Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Nisargadatta Maharaj, fully Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, born Maruti Shivrampant Kambli

Indian Philosopher and Spiritual Teacher of Advaita Vedanta

"By watching yourself in your daily life with alert interest, with the intention to understand rather than to judge, in full acceptance of whatever may emerge, because it is there, you encourage the deep to come to the surface and enrich your life and consciousness with its captive energies. This is the great work of awareness; it removes obstacles and releases energies by understanding the nature of life and mind. Intelligence is the door to freedom and alert attention is the mother of intelligence."

"If you are serious about the sufferings of mankind, you must perfect the only source of help you have - yourself."

""I am" itself is God. The seeking itself is God. In seeking, you discover that you are neither the body nor the mind, and the love of the self in you is for the self in all. The two are one. The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, apparently two, really one, seek unity, and that is love."

"Go deep into the sense of 'I am' and you will find... focus your mind on 'I am', which is pure and simple being. Take the first step first. All blessings come from within. Turn within. 'I am' you know. Be with it all the time you can spare, until you revert to it spontaneously. There is no simpler and easier way. Before all beginnings, after all ending -- I am. All has its being in me, in the 'I am', that shines in every living being. On a deeper level my experience is your experience. Dive deep within yourself and you will find it easily and simply. Go in the direction of 'I am'."

"The sense 'I am' is always with you, only you have attached all kinds of things to it -- body, feelings, thoughts, ideas, possessions, etc. All these self-identifications are misleading. Because of them you take yourself to be what you are not. What is mine is mine and was mine even when God was not. Of course, it is a very tiny little thing, a speck -- the sense 'I am', the fact of being. The light by which you see the world, which is God, is the tiny little spark: 'I am', apparently so small, yet the first and the last in every act of knowing and loving. Without the 'I am' there is nothing. All knowledge is about the 'I am'. Outside the Self there is nothing. All is one and all is contained in 'I am'. Give it all up and be ready for the real to assert itself. This self-assertion is best expressed in words: 'I am'. Nothing else has being. Of this you are absolutely certain."

"Before the world was, consciousness was. In consciousness it comes into being, in consciousness it lasts and into pure consciousness it dissolves. 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."

"Everything is a play of ideas. In the state free from ideation (nirvikalpa samadhi) nothing is perceived. The root idea is: 'I am'. It shatters the state of pure consciousness and is followed by the innumerable sensations and perceptions, feeling and ideas, which in their totality constitute God and His world. The 'I am' remains as the witness, but it is by the will of God that everything happens."

"‘I am’ is a quality, an attribute, indicating beingness, but the Self is not a quality. For that Ultimate Self no worldly knowledge is necessary. Words are not called for. But for the sustenance of this beingness, these words and worldly knowledge is necessary."

"‘I am’ is ever fresh. You do need to remember in order to ‘be’ As a matter of fact, before you can experience anything, there must be the sense of being. At present your being is mixed up with experiencing. All you need to do is to unravel being from the tangle of experiences. Once you have known pure being, without being this or that, you will discern it among experiences, and you will no longer be misled by names and forms."

"‘I am’ is only a few letters. Has anyone been able to keep this ‘I am’ in his pocket for all time? If whoever feels that ‘I am’ had knowledge, would he have cared to become this ‘I am’? No, he would have said ‘I don’t want this consciousness’. You are unreal – you know that you are – that is also unreal. This sense of presence is an untruth, it is like a dream."

"‘I am’ is there without saying ‘I am’. ‘I amness’ without thought is love, love is not taken from the ‘I amness’ The Self becomes manifest when love gets established as the ‘I amness’."

"‘I am’ itself is the world; it contains the entire world, that should be your conviction. Just as in a dream, when you feel that you are awake, but actually you are not and your world at that time is the dream world. Similarly this knowingness (in the waking state) contains this so-called real world; that conviction must come. The truth is that there is no difference between (dream) consciousness and (waking) consciousness, although they appear to be greatly different; all consciousness is one."

"‘I amness’ and Maya are the watcher and the Lila respectively. The ‘I am’ is not involved in any of the activity. I am expounding this knowledge from the ‘I am’ level, though my normal state observes the ‘I amness’."

"‘I amness’ is there provided these stages (waking or sleep) are there, by itself it cannot be. Simultaneously, all these three stages are a product of food essence. In the absence of body sense, is there any community of waking and sleep states? Have this affirmation, forget spirituality and dwell there (in the ‘I am’)."

