No Practice is Needed

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

by Papaji

When people start to mediate they do something, they hold some image in the mind or some word. That may be useful, but it is even better to think of attribute-less Brahman, to always keep aware of the attribute-less Brahman during meditation, knowing that, “I am Brahman.” without focusing on any object of the past, present, or future.


Different practices have been described which are being followed in the world. One is gyanamarg - the path of knowledge; one is bhakti, or devotion;and one is karma. Rituals, yoga, rajyoga, kundalini yoga, pilgrimages to shrines, worship of the personal deities, recitation of the holy books, repetition of the sacred formulas, and many other types of exercises, or sadhanas are being practiced. The question is: What is the goal that you have selected to arrive at? What do you want? What is your aim? For different aims there are different roads, different practices.

Here we are mainly dealing with Brahman. I will use the word 'Brahman', rather than 'Self', because in all other languages 'self' can be also be used for the individual soul, for the individuality. Brahman is that which is without any attributes - knowledge itself which has no association, with no duality whatsoever. Brahman is the word that has been used in the book of knowledge. We are working here on how to arrive at that attribute-less Brahman which is beyond the reach of the mind and the intellect. It is said by those who have gone beyond and realized this goal, that this is where the intellect and its associates like mind, senses, and so on beat a retreat. They cannot go there because it reveals Itself by itself. You need no agent, no-one to take you there, neither the intellect, nor the mind, nor the senses, nor any kind of practice, because it is self-revealing.

You need a candle to find something in a dark room. You need the light of the sun in the day or of the moon in the night, and if they are not there you need a candle or a lamp in the house. But you don't need a candle to see a lamp - it is light itself. It is self-revealing. It is self-luminous. No association is possible; it is attribute-less. It is advised to realize the attribute-less Brahman, immaculate Brahman, eternal Brahman, or to adopt a practice which is very near to your goal. Everything else - like pilgrimages, purification, visiting churches - may do some benefit. Worship of the deities may also give you some temporary relief, chanting of holy books may focus your mind on one object. But with all these practices the mind is not yet obliterated.

The practice nearest to truth for those few who want to realize absolute Brahman is meditation only on attribute-less Brahman itself, without any object of concentration. When people start to mediate they do something, they hold some image in the mind or some word. That may be useful, but it is even better to think of attribute-less Brahman, to always keep aware of the attribute-less Brahman during meditation, knowing that, “I am Brahman.” without focusing on any object of the past, present, or future.

This is the nearest practice. If you want to do any practice, to meditate on attribute-less Brahman, immaculate Brahman, which is none other than your own Atman - your own fundamental nature. If you are not able to realize the truth instantly you can continue this practice for a while. Slowly you will see that the meditator and the meditated upon vanish. Neither attribute-less Brahman nor meditation upon attribute-less Brahman has anything to do with a meditator or something meditated upon.

So this constant exercise is advised, constant sadhana on attribute-less Brahman, thinking, “I am Brahman.” If you want to think something, why think, “I am the body?” The body does not last. Why think, “I am this.” or “I am that?” If you want to have a thought at all and you cannot live without thinking, then have this supreme thought: “I am Brahman.” This is the exercise which is nearest to your goal of Brahman itself. The meditator and the meditated upon will vanish. This is the goal that we started meditation for. No other sadhana or exercise is as near as this for one who wants to be free of this samsara, from this going again and again from death to birth and birth to death. This is how to break the cycle. There is only one way and this is this way. This can continue always wherever you are.

You do not need to go to any ashram, because nobody there knows how to sit quiet. In every ashram and center recently different therapies have been introduced. There should be at least one person who could teach you silence, peace, and tranquility, and direct you to that place. He should be in the know of things himself, but nobody is there like that. Therefore wherever you go, some kind of therapy has been introduced in every ashram. Because no one teaches, “Sit quiet and don't do anything.” If a center were to do that what would be the use of that center? A center is there for some commercial reason, for some material gain.

This is the only teaching that is not practiced anywhere in the world! What better teaching could there be, or what better teacher who tells you, “Keep quiet!” This was the teaching of my master. Nobody else has taught this recently, in this century. There were a few teachers also in the past but not in this century. In the twentieth century he alone was the teacher who could say, “Keep quiet!”

To keep quiet is the only goal that you have to practice to do away with this cycle. If you can't keep quiet, then the practice closest to this quietness is prescribed: To repeat, “I am Brahman.” There is no harm in this, because when you utter the word “Brahman” it has neither name nor form. This Brahman word is not a name, because name and form go together immediately. When you utter a name there is a form. There is no form to accompany this name, so the mind is again formless and nameless. This does not depict any object or any subject.

This practice is not even a practice. It can be continued at home with whatever you are doing in your routine of life. Just keep this thought here and do whatever you want. This is the way which is nearest to your own Atman. In this life a human body is very rare so we have to make the best of it. Once lost it cannot be regained. We would have to go around again.

You are here from many countries, so let us find some way to be happy in ourselves, to be peaceful ourselves, and take this message back to our country and spread it. Now is the time. We know what is happening in the universe. We can only keep quiet and wish that sanity descend on human beings. We send good vibrations of peace and love every morning. Let us behave at least as human beings, working for our own good and for that of the world.

Buddha has done it.

Janaka has done it.

Yagnavalka has done it.

Vasishtha has done it.

And Shikaraj has done it.

Vishvamitra and many others have done it.

So why can't you do it?

If you are bent upon doing it, it is here and now.

26 May, 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.