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I've had the book 'I Am That' for a long time, have read it many times (enough, I don't read it anymore) and highly recommend it. But it should be recognized that although reading may spur an intuition of 'that which is beyond words', reading is not enough. I've seen too many reviews that seem to place emphasis on the book itself, or on Maharaj (who ALWAYS placed the emphasis back on the Self or Absolute, imploring the reader not to WORSHIP 'HIM'). One reader even stated an addiction to the book ("I've burned several copies"). Words are ultimately empty. If the recommendations in this book are put into practice, a condition of ripeness may come about, the "I" or "me" (ego) may drop. Nothing is guaranteed, but if an addiction to words exists, it can almost be guaranteed that attachment to thought will continue. A brief respite is not enough. Read with courage (once or twice), then put the book down and follow the recommendations -- or let some self-inquiry happen naturally. Depend on nobody and nothing but proceed courageously and alone, knowing 'You are That'! Attaching to the book or to Nisargadatta will not bring freedom any nearer. --By T.G. on February 6, 2001
I read it the first time in June of 2002. It quite simply is one of the best books on the Absolute (non-dual). In a very direct, no-nonsense style, Nisargadatta spells it out. The book is full of deep metaphors pointing us beyond the mind such as: "The personal needs a base, a body to identify oneself with, just as a colour needs a surface to appear on." "The mind exists in two states: as water and as honey. The water vibrates at the least disturbance, while the honey, however disturbed, returns quickly to immobility." What is not poetically stated as such is given very directly: "To know that you are neither the body nor mind, watch yourself steadily and live unaffected by your body and mind, completely aloof, as if you were dead. It means you have no vested interests, either in the body or in the mind." "Self-remembrance, awareness of 'I am' ripens him powerfully and speedily. Give up all ideas about yourself and simply be." The value of this book cannot be overstated I hold my copy very close and dear. From the perspective of sheer knowledge this book wastes no paper. The non-dual doesn't waste your time. --By Shawn Regan on July 31, 2002
I want to echo what another reader said :Read with courage. It is one of the Most Amazing book I've ever read. It is unique in its clarity, forthrightness, and transformative power. We are tremendously fortunate that such a being is speaking openly about his state. I've read literally thousands of pages on books related to consciousness expansion and eastern spirituality. But after reading Nisargadatta's Maharaj, something in me has totally shifted. I can never think about things in the same way. His practice of "I am-ness" is so simple and has deepened the more I practice it. Nisargadatta Maharaj was a totally unique being who speaks directly to the core of our being. It's amazing that he had barely any formal education (therefore he is not teaching what he has read in books, but from his experience), lived almost unknown, in a tenement in Bombay. As he says he was a simple man who sincerely followed what his guru (From an authentic and revered Indian spiritual lineage) taught him and regained his "natural state"(which is what we are all trying to do). He never established any large ashram or following, as he could have easily done if he was looking for ego gratification. He simply was himself and gave of himself naturally to those around him. --By Shachie Aranke on January 6, 2000
Ever since it was originally published in 1973 "I AM THAT" a modern spiritual classic has run into reprint (Paperback and Hardcover both put together) seventeen times.That is the kind of popularity the book is enjoying.
I Am That is a legacy from a unique teacher who helps the reader to a clearer understanding of himself as he comes to Maharaj,the spiritual teacher, again and again with the age-old questions,"where am I" "who am I" and "whither am I".The listeners were never turned away from the humble abode of Maharaj then and are not turned away now!
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