I am the world and the world is myself

Question: You seem to advise me to be self-centered to the point of egoism. Must I not yield even to my interest in other people?

Maharaj: Your interest in others is egoistic, self-concerned, self-oriented. You are not interested in others as persons, but only as far as they enrich, or enoble your own image of yourself.

And the ultimate in selfishness is to care only for the protection, preservation and multiplication of one’s own body. By body I mean all that is related to your name and shape— your family,
tribe, country, race, etc. To be attached to one’s name and
shape is selfishness.

A man who knows that he is neither body
nor mind cannot be selfish, for he has nothing to be selfish for.

Or, you may say, he is equally ‘selfish’ on behalf of everybody
he meets; everybody’s welfare is his own. The feeling ‘I am the
world, the world is myself’ becomes quite natural;
once it is established, there is just no way of being selfish.

To be selfish
means to covet, to acquire, accumulate on behalf of the part
against the whole.

I Am That

Nisargadatta Maharaj

The eternal state of ‘I-do-not-know’ and ‘I-do-not-know’ that ‘I-do-not-know…

People think that I am a Jnani. They come to me from all over the world — from Canada to Australia and New Zealand, from England to Japan. Most of them have read I Am That and come all the way to Bombay only to meet me. With great difficulty they are able to locate this little old house of mine in a dirty, narrow street. They climb up the stairs and find a small dark man in the simplest of clothing, sitting in a corner. They think: This man doesn’t look like a Jnani; he does not dress impressively, as someone known as Nisargadatta Maharaj could be expected to do. Could he really be the one? What can I say to these people? I tell them quite frankly that my education is up to the level which can barely put me in the category of the literate; I have not read any of the great traditional scriptures and the only language I know is my native Marathi. The only enquiry I have pursued, but pursued it relentlessly — like a hunter pursues his quarry— is this: ‘I know I am and I have a body. How could this happen without my knowledge and consent? And what is this knowledge I am?’ This has been my life-long pursuit and I am fully satisfied with the answers I have reached. This is my only Jnana, yet people believe I am a Jnani.

My Guru told me: “You are Brahman, you are all and everything. There is nothing other than you.” I accepted my Guru’s word as truth, and now, for forty odd years I have been sitting in this very room doing nothing except talking about it. Why do people come to me from distant lands? What a miracle! This is the extent of my ‘knowledge’, basically.

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