Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Life and Teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

I found an excellent and comprehensive article on Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj available here: 

The multidimensional article is written by Timothy Conway who is the author the well received book 'Women of Power and Grace: Nine Astonishing, Inspiring Luminaries of Our Time'.
"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)"

"The Maharaj always taught that one must stand prior to all identifications with "I am this" or "I am that" and dwell in the basic "I am" sense until the Divine Grace of one's Real Nature awakens one to the Absolute Awareness beyond even the "I am"-sense." 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dr. Jean Klein and Truth

"My master always pointed out to me during our life together that all perceptions need an Ultimate Perceiver. The ultimate perceiver can never be the object of perception. Once false identification with the body is understood, we are led to the question 'Who am I?'--and the one who asks is himself the vivid answer. The searcher is himself that which is sought." (Neither This Nor That I Am, vi) 

Then one morning, "between deep sleep and awakening, there was a sudden vanishing of all the residues of 'my persons', each having believed themselves hitherto to be a doer, a sufferer, an enjoyer. All this vanished completely, and I was seized in full consciousness by an all-penetrating light, without inside or outside. This was the awakening in Reality...... In this non-state there was a freedom, full and objectless joy." (ibid., vii)

Like all teachings that hold that our real nature is truth, what Dr. Klein says is essentially simple:

"You are primal awareness. Life is only primal awarenss. Between two thoughts or two perceptions you are. You know moments in your life when a thought completely disappears into silence, but still you are." (The Ease of Being, 13)

This primal awareness is that which underlies all other kinds of awareness.

"At first you may experience silent awareness only after the dissolution of perception, but later you will be in the silence in both the presence and absence of objects." (ibid., 15)

Dr. Klein also calls this ultimate subject, the witness (ibid., 17) and the Self (ibid., 63). And though it may sound very removed from ordinary life, in fact it is the opposite because, no longer caught up in objects and therefore in desire and fear, it is open and free. So its true nature is love.

"If you let your attention go to your ear, you'll feel that it is constantly grasping. It is the same with the eye, the mind and all your organs. Let the grasping go and you will find your whole body is spontaneously an organ of sensitivity. The ear is merely a channel for this global sensation. It is not an end in itself. What is heard is also felt, seen, smelled and touched. Your five senses, intelligence and imagination are freed and come into play. You feel it is being completely expanded in space, without centre or border. The ego, which is a contraction, can find no hold in this presence, and anxiety, like and dislike dissolve." (Who Am I?, 72)

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Excerpted from the David Godman interview on Ramana Maharishi linked in the previous posting (Pg4).

"JD: With regard to the actual technique, would you say that it is to be aware, from moment to moment, what is going on in the mind?

DG: No, it's nothing to do with being aware of the contents of the mind. It's a very specific method that aims to find out where the individual sense of 'I' arises. Self-enquiry is an active investigation, not a passive witnessing.

For example, you may be thinking about what you had for breakfast, or you may be looking at a tree in the garden. In self-enquiry, you don't simply maintain an awareness of these thoughts, you put your attention on the thinker who has the thought, the perceiver who has the perception. There is an 'I' who thinks, an 'I' who perceives, and this 'I' is also a thought. Bhagavan's advice was to focus on this inner sense of 'I' in order to find out what it really is. In self-enquiry you are trying to find out where this 'I' feeling arises, to go back to that place and stay there. It is not simply watching, it's a kind of active scrutiny in which one is trying to find out how the sense of being an individual person comes into being.

You can investigate the nature of this 'I' by formally asking yourself, 'Who am I?' or 'Where does this ''I'' come from?' Alternatively, you can try to maintain a continuous awareness of this inner feeling of 'I'. Either approach would count as self-enquiry. You should not suggest answers to the question, such as 'I am consciousness' because any answer you give yourself is conceptual rather than experiential. The only correct answer is a direct experience of the Self."

"It needs practice and commitment. You have to keep at it and not give up. The practice slowly changes the habits of the mind. By doing this practice regularly and continuously, you remove your focus from superficial streams of thoughts and relocate it at the place where thought itself begins to manifest. In that latter place you begin to experience the peace and stillness of the Self, and that gives you the incentive to continue."

A transcript of the introduction and the three chapters on self-inquiry from David Godmans book 'Be As You Are' is available here:

'Even if one thinks constantly 'I' 'I', one will be led to that place.'
from 'Who Am I?' the earliest record of Ramana Maharshi's teaching.

It will be noted that the inward repetition of 'I' can be an effective support to help keep the attention turned inwards towards the inner feeling of 'I', the inner feeling of oneself.

The word itself is not the focus, but rather that which the word signifies.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Life and Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharishi

A good introduction is available here:

Be As You Are

As I understand it, the higher teaching of self-enquiry is that there is no need to do anything inorder to Be; You already Are. There never was any bondage so there is no question of any liberation; the Self is already realised. The screen of the Self is always present and is not effected by any movie playing on it. Fire cannot burn it, water cannot wet it and wind cannot blow it away. Simply recognising this is enough. However the Self tends to get identified with the movie giving rise to the mental fiction of 'I'. Simply withdrawing attention from thoughts, and back onto Self is enough. If identification is stronger then apprehending the aham-vritti is recommended. The aham-vritti is the feeling or sense of 'I' at the root of the mind. By isolating the aham-vritti with the attention the mental process is arrested and what remains is simply You. The experience may be intermittent at first but with repeated practice it becomes easier to reach and maintain. Gradually the quality of Conscious Being overtakes that of doing and is maintained even in the midst of activity. There is no problem in thoughts; only in identification and attachment. The Self already is; mind only appears to veil it. All efforts are simply to dispell ignorance and what remains is You. 'Be As You Are' is the title of the excellent compendium on the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi as edited by David Godman. Read a review of 'Be As You Are' here

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In Conclusion...

When caught up in the mind ask 'who is?'
naturally 'I am'
who or what is this 'I'?

before 'I am this' or 'I am that' or any other concept or identification
see that 'I' indicates a wordless sense of self
a silent feeling of oneself 'I,...I,...I,'

a sense of self existence, that 'I am'

From 'I Am That' Talks with Nisargadatta Mahraj

(excerpted from the appendix and foreword)

The Nisarga Yoga, the ‘natural’ Yoga of Maharaj, is disconcertingly simple -- the mind, which is all-becoming, must recognise and penetrate its own being, not as being this or that, here or there, then or now, but just as timeless being.

To delve into the sense of ‘I’ -- so real and vital -- in order to reach its source is the core of Nisarga Yoga. Not being continuous, the sense of ‘I’ must have a source from which it flows and to which it returns. This timeless source of conscious being is what Maharaj calls the self-nature, self-being, swarupa.

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.

Return again and again to ‘I am’ until it is your only abode, outside of which nothing exists; until the ego as a limitation of ‘I am’, has disappeared. It is then that the highest realisation will just happen effortlessly.