My River of Love
As you know, my background was with Robert. His was a very dry approach of atma vichara, Self-inquiry; and then later on of abiding in the Self, abiding in the ‘I Am.’ But Nisargadatta came along, and added a whole new dimension to advaita.
While Robert and Ranjit, Nisargadatta’s dharma brother, are sort of dry, Nisargadatta himself is very fertile. Very wet. Very juicy. His way is so powerful.
So powerful, because it combines both jnana [the path of wisdom and insight] and bhakti [the path of love and devotion.] In a sense, I have been emphasising bhakti for the last six months. Part of that approach is allowing yourself to be enchanted by the music. Feel the power of the chanting, feel it in your heart.
Allow the energy of love to arise, or any other energy in your heart. So, can we start the chanting? Let the chanting take over you. Pretend you are not there anymore. Just listen to the music and let it take over you. Go deep, deep inside.
Cancel the second chant, will you?
Sit in the stillness. Feel the power of the emptiness that is you. There is the emptiness you can experience—the void, the outer emptiness, the space that contains all objects. And your presence can spread throughout that space, the entire space of Consciousness.
But there is another void, a great void. This is not experienced. You only know of it by being it, and you are being it every moment. Spirituality is not a progression of states, because the great state is always there. The great void is always there, and it is you. What happens is concepts drop away, boundaries drop away, preconceptions drop away, revealing your primordial state.
You know, I came to you as a jnani-style teacher several years ago when I started the “It is Not Real” website. But as my friend David said, during the past six months I have become a bhakta, uniting knowing and knowledge with the power of love, the movement of shakti.
In a sense, this is a whole new path for me. I am taking you along with me. I want you to know it like I know it, as I know it. I have already been teaching you about the Absolute all the time. I read Nisargadatta and talk about the great emptiness, the great void that is you.
But last week I talked about the human brokenness and the emotionality. By being broken, you are broken to the deepest levels of the personal and impersonal self where it melts into the infinite, the transpersonal aspects of consciousness, closest to the true void that is you.
For the last three days I have been sort of incommunicado, because of the states I have been going through. I just wanted to tell you about how I experience them and perhaps looking into yourself, you can feel them yourself.
These states are not so important in themselves. In a sense, they are part of the illusion of the ‘I Am’. But so many teachers exalt these states, and in a sense they should be recognised. Ramakrishna had these states, and the others. Made a big deal of them. But the real big deal is when you drop all concepts, all preconceptions, all ideas, and you become the great void, the utter peace, and recognise yourself as the totality of beingness and non-beingness.
I want you to go along with me. I am going to talk to you about this state that I experienced. Normally when I look inside myself, I feel the outer void—that is the sense of experiencing space, inner space which extends into the outer space that contains all the objects in the world. This space is utterly vast and contains everything, and my sense of presence, of being ‘Ed’, of being an entity, spreads throughout this inner space and outer space, and I become everything.
I absorb all objects. All objects are in me. And sometimes when I talk to someone I love, or for whom I care, I feel a movement of love from my belly going upwards through my heart into my neck, my throat, my mouth, my eyes, my head, through my shoulders, through my arms and out my hands into the world.
I first experienced it maybe five or six months ago. First, as little holes of love. Sometimes just energy which could be seen to be love, moving from below my diaphragm into my heart. Sometimes it got blocked, sometimes it did not, but usually the blockage built up and there was a pressure there, and there was some sensation of being stuck in the heart. Sometimes pain, or a blockage.
Over a period of weeks this movement, this flow of love expanded, deepened. Maybe you can feel it inside of yourself, starting a few inches below your diaphragm, maybe lower. It is an energy that trickles upward constantly inside the body, inside your own emptiness, inside. Sometimes it seems like electricity—or just energy.
Sometimes it has the sweetness of love. And it enters the chambers of the heart. Stays there for a while, before moving upwards. Eventually it does move upward into your mouth, your head, and sometimes it stays there and your brain gets hard, and you cannot think.
