28 May 2010

Chapter Four
Nisargadatta on the structure of self

Rajiv Kapur

The word ‘I AM’ or Beingness was a word used extensively by Maharaj in almost all of his discourses. He considered it to be the most valuable tool for effective Sadhana for Self- Realization. He made it clear that it was not the word ‘I AM’ but the wordless ‘IAM’, the IAMness or Pure beingness, which a seeker needed to latch on and explore it in all its manifestations. The term ‘Pure Being’ or IAMness is not just an ordinary sense of existence which a seeker experiences in his normal waking state of Consciousness but rather extends far beyond it, traveling downwards into the subtle dream state and even further down into the Causal deep sleep state of Consciousness. The Quotes given below of Maharaj clearly indicate this fact and also about the importance of regular and intensive meditation in order to realize or stabilize ourselves in that state of pure beingness or IAMness.

The quotes given below have various hidden subtle truths. In the light of my meditative experiences and the blessings of my Master Edji and Nisargadatta Maharaj, I have managed courage to provide few hints and insights in form of my comments. I hope it can serve some purpose for the hard working meditator.

                        NISARGADATTA MAHARAJ QUOTES

                      ON “IAM” AND ITS CHARACTERISTICS

When you are space you are no more the body, but whatever is contained in the space, and the space, you are. You are now manifest-whatever is known-the space.


Comment : The above quote is indicative of the state of Oneness with the totality of Consciousness (Universal Consciousness). This is state experienced when one transcends the I-thought. Most Sadhakas are stuck at this level but this is mostly one form of IAMness--the waking state part of Consciousness--and not the IAMness in its entirety. That is why Maharaj said in the below two quotes:

Now, consciousness has identified with a form. Later, it understands that it is not that form and goes further. In a few cases it may reach the (entirety of)  space (the void), and very often, there it stops.


People will stop only at seeing the manifest. Who will go behind the manifest and see that the manifest and unmanifest are not two-they are one?

(Comment: That is most people stop with the visible, what is presented in waking consciousness, such as the totality of space, or the specific objects of the world, or ones inner images and thinking.)

The manifest is seen as light while the unmanifest as dark but “what is” is the same thing-THAT WHICH PERCEIVES BOTH.


(Comment:  From the above comments Maharaj clearly points out to the fact that most will stop at what is seen or perceived, the manifested form of Consciousness (gross and astral states) but no one pays attention to the unmanisfested form. The unmanifested dark state of nothingness or non-knowingness is the Causal state. And that which lies beyond both these states and perceives them is the Absolute or the real Self.  The term ‘IAM’ or Consciousness hence is much more than just ‘what is’ or “is-ness.”

One must never stop effort just because one has seen through the illusion of the I-thought and ego and attained oneness with the totality of waking consciousness, which itself is only a part of the manifest. This is the mistake of the neo-Advaitins.

Given below are the various quotes of Maharaj which will prove that the ‘IAM’ is much more subtle than what is perceived as ordinary waking state or the manifest (perceivable) form of Consciousness. The unmanifest form (Causal body or state, unknowing or the non-being state) is very much part of IAMness and it too needs to be transcended through intense meditation.

If this part of Consciousness (unmanifest Causal state) is ignored and not known through meditational practices and keen observation, then ignorance and attachment to the unreal remains. A serious seeker must not amuse himself with few achievements happening on waking and subtle levels but go deeper, much deeper and get to know all the manifestations and phenomenon’s taking place at all levels namely the gross, subtle and causal states.)

Discover all you are not. Body, feelings, thoughts, ideas, time, space, being and not being, this or that. This witnessing is essential for the separation of the Self from the not Self.


That causal body, which is very minute, needs to be known. By meditation you can know it. The quality of that causal body takes on the appearance of the consciousness and the form.


(Comment: That is waking consciousness is an appearance or artifact of something deeper, the causal body, the unknowing and unknown state that must be passed through in meditation.)

Even in the highest saints there is always some doubt about the clarity of ‘I AM’ and this enquiry of what I am must be gone into at any and all levels.


My sleep is not the kind you have, it is pure Consciousness. When I sleep there is awareness of total manifestation and also the unmanifest.


