SATSANG 27th AUGUST 2011
Part 1: Nature of Enlightenment
OK, here we go again now. I am trying to get you to understand the depth that chanting can take you to, the kinds of energies that can arise in you, and the helpfulness it is to stop the mind and to open your heart. So please listen to the chants. Go deep inside of your body, feel yourself … into your consciousness in your body, and listen to the chants from there, and try to become one with the music. Become one with the chanting.
You all come here for a reason. Some know their reasons, some don’t. It is better to think of it this way: Consciousness sent you here, so that it could hear about itself through me and you. I am talking to You, which is you talking to You.
Tonight I want to talk about something I know you all have wanted to hear and that is the nature of the enlightened state, the awakened state – what is it like? It is so rare to find discussion of this. You can find a little bit in Kapleau’s book “Three Pillars of Zen”. You can find a lot of it in Bernadette Roberts’ books “The Path to No-Self”, the journey to no-self, “The Experience of No-Self”. You can find a little of it in Nisargadatta’s book “Self Knowledge and Self Realization”. You can read these books and get a feel, a little bit of a feel, but for me the process has been becoming stupider and stupider. So stupid and so forgetful, I don’t know who I am, and I don’t care who I am. There is always a sweet fragrance of nothingness, of purified consciousness that goes through it, sweet love.
But a friend of mine – David – sent me a letter. We talked on Wednesday on the phone, and I asked him if he was happy. David is enlightened, and has been for some time. He has been my friend for some time, always reacting when Infinity comes after me, always supportive, gives great supportive comments. Some of his posts are up [on the blog] and they are so eloquent, so beautiful. So he sent me this letter.
“Earlier today you asked me how I feel, Ed. This is difficult for me to clearly articulate. Words such as ‘happy’ are highly subjective, and have very different connotations to different people. There are some states that defy both linguistic description and human understanding. I really don’t know who I am or what I am any more. There is this beautiful, beautiful mystery that has embraced me, and though I appear normal – or at least try to on the outside – I don’t really feel like an individual at all in most respects. I perceive impulses of pleasure and pain throughout my body. I feel waves of human emotion trickle through my awareness. I laugh when I hear a funny joke. I cry when I hear a sweet Krishna bhajan, in fact every time I hear a sweet Krishna bhajan or kirtan. Every time.”
“I find myself doing all sorts of things for no particular reason. None of it really feels like it has anything to do with me or belongs to me in any way. I live in a state of awareness of – for lack of a better term – the Truth. By Truth, I am not referring to some intellectual concept or understanding, and I am also not referring to some empty void or vacuum where nothing happens or exists.”
“What I feel is a sense of completeness, totality and perfection that can’t be compared to what most people describe as happiness. The elusive happiness I hear most people discuss is only relative to some other state. In contrast, the completeness I feel is like a fathomless pool of joy that just deepens and deepens, unto eternity. It is a boundless sea that is completely still, yet extends in all directions. There is no beginning, no end, no diminishing value or return. I still feel physical pain, some weeks on a daily basis. I still enjoy drinking chai – I can taste the cinnamon, cardamon, and cloves like never before. I still experience sadness at funerals of people I have known well and loved well in this life, yet death is a complete joke to me. The world seems more alive than ever. I see the face of God everywhere I look, even when I close my eyes … especially then.”
“Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone next to the roaring ocean? You may get the gist of what the person is saying but what you really hear is the thundering sound of the waves crashing against the shore. If you aren’t careful, you start to tune out the other individual entirely and just listen to the sea because it is so peaceful and soothing. Then you actually become the waves, until your friend starts shaking you and accusing you of ignoring her and being emotionally distant. Then you smile and try to pay attention to maya again for a while. A little maya is OK, and that is how it is for me. In this way, I am happy. This is my happiness, my reality. I do not own it – it owns me, possesses me, like the sun possesses light, like the fire possesses warmth, like Radah possesses Krishna, like love possesses itself. Love and blessings, David.”
More or less, this was my state constantly, until about six months ago. Someone came into my life and I learned human love, and I developed a great human happiness in addition to that below, what I just read. And that love has grown and now encompasses all of you. The happiness I feel in addition to what David was talking about. It gave me a new solidity, a new sense of purpose. It brought me back into the world so I could be here with you and love you. I love you all. This is with human love, one person loving another.
But what David is talking about is a very clear exposition of the awakening state, and you can see it’s in progress for him. There are parts of him that are still there. He hasn’t totally vanished as Robert totally vanished. Neither have I. There is still a lot of me here. There is a lot that I am still doing in the world in terms of taking care of animals, taking care of people.
