Satsang in Maryland, The USA – Part 3
26th August 2018
Q: When people asked Ramana Maharishi a question, he always guided them to the quest “Who am I?”, to the appropriate root, “Who is asking this question?” which I never really understood. That is one part. And the second part is he always asked people the same question, “What is your personality in deep sleep?” Because in deep sleep there is no one to know “Who am I?”; because there is no one there. It is just a state called deep sleep and when the brain comes into the picture, I wake up and the word “ I “ comes into the picture and then other parts follow it. So it’s baffling why he gave this example in order to answer the question to some of the followers. Is there any significance to it?
Mohanji: I think the right person to answer this question is Ramana Maharishi himself.
Mohanji: I’ll try. He is a great master. I can’t even begin to explain how great he is. In my limited way, I will try. Manana (contemplation) is beyond dhyana (meditation). Meditation is a state you achieve when you are fully concentrated on and occupied with one matter, one subject, such as ‘Om’ or breath or whatever. That’s a state of meditation. Actually meditation as an activity does not exist. Meditation is not an activity. It is a state when your mind is occupied completely with one thing, which means it is fully here. That’s meditation. In activity of meditation people will be thinking of all the things in the world and sitting in one place, closing the eyes. That’s not meditation.
On the other hand, contemplation is very important as a means to reach a state of meditation. That is what Ramana Maharishi probably would have meant by this. “Who am I?” is a good position to start at some point in time because we always get connected to the incarnation that we are projecting to the world. We project these to the world: “I am so and so. This is my name. This is my form. This is my country of origin. This is my passport number (laughs)…” “Who am I?” is a good question when used as a tool to go within and explore yourself. You then arrive at certain answers, which, as Adi Shankara said (in the “Nirvana Shatakam”),
Mano-Buddhi-Ahankaara, Chittaani Naaham
Na Cha Shrotra-Jihveh, Na Cha Ghraan-na-Netre
Na Cha Vyoma Bhoomir, Na Tejo Na Vaayuh
Chid-Aananda-Roopah, Shivoham Shivoham
”I’m not the body, I’m not the mind, I’m not the intellect, I’m not the ego, I’m not the personality, I’m not the organs of action, I’m not the organs of perception, I’m Shiva.”
To arrive at the point where you realise that you are Shiva, you have to discount many things. For example, in the immigration form, a question is asked, “What are you carrying?” Whatever you are not carrying, you put ‘x’ mark. Similarly, we delete numerous things, delete, delete, delete… Then what are you? You arrive at the stage, ”Aham Brahmasmi”. Thus in order to reach that stage, a lot of deletions are needed because “I think I am the body, I think I am the personality, I think I am the mind…,” some people say “I think therefore I am”, that’s not true. You think because you have a mind. But you are not the mind anyway. Thus, many things have to be deleted, before you arrive at, “I am pure consciousness.” However, pure consciousness is an experience, it’s not knowledge. You can’t know pure consciousness. You have to experience pure consciousness. Therefore all these things get deleted, and ask not only “Who am I?” but also “What am I? What is my structure? What is my form?”. Theories explain many things, but that’s not ours, right? Books would have explained too, that is not ours either.
We have to go deeper and deeper and understand: “What am I?” Then another question comes, “WHY am I? Why is this whole show? Why is this drama, this situation?” The Upanishads, scriptures have answered it. In one of the Upanishads, a son is asking his father, “You say I am divine incarnate. I don’t feel like one. I feel like a stupid human being.” How can you say that I am a divine incarnate? Can you prove it to me?
Father said, ”Bring me some fire.”
The son brought a lamp, lit, with a flame.
Then father said, ”I told you to bring me some fire, why have you brought a lamp?”
The son brought a charcoal which had fire on it.
Then father said, “I told you to bring me some fire, why have you brought a charcoal?”
The son asked, “Father, how can I bring fire without any means?”
Then father said, “How can divinity express itself without any means? You need to connect to material, to matter, to understand truth.”
