Friday, May 23, 2008

Summa iru

In 1993 I became involved in a project to make a documentary about Papaji’s life and teachings. As part of this project I interviewed him in the Botanical Gardens, Lucknow. Parts of this interview were included in the film, which was entitled Call Off the Search, and the whole interview was edited and released as a separate film, ‘Summa Iru. An edited version of the interview was also published as the final chapter of the book Papaji Interviews. Both the films and the book can be obtained from the Avadhuta Foundation in Colorado, USA ( and from Satsang Bhavan, Lucknow ( in India.

The original published interview was almost thirty pages long. This is a slightly shortened version.

In the Botanical Gardens, Lucknow, March 1993

David: Papaji, we are trying to make a film about your teachings. How can we make a film when you say you have no teachings?

Papaji: To have any teaching is preaching. A real teacher has no teaching, no method, no way. To know your own Self, you don’t need any teaching. What you really are, always you are That itself. No one is going to teach you. You have to realise who you are, here and now, in this moment.

David: Do you regard telling people in which direction they should look as teaching?

Papaji: People should not look in any direction. [Laughter] Looking in a particular direction means abiding in an object, the object you are directing your attention towards. People get lost this way. But if they do away with all directions, if they have no concept of any direction in their mind, then they will know what they really are. They will know that they are That itself: That which they always are and That which they always will be.

David: Do you regard yourself as a Guru, Papaji?

Papaji: No, not at all! [Laughter] I never declare, ‘I am a Guru’.

David: What about all these people who think they’re your devotees and disciples? Are they your devotees?

Papaji: When there is no Guru there is no question of any devotees. When they come to see me, I welcome them. Whosoever comes, I welcome them. If they don’t come, I still wish them good luck. And when they leave me I say, ‘Farewell. Be happy wherever you are.’

David: You are encouraging everyone who comes to you to look for their own Self. Why are you doing this? What motivates you to do this?

Papaji: My own happiness. These people are sleeping. They are all suffering when the treasure is within them. Everybody, all the human beings of this world, are suffering because they are trying to find peace and happiness in objects. They are examining and experiencing objects one by one, but this is only resulting in pain and suffering. There is no object in the mind, no person, no thing, no concept that can return you to happiness and peace of mind. So I just tell them, I just give them this information: ‘Don’t look here, there, anywhere. Peace is within you and within the Heart of all beings. So keep quiet, don’t look anywhere, don’t allow your mind to abide anywhere, and you will see that it is peace, happiness itself. That is the fundamental truth. Every being in the world is happiness itself.’

David: I think that most people who come to you think that you are giving out something more than just information. I think they feel that in your presence there is some power, some grace which enables them to discover what you are pointing at. Do you have any comment on this?

Papaji: Definitely. I am pointing at their own Self which is the fountain of grace, of beauty. In that place love and peace also arise. I just point this out by saying, ‘Look within yourself for one second. You don’t need to search, you don’t need to find. Just look within yourself and you will see that you are peace itself.’ I just point this out. People are asleep. It’s better to wake them up because they are dreaming. These dreams are only mental projections, but because people take them to be real, they cause a lot of suffering. If you see a tiger in your dream, you get afraid. If you get attacked by a dream robber you get afraid.

Stop all the mental projections. See that the dream is only a dream. See that it is not real. Whatever you see, it’s just a dream. Wherever there is an object, wherever there is a seer and the seen, there is a dream. If there are objects and a subject who sees them, there is a dream. But if you somehow get rid of subjects and objects and of the relationship between them, what’s left?

David: When you look at people who come to you and tell you, ‘Papaji, I suffer,’ do you feel compassion for them, and when they wake up, do you rejoice?

Papaji: I do feel compassion. What else is there for me? I have compassion for all beings who are suffering and who are dreaming. I just tell them, ‘Wake up, my dear friends. My dear children, wake up. There is no suffering at all. It’s only a projection of your mind. It’s not real. You are dreaming. Wake up from the dream, and all the suffering will end.’

David: Papaji, we are making this film for a foreign television audience which probably does not know much about either you or your teachings. Will you please tell them exactly what enlightenment is, in terms they can understand?

This photo, and the two that appear later in this post, were all taken during this interview. The photographer was Bhakti, a Canadian devotee.

Papaji: Enlightenment is for those people who have not found any satisfaction in sensory indulgence. It is for those people who are fed up with things, with objects, and the enjoyment of them. The desire for freedom, for enlightenment, arises when one begins to understand that permanent happiness cannot be found in sensory pleasures.

The objects which the five senses record cannot give you permanent happiness. If you have a desire for something, some object which the senses are recording, happiness will briefly arise at the moment when your desire is fulfilled. But it is not the object itself which gives you the happiness, it is the fulfilment of the desire for it. When the desire is there, while there is still a wanting to achieve or get something, there is no happiness. The desire drops only at the moment when it is fulfilled. At that moment there are no thoughts, no desires. If you look closely at your own experience you will discover that happiness arises spontaneously only when there are no thoughts and no desires, and that it disappears when thoughts and desires come back.

What can one deduce from this? The simple conclusion is that when you are empty of thoughts and desires, happiness arises, and when thoughts and desires are there, happiness is no longer experienced. Happiness therefore lies in the emptiness of no thought, not in the quest for more and more things.

Objects and the desire for them are transitory – they come and they go. Whatever comes and goes is not permanent. If you want permanent happiness you must understand that you can never get it through the pursuit of things that come and go.

The emptiness of no-thought, of no desires, is permanent. It is the source of true, permanent happiness. In fact it is happiness itself. When you understand and fully accept this, the mind no longer reaches out for external gratification because it understands that the very act of reaching out causes desire and suffering to arise. When you can abide in that emptiness, that permanent happiness, without feeling a need to search for happiness anywhere else, you are free from desires and suffering. That freedom is enlightenment.

Once you have established yourself in that state, you no longer need to worry about or pursue anything in this world. The people and things of this world will still be there, but they will not cause you any trouble or suffering because the desire to get pleasure and happiness through them will never arise. The emptiness, the happiness, will never be diminished even if you lead an active, worldly life because the thoughts and desires which formerly resulted in misery, suffering and frustration will simply not arise.

When you have a desire for freedom, when you begin to understand that permanent happiness cannot be gained through the pursuit of worldly pleasures, you should look for a perfect being, someone who has permanently established himself in the state of true and permanent happiness. Such a being, whose Heart is perfection itself, can make you aware of the happiness and the emptiness that lie within you. He may do it by the power of his thought, by looking at you, by touching you or simply by being quiet. Anyone who comes into contact with such a being will be benefited by his presence. Such a perfect being has no sense of self, no sense of being an individual person. Though everyone who comes to him is benefited by being in his presence, that perfect being never thinks that he is helping anyone because he knows that there is no one who is separate or apart from him.

You all make the mistake of believing that you are separate people, with separate minds and bodies. This idea is just a thought. In the presence of a fully-enlightened being, this thought can disappear, leaving behind it an awareness of who you really are. The emptiness of no-self, of pure happiness that you experience in the presence of an enlightened being, is the direct knowledge of Reality itself.

