Nisargadatta Maharaj (March 1897 – September 8, 1981) was a spiritual teacher of nonduality, who lived and taught in Bombay, India. He was very much admired for his direct and informal teaching. He is best known for the work I Am That that has been translated into many languages.
- 1 Quotes
- 1.1 Awareness and consciousness
- 1.2 Beauty
- 1.3 Bliss and happiness
- 1.4 Body
- 1.5 Change
- 1.6 Clean, well-ordered life
- 1.7 Courage
- 1.8 Death
- 1.9 Desire and fear
- 1.10 Detachment
- 1.11 Existence
- 1.12 Faith
- 1.13 Freedom
- 1.14 God
- 1.15 Guru
- 1.16 'I am'
- 1.17 Integrity
- 1.18 Inter-connectedness
- 1.19 Liberation
- 1.20 Love
- 1.21 Meditation
- 1.22 Nothingness
- 1.23 Present moment
- 1.24 Purification
- 1.25 Reality
- 1.26 Sadhana - spiritual practice
- 1.27 Salvation
- 1.28 Scriptures
- 1.29 Self-identification
- 1.30 Sex
- 1.31 Silence
- 1.32 Sin and virtue
- 1.33 Truth and untruth
- 1.34 Universal mind
- 2 Specific works
- 3 Notes
- 4 External links
Awareness and consciousness
- Awareness is primordial; it is the original state, beginning-less, endless, uncaused, unsupported, without parts, without change. Consciousness is on contact, a reflection against a surface, a state of duality. There can be no consciousness without awareness, but there can be awareness without consciousness, as in deep sleep. Awareness is absolute, consciousness is elative to its content; consciousness is always of something. (…).
- "(…) In reality there is only consciousness. All life is conscious, all consciousness alive."
- "Whenever a form is infused with life (prana), consciousness (chetana) appears by reflection of awareness in matter."
- "One thing is quite clear to me; all that is, lives and moves and has its being in consciousness and I am in and beyond that consciousness. (…)"
- "(…) This must be well grasped; the world hangs on the thread of consciousness, no consciousness, no world."
- "God is not only true and good, he is also beautiful (satyam-shivam-sundaram). He creates beauty – for the joy of it. (…) God does not aim at beauty – whatever he does is beautiful. Would you say that a flower is trying to be beautiful? It is beautiful by its very nature. Similarly God is perfection itself, not an effort at perfection. (…) whatever is perceived blissfully is beautiful. Bliss is the essence of beauty."
Bliss and happiness
- "Be fully aware of your own being and you will be in bliss consciously. Because you take your mind off yourself and make it dwell on what you are not, you lose your sense of well-being, of being well. (…) True happiness is spontaneous and effortless. (..)"
- (…) All you need is to get rid of the tendency to define yourself. All definitions apply to your body only and its expressions. Once this obsession with the body goes, you will revert to your natural state, spontaneously and effortlessly. (…)
- "(...) Bodies are born and bodies die, but what is it to me? Bodies come and bodies go in consciousness and consciousness itself has its roots in me. I am life and mine are mind and body."
- "Surely you can change your world if you work at it. (…) a world of which you are the only source and ground is fully within your power to change. What is created can always be dissolved and re-created. All will happen as you want it, provided you really want it. (…)"
- "When you are free of the world, you can do something about it. As long as you are a prisoner of it, you are helpless to change it. On the contrary, whatever you do will aggravate the situation."
Clean, well-ordered life
- "(…) Devotion to your goal makes you live a clean and orderly life, given to search for truth and to helping people, and realization makes noble virtue easy and spontaneous, by removing for good the obstacles in the shape of desires and fears and wrong ideas."
- "The entire purpose of a clean and well-ordered life is to liberate man from the thralldom of chaos and the burden of sorrow. (…) What is wrong with a life which is free from problems? Personality is merely a reflection of the real. (…) Once you realize that the person is merely a shadow of the reality, but not reality itself, you cease to fret and worry. You agree to be guided from within and life becomes a journey into the unknown."
- "(…) I live on courage. Courage is my essence, which is love of life. I am free of memories and anticipations, unconcerned with what I am and what I am not. (…) I have the courage to be as nothing and to see the world as it is: nothing. It sounds simply, just try it!"
