When we ‘zoom out’ for a quick moment, things look different. In the grand scheme of things all looks more harmonious than when we are caught up in the nitty-gritty of it. Sometimes I am drawn to look at things through Nisargadatta’s eyes as he transmits such a view of the ‘grand scheme’. Here is one such passage from his talks to visitors in Mumbai, India on November 29, 1980:
Questioner: This that I am – and the consciousness which is time-bound – what is
Maharaj: What is the concept of “I” with which you are trying to find a relationship? This is exactly where the misconception arises.
In this concept of space and time there is total manifestation, in that you consider that you are something separate. There is nothing separate, you are part of the function of the total manifestation.
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. This is the crux, the framework of manifestation; there is no question of any individuality.
What is this? [Holding up a bag of apples] There is no difference between this fruit, a goat, or a human being. They are all food products, all three are food.
All creation, every creature, is made up of the five elements, and the behavior of each creature depends on the combination of the three gunas; satva, rajas, tamas. There is no question of being responsible for anything that happens in the world. It is only by taking delivery of responsibility that one suffers.
The consciousness of being present, the five elements and the three gunas, that is the total of the universal manifestation.
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. This knowledge is really ignorance, and whatever knowledge is based on that is also ignorance.
Our conventional thinking balks at the statement: “There is no question of being responsible for anything that happens in the world. It is only by taking delivery of responsibility that one suffers.” When I ponder the deeper meaning of this statement I come to the understanding that Nisargadatta is talking about the sense of personal doer-ship that burdens so many. When I realize that there is actually a greater power than my person that is the underlying intelligence in the movement of all things, including my own actions, I see all events differently. Does this mean that I become negligent and lack in my diligence to do everything in a spirit of excellence? Not at all, on the contrary, I become more enthused by that ‘greater power’ which always strives for excellence and is supremely diligent in all things. The crux of the matter is indeed, as he points out, the belief in an individual entity that is separate from the reality of all of nature. We call it ‘a person’.
As Nisargadatta points out: “In this concept of space and time there is total manifestation, in that you consider that you are something separate. There is nothing separate, you are part of the function of the total manifestation.” These words go against out conditioned consciousness. In order to gain access to them it is necessary to ponder them repeatedly in our contemplation.