In 1933, he was introduced to his guru, Siddharameshwar Maharaj, the head of the Inchegiri branch of the Navnath Sampradaya, by his friend Yashwantrao Baagkar. His guru told him, "You are not what you take yourself to be...". He then gave Nisargadatta simple instructions which he followed verbatim. Following his guru's instructions to concentrate on the feeling "I Am", he used all his spare time looking at himself in silence, and remained in that state for the coming years, practising meditation and singing devotional bhajans.
The following account is from 'I Am That':
My Guru told me: “...Go back to that state of pure being, where the ‘I am’ is still in its purity before it got contaminated with ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that.’ Your burden is of false self-identifications—abandon them all.” My guru told me, “Trust me, I tell you: you are Divine. Take it as the absolute truth. Your joy is divine, your suffering is divine too. All comes from God. Remember it always. You are God, your will alone is done.” I did believe him and soon realized how wonderfully true and accurate were his words. I did not condition my mind by thinking, “I am God, I am wonderful, I am beyond.” I simply followed his instruction, which was to focus the mind on pure being, “I am,” and stay in it. I used to sit for hours together, with nothing but the “I am” in my mind and soon the peace and joy and deep all-embracing love became my normal state. In it all disappeared—myself, my guru, the life I lived, the world around me. Only peace remained, and unfathomable silence.
After an association that lasted hardly two and a half years, Siddharameshwar Mahraj died on 9 November 1936.
In 1937, he left Mumbai and travelled across India. Through realising the shortcomings of a totally unworldly life and the greater spiritual fruitfulness of dispassionate action, he eventually returned to his family in Mumbai in 1938, where he spent the rest of his life. On the journey home he reached awakening:
On the return journey he evidently opened up in an irreversible, unbroken realization of the Atma or transcendent-immanent Divine Self. His spiritual practices had exhausted all samskaras, the problematic likes and dislikes inherited from past karma. He had spontaneously, finally awakened to Absolute Self, Absolute Reality. All attachment, aversion, and delusion had ended. Nisargadatta was now totally free in the Freedom of the jivanmukta, one liberated while still functioning with a body. As he put it, “Nothing was wrong anymore.”
After retiring from his shop in 1966, Nisargadatta Maharaj continued to receive and teach visitors in his home, giving discourses twice a day.
Among his most known disciples are S. K. Mullarpattan, Maurice Frydman, Sailor Bob Adamson, Stephen Wolinsky, Jean Dunn, Alexander Smit, Douwe Tiemersma, Robert Powell, Timothy Conway, Wayne Dyer, Ramesh Balsekar, Mohan Gaitonde and Ramakant Maharaj.
Ramakant Maharaj was initiated by Nisargadatta Maharaj in 1962. He spent the following 20 yrs with his master. He is "the only Indian direct disciple of Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj" who offers initiation into the Inchegiri Navnath Sampradaya lineage. He teaches in English, (as well as Marathi), from the Ranjit Ashram in Nasik, Maharastra.
Ramakant Maharaj met his Sadguru, Nisargadatta Maharaj, in 1962. Speaking fondly of Nisargadatta Maharaj, Ramakant Maharaj said: "He was very kind to me. He was like a father to me. He bought me my first watch and opened my first bank account".
Nisargadatta Maharaj took a personal interest in Ramakant Maharaj's education. When Ramakant Maharaj met Nisargadatta Maharaj, he was unemployed and somewhat aimless. The master said "You have to do something with your life, make something of your life. Get an education". Mr. P.T. Phadol, a disciple of Nisargadatta Maharaj, also happened to be the Registrar of Elphinstone College, the most prestigious establishment of its kind in Mumbai. Nisargadatta commanded Mr. Phadol "Give this boy, (Ramakant Maharaj), entry to your college".
So he began to attend the college and struggled academically for the first year or so. Students needed 80% marks to get into the college, and Ramakant Maharaj's standard was nowhere near that, and had no knowledge of English either. But, with perseverance, he passed the exams and then went on to university.
This picture was taken
when Shri Ramakant
the first family home.
Maharaj attended the Inauguration Ceremony
and gave his blessings to
them in their new
wife, Anvita, is also a long-term disciple of
Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj.
Shri Ramakant Maharaj is part of the same lineage of Masters as Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj of the Inchegiri Navnath Sampradaya. The teachings are the same as his Master's, but differ by way of method and expression.
Maharaj shares 'Direct Living Knowledge'. There are no long-winded explanations that take you round in circles. References to other sources are kept to the minimum. There is no difference between the Master and you. You have just forgotten your true identity. The Teachings are simple. He hammers home the same Truth again and again: “You are not the body. You were not the body. You will not remain the body.” "The body is not your identity." “Your Spontaneous Presence is anonymous, invisible, unidentified identity”. “You are Ultimate Truth, Final Truth. You are the Final Destination”, etc.
