Amma, if we are truly the Atman (soul, infinite consciousness, Holy Spirit, etc), why is it so difficult to experience the truth?
Truth is always the most difficult thing and at the same time the easiest. For ignorant and egotistical people it is the most difficult thing to know, and for those who are inquisitive and have a burning desire to know, it is the easiest. People are intent on only feeding the go. They never think of knowing the Self (soul, Infinite). To know the Self one should starve the ego. But unfortunately most people cannot starve the ego. Instead they cling to it more and more. The predominant tendency in human beings is to attract as much attention as possible. They want to be praised and recognized, believing it is their birth right. This is all food for the ego which thrives on attention. How are you going to know the Self if you ego is constantly craving attention? In order to realize the Atman (Self), the mind has to dissolve. As long as there is mind, you will be dominated by the ego.People point their finger at insane people and call them 'crazy.' But they don't know that they themselves are actually crazy as well. Whoever has a mind is mad, because mind is madness. In the case of a person who is insane it is clearly manifested and therefore you can see it. Whereas in your case, it is not so clearly manifested and therefore not as obvious. But the madness is there, because the mind is there. Look at people whenever they get excited, anxious or angry. They actually go mad. Anger is nothing but temporary madness, and it is the same with excitement and anxiety. When you are extremely angry you are crazy, you speak and act in a crazy way. It is a temporary state in which you lose your mental balance. When such a state becomes permanent, it is called insanity. If you give in to your mind too much, and it is not kept under proper control, you lose your stability and go insane. The mind is the ego, which makes you very self-centered. But instead of being self-centered, you should become centered in the Self (Atman), the real Center of your existence. For this to happen, the mind should be extinguished. The ego should die. Only then can you become established in the state of sakshi bhava (witness consciousness). The ego is the greatest obstacle on your path towards the Truth. The ego has no real existence of it's own, for the mind and the ego are false. At present we are under the impression that the mind and ego are our friends, but they are only misleading us, taking us away from our true nature. The mind and the ego have no power of their own; the source of their power is derived from the Atman (infinite consciousness, soul) which is our real existence. The Atman is our true Master, but we are presently being controlled and misguided by false masters, namely the mind and the ego. Not only do they delude us, they also cover the face of our real nature. Know this and try to come our of the limited shell of your mind and ego. The seedling cannot emerge and grow into a large tree unless the outer shell breaks and dies. Likewise, the inner Truth cannot be realized unless the ego dies. (The mind has 4 different functions or aspects. They are: 1. The mind which is the doubting faculty. 2. Chitta which is the storehouse of memories. 3. Buddi which is the determining faculty. 4. Ahamkara which is the ego - the feeling of 'I' and 'mine.' It is the same mind, but named differently according to it's functions).
SAKSHI BHAVA (THE STATE OF ETERNAL WITNESSING)
Amma, the other day You were mentioning the state of sakshi bhava, or witness consciousness. I wonder if witnessing is a function of the mind, or is it an experience beyond the mind?
No, it is not a function of the mind. Sakshi bhava is a state in which you remain constantly detached and untouched, simply watching everything that happens, without the interference of the mind and it's thoughts. You cannot be a witness to everything if there is a constant interference of the mind. The mind consists of thoughts. It can only think and doubt. In that supreme state of witnessing, you constantly abide in your true nature. In shashi bhava you become a witness to everything. You simply watch everything. There is no attachment or involvement. There is only watching. You will even witness your own thoughts. As you consciously observe your own thought process, you are not thinking - you are not doing anything. You are still. You are simply watching and enjoying, without being moved or affected by anything. How can the mind be in a state such as this? The mind can only think, doubt and cling. It cannot witness. The thinking process belong to the mind, whereas witnessing belong to the higher Self. Witnessing is a state of abiding in Pure Consciousness. The and it's thoughts are not real. They are the fiction of your own creation. Consciousness alone is real.Thinking may seem natural to you, but it is not natural. It is not a part of your real existence. Your thoughts and your ego create nothing but restlessness and agitation. They don't belong to you, and you will continue to be restless until they are eliminated. Witnessing is the state of simply watching with perfect awareness. In the state of sakshi bhava you are absolutely conscious. On the other hand, when you are identified with your mind and thoughts, you are not conscious - you are far away from Pure Consciousness. You are in darkness and cannot really see. The mind sees only the external world, the outer shape of things. It can never see something as it really is because you never see, you only think. And when you think you miss the thing as it is. More and more accumulation and indulgence will only create more thoughts, and more thoughts will drive you away from your real Center. In order to witness, one needs to be established in a supreme state of detachment. A clinging mind cannot witness; it can only be attached to thoughts and objects. It cares only about 'I' and 'mine.' In witnessing there is no experience of 'I' and 'mine.' You go beyond all such limited, narrow thoughts.
