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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 | old tcheng | sayings | 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" | all is a dream | 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
advaita | vedanta | devikalottara | supreme wisdom | atma sakshatkar | direct awareness of the self | vichara mani mala | jewel garland of enquiry
avadhuta gita | ever-free | ashtavakra gita | purest expression of truth | ribhu gita | heart | wisdom | bhagavad gita | essence | the song celestial
adi shankaracharya | atma bodha | aparokshanubhuti | dakshinamurti strotram | dasasloki | nirvana shatkam | drik drisya viveka | vivekachudamani
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



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

"When you cross the ocean you will see the Emptiness of Unity."

UESTION :  Papaji, there has been a long-standing debate about the value, if any, of a relative approach – the notion of practice, development, becoming, with a view to a long-term end. There are other teachers who regard this as a distraction and missing the Essence altogether. What are your comments on this relative approach of practice?

Papaji: I don't think that anyone can arrive at the Essence by any traditional way.

Question: OK. So this means that with the traditional forms, they actually serve to obscure or hide the Essence.

Papaji: Yes. I don't think that anybody moving in the traditional way has benefited himself by freeing himself from samsara, the endless cycle of birth and death. Take the case of the Buddha. He tried all traditions and he finally rejected all of them. He stayed with all kinds of people from different traditions and he found that what they proposed was not what he wanted. He understood that all traditions could not help to attain the Essence of enlightenment, the Self. So he rejected everything because he wanted to know his my own Self. This is not the traditional way. He sat under a tree in Bodhgaya after rejecting all tradition until he discovered his own Self by himself, you see.

Question: So one important thing that needs to be understood is the abandonment of the traditional way, right?

Papaji: That is the dharma [true way]. When you abandon the traditional ways, you will arrive at the Truth.

Question: Insight meditation, in the Vipassana tradition, is rather unconventional and focuses all attention on the Witness. You sit and observe, walk and observe all that happens. What would be your comment regarding this?

Papaji: I have heard of insight meditation. It is the observation of objects, or just the breath. To fix your attention on something there has to be an observer. The observer is there to observe something. And whatever is observed is observed through the mind only. Whatever you gain by using the mind can only be mental. Now, who is the Observer? This question has to be tackled. When you observe, all attention is on the object of the senses and none is on the Observer.

Question: In insight meditation, there is the observer of the observed, but one of its features is to say that whatever is observed is impermanent, coming and going, unsatisfactory and is "not me" and "not mine". The result may only be mental, but there is less attachment, less possessiveness, less clinging and less desire. There is a sense of freedom in knowing that nothing is worth clinging to or holding onto. People who practice insight meditation feel more contentment, more peace and greater clarity.

Papaji: Insight means "not outside" and is the sight which does not cling to any outside object, but rather on Emptiness within. But when you reject this wall between inside and outside and just look at Emptiness, going from form to Formlessness, then you don't need any meditation. This wall between you and something unknown is no longer there.

Question: Yes. In insight meditation there are four objects of the mind: body, feelings, thoughts and sense objects. You observe these things, see them coming and going, and you don't cling to any of them. But as you point out, often there is not the enquiry into the observer, who seems to stand outside of all of this.

Papaji: Yes, that's what I meant. To whom does this body belong, to whom do feelings belong, to whom do thoughts belong and to whom do the sense objects belong? These must belong to somebody. Now, let us reject what can be rejected. The body is made of the elements and does not have the capacity to realise the Self, so reject it. Same goes for feelings, thoughts and sense objects. So reject all of them. But what happens when you reject the act of rejecting? You will arrive at some unknown destination, which is beyond body, feelings, thoughts and objects, and which can never be rejected. This is Reality and everything belongs to It and is due to It. When you reject everything you discover freedom, and in freedom I am absolutely alone.

Question: What do you mean by rejection? Is it something that occurs spontaneously as a letting go? Or is it the clear affirmation, "I do not want to be identified with all of this."

Papaji: It means that you are only concerned with That which is real. For example, when you go to sleep, everything is rejected – world, body, wife, feelings, thoughts and objects. What did you do to reject everything? To enter sleep, everything has to be abandoned, otherwise you cannot enter. And you are willing to reject everything, even pleasurable things, so that you can sleep. Why? Why do you reject all the beauties of life?

Question: Out of necessity.

Papaji: Yes, because it is necessary. When you sleep you are much happier than during your waking life. If it was not so, you would never go to sleep.

Question: So you are saying that entering sleep is the simultaneous dropping off of the four objects of the mind.

Papaji: Yes, we can agree on this point – a simultaneously dropping of everything. Only when you awake in the morning, you can say that you had slept. So, who is awake during sleep? Do you see anything in deep sleep?

