Thursday, April 19, 2012

'I Am That ' quotes about pleasure pain and real happiness


What Sri Nisargadatta said about pleasure pain and real happiness
Extracts from the book “I AmThat”

"Desire is the memory of pleasure and fear is the memory of pain. Both make the mind restless. Moments of pleasure are merely gaps in the stream of pain. How can the mind be happy?"

“Even these could not have caused your birth without 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.”

Q (question): In what way do I disturb peace?
M (Nisargadatta): By being a slave to your desires and fears.

"When your desire is not clear nor strong, it cannot take shape. Besides, if your desires are personal, for your own enjoyment, the energy you give them is necessarily limited; it cannot be more than what you have."

Q: Yet, often ordinary persons do attain what they desire.
M: After desiring it very much and for a long time. Even then, their achievements are limit.

Q: And what about unselfish desires?
M: When you desire the common good, the whole world desires with you. Make humanity's desire your own and work for it. There you cannot fail,

“Think clearly and deeply, go into the entire structure of your desires and their ramifications. They are a most important part of your mental and emotional make-up and powerfully affect your actions. Remember, you cannot abandon what you do not know. To go beyond yourself, you must know yourself.”

Q: All I want to know is how to deal with the world's sorrows.
M: You have created them out of your own desires and fears, you deal with them. All is due to your having forgotten your own being.

Q: Then what is worth wanting?
M: Want the best. The highest happiness, the greatest freedom. Desirelessness is the highest bliss.

“The higher your aims and vaster your desires, the more energy you will have for their fulfilment. Desire the good of all and the universe will work with you. But if you want your own pleasure, you must earn it the hard way.”

M: All desires aim at happiness. Their shape and quality depend on the psyche (antahkarana). Where inertia (tamas) predominates, we find perversions. With energy (rajas), passions arise. With lucidity (sattva) the motive behind the desire is goodwill, compassion, the urge to make happy rather than be happy. But the Supreme is beyond all, yet because of its infinite permeability all cogent desires can be fulfilled.

Q: Which desires are cogent?
M: Desires that destroy their subjects, or objects, or do not subside on satisfaction are self-contradictory and cannot be fulfilled. Only desires motivated by love, goodwill and compassion are beneficial to both the subject and object and can be fully satisfied.

Q: All desires are painful, the holy as well as the unholy.
M: They are not the same and pain is not the same. Passion is painful, compassion -- never. The entire universe strives to fulfil a desire born of compassion.

Q: Who knows the silence?
M: Silence knows itself. It is the silence of the silent mind, when passions and desires are silenced.

Q: Why do desires arise at all?
M: Because you imagine that you were born, and that you will die if you do not take care of your body. Desire for embodied existence is the root-cause of trouble.

“All desires are bad, but some are worse than others. Pursue any desire, it will always give you trouble.”

“Only what liberates you from desire and fear and wrong ideas is good.”

Q: By what sign shall l know that I am beyond sin and virtue?
M: By being free from all desire and fear, from the very idea of being a person.

"The idea -- 'I am the witness only' will purify the body and the mind and open the eye of wisdom. Then man goes beyond illusion and his heart is free of all desires."

"The entire universe of pain is born of desire. Give up the desire for pleasure and you will not even know what is pain."

“Through desire you have created the world with its pains and pleasures.”

“Out of pain desire is born, in pain it seeks fulfilment, and it ends in the pain of frustration and despair. Pain is the background of pleasure, all seeking of pleasure is born in pain and ends in pain.”

“The world is the abode of desires and fears. You cannot find peace in it. For peace you must go beyond the world.”

“Brahma the Creator is the sum total of all desires. The world is the instrument for their fulfilment. Souls take whatever pleasure they desire and pay for them in tears.”

"Your mind projects a structure and you identify yourself with it. It is in the nature of desire to prompt the mind to create a world for its fulfilment. Even a small desire can start a long line of action; what about a strong desire? Desire can produce a universe; its powers are miraculous. Just as a small matchstick can set a huge forest on fire, so does a desire light the fires of manifestation."

"The very purpose of creation is the fulfilment of desire. The desire may be noble, or ignoble, space (akash) is neutral -- one can fill it with what one likes: You must be very careful as to what you desire. And as to the people you want to help, they are in their respective worlds for the sake of their desires; there is no way of helping them except through their desires. You can only teach them to have right desires so that they may rise above them and be free from the urge to create and re-create worlds of desires, abodes of pain and pleasure."

