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Nisargadatta MaharajOn being asked about his past, Shri Nisargadatta would cut short the enquiry by saying there is no such thing as the past and that nothing ever happened. Yet it could be ascertained from relatives and friends that he was born in Bombay in March 1897. He was given the name of Maruti.

His parents were both very religious. One day his father made friends with a poor but learned Brahmin. They used to have long discussions on religious subjects and Maruti, having an alert and inquisitive mind, listened to them with rapt attention. To him, Vishnu Haribhau Gore was the ideal man, wise and kind, upright and honest, hard-working and courageous.

In 1924 he married Sumatibai who gave him a son and three daughters. He started life in Bombay as a clerk in an office, but his energetic and independent temperament soon made him take to trading. And so he opened a shop of bidis, handmade country cigarettes. Prosperity in business, however, could not appease his inner hunger. The ancient questions about the world, man and God called for answers.

He happened to have a friend, a man of intelligence and devoted to the search within. They often used to have discussions on religious and philosophical topics. His friend was a disciple of Shri Siddharameshwar Maharaj of the Navnath Sampradaya. He took Maruti with him to meet his Sadguru. Though he liked his teaching, Maruti flatly declared that the entire thing was beyond him. Nevertheless, he continued to attend his talks and was even given a mantra and instructions in meditation. Early in his practice Maruti began having visions and fell into trances. These manifestations of initial imbalance ceased soon, giving place to an absorption into the deepest being, which suddenly shone forth as the only Reality there is. This happened between 1933 and 1936.

Shri Siddharameshwar died in 1936 and in 1937 Maruti abandoned his family and business and took the life of a saddhu, a wandering monk. He was used to travelling on foot and food was never a problem.

He was planning to spend the rest of his life in the Himalayas, but then he met a brother disciple who convinced him about the shortcomings of a totally unworldly life and the greater spiritual fruitfulness of dispassion in action.

Maruti retraced his steps.

Back in Bombay, he found his business ventures wiped out. Only one small shop remained. But he was satisfied with little and had no worldly ambitions whatsoever. He ran his business for the sake of his family and devoted all his energy to spiritual life. He made himself a place for meditation. His daily life was very regular, with food, sleep and speech reduced to the minimum. His devotion to his Guru was total and exclusive. He never visited temples or saints.

Soon after the return from his pilgrimage, people, attracted by his wisdom and eloquence, started collecting in the street near his shop. Whenever free from business, he would talk to them. After his son had taken charge of the shop, the meetings moved from the street to the house,

The form of his life has always been orthodox Hindu and the essence of his teaching is the absolute monism of Advaita Vedanta. He lived what he taught. He died in 1981.

Books, published by Sudhakar S. Dikshit , Chetana Pvt Ltd Press, Bombay

  • I Am That - Conversations with Shir Nisargadatta Maharaj
  • Pointers from Nisargadatta Maharaj

 Every true Yoga aspirant should (have) read these rare pearls of wisdom.

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