Quotes of Nisargadatta Maharaj from 'The nector of Immortality'
Compiled by Pradeep Apte

  1. Here is an article before it came into existence, what was its name? From non-being into the being state, how was it observed? You just felt that touch. Before observing anything we feel the touch of ‘I am’. To realize that state prior to conception, that eternal state, whatever that state is, to abide in that is the highest. Now, for your sake, I attach a name to it, the ‘Parabrahman’ state – the Absolute.

  2. A ‘jnani’ knows that he has realized when he recognizes his knowingness, which is the sense of ‘I am’. Right here and now you are in the realized state. But you try to judge it through desires and mind-concepts, hence your inability to apperceive it and abide in it. In the ‘jnani’ state, there is no need for anything, not even to know oneself. You are attached to the body-senses, therefore even though you may attain an age of hundred years, you still would crave for more years.

  3. On the state of ‘non-beingness’, the beingness appeared together with manifestation, creating a feeling as if ‘I am’; who that is, is not important, only ‘I am’ is important. The initial humming of the beingness as ‘I am, I am’ is the duality. But who accepts the duality? The ‘non-beingness’ accepts duality with the beingness. The Absolute ‘non-being’ state, by assuming the being state, becomes dual in manifestation.

  4. First you have what is called ‘atma-bhava’ – that is the ‘I am’ sense. Later, this sense identifies with the form of a body, when it is called ‘aham-akar’, the ‘I am’ form, this is ego. Ego is never a title or name, but just a sense of ‘I am’ prior to words. The waking state, the sleep state and the knowingness ‘I am’ constitute an ego. In the absence of these three states what do you think you are? What would be the evidence of your existence?

  5. The knowledge ‘I am’ is nothing. That knowledge is like a guest; it comes and goes. You have come here; you are very clever. Now what did happen? All the knowledge, which you had collected elsewhere and brought here, is rendered useless and redundant. So long as beingness is there, all worldly activities will go on. But you now realize that ‘You’ are neither the activities in the beingness nor the beingness. ‘You’ as the Absolute, are none of these.

  6. With the transcendence of the knowledge ‘I am’, the Absolute prevails. The state is called ‘Parabrahman’, while the knowledge ‘I am’ is termed Brahman. This knowledge ‘I am’ or the beingness is illusion only. Therefore, when Brahman is transcended, only the ‘Parabrahman’ is, in which there is not even a trace of the knowledge ‘I am’.

  7. First there was no message ‘I am’ and also there was no world. Instantly, the message ‘I am’ and this magnificent world materialized out of ‘nothingness’! How amazing! This message ‘I am’ is nothing other that the advertisement of the Eternal Truth.

  8. How was I in the absence of the message ‘I am’ – that is, prior to beingness? I provided you with the name tags for that state. These titles are ‘Parabrahman’, ‘Paramatman’ etc.; they are only pointers to the state, but not the state itself. In the Ultimate they are redundant, extraneous and bogus.

  9. The primary miracle is that I experience ‘I am’ and the world. Prior to this experiencing, I abided in myself, in my eternal Absolute state. Without my beingness – that is, without the message ‘I am’ – my eternal Absolute state only prevails.

  10. The eternal Absolute state of mine prior to the beingness, when the message ‘I am’ was not, is supremely significant. Who would have witnessed the message ‘I am’, if my priormost state of the ‘non-beingness’ was not?

  11. If one obtains and relishes the nectar of the Lord’s feet, the ‘charan-amrita’, the mind can be conquered. This is called ‘manojaya’ – victory over the mind. However, only a true devotee, a ‘bhakta’, a god, can obtain the ‘charan-amrita’. But what is its relationship with all beings? It dwells in the core of all beings as the knowledge ‘I am’, the love ‘to be’, the ‘charan-amrita’.

  12. But how can such a state be attained? Only if one totally accepts the knowledge ‘I am’ as oneself with full conviction and faith and firmly believes in the dictum ‘I am that by which I know I am’. This knowledge ‘I am’ is the ‘charan-amrita’. Why is it called ‘amrita’ – the nectar? Because it is said, by drinking nectar one becomes immortal. Thus a true devotee, by abiding in the knowledge ‘I am’ transcends the experience of death and attains immortality.

