How Do I Profit From "The Witness"?

There was once a business man who had a shop and a family, he had 4 children and kept busy, but at every moment of the day when he found some "free time" he followed two simple instructions from his teacher, and within 3 years he attained self-realization, or, what Pattabhi Jois tells us is the goal of yoga (in his book Yoga Mala).

I came accross a book from this business man through James, who found him as he is investigating Ramana Maharshi and as it turns out, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj is one of his disciples and has attained probably as much fame as the former, without trying, why? Because of this book: I Am That

I am captivated by the simplicity of his answers on interviews recorded in the book. For example, in this one set (there are 101 such talks transcripted), called: "Desireless, the Higher Bliss" I loved seeing the freshness in the student questions "how do I profit from self-realization?" Which is something I would love to ask too!

[If you cannot see pictures go to]

I also found very interesting to find Pantajali's description of the only superpower worht pursuing (that of discriminating between what is true and what is not true, or Sutra 3.36)) as a definition of meditation and something that has to happen all the time! 

It is also remarkable how you get the sense of how simple and no-b/s Maharaj was, how he keeps it real: "since you have read the scriptures, why do you ask me?"

Here is a taste of that talk:

Q: I am studying Sanskrit under a professor, but really I am only reading scriptures. I am in search of self-realization and I came to get the needed guidance. Kindly tell me what am I to do?

A: Since you have read the scriptures, why do you ask me?

Q: The scriptures show the general directions but the individual needs personal instructions.

M: Your own self is your ultimate teacher. The outer teacher is merely a milestone. It is only your inner teacher that will walk with you to the goal for he is the goal


Q: The inner teacher is not easily reached.

M: Since he is in you and with you, the difficulty cannot be serious. Look within, and you will find him.

Q: When I look within, I find sensations and perceptions, thoughts and feelings, desires and fears, memories and expectations. I am immersed in this and could see nothing else.

M: That which sees all this, and the nothing too, is the inner teacher. He alone is, all else only appears to be. He is your own self, your hope and assurance of freedom, find him and cling to him and you will be saved and safe.

Q: I do believe you, but when it comes to the actual finding of this inner self, I find it escapes me.

M: The idea 'it escapes me', where does it arise?

Q: In the mind.

M: And who knows the mind?

Q: The witness of the mind knows the mind.

M: Did anybody come to you and say: I am the witness of your mind?

Q: Of course not. He would have been just another idea in the mind.

M: Then who is the witness?

Q: I am.

M: So you know the witness because you are the witness. You need not see the witness in front of you. Here again, to be is to know.

Q: Yes, I see that I am the witness, the awareness itself. But in which way does it profit me?

M: What a question! What kind of profit do you expect? To know what you are, is it not good enough?

Q:What are the uses of self-knowledge?

M: It helps you to understand what you are not and keeps you free fro false ideas, desires and actions.

Q: If I am the witness only, what do right and wrong matter?

M: What helps you to know yourself is right. What prevents you is wrong. To know one's real self is bliss, to forget -- is sorrow.

Q: What is the purpose of meditation?

M: Seeing the false as the false, is meditation. This must go on all the time.

Q: Please tell me which road to self realization is the shortest

M: No way is short or long, but some people are mroe in earnest and some are in less. I can tell you about myself, I was a simple man but I trusted my Guru. What he told me to do I did. He told me to conetntrate on "I Am" -- I did. He told me that I am beyond all perceivables and conceivables -- I believed. I gave him my heart and soul, my entire attention and the whole of my spare time (I had to work to keep my family alive). As a result of faith and earnest application, I realized myself within three years.

You may choose any way that suits you; your earnestness will determine the rate of progress.


There you have it! Pointers that go a little further peraphs than, say,  Eckart Tolle, in a simple way.  I have began wondering: Who am I? at all times. I confess, it makes me mad sometimes.

Now, who is it that is mad? [Here is the link to the book]


  1. Great dialog. Really enjoyed that. thanks.

    1. Thanks Carol, and hope the book project is going great!

  2. That's great you discovered Nisargadatta, his words cut through delusion with kind of a ferocious grace. I was forever changed after reading I Am That.

    FYI Nisargadatta was not a student of Ramana Maharishi, they were contemporaries of different lineages. Nisargadattas guru was Siddhareweshar Maharaj. One of my favorite answers Nisargadatta gives in the book is to the hypothetical question of what would happen if he were to meet Ramana Maharishi. Subtle but priceless...

  3. Sorry, Siddharameshwar Maharaj was the name of his Guru, kind of butchered his name in my original reply.

    1. Tom, you are quite right, a contemporary indeed, thanks for pointing that out.

      I am quite lucky to have come accross him, yes, feel that way, will look for that dialogue.

  4. M: What a question! What kind of profit do you expect? To know what you are, is it not good enough?

    Ha, love it. Thanks for this, cover looks familiar, sure I picked it up once, will have to get it.

    1. Thought you might....I keep reading it and getting angry!, I want all the explanations, but wait... who is it that wants all the explanations?... hee hee, grrrrr, hee hee

  5. walking around san fran while it's pouring outside. conditions seem dismal, but from the "i am" angle, there seems like there might be some harmony and grace.


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