“…you feel separate from your true Self, and you are trying to become reunited; that is yoga.”
“All that lives, works for protecting, perpetuating and expanding consciousness. This is the world’s sole meaning and purpose. It is the very essence of Yoga – ever raising the level of consciousness… In that sense the entire universe becomes a school of Yoga…”
“I don’t ask anybody to follow any particular path. I just tell them to be what they are, in their natural [nisarga], spontaneous state. Stabilize there, in the beingness.”
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
The Yoga of Nisargadatta Maharaj
The Simple, Easy, Natural Yoga
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.”
“Prior to having a body, you had no consciousness. The union of That state with the state after the appearance of consciousness is a great Yoga. The Knower of that goes beyond consciousness. We are the light of Self.”
“In the absence of consciousness, there was non-duality. With beingness, the duality began, with pain and pleasure and the need for entertainment. If there is no separate existence and all are one, who will know and what? Without the sense of being, there is eternal peace. All the so-called knowledge becomes no-knowledge. Hence, Self-knowledge is a must after all other knowledge. With consciousness comes the mind, which is never quiet. What was your state prior to conception?”
“Out of nothingness spontaneously the sense of beingness is felt – this is one [advaita]. Later, when the sense of beingness knows “I am,” duality begins. Then, after the duality has arisen, the sense of beingness identifies with the form, and so on. Actually to refer to the sense of being as “one,” is not quite correct. Since in this state only the sense of being prevails, where is the need to say even “one”? With the appearance of otherness (duality), both no. 1 and no. 2 appear simultaneously. To say, “something is,” “I” must be there first. If “I” am not, I cannot say “something is.” So the fundamental principle in spirituality is that “I” must be there, before anything else can be.”
“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.”
“…call it Yoga – levelling up all the mental ruts. You must not be compelled to think the same thoughts again and again. Move on!”
“At present your being is mixed up with experiencing. All you need is to unravel being from the tangle of experiences. Once you have known pure being, without being this or that, you will discern it among experiences and you will no longer be misled by names and forms.”
“Set your vision right before you operate. You are suffering from acute misapprehension. Clarify your mind, purify your heart, sanctify your life – this is the quickest way to a change of your world.”
“Selfishness is rooted in the mistaken ideas of oneself. Clarification of the mind is Yoga.”
“Q: How can I set right a tangle which is entirely below the level of my consciousness?
M: By being with yourself, the ‘I am’; by watching yourself in your daily life with alert interest…”
“Have a good look at yourself and all these misapprehensions and misconceptions will dissolve.”
“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 main purpose of true spirituality is to liberate oneself completely from one’s concepts and conditionings.”
“The world has only as much power over you as you give it. Rebel. Go beyond duality…”
“You see a dream-world inside you and a perceptible world outside you, provided the consciousness prevails. From the body level, you may say inside and outside the body, but from the standpoint of consciousness, where and what is inside and outside? Only in the realm of knowingness “I am” – the consciousness – can a world be, and so also an experience.”
“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.”
“Consciousness is the sense of knowingness “I am” without words, and it appeared unknowingly and unsolicited. It is the manifest universal life force and, therefore, cannot be individualistic. It extends inside and outside, like the brilliance of a diamond.”
…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 moment the sense of beingness arose there was a sense of duality… This consciousness is of a universal nature; just like space. The consciousness within the body is a minute experience, but its nature, its quality is essentially the same, exactly like space.
The imagination and memory create a body and a personality, and the manifest assumes wrongly that it is a body and a personality.”
“The ‘I am’ has great potency: the entire manifestation has come from it. Go to the ‘I am’ state, remain there, merge, and go beyond.”
“[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 quotes
“In the primal state there is no union with anything: niryoga = free from yoga.”
(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
“He had no yoga, no system of philosophy to offer or preach; all he knew and experienced was Real Nature – the Real Nature common to himself and his listeners.”
