"Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was born in Bombay in 1897. His parents, who gave him the name Maruti, had a small farm at the village of Kandalgaon and it was here that he spent his early years. In 1924 he married, later becoming a cigarette trader in Bombay where he and his wife raised a family. From early childhood he had taken a keen interest in spiritual matters, his talks with holy men sharpening his inquisitive mind and kindling a spiritual fire.
"At the age of 34 he met his Guru and three years later realized himself, taking the name of Nisargadatta. He continued to live the life of an ordinary Indian working-man but his teaching, which he set out in his master-work "I Am That" and which are rooted in the ancient Upanishadic tradition, made a significant philosophical break from contemporary thought. Devotees travelled from all over the world to hear Nisargadatta's unique message until his death in 1981."
from "The Nectar of the Lord's Feet," edited by Robert Powell