fascinating isn't it. kind of like lining up in front of a
department store for the big washington birthday sale and
rushing in to make sure you get the thing you want before its
sold out. i wonder what it is that makes people think there
is something in the front of the room that isn't in the back.
Good point! I'm not sure exactly what makes people think
that. Non-locality and ubiquity are hard to grasp. I know
many satsang-attendees in my area, and they've told me that
they think "It" is embodied in (only) some people. So they
want to be close to that person. More enlightenment points up
front! The closer the better, so that it might jump or rub or
flow off onto them. Or actually be granted like the touch of
a feather or the passing of a torch.
Like a kid, I like being up front myself. :-) In fact I went
to Nirmala's satsang that was packed and Joe, who normally
holds satsangs there at his house, knew I was coming and
saved me a place right up front. :-)
WHAT HE THINKS OF ME
Experiencing The Teaching
Ramesh S. Balsekar
Ramesh: Hello, you are beaming like a lamp. what's up?
Questioner: Well, have you seen the latest copy of the Times?
No? Don't bother. I have a copy right here. Page 5.
Ramesh: Ah, here we are. A photograph of you, a nice write up
too. Is this chap a friend of yours?
Question: He is now! Why are you smiling like that?
Ramesh: Was I? Like What?
Questioner: Like you have something up your sleeve. Like the
cat who ate the canary.
Ramesh: Oh, well. I was just thinking about "that bastard"
who wrote a nasty piece about your book in some "rag" a few
Questioner: Are you making fun of me? Wouldn't you be upset
if someone said something rotten about you?
Ramesh: Of course not. Why should I be upset about a brickbat
thrown at an image in someone else's (aspect of) mind. It's
entirely his own creation and quite unrelated to the
phenomenon ("me") to which the image is attached. In your own
case, a few days ago someone threw a brickbat at an image of
you in his mind. Today, someone else through a bouquet at an
image in his mind. The phenomenon, that is "you", has
remained the same while the images in mind have been
Questioner: How do you mean "images in mind"?
Ramesh: Dualistic discrimination in the process of
functioning as "self" and "other". It's a universally
condemned process also known variously (in non-dualistic
teaching like Advaita and Tao) as discrimination, false
thought, objective seeing, etc.. It is the very mechanism of
Questioner: In other words, objectifying a purely subjective
concept - creating a effigy and then throwing bouquets or
brickbats at it.
Ramesh: That is well said. It should be remembered, however,
that the understanding itself would preclude all "saying" -
there is no need at all to express what is understood. It can
only make the truth untrue.
Questioner: I can buy that. But the theory aside, which is
the real you - the one that deserves the bouquet or the
Ramesh: You have missed the point. I could be not just one or
the other, but a host of others as others might see "me".
Questioner: You really are serious aren't you? This is not
just theory for you, but a fact.
Ramesh: Look. As "I", I am precisely nothing - no thing. I
appear as whatever I am perceived to be. And this is as much
"fact" as anything in phenomenal manifestation could be said
to be. How could "I" be anything but I AM?
Questioner: Let's be practical. Am I to understand that you
have no personal identity, no personality at all? How can you
live without one? Surely, you yourself must know what you
are, even if someone else may not.
Ramesh: I'm not trying to be funny or clever. See for
yourself. Why should my perceptual and conceptual
interpretation of my appearance (which is "me") be any more
valid or invalid, phenomenally, than that of any one else's.
My own could well be perhaps a little more flattering and
exaggerated, but certainly equally imaginary!
Questioner: I would still like an answer. I am not just
superficially curious. I am seriously curious.
Ramesh: I have so many "selves" and while some of them may be
"good" - gentle, kind and noble many others would be "bad" -
cruel and obnoxious Again, let me assure you, I am not being
flippant. Actually the range of our "selves" in this waking -
dream is very much more inhibited than in our sleeping
dreams. In our dreams we accept ourselves for whatever we
appear to be, and it is only in retrospect that we judge
ourselves according to the "waking" standards.
Questioner: You mean it is in this spirit of relativism that
we should view what other people think of us?
Ramesh: Would not anything else be absurd? Whatever people
think of me is their thought, visualized in their own aspect
of the split-mind known as "memory". It is their mnemonic
impression, which has nothing to do with me, with what I am
or what I am not.
Questioner: I find you amazing.
Ramesh: All that your amazement shows is that my appearance
in your mind is not very flattering if you believed that I
would care about what happens in a split-mind!
Questioner: Phenomenally, then, are we nothing other than
what is perceived?
Ramesh: Perceived - and conceived: a concept. Our supposed
"self" is what "others" conceive; and of course "others" must
include our own self-conceiving because each of us is an
"other" supposed by a supposed "self". The point is that both
the "self" and the "other" do not exist apart from being
merely the mechanism of manifestation in duality as
Questioner: Then what are we?
Ramesh: Is it not obvious? We are, very simply, "I",
eternally unaware of what I-ness is.
Questioner: What you say seems so clear and so obvious that
it's difficult to see how it could be otherwise. As
appearances we can only be concepts in the split-mind,
whether "ours" or those of apparent "others".
Ramesh: How could it be otherwise? Sages, men or vision, have
been saying so for thousands of years.
Questioner: And yet people have not believed that!
Ramesh: The sages did not ask people to believe anything.
Belief is also a concept. They merely pointed to the truth.
Questioner: But how are "selves" supposed to act?
Ramesh: "Supposed to act"? How can an appearance be supposed
to act? This was also told to us by the sages thousands of
years ago, though of course in words and terms prevalent in
their times. Therefore perhaps the need for books like this
one. Anyway, the "selves" do not "act" - they appear to react
to stimuli from outside, as images in mind.
Questioner: What precisely is the manner in which such
apparent reaction takes place?
Ramesh: What they appear to do is conceptual interpretation
of such reacting, and apparent functioning that we call our
Questioner: But surely, if the "selves" are merely
appearances in consciousness, images in the split-mind, there
must be something behind them. What is that?
Ramesh: This is the real trouble. I mean, trying to put into
words something that is indescribable turns it into a
concept. Anyway, we may try to apperceive it by thinking of
it as a functioning which is spontaneous acting without any
reacting. That is the Taoist way of looking at it, and as
good as any, and better than most.
Questioner: How would you explain it?
Ramesh: I might perhaps say that THAT is transcendent
noumenality which is immanent as phenomenality (otherwise
phenomenality would have no "substance"), objectifying what
it is as what we appear to be through a process of dualistic
manifestation in the conceptual extension of the media know
as "space" and "time".
Questioner: Where do we come in, in this functioning?
Ramesh: "We" as WHAT-WE-ARE, being all that is, can never be
out of any functioning. As an appearance in the mind, we are
nothing; as WHAT-WE-ARE, we are everything. Noumenon and
phenomenon are not two, nor are they different. As I said,
what they are is transcendence phenomenally and immanence