RICK: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer, Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually awakening people. We’ve done nearly 600 of them now I think next week is going to be number 600.
And if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out some of the previous ones, then please go to bat gap comm (BATGP) and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the site. And there’s also a donations page which explains some alternatives to PayPal. My guest today is Gautam Sachdeva.
GAUTAM: Thank you, Rick. I’m privileged to be on your show.
RICK: Yeah, it’s a privilege to have you. Gautam is in Mumbai, India. And Gautam, you sent me a pretty long bio, which I’ll put up on the web page, but I think it would bore people if I read it. So rather than me reading a long bio, why don’t you just kind of tell us something about yourself, whatever you consider to be the highlights and that you’d like people to know, for at the beginning of this conversation?
GAUTAM: Sure, Rick, thank you. Firstly, Rick, I really wish that your channel reaches 700,000 subscribers. I think right now it’s about 77,000.
RICK: Yeah. That would be nice.
GAUTAM: I think if it gets more popular in India, that becomes a possibility.
RICK: Good. Yeah. In fact, when you break 100,000, I think YouTube sort of sits up and takes notice and starts giving you more support and stuff. So that would be a good, good goal to begin with. But 700,000 wouldn’t be bad.
GAUTAM: So I guess I could begin with the most important event in my life, which was the loss of my father at the age of 14. I think anyone who has lost a parent, when they are young would go through exactly what we went through.
It was later on Rick that, thanks to a phrase which Joel Goldsmith used, when he said, “The dream of duality gets punctured.” I think, in hindsight, that is what happened to me. Because being young and facing challenges at a young age, including, you know, the fear of survival of running an office without knowing much. And one challenge after another, kind of prepped me up for what was to come in life later on. And that is why I feel that it is also a gift to receive blows in life early.
And as Ramana Maharshi says that, you know, it’s the first blow, if not the first, the second and the third, but eventually everyone gets on to the path. And so I think that’s where my unconscious journey began.
And then the usual, you know, ups and downs and challenges at work because I was about 24 When I took over the office finally. And that was very challenging as I was the youngest in the office, and I had to deal with all these clients, suppliers. So it taught me a lot about relationships. Just dealing with everyone dealing with people getting work done. So that became my training ground, my preparation.
And things went along till what was for me the most significant phase of my life, which was around 1998 to the year 2000. 3 Things happen then. The first was the culmination of my mother’s own journey of awakening. And then in November 1999, I had a chance meeting with Eckhart Tolle in Hong Kong. And then I met my teacher in February 2000. So at that time, these were insignificant to me, at least consciously. I had no will to be on this path consciously. There was no intent. My sister dragged me to meet a car because she and her friends had organized and she said this author, he’s written a great book. And we are bringing him to Hong Kong and why don’t you spend an hour with him? One to One. That’s how it was in those days. And I said, Oh, no, I’ve come for holiday, I’m going to go shopping in Hong Kong. You know, thanks to my sister, Nikki, she actually forced that meeting upon me.
And in hindsight, I feel that it was extremely significant, extremely significant. It was like a catalyst. Something was received. I can’t say it was a transmission or anything of that nature, it was more like a recognition, that deep peace and stillness and attention which I sensed at that meeting, somehow stayed at the back of my mind. And then, two months after that, some friends, the same friends from Hong Kong, were visiting Mumbai to visit Ramesh’s satsangs. And I had to drop them there on a Sunday morning, and I protested, because, you know, it was a late Saturday night, and I really didn’t feel like going. And so then they said, you know, you might as well go up the next time and see what’s going on. And once again, Nikki said, Okay, let’s go, and I was there. And little did I know, Rick, because it was not for me love at first sight, or there were no lights flashing. It was just something very gentle and nice. But little did I know that I would end up going there for the next nine years.
RICK: Now. You mentioned Ramesh as his first name but you’re referring to Ramesh Balsekar, sir, for the sake of the audience. Okay, good.
GAUTAM: Yeah, yeah. And so that, for me, was the start of my spiritual unfoldment. One could say,
RICK: Yeah, I was kind of like your sister in terms of getting my sisters to, you know, come on, you gotta learn to meditate and things like that, you know, kind of egging them along. Natural Born proselytizer.
