Dedicated to the lotus feet of the divine guru Shivabalayogi Maharaj


DSM Meditation Retreat 2024: Day 2, Morning Q&A with Babaji

A series of Q&As filmed at the Shivabalayogi Devarayasamudram Ashram in South India during a meditation retreat with Shri Babaji over the course of 10 days.

0:00 Introduction
0:11 Why is it important during our daily activities to spend less mental energy?
1:30 What to do when one experiences an intense feeling during meditation, the body tenses up and breathing stops?
3:47 How did all the other techniques of meditation emerge? Were people experimenting with different methods?
13:47 Is there any practical benefit to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras?
16:34 Why do some teachers talk about practicing to achieve siddhis or superpowers?
22:00 When we are silent in meditation how do we know whether we are trying to watch whether the next thought is coming or that we are in the Self?
23:30 What is the experience before merging with the Self when Nirvikalpa Samadhi happens?
24:38 What is the experience of becoming the eternal entity?
28:21 What is the significance of the stories told in the Yoga Vasistha about the illusion?
39:47 Even scientists, through the general theory of Relativity, have concluded that in a small fraction of time in one part of the universe there can be a duration of thousands of years in another part of the universe.
43:18 What was Adi Shankara’s childhood like?

Discourse: Thus Spake Babaji – DSM Meditation Retreat 2024
Day 2, Morning Q&A with Babaji Maharaj

Recorded: February 2024

Start of Questions and Answers

Question:   Why is it important during our daily activities to spend less mental energy?

Babaji Maharaj:   Exactly, precisely what I would have done spoken is to live in this world, you require a little bit of consciousness to apply onto the brain to use your brains.  But unknown to you, you are applying too much conscious energy.  For example, you can live in this world with a hundred dollars but you are spending a hundred thousand dollars unknown to you, unnecessarily, like a waste of energy.  So much of load on the brain is there. So that’s what it is.  So, when you practice meditation, you gain control over yourself, you are able to restrain yourself, use your wisdom properly, you become more mature, understand things better.  So thus, you will be able to utilize the services of the brain to the maximum with only a little bit of your conscious energy.  You don’t have to get too stressed out for anything; a little bit of things will do.  That’s what I would have told. 

Question:   What to do when one experiences an intense feeling during meditation, the body tenses up and breathing stops?

Babaji Maharaj:   That’s what I try to tell, I think unknown to you, unintentionally you are trying to force to achieve.  Humans generally lose patience; they want to achieve quickly. So in that thing, if the things are not happening… because in the beginning it’s very awful, the thoughts and visions that the mind has created through which an illusion has happened, they have the upper hand.  So, you try to watch, it would look as almost impossible to watch like that also, then you are likely to force it upon.  That’s why repeatedly I try to tell “Gently close your eyes; relaxed mood; outside world doesn’t exist.  Be reassured.  Have a firm conviction everything is impermanent, and nothing has happened, and you have nothing to do.  You have to become quiet.”  

This becoming quiet cannot happen with any external anchor. Because you are the most infinite,  to catch hold of yourself only you have to become quiet.  There is no other way that you can catch yourself.  Any other method you try, that can have a stress on the body.  That’s when it can disturb the respiration system also to go smoothly. When it has happened like that what you are telling, take a long inhale of breath and exhale slowly.  For two-three minutes do that one then you will feel better, your restlessness comes down, then again try, simply, gently to concentrate.  So, that will be helpful, and you will improve.  You will overcome this situation.  Everything will get released.  The muscles contraction might happen; the muscles need to get released, so then you will feel alright. 

Question:   How did all the other techniques of meditation emerge?  Were people experimenting with different methods?

Babaji Maharaj:   More than experimenting I think humans from time to time try to make the things simpler and easier when they would have found it a bit difficult; if there is any other thing that is slightly easier.  Even now also, we get questions “This is bit difficult.  Is there any other easier method, any other which can happen instantly, quickly?”  So, these things humans always look.  They don’t want to put in efforts.  That is very stressful for them that happens.  So, they keep looking for that.  

Like what we have heard historically – they all used to sit down and practice meditation and practice the samadhi, but not all of them were successful.  Very few became very successful, for others it was becoming a bit difficult.  Then a saint known as Angirasa, He thought “We need to evolve some other method also through which a person can keep their mind controlled or engaged to Divinity.”  So thus, He evolved the fire sacrifice method.  Means when they did it, they tried to think both physical benefit and mental benefit also. And considering the fire which is one of the five elements as the mouth of the Divine symbolically and the ingredients are poured or the firewood of mango or sandal wood, like that if it is put, it can cleanse the atmosphere of all bacteria; that is one thing.  And mentally by chanting the mantras the basic idea was praying to the Divine, “Please purify my mind and make it eligible to merge with You.”  That is the one sentence, but that also has taken so many shapes.  Then people have made it to achieve worldly things also.  So, if you need some money, some wealth so you do this type of fire sacrifices with these mantra chants.  So, like that from time to time in these few thousand years so many things have evolved.  So, finally it has lost its track, the purpose that originally it was made.  

