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. Continue reading
This was posted many years ago in 1999 on the HarshaSatsangh yahoo group by a disciple of Poonja-ji (also known as Papa-ji). Poonja-ji received instructions from Sri Ramana in the 1930s and considered himself a disciple of Ramana.
Poonja-Ji, spoke the following words in the beginning of Satsang 26/11/1992.
OM. Let there be peace among all beings of the universe. Let there be peace. Let there be peace. Om shanti, shanti, shanti. Namaskar, namaskar.
Behold the inner flame, eternally ablaze within the cave of your own heart and in the hearts of all beings.
There are three prescribed methods for it:
Number 1: Absolute dedication to it.
Number 2: Complete abandonment of all the desires which you have hitherto opted for and which have not given you satisfaction.
Number 3: Enquiry into the nature of Self.
These are the three ways to know who you really are.
What is this shining in your own heart?
Call it Atman, call it enlightenment, call it freedom. Any one of these ways is quite enough. Without this you would not be attracted to it.
This is your own beauty, your own love, your own light.
When the HarshaSatsangh yahoo group started in January 1999, about a hundred or so people joined in the first few months. Here is a post of introduction that came to the group from Mic about his going to India and meeting Poonja-ji (also known as Papa-ji). Poonja-ji visited Sri Ramana and considered Ramana his Sat-Guru.
I don’t know where Mic is now, but his letter has stayed with me over all these years and I wanted to share it with you. I have only made minor edits in his letter to retain the original flavor of Mic’s vital spirit that comes through his words.
A brief introduction. My name is Mic, though most of my friends here call me Mohan. Advaita found its way in my heart as my heart in the summer of 91.
While wandering India, by chance I encountered Sri Poonjaji, a disciple of Bhagavan Ramana Mahrishi. I stayed with Poonja-ji and the small gathering there for two months. It was a time of great joy, intensity, revelation, and incomprehensible silence.
I mostly recall the great stillness. The presence of this man, Poonja-ji. In this dirty town of swirling dust storms and buildings swimming in the heat before me.
At night candles cast a golden hue upon the Indian markets, dancing in the buzz of bicycle songs and branches of lush red lychees being sold on the dusty streets.
The silence. The torrential flow of humanity, pulsing through the hot polluted streets, watermelon stalls.
The astonishing passion of seekers at Poonja-ji’s house. It was like the sweetness of sugarcane juice. It was the end of seeking itself in the embrace of the always so.
Like many there with Poonja-ji, I had also walked other roads in my search.
I had come to India on a Buddhist yatra, with plans to finish the journey in a Thai monastery. Yet relaxing into this resplendent heart of being, the seeking and the struggle fell. The seeker and the story melted away as monsoon rains of India drenched me in joy.
And I finally saw the True heart of advaita, as my own.
Leaving India, with the blessings of the mountain, I felt almost drunk on the ringing clarity of these words from the Tripura Rahasya;
” Know yourself as Pure Consciousness, the unaffected witness of the phenomenal world.”
Integrating this with a world that demands commitment and authenticity, I meet with surrender and an open heart.
Some days I struggle, some days I sing. The devotion I feel to Shakti I know is but a reflection within consciousness of this love.
And it is in this love I am earthed in freedom, and can play out my role in the theater of this world in peace.
We explore Arunachala frequently. We walk from ‘yenga veedu’ (our house) to the mountain. I wanted to live on the SW side of the mountain because the forested area at the base of the hill interested me, as does this side of Arunachala.
The pictures here are from a walk we took this week from our house up to Papaji’s cave. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the side path off the inner pradakshina path, then another 30 minutes up the hill.
To get to the path from where we live, we walk out to Bangalore Road and then walk in towards Tiruvannamalai. Just before where the pradakshina road turns off of Bangalore Road there is a Nandi, shown above, pointing to Arunachala. On the other side of the road is where the path starts. Follow the trail to the left.
Everywhere here, Arunachala dominates the horizon. Carol, my wife, is shown above walking up the path with Arunachala in the background. Notice the trees by the path here. They were planted long ago, I guess as shelter for this access path. This path is marked with ‘trail markers’ for the pradakshina path (A white ‘cup’ holding a red ‘flame’).
When we get to the inner path, we turn right and go against the usual clockwise pradakshina direction for a few hundred feet until we see the Om marker on a rock. We then turn left towards the mountain. Where this path starts there is another Om Amma mark with an arrow.
Om Amma is a local woman, quite old now, who lived in a cave on the hill close to the cave where Papaji stayed for some time. She is said to have a natural Om symbol on her forehead. People would climb up this path in order to get to her for her darshan. Now some people have moved her down the hill to a location near AHAM’s ashram. She is still available at least once a week at her “new place.” It is said that she does not respond in any normal kind of way, and often does not take any notice of other people. Locals feel that she is somehow ‘touched by God.’
From here the trail gets more difficult, but is still pretty easy to walk and climb up. As always, Arunachala forms the background (and the foreground and is Reality itself).
About half way to Papaji’s cave starts one of several sections where you walk up over big rocks. On the first of these, where Carol is signifying, “I did it” there is more painting on a rock about Aum Amma. And as always Arunachala stands as the substrate to all.
Up the hill we go. You can see from the hill back into area West of Tiruvannamalai around Perimpakkam Road. Now we are getting close to Papaji’s “cave.”
We climb over one more big rock and there, past two small pools of water that are labeled in white paint, ‘drinking water’, we can see the ‘cave.’ It is small, not really what most people would call a cave, just a sheltered space beneath a rock.
An altar has been created there out of rocks from the hillside. There are a few things on the alter, as well as a ghee lamp and a burnt out candle. Sometimes you see flowers draped over the altar. Not today though.
This is a very good place to sit and meditate. Carol and I both take advantage of this.
Here is Arunachala from Papaji’s cave.
Looking down from here, one can see the surrounding area. And in the red circle is ‘yenga veedu’, our house.
One last look at Arunachala, and we make our way down the path.
Walking home we usually stop at ‘The three star hotel’ (Aruna Annai??) and have a cup of Indian Coffee ). Often there are other Westerners here and we will chat with them a bit. Then the short walk home.