GAUTAM: So the only ones will actually I mean, there was no conscious will you see, and yet grace and the universe, I think supports all of us on our journey. And if we surrender and trust it, it takes us where we are meant to go that that has been my experience.
RICK: Yeah. Which implies that there’s an intelligence sort of orchestrating things in the universe, and that we can tune into that and cooperate with it or not.
GAUTAM: Yes, yeah, absolutely.
RICK: What’s your take on reincarnation? Do you believe in that?
GAUTAM: You see, there are two aspects to this,
Rick, and one is, as you must be knowing in the circles of non-duality and Advaita there’s this kind of absolute view that there’s no such thing as reincarnation. But you see, it all depends on what we define.
If I can just go into this for a minute, what is being reincarnated? You see, there are two theories. One is that the ego dies with the body, the death of the ego is the death. So it is not the same ego that reincarnates. But the other aspect is that the vasanas and samskaras – the ball of desires and tendencies does go from birth to birth to birth, till it is resolved, so to speak. So which definition does one use for the ego depends, what is reincarnation. Certainly, the ego does not reincarnate, because it dies with the body. But this ball of vastness and samskaras does move on as a process of evolution. So that is my understanding of the subject.
But either way, in this incarnation, here, and now in this incarnation, the issues, the patterns, the data that we have, as part of our conditioning, our programming, and our genetics, etc. and how we bring peace to the equation. My search was a search for peace of mind.
And Rick, I remember that when I started visiting Domitius satsangs. And he would say to everyone, what do you want most in life? Do you want enlightenment ? or do you want Self Realization? And these were very big words for me. I had not really heard them much before. I didn’t understand the meaning. And then he would say, all that a human being wants, whether they know it or not, is peace of mind.
And I felt this is so simple because At the end of the day, when I come home in the evening, it is that peace, which to me, at least seems to be of priority. And then because I was on this path I was meeting many Yogis and psychics and Gurus and teachers. And some of them said, peace is not the only thing. You know, there are other things, there are practices, there’s this- that.
So I went through a phase of confusion. And one day I picked up talks with Ramana Maharshi. I still remember, talk 146. Where I read, the state of equanimity is the state of bliss, full stop. And then he says, the declaration in the Vedas “I am that’’ is to enable one to gain equanimity of mind.
So, Rick, I put that book down. And I said that Ramana Maharshi has confirmed that at the end of the day, a life of peace and equanimity, something as tangible as that is perhaps what one could call the best.
RICK: Yeah, It is good you mentioned that. Because I was gonna say, you know, we could probably take it a step further than saying peace of mind to say happiness, because you know, because why do you want peace of mind? Well, it makes you happy.
And you know, when we say ‘I am that’ or ‘Thou are that’ the ‘That’ that is being referred to is often described as existence – existence, consciousness, bliss. So bliss is one of the essential characteristics of it. And that’s what we think.
GAUTAM: And what Ramesh should clarify is, it is the bliss of peace, deep peace, is what Ramana Maharshi was referring to.
But on a funny note, I must tell you, a friend of ours who’s not a follower of Ramana Maharshi, one day said, I really don’t know what these two guys are up to ? On one side Ramana Maharshi says, ‘Who am I?’ And on the other side, Nisargadatta Maharaj says ‘I am that’. And that’s all they say.
RICK: That goes together.
GAUTAM: That’s great.
RICK: But obviously, you know, Raman has just tried to get you to realize ‘I am that’ by saying ‘Who am I?’
GAUTAM: Yeah, absolutely.
So, so yes. So coming back to, you know, peace. That became, for me, the benchmark, the measure, what Ramesh would call, when the thinking mind does not go into the dead past or an imaginary future, is when the peace is there.
And so that became the whole process. You know, this, this beautiful acceptance of the will of the Source at all times. And as Joel Goldsmith, who I was quite taken up by, would say, to give up the belief in two powers – good and evil, which is basically the foundation of duality. So this natural acceptance of ‘what is’ became so spontaneous. I mean, so available all the time. And, of course, there were things that one didn’t like, that’s a natural part of the process, but accepting that too, that became a way of living.
RICK: Yes. Which is not to say that you became a sort of a pushover or passive or, you know, just sort of whatever, you know, all you want to have all my money here and go and doesn’t matter.
