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Phiroz Mehta and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

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By Tom Dolan

As a student of world traditions and the wonderful teachings of Phiroz Mehta, the idea of time has always been close to my thoughts. Recently I have returned to the study of another great teacher, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, an Indian seer who became well-known through the efforts of a few of his followers beginning in the 1980s.

He gave talks and held discussions in his loft in Bombay for many years before his death in 1981. He always said that his talks concerned consciousness and only that. As Phiroz Mehta did, he used key phrases and words to shock the listener into what he called “direct apperception” of the Truth. Conceptual thought has no place in this apperception he said, save to lead the listener to the cliff, and then, with a final heave ho!

Time he said, is simply a result of our birth. We are time. Our birth is the vehicle in which the whole conceptual universe, including our experience of passing-time, is born. Past, present and future make their appearance in us, the psycho-physical organism. But he would go on to ask, “Is that who or what you are, this psycho-physical organism?” For him, who we are, or better said, what we are, is simply this, the shining ever-present consciousness. The One without a second. Total subjectivity without the least trace of objectivity. To think of it, is to objectify it, and in this way, put horns on a hare!

His teaching reflects many, if not all of the pointers of Phiroz Mehta. The Transcendental Vision or the One Total Reality, as Phiroz spoke about so many times, is the very same pointer that Nisargadatta continuedly hammered home.

So what can be done by us, the psycho-physical organisms that struggle with this conundrum we find in all these great teachings and writings? I don’t know. And for Nisargadatta, that is exactly the answer! For in this, “I don’t know”, we find attention and the quiet Mind. For it is wisdom that is searching for wisdom, and we are that

As for me… I continue to search!

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