Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Video Interviews

I have been in Colorado, USA, for the last few weeks, staying with my wife who is currently working near Denver. Here I am a couple of days ago, standing in front of a herd of elk who had come down to a picnic area just outside Rocky Mountain National Park.

The day before I went to this park I did an interview with Rick Archer for his site 'Buddha at the Gas Pump'. Rick interviews a different spiritual writer or teacher every week and posts the interview on his site. All the interviews he has done can be found here:

His interviews are also posted on Youtube. Here is our conversation, which covered a wide variety of topics:

A few weeks ago Michael James was also interviewed by Rick. This is his interview:

There are several more videos of Michael talking about Bhagavan on his Youtube channel:

A few months ago I also started a Youtube channel and loaded up a few videos that were mostly made in my old house about ten years ago. I also added some extracts from a South African documentary on modern advaita teachers that I featured in a few years ago, and a clip of Annamalai Swami. The channel can be found here:

Here is one of the videos I posted. It is a short talk I gave about Robert Adams' early life and his relationship with Bhagavan:

I hope to add several more videos in the coming weeks.

If you want to comment on any of these videos, there are three possible places. There is a forum on the site where viewers can comment on the weekly video. There are separate forums for mine and Michael's interviews. It is also possible to make comments under the videos on the Youtube site. And, of course, you can also leave a comment on this blog.

I will be back in Tiruvannamalai soon.


Subramanian. R said...

Dear David,

I am happy you are back again the blog though from Colorado. The video interviews and other matters would take some hours, which I would see and listen soon.

Thanking you,

Subramanian. R

Subramanian. R said...

Dear David,

I listened to the first video interview by Ricky Archer and yourself. The portions of talks about Annamalai Swami, Lakshamana Swami, and Papaji and on srishti-
drishti and drishti srishta vada,
I could understand clearly. Other things I did not understand much.
Anyway it was a long interview and sometimes the attention gets dissipiated. Thanks.

Subramanian. R

Ravi said...

Nice to see your post with those video links.Just now watched your video on Robert Adams.Interesting to note how Robert Adams never got a mention in any of the ashram sources.
Looking forward to watching your other longish interviews over the weekend.

James Austin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Subramanian. R said...

Dear David,

This evening I listened to Michael James explanations to Ricky Archer.
His talk was mainly centered around his book Happiness and Art of Being, and he explained the finite happiness from out of objects and things in the outside world and the Infinite happiness that can be experienced by turning back the mind within. It was quite nice.

Michael appears somewhat older than I had expected. Both you and Michael have become bald. I have seen you in T'malai with your curly white hair on the forehead.

Thanks for the video interviews.

Subramanian. R

David Godman said...


When I first met Michael James in Tiruvannamalai, I had brown hair and a beard and he had a black crew cut. He was twenty years old and I was twenty-three. I haven't seen Michael for years, although we email each other from time to time. He looks a lot older than when I last saw him in person, and doubtless he would say the same about me.

When you said 'Other things I did not understand much' was it the poor technical quality of the interview, my British accent, or the ideas being presented?

I mentioned in the Robert Adams interview that no one in Ramanasramam seemed to remember him. Since then I talked to Katya Osborne who recollected that her father, Arthur, gave Robert a car to drive around India in. Katya was a bit put out at the time since it was their family vehicle, and she didn't like the idea of her dad passing it on to a complete stranger.

Ravi said...

Spent a couple of hours watching the videos.
I could not get past 30 mts of Michael James interview.Somehow got the impression that the more and more James talked, farther and farther the subject matter seemed to recede!He was talking about happiness as the goal of Life(atleast began that way).
I watched your interview all the way;although quite articulate,and the discussion covered topics like enlightenment,complete Realization,Guru,vasanas,mano Nasa etc-it somehow,to me,seemed to be treading on the Familiar ,Known ground and a little hackneyed at that.
For instance wondered - if the 'ego' is a non entity why should it end?What if it just continues as a mere shadow that it always was even after enlightenment?Is it not enough to know that it is only a Shadow engaged in 'Role Play' and to know that the Real actor is independent of the Role?If we can admit that the Body may continue after enlightenment on account of prarabhda, why not the 'I' continue as well?For without the continuation of this 'I',how can one even admit the desire for 'Jilebi'(papaji)?

Again on the topic of the Guru,you mentioned about how Sri Ramakrishna said:"Though my guru visits the tavern, still to me he is the holy Nityananda.".
This subject of Guru is interesting,and one of the key things that Sri Ramakrishna always said was not to Regard or mistake the Person(Enlightened or otherwise) as Guru.He always emphasized:"Satchidananda alone is the Guru. If a man in the form of a guru awakens spiritual consciousness in you, then know for certain that it is God the Absolute who has assumed that human form for your sake".

The Guru Tatva manifests through some person or it may be through even the most 'ordinary' happenings-like the avadhuta had his 24 Gurus.The onus is on the Disciple and if he is sensitive enough,everything in the world functions as his Guru like it happened to swetaketu in the forest(the upanishadic story).

The few other thoughts that occur to me(as it always has):
1.Why think of spiritual Living as a pursuit of a Goal,be it happiness or whatever?
2.Why reduce it to a process?

