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ramana maharshi | who am I? | guru | self-enquiry | spiritual instruction | wisdom | words | silence | daily talks | reality | padam – the formless self
abide in the self | arunachala | annamalai swami | self alone is real | swami rama tirtha | real self | i am that | practical freedom | sun of self
h.w.l. poonja | freedom now | remembering | meeting ramana | who is aware of consciousness? | who are you? | words | no practice | final abode
eternal rest | lion's roar | peace is always everywhere | plunge into eternity | i am eternal self | summa iru | wisdom | here and now in lucknow
ma anandamayi | words | siddharameshwar maharaj | beyond nothing | perfection of material science | master key | non-action | self
nisargadatta maharaj | words | a great maharashtrian jnani | self-knowledge and self-realisation | meet the sage | detachment | awareness | who am I?
life | "i am" | guru and disciple | ranjit maharaj | meeting siddharameshwar | everything is nothing | forget everything | death is not true | real and unreal
u.g. krishnamurti | natural state | words | remembering | no separation | nothing to understand | chief joseph | way of the warrior | old tcheng | sayings
advaita | vedanta | devikalottara | supreme wisdom | atma sakshatkar | direct awareness of the self | vichara mani mala | jewel garland of enquiry
avadhuta gita | ever-free | ashtavakra gita | purest expression of truth | ribhu gita | heart | wisdom | bhagavad gita | essence | the song celestial
adi shankaracharya | atma bodha | aparokshanubhuti | dakshinamurti strotram | dasasloki | nirvana shatkam | drik drisya viveka | vivekachudamani
seng tsan | faith mind | gaudapada | mandukya karika | katha upanishad | death as teacher | yoga vasistha | dispassion | seeker's behaviour | essence
ramakant maharaj | reality has nothing to do with words | lama guendune rinpoché | free and easy | ellam ondre | all is one | william samuel | now



Let there be peace and love among all beings of the universe. OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

"Thought is interested only in its own survival."

UESTION :  When you say "I", what concept do you have of yourself? What does this "I" refer to?

U.G.: To me, the "I" is a first person, singular pronoun. I discovered this when I was very young. Other than that, I do not think there is any such thing as "I", or "self", or all the words we use for this. There is no way you can separate yourself from this living organism, other than through the concepts or ideas that have been put into you. The only way you can separate yourself from whatever you call yourself – the "I", the "self" or the "Atman" – is only when you use knowledge. Otherwise, you have no way of separating yourself from what you call "you", "I". I do use "I", I do use "my" sometimes; "my" daughter when I introduce her, or "my" sister. My wife has been dead for 35 years, so there is no need for me to say that that is "my" wife. [laughs] But actually, I have no relationship whatsoever with my daughter or the person I am introducing as my friend. The only way I can separate myself and look at myself is when I use the knowledge about the "self", the "I", or the "Atman" or whatever it is. So that knowledge is put in here, in the computer, in the data bank or memory bank by culture or the society. Other than that, I don't think I have any idea as to who the hell am I, if I may use that word.

There is no inside and outside. The only way I can separate myself from you is through the knowledge I have about you. I never tell myself that you are wearing blue jeans. I know they are blue jeans. The moment I say that, "they are blue jeans", the knowledge I have about blue jeans is no longer there. So, I cannot say that I don't know anything. When I say that "I know that that is blue, and the sky is bright", then I am back again in the same situation, which is that I really don't know what I am looking at. I never tell myself that "It is bright outside." Never. And if you asked me, I would say, "It is bright and sunny and it is very warm." All the information that is there, inside is brought out by your question. I never tell myself that "It is bright", or I never tell myself that "It is dark", but I don't say for one moment "I do not know." I know.

So, there is no way I can separate myself from what is happening out there and what is happening inside. If there is no separateness from what you are looking at, there is no way you can tell yourself what is happening outside or what is happening inside. There is no inside and outside there. The physical eye does not look at that as "white", or never does it say "it is dark". The sensory perceptions do not translate anything whatsoever about what is happening out there or inside of me. So, there is no way I can separate myself from what I am looking at, out there, or inside of me. I can say, "This is me", "This is not me", "I am happy", "I am unhappy", "I am greedy", "I am not greedy", "I am jealous", "I am not jealous." They have no meaning at all to me.

