#3354 - Tuesday, November 18, 2008 - Editor: Jerry
A new DVD from NetiNeti Films:
Moments with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj: Archival films
Moments with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Reviewed by Jerry Katz
Maharaj Immersion; Layers of Gratitude
This DVD is an immersion into the daily life and eternal teaching of Sri
Nisargadatta Maharaj. Before we ever meet Nisargadatta, we meet Josef
Nauwelaerts the cameraman, who radiates gratitude and dedication to
Nisargadatta. Then we meet Bombay, the luxury, the architecture, the waterfront,
the Gate of India, the streets, roads, pedestrians, the narrow streets of old
Bombay where Nisargadatta lives, the poverty, the people living and working in
the streets, their temples, Nisargadatta's poverty street, up to his apartment
whose details are shown.
The daily chores of Nisargadatta are filmed: the dusting of photographs and
frames by Nisargadatta himself, the lighting of incense, the constant movement
of the 84 year old Maharaj, his gratitude for his gurus, though, clearly,
Nisargadatta is beyond showing gratitude; he is gratitude or grace. We see the
great details of effort Maharaj extends toward creating the atmosphere for
teaching: the cymbals, the bells, the chanting, the incense, the meditation.
The camera is always moving. Josef has caught the fire of Nisargadatta, the
ever moving, ever changing manifestation, beingness, within the space with
Nisargadatta, and the ever changing sounds of the street, with kids playing,
shouting, and the tumult of business and traffic. However, these are background
sounds that add to the atmosphere and never interfere, enhancing the experience
of immersion. There are a few close-up shots of Nisargadatta's face, which seem
valuable, and too bad there were not a lot more. There are more close-ups of the
followers than of Nisargadatta. However, the filming of the audience is like a
The introduction to the film is given by Stephen Wolinsky, who hosts
several videos in the NetiNeti films library devoted to the teachings of
Nisargadatta Maharaj. Stephen may be at his best in this brief introduction. He
is not teaching, only showing gratitude. That in itself is a teaching. You may
recognize at once that gratitude is mantra, practice, and guru. Gratitude comes
from Wolinsky, from the filmmakers, from the NetiNeti production and
distribution crew, from the followers in Nisargadatta's home. Nisargadatta
himself is gratitude, or grace. When a questioner asks Nisargadatta, "I don't
remember. Please explain our beingness," gratitude wells up for the innocence of
the question. Gratitude is awakened and informed in this production.
THEMES, CONFESSIONS, AND URGINGS:
In answering questions, Nisargadatta asks questions: Who is "I Am"? Why "I
Am"? He urges you outside your body and body-mind thoughts. Why this beingness?
he asks. How am I? Why am I? What does it depend on? From beingness, how we
become no being, from no being to beingness, how does this happen? One should
analyze and find the answer for oneself, says Maharaj.
He addresses beingness before conception and abiding in the state prior to
conception. He talks of death as the confidence that I Am has disappeared. He
entertains questions on maya, prolonging life, karma, dreams.
Analyze yourself without dependence upon anything, he instructs. "If you
know Self," he says, "you know God." "Your identity has to go for (there to be)
realization of your true being."
There is plenty of humor in the relaxed atmosphere, while Nisargadatta is
always in control and leading the show. We see Nisargadatta ministering to
people at their level of understanding. We want to think that we deserve the
highest teaching and that we are receiving it. But what is the highest teaching?
Can it be spoken by Nisargadatta or anyone? Every teaching given in words is a
lower teaching pointing to the teaching that can't be given. Still, Nisargadatta
implies that what is captured in this film is his advanced teaching: "Only a
rare person will understand what I'm driving at."
Experience this Nisargadatta immersion. Take these words of Maharaj to the
shopping cart: "Every human being is eligible for self knowledge, earnestness
being the only deciding factor."
THE 6 MINUTE CLIP OF SWAMI NITYANANDA:
Swami Nityananda is a powerful human mantra, a living, bodily initiation.
His presence in words or film can awaken Kundalini. This is a different kind, a
more gross initiation than Nisargadatta offers, thus a welcome complement.
~ ~ ~