As you read this personal account by Poonja-ji, keep in mind the background and the context of the times of the year 1947 as India was getting ready to be split into two countries.
1. Poonja-ji was from a Hindu family and his family was living in the area of India that became Pakistan after the partition.
2. In the summer of 1947 there was much tension in India due to the partition which resulted in violence between Hindus and Muslims.
3. During those times, Poonja-ji was far removed from his family and living on the holy mountain of Arunachala in the company of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi
Now the story in the words of Sri H.W.L. Poonja (AKA Papa-ji by his students).
I was staying in Ramanashram before the partition of India in 1947.
One day in the middle of July 1947 someone asked me on which side of the river Ravi I was from. I told him it was much beyond this river. Then he told me about the partition crisis of the country which I didn’t know too much about since I neither had time for reading newspapers, nor for politics.
This man told me that in the middle of the next month (August 15) India would be partitioned and so my family, who was living in Lahore and Peshawar (areas to go to Pakistan), would be massacred if I did not save them. I told him that I had forgotten everybody and that it had all been a dream: parents, family, children, and country. All of it was a dream that was over now. This was how strong my detachment was and how strong it had to be.
This man told Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi what I had said and as we went out on his morning walk together the Maharshi asked me, “Why don’t you go and look after your family?”
I said to Bhagavan Ramana, “When I came here I had my wife and parents and children, but when you looked at me everything was finished and now You are my only relation and no one else in the world.”
Bhagavan said to me, “If you call it a dream, why are you afraid of the dream? It is better if you go into the dream and look after your wife and relations. Why be afraid of the dream? Your dream hand is quite safe in the mouth of the dream tiger. Like this, live in the world, and call it a dream. Don’t be afraid and work as you work in the dream. The dream is a dream and nothing in it is real, but you, as their son, are also in the dream. So let the dream son go to the dream country and save the dream parents in the dream.”
So in this way He defined the dream for me. Then the Maharshi said: “I AM with you wherever you are.”
With this sentence Bhagavan gave me the Teaching: He is the “I AM” which is with me wherever I am.
What could I say to Him? Bhagavan was telling me to leave. So I prostrated to Him and collected the dust from under His feet, went thrice around Him and left.
I went to the Punjab and through several miraculous events rescued my family from all the butchering.