W. L. POONJA
UESTION : I'm
not clear how to make the best use of you as my
teacher. I want to make the best use of my time
here, but I'm not clear how I should use my time.
What should I be doing that I am not doing at
Take care of the purpose for which you have come.
First, clarify your purpose. A relationship is not
really necessary. That we can look after later.
Purpose is the foremost, the most important thing.
When you are thirsty, you go to the river. Your
purpose is to quench your thirst. It is not to ask
the river what kind of relationship you have with
it. You don't need a relationship; you only need a
came here the day before yesterday and your purpose
is to find out who you are. Find this out. Know who
you are. If you first know who you are, then you
will automatically know who I am. So, your first
priority is the question "Who am I?" Once you have
discovered that, you will know the real nature of
all the other things and people that you see. First
start with this question "Who am I?" We started on
this question the day before yesterday. You need to
recognise your Self. Now, what was that question I
asked you to ask?
Papaji: Yes, what was the full question?
Question: Who is thinking?
Yes, this was the question I gave you. I told you
to find the answer to this question. I asked you to
return home to the Self through asking this
question, and then to come back and tell me what
you saw there.
Question: What do I see there?
Papaji: Yes, what do you see there?
[There was a pause while Papaji wrote 'who' on
a piece of paper and showed it to the
questioner.] What do you see here?
Question: I see a word on a piece of
Papaji: This simple word is your
Question: What do I see in here?
Papaji: Anywhere. Wherever the 'who' is.
Your question is, "Who is thinking?"
Question: I can see the question.
Papaji: Can you see where the question comes
from? Focus on this question and look to see where
it arises from. Return back to the 'who'. What do
you see there?
Question: I see arising. I see things
arising, one from another.
Papaji: Something 'arose', that is the
predicate. Now, what is the subject? Who is
thinking? Return from this predicate of thinking
and focus on the 'who'. This is the finish. Now you
are at the root, aren't you? Find out who this
'who' is. What is its shape? What is the shape of
this 'who'? What is its form? How is it? What does
it look like?
What is happening?
Question: The question just arises out of
nothing, out of emptiness, and disappears back into
Papaji: That's right. You say this question
disappeared into the emptiness. The question was,
"Who is thinking?" For thinking you need a mind,
don't you? Now, the process of thinking has been
arrested. It happened when you put the question,
"Who is thinking?" Now the process has been
arrested. Then you said, very correctly, that the
question disappears. That's what you said. "There's
emptiness." What else do you say?
Question: It's emptiness; just space.
Papaji: OK, it's emptiness; it's space.
Emptiness is there; space is there. This is your
inherent nature. You can call it presence or space
or anything else. It is obstructed by desire and by
thinking. It is always obstructed by desire.
Emptiness is just the lack, the absence of thoughts
and desires. When you have a burden on your
shoulder, you are restless. Let us say that you are
holding onto two hundred pounds and that you want
to get rid of this trouble, this burden. When you
drop it, you have not gained anything. You have not
attained some new state that was never there
before. You have simply thrown something away that
was troubling you and returned to your inherent
nature, the inherent state that was there before
you loaded yourself up with this weight.
This thinking process, this burden, is a desire
that we always carry with us. I am showing you how
to drop this unwanted burden. When you ask the
question, "Who is thinking?" you arrest the process
of thinking and return back to your true nature,
your inherent nature, your spontaneous nature, the
pure source that is empty. This is your own nature,
and this is what you are always. The mind does not
enter there. Time does not enter. Death does not
enter. Fear does not enter. This is your inherent,
eternal nature. If you stay there, there will be no
fear. If you step out of it, you step into samsara,
manifestation, and there you are in trouble all the
Question: I think I have a desire to make a
much bigger deal of it.
Question: I think I had expectations that it
would be some big, great experience, but actually
the experience of it is very ordinary. It just
feels very clear, very ordinary, and very
Papaji: Yes, from emptiness everything
arises. From emptiness all this cosmos has arisen,
all this manifestation comprising millions of
planets and solar systems. All of these millions of
planets hanging in space arose from just one
thought that arose from this particle of emptiness.
This can happen without affecting the emptiness at
Question: Should I try to stay in the
emptiness? Thoughts arise in the emptiness. Some of
them are attractive; some make me afraid; and some
of them are repugnant. I find myself latching onto
thoughts and identifying with them. I become those
thoughts. I lose sight of the emptiness and the
presence until I can remind myself again.
