This Limitless Nectar of Being: Satsang with Gangaji by Christopher Love
"I want to make sure you know you are not who you think you are." - Gangaji
The following quotes from Gangaji were compiled from satsangs (groups which gather to listen to a spiritual leader) which I attended and from an interview I recently had the pleasure of doing with her. The first three italicized quotes which follow were in answer to my first question: "If we are not who we think we are, who are we?"
One of the essential problems in life is that we believe thoughts to be reality. In particular, we believe the "I" thought to be real; it is the "I" thought which separates one from "another." From that separation comes the need for protection, defense and attack.
Many now are aware of the suffering in this familiar pattern. If what we truly want is peace, then we must see that peace comes from the willingness to not attack just because the impulse to attack happens to arise.
Gangaji is an American-born woman from the South who in 1990 found herself seeking out an Indian master, Poonjaji, a disciple of one of India's greatest sages, Ramana Maharshi. Poonjaji, affectionately known as Papaji, graced her with the name Gangaji and gave her the holy and divine assignment to carry his transmissions to the West, to take satsang "door to door."
We must realize how much time and attention are spent on who we think we are. We must see how that perception, that thought, changes depending on outside reference points. Our thoughts about who we are revolve around who our parents thought we were, who our lover thinks we are, or the rebellion against all that.
Because we experience sense impressions through the body, we have identified ourselves as a particular body, and that identification has been supported and reinforced by other identifications and bodies.
In my life search for truth, I had gravitated by 1992 to doing inner work with psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and meditation with a strong Eastern spiritual influence. My goal simply was to be happy, in a deep loving relationship with a family, have enough money to live comfortably, retire and enjoy life to the fullest.
Somehow I still had not manifested happiness, relationship, peace, or love in my life.
The point of true spiritual inquiry is to break that false identification; to break the belief in the "I" thought. When you can experience ultimate vulnerability from not knowing, it is discovered you are that which cannot be broken, or that which never needs defending, that which cannot be attacked. The essential point of the spiritual life is to discover the truth that has not been, cannot be thought - to discover that directly.
Finally I discovered Gangaji, who offered spiritual truths in a formal way, in the tradition of Ramana and Papaji, in what was called satsang (the Sanskrit word's literal meaning is "truth community"). She now travels the world offering satsang. Over six hundred recently came to hear her speak in Australia, to sit in silence, listen and ask questions.
I first experienced satsang back in September of 1994, during a two-week silent retreat in the Oregon mountains at a pristine location called Breitenbush. I spent two weeks in a tent by myself, silent, never speaking a word to anyone. Each day after breakfast and each evening before dinner two hundred people would gather in silence and listen to Gangaji, during which time one could speak to her with comments, reports, experiences and questions. She would blend rich stories about her life, Papaji, Ramana and her direct experiences with profound insights. In satsang, I found a place of emptiness within myself that was so full, I could not move. I was simply blown away, disappearing in my own discovery.
Gangaji's art in expressing truth is in the simplicity, clarity, and humor that she powerfully balances with a very serious side. At times her ruthless answers to questions will grab your attention from a deeper place and be very moving, yet they are always expressed with love, beauty and grace. She is simply irresistible as she speaks to an inherent knowingness inside of you that wants more. You then have the opportunity to see this truth: to recognize yourself as oneness.
In the sweetness that is offered, one finds oneself, one's awareness, weaving in waves of Christ consciousness, while Gangaji constantly points to that which we seek as our own true self, our true nature. It was my experience that the truth of who I am - oneness - became so obvious that once I had the deep recognition of myself as self, as God, I said to yourself, "Oh yeah, that, of course, I knew it all along!" Then I laughed in a great reunion and celebration of the united moment of self revealing self.
I had read about this oneness for years, this mystical spiritual experience of self-realization, this moment of enlightenment to which many religions point. Even though I "knew" this oneness as truth itself, I felt at some level I was still missing something in life, and in my opinion I still had not directly experienced this so-called moment of self-realization, this mystical experience of oneness. Then, on the second day of the retreat, there was a moment when Gangaji spoke to a deep place in me. She said, "You are surrounded by it. You are it. Nothing needs to be done to be it. You already are it. 'Be still' means, 'be who you are.' What could be easier? What is, already is. This blessed silence, this limitless nectar of being, is not separate from who you are.
Wherever you are, this is. We have overlooked this for uncountable periods of time. So in your glimpse or your moment of total peace, relaxation and release, you must turn your mind to discover what is the boundary between you and that. See if you can find a boundary. And if you find a boundary, see if it is real or imagined. Then this question of bringing, losing, taking, and keeping is finished. You don't bring yourself. You don't take yourself. You don't keep yourself. You can't escape yourself. You are yourself!"
