Signs and wonders will be seen – You know my tears – This is the hour – No man shall stop my plan – Trust me!
Follow the hand of God – I will reach for you – Take my hand – Walk with me – Praise the Lord!
You have been called – You are my witness – The Rapture is coming – I am the Light – Expect me!
This is the time of teaching – There shall be a Crusade – Prepare for me – I have risen – Embrace me!
A new day is coming – I am building a Temple – My Church is being restored – Read the signs – Stand!
“The Last Days of Tolemac” is a book of prophecy. It deals with events that are happening in the world today and shows how they fulfill prophecies that were made many centuries ago. The book is set out in a series of questions and answers, and explains in detail:
- What is about to happen to our planet
- Why these events are happening at this time
- What places on earth will be affected
- What the new world will be like
- What we can do to prepare
If you wish to read these prophecies Click Here
As the book explains, our world is about to be transformed. We are about to experience “a new heaven and a new earth” where there will be no more suffering and no more pain. However all of us are faced with a choice. Do we wish to inherit the new world that is coming? Or will we fall victim to the catastrophes that will herald its arrival? What we need to do to survive is explained in the pages of this book.
For the information of readers, The Last Days of Tolemac is now available on Kindle Books as a Digital Download, as well as Allan’s major work entitled The Cosmic Web.
The Cosmic Web explains the mysteries of life, and shows how we all have within us hidden powers that will transform our lives in the coming age. Many of the stories that appear on this Blog, as well as articles on esoteric aspects of life, have been taken from this book. And as usual with Kindle books, if you click on the cover of either book, you can read part of the contents for free.
Both books can be accessed here
Allan Colston can be contacted at Tolemac@shaw.ca
For the benefit of readers who might be looking for information on specific subjects related to prophecy, the following articles have been included here for easy reference. They can be found in “Articles” listed under the heading “Categories” in the column on the right:
- The Apocalypse Unveiled
- The Rapture Revealed
- The Lost Years of Jesus
- The New Golden Age
- The Last Pope
- The Death of the Pope
- The Doomsday Prophecies
- 2012 and the Maya Calendar
- The Kachina Prophecies of the Hopi
- Rebuilding the Temple of Solomon
- What is “Wormwood” in the Book of Revelation?
- What is “Mystery Babylon” in the Book of Revelation?
Scott: My name is Scott Paton. I am talking today with Allan Colston. He is the author of the book “The Last Days of Tolemac”. This is a book dealing with prophecy.
For those listeners who may be new to this topic, this Podcast is another in the series “Signs of the Times”. Hello Allan and welcome to the Podcast.
Hello Scott. Glad to be with you again.
Scott: In our last Podcast, you were talking about the work of the American scientist Thomas Kuhn. Why do you think his work is important in the context of prophecy?
That’s a great question Scott. In answer, I’d like to refer to the 20th century philosopher George Santayana, who once declared: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it“.
Scott: How is that linked with Thomas Kuhn?
Well Scott, as I explain in my book, I believe that the world is about to experience a series of cataclysmic events that have been vividly described in the predictions of ancient prophets.
And what makes Thomas Kuhn’s work so important is that this is not the first time that the world has been afflicted by a global disaster. In fact this has happened many times in the distant past of our planet.
But the reason it is happening again, and the reason why most of us are totally unaware of this fact, and are therefore condemned to be victims of these disasters once again, is exactly as Santayana warned. We have forgotten our past.
We have forgotten our past, not because we no longer have any record of those ancient catastrophic disasters to study and learn from, but because modern historians have deliberately chosen to ignore them.
They have chosen to ignore them for reasons that were clearly set out by Kuhn in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, as I explained in our previous Podcast.
Scott: Perhaps you could go over this again for the benefit of listeners who may not have heard your last Podcast.
Certainly Scott. Just to recap, you will recall that Thomas Kuhn was a Harvard trained scientist. After gaining his Ph.D. in Physics, he changed his discipline of study from Physics to the History and Philosophy of Science.
Based on the research which he outlined in his book, Kuhn claimed that the history of science did not unfold in a simple linear sequence from its earliest beginnings up to the body of scientific knowledge that is taught in our schools and universities today.
Instead, it proceeded by a series of convulsive leaps which Kuhn called scientific revolutions. Each of these revolutions not only changed the way science was practised from that time on, but they also revised the way in which the scientific history of the past was taught.
Kuhn explained that over the course of the last four hundred years, there have been various men of genius who have been able to transform the science of their day, because they were able to explain the world around them in dramatically new ways.
These brilliant pioneers included people like Copernicus, Isaac Newton, James Maxwell, Max Planck and Albert Einstein. They revolutionised the science of their time by introducing radical new paradigms of thought.
According to Kuhn, these paradigms consisted of those beliefs, values, techniques and so on that were shared by the scientific community of that time, and were based on scientific achievements that for a time provided model answers and solutions.
Scott: And how is that linked with the disasters of the past?
Well Scott, as Thomas Kuhn explained, scientific research never takes place in a vacuum. It is always conducted within a particular paradigm of thought. And every scientific paradigm comes with a defined set of boundaries that determine what can and cannot be studied within that paradigm.
So, as Kuhn pointed out, every student who is trained in any scientific discipline today, is taught to accept as scientific truth all those laws, principles and beliefs that make up the current paradigm.
They are not free to pick and choose what to believe and what to reject. In order to qualify for their diplomas or degrees, they have to convince their teachers that they understand and accept the boundaries of the paradigm. If they don’t, they don’t get to graduate.
And the sad part in all of this Scott, is that those educational institutions that ought to be leading the quest for scientific truth, are the very ones that are blocking progress, and preventing the next generation of scientists from clearing away the debris of the past.
Scott: What exactly do you mean Allan?
Well Scott, the problems we are facing today are not unlike those that arose in the early days of science.
Some two thousand years ago, people were guided by the ideas of the Greek philosopher Aristotle, as well as the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, which taught that the sun, the moon and the stars all moved around the earth.
It was not until the invention of the telescope by Galileo in the early 17th century, that it became possible to observe the actual motions of heavenly bodies, and then compare these measurements with the astronomical charts which had held sway for over fifteen hundred years.
And what astronomers of that time discovered, is that the more observations that were made, the more differences were found between what was expected from the charts, and what was actually observed.
The reactions of the astronomers of that time, however, were exactly as Thomas Kuhn predicted. Initially, they clung to the established model, and tried to fit these new observations into existing theory by means of increasingly complicated adjustments, which they called “epicycles”.
Over time the accepted cosmological theory became increasingly burdened by these anomalies. It was only when Copernicus realised that it was the earth that travelled around the sun, rather than the other way around, that all these discrepancies were satisfactorily resolved.
The entire Ptolemaic system of astronomy was then replaced by the Copernican theory. In other words, a new scientific paradigm was born, which then governed scientific research from that time on, until it in turn was replaced by the theory of the Big Bang.
Scott: So Allan, what can you tell us about the Big Bang theory?
Well Scott, the paradigm that determines our understanding of the universe today is the theory of the Big Bang. This is a theory has come to be accepted by most of the scientific community, and it serves as the foundation for all the other disciplines of science.
According to this theory, all the matter and energy that now fills the universe is the result of a primordial explosion that occurred some 14 billion years ago, and that everything we see in the sky today is a consequence of that original explosion.
The majority of the atoms created in that initial blast were thought to be hydrogen, along with helium and traces of lithium. Giant clouds of these initial elements later coalesced through the force of gravity to form all the stars and galaxies that exist today.
It was the American astronomer Edwin Hubble who pioneered the idea of an expanding universe, by using the spectrographic change in the redshift of light to show that the farther away a galaxy was from earth, the faster it was travelling away from the earth.
Our solar system, together with its orbiting planets, was thought to have been formed some four and a half billion years ago, as a result of the gravitational collapse of a large molecular cloud of dust and elementary particles.
Being at the centre of this gravitational collapse, the sun became increasingly hot and dense until it reached a point when a process of thermonuclear fusion spontaneously occurred. It was this process of nuclear fusion, converting hydrogen nuclei into helium, that was considered to be the source of its heat and light.
