Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Nisargadatta Maharaj - About practices

Many modern teachers have extracted quotes by Sri Nisargadatta to make it appear as though he taught no practice and nothing to do. This is an error and a distortion. The focus of this selection is to report essential teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj that people often tend to overlook.

Instructions and Encouragement for Practice by


Nisargadatta's Teaching is that of practice, just as Sri Siddharameshwar Maharaj (Nisargadatta's Guru), Sri Ramana Maharshi and Acharya Sankara's Teachings are of practice. For every one quote that might indicate no practice in the book I am That, you can easily find ten that explain the importance of practice and how to practice. The following quotes are presented in the order in which they appear in the book.
Nisargadatta said:

Go deep into the sense of 'I am' and you will find.
How do you find a thing you have mislaid or forgotton? You keep it in your mind until you recall it.
The sense of being, of 'I am' is the first to emerge. Ask yourself whence it comes, or just watch it quietly.
When the mind stays in the 'I am', without moving, you enter a state that cannot be verbalized but can be experienced. All you need to do is to try and try again.

I see what you too could see, here and now, but for the wrong focus of your attention. You give no attention to your self. Your mind is all with things, people and ideas, never with your self.
Bring your self into focus, become aware of your own existence.
See how you function, watch the motives and results of your actions. Study the prison you have built around yourself, by inadvertence.

We discover it by being earnest, by searching, inquiring, questioning daily and hourly, by giving one's life to this discovery.

Look at the net [one's personal world] and its many contradictions. You do and undo at every step. You want peace, love, happiness and work hard to create pain, hatred and war. You want longevity and overeat, you want friendship and exploit. See your net as made of such contradictions and remove them - your very seeing will make them go.

How do you go about finding anything? By keeping your mind and heart on it. Interest there must be and steady remembrance. To remember what needs to be remembered is the secret of success. You come to it through earnestness.

What is supremely important is to be free from contradictions: the goal and the way must not be on different levels; life and light must not quarrel; behaviour must not betray belief.
Call it honesty, integrity, wholeness; you must not go back, undo, uproot, abandon the conquered ground. Tenacity of purpose and honesty in pursuit will bring you to your goal.

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.

We know the outer world of sensations and actions, but of our inner world of thoughts and feelings we know very little. The primary purpose of meditation is to become conscious of, and familiar with, our inner life. The ultimate purpose is to reach the source of life and consciousness.
Incidentally, practice of meditation affects deeply our character.
We are slaves to what we do not know; of what we know we are masters. Whatever vice or weakness in ourselves, we discover and understand its causes and its workings, we overcome it by the very knowing; the unconscious dissolves when brought into the conscious. The dissolution of the unconscious releases energy; the mind feels adequate and becomes quiet.

It is not so much the matter of levels as of gunas (qualities). Meditation is a sattvic (pure, true) activity and aims at complete elimination of tamas (inertia) and rajas (motivity, activity). Pure sattva (harmony) is perfect freedom from sloth and restlessness.

Questioner: Since I cannot improve sattva, am I to deal with tamas and rajas only? How do I deal with them?
Nisargadatta: By watching their influence in you and on you. Be aware of them in operation, watch their expression in your thoughts, words and deeds, and gradually their grip on you will lessen and the clear light of sattva will emerge.

Refuse all thoughts except one: the thought 'I am'. The mind will rebel in the beginning, but with patience and perserverance it will yield and keep quiet.

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.

Every pleasure, physical or mental, needs an instrument. Both the physical and mental instruments are material, they get tired and worn out. The pleasure they yield is necessarily limited in its intensity and duration.
Pain is the background of all your pleasures. You want them because you suffer. On the other hand, the very search for pleasure is the cause of pain. It is a vicious circle.

Questioner: I can see the mechanism of my confusion, but I do not see my way out of it.
Nisargadatta: The very examination of the mechanism shows the way. After all, your confusion is only in your mind, which so far has never rebelled against confusion and never got to grips with it. It rebelled only against pain.

Be alert. Question, observe, investigate, learn all you can about confusion, how it operates, what it does to you and others. By being clear about confusion you become clear of confusion.