From deep sleep to waking state, what is it? It is the ‘I AM’ state with no words.


Behold, the deep sleep in which there is no notion of being this or that. Yet the ‘I AM’ remains.


You will not comprehend exactly what it means, but as you get established in beingness and transcend that, you will understand how you are beyond deep sleep and waking state, because those are characteristics of the beingness.


All the three states- of waking, dreaming and sleeping- are subjective, personal, intimate. They all happen and are contained within the little bubble in Consciousness, called ‘I’.

(I AM THAT PG 281)

When you say ‘I am’ it includes waking, sleep and beingness, the ‘I am’ knowledge includes these.


This knowingness “I AM” which came spontaneously and you felt gradually is the ignorant–child-principle, the Balkrishna State.

Here “Bal” means the child principle and “Krishna” means “non-knowing”

(Quote 103 and 104 of Nisargadatta Gita by Pradeep Apte)

Not only the Conscious but the unconscious as well should be taken care of in our spiritual practice.

(I AM THAT PG 447)

It is only a rare who understands what I am driving at. To a normal spiritual person we have to say, “You do this or that and you will get benefit” But we can’t help because he has no capacity to understand the subtlest aspect of this spirituality. At the most I would say, “You know you are; you worship that “I AM” principle. You worship that, be one with that only, and that “I Amness will disclose all the knowledge.” That’s all I will say, but the subtlest part is this, from deep sleep to waking state. To abide in that. You must go to that limit, but it is very difficult.


(Comment:  From the above it is very clear that the term IAMness, for him, is much more inclusive than the term ‘I’ as used by the neo-Advaitins, and there are various subtle levels involved in it. In fact Maharaj refrained from disclosing the highest truth to general seekers because of the subtleties and lack of understanding in them.  Many take his message on the surface and don’t attempt to take notice of these subtle hidden truths. It is impossible to take notice of the finer aspects of IAMness without constant effort in meditation to explore them. Below are a few quotes of Maharaj pointing to the importance of meditation and keen observation as tools to understand the subtleties involved.)

No external activity can reach the inner Self; worship and prayers remain on the surface only; to go deeper meditation is essential, as well as a striving to go beyond the states of sleep, dream and waking.

(I AM THAT PG 447)

First of all there is the knowingness “IAM”, without words, with that knowingness, the world is. Now when the seeker goes into meditation, that knowingness goes into non-knowingness. This is the highest in the hierarchy when the body aspect is there because this knowing and no-knowing are aspects of the body, and body means Consciousness, and in the realm of Consciousness, knowingness and no-knowingness both exists.


This is the stage where you are-you are not; that is the borderline. The moment you know you are, duality is there, when you do not know you are, you are perfect, but you must go through this process. In deep sleep you do not know you are, but that is grosser state. In this active state you must recede into the state of no-knowingness.


(Comment: Maharaj states clearly “you must go through the process” but NOT in the grosser state of unaware deep sleep state but in an active, investigating striving. From that aware state of knowingness you move into no-knowingness (borderline) Causal state. This is possible only through deep meditation.)

In deep meditation my Guru indicated how this form and beingness came together and also, the world. That was indicated to me in deep meditation.


(Comment: This is the highest state of deep meditation. The nature of beingness (origin), world and the form are all disclosed in this state. This state is not possible to achieve without the help of Guru. The Guru in Subtle form reveals this secret and guides the road ahead.)

To turn beingness into no-beingness, assiduously follow meditation or else you will be like a calf frisking. Be in meditation and you will stabilize, and then stop there.

Deep Sleep state is something like block of ice; nothing is there, then the warmth is taking place, and with that warmth you feel that you are. This is quite an elevated state


(Comment : The “block of ice” is purely an experiential part of Meditation. Page 49 of the book Autobiography of a Jnani explains this process in detail. Edji guided me to this most beautiful state. It is the state of knowingness and no-knowingness, beingness and no-beingness. This is pure beingness state, the Turiya.  But still it is a state. The one beyond this state cannot be called a state. It cannot be called as anything. It just is.

