"The very first step in understanding what this is all about is giving up the concept of an active, volitional 'I' as a separate entity and accepting the passive role of perceiving and functioning as a process." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The One Unchanging Factor

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Bondage of Space and Time -1 

Visitor: I remember reading somewhere that it is the combination of space and time which is the cause of one's bondage. I have since been wondering how possibly space and time could result in bondage. 

M: Let us be clear what we are talking about. What do you mean by 'bondage' and bondage for whom? If you are satisfied with this world which you consider as real and the way it has been treating you, where is the bondage for you?

V: Let me acknowledge that to me the world seems real enough, but it is not a fact that I am satisfied with my role in it. I feel deeply convinced that there must be very much more to life than just going through it, as most of us do - without any definite aim, merely routinely. From this point of view I think life itself is bondage. 

M: When you use the word 'I' what exact image do you have about yourself? When you were a child you considered yourself nothing other than a child and were happy enough to play with toys. Later you were a young man, with strength enough in your arms to tackle a couple of elephants, and you thought you could face anything or anyone in this world. You are now in your middle age, a little mellower but nonetheless enjoying life and its pleasures, and you think you are a happy and a successful man, blessed with a nice family. At present you have an image about yourself that is quite different from the images you had earlier. Imagine yourself ten years hence and further twenty years later. The image you will then have about yourself will be different from all the earlier ones. Which one of these images is the real 'you'? Have you ever thought about it? Is there any particular identity that you can call your very own and which has remained with you throughout, unchanged and unchangeable?

V: Now that you mention it, I admit that when I use the word 'I', I have no particular idea about myself and I agree that whatever idea I have had about myself has been changing over the years.

M: Well, there is something which has remained unchanged all these years, while everything else has been changing. And that is the constant sense of presence, the sense that you exist. This sense or feeling I AM has never changed. This is your constant image. You are sitting in front of me. You know it beyond doubt, without any need of confirmation from anyone else. Similarly you know that you are, that you exist. Tell me, in the absence of what would you be unable to sense your existence?

V: If I were asleep or unconscious I would not know that I exist.

M: Exactly. Let us proceed further. In the morning, the very first moment when you wake up and your consciousness just takes over, do you not feel your conscious presence, your existence,  IAM, not as an individual person, but presence as such?

V: Yes, that is right. I would say that my individual personality comes into existence when I see my body and other objects around.
(To be continued)

No comments:

Post a Comment

सर्वभूताधिवासं यद्भूतेषु च वसत्यपि।
सर्वानुग्राहकत्वेन तद्स्म्यहं वासुदेवः॥

That in whom reside all beings and who resides in all beings,
who is the giver of grace to all, the Supreme Soul of the universe, the limitless being:
I AM THAT. -- Amritabindu Upanishad