3 December 1994 — Unfaltering Trust in the Master

Question: I know that I am a lion. I want to know why I am still walking with the donkeys?

Papaji: Have you read my story somewhere?

Question: Yes, the story of the lion and the donkey. The lion is walking with the donkeys. One day another lion came and told him, ‘You are a lion’. My problem is, I know I’m a lion, so why am I still walking with the donkeys? Can you help me?

Papaji: If you know that you are a lion, and if you are walking with the donkeys, you will have no problems. You will have plenty of food because lions like to eat donkeys.

Lions and donkeys cannot live together because the lion will always want to kill the donkeys and eat them. The only trouble arises when the lion forgets that he is a lion and thinks that he is a donkey.

Question: Deep inside I know that i am a lion, but I can’t really feel it. I don’t roar. I don’t wake up and roar. Deep inside I know that l am a lion, but I still walk like a donkey along with the other donkeys.

Papaji: Some people are new here so they may not know what we are talking about. I had better repeat the story again for their benefit. It is a beautiful story. Everyone will enjoy it. 

A hunter shot a lioness on the banks of a river. She had gone there to drink water. He skinned the lioness, and while he was doing it, he found that she had been pregnant and that she was about to give birth. As she fell to the ground, the cubs came out. The hunter was not interested in the cubs because they had no value for him. He just took the skin and walked away. 

All except one died. This last cub was found by a laundry man who used to wash his clothes by the side of the river. He took compassion on it, carried it home and looked after it till it recovered. Here in India laundry men use donkeys to carry their clothes to and from the river. Even today this happens. The lion grew up as a pet in the laundry man’s house. When it became big and strong enough, it was put to work carrying dirty clothes down to the river. The lion grew up thinking that it was a donkey because it spent all its time with the other donkeys. It.developed donkey habits because it lived with donkeys. In the same way that children learn bad habits from their parents, this lion ended up believing it was a donkey because everyone treated it like one. It even ate grass like the other donkeys.

One day another lion came to drink water from this river. As he was approaching, all the donkeys, including the lion who thought he was a donkey, ran away.

‘This is very strange,’ thought the lion. ’It looks like a lion but it is living with donkeys and behaving like a donkey. I will go and find out what is really going on.’

The lion ran after the retreating donkeys and pounced on the lion who was living with them.

‘Why are you living with these donkeys?’ he asked. ‘And why are you afraid of me? Why did you run away when I came to drink? We are both lions. Why did you run off with the donkeys?’ ‘1 am not a lion,’ said the other lion. ‘Please don’t joke with me. I am a donkey. ‘And please don’t eat me or hurt me. Let me go back to my brothers and sisters.’

The lion again told him. ‘You are a lion,’ but the other lion said, ‘How can I believe a statement like this? I don’t feel like a lion. I feel like a donkey. All my life l have been a donkey. How can I believe such a stupid statement? It is not my experience.’ This is the state of everyone who comes here. I tell them, ‘You are the immaculate Self, not the miserable suffering person you take yourself to be, but who believes me? The donkeys here in satsang reply, ‘But that is not my experience’.

Question: But when the lion says to me, ‘You are a lion,’ I believe him. So why do I still feel like a donkey? 

Papaji: Nobody believes it just by being told. That’s why the next part of the story is important. The first lion took the laundry man’s lion to the banks of the river and showed him his reflection.

‘Look,’ he said, ‘there is your face and here is mine. Can you now accept that we are the same animal?’

The second lion had to agree. First he had been told, now he really believed it.

‘Now,’ said the first lion, ‘since you now know that you are a lion, open your mouth and give a great roar,’

Up till that time the second lion had been braying like a donkey. Having learned all its habits from the donkeys, it even ended up sounding like one. But now, with the conviction that it was a real lion, it opened its mouth and for the first time in its life uttered a great lion’s roar. It could roar because it knew it was a lion. Before it could only bleat and bray,

You all think you are donkeys, even after I have told you all that you are lions. You say,

‘Yes, yes, I am a lion,’ but you carry on braying and bleating because you don’t really believe it. Your parents, your society, your teachers and your priests all told you that you are a donkey, so you go through life cringing and bleating. Here, I show you who you are. I force you to look at your own reflected face so that you will give up all the silly ideas you have about yourself. Sometimes, though, even showing the face is not enough. I have to open the jaws forcibly to make some people roar.

Question: Then maybe you can help me now. How can I roar? I want to roar. l believe I am a lion, but when I open my mouth I carry on braying. I know I’m a lion, but I can’t be that lion with absolute conviction.

Papaji: If you are still braying, you must still believe that you are a donkey. You are sitting in the wrong place because a donkey and a lion cannot sit face to face. If they do, the lion will eat the donkey. It’s not safe for you to sit here. You should go away and find some donkeys to sit with. You will be safe with them. You can bleat and.bray together and feel safe, because one donkey will never eat another.