  13. Once you subside into the consciousness, the factual state of Reality shall be revealed to you with the knowledge that will emanate out of you intuitively, like spring water. This will enable you to discern not what is real and unreal, but, most importantly, to realize what ‘I am’. And who could be that one? Surely not an individual who is trapped in the mind-shell, but that one is the knowledge ‘I am’ – the consciousness.

  14. Consciousness is the sense of knowingness ‘I am’ without words, and it appeared unknowingly and unsolicited. Only in the realm of knowingness ‘I am’ – the consciousness – can a world be, and so also an experience. Hold on to this knowingness ‘I am’ and the fount of knowledge will well up within you, revealing the mystery of the Universe; of your body and psyche; of the play of the five elements, the three ‘gunas’ and ‘prakriti-purusha’; and of everything else. In the process of this revelation, your individualistic personality confined to the body shall expand into the manifested universe, and it will be realized that you permeate and embrace the entire cosmos as your ‘body’ only. This is known as the ‘Pure Superknowledge’ – ‘Shuddhavijnana’.

  15. Now coming to a very subtle situation, what is it in you that understands this knowledge ‘you are’ – or from your standpoint ‘I am’ without a name, title or word? Subside in that innermost center and witness the knowledge ‘I am’ and ‘just be’; this is the bliss of being – the ‘swarupananda’.

  16. Paths and movements cannot transport you into Reality, because their function is to enmesh you within the dimensions of knowledge, while the Reality prevails prior to it. To apprehend this, you must stay put at the source of your creation, at the beginning of the knowledge ‘I am’. So long as you do not achieve this, you will be entangled in the chains forged by your mind and get enmeshed in those of others.

  17. This true knowledge, the knowledge ‘I am’, is also rendered the status of ‘non-knowledge’ in the final Absolute state. When one is established in this final free state, the knowledge ‘I am’ becomes ‘non-knowledge’.

  18. For all beings it is the same experience. Early morning, immediately after waking, just the feeling ‘I am’ is felt inside or the beingness happens, and therefore further witnessing of all else happens. The first witnessing is that of ‘I am’, this primary witnessing is the prerequisite for all further witnessing. But to whom is the witnessing occurring? One that ever is, even without waking, to that ever-present substratum the witnessing of the waking state happens.

  19. At present, ‘I am’ is in the beingness state. But when I do not have the knowingness of the ‘I am’ illusion, then the ‘Poornabrahman’ or ‘Parabrahman’ state prevails. In the absence of the touch of ‘I amness’ I am the total complete, ‘Poornabrahman’ state, the permanent state. The borderline of beingness and non-beingness is intellect-boggling, because the intellect subsides at that precise location. This borderline is the ‘maha-yoga’. You must be at that borderline, that ‘maha-yoga’ state’. You descend into the ‘godown’ of that state which has the title ‘birth’.

  20. The sense that ‘you are’ is a big thing. What is most significant is the fact that you remember your sense of being, subsequently all other things appear. Earlier this memory ‘I am’ was not and suddenly it appeared. Now I expound on the spiritual talk called ‘niroopana’. In Marathi the word ‘niroopana’ is derived from the word ‘niroopa’ (nirope), which means ‘message’. Therefore, to deliver any spiritual talk that is ‘niroopana’, the primary message ‘I am’ must first be present, then whatever ensues from this primary message will be the spiritual talk.

  21. This little container of food essence is being sucked by that beingness, ‘I am’ day and night. The principle that sucks that container is not the body; it is apart from the body. This beingness principle dwells in that food body itself. Just as the child sucks on the mother’s breast, the beingness consumes the body.

  22. Just as the salty taste is present in the entire ocean, the beingness or the sense of ‘I am’ in the human form has the inherent capacity to be all-pervading, but having conditioned – and thereby limited – itself to the body form, it interested only in protecting and preserving the body.

  23. How does one recognize this ‘atman’? It is by understanding the knowledge ‘I am’ – the ‘atma-jnana’. Just as space is all-pervading, so the knowledge ‘I am’ is all-pervading, limitless and infinite. How strange, such a supreme principle is treated as though it is a body! All the sufferings are due to this mistaken identity. If you give the highest honor due to it, you will not undergo either suffering or death.

