The Mind Creates Everything, Simultaneously

The following is an excerpt from HWL Poonja magazine December 2004

Satsang with Papaji, 1991

Question: Papa, Kavita and I had a debate this morning about prakriti. If I understand it correctly, prakriti is the five elements plus mind. We were not quite sure whether mind actually is creating the elements. Or, alternatively, that the elements are there and that the mind, by perceiving them, brings them into existence.

Papaji: They’re simultaneous.

Question: If the mind is looking at a fire, it is saying, ‘There’s a fire’. Are you saying that if the mind is not saying ‘There’s a fire,’ then fire is not there?

Papaji: Mind creates everything, simultaneously. First the mind is there, and then, simultaneously, every else is there. Mind is thought, isn’t it? When you wake up, thought arises. The mind rises first, and then everything arises simultaneously 

You are asking about nature, the combination of the five elements. The grossest thing is earth, the first element. Then less gross, more subtle is water and so on. The last element, the most subtle one, is ether, space. But where did all these elements spring from? They are all in the mind. Ether, the space element, and the mind are similar in one respect. Everything is in the ether, in space, and all of these elements are in the mind, in thought. All these things are thought and thought alone. Now, in order to understand prakriti, nature, the five elements, you have to find out what the original thought is, the one that contains and brings into being all these things.

These five elements are also in the body. In order to understand the body, you have to understand these elements, and in order to understand the elements you have to understand the mind. Whatever phenomenon you pick, you can get back to its fundamental nature by tracing it back to these elements and the mind that creates it.

Now, just pick out one thought. If you can understand that one thought — what it is and how it comes into existence — you will understand the whole process and nature of the mind. Question this one thought. Look at this thought and try to see what it is. Find out what the source of this thought is. When you have found that source you will understand the mind, and then you will enter into the source from where everything emerges. There, no one and nothing has ever existed.

This is how the process of nature, prakriti, comes into existence. It arises from purusha, the first being. All beings are absorbed into this first being and perish there, but that first being never perishes, never vanishes.

Question: When you call purusha ‘the first being’, do you mean a being such as Krishna?

Papaji: Krishna himself once addressed purusha, saying, ‘I am purusha,’ but it is not the manifestation of Krishna that is the purusha, it is the unmanifest from which he springs. Krishna knew himself to be the unmanifest purusha. Purusha is beyond all the concepts and perceptions of the mind. A concept can be grasped, but purusha cannot be.

Manifestation can be grasped, and so can non-manifestation in so far as it is a concept that is the opposite of manifestation, but what I am talking about is something that is beyond them both. I am speaking of something that is beyond even the non-manifest. That which is beyond it is purusha.

Question: Are you saying that it’s the equivalent of Brahma, the creator of all this manifestation?

Papaji: No, Brahma is not the equivalent; he is just the creator of manifestation. There is a place where even Brahma perishes, for Brahma is not permanent. Everything, including Brahma and the other gods will perish, but purusha itself will never perish. It is indestructible.

You have been studying the Gita. Which translation are you reading? What we are speaking about is in that book.

[Papaji opened the copy of the Gita, the edition translated by Swami Chinmayananda, and started reading the passage that begins at chapter eight, verse fourteen.]

And the next verse says;

Verse 22  That highest purusha, O Partha, is attainable by unswerving devotion to Him alone, within whom all beings dwell, by whom all this is pervaded.

Papaji: Are you really reading this?

Question: Yes.

Papaji: Listen again.

Verse 21  That which is called the unmanifest and the imperishable, that, they say, is the highest goal. They who reach it never return. That is my highest abode [or state].

Verse 22  That highest purusha, O Partha, is attainable by unswerving devotion to Him alone, within whom all beings dwell, by whom all this is pervaded.

Question: [new questioner] Do you agree with this, Papaji? That one can only succeed through devotion?

Papaji: Yes.

Question: It is only through devotion that one arrives there?

Papaji: By ‘devotion’ I mean ‘supreme devotion’.

Question: What is supreme devotion?

Papaji: Supreme devotion is not to give rise to a single thought. This is supreme devotion. Then you are not carried away. This is supreme devotion. What else can it be?

‘Devotion’ really means ‘not divided’. The Sanskrit word bhakti actually means ‘where there is no division’. The opposite word to bhakti is vibhakti. Bhakti means unity, no division. Vibhakti means division, in supreme devotion, supreme bhakti, there is no division.

Question: No division?

Papaji: No division means not to be divided. Don’t divide the mind. How is the mind divided? By giving rise to thought. If you don’t give rise to a single thought, then mind itself is not. Thought creates division.

Question: [new questioner] But then this supreme devotion and this unmanifested purusha are the one and the same thing.

Papaji: Yes, that is what is left when division goes. Vibhakti means division. Where there is no division, where there is an undivided mind, this is bhakti. This is called the supreme devotion. Devotion can be to someone, or to something that is other than oneself, but supreme devotion is only to one’s own Self.

There is Self and there is non-Self. There is imperishable and there is perishable. To have devotion to the imperishable and to be one with it is supreme devotion. Without this devotion I don’t think anything can happen.

The English word ‘devotion’ can be very misleading, but I can’t think of a good English word that translates this very nice Sanskrit word ‘bhakti’. Nor can I think of a good word in English that adequately translates ‘jnana’. We usually say ‘knowledge’ in English when we translate jnana. But knowledge is not jnana. In English knowledge is of something, some object that you know, whereas jnana is merely a subjective knowledge of one’s own Self. For knowledge of other things we have other words.

Going back to bhakti, you can call it ‘love’ if you want to. ‘Love’ is one way of expressing one aspect of bhakti, but it doesn’t cover all the nuances. There is also a knowledge and an understanding in bhakti, a knowledge of what is true and real.

We can say that there are two ways of expressing what the Self is: love (bhakti) and knowledge (jnana). There are also the ways of discovering it. In vichara, in enquiry, you look for the source of thought. You return to the source. This is vichara. This investigation is called ‘knowledge’, jnana. Devotion is loving your source. When you love it with extreme, supreme love, you will be taken to that source and you will know it. You must have single-minded love of this source in order to get the true knowledge of it. When you have the supreme love you have the supreme knowledge as well. This is just the same thing expressed in two different ways. One is love and the other is knowledge.