there be peace among all beings of the universe. OM Shanti,
his Master, H.W.L. Poonja said:
does not make any difference whether he is alive or
whether he is no more now, because it is not the
form or the person that gives you satisfaction. For
those who want to seek the path that he laid, it is
always there. Keep quiet and find out who you are.
Find the Source of the universe. This will give you
Poonja was born on October 13, 1913 in the part of
Punjab that now belongs to Pakistan. At the age of
six he had his first direct experience of the Self.
His mother, who was a devotee of God as Krishna,
interpreted the blissful state her son was in, to
be one of direct contact with her chosen deity.
Thus, she encouraged him to also worship Krishna.
Poonja followed this path for most of his life
until 1944, when he met his Master, Sri Ramana
Poonjaji was never fully satisfied with his
mother's encouragement to worship Krishna, though
out of earnestness, he did so. He eventually
travelled all across India in search of a more
satisfying explanation of the experience he had as
a child. He was simply in search of God. Poonja was
by now a second lieutenant in the Army. He would
enter various ashrams wearing his army boots and
directly address himself to the principal teacher,
asking, "Have you seen God?" He never felt
satisfied with the answer he generally received,
which stated: "We have grown long grey beards in
search for God, and you think you can just walk in
here and see Him?"
When Poonja met Ramana Maharshi, and asked him,
"Have you seen God?" Maharshi replied, "Anything
that you see cannot be God. Whatever you see must
be an object of your senses. God is not an object
of your senses. God is the one through whom all
things are seen, tasted, touched, heard and smelt,
but He himself cannot be seen because He is the
seer, not an object of sight." This meeting with
Ramana Maharshi ultimately led him to the profound
state of awakening, Self-realisation.
Ramana Maharshi explained to Poonja that
worshipping of God as Krishna, through the
repetition of his name 50,000 times a day was a
path which brought you somewhere, like a train or
car, and once you arrived at your destination you
left it behind. The same applies to spiritual
practices, which dissolve once they have brought
the practitioner to his goal. Poonja listened with
all his heart to his Master's words. The silent
gaze of Maharshi's cleansing presence pervaded his
whole body and mind. It is then that he
'recognised' himself and understood that this was
the experience he had at the age of six. His
spiritual quest had ended.
the Maharshi told him, "I am with you wherever you
are," Poonjaji understood, "the deep significance
of his remark. The 'I' which was my Master's real
nature was also my own inner Reality. How could I
ever be away from that 'I'? It was my own Self, and
both my Master and I knew that nothing else
existed." Soon afterwards, Ramana sent Poonja back
to his family, which he looked after right until
his retirement, in 1966.
During a satsang in Lucknow many years later, he
"For me, nothing has ever existed; all is only an
expansion of a thought. Even "I am" is an extended
thought of that which brings that thought, and that
power will never be caught It is eternal.
When one puts his own will on the pure will, then
he limits it. What else, in fact, is expanded other
than the Divine, preordained by the Divine? All
what you see is imagination; just allow your
thoughts to rise and flow out of you."
After retirement, he led a more recluse and simple
life, sharing his experience and knowledge of the
Self with those who found their way to him. Poonja
would pour out his love on the seekers who met him,
and answer all of their questions with great
passion and earnestness. He would take them on
long, tireless walks into the surrounding hills of
Rishikesh and Haridwar, where he cooked rice and
dhal [legumes] with them along the banks of
the Ganges. Through simple actions and words he
constantly reminded them of their own Reality.
Speaking with a disciple named Kailas, Poonjaji
said: "Human evolution has got nothing to do with
Self-realisation. When you realise the Self you
will know that there has never been any evolution,
that there has never been any creation, that there
are no Gods, no demons, no animals, and not even
any people. All these things belong to the mind, to
the ego. They are all ignorance. You think "I am so
and so, he is so and so". This is just ignorance.
It is a cycle that has no ending. But once you have
true realisation, you know that you were never
born. Some desire from the past has appeared in a
physical form. It has manifested as this person
called Kailas. But in Reality, nothing has
happened. This is the ultimate Truth."