27 May 2010


There is a deep misconception spread by many neo Advaita teachers that not only are meditation, self-inquiry, or any spiritual practice not necessary, but any effort made at all will strengthen the non-existent ego, and prevent awakening. They state we are already awake and merely need to get rid of the idea we are not awake. That not-awake misconception is to be dissipated merely by hearing the words over and over, that you are already complete, perfect, and the absolute. Just stop and realize that.

One of the main goals of this book is to point out that persistent effort at self-exploration and self-abidance is necessary for a true awakening experience as opposed to a conceptual understanding that the self is never not awake and you are that.

So far, Chapter One explored Ramana Maharshi’s charge that self-inquiry and self-abidance are necessary for awakening. Chapter Two focused on the need to go beyond the oneness state that comes when you realize there is no objective entity or ego associated with the I-thought, and the I-thought itself is like a ghost with no real existence. In this oneness state, nothing separate exists but the totality of consciousness.  

Robert Adams was also quoted as saying that the deepest level of existence in all of us, lies deeper than consciousness, or the oneness mind of the totality of consciousness, achieved at the first awakening. What you are lies beyond the manifest. Once the distinction of manifest, or totality consciousness, is made, the dual concept of the unmanifest, or noumenal state without any consciousness or quality whatsoever becomes a primary concept.

However, later it will be learned that both concepts of the manifest oneness and the unborn unmanifest are only ideas, neither exist in reality, and what you are is beyond both.

In this chapter we will explore what Nisargadatta Maharaj said about the need for effort and practice, as well as his statement that he practiced, dong little else, for three years, meditating on his sense of I Am. Then he attained awakening.

The neo Advaitins and many who have been mislead by READING (as opposed to practicing)  some of the Rinzai teachers, such as Huang Po, Bankei, and many others, ignore the fact that they struggled for many years to understand the truth that Buddha mind was always there and plainly functioning, and jump to the conclusion they are the effortless Buddha Mind, which becomes just another concept because the conceptual mind has not been destroyed.

Below are many quotes of Nisargadatta and their sources as arranged by Rajiv Kapur. The neo Advaitins are always quoting Nisargadatta but strangely leave out quotes that long and patient practice is necessary. At this point Rajiv and I are trying to locate Maharaj’s original audio Satsang recordings to get better translations. You see, correct translations are totally in the mind of the translator. The more subtle teachings require translation by someone who understand deeply the originating language, and who has meditated long enough to have attained a mind subtle enough to thoroughly understand Maharaj’s deeper teachings.

Nisargadatta Maharaj Quotes

I simply followed his (Maharaj’s Guru) instruction which was to sit for hours together with nothing but the “I am” in my mind and soon peace and joy and a deep embracing love became my normal state. 
(I AM THAT PG 239)

Follow my advice implicitly and you will not be disappointed. I cannot solve your problem by mere words. You have to act on what I told you and persevere. It is not the right advice that liberates, but the ACTION based on it.
(I AM THAT PG 248)

Discover all you are not. Body, feelings, thoughts, ideas, time, space, being and not being, this or that. A mere verbal statement will not do. You may repeat a formula endlessly without any result whatsoever. You must watch yourself continuously-–particularly your mind moment by moment, missing nothing. This witnessing is essential for the separation of the Self from the not Self.

I was a simple man, but I trusted my Guru. What he told me what to do, I did. He told me to concentrate on “I am”- I did. I gave him my heart and soul, my entire attention and the whole of my spare time. As a result of faith and earnest application, I realized my Self within three years.

(Comment: Notice that Maharaj states he became self-realized after three years of practice. He did not state like many neo-Advaitins, that there is no self-realization because there is no self to be realized. He also states he practiced for three years with all his heart and soul  to realize who he is. This is completely contrary to the advice of many neo-advaitin gurus and teachers.

Effort is very much needed. When ignorance becomes obstinate and hard and the character gets perverted, effort and the pain of it become inevitable.
(I AM THAT PG 114)

Go on pondering, wondering, being anxious to find a way. Be conscious of yourself, watch your mind, and give it your full attention. Don’t look for quick results; there may be none within your noticing.
(I AM THAT PG 125)

When you listen to this you feel satisfaction and with that matter ends for most people, they don’t meditate on this again and again and try to find out that principle behind everything.

(Comment: Is this not the state of most neo-Advaitins? Most people do not meditate on this again and again.)

