Poonja's Dilemma

by Robert Wolfe on June 13th, 2012

H. W. L. Poonja, who died in 1997, searched India for a teacher of enlightenment. He has said that, until he found Ramana Maharshi, all he ever met were "businessmen in robes."

When finally in the presence of Ramana, he described the experience of an altered state of consciousness which frequently occurred to him, and he asked Ramana if this was enlightened consciousness, or Self-realization.

Ramana said, "Is that present now?"

"No, not at the moment," Poonja replied.

"Then that is not what you're looking for," Ramana told him.

(Poonja subsequently did come to Self-realization under Ramana's guidance, and as a teacher in his own right--called "Papaji"--was the mentor of the American teacher of nonduality, Gangaji.)

One of the most common refrains that an Advaita teacher hears is, "I once had a taste of the experience of Oneness, but it evaporated and I haven't been able to bring it back."

Whatever it is that you expect to experience, if it is not present right now, then that is not the "realized" condition that you're looking for.

Every spiritual and religious tradition, since the written word, has described the Absolute actuality (or Self) as omnipresent: "Nowhere is it not," say the Vedas. So, it must be here now--in every time and at every place.

Not only that, but this which is found "at every point in space or time," must be found not only without, but within as well. There could not even actually be an interface between "within" and "without"--simply one unbroken actuality.

This being the case, the Self which you are looking for would have to be the composition of all that you see--and you, as the seer.

So, for the enlightened, Absolute awareness is not a special condition, state or unrepeated experience. It is one's continual realization that not anything could ever, under any circumstance, be separate from omnipresent Being.

Abandon the expectation that you will encounter the Self at some time or place in the future, or "experience" such an "event" again. You do not "approach" That which you already are. Self-realization is merely recognizing that not anything has ever been apart from That which is without limitation in its ubiquitous presence.

Posted in Advaita, Monograph, Unpublished    Tagged with Ramana, Gangaji, Poonja, Papaji, Maharshi, Ramana Maharshi, Vedas, Self-realization, advaita, That, omnipresent, limitation, actuality


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