If all is a part of a natural process, where is the
need of effort?
Nisargadatta: Even effort is a part of it.
When ignorance becomes obstinate and hard and the
character gets perverted, effort and the pain of it
become inevitable. In complete obedience to nature
there is no effort. The seed of spiritual life
grows in silence and in darkness until its
Question: We come across some great people,
who, in their old age, become childish, petty,
quarrelsome and spiteful. How could they
deteriorate so much?
Nisargadatta: They were not perfect yogis,
having their bodies under complete control. Or,
they might not have cared to protect their bodies
from the natural decay. One must not draw
conclusions without understanding all the factors.
Above all, one must not make judgements of
inferiority or superiority. Youthfulness is more a
matter of vitality [prana] than of wisdom
Question: One may get old, but why should
one lose all alertness and discrimination?
Nisargadatta: Consciousness and
unconsciousness, while in the body depend on the
condition of the brain. But the Self is beyond
both, beyond the brain, beyond the mind. The fault
of the instrument is no reflection on its user.
Question: I was told that a realised man
will never do anything unseemly. He will always
behave in an exemplary way.
Nisargadatta: Who sets the example? Why
should a liberated man necessarily follow
conventions? The moment he becomes predictable, he
cannot be free. His freedom lies in his being free
to fulfil the need of the moment, to obey the
necessity of the situation. Freedom to do what one
likes is really bondage, while being free to do
what one must, what is right, is real freedom.
Question: Still there must be some way of
making out who has realised and who has not. If one
is indistinguishable from the other, of what use is
Nisargadatta: He who knows himself has no
doubts about it. Nor does he care whether others
recognise his state or not. Rare is the realised
man who discloses his realisation and fortunate are
those who have met him, for he does it for their
Question: When one looks round, one is
appalled by the volume of unnecessary suffering
that is going on. People who should be helped are
not getting help. Imagine a big hospital ward full
of incurables, tossing and moaning. Were you given
the authority to kill them all and end their
torture, would you not do so?
Nisargadatta: I would leave it to them to
Question: But if their destiny is to suffer?
How can you interfere with destiny?
Nisargadatta: Their destiny is what happens.
There is no thwarting of destiny. You mean to say
everybody's life is totally determined at his
birth? What a strange idea! Were it so, the power
that determines would see to it that nobody should
Question: What about cause and effect?
Nisargadatta: Each moment contains the whole
of the past and creates the whole of the
Question: But past and future exist?
Nisargadatta: In the mind only. Time is in
the mind, space is in the mind. The law of cause
and effect is also a way of thinking. In reality
all is here and now and all is one. Multiplicity
and diversity are in the mind only.
Question: Still, you are in favour of
relieving suffering, even through destruction of
the incurably diseased body.
Nisargadatta: Again, you look from outside
while I look from within. I do not see a sufferer,
I am the sufferer. I know him from within and do
what is right spontaneously and effortlessly. I
follow no rules nor lay down rules. I flow with
life faithfully and irresistibly.
Question: Still you seem to be a very
practical man in full control of your immediate
Nisargadatta: What else do you expect me to
be? A misfit?
Question: Yet you cannot help another
Nisargadatta: Surely, I can help. You too
can help. Everybody can help. But the suffering is
all the time recreated. Man alone can destroy in
himself the roots of pain. Others can only help
with the pain, but not with its cause, which is the
abysmal stupidity of mankind.
Question: Will this stupidity ever come to
Nisargadatta: In man of course. Any
moment. In humanity as we know it
after very many years. In creation never,
for creation itself is rooted in ignorance; matter
itself is ignorance. Not to know, and not to know
that one does not know, is the cause of endless
Question: We are told of the great avatars,
the saviours of the world.
Nisargadatta: Did they save? They have come
and gone and the world plods on. Of course,
they did a lot and opened new dimensions in the
human mind. But to talk of saving the world is an
Question: Is there no salvation for the
Nisargadatta: Which world do you want to
save? The world of your own projection? Save it
yourself. My world? Show me my world and I shall
deal with it. I am not aware of any world separate
from myself, which I am free to save or not to
save. What business have you with saving the world,
when all the world needs is to be saved from you?
Get out of the picture and see whether there is
anything left to save.
Question: You seem to stress the point that
without you your world would not have existed and
therefore the only thing you can do for it is to
wind up the show. This is not a way out. Even if
the world were of my own creation, this knowledge
does not save it. It only explains it. The question
remains: why did I create such a wretched world and
what can I do to change it? You seem to say: forget
it all and admire your own glory. Surely, you don't
mean it. The description of a disease and its
causes does not cure it. What we need is the right
Nisargadatta: The description and causation
are the remedy for a disease caused by obtuseness
and stupidity. Just like a deficiency disease is
cured through the supply of the missing factor, so
are the diseases of living cured by a good dose of
Question: You cannot save the world by
preaching counsels of perfection. People are as
they are. Must they suffer?
Nisargadatta: As long as they are as they
are, there is no escape from suffering. Remove the
sense of separateness and there will be no
Question: A message in print may be paper
and ink only. It is the text that matters. By
analysing the world into elements and qualities we
miss the most important its meaning. Your
reduction of everything to dream disregards the
difference between the dream of an insect and the
dream of a poet. All is dream, granted. But not all
Nisargadatta: The dreams are not equal, but
the dreamer is one. I am the insect. I am the poet
in dream. But in reality I am neither. I am
beyond all dreams. I am the light in which all
dreams appear and disappear. I am both inside and
outside the dream. Just as a man having headache
knows the ache and also knows that he is not the
ache, so do I know the dream, myself dreaming and
myself not dreaming all at the same time. I
am what I am before, during and after the dream.
But what I see in dream, l am not.
Question: It is all a matter of imagination.
One imagines that one is dreaming, another imagines
one is not dreaming. Are not both the same?
Nisargadatta: The same and not the same. Not
dreaming, as an interval between two dreams, is of
course, a Part of dreaming. Not dreaming as a
steady hold on, and timeless abidance in reality
has nothing to do with dreaming. In that sense I
never dream, nor ever shall.
Question: If both dream and escape from
dream are imaginings, what is the way out?
Nisargadatta: There is no need of a way out!
Don't you see that a way out is also a part of the
dream? All you have to do is to see the dream as
Question: If I start the practice of
dismissing everything as a dream where will it lead
Nisargadatta: Wherever it leads you, it will
be a dream. The very idea of going beyond the dream
is illusory. Why go anywhere? Just realise that you
are dreaming a dream you call the world, and stop
looking for ways out. The dream is not your
problem. Your problem is that you like one part of
your dream and not another. Love all, or none of
it, and stop complaining. When you have seen the
dream as a dream, you have done all that needs be
Question: Is dreaming caused by
Nisargadatta: Everything is a play of ideas.
In the state free from ideation [nirvikalpa
samadhi] nothing is perceived. The root idea
is: "I am". It shatters the state of pure
consciousness and is followed by the innumerable
sensations and perceptions, feeling and ideas which
in their totality constitute God and His world. The
"I am" remains as the witness, but it is by the
will of God that everything happens.
Question: Why not by my will?
Nisargadatta: Again you have split yourself
into God and witness. Both are one.