nisargadattadiscipleramakant's picture

Average: 4.8 (18 votes)
Ramakant Seated in front of Nis Cropped.jpg

Q. A long-term devotee of Nisargadatta Maharaj is finding that he’s not making progress and is getting frustrated. He wants realization but senses that it is perhaps because he was not in the presence of Nisargadatta Maharaj, and maybe that’s what’s missing. And should he come to see you? And how important is the presence of a Master?

M. Yes, tell him to come. He is having expectation of spiritual progress, with the help of body based knowledge. Intellect is there, subtle ego is there, through which he is expecting spiritual progress. He does not know what spiritual progress is. Maybe expecting some miracles. Something like, for example, abnormal things (extraordinary things to happen), 'I’m not normal'. These are expectations. Some expectations are there. Even when you are staying with any Master, like Nisargadatta Maharaj, you have to accept what he says. Not to go with little knowledge. So unless you erase your body-based knowledge, you can be with the Masters for a hundred years. (It won't make any difference.)

No identity (should remain). It is because you have accepted body-mind identity, and through which you are expecting some progress, towards the Ultimate Truth (that you won’t get it). These are open facts, you are not the body, you were not the body, you are not going to remain the body. Nisargadatta Maharaj repeatedly says “except your Selfless Self, there is no God, no Brahman, no Atman, no Paramatman. They’re only words. What progress are you expecting? It is not for miracles, publicity, money, sex? What progress? So unless you know yourself in the real sense, your so-called progress so far will not count. Here (real) progress means that Truth is established totally within you, with the result that there are no expectations. No happiness, no unhappiness, no experience, no experiencer. No witness, no witnesser.

If at all you have to compare, compare yourself to the sky. Sky does not have its own feeling “I am”. “I am” feeling is also illusion. Because your identity is beyond that, beyond imaginations, there is no limit. So, what progress are you expecting? Progress is related with the body-knowledge. (Who is expecting progress?) You look for miracles. Or you want to see God, something else, something else. It won’t happen! Everything is within you, everything is projected from you. The moment awakening is there you see the world. World is fresh, presence is fresh. Presence disappears, world disappears.

Who wants progress? You are no more an individual. So, prior to your considering I am an individual you are accepting progress. What is the progress of sky? Sky does not have its own individuality. Similarly, we’re knowing ourselves in the body form. That is OK. So when Master places before you the Ultimate Truth, your Ultimate Truth, you are no more concerned with the body-knowledge. So far you are considering “I am somebody else.” Expectations enlarge. I want happiness, I want peace, I want to see God. I must have some power, make some miracles. All these expectations are body expectations.

There is no expectation at all. Is sky expecting anything? Nisargadatta Maharaj said, if you want to compare, compare yourself with the sky. Sky does not have its own feeling, so unless the body knowledge is erased totally you are not able to know yourself in the real sense. It is ego that says I stayed with Nisargadatta Maharaj for ten years, twenty years. What have you learned? What did you learn? So did you come to learn or think about Master in a body form? (No!) It is the ego that says, I stayed with Nisargadatta Maharaj - or with somebody else (eg a famous guru). This is because you realize I must get some power out of it! You need to distinguish, use discrimination, separation, you’re not expecting. Don’t expect.

Initial stage, you are devotee. after that, at last stage you are deity. Devotee and deity. Devotee and deity, no separation. Devotee and deity, no separation. Deity knows through devotee. Deity lies within the devotee. Since you are considering yourself an individual, so you see deity and body different from me. Initial stage OK. Advanced stage is when you realize that, yes, I am deity. (You realize deity). Who wants progress? Depression, unhappiness, all this is body-related. Prior to body, you are nothing, no depression, you are not having the peace, you are not knowing any happiness, unhappiness. These are body feelings. You are supposed to have the conviction that, “I am unconcerned with the body knowledge”. Nisargadatta Maharaj told the story, I told you. Of neighbour’s child, who was suffering from severe pain, severe temperature. You feel sorry for that child, you feel pity for that. but at the same time, you are knowing, this is not my child, this is neighbour’s child.

Q. So that is different.

M. Correct. Similarly, this body is neighbour’s child. Your body is your neighbour's child. Sky, sky is unconcerned. You are totally unconcerned with that, because you are prior to that. This thing (the body) comes after your Presence. So though you are holding this body, like a child, you know this is neighbour’s child. What will happen, you will feel sorry ooo ooo ooo… but your conviction is that. (ie different as in I am not the body).

One realized Master, visiting Nisargadatta Maharaj, asked a question. He was not feeling well and was moaning. He threw a brass ashtray and spilt the ash like this. This is an expression of the nature of material knowledge. Whatever happens, it depresses. But I am unconcerned with that, and I say oh dear, oh dear. So all this body is material knowledge. Therefore when after living with the Master, Realized Master, you have to take what he wants to convey: This is your Ultimate Truth, but you remain within the circle of body knowledge.

Simple thing, how you were prior to consciousness? You don’t know. The moment when spirit clicked with the body, your requirements came. I want this and this, and I want that. It is for the nursing of the body. But you are not the body, you were not the body, you are not going to remain the body. It’s open truth. If this is not accepted totally, therefore this type of expectation appears. I want progress, living with the Master, and not getting any experiences. Imaginary concepts creating confusion, chaos at initial stage. So you have to absorb that Knowledge - knowledge which is Reality. Nisargadatta Maharaj said : “I’m not this body form. I’m invisible, anonymous, unidentified identity. Unless you become one with the Ultimate Truth, this type of question is bound to arise.

What happens when devotees start comparing. ‘I stayed with the Master’, ‘I must get something’. ‘Some miraculous power’. ‘Somebody got miraculous power from that Master, I might get that power. Maybe another Master. I might get some happiness’. What is this happiness? Things that are tolerable we call happiness, things that are not tolerable we call unhappiness. Simple! What is tolerable and what is not tolerable? Beingness is intolerable, because prior to beingness, the subtle experience of beingness is not tolerable because of these things. And prior to beingness - no expectations, no demands, no needs. And therefore, to absorb this Reality, again, you are to undergo meditation. It is scientific (ie a systematic method).

Therefore why do you want to see a realized Master? Why is the Master important? Because the Master is converting (these are only words) the listener to the Ultimate Form . Nisargadatta Maharaj said: “I am not making you a disciple, I am making you a Master". The Master is already within you. You are considering yourself as a devotee up until you know the Reality. Master says, you are deity. So all those who are remaining with the Master for so many years, with the expectation of some so-called realization, miracles, power and so forth - will not realize.

You (have to) go to the Master, totally humble, surrender. So that Spontaneous Presence is not within the circle of body knowledge. Body is only the external part. No birth and death - I am unborn. Have I experience of birth and death?

How long are you going to be devotee for? Without any expectation, you are to surrender yourself to the Master, then it will be totally absorbed. No more individual remains. Just like you put a bucket of water into the sea, it becomes sea. Can you remove that bucket of water from the sea? Not at all.

You are Architect of your own making, you are Master of your own making. Embrace this Reality. This. You are no more individual. To say I is also an illusion, to say you is illusion, to say Brahman is illusion. The entire world is illusion. It is an open fact. Because the spontaneous presence does not know it is illusion, all these body related knowledge names are given, Brahman, Atman, Parabrahman, God and so and so and so and so… So go deeper and deeper ... and then you will be the Selfless Self. Master Key (Naam Mantra) has been given to you. So there will be spontaneous calmness. Happiness in you. There is not any question for that stage. No question arises at that stage. If you have any questions you will feel the answer is coming out. It ls the Reality. So, unless body knowledge is erased, vanished, dissolved totally, you are not able to know yourself in the real sense. Concepts come and every time prick you, biting. Therefore, Bhausaheb Maharaj insisted on total 24 hour meditation, morning bhajans, evening bhajans, reciting for which we are always to be alert. With the external forces attacking, if you are alert, they will not dare to bite.

