31 October 2015

Consciousness, its nature, whether it is Universal in any way, or just limited to bodies, and the interplay with Shakti and the Unmanifest is the subject matter of Rishis, avatars, gurus, and teachers since the beginning of recorded time. There are so many answers, so many systems from Advaita Vedanta, to Tibetan and Zen Buddhism, each with many schools, Sufism, Kashmir Shaivism, each having a complete set of answers, some of which can be mapped onto other systems, and some not.

When you find simple answers, sweeping answers, you have the central teachings of one school or another, and to each school is added the life experiences of generations of saints, each amplifying and expanding on the insights, stories, and methods of their exalted predisessors. Thus we have 28 generations of Buddhist Patriarchs, a thousand years of Shaivite and Tibetan masters, etc. We have the Nath tradition of Nisargadatta, the school of Kashmir Shaivism founded by Nityananda, the lineage of Babaji to Muktananda, and tens of millions of students arguing which we self-realized, or enlightened, and who were not, based on their subjective criteria.

But all is well. Just turn your attention around, look and feel inside, and find riches beyond belief within your inner world.

But you will find so many here on FB that wrap their minds around one teacher, one method, one school, which they understand with their minds, not their hearts, and they become the haters of other schools, other experiences outside of their experiential universe.

All teachings are only concepts. All distinctions are only concepts. That is why we have to dig deep into the nature of our own experience, and only then check it against gurus, present and past.
Nisargadatta, Robert Adams, and Ramana are the big three of traditional Advaita, and the principal guides of my entire Sadhana.

But I want you to take a look at what they say, feel what they say, and what do you feel?


Really they only talk about Turiya and, at least in Nisargadatta's case, That which lies beyond it.

I knew Robert first hand. I spent severn years with him.  Most that claim his as their guru spent not one minute with him.


Robert was fun to be with only because he was my guru. Lost in himself, he really had nothing to do with the world which he considered a joke.

I just wanted to be around him all the time, trying to get a taste of where he was subjectively, and finally in 1995 had several experiences he acknowledged as "enlightenment."  But let me tell you, the experience of and knowledge of the experience that I did not exist as a human and that the world was illusory produced no joy, but only 10 years of dwelling in emptiness, which was very dry indeed.

When Shakti came to me and awakened me to the joys of the Manifest Self in 2010, everything changed because at this point Consciousness itself became alive as Shakti and has remained so until now.

You cannot identify with the Absolute as you cannot experience the Absolute as some thing, as an object; you can only be is as the subject, and when you do so, the totality of existence is laid out before you as Consciousness, but with the identity gone.

However, when this happens, the principal of identification is absent and you cannot accurately say, "I Am That," because the ability to relate to objects is gone.  You cannot even any longer say, "I am not That," because there is no longer a That.

Subject and object as a distiction evaporates.  There is only Consciousness, but you cannot even say that.  The distinction between Consciousness and the Absolute disappears too.

You body is no longer experienced as separate from the world.  The I Am is no longer experienced as separate from the world. All become merged in with one experience of all that there is.  You are part of all that is, but cannot articulate that as no time and no movement exist in this totality.

With t comes great peace--unbelievable peace of nothing to do nowhere to go.  As the totality of Consciousness you are complete and immovable. Yet, you cannot even say, "I am complete and immovable" since no I-sense exists anymore.

30 October 2015

All the published books of Nisargadatta taken together are probably less than 1,200 pages.  Three of them by Jean Dunn, are less than 500 pages.

If you notice, published talks are always less than 5 pages, often less than 3 pages.

This means his published talks are all heavily edited, and what you are reading is the editor's POV regarding the talks selected, and what portions of those talks the editor chose to make a point.

Robert's talks covered three years from 1990 to mid 1993, three years. He talked twice a week for maybe 30-45 minutes. The book of his entire talks is over 2,100 pages long.

Nisargadatta talked six or seven times as much, everyday, twice a day. Most of the talks published after I Am That occurred between 1979 and 1981.  This would mean a book of all his talks would be over 14,000 pages long excluding the earlier I Am That from his 1974 and 1975 talks.  So we are reading less than 10% of what Maharaj spoke of during those three years.

I had a long talk one time with William Powell who himself wrote three books of Maharaj's talks.  He asked me why the talks published in other's books, like those of Jean Dunn were so short.  Powell said Nisargadatta spoke at great length each day, and authors only captured a small part of what he said.

His two newest books, Beyond Freedom and Nothing is Everything are different.  These were random, previously unpublished talks that had not been cherry-picked by previous editors as among his best talks. They have not been carefully edited to reveal the diamonds mixed in with the dross, and you find a very different Nisargadatta here, one that seems terminologically challenged, inconsistent, and very confusing.

The Nisargadatta in Jean's books is polished, powerful, eloquent, in the last two books, almost like someone with not enough sleep and who was very, very careless with examples, stories going nowhere, and highly inconsistent, and, in fact, not much worth a bother.

Now if you want to try to reframe Maharaj's work between lower and higher teachings, we have a problem.  Some like the concept of that which lies prior to Consciousness, the Absolute that apprehends Consciousness, as opposed to the teachings found in the last two books in question that focus on the "truth" that everything is Consciousness, a unity of the totality of an undifferentiated oneness, or wholeness, within which the I-sense, one's body as a percept, one's breathing, the entirety of the external world, all merge in oneness without identification of any sort.

Those who try to shoehorn Maharaj into just those two positions almost never talk about where those teachings come from experientially out of Maharaj.  He says the teachings come out of him spontaneously, not by thinking or memory. with nary a word about the experiential states he talks about.  Without some sort of support, his words have only the power you give them, and I know many, many people, including Ramesh Balsekar who swears Maharaj did not talk about anything existing prior to Consciousness.

There are so many who think they have entirely grasped Nisargadatta, and are very insistent on their POV, and argue I am wrong or presenting a minority of Maharaj's teachings.

Actually, I have a different view.  I want to free people from a slavish dependence on what they think Maharaj said, which is solely their own POV based on their spiritual history, their education, their meditations, and their reading of Maharaj, and quit insisting that others don't understand him as deeply as they do.

Be open to all he is saying, not to just your beliefs about the totality of his teachings, and purported levels.  Yes, I find him intriguing still, but the primary authority with who I abide, is myself, my own experience, my own knowledge, not Nisargadatta.  I am telling you to cling only to your own experience, not to Ramana, Maharaj, or Robert.

