Chapter 5: The Inner Sky
A psychologist was doing experiments at Harvard University. In one, he sealed up a big bottle, carefully packed it, and brought it to his classroom. Fifty students were there. He put the bottle on the table and told the students, “There is ammonia gas in this bottle. I want to do an experiment to find out how much time it takes for the smell of this gas to spread when I take the lid off. So when the smell reaches you raise your hand. As soon as you detect it raise your hand. I want to find out how many seconds it takes to reach the last row.”
The students sat attentively. He opened the bottle. As soon as he opened it he quickly covered his nose with a handkerchief - ammonia gas! He stood aside. Before two seconds had passed someone in the first row raised his hand, then a second, then a third. Then a hand came up in the second row, then the third row. In fifteen seconds the ammonia gas had reached the whole of the class - and there wasn’t any ammonia in the bottle! The bottle was empty.
An idea - so consequences happened. They believed it, it happened. When he said there wasn’t any ammonia gas, the students said, “Whether there was or not we smelled it.” The smell was projected. It was as if the smell came from within - there was nothing outside. They thought, so it came.
I have heard, a man was sick in the hospital and a nurse brought juice for him, orange juice. Just before she brought the juice another nurse had given him a bottle to put his urine sample in - for testing. He enjoyed practical jokes, so he poured the orange juice into the bottle and put it aside.
When the nurse came to take the bottle she was startled that it had such a strange color. The man said, “You are surprised too - its color is rather strange. Okay, let me recycle it through the body one more time, that will fix the color” - and he lifted the bottle to his mouth and drank the contents.
They say the nurse passed out and fell over: she thought the man was drinking urine. And he had said, “.I will pass it through my body one more time and the color will be corrected, it will be put right.” What kind of man is this? But it was only orange juice. If she had known it was orange juice she would not have passed out. But her becoming unconscious was real, though it came from belief.
In life you can find thousands of such incidents around you where belief has done something, where belief becomes actualized.
“I am the body” - we have believed this for many lives, and believing it we have become the body. Believing it we have become small. Believing it we have become limited. Ashtavakra’s fundamental premise is that this is self-hypnosis, autohypnosis. You have not become the body, you cannot become the body. There is no way to do it - how can you become what you are not? What you are, you are right now; you only have to cut away false beliefs.
Cut this bondage with the sword of knowing “I am awareness” and be happy.
Right now awaken in joy.because all our miseries are para-sites of the belief that we are the body. Buddha also dies, but does not suffer at death. Ramakrishna dies, but does not suffer at death. Ramana Maharshi dies, but does not suffer at death.