Nisaragdatta Maharaj was a contemporary teacher of Advaita Vedanta, who taught from his own inner experiences. His book, I Am That, is a classic book expounding nonduality. I first read I Am That in 1998, when I was doing my Sadhana in Rishikesh. I still remember the sheer thrill and fascination of reading Nisaragdatta Maharaj’s words. This book became one of my foundation book on spirituality. The more I delved into his words, the more I became obsessed with Nisargadatta Maharaj and his words. In fact, I read I am That more then 800 times over the years! There was a time when I had almost memorized the entire book and could quote verbatim most of the questions and answers.
After years of contemplation, meditation and seeking, I experienced my first awakening in 2005. It took years for it to fully integrate and become my natural state of being. Going deeper and deeper into my own self dissolved the sense of being a person, until only pure awareness remained. This pure awareness is beyond any conceptualization. In that pure awareness, everything dissolved, including Nisargadatta Maharaj and his words. The great love I had for him has now transformed into the vast immensity of consciousness.
A few aspects of Nisargadatta Maharaj’s teaching have been very special to me – recognizing the sense of presence and witnessing the witness. His last works, specially Ultimate Medicine and Prior to consciousness, both took me deeper into understanding the transiency of consciousness itself and helped me go deeper into the layers of the self.
Nisaragdatta had always maintained that once you realize the truth, you will not parrot his words. He was absolutely right! Pure awareness is beyond all conditioning, but any expression of it through this body mind, which is conditioned. As such, the expression of it will be different for every awakened person.
From 2004 onwards, I came in contact with various disciples of Nisargadatta Maharaj and also got involved in the digitization and cleaning of 300 audio tapes of Maharaj, which were recorded by Ms Vanaja. The digitization has been completed now and it’s great that his tapes are now preserved for the future generation. Listen to Nisargadatta Maharaj audio mp3.
Below are some of my favorite quotes from various books of Nisaragdatta Maharaj.
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?
That attention of I amness is always there in the waking state, but we are not alert to watch it. There is no other attention to be followed. Be attentive to that attention I am.
On my true, whole, homogenous state just a small ripple appeared, the news came, I am. That news made all the difference, and I started knowing this; but now I have known my true state, so I understand my true state first, and then I understand that this ripple is coming and going on my true state. While in your case, you take interest in the ripple and dont take interest in your true state.
Investigate that concept I am. In the process of trying to find out your identity or this spiritual search, all will happen in the realm of this consciousness. You finally stumble on, or culminate into the Absolute Parabrahman state, which is desireless.
By reading various books and listening to everything else, you cannot become a mahatma, but only through that knowledge I am. Dont concentrate on the body; because of a body you call yourself male or female. Just hold on to that knowledge I am only without body sense beyond name and form or design. But you have to employ name, form and design for the sake of worldly activities.
You know you are. Because you know you are, everything is happening. Go to that knowledge I am. When you understand what that I amness is, then the shell of mystery is broken.
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. The past is in memory, the future in imagination. There is nothing in the present event itself that makes it stand out as real. A thing focused in the now is with me, for I am ever present, it is my own reality that I impart to the present event.
At the root of everything is the feeling I am. The state of mind there is a world is secondary, for to be I do not need the world, the world needs me.
All directions are within the mind. I am not asking you to look in any particular direction. Just look away from all that happens in your mind and bring it to the feeling I am. The I am is not a direction. It is the negation of all directions. Ultimately even the I am will have to go for you need not keep asserting what is obvious. Bringing the mind to the feeling I am merely helps turning the mind away from everything else.