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ramana maharshi | who am I? | guru | self-enquiry | spiritual instruction | wisdom | words | silence | daily talks | reality | padam – the formless self
abide in the self | arunachala | annamalai swami | self alone is real | swami rama tirtha | real self | i am that | practical freedom | sun of self
h.w.l. poonja | freedom now | remembering | meeting ramana | who is aware of consciousness? | who are you? | words | no practice | final abode
eternal rest | lion's roar | peace is always everywhere | plunge into eternity | i am eternal self | summa iru | wisdom | here and now in lucknow
ma anandamayi | words | siddharameshwar maharaj | beyond nothing | perfection of material science | master key | non-action | self
nisargadatta maharaj | words | a great maharashtrian jnani | self-knowledge and self-realisation | meet the sage | detachment | awareness | who am I?
life | "i am" | guru and disciple | ranjit maharaj | meeting siddharameshwar | everything is nothing | forget everything | death is not true | real and unreal
u.g. krishnamurti | natural state | words | remembering | no separation | nothing to understand | chief joseph | way of the warrior | old tcheng | sayings
advaita | vedanta | devikalottara | supreme wisdom | atma sakshatkar | direct awareness of the self | vichara mani mala | jewel garland of enquiry
avadhuta gita | ever-free | ashtavakra gita | purest expression of truth | ribhu gita | heart | wisdom | bhagavad gita | essence | the song celestial
adi shankaracharya | atma bodha | aparokshanubhuti | dakshinamurti strotram | dasasloki | nirvana shatkam | drik drisya viveka | vivekachudamani
seng tsan | faith mind | gaudapada | mandukya karika | katha upanishad | death as teacher | yoga vasistha | dispassion | seeker's behaviour | essence
ramakant maharaj | reality has nothing to do with words | lama guendune rinpoché | free and easy | ellam ondre | all is one | william samuel | now

H. W. L.  POONJA

I  AM  ETERNAL  SELF  



Let there be peace and love among all beings of the universe. OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

"Self is the nearest of all, the dearest of all,
even nearer to us than our own breath."



VERYBODY,  whoever he may be, desires enjoyments and pleasures. The common man has his own desire for pleasure and a rich man his different desires, a better way to enjoy. A king has a more superior way to enjoy than a rich man. The devas [gods] have even a better way to enjoy because they are in the heavens. Theirs is the best.


So, everyone is involved in seeking out more and more enjoyments. Now, what is this desire for freedom? This desire for freedom will only come to a very rare person. Other desires, for country, for queens and for objects can be had by common men, by rich mean and by kings. What is this desire for freedom for which some kings have abandoned all their desires for crowns, thrones, palaces, queens and diamonds? It arises in the minds of only a very few people.

Even today, after 2600 years have passed, we still speak of the Buddha, who was a prince married to the most beautiful woman in his kingdom. He had a son and lived in a real pleasure palace. One day, the desire arose in his mind, "I want to be free." This desire does not rise in just any mind. Everyday, I hear people say, "I want to be free", but it is not true and is not a fact. Who is like the Buddha, like Vasistha, or all those who have found freedom? They have been successful because they did not find rest nor peace from any kind of desire for pleasure. They had tasted all kinds of pleasures, but found that their desires were never fully quelled because one desire always leads to another, and therefore you can never have rest.

No other desire can rise at the same time as the desire for freedom. This doesn't mean that other desires are suppressed. When you desire freedom, you meet something totally new, so you are fully absorbed by it. You meet bliss itself. In that bliss, you see that all other desires have been fulfilled. You need not suppress or abandon other desires because they are fulfilled.

With the desire for freedom, you will arrive at the Centre, from where all desires arise in the minds of all beings on all realms of existence. All desires are fulfilled with the desire "I want to be free." Having won freedom, you have won the desires of all the beings of the past, present and future. So, you can imagine how precious this desire for freedom is. No one can speak of it. It is joy itself, bliss itself, existence-consciousness-bliss. This desire takes you home.



Those who do not have the desire for freedom are far from home, busy chasing after so many things. They will continue to hanker after enjoyments, again and again, without getting any peace. If something does not give you lasting peace, then what is the use of it? Why chase after it and sustain restlessness? You can only find peace when you return home to your own Self, to your desireless nature of silent rest.