To think of it as an individual attainment-and to 'count' the number of enlightened beings on earth(like papaji did)-to me is not the 'Real' thing.

Although as papaji also said,'Nothing ever happened',yet the discussions mostly revolve around 'success factors',The Number of Years of Sadhana,'Progress' in sadhana,the achievement etc,etc-and as long as this sort of a view persists,the discussion can only proceed at a very cursory level.
Rick Archer comes out as a nice person right through.
Thanks very much.

hey jude said...

Dear David, Congratulations on your marriage. Will you return and live in Tiru or is America your new adopted abode?
I think it unfair that Ravi complains about Michael James's style; even though he is not as articulate as David, that doesn't mean he doesn't understand the teaching through and through.
Ravi you are a dyed in the wool Rama Krishna devotee, which is fine and alright by me but don't let this get in the way of understanding advaita which is synonimous wth the natural state.
Fascinating story about Katya's recollection of the family car being given to Robert Adams.

David Godman said...

Hey Jude

Thanks for the congratulations. My wife Beth needed to put her two daughters through a US college without any help from their father. That required a US-based job. She tried for two years in Chennai, but Indian salaries don't stretch to funding US college educations, and trips home to see the children. Such expenditures are also way beyond my own current limited means, which is why she is temporarily working in the US.

I will be back in India in a week's time and will be there for the rest of the winter. Tiruvannamalai is still home for me.

Ravi said...

Thanks for your comments.Wish to clarify the Following:
1.I did not mean to put down Michael James.It was only to say that the more and more we try to 'establish' or elaborate a premise(pursuit of Happiness or Happiness as our Real Nature)it somehow misses the point.I would say that the fundamental point that plagues one and all is this-One does not know what he or she wants!Yet one does not cease to want something and on finding it still goes on and on to yet other things or goals!A life lived this way is at its worst an act of endurance and at its best a compromised mixture of some sorts.
To say that one wants 'Happiness' and is seeking it through wants,and that Happiness is the Goal of Life,in a way prevents the understanding of this state of affairs.To understand the 'psychological Yoke' of never ending want that one is subjected to and to free oneself from it-if that is at all possible-is the more accurate perspective and this also leads to the investigation or inquiry into the one who feels the weight of the Yoke-the question of true identity of oneself.
As Kabir Said,the Fish is in water and it says it is thirsty!Just what is it that makes the Fish think it is thirsty?One may say that the 'Goal'(if one cannot help talking in terms of Goal or achievement)for this Fish is to get rid of the 'illusion' that it is thirsty-and not to posit 'something' that would satisfy its thirst in the 'true' way(although ,it may help initially to put it this way)

2.Wish to clarify that Sri Ramakrishna was also an advaitist,as he also admitted all other standpoints;his articulation and his way of explaining deep questions in an utterly simple,Fresh way is legendary and carries its own conviction.Especially the way he explains 'Guru'-if this is understood by the seeker,quite a bit of confusion that is there in this present day world-How to Recognize one,Where to find one,etc,etc-all this need not be there.What a lot of mischief is going on on account of this lack of clarity!What a lot of misery!


hey jude said...

Ravi, "I wish to clarify that Sri Ramakrishna was also an advaitist,as he also admitted all other standpoints;his articulation and his way of explaining deep questions is utterly simple and Fresh"
You are right as I was completely taken with the beauty and simplicity of 'The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna'

Subramanian. R said...

Dear David,

When I said 'other things, I did not understand much' is only about the poor quality of videos.

Subramanian. R

Zee said...

Themes on Truth put in tastefully by Geniuses

1)Kondura for the 'Merest' and 'Pshycics' by Jnaanapeeth C.T.Khanolkar directed by Shyam Benegal

2)Find your own Raaga by TaRaSu directed by G.V.Iyer

3) Babette's Feast:Mercy and Forgiveness meet each other.Righteousness and Bliss kiss each other.

4)Devi by Satyajit Ray

5)Ordet by Dreyer

6)Saptapadi by Ajoy Kar

7)Dying Cancer patient discovers a taste of Self:

Anonymous said...

Dear Ravi, hey jude and others,

I have not gone through this video interview of David yet, but between Ravi's point of view and that of the lines of David, there lies a key point.

Let me explain this in my own way how I have understood:

I have observed this with Sri Nisarghadatta or Sri Papaji or Sri Lakshmana bhagavan, outright, with another Guru'S name told to them, they will never never confirm or deny their enlightenment.

I think , the Guru whom we choose , will be an enlightened one if the disciple happens to be a true seeker.

This mystery is known only to the Guru, the Self who came in the form of Guru and the disciple. Apart from these three, even another Guru who have equally realized the Self will not come in the way of this divine relation.

To further elaborate, Saradamma has mentioned that out of two equally qualified disciples, one may be accepted as a disciple by the Guru while the other one's destiny lies elsewhere.

So I think one should not consult others even he be a great saint when it comes to assess or gauge another Guru. Only the disciple concerned has the right and obligation to gauge his propective Guru. The Self never approves this sort of endorsement thing which we all except.

Like , what Papaji spoke about Annamalai Swami or vice-versa. What Ramana Maharishi spoke about Shirdi baba. These type of tricks are coming from our inner subtle ego.

