Yet another set of quotes from the “I Am That” book by Nisargadatta Maharaj together with my commentary. Read parts onetwothreefourfivesixseveneight, nine, and ten.

Only the necessary is good. There is peace only in the essential.

If we accumulate more than we need or form some extreme habits, we are bound to suffer because we are living in disharmony with the rest of nature (and we are part of nature).

Your desire happens to you along with its fulfillment, or non-fulfillment. You can change neither. You may believe that you exert yourself, strive and struggle. Again, it all merely happens, including the fruits of work. Nothing is by you and for you. All is in the picture exposed on the cinema screen, nothing in the light, including what you take yourself to be, the person. You are the light only.

When we identify with our bodies we believe ourselves to be the doers. Yet the body belongs to the story already written. So sometimes desires manifest and sometimes they don’t, no matter what we do. The plot is set and our only freedom is to get detached from the story.

Having realized that you cannot influence the results, pay no attention to your desires and fears. Let them come and go. Don’t give them the nourishment of interest and attention.

Even if we try not to do anything eventually the body acts because it belongs to the movie of life we are identified with. So it will do what it has to do whether we wish it to do it or not. Therefore there’s no need to pay attention to even the internal world as it still belongs to this illusory existence and fuels it.

(…) often people come with their bodies, brains and minds so mishandled, perverted and weak, that the state of formless attention is beyond them. In such cases, some simpler token of earnestness is appropriate. The repetition of a mantra, or gazing at a picture will prepare their body and mind for a deeper and more direct search.

If the mind is so weak that it identifies with every thought and is therefore unable to detach from internal phenomena, then a single object should be introduced for it to focus on, be it breath, word or picture. This will gradually strengthen it and prepare it to stand without any aid.

Your real being is love itself and your many loves are its reflections (…).

The more we stay with ourselves in peace and quiet, the more we uncover our true nature which is pure love. Then we naturally reflect that love into the world. Yet even those who don’t meditate fall in love, as the person they are attracted to has no barriers for the love to show; for example, if a person hates pride and the lover has none, naturally the love that one itself is can be reflected in another.

It is not what you do, but what you stop doing that matters. The people who begin their sadhana [spiritual practice] are so feverish and restless, that they have to be very busy to keep themselves on the track. An absorbing routine is good for them. After some time they quieten down and turn away from effort. In peace and silence the skin of “I” dissolves and the inner and the outer become one. The real sadhana is effortless.

People who just start their spiritual road act in the same manner to how they did before, yet in a spiritualized way. So they still remain busy but about spiritual things. Eventually the spiritual aspect of their actions starts dissolving their interest in the world and eventually they stop their busyness too and spiritual ambitions are no more. That’s when real progress starts.

You believe so [that you are the body] because you have never questioned your belief that you are the body which, obviously, is born and dies. Whilst alive, it attracts attention and fascinates so completely that rarely does one perceive one’s real nature. It is like seeing the surface of the ocean and completely forgetting the immensity beneath. The world is but a surface of the mind and the mind is infinite. What we call thoughts are just ripples in the mind. When the mind is quiet it reflects reality. When it is motionless through and through, it dissolves and only reality remains. This reality is so concrete, so actual, so much more tangible than the mind and matter, that compared to it even diamond is soft like butter. This overwhelming actuality makes the world dreamlike, misty and irrelevant.

I’ve experienced the world looking like a dream after my kundalini awakening but when I stopped all spiritual practices as a result of the shocking awakening experience, the world started solidifying again. Yogic practices loosen the grip the body and mind have on us and help us understand that we are neither the mind nor the body. Eventually this leads to the mind becoming totally quiet and then we are engulfed by the true reality which thoughts obscure.

Just see the person you imagine yourself to be as part of the world you perceive within your mind and look at the mind from the outside, for you are not the mind. After all, your only problem is eager self-identification with whatever you perceive. (…) As long as you imagine yourself to be something tangible and solid, a thing among things, actually existing in time and space, short lived and vulnerable, naturally you will be anxious to survive and increase.

The desire to have children is the desire for the body to live through its offspring. When we are identified with our bodies we think that the desires of the body are ours. Thus, the importance of detaching from thoughts.

Identification with anything in this world or the internal phenomena makes us suffer as those are illusory things that disappear into nothingness from whence they came. When we dream, we are identified with dream characters but the dream ends; the bodies get old and die; and even thoughts with which we temporarily identify disappear as they never existed. We are immortal so when we identify with something that has a beginning and end, we are bound to suffer.

