27. The Beginningless Begins Forever
Questioner: The other day I was asking you about the two ways of growth — renunciation and enjoyment (yoga and bhoga). The difference is not so great as it looks — the Yogi renounces to enjoy; the Bhogi enjoys to renounce. The Yogi renounces first.
Maharaj: So what? Leave the Yogi to his Yoga and the Bhogi to Bhoga.
Q: The way of Bhoga seems to me the better one. The Yogi is like a green mango, separated from the tree prematurely and kept to open in a basket of straw. Airless and overheated, it does get ripe, but the true flavour and fragrance are lost. The mango left on the tree grows to full size, colour and sweetness. A joy in every way. Yet somehow Yoga gets all the praises, and Bhoga — all the curses. As I see it, Bhoga is the better of the two.
M: What makes you say so?
Q: I watched the Yogis and their enormous efforts. Even when they realise, there is something bitter or astringent about it. They seem to spend much of their time in trances and when they speak, they merely voice their scriptures. At their best such jnanis are like flowers — perfect, but just little flowers, shedding their fragrance within a short radius. There are some others, who are like forests — rich, varied, immense, full of surprises, a world in themselves. There must be a reason for this difference.
M: Well, you said it. According to you one got stunted in his Yoga, while the other flourished in Bhoga.
Q: Is it not so? The Yogi is afraid of life and seeks peace, while the Bhogi is adventurous, full of spirits, forward going. The Yogi is bound by an ideal, while the Bhogi is ever ready to explore.
M: It is a matter of wanting much or being satisfied with little. The Yogi is ambitious while the Bhogi is merely adventurous. Your Bhogi seems to be richer and more interesting, but it is not so in reality. The Yogi is narrow as the sharp edge of the knife. He has to be — to cut deep and smoothly, to penetrate unerringly the many layers of the false. The Bhogi worships at many altars; the Yogi serves none but his own true Self.
There is no purpose in opposing the Yogi to the Bhogi. The way of outgoing (pravritti) necessarily precedes the way of returning (nivritti). To sit in judgement and allot marks is ridiculous. Everything contributes to the ultimate perfection. Some say there are three aspects of reality — Truth-Wisdom-
Bliss; He who seeks Truth becomes a Yogi, he who seeks wisdom becomes a jnani; he who seeks happiness becomes the man of action.
Q: We are told of the bliss of non-duality.
M: Such bliss is more of the nature of a great peace. Pleasure and pain are the fruits of actions -righteous and unrighteous.
Q: What makes the difference?
M: The difference is between giving and grasping. Whatever the way of approach, in the end all becomes one.
Q: If there be no difference in the goal, why discriminate between various approaches?
M: Let each act according to his nature. The ultimate purpose will be served in any case. All your discriminations and classifications are quite all right, but they do not exist in my case. As the description of a dream may be detailed and accurate, though without having any foundation, so does your pattern fit nothing but your own assumptions. You begin with an idea and you end with the same idea under a different garb.
Q: How do you see things?
M: One and all are the same to me. The same consciousness (chit) appears as being (sat) and as bliss (ananda): Chit in movement is Ananda; Chit motionless is being.
Q: Still you are making a distinction between motion and motionlessness.
M: Non-distinction speaks in silence. Words carry distinctions. The unmanifested (nirguna) has no name, all names refer to the manifested (saguna). It is useless to struggle with words to express what is beyond words. Consciousness (chidananda) is spirit (purusha), consciousness is matter (prakriti). Imperfect spirit is matter, perfect matter is spirit. In the beginning as in the end, all is one.
All division is in the mind (chitta); there is none in reality (chit). Movement and rest are states of mind and cannot be without their opposites. By itself nothing moves, nothing rests. It is a grievous mistake to attribute to mental constructs absolute existence. Nothing exists by itself.
Q: You seem to identify rest with the Supreme State?
M: There is rest as a state of mind (chidaram) and there is rest as a state of being (atmaram). The former comes and goes, while the true rest is the very heart of action. Unfortunately, language is a mental tool and works only in opposites.
Q: As a witness, you are working or at rest?
M: Witnessing is an experience and rest is freedom from experience.
Q: Can’t they co-exist, as the tumult of the waves and the quiet of the deep co-exist in the ocean.