Ramakant Maharaj describes Nisargadatta Maharaj as "extraordinary", although he confesses to not really understanding his discourses at that time. Nisargadatta Maharaj used to encourage him and say "the understanding will come in time". And it did. He is now teaching. With love in his eyes he often talks about his Master:
1. Maharaj often says that words are only indicators. Focus on what he is trying
to convey – the meaning, the essence of the message. Don't take the Master's words literally.
2. He does not entertain thoughts, concepts, memories, experiences. He cuts through all 'body-knowledge'. You are 'Ultimate Truth', 'Final Truth'. You are nothing to do with this illusory world. The entire world is illusion, including the body, so engaging in body-related knowledge, and body-related spirituality is a futile time-waster. His approach is direct, the shortest cut.
3. The Master addresses 'Ultimate Reality'. This means that he addresses the
'INVISIBLE QUESTIONER' – and NOT the QUESTIONS as such. All
questions are BODY-BASED.
4. We created language. We created knowledge. Prior to Beingness/Consciousness – NOTHING WAS THERE. YOU WERE UNKNOWN TO YOU. YOU DID NOT EVEN KNOW THE WORD 'KNOWLEDGE'.
5. He is not interested in talking about 'YOUR PERSONAL STORY', 'YOUR KNOWLEDGE', including 'YOUR SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE'. That is talking about the 'Unborn Child'. NOTHING has been happening!
Being prepared means being quiet, open and receptive. Put the mind,
ego, intellect aside. Be like a blank screen. And if the ego doesn't
like it and rises up, so be it. Let it be bashed, including the
7. Knowledge means “TO KNOW ONESELF IN A REAL SENSE”. It is not literal knowledge, dry knowledge, second-hand knowledge that has been sourced from outside and/or accumulated from books via the body-form. Knowledge means 'SELFLESS SELF KNOWLEDGE'.
8. Most people have questions that they need to ask at the beginning. When these are exhausted, Spontaneous Silence begins to emerge.
9. He does not 'do' discussion, argument and counter-argument. This RARE KNOWLEDGE is not up for debate. It does not come from the realm of ideas – it is REALITY, YOUR REALITY. THAT YOU ARE! Ultimate Reality is speaking to Ultimate Reality.
Ultimate Truth is reaching and reawakening the Ultimate Truth in you. Then, the "merging process begins to march towards Oneness”.
the Master's instructions, slowly, silently, permanently your
'Spontaneous Presence' that is invisible, anonymous, unidentifiable
identity merges with Selfless Self.
“The Purpose of Spirituality is to Know Yourself
in a Real Sense, to Erase Illusion, and to Dissolve
all Body-Knowledge. At Present, You
are Knowing Yourself ONLY in the Body-Form.
is NOT Your Identity.
"I Am" Concept - Beware!
Q. What exactly is ‘I am’ in simple words, and what is it not?
Maharaj. Your spontaneous, anonymous presence is called ‘I am’, but
it is without any shape, without any colour. Names are given to ‘Atma’,
‘Paramatma’, ‘God’, just to understand, to communicate. Reality is
beyond imagination. There should not be any confusion. It sounds like
some people have created a special house for ‘I am’…
At the advanced stage, ‘I am’ is also illusion.
Again, be clear, there is no ‘I am’, there is no ‘you
are’ - these are words. Prior to beingness, you are not knowing
what the ‘I’ or the ‘you’ is. What has happened is that you
are artificially moulding yourself, saying ‘I am’ somebody else
(an individual), and in the light of that knowledge thinking,
meditating on ‘I am’.
You are limiting your Reality by naming it,
enclosing it. Remember, ‘I am’ is a concept. We are just using
words to try and understand, exchanging words through which we are
inviting attention of the invisible, anonymous listener within you.
All words are used for the purpose of understanding. Try to know your
identity. Try to know your unidentifiable identity. The knower will
disappear. Trying to know Ultimate Truth, the knower will disappear.
No knowledge, no knower.
Q. The understanding is that ‘I Am’ is very deep…
M. Who is understanding that? (laughter).'I' am understanding. Who
is understanding that? All this requires presence, but your presence
is not any shape or form. It is formless. No beingness, no
non-beingness, no consciousness, no unconsciousness, no awareness, no
unawareness. No knower, no knowledge, etc. You are neglecting the
somebody that already exists within you - the formless, invisible
somebody. You are That. You are Brahman, Atman. ‘I’ is just like
the sky. Does the sky say ‘I am’? Sky is totally unaware of its
existence. Likewise, your presence is totally unaware of your
All these words are body knowledge. Beingness is also illusion. Who says beingness and non-beingness? When you came across with the body you created a big illusionary field: beingness, non-beingness, awareness, unawareness, consciousness. You are roaming in the field and trying to extract knowledge. Come out of the field. Be brave, be courageous!
