[Advaita-l] Notes on Nisargadatta Maharaj

Ananta Bhagwat ananta14 at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 10 09:13:22 CDT 2008

    Dear Sri S Jayanarayanan (and to all those who are not averse to little bit of contemporary philosophy)
Re Notes on NM

Sri RamaNa says, if there is a perception of world or body the ego-illusion has not ended. Further from the comparison between deep sleep, keval samAdhi and sahaja samAdhi it seems that the state of death of mind in sahaja samAdhi is irreversible (probably that is why it is called death of mind). It is difficult to differentiate this state from what we understand as death in vyavahAra. But Sri RamaNa elsewhere states that this sahaj samAdhi is like a deep sleep + consciousness. For people operating at the  empirical level it is difficult (impossible?) to imagine or intuit this state. To that extent NM's note about his identification with body looks natural or at least quite probable. I for one cannot imagine how qualia (which is the sure sign that one is alive and perceiving the world) can be removed from living being's waking experience. It can be removed permanently only when one's body process is permanently impaired, that is when one is dead. There
 is a hypothetical concept in cognitive (mind) philosophies - that of Zombie (person without qualia), I for one find it difficult to reconcile to the idea of jIvanmukta being a philosophical zombie. The concepts such as Multi-mode avidyA, two-fold avidyA, or ontologically indeterminate mAyA different than avidyA were founded in later advaita to explain qualia, the irremovable adhyAsa in living being, as also the apparent creation of insentient cosmos; all these concepts are non-existent at the absolute level. 

Some of the philosophers and cognitive scientists are today saying that consciousness is the basic (fundamental) entity like time and space. This basic universal entity, they say, seems like teaming up with the organic matter (like our body-brain-neural system) to generate qualia - the qualitative feel of sensory perception and the empirical  or secondary consciousness which is the basis of our living experience. Advaita's later theories (such  as  reflection, delimitation , semblance - illusion) are proving to be quite interesting metaphors in this analytical exploration of consciousness.

At the empirical level scientific theories may be in the process of continuous development; how ever advaita's basic equation Atman = brahman is going to remain for ever (that is my belief bordering on faith).


----- Original Message ----
From: S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com>
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Cc: advaitin at yahoogroups.com
Sent: Sunday, April 6, 2008 2:51:17  AM
Subject: [Advaita-l] Notes on Nisargadatta Maharaj

 There are some notes about Nisargadatta Maharaj (NM) in the website
below claiming that NM still felt the "I am the body" idea rising up
again and again. NM also apparently said that there is an "endless
journey of self-discovery", which seems contradictory to the final
state of advaita siddhi where the "journey" finally ends in Supreme
Steady Abidance in the Self.

Can someone please confirm or deny the statements about NM here:


"In the case of Sri Ramana, the ego ended in the experience in
Madurai, and from that moment onwards, Sri Ramana says there was no
change in his experience. That is consistent with Sri Ramana’s
description of Sahaja Samadhi. 

The case if Sri Nisargadatta is quite different. Sri  Nisargadatta
continued until the end of his life to describe the  changes that  were
occurring. For example he said that previously he thought he was free
of the ‘I am the body’ identification but that now he could see that
some had remained, etc. 

Also Sri Nisargadatta had the view that after Self-Realization there
is an endless journey of discovering oneself. Both these are
consistent with those who go in and out of kevala Samadhi. However
those descriptions are completely inconsistent with Sahaja Samadhi. 

In Sahaja Samadhi there is no longer an entity that can undergo
changes in the level of ‘I am the body’ identification and there is
no longer an entity that can go on learning about itself and there
are no parts in the Self so that one part can be revealed to another

Thus the state that Sri Ramana Maharshi was in is called Sahaja
Samadhi. The state that Sri Nisargadatta was in  and out of and in and
out of is called kevala samadhi."

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