Interestingly I have also found that, the utmost worst and unfit disciple rejected by one Guru will be embraced by another Guru. The same Self does all this in a mysterious way.

Having said all this, I feel Sri Ravi is wrong when he speaks about the ego continuing like a shadow.

No, there is a definitive goal called full enlightenment which should be the goal for every sadhaka and one must work tirelessly for this. there is no compromise, there is no stopping at a partial enlightenment.

Also the disciple must do due diligence himself before accepting or rejecting a Guru. Others will not or should not be consulted in this process. So it follows that not everbody can take all 24 elements as a Guru in the same spirit as that of Lord Dattatreya.

Anonymous said...

earlier post and this one made by Krishna.

Dear David

Do you have a written pdf version of this interview like that you had made with Alok?

Your English is very fast and it somehow lacks the full zest and enery imbibed in your writings.

So please help me with your pdf version interview with Rick.


Ravi said...

"I think , the Guru whom we choose , will be an enlightened one if the disciple happens to be a true seeker"

A Guru is not chosen.Persons can be chosen, to attach oneself to and these attachments do not last.This is the crux of the problem.

If the disciple is sincere the Guru or God reaches out to him through one or more 'outlets'(channels)-and the disciple may not even then be aware of this;it may take time and maturity before the disciple even recognizes this.It will then be recognized by him that even if he tries to run away from the Guru,he cannot.
As Andal in her Tiruppavai says so beautifully:
கறவைகள் பின்சென்று கானம் சேர்ந்துண்போம்;
அறிவொன்றும் இல்லாத ஆய்க்குலத்து உன்தன்னைப்
பிறவி பெறுந்தனைப் புண்ணியம் யாம் உடையோம்;
குறைவொன்றும் இல்லாத கோவிந்தா!உன்தன்னோடு
உறவேல் நமக்கிங்கு ஒழிக்க ஒழியாது
அறியாத பிள்ளைகளோம் அன்பினால் உன்றன்னைச்
சிறுபேர் அழைத்தனவும் சீறி அருளாதே.
இறைவா,நீ தாராய் பறையேலோரெம்பாவாய்.

Verse 28,Kinship Indissoluble

Going behind milch-cows,we reach the woods and eat there;
we are of the cowherd-clan wholly devoid of intellect,
but we had put by sufficient merit as to get you born amidst us
O Govinda,who has no deficiency whatsoever!
The Kinship we have with you is indissoluble.
Oh,do not be angry with us(although anger is also your grace)
for ignorant little girls we are who out of (excessive)affection
addressed you also by trivial-sounding names.
O God Almighty!Do please give us the drum,Listen and ponder ,our girl!


Ravi said...

In The Bhagavad Gita,Chapter 11,verses 41 and 42 Arjuna prays to Lord Sri Krishna in a similiar fashion to what Our Lady AndAL has expressed in that verse 28 in her glorious tiruppAvai:

sakheti matvaa prasabham yaduktam he krishna he yaadava he sakheti |
ajaanataa mahimaanam tavedam mayaa praamadaatpranayena vaapi || 41 ||

Thinking of you as a friend, I addressed you rashly as O Krishna, O Yaadava, O friend. Not knowing your greatness, I said it in this manner out of carelessness or also out of affection.

yacchaavahaasaarthamasatkritosi vihaarashayyasanabhojaneshu |
ekothavaapyachyuta tatsamaksham tatkshaamaye tvaamahamaprameyam || 42 ||

Whatever insults were said to you in jest, while resting, sleeping, sitting, dining, O resolute one, while in solitude or in front of others, for all that, I ask your forgiveness, O immeasureable one.

Arjuna had moved intimately with Lord Sri Krishna all along and still did not realize the 'Guru' in him!Although he sought help from the Lord,it was more as a friend and relative-but not as Guru.It was only when a sudden crisis beset him that he beseeched and surrendered and the Guru manifested himself and revealed the teaching to him.

Guru,Grace and God are synonymous.


Ravi said...

An excerpt from The Talks with Sri Ramana maharshi and one from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:

17th February, 1938
Talk 460.
Observing the moon before the rising sun, Sri Bhagavan remarked:
See the moon and also the cloud in the sky. There is no difference in their
brilliance. The moon looks only like a speck of cloud. The jnani’s mind
is like this moon before sunlight. It is there but not shining of itself.

Sri Ramakrishna:"There are five kinds of light: the light of a lamp, the light of various kinds of fire, the light
of the moon, the light of the sun, and lastly the combined light of the sun and the moon.
Bhakti is the light of the moon, and jnana the light of the sun.
"Sometimes it is seen that the sun has hardly set when the moon rises in the sky. In an
Incarnation of God one sees, at the same time, the sun of Knowledge and the moon of


Anonymous said...

Dear David

I saw the interview from a browsing cafe and the volume was very very low in the headset. i could hear when with full volume in Jazz audio mode. Then I thought it is a issue with the browsing centre and opened some random youtube dev. songs and they played in high volume.

Is the recording done in very low audio?

Anybody else faced this issue?

I wonder how Ravi sir and Subramaniam sir managed to watch the videos -- did you use speakers?


