Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj     747 posts


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Q: People come to you very often with their worldly troubles and ask for help. How do you know what to tell them?

M: I just tell them what comes to my mind at the moment. I have no standardised procedure in dealing with people. Q: You are sure of yourself. But when people come to me for advice, how am I to be sure that my advice is right?

M: Watch in what state you are, from what level you talk. If you talk from the mind, you may be wrong. If you talk from full insight into the situation, with your own mental habits in abeyance your advice may be a true response. The main point is to be fully aware that neither you nor the man in front of you are mere bodies; If your awareness is clear and full. a mistake is less probable.

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A short biography of Nisargadatta's Guru

Shri Samartha Siddharameshwar Maharaj, a contemporary of Sri Ramana
Maharshi, is one of the greatest unknown saints of the age. He was born
in the month of August 1888 A.D. in a small village called "Pathri" in
the district Sholapur of India.On the sixth day of his birth,
his grandmother had a dream in which great Saint Siddheshwar appeared
before her and told her that the boy who is born, is his incarnation and
asked her to name him Siddheshwar. He also said that one day the boy
will become a great Saint. And hence his name was kept Siddharamappa.
Later on he was known as "Siddharameshwar Maharaj."Even in his
childhood he was very much sharp, active and had the capacity to imbibe
things very quickly. He did not study much at the school level but he
was very intelligent, clever and smart in all his behaviour. He was
always very straight forward and spoke with a thoughtful idea. He
retorted his answers to every question with full meaning. At the age of
16, even though he was premature to work, he took up a job of an
accountant in a Marwadi firm at Bijapur. He did his work with
earnestness and settled down in Bijapur. Here he met his Master Shri
Bhausaheb Maharaj, who has built a monastery in the small village called
Inchgiri in Karnataka State of India which started in the year 1885.Shri
Bhausaheb Maharaj, understanding the mental capacity and lifestyle of
the people then, started teaching "Meditation" to his disciples at this
monastery. The main aim or goal of teaching meditation was to attain
Final Reality. The meditation method he used was known as Pipilika Marg
or the ant's way, a slow process of attaining Final Reality.Shri
Siddharameshwar Maharaj, after passing away of his Master Bhausaheb
Maharaj in the year 1914, was meditating on the teachings of his Master.
In 1918, he renounced the world and joined his four brother disciples
to popularize his Master's teachings. In the year 1920, when he was on
tour popularizing his Master's teachings, he got the idea that one
should go beyond meditation because meditation is an initial stage to
attain Final Reality. Brother disciples disagreed with Shri
Siddharameshwar Maharaj, saying that their Master Shri Bhausaheb Maharaj
has not told them so. He agreed with them, but reiterated, "Okay! Can
one not go beyond that?"He decided to set out on that arduous
path on his own, left his brother disciples, and returned to his home in
Bijapur. He started his meditation in Bijapur on the raised platform
like a minaret (upli buruj) sitting over an old gun and he meditated for
nine months without a break. Since his Master had taught him only
meditation, there was no alternative for him to find out the way to
attain the Final Reality, that is, Enlightenment, without meditation. He
made the ceaseless efforts to achieve this Final Reality. He said "I
will attain the Final Reality even at the cost of my life." By the grace
of Master Bhausaheb Maharaj he attained the goal of Final Reality.
His efforts were finally rewarded as total and Full Realization
blessed him. He then explained that one can achieve the Final Reality
via Vihangam Marg (the birds' way), that is, by realizing through
thought processes that Ignorance has come by hearing it over and over
for generations. Only by practising and hearing otherwise, the truth,
from the teachings of the Master(s) and thinking over it, just like the
bird flies from one tree to another, one can attain Final Reality very
fast. This is the shortest way to achieve the Final Reality.In
conjunction he taught that the path to Final Reality is reached by
slipping easily through the gate of Laya, which is a clear sign of one's
progress --- the danger being in mistaking it for the final goal of
spiritual practice --- thus being deceived. Ignorance and thoughts are
hand maidens. If the thoughts are absorbed in reality, one can go on to
ultimate reality. See Stages of Mindfulness and Aborsption. He then
started preaching his disciples to attain Final Reality via Vihangam
Marg (the bird's way). First he gave the Knowledge of Final Reality to
his disciples and then asked them to renounce and then told them to
renounce even the act of renunciation. Finally he gave the knowledge of
Vignana -- the Thoughtless Reality.He preached in a very simple,
lucid and sane language, by giving examples from daily life. He was of
the opinion that Parmarth -- understanding of Final Reality should be
taught in a very simple language without using high sounding or
bombastic words, to make the people understand the Ultimate Reality.
This he did from year 1925 to 1936. It was sometime during the first
half of those mid-late 1920s a nearly disguised young American traveler
on a spiritual quest toward Enlightenment, that gained fame anonymously
some years later in a novel by the famous British playwright W. Somerset
Maugham titled The Razor's Edge, visited Siddharemeshwar, one of the
first Americans to do so. It has been written that from his stay in
India he gained peace of mind.The Maharaj passed away on 9th
November, 1936, in Bombay, giving full understanding of the Final
Reality to his disciples, especially so to two of the most accomplished
followers Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and Sri Ranjit Maharaj.

