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h.w.l. poonja | freedom now | remembering | meeting ramana | who is aware of consciousness? | who are you? | words | no practice | final abode
eternal rest | lion's roar | peace is always everywhere | plunge into eternity | i am eternal self | summa iru | wisdom | chief joseph | way of the warrior
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nisargadatta maharaj | words | a great maharashtrian jnani | self-knowledge and self-realisation | meet the sage | detachment | awareness
guru and disciple | ranjit maharaj | meeting siddharameshwar | everything is nothing | forget everything | death is not true | ellam ondre | all is one
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seng tsan | faith mind | gaudapada | mandukya karika | katha upanishad | death as teacher | yoga vasishtha | dispassion | seeker's behaviour | essence
lama guendune rinpoché | free and easy | william samuel | now

H. W. L.  POONJA

REMEMBERING



Let there be peace among all beings of the universe. OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.



PEAKING  about his Master, H.W.L. Poonja said:


"It 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 satisfaction."

H.W.L. 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 Maharshi.

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.





When 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 said:

"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 meetings.

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."



PAPAJI' S  DIARY


SEPTEMBER 1, 1982

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?
None knows.
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?
A riddle.
A joke.



NOVEMBER 2, 1982

Strip name and form of everything,
including my own self, and see what is left over.
Then nothing will be different from anything else.
Then I am everything, or everything is me.


JANUARY 3, 1983

Mind is everything, though not the ultimate.
You were never born.
You were never dead.
The body was never you.
You DO NOT EXIST.


FEBRUARY 9, 1983

Where is Self-knowledge for him whose
knowledge depends on any object?
The wise do not see this and that, but see the immutable Self.
Knower, known and knowing are all relative knowledge.


FEBRUARY 22, 1983

Where is heaven?
Where is hell?
Where is liberation in life?
Nothing exists in consciousness.


APRIL 19, 1983

I exist
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 creation,
was creation there before the mind, or do they both arise together?
Mind and creation rise and set together.


SATSANG


CREATION

Question:
What is creation and how does this illusion arise?

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 itself.


SADHANA

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 destination is.

Question: My Self.

Papaji: 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 possession.

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.


UNDERSTANDING

Question: What does the disciple need to understand?

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!


ABSENCE  OF  TRUTH

Question: Is the Truth we search for ever absent at any time?

Papaji: No, otherwise it cannot be Truth.

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.


DEPENDING  ON  GOD  ONLY

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 fear.


CHOICE

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.


INNER  PRESENCE

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 stay quiet.


EMPTINESS

Question:
To abide in Emptiness frightens me. Also, it makes me feel like I am wasting my time.

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 memory.


NO-MIND

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.


ORIGINAL  STATE

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 enlightenment.


PURIFICATION

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 more powerful.

Papaji: First of all, to purify yourself there must be some dust inside the teacher’s 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?


DOUBT

Question:
What is the main obstacle to enlightenment?

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".


DREAMING  AND  REALITY

Question: I can see that the 'dream state' is unreal, but does the 'waking state' contain anything real?

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.


GOD  AND  SUFFERING

Question:
If God is everywhere, why is there suffering?

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.


ABSENCE  OF  THE  MASTER

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 or go.

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 go?


DEATH  OF  A SELF-REALISED  PERSON

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 unchanging Self.

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?"


MASTER

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 abode.

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 am.

Question: For me, Ramana Maharshi is the perfect picture of a sage. Just sitting, doing nothing.

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 nothing happens.

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 itself.


FREEDOM

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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