Anonymous said...

sorry read " i could not hear when with full volume in Jazz audio mode" in the above comment.

Ravi said...

The Recording is quite good and quite clear.Yes,I listen through an Onkyo Amplifier and Monitor Audio Speakers.The volume knob has to be set at a level a little more than usual.

The Opening Question which Rick Poses David(Rick calls it a 'a Little Skeptical')is an interesting one:'do you think that after having written thousands of pages on the life and teachings of the Gurus,you have only presented a description of the Rind of an Orange and hardly the real taste of the Fruit'?David agrees.I like the way the conversation goes and the perfectly relaxed way David answers.
Likewise there is an interesting and humorous observation by Rick Archer in that other conversation with Michael James.Michael talks about how 'I am' is the only sure and undeniable experience of everyone and Rick immediately observes-'There are so many here who go about saying 'There is No I' and you are saying otherwise'-Hilarious!
Warmly recommended.

Anonymous said...

audio mp3 is available for download in batgapi

Anonymous said...

in batgap

Ravi said...

Appropos self styled gurus who go about doing inappropriate things and yet claim themselves as not the doer(being The Self!)-using this as a copout,Rick observes 'Oh Yes put the body in the Jail,anyway the Self is Fine'(hilarious)-This is exactly what Sri Ramakrishna told Krishna kishore although that poor man did not do anything inappropriate-he only went about saying that he was kha ,meaning sky or Self.
Here is that hilarious excerpt from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:
"Once Krishnakishore asked me, 'Why have you cast off the sacred thread?' In those days
of God-vision I felt as if I were passing through the great storm of Aswin, and everything
had blown away from me. No trace of my old self was left. I lost all consciousness of the
world. I could hardly keep my cloth on my body, not to speak of the sacred thread! I said to
Krishnakishore, 'Ah, you will understand if you ever happen to be as intoxicated with God
as I was.'
"And it actually came to pass. He too passed through a God-intoxicated state, when he
would repeat only the word 'Om' and shut himself up alone in his room. His relatives
thought he was actually mad, and called in a physician. Ram Kaviraj of Natagore came to
see him. Krishnakishore said to the physician, 'Cure me, sir, of my malady, if you please,
but not of my Om.' (All laugh.)
"One day I went to see him and found him in a pensive mood. When I asked him about it,
he said: 'The tax-collector was here. He threatened to dispose of my brass pots, my cups,
and my few utensils, if I didn't pay the tax; so I am worried.' I said: 'But why should you
worry about it? Let him take away your pots and pans. Let him arrest your body even. How
will that affect you? For your nature is that of Kha!' (Narendra and the others laugh.) He
used to say to me that he was the Spirit, all-pervading as the sky. He had got that idea from
the Adhyatma Ramayana. I used to tease him now and then, addressing him as 'Kha'.
Therefore I said to him that day, with a smile: 'You are Kha. Taxes cannot move you!'


Ravi said...

In this other excerpt from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna,Narendra who was laughing earlier is at the receiving end when the Master narrates the same story!

Narendra was seated near the Master. He was constantly worried about his financial
difficulties at home. He was now twenty-three years old. Sri Ramakrishna looked at him
MASTER (to Narendra, smiling): "Undoubtedly you are 'Kha'. But you have to worry
about 'taxes'; that's the trouble." By "taxes" the Master meant Narendra's financial
difficulties at home.
MASTER: "Krishnakishore used to say that he was 'Kha'. One day I visited him at his
home and found him worried. He wouldn't talk to me freely. I asked him: 'What's the
matter? Why are you brooding like this?' Krishna kishore said: 'The tax-collector came
today. He said my pots and pans would be sold at auction if I didn't pay my taxes. That's
what I am worrying about.' I laughed and said: 'How is that? You are surely 'Kha', the
akasa. Let the rascals take away your pots and pans. What is that to you?'

Occult powers

(To Narendra) "So I am saying that you are 'Kha'. Why are you so worried? Don't you
know that Sri Krishna said to Arjuna, 'If you have one of the eight siddhis, you may get a
little power, but you will not realize Me.' By siddhis one may acquire powers, strength,
money, and such things, but not God.

Go beyond duality

"Let me tell you something else. Go beyond knowledge and ignorance. People say that such
and such a one is a jnani; but in reality it is not so. Vasishtha was a great jnani, but even
he was stricken with grief on account of the death of his sons. At this Lakshmana said to
Rama: 'This is amazing, Rama. Even Vasishtha is so grief-stricken!' Rama said: 'Brother,
he who has knowledge has ignorance as well. He who is aware of light is also aware of
darkness. He who knows good also knows bad. He who knows happiness also know
misery. Brother, go beyond duality, beyond pleasure and pain, beyond knowledge and
ignorance.' (To Narendra) So I am asking you to go beyond both knowledge and


Shrini said...

David, Nice Interview.. One interesting thing you spoke about in the interview, that mind is not thoughts but the "individual" who organises the thoughts and thus creates an impression of an individual. But Ramana says in "Who am I" - "Apart from thoughts, there is no such thing as mind. Therefore, Thought is the nature of mind." Am I missing something here..

Anonymous said...

