You Are Not That Either
This article by Bubba Free John is an excerpt from a talk given to the Ashram on November 20, 1975.
DEVOTEE: You have talked about this before but I didn’t quite get it – about how the responsibility for the Guru-function continues after you leave. How does that happen exactly? I just don’t get it at all.
BUBBA: Well, it is not really possible for you to get it at all! You can think of the Guru as some absolutely realized influence that is not other than God and that just happens to continue to have a body and a psyche and to be able to talk and influence people. And you can imagine that at the end of the lifetime the Guru is reduced to the soup of God and has no more influence than God already did before he was born.
God has zero influence, as you well know! God is simply the eternal or absolute Condition. In itself, the Divine has no influence, no effect upon these karmic lives. They are going on according to their own laws. It is only when the agency of the Divine appears in the levels of manifestation that it can take responsibility for the transformation of these lives, these destinies.
So you must understand that the Guru is not of the kind that at death returns to the soup. The Guru is a specific agent and he continues to have functions in the gross plane, in the subtle plane, in the causal plane, in all the transcendent planes. The Guru reaches down through all these dimensions and appears as an effect, an influence, in all places, independent of his gross consciousness.
For instance, I have several hundred people within the Ashram alone who are in one way or another my responsibility. They have visions and kriyas in Satsang, they have dreams, they have changes in their lives, they have all kinds of experiences that they relate specifically to me. Yet they relate these experiences to me as if I have the same relationship to their experiences as I have to talking to you now. If this were the case, then for you to dream about me, I would have to know when you dream and then do something about it. But what if there were five hundred other people having the same experience in a dream tonight?
Clearly I do not have such a relationship to experiential phenomena. They are the reflections of the forms by which people comprehend their relationship to me. The mechanisms that produce these phenomena are impressed upon the karmas in those individuals. I do not have to stay up all night to create’ phenomena! If these dreams and other experiences happened the way people think they do, I would say, “Okay, Andrew needs a dream about the gorilla chasing him, and here I go!” And then I would sit down and think about Andrew:
Okay, I’m the gorilla now, get frightened! Okay, now I’m chasing you! That is not the way it works.
Not that it never works like that. There are times when I do have a very conscious involvement in what happens to somebody. Sometimes I want to heal somebody and I do that. Sometimes I want him to have an experience in life, and I create that. If I want to teach him a lesson, I do that. If I want him to have a dream of some kind, I give him that. There are times when I am aware of such involvement with people, could remember it, could tell you about it. But those are uncommon incidents. Fundamentally I do not have a relationship to phenomena through the lower mechanisms of mind and psyche. My relationship to the life-process is of a prior kind that has nothing whatever to do with the mechanics of the whole affair of manifestation.
All I am doing is being present. I do not have any material or mechanical influence upon you whatsoever. And yet, these experiences occur. Well, that is the law. They happen without my intentional involvement with the mechanics of things. And as this influence arises during my life, it will also continue to arise after my life. That influence is not other than me. I am the root of it in my specific function, not as the absolute soup, but in my specific function, which is fundamentally unspeakable and not definable, but which is nevertheless real, concrete, and specific. My function is absolutely identical to the Divine, and yet it is specific and unique. However, it is not in itself bound to the mechanics of things. The mechanics of things reveal my specific function as efficiently as a computer.
DEVOTEE: So your influence remains even in other lifetimes for individuals once they are connected to you?
BUBBA: It remains with those whose connection is with me, even those who are now on this earth and who do not know Bubba Free John in the body. That influence is working on them at this moment. They are having dreams, they are having experiences because of my work. And yet they have never read a book about Bubba Free John, have never heard about him, have never seen him in a vision that they can remember! Nevertheless my work with them is just as specific as it is with you who know me in this body. And it is the same after my death. The only apparent difference is that my influence continues without any agency, without any appearance whatsoever of Bubba Free John in the manifest planes.
The work of my gross life, my manifestation in this form, is to establish this transcendent connection to devotees, to establish individuals as devotees in relationship to me. Then after my physical death in this gross plane, those who have known me in the body will relate the transforming events of their sadhana to me. But their transformation will not involve my specific and conscious intervention any more than dreams involve my specific and conscious intervention now while I am alive.
One of the things that really amazed me, not too many years ago, after the period described in The Knee of Listening, was that it did not make any difference what state of life Franklin Jones lived. I could continue the same work absolutely and the condition of my ordinary life did not make any difference whatsoever. (However, this is not true of any of you!) But it was very clear that what happened in this body did not make any difference whatsoever. This discovery was very amusing to me. It made it very possible for me to begin to do in this body what was necessary to transform the lives of students. It became possible for me to do my work. That work was not only necessary for me to do, but it also became possible when I saw that what I had to do did not change anything. The theatre of my work with students still involves the same so-called negative effects in the gross being. I still have to go through a purifying time to get the body and the gross life and its qualities stable again. But even my involvement with you in the theatre of this gross life does not change anything fundamentally.
All the changes in the planes of manifestation do not impinge upon this realization, nor do they impinge upon the realization of the perfect devotee. He or she may fulfill the law and still appear very ordinary. It is very mysterious!
