Showing posts with label Teachings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Teachings. Show all posts

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Marathi Discourses by Nisargadatta Maharaj - Audio



Thanks to my friend who shared these with me. She is basically from Maharaj's village and her family is very close to Maharaj.

She says : "These are all about verses from "Eknathi Bhagvat". Maharaj told Mr. Chavhan to record all these discourses. Maharaj usually never asks anybody in particular to record any of his sessions. Mr. Chavhan's son preserved them and published a book called "Atma-Darshan" and distributed it among few disciples. My Father was one of them."


A part from discourse by Nisargadatta Maharaj about performing bhajans on the occasion of  Tukaram beej (Saint Tukarams day of departure to Vaikunth).


Approximate translation : There shouldn't be any negligence while offering Bhajans to guru, as it's the everlasting fountain of worship. It's gifted to us by the Saints like Tukaraam. Every word and letter of the bhajan should be pronounced clearly as it gets typed on the chakras in our body. Every chakra stands for certain letter. When you sing the bhajans, the pronounced words hit these chakras and help to clear the blockages of thoughts. So be prompt about the Bhajans.


Approximate translation : The consistent  remembrance of your guru transforms you into that particular divine remembrance. Your inner guru is disclosed.



Approximate translation : 'I am' is more evident in humans than in animals. 'Bhag' means light and light is his sample i.e. Vaan. 'Vaan' means sample. What is my sample? Light. Which light? A peaceful light glowing timelessly deep inside the heart. This involuntary sense of 'I am' is at the bottom of all the actions. We have it inherent. I love.


Thursday, 26 March 2015

Direct understanding beyond which there is nothing


Nisargadatta Maharaj always laid great emphasis on the fact that a man with a dull intellect would never be able to understand even vaguely what he was talking about, and that he would ask such a person to do japa or some other Sadhana so that his psyche could gradually become purer and enable him, perhaps in due course, to get the necessary intellectual capacity that could lead to that direct understanding beyond which there was nothing to aspire for or work for. He also made it absolutely clear that the intellect he was talking about was not the kind of intellect that enabled people to pass examinations and earn university degrees but the kind of intellect that has a large content of intuitive insight. What Maharaj had in mind regarding the type of intellect that was necessary to absorb what he was trying to convey is beautifully illustrated by the well-known story of the Chinese sage Hui-Neng, who is said to have had his first enlightenment when, even as a boy, he happened to hear someone reading the Vajrachhedika. He felt so overwhelmed that almost without any further thought he set out for Hung-Jan’s monastery for a formal initiation and spiritual training. It would, therefore, seem that he had the original satori without the benefit of any formal teaching from any master, and, what is more, he is known to have been at that time an illiterate peasant. It may be recalled that Ramana Maharshi too had his awakening without the guidance of any specific Guru when one day without any warning, he was overtaken by a sudden violent fear of death; he laid himself down and intensely considered the phenomenon of death; what does death mean? What is it that is dying? Out of that intensity of concentration came with the deepest possible conviction that it was the body that dies and that he was the spirit transcending the body. In his own words, “From that moment onwards the “I” or Self focused attention on itself… Absorption in the self continued unbroken from that time on.”

excerpts from Explorations into the Eternal - 
 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Noumenon and Phenomena - The summary of Maharaj's teachings



My education is up to the level which can barely put me in the category of the literate; I have not read any of the great traditional scriptures and the only language I know is my native Marathi. The only enquiry I have pursued, but pursued it relentlessly - like a hunter pursues his quarry- is this: 'I know I am and I have a body. How could this happen without my knowledge and consent? And what is this knowledge I am?' This has been my life-long pursuit and I am fully satisfied with the answers I have reached. This is my only Jnana, yet people believe I am a Jnani. My Guru told me: "You are Brahman, you are all and everything. There is nothing other than you." I accepted my Guru's word as truth, and now, for forty odd years I have been sitting in this very room doing nothing except talking about it. Why do people come to me from distant lands? What a miracle!

After pursuing my enquiry to its logical conclusion what have I arrived at? The whole thing is really simple, if only one sees the picture clearly. What is this 'me' that I am concerned with? The immediate answer, of course, is - 'this me, this body'. But then the body is only a psychosomatic apparatus. What is the most important element in this apparatus which qualifies it to be known as  a sentient being? It is undoubtedly the consciousness without which this apparatus, while perhaps technically alive, would be useless as far its functioning is concerned. This consciousness obviously needs a physical construct in which to manifest itself. So, consciousness depends upon the body. But what is the body made of? How does the body come into existence? The body is merely a growth in the woman's womb during a period of about nine months, the growth of what is conceived by the union of the male and female sexual fluids. These fluids are the essence of the food consumed by the parents. Basically, therefore, both consciousness and the body are made of, and are sustained by food. Indeed, the body itself is food - one body being the food of some other body. When the food-essence, the vital sexual fluids, grows from conception into a tiny body and is delivered out of the mother's womb, it is called 'birth'. And when this food essence gets decayed due to age or illness and the psychosomatic apparatus happens to get destroyed, it is called 'death'. This is what happens all the time - the objective universe projecting and dissolving innumerable forms; the picture keeps on changing all the time. But how am 'I' concerned with this? I am merely the witness to all this happening. Whatever happens during the period of the happening, in each case, affects only the psychosomatic apparatus, not the 'I' that I am.

This is the extent of my 'knowledge', basically. Once it is clear that whatever happens in the manifested world is something apart from me, as the 'I', all other questions resolve themselves.

At what stage exactly did I come to have the knowledge of my 'existence'? What was I before this knowledge 'I am' came to me? This knowledge 'I am' has been with me ever since I can remember, perhaps a few months after this body was born. Therefore, memory itself must have come with this knowledge 'I am', this consciousness. What was the position before that? The answer is: I do not know. Therefore, whatever I know of anything has its beginning in consciousness, including pain and pleasure, day and night, waking and sleeping - indeed the entire gamut of dualities and opposites in which one cannot exist without the other. Again, what was the position before consciousness arose? These interrelated opposites inevitably must have existed but only in negation, in unicity, in wholeness. This must then be the answer. This unicity is what I am. But this unicity, this identity, this wholeness cannot know itself because in it there exists no subject as separate from an object-a position that is necessary for the process of seeing, or knowing, or cognizing. In other words, in the original state of unicity, or wholeness, no medium or instrument exists through which 'knowing' may take place.

Mind cannot be used to transcend the mind. The eye cannot see itself; taste cannot taste itself; sound cannot hear itself. 'Phenomena' cannot be phenomena without 'noumenon'. The limit of possible conceptualization - the abstract of mind - is noumenon, the infinity of the unknown. Noumenon, the only subject, objectifies itself and perceives the universe, manifesting phenomenally within itself, but apparently outside, in order to be a perceivable object. For the noumenon to manifest itself objectively as the phenomenal universe, the concept of space-time comes into operation because objects, in order to be cognizable, have to be extended in space by giving them volume and must be stretched in duration or time because otherwise they could not be perceived.

