Friday, October 18, 2013

Ramana to Papaji: "I am with you wherever you are"

From David Godman's quite recent book The Fire of Freedom:

Papaji: There had been a lot of trouble in the Punjab, and most of my family were still living there. Since I had not been reading any newspapers, I didn't even know what was going on there.

One of the devotees told the Maharshi that my family was stuck on the wrong side of the new international boundary between Pakistan and India, and when he heard this the Maharshi advised me to go home and look after them.

I didn't want to go because I had completely fallen in love with the Maharshi. I felt that I couldn't live without seeing his form.

We were walking on the hill together when this conversation was taking place.

'Sir,' I said, 'before I came to meet you I had a wife, children, brothers, sisters and parents. Now that I have met you, all these people have become a dream. I am not attached to anyone any more, except you.'

The Maharshi replied by saying, 'If you want to call it a dream, why are you afraid of it? If you can see that it is a dream, then you can transact your dream business with these dream people.'

I could see the logic of what he was saying but I didn't want to leave because I had become infatuated with his form and presence.

'I am completely attached to your form,' I said. 'That's the only relationship I have left. I am so physically attached to you. I cannot leave, even for a few hours. When the doors of your hall are open, I am inside, staring at you. When they are closed, I am camped outside your window, hoping to catch a glimpse of you. During the night I sleep on your front veranda because I can't bear to be any further away from you. I am absent for about one hour a day, eating or going to the bathroom. The rest of the time I am here with you. How can I leave?"

He looked at me and said, 'I am with you wherever you are'. These are the words I remember him saying. I immediately understood what he was saying. The 'I am' that the Maharshi spoke of, referring to himself, was my own Self as well, so how could I ever be away from it?

I could not argue any more. I prostrated before him, walked around him three times, prostrated again, collected some of the dust from under his feet and put it in my pocket. I went back to my home town, picked up my family and took them all to the safety of India on the last train that left Pakistan. After that I never had a chance to go back to Ramanasramam because my family were destitute refugees. I had to support them all by working here in Lucknow. I didn't need to go back because I understood that 'I am with you wherever you are' means that my Master is always inside me, as my own Self.

Question: I have just one simple question. Why did you pick up the dust from under the Maharshi's feet?

Papaji: Gratitude. It was an expression of my absolute, unconditional gratitude.

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