By elminating the intervals of inadvertance during the waking hours you will gradually eliminate the long interval of absent-mindedness, which you call sleep. You will be aware that you are asleep.

Nisargadatta: You can have for the asking all the peace you want.
Questioner: I am asking.
Nisargadatta: You must ask with an undivided heart and live an integrated life.
Questioner: How?
Nisargadatta: Detach yourself from all that makes your mind restless. Renounce all that disturbs its peace. If you want peace, deserve it.
Questioner: Surely everybody deserves peace
Nisargadatta: Those only deserve it, who don't disturb it.
Questioner: In what way do I disturb peace?
Nisargadatta: By being a slave to your desires and fears.
Questioner: Even when they are justified?
Nisargadatta: Emotional reactions, born of ignorance or inadvertance, are never justified.
Seek a clear mind and a clean heart. All you need is to keep quietly alert, inquiring into the real nature of yourself. This is the only way to peace.

All these sufferings are man-made and it is within man's power to put an end to them.
God helps by facing man with the results of his actions and demanding that the balance be restored. Karma is the law that works for righteousness; it is the healing hand of God.

Use your mind. Remember. Observe.
You are not different from others. Most of their experiences are valid for you too.
Think clearly and deeply, go into the structure of your desires and their ramifications. They are a most important part of your mental and emotional make-up and powerfully affect your actions.
Remember, you cannot abandon what you do not know. To go beyond yourself, you must know yourself.

Purify yourself by a well-ordered and useful life. Watch over your thoughts, feelings, words and actions. This will clear your vision.

Questioner: Well, you told me that I am the Supreme Reality. I believe you. What next is there for me to do?
Nisargadatta: I told you already. Discover all that you are not. Body, feelings, thoughts, ideas, time, space, being and not-being, this or that - nothing concrete or abstract you can point out to is you. A mere verbal statement will not do - you may repeat a formula endlessly without any result whatsoever.
You must watch yourself continuously - particularly your mind - moment by moment, missing nothing. This witnessing is essential for the separation of the self from the not-self.

Questioner: What about witnessing the witness?
Nisargadatta: Putting words together will not take you far. Go within and discover what you are not. Nothing else matters.

Since it is awareness that makes consciousness possible, there is awareness in every state of consciousness. Therefore, the very consciousness of being conscious is already a movement in awareness. Interest in your stream of consciousness takes you to awareness.
It is not a new state. It is at once recognized as the original, basic existence, which is life itself, and also love and joy.

Realization is but the opposite of ignorance. To take the world as real and one's self as unreal is ignorance, the cause of sorrow. To know the self as the only reality and all else as temporal and transient is freedom, peace and joy.
It is all very simple. Instead of seeing things as imagined, learn to see them as they are. When you can see everything as it is, you will also see yourself as you are. It is like cleansing a mirror.
The same mirror that shows you the world as it is, will also show you your own face. The thought 'I am' is the polishing cloth. Use it.

Devotion to your goal makes you live a clean and orderly life, given to the search for truth and to helping people. And realization makes noble virtue easy and spontaneous, by removing for good the obstacles in the shape of desires and fears and wrong ideas.

The entire purpose of a clean and well-ordered life is to liberate man from the thaldrom of chaos and the burden of sorrow.

In reality only the Ultimate is. The rest is a matter of name and form. And as long as you cling to the idea that only what has name and shape exists, the Supreme will appear to you non-existing.
When you understand that names and shapes are hollow shells without any content whatsoever, and what is real is nameless and formless, pure energy of life and light of consciousness, you will be at peace - immersed in the deep silence of reality.

All will happen as you want it, provided you really want it.

Within the prison of your world appears a man who tells you that the world of painful contradictions, which you have created, is neither continuous nor permanent and is based on a misaprehension.
He pleads with you to get out of it, by the same way by which you got into it. You got into it by forgetting what you are and you will get out of it by knowing yourself as you are.

Why not turn away from the experience to the experiencer and realize the full import of the only true statement you can make: 'I am'?
. Just keep in mind the feeling 'I am', merge in it, till your mind and feeling become one. By repeated attempts you will stumble on the right balance of attention and affection and your mind will be firmly established in the thought-feeling 'I am'.


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