QUESTIONER: By His Grace I shall be made happy, powerful and peaceful.
NISARGADATTA MAHARAJ: What ambitions! How can a person limited in time and space, a mere body-mind, a gasp of pain between birth and death, be happy? The very conditions of its arising make happiness impossible. Peace, power, happiness, these are never personal states, nobody can say ‘my peace’, ‘my power’ – because ‘mine’ implies exclusivity, which is fragile and insecure.
Q : I know only my conditioned existence; there is nothing else.
M : Surely, you cannot say so. In deep sleep you are not conditioned. How ready and willing you are to go to sleep, how peaceful, free and happy you are when asleep!
Q : I know nothing of it.
M : Put it negatively. When you sleep, you are not in pain, nor bound, nor restless.
Q : I see your point. While awake, I know that I am, but am not happy; in sleep I am, I am happy, but I don’t know it. All I need is to know that I am free and happy.
M : Quite so. Now, go within, into a state which you may compare to a state of waking sleep, in which you are aware of yourself, but not of the world. In that state you will know, without the least trace of doubt, that at the root of your being you are free and happy. The only trouble is that you are addicted to experience and you cherish your memories. In reality it is the other way round; what is remembered is never real; the real is now.
– from ‘I AM THAT’ (84)