According to existing theory, it is believed that most of the stars in our galaxy were formed by a similar process. And as a result of this nuclear reaction at its core, our sun has a corona that emits a stream of charged particles called the solar wind.
The Big Bang theory is based on two major assumptions. One is that the universe is homogeneous, meaning that it is uniform in its content. And the other is that the same physical laws of nature that govern life on the earth, apply equally to all the other parts of the universe.
But the problem that we face today Scott, is that the paradigm of the Big Bang is in crisis. It is in crisis because more and more new discoveries are being made that are in conflict with fundamental theory, and current theory can no longer explain these embarrassing facts.
Scott: Can you give us some examples?
Certainly Scott. As I have already mentioned in earlier Blogposts, the first major challenge to the theory of the Big Bang occurred in 1950, with the publication of a book by a Russian Jew by the name of Immanuel Velikovsky.
His book was called Worlds in Collision, and it exploded upon the world of science with a force comparable to the nuclear blast that had occurred at Hiroshima just a few years earlier.
Velikovsky astounded the world of cosmology with his theory that Venus had originally been expelled from the planet Jupiter, and subsequently had violent interactions with the earth and then Mars, before settling into its present orbit around the sun.
But what was even more outrageous, from the point of view of conventional science, was his claim that all this had taken place just a few thousand years before, within the experience of those who were living on the earth at that time.
This was not a theory that was based on mere supposition, like the speculative theory of evolution advanced by Chares Darwin some hundred years before. Instead it was the product of ten years of detailed research that ultimately filled numerous other books.
Velikovsky was a man of such towering intellectual ability, and blessed with the ability to evaluate data across so many different scientific disciplines, that he will undoubtedly be ranked in time among the greatest analytical minds in the history of humanity.
For example, the prevailing view of the universe at that time, was that it consisted of innumerable objects like stars and galaxies, that moved through vast regions of empty space guided solely by the force of gravity.
Velikovsky was the first person to challenge this view, by contending that the earth was electrically charged, and that it had a magnetosphere which extended out as far as the moon. This was later validated when scientists were able to launch satellites into space.
Scott: Have any other people challenged the fundamental ideas of the Big Bang?
Yes Scott they have. For example in1966, the American astronomer Halton Arp published a book titled Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, which challenged Hubble’s Law, the traditional interpretation of the redshift of light, and the very idea of an expanding universe.
Then there was the Scottish astrophysicist Charles Bruce, who noted that the sun’s photosphere, which is the visible surface of the sun, had the same appearance and temperature, as well as the spectrum, of an electric arc.
He challenged the accepted solar theory of that time by contending that the sun looked like an electric arc, and had the same characteristics as an electrical arc, because it was an electric arc.
According to Bruce, the sun was an electrical body, and the source of its heat and light was the result of electromagnetic radiation, rather than the product of a thermonuclear reaction.
His work also went on to resolve the conundrum of why temperatures measured on the surface of the sun were hundreds of times cooler than those recorded in the Corona, which is the opposite of what conventional theory requires.
Also, once the space age began, allowing scientists to launch telescopic satellites and other space probes that were equipped to analyse and evaluate distant objects in ever more detail, a flood of new data emerged.
And it is this new data that has proved to be so embarrassing to science, and so troubling to those scientists trained to think within the paradigm of the Big Bang.
And then there are the problems that modern astronomers are having in trying to understand and explain what is happening inside asteroids and comets.
Scott: What sorts of problems?
Well Scott, as I discussed in my post titled “The Electric Comet”, most astronomers today still believe in the theory of Fred Whipple, who considered comets to be little more that “dirty snowballs”, consisting primarily of ice and dirt.
But that is not what the latest space probes have found. Scientists have now been able to examine the constituents of five different comets in close detail, and in every single case there has been no evidence of surface ice.
On top of that, comets have been found to exhibit behaviour which defies accepted theory. For example, the Comas which form around the nuclei of comets, suddenly flare up for no apparent reason, even in deep space. This happened to Halley’s comet in 1991 and comet Hale-Bopp in 1997.
Then there are other cases where comets have suddenly exploded and disintegrated into pieces, often at vast distances from the sun. This happened to comet Linear in 1999 and to comet Elenin in 2011. Some comets have even been found to emit X-rays under certain conditions.
It is not possible in a short Podcast like this to do more than highlight a few of the strange features of cometary behaviour that have puzzled astronomers in recent years. But let me just say Scott, that these are just a fraction of the many anomalies that have been observed.
In fact, a growing band of scientists have gathered together over the last few decades, under the banner of the Thunderbolts Group, based in Portland, Oregon. Their goal is not only to expose the shortcomings of existing theory, but also to offer in its place an entirely new view of the universe.
They call this new paradigm the “Electric Universe”. It is based on the thesis that the fundamental force that created and sustains the universe is not gravity, as Newton and Einstein believed, but electromagnetism.
Those interested in learning more about this new paradigm, and the reasons why the theory of the Big Bang is no longer tenable as viable scientific truth, should have a look at their website at thunderbolts.info.
However, despite the fact that research conducted by members of the Thunderbolts Group has opened up new vistas in our understanding of the universe, there seems little chance that the theory of the “Electric Universe” will succeed in replacing the old paradigm of the Big Bang, either within the span of our own lifetimes, or of theirs.
Scott; Why do you say that Allan?
Well Scott, Thomas Kuhn explained the reason why in his book. He pointed out that it generally takes many generations before a new scientific paradigm succeeds in overthrowing its predecessor.
Max Planck, who can himself be considered the founder of a new scientific revolution with his pioneering role in the development of “Quantum Mechanics”, went to the heart of the problem when he wrote:
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it”.
His point was that scientists who are trained to view the universe in a certain way, continue to cling to that particular cast of mind despite increasing evidence to the contrary, especially when their status and careers have been built upon that paradigm of thought.
They naturally resent the presence of intruders in their secure domain, and are prepared to resort to any action, whether moral or otherwise, in order to hold their ground against the actions of those who would usurp their authority.
The problem that confronts supporters of the “Electric Universe” theory today, is not that their conclusions are invalid, but that the bastions of the Big Bang paradigm remain entrenched within all the established educational institutions of the world.
Until such time as converts to the electrical paradigm come to hold positions of power within the Halls of Academe, and textbooks are rewritten to enable new generations of students to adopt a new way of thinking, the old ideas will continue to prevail.
Besides, believers in the Big Bang have a new weapon in their arsenal with which to repel the assaults of the revolutionaries.
Scott: What is that Allan?
It is a weapon of stunning simplicity, and one that on the face of it seems eminently sensible and scientific. It is called the “Peer Review” system.
Every graduate in every discipline of science who seeks to advance his or her career, is quickly made aware of the fundamental reality of modern science. It is the axiom: “Publish or Perish”.
No matter what avenue of science graduates choose to pursue, their future success depends on their ability to conduct original research, and then to publicise their research in officially recognised journals.
They have do this to gain recognition within their particular field of endeavour, and thereby attract the funding which will ensure their future security within their chosen profession.
But as there are many more people submitting material for publication than there is space available within these scientific journals, editors submit these articles first to referees who have established positions of authority within that scientific discipline.
In this way they ensure that only the best work gets to see the light of day. It also spares them the need to defend their choices, as responsibility for deciding what to publish and what to reject rests with these outside referees.
At first glance, this system of submitting new research papers to a jury of their peers before acceptance for publication, may seem like a perfectly valid form of objective review.
The problem which many scientists who operate on the fringes of conventional science face today Scott, is that it is this very peer review system that effectively blocks them, and prevents their work from gaining wider recognition.
Scott: Why do you say that Allan?
Well Scott, what happened to Halton Arp is a perfect case in point. As I mentioned earlier, Halton Arp was the first person to notice something unusual about the location and dispersal of quasi-stellar objects known as “Quasars”.
He noticed that these quasars weren’t evenly spread across the sky, but tended to be found in positions of small angular separation from certain galaxies, which suggested that they were in some way related to these galaxies.
