THE INTERVIEW WITH SHRI RAMAKANT MAHARAJ
Q: I have heard that this area of Nashik is going to get busy with seekers in the future. I believe Nisargadatta Maharaj said this? Maharaj: Nisargadatta Maharaj used to visit his disciples in Nashik, during the 1970's. One day, on 25th January, - I think it was - he made an announcement to a disciple named Babusav Jagtap: “Treat this day as a Festival Day. In the future, some great and wonderful things are going to happen in this corner. Build an ashram here! One day, it will become a very busy ashram, with visitors from across the globe”. The current ashram was built in 2002. Every year on this day, we have a Programme, in keeping with Nisargadatta Maharaj's wishes.
Maharaj told you to get an education, so he helped you get into the
prestigious Elphinstone College in Mumbai, is that so? Maharaj: One time, as usual, I had been to Maharaj's Ashram in Mumbai. Maharaj questioned me: "What are you doing now? Why have you not joined College? Do you think that touching the Master's feet, putting garlands on him, and clapping is spirituality? Do something in life!" He gave the example of Shri Aurobindo Ghosh and stated figuratively: "How can a beggar give a donation? You must do something with your life".
That day Mr P.T. Phadol (Nashik resident), was present. He was a disciple of Maharaj. Maharaj instructed him: "Give this boy admission to your College". Elphinstone College was one of the best colleges where admissions were only open to students who secured above 80% marks. In my case, I had left secondary school as a borderline pass pupil.
With Mr Phadol's help I entered College in 1965. The first year I found very difficult because I was a 'village background student'. By the second year, I had overcome all the difficulties like understanding the Professor's lectures, the city atmosphere, etc. I graduated with a B.A, (majoring in Economics), in 1969. I continued with my further education and graduated with an M.A. from Bombay University in 1971, (History & Politics). Then I joined Siddhartha Law College, (LLB in 1975).
All these qualifications and degrees were only because of my Master and Sadguru, Nisargadatta Maharaj.
Q: Thank you Maharaj! Yours is a very interesting story, extraordinary really. You started with nothing and then, because of your Master, Nisargadatta Maharaj, your hard work and determination, you flowered, not only educationally but in your career as well. And now you are a Master - Wonderful!
Then you married Anvita, who is also a long-term disciple of Nisargadatta Maharaj. And you have two sons?
Maharaj: Both sons are highly qualified: the eldest one does research in the area of brain cancer, and he lives in U.S.A. The other is a Director of a large company, and lives in Bombay. They are both interested in spirituality and sincere devotees.
Q: During your time with Nisargadatta Maharaj, do you remember any Westerners who visited?
Maharaj: I saw Maurice Frydman many times. He used to come to Maharaj's place regularly. He had deep spiritual knowledge and found Maharaj's teachings exceptional. As you know, he started recording them. He made a lot of effort through which I Am That was published.
Q: You said recently that you did not think many people understood, and still do not understand, Nisargadatta's teachings. Why is that?
Maharaj: There are very very few devotees who are interested in knowing Ultimate Truth without any expectations. Most of the devotees are only interested in looking for some gain, expectation, or solving some personal or family problem, etc, etc.
Q: Your teachings seem to be clearer, minimalistic, and succinct compared to Nisargadatta Maharaj. Can you describe your teaching method and expression, please?
Maharaj: Please do not ask such questions! There is no comparison with my Sadguru. This type of question humiliates the faith in Sadguru. Nisargadatta Maharaj was very very strict. He used to tell devotees, particularly the Westerners, that there was to be no comparisons with any of the Masters. EVERY MASTER IS GREAT! We are here to know ourselves in a real sense, not to make comparative study, discrimination, analysis of various spiritual Masters. This is a very bad approach, and is the biggest hurdle on the path of spirituality. Please avoid such things!
Instead of the personal life of the Master, and what he teaches, focus on you. Where do you stand? What progress have you made in your spiritual life? That is most important. Avoid body-based questions, logical questions, intellectual questions, egoistic questions, and so on. Once Siddharameshwar Maharaj told his disciples to, "Follow what I am teaching, not what I am doing".
Most importantly, one has to know oneself in a real sense. That is, I was not the body, I am not the body, and the body is not my identity. In brief, body knowledge is supposed to be dissolved totally because your Spontaneous, Invisible, Anonymous, Unidentified Identity is everywhere. Your Presence is everywhere, just like sky/space.
Whatever I advise and guide you to do for your spiritual progress, follow that. At the same time, you have to control your mind, ego, intellect. You are prior to these illusory concepts.
The entire world is a reflection/projection of your spontaneous, invisible, anonymous, unidentified presence which cannot be defined in words. See the greatness within you! Without your presence you can't see the world. The moment presence disappears everything disappears. No experience, no experiencer, no witness, no witnesser.
Q: I don't know if you are aware Maharaj, but in the West, probably here, too, there are many many teachers who are charging for Satsangs. It is really refreshing to know that here there is no charge.
Maharaj: In our Lineage, Bhausaheb Maharaj strictly instructed all his disciples not to expect or demand money from any devotee. Knowledge is free! There should be no marketing, no commercialization of knowledge.
Q: What made you decide to give the Naam Mantra, Maharaj?
Maharaj: To make seekers enlightened. To share knowledge with them. To remove them from the illusory world.
To Be Continued ...
12th January, 2014, Nashik, Maharashtra
Sadguru Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj with his disciple, Ramakant Maharaj.
"It is only by the grace of my Master that I am able to share this knowledge with you, the same knowledge he shared with me."
compiled and edited by Ann Shaw
Part One: Self-Enquiry. Part Two: Self-Knowledge. Part Three: Self-Realization.
177 Chapters. 555 pages.
Undiluted Teachings of a Realized Master
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This is the Greatest Story ever told, Your Story.
The One and only True Story:
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