During the 1980s some of the Indian devotees gave
him the name 'Papaji'. Many saw him as their
spiritual father giving them boundless joy and
love. At the request of devotees, he travelled to
Europe, North America and South America until his
health did not allow him further mobility. Since
the early 1990s, he remained quite sedentary; first
in Haridwar and then in Lucknow in Northern India.
An informal community of devotees began to form
itself around him in 1990. Unable to move about as
easily as he had in the past, he invited people to
spent time with him on a regular basis, in a house
specially rented for this purpose. He called these
meetings 'satsang', which literally means
"association with Reality".
During his last two years, Papaji answered less
questions and mostly read from texts such as
Yoga Vasishta, Ribhu Gita, Bhagavad Gita and
the Heart Sutra, to name a few. Even more
recently, he had practically stopped speaking and
left it to his more musically inclined disciples to
express their artistic abilities during
Papaji passed away on September 6th, 1997 after
complications resulting from bronchitis. He could
not breathe and had to be put onto a respirator,
which he at first refused.
"What passes away is not eternal. Every form that
is born has to pass away, but the underlying
essence has no form and never passes away. If you
attach yourself to a form, you make a big mistake.
Even attaching yourself to the form of the Guru is
a mistake. It is not the form of the person that
can give you light; it is something else that is
deep within your own Heart. That is your Guru. That
Guru abides in the Heart of all beings, not only
human beings but also animals, birds, trees and
plants. When you see your own essence, when you
have that direct experience, you will see that
every plant and animal is your own Self. They will
all start to speak to you. This is the formless
Self in the Heart of all beings."
None knows what it is.
A secret of secrets.
I know it is not true.
I don't know it is not true.
Who is born? Who dies?
Who suffers? Who enjoys?
Who teaches? Who learns?
"He is my beloved. He is my enemy.
She is my wife. He is my husband."
Who is the he? Who is the she?
Strip name and form of everything,
including my own self, and see what is left
Then nothing will be different from anything
Then I am everything, or everything is me.
Mind is everything, though not the ultimate.
You were never born.
You were never dead.
The body was never you.
You DO NOT EXIST.
Where is Self-knowledge for him whose
knowledge depends on any object?
The wise do not see this and that, but see the
Knower, known and knowing are all relative
Where is heaven?
Where is hell?
Where is liberation in life?
Nothing exists in consciousness.
The mind thinks "I exist". Does existence itself
precede this thought,
does the mind precede the thought "I exist" or do
both arise simultaneously?
Another problem: Does the mind exist prior to
was creation there before the mind, or do they both
Mind and creation rise and set together.
of the page
Question: What is creation and how does this
Papaji: In the beginning, consciousness is
alone like a still lake. Then a ripple rises, and
this is name and form. From consciousness, the
thought "I am consciousness" rises. This is the
'I'-sense. Then desire rises and this is ego. The
ripple thinks that it is separate and this creates
limitations which are time and space. The ripple is
a blink of thought and this is ego rising from
consciousness, but ripples are not different from
the lake, from water. When you forget this, you are
in trouble. The senses rise, and then the sense
objects, and all of the manifestation is created to
play with you and delude you. When you see that all
this is imagination, then it is no longer
imagination because you are awake. Awaken from this
dream called manifestation. Don't go away from your
Self and the ego will not rise. Objects are not
other than the senses, which are not other than
body, which is not other than your own reflection,
because this 'I' is consciousness. Find the Source
of this 'I' with absolute vigilance and stop
thinking, for thought is the world process
Question: How does one begin one's sadhana
or spiritual practice?
Papaji: You should start when you want to
reach somewhere. You must first know what the
Question: My Self.
The destination is the starting point and is
timelessness? When you make any effort to go
somewhere else you lose your Self. Just remain
where you are. You always want to objectify the
Self, and then you want to achieve It. The Self
will always remain a possessor, not a
Question: How do I perceive this awareness
of the Self?