"Just as a sleeping man forgets all and wakes up for another day, or he dies and emerges into another life, so do the worlds of desire and fear dissolve and disappear. But the universal witness, the Supreme Self never sleeps and never dies. Eternally the Great Heart beats and at each beat a new universe comes into being."

“Desire is, of course, a state of mind. But the realisation of unity is beyond mind.”

Q: When I see something pleasant, I want it. Who exactly wants it? The self or the mind?
M: The question is wrongly put. There is no 'who'. There is desire, fear, anger, and the mind says -- this is me, this is mine. There is no thing which could be called 'me' or 'mine'. Desire is a state of the mind, perceived and named by the mind. Without the mind perceiving and naming, where is desire?

"Weak desires can be removed by introspection and meditation, but strong, deep-rooted ones must be fulfilled and their fruits, sweet or bitter, tasted."

“The Yogi's life is governed by a single desire -- to find the Truth; the Bhogi serves many masters.”

“Habit, desire for repetition frustrates both the Yogi and the Bhogi.”

“The spirit touches matter and consciousness results. Such consciousness when tainted with memory and expectation, becomes bondage. Pure experience does not bind; experience caught between desire and fear is impure and creates karma.”

M: All suffering is born of desire. True love is never frustrated. How can the sense of unity be frustrated? What can be frustrated is the desire for expression. Such desire is of the mind. As with all things mental, frustration is inevitable.

“Once you know with absolute certainty that nothing can trouble you but your own imagination, you come to disregard your desires and fears, concepts and ideas and live by truth alone.”

“Desire shapes destiny.”

“As you think yourself to be, so you think the world to be. If you imagine yourself as separate from the world, the world will appear as separate from you and you will experience desire and fear.”

“At the root of all creation lies desire. Desire and imagination foster and reinforce each other.”

“The desire to live is the one fundamental desire. All else depends on it.”

" Desire is the memory of pleasure and fear is the memory of pain. Both make the mind restless. Moments of pleasure are merely gaps in the stream of pain. How can the mind be happy?"

“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 holes.”

“The wind of desire stirs the mind and the 'me', which is but a reflection of the Self in the mind, appears changeful. But these ideas of movement, of restlessness, of pleasure and pain are all in the mind. The Self stands beyond the mind, aware, but unconcerned.”

"Every pleasure, physical or mental, needs an instrument. Both the physical and mental instruments are material, they get tired and worn out. The pleasure they yield is necessarily limited in intensity and duration. Pain is the background of all your pleasures. You want them because you suffer. On the other hand, the very search for pleasure is the cause of pain. It is a vicious circle."

“The entire universe of pain is born of desire. Give up the desire for pleasure and you will not even know what pain is.”

Q: Why should pleasure be the seed of pain?
M: Because for the sake of pleasure you are committing many sins. And the fruits of sin are suffering and death.

“Through desire you have created the world with its pains and pleasures.”

Q: Must it be also painful?
M: What else? By its very nature pleasure is limited and transitory. Out of pain desire is born, in pain it seeks fulfillment, and it ends in the pain of frustration and despair. Pain is the background of pleasure, all seeking of pleasure is born in pain and ends in pain.

“Because of it we seek pleasure and avoid pain. Replace self-love by love of the Self and the picture changes. Brahma the Creator is the sum total of all desires. The world is the instrument for their fulfillment. Souls take whatever pleasure they desire and pay for them in tears.”

M: Pleasure and pain alternate. Happiness is unshakable. What you can seek and find is not the real thing. Find what you have never lost, find the inalienable.

Q: We are told of the bliss of non-duality.
M: Such bliss is more of the nature of a great peace. Pleasure and pain are the fruits of actions -- righteous and unrighteous.

Q: Desire and fear both are feelings caused by physical or mental factors. They are there, easily observable. But why are they there? Why do l desire pleasure and fear pain?
M: Pleasure and pain are states of mind. As long as you think you are the mind, or rather, the body-mind, you are bound to raise such questions.

Q: The root of all desires and fears is the same -- the longing for happiness.
M: The happiness you can think of and long for, is mere physical or mental satisfaction. Such sensory or mental pleasure is not the real, the absolute happiness.