- "And what is death? It is the change in the living process of a particular body. Integration ends and disintegration sets in. (…) In death only the body dies. Life does not, consciousness does not, reality does not. And the life is never so alive as after death."
- "(…) Can there be renewal without death? Even the darkness of sleep is refreshing and rejuvenating. Without death we would have been bogged for ever in eternal senility. (…) When life and death are seen as essential to each other, as two aspects of one being, that is immortality. (...).
Desire and fear
- "Desire is the memory of pleasure and fear is the memory of pain. Both make the mind restless. (...)"
- "The state of craving for anything blocks all deeper experience. Nothing of value can happen to a mind which knows exactly what it wants. For nothing the mind can visualize and want is of much value."
- "Want the best. The highest happiness, the greatest freedom. Desirelessness is the highest bliss. (…) Only God’s energy is infinite – because he wants nothing for Himself. Be like Him and all your desires will be fulfilled. The higher your aims and vaster desires, the more energy you will have for their fulfillment. Desire the good of all and the universe will work for you. But if you want your own pleasure, you must earn it the hard way. (...)."
- "My experience is that everything is bliss. But the desire for bliss creates pain. Thus bliss becomes the seed of pain. The entire universe of pain is born of desire. Give up the desire for pleasure and you will not even know what is pain. (…) for the sake of pleasure you are committing many sins. And the fruits of sin are suffering and death."
- "Your mind projects a structure and you identify yourself with it. It is in the nature of desire to prompt the mind to create a world for its fulfillment. Even a small desire can start a long line of action; what about a strong desire? Desire can produce a universe; its powers are miraculous. Just as a small matchstick can set a huge forest on fire, so does a desire light the fires of manifestation. (…)"
- "By all means attend to your duties. Action, in which you are not emotionally involved and which is beneficial and does not cause suffering will not bind you. You may be engaged in several directions and work with enormous zest, yet remain inwardly free and quiet, with a mirror-like mind, which reflects all, without being affected."
- "To exist means to be something, a thing, a feeling, a thought, an idea. All existence is particular. Only being is universal, in the sense that every being is compatible with every other being. Existences clash, being – never. Existence means becoming, change, birth and death, and birth again, while in being there is silent peace."
- "Steady faith is stronger than destiny. Destiny is the result of causes, mostly accidental, and therefore loosely woven. Confidence and good hope will overcome it easily."
- "(...) one is always free. You are both conscious and free to be conscious. Nobody can take this away from you. (…)"
- "(...) Desiring a state of freedom from desire will not set you free. Nothing can set you free, because you are free. See yourself with desireless clarity, that is all."
- "God is not running the world. (…) All happens by itself. You are asking the question and you are supplying the answer. And you know the answer when you ask the question. All is play in consciousness. All divisions are illusory. (...)"
- "When you see the world you see God. There is no seeing God, apart from the world. Beyond the world to see God is to be God. The light by which you see the world, which is God, is the tiny little spark: ‘I am,’ apparently so small, yet the first and the last in every act of knowing and loving."
- "Your own self is your ultimate teacher (sadguru). The outer teacher (Guru) is merely a milestone. It is only your inner teacher, that will walk with you to the goal, for he is the goal."
- "That which sees all this, and the nothing too, is the inner teacher. He alone is, all else appears to be. He is your own self (swarupa), your hope and assurance of freedom, find him and cling to him and you will be saved and safe."
- "'I am' itself is God. The seeking itself is God. In seeking you discover that you are neither the body nor the mind, and the love of the self in you is for the self in all. The two are one. The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, apparently two, really one, seek unity and that is love."
- "I find that somehow, by shifting the focus of attention, I become the very thing I look at, and experience the kind of consciousness it has; I become the inner witness of the thing. I call this capacity of entering other focal points of consciousness, love; you may give it any name you like. Love says 'I am everything'. Wisdom says "I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows. Since at any point of time and space I can be both the subject and the object of experience, I express it by saying that I am both, and neither, and beyond both."