From these observations, Arp hypothesized that quasars were actually local objects that were ejected from the core of active galactic nuclei. This was a conclusion that went against all of the accepted cosmological thinking of the time.
Arp set to work to publish his findings by submitting a paper to the “Astrophysical Journal”, which was the leading publication in its field. Somewhat naively perhaps, Arp hoped that his unusual discovery might attract the acclamation of his peers.
What actually happened, however, was yet another travesty in the long, sad saga of science, in silencing those researchers who have the temerity to challenge the entrenched ideas of the current scientific paradigm.
The editor of the “Astrophysical Journal” at that time was S. Chandrasekhar, an accomplished Indian-American astrophysicist who subsequently became a co-winner of the Nobel prize for Physics.
As Arp was later to find out, Chandrasekhar never bothered to send his research paper to anyone else for evaluation. Instead, he returned it to the Director of the Institute where Arp worked, with the words “This exceeds my imagination” scrawled across the top of the paper.
Halton Arp was told to find another line of research, and when he chose not to do so, he was denied further access to the Palomar Observatory. He lost his job at the Carnegie Institute and was obliged to leave the United States and move to Germany.
There is obviously so much more that could be said on the subject, but I think I have made my point. In my next Podcast Scott, I want to discuss some of the other anomalies in our present scientific paradigm, and in particular the farce that has become known as the Theory of Evolution.
Scott: Thanks Allan. This has been another remarkable analysis of the way the history of science has developed over the last few centuries.
You have been listening to Allan Colston, author of the book “The Last Days of Tolemac”. Do join us for our next Podcast in the series titled “Signs of the Times”.
Scott: My name is Scott Paton. I am talking today with Allan Colston. He is the author of the book “The Last Days of Tolemac”. This is a book dealing with prophecy.
For those listeners who may be new to this topic, this Podcast is another in the series “Signs of the Times”. Hello Allan and welcome to the Podcast. It’s been quite a while since we last spoke.
Thanks Scott, it’s good to be with you once again. Yes, it’s been about nine months since our last Podcast.
Scott: At the time we last spoke you were focusing on Iran and their attempts to develop nuclear weapons.
Since then, I notice from your Blog that you have been writing about a variety of different subjects, ranging from the nature of comets and asteroids, to such things as the challenge of Christianity and the meaning of the Kingdom of God.
My question to you Allan is: Do all of these different topics relate to the subject of prophecy? And if so, how?
I am glad you asked that question Scott, because I think that a lot of readers of my Blog have probably been asking themselves the same thing. And the short answer is: Yes, they are all integrally related to the events that are about to unfold upon the earth.
But to explain how, it is necessary to delve first into the history and philosophy of science.
Scott: I didn’t know there was such a thing as a philosophy of science. Surely science is the very opposite of philosophy.
You’re certainly not alone Scott. Many people think that way today. But if I was to ask you to name some of the most important scientists of the 20th century, I doubt if you would include the name of Thomas Kuhn.
Scott: Well you’re right about that, Allan. In fact I’ve never even heard of him. Who was he?
Thomas Samuel Kuhn was an American scientist. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1922, and died in 1996 at the age of 73.
Soon after leaving school in 1940, he developed a serious interest in science and mathematics. He subsequently attended Harvard University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in 1943, followed shortly thereafter by a Masters and a Ph.D degree in Physics.
It was during his three years as a Harvard Junior Fellow that Thomas Kuhn found that his interests had changed, causing him to switch his scientific career from Physics to the History and Philosophy of Science.
At the suggestion of the University President, Kuhn later taught a course in the History of Science at Harvard for eight years, before leaving for the Berkeley campus of the University of California, where in 1961 he was named Professor of the History of Science.
The following year he published the work with which his name has ever since been linked, and which challenged the very foundations of the entire scientific enterprise. His book was called “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions“.
Scott: What was so important about his book?
Well Scott, what Kuhn did was to question the accepted philosophy of science at that time, which was to regard science as a linear pursuit in which one scientific discovery led naturally to another, leading up to the entire body of knowledge that is taught in our universities today.
Instead, Kuhn argued that this idea was wrong, and was not borne out by the facts.
Based on his own historical research, Kuhn found that progress in science was similar to that of society as a whole, in which steady development was punctuated from time to time by revolutionary outbreaks that led to dramatic changes in the nature of those societies.
In dissecting the nature of these scientific revolutions, Kuhn found that, like their social counterparts, each tended to display a common character, and to develop in common ways.
He found, for example, that every new scientific revolution did more than just build upon the theories of its predecessors. Each completely changed the thinking of the past, in a way which transformed the understanding of the scientists of that time.
Scott: What exactly did Kuhn mean when he talked about scientific revolutions?
Well Scott, when people began to investigate the world around them in the 16th century, there were no accepted guidelines about what to do or how to go about it. So they simply went ahead and explored the things that interested them.
In due course, people with similar interests began to band together to form schools of common thought. These scientific pioneers conducted experiments and then communicated their results to others, in ways which allowed them to test these results for themselves.
As Kuhn explained in his book, in time there appeared certain scientists who were men of such towering intellectual ability, and who were able to explain existing facts in novel ways of such brilliant ingenuity, that they came to dominate the science of their day.
Scott: Can you give us some examples?
Certainly. The first of these men who revolutionised the history of western science was Copernicus. Copernicus didn’t discover facts that were new to astronomers trained in the old Ptolemaic school of astronomy. What he did was to explain these facts in a totally new way.
It was his brilliant insight that it was the earth that travelled around the Sun, rather than the other way around, which enabled subsequent generations of astronomers to add a wealth of information about celestial objects, and to explain this information in ways which overcame the problems inherent in the old Ptolemaic system of astronomy.
Other examples of these intellectual giants were Sir Isaac Newton, the Scottish physicist James Maxwell, Max Planck and Albert Einstein. These men revolutionised the theoretical constructs of their times, in ways which had profound implications for future scientific research and development.
In referring to such men, Kuhn wrote (and I quote), “each transformed the scientific imagination in ways that we shall ultimately need to describe as a transformation of the world within which scientific work was done”.
Kuhn called these transformations scientific revolutions, and he used the term “paradigm” to describe them.
Scott: What did he mean by the term paradigm?
Kuhn defined a scientific paradigm as “the entire constellation of beliefs, values, techniques, and so on shared by members of a given community”.
Paradigms, according to Kuhn, were scientific revolutions which altered the entire perspectives of their times, and were “universally recognised scientific achievements that for a time provided model problems and solutions to a community of practitioners“.
In tracing the history of these scientific transformations, Kuhn noted that each new revolution did more than just build upon the theories of its predecessors. Instead they completely changed the foundations of the past.
In addition, Kuhn pointed out that as each new paradigm became entrenched, it became necessary not only to reconstruct past theory, but also to re-evaluate past fact.
What Kuhn meant by this was that each new revolution in scientific outlook meant that old ideas had to be re-assessed, and new textbooks had to be written that would interpret the past in the light of the new knowledge.
But as Kuhn went on to explain, no matter how successful each new paradigm happened to be, each came with a built-in flaw. Kuhn referred to this flaw as the “invisibility” of the paradigm
Scott: And what did he mean by that, Allan?
He explained this as follows Scott. As each new scientific paradigm comes to be accepted by the majority of scientists of that time, the effect is to change the goalposts, so to speak, of what Kuhn calls “normal science”.
According to Kuhn, whenever a new scientific paradigm prevails, “normal science” tries to force nature into line with the new paradigm, motivated by the conviction that this new paradigm is at last able to explain nature “as it really is”.
Initially, scientists succeed brilliantly in solving problems that could hardly have been imagined under the old paradigm, and rapidly expand the technological possibilities of the new science.
As they do so, however, the paradigm under which they are operating begins to exert a subtle retraining influence. It does this by setting limits to what scientific problems are considered to be valid within that paradigm, and what can be ignored as being outside of the paradigm.
And this is where the “invisibility” of the paradigm reveals itself.
