you
are concerned with Truth, with Reality, you must
question every thing, your very life. By asserting
the necessity of sensory and intellectual
experience you narrow down your enquiry to search
Question: I seek happiness, not comfort.
Nisargadatta: Beyond comfort of mind and
body what happiness do you know?
Question: Is there any other?
Nisargadatta: Find out for yourself.
Question every urge, hold no desire legitimate.
Empty of possession, physical and mental, free of
all self-concern, be open for discovery.
Question: It is a part of Indian spiritual
tradition that mere living in the proximity of a
saint or sage is conducive to liberation and no
other means are needed. Why don't you organise an
ashram so that people could live near you?
Nisargadatta: The moment I create an
institution I become its prisoner. As a matter of
fact I am available to all. Common roof and food
will not make people more welcome. "Living near"
does not mean breathing the same air. It means
trusting and obeying, not letting the good
intentions of the teacher go to waste. Have your
Guru always in your heart and remember his
instructions this is real abidance with the
True. Physical proximity is least important. Make
your entire life an expression of your faith and
love for your teacher this is real dwelling
with the Guru.