  24. To abide in the knowledge ‘I am’ is one’s true religion – the ‘svadharma’. But instead of following it, you opted to be irreligious by submitting to the dictates of your concepts, which led you to believe that you are a body. This misconception ensured only the fear of death.

  25. The fragrance or sweetness of the food-essence body is the knowledge ‘I am’. It has no name and form; it is the ‘I love’ state, the ‘I-taste’. But from your body-mind state, you will go to pilgrimages and various gurus. So long as the consciousness is there, that humming goes on, and who does the humming? The principle which is humming and saying, ‘I am, I am’ is itself your guru.

  26. ‘Jnana-yoga’ means to inquire how this ‘I amness’ and the world came about. To realize that ‘I amness’ and the world are the same is ‘jnana-yoga’. Here the knowledge ‘I am’ should subside in itself.

  27. The primary occurrence is the reminder ‘I am’ and out of which springs the language and the talk. So, what is this ‘I amness’? Remember that it is in the primary reminder ‘I am’ that the whole cosmos and your body exist. Who and from where is this sense of being? This has to be thoroughly investigated. When this is done, while abiding necessarily in the knowledge ‘I am’ – the sense of beingness – an amazing revelation will be made, namely that from your own seed-beingness the whole manifest universe is projected including your body. This supreme and powerful principle, though being itself without form and name, upon sensing ‘I am’ instantly embraces the body and mistakenly accepts this as its own. It clings to the body-identity so quickly that the fact of its own independent existence is easily missed.

  28. You are quite knowledgeable; now understand this; if you think you are dying, it shows that you still identify with your body and that your knowledge ‘I am’ has not merged in itself, which also indicates that you have not attained ‘jnana-yoga’. Your spiritual knowledge therefore smacks of impurity. While you are actually the manifest knowledge ‘I am’, you cling to a body as yourself; this is the impurity.’

  29. Suppose a question is asked of you, what were you a hundred years back? You would reply ‘I was not’. That means, I was not like ‘this’, that is not like this present ‘I am’. Who (and how) could (he) say ‘I was not like this’? The one who says this, was he not there? The one who was prior to a hundred years was not like this present ‘I am’, but he was and is now.

  30. Do nothing, absolutely nothing! Just be, be the knowledge ‘I am’ only and abide there. To imbibe this meditate on beingness only. Catch hold of the knowledge ‘I am’ in meditation. In this process, the realization occurs that ‘I’ the Absolute am not the ‘guna’ ‘I am’; therefore in meditation nothing is to be retained in memory. Nevertheless something will appear on the memory screen, but be unconcerned, just be, do nothing. Refrain from grasping anything in meditation; the moment you do, otherness begins, and so does duality. Nothing is to be done. Then all your riddles will be solved and dissolved. ‘Moolmaya’ – that is, the primary illusion – will release her stranglehold on you and will get lost.

  31. At first ‘no one’ is. Instantly, one is, and then two. The subject of the talk is: How did these two reduce to one, and finally to nothing? Out of nothingness spontaneously the sense of beingness is felt - this is one. Later, when the sense of beingness knows ‘I am’ duality begins. Then after the duality has arisen, the sense of being identifies with the form, and so on. Actually to refer to the sense of being as ‘one’, is not quite correct. Since in this state only the sense of being prevails, where is the need to say even ‘one’? With the appearance of otherness (duality), both no.1 and no.2 appear simultaneously. To say ‘something is’, ‘I’ must be there first. If ‘I’ am not, I cannot say ‘something is’. So the fundamental principle of spirituality is that ‘I must be there, before anything else can be. This ‘I’ is the beingness which if first.

  32. When you sit in deep meditation, your sense of being is totally infused with the knowledge ‘I am’ only. In such a state it will be revealed to you intuitively as to how and why your sense of ‘I amness’ emerged. Consciousness, beingness, sense of being, ‘I amness’, all are the same in you, prior to emanation of any words.