I never advise anyone to renounce the world. This is not the way to get enlightenment. It has been tried both in the West and the East for thousands of years, but it has not given any good results. My advice is different. I simply say, ‘Keep quiet. Stay wherever you are. Don’t reject your worldly activities. Simply keep quiet for a single second and see what happens.’

This is a very new idea. I don’t think that it has been given out by anyone before. Formerly, people used to do tapas for years and years in remote places in an attempt to win enlightenment. Even kings would give up their kingdoms, go to the forest and devote all their energies to gaining enlightenment. But it didn’t work. Why? Because freedom, enlightenment, is not something that can be ‘won’ or ‘gained’. It is already here and now, within you as your own Self. You don’t have to go looking for it anywhere else. It is concealed by the wrong ideas you have about yourself. You think, ‘This is my body, this is my mind’. These ideas are the hindrances which stop you being aware of your real nature. If you can remove them, you are free. You can give up these ideas anywhere. You don’t need to go to a forest to discard them.

David: People in the West are always being given advice from spiritual teachers. Everybody is telling them, ‘Join our group and you will be happy. Follow our advice and you will be happy.’ What is different about your message, and why should people believe it?

Papaji: They advise the people in order to destroy them. I tell them to reject those teachers and preachers and come to me. I will give you good advice. Don’t listen to anybody’s advice, not even mine. Peep within yourself and listen to your own voice. What do you hear? Don’t listen to any advice, because all advice belongs to the past. If someone gives you some advice, that advice has come from something the adviser has heard, read or experienced. So, all this advice comes from the past. You don’t need any advice to know your own Self. Don’t listen to anybody’s advice. Just keep quiet. This is the best advice. I tell people, ‘Keep quiet. Don’t think and don’t make any effort just for a single second.’ This is my advice. And if you follow it, you have done very well, not only for yourself, but for everybody, for all the beings of the world.

David: So following any advice except the advice ‘Be quiet’ takes one away from the Self, not towards it?

Papaji: Of course, of course, it has to because it takes you to the past. I repeat: any advice that you can mention has come from someone who has heard it or read it. It is all from the past. It cannot show you what you are right now, this moment. Don’t believe any of the messages that come to you. Don’t even believe the information that your senses are sending to you. Ignore all advice, transcend the senses and all the information they are giving you. Then and only then will you know what you are. You have tasted sensual pleasures for millions of years. Now, for the first time you are wearing a human form. Make the best of it.

Don’t listen to any advice. Advisers have not shown good results. Advisers only teach you to fight, to quarrel with your neighbours and all the other people who don’t belong to your church. And if you follow their advice, some other teachers will then tell you, ‘No, don’t follow their advice, follow my advice’. Once this happens, quarrels are inevitable.

David: You say, Papaji, that a strong desire for freedom is required. Are any other qualifications needed?

Papaji: I don’t think that this can be called a qualification. It rises spontaneously from within. In a few rare ones it rises from within and dances on the bosom.

When a desire arises for a sense object, you are happy to go out and meet that object. But freedom is neither an object nor a subject. The desire for freedom rises from the source, plays on the source and settles down in the same source. When it is there, it plays with itself, enjoys for some time, and then settles down. The rising and falling is never a problem, because it is always the same, whether it rises or not.

When people say, ‘The desire for freedom rises and subsides,’ what they are saying is that for the rest of the time other desires rise and fall. Also, when you say, ‘The desire for freedom has arisen in me,’ you are implying that there was a time when the desire was not there. I myself never felt the desire for freedom rise because it was always there. Right from childhood it was there.

David: Do we need to have faith in anything Papaji? Do we need to believe in the teacher’s words? Do we need to believe we can get freedom? Do we have to have faith in something?

Papaji: Yes, of course you need faith. Faith in your own Self. Faith that ‘I am free’. If you want to have faith in something, this is the best faith you can have. ‘I am already free.’ You are now believing, ‘I am suffering, I am bound’. Why not instead change it to the best faith, that ‘I am free’? What difference does it make?

David: If one has the absolute conviction ‘I am free,’ then the conviction becomes experience. Is that what you are saying?

Papaji: No, not ‘experience’. Freedom is not an experience. Experiences are always with something else. The desire for freedom will finally vanish, leaving freedom itself. When freedom knows itself, it alone will remain. Right now, you are busy with other desires. When they have all left you, it, freedom, will remain and reveal itself to you.

David: Papaji, you say that enlightenment is a very easy thing to discover and yet I have heard you say many times that the number of people who have fully woken up to their own Self can be counted on one’s fingers. If it is so easy, why do so few succeed?

It is so easy because you don’t have to work for it. It is so easy because you don’t have to go anywhere to get it. All you have to do is keep quiet. Attaining freedom is therefore a very easy thing. People say that it is difficult only because their minds are always engaged with something else. Freedom itself is not difficult. It is giving up the attachment to other things that is difficult. Disengaging yourself from attachments may be difficult. You have to make a decision to do it. You can decide now or put it off till your next life.

David: Is it necessary to have a Master who is himself realised to succeed?

Papaji: Absolutely! Absolutely! Otherwise how can you know whether you are on the right track?

David: Many people in the West, Papaji, have spent a lot of time looking for a realised Master. How can they find one? What advice would you give them on how to find one?

Papaji: They cannot find. They cannot find. A true Master cannot be seen with the eyes. If people try to find out through their senses, they will not make a correct judgement because the Master is beyond the senses and beyond any judgement.

When you want to be free, freedom itself is already there. But you have not acquired the habit of depending on freedom; you don’t know the language of freedom, the language of emptiness, the language of love. You don’t understand these things because you have sold yourself to other’s objects.

So, you don’t understand what this freedom really is, but still you have an intense desire for it. When this happens, freedom, out of compassion, takes a physical form to speak to you in your own tongue so that you can understand what freedom really is.

Then it teaches you, ‘I am your own Self’. It enters your own Self and becomes one with it. This is the role of the teacher, to point out to you, ‘I am your own Self. I am That itself.’ This is the role of the teacher. For sometime it becomes a teacher just to apprise you of the fact that you are That. You don’t listen to the impersonal That which is always within you. Therefore He becomes a teacher. That becomes a teacher in order to tell you, ‘You are That itself’. When you understand this you see that you and the teacher are one.

David: Papaji, Ramana Maharshi also said that one cannot see who is and who is not a true Master, but he did say that there were two signs that one should look for. One should check whether or not one feels peace in his presence, and one should look to see whether he deals equally with all the beings around him. Do you agree that these are useful indications?

Papaji: Of course I agree. You can easily be misled by the talks that a teacher gives, by the statements that he makes. But if you feel your mind is quiet near him, and if you feel some kind of happiness and peace around him – these can be the outer symptoms of a teacher. Not everyone can feel this peace. Only those people who are intensely devoted to freedom, they alone can sense it, not others.

So, when you go to a teacher, just keep quiet. You need not give any question. Don’t expect any answers from him.

Sit quietly, and feel if your mind is quiet or not. If it is quiet, then you can conclude that this is the man who can teach you, that this is the man who is worth staying near.