Question: No, nothing can been seen.

Papaji: And are you happy or unhappy while you sleep?

Question: Personally, very content.

Papaji: Yes. Suppose you are in a supermarket and have already bought many things. Will you be happier going to another marketplace to buy more things or returning home directly?

Question: Returning home.

Papaji: The marketplace represents the body senses and all their transactions with objects. This is the market. If all these transactions could bring satisfaction, happiness, pleasure and beauty, nobody would like to go to sleep or return home. There is something else much more precious than worldly transactions that makes us prefer to sleep. It is more precious than everything else. Now, who is awake during sleep?

Question: Nobody that I know.

Papaji: Something is awake during sleep. When you wake up, you say, "I slept very well and was very happy. I didn't think about anything." Who experienced this happiness? Who was it?

Question: For that I have no answer.

Papaji: All this is samsara and you are in the waking state. Now, you are about to dose off, but sleep has not yet started.

Question: Exactly, this point we call the satshi, which means pure awareness or observation.

Papaji: You are at this point here and the beyond, the unknown Emptiness has not yet been experienced.

Question: That's it. That's what I'm trying to express.

Papaji: Now let us see what happens here. Everything that had to be rejected has been rejected. The whole waking state has ended and the beyond is not yet seen. At this moment, what do you see?

Question: At this moment, there is some identification with the known called "I", which has this notion of being solid and permanent.

Papaji: This "I" is not the "I" which I speak about. This "I" and everything else has been absorbed by the unknown. There is no return to the known. I'm speaking of that moment between the known and the unknown. When this "I", that has known everything, stands before the unknown, it becomes shy and dissolves. On facing the unknown an immense happiness surges up. When this "I" is face to face with Emptiness, it will simply disappear.

Question: So at that critical point, there is a humility or a trust that its own dissolution will take place in deep sleep.

Papaji: Its dissolution will take place in happiness – to leave everything and embrace something else which has no name and no form. "I" will jump into nectar, beauty, love, where there is nothing to cling to and no one who can cling. Subject and object are not there, neither the thought process. Even the mind is not there to claim that experience. No one can speak of this experience. Can you could give me some news about it? I would be happy if you could.

Question: I have good news. [laughter] So, all the methods, practices, traditions and processes eventually take you to this end, this edge.

Papaji: All sadhanas take you to the end and advise you to reject "me". Sadhan means any kind of practice, and sadhana means "Don't practice." Na means "don't". So if you give up all practices, those you have been doing so far, what will happen? You come to the end. When you abandon everything, you are absolutely naked. And when you are naked you will jump into dissolution, never to return. Even if you cannot decide whether to jump or not, there is something behind pushing you.

Question: Are you the pusher?

Papaji: The pusher is the same as the one that has to be pushed. But truly speaking, no push is needed, nor are you at any end, nor have you started from somewhere else, nor have you to jump anywhere. You are here and now.

Question: This is very significant. One hasn't started anything, one hasn't arrived at any critical point, and no push is required.

Papaji: No samsara and no nirvana.

Question: So, the whole construction of the mind is a complete fiction, yet it appears very real.

Papaji: Mind is very powerful. The mind suggests that you are bound and you accept it. This is the creation of samsara. Then the mind suggests to be free from samsara, and then the practice starts. This is all a concept! Nirvana is only a concept, a trap of the mind. So how do you escape this trap? When you call it a "trap" you are out of it. You know by a special spontaneous knowledge that all this is just a trap of the mind. Then you understand that there is nothing to do and nowhere to go. Just be. You have come from nowhere and you will never go anywhere.

Question: It takes my breath away [laughter]!

Papaji: Here everything can be accepted, because there is nothing to be rejected and nothing to be accepted. Therefore you are free to accept everything.

Question: This gives me a great freedom at the moment. What would you say to a person who seems attracted to awakening but believes that it is not possible because of too many demands and duties in daily life?

Papaji: He should only be made to wake up from this dream of duty and realise that he is already and always free. Man is only dreaming. This man is asleep who says, "I have family duties, job duties and have no time to find my Self." This man is asleep. But a man who wakes up from the dream, he has no family, nor any job. He is always free. Nothing has ever touched this man. He is so very alone that even sleeping doesn't touch him. When you see anything, any name or any form, it means you are asleep. This whole samsara that has lasted for millions of years is just a thought in this instant of time. And this instant is empty. Just surrender this "I" which thinks it is bound. Remove the doubt that you are not already free. Then fear will leave you forever. All this is samsara and doesn't exist and there is only one Reality.