Papaji,……Yogi, terrorist, Guru. It isn’t possible.

Yogi, then Guru yes; or even terrorist then Guru. But not Yogi, terrorist, Guru.

Arvind said...

Hi David,

Nice to have you posting again. Many congratulations on your marriage. Wish Beth and you all the very best! Just how belated are my wishes? Great picture by the way, absolutely magnificent scenery behind you!

Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Michael James made available a free e-book copy of Guru Vachaka Kovai (and many other works), why yours does not have the same treatment ?
Bye Bye Bye !

James Austin said...

David Godman should make more videos. He's a wealth of knowledge and very interesting to listen to.

Plus videos are a favoured format by many these days.

Chuck Cliff said...

Thanks for the post - listened to the Adams interview first and I did. Have heard of him before, but the infinity institute I found seemed so full of glitter I dropped it quick.

And, frankly, I had serious doubts when you spoke of him, but when you mentioned Papaji's reaction, I said okay, maybe, went back to the infinity institute, but it still seems so, well, american hyped up. So I searched down and found, that there actually was somebody who remembered him - great!

By the way, Joel Goldsmith I found here:

Finally, I spent some moments trying to find out when Adams died - long enough to find out it isn't worth the trouble, knew that already, I suppose, but I like to confirm things.

Looking forward to seeing the other videos, many thanks for the Adams interview and best wishes to you your wife and family!

David Godman said...

Chuck Cliff

If you want a real taste of who Robert was and what he had to say, get hold of a copy of Silence of the Heart. I think you will find this more to your liking than any organisation that is promoting him. It is a superb collection of his teachings, pure Ramana from beginning to end.

Anonymous said...

I'll chime in and add that you might appreciate some of the transcripts of RA's teachings and other materials that are available at the website that I believe David posted under the interview on the subject of him.

And I'll also join the chorus of people thanking David for posting those videos and for doing the interview on the BatGP thing. Truly a joy and a source of great learning to have those resources made available!

Anonymous said...

Oops, please remove the above comment if it's bad mojo. Thank you...

David Godman said...


I removed the link on the Youtube page after receiving a legal notice from a representative of a Robert Adams organisation that claims all the material there is stolen property.

Anonymous said...

I understand, that's why I encouraged you to remove my comment if it seemed like it might cause further problems as far as any of that is concerned. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

'Silence of The Heart' by Robert Adams seems to be out of print.
But there is a new Indian Edition published by Yogi Impressions in 2012. It is the same as the Acropolis Books edition from 1999. Highly recommended.

Anonymous said...

Ravi has mixed feelings offering his books to be borrowed so freely. Maybe he needs to be free of the attachment of owning so many books.
As I recall Ravi's chauffeur expressed interest in a spiritual book but was instead offered a (scrounged) second hand book instead. The poor chauffeur on a meagre wage knew his place and had to be content with a well thumbed copy.
Its wonderful to read this stuff and see how thick skinned and obtuse some people can be.


Ravi said...

Very interesting story :-)

Chuck Cliff said...

Thanks, David and Anonymous. One can order the book at yogiimpressions for a mere (to me) 395 INR - but point is, you can get a lovely sample, and I can tell you it tastes real good. If I buy the book, it will be from them, even though with post, import tax and whatever to Denmark, it'll cost more than if I bought from the people who claim to have control of what the man was saying. LOL! Turns out they give a 40% discount on the book, so, if the internet is friendly today, I'll get a hard copy from there.

There is another fellow who passed away in 1996 I think, William Samuel was his name, a lovely person, and Sandy, the person who has the copyrights is very generous with his legacy, the book and cds you can get from Amazon, yeah, fine, but has lots availble online, and downloadable, on you tube even.

Anyway, if anyone wants to read Roberts book you can do it online at scribd dot com slash doc slash 46073649 slash silence-of-the-heart-dialogues-with-robert-adams

LOL!!! On me in spades - four times I've tried to register at the yogiimpressions site and every time the app crashes at 69% aka the world's funniest number. O well, time to clean the house!

David Godman said...

Chuck Cliff

I recently received this interesting email:

I had a wonderful spiritual teacher, his name was William Samuel. He has passed away, but you would have liked him.

I'd like to share with you the following section from William's book "The Awareness of Self-Discovery" first printed 1970.

In this part of the book William was explaining how words can get in the way of understanding.

'Some years ago I was honored to be the first American student of a renowned teacher in India. For fourteen days a group of us sat at the feet of this "Master," during which time he spoke not one word—not so much as a grunt—until the final day when he bade us farewell and assured us we had learned much.

'And to my surprise, I had. It took months before the seeds of those silent days began to sprout one by one, revealing that there are indeed many things for which the uptight, recondite babble of books and teachers is more hindrance than a help.

'There is no one reading this book to whom the Truth has not been revealed many times and for whom the Truth needs only to be lived. Additional enlightenment and its tangible experience called "healing" come with the LIVING—that gentle meadow of soft grass just beyond the wailing wall of words.

'Who built this wall? The same impostor whose role we play as a self hood apart from Allness.'

I share that with you, because it took me almost thirty years to find out who this Master was. Even though William gave to me all his work and material on his passing, he never told one soul, that I could find, who this silent teacher was.

