Papaji: Something arose that is the predicate. Now, what is the subject? Who is thinking? Return from this predicate of thinking and focus on the ‘who’. This is the finish. Now you are at the root, aren’t you? Find out who this ‘who’ is. What is its shape? What is the shape of this ‘who’? What is its form? How is it? What does it look like? [Long pause]

 

What is happening?

 

Question: The question just arises out of nothing, out of emptiness, and disappears back into emptiness.

 

Papaji: That’s right. You say this question disappeared into the emptiness. The question was, ‘Who is thinking?’ For thinking you need a mind, don’t you? Now, the process of thinking has been arrested. It happened when you put the question, ‘Who is thinking?’ Now the process has been arrested. Then you said, very correctly, that the question disappears. That’s what you said. ‘There’s emptiness.’ What else do you say?

 

Question: It’s emptiness; just space.

 

Papaji: OK, it’s emptiness; it’s space. Emptiness is there; space is there. This is your inherent nature. You can call it presence or space or anything else. It is obstructed by desire and by thinking. It is always obstructed by desire. Emptiness is just the lack, the absence of thoughts and desires. When you have a burden on your shoulder, you are restless. Let us say that you are holding onto two hundred pounds and that you want to get rid of this trouble, this burden. When you drop it, you have not gained anything. You have not attained some new state that was never there before. You have simply thrown something away that was troubling you and returned to your inherent nature, the inherent state that was there before you loaded yourself up with this weight. 

 

This thinking process, this burden, is a desire that we always carry with us. I am showing you how to drop this unwanted burden. When you ask the question, ‘Who is thinking?’ you arrest the process of thinking and return back to your true nature, your inherent nature, your spontaneous nature, the pure source that is empty. This is your own nature, and this is what you are always. The mind does not enter there. Time does not enter. Death does not enter. Fear does not enter. This is your inherent, eternal nature. If you stay there, there will be no fear. If you step out of it, you step into samsara, manifestation, and there you are in trouble all the time.

 

Question: I think I have a desire to make a much bigger deal of it.

 

Papaji: What?

 

Question: I think I had expectations that it would be some big, great experience, but actually the experience of it is very ordinary. It just feels very clear, very ordinary, and very empty.

 

Papaji: Yes, from emptiness everything arises. From emptiness all this cosmos has arisen, all this manifestation comprising millions of planets and solar systems. All of these millions of planets hanging in space arose from just one thought that arose from this particle of emptiness. This can happen without affecting the emptiness at all.

 

Question: Should I try to stay in the emptiness? Thoughts arise in the emptiness. Some of them are attractive; some make me afraid; and some of them are repugnant. I find myself latching onto thoughts and identifying with them. I become those thoughts. I lose sight of the emptiness and the presence until I can remind myself again.

 

Papaji: If you remind yourself at that time, all is over, all is gone. The best position to take is that of not forgetting. Just play your role, but don’t forget that it is all just a drama on the stage.

 

Imagine a drama company is putting on a play. The person who has to play the servant of the king falls sick at the last moment and cannot come. No other actors are available, so the proprietor of the company steps in to play the role. In the play the king, who is one of the employees of the proprietor, orders the servant around: ‘Fetch my shoes. I want to go for a walk.’ The proprietor meekly obeys and carries out the orders, but does he ever forget that he is the owner of the company? He is happy to act the role of the servant because all the time that this role is being portrayed he knows that he is really the proprietor.

 

If you live like this, knowing that you are the Self, you can act anywhere. If you know this, all your activities will be very beautiful, and you will never suffer. Once you have had a glimpse, a knowledge of this emptiness, you will be happy all the time because you will know that all manifestation, all samsara, is your own projection.

 

Where does all this manifestation rise from? When you are asleep, there is nothing there, is there?

 

 

Papaji
Papaji

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Papaji
Papaji

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Papaji
Papaji

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Papaji
Papaji

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The slide show comprises photos of Papaji teaching in his front room in Lucknow. All the photos are from the period when these dialogues took place.

David Godman Books

 

Books by David Godman on Ramana Maharshi, his devotees and his teachings