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#2343 - Friday, December 16, 2005 - Editor: Jerry Katz




This issue features a typed excerpt from Nothing Ever Happened, Volume 3, a biography of Papaji edited by David Godman. The book is available at





David Godman: A few weeks ago in Satsang you said that the Guru gives his grace or his 'final teachings' to the one he is pleased with, not to anyone else. You used the example of a beggar going to President Clinton and asking for a million dollars. The president has the power to give a billion dollars, not just a million, to the right person, but he will not dispense funds to unworthy people who bang on his door and demand large amounts. So, asking is not enough. Worthiness must also be there. My question is, 'What pleases the Guru? What does he have to see in a devotee that would make him happy enough to hand over his billion dollars?'


Papaji: The man who needs that freedom, the man who wants it more than anything else, and to the exclusion of all else, he is given preference. Other people can sit with the Guru for years at a time, but they will not get the same benefit even if they repeatedly ask for it.


When I was at Ramanasramam in the 1940's, people were coming and going all the time. Some would sit with the Maharshi for a while. Then they would go outside and start performing a puja by the well. Some of them would even do their pujas in the hall itself, while Maharshi was giving satsang there. Even close devotees of the Maharshi would do this. If you want to run off and do a puja instead of sitting silently in the Master's presence, it means that you have some unfulfilled desire that is still pending, and while that desire is there, you will not get the full benefit of the Guru's grace.


In the dining room there was a wall between the brahmins and the non-brahmins. The brahmins would not eat with the non-brahmins, nor did they want to be seen by the non-brahmins while they ate. The Maharshi didn't follow rules like this. He sat by himself where he could be seen by both the brahmin and the non-brahmin diners. These people went to the Maharshi with a desire to be treated differently. They wanted to be treated as special people, so they insisted on maintaining caste differences, even in Maharshi's presence. People go to the Guru for grace, for freedom, but their old habits and desires soon reassert themselves. They eventually get lost in their lifestyle.


Not everyone was like that. There was a devotee called Muruganar whom I liked very much. Of all the people there, he was the only one who seemed able to keep his mind on the Maharshi all the time. Other people lost themselves in outside affairs and relationships, but Muruganar was always sitting quietly in the Maharshi's presence. If he spoke, his sole subject matter was the Maharshi. He never tired of telling other people how great the Maharshi was, and he wrote thousands of poems in praise of his Master.


I liked his attitude and his commitment, so when he got sick with low blood pressure, I used to visit him. I took him various herbal preparations and treated him myself because at that time there was nobody else looking after him.


Towards the end of his life, in the early 1970's, he became very sick, so sick he had to be admitted to the ashram dispensary. I happened to be in Tiruvannamalai at that time, so I went to see him. I stood in front of the room, but Dr. Rao, who was in charge of the dispensary, did not allow me to go into the room to speak to him. Muruganar saw me and tried to call me inside, but the doctor would not let me enter. He was so sick he wasn't able to speak, but when I looked in through the window, he looked back at me very affectionately.


Muruganar didn't get lost in desire-fulfilling rituals. He came, put his attention on Maharshi and kept it there.


If you are with an enlightened man, you don't need to perform any rituals or practices. You don't have to propiate the gods or ask favours from them. You don't need to go to a church or a temple in your spare time. Everything you need can be obtained by sitting quietly in the Guru's presence.


That reminds me of a story about a fakir who visited Akbar the Great, the emperor of India, a few hundred years ago. The emperor was a generous man who made liberal donations to people who needed money. One day a fakir visited him in the hope of getting a donation. He found Akbar performing his namaz prayers. The emperor was on his knees asking God for help with various matters. The fakir left the palace without waiting for the emperor to finish his prayers.


Later that day the emperor was told that a fakir had come to see him while he was saying his prayers, but had left without stating his business. Akbar sent for him, apologised for being busy during his first visit, and asked what he could do for him.


The fakir replied, 'I came here as a beggar to ask you for money, but when I arrived I saw that you also were on your knees, begging from God. I thought to myself, "This man is also a beggar. Why should I ask for anything from him? If I need anything, I will beg from the same person whom he is begging from. I will take all my requests to God Himself.'"


If you want freedom, if you want the grace of the Guru, go to him directly. Don't depend on any intermediaries. Propitiating to the gods will not help you. They themselves will have to go to a Guru sooner or later for their own enlightenment. How can they give you what they don't have themselves? When you go to the Guru you will not find him on his knees praying to God. He already has everything he needs, and he can pass it on to suitable people.


This brings us back to the original question: 'What does the Guru have to see in a devotee that would make him willing to hand over his entire treasure to him?'


Worthiness must be there. You cannot demand freedom and expect to get it if you are not worthy. If the worthiness is there, you will not even have to ask. If the Guru sees that you are worthy, automatically everything will be given to you. The Guru cannot pass it on to an unworthy person, and an unworthy person cannot get it by demanding it. You have to win the heart of the jnani, by your devotion and your desirelessness. Once you have won his heart, his whole kingdom, his whole treasure automatically become yours.


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