THE REAL CENTER WITHIN
When you become the witness of everything, you no longer have any claims. Everything, whether it be 'you' or 'I' is the Supreme Lord, or Supreme Consciousness. Once you are established in that state, nothing can hurt or affect you. You move away from the mind and you are no longer identified with the body. The body is there, but it is as if it were dead. You don't give any importance to the outer world or to what people say. You know that you, in truth cannot please or displease anyone. Sometimes you act as if you are crazy, at other times you appear to be an ordinary person. At one moment you may seem attached, and the next you are beyond all sense of attachment - completely carefree and detached. You may be loving and compassionate, and then all of a sudden you seem to lack any trace of love. Altogether there is something very unpredictable about you.Once you have attained the state of sakshi bhava (where there is no more conceptual thoughts, only eternal witnessing), you can be in any mood you like, go to any level of consciousness - from the highest to the lowest and vice versa. But at the same time you are just a witness. Everything becomes a beautiful, delightful game - a wonderful play. Externally people will still see you moving from one mood to another, from one place to another, and from one emotion to another, but internally you are motionless. You never move from that one center of Reality. The real Center is within. It is not to be found in the external world. When you are established in that real Center, you do not move. You are established there forever. At at the same time you can move without limit, infinite ways without ever leaving the Center. You become God and God can move infinitely. There are no limits. Once you are established in the Center of existence, you can ignore everything if you wish; or if you want to smile at everything you are free to do so. If you don't want to sleep or eat at all, there is no need for it. On the other hand you can eat what you like, and if you prefer to sleep for a whole year, that is also possible. But you will be awake within - wide awake. Though you may appear to be sleeping, you are not sleeping at all, and though you may appear to be eating, you are not eating anything. If you want to remain in your body, that is possible. Or, if you wish to leave your body, that too can be done. And having left your body, whenever you wish to reenter the body, you can do so. Or, if you do not want to return to the body, you can remain where you are. You can choose the womb that you will enter and what type of body you will have. Anything is possible. People may say you are doing something, but you know that you are not doing anything. You are just watching, just witnessing.So, witnessing happens when you become totally detached from the mind and the thought process. You then become fully conscious of everything, even your own thought process. For the aspirant on the spiritual path this can also be practiced as an attitude towards everything. Children, getting established in sakshi bhava (witnessing at the level of pure consciousness without the interference of the mind, also termed as immersion in the Infinite) is the real purpose of life. That supreme state of witnessing is the pivot around which all of life and the whole universe revolves. You may work, use your mind and your intellect; you may live in a house and have a family, you may have a lot of family responsibilities and you may have a lot of official duties to perform, but once you are established in sakshi bhava, in the real Center, you can do anything without moving even an inch out of that center. Being in the state of sakshi bhava does not mean that you will remain idle without taking care of your duties. You may be concerned about your children's studies, the health of your parents and your wife and so on, yet in the midst of all these external problems you remain a sakshi, a witness to all that happens and to all that you do. Within, you are perfectly still and unperturbed. While enacting the role of a villain in a movie, the actor may be seen to be shooting his enemy, getting angry, being cruel and treacherous. But within himself, does the actor really become angry or cruel? Is he really committing those acts? No, he is not. He is just a witness to all that he does. He stands aside and watches without becoming involved or touched by it. He is not identified with the external expressions of his body. Likewise, one who is established in sakshi bhava remains untouched and unperturbed within, under all circumstances.