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David: I think this is a major problem in the West, Papaji. People will not be convinced that they are ready for realisation right now. They all think they have to do something.

 

Papaji: Of course. That’s what I hear. That is why all the yoga teachers are very successful in the West. I have seen yoga centres even in small villages. There are about five thousand yoga teachers in Europe. I have talked to some of them and they’re all doing very well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I asked one of them, ‘What you are teaching?’ And he answered, ‘How to keep young and fit up to ninety years of age’.

 

This is what most of them are aiming at, and if this is what you want from yoga, it can help you to achieve it. Many books on yoga are sold in the West - I have even seen them on stands by the side of the road. Yoga for Sex was one – you must have seen it.

 

So, the yoga that is taught in the West is to maintain the health and vitality of the body. I remember one girl in Dusseldorf. She was in her twenties and she looked very good and very happy. I saw her meditating so I asked her, ‘When you meditate, what do you meditate upon?’

 

She replied, ‘I want to keep young for a long time. I am twenty-seven now and I want to be healthy till I’m eighty five.’

 

I gave her the name Ratna, which means ‘diamond’. I met her boyfriend and called him Ratnasagar, which means ‘ocean of diamonds’. They were both very good people, but they were not getting any results from their meditation. No one gets real results from meditation.

 

David: I want to ask you some questions about happiness, Papaji. I have heard you say that nobody in the whole world is happy, they only think they are. How can you justify this?

 

Papaji: Because no one is happy in this world. This is a true statement. I have not seen any such person. I have travelled all over the world, and in each country I visited everyone I saw was suffering. Everyone is suffering, even the richest people.

 

I once met a very rich man in Switzerland. I went to see him because I had looked after his son in India. This boy had had some mental problems, so someone suggested to him, ‘Go to Poonjaji in Rishikesh. You will get better if you stay with him.’ This boy stayed with me for about a year. He was a little paranoid or schizophrenic, but he became well again after staying with me. He travelled all round India with me – Lucknow, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Delhi and Bombay – before going back to Switzerland.

 

On my next trip to Europe his father invited me to stay. He put me in a revolving flat on top of an apartment block. This man was clearly very rich, but he could not sleep at night. First he would have a few drinks and then three or four sleeping tablets. Even then he couldn’t sleep.

 

I asked him, ‘Why can’t you sleep? I’ll make you sleep. You decide when you want to sleep and I will see that you get some.’

 

His trouble was that he had a car factory – 5,000 assembly-line workers plus all the administrative staff. It was a very big complex. Throughout the night the telephones were ringing – dispatching, selling, booking. This was the way he was. He was so busy, he couldn’t sleep.

 

I told him, ‘Come with me tomorrow in your car and don’t ask me where we are going’.

 

The next day he said, ‘I cannot go with you because some people here have come with some orders’.

 

When you always have some business in your mind – something to be done today, tomorrow or the next day – these thoughts will be continuously revolving in your mind. If you don’t reject them, how can you sleep? People in the West are always working. They don’t have time to sleep. Have you been born only to work, or are you born to be peaceful? What is happening in the West? Work, work and more work. It costs people their health, but still they will not rest. That is why they are not happy; that is why they are in trouble.

 

They think, ‘We have got a fat balance in the bank, a good apartment and the latest model car’. But this doesn’t help a man to be happy. To be happy the best prescription is contentment. Whatever you have, be contented with it. If you want to compare your wealth with other people’s, look at the people who have less than you and be happy. Don’t look at some billionaire sheikh and feel jealous that he has more than you. Look at people who are worse off than you. ‘Look at that man. He is begging. Thank God I am better off than him. I have food and I don’t need to have a begging bowl in my hand.’ If you have this attitude, you will sleep very well.

 

 

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.

Filming the interview in Lucknow, March 1993

David Godman Books

 

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

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