What is Nisarga Yoga?

The Yoga of Nisargadatta Maharaj:

Natural Unity with Life

Quotes on Nisarga Yoga and the Teaching of the Great Advaita (non-duality) Master


“What is yoga? Yoga is uniting, two things joining together— that is yoga… Yoga means the bridge, the link, or the connection… Yoga was not required prior to the appearance of the bridge. You must find out what your state was prior to the bridge. Whatever the principal or the state was before this linking, before the existence of the bridge, was the perfect state. Because the bridge has appeared you feel separate from your true Self, and you are trying to become reunited; that is yoga. Because of this, you have become the servant of your desires.”

“To act from desire and fear is bondage, to act from love is freedom.”

“Desire and fear are the obscuring and distorting factors. When mind is free of them the unconscious becomes accessible.”

“The mind, by its very nature, divides and opposes. Can there be some other mind, which unites and harmonises, which sees the whole in the part and the part as totally related? … In the going beyond the limiting, dividing and opposing mind. In ending the mental process as we know it. When this comes to an end, that mind is born.”

“You are always the Supreme which appears at a given point of time and space as the witness, a bridge between the pure awareness of the Supreme and the manifold consciousness of the person.”

“See your world as it is, not as you imagine it to be. Discrimination will lead to detachment; detachment will ensure right action; right action will build the inner bridge to your real being.”

“The bridge serves one purpose only — to cross over.”

“The world has only as much power over you as you give it. Rebel. Go beyond duality…”

“Do not worry about the world. First start from here: the “I Am,” and then find out what is the world. Find out the nature of this “I.”

…It is the seed from which everything comes out. If the seed is not there, the universe is not. How have you come into this so-called objective world? Here everything will be wiped out. I invite you, in your own interest, to go home.”

“[The sense of one’s individual existence] is a reflection in a separate body of the one reality. In this reflection the unlimited and the limited are confused and taken to be the same. To undo this confusion is the purpose of Yoga.”

– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

(The above quotes are all by Nisargadatta Maharaj)


“What Nisargadatta ultimately realized [was] what he called the natural state.

The natural state… is absolutely perfect, it’s here right now, it’s untouched and he took that name Nisargadatta because it means that he is the giver of the natural state. (Nisarga means the natural state). Datta means giver or sharing so he, Nisargadatta, is the giver of the natural state. So he gives you what you’ve already got (laughter) – your natural state – paradoxical but … this Advaita teaching … involves paradox.”

– Mark West


“The radical teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, called Atma Yoga or (consciousness yoga ), Nisarga or the natural yoga, pointing to what Maharaj called the Primordial Advaita… prior to consciousness.”

Stephen H.Wolinsky Phd


‘In brief, His teaching was Nisarga Yoga and its summary was “Know the Self and be at ease.’

Nitin Ram


The word ‘nisarga’ means ‘natural’ ‘innate’’.

The word ‘yoga’ means ‘union’, ‘connection’.

The Natural Yoga


“The Nisarga Yoga, the ‘natural’ Yoga of Maharaj, is disconcertingly simple — the mind, which is all-becoming, must recognise and penetrate its own being, not as being this or that, here or there, then or now, but just as timeless being…

To delve into the sense of ‘I’ — so real and vital — in order to reach its source is the core of Nisarga Yoga.”

– Maurice Frydman (Quote from ‘I Am That’, a book about Nisarga Yoga)


“Be interested in yourself beyond all experience, be with yourself, love yourself; the ultimate security is found only in self-knowledge. The main thing is earnestness. Be honest with yourself and nothing will betray you… To go beyond, you need alert immobility, quiet attention.”

“If you want to live sanely, creatively and happily and have infinite riches to share, search for what you are.”

Meet your own self. Be with your own self, listen to it, obey it, cherish it, keep it in mind ceaselessly. You need no other guide. As long as your urge for truth affects your daily life, all is well with you. Live your life without hurting anybody. Harmlessness is a most powerful form of Yoga and it will take you speedily to your goal. This is what I call nisarga yoga, the Natural yoga.”

“You don’t have to reach something. You are trying to create a goal. Only your mind is creating something, you see… You don’t require any security, or anything at all. It is already there. If you feel it is not there, you are never going to realize it.”

– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


“The simplicity of it is beautiful, unspeakable and… it’s everyone’s birthright. There is no reason why anyone can’t understand this if it’s pointed out in a gentle, clear way by somebody and if people are not holding onto preconceived concepts or things like that. It will dawn on them, it will resonate with them and they will realize that, as Nisargadatta said, wisdom is not imparted by another – it is the one who is listening right now – it is your own true nature.”

– Mark West


“As to the methods of realising one’s supreme identity with self-being, Maharaj is peculiarly non-committal. He says that each has his own way to reality, and that there can be no general rule. But, for all the gateway to reality, by whatever road one arrives to it, is the sense of ‘I am’. It is through grasping the full import of the ‘I am’, and going beyond it to its source, that one can realise the supreme state, which is also the primordial and the ultimate.”

–  Maurice Frydman


“No path, no instruction, no method, no technique. You are full, you are all One. You feel you are two, so O.K. Understand you are not two, advaita.”

[The above is a good way to define nonduality]

“All you need is to keep quietly alert, enquiring into the real nature of yourself. This is the only way to peace.”

“Living in spontaneous awareness, consciousness of effortless living, being fully interested in one’s life — all this is implied.”

“A life lived thoughtfully, in full awareness, is by itself Nisarga Yoga.”

“Just live your life as it comes, but alertly, watchfully, allowing everything to happen as it happens, doing the natural things the natural way, suffering, rejoicing — as life brings.”

“The essence of saintliness is total acceptance of the present moment, harmony with things as they happen. A saint does not want things to be different from what they are; he knows that, considering all factors, they are unavoidable. He is friendly with the inevitable and, therefore, does not suffer. Pain he may know, but it does not shatter him. If he can, he does the needful to restore the lost balance — or he lets things take their course.”

“If you want to be beyond suffering, you must meet it half way and embrace it. Relinquish your habits and addictions, live a simple and sober life, don’t hurt a living being; this is the foundation of Yoga.”

“The more we are conscious, the deeper the joy. Acceptance of pain, non-resistance, courage and endurance — these open deep and perennial sources of real happiness, true bliss.”

“Call it mindfulness, or witnessing, or just attention — it is for all. None is unripe for it and none can fail.”

“Just keep in mind the feeling ‘I am’, merge in it, till your mind and feeling become one.”

“Although you take yourself as an individual, your ‘I Am’ knowledge is the yoga (union) of the five elements and the three qualities [gunas]… Meditate on your beingness… and your beingness itself will reveal to you all its secrets.”

– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


“As his affectionate yet direct guidance suggests, Nisargadatta’s Yoga means to remain attentive to one’s Beingness. This is most effective and transformative when we begin to do it without effort or pretence, when we naturally live meditatively and inquiringly and are familiar with shifting the focus of consciousness. This is the continual encounter of Self-intimacy, to surrender our “small” lives to our vast lives and to let it be our teacher, to wonder deeply and intensely, to investigate, till we arrive at the crux of the mind’s misunderstanding and thus to the clarity of non-dual Knowing beyond all that is illusory. Then we discover that it’s impossible to feel isolated or lonely, because we’re flawlessly connected to everything. This is the utmost secure human existence; it is true friendship, harmony and wholeness, real intimacy of Self-with-Self.”

– Nic Higham (Author of  ‘Living the Life That You Are: Finding Wholeness When You Feel Lost, Isolated, and Afraid’ – a Nisarga Yoga book)


“Maharaj’s interpretation of truth is not different from that of Jnana Yoga/Advaita Vedanta. But, he has a way of his own…

In opposition to the restless mind, with its limited categories –intentionality, subjectivity, duality etc. — stands supreme the limitless sense of ‘I am’. The only thing I can be sure about is that ‘I am’; not as a thinking ‘I am’ in the Cartesian sense, but without any predicates. Again and again Maharaj draws our attention to this basic fact in order to make us realise our ‘I am-ness’ and thus get rid of all self-made prisons. He says: The only true statement is ‘I am’. All else is mere inference. By no effort can you change the ‘I am’ into ‘I am-not’.”

