Travelling with Papaji

The next account is from one of the devotees who travelled with Papaji during this period. Though he prefers to remain anonymous, I can say that he is one of the many people who were attracted to Papaji during the time he was staying in Ram Mandir.

I have met many saints and holy persons in my life, but I have not met anybody like Master Poonja. I don’t think there is anyone else like him, someone who has this power to awaken others instantly and show them who they are.

I first met him accidentally, far away from my permanent address. It was a good time of the year, and I was on a pleasure trip. The day I met him was the best day of my life. After meeting him, my entire life, which up till that moment had not been attractive, was changed into a glorious one through his holy company. I am now living a life of a free, enlightened man. Many, many thanks to Masterji.

When I met him on that memorable day, he accepted me as his devotee. From that time on I stayed at his feet on many occasions. We travelled together to a lot of places, along with his other devotees. In those days, there were not many of us around him. We travelled to the East, the West, the North and the South. Sometimes we would go to the mountains, sometimes to holy rivers and sometimes to the seashore. Each moment in his company was a divine experience for me. We laughed wholeheartedly and had a lot of fun wherever we went. When Masterji laughs, his face looks like a full-bloomed lotus. He taught us how to laugh and how to maintain the laughter all the time.

We spent a lot of our time going for long walks and taking baths in any river that we came a cross. We even did this when it was raining heavily. Sometimes we would stay in the jungle, sometimes with rich people and sometimes with people who were very poor. At all times and in all places there was the same pleasure and charm in his holy company. Though we stayed in many kinds of places and with all kinds of social classes, I noticed that he seemed to be more comfortable and relaxed with simple people. He himself seemed to prefer an unostentatious and simple lifestyle.

He never made us feel that he was different from us in any way, nor did he demand any special treatment. It seemed to me that he loved and respected his devotees more than his own children and family members. He loved to stay with us in simple, out-of-the-way ashrams. Sometimes we lived in wild, forbidding places that were a good lesson in developing fearlessness.

Sometimes he would pick up a new devotee from the street, without knowing anything of his background. He or she would immediately be accorded the same respect and treatment that all the rest of us were receiving. However, if a new devotee came to him for grace, he would immediately take steps to strip him of his position, his qualifications and all his ideas about religion. He would do this in such a skillful way, the person concerned would never feel hurt.

He would feed us the most delicious food and always show us love and respect. We didn’t just get spiritual instructions from him. By following his example, we learned how to live well and how to keep a sense of humour. Even when he discussed serious spiritual matters, he would do so in a relaxed, humorous way, without putting any pressure on the devotees. There was always a feeling of relaxation and peace around him.

Formal satsangs were irregular and might happen at any time of the day. They might suddenly happen while we were out walking, or after tea in the afternoon, or while we were taking a bath in the Ganga, or even while we were travelling on a bus. The spontaneity of these satsangs was their best feature. Sometimes he even gave us satsang while we slept, for he would often appear in our dreams and give us instructions or advice. If we ever asked about it the next day, he would confirm that the advice was correct.

Experiences of the divine would also come irregularly and at the strangest times. Some devotees would get them while walking, some while bathing, others while eating, and so on. We all experienced great pleasure and happiness in these moments. When Masterji saw that one of us was having or had had a direct experience, his face would light up with joy.

Once Masterji had taken someone under his wing, he would assume full responsibility for him or her. During my many stays with him I cannot recollect a single accident or mishap. Even in the most extreme climatic conditions – heavy rain or extremes of heat and cold – no one ever got sick. Somehow, he always used to smell any difficulties in advance and would change his programme accordingly to avoid them.

It is my experience that he never imposed anything on his devotees. He never made them live a particular way or practise any particular sadhana. On the contrary, he took our burdens away, relieving us of all the impediments that stood in the way of our enlightenment. He freed us from all our worries and showed us the truth of who we are.

Some people would come not for freedom but to be relieved of their heavy burden of suffering. I have seen him talk to people who were contemplating suicide and within a few minutes he would be able to make them happy and carefree. I knew some of these people personally and I can attest that even now they are still happy and living normal lives.

What else can I say? Like the philosopher’s stone that touches iron and turns it into gold, Master Poonjaji turned everything around him into gold until it shone with its own lustre. He removed the doubts and the dualities from the minds of those who came to see him and bestowed enlightenment on many. Darkness cannot exist in the presence of the sun. Similarly, a devotee’s ignorance and his ego would vanish in the company of the Master. The devotees would then be lit up with their own divine light and would shine in the world as free men. I know of no other Master who can bestow this gift on so many people, irrespective of their background. I consider myself most fortunate to have met him in this life. I thank him again and again for bestowing his divine grace on me.

Excerpt From Nothing Ever Happened Volume One, pages 289-292
By David Godman