So, like that bhakti marga also has come to make it easier – even you do not have to find firewood, the chants and mantras, don’t have to learn, just try to find some symbolic.  That is how probably the Shivaling has come.  Shivaling is always denoted by some acharyas (learned and elevated teachers). It gives the idea of the formlessness of God because it has no particular form, just any stone like that you keep, and you start worshipping.  But it is a matter also, that is why it denotes that Divine is form also, both form and formless.  So, thus, you call it as Shivalinga.  The linga is symbolizing the matter of form of Divinity.  But that also, so many meanings have been given, nonsense meanings have been given about Lord Shiva doing this and that – nonsense it is, difficult thing.  That is not the meaning.  Main meaning is this is all.  

So, that is how these things have come wanting to make it more easy, more easy. And now, you see, even the bhakthi marga also has become so difficult for people.  That is so easy, but still they forget that you have to focus your mind. When you are offering flowers, or doing an aarathi, or somebody is doing the abhishekam, like you are pouring water, if you focus your mind then that is beneficial.  If somebody is doing the abhishekam, you are simply standing there and you are somewhere else and your mind is running, so your worship or your remembrance of God will not reach God.  

Finally, this needs to be understood.  What the Divine wants is your mind.  Through your mind’s focus only, you can reach Divinity, you can convey your prayers to Divinity. Only that is the final.  So, finally, knowledge has no shortcut, whatever you do. You do gyana marga, the path of knowledge, path of dhyana, path of bhakti.  Very often, particularly Indian community think that the bhakthi marga is the most easy.  If they go to temple and somebody is giving a talk, discourse, they do not have to concentrate on that; they simply show that they are sitting and listening to the discourse so that they can claim “We also listened to the discourse of the great Master.”  But it is not beneficial for them because they will never learn.  Transformation doesn’t come.  

Another important thing you all have to understand, when a sadhana happens – sadhana means you are efforts to achieve – a meditation sadhana or a bhakthi sadhana or a dhyana sadhana or knowledge sadhana, a purification of the mind must happen.  Then that means this person has done some sadhana.  When the purification happens, transformation in that person occurs.  If there is no transformation… transformation means, when you meditate, when your mind becomes more purified, some of the points which are beneficial, which should transform you. Means your control over yourself increases; you are able to restrain yourself, quickly recover becomes possible. And reasoning out – you become more mature, you are able to apply wisdom properly; why, what, all these types of things.  You won’t simply get carried away on face values.  So, this, all the things come.  

And you won’t be hurt easily; nobody can hurt you.  Otherwise, you see, human beings, for small-small things their ego gets hurt and they cannot take it anymore; they behave as if it was a big onslaught on them.  Even if parents pull the children up a little bit also, children call the police nowadays.  So, they are unable to take their parents also.  We were brought up with such a culture, the person who has not taken the beatings of his father, how can he become a human being?  He will be an animal if he has not got that one.  Means, that is the training, first training you receive.  That’s why in our culture even the Guru’s place is third.  First is Mata, then Pita, father; mother and father, they are the first immediate guardians, first Gurus who have the right, who are authorized to teach the children and the third one is the Guru; then God comes last.  Mata, Pita, Gurur Devo bhava.  So, that’s what we were taught, like that one, we respected. 

As I was telling yesterday, even to watch a movie, we used to take permission of our parents.  They used to certify that “Yeah, this movie is worth watching.  You can watch.  It will not have a bad influence on your mind.  You can go and watch.”  Then we used to go.  So, without informing them, we never went to any theater or watched any movie.  Means, that was the culture that we came up.  But today, imagine, the ego factor has increased so much and so much.  For forty years I have seen a person who was so close to Swamiji, he was so close; everybody thought him to be a saintly person.  But one time Swamiji gave, he couldn’t take it.  He didn’t want to see Swamiji’s face again.  He never came back again.  This is what happens.  So, the love, love, a real love.  With God also a real love must be there.  Not that a little bit of troubles come in our life, and we forget God, “O, there is no more God.  If God was there, I wouldn’t have been into troubles like this.”  So that is not love, that is not the devotion.  

