What is Self?

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

by Papaji

If you can listen, if you long for freedom, and you feel that I am honest when I tell you that you are free, then accept it! Hear this only once and you are free.


This the proper time for all of us to introduce the mind to the Self. What is the Self? It is your own original nature: satyam, shivam, sundaram - which means truth, consciousness, bliss. This is the Self which was before the origin and which is going to be after the end. That is the place where you always are.

It is not that you have to become something or that you have to attain something, or that you have gain something afresh. You are going to lose anything which is gained or obtained because it is not your nature. Anything gained is not permanent because you did not possess it previously - you got it through effort. It was absent before you attained it so you cannot keep it forever.

Somehow this notion arises and this notion becomes mind. This notion is only mind, which is not distinct from ‘I’. ‘I’ arises - this is what is called mind. 'I' is not separate from ego. How did it all start? The ego is not separate from the body; the body is not separate from the senses nor their respective objects, nor the entire manifestation with the notion of time - beginning, middle, and end. It all started with 'I'. We got involved in it.

This is the appropriate time to return home. You have to do this here and now by withdrawing the outgoing tendencies of the mind. That is how we meditate: We sit quiet. During meditation the mind is running outwards following its own tendencies, its own desires for respective objects and enjoyments that are deep-rooted in the mind.

During meditation this has to be checked. This is the meaning of meditation: to bring back all the outgoing tendencies of the mind wherever they are going. Check them! Bring them back to 'I'. From here you have to be very vigilant, very attentive. Do not make any effort. Do not become involved in any thinking process. Simply keep quiet. Through incessant vigilance allow it to happen, allow this revelation to take place, without keeping any gain in your mind, without making any effort to become anything else. This is an unfoldment - this is called revelation.

At this point bring everything back, bring all these tendencies back to the 'I' thought. Be very vigilant and find out how this notion of 'I' arises. It is absolutely necessary to keep quiet, to remain without thinking, without making any effort.

I don't think anybody could describe what is going to happen beyond this. It has never been described. It is for you to dive into your own source, to arrive back home. You don't need anyone else to lead you, you don't need any companion. You have to do it alone - without the mind, without the intellect, without the ego, without the body, without the senses, without their objects. Only vigilance is needed, natural vigilance with no effort, without even a thought. That can be had here and now… or never. This is up to you.

8 April, 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.