Papaji: If you remind yourself at that time,
all is over, all is gone. The best position to take
is that of not forgetting. Just play your role, but
don't forget that it is all just a drama on the
Imagine a drama company is putting on a play. The
person who has to play the servant of the king
falls sick at the last moment and cannot come. No
other actors are available, so the proprietor of
the company steps in to play the role. In the play
the king, who is one of the employees of the
proprietor, orders the servant around: "Fetch my
shoes. I want to go for a walk." The proprietor
meekly obeys and carries out the orders, but does
he ever forget that he is the owner of the company?
He is happy to act the role of the servant because
all the time that this role is being portrayed he
knows that he is really the proprietor.
If you live like this, knowing that you are the
Self, you can act anywhere. If you know this, all
your activities will be very beautiful, and you
will never suffer. Once you have had a glimpse, a
knowledge of this emptiness, you will be happy all
the time because you will know that all
manifestation, all samsara, is your own
Where does all this manifestation rise from? When
you are asleep, there is nothing there, isn't
Question: There's another kind of dreaming
Papaji: I am not speaking of dreaming. We
can talk about that state later. For now, I'm
talking about slumber, deep sleep.
A few years ago I met a team in Rishikesh.
Twenty-five people had come from all over the
world: psychologists, physiologists, even
parapsychologists. They had a very original
proposition that they were trying to test: that
there are only two states, waking and dreaming.
They said that man is either awake or dreaming and
that there was really no such state as sleep.
One of them told me, "That is what we are
discovering in the West. When we put an EEG on a
sleeping person's brain we find that dreaming is
going on all the time, even during what appears to
be deep sleep."
In India we say that there are five states: waking,
dreaming, sleeping, turiya, and turiyatita.
Question: What is that last one?
Papaji: Turiyatita. Waking, dreaming and
sleeping are states you understand. After this
there is turiya, the fourth state. This is the
state in which the previous three appear and
disappear. Beyond that is turiyatita, which means
"beyond the fourth".
These scientists were going from ashram to ashram,
looking for swamis to test with their equipment.
Some of the scientists were part of an
astronaut-training programme. Apparently,
astronauts were not sleeping well in space, so
research was going on, looking for ways to improve
their sleeping. There was a theory that some kind
of meditation or yoga might improve their sleeping
These scientists were looking for swamis to test.
They wanted to put electrodes on their heads while
they were meditating to see what happened to the
brain waves during meditation. They tried many
people and eventually ended up with a man called
Swami Rama. When they arrived he was gardening in
his ashram. I was not there at the time, so I got
this story second-hand.
They approached him very respectfully and explained
their purpose. Then they asked him if he would sit
or lie down and meditate while they checked out his
He replied, "You can attach your wires while I am
watering my garden. I don't need to sit down to
The scientists put wires on his head and discovered
that, as the swami had said, his mind was not
working while he was engaged in his daily gardening
chores. They were so impressed, they took him off
for further tests.
If you are knowingly established in the substratum,
any amount of activities can go on, and you won't
need the mind to do them. The Self will take care
of all these things and you will remain in peace at
Let us go back to the three states waking,
dreaming and sleeping and the underlying
fourth state of emptiness. The three states are
projected onto that substratum, that background in
which sleeping comes and goes, dreaming comes and
goes, and waking comes and goes. There is some
substratum, some basic foundation on which they all
revolve. That foundation, that presence, that space
is always there, but while you are preoccupied with
outside things, you forget it.
Now, there are three classes of people. In the
first category there are those who never ever
forget. Under all circumstances they know that
everything is taking place in this substratum.
These people are the jivanmuktas, which means that
they are fully liberated while they are still alive
in their bodies. The second category get themselves
into trouble because sometimes they remember and
sometimes they forget. Awareness of emptiness may
be there for a while, but then the memory of a
friend who has died may rise up and suddenly they
are in grief. They have lost the awareness of that
emptiness by attaching themselves to a thought.
This kind of 'emptiness' is not abiding; it depends
on the whims of mental activities. The people in
the third category are suffering all the time. They
never have even a glimpse of that original space,
that emptiness, and so they suffer endlessly. For
them, samsara never ends or even stops briefly.