Everyone has Buddha-nature in him, so don't think that you are not worthy or fit enough to win freedom. Everyone is Buddha himself, but you don't recognise your Buddha-nature because you want something else. You don't love and honour your own Self. Your Self is Buddha. Yet, you don't believe this because you are deeply attached to something else which is temporary, impermanent and false. All your attention is focused on the unreal. The genuine desire for freedom cannot rise in someone who is firmly established in ignorance. When you are in ignorance, Reality is kept hidden from you. Something else is projected within the mind which you take to be real. All this is nothing but ignorance.

For instance, on seeing a rope in dim light and not recognising it as a rope, a person mistakes it for a snake which he has seen elsewhere. Due to ignorance, a rope is mistaken for a snake and the snake alone is seen. The existence of the rope is not known at all. This is the quality of ignorance – to hide that which is real by instantly projecting something else which is unreal. The rope is hidden because the snake is projected. What to do?

This ignorance has no beginning and its result is samsara, the endless cycle of birth and death. You get caught in this cycle when you take the unreal to be true and get entangled in false concepts. The Self is kept hidden and samsara is projected. With the superimposition of the non-Self [samsara] on the Self, the existence of the Self is not recognised at all, and the non-Self alone is recognised as existing. So, when you enquire into the nature of the snake and reason it out, you will come to know that the snake never existed and was only an illusion of the mind. This illusion has created the snake and it has also created the samsara. When you see the samsara – the manifested world full of objects and beings – the Self is concealed. But when you enquire into That which is concealed by the samsara, you discover the Self. Without this enquiry, the Self can never be discovered. Freedom is here and now. Light is here and now. It is your many desires which conceal your original, fundamental, ultimate nature.

As the ether inside a jar is no different from the ether outside it, you say that you are such and such a person and that there is something else outside. This impediment, this illusion, thinking that "someone" or some "jar" exists is called "beginningless ignorance". Thinking "I am so and so" is ignorance. There is no difference between this thought and samsara. When you think: "I am so and so", instantly the samsara – with a past, present and future – is projected.

Return to the enquirer. Ask yourself "Who am I?", "Who is looking at the samsara?", "Who is meditating?", "Who is it that feels bondage?", "Who is it that will win freedom through this enquiry?" While meditating, find out: "Who is the meditator?" and "Who is being meditated upon?" Look at this trinity – the subject, the object and that which is between them, the meditation itself. This trinity is nothing but your own creation – the meditator, the object of meditation [which is freedom] and the meditation itself. You have become the meditator and you have objectified freedom. But freedom, wisdom, or light can never be objectified because no one can ever experience it. In freedom there is no experiencer. When the experiencer is absent, That which is remains as It is.

This enquiry will take you to the very place from where the enquiry arose in the first place. The wave rises from the ocean, but when you only see the wave, the ocean is concealed. "Wave" is a name, a movement, and has a unique form. The desire for freedom rises from freedom itself, from the same ocean.

When you meditate, the ego rises and you become the meditator. In this process, you objectify Reality, which is actually who you truly are. So, the best meditation is to simply keep quiet here. Don't follow any thought and don't activate the mind. This is true meditation. Knowing that you are meditating is not true meditation. When you keep quiet here, there is no meditator. There is nothing to achieve in the future because everything is already here. The meditator rises from here. When you keep quiet, there is no meditator, no meditation and no object of meditation. This is existence-consciousness-bliss itself. It is in this instant, in this space. It is who you are, desireless, perfect Self. In the twinkling of an eye you are free!

If you don't use this instant to enquire into freedom, then the samsara will continue. The samsara is rising up from this very instant, so enquire into this very instant by keeping quiet. Freedom has already brought you here and all that which had to be done has already been done. So now simply keep quiet. You have already acquired all that you need.

So, who can keep quiet now, just for one instant? No one has ever kept quiet, whosoever he may be. So do it now and see that in this instant there is no thought, no time, no past. This moment is free from all past moments. When the past is gone, there is neither a future nor a present. You are out of time and you have always been out of time. This is your true nature and that is why you want to return to that transcendental, timeless consciousness which is called Beyond or Emptiness. That is your nature, you see. That is why you have been spending millions of years hunting It. You have not found It so far because you have been begging for other things which you feel you need. When you make any effort to get something, you are just wasting your time. You are now here to get rid of this false notion of effort. In this instant, don't think, don't stir the mind, don't make any effort. This instant is your own fundamental peace, happiness, love, beauty, joy.

