Monday, April 29, 2013

An Interview with H.L. Poonjaji by Catherine Ingram


Plunge Into Eternity

 Poonjaji, what is freedom?

Freedom is to know your own fundamental nature, your own Self. Nothing else. Easiest of all, without your thinking, is freedom.

And what is that Self?

This is indescribable. It is not intellectual, not even transcendental. Think of one without even the concept of two. Now drop the concept of one.

You often speak of surrender. Surrender to what?

To that Source through which you speak, through which you see, through which you breathe, through which you taste and touch, through which this Earth revolves and the sun shines, through which you have asked this question itself. Everything happens through that consciousness in which even emptiness is housed. That supreme power which is beyond the beyond—your own Self—to that you have to surrender.

Is the consciousness of which you speak eternal—unborn and undying?

Consciousness is beyond the concepts of birth and death, beyond even any concept of eternity or emptiness or space. That which accommodates the space or emptiness or eternity is called consciousness, within which everything is existing.

Yet there is the appearance of birth and death.

You see, existences and destructions happen ceaselessly. All these manifestations are like bubbles and waves in the ocean; let them happen. The ocean doesn't find that they are separate. The bubbles, the eddies, the waves—they may appear to themselves as separate, but the ocean itself has no trouble with them. Let them move on it, let them have different shapes and different names, coming and going. This body will be the food of worms and ants. From earth it came and to earth it will return. You are that which shines through it. The consciousness is untouched.

Do you propose that we identify, with the ocean—that Source—instead of with the waves?

No, you need not identify with anything. You only need to get rid of your notions. Do not identify with any name or form which is not real, and no name or form is real. Now to reject name and form you need not make any effort or employ any kind of thinking or identification. You have been identifying with names and forms which have caused you to feel separate from the fundamental nature which you always are, so you have to disidentify with something which is not true. No need to identify with the ocean or Source. You are the Source. When your identification with the unreal has vanished, then you will be what you have been, what you are, and what you will be.

What is mind?

Never mind! [Laughing] Show me the mind. You have used the word "mind." No one has seen what the mind is. Mind is thought existing as subjects and objects. The first wave is "I," then "I am," then "I am this, I am that," and "This belongs to me." Here the mind begins. Now you keep quiet, and do not allow any desire to arise from the Source. Just for this instant of time, don't give rise to any desire. You will find you have no mind and you will also see that you are somewhere indescribable, in tremendous happiness. And then you will see who you really are.

So when you inquire "Who am I?", this will take you home. First reject the "who," then reject the "am," then you are left with the "I." When this "I" thought plunges to its source, it ceases to exist and finds Being itself. There you can very well live without mind. If you do it practically, you will find that something else will take care of all your activity more wisely than the mind is doing for people who are using mind. We can see today what the result is of using the mind, how the world is behaving by using the mind. I believe that if you keep quiet and let the supreme power take charge of all activities, then you will see how to live with all beings. The one who knows himself will know what it is to be animals, plants, rocks, everything that exists. If you miss realization of your own Self, you have not known anything.

People who are spiritually oriented struggle with what is called the "ego."

Let us see where the ego is rising from. Ego has to rise from somewhere to become ego. The ego arises, then mind, then senses—seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, touching. There must be "I" before ego arises. This notion of "I" is the root cause of ego, the mind, manifestation, happiness, and unhappiness—samsara. Now return to "I" and question what this "I" is. Where does it rise from? Let us try.

I have done this many times, but…

You may have done it, but now don't do it. Just land into it. Nothing to do. When you see the process of doing, you must return back again. Ego, mind, senses—this is called doing. What I am talking about requires no doing at all, just intelligence. You have only to be watchful, vigilant, attentive, serious. No doing, no thinking, no effort, no notions, no intentions. You leave everything aside, simply keep quiet, and wait for the result.

This results happens now with you, but...

Yes, then you start now from this happening. With this happening you have broken at least this process of ego, mind, senses, and manifestation. Now you return from the happening. You can also step out of this, but you do so as a king when he rises from his throne and goes to the garden. He is not a gardener; he is still the king. You are this happening.

The Buddha spoke about practicing this awareness. He taught a meditation practice to enable people to taste this.

I have not found any results from these practices, but they are going on. I don't give you any practice. I just remove your old burdens. Don't expect that I will give you something new. If you gain something new, its nature is not eternal, and you will lose it. Freedom cannot be the effect of any cause. You already have everything. You are an emperor. Throw away the begging bowl.

Practice is needed when you have some destination, something to attain. Abandon this concept of gaining something at a later date. What is eternal is here and now. If you find freedom after 30 years of practice, it will still be only here and now. Why wait 30 years?

Just sit with a cool mind and see where you have to go and where you are now. Question yourself: What do I practice for? For practice you need somebody to practice and some intention for practicing. What is that through which you practice? Through what do you derive this energy to put anything into practice? Do you get my point? If you want to go somewhere, you have to stand up and walk to reach the destination, so there must be some energy to stand and walk to the destination. What makes you stand up?

Some desire.

Yes, but where is the desire rising from? Who makes the desire arise and from where? People are doing practices for freedom, so I want you to see—here and now, before going to the destination—what you want. If you want freedom, then find out what is the bondage, where are the chains, what are the fetters. Sit down calmly, patiently, and question, How I am bound? What binds you except these notions, concepts, perceptions? Forget about all these things. Don't give rise to any notion, any intention, or any idea. Just for a second. Get rid of these notions, instantly. Now who is seeking freedom? The seeker himself is not yet tackled.

