Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Why is life so hard?

You give no attention to your Self. Your mind is always occupied with things, people and ideas, never with your Self. Bring your Self into focus, become aware of your own existence. See how you function.

Watch the motives and the results of your actions. By knowing what you are not you come to know your Self. The way back to your Self is through refusal and rejection. One thing is certain, the real is not imaginary, it is not a product of the mind. 

Should I pay attention to "I AM" only?

Even the sense "I am" is not continuous, though it is a useful pointer, it shows where to seek but not what to seek. All you need is to get rid of is the tendency to define your Self. All definitions apply to your body only and to its expressions.

Once this obsession with the body goes, you will revert to your natural state spontaneously and effortlessly. You discover it by being earnest, by searching, enquiring, questioning daily and hourly, by giving your life to discovery.

What is the practice? How to proceed?

Like beads on a string, events follow events, forever. They are all strung on the basic idea, "I am the body". But even this is a mental state and does not last. It comes and goes like all other states.

The illusion of a body-mind is there only because it is not investigated.

Non-investigation is the thread on which all the states of mind are strung. It is like darkness in a closed room. It is there, apparently, but when the room is opened, where does it go? It goes nowhere because it was not there.

All states of mind, all names and forms of existence are rooted in non-investigation, non-enquiry, imagination and credulity. It is right to say "I am" but to say "I am this" or "I am that" is a sign of not enquiring, not examining, mental weakness or lethargy.

I create my own world. Is that true?

The world of your perceptions is a very small world indeed. And it is entirely private. Take it to be a dream and be done with it. A dream does not last, neither does your own little world.

Is not the idea of a total world a part of your personal world?

The universe does not come to tell you that you are a part of it. It is you who have invented a totality to contain you as a part. In fact, all you know is your own private world, however well you have furnished it with your imaginations and expectations.

We sleep and we wake. Both sleep and waking are misnomers. We are only dreaming. True waking and true sleeping, only the jnani knows. We dream that we are awake, we dream that we are asleep.

The three states are only varieties of the dream state. Treating everything as a dream liberates. As long as you give reality to dreams, you are their slave.

The essence of slavery is to imagine yourself to be a process, to have a past and future, to have history. In fact, we have no history, we are not a process, we do not develop, nor decay; see all as a dream and stay out of it.

Give up all questions except one: ‘Who am I?’ After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are. The ‘I am’ is certain. The ‘I am this’ is not. Struggle to find out what you are in reality.

Discover all that you are not - body, feelings thoughts, time, space, this or that -- nothing, concrete or abstract, which you perceive can be you. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive.

Of course you can [reach Reality], provided you are really fed up with everything, including your spiritual practice. When you demand nothing of the world, nor of God, when you want nothing, seek nothing, expect nothing then the Supreme State will come to you uninvited and unexpected!

What is the most important thing in life?

To live without self-concern.

Abandon all self-concern, worry not about your welfare, material or spiritual, abandon every desire, gross or subtle, stop thinking of achievement of any kind. You are complete here and now, you need absolutely nothing.

For this you must know your own true being as indomitable, fearless, and ever victorious. Once you know with absolute certainty that nothing can trouble you but your own imagination, you come to disregard your desires and fears, concepts and ideas and live by truth alone.