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Meeting Nisargadatta

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  • medit8ionsociety
    Meeting Nisargadatta by Swami Paramatmananda At this juncture, I came across a book entitled, I am That, a collection of conversations with Nisargadatta
    Message 1 of 1 , May 29, 2003
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      Meeting Nisargadatta
      by Swami Paramatmananda


      At this juncture, I came across a book entitled, I am That, a
      collection of conversations with Nisargadatta Maharaj, a Realized
      Soul living in Bombay. I felt that his teachings were identical to
      the Maharshi's and as I had not seen the Maharshi during his
      lifetime, I entertained a strong desire to see someone like him.
      Going to Bombay seemed out of question, so I wrote a letter to
      Maharaj explaining my physical, mental and spiritual condition and
      requested his blessings. The very next day, after I had posted the
      letter, a French lady came to visit me. She had read the same book
      recently and had decided to go to Bombay and see Maharaj. I told her
      of my desire and my inability to travel.
      "You could take a plane to Bombay. If you like, I will help you to
      get there," she said.
      I thought that this must be godsend and immediately agreed to her
      proposal. She had read many books on the Vedanta philosophy which
      states that there is only one Reality and the world being a
      manifestation of That. It is all but impossible to attain that
      consciousness without a one-pointed devotion to God or Guru and a
      complete purification of one's body, speech and mine including one's
      actions. Ananda, as she was called, felt as most pseudo-nondualists
      do, that nothing else is necessary except the superficial conviction
      that oneself is That. In the name of being that Supreme Truth, such
      people indulge in every kind of undisciplined, irresponsible and
      sometimes immoral activity. While we were on the way to Madras in a
      taxi, she questioned me, "Why all this discipline, rules and
      regulations? Even devotion to God is unnecessary. All of these things
      are only for weak-minded people. You should just go on thinking `I am
      That,' I am That,' and you will realize the Truth of it one day."
      "I think that you have overlooked an important point in the
      philosophy of Vedanta," I objected. All of the texts and teachers of
      that school thought insist that, before one even takes up the study
      of it, one must have certain qualifications. A child in kindergarten
      cannot possibly do justice to a college textbook. He may even pervert
      the meaning. In the same day, before one takes up the study of
      practice of Vedanta, the mind should be rendered unmoving to such
      extent that the reflection of the Real can be seen therein. Holding
      on to that reflection leads one to the original. If the reflection is
      not visible, what is one to fix his mind on in the name of oneself
      being the Truth? Thoughts, feelings, body? We are already doing quite
      a lot of mischief with this small, perishable body. If we start to
      think that we are the Supreme Being, what will we not hesitate to do?
      What is a demon or a dictator but one who feels his little self to be
      equal to, or greater than God? There is not even a trace of bad in
      the Supreme Reality and one who had not given up such negative
      qualities as lust, anger and greed cannot be taken to be one who has
      realized the Truth. A safer course would be to consider oneself as a
      child of a Realized Soul or of God. To benefit from being the child
      of such a one, we must try to approximate his character. Only if we
      can do this, will our mind gradually become pure and unruffled by
      passions and the Truth will be seen, and not until then."
      You are still weak-minded. You will see when we get to Maharaj. He
      will tell you to throw all this mushy sentimentalism overboard," she
      retorted, somewhat irritated. I had already met a number of people
      like her and knew there would be no value in arguing, so I kept quiet.
      Reaching Bombay, a friend took us to Maharaj's apartment. Maharaj had
      been a dealer in cigarettes as a young man. One day, a friend of his
      took him to see a famous holy man who was in Bombay. The holy man
      initiated Maharaj into a mantra and also told him to purify his mind
      by getting rid of all thoughts and holding on to the sense of being,
      or "I am." He practiced this intensely for three years and after many
      mystic experiences, found his mind merged into the Transcendent
      Reality. He stayed on in Bombay doing business and instructed those
      who came to him in spiritual matters. He was now in eighties and
      lived with his son in a three room flat. He had also created a small
      loft in the living room where he spent most of his time. It was there
      that we met him.

