By Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
V: No, that is self-evident.
M: Prior to knowing that you are, what knowledge did you have? What question can you put here, at this point? What do you know?
Dhyana* means to have an objective. You want to consider something. You are that something. Just to be, you are. Just being the being, “I am.” You meditate on something. That knowledge “I am” is yourself. Abide only there. How can you ask any questions at this point? Because that is the beginning of knowledge.
V: One should not ask any questions until one has achieved the goal. When one achieves that, the questions will be dissolved.
M: That is exactly what I am telling you. You know that “you are” is a very great miracle. This type of talk is not expounded anywhere else. The very source, the seed of this philosophy, nobody will expound. They will tell you to go and worship a certain God and you will get his blessing — you will be benefiting in such and such a way. Do this and you’ll get that.
That deep urge to understand the truth is definitely going to occur. But if you desire to inquire into this entire objective* world and are captivated by it, you will never reach the goal.
*That is, the world of “objects,” the external world.
By trying to learn all the history of Rama, Krishna, Christ, etc. you will not attain it either; you will never get satisfied. You will have that peace and quietude only when you know yourself, when you have that intimate knowledge “you are.” You know you are. How did it happen to be with what you are? Because of what are you? What is the cause of it? Find out all that.
Your present capital is what you have read — whatever you have heard and read. But that type of investment is of no use in the spiritual field.
As I tell you, abide in yourself, be your own being, then only you will you get that peace and quietude.
V: So I should not ask any questions?
M: Correct, no questions. Just be what you are. As I tell you, when you abide in your own self, all your questions will be dissolved by the knowledge “you are.”
The manifested extends beyond any limits; it is spread all over, ample. If that knowledge “you are” is not there, where is the world? And where are the gods?
By reading various books and listening to everything else, you cannot become a mahatma, but only through that knowledge “I am.” Don’t concentrate on the body. Because of the body, you call yourself a male or a female. Just hold on to that knowledge “I am” only, without body sense — beyond name and form or design. But you have to employ name, form and design for the sake of worldly activities.
You are lucky, I am not expounding this in great detail to other people. To them, I simply say: You are “you,” that knowledge “you are.” Accept that only, and be on your way.
Don’t meditate on anyone, any God or sage. And that knowledge “you are,” don’t embellish it with the body. I do not tell people more than they need and may not go into great detail. Because your parents have come to fruition, you are here at this moment. The knowledge that you are has no form and no name; it is purely knowledge “you are.” A name and form is good only for the purposes of the world. Presently you are adjustable by the name; name means “myself.” And to that name, you have given the disguise of the body. After relinquishing the name that is imposed on you, tell me your name. By hearing nobody, what can be your name?
V: No name!
M: Similarly, you accept the body as your identity. Right here and now, drop your identity with the body and sit still. Just drop this body like a discarded garment; drop also the identity with the name. And now you tell me about yourself. Whatever you are is most appropriate — that greatest principle that you are, about which you cannot give any information. But you are.
So long as you show that you are becoming more intimate with yourself, and getting to know that self, your comments are all right. The love for that knowledge “I am,” the most lovable principle, is the knowledge “I am” itself. Is it not correct? That self, that knowledge “I am,” has immense love for the self alone. But when that self or that love of the self becomes mixed up or associated with the body, the miseries begin.
V: One should have that realization of “I-ness,” right?
M: Yes, but how can that happen unless you have full confirmation that “I am” is purely “I am”? You must have a firm conviction that “I am” is only that “I am,” without body-mind form — the knowledge “I am” purely.
V: I am trying to do it, practice it.
M: When you say you are practicing that, it means you are developing your conviction. You are confirming your conviction about it. That is all. What other practice do you need?
V: What else is needed? Is there a technique for it?
M: That itself is the technique, because of which the world is. Male or female is the title of the body form, not of the atman, not of the Self.
V: I understand all this. It has been explained beautifully every day, we have read it in the books, we understand it, and that is why I have come here.
M: All these things are said by you, but has the knowledge come within the purview of the knowledge “I am”?
M: You must have that full conviction, whatever you may have said. That is the truth and that is “I am.” There are no techniques, except the technique that I am — the firm conviction that “I am” means “I am” only, abidance in “I”.
V: I am trying to do that, and I think everyone here present is trying to do the same.
M: When a guru is really a jnani — that is, one who has realized himself — you should abide in him. When such a guru guides or directs a disciple, no spiritual technique is necessary. There was a time when Arjuna also was not doing any spiritual practice. All the amies were in the battle area, and the horses were ready to rush at the enemy. What time was available for Arjuna to practice? He just listened and accepted whatever Krishna told him, and that was all he needed to get realization. Arjuna reached the goal through his right attitude and because his guru, Krishna, was realized.
Don’t practice this thing, only develop your conviction.
How long do you do this type of meditation? Until you stabilize in the conviction: I am the knowledge “I am.” At that stage your individuality is completely extinguished; you no longer have a personality. And “you” denotes the manifested. In place of the lost individuality has come the manifest totality.
For a realized sage, there is no question of going into samadhi and descending from samadhi. So long as the so-called sage does not abide in that stage, in that selfhood, until then he has to practice going into samadhi and coming down from samadhi.
V: By sage, you mean the individual?
M: A seeker. Nomally the word sadhaka is used here, and also mumukshi. Mumukshi is a lower stage and means “inclined to spirituality.” Sadhaka means one who thinks he is not “body-mind” but the manifest only.
July 6/7, 1980
Text copyright © 1994 Robert Powell. Reprinted by permission from The Ultimate Medicine, Chapter 5, ‘The Greatest Miracle is the News “I Am”.’
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897‒1981) was an Advaitan guru who received visitors in his Bombay apartment. He became world famous following publication of his second book I Am That in 1973.
Robert Powell (1918‒2013) was the author of many books including Life: The Exquisite Art of Meaningfulness.
By Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Translated by Robert Powell, PhD
This book contains transcripts of conversations that Sri Nisargadatta held with visitors about a year before his death, when he was 83 years old and sick with cancer. Although it affords extraordinary glimpses into the mind of a man who had been self-realized for over half a century, the tone is occasionally impatient and even cranky. This is a good book to read after you've finished I Am That.
This page was published on October 3, 2001 and last revised on June 8, 2017.