We are very fortunate to have Shri Ramakant Maharaj, a rare Self-Realized Master, in our midst. This English speaking Master is a direct disciple of Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj. The book, I Am That, (1973, Ed. Maurice Frydman), containing the teachings of Nisargadatta Maharaj, greatly helped to bring the ancient Advaitin Teachings of Nonduality, to the attention of the rest of the world. It is now widely considered to be one of the greatest spiritual classics of the 20th century.
This book Selfless Self follows in the footsteps of I Am That. These are the undiluted words of the Master, delivered verbatim, in English, without the need of a translator or interpreter. What a boon! This reduces the likelihood of possible misinterpretation, of these most precious and rare teachings. The talks have been recorded and transcribed, as far as possible, in Maharaj’s original words. The objective of the book is to convey the meanings in a clear and simple fashion. These teachings are ground-breaking, radical and absolute: “In our Lineage, we give ‘Direct Knowledge’ to your ‘Invisible Presence’, and not to the body-form. The body- form is not your Identity”, says the Master.
This is not just another book on the subject of awakening or realization to feed the intellect. The knowledge in this book is not intellectual knowledge, but ‘Spontaneous Knowledge’, Direct Knowledge, which goes beyond the vocabulary of Brahman, maya etc. “Our Lineage Masters played down the polished words in their teachings to facilitate Direct Knowledge”, he reveals. Ramakant Maharaj goes a step further, eschewing these ‘sweet’ words as far as possible, and focussing on ‘Reality’ which has no language whatsoever, ie the state ‘prior to language’.
Selfless Self is not filled with concepts, offering the spiritual seeker more pointers. It is beyond pointers, beyond knowledge, “beyond words and worlds”. The book vibrates with the Master’s Presence. He is very much there, guiding the reader back to himself. He is as near, and as present, as if you were sitting beside him.
“It is my duty to share this Knowledge, the same Knowledge that my Master shared with me”. With this intention, he authorized the editor to carry out the task of presenting the teachings, in simple down-to-earth language. It is ‘user-friendly’ for both beginners, and the more advanced, as well as for complete ‘newbies’ to Advaita, Oneness, Nonduality. The book title, Selfless Self, was chosen by the Master, as well as the current format of the book, to encourage and allow easy reflection, contemplation, and absorption of ‘Reality’.
The ‘Invisible Speaker’ in the Master, and the ‘Invisible Listener’ in you, are one and the same. He addresses the Invisible Listener in you. The Invisible Listener’s recorder is always switched on, fully present and receptive. When he speaks, it is from the ‘Bottomless bottom of Reality’, ‘Thoughtless Reality’.
“This book narrates Your story, the ‘Story of Selfless Self”, says the Master. “It is a book that conveys your Reality simply and directly, boosted by the strength, power and energy of my Master, Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj. We are dealing with an energy that comes from ‘Oneness’. This means that the Reader, the Listener, and the Writer are One. There is no difference, no separation. It is all One. And that is why the book lives. You become One with that energy. That matter, that energy, is incorporated within this book”.
He explains further: “It is as if someone wrote your story, your biography, and then you exclaim: ‘Ah! It’s my biography!’ When you are reading this book, you ‘Know’ that it is speaking about you: ‘Ah! This is my Knowledge!’ This rare state of Knowledge, understanding and Oneness is built into the very fabric of the book. In fact, it is the fabric of this book which makes it unique. As you read it, you are one with the material. There is recognition”.
Shri Ramakant Maharaj’s words are not up for debate. He is a ‘Knower’, a Jnani, whose words have the potential to reawaken your Inner Master. To make this happen, a method of hammering and repetition is used to penetrate the layers of illusion, along with Self-enquiry and Meditation.
The body is a material body and all knowledge is material knowledge. No knowledge is Knowledge.
“You are unborn. You are not the body, you were not the body, you will not remain the body”, states the Master. When this Reality, of what you are not, is fully accepted, this is called ‘Spontaneous Conviction’.
“Everything is within you. You are the Source”. What follows is your story, the story of Selfless Self.
Somehow, until now, this all-important Source book, ‘You’, had been missed, bypassed, or not even noticed at all. In a world populated by ‘Selfies’ and such like, it is perhaps no surprise that ‘Your Story’, the story of Selfless Self has been completely overlooked!
How did this happen? The Master quotes Nisargadatta Maharaj: “You forgot your Selfless Self. Except for your Selfless Self, there is no God, no Brahman, no Atman, no Paramatman, no Master”. All the right ‘spiritual’ books were read, with their stories about Reality, Masters, God, Brahman, but, asks the Master: “You have read the books, but have you read the reader?”
You gained knowledge, but it was dry knowledge from all these body-knowledge concepts, not True Knowledge, not Self-Knowledge, not Your Knowledge. ‘Prior to Beingness’, You were formless. There was no knowledge, no books. Nisargadatta Maharaj says, “Stay as you were, Prior to Beingness, and you will have no problem!”
“All these books, all this reading, who is it for?” challenges the Master. “And what is your conclusion?” The conclusion is, that while reading all these spiritual books, you forgot to read your own book! You forgot your Source Book, that fundamental Manual, that essential Foundation Text Book, which is You without form, Formless You!
This book, the Final Edition, Selfless Self, slipped your attention. It was not to be found in any library or bookshop. You had forgotten about Selfless Self. You forgot to add your own, and all-important, one-off autobiography to your list of ‘must-read’ books. Better late than never! It has, at last been found with the grace of the Master.
