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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.

 

Papaji
Papaji

Papaji, taken on the day of the interview in the Botanic Garden, Lucknow

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Papaj
Papaj

Papaji, taken on the day of the interview in the Botanic Garden, Lucknow

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Papaji Interview 5.jpg
Papaji Interview 5.jpg

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Papaji
Papaji

Papaji, taken on the day of the interview in the Botanic Garden, Lucknow

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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.

David Godman Books

 

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

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