Sri Nisargaddata Maharaj was considered one of the most notable sages of the twentieth century. Named Maruti Shivrampant Kambli at birth, he was given his honorific title when he recognized his true nature at the age of thirty seven. “Nisargadatta” means sharing of that beyond phenomena. He lived a humble life as a smoke shop owner in Bombay, India, which was renamed Mumbai in 1995. Soon after he realized the Truth of his Being, seekers began to flock to his home, where he held satsang up until the time of his body-mind’s death. The following short discourse is borrowed from his spiritual classic entitled I Am That:
“Imagine you are ill–high fever, aches, shivers. The doctor tells you the condition is serious, there are only a few days to live. What would be your reaction?”
“No reaction. As it is natural for the incense stick to burn out, so it is natural for the body to die. Really, it is a matter of very little importance. What matters is that I am neither the body nor the mind. I am.“
The majority of persons are tremendously afraid of death; it may seem the final fear. For some, there is the faith that there is an afterlife; but in the case of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, he didn’t surmise that there was more, for one profound reason:
He knew with absolute certainty that he wasn’t what he appeared to be on earth.
Recognition of true Self, as distinct and separate of the body and the mind, can be known directly now. In fact, such is the only way that true realization is known. Realization is not dependent on any belief system, whatsoever; for belief is of the mind, and our true Reality is beyond the mind. To know this is “to die before you die.” Religion sometimes expresses this through the following: “To find yourself, you must lose yourself. From the perspective of the person, this might seem the most twisted conundrum ever posed.
To recognize our essential nature, we must discern clearly and understand the nature of the false self, which is conceptual only. We are not the mind; for we, Awareness, witness the mind. The false “i” of name and form is unstable, changing, and relatively short lived. Conversely, true Self is stable, changeless, and eternal. Due to innocent ignorance which is part and parcel of the human condition, we have erroneously identified our Being with that of apparent flesh and bones. To do so invites fear and great suffering.
This is the reason that Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was fearless when asked a question about impending death. He knew. He was neither guessing nor believing. Anything short of direct realization is inadequate. He realized that he was and still IS) the foundational Awareness (aka Consciousness) in which body-minds and the “world” appear. For anyone who is earnest about recognizing Truth beyond name and form, you might contemplate this question: Are you one percent certain that there is a “you” located somewhere in the body or the mind? Or is that an erroneous assumption? The practice of self-inquiry will help you discover the real answer…and the real YOU.
Dare to Dream (and care for one another).
With heartfelt regards,
Copyright © – 2022 – R. Arthur Russell
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