Sri Nismargadatta Maharaj was an Indian spiritual teacher and philosopher Advaita Vedanta. He is considered the most well-known teacher of The Advaita Vedanta of Ramana Maharshi.
His direct and minimalist exposure of non-dualism, as well as the publication of the most well-known and widespread book "I AM THAT" in 1973, earned him worldwide recognition as well.
He taught Jnana austere, minimalist yoga based on his own experience. His philosophy is exposed in this first volume, considered a modern classic.
“… in the stillness of the mind I saw myself as I am — unbound …”
It is known that he could trigger radical transformations in people just by listening to his books or reading his books.
He spoke of the "direct way" of knowing the final Reality, in which one becomes aware of the original nature through mental discrimination, breaking the false identification of the mind with the ego, knowing that
"You are already Like That. "
When asked about the date of his birth, the Master replied that he was never born! However, 1897 is the year when he came into the world one day, which coincided with the great feast of Hanuman, the monkey-god of the famous Ramayana epic.
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was born in Bombay (Mumbai) in March 1897, in a poor family without spiritual preoccupations. As a child, he worked on the small farm of the family and came into contact with spirituality through conversations with a friend of his father's.
His parents, who gave him the name Maruti,had a small farm at the village of Kandalgaon in The Rathagili district of Mahrashtra. His father, Shivarampant, was a poor man who had been a servant in Bombay before heading to agriculture.
At the age of 18, after his father's death, Maruti left home to work in Mumbai. The boy opened a clothing and cigarette store, and after a while he found a wife with whom he had 4 children.
When Maruti was 34, a friend of his, Yashwantrao Baagkar, introduced him to his guru, Sri Siddharameshwar Maharaj, head of the Inchegeri branch in Navanath Sampprapreya. Guru gave Maruti a mantra and some instructions and died shortly afterwards. Sri Nismargadatta later recalled:
Guru-ul meu mi-a ordonat să particip la sensul „eu sunt” și să nu acord atenția la nimic altceva. Tocmai m-am ascultat. Nu am urmat vreun curs anume de respirație, nici meditație sau studiu de scripturi. Orice s-ar întâmpla, mi-aș îndepărta atenția de la ea și aș rămâne cu sensul „sunt”. Poate arata prea simplu, chiar brut. Singurul meu motiv pentru a o face a fost că Guru-ul meu mi-a spus acest lucru. Totuși, a funcționat!
I Am That , capitolul 75
He then made the decision to leave his family and go to the Himalayas. After a few months, however, he returned to Mumbai with his family, realizing that he had already found eternal life and that he had everything he wanted at his fingertips, regardless of where he is.
He remained in Mumbai, where he lived for the rest of his life, working as a cigarette salesman and giving religious instructions in his home.
He lived in a small apartment in Khetwadi, where he was doing his spiritual practice, where he also received his followers.
He died at the age of 84 in 1981.
All that a guru can tell you is:
‘My dear Sir, you are quite mistaken about yourself.
You are not the person you take yourself to be.’
He recommended the practice that led to his own realization in less than three years:
Doar ține cont de simtirea „Eu sunt”, contopește-l, până când mintea și sentimentul tău devin unul. Prin încercări repetate, te vei împiedica de echilibrul corect de atenție și afecțiune, iar mintea ta va fi ferm stabilită în gândirea „Eu sunt”.
I Am That, Chapter 16
In his reference book, " I Am That" , widely regarded as one of the greatest spiritual books of the twentieth century, he answers one of the most important questions:
Question: Is there any danger of following Yoga at any cost?
Maharaj: Is there a danger of inadequacy when the house is in fire? The search for reality is the most dangerous of all businesses, because it will destroy the world in which you live. But if your reason is the love of truth and life, you don't have to be afraid. (I am this, chapter 96.)
"- Have you acquired your own achievement through effort or grace of your Spiritual Guide?
Maharaj:His was the teaching, mine was trust.
My faith in him made me accept his words as true, to penetrate deep into them, to live them, and that's how I came to realize who I am. The person and words of the Spiritual Guide made me trust him, and my trust made them fruitful."
"Welcome sin all that comes with a happy and grateful heart. And he loves all creatures. This will lead you to your Self."