– Dr. Damayantie Doongagi
“What distinguishes Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj is that “his” way, atma-yoga, is not offered as the best way among other ways. Rather, he recalls us to the essence of yoga itself… the essence of yoga is not its manifest practice…”
– Allan W. Anderson
“The process of Yoga transcends the individual. Fundamentally, the “individual” does not even exist, only consciousness exists. And consciousness… is constanly yearning for wholeness, peace, so the learning process is ever continuing.”
– Robert Powell (From The Blissful Life As Realized through the Teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj)
“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)
“That which makes you think that you are a human is not human. It is but a dimensionless point of consciousness, a conscious nothing; all you can say about yourself is: ‘I am.’”
– Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Yoga is the science and art of self-liberation through self-understanding. The problem is universal — suffering and the ending of suffering. The same urge that seeks birth, happiness and death shall seek understanding and liberation.”
– Nisargadatta quoted in “Nisarga Yoga – The Self Knowledge of Taeching of Nisargadatta Maharaj Compiled from I Am That.” Compiled by Stephen Wingate (This book is not associated with this site).
“Try to understand yourself as you are, do not add any qualifications.“
“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.”
“…hence the absolute need for sadhana. Purity of body and clarity of mind, non-violence and selflessness in life are essential for survival as an intelligent and spiritual entity.”
“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.”
“Self-remembrance, awareness of ‘l am’ ripens him powerfully and speedily.”
“In due course a Guru appears to teach and inspire us to practise Yoga and a ripening takes place as a result of which the immemorial night of ignorance dissolves before the rising sun of wisdom. But in reality nothing happened. The sun is always there, there is no night to it; the mind blinded by the ‘I am the body’ idea spins out endlessly its thread of illusion.”
“What we call progress is merely a change over from the unpleasant to the pleasant. But changes by themselves cannot bring us to the changeless, for whatever has a beginning must have an end. The real does not begin; it only reveals itself as beginningless and endless, all-pervading, all-powerful, immovable prime mover, timelessly changeless.
“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 (From the book ‘I Am That’)
“This primary concept is the knowledge “I am.” It is the mother of all other concepts. When this concept is there, then so many other concepts also appear. Now whatever religions there are, they are only full of concepts. Somebody likes a particular concept and passes it on to his disciples, and he gets a following. But with that, they cannot get eternal peace or satisfaction. In order to get that satisfaction, you must find the source of this primary concept “I am.”
“To reach this knowledge, there is no practice at all. No specific practice.“
“In Paramatman there are no sects or cults. All systems of religious doctrines are just concepts and all concepts are incomplete.”
“By following any religion, cult or creed, one becomes inevitably conditioned, because one is obliged to conform and accept its disciplines, both physical and mental. One may get a little peace for some time, but such a peace will not last long. In your true nature, you are the knower of concepts and therefore prior to them.”
“…there is no such thing as peace of mind. Mind means disturbance; restlessness itself is mind. Yoga is not an attribute of the mind, nor is it a state of mind.”
“…whether the mind is quiet or unsteady, how are you concerned? You are not the mind.”
“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 quote above is a good way to define nonduality]
“How can Reality… be said to be “not-two,” advaita? It is because all these differences exist only in your consciousness as appearances. The source is the same consciousness, but the manifestation exhibits so much variety!
… only you yourself can find out the truth about yourself.”
“…for many years you sought your peace of mind. You could not find it, for a thing essentially restless cannot be at peace… The peace you claim to have found is very brittle any little thing can crack it. What you call peace is only absence of disturbance. It is hardly worth the name. The real peace cannot be disturbed.”
“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.”
“Go beyond, back to your normal, natural [nisarga], supreme state.”
“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.”
“A jnani is aware of the origin and the value of consciousness, this beingness, which has spontaneously dawned on him. This same consciousness plays a multitude of roles, some happy, some unhappy; but whatever the roles, the jnani is merely the seer of them. The roles have no effect on the jnani. All your problems are body-mind problems.”
“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.”
“Q: I do not think I am fit for Yoga.
M: What else are you fit for?”
