Simple Indian Man Realizes His True Self
There’s an amazing story of a simple man from India who spent most of his life as a cigarette vendor. He would sell cigarettes on the streets India for 20 years and continued to smoke himself even after he realized the deepest spiritual truths and became affectionately known as Beedie Baba (beedies being cigarettes).
The cigarette vendor Nisargadatta when he was 35 heard about a Guru coming to his area and being interested in spiritual teachings thought he would finally go along and see what all the fuss was about. After seeing the Guru and putting to practice what he told him he quickly realised his higher Self and without any study of scriptures he went on to write a best seller and spiritual classic I am That.
A leading non dual teacher Robert Powell has this to say about Sri Nisargadatta s a teacher:
“The profound yet simple words of this extraordinary teacher are designed to jolt us into awareness of our original nature. Like the Zen masters of old, Nisargadatta’s style is abrupt, provocative, and immensely profound–cutting to the core and wasting little effort on inessentials. His terse but potent sayings are known for their ability to trigger shifts in consciousness, just by hearing, or even reading them.”
He had not been educated formally but came to be respected and loved for his insights into the crux of human pain and the extraordinary lucidity of his direct discourse. Hundreds of diverse seekers travelled the globe and sought him out in his unpretentious home to hear him. To all of them he gave hope that:
“beyond the real experience is not the mind,but the self,the light in which everything appears…the awareness in which everything happens.”
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj as he became known had a profound affect on thousands of people teaching from his humble home in India. His style was honest and open dialogue with sincere spiritual seekers. His main method was self inquiry, where he urged people to look within themselves for the absolute reality of consciousness alone. People started recording the discussions and his book “I Am That” was born.
“I’ve read literally thousands of pages on books related to consciousness expansion and eastern spirituality. But after reading Nisargadatta’s Maharaj, something in me has totally shifted. I can never think about things in the same way.”
He never established any large ashram or following, as he could have easily done if he was looking for ego gratification. He simply was himself and gave of himself naturally to those around him.
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj did not propound any ideology or religion but gently unwrapped the mystery of the self. His message is simple, direct and yet sublime.
Here’s How Sri Nisargadatta Realized His True Self
When I met my Guru, he told me:
“You are not what you take yourself to be. Find out what you are. Watch the sense ‘I am’, find your real Self. 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 also 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 obeyed him, because I trusted him. I did as he told me.
All my spare time I would spend looking at myself in silence.
And what a difference it made, and how soon!
My teacher told me to hold on to the sense ‘I am’ tenaciously and not to swerve from it even for a moment.
My Guru told me to attend to the sense ‘I am’ and to give attention to nothing else. I just obeyed. I did not follow any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures.
Whatever happened, I would turn away my attention from it and remain with the sense ‘I am’, it may look too simple, even crude.
My only reason for doing it was that my Guru told me so. Yet it worked! Obedience is a powerful solvent of all desires and fears.
I did my best to follow his advice and in a comparatively short time I realized within myself the truth of his teaching.
All I did was to remember his teaching, his face, his words constantly. This brought an end to the mind; in the stillness of the mind I saw myself as I am — unbound.
I simply followed (my teacher’s) 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 peace and joy and a 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.