So, now I have the whole picture: The sentient being is only a very small part within the process of the apparent mirrorization of the noumenon into the phenomenal universe. It is only one object in the total objectivization and, as such, 'we' can have no nature of our own. And yet - and this is important- phenomena are not something separately created, or even projected, but are indeed noumenon conceptualized or objectivized. In other words, the difference is purely notional. Without the notion, they are ever inseparable, and there is no real duality between noumenon and phenomena.

This identity - this inseparableness - is the key to the understanding, or rather the apperceiving of our true nature, because if this basic unity between the noumenon and the phenomenon is lost sight of, we would get bogged down in the quagmire of objectivization and concepts. Once it is understood that the noumenon is all that we are, and that the phenomena are what we appear to be as separate objects, it will also be understood that no entity can be involved in what we are, and therefore, the concept of an entity needing 'liberation' will be seen as nonsense; and 'liberation', if any, will be seen as liberation from the very concept of bondage and liberation.

When I think about what I was before I was 'born', I know that this concept of 'I am' was not there. In the absence of consciousness, there is no conceptualizing; and whatever seeing takes place is not what one - an entity - sees as a subject/object, but is seeing from within, from the source of all seeing. And then, through this 'awakening', I realize that the all-enveloping wholeness of the Absolute can not have even a touch of the relative imperfection; and so I must, relatively, live through the allotted span of life until at the end of it, this relative 'knowledge' merges in the noknowing state of the Absolute. This temporary condition of 'I-know' and 'I-know-that-I-know' then merges into that eternal state of 'I-do-not-know' and 'I-do-not-know' that 'I-do-not-know.


-- excerpts from the book : "Pointers from Nisargadatta Maharaj" by Ramesh S. Balsekar -- there may be missing portions -- to read full text, please refer to the book --

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Teachings of Nisargadatta Maharaj : Jean Dunn says...


In one way the core of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj's teaching is easy to grasp, and extremely difficult in another. It is easy if we are willing to be completely honest with ourselves, to look at the concepts of others with which we have built our own prisons. To investigate for one's self can be extremely difficult because we are very attached to our concepts - we don't want to give them up. But if the desire to KNOW is a burning desire, then we will set forth on our course. We can only know who or what we are by personal experience, not from books or others.

Maharaj urged us to find out what this "I" is. He was like a surgeon with a sharp scalpel, cutting away all inessential things. His questions often left one out in "left field," not knowing what to say. His answers, were never what was expected. He would not allow any quoting of scriptures - only personal experience - and he could get quite angry about this. Once when someone quoted Dakshinamurti, a Hindu deity, Maharaj responded: "Hang Dakshinamurti! What about you? What is your experience?"

Most of us identify ourself with the body-mind and so he insisted that we find out what this body-mind is. Did it not come from the sperm of the father and the ovum of the mother? The body then is a product of the food consumed and is sustained by food, which is the essence of the five elements. Can we be this? Without consciousness the body is dead material. When consciousness leaves the body there is no individual, no world, and no God. Consciousness can only be conscious of itself when it has manifested in a physical form. Consciousness is latent in every grain of food, in all the five elements - it is universal, non-personal, all-pervading. Everything is consciousness, and that is what we are, presently. Consciousness acts through the forms according to the combination of the gunas, satwa (being-light-purity), tamas (inertia-passivity-darkness), rajas (activity-passion-energy), and to the conditioning received. What happens when one of these forms "dies?" The form again becomes part of the five elements and the consciousness merges with the universal consciousness. This is all a process happening, the play of consciousness.

Before this form came - what was I? That is what one truly is. That  Absolute Parabrahman - these are only words which we have invented to name the Unmanifest, Unnameable. The eternal "I," absolutely unconditioned, timeless, spaceless Being, not aware of being (because there is no other). I am as I Am, as I always was, as I ever will be, eternally.

Seekers from all over the world came to Sri Maharaj for his spiritual guidance. The contents of this book (Prior to Consciousness) are transcribed from the tape recordings made during the question and answer periods of 1980 and 1981, until the death of Sri Maharaj from cancer of the throat on September 8, 1981, at the age of 84. Maharaj spoke only in Marathi and at each meeting there was a translator, not always the same one; we are very grateful to them. The most frequent ones were Sri S. K. Mullarpattan, Dr. D. Doongaji, Ramesh S. Balsekar, and S. V. Sapre, and the evening translator whom I remember only as Mohan. There were others at different times, but generally these were the day-to-day translators. We are also very grateful to Miss N. Vanaja who was so faithful in recording these talks.

During the last two years of his life Maharaj did not entertain any questions pertaining to this worldly life and its improvement. He taught only the highest truth, and due to the weakened condition of his body, on some days there was very little discussion. But even one sentence of his was like an Upanishad. He was very blunt and sharp in his answers and did not cater to anyone's ego - in fact, his stated purpose was to destroy this "psuedo-entity." To be in his presence was to feel the vibrant truth, impossible to describe. He was amazing to watch: that "personality" could be happy, angry, sad, gay, sarcastic, or gentle, and a variety of emotion played through that "bundle" like sunlight on water. There was never any attempt to change any of it ... let it do its thing, it was not him. Suffering there was in abundance, due to the cancer, but in this human picture I have never seen anyone braver. Never did a whimper leave his lips. That body carried on when it seemed impossible that it could do so. One could only gaze at him in total love and awe. Although there was no doubt that the form of Sri Maharaj was suffering from cancer, he carried on just as usual with the daily routine of bhajans four times a day, question and answer periods twice daily, although as the body grew weaker these periods were often cut short. It was enough to be in his presence. It was only toward the end that he rarely spoke.

The repetitions in the text are necessary, as Maharaj hammered continuously at our concepts, each time bringing us back to the root when we tried to stray to the leaves and branches. When we tried to hang on to words, even words which he had used, he shot them right out from under us. As someone once said, "I am tremendously grateful to Maharaj. What is most different is that, regardless of anything, he answers what is most helpful and right, but people want to make the teachings into a system, which ultimately ruins them. But Maharaj doesn't worry. He just says on Wednesday that red is black, and on Friday that red is white, but the answer is correct at the time, because it changes the orientation of the questioner. It is tremendously valuable and unique." The reader should take only a few pages at a time and ponder and meditate over them.

If you read this book (Prior to Consciousness) it is assumed that you have, as Maharaj said, "Done your homework." If you are ready to give up your identity with this pseudo-entity, read on and happy journey.