So, all these are important points.  So, if you are really meditating, if you are really devoted to your Master or to God, there will be transformation.  Nobody can brainwash you; nobody can disturb you.  I am with my Master for twenty years; I don’t need somebody else to come and tell me what my Master is.  I would have shouted at them “Bloody scoundrel, you get out, you don’t have to tell me what my Master is.  I know what He is.  You don’t tell me what He is.”  All of you are my students.  If I have seen you for twenty years, nobody has to tell me what Clifford is.  I know Clifford very well.  You don’t try to teach me.  That is the maturity that comes if you are doing sadhana.  Means if you are really meditating, if you are really into the spiritual path, if you are devotional or if you have the knowledge, that is the transformation that occurs.  You won’t be hurt so easily.  You will be mature.  You will wait and see.  You will think.

Question:   Is there any practical benefit to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras?

Babaji Maharaj:   Yes, yes, it is beneficial, definitely.  He has laid down the yama, niyama.  Yama means what we call praana vaayu, the respiration, the vital current force.  So, you practice so that smoothly goes – inhale and exhale.  Niyama is the discipline, you are disciplined in life.  Means, at that time you maintain the time – you will be there; this is one thing.  And when you sit down for meditation, your body should have taken sufficient rest, and it is light.  Not that you take a meal and then come and sit, then you will be falling asleep; you won’t be able to meditate at all.  For forty years you meditate, and you have not meditated.  So, these types of sutras only what Patanjali has told, that you have to be careful about intake of the type of food that you take.  We try to talk very commonly.  We don’t prescribe very particularly that “You don’t eat this, you don’t eat this” – that will be a big list.  Instead of that, if you understand some basic point, like you take a lighter meal at one time and then it you should be able to digest that properly – wind, acidity, indigestion – these type of things must not form in the stomach.  If anything happens you won’t be able to sit for meditation.  So, that’s why. 

And also Patanjali says, when you sit for meditation you adopt such methods that both your enemy and friend must not be able to disturb you.  You are trying to meditate.  Your friend sends an SMS message. [Gurudeva mimics a phone notification and pretends to peek at a phone]   That is the friend not allowing you to meditate, disturbing you on the path.  So, you should be careful to keep away such friends; switch it off.  Enemies – “Ah it is time to meditate.  Now let me throw a stone on him.”  So, you have to adapt such methods – close the door; don’t keep any telephone on when you are meditating, switch it off or put it on the silent mode; keep it aside that no friend, no God can disturb you when you are meditating.  So, these are the methods what Patanjali has recommended in His own way, in His own language, culturally.  I just modified those terminologies suitable for the present-day understanding.  So, that’s what it is.

Question:   Why do some teachers talk about practicing to achieve siddhis or superpowers?

Babaji Maharaj:   Some teachers have, to my observation for the last fifty, sixty years after I became a teen, young aged boy of eighteen to twenty years…  I own a restaurant where I make idlis (a typical breakfast staple in South India, steamed rice cakes), but first in the beginning people don’t know the value of idlis.  They want to have if Baba has some chocolates in his restaurant. So, to attract people “If you come to my restaurant, you can get chocolates, you can get chocolates”, then people come out of curiosity; and after they come, “Come on, come, come, sit, sit, sit.  Don’t worry, don’t go away.”  Then slowly I make chocolates pieces, idlis into small pieces and give it to them, “This is that chocolate.  You eat and try.”  So, that’s what they try to make it about, siddhis.  ‘You meditate you can levitate.’  That is exciting for people.  Nobody is interested in God or Self-realization.  If you meditate, you can rise above the level.  I told, you pay $500 you can fly at 35,000 feet; you don’t need meditation to levitate or to go above the ground level.  Let the gravity work its rule.  You don’t have to try to change that one; the body is like that.  You meditate – that must be for a higher purpose.  You have joined the university, and you tell “No, I’m just trying to learn the first lessons of A, B, C, D, that’s why I have joined the university.”  To learn the ABCD, you go to nursery or KG (kindergarten) schools.  You don’t go to university.  So, you don’t have to do tapas to levitate anything.  

So, like this many teachers have indulged in this type of thing trying to show magical things and attracting people.  A hundred million people come to them; they only come for such things.  For a few hundred dollars, you can buy a gold chain.  You don’t need God to come all the way in front of you and give you a chain and mesmerize you.  That is not God.  That’s why I have always told since day one, for twenty-three years of my teaching – You are all sitting; if any God can wave his hand and make all your minds quiet and Self-realized, that day I will consider it as a miracle, if anybody can work that.  I tell “No, you all have to meditate and achieve.  No God can give you that thing.”  Nobody can wave their hand, “Okay, Zen becomes Self-realized now.”  It doesn’t happen like that.  

