Nisargadatta Maharaj is a great jnana-contemporary yogi. His message is simple and straightforward. His path is that of the direct revelation of the Self through introspection and inner search.
The secret of his success on the spiritual path was unshakable faith:
"I trusted my master. He told me that I am nothing but my Self, and I believed him.
Trusting him, I behaved accordingly and he stopped caring about what was not me, or mine."
Thus, three years after meeting his spiritual master, Nisargadatta Maharaj achieved spiritual liberation by becoming a jivan-mukta (the one who achieved liberation in this life).
When asked about the date of his birth, Nisargadatta Maharaj replied very affably that he was never born. Unfortunately, it is not known with the exact date of his birth, but from the accounts of an older relative it is known that he was born in March of 1897, on the day when the Indians celebrate Hanuman, also called Maruti, or the monkey-god from the famous Ramayana epic. As a tribute, his parents gave him the name Of Maruti.
Coming from a family of poor people, Maruti grew up almost without education, living a common and eventless life until he reached adulthood, without giving the slightest sign of the spiritual realization that would follow.
The meeting with his spiritual master Sri Siddhara-Meshwar Maharaj took place in 1933, at the age of 36, when Maruti received from him a MANTRA and instructions for meditation.
Shortly after this, Maruti, had an enlightening experience, after which he began to lead a nondual life characteristic of the great sages who, while living in the everyday world, live simultaneously in the bright world of the infinite knowledge, continuing to unfold his little negotiation, he refused, however, to be a trade oriented only towards profit.
Maruti met his master at a fairly old age, when others had already found their way, however, his unshakable confidence in his master, and his continuous spiritual aspiration, made this simple man reach a special sipiritual realization.
A year after the death of his Spiritual Guide, he abandoned his family and business, becoming a beggar monk, a pilgrim who, barefoot, made his way to the Himalayas where he planned to spend the rest of his years in search of eternal life. Not long after, he gave up this idea, returning home, realizing the futility of these searches, and the fact that eternal life should not be sought, because he already had it. After going beyond the idea of "I am the body", he acquired an extremely vivid, peaceful and glorious mental state, and everything appeared to him as worthless compared to it. That's how he achieved self-realization.
He returned to bombay in 1938, where he spent the rest of his life, until its end, dying on September 8, 1981.
During this time, Nisargadatta had numerous meetings with thousands and thousands of people coming from all over the world, looking for an authentic spiritual guide. Although Nisargadatta had no education, the conversation illuminated to an extraordinary degree. The fact that he came from a poor family and had grown up in poverty did not stop him from being one of the richest people, for he held the eternal and everlasting treasure of the true knowledge. All those who came to him, received the support they needed, being a true guiding beacon for his disciples, always with a smile on their faces, hearty and delicate, humorous, fearless and very sincere. So was Nisargadatta Maharaj, a sage who was never born... and who lives eternally in the hearts of those who knew him.
Here are some wise ideas of Nisargadatta Maharaj.
"The truth is simple and open to all. Why are you complicating things? The truth loves and can be loved. He includes everything, accepts everything, purifies everything. The untruth is the difficult one, it is the source of the troubles. He always wants, waits, asks. Being false, he is empty, always looking for a confirmation or reassurance. He is afraid of research and therefore avoids it. It identifies with any support, no matter how weak and momentarily it may be. Everything he gets, he loses and then asks for even more. Therefore, you don't have to trust the mental. Nothing you can see, feel or think is what it seems."
"Without a doubt, the world is painted by you on the screen of consciousness and is entirely your own private world. Only your sense of "I am", although it's in the world, is not of the world. Once you realize that the world is your own projection, you are free of it."
"Learn to look without imagination, to listen without distortion, that's it. He ceases to assign names and forms to that which is essentially without name and form, he realizes that every way of perception is subjective, that what is seen or heard, touched or smelled, felt or thought, expected or imagined, is in the mind and not in reality."
"Between the banks of pain and pleasure flows the river of life. Only when the mind refuses to flow with life and stumbles on the banks does it become a problem. By flowing with my life I mean acceptance – letting what comes to come and pass what passes. Do not want, do not be afraid, observe the current as it is when it happens, for you are not what is happening, but the one to whom it happens. Ultimately, you're not even the observer. You are the ultimate potentiality whose manifestation and expression is the all-embracing consciousness."
