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I Am That Paperback – August 8, 2012
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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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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.
Like many of other reviewers, thought it was at times difficult to comprehend & felt like I would have to re-read it at various times.
I also plan on reading Pointers from Nisargadatta Maharj, so I can further see what I may not be understanding.
After getting used to interview style of writing, it was the content that was so incredible.
Most recent customer reviews
Every reader with an open heart will feel the power and love of our beloved Nisargadatta Maharaj in his words.Read more