Doubt, Fear, and Impediments• • •
Excerpt from Papaji’s Wake Up and Roar
This morning I was lying on my bed and I had many doubts about what I am doing here and many, many thoughts. And suddenly I felt, “But what is this? I am lying on the bed and that is it.” All the doubts suddenly went away and I felt very calm inside.
That is present moment. How long did you stay in present moment and what did you do to lose it?
I tried to analyze what had happened.
Whatever is too near is difficult to attend to. The eyes see everything. But the eyes do not see themselves. Like this, the Self through the mind sees all the world, but the mind doesn’t return back home to be the Self.
How do we overcome fear?
By giving up all practices in that direction.
At that moment when the fear is thick—(snaps fingers)—what do you do?
At that moment between when you placed your fingers together and the snap, what did you do? Where did the sound of the snap come from?
This sound came from undoing it. Do it (places fingers in position for snap), then undo. All that you have done, heard, seen, and read—for a moment, forget about this and tell me what is your face? What do you see? By simply undoing, what do you arrive at?
Ah. That is the return to your question: how to do? Undo and where do you arrive? A distance between thought and thought. This dive is the same as nothingness. When you are absolutely happy, this is the same as nothingness.
When you are absolutely happy to meet your beloved after twenty years, what is the thought in your mind? No thought.
Surrounded by nothingness you have to do nothing. You have to do nothing to be who you are. Nothing at all.
To become something, of course, to become a doctor is different. This is not a return to your true nature. You are always here. You deny it. You don’t accept your greatness.
Being eternity itself, Reality itself, how can you say, “I am suffering in this body?”
What can you do without I? Wherever you go, who is there? You can’t lose this even in suffering. “I suffer,” you say. Try to leave. Breath in breath, who is more related to you?
I am feeling much fear and vulnerability. I understand that the world is a projection, yet I feel this fragmentation.
This fear is due to the first shock of wisdom, of light. It is as if this room is closed for the last twenty years, and you enter this dark room with a torch in hand to locate the light switch. This darkness has been established for twenty years. Instantly the light is there. The darkness is confused. Fear of disappearance is there.
After twenty years of darkness how much time should it take when you face the light? What has happened? Fear in the mind of darkness. In an instant it cannot be there when you face the light. The darkness of the room does not go in installments. You think you have been here for twenty years in darkness. That fear is ingrained in you. You have been living for millions of years like this, millions of years.
This fear of facing the light is not a fear like other fears. This is a fear of eternity. Eternal ocean of nectar, and you are swimming holding onto darkness.
Somehow you get a push, or you intend to jump into the ocean of immortality yourself. In between leaving this place of darkness and the leap, fear arises.
Without touching the light and after leaving the darkness, you can neither return back nor have you yet touched the surface. In this instant there is what can be called fear. Fear to leap into eternity because “I will lose this body consciousness, this darkness.” This is only the fear of facing the light. You will become nectar itself, no death at all.
• • •
I have an impediment. This impediment is a doubt and it keeps me from loving you fully. It is giving me a headache.
What kind of headache do you have? There are two kinds that I know of. One is from carrying a load on your head. The other is from having the load removed. If you suddenly have no load on your head, this can seem disorienting; you lose your balance and have a headache. No load can also seem like a headache.
There was once a wealthy man who knew he was to die. He had never prepared himself spiritually, never meditated. So he hired twenty workers from the marketplace to meditate for him. He said, “I will give you double wages and feed you your meals.”
The workers were very excited. They wanted to begin right away but did not know what to do. “Just sit like this,” the man told them as he showed them the meditation posture.
After a few hours, the workers rebelled. “Keep your double wages,” they said. “This will make us sick, sitting here doing nothing.” And so they quit.
So I don’t know what kind of headache you have, but I suggest you give up the very idea of impediment. This idea in itself is now the only impediment. The scriptures say there are certain impediments to give up. First is the idea of a personal identity, a personality, name and form, as to who you are. Give this up, detach from it.
Next is the idea of heaven after you die. The idea of merit and demerit, that action will get you anywhere. Give up this attachment as well.
And then God. Give up your attachment to God itself. The idea that there is some agency outside of yourself that can help you now. Give this up.
And then give up the very idea of giving up! This must also be abandoned!
Yesterday, you said, “Tie up your camel and pray to Allah.” I say now, ride your camel and forget about Allah! Ride the camel and you need not pray. If you tie it, you will have to untie it. If you tie it to a tree, you are also tied to it, so who will pray to Allah?
