Om, shanti, shanti, shanti, Om, peace. Good evening. Greetings. It is good to be with you again. I welcome you with all my heart.
Last Sunday we were discussing the telephone calls I 'received in reference to voting. People call me with strange questions. Do Jnani's vote? Should I vote if I’m a Jnani? And my answer is usually the same to everybody, which was, as long as you ask the question, you should vote. As long as you inquire if you should or you shouldn't, then you're part of the system and you should.
After the election I continued to receive phone calls. One person asked me an interesting question. He called from Dusseldorf, Germany. Is there such a place as Dusseldorf? I asked him where he got my phone number. He said, "Ramana Ashram." I didn't realize they had my phone number. But anyway he asked me a pretty intelligent question, to an extent. He said, "Robert, if everything is a dream, why should we vote, or do anything, if it's all a dream?" We'll discuss this today.
We see that life is a dream. Everything is a dream. The world is unreal. Why should you do anything? The reason of course is you are involved in the dream. You are part of the dream. As long as you are part of the dream, you have to do what has to be done in this world of the ream, for you believe you are the body, the mind. Therefore you cannot fool yourself and imagine that you're somewhere else, when you're not. You come under the law of cause and effect. You come under the laws of karma. As long as you believe in this world, there is karma for you, there is cause and effect. You cannot say in one breath that there is no karma and no cause and effect, and then react to the world. You know whether or not you believe the world is real, by the way you react to it, consistently, constantly, how the world makes you feel. This shows you whether you believe the world is real or not.
When you think of your body all the time, when you respond to the world all the time, then you must do the things of this world. Remember the cliché, "Do unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. And do unto God, that which is God's." Where do you belong? In the world or in heaven? You can tell by the way you react to life, by the way the world makes you feel, by the way you respond to your body. Yet it's all a dream, but you're caught up in the dream.
As an example, when you go to sleep and you're having a dream, you dream that thieves break into your home and shoot all of your family. Then you wake up. When you wake up, do you go looking for the people who shot your family? It was a dream and you laugh. But you forget you're living in another dream, which is this world, which is the mortal dream.
Do not connect both worlds. They're both two different states of consciousness. They're two different dreams. Yet when you're in your dream world, dreaming, when you go to sleep at night, you're doing all sorts of things in that dream, aren't you? You're acting and reacting, doing all kinds of things in that dream. Do you ever in a dream say, "This is a dream, and I'm not going to react to this world?" You don't. You continue doing things in your dream. That's how it is in this world also.
Most of us are stuck in a dream world. We're stuck in a dream world because it presses down on us. It appears so real. Things are happening every day. Yet, one day you will awaken. It’s the same as awakening from your dream at night. There is no difference. When you awaken to the dream at night, do you have any interest in the dream? You may for a while. If you're into dreams, you may try to decipher what the dream means, for a little bit. But after a while you forget all about the dream. So it is with this world. When a person awakens, or a person becomes liberated, they are able to see the dream, but they know they are not part of it. They merely observe everything, but they are not part of the dream. The world no longer has any power over them, over the awakened person, the liberated person. The world has no power whatsoever over you once you’re liberated.
This is the way you should think of it. Just as a dream that you were dreaming at night, you awaken and forget all about it, so when you awaken here, you forget all about this world also. Yet you're in a body, so it appears. As long as you're in a body, you'll see other bodies. You will see the world as everybody else sees the world. But you're a 100% sure that this is not a world of reality. You know this. You continue functioning in this world, but yet you are not doing anything.
To the Jnani there is no action being taken whatsoever. To the ajnani there is action being taken. And the ajnani sees the Jnani taking action also. But yet, to the Jnani, nothing is happening, nothing is going on, there’s no world, there’s no dream, there’s no karma, there’s no cause and effect.
When I tell you that cause and effect and karma do not exist, you have to be real careful with yourself. Do not take this as a license to do anything you like. Remember again, and I'll remind you again, and again, and again, as long as you are involved in this world and you believe the world to be real, then karma is also real. It's as real as the world, as real as your body. As you sow, so shall you reap. You have to deal with this. What you do to others, you are doing to yourself. You hurt someone, you hurt yourself. You love someone, you love yourself.
It's nice for me to come here and tell you that everything is absolute reality, everything is nirvana, sat-chit-ananda, pure awareness, pure intelligence. This is the ultimate truth. But how many of us are living from this standpoint? We have to work from where we are. The worst thing you can do is to fool yourself, and make believe you can get away with something. In this world you can't get away with anything. The lord of karma is always watching. You always get back what you put out. Nothing more, nothing less. This is what I mean when I tell you everything is in the right, place, unfolding the way it should, all is well, there’s absolutely nothing to be concerned about. But if you go around making a fool of yourself, by causing problems to other people, having all kinds of attitudes, anger, jealousy, fear, whatever, these are emotions that you're putting out in the karmic world, and the karmic world has to return to you what you put out.