“…there can be no defeat in Yoga. This battle is always won, for it is a battle between the true and the false. The false has no chance.”
“It is not at all difficult, but detachment is needed. It is the clinging to the false that makes the true so difficult to see. Once you understand that the false needs time and what needs time is false, you are nearer the Reality, which is timeless, ever in the now.”
”Your consciousness is the only instrument required for liberation. Befriend it and surrender it to Brahman… Your consciousness is the centre of all things in the world. It has millions and millions of names, but remains unstained by even a single name.”
“Just keep in mind the feeling ‘I am’, merge in it, till your mind and feeling become one.”
“Q: In our normal worldly daily life is it possible that our “I Amness” could merge in the Absolute?
M: It is not possible. That is why all these great incarnations have taken Maha-samadhi. Maha-samadhi means the beingness was merged into the Absolute.”
“When the body dies this individual consciousness will merge with the total consciousness…”
“What makes you consider yourself as a person? Your identification with the body. Will this individual personality last? It will remain only so long as the identification with the body remains. But once there is a firm conviction that you are not the body, then that individuality is lost. It is the simplest thing, as soon as you have this conviction that you are not the body, then automatically, instantaneously, you become the total manifest. As soon as you leave your individuality, you become the manifest totality. But your true being is apart from even that which is totally manifest. And you assume this individuality within that total manifest so long as you are identified with the body.”
“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.”
“Your most important asset is the “knowledge” that “you are” prior to emanation of mind. Hold on to this “knowledge” and meditate. Nothing is superior to this…”
“The knowledge “I Am” is the soul of the entire world.”
“All that lives, works for protecting, perpetuating and expanding consciousness. This is the world’s sole meaning and purpose. It is the very essence of Yoga – ever raising the level of consciousness, discovery of new dimensions, with their properties, qualities and powers. In that sense the entire universe becomes a school of Yoga (yogakshetra).”
“All living bodies, including plants, have consciousness which is called Atman, Ishwara or God. The nameless is given names for better understanding. Consciousness knows the body only as long as one is alive, but not after that.”
“In Nisarga [nature] everything is time-bound (seasons, sowing, reaping, etc.), but nature itself is not time bound. Nature is neither male nor female. Many Avatars come and go, but nature is not affected. The story of nature is emanating from all the impressions taken in your mind since birth. So long as you are holding on to these memories there will be no knowledge of Self.”
“If you call what you take to be orderly, harmonious, predictable, to be natural, then what obeys higher laws and is moved by higher powers may be called spontaneous… Call it lower nature and higher nature… As you grow in knowledge and insight, the borderline between lower and higher nature keeps on receding, but the two remain until they are seen as one.”
– 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’)
“[We can]…accept his invitation to press into the heart of things with our mind, but in “his” non-ordinary way, we shall with time enjoy a settled disposition for atma-yoga, the essential yoga of self-inquiry. And this he cheerfully calls us to undergo.”
– Allan W. Anderson (Quote from the foreword to the book ‘The Nectar of Immortality’)
The Seven Principles of Nisarga Yoga (as identified by Nic Higham, 2018)
– Non-identification and right understanding
– Interest and earnestness
– Spontaneity and effortlessness
– Attentiveness to being
– Right action
– Going within to go beyond
– Awareness of Self
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 teaching is very simple. There are two things to be understood.
One is something I can see about myself, which is time-bound, proceeding from a particular point to a particular point. Beyond the latter point, whatever was perceptible will become imperceptible.
The second is that my original state, which was imperceptible, remains.
So these two states are merely to be understood; there is nothing else to be done.”
“I don’t ask anybody to follow any particular path. I just tell them to be what they are, in their natural [nisarga], spontaneous state. Stabilize there, in the beingness.”
“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.”
