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ramana maharshi | who am I? | guru | self-enquiry | spiritual instruction | wisdom | words | silence | daily talks | reality | padam – the formless self
abide in the self | arunachala | annamalai swami | self alone is real | swami rama tirtha | real self | i am that | practical freedom | sun of self
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 | here and now in lucknow
ma anandamayi | words | siddharameshwar maharaj | beyond nothing | perfection of material science | master key | non-action | self
nisargadatta maharaj | words | a great maharashtrian jnani | self-knowledge and self-realisation | meet the sage | detachment | awareness | who am I?
life | "i am" | guru and disciple | ranjit maharaj | meeting siddharameshwar | everything is nothing | forget everything | death is not true | real and unreal
u.g. krishnamurti | natural state | words | remembering | no separation | nothing to understand | chief joseph | way of the warrior | old tcheng | sayings
advaita | vedanta | devikalottara | supreme wisdom | atma sakshatkar | direct awareness of the self | vichara mani mala | jewel garland of enquiry
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seng tsan | faith mind | gaudapada | mandukya karika | katha upanishad | death as teacher | yoga vasistha | dispassion | seeker's behaviour | essence
ramakant maharaj | reality has nothing to do with words | lama guendune rinpoché | free and easy | ellam ondre | all is one | william samuel | now

H. W. L.  POONJA

PLUNGE  INTO  ETERNITY



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

INTERVIEW  BY  CATHERINE  INGRAM



ATHERINE :  Poonjaji, what is freedom?


Papaji: Freedom is to know your own fundamental nature, your own Self. Nothing else. Easiest of all, without your thinking, is freedom.

Catherine: And what is that Self?

Papaji: This is indescribable. It is not intellectual, not even transcendental. Think of one without even the concept of two. Now drop the concept of one.

Catherine: You often speak of surrender. Surrender to what?

Papaji: To that Source through which you speak, through which you see, through which you breathe, through which you taste and touch, through which this earth revolves and the sun shines, through which you have asked this question itself. Everything happens through that consciousness in which Emptiness is housed. That Supreme Power which is beyond the beyond – your own Self – to that you have to surrender.


 

Catherine: Is the consciousness of which you speak Eternal – Unborn and undying?

Papaji: Consciousness is beyond the concepts of birth and death, beyond even any concept of Eternity, Emptiness or space. That which accommodates Emptiness or Eternity is called consciousness, within which everything is existing.

Catherine: Yet there is the appearance of birth and death.

Papaji: You see, all existence and destruction happens ceaselessly. All these manifestations are like bubbles and waves in the ocean; let them happen. The ocean doesn't find that they are separate. The bubbles, the eddies, the waves – they may appear to themselves as separate, but the ocean itself has no trouble with them. Let them move on it, let them have different shapes and different names, coming and going. This body will be the food of worms and ants. From earth it came and to earth it will return. You are That which shines through it. The consciousness is untouched.

Catherine: Do you propose that we identify with the ocean, that Source, instead of with the waves?

Papaji: No, you need not identify with anything. You only need to get rid of your notions. Do not identify with any name or form which is not real, and no name or form is real. Now to reject name and form you need not make any effort or employ any kind of thinking or identification. You have been identifying with names and forms which have caused you to feel separate from the fundamental nature which you always are, so you have to disidentify with something which is not true. No need to identify with the ocean or Source. You are the Source. When your identification with the unreal has vanished, then you will be what you have been, what you are, and what you will be.

Catherine: What is mind?

Papaji: Never mind! [laughing] Show me the mind. You have used the word "mind". No one has seen what the mind is. Mind is thought existing as subjects and objects. The first wave is "I", then "I am", then "I am this, I am that" and "This belongs to me." Here the mind begins. Now, keep quiet and do not allow any desire to arise from the Source. Just for this instant of time, don't give rise to any desire. You will find you have no mind and you will also see that you are somewhere indestructible, in tremendous happiness. And then you will see who you really are.