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You base yourself on the body that
you are now, and don’t understand its root. That is why we think we are
this body, and for that you must do meditation. What is meditation?
Meditation is not this body-mind meditating as an individual, but it is
this knowledge ‘I am’, this consciousness, meditating on itself. Then
the consciousness will unfold its own meaning.

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You are the knowledge ‘ I am’. So if you want to worship, worship that knowledge ‘I am’. Be devoted to that ‘I amness’ only. When you do that, all other rituals become redundant, useless. Finally when you realize that everything is useless, everything is ‘Brahman’, it means you are at the ‘Parabrahman’ level, the absolute level. When at that level, you will envision everything as useless, including the ‘Brahman’ because the ‘Brahman’ is also reduced to illusion. Therefore all these talks, including my own will be reduced to illusion when you reach the highest.

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The ‘I am’ is a useful pointer, it shows where to seek, but not what to seek. Just have a good look at it. Once you are convinced that you cannot say truthfully about yourself anything except ‘I am’, and that nothing can be pointed at, can be your self, the need for the ‘I am’ is over - you are no longer intent on verbalizing what you are. All definitions apply to your body only and to its expressions. Once this obsession with the body goes, you will revert to your natural state. We discover the natural state by being earnest, by searching, enquiring, questioning daily and hourly, by giving one’s life to this discovery

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My guru further pointed out to me the fact that the only thing you have and which you can utilize to unravel the mystery of life, is this knowledge ‘I am’. Without that there is absolutely nothing, so I got hold of it, as my guru advised me, and then I wanted to find out how the spiritual aspect of ‘me’ came about without my knowledge. On my pure Absoluteness, which has no place, and no shape or form, this knowledge ‘I am’ came, which also has no shape or form. Therefore, it appears; and it is only an illusion.

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Once you subside into the consciousness, the factual state of Reality shall be revealed to you with the knowledge that will emanate out of you intuitively, like spring water. This will enable you to discern not what is real and unreal, but, most importantly, to realize what ‘I am’. And who could be that one? Surely not an individual who is trapped in the mind-shell, but that one is the knowledge ‘I am’ – the consciousness.

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At present you wrongly identify yourself as the body. Body is given a certain name; that is ‘you’; you consider it to be like that. But I say that in this body, consciousness is present, or the knowledge ‘I am’ as I call it, is there. You should identify yourself as this knowledge. That is all.

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To abide in the knowledge ‘I am’ is one’s true religion – the ‘svadharma’. But instead of following it, you opted to be irreligious by submitting to the dictates of your concepts, which led you to believe that you are a body. This misconception ensured only the fear of death.

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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.

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Nisargadatta Maharaj on Sadhana, and Trust in the Master

__________________________________________________

Questioner: Sir, I am a humble seeker wandering from Guru to Guru in search of release. My mind is sick, burning with desire... my days flit by... my health is decaying... At this rate, I shall live in sorrow and die in despair. Is there any hope for me?

Maharaj: Nothing is wrong with you, but the ideas that you have of yourself, are altogether wrong. It is not you who desires, fears and suffers, it is the personality built on the foundation of your body by circumstances and influences. You are not that person. This must be clearly established in your mind and never lost sight of. Normally, it needs a prolonged sadhana (spiritual practice) with years of austerities and meditation.

Q: My mind is weak and vacillating. I have neither strength nor the tenacity for sadhana. My case is hopeless.

M: In a way, yours is a most hopeful case. There is an alternative to long sadhana, which is trust. If you cannot have the conviction born from fruitful search, then take advantage of my discovery, which I am so eager to share with you.

I can see with the utmost clarity that you have never been, nor are, nor will be estranged from Reality You are the fullness of perfection here and now and nothing can deprive you of your heritage, of what you are. You are in no way different from me, only you do not know it. You do not know what you are and therefore you imagine yourself to be what you are not (the personality). Hence, desires and fear, overwhelming despair, and meaningless activity in order to escape.

Just trust me and live by trusting me. I shall not mislead you. You are the Supreme Reality (Parabrahman) beyond the world and its creator, beyond Consciousness and its "Witness" beyond all assertions and denials. Remember it, think of it, act on it. Abandon all sense of separation. See yourself in all, and act accordingly.

With action (trust), bliss will come, and with bliss, conviction. After all, you doubt yourself only because you are in sorrow. Happiness, natural, spontaneous, and lasting, cannot be imagined. Either it is there, or it is not. Once you begin to experience the peace, love and happiness, which need no outer causes, all of your doubts will dissolve. Just catch hold of what I have told you and live by it.

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True awareness (samvid) is a state of pure witnessing, without the least attempt to do anything about the event witnessed. Your thoughts and feelings, words and actions may also be a part of the event; you watch all unconcerned in the full light of clarity and understanding. You understand precisely what is going on, because it does not affect you. It may seem to be an attitude of cold aloofness, but it is not really so. Once you are in it, you will find that you love what you see, whatever may be its nature. This choiceless love is the touchstone of awareness. If it is not there, you are merely interested -- for some personal reasons

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The world appears to you so overwhelmingly real, because you think of it all the time.