-- excerpts from the book : "Prior to Consciousness" by Jean Dunn -- there may be missing portions -- to read full text, please refer to the book --

My True State : Maharaj says...


There is happiness and unhappiness in this world only because this consciousness of I am. This consciousness of I am is the world. With the touch of this I am consciousness, this world comes into existence. Without the I am consciousness you are untouched or absolutely pure. This consciousness of I am, there is no reason or cause for it, it has just simply appeared. It comes and goes. It is impermanent. So how did I come to call myself or know myself as Siddha or accomplished? It is because of my knowledge or firm conviction that everything exists because of me, everything including this world depends on me, and not vice-versa.

I say, have respect for the Guru or God. And who is the Guru or God? The I am consciousness in its pristine purity is the Guru or God - Once you have respect for this, it will reveal all the necessary knowledge to you and you will then understand that You are beyond this "I" consciousness. You have to suffer and enjoy the consequences of this I am consciousness, there is no choice to it at all. Whatever I did not have before the birth of the I am consciousness is going to go away at death. In truth, the I am consciousness was never there, so when it goes away what do I lose? Do I die, or do I remain what I ever have been? There in That state, there is no "God" - no sense of separateness at all, no I am.

Without the intellect you know, or you are, the true state. But as soon as the intellect comes into play it is the operation of the I am consciousness. My true state is always without this I am consciousness - so if you live with this Knowledge, you won't be always thinking about death and contemplating death, and hence you will live longer physically as your mind and body will be free of unnecessary tensions, thoughts and beliefs. To understand this knowledge you need only a very pure and simple faith. I am not the result of any union between human beings, my true state is not born at all, for how can Truth or Reality change or undergo birth and death? If it does, it cannot be Truth. How to use this power of discrimination?

Lord Krishna said these same things 5000 years ago. Where is Lord Krishna now? And what happened to that time 5000 years ago? Where is it? It has gone, it has vanished, so why bother about all this, what the Scriptures have said, etc. Your true state is beyond this. Unless the knowledge of I am or Guru's grace blesses you, you will not be able to comprehend your true nature.

Even this I am consciousness does not really need anything. Your true state is beyond this I am and it has no needs, no requirements at all. In the time of Krishna there were also good people and bad people just as there are today, now they have gone. Where have they gone? Where did they come from in the first place? In truth there was no cause for their appearance, and if there is no cause there is no effect also. They have never existed in reality at all, they were only an appearance on the Reality. Existence itself is only an imagination - similarly with al of you here now listening to me. You should use this power of discrimination always, and find out in truth whether you really are a person. If you truly inquire you will find that you were never a person at all. Even the "Great Cause" or Creator finally is only a word. The "Great Cause" is the I am consciousness.

When you are an individual you have certain needs, but when you merge into the Self you no longer have these desires. When man becomes a jnani he loses all sense of being an individual and he moves about freely without any hopes or fears, he becomes completely fearless and without any desires. It is not the ears that hear or the eyes that see; the body by itself is insentient, it is the Self within that gives the feeling of being alive to the body. The body is only the instrument of the Self, it is not the Self. So long as you have the body consciousness or idea you will be subject to happiness and unhappiness, but if the body idea leaves you, even now while you are in the body, the happiness and unhappiness will also go, and you will be left with your true nature which is at all times complete and has no needs. For the realized man there is no such thing as body, mind, intellect, etc., for all these are only ideas. I don't even have the idea that by giving this knowledge I am doing good to the world. No such ideas of good and bad; no such distinctions and motives are with me. I am completely free of all false notions and ideas. That we are acting and talking here is only because of our consciousness of I am. This consciousness of I am is illusory and completely unreal to the jnani. Ultimately, until you can leave off completely the feeling of personality, you will not be able to fully comprehend the Absolute Reality. You are bound by this sense of being a person, even though this thread of a personality may be very thin, however, even then this bondage of personality is ultimately illusory.

All I am doing here is waking you up, calling "wake up, you have been dreaming!" That you are awake and are a person in a world - when you have any sense of personality like this, you are quite obviously fast asleep and dreaming although you falsely feel that you are awake. True awakening is to awaken to Reality and to know that you are not a person, and never have been a person. A person has needs and desires, but the Reality needs nothing at all, for this is your true state. It is not because I tell you, that you are the Reality. Even if I don't tell you, still you are the Reality. It is there with you at all times, a self evident fact. Whatever powers or Siddhis come to you from this knowledge, don't become involved with them, negate them immediately and remain merged in your true nature. Do whatever you want in this world, but don't lose your Identity - that is that you have no identity at all.

So with this knowledge, when I die, what happens? What I never really had goes away, what was never mine leaves me, so what have I lost? What really happens to me with the physical death? Nothing at all! Do anything you want to in this world, but be with your Self, your True nature, don't forget It, be with It, dwell with It. It is bliss Itself, it is not the nature of bliss.

I have been talking and discussing so many things here, and if you feel that you still have to go and get spiritual advice or instruction from some other teacher, then you have not understood anything that I have said here. Do not unnecessarily run after or make friends with outside things or persons, but rather remain with your own Self, nature or Reality. The idea of birth and death is nothing more than a drama or play, it has no basis in Truth, don't bother about it - it is illusory, all these ideas are illusory!

Nisargadatta Maharaj

Style of Teaching - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj



Sri Nisargadatta's teachings are grounded in the Advaita Vedanta interpretation of the Advaita idea Tat Tvam Asi, literally "That Thou Art", (Tat = "Absolute", Tvam = "You", Asi = "are") meaning You are (actually) Absolute (who thinks otherwise). He also had a strong devotional zeal towards his own guru, and suggested the path of devotion, Bhakti yoga, to some of his visitors.

According to Sri Nisargadatta the purpose of spirituality is to know who you are, a fact he verily spoke of in the talks he gave. He talked about the 'direct way' of knowing the Final Reality, in which one becomes aware of one's original nature through mental discrimination, a method which is common to the teachers of the Navnath Sampradaya.

Many of his talks were recorded, and these recordings form the basis of 'I Am That' and all his other famous books. His words are free from cultural and religious trappings, and the knowledge he expounds is stripped bare of all that is unnecessary.

Summed up in the words of Advaita scholar and a disciple, Dr. Robert Powell, "Like the Zen masters of old, Nisargadatta's style is abrupt, provocative, and immensely profound - cutting to the core and wasting little effort on inessentials. His terse but potent sayings are known for their ability to trigger shifts in consciousness, just by hearing, or even reading them."