If you are a member of the very exclusive number
one club, you know that whatever manifests is an
appearance in your own Self. When you wake up,
manifestation arises, but you know that it is all a
projection. When you sleep, no manifestation is
present, but you, your Self, will still remain.
Something will still be there while you sleep, and
that something is your own Self.
Question: I am not aware of that presence
while I am asleep.
Papaji: Yes, it is because 'you' are not
present. It is the 'you' that you live through that
decides these matters. For 'you' presence is only
felt when there is some obstruction to the
awareness of the presence.
Question: "When there's obstruction, I can
feel presence, but when there isn't, I can't." This
sounds very paradoxical.
Papaji: Your sense of being a person is the
obstruction. Everything, all your experiences, or
the lack of them, are mediated through this idea of
individuality. This obstruction rises from the
presence and you either feel the presence through
it, or you are aware of its absence. The presence
is there all the time, but you don't feel it in
your deep-sleep state because this mediator, this
'I', is not there. You don't know how to be aware
of anything when this 'I' is absent, so you
declare, "Presence is not there when I sleep."
You use this obstruction to validate all your
experiences but it has no inherent validity of its
own. Shanti, peace, was there before the
obstruction arose, and when the obstruction
subsides, shanti still prevails. Your inherent
nature is this shanti. It is there both when the
experiencer is there and when the experiencer is
Question: Yes, it's obvious. A fish swims in
water all its life, but it doesn't know anything
about water. If you want to teach it about water,
you take it out of the water, and immediately it
understands what water is and how important it
What you are saying is that if there is nothing to
interfere with the presence, there's nothing to
contrast the presence to. And that means there is
no means to know the presence.
Papaji: Here we speak of the fish that is
still in the river and which cries, "I am thirsty!"
It is ignorance of the underlying substratum that
creates the idea of suffering. That space, that
emptiness, is your inherent nature. It is always
Question: [begins to laugh
Papaji: He's a doctor of... [Papaji also
starts to laugh]
Question: What a relief! [everyone in
the room laughs] I can't believe it's so
simple. Hmm. Thank you. Thank you very much. I seem
to remember now.
Question: [new questioner, addressing
the laughing man] Did you forget? I watch
myself and I ask myself questions such as "Who is
getting upset?" but I forget all the time.
Papaji: When you say, "I have forgotten",
you are not forgetting, you are suddenly
remembering. Every time the thought "I have
forgotten" arises, that is remembrance.
Question: But there is also a point when you
are not even aware that you have forgotten. You
just get angry, for example, with no thought of
forgetfulness or remembrance.
Papaji: You have a relationship with this
entity that is forgetting or remembering. There
must be a person who is forgetting. There is a
person who is the same whether she has forgotten or
remembered. So, the person remains the same
throughout the process of remembering and
forgetting. Find out the 'I' who has the
forgetfulness and you will discover the 'I' that
never forgets. That real 'I' is consciousness
itself. It will not forget anything. It is presence
itself. In that presence you don't forget anything.
If light is everywhere, nothing can be hidden
because there is no area of darkness where things
are not clear. When you return to consciousness,
everything will be very clear. Nothing will be
forgotten or hidden.
There is the sleep state in which you have dreams,
and there is the waking state. These are known to
you. But there is something beyond them, and that
is consciousness. This is your true nature. You
don't have to acquire it, gain it, attain it,
achieve it, or aspire for it. Since you have never
lost it, you don't have to run after it to get it
back. It is here now, and it will always be here.
It can't be lost. If it is not here now, what is
the use of trying to get it? Whatever you newly
acquire you will one day lose.
So look for that which is never lost, which is
permanent, abiding, natural and always there, here
and now. Look into 'now'. Look into presence. Look
into space. Look into your own emptiness.
Everything is there in this one particle of
emptiness. The whole cosmos is there, the whole
cosmos. It emerges from there. Return there and see
the source of all this phenomenon. Then, enjoy
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Sometimes the awareness is there, but along with it
there is still duality. Sometimes I am so
intoxicated by the peace. I don't care; nothing
seems to matter. At other times, though, it makes
me sad that there is still duality.
Papaji: For duality to be there, there must
be a substratum of non-duality. For duality to be
recognised as duality, there must be a non-duality
that is aware of the duality.