Q: Even sensory and mental pleasures and the general sense of well-being which arises with physical and mental health, must have their roots in reality.
M: They have their roots in imagination. A man who is given a stone and assured that it is a priceless diamond will be mightily pleased until he realises his mistake; in the same way pleasures lose their tang and pains their barb when the self is known. Both are seen as they are -- conditional responses, mere reactions, plain attractions and repulsions, based on memories or pre-conceptions. Usually pleasure and pain are experienced when expected. It is all a matter of acquired habits and convictions.

Q: Well, pleasure may be imaginary. But pain is real.
M: Pain and pleasure go always together. Freedom from one means freedom from both. If you do not care for pleasure, you will not be afraid of pain. But there is happiness which is neither, which is completely beyond.

Q: But, is it true that all existence is painful?
M: What else can be the cause of this universal search for pleasure? Does a happy man seek happiness? How restless people are, how constantly on the move! It is because they are in pain that they seek relief in pleasure. All the happiness they can imagine is in the assurance of repeated pleasure.

“The end of pain lies not in pleasure. When you realise that you are beyond both pain and pleasure, aloof and unassailable, then the pursuit of happiness ceases and the resultant sorrow too. For pain aims at pleasure and pleasure ends in pain, relentlessly.”

"What is birth and death but the beginning and the ending of a stream of events in consciousness? Because of the idea of separation and limitation they are painful. Momentary relief from pain we call pleasure -- and we build castles in the air hoping for endless pleasure which we call happiness. It is all misunderstanding and misuse. Wake up, go beyond, live really."

"Beyond pain and pleasure there is bliss."

Q: Unconscious bliss, of what use is it?
M: Neither conscious nor unconscious. Real.

“Pain is the price of pleasure, pleasure is the reward of pain.”

"Pain and pleasure are merely symptoms, the results of wrong knowledge and wrong feeling."

“The body has its urges and mind its pains and pleasures. Awareness is unattached and unshaken. It is lucid, silent, peaceful, alert and unafraid, without desire and fear. Meditate on it as your true being and try to be it in your daily life, and you shall realise it in its fullness.”

"Nature is neither pleasant nor painful. It is all intelligence and beauty. Pain and pleasure are in the mind. Change your scale of values and all will change. Pleasure and pain are mere disturbances of the senses; treat them equally and there will be only bliss."

"If you look at yourself in your moments of pleasure or pain, you will invariably find that it is not the thing in itself that is pleasant or painful, but the situation of which it is a part. Pleasure lies in the relationship between the enjoyer and the enjoyed. And the essence of it is acceptance. Whatever may be the situation, if it is acceptable, it is pleasant. If it is not acceptable, it is painful. What makes it acceptable is not important; the cause may be physical, or psychological, or untraceable; acceptance is the decisive factor. Obversely, suffering is due to non acceptance."

Q: Pain is not acceptable.
M: Why not? Did you ever try? Do try and you will find in pain a joy which pleasure cannot yield, for the simple reason that acceptance of pain takes you much deeper than pleasure does. The personal self by its very nature is constantly pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain. The ending of this pattern is the ending of the self. The ending of the self with its desires and fears enables you to return to your real nature, the source of all happiness and peace.

"The perennial desire for pleasure is the reflection of the timeless harmony within. It is an observable fact that one becomes self-conscious only when caught in the conflict between pleasure and pain, which demands choice and decision. It is this clash between desire and fear that causes anger, which is the great destroyer of sanity in life. When pain is accepted for what it is, a lesson and a warning, and deeply looked into and heeded, the separation between pain and pleasure breaks down, both become experience -- painful when resisted, joyful when accepted."

Q: Do you advise shunning pleasure and pursuing pain?
M: No, nor pursuing pleasure and shunning pain. Accept both as they come, enjoy both while they last, let them go, as they must.

Q: Why should pain be more effective than pleasure?
M: Pleasure is readily accepted, while all the powers of the self reject pain. As the acceptance of pain is the denial of the self, and the self stands in the way of true happiness, the wholehearted acceptance of pain releases the springs of happiness.

Q: One more question. Why does pleasure end in pain?
M: Everything has a beginning and an end and so does pleasure. Don't anticipate and don't regret, and there will be no pain. it is memory and imagination that cause suffering.

"Of course pain after pleasure may be due to the misuse of the body or the mind. The body knows its measure, but the mind does not. Its appetites are numberless and limitless. Watch your mind with great diligence, for there lies your bondage and also the key to freedom."

