August 30, 2014

The Nisargadatta Song of Beyond I Am

...you are not this, there is nothing of yours in this, except the little point of 'I am' ... . 'I am this, I am that' is dream, while pure 'I am' has the stamp of reality on it. You have tasted so many things -- all came to naught. Only the sense 'I am' persisted -- unchanged. Stay with the changeless among the changeful, until you are able to go beyond.

Edited by Jerry Katz

Permission to reprint on this website granted by Jerry Katz, NonDuality.com

Forward by Chuan Zhi Shakya
As part of our Interfaith Outreach, we would like to introduce Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj comes from an Indian mystical tradition referred to as The Lineage of the Nine Gurus. As with all mystical paths, his teachings center on the importance of discovering the Self. We hope our readers enjoy the valuable insights offered by this revered teacher.

Introduction by Jerry Katz
One of Nisargadatta's questioners offered the following: "You told me that I can be considered under three aspects: the personal (vyakti), the super-personal (vyakta) and the impersonal (avyakta). The Avyakta is the universal and real pure 'I'; the Vyakta is its reflection in consciousness as 'I am'; the Vyakti is the totality of physical and vital processes. Within the narrow confines of the present moment, the super-personal is aware of the person, both in space and time; not only one person, but the long series of persons strung together on the thread of karma. It is essentially the witness as well as the residue of the accumulated experiences, the seat of memory, the connecting link (sutratma). It is man's character which life builds and shapes from birth to birth. The universal is beyond all name and shape, beyond consciousness and character, pure unselfconscious being." To all this, Nisargadatta agreed it was so on the level of the mind, but that beyond the mental level not a word applies.

As you read the passages that follow, you may be nudged into the avyakta, the universal; you will know you have been so nudged when the words before you disappear.

I Am That is a book of talks with Nisargadatta, a late-20th-century Guru of the Nath sect. From the book's Introduction: "Uneducated though the Master is, his conversation is enlightened to an extraordinary degree. Though born and brought up in poverty, he is the richest of the rich, for he has the limitless wealth of perennial knowledge, compared to which the most fabulous treasures are mere tinsel. He is warm-hearted and tender, shrewdly humorous, absolutely fearless and absolutely true -- inspiring, guiding and supporting all who come to him."

Quotes specifically referring to 'I am' were excerpted and grouped into four parts, the first two being introductory and the last two relating to ways of knowing 'I am' and to the nature of 'I am'. A fifth part was later added; it includes portions of text that were originally left out.

Read The Nisardargadatta Song of I Am for additional teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

The Nisargadatta Song of Beyond I Am: Selections from I Am That

...you are not this, there is nothing of yours in this, except the little point of 'I am' ... . 'I am this, I am that' is dream, while pure 'I am' has the stamp of reality on it. You have tasted so many things -- all came to naught. Only the sense 'I am' persisted -- unchanged. Stay with the changeless among the changeful, until you are able to go beyond.

When the 'I am myself' goes, the 'I am all' comes. When the 'I am all' goes, 'I am' comes. When even 'I am' goes, reality alone is...

By knowing what you are not, you come to know your Self. The way back to your Self is through refusal and rejection. One thing is certain: the real is not imaginary, it is not a product of the mind. Even the sense 'I am' is not continuous, though it is a useful pointer; it shows where to seek, but not what to seek. Just have a good look at it. Once you are convinced that you cannot truthfully say anything except 'I am', and that nothing that can be pointed at, can be your Self, the need for the 'I am' is over -- you are no longer intent on verbalizing what you are. All you need is to get rid of the tendency to define yourself. All definitions apply to your body only and to its expressions. Once this obsession with the body goes, you will revert to your natural state, spontaneously and effortlessly. ... . We discover it by being earnest, by searching, enquiring, questioning daily and hourly, by giving one's life to this discovery.

That in which consciousness happens, the universal consciousness or mind, we call the ether of consciousness. All the objects of consciousness form the universe. What is beyond both, supporting both, is the supreme state, a state of utter stillness and silence. Whoever goes there, disappears. It is unreachable by words, or mind. You may call it God, or Parabrahman, or Supreme Reality, but these are names given by the mind. It is the nameless, contentless, effortless and spontaneous state, beyond being and non-being.

Perfection is a state of the mind, when it is pure. I am beyond the mind, whatever its state, pure or impure. Awareness is my nature; ultimately I am beyond being and non-being.

The idea -- 'I am the witness only' will purify the body and the mind and open the eye of wisdom. Then man goes beyond illusion and his heart is free of all desires. Just like ice turns to water, and water to vapour, and vapour dissolves in air and disappears in space, so does the body dissolve into pure awareness (chidakash), then into pure being (paramakash), which is beyond all existence and non-existence.

One thing is quite clear to me: all that is, lives and moves and has its being in consciousness; and I am in and beyond that consciousness. I am in it as the witness. I am beyond it as Being.