Question: It perceives the subject.
Papaji: There should be a basis of
non-duality to perceive the duality. There is no
question of them being different since one is the
basis and substratum of the other. What is the
difference? When you see duality, what do you
Question: Others. Otherness.
Papaji: Yes, but where does this 'otherness'
come from? When you sleep, you are alone. When you
go to sleep, there are not two people asleep. Only
oneness will sleep. When there is something other
than you, you can't sleep, you can't be asleep. You
have to reject all 'otherness' if you want to go to
sleep. You have to reject your body, your mind and
your intellect in order to go to sleep. Only
oneness is there when you sleep.
Now, you are alone in sleep. In that sleep you
create a dreamer and manifestation comes back. You
see mountains, rivers and forests. Duality is there
again. Then sleep comes back and in that state
there are no more manifestations and dualities.
Return back to this state. Who has created this
duality? Who? From where? From where did this
manifestation come? Who created it?
Question: There is only one source for
Papaji: "One source." If you know there can
only be one source for everything, a place from
where so many things come, stay and go, if you
really know this secret, how can you be troubled
with dualities, manifestations and illusions? How
can you be troubled by them? Let manifestation
rise, stay or dissolve. This is all your drama, all
your cosmic play. If you know this, you will enjoy
You do not need to meditate; you just need to
remove all your doubts. Once the doubts have been
cleared, you need not do anything. If a lake is
full of weeds, you can't see the water. You can't
see your reflection in the water, and you can't see
the bottom of the lake. But remove all the weeds,
and all will be clear.
First, it's absolutely essential that you
understand things properly. Once you do, meditation
may or may not follow. Just understand things. Be
very, very clear about important things, such as
who you are. If you haven't got this understanding
meditation is just going to be another trick of the
mind; it will be an act of postponement.
Don't be deceived. Be very clear about things.
That's all that is needed. With a truly quiet mind
you can do anything.
Question: Is searching for the 'I'
compatible with being quiet and thought-free? Or
are they two different things?
Papaji: The place of silence is the place
where the 'I' rises from. If you want to find out
the source of this 'I' and be quiet there, first
fix its geographical location. Once you know where
something is, you can then decide on the best way
of getting there. Before you make a decision about
whether you should travel somewhere by air, by sea
or by road, you have to have a destination, and you
have to know where it is. How far away is the
destination? What is the starting point? Once you
have satisfactorily answered these two questions,
it will be easy to decide the best way of making
Now, this 'I', where is it? Start with the body
itself. Someone inside a body is saying 'I'. All
your life you are using this word 'I'. Where is
this 'I'? Where is it? First of all take note of
the fact that it is there in all the three states
"I am awake, I dreamed, I slept." It
persists in all these three states, but where does
it actually reside? What is its residence? And the
person who wants to discover its residence, who is
this person? How far away is this person? If the
destination, the object of the search, is the 'I',
how far away from it is he? These things have to be
The seeker, through his search, is seeking what?
What is doing the seeking? This too has to be
ascertained. There is the seeker, there is the
search and there is the sought. First, find out the
seeker who wants to do the seeking. This is very
Question: [the man from New Zealand who
burst into prolonged laughter in the previous
section] It's as if presence is seeking
Papaji: [laughing] Very good. Yes,
you are coming very close. You are coming very
close. You are coming close because you understand
that it is just a recognition.
Question: It all seems to arise out of vast,
empty space, and then disappear back into it.
Papaji: Seeking is there because recognition
is not yet established. The seeker is slowly moving
through the search for recognition. It is like
looking in a mirror to recognise yourself. You find
the mirror, see your reflection in it, and
recognise yourself. Once you have recognised
yourself, you can throw away the mirror, the
search, and the idea that there is something to be
In recognition there is no 'who' who recognises,
but no one knows this. From time immemorial
everyone has been sitting endlessly in meditation.
Nobody tells the truth about this process of
recognition, about the necessity of it. Prayers are
going on in temples and meditations are going on in
monasteries, but nobody knows the Truth. Nobody
dares even to speak It. Everyone is walking on the
beaten track, like a flock of sheep. You have to
get off the beaten track. You have to take your own
track, perhaps no track at all.
Question: It's so vast!
