Nisargadatta Maharaj (17 April 1897 – 8 September 1981), born Maruti Shivrampant Kambli, was an Indian Guru of nondualism, belonging to the Inchagiri Sampradaya, a lineage of teachers from the Navnath Sampradaya and Lingayat Shaivism.
The publication in 1973 of I Am That, an English translation of his talks in Marathi by Maurice Frydman, brought him worldwide recognition and followers, especially from North America and Europe.
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was a teacher who did not propound any ideology or religion but gently unwrapped the mystery of the Self. His message is simple, direct and yet sublime.
Today I will be sharing insightful quotes on the nature of consciousness, existence and spiritual enlightenment by the Indian non-dual master and guru Nisargadatta Maharaj. I hope you find them as soul enriching as I do.
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70 Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj Quotes – Soul Enriching!
1. Once you know with absolute certainty that nothing can trouble you but your own imagination, you come to disregard your desires and fears, concepts and ideas and live by truth alone.
2. When I say ‘I am’, I do not mean a separate entity with a body as its nucleus, I mean the totality of being, the ocean of consciousness, the entire universe of all that is known. I have nothing to desire for I am complete forever
3. Who is going to give you eternal peace? It is only the sun, that ‘I am’. If you embrace that Self-effulgent sun everything else will go, but you will prevail eternally.
4. I live on courage. Courage is my essence, which is love of life. I am free of memories and anticipations, unconcerned with what I am and what I am not
5. A quiet mind is all you need. All else will happen rightly, once your mind is quiet. As the sun on rising makes the world active, so does self-awareness affect changes in the mind. In the light of calm and steady self-awareness inner energies wake up and work miracles without effort on your part.
6. The beginning of duality is when you know you are. This is the primary duality, the very source of illusion.
7. All you have to do is to give attention to the obstacles created by the foolish mind.
8. It is only during the duration of the beingness that the world and creation is. This power is the faith in the primordial concept ‘I am’, and that is the concept that weaves the web of creation. The entire manifestation is an appearance in this concept.
9. Love is not selective, desire is selective. In love there are no strangers.
10. Awareness is primordial; it is the original state, beginning-less, endless, uncaused, unsupported, without parts, without change. Consciousness is on contact, a reflection against a surface, a state of duality. There can be no consciousness without awareness, but there can be awareness without consciousness, as in deep sleep. Awareness is absolute, consciousness is relative to its content; consciousness is always of something.
11. All you need is to get rid of the tendency to define yourself. All definitions apply to your body only and its expressions. Once this obsession with the body goes, you will revert to your natural state, spontaneously and effortlessly.
12. All you need is already within you, only you must approach your self with reverence and love. Self-condemnation and self-distrust are grievous errors.
13. You must maintain this knowledge ‘I am’ in proper order. All the dirt, which is not the towel, should be removed. Similarly ‘I am’ is the tool through which you get all the knowledge. You worship that ‘I am’, remove all the adulteration, the dirt.
14. If you want to remember this visit, if you have love for me, remember this ‘I am’ principle and without the command or direction of this principle, do nothing.
15. There is no such thing as a person. There are only restrictions and limitations. The sum total of these defines the person. You think you know yourself when you know what you are. But you never know who you are.
16. The world is like a sheet of paper on which something is typed. The reading and the meaning will vary with the reader, but the paper is the common factor, always present, rarely perceived. When the ribbon is removed, typing leaves no trace on the paper. So is my mind – the impressions keep on coming, but no trace is left.
17. Put your awareness to work, not your mind. The mind is not the right instrument for this task. The timeless can be reached only by the timeless. Your body and your mind are born subject to time; only awareness is timeless, even in the now.
18. People are afraid to die, because they do not know what is death. The gnani has died before his death, he saw that there was nothing to be afraid of. The moment you know your real being, you are afraid of nothing. Death gives freedom and power.
19. All you need is to stop searching outside for what can be found only within. Set your vision right before you operate. You are suffering from acute misapprehension . Clarify your mind, purify your heart, sanctify your life – this is the quickest way to a change in your world.
20. Truth is not a reward for good behavior, nor a prize for passing some tests. It cannot be brought about. It is the primary, the unborn, the ancient source of all that is. You are eligible because you are. You need not merit truth. It is your own….Stand still, be quiet.
21. Co-operate with your destiny, don’t go against it, don’t thwart it. Allow it to fulfill itself.
22. Think of that which is the center of the cosmos; don’t let your attention stray in any way from this knowledge of beingness, “I Am.”
23. All you want is to be happy. All your desires, whatever they may be, are longing for happiness. Basically, you wish yourself well…desire by itself is not wrong. It is life itself, the urge to grow in knowledge and experience. It is choices you make that are wrong. To imagine that some little thing-food, sex, power, fame-will make you happy is to deceive oneself. Only something as vast and deep as your real self can make you truly and lastingly happy.