Over a period of time this flow increased in size, and went from being a small hose to being a fire hose, and then eventually a river—a river of love that arose within me. Sometimes as low as the genitals, through the stomach into the diaphragm, into the heart, and above, and then the entire width of my body; and then even expanding beyond that so it was a movement within Consciousness itself, centred in my sense of presence and in my sense of my body.
It was like a river. A river of light air, of love, moving upwards and outwards into the world, into my beloved, or just into the world in general—whoever appeared before me. Can you feel that? Can you feel that river of love within yourself?
And over a period of months, that changed. Sometimes the river stopped flowing and it built up inside of me. By stopping and building it gradually turned into bliss, and then into ecstasy, such sweet ecstasy I did not want to move. I did not want to function. In effect, I could not.
I did not want to.
All those medical records dropped away. No more medical records for Ed! God took me beyond that, into ecstasy, into bliss. That ecstasy filled up my inner void like the outer void, the one that I could see that held all the objects. Just ecstasy! Total love turned into ecstasy. There were no objects anymore, everything was one—and just ecstatic bliss.
Gradually the bliss and the ecstasy became lighter, and sweeter. From the heaviness of initially tasting like honey, it became more like a sweet wine... with a gentle fragrance attached. The bliss transformed, the love transformed, and became sweeter and gentler and lighter. More refined. I could tell there was a kind of purification process going on in my body and my sense of presence.
And then three days ago, something happened.
While I was talking with someone, that river of love transformed into a river of light. It was no longer affect, but light arising within me. And the ecstasy was there—a very heavy ecstasy that gripped my whole being. But instead of love, it was the light of the consciousness that is normally there that lights my inner space—I should say my outer space, because I make that distinction between them—that lights the void that I can see, and that I live in.
It became ten times brighter, filling my inner emptiness with light and ecstasy. The light of Consciousness.
My body shook. My entire being shook from the power of the ecstasy and the light and the love no longer felt, but I knew it was there. My whole body shook with the power and the process of purification. My entire beingness was unable to function. I did not want to function.
I guess I could have shook it off and functioned, if I wanted to do a medical report or something absurd like that.
But I want you to go within yourself, and look in your heart. See that movement upwards. Is there a movement in your heart, a feeling of love for me or for someone else, flowing upwards into your neck and head, so strongly it stops the brain, makes it heavy, and you no longer want to think?
It is there for everyone to take. The movement is there. You just have to be aware of it, to know that it is there. And I am telling you it is there, and you can feel it in me. Just tune into me and you can feel it. I am giving it to you now.
Then something else happened, something so classically out of Ramakrishna and the other bhaktas of the past, saints. I saw a vision of Kali, the goddess Kali. Light was coming out of her forehead, the third eye, light was coming out of her mouth, out of her chest. She was beaming light, an inner light was shining through her, everywhere. I fell at her feet and worshipped Kali. And I felt so happy. There is nothing to do any more, nothing to see.
Nothing to see, nothing to feel—only my delicious Kali.
Oh, if only you could understand this, you could feel this—and I know some of you do, I know some of you do! I have talked to you. The arising of bliss and love, the transformation into light, the seeing—some of you see this—you see Rama, you see Krishna, for the women. One even sees Nisargadatta’s teacher Siddharameshwar Maharaj bathed in light, and you fall down and worship the image that you have created in your own mind.
It is a representation of your own love, your love for your Self. Because Kali and Krishna are no other than your beloved, your Self. You are worshipping your Self when you worship Kali, you are worshipping your Self when you worship Rama or Krishna—the blue Krishna or the baby Krishna. Such subtlety, such sublimeness that we can feel!
Does anyone feel this? Can anyone feel what I have been talking about? Do you feel the void? Do you feel the movement in the void? Do you feel your chakras electrified by the rising energy?
In essence it means nothing though, these states. They are still part of the maya. They are still part of the I am, and the I am is temporary, perishable, passing, a limitation on you and your infinity.
And I do not mean Nicole’s Infinity, but your infinity. [This play on words refers to the Infinity Institute started by Robert’s widow, Nicole Adams.]
When you look within and you see the infinity within you, is it dark or light? If you can see the light inside, that light of consciousness, it can become a thousand times lighter. More bright. Terrifyingly bright. But it takes you home.
