Sri Ramesh S. Balsekar  
A short biography of Ramesh Balsekar, deciple of Nisargadatta

The mere incident of enlightenment does not necessarily confer an ability to communicate the concomitant understanding. However, in Ramesh's case that ability has assumed remarkable depth. This organism known as Ramesh is amply endowed with compassion, patience, humor and eloquence. Though the dialogues in his books can convey but a fraction of the impact that his presence can have, as you read you may get a sense of the energy that fills the room as Ramesh warms to his subject.

Still, what is most remarkable about Ramesh is his very ordinariness and the very ordinariness of his teaching. Though elaborate theoretical structures may be erected around it - his concept of the working mind and the thinking mind would be a good example of this - the essence of the teaching is simplicity itself. He offers no miracles, no cures, no special powers; in fact, all he really offers is Nothing, that Nothing, that we all truly are.

And while it is often said that Ramesh appears ordinary, no one could ever say he is mediocre. It is his complete lack of pretense that moderates the light of his accomplishments from a blinding brilliance to a warm glow. In his education, both in India and at the London School of Economics, he was always near the top of his class but never at the top of his class. In his leisure pursuits, as a body builder, competitive badminton player and golfer his standings were always superior though rarely superlative.

Ramesh married Sharda in 1940 and they raised three children. The eldest was Ajit, brilliant but with a life-long history of health problems. He died in 1990 at the age of forty-nine. Next came his daughter, Jaya, who married and then moved to Bangalore where she runs a successful dairy business. His youngest son, Shivdas, is also married and is the senior executive in the Indian branch of a multi-national pharmaceutical company.

It was in his career, which began in 1940 as a clerk in the Bank of India, that Ramesh's brilliance truly shone through. Despite lacking a booming ambition, he steadily rose through the ranks until his retirement in 1977 as that bank's General Manager (what is known in the U.S. as company president or C.E.0.). During his ten years of service as its head, he guided the bank through its most rapid and successful growth period, overseeing the hiring of thousands of people and the opening of hundreds of new branches in India and around the globe.

Shortly after his mandatory retirement at age sixty, Ramesh read a magazine article about a guru named Nisargadatta Maharaj who was teaching about Advaita (non-duality) in a poor area of Bombay. It was a subject in which he had always had a keen interest. He went to hear him, knew at once that this was his ultimate guru and within three or four months began translating for Maharaj at his daily morning talks. It was not long before Ramesh too experienced the ultimate understanding.

Retired bank president, golfer, husband and father doesn't fit the stereotype of an Indian guru... and perhaps that accounts, at least in part, for the fact that 90% of the people who come to him are Westerners. His background and education combined with his understanding make him a master who is an ideal bridge between East and West, the spiritual and the material.


Baleskar teaches from the tradition of Advaita Vedanta nondualism. His teaching begins with the idea of an ultimate Source, Brahman, from which creation arises. Once creation has arisen, the world and life operate mechanistically according to both Divine and natural laws. While people believe that they are actually doing things and making choices, free will is in fact an illusion. All that happens is caused by this one source, and the actual identity of this source is pure Consciousness, which is incapable of choosing or doing.

This false identity which revolves around the idea that "I am the body" or "I am the doer" keeps one from seeing that one's actual identity is free Consciousness. Like other Vedanta teachers, he says that while creation and creator appear to be different and separate, that they are actually two sides of the same coin.

Balsekar teaches that life is a happening but there is no individual doer of life.

The following quotations are from Balsekar's books:

"The final truth, as Ramana Maharishi and Nisargadatta Maharaj and all the sages before them have clearly stated, is that there is neither creation nor destruction, neither birth nor death, neither destiny nor free will, neither any path nor any achievement. All there is is Consciousness."

"What is the significance of the statement 'No one can get enlightenment'? This is the very root of the teaching. It means that it's stupid for any so-called master to ask anyone to do anything to achieve or get enlightenment. The core of this simple statement means, according to my concept, that enlightenment is the annihilation of the "one" who "wants" enlightenment. If there is enlightenment - which can only happen because it is the will of God - then it means the "one" who had earlier wanted enlightenment has been annihilated. So no "one" can achieve enlightenment and therefore no "one" can enjoy enlightenment."

"The joke is even the surrendering is not in your control. Why? Because so long as there is an individual who says "I surrender" there is a surrenderer, an individual ego... What I'm saying is that even the surrendering is not in [your] hands."




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