Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj     807 posts


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Q: Can I think ‘l am God’?

Nisargadatta M: Don’t identify yourself with an idea. If you mean by God, the Unknown, then you merely say: ‘I do not know what I am’. If you know God as you know your self, you need not say it. Best is the simple feeling ‘I am’. Dwell on it patiently. Here patience is wisdom; don’t think of failure. There can be no failure in this undertaking.

Q: My thoughts will not let me.

Nisargadatta M: Pay no attention. Don’t fight them Just do nothing about them, let them be, whatever they are. Your very fighting them gives them life. Just disregard. Look through. Remember to remember: ‘whatever happens — happens because I am’. All reminds you that you are. Take full advantage of the fact that to experience you must be. You need not stop thinking. Just cease being interested. It is disinterestedness that liberates. Don’t hold on, that is all. The world is made of rings. The hooks are all yours. Make straight your hooks and nothing can hold you: Give up your addictions. There is nothing else to give up. Stop your routine of acquisitiveness, your habit of looking for results and the freedom of the universe is yours. Be effortless.

Q: Life is effort. There are so many things to do.

Nisargdatta M: What needs doing, do it. Don’t resist. Your balance must be dynamic, based on doing just the right thing, from moment to moment. Don’t be a child unwilling to grow up. Stereotyped gestures and postures will not help you. Rely entirely on your clarity of thought, purity of motive and integrity of action. You cannot possibly go wrong. Go beyond and leave all behind.

Q: But can anything be left for good?

Nisargadatta M: You want something like a round-the-clock ecstasy. Ecstasies come and go, necessarily, for the human brain cannot stand the tension for a long time. A prolonged ecstasy will burn out your brain, unless it is extremely pure and subtle. In nature nothing is at stand-still, everything pulsates, appears and disappears. Heart, breath, digestion, sleep and waking — birth and death everything comes and goes in waves. Rhythm, periodicity, harmonious alternation of extremes is the rule. No use rebelling against the very pattern of life. If you seek the Immutable, go beyond experience. When I say: remember ‘I am’ all the time, I mean: ‘come back to it repeatedly’. No particular thought can be mind’s natural state, only silence. Not the idea of silence, but silence itself. When the mind is in its natural state, it reverts to silence spontaneously after every experience or, rather, every experience happens against the background of silence. Now, what you have learnt here becomes the seed. You may
forget it — apparently. But it will live and in due season sprout and grow and bring forth flowers and fruits. All will happen by itself. You need not do anything, only don’t prevent it.

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You have the knowledge of knowing only on the basis of no-knowing. First of all, you do not know; on that no-knowing platform this knowing sprouts, but the basis is ignorance only.

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ONLY A JNANI KNOWS A JNANI

Maharaj: Where are you coming from? What have you come for?

Questioner: I come from America and my friend is from the Republic of Ireland. I came about six months ago and I was traveling from Ashram to Ashram. My friend came on his own.

M: What have you seen?

Q: I have been at Sri Ramanashram and also I have visited Rishikesh. Can I ask you what is your opinion of Sri Ramana Maharshi?

M: We are both in the same ancient state. But what do you know of Maharshi? You take yourself to be a name and a body, so all you perceive are names and bodies.

Q: Were you to meet the Maharshi, what would happen?

M: Probably we would feel quite happy. We may even exchange a few words.

Q: But would he recognize you as a liberated man?

M: Of course. As a man recognizes a man, so a jnani recognizes a jnani. You cannot appreciate what you have not experienced. You are what you think yourself to be, but you cannot think yourself to be what you have not experienced.

- Nisargadatta, I AM THAT ch 70

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The space is there which is neither the light nor the dark, but the space is. You have to transcend light and darkness to abide in space. Similarly, one has to transcend the knowingness and no-knowingness - the aspects of bodily consciousness.

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If you enjoy this relaxed state here, and if you become one with this state, you will also transcend this state. You will even transcend into a state prior to the birth of Gods. With this understanding, do what you like.

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All the experiences of suffering are the result of love. Find out what is the requisite for all this play of love and hate. It is that love for beingness, existence, which gives rise to all pain and miseries. You have to face it because you love to be.