“[My Guru] told me what is true… He told me I am the Supreme Reality… I trusted him and remembered it… What more needs be done? It was quite a lot to remember the Guru and his words… My advice to you is even less difficult than this – just remember yourself. ‘I am’, is enough to heal your mind and take you beyond…
Commonsense too will tell you that to fulfil a desire you must keep your mind on it. If you want to know your true nature, you must have yourself in mind all the time, until the secret of your being stands revealed…”
“Understand the ‘I am’, transcend it and realize the Absolute.”
“Take the knowledge ‘you are’ as your Guru and give attention to it for as long as possible. Hold on to your consciousness, which is the seed of Self-knowledge.”
– Nisargadatta Maharaj
“…the mind will get purified and consciousness will be free of the body-identity. Thereafter, you will know clearly what you are. Your spontaneous nature, which is free of all practices, becomes known to you… When you become most comfortable with your consciousness, without doing anything you are already the Eternal.”
“Desire and fear are the obscuring and distorting factors.”
“Set your vision right before you operate. You are suffering from acute misapprehension.”
– Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Yoga has been practiced on the Indian subcontinent for well over four thousand years.” “In its exported manifestation, yoga has tended to focus on the physical aspect of the system of yoga, the āsanas, or stretching poses and postures, which most Western adherents of yoga practice in order to stay trim, supple, and healthy. Patañjali [the compiler of the Yoga Sūtras] himself, however, pays minimal attention to the āsanas, which are the third stage of the eight stages, or limbs, of yoga, and focuses primarily on meditation and various stages of concentration of the mind.” “The reconfiguring, presentation, and perception of yoga as primarily or even exclusively āsana in the sense of bodily poses, then, is essentially a modern Western phenomenon and finds no precedent in the premodern yoga tradition…”
– Edwin F. Bryant
Nisargadatta: “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.”
“Asana means a yogic posture. The most stable asana is conviction of Self… While performing your mundane duties, stay firm in your spiritual asana.”
“Your posture should be of thoughts and consciousness, by making them steady. Mere body posture is inferior and not adequate.”
[Therefore, Nisarga Yoga is the natural easy Yoga without poses! The Yoga of right understanding, of spiritual knowledge.]
“The effort to understand yourself is Yoga. Be a Yogi, give your life to it, brood, wonder, search, till you come to the root of error and to the truth beyond the error.”
“He who seeks Truth becomes a Yogi, he who seeks wisdom becomes a jnani; he who seeks happiness becomes the man of action.”
“For how long do you have to continue the practice?
So long as you are identifying with form. Until then the practice will go on. Once you reach the objective—that is, you are not the body-mind, not the body form any longer—there is no practice any
“V: Why most people do not go to the end of spirituality?
M: They are not in search of Truth, but only peace and happiness. When they get it, they are satisfied and they settle there.”
“The Yogi’s life is governed by a single desire — to find the Truth.”
“…the Yogi serves none but his own true Self.”
“…all you really want is to keep your body-mind sense intact; that just will not do.”
“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.”
“Forget all about physical disciplines in this connection. I am telling you that the indwelling principle “I am,” the knowledge that you are, you have to be that. Just be that. With that knowledge “I am,” hold on to the knowledge “I am.”
“I do not believe in spirituality … Spirituality is as discardable as dishwater … I am nothing, and even the word nothing has no meaning.”
“Once you understand the object of spirituality, you also understand that spirituality is unreal…”
“The common man’s devotion is that of wanting A.B.C and so forth, it’s like bargaining, they pay no attention to the eternal. The Hatha Yogis in the process of the Hatha Yoga acquire Siddhis (powers), so they are an attraction for the masses but they stagnate there and there is no eternal realization. Whatever your mind revels in, there in you fall in a pit… Similarly the Kundalini is aroused and people fall prey to it.”
“Kundalini-yoga experts revel in the visions and powers obtained through yoga but will not expound the source of kundalini energy.”
“Once it is understood, or rather, apperceived intuitively, that an entity is purely a conceptual notion, what remains is merely a re-integration — Yoga — in universality. Nothing remains to be done because there is no one to do it, and, more important, no one to abstain from doing it either! What remains is pure non-volitional ‘being lived’ …”
– Nisargadata, from ‘Pointers from Nisargadatta Maharaj’ by Ramesh Balsekar
“… 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.”