So, unnecessarily people have indulged into that and people have stuck to that only.  People don’t want idlis, they want chocolates.  They are given some lollipops to make them to go to school; they are kids, but they don’t want to go to school.  They get stuck to lollipops only.  So, they never get educated.  This is what we saw in my life, basic experience of my survey.  Then you meditate, and this is the greatest wonder when you discover yourself as that Infinite, which Krishna talks; “No weapon can slay the atman, the Self, no water can soak the Self, no fire can burn the Self.”  All this tallies with the space.  Let any number of nuclear weapons, hydrogen weapons, chemical weapons, China, America, Russia, Ukraine, Iran, anybody can do; can they harm the space?  They might be able to destroy the earth into pieces but let them shoot into the air; nothing happens.  It bursts, simply.  Let them put fire – this building can be burned but can they burn the space?  Can anybody soak the space?  That’s what Sri Krishna tried to tell and that is the greatest wonder, the existence of the Self.  So, these are some of the points of siddhis.  Now you all think whether you want siddhis or Self-realization, what is interesting.

   Ramakrishna has also told the boatman taking from one bank to the other bank.  Another person, one day He was walking on the banks of the Ganga.  A tantric comes, and he tells “I can walk on the water.”  It seems he walked on the water.  When Ramakrishna asked, he tells “For forty years I have practiced this.”  “You have wasted forty years of tapas.   That boatman I am seeing every day takes for fifty paise from this bank to the other bank in his boat.”  So, the value of the things, that’s what they have been compared to.  Many teachers have told different examples, different, different things have been told like that one.

Question:   When we are silent in meditation, how do we know whether we are trying to watch whether the next thought is coming or that we are in the Self?

Babaji Maharaj:   Thought after thought comes in quick succession.  It won’t make you to wait also, to see.  If the thought is coming, immediately it will be there – that keeps coming, coming, coming, thought after thought; only a small gap is there between two thoughts.  That gap is the space, that is what is the consciousness of existence. That is the atman, actually.  But our attention always goes on to the thought; you are always on the thought.  Seldom you go to that gap.  The gap is there, but you don’t go there.  Like when you enter the hall, the space seldom attracts you, but the fan, wall, photos, people sitting here, everything attracts – attention, attracting the attention.  So, that’s what happens.  But when it has stopped, once for all it is stopped, then you are able to enjoy the peace of that gap. Then you realize this is the real peace and you would like to stay there forever, forever, as long as possible.   So your practice increases, then the gap also increases when your attention goes.  You get attracted to the gap, not to the thought.  So, then the thoughts all will disappear and the gap increases.  

Question:   What is the experience before merging with the Self when Nirvikalpa Samadhi happens?

Babaji Maharaj:   You see, as you go closer and closer, slowly your attention is on the Self. Thoughts all disappear.  Final thought is the thought of the ‘I,’ existence of the ‘I.’  When that also disappears then the samadhi occurs.  Until then that ‘I’ is maintained.  When the ‘I’ is there, then only the experience – ‘I experiencing’.  Once that ‘I’ also disappears, there is no experience, nothing.  Nobody is there to experience at all.  So, after that there is no experience that can be explained, only one single Self remains.  In duality only, you are able to experience.  Even your own existence also you are able to experience in duality.  That’s what you experience, that you are that eternal entity just before the disappearance of ‘I.’  Then when the ‘I’ disappears, you are there.

Question:   What is the experience of becoming the eternal entity?

Babaji Maharaj:   That only when you achieve you will know. Or that time I will come there and tell you [laughs].  This is what Vashista talks to Rama.  This is in Yoga Vashista’s language.  This is a very important thing, actually, the question.  Again and again, Rama asks “Okay, I will accept that everything is illusion, nothing exists really; everything is only a mental projection.  But how did this projection happen?”  Then Vashista tells, “When you reach that nirvikalpa samadhi you will understand on your own, or at that stage if I explain then you will be able to understand.”  What He meant is, when the student rises to that level of understanding capacity, then if the Master tries to explain, then that enters your mind – you will be able to understand.  If I try to tell now, your mind will not understand; it will be confused.  It is there and it is not there; it is something and it is nothing.  So, these things are very confusing for people, right? When I tell “It is there, and it is not there; you exist, and you do not exist.”  