Consciousness - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj says


Maharaj tells the visitors that it is only about this consciousness or I-am-ness that he always talks. Any enquiries about anything else would be useless because this consciousness must be there before anything else can be. If I am not (conscious), he says the world is not (as in deep sleep). It is only when I am conscious that the world exists for me. All inquiries of the seeker, Maharaj asserts, must therefore relate to this consciousness: How did it arise ? What is its source ? What sustains it ? What is its nature ? The answers to these queries lead to true knowledge. Without consciousness there can be no phenomenal existence, and therefore consciousness is the highest God that an individual in his individuality can conceive, although he may give it any name - Krishna, Iswara, Shiva, Christ etc. When consciousness leaves the body, there is no individual, no world, no God.

The relationship between the physical body and consciousness, says Maharaj, must be very clearly perceived. Consciousness can be conscious of itself only so long as it has manifested itself in a phenomenal form, a body, whether it is that of an insect, or a worm, or an animal, or a human being. Without the body, in unmanifested state, consciousness is not conscious of itself. Without consciousness the body is merely dead material. The body, therefore, says Maharaj, is the food that sustains consciousness and the instrument through which consciousness functions. In fact, he says, consciousness is the 'nature', or 'suchness', or 'taste' of the physical body like sweetness is of sugar.

After we have understood this intimate relation between the body and consciousness, Maharaj asks us to find out the source of this body-consciousness. How did it come about ? The source of the human body is the male sperm fertilized in the ovum of a female womb, and when conception takes place, consciousness is latent therein. It is this - the fertilized male sperm with consciousness latent in it - that grows in the mother's womb, is delivered in due course as a baby, grows into infancy and thereafter through its span of life. What is the force behind this natural growth ? Nothing other than consciousness which is latent in the male sperm, the latter itself being the essence of the food consumed by the parents. It should be clear then, says Maharaj, that consciousness is the very nature of the physical body (like sweetness of sugar) and that the physical body is made of and sustained by food, which is the essence of the five elements. In this spontaneous natural process, the individual, as such, does not have any significance. The individual body is made of food, and consciousness is universal, all-pervading. How can the individual claim either separate existence, or bondage and liberation for himself ?

Has any individual been consulted about his 'birth' as the issue of particular parents ? The 'me' and 'mine' have come about only after the birth, which is clearly the result of a natural process in which neither the parents nor the baby has any choice. In other words, Maharaj points out, the body-cum-consciousness is a phenomenal unit which has spontaneously been created out of the five elements (space, air, fire, water, and earth) and the three attributes (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas). This unit grows during its life-span and then 'dies' - that is, goes back to the five elements, and consciousness that was limited by the body is released into Impersonal Consciousness.

Now, asks Maharaj, in this natural process of the creation and destruction of a phenomenal unit, where is the question of a 'you' ? You have never been a party to the creation of the phenomenal unit that 'you' are supposed to be. You have been told by your parents that you were 'born' and that a particular body is 'you'. You really have no actual experience of being born. What is born is a phenomenal unit, a psychosomatic apparatus that is activated by consciousness. If consciousness is not there, the body-apparatus is not only useless but has to be disposed of as quickly as possible.

Who then are you ? You are, says Maharaj, what you were before the body-cum-consciousness came into being, what you were a hundred years ago !

The question that naturally arises at this stage is: Who then acts in the world as the body ? The answer according to Maharaj is that in manifestation consciousness is everything. It is consciousness that acts through the millions of bodies according to the innate character of the composition of each body. There are millions of psychosomatic forms but no two forms are exactly alike in all respects because each form has a distinctive combination of the five elements plus the three attributes. Each element has its own characteristics and so has each attribute. Imagine the millions of gradations that each of these eight aspects can have, and the resulting billions and trillions of permutations and combinations that can be effected ! Consciousness acts through the physical bodies, each of which has its own temperament and character, based partly on its physical composition and partly on the conditioning it has received. If this is clearly perceived it should be also crystal clear that no individual has the autonomy to act independently. But the individual, in his ignorance, believes that it is he who acts; he 'takes delivery', says Maharaj, of the actions that take place, binds himself in illusory bondage, and suffers pain and pleasure. This is how 'bondage' arises.

Maharaj wants us to be clear on one point: Man considers himself a special being, apart from all other creation. But so far as the ingredients of the physical construct are concerned, there is no difference between the various kinds of sentient creatures. Only the process of creation differs.

-- excerpts from the book : "Pointers from Nisargadatta Maharaj" by Ramesh S. Balsekar -- there may be missing portions -- to read full text, please refer to the book --

Friday, 28 November 2014

The Last Days : Last Teachings


Our beloved Master's vitals had been consumed by cancer and we knew his frail body would fall soon, perhaps sooner than we feared. But we were afraid of showing or fear to him for he would be hurt to find that his teaching was wasted on us. He had taught us that human beings were mere conceptual forms, no more real than dream-figures, that it is only the body that is subject to birth and death and not the self, which is not only ageless but birthless and deathless. And he was the Supreme Self. Yes, we knew all this, and yet at the prospect of his passing away we had started feeling like orphans, for we loved him too! It was difficult to rise above the human feelings and failings!

During his last days - from May-June to 8 September, 1981, when he dropped his mortal coil, his body had visibly withered day after day, but his spirit remained indomitable till the end. He continued to talk, though in a weal voice, with inherent authority, and at his mere word, as it were, the listeners' illusions and delusions shrivelled.

For over a fortnight now - June 1981 - Maharaj has not able to talk to visitors with his old zest. At the insistent request from many of us he has agreed to limit the discourses to a half hour, and it is just as well that he has done so, because even thirty minutes of talking has been exhausting him physically so much that he is unable to sit up thereafter.

Maharaj's words, though fewer, are more pregnant now. He has been saying that his physical weakness prevents him from elaborating what he wants to convey. He adds that this is a sort of blessing in disguise because the listeners would now have to pay greater attention to what he says, without letting their mind wander about much. Also they would do a certain amount of thinking for themselves !

Many of the visitors, in view of the extremely weak physical condition of the Master, now restrict their questioning to a minimum, even though Maharaj presses them to get their difficulties cleared up. "There's so little time now," he says.

One morning, one of the regular visitors, perhaps with a view to keep Maharaj's mind away from his physical suffering, started talking on various matters and asking rather superficial questions. Maharaj, of course, was quick to see through the device and sat erect in his easychair. I know what you are trying to do, he said, but you forget that I am not what you think I am. I do not suffer; I cannot suffer because I am not an object. Of course there is suffering. But do you realize what this suffering is ? I am the suffering. Whatever is manifested, I am the functioning. Whatever is perceptible I am the perceiving of it. Whatever is done I am the doing of it; I am the doer of it, and, understand this, I am also that which is done. In fact, I am the total functioning.

If you have apperceived this, you need to know no more. This is the Truth. But the meaningful word is 'apperceived'. What I have said I have said for myself. But if you have apperceived this, you too can say the same thing. You and I are not two, but the same Absolute Unicity.