There's a saying, "What you are looking for is what is seeking."

Yes, find out who the seeker is, or Who am I. You have not to move anywhere because it is here and now. It has always been here and now. You are already here and you are already free. You think or have a notion that you have to search for something, to meditate. You have been told this many times. Now just for a short while, sit quietly and do not activate a single thought. You will discover that what you were searching for through methods or sadhanas was already there. It was what was prompting you to meditate. The desire for freedom arises from freedom itself.

Most meditation is only mind working on mind. You are somewhere where the mind cannot trespass. The real meditation is simply to know that you are already free.

Yet thoughts come uninvited, as unwelcome guests. And it seems that through meditation practice there is a lessening of thoughts. By systematically keeping quiet, in a calm place, thoughts slow down and even go away altogether...

Then you have a tug of war with the thoughts. So long as you are powerful and you are checking, they are not there. When you don't check, the thoughts come again. Don't worry about the thoughts. Let them come and play with you as the waves play with the ocean. When the waves disturb the tranquility of the ocean, it doesn't mind. Let the thoughts arise, but don't allow them landing space.

So much emphasis is placed on getting rid of the thoughts, as though a mind without thoughts is tantamount to an awakened state.

No, no, no. Let the thoughts come. If you reject them, they will invade forcibly through your door. Remove the door. Remove the wall itself. Who will come in now? In and out is due to wall, and this wall is I am separate from consciousness." Let the thoughts come: they are not different from the waves of the ocean. It is better to be at peace with thought. ego. the mind. the senses, and manifestation. Let us not fight with anything. Let us be one. You will see your own face in everything. You can speak to plants. You can speak to rocks, and you are the hardness of the rock itself. You are the twittering ot the birds. You have to see. I am the twittering of the birds. I am the shining of the stars,

Isn't a still, silent mind more conducive to this depth?

There is no depth. It is immaculate emptiness. No inside, no outside, no surface, no depth. No place to go. Everywhere you go is here. Just look around and tell me the limits of this moment. Go as far as you can go. How is it measured? Its length? Breadth? Width? This moment has nothing to do with time or depth.

Is it really so simple?

Yes. When you know it, you will laugh! People go to mountain caves for 30 years just to find Being itself. Being is just here and now. It is like searching for your glasses while wearing them. What you have been searching for is nearer than your own breath. You are always in the Source. Whatever you are doing, you are doing it in the Source.

Poonjaji, religions always promise some afterlife. Is this Source that you speak of a promise of everlasting Beingness?

I don't believe in these promises which will happen after death. This experience I am speaking of is here and now. What is not here and now is not worth attempting or attaining. To enjoy this here and now is to get rid of notions that you are not here and now.

Truth must be simple. Complication is in falsehood. Where there are two, there is fear and there is falsehood.

Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, and even the Buddha referred to this life as a dream. Why?

Because it is not permanent. Nothing has been permanent. Therefore they don't differentiate between this waking state and the dream state. In a dream you are seeing mountains, rivers, and trees which appear real. It is only when you wake up that you say, "I had a dream." Upon awakening, those things are seen as transitory, and you call them a dream. The state you have woken up into now seems real, permanent, and continuous when compared to that dream. Like this, when we wake up into consciousness itself, then this so-called waking state also appears to be a dream.

What is the function of the guru or teacher?

The word "guru" means "that which removes ignorance, that which dispels darkness" the darkness of "I am the body," "I am the mind," "I am the senses," and "I am the objects and manifestation." That person who has known the truth himself and is able to impart this knowledge somehow to one who needs some help—I don't use the word student; we all are one—that person who gives his experience is called guru

Many people think of you as their guru.

They are speaking of the body, then. Guru sees only Self unto Self. You are my very own Self. I am your very own Self. This relationship is no relationship. Your Self and my Self, what is the difference? I am speaking to that Self which you truly are. I am speaking to my Self.

Others may be preachers of some sect, some dogma, but a guru gives you his own experience, and this experience is timeless consciousness, nothing else. Guru does not give you any teachings, method, or anything that is destructible, impermanent. That is not guru. You are not to follow anyone. You are a lion, and where a lion goes, it cuts its own path.

There are many Osho [Raineesh] students here in Lucknow with you and more coming everyday. As you probably know, he was a very controversial teacher with a bad reputation. What are the differences between you and Osho?

I don't indulge in any kinds of differences. The divine is playing. Whatever it is doing, it is being done by the commands of that supreme source. All are my own Self, having different roles to play, and it is being beautifully played.

You say that this divine is playing itself out, but let's look at the suffering on this planet. For instance, there is an ecological destruction that is creating a living hell for people and other beings who are not awake in this dream, as we can easily see here in India. We are creating a desert of this Earth and poisoning our land, waters, and air. Many more people will face starvation and live in degraded circumstances. Worldwide tensions will increase, and so on. People who are primarily interested in spiritual matters, at this particular point in history, are sometimes accused of being selfish. What do you feel about rendering service to the world, and from where does the passion arise for service if this manifestation is seen as a dream?

Having known the supreme state, our own Self, from inside there arises compassion. Automatically we are compelled. It's not service. Service has to do with somebody else. When the command is compassion, there's no one doing any service for anybody else, as when you are hungry you eat. You are not in service to the stomach, nor are the hands the servant when they are putting food into the mouth. Like this we should live in the world. Service is the responsibility of the Self. Otherwise who is doing this service? When the action is coming from the ego, there is hypocrisy, jealousy, crisis. When the doer is not there, then compassion arises. If a person is realized, then all his actions are beautiful.

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