When we were reviewing the correspondence that occurred between Papaji and myself for the website, I was re-reading some of the letters that he and I exchanged. It was really interesting to revisit that person who was writing Papaji then.
The first letters were written to him in Lucknow, when I was sitting in his presence. He would give me the answers verbally the next day. Since there were so few of us in those early meetings, we could be sure to be answered by him.
After I left him physically and returned to the US, I found myself almost compulsively writing to him. The outpouring was so huge. I knew that in the writing to him there was a connection; he was hearing me. I was so surprised to start to get answers to my letters. This was in the days before email, so sometimes answers would cross letters, or I would get two or three letters from him at the same time. Sometimes he would send letters back with people. It was a thrilling part of our relationship.
In re-reading his letters I recognize the power, and the presence, and the clarity, and the kindness of his confirmation of the truth alive in me, and his brushing aside of whatever self-doubt or questioning I had.
In re-reading my letters I see how earnest they were. I recognize that earnestness had been a gift in my spiritual seeking. Spiritual seeking was never casual for me; it was always very, very earnest. I see how I could and did take wrong turns; yet somehow in the very earnestness of the search, even when I slammed my head into a dead end, it was obvious, and I could simply stop. I repeated particular mistakes, but I remained earnest and didn’t allow myself to get disheartened. I didn’t allow self-doubt to take root and become a sickness of cynicism or resignation.
Because of Papaji’s support, just in meeting him, I wanted my personal, unnecessary suffering to stop. I was willing to follow his instructions, and I was willing to pick myself up off the floor and open again and again. That is my suggestion for everyone.
He was an incredible teacher who spoke with such clarity, and his words were actually a transmission of the truth. I saw him speak to any number of people, and unless the person he was speaking to was truly in earnest and truly willing to stand in the fire of their own humiliation or shame or continued mistakes, there was no true surrender. Our minds throw up all kinds of obstacles to surrender. If we are willing to surrender, then the obstacle that gets thrown up is actually seen as another opportunity to surrender.
I was lucky when I met Papaji. I was in my late forties and I had had enough experiences of my own to know I finally couldn’t do it on my own. I knew I wanted a teacher. I prayed for a teacher and I discovered my teacher.
Certainly, my surrender may look completely different from your surrender. All ages and levels of experience are welcome in the revelation of truth. All forms of surrender are appropriate, because finally what you are surrendering to is your own awakening.
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Gangaji is the author of The Diamond in Your Pocket, Freedom & Resolve: Finding Your True Home in the Universe, You Are That, and Hidden Treasure: Uncovering the Truth in Your Life Story.