Make the Decision to Be Free!

H.W.L.Poonja, Popularly knows as Papaji

by Papaji

Sit down and decide what is good for you and follow that. Don't listen to anyone else - the whole world is deceiving you. The whole world may be against you so you have to make your own decisions. Don't listen to your parents, your society or your preachers.


You have to decide right now to be free once and for all. Everyone who has found freedom in this lifetime has had to make this decision. I don't find see problem for anyone here to be free in this lifetime.

Again and again, I tell stories about people who have found freedom. They have to be repeated because the mind is not ready to listen or accept. Some people only need to be told once by the teacher. A few don't even need to be told: Freedom rises up by itself.

Some people write to me saying that they started the search for freedom at a very young age- seven or eight years old, even two or three! This is the push of karmas of previous lives. Some make the decision later; some never make the decision at all. You can tell them again and again but they don't listen. There are also teachers and beautiful sutras available but they don't make use of them.

We are a very small community here and it's good that there are only a few of us. Some people who come here complain of arrogance, relationship troubles, egotism and greed, asking how to get rid of these things. They will all slowly disappear in satsang. This atmosphere will not allow the mind to live. This is where the death of the mind takes place. The mind cannot survive in satsang, just as a deer cannot face a tiger. These few here must make the decision to be free.

I was only a child when it happened to me. I was still at school and I didn't know anything about freedom. I don't know how or why it happened - I just fell in love with the greatest teacher in the world. My parents and teachers read the same books, my teachers were teaching the same things year after year and weren't personally benefiting at all. I can't explain why. On seeing a picture of Buddha sitting in meditation I fell in love with him, and without knowing anything about him I promised myself to do just as he did. I started sitting whenever I had free time. I didn't even know what I was doing or what it was about. I felt so much love in meditation that I could not escape. In fact it was meditation that fell in love with me, took hold of me at that young age, not me with it. I didn't really know what was going on. I used to get up in the middle of the night and meditate! At the age of 12 or 13 I used to go out begging in the streets, even though I came from a middle class family. People used to come and listen to me speaking, although I didn't know what I was saying. My parents used to worry about me when I got up in the middle of the night and sat on the cold winter ground. This is called satsang - love - this is something that drives you.

You can sit down and close your eyes, but if the mind is running around all over the place it is not meditation. I didn't know what meditation was. I didn't have any intentions. I didn't make a decision to go and sit in a certain position and meditate. Meditation just whispered in my ears, "Get up boy. It is midnight. Get out of bed. Sit down on the ground and meditate". I would like this to happen to everybody. It troubled Buddha. It troubled me and a few others too. Why don't we all get into this trouble?

I don't have any reason to believe a man who complains of ego and other troubles. What does it mean when a man says, "I am troubled by my ego. I have been here for 15 or 20 days and my ego is not disappearing?" Surely it means that he wants something that is not good for him. You have to decide. Discriminate with a cool head. Sit down and decide what is good for you and follow that. Don't listen to anyone else - the whole world is deceiving you. The whole world may be against you so you have to make your own decisions. Don't listen to your parents, your society or your preachers.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There were two teachers of different sects who heard of a sage living in the forest. They both went to him and asked, "Sir, how can we have joy in our lives?" The saint replied "Just keep your bodies healthy. This is the source of joy". Hearing this they both went back to their tribes and started preaching. The first said to his people, "I have been to see a saint. He says you have to enjoy this world. You have to keep your body well: eat, drink and be merry. Enjoy everything to the maximum because this world will not be available to you again". This sect followed this; they ate, drank and were merry; they pampered the body. They are still doing this now - they are still preaching this today: 99% of people belong to this sect, looking after the body with food, sleep and sex.

The other leader also went back to his people and told them the same thing, but they questioned the teaching. However hard they tried to keep the body healthy, it still became sick, and even when the body was healthy, there was still something amiss: the mind was still troubled. So after six months, the leader of this sect went back to the saint to ask if there had been some kind of mistake. This time the saint welcomed him saying, "Very good, my dear boy, now go and look after your mind. Just make sure that the mind is comfortable, that's all".

The leader went back to his people and they tried. But they found that however hard they tried - however much they concentrated or meditated - the mind could not be brought under control. Another six months passed, and again he returned to the saint.

By this time the first leader had still not been back to the saint and has not been back to this very day, after millions of years. Those of his tribe say happily, "I am arrogant. I'm an egoist. I'm in grief, anger, jealousy. I'm a hypocrite..." And they're all very proud of it, even today, millions of years later.

So after six months the second leader returned to the saint and told him that he couldn't keep the mind under control. "Very good, well done," replied the sage. "The mind is very fickle. It is like air. You can't keep it under control. Now, above the mind there is a power called intellect, the power of discrimination. Every man has this power of judgment. Go back and find out what is real and what is not real, then come back and tell me".

Again he went away, he tried, and he came back. "I have been trying with the intellect. I started with the objects of the world which we perceive through the five senses. All these sense objects appear and disappear. Things I saw some time ago have already disappeared. So the intellect is not reliable because it attaches itself to things which vanish and disappear. It loves things which are not eternal, and this does not bring peace, happiness, bliss, or consciousness. I have discovered this about the intellect but still the attention goes out to objects." “Okay Very good," the teacher said again. A teacher will teach you only to the extent that you are ready to receive. Those who are ready see what happens.

The man went away, and started to witness the intellect, the mind, the senses and their objects from somewhere behind them. He said to himself, "Now I've done it. I am the witness of the intellect itself. I can see my decisions very clearly and I can judge whether they are good or bad. I will not cling to the impermanent, to that which is not eternal or to that which does not bring bliss."

Once again he returned to the teacher and asked, "Is there anything deeper than this, anything more precious?" He asked for guidance. Again the saint replied "Leave everything. Get rid of your intellect, mind, ego, body, senses and objects. Have the firm conviction that you are existence, consciousness and bliss itself. Do not use your intellect, your mind or your senses. Just merge into existence, as we are speaking now, and become one with existence. Have the firm conviction 'I am existence, I am consciousness and I am bliss'."

This is as far as a teacher can teach. There is another part to the teaching, however, another secret. This secret is so sacred - it is the secret of all secrets. Nobody knows who holds the key to this secret. I have never heard of anyone going beyond and then returning to the teacher and saying, "I have been beyond and that is the end of the matter." It is fathomless – fathomlessness. None can measure its depth. The oceans, the skies, the planets, the solar system and even the 22 other solar systems with their own suns, moons, planets and stars have all been measured, but this has never been measured. The more you go into it, the more you want to know it. But who goes there? People come here saying, "I am arrogant, I'm an egoist, I have a problem with relationships." Why do they come here? There are books, psychologists and doctors in New York, Washington and California. What brings them to Lucknow?

To know the truth and the truth alone, to know consciousness and consciousness alone: This is satsang.

12 June, 1992

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Source: Reprinted with the kind permission of the Avadhuta Foundation.  The Avadhuta Foundation was established in 1993 to further the teachings of Sri H.W.L. Poonja, affectionately referred to as Papaji, and to make available the archives of Papaji’s talks in India. You may visit their website from here.