It’s not possible to directly connect to truth with a human mind and that is why masters have guided you “Who am I? What am I? Why am I?” Then you arrive at a certain truth. Adi Shankara who came fully awakened, said at the age of eight, “I’m not the body, I’m not the mind, I’m not the intellect,… I’m not what I SEEM to be. I’m not that.” Then, what am I? That’s when I realise, I am the consciousness, the pure divinity, expressing through this incarnation. That’s an experience. That’s the experience Ramana Maharishi probably wanted everybody to achieve. This is my limited knowledge and I cannot even begin to explain, Ramana Maharishi is like an avatar, so there are masters who walked this earth but their aim was to take you to yourself. Path is you. Destination is you. Experience of journey is you. Journey is you. What is remaining? You.
Q: Namaste. What is the role of experiences?
Mohanji: It’s role is similar to milestones in your journey. When you travel from here, let’s say to Florida, at a certain stage, you say, “ Ok, we are so many miles away from Florida”. So, what does that milestone tell you? That you have travelled so far and you have to travel further, if you want to reach the same destination. Otherwise you can go elsewhere too (chuckles). That is the role of experiences. Hence Patanjali always said, “Keep moving. Ignore. Keep moving.” Because experiences can be traps. People have told me, “Mohanji I had a great experience during a particular meditation. That’s not coming back” and I said, “Congratulations.” (Laughs) It should not come back. It means you have moved forward. That is important. Because in this journey, experiences are the states that the mind is reflecting to or something which you experience for some time. If a state happens, it stays. A state doesn’t change. It is like when you graduate. The next day, you will not become an undergraduate. Graduation is forever. Like that, until and unless experiences stabilise into a state, it is not yours. So experiences will come and go, and they must come and go as road signs. But they are not staying because it is not your state yet. How do you understand the state of bliss happening? You will be like a child. You can see young children, they don’t care about your meditations and stuff. They play. They are happy. They are in the moment. They are great teachers. Small children are great teachers. Be in that moment, whatever comes, experience it and let go, like the meal you had at noon. That experience is over, isn’t it? Now, since you had that experience, does it mean that you don’t need food anymore? You must have dinner. Like that, every situation is evolving. What you experience at each point in time is very important. It is definitely important, but don’t stop there. You may reach a state of complete no experience, where the mind is dying.
Higher states of consciousness
Samadhi is a state where the mind is stable. The third state of samadhi is a state where your thoughts will be outside of you. Thoughts will not be inside. You see your thoughts outside of you and they stop having the power to make a difference or to have an effect on you. Your own thoughts will not be yours. They exist as thoughts, as a kind of possibility, but not a reality. There is a difference here. It exists as a possibility, but not exactly a reality. You think, “Ok that’s mine, but I don’t need it…” like people walking outside along this road. Would you care who is walking? They are walking. You know they are walking, but it doesn’t matter to you, likewise thoughts stop bothering you.
Then the next state is when thoughts die because they can’t do anything to you. Say, someone is abusing you, calling you monkey, donkey, and so on, but you do not respond. If you are not at all responding, what will that guy do? He will stop calling you names, because there is no use. Similarly, when we are not affected by anything, even experiences, progress is very fast because you are not bound by them. Experience is happening, good enough, it is not happening, good enough. Then you are just being you. You will consolidate yourself into a unit, powerful. Then all experiences become yours. If someone cries at a distance, you will know. If someone is laughing at a distance, you will know. If someone is feeling something, you will know – not just human, everything. You will stop having any differences in existence. You will feel even if a plant is in pain. It’s not that the pain belongs to you. It passes through you. Everything passes through you because you are everything. Everything is inside you. When everything is inside you, you are everything. In that journey, small experiences are hindrances, but you can neither really block them nor accept them. They are happening – thank you. Like that, just let them come and go.
Q: How can we accept everything?
Mohanji: The simple and direct answer would be, “Do you have a choice?” Whatever happens in a day or in a moment, it has happened because the configuration has created it. We call it destiny. Something created it, a time, a space, a group of people, an event, and a corresponding experience, something would have created all this. If you do not accept, it can become a pattern. We have seen that the same or a similar pattern repeats in life. Similar effects also happen. And if you go deep inside each pattern, you will see that there was resistance. You have something to do with whatever happens in your life in a particular moment, or over time. At some point in time or at various points in time, you collected that and put it inside as an essence, as a seed, as an impression. The residual memories of experiences become seeds. They are stored as impressions. Residual memories of experiences, such as, you had lunch and you have a memory of the lunch. That is the impression that stays inside. Then it produces likes and dislikes.
