10 July 2015


Most people envision the spiritual goal as some kind of advanced transcendental state of supreme unadulterated peace, bliss, joy or wisdom,or all of the above.  This state is beyond anything psychologists talk about, beyond mature humanity, and altogether beyond, at least, death—something that promises life immortal.

This hope, this wishful thinking before any deep states of Consciousness have been obtained, are only hopes created to stave off fear of death and of being no more.  It falls into the same category as a belief in heaven, or a divine savior, or of Nirvana, of going altogether beyond the human condition.  Even Nisargadatta speaks of this beyond as the Witness, the Unmanifest, the Absolute, Parabrahman, which is really a matter of faith since the Absolute could not experience Itself, because the Absolute can only know Consciousness, and it lies prior to Consciousness and cannot know itself directly.

Ramana just assumed that Consciousness was deathless spirit because of his original discovery that Consciousness and the physical body were tow entirely separate “substances” and assumed, that unlike the body that he knew died, the spirit was not subject to death.  In fact, he made Consciousness ontologically superior to the physical, and said Consciousness created the physical, and as such, was not subject to the death of the body.  This is called apposition of pure idealism where there is only Consciousness, and the world is a creation or dream, while Consciousness, the dreamer, was prior to the life and death of the body.

Nisargadatta on the other hand, claimed that both the body and Consciousness itself were both illusory, and by illusory, he meant temporary.  Only the Absolute, the Witness in each of us, was beyond life and death.  But, you have to realize from his  POV, the personal soul did not survive the physical death, Dave, Ed, Sally, and Jennifer were no more after death; they were just temporary embodyents of the Absolute Witness, that observed the changing physical world by the arising of Consciousness within each sentient being, be it an ant or a human, because of chemistry within the body.  For Maharaj, Consciousness was an ability to sense the world but which was as temporary as the health of the body.  He recognized that physical malfunctions impacted the quality and nature of Consciousness, therefore Consciousness was not Absolute.

Thus we have the two greatest advocates of Advaita in the 20th Century having entirely different views about the nature of Consciousness, and the primary identification of Self and immortality. If they disagree as to the final truth, how can anyone believe that masters from  non-Advaita traditions all hold the the same final state or the same ultimate truths?

For the life of me, I cannot understand why, and even more, how current seekers can hold to the mistake they both say the same thing or point to the same truth.  No!  They hold completely different positions on life and death, Consciousness and the world. Ramana believed only Consciousness was real, and the body/world as unreal.

Nisargadatta believed both Consciousness and the world were illusory, unreal, and that only the unseeable, unknowable Absolute Witness was real, but not personal, as it was the same witness existing within each temporary incarnation of the Absolute; each person was like a sensor to the unreal, or temporary world.

Understanding the differences between these two great Advaitins is absolutely necessary to escape from misconceptions of what Eastern spirituality in the formof Advaita, or  Jnana have to offer.

Understanding these differences forces you o recognize that there is  not just one common final state that all great spiritual teachers from Buddha, to Mohammed, to Jesus, to Milarepa, and Nityananda, shared in.

This is not what Jan Esmann teaches, that everything is Shaki, there is no individual, a belief taken from the perspective of someone whose sense of identification supposedly has disappeared.  Thus the Kundalini awakening path does not result in Ramana-like, or Nisargadatta-like understanding or end-states.

Now, when I post something  like this I get dozens of critics that throw dozens of Nisargadatta or Ramana quotes that appear to disagree with my summary.  But for the life ofme, I never see the contradictions these critics apparently see  in my exposition of Ramana and Nisaragadatta.

The critics have not delved deeply into the writings of these teachers to really understand them to their depths.  If they had, they would truly understand the vast differences between these two  teachers, and seen that the illusion of one final truth is totally illusory, and thus resigned themselves to a state of not-knowing.

Don't you see, you are freed from a search to understand or attain Ramana's state of  Consciousness, or Nisargadatta's state or understanding.  You have only yourself to look to as the entirety of the universe of self-exploration.  But, you also can never stop with attaining any one state of understanding, even your own, unless what you find is the deepest, unambiguous, permanent state of your own being and your own deepest truth.