Sitting in meditation helps the consciousness to blossom. It causes deeper understanding and spontaneous change in behavior. These changes take place naturally, automatically, by themselves, due to Meditation.

This knowledge that you are the manifest must be opened through meditation, you do not get it by listening to words.

In practicing meditation the life force gets purified, and when it is purified, the light of the Self shines forth, but the working principle is the life force. When this purified life force and the light of the Atman merge, then the concept, the mind, the imagination, everything is taken away.

You must have a thorough knowledge of this consciousness, and having known everything about the consciousness you come to the conclusion that it is all unreal, and then it should drop off. Having listened to these talks, sit and meditate, "That which I have heard, is it true or not?" Then you will understand that this is also to be discarded.

Ultimately one must go beyond knowledge, but the knowledge must come, and knowledge can come by constant meditation. By meditating, the knowledge "I Am" gradually settles down and merges with universal knowledge, and thereby becomes totally free, like the sky, or space.

At the highest level all spiritual disciplines are to be dropped but at the earlier levels you have to do your homework.

If you have to make an effort in the beginning not to get involved, make that effort until it becomes effortless.

You should meditate; you should not lose what you have learned. When one disidentifies with the body, one transcends not only the body but consciousness as well since consciousness is a product of the body. The consciousness no longer says, " I Am", " I Am".

(Comment: As explained more thoroughly in the next chapter, Maharaj is very explicit: You must go beyond consciousness, for is not manifest consciousness totally associated with the body? If there were not a body with eyes, would there be any vision of the world? If there were not a body with ears, would there be any sound? The same holds true for other sensations. Without a body, the world would not exist as an object of consciousness. There would be no world.)

You must have a strong conviction; that conviction means not only “I Am” but it means I am free from “I Am” also. And that conviction means practicing.

For this keep steadily in the focus of Consciousness the only clue you have: your certainty of being. Be with it, play with it, ponder over it, delve deeply into it, till the shell of ignorance breaks open and you emerge into the realm of reality.
(I AM THAT PG 272)

When I say; remember ‘I am’ all the time, I mean : come back to it repeatedly’.
(I AM THAT PG 242)

The word ‘I am’ itself is the bridge. Remember it, think of it, explore it, go around it, look at it from all the directions, dive into it with earnest perseverance; endure all delays and disappointments till suddenly the mind turns around.
(I AM THAT PG 435)

Ask yourself; ‘To whom it all happen?’ Use everything as an opportunity to go within.
(I AM THAT PG 448)

Experience cannot be conveyed through words. It comes with action. A man who is intense in his experience will radiate confidence and courage. Others too will act and gain experience born out of action.
(I AM THAT PG 514)

Know the inside-out of consciousness and recognize it as useless; it is a fraud. When you transcend it, you will say, "I can manage without this. This is imperfect! Therefore, meditate in order to know the consciousness.

If you have the urge to go to the toilet, you will run. Similarly, the need of the ignorant is the urge to have knowledge, he will rush towards it. In the ignorant state, if you keep quiet, then the principle will keep quiet. Until there is a firm conviction about oneself, something or other has to be done.

Chapter Four on Nisargadatta on the structure of the I Am, will post in a day or two.

25 May 2010

Later this week, Chapter 3 of a new book on self-inquiry, neo-advaita, and the jnana way will be posted, featuring voluminous quotes of Nisargadatta regarding the need for strong meditation effort, and that the I Am sense is more than just the ego and I thought, and that effort is needed continually until a conclusive awakening.

24 May 2010

This email from Michael James is deeply appreciated by me. Michael and his mentor Sadhu Om, have studied the teachings of Ramana Maharshi as deeply as anyone, and his conclusions are most important for consideration for anyone traveling the path of Jnana Marga. 

Thanks for this e-mail and the copy of your latest post, which was very interesting to read.

As you point out, the so-called neo-advaita 'gurus' have an extremely simplistic, crude and confused understanding of what is really required to know ourself and thereby destroy our ego, and they seriously misrepresent the true teachings of sages like Sri Ramana. You have explained some of the problems with their poor understanding very clearly.

