Hindu Master Papagi, Definitely an Enlightened Sage, Talks About Organized Religion
Every now and then I come upon a really good new spiritual book. Rare that is, but the biographical account of the Hindu master Papaji, found in Nothing Ever Happened, by David Godman is simply excellent. This is a three volume set, but I think the lessons inside are far better than those in Living with the Himalayan Masters or Autobiography of a Yogi and many other Hindu biographical accounts. The 3 volumes are really good because Papaji starts talking like a Zen master, and previous to that he relates a number of interesting experiences, many of his conclusions matching perfectly with Buddhism.
Anyway, Papaji once went on a trip to Europe and visited a number of Christian monasteries. Every time he answered a question, people would ask him, "What's your authority for that answer? Where is it written?" Seems if someone else didn't say it first in some ancient text, it had no validity wherein they wouldn't bother to go to first sources in the first place. If what he said was not in the Bible or conflicted with the Bible, there was no room for acceptance at all.
In other words, why even bother to try to argue, debate or teach people who've shackled themselves to a book -- of whatever religious sect -- produced as expedient means and of low stage samadhi origins (rather than enlightenment) and even dumbed down (simplified) for a common audience? Give those people the dharma, but don't spend too much time on them but let them catch up in a subsequent incarnation.
As to the monastic tradition in Europe, Papaji commented, "By this time I had come to see several monasteries and I had come to understand that these places were full of people who couldn't keep quiet. There were lots of services and rituals, but I had not found anyone who had a really quiet mind. In most of the places I had visited, the monks were busy working, distilling alcoholic drinks or manufacturing other products to make money for their respective monasteries. It was just like the outside world: lots of hard work to make money, and not much time left over to be peaceful and quiet." (vol 2, p. 160) In other places he found monastic poverty contrived; if they installed tap water they wouldn't have to use a tractor to carry water all day, so they would waste money on a primitive lifestyle because they thought it was spiritually beneficial.
His big commentary involved Christianity, and he found that since Christians like to think of themselves as sheep being led, if he gave them Lion answers about being spiritual heros and revealing their true nature of fundamental enlightenment, people would get all upset. They'd rather prefer giving their authority over to someone and following ceremonies, rules and regulations. In fact, one of the monasteries told him not to come again and visit, saying, "After you spoke to us about Jesus and Christianity we all got sick. It's psychological and emotional. We are not used to hearing your type of talks (about calming the mind and being liberated). If you come again we will probably all get sicker.
One of my favorite quotes, which I've put into my STAGES course, is the following which I like ... and remember this is from a Hindu master who actually was being quite unbiased in his observations, and seeing things for the first time from an outside perspective:
Of course, there are too many great stories in the book -- on all sorts of different topics -- to even begin to list them all.
I love the ones where Papaji is in another country and invited to a meditation center or yoga ashram to give a talk. What happens is that lots of people start getting a taste of emptiness because of his natural chi projection, and the next day the centers consistently don't want him coming back anymore because they're afraid of losing students.
No matter what the school and its sectarian affiliation, it's the same story over and over again, meaning that even the schools devoted (or supposed to be devoted) to helping you reach enlightenment get scared and pull the plug when their money flows or people base, etc, are threatened. I always tell people to WaKE UP! and use their wisdom muscles to understand this sort of thing, but most people still don't get it. Poor master Papaji kept finding this out time and again.
Anyway, Nothing Ever Happened is great. It's one of the best books I've gotten in years on this topic and there are lots of lessons inside which match everything I've been saying. Get it. It's a 3 volume set but pretty darn good stuff and worth the money.
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