August 30, 1980
Questioner: Does the consciousness remain forever?
Nisargadatta Maharaj: No, the consciousness is there only so long as the body is there.
Q: Even when one understands, will there be bodies coming into existence and dying?
M: Yes. The five elements, three gunas, prakriti and purusha, together are the means of demonstrating the “I Amness.”
In the original state there is no sense of consciousness, no awareness of being, but as soon as the “I Amness” comes the entire manifestation is seen at once, this is the expression of the consciousness. In the Absolute the “I Amness” is whole but the expression is in many. I manifest Myself in many. Human beings are one type of form and each type of form will act according to its nature, according to the combination of the three gunas. How can an individual come in?
The only way to understand this mystery is to realize your identity with the universal consciousness, which is expressed in the total space. So long as you identify yourself with the human form it is impossible for the mystery to be solved.
Why do you come here and waste your time for an hour or so? If you do some physical or mental work for two hours you would have something to show for it.
Q: These are the hours that are useful; all the others are useless.
M: How can they be useful? I am destroying that for which you say these two hours are useful. I am destroying the identity.
Isn’t it amusing that the teaching which destroys the individual is exactly what the individual wants? The answer is that there never was an individual. The knowledge comes that the individual was never there.
Q: What is the realization?
M: Before the idea “I Am” sprouted, you are, but you don’t know you are. Subsequent to that there have been many happenings with which you have started decorating yourself. You try to derive the meaning of yourself out of subsequent words, happenings, and the meaning of words … that is not you … give it up. You are prior to the idea “I Am.”
Camp yourself there, prior to the words “I Am.”
source: Nisargadatta, Prior to Consciousness