Question: So, do you not have any identification with things that happen in your everyday life?

U.G.: No, I don't like to use the word identification. I never translate that within the framework of the knowledge I have. The need arises only when there is a demand from outside. They are never self-initiated at all. It's an automatic thing. For some reason, the space between the cause and effect relationship doesn't operate all the time. So, when there is a demand, then I can say that that is probably the cause of this and this is the result of that cause, but actually there is no space between cause and effect. So the instrument which we use, that is, thinking, or even thoughts, are born out of the cause and effect relationship and there is no way you can understand anything without creating the space between the cause and effect.

For example, death itself is a concept. The body does not know that it is alive at this moment and you are not there to preside over your own death. So, for all practical purposes, there is no way I can tell myself that I am living, that I am alive. If you ask me the question, "Are you alive or are you dead?", I would certainly say that, "I am alive." Why I say "I'm alive", is because of what I'm taught by the physiologists and what the doctors tell us. I am able to talk and respond and so because of that, they conclude that I am a living being. That is the common knowledge that is passed onto us, but there is no way that I can experience the fact that this is a living organism. No way. So, when it is dead, all the knowledge that we have has to come to an end.

We are only interested in one thing: "How?" Everyone asks the question,"How?" This word should be eliminated from all languages! "How?" means that you want to know. By knowing more and more, you have maintained the continuity of this knowledge. So, you don't want that to come to an end, you see. We know a lot, but at the same time we are all the time asking this question, "How?"

Question: When you were young, did you know what you were looking for?

U.G.: I was actually and factually looking for a man like me who is here now. If I say, "Like a man like me", you will throw the question at me: "Do you know what you are like?" Something vaguely like this. So I had to reject everybody, you see. Not that I said to myself that I am looking for a man like this guy who is sitting here, but actually when I said to myself, "This is the one you are looking for", then he disappeared, completely and totally.

One day I said to myself, "Why the hell have I wasted 49 years of my life wanting to be enlightened?" I then said to myself. "Now, you are an enlightened man. You are in the same state as all those spiritual teachers: Buddha, Jesus, everybody." So, that hit me so hard. "Until yesterday, you told yourself that you wanted to be an enlightened man like all those people. Now you tell yourself that you are an enlightened man, that you are in the same state as all those spiritual teachers." It hit me so hard. I said to myself, "It is the teachers who say that you yourself are not enlightened because of the knowledge that they have passed on to me on how an enlightened man functions. So, it is the same knowledge that tells me now that I am an enlightened man. So there is nothing to this experience." I asked myself, "So, how the hell do you know that you are an enlightened man?" And then, this started like a whirlpool. It went on. "How the hell do you know that you are in the same state as all those people?" It went on and on and on and on for fifteen minutes until it just stopped all of a sudden, and what I was left with, that I really don't know. What am I left with now? It's not out of modesty that I am saying this. There is no way I can tell myself, "Who are you? What are you? What is there?"

Question: Would you say that there was no longer something missing, that there was no longer the feeling that you had to find something?

U.G.: Nothing, you see.

Question: So, it was complete?

U.G.: It was finished. And then the strangest thing from then on was the senses took over. And then, I discovered the real way the senses operate. There was no transmitter who was saying, "That is a bright sun" or "It is dark" or "This is hard" or "This is soft." I was looking at the cow there in field, and I asked Valentine, who was sitting next to me on the bench, "What is that?" She said, "A cow." And after another five minutes, again, like a child, I asked her, "What is that, Valentine?" She was so disgusted. "How many times do I have to tell you that that is a cow? Don't you know that?" You see, in the beginning it intrigued me. I didn't even know what that was. Now, I'm in the same situation and I never know what I'm looking at. If you ask me the question, "What is that?", I would say "It is a cow."