In a few minutes, I will read a passage from Nisargadatta that describes this exact thing, and shows you that these teachings that I am teaching you now arise in advaita. It is mainline advaita. It is nothing bizarre. Ed has not gone mad. The teachings are there, just not so much emphasised by Robert or Ranjit, Nisargadatta’s dharma brother; but very clearly so organised and stated by Nisargadatta himself. Implicit in his writings is this love, this juiciness.
Stay with this a few minutes. Go deep into yourself. Find that love, that current of love. Listen to my voice. I am enticing you; I am calling you to love me. Feel the love coming. I will love you back.
Can we have “Jyota se Jyota” now?
I love you all—know that. Come to me. For a few minutes, come to me.
[CHANTING – Jyota se Jyota]
Here, she [the singer of the chant] was calling both her external guru, Muktananda, and the internal guru, the sadguru, the deepest part of the Self, saying “Kindle my heart’s flame with thy flame. Kindle my heart in love, and search for truth with thy love and thy truth. Kindle my heart’s flame with thy flame, Sadguru, kindle my heart’s flame with thine.”
It is a begging.
“Please God, awaken in my heart thy love, thy truth, so that I may be with you.”
Now, you know everybody uses Nisargadatta Maharaj and points to him as an exemplar of whatever approach they have, from the neo-advaitins who quote him as one of their gurus, to the classical advaitins. He is a monster amongst traditional advaita gurus.
People who think I have gone astray need to read him because he says the same thing that I am saying now. Listen to this. This is from Prior to Consciousness, page 25:
Questioner: Will there be no continuation of memories after death?
Maharaj: Only if there is sugar cane, or sugar, will there be sweetness. If the body is not there, how can there be memories, the beingness itself is gone.
Questioner: How does one know what remains?
Maharaj: There are twenty people in this room, all twenty people leave, then what remains is there, but someone who has left cannot understand what it is. So in that Parabrahman which is without attributes, without identity, unconditioned, who is there to ask?
This is to be understood, but not by someone: the experience and the experiencer must be one, you must become the experience.
This is really important too, just this point. There is not a watching of experience and distancing from experience. You become the experience, merge into the experience, surrender to the experience, whatever it is.
Maharaj (continued): What is this Parabrahman like? The answer is, what is Bombay? Don't give me the geography or the atmosphere of Bombay, give me a handful of Bombay.
Give me a handful of the Parabrahman.
Maharaj (continued): What is Bombay? It is impossible to say, so also with Parabrahman. There is no giving or taking of Parabrahman, you can only be That.
In other words, you cannot have knowledge of the Absolute, you cannot have a knowing of the Absolute. You can only be the Absolute.
You are the Absolute at all times, but it is your conditioning, your beliefs, your thought structures, society, your names, your upbringing—all of these have created an illusion of your existence, and this illusion and these concepts have to fall away before you see yourself as what you truly are, which is the Absolute, the inner void, which you cannot see, but can only be.
Questioner: We want the state which Maharaj enjoys.
Maharaj: The eternal Truth is there, but for witnessing it is of no use. You give up this study in the name of religion or spirituality, or whatever you are trying to study. Do only one thing, that "I Amness" or consciousness is the Godliest principle; it is there only so long as the vital breath is there—it is presently your nature.
The ‘I Amness’, the vital breath, is presently your nature.
Maharaj: You worship that only. That "I Amness” is something like the sweetness of the sugar cane.
And that is how it feels. It is a sweetness—so light, like the wind, a puff of air blowing against your heart.
Maharaj: That "I Amness” is something like the sweetness of the sugar cane, abide in the sweetness of your beingness, then only you will reach and abide in eternal peace.
Questioner: I feel the life force energy polarized and intensified in my body in the presence of Maharaj.
Maharaj: In practicing meditation the life force gets purified, and when it is purified the light of the Self shines forth, but the working principle is the life force. When this purified life force and the light of the Atman (Self) merge, then the concept, the mind, the imagination, everything is taken away. The life force is the acting principle and that which gives sentience to the person is the consciousness.
So he is saying there are two things: life force, which is activity driving the body, the energy that keeps us alive, and consciousness, which gives us sentience, awareness of what is.