After the third day I experienced people around me having spiritual experiences of waking up. One morning a man spoke to Gangaji and the group and said, "I was sitting at the breakfast table knowing all the unknowable, knowing nothing. And I started laughing and crying at the same time. Everything is so beautiful. It all speaks to me. This glorious, silent, unseen, reality cannot be bought with money, cannot be found in books, cannot be gotten from anyone. I know. I've tried all that. It cannot even be chased - especially not chased. This should be shouted from the mountaintops! It's chasing us! It's waiting all the time, like a tiger, for us to just sit still and be pounced upon."
Gangaji responded, "That's the truth about all the chasing and all the running: finally you just let it have you. You say, "I'm here; I'm ready." And then be quiet, because you're not attractive until you're quiet. When your mind is still, it is an attracting force for that which you long for. So tonight, when you go back to your cabins and tents, be very quiet; be still. Then you are irresistible. Then you will be eaten alive."
After the fourth day of silence I thought I was about to lose my mind - which, of course, was the idea. I went, once again, back to my tent for a night's rest. I hoped for a good night's sleep, so I got very comfortable and warm. I remembered what Gangaji had said that day about quieting the mind and being very still. I remembered that Ramana has said that self-realization can be found through self-inquiry - by asking the question, "Who am I?"
I started to be very still; I thought I should have one more thought, the thought to end all thoughts. I told myself, "Be still; stop thinking." Then I asked, "Who am I?" just like I had asked at least once a day for the last two years. Once again, I didn't get any revelations about my true nature. Then a thought went through my head: "If there is only oneness, there wouldn't be an answer to that question, because I am that oneness - and there wouldn't be another question to answer!" I laughed, and fell more deeply into a state of great comfort and awareness. I prayed and said, "Here I am; I am ready, tiger, come pounce on me." Spontaneously I had a vision in which a man, whom I believed to be Papaji, came to me. I could not see through what appeared to be a Christlike bright golden light surrounding his form, but he spoke to me saying, "That which you are waiting for is not a tiger waiting to pounce on you; you are the tiger." In that moment, I finally realized who I am, as Papaji continued to speak to me and answer my questions in this mystical experience that lasted only a few moments, but took me the rest of the night to write down in my journal.
For the next ten days I journaled as my experience continued to unfold and deepen, as realizations came to me in every moment. I would have hours of unfiltered truths come through me; Papaji continued to speak and visions continued to spontaneously appear to me for days. These realizations continued to deepen through moments in satsang like the day Gangaji responded to me with, "Relax in the vastness that answers your question with no answer, and tell me if, in that relaxation, you can find yourself as an image. You can't find yourself as a perception, as an idea, but can you succeed in not finding yourself as the awareness? Is there any point at which awareness separates itself and is not present in that vastness of silence that greets your question?"
As I ended my interview with Gangaji I asked, "Is there anything left to tell the readers?" Her response was, "If you just take a moment, this moment, to simply for an instant let everything go - the search, the denial, the rejection, the clinging - let them all go and just for a moment rest in the truth of your being, then you can know you are that! Whatever comes after that comes in the context of who you truly are."
In closing, I will suggest that you allow yourself to expand from a location in truth itself now, as endless self is chasing you and waiting to greet you in every moment. Don't miss this opportunity, the potential for self-realizations to complete your spiritual unfoldment.
The great news of this sacred mystery is that it never ends. Self-realization continues to curve back into itself and to create love in waves of consciousness and awareness as it expands into itself for deeper recognition of itself, and as this new recognition influences the new expression of who you are in every moment. This expression is your life, with a continuous desire to express and experience itself as evolution creating itself into a revelation of endless love and bliss - who you really are!
Gangaji will be offering satsang in Victoria, BC, Canada July 17 - 28, 1997. For information call Gaert Linnaea at (250) 383-2043.
For more information about Gangaji, a catalog of audio tapes, video tapes and books or Gangaji's satsang and retreat schedule, please contact: Satsang Foundation & Press, 4855 Riverbend Road, Boulder, Colorado 80301. Phone: (303) 449-6325; fax: (303) 449-6633; general info: email@example.com; retreat info: firstname.lastname@example.org; home page: http://rmi.net/~gangaji/. Christopher Love is in private practice on Bainbridge Island, WA as a certified clinical hypnotherapist, certified NeuroLinguistic Program practitioner and registered counselor. He also has a successful series of self-hypnosis and seminar cassette tapes available in New Age bookstores nationwide. Christopher is available to present his seminar on ego strengthening and ego transcendence, "Life, Love and The Pursuit of Happiness_This Sacred Mystery." Call (206) 780-9025, fax 780-5749, or E-mail OMFound@aol.com.