The teachings of Nisargadatta Maharaj on the nature of truth, desire, and the self are simple and direct. Maharaj argues that truth is not difficult to attain because it is open to all. In contrast, untruth creates trouble because it is false, always in search of confirmation and reassurance, and afraid of inquiry. Truth is loving and lovable, includes all, accepts all, and purifies all. Therefore, it is important to put no faith in the conscious because nothing that one can see, feel, or think is true.

Maharaj believes that all desires are bad because they always cause trouble. Pursuing any desire, including the desire to be free of desire, is pointless. Instead, he suggests that people should strive to see themselves with desireless clarity. He asserts that time cannot help one to know oneself because time is fleeting. Maharaj advises people to look deep within themselves to find the permanent. One can find the permanent by finding the subject of all that one is as a person.

According to Maharaj, the only question one should ask is, “Who am I?” The fact that one exists is certain, but what one is, in reality, is not. Striving to find out what one is, in reality, is one’s real nature. Even if Maharaj tells someone that they are the witness, the silent watcher, it will mean nothing to them unless they find their way to their own being.

Maharaj argues that there is nothing wrong with striving because striving is one’s real nature. Striving becomes painful when people seek results. He advises people to strive without seeking and struggle without greed. When people give their heart and mind to the “I am” without effort, this is the highest state. In this state, love itself is the lover and the beloved.

When asked why God made them as they are, Maharaj responds that the seeking itself is God. By seeking, people discover that they are neither the body nor the mind, and the love of the self in them is for the self in all. The consciousness in people and the consciousness in Maharaj are apparently two, but they are really one. They seek unity, and that is love. Maharaj suggests that people should give their heart and mind to the “I am” if they want to find love.

Maharaj argues that all desire has its source in the self. The challenge is to choose the right desire. People should discard all traditional standards and leave them to the hypocrites. Only what liberates people from desire and fear and wrong ideas is good. As long as people worry about sin and virtue, they will have no peace.

Sin and virtue refer to a person only. Without a sinful or virtuous person, what is sin or virtue? At the level of the absolute, there are no persons. The ocean of pure awareness is neither virtuous nor sinful. Sin and virtue are invariably relative. One cannot do away with such unnecessary notions as long as one thinks themselves to be a person.

People can know that they are beyond sin and virtue by being free from all desire and fear, from the very idea of being a person. To nourish the ideas “I am a sinner” or “I am not a sinner” is a sin. To identify oneself with a particular is all the sin there is. The impersonal is real, and the personal appears and disappears. “I am” is the impersonal Being, and “I am this” is the person. The person is relative, and the pure Being is fundamental.