You know, obviously, you must have running a business you must have been decisive about things and, you know, making all kinds of decisions and you know, is should it be this or should it be that, but yeah, I’m reminded of a Gita verse which says, “You have control over action alone, never over its fruits.” So you do your best in your moment-to-moment actions, but then whatever the fruits, you don’t have control over that.
GAUTAM: Yes. And actually, Rick, it made me…I could use the word more courageous, because by nature, I was an introvert and timid. But I think with the understanding, with knowing that the results are not in your control, and also knowing that you are an instrument of God, the way you have been shaped by the Divine, that kind of gave a confidence to express oneself more. It works that way.
RICK: The reason I asked you about reincarnation, we can get into this more is just that a lot of times people who have sort of gotten onto the spiritual path and just have the sense that it’s not the first time. You know that they have many lifetimes of history of seeking God or seeking in enlightenment or whatever, and that.
And in fact, it says that in the Gita too. Arjuna asked Krishna, well, what happens if you die before you get enlightened? And Krishna says, Well, you pick up where you left off, basically.
GAUTAM: Yes, yes, absolutely.
So, you know, that is why Nisargadatta Maharaj would say, to his audience in the satsang, that it’s not about just dropping the physical body, which is going to in any case happen, but we have to drop the subtle body as well, which means basically all the innate tendencies and, you know, we’re back to the vasanas and samskaras. And so, you know, his whole teaching of you’re not the body, abide in your being was, in that sense, a teaching of liberation, because if one got it, so to speak, then the question of reincarnation would not even come up as a concept.
Because even in the life itself, we are not reincarnating upon thought upon thought upon thought, if one has reached that level, so to speak
RICK: Yeah, and actually, what obviously happens when we die, maybe it’s not obvious is that we do drop the physical body, of course, but in general, we don’t drop the subtle body.
And I know, you published a book by Rob Schwartz, who I’ve interviewed, and who talks about what happens between lives and how we kind of review the past life and set up the conditions for the next one, and so on. And, you know, what is it? What is the entity who was doing all that, but without a physical body? Well, presumably, it’s the subtle body, and then the subtle body takes on another physical body, so it can kind of keep on working things out.
GAUTAM: Yeah, so either way, life is about working things out. If not, our ego from past life, someone else’s. But we have to work.
RICK: Yeah, we can explore that whether it would be ours or someone else’s. We’ll get into that as we go along. But a question came in, let me ask this, unless you wanted to say something just now,
GAUTAM: I just wanted to add something about Robert Schwartz book, ‘Your souls plan’, which we published in India, what I liked about it, Rick was he I think, regresses people to the pre-birth stage. And in most of the cases, he finds that, like, I remember there was a story of an alcoholic, of an AIDS patient, that the life path was predetermined in the pre-birth stage, and not only of that person, but the family and friends around that person in that incarnation …
RICK: …..and the roles they were going to play with him and stuff.
GAUTAM: Yeah…And their understanding and what they had to learn from, let’s say the alcoholic, it was not just about the alcoholic learning a life lesson. And that is why Ramesh’s teaching from me was so appropriate, because he would say, daily living means relationships, whether it is a stranger, whether it is your colleague, whether it is your family member, or your lover, or whatever. – it means dealing with people, and peace of mind is to be found through those relationships.
RICK: Ideally. Some people are raising their eyebrows right now.
Yeah, one thing I recall from my conversation with Rob, and from his book is that, you know, you sort of choose certain major life events that are going to be conducive to your evolution, but they’re not necessarily cut in stone.
And there’s a verse in the Yoga Sutras, which goes, ‘Heyam–Dukham–Anagatam’, which means avert the danger, which has not yet come. And that implies that, you know, a danger might be coming in terms of some life event that, you know, you’ve signed up for, but you can actually avert it, or at least minimize the impact of it by taking certain steps.
RICK: Which implies to my mind, some choice, some free will, and that’s a whole can of worms that we need to unpack. We’ll explore that.
GAUTAM: It reminds me of an incident between a devotee of Ramana Maharshi, Mudaliar. He tells Ramana Maharshi, that, you know, I can understand that the big things in life are predetermined, like you know, one’s profession, marriage, death etc. And so then Mudaliar puts his fan down onto the ground and says, Is this also predetermined ?
