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I Am That Paperback – August 8, 2012
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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About the Author
When asked about the date of his birth Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj replied blandly that he was never born! Not only the exact date of his birth is unknown, but no verified facts concerning the early years of his life are available. However, according to his elderly relatives, he was born in the month of March 1897 on a full moon day, which coincided with the festival of Hanuman Jayanti, when Hindus pay their homage to Hanuman, also named Maruti, the monkey-god of Ramayana fame. And to associate his birth with this auspicious day his parents named him Maruti. Available information about his boyhood and early youth is patchy and disconnected. His father, Shivrampant, was a poor man, who worked for some time as a domestic servant in Bombay and, later, eked out his livelihood as a petty farmer in a small village in the State of Maharashtra (India). Maruti grew up almost without education. As a boy he assisted his father in such labors as lay within his power -- tended cattle, drove oxen, worked in the fields and ran errands. His pleasures were simple, as his labors, but he was gifted with an inquisitive mind, bubbling over with questions of all sorts. When Maruti attained the age of eighteen his father died, leaving behind his widow, four sons and two daughters. The meager income from the small farm dwindled further after the old man s death and was not sufficient to feed so many mouths. Maruti s elder brother left the village for Bombay in search of work and he followed shortly after. In Bombay he worked for a few months as a low-paid junior clerk in an office, but resigned the job in disgust. He then took petty trading as a haberdasher and started a shop for selling children s clothes, tobacco, and hand-rolled country cigarettes (bidis). This business flourished in course of time, giving him some sort of financial security. During this period he got married and had a son and three daughters. Childhood, youth, marriage, progeny -- Maruti lived the usual humdrum and eventless life of a common man till his middle age, with no inkling at all of the sainthood that was to follow. Through a friend he met with his future guru Sri Siddharameshwar Maharaj, a spiritual teacher of the Navanath Sampradaya, a sect of Hinduism. That meeting proved to be the turning point in his life. The guru gave him a mantra and instructions in meditation. Early in his practice he started having visions and occasionally even fell into trances. Something exploded within him, as it were, giving birth to a cosmic consciousness, a sense of eternal life. The identity of Maruti, the petty shopkeeper, dissolved and the illuminating personality of Sri Nisargadatta emerged. Later, abandoning his family and business he became a mendicant, a pilgrim over the vastness and variety of the Indian religious scene. He walked barefooted on his way to the Himalayas where he planned to pass the rest of his years in quest of an eternal life. But he soon retraced his steps and came back home, comprehending the futility of such a quest. Eternal life, he perceived, was not to be sought for; he already had it. Having gone beyond the I-am-the-body idea, he had acquired a mental state so joyful, peaceful, and glorious that everything appeared to be worthless compared to it. He had attained self-realization. Uneducated though the Master is, his conversation is enlightened to an extraordinary degree. He is warm-hearted and tender, shrewdly humorous, absolutely fearless and absolutely true -- inspiring, guiding, and supporting all who come to him. Maharaj died on September 8, 1981 at the age of 84.
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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!
Most recent customer reviews
There's a few... grievances I have... mainly his negativity, and because of his negativity he misconstrued certain things.Read more