Quotes of Nisargadatta Maharaj from 'Experiance of Nothingness'
Compiled by Pradeep Apte

  1. Now what is it that we are concerned with? We are dealing with the physical form, which is made up of, and fed by, the five elements. In that form are operating the life force (the vital breath) and this consciousness that is, the knowledge ‘I am’ or the sense of being, the sense of existence. The latter is the ‘sentience’, which is the gift of the consciousness.

  2. Each of must say ‘I am’ and realize it. There is no ‘you’, and there is no ‘me’, as individual entities. Until the ‘I am’ thought was there, there was no manifestation; both came about simultaneously.

  3. This knowledge ‘I am’, this consciousness, has come out of the prior state when there was no consciousness. The consciousness is a state which is now with us and because of which we suffer; and before this consciousness came, a state prevailed when we were not conscious and which was a happy state.

  4. Guru means the ‘I amness’ itself, which always reminds you ‘I am’, ‘I am’, ‘I am’ – that is guru-guru-guru, like the sound of a motorcar starting. It is a continuous reminder that you are.

  5. Is it necessary that you should remember that you are (‘I am’)? Spontaneously you know and remember that you are. That is why you have come here, have you not? Because you are. Stay put there.

  6. In order to not mistakenly hold on to something as ‘I am’ don’t say I am this, I am that; just hold on to yourself, you are, just be. Just be ‘you are’. Do you follow?

  7. You are the knowledge ‘ I am’. So if you want to worship, worship that knowledge ‘I am’. Be devoted to that ‘I amness’ only. When you do that, all other rituals become redundant, useless. Finally when you realize that everything is useless, everything is ‘Brahman’, it means you are at the ‘Parabrahman’ level, the absolute level. When at that level, you will envision everything as useless, including the ‘Brahman’ because the ‘Brahman’ is also reduced to illusion. Therefore all these talks, including my own will be reduced to illusion when you reach the highest.

  8. The one who abides in that principle by which he knows ‘I am’, he is the manifest. He abides in that manifest ‘Brahman’ all the twenty-four hours. Whether the body remains or not, that manifest self-principle always remains. You must continually remember, ‘chew the cud’, that the knowledge ‘I am’ signifies knowing all gods, all the ‘Vedas’ it is the ‘Brahman’ only. You must continually think about it. And should in the course of such reminiscing, the body drop off, then that consciousness will definitely be the highest.

  9. You are sitting here: ‘you are’. Prior to words. Now the hearsay goes ‘I am’, ‘I am’ means the flow of the mind has started. Now whatever you say with that ‘I amness’ through the mind about ‘you’, you have represented as yourself. But that is not so.

  10. The capital we have is the knowledge ‘I am’. But what have we done? We have handed over that knowledge to the body and we say ‘I am the body’. Thereby we have reduced the totality, the limitless, to the limited – a specified insignificant body. And that is why, being unable to give up this association with the body, we are afraid of dying.

  11. The vital force carries out all the activities. The mind communicates, and the knowledge ‘I am’ is merely a witness; this is the actual state of affairs. But all these – that is, food body quintessence, and the knowledge ‘I am’, the vital breath and the mind – these are all a temporary phase only; so long as the food essence is available, the knowingness will last.

  12. The knowledge ‘I am’ is the product of interaction within the five elemental state, You are not that! You as the Absolute, are not the knowledge ‘I am’.

  13. It is very simple. The body and in the body…it is like a coin. On one side, you have the vital breath for making possible all activity; and on the other side is the knowledge ‘I am’. Only when the vital breath is there, the knowledge ‘I am’ is present. When the vital breath leaves the body, the knowledge ‘I am’ also disappears. And both of these are the product of the food essence body. I am not that; this entire composite I am not. This you have to realize.

  14. Find out why you are, what is the cause of your being ‘I am’? Actually you had no knowledge that you are or you were. But at this moment, you know you are. Why is that? Understand its cause. You alone know why you are; why is it offered to you that you are, you alone know. Don’t ask anyone else about it, but inquire by yourself. Don’t bother about others, worry only about yourself. That knowledge ‘I am’ is the product of what, is due to what? How and why? Inquire only into this matter.

  15. Only that individual who has lost his individuality has merged with the ‘Parabrahman’. So the individuality must go. The entire world moves on the basis of one concept, and that is ‘I am’ – the fundamental concept of one’s individuality.

  16. Ultimately all these concepts can and must be understood to be false, but the difficulty and the essential thing is to be convinced that the original basic concept ‘I am’ itself is false.

  17. The aim is to awaken yourself to the faith in the self, ‘I am’. That is the entire purpose. So whatever is inducive to that development you may accept. Suppose you have faith in a living guru, then accept a living guru. If you have faith in a guru who has left his body, accept that guru.

  18. First of all, this knowingness appeared, the knowingness ‘I am’; later on you embraced the body. Hold on to this only, and don’t ask any questions. You came to know yourself, ‘I am’, to abide in that itself is ‘bhakti’, the devotion.

  19. Before you occurred to yourself as ‘I am’; you were in the highest state – the guru of the gurus – the ‘Parabrahman’ state. Later on you started filling up with all kinds of grosser matter and you came down to the body sense – I am the body. So all these impurities have to be removed. Until then, you have to stay put in the quietude.

