To “Die Before You Die”

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 hundred 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

P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. My YouTube videos may be found through this link. May the content of either or both help you along your spiritual journey. 🙏🧡

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

8 thoughts on “To “Die Before You Die”

  1. Marvellous, Art! The greatest gift anyone can give to humanity is his own self-realization. Nisa completed the “Great Work” (how the alchemists called it) after which there was nothing left to do. He is so wonderful. He puts in perfect words Ramana’s perfect silence. I love you, Nisa!💓


    1. Big smile here–thank you, Monica! Yes, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, what I feel for “Him” is so incredible. This is not to brag (for who would be bragging), but my character is on my 8th read of “I Am That,” only because I love it. How selfless he was, never expecting, only giving.
      Thanks for your comment! Wishing you a wonderful day!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. good for you! I have quite an affinity with him as well, which is reinforced by the fact that we share the same b-day. I did not read ‘I am That’ yet (although i do have it 🤭) but i listened to his Pointers multiple times


      2. Thanks for sharing more, Monica. Wow, sharing the same birthday! The affinity that I feel for Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj is very strong; it has been from the start. When I purchased “I Am That,” I actually had to get past an old mindframe of paying so much for a book. After I read it, I even purchased a backup book because I knew I loved it so much. Not the book, but the Spirit that permeates its pages. Highlighting passages has been the key to bringing greater understanding for me; I do it with all books, except yours, because I wanted to leave it untouched…just…as…it…is.
        Even now, as I look as his image attached to your message, I can feel something much greater…as though peering back at me through the images eyes.

        Thank you for sharing more. I’m grateful that my ability to share these pointers is increasing–to help point Beings to a greater degree of their own joy. I just finished making another video for my youtube channel.


        Liked by 1 person

  2. Such an enlightening post, Art. Volumes could be said about “To find yourself, you must lose yourself.” But we each have to learn to experience that in our own way, don’t we? Thank you!


  3. Thank you so much, Wynne; I appreciate your taking the time to comment, especially given how busy your apparent life can seem! Yes, I suppose volumes has been written/said about “losing ourself to find ourself:” but the truth is real, and here, now. Once we give up the belief that we actually ‘are” the character that is rendered by the mind, we are free to be as we are, and incarnation of the One. 🙏


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