Even when you were involved with other things and were enjoying other objects, you felt a kind of happiness. What is this happiness? It is not that an object has given you this happiness – no object can ever give you lasting happiness. Whatever is not permanent can never give you happiness. This happiness that you felt rose when your desire for an object had been fulfilled. After gaining an object of your desire, the desire vanishes and you return to your desireless, natural state. You feel happy because nothing disturbs your mind. But when another desire rises, your mind gets disturbed once again.

No object, no person and no idea can bring permanent happiness. Only the Self can give lasting happiness to the Self. Self is One within all beings. There is only one Self through which all beings see, hear, taste, smell and feel. That indweller, who is listening now and speaking now, is the One you are seeking. When you know this, you remain quiet because you recognise: "This is me! Everything is me!" Here ends your search. It is so easy!

So, honour this desire for freedom. Always keep it in mind. Whatever you think, you become, so keep it in your mind. When you dream of being free, you become free. Honour it fully, with all your heart, with all your mind until you see only freedom, only Self. It is your involvement with fleeting objects, people and ideas which conceals your freedom. It is not very wise to get attached to something which is dying, which is impermanent, which is fading. Attach yourself only to your true Self. Honour It, respect It. Self is so beautiful and It will never die nor fade. Fall in love with your own eternal Self. This is the best association to keep because Self will never leave you.

Who witnesses all the individual activities performed from morning to night? Who witnesses all universal activity – the shining sun, the moon, the stars, the revolving earth, the waves that rise from the ocean, the moving air? Who was the Witness before the creation of the universe, even before the beginning of the creator? Who is the Witness of what is going on now and who will be the Witness after the dissolution of everything? Who is this? We call this Brahman. Brahman cannot be translated into any other language. It is translated as "Absolute", but this is not adequate. It cannot be called God, which is only a thought in the mind. Brahman is the eternal Witness, before the creation of all the universes and after the dissolution of all the universes. It always remains as the Omniscient, Omnipresent Witness.

The sanskrit word for Witness is Sakshi, and it is translated as "A passive Observer who is not in contact with activity." The Witness has got nothing to do with the activity. If some quarrel takes place, the judge in the court calls for a witness who has seen the quarrel but has not taken part in it. Whatever he says is accepted as true. Otherwise, the case does not advance.

Around 400 years ago, there was quarrel in the streets of Varanasi. Two men who were quarrelling, were arrested and brought before the magistrate in the court. Each one of the men claimed that the other had attacked him first. So the magistrate called for a witness who had seen the fight. There was only one witness and he was known to be a sage. When he was asked to explain what he had seen, he replied, "He who sees, speaks not and he who speaks, sees not." Do you understand the meaning? The eyes have seen the fight, but the eyes cannot speak. It is the mouth that speaks, but the mouth cannot see anything. Therefore, what could be said? This witness was Kabir and he was speaking the truth about witnessing.

The Witness sees nothing, so He has nothing to say. Yet, everybody speaks of the Self and of ultimate Reality. The saints and scriptures speak of this. They all say: "You are Reality. You are the Self. You are being-consciousness-bliss. You are the Source." And your ears have listened to all this very well. But who witnesses all these concepts? No one knows that Witness who resides in everyone's Heart.

To whom do we attribute all individual activity? You say, "I did it" or "I saw it." But who is this "I"? When you say "I", something is conscious of this "I". The Witness of "I" is not the "I". So, who is this Witness that is conscious of the first thought, the "I"-thought? The Witness is not something you can see or describe. People say that they understand that they are the Witness, but they do not truly understand that the Witness is also witnessing this so-called understanding. The Witness is Omnipresent and is existence itself. It is within everyone's Heart, and even within each and every atom. It is existence itself and It is always available here and now. However you may try to understand It, you will fail. The Witness can only witness Itself with the Grace of the Guru. When the Guru is happy with a disciple, he will hand him the key to this treasure.

There are those, who after listening to the Truth, claim that they have gone beyond Buddhahood. They mistake their "understanding" for the Truth. A child is happy with just one piece of chocolate. There is a Punjabi tale that describes this. One day, a musk deer hears about some precious musk and decides to go looking for it, not knowing that it is located in his navel. He goes around smelling each tree, each rock without any success. No one tells him that this musk can be found in his navel. A jackal decides to profit from the deer's ignorance, so climbs up some hill, in California [laughter], picks up any old stone from the ground and starts telling others that he has found some precious, rare musk that no one else has ever found. He tells them that it is even better than the musk from the musk deer and that even Buddha had not found it. Jackals will bark for some time until everyone discovers that they are just liars who have found nothing.