Question: But, when the thoughts came into your mind, did everything...

U.G.: One difference is that there is no way I can draw a line and tell myself and tell others that this was the way I was functioning before and this is the way I am functioning now. There is no way I can draw a line. I always use this crude simile: after wash, before wash. There is no way to know how I was functioning. But basically, I tell you, that there is no change in me at all, except that the demand, you see, that I wanted to be something different from what I thought I was. That is the only thing that is missing. And another thing is that there is no way I can create an image inside of me of what you look like. If I turn towards the wall, away from you, this camera [pointing to his eyes] is focused on that wall and there is no way I can create an image of what you look like. No way. And if I turn to this side again, and look at you, there is no need for me to translate and tell myself, "That is you, and that you are wearing blue jeans." Never do I tell myself all this because there is no need for me now.

So there is no way I can create an image. Although I have known Paul for thirty years, I don't remember what he looks like, but when he's here in front of me, the computer throws up the picture and recognises him, but it never tells itself that that is Paul. It is not because I don't know. The data bank, the memory bank is not in any way influenced by the translator or the one who is bringing out the knowledge to know. In that sense, there is no way I can create an image of anything, of what it looks like. It's impossible for me.

There is no such thing as total attention, at all. It is just not possible. For example, if you look at that curtain which is moving with the wind. It is the one thing that is demanding your attention. I never tell myself what the eyes are looking at and there is no way I can be separated from what is there. I cannot separate myself from what the eyes are looking at unless there is a need for that. And that need arises only from somebody else who asks me something. Do you understand? So never are my actions self-initiated. Never. So, the moment the thought is born there, the action is over. The separation occurs only when the knowledge comes in and tells me that, "That is a white curtain." You see, otherwise where is the need for me to tell myself that? So, why we do it is very simple. It is because we have to maintain the continuity of knowledge. That is the only reason. For example, you say, "That is white and that is blue", or "You are this and that", and you go on and on and on. That need is the only thing that is there; it is not the "I", not the "self", not the "Atman". Nothing is there, except the need to maintain the continuity of the knowledge you have about things out there and the things here [pointing to himself].

So the only thing I do these days is only to talk about how these senses are functioning. This body is born with an extraordinary intelligence, unparalleled intelligence. And there is no way you can match this with any amount of knowledge you have. You cannot. So, whatever you think is good for this body, whatever ideas you are putting into this body, it is rejecting. That is why it doesn't need to know anything, it doesn't need to have anything more. That applies to every area of our existence. That's why I brush aside the whole medical technology. I have never been to a doctor, I don't eat anything that anybody recommends and I say emphatically that modern day doctors are the modern day witches, and modern day medical technology is the modern day witchcraft, as far as I am concerned. Whatever they think is good for the body, I don't eat. I eat that oatmeal there [pointing to the table]. That is the latest I find, it's called "Super Fast". You can find it only in London. I have one bowl, a small bowl and then pour double cream, triple cream, quadruple cream and I add a tiny weenie bit of frozen pineapple juice, which I don't get anywhere except in China. That's why I go to China. They have international supermarkets. So, otherwise I don't take fruit juices, I don't eat any vegetables. Nothing. You see, this body needs some energy, some basic thermal units. You see, that's how I would put it [laughing]. And that one bowl of oatmeal porridge with a lot of cream, supplies the energy that the body needs. I don't take walks and no exercise is necessary. I have survived eighty years. So nothing of what we consider to be good for the body is actually good for this body.

So, what I am stressing all the time is how the body, freed from this strangled hold of culture, functions. That's all that I am describing. And there is no way you can control the functioning of this body. Nothing you can do, you see. The body doesn't actually need all that we feed it. It is a pleasure movement. We eat for our pleasure. That's a fact.

Question: Is there such a thing as Reality?

U.G.: No. Even if the scientists are trying to assert that they know Reality better than all the spiritual teachers and metaphysicists put together. There is no way you can experience the Reality of anything. And I maintain and assert with all the emphasis at my command, that which you do not know, you cannot experience. What you do not know is a concept, you see.

