This is Part II of the article ~ (Link to complete article)
Awakening leads to a review or a questioning of our former understanding of things. Upon awakening we ask ourselves if we still agree with our former views on most everything. Here we see how Nisargadatta views things after his awakening. We can see that his views put things in a radically different light than our conventional thinking – in the Light of Awakening.
Knowledge As Used By Nisargadatta
When Nisargadatta uses the term “knowledge” he gives it a specific meaning that is not identical to the conventional use of that term. In his recorded talks he speaks of the Absolute, which he is and we all are, although he is aware of being the Absolute and we, generally, are not. Further, out of nowhere a sense of beingness arose which he terms “knowledge” and also “I Amness”. Describing this state of knowledge, he adds that it is a sense of “I” or “I Am” without further attributes, such as “I am this” or “I am that”. Therefore this state of knowledge is pure consciousness.
“The very base is that you don’t know you are, and suddenly the feeling of “I Am”-ness appears. The moment it appears you see space, mental space; that subtle, sky-like space, stabilize yourself there.
You are that.
When you are able to stabilize in that state, you are space only.
When this space-like identity “I Am” goes into oblivion, that is the eternal state, nirguna, no form, no beingness.”
“Let us say that someone has become a jnani (a knower), but what was it to begin with? It was that sour, bitter principle, that secretion because of which the consciousness has taken place. That very principle, the knowledge “I Am,” has developed, grown, and become sweet; it matures and becomes the manifest jnani state; but what is that? It is the product of the five elemental food essence. When it goes, what remains? The Absolute which does not know Itself.”
“As Absolute, I am timeless, infinite, and I am awareness, without being aware of awareness. As infinity I express myself as space, as timeless I express myself as time. Unless there is space and duration I cannot be conscious of myself. When space and time are present there is consciousness, in that the total manifestation takes place and various phenomena come into being.
I, by Myself, Awareness, descend into this consciousness, and in this consciousness I express Myself in manifold ways, in innumerable forms.”
“In your original state there is no awareness of awareness, therefore no question of knowledge. The knowledge comes only with the appearance of the body and consciousness. The knowledge is really ignorance, and whatever knowledge is based on that is also ignorance.”
You must maintain this knowledge “I Am” in proper order. I quarrel with my people if they don’t keep these utensils in proper and clean order. Suppose this towel is left unwashed—than I will play hell with whoever is responsible. All the dirt which is not the towel should be removed. Similarly, “I Am” is the tool through which you get all the knowledge. You worship that “I Am,” remove all adulterations, the dirt.
Q: How to worship the I Amness”?
M: That knowingness alone points out all the dirt which is imposed on it. Even the space is not as pure as the knowledge “I Am.” Innately, the world is very pure; it is rendered dirty because you identify with the body. Since you do not recognize your “I Amness” in its purity, you refer to various books and Sages to get an identity.
Q: I am afraid of losing my beingness, my existence.
M: Where is the question of worry? Even the Parabrahman does not know Itself. When we come to the conclusion that you are not, I am not, what is left is said to be Parabrahman, but what is Parabrahman? You can’t describe it, so you are silent. I am also silent. Parabrahman cannot be compared with anything.
“It is a pity that you depend so much on hearsay and you don’t try to investigate for yourself. Your knowledge is confined to your body and borrowed knowledge.
All the activities of the world are going on because of this “I Amness.” It is the source which creates the world. Understand that “I Amness” first—only then can you transcend it. First of all, be that “I Amness.””
In other talks Nisargadatta says that we actually remember the beingness, and that our sense of “I Am” is a function of memory. If there were no memory principle at work, the flow of manifest consciousness would just keep flowing with no perceivable forms. It has to make an impression on something that is not flowing, in order for there to be a reference to it as an object. I see it like a bundt cake form which gives the flow (dough) a distinct form, otherwise it would just flow out into a formless mass. So our concepts (thought forms), which we are able to hold in our minds (memory) over time, allow us to give form to the flow of universal energy (consciousness).
The metaphor of soap he brings in here is something I find especially appealing. The sense of “I Am”, as the first stirring of manifestation out of the unmanifest Absolute is likened to soap that is used to remove the dirt out of fabric. When we become one with the “I Am” – that formless quality of pure consciousness – then all “impurities” are removed. the impurities are all that we hang on to with our identifications that are all based on our sense of “I am the body”.
When we free our consciousness more and more from the limitation of seeing ourselves, and actually believing ourselves, to be limited to the physical body, then we expand into Pure Consciousness progressively.
“…suddenly the feeling of “I Am”-ness appears.
Nisargadatta refers here to the moment of waking from deep sleep. This point of transition from deep sleep to the waking state is mentioned by many sages as an opening to realize our true nature.
“The moment it appears you see space, mental space; that subtle, sky-like space, stabilize yourself there.
You are that.
When you are able to stabilize in that state, you are space only.”
Now he continues to point out the dynamic that can follow this moment:
“When this space-like identity “I Am” goes into oblivion, that is the eternal state, nirguna, no form, no beingness.”
Enjoy your awakening!
(all Nisargadatta quotes: Prior to Consciousness, p. 75 ff)