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Nisargadatta Maharaj Teachings

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (17 April 1897 – 8 September 1981) was an Avaduta who imparted lessons on the Self to those who desired to know That. Nisargadatta Maharaj Teachings are from various sources. They have been collected over a period of more than 10 years.

Basic Teaching of Nisargadatta Maharaj

Nisargadatta Maharaj: The sweetness is the nature of sugar; but that sweetness is there only so long as the sugar is present. Once the sugar has been consumed or thrown away, there is no more sweetness. So this knowledge ‘I am,’ this consciousness, this feeling or sense of Being, is the quintessence of the body. And if that body essence is gone, this feeling, the sense of Being, will also have gone. This sense of Being cannot remain without the body, just as sweetness cannot remain without the material, which is sugar.

Question: What remains then?

Nisargadatta Maharaj: What remains is the Original, which is unconditioned, without attributes, and without identity: that on which this temporary state of the consciousness and the three states and the three gunas have come and gone. It is called Parabrahman, the Absolute. This is my basic teaching.

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897 – 1981)
Source: From the book ‘I Am That’


Other Teachings of Nisargadatta Maharaj

To remember what needs to be remembered is the secret of success. You come to it through earnestness.

Your own self is your ultimate teacher. The outer teacher is merely a milestone. It is only your inner teacher that will walk with you to the goal, for He is the goal.

There is no question of your trying to do anything. You cannot try to be your Self, because you are your Self.

The absolute cannot be remembered because it cannot be forgotten.

To a jnani, All is entertainment.

You are that which observes the coming and going of the consciousness.

It is the simplest thing, as soon as you have this conviction that you are not the body, then automatically, instantaneously, you become the manifest totality.

Whatever you can forget cannot be the eternal.

There is no question of going anywhere, arriving anywhere, or doing anything; you are there already.

You have a purpose only as long as you are not complete; until then, completeness, perfection, is the purpose. But when you are complete in yourself, fully integrated, within and without, then you enjoy the universe; you do not labor at it.

Look, my thumb touches my forefinger. Both touch and are touched. When my attention is on the thumb, the thumb is the feeler and the foreginger – the Self. Shift the focus of attention and the relationship is reversed.

At the moment you know that you exist; you are in the seed of the beingness, although ultimately even this very beingness is to be transcended. Everything is enfolded in that seed, just like a whole oak tree is contained in an acorn. Similarly, everything is contained in that consciousness: the whole world is there, and that body is also present.

The mind is only a witness; your real friend is the prana, the vital force, because it does everything. Because of the prana, there is mind. Without it, what would be your value? Your body would collapse. Only when the vital force is present do you know the world, the world has value, and God has value. You can know about God and world only when the vital force is there. Who knows the greatness of this prana? That itself is God, Praneshwar.

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 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.

The Self is nothing else but the knowledge that “you are.” Meditate on that principle by which you know “you are” and on account of which you experience the world. Meditate on this knowledge “you are,” which is the Consciousness, and abide therein.

Only the changeable can be thought of and talked about. The unchangeable can only be realized in silence.

Whatever you consider yourself to be changes from moment to moment. Nothing is constant.

The life force and the mind are operating, but the mind will tempt you to believe that it is ‘you.’ Therefore, understand always that you are the timeless, spaceless witness. And even if the mind tells you that you are the one who is acting, don’t believe the mind. Always keep your identity separate from that which is doing the working, thinking and talking. That which has happened – that is, the apparatus which is functioning – has come upon your original essence, but you are not that apparatus. 

Giving up desire after desire is a lengthy process with the end never in sight. Leave alone your desires and fears, give your entire attention to the subject, to him who is behind the experience of desire and fear. Ask: who desires? Let each desire bring you back to yourself.

Contemplate life as infinite, undivided, ever present, ever active, until you realize yourself as one with it. It is not even very difficult, for you will be returning only to your own natural condition.

You are the self, here and now. Leave the mind alone, stand aware and unconcerned and you will realize that to stand alert but detached, watching events come and go, is an aspect of your real nature.

True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away. Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably. Happiness comes from the self and can be found in the self only. Find your real self (swarupa) and all else will come with it.

If you want peace and harmony in the world, you must have peace and harmony in your hearts and minds.

Once you reject what you are not, whatever finally remains, the leftover, is yourself – your true nature. Presently, whatever you know is ‘I am’, this ‘I am’ is the product of the five elements. Out of the elements comes the food body and because of the food body, that ‘I amness’ is sustained. And you are also not that ‘I am’. ‘I am’ is the taste, the fragrance of this food body. The ultimate ‘you’ has no fragrance, no taste, no touch of ‘I amness’.