These are some heart to heart answers, for questions from head to heart ! As Ram says, ‘Heart rarely has any questions ! This journey is after all, from Head to the Heart !’
Q: My mind tries to find the cause of everything. Is intellect or a questioning mind any hindrance to Truth?
NR : There is no cause of worry ,when you use the mind to view it from the other side I.e When you get a glimpse of other side. For egs.. If you can ponder upon many incidents in our life where you had close shave with death, where you should have died, you will not know how you survived. You will know that there was no reason to survive! There is no answer. In my case when I fell down from 32 ft, I don’t know how I survived. How can it be possible for a person to survive from a 32ft fall when it is not uncommon to hear about a person walking on a normal road..falling down and dying?
Causation…I.e cause and effect is the favorite game of the mind….favorite game of the ego…because if we come to know that there is no causation…the mind collapses…and there will be no need for the mind. So ego does not want to die its own death…so it will try to find a cause for everything…and create more doubts like “ That is okay…but why this?….but this? …but that? “ ….it will go on. Let it ask …but let it come back.
Don’t make a superficial conviction that there is no ego ..or there is no ‘me’. Approach it and find out, by going to the root of it . Find out, because unless and until we see from our own experience we will not know.
Q : I feel vulnerable in this body as a woman ..and sometimes feel I need to have ego to take care of myself. Isn’t ego needed to take care of this physical form?
NR: Maharaj says “If at all you want to use your intellect..use it to ponder over who took care of you during those 9 months when you were in your mother’s womb, without you doing anything.” Your mind was absent..your own consciousness was absent..
Now, you know that you exist right? You know that you are alive..but this sense of aliveness too was absent then..You were just a lump of matter. Now you have an intellect ..so just think, How did you exist then without
ego or mind…? Who took care of you ? Your question of your necessity to take care of your form comes because of illusion..( Bhrama).. because that which took care of you during those 9 months..is still taking care of you until the expiry date of your body .
Q : These days there are many spiritual teachers who claim to be Gurus . How do we recognise them?
NR: This topic of ‘Action and intention’ has to be discussed. Unless and until we see lot of examples of action and intention around us, that may not sink inside…because the conditioning since childhood is so strong . When they say “ He is A pious person..a holy person…”What do they mean? Is it because he is doing Pooja ..or wearing sandal paste..and particular clothes? ..silk dhoti..? Is it that? A person doing Pooja may just be doing a salaried job. If you are working in SBI as a salaried officer ..then he is a salaried poojari. Somebody can be a salaried speaker who will go and give pravachans …there are hundreds and thousands of speakers. It is their profession ..because they have the ability to communicate. Just because they have the ability to talk and explain, it does not mean that they know..or have experienced ‘Truth’. Not necessarily!! There are many such people. It is very difficult to recognise ..by their actions. But Real masters will come in front of you when you are ready. Now, it is our duty to recognise them. If you have these kind of concepts still alive within you, I.e your ideas of a pious person…a sadhu..a brahmachari..etc and etc then it would be difficult to recognise. Thankfully Krishna destroys all those concepts. Krishna , by his beingness, destroys all those concepts. He was not a sadhu, or a sanyasi, had many wives, ..With all the kinds (of pranks and mischiefs he played, he was supposed to be a greatest yogi ) yes.. In my view ..I have never heard about anyone else with such a rich and diverse personality. My Master Nisargadatta Maharaj used to always says that That state of Krishna was the real ..actual samadhi , Sahaja Samadhi. He is playing pranks…stealing, …playing ..and in that samadhi state. There is a quote of mine…
“Arjuna fought war, but Krishna played it.
If Krishna can play a war,
Why cannot you play life?”
You want to fight or play? Ego wants to fight because it wants the enjoyment of the kick it gets by resisting and surviving.
Q : I get tempted by beautiful and decorative things and buy them. I have too many such unnecessary stuff. These desires distract me from my spiritual goal. How do I overcome this ?
NR: Desire is also a concept. Every desire is a thought..but every thought is not a desire. Then, which thought is just a thought and not a desire..? and which thought is a desire? A thought which is absorbed by that separate entity ( ego) converts it into a desire. For egs both of us go to a shopping mall. We both see something very beautiful ..say a light. I will say “ It is such a beautiful light” You will say that too. But in your case, you will add another thought “I must have it” Maybe in my case it is just a beautiful light…. but in your case it is beautiful and you want it. “ It is beautiful” is just a thought. When Ego absorbs it and says “I want it” …then it becomes a desire. When you limit it to the thought you can enjoy its beauty. Only when the egoistic thought of wanting it comes..there is desire..only when you get carried away by the beauty..you say..”Can I have it?” The suffering comes with the insistence that you have it. I am not even asking you to stop the desire thought…I am not bothered about what you do with the desire…I am asking you to check the validity of the ego.
