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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?


Papaji: 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.

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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