A man of low intelligence believes, against all evidence, that he is an exception and the world owes him happiness.

Nisargadatta Maharaj explains that the world doesn’t entitle anyone to happiness just because one is born there. Some people lead very unhappy lives whilst others – happy. It depends which role you are identified with in this drama of life. Detachment from visible phenomena is what can give true and permanent happiness. Then even if you play an unhappy role you can get entertained by it.

(…) pleasure is a distraction and a nuisance, for it merely increases the false conviction that one needs to have and do things to be happy when in reality it is just the opposite.

When you stop running after your desires and just stay with yourself, you become at peace with your circumstances. Then even small positive things make you happy. For example, I have never lost my childhood fascination with the rain; when it thunders and rains I’m as happy as a child.

I find that such innocent blessings of nature are all that’s necessary to be happy, yet people who have large goals will never know it; they look at their life and perceive a great difference between it and their goals, so they completely miss small things that make life happy and meaningful.

Karma is a divinely prescribed treatment. Welcome it and follow the instructions faithfully and you will get well. A patient will leave the hospital after he recovers. To insist on immediate freedom of choice and action will merely postpone recovery. Accept your destiny and fulfill it – this is the shortest way to freedom from destiny (…).

How can one not be in love with such words. We get in life what we deserve and that which can teach us. It’s foolish to abandon family and duties to search for enlightenment as you’re only creating further karma. It’s much wiser to accept responsibilities that you took on your shoulders and fulfill them.

Even before their fulfillment you can gain liberation. Nisargadatta Maharaj didn’t leave the world to find God. He kept his small shop and he lived with his wife, and this continued after liberation. Of course, if you want to be liberated, it’s wise not to take on new duties as you will feel their weight for sure, and to let go of all that you are able to without harming anyone. Yet if you already have burdens you cannot reduce, do not drop them as it means that there’s still destiny to fulfill and you cannot run away from destiny.

(…) do not consider yourself as separate from me and we shall at once share in the common state.

Often students and visitors of Nisargadatta Maharaj would ask him to grant them liberation. In response, he would say that he’s not withholding liberation from them – that they can have it here and now if they are willing to give up the false conviction that they are separate selves.

At every moment whatever comes to you unasked, comes from God and will surely help you, if you make the fullest use of it. It is only what you strive for out of your own imagination and desire, that gives you trouble.

So much truth here. I see running after personal imagination as meaningless because once those dreams are achieved, the sight is set on yet new goals to strive for. Of course, if you’re in bad circumstances it’s wise to do something about it, yet when people remain restless all their lives running after their imagined dreams, this is a sad existence to witness.

It’s best to be happy with what you have and welcome things that come to you as they are for your learning or benefit. But the mind will always desire as it knows its non-existence; thus it’s like an abyss always wanting what it doesn’t have so that it keeps defining itself proving its illusory existence. It’s wise not to identity yourself with it as it will wear you out and make you unhappy, never being satisfied with anything it gets.

Accept life as it comes and you will find it a blessing.

A similar piece of advice to the previous one. When you are at peace with your existence you start noticing small positive things that make you happy, whilst if you’re never in the moment but lost in thoughts about what you want to have, you will fail to appreciate what’s already in your existence. Eckhart Tolle also says that we are all where we are supposed to be, otherwise we would not be there. There’s happiness and rest in being at peace with where you are.

As long as you take yourself to be a person, a body and a mind, separate from the stream of life, having a will of its own, pursuing its own aims, you are living merely on the surface and whatever you do will be short-lived and of little value, a mere straw to feed the flames of vanity.

Yet again, what words of wisdom. If you think yourself to be the body, your actions will be influenced by its need to survive and they will be limited. When you know your true nature there’s so much high energy flowing through you that you benefit the world just by being.

When people think themselves to be bodies their actions are based on fear, as they are based on the need to survive. When this fear is no more as a result of not identifying with the body, the energy is so high that it benefits the whole world without any special action taken. That’s why foreign people love India so much – it’s the land of many liberated beings so it has so much love in its atmosphere that it attracts like honey.

Conviction and action are inseparable. If action does not follow conviction, examine your convictions, don’t accuse yourself of lack of courage.

People act on their inner convictions, on their deepest beliefs. If the true belief is that one is not able to achieve something, there will be little motivation to take action. Yet if one is convinced that something can be achieved, action will naturally follow.