David: Papaji, you are advising people to sit in satsang with a realised Master and to keep quiet. When the Master dies and physical satsang is no longer possible, what should the disciple do next?

Papaji: If he’s a true disciple, he will not agree that the Master ever dies. The body dies, but the Master is not the body. All bodies will die, but the Master was never a body. So the death of the body doesn’t matter for the disciple because he knows that the Master is something else. The Master is always seated within the Heart of a disciple. The disciple who knows this doesn’t need anything else. He knows perfectly well, ‘I don’t miss my Master. My Master is here and now, always within me.’ This is the relationship between the Master and the disciple.

David: If the disciple has that attitude, then realisation is possible after the Master’s death?

Papaji: If the disciple ... ?

David: If the disciple has this attitude, ‘My Guru was not the body which died, he is my own Self,’ then with that attitude he call still realise the Self. He need not look for any other physical teacher.

Papaji: The teacher is the one who takes away the body and mind of the disciple. If he has not done or cannot do this, he cannot be accepted as a real teacher. In order to look for another teacher, you need a mind and a body, don’t you? If you haven’t got a mind or a body any more, where will you look? How will you look?

David: Papaji, can you please describe your own enlightenment and in particular the role which your own Master, Ramana Maharshi, played in it?

Papaji: It’s a long story.

David: Will you tell a short version?

Papaji: It’s a long story. To tell it all I would have to begin from childhood. However, I can start at the point where I went to see Ramana Maharshi. I entered his ashram and all was quiet, all was quiet. This man was quietness itself, an incarnation of silence. He was not speaking to anyone. There was a tremendous silence there. I never saw anybody so silent. The people who went to see him, their minds didn’t enter the hall where he lived. He just sat quietly and silence was there.

He would tell people, ‘Keep quiet, keep quiet,’ but most people didn’t understand the import of what he was trying to say. Even today people still don’t understand what he was trying to say.

He would talk about many things: how to be free, how to get enlightened, and sometimes he would say things like, ‘You need grace’. But most of the time he said in Tamil, ‘Summa iru,’ which means, ‘Keep quiet’. Most people did not understand the true meaning of this, but I grasped it immediately. Nowadays I use this phrase a lot because I agree with my Master that the best teaching is, ‘Keep quiet’.

If a man who is quietness itself tells you to keep quiet, then that phrase comes from authority and has authority. It works immediately. If an ordinary man tells you to keep quiet, it will not work, but if a man who is silence itself tells you, then, automatically, you become quiet.

David: Can you describe what happened on the day you finally got it? How did it happen?

Papaji: I had been a devotee of Krishna from childhood. So much so that Krishna even would manifest in front of me in a physical form. I could register him with all my senses in the same way that I could see ordinary things.

I had been spending about four days in Adi-annamalai on the other side of the mountain. On my return the Maharshi asked me, ‘Where have you been?’

I replied, ‘On the other side of the mountain, staying by myself and playing with Krishna’.

‘Oh, very good, you have been playing with Krishna!’ he exclaimed.

‘Yes sir, I have been playing with Krishna. He is my friend.’

‘Do you see him now?’

‘No sir, I don’t.’

Then he said, ‘What appears and disappears is not real. The seer remained. You saw him, he disappeared. He remained, the same seer. Now you are here also, the seer remained. Now, find out who the seer is.’

This ‘seer’ was just a word, but it struck me with such an impact that I became the seer. I became the seer.

Nowadays, when I give satsangs, I tell people, ‘Don’t hold on to the word. Go to the root of the word. Go to that which the word is describing or indicating. If you do this, instantly you will get true understanding.’

When you say the word ‘freedom’, for example, go immediately to freedom and stay there. When someone says, ‘Let us go to lunch,’ food is being spoken about, and you suddenly become one with the food. Why can’t you do this when I say the word ‘freedom’?

When we speak of freedom, we must be one with the freedom, we must smell freedom, enjoy freedom. But this doesn’t happen. With other things the word takes you to the right place, but when I say the word ‘freedom’, you don’t go to the right place to understand it. For the word ‘freedom’ we need so many satsangs, so many teachers, but still we don’t catch the real meaning. What’s wrong? We are tied to somewhere else.

David: Papaji, many people in the West have experimented with different meditation techniques. Some of them have meditated very intensively for many years. I have heard you say several times that practising like this will not bring about enlightenment. Could you please explain why you think this is so?

Papaji: First of all, meditation is just to fatigue your body and your mind so that you will get fed up with it. Then the idea can occur to you: ‘Maybe there is something else.’ With this thought you may go off in search of a real teacher. If you find one, he will not tell you to meditate, he will not give you some method. He will simply say, ‘Keep quiet’. He will not tell you to do anything or to stop doing anything. Lectures on what you should do or not do come from preachers, not from teachers. The true teacher has no teaching, no do’s and no don’ts. He simply tells you, ‘Keep quiet’. There can be nothing else that a teacher can say.

This is going to work. This is the best teaching that a teacher can give. As I was telling you before, if he says, ‘Keep quiet’, you not merely hear the words, you actually become quietness. What is the trouble? Why does everyone find this so difficult?

It is the same in satsang. I tell people, ‘Enquire, investigate, ask yourself "Who am I?"‘, and they reply, ‘We can’t do it, we can’t do it. We have tried, but it gives us trouble. We get a lot of tension and headaches when we do it.’ Only some rare ones get it. The others fail because their minds are otherwise engaged. I do not know why this is so. I cannot give you any explanation as to why it suddenly works with some people and not with others.

If you keep quiet, you will fall in love with it, that silence and peace. Everybody needs happiness and peace, whatever they are doing. And there can be no happiness, no peace, no love, no beauty in anything except this silence, which is always here and now within you. Therefore I always say that you don’t need any meditation. You need a mind to meditate, and whenever you use your mind, the result has to be mental. You also need your body. You are told to sit in a particular position, with hands and feet positioned in a particular way. Physical activities give you physical results, mental activities, mental results. But what I speak of is beyond the body, beyond the mind. It cannot be approached through mental and physical means.

If some spiritual idea sounds good to you, and you follow it, the result has to be intellectual. So, shun all ideas. Don’t try to approach this silence through physical, mental or intellectual routes. Just give up all notions, all ideas, everything you have heard and read, and you will discover that you are emptiness itself.

David: Many people have tried to be quiet, to be still, but they haven’t succeeded. What are they doing wrong?

Papaji: They should give up the intention to keep quiet. If they can’t keep quiet, I would tell them, ‘Give up the intention to keep quiet’. If they do, what will happen?

David: You frequently tell people, Papaji, to ask themselves ‘Who am I?’ Why does this work when every other method fails?

Papaji: Because this is not a method. Other methods are just clipping the branches, but enquiry strikes at the root, the root of the mind. If you cut a branch, after some time it will grow again. But if you go to the root of the mind and pull out the root, it can never come back. Enquiry uproots the mind. When you inquire ‘Who am I?’, you strike at the root of the mind and destroy it permanently. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that through enquiry you discover that there is no mind at all.