M: Beyond the mind there is no such thing as experience. Experience is a dual state. You cannot talk of reality as an experience. Once this is understood, you will no longer look for being and becoming as separate and opposite. In reality they are one and inseparable, like roots and branches of the same tree. Both can exist only in the light of consciousness, which again, arises in the wake of the sense ‘I am’. This is the primary fact. If you miss it, you miss all.
Q: Is the sense of being a product of experience only? The great saying (Mahavakya) tat-sat is it a mere mode of mentation?
M: Whatever is spoken is speech only. Whatever is thought is thought only. The real meaning is unexplainable, though experienceable. The Mahavakya is true, but your ideas are false, for all ideas (kalpana) are false.
Q: Is the conviction: ‘I am That’ false?
M: Of course. Conviction is a mental state. In ‘That’ there is no ‘I am’. With the sense ‘I am’ emerging, ‘That’ is obscured, as with the sun rising the stars are wiped out. But as with the sun comes light, so with the sense of self comes bliss (chidananda). The cause of bliss is sought in the ‘not–I’ and thus the bondage begins.
Q: In your daily life are you always conscious of your real state?
M: Neither conscious, nor unconscious. I do not need convictions. I live on courage. Courage is my essence, which is love of life. I am free of memories and anticipations, unconcerned with what I am and what I am not. I am not addicted to self-descriptions, soham and brahmasmi (‘I am He’, ‘I am the Supreme’) are of no use to me, I have the courage to be as nothing and to see the world as it is: nothing. It sounds simple, just try it!
Q: But what gives you courage?
M: How perverted are your views! Need courage be given? Your question implies that anxiety is the normal state and courage is abnormal. It is the other way round. Anxiety and hope are born of imagination — I am free of both. I am simple being and I need nothing to rest on.
Q: Unless you know yourself, of what use is your being to you? To be happy with what you are, you must know what you are.
M: Being shines as knowing, knowing is warm in love. It is all one. You imagine separations and trouble yourself with questions. Don’t concern yourself overmuch with formulations. Pure being cannot be described.
Q: Unless a thing is knowable and enjoyable, it is of no use to me. It must become a part of my experience, first of all.
M: You are dragging down reality to the level of experience. How can reality depend on experience, when it is the very ground (adhar) of experience. Reality is in the very fact of experience, not in its nature. Experience is, after all, a state of mind, while being is definitely not a state of mind.
Q: Again I am confused! Is being separate from knowing?
M: The separation is an appearance. Just as the dream is not apart from the dreamer, so is knowing not apart from being. The dream is the dreamer, the knowledge is the knower, the distinction is merely verbal.
Q: I can see now that sat and chit are one. But what about bliss (ananda)? Being and consciousness are always present together, but bliss flashes only occasionally.
M: The undisturbed state of being is bliss; the disturbed state is what appears as the world. In nonduality there is bliss; in duality — experience. What comes and goes is experience with its duality of pain and pleasure. Bliss is not to be known. One is always bliss, but never blissful. Bliss is not an attribute.
Q: I have another question to ask: Some Yogis attain their goal, but it is of no use to others. They do not know, or are not able to share. Those who can share out what they have, initiate others. Where lies the difference?
M: There is no difference. Your approach is wrong. There are no others to help. A rich man, when he hands over his entire fortune to his family, has not a coin left to give a beggar. So is the wise man (jnani) stripped of all his powers and possessions. Nothing, literally nothing, can be said about him. He cannot help anybody for he is everybody. He is the poor and also his poverty, the thief and also his thievery. How can he be said to help, when he is not apart? Who thinks of himself as separate from the world, let him help the world.
Q: Still, there is duality, there is sorrow, there is need of help. By denouncing it as mere dream nothing is achieved.
M: The only thing that can help is to wake up from the dream.
Q: An awakener is needed.
M: Who again is in the dream. The awakener signifies the beginning of the end. There are no eternal dreams.
Q: Even when it is beginningless?
M: Everything begins with you. What else is beginningless?
Q: I began at birth.
M: That is what you are told. Is it so? Did you see yourself beginning?
Q: I began just now. All else is memory.
M: Quite right. The beginningless begins forever. In the same way, I give eternally, because I have nothing. To be nothing, to have nothing, to keep nothing for oneself is the greatest gift, the highest generosity.
Q: Is there no self-concern left?
M: Of course I am self-concerned, but the self is all. In practice it takes the shape of goodwill, unfailing and universal. You may call it love, all-pervading, all-redeeming. Such love is supremely active — without the sense of doing.