29 October 2015

Beyond Freedom, Chapter 6 by Nisargadatta, with commentary

Beyond freedom--Nisargadatta
Chapter 6: identify with the body, suffer with the body.
Maharaj: While the knowledge is getting established, you will be in a sleep-like state—even witnessing will not be there.  You will feel as if you are asleep, but it is not sleep.  It is called Udmani, which means “above the level of mind.”  The yogis and sages are in that state above the mind.  It is a state that transcends the mind.  When I talk, I am talking from the Udmani state—from nothingness.  It is a restful and relaxed state.

(Comment: he is probably talking about what Siddharameshwar called the causal body.  Above, Nisargadatta states that in this sleep-like state, even witnessing is not there.  So where is the Witness?  According to Siddharameshwar, we have to pause through this sleep like causal state before we realized Turiya, a deeper level of self, and in fact the origin of the I-Amness according to Siddharameshwar.)

Visitor: is it a state of deep sleep?

Maharaj: Although it feels similar to sleep, it is not sleep, because there is awareness or consciousness deep inside.  You will not have this experience unless you are stabilized in peace and stillness.

Visitor: when I am reading, sometimes there is an identity, and I see myself reading.  Is that differ from the state you compared it with?

Maharaj: while dreaming, you observe the dream do not you?  At that time, the whole dream world is in front of you.  You simultaneously watch what is happening while also taking part in the dream world as one of the characters, one of the actors.  But here, you are purely a Witness.  You are not acting but are merely a Witness, whereas there you are also a participant in the dream.

(Comment: Very strangely he contradicts above, where he says you are in a sleep-like state were even witnessing is not there.)

Some gurus give disciplines which only engage the mental aspect that activity.  They get their disciples involved in the play of the mind by referring to the concepts that appeal to them.  They concretize their preferred concepts in the form of activities for their disciples.  Leave all of that alone—there is no question of effort and no question of elevating yourself to a higher level.  Where will this spark or flame go?  Where will my vital breath or prana go?  There is no question of it going anywhere.  You only have to be aware as the Witness and you will merge with the five elements. 

(Comment: What does the “you” in the above paragraph refer to?  What does it mean that “you” merge with the five elements?  What I believe he could mean, is that you as witness merge into, or disappear into the external world experience.)

If you identify with the body-mind, you will have to undergo all of it suffering and misery, while facing its effects.  If you identify with the body, you will suffer with the body.  A swimmer, when caught in a whirlpool, has to go down deep beneath the whirlpool, then swim beyond its diameter before coming up to the surface.  If the swimmer struggles, he will become exhausted will be finished.  Similarly, with this whirlpool of the body-mind, before you become panicky dive deep down underneath—do not get entangled with the body mind.  Go deep beyond the thoughts and come into the thoughtless state.  I tell you to ask me questions because I want to find out the depth of your understanding.  The questions are of the mind, but you are not the mind.

First there is the desire to “Be.”  From this “I am,” the air came first and the earth last.  Then from the earth came the vegetation and the many forms of life, each having this “I-Amness.”  Because of the five elements you have the body, and in that body is the “I-Amness.”  What you call death is when the vital breath goes back into the air and the body merges into the five elements.  When the vital breath separates from the body, the “I-Amness disappears.

(Comment: again a bit of confusing discourse.  When the body dies, it merges into the five elements.  Later he states that if you just dwell in the I-Amness, the I am sensation, you will merge into the five elements.  In one case he seems to be talking about the five elements as objects: fire, water, earth, air, sky.  However elsewhere, he appears to be talking about the five elements as what we observe as the entirety of objective world.)

If you come to me as a man you may get something for your livelihood, but that will be your only gift.  However, if you come to me understanding that you are God, that knowledge will manifest.  For example, if there is a vacancy in an office offering a salary of 10,000 Rupees a month, only a suitable man will get the job as an unqualified man would not be able to last.  Similarly, only people who consider themselves as Brahman can get that knowledge.  Other people, who identify with the body-consciousness, are not fit for it.

You must have maturity and you must be worthy of the knowledge that you want to gain.  By chanting “I am Brahman” you become subtle and escape the sense of body-mind.  If you go to others so-called gurus, they will tell you something relating to your body-minD sense, and tell you that if you follow certain disciplines they might grant you   something.  But you will not be able to attain Brahma-hood.  You must first accept that you are without a body-mind and that you are subtle.  That sence must be instilled in you.

I look to this Brahma state, my beingness (I-Amness), and observe my body—like an incense stick with a spark on it.  That chemical, or seer, is here in this instance stick and is being burnt by that spark.  You must become initiated into the understanding of what I am expounding to you.  I am telling you about the seed of Brahman.  You have to understand that I am planting the Brahma seed in you.  That Brahma seed is your beingness (I-Amness), which sprouts into manifestation.  That Brahma state does not require anything to eat.  It has no hunger, because Brahma alone embraces everything it all manifestation is Brahma.  I am trying to raise you to that state.  Do not think you can become a realized-soul only by listening to a few lectures here.  You have to forget everything and merge with Brahman.

(Comment: again the apparent contradiction.  Nisargadatta states he is talking about the seed of Brahman.  He states my beingness, my I-Amness, is your Brahma seed.  He says that Brahma state does not require anything to eat.  It has no hunger, because Brahma alone embraces everything; all manifestation is Brahma.  Yet several places earlier in this book, he states that I-Amness, beingness is dependent upon the body and is a manifestation from the food that the body consumes.  Yet he goes on to state that everything is Brahman, everything is you.)

Visitor: what is the difference between worldly knowledge and knowledge about Brahman?

Maharaj: You will not realize it less the difference within you goes.  If you think you are the body you cannot gain this knowledge.  Who wants to know about Brahman?  Find that out first, then change the identity of that I from the body consciousness to “I am one with Brahman.”  Focus on that Brahman instead of on the body-mind.  You must understand yourself correctly.  You think I am a man, and being a man means being conditioned by body and mind.  How can you understand the Brahma state from this standpoint?

Visitor: does that mean that Brahma knowledge merely comes from the fact that “I am?”

Maharaj: Who is it that needs to understand this the most, the knowledge that “I am?”  If you listen carefully and imbibe the principles, you will get rid of this body-minD sense and dwell only in the “I Amness” (beingness).  I am the love of beingness, and beingness is itself love.

Visitor: the “I-Amness” precludes the aspect of “I am not,” does not it?