Impediment is only retaining the idea of impediment. The idea of the disappearance of impediment is the last impediment. This is the last hurdle, the last rung, the last leap forward.
Yes, there is a leap and there is the fear of emptiness—no name, no form. There is the fear of embracing this emptiness. You don’t see anything there. Unknown! Absolutely empty! You need courage to hug that emptiness of no name and no form. Nobody can help you. Help can take you to the edge. But no one can help you here. The idea that there is help is itself an impediment. Throw away everything in name and form, and jump!
• • •
I always seem to give rise to more questions and doubts.
One day the king said to his minister, “Go out at dawn and find the first person that you meet, and I will give him a kingdom.”
The minister went out at dawn and the first person he met was a beggar. He took this beggar to the palace and sat him on the throne. He was bathed and clothed and fed a royal feast. But soon the beggar asked, “Where is my begging bowl? It is time for me to beg.”
While sitting on the throne he still had the idea of a begging bowl. Who can help that beggarking put down his begging bowl? Such is the case with you.
I get to the edge and my head tells the feet to jump but my feet don’t go. The courage doesn’t get to the feet. Is there anything I could do, or not do, that might get the courage to the feet?
Neither! Neither doing or not doing. Do not allow your mind to abide anywhere, not even in the nothingness.
• • •
What is it that takes birth then?
Unfulfilled samskaras take birth.
And the Self?
The Self is not touched. Only the body is born and dies. Your cumulative samskaras give rise to the impetus for another lifetime. This unceasing rebirth is called samsara. It is suffering. This goes on until enlightenment.
Enlightenment is the fire of knowledge which burns the samskaras and then your birth and death problems end.
You say the body is like a dress?
Anything that you call “my”—such as “my body, my house, my car, my sweater, my wife.” What is the difference? To whom does this body belong? Who is it that wears the body? My mind, my intellect, my memories, my dress—whose are they? Who are you, to whom these things belong?
The body is different. The body is a part of you, whereas the car, the dress, the sweater are not.
Anything that is real must stay the same always. Now, for the dress—when you sleep, where is the dress and where is the body? When you sleep, who is present? The body is not there, nor the dress, nor the sweater. Who is it to whom all these belong? Ask yourself, “Who am I?” Then you will know what the body is, what the mind is, and what all these possessions are.
Well, I could just let it go—
No, no! I am not asking you to let go. I am asking you to see. If I say “your sweater,” or “your pants,” where does your mind cling? Where do you run to cling?
To the sweater.
OK. Now ask, “Who am I?” Go and cling to I and then report what you are clinging to. “Who am I?” In this, I is an object. Let this object be clung to. Let your mind go towards the Self and cling and tell me what it is.
You are returning the thought to the place from where it arises. “My thought, my mind”—return these things to the place from where they spring forth. Return to the origin of the thought itself, and you will find I. Then we can speak of the body and mind, but first you must know who you are. Everything else will be easy after that.
First locate where you are and then we can find the distance to where we have to proceed. Let us see where we are just now, on the map, and then we will see where we have to go. I is a place where you presently are, isn’t it?
So find out, let your thought go towards the I and see what happens.
Ah. Right, right, very good answer. So I is empty. You send your mind to find the source of the I, the source of your being, the source of everything, and you said “empty.”
Now, from this emptiness let us proceed. First you turned to face the light. You turned to face yourself. From there, from emptiness, now face the other side, the wrong side, where you see bodies, sweater, house, car, wife. You slowly step out of this emptiness and tell me what you see. You see it from emptiness now. What are you going to see?
Emptiness is always now, yes. Never then. So step out of this now. Proceed out of now and tell me where you go. Beyond this instant, what do you see?
(long silence) I feel thoughts coming up.
Let them come. Within emptiness, thoughts come. Within emptiness, what do they represent? Within the ocean, waves come. What do they represent? Within the emptiness, thoughts come. What do they represent?
From the ocean waves arise, stay, move, and fall.
Good. All the waves that come from emptiness must be empty. Just as the waves that come from the ocean must be water only. They cannot be stones. Now, you bring a thought from emptiness which is not empty. Try it and investigate.
There is nothing there!
Very good. You have done the job. And that is your nature. This is what you are. You have to wake up. You are consciousness. You are empty. You are just in this moment only. Whenever you see name and form you are sleeping. What do you see in the world without name and form?