Those scientists who have been trained within a specific paradigm, and who have acquired its underlying philosophy of belief, don’t realise that they have allowed themselves to become trapped within the limitations of the paradigm itself.
Furthermore, they are unable to extricate themselves from the limitations of their existing paradigm, because they are generally unaware of its existence.
Scott: So Allan, what does this mean in practice?
Well Scott, as Kuhn explained, young scientists don’t graduate with open minds that are capable of evaluating evidence in new ways. Their very education and training is an exercise in programming their minds according to the beliefs of the existing paradigm.
Scientific students aren’t free to accept or reject the theories of their textbooks. The scientific laws presented in them are illustrated by means of experiments which students are taught to accept as evidential proof of the correctness of these laws.
They are forced to accept them on the authority of their teachers, whose task it is to ensure that only those students who successfully embrace the beliefs of the current paradigm, are allowed to graduate.
So when a student undertakes an experiment and comes up with a result that is different from that set out in their textbooks, this result is regarded as evidence of the inadequacy of the student, rather than of any shortcoming in the law itself.
Scott: So Allan, if Kuhn is correct, how and why do these different scientific revolutions come about?
That’s a good question, Scott. As Kuhn points out, normal science always operates within a paradigm, which is at first spectacularly successful in its ability to resolve problems that arise within the framework of that paradigm.
As the body of data generated by normal science grows, however, certain anomalies appear which cannot be explained by the paradigm. Initially these anomalies are small in number, and can easily be dismissed as being of little consequence in the overall scheme of things.
But as they grow more numerous, they become increasingly difficult to ignore, and the prevailing paradigm becomes increasingly unwieldy or contrived, while the number of critics continues to multiply.
It was precisely this state of unwieldy complexity in Ptolemaic astronomy, which was reduced to explaining the motion of celestial objects by means of an increasing number of cycles and “epicycles”, that led to the breakthrough in understanding provided by Copernicus.
When a scientific paradigm is overburdened by anomalies which it is unable to explain, it becomes ripe for revolutionary crisis.
Scott: So how do these anomalies get resolved?
These crises have generally been resolved in the history of western science, by lonely men of genius, who have been able to evaluate these problems, and then present solutions based on an entirely new way of thinking
The founders of new paradigms have invariably been young men who, in one way or another, have escaped the conditioning of their colleagues, and who have not yet become entrenched within their own professions.
They are thus able to bring a new vision to their fields of practice, and to link past data in revolutionary ways which are successful in explaining most of the unexplained anomalies of the current paradigm.
At first, these revolutionary pioneers are ostracised by their peers and branded as cranks. Their ideas are inevitably rejected, particularly by “normal” scientists, who are the ones who have been conditioned by the old habits of thinking.
Not surprisingly, this resistance is invariably led by those scientists whose status and reputation have been built upon the old ideas, and therefore have the most to lose by an overthrow of the old regime.
Scott: So Allan, how do these new scientific revolutions finally succeed?
Well Scott, every scientific revolution that has taken place over the last four hundred years, has proceeded very much like its social or military counterpart.
It has been led by a young and bold leader, who has been successful in drawing to his side recruits, who then do battle with the old guard who have become entrenched in the traditional ways of thinking.
Success, however, does not come easily or immediately. It often takes several generations before victory is complete and the old paradigm is successfully overthrown.
As I have already pointed out in an earlier post, it was Max Planck, who was himself the founder of a new scientific paradigm that initially provoked derision and scorn, who was sadly moved to write:
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it”.
But Planck was in good company, for it took almost a hundred years for the ideas of Copernicus to become generally accepted, while Newton’s theories of gravity were not adopted in his own lifetime.
Finally, Einstein’s theory of relativity, which has become arguably the most explosive theory in the history of science, and which daily dominates our lives in the form of the threat of nuclear war, was at first met with complete disbelief.
And to this day, over a hundred years since it was first postulated, it has failed to merit the Nobel prize for physics.
In my next Podcast Scott, I want to discuss the anomalies that exist within the current scientific paradigm, and explain why it is now ripe for a new revolutionary way of thinking about the universe that is already on the horizon.
Scott: Thanks Allan for giving us a fascinating insight into the history of science. You have been listening to Allan Colston, author of the book “The Last Days of Tolemac”. Do join us for our next Podcast in the series titled “Signs of the Times”.
In this final instalment, the 20th century Indian Sage Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj continues his dialogue about the state of mind of one who has attained the Kingdom of God, witnessed the Truth, overcome death, and is no longer bound by the limitations of matter, energy, space and time.
Jesus promised all those who truly sought the deathless state, which was likened to a jewel beyond value, that their wish would be fulfilled. But the price that would have to be paid for this supreme gift was personal sacrifice – the voluntary dissolution of the ego.
Jesus coerced no one. He merely invited those who wished to be like him to adopt the path which he had followed. He was the Way, and his life was the Truth. His Way remains equally valid to this day, and has been trod alike by every Sage.
Question: “To become an engineer I must learn engineering. To become God what must I learn?
Maharaj: You must unlearn everything. God is the end of all desire and knowledge.
Question: You mean to say that I become God merely by giving up the desire to become God?
Maharaj: All desires must be given up because you take the shape of your desires. When no desires remain, you revert to your natural being.” 1
The transcendent Sun of Reality can only be seen when all the clouds of personal desires have finally been swept aside.
Question: “How does one reach the Supreme State?
Maharaj: By renouncing all lesser desires. As long as you are pleased with the lesser, you cannot have the highest. Whatever pleases you, keeps you back. Until you realize the unsatisfactoriness of everything, its transiency and limitation and collect your energies in one great longing, even the first step is not made. On the other hand, the integrity of the desire for the Supreme is by itself a call from the Supreme. Nothing, physical or mental, can give you freedom. You are free once you understand that your bondage is of your own making and you cease forging the chains that bind you.” 2
The idea of giving up personal identity, of surrendering individual desires, is a prospect which fills us all with horror. What lies beyond appears as forbidding as the grave, shorn of all laughter, fun and joy, and of every quality which makes our lives worth living. The Sage coaxes us to trust, and not to fall prey to these fears.
“Do not be afraid of freedom from desire and fear. It enables you to live a life so different from all you know, so much more intense and interesting, that, truly, by losing all you gain all.” 3
He who would save his life, declared Jesus, would lose it. But he who was prepared to sacrifice his own life would gain all things, in a life of boundless joy. This is the acid test of the mature seeker, the willingness to sacrifice the known in the anticipation of the unknown.
“Freedom means letting go. People just do not care to let go everything. They do not know that the finite is the price of the infinite as death is the price of immortality. Spiritual maturity lies in the readiness to let go of everything.” 4
We shrink from this call to impersonality, fearing in this sacrifice the loss of personal identity, which is the vital core of our being. As one doubter remarked:
Question: “To be free from like and dislike is a state of indifference.
Maharaj: It may look and feel so in the beginning. Persevere in such indifference and it will blossom into an all-pervading and all embracing love.” 5
The Supreme Reality is not an uncaring, lifeless, amorphous Void – a quantum field of blind energy. As Maharaj reveals:
“Reality is not a shapeless mass, a wordless chaos. It is powerful, aware, blissful; compared to it your life is like a candle to the sun.” 6
This Reality is ever-present, and is without beginning and without end. It is Awareness stripped of personal limitations and the confines of matter, energy, space and time.
“Immortality is freedom from the feeling: ‘I am’. Yet it is not extinction. On the contrary, it is a state infinitely more real, aware and happy than you can possibly think of. Only self-consciousness is no more.” 7
This profound Awareness is not something new to be gained, nor is it a reward for a certain course of action. It blossoms of its own accord when the conditions are ripe, and the cloying business of the mind is stilled.