Question: So what happens to one's karma after awakening?

Papaji: According to Advaita, this body is here because of previously accumulated karma. That's how they explain it. It's like when you roll a ball on the ground, the initial momentum will determine the length of time that the ball will roll. So when someone wakes up, all the stored karma in the memory gets destroyed because there is no longer a doer of selfish actions. And the initial momentum, due to the residual effects of the karma which gave us this body, will continue up to the end of this life. This will have no affect on the awakened one. He now acts according to the circumstances that appear before him with total indifference, knowing that it is unreal. There is no future and no past for him, and he will not be reborn because he is desireless.

Question: Do you agree with this?

Papaji: I don't believe in karma. There is no such thing as past karma, present karma, nor future karma. For example, a man who has already been married twice is planning to get married in the near future. He married his first wife ten years, his second wife one year ago and his third marriage is just about to take place. But, in between this function of the upcoming marriage, he dies. With his death, all three wives are widowed – his past wife, recent wife and wife-to-be. Like this, when a man dies to his ego and no longer has the feeling of doership, all his karma is widowed. Karma no longer has anyone to cling to, no place to abide. A liberated man only reacts to the present circumstances and has no concept of being a doer. His ego is dead and he is absolutely free. I believe that a man who has no doubts cannot have any karma.

Question: Right.

Papaji: A free man who is not bound never feels that he has acted. For him, nothing ever happens. He knows that he has always been free and nothing has ever changed. How can he have any karma now, and how can he take another birth? Everything is finished for him.

Question: So in a way you're saying that when the husband dies, his wives die too.

Papaji: They are widowed. The husband dies, but the wives continue to live. In the case of the liberated man who has no ego, he never says "this is mine" or "this belongs to me". All doership and all sense of possession have vanished, so he is dead while alive. He can do whatever he likes because no impressions can disturb his mind. He is dead to his ego and his actions are free from any reactions, from any karma and from any self-interest. Whereas someone who thinks that he is the doer will reap the consequences of his actions. You become what you think, you see. The free man will reap the consequences of his freedom and the other man will be punished by his own thought process. But in the ultimate Truth, nothing ever exists.

In a dream somebody becomes a king and someone else becomes a beggar, but both belong to the dream. The samsara is exactly like this. Ultimately, there have never been kings and beggars at all. Everything appears from one Source and only That is true. Once you recognise that you are that Source, then you will realise that you have always been free and never been bound. Here in satsang, some people understand this instantly, in this moment. Freedom is here and now, so why postpone it by practising something? Freedom can only be realised in this instant and all practices demand time and effort. That which is available now will be available in 30 years, so why not do it now? It is unchanging and always available here in this instant.

Question: All my life, even as a little boy, the desire for freedom has been stronger than all other desires. It doesn't really seem to be a desire; it's more like a longing. This desire seems to pull me back, while the other desires seem to pull me out. This desire for freedom mysteriously seems to stay, where the other desires come and go and change with my thoughts. The desire for freedom is always there, burning. It seems to be deeper than the mind. Is this true?

Papaji: This is the most intense desire. All other desires are on the surface. They rise and fall, you see. The desire for freedom is intense and you must respond to it. When you respond, this desire will bring you back home. It will continue to trouble you if it is not fulfilled in this life span.

This desire must be fulfilled, whether you like it or not. That is why you come here. What a farce! This desire follows you wherever you go, in whatever incarnation you take. It will not leave you. How did it push you here? You left your job and your business; why did you have to come here? Just consider it. You must return home! How long can you stay at the market?

Question: It seems the only response to the desire is to look within to where the mind originates. To go to the place where thoughts arise and stay with it. That is the response, isn't it?

Papaji: Yes. You will unceasingly scan the mind. Unceasingly. And you will know who you are. For example, how far is it from Kanpur, where you come from, to here?

Question: About 90 kilometres, about three hours.

Papaji: Three hours. Now why does it take three hours?

Question: Because of the distance.

Papaji: Very good, very good. So where is the "I" that is asking the question? And where is the I' in "Who am I?" If there is no space and no distance, then your answer should take no time!

Question: This desire for freedom and the thought "Who am I?", are they the same?

Papaji: Same. Same. "Who am I?" brings you back if you have the desire for freedom. To whom did this desire arise? "To me" you say. Then find out who you are.

Question: Freedom is faith in the present moment?

Papaji: Why faith in present? In present moment, who is there to have faith in whom? In the present, to have faith is always something of the past. How can you have faith in the present moment? When the word "faith" comes, it takes you to the past.

Question: I wanted to say that faith means to see that there is nothing else but the present moment.