So Ramana Maharshi says, Yes, right from the moment of birth, every act the body has to go through is predetermined. And Mudaliar says, “Are you saying there is no freedom?”
He says the freedom one has, is to strive for, and acquire Jnana. Wisdom. That is the freedom one has.
So I think what you are suggesting fits in with this. Because one could call it one’s attitude to life, or let’s say Buddhi working in a certain situation, you know. So with that wisdom, comes a potential to transcend the polaric opposites of destiny and free will, so to speak.
So we can explore that more, but that’s what I feel.
RICK: Yeah, we’ll explore that. Yeah, so Ramana didn’t say, Well, you know, if you’re meant to aspire for Jnana, then you will. And if you’re not, you’re not. He said, No, you should aspire for it. You know…
GAUTAM: Another mistake, Rick, which is commonly made that it’s a path of no effort.
You know, even Nisargadatta Maharaj would tell his audience that meditate an hour a day, two hours a day, Abide in your being. Now that is all sadhana.
That I mean, you know, I mean…. If you have to skip the Sadhana, you’re obviously already very evolved. If you’re already in that place. But for most of us, the practice, the inquiry, ‘Who am I’ is effort.
So I wouldn’t.. I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to these points, because I don’t believe that no effort is needed. Effort is needed till one realizes that no effort is needed.
RICK: Yeah, perfect. Reminds you of another Gita verse,
“No effort is lost, and no obstacle exists. Even a little of this Dharma removes great fear.”
And so, and, you know, it’s funny here, here’s the key to it, I think. You mentioned absolute view a little while ago, and to my understanding, and to some degree experience there, we can think of different sort of dimensions or levels of reality. And they’re all paradoxical with relationships to one another, but they’re also true each in their own domain.
So I mean, if we want to go to the, you know, Mandukya Upanishad or Ashtavakra Gita, or, you know, Nagarjuna, and other sages, they’ll say, Nothing ever happened, you know, there’s no universe. And then others might emphasize, well, yeah, things are happening, but it’s all, all is well and wisely put, it’s all just the play of the Divine, and others would say, at a different level.
You know, do things I mean, children are starving, or, you know, climate change, or yeah, you have to actually take action in the field of relativity. And all those are right, but each on their own level, and they, they seem to contradict one another, but I think it’s more like layers of a cake, you know, which each have their own. One holds up the other kind of…
GAUTAM: Yeah, that’s beautiful. And in fact, Ramana Maharshi himself said also in the 40 verses on reality, that there is neither Destiny nor freewill.
So like you said, one of the layers, because when you are no longer identified with the body, then you know destiny is destiny of the body. Yeah. Not the destiny of consciousness. So when you are no longer identified with the body, then there’s neither the polaric opposite of Destiny nor freewill. So that’s like you said, it’s the layers
RICK: Yeah. And the key to that sentence is when you are. Because I you know, I’ve been taking some classes with Swami Sarvapriyananda and I sent him I sent him your website and some thoughts that I was thinking about, about this conversation, and he sent me back an interesting article by a guy named Arindham Chakrabarti, if you know him, and last night in his Gita class, he talked all about this whole topic, perhaps because of our exchange.
But oh, no, what was I gonna say about that?
Well, basically what we’re saying, which is that there are these different levels of reality, you could say and even though perhaps the ultimate reality is more real than the relative realities, we live in a world of relative realities.
And we can’t just sort of apply the reality of one level to another level.
In fact, Swami Ji was saying that when he was a young Brahmachari in the ashram, sometimes people would say, Oh, it’ll happen if it’s the will of Ramakrishna or if it’s the will of God and, and then sometimes be scolded by the senior monks who would say, you know, don’t say what you don’t know. I mean, you know, be true to your own level of experience.
GAUTAM: Beautiful, so true.
RICK: I don’t mean to be talking too much. But, but I am. I know you’re the one who’s supposed to be talking.
GAUTAM: Siddharameshwar Maharaj says we are all babbling in illusion.
RICK: Yeah, well. Just make one more point, and then I’ll try to shut up. But I won’t succeed.
And that is that, like, the Gita is a good example also, because in some verses, you know, Krishna says things like, I’m doing everything anyway, you know, and other verses he says, you know, get off, get off, stand up and fight. You know you have to do something.
