Questions and answers is a beautiful format for this agenda-less teaching - if the seeker asks no questions, the guru speaks no answer. Though it does not record Maharaj's silence, a Q&A book like this still preserves that agenda-less quality. Almost thirty years after they were recorded, these fascinating conversations may move you to look more deeply into your own experience and yield some insight into yourself.
In her preface, Jean Dunn says “The teachings of Nisargadatta Mahara have been published in several books using the original question-and-answer format in which the teachings were given... Now, another in the golden link of guideposts is presented here as ‘Consciousness and the Absolute’... All shadings of his singular wisdom are reflected during these last, poignant conversations with those who were privileged to be in his presence. When you read his words, may you find in them his blessings.”
Maharaj: People come here and stay for days, weeks, even months. The first few days what they have heard takes root, and that is when they should leave, so that what has taken root will have time to grow and blossom. As soon as the seed takes root, they must go. What has taken root must bloom, must express itself within each heart.
Questioner: Maharaj has said, in this respect, that the teachings were his Gurus, but the understanding was his.
M: My Guru told me that consciousness alone is the Guru, all
other developments sprouted within me. The fruit should grow on your
own plant. I should not sow my understandings in you. I have no use for traditions or traditional knowledge. If you do the slightest research on tradition you will see that it is all a concept.
I am concerned with only one fact. Here I was in my wholeness, not even aware of my awareness, then suddenly this consciousness sprang up. How did it come about? That is the question which needs investigating.
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When your individuality is dissolved, you will not see individuals anywhere, it is just a functioning in consciousness. If it clicks in you, it is very easy to understand. If it does not, it is most difficult. It is very profound and very simple, if understood right. What I am saying is not the general run of common spiritual knowledge.
When you reach a state when the body is transcended, mind is transcended and consciousness is also transcended; from then on all is merely happening out of consciousness, which is the outcome of the body, and there is no authority or doership. When a sound is emanating from the body, it is not that somebody is talking, it is just words emanating, just happening, not doing. If you understand the basis thoroughly, it will lead you very far, deep into spirituality.
The Absolute alone prevails. There is nothing but the Absolute.
* * *
Questioner: Why is it that we naturally seem to think of ourselves as separate individuals?
Maharaj: Your thoughts about individuality are really not you own thoughts; they are all collective thoughts; they are all collective thoughts. You think that you are the one who has the thoughts; in fact thoughts arise in consciousness.
As our spiritual knowledge grows, our identification with an individual body-mind diminishes, and our consciousness expands into universal consciousness. The life force continues to act, but its thought and actions are no longer limited to an individual. They become the total manifestation. It is like the action of the wind -- the wind doesn't blow for any particular individual, but for the total manifestation.