On Nisargadatta Maharaj: What is the ‘I am’ mantra?

Acharya Prashant
2 min readSep 27, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner: Acharya Ji, When Nisargadatta Maharaj says Dwell in the ‘I-am-ness’, is he saying, ‘Just be in the silence?’

Acharya Prashant: He’s asking you to look at yourself a little deeper. We never say, “I am.” We say, “I am somebody, I am a male, I am X, I am Y, I am Z.” Nisargadatta Maharaj would say, “His Guru gave him just the ‘I am’ mantra. Just dwell in I am.”

What is this ‘I am’?

This ‘I am’ is the subject sans the object.

‘I am’ and nothing after that.

To begin with, this subject is nothing but ‘Ego’.

‘I am’ is nothing but ‘Ego’.

But when ‘I am’ does not get anything to associate itself with,

then it’s dualistic nature disappears.

Ego needs two – ‘I am’ and then something else ‘an object.’ When the object is kept aside, then the dualistic nature is gone. And then the ego almost climbs up a dimension and dissolves.

The ‘I am’ method is a way to check the tendency of the mind to create separations, to create dualistic separations.

So you look at something, and you find it attractive.