So, that is why a Master gives a clue and trains a student by caning little-little, little-little, little-little, makes the student to give up all unnecessary stupid habitualities, purifies, then when he is ready, he gets.  That is what the Master tries to do, but many times a student can misunderstand the Master.  Master is trying to do the benefit; that is beneficial to the student, He is giving. “Let my kids, my children grow wise.  Let them be on the right track.”  That was the reason the mother slapped.  That was the reason mother was pulling up, “You are not going to see this movie”, she said.  It was bit painful; “O, mother is very unjust.  She does not understand that I want to go and see the movie.”  “No! You are not going to see that movie.”  But when we grow up, we understand. I’m grateful that my mother stopped me from watching such nonsense things – today I am pure.  So, like that, one day when you achieve you will understand “Babaji was very compassionate that He was always scolding me.  That is how I could get.”  

Today I am so grateful to my Master.  He did not allow me to keep quiet for a moment – yelling and scolding, yelling and scolding.  I am not that compassionate like Him on you all.  He was very compassionate.  He was scolding every time. I was also equally attached.  He used to scold, “Don’t show me your face, just get out of my room!  Your mother could not give you proper bread, that’s why she sent you to me.  You get out!”  I also used to come out of the room and quickly within one and half minutes used go back to His room.  He would have forgotten that He was scolding.  So, that was the Guru-disciple relationship one has to grow, then you will be blessed.  One day you will get it, then I will explain.

Question:   What is the significance of stories told in the Yoga Vashista about the illusion?

Babaji Maharaj:   Mind can play such havoc of imaginary stories, so you might forget what you are doing.  Like many times you all have recollected, you are trying to meditate and the mind runs and spins, some story comes and you get carried away with the stories; it can be of some years and you have grown a beard and you are riding on a horseback and you are a king, the army is behind you, you want to get married, you don’t want to get married, you get attracted to another woman, you go after that, you go after that, you go after that.  Suddenly, you realize you are here, sitting, meditating, trying to meditate.  So, that type of story numerously it has have been told to make one understand how your own mind can go into such an imagination.  So, be alert.  Stop the first instance itself.  

And He also tells another story of a non-existence thing appearing to be existing, which is one of the basic definitions of illusion.  So, telling the story – There were three princes who were never born, and they came across a river which did not have any water but they took such earthen pitchers, three pitchers which did not have any base or closed lid and they filled up water from the river where there was no water.  And they built a big fortress which did not have any walls.  Like this type of story it is told just to make you understand – you build up such beautiful stories and world where nothing really exists in your mind.  Nothing really exists but your mind builds up so many stories and that appears to be so real when it builds up.  When I was narrating this story in Australia then Bruce told me “When You were telling this story, my mind was building the fortress wall, when You were telling ‘the fortress was built which had no walls at all.’”  So, the mind plays such tricks.  That is the illusion.  That’s what we call the hypnotizing effects.  We hypnotize ourselves so much, strongly.

   Beautiful is Yoga Vashista, so many hundreds of stories have been told to tell the time concept also.  So, all these things.  Calculation is simply our mind.  That is another story for this time calculation.  A king is there.  His wife was a great devotee of Goddess Saraswati.  Whenever she remembers, the Goddess manifests.  So, once the king goes to war; he gets killed in the war, in a battle and his dead body is brought to the palace.  She keeps crying for eight days.  She is so attached to her husband.  “My husband is dead.”  She could not remember Goddess Saraswati for eight days.  Imagine the mind where it goes.  She was such a great devotee of Goddess Saraswati, but at that time that remembrance did not come.  Only after the eighth day, she suddenly remembers “O, I must remember Goddess Saraswati.  She can help me.”  She manifests and She takes her to at a different place and different loka in the ‘infinite bodies’ it says, ‘infinite body’.  Then, there her husband is already born and she’s surprised.  She tells “My husband died only eight days ago.  Here he seems to be more than forty years old and he has so many wives and he doesn’t seem to remember me at all.”  

So, like that is the time calculation.  There the time was eight days – for the departed soul it is already forty years.  That’s when sometimes while discussing when people ask questions; “When our forefathers die…” – I was answering Nara’s question – “…forefathers pass away.”  Nobody will remember us.  When our father has passed away he won’t be able to remember, grandfather has passed away he won’t be able to remember; great grandfather will not be able to remember that “My great grandson is sitting as a yogi near the place where I did yaaga.”  Such is the illusion that gets created.  This is a very mind-boggling thing, but nobody need get confused.  That’s why we don’t talk much on these thing.  