It produces situations. There is what we call mind matter or substratum which has three aspects: mind, intellect and ego. Put together, this is mind matter. What activates mind matter is breath. We have a specific number of breaths before we leave, which means duration. That’s why I said that if you live for 80 years i.e. 29200 days, you will breathe. And the breath or the prana activates the mind matter, impressions are the fuel, and they become thoughts. Then they become expressions and later become actions. Many thoughts happen, fewer expressions happen, and even fewer actions happen. This is our life. This is how we are flowing.
Why are certain things coming back again and again? Because at some point in time, we resisted them. So, is acceptance better or resistance? That’s the point. If you look within, you will know, I do not need to explain. I’m not better than you, because we are all in the same journey; we are going towards the same brightness. We know very well that every moment, reality is given – time, space, situation, there is a boundary within which an experience is taking place. Whether you take it in, accept or reject, it stays. It happens.
How do you make all the situations or events or experiences, reasonably edible? Through acceptance. When Ramana Maharishi had cancer, someone asked him, “Is it very difficult?” (laughs) Of course it will be difficult if you have cancer. It’s not a pleasurable experience, right? Ramana Maharishi said, “I have pain because I have a body. But I have no suffering. Because that’s my choice, I refuse to suffer.” That’s our choice because suffering is connected to the mind. Body is there. You will have everything associated with the body. Hunger is happening because we have a body. You have to feed the annamaya kosha (food sheath) so hunger will happen. Because you have a mind, you handle emotions. We talked about a family. But everyone is the same; there is no one apart from you, even though somebody is your wife or child or father or mother. Each of them has a different constitution, but they are the same as us. They have their uniqueness, they have their differences, constitutions are different, maybe the experiences and the assimilation of experiences could be different, but they are all units. It’s all the same. Although somebody is your wife, you cannot own anybody. You own nobody in this life. Although somebody has come to your life as your child, you can’t own that person. If you try to own a child for a very long time, they will put you in an old age home later.
Mohanji: Why do we have so many old age homes today? Because children are fed up of the parents. Because we (as parents) “own” them (children). There is no ownership possible. Nobody can own anything. You cannot own even your body. Everything comes and goes. If you operate with that awareness, everything is pleasure, happiness. You become light. Like a breeze, you flow through life. It’s your birthright, you see? If resistance is the other option, is acceptance better?
(The questioner nods)
Mohanji: It is much better.
Streams of thoughts
Q: How to change the streams of thoughts that we are trapped into? We know that these thoughts should not come but they just come back again and again. How to just change the series of thoughts?
Mohanji: Thank you. Thoughts are coming out of impressions sitting inside and the impressions are coming out of residual memories or fears. Memories can be fears. Memories are probably not from your own experience. They could be fears you have collected from this life or another life or from people or from society. This is the cause for those thoughts. When you look at those thoughts, as if they are children playing in a garden, you are looking at them. You are neither happy, nor sad. You are just looking at them and if you can look at your thoughts like that, they will become weaker. When you are involved in thoughts or when you are affected by them, they stay longer or they keep coming back, especially so when you are affected. We may have experienced, for example, if someone we deeply love, behaves in a very bad way with us, we become affected. We are unable to do anything that day because we feel very depressed. There is an expectation connected to it. When that expectation is broken, we suffer. If there is no expectation, what would be the feeling? Nothing can tilt you. Nothing can destabilise you. Our thoughts are merely our own children. They have happened because there is an impression connected to it; when mixed with breath, it became a thought. These thoughts will keep coming and allow them to come, but have nothing to do with them. You are then watching them. You are experiencing a particular thought. This is one option. Another option is to surrender them, “They are not mine, I leave them at Your feet.” To you guru or God or whoever you trust, keep surrendering, “They are not mine.” Detach from it. One is objective observation, second is detachment. Both will help to reduce the intensity of thoughts.
