Lila, a Dharma teacher from Jerusalem, who paid regular visits to Mumbai to listen to the teachings of Ramesh Balsekar, the wonderful Advaita teacher, has emailed me to let me know that Ramesh passed away peacefully a few days ago on Sunday morning of September 27. He was 92 years old.
In the true spirit of service, Ramesh-ji gave satsang daily in his home every morning, year in and year out, in a gracious, kindly and insightful way. He welcomed one and all sharing profound Advaita (non-dual) teachings offered without charge. “No one is invited, and everyone is welcome,” he would tell seekers.
A former student at the London School of Economics, bank president and family man, Ramesh came into contact with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (“I am That”) in Mumbai in 1977 when he retired. Within a few months, Sri Nisargadatta invited Ramesh to be his translator for the growing number of Westerners. In 1982, his guru encouraged Ramesh to lead satsang having recognised the authenticity of his realisations.
Ramesh was fond of saying: “”What is the Ultimate Understanding?” He would answer his question by saying, “That there is no one to understand anything.”
As with many other spiritual teachers, he quietly attended to matters when certain stories about him did the rounds for a short period. He continued offering teachings from his home.
His spiritual wisdom, warmth and kindness endeared him to visitors. I encouraged many Dharma friends to go to listen to him. In his last book, Enlightened Living, he wrote:
“You cannot be enlightened because there is no one to be enlightened.
There is noone to love and no one to hate.
There is noone to be grateful and no one to forgive
There is nothing to be attained, nothing to be lost;
There is nothing to be practised, nothing to be cultivated,
There is nothing finished and nothing unfinished.
Pleasure is enjoyed. Pain is suffered. Let life flow.
Let enlightenment happen.”
Here is a teaching free from the constraints of the concepts of the doer, doing and the done and the personal story that we grasp onto as reality.
A couple of years ago, Ramesh kindly sent copy of the book over to me with a short message inside “For Christopher, Much affection and love. Ramesh S. Balsekar. 1/1X/07.” A very sweet gesture. I actually had the book in my hands here at home on the day he died.
India needs a new generation of Advaita teachers accessible on a daily basis.