Interviews of meetings with Nisargadatta including one of Edji's teachers - Jean Dunn at 2:17
A good percentage of seekers who find this site, do so for more information about Nisargadatta. Maharaj had an extraordinary intellect and personal power. Most of us only know him from his transcribed and translated talks which dwell on his intellect. The little book he wrote found on this site reveals another man. What more is there?
This page will be dedicated to publishing personal meetings with Maharaj. There is nothing more telling about a person than how they relate to others. Even then, a lot that goes on in these interchanges is cultural, such as the bruskness of some Zen masters.
The first experience will be from my long time friend Swami Shankarananda.
Swami Shankarananda, my friend for nearly 30 years, sent me this email describing his meeting with Nisargadatta, which reveals a much different take on Maharaj than most of us ever hear.
I never met Maharaj and only knew of him through his transcribed talks and through Jean. For the life of me I could not imagine a realized being without flowing love and devotion. Shankarananda's email reveals a side of Nisargadatta that puzzled me because it appeared to be missing.
Somebody showed me Nisargadatta's little book. Then there was your name and intro to it! Congratulations for making it available.
You may or may not remember that I met him once. I didn't know he was a formidable jnani. I had only heard that there was a saint living in Bombay. Girija and I went in to take a two day break. I convinced her to meet him. We went to his door. A woman told us to wait upstairs in the little Satsang room.
N. came out. I realised later that it must have been his rest time. We spent a terrific hour with him, not able to understand anything the other was saying. He chain smoked bidis. I showed him a picture of Baba and he said, "Ah Muktananda!." He showed me a picture of his Guru. He had his grandkids bring up tea. He was full of love and full of energy and there was tremendous love flowing between us, particularly me and him. Girija was less engaged.
At the end he invited us to come back for Bhajans that night. I wanted to go, but Girija felt that we had been disloyal enough, so we didn't. My take on him was that he was a real Maharashtran bhakti saint. It wasn't until a year or two later that "I Am That" came out. I was, of course, stunned by the power of intellect and wisdom that was there. For me, that confirmed his stature, since I already had seen the quality of his Being. But you'd be mistaken if you minimised his devotional side. I think he really was a bhakta, but one with a strong intellect. He always credits everything to the Guru. And don't forget that he held chanting sessions every night, and himself did the pujas and waved the lights to the saints and deities. Sometimes disciples give a one-sided picture because they are only interested in one side of a Great Being's manifestation. I think that has happened with Nisargadatta.
By the way, I think you have to give some of the credit for "I Am That" to Maurice Frydmann. Maurice was a Polish Jew., living in Bombay. He had worked with Gandhi, Ramana, Krishnamurti, and then discovered N. His translations make "I Am That" head and shoulders above any of the other Nisargadatta books. In fact, none of the others is even close. The boys in the Ashram dorm frequently stayed with Maurice when they went into Bombay for R & R. I never met him but I heard lots of stories.
I'm not saying he wrote "I Am That" but that he heard and reproduced the human side of Maharaj. Without that humanity, you have 50,000 neo-Advaitins parroting a few wooden ideas over and over again until your mind is stupefied.