So many books! So little time!
I had read so many books by and about Sri Bhagwan Rajneesh (Osho) when, one day while browsing books at Borders, I was somehow compelled to purchase a book by Dennis Waite called “The Book of One”. This book introduced me to Advaita, and from Appendix 2 of that book, I was led to various translations of the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, and Shankara, books about Sri Ramana Maharshi, Krishnamurti and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, books by Christopher Isherwood, David Godman, Jean Klein, Jean Dunn and many others. It was my reading of “I Am That“, the book of Sri Nisargadatta’s teachings, translated from Marathi tape recordings by Maurice Frydman, that turned my mind inside out. I consider Sri Nisargadatta Maharj my guru. God bless Maurice Frydman for making this possible, through his wonderful translation of this book.
Two years ago (2014), I became quite frustrated in my reading, because even though I would read, marvel and understand, as soon as I put a book down, I would forget everything and sink back into Maya. I began to write notes of my own understanding of what I read, writing into wire-bound lined notebooks every morning for an hour or so. This forced me to pay much more attention, rather than skimming or being pestered by other thoughts while reading. I became focused and involved. It has been the greatest gift of my life.  That is the origin of these “notes to myself”.
As an aside, “Nisargadatta” is made up of two words: “nisarga“, meaning “natural” and “datta” meaning “person or one”. Therefore, “Nisargadatta” means “A person living in the natural state”, or “Natural Man”, or, more humorously, “Mr. Natural”!! In the ’70s and ’80s, R.Crumb’s Mr. Natural was my absolute favorite cartoon character. How strange that in my later years, I stumbled across Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj’s “I Am That” and my real journey began. I cannot say “Thank You” enough.