Chapter 6 - Papaji
In June ’91, I received a fax in Poona informing me that a friend of mine, who was recently with a Master in the Himalayas, claimed to have become enlightened in just two weeks. My first response was of disbelief. It was more likely my friend was freaked out. Shortly afterwards, I returned to Germany for a much needed rest from the hardships of India. I dreamt of spending a nice relaxing summer in Ibiza. As it happens, the subject of my friend ensued while visiting friends in Amsterdam and we decided to give him a call. While speaking to him, it began to dawn on me that his story might be true. ‘Well, why not’, I thought. "We all have been working hard for years and it was about time someone did it."
Later, while browsing in a bookshop, I came across a book written by a disciple of this Master in which the disciple recounted his time and experiences with that Master and it sounded very nice. But the last thing I wanted to do at that time was to return to India and my ticket to Ibiza was already purchased. However, when the time to leave approached, I called up my travel agent, canceled the Ibiza ticket and ordered one for India. I had to go even if there was only five percent chance of enlightenment happening. I had to go and see for myself; after all, what was this life about but to seek Enlightenment?
So, on a beautiful summer day in July ’91, I departed Germany and flew to Lucknow, India to meet H.W.L. Poonjaji. Little did I know this was to begin the most beautiful and rewarding time of my life.
I contacted Poonjaji’s son in Lucknow. He gave me directions to Poonjaji’s house and told me to arrive there the next morning at 9 am. Poonjaji’s house was located in an outer district of Lucknow, not far from a forest area, called Indira Nagar. Indira Nagar was not esthetically beautiful and it appeared to me the whole of Lucknow was poor. I found the house to be small and simple, built of concrete, which was typical for houses of the area. Arriving that morning, I entered a small living room where Poonjaji conducted his meetings.
I must have been late for everyone was already seated. In the front of the room, on a dais, a Indian man sat with his eyes closed. There were eight people present and all were westerners.
So without any introductions I sat down and closed my eyes. Immediately I felt a movement of energy within me that continued again and again, wave upon wave - cascades of energy ran up and down my body. Among those waves, I sensed my mind coming and going and by the end of the meeting, a new sense of quietness was present. I made no physical contact with Poonjaji since I could hardly sit up.
People asked questions and I heard him answer something about desires and of allowing existence to come into one. During that first meeting I simply went beyond any expectations I had of Poonjaji. He was real and was able to share his Shakti (divine energy).
The next morning I arrived with some anticipation. Would the same happen again? I did not have to worry because immediately upon sitting I felt waves of energy coming into me and at the same time I was aware of something in my heart melting. I made contact with Papaji and we had a good talk. I asked him about making effort because he talked about it. He answered: ‘I should not make any effort. I should drop all my ideas, notions and concepts, and just be quiet.’ It was difficult to relate or believe what he said to me, but the contact and energy was so immense and that was enough - it felt so good to be back in this energy.
I arrived the next day feeling anxiety and pain, but when the meeting began, the energy started coming and my body began to shake and vibrated strongly. I opened my eyes and noticed Papaji, at the same time, opened his eyes. We looked at each other for what seemed eternity, although it was not easy because there was a strong urge to look away. However, I wanted him to look at me no matter what. After awhile, Papaji got up from the dais and left the room.
There began a half-hour tea break where prasad (offering) and chai (Indian Tea) were served. One of Papaji’s caretakers came over to tell me that Papaji wanted to see me in his room.
Papaji’s room consisted of two small cots, one table and a refrigerator - very simple and small. When I entered the room, Papaji was sitting on his bed. He looked up and smiled. The love and happiness that emanated from him was so vast and intense I almost ran out of the room. Gathering my courage I sat across from him and he started telling me how great my energy was and how open I was. He said he watched my soul going into the beyond. To myself I thought, ‘Well, I sensed that but what about the pain I was feeling?’ (Later I understood that I focused on pain rather than what was beyond it. There was beauty and love and more, yet I was concerned about a small aspect of mind called pain.)
Papaji asked me if I came here for a specific purpose because that was what he felt the first time he saw me. At first, I felt wishy-washy and shy about saying I came for enlightenment but something overcame me and I said in a strong and in a determined way, ‘Yes, I came here for enlightenment!’
He started laughing and we hugged and hugged rolling around on the bed. He said, ‘Yes, I always get people at the end never in the beginning and I work really fast.
He told me enlightenment would happen in just a matter of a few days, perhaps seven days. We sat there feeling chummy. He asked me if there was anything I wanted to tell him. I told him the story of the two Holymen and afterwards he said, ‘Yes, those men were very special.'
This confirmation was very important for me. The experience, up to that point, was so sacred I only told a few people over the years; it was good to have it to confirmed by a Master.
Going home I had the feeling I should start to celebrate.
Those first meetings with Papaji were of great worth. He inspired my confidence to first allow freedom (divine nature) to be present, and then, to be able to live it. Even though freedom happened fifteen years ago, the mind told me I was not free and it was very difficult to even believe I could be free.
Each day satsang (spiritual meeting) reached deeper and deeper and became more and more silent.
