Sample from the Fall 2007 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine
By Jean Dunn
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj is considered one of the twentieth century’s great Jnana Yogis. He was regarded as a Jivanmukta (living liberated soul) and as such, he was surrounded by many sincere students. Self-Knowledge and Self-Realization, edited by Jean Dunn, is the only known book written by Maharaj himself. Jean, a close disciple of Maharaj, gave Edward Muzika a copy of this book of which only 100 copies were printed. The book was published in 1963 but it was only many years later that it was seen more widely, because Edward made it available via his website. Here are some excerpts from this rare book, including the introduction to the manuscript by Jean.
Nisargadatta Maharaj was from the spiritual lineage of the Navanathas. He was born in Bombay in 1897, and was brought up on a farm in Kandalgaon, a village south of Bombay. He had an alert, inquisitive mind, and was deeply interested in religious and philosophical matters. After the death of his father, he moved to Bombay in 1918, and in 1924 married Sumatibai, who bore him a son and three daughters. Although he started life in Bombay as an office clerk, he soon went out on his own and started a small business, and in a few years he owned several small shops. A hunger for truth grew in him, and in 1933, due to a friend’s urging, he approached the great Saint, Sri Siddharameshwar Maharaj, and was initiated by him.
After the death of his Guru in 1936, the urge for Self-realization reached its zenith, and in 1937 he abandoned his family and businesses and took to the life of a wandering monk. On his way to the Himalayas, where he intended to spend the rest of his life, he met a brother disciple who convinced him that a life of dispassion in action would be more spiritually fruitful. Returning to Bombay, he found only one small shop remaining of his business ventures. For the sake of his family he conducted the business but devoted all his energy to spiritual sadhana. He built himself a mezzanine floor as a place for meditation (this is the room where we all used to gather to listen to him talk).
In his own words, “When I met my Guru, he told me, ‘You are not what you take yourself to be. Find out what you are. Watch the sense I AM, find your real Self…’ I did as he told me. All my spare time I would spend looking at myself in silence…and what a difference it made, and how soon! It took me only three years to realize my true nature.” His message to us was simple and direct with no propounding of scriptures or doctrines. “You are the Self here and now! Stop imagining yourself to be something else. Let go your attachment to the unreal.”
From 1978 to 1981, when Sri Maharaj died from cancer of the throat, his talks were so much deeper than in the previous years that, with the help of a few other devotees, the tape recordings were again resumed and I transcribed and edited them, with the blessings of Sri Maharaj, and these were published under the titles of Seeds of Consciousness and Prior to Consciousness; both titles were suggested by Sri Maharaj.
Self-Knowledge and Self-Realization
By Nisargadatta Maharj
The ever-awaited first moment was the moment when I was convinced that I was not an individual at all. The idea of my individuality had set me burning so far. The scalding pain was beyond my capacity to endure; but there is not even a trace of it now, I am no more an individual. There is nothing to limit my being now. The ever present anxiety and the gloom have vanished and now I am all beatitude, pure knowledge, pure consciousness. The tumors of innumerable desires and passion were simply unbearable, but fortunately for me, I got hold of the hymn “Hail, Preceptor”, and on its constant recitation, all the tumors of passions withered away as with a magic spell!
I am ever free now. I am all bliss, sans spite, sans fear. This beatific conscious form of mine now knows no bounds. I belong to all and everyone is mine. The “all” are but my own individuations, and these together go to make up my beatific being. There is nothing like good or bad, profit or loss, high or low, mine or not mine for me. Nobody opposes me and I oppose none for there is none other than myself. Bliss reclines on the bed of bliss. The repose itself has turned into bliss. There is nothing that I ought or ought not to do, but my activity goes on everywhere, every minute. Love and anger are divided equally among all, as are work and recreation. My characteristics of immensity and majesty, my pure energy, and my all, having attained to the golden core, repose in bliss as the atom of atoms. My pure consciousness shines forth in majestic splendor…
Read the rest of this article in the Fall 2007 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine.