The Advaita Teaching of Nisargadatta Maharaj: A Synopsis


All you need is to get rid of the tendency to define yourself. You will revert to your natural state spontaneously and effortlessly. You will reach the Source of being, life and consciousness. Shift the focus of consciousness beyond the mind. Refuse all thoughts except one: Who am I? Just live your life as it comes. Keep quietly alert, inquiring into the real nature of yourself. Perception is based on memory and is only imagination. The world can be said to appear but not to be. Only that which makes perception possible is real. You agree to be guided from within and life becomes a journey into the unknown. Give up all names and forms, and the Real is with you. Know yourself as you are. Distrust your mind and go beyond. Do not think of the Real in terms of consciousness and unconsciousness. It is utterly beyond both. It gives birth to consciousness. All else is in consciousness. Nothing you can see, feel or think is so. Go beyond the personal and see. Stop imagining that you were born. You are utterly beyond all existence and non-existence, utterly beyond all that the mind conceives. Question yourself: Who am I? What is behind and beyond all this? Soon you will see that thinking yourself to be a person is mere habit built on memory. Inquire ceaselessly.

How can Reality depend on experience when it is the very ground, the very basis of experience, the very fact of experience? Just be aware of your being here and now. There is nothing more to it. In reality you are not a thing nor separate. You are the infinite potentiality, the inexhaustible possibility. Because you are, all can be. The universe is but a partial manifestation of your limitless capacity to become. You are neither consciousness nor its content. You are the timeless Source. Disassociate yourself from mind and consciousness. Find a foothold beyond and all will be clear and easy. You are the Supreme Reality- all there is. Just trust and remember that. Wisdom lies in never forgetting the Self, the Supreme Absolute as the ever-present Source of both the experiencer and the experience. I am beyond consciousness and so in consciousness I cannot say what I am. Yet I am. The question “Who am I?” has no answer in consciousness and therefore helps to go beyond consciousness. Remember there is no person, only a mental picture given a false reality by conviction. All you need to do is to cease taking yourself to be within the field of consciousness.

You are free of being a percept or a concept. Abandon all conceptualization and stay silent and attentive. Be earnest about it and all will be well with you. Give up the idea of being what you think yourself to be. Let go of the idea that you are not aware of yourself as the ever-present, changeless inexpressible Reality. Just let go. Your difficulty stems from the idea that Reality is a state of consciousness. Essence is independent of consciousness. Self-knowledge is a new dimension altogether. Pure, concentrated longing will take you speedily to your goal. If you could keep in mind what you do not know, it would reveal to you its secrets. When you want nothing, seek nothing, expect nothing, then the Supreme State will come to you uninvited and unexpected. Stop making use of your mind and see what happens. Do this one thing thoroughly. That is all. Your weakness is due to your conviction that you were born into the world. In reality the world is ever recreated by you and in you. 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!

Realize that you are the Eternal Source. There is no reality but That. So how could you be “other?” And accept all as your own. Such acceptance is true love. Don’t try to understand! Don’t rely on your mind for liberation. Go beyond it altogether. Be aware of being aware. Broaden and deepen the field of awareness. You are beyond space and time, uncaused, the very matrix of existence, the Supreme Absolute, the Noumenon- not unknowable, but unperceivable, un-objectival, inseparable- neither material nor mental, neither objective nor subjective- the Source of being, life and consciousness. You are the all-pervading, all-transcending Reality. Behave accordingly. The actual experience will dawn upon you in no time. No effort is needed. Have faith and act on it. All will happen by itself: You are the subtle cause of the entire universe. All is because you are. Grasp this point firmly and deeply and dwell on it repeatedly. To realize this as absolutely true is liberation. What you need will come to you. Whatever you come across, go beyond. Paramakash, your Self, is the timeless and spaceless Reality, mindless, undifferentiated, the infinite potentiality, the source and origin, the substance and the essence, both matter and consciousness, yet utterly beyond both. It cannot be perceived, but can be experienced as ever witnessing the witness, perceiving the perceiver, the origin and the end of all manifestation, the root of time and space, the prime cause in every chain of causation. Your idea that you were born and that you will die is absurd: Both logic and experience contradict it. Behave as what I say is true and judge by what actually happens. I know the Source of all experience. From moment to moment the little I need to know to live my life I somehow happen to know. The Supreme Absolute, the Self, is at the root of and utterly beyond all. You are That. Don’t you see that the Self, your Self, the Supreme Reality, is what makes everything possible? Know life as pure radiation from the inexhaustible Source. There is nothing to practice. To know yourself, be yourself. Stop imagining yourself to be this or that. Just be. Let your true nature emerge. Don’t disturb your mind with seeking. The very absence of obstacles will cause Reality to rush in. You will know the Light of Absolute Awareness in all its clarity and the world will fade out of your vision. Awareness takes the place of consciousness. In consciousness there is the “I” who is conscious, while awareness is undivided. Awareness is aware of Itself. The “I am” is a thought, while awareness is not a thought. There is no “I-am-aware” in awareness. Awareness is not an attribute. One can be aware of being conscious , but not conscious of awareness. Awareness is not a form of consciousness. One who is aware is beyond every experience, utterly beyond awareness itself. The fundamental Reality is beyond awareness, beyond becoming, beyond being and not-being. Give up all idea of the person , of personal attainment. Find out what you are.

There is no effort in witnessing. You understand that you are the witness only, and understanding acts. If in the state of witnessing you ask “Who am I?” the answer comes at once, wordless and silent. You find yourself utterly beyond the subject and the object. Both exist in you, but you are neither. You, the Supreme Absolute, are the very source of reality. Collect your energies in one great longing. My words are true and they will do their work. Enlightenment is a certainty. It is your destiny.

Discard every self-seeking motive and Reality will find you. Who am I? Go into it deeply. Find out your real being. You are the beingness of being, utterly beyond the universal even. You are the non-dimensional Source of all dimensions. As you keep on giving up, you grow spontaneously in intelligence and power and inexhaustible love and joy. The Absolute can be reached by absolute devotion only. Don’t be half-hearted.

The “person” is a shell imprisoning you. Break the shell. There is nothing you need. Nothing perceivable is real. Even space and time are imagined. All existence is imaginary. Only the Unlimited is real. Question the limits. Go beyond. Set yourself tasks apparently impossible- This is the way. Look at consciousness as something alien, superimposed. Then suddenly you are free of consciousness. Whatever you feel needs to be done happens unfailingly. Selfless and intelligent, all the powers of the universe are for you to command: You are the Source Absolute. This is your natural state. Believe me, you are the Supreme Reality. You are the fullness of perfection here and now.

Investigate what you know to its very end and you reach the unknown layers of your being. Go further and the unexpected will explode in you and shatter all. The crucial question is: “Who am I?”

Just see the person you imagine yourself to be as a part of the world perceived within consciousness; and look at consciousness from the outside; for you are not the consciousness. You, the Supreme Reality, are utterly beyond. Tat Tvam Asi.

Adapted from ‘I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta’
Maurice Frydman, 1973