If this apperception prevails, you could not possibly have any quarrel with anyone, whatever he does or does not do. Why ? Because you will then have realized that whatever happens is part of the general functioning in consciousness and that no phenomenal object (which is in effect merely an appearance in someone else's consciousness) can possible have any independence of existence or volition of action. Ponder over this deeply.

Another morning, Maharaj started speaking though in a very weak voice.

You people come here wanting something. What you want may be knowledge with a capital 'K' - the highest Truth - but nonetheless you do want something. Most of you have been coming here for quite some time. Why ? If there had been apperception of what I have been saying, you should have stopped coming here long ago! But what actually has been happening is that you have been coming here day after day, identified as individual beings, male or female, with several persons and things you call 'mine'. Also, you think you have been coming here, of your own volition, to see another individual - a Guru - who, you expect, will give you 'liberation' from your 'bondage'.

Do you not see how ridiculous all this is ? Your coming here day after day only shows that you are not prepared to accept my word that there is no such thing as an 'individual'; that the 'individual' is nothing but an appearance; that an appearance cannot have any 'bondage' and, therefore, there is no question of any 'liberation' for an appearance.

Do you even now realize that if the very basis of your seeking is wrong, what can you achieve ? Indeed, is there anything to be achieved ? By whom ? By an appearance ?

This is not all. Whatever I say is being tape-recorded by some people; some others take down their own notes. For what purpose ? To make the conditioning even more powerful ? Do you not realize that there never has been any question of 'who' ? Whatever has happened (if at all anything has happened) has been spontaneous. There never has been any room for an individual in the totality of manifestation; all the functioning is at the level of the conceptual physical space (Mahadakash), which is contained in a conceptual speck of consciousness the mental space of time, perception and cognition (Chidakash). This totality of the known finally merges in the infinite potentiality that is the timeless, spaceless Reality (Paramakash). In this conceptual manifestation, innumerable forms get created and destroyed, the Absolute being immanent in all phenomenal forms. Where do the individuals figure as individuals ? Nowhere. And yet everywhere, because we are the manifestation. We are the functioning. We are the life being lived. We are the living of the dream. But not as individuals.

The apperception of this truth demolishes the individual seeker; the seeker becomes the sought and the sought is the apperception.

At another session, Maharaj brought up yet another aspect of the same theme, i.e., people coming to him wanting knowledge. This time he asked: What is this 'knowledge' that you want, this knowledge about which you take down notes ? What use will be made of those notes ? Have you given any thought to this aspect of the matter ?

The real point is, he continues: Did you find any need of any knowledge a hundred years ago ? That, which you do not know and cannot know is your true state. This, which you think is real because it can be objectified, is what you appear to be. Whatever knowledge you are now seeking about your true state is unknowable, because you are what you are seeking. All that you can get as knowledge is at a conceptual level - the knowledge that you would get as an objective appearance. Such 'knowledge' is in no way different from 'ignorance', because they are inter-related counterparts at the conceptual level. In other words, comprehension at the mind level means only conceptualization and, therefore, is totally illusory. Do understand please, the difference between such conceptualized knowledge and the intuitive apperceiving which is not at the conceptual level. Indeed, apperceiving is whole-seeing or in-seeing, which is vitally different from mere intellectual seeing. Once there is apperception, the duality of counterparts, the basis of mere intellectual comprehension, totally disappears. There is no question of any 'one' thinking that he has understood something by the use of reasoning and logic. True understanding is spontaneous apperception, intuitive and choiceless, and totally non-dualistic. Meditate on what I have said.

One day when a visitor brought up the question of 'ethics' and moral behaviour (matters which have always been considered outside the scope of discussion here). Maharaj was so amused that, inspite of extreme physical weakness he sat up and said that he never ceased being astonished at the confusion in thinking that was displayed even by people who were supposed to be intellectuals. He literally laughed himself into a paroxysm of coughing. Once having understood that there is a separate place, the toilet, for specific purposes, would you, he asked, use the living room or the bedroom for those purposes ?

Once there is an unequivocal apperception of your true nature, once you clearly see the false as false, is there any question of having to decide the propriety or otherwise of any action ? Who will make the decision ? Does one have the independence of volition to make the decision ? Is there really any choice ? Once it is apperceived that there is no entity with any independence of action, would 'living' thereafter not be totally non-volitional living ? Would not, in other words, the apperceiving itself lead to an abandonment - or more accurately - a spontaneous cessation of the very concept of volitional activity ? One may think that one lives; actually, one is only 'being lived'.

Exhausted by this brief but animated exposition, Maharaj lay back again in his bed, and said that he would have liked to expand this point further, but he just did not have the physical strength. He added, with a wary touch of humour, that it was perhaps just as well that he could now only give out capsules of knowledge.

Maharaj was too weak even to sit up but was in a mood to talk. He started speaking softly and slowly: What a fantastic subject this is ! The subject is elusive, the person who thinks he is listening is illusory, and yet nobody believes that he does not exist ! When you come here, I welcome you and extend to you my humble hospitality, but in doing so I am fully aware of the exact position, i.e., there is neither a speaker nor a listener. Why is it that nobody can honestly say that he does not exist ? Because he knows that he is present - or, rather, there is that intuitive sense of presence - and, this is important, there is no entity who can say that it does not exist. If an entity did assert that it did not exist such an assertion itself would prove its existence !

However, the more important point which is not so easy to grasp, is that the source of this phenomenal presence (which is the manifestation of the unmanifested) is noumenal absence. Further - I wonder how many of you would apprehend this - it means that whenever the mind is 'fasting', totally without any conceptualization, there is phenomenal absence, and this presence of phenomenal absence is noumenal.

It was a Sunday and Maharaj's small room was packed to capacity. Most of the visitors were regular ones, but a small group had arrived from a distant part of the country. The leader of the group discerned Maharaj's effete physical condition and reconciled himself to the fact that they would have to be satisfied with Darshan only. Maharaj however sat up in his bed, looked directly at the new group and smilingly asked if there were any questions. He added that he was not at all well physically and hoped that the questions would be at an appropriate level. There was a brief murmured consultation among the group, and the leader very respectfully said that he had only one question to ask: Is there really such a thing as 'enlightenment'? He added that this question was being asked not frivolously but against the background of a long spiritual quest. Maharaj smiled and started talking inspite of the exhaustion which was clearly visible on his face. He sat up quite erect and his voice gained an unexpected vigour.

Notwithstanding my repeating it constantly, he said, even the regular visitors do not seem able to accept the fundamental fact that it is sheer nonsense to think of an individual's need for enlightenment. Basically, there is only 'I'; there is no 'me', or 'you', to be enlightened. How can a phenomenal object, which is only an appearance, be transformed by 'enlightenment' into something other than what it is, i.e., a mere appearance ?