This book was written by Selfless Self, for Selfless Self. The speaker, Ramakant Maharaj, and the Invisible Reader, are One and the same. This is Your story, the Only True Story. The Master opens the book of Selfless Self and begins to narrate Your story without beginning, without end.
These pages remind you of your forgotten Identity, your Ultimate Reality. Selfless Self is your very own portable Master, Guru, your ‘Spiritography’, which will guide You Home, slowly, silently, permanently.
Shri Ramakant Maharaj is like a physician. A new person presents himself. This seeker’s case is no different to any that have come before him in search of a cure. The diagnosis is one of ‘Mistaken Identity’. The patient’s condition is a universal one. He is suffering from ‘Chronic Illusion’. He does not know that he is unborn.
As the embodiment of Ultimate Truth, the Master, is also a debunker who knows what must be done.
Wasting no time, he gets to work. With the skill and precision of a top surgeon, the Master commences the operation. Every day, he operates on these ‘patients’. A few of them are minor ops, but what is required for most, is intensive treatment, a major overhaul. He makes a couple of incisions, cutting into the ‘body’ placed before him, then, without further hesitation, he penetrates the numerous layers of body-knowledge, until reaching the heart of the matter, the source of the disease.
Deep-rooted values and attachments are thrown out, whether they be intellectual, egoistic, personal, social, familial, ethical, experiential, spiritual, etc. Theoretical knowledge, and knowledge from books, including the different philosophies and religions of the world, etc, are all chucked into the dumpster, and made ready for the dissolution process.
Orthodox rituals and expressed codes of conduct, along with widely-held conformist/non-conformist, alternative, and unconventional belief systems are blown sky high. Spirituality in all its myriad forms is brought under the spotlight.
The Master’s Knowledge is Living Knowledge, Spontaneous Knowledge, pragmatic Knowledge. He challenges the validity of all the ideas, preconceptions, and everything that has been learned from childhood till today.
In its totality, all that is ‘known’, is ‘body-knowledge’, and ‘body-related knowledge’. ‘Prior to beingness’, there was no ‘body’ and no ‘body-knowledge’, therefore everything to date, all the knowledge that has been amassed, is second-hand knowledge sourced from outside, useless illusion.
“Your foundations were built on illusion, not Reality”. This is the diagnosis given by the physician, to the latest patient. “Prior to beingness, you had no need of language, no need of knowledge and no need of spirituality.” The only treatment available for this condition, therefore, is the dissolution of all illusion, all body-knowledge including concepts, memories, experiences, etc. “Forget everything!”
“And what about spirituality?” enquires the newbie. He answers: “The purpose of spirituality is to know yourself in a real sense, to erase illusion, and dissolve all body-knowledge. At present, you know yourself only in the body-form. This is not your Identity. Your Spontaneous Presence is Silent, Invisible, Anonymous, Unidentified Identity.”
The physician knocks the bottom out of the falseness and hollowness of everything that apparently underpins the individual’s reality, and indeed underpins the very fabric of society. All that is perceivable and conceivable, those things that are usually accepted and considered as the accepted norms, are brought under scrutiny and dissected. He thus explodes the myth of body-identity, sense of self, and perception of the world. In fact, he systematically challenges and quashes the constructs of reality and self-image to their very core.
One by one, he shoots down the illusory concepts that have become indicative of ‘reality’ so-called. He bursts these hot air balloons, the raisons d’etre that carry people adrift throughout this long dream of life. He cuts through the many layers of illusion with masterly accuracy, and finally reveals the patient’s ‘Reality’, ‘Ultimate Truth’, ‘Ultimate Reality’.
The Master shakes the so-called individual’s fragile foundations, his self-perception and self- identifications, and demolishes his once comfortable house. In time, the foundations that were built on illusion begin to crumble, preparing the way for Reality to be established on firm and very solid foundations.
What is the physician’s assessment and advice? “This body is a material body”, he states. “Everything this material body knows is material knowledge and therefore illusion”. He advises the patient, “Erase everything from childhood till today. Be like a blank screen and then you will find real Knowledge from within”. Real Knowledge is Self-Knowledge. It is what remains, “after waking up from the dream”.
“Firstly, you must co-operate. Discover for yourself that you are ‘Ultimate Reality’. Secondly, this Knowledge must be pragmatic. To eradicate your disease from your system, I am prescribing a highly potent spiritual tablet, namely, the Naam Mantra. Take and use it in your daily life”.
If these instructions are followed and accepted seriously, then the outcome of the treatment will be very favourable indeed. Excellent, in fact!
What is the prognosis? The physician presents a very rosy picture. The patient will be cured. He determines that there will be an abundance of happiness, without any material cause, and a peaceful end for the body, without any feeling of attachment, loss or fear.
When it’s time for the dream to end, knowledge will be engraved: There was never a beginning, and there is no end because you are unborn. Next patient, please!
As more people are inexorably drawn to these eternal teachings, the surgery is going to busy-up.
During the 1970’s, Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj visited a disciple, Babusav Jagtap, at his home in Nashik. There, he made an auspicious announcement:
“Treat this day, 25th January, as a Festival Day. In the future, some great and wonderful things are going to happen in this corner of Nashik. Build an ashram here! One day, it will become a very busy ashram with visitors from across the globe”.
The present ashram in Nashik Road was built in 2002. An annual Programme is held on 25th January, following the wishes of Nisargadatta Maharaj. The area is now called ‘Jagtap Mala’, in honour of this disciple, and his Master.
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