WINTER 1998 VOLUME FOUR NUMBER ONE
NOUMENON - A NEWSLETTER FOR THE NONDUAL PERSPECTIVE
Ramesh Balsekar Replies to Questions
In November 1997, I had the good fortune to meet Ramesh Balsekar at his home in Bombay, India, where he holds daily meetings with whoever wants to meet with him. This is a selection of responses from the first meeting. These excerpts have been edited to give the gist of the responses where the flow was not very direct. If, in the process, there has been a distortion of the intended meaning, then I have to take full responsibility.– the editor
ON DEEP SLEEP
Questioner: At one point I find myself disagreeing, and the proof you give for that is that there is consciousness in deep sleep. I never get this and it’s not my experience. When you wake up you know how you slept—you wake up in a state, and at that moment you give this state a feeling if you had a bad night. But maybe that’s just a moment and you give words to that moment.
Ramesh Balsekar: In the moment you wake up, you say you had a bad night. There must have been something present in the night…
Q: But maybe it’s only the moment you wake up that you give words to…
RB: When you wake up you say that you had a bad night, so that bad night – to have that feeling of bad night – something must have been present in the night, some awareness of the night must have been there for you to wake up and say that you had a bad night.
Q: I had a bad wake up – not a bad night – I mean the night….
RB: That’s right, in the night who knows? Look there’s no who. And your name is?
Q: My name is Adal.
RB: So in deep sleep there is no Adal and that is the whole point. And in waking Adal arises and Adal has questions.
Q: Saying I had a bad night is right – I just had a bad waking up.
RB: No, when you wake up, there is a bad waking up. When you wake up you say you had a bad night, that means there must have been some other awareness in the night, for you to say that you had a bad night. That is my point.
RB: So, Krishnamurti’s talks are addressed to the individual. And he thinks that the individual is capable of accepting what he says. Does he accept that every individual has the capacity to understand what he says and all what he is asking you to do?
Q: It would appear that way. That is what he asks us to do. But that is not the result, the experience.
RB: Krishnamurti’s teaching as far as I can say is: it is addressed to the individual. Krishnamurti says ‘who’s responsible?’. You say you are. That’s what I read – who is responsible? You are. So who is this you? The reader, obviously, as an individual. He makes every individual responsible for everything that happens. Mind you, I have great respect for Krishnamurti and the most important thing I would tell you here is: Krishnamurti’s book – The Awakening of Intelligence – did a lot for me, during the process of learning, during this spiritual process, But I found, as a reader, I had to work very hard to go behind his words to try to find out what they mean.
ON HUMAN PROGRAMMING
RB: Whatever action you think is your action, I ask you to find out from your personal experience. Not because any sage or I said so. From your own personal experience, from the past, take six events most important to you and find out how much you had to do with it and how much depended on circumstances beyond your control. You can do it today, find out today. Any action big or small, after it happens ask yourself, did I do it, or was it merely the reaction of the brain, an outside event over which I had had no control? And you will have to come to the conclusion on personal experience – wrong personal experience, I repeat, wrong personal experience – that no action is really my action. It is merely a mechanical reaction of the brain over which I had no control.
RB: Life, as you know goes on, because each human being considers itself a separate entity where he or she can do what he or she likes to do. Wanting something and not wanting something else. And because of that life as we know is based on one’s thinking – desire and changing what is – so without that separation, life as we know it could not happen. Therefore, God has created the divine hypnosis which makes each body-mind organism think – I can do what I want. And the final process, which we call enlightenment or understanding, or whatever you call it, is merely the total ending of this hypnosis, the total of annihilation of the sense of personal doership. And the personal doership is the sense of ego. And what the teachers are doing here is to tell the ego to get rid of itself, and the ego will not get rid of itself. I explained what I mean by enlightenment – you are seeking enlightenment. If you analyse it you will find that you are seeking enlightenment because you are treating enlightenment as an object that can give you more happiness then anything on this earth. That is what you want in life. Some object the world has given you – not money, not sex, not love, nothing. I want that kind of happiness and enlightenment is going to give me that. And when I maintained that to me enlightenment means the annihilation of the seeker, then someone asked what am I doing here? If the enlightenment that I’m seeking means the annihilation of this, what am I doing here? So I said find out, ask yourself. He got up and went away. He was not interested in that enlightenment.
ON GOOD LUCK AND BAD LUCK
RB: I’ll tell you a story, a Chinese story which is supposed to be a very, very ancient story. There was a wise farmer who had a son and a small plot of land, and they had a horse. The son worked the horse on the field – made some money that was enough for their living. One day the horse ran away so the neighbours came and said what terrible bad luck. So the farmer said maybe. The next day the horse came back and brought four wild horses. The neighbours came and said what good luck. Because first you had one horse, now you have five horses. The farmer said maybe. The third day the son tried to ride one of the wild horses and he fell and broke his leg. The neighbours came again and said what bad luck. The farmer said maybe. The next day the government servants came to take hold of strong farmers for the army. But this boy had a broken leg so they left him. Again this was good luck. So you can take this story on for 365 days. You see happiness is unhappiness. That is what I’m saying. Life as we know it is based on opposites. Sometimes happy, sometimes unhappy, sometimes neither. And that is what life is all about.
RB: Are you saying then that you really don’t care whether the person who comes to you for counselling gets any benefit or not? The answer should be yes or no. Some people come here, I talk to them. Do I care whether they benefit or not? I don’t care a damn. The answer is straight. I don’t care a damn, whether somebody gets a benefit or not. Because this talking, this conversing is happening because that is the role of this body-mind organism. Frankly, deep down, I honestly don’t care. I believe whether he gets the benefit or not has nothing to do with you. Whether he gets the benefit or not depends entirely on God’s will and the destiny of that body-mind organism.
RB: There will be no questions if you accept that there is no time. All questions are based on time. Then no questions can arise. If you accept that all there is, is consciousness – consciousness is the only reality – else is unreal. If that is accepted, there will be no questions.
SELECTED WORKS BY RAMESH BALSEKAR
A Duet of One: The Ashtavakra Gita Dialogue. Los Angeles: Advaita Press, 1989.
Consciousness Speaks. Los Angeles: Advaita Press, 1992.
Consciousness Writes: Conversations via Air Mail with Ramesh S. Balsekar. Mumbai: Zen Publications, Undated.
Experiencing The Teaching. Los Angeles: Advaita Press, 1988.
Explorations into the Eternal: Forays into the teaching of Nisargadatta Maharaj. Durham, NC: The Acorn Press, 1989.
From Consciousness to Consciousness. Los Angeles: Advaita Press, 1989.
"Like a large immovable rock": A Festschrift in Appreciation of Ramesh. S Balsekar. Kapa’au: Wild Duck Publishing, 1996.
Pointers from Nisargadatta Maharaj. Durham, NC: The Acorn Press, 1982.
The Final Truth: A Guide to Ultimate Understanding. Los Angeles: Advaita Press, 1989.
From Experiencing The Teaching:
What does "awakening", in the final analysis, actually mean?
"Awakening" means that total disappearance of all phenomenal problems, resulting in a perpetual feeling of total freedom from all worries. It is a feeling of lightness, of floating in the air, untouched by the impurity – and confusion – of the split mind. It is as if the very root of all problems has been demolished, as if the Hydra has been fatally pierced in the heart to prevent the heads from growing again and again.
(Seekers) don’t realize that all methods and techniques are utterly useless unless they give up the illusion that they themselves are autonomous entities, with volition and choice, working towards a goal.
…presence of a seeker entity inevitably prevents enlightenment – there is no difference between ignorance and enlightenment as long as there is a conceptual entity to experience either condition.