- (...) In pure being consciousness arises; in consciousness the world appears and disappears. All there is is me, all there is is mine. Before all beginnings, after all endings – I am. All has its being in me, in the “I am,” which shines in every living being. (...).
- "(…) All kind of experience may come to you – remain unmoved in the knowledge that all perceivable is transient, and only ‘I am’ endures."
- "To remember what needs to be remembered is the secret of success. (…) 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; behavior must not betray belief. Call it honesty, integrity, wholeness; you must not go back, undo, uproot, abandon the conquered ground. (…)"
- "(…) everything is inter-linked. And therefore everything has numberless causes. The entire universe contributes to the least thing. A thing is as it is because the world is as it is. (…)"
- "Desire for embodied existence is the root-cause of trouble. (...) Desire leads to experience. Experience leads to discrimination, detachment, self-knowledge –liberation. And what is liberation after all? To know that you are beyond birth and death. By forgetting who you are and imagining yourself a mortal creature, you created so much trouble for yourself that you have to wake up, like from a bad dream. Enquiry also wakes you up. You need not wait for suffering; enquiry into happiness is better, for the mind is in harmony and peace."
- "Discard all traditional standards. Leave them to the hypocrites. Only what liberates you from desire and fear and wrong ideas is good. As long as you worry about sin and virtue you will have no peace. (…)"
- "(...) To see myself in everybody and everybody in myself most certainly is love."
- "When the sense of distinction and separation is absent, you may call it love."
- "The primary purpose of meditation is to become conscious of, and familiar with, our inner life. The ultimate purpose is to reach the source of life and consciousness."
- "Meditation will help you to find your bonds, loosen them, untie them, and cast your moorings. When you are no longer attached to anything, you have done your share. The rest will be done for you. (…) By the same power that brought you so far, that prompted your heart to desire truth and your mind to seek it. It is the same power that keeps you alive. You may call it Life or the Supreme."
- "(…) I am all and all is me. Being the world I am not afraid of the world. Being all, what am I to be afraid of? Water is not afraid of water, nor fire of fire. (…) It is attachment to a name and shape that breeds fear. I am not attached. I am nothing, and nothing is not afraid of no thing. On the contrary, everything is afraid of the Nothing, for when a thing touches Nothing, it becomes nothing. (…)"
- "(...) To be nothing, to have nothing, to keep nothing for oneself is the greatest gift, the highest generosity."
- (…) There is something exceptional, unique, about the present event, which the previous, or the coming 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 shares in my reality.
- "Purify yourself by a well-ordered and useful life. Watch over your thoughts, feelings, words and actions. This will clear your vision."
- "(...) To take the world as real and one’s self as unreal is ignorance, the cause of sorrow. To know the self as the only reality and all else as temporal and transient is freedom, peace and joy. It is all very simple. Instead of seeing things as imagined, learn to see them as they are. When you can see everything as it is, you will also see yourself as you are. It is like cleansing a mirror. The same mirror that shows you the world as it is, will also show you your own face. The thought ‘I am’ is the polishing cloth. Use it."
- "That in which consciousness happens, the universal consciousness or mind, we call the ether of consciousness. All the objects of consciousness form the universe. What is beyond both, supporting both, is the supreme state, a state of utter stillness and silence. Whoever goes there, disappears. It is unreachable by words, or mind. You may call it God, or Parabrahman, or Supreme Reality, but these are names given by the mind. It is the nameless, contentless, effortless and spontaneous state, beyond being and not being."
- "(…) the supreme state (…) is entirely one and indivisible, a single solid block of reality. The only way of knowing it is to be it. The mind cannot reach it. To perceive it does not need the senses; to know it, does not need the mind."
- "There are the two – the person and the witness, the observer. When you see them as one, and go beyond, you are in the supreme state. It is not perceivable, because it is what makes perception possible. It is beyond being and not being. It is neither the mirror nor the image in the mirror. It is what is – the timeless reality, unbelievably hard and solid."
- "(…) as long as you cling to the idea that only what has name and shape exists, the Supreme will appear to you non-existing. When you understand that names and shapes are hollow shells without any content whatsoever, and what is real is nameless and formless, pure energy of life and light of consciousness, you will be at peace – immersed in the deep silence of reality."