“Q: In my traveling and searching in the past I have come across different kinds of Gurus. One who teaches Mantra Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, etc. What is the underlying reality? Must the seeker know about the Kundalini awakening or the chakras?
M: When you stabilize in the knowledge of your beingness, all other knowledge becomes available to you.
Q: Wherever I go this Kundalini knowledge seems to follow me. I want to know whether I should throw it out or look at it.
M: Throw it out, but hang onto your being, your own Self. Don’t accept anything except your being. Just be. The only pure knowledge is of the Self.
Q: I found the Gayatri mantra in a book; I have a certain fondness for it, a certain use.
M: Don’t make use of anything except the knowledge “I Am.” Forget everything else.”
“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.”
“…you do not have to practice any rituals or spiritual disciplines. Only be prior to mind, just be.”
“…disregard all teachings, all books, anything put into words and dive deeply within yourself and find yourself, this alone will solve all your problems and leave you in full mastery of every situation, because you will not be dominated by your ideas about the situation.”
“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.”
“…you must accomplish jnana-yoga, which means: the self subsiding in the Self. Again, jnana-yoga means to inquire how this “I-am-ness” and the world came about. To realize that “I-am-ness” and the world are one is jnana-yoga. Here, the knowledge “I am” should subside in itself.”
“There are levels in consciousness, but not in awareness.”
[This explains why and how Nisargadatta spoke to different levels according to the capacity of readiness in the people who visited him. At times he told visitors to meditate and inquire and that spiritual practice (sadhana) was essential. Other times he asserted firmly that there was nothing to do and no one to do it, and that all paths were problematic and futile. A good non-dual teacher will speak to different “levels” at different times, while never implying that the spiritual journey is linear or that some are fit for the “higher” levels and others not. He will sometimes address the person, or the bodymind, and other times consciousness, awareness, or the absolute. In doing so, the listener comes to the deep recognition that there are no levels. – Nic Higham]
“[Awareness] is of one block, homogeneous. Its reflection in the mind is love and understanding. There are levels of clarity in understanding and intensity in love, but not in their source. The source is simple and single, but its gifts are infinite. Only do not take the gifts for the source. realise yourself as the source and not as the river; that is all.”
“Remember that Yoga is the work of the inner self (vyakta) on the outer self (vyakti). All that the outer does is merely in response to the inner.”
“All yoga and practices come through the consciousness of ‘I am’, which is itself an illusion. All happenings in this illusion are relative and time-bound.”
“Beingness [or consciousness, I Am] is a basic precondition for thinking or not-thinking. Suppose you have pain in the body. Who witnesses that pain? Your beingness only witnesses it. In the absence of beingness, how can there be witnessing at all? The real witness is the eternal Self only. So long as beingness is there, you are the beingness. When the beingness is not, you are the Absolute.”
“Once you realize that you are not the body and the mind, you have no needs and demands; then you are one with the manifest consciousness. In due course you are not even the consciousness, when you dwell in the Highest, thus ultimately also transcending the consciousness. Manifest consciousness is the Brahman.”
– Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Before consciousness (I-Am-ness, being, the sense that you exist) arose, you were the timeless unbounded Self. Consciousness is dependent on Self but Self is unconditional. Consciousness needs a body, Self does not. The bodymind is a tool for knowing that consciousness. We are always seeking union (Yoga) with our unconditional natural state – Self (or Awareness). The way back to Self is through waking up to and becoming familiar with consciousness – recognising that You Are. Every dualistic manifestation is animated and ‘enlightend’ by that stateless state – your true Absolute Self, the non-dual Truth that you are always seeking whether you know it or not.”
– Nic Higham (Author of Living The Life That You Are – Read more)
“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 (From the book ‘I Am That’ – free pdf can be found on the web, or ideally, purchase it from Amazon or other book store)
“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 (Another quote from ‘I am That’)
“Q: Should one meditate on this?
