Param Para: Answers to Questions on the Spiritual Path
Who is the one that is watching all the time? Is it the observer, the true Self, or God? Or is it still ego?
God does not observe. The observer is the witness, you. Your soul is not ego. It is beyond. Ego is not that nice to only observe; it is so mischievous. If ego would only be observing, there would be no preaching to be egoless. Allowing ego to observe itself will just be more mischief, because ego does not observe impartially. Your soul is what observes. When you are witnessing, you are no longer ego. You are not universal yet, but somewhere in between. You are at the point of your soul, your real Self, no doubt as individual, but you are above ego.
If we stop creating anything to observe, if we silence the mind, is that merging?
When you see the whole drama, you drop into silence and merge with the Supreme, God, Christ-Consciousness, your True Self. Observing is a stage between your individuality and your God. When you observe, you are simply getting detached from ego and its paraphernalia: likes and dislikes, good and bad, virtue and vice, mine and not mine, friend and hostile. You are neutralizing these opposites without forming opinions about either. The perfect word in English is “serenity.” You are not swayed by any pairs of opposites. You do not have attachments to either side. You are serene, sage-like. This is called shanta bhava in Sanskrit, which means “perfect equipoise.”
Is there still a sense of impartial I-ness at that level, the observer or soul level?
“I” is observing. That is the soul, but there is no predication. I am “something”—that is not there. And that will be the serene point, beyond restlessness, attraction and repulsion, pleasure and pain. It may not last long, but it is a gateway to Pure Consciousness, the ocean of Light. Before that you have to find a balance where you are not swayed by miseries or pleasures. Any good news or bad news will make no difference. This comes after long, long penances and austerities and leads you to awareness.
You have mentioned that intuition is higher than ideas. Does intuition come before the serene state or during it?
Before. When you come to serenity, there is no creation even of intuition. The serene point, the unmoving point, the observer point, has no intuition in the sense. It is just being me, but not me as ego; being me as a soul, as a space, as consciousness. That is being a witness. It has no need of intuition. And after that comes absorption. Once you have attained higher consciousness, you begin to feel longing to merge unto the cosmos, which is called samadhi. When you touch that, you cannot be the same again, even if you come back to normal consciousness. Very few attain that state and merge into Pure Consciousness, one among millions. When you decide, you will do it. Nobody can teach you at that point. No guru can decide for you.
Can someone reach that point, that equipoise state, through karma yoga? ?
Yes, you could be a karma yogi. Do not forget that karma yoga is relative to karma bhoga. A karma bhogi is one who enjoys the fruits of his actions. Karma yogis do selfless action and accept the results. The serene point I was talking about, that observer point, is beyond karma yoga and karma bhoga. There you have touched that space, your soul, your true identity in the individual sense, but you cannot stay at that point for long. You can come back to be a karma yogi, or you can go into superconsciousness. After attaining Enlightenment, you are no longer a karma yogi. You are a realized soul, a sage, a blessed one.
In the process of soul growth, what is the difference between wanting to submerge into the One or wanting to serve God, to be a channel for Him?
How can you be an instrument of God without having seen Him or having taken direct orders from Him? And how would you take direct orders from God without having any contact with Him? Serving others as an instrument of God is self-imposed thinking, to be very frank. Are you sure that God has chosen you to be His instrument? If that were so, you should have some contact with God. Can you truly be an instrument of God without God being pleased with you? God’s instruments are those who have very clearly heard Him or seen Him. Then if God tells you to do this or that, that is fine. Otherwise do not hypothetically conceive that God is willing you to be His instrument. That is mind games. First merge and see what God tells you.
I would like to hear you speak about forgiveness.
Forgiveness has been preached in practically all religions in order to purify ourselves and get peace. Forgiveness is not weakness. Weak people cannot forgive, actually. It is the bold and the strong who forgive. Let me say what it means scientifically. Supposing you are holding onto something, not forgiving, and you wish either revenge or retaliation. As long as you are occupied with that particular thought, reaction, jealousy, negativity or competition, your mind or heart is occupied with baser thoughts. When you forgive, you are renouncing that thought, which means you are being purified. By forgiving others you are not doing an act of obligation to them; it is for your own purification. And at the same time, the other person or persons also get relieved.
Forgiving others is not out of pity or being holier than thou. If you do that, you are creating another impurity, which is called arrogance. Forgiveness is primarily for your own purification. In general, doing good to anyone is only for your purification. If it does good to others also, that is a double benefit. Forgiveness is cleansing your own heart. When you genuinely forgive someone, you become relaxed just the next moment. It is as though your chains of bondage have fallen. If there is genuine forgiveness, you will feel peace instantly. Do not seek gratitude for forgiveness. Whether the other person is grateful to you or not is their problem. This is what it means to “live and let live.” Forgiveness is one of the greatest virtues, along with honesty and sincerity.