Douwe Tiemersma (Quote from the foreword to the book ‘I Am That’)


Aspects of Nisarga Yoga


  1. Deepening and broadening of Self-Awareness (as Supreme Self / Source)
  2. Turning within, meditating and dwelling on the sense ‘I am’ (Beingness / Consciousness) as a bridge to the Self
  3. Harmony and harmlessness (love / peace / friendliness)
  4. Effortlessness and spontaneity (“Doing the natural things the natural way… as life brings”)
  5. Mindfulness and inquiry (witnessing / attention / earnestness / discernment)



How to Practice Nisarga Yoga?


What practice did Nisargadatta Maharaj teach and recommend?

“There is nothing to practise. To know yourself, be yourself. To be yourself, stop imagining yourself to be this or that. Just be. Let your true nature emerge. Don’t disturb your mind with seeking.”

“My Guru ordered me to attend to the sense ‘I am’ and to give attention to nothing else. I just obeyed. I did not follow any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. Whatever happened, I would turn away my attention from it and remain with the sense ‘I am’, it may look too simple, even crude… Just turn away from all that occupies the mind; do whatever work you have to complete, but avoid new obligations; keep empty, keep available, resist not what comes uninvited. In the end you reach a state of non-grasping, of joyful non-attachment, of inner ease and freedom indescribable, yet wonderfully real.”

“I don’t deal with any physical disciplines… What I am trying to expound is this: you are I only, I am you. I know that you are I only, but you don’t know; so I am trying to give you that introduction, that acquaintance. By performing … physical Yoga asanas, etc., you get a certain satisfaction, but that is not spiritual knowledge.”

“Union with the body through consciousness is false yoga. Consciousness united with the Self is true yoga, however beyond this is the Swarupa (Pure Awareness or Reality).”

“M: What is yoga, what is that “linking”? Who meets what?

V: Union of the soul with God.

M: God is a word you have heard, while the soul is the direct experience of one’s existence.

V: I just expressed the meaning of yoga as generally understood.

M: That means you do not understand true yoga.”

“There is nothing to do. Just be. Do nothing. Be.

“I do not believe in spirituality … Spirituality is as discardable as dishwater … I am nothing, and even the word nothing has no meaning.”

… There are no steps to self-realisation. There is nothing gradual about it. It happens suddenly and is irreversible. You rotate into a new dimension, seen from which the previous ones are mere abstractions. Just like on sunrise you see things as they are, so on self-realisation you see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.”

“To realise the Eternal is to become the Eternal, the whole, the universe, with all it contains. Every event is the effect and the expression of the whole and is in fundamental harmony with the whole. All response from the whole must be right, effortless and instantaneous.”

“One must have firm abidance or faith in the words of the Guru. Here I do not repeat or imitate what other sages do. I am not championing any religion. I have no pose or stance for anything, not even that I am a man or a woman. The moment you accept any pose or stance you have to take care of that by following certain disciplines relating to that pose. I abide in the Self only.”

“There are any number of Upanishads and yogas like hatha-yoga, Patanjali yoga, and others. But I know only atma-yoga, which is Self-knowledge and nothing else…

The Upanishads and various systems of yoga are conceptual fantasies. I did not go into all these at all. I inquired only about my “non-beingness” and beingness, and how and why they did come about.”

Nisargadatta Maharaj


“This dwelling on the sense ‘I am’ is the simple, easy and natural Yoga, the Nisarga Yoga. There is no secrecy in it and no dependence; no preparation is required and no initiation. Whoever is puzzled by his very existence as a conscious being and earnestly wants to find his own source, can grasp the ever-present sense of ‘I am’ and dwell on it assiduously and patiently, till the clouds obscuring the mind dissolve and the heart of being is seen in all its glory.”

– Maurice Frydman


“The Nisarga Yoga, when persevered in and brought to its fruition, results in one becoming conscious and active in what one always was unconsciously and passively. There is no difference in kind — only in manner — the difference between a lump of gold and a glorious ornament shaped out of it. Life goes on, but it is spontaneous and free, meaningful and happy.”

– Maurice Frydman



“When you sit quiet and watch yourself, all kinds of things may come to the surface. Do nothing about them, don’t react to them; as they have come so will they go, by themselves. All that matters is mindfulness, total awareness of oneself or rather, of one’s mind.”

