Nisargadatta on the Qualities of a Realised Person - w.r.t. Sai Baba

By: Robert Priddy

Website: Sathya Sai Baba - Extensive information and Viewpoints

Around 1990, Sai Baba recommended three books to various interview groups. The foremost of these was "I Am That" by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. This book is a verbatim record of very incisive questionings by truth seekers and remarkable answers by the fully realised Nisargadatta. It is a tour de force in advaitism, being in no way a mere exercise in knowledge of doctrine, but vibrant and amazingly original explanations which directly answer the essence of each question put. In short, not as vague and generalised as the constantly repeated standard teachings of Sai Baba or the stock answers he delivers to questions put to him, if and when he happens actually to answer rather than avoid the issue or change the subject. It is therefore very interesting to note the following question and answer:

Questioner: What is realization? Who is a realised man? By what is gnani recognised?

Maharaj: There are no distinctive marks of gnana. Only ignorance can be recognised, not gnana. Nor does a gnani claim to be something special. All those who proclaim their own greatness and uniqueness are not gnanis. They are mistaking some unusual development for realisation. The gnani shows no tendency to proclaim himself to be a gnani. He considers himself to be perfectly normal, true to his real nature. Proclaiming oneself to be an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent deity is a clear sign of ignorance." ('I Am That', by Sri Nisargadatta. Ch. 43, p. 193)

This book was recommended by one who claims just these things. One wonders, did he actually read the book. No… Sai Baba is SO exceptional that he doesn't need to learn anything! I don't think.