Papaji: Yes. That's right. The present moment is freedom. Look into the present moment, into freedom itself. You are always looking into the past moments. When did you give an occasion for the present moment to manifest? You have never given a chance to this present moment. You are always relating yourself to the past only. You are ignoring this instant and are not giving yourself to it. This instant is the present moment. Look into it. Then you will see your face.

When you use the word "I", then stop and look where this "I" arises from. This is the present moment. Look at this "I" and you will know this present moment, and then what is your faith? Where does it arise? If you go forward, you will go to the past. Return back to this, to where the thought "I" arose. Return back from whatever place you are to here and now. Here you are always free! You don't have to run anywhere to be free. You have to run for something else. Where is freedom, enlightenment, peace, bliss? It is here. Now, to be here, what effort is needed? You do not have to do anything to stay as you are.

Where can you turn? You only have to turn when you are somewhere else. To turn from where? When you are at home, no flight is needed. Just remove these wrong ideas that you have borrowed from someone else, from society, your parents, your religion. It is not your nature to be unhappy or to suffer.

Question: Does it go quickly or slowly?

Papaji: Slowly is only the mind that fools you. To be right now, what understanding is needed? To be right now, what you already are, you don't need any understanding or misunderstanding.

Question: Why did I come here then?

Papaji: You came here because you thought you were "there"!

Question: When I look in your eyes I see just Self. And I realise that when I honour you, I am honouring my Self. But I still haven't learned to honour the Self in everyone. I can honour it in you but I still make comparisons and judgements of others. I don’t see the Self in everyone.

Papaji: First you have to see the Self within you! Then within me, and then everywhere else.

Question: But when I look in other people's eyes I can't see it so clearly.

Papaji: First see the Self within you. Then you will se that the Self in you is not other than the Self in me; it is the same Self. Then you perceive that the same Self in you, in me, is everywhere else. And Self alone is that Self. There is nothing apart from the Self. This experience you will surely get if you stick to Self alone. Nothing else ever existed at all!

Question: But I …

Papaji: Okay, lets tackle it another way. When you see the Self, don't see the "not-Self" also at the same time. If you do not see the "not-Self" here and there and everywhere, what will you see?

Question: Only the Self.

Papaji: Only the Self everywhere! The "not-Self" doesn't exist. And the Self is not absent at all! So you will see Self everywhere. When I say everywhere, it is nowhere. Nowhere itself. Because no distance is involved. No here and somewhere. Self alone is total awareness of Self.

All the wave, eddies, drops and bubbles in the ocean are the ocean. So, according to your question , "I see the ocean", is saying, "I see the ocean within myself but not in the waves or other eddies, tides, bubbles. There I do not see." So you have to first see the ocean within the ocean, Self within the Self. And this will include everything else. The Self contains everything. There is nothing apart from It. This is why you can call It Emptiness. There is nothing beyond Emptiness. All is empty. Nothing ever exists.

When you see something existing, it is not other than you. So, wherever there is an idea or concept of duality, then there is confusion. In Truth there is no duality at all. Oneness and wholeness is all. If we accept duality, then there must be frontiers between the two, and therefore it cannot be limitless. There will be a division between duality and union. So, there cannot be any divisions or frontiers in limitless Reality, in total Emptiness. There are no frontiers. This is seeing Self everywhere!

Question: I have just come from a very busy culture and very busy life in San Francisco – a life and culture filled with stress, noise, choices, confusion, and so much doing and activity. Suddenly, I come here and there is just Self. Everything turns back to the Self. It is so simple. I am struck by the simplicity of your guidance. Just immediately! So simple. Just paying attention to the Self. How will it be when I go back to San Francisco?

Papaji: Simplicity will not be lost. You cannot lose simplicity. Simplicity is nature.

Question: We forget that.

Papaji: It will not forget you. You may forget your Self, but She will not forget you. She is very chaste.

Question: I will try to remember that.

Papaji: It is the easiest and simplest of everything that you do, even easier than breathing. Easier than the breath that you inhale or exhale. For here you are neither to inhale nor exhale. Where does the inhalation and exhalation take place? You inhale, and it stops. You exhale, and it stops. And here, this is what you are, in between the inhaling and exhaling. Not even the effort to inhale or exhale is needed.

From where does thought arise? There must be some activity for the thought to arise and go somewhere. But the Source doesn't go and doesn't come – It is as It is. How simple it is. [much laughter] I have to laugh sometimes because I see fish in the river who say, "I am thirsty". Saying "I want enlightenment" is the same thing. [more laughter]

That which is near and easy, you don't pay any attention to It. But that which is difficult and far – the moon, Mt. Everest – you are attentive to. No one has ever arrived at the Self this way.