…. and so both of those are true even though they are paradoxical.
GAUTAM: Yes. And also I feel that, you know, when the reader reads any holy book like the Gita, what clicks with Which sentence at what moment in time for the reader, that is what is appropriate. So he may pick up the first instance where Krishna says, I am the one who does everything, or he may pick up where Arjuna stole, pick up the bow and fight.
So because it works on so many levels, so you know, if we try to see it at one level, we will say, oh, there’s so much contradictory in the Gita. But if we just go line by line, read it para by para, what goes into our consciousness is what is meant to and what impacts us will do so at that moment.
RICK: Yeah, I was told that Nisargadatta Maharaj once said that the ability to appreciate paradox and ambiguity is a characteristic of spiritual maturity. And so, you know, using the Gita as a case in point, I don’t think we have to say, Okay, well, I like these verses, but not these, I think that the trick is to kind of expand our perspective to realize that they all fit into a larger picture.
GAUTAM: Yes, beautiful.
And he would also say that, you know, read, you’re so used to reading the Gita from the point of view of Arjuna. But try reading it, from the point of view of Krishna. Like we said earlier levels.
So when you suddenly read it through that lens, you start seeing different things, which you didn’t see earlier.
Yeah, that I feel is the beauty of it.
I remember there was this. In Hong Kong, there was a bar called the devil’s advocate. So we had gone there for a drink, this was 20 years ago. And in the menu, there was a quotation, which said, “Apologies to the devil, for we haven’t heard his side of the case. After all, God has written all the holy books.”
RICK: There’s some books that he might have authored. But you haven’t published them.
Okay, so here’s a question that came in from Rajiv Chand Tripathi. From somewhere in India. Nisargadatta Maharaj, talks about consciousness in the absolute and he says, that consciousness is quote, “I am” and the absolute is without qualities and beyond consciousness. Can you throw some light on the difference between consciousness and the absolute? It’s a good question.
GAUTAM: You see, in fact, this is what distinguishes Maharajah’s teaching from Ramana Maharshi’s teaching. Because as far as Ramana Maharshi’s teaching is all there is the self. But Maharaj made this distinction of consciousness and prior to consciousness – Brahman and Para Brahman.
But Rick the fact is that, you know, even that has to happen within consciousness, the idea of prior consciousness is within consciousness.
So what Maharaj would say is the leap to awareness is not the leap the individual can take, abiding in your being the ‘I Am’, is the extent so to speak, one can go to and then that leap into the awareness happens.
RICK: And why? Why does something prior to consciousness if something like that exists, have to take place within consciousness? If that’s the way you just said it?
GAUTAM: Because otherwise you’d be a dead body?
RICK: Well, you wouldn’t be conscious of it if it’s not within consciousness, but does that mean it couldn’t exist?
GAUTAM: But you’d still be in manifestation as Consciousness.
RICK: In manifestation as Consciousness. No…
GAUTAM: Prior to consciousness can happen in the living states so to speak, right? That’s what we are talking about.
RICK: Yeah, I mean, people do talk about living in a state of Para Brahman, and I can’t really opine on that one way or the other. It’s not my experience, but um, it’s a good question this guy asked because it’s one that I’ve pondered, but really don’t understand, you know, whether there could be something? Whether consciousness is somehow in a subtle way emergent, you know, or if it’s really the bedrock of reality of the universe ?
GAUTAM: No, well, Maharaj would clearly say that awareness is awareness not aware of itself, but aware of itself as I am.
So awareness not aware of itself is aware of itself as I am and then that I am is the ‘Me’.
And Maharaj was clearly talking about awareness, not awareness of itself. And that’s why he would say what were you 100 years before you were born? And 100 years after you will die? That is what he was pointing at. That awareness. Yeah. Which then appears with the form of the body as I am. And then I am Gautam, I am Rick, and so on.
RICK: Yeah, Maharishi Yogi talked about something similar. He talked about, he kind of went through this real subtle sort of sequential emergence of creation. And he said, there’s a stage at which consciousness hasn’t become self-referral, yet, it hasn’t become conscious of itself. And then at a certain point, because it’s consciousness, and because there’s nothing else down there, to become aware of it becomes aware of itself. And then that sets up a sort of a threefold structure of observer, observed and process of creation, and then the whole manifestation emerges from there.