So many individual thoughts, from the beginning of childhood, so many thoughts inside. You have not committed any crimes last life, sins in the last life-time… whose guilty, whose karma, whose prarabdha (accumulted karma) ? The sky has any prarabdha? So all these imaginary thoughts impressed on us in our surrounding conditions we have blindly accepted.

So the Master gives courage, strength, power. You are covered with ash. However, your co-operation is required. Co-operation. Nisargadatta Maharaj said, if you put one step ahead - take one step forward, I will lift you another step. Put one step ahead, and I will lift you another step. The Master is trying to convince you in various ways, but the devotee is not accepting it. I have told you. Reading so many books, living long period with the Masters, you are not finding out what the Master wanted to convey, what he wanted to say. If you put that process into practise. Then only you’ll be happy.

So now I have told you. Tell the person briefly the answer to his question.

dank's picture

Where is it taken from? Was

Where is it taken from? Was it published in any book?

dank | Wed, 02/05/2014 - 18:20
nisargadattadiscipleramakant's picture

Q and A session in ashram in nashik india, jan 2014

This article is taken from a question and answer session/interview last week ie end jan 2014 in Nashik Ashram, with Ramakant Maharaj,(himself a long time devotee of Nisargadtatta Maharaj, since 1962 and who himself spent 20yrs with his master). This question is from a disciple of Nisargadatta Maharaj to Ramakant maharaj. You can see for more similar.

nisargadattadis... | Thu, 02/06/2014 - 04:21
solo's picture

An important question to Ramakant Maharaj

Fascinating answer of Ramakant. I can sense that he has the vibe of Nisargadatta. This is encouraging and inviting.

If any of the readers of this post happens to be there with Ramakant Maharaj, could you please kindly ask him about the issue that troubles so many followers of Nisargadatta and Advaita in general, maybe the issue that is the most impeding for us, the issue that people understand in so many different and conflicting ways, the issue that seems to be of utmost importance in Nisargadatta's legacy: the exact meaning of "I Am" and the abiding in the "I Am". Having his answer may be a huge service to the community of Nisargadatta followers here and elsewhere.

You can see the discussion about it with all the different understandings and interpretations and great confusion in

Many there and in other places tend to complicate the notion of "I Am" while it seems that as it is so fundamental it must be something simple. Some say that it's just beingness, the sense of beingness (so why don't Nisargadatta and others simply call it beingness???).

So in order to summarize, the questions are:

- what exactly and specifically "I Am" is in simple words and what it is not?

- Technically speaking, how can one abide in that "I Am"?

- No doubt, this "I Am" is the most emphasized and most important thing in Nisargadatta's teachings (and also in Ramana's and others affiliated with Advaita) - how come, then, that Nisargadatta left it pretty much enigmatic?

- Why is it called "I Am" (and not simply "being")? Is it a translation of a term in Maharati? Is there some issue that lies in the translation? Does it intends to emphasize something (that the term "being" does not emphasize)?

Thank you so much in advance to anyone who will be able to assist and consult this issue with Ramakant.


solo | Thu, 02/13/2014 - 09:25
samsara's picture

Great idea solo, thanks for

Great idea solo, thanks for the initiative, I hope someone around Ramakant Maharaj will pick it up, raise the question to him and post the answer (and I hope the answer will be clear and not a repetition of the so many things said before about I Am that say nothing. I known so many that will benefit from the posting of the answer (including me).

samsara | Sat, 02/15/2014 - 18:52
ravipradeep's picture

Nisargadatta's 'I Am' - Used as substitute for the Naam Mantra?