"Who am I?" Investigate it. Start with the question itself. First investigate "who". Next, investigate "am". Next, investigate "I". When you return to the "I", the question will disappear and there will be no need to have an answer. No question, no answer. That "no answer" is the answer. The river returns to the source, the ocean, from where it began, and disappears within the ocean. There are no rivers flowing in the ocean. So, no further enquiry to search for the river is needed. The river merges into the ocean and becomes the ocean.

We are all returning to the Source. Every sentence that we speak returns. Every activity is moving towards itself. You only have to be aware and your journey will end. We are in the Source Itself. Even if you don't try, you are already That. Make this choice: choose "I am free" and you are instantly free. But if you prefer to choose "I am bound", then you are bound. The choice is yours. If you choose to be bound; then you choose to suffer. So if you have the choice, choose happiness and freedom. Let it be a good choice of love.

When all other choices have failed miserably and the result is suffering, we have been cheated. So let us go the other way. Nothing known has ever given us lasting happiness so far. Anything that has a name and form is impermanent. Let us choose nameless and formless Emptiness this time, in this blessed span of life.

Question: I make it so complicated when I think "What is the Self? You make it sound so simple. You say, "I am the Self."

Papaji: Yes. This simplicity is too difficult for you to digest.

Question: I am looking for a concept of Self instead of "I am the Self."

Papaji: You need not make any speculation nor try to capture the Self as a concept. The Self is, and you are that Self. You cannot disagree. Can you speak to anyone else and say, "I am not my Self"? And if you do, what will he think of you? [laughs]

Any concept is incomplete, but Self is complete. Everything is contained within you. You are Eternity. No death can touch you. Just remain as Self, as you are. That's all you have to do. How difficult is it? What is the difficulty in baptising yourself "I am I"? That's all.

Question: I was very touched yesterday when you spoke of obedience. Living obedience every second, obedience to That every second.

Papaji: Yes.

Question: Obedience implies a duality, doesn't it?

Papaji: It is your own Self, so where is the duality?

Question: Only Self?

Papaji: Yes. When you love your Self, is it not obedience? The river merging, the river discharging into the ocean – is it not obedience? It returns to its source and the ocean is happy to receive it. When you return to the Source, It is happy to receive you.

If you are obedient to something else or someone else, then you can call it "duality". But where is duality? You have two hands, two feet, ten fingers, a nose... how many parts to this body, but when you say "I", is it duality? When you see your face in the mirror, are there two people? When you see the Truth, you know there has never been duality, from the beginning until the end of the universe.

Question: I was thinking of the Self creating multiplicity for its own enjoyment.

Papaji: When you cross the ocean you will see the Emptiness of Unity. In a dream you see many different people, of many different ages, and you see mountains that are millions of years old, and different stars. And when you are awake, was what you saw in the dream unity or multiplicity?

Question: A dream within the unity.

Papaji: When you wake up, all duality and unity experienced in the dream vanishes. In the same way, when you wake up from this waking sleep you return to Emptiness. Whenever we see objects we are dreaming. And when we are dreaming, this means we are also sleeping. So you have to wake up with a shout, "I want to be free!" With this shout you will wake up and everything vanishes. Otherwise, you will be reborn again and again in endless cycles of aeons.

Question: Is enlightenment, or Self-realisation, just an awareness, a self-evident awareness of being?

Papaji: Yes, it is awareness. Total awareness of being, same thing. No difference. Total awareness. Everything is there and you are that awareness.

Question: I have this awareness. Yet, as everybody knows, your realisation is much deeper than mine. What is the difference?

Papaji: You make a difference. Otherwise, there is no difference.

Question: If I were to sit there, where you are, after one week nobody would come here anymore.

Papaji: You can try. Come here. [everyone laughs] When I asked my master about difference, he removed my difference and I accepted it. I immediately realised that I was not separate from him.

Question: Maybe this is the point. I do not accept enough.

Papaji: Do not accept enough? [laughs] I accepted it and then there was no problem. There is nothing apart from That. If you accept it, there will be no problem. If you accept "I am free", then you are free. If you accept "I am not free", you are not free.

Question: Yesterday, you said everyone must one day face the Truth. If I freely believe, then I am enlightened?

Papaji: No! "I am" does not need your belief or disbelief! From the "I am" there is no difference. Fully accept "I am", that's all. If you have some grades of acceptance, that is, "Slowly I will try to accept, I will practise to accept", then you will slowly accept. It depends on you. It will not change. Enlightenment will not change today, tomorrow, the next day. It is the same. Get it now, or after one year, or in this life span. It will not change.