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NOBLE DESIRES

Q: Which desires are cogent?

M: Desires that destroy their subjects, or objects, or do not subside on satisfaction are self-contradictory and cannot be fulfilled. Only desires motivated by love, goodwill, and compassion are beneficial to both the subject and object and can be fully satisfied.

Q: All desires are painful, the holy as well as the unholy.

M: They are not the same and pain is not the same. Passion is painful, compassion - never. The entire universe strives to fulfil a desire born of compassion.

— I AM THAT ch. 20

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What you are is the unlimited, which is not susceptible to the senses. By limiting yourself to the body you have closed yourself to the unlimited potential which you really are.

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As long as you cling to the idea that only what has name and shape exists, the Supreme will appear to you non-existing.

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Your outer life is unimportant. You can become a night watchman and live happily. It is what you are inwardly that matters. Your inner peace and joy you have to earn. It is much more difficult than earning money. No university can teach you to be yourself. The only way to learn is by practice. Right away begin to be yourself. Discard all you are not and go ever deeper. Just as a man digging a well discards what is not water, until he reaches the water-bearing strata, so must you discard what is not your own, till nothing is left which you can disown. You will find that what is left is nothing which the mind can hook on to. You are not even a human being. You just are — a point of awareness, co-extensive with time and space and beyond both, the ultimate cause, itself uncaused. If you ask me: 'Who are you?' My answer would be: 'Nothing in particular. Yet, I am.'

— I AM THAT ch. 66

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Let things happen as they happen — they will sort themselves out nicely in the end. You need not strain towards the future — the future will come to you on its own. For some time longer you will remain sleep-walking, as you do now, bereft of meaning and assurance; but this period will end and you will find your work both fruitful and easy. There are always moments when one feels empty and estranged. Such moments are most desirable for it means the soul had cast its moorings and is sailing for distant places. This is detachment — when the old is over and the new has not yet come. If you are afraid, the state may be distressing; but there is really nothing to be afraid of. Remember the instruction: whatever you come across — go beyond.

— I AM THAT

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M: Everything is subjective, but the Real is objective.
Q: In what sense?

M: It does not depend on memories and expectations, desires and fears, likes and dislikes. All is seen as it is.

Q: Is it what you call the fourth state (turiya)?

M: Call it as you like. It is solid, steady, changeless, beginningless and endless, ever new, ever fresh.

Q: How is it reached?

M: Desirelessness and fearlessness will take you there.

I AM THAT ch. 19

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The last step is - knowingness in its ultimate state is no knowingness. Transcending consciousness is when the consciousness knows and understands the consciousness.

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Please, understand that the Guru stands for reality, for truth, for what is. He is a realist in the highest sense of the term. He cannot and shall not come to terms with the mind and its delusions. He comes to take you to the real; don’t expect him to do anything else.

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Who is the Guru, after all? He who knows the state in which there is neither the world nor the thought of it, he is the Supreme Teacher. To find him means to reach the state in which imagination is no longer taken for reality.

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Your very nature has the infinite capacity to enjoy. It is full of zest and affection. It sheds its radiance on all that comes within its focus of awareness and nothing is excluded. It does not know evil nor ugliness, it hopes, it trusts, it loves.

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The self is universal and its aims are universal. There is nothing personal about the self. Live an orderly life, but don’t make it a goal by itself. It should be the starting point for high adventure.

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Don't be all the time immersed in your experiences. Remember that you are beyond the experiencer, ever unborn and deathless.

In remembering it, the quality of pure knowledge will emerge, the light of unconditional awareness.

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CONFIDENCE WILL COME WITH EXPERIENCE

Question: When I meet a European with some education and talk to him about a guru and his teachings, his reaction is: 'the man must be mad to teach such nonsense'. What am I to tell him?

Maharaj: Take him to himself. Show him, how little he knows himself, how he takes the most absurd statements about himself for holy truth.

He is told that he is the body, was born, will die, has parents, duties; learns to like what others like and fear what others fear. Totally a creature of heredity and society, he lives by memory and acts by habits. Ignorant of himself and his true interests, he pursues false aims and is always frustrated. His life and death are meaningless and painful, and there seems to be no way.