Okay, I have a bunch of notes here. I could ask you something else. But is there something on your mind that you’d like to go off with at this point?
GAUTAM: Not really. But, you know, in the years of being with Ramesh, for nine years, and thereafter, my own process, my own journey, what I noticed was that, you know, this quality of peace of mind, especially on the path of jnana, yoga, and Advaita, one tends to get lost in a lot of concepts. But when it comes down to daily living, you know, peace of mind and daily living, that tends to get missed.
RICK: And your voice got cut off there, it tends to get what did you say? Yes.
GAUTAM: You see, and so this constant bringing back which is perhaps why I resonated with Eckhart Tolle’s teaching which was all about being in the present moment, and Ramesh’s teaching of peace of mind and daily living. They were so tangible and so real.
And because I do consider Eckhart to be in his own nature, master of non-duality, because it’s all actually the same, you’ll see. But what I liked was that this brings you to here and now and not getting lost in a conceptual forest.
Like in the book ‘The Ultimate Understanding’, Ramesh, his first sentence was “Spiritual seekers are lost in a conceptual forest created by their own imagination.”
RICK: Ramesh said that ?
GAUTAM: So that’s what, yeah, so that’s what tends to happen. And so to just make the focal point, once peace and equanimity and dealing with situations in life, and daily living. As simple as that. Beauty in simplicity. You know Ramesh would keep saying “Beauty in simplicity”. And as the saying goes, the truth is simple. If it was complicated, everyone would get it.
RICK: That’s funny. That’s good. Well, you know, the whole thing of “Shravana, Manana, Nididhyasana”, right, that, you know, hearing something, thinking about it, and, and, you know, then really sort of deeply probing into it experientially.
There are a lot of people who just don’t do all three, and they might just read a whole lot of books and get kind of top heavy in terms of theories and philosophies and so on and couldn’t even convince themselves that they’re actually living what they’re reading about. But it’s all conceptual. And they haven’t really gained the deep experiential ground of it.
GAUTAM: Yes. And deep down, they would know the honest answer to the question.
Are you at peace? Yeah.
RICK: But that’s, that’s a good thing. Ramesh was saying, because most of us live active lives and the rubber meets the road when you have to engage in the world. It’s kind of, you know, the acid test of whether the realization is genuine or not, whether you can sort of maintain equanimity spontaneously without trying to maintain it in the midst of challenges.
GAUTAM: Yeah, yeah. Beautiful. And that’s why in the early years, because I would visit him only on Sundays, because I was working in the week, he would be very keen to know what my week was at work, what were the challenges because I think he could see then the teaching in operation perhaps, how it was being referred to look at situations.
And the fact that he was himself, a bank manager of the Bank of India, made it a very pragmatic, very kind of touch and feel I could say. You know, and it certainly brought not only a result in my daily living, but many people who I saw there coming continuously for a long time. That was beautiful to see.
RICK: Yeah, we started off this conversation talking about challenges, you mentioned challenges. And perhaps you could comment on the sort of spiritual value or evolutionary value of challenges.
Because, you know, obviously, most people would prefer not to have them, and to just live a smooth, easy life, but we’re constantly beset by challenges. And, you know, you and I have it pretty easy compared to many people in the world.
And makes people question the existence of God, so many people are having such a horrible time, like, right now, there’s a war brewing in, you know, Israel and Palestine. So, you know, maybe you could reflect upon that topic.
GAUTAM: Yes, because challenges implies suffering and suffering of ‘Me’ as the ego suffering. And so that is why I feel that these challenges, at least on individual levels are just, you know, pushing us inwards, because when we see that whatever we depend on outside is transient and pleasure turns to pain and pain, loss, and then pleasure comes and you know, buffeted between the banks of pleasure and pain as Nisargadatta Maharaj would say, one says, What is life about ?
And then the journey goes within, and the turning away from the self, as Maharaj says, turning away from the small Self, is what happens. And I think, then, that that marks the beginning of the journey of awakening.
When your peace of mind. You are very clear, cannot be found in the flow of life. Because the flow of life is sometimes pain, sometimes pleasure, but it can be found in one’s attitude to life, once understanding. One’s acceptance, then it is being found within. As Joel Goldsmith keeps referring to the Kingdom of God is within.