Papaji: In emptiness there are no tracks.
There aren't any. Wherever you go, emptiness
follows you. And emptiness leads you. emptiness is
on either side of you, above you and below you.
Where can you go where you can leave behind the
emptiness? Where else can you go? In that emptiness
death cannot approach. Gods cannot approach
Question: It is. It just is.
Papaji: [laughing] It just is. This
Kiwi is very strong [laughter]. It looks
slow, but it is very fast. It has been very nice
meeting with you. You originally asked about what
relationship you had with me. This is the
Question: I have got my question
Papaji: The answer! This is the only
relationship. There is no other relationship that
is permanent, not even with the gods. Your parents
cannot provide you with this permanent
relationship, nor can your priests. This is the
only abiding relationship that you must have. This
is the one you cannot shun. This relationship will
not abandon you, and you will not be divorced from
it at any time. All other relationships revolve
around self-interest. Every other relationship is
motivated by some interest, some desire. This
relationship is sweet, very loving, and of
excellent beauty. You will not find anything about
this relationship in your dictionary. It is not
there. I can tell you this because I am very sure
about it. This relationship is not known anywhere.
All the others are very ugly relationships, very
ugly, very dirty relationships.
Question: I start out wanting to use you and
finish up by meeting you.
Papaji: Hereafter, throw away your oars.
Throw your oars into the river and you will have a
very safe passage. You will sail very safely.
Question: I am very fond of the oars.
Papaji: The breeze is there. The breeze will
take care of you. Using the oars is a very tiring
job. Let the breeze take care of you.
Question: Fear arises when the thought of
throwing away the oars appears.
Papaji: This is the right time. When I say,
"Throw away the oars," this is the right time to do
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IT ' S
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[speaking to a woman who did not seem to be
fully aware of what was going on around her because
of some internal experience she was immersed
in] We were walking together in the garden.
Some music was playing. I looked at you and spoke
to you, but you didn't hear what I said. You were
the only person there who didn't hear me. You
weren't taking part in what was going on because
you were attending to something else, something
inside you that was far more interesting and
attractive. It's true, isn't it? Life could go on
like this all the time. You could move through it
without leaving any footprints.
Papaji: Your mind was not engaging with
anything external. You were not taking any serious
part in it because you were absorbed. This is how
it should happen. Eventually, you will take part,
but at the same tine you will not be taking part.
This is the technique to adopt. It will come
Question: This is how I have been feeling
for most of this weekend.
Papaji: You are speaking too softly. Come
and sit here. I don't want to ask you to repeat
everything you say.
Question: [after moving closer] I
was going to say that during this weekend I have
had the feeling that there is one person who is
asking "Who is Susie?" and another one who is just
observing the process. Is this what you are talking
Papaji: Yes, this is what I am describing.
You are in the transit lounge, watching what is
going on. Keep on watching. Everyone is agitated in
the transit lounge. You know that. There are
announcements that people are trying to catch; much
activity is going on; no one is just sitting
quietly. See what is going on. Observe it, comment
on it if you like, but at the same time get clarity
in yourself. Now is the time to do this. You have
not read about this anywhere. Why? Because it is
not written anywhere. It is not something that you
can read in books or pick up from other people.
You are seeking clarity, a clarification of the
confusion you have become aware of within yourself.
It will come in a few more days, and then you can
pack up and go. What you are speaking of is a good
thing. Something is happening to you. Some
dictation is being given to you, and you are
following its commands. You are becoming an
instrument, an instrument that is being activated
by a power that is not your own ego. It will be a
very happy life, a very beautiful life. There will
be no responsibilities in it. You will be very
Question: I don't think the ego is absent.
Is it? It feels like it is still here.
Papaji: In this state it becomes like a
burnt rope. You look at it and its shape appears to
be that of a rope, but it cannot be used for
anything. If you try to pick it up and tie
something with it, it disintegrates in your
fingers. It seems to be there, but it can no longer
Question: I see. I'll try to tie something
with it and see if it is still working.
Papaji: Don't think at all. Just stay as you
are. Meditation is going on. It will do its work.
Meditation is going on continuously. Do you see?
Are you finding it?
Question: Yes, I find that...
Papaji: This is meditation.