"‘I amness’ is without ego. The subsequent products are the mind and the ego. The quality of ‘I amness’ or Beingness is intuition and inspiration. Just like when you have seed and plant it, it must sprout. Similarly the quality of Beingness must sprout."

"Jnana-yoga’ means to inquire how this ‘I amness’ and the world came about. To realize that ‘I amness’ and the world are the same is ‘jnana-yoga’. Here the knowledge ‘I am’ should subside in itself."

"Sat-Guru’ is your true Self. The ‘I am’ is the ‘Guru’ or consciousness in a body. This ‘I am’ is witnessed by the Self in you or the ‘Sat-Guru’ which is un-manifest. The ‘Guru’ is the manifested consciousness."

"‘Satva’ is only the essence of the five elements and in that is the knowledge ‘I am’. All that is still of the five elements, so how did this come about? Then my Guru told me, ‘this is what you are’, the whole story; so from my own experience I know that it is all ignorance."

"‘There is nobody else but me or my consciousness’, this is ‘Advaita-Bhakti’ (Non-dual devotion) – ‘I am’. This is the highest devotion – to vanish and be lost or submerged in this vast unknown."

"‘You’ are above the waking and dreaming states, because those are only expressions of your Beingness. The waking and dreaming states pertain only to your ‘I amness’. We are only able to observe because of the ‘I amness’. When the ‘I amness’ is not there the tool to observe is also not there. If you are deep inside everything is gone! And there is no ‘I am’. Then the ‘I am’ merges in the Absolute."

"A ‘jnani’ knows that he has realized when he recognizes his knowingness, which is the sense of ‘I am’. Right here and now you are in the realized state. But you try to judge it through desires and mind-concepts, hence your inability to apperceive it and abide in it. In the ‘jnani’ state, there is no need for anything, not even to know oneself. You are attached to the body-senses; therefore even though you may attain an age of hundred years, you still would crave for more years."

"A body maybe dark, fair, tall or short, but the indwelling principle – which is the knowledge ‘I am’ – has no color or dimension, just like the vital breath and mind. It is merely a ‘sense of presence’ a feeling of effulgence. And mind functions like its vehicle or medium for executing worldly activities."

"A level of mental maturity is reached when nothing external is of any value and the heart is ready to relinquish all. Then the real has a chance and it grasps it. Delays, if any, are caused by the mind being unwilling to see or to discard."

"A man's desire for a woman is innocence itself compared to the lusting for an everlasting personal bliss."

"A personal problem cannot be solved on its own level. The very desire to live is the messenger of death, as the longing to be happy is the outline of sorrow."

"A prolonged ecstasy will burn out your brain, unless it is extremely pure and subtle."

"A quiet mind is all you need. All else will happen rightly, once your mind is quiet. As the sun on rising makes the world active, so does self-awareness affect changes in the mind. In the light of calm and steady self-awareness inner energies wake up and work miracles without effort on your part."

"A shadow on your neighbor's face, the immense and all-pervading sorrow of existence is a constant factor in your life, but you refuse to take notice."

"A spark of truth can burn up a mountain of lies. The opposite is also true. The sun of truth remains hidden behind the cloud of self-identification with the body. 81. Questioner: What is a fact? Nisargadatta: What is perceived in pure awareness, unaffected by desire and fear is fact."

"Abandon all desires, keep your mind silent and you shall discover."

"Absolute perfection is here and now, not in some future, near or far. The secret is in action - here and now. It is your behavior that blinds you to yourself. Disregard whatever you think yourself to be and act as if you were absolutely perfect - whatever your idea of perfection may be. All you need is courage."

"Accept life as it comes and you will find a blessing."

"Action delayed is action abandoned. There may be other chances for other actions, but the present moment is lost - irretrievably lost. All preparation is for the future - you cannot prepare for the present... Clarity is now, action is now."

"After all, what I am offering you is the operational approach, so current in Western science. When a scientist describes an experiment and its results, usually you accept his statements on trust and repeat his experiment as he describes it."

"After deep sleep, as soon as consciousness dawns on you of ‘I am’ – that is the witness. Before that moment you did not know that you are, there was no witness, no knowledge of ‘I am’."

