Letters to His Devotees

Papaji has devotees all over the world, many of whom rarely get a chance to see him. During the years that he was regularly travelling the length and breadth of the country, Papaji kept in touch with many of his devotees by post. He would tell them about his travels and his meetings, reply to their spiritual queries, ask about their physical and spiritual welfare, exhort them to greater spiritual heights and generally offer advice and encouragement in all areas of their lives. Sri Desai received about 150 letters from him, mostly in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I include a sequence of them here because it vividly illustrates the way Papaji dispensed advice and teachings by post. Some of the older letters are especially valuable since they contain traditional Hindu teaching instructions that he rarely recommends nowadays.

22nd December, 1968

Dear Divine Child,
I have got your letter. It is full of Love, with devotion oozing out from each word and thought. I have a great trust in you. You have all the requirements of a real seeker after Truth. I had to leave Bombay all of a sudden. In one way it was good because some young seekers had already arrived from Spain and were waiting for me. I will camp at Kashi, Chitrakoot and Rishikesh and then go towards the South. You will be kept informed. But for the present you are advised to remain in the house and practise for some time more. The Truth is seated in the Heart of all Beings. Realise this first in the Heart of your near ones – your wife, your daughter and your friends. On this path you need the blessings of everyone, including your wife. If there still remains a trace of misunderstanding, remove it, because you need your whole mind to be pure, like clarified butter, so that it can be offered to the Lord. You have a good wife and a sweet child. Live like a true rishi in the house. I don’t encourage people to give up their positions in life and instead go off into the jungles. If your seeking is keen, you will have mahatmas [great beings] at your door. This is the Divine Law. If there is heat, the fresh breeze comes by itself. Obliterate the incoming thoughts and keep still. Witness the Self realising the SELF. You will feel a bliss you have never felt in all these lives….

The next letter is a rare example of Papaji giving explicit instructions on traditional meditation practices. The references to Narayana, God in the form of Vishnu, are there because all the people in Sri Desai’s home village were worshippers of this deity.

6th January, 1969

Dear Divine Child,
I have today received your letter dt. 3rd January, 1969.1 am very happy to read that you are taking up practical aids to reach the Absolute Narayana. Narayana is seated in all Hearts of all beings. This Heart is not the one that the English word signifies, the one that lies on the left and propels blood. The Heart I mean is ‘Hridayam’. It is the very being of your body that moves the physical heart. It is on the right side, two inches to the right of the median [the breastbone]. With some practice you can visualise it most clearly. If you can do this even for a quarter of a second, you will get very happy. Only deep introversion is required. You may use the name of Narayana while diving into the ocean where NARAYANA is comfortably resting in a great peace, a great shanti. You should fix your entire concentration on the Heart and stay still. You need not repeat vocal chanting because this is superior. But if you like, you can repeat the name of Narayana with the tongue, the breath or the mind, even while you are busy with your work. The navel is not a good centre to focus on. It stirs the lower instincts and gives agitation of mind. If you can keep still in your own being, none of the rest is needed. You may write to me whenever you have to ask anything. I find a practical seeker in you and wish that you attain the highest attainment in this incarnation itself….
More Love to you.

Yours in the Self
18th January, 1969

Dear Divine Child,
I am glad to have your letter.
The target to reach is stillness of mind. When the mind is still, the enquiries you are making, such as, ‘How am I to know that I am still?’ drop away. Where is the ‘You’ left to feel the stillness? You feel only subjective happiness and existence – nothing objective. As long as you remain there, you won’t have any idea of time and the body. It is only when you descend to body consciousness that you know ‘so much time has gone’. It is in body consciousness that these other queries arise.
Accept my Love

Yours in Self
14th March, 1969

Beloved Desai Jee,
…I am sure you are steadily heading towards the Ideal. You have the substance to face the Truth and you shall face Him. It is the coward who flees from God. Make up your mind to see Him in this very life. There is no greater good nor merit than His attainment, attaining which everything is attained. Give more and more attention to your own Self. At critical times He will not deceive you and run away like others do and have done. Make him your only friend….
13th September, 1969

My Beloved Child,

I am extremely overjoyed to go through your letter. As I was reading, I felt the emotions that were dancing within your heart while you were writing the letter. I feel repeated happiness each time I read that you went to meet Sri Jnaneshwar at Alandi, and that he blessed you and even gave you his photo. What more do you require? Did you not hear people shouting in chorus on the way to Durga Mata Temple, ‘She Herself invites devotees to her place by writing to them’. Similarly, all the saints call their loving devotees in order to bless them. I am very glad to find the flame of devotion ablaze in you, even from the time of our first meeting at Londa. Your recent pilgrimage has surely cleansed your dormant vasanas, even though you may not be aware of it. If you plant a seed in the ground and dig it out the following morning, no visible change can be seen. But even so, inside it tremendous changes are taking place, changes that will cause the seed to sprout within a day or two. The company of the saints works in the same way. Changes may not be apparent, but inside they are taking place. Sooner or later the company of a saint will cause the ego to be rooted out. Whether it is sooner or later depends on the eagerness of the seeker. Mind is neither crooked nor straight, though you say that it is the former in your letter. But have you seen its crookedness at any time? This is the habit of a man who blames someone else for his faults. Is it not the same mind which has taken you to good places and made you associate with good men? Make friends with it. Regarding Bombay. All places are alike. The idea that there are good and bad places belongs to the mind….”

Excerpt From
Nothing Ever Happened Volume One, pages 294-298
By David Godman