But one thing practically I will tell.  Just now also, none of you remember any of your previous lives.  You cannot.  With the death of the brain, the memory is lost, but the soul consciousness carries symptoms, in a symptomatic way, symbolizing to the next life; that becomes the basic nature.  So, sometimes you might feel that as if you are connected to a person, you get attracted to a person as if you knew that person for a long time. Sometimes many people have explained, that the first time even when they met also, they have felt that they knew me since such a long time, long, long time.  So, these feelings might come, but exact location, exact place, exact timings, these are all mind-boggling.  This time’s dimension, once we die, we lose the contact of this time’s dimension. But when we talk, we are used to this time’s dimension.  That’s why we try to tell, “When the soul has dropped the body then it will wait for some time, it will be going around, then it has to take a birth…”  We try to calculate in our own way.  By then a hundred years would have passed by for the other soul.  

So, this is the time, you see? When humans went out to the moon their mental status also changed so much.  Neil Armstrong, they all have explained after seeing the thing and going into a different time dimensions.  So, these are all simply the mind’s imagination.  That’s what they have tried to tell in that beautiful book of Yoga Vashista. All these are finally imaginations.  The truth is in itself, but the problem is your mind trying to imagine various things.  “So, whatever it imagines you get to see the same thing as the truth, Rama.”  If you look at me as Self-realized, I will appear as Self-realized because you are thinking.  Tomorrow, you get annoyed with me, and you look at me “Eh, he is not Self-realized anymore, my heart has shifted”, I won’t appear to you as Self-realized.  I have nothing to lose.  My Self-realization is with me.  Simply your mind has shifted, and you are losing that.  You are gaining because of your faith and suddenly you lost and your mind has gone mad and berserk and has gone into the world, sucked into the world, back.  Just like snake and ladder game that you play.  You keep climbing whenever your coin comes to the ladder, you climb up; suddenly you come to the snake, you go down again.  So, that type of game the mind plays havoc.  It can be so much.  

So, that’s why the meditation practice is to overcome all these effects of the mind once for all.  Then the truth is visible.  What is the statement of Adi Shankaracharya; “When you come face to face of your consciousness in your consciousness and when that consciousness is not into any type of imagination, know that existence as the only truth of existence of the Self.  Understand?  I repeat: “When you come face to face in your consciousness of your consciousness and when that consciousness is not into any type of imagination” – means nothing appears, no vision is there, nothing is there, only consciousness of existence is there, but no other definition – “know that existence as the truth of your existence.”  Such is the wonder.   

Mata Ambaji:    Like akash, pure, nirmal akash.  [Sky, pure sky]

Babaji Maharaj:   Means the sky can be one example; the space is one such example, it is pure, simply.  If we can remove everything, only the space exists.  Also, for birth, we tell because you are born from parents you will never bother about yourself. You think that “I am born because of my parents wedlock – they had and I am born; that’s all.”  But instead of this you are made to appear in the space somewhere suddenly – then you would have wondered; “How did I come into existence?  My God, who made me to do this one?  Who am I?!”  You would have shouted.  That’s how some great sages like Ramana Maharishi thought of “Who am I, then?”  Rama asked, “Who am I, then?  What is this fun of the illusion?  If we eat also, we die; we don’t eat also, we die.”  We are looking for peace but we are unable to find the peace because we are unable to become quiet.

Mata Ambaji:   Baba, the same thing You are talking about in Yoga Vashista, even in Bhagavad Gita they say, a chapter comes about time and space and it says that “Brahma ka ek kaal hota hai.”  There is one dimension of Brahma.  Then Surya, there is a dimension of Sun; there is a dimension of Earth; there is a dimension of patala.  Every dimension has a different time zone and so you cannot…, and angels have a different time zone and humans have a different time zone.  Whereas the pishaach [evil spirit bound to earth], the bhoot [ghost] has a different time zone, and the human has one.  So, there is no one single concept of time and dimensions.  So, everything exists, but doesn’t exist.  

Babaji Maharaj:   Your own experience is, if you get a good sound sleep in the night, eight hours of sleep can go by like [clicks fingers] two seconds or minutes – you are up again, “O God, it’s already early morning five o’clock.  I have to get up and run for meditation.”  However, if you don’t get sleep, every now and then you’ll be watching the clock, “O, still it’s not possible.  Eight hours appears to be eighty ages.  That’s how, time’s imagination.  That’s what they talk of time and space imagination.

Question:   Even scientists, through the general theory of Relativity, have concluded that in a small fraction of time in one part of the universe there can be a duration of thousands of years in another part of the universe.

Babaji Maharaj:   Exactly, that’s what is this story of different lives – in the next life is already more than forty years, that’s the idea it was telling, Yoga Vasishta.  Means, imagine those sages also had realized this time concept through the practice of deeper meditations, understanding the clue that came to them.  That’s how it has happened.

