NavigationAbhinavagupta Adi Shankaracharya Anandamayi Ma Atmananda Krishna Menon Buddha Chinmayananda Dalai Lama Gautama Buddha Huang Po Lao Tzu Nisargadatta Maharaj Papaji Ramesh Balsekar Rumi Swami Dayananda Ramana Maharshi U.G.Krishnamurti
Pointers to Presence
V: "Do books replace a Guru?"
M: "Yes, books can replace a Guru. At one stage you yourself become a Guru; then you find out that books are of no use anymore. The Guru is one who knows the beginning, continuity, and the end of his life, and understands the mind on which the environment has so much impact." (Page, 89, I am Unborn).
Next to Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta is the most popular twentieth century advaitic sage in the West.
Born in 1897, on the same birthday as the Puranic monkey diety, Hanuman, Nisargadatta was a contemporary guru belonging to the Ichegeri branch of the Navnath Sampradaya, and a major exponent of Advaita Vedanta (nondual knowledge).
His teacher, Siddharameshwar Maharaj, told him, “You are not what you take yourself to be." and gave him a simple set of instructions.
"My Guru ordered me to attend to the sense 'I am' and to give attention to nothing else. I just obeyed. I did not follow any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. Whatever happened, I would turn away my attention from it, and remain with the sense 'I am'. It may look too simple, even crude. My only reason for doing it was that my Guru told me so. Yet, it worked!"
“My teacher told me to hold on to the sense 'I am' tenaciously and not to swerve from it even for a moment. I did my best to follow his advice and in a comparatively short time I realized within myself the truth of his teaching. All I did was to remember his teaching, his face, his words constantly. This brought an end to the mind; in the stillness of the mind I saw myself as I am -- unbound.”
“I simply followed (my teacher's) 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 peace and joy and a 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.”
It should be noted that Nisargadatta’s unfolding took only three years. He became a saddhu, walking the Himalayas before returning home to Mumbai. Most renowned for the contemporary classic book of dialogues, I am That, Nisargadatta attracted many Western devotees to his humble apartment in Mumbai.
Sri Nisargadatta passed away at 84, in 1981.
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