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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?

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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