Indian Philosopher and Spiritual Teacher of Advaita Vedanta
Nisargadatta Maharaj, fully Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, born Maruti Shivrampant Kambli
Indian Philosopher and Spiritual Teacher of Advaita Vedanta
Understand that it is not the individual that has consciousness; it is the consciousness which assumes innumerable forms. That something which is born or which will die is purely imaginary. It is the child of a barren woman. In the absence of this basic concept ‘I am’, there is no thought, there is no consciousness.
We love variety, the play of pain and pleasure, we are fascinated by contrasts. For this we need the opposites and their apparent separation. We enjoy them for a time and then get tired and crave for the peace and silence of pure being.
What is seedless and rootless, what does not sprout and grow, flower and fruit, what comes into being suddenly and in full glory, mysteriously and marvelously, you may call that 'god' It is entirely unexpected yet inevitable, infinitely familiar yet most surprising, beyond all hope yet absolutely certain....You can do nothing to bring it about, but you can avoid creating obstacles. Watch your mind, how it comes into being, how it operates. As you watch your mind, you discover your self as the watcher. When you stand motionless, only watching, you discover your self as the light behind the watcher. The source of light is dark, unknown is the source of knowledge. That source alone is. Go back to that source and abide there.
Whatever activities happen, happen only because of your ‘I amness’. They make no impression on the ‘I amness’. Judgements like good or bad are aspects of the mind, but if you are one with that ‘I amness’, then at that stage the mind is not there.
Whatever you observe, you don’t require, that principle through which ‘you are’ is greater. In the waking state ‘you are’ so you have needs, in the absence of ‘I amness’ where are the needs? In spite of being, not having the knowledge of being is non-being, that state is a source of peace.
When that witness itself, which is ‘I am’, subsides, what remains? With the witness gone, all other things have disappeared too. By the same token upon the arising of the ‘I am’, the whole manifestation takes place; these two are not separate, they are one, ‘I am’ is the witness, the entire manifest world is because of this.
When you are in deep sleep and you feel that you are awake, the dream world appears simultaneously. With the ‘I am’, the world appears in the waking and dream states.
When you know beyond all doubting that the same life flows through all that is and you are that life, you will love all naturally and spontaneously. When you realize the depth and fullness of your love of yourself, you know that every living being and the entire universe are included in your affection. But when you look at anything as separate from you, you cannot love it for you are afraid of it. Alienation causes fear and fear deepens alienation. It is a vicious circle. Only self - realization can break it. Go for it resolutely.
Who has the knowledge ‘I am’? Somebody in you knows the knowledge ‘I am’, who is it? It is very obvious that you know you are, but what or who is it that knows you are?
With the arrival of the consciousness, it occurs to you that you are; simultaneously, ‘I am’ occurs to you or in your attention. So when the consciousness is not there, attention is also not there. Subsequent to the arrival of consciousness and attention, everything else crept in. The Absolute state is prior to consciousness; it means the unborn state. Since the ‘Parabrahman’ is the unborn state, prior to consciousness, can it have an iota of knowledge?
You are always seeking pleasure, avoiding pain, always after happiness and peace. Don't you see that it is your very search for happiness that makes you feel miserable? Try the other way: indifferent to pain and pleasure, neither asking, nor refusing, give all your attention to the level on which 'I am' is timelessly present. Soon you will realize that peace and happiness are in your very nature and it is only seeking them through some particular channels, that disturbs.
You are the knowledge (‘I am’) and you don’t have any shape or form whatsoever. You are impersonal. You are comprehensive. You are the manifest, the Universal Consciousness. What would happen if you went in search of that Consciousness? The seeker would disappear in the search, because the ‘I amness’ is all there is.
You give reality to concepts, while concepts are distortions of reality. Abandon all conceptualization and stay silent and attentive. Be earnest about it and all will be well with you.
You must come to a firm decision. You must forget the thought that you are the body and be only the knowledge ‘I am’, which has no form, no name. Just be. When you stabilize in that beingness it will give all the knowledge and all the secrets to you, and when the secrets are given to you, you transcend the beingness, and you, the Absolute will know that you are also not the consciousness. Having gained all this knowledge, having understood what is what, a kind of quietude prevails, a tranquility. Beingness is transcended, but beingness is available.
You should understand this clearly. If one thinks one is the body, one becomes a slave of mind and suffers accordingly. Therefore, you should completely identify yourself with the highest principle in you, which is the knowledge ‘I am’. This will elevate you to the status of ‘brihaspati’ – the guru of gods.
Understanding confusion means becoming free of it.
Weak-mindedness is due to lack of intelligence, of understanding, which again is the result of non-awareness. By striving for awareness you bring your mind together and strengthen it.
What is supremely important is to be free from contradictions: the goal and the way must not be on different levels; life and light must not quarrel; behaviour must not betray belief. Call it honesty, integrity, wholeness; you must not go back, undo, uproot, abandon the conquered ground. Tenacity of purpose and honesty in pursuit will bring you to your goal.
Whatever comes and goes, is not reality. See the event as event only. Then you are vulnerable to reality, no longer armored against it, as you were when you gave reality to events and experiences.
Whatever you presently know is false, if the ‘I am’ is there, Ishwara is there. The ‘I am’ is Ishwara’s soul and Ishwara is my soul, both exist together. Ishwara is without limits, I am also like that, like Ishwara, penniless. Now, just forget everything and find out how will you be on a permanent basis? All this talk of God and yourself is just for killing time. Go ahead, no God, no I, as long as you have cravings, knowledge will not be yours, Ishwara dies before me.
When the ‘I amness’ appears spontaneously, like a bolt of lightening, the illusion of Self-love is broken into five basic elements, space, air, earth, fire and water. But this Self-love, the ‘I am’ manifests itself as Sattva Guna to the one who accepts this as a natural process. When it is used for achieving something in the world it is referred to as Rajas Guna. When it is used to take credit for achievements, it is referred to as Tamas Guna.
When you are no longer attached to anything, you have done your share. The rest will be done for you.
When you know that you lack nothing, that all there is, is you and yours, desire ceases.
Who is a Jnani? A Jnani is one who has come to a conclusion about the raw material of the ‘I am’ and that he stands apart from it. You presume that you have a lot of knowledge, yet you have not been able to get rid of your identity, but even if you keep in mind just two words (‘I am’), your job is done.
With the transcendence of the knowledge ‘I am’, the Absolute prevails. The state is called ‘Parabrahman’, while the knowledge ‘I am’ is termed Brahman. This knowledge ‘I am’ or the beingness is illusion only. Therefore, when Brahman is transcended, only the ‘Parabrahman’ is, in which there is not even a trace of the knowledge ‘I am’.