"All actions are performed by the ‘Ishwara’ principle (‘I am’) which is time-bound and has its being in the unknown. So what is there to do? Why say that I do anything? The ‘I am’ consciousness does everything and this ‘I am’ is nothing but knowledge without attributes, which is time-bound."

"All desire has its source in the self. It is all a matter of choosing the right desire."

"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."

"All hangs on the idea ‘I am’. Examine it very thoroughly. It lies at the root of every trouble. This ‘I am’ idea was not born with you. You could have lived very well without it. It came later due to your self-identification with the body. It created an illusion of separation where there was none. It made you a stranger in your own world alien and inimical. Without the sense of ‘I am’ life goes on. There are moments when we are without the sense of ‘I am’, at peace and happy. With the return of ‘I am’, trouble starts."

"All I can say is ‘I am’, all else is inference. But the inference has become a habit. Destroy all habits of thinking and sleeping. The sense ‘I am’ is a manifestation of a deeper cause, which you may call self, God, Reality or by any other name. The ‘I am’ is in the world but it is the key which can open the door out of the world."

"All I can tell you is the way I travelled and invite you to take it."

"All illness begins in the mind. Take care of the mind first, by tracing and eliminating all wrong ideas and emotions. Then live and work disregarding illness and think no more of it. With the removal of causes the effect is bound to depart."

"All is attended to in minutest details and yet there is a sense of unreality about it all. So is the case with me. All happens as it needs, yet nothing happens. I do what seems to be necessary, but at the same time I know that nothing is necessary, that life itself is only a make-belief."

"All is secondary to the tiny little thing which is the ‘I am’. Without the ‘I am’ there is nothing. All knowledge is about the ‘I am’. False ideas about this ‘I am’ lead to bondage, right knowledge leads to freedom and happiness. The ‘I am’ denotes the inner while ‘there is’ denotes the outer; both are based on the sense of being."

"All knowledge is like the son of a barren woman. Presently there are only beingness and functioning. The individuality and personality are thrown overboard. There is no personality, so there is no question of birth, life, or death. What remains is only the consciousness without name or form. The form needs a name, but when both are not there, then the consciousness remains only for so long as the body is there, but without any individuality. The body is of as much use now as it was prior to birth and after death. How do you know me? You know me only the acquisition of body form, name and form. Do you really see me as I am? I doubt it. Now the conclusion is that the unborn is enjoying the birth-principle. That principle that is born took so much time to understand this, and is it is the unborn only which prevails. It took so much time for the Self to understand the Self. We have tied around our necks so many concepts; death, this I AM, etc. Similarly, Concepts, of good and evil are unnecessary. We have developed these concepts and are caught in them. How does one think about Self-knowledge? Do you abide in the Self or in the process do you think of something else as the Self? You are wrapped up and lost in your concepts. For instance, you have a concept about friendship. How long do you keep your friends? You keep them so long as they are useful to you. So long as a friend is of some benefit to you, that’s how long you would like to keep that friendship. Now, how can I actually derive benefit out of a friend? I, as an individual, am not there, so how can there be a question of benefit? Benefit to whom? How can there be a question of friendship at all. Anybody, who comes here can sit. I will allow him to sit for some time, but later on I will say, You may leave, Why? Because I have no intention or purpose of having any friendship with that person. Ordinarily, there is some purpose for deriving certain benefits out of an association with another. When you meet someone in friendship, there may be some intention to serve one another. But I have no friends. Even this I Amness will not remain as my friend. I am not able to talk any longer—the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."

"All multiplicity is manifested from the Ishwara principle; it is sprouting from the ‘I am’ principle, Ishwara, or ‘I am’ is the manifest principle. If you don’t forget yourself for four days, you will die. You did not know you were, suddenly you felt ‘you are’ and with ‘I amness’ you started counting age. When exactly you felt that ‘you are’? Dwell there, ponder over it."

"All search for happiness is misery and leads to more misery."

"All talk of ‘gnana’ is a sign of ignorance. It is the mind that imagines that it does not know and then comes to know. Reality knows nothing of these contortions. Even the idea of God as the Creator is false. Do I owe my being to another being? Because ‘I am’ all ‘is’."

"All that a guru can tell you is: 'My dear Sir, you are quite mistaken about yourself. You are not the person you take yourself to be.'"

"All that happens is the cause of all that happens. Causes are numberless; the idea of a sole cause is an illusion."