Mata Ambaji:   And the other day during the Zoom session, one of the questions was so beautiful that according to some of the scientific discoveries, they said that no matter exists actually.  So, the existence of matter is not there; nothing exists actually.  What exists is the consciousness and that is permanent.  And our scriptures, if science says that today, Bhagavad Gita has said 5,000 years back; the consciousness exists all the time, means it doesn’t diminish ever, it exists for ever in existence. Satya means consciousness or the truth. And the matter comes and goes, comes and goes.  So, it’s not in existence.  So, that was very beautiful and matter is not only me as a gross matter also which identifies me as this body which has no existence, but I have a existence…

Babaji Maharaj:   Like Kabir Das sings, “O my dad, O my dad where have you gone?” after the dad died. He sings this song beautifully – “Baba, baba kahan gaye?”  Means that’s the illusion.  And He also sings that “Saadho murdhon ka ghar”, the entire universe is a village of dead bodies.  The king also dies, his citizens also die, and all the living species die. Sun also dies, moon also dies, all the stars also perish one day.  Brahma also goes. “Chouda lokon ka chaudhry…” the lord of the fourteen worlds. 

[Mata Ambaji and Babaji Maharaj engage in a conversation about the beauty of this Kabir bhajan. Babaji Maharaj sings a few lines from this beautiful bhajan.]

He sings,

Ed note: I have reproduced the first stanza and the entire bhajan translated into English below.

Saadho yah murdhon ka gaon
Peer marei, paigambar marihai, marihai jinda jogi
Chanda marihai, sooraj marihai, marihai sab ko jo hogi
Guru marai aur chela bhi marihai, marihai vaidh aur rogi
Raja marihai, parja marihai, marihai thir na hogi
Kahe Kabir ik Raam na marihai, jin kaaran hum jogi

Oh Sadhu This is the Village of the Dead

The Saints Have Died, The God-Messengers Die
The Life-Filled Yogis Die Too | 
The Kings Die, The Subjects Die
The Healers and the Sick Die Too ||

The Moon Dies, The Sun Dies
The Earth and Sky Die Too |
Even the Caretakers of the Fourteen Worlds Die
Why Hope For Any of These ||

The Nine Die, The Ten Die
The Eighty Eight Die Easily Too |
The Thirty Three Crore Devatas (Enlightened Beings) Die 
It’s a Big Game of Time ||

The Un-Named Naam Lives Without Any End
There is No Other Truth ||
Says Kabir Listen Oh Sadhu
Don’t Get Lost and Die ||

Question:  What was Adi Shankara’s childhood like?

Babaji Maharaj:   Asa child He watched the drama of Nachiketa of Katopanishad. In Katopanishad’s story,  Nachiketa was a young boy of seven-eight-years-old.  His father was a great learned scholar.  So, once His father was about to perform a big fire sacrifice.  Those were the days when they performed such fire sacrifices, they would invite all guests, friends, colleagues, etc. Like today we invite people for weddings, they used to invite.  And after the fire sacrifice everybody would be taken leave by feeding them and giving them gifts, everything.  So, His father is preparing a list of gifts – “This gift to be given to this sage, this gift to be given to this sage and I will give this gift…”  And his son, young boy, He’s just playing, playfully going around.  He looks at father making a list of “I am giving this to this sage.”  He suddenly asks the father, “Father to whom are you going to give me?”  He never knew what the meaning was.  But father was very much concentrated; he gets irritated, “Idiot, don’t trouble me.  I will give you to the Death God.  Go.”   So, satisfied He goes away.  

After a few days the fire sacrifice happens and then he gives all gifts to all sages.  Everybody has gone away, and then young boy comes, tells His father, “You promised that you would give me to Death God, but you are not doing that one.  You have forgotten.  You give me to Death God”. Then father starts crying, “You are my only child.  How can I put you to fire and give to the Death God?  It’s not possible.”  Listening to this the child gets disgusted, disappointed. “Every day I saw my father discoursing about birth and death and this is the soul; nothing happens to the soul; body only dies, but today when it comes to giving his own son, this is only a physical body he will be giving to that Death God.  I am the Consciousness; I will always be there.  But why is he so crying?  Where did all his knowledge go?  That means his knowledge is only book knowledge”, He thinks.  “He never practices really; and he is not honest also.”  So, thinking that, disgusted, He himself jumps into the fire.  That’s what the story says.  Then He goes to the abode of Lord Yama.  