"No matter what happens to you, it happens to you. No matter what you do, the one who does it is in you. Find the subject of all that you are as a person."
"Why desire in the least? Wanting to let go of desire will not set you free. Nothing can set you free because you are free. Look at yourself with unwilling clarity, that's it."
"True happiness cannot be found in the things that change and pass with time. Pleasure and pain inexorably alternate. Happiness comes from the Self and can only be found in the Self."
"Find your real Self and all will come with it."
"What begins and ends is mere appearance. You could say the world shows up, but not that it is. Appearance can last a long time scale and be very short on another, but ultimately it is the same thing. Everything related to time is momentary and has no reality."
"You are the Self here and now. Leave your mind alone, stay fully aware and quiet, and you will realize that staying vigilant but detached, watching events come and go, is an aspect of your real nature."
"There is something exceptional, unique in the present event, something that the previous event or the future one does not have. There is a vitality, a brightness around him, a reality; it's shaping up as if it's illuminated. On what is actual there is the "seal of reality", which the past and the future do not have."
"What exactly makes the present so different? Obviously, my presence. I am real, for I am always in the now, in the present, and what is with me now, participates in my reality. The past is in memory, the future – in the imagination. One thing focused in the present is with me, for I am eternally present; my own reality is what I share with the present event."
"To know the Self as the only reality, and all others as temporal and ephemeral is freedom, peace and joy. It's all very simple. Instead of seeing things the way you think they are, learn to see them for who they are. When you see everything as it is, you, too, will see yourself as you are. It's like having a mirror. The same mirror that shows you the world as it is, will show you your own face. The thought of "I am" is the polishing cloth. Use it!"
"Seek within yourself what is permanent. Immerse yourself deep inside and find what is real in you."
"Give up all but one of the questions: 'Who am I?' After all, the only fact you're sure of is that you are. "I am" is a certainty. "I am this" is not. Fight to discover what you really are. "
"To know what you are you must first investigate what you are not."
"Discover all that you are not – body, feelings, thoughts, time, space, this or that – nothing you perceive can be you. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive."
"The more clearly you understand that at the level of the mind you can be described only in negative terms, the sooner you will reach the end of your search and you will realize that you are the being without limit."
"All I can say accurately is: 'I am', everything else is inference. But inference has become commonplace. Destroy all your habits of thought and sight. The feeling of "I am" is the manifestation of a deeper cause, which you can call Himself, God, reality or any other name. "I am" is in the world, but he is the key that can open the gateway out of the world."
"In the pure being the consciousness arises; in consciousness the world appears and disappears. All that exists is me, all that exists is mine. First of all beginnings, after all ends – I am. Everything has its being in me, in "I am", which shines in every living being. Even non-existence is unthinkable without me. No matter what happens, I have to be there as a witness to look at it."
"All the objects of consciousness make up the universe. What is beyond both, sustaining both, is the supreme state, a state of absolute stillness and silence. Whoever gets there, disappears. It is inaccessible by words or mind."
"This state is not perceptible, as it is it that makes perception possible. It is beyond being and being. It is neither the mirror nor the image in the mirror. She is what she is – the timeless, incredibly harsh and solid reality."
"The only way to know it is to be that state."
"Even the feeling of 'I am' is composed of the pure light of the feeling of being."
"Look at your mind, observe how it comes into being, how it operates. As you look at your mind, you discover your Self as the beholder. When you stand still, simply looking, you discover your Self as the light behind the observer. The source of light is shrouded in darkness, unknown to its source of knowledge. Only that source is."
"Go back to that source again and stay there. It is not in heaven, nor in the all-embracing ether. God is all that is great and wonderful; I am nothing, I have nothing, I can not do anything. And yet, everything comes out of me – I am the source; I am the root, the origin."
"When reality explodes in you, you can call it the experience of God. Or rather, it is God who experiences you. God knows you when you know yourself. Reality is not the result of a process; it is explosion. She is completely beyond the mind."
"The search itself is God. In search you discover that you are neither the body nor the mind, and the love for the self within you is for the self of everything. The two rails are one. The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, apparently two, in reality one, seeks unity, and this is love."