16 July 2012

Nisargadatta in a nutshell:

You as a body/mind were born.  You lived totally involved with the world and your own instincts and desires, 100% involved, but not aware of yourself as an identity, a human.

Then one day, out of nowhere, sometimes between the age of 1-1/2 and 4, it dawned on you that you were alive and existed.  The I Am was born!  You began then an existence of self-awareness, self-consciousness, aware not only of your wants and needs, but the realities imposed by the world.

Thus was born the beginnings of getting your wants and needs fulfilled through various adaptive strategies, including using your intelligence to create situations or items to fulfill your needs.  You flaunt your intelligence to gain recognition or love.  Later you may flaunt your sexuality, maleness or femaleness to get what you want.

At school you learn reading, writing, social skills, debating and how to be obedient and a good consumer.  You learn all kinds of things that you integrate into your self-image, which is opposed to a non-self image also developing, namely the external world. Now you have contracted from being the world down to living in a mental creation.  Everything, all external data, all internal feelings and energies are mediated by mind.  You no longer live in the real world but a mediated world.

All this is knowledge.

The first knowledge was “I Am.”  Before that, though you existed, I, as an entity was not born.  Before that you existed, functioning perfectly, instinctually, then the I am was born and everything got fucked up.

After that you were just knowledge, and in deep sleep, the knowledge was lost.  Peace.  But still you existed, just as you did before the I was born.

First you have unknowing, not knowing.  Then knowningness came and then it went, back and forth.  But you always exist.  You really are that principle that knows.  You are the one who contains both knowing and not knowing.

This principle is the same in all sentient beings.  Everyone has the knowing potential. There is only one kind of knowing principle and it is embodied in all sentient beings.  We all share that as the base.

When your body mind dies, that sentience dies in you and with it, your I Am. But the sentience, the knowingness principle continues on throughout the universe.

But Maharaj says it is this I Am that causes all the world’s problems and is your master.  How to end it and find total freedom from the needs and drives of the I Am?

He says to find the I Am in us, abide in it, love it, and one day, but endless loving, it will go, it will release you from its clutches once the original you, the principle behind knowingness, recognizes you still exist even when the I Am has disappeared.

The I Amness has two qualities, love and the generator of all activity.  The I Am rules all.  It is the beginning and end of everything that is visible and in experience, but YOU, as the ultimate who holds even the I Am and God and the world in existence, are beyond all that.

The trick I am adding to Nisargadtta’s method, is to add the love you find for another, recognize that it is a love for another that arises in you, focus on it, and become love itself. Once you can identify with love itself, the Self, the universal holder of the I Am, the pure I Am of all, will reveal itself to you as the most awe inspiring entity. The grace of God will flow into you, and you will be completely happy, completely ecstatic.

But you must understand, you, as you take yourself to be, are only an idea.  You are a story, not an entity, not your body.  You don’t exist as any entity. But what you really are is the power of knowing or not knowing.  Still you are not an entity; you are the principle that sustains the universe, and that which understands these words.


  1. Beautifully and lucidly put, Edji. I love the way you summarize and synthesize the inputs of Nisargadatta and Western psychology with your own experience and realizations. Very powerful stuff indeed. Thank you.
    Love, Matthew

    1. When I read I Am That, I am often amazed at Nisargadatta's deep psychological insights. I didn't see it at first, but after many readings and undergoing a bit of therapy myself, I realised that some of his teaching is not at all inconsistent with best practice Western psychology, always tailored to the specific questioner. Given that he had little or no formal education, THAT is pure knowledge speaking...

  2. Yes, thanks Edji. A very concise and clear exposition of the teachings. I'll be saving this and savouring it for many years I'm sure.

  3. Welcome back Ed. After Rajiv, you went a wandering and I lost you. The masters have guided you home and you returned bearing gifts for us from your own heart. Mike L