‘I’ is the mind. When you ask yourself ‘Who am I?’, ‘I’ is interrogating itself to find out what is the real nature of mind. No one has ever asked ‘Who am I?’ No one. People are always asking, ‘Who are you? Who is he? Who is she?’ But no one ever asks ‘Who am I?’ When you question yourself like this for the first time, you are not merely striking at the root of the mind, you are striking at the root of all creation because the ‘I’, the mind, is the source of all creation. When you make the enquiry, it is not just the ‘I’ that disappears, creation itself also vanishes. You discover that there is no creator, no creation and no beings created. This ‘Who am I?’ is such a powerful tool. It takes you to the depths of the Self, that place where you discover that neither you nor creation ever existed.

David: Many people have asked themselves ‘Who am I?’ without getting the right answer. Mind still remained. Should they keep on asking till they get the right answer?

Papaji: No, only once. If you do it properly, you only need to ask once. If you do it properly, it will strike at the right place. When you ask ‘Who am I?’ don’t expect any answer. You must get rid of the expectation that you will get an answer. You must not do the enquiry with the intention of getting somewhere, of getting an answer. The purpose of this question is not to get an answer. Rather it is to merge, in the same way that a river merges into the ocean. It doesn’t go to the ocean to remain a river, it goes there to lose itself. In the enquiry ‘Who am I?’, there is a merging into the divinity, into the Self, emptiness itself. Just keep quiet and see what happens.

While doing this enquiry, one must not wait for an answer. When the question is finished, the ‘I’ is also finished. ‘Who am I?’ What can come after this ‘I’? You become That into which the ‘I’ has discharged. That place has to be emptiness.

David: Papaji, you frequently say, ‘Truth exalts a holy person’. You also say that a holy person is one whose mind is spotless, pure, immaculate. And yet at the same time you never ask anyone to make their minds spotless, pure or immaculate. How can truth exalt us if we don’t do anything to make our minds pure, spotless, immaculate?

Papaji: You cannot make the mind pure. Mind itself is dust. You cannot clean dust with dust. Imagine that you have a dusty mirror that you want to clean. You bring more dust and add it to the original layer. This is cleaning the mind – adding dust to the dust. All your attempts to clean the mind through meditation or yoga will fail because they will just add dust to the dust that is already there. So what I say is, ‘Keep quiet’. If you keep quiet you are removing the mirror itself so that no dust can alight anywhere. This is what I mean by holiness. Truth exalts holiness, and you become holy by removing the mirror of the mind.

If you have a mirror in front of you, your face will be reflected in it. This reflection is a spot, an impurity. While that spot is there you are not holy. How to remove the reflection? Simple. You throw away the mirror. What will then happen to the reflection? It will go back to your face. If you throw away the mind for one second, just one second, holiness will reveal itself and you will merge back into that holiness.

Therefore I say, ‘Truth exalts a holy person’. All the objects you see around you are reflections in the mirror of your mind. All objects are dust. Throw away the mirror and there will be no mind, no objects and no dust.

David: Most people, Papaji, think that enlightenment is something which can be achieved after a long period of arduous preparation. What is wrong with this belief?

Papaji: This is wrong from start to finish. Any belief is wrong. Why should you believe in anything? Do you need to believe that you are David Godman? You are very sure about it, no? Do you need to ask someone? Do you go to Madhukar and say, ‘Please tell me where David Godman is. He was living in this house.’

He will tell you, ‘You are David Godman, and this is your house’. How did you lose the certain knowledge and conviction of who you really are? You don’t embark on arduous preparation to find out who you are if you already know who you are. You get attached to wrong ideas. Because you believe them, you end up thinking that you have to do something to be what you already are. You get stuck with these things and forget where your real home is.

David: Many people experience happiness as a result of indulging in physical pleasures. Is that happiness which they experience the same happiness which you know to be your own Self, or is it a different kind of happiness?

Papaji: No, no. To be your own Self is the only real happiness. If you pursue happiness anywhere else, you just fatigue yourself, only to find out that the happiness you are striving for is not the real happiness. If you need to repeat the process again and again to get happiness, then what you get is not true happiness. You want to repeat the process again and again because the experience of happiness you got each time did not fully satisfy you. That is why you repeat it.

David: I am not talking about processes, Papaji, I’m talking about the result. If I am suddenly very, very happy as the result of doing something, is my happiness the same as your happiness, or is it different?

Papaji: Happiness is one. Happiness is one. But when you attribute it to something which is not abiding, then it is different. You say ‘your happiness’. When you say ‘my’ happiness or ‘your’ happiness, then it is not that happiness which I point at. I point to unattributed and unearned happiness, not ‘my’ happiness or ‘your’ happiness. This is the only difference. You are using ‘my’ and ‘you’. If you remove ‘you’ and ‘me’, there is no difference.

David: What about states such as ecstasy and bliss? Are they mind experiences or are they from the Self?

Papaji: Ecstasy is a state of mind. For some time it will stay and then it will again dwindle and disappear. Many people get into ecstatic states just by listening to a poem or by singing a song, or by some other means. One can get into ecstatic states, but they go away because they are dependent on transient circumstances.

Bliss is different. It can be compared to the dawn before sunrise. When dawn comes, you know that the sun will soon follow. The sun is not there, but some sign of it is showing above the horizon. So, when you feel some bliss, and you are not attributing it to some external object, you are focusing on the dawn of the Self. To see the sun rise, you must look to the east, not to the west, to the point where the rays of the sun are coming from. When the bliss comes, focus on the bliss. Become one with the bliss. When you experience That from which the bliss is emanating, the bliss will be rejected. Bliss is also a mental state. In the end it will be rejected.

David: Do we have to reject it consciously or will it happen automatically?

Papaji: It will happen automatically.

David: Some people say that bliss is an obstacle to realisation and that the final experience is peace and stillness.

Papaji: This is an idea that comes from yoga. The anandamaya kosha, the sheath of bliss, is one of the five sheaths that limit the ‘I’. First there is the annamaya kosha, the physical sheath, then the pranamaya kosha, the sensory or ‘vital’ sheath, then the manomaya kosha, the mental sheath, then vijnanamaya kosha, the intellectual sheath, and finally the anandamaya kosha, the sheath of bliss. In the yoga system, you have to reject all these five sheaths one by one, including the bliss. You have to remove your attachment to these things one by one. When you have removed your attachment to the physical body, the senses, the mind and the intellect, bliss will come. Bliss will be there when the intellect goes. But one should not get attached to it. Most yogis get attached to blissful states and don’t go beyond them. This is a consequence of the yogic system which aims at getting blissful states.

Don’t get attached to this final kosha [sheath]. Don’t be satisfied with bliss. Stay quiet and let the bliss become That. As the mind absorbs the bliss more and more, it becomes the bliss. After some time there will be no question of rejecting the bliss, because, from the other side, from beyond the mind, from no-mind, freedom itself will come to receive you and embrace you. At that stage no one can reject the bliss.

If you can feel the bliss, you have done very well. The bliss of the Self, the Atman, is called Atmananda. It will take the form of Atman itself. Though everything has gone when you reach this state, it is still not the final state. ‘No-mind’, which is related to mind, is still alive.