M: Meditation is very necessary. During meditation you must hold on to this concept that I am not the body mind, I am the Self-effulgent knowledge only.”
“Hold on to this knowingness “I am,” and the fount of knowledge will well up within you, revealing the mystery of the Universe… In the process of this revelation, your individualistic personality confined to the body shall expand into the manifested universe, and it will be realized that you permeate and embrace the entire cosmos as your “body” only…”
“Your consciousness is vaster than space. Although empty, it is uniform and indivisible. Have full faith in it. It uses mind, intellect and the individual consciousness; these are active powers that are used to hold something or another.”
“Real meditation is to abide in this sense of being. In fact, meditation means the sense of being holding on to itself.”
“Q: How do you witness consciousness?
M: How do you witness the fact that you are sitting? Effortlessly or with effort?
M: The same way. Whenever you put in effort is from the bodily standpoint.”
“No work is necessary in order to initiate the state of [Self] knowledge. But when you are in a state of knowledge, you can do any work… whatever it is that you do, be at that stage of knowledge, of real consciousness. But when you ask me whether work will help in one’s realization, my answer is that nothing helps there…”
“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.”
“Having stabilized in the consciousness, the next step is to be in a position to observe the consciousness, and all the play that is happening in the consciousness, just to understand.”
“All you have to do is to abandon all memories and expectations. Just keep yourself ready in utter nakedness and nothingness.”
“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.”
“Don’t resist, don’t hold on to the person you take yourself to be.”
“It does not mean the extinction of the person; it means only seeing it in right perspective.”
‘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.’
“The first step is to go and dwell in the ‘I am’. From there you go beyond consciousness and no-consciousness to the infinite Absolute, which is thepermanent state.”
“It is the greatest of wonders that this principle [“I Am”] has taken such a shape, but you are … limiting it to the body.”
“You are to look straight at the face of it, the origin of it, the whole of it, and find out from where it is. Look at that center from where this knowledge has appeared on you. Concentrate on that only.”
“…watch all these elements: your body, the vital force, and your Beingness. When you are in a position to watch all that, you get established in reality.”
‘…”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.’
“The beingness has stuck to the body, has not merged, it still remains… I know that this beingness is time-bound… because of that beingness, all these troubles arise in the consciousness. Once you know that you are not that, everything is over… If you have understood what I have been telling you there is no need of any sadhana. There is no need to do anything…”
“V: Is ‘I Amness’ or consciousness our true nature?
M: No. It is our problem.
…is nature (nisarga) affected in any way? Nisarga is not conscious, hence it is not at all affected.”
“Creation is in the very nature of consciousness. Consciousness causes appearances. Reality is beyond consciousness.”
“The ‘I am’ is only a little distance away from the True state, hence it is unreal, for whatever is away from the True state or Reality is unreal.”
“There is nothing to seek and find, for there is nothing lost. Relax and watch the ‘I am’. Reality is just behind it.”
“You cannot achieve the highest by following Sankhya system, Hatha Yoga or other practices. These practices help only to strengthen your body-identification…”
“Q: Does it mean that this [body] identification is an obstacle?
M: Yes. It is only the concept that is the obstacle.”
“You are already in your true state. Because of the mind, duality comes in and therefore you are afraid.”
“Q: What happens when I meditate on my consciousness?
M: You will get knowledge of your true being. The Truth will become crystal clear. ‘What is’ will open up.”
“V: If I know the origin of this consciousness, is it enough?
M: Then your work will be done. Then you will see yourself as unborn. You will lose your name and form and become timeless.”
‘You involve yourself in all the activity because you want to sustain that “I Amness.” Later on that “I Amness’ forgets itself in deep sleep; only then are you peaceful.
Q: There is peace in meditation?
M: Why are you going to meditate? To tranquilize the “I Amness.” With “I Amness” began all misery. You must spontaneously feel the superficiality of “I Amness.”’
