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During lunch he remarked, ‘I only have one lung. The other has been surgically removed. My doctor has told me not to climb stairs and not to laugh because these activities put too much strain on the lung. If I laugh or climb stairs, I am supposed to take some medicine to help my lung recover from the exertion. But here I don’t feel any need to take the medicine. In fact, I feel as if my other lung has been replaced.’



















And then he started laughing again. During all the time he was with me, he never asked any questions. He only laughed and laughed and laughed. It put no strain on him and he never needed to take his medicine.


Later, after he had returned to Japan, he sent one of his students to see me. This student told me that after his professor had arrived back in Japan he was asked, ‘What have you brought from Lucknow? What is the teaching of Poonjaji?’


His only response was to start laughing. He laughed and laughed and laughed. When the laughter finally subsided, he was asked again, ‘What is the teaching of Poonjaji?’ and he replied, ‘Laughing. Laughing and dancing.’


When a person laughs he has no mind, no thought, no problem, no suffering.


David: So long as the laughter persists, there is no mind.


Papaji: No mind. You try! [Laughter] Those who don’t laugh, they have got minds. They look very serious and have many problems. They have minds because for any problem, for any suffering, you need to have a mind. It’s the mind that suffers, you see. So laugh away your problems. If any problem comes, laugh it away! If you laugh, it will go away; it will run away, it will fly away.


David: So, laughter is a response to the absence of pain and suffering. Would you say that?


Papaji: What do you say? David: When all the mental problems go, then spontaneously laughter arises?


Papaji: Of course, of course, yes, yes. Only the man who has got rid of all his problems, he alone laughs, he alone dances. As a solution to all his problems, he only has to dance, he only has to laugh.


There was once a saint who lived on the top of a mountain. At midnight, on a full moon night, he started laughing and laughing. All the people of the village woke up wondering, ‘What has happened to this monk?’


They went to the top of the hill and asked him, ‘Sir, what happened?’


The saint answered, laughing, ‘Look! Look! Look! Look! There’s a cloud! There’s a cloud!’


Many people see clouds but who laughs at them? Only the one who has no mind. Anything he sees will give him occasion to laugh. Because, as he looks at it, he becomes that thing itself. The cloud is there, the moon is behind it. If you have no mind, this sight alone can make you laugh.


David: So, when you see the world, Papaji, you mostly laugh at it. You think it’s all a big joke?


Papaji: [Laughter] I only joke, what else is there to do? I don’t study any sutras, I’ve never studied any sutras, nor do I refer to any sutras. I only make jokes. [More laughter]


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?


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.




The photos in the slide show were all taken during this interview in the Botanic Garden, Lucknow. The cover photo of the book was also taken that day.

Recording the interview in the Botanic Gardens, Lucknow.

David Godman Books


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

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