You are not accepting it. Accept it fully and then, where is the problem? You are already free. Who tells you that you are not free? You are not opening to it. You are afraid to even utter "I am free". I do not know what that fear is. When people say, "I am bound, I am suffering, I am miserable", then they feel free to speak. "I am free! I am deathless" nobody speaks. Whose fault is this? Whatever you say, whatever you think, is going to happen. It will be fulfilled, now or tomorrow. If you think "I am free", then you are free.

People don't fully desire freedom. How many people desire freedom? I tell you that you are already free and you don't accept it. You want to do something. Freedom doesn't need any effort. Other things may need effort. Freedom is free, free of your efforts.

Question: So no more struggle, just accept it.

Papaji: Then It will be here. When you don't make any effort It is here. When you try to catch It, It goes further away, because you are making an effort for That which is already here.

Question: That is what I have learned from you. I am so thankful.

Papaji: [laughs] Very nice. You learned it here, then your work is finished. If you don't make any effort, whatsoever, you are That itself.

Question: This morning I was lying on my bed and I had many doubts about what I am doing here and many, many thoughts. And suddenly I felt, "But what is this? I am lying on my bed and that is it." All the doubts suddenly went away and I felt very calm inside.

Papaji: That is the present moment. How long did you stay in the present moment and what did you do to lose it?

Question: I tried to analyse what had happened.

Papaji: Whatever is too near is difficult to attend to. The eyes see everything. But the eyes do not see themselves. Like this, the Self through the mind sees all the world, but the mind doesn't return back home to be the Self.

Question: How do we overcome fear?

Papaji: By giving up all practices.

Question: At that moment when the fear is thick [snaps fingers] what do you do?

Papaji: At that moment between the placing of your fingers together and the snap, what did you do? Where did the sound of the snap come from? This sound came from undoing it. Do it [places fingers in position for snap], then undo. All that you have done, heard, seen and read – for a moment, forget about this and tell me what is your face? What do you see? By simply undoing, what do you arrive at?

Question: Nothing.

Papaji: Ah. That is the return to your question: how to do? Undo everything and where do you arrive? A distance between thought and thought. This dive is the same as nothingness. When you are absolutely happy, this is the same as nothingness. When you are absolutely happy to meet your beloved after twenty years, what thought is in your mind? No thought.

Surrounded by nothingness you have to do nothing. You have to do nothing to be who you are. Nothing at all. To become something, of course, to become a doctor is different. This is not a return to your true nature. You are always here. You deny it. You don't accept your greatness. Being Eternity Itself, Reality Itself, how can you say, "I am afraid and suffering"?

Question: I just came from seeing the Dalai Lama. He spoke of the problems of the world and the need for everyone to do right action. What is right action?

Papaji: For an enlightened being, there is no consideration of past or future. No consideration is given to the fruits of action. Rather, action is taken in each moment from Emptiness. The fruits will take care of themselves.

The Dalai Lama was speaking to the common man who needs morality to guide his actions. Enlightened beings recognise that morality itself is empty, as is everything else. Therefore, right action, right speech, and the Buddha's Eightfold Path may come as a consequence of Emptiness, but they will never lead to Emptiness. Therefore, a seeker of Truth looks for Emptiness only, and everything else follows.

Question: Then what practice do you recommend?

Papaji: No practice. There is a river of thought-waves and everyone is being washed downstream. Everyone is clinging to these thoughts and being washed away. Just give rise to the single thought "I want to be free". This thought will rarely come out of the entire population. The entire population of the planet is moving downstream. They are not destined to give rise to the thought "I want to be enlightened in this very span of time."

So I call this thought of freedom "going against the stream and toward the Source." It does not require any effort to give rise to this thought. The thought "I want to be free" is itself free. This thought will take you to freedom. It is the most rare thought. Out of the entire population of six billion, only a handful give rise to this thought.

Question: Master, I have been with you for four days now, and I am still not enlightened.

Papaji: [laughing] Yes, I am surprised, a smart boy like you.

Question: What should I do?

Papaji: Let me tell you what my master told me. Just be quiet. This quiet does not involve talking or not talking. It does not involve any doing whatsoever. Just let the mind fall into silence. This is enough.

Question: Now wait. I can't believe what you just said to him. I've been trained to think that it takes years and years of practise and lifetimes of training and hard work to reach liberation. Now you say it's simply a switch on the wall, a change of perception. Is that correct?

Papaji: You need not switch on or off. For the sun to shine do you switch it on?

Question: No.

