The Problems of Spiritual Life
by Swami Krishnananda

December 11, 1990 p.m.

SWAMIJI: What do you say?

Larry: My mind, my mind and my ego, want to know the relationship they have (or it has) with the ‘I’ of the Absolute.

SWAMIJI: The Absolute has no ‘I’.

Larry: The ‘I’ . . .

SWAMIJI: There is no ‘I’.

Larry: All right, just the Absolute. What is the relationship between the mind and the Absolute?

SWAMIJI: The mind is a spatio-temporal projection of the Absolute. A spatio-temporal projection—a refraction, if you want to call it by that name. There is no such thing as ‘mind’, actually, in the same way as the mirror does not shine. The mirror shines only when lights fall on it. The light that shines through the mirror is the mind, but the light that is independent of the mirror is the Absolute. The relationship is simple. The Absolute Itself is shining as the mind through the mirror of space-time, and so there is no such thing as mind independently, even as there is no such thing as the light of the mirror. The mirror cannot shine; in the same way, the mind cannot think. It appears to think on account of the light reflected upon it by the Absolute through the space-time complex. So space-time is like the mirror, the mind is like the light on the mirror, and the Absolute is the original light that falls on it.

Larry: So my mind is a reflection of the Absolute.

SWAMIJI: Certainly, yes. You are thinking because of the light reflected in your mind by the Absolute.

Larry: And likewise, everybody else’s mind is a reflection of the Absolute.

SWAMIJI: Everybody’s mind also is like that only. Everybody, yes. All, uniformly.

Larry: So why does—I don’t know if this can be answered—but why does the Absolute choose to . . .

SWAMIJI: It never chose anything. And if you ask such a question, I will say It has done nothing, nor are you existing, finally. You are under an illusion that you are existing. That is the final stroke—to cut the Gordian knot. You should never ask the question “Why?”, because questions arise on account of the relationship between ‘cause’ and ‘effect’. You try to find a cause for an effect; that is why questions arise. But who told you that there is a cause for every effect? That is an imagination of your mind; concocted questions cannot be answered in any rational way. Questions are all projected by an erroneous perception of things. You cannot have a right answer to a wrong question. No question arises as to why it happened, because it never happened, finally. But you imagine that it happened; therefore, some sort of answer commensurate with that process has to be given. What is required in a person is psychoanalytical treatment, as they call it. Something is wrong in the thinking itself. Something has happened to you, and you will know it when it is rectified.

Larry: So, if nothing is happening, then really my mind is not here. And I am not here and you are not there.

SWAMIJI: Nothing is anywhere. If you really believe that you also don’t exist, you will have no problems; but you cannot believe that you are not existing. That is why these questions arise. You try to abolish the consciousness of your existence also, and let us see what happens. You will melt into the Absolute at that moment. Then you will never raise questions. But you are insisting that you are existing, so the problem is always there as a hurdle; then you have questions. Insistence that you are existing is another way of saying that you are insisting on independence from the Absolute. The whole problem is here. Let the Absolute think, and not Mr. Krauss. I told you in the morning about this technique of transferring your consciousness to the Universal Continuum rather than go on thinking through a personality or a body. Every thought of ours is an isolation from the Absolute. That is why no answer comes.

Larry: You have been able to transcend yourself and, therefore, you do not see . . .

SWAMIJI: I have no questions. I do not have doubts of any kind, and I never go and have darshan of anyone. I do not talk to anybody, and I am a fully satisfied person. I do not go and see people—great men or small men. I want nothing from anyone. By some mystery, I am satisfied. It is the blessing come from Swami Sivananda.

Larry: Do you exist?

SWAMIJI: I exist as the Absolute, and to exist in any other fashion is a mistake; and if that mistake has been committed, the earlier it is rectified the better. Constantly you must brood on this universality of your being. You do exist. Nobody says you don’t exist, but you exist in a different way than what you are thinking. You do exist, but not as you are thinking that you are.

Larry: Do we all exist?

SWAMIJI: Always.

Larry: All of us here exist?

SWAMIJI: There is no “all of us”. It is like many drops in the one ocean. If you say the entire ocean is nothing but many drops, okay. I have no objection to your saying “all of us”, but actually there are no drops in the ocean. It is only a theoretical concept. The ocean itself is a big drop, but you can conceive independent drops for the purpose of argument. So there is no such thing as“all of us”. We are like drops in the ocean which is conceptual.

Larry: If there is only one Absolute, then how can there be different consciousness?

