Talk 653.
1st April, 1939
Some teachers who attended the Teachers’ Guild meeting in the town
came on a visit to the hall. One of them asked Sri Bhagavan: “I seem
to be wandering in a forest because I do not find the way.”
M.: This idea of being in a forest must go. It is such ideas which are
at the root of the trouble.
D.: But I do not find the way.
M.: Where is the forest and where is the way unless they are in you?
You are as you are and yet you speak of a forest and ways.
D.: But I am obliged to move in society.
M.: Society is also an idea similar to that of the forest.
D.: I leave my home and go and mix in society.
M.: Who does it?
D.: The body moves and does all.
M.: Quite so. Now that you identify yourself with the body you feel
the trouble. The trouble is in your mind. You think that you are the
body or that you are the mind. But there are occasions when you

are free from both. For example in deep slumber, you create a body
and a world in your dream. That represents your mental activities.
In your waking state you think that you are the body and then the
idea of forest and the rest arise.
Now, consider the situation. You are an unchanging and continuous
being who remains in all these states which are constantly changing
and therefore transient. But you are always there. It follows that these
fleeting objects are mere phenomena which appear on your being like
pictures which move across a screen. The screen does not move when
the picture moves. Similarly, you do not move from where you are
even when the body leaves the home and mixes in society.
Your body, the society, the forest and the ways are all in you; you are
not in them. You are the body also but not this body only. If you remain
as your pure Self, the body and its movements need not affect you.
D.: This can be realised only by the Grace of the master. I was reading
Sri Bhagavata; it says that Bliss can be had only by the dust of the
Master’s feet. I pray for Grace.
M.: What is Bliss but your own being? You are not apart from Being
which is the same as Bliss. You are now thinking that you are the
mind or the body which are both changing and transient. But you
are unchanging and eternal. That is what you should know.
D.: It is darkness and I am ignorant.
M.: This ignorance must go. Again, who says ‘I am ignorant’? He must
be the witness of ignorance. That is what you are. Socrates said, “I
know that I do not know.” Can it be ignorance? It is wisdom.
D.: Why then do I feel unhappy when I am in Vellore and feel peace
in Your Presence?
M.: Can this feeling in this place be Bliss? When you leave the place
you say you are unhappy. Therefore this peace is not permanent, nay
it is mixed with unhappiness which is felt in another place. Therefore
you cannot find Bliss in places and in periods of time. It must be
permanent in order that it may be useful. Such permanent being is
yourself. Be the Self and that is Bliss. You are always That.
You say that you left Vellore, travelled in the train, arrived in
Tiruvannamalai, entered the hall and found happiness. When you

go back you are not happy in Vellore. Now, do you really move
from place to place? Even considering you to be the body, the
body sits in a cart at the gate of the home, the cart moves on to the
railway station. Then it gets into a railway carriage which speeds
on from Vellore to Tiruvannamalai. There it gets into another cart
which brings the body here. Yet when you are asked, you say that
you travelled all the way from Vellore. Your body remains where
it was and all the places went past it.
Such ideas are due to the false identity which is so deep-rooted.
Another asked: Should we understand the world as transient (anitya)?
M.: Why so? Because you are now considering it to be permanent
(nitya) the Scriptures tell you that it is not so in order to wean
you from wrong ideas. This should be done by knowing yourself
to be eternal (nitya) and not by branding the world as transitory
(anitya).
D.: We are told to practise indifference (udasina) which is possible
only if the world is unreal.
M.: Yes. Oudasinyam abhipsitam. Indifference is advised. But what
is it? It is absence of love and hatred. When you realise the Self
on which these phenomena pass, will you love or hate them? That
is the meaning of indifference.
D.: That will lead to want of interest in our work. Should we do our
duty or not?
M.: Yes - certainly. Even if you try not to do your duty you will be
perforce obliged to do it. Let the body complete the task for which
it came into being.
Sri Krishna also says in the Gita, whether Arjuna liked it or not he
would be forced to fight. When there is work to be done by you,
you cannot keep away; nor can you continue to do a thing when
you are not required to do it, that is to say, when the work allotted
to you has been done. In short, the work will go on and you must
take your share in it - the share which is allotted to you.
D.: How is it to be done?
M.: Like an actor playing his part in a drama - free from love or hatred.
OM TAT SAT