Papaji: Just like this. This light is always there. No switches at all. The sun has no switches. You turn your face away and you call it night. Sun has no night and no day. You are that sun. This is your own light and you are That. You don't need any switches. The switches are limitations. You have fixed these limitations yourself. Nature has not fixed any switches. There are no walls for the switches either. Walls are imaginary only, like walls between countries. You have constructed this wall between you and something else. You have to break this which does not exist.

"I want this, I want that. I dislike this, I like that." If you remove this switch of like and dislike, how will you feel? Instantly, you will be free. Likes and dislikes keep you in bondage and suffering. The frontier you have created is the suffering. You have to demolish it by yourself. Nobody will help you.

Question: What do you mean, "Nobody will help you"?

Papaji: The Self has to help the Self; nobody else can help. Who else will demolish this wall? You have to help yourself. Find out, is it possible to be out of the Self, ever? First say, "I want help." Then discover who needs help. Self is not suffering. Self is not in bondage. Self is ever free.

Question: So you are saying it is the mind clinging to the wall which is suffering?

Papaji: Yes. Who has created separation? Mind has created separation, and no mind will remove this separation. The separation doesn't exist. Even to say "I am separate" is a joke.

It is only when there is a need for understanding that there is something to be understood. Once some of Krishnamurti's students came here to see me. They said there is only one difference between our teachings. They said, "Krishnamurti removes concepts from the vessel and Poonjaji breaks the vessel altogether." [laughs]

So allow yourself some time, a couple of moments. And in those moments there should be no trespassing. Make available a few seconds, and during this span nobody should trespass. I think you could well afford to be available for a few moments. You have spent all your life for others, and not even a minute for your Self.

Everyone possesses you. When you are born, your parents say you are "my son". Go to school next and you're "my student." Then marry and you're "my husband". Have children and you're "my father". Remove these possessions. Let no one possess you. Reject everything and see what happens.

You have to devote some time to your Self, either now or in some other lifetime. You have to reach your home. There is no escape. You have to return home, either now or tomorrow. You must decide if you still want to play some more. It doesn't matter. In the end, it doesn't matter.

You think it is taking time. It is "no time" that you are spending because you are already free; it is only your illusion that you think you are not free. You have to allow time, once and for all, if you want to be happy. The moment you declare "I am free!" – standing on the mountain top on your toes, with you arms up in air – Eureka! This is a happy moment a very happy moment. So, what prevents you from being free? What is the impediment?

Question: That I often have lots of thoughts and it is very difficult to get rid of them.

Papaji: What kind of thoughts do you have? Do you give rise to the thought of freedom?

Question: Yes.

Papaji: Hold on to this thought of freedom. Do you see any other thoughts simultaneously rising up?

Question: No.

Papaji: Mind can hold on to only one thought at a time.

Question: I understand.

Papaji: Tell me which other thoughts replace this thought of freedom. Voluntarily bring another thought to replace this. Another thought that you like best. Do it, do it!

Question: I don't want to reject this thought.

Papaji: Very good. Very nice. When you like this thought, where will this thought take you? Where will other thoughts be? Where is freedom? How many kilometres away from you?

Question: I don't think it is far away from me.

Papaji: If it is not far from you, then how much time is needed for you to arrive here? How much time does is take to be as you are? It is here and now. How much time to be here and now?

Question: As little as possible.

Papaji: Let us agree, as little as possible. Should we call it this moment? This instant? The least possible time. This instant is the time. Now look at this moment, the least time. Look into this instant, if it is not far away. Jump into it right now.

Question: How?

Papaji: Now! [much laughter] Now, what is the thought now?

Question: None. Only this now.

Papaji: No thoughts troubling you now?

Question: Only that I am looking for thoughts.

Papaji: Yes, yes. Keep on looking for thoughts. Do you understand what you are saying?

Question: Yes.

Papaji: If you don't look for a thought, the thoughts will look for you. If you don't look, all the thoughts will attack you. Try. If you look for a thought, can you catch it?

Question: They have disappeared.

Papaji: Then when the thoughts have disappeared, who are you?


This is the best answer you can give me. Stay as such. If you step out of this silence, there is trouble. You don't need anything. Eternity is here. Happiness is here. No death can enter this silence. No trouble can enter here. Step out and there is samsara. No thought, no concept, can enter here. All desires are met here in Emptiness.

Papaji: Different practices have been described which are being followed in the world. One is jnana marg – the path of knowledge; one is bhakti marg the path of devotion; and one is karma marg – the path of action. Rituals, Yoga, Raja Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, pilgrimages to shrines, worship of the personal deities, recitation of the holy books, repetition of the sacred formulas, and many other types of exercises, or sadhanas are being practised. But what and where is the goal which you have chosen to attain? What do you want and where is it? What is your aim? For different aims there are different roads, different practices.