I would like to read again something I read before by Nisargadatta that addresses the same point [From “Prior to Consciousness”, April 19th 1980]:
Question: “In the old days, it says in the Upanishads, any disciple had to stick close to the Guru for one year without opening his mouth, and only then should he ask questions.”
Maharaj: “When he sits in proximity to a Guru the capacity of his beingness to receive this teachings becomes mature. His capacity to understand increases. It arises within him, it does not come from outside him. You must come to a firm decision. You must forget the thought that you are a body and only be the knowledge “I Am”, which has no form, no name. Just be. When you stabilise in that beingness it will give you all the knowledge and all the secrets to you, and when the secrets are given to you, you transcend the beingness, and you, the Absolute, will know that you are also not the consciousness. Having gained all this knowledge, having understood what is what, a kind of quietude prevails, a tranquility. Beingness is transcended, but beingness is available.”
Questioner: “What is that state?”
Maharaj: “It is something like a deer taking rest in the shadow of a tree. The colour of the shadow is neither light nor very dark, this is the borderland. Neither jet black nor very bright, halfway between them, that is that shadow. Deep blue like clouds, that is that state. That is also the grace of the Sat-Guru. Everything is flowing out of that state, but this principle does not claim anything, it is not involved in anything that is coming out of it, but this beingness is available. That deep, dark blue state, the grace of the Sat-Guru. This is the state of the jnani, this is a very, very rare, natural samadhi state, the most natural state, the highest state.”
“You must have a firm conviction about this. Once the decision is taken, there is no moving away from it. The fruition of your spirituality is to fully understand your true nature, to stabilise in your true identity. One must have patience, the capacity to wait and see.”
“The darkness that you see when you close your eyes, that is the shadow of the Guru’s grace; don’t forget it, always keep it in mind. Take rest in the shadow of the Guru’s grace. Whenever you remember the words of the Guru, you are in the shade of the Guru’s grace. Ultimately everything merges into the Self. You may come across great difficulties, but your courage and stability in the Self should be firm.”
[From Nisargadatta’s “Prior to Consciousness”, April 23rd 1980]:
Maharaj: “I, the Absolute, never had any experience that I was alive, and now I am experiencing that I am alive, and all this trouble I am experiencing is through this I-am-alive-experience. This experience is limited to time and space; but when I understood the whole thing, I understood that I never had any experience that I was alive. That is a state beyond any experience.”
[From Nisargadatta “Prior to Consciousness”, April 30 1980]:
Maharaj: “The consciousness that ‘I Am’ has created, and sustains, all the wonders of the world for which men take credit; on the other hand, this consciousness has no control over itself. The principle out of which you have sprouted has tremendous powers. Lord Krishna has said “You worship me, be devoted to me.” This means what? The knowledge ‘I Am’ which is indwelling in you - worship that only. You charge your beingness with those tremendous qualities of Lord Krishna; your beingness means Lord Krishna, be devoted to that.”
“In the initial stages, your devotion is of the surrendering type. You worship some principle and surrender to that principle. In the final stages, you become the entire universe. Your faith towards some principle will not remain the same; it will be continually changing. … Take it that this ‘I Amness’ of yours is the unadulterated form of Godlihood; the pure Iswara state is your beingness. It is quite proper and praiseworthy that you are listening to the talks. Nevertheless, you are not getting rid of this attachment to the body-mind. You are constantly surrounded by relations or intimacies connected with your body-mind. Have full faith in your beingness and allow it to grow into the manifest Iswara principle. It is all powerful - meditate on that. It is very simple, yet at the same time, very profound. The consciousness is the seed of Godliness. If we give it its true importance and pray to it, then it will flower into Godliness. If we don’t give it any importance, it will not flower into Godliness.”
Some people have complained that I have abandoned advaita and am teaching bhakti, and I am talking about love all the time instead of knowledge or all the other things that the advaitins talk about, but I am going to turn to Robert. Somebody just sent me this fragment of a transcript, which is under 250 words, and Robert said (this is in July of 1993) - and no one doubts that Robert is a great jnani. He says:
Robert: “Love is the greatest power in the universe. If you could only love enough, you would become absolutely free. You must develop love. Not suspicion and doubtfulness, but love. Pure love. Unconditional love. If you have enough love you will not talk too much, for love speaks for itself. “
“A beautiful flower need not declare, “I am fragrant.” By its very nature it’s fragrant. Therefore do not declare, “I am a good person, I help people.” Forget about yourself. Love others no matter where they are, and leave them alone. Love the world just the way it is. That’s how people change, that’s how the world changes. By loving it. And remember, have humility. If you can only do this, you do not have to concern yourself about realization, or awakening, or liberation. For it will take care of itself.”