- "The world and the mind are states of being. The supreme is not a state. It pervades all states, but it is not a state of something else. It is entirely uncaused, independent, complete in itself, beyond time and space, mind and matter. (…) it leaves no traces. There is nothing to recognize it by. It must be seen directly, by giving up all search for signs and approaches. When all names and forms have been given up, the real is with you. You need not seek it. Plurality and diversity are the play of the mind only. Reality is one."
- "Everything is subjective, but the real is objective. (…) It does not depend on memories and expectations, desires and fears, likes and dislikes. All is seen as it is. (…) It is solid, steady, changeless, beginningless and endless, ever new, ever fresh. (…) Desirelessness and fearlessness will take you there."
- "Reality can neither be proved nor disproved. Within the mind you cannot, beyond the mind you need not. In the real, the question ‘what is real?’ does not arise. (...)"
Sadhana - spiritual practice
- "In the case of a beginner the practice of Yoga is often deliberate and requires great determination. But those who are practicing sincerely for many years are intent on self-realization all the time, whether conscious of it or not. Unconscious sadhana is most effective, because it is spontaneous and steady."
- "(…) Salvation is to see things as they are. (…)"
- "Those who know only scriptures know nothing. To know is to be. I know what I am talking about; it is not from reading, or hearsay."
- "If you seek reality you must set yourself free of all backgrounds, of all cultures, of all patterns of thinking and feeling. Even the idea of being man or woman, or even human should be discarded. The ocean of life contains all, not only humans. So, first of all abandon all self-identification, stop thinking of yourself as such-and-such or so-and-so, this or that. Abandon all self-concern, worry not about your welfare, material or spiritual, abandon every desire, gross or subtle, stop thinking of achievement of any kind. You are complete here and now, you need absolutely nothing."
- "You are confused, because you believe that you are in the world, not the world in you. Who came first – you or your parents? You imagine that you were born at a certain time and place, that you have a father and a mother, a body and a name. This is your sin and your calamity! (...)"
- "The source of consciousness cannot be the object in consciousness. To know the source is to be the source. When you realize that you are not the person, but the pure and calm witness, and that fearless awareness is your very being, you are the being. (…)"
- "As you are now, the personality is only an obstacle. Self-identification with the body may be good for an infant, but true growing up depends on getting the body out of the way. Normally, one should outgrow body-based desires early in life. (…)"
- "All suffering is born of desire. True love is never frustrated. How can the sense of unity be frustrated? (…) Love is a state of being. Sex is energy. Love is wise, sex is blind. Once the true nature of love and sex is understood there will be no conflict or confusion."
- "The talk is in your world. In mine – there is eternal silence. My silence sings, my emptiness is full. I lack nothing. You cannot know my world until you are there."
Sin and virtue
- "(...) Sin and virtue refer to a person only. Without a sinful or virtuous person what is sin or virtue? At the level of the absolute there are no persons; the ocean of pure awareness is neither virtuous nor sinful. Sin and virtue are invariably relative."
- "Whatever you do against your better knowledge is sin. (…) Remembering your self is virtue, forgetting your self is sin. (…)"
Truth and untruth
- "Truth is simple and open to all. Why do you complicate? Truth is loving and lovable. It includes all, accepts all, purifies all. It is untruth that is difficult and a source of trouble. It always wants, expects, demands. Being false, it is empty, always in search of confirmation and reassurance. It is afraid of and avoids enquiry. It identifies itself with any support, however weak and momentary. Whatever it gets, it loses and asks for more. (…)."
- "(...) A spark of truth can burn up a mountain of lies. (...)"
- "Gandhi is dead, yet his mind pervades the earth. The thought of a gnani pervades humanity and works ceaselessly for good. Being anonymous, coming from within, it is more powerful and compelling. That is how the world improves-the inner aiding and blessing the outer. When gnani dies, he is no more, in the same sense in which a river is no more when it merges in the sea; the name, the shape, are no more, but the water remains and becomes one with the ocean. When a gnani joins the universal mind, all his goodness and wisdom become the heritage of humanity and uplift every human being."
- Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta. (2005). I am That. Durham, NC: The Acorn Press. ISBN 0-89386-022-0.
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