With love,


19 May 2010


The Need to go Beyond No-I

I have a fundamental disagreement with the Neo-Advaita and Rinzai Zen position that awakening begins and ends with the discovery that the I-thought has no internal object of reference. That is, they hold once you look inside and see that there is no I, one immediately recognizes that all that there is, is Consciousness, and that is the Absolute, and no more practice or self-investigative effort is needed. Actually, it is only the first freedom.

Firstly, many people who do look inside find all kinds of internal objects. Others have very poor introspective skills and find nothing. Others find endless, internal and imaginal objects, from thoughts, to feelings, to memories, imaginations, images to body sensations. If you are naturally introspective, or have developed introspective awareness, the internal-imaginal world is a zoo. For this person, to say they find no I is not a compelling argument, because they don’t understand which of those zoo inmates they are supposed to reject as not-I or I.

On the other hand, the non-introspective person easily finds nothing because the inner world has never been open to them. Thus, following the command and interpretation, “Look within for the I,” followed by the statement, “You didn’t find anything, did you,” makes complete sense. There are many, many people who are not aware of inner objects like the I-sense, emotions or images. But they can grasp concepts.

From there they can easily accept the Neo-Advaita guru’s statement, that indeed, there is no I, and that which you see and experience now is all that there is, call it “isness” or whatever they want to call it. The guru tells them this Is-ness is the Absolute and unborn nature of reality. The guru now tells them they are enlightened. Just look inside for a moment, finding no I, and know that this is the beginning and end of spirituality.”

In fact, if the person accepts this, he or she has merely accepted a new concept about awakening. There is no need to do anything. You are already perfect, no-I, blissful, complete and absolute. Now go forth to facebook and trade quotes with other neo-Advaita gurus and students. “Is-ness” for the non-introspective person is more or less the waking external world.

However, the sophisticated student for whom the inner world is blindingly complex will not buy this. He or she understands there is much more to the I-sense than merely the I-thought. For this person, seeing that there is no internal object to which the I-thought points is merely the first step in a long process of finding out who or what he or she truly is at the deepest level.

Both Ramana and Nisargadatta speak of deeper levels of I and consciousness, and of the I-sense that even goes deeper than waking or sleep consciousness itself. So does Robert who endless told students to dive deep within themselves. He never said look within and find nothing, and then know you are liberated.

The I-sense is quite complex and must be understood completely at all levels before there can be any talk about the absolute or the ultimate meaning of life and death.

The Neo-Advaitin’s discovery of no I object related to the I thought, in no way supports any argument that waking consciousness and the abundancy of the waking consciousness is Absolute or immortal.

What is immortal is entirely beyond consciousness as we know it and this can only be understood by a progressive deepening of awareness of the internal world and more especially, the I-sense. The I-sense must be followed downwards as a thread, through all the sensations associated with the body, down through all the imaginations and images/feelings of the mind, and even further downwards into the empty darkness of not being awake to the world, the state of no awareness of anything.

Consciousness as we know it, appears and disappears. It comes and goes. It is not absolute. It is temporary and time limited. The neo-advaitins do not accept this obvious truth which is the common sense understanding of ordinary people as well as the enlightened Jnani.  Yet, we are aware of the coming and going of the various forms of phenomenality, which I may call consciousness. When I awaken in the morning, it is not as if I am a newborn with no knowledge of the world. I remember that there have been numberless cyclings of the coming and going of various grades and activities of consciousness, from the dream state, to the awake state, to all grades and varieties of consciousness including the coming and going of sleep and nothingness. Nothingness too is an experience that we can remember. If  asked to describe the sleep state, most people will take a shot at a description, such as it was darkness, nothingness, peaceful, restful, with no experience of consciousness whatsoever.

Yet, each day I awaken and feel the same identity as the same and unchanged as the day before. Indeed, throughout my life, I feel the same and unchanged no matter how much my body changes, or my mood changes, or activity level or any other change.

It is this central core of knowledge of the unchanging, which witnesses and observes the coming and going of consciousness, sleep, images, thoughts, imaginations, emotions, etc., which is the ultimate subject, the witness which we must become aware of to pass beyond life and death.