RICK: Which I think Jesus must have said.
And what about people you think, Who What do you think about people who faced severe challenges? I mean, terrible diseases? Or, you know, I don’t even want to name the things because we know how horrible it is, for some people in this world.
Do you think that somehow in the big picture of things, their soul is being taught that the outer life is not to be relied upon? And that they ultimately have to turn within? I mean, because again, you know, people might say, Well, how could there be a God if the Holocaust happened, or this happened, or that happened? My son died at three years old, or whatever. In the big picture, from God’s eye view of things? What is the value of those things?
GAUTAM: You see, Rick, the thing is that we project our image of God upon the concept of God and think God should be a certain way.
Whereas, you know, if God is just looked at as consciousness, which is attributeless, you know, then these demands on God, that God should not create,…
You know, like Ramesh would say, No Wiis complained to God, God, why did you create handicapped children? What harm have they done? And to whom ? Which is a very honest and real complaint?
But he would say that nobody tells God, “God, why did you create healthy children?” So we are in the realm of duality, where polaric opposites of every conceivable kind exist. And so there’s health and there’s disease. There’s black and white, left and right, up and down, front and back, pleasure and pain, and me and the other.
So that is the framework, you could say that the ‘Me’ is shaped by and has to deal with in daily living. So there’s both because if there’s someone with cancer, there’s someone without cancer. And each journey is so individual, the learning from the suffering, the illness, and I think where the teaching steps in is that it takes away the psychological suffering to a large degree, and one is left with what is the suffering, to be born as one’s lot, so to speak, with a sense of acceptance and calm.
RICK: This is where many people would bring in reincarnation again, particularly in India, where people is part of the culture, they would say, Well, if you’re born in such and such a circumstance, it’s because of some Karma, you know, it’s not God is not playing dice with the universe is not arbitrary or capricious. You know, well, like again to the Gita, you know, Krishna talks about being born in the families of the pure and illustrious you know, if you’ve been on a spiritual path and or even in a Family of Yogis although such a birth as this is difficult to attain on Earth.
So it’s sort of like I totally agree with you about the polarities thing. You can’t have a universe without relative polarities. But in terms of our individual circumstances it seems to me they’re not arbitrary. And that, you know, there is a sort of a significance to the circumstances in which we’re born. Again, referring back to Rob Schwartz’s thoughts.
GAUTAM: Yes, yeah, absolutely. So, I mean, the law, as you sow, so you reap. What goes around comes around.
RICK: Okay, a question came in from Ravi, in the United Arab Emirates.
Ravi says, Isn’t it a little dangerous to keep peace of mind or happiness, as Ramesh described it as a goal on the spiritual path. These terms have connotations in everyday language and could easily become a source of spiritual bypassing, keeping the mystery of the final experience alive, as the Upanishads do helps to keep the path genuine. Comments?
GAUTAM: Well, my view is slightly different, Rick, because, you know, keeping an experience, as the kind of goalpost so to speak, is, in fact, what can lead to a lot of frustration and a lot of egocentric activity. And keeping it at I mean, I really don’t understand where’s the spiritual bypassing if one is just asked to look at one’s own daily living, and at the end of the day, evaluate it and evaluate where one stands in relation to what happens.
And so I’m not one for this kind of potential experience happening in the future to be the goal. And mine an approach of more walking on. As Maharaj said, the road is the goal.
You know, and also, this kind of brings us to a very important point, is it necessary to have peak experiences or out of body experiences, etc. as a marker for one’s level of attainment or understanding etc.? You see. And I’d like to read out because I had kept some “I am that” that on my table, and If I can read one,
GAUTAM: Because I think it’s important on this path, you know, to address this issue. So Maharaj says, “With some realization comes in perceptibly, imperceptibly, but somehow they need convincing they have changed, but they do not notice it. Such non-spectacular cases are often the most reliable.”
You see, it reminds me of the story, where there was a devotee of Bhagwan Ramana Maharshi called Ramnatha Ramachari. So one day, Bhagwan told him he said Ramanatha, you have realized the self and he said is it? He said, Yes, you have realized the self. He said, Are you sure? He said yes, yes. And he said no, I don’t believe it.