Question: It's interesting. It feels like
... some kind of perception ... it's interesting
... some special kind of perception is
Papaji: Yes, that's what I am saying. It's
meditation, but it has become effortless. Some
concentration is there, but it is not attaching
itself to any object, neither an object on the
inside nor anything outside. You are not clinging
to any object. Have you noticed?
Question: No. It just feels like meditation.
I don't really know what's going on.
Papaji: [laughing] Yes, this is what
real meditation is like. Usually, there is some
attachment to sense objects, a clinging to them,
but in this meditation there is nothing to cling
to. There is no intention there. That's the
important point. When there is no intention, there
will be constant meditation. You must be feeling
some difference yourself. The mind is quiet. In
this state it will be quiet even if you don't
meditate. You are somehow different. Haven't you
Question: Yes. ... I feel ... I am
Papaji: That's what I am saying. This is
something that was known to you. It was a knowledge
you had before. How to meditate, how to sit. The
knowledge is there. It is coming back to you.
Question: I didn't do anything. I didn't sit
and I didn't meditate.
Papaji: This is natural meditation. You
don't 'do' it. It's something that is there all the
time. It's called 'sahaja', which means 'natural'.
This is sahaja meditation.
Papaji: Sahaja meditation. This is the
natural state. It will become your sister.
Question: This is confusing me, Papaji. You
are talking about this, giving a lot of importance
to this change. To me it doesn't feel like anything
Papaji: This is good. It may not feel
special, but it is a special thing to say.
[laughter] You didn't say this before,
before you came here. At the moment, it is not
'special' to you, but if you knew this before, if
this 'knowledge', as you call it, was there before,
then why did you come here?
Question: I don't know.
Papaji: Now you are saying "I don't know."
Before you knew all sorts of things. You have
nothing to gain any more. Nothing more to get,
nothing more to achieve. This is a return to your
natural state, a very natural state. Most people
can't do this. They don't want to stay as they are.
They want to become something else, something they
are not, and that makes them disturbed. You are
making good statements. "No change." This is very
[very long pause]
I was staying in Rishikesh a few years ago when I
was visited by a woman who came from Baroda. Have
you heard of Baroda? Her husband was a
petrochemical engineer. She came to Rishikesh with
about fifty other people to attend a yoga course at
Sivananda Ashram. They had a very busy programme.
They were living in a house that was called 'Baroda
House'. Baroda was once an independent state and
this building had been constructed by a member of
the royal family so that people who came to
Rishikesh from Baroda would have somewhere to stay.
It was a very big building.
They had a very busy programme. At 5 a.m. they all
had to get up and attend some yoga class. There
were talks, lectures and yoga classes for most of
the day, but they had some free time after 1 p.m. I
was staying in a cottage that belonged to a temple
which was up the hill from Rishikesh. This woman
came to visit me there during this short period of
She asked the priest of the temple if there was any
swami in residence, and he told her, "There is no
one in orange robes you can speak to, but there is
a man who teaches here who wears western clothes.
He is a householder. Some foreign people are
staying with him in his cottage. You can go and
speak to him there."
She wanted the priest to introduce her, but he
said, "No introduction is necessary. Just go there
and join the group. No one will mind."
There was something about her face that reminds me
of you. She would eat and do things, but her
attention was withdrawn into herself. She wasn't
really noticing much of what was going on around
her. Something was pulling her in, and she wasn't
absorbing much from the outside world.
There were seven or eight foreigners with me at the
time and we were speaking in English. A few Indians
were also there. This woman arrived at my satsang
with several other women who were also on the
Sivananda Ashram course. She seemed to me to be the
leader of the group.
After some preliminary conversation about yoga, a
subject she seemed to be quite knowledgeable on,
she asked me, "Swami, how does one control the
This is a standard question that disciples have
been asking gurus for thousands of years. In all
that period it has never been satisfactorily
Arjuna, in the Bhagavad Gita, had the same
problem. "It's just like air," he said. "How can it
Everyone on the spiritual path is obsessed with
this particular question, but on this occasion I
didn't give any reply. Instead, I asked a girl from
France who was staying with me to make some tea for
our new guests. The question was repeated, and
again I made no reply. After the tea had been drunk
she asked the question for the third time, and for
the third time I gave no reply. Time was running
out for them because they had to return to
Sivananda Ashram to carry on with their course.