I have heard that Ramakant Maharaj, as a direct disciple of Nisargadatta Maharaj, does not focus at all on the 'I Am' or the practise of 'I Am'. Rather, Ramakant gives the Naam Mantra for meditation.
Nisargadatta Maharaj gave the Naam to some locals but to very few westerners. Why was this? Nisargadatta considered most of the westerners that came to him, as spiritual tourists, travellers, beginners on the path. He did not want the Naam Mantra to be misused ie for power games like siddhis, miracles or taking this mantra and moving on to a different master.
So to my knowledge when westerners asked for the Naam, Nisargadatta played it down and emphasized the 'I Am' as perhaps a kind of substitute for the mantra. He also played down the lineage that he and his master (Siddharameshwar Maharaj) belonged to. To give this mantra means that an aspirant joins this line of Masters and receives a powerful Master-Key to aid Meditation practise. This is a huge boost in itself and makes the meditation Real, effective and enables rapid progress. It helps remove blocks and layers of illusion and reminds the aspirant of his true identiy, ie Ultimate Reality!
Ramakant completely bypasses the 'I Am', or any 'I am' practise, describing it as 'body knowledge' and conceptual. Instead, he initiates aspirants who are committed to the teachings of Nisargadatta Maharaj, ie those who are at the final stages of their journey. To these he gives the Naam. Ramakant Maharaj took the Mantra himself in 1962 and was with the Master until he passed in 1981.
It seems that the 'I am ' concept has ballooned over time.

ravipradeep | Sun, 02/16/2014 - 00:44
leo's picture

Your arguments don't comply with the facts

Two main arguments that you use do not comply with the facts:

(1) It's not only Nisargadatta who emphasizes the utmost importance of abiding in the "I Am". Almost all Advaita and especially Nath Sampradaya teachers emphasize it as the key method, these include Ramana Maharshi, Ranjit Maharaj and others.

(2) In several occasions, Nisargadatta insisted that he saw the westerner followers as more serious and committed than his Indian ones. Furthermore, he firmly stated that he saw no problem in leading them through bhakti, mantras and so on. Here is one quote for example:

Q: Are you serious? Would you tell a Westerner to repeat ‘Om’ or ‘Ram’ or ‘Hare Krishna’ ceaselessly, though he lacks completely the faith and conviction born of the right cultural and religious background. Without confidence and fervour; repeating mechanically the same sounds, will he ever achieve anything?

M: Why not? It is the urge, the hidden motive that matters, not the shape it takes. Whatever he does, if he does it for the sake of finding his own real self, will surely bring him to himself.

Q: No need of faith in the efficacy of the means?

M: No need of faith which is but expectation of results. Here the action only counts. Whatever you do for the sake of truth, will take you to truth. Only be earnest and honest. The shape it takes hardly matters.

(3) To the best of my knowledge, the Naam mantra has nothing to do with sidhi powers and so on. It's not more powerful in that aspect than other methods of uniting with the supreme.

(4) Nisargadatta states over and over and over again that he himself realized using that method of abiding in the "I Am", that this was the only instruction of his guru to him - so do you claim? that Nisargadatta is a lier? Or maybe that Siddharameshwar Maharaj viewed Nisargadatta as a spiritual tourist, beginner on the path, one who will misuse it for power games like siddhis, miracles or will take this mantra and move on to a different master?

leo | Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:25
Vladimir's picture

Nisargadatta Maharaj

Nisargadatta Maharaj stressed great importance on Naam mantra. Once I met a Spanish lady who spent a year with him in 70-s. She told me, after some time Maharaj had suggested she should receive Naam mantra. She answered that she need not. Maharaj started shouting at her, "I've been repeating this mantra for 40 years! How dare you say you do not need it!" And he gave her the mantra.
Of course, Nisargadatta Maharaj is not a lier. But one should not understand Guru's words literally. It's of no use to compare 'in this book it's written one thing and in that book the opposite; one time Master said one thing, another time he said different '. Guru addresses invisible listener, not disciple's mind.
Nisargadatta Maharaj took notes of many Siddharameshwar Maharaj's discourses. They are pulished in a book named "Master of Self-Realization". At the same time if one understands what 'abide in the Self' really means, no other instruction's required. Only Sadguru can 'explain' it, but the explanation is addressed not to one's mind.