Thousands of donkeys come here but not all of them open their mouths and roar. Go back to your place. Find some donkeys to sit with so you won’t have to worry about being eaten. Sit there for a few days until you get tired of all the donkey shit piling up around you. Mr Donkey, you can go back to your place now. That’s a very good name for you. Come back in a couple of days, open your mouth, and let me see what kind of noise comes out.

Now, who’s next?

Papaji reads a letter.

Dear Papaji, I cannot believe what I am about to write to you. The other day at satsang you told me that the next day you would help me to end my suffering.

Here’s another one. This time its a woman. What’s the English word for a Mrs Donkey? Mr Donkey is  male. What do you call his wife? ls it an ass? Please excuse my bad English. Mr Donkey, I have found a beautiful ass for you! You can go off and bray together somewhere.

Papaji continues to read the letter.

You looked at me and said that the next day you would help me to end my suffering. In that moment I had total trust in you. But when I noticed the next day that I was still suffering…

This is the lion and donkey story all over again. You must have full trust. This lion took you near the river and showed you your face. He asked you to open your mouth and utter the roar. Why did you not trust him and believe that you are a lion? Why did you disbelieve him?

Question: It is true. l still believe I’m a donkey.

Papaji: Yes, this is what happens.  The lions who think they are donkeys are happy thinking they are donkeys. They prefer to be donkeys. That’s why they stay donkeys.

Question: How do I stop saying that I am a donkey?

Papaji: Yes, this is the complaint that everyone has. Let me read your letter because  today is a cricket day. I cannot sit here all morning.

Papaji continues to read the letter.

So I started trusting you, but later I began to doubt what you said.

Where is this total trust that you wrote about in your first line? Can your trust be total if it disappears in less than a day?

I used to be like you many years ago. I wanted very much to see God. I was very much in love with him so I went all over India looking for someone who could show him to me. I had a superiority complex in those days. I would march up to the various gurus I went to see and demand that they show me God. The devotees in these places didn’t approve of my conduct, but I didn’t care. In one place it was me against five hundred. The five hundred won and threw me out

Finally I went to the South and met Ramana Maharshi. I asked him my standard question: ‘Can you show me God?’

He replied, ‘You can’t see God because you are God. How can you search for and see that which you already are.’

l trusted this man. This was the first man who had said, in effect, ‘You are a lion. Stop pretending to be something else and stop looking for something which you already are.’

I trusted him absolutely, and because of that complete trust I recognised who I really am. At that moment I knew I was God and that I no longer needed to look for him. My trust in my Master’s words has never faltered. I never went back to thinking I was a donkey because my belief in his words is absolutely unshakable. It is not like your trust  which is here one day and gone the next.

Papaji continues to read the letter.

However, yesterday, while walking home after satsang, a miracle occurred. Never before have l ever experienced anything like it. It was as if the suffering was being lifted and I found beauty in everything around me.

You write it, but I don’t see it in your eyes. If someone has had this experience, it shines through in the eyes. You have picked up these words from someone else; they are not a description of your own experience. You must have read them somewhere or heard someone in satsang talking like this. If you really see this beauty, it radiates from your eyes and your face. You give off a special fragrance.

Question: Why am I missing it? What am I missing? You don’t have to read any more of the letter. Why do I keep seeing myself as a donkey. How do learn to trust? How do I wake up?

Papaji: I will tell you once again. Trust me, and trust me totally. If you won’t do it or can’t do it, you are in the wrong place. Believe my words because they are the truth of what you are you are. If you don’t believe them, you are in the wrong place. In that case, you don’t belong in the forest, you belong in the stable.

Question: Am I in the wrong place?

Papaji: You have been a donkey for many lifetimes. Eight and a half million times you  have alternated from being a donkey to an ass and then back to a donkey again. You will not give up your donkeyness very easily.

You need absolute trust, but you don’t seem to know what trust means. I am not saying, ‘Believe me and something good will soon happen to you’. I am saying, ‘Right now, in this moment, you are a lion’. If you really trusted me, you would accept my words and experience the truth of them. The fact that you don’t means that you don’t really believe me and don’t really trust me I trusted my Master when he said, ‘You are God himself. What happened to me in that moment will happen to you in this moment if you fully accept that what l am saying is true. That’s all you have to do.

Question: Can you show me how to trust? Can you at least show me that?

Papaji: How to trust?

Question: Yes, who am I? Who is this ‘I’ who needs to trust?

Papaji: This is another way. Can you tell me who is this ‘I’ who says ‘How can learn to trust you? Next time we speak, ask me this question and I will tell you the answer. This is enough for today.