Maharaj: you want to know the link, the bridge between “I am” and “I am not,” is that it?  First of all only hold onto the “I-Amness,” without any words and just Be.  When somebody hails you, you respond, but before you do there is somebody within you who becomes aware of the call and will need to answer.  That being is the “I am,” and has been there even before that awareness appeared.

(Comment: here Maharaj appears to be identifying the “I-Amness” with the ultimate witness, does he not?  He states that the “I am” has been there even before awareness appeared.)

Visitor: Does the flash of light come from beingness— “I am?”

Maharaj: the moment the “I-Amness” explodes or appears, all of space is lit up.  The entire sky is the expression of your beingness.  Even though this whole world is an expression of your beingness, you believe that you are only the body.  Your love for the body limit your horizons.  But the moment those walls come down, you are one with Brahman as the whole universe.


(Comment: once again, Nisargadatta appears to be saying that everything is consciousness and you are that.  There is no way here he is talking about anything prior to consciousness.  I-Amness is synonymous with the entire sky, and the whole world is an expression of your beingness, but you identify only with the body.  This love for the body or identification with the body limit your horizons.  In actuality you are Brahman, or the totality of consciousness manifest as the whole universe.  Everything is consciousness.)

Chapter 5, Beyond Freedom by Nisargadatta

Read this carefully.  Most of what he says here seems irrelevant.  Look for the key points and key definitions.  What does he mean  by them?

Beyond Freedom – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Chapter 6--Everything is Conceptual

V: what is the meaning of “I am,” the basic illusion?

M: it means pure, even though you have to provide food for it.  A Yogi had been studying the art of reviving objects after death.  One day he saw a bone in the forest and decided to practice his art to see how effective it was.  He chanted the mantra and suddenly a lion appeared.  He did not, however, create any food for the lion and so when the line was hungry he ate the Yogi.  The moral of the story is that before you create anything, you have to first create food.  The “I am” is sustained by the food body.  That is our body, which is the food for the I am.  Every creature depends upon its food and the “I am” depends on our body.  Will you remember this?

When you recite the mantra relating to a particular God, that particular quality and Consciousness is created within you.  Rama, Krishna, Rama, Shiva are only incarnations of your Consciousness.  The same Consciousness that “you are” is also what these gods, which have been created with various names from your Consciousness, “are.”

V: there is a statue of Nityananda in his ashram.  Muktananda says that it cannot is still alive and that he indicates with him.  What you say about that?

M: I also have many photographs of my guru here.  Because my guru “is” I know “I am.”  You presume that your guru Nityananda is a body-mind and that is a mistake.  I do not look upon my guru like that.  He is merged into Consciousness and I see him as that.  So long as the body is there, Consciousness and memory are there.  Once the body is gone, the Consciousness is unaware of anything.  When the oil is there, the flame keeps burning by using the oil, but no oil is used after the flame is gone.  Whatever is burnt is burnt and whatever remains, remains.  When the child is born, growth takes place.  The “I am is there throughout his or her life even if a person lives for 100 years, but the “I am” disappears when the body is gone.  This is called death.

I would like to know your opinion about what I have told you.  Should I tell you all of this or should I keep quiet?  Somebody came this morning who was always quoting his guru, so I sent him back to his guru.  By listening to me seriously, people could lose all hope and ambition.  Because they want to take action in the world, hope should be there for them.  If they feel that they are not gaining anything here, they should go away.  Why should I talk to these people who want to live and achieve something?  Nityananda hardly ever talkED, but his disciple Muktananda goes on talking and he has created an empire.  Chinmayananda has done the same thing although now he says he wants to stop talking and go away to the Himalayas.  All my expounding will only lead people to a state of inaction, so why should I talk?  Anyway, whatever you have heard here can never be erased and will have its effect.

V: I want to develop my determination to be in the “I am.”

M: did you have any Consciousness when you did not have your body?  You may have as much faith as you want, but even that will be gone when the body is no more, as your Consciousness will not be there.  Where are you without your Consciousness?  There is nothing for you to do.  Everything just comes into being and happens.  Why are you concerned with what to do?  You deal with the world only after having Consciousness, when the “I am” is there.  Once it is gone, everything ends.  It is all spontaneous.

Every nation has had different rulers ruling the country at different times, who are now dead and gone.  Do they come back and ask how the country is being ruled now?  Does Christ come back and ask why would you go to India to listen to all of this trash?  Our Hindu deities are supposed to be very powerful, but did they do anything when Muslim and Christian invaders came to rule over India?  We all had parents.  Where are they once they have died?  You just say they have gone home to God, but are they here now?  Do they common interfere in our daily lives?  We go on looking for a guru to guide us.  What did Ramakrishna say to Viv Yogananda?  He just said, “take the right mango and enjoy it.  Do not keep questioning where the mango is come from, etc.”

The worry about death does not affect me at all.  Why are you worried about reincarnation?  Just experience whatever is happening to you now.  I was asked why I previously told some people that many births are needed before realization can happen.  I have to tell such stories the ignorant people.  When a person describes a memory of his last birth, I asked him whether he remembers who his parents were, animals are human beings?  You are only talking about your dream.  At present you can say who your parents are, but do you know who they were during your last birth?  If you cannot remember anything, just say it is all over and finished.  It is just a dream; forget about it.

What others say about how rebirth is determined by the thoughts you have when you are dying is mere hearsay.  What I am telling you about the merging of the “I am” with the source is the real thing.  This world has existed for millions of years.  Male and female, Purusha and Prakriti, have created so many dynasties.  For which background have you come to this present form?  Did you come from your father’s father or your mother’s father?  From the time of the first couple ever created, which birth is this?  Can you go back and find out?  Why carry that tension around with you when you cannot know or remember any of it?  Do not bother about it.

As you progress and get established in beingness, you will understand that you are above the dreaming and waking states, as those only pertain to your “I-Amness.”  We are only able to observe because of this “I-Amness.”  When the “I-Amness” is not there, the tool required to observe is also not there.  

Once there is self-realization, the whole riddle is solved.  What Krishna preaches in the Gita is correct.  What I am saying is of no profit or loss.  Even a blind person to describe a huge well?  How does he know?  It is just a way of expressing his thoughts.

As life flows, go on doing what has to be done.  However much you run around, without God’s will there is nothing.  Whether it is your dreams or your visions, whatever you see is nothing but God’s appearance.  It is the source, or Consciousness, which is appearing in so many forms.  Everything is conceptual.