"You are roaming in a big illusionary field
and trying to extract knowledge."
Q. I think the ‘I Am’ practice has maybe been taken literally and grown out of proportion. And there is a lot of confusion around it, a third of a century since Nisargadatta Maharaj’s passing. It has perhaps ballooned into something….
M. What happens is that devotees read books, and on the basis of
their reading, they form a square… and they are expecting answers
within the square.
"Master is not in the square,
So you have to leave all that. Whatever is realized from the existence of the body (body knowledge), is illusion. You have brought yourself into the confusion field, using confusing words. You are a victim of your own ideas, your own concepts: ‘I am’ ‘you are’, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘Brahman’...
Q. When people abide in ‘I Am’ , they don’t seem to know how to stay, or go beyond, ‘I Am’.
M. Forget about spiritual talk. To say ‘I’ is ego. Why are you trying to remain in/as I? It means you are taking some ego and saying I am somebody else. I am… this means you are somebody else, and you are to stay like this (eyes closed) ‘I’. This is duality. You have not to make any efforts. In the beginning, you are to accept that your ‘I am’ is in existence and you are knowing ‘I am’ through body only. It is an open fact that the body is not your identity. But while remaining in the ‘I am’, you are considering yourself as somebody else and, with the subtle ego, you are staying as “I Am”. This is not the Ultimate Truth and will not give you happiness.
So, your presence is spontaneous – don’t think, don’t apply the intellect. To stay in the ‘I am’, how to stay there…. this is all illusion. You are already in that. It is already within you. But you are trying deliberately to remain in the ‘I am’. I am somebody else and I am to remain in the ‘I am’. Illusory concept! Be as it is! Reality! Don’t think, don’t pressure the brain. The spontaneous feeling is just that… I am… there is no concept. As Nisargadatta Maharaj says: What is this body? Just glimpses of “I”. Just the glimpses of ‘I’ which has no shape, no colour, no witness, no experiencer, just…...Maharaj holds his hands up and relaxes and, says ‘I’. We’re trying to experience ‘I’, to be Brahman, Atman, and to do that you are having to be somebody else.
Q. So there is duality, there is a split.
M. Immediately! When you try to stay like that. Why to try? I want to stay John. I am John. You are already John, so why to be ‘I am’ John. John is the name which has been given to this body, it is not your Ultimate Reality. Similarly, your spontaneous presence, existence is without shape.
Q. I think the understanding was that if you stay in the ‘I am’,
the ‘I am’, then you will go beyond the ‘I am’. But it seems people are not
managing to go beyond.
"Your spontaneous presence,
existence is without shape."
M. You see, your spontaneous existence manifested , so without you, there is not any focus. When I say ‘I am’, ‘I’ stays there, the subtle ego. Don’t make any effort. Don’t take the literal meaning of these spiritual words, rather take what they were trying to convey. You cannot realize presence through the bodily ‘I’.
You are your own Master. So whatever you read or listen, to some extent, it is helpful but after reaching the final destination, you do not need an address. So don’t take the literal meaning of what the Masters say. What they want to convey is most important. To remain in ‘I’ is keeping you stuck… You have created a balloon, a concept, how to stay – it is not like that.
Why to remain in the ‘I am’, when you are already there? All you have to do is realize that the body is not my identity. You are posing as someone else when you meditate, and therefore the meditation has become dual.
Q. Why did Nisargadatta Maharaj not make this teaching clearer?
M. Listen to me, this ‘I am’ is also a concept, which maybe has been over-emphasized and misunderstood. All this meditation, concentration, knowledge, self-inquiry - these are all only various steps, a process, and through the I, you are coming to the Final Truth. After having conviction that you are not the body, there is nothing to do. Your reaction is spontaneous action.
You are already ‘I am’, without saying. So you just have to know yourself in the real sense because your spontaneous, invisible presence is there, to whom you are giving the name, ‘I am’? Except your Selfless Self, there is no ‘I am’. So why stay in the little world of ‘I am’? You are already there - you are already 24 hrs in the ‘I am’, but you are unaware. You are 24 hrs together.You are ‘I am’ only. Why to remain in something that’s artificially created or imagined, guesswork? Why to remain like that 'I am' in the square?So don’t struggle with ‘I am’ - the words are just indications of Ultimate Truth
and how that truth is your identity, but it is invisible and anonymous. So
don’t imagine, don’t guess, don’t use logic or intellect. You are 24 hr
Presence, so no need to try to be, or think of 'I am’ at all.
Don't try to stay as I am
FOR MORE SEE: WWW.RAMAKANTMAHARAJ.NET/TEACHINGS