“For the purpose of acquiring knowledge and to know the Brahman, you meditate on something. But what is your identity as a meditator? You are neither the meditation nor the object of meditation. Whatever it may be, You, which is apart from meditation and its object, are the Perfect, the Totality, the Eternal-Absolute.”
– Nisargadatta Maharaj
Go Within To Go Beyond
“Try to be, only to be. The all-important word is ‘try’. Allot enough time daily for sitting quietly and trying, just trying, to go beyond the personality, with its addictions and obsessions. Don’t ask how, it cannot be explained. You just keep on trying until you succeed. If you persevere, there can be no failure. What matters supremely is sincerity, earnestness; you must really have had surfeit of being the person you are, now see the urgent need of being free of this unnecessary self-identification with a bundle of memories and habits. This steady resistance against the unnecessary is the secret of success.
After all, you are what you are every moment of your life, but you are never conscious of it, except, maybe, at the pointof awakening from sleep. All you need is to be aware of being, not as a verbal statement, but as an ever-present fact. The awareness that you are will open your eyes to what you are. It is all very simple. First of all, establish a constant contact with your self, be with yourself all the time. Into self-awareness all blessings flow. Begin as a centre of observation, deliberate cognisance, and grow into a centre of love in action.”
“A Yogi is a man whose goodwill is allied to wisdom.”
“‘I am’ is a tiny seed which will grow into a mighty tree — quite naturally, without a trace of effort.”
“Questioner: Are consciousness and the witness the same?
Maharai: For whatever is visible the consciousness is the witness. There is another principle which witnesses consciousness, and this principle is beyond the world.”
“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.”
Q: What is the difference between consciousness and awareness according to Nisargadatta Maharaj? Are they not the same?
“Awareness is primordial; it is the original state, beginningless, endless, uncaused, unsupported, without arts, without change. Consciousness is on contact, a reflection against a surface, a state of duality. There can be no consciousness without awareness, but there can be awareness without consciousness, as in deep sleep. Awareness is absolute, consciousness is relative to its content; consciousness is always of something. Consciousness is partial and changeful, awareness is total, changeless, calm and silent. And it is the common matrix of every experience.
Q: How does one go beyond consciousness into awareness?
M: Since it is awareness that makes consciousness possible, there is awareness in every state of consciousness. Therefore the very consciousness of being conscious is already a movement in awareness. Interest in your stream of consciousness takes you to awareness. It is not a new state. It is at once recognised as the original, basic existence, which is life itself, and also love and joy.”
‘The important thing is consciousness. You must give your full attention to the consciousness itself. That is the process of meditation; then all the secrets are revealed to you by the consciousness.”
“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.”
“Instead of wasting your time and energy by searching outside, why not sit comfortably and search within?”
“Deal with the consciousness only, get to know it thoroughly. That is all that can be done. Later on, everything happens spontaneously, doership goes.
Know the inside-out of consciousness and recognize it as useless; it is a fraud. When you transcend it, you will say, “I can manage without this. This is imperfect! Therefore, meditate in order to know the consciousness.”
“…come to know that you were never a doer any time in the past, present or in the future. There is no need to do anything. When the sense of being and all its meaning become quiet, there is no need to go anywhere for anything.”
“Out of nothing, something ‘is’, and in that ‘is-ness’ or Beingness there are innumerable universes. But even this Beingness is discardable.”
“We, the Absolute, are only posing as “I-am-ness”…”
“Self-remembrance is in the mind, self-realisation is beyond the mind.”
“Jnana-yoga is the highest state in spirituality. In this state there is no individuality, as this is the all-pervading state. Rarely will someone put a question from this standpoint and rarer still will there be someone who will answer these questions… after the accomplishment of jnana-yoga, one is beyond needs and individual personality.”
“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.”
“What you are in reality is so peaceful that it does not need anything to pacify it. What you are not – that is, body, mind and consciousness – is so disturbing that it cannot be pacified by any actions. All worldly activities are meant to be comfortable in the mistaken identity.”
