Knowing

© Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Freedom from all desire is eternity. All attachment implies fear, for all things are transient. And fear makes one a slave. This freedom from attachment does not come with practice; it is natural, when one knows one’s true being. Self-knowledge is detachment. All craving is due to a sense of insufficiency. When you know that you lack nothing, that all there is, is you and yours, desire ceases.

Before you can know anything directly, non-verbally, you must know the knower. So far, you took the mind for the knower, but it is not so. The mind clogs you up with images and ideas, which leave scars in memory. You take remembering to be knowledge. True knowledge is ever fresh, new, unexpected. It wells up from within. When you know what you are, you also are what you know. Between knowing and being there is no gap.

The “I am” in movement creates the world. The “I am” at peace becomes the Absolute. Of course you can [change the world you project]. But you must cease identifying yourself with it and go beyond. Then you have the power to destroy and re-create.

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 a 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, I am not.

All you can do is to grasp the central point: that reality is not an event and does not happen, and whatever happens, whatever comes and goes, is not really. See the event as event only, the transient as transient, experience as mere experience, and you have done all you can do. But as soon as there is some like or dislike, you have drawn a screen.

I was undeceived, that is all. I used to create a world and populate it. Now I don’t do it any more. [Now I live] in the void beyond being and non-being, beyond consciousness. This void is also fullness; do not pity me. The mind ceased producing events. The ancient and ceaseless search stopped – I wanted nothing, expected nothing, accepted nothing as my own. There was no “me” left to strive for. Even the bare “I am” faded away. The other thing that I noticed was that I lost all my habitual certainties. Earlier I was sure of so many things, now I am sure of nothing. But I feel that I have lost nothing by not knowing, because all my knowledge was false. My not knowing was in itself knowledge of the fact that all knowledge is ignorance, that “I do not know” is the only true statement the mind can make.

Somehow it was very simple and easy in my case. My guru, before he died, told me: “Believe me, you are the Supreme Reality. Don’t doubt my words, don’t disbelieve me. I am telling you the truth, act on it”. I could not forget his words and by not forgetting, I have realized. Once the guru told me: “You are the Supreme Reality”, I ceased having visions and trances and became very quiet and simple. I found myself desiring and knowing less and less, until I could say in utter astonishment: “I know nothing, I want nothing.”

So many words you have learnt, so many you have spoken. You know everything, but you do not know yourself. For the self is not known through words, only direct insight will reveal it. Look within, search within.