24 October 1994 — In the Space of the Heart

Papaji reads a letter.

Dear Papaji, When I trace the ‘I’ thought back to its source my heart area softens and overflows with a sense of spaciousness. While I remain like this I feel humourously detached from the world. It feels as if I have walked into someone else’s dream in which I have no concern about the flow of events there.

Up to here the letter is very good. You talk about going back to the source and finding happiness and spaciousness there. So, after having gone there, how do you end up talking about what comes next? Where did this thought of ‘next’ come from? Either you have not really gone to the Source of the thought or you must have heard about doing this from someone else. Maybe you just read about it in a book.

Question: I experience the ‘l’ thought coming back into myself. lt feels like it is going into my Heart space. But then either a thought or a sensation or some object from the world seems to pass before my mind, and that feeling of going back stops.

Papaji: In this space there is no mind. If these things are happening to you, you are in the mind, not in the space of the Heart.

Question: The ‘l’-thought attaches itself to these objects and I lose the sense of going back into myself.

Papaji: Where is the ‘l’? And what did you think about when you say you were going back into the Heart? You are still using the word ‘l’. In the space of the Heart there is no ‘I’, no ‘my’ and no ‘you’. These things are all names and forms. You are saying that you went beyond all these names and forms to the source of everything and  lost all your identification with objects. That should have been the end. You should have finished your business there.

Question: But it doesn’t feel finished.

Papaji: The word ‘but’ means that you are not in that space. There are no ‘buts’ there. ‘Buts’ never arise in that space. ‘Buts’ only arise in the mind.

Question: Yes, I can accept this. The ‘I’ thought, though, keeps arising. It seems to happen through habit. It is so accustomed to arising and making comments. It seems to have a momentum of its own which makes it appear again and again.

Papaji: There are no habits in the space of the Heart. Habits are only there when you have a memory, when there is time, and when there is a body and a mind which remembers the actions performed in the past. You cannot even think about these things in the space of the Heart.

Question: I apparently have a body and a mind and a memory.

Papaji: This is just an idea brought about by thinking. In that place there is no thinking at all. In that space what can you think about? Whom can you think about?

Question: Nothing, and no one.

Papaji: Nothing. This ‘nothing’ is enough. When you think of something, when a thought comes, you are still working on a memory from the past. You are not in the present moment.

Papaji continues reading the letter.

After a while thought arises and latches onto some object, thought or sensation. Attention is lulled into a habitual trance-like state. But there is a sense of construction and separation. I have a burning desire to be free from this habitual state. ls it possible to give up all thoughts instantly? How do I keep thought at its source so that it never latches on to stray objects, thoughts or sensations?

If you have a burning desire to be free, this alone is enough. This desire will burn the whole universe. If you have a burning desire for freedom it will burn your mind, your ego and your body. Let it burn. And if you find anything that is not being consumed in the flames, throw it on the fire because whatever enters the fire becomes fire itself. This desire for freedom will also be consumed in the fire. Let it burn because what remains afterwards when everything has burned is That. This is the easy way to freedom, but i happens very rarely because so few people really have this burning desire to be free. People want freedom but they also want other things. When these other things are desired, the fire for freedom cannot be all-consuming. It is these other desires that bring you back into this universe again and again. Personal will keep you in this universe and prevent the fire for freedom from igniting properly. Throw this will on the fire so  you no longer have any will to do this or that. But I am happy you are here. From the time you first came, you have been working well. I remember when you came. You brought this desire for freedom with you and I am sure that you will burn in this fire of eternity, peace and love. Don’t be afraid of this fire. It is love itself. Many people are afraid of this fire, but those who manage to destroy themselves in this fire don’t die. They carry on living. But they are rare beings. Very few people have shown this love for freedom. Very few people have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into this fire of love.

The Buddha did it 2,600 years ago, and we still revere him for it. When the thought, ‘l want to be free,’ arose in him, he was living a life of sensual enjoyments in a royal palace. He made a firm decision that he wanted freedom more than anything else and walked out on his parents, his wife, and his pleasure-garden filled with the most beautiful girls his father could find.

We don’t remember the names of our own ancestors of a hundred years ago, but we still remember this man because he renounced everything he had so that he could search for freedom. What he did, you can also do. He is still alive in the hearts of millions of people because he was willing to throw all his desires, attachments and pleasures into this fire for freedom. Everyone who has this fire for freedom can become a Buddha. With this fire for freedom burning strongly, you too can recognise yourself and proclaim, ‘I am that enlightened one!’