When 'enlightenment' occurs, there is an apperceiving that what we believe to be our normal condition - that of a phenomenal object - is merely a temporary condition, like an illness, which has come over our normal true state of the noumenon. It is suddenly realized that what was being considered 'normal' was not really normal. The result of such apperceiving is a sort of instantaneous adjustment from an individual existence to just existence as such; volition disappears and whatever happens seems right and proper. One takes one's stand as the witness of all that happens, or rather only witnessing remains.

This morning Maharaj lay in bed, obviously in the no-mind state. For several minutes, the visitors — not too many, it being a working day—sat still. Suddenly the Master opened his eyes, and said very softly that there would not be any talk -because he was too weak to speak. But he smiled graciously and added very slowly: If you would only apprehend, deeply and intuitively, what you were before you acquired this body-cum-consciousness, say a hundred years ago, even from within this physical prison, you would be seeing the world without the sense of duality— not from your identity as an illusory individual centre. Conceptualizing would cease.

Then the Master waved a hand to indicate that the session was over, and the visitors dispersed.

Sunday, 12 July 1981—As is usual these days Maharaj was lying in his bed, his legs being massaged by his faithful devotee and attendant, Anna. His breathing was rather laboured, mostly through the mouth, and he seemed almost fast asleep. Then suddenly he was struggling to sit up and was helped to a reclining position, leaning heavily against propped up pillows. He started speaking, and his voice was surprisingly firm. What I want to tell you is astonishingly simple if only it would be apperceived. And the amusing part of it is that it can be apperceived only if the 'listener' is totally absent!

Then, only apperceiving remains and you are that apperceiving. What happens is that the unmanifest Absolute expresses itself in manifestation: Manifestation takes place through millions of forms; consciousness functions through each form, the conduct and working of each form being, generally, according to the basic nature of the category to which the form belongs (whether it is a plant, or an insect, or a lion, or a man), and particularly, according to the nature of the particular combination of the basic elements in each form.

No two human beings are alike (the fingerprints of no two persons are exactly alike) because the permutations and combinations of the millions of shades of the eight aspects (the five basic elements and the three Gunas) result in billions and trillions of forms, the nature of no two forms being exactly alike. Millions of such forms are constantly being created and destroyed in the process of manifestation. A clear perception of this process of manifestation comports the understanding:

(a) that there is really no question of any identification with any individual form because the very basis of this manifestation-show is duration (of each form) and duration is a concept of time; and

(b) that our true nature is the witnessing of this show. It goes without saying that the witnessing can take place only so long as the show goes on, and the show can go on only so long as there is consciousness.

And who is to understand all this? Consciousness, of course, trying to seek its source and not finding it, because the seeker is the sought. Apperceiving this truth is the final and the only liberation and 'the joker in the pack' is the fact that even 'liberation' is a concept! Now, go and ponder this.

After speaking these few words Maharaj felt totally exhausted. He lay back in bed. In a feeble voice he added: What I have said this morning is all the Truth anyone need know.

Tuesday, 14 July 1981 — A group of three was visiting Maharaj for the first time. Although languishing in bed and extremely weak, Maharaj asked the group if they had any questions. They had a brief talk amongst themselves and decided on asking only one question: "Maharaj, all three of us have done certain Sadhana for some time, but the progress does not seem to be adequate. What should we do?" Maharaj said that the purpose of any effort is to get some thing, some benefit which one does not possess. What is it that you are trying to achieve? The answer was quick and positive: We want to become like you — enlightened.

Maharaj laughed and sat up in bed. When he was made a little more comfortable with a couple of pillows to support his back, he continued: This is where the misconception lies; thinking that you are an entity who must achieve something so that you can become like the entity that you think I am! This is the thought which constitutes 'bondage', identification with an entity — and nothing, absolutely nothing, other than dis-identification will bring about 'liberation'.

As I said, you see yourselves and me as entities, separate entities; I see you exactly as I see myself. You are what I am, but you have identified yourself with what you think you are — an object — and seek liberation for that object. Is this not a huge joke? Can any object have independent existence and volition of action? Can an object be bound? And liberated?

The questioner joined his hands in a Namaskar and most respectfully submitted that what Maharaj had said could not possibly be challenged as a theoretical ideal, but, surely, he said, even though people may be fictitious entities, nothing more than mere appearances in consciousness, how are we to live in the world, unless we do accept the different entities as 'real' enough in life?

This discussion seemed to give an extraordinary zest to Maharaj, and the feebleness in his voice gradually disappeared. He said: You see how subtle this subject is. You have provided the answer in your own question, but it has eluded you. What you have said in fact is that you know that the entity as such is totally fictitious and has no independence of its own; it is only a concept. But this fictitious entity must live its normal life. Where is the problem? Is it so very difficult to lead a normal life, knowing that living itself is a concept? Have you got the point? Once you have seen the false as false, once you have seen the dual nature of what you call 'life' — which is actually living — the rest should be simple; as simple as an actor acting his role with zest, knowing that it is only a role that he is playing in a play or a movie, and nothing more.

Recognizing this fact with conviction, apperceiving this position, is all the truth. The rest is play-acting.

Thursday, 16 July 1981 — There were only a few regular visitors present. Maharaj, although visibly tired and exhausted, demanded that someone should ask some question, or give a talk! So, someone started with these words: "The consciousness that I have. . . . ."

If it were one of the occasional visitors who had said this, Maharaj would probably have ignored the implication of what was being said. But this was a 'regular' who should have known better. Maharaj suddenly shouted "Stop". Inspite of his debilitated condition, the word was like the sound of a gun shot. He glared at the speaker and said: What do you mean by saying: "The consciousness that I have. . . ..?" Do you realize what nonsense you have uttered? How can 'you', or anyone else, have consciousness? Do you realize the unimaginable greatness, the holiness of what you so casually call 'consciousness'? Give it whatever name you like, the word is not what it means. How can you ever forget the basic truth that consciousness is the very expression of what-we-are. It is through the stirring of consciousness that the unmanifest Absolute becomes aware of its awareness through manifestation, and the whole universe comes into existence.

It may be through inadvertence that you used these words, I don't know, but the very inadvertence displays the strength of the conditioning which makes you identify yourself with the body. You think you are the body and that the body has the consciousness. If you must consider the matter in terms of one possessing the other, surely it is consciousness that is in possession of not only the body that you think you are but the millions of other bodies through which consciousness functions as Prajna.

Friday, 17 July 1981 — It was the sacred day of Guru Purnima and Maharaj must have drawn heavily on his dwindling physical resources, to say a few words on this most auspicious day. He was sitting up in bed, with a thick pullover on, inspite of the small room being quite warm due to over-crowding of devotees. He started talking very feebly, but soon his voice seemed to gather a new strength.