Then, just recently, I made this odd and round-about discovery that it was (as many had suspected) Ramana Maharshi.

Here is a link to the story I wrote about how I found out about this:

Anonymous said...

Chuck Cliff

I've ordered the Yogi Impressions edition from an indian bookseller through

Chuck Cliff said...

Anonymous, thanks for the link! I just downloaded a pdf from ebookscentral dot com, it wasn't the price as much as I got it NOW!

Chuck Cliff said...

David, O yes, that must be Sandy, she's very nice, talked with her a couple of times on the phone in regards to Old Bill's dvd. I asked her once in an email if she knew if it was Ramana Bill meant, and she said some people had mentioned it.

Well, I'll have to look at that link to see how she confirmed it. That and thanks to your good self for helping me get a copy of "Silence" (downloaded it ½ an hour ago. She's done a really nice just job of tending his memory and what he left, I first heard of him at the same place where I first heard of Robert Adams, Bernadette Roberts and several others. The place refered to Bill as, "the gentle mystic" - and that fits.

Just spent a moment trying to recall just how I came to hear of Ramana - drawing a blank at the moment, instead I kind of see his face before me (no, not a vision just a "mind's" eye sort of thing)and that funny feeling of peace, so why try to remember, if I need to remember, it'll pop up on the screen.

Anonymous said...

Dear Glow

What is the context in which you suddenly picked up Sri Ravi's book collection and addiction to books.

And that his cook wanted to have a book but given a old one?

what is this? totally confusing. please explain the exact circumstances under which you wrote this


Anonymous said...

Dear Krishna, Only commenting on what Ravi has written about over the years. Ho hum... please read carefully it was a comment made by Ravi about his chauffeurs request.
No doubt Ravi's a fine man we all sometimes say or write far too much....I think he can cop it on the chin as he doesn't strike me as the blushing type.

Ravi said...

In his conversation with Rick Archer as well as elsewhere,David, talking about Papaji's Krishna Bhakti phase has mentioned how Poonjaji considered this a sort of losing his way-as a needless digression that diverted him from the pure recognition of Self.This diversion is attributed to poonjaji's mother who is held responsible to have implanted in poonjaji's mind to pursue 'Krishna' as the spiritual ideal.
I have always been intrigued by this-that instead of recognizing the True Krishna as the supreme Self,as the supreme Being-he only considered this as a 'Graft',a sort of indulgence of a subtle kind -and all his experiences of Krishna as an appendage(These expressions are mine-Ravi).
It appears to me that the sadhana pursued by Poonjaji was more of a 'mental' than of a spontaneous devotion.I get this impression from the fact that he made it a point to keep on repeating the japa nonstop.
Well,These are my conjectures based on how poonjaji's statements and the truth is known to only him.
However some of his sayings that even famous devotees were just caught up in subtle states of mind,however ecstatic and the implied suggestion that they fell short of the so called 'Final Realization'-It is not clearly stated just who these devotees are-this seems to me,an unrealistic estimation.
This recalls to my mind the likes of Mirabai and Tulasidas-whose life and songs have entered deeply into the spiritual psyche of the people of India.
I wish to share just one composition of Mirabai-that puts this matter in proper perspective.


Ravi said...

Here is a wonderful song of the incomparable Mirabai:

paayoji mainne ram ratan dhan paayo
bastu amolaka di mere satguru, kirpa kari apanayo
janma janma ki puñji pai, jaga me´n sabai khovayo
kharcha na koi chor na lutai,din din badhat savayo
bhavsagar taravayo
meera ke prabhu giridhar nagar harash harash jas gaayo

I have received the Diamond of God's (Rama) name.
My Satguru (spiritual master) gave me this invaluable gift and gratefully, I accepted it.
I have lost my worldly possessions, but gained a treasure, that would have taken several births to acquire, in this life.
No thief can steal this treasure (of His name), This treasure multiplies even if I spend it freely.
With this vessel of truth and my guru to guide me, I crossed this ocean of life.
The Lord of Mira Bai is the Courtly Lord Giridhara, of whom I merrily, merrily sing His glories.

Such is this beautiful song of Mirabai-The Treasure that she earned can never be spent and only only multiplies on spending!Her lord Giridhara-the one who lifted the Hill of mountainous karma -and sheltered devotees who surrendered totally to him.


hey jude said...

Interesting account of Daesung Sunim distributing David Godman's book (Be as you are) to fellow monks.
I believe Korean Zen follows a technique called Hwadu, which is very similar to self enquiry....hence the genuine attraction.

hey jude said...

I read the post about William Samuel; I've come across him before...I wonder if it wasn't in an old copy of The Mountain Path?
Yes, certainly (Woodsong journal notes) is a very attractive website.
Surprised to see The Wanderling mentioned. The stories seemed to unfold as great rambling yarns, perhaps more imagination than reality.

Some Guy said...