  20. Your fall started with the appearance of that beingness, ‘I am’. With the appearance of this knowingness ‘I am’, the next fall was embracing the body as ‘I am’. And then you gathered so many things onto yourself. Hold on to the state of knowing yourself as ‘I am’ as the truth. All other things you have gathered to yourself are unreal.

  21. From the no-knowing state, the first veil I took was that of ‘I am’, That was formless, nameless. But I embraced the body: I got a form for myself; I got a name for myself. This was the fall. Therefore all sages advise: Give up the shackles of the body! ‘I am the body’ – these are the shackles. Give them up.

  22. This is no joke, but you can become ‘Parabrahman’ right now. Only it is not a commodity that you can acquire. You, a hundred years ago, were the ‘Parabrahman’. Give me all the information about that state of a hundred years back. Focus your attention only on that consciousness ‘I am’. Don’t be led astray by all the so-called spiritual disciplines and rigmaroles.

  23. Who has the knowledge ‘I am’? Somebody in you knows the knowledge ‘I am’, Who is it? It is very obvious that you know you are, but what or who is it that knows you are?

  24. It is pure awareness that knows ‘I am’. Who can understand that illusory state? ‘I amness’ is illusory only. It is not a perfect state, it is illusion. Who knows the illusion? A non-illusory state only can know the illusory state. But what is the necessity to say pure awareness? ‘Awareness’ means pure. Since awareness knows ‘I am’, it is other; it is more than ‘I am’. That is the highest; there are no gradations in awareness. In the Absolute, the ‘Parabrahman’ state, there is no question of impure or pure awareness.

  25. You are not the personality or the individual. The quintessence of this food, which in turn is the outcome of the five-elemental play, is the taste ‘I am’. ‘I am’ is not a personality or an individual. I am addressing that principle, that touch of ‘I am’, that consciousness which is the product of the food essence body.

  26. How can you speak or develop any concept unless the primary concept ‘I am’ is available? This primary concept begets further concepts, that is all other concepts occur to it. However, whatever concept occurs to you, including the primary concept ‘I am’, is not the eternal state.

  27. This primary concept, ‘I amness’ is dishonest, because it is still a concept only. Finally one has to transcend that also and be in the ‘nirvikalpa’ state, which means the concept-free state. Then you have no concept at all, not even of ‘I am’. In that state one does not know that one is. This state is known as ‘Parabrahman’: ‘Brahman’ transcended. ‘Brahman’ is manifest; ‘Parabrahman’ is beyond that, prior to that; the Absolute. Do you understand what I am driving at? Whatever you caught in your attention, that attention should eventually turn into no-attention. The state that is finally left over is Awareness, ‘Parabrahman’.

  28. With the arrival of the consciousness, it occurs to you that you are; simultaneously, ‘I am’ occurs to you or in your attention. So when the consciousness is not there, attention is also not there. Subsequent to the arrival of consciousness and attention, everything else crept in. The Absolute state is prior to consciousness; it means the unborn state. Since the ‘Parabrahman’ is the unborn state, prior to consciousness, can it have an iota of knowledge?

  29. How can you retain the pride that I am like this? This ‘I am’ business depends entirely on the food essence. So how can you retain it perpetually – that I shall remain like this only? To extract any essence, water is very necessary, and the water quality is bound to dry up.

  30. The knowledge ‘I am’ is a primary concept, and is also non-eternal. The One, the Absolute, which is eternal and aware, why should he worry about anybody else?

  31. Once you reject what you are not, whatever finally remains, the leftover, is yourself – your true nature. Presently, whatever you know is ‘I am’, this ‘I am’ is the product of the five elements. Out of the elements comes the food body and because of the food body, that ‘I amness’ is sustained. And you are also not that ‘I am’. ‘I am’ is the taste, the fragrance of this food body. The ultimate ‘you’ has no fragrance, no taste, no touch of ‘I amness’.

  32. The scriptures say that we have our ‘karma’ and our sin and that is why we are here, but this is for the ignorant masses. One who has realized the self-knowledge ‘I am’ for him these stories are of no use.

  33. The primary illusion is only this knowingness ‘I am’, prior to that there was no illusion. This very consciousness is the source of illusion. This illusion or consciousness or ‘I amness’ does not remain as something eternal. It is liberated; this non-eternal consciousness is liberated, when the knowingness is transformed into non-knowingness, that is liberation.

  34. To produce the source of the mind, ‘I am’, you must have the ingredient of the five-elemental juice. If that is available, the sprouting of the mind can begin with ‘I am’. You know you are before even speaking the words ‘I am’. Subsequent to the knowingness ‘I am’, you say ‘I am’ by words.

  35. Are you not even before you have spoken the words ‘I am’? Stay put there only. There begins your spirituality, the foremost ‘you’, ‘I am’ without words, before the beginning of words. Be there; out of that grows the experience ‘I am’.Witnessing happens to that principle which prior to your saying the words ‘I am’. There is no such thing as deliberate witnessing. Witnessing just happens, by itself.

  36. You must analyze ‘death’, the meaning of this common parlance. At the time that death occurs, the vital breath quits the body, gradually leaves the body. At the same time as the vital breath, the mind and the language also go out. Simultaneously, this quality of ‘I am’, this ‘sattva-guna’, the quality of beingness, also departs or goes into oblivion. Only I, the Absolute, remains. Stay put there only, nothing happens to I, the Absolute.