And how do you know whether it is leading you to liberated existence? Its frequency reduces. It’s not that in one day such thoughts will go away, because there is a habit connected to it. People are habitually thinking, habitually doing, habitually performing. Habit. Thoughts are also connected to certain habits. We are habituated into thinking in certain ways. That will be there for some time, then the habit itself will become weaker because you are not receiving any pleasure out of it. When I say pleasure, even a pain is a pleasure in that context, remember. We always keep thoughts which are painful, even more than the happy thoughts. Happy thoughts are not stored much. Why do painful thoughts stay longer? Because of resistance. We try to push them away, so they stay. So why do we go to a gymnasium? We practise resistance so that we develop good muscles. Resistance is also connected to endurance. Looking at it positively, resistance is keeping it. But now when we are not resisting – it’s coming, it’s going, so what? When you have nothing to do with your thoughts, neither entertaining, nor rejecting them, then they start to weaken. That’s why I said earlier, sometimes they are outside of you, they can’t influence you and they die.
Path is you
Q: So Mohanji, all of us who are here tonight together, we have so many difficulties, so many challenges, we live in the world of duality, in the world of opposites where our emotions get in the way. When we leave here tonight, we need help. So what is out there, to be able to help us? The expectations are so high to be good, to be kind, to be compassionate, to serve our families, to serve humanity, and we are not there yet, we do good a little here a little there. So what resources do we have when we leave tonight to be able to help us on our way?
Mohanji: Can I give a one-word answer? (pauses) …You.
Mohanji: You have no other resources. Actually, it is the honest truth. There is no way any external thing can be useful in any level of calamity inside us. Situations outside have not happened in one day. Something matured into that state, whether it is positive or negative. There is a beginning, growth and a culmination for everything. It’s as an evolution. You can’t change that course, even negativity for that matter. It rises, it stays and it dies. Positivity is the same. What is your best bet here? You. You are the best bet. And how can you be very effective, your most effective expression? Consistency, conviction, expression. You have to be very consistent in what you believe in, with conviction and expression. That becomes purpose, clear purpose, clean purpose. When I say ‘purpose’, it’s a positive purpose. A purpose of regeneration. A purpose of love, kindness, compassion… and imagine you become sun and you become bright, and you inspire other people to be bright, it becomes a movement. That’s the best and most powerful movement.
Centuries ago, say a 1000 or 2000 years ago, there were these writings about all individuals who are going to take birth in this world, we call them Nadis. You may call them astrological predictions. In the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu there are many such thesis works. These Nadis had super accurate predictions because they are on thesis works. Masters who consolidated it became one unit and they were able to become the universe and from that angle they have predicted that these things will happen in the future. One of those things which caught my attention, rather, I was told is, there was a small write-up about a person who would live in the future, maybe a thousand years later. It said, “At the time when the world believes in dressing up, there will be a man who will surprise the world with his nakedness and he will change the course of the history of this country.” It was about Mahatma Gandhi, written at least a thousand years before he was born! And that man changed the course of the history of the country – with what? Resilience. Conviction.
He knew what he was doing. He stood by it. By resisting we may not change things. Resistance is good for negativity. It loves resistance. It stays stronger. When you resist something, that stays longer. Instead, express what is the right way. Say for example, you are being LOVE continuously and it is visible in the society, people automatically get attracted to you. Why? Because this is pleasant. To be with love is much more pleasant than to be with anger, hatred, jealousy or revenge, and that is because such an emotion contracts you. It makes you dull, it makes you limited. On the contrary, if you are connected to love, it expands. There is nothing to prove. It expands you. Freedom. Live freedom.
That is why I say, if you are always against something, we are always weak. Therefore you need to bring love into the society and change the society from inside. It’s important at this point in time. When you are looking at things from the outside to support you, what can support you? Nothing is permanent outside. Even people. We ourselves have experienced that with people. Some people stay for some time, some people stay slightly longer, some people come and go, some others stay forever. Very few people stay forever. All these things are unpredictable. What is outside is unpredictable. If you want to make something predictable, that can only be from within.
Q: So Mohanji, what about the concept of guardian angels? And also where does the essence of the Guru principle enter?
Mohanji: Guardian angels are your complementing factors. When you are doing something, it accents you. For example, you are being in a particular state, that state is complemented by factors associated with that frequency. If you are in a particular frequency, similar frequencies support you, protect you.
Then, the Guru principle is a guide principle, which is within you. It’s a state you achieve where you are having the larger awareness. That larger awareness, stability, a state of being a mirror happens to you. That is the Guru principle, which everybody has. All of us have it. That state comes to you from within.
Transcribed by Biljana Vozarevic Proofread by Vidya Rajagopalan