Vladimir | Sun, 02/16/2014 - 21:00
ravipradeep's picture

Nisargadatta's Book (Talks by his Master)

New Light on Nisargadatta's Teachings:

"Master of Self Realization" was painstakingly noted down by Nisargadatta Maharaj over the last two years of his Master, Siddharameshwar Maharaj's life, between 1934-36. This little known book is a spiritual masterpiece. If you like Nisargadatta then this wonderful book, is a must read. It is the foundation of Nisaragadatta Maharaj's teachings, and sheds light on them.
This book gives clarity to the subjects of 'I am',Self-abidance, meditation, self-enquiry, devotion, Naam Mantra etc. Also deepens understanding of I AM THAT

ravipradeep | Sun, 02/16/2014 - 23:52
samsara's picture

Thank you Ravi

wow Ravi, much obliged, I was looking for this book.

Do you have in hand by chance any of the 2 other books related to Siddharameshwar Maharaj that are in his guru profile ( - "Amrut Laya" and "Master Key to Self-Realization", and also "Illusion vs. Reality" by Ranjit Maharaj?

samsara | Mon, 02/17/2014 - 06:28
Vladimir's picture

Nisargadatta Maharaj about initiation

By the way,
Please, listen to Discourse2, Part1
where Nisargadatta Maharaj explains about Initiation