24. You have to meditate. It won’t be available free. The necessary threshold is through consciousness only. You have to imbibe and be consciousness. In the process of being in the consciousness, you come out of it, and there you see; and meditation is the only remedy.
25. To know yourself, be yourself. To be yourself, stop imagining yourself to be this or that. Just be. Let your true nature emerge. Don’t disturb your mind with seeking.
26. If you sit here quietly, being one with the knowledge ‘I am’, then you are not concerned with the world or what goes on in the world. It is only when the consciousness starts operating and there are various movements in the consciousness that the behavior in the world takes place. When I am not conscious of the existence of the body, experiences are not registered.
27. Once you realize that the world is your own projection, you are free of it. You need not free yourself of a world that does not exist, except in your own imagination! However is the picture, beautiful or ugly, you are painting it and you are not bound by it. Realize that there is nobody to force it on you, that it is due to the habit of taking the imaginary to be real. See the imaginary as imaginary and be free of fear.
28. When the centre of selfishness is no longer, all desires for pleasure and fear of pain cease; one is no longer interested in being happy; beyond happiness there is pure intensity, inexhaustible energy, the ecstasy of giving from a perennial source.”
29. Look at yourself steadily – it is enough. The door that locks you in is also the door that lets you out. The ‘I am’ is the door. Stay at it until it opens. As a matter of fact, it is open, only you are not at it. You are waiting at the non-existent painted doors, which will never open.
30. In nature nothing is at standstill, everything pulsates, appears and disappears. Heart, breath, digestion, sleep and waking – birth and death – everything comes and goes in waves. Rhythm, periodicity, harmonious alternation of extremes is the rule. No use rebelling against the very pattern of life.
31. The witness is both unreal and real. The last remnant of the illusion, the first touch of the real. To say: I am only the witness is both false and true, false because of the ‘I am’, true because of the witness. It is better to say: ‘there is witnessing’. The moment you say ‘I am’, the entire universe comes into being along with its creator.
32. 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.
33. To exist means to be something, a thing, a feeling, a thought, an idea. All existence is particular. Only being is universal, in the sense that every being is compatible with every other being. Existences clash, being – never. Existence means becoming, change, birth and death, and birth again, while in being there is silent peace.
34. Immortality is freedom from the feeling: ‘I am’. Yet it is not extinction. On the contrary, it is a state infinitely more real, aware and happy than you can possibly think of. Only self-consciousness is no more. Who would remain even to say ‘I am the witness’? When there is no ‘I am’, where is the witness? In the timeless state there no self to take refuge in.
35. Pain is physical; suffering is mental. Beyond the mind there is no suffering. Pain is essential for the survival of the body, but none compels you to suffer. Suffering is due entirely to clinging or resisting; it is a sign of our unwillingness to move on, to flow with life.
36. There must be love in the relation between the person who says ‘I am’ and the observer of the ‘I am’. As long as the observer, the inner self; the ‘higher’ self considers himself apart from the observed, the ‘lower’ self, despises it and condemns it, the situation is hopeless.
37. The state of craving for anything blocks all deeper experience. Nothing of value can happen to a mind which knows exactly what it wants. For nothing the mind can visualize and want is of much value.
38. What is wrong is that you consider yourself to be limited to this body and shape. What knowledge I try to give is given to the knowledge I am in each of you, which is the same. If you try to get the knowledge as an individual you will never get it.
39. one is always free. You are both conscious and free to be conscious. Nobody can take this away from you.
40. Realize that your world is only a reflection of yourself and stop finding fault with the reflection. Attend to yourself, set yourself right; mentally and emotionally. The physical self will follow automatically.
41. Most essential is that knowledge ‘I am’. Claim it, appropriate it as your own. If that is not there, nothing is. Knowledge of all stages will be obtained only with the aid of this knowledge ‘I am’ From the Absolute no-knowing state, spontaneously this consciousness ‘I am’ has appeared – no reason, no cause.
42. The knowledge I am is not a thought but observes thought. The innermost, subtlest principle is that gnawing principle I am, I am without words, by which you know you are. It has no form or image; it is only beingness, the love to be.
43. First know your own mind and you will find that the question of other minds does not arise at all, for there are no other people. You are the common factor, the only link between the minds, Being is consciousness; ‘I am’ applies to all.
44. All your experiences and visions depend on your knowledge I am and this itself is going to dissolve. For this knowledge there are no customers, no devotees, because they want something concrete in their hand, but when your knowingness itself is going to dissolve, is it possible to hold on to something?
45. Your own self is your ultimate teacher (sadguru). The outer teacher (Guru) is merely a milestone. It is only your inner teacher, that will walk with you to the goal, for he is the goal.
46. Learn to look without imagination, to listen without distortion: that is all. Stop attributing names and shapes to the essentially nameless and formless, realise that every mode of perception is subjective, that what is seen or heard, touched or smelt, felt or thought, expected or imagined, is in the mind and not in reality, and you will experience peace and freedom from fear.