Q: My question is not yet fully answered: Why are man's pleasures destructive? Why does he find so much pleasure in destruction? Life's concern lies in protection, perpetuation and expansion of itself. In this it is guided by pain and pleasure. At what point do they become destructive?
M: When the mind takes over, remembers and anticipates, it exaggerates, it distorts, it overlooks. The past is projected into future and the future betrays the expectations. The organs of sensation and action are stimulated beyond capacity and they inevitably break down. The objects of pleasure cannot yield what is expected of them and get worn out, or destroyed, by misuse. It results in excess of pain where pleasure was looked for.

“Whatever you think about with desire or fear appears before you as real. Look at it without desire or fear and it does lose substance. Pleasure and pain are momentary. It is simpler and easier to disregard them than to act on them.”

“The 'I am’ that pursues the pleasant and shuns the unpleasant is false; the 'I am' that sees pleasure and pain as inseparable sees rightly.”

"Fear of pain, desire for pleasure. Pleasant is the ending of pain and painful the end of pleasure. They just rotate in endless succession. Investigate the vicious circle till you find yourself beyond it."

"The problem arises only when the memory of past pains and pleasures -- which are essential to all organic life -- remains as a reflex, dominating behaviour. This reflex takes the shape of 'I' and uses the body and the mind for its purposes, which are invariably in search for pleasure or flight from pain."

“Your constant flight from pain and search for pleasure is a sign of love you bear for your self, all I plead with you is this: make love of your self perfect. Deny yourself nothing -- glue your self infinity and eternity and discover that you do not need them; you are beyond.”

Q: We settle for pleasure.
M: Each pleasure is wrapped in pain. You soon discover that you cannot have one without the other.

"When the mind is engaged in serving the body, happiness is lost. To regain it, it seeks pleasure. The urge to be happy is right, but the means of securing it are misleading, unreliable and destructive of true happiness."

“It is because you are not happy that you want to be happy. Find out why you are unhappy. Because you are not happy you seek happiness in pleasure; pleasure brings in pain and therefore you call it worldly; you then long for some other pleasure, without pain, which you call divine. In reality, pleasure is but a respite from pain.”

"You are quite satisfied with pleasures. There is no place for happiness. Empty your cup and clean it. It cannot be filled otherwise. Others can give you pleasure, but never happiness."

Q: What is the difference between happiness and pleasure?
M: Pleasure depends on things, happiness does not.

"Love is not selective, desire is selective. In love there are no strangers. When the centre of selfishness is no longer, all desires for pleasure and fear of pain cease;"

"The limited is bound to be painful and pleasant in turns. If you seek real happiness, unassailable and unchangeable, you must leave the world with its pains and pleasures behind you."

Q: We are told of the bliss of non-duality.
M: Such bliss is more of the nature of a great peace. Pleasure and pain are the fruits of actions -- righteous and unrighteous.

"Pleasure and pain alternate. Happiness is unshakable. What you can seek and find is not the real thing. Find what you have never lost, find the inalienable."

Q: What is the difference between happiness and pleasure?
M: Pleasure depends on things, happiness does not.

Q: If happiness is independent, why are we not always happy?
M: As long as we believe that we need things to make us happy, we shall also believe that in their absence we must be miserable. Mind always shapes itself according to its beliefs. Hence the importance of convincing oneself that one need not be prodded into happiness; that, on the contrary, pleasure is a distraction and a nuisance, for it merely increases the false conviction that one needs to have and do things to be happy when in reality it is just the opposite.

"But why talk of happiness at all? You do not think of happiness except when you are unhappy. A man who says: 'Now I am happy', is between two sorrows -- past and future. This happiness is mere excitement caused by relief from pain. Real happiness is utterly unselfconscious. It is best expressed negatively as: 'there is nothing wrong with me. I have nothing to worry about'. After all, the ultimate purpose of all sadhana is to reach a point, when this conviction, instead of being only verbal, is based on the actual and ever-present experience."

Q: Why should pain be more effective than pleasure?
M: Pleasure is readily accepted, while all the powers of the self reject pain. As the acceptance of pain is the denial of the self, and the self stands in the way of true happiness, the wholehearted acceptance of pain releases the springs of happiness.

Q: Which experience?
M: The experience of being empty, uncluttered by memories and expectations; it is like the happiness of open spaces, of being young, of having all the time and energy for doing things, for discovery, for adventure.

Q: Yet I want happiness.
M: True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away. Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably. Happiness comes from the self and can be found in the self only. Find your real self (swarupa) and all else will come with it.

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Peace, love, harmony