Papaji (H.W.L. Poonja): by Lisa Carneal

A friend asked me whom this Papaji is that I speak of so often. So here’s an attempt to express That in words:

Papaji (formally known as H.W.L. Poonja) was an amazing being that lived in Lucknow, India. Seen as a beloved guru by many but never that in his own mind, he was bold and of his own making… Though a Krishna Bhakti early in life, he later became a devotee of the great sage Ramana Maharshi who resided at the sacred mountain Arunachala.

Papaji was and still carries forth formlessly as a profoundly awake being who’s soul motivation in any moment was to speak the truth, see the truth, and acknowledge the truth in all. He paved his own spiritual path naturally from childhood on and has left many a seeker of Truth stopped peacefully in their tracks enjoying the unspeakable bliss of their own being.

It wasn’t until Papaji was older and could no longer travel so easily that many people from around the world started gathering at his feet. There was no ashram. He never took money and he fed many that came to visit him daily in his humble home. “No teacher, no teaching, no student” was how he spoke. Just one self awakening to itself…

Often he would direct people to simply “Keep Quiet” for just one second, to “Be Still”, to not give rise to a single thought… to simply “Wait and See.” Through his words and presence, many would fall into uncontrollable laughter and tears and a great silence and spaciousness would be realized, would be revealed.

Papaji playfully and masterfully pointed all who came before him into the deepest recognition of their own true heart, their own beloved self. In my eyes, he was like the furnace at the center of the universe. The truest expression of Truth I’d ever seen. A heartful, delightful, unimaginable force of being expressing itself through a blessed human form… through the Beloved human form called Papaji.

Papaji passed on September 6, 1997 the same potent week that Mother Theresa and Princess Diana left the planet. Like many great beings, Papaji’s and Ramana’s simple message of truth carries on through the love and expression of many devotees and lovers of truth from all around the world… still pointing people home to silent awareness, to the Truth within.

“Look Within,
Approach with all Devotion,
Stay as Heart”

~ Papaji (from “This: Prose and Poetry of Dancing Emptiness” by Sri H.W.L. Poonja)

For more information about Papaji, please visit these links:

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