  33. This is a subtle point, so try to understand it clearly. When I say ‘I was not’ prior to conception, then what I actually mean is that I was not like this present ‘I am’. But that ‘I’ which could discern this must be there to judge the absence of the present ‘I am’.

  34. Shall we call the knowledge ‘I am’ the guru? But even that knowledge you are not! Knowledge ‘I am’ means consciousness, God, ‘Ishwara’, guru etc. but you the Absolute are not that.

  35. This is to be understood and realized, that ‘I am’ is even before the arising of any words and questions in me. People always want a name or concept to indicate the state of ‘I am’ prior to words. When this is done by giving it a name, like for example Brahman, they feel satisfied.

  36. Beingness can act in the world only with the aid of the body. This body is the quintessence of the five elements, and the quintessence of the body-essence is the knowledge ‘I am’. The presiding principle of the whole functioning is the knowledge ‘I am’. This knowledge ‘I am’ has to be correctly understood.

  37. A body maybe dark, fair, tall or short, but the indwelling principle – which is the knowledge ‘I am’ – has no color or dimension, just like the vital breath and mind. It is merely a ‘sense of presence’ a feeling of effulgence. And mind functions like its vehicle or medium for executing worldly activities.

  38. You should understand this clearly. If one thinks one is the body, one becomes a slave of mind and suffers accordingly. Therefore, you should completely identify yourself with the highest principle in you, which is the knowledge ‘I am’. This will elevate you to the status of ‘brihaspati’ – the guru of gods.

  39. When the meditator forgets himself totally in meditation, it is ‘vishranti’ which means complete relaxation ending total forgetfulness. This is the blissful state, where there is no need for words, concepts or even the sense of ‘I am’. The state does not know ‘it is’ and is beyond happiness and suffering and altogether beyond words; it is called the ‘Parabrahman’ – a non-experiential state.

  40. Before the emanation of any words, ‘I’ already exist; later I say mentally ‘I am’. The word-free and thought-free state is the ‘atman’.

  41. The knowingness ‘I am’ is gradually felt by the child and this is followed by the mind. This ‘I amness’ feeling before the formation of the mind is the ignorant-child-principle, termed the ‘balkrishna’ state. This ‘balkrishna’ principle has great potential. Here ‘bal’ means the food essence, child-body, and ‘krishna’ means ‘non-knowing’, that is, ignorance. But it has the potential to receive, respond and react. I am not in this state, the child principle, ‘balkrishna’, as I abide in the Absolute.

  42. At present you identify yourself with your body and mind. Therefore, in the initial stages of your spiritual practice, you should reject the identity by imbibing the principle that ‘I am’ is the vital breath and the consciousness only and not the body and mind. In the later stages, the vital breath and the consciousness – that is the knowledge ‘I am’ – merge in one’s ultimate nature.

  43. That ultimate state is known as ‘vishranti’, which means total rest, complete relaxation, utter quietude etc. The other meaning, by splitting the word, would be, ‘vishara (visra)-anti’ – forget yourself in the end. That means in the ultimate state, ‘you-areness’ is totally forgotten. Whether ‘I am’ or ‘I am not’ both are forgotten. This is the highest type of rest – ‘parama-vishranti’.

  44. When I pleased my ‘I amness’ by understanding it, only then did I come to know this ‘I amness’ and in the process also discovered that ‘I’ the Absolute, am not that ‘I am’. Stay put at one place. Having collected all the knowledge, ponder over it in seclusion.

  45. You abide in that knowledge ‘I am’. You should understand that your destination is your own self, the ‘I am’. It is the very source of everything; That ‘I am’ is to be realized. Because ‘you are’, the consciousness is. Before you say ‘I am’ you already are. ‘I am’ – the word or the ‘I am’ feeling that you get inside you – is not eternal. But you are eternal and ancient.

  46. You have to stabilize in your present true nature, ‘I am’. All other secondary and redundant objects should be got rid of. Do not focus you attention on any of these things. The whole process is to be in your source. At present, what is your source? ‘I am’. Catch hold of that ‘I amness’ and be in it. You have to realize your own self. You must be at the borderline between ‘I am’ and ‘Not-‘I am’’.