Then tell him, there is a way out within his easy reach, not a conversion to another set of ideas, but a liberation from all ideas and patterns of living. Don't tell him about gurus and disciples—this way of thinking is not for him.

His is an inner path, he is moved by an inner urge and guided by an inner light. Invite him to rebel and he will respond. Do not try to impress on him that so-and-so is a realized man and can be accepted as a guru. As long as he does not trust himself, he cannot trust another. And confidence will come with experience.

- I AM THAT, ch. 84

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TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ONESELF
29th December 1971

Q: You were telling us that there are many self-styled gurus, but a real guru is very rare. There are many jnanis who imagine themselves realized, but all they have is book knowledge and a high opinion of themselves. Sometimes they impress, even fascinate, attract disciples and make them waste their time in useless practices. After some years, when the disciple takes stock of himself, he finds no change. When he complains to his teacher, he gets the usual rebuke that he did not try hard enough. The blame is on the lack of faith and love in the heart of the disciple, while in reality, the blame is on the guru, who had no business in accepting disciples and raising hopes. How to protect oneself against such 'gurus'?

Maharaj: Why be so concerned with others? Whoever may be the guru, if he is pure of heart and acts in good faith, he will do his disciples no harm. If there is no progress, the fault lies with the disciples, their laziness, and lack of self-control. On the other hand, if the disciple is earnest and applies himself intelligently and with zest to his sadhana, he is bound to meet a more qualified teacher, who will take him further.

Your question flows from three false assumptions: that one needs to concern oneself with others; that one can evaluate another and that the progress of the disciple is the task and responsibility of his guru. In reality, the guru's role is only to instruct and encourage; the disciple is totally responsible for himself.

— I AM THAT ch. 84

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The very idea of destruction of reality is ridiculous; the destroyer is always more real than the destroyed. Reality is the ultimate destroyer. All separation, every kind of estrangement and alienation is false. All is one — this is the ultimate solution of every conflict.

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UNDER THE RIGHT TEACHER THE DISCIPLE LEARNS TO LEARN, NOT TO REMEMBER AND OBEY

Each seeker accepts, or invents, a method which suits him, applies it to himself with some earnestness and effort, obtains results according to his temperament and expectations, casts them into the mound of words, builds them into a system, establishes a tradition and begins to admit others into his 'school of Yoga'. It is all built on memory and imagination. No such school is valueless, nor indispensable; in each one can progress up to the point, when all desire for progress must be abandoned to make further progress possible. Then all schools are given up, all effort ceases; in solitude and darkness the last step is made which ends ignorance and fear forever.

The true teacher, however, will not imprison his disciple in a prescribed set of ideas, feelings and actions; on the contrary, he will show him patiently the need to be free from all ideas and set patterns of behavior, to be vigilant and earnest and go with life wherever it takes him, not to enjoy or suffer, but to understand and learn.

Under the right teacher, the disciple learns to learn, not to remember and obey. Satsang, the company of the noble, does not mold, it liberates. Beware of all that makes you dependent. Most of the so-called 'surrenders to the Guru' end in disappointment, if not in tragedy. Fortunately, an earnest seeker will disentangle himself in time, the wiser for the experience.

Q: Surely, self-surrender has its value.

M: Self-surrender is the surrender of all self-concern. It cannot be done, it happens when you realize your true nature. Verbal self-surrender, even when accompanied by feeling, is of little value and breaks down under stress. At best it shows an aspiration, not an actual fact.

- I AM THAT ch 92

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You must have a strong conviction; that conviction means practicing. That conviction means not only “I Am,” but it means I am free from “I Am” also. You know you are, without words. Just be that. You are not to think or imagine anything.

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In space there is darkness and light, the space is there whether darkness or light is there; in the same way the state prior to consciousness is always there. Right now it is there. It is the substratum of everything.

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The words of a gnani have the power of dispelling ignorance and darkness in the mind. It is not the words that matter, but the power behind them.

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There are no distinctive marks of gnana. Only ignorance can be recognized, not gnana. Nor does a gnani claim to be something special. All those who proclaim their own greatness and uniqueness are not gnanis. They are mistaking some unusual development for realization.

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