Lord Yama has gone on a tour of inspection, somewhere, whatever has happened.  So, there the moral is, He thinks that “My father has donated me to Lord Yama.  I belong to Lord Yama.  I have no right to have my own wishes.  Whenever He comes, I have to just wait until He permits me to get inside.  I will just wait.”  He waits at the gate.  After three days Lord Yama returns.  Yama, when He sees this boy, He tells, “My father had promised to give me to You.  That’s why I am here.  I belong to You now.”  Yama is very much pleased.  “I am very much pleased at your honesty.”  The young child’s honesty!  Today, we need documentation, witnesses, court, everything.  Verbally, my Guru told that gentleman “You can stay there and do sadhana.”  Then he wanted to take away that portion.  He said “This has become mine.”  If we had made the documentation… But those were the days; just the honesty. That young child; “Because my father had given word, I am here.  I belong to You.”  Yama is very much pleased.  He said “Your age is still there.  You go back to the world.  I will give you all boons that you can enjoy as an emperor, beautiful, everything you enjoy in the world; you go for five thousand years.”  

But the boy’s wisdom –  imagine. Within one hour or one minute we forget to meditate that death is going to happen to all of us; we forget about it quickly, but He couldn’t.  “Okay, five thousand years You will make me as an emperor in the world.  After five thousand years, because that five thousand years will be over soon, is there anything for me not to come back to you?”  Yama says, “No, after five thousand years you will die and you have to come back to me.”  Then Nachiketa tells “What is the use then?  I don’t need those five thousand years.  Give me the knowledge, now, here.”  Means, that’s what when He tells “You ask for three boons.”  Then He tells “I want my father not to be blamed.  He was a father after all.  I am happy whatever my father promised; I am happy to die also if necessary, because he is equivalent to my Guru, He tells.  So, He (Lord Yama) blesses.  Next question He asks “Some people tell that after death also we are going to exist, some people tell ‘we don’t know.’  Nobody has come back to tell about it until now.  So, all these things we hear.  What is the truth?”  For that Yama says “You go back to world and enjoy five thousand years.  Why do you bother about this Self and all such nonsense things?”  He tells “No, after five thousand years if I have to come back, what is the use?  Here and now tell me the truth about my real Self, who am I, what am I actually?”  Then Yama goes on increasing in the argument, it’s a long argument; 10,000 years 50,000 years 100,000 years, but one thing that catches His wisdom, Nachiketa’s; “Everything is impermanent. Whether it is 5,000 or 100,000 years, the time is going to pass by.  After that it will end, and I have to come back.  The world also will come to an end one time.  What is the use for me?  It will be over.  Now, tell.” 

So, that’s when finally, the surrender and seeking the Grace of the Master also is told.  Then Yama tells “This is what a Master always wants.  Only one time I will go on narrating the truth about the Self, Ultimate Truth.  You must listen, but you must not ask any questions, because you must pay attention and you should understand.  If you cannot understand it’s not my problem, it’s your problem, you are gone.”  Imagine, that was the condition in ancient times, Gurus used to tell.  But here, session after session we give you a chance – you go on asking questions, you go on asking questions.  Repeatedly, I am ready to answer your questions.  They all used to tell only once.  “One time I will narrate about that truth.”  So, that is all the truth that comes in the Katopanishad, about the Self, what we talk of the Pure Consciousness, about all these things.  So, that’s how Nachiketa became Self-realized finally.  

   So, this was enacted as a drama in the village where Adi Shankara was born.  On seeing this, transformation occurred to Him.  He wanted to go for Self-realization and become a monk, sanyas – must sacrifice everything.  So, He left home at the age of eight and traveled.  By then He was a great scholar of the Sanskrit language, and He was Self-realized.  He practiced deeper meditations on the riverbanks of his village also, and in the Pure Consciousness He realized.  Then when He came to central part of India, Omkareshwar is the place, a big cave was there.  He finds His Guru there, Govinda Bhagavadpada.  He shows a big mountain of scriptures.  That was all the ancient Upanishads, the scriptures about the knowledge of the Self.  So, He tells “All white ants are eating up.  This will perish totally.  The future generations will never get to what the knowledge those great sages told.”  So, from that selected Adi Shankaracharya between the ages of eight and sixteen, He remained there at such a young age.  He selected some 108 Upanishads.  He selected closest to the truth, authentic.  So, on that He wrote commentaries.  From that we have only eleven Upanishads available today.  So, that is what the Katopanishad is one such thing.  Mandukopanishad, Bhrahadharanakopanishad, Ishavasya Upanishad.  All talks about the truth of the Self, Self-realization.

End of Session

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