The I-thought is only one small, but very significant part of the I-sense, which actually penetrates downwards through the perceptions of the gross body, through the subtle body of the imaginal

This fundamental witness can never be cognized as an object, because objects are objects of investigation of the mind. The mind cannot penetrate downwards deeper than the mind-body level (subtle body).  The becoming aware of that which lies deeper than the darkness of sleep, the causal body existence, can never be known as we are used to knowing an object of mind. We can only be at that deepest level, and in that being, apprehend existence beyond existence, a different sort of existence beyond the mind and body, not cognizable by mind.

This area of spiritual existence is explored more fully in Autobiography of a Jnani. It is existence entirely beyond human existence. Even to call it the absolute is to give it qualities it lacks. It is entirely beyond any property, description or experience of the mind or consciousness.

I want now to turn to secondary confirmation of this understanding to be found in the teachings of Robert Adams, Ramana Maharshi and Nisargdatta.

From Michael James and Sadhu Om's Path of Sri Ramana Maharshi, Vol. I

(PR1-Page 106)

  The wrong identification ‘I am the body’ is itself all of these: mind (manas)intellect (buddhi), the storehouse of tendencies (chittam), ego (ahankara), wrong knowledge (ajnana), nescience (sunya), mayaand so on. The prana is a gross form of this mind, and so is the physical body! Even the mind is a body, but a subtle one; prana is a little grosser than mind; and the body of flesh and blood is still grosser than the pranaThe subtle mind in its subtler form is itself the tendencies (vasanas) or the darkness of ignorance. Let us classify all these forms of the mind into three categories, namely the gross, subtle and causal bodies.20

All the gross forms – the body, blood circulation and respiration – which are cognized by the mind through the five senses constitute the gross body; this is because all these are clearly cognized by the mind, the subtle body, which is the second in our classification. Though the sastras usually include pranamaya kosa in the category of subtle body, we have here included it in the category of gross body because it is clearly perceived by the mind as an object other than the mind, and since this will help us a great deal in applying our test. Moreover, since all these five sheaths are finally to be discarded as ‘not I’ (non-Self), no man with a little common sense will object to its being included with either of those two bodies21.


Further, in the same manner as this ‘I am the body’- consciousness (dehatma-buddhi) clings to the gross body as ‘I’, it can also cling in a subtle way to many other bodies. For instance, when the gross body is inactive, is not the mind working? Dream is one such case. It is an example of our taking a subtle body. During dream, the mind – as if it had taken another gross body – functions and knows many things through that body. This dream body is simply a mental projection. It is nothing but the mind itself. So it can also be called the subtle body, But do we not exist in dreamless sleep? Therefore, since we can exist even without this dream-body, we can clearly understand that it is not ‘I’. We should not think that the mind thus functions with a subtle body only in dream. Even in the waking state, do we not day-dream? We know that these subtle bodies which we thus take now and then are transient. When we wake up from dream, the dream-body is gone. In the same manner, the body assumed in day-dream also becomes false (non-existent). That is, these bodies are false forms which come on us and go. Thus we can conclude that we exist even in the absence of these bodies. Therefore, they are not ‘we’.

Now, if we scrutinize further, we will find that we have another kind of body even subtler than the subtle body. Here also, to support this, each one of us has his own experience, namely dreamless sleep. At that time we have neither the gross nor subtle body. The mind having completely subsided we sink at rest in total darkness, knowing nothing. When the mind rises again from this darkness, either dream or waking results. When we wake up from deep sleep, we remember our experience thus, ‘I slept happily and did not have any dream’. That is, we know that we existed even in that state of seeming darkness in which there was not even a dream. That dark state is called the causal body30.

We who know that we knew that we existed there, is the real ‘I’.


In deep sleep, the ego (ahankara – the mind in the form of attachments) is still alive in the very subtle form of tendencies (vasanas); it is this form which is that base and cause for the rising of the subtle and gross bodies, and therefore it is called the causal body. Even in death, it is in this causal body that we exist. This causal body is not destroyed by the death of the gross body. The reason for asserting that even this causal body is not ‘I’, is that we exist there to know even that state to be alien to us. There, our existence alone is real, and we cannot be the form (darkness or ignorance) which we assume there. Just as we rejected the gross body of the waking state as ‘I am not this body’, even though it appeared to be ‘I’, and just as for the same reason we rejected the subtle body of the dream state as ‘not I’, let us now also reject this causal body (darkness or ignorance) of deep sleep as ‘not I’, since it is only a form which comes on us and goes. Therefore, having firmly eliminated all these three bodies as ‘not I, not I’, what then remains, that knowledge, the consciousness (chit) of our existence (sat), alone is ‘I’.