Here we are mainly dealing with Brahman [Reality]. I will use the word "Brahman", rather than "Self", because in all other languages "self" can also be used for the individual soul, for the individuality. Brahman is that which is without any attributes – knowledge itself which has no association whatsoever with duality. Brahman is the word that has been used in the book of Knowledge. We are working here on how to arrive at that attributeless Brahman which is beyond the reach of the mind and the intellect. It is said by those who have gone beyond and realised this goal, that this is where the intellect and its associates like mind, senses, and so on beat a retreat. They cannot go there because it reveals itself by itself. You need no agent, no one to take you there, neither the intellect, nor the mind, nor the senses, nor any kind of practice, because it is self-revealing.

You need a candle to find something in a dark room. You need the light of the sun in the day or of the moon in the night, and if they are not there you need a candle or a lamp in the house. But you don't need a candle to see a lamp – it is light itself. It is self-revealing and self-luminous. No association is possible; it is attributeless. It is often advised that to realise the attributeless Brahman, immaculate Brahman, Eternal Brahman, one should adopt a practice which is very near to your goal. Going on pilgrimages, purification, visiting churches – may have some benefit. Worship of the deities may also give you some temporary relief. The chanting of holy books may help to focus your mind on one object. But with all these practices the mind is not yet obliterated.

The practice nearest to Truth for those few who want to realise Absolute Brahman is meditating only on attributeless Brahman itself, without any object of concentration. When people start to meditate, they hold some image in the mind or some word. That may be useful, but it is even better to think of attributeless Brahman, to always keep aware of the attributeless Brahman during meditation, knowing that "I am Brahman", without focusing on any object of the past, present or future.

This is the nearest practice. If you want to do any practice, then meditate on attributeless Brahman, immaculate Brahman, which is none other than your own Self, your own fundamental nature. If you are not able to realise the Truth instantly, you can continue this practice for a while. Slowly, you will see that the meditator and the meditated upon vanish. Neither attributeless Brahman nor meditation upon attributeless Brahman has anything to do with a meditator or something meditated upon.

If you want to think about something, why think, "I am the body?" The body does not last. Why think, "I am this" or "I am that"? If you want to have a thought at all and you cannot live without thinking, then have the supreme thought, "I am Brahman." This is the exercise which is nearest to your goal of Brahman itself. The meditator and the meditated upon will vanish. This is the goal of all meditation. No other sadhana or exercise is as near as this for one who wants to be free from this samsara, from this going again and again from death to birth and birth to death. This is how to break the cycle. There is only one way and this is the way. This can continue always wherever you are.

You do not need to go to any ashram, because nobody there knows how to sit quiet. In most ashrams and centres, many different therapies have been introduced. There should be at least one person who could teach you about silence, peace, and tranquility, and direct you to that attributeless Brahman. But no one teaches you to sit quiet and do nothing. If a centre were to do that then what would be the use of that centre? A centre is there for some commercial reason, for some material gain.

What better teaching could there be than "Keep quiet!"? This is the only teaching that is not practised anywhere in the world! This is the teaching of my master. Nobody else has taught this in this century. There were a few teachers in the past, but not in this century. In the twentieth century he alone was the teacher who could say, "Keep quiet!"

To keep quiet is the only goal that you have to practice in order to do away with this samsara. If you can't keep quiet, then the practice closest to this quietness is to repeat, "I am Brahman." There is no harm in this, because when you utter the word "Brahman", it has neither name nor form. This "Brahman" word is not a name, because name and form immediately go together. When you utter a name, there is a form. There is no form to accompany this name, so the mind is again formless and nameless. Brahman does not depict any object nor subject.

This practice is not even a practice. It can be continued at home with whatever you are doing in your routine of life. Just keep this thought here and then, do whatever you want. This is the way which is nearest to your own Self. In this life, a human body is very rare so we have to make the best of it. Once lost it cannot be regained. We would have to go around again.

You are here from many countries, so let us find some way to be happy and peaceful in ourselves. Now is the time. We know what is happening in the world of men – nothing but nonsense. We can only keep quiet and wish that sanity descends on human beings. We send good vibrations of peace and love every morning. Let us behave at least as human beings, working for our own good and for that of the world.

Buddha has done it.
Janaka has done it.
Yagnavalka has done it.
Vasistha has done it.
Shikaraj has done it.
Vishvamitra and many others have done it.
So why can't you do it? If you are bent upon doing it, it is here and now.

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