I watched a real healing take place within. After years of doing chaotic breathing and rebirthing, breathing had become unnatural. As the days went by, I watched my breathing return to its quiet natural state.
I’ll never forget the day when an immense peace and contentment arrived. It was as if I became peace.
Papaji’s love was overwhelming. Sometimes he walked into the room and I felt lighting bolts of love striking me. At other times, balls of love would descend upon me.
One day in satsang, not feeling well, I stood at the back of the room, being miserable, just looking out the window, I felt the satsang energy affecting me and by the end of the satsang I was feeling good. Before leaving the room, Papaji came over to me and said, ‘Feeling better?’ and immediately left the room. I had a history of very negative spaces that were very difficult to overcome. Papaji’s silence was so strong, that even with those heavy spaces, the veils lifted and the divine nature (freedom) was revealed.
Papaji was simply blowing me away. As the days went by, I began to realize the extent of his abilities to heal and silence the mind.
The simple old loving man who appeared to us was the tip of the iceberg; underneath was a fully realized Gnani (Master Teacher), with a special talent to silence mind, open the heart and reveal truth once and for all.
Every satsang became a love affair of melting and merging, flying into the divine. Nothing was more important and enjoyable - I could not get enough of it.
The Master’s help came sometimes with only a few words. In the past when I entered deeply into meditation it was very difficult afterwards to relate to people and this caused pain. I ask Papaji about that because it was happening again.
He answered,”Forget about people!"
You can’t imagine how this simple little answer helped me. The desire for freedom was quite intense for it had become a question of life or death. In my room the next day, I understood his answer; the decision arose that if I never spoke to another person again nor walked out of this
room, I would do it to win freedom. At this moment, I fell into a state of Samadhi and could not rise until the next day. The desire to relate to others, kept me from being with myself; the moment it dropped, I was left with Truth (divine nature). I discovered in a very real way that desires and mind trips were illusion and could disappear instantly once consciousness was present.
On another occasion, I arrived in satsang feeling my heart bursting with love but feeling fear as if I was on the edge of a cliff. I shared that with Papaji and he replied, “Why don’t you make this cliff a sand dune, so it will be easy to jump off and you will not get hurt. Don’t make a big deal out of it. This is just mind and it is an illusion.”
In this split second, the fear disappeared and only love remained. I saw that fear was a creation of mind, not real. The love was present, happening, while mind created some dream about having to do something about it.
During my stay with Papaji, moments like this occurred again and again until one day the conviction of the illusion of mind was very apparent. Mind trips that devastated me for years I watched disappear over and over again in a split second in Papaji’s presence.
When Papaji gave you his full attention in satsang, nothing compared to it. It was Rama himself manifesting and I will tell you of one instance. Seven days after Papaji told me I would be enlightened, I asked him, ‘Papaji, I’ve been here now seven days and I’m still not enlightened.’
He replied in a very loving way something about if I went to the other shore I would be missed, so why go? As he looked at me and I at him, an immense vastness occurred, the separation I had been feeling disappeared and there we were together with no him or me present; only consciousness in consciousness. The energy levels were super intense but very ecstatic and blissful. It was a song of our hearts beating together.
Later in my room, energy vibrated again and something died within me. It was so overwhelming I had to lie down and once more I entered into a state of Samadhi for hours.
It was during this time satsang stopped being restricted to two hours in Papaji’s house. I could be sitting in a restaurant or my room, when immense waves of bliss and divineness overwhelmed me. I began to feel and be like I was fifteen years ago in Delhi.
My life became very simple. After satsang I went home, sat in my room, unable to do anything but be in awe of the immensity of what was happening. I could only be with myself and never before did I feel such constant happiness and bliss.
After satsang one day, I went home and decided to sit the whole day. The next morning I woke up to the next Split Second.
Split Second 6
In satsang the next day, I related to Papaji what happened.
He replied, “Yes, that was the end-point of inquiry" (looking for "who you are"). Then giving me a strong look, he said, “Always remember this emptiness is your home, your origin and from there you always begin.”
I began to appreciate during the next months, the importance of his statement. I found it to be a most helpful tool for dispelling adverse thoughts or emotions (tendencies) that might arise. In the past, if I was depressed, for example, I would not know how to come out of it. First, I thought it was real and I thought it belonged to me. Now I know it is not real and it is not my true Self. My home is my emptiness, the awareness. When depression arises now, I sit with myself, the emptiness, and watch the depression disappear. Before, depression could last months or years and now it can go away in minutes or even in a split second.
Over the subsequent years, I’ve watched this work on many aspects of my personality. When some tendency arises, I sit with myself, be quiet, stay in the present moment and watch the tendency disappear. Sometimes the waves are very strong, overpowering me. When this happens, I simply wait until it becomes less strong, knowing it will pass and is not I. I am the emptiness, the consciousness that is aware of the tendency and I remain committed to it and my desire for freedom regardless.
In this way, one is rooted in the Self.
One woman during the satsang said she had a dream the other night in which I became enlightened.
Papaji replied, ‘Yes that is right, Bharat is enlightened.’