“It is the person you imagine yourself to be that suffers, not you. Dissolve it in awareness. It is merely a bundle of memories and habits. From the awareness of the unreal to the awareness of your real nature there is a chasm which you will easily cross, once you have mastered the art of pure awareness.”
‘The witness of the knowledge “I Am” is prior to the knowledge “I Am.”’
“The experience, ‘there is the world’ follows the sense ‘I am’. Hence, there is nothing like the world, other than words.”
‘You are separate from “I Am.” “I Am” is itself an illusion. The knowledge “I Am” and the world are tricks of Maya. There is no substance to them. There are no words actually, you speak words for your satisfaction. You know that there are hunger, thirst, waking and sleep states. Without these, what are you? You think that these are all your eternal needs; this is the trick of Mula Maya [primary illusion]. “I Amness” has a certain span of time. How long will you be associated with these?’
“Your consciousness has some attraction, some love for your body; therefore that pressure is there. You know your consciousness, you witness your consciousness now. Formerly that was not true because you were considering yourself as a body. Now you know that you are not the body. You know also that you are not the consciousness.. Now the word for consciousness is Jnana [knowledge].”
‘The knowledge “I am” itself is a cheat. When the Beingness appears, that love for existence is the result of the primary illusion, that maya. Once you come to know that you exist, you feel like enduring eternally. You always want to be, to exist, to survive. And so the struggle begins. All because of that maya.’
‘When everything has been given up, and nothing creates attachment any longer, neither knowledge nor worldly pleasures, then one is in the state of deliverance. So that is as being the emperor of that original state [nisarga]. There is no attachment for that which is born, not even for that consciousness which is there. When all impurity of any kind, everything, has disappeared, then the original state is reached.’
“I know what has come upon my original state, and there is nothing to take care of that. It is a happening that has come and will take care of itself. And whatever has happened, I have not been affected… Whatever has come upon this original state is time-bound, but the original state is timeless and spaceless.”
“I have gone beyond Brahma or the yogi state (the state of union), for in my Natural [Nisarga] state there was never any separation so how can there be yoga (union) or reunion? I know that it is illusion and that I am beyond and apart from these things. Although you are still experiencing the world in duality, you and the experience are really one.”
“[Reality] is the normal state [nisarga]. You call it high because you are afraid of it. First be free from fear. See that there is nothing to be afraid of. Fearlessness is the door to the Supreme. Fearlessness comes by itself when you see that there is nothing to be afraid of. When you walk in a crowded street you just bypass people. Some you see, some you just glance at, but you do not stop. It is the stopping that creates the bottleneck. Keep moving! Disregard names and shapes, don’t be attached to them; your attachment is your bondage.”
“In that [nisarga] state you will be beyond any needs and wants; you will have no use for anything. No desires will be left, because they are all fulfilled…
In actuality you were never detached from it…
This is your concept, that you are the body, and it is deluding you.”
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj quotes
Free Nisargadatta Maharaj meditation 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
“…Maharaj would not have welcomed being regarded as one distinguished being among other beings.”
– Allan W. Anderson
‘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
“Now the essence of yoga is to let Reality be realized. Letting-be is not to do or to make anything. I cannot realize what Maharaj calls me to do if I begin by generating new concepts, remembering old ones or by manipulating myself or others. What then is left?”
– Allan W. Anderson
“No change can be made in you. No instruction whatsoever can be given to you. You were perfect even before you came here. And you will be returning absolutely perfect, without even a dent on you.” (Nisargadatta Maharaj quote)
“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
“What kind of Yoga do you want to practice, the Yoga of getting, or the Yoga of giving up? … One enslaves, the other liberates. The motive matters supremely. Freedom comes through renunciation. All possession is bondage”
– Nisargadatta guru
“On September 8, 1981 died [mahasamadhi] 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. There is a book of organised quotes (not associated with this site) available via searching for ‘Nisarga Yoga pdf’.
SITE BY NIC HIGHAM – www.thelifethatyouare.com