“When the mind is kept away from its preoccupations, it becomes quiet. If you do not disturb this quiet and stay in it, you find that it is permeated with a light and a love you have never known; and yet you recognize it at once as your own nature. Once you have passed through this experience, you will never be the same again; the unruly mind may break its peace and obliterate its vision, but it is bound to return, provided the effort is sustained until the day when all bonds are broken, delusions and attachments end and life becomes supremely concentrated in the present.” 8
Of all the preoccupations of the mind, the most persistent and captivating is the idea of personality. At each moment of our lives we are involved in a constant search for satisfaction according to the dictates of this identity. We are all obsessed with the idea that we are bound to a particular body that was born in time, and will in turn, succumb to death.
“Take the idea ‘I was born’. You may take it to be true. It is not. You were never born nor will you ever die. It is the idea that was born and shall die, not you. By identifying yourself with it you become mortal. Just like in a cinema all is light, so does consciousness become the vast world. Look closely and you will see that all names and forms are but transitory names on the ocean of consciousness, that only consciousness can be said to be, not its transformations. In the immensity of consciousness a light appears, a tiny point that moves rapidly and traces shapes, thoughts and feelings, concepts and ideas, like the pen writing on paper. And the ink that leaves a trace is memory. You are that tiny point and by your movement the world is ever re-created. Stop moving, and there will be no world. Look within and you will find that the point of light is the reflection of the immensity of light in the body as the sense ‘I am’. There is only light, all else appears.” 9
No action of the mind can restore this pristine state. Every effort conducted by the striving personality merely causes it to recede, by covering the sun with yet more clouds. The soul does not come to know its source by means of action, but by recognition of the folly of action.
“Nothing you do will change you, for you need no change. You may change your mind and your body, but it is always something external to you that has changed, not yourself. Why bother at all to change? Realize once and for all that neither your body nor your mind, nor even your consciousness is yourself and stand alone in your true nature beyond consciousness and unconsciousness. No effort can take you there, only the clarity of understanding. Trace your misunderstandings and abandon them, that is all. There is nothing to seek and find, for there is nothing lost. Relax and watch the ‘I am’. Reality is just behind it. Keep quiet, keep silent; it will emerge, or rather, it will take you in.” 10
“It is the absolute in you that takes you to the absolute beyond you – absolute truth, love, selflessness are the decisive factors for self-realization. With earnestness these can be reached.” 11
The Truth cannot be grasped by the conscious mind. Every attempt to encompass it must inevitably fail. Yet the earnest desire to experience it creates the conditions which allow it to suddenly shine forth.
Question: “If there is no such thing as the knowledge of the real, then how do I reach it?
Maharaj: You need not reach out for what is already with you. Your very reaching makes you miss it. Give up the idea that you have not found it and just let it come into the focus of direct perception, here and now, by removing all that is of the mind.
Question: When all that can go, goes, what remains?
Maharaj: Emptiness remains, awareness remains, pure light of the conscious being remains.” 12
In order to become aware of this burgeoning emptiness, we need to pursue our awareness of the “now”, without being caught up in the past or future. By refusing to be trapped in the web of our ideas, we cease to participate as an individual experiencer.
Maharaj: “The mind craves for experience, the memory of which it takes for knowledge. The gnani (enlightened being) is beyond all experience and his memory is empty of the past. He is entirely unrelated to anything in particular. But the mind craves for formulations and definitions, always eager to squeeze reality into a verbal shape. Of everything it wants an idea, for without ideas the mind is not. Reality is essentially alone, but the mind will never leave it alone – and deals instead with the unreal. And yet it is all the mind can do – discover the unreal as unreal.
Question: And the real as real?
Maharaj: There is no such state as seeing the real. Who is to see what? You can only be the real – which you are, anyhow. The problem is only mental. Abandon false ideas, that is all. There is no need of true ideas. There aren’t any.” 13
“There is no such thing as the experience of the real. The real is beyond experience. All experience is in the mind. You know the real by being real.” 14
“As long as you are engrossed in the world, you are unable to know yourself: to know yourself, turn away your attention from the world and turn it within.” 15
If there are few who experience this fullness of Reality, it is because there are few who are willing to lay down the burden of their lives. They would rather strive to improve their temporal condition than abandon it completely.
The Sage is immersed in this Reality, and is anxious to reveal the way to overcome all suffering. The Sage sees no difference between himself and other persons. All are rooted in the one Reality. Because he knows this Reality, he is ever free from the limitations of unreality.
Those of us who have mistaken this illusory world for reality, continue to be trapped in its limiting web. The Sage points out the nature of the web that imprisons us. It is then up to us to extricate ourselves from its cloying strands.
“What I am you are and what you are – I am. The ‘I am’ is common to us all; beyond the ‘I am’ is the immensity of light and love. We do not see it because we look elsewhere; I can only point out at the sky; seeing of the star is your own work. Some take more work before they see the star, some take less; it depends on the clarity of their vision and their earnestness in search.” 16
“The true teacher will not imprison his disciple in a prescribed set of ideas, feelings and actions; on the contrary, he will show him patiently and fully the need to be free from all ideas and set patterns of behaviour, to be vigilant and earnest and go with life wherever it takes him, not to enjoy or suffer, but to understand and learn.” 17
For many, the effort to understand and learn dwarfs their analytical powers. They instinctively resent the mental struggle that is necessary to seek out the origin of their selves. Yet for them, burdened by the weight of many sorrows, there is still hope and the promise of salvation. Enlightenment can still be gained, but only if they truly want it above all things.
The choice is always ours. We are always free to abandon the ways which have led us into pain, sorrow, illness and despair. But it is only when we have truly come to see the folly of our ways and long for release that we are ready to turn within and awaken to our Reality. We have to be convinced of the need for change.
All too often we confess that we are simply unfitted for this task. Yet as Maharaj has challenged us:
Maharaj: “What else are you fit for? All your going and coming, seeking pleasure or meaning, loving and hating – all shows that you struggle against limitations, self-imposed or accepted. In your ignorance you make mistakes and cause pain to yourself and others, but the urge is there and shall not be denied. The same urge that seeks birth, happiness and death shall seek understanding and liberation. It is like an ember in a cargo of cotton. You may not know about it, but sooner or later the ship will burst in flames. Liberation is a natural process and in the long run, inevitable. But it is within your power to bring it into the now.
Question: Then why are there so few liberated people in the world?
Maharaj: In a forest only some of the trees are in full bloom at any given moment, yet everyone will have its turn.” 18
Each one of us inhabits a universe of thought. Each one of us has learned to spin a web of thought that is the playground of our dreams. It is the product of desire, and is sustained by our desire for experience.
Within this web, we are free to experience whatever we desire. We are also free to construct our universe in any manner that we choose. There is no limit to the way in which it manifests. We are always free to select the pattern of our thoughts, and it is this pattern which determines the nature of our experience.
Yet however exalted our dreams, however sophisticated our patterns of thought, and however refined our art of spinning, we can never escape the confines of the web. In our yearning for experience we live enthusiastic lifetimes of endeavour, each dedicated to the pursuit of various objects of desire.
For as long as we remain dominated by the desire to experience, we are obliged to keep on spinning. And in this spinning we bind ourselves to the unending cycle of life and death. Birth leads to death which leads again to rebirth. Whatever the fruits of our spinning, they are lost each time we die, and we start each life anew with nothing save the desire again to experience.
Once again we laboriously spin our cosmic web which is the arena of our desire. For as long as we choose to spin, we are bound by the limits of our web. It is only when we have become satiated with the chore of spinning that we are finally ready to begin to unravel the web that we have spun.
Only then do we begin our journey back to the centre of the maze, by steadily unravelling the luminous thread of the “I am”. When we have succeeded in pursuing it to its source, we rediscover our One true nature, and the fact that we were never bound.
We are free to spin for as long as we choose to experience. We are under no duress to change. There is no timetable to our lives. We have all eternity to spin. Yet in the course of spinning, there will come a day for each one of us when we will long to be free of our cosmic web.
No skill or expertise in spinning will then satisfy this yearning. The pangs of this desire will prompt us to unravel the web that we have spun, and voluntarily destroy the personality which we have built. In the course of this unravelling we will come to face the threshold of death, yet a death which leads to a glorious resurrection. We will be reborn into a world of immortality, beyond the clasp of pain and the trammels of time and space.