28 October 2015

Beyond Freedom, Chapter 1, by Nisargadatta

The following is the first chapter of Nisargadatta’s latest published book Beyond Freedom which are previously unpublished transcripts from 1979 to 1981.

Read this several times.
What is he talking about?  Think carefully before you answer.  Then read it again.

There is nothing here that speaks to Prior to Consciousness.  What he speaks of is that Consciousness is everything, even the I Am, your body, all others, houses, objects, all disappear into Universal Consciousness, the totality of Consciousness without any identification or I, me, the personal, male or female.  All become submerged in the experience of the simultaneous totality of experience without a witness, because a witness requires a witnessed, and that is separation.

Only things, objects, within Consciousness, separated out by concepts and identification, have an “apparent” separate existence. Without thinking and without identification, the is just one, unmoving, unaging, not me, or not, not me, experience.

Beyond Freedom -- Nisargadatta
Chapter 1: What is that which you are searching for? 
Nisargadatta: there is no sense of personality at all when you become the Ishwara principal.  Have no concern about losing your personality by listening to this knowledge, as personality has always been illusory.  In order to even understand me the sense of personality must be absent.  You are the knowledge and you do not have any shape or form whatsoever.  You are impersonal.  You are comprehensive.  You are the Unmanifest, the universal Consciousness.  What would happen if you went in search of that Consciousness?  The seeker would disappear in the search, because the “I Amness” is all there is.
Visitor question: I have a question here.
Nisargadatta: Do not focus on your question.  Focus on what I am saying.  Do not say anything, just listen.
Visitor: You speak very harshly…  It hurts me.
N: Just leave that.  Do not even look in that direction, just focus on what I am telling you.
V: I do not know who I am, that is my reality.
M: As long as you are coming here, your search is not over.  You are here because your search has not ended.  Try to find out why.  What is it that you are searching for?  There is nothing there, only the process of seeking.
You might be anybody in this world, even Brahma or Vishnu, but you do not have the power to do anything.  Your life is your existence.  It is made up of the five elements and it is dependent only on these five elements.
Consciousness is an orphan without parents or source.  It has no need of anyone.  What you understand of the objective world is all duality.  Your objective world is composed of relationships.  You have to depend all the time of someone else, friend, husband, wife, etc.  In the objective world there is only dependence, where is in your true state there is always independence.  Existence without identity, which is your true nature, is independent.
The time is 11:30 at present, it cannot be 12 now.  It will be 12 half an hour later.  We do not have any control over it; the time has to pass.  That means you are always dependent on something.  You cannot live independently of time, space, or the elements.  Everyone is helpless.  Only Consciousness is independent.
The state of bliss or joy is Poornabrahman or Nirvana.  One who does not need anybody for entertainment is niranjan.  The ever-present is nitya.  That state never changes at all.  As long as you are conscious of your body and its needs, you cannot be totally independent.  Consciousness does not need light and it does not need darkness.  It does not need rest.  It is the Truth and there is no change in it.
When I was young, I had the power to squeeze a piece of metal and pull it back into shape.  Now I am old require help from somebody move around.  Where has the power gone?  It is not remain with me at all.
All of these things in the objective world are inseparable from their attributes.  An attribute by its very nature depends upon something.  That knowledge, “I am,” is also an attribute.  Therefore the “I-Amness,” one way or another, also has depend on something.
V: What is the concept of Maya (illusion)?
N: The concept of Maya comes from the “I-Amness.”  The existence of my and the world around you only arises when you are conscious of yourself.  This is a state of darkness and ignorance, which is far from that of knowledge.  Maya does not exist within the state of knowledge.
V: What is Atma?
M: Atma Prem is also due to the “I Amness.”  If you start with Atma Prem, it can distract you and all you will see is Maya, which is a state of ignorance.  If you reach a state of knowledge, then even this Atma Prem will be nonexistent.  The word my I has a different meaning here.  What you are calling love is itself Maya.  Love is playing many roles.  All these houses, etc. have been created out of Maya.  Love or Maya has set up the whole of Bombay.  Love is taking many shapes: mula-maya has created Vishnu and Shankara, but what was there before that?  My is the culprit.  Man has entangled himself in this concept and illusion of love, and because of it, gets trapped in the cycle of life and death.  The feeling of love is a great mistake if one gets entangled in it.  There is love for so many things.  The minute the illusion is created, the entanglement begins.  By imagining male and female, you get entangled in that illusion.
“You are Paramatman.”  This is what my guru told me he was going into Mahasamadhi.  His words had so much force that they were implanted and embedded in me, and I became that.  There was so much power and force behind his utterances that whatever he said came true.
V: Were you constantly doing the sacred mantra, which are guru had given you?
M: I was not doing it.  I was constantly listening to it.  The power of the mantra depends upon the intensity of the faith you have.
V: Is there any cause for this faith?
M: Yes, there is a primary cause, the big cause, which is the knowledge “I am.”  This is the cause behind the faith.  The “awareness of my being” happen automatically.  It just happens.  The sprouting of this knowledge “I am” is prior to the formation of the five elements.  The ultimate Consciousness, the Absolute, is not even aware of itself or of any happening.  Consciousness was one, but two people of different sexes were created in the love between them created this world.  This sound in this awareness are not one, but two.  Consciousness is just a speck, and dissolution has come out of it.
Love is divided into two sexes and the world has grown out of this, but as soon as realization happens the separation disappears.  When you have the realization that “you are, that all is the play of Shiva Shakti, then he will know that this is all an illusion, and you will be free of grief as well as joy.  Self-realization is Shivadatta.  The moment you reach that stage you will not have these feelings of happiness, sorrow and suffering.  When you reach the state of self-knowledge, there will be peace and quiet.  Such knowledge of the self is known as Shivadatta.  If you realize that this is all an illusion, then there is no need for self-realization.
V: Is there no love with self-realization?
M: It is beyond that.  Love is a worldly state.  The very feeling of self-realization will not arrive until you understand what you are.  If you understand the answer then this question about self-realization will not arise.  Ananda, the pleasure of bliss of Consciousness, will arise in you like an atomic explosion, and he will will see how the whole wide world is a manifestation of that.  Chinmayananda means “speck of bliss.”  Swami means the spontaneous awareness of my being.  Through the “I-Amness,” swami Chinmayananda has created a big ashram in as many people visit.  All the gods are coming and going in this Consciousness.  Merely the fact that “you are” is swami, which is pure honey, the proof of the Absolute.  It is always with you and is calm all by itself spontaneously, without asking.  That is swami.
V: And all the other things, what is that all about?