Question: Some people use the term "pure subjectivity" to describe Reality.

U.G.: Philosophers have talked about pure perception. There cannot be any perception, let alone pure perception, without the perceiver. These are all the games that we play with ourselves and with others. There cannot be any perception without the perceiver. And why talk of pure perception, I don't understand? So, this is also the way the Indians have dealt with this problem. One disciple tells others that, "My guru is in the turiya state, the highest state." And according to me, the turiya state is Alzheimer's disease. You see, they don't have any problems, they don't recognise anything, they don't experience anything. Valentine had that, she was touching everything to establish a relationship with the things around her. The sense of touch is the most important sensory activity. Children begin with that, and then all the other four senses follow.

So, that is why the people who are thinking all the time are practically blind, in the sense that they have never looked at anything in their life. For example, that fellow has never looked at her, or she at him [pointing to a couple in the room], because the only way he looks at her, or her at him, is with the knowledge she has about him and you project that knowledge on that person, but actually there is no way the physical eye can look at anything. You have to have knowledge about that. We project that knowledge on what we are looking at. So, in exactly the same way, the Reality they are talking about is something which cannot be experienced at all, or known at all unless you use the knowledge you have about the Reality of things, whether it is a scientist or a religious man talking about Reality, or pure perception. There can't be any perception first of all, let alone pure perception. So, these are all theories, you see.

You have people talking about God. All the theologies that we are burdened with: the ontological, the teleological, the cosmological proofs of the existence of God. Oh, my God, why do we break our heads with all that knowledge? Because I have more knowledge than you have so I feel superior. I have verbal superiority. Shakespeare had only four thousand words in his memory [laughing]. And now, how many millions do we have.

Question: What exactly is awakening?

U.G.: There is no such thing as awakening because I can never tell myself, "I am awake."

Question: So, then what happened to you when you were 49 years old?

U.G.: There is no difference between the waking, dreaming and the sleeping states. There is no difference. I don't ever tell myself at anytime, "I am awake." I don't tell myself, "There is light outside", or "It gets dark in the night." If you asked me, "Are you awake?", then I use the knowledge that is given to me of how a wakeful man functions. And I don't dream at all. There is no need for me to dream. I also don't sleep for eight hours. I'm like a cat, I take cat naps. I go to sleep at ten o'clock and wake up ten minutes later. And then again at eleven o'clock probably I go to sleep. So there is no way that I can say , "I am asleep, or awake or dreaming." There are no dreams. If you cannot create an image while you are awake, there is no way you can create images while you are sleeping. So there is no way. Someone else can say that I'm sleeping or that I'm even snoring, but I can't say that about myself.

You cannot tell yourself anything while you are asleep. It is only when you wake up that you can relate the so-called wakeful state to the state that existed before, the sleep state. You say, for example, that you feel good because you slept well. You attribute that to sleeping well. You didn't sleep well, you had a disturbed night, the way you were telling me about last night. You didn't sleep well. With reference to the state that you think you are in at the present moment, otherwise you cannot tell yourself anything about your sleep, whether you were asleep, or in deep sleep, or disturbed sleep or that you were dreaming. So, for me that problem doesn't arise because I don't know that I am awake. Immediately, the senses are functioning at their peak capacity all the time, and they slow down, very slowly, because it has to renew itself all the time. So, your eyes may be open but you see nothing there for a fraction of a second. You see nothing, you listen to nothing. So, it has to slow down, and then once it stops [snapping his fingers], if you look at things, it is not possible for you to look at because you are not looking at anything. If you say, "That is light", you are not looking at it. You are projecting the knowledge you have by telling me that it is bright and sunny. Otherwise, the physical eye never translates that as "bright" or "dark". If you ask me, I will say, "It is bright." If it is too bright, you can close your eyes or you can turn to some other side. Automatically, the organism has tremendous intelligence to protect itself. It knows how to protect itself and how to survive. So, you have no part to play in the functioning of this body. You are not that. And then, you see, the intelligence that is there takes over and takes care of itself.

