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Ramesh S. Balsekar (25 May 1917 – 27 September 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.
Ramesh Balsekar was a well-educated young man at the London School of Economics. He married in 1940, then, after working his way up the corporate ladder, for a decade he served as General Manager of the Bank of India in Bombay until his mandatory retirement at age 60 in 1977. For three years (1978-1981) Ramesh was one of several translators for Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897-1981).
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 12 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 17 September, spending his last days at home. He died 27 September 2009.[web 1]
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, Balsekar says that while creation and creator appear to be different and separate, that they are actually two sides of the same coin. He taught that life is a happening but there is no individual doer of life. Among his most notable students is Dorje Khandro, a former disciple of Chögyam Trungpa.
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- "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 generally understood to be prayer is nothing more than one fictitious entity called 'me' begging for something from another fictitious entity called 'God'"
- "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."
- Confusion No More (2007), ISBN 978-1-905857-25-8
- 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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