Then what you have  is entirely yours and does not depend on agreement or disagreement with any great teacher of the past, whether of the Buddha, Christ, Ramana, Papaji, Balsakar, or Muzika.

I can however, only tell my own truth of the reality of the great Self within, the Self also called the Atman, or the divine within us as an entity of light, energy, identification, who is always at the center of my awareness as the divine within all.  This is my truth, my constant experience, and it demands me to say loudly, "I have come alive!  I Am, when before I was not."


  1. Thank you. Empowering to receive. I really like the last two lines!

  2. How can you describe knowledge of the Absolute as just faith? That knowledge is as real as anything else in the field of consciousness.

  3. Knowledge of the Absolute is actually more real than most things.

  4. Matti, you cannot hve knowledge of the Absolute. You cannot have "knowledge" of anything outside of Consciousness, and the absolute that Nisargadatta points to lies outside of and prior to Consciousness. As a concept, it cannot be known.

    BUT YOU CAN BE THE ABSOLUTE JUST BY BEING IT, BY BEING THE WITNESS. That is, you are the absolute when looking through your human eyes at the world, or hearing it, of experiencing the Manifest Self.

    Matti, don't hold onto any concept at all, not even the Absolute.

  5. Dear Edji,

    With due respect to you & other masters I would like to share my thoughts. In Ramana's literature the word Consciousness always mean the Absolute. The 4th Turiya state was only referred as pure awareness or thoughtless awareness. Identitfying with Turiya state was not considered final and liberated. Hence I believe the words "Absolute" of Nisargadatta and "Consciousness" of Ramana teachings point to the same Truth.

  6. Th word "Absolute" is used, but it is not the same as for Nisargadatta used it. It is the same word, but very different. Also, there is no clarity in Ramanas teachings compared to Nisargadatta. With Ramana you find all kinds of unclear "logical" arguments that are unclear, and the use of many Sanskrit spiritual terms that are only defined in terms of other abstract terms.

    But regarding the state of realization, Ramana clearly states his own awakening and does not use the term Absolute. Only when he got lost in Advaita philosophy does that term arise.

    Look at these Ramana quotes:

    There is no difference between the dream and the waking state except that the dream is short and the waking long. Both are the result of the mind. Our real state is beyond the waking, dream and sleep states, called turiya. 6

    Here Turiya is considered the all-pervading ground state. Turiyatta is never clearly explained.

    The state we call realization is simply being oneself, not knowing anything or becoming anything. If one has realized, he is that which alone is, and which alone has always been. He cannot describe that state. He can only be That. Of course we loosely talk of self-realization for want of a better term.


    In fact,most of the texts I have read by commentors about this realization say he realized Atman, not Brahman, but even these are abstractions.

    On the other hand, Nisagadatta is very clear about what the Absolute means. By it he means the Witness, the Noumenal, or Parabrahman that lies entirely prior to Consciousness, or the principal that both knows both knowing (Consciousness) and non-knowing (The absence of Consciousness).

  7. Michael James, one of the clearest expositors of Ramana explains the use of the term Absolute applied to Ramana as follows. It is clear he means what I call the Manifesy Self, of Ramana's original awakening experience:

    "Since the only form of consciousness that we experience permanently is our own self-consciousness, we can definitely conclude that it is the true and essential form of consciousness. In other words, since we are the fundamental self-consciousness that underlies the appearance of all other forms of consciousness, we alone are the true and essential form of consciousness.

    "We can also conclude that we are the absolute reality, because we are the fundamental non-dual self-consciousness 'I am', which is essentially unqualified and unconditioned, being free from all limits and any form of dependence upon any other thing. Whatever else may appear or disappear, and whatever change or other action may seem to happen, our essential self-consciousness always remains unchanged and unaffected. Therefore, whereas all other things are relative, our true self-consciousness is absolute.

    "We are absolute being, absolute consciousness and absolute happiness. Therefore if we wish to free ourself from all unhappiness and all forms of limitation, we must know ourself as we really are. That is, we must actually experience ourself as the absolute non-dual self-consciousness that we really are, and that we now understand ourself to be."