They had been there three days, doing this course,
and they had still to complete the course before
they could return home.
Just before she left she asked the question one
more time, and once more I kept quiet.
The following morning, at a very early hour, she
came to see me alone, carrying fruit and
She gave them to me, saying, "I have found the
answer. Even though you never answered my question
while I was here, I wanted to come again and repeat
it because it was really bothering me. In the
middle of the night, at about 1.30 a.m., someone
knocked on my door. I assumed it was someone from
my group, but when I opened the door it was
I hadn't been anywhere that night. I had been
asleep in bed when this story apparently took
"You came to my door", she continued, "and somehow
you gave me the answer. Now I am satisfied. We came
here for a month of yoga training as a group. We
booked a whole coach on a train and we are all
travelling together. I don't want to go back on the
coach with everyone else. I want to stay here with
I tried to discourage her: "You can continue
staying where you are. You can finish your course
and then go home to Baroda with everyone else."
"No", she said, "I want to stay here with you."
When I saw that she was determined to stay with me,
I asked her to go and see the manager of this
ashram I was in since I couldn't let anyone else
stay there without getting his permission first.
When the manager gave the necessary permission, she
moved into a nearby room. Afterwards, she came to
my room, sat down and refused to move or even eat.
She was absorbed in some inward state and didn't
want to bother with the business of ordinary life.
She could hear what I was saying, but she didn't
feel inclined to stir herself and do anything that
I suggested. She did not even speak to me when I
asked her to do things.
Her name was Suman. "Suman," I would say, "You are
not eating. You have to eat. I will help you."
I put food in her hand but she refused to lift the
hand up to her mouth. I had to lift her arm as well
and place her hand next to her mouth. She never
complained about any of this, but she wouldn't do
any of the work herself.
I made her open her mouth to put the food in, and
then I told her, "That's all I can do for you. You
have to do the munching and swallowing yourself. I
can't do that for you."
She gave me a lot of trouble for two days. She sat
there for this whole period, day and night, just
staring vacantly and not responding to any of the
suggestions that I gave her. I couldn't make her go
back to her room. She just sat on my floor and
refused to move. There were seven or eight of us
staying there at the time. We had four rooms
between us. I had a room to myself and the others
shared the other three rooms. The manager knew me
and usually gave me these rooms every year for
three months. It was a good place up in the
mountains, away from the town of Rishikesh.
I wanted to send this woman home to her family, but
I knew that in her current state I would have to
make all the arrangements myself. I took her in a
taxi to Haridwar, purchased a first class ticket to
Baroda, bought some sweets to give to her children,
and gave her a bottle to Ganga water to take back
for anyone who wanted some. I tried to make her eat
at the station, but she wasn't interested.
She tried to give me all her money, saying, "I
don't need this any more. I will keep five rupees
for the journey. I can get a taxi at the other end
and my family can pay for it when I arrive home.
Now, everything I have belongs to you. I want you
to take it all."
I refused to take it. Since I could see that she
was in no fit condition to look after herself, I
spoke to the man who was sharing the first class
carriage with her. I had found out her family's
phone number, so I gave it to the man in the
"When the train reaches Baroda," I said, "please
call this number and make sure that someone comes
to collect her. Otherwise she will just wander
around and get lost."
When I explained to the man in the carriage that
Suman was having problems looking after herself, he
promised to take care of her until her family could
take delivery of her in Baroda. Since the train
stopped for twenty minutes at Baroda, there would
be enough time to make all the arrangements.
"Will she eat?" he asked, and I replied, "If you
put some food in her hand and tell her to put it in
her mouth, chew it and swallow, she will probably
do it. But don't worry if she doesn't eat. She can
easily last until her family comes. There is
nothing physically wrong with her. She is just very
absent-minded at the moment. Her attention is
Everything went according to plan and she arrived
safely at her house. Her husband sent me a
telegram, thanking me for all the trouble I had
taken to get her home. He even invited me to come
and stay with them. Suman had apparently told him
that if I didn't come to them, she would leave and
look for me.
This was a very rare case. Someone who got it
instantly from the teacher. She came with a burning
question "How to control the mind?"
and without my saying anything she experienced the
state in which mind no longer needs to be
controlled. It is the state of no-abiding, the
state in which the mind does not abide anywhere.
There have been two or three cases like this; they
are not common.