Q : I have a basic question ..I fail to understand. When we know that all of this is an illusion, why do we still want anything?
NR : To know that everything is illusion…and to experience that everything is illusion…are two different things…That makes a lot of difference. You know that it is an illusion only by words….If I take you to a mall in Mahabaleshwar right now …where will your knowledge help?
What you have is just an information. You do not have the experiential knowledge. That makes the difference.
Q : Is there a living Guru in the tradition of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi and Sri Nisargadatta ? Not the neo-advaitists of today, but a living Saint. There are too many people looking to make money on discs and books. The real ones would not be in the fish market looking for buyers.
NR : Thanks for your mail Mark. Let me share a story with you I heard many years ago. A diamond merchant died, leaving behind, his wife and a 15 year old son, but without any money for a living. The widow remembered a bagful of diamonds her husband had saved. So she took them and went with her son, to her husband’s close friend, who also happened to be a diamond merchant. He knew and also more importantly, could recognize the value of diamonds.
The friend took a close look at those diamonds and suggested that they not be sold at present as the market value was not good. Instead, he suggested that she send her son to him, for a few days of apprenticeship, so that he could also learn the art of diamond business. From the very next day, the young boy started training and working under the merchant’s guidance.
Time passed by, and one fine day, the merchant told the young man now, to get his mother along with the bag of diamonds his father had saved. The widow was very happy to hear about this and accompanied her son to the merchant’s shop. There the merchant asked the young man to go ahead and have a close look at the diamonds to evaluate their worth. To the mother’s utter surprise, the young man started throwing the diamonds one by one into the waste bin, and in a short while, all diamonds landed up in the bin ! The angry widow demanded an explanation from her son. The son replied that all those diamonds she had earlier considered priceless were nothing but colorful stones !
Aghast, she asked the merchant as to why he didn’t reveal the truth to her when she had got them to him years ago ?! The merchant replied that had he told her the truth in the first instance, she would not have believed him. But now, since her son was trained, he had an eye for recognition, and could easily recognize the real from the unreal. He further went on to add, that he also knew that her deceased husband never had so much wealth and had kept those unreal diamonds with his wife, just for the sake of satisfaction !
Now, you ask, is there a real satguru in the tradition of Nisargadatta and Ramana ?! And I say, there is no dearth of them at all. But of course it all depends entirely on the one who is looking for HIM. It all depends on whether you are ready to SEE HIM or MEET HIM ? In the East, there is a belief that the moment the disciple, shishya, student is ready, Satguru appears ! There’s no way that the disciple can find or select Satguru ! The reality in fact is, that the Satguru picks up His disciple !
How can someone sleeping ever recognize an awakened one ?! Another Eastern principle – Satguru/ Master can never be found, And never with the tool of intellect ! And another most important, often forgotten aspect – It isn’t always necessary that Master is always someone in human form ! Can’t you see who Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi’s Master was ?! The Arunachala.. A mountain ! In case of Sage Dattatreya, he had over hundred gurus, including the dog !
As I see it, the focus of the seeker is always on searching for the Master and the search is based only upon his/her limited understanding of himself/herself. Even if you search for Satguru, it will be through your limited accepted notions, through your own definitions about Master, isn’t it ?!
And after all, where have Nisargadatta and Ramana gone ?! The appearance has simply disappeared ! But aren’t they here, right now ? In Fact they are here right now, and in much abundance ! And readily available for anyone searching with an eye of the heart ! The seeker, identified strongly with and as body bowl, will inevitably end up searching for the guru in body bowl form ! It is very natural !
But have you looked at the real question ? Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Why can’t I see or meet the real Satguru/ Master?” I don’t see anyone asking this most primal question. Blindness isn’t just absence of eyesight. It’s also the strong belief that everyone around is blind ! Ignorance isn’t essentially absence of knowledge. It’s also the accepted notion that everyone around, here is ignorant !
Eye of the intellect sees only blindness, ignorance, darkness and incompleteness* around it ! Because the limited naturally fails to recognize the unlimited ! But the eye of the heart sees none of them* as wholeness isn’t aware of any holes ! It is just a matter of seeing, recognizing with this eye of the heart and you will be amazed then, to find a question rising within you.. “What is not Satguru here ?!”
The farther you search, more are the chances of you missing ! You miss again n again n again n again, simply because you are looking for flowers and not the essence !
Have faith. Have patience. And with your eye of the heart open, Satguru/ Master will find you. Just BE !