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The personality, based on self-identification, on imagining oneself to be something: 'I am this, I am that'. 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. Even the Bhogi, who does not refuse enjoyments, need not hanker after the ones he has tasted. Habit, desire for repetition frustrates both the Yogi and the Bhogi.

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The personality (vyakti) is but a product of imagination. The self (vyakta) is the victim of this imagination. It is the taking yourself to be what you are not that binds you. The person cannot be said to exist on its own rights; it is th...e self that believes there is a person and is conscious of being it. Beyond the self (vyakta) lies the unmanifested (avyakta), the causeless cause of everything.

When your personality dissolves only the witness remains. Then you go beyond the witness. Do not ask how it happens. Just search within yourself

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You give reality to concepts, while concepts are distortions of reality. Abandon all conceptualisation and stay silent and attentive. Be earnest about it and all will be well with you.

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The Master does not propound any intellectual concept or doctrine. He does not... put forward any pre-conditions before the seekers. The realized man knows what others merely hear; but don't experience. Intellectually they may seem convinced, but in action they betray their bondage, while the realized man is always right

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Intelligence is the door to freedom and alert attention is the mother of intelligence. The mind covers up reality, without knowing it. To know the nature of the mind, you need intelligence, the capaci...ty to look at the mind in silent and dispassionate awareness.

In its own place and time nothing is wrong. But when you are concerned with truth, with reality, you must question every thing, your very life. By asserting the necessity of sensory and intellectual experience you narrow down your enquiry to search for comfort.

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.

Moments of deep insight and all-embracing love purify the mind, while desires and fears, envies and anger, blind beliefs and INTELLECTUAL ARROGANCE pollute and dull the psyche.

You can spend an eternity looking elsewhere for truth and love, intelligence and goodwill, imploring God and man -- all in vain. You must begin in yourself, with yourself -- this is the inexorable law. You cannot change the image without changing the face. First realize that your world is only a reflection of yourself and stop finding fault with the reflection. Attend to yourself, set yourself right -- mentally and emotionally. The physical will follow automatically.

However you learn from everything, if you are alert and intelligent. Were your mind clear and your heart clean, you would learn from every passer-by;. It is because you are indolent or restless, that your inner Self manifests as the outer Guru

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You talk about helping others. Have you ever helped, really helped, a single man? Have you ever put one soul beyond the need of further help? Can you give a man character, based on full realization of his duties and opportunities at least, if not on the insight into his true being? When you do not know what is good for yourself, how can you know what is good for others? To help others, one must be beyond the need of help.

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Begin from the beginning: give attention to the fact that you are. At no time can you say " I was not". All you can say is "I don't remember". You know how unreliable is memory. Accept that, engrossed in petty personal affairs, you have forgotten what you are; try to bring back the lost memory through the elimination of the known. You cannot be told what will happen, nor is it desirable; anticipation will create illusions. In the inner search, the unexpected is inevitable; the discovery is invariably beyond all imagination. Just as an unborn child cannot know life after birth, for it has nothing in its mind with which to form a valid picture, so is the mind unable
to think of the real in terms of the unreal, except by negation: "Not this, not that". The acceptance of the unreal as real is the obstacle; to see the false as false and abandon the false brings reality into being.

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The reward of self-knowledge is freedom from the personal self. You cannot know the knower, for you are the knower. The fact of knowing proves the knower. You need no other proof. The knower of the known is not knowable. Just like the light is known in colours only, so is the knower known in knowledge.

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Merely assuaging fears and satisfying desires will not remove this sense of emptiness you are trying to escape from; only self-knowledge can help you. By self-knowledge I mean full knowledge of what you are not. Such knowledge is attainable and final; but to the discovery of what you are there can be no end. The more you discover, the more there remains to discover.

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There is nothing in the world that you cannot know, when you know yourself. Thinking yourself to be the body, you know the world as a collection of material things. When you know yourself as a centre of consciousness, the world appears as the ocean of the mind. When you know yourself as you are in reality, you know the world as yourself.

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Believe me, there is no goal, nor a way to reach it. You are the way and the goal, there is nothing else to reach except yourself. All you need is to understand, and understanding is the flowering of the mind. The tree is perennial, but the flowering and the fruit-bearing come in season. The seasons change, but not the tree. You are the tree. You have grown numberless branches and leaves in the past, and you may grow them also in the future - yet you remain. Not what was, or shall be, must you know, but what is. Yours is the desire that creates the universe. Know the world as your own creation and be free.

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You are what you are, timelessly, but of what use is it to you unless you know it and act on it? Your begging bowl may be of pure gold, but as long as you do not know it you are a pauper. You must know your inner worth and trust it and express it in the daily sacrifice of desire and fear.

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The limited only is perfectible. The unlimited is already perfect. You are perfect, only you don't know it. Learn to know yourself and you will discover wonders.

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