Where is consciousness as pure, immaculate eternity, permanent happiness, love and bliss? When you look from there, from emptiness, you see everything. Nothing beyond that. Nothing to do. Only to be as you are.
We have misconceived ourselves, that we have been born and we are the body and we are suffering and we have to die. Where it comes from nobody knows; it is just a concept. It is not real. You have been trained by your family, your society, your religion. Yet this emptiness is your own nature. This is what you are, and really you need not do anything about it. You need not do penance or retire to a cave.
This is what you have to understand. I now answered your question from your own mind. If you see from emptiness, you will just see the waves of the ocean. And this is your projection. When you wake up and say “I am Ken,” instantly there is samsara. Only your projection. When you don’t give rise to a thought, you return to emptiness, to consciousness. When one thought arises, the world rises. One thought is the world.
And even this is just your projection and not other than you, as you are one. Just as your eyes, your ears, your hands are not apart from you.
This is how the world is. All the beings, the birds, the flowers, the rocks—all you, your Self. If somehow you understand it, where is the suffering? Suffering is always something else. Then only you suffer. When your total being is there and this total being is empty, then there will be no trouble.
So understand this, that this is who you are already. This is your own nature. You are that. You are already your own nature. You are that. You do not have to attain or acquire it.
We get preoccupied.
Yes. This preoccupation is death. If you know that all of this is me, then there will be no preoccupation and no past either. Do not fragment yourself into parts. Expand your understanding beyond limits. “I am so and so” is enough limitation to suffer.
Bondage arises only when you fragment yourself. You become the part and leave the rest and then try to understand. This is a drop of the ocean thinking, “I am separate from the ocean. I suffer and I must go on moving on the surface of the ocean. Always I am in fear of breakage, fear of a larger wave, so many fears.”
There is no peace or safety in being free from the ocean or in running from the ocean. Not knowing that I am the same as the ocean creates confusion, suffering, and fear.
So long as we think, we will suffer. This samsara comes from one thought: “I am Ken.” There is no difference between Ken and the whole of samsara. Can you separate Ken from samsara? When Ken proceeds to the source, then everything will be solved.
I find myself running away from myself. It becomes complicated. I forget.
Yes, yes. You forget. You only need yourself. Forget that you need a mirror. All that you see is only a reflection. When you remove this mirror, where does Ken disappear to?
Yes. That mirror where you saw your face, remove it. That face is here. Reject this mirror. See who you are. Return to the place from where this thought arises.
Myself, emptiness, consciousness—same thing. You can’t step out of it. It’s always there. We only think it is not there, therefore we search. Sometimes I am searching for glasses with which to read. Searching for the glasses while wearing them. I search everywhere and don’t find them. I see everything and don’t find them. Through the glasses I am looking, because without the glasses I can’t see, I can’t search. Yet I can’t see the glasses, I can’t find them out there.
You are searching—“I want to be free.” Through this thought you are searching for freedom. You will get it. This thought itself is the same as what you are searching for. This is consciousness! (laughs)
Where does consciousness go when I sleep?
How do you know it goes anywhere? When you wake up and you speak and then you sleep again, was this consciousness of sleep there or not? You say, “I had a very good sleep, no disturbance.” Is it not consciousness when the body sleeps? Who is enjoying it? Consciousness of waking and consciousness of sleeping—no difference.
States pass in front of you as projected pictures pass along the screen. The screen is inactive and does not change. Whenever there is movement, there must be something that does not move. Identify yourself with the screen itself.
You are the screen, or the substratum, on which these states appear. And that is unseen. When you see something, the screen is not seen; when you see the screen, nothing is seen. When the screen is seen, the pictures are not seen.
When you are conscious you don’t see the projections of name and form. Wherever you see name and form you don’t see Reality.
For example, there are several images made of gold. One image is of Christ, one is of a dog, and one is of a pig. Each is 200 grams of gold. If you take one to a jeweler to melt it, which will fetch the best price? Pig, dog, or a god, same price. If you value the essence, same value. Essence is the same. If you remove name and form, nameless and formless, what are you? Who are you?
Are you saying gold is like the Self?
Yes, but because we are involved with name and form we see the pig or the god. The moment we go back to the source and recognize the essence, the gold, the Reality, the emptiness—this is nirvana! If we stay with the recognition of only the name and form—samsara! Reject the name and form and immediately—nirvana.
