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Ramesh S. Balsekar (born May 25, 1917 - died September 27, 2009) was a disciple of the late Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, a renowned Advaita master. From early childhood, Balsekar was drawn to Advaita, a nondual teaching, particularly the teachings of Ramana Maharshi and Wei Wu Wei. He wrote more than 20 books, was president of the Bank of India, and received guests daily in his home in Mumbai until shortly before his death.



During his early life, Ramesh always felt he was enacting some role in a play that must, and would, end soon. Deep within, he believed that there had to be more to life than merely getting ahead of the other man.

The answer came soon after his retirement when he had an encounter, which soon led to daily meetings, with the well-known sage, and his Guru, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. For Ramesh the total understanding that 'no one does anything' happened in 1979. Ramesh began translating most of the daily talks held by Nisargadatta Maharaj. He himself began teaching in 1982. The 'command' to talk was given by his Guru, he says. He began his talks or 'conversations' with smaller groups and gradually, the number of visitors who came to listen to Ramesh began to grow. Since then, he has written many books and held several seminars in Europe and the USA. He continued to give discourse and answer questions in his Mumbai home until shortly before his death.

He was admitted to hospital in early August 2009 with a fractured pelvis and had corrective surgery on 12th August. Whilst in recovery, he contracted pneumonia and spent two weeks in intensive care. His pneumonia was pronounced cured and he was discharged from hospital on 17th September, spending his last days at home.


Balsekar taught from the tradition of Advaita Vedanta nondualism. His teaching begins with the idea of an ultimate Source, Brahman, from which creation arises. Once creation has arisen, the world and life operate mechanistically according to both Divine and natural laws. While people believe that they are actually doing things and making choices, free will is in fact an illusion. All that happens is caused by this one source, and the actual identity of this source is pure Consciousness, which is incapable of choosing or doing.

This false identity which revolves around the idea that "I am the body" or "I am the doer" keeps one from seeing that one's actual identity is free Consciousness. Like other Vedanta teachers, he says that while creation and creator appear to be different and separate, that they are actually two sides of the same coin.

Balsekar taught that life is a happening but there is no individual doer of life.


"The final truth, as Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj and all the sages before them have clearly stated, is that there is neither creation nor destruction, neither birth nor death, neither destiny nor free will, neither any path nor any achievement. All there is is Consciousness."
"What is the significance of the statement 'No one can get enlightenment'? This is the very root of the teaching. It means that it's stupid for any so-called master to ask anyone to do anything to achieve or get enlightenment. The core of this simple statement means, according to my concept, that enlightenment is the annihilation of the "one" who "wants" enlightenment. If there is enlightenment - which can only happen because it is the will of God - then it means the "one" who had earlier wanted enlightenment has been annihilated. So no "one" can achieve enlightenment and therefore no "one" can enjoy enlightenment."
"The joke is even the surrendering is not in your control. Why? Because so long as there is an individual who says "I surrender" there is a surrenderer, an individual ego... What I'm saying is that even the surrendering is not in [your] hands."
("Who cares?", pp. 6 - 22)
"Where is the "me"? The "me" is always associated with the body and the body as seen through the microscope is nothing but a play of cells being created and destroyed."
"Truth or Reality is itself a concept. When you are in the truth or in deep sleep, which is only a pale reflection of the real, in that state of deep sleep is the Truth. And in that Truth there is no experience. In the waking state, the state of deep sleep is a concept. In deep sleep it is the Truth. But the moment you think of Reality, the moment you think Subject, the moment you think of the Absolute, the moment you think of the Truth, it is a concept. It is only when the thinking totally stops that Truth exists."
"When we talk of time and space, we say infinite space and eternal time. It is still a mental concept of total space and total time. But the mind cannot conceive of that state prior to the arising of the space-time. The moment you think of Reality, the reality is a concept. You are the Reality of which the split-mind makes a concept. You are the Reality, but not as the "me"
"It's very simple. Don't think about what you have heard here. Just don't think about what you think you've understood. And then that understanding will have a chance to flower. But the more you think about what you have understood, the more it's wasted."
"All there is, is Consciousness. And the mind is merely a reflection of that Consciousness."


  • The Ultimate Understanding (2002), ISBN 1-84293-045-1
  • Who Cares?! The Unique Teaching of Ramesh S. Balsekar (1999), ISBN 0-929448-18-9
  • Consciousness Speaks: Conversations with Ramesh S. Balsekar (1993), ISBN 0-929448-14-6
  • Duet of One: The Ashtavakra Gita Dialogue (1989), ISBN 0-929448-11-1

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External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Ramesh Balsekar (born May 29, 1917) is a disciple of the late Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, a renowned Advaita master. From early childhood, Balsekar was drawn to Advaita, a nondual teaching, particularly the teachings of Ramana Maharshi and Wei Wu Wei. He has written more than 20 books, was president of the Bank of India, and receives guests daily in his home in Mumbai.


"All there is, is Consciousness. And the mind is merely a reflection of that Consciousness. Mind is a collection of thoughts which arise and are not disposed of, they are collected. Mind is merely a collection of thoughts, or a collection of impressions which makes up this "me," this self image. That image is made up of various thoughts and impressions not all the thoughts and impressions, but only selected thoughts and impressions. Therefore, the "me" as a self-image is an inaccurate image."
"Brain is inert matter. Brain cannot create any thoughts. Brain can only react to the thoughts which come from outside and then get involved." (Page 75, Consciousness Speaks - Conversations with Ramesh S. Balsekar)
"Birth and death are nothing but integration and disintegration, the appearance and subsequent disappearance of the phenomenal objects in manifestation. True understanding, apperception, includes the understanding that there is no separation between understanding and action." (Page 49)
"Universal Consciousness in movement knows itself. But it doesn't have to know each individual for the simple reason that it sees the whole plot as one whole plot." (page 38)
"What is manifestation? It is just a sudden spontaneous concurrent appearance in Consciousness, within Consciousness, brought about by Consciousness. In that manifestation, the human being is just one object. Basically, as far as the manifestation is concerned, there is no difference between the human being and the inanimate object. So where does the question of individuality arise at all? That arises because in the inanimate object, consciousness is not there in the form of sentience. The human being is endowed with sentience, like any animal. Sentience enables the senses to work. The human being is essentially an inanimate object plus sentience, precisely like any other animal or insect which has the feeling of being present, the sense of presence."
"In addition to that sentience, which the insect or animal has, the human being is endowed with intellect. Intellect is what is cognized, which the animal need not do. So it is this power of the intellect to discriminate and interpret what is cognized that gives the individual being a sense of individuality and makes him consider himself something special in this manifestation. What is more, he goes to the extent of believing that the entire manifestation has been created for his benefit! So, all the time he is thinking, "In what way can I benefit by exploiting nature?" And the extent to which the human being has 'benefited' himself, we can all see." (Page 16)


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