Question: You stand there in front of me, and I am at your feet. What is the fundamental difference between us?
Maharaj: There is no fundamental difference.
Q: There must still be some real difference; I come to you, you don't come to me.
M: Because you can imagine differences, you go back and forth looking for "superior" people.
Q: And you're a "superior" person. You pretend to know the real thing, as long as I don't know it.
M: Did I ever tell you that you don't know and that's why you're inferior? Let those who have made such distinctions prove them. I don't pretend to know what you don't. I don't see any difference between you and me. My life is a succession of events, just like yours. It's just that I'm detached and I see the passing show as a passing spectacle, while you cling to things and move forward with them.
There is something exceptional, unique in the present event, something that the previous event or the future event do not have. There is a vitality, a brightness around him, a reality; it's shaping up as if it's illuminated. On what is current there is the "seal of reality", which the past and the future do not have. What makes the present so different? Obviously, my presence. I am real, for I am always 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 now is with me, for I am eternally present; my own reality is what I share with the present event.
Q: Between spirit and body, is it love that provides the bridge?
M: What else could it be? The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it. All blessings come from within. Turn inward. You know "I am." Be with him all the time you have, until you spontaneously turn to him. There is no other easier and simpler way.
I see the world appearing in the consciousness that is the totality of the known in the immensity of the unknown. What begins and ends is simple 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 that is related to time is currently and has no reality. Past and future are only in mind – I am now.
Q: And the world is now.
M: Which world?
Q: The world around us.
M: She's your world that you have in mind, not mine. What do you know about me when even my conversation with you is only in your world? You have no reason to believe that my world is identical to yours. My world is real, true, as it is perceived, while yours appears and disappears, depending on the state of your mind. Your world is a stranger, and you're afraid of it. My world is myself. I'm home.
Your world is a subjective creation of the mind, included within the mind, fragmented, temporary, personal, hanging from the thread of memory. I live in a world of reality, while yours is a world of imagination. Your world is personal, private, unrequited, intimately yours. No one can get into it, see as you see it, hear the way you hear it, feel your emotions and think your thoughts. In your world you are truly alone, locked in your ever-changing dream, which you take for granted.
My world is an open world, common to all, accessible to all. In my world there is communion, power of penetration, love, real quality; the individual is the total, the total – in the individual. Everything is One and One is everything. It may seem like I hear and see, that I speak and act, but everything happens to me naturally, just like your digestion happens to you. Just as you don't worry about hair growth, so I don't worry about my words or my actions. They just happen and leave me undisturbed, for in my world nothing ever goes wrong.
Q: Is it possible to make my mind stable?
M: How can an unstable mind make itself stable? Of course you can't. It's in the nature of his mind to wander around. All you can do is move the focus of consciousness beyond your mind.
Q: How do you do that?
M: Refuse all thoughts except one: the thought of "I am". The mind will revolt at first, but with patience and perseverance it will give in and remain quiet. Once you've calmed your mind, things will start to happen spontaneously and entirely naturally, without any intervention on your part.
Q: I'm anxious. How can I win peace?
M: What do you need peace for?
Q: To be happy.
M: Aren't you happy now?
Q: No, I'm not.
M: What makes you unhappy?
Q: I have what I don't want and I want what I don't have.
M: Why don't you reverse: want what you have and not want what you don't have?
Q: Intellectually, I realize that everything is fleeting. Still, the heart wants permanence. I want to create something that lasts.
M: Then you have to build from something durable. What exactly do you have that's sustainable? Neither your body nor your mind will last. You have to look somewhere else.
Q: I yearn for permanence, but I can't find it anywhere.
M: Aren't you permanent?
Q: I was born, I will die.
M: Can you say exactly that you weren't before you were born and can you somehow say when you're dead, "now I'm not"? You can't say from your own experience that you're not. You can only say "it's me." Others also can't tell you "you're not".
Q: During sleep, there is no "I am".
M: Before making such categorical statements, carefully examine your waking state. Soon you'll find that she's full of goals when her mind is emptying. Notice how little you remember, even when you're fully awake. You can't say you're not conscious during sleep. You just don't remember. A void in memory is not necessarily a void in consciousness.