If you can reach this state of no-mind, you have done very well. When you reach this stage your work is over, because from then on, it is the task of the beyond. This beyond is fathomless. It will take hold of you and work on you in a very beautiful way. It will reveal itself more and more with each passing moment. It will show you a different beauty, a different love and a different form that are so entrancing, you will always be engaged with it. It will be engaged with it. Even if the body leaves, you cannot get rid of it. This can be described as the Ultimate, as ‘Ultimateness’.

David: Papaji, no-mind, dead mind and silent mind, what are the differences?

Papaji: Silent mind means to keep quiet temporarily. It is simply a suppression of the objects in the mind. It can happen many times, but it will not last. Still mind is also temporary. Meditation or concentration can result in still mind. It is like the flame of a candle. When there is no breeze, the flame will be still. When a wind comes, the candle will flicker and go out. Still mind will be blown away as soon as it encounters the wind of a new thought.

As for no-mind, I am hearing this question for the first time. No person from India or the West has ever asked me about this before. I am very happy to deal with this question for the first time.

Before we speak about no-mind, we have to see what mind is. Let us start from consciousness. Sometimes you want to look in a mirror to see what you look like. In the same way, consciousness sometimes wants to look at itself to see what it is. A wave will arise in consciousness. It will ask itself, ‘Who am I?’ This wave that arises in consciousness imagines itself to be separate from the ocean. This wave becomes ‘I’, the individual self. Once it has become separate, this ‘I’ degenerates further and starts to create. First there will be space, the vast, frontierless emptiness of infinite space. And along with space, time will be created, because wherever there is space, there must be time. This time becomes past, present and future, and from these three, attachments arise. All creation rises within the past, the present and the future. This is called samsara. Samsara means time. Samsara is endless past, present and future. Anything which is born in time, which stays in time, will be finished in time. And all this is mind. The ‘I’ arose and created space, then time, then samsara. This ‘I’ has now become mind, and this mind is ‘I’.

Then at some point, an intense desire for freedom will arise. This desire will arise from consciousness itself. Originally there was a descent from consciousness –from the ‘I’ to space to time to samsara. Now there will be an ascent. As you ascend, attachment to physical objects will go, then vital, then mental, then intellectual. Finally, you return to ‘I’ alone. This ‘I’ is still mind.

This ‘I’ has rejected everything. It exists alone with no attachments. It cannot go back to the world of attachments, to samsara. It has a desire for freedom; it wants to return to its original place. This ‘I’ which rose from consciousness is now returning to consciousness. It takes the decision, ‘Become no-mind now,’ and with that decision the ‘I’ is gone, mind is gone. The ‘I’, which is the mind, has been rejected, but there is still something there which is between the ‘I’ and consciousness. This in-between thing is called no-mind. This in-between entity will merge into consciousness, and then it will become consciousness itself.

Look at this cup [pointing at a tumbler on the table]. There is space, emptiness, both inside and outside the cup. The space inside we call ‘inside space’ and the space outside is called ‘outside space’. Why? Because the name and form of the cup divides the inside from the outside. When the name and form are removed, the space inside and the mahat, the greater space, become one. In fact they were always one. From the point of view of the space itself, there never was an inside or an outside. Name and form made it appear that there was an inside and an outside, but the space was never affected by these artificial divisions. Likewise, freedom is always there, always unaffected by names and forms. Name-and-form is ‘I’. When the ‘I’ goes, the walls which appear to divide consciousness are removed. This becomes This.

When you go from mind back to consciousness, you go through this stage of no-mind. In that state there will be the feeling, the recollection, ‘Now I have no-mind’. Gradually, slowly, this no-mind will merge back into the beyond. But how it happens, I do not know.

David: Can no-mind become mind again? Can it come out? Can it become manifest?

Papaji: A process has taken place. Now there is consciousness itself. Why to speak of mind and no-mind?

In ancient times, when a king died without leaving an heir, a royal elephant was sent out to select the new king. There was a tradition that whoever the elephant picked up and put on his back became the new king. One time when this happened, the elephant picked up a beggar, and this beggar became king. Everyone was happy. The ministers saluted him, gave him golden robes, and put him on the throne. This man who used to be a beggar didn’t have to do anything any more. Everything was done for him. Everything came to him without his asking. All the courtiers and ministers knew how to attend on him. He didn’t need to beg anymore. At the appropriate time during the day, food would be brought to him, and during the night all the queens took care of him. Once a beggar has had a taste of being the king, will he want to go back to his village and be a beggar again?

This is what happens when you become aware that you are consciousness. The person is still there, the body is still there, but there is no one who thinks, ‘I have to do this or that’. There is instead a knowledge that consciousness takes care of everything. If you are consciousness, the king, the five senses become the ministers who serve you. The sense activities will go on automatically, you will not have to think about them. If it is time for the king to have a pan [laughter], pan will come. If it is time for coffee, coffee will come.

When you are consciousness, the brain will become the prime minister, the sense organs will become ministers, and they will all serve you. You will not have to think at all.

If you want this to work, you must have the authority and power of a real king. If you behave like a king, without having the authority, no one will listen to you. Authority must be there, and this authority can only come by being consciousness itself.

I will tell you a good story about another king. This king wanted to see his prime minister urgently. Since the prime minister was not in the palace at the time, the king went to see him in his home.

On his arrival the king was told by the prime minister’s wife, ‘He is in the puja room’.

‘Then call him,’ said the king.

‘I can’t call him,’ replied the wife. ‘I am not allowed to disturb him while he is in his puja room.’

The prime minister, though, had heard the king arrive.

He came out of his puja room in his puja dress, so the king asked him, ‘What are you doing?’

The prime minister didn’t give any reply. This made the king very angry because he saw it as a gross act of insubordination. The king called one of his police officers and ordered him to arrest the prime minister. The police officer stepped forward, but before he could make the arrest, the prime minister said, ‘Wait, wait’. The king signalled the policeman to stop and then waited for the prime minister to give an explanation. Instead, much to everyone’s surprise, the prime minister pointed at the king and ordered the policeman to arrest him. The policeman, of course, didn’t move, because he had no authority to arrest the king.

Then the prime minister explained his actions to the king. ‘When you said "Arrest him," the policeman carried out your order because you have the authority to give such an order. But when I said, "Arrest him," the policeman didn’t obey because I have no authority over you. The order was the same in each case, but the authority was different. You had the authority. I did not.

‘I didn’t reply to you when you came in because I was doing the gayatri mantra. I could not tell you about this mantra because you have not been initiated into it. I myself do not have the authority to tell you about this mantra, so I kept quiet.’

So, if you want to have the authority of the king, you must be consciousness itself. Then the senses will obey you. Everything will be beautiful because all commands will come from consciousness. Kings can make mistakes, but consciousness always makes the right decision at the right time. When you have no-mind, you cannot do any work of your own accord. You are simply being graced. And you are obeying. You yourself are not doing anything because doership has gone. Mind is no more there. All the various functions of the mind are no longer there. You will stay with the body for a stipulated period that has already been decided, and during that time you will be an instrument of consciousness.