M: Why worry about that?  Let it be there.  Read about the “I-Amness” and forget about the rest.  What the swami’s are doing or what they say is immaterial.  If you have come to the source, why do you want to go back again to the banks of the river?
I am extremely busy right now, with medical reports, mandated gardening to prevent homeowner association fines, sick cats that need daily visits to vets, a renter moving out of my rental house, a visitor who wants to spend time with me, etc., etc.

But I feel driven to start a Nisargadatta discussion using his newest book, Beyond Freedom.  No need to buy it.  I will dictate and post each  short chapter separately.

26 October 2015

The Endless Path

THE ENDLESS PATH

One commentor left a snide remark on one of my posts saying Nisargadatta was easy to understand as he taught on the same subject for decades.

WRONG!

Nisargadatta’s teachings changed dramatically over the years and in the last two years of his life, suggested people not read ‘I Am That’ because those were Kindergarten level teachings compared to how he was teaching in 1980.

His first book that I know of, ‘Self-Knowledge and Self-Realization’ speaks of internal energies, surrender, Krishna Consciousness, chanting, and realization of what I call the Manifest Self.

‘I Am That’ is very different, and his last three years of talks were even more different with his de-emphasis on Consciousness, the I Am sensation, transitioning to an exclusive emphasis on the Absolute.

His teachings changed throughout his life, from his initial awakening in 1936 to near his death in 1982, just as my teachings have changed over the past 20 years.

The problem with Maharaj’s teachings is context. When is he teaching Advaita Vedanta, and when is he using terms and concepts from other schools as his experience reveals new aspects of the Consciousness/Witness transition.

His teacher, Siddharameshwar wrote a very clear 81 page exposition of his Nath school teachings which led to Maharaj’s awakening.  In 1961 Nisargadatta published that exposition along with his notes from 131 of his teacher’s talks, along with his short introduction on how it is necessary to trust his guru’s teachings.

Many, many people have told me that Nisargadatta is easy to understand, but that just tells me they have not understood his teachings from their gut, but rather as a mental construct, a philosophy.  If they had understood him from their gut, they already would have been great jnanis with their own students.

If a teaching comes too easily to you, you probably have not earned it.  You have not experienced their truth from the inside, as experience, whether of the Subtle Body, Causal Body, Turiya, or the Witness state.

Seung Sahn Soen Sah and Papaji all had many, many students that claimed to be “awakened,” or enlightened, or had "Inka," but in my witnessing of their talks and behaviors, I did not feel that to be the case.

My own experience is that the number of new spiritual experiences I have had seem to be increasing in number and depth the older I get.

As I have slowed down externally, I have spent more and more time inside my Self, experiencing circulating energies, the Subtle Body, my sense of presence, the I Am sensation which seems to have a life of its own, the disappearance of the identification principle, leading to the discovery of the truth that consciousness is everything, and being the witness and feeling untouched by consciousness itself at all.  But I have never done this with a system in mind, whether Kashmir Shaivism or Advaita, because I don't trust concepts at all, only my direct experience.

Thus I have experienced that the important thing in developing spiritual maturity is a persistent inversion of awareness exploring my inner world.

What then helps is reading works by spiritual giants such as Muktananda, Nisargadatta, Ramana, Robert, Ramakrishna, Shankara, etc., to see if there is something I have missed. There always is.

This is why I found Shankarananda’s book so helpful as it placed the teachings of many ancient Hindu schools together in a way to provide a context for understanding the experiences of many spiritual giants over the breadth of history.

Ramana and Nisargadatta constantly throw out Sanskrit terms which have no easy translation into English, and Nisargadatta does so in a very spontaneous and “sloppy” way without providing a context.

Very strangely, the part he is most elusive about is the Witness, the Knower, versus the I Am.  For him there is a duality here between the Knower, the Witness, and the witnessed I Am, which itself, for him, is a secondary witness.

Almost all the time he claims that the Witness is unknowable, and unknowable because it is the knower, the subject, not an object, which, of course, introduces yet another duality.  When you subjectively “fall backwards” into the witness, you fall and fall, until suddenly you “turn around” and are experiencing the world from a position of nothingness, having no head, no body, no I.  You have come to the position of the witness and are the witness.

Yet Maharaj also speaks of the fundamental ignorance state which Robert calls “the gap,” (of no I-awareness) occurring after awakening and before we become self-aware.  The awareness state without being self-aware, or aware that what is being experienced is later seen to be external to you after the I-sensation is experienced, and another duality created, and never explicitly differentiates this from his "prior to Consciousness" concept.

Then he also says while speaking to students that he is established in the witness state even while speaking, denying he has anything to do with Consciousness.  To me, this is another duality, denying his own human experience, the I Am sensation, as well as the gap state.

At other times, when asked, he describes the experience of living from the Absolute state as resting underneath the shade of a great tree, where the shade has a bluish color, which appears a place of experience without the I Am, or perhaps the "gap" state.

So for him, the Absolute is both experiential and non-experiential, and his relationship between the “gap” of fundamental ignorance, the I Am, or Manifest Self, the Witness as knower, and the experience of being totally beyond and separate from consciousness is never made clear.

What is clear though, and the reason Robert Adams and others kept reading spiritual books their entire life, is the need to have the feelowship, the companionship of great beings who constantly talk about their self-experiences of God, Self, and the world both as confirmation of one’s own experience, but also as pointers to experiences and understanding not yet held.

When we read the Avadhut Gita, the Nisargadatta Gita, the Ribhu Gita, Robert’s talks, the New Testament Bible, we are receiving the Darshan of great spiritual companions that confirm our divine nature as well as our human roots, and often providing pointers to experiences not yet had and assimilated.

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The average American consumes about 18 pounds of bacon each year.