Q: I do not yearn for much knowledge. All I want is peace.
M: You can have all the peace you want if you ask.
Q: I'm asking for it.
M: You have to ask with an undivided heart and live an integrated life.
M: Detach yourself from everything that makes your mind restless. Give up everything that disturbs his peace. If you want peace, I deserve it.
Q: Surely everyone deserves peace.
M: It is only those who do not disturb it.
Q: How do I disturb peace?
M: By being a slave to your desires and fears.
Q: Even when they are justified?
M: Emotional reactions, born of ignorance and inadvertence, are never justified. Seek to have a clear mind and a clean heart. All it takes is to remain calm and vigilant, researching your true nature. This is the only way to peace.
To know the Self as the only reality, and all others as temporary and ephemeral means 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 can see everything as it is, you, too, will be able to see yourself for who you are. It's like polishing 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.
Q: Tell me, please, how you came to the realization of Yourself.
M: I met my master at 34 and realized my Self at 37.
Q: What happened? What was the change?
M: Pleasure and pain have lost control over me. I was free of desire and fear. I found myself completely, not needing anything. I have seen that in the ocean of pure consciousness, on the surface of universal consciousness, the countless waves of phenomenal worlds rise and fall, without beginning and end. As a conscience, they are all myself. As events, they're all mine. There is a mysterious power watching over them. That power is God, Consciousness, Self, Life, whatever name you give him. It is the foundation, the ultimate support of all that is, just as gold is the basic material for all gold jewelry. And she's so intimately ours! Disregard the name and shape of the jewel, and the gold becomes obvious. Be free of name and form, of the desires and fears they create – what's left?
My destiny was to be born a simple man, a commoner, a humble merchant with little formal education. My life has been as ordinary as possible, with ordinary desires and fears. When, through my faith in my spiritual guide and listening to his words, I realized my true being, I left behind my human nature to take care of itself until its fate was sealed.
Because you are the only source and foundation of the world, it is entirely in your power to change it. What is created can always be destroyed and un-created. Everything will go the way you want it, provided you really want it. Your goals are small and modest. They don't need much energy. Only God's energy is infinite, for He wants nothing for Himself. Be like Him and all your wishes will come true. The higher your goals and your desires, the more energy you will have to fulfill them. He wishes everyone good and the universe will work with you. But if you're after your own pleasure, then you're going to have to win it the harsh path, with a lot of perseverance and toil. Before you want, it's worth it.
Q: What can make me love?
M: You are love itself – when you are not afraid.
It's not what you live, it's how you live that matters. The idea of enlightenment is of utmost importance. Just knowing that there's this possibility changes your whole perspective. It acts like a match lit in a pile of sawdust. All the great teachers did nothing else. A spark of truth can ignite a mountain of lies.
Most of Nismargadatta's books are transcripts of his recorded conversations. Self-knowledge and self-realization seems to have written it with pen and paper.
If any spiritual work of the last century deserves to be called classic, this is one.
Nisargatta Maharaj, the best-known teacher of The Advata de la Ramana Maharshi, while sitting in the living room answering questions from visitors who came to ask what they should do to become enlightened.
The extraordinarily powerful language, accompanied by Nisarchadatta's deep intuition, makes it a unique and amazing work.
This is the second book in the three-volume series that Jean Dunn made from Nismargadatta's conversations during the last two years of his life. This volume contains conversations that took place between April 1980 and July 1981.
During the last two years of his life Nismargadatta had many conversations with visitors. Jean Dunn collected some of these conversations and published them in a series of three books. This is the first in the series. Contains conversations that took place between July 1979 and April 1980.
This book contains transcripts of the conversations Sri Nismargadatta had with visitors about a year before his death, when he was 83 years old and ill with cancer. Although it offers extraordinary brilliance in the mind of a man who has self-achieved for more than half a century, the tone is sometimes impatient and even cruel. This is a good book to read after you finish I Am That.
The nectar of immortality
This book contains transcripts of sri Nismargadatta Maharaj's 21 discussions in 1980, shortly before his death. Discussions include "Before conception, what was I?" and "To know what someone is, you need to know which one starts". This volume resembles another book by the same publisher, The Ultimate Medicine , which was compiled from the discussions given six months later.