So when a worthy disciple is very beautiful, innocent, unattached, the Guru hands him true knowledge of the Witness. The Guru is one who is deeply in love with the Witness and hands over this treasure only to those who deserve it. Witness reveals Itself to Itself and you will witness this if you are very beautiful. If this Witness falls in love with you, then you will become one with It. The Witness never does anything apart from witnessing. When you give up all that you want, all your intentions to gain anything anew, all your false notions, all your past burdens, and all your practices, then you will become one with the Witness. Empty your pockets and It will reveal Itself to you. Merge into It without any hesitation or doubt. It is so simple! No notion and no doubt.

Why are we not aware of our own Self which is here and now, ever-present existence-being-bliss? What are the reasons for not knowing our own Self? What are the impediments which restrict us from knowing our true being? First of all, we have acquired many merits in order to be in satsang, and in satsang we have to discover what it is that obstructs our freedom. In truth, we are always free because Self is never absent. Self is the Witness of everything, of all activities. Self is absolutely without association. Association with others, attachment to others, is the main impediment that prevents us from knowing who we are.

Self is the nearest of all, the dearest of all, even nearer to us than our own breath. So, what are the main factors which stand in our way and prevent us from knowing our own Self? The first factor is our attachment to the body, thinking: "I am the body." The second factor is prana, thinking: "I am the breath, I am the life-force within the body." The third factor is the mind, the fourth is the intellect, and the last factor is our constant seeking for pleasure and bliss through the senses. So, we are attached to these five factors.

Now, who witnesses the thought, "I am the body, prana, mind, intellect and I enjoy"? All attachments come from our latent tendencies, but we do not know this. We simply ignore all our subtle attachments. Even saying "I belong to this beautiful country" is an impediment. All the latent tendencies in the mind have to be rejected. When you disassociate yourself from all these tendencies, such as "I am the body" or "I am the mind", you return to your blissful Self, the Source. Body and mind belong to you, but they are not you. Who witnesses the body and the happiness and unhappiness of the mind? Who witnesses all the objects? Body, mind and intellect are all outside of you and are therefore objects. You must discover the subject, the substratum which is existence-being-bliss. Who is this? You must turn your face around and identify with the Source, this Witness which is witnessing the body, mind and intellect. It witnesses everything. It is who you are, but due to ignorance, you do not see It. Ignorance hides the Source, it hides your true being.

So, what is the cause of this beginningless ignorance which has the power of veiling the Source by projecting an illusion? A snake is projected when in fact you are looking at a rope. This is the very power of the the illusion, of maya. You see that which is not. This is ignorance, the veiling of the Self by illusion. "I am the body" is just a projection, and so are mind, senses, intellect, prana and objects. We are all only looking at a projection. Turn your face around so that you are face to face with the supreme Self. The individual self has been projected due to not knowing the supreme Self. This is exemplified by the rope and the snake. As you do not know it is a rope, you project a snake. But through reasoning, the snake disappears and you see that it is actually a rope. A small cloud can hide the sun, which is must bigger than the earth. This is ignorance, the beginningless illusion, or maya. So how do we dispel this ignorance so as to see that "I am the eternal Self"? This ignorance, this illusion is the only obstruction.

Those who are worthy and who have acquired a mountain of merits will enquire into the Truth of existence-being-bliss. Those who truly desire freedom here and now will reason out that anything that changes is not who I am. All names and forms change, including the individual self which is the cause of the beginningless illusion. Saying "I am free" is a also projection because there is still a sense of an individual "I". Who is free? So how do we reject this individual self and return to the supreme Self, which is existence-consciousness-bliss? Very few beings will surrender their individual self, even though it is very easy. Only a few, rare beings will cross over the ocean of birth and death. Even intelligent scholars will not surrender their egos because they are too attached to books of knowledge. Scriptures are also impediments to freedom. One must read, reflect, meditate on true knowledge and then experience Truth. Scriptures have trapped many people and are not the Truth, so reject them. Direct experience of your own Self is far more valuable than just reading about It.

Constant reflection and meditation on the Self until your last breath will liberate you from the samsara forever. After liberation, you will have the firm conviction that the "I am", the personal self, is an illusion and that the samsara is also an illusion. All is your own projection, a trick of the mind. You will remain quiet in your eternal, blissful Self and you will never return to the samsara again. Self is here and now. Have this firm conviction at all times: "I am eternal Self, I am eternal Reality." Your long journey back home ends here, in satsang, in association with Truth, beauty, love and existence. Fall in love with the unchanging, permanent nectar of Self. Do it now and today!

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