So when you enquire "Who am I?", this will take you home. First reject the "who", then reject the "am", then you are left with the "I". When this "I"-thought plunges back into its Source, it ceases to exist and finds pure being itself. There you can very well live without mind. If you do it practically, you will find that something else will take care of all your activity more wisely than the mind is doing for people who are using mind. We can see today what the result is of using the mind, how the world is behaving by using the mind. I believe that if you keep quiet and let the supreme power take charge of all activities, then you will see how to live with all beings. The one who knows himself will know what it is to be animals, plants, rocks, everything that exists. If you miss realisation of your own Self, you have not known anything.

Catherine: People who are spiritually oriented struggle with what is called the "ego".

Papaji: Let us see where the ego is rising from. Ego has to rise from somewhere to become ego. The ego arises, then mind, then senses – seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, touching. There must be "I" before ego arises. This notion of "I" is the root cause of ego, the mind, manifestation, happiness and unhappiness – samsara. Now return to "I" and question what this "I" is. Where does it rise from? Let us try.

Catherine: I have done this many times, but...

Papaji: You may have done it, but now don't do it. Just land into it. Nothing to do. When you see the process of doing, you must return back again. Ego, mind, senses – this is called "doing". What I am talking about requires no doing at all, just intelligence. You have only to be watchful, vigilant, attentive, serious. No doing, no thinking, no effort, no notions, no intentions. You leave everything aside, simply keep quiet, and wait for the result.

Catherine: This result happens now with you, but...

Papaji: Yes, then you start now from this happening. With this happening you have broken at least this process of ego, mind, senses and manifestation. Now you return from the happening. You can also step out this, but you do so as a king when he rises from his throne and goes to the garden. He is not a gardener; he is still the king. You are this happening.

Catherine: The Buddha spoke about practising this awareness. He taught a meditation practice to enable people to taste this.

Papaji: I have not found any results from these practices, but they are going on. I don't give you any practice. I just remove your old burdens. Don't expect that I will give you something new. If you gain something new, its nature is not Eternal, and you will lose it. Freedom cannot be the effect of any cause. You already have everything. You are an emperor. Throw away the begging bowl.

Practise is needed when you have some destination, something to attain. Abandon this concept of gaining something at a later date. What is Eternal is here and now. If you find freedom after 30 years of practise, it will still be only here and now. Why wait 30 years?

Just sit with a calm mind and see where you have to go and where you are now. Question yourself: "What do I practise for?" For practice you need need something to practise and some intention for practising. What is that through which you practise? Through what do you derive this energy to put anything into practise? Do you get my point? If you want to go somewhere, you have to stand up and walk to reach the destination, so there must be some energy to stand and walk to the destination. What makes you stand up?

Catherine: Some desire.

Papaji: Yes, but where is the desire rising from? Who makes the desire arise and from where? People are doing practices for freedom, so I want you to see – here and now, before going to the destination – what you want. If you want freedom, then find out what is the bondage, where are the chains, what are the fetters. Sit down calmly, patiently, and question, "How am I bound?" What binds you except these notions, concepts, perceptions? Forget about all these things. Don't give rise to any notion, any intention, or any idea. Just for a second. Get rid of these notions, instantly. Now who is seeking freedom? The seeker himself is not yet tackled.

Catherine: There is a saying, "What you are looking for is what is seeking."

Papaji: Yes, find out who the seeker is. Ask yourself, "Who am I?" You have not to move anywhere because it is here and now. It has always been here and now. You are already here and you are already free. You think or have a notion that you have to search for something, to meditate. You have been told this many times. Now just for a short while, sit quietly and do not activate a single thought. You will discover that what you are searching for through methods or practices was already there. It was what was prompting you to meditate. The desire for freedom arises from freedom itself.

Most meditation is only mind working on mind. You are somewhere where the mind cannot trespass. The real meditation is simply to know that you are already free.

Catherine: Yet thoughts come uninvited, as unwelcome guests. And it seems that through meditation practice there is a lessening of thoughts. By systematically keeping quiet, in a calm place, thoughts slow down and even go away altogether.