Now you can try this.
Part 2: Guided Meditation
This is a little guided meditation. Put your consciousness in your head. Wrap your brain with your consciousness, and then let that consciousness start falling into the body, or fall backwards into the background. Feel the consciousness leave your brain and go downwards, and go downwards into your body. Let’s try that for a few seconds.
Sink into your body, sink into your heart, sink into your stomach, and if the sinking is really taking place, you start feeling stupid. Your brain refuses to function. Thoughts go away, you go away, the brain goes away, nothing in it works. Just drop into yourself, or fall backwards into yourself. Just try it for a few minutes.
Feel like somebody kicked you in the head - the mind does not want to work, it feels lazy. Or fall down into yourself. Go deep into yourself. Go very deep into yourself. Leave your brain behind. Leave your mind behind. Go deep within.
What do you find? If you have really gone within, you will find peace. Your basic nature is peace. You are aware that things come and go out of your awareness and you don’t care. It has nothing to do with you. Just go deeper, go deeper.
All the cares you had an hour ago are gone. All the cares are expressed in your mind, and your mind is gone. Your body may even experience pain but it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just pain in the body – so what? It has no draw for you, one way or the other. You are happy, content, but not yet complete.
Completeness comes when you truly love yourself, when you are filled with love. When you have stabilised in love and become the experience of love, that brings a sense of completeness. All the holes from your past are filled, you become one solid building, no weaknesses any more. All those holes and vulnerabilities are filled with love. You feel complete, no need to move.
You are the centre of the universe. I am the centre of the universe - I am Brahman, I am God - because you felt love and it has filled you. This is your true state. Stay here, stay here, don’t move. You are perfect the way you are.
Now we are going to have a chant that is all about You. This is consciousness singing to you, and you singing to your Self or your Beloved.
[CHANTING – “In the Valley of Sorrow”]
Now this is one more chance to go deep, and this is not a deep chant – this is a harsh, strong, powerful chant – and really go for it. Identify with the music and let it carry you away.
We might still have some discussion afterwards, it’s still early. And, my new modem hasn’t dropped me yet! I got a new modem and it’s working. Let’s have “Sri Ram Jay Ram”. This is a powerful chant.
And start practicing sitting for the intensive because you have to worm your way into it. Just get prepared. Start sitting more and more every day.
[CHANTING – “Sri Ram Jay Ram”]
Part 3: What is Meant by Illusion
I have been reading Ranjit Maharaj recently. He is the dharma brother of Nisargadatta. He wrote a book called “Illusion versus Reality”. I read about forty pages of it, and he just repeats the same thing over and over again. “The world is an illusion, forget it, have nothing to do with it”. That’s all he says, over and over again. Forty pages – “the world is illusion”.
For the life of me, I can’t imagine any of his students ever awakening. What the f*ck does that mean? Where is the logic in that? “Just take my word for it: the world is illusion”. But what kind of illusion? How is it an illusion? And he has no method. Just listen to me over and over again: “the world is illusion”. The only reality, he says, is ‘He’, ‘He’, and ‘He’ is never defined except versus illusion. Huh? There has to be a method. Now, he says you have to trust the Guru’s words: the Guru says “the world is an illusion”. Robert said it all the time too, but Robert gave methods.
And Ranjit wasn’t one that believed in love. Love was maya, something to be avoided. What a dry stick he must have been. On the other hand, Nisargadatta [From “Prior to Consciousness”, May 4th 1980]:
“If you want to remember this visit, if you have love for me, remember this ‘I Am’ principle and without the command or direction of this principle, do nothing. … That maya is so powerful that it gets you completely wrapped up in it. Maya means ‘I Am’, ‘I love to be’. It has no identity except love. That knowledge of ‘I Am’ is the greatest foe and the greatest friend. Although it might be your greatest enemy, if you propitiate it properly [Edji: which means love it, worship the ‘I Am’], it will turn around and lead you to the highest state.”
So, find your sense of presence, love that sense of presence, and it will lead you to the highest state. Not the seventeen years of boring meditation that I did. This is really exciting, the short way - the short, violent way of love.
So, I love you. Feel your love of me. Let that love grow, let my love grow, and it leads us to the highest state. How simple, how easy, how more convenient that anything else - just love!
(Thank you Katheryn so much for transcribing this!)