Is Birth Real?
Questioner: I am told that I am the manifest, immanent Spirit. How is it that I get involved in this body?
Nisagardatta Maharaj: If you are the immanent Spirit, what is that other you that is involved in this body state? Is it some other thing? Body, immanent Spirit, and you. It is nothing else but the dynamic, immanent Spirit. Its manifestation occurs in the form of the guna "I Am," it understands itself as "I Am." Then this guna involves itself in the activities in the world through the three gunas. That is the quality.
Q: Who am I?
M: Whatever name you want to give yourself, give it! You may name it Brahma, or Iswara, or anything you like. The names are only necessary for your worldly activities, or for communication.
If the accusation that you are born is accepted as correct, then you are an embodied personality, the world is correct, is real; so also this manifest Brahma is correct. But when you start investigating your own Self you come to the conclusion that birth is not a fact, it is unreal.
So if this birth is not a fact, this beingness also cannot be a fact, because beingness has appeared. Beingness means also this manifest world, so the manifest world is not real. Therefore, investigate the Self.
Presently this level of knowledge and your level of understanding -- do they tally? You!
M: I have been told that I was born, I have not directly experienced being born. This is indirect knowledge. Unknowingly this beingness has appeared; suddenly I know "I Am," and this knowledge is direct. When you investigate the "I Am" do you find any link between the birth and the knowingness?
M: When the birth is disproved, the great noble meaning of spirituality and the meaning of this world -- everything -- is disproved. What is the activity coming out of this beingness?
Q: Whatever you like.
M: You have to meditate, contemplate this particular point. You cannot knock out what I say by mere words. You have to contemplate it.
Q: I am finished.
M: I agree, and I am fully convinced that you are adroit with words. People follow certain disciplines with insistence, but they don't try to investigate the root cause. If they come face to face with that root they will be stunned into silence.
I am not telling you this to run you down, but I am anxious that you should get the factual knowledge. I have great respect for you.
Q: I came for what I have.
M: Still I have to say that you have not fully understood your presence, your beingness. If you really understood it, everything would be thrown overboard.
Q: I'm not arguing. I'm not looking for approval, because I have not made any statement.
M: I have the least idea that you have come back here to seek my approval for your accomplishments.
Q: Well, if you think that, you are right.
M: "I Am" is a quality, an attribute indicating beingness, but the Self is not a quality. For that Ultimate Self no worldly knowledge is necessary. Words are not called for. But for the sustenance of this beingness, these words and worldly knowledge are necessary.
Q: Yes. I know this. At one time I wanted the knowledge, the I came to see that I was already it.
M: The beingness has appeared, and in the beingness all this play is going on. This is also unreal, but if anybody asks me what this is, I will give it a title -- it is all Brahma's play; because of the beingness the play has started.
All will merge into the play of this Brahma. What is the cause of the billions of stars, the moon, and the sun? All the dirt and refuse which is lying stored on the surface of the earth turns into gas, and out of this gas the luster is appearing. The gas if formed out of the food which you consume, and when the gas is lit up the torch of the knowledge "I Am" is sustained. Is this not a gas which has finally come out of air and water? Is not the one who is talking the product of the gas due to food and water?
The flame of knowingness is sustained by the gas of the food. The knowingness is something like the taste of sweetness, without a tongue. It is the subtlest. It is subtler than space.
Nisargadatta, Seeds of Consciousness (November 17, 1979)