From I Am That, Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj ~ Chapter 53
Questioner: I must confess I came today in a rebellious mood. I got a raw
deal at the airlines office. When faced with such situations everything seems
doubtful, everything seems useless.
Maharaj: This is a very useful mood. Doubting all, refusing all, unwilling
to learn through another. It is the fruit of your long sadhana. After all one
does not study for ever.
Q: Enough of it. It took me nowhere.
M: Don't say 'nowhere'. It took you where you are -- now.
Q: It is again the child and its tantrums. I have not moved an inch from
where I was.
M: You began as a child and you will end as a child. Whatever you have
acquired in the meantime you must lose and start at the beginning.
Q: But the child kicks. When it is unhappy or denied anything it
M: Let it kick. Just look at the kicking. And if you are too afraid of the
society to kick convincingly look at that too. I know it is a painful business.
But there is no remedy -- except one -- the search for remedies must
If you are angry or in pain, separate yourself from anger and pain and
Externalisation is the first step to liberation. Step away and look. The
physical events will go on happening, but by themselves they have no importance.
It is the mind alone that matters. Whatever happens, you cannot kick and scream
in an airline office or in a Bank. Society does not allow it. If you do not like
their ways, or are not prepared to endure them, don't fly or carry money. Walk,
and if you cannot walk, don't travel. If you deal with society you must accept
its ways, for its ways are your ways. Your needs and demands have created them.
Your desires are so complex and contradictory -- no wonder the society you
create is also complex and contradictory.
Q: I do see and admit that the outer chaos is merely a reflection of my own
inner disharmony. But what is the remedy?
M: Don't seek remedies.
Q: Sometimes one is in a 'state of grace' and life is happy and harmonious.
But such a state does not last! The mood changes and all goes wrong.
M: If you could only keep quiet, clear of memories and expectations, you
would be able to discern the beautiful pattern of events. It is your
restlessness that causes chaos.
M: At least it did not slow them down, as your kicking would have surely
done! You want immediate results! We do not dispense magic here. Everybody does
the same mistake: refusing the means, but wanting the ends. You want peace and
harmony in the world, but refuse to have them in yourself. Follow my advice
implicitly and you will not be disappointed. I cannot solve your problem by mere
words. You have to act on what I told you and persevere. It is not the right
advice that liberates, but the action based on it. Just like a doctor, after
giving the patient an injection, tells him: 'Now, keep quiet. Do nothing more,
just keep quiet,' I am telling you: you have got your 'injection', now keep
quiet, just keep quiet. You have nothing else to do. My Guru did the same. He
would tell me something and then said: 'Now keep quiet. Don't go on ruminating
all the time. Stop. Be silent'.
Q: I can keep quiet for an hour in the morning. But the day is long and
many things happen that throw me out of balance. It is easy to say 'be silent',
but to be silent when all is screaming in me and round me -- please tell me how
it is done.
M: All that needs doing can be done in peace and silence. There is no need
to get upset.
Q: It is all theory which does not fit the facts. I am returning to Europe
with nothing to do there. My life is completely empty.
M: If you just try to keep quiet, all will come -- the work, the strength
for work, the right motive. Must you know everything beforehand? Don't be
anxious about your future -- be quiet now and all will fall in place. The
unexpected is bound to happen, while the anticipated may never come. Don't tell
me you cannot control your nature. You need not control it. Throw it overboard.
Have no nature to fight, or to submit to. No experience will hurt you, provided
you don't make it into a habit. Of the entire universe you are the subtle cause.
All is because you are. Grasp this point firmly and deeply and dwell on it
repeatedly. To realise this as absolutely true, is liberation.
Q: If I am the seed of my universe, then a rotten seed I am! By the fruit
the seed is known.
M: What is wrong with your world that you swear at it?
Q: It is full of pain.
M: Nature is neither pleasant nor painful. It is all intelligence and
beauty. Pain and pleasure are in the mind. Change your scale of values and all
will change. Pleasure and pain are mere disturbances of the senses; treat them
equally and there will be only bliss. And the world is, what you make it; by all
means make it happy. Only contentment can make you happy -- desires fulfilled
breed more desires. Keeping away from all desires and contentment in what comes
by itself is a very fruitful state -- a precondition to the state of fullness.
Don't distrust its apparent sterility and emptiness. Believe me, it is the
satisfaction of desires that breeds misery. Freedom from desires is bliss.
Q: There are things we need.
M: What you need will come to you, if you do not ask for what you do not
need. Yet only few people reach this state of complete dispassion and
detachment. It is a very high state, the very threshold of liberation.
Q: I have been barren for the last two years, desolate and empty and often
was I praying for death to come.
M: Well, with your coming here events have started rolling. Let things
happen as they happen -- they will sort themselves out nicely in the end. You
need not strain towards the future -- the future will come to you on its own.
For some time longer you will remain sleep-walking, as you do now, bereft of
meaning and assurance; but this period will end and you will find your work both
fruitful and easy. There are always moments when one feels empty and estranged.
Such moments are most desirable for it means the soul had cast its moorings and
is sailing for distant places. This is detachment -- when the old is over and
the new has not yet come. If you are afraid, the state may be distressing; but
there is really nothing to be afraid of. Remember the instruction: whatever you
come across -- go beyond.
Q: The Buddhas rule: to remember what needs to be remembered. But I find it
so difficult to remember the right thing at the right moment. With me forgetting
seems to be the rule!
M: It is not easy to remember when every situation brings up a storm of
desires and fears. Craving born of memory is also the destroyer of memory.
Q: How am I to fight desire? There is nothing stronger.
M: The waters of life are thundering over the rocks of objects -- desirable
or hateful. Remove the rocks by insight and detachment and the same waters will
flow deep and silent and swift, in greater volume and with greater power. Don't
be theoretical about it, give time to thought and consideration; if you desire
to be free, neglect not the nearest step to freedom. It is like climbing a
mountain: not a step can be missed. One step less -- and the summit is not