Papaji: By not allowing any concept to enter
your mind. All acquired knowledge comes from
outside and you identify yourself with it. Give it
all back to the Source. After it is returned to the
Source, what remains? That which remains is Self,
which cannot be rejected. To remain what you are,
you need not do anything.
Question: What does the disciple need to
Papaji: The explanations I give you may be
understood by the mind, but this is not the real
understanding. The real understanding cannot be
heard or understood, or even put in the mind.
Question: So the real understanding is not
to understand the words, but to understand what
they are pointing to?
Papaji: Correct. Now do it!
Question: Is the Truth we search for ever
absent at any time?
Papaji: No, otherwise it cannot be
Question: So, It is never away from you?
Papaji: No. To make any effort to attain the
Truth means that we believe It is elsewhere. This
idea itself is to be dropped. So what effort shall
we make to remain as we ever are? It is because we
make efforts that we cannot 'see'. To remain
effortless is our real nature.
Question: But how to stabilise in It?
Papaji: The idea of stabilisation is a
desire to become something that you are not already
now. Which means that if Truth is not here now and
at all times, It cannot be Truth.
Question: Now I don't depend on anybody, nor
anything in the world, I depend only on God.
Papaji: To say that now you depend only on
God now is an inaccurate statement of yours. How
can you say this when in fact you depend on your
intellect which says this? You are fooling yourself
you need not change the state of your mind.
To only depend on God means to leave everything,
including your own mind and intellect.
To pray to God means that God is an object; but God
is the subject. As so, the one who prays becomes an
object which dissolves with the prayer. This is the
real prayer to God. Otherwise, the prayer gives
strength to the object which means duality and
Question: What about the choice of favourable
circumstances for inner work?
Papaji: Don't choose. There are no
circumstances for the one who dives deep. The body
is no more his, but belongs to its destiny. Let it
react, since the circumstances are only in the
waking state. You want to choose, the Supreme Power
is giving you the strength to choose. Don't be so
foolish to think it is 'you' who choose.
Question: Do we need to give ourselves totally
to the inner presence?
Papaji: If you believe this you are
accepting that you are on the outside and that
there is something superior to you on the inside.
Give up all these ideas. You are neither outside
nor inside. Your preconceived ideas, such as "I
must experience the inner presence", will give you
an experience of an inner presence, but it will
just be a mental experience brought about by your
belief that there is an inner presence that can be
experienced. Give up all ideas such as these and
Question: To abide in Emptiness frightens me.
Also, it makes me feel like I am wasting my
Papaji: The real Emptiness is not
frightening. If you experienced fear or fright,
then it was not Emptiness. You have never allowed
yourself to experience the Emptiness that is empty
of all objects. Reject all known impressions, all
pictures borrowed from the familiar world of your
Question: Sometimes my mind stops in a place
where there is nothing positive, nothing negative.
There is neither joy nor sadness, but I still feel
absorbed and exalted. Is this 'no-mind'? Can the
Master bring some light on this?
Papaji: To think there is 'no-mind' is still
thinking. Thinking and not thinking are both normal
functions of the mind. But in your natural being
there is 'no-thought'.
Question: Are you saying that 'no-thinking'
is also a thought?
Papaji: I have just told you, "Thinking and
no thinking are both normal functions of the mind".
A mind that doesn't think thoughts, which is free
of the idea of no thought as well, can be called a
'free-mind'. 'Thought' and 'no-thought' exist in
relation to each other. They are both properties of
the mind. 'No-mind' is something else. It has no
connection with anything. When the mind is so
undressed that it is free even of 'no-thinking',
there will be nothing left of the mind. While there
is the mental state of 'no-thought', there is still
a place where objects can land, but when
'no-thought' is thrown away, leaving only
'no-mind', objects cannot land anymore. In fact, in
that state there are no objects at all.
Question: What is the 'original state'?
Papaji: When the mind that discriminates
disappears, what is left is the original state.