“In meditation your beingness should merge in itself, a non-dual state. Remain still. Do not struggle to come out of the mud of your concepts, you will only go deeper. Remain still.”

“Keep the ‘I am’ in the focus of awareness, remember that you are, watch yourself ceaselessly and the unconscious will flow into the conscious without any special effort on your part… The person merges into the witness, the witness into awareness, awareness into pure being, yet identity is not lost, only its limitations are lost. It is transfigured, and becomes the real Self, the sadguru, the eternal friend and guide.”

“…”you,” the manifest, should merge in “You,” the Unmanifest… If you do not identify with the body-mind sense, you will transcend into the beingness first, and later, you will transcend even the beingness… I, the Absolute, am the witness of my beingness, which is the total manifestation.

“While the mind is centred in the body and consciousness is centred in the mind, awareness is free. The body has its urges and mind its pains and pleasures. Awareness is unattached and unshaken. It is lucid, silent, peaceful, alert and unafraid, without desire and fear. Meditate on it as your true being and try to be it in your daily life, and you shall realise it in its fullness.”

“You are already in your true state. Because of the mind, duality comes in and therefore you are afraid.”

“Question: In the beginning we may have to pray and meditate for some time before we are ready for self enquiry. Maharaj: … To me, all delay is a waste of time. You can skip all the preparation and go directly for the ultimate search within. Of all the Yogas it is the simplest and the shortest.”

“In the True state, I do not know whether I exist or not. In the True state, I am not in union with anything. No yoga, for yoga suggests duality or the desire to yoke one thing to another.”

– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


Meditation playlist (audio / audiobook):


A Supreme Messenger of Joyous Tidings


“Nisargadatta Maharaj… was born in Bombay in 1897, and was brought up on a farm in Kandalgaon, a village south of Bombay. He had an alert, inquisitive mind, and was deeply interested in religious and philosophical matters…”

– Quote by Jean Dunn


‘His peculiar shunning of name, fame and wealth and his remaining to live in a very humble manner in a modest little tenement building in the back streets of Bombay bears testimony to this fact. He says in his characteristic way:

“Let others help the world, build large Ashrams and take in disciples.To me, all these activities are vanity and illusion. Since I need nothing and am complete in myself, why should I trouble myself with trivial worldly gains and activities?’’

His simple message will throw light on the path for many genuine seekers after Truth in this troubled time when so many so-called Gurus and God-men are giving out so many different ways and techniques to attain something which in actual fact we have never lost. His message is very simple and not clothed in any esoteric or hidden meanings. It is indeed a shortcut and so simple that an undiscerning person would pass it up or disbelieve it for that very reason.

The sage says that Truth is naked and before everyone’s eyes to see, and that if anyone tells you that it is hidden, esoteric or secret, then know for certain that person has not understood Reality or Truth at all.’

– Mark West


“If you are getting the instructions according to a certain path or method, then again you will get into trouble. There is nothing like that; there is no path, no instruction at all. That you must understand.” (Nisargadatta Maharaj quote)


‘In his own words, ‘When I met my Guru, he told me, “You are not what you take yourself to be. Find out what you are. Watch the sense I AM, find your real Self…” 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!…’

“[Maharaj’s] message to us was simple and direct with no propounding of scriptures or doctrines. ‘You are the Self here and now! Stop imagining yourself to be something else. Let go your attachment to the unreal.’”

– Jean Dunn


“On September 8, 1981 died one of the most remarkable spiritual teachers of his time and even in the history of mankind, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.”

“…when asked whether self-realization is really that important, his answer was: ‘Without it you will be consumed by desires and fears, repeating themselves meaninglessly in endless suffering. Most of the people do not know that there can be an end to pain. But once they have heard the good news, obviously going beyond all strife and struggle is the most urgent task that can be. You know that you can be free and now it is up to you.’”

“Like the Buddha, Ramana Maharshi, J. Krishnamurti and others, Maharaj was one of the supreme messengers of these joyous tidings.”

– Robert Powell


The quotes above are from books about Nisargadatta Maharaj as well as free PDFs available on the internet.


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