Papaji: Then you have a tug of war with the thoughts. So long as you are powerful and you are checking your mind, thoughts are not there. When you don't check your mind, the thoughts come again. Don't worry about the thoughts. Let them come and play with you as the waves play with the ocean. When the waves disturb the tranquility of the ocean, it doesn't mind. Let the thoughts arise, but don't allow them any landing space.

Catherine: So much emphasis is placed on getting rid of the thoughts, as though a mind without thoughts is tantamount to an awakened state.

Papaji: No, no, no. Let the thoughts come. If you reject them, they will invade forcibly through your door. Remove the door. Remove the wall itself. Who will come in now? In and out is due to a wall, and this wall is "I am separate from consciousness." Let the thoughts come; they are not different from the waves of the ocean. It is better to be at peace with thought, ego, mind, senses and the manifestation. Let us not fight with anything. Let us be One. You will see your own face in everything. You can speak to plants. You can speak to rocks, and you are the hardness of the rock itself. You are the twittering of the birds. You have to see, "I am the twittering of the birds, I am the shining of the stars."

Catherine: Isn't a still, silent mind more conductive to this depth?

Papaji: There is no depth. It is Immaculate Emptiness. No inside, no outside, no surface, no depth. No place to go. Everywhere you go is here. Just look around and tell me the limits of this moment. Go as far as you can go. How is it measured? Its length? Breadth? Width? This moment has nothing to do with time or depth.

Catherine: Is it really so simple?

Papaji: Yes, when you know it, you will laugh! People go to mountain caves for 30 years just to find pure being itself. Being is just here and now. it is like searching for your glasses while wearing them. What you have been searching for is nearer than your own breath. You are always in the Source. Whatever you are doing, you are doing it in the Source.

Catherine: Poonjaji, religions always promise some afterlife. Is the Source that you speak of a promise of everlasting beingness?

Papaji: I don't believe in these promises which will happen after death. This experience I am speaking of is here and now. What is not here and now is not worth attempting or attaining. To enjoy this here and now is to get rid of the notion that you are not here and now.
Truth must be simple. Complication is in falsehood. Where there are two, there is fear and falsehood.

Catherine: Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, and even the Buddha referred to this life as a dream. Why?

Papaji: Because it is not permanent. Nothing has been permanent. Therefore they don't differentiate between this waking state and the dream state. In a dream you see mountains, rivers and trees which appear real. It is only when you wake up that you say, "I had a dream." Upon awakening, those things are seen as transitory, and you call them a dream. The state you have woken up into now seems real, permanent and continuous when compared to that dream. Like this, when we wake up into consciousness itself, then this so-called waking state also appears to be a dream.

Catherine: What is the function of the Guru?

Papaji: The word "Guru" means "that which removes ignorance" or "that which dispels darkness" – the darkness of "I am the body", "I am the mind, "I am the senses" and "I am the objects and manifestation." That person who has known the Truth himself and is somehow able to impart his experience, his knowledge to one who needs some help is called "Guru".

Catherine: Many people think of you as their Guru.

Papaji: They are speaking of the body. Guru sees only Self unto Self. You are my very own Self. I am your very own Self. This relationship is no relationship. What is the difference between your Self and my Self? I am speaking to that Self which you truly are. I am speaking to my Self.

Others may be preachers of some sect, some dogma, but a Guru gives you his own experience, and this experience is timeless consciousness, nothing else. Guru does not give you any teachings, method or anything that is destructible, impermanent. That is not a Guru. You are not to follow anyone. You are a lion, and wherever a lion goes he cuts his own path.

Catherine: There are many disciples of Osho Rajneesh here in Lucknow with you and there are more coming everyday. As you probably know, he was a very controversial teacher with a bad reputation. What are the differences between you and Osho?

Papaji: I don't indulge in any kinds of differences. The Divine is playing. Whatever it is doing, it is being done by the commands of that Supreme Source. All are my own Self, having different roles to play, and It is being beautifully played.