So this is a dream world. Yes, this is all a dream. You are the dreamer, but you haven't discovered this for yourself. This is a very important point to remember. You have to awaken, become free. You cannot imagine that you're free, because you hear Advaita Vedanta lectures. You cannot imagine that you're free, if you feel yourself suffering somehow. If you feel hurt, or frustrated, disillusioned, or depressed, how can you possibly be free?
When you are free, you have unalloyed happiness all the time. Eternal happiness and eternal joy is always with you, regardless of conditions. For you are no longer conditioned. You are no longer looking for anything. Does it make sense for a enlightened person to look for a healthy body, or for a prosperous body, or for this or for that? Of course not. This is the fact that nobody’s left to look for these things. The ego who does this has been totally transcended.
Look at the world like bubbles on the ocean, bubbles and waves on the ocean. Look at people that way too. They keep disappearing. They keep coming back. The bubbles, the eddies, the waves come and go continuously, constantly. Yet the ocean understands that the bubbles, the eddies, the waves, are part of the ocean. They’re not separate from the ocean. Yet the bubbles come and go. The waves come and go. So it is with us. Bodies come and go continuously, constantly. You make such a fuss out of life, out of a body that's so important. They come and go like bubbles in the ocean. New bodies appear every day, old ones fade away, yet the source, beyond everything, is consciousness. The substratum of all existence is consciousness. Consciousness is like the ocean, and all the forms on this earth, in the universe, are superimpositions on consciousness. In other words, all the forms are like bubbles and waves on the ocean.
When you discover who you are, you’re no longer a bubble or a wave. You no longer come and go. You become the ocean. The average person as well believes they are a bubble or a wave. They identify only with their little self. They’re always thinking about themselves. "I need, I want, I hurt, I this, I that, I everything." It's. Always I, I, I. This is how the bubble thinks, that it’s separate from the ocean. But the ocean knows it’s not separate.
And so the infinite lies waiting in sweet repose for you to understand who you are. In other words, the ocean, consciousness, is not going to do anything to make you understand who you are, for consciousness is already your self. But somehow you've been hypnotized, mesmerized, deluded, into believing that you are a separate entity, a separate body, and you have to fetch for yourself, care for yourself. While the bubble persists, it is well taken care of by the ocean. While the wave persists, the ocean looks after it. That's why waves become big sometimes, they become tidal waves. They're still part of the ocean.
As you persist in believing that you're human, believing that you are a body, that you are separate, you are still looked after and protected. You may still suffer and go through experiences, because you think you're the body or the mind, but nevertheless you are always protected and looked after.
In any case you don't have to worry. In any case you don't have to fear. Why? Because you live in eternity. You live in bliss. You live in total joy and happiness. You are immersed in consciousness, like space. Space is immersed in consciousness. And all the forms, like planets, galaxies, universes, are superimpositions in space. And what holds space together? Consciousness.
You do not have to do anything to understand this. You simply have to recognize it. You do not have to pray, or meditate, or do mantras or japa. There is nothing you have to do to recognize your reality, to the ocean, to consciousness. You simply have to see it, and recognize it, and awaken. That's all you have to do.
Why is it so hard for most people? Because you've been attached totally, solidly, to maya, to ignorance, to the belief in two powers, belief in separation. You feel in your ego that you're separate from the self, you're separate from your source. This is the only reason that you suffer. If you knew who you were, it would be virtually impossible for you to suffer in any way. But this is where it becomes paradoxical. For again you may appear to be going through some experiences, yet the enlightened one knows they’re not going through anything. This is why when the disciples saw Jesus hanging on the cross, they thought he was suffering. But Jesus, the Christ, never suffered. Yet Jesus, the man, appeared to be suffering, by all of his disciples, by the Roman guards.
We're seeing two different worlds. We're seeing the world of the Jnani, or the world of the sage, or the world of the enlightened one, that is pure bliss, absolute reality, pure awareness, pure intelligence, I am that I am, ultimate reality. This is a world the sage lives in all the time, and nothing has ever happened to the sage. Nothing can ever happen to the sage, due to the fact that the sage has become eternity. The sage is omnipresence, all-pervading. Yet when the average person looks at Ramakrishna or Ramana Maharshi, and others that seem to have died a horrible death from cancer, they say and they cry, "Why does this person have to suffer so much? They were so good. They were so kind. I can't understand this. If there’s any universal justice, why does this person have to suffer?"
Who sees the suffering? Only the deluded one, the one who is deluded, the ignorant one. They see through the senses. They see through the eyes, hear with the ears, speak through the mouth, taste the agony, smell the blood, whatever is going on. The sense are getting to you as a human being. Because you believe you're human you have senses to make you human. But we know now you can transcend those senses, totally and completely, and be in another world completely and totally. You can transcend the senses and be totally free of them, totally, absolutely, and be in a completely different world. And so there is a body that appears to be going through experiences, but only to the person who sees through the senses.
