MP3 talks by Nisargadatta Maharaj
Nisargadatta words are to be found in the world famous book "I AM THAT"
Seeds of Conciousness 2
Seeds of Conciousness 3
Seeds of Conciousness 4
In 1933, Nisargadatta was introduced to his
guru, Siddharameshwar Maharaj, the head of the Inchegiri branch of the Navnath
Sampradaya, by his friend Yashwantrao Baagkar. His guru told him, "You are not
what you take yourself to be...". Siddharameshwar initiated him into the
Inchegiri Sampradaya, giving him meditation-instruction and a mantra, which he
immediately began to recite. Siddharameshwar gave Nisargadatta instructions for
self-enquiry which he followed verbatim, as he himself recounted later:
My Guru ordered me to attend to the sense 'I am' and to give attention to nothing else. I just obeyed. I did not follow any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. Whatever happened, I would turn away my attention from it and remain with the sense 'I am'. It may look too simple, even crude. My only reason for doing it was that my Guru told me so. Yet it worked!
Following his guru's instructions to concentrate on the feeling "I Am", he used all his spare time looking at himself in silence, and remained in that state for the coming years, practising meditation and singing devotional bhajans:
My Guru told me: "...Go back to that state of pure being, where the ‘I am’ is still in its purity before it got contaminated with ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that.’ Your burden is of false self-identifications—abandon them all." My guru told me, "Trust me, I tell you: you are Divine. Take it as the absolute truth. Your joy is divine, your suffering is divine too. All comes from God. Remember it always. You are God, your will alone is done." I did believe him and soon realized how wonderfully true and accurate were his words. I did not condition my mind by thinking, "I am God, I am wonderful, I am beyond." I simply followed his instruction, which was to focus the mind on pure being, "I am," and stay in it. I used to sit for hours together, with nothing but the "I am" in my mind and soon the peace and joy and deep all-embracing love became my normal state. In it all disappeared—myself, my guru, the life I lived, the world around me. Only peace remained, and unfathomable silence. (I Am That, Dialogue 51, April 16, 1971).
After an association that lasted hardly two and a half years, Siddharameshwar Maharaj died on November 9th, 1936. In 1937, Maharaj left Mumbai and travelled across India. After eight months he returned to his family in Mumbai in 1938.On the journey home his state of mind changed, realizing that "nothing was wrong anymore." He spent the rest of his life in Mumbai, maintaining one shop to earn an income.
Between 1942–1948 he suffered two personal losses, first the death of his wife, Sumatibai, followed by the death of his daughter. He started to give initiations in 1951, after a personal revelation from his guru, Siddharameshwar Maharaj.
After he retired from his shop in 1966, Nisargadatta Maharaj continued to receive and teach visitors in his home, giving discourses twice a day, until his death on 8 September 1981 at the age of 84, of throat cancer.
Style of teaching Nisargadatta gave talks and answered questions at his humble flat in Khetwadi, Mumbai, where a mezzanine room was created for him to receive disciples and visitors. This room was also used for daily chantings, bhajans (devotional songs), meditation sessions, and discourses.
Cathy Boucher notes that the Inchagiri Sampradaya emphasized mantra meditation from its inception in the early 19th century, but that the emphasis shifted toward a form of Self-enquiry with Sri Siddharameshwar.
Nevertheless, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj [...]
still gave mantra initiation, with the underlying point being that the mantra
was more than sound, it was the Absolute Itself which could be reverberated
throughout life in all circumstance.
Boucher also notes that Nisargadatta adopted a different mode of instruction, through questions and answers, for his western disciples. Many of Nisargadatta Maharaj's talks were recorded, and formed the basis of I Am That as well as of the several other books attributed to him.
According to Timothy Conway, Nisargadatta's only subject was
...our real Identity as the birthless-deathless, infinite-eternal Absolute Awareness or Parabrahman, and Its play of emanated universal consciousness. For Maharaj, our only "problem" (an imagined one!) is a case of mistaken identity: we presume to be an individual, and, originally and fundamentally, we are not an individual, we are intrinsically always and only the Absolute.