To be a living being is not the ultimate state; there is something beyond, much more wonderful, which is neither being nor non-being, neither living nor non-living. It is a state of pure awareness, beyond the limitations of space and time. Once the illusion that the body-mind is oneself is abandoned, death loses its terror, it becomes a part of living.

The witness only registers events. In the abeyance of the mind even the sense 'I am' dissolves. There is no 'I am' without the mind.

You live, you feel, you think. By giving attention to your living, feeling and thinking, you free yourself from them and go beyond them. Your personality dissolves and only the witness remains. Then you go beyond the witness. Do not ask how it happens. Just search within yourself.

All I can say truly is: 'I am', all else is inference. But the inference has become a habit. Destroy all habits of thinking and seeing. The sense 'I am' is the manifestation of a deeper cause, which you may call Self, God, Reality or by any other name. The 'I am' is in the world; but it is the key which can open the door out of the world. The moon dancing on the water is seen in the water, but it is caused by the moon in the sky and not by the water.

As long as we imagine ourselves to be separate personalities, one quite apart from another, we cannot grasp reality which is essentially impersonal. First we must know ourselves as witnesses only, dimensionless and timeless centres of observation, and then realize that immense ocean of pure awareness, which is both mind and matter and beyond both.

Have you felt the all-embracing emptiness in which the universe swims like a cloud in the blue sky?

This 'I am' is an announcement: it is not the real. It has come out of something else. What the real is, I am not telling you, because words negate that. Whatever I am telling you is not the truth, because it has come out of that 'I am'. The fact is, I cannot describe reality to you, I cannot explain it, because it is beyond expression.

When you pursue the spiritual path, the path of self-knowing, all your desires, all your attachments, will just drop away, provided you investigate and hold on to that with which you are trying to understand the self. Then what happens? Your 'I-am-ness' is the state 'to be'. You are 'to be' and attached to that state. You love to be. Now, as I said, ... your desires drop off. And what is the primary desire? To be. When you stay put in that beingness for some time, that desire also will drop off. This is very important. When this is dropped off, you are in the Absolute -- a most essential state.

When you are in consciousness, you understand the nature of consciousness and you recede. Your progress continues. This consciousness is slowly extinguishing itself; knowingly it is disappearing. But nothing affects You, because that is the Absolute. Just like when the flame is gone, the smoke is gone, the sky remains.

Take one sentence of what has been said here, and stay with it. That is enough; that will lead you to your source.

The Nisargadatta Song of Beyond I Am: Selections from "The Wisdom of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj", by Robert Powell

Spiritual maturity is being ready to let go everything. Giving up is a first step, but real giving-up is the insight that there's nothing to be given up, since nothing is your property.

When you know thoughts and their wonderful powers, and liberate them from what has poisoned them - the idea of an own, separate person -, you just let them alone, such that they can perform their appropriate work. Letting the thoughts do their own work at their own place is freedom.

When you don't require anything from the world and nothing from God, when you don't desire anything, when you don't strive for anything, don't expect anything, the divine will enter you, unasked and unex-pected.

The wish for truth is the best of all wishes, but it's still a wish. All wishes must be given up, that the truth can enter your life.

When you encounter sorrow and suffering, remain with it and don't try to escape from it. Don't throw yourself into blind activity. Neither learning nor acting can really help. Be with the presence of sorrow and uncover their roots - help with insight is real help.

Understanding confusion means becoming free of it.

The world and the thinking are states of being. The divine is not a state, it penetrates all states, but is no state of anything else.

Nothing extraordinary can happen to a consciousness knowing exactly what it wants.

Delayed reaction is wrong reaction. Thinking, feeling and action must be a unity and happen together with the situation requiring them.

What is the worth of a hapiness for which you must strive and work? Real happiness is spontaneous and effortless.

In my view, everything happens by itself, quite spontaneously. But humans think they would work for a win, towards a purpose.

There's nothing from which the world could profit more than from giving up profit. A man who's no longer thinking in terms of winning and loosing is truly non-violent man, since he's above all conflicts.

It's the nature of thinking to differentiate things and specialize itself. There's no harm to that, but it isn't true when one thinks of oneself as separate from things. Things and humans are different, but not separate. Nature is one, reality is one. There are opposites, but no contradictions.

You will receive everything you need when you stop asking for what you do not need.

There's no state in which one is seeing reality. WHO is seeing WHAT? You can only BE real. (And that you are always.) The problem exists only in thinking. Let all false ideas go, that's all. There's no need for true ideas. (Since there are none.)

Suffering is exclusively the result of attachment or resistance, it is a sign of lacking readiness to go on, to flow with life.


Please visit http://nonduality.com/iam.htm and http://nonduality.com/beyond.htm for more on Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

Nisargadatta's book, I Am That, is available through The Society for Abidance in Truth or Blue Dove Press as well as other places.