The moment we choose to don this cloak of bliss depends on us. We can do it now, or we can leave it for a billion lifetimes hence. Yet whatever our condition, whatever heaven or hell we have personally constructed for ourselves, we are destined to be free. No amount of spinning can ultimately deter us from this goal. We will be free because we are already free. We have only to shed the blinkers from our eyes.
The morning of this awakening advances on us NOW!
If only we could understand the bliss that awaits us. If only we could grasp that peace which passes all understanding. If only we could glimpse the unbounded joy that true freedom brings, we would stand at the very portals of the Kingdom of God.
We would then experience the mystical union with God that is the ultimate destiny of every person now living on this planet. We would sing in exultation like the fifteenth century saint Kabir.
This basket weaver from Benares was a simple and unlettered man. Although Muslim by birth, he sought wisdom from a Hindu guide. Being a married man, he was scorned by other Brahmin disciples. Yet Kabir sought union with the divine with a blazing passion. It was his unyielding fervour that brought him to his goal.
Here, in a single song, is the good news proclaimed by Jesus, as well as the founders of all the religions of this world.
“The Lord is in me, the Lord is in you, as life is in every seed.
O servant! Put false pride away, and seek for Him within you.
A million suns are ablaze with light,
The sea of blue spreads in the sky.
The fever of life is stilled, and all stains are washed away;
When I sit in the midst of that world.
Hark to the unstruck bells and drums! Take your delight in love!
Rains pour down without water, and the rivers are streams of light.
One Love it is that pervades the whole world, few there are who know it fully:
They are blind who hope to see it by the light of reason,
That reason which is the cause of separation.
The House of Reason is very far away!
How blessed is Kabir, that amidst this great joy he sings within his own vessel.
It is the music of the meeting of soul with soul;
It is the music of the forgetting of sorrows;
It is the music that transcends all coming in and all going forth.” 19
1 “I Am That“, Conversations with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, translated by Maurice Frydman, Book II, Chetana, Bombay, 1973, pp. 83.
2 Ibid, pp. 48-49.
3 Ibid, p. 277.
4 Ibid, p. 117.
5 Ibid, p. 305.
6 Ibid, p. 200.
7 Ibid, p. 114.
8 Ibid, p. 53.
9 Ibid, p. 150.
10 Ibid, p. 294.
11 Ibid, p. 226.
12 Ibid, pp. 184-185.
13 Ibid, p.112.
14 Ibid, p. 201.
15 Ibid, p. 247.
16 Ibid, p. 226.
17 Ibid, p.246.
18 Ibid, p. 241.
19 “Songs of Kabir“, translated by Rabindranath Tagore, Samuel Weiser, New York, 1977, pp. 142-143.
In this instalment, the 20th century Indian Sage Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj continues his dialogue about the state of mind of one who has attained the Kingdom of God, witnessed the Truth, overcome death, and is no longer bound by the limitations of matter, energy, space and time.
The Sage encompasses all consciousnesses and all worlds, and yet it is not limited by their content. The Sage experiences things just like other people experience them. The Sage feels and shares the thoughts and feelings of others as if they were his or her own experience. Yet the Sage remains beyond the reach of all experience. Thus being at the heart of all experience, the Sage is all-knowing.
Question: “Do you know all you want to know?
Maharaj: There is nothing I want to know. But what I need to know I come to know.
Question: Does this knowledge come to you from within or from outside?
Maharaj: It does not apply. My inner is outside and my outside is inside. I may get from you the knowledge needed at the moment, but you are not apart from me.” 1
Although the Sage does not actively seek information or outward knowledge, since all knowledge is predicated upon consciousness and change, the Sage spontaneously acquires whatever knowledge is needed at any moment.
“Once you are inwardly integrated, outer knowledge comes to you spontaneously. At every moment of your life you know what you need to know. In the ocean of the universal mind all knowledge is contained; it is yours on demand. Most of it you may never need to know – it is yours all the same. As with knowledge, so it is with power. Whatever you feel needs to be done happens unfailingly.” 2
Again and again we try to look into the mind of the Sage to see as he sees, and to try to grasp the action of his mind. What we fail to recognise is that the Sage is truly mindless, and does not evaluate the images of perception, which do not remain stuck in memory upon the screen of consciousness.
Question: “As I sit here, I see the room, the people. I see you too. How does it look at your end? What do you see?
Maharaj: Nothing. I look, but I do not see in the sense of creating images clothed with judgements. I do not describe nor evaluate. I look, I see you, but neither attitude nor opinion cloud my vision. And when I turn my eyes away, my mind does not allow memory to linger, but is at once free and fresh for the next impression.” 3
Because the Sage appears to inhabit a human body, and appears to function just as we do, we assume that the Sage is subject to the same interplay of thought and emotion and is bound by the same states of consciousness.
Question: “Do you experience the three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping just as we do, or otherwise?
Maharaj: All the three states are sleep to me. My waking state is beyond them. As I look at you, you all seem asleep dreaming up worlds of your own. I am aware, for I imagine nothing. It is not samadhi (superconscious state), which is but a kind of sleep. It is just a state unaffected by the mind, free from past and future. In your case it is distorted by desire and fear, by memories and hopes; in mine it is as it is – normal. To be a person is to be asleep.” 4
Because our lives are bound by conditions and circumstances, we assume that the Sage is similarly bound. We inevitably transfer our own limitations to the Sage, believing that our own experiences in life must apply in equal fashion to the Sage.
Question: “You may be God himself, but you need a well fed body to talk to us.
Maharaj: It is you that need my body to talk to you. I am not my body nor do I need it. I am the witness only. I have no shape of my own. You are so accustomed to think of yourselves as bodies having consciousness that you just cannot imagine consciousnesses as having bodies. Once you realize that bodily existence is but a state of mind, a movement in consciousness, that the ocean of consciousness is infinite and eternal, and that, when in touch with consciousness, you are the witness only, you will be able to withdraw beyond consciousness altogether.
Question: We are told that there are many levels of existence. Do you exist and function on all the levels? While you are on earth, are you also in heaven?
Maharaj: I am nowhere to be found! I am not a thing to be found among other things. All things are in me, but I am not among things.” 5
Despite the Sage’s proclaimed victory over desire, the Sage continues to act as if he or she were responding to the ebb and flow of human emotion.
Question: “I have seen people supposed to have realized, laughing and crying. Does it not show that they are not free of desire and fear?
Maharaj: They may laugh and cry according to circumstances, but inwardly they are cool and clear, watching detachedly their own spontaneous reactions. Appearances are misleading and more so in the case of a Gnani (enlightened being).
Question: I do not understand you.
Maharaj: The mind cannot understand, for the mind is trained for grasping and holding while the Gnani is not grasping and not holding.
Question: What am I holding on to which you are not?
Maharaj: You are a creature of memories; at least you imagine yourself to be so. I am entirely unimagined. I am what I am, not identifiable with any physical or mental state. 6
Because we are creatures of memories, and because our world is filled with images which have form and events that change with time, we assume that the world of the Sage must be a variation, although perhaps more exalted, of these same images and events.
Question: “What distinguishes your world from mine?
Maharaj: My world has no characteristics by which it can be identified. You can say nothing about it. I am my world. My world is myself. It is complete and perfect. Every impression is erased, every experience rejected. I need nothing, not even myself, for myself I cannot lose.
Question: Not even God?
Maharaj: All these ideas and distinctions exist in your world; in mine there is nothing of the kind. My world is single and very simple.
Question: Nothing happens there?
Maharaj: Whatever happens in your world, there it has validity and evokes response. In my world nothing happens.
Question: The very fact of experiencing your world implies duality inherent in all experience.
Maharaj: Verbally – yes. But your words do not reach me. Mine is a non-verbal world. In your world the unspoken has no existence. In mine – the words and their content have no being. In your world nothing stays, in mine – nothing changes. My world is real, while yours is made of dreams.
Question: Yet we are talking.
