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I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj Paperback – December 5, 1999
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About the Author
A simple man,Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was a house holder and petty store keeper in Bombay where he lived and died in 1981 at the age of 84.He had not been educated formally but came to be respected and loved for his insights into the crux of human pain and the extraordinary lucidity of his direct discourse.Hundreds of diverse seekers travelled the globe and sought him out in his unpretentious home to hear him.To all of them he gave hope that "beyond the real experience is not the mind,but the self,the light in which everything appears...the awareness in which everything happens." <P>Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj did not propound any ideology or religion but gently unwrapped the mystery of the self.His message is simple,direct and yet sublime.
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Top Customer Reviews
One outcome: my perception of my own Guru changed. I slowly began to understand what my Guru meant all along, especially when my Guru said that Non-Duality was 'not for everyone'. And the best answer I got from my Guru when asked about this book: "PLEASE read it! It will give one Courage"
In many other books written by other authors on the subject of NonDuality, the language and concepts are academic and often employs complicated and convoluted hyperbole often indirectly hinting at the author's erudition and education. But in this book, NM's language and philosophy is simple and direct, based entirely on personal experience as opposed to second-hand knowledge, which makes it endearing and understandeable.
My greatest relief was that NM did away with all externalities and all blind rituals. There were no 'special times' or any Earth-centric 'Power zones' or any body-centric Chakras and stuff. He made me understand the need to be earnestly aware of the 'I AM' and dwell on that alone, without expectation or desire. This rang in me: the sense 'I AM' was there all along, from childhood, and never changed, ever. I had to be aware of all, then see the sense of the witness, anytime, any place.
To this day I have never completed this book, ever. Even now, I cannot get past a couple of pages without feeling a tremendous calmness and quiet that makes me stop reading, drop the book, get into a spontaneous state of witnessing that has no labels and definitions.
There are people who call it names: 'condescending', and 'drivel', some who focus on the quality of the book, or the supposedly grammatical errors and typos. To them one can only say that it's NOT meant for them.
One day, they'll awaken.
The important thing is, this book is a Gem! I am going to re-read it. Because I forget the beginning chapters.
It is the most recent book I've finished reading, since discovering books on spirituality/consciousness/mindfulness/philosophy/buddhism/life about 3 years ago. And all the books leading up to this one, have helped shape an understanding of what Maharaj is saying. And even after 3 years of reading 25+ books which are all somewhat related to each other and the content of this book, I STILL was confused after reading some chapters. Which is why I am going to re-read it. And which is also why you should not get discouraged if it seems confusing.
My advice is, read the book from this perspective - people from all around the world are coming to see this man (Nisargadatta Maharaj) who has the answers to many, many questions over the course of 101 recorded conversations. Most of the discussions end with the questioner having no more questions, seeming satisfied with the answers, knowing what needs to be done, understanding the means of achieving liberation from the mind. I pretended like I was a fly on the wall. Many of the questions asked, are questions I too was wondering. It may take all 101 chapters, but hopefully not 8 months like my case, to have all of the questions answered.
My takeaway was this - every living being is alive, and being alive has a certain sensation. How else would you know you're alive? You ARE at this moment. That's for sure. So find that feeling if it isn't obvious, and sit with it. Practice it like a skill, become very good at it, so that in times of distress, you can tune into the feeling of "I AM", which is a wonderful experience. Because when you feel "I AM" with all of your awareness/attention, the mind and it's worries, fears, desires, and problems, ceases to exist!
"...between the most sublime desire & the freedom from all desire there is an abyss that must be crossed."
"There must be love in the relation between the person who says "I am" & the observer of that "I am." ... realization of the basic unity ...cannot be contacted unless there is unity & love & mutual help between the person & the witness."
"To what extent are you free from the habitual tendency to create & perpetuate conflicts?"
"...there is no remedy--except one: the search for remedies must cease.... [Question: "What is the remedy?"]... Don't seek remedies."
"You want peace & harmony in the world, but refuse to have them in yourself."
"Just as long as a a dislocated joint causes pain only as long as the joint is out of shape & is forgotten as soon as it is set right, so is all self-concern a symptom of mental distortion which disappears as soon as one in the normal state."
[In response to question, "What is the experience that comes nearest to the Supreme?"] "Immense peace & boundless love."
This is a book whose meaning will only deepen. It's like reading a new book every time I pick it up. Very best wishes on your chosen path!