Saturday, March 29, 2008

"I Am That" by Nisargadatta - Awake by Katie Davis Blog

"I Am That" by Nisargadatta Book Review by Katie Davis, Author, Awake Joy

Essential Wisdom, Must Read, Extraordinary Sage

Nisargadatta informs the ego and the intellect of all that it is not and he couples this path of knowledge with a profound devotion that will stop your search for enlightenment to realize who you are here and now. You are what you are seeking and in seeking, you cannot be found. We rest in the joy of being, simply "I am." This instruction was offered to Nisargadatta by his teacher and with great love and respect for him, he followed his instruction and stopped all effort. In three years, he Self-realized.

"I am That" is divided into 101 chapters and is a compilation of direct dialogues that Nisargadatta had with his students. The translation of the book is natural and flows very nicely. It includes an occasional photograph of Nisargadatta that emulates the devotion that he was sensing at the moment.

"I am That" begins with an Introduction by Douwe Tiermersma on the Philosophical Faculty of Erasmus University in Holland. It is followed by a short Biography of Nisargadatta and a note from the translator about how the book was created as well as a short note from the editor.

The first appendix is Nisarga Yoga and shares the simple abode and life of Nisargadatta.

The second appendix is Navanath Sampradaya and offers a history and structure of sects in India.

The final appendix is a complete and quite helpful glossary of terms found in the book.

The dialogues begin with the sense of "I am" and brings attention to the here and now to live in the present moment. He masterfully moves us beyond the ego and its thinking to stand free of thought, so that we may witness them without identification. He immediately then points to the Awareness and Consciousness that is the perceiving.

Nisargadatta also frees us from identification with the body; we are not the person, but rather the Reality that is beyond. We see that the highest bliss is desirelessness and the answer is to turn our mind's attention inward by asking the question, "Who am I?"

He dynamically leads us to a profound detachment from form and to continue resting solely in "I am." The only time to realize freedom is Now and that Life can be the teacher, when we allow it to be as it is and notice that life is happening by itself.

He shifts us beyond the duality of a pleasure that cycles to pain to realize the Bliss of True Self. When we begin observing, we recognize all that we are not. We brush off the dust of the mind, its time and all of its false concepts and what remains is who we really are.

He points that insecurity is not in the life situation and that it is sourced within the dual mind. When we break free of thought and ever more subtle layers of the intellect, we discover the absolute security of the changeless.

Nisargadatta warns that when we follow the desires of the mind, they may be fulfilled, but discontentment will surely once again resurface and that by following desire, we are breeding more desire and that quest will prove to be endless. Beyond the mind, we are free of both fear and desire and therefore free of all suffering.

He consistently reminds his students that bondage is a delusion and the freedom of True Self already is within them. He urges to seek the very source of consciousness itself, the deepest root of collective suffering. If it is not eradicated, even after awakening, it will surface to be freed.

"I am" is the foundation of all experience and the doorway to discover ever present peace. Here, we shift beyond all space and time.

Sooner or later, you will be led to this spiritual classic in the maturity of your search for enlightenment. "I am That" will at last stop the search. I find this book an essential teaching, a must read, from an extraordinary sage.

I also recommend the other final teaching in the book and spiritual classic "Be as You Are" by Sri Ramana Maharshi that is edited by David Godman.

Free Spirit is a new book written by my husband and teaching partner, Sundance Burke, who awakened twenty-five years ago. ~ Katie Davis, Author, Awake Joy

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