Excerpts Who Am I? Question: What is the nature of your Master’s teaching? Hanuman: In ordinary, everyday consciousness, we take ourselves to be this separate, individual human being: this mind, this body, this psychological one. We take ourselves to be a mother or a father, husband or wife, a finder or a seeker, etc. We speak about ‘my’ feelings and ‘my’ thoughts, ‘my’ suffering, ‘my’ hopes and aspirations, and it seems so convincingly real that we are that separate, individual one. But the undeniable truth is that the separate individual one does not exist except in the imagination. What appears so amazingly real and true turns out to be so absolutely false. It is so rare to take a few moments out of a day, or a week, or a month, or a year, or even out of a lifetime, to just stop and look and ask: ‘Who am I? What is my true, eternal, unchanging nature?’ This inquiry is the heart of Ramana’s teaching, the heart of my Master’s teaching. This is not a teaching of becoming. It is not a teaching of attainment through some practice over time. This teaching is only pointing to That which you already are, in truth, as opposed to that which you appear to be. I am saying that your essential nature, your Buddha nature, is already, always pure Consciousness, Presence and Contentment. Your very nature is Silence itself. You are already always This. That which you are is not dependent on the absence or presence of anything. There is no emotional state or mental state or physical state or spiritual state required. You are already, always This, regardless of any and every state. You are the unchanging. All states come and go. So, the Silence that you are, the Substratum, is always, already your very own nature. It is a question of realizing this and coming to rest. Let thoughts come and go as they please. Question: It’s just a little frustrating because I hear the words, and I read them and I understand them, but for me these words are not enough. Hanuman: What are the words pointing to? Question: Me. Hanuman: Okay. And this ‘me’ that these words are pointing back to? What is the nature of this ‘me’? Don’t say book words or words to please me, but really, by your own looking, here and now. Question: There is nothing. Hanuman: Okay. And again, investigate what is present in this nothing. Are you absent from this nothing? No? So, this nothing doesn’t exclude you; it includes you. So, what is this ‘you’? What is found in this nothing that is ‘you’? Certainly, the sense of presence, the sense of I-am-ness, Being-ness is revealed in this nothing, right? And certainly, there is Awareness. As it turns out, this nothingness is composed of being-ness, Consciousness …and That which you are. That is what these words point to. It is the very Source of these words, and it is That into which these words disappear. The habit of the spiritual ego is to make an object out of Consciousness, a trophy to be put on the spiritual mantelpiece. Remain vigilant. Remain vigilant to your last breath. Service Hanuman: It is true that there is nothing to do in behalf of freedom, in behalf of the fulfillment of one’s spiritual search. Then, lo and behold, it turns out that the spiritual life, which heretofore has been one of seeking, is now one of service. All the effort that has gone into the search comes to an end in the clear realization of one’s true nature. It seems that spiritual seeking is addictive and one’s practice is often taken as an end unto itself. Spiritual seeking and spiritual practice can come to an end. It is certainly possible to realize one’s true nature here and now. Satsang is in behalf of this. Look now and see. Let your true spiritual life begin. It is a great question to ask: ‘How can I serve you? How can I serve you? How can I serve you?’ We can be of great service to each other, to life, to family, to friends. There can be that caring, that kind of consideration and service that is born of a deep love and deep compassion. This is what is possible. The spiritual search has come to an end. This endless game of hide and seek can come to an end, and life can be a great expression of love and compassion. Really. Walking the Talk Question: How can I move beyond ‘talking the talk’ to get to ‘walking the walk’? Hanuman: In this world of non-dual teaching, of most profound import to me at this point is the willingness for each of us to walk our talk. It is not enough to be able to speak the words, but it is quite enough to live them in ordinary life. The demand for all of us who now know better is to express what we know in everyday life. That demand is not for everyone. Those who feel that demand experience an ever-increasing distaste for hypocrisy. When I am speaking about walking one’s talk, I am speaking about removing hypocrisy from our own lives. So, look and see what your intention is. It will not have the ring of truth if it has some great selfishness to it. If it is filled with love and compassion, it will ring true, and you can trust in that. When you exemplify more and more ‘walking your talk’ as someone who tells the truth in every respect, then you find yourself to be a more and more trustworthy human being. The more you are true to yourself, the more you speak truly, act truly. You trust in your own