Foundational Nisargadatta Maharaj Quotes

This set of question and answer from Nisargadatta Maharaj seems to be coming up regularly in some of our discussions. While I would consider this to be towards the very peak of Jesse’s Mountain, this conveys an approach the Academy attempts to take: the goal is less to prescribe set courses of actions for The World (or one who is in it) to take, but rather, offer opportunity for a wiling individual to explore, and provide a degree of community in that process. I personally have my ideas about what things “should be taken and what things should be left behind” – what ‘we need’ to survive, grow, or endure; yet the core of the Academy has to be in the research, development and exploration phase, rather than attempting to assimilate or proselytize an agenda or path.


M: The daily life is a life of action. Whether you like it or not, you must function. Whatever you do for your own sake accumulates and becomes explosive; one day it goes off and plays havoc with you and your world. When you deceive yourself that you work for the good of all, it makes matters worse, for you should not be guided by your own ideas of what is good for others. A man who claims to know what is good for others, is dangerous.

Q: How is one to work then?

M: Neither for yourself nor for others, but for the work’s own sake. A thing worth doing is its own purpose and meaning, Make nothing a means to something else. Bind not. God does not create one thing to serve another. Each is made for its own sake. Because it is made for itself, it does not interfere. You are using things and people for purposes alien to them and you play havoc with the world and yourself.

Q: Will this stupidity ever come to an end?

M: In man — of course. Any moment. In humanity — as we know it — after very many years. In creation — never, for creation itself is rooted in ignorance; matter itself is ignorance. Not to know, and not to know that one does not know, is the cause of endless suffering.

Q: Is there no salvation for the world?

M: Which world do you want to save? The world of your own projection? Save it yourself. My world? Show me my world and I shall deal with it. I am not aware of any world separate from myself, which I am free to save or not to save. What business have you with saving the world, when all the world needs is to be saved from you? Get out of the picture and see whether there is anything left to save.


There is a balance between acknowledging the inherent process of creation, of the suffering from ignorance that is a part of life and growth, and investing in education or teaching, learning or sharing that knowledge, so as to avoid unnecessary suffering. I don’t suppose I know the exact answer to that balance, but I would imagine it is more of an art than a science; perhaps the balance is more a quantum state than one of those binary differentiation, yes?

I’m sure we’ll have more about this to come.

If you are unfamiliar with Nisargadatta Maharaj, I’d suggest reading the works of Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) as a stepping stone.

Also, as a side update for anyone curiously following the development of this site, some of the first podcasts and videos are in the works!

– Jesse


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