Questioner: This is what the tradition of shiva and shakti signifies?
Maharaj: Shiva means the consciousness and shakti is the life force. People go by various names which have been given, and forget the basic principle.
In other words, you have a name—Jo-Ann, Alan, Edji, Shane, Joan—but you forget your basic principle, the life force and consciousness. You are not a body, or consciousness.
Maharaj (continued): Merely sit in contemplation and let the consciousness unfold itself. What have you understood?
Questioner: This consciousness starts to get a greater sense of itself, and the prana and the body's energy becomes intensified and polarized, it seems to be part of the purification.
Maharaj: When this consciousness and the prana shakti (life force) merge, they tend to go and become steady in the Brahma-randra…
I think that is the one above the forehead … no, it is above the thousand-petaled chakra, above the head.
Maharaj (continued):…become steady in the Brahma-randra, and then all thoughts cease.
A lot of people experience this as the head getting heavy, the brain getting heavy like a rock and all thoughts cease, and the brain and the whole head feel so heavy, so dense. Stupid like a rock. As Seung Sahn Sunim [Zen master, formerly Edji’s teacher] used to say, “Dumb as a rock”.
Your head seizes, your brain seizes, and that is when shakti combines. The life force and consciousness merge in the brain.
And Nisargadatta Maharaj says:
Maharaj (continued): This is the start of samadhi. Then one comes back again and the life force starts its normal activities.
In other words, the brain becomes like a rock. You go into samadhi, and that has many different forms... either where you become thoughtless and nothing happens and even consciousness is lost, or else it drops away and you see the world and it is so bright and beautiful and close and the distance between you and the objects has disappeared totally, and you are in awe of how splendid the world is that you have created.
And then the samadhi goes away, and the shakti begins to do its normal activities of day-to-day life.
Maharaj (continuing to following session from July 9, 1980): Understand that it is not the individual which has consciousness, it is the consciousness which assumes innumerable forms. That something which is born or which will die is purely imaginary. It is the child of a barren woman.
In the absence of this basic concept "I Am" there is no thought, there is no consciousness.
This is very, very important. He is saying, the ‘I’ itself, the core of the ‘I am’, is not real. It is a figment created by the word ‘I,’ and by the repetitive use of ‘I’—I do this, I do that, I feel this, I should do this, I am this, I am that. We use the ‘I’ a thousand times a day, or at least a hundred times a day, and we assume that there is something in us that this ‘I’ word points to, the core of the ‘I am’ concept.
Everything gets wrapped around this word ‘I’. Our sense of presence gets wrapped around it. But when we see the ‘I’ is only a thought and it does not refer to anything, the boundaries between inner and outer disappear and we become one with Consciousness. There is no inner–outer, there is no I-thou.
And even then, once the I disappears, the sense of presence can disappear too, because it is no longer limited to ‘I’. The sense of presence is throughout the entire universe.
Maharaj (Edji skipping ahead to page 27): What is the Self? If you want to expand, the entire world is the manifestation. At the same time it is very tiny—the seed beingness—like an atom, a pinprick of "I Amness."
That is the very source of love. Such a potential is there, having provided that love …
I am getting so distracted. There are dogs barking outside, and cats screwing around in the garage outside! It is very distracting.
Maharaj (continued): That is the very source of love. Such a potential is there, having provided that love to the entire world, it remains in that seed "I Am," the leftover is that "I Am." That pinprick or touch of "I Amness" is the quintessence of all essence.
One must have firm abidance or faith in the words of the Guru. Here I do not repeat or imitate what other sages do. I am not championing any religion. I have no pose or stance for anything, not even that I am a man or a woman. The moment you accept any pose or stance you have to take care of that by following certain disciplines relating to that pose. I abide in the Self only.
That Self is entirely beyond the world.
Maharaj (continued): I do not believe that anybody did exist prior to me. When my beingness appeared, then everything appeared. Prior to my beingness, nothing was. Originally I am without any stigma, uncovered by anything.
The Paramatman is the core Self, the highest Self. Its identity is without any stigma, it is subtler than space.