Self, then you have found someone you can really put your trust in. You can see how a commitment to truth is of such profound import. I am speaking of a fierce, unyielding, uncompromising commitment to truth. Day by day, you nurture that commitment. You fuel it. For it becomes far more powerful than any habit, and certainly far more powerful than any doubt. And don’t be concerned with mistakes. Be more concerned about your intention. Question: This is still not entirely clear. Hanuman: How are you responding with love and compassion and wisdom and skillfulness? What gets in the way of this? What can you choose to let go of in behalf of your desire to be an expression of impeccable responsibility? That’s warrior-like. Then you are more of an expression of walking your talk. Duality is felt when there is this sense of being split between what we know and the expression of it in ordinary daily life. It is not some highfalutin recognition that we are one with that rock over there. So what? What about allowing this life to be an expression in behalf of truth and freedom and love, in behalf of the Heart? This is why I am often saying in satsang to look to one’s own Self, to be an example of integrity rather than be disappointed in someone else’s lack of integrity. What is that other than just disappointment? And if you are committed to your own inner sense of integrity, it doesn’t matter so much what this one and that one is up to; what matters is what you are up to. What about being done with hypocrisy and bullshit? I think bullshit is rampant in the spiritual world, really rampant. But we do not necessarily have to point fingers; we just need to look at our own lives. So, part of walking one’s talk is saying: ‘When there is a recognition that I am somehow identified with the story of this suffering, seeking, separate, individual, victimized, unworthy one, when that is revealed, I will drop it. I will let it go, here and now, because I know better. I know the fictitious nature of that story, and I refuse to indulge in it one more moment.’ One then sees the essential feature of this spiritual life is the uncompromising willingness to let go of that which seems to obstruct truth, freedom, love, mercy and compassion. Seeking Question: I’d like to know what kind of experience Self-realization will be, so I’ll know when the search is over. Hanuman: This is what is so misunderstood, that there is some kind of experience that people imagine is ‘it.’ There is this continuing quest for that experience, either more of it, or longer of it, or shinier of it. Sooner or later, it dawns on the seeker that That which I am, my eternal nature, isn’t something that comes and goes. It is not an experience that has a beginning and an end. It is not some object that can be investigated or described. You know we speak these words: ‘I am pure Consciousness alone,’ but Consciousness itself is unknowable. It remains a mystery. Self-realization itself is a great paradox. On the one hand, that which we are remains ever a mystery. On the other hand, it is utterly familiar. The mystery reveals itself as mystery. So, it is said you cannot know who you are, you can simply be as you are. It is a great relief. One can see that the spiritual life is not simply about seeking. It is not about attaining. Yet that is what is familiar for most spiritual seekers. So finally, one sees, one understands, that there really isn’t anything to attain. It already always is — already and always. There are such conditioned beliefs and ideas that the spiritual life demands some rigorous meditation practice. That is at the heart of most spiritual paths. One can see now that this striving and effort simply reinforces the idea that I am a separate individual. But one can pierce through all this and see I am pure Consciousness alone. Nothing is required. No effort is necessary. I remember someone once asked the Master: ’You so often say no effort is necessary. But you have done forty years of very intense sadhana. Why then are you saying now that no effort is necessary?’ The Master responded: ‘It took me forty years to realize no effort was necessary. Let me save you from such needless striving and suffering.’ Compassion Question: What holds me back from living in love and compassion is that I don’t find myself worthy of my own love and compassion. And short of having a full realization of who I am and what I am, I would ask for any assistance you can give me in letting go of that idea that I’m not worthy. Hanuman: That is such a blessing. That feeling of unworthiness is itself that which could most eloquently call forth compassion. The arrogant, worthy one would not think of it. That one who feels so unworthy in truth can receive such an abundance of compassion to meet so lovingly that unworthiness. So, if you even have a sense of the possibility of true compassion, make the little bit of effort that you think is required in behalf of it. This turn of attention requires the minutest effort, this little turn, but it is enough to change despair into peace and regret into gratitude. It is simply a question of what you want. So, ask yourself: ‘What do I really want?’ Meditation Question: When I meditate, or try to, that’s when my mind gets busy. Hanuman: Right now, see that there is no meditator. You can see that it is all happening of itself, everything. There is nothing to attain through some practice over time. You are already That. The striving and effort, this intention of ‘becoming’ is itself the very being that you already always are. This is true. Spiritual seekers are so often addicted to seeking and becoming. And this addiction obscures the simple ease of being. So, see this. You do not have to wait. Your tush is already on the cushion. Look now. This commitment to becoming is such an amazing postponement. So, my Master was very fond of saying: ‘Don’t wait, don’t postpone. Now. What about now?’ Spiritual seekers are interested in the eternal. Well, if the eternal is anywhere, it must be now! That which you hope to attain in some future through practice, you already are, here and now, always. That is your true nature. Question: I like what you have said about movies and having compassion for and love for ourselves, so that we can have a nicer movie. Hanuman: Yes, the dream continues, even when you see it is just a dream. So as my Master said, ‘It’s your own dream, make it a beautiful one. Make a firm decision to be happy.’ Question: Do you know what a good practice might be? Hanuman: Making a firm decision to be happy. Yes, let’s start with some cheerfulness every day. [laughter] Simple, ordinary cheerfulness. Wow. We’ll start with five minutes: I don’t want to ask for too much. Cheerfulness goes a long way. Very powerful, good cheer is. And it’s already here. It is our nature, joy. You know these folks who are treading spiritual paths, they just keep treading and treading and treading. As I have said before, you must be very patient for that kind of path. The Master has said that these teachings — freedom itself — are not for one who seeks freedom in this lifetime. Rather, these teachings are for the one who cannot wait. As it turns out, now is where liberation is found, nowhere else. It is not found in some imagined future. It takes no practice to be that which you already always are. Freedom Question: Will you please tell me what your Master told you about freedom? Hanuman: [Laughs] That’s all I am doing. Nothing else is happening here other than that. He said: ‘You are That!’ He said: ‘Look and see for your own Self.’ He said: ‘When a man of authority tells you that a rope is a rope and not a snake, look and see for your own Self that that’s the truth.’ He said: ‘That which you are, I am.’ He said: ‘I am your own true Self. You are my own true Self.’ He said: ‘I abide in your Heart, and you abide in mine.’ So, when the Master was in a teaching mode, he was always and only pointing to one’s true nature, and really beseeching: ‘Look now for your own Self. Don’t postpone this looking. Look now!’ This seeing itself is freedom; the realization of your true nature is freedom, here and now. It is freedom from this habitual servitude to the imagined one we take ourselves to be and that we spend a whole lifetime in service to. It is freedom from the mind and the belief in any past and future. It is the recognition of this eternal now. Question: Hanuman, do you pray? Hanuman: I prayed when my eyes were closed. Before, I prayed, ‘May each and every one who is in this room find true freedom here and now in your satsang, Master.’ I prayed for this from my Heart. Who prayed this prayer I could not say, but that prayer arose. Fear Question: Sometimes I get so weary, so afraid that I feel like just running away and curling up. And I don’t want to be so afraid. Hanuman: What about just allowing the fear to be, without demanding that it go? What about allowing a simple spaciousness where fear can display? And what about the possibility of just taking a few steps back and seeing fear for what it is: sensations of the body and thoughts? What about the possibility, now, sitting on this throne of Witness Consciousness, of seeing fear as sensations, feelings, thoughts? Seeing for just a moment that: ‘I am the very Consciousness itself in which this fear now is displaying’? Seeing that there isn’t a frightened one, seeing this in a very impersonal way, seeing that there is a story attached to the fear, a story that one identifies with as being about me, the frightened one, the one who wants to run and curl up? What about the possibility of seeing the fictional nature of the one that story is about? What about the possibility of seeing fear now as a beautiful, graceful pointer back to your true nature? What about the possibility of embracing fear with gratitude for being such a graceful pointer? See this, simply, clearly, now. In this way, my Master’s teaching is very practical. You use whatever appears on your plate in behalf of your own liberation. Where is the Silence? Question: I came to satsang for the first time last month and fell immediately into silence. I was amazed and thankful and so surprised. Then this feeling of silence and peace went away, and I cannot seem to find it again. Hanuman: Where have you been looking? Question: It’s so noisy in my head. I can’t seem to find the volume switch. Hanuman: You know right away then where not to look for that very silence and peace! Question: Right. In my head. Hanuman: Right. So that is a great clue. Question: It happened so naturally before. Hanuman: You have to return to your own natural state. Everything that is spoken of in satsang is in behalf of coming back home to rest in the very Heart of peace itself. You have noticed that sometimes you can misplace your keys, and you will start looking in this place and that place, and you don’t find the keys. And then you start looking in those very same places all over again. Now you have confirmed for your own self that these are the very places where the keys are not going to be found. So maybe by Grace alone, a thought comes: ‘Okay, I need to look someplace else.’ So, this someplace else that I am speaking of here is that which my Master referred to as the Substratum, or the Source, the Heart. Silence is found when one follows thought back. You simply follow thought back from whence it arises. Then you come immediately face to face with Silence itself. Thinking has dissolved into Silence now. Just simply rest in this ever-present Silence that is recognized as your own true nature. The Silence is ever present despite what may be appearing in Consciousness or what sensations are happening in this body, or what thoughts may be arising and displaying and disappearing, or what emotional state may be flashing. The Silence is ever present. So, follow thought back to its Source to find that which you are seeking, or simply return back to Witness-Consciousness. Imagine that you are simply leaning back in that easy chair, in front of an open window, a soft, gentle warm breeze coming through, gazing out at the sky, seeing the clouds go by, and then simply recognize: ‘I am the simple, natural seeing; the natural being; the Stillness; and all is manifesting in me, manifesting before me. I am relaxed in my own natural state. And thoughts are coming, maybe very quickly, maybe very slowly, and maybe not at all. It does not matter.’ Know yourself to be this very seeing. Ask yourself: ‘To whom are these thoughts displaying?’ And see for your own Self that you are that silent screen of Awareness upon which those thoughts are projected. Cease identifying with the projection, and recognize yourself as that very screen: empty, immaculate, pristine, pure. And come to rest as That. Let go of any effort, any tension, in behalf of ease. You see, otherwise it becomes dependent on being in the presence of somebody. It appears that way. And it is not dependent on being in the presence of anybody but your own true Self. Then you recognize that the true guru is within. Within. So, someone appears without and is pointing: ‘Go within to find That which you are seeking.’ So, ‘within’ is what I’m speaking of when I say follow thought back to its Source. Being Alone Question: I am in a relationship that isn’t working, but I stay because I’m afraid of being alone. Hanuman: The fear of being alone drives human beings to the most outrageous kinds of things! [Laughter]. I would say, heartfully, if somehow you can be free of the fear of being alone, you will find it such an immense blessing, such a freedom, such an empowerment. You will find it leads not only to being liberated from the fear of being alone, but really to loving being alone, really having the opportunity to allow and nurture a profoundly intimate relationship with your own Self. And then the relationships that ensue will have a possibility of a very profound intimacy as well, because you will no longer be driven by fear, but compelled by love alone. This life is precious and rare. So, you have to decide, what do you want? On one hand it seems as if there is a possibility of a life that lives out of the frightened contraction of being alone, and the choices and decisions that are made to avoid that condition. On the other hand are freedom and the possibility of a depth of love that heretofore you may not have tasted. So, I would not flee from this fear. I would say, in some ways, from the point of view of a humble human being, it is in part your work, so to speak. Question: In part, my work is to not flee from that fear of being alone? Hanuman: Yes, and to not be ruled by fear, not be a servant of fear, regardless of the issue at hand. Question: No matter how attractive it might seem. Hanuman: Yes, no matter what. It is really a question of what is your Heart’s desire. You see, what we flee from keeps beckoning, so that maybe these profound spiritual experiences pass away, and one is left with this familiar, habitual contraction and an endless repetition of a sad story. We don’t want this lifetime to be a sad story of unrealized possibility. So, an open heart, which expresses itself in a profoundly intimate relationship, is a heart that is free of the strategizing that comes from servitude to that fear. And, of course, all of this is a story, you see, and ultimately we want to be free of believing any story as being true. So, another task at hand, if you will, is seeing that the one whom you call your beloved, whom you may break up with or who may break up with you, is no other than your own Self, in truth. And in truth there is no relationship, ultimately. But so what? To speak this way is not practical and useful at this particular point in time. [Laughter] Question: The word you used, contraction, described