47. When ‘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, and in it every ‘I am’ is preserved and glorified.
48. I repeatedly tell you that there is nothing save this consciousness, the knowledge I am. if you feel like worshipping something, worship that. I am giving blessings. Blessings mean what? I am giving confidence and courage.
49. When you were unaware of this message of ‘I am’ how did you function? The question I put, nobody can answer. All of your great scholars, people with a lot of knowledge, have gone into quietude.
50. As long as you are wearing this concept I am, you will be involved with all the concepts. When this concept I am departs there will be no memory left that I was and I had those experiences; the very memory will be erased.
51. ‘I am’ itself is God. The seeking itself is God. In seeking you discover that you are neither the body nor the mind, and the love of the self in you is for the self in all. The two are one. The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, apparently two, really one, seek unity and that is love.
52. The capital we have is the knowledge I am. But what have we done? We have handed over that knowledge to the body and we say I am the body. Thereby we have reduced the totality, the limitless, to the limited, a specified insignificant body. And that is why, being unable to give up this association with the body, we are afraid of dying.
53. The sense ‘I am’ is composed of pure light and the sense of being. The ‘I’ is there even without the ‘am’. So is the pure light there, whether you say ‘I’ or not. Become aware of that pure light and you will never lose it. The beingness in being, the awareness in consciousness, the interest in every experience – that is not describable, yet perfectly accessible, for there is nothing else.
54. The scriptures say that we have our karma and our sin and that is why we are here, but this is for the ignorant masses. One who has realized the self-knowledge, for him these stories are of no use.
55. There is no such thing as peace of mind. Mind means disturbance; restlessness itself is mind.(…) Examine closely and you will see that the mind is seething with thoughts. It may occasionally go blank, but it does it for a time and reverts to its usual restlessness.
56. Whatever is called God or Self is because there is the beingness, the feeling that ‘I am’. That is the fundamental principle, the basis of all your knowledge, but you are identifying yourself with the body.
57. Self-remembrance, awareness of “I am’ ripens man powerfully and speedily. Give up all ideas about yourself and simply be. Stop making use of your mind and see what happens. Do this one thing thoroughly. That is all.
58. A liberated man is extremely law-abiding. But his laws are the laws of his real self, not of his society. These he observes, or breaks, according to circumstances and necessity. But he will never be fanciful and disorderly.”
59. Pleasure puts you to sleep and pain wakes you up. If you don’t want to suffer, don’t go to sleep.
60. Look at your mind dispassionately; this is enough to calm it. When it is quiet, you can go beyond it. Do not keep it busy all the time. Stop it – and just be. If you give it a rest, it will settle down and recover its purity and strength. Constant thinking makes it decay.
61. If you want to know your true nature, you must have yourself in mind all the time, until the secret of your being stands revealed.
62. You want to know yourself. For this keep steadily in the focus of consciousness, the only clue you have: your certainty of being. Be with it, play with it, ponder over it, delve deeply into it, till the shell of ignorance breaks open and you emerge into the realm of reality.
63. The concentration on ‘I am’ is a form of attention. Give your undivided attention to the most important thing in your life – yourself. Of your personal universe you are the center – without knowing the center what else can you know?
64. All that a guru can tell you is: ‘My dear Sir, you are quite mistaken about yourself. You are not the person you take yourself to be.
65. You may die a hundred deaths without a break in the mental turmoil. Or, you may keep your body and die only in the mind. The death of the mind is the birth of wisdom.
66. It is always the false that makes you suffer, the false desires and fears, the false values and ideas, the false relationships between people. Abandon the false and you are free of pain; truth makes happy, truth liberates.
67. Unless you make tremendous efforts, you will not be convinced that effort will take you nowhere. The self is so self-confident that unless it is totally discouraged it will not give up. Mere verbal conviction is not enough. Hard facts alone can show the absolute nothingness of the self-image.
68. If you seek reality you must set yourself free of all backgrounds, of all cultures, of all patterns of thinking and feeling. Even the idea of being man or woman, or even human should be discarded. The ocean of life contains all, not only humans. So, first of all abandon all self-identification, stop thinking of yourself as such-and-such or so-and-so, this or that.
69. Everything is a play of ideas. In the state free from ideation (nirvikalpa samadhi) nothing is perceived. The root idea is ‘I am’. It shatters the state of pure consciousness and is followed by the innumerable sensations and perceptions, feelings and ideas, which in their totality constitute God and His world. The ‘I am’ remains as the witness, but it is by the will of God that everything happens.
70. It is always the false that makes you suffer, the false desires and fears, the false values and ideas, the false relationships between people. Abandon the false and you are free of pain; truth makes happy, truth liberates.
70 Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj Quotes – Final thoughts
I hope you enjoyed reading these Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj’s Quotes. If you have any quotes you would like to share, leave them in the comments below.
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