Why are you dying? Understand the first moment, when you understood that you are. Due to what? How?
Once you understand this, you are the highest of the Gods—the point at which everything rises; the source and the end is the same point. Once you understand that point, you are released from that point.
Once you understand Consciousness, once you understand ‘I’, once you understand ‘I Amness’, once you understand your own personality—and this is a growing understanding that comes, naturally maturing, by being yourself, by witnessing yourself, by acting yourself out. It is a natural process.
Maharaj (continued): Once you understand that point... the point of beingness, the basic consciousness, the seed of consciousness…
Maharaj (continued): Once you understand that point, you are released from that point.
You are no longer bound by Consciousness or the I am—you are free.
Maharaj (continued): Nobody tries to understand this happening of the "I Amness." I, the Absolute am not this "I Amness."
He identifies with the mystery inside—the inner void, of which we can know nothing, and we can only be it.
Maharaj (continued): I, the Absolute am not this "I Amness."
In meditation your beingness should merge in itself, a non-dual state. Remain still. Do not struggle to come out of the mud of your concepts, you will only go deeper. Remain still.
That is the bullshit for today.
So I tried, in this reading, to show that what I am teaching now is really not Robert any more, but it is advaita seen through the eyes of Nisargadatta and Ed Muzika. It is not that I took it from him, but we think alike—our experiences, apparently, are alike.
If you read Self Knowledge and Self Realization by Nisargadatta [the only known spiritual tract written by Nisargadatta himself, originally published in India in 1963; found by Nisargadatta’s student and editor Jean Dunn in a small bookstore in Mumbai and given by her to Edji by in Los Angeles years later, first published by Edji to the Internet in 2005], you can see that love in him every minute.
He talks about the various stages he went through: of seeing the guru and loving the guru, and becoming one with beingness; and then spotting his beloved, his Absolute state. First the ‘I Amness.’ The ‘I Amness’ itself, which some of you still have a hard time feeling. And then, when you fully understand the point of the ‘I Amness,’ it drops away.
It just melts, disappears. All the concepts disappear, and you are left with That, the Ultimate. No concepts, just pure pureness; pure beingness, without any sense of ‘I Amness’ even. Completely resting in your Self, nowhere to go, nothing to do.
This is where I want you to go. This is where I am trying to take you, through this new way. The old Ed Muzika way was pretty boring. Twenty seven years of meditation on the Self!
This way is so fertile, so loving. So much energy is here. It almost forces you to progress. And there does seem to be a progression here, while there is not so much a progression in the boring way. Or else it is so slow. But this is so palpable and rich, so fertile.
Do you feel it?
So we will have another small chant, as an interregnum.
Let us just be quiet for a second, and then we will start talking to each other.
Jo-Ann, how about the Yogananda chant, “Who is in my Temple”? It is a short chant, and if you cannot find that… can you find that? Okay.
Listen to the words too, and go within.
[CHANTING – Who is in My Temple?]
Know the movement of love in the heart becomes ever more subtle and complex the more you watch it.
There are so many theories about the different ways to approach that, but if you look inside and the love is there and it flows, you begin to see that the heart chakra is very complicated. Some say it has many chambers, many aspects to the heart, many flavours, and love itself has many colours and intensities.
You know, I would say you are very lucky to hear these words. I do not hear anybody else saying them. Not like this. And I see that our membership is falling. What, only ten or twelve people come today?
One of my teachers, Sasaki Roshi, said “Listen to my words very closely. I am 65 years old, and I will be dead soon”. That was 37 years ago, and he is still talking. But you never know. You never know when this truth is going to disappear, so listen closely.
Now, usually I ask people how they are and start a conversation, but I am going to put it on you this time. If you want to say something to me or ask me a question, you have to initiate it.
Be brave! Break your silence. Make a fool out of yourself.
[Private dialogue removed]
Then let us end with “I Will Sing Thy Name”.
[CHANTING – I Will Sing Thy Name]
Goodnight everyone. I love you all.
Try to find that love in your presence. Try to find your own sense of presence, and the richness and the fertility in there. The wetness in your own beingness. You do not have to look without—it is already in you. I love you all.
Until next week, bye-bye.