Question: What is Self-realization?
Jan: Initially it is nothingness because you step out of somethingness... but the nothingness is extremely blissful love. So in a sense it is something. And it is pure beingness which has a throb to it, it is alive.
Q: What do you mean, nothingness? How can something be nothing and bliss at the same time?
J: I mean nothing seen from the point of view of the ignorant little self. Selfrealization it is a state of no thing; yet it is fullness also. It is called no-thing-ness, because every thing you thought yourself to be before Selfrealization, simply goes away. Apart from that you still have a mind full of it's silly things, but you are no longer caught in it; no longer identified with it; no longer identified with Jan. You realize that neither Jan, nor the mind have any permanence. In that sense it is emptyness. But once you reach it you will understand it is in reality the only fullness that is; everything else is empty.
Q: What do you mean, Jan is not real? I see you in front of me, we are talking, you are real enough.
J: The Self is real, and it is pure nothing-fullness-bliss. The mind is real in a temporary sense. It exists in this moment as a product of circumstances. It is because of its continuity, that you think it is real. From the point of view of the Self it has no permanence, and the concept of self, the I, that you have before Self-realization, is an illusion. After Self-realization the remnants of this fictive I begin to melt away by itself; then true ego-death begins.
Q: It feels permanent and real enough to me. I mean, I am a person sitting here talking to you. If it is unreal and becomes an illusion after Self-realization, then Self-realization is death, is it not?
J: Self-realization is the death of the illusion that you are the ego and the mind. With Self-realization that death is inevitable. Also the death of the ego is inevitable, though that does not happen just when you get Self-realized. Selfrealization is only the beinning, the pre-requisite. If you try to kill off the ego without being Self-realized, that would only lead to misery or insanity. Don't try that. Get Self-realized, then it begins to happen by itself; it is unavoidable. In fact once you get Self-realized, you will realize that you were more dead before and only after becomming one with the Self have become fully alive.
Q: Why is ego death unavoidable after Self-realization? In what way does this work?
J: It takes energy to uphold an illusion. When the energy supply is cut off, the illusion begins to disintegrate. Ego is impermanent, but you are entangled in it and that upholds it. Once you get Selfrealized you are no longer entangled and the ego is alone with no support. Ego falls off, you feel it very clearly going on. Ego begins to disappear.
Q: How quickly after realization does this happen? I mean if I get realized, I am not sure I would want to suddenly be egoless. That would be too much, I think. I need the ego to function in the world, to be myself, sort of.
J: It begins to happen at once, but the speed of the process depends on many things and varies greatly from person to person. I have been to satsangs and met various Selfrealized persons, and some of them had big strong ego's, that they actually fed with the notion of "I am Selfrealized" or "I am giving great satsangs", etc. This feeding went on in them, despite the fact that they had realized that they were not the ego or the I. So in them the process of getting fully enlightened will take longer than in those who make a practice of rooting out samskaras and karma and not fueling the ego anymore.
Q: I thought Selfrealization and enlightenment was the same thing.
J: Well, I don't like the word enlightenment, because it means so many things and refers to so many states. In my understanding enlightenment is the same as moksha, liberation from karma, ego and rebirth. You have not reached moksha just because you get Selfrealized. A Selfrealized man is free, but he still has karma and his mind and ego are still there and have to work out karma and play a role in the game of life. In my understanding, once you have burnt out karma and samskaras and the ego is gone, then it is final moksha; I may be wrong.
Q: In the1890'ies, I think it was, the psychiatrist Bucke coined the term cosmic consciousness and wrote a book with that title. Have you read this book? And can you say if his cosmic consciousness is enlightenment or Self-realization?
J: I have read the book, yes. His cosmic consciousness is the same as Self-realization. But I dislike the term coscmic consciousness, because there is nothing cosmic about nothingness. Cosmic is so grandiose; there is nothing grandiose about Self-realization. In fact it is the most humble state you can have. How can it be otherwise? You are nothingness-love-bliss! Only something can be cosmic, nothingness-love-bliss can only be humble.
Q: What's it like living as a nothingness? It sounds a bit scary to me.
