Questioner: I am a painter and I earn by painting pictures. Has it any value from the spiritual point of view?
Maharaj: When you paint what do you think about?
Q: When I paint, there is only the painting and myself.
M: What are you doing there?
Q: I paint.
M: No, you don't. You see the painting going on. You are watching only, all else happens.
Q: The picture is painting itself? Or, is there some deeper 'me', or some god who is painting?
M: Consciousness itself is the greatest painter. The entire world is a Picture.
Q: Who painted the picture of the world?
M: The painter is in the Picture.
Q: The picture is in the mind of the painter and the painter is in the picture, which is in the mind of the painter who is in the picture! Is not this infinity of states and dimensions absurd? The moment we talk of picture in the mind, which itself is in the picture, we come to an endless succession of witnesses, the higher witness witnessing the lower. It is like standing between two mirrors and wondering at the crowd!
M: Quite right, you alone and the double mirror are there. Between the two, your forms and names are numberless.
Q: How do you look at the world?
M: I see a painter painting a picture. The picture I call the world, the painter I call God. I am neither.
I do not create, nor am I created. I contain all, nothing contains me.
Q: When I see a tree, a face, a sunset, the picture is perfect. When I close my eyes, the image in my mind is faint and hazy. If it is my mind that projects the picture, why need I open my eyes to see a lovely flower and with eyes closed I see it vaguely?
M: It is because your outer eyes are better than your inner eyes. Your mind is all turned outward.
As you learn to watch your mental world, you will find it even more colourful and perfect than what the body can provide. Of course, you will need some training. But why argue? You imagine that the picture must come from the painter who actually painted it. All the time you look for origins and causes. Causality is in the mind, only; memory gives the illusion of continuity and repetitiveness creates the idea of causality. When things repeatedly happen together, we tend to see a causal link between them. It creates a mental habit, but a habit is not a necessity.
Q: You have just said that the world is made by God.
M: Remember that language is an instrument of the mind; It is made by the mind, for the mind. Once you admit a cause, then God is the ultimate cause and the world the effect. They are different, but not separate.
Q: People talk of seeing God.
M: When you see the world you see God. There is no seeing God, apart from the world. Beyond the world to see God is to be God. The light by which you see the world, which is God is the tiny little spark: 'I am', apparently so small, yet the first and the last in every act of knowing and loving.
Q: Must I see the world to see God?
M: How else? No world, no God.
Q: What remains?
M: You remain as pure being.
Q: And what becomes of the world and of God?
M: Pure being (avyakta).
Q: Is it the same as the Great Expanse (paramakash)?
M: You may call it so. Words do not matter, for they do not reach it. They turn back in utter negation.
Q: How can I see the world as God? What does it mean to see the world as God?
M: It is like entering a dark room. You see nothing -- you may touch, but you do not see -- no colours, no outlines. The window opens and the room is flooded with light. Colours and shapes come into being. The window is the giver of light, but not the source of it. The sun is the source. Similarly, matter is like the dark room; consciousness -- the window -- flooding matter with sensations and perceptions, and the Supreme is the sun the source both of matter and of light. The window may be closed, or open, the sun shines all the time. It makes all the difference to the room, but none to the sun. Yet all this is secondary to the tiny little thing which is the 'I am'. Without the 'I am' there is nothing. All knowledge is about the 'I am'. False ideas about this 'I am' lead to bondage, right knowledge leads to freedom and happiness.
Q: Is 'I am' and 'there is' the same?
M: 'I am' denotes the inner, 'there is' -- the outer. Both are based on the sense of being.
Q: Is it the same as the experience of existence?
M: To exist means to be something, a thing, a feeling, a thought, an idea. All existence is particular. Only being is universal, in the sense that every being is compatible with every other being. Existences clash, being -- never. Existence means becoming, change, birth and death and birth again, while in being there is silent peace.
Q: If I create the world, why have I made it bad?
M: Everyone lives in his own world. Not all the worlds are equally good or bad.
Q: What determines the difference?
M: The mind that projects the world, colours it its own way. When you meet a man, he is a stranger. When you marry him, he becomes your own self. When you quarrel, he becomes your enemy. It is your mind's attitude that determines what he is to you.
Q: I can see that my world is subjective. Does it make it also illusory?
M: It is illusory as long as it is subjective and to that extent only. Reality lies in objectivity.
Q: What does objectivity mean? You said the world is subjective and now you talk of objectivity. Is not everything subjective?
M: Everything is subjective, but the real is objective.
Q: In what sense?
M: It does not depend on memories and expectations, desires and fears, likes and dislikes. All is seen as it is.
Q: Is it what you call the fourth state (turiya)?
M: Call it as you like. It is solid, steady, changeless, beginningless and endless, ever new, ever fresh.
Q: How is it reached?
M: Desirelessness and fearlessness will take you there.