SWAMIJI: I told you it is like waking becoming dream. Something has happened. While there are no mountains that you perceive in a dream (they are inside the head only), they look like external things. The one Universal Consciousness has somehow entered into this body, which is its own spatio-temporal pressure point, as I mentioned to you, and it is dreaming, as it were (everything is ‘as it were’—really it is not happening), just as mountains are not created by your brain in the dream state but somehow it looks as if the mountain is outside you. The world appears to be outside in the same way as a mountain looks outside in dream, while it is your mind only looking like a mountain.

Larry: So it is in my mind, or it is in the Absolute?

SWAMIJI: Your mind and It—you cannot separate them. It is the Universal Mind, you may say. They are not separate.

Larry: So when I speak to you . . .

SWAMIJI: It is one drop talking to another drop in the ocean itself.

Larry: So it is not just my dream, then?

SWAMIJI: When you think that you are a drop, and really isolated from the ocean, that is a dream; the dream is nothing but the conviction that the drop is isolated from the ocean. But if the drop knows that there is no such thing as the drop, that it is the ocean itself looking like a drop, you are awake. Many drops make the ocean; it is perfectly correct, yet there are no drops in the ocean. It is one mass. You can conceive it either way.

Sarah: The way you talk about the Absolute and us as an ocean appears to me as correct thinking. But this world as only a dream—there is so much going on in this world! So many experiences and evolutions . . .

SWAMIJI: All experiences are within the dream only; they are not outside it. You can be hungry, you can be thirsty, you can also die in dream—but nothing happens, really. People can feel that they are falling from a tree and break their legs, marry and have children, and become poor, and die, also. All these experiences one can have in dream. You wake up and see nothing has happened.

Sarah: But there is no substance?

SWAMIJI: There is no substance in dream—yes.

Sarah: No substance! Everything that is going on here in the world . . .

SWAMIJI: Nothing, nothing. It is substanceless, ultimately. It is a modification of consciousness that looks like this.

Larry: Is the Absolute choosing to dream?

SWAMIJI: Again you are asking the same question. It is like asking whether It is doing something. You should never put such questions. It never chooses anything. It just is. You are asking again and again the same question, why it happens. This question you cannot answer. You have to go deep into it and realise it yourself. The finite cannot answer the question regarding the Infinite. You have to enter into the finite and from the finite you have to enter the Infinite; then you will get the answer.

Larry: Is it possible in one’s lifetime to enter into the mind of the Infinite?

SWAMIJI: Yes, it is possible, if you are really eager to have it. Actually, if you are so eager to have it, you will sink into It, and day in and day out you will be only in It.

Sarah: How does it work that you can use the tools (instruments) of the dream world—you use the mind, you use purification techniques, you use other techniques . . .

SWAMIJI: They are all part of the mind only. If you use these techniques in the dream world, do you think they are all different things? Even if you use a vessel for carrying water in dream, that vessel is made of your mind only, even as the water in it. It has no substance. And the same thing will happen in the waking condition—all these vessels and instruments that you are seeing are made of the Cosmic Mind. They look like hard substances, but really they are not. The king and the beggar of the dream world are made of the same stuff.

Sarah: But how can they be used to get to the Absolute Consciousness?

SWAMIJI: These are methods that you are adopting to strike a harmony between yourself and the environment outside. Environment means the world. An instrument is only a tool that you are employing to assist you in striking a harmony between you and the world. You use various instruments for that purpose. The world is impinging upon you so badly that you feel hungry every day; then you use the instrument of food. And when the winter wind blows on you, you use the instrument of a blanket. You strike a balance between you and nature by using these techniques. Likewise, you will strike a balance between you and everything in the world by various methods that you are adopting—psychologically, physically, socially, or any way you like. Actually, whatever you are doing in this world is only an attempt to have a balance between you and the world outside, because, if for one minute you are out of balance, you will not be happy. You have to be in a state of balance with society, with your body, with your mind, your emotions, with every blessed thing, and with nature itself. The whole effort of life is nothing but a progressive movement towards harmony of personality with the environment outside in various degrees and stages. The whole thing that you are doing is a cosmic work. It is not some person doing, somewhere sitting in one corner. Every activity is a Cosmic Action taking place through every individuality, at all times.

Sarah: What is Cosmic Action?

SWAMIJI: Cosmic Action is Total Action of the cosmos simultaneously; also the movement of the individual, or the finite, towards the Infinite. The entire universe is moving towards the Absolute; this is what we call evolution. The universe is restless and it cannot keep quiet until it coalesces into the Absolute.

Sarah: When you say the universe, you mean this dream universe is moving towards the Absolute?