• • •
What is karma?
I don’t believe in karma. There is no past karma, no present karma, and no future karma. A man has three wives. One he is married to for ten years, one he is married to in the present, and another he will marry very soon.
Just before the last marriage he dies. With his death all three wives are widowed. With enlightenment, the same thing happens to the past, present, and future karmas.
If the doer is not there, the karmas are like widowed wives. His ego is dead now. This man who has no doubt has no karma. He has found liberation here and now. He is not born, not incarnated. It is what has been all the time; no changes have occurred.
The wives are widowed, and the liberated man is free and can do what he likes. It leaves no impression and so forms no karma.
Often in the spiritual scene this idea has led to permissiveness, license, harmfulness, and misunderstanding.
I am speaking of the nondoer. For the doer there will be a reaction and he will have to pay for it. One who is involved in attachments will reap the consequences of his thoughts and concepts. You become what you think.
In the dream somebody becomes a beggar and somebody else a king. But both belong to a dream. Nobody is a beggar or king. Once you recognize that you are neither, you are free.
We have a conception that by practice we shall become free. Such a person is postponing his freedom. We become enlightened in this instant only and not as a result of ten years’ practice. Freedom is available now. • • •
When I ask myself what this whole spiritual journey is about, I say it is nothing more than getting rid of all concepts. Am I right?
Spirituality doesn’t tell you to get rid of anything. What will be removed? Where will you put it? In this world there are mountains and rivers and animals. If you get rid of them, where will they go? They have to stay here. It is better to stay with everything and with love, not to reject or accept.
Be your own Self. These things are not apart from your own Self. They are within you. Change only your viewpoint. Accept these things within your own Self as your own Self. Why not accept that all of this is me? This is a fact.
Even the hopes and concepts?
Yes. If you accept these as within you, where is the trouble? There is trouble only when we accept differences between ourselves and something or someone else. Accept that everything is within you as your own Self. Emptiness. Eternity. Whatever you call it. Everything is within that, and you are one with that. Then what will you reject? Where will you send these things?
You are whole. Where will you send anything? “I AM ALL!” is the teaching of the Upanishads. All this is myself. Spirituality doesn’t tell you to let go.
But let’s try a different way. If you let go of everything, then what is left? What will be left?
You can’t reject anything from the Self. If you reject, there will be frontiers between you and the Self. If you say “Let go,” there will be frontiers between you and the things you have thrown out. So it is not possible in the Truth to have any limitation, any frontier. It is whole! Either you reject everything, or you accept everything as yourself. Whatever suits you, you can do. Then you keep quiet. Become empty of thoughts and accept everything.• • •
How can I remove the fear?
What fear can you have? It may be fear of the destruction of everything that you are holding. Fear that you will lose all the holdings of your mind. So you are caught in between. On the one side, you can see the destruction of everything your mind has clung to, all of your holdings. On the other side, eternity is calling you. You don’t like to go back, and yet you hesitate to embrace eternity. This is a transit period only. A transit camp. A flight will be announced. You can’t go back. The plane you arrived on is gone and you are in the transit lounge. Wait for the call, that’s all.
Since you know it is a transit lounge in which you are sitting, do not become attached to anything. This is only a transit lounge. No one will be here, and no one has been here. Do not become attached here. Let go of everything so that you can travel comfortably.
All samsara is a transit lounge; nothing is permanent. Everyone is shifting. Some are coming, some are waiting for the call. You are very fortunate to know that you are in the transit lounge. Get ready. Don’t be attached to anything. You have to return home.• • •
The mind and body seem to be a distraction from Reality, and need a special atmosphere.
He who cannot digest anywhere needs a special atmosphere. Mind needs some abode. Otherwise there is no mind. The thought “I want to be free” brought you here. And still you are holding onto that thought. (laughs)
Something beyond that also is what brought me here.
This desire must dissolve now. You are abiding in that desire now, and that won’t do.
If you are on the plains and there is scorching heat, you desire to go up into the mountains. Then the desire to avoid the heat leads you to want to go to the snows. You want to go to the higher altitude to be comfortable. In every step the heat is left behind. You go on climbing, climbing. The heat is leaving you by itself. In this desire to go to the better climate, the idea “I am hot” is completely released.
Now, here you are holding onto the concept of freedom.
But this holding on also helps me to focus on the distant mountains.