(COMMENT By Ed: This is the core of the teachings of Ramana, Robert, Nisargadatta and I: the awareness of existence beyond all forms of consciousness of the waking reality, the dream subtle body reality and the causal existence of darkness and emptiness. However, this complete knowledge is only obtained after working through all levels of phenomenal existence, watching these various phenomenologies come and go, and recognizing we are apart from them, they are alien to us, the ultimate witness. All these states and things are experiences, objects to us as witness, who lies entirely beyond existence as the subject. The subject, the witness, is at the core of the sense of I. Following the thread of the I-sense through all the levels of existence reveals the existence of the subject as beyond all of that.)

Can we eliminate these three bodies? Certainly we can, because they are only our sheaths and are extraneous to us. From what is extraneous to us, we can separate ourself. It is within our ability. Only when we thus separate ourself from these sheaths, which are extraneous to us, will we know our true nature. According to the truth which we have already established, namely that our true nature itself is happiness, knowing our true nature is itself experiencing perfect happiness. Thus, the experience of Self-knowledge (atma-swarupanubhavais the very pinnacle of happiness. It is the ultimate goal for which all living beings are knowingly or unknowingly searching through all their innumerable endeavours. Attaining – through the enquiry ‘Who am I?’ – the knowledge (chit) of our reality (sat) as the perfect happiness (anandais the supreme goal of mankind. The sole cause of all miseries is the mistake of veiling ourself by imagining these sheaths to be ourself, even though we are ever this existence-consciousness-bliss (satch it-ananda).

From Robert Adams:

Before I am by Robert Adams; Satsang, November 1, 1990.

Robert: Let me ask you a question. Where do you think you were, or what were you, prior to consciousness? What do you think you were? Who can tell me? Before you came into this body, before you became conscious, what were you?

S (Henry Dennison (H.D.)): You mean prior to individual consciousness…?
R: Yes.
S: (Henry D.)...as opposed to consciousness itself?
R: Both.
S: (H.D.) Is there any prior to consciousness?
R: Yes, there is.
S: Prior to consciousness. Would that be consciousness at rest - no content?
R: Exactly. What were you prior to that?
S: (H.D.) There is no prior.
R: There's no prior. Are you sure?
S: (H.D.) Yes.
R: Any more bright answers? 
S: (Henry D.)There can't be! It's absurd!
S: (Bob Solomon) Why can't there be, though, why would you just dismiss it entirely?
S: (Henry D.) Because consciousness is fundamental. Consciousness is all. It's all that is. What can be prior to totality, to all that is?
R: Tell me.
S: (Ed Muzika) Anything that would be said would only be a concept and would be in phenomenality. It would miss the point entirely. 

(Listen to audio of that Satsang here..)

R: That is the answer. You got it. As long as you can describe it (or experience it as Robert considered all experience as illusion), it's not that. It's a mystery. It's beyond description. The finite can never comprehend the infinite. So as long as you can describe it, and you can talk about it, it's not that. And this is something you should always remember.

(Comment by Ed: Whatever I am cannot be in phenomenality. It cannot be an object of or in consciousness. The self is the subject, entirely beyond the phenomenal world.)

R: So the answer is silence. That's the correct answer. You are space, and now you appear to be the image superimposed on space. Now why do you identify with the image, but prior to consciousness you were not the space, really, nor the image? The reason I say you were not the space is because we can talk about it.

(COMMENT by Ed: Here Robert is saying you are even beyond the Void.)

R: As long as you can talk about it, as long as you can describe it, as long as you can argue about it, as long as you stick up for your rights and say it's this or it's that, you're wrong. Not really wrong, just on the wrong track, because if you are wrong, then something is right, and nothing is right, so there's nothing wrong. It goes beyond dualistic concepts.