Some people cannot stand the shock of freedom for more than twenty-one days. That has been stated in the books. Imagine a man who unexpectedly wins a billion dollars in a lottery. The shock of so much wealth suddenly coming might kill him. He could get a heart attack and die.

It is sometimes the same with enlightenment. So much happiness coming suddenly and unexpectedly can take away the body. But the enlightenment will not be affected.

Some people live on after enlightenment only to benefit other people. This benefit is not coming from some ‘person’, it is coming directly from consciousness. The teacher, who is consciousness, knows that it is not ‘I’ who is working. His attitude is: ‘I have been picked out to speak, but it is not “I” who speak.’ If the teacher thinks that ‘he’ is speaking, this is only arrogance. His words will not work.

When you have that direct experience, it’s of no concern to you what you say. It’s not your problem if someone is benefited or not benefited, nor if people come or don’t come. It’s all the same to you.

David: So consciousness has ordered you to teach. Is that what you are saying?

Papaji: Consciousness ... ?

David: Has ordered you to teach. Is that what you are saying? You are just carrying out the order.

Papaji: [Long pause] Consciousness and me we have become so much one, I cannot say if ‘it’ can order ‘me’.

David: But some power is compelling you to give satsang, yes?

Papaji: Yes, ‘some power’ is like this: [stretches out his hand in front of him] if I want to drink water do I say, ‘Poonjaji, pick up the glass’? Before I put it in the mouth, do I say to my hand, ‘Put it in the mouth’? And before I drink, do I give the order, ‘Drink’? [Papaji laughs, picks up the tumbler and drinks.] Now, I have not commanded the hand. It’s all me, you see. People who are benefited are not ‘others’. The hand is my own, the stomach is my own and the requirement for water is my own. Who are the others? Who is other than me?

Who, first of all, is ignorant? If people say so, I don’t believe them. Who wants to be free? If someone tells me this, I don’t believe him. Who is not already free?

So, when people come to me and say, ‘I am in trouble, I am bound,’ I think they are joking, so I joke back, ‘You are not bound, you are free’.

‘Does it take a long time?’ they ask.

‘No, no,’ I say. ‘You can get it now itself.’

All this is a joke, so I take it as a joke. The statement, ‘I am a bound,’ is it not a joke? The people who speak like this don’t show me the chains, nor the fetters, nor the prison. What kind of jail is this? So it’s all a big joke to me, and I enjoy the joke.

David: So when you look at people in satsang, Papaji, you only see enlightened people who are pretending not to be enlightened?

Papaji: [Long pause] Oh, it’s a difficult question, but I have to answer it because I answer all questions. First of all, I absorb them all and give them a seat in my Heart, in my Heart. As the lover gives a seat to the beloved in his Heart, you are always seated in my Heart. So I open here and say, ‘You and I, we will speak together. Yes. You are not apart from me, you are within the Heart. You are in my Heart. Let us speak.’

David: Grace is working in satsang, Papaji. Does it come from you, through you, or is it simply just there?

Papaji: From grace only. Grace has to come from grace, no? A wave has to come from the ocean. Grace has to come from grace, the ocean of grace.

David: It seems to flow very strongly in your proximity, though.

Papaji: I don’t know.

David: Papaji, many people have heard you say, ‘I have not given my final teachings to anyone’. What are these final teachings, and why you are not giving them out?

Papaji: They are not worthy of them. Nobody is worthy to receive them. Because it has been my experience that everybody has proved arrogant and egotistic. This has resulted in suffering. Many people are suffering. Nowadays, I am making another trial. I will see what happens.

I don’t think that anyone is worthy to receive them. You have to prove holiness to be worthy. Why should you trouble people instead of helping them? This is arrogance, you see.

If a king sends a messenger to another country, his only job is to deliver the message. I sent a messenger to the West, but he tried to become a king. Many people have been troubled by this. I have seen it in many cases. What to do? This kind of behaviour demonstrates unworthiness.

Perhaps I am too generous, perhaps I do not read people properly. Maybe it is my mistake because I think that everyone is good. Though I speak the Truth to everyone, the Truth will reject those who are not worthy of it. Only a holy person can receive this teaching. Such a person will be worthy of it.

If the worthiness is not there, the Truth will enter their head and become intellectual knowledge. Westerners want intellectual understanding. They are very happy when they understand. That’s all the West wants: knowledge through the intellect. Everyone knows that there is something ‘beyond’. But when I talk about it the Westerners say, ‘I don’t understand, I don’t understand’. So I say to them, ‘You don’t need to understand at all’.

I had a friend who lived in Paris. He had been a follower of J. Krishnamurti for thirty-five years. He used to travel around the world, following Krishnamurti wherever he went: Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, England. He had read and studied all the books.

He came to me in Saanen and I talked to him for some time. After he had listened he said, ‘I don’t understand, I don’t understand’.

I told him, ‘You are not to understand this. This is not something to be understood. You have to be it.’

He disagreed. ‘No, no. I have to understand. I don’t understand you and I don’t understand Krishnamurti either.’

I told him, ‘You don’t need to understand either Krishnamurti or me’.

Then he explained to me why he was having so much trouble with Krishnamurti. ‘I am at point A and Krishnamurti is at point B. But when I shift my perspective from A to B, he moves to point C. So, I don’t even understand Krishnaji.’

Krishnamurti was also in Saanen at that time, so a lot of his followers used to come and see me. One day a man came and started talking: ‘Poonjaji and Krishnaji are saying the same thing. Krishnaji says, "Remove all concepts from the mind," and Poonjaji is saying the same. They are both saying, "Unless you empty the pot of the mind, you cannot be enlightened”.’

One man who was listening, he was a follower of Krishnamurti, disputed this statement. He said, ‘No, no, there is a big difference between Poonjaji’s and Krishnaji’s teachings. Krishnaji teaches us to empty the pot, Poonjaji teaches us to break to pot.’

That is the difference, and this is something that cannot be understood with the mind. You can understand when the cup is full, or when the cup is empty, but when the cup does not exist, who are you, and what are you going to understand? So what I say is, ‘Mind itself does not exist, so you don’t need to understand’. You have to see it and feel it when I speak. Thinking will not help you.

Mind itself is only a notion. Get rid of this notion. And mind is past, so get rid of the past also. Come to the present and then I will tell you what to do next. Come to at least the present and you will see.

David: Papaji, many people come to satsang and they have waking-up experiences. Some of them come back weeks or months later and say, ‘I lost it’. What is happening there?

Papaji: Again, this is unworthiness.

David: Most of the time you blame these people for losing it. You tell them, ‘It’s your fault’.

Papaji: Yes, yes. They lost it because they did not take good care of it. I tell these people, ‘If I give you a big diamond, you can live off it for the rest of your life. You can sell it and get millions of dollars for it. If, instead, you don’t recognise its worth and you give it away, whose fault is it? If you give it to a fisherwoman who uses it to balance her scales, because she doesn’t know what it’s worth, whose fault is it?’

This enlightenment is a diamond. It should not be passed on to unworthy people who will misuse it. And they do misuse it. I don’t differentiate between all the people who come to me. I tell them all the same truth. Some get it and then they throw it away by misusing it.

