You have heard the word Consciousness. When a finger is pointing to the moon, you see the moon. When you hear this word — consciousness — where is it pointing? The finger pointing to the moon shows you the moon. Now the word ‘consciousness’ is used pointing to something. After having heard this word what do you see? What do you perceive? Who are you?
You are always consciousness: You have been, you are, and you always will be. Where is the difficulty in accepting the truth and what is real? Who told you that you are ignorant? Where did this ignorance arise from in the first place? Again and again you have affirmed, “I am ignorant, I am ignorant, I am ignorant,” and then we suffer. With the repeated affirmation, “I am bound,” and “I suffer,” this universe is created with endless suffering, incarnation, reincarnation, and endless birth and death. Somehow this cycle has started. Who is responsible for it? It is only your affirmation that this is real, this ignorance is real, this snake is real. Thereby arises the fear; this snake has concealed the reality of the rope.
How is it possible to remove the concept of the snake? Who will remove this doubt? Now you cannot see the rope because you are attached to the idea of the snake. But there was never any snake. In the same way, you cannot see consciousness because you are attached to the imposition of ignorance. There was never any ignorance; you are consciousness itself. The snake will be removed by reasoning, not by sitting near it and meditating. Meditation will not remove the snake. You will have to see through reason that the snake is not moving. You are in shock, you are suffering, you are trying to pick up a stone or stick to beat the snake with; that is how you are engaged here. You have not used reason, and this is called ignorance. Move towards it, look at it carefully, or listen to someone coming from the other side who tells you that this is not a snake; it is just a piece of string lying here. He had not seen the snake, so on hearing his words the snake vanished because it never existed. There was only a rope underneath; through ignorance you took it to be a snake.
In the same way, through lack of reasoning you have accepted your affirmations that “This samsara is real,” and “I am bound.” It may never have existed at all. Sit down quietly and reason it out. Through this reasoning you will find out who has concealed consciousness and created ignorance. Or listening to someone who knows it was a rope can remove your doubt. On hearing this once from a responsible person the snake will disappear and you will see that it was a rope, that “I am consciousness.” Now as I say the word ‘consciousness,’ put it to the test stone and see if this word is correct. Go near and see if ignorance is real or not. Only then will you know that you are consciousness and Truth itself. You are satyam, shivam, sundaram.
You have been told from the very beginning that ignorance exists, and now this has become a reality. This ignorance does not exist at all. When you sit quietly, where is the ignorance? Somehow we have accepted it, so the question now is how to remove this ignorance. When you add wood to a fire it becomes fire and burns completely, so that there is no more wood left. And when all the wood has become fire, when there is no more fuel, the fire also goes out. What is the fire that will remove ignorance and return you back to your own status, to your own abode, to atman, to Brahman?
There is really no name for your original nature but we have to converse. I say the word ‘consciousness.’ It is perhaps a finger pointing to the moon, but the finger is not the moon. It is only pointing to the moon because you can’t see the moon. Someone who has seen it points his finger. If you cling to the finger you can’t see the moon. Most people cling to what they have learnt, they cling to a teaching and start meditating. They become so interested in the means that they forget why the means was needed — the finger was needed only to see the moon. Meditation is a finger pointing to freedom. But everybody got attached, and now different societies are running meditation and nobody speaks about enlightenment.
The only fire which can burn everything is the fire of inquiry. Any practice which you perform is with the mind, and the result will be only mental. The trouble is with the mind, so we must find out how to get rid of the mind itself. The whole creation of past, present, future, hell, heaven, creator, preservation and destruction is just mind. The mind is simply a thought. There is no difference between a thought and the mind.
There is one prime thought that becomes the mind, that becomes the ego, body, senses, manifestation and time. All these millions of universes are hanging like dust particles in one thought. Give rise to the thought — ‘I’ — and everything arises. In this one thought exists the past, present, millions of universes, hells and heavens, and gods and creators, preservers and destroyers. How can this ‘I’ be arrested? If this ‘I’ ceases, everything ceases. When ‘I’ arises, everything arises in front of you. Now everything has arisen because you use the word ‘I’, but when there is no ‘I’ there is nothing.
When you enter into the deep sleep state without even any dreams you do not see any object, you do not see any subject, you do not see any manifestation — no creator nor creation. This is a dull state because there is no awareness at all so you may not recognize it. In deep sleep you forget yourself completely. There is no body, there are no senses, there are no objects. Nothing is there because there is no ‘I’ thought there. When you wake up in the morning the first thought to arise is the thought ‘I’. You think, “I am so-and-so”, and instantly the whole world arises before you. How is this thought to be checked?
There is a fire in this inquiry; if you simply inquire, “Who am I?” This is a fire which will burn everything: all the modifications of the mind, past, present and future. Just these three words, “Who….am….I…..?” are a fire which will burn everything, as the fire we talked of earlier. After having burnt past, present, and future, they will also burn the memory. And this inquiry will also be burnt as wood burns completely in a fire. The ‘I’ thought which went to inquire into its own nature is no longer to be found, and in this your true nature is revealed.
This inquiry can be conducted in this very instant. It is not a long procedure, it is not a practice. You do not have to do anything for this inquiry. You simply need to investigate, to inquire without thinking about anything and without performing any kind of practice. No effort or thought is involved. This is the inquiry that I speak about — to find out what this ‘I’ is which has created this manifestation. After having made this inquiry, keep quiet. If you do not think, and do not make any kind of effort that which you have never heard described, that which cannot be achieved or attained will reveal itself. It will reveal itself once you have conducted this inquiry and given up all kinds of thought and effort.
This auspiciousness is your own swarupam, your own Self, your own Atman, your own Brahman. It is that which is everywhere. This is very simple for those who can hear innocently, without working the thinking process and the memory. You can postpone this, but sooner or later you will have to return home; and whenever this happens it will be this very second. You can postpone this second endlessly and endless universes will arise. It is up to you. Decide now. You can end it in this very second or you can create more universes. This very second is out of time because ‘I’ is time, mind is time. When you inquire into this ‘I’ it is gone. What happens is a revelation which does not take place in time at all. It transcends time, ego and everything.
Simply keep quiet and do not do anything at all.
17 July, 1992