to a ‘T’ the physical experience through this. Hanuman: You see, one thing that is frightening is that when one is left alone, one seems to be then in relationship with ‘thoughts,’ with that story. In part, what is so frightening for people being alone is that they have been alone with a very frightening story! [Laughter] And, of course, that’s scary. So, I would suggest, here and now, that you see the fictitious nature of all story, ultimately, and that you transform your relationship to thinking itself, so thinking itself no longer can function as some kind of demonic, maniacal master leaving you quivering and shaking in fear. So, a good starting point in our speaking together here and now, is to see the possibility of having a profound, compassionate love for your own Self. You suggest that you are in some difficult predicament. And how often, when we find ourselves apparently in these difficult predicaments, do we curse and bemoan ourselves? Better, perhaps to say: ‘Wow, what a great, great time to bring all my wisdom, all my heart, right here and now, to love my own Self unconditionally.’ So, in part the work I am suggesting is the removal of the obstruction to unconditional love. You can call that spiritual work, you can call it psychological. It does not matter what you call it. It is realizing the rarity and preciousness of this life! Do I want any less than to be a free-flowing expression of unconditional love? Remove the obstruction, the contraction disappears, and one is left as the expression of unconditional love. Let the contraction and all of its manifestations serve to be the graceful reminders to let go, relax, to love now, be merciful, be compassionate. Let this contraction and its unwinding be a great Grace. Let the fear of being alone be the great Grace that reminds you of the possibility of fearlessness. Then you will say: ‘Hallelujah, this fear is serving my intention for freedom.’ You befriend the fear. And befriend your beloved whether you break up or not. Need a Master? Question: When Papaji was asked if a person needs a teacher, he said: ‘Yes,’ and also that there is no teacher. My question is, because you did have a true teacher, do you think it’s really necessary? Does one come to a point where you can’t experience more truth because you don’t have a teacher? Hanuman: Well, sometimes he was speaking from an absolute view. So, when he was saying there is no teacher and no student, he was really saying that That which the teacher is and That which the student is are the same. They are not two. Speaking from a more relative point of view, he would be saying that a teacher is necessary. There are those who have awoken, seemingly, without a teacher. Those who are from some other lineages perhaps speak about the necessity of a teacher. Those who awoke without will say no teacher is necessary. So, what do you make of all of that? Grace is available to everybody. We all know the possibility of Grace for everyone on this Earth at any moment. There is a kind of engagement with a teacher that can be extraordinarily useful. For example, with some, the Master would be cutting through arrogance. To be engaged by a teacher in that way could be quite useful. But I am sensitive to this question, because I know many people would love to have met and been in the presence of the Master, and I do not want anyone to feel they missed out, or that was some kind of a chance of a lifetime, because really, it is all a chance of a lifetime, this amazing opportunity we have, all of us. I’ve seen many people who have benefited amazingly by being in the presence of the Master, and a year later you would never know that they had learned anything at all. And there are those who are professional guru hoppers, who find the guru du jour and partake of that meal and then the next, as if that is what it is about. So, the best I could say about it is to be connected to That which is within you that is absolutely true. And so, there is no longer a seeming necessity to look to anyone else as the authority. Vigilance Question: Sometimes I hear of people awakening in the presence of the Master, and then later declaring: ‘I have lost it.’ I wonder if people can become Self-realized, awake, and then lose it. Hanuman: There are different ways to answer that question, as I understand it. There seems to be these obscuring tendencies of mind that can be lifted for a time. And for some, these obscuring tendencies, these veils, seem to drop down again. There is this sense of having gotten it, and then there is sometimes the sense of having lost it. However, all that is born of misunderstanding. What is misunderstood is this: There is often this experience of bliss that accompanies the Master’s presence and may accompany the event of Self-realization. It is this bliss which comes and goes, while the Consciousness, presence itself, you have realized yourself to be ever remains. The arrival of bliss and the identification as the blissful one seems to be mistaken for realization itself, and the departure of bliss seems to be mistaken as ‘losing it.’ From the point of view of this lila, of this divine play, that one speaks of getting it and losing it. However, from a truer point of view, there wasn’t somebody who got something, nor anybody to lose it: It was only the identification with the illusory one. One can easily see why so often the Master would speak of the import of vigilance and add that even he himself must remain vigilant to his last breath. What a powerful statement on the essential import of vigilance. Vigilance is our natural state. The Master said that we must continue to discern the eternal from the impermanent, the real from the unreal, and the import of vigilance and Self-inquiry. Self-inquiry and discernment are two powerful swords in behalf of liberation. Contentment Hanuman: Contentment appears so rare. I am not speaking about contentment that is dependent on any particular condition or circumstance. Unconditional contentment is an expression of our natural state. Contentment is simply the heartful, easy, effortless acceptance of what is, just as it is, not needing this moment to somehow be different. Without the contraction of resistance, every moment could be a moment of gratitude. When there is neither the inclination to cling to or push away, life naturally flows. This is contentment. Awakening Question: I haven’t met you before, and I would dearly love to hear what it was like for you at the dawning of your Awakening. Could you see it coming, or did it spring on you out of this nowhere? Hanuman: I was in Haridwar in April of 1990. It was my first meeting with my Master, H.W.L. Poonja. And we were a small group at that time, maybe there were ten of us. And we would meet in the Master’s apartment on the Ganges, where He held Satsang every morning. And He was quite obviously a living Buddha. All time came to a stop. And the most amazing words fell out of His mouth. The mind stopped. A number of days passed, perhaps a week. I was walking along the river, back from satsang, to the other side of the river where I was staying in the government tourist bungalow. And as I was walking back, all of a sudden, it was crystal-clear: That which He was speaking of. Clear now not in a conceptual way, but as a self-evident, most obvious truth: ‘Consciousness is That which I am.’ More like a dawning than an explosion. I don’t even know if I stopped in place or if I kept walking. It was as clear as clear could be. In some ways everything changed at that moment. And more essentially, nothing changed at all. For I am as I have always been. I recognized That which I always am, That which I have always been, and I realized that I wasn’t at all who I had taken myself to be. All that came to an end. It was like that. Awareness Question: I wish to be peaceful and sit silently and be free. And sometimes that’s the case, and sometimes it seems I’m so lost in thinking. Hanuman: See now, just as we are speaking, who is it that is wishing, who is it that is getting lost in thought? See this. Question: The mind is so noisy. Hanuman: That’s like saying the sky is so cloudy. [Laughter] What about that? Question: Sometimes it’s not. Hanuman: Yes. [Laughter] The sky is not complaining with the appearance and disappearance of the clouds, you see. The sky is not complaining; the sky recognizes itself to be so very vast that there is infinite spaciousness for all the clouds and stars and galaxies in the universe. It is really the same way with thoughts. There is infinite spaciousness for all the thoughts in the world. And all the thoughts in the world turn out to not take up any space at all. It is just another thought that says: ‘I would like it this way, I don’t want it that way.’ Those are just more thoughts. Awareness has no complaint whatsoever. Awareness doesn’t make any effort either. And if effort is made, Awareness does not care. So, know your Self to be this sky-like Awareness. See this for your own Self. On Worry Question: My vision is deteriorating, and the doctors are saying that in 10 years I may go blind. I am really worried. Hanuman: The demand to let go will serve us all very well when each of us finds ourselves on our deathbed. It won’t be uncharted territory; we will be ready. All the letting go beforehand, all the willingness to let go beforehand will keep us in good stead when the demand becomes so very urgent. So, I understand there’s something scary on your plate. The possibility to be present in this moment is all the more urgent. It is a kind of Grace, if you will … not the possibility of losing one’s sight, but the urgency that this worry offers you. Ten years from now, regardless of your vision, you will be ready for anything. Confidence and power will have been gained in preparation for this possibility of losing your vision. And that loss may not even come to pass! Worry and depression are so understandable in this world of ours. There is so much suffering and so much sorrow, so much madness. And yet this life is very precious, and we don’t want to spend too much of it worrying. Worry has its place; it can be honored. But more importantly, it can be let go of. Our wisdom tells us: ‘Worry serves nobody.’ But we serve one another so well with our good cheer. So, let your worry remind you of the possibility of love and compassion These bodies are so amazingly vulnerable. Anything can happen at any given moment. This we know. We are very vulnerable human beings deserving of immense compassion.