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19. The Nature of Consciousness
In the body the consciousness does the witnessing; the behavior is done by the three gunas. Consciousness is all-pervading, spacelike, without form. If one has an illness or a pain it is only a movement in consciousness, a disturbance in the balance of the five elements in the body. It is because consciousness has identified itself with the body that the pain is felt in the consciousness. When there is complete disidentification with the body one can put his hand in the fire; the effect of the fire will be there but the pain will not be felt. By nature, consciousness is pure but by identification with the body, it becomes polluted, conceptually.
What is born is the waking and sleep states, the concept of time which go with them, and the consciousness. Once that consciousness is conscious of itself, then, because of conditioning by others, it identifies itself with certain items as its own, and with other items as not its own, and it will fight for and try to protect that which it considers its own. When consciousness realizes its potential power, its universality, the 'me' and 'mine' concept is lost. That universal consciousness is known as God, the Almighty, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent... all the attributes. These attributes are given to God, the universal consciousness, not to the Absolute. The Absolute is without attributes.
Whatever natural experiences you encounter, just accept them, don't try to alter them, just take them as they come. Don't arrogate to yourself the doership of anything. It is all just happening. Nature will take its course. It is only to be observed and understood. Nothing is to be done. All manifestation is conceptual. The 'I amness', the primary concept, which has remained unchanged at all times, is the highest God as far as this manifestation is concerned. But it has come in with time and will go out with time. Ultimately consciousness is temporary; your true reality is prior to the senses... spaceless, timeless, without attributes. Consciousness is a temporary condition which has come upon the total, timeless, spaceless, changeless state. It is a happening which has come and which will disappear. This psychosomatic bundle which is born will suffer or enjoy during its allotted span; so long as you know that you are not the one who experiences, but you are the knower, how are you concerned? You have been separate from this bundle from before conception, and you continue to be separate from it and will be separate from it after its death, and after the birth and death of any other concept that is projected in the consciousness. Time has brought all this about and time will end it. All you can say is that it has happened, it will continue for a while and then it will go away.
That which was conceived and born is the same even now. That 'I' has not changed from the conception until the present moment. It has come for a particular length of time. What was conceived and born has grown physically, and some of the expressions of this knowledge 'I am' have achieved tremendous things. Some have become Avatars. But, at the end of the time span all the magnificent personalities and all they have achieved, have all disappeared. This 'I amness' may have remained existent for hundreds of years in some cases; still, however long the time, they all come to an end.
In your original state there is no awareness of awareness. As the Absolute you are infinite, timeless. As infinity you express yourself as space. As timelessness you express yourself as time. Unless there is space and time you cannot be conscious of yourself. When space and time are present there is consciousness. You descend into this consciousness and express yourself in manifold ways, in innumerable forms. In that total manifestation various phenomena come into being; but there is nothing separate. When the universal consciousness manifests itself as a phenomenon, the phenomenon is that limited form which thinks that it is independent; but it is not. There is never an independent entity; there can be no separate individual. Eventually, the one who gets liberated is the consciousness.
After listening to these talks you still want to gain some profit for yourself; what a pity. Have you understood? You may think you have, but anything that you know is not the truth. The body is made up of the five elements and so long as you are identified with these five elements it is impossible to understand, because what is trying to understand is a pseudo-entity. Mind is of the nature of material. You are not material. Do you identify yourself with the dirt which you blow from your nose? Is the stuff making up this body-mind any different? You are neither the material from which the body-mind is created nor the consciousness which is immanent in it. The biggest drawback to understanding is that you believe that you are an entity, and secondly, that any concept you have is truth. It is only when it is understood with the greatest conviction that what is happening is merely the functioning of universal consciousness, the 'I amness'... that no entity is causing and no entity is suffering... only then can the disidentification take place. You have not really understood until you have solved the riddle of who it is who thinks he has understood.
To find knowledge you must not look in books and words, but in your own intuitive experience. Knowledge springs from the consciousness without effort, of its own accord. Whatever happens, happens by itself. All this is the dance of the conscious presence. Its nature is change. There are so many ways in which this consciousness entertains itself, many different forms, abilities, plays... but the functioning is all merely to entertain itself. Each appearance in consciousness lasts according to its own duration, but basically, nothing that happens has any validity or importance. When the consciousness is tired it rests in sleep; when it is awake it needs some kind of entertainment, some movement, some doing. Until the understanding looms, you think that you are the doer, but once this awakening takes place you know there is no entity that is working.
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