24 October 2015

I sit writing this testimony in utter bliss and joy. From head to toe I am washed by bliss with the light of Consciousness burning brightly. I have just finished Swami Shakarananda’s book Consciousness is Everything available at Amazon.
I have always hated eastern philosophy even from my early, pre-Zen days exploring Buddhist Sutras and major schools and how they critiqued each other. Kashmir Shaivism and Advaita Vedanta were just too complex and boring to me in comparison to finding all that I wanted to read in reading me, my Self, the I Am, the Void, the presence, the light of Consciousness. When I read philosophical texts my mind began to pop up and try to hold together the myriad of concepts and states found within those books, including especially, Nisargadatta Maharaj.
Maharaj’s books are filled with what Shankarananda calls G or Guru statements that shock you, but Nisargadatta’s talks are so chaotic, unstructured, and immediate, it is very difficult to find the underlying structure of his teachings. I persisted because I was watching a brilliant lightning storm of wisdom from this character, but never was able to catch him. Until now.
Swamiji’s book provides the overall structure that includes explaining all the concepts found in Nisargadatta, Ramana, and Robert Adams within a comprehensive overview, that in the largest sense explains all Hindu and Buddhist views within a living expression of otherwise lifeless scholastic philosophy.
There is so much light and love in this book; it is an expression of sheer joy in the exposition of our manifest and transcendent nature.
I would never have suspected such a book coming out of Swamiji. When I knew him from 1979 to whenever he left for Australia, when it came to teachings he was utterly silent. When it came to a description of his own attainment and states, e was utterly silent. Yet I felt the Shakti radiating from him, and in this book see a fruition of a level of alive teaching that is quite extraordinary.
This book may have the ostensible subject matter of Kashmir Shaivism, but it is really about Shankarananda, who really knows who he is. He has lived these teachings and evolved in them. Such a teacher is rare, as rare as this book, one I could never wrote because I hate scholastic detail and myriads of concepts and methods.

I wish to thank my spiritual brother Swami Shankarananda for his presence in this world and his manifestation through this book.

22 October 2015

ONCE AGAIN I AM EXPLODING IN BLISS. A CONSTANT STREAM OF ENERGY AND LIGHT FLOWS FROM MY GUT THROUGH MY HEART AND UPWARD AND OUTWARD INTO THE WORLD. IT MOVES AS A SLOW BUT VERY BROAD RIVER OF PURE CONSCIOUSNESS, LIGHT, LIGHT, LIGHT!
The finding of Kashmir Shaivism opened me to a richer understanding of Nisargadatta, Robert, and Ramana. In KS, the Witness is Shiva, unmoving, still, observing, surrounded by the Manifest, the entirety of the Manifest Self and world, and is called Shakti. They are One, not two, just as I used to say that the Unmanifest and Manifest Selves were one.
After living in Shakti for many years, Nisargadatta decided to just live in Shiva and rejected the rest of Consciousness. Shiva is prior to Consciounsess only in the sense of being the ultimate witness aspect of Consciousness.
Shakti is exploding in me now, flowing, moving, enlivening, filling me with bliss and I am bliss itself.
Kashmir Shaivism puts Nisargadatta's disjointed aphorisms into a complete context that opened something up in me. A month ago I was in complete stillness as the totality of Consciousness, still, complete, self-sufficient, and incredibly peaceful.
Today I am exploding in bliss-energy, shouting in great joy my existence,
When I escaped academia during the third year of an Economics Ph.D. program at Wayne State University in 1968, I never look backwards.  I hated all approaches based on sutras, words, concepts, ontology, and adapted spiritual approaches with minimal teachings, such as the transmission outside of scripture approach of Zen, and then the very simple teachings of Robert, Ramana, and Nisargadatta, where you just find the I-Thought and follow it with your attention, or to find the I-sensation and evermore fixate there.

I remember attending to several classes on various scriptures of Kashmir Shaivism at the Santa Monica Siddha Yoga ashram on Broadway around 1980 or 1981, and felt so put off by the verbal approach.

I read Jan Essman’s books with great difficulty, also of a Shaivite bent, I don't remember if he considered himself a Kashmir Shaivite, because they were so scholarly and obsessed with Shaivite concepts and terminology versus other schools.

Since the early 80s, I have never been interested in anything but understanding the I Am directly, Consciousness, the Void, the light of Consciousness pervading all, and later, Self-Realization both of the Unmanifest and of the Manifest Self.

I was very popular as a teacher when I only reflected Robert’s teachings, but once I realized God within me, with her constant presence within my heart, Her energy, her restless movements, the constant bliss states, flowing energies and flow of circulating light within, my expanding sense of presence, and far increased clarity of the entirety of the spiritual spectrum, students just began to slip or even run away.  What I was teaching now was outside of the spectrum and umbrella of Robert, Ramana’s or Nisargadatta’s simplistic teachings of transcendence.

Students told me they could not understand what I was teaching anymore, or they refused to go where I was leading because of my maturing vision.

Had Shankarananda spoke in any academic way when I first knew him in 1979, I would not have stayed around. I was anti-scholastic hten, even more than now.  However, now, 35 years later I have experienced so much, so many states, experiences, teachings that fall outside of Advaita, that although Nisargadatta and Ramana stand at the center of my guru-honoring, my present experience of Kashmir Shaivism through the very personal and joyous expression of my old friend, has allowed me to cast my current understanding and experiences in a new light of expansive spirituality, of great width, and life-affirming spirituality so very different from Robert’s and Nisargadatta’s disconfirmation of the human condition.

In my experience, the true Advaita Vedantists were a sour bunch, denying the personal, relationships, even Consciousness itself by Nisargadatta.  And, they tended to be inactive, like Ramana, withdrawn, like Lahksmanan, and all took Ramana’s sayings as the only truth.

On the other hand, Muktananda and Shankarananda, as well as Swami Chetanananda, throw the doors open and allow everyone into their tent, allowing them access to a level of teachings within that big tent that they can adopt as their own.  Shankarananda on a personal level really never offered any teachings 35-40 years ago, and because of that, I only felt his warmth and the warmth of the various Siddha ashrams, which of course disappeared once Chidvilasananda took over and she turned it into a personal cult.

Shankarananda told me back then that Muktananda told him never to offer teachings unless a student were nearly beating you up for them.  I understand this approach now. If the teachings are hard to come by, people can’t fault you; if you are open about teachings, they will conflict with those students already have, which will drive many away.  

This has been my experience.

Most students need very simple teachings, easy to understand, very little confrontations about their wrong beliefs, like some who hold that a “true teacher” does not smoke, eat meat, swear, have sex, or lose their temper.  Teachers are thus placed in strait jackets or the expectations of na├»ve students who are always judging based on what they think you should be and how “an enlightened being” should act.