Maharaj: The talk is in your world. In mine – there is eternal silence. My silence sings, my emptiness is full, I lack nothing. You cannot know my world until you are there.” 7
Our world is dependent on consciousness and vanishes when consciousness is lost. The process of death terminates our awareness of the world. We assume that death must similarly provoke a dramatic transformation in the experience of the Sage.
Question: “Forgive me a strange question. If somebody with a razor-sharp sword would suddenly sever your head, what difference would it make to you?
Maharaj: None whatsoever. The body will lose its head, certain lines of communication will be cut, that is all. Two people talk to each other on the phone and the wire is cut. Nothing happens to the people, only they must look for some other means of communication.” 8
We lead precarious lives, where the breath of life may be snuffed out at any moment. The Sage has broken the bonds of death, and being immortal, is unmoved by the presence or absence of manifested form.
Question: “An accident would destroy your equanimity.
Maharaj: The strange fact is that it does not. To my own surprise, I remain as I am – pure Awareness, alert to all that happens.
Question: Even at the moment of death?
Maharaj: What is it to me that the body dies?
Question: Don’t you need it to contact the world?
Maharaj: I do not need the world. The world you think of is in your own mind. I can see it through your own eyes and mind, but I am fully aware that it is a projection of memories, it is touched by the real only at the point of awareness, which can be only be now.
Question: The only difference between us seems to be that while I keep on saying that I do not know my real self, you maintain that you know it well; is there any other difference between us?
Maharaj: There is no difference between us; nor can I say that I know myself. I know that I am not describable nor definable; there is a vastness beyond the farthest reaches of the mind. That vastness is my home; that vastness is myself. And that vastness is also love.” 9
The Sage speaks from direct experience of the one Reality that is the foundation of all manifested life, but is itself untouched by shape and form. This experience does not, however, demand an experiencer, for it is the experiencer who dies at the moment of birth into the world of enlightenment.
Question: “I hear you making statements about yourself like: ‘I am timeless, immutable beyond attributes,’ etc. How do you know these things? And what makes you say them?
Maharaj: I am only trying to describe the state before the ‘I am’ arose, for the state itself, being beyond the mind and its language, is indescribable.
Question: The ‘I am’ is the foundation of all experience. What you are trying to describe must also be an experience, limited and transitory. You speak of yourself as immutable. I hear the sound of the word, remember its dictionary meaning, but the experience of being immutable I do not have. How can I break through the barrier and know personally, intimately what it means to be immutable?
Maharaj: The word itself is the bridge. Remember it, think of it, explore it, go round it, look at it from all directions, dive into it with earnest perseverance; endure all delays and disappointments till suddenly the mind turns round, away from the word, towards the reality beyond the word. It is like trying to find a person knowing his name only. A day comes when your enquiries bring you to him and the word becomes reality. Words are valuable, for between the word and its meaning there is a link and if one investigates the word assiduously, one crosses beyond the concept into the experience at the root of it. As a matter of fact, such repeated attempts to go beyond the words is called meditation. Sadhana (spiritual practice) is but a persistent attempt to cross over from the verbal to the non-verbal. The task seems hopeless until suddenly all becomes clear and simple and wonderfully easy. But as long as you are interested in your present way of living, you will shirk the final leap into the unknown.
Question: Why should the unknown interest me? Of what use is the unknown?
Question: Nothing more is needed, of course. But you talk of the knowable.
Maharaj: Of the unknowable only silence talks. The mind can talk only of what it knows. If you investigate diligently the knowable, it dissolves and only the unknowable remains. But with the first flicker of imagination and interest the unknowable is obscured and the known comes to the forefront. The known, the changing, is what you live with – the unchangeable is of no use to you. It is only when you are satiated with the changeable and long for the unchangeable, that you are ready for the turning around and stepping into what can be described, when seen from the level of the mind, as emptiness and darkness. For the mind craves for content and variety, while reality is to the mind, contentless and invariable.
Question: It looks like death to me.
Maharaj: It is. It is also all-pervading, all conquering, intense beyond words.” 10
1 “I Am That“, Conversations with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, translated by Maurice Frydman. Book II, Chetana, Bombay, 1973, p. 151.
2 Ibid, p. 141.
3 Ibid, p. 209.
4 Ibid, p. 218.
5 Ibid, pp. 73-74.
6 Ibid, p. 304.
7 “I Am That“, Book I, op.cit., pp. 91-92.
8 “I Am That“, Book II, op.cit., p. 74.
9 Ibid, pp. 304-305.
10 Ibid, pp. 198-199.
The driving force of life is the motivation of desire. Life is nothing more or less than the desire for experience, and the search for ever-new ways in which to experience all the possibilities that life offers.
Desire stirs the waters of consciousness. The Central Sun of Awareness shines on this surface and is reflected in a myriad tiny ripples, each of which appears to be a miniature version of that sun. Yet each separate sun is illusory. Each reflection is a product of the turbulence of the water. When this disturbance ceases, each wavelet disappears, and with it the image of a separate personality.
The way to transcend the limits of experience is by renouncing the desire to experience. Since it is desire which stirs the waters of consciousness, it is the absence of desire which stills them.
The rediscovery of the Central Sun of Awareness is not the fruit of desire, but the absence of desire. It is by voluntarily relinquishing the desire for individual expression that the personality becomes absorbed in the universe, just as the individual raindrop is absorbed into the amorphous sea.
By sacrificing individual existence, the personality rediscovers its universal nature. The price of surpassing all human limitation has always been to surrender individual motivation, the desire for individual experience in life.
For as long as the personality marches to the beat of an individual drum it can never experience its universal nature. It is only by voluntarily surrendering the desire to be a person that the personality submerges into the infinite. Individual identity is lost forever, but Universal Awareness is regained.
It was this message of redemption through personal self-sacrifice that was the central feature of the life of the Christ.
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. For whosoever will save his life will lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16: 24-25)
“He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” (John 12: 25)
The cross which Jesus bade his disciples take up was not mere death of the physical body. It was the ultimate sacrifice of the personality; the voluntary relinquishment of individual existence, for it was this self-sacrifice which opened the doors of redemption, by resurrecting the soul in eternal life.
As Jesus himself proclaimed, he was the way to eternal life, and his life was the pathway to everlasting Truth.
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14: 6)
The soul that strives for personal expression is bound to the cycle of rebirth. The individual appears to undergo a series of incarnations which always ends in death. It is only the soul that has voluntarily surrendered individual existence that transcends the power of death and is born no more. It takes off its mortal garb to don the cloak of immortality.
The purpose of Jesus’ life was to reveal the good news of the joy of illimitable freedom which lay beyond all mental thinking and intellectual understanding.
“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
This common refrain has been told by Sages throughout the ages. Their message has been simple. Reality exists. Furthermore, this Reality exists within the heart of every individual, manifesting as the “I am” presence within.
Those who are prepared to break the chains which bind them, can experience this Reality in a dynamic fullness of expression that transcends all limitations, and is resplendent with inexpressible joy.
In spite of the various ways in which this message has been repeated, it still falls strangely on Western ears. Most Westerners not only cannot conceive of such a Reality, but instinctively seem to mistrust those who claim to have experienced it directly.
This problem has been neatly summarised in a discussion with the 20th century Indian Sage Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj:
“The Westerners who occasionally come to see you are faced with a peculiar difficulty. The very notion of a liberated man, a realized man, a self-knower, a God knower, a man beyond the world, is unknown to them. All they have in their Christian culture is the idea of a saint – a pious man, law abiding, God-fearing, fellow-loving, prayerful, sometimes prone to ecstasies and confirmed by a few miracles. The very idea of a gnani (enlightened being) is foreign to western culture, something exotic and rather unbelievable. Even when his existence is accepted, he is looked at with suspicion, as a case of self-induced euphoria caused by strange physical postures and mental attitudes. The very idea of a new dimension in consciousness seems to them implausible and improbable.” 1
This gospel of triumphant liberation has been echoed from generation to generation. It was the same good news which Sri Siddharameshwar Maharaj conveyed to the young Maruti, who was later to become Nisargadatta Maharaj.