Agreed, I've tried to read that website before, and despite the ostensible subject matter being of great interest to me, I found it rambling to the point of being distractingly hard to follow.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, David, for your recent ' Buddha at the Gas Pump" interview. You were so clear, interesting and humble. I am writing from the US and think you should do more of these types of online talks. You are of benefit to many who are seeking clarity so please see it as a service to us in need of hearing Ramana's teachings. Blessings to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last post. I have been a subscriber to bat (Buddha at the Gas Pump)' for awhile and appreciate Archer's guest list. But was very pleased with the David Godman interview. I have been subscribing to David's YouTube postings from the Uk but this was longer and very informative. thank you, David. Best of luck to you and your wife.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ravi

Regarding your views on Sri Papaji.

I think your views are very natural to someone who is accustomed to follow bhakthi path.

But from my own reading of Papaji works let me tell you this.

Both of us did not see him.

Anyway still,

Sri Papaji I agree has told many times that he wasted the final realization by Krishna Bhakthi residues. But this he refers to the final extinction of the ego. Otherwise he was really contended with devotion to Lord Krishna.

His japa was non stop but it was full of 100% faithful devotion which he carried from previous life of a great vaishnava yogi in Tungabadra banks.

Infact before coming to Maharishee, Papaji knocked every door of saints with a question only to see Krishna all the time.

Even after he arrived at Maharishee, He got the greatest of the exp and also the greatest of the miracle of Maharishee visiting his house at Punjab. But even after all this, he still did not want to follow Maharishee because he wanted only Bhakthi.

But later Maharishee fed him the final extinction of ego compulsorily by opening his Heart bud which Papaji could not resist.

I would say Jnana arrived and final realization came to Papaji unasked for, he was quite uninterested in all this.

So at any time his devotion was very natural and heart pouring only.

There is a less known reason why he almost never taught the bhakthi path. He revealed this in one of the satsang.

Papaji was in such a state like Suga Brahmam that mere utterance of the pastimes of Lord Krishna will make Papaji go to samadhi and then all satsang will have to be cancelled. So he controlled himself and never publicly spoke about greatness of Bhakthi.

No doubt he openly criticized many other teachers though he did not mention names.

But I think this is specific to the questioner's mind frame.

Papaji only saw Himself in everybody so he cannot criticize or praise anybody.

The best approach to get connected to frequency of Papaji is, to take at random either his life or a teaching sentence and to ponder over it for many hours.

If we try to build a coherent pattern across Papaji's statements, we will end up calling him fake ( this does not mean you are calling him fake i am just explaining )

I have read many of his works and even his episode of second marriage.

By all logic our assessment will lead to a yet another saint only.

but inspite of all that he was a true jnani. Only God can explain why he spoke in a certain way about a certain teacher to a certain questioner.

I have never read Nothing Ever Happened yet. Do you have a copy of that book? If not, we will read it.

Papaji is such a forceful saint that once you surrender your questioning mind and focus on his form or teachings, you will see tremendous results even to this day.

Ravi Sir -- you are already very pious and having very good liberal, simple faith attitude towards all saints.

So I would request you give a try with this man with the same attitude.

Just dont question or even think about the statements which you feel not comfortable. Just skip that part and read further . Papaji's treasurehouse has all sort of things -- whatever appeals to you, you just pick it up.

You will soon see the results.


Ravi said...

Here is an excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:

MASTER: "Some people climb the seven floors of a building and cannot get down; but
some climb up and then, at will, visit the lower floors.
"Uddhava said to the gopis: 'He whom you address as your Krishna dwells in all beings. It
is He alone who has become the universe and its living beings.'
"Therefore I say, does a man meditate on God only when his eyes are closed? Doesn't he
see anything of God when his eyes are open?"
MAHIMA: "I have a question to ask, sir. A lover of God needs Nirvana some time or other,
doesn't he?"

The seed of bhakti cannot he destroyed

MASTER: "It can't be said that bhaktas need Nirvana. According to some schools there is
an eternal Krishna and there are also His eternal devotees. Krishna is Spirit embodied, and
His Abode also is Spirit embodied. Krishna is eternal and the devotees also are eternal.
Krishna and the devotees are like the moon and the stars-always near each other. You
yourself repeat: 'what need is there of penance if God is seen within and without?' Further, I
have told you that the devotee who is born with an element of Vishnu cannot altogether get
rid of bhakti.
Once I fell into the clutches of a jnani, who made me listen to Vedanta for eleven months.
But he couldn't altogether destroy the seed of bhakti in me. No matter where my mind
wandered, it would come back to the Divine Mother. Whenever I sang of Her, Nangta
would weep and say, 'Ah! What is this?' You see, he was such a great jnani and still he
. (To the younger Naren and the others) Remember the popular saying that if a man
drinks the juice of the alekh creeper, a plant grows inside his stomach. Once the seed of
bhakti is sown, the effect is inevitable: it will gradually grow into a tree with flowers and
"You may reason and argue a thousand times, but if you have the seed of bhakti within you,
you will surely come back to Hari.
The devotees listened silently to the Master.

Sri Bhagavan's devotion to Arunachala was also spontaneous,and it continued after the extinction of the 'ego'.

My comments are more on what we make out of the thoughts that Poonjaji had said to his devotees.It certainly is not helpful to anyone ,to discuss who is 'enlightened' and who is not.To the contrary,it would only create confusion and it did.
I never claimed that I knew him and do not mean to judge him.


Anonymous said...