R: For as long as you search, you'll never find it. After all, ask what you are searching for. You are searching for something that you already are. That's why you can never find it. If you were not that, then you would search, but you're already that, so searching becomes fruitless. 

(Comment: Back then, at this Satsang, Robert did not like the term witness, but he did so in other Satsangs. Robert did not want to give the self a name or attach a concept such as the absolute or witness, as that would make it an object, a thing, and the subject can never be an object or known as having qualities. Self is entirely beyond the universe yet witness to it. 

The witness is the subject, I: it happens to me, or I experience it, or I see or hear it, or otherwise sense it. When one accurately holds onto the I-sense, penetrates through all perceptions, concepts and images, through the darkness of the causal experience, it becomes itself, I become myself. Awareness becomes both aware and aware of itself being aware. That is, attention becomes the witness, the I, and “turns around,” cognizing all, but resting in the knowledge that that all is really alien to me who is at rest. The world and all internal objects are second and third persons, while "I" the first person, is mystery, the ultimate unknowable.

I would note here that in other places Robert states you recognize that the entire observable universe emanates from your mind. That is true, but the mind itself has no real existence. It is appearance only as is the world that it creates, and is not you.)

R: Ramana Maharshi said that the only problem you've really got is that you believe that you were born.
S: That was your leading question today, “What were we before we were born?”
R: Prior to consciousness.
S: Which is really at the time of birth isn't it? Consciousness?
R: At the time of birth, yes, consciousness takes place. But prior to conscious there is nothing - space.
S: There wasn't even potential for consciousness.
R: Absolute zero.
S: But there was something there which was a concept, before.
R: As long as there is some thing, it's not that. There's no thing whatsoever. It's beyond words and thoughts.
S: But there is something.
R: What is it? What?
S: No, I was asking you.
R: It's a mystery. Nobody knows.
S: We don't know what, but there was something.
R: There's nothing. But nothing is beyond the senses so it sounds stupid. When your mind is quiet and peaceful, and you sit in the silence, then you become that you're referring to. And that's none other than yourself. But don't try to explain the self. Once you try to explain it, it's not it.
S: The self then is just a word pointing to something that is wordless, indescribable and can not be possibly explained.
R: Yes
S: But it indicates, it's like a finger pointing.
R: Like an arrow, a finger pointing to the moon.

(Comment: That is, this something is out of the world of existence and knowledge as we know it. You have to be it. In being it, it is revealed that something is there entirely beyond existence, life and death.)

Robert Adams, Four Principals, August 1990.

I can only speak from my own experience. There's no difference, to me, in the waking state, the dreaming state, the sleeping state, or the vision state. They're all the same.

I'm aware of all of them, but I am not them. I observe them. I see them happening. As a matter of fact, sometimes I can not tell the difference.

Sometimes I don't know whether I'm dreaming, or awake, or having a vision, or I'm asleep. It's all the same, because I take a step backward, and I watch myself going through all these things.

(Comment by Ed: “I step backward and I watch myself.” He watches the coming and going of the different states of consciousness, waking, dreaming and sleep. He is separate and knows they are not he. They are object, he is the mystery of the subject or witness. They are consciousness, he is beyond that.

One more step is needed to reach this state. You are aware of the world and all the inner objects too, but you are also aware that you are aware, even though that “you” has no objective appearance. This is not an infinite regression. You are aware that you are aware. It stops there. It is not that you are aware that you are aware, of something that is aware, etc.

When I had my second awakening, I was aware that the world, dream and nothingness states had nothing to do with me. I was apart from them and they came over me like clouds, first waking, then dream then sleep, and I was aware I was apart from those states, and, in fact, I had nothing to do with them, yet I had no existence as a thing.

Therefore there were several processes going on. I recognized I existed. I recognized that all that I had thought made existence, such as waking and sleep states, had nothing to do with me. And lastly, there was the knowledge of transcendence. I was transcendent and I knew I was transcendent.

I was beyond all, untouchable by fire or sword, life or death. I was the real unborn, not the unborn that the neo-advaitins talk about, which for them has something to do with recognizing that the lowly I-thought had no objective ego thing associated.

There is a billion light years of difference between seeing that there is no objective personal ego self associated with the I-thought, and the recognition of I as the transcendent, beyond heaven and earth.)