Vladimir | Mon, 03/03/2014 - 06:37
nisargadattadiscipleramakant's picture

Maharaj's response to 'I AM' questions

Solo, here is Maharaj’s response to your questions.
Q. What exactly is ‘I am’ in simple words, and what is it not?
Maharaj. Your spontaneous, anonymous presence is called ‘I am’, but it is without any shape, without any colour. Name is given to ‘Atma’, ‘Paramatma’, ‘God’, just to understand, to communicate. Reality is beyond imagination. There should not be any confusion. It sounds like some people have created a special house for ‘I am’…
So, at the advanced stage, ‘I am’ is also illusion. Again, be clear, there is no ‘I am’, there is no ‘you are’ - these are words. Prior to beingness, you are not knowing what the ‘I’ or the ‘you’ is. What has happened is that you are artificially moulding yourself, saying ‘I am’ somebody else (an individual), and in the light of that knowledge thinking, meditating on ‘I am’. You are limiting your Reality by naming, enclosing it. Remember, ‘I am’ is a concept. We are just using words to try and understand, exchanging words through which we are inviting attention of the invisible, anonymous listener within you. All words are used for the purpose of understanding. Try to know your identity. Try to know your unidentifiable identity. The knower will disappear. Trying to know Ultimate Truth, the knower will disappear. No knowledge, no knower.
Q. The understanding is that ‘I Am’ is very deep…
M. Who is understanding that? (laughter). I am understanding. Who is understanding that? All this requires presence, but your presence is not any shape or form. It is formless. No beingness, no non-beingness, no consciousness, no unconsciousness, no awareness, no unawareness. No knower, no knowledge, etc. You are neglecting the somebody that already exists within you - the formless, invisible somebody. You are That, you are Brahman, Atman. ‘I’ is just like the sky. Does the sky say ‘I am’. Sky is totally unaware of its existence. Likewise, your presence is totally unaware of your existence. All these words are body knowledge. Beingness is also illusion. Who says beingness and non-beingness? When you came across with the body you created a big illusionary field: beingness, non-beingness, awareness, unawareness, consciousness. You are roaming in the field and trying to extract knowledge. Come out of the field. Be brave, be courageous!
Q. I think the ‘I Am’ practice has maybe been taken literally and grown out of proportion. And there is a lot of confusion around it, a third of a century since Nisargadatta’s passing. It has perhaps ballooned into something….
M. What happens is that devotees read books, and on the basis of their reading, they form a square… and they are expecting answers within the square. Master is not in the square, he is out of the square. So you have to leave all that. Whatever is realized from the existence of the body (body knowledge) is illusion. You have brought yourself into the confusion field, using confusing words. You are a victim of your own ideas, own concepts: ‘I am’ ‘you are’, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘Brahman’...
Q. When people abide in ‘I Am’ , they don’t seem to know how to stay or go beyond ‘I Am’.
M. Forget about spiritual talk. To say ‘I’ is ego. Why are you trying to remain in/as I? It means you are taking some ego and saying I am somebody else. I am… this means you are somebody else, and you are to stay like this (eyes closed) ‘I’. This is duality. You have not to make any efforts. In the beginning, you are to accept that your ‘I am’ is in existence and you are knowing ‘I am’ through body only. It is an open fact that the body is not your identity. But while remaining in the ‘I am’, you are considering yourself as somebody else and, with the subtle ego, you are staying as “I Am”. This is not the Ultimate Truth and will not give you happiness.
So, your presence is spontaneous – don’t think, don’t apply the intellect. To stay in the ‘I am’, how to stay there…. this is all illusion. You are already in that. It is already within you. But you are trying deliberately to remain in the ‘I am’. I am somebody else and I am to remain in the ‘I am’. Illusory concept! Be as it is! Reality! Don’t think, don’t pressure the brain. The spontaneous feeling is just that… I am… there is no concept. As Nisargadatta Maharaj says: What is this body? Just glimpses of “I”. Just the glimpses of ‘I’ which has no shape, no colour, no witness, no experiencer, just…...Maharaj holds his hands up and relaxes and, says ‘I’. We’re tryng to experience ‘I’, to be Brahman, Atman, and to do that you are having to be somebody else.
Q. So there is duality, there is a split.
M. Immediately! When you try to stay like that. Why to try? I want to stay John. I am John. You are already John, so why to be ‘I am’ John. John is the name which has been given to this body, it is not your Ultimate Reality. Similarly, your spontaneous presence, existence is without shape.
Q. I think the understanding was that if you stay in the ‘I am’, meditate on the ‘I am’, then you will go beyond the ‘I am’. But it seems people are not managing to go beyond.
M. You see, your spontaneous existence manifested , so without you, there is not any focus. When I say ‘I am’, ‘I’ stays there, the subtle ego. Don’t make any effort. Don’t take the literal meaning of these spiritual words, rather take what they were trying to convey. You cannot realize presence through the bodily ‘I’.
You are your own Master. So whatever you read or listen, to some extent, it is helpful but after reaching the final destination, you do not need an address. So don’t take the literal meaning of what the Masters say. What they want to convey is most important. To remain in ‘I’ is keeping you stuck… You have created a balloon, a concept, how to stay – it is not like that.
Why to remain in the ‘I am’, when you are already there? All you have to do is realize that the body is not my identity. You are posing as someone else when you meditate, and therefore the meditation has become dual.
Q. Why did Nisargadatta Maharaj not make this teaching clearer?
M. Listen to me, this ‘I am’ is also a concept, which maybe has been over-emphasized and misunderstood. All this meditation, concentration, knowledge, self-inquiry - these are all only various steps, a process, and through the I, you are coming to the Final Truth. After having conviction that you are not the body, there is nothing to do. Your reaction is spontaneous action.
You are already ‘I am’, without saying. So you just have to know yourself in the real sense because your spontaneous, invisible presence is there, to whom you are giving the name, ‘I am’? Except your Selfless Self, there is no ‘I am’. So why stay in the little world ‘I am’? You are already there - you are already 24 hrs in the ‘I am’, but you are unaware. You are 24 hrs together.You are ‘I am’ only. Why to remain in something that’s artificially created or imagined, guesswork? Why to remain like that in the square?
So don’t struggle with ‘I am’ - the words are just indications of Ultimate Truth and how that truth is my identity, but it is invisible and anonymous. So don’t imagine, don’t guess, don’t use logic or intellect. You are 24 hr Presence, so no need to try to be, or think of ‘I am’ at all.

nisargadattadis... | Wed, 02/19/2014 - 09:55
solo's picture

thank you so much

thank you so much

solo | Wed, 02/19/2014 - 18:07