      "Come in, come in. You are coming from Arunachala, aren't you? Your
      letter came yesterday. Are you enjoying peace near the Maharshi?"
      Maharaj jovially asked me, motioning me to sit near him. Immediately
      I felt an intense peace near him, a sure sign for me that he was a
      great soul.
      "Do you know what I mean by peace?" he asked. "When you put a donut
      in boiling water, a lot of bubbles will come out until all of the
      moisture in the donut is gone. It also makes a lot of noise, doesn't
      it? Finally, all is silent and the donut is ready. The silent
      condition of mind which comes about through a life of meditation is
      called peace. Meditation is like boiling the oil. It will make
      everything in the mind come out. Only then will peace be achieved."
      This was a very graphic and precise explanation of spiritual life if
      I had ever heard one!
      "Maharaj, I have written to you about the spiritual practices that I
      have done until now. Kindly tell me what more remains to be done," I
      requested.
      "Child, you have done more than enough. It will be quite sufficient
      if you just go on repeating the Divine Name until the goal is
      reached. Devotion to your Guru is the path for you; it should become
      perfect and unbroken by thoughts. Whatever may come to you, accept it
      as His gracious will for your good. You are hardly able to sit up,
      aren't you? It does not matter. Some people's bodies become sick like
      this when they sincerely do meditation and other spiritual practices.
      It depends on the physical constitution of each. You should not give
      up your practices but persist until you reach the goal or until the
      body dies, " he said.
      Turning to Ananda, he asked, "What kind of spiritual practice are you
      doing?"
      "I just go on thinking that I am the Supreme Being," she replied in a
      somewhat proud tone.
      "Is that so? Did you ever hear of Meerabai? She was one of the
      greatest lady saints ever born in India. From her childhood she felt
      that Lord Krishna was her Beloved and spent most of her days and
      nights in worshipping Him and singing songs about Him. Finally, she
      had a mystic vision of Him and her mind merged into Him. She
      thenceforth sang songs about the glory and bliss of the God-Realized
      state. At the end of her life, she entered a Krishna temple and
      disappeared in the sanctum. You should walk in the same path as her
      if you want to achieve the Realization," Maharaj said smilingly.
      Ananda turned pale. Maharaj had pulverized her mountain of Vedanta in
      one stroke! She could not speak.
      I may talk about Vedanta to some of the people that come here,"
      Maharaj continued. "That is not for you and you should not pay any
      attention to what I am telling others. The book of my conversations
      should not be taken as the last word on my teachings. I have given
      answers to the questions of certain individuals. Those answers were
      intended for those people and not for everyone. Instruction can be on
      an individual basis only. The same medicine cannot be prescribed for
      all.
      "Nowadays people are full of intellectual conceit. They have no faith
      in the ancient traditional practices leading to Self-Knowledge. They
      want everything served to them on a silver platter. The path of
      knowledge makes sense to them and because of that, they may want to
      practice it. The will then find that it requires more concentration
      then they can muster and slowly becoming humble, they will finally
      take up easier practices like repetition of a mantra or worship of a
      form. Slowly the belief in a Power greater then themselves will dawn
      on them and a taste for devotion will sprout in their heart. Then
      only will it be possible for them to attain purity of mind and
      concentration. The conceited have to go a very roundabout way.
      Therefore I say that devotion is good enough for you," Maharaj
      concluded.
      I was time for lunch, so we left Maharaj to himself. As we were
      leaving, he asked me if I would be staying for some days in Bombay.
      "I don't know. I have no plans," I replied. "Very good. Then you come
      here this evening after four," he said.
      The evening saw me back in Maharaj's room. He asked me to sit near
      him. Though I had known him only for a few hours, I felt as if I were
      his own child, that he was my mother or father. A European came and
      put a large currency note in front of Maharaj.
      "Please take it back. I am not interested in anyone's money. My son
      is there and he is feeding me and looking after my needs. After you
      attain some peace of mind, there will be enough time for these
      things. Take your money, that it! He exclaimed.
      With great difficulty I sat and watched what went on until seven
      o'clock. I felt fully satisfied and peaceful and thought that I could
      not possibly receive anything more than Maharaj had told me. I
      thought of going back to Arunachala the next day. I mentioned it and
      asked him for his blessing.
      "If you feel like that, then you may go. Do you know what my blessing
      is for you? Until you leave your body, may you have full devotion and
      surrender to your Guru." Maharaj looked at me compassionately. Moved
      at his kindness, I started to cry but controlled myself. Even then a
      few tears trickled down my cheeks. He smiled and gave me a piece of
      fruit. He then got up and taking a huge pair of cymbals, started to
      sing devotional songs in praise of his Guru. I bowed down to him and
      went to rest in my room.

      ~From the book
      "On the Road to Freedom:
      A Pilgrimage in India, Volume 1"
      by Swami Paramatmananda Puri
      (pages 212-218)
      Published by,
      Mata Amritanandamayi Center

      This was forwarded to us as shared on the AdvaitaToZen group
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