Real Mind is beyond the Mind
Excerpts from 'I am That'
Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, translated by Maurice Frydman.
Questioner: On several occasions the
question was raised as to whether the universe is subject to the law of
causation, or does it exist and function outside the law. You seem to
hold the view that it is uncaused, that everything, however small, is
uncaused, arising and disappearing for no known reason whatsoever.
Maharaj: Causation means succession in time of events in space,
the space being physical or mental. Time, space, causation are mental
categories, arising and subsiding with the mind.
Q: As long as the mind operates, causation is a valid law.
M: Like everything mental, the so-called law of causation
contradicts itself. No thing in existence has a particular cause; the
entire universe contributes to the existence of even the smallest thing;
nothing could be as it is without the universe being what it is. When
the source and ground of everything is the only cause of everything, to
speak of causality as a universal law is wrong. The universe is not
bound by its content, because its potentialities are infinite; besides
it is a manifestation, or expression of a principle fundamentally and
Q: Yes, one can see that ultimately to speak of one thing being
the only cause of another thing is altogether wrong. Yet, in actual life
we invariably initiate action with a view to a result.
M: Yes, there is a lot of such activity going on, because of
ignorance. Would people know that nothing can happen unless the entire
universe makes it happen, they would achieve much more with less
expenditure of energy.
Q: If everything is an expression of the totality of causes, how
can we talk of a purposeful action towards an achievement?
M: The very urge to achieve is also an expression of the total
universe. It merely shows that the energy potential has risen at a
particular point. It is the illusion of time that makes you talk of
causality. When the past and the future are seen in the timeless now, as
parts of a common pattern, the idea of cause-effect loses its validity
and creative freedom takes its place.
Q: Yet, how can anything come to be without a cause?
M: When I say a thing is without a cause, I mean it can be
without a particular cause. Your own mother was not needed to give you
birth; you could have been born from some other woman. But you could not
have been born without the sun and the earth. Even these could not have
caused your birth without the most important factor: your own desire
to be born. It is desire that gives birth, that gives name and
form. The desirable is imagined and wanted and manifests itself as
something tangible or conceivable. Thus is created the world in which we
live, our personal world. The real world is beyond the mind's ken; we
see it through the net of our desires, divided into pleasure and pain,
right and wrong, inner and outer. To see the universe as it is, you must
step beyond the net. It is not hard to do so, for the net is full of
Q: What do you mean by holes? And how to find them?
M: Look at the net and its many contradictions. You do and undo
at every step. You want peace, love, happiness and work hard to create
pain, hatred and war. You want longevity and overeat, you want
friendship and exploit. See your net as made of such contradictions and
remove them—your very seeing them will make them go.
Q: Since my seeing the contradiction makes it go, is there no
causal link between my seeing and its going?
M: The concept of causality does not apply to chaos.
Q: To what extent is desire a causal factor?
M: One of the many. For everything there are innumerable causal
factors. But the source of all that is, is the infinite Possibility, the
Supreme Reality, which is in you and which throws its power and light
and love on every experience. But, this source is not a cause and no
cause is a source. Because of that, I say everything is uncaused. You
may try to trace how a thing happens, but you cannot find out why a
thing is as it is. A thing is as it is, because the universe is as it