SWAMIJI: Everything, every atom, is moving towards that Goal.

Larry: And the dream universe is the Absolute?

SWAMIJI: Yes, you may say the whole process of evolution itself is a kind of dream. A cosmic dream it is, but it is done very systematically; therefore, you call it evolution, systematic and symmetrical.

Sarah: But if it’s a dream, nothing really happens.

SWAMIJI: It does happen! When you are actually dreaming, it does happen; otherwise, you don’t call it a dream at all. You are saying that nothing happens because you have woken up, but actually when you are dreaming, it is a very real thing. Similarly, you will not see this world when you enter the Absolute. But before that experience takes place, the world is there as an object of perception.

Sarah: But it seems that when you are in the consciousness of the Absolute, the dream world looks as if it is just spinning its wheels; it is not doing anything.

SWAMIJI: When you enter the consciousness of the Absolute, you will not see the world, in the same way as when you wake up the dream world vanishes. It has entered your mind. All the phenomena of dream have entered your mind in waking. In the same way, all the phenomena of waking will enter the Absolute. Just as you don’t see the world of dream in waking, you will not see the world of waking in the Absolute—not that it vanishes; it has entered into the original source of it. By not seeing people of the dream in waking, you have not lost anybody. You don’t bother about bereavement; you have seen a friend in dream and now you have woken up and the friend is not visible—“Oh I have lost,” you don’t cry, because the person has entered your mind itself. So, you will lose nothing by entering the Absolute. You will absorb the whole thing into It and you will be the all-inclusive completeness.

Sarah: So, with this absorption, I don’t understand . . .

SWAMIJI: The absorption is just like the dream objects entering your waking mind. In a similar manner it happens.

Sarah: And what is this process of the universe?

SWAMIJI: The process of the universe is the gross melting into the subtle, the subtle into the causal, the causal into the Absolute. The outer becomes the inner; the inner becomes the Universal. Three or four stages are there. That’s the process.

Larry: Is the Absolute beyond this universe? Is It this universe, or is It beyond this universe?

SWAMIJI: Is the waking mind beyond the dreaming mind, or is it not beyond it? The waking mind that is now thinking and dreamt yesterday—is it beyond the dreaming mind? One mind dreamt yesterday; one mind is thinking now in waking. Now, is this waking mind beyond that mind which dreamt yesterday, or is it the same mind?

Larry: It is a different condition of the same mind.

SWAMIJI: Then it is the same answer to your question: a different condition of the same thing. They are not two different things.

Larry: Is that not a limitation, though, on the Infinite, that It can have a different condition?

SWAMIJI: Is there a limitation between the dreaming mind and the waking mind? There is no limitation because there are no two minds, as one mind only is looking like two. There is no limitation. Are you feeling a kind of loss because you have woken up from dream? Then, where is the limitation? You are complete and full even now, in spite of having seen things in dream and, apparently, lost them.

Larry: The limitation is that while I was dreaming, I was not awake and doing whatever I could do.

SWAMIJI: In that sense you are limited now because you are thinking you are Mr. So-and-so, and you are not believing that you are the Universal. In that lack of belief in the universality of yours, you may say that you are limited, though really you are not like that. You are not really limited, but somehow you are affirming the limitation. That has to be overcome by a counterproductive activity of consciousness that is called ‘universal meditation’. You must think in the opposite way—not as a subject thinking, but as the Universal thinking.

Larry: So the Absolute has different conditions.

SWAMIJI: It has no conditions by Itself, but it looks as if It has conditions from your individual point of view. All these questions arise because you have isolated yourself from the Absolute and you are arguing as if the Absolute is in front of you, sitting as an object of inquiry. It is not an object of inquiry before you. You yourself are That. But you, somehow, have isolated yourself from It in a psychological fashion and so you are asking where It is, and so on. There is no ‘it’. The observed is not an it. It is you, just this person.

Larry: So I am going through an evolutionary process.

SWAMIJI: You are going through an evolutionary process in every way. You are trying to become yourself. You are to become yourself in larger and larger dimensions.

Larry: And yet I was myself to begin with.

SWAMIJI: You were always yourself only. You were like an acorn, you were like a seed, you were like an atom. You became a vegetable, you became a plant, you became an animal, you became a human being. You are becoming wider in your dimension, and the evolutionary process is going on even now.

Larry: And yet I began as the Absolute.

SWAMIJI: You began as the Absolute and you will end as the Absolute.

Larry: And I will end as the Absolute, too?

SWAMIJI: Yes, yes, you have to.

Larry: And yet I am going through an evolutionary process to take me back to where I began.

