Nisargadatta on finding his true nature and the importance of the guru.
This comes from Chapter 64 of I Am That, page 300 and onwards in some editions. The topic was shown to me by Rajiv Kapur.
Maharaj: You have met many Saints ascetics, but a fully realized man, conscious of his divinity is hard to find. This Saints and yogis, by immense efforts and sacrifices, acquire many miraculous powers and could do much good in helping people and inspiring faith, yet it does not make them perfect. It is not a way to reality, but merely an enrichment of the false. All existences is in space and time, limited and temporary. He who experiences existence is also limited and temporary. I am not concerned with either what exists, or who exists, I take my stance beyond, wherein both and neither.
(Comment: Notice that Maharaj does not stop at "beingness" the bright and clear presence spoken of by the neoadvaitins as his final goal. He is entirely beyond both existence (beingness in the present) and non-existence, being THAT which knows both and is beyond both.)
Their knowledge is not enough; the knower must be known. The pundits and yogis may know many things, but of what use is mere knowledge if the self is not known? Without the knowledge of the knower, there can be no peace. How does one come to know the knower? I can only tell you what I know from my own experience. When I met my d find your real self."
I obeyed him, because I trusted him. I did as he told me. All my spare time I would spend looking at myself in silence and what a difference it made and how soon. It took me only three years to realize my true nature. My guru died soon after I met him but it made no difference. I remember what he told me and persevered. The fruit of it is here, with me. I know myself as I am in reality. And neither the body, nor the mind, nor the mental faculties. I am beyond all these.
You must gain your own experience. Your custom is to deal with things, physical and mental. I am not a thing, nor are you. We are neither matter nor energy, neither body nor mind. Once you have a glimpse of your own being, you will not find me difficult to understand.
The way to truth lies through destruction of the false. To destroy the false, you must question your most inveterate beliefs. Of these the idea that you are a body is the worst. With the body comes the world, and with the world--God, was supposed to have created the world and thus it starts--fears, religions, prayers, sacrifices, all sorts of systems--all to protect and support the child man, frightened out of his wits by monsters of his own making. Realize that what you are cannot be born or die and with the fear all gone, all suffering ends.
What the mind invents, the mind destroys. But the real is, is not created and cannot be destroyed.
My guru,s words: "you are myself," are timelessly with me. In the beginning I had to fix my mind on them, but now it has become natural and easy. The point when the mind accepts the words of the guru and truly lives by them spontaneously and in every detail of daily life, is the threshold of realization. In a way, it is a salvation by faith, but the faith must be intense and lasting.
On the function of, meeting and trusting the guru:
Question: how does one find faith in a guru?
Maharaj: to find a guru and also to trust him is pure luck. It does not happen often.
Question: is it destiny that ordains?
Maharaj: Calling it destiny explains little. When it happens, you cannot say why it happens and you merely cover up your ignorance by calling it karma, grace or the will of God.
Question: Krishnamurti says that a guru is not needed.
Maharaj: somebody must tell you about the supreme reality and the way that leads to it. Krishnamurti is doing nothing else. In a way he is right--most of the so-called disciples do not trust their guru; they disobey them and finally abandon them. For such disciples it would have been infinitely better if they had no guru at all and just look within for guidance. To find a living guru is a rare opportunity and a great responsibility. One should not treat these matters lightly. You people are out to buy yourself heaven and you imagine that the guru will supply it for a price. You seek to strike a bargain by offering little but asking much. You cheat nobody except yourselves.
Question: you told a questioner that we are the same, that we are equals. I cannot believe it. Since I do not believe it, of what use is your statement to me?
Maharaj: your disbelief does not matter. My words are true and they will do their work. This is the beauty of the noble company of Satsang.
Question: Just sitting here can be considered spiritual practice?
Maharaj: Of course. The River of life is flowing. Some of the water is here, but so much of it has already reached its goal. You know only the present. I see much further into the past and future, into what you are what you can be. I cannot but see you as myself. It is in the very nature of love to see no difference.
Question: How can I come to see myself as you see me?
Maharaj: It is enough if you do not imagine yourself to be the body. It is the “I am the body idea” that is so calamitous. It blinds you completely to your real nature. Even for a moment do not think you are the body. Give yourself no name, no shape. In the darkness of the silence reality is found. Unselfish action, free from all concern with the body and its interests will carry you into the very heart of reality.