Rays of the Absolute

Neti Neti Films has recently released a labour of love. Rays of the Absolute is a documentary with archival footage of Nisargadatta and more recent meetings with some of his core students. Shot in 2007, it took 7.5 years going through “mounds of material” to put this together. It is only available on-line.

“Nisargadatta did not leave an ashram; he did not leave any teachings, nor successors. This movie is homage to him; a look at his unintended legacy from people that have been inspired by him more then words can express.”


Rays in Sanskrit are sutras, sutras that stitch together wholeness. A silver thread.

You can note he speaks to a process. In the film he says “Search for your true nature.” and “Search for Consciousness.” and that everything is in Consciousness. Then “Having understood the nature of consciousness you will also understand that you are not the consciousness.”

This is further explained later in the film: the first part – you identify with consciousness rather than the body-mind. Then know that you are witness of the consciousness, not the consciousness but the absolute. The absolute principle because of which everything is. I explore these same gradations here.

This may at first sound like Brahman beyond consciousness and indeed, he uses the term at one point. However, he is actually describing the stages of witness. The way I describe this here, it is cosmic consciousness that is witnessing the local consciousness. The witness is inherently observing and is thus another value of consciousness, beyond local consciousness. What he is describing as the absolute is Atman, the Cosmic Self. At this stage it does appear as absolute. He uses the word Brahman for the absolute, which is appropriate. But this is not the way I use Brahman here. That is deeper in, beyond Atman.

He also spoke of Love and Ishwara (personal deity) which are qualities of God Consciousness. But there has not apparently been the recognition of global consciousness as Atman. Consciousness aware of itself globally and at every point within itself. This is a quality of Unity. This is also illustrated by his point that “The “I” creates God.” I agree that the point (local consciousness) knows God and does so from it’s own perspective. And the way it knows God is I-created, personalized, with form. But to say that the Divine does not exist unless we are perceiving it makes it that form only, an object. The Divine is much more than a form. More even than that absolute witness.

His minimalism may be valuable for some people to cut through the noise of the mind. But this is not the complete picture, not the whole journey possible.

This is not to say his realization was not profound and long-established. My point is only to illustrate the context in which a teacher is speaking. And to emphasize that someone with this experience should not be stuck with some idea of being done or having the whole truth.

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