The meditations and exercises that Shankarananda offers in his book are precisely those I have also taught over the years including his Shiva Process, which I do more directly by plunging into negative thoughts and emotions, abiding there, accepting them, even loving them, absorbing them and their energies into me.  I am sure Shankarananda would accept this too as a method as the result is the same, but I don’t use the idea that I am breaking up a contraction or sticking point.  I accept them as a form of Consciousnes that need sto be explored and loved.

I am very proud of my old friend for his genius as a teacher.  I could never have written such an academic book, nor expressed it with such love.

One more thing, all the talk has been about swamiji.  Let me make quite clear the Ma Devi has always been part of what their ashrams so sweet.  Her presence during chanting and on the harmonium was transfixitive.

21 October 2015

More on my way versus Kashmir Shaivism, but the joy I feel reading about it.

Regarding Shankarananda’s book, some people have contacted me saying it is too wordy, too many concepts, too many distinctions, and a constant emphasis of avoiding negative thoughts and emotions.

I agree totally with this criticism.  First of all, I have very little to do with the mind at all.  It does not get in my way or between me and the ‘external world’.  I do not avoid thoughts at all; they come and visit very briefly and leave because I more or less have nothing to do with them.

The same with emotions. Emotions come and go, and I don’t much entertain them, positive or negative. But an emphasis on avoiding “impure” thoughts or emotions just escapes me.  There is a great amount of energy and bliss encased within ALL strong emotions from anger, love, jealousy, fear, to negative moods such as depression, anxiety, euthymia, and elation.  With and below each is a river of bliss, and within that bliss, is pure Consciousness and light.  This has been my own experience.  By diving deep into depression, jealousy, fear, humiliation, one encounters energy and bliss. 
One learns how to “eat” emotions, abide in them, accept them, even love them.  Love your depression, lust, jealousy, fear.  Play with those feelings, own them, absorb them.  When you do they leave an aftertaate of bliss and energy, which eventually blows away leaving peace, rest, and alive Consciousness.
The same with great love. Own it, dive into it.  Accept it, brimng it into your inner heart of identification however short a period of time and you become love itself, which transforms into visions and states of divine intoxication.
As to all the myriad concepts found in Kashmir Shaivism, it is just a joy to dwell for a while in a completely different take on the same subject matter, especially given Shankarananda’s light, joyful touch.

I am grasping this different perspective and can better grasp the Tantric approach which I discovered for myself in isolation the lone rebel in a sea of Advaita teachers and students always complaining about my many deviations from their concepts of the teachings of Robert, Ramana, or Nisargadatta, who so many worship as the embodiments of absolute truth and spirituality.


But all the distinction, concepts, and levels in Swamiji’s book?  In a month I will not remember much other than “Everything is Consciousness” and how that is expressed in so many ways in that book.

The strange thing is I entirely dwelled in that state a few weeks ago for four or five days after Michael came and took over my physical chores, and two months before reading Everything is Consciousness, and being shot down by Vedantists that thought I was being blasphemous. Doing nothing, with no movement of mind or body, the I Am sensation of my union with the divine disappeared and all that there was. Was Consciousness. All had dissolved into Consciousness.  There was no inside or outside, no divine versus personal, no I Am, no God within or world without, no joy, no sorrow, just infinite immersion in absolute peace of being at rest in Consciousness as Consciousness.

However, more than anything, I felt the joy in the way this book was written, even more than Shaivism’s broad sweep and poetic expression.
As an undergraduate, I majored in western philosophy, and was most interested in ontology (the structures of the existing), and epistemology (How do we know about those structures).  My favorite philosophers were Kant and Hume on the ontological end and Carnap, Quine, and Wittgenstein as to the nature of language, logic, and the mind.

However, sometime during my sophomore or junior year I knew without a shadow of doubt that there was no ultimate truth to be found there and left philosophy to study subjects closer to everyday life—economics.  But after three years of advanced study of macro economics, market theory, and money and banking, I saw again that theory was just a map, not the terrain itself, and most all the maps did more to confuse than make clear.

I found Eastern philosophy just as boring and off the point as Western philosophy, lost in concepts about the nature of reality and God.  Boring, boring, and so far from my direct experience such that I got into Zen, a transmission of Buddha’s enlightenment outside of the scriptures, except maybe for the Heart Sutra, Diamond Sutra, and the Lankanavatara Sutra, none of which meant anything to me then.

Unfortunately, not only did Zen toss out verbal and written teachings, it also got rid of Subtle Body energies, emotions, and the personal.  It is very one-sided and impersonal, even though quite brilliant and clear.

I remember taking Swami Shankarananda to see Seung Sahn Soen Sa some time after 1980, and noting how put off he was by Zen’s formality and lack of warmth.

Later I encountered Nisargadatta through Ramesh Balsekar, and then spent some weeks with Balsekar himself and found Nisargadatta’s Advaita as expounded by Ramesh extremely fascinating.  Indeed, one of my Zen Master’s, Song Ryong Hearn, also attended a few of Ramesh’s talks, turned to me during a break, and said that Ramesh’s exposition was as close as one can come to Zen’s truth in words.
Then I found Robert Adams, the history of which I have written about many, many times over the last 15 years.

Robert’s single teaching was that all that there is, is Consciousness, although at times, saying Consciousness itself was illusory.  You, as a human, do not exist.  The world is illusion, ignore it.  Follow the I-thought to its root, and through these teachings, had basic awakening to unbounded consciousness, the disappearance of all divisions within awareness and rest in the totality of Consciousness.

Since then I have had a very hard time reading, as I always had my own awareness to read by going within, observing my own awareness and the objects within Consciousness, such as my body experienced from inside, my emotions, my desires, thoughts, and imagination.
Nisargadatta’s world view is basically yogic, speaking of the four bodies, and beyond that, the Absolute, which he called Parabrahman.  He is terrible as a teacher of the fundamental Advaita he teaches because he speaks in aphorisms as opposed toa linear description. His expositions always lead to shutting down of the mind in stunned silence creating mindless states in his listeners, much like a Zen master with Koans or direct, physical blows.

Now, Rinzai Zen too has this brazen and somewhat violent approach to teaching, silencing the mind through physical blows or conundrums, but is heavily criticized by the Soto school of Zen, that does accept scripture study and sitting in silence, or just sitting, as proper meditation.  They regard Rinzai teachers and students almost as common thugs or retards, without subtlety or sophistication.  Rinzai masters on the other hand, regard Soto teachers as effete academics entirely lost in their minds or in quietism.