They come back and say things like, ‘My girl friend left me. I phoned her and she came back. Now I am happy again.’ Is this freedom? Next time they will tell me, ‘I went back, but she left me again. Now I am in trouble again.’ Every day I hear stories like this.

David: Papaji, when people leave you, you never tell them, ‘Take care of this diamond I’ve given you. Look after it.’ You only blame them for having lost it when they come back.

Papaji: Not all of them lose it. Some of them are very beautiful people. They write to me and say, ‘I am keeping it. I am still keeping this precious gift. Not only am I keeping it, I am distributing it to others. Even after distributing it, I see that the same amount is still with me. It doesn’t decrease. What a gift you have given me!’ Not all of them lose it. Although I want everyone to be benefited by this thing, I also know that not everyone can get it. Even so, the results here are very good. I look at other ashrams and see what is going on there. Compared to them, the results we are getting here are quite satisfactory. I am very satisfied.

David: One final question, Papaji. All your life you have been trying to express your own inner experience. Will you please make one more attempt for us. Who are you? What are you? What is your own experience of your Self?

Papaji: A very easy reply is: ‘I am your own Self. I am your own Self, and this is Truth. How can it be that I am myself only? I am your own Self and the Self of all the beings that exist and that have to exist.


Arvind Lal said...


You have moved closely & “sat quietly” with at least 4 Masters generally regarded as Self-Realised, Sri Nisargadatta, Papaji, Sri Lakshman Swamy & Sardamma. Plus a whole lot of their & Sri Bhagavan’s devotees who may be, if not already there, very close.

One wanted to request you to elucidate on your experiences of the same. Specifically, was the spiritual experience of sitting in satsang with all the foregoing similar, if not identical ? And if the spiritual experiences were different, why do you think that was so ?

Given that in Self-Realisation there are no grades and that a person is either Self-Realised or not, shouldn’t it follow that the sincere devotee who “sits-quietly” in satsang with any Self-Realised Master, will have the same experience of peace, quietness & eternity, irrespective of the physical Master he is sitting with (& since the Master is really the Self within).

You are probably the only person around who has personally interacted very closely with all, and thus provide a datum of measurement, so to speak !!

Many thanks

David Godman said...

Yes, the states of silence I experienced by sitting with these realised beings was essentially the same in all cases. There was an effortless dropping away of the identification with chains and streams of thought. Though it is hard to describe what remains (a combination of silence, stillness peace and joy comes close) when it comes, it is recognised as the same state that manifested in the presence of other realised beings.

Anonymous said...

David, your questions elicited great answers from Papaji, thanks! How is 'keeping quiet(summa iruthal)' different from making a conscious effort to turn attention away from body, mind and attending to 'I'? There have been lots of theories as to why some people 'get it' while others don't..theories ranging from vasanas, worthiness, intensity of desire for enlightenment to being born with a pure chemical(Nisargadatta)! Is there any theory that satisfies you based on your personal experiences and of others in the spiritual path you've known? What concerns me is that some people spend their whole lives attempting to get it but only a few of them eventually do.

David Godman said...

My own feeling is that when Papaji or Ramana says 'Summa iru' they are not asking you to do anything at all. They are issuing an order directly to your mind, and if the mind is receptive, it stops being busy. This order cuts out the middle man, the person who wants to 'do' something to 'attain' some state.

Papaji himself occasionally wondered out loud on why some people got the experience he was pointing to, while others didn't. I heard him say that some people who seem to be ready don't get it, while those who looked to him to be ill-equipped would occasionally startle him by suddenly having direct glimpses of the Self.

The Upanishad says, 'The Atman chooses whom it will'. Sometimes even Gurus are surprised by the Atman's choice.

Sometimes Papaji attributed it to attentive listening to the Guru. He said that if you allow the words of the Guru to go directly into your Heart, without thinking about them or analysing them, they will manifest there as a direct experience. And who can do that, or allow it to happen? I don't know. Sometimes it seems to be a bit of a lottery.

Anonymous said...

hmm.."Sometimes it seems to be a bit of a lottery" God does indeed play dice with the world!:) thanks for that candid answer.

celio leite said...

David, like a devotee and student of Maharshi way of Atma-Vichara and Surrender, would like to sit or stay a little with a direct and realized disciple of Ramana Maharshi..It seems so important, so important like the "inner feeling of I", or Atma-Vichara.
Is there any direct disciple alive? If So, you can tell whom?
Thanks a lot!

David Godman said...

The only direct disciple I know of who both realised the Self with Bhagavan and is still alive is Lakshmana Swamy. He is now eighty-three years old. Unfortunately, he is a complete recluse. He used to give occasional darshans in his garden here in Tiruvannamalai, but he stopped in 2006, saying he would not be coming out again. He has someone drive him around the mountain every morning, and that's the only time any of us get to see him nowadays.

Murali said...

But is not Mathru Saradamma a realized soul? She is still young and perhaps if one is lucky, one might get her Grace.

David: Is not anyone else close to quietening the minds of devotees? How sad and unfortunate if there are no others we can look forward to.

Regards Murali

David Godman said...

When you said 'direct disciple' I thought you were restricting yourself to people who had personal contact with Bhagavan while he was alive.

Yes, Saradamma is a realised soul, but she is almost as reclusive as Lakshmana Swamy. It is very, very difficult for new people to get to see her, and even some devotees who have been with her for years see her very rarely.

I am sure there are still people who have the ability to quieten the minds of seekers who sit in their presence or even just think of them, but I don't know who they are or where they are.

Krishna said...


In one of ur reply u have given the following quote :

The Upanishad says, 'The Atman chooses whom it will'. Sometimes even Gurus are surprised by the Atman's choice.

Does that mean "Atman" plays dice with the various seekers and picking up people at random or it takes only those who are ripe i.e who have been ripened due to past sadhanas even though it might not be visible at the surface in their present life .

Is it possible for real life masters like Ramana , Papaji to scan the devotees in the first instance as to who is ripe / not ripe for self enquiry ?

David Godman said...

I should qualify my last remarks a little. If a devotee is mature and ready for an experience of the Self, then of course the Guru can see this.

When Lakshmana Swamy prostrated before Bhagavan just prior to his Self-realisation experience, Bhagavan looked at him intently for a few seconds and realised what state he was in. He spoke to Muruganar, who was sitting next to him, and asked him to sit next to Lakshmana Swamy and keep an eye on him. Several hours later, when Lakshmana Swamy finally opened his eyes after his realisation, he found Muruganar there, asking if he was all right.

This version of events is not brought out in the account I wrote in No Mind - I am the Self. However, when I rewrote it in the first-person format so that it could be included in The Power of the Presence, part two, Lakshmana Swamy elaborated on the first version and included the bit about Bhagavan checking him out and then asking Muruganar to sit next to him.

There is actually some supposition in this narrative. Lakshmana Swamy saw Bhagavan speak to Muruganar after he had sat down. After listening to Bhagavan, Muruganar abandoned his seat next to Bhagavan and came and sat next to Lakshmana Swami. Bhagavan's 'instructions' are my own conclusion here.

