6th January, 1936
An educated man asked: Is there an Absolute Being? What is its relation to the relative existence?
Maharshi: Are they different from each other? All the questions arise only in the mind. The mind arises with waking and subsides in deep sleep. As long as there is a mind, so long will there be such questions and doubts.
D.: There must be stage after stage of progress for gaining the Absolute. Are there grades of Reality?
Maharshi: There are no grades of Reality. There are grades of experience for the jiva and not of Reality. If anything can be gained anew, it could also be lost, whereas the Absolute is central - here and now.
D.: If so, how do I remain ignorant of it (avarana )?
Maharshi: For whom is this ignorance (veiling)? Does the Absolute tell you that it is veiled? It is the jiva who says that something veils the Absolute. Find out for whom this ignorance is.
D.: Why is there imperfection in Perfection? That is, how did the Absolute become relative?
Maharshi: For whom is this relativity? For whom is this imperfection? The Absolute is not imperfect and cannot ask. The insentient cannot ask the question. Between the two something has risen up which raises these questions and which feels this doubt. Who is it? Is it the one who has now arisen? Or is it the one who is eternal? Being perfect, why do you feel yourself imperfect? Such is the teaching of all the religions. Whatever may be the experiences, the experiencer is one and the same. `I' is purna - perfection. There is no diversity in sleep. That indicates perfection.
D.: Being perfect, why do I not feel it?
Maharshi: Nor is imperfection felt in deep sleep. The `I' in sleep being perfect, why does the waking `I' feel imperfect? Because the one who feels imperfect is a spurious offshoot, a differentiation from the Infinite - a segregation from God.
D.: I am the same in all the three states. Did this ego submerge me or did I entangle myself into it?
Maharshi: Did anything come up without you?
D.: I am always the same.
Maharshi: Because you see it, this appears to have come up. Did you feel this difficulty in deep sleep? What is new now?
D.: The senses and the mind.
Maharshi: Who says this? Is it the sleeper? If so he should have raised the question in deep sleep also. The sleeper has been lost hold of, some spurious offshoot has differentiated himself and speaks now. Can anything new appear without that which is eternal and perfect? This kind of dispute is itself eternal. Do not engage in it. Turn inward and put an end to all this. There will be no finality in disputations.
D.: Show me that Grace which puts an end to all this trouble. I have not come here to argue. I want only to learn.
Maharshi: Learn first what you are. This requires no sastras, no scholarship.
This is simple experience. The state of being is now and here all along. You have lost hold of yourself and are asking others for
guidance. The purpose of philosophy is to turn you inward. "If you know your Self, no evil can come to you. Since you asked me I have taught you." The ego comes up only holding you (the Self). Hold yourself and the ego will vanish. Until then the sage will be saying, "There is." - The ignorant will be asking "Where?"
D.: The crux of the problem lies in "Know Thyself."
Maharshi: Yes. Quite so.
Talk 131 Talk 133