A friend just witnessed a Dandapani sadhu refused entry and turned away from the main gate of the Arunachaleswar temple. The temple is swarming with all manner or police obviously happy to accommodate the well heeled and discourage the very poor.

Is there some sort of unofficial privatization going on in Tiruvannamalai? Temples, tirtham's and the inner path are all out of bounds or under lock and key!

Chuck Cliff said...

Well, Anonymous, it's a pity, but that's the way things go. There's a billion dollar industry in the spiritual Godbiz and it would be most surprising if it didn't something of a grab here also.

Hopefully the sadhu took it as sadhu does, I recall a couple of incidents reported from before the war I think where some devotees got ticked off because of some rules the ashram admin had set up and they went to Ramana to complain, and (eventually) got a terse reply to the effect, "Why did you come here?".

Indeed, why are people coming today? I don't know. I live thousands of miles away and was 8-9 nine years old when he maha samadi'ed. Still, I have recieved something priceless from that old sadhu, carry his picture with me, sleep with it on my forehead, and practice my (mis?)understanding of his diksha/dharma/teaching as best I can in my busy busy daily life.

It's a pity, sometimes a great pity the silly things people do, but if they start selling Ramana lollipops, I'm not going to get upset. David and many others have done a right good job at documenting his teaching and the teaching of Papa-ji, Nisgarada and others, somehow the teaching got to me and many many others I'm pretty sure.

Ananthapureesan said...

Dear Davidji,
Pranams. I have one doubt and I think you can clear this. Holy Mt.Arunachala is the Sthula Lingam. Where is the Sukshma Lingam? Did Bhagawan Ramana say any thing about it?

Anonymous said...

there seems to have come a transition in Self-inquiry, where the understanding that the 'personal self' is just a learned belief...and refers to a false identity with the body and with 'doership'. As all of what lies in the present moment becomes seen as nothing more than a series of occurrences in a greater Wholeness, the illusion that there ever was a personal "I" responsible for anything falls away. What a relief. What a shift. No personal self to become enlightened. Meditation becomes a noticing of Wholeness in its subtle and lively forms, either with eyes closed or with eyes open. Walking about occurs in a simple knowingness that all is a play of the Wholenss.

Harijan said...

Dear Anon.,

Succinct. Profound. Thanks for sharing.

Pratik Mishra said...

Hello David,

Do u know any real Jivanmukta living in India right now. Someone like ramana, nisarjadatta maharaj, papaji.
If yes then tell me soon.


Pratik Mishra said...

Hello David,

Do u know any real Jivanmukta living in India right now. Someone like ramana, nisarjadatta maharaj, papaji.
If yes then tell me soon.


Floyd Marinescu said...

David, thank you for posting these videos. I enjoyed them and learned a lot.

It would be so cool if you did more of these!


R Viswanathan said...

I am fortunate to have been able to interact with both Michael James and David Godman during the last two years, with David Godman through e-mail and also in person (during my visits to Thiruvannamalai) and with Michael James through e-mail, his blog website, and also through skype a few times. The contribution of both towards letting others know of Bhagavan's teachings is enormous and is continuous for so many years until now. The articles of Michael James in his blog are real gems if one wants to obtain clarity of Bhagavan's teachings in total. I benefited a lot from Michael James' extraordinary understanding of Bhagavan's teachings revealed in his blog. It is my sincere view that probably, only Sri Nochur Venkataraman brings out Bhagavan's teachings so consistently and so continuously as does Michael James. We are fortunate to live along with these three to feel as though we live along with Bhagavan himself.

Satya said...

Hi David,

Devotees of Ramana Bhagawan can't thank you enough for all the research and publishing that you have been doing.
I have a question, did Robert Adams ever talk of Maurice Frydman. Were they known to each other ?


Satya said...

Hi David,

Devotees of Ramana Bhagawan can't thank you enough for all the research and publishing that you have been doing.
I have a question, did Robert Adams ever talk of Maurice Frydman. Were they known to each other ?


David Godman said...

So far as I know, the two never met.

Ravi said...

Happen to chance across this site where you have responded to Ed Muzika's comments on your Video Interview with Rick.

Ed seems to be in right earnest but i cannot but get an impression that he seems to be too caught up in 'experiences' and 'approaches' and not getting to the core of any single approach.

He says:"It is my opinion based on my own experience and being with Robert for 8 years and with Jean Dunn, that there is far more in the world than was dreamt of by Ramana and Robert. I think Robert was open to this world, and talked about it a lot, but at the same time he had Ramana’s idea that there was only Consciousness, no separate Ramana or Robert to do anything"

He seems like one whose ideas of the world(or worlds!) and himself constantly evolving (ideas!).


Ravi said...

Sorry,missed out the link to Ed Muzika's site:


Stone in India said...

This is all sooo beautiful! I love the quilts. Have recently started following your blog and I love your style!
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שושנה שופרוני said...

Please, David, is it possible to give written text beside the recordings, because many devotees have hearing difficulties.

It would be also very nice to read some parts of the new books.

You make a wonderful job! Thank you in the name of all.

Shoshi Shofroni

siva charan patanjali said...

krishna singh said...

What a great and honest read, thank you for sharing and using real language!
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