So to get back to the dream world, in the dream world, when you go to sleep at night, you go through many, many experiences, do many things, you may appear to be killed, you may appear to become a king or a queen, you may appear to have many children, a beautiful home. Or you may appear to be unemployed, a homeless person. Yet when you awaken from that dream, you'll laugh to yourself and say, "Well thank God it was only a dream," and you forget about it.
This mortal dream world that you're in right now, you must also forget about, and not identify with it. This is the way you become free. This is the way you awaken. This doesn't mean that you will do nothing. It means you will do whatever you're supposed to do, but in your mind you will be doing absolutely nothing.
You have to ask yourself the question, "Do I really want to become free and liberated in this life? Think how many more years you've got left. You never know, you may be called away tomorrow, this very minute, in a year, in a month, ten years, a week. Who knows? Therefore you should continuously be thinking of these things we're talking about. They should be first in your life. What you give your energy to, you become. What you believe in, you become. What you think about most of the time, you become.
That's the important one, what you think about most of the time. Most of us are continuously thinking somebody is trying to hurt us, somebody doesn't like us, somebody is mean to us, something is wrong someplace. As long as you think this way, you are telling the lord of karma, this is what I really want. In other words you’re inadvertently bringing doom and gloom upon yourself, for if you think doom and gloom all day long, you'll attract more of the same continuously, constantly. You therefore should understand this and begin to let go of all your emotions.
One of the best ways to let go of your emotions is by practicing self-inquiry. I know some of you have got tired of practicing this. Some of you believe nothing is happening, but all the same make it a habit. Think of the many habits you have now, destructive habits. Habits that do not help you whatsoever in your unfoldment to the self. But yet you do these things without thinking, the destructive habits. Develop a good habit, like practicing self-inquiry. Do not look for results. Do not look for anything to happen. Just do it.
Ask yourself, "Who feels depressed? Who feels human? Who feels there’s something wrong someplace? Who feels this illusion? To whom do these things come?" And of course you answer, "I do. I am feeling all these things." As soon as you say this to yourself, realize that the I is separate from you. The I who feels all this is not you. For if the I were you, you wouldn't use it all the time like you do. You wouldn't say, "I am this," and, "I am that." This shows you there’s an I and there’s a you. You say, "I am this, I am that, I feel sick, I feel discouraged, I feel depressed."
If you were really talking about your real self, you wouldn't say that. But if you are talking about your body, you wouldn't even say that. For if you were talking about your body, you would say "'sick, depressed, unhappy," you wouldn't say, "I." This shows you that you are not referring to your body when you say, "I." What appears to be your body is just an inanimate piece of flesh. You're a piece of meat. So you are. Yet when consciousness goes through it, it becomes animated. It begins to dance. It begins to jump. It begins to do all kinds of things. But of itself it can do nothing.
What I'm getting at is this: How can the body that is really a piece of flesh by itself, become sick or depressed or discouraged, or have any problem? It cannot. You give life to these things by saying, "I feel this." When you add I to the body, or to the piece of flesh, then it becomes alive also, in a negative way. But when you begin to understand that I is not you, I has never been you, this is the beginning of wisdom. When you just understand this continuously, keep carrying it through day, after day, after day, keep reminding yourself constantly, "I is not me." Of course don't let anybody hear you saying that. They'll call the men with the white coats and take you away, to the happy farm.
Realize to yourself, "I is not Me." I is something by itself, and it doesn't exist, some form of hypnosis, some delusion, called an optical illusion, that makes me believe I am I. When you get that far, you can further inquire, "Then where did this I come from? If the I is not me, why do I keep saying I, I, referring to myself? Where did this I come from? What is the source of the I?" Everything has a source.
Just by thinking this way, you're thinking about God. People always ask me, "How shall I think about God? You always tell us Robert, to concentrate on God and forget about the world. How shall I think about God? Say anything about God?" By realizing the source is not I. Who am I? If I is not the source, what is the source of I? That's all you have to say. Don't go any further.
This is when you become still and allow the power that knows the way to work, through you. As you become still, the mind will begin to think again. And you go through the same procedure again, and again and again. "To whom do these feelings and thoughts come? They come to me. I feel these things. I feel funny. I feel depressed. I feel bad. Well, what is the source of this I? Where does it come from?" And again you keep still.
This is the simple practice of self-inquiry. It will become a habit if you keep doing it. So don't think that nothing is happening. Something is happening to you when you do this, even for the first time, but it's very subtle.
Forget about time. Forget about yourself. Become universal. Realize that your body is the body of the universe.
All things emanate out of your mind. The whole universe emanates out of your mind. Think of these things every day. Be aware of these thing every day. Catch yourself. Day, after day, after day, catch yourself, and think along the lines we’ve discussed tonight. When you can do this, something will happen to you, something wonderful. I can assure you of this. A benevolent power will take over and bring you to your true home, which is absolute reality and total happiness and Peace