"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

Saturday, February 17, 2018

When you are, only YOU are

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Q: Deep sleep is no-knowing. The Absolute is beyond knowingness and no-knowingness. I do not understand.

M: To start with, a child is born; the infant does not know itself, the reactions of hunger, thirst etc., take place. These are physical things, when life is there, but inside that state knowingness has not developed or matured fully. After one or two years it comes to know itself, the mother etc. When the child knows itself, its knowingness has started.

Prior to that is ignorance, although it is no-knowingness, it is ignorance. Then the knowledge I AM is attained; it does not know who it is but it knows it is something. Later on the child starts collecting concepts and ideas which other people feed it and develops certain concepts or images about itself and others. The mind has developed. Then comes deep sleep and the waking state, the daily cycle. In the waking state, in whatever state of mind you are, you know the world, together with your concepts and then you fall into sleep. Now, technically, you can call that deep sleep no-knowingness. But this is not that no-knowingness beyond which the Absolute lies.

Let us proceed again from the child. Ignorance, knowingness, accumulation of concepts, meeting the Guru. The Guru tells you, "Get rid of concepts, just be yourself." So when you are, only you are. This is the first step: to abide in the consciousness that you are, without words - that is knowledge. When the child started knowing itself there was also knowledge - but that is a general knowledge and is common to all. This becomes spiritual now. The seeker, having understood what the Guru said, gets rid of the concepts, and now, as the first step, the seeker dwells in the state of  I AM, just being.

First of all there is the knowingness I AM without words; with that knowingness the world is. Now when the seeker goes into meditation that knowingness goes into no-knowingness. This is the highest in the hierarchy when the body aspect is there because this knowing and no-knowing are aspects of the body, and body means consciousnesses, and in the realm of consciousness knowingness and no-knowingness exist. 

The Absolute transcends knowingness and no-knowingness. So, no-knowingness is the highest in the hierarchy of spirituality and the destination is transcendence of knowingness and no-knowingness.

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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