You people have been coming here hoping all the time that I would give you a programme of what you should do in order to get 'liberation.' And what I keep telling you is that since there is no entity as such, the question of bondage does not arise; and that if one is not bound there is no need for liberation. All I can do is to show you that what you are is not what you think you are.

But what I say is not acceptable to most of you. And sortie of you go elsewhere, where they are happy to be given a list of do's and dont's. What is more, they act on such instructions with faith and diligence. But what they do not realize is that whatever they practise as an 'entity' only strengthens their identification with the illusory entity and, therefore, understanding of the Truth remains as far away as ever.

People imagine that they must somehow change themselves from imperfect human beings into perfect human beings known as sages. If only they would see the absurdity in this thinking. The one who is thinking along these lines is himself only a concept, an appearance, a character in a dream. How can a mere phenomenal phantom awaken from a dream by perfecting itself?

The only 'awakening' is apperceiving of that-which-is. Indeed there is no question of a 'who' in this apperceiving because the apperceiving itself is one's true nature; and the pre-requisite of such apperceiving is the disappearance of the phenomenon. What is apperceived is manifestation as a whole, not by a 'who' keeping himself as a separate observer. The apperceiving is the total functioning of the Absolute — apperceiving is what you are. The universe appearing in consciousness is a mirror which reflects every sentient being, i.e. consciousness is the very source of the apparent universe. Consciousness is not different from its manifested content.

And such apperceiving has nothing whatever to do with a 'who', with a phenomenon, an appearance in consciousness which is only an infinitesimal part of the total functioning. The profound intuitive understanding of this fact is the only 'awakening', or 'enlightenment', the only illusory 'liberation' from an illusory 'bondage', the awakening from the living-dream.

What does the Guru do? A self-realized Guru would do the only thing that could be done; point a finger towards the Sadguru that is within. The Sadguru is always there whether you remember him or not, but a constant association with him — irrespective of whatever you may be doing — is all that is necessary. Anything else by way of effort will not only not help, but would be a hindrance and a hazard.

Sunday, 26 July 1981—  One visitor asked: During the course of the search for one's true nature, the world without and the mind within create numerous obstructions. Why? And what should one do? Maharaj quickly answered: Hang on to the one who is searching. That is all you need do, and indeed, there is nothing else you could really do. If you do this — i.e. never leaving the one-in-search to escape you — you will ultimately find that the seeker is none other than consciousness seeking its source, and that the seeker himself is both the seeking and the sought, and that is you.

There were several other questions which Maharaj disposed of more or less summarily, as they related to one's behaviour in the world, his main point being that it is nature, or consciousness in action, which was responsible for the spontaneous growth of the body from the moment of conception to the birth of the body and further on from infancy and childhood through youth to full development and finally to decay. "Why do you suddenly accept responsibility, for the actions of the body, and thereby the bondage of retribution for such actions?" he asked.

Finally, towards the end, came the question: 'Is there any difference between a person who is an Avadhuta and another who is a Jnani?" I am asking the question because I want to know how a self-realized person acts in this world.'

Maharaj laughed, and said: All your words as questions and all my words as answers seem to go the same way into nothingness. Had even a single answer of mine found its mark, there would not be any more questions. So, in a way, what happens is best; your continued questions and my answers both contribute towards some entertainment to pass the time! Indeed, there is nothing else to be done since there is no 'purpose' to this that is seen as the Universe — it is all Lila, and we join in it. But we must understand this.

However, let us deal with your question. Avadhuta, Jnani, self-realized are all names of a state, the very basic assumption of which is the total negation of the separateness of an individual entity, and yet the question is based on an understanding that a Jnani is a 'person', and you want to know how such a person acts in this world. Do you see the contradiction in terms? As soon as there is self-realization, the difference between a self and the others disappears, and, of course, along with it the doership of the pseudo-personality. Therefore, once self-realization happens — do understand that 'one' does not 'acquire' self-realization—the sense of volition, or desire, or choice of action cannot remain.

Do try to understand the significance of what I have just said. If you have understood it, you will also have understood that there can he no self-realized 'person' and, therefore, there is no question of how a self-realized person acts in the world. What happens to the body? The response to external situations is spontaneous, intuitional, without the interference of the individual divided mind, and thus excludes any question of volitional activity.

Saturday, 8 August 1981 — A young lady asked Maharaj about the significance and usefulness of repeating a Japa. Maharaj said that he would interpret the word 'Japa' in its meaning as the 'purposive' noun, which would be 'protecting'.

He continued: By continuously repeating a Japa, or a Mantra, either as one word or a combination of words, you intend to 'protect' something. What does one want to protect? Something that one 'loves' most. What does one love most? Something which one 'needs' most: And what is it that one needs most? Something without which nothing else has any meaning, any value. Is it not the 'animus', the sense of animating presence, the consciousness, without which you cannot know anything or enjoy anything? This most precious 'need' is consciousness which you want to 'protect' at any cost, and the best way to protect anything is not to be away from it at all. Is it not?

So, the main purpose of repeating a Japa continuously is to remain one with consciousness all the time. But you must understand that this 'practice' will enable you to achieve your 'purpose' only for the limited duration while you repeat the Japa. A clear apperception of your true nature, on the other hand, is not at all based on the concept of time; apperception is intemporality.

Sunday, 9 August 1981 — The same young lady wanted to know whether the practice of observing a day every week as the 'day of silence' was a good one. Maharaj smiled and said that it would be an excellent practice if the significance of the word 'silence' was clearly understood. Maharaj explained: I have heard of certain Mahatmas and Gurus, greatly interested in politics, observing 'days of silence', when they do not speak but communicate with the aid of pen and paper. I am sure their throats get a lot of much-needed rest, but other than that, I doubt if there could be any other benefit.

What I would understand by 'silence' is total absence of word and thought. Have you ever considered from where the word comes? Before a word becomes vocal, it has to be a thought; a movement in consciousness, and therefore, the source of the word as well as the thought is consciousness. Once you understand this, you will also understand that perfect silence can only be in the absence of thought— only when thought ceases, and conceptualization and objectivization are also suspended. When conceptualization ceases, identity, which is the basis of conceptualization, cannot remain, and in the absence of identity there is no bondage.

Tuesday, 18 August 1981—This morning Maharaj was too weak to speak. The suggestion that one of the recorded tapes of his talks be played was approved by him. After about twenty minutes of this, he asked that the tape be stopped. He sat up in his bed with some difficulty, and whispered a message: "Think on what you have heard just now — what you heard and, infinitely more important, who heard it".

After this brief whispered message words failed the Master. His throat got choked. He closed his eyes, his frail physical resources grappling with an excruciating pain. And we watched helplessly.