Catherine: You say that this Divine is playing itself out, but let's look at the suffering on this planet; For instance, there is an ecological destruction that is creating a living hell for people and other beings who are not awake in this dream, as we can easily see here in India. We are creating a desert of this earth and poisoning our land, water and air. Many more people will face starvation and live in degraded circumstances. Worldwide tensions will increase, and so on. people who are primarily interested in spiritual matters, at this particular point in history, are sometimes accused of being selfish. What do you feel about rendering service to the world, and from where does the passion arise for service if this manifestation is seen as a dream?

Papaji: Having know the Supreme, our own Self, from inside there arises compassion. Automatically we are compelled. It's not service. Service has to do with somebody else. When the command is compassion, there's no one doing any service for anybody else, as when you are hungry you eat. You are not in service to the stomach, nor are the hands the servant when they are putting food into the mouth. Like this we should live in the world. Service is the responsibility of the Self. Otherwise who is doing this service? When the action is coming from the ego, there is hypocrisy, jealousy, crisis. When the doer is not there, then compassion arises. If a person is realised, then all his actions are beautiful.

Catherine: What are the main obstructions to freedom?

Papaji: The main obstruction is that the total absolute desire for freedom is missing, because the relationship with the world is not absolutely cut off. In a dream, sometimes, we have a wedding, and then we have children, and we of course love our children. When we wake up, we see how instantly we detach ourselves from our wedding, from our wife, and from our children also. Like this, when we wake up from this dream, and the relationship terminates, there is freedom. Viveka is to discern the Real from the unreal.

Catherine: Do you think there is a danger in people seeing this manifestation as only a dream and therefore not taking responsibility for their actions?

Papaji: That would be a misunderstanding. In 1947, when India was being partitioned, my home area was going to Pakistan. At that time I was with Ramana Maharshi in Tiruvannamalai, and he said to me, "There will be a lot of trouble in the area you come from. Why don't you go and look after your family?" I said, "Since meeting you I have no family. It was a dream, and I have no more interest in that dream." He said, "If you know it is a dream, what difference does it make if you remain in that dream and do your duty?" Then I said, "I do not want to leave you." And he replied, "I am with you wherever you are." This I understood then, and still it is true.

Now, when you have discerned the Real from the unreal, then do not doubt. Doubt is a wall between you and freedom, and even this doubt is only a concept, a phantom. Plunge into Eternity. This is the nectar. People are afraid of tasting the nectar. What to do?

Catherine: Some teachers propose that there is merit in burning out desires, fulfilling the desires until we are sick of them and don't want the objects anymore. You're saying that we need, rather, to see that this reality is just a dream, and then we will lose interest.

Papaji: Yes, some teachers say that you must fulfill the desires. I don't think that to extinguish a fire, you go on pouring gasoline on it. This is to continue the desire with wrong desire. It will not end the desires. The best way is to know what is real. Once you know what is real and what is unreal, then you will not desire that which is unreal. Then you will stand with absolutely one weapon in hand and that is discrimination between the Real and the unreal and the desire to be free. When you have this desire it merges with freedom itself.

Catherine: It seems that doubt and the inability to discern the Real from the unreal are often perpetuated by psychological habits and a lifetime of conditioning, often leading to various forms of mental suffering. What do you suggest in those cases?

Papaji: This suffering denotes that you are digging in the graveyard of the past. Without touching the past, tell me who is unhappy. If you are living in the present, you are happy. In between the past and the future, who are you? You are bliss.

Catherine: Is it love that is fueling the cosmos – a gigantic pulsation wanting to unite with itself?

Papaji: I don't even call it love. When you utter the word "love", if you carefully watch, you see it is taking you to some previous objective experience to translate this love into the past. As far as my experience goes, it's not even love, not even love. It is something... a fullness as when there are no waves in the middle of the ocean.

The word "love" is misused. I could believe love where there is no lover and no beloved. No subject, no object – this is true love.

Catherine: To what does the concept of devotion apply?

Papaji: It is not from any individuality toward something else. The silence is itself surrendered to its Source.

Catherine: Poonjaji, are you still going beyond and beyond in your life?

Papaji: Even now. Every moment. Every moment.

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