You know there is something very strange about this. The one thing that has happened, if I can say that it has happened, [I don't even know if anything has happened], is that you are not translating anything there at all, never. The translator is absent, totally absent. And along with the translator, the selectivity also has gone. And you also don't divide things: right and wrong, good and bad. It is not that I am above or below. You are not caught up with good and bad, right and wrong anymore. So, for example, if for any reason you find my action to be anti-social, so whatever punishment you give me, I take it, without any questioning at all. I have no rights. Since I don't have any rights, I don't have any duties either. So, censorship also is absent.

One thing I must tell you is that you will never be free from your conditioning. Never! No matter who says what, there is no such thing as an unconditioned mind. There is no such thing as experiencing an unconditioned mind. Why do they talk of that? You see, when I go to the supermarket, the one thing I like the best is coffee-cream yoghurt. I can only find it in Switzerland. And once I start eating it there is no control. Valentine, for example, used to hide a kilo of almonds from me, like a child. I started eating them when there were two kilos. She said, "What's going on?"There's no control. [Laughing] I'm not joking, I have no control. I can't stop eating them, and once it is removed, I don't remember the taste of almonds. So, there is no such thing as an unconditioned mind. Mind itself is condition. Mind itself is a re-conditioner and it conditions itself in a different way to survive, you see.

Question: You say that you don't have images in your mind.

U.G.: No.

Question: Now, do you have thoughts or concepts?

U.G.: No.

Question: That is to say, do you think of what you are going to do next month: buying a plane ticket, getting a visa?

U.G.: Only for practical purposes. If I can't get a seat on the plane, then I have to tell somebody that I'm arriving on another date, but I'm never disappointed or anything.

Question: So when you don't have those projects in mind for practical planning, you have nothing in your head?

U.G.: No, nothing. My way of functioning is that I am always occupied with what is happening at that moment and there is no room for any preoccupation. You are preoccupied with the things that are not happening there. You see, this seems to be the only difference, if there is any difference. People imagine that I live in a void where nothing is happening. How can there be anybody in that state? But it is full with whatever is happening at this moment. You know, so there is no way you can put anything more in that, or move away from that. So I am totally occupied with whatever is happening and I can sit in front of the hotel, go out and stand there for twenty four hours watching how people are walking. You'll be surprised that no two persons walk in exactly the same way. It's something extraordinary, all of them walk differently. No two faces are the same. As a student of Botany, I studied the leaves under a microscope. No two leaves are the same. So, if you say that even twins look alike, their movements, the way they are walking, it's something extraordinary how they walk. You try that next time, no two persons there in the street walk exactly the same. The movements are different, everything is different. So, I'm occupied with that, you see. My attention is totally occupied and filled with what is happening. So, don't imagine that this person lives in a thoughtless state. I know a lot of people who come and tell me, "I experienced this in my thoughtless state." How the hell do you know that you are in a thoughtless state? The thought was very much there.

Question: So, is it like saying that we live according to the knowledge we have of things?

U.G.: We are the knowledge.

Question: But you don't live according to the knowledge you have of things?

U.G.: No, there is no continuity of knowledge, because there is no need for the continuity of knowledge. That is all that is there. It's simple, it's consciousness. I become conscious of the fact that you are a man, not a woman, only when I use the knowledge I have, otherwise what is the consciousness they are talking about? Nothing. Now even the scientists are talking about consciousness. One of the most undesirable things that is happening in the field of science is that they have come to the end of their tether. They have to find out the answers for those problems within that framework. They cannot look towards Vedanta, nor towards religion, otherwise that is going to completely destroy the whole thing, you see. So, that is why I say that scientific thinking is as much an aberration as the religious thinking of man. And we admire science because of what it has given us, the high technology and so on. So, thought is a fascist in its birth, in its content and in its expression. It is interested only in its own survival. So, that is all that is there.

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