When Papaji arrived at Ramanasramam and tried to see Bhagavan during the period when the hall was closed for Bhagavan's after-lunch rest, the attendant asked him not to go in the hall. Bhagavan, who probably knew that a ripe soul was out there, overruled the attendant and asked him to come in.

When people of this calibre show up, the Guru definitely recognises the maturity and the potential of that person. What I was referring to in my earlier reply was the less endowed devotee. There are instances in the Ramana literature of devotees who thought themselves to be quite ordinary having direct experiences in Bhagavan's presence. This does happen occasionally, and when it does it seems to be as much a surprise to the Guru as it is to the devotee.

Murali said...

Well, looks like, what we can do is to develop an all consuming desire to attain the Self. Beyond this, things are not in our control.

There is one incident somewhere in the Power of the Presence in which Bhagavan advises an old devotee just to maintain constantly the thought "I should get liberated" and that is enough to take him towards liberation, eventually.

Looks like that is all there is in our control.

Regards Murali

David Godman said...

Desire for the Self arises when other desires are absent.

I remember Papaji saying once, 'You claim everything that happens to you as 'my' because that is the way you have become accustomed to categorising the things that go on inside you. But the desire for the Self is not 'my' desire for the Self; it is the Self itself calling you, calling attention to itself within you. That only happens when your desire for other things and objects is absent. The pull towards the Self happens when you temporarily stop being interested in all the things that usually keep your attention away from the Self.

'People ask me, "Papaji, how can I increase my desire for the Self since you say that this desire is enough for liberation?"

'My answer to this is, "Stop having desires for other things". When this happens, the Self pulls you into itself and liberates you.'

Murali said...

But then, when we have an outside desire, what can we do about it? Is it not that having desires is something which just happens? The only way I cannot have desires is the hard way of passing through the sufferings which the world makes us pass through and therefore, gives us the vairagya..right? I was believing that if we can focus on cultivating the desire for the Self rather than focus on stopping desires which are already there, it might be a thing where I can do something about. For example, I can always make an effort to maintain the thought "I must get liberated" and that weak thought eventually may become a real strong thought.

How can we stop having desires? How can we stop having ambitions?

Regards Murali

Anonymous said...

Papaji says 'Drop all desires except the desire to be free' what frame of mind do you have when you have to plan(desire), work and experience suffering but also realize/accept advaitic teachings telling you that a life lived as an ego('I am the doer') is false and full of suffering? What do you tell yourself to keep going - to do what has to be done to earn a living and also continue sadhana? Maybe this is what Murali wanted to ask..

David Godman said...

Murali and Anonymous

Apologies for being a bit late with this response, but I have been tied up with other work in the last day or so. I am now working my way down the blog, looking for people who are waiting for replies.

While it is true that an all-consuming desire for freedom will take you to freedom, there are not many people in that lucky position. Papaji compared such people to those whose clothes are on fire and who are running as fast as they can towards a river to quench the fire. They are not distracted by anything or anyone on the way. The desire to end their suffering compels them quickly to the one place where that suffering can be ended.

Those who have the desire for freedom, but who are still distracted by other desires, are in a different category. For such people self-enquiry is ideal because it takes attention away from the object of desire and puts it firmly on the subject, the person who has the desire. Such a transfer of attention, over time, lessens the attractiveness of the desired object with the result that the energy to reach for it is lessened.

Having an intermittent desire for the Self can be a little frustrating if one doesn't know the way to enhance it or execute it. Self-enquiry is the perfect solution for someone like this since it provides a clearly laid out route map of where you are, where you need to be, and which diversions you shouldn't follow or get distracted by. The route back to the Self, to the freedom that one desires, is only traversed by an 'I'-thought that is not engaged with objects and desires. Shorn of these entanglements, it naturally subsides into the Self, the home of true freedom.

When there are desires for anything that is not the Self, the mind moves outwards to enjoy those desires; when there is a desire for the Self, and a concurrent attempt to find it through self-enquiry, the mind moves inwards, back towards its source. All that is required is a 180-degree transfer of attention from what is seemingly external to the inner feeling of 'I' that rises from the Self.

Holding onto the 'I'-thought for any length of time lessens the power of the mind to extrovert itself and enjoy objects. Repeatedly turning away from objects and one's desire for them eventually trains the mind to rest in the Self. As Bhagavan remarked in Who am I?: 'By repeatedly practising in this way, the power of the mind to abide in its source increases.'

A question was asked: 'How can we stop having desires? How can we stop having ambitions?'

You can't, but you can lessen the urge to act on them by moving attention from the desire to the 'I' that has the desire. There is no magic bullet. The only solution is persistence.

Anonymous asked: 'what frame of mind do you have when you have to plan(desire), work and experience suffering but also realize/accept advaitic teachings telling you that a life lived as an ego('I am the doer') is false and full of suffering?'

Bhagavan told one devotee that he should do his work in the same way that a rich man's accountant does his work: diligently, and with attention. Such a person can be calm and detached because he knows that the money is not his. Trying to attend to one's own affairs - whether they be family or business - without the sense of 'I' and 'mine' is what Bhagavan is hinting at here.

It's simply not possible for most people to give up the idea that, for example, their children are 'my' children and act in a detached way towards them, but regularly moving attention away from the objects of thought to the thinker 'I' lessens attachment and increases vairagya to the point where it becomes more practical to view the events of one's life in a more detached way.

Bhagavan noted once that complete surrender is impossible for all but the most advanced. Instead, he advocated partial surrender, doing the best one can whenever the mind recollects that it has been distracted by something that is manifestly 'non-Self'. Bringing the mind back to self-attention each time you recollect that it has inadvertently strayed is all you can do.

Murali said...


This lack of "Recent Comments" is killing. Ofcourse you are patiently typing them occasionally but still it is not easy to keep track. I missed this reply completely since I did not know you posted it here.

Thanks David.

Regards Murali

Murali said...


One question. Where is Meera Decoux (the second wife of Papaji) now? Is she a realized person in line with Papaji? Does she have the ability to silence the minds?

Regards Murali

Murali said...


One question. Where is Meera Decoux (the second wife of Papaji) now? Is she a realized person in line with Papaji? Does she have the ability to silence the minds?

Regards Murali

arvind said...


You have moved closely & “sat quietly” with at least 4 Masters generally regarded as Self-Realised, Sri Nisargadatta, Papaji, Sri Lakshman Swamy & Sardamma. Plus a whole lot of their & Sri Bhagavan’s devotees who may be, if not already there, very close.

One wanted to request you to elucidate on your experiences of the same. Specifically, was the spiritual experience of sitting in satsang with all the foregoing similar, if not identical ? And if the spiritual experiences were different, why do you think that was so ?

Given that in Self-Realisation there are no grades and that a person is either Self-Realised or not, shouldn’t it follow that the sincere devotee who “sits-quietly” in satsang with any Self-Realised Master, will have the same experience of peace, quietness & eternity, irrespective of the physical Master he is sitting with (& since the Master is really the Self within).

You are probably the only person around who has personally interacted very closely with all, and thus provide a datum of measurement, so to speak !!

Many thanks