I accepted the husband's invitation and went and
spent fifteen days with them. Then I took her to
Bombay where I visited some other devotees.
These things do sometimes happen very quickly. In
some people it doesn't happen at all.
There is a never-ending cycle of birth and death.
What is birth and what is death? They are desire.
This never-ending cycle is fuelled by desire, the
desire to enjoy sense objects in a body. When
desire ceases, this cycle also ceases. This
apparently endless cycle of birth and death ends
with the cessation of desire. It is not only birth
and death that end. When desire ceases, the
universe itself ceases. It is as if it never
existed. That's how it is.
Question: [new questioner] I have a
question about the mind. It seemed to me this
morning that the mind is not just something that
one needs to disengage from. It seems that it can
take me to wherever I need to go.
Papaji: Mind can be the enemy and mind can
also be the friend. It is the mind that binds and
it is the mind that liberates. When the mind is
attached to objects, which are transitory and
impermanent, this is the mind that binds. This is
the mind that is an enemy. But a mind that does not
abide anywhere, on any object, is a mind that is
your friend. This is the mind that liberates. It
all depends on you, on what kind of company you
keep in your mind. Mind can destroy you, but mind
can also be of great help. There is a tremendous
power in the mind, a power that you can make use
of. When the mind is at rest, it gives us peace.
But when it is restless, it creates all this
samsara, this suffering, this hell. A peaceful mind
brings heaven down to earth. It brings peace
everywhere. In that state, wherever you walk, that
place will be heaven. This is the mind.
Question: It seems to me that there is a
choice. The mind can decide whether to create a
heaven or a hell. At any given moment that choice
Papaji: Yes, that is your own choice. You
have to decide these things for yourself. You can
decide, "I am bound; I have to suffer", and this
creates samsara. Alternatively, you can say, "I
want peace. I want freedom. I want happiness. I
want love." When you move in this direction, what a
beautiful choice you have made! Make it! "I want
freedom! I want to be free! I want happiness! I
want love!" Do it now, today, or at least some time
during your span of life. Have a good mind, a
Question: [new questioner] When mind
is not abiding, does mind still exist?
Papaji: No. When a desire arises in the
mind, there arises with it an intention to enjoy
sense objects. When this happens you are involved
in their enjoyment. The mind works through the
senses; the senses move out to objects that they
can enjoy. All these things manifest once desire
and intention arise. Your intention makes the mind
the agent for the various enjoyments it indulges
in. In the middle of all this is the ego, the
enjoyer of all the objects that are being pursued
and enjoyed. If the ego remains still, mind itself
does not arise. It does not cause any trouble. It
will not abide anywhere, and with no place to
abide, it will return to its source, to the place
of no-mind. In that place there will be no
You can function without this mind. You can
function very well without it. Earlier today this
girl was talking about how this can work. She was
talking about the state in which no mind does the
work. What did you say? Can you repeat it
Question: [the woman who reminded Papaji
of Suman] I was saying that there is an actor
and the observer.
Papaji: Yes, this is how it is. Can you
explain it a little more?
Question: It feels as if there is an actor
and an observer in the same person. And the body
just seems to act by itself.
Papaji: The body is acting and the observer
is different from it. The body is receiving direct
instructions, but not through the ego. The "I am
the doer" idea is not there. When the doer is not
there, one is not responsible for one's actions. No
karma is formed in this state. This is no mind. You
can work very well without this mind.
Question: [new questioner] Why does
mind arise again afterwards?
Papaji: If you are careful and vigilant in
this state, it is not mind that rises again.
Something else is going to rise in its place.
What's that 'other'? Now, you only know about the
mind. You don't know about what is beyond it. When
mind has gone, when mind is finished, you no longer
have desires, and when you don't have desires, you
return to the source. In that source something else
will animate you, something that you have not been
aware of before. You can call it prajna, wisdom or
pure consciousness. It will look after you, and it
will do a very good job. When prajna runs your
life, you will just be its instrument. This was
explained well in the Gita. Arjuna
surrendered his mind at the feet of his Master, and
then allowed the prajna to dictate his actions. The
command to fight started with the direct command of
Krishna. That command worked through Arjuna and
carried him through the battle. This word, this
state of being dictated to by the divine, can only
be known after freedom.
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