It has already helped. It has brought you here already. That idea has to disappear itself. If it is not going, you are clinging. Then, clinging to this clinging, you forget what you came here for.
You can only hold one thing at a time. When the concept of bondage brings you to freedom, then give up this concept.
Very often I feel unfree and then I feel unhappy.
That’s right. Just remove "un" from your language. Why do you use un unnecessarily? If you don’t use "un," then you speak the correct language.
Then there is no trouble.
Ah. So who imposed trouble on whom?
I imposed trouble on myself.
No, no. This "un" imposed trouble. So why do you use un then?
Because that’s the way I feel.
OK. Give up this feeling.
How do I do that?
By not doing it.
To me that is very hard work.
To not do that.
No, no. You asked how to do it. I said by not doing it you have done it. Then don’t do. If you don’t do, what’s there?
The feeling will disappear.
And what is left?
Ah. In nothingness, are you happy or unhappy?
I think I am happy.
When you say “nothing,” then no thinking and no hope is there. In happiness there is no thinking at all. In unhappiness there is thinking. In any kind of happiness there is no thinking at all.
When you are happy, do you think?
When you don’t think, you are happy. When you are happy, you don’t think.
So what effort do you need to make to be happy? What effort do you suggest?
This is difficult for me to understand.
Understanding is not necessary to be happy. One wants a moment of peace; then one wants to stay there and extend the moment into duration.
Don’t try to understand. You are in trouble because you want to understand. Give up understanding this freedom. When you want to understand, this is bondage. Objects can be understood. When there is neither subject nor object, how can you understand?
No need to understand.
Master, why are there so many books and scriptures on understanding? Even books on Ramana, just to understand.
These are nets to catch the fish who are now going to search for enlightenment. Few fish are going for enlightenment, so there is a very big net to catch these few fish in the vast waters of the ocean of bondage. Scriptures are another net to catch the fish who have avoided other nets. Now they are caught in the scripture net, which has a very fine mesh.
Another net of bondage?
The last net is scriptures; God is the last hurdle. When you renounce everything, then you are free. Free of God, free of scriptures, free of samsara.
What you have studied must be forgotten. Then you can leap forward. You cannot leap forward if you cling to the understanding of the scriptures. Then you discover that you are not to try to understand. This is leaping forward beyond scriptures. No difference in holding scriptural concepts than in holding worldly knowledge.
What happens if you are in samadhi state and you think it is freedom?
When do you think this? Before samadhi, after samadhi? Not in samadhi. So this samadhi must be constant so you do not think anything else but freedom.
So first, where do these concepts of freedom and bondage come from? Discover this, not to gain freedom, but to undo what you have already done.
But undoing or giving up is also doing.
Emptiness is the natural position. If I try to hold, I have added something into emptiness. Now I undo what I have done before. (takes a wad of paper that he is holding and opens his hand, letting it fall to the floor) What I held I have given up. The concept of bondage is not your nature. Your nature is always freedom.
With my intellect, I see that very clearly, but still—
No, no. Your nature itself is freedom. You would not seek freedom if it were not your nature. You would not search.
Everybody wants to return home. Everybody wants to return to their true nature. Freedom is your nature. Anything that you have imposed on yourself to be unhappy, to be bound, is a concept. It is an imaginary concept, so give it away. Then you can’t say “I am doing something.”
Suppose you have such a strong imagination that you believe you see a ghost in a room. Then someone comes to ward off the ghost. This person says the ghost is removed. There was neither a ghost nor a removal. This is the return to your natural state.
So from the beginning this has been your problem. Now how should we solve this important problem? Undoing is also a doing. Better not to try. Just not to understand this thing. Undo now means you forget everything that you have read, heard, seen, felt. That is returning to freedom. Everything else has been imposed on you. All knowledge is imposed by society, parents, church.• • •
I feel like I can’t even return to freedom because it is already there.
OK, yes. Then stop here and don’t keep trying to understand it. That’s all. If you try to understand it, then it starts again.
I feel that someone has hit me on the head.
This is a gentleman’s hit. Don’t try to understand it.
We feel it takes effort to not think and that it is natural to have desires. But it is really just the reverse, just the opposite of that. That is the illusion! That keeps us bound.
Questions arise and then I follow the thought to its source. From emptiness there are no questions.
When you arrive at the Self, when was it that you were not the Self? You don’t need to understand anything. When you try to understand there arises the function of the mind. This function of the mind is the doing that takes you in the wrong direction.