Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. What a wonderful gift of life. Inhale. Exhale. The beginning and the end. Inhale peace, exhale confusion. Inhale faith, exhale worry. Inhale love, exhale anger. Breath is the gift of grace. As long as we have it, we have the divine opportunity to go it again.
~ Iyanla Vanzant
Papaji on his first meeting with Ramana Maharshi…
“So, when I arrived at the railway station in Tiruvannamalai, I got down and booked a bullock cart, which was the local transportation. I went to the ashram, and left all my baggage outside. I was going to start my work in Madras so I had all my bedding with me. I left it outside and went into the hall where a man was sitting. As soon as I saw this man I recognized that it was the same man who had given me the address in Punjab. I became very angry with him. I didn’t go to see him. I didn’t even enter the hall. I just went to find another cart to go back to the railway station. There was a Parsi man there; his name was Thromji, and he was the owner of the Vallington Cinema Group which had cinemas all over India. Later on we became friends. He came to me and said, “You seem to be a North Indian.” “Yes, I am,” I replied. “Then how is it that you have just arrived and now you are going back?” I told him, “This man is a fraud! He met me just fifteen days ago in Punjab and he gave me his own address that he is a God-realized man. If he had to give me a teaching, he could very well have given it to me there, in Punjab. Why did he give me his own address here in Tiruvannamalai? ” “No, no,” he said. It’s not possible. You are making a mistake.” I said, “How can I make a mistake? I am not mad. He is the same man. I am quite fit, both in body and mind. I cannot make such a mistake. In only fifteen days I cannot forget. He is the same man.”
He said, “No. This man has not moved from this place in fifty years. You can ask anyone. Either you have seen someone else and you are mistaking the identity, or this man must have appeared to you through his own power to help you. We have heard of some three or four instances. So come with me, I will introduce you to the manager of this ashram and you can stay in the guest house.” So he took me and insisted that I went there, and they give me a place to stay.
Then I went inside. He was not speaking to anybody. Everybody was quiet, but something was going on in this silence. For the first time I saw this happening without talking. Something was there; some vibration was there which was entering into my heart. After about ten minutes there was a bell for lunch. Maharshi got up, everybody got up – there were maybe fifteen or twenty people there – and we all went in the hall to take lunch together. Then Maharshi went back to his hall alone; no one else followed him. After lunch Maharshi took rest, and then people came again in the hall at 2:30 PM. I never knew this rule. So seeing him alone I went in straight away, but as I was going in the attendant stopped me. He said, “You come back at 2:30 PM.” Maharshi was looking and he signaled me to come in.
I went inside and asked him, “It was you wasn’t it, who saw me and gave me your own address in Punjab?” He kept quiet. “If it was you why didn’t you tell me? I wanted to see God. Why you didn’t do it there, and why have you called me here? I have come here and you don’t speak with me. I do not understand.” Still he was silent. I said, “I do not understand your silence. Please speak to me.” Still he was silent. Still he was silent, so I was not very happy.
I was in love with Lord Krishna since my boyhood. It was a constant force in my life. So I said, “OK, this place is very nice, I like this place. This mountain is very beautiful, there are forests, there are monkeys, there are peacocks. I will live here. I will go to the forest and stay there.” I went to the forest. I had a month before I had to join my duties and I had used up only five days. So I went to the other side of the hill for some time, knowing I could join my duties later on and knowing I was in a good place.
Then the time came for me to go, so I decided to go and prostrate before him and then to leave. There was some attraction to him, even though I may not have liked him at first. He was there again, and once again he was alone. Very few people went to see him, very few. He asked me, “Why didn’t you come for so many days?” I was very proud. I said, “I have been playing with my God.” “Very good, very well.” He said. “You have been playing with God?” “Yes, I was. I have always been.” “Do you see him now? Do you see him now?” “Not now,” I said. “Not now. When I have vision I see him, sometimes in the night also. When I have vision I see him, not always. That’s why I want to see him always.”
Then he said, “God does not appear and disappear.”
For the first time I heard this: “God is Reality itself. God doesn’t disappear. He is appearance itself. So what appears and disappears is only mental, is only imagination.” I didn’t like this philosophy that I was hearing. “Krishna appeared and disappeared. And the seer is still here, he who has seen Krishna is still here. Find out who the seer is.”
I had never been confronted at any time by anyone with this question before. Neither the living saints nor any of the past saints I had heard about could confront you like this, with this question: “Find out who the seer is. Find out who you are. That does not disappear. It is always there, whether you are awake or dreaming or asleep. This seer is always there. Now you tell me who this seer is.”
No answer came for this question but I had an experience to find out the Source of ‘I’. It worked it my case. On my first trip to the Guru I found it. Actually the seer was always there; the Source of ‘I’ was always there. He simply asked me to, “Find out who the seer is.” That’s what he said. In his presence I experienced the seer, what it was. It was so quick. My body was vibrating and became One. I did not understand this tremendous bliss, this tremendous happiness, this beauty, in just an instant.
This teaching is the ultimate teaching, which I try to present to you every day. I don’t think any other teaching is worth striving for except to discover your own Self. Later on, if you need anything else you may go in search of it. Here and now find out who you are. This is the ultimate Reality, this is the ultimate teaching. I don’t think any other teaching can surpass this teaching. Know your Self and then know the rest, if it is needed. This false appearance will disappear in the recognition of your own Self. This false appearance will not show up again when the Real is revealed to you. That has no form and no name; That has no geographical location anywhere, neither inside nor outside. This is Eternal Rest. Each of you is already in This. The only impediment is your preoccupation with something else, with something unreal. That is the only hindrance. Otherwise this freedom, this wisdom, this beauty, this love is always inviting you. You only have to turn your attention within your own Self and you see that you have always been free. This is your own nature.
There is no need to seek, no need to hunt It down anywhere else. It is already here. You only have to abandon the notion that, “I am bound. I am suffering. I am born. I have to die.” This is simply a notion that you have entertained somehow, due to your unmindfulness. Any notion will immediately disappear when you want it to, when you need it to. And when you desire freedom, instantly freedom is here. You do not need to go and search for It – it is not an object to search for. It is your very inner nature. It is very close, closer even than your breath. When something is closer and nearer than the breath what effort do you need to meet it? It is so near, so dear, so intimate to you, but you are lost in fulfilling your desires with those things or people which are not worth making friends with. They appear and disappear – they are not permanent, they are not real. So what is the use of that hunt which is not abiding, which is not living, which is not eternal, which is disturbing? It’s not wise to purchase disturbance for nothing. If you are a good buyer you will make a bargain for those things which do not disappear. That will be the real diamond, and having that you will not see your poverty.”
Satguru is within your own Self and nowhere else.
Your Satguru dwells in your Heart
and in the Heart of all Beings.
Since you don’t understand his language,
by Grace he takes a form to point you Within.
The Maharshi often would say,
‘The Real Guru is Within.’