But whereas most hearers of this message have preferred to ignore it, Maruti actually made these words the ally of his heart. Within the space of three short years, he had shed the last vestiges of individual existence, and become absorbed in that blissful state which transcends all definitions and limitations. He described how this transformation came about.
“My Guru showed me my true nature – and the true nature of the world. Having realised that I am one with and yet beyond the world, I became free from all desire and fear. I did not reason out that I should be free – I found myself free – unexpectedly, without the least effort. This freedom from desire and fear has remained with me since then. Another thing I noticed was that I did not need to make an effort; the deed followed the thought without delay and friction. I have also found that thoughts became self-fulfilling; things would fall in place smoothly and rightly. The main change was in the mind; it became motionless and silent, responding quickly but not perpetuating the response. Spontaneity became a way of life, the real became natural and the natural became real. And above all, infinite affection, love, dark and quiet, radiating in all directions, embracing all, making all interesting and beautiful, significant and auspicious.” 2
Nisargadatta Maharaj followed the inward spiral of the sensation of the “I am”, pursuing this thread remorselessly until he found himself at the heart of Reality. In achieving this crown of enlightenment, he had first to conquer the Minotaur of desire, thus snapping the links of those chains which had bound him to phenomenal existence.
When the thread which creates the entire universe is followed to its source, it ends in the emptiness of the Void. The heart of the “I am” yields nothing but emptiness. Yet it is an emptiness that contains the fullness of all created life.
To reach the fountain of Supreme Truth, it is necessary to transcend the Void, that Ungrund of outer darkness which shields the inner light. Those who finally reach this inmost Sanctuary, have to pass through that ring of darkness which St John of the Cross has called “the dark night of the soul”.
These who persist in their efforts to cross over to the farther shore, however, find a joy that is beyond all telling. It is living at its most abundant, unlimited and without end.
The idea that there can be life beyond the nihilism, emptiness and darkness of personal extinction, defies the intellectual mind. We simply cannot comprehend life other than through our customary conscious experience.
The difficulty which confronts the mind is that it attempts to form a concept of illimitable experience. This attempt is doomed to failure. The limited mind is quite unable to conceive of an experience that is without any form of limitation. All words fail in their efforts to describe it. No concept, no matter how subtle, can define it.
Visitors to Maharaj constantly sought to reduce the essence of his state to a mental concept, attempting to capture the unknown within the parameters of the known, as we can see from the following conversations:
Maharaj: “I know myself as I am in reality. I am neither the body nor the mind nor the mental faculties. I am beyond all this.
Question: Are you just nothing?
Maharaj: Come on, be reasonable. Of course I am, most tangibly. Only I am not what you think me to be. This tells you all.
Question: It tells me nothing.
Maharaj: Because it cannot be told. You must gain your own experience. You are accustomed to deal with things, physical and mental. I am not a thing, nor are you. We are neither matter nor energy, neither body nor mind. Once you have a glimpse of your own being, you will not find me difficult to understand.” 3
Like the following questioner, we find it paradoxical to think of unlimited being which is capable of expressing itself in limited form. We are caught in this conflict of logic, due to the limitations of our mental powers of reasoning.
Question: “I have understood that personality is an illusion, and alert detachment without loss of identity is our point of contact with the reality. Will you, please, tell me at this moment are you a person or a self-aware identity?
Maharaj: I am both. But the real self cannot be described except in terms supplied by the person, in terms of what I am not. All you can tell about the person is not the self and you can tell nothing about the self which would not refer to the person, as it is, as it could be, as it should be. All attributes are personal. The real is beyond all attributes.
Question: Are you sometimes the self and sometimes the person?
Maharaj: How can I be? The person is what I appear to be to other persons. To myself I am the infinite expanse of consciousness in which innumerable persons emerge and disappear in endless succession.
Question: How is it that the person which to you is quite illusory, appears real to us?
Maharaj: You, the self, being the root of all being, consciousness and joy, impart your reality to whatever you perceive. This imparting of reality takes place invariably in the now, at no other time, because past and future are only in the mind. ‘Being’ applies to the now only.” 4
Yet the mind still struggles with these mental contradictions. Not only do we wrestle with the difficulty of unlimited expression intertwined with limited form, but there is also the problem of Absolute Awareness apparently confined within limited consciousness.
Question: “You say you are the silent witness and also you are beyond consciousness. Is there no contradiction in it? If you are beyond consciousness, what are you witnessing to?
Maharaj: I am conscious and unconscious, both conscious and unconscious, neither conscious nor unconscious – to all this I am witness – but really there is no witness, because there is nothing to be witness to. I am perfectly empty of all mental formations, void of mind yet fully aware. This I try to express in saying I am beyond the mind.
Question: How can I reach you then?
Maharaj: Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of consciousness. That is all. Very little can be conveyed in words. It is the doing as I tell you that will bring light, not my telling you. The means do not matter much; it is the desire, the urge, the earnestness that count.” 5
Yet the desire to eat of this divine confection is countered by the fear that we might not like its taste. Anxious to forestall this possibility, we attempt to derive beforehand an idea of what it is we may finally hope to achieve. Even though we can acknowledge the limitation of the mind, we nevertheless resolutely seek to reduce Reality to corporeality, and so dress the illimitable in clothes of thought, before deciding whether it really is worth striving for.
Maharaj explains the distinction between corporeality and Reality.
“I see as you see, hear as you hear, taste as you taste, eat as you eat. I also feel thirst and hunger and expect my food to be served on time. When starved or sick, my body and mind go weak. All this I perceive quite clearly, but somehow I am not in it. I feel myself as if floating over it, aloof and detached. Even not aloof and detached. There is aloofness and detachment as there is thirst and hunger; there is also the awareness of it all and a sense of immense distance, as if the body and the mind and all that happens to them were somehow far out on the horizon. I am like a screen – clear and empty – the pictures pass over it and disappear, leaving it as clear and empty as before.” 6
Having severed the knot of identity which strings images together in consciousness, the Sage does not react to these images from the standpoint of personality. They come and they go, and there is no desire to link successive images. Yet from the viewpoint of the observer, the Sage continues to act and speak just like a normal, rational human being.
Question: “When I ask a question and you answer, what exactly happens?
Maharaj: The question and the answer – both appear on the screen. The lips move, the body speaks and again the screen is clear and empty.
Question: When you say clear and empty, what do you mean?
Maharaj: I mean free of all contents. To myself I am neither perceivable nor conceivable; there is nothing I can point out and say: ‘this I am’. You identify yourself with everything so easily; I find it impossible. The feeling: ‘I am not this or that, nor is anything mine is so strong in me that as soon as a thing or thought appears, there comes at once the sense ‘this I am not’.
Question: Do you mean to say that you spend your time repeating ‘this I am not, that I am not’?
Maharaj: Of course not. I am merely verbalizing for your sake. By the grace of my Guru I have realized once and for all that I am neither object nor subject and I do not need to remind myself all the time.
Question: I find it hard to grasp what exactly you mean by saying that you are neither the object nor the subject. At this very moment, as we talk, am I not the object of your experience, and you the subject?
Maharaj: Look, my thumb touches my forefinger. Both touch and are touched. When my attention is on the thumb, the thumb is the feeler and the forefinger – the self. Shift the focus of attention and the relationship is reversed. I find that somehow, by shifting the focus of attention, I become the very thing I look at and experience the kind of consciousness it has; I become the inner witness of the thing. I call this capacity of entering other focal points of consciousness – love; you may give it any name you like. Love says: ‘I am everything.’ Wisdom says: ‘I am nothing.’ Between the two my life flows. Since at any point of time and space I can be both subject and the object of experience, I express it by saying that I am both and neither and beyond.” 7
1 “I Am That”, Conversations with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, translated by Maurice Frydman, Book I, Chetana, Bombay, 1973, pp. 191-192.
2 “I Am That“, Book II, op. cit., p. 10.
3 Ibid, p. 46.
4 Ibid, p. 302.
5 Ibid, p. 75.
6 Ibid, p. 8.
7 Ibid, pp. 8-9.