-- excerpts from the book : "Pointers from Nisargadatta Maharaj" by Ramesh S. Balsekar -- there may be missing portions -- to read full text, please refer to the book --

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Nisarga Yoga

 
In the humble abode of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, but for the electric lights and the noises of the street traffic, one would not know in which period of human history one dwells. There is an atmosphere of timelessness about his tiny room; the subjects discussed are timeless - valid for all times; the way they are expounded and examined is also timeless; the centuries, millennia and yugas fall off and one deals with matters immensely ancient and eternally new.

The discussions held and teachings given would have been the same ten thousand years ago and will be the same ten thousand years hence. There will always be conscious beings wondering about the fact of their being conscious and enquiring into its cause and aim. Whence am I? Who am I? Whither am I? Such questions have no beginning and no end. And it is crucial to know the answers, for without a full understanding of oneself, both in time and in timelessness, life is but a dream, imposed on us by powers we do not know, for purposes we cannot grasp.

Maharaj is not a learned. There is no erudition behind his homely Marathi; authorities he does not quote, scriptures are rarely mentioned; the astonishingly rich spiritual heritage of India is implicit in him rather than explicit. No rich Ashram was ever built around him and most of his followers are humble working people cherishing the opportunity of spending an hour with him from time to time.

Simplicity and humility are the keynotes of his life and teachings; physically and inwardly he never takes the higher seat; the essence of being on which he talks, he sees in others as clearly as he sees it in himself. He admits that while he is aware of it, others are not yet, but this difference is temporary and of little importance, except to the mind and its ever-changing content. When asked about his Yoga, he says he has none to offer, no system t propound, no theology, cosmology, psychology or philosophy. He knows the real nature - his own and his listeners’ - and he points it out. The listener cannot see it because he cannot see the obvious, simply and directly. All he knows, he knows with his mind, stimulated with the senses. That the mind is a sense in itself, he does not even suspect.

The Nisarga Yoga, the ‘natural’ Yoga of Maharaj, is disconcertingly simple - the mind, which is all-becoming, must recognize and penetrate its own being, not as being this or that, here or there, then or now, but just as timeless being.

This timeless being is the source of both life and consciousness. In terms of time, space and causation it is all-powerful, being the causeless cause; all-pervading, eternal, in the sense of being beginningless, endless and ever-present. Uncaused, it is free; all-pervading, it knows; undivided, it is happy. It lives, it loves, and it has endless fun, shaping and re-shaping the universe. Every man has it, every man is it, but not all know themselves as they are, and therefore identify themselves with the name and shape of their bodies and the contents of their consciousness.

To rectify this misunderstanding of one’s reality, the only way is to take full cognizance of the ways of one’s mind and to turn it into an instrument of self-discovery. The mind was originally a tool in the struggle for biological survival. It had to learn the laws and ways of Nature working hand-in-hand can raise life to a higher level. But, in the process the mind acquired the art of symbolic thinking and communication, the art and skill of language. Words became important. Ideas and abstractions acquired an appearance of reality, the conceptual replaced the real, with the result that man now lives in a verbal world, crowded with words and dominated by words.

Obviously, for dealing with things and people words are exceedingly useful. But they make us live in a world totally symbolic and, therefore, unreal. To break out from this prison of the verbal mind into reality, one must be able to shift one’s focus from the word to what it refers to, the thing itself.

The most commonly used word and most pregnant with feelings, and ideas is the word ‘I’. Mind tends to include in it anything and everything, the body as well as the Absolute. In practice it stands as a pointer to an experience which is direct, immediate and immensely significant. To be, and to know that one is, is most important. And to be of interest, a thing must be related to one’s conscious existence, which is the focal point of every desire and fear. For, the ultimate aim of every desire is to enhance and intensify this sense of existence, while all fear is, in its essence, the fear of self-extinction. To delve into the sense of ‘I’ - so real and vital - in order to reach its source is the core of Nisarga Yoga. Not being continuous, the sense of ‘I’ must have a source from which it flows and to which it returns. This timeless source of conscious being is what Maharaj calls the self-nature, self-being, swarupa.

As to the methods of realising one’s supreme identity with self-being, Maharaj is peculiarly non-committal. He says that each has his own way to reality, and that there can be no general rule. But, for all the gateway to reality, by whatever road one arrives to it, is the sense of ‘I am’. It is through grasping the full import of the ‘I am’, and going beyond it to its source, that one can realise the supreme state, which is also the primordial and the ultimate. The difference between the beginning and the end lies only in the mind. When the mind is dark or turbulent, the source is not perceived. When it is clear and luminous, it becomes a faithful reflection of the source. The source is always the same - beyond darkness and light, beyond life and death, beyond the conscious and the unconscious.

This dwelling on the sense ‘I am’ is the simple, easy and natural Yoga, the Nisarga Yoga. There is no secrecy in it and no dependence; no preparation is required and no initiation. Whoever is puzzled by his very existence as a conscious being and earnestly wants to find his own source, can grasp the ever-present sense of ‘I am’ and dwell on it assiduously and patiently, till the clouds obscuring the mind dissolve and the heart of being is seen in all its glory.

The Nisarga Yoga, when persevered in and brought to its fruition, results in one becoming conscious and active in what one always was unconsciously and passively. There is no difference in kind - only in manner - the difference between a lump of gold and a glorious ornament shaped out of it. Life goes on, but it is spontaneous and free, meaningful and happy.

Maharaj most lucidly describes this natural, spontaneous state, but as the man born blind cannot visualize light and colours, so is the unenlightened mind unable to give meaning to such descriptions. Expressions like dispassionate happiness, affectionate detachment, timelessness and causelessness of things and being - they all sound strange and cause no response. Intuitively we feel they have a deep meaning, and they even create in us a strange longing for the ineffable, a forerunner of things to come, but that is all. As Maharaj puts it: words are pointers, they show the direction but they will not come along with us. Truth is the fruit of earnest action, words merely point the way.

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About Nisargadatta Maharaj

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was an Indian spiritual teacher and philosopher of Advaita (Nondualism), and a Guru, belonging to the Navnath Sampradaya. Sri Nisargadatta, with his direct and minimalistic explanation of non-dualism, is considered the most famous teacher of Advaita since Ramana Maharshi. In 1973, the publication of his most famous and widely-translated book, "I AM THAT", an English translation of his talks in Marathi by Maurice Frydman, brought him worldwide recognition and followers.

According to Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, the purpose of spirituality is simply to know who you are. His discussions are not for academic scholars. He is a rebellious spirit, abrupt in his style of discussion, provocative, and immensely profound, cutting to the core and wasting little effort on inessentials. He talked about the 'direct way' of knowing the Final Reality, in which one becomes aware of one's original nature through mental discrimination, breaking the mind's false identification with the ego, knowing that "You are already That".
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