The life force [prana] and the mind are operating [of their own accord], 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. [...] The apparatus [mind, body] which is functioning has come upon your original essence, but you are not that apparatus.
According to Conway, awareness of the Absolute could be regained by
... a radical disidentification from the dream of "me and my world" via intensely meditative self-inquiry (atma-vicara) and supreme Wisdom-Knowledge (vijñana or jñana). "I know only Atma-yoga, which is 'Self-Knowledge,' and nothing else.... My process is Atma-yoga, which means abidance in the Self."
Devotion and mantra repetition
Nisargadatta was critical of a merely intellectual approach to nondual Truth. He had a strong devotional zeal towards his own guru and suggested the path of devotion, Bhakti yoga, to some of his visitors, as he believed the path of knowledge, Jnana yoga was not the only approach to Truth. Nisargadatta also emphasized love of Guru and God, and the practice of mantra repetition and singing bhajans, devotional songs.
According to Timothy Conway, Nisargadatta often read Marathi scriptures: Nath saint Jnanesvar's Amritanubhava and Jnanesvari (Gita Commentary); Varkari Sants, namely Eknatha’s Bhagavat (Eknathi Bhagavata, a rewrite of the Bhagavad Purana), Ramdas' Dasbodha, and Tukaram's poems; but also the Yoga Vasistha, Adi Shankara's treatises, and some major Upanishads.
Nisargadatta taught what has been called Nisarga Yoga (Nisarga can be translated as “nature”). In I Am That, Nisarga Yoga is defined as living life with “harmlessness,” “friendliness,” and “interest,” abiding in “spontaneous awareness” while being “conscious of effortless living.” The practice of this form of Yogainvolves meditating on one’s sense of "I am", "being" or "consciousness" with the aim of reaching its ultimate source prior to this sense, which Nisargadatta called the "Self".
The second edition of I Am That includes an epilogue titled Nisarga Yoga by Maurice Frydman which includes this passage:
“This dwelling on the sense ‘I am’ is the simple, easy and natural Yoga, the Nisarga Yoga. There is no secrecy in it and no dependence; no preparation is required and no initiation. Whoever is puzzled by his very existence as a conscious being and earnestly wants to find his own source, can grasp the ever-present sense of ‘I am’ and dwell on it assiduously and patiently, till the clouds obscuring the mind dissolve and the heart of being is seen in all its glory.”
Nisargadatta did not prescribe a specific practice for Self-knowledge but advised his disciples, "Don't pretend to be what you are not, don't refuse to be what you are." By means of self-enquiry in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta, he advised, "Why don't you enquire how real are the world and the person? Nisargadatta frequently spoke about the importance of having the "inner conviction" about one's true nature and without such Self-knowledge one would continue to suffer.Nisargadatta claimed that the names of the Hindu deities Shiva, Rama and Krishna were the names of nature (Nisarga) personified,and that all of life arises from the same non-dual source or Self.
Remembrance of this source was the core of Nisargadatta's message:
‘You are not your body, but you are the consciousness in the body, because of which you have the awareness of ‘I am’. It is without words, just pure beingness. It has become soul of the world. In the absence of your consciousness, the world will not be experienced. Hence, you are the consciousness… remember what you have heard… meditate on it. Meditation means you have to hold consciousness by itself. The consciousness should give attention to itself. This consciousness is Ishwara. As there is no God other than this consciousness, worship it.’ ‘The knowledge “I am” is God. It is Ishwara, as well as maya. Maya is God’s power. All the names of God are of this consciousness only in different forms. Remember the fact “I am not the body” and get firmly established. That is the sign of a true seeker.
The Seven Principles of Nisarga Yoga (As identified by Nic Higham, 2018)
1. Non-identification and right understanding
2. Interest and earnestness
3. Spontaneity and effortlessness
4. Attentiveness to being
5. Right action
6. Going within to go beyond
7. Awareness of Self