I guess my attitude towards scriptures has long had a Rinzai flavoring, and scriptural study was to be avoided at all costs for fear of getting stuck in words and concepts, drying out and becoming an old fart without juice.

However, to my great joy, now reading Shankarananda’s book, ‘Consciousness is Everything’ gives me a new appreciation for the scriptural approach.

I know that with Swami Chetanananda, I made myself a pest by criticizing his constant consort with academics to build a base or foundation for the future of Kashmir Shaivism in America.

But Shankarananda’s book is different.  It is not written in a boring, academic style, but from a personal point of view, filled with the delight and joy he experiences in the teachings and his own life.

The Kashmir Shaivism presented by Swamiji is very broad and rich, as well as deep, compared to the very linear verticality of Zen and Robert’s and Nisargadatta’s Advaita.

Shnakarananda’s Kashmir Shaivism is broad, rich, and great fun.  I feel a great happiness to experience all that I have experienced in terms of yogic bodies, altered states, unity consciousness within a broad context of teachings that is very rich, very personal, very much alive, and expressed with great joy.


I think Advaita and Kashmir Shavism are experiential antidotes to each other; one provides context, the other focuses entirely on the end state, the final goal.  I guess I will have to read one or two of Chetanananda’s books now to better “feel” the Shaivite approach.

20 October 2015

Shankarananda Shaivism and Nisargadatta

I like many things about Shankarananda’s book ‘Consciousness is Everything’, among them is the emphasis on being a person.   Advaita is really, really remote, and in a way, is very Zen like and very abstract.  There is no love in Advaita or in Zen.  Love is replaced by either indifference or compassion.

I am from a Zen and Advaita background. I got out of Zen because there was no warmth or love there, but I found a lot of that in Shankarananda’s Los Angeles ashram. Basically I left Siddha Yoga with when the LA Sangha was destroyed by Chidvilasanda, and I gradually found my way back into Advaita through Nisargadatta and Jean Dunn, and Robert Adams and Ramana.

What Shankarananda’s book does is give an entirely different perspective on Consciousness, the Absolute and the human condition than Advaita.  It makes many things clearer, like having stereo vision.  Some things pop out. The human condition is not to be ignored as per Nisargadatta and Robert, but recognized as aspects of Consciousness.  Shaivism is more open, Advaita more absolutist and elitist.

Shankarananda’s emphasis on the phrase “Consciousness is Everything” is quite different than Nisargadatta’s resting in the Absolute (Shiva state), yet is a phrase that Nisagadatta also uses to describe the what I call the Manifest level of Self or personal awareness and within that, the awareness of God within us, the divine spark of sentience, bliss, and life.

I think a true dialogue between Shankarananda and I would be very valuable.  We would shed light on each other.

I would very specifically note that neither Shaivism, nor Zen, nor Advaita has anything like the moralism or judgmentalism of Christianity or New Age spirituality.  Recently there has been a movement in Zen to come together in a Council and create a list of ethics for Zen Buddhism, which is an encroachment of the old Theravadin emphasis on ethics with its 513 moral precepts.


In Zen there is no pure or impure, good or evil. In Advaita there certainly is no moral considerations at all; it is all about Self-Realization, whether of the Manifest Self or of the Absolute (Shiva).  Shaivism seems much the closest to accepting “impurities” (as opposed to pure Consciousness), or “contractions,’ and using them to expand and grown by observing them, loving them, incorporating them, and then watching them disappear through absorption. This is also what I teach, I just did not know that Shankarananda beat me to it.

Anyone engaged in a lot of judgementalism or casting of stones, really has not a clue about what Shaivism is, or any form of spirituality above Fundamentalist Christianity or Sharia Law.
Those who say Nisargadatta is hard or easy to understand, because he does not have a systematic knowledge, a structure for his teachings, but is God speaking from his mouth are really mistaken.

We can easily see Nisargadatta’s teachings as a system if we read the book Master of Self-Realization, which has two sections: Master Key to Self-Realization by Siddharameshwar, which is 80 pages long, and then Part II, Master of Self Realization which is Nisargadatta’s notes on 130 of Siidharameshwar’s satsangs.  Nisargadatta also wrote an introduction to this part of the book on pages 85-87, wherein he states these teachings came to him because of his faith in his guru, loyalty to his guru, and by constantly pondering these talks.

Siddharameshwar’s teachings is a very clear exploration and exposition of the Nath school of Advaita Vedanta’s understanding of the nature of Consciousness and levels of Self from the physical, to the Subtle Body/energy level, to the Causal Body level, then Turiya, than the Absolute Witness beyond Consciousness.
I spend a lot of time explaining Nusargadatta and Siddharameshwar in my book Self-Realization and Other Awakenings on my website, http://wearesentience.com.
Nowhere does Siddharameshwar or Nisargadatta say that the ultimate truths, or one’s ultimate being is ineffable.  You can talk about it and even talk from that experience as does Siddharameshwar, Nisargadatta, and Ranjit Maharaj.

However, both Nisargadatta and Ranjit say you have to get totally beyond the body identification before any true spiritual path begins.  Robert also says this, and so does Ramana who utterly abandons his body from the age of 16.

But part of what these critics of my exposition state is true: you cannot read or understand Nisargadatta from a mind-level.  Your mind has to be supple, open, attentive, and quiet, and just feel the words in your heart and gut, and let them sit there.

Other schools like Kashmir Shaivism take a more round about walk through what Siddharameshwar refers to as the Subtle, Causal, and Turiya levels of Self, but really never let go of the body, bliss, or energies to dwell only as the absolute Witness.

They enjoy all levels combined into Self, from observing the world, the body, the Subtle Body, and Absolute as Shiva all conjoined as One, but with a different ontology than Siddharameshwar and Nisargadatta and do not talk of a Subtle or Causal body, but do of Turiya.

But these critics cannot just abandon the effort to ponder and understand the teachings of a master saying they are ineffable. They are merely admitting they do not understand and think it is because words cannot show the way.  If this were true, why would masters speak in words?

Even Robert and Ramana who talk about the highest teachings are in silence, themselves spoke millions of words, talking from the end state which they have achieved.  But you out there reading these words are not there.  Robert spent 17 years in India deepening his understanding before his curiosity left him.  In fact, he was with Nisargadatta for six months in the late 197s, when he was 50 years old, and even then had curiosity about alternative spiritual paths, by his own admission.  Those who choose to be silent without doing any spiritual work are doomed to never find any awakening.