J: Don't be scared! Remember it is love-bliss. Evewn if you initially only experience the nothingness side og it, the love-bliss will soon emerge. The ego and the mind get scared because they don't understand it. Maybe I should not have used the word "nothingness", because it causes confusion. It is of course supreme fullness. Also understand there is nothing new about it. You are allready the Self. The problem is, you don't know it because you think you are the ego, the mind, all the emotions going on in the body and the mind. That's why I said Self-realization is nothing. Nothing new is added to you, you only get rid of an illusion you are trapped in. It is a beautifull state. To be true it is not an emptyness, though it is no-thing-ness; it is in its nature a fullness of pure love-bliss.
Q: So is Self-realization not a matter of evolution?
J: Up to a certain point it is, but when that point is reached, you no longer need the illusions and your job is to discard them and step out of that game. Evolution implies something that evolves. The Self is no-thing, so it does not change or evolve; things change and evolve. That's why I called Self "nothingness" in order to clear that misunderstanding of evolution out right away. Self is perfect as it is. What is imperfect is your understanding of perfection. You think that what ever you have, you have to have something better, something more perfect. A better mind, a more pure soul, a higher state of consciousness, and so forth. And when you get that, what ever it is you desire, that soon seems imperfect and so on. This is the minds notion of perfection and it justifies this endless game by calling it progress on the path of evolution. It is a game with only loosers.
Q: When did you reach that point? I mean, can you put a specific date to your realization or did it come gradually? How does this come about? Do you gradually get more and more realized, or is it a sudden thing?
J: Both. I reached it September 9'th 2006. I can say that exactly because I was given this state by Deepakbhai, the successor of Dadashri. You can visit their website at dadabhagwan.org. They give the state to anyone who attends the gnyan vidhi ceremony, where it is transferred to you. In some it flowers at once, in others it comes a little later. It blossomed in me at once. Prior to this I have gone in and out of the state most of my life, but I needed someone to give it to me in order to finish off the fluctuations and come to realization of what it was I was going in and out of. So in one sense it comes gradually, in an other sense it comes suddenly. This was at least my case and I think it is so for most people. It comes gradually, but you don't realize what is gradually coming untill you suddenly get realized. But remember it is not a matter of evolving Selfrealization, it is a matter of shortlived bursts of fullness-nothingness-love-bliss, that are more or less clear.
Q: When it happens, how can you be sure the state will last?
J: There is nowhere for it to go. Once you have realized your innate no-thing-ness, you can't become something again. It is not possible. Then real evolution begins, and that is the evolution of unfolding and manifesting the love-bliss in your daily life.
Q: A point of no return? That's scary. You really have to be sure you want this state then, before you go for it.
J: As I said before: don't be scared. It is your own Self. It's not some otherness, some thing, you get stuck in. That's one reason I initially called it nothingness rather than love-bliss. If you are afraid of reaching a Self-realization point which is a point of no return, then rest assured you will not reach it. It only comes when you are ready. Once you reach it, the mind may react and some anxiety come up, but it soon passes. The mind has to get used to a new state of affairs. At first it scares the mind and ego that they are no longer in charge, but then it becomes pleasurable.
Q: Is it only nothingness at first? If so it sounds a bit empty and meaningless.
J: Emptyness very soon turns to joy that simply arises in you out of nowhere. It can also turn to extreme bliss. As days go I feel the love-bliss increasing gradually. It goes up and down, but by and large emptyness is turning to causeless joy. And then there are states of love-bliss so intense words utterly fail.
Q: If you are nothingness and full of love-bliss and the mind and desires are illusions to discard, what's the motivation to do anything? I also at times feel empty, but that is not nice and it drives me to accomplish something to fill me up.
J: You don't need filling up, because you are full. But what you are full of is no-thing, so I somewhat erroneously called it emptyness, though it is in reality vibrating, throbbing love-bliss. So the nothingness is in no way the same as when you as an ego-identified person feel empty inside. You are extremely full. As for motivation, things change after Self-realization. You no longer act out of an urge to fulfill something or get filled up or get a kick. Things sort of happen by themselves and you flow along. Problems arise, of course, and you fight them, but it is still a feelling of letting the drama unfold itself, rather than you insisting the drama follows your script. You want to play your part in the drama the best you can, but though you are in it, you are out of it at the same time. And you don't want to impose your script on the world anymore. Also great compassion arises.
Go to next satsang