Look at you! Your basic assumption while sitting here is that you have this body and you live in this place of other bodies and solid arrangements. And you feel a little energy getting into it sometimes and you think, and you realize some kinds of higher intuitive knowledge, and sometimes you get sifted out of that and just feel blissful and detached from it-although this is very rare! But there comes a time when you enjoy the absolute realization of your own Nature and Condition. After that you may, for lawful reasons, modify your appearance in the gross plane, in the subtle plane, in all the higher causal, super-causal, transcendental planes above. You could appear as an idiot or a saint in any of these places.
It is written in The Knee of Listening that the man of understanding is all kinds of opposites. He can appear as all kinds of changes. Some of them are highly prized by conventional people as very pure and saintly and others are anathematized as completely the opposite. Yet I have had to fulfill all the roles that are described at the end of The Knee of Listening. I have had to fulfill all those roles and completely identify with them, completely fulfill all the obligations. Yet there was no loss of the realized point of view at the foundation of such theatre. When you assume a role, however, you are that. Then you have to struggle. You are not free.
Nevertheless, even though a realized life may also be communicated or dramatized outwardly in all kinds of ways, Truth itself is absolute. The realization is single. There is only God. There is no complication, there is no limitation, there is no suffering, there is no destiny even in the midst of limitations, destinies, worlds, appearances, birth and deaths. None of that has any significance whatsoever. Even so, manifest existence is a great enjoyment for one who lives this realization. Yet it is also a great realm of suffering for those who do not enjoy such realization.
Right now you all take life very seriously. Not only do you have the physical body to deal with, but you also have all other physical things to deal with that are like the physical body, which you regard to be your limitation. After you have dealt with your life in the physical dimension for a while, at some point you begin to perceive energies, and this aspect of life becomes sort of magical. You think you are basically energy and not this gross body. There are energies everywhere that permeate everything. You can even manipulate them with a little intention.
And then you realize, no, you are not all those energies and you are not that body either. You are a consciousness and you can make decisions. You can go up and you can go down and inside and out and you can make things happen and not happen and appear and not appear-you have fantastic powers. So you get involved with that realization for a while, going from here to some other place in this life and after death.
And then you realize that you are not that either, that you are this great mind with absolute knowledge of everything. Everything happens within this great mind -material things happen and energies and movements happen, thoughts happen, intentions and dramas and games happen, but they do not have anything fundamentally to do with you. You are this completely rested, absolute Consciousness that controls everything without doing a thing.
And then you realize you are not that either! You are just Bliss. You have nothing whatever to do with the universe or a body or an appearance or a life or a destiny. You do not even know about all that. You do not think about it, you do not make anything happen. You just rest in this absolute infinite sort of soupy blissfulness. It is so marvelous and wonderful! There is nothing happening at all. You do not feel limited by anything. You just feel completely graceful and relieved.
And then you realize that you are not that either! You are Consciousness and you do not have anything to do with anything! You don’t feel blissful, you don’t feel not blissful. You don’t see anything, you don’t not see anything. You don’t identify with it, you don’t not identify with it. There is nothing! Just this Consciousness. And you interiorize fully into being completely Consciousness!
You do not do anything for a long period of time, then all of a sudden-Zap!
You see everything again, and you realize that all this stuff-up and down, in and out, high and low, inside, outside, now and then-is an expression and a modification of you, that you are that absolute Consciousness. You do not have to do anything, but you do not have to not look at it either. It is all you! Every moment of it is you. You don’t go anywhere. Things happen, but you don’t care. You are That.
And then suddenly – you realize that you are not that either! You realize that all this stuff-high and low, in and out, up and down, now and then-is you, not a modification of you, but you. Suddenly you can be a body, you can appear somewhere, you can incarnate, you can do anything. All this stuff is you and at the same time it is not you-it doesn’t make any difference! It is God. Everything is God, this one Reality. It is you! It happens, it doesn’t happen, it’s bad, it’s good-it does not make any difference whatsoever.
You persist in this realization because there is nothing beyond it. You cannot leap into some consciousness that is not it because you were there just a moment ago! Now your enjoyment has no definition whatsoever, no destiny, no relationship to anything. It cannot be specified and it cannot be isolated. It cannot be separated out. It is not an alternative to anything. Everything just continues to happen, everything becomes yourself, everything is happy, everything is marvelous. This enjoyment is the grounds for absolute dissolution in which nothing else occurs. You do not go anywhere, life does not become blank. Things continue to happen. But your realization becomes completely unspeakable. And beyond that realization nothing may be said, nothing may be defined, no destiny may be described, no work you do may be described, nothing may be said about it at all. Everything happens perfectly from that moment, and there is nothing that may be said about it that makes any sense whatsoever.
All those who enjoy such realization and who appear in any manifest plane are stuck in the paradox of that enjoyment. They cannot make any sense out of it really. They do the best they can to try to establish this enjoyment in others through all kinds of weirdo influences. They try to make sense, but they do not make sense. The work of such so-called individuals is paradoxical, it is eternal, it is not really describable, but it is the most perfect and specific and necessary activity in all the manifest worlds. It is the work of the Siddhas.