SWAMIJI: Yes, in a cycle—a kind of consciousness-cycle.

Larry: Why would that happen?

SWAMIJI: Again you are asking the same question! I told you, don’t ask such questions. You are asking the same question again and again. The effect cannot know the cause as long as it stands outside the cause as an effect thereof.

Larry: If I already am the Absolute . . .

SWAMIJI: You do not believe it. The whole point is that. You are not the Absolute, as you don’t believe it is so. You are not the Absolute to yourself because you don’t feel that you are such on account of placing yourself outside It.

Larry: Why is it important that I feel that I am the Absolute? If I am the Absolute, I am the Absolute. What is the difference if I know that I am the Absolute?

SWAMIJI: No, no. The Absolute doesn’t want to know that It has some kind of cocoon around Itself. You are asking why the cocoon is around It. You may ask It when you go there! Now you should not ask. “Why did I dream that there is a mountain?” You will never put such a question because it is a phantasm. You will never put such a question at all. You saw a mountain in a dream and you are asking everybody, you go all over the marketplace and ask people, “Why did I dream of a mountain yesterday?” You will never put such a question, as it is an utter stupidity to ask such questions, because it never happened. You will think, “It is some kind of phantasmagoria in my brain.” You will never put such questions to people. It is like a dreaming man asking, “What is waking?” He can never answer that question. No man who is dreaming can know what waking is unless he wakes up. So, no ‘why’. It is a question of direct practice and experience. If you eat the sugar, only then will you know what sweetness is. It is better to put the sugar into your mouth than to ask another man, “What is sweetness?” By mere theoretical argument nobody can know what sweetness is.

Larry: All right. I can’t ask the question but I can understand the condition. And the condition is that I began as the Absolute . . .

SWAMIJI: You neither began, nor did anything like that happen. Again, you are bringing the question of cause and effect.

Larry: All right, I was always the Absolute.

SWAMIJI: All these questions of yours imply that you are separate from the Absolute. You are insisting again and again on that wrong point of view, and will never get an answer. All your questions are rooted in the belief that you are outside the Absolute. Else, why is there any doubt?

Larry: Right. But, that is because. . .

SWAMIJI: What then? Where do you stand? You have hypnotised yourself into the belief that you are outside the Absolute. You are under a spell of hypnotism created around yourself, and you are putting questions about the spell of hypnotism itself. The questions are also a part of the hypnotic effect; they are not rational questions. There is no necessity to go on arguing the same point, as it is an erroneous standpoint that the consciousness is taking. And I request you to remember what I told you in the morning. Transfer your consciousness from this body, which is putting the question, and let it sit on the carpet here, outside. Then you will never raise the question. Let this consciousness that is raising questions sit here, some ten feet away, and let it look at this person who is putting a question. Then you will see what happens. You will melt immediately. Yoga is a practice. It is not a theory. It is not a question; it is a doing something. It is eating the pudding. Yoga is doing, not simply thinking.

Larry: But one step is recognising that there is a cocoon around oneself.

SWAMIJI: That cocoon is the consciousness of your being a questioner, an individual, and imagining that the Absolute is outside to be questioned about and known. The Absolute is not outside you and you cannot ask questions about It, because who is asking the question about whom, finally? Again you have created a gulf between the questioner and the object being questioned about. The whole point is a psychological gulf between the subject and the object. Wherever you go, however much you may ask, you get into the clutches of this duality between the questioner and the object being questioned about. It is a very difficult technique. Yoga is a difficult technique. However much you may try, you will slip out of it. It will go out, like this. Your mind will not concentrate on that element which is between you and that about which you are questioning. Your consciousness should root itself in that which is between yourself and that about which you are talking. You must be impersonal in your questions. You are not doing the practice, so you are asking questions. I would like you to meditate the whole night. Meditate the whole night and see what happens. You should not be in yourself; you must be outside yourself. Place yourself outside yourself. Be somebody other than you, and see what happens.

Larry: And I can do that just through a meditative process?

SWAMIJI: In one second you can do that. In one second. This is what they do in ordinary telepathic communication, etc. You can affect a person in London by deeply thinking about that person. It means that your consciousness travels outside the body; this is telepathic action. But if your consciousness is locked inside the body, no telepathic action can take place. Deep meditation is necessary. You always try to be other than what you are—outside you, beyond you, larger than you, more than you, not just what you are. Why should you be what you are? You have already been there for years together and suffered very much. Now let there be a little different thing. You become an object of your own consciousness (you are outside yourself and you are an object) and you will not worry about yourself as much as you are doing now.