This is what some people call 'prajna' or
Question: When I think of the notion of
purification it seems absolutely ridiculous. I
wonder if you would speak about the value of
purification. Many teachers tell their students to
do more purification so that their realisation is
Papaji: First of all, to purify yourself
there must be some dust inside the teachers
mind and he wants someone to wipe it out. There is,
in truth, no dust at all. It is a waste of time to
purify what is not dusty. From where has the dust
accumulated? And where will you move this dust to;
where will you throw it? With which broomstick will
you do it? If you look, there is no place for dust
to alight. Better to dust out the concept of
purification. You are that Emptiness Itself. Where
can dust alight?
Question: What is the main obstacle to
Papaji: Doubt is the only obstacle to
enlightenment. If you don't have any doubt that you
are not the body, then you are enlightened. This is
quite enough for enlightenment. Simply say, "I am
That. I am not the body, I am not the senses, not
even the mind".
Question: I can see that the 'dream state'
is unreal, but does the 'waking state' contain
Papaji: There is no difference between
dreaming and waking. Even now you are dreaming.
This is also a dream. If it is not a dream then it
must always remain. Reality doesn't disappear. What
disappears is a dream and a dream is not true. What
does not disappear is the Truth. So, if you have
seen that "I am not the body, I am That", then this
will not disappear because this is Reality.
Question: If God is everywhere, why is there
Papaji: The Divine is that one, that energy
which manifests Itself in both good and bad. You
are always looking to the effects of this energy
and not to its Source.
Question: What will I do in your absence?
Papaji: Because you saw me coming, you
suppose that I will one day go away. I never come
Question: But you are going away soon.
Papaji: If you know how to create separation
in the presence, why don't you create presence in
the separation? If you don't allow the mind to
create a distance, who goes and where does he
Question: What happens when a Self-realised
person leaves the body?
Papaji: There is no such thing as a
Self-realised person because only when there is no
person will the Self be realised. When there is no
person there is no question of coming or going! The
person is just a temporary appearance in the
Satsang in the human body is so precious and rare.
Don't waste it by asking, "What is this and that?"
Just humbly ask, "Who am I?"
Question: You are often telling us to "let
go", but it is very difficult.
Papaji: That's because you have the idea
that "letting go" is something that you have to do.
To move from one place to another may be difficult
if the journey is long and hard. But if you don't
have to move at all, how can you say that it is
difficult? Just give up the idea that you have to
do something or reach somewhere. That's all you
have to do.
Question: But if you say, "It is not
difficult" then what is the use of a Master? Why do
you insist that we need one if it is such an easy
thing to do?
Papaji: You have been conditioned to believe
that the rope is a snake. The Master is needed to
convince you that the rope is really a rope. He
just tells you about what is true and real because
you insist in believing in what is untrue and
unreal. Once you have found your 'original nature',
you do not need a Master anymore.
Question: Who are the true Masters in the
world today? Can you name some of them?
Papaji: There is only one true Master, and
he is unknown. He has no name, no form and no
Question: Who is your own Master?
Papaji: It is the unknown.
Question: If a seeker leaves you and goes to
another spiritual Master, what do you do?
Papaji: Where can he go? Wherever he goes, I
Question: For me, Ramana Maharshi is the
perfect picture of a sage. Just sitting, doing
Papaji: It is because you are standing that
you see him sitting.
Question: Can the Master tell me what is
happening when there is a Guru-disciple
transmission? Because it seems paradoxically that
Papaji: The Master gives out the words of
Truth and the disciple listens. When there is no
thought of result or consequence, the original
state reveals itself to the disciple, who then
functions spontaneously. It just happens by
Question: How can one be free when one is
attached to people, objects or ideas?
Papaji: One is already free. One need not
make any effort. Simply keep quiet. Mind is past,
all is past. There is no one who does not speak of
anything that he has not read from a book or heard
from any teacher. When you reject everything that
belongs to the past, you will enter a new,
unspeakable dimension. In the moment between past
and future, just look at who you are. No effort, no
thought. Just keep quiet. In this quietness you
will experience for the the first time a peace,
love, beauty that you have never felt.
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