So then Ramana Maharshi gets up, knocks him on the head. He says, “You have realized the self.” And so Ramanatha runs out of the room and goes announcing to everyone what?
RICK: I have realized the self ??
GAUTAM: Not “I have realized the self” , Ramana Maharshi knocked me on the head.
You see. So my take is Rick, that, you know, to keep it as simple and make it as relatable to daily living. And see your equations with not only your relationships, with the events that transpire in your life, but your thoughts and see where peace is to be found.
RICK: Yeah, that’s a good one. One spiritual teacher said the goal is all along the path.
And I had an experience actually with Maharshi Mahesh Yogi one time where I was up on-stage kind of shooting my mouth off about this and that and he was sitting there and I was very much in a frame of mind in those days where it’s like enlightenment or bust you know.
I mean, I, I can’t be happy. Now I have to only be happy when I achieve this goal. And he kind of interrupted, he said, “You know, every day is life” He said don’t pass over the present for some glorious future. And that really kind of stuck.
RICK: And I eventually settled down and feel that way.
It’s like, you know, all is well and wisely put and things happen in their own time and you can be zealous, you can be focused on this kind of stuff, but don’t like to make yourself miserable. If you haven’t achieved what Ramana achieved or, or some such thing. Don’t compare yourself with others.
GAUTAM: Exactly. Because, you know, that’s what happens. The ego loves to get miserable. And especially if it doesn’t have experiences, then it says, Oh, I didn’t have this experience, I’m not worthy of it and so on and so forth.
If you can touch upon the subject of free will, just for a couple of minutes.
RICK: Yeah, Let’s just make sure we’ve wrapped up Ravi’s question here so he said,
“Isn’t it a little dangerous to keep peace of mind or happiness as a goal on the spiritual path?”
I think there’s no harm in recognizing that all kinds of lovely things may develop along the path. But you have to sort of you know, take Eckhart Tolle to heart and just enjoy the now, be in the present and these things will unfold as in due time, you know, in good coarse.
RICK: But it would be dangerous to sort of like do what I was doing which is, you know, just make yourself miserable because you haven’t achieved some future goal that is sort of a disingenuous way to live.
Okay, go ahead. You were gonna say about freewill.
GAUTAM: Yes, you know, this whole concept of there is no free will, is there free will etc.
I think the way Ramesh expressed it was quite beautiful. Where he said that of course, in the realm of duality, freewill is the mechanism of functioning in daily living. You cannot be without it. As the ego operating day-to-day, the mechanism is freewill.
But the understanding is that as we said in the Gita, the results are never in our control. So our value of freewill is really not as great as we thought it was. Because a) the results are not in our control and b) What is the foundation of our freewill ? Which is basically our conditioning since we were born, based on which we think certain thoughts, take certain decisions. There are a lot of factors beyond ‘Me’ which contribute to that, which kind of develops our freewill.
So his point was that the value which has been assigned to freewill is quite unrealistic. So he would say, if you explore it, in that sense, there is no free will at the absolute level.
But, you have to act as if you have freewill because that is the functioning in daily living. Decisions have to be made. You can’t sit back and say, Oh, nobody does anything, so I’m not going to exercise free will, because I have no free will. Because in fact, that is doership. Yeah. acting against one’s nature is doership.
RICK: Yeah. That Gita verse that I quoted earlier, you know, you have control over action alone, never over its fruits, it goes on to say, you know, so don’t attach yourself to inaction. You know, you cuz that itself is? Well, that would be lethargy, that would be stagnation.
GAUTAM: Yes. And that is another pitfall on the path. Rick, you know, that tends to happen when our teaching is kind of, you know, misinterpreted, meaning that it means that.
And that is why even, you know, when people would visit from age and weren’t doing much in life, he would encourage them to take up activities like social service simply because, you know, he said life is about engaging. It’s about giving. Because when you give, then the focus is not so much on yourself as the other. And so he would encourage, you know, people to go out and yes, ultimately, he knew that if it was not one’s destiny, then no amount of saying it was going to happen. But he was not one to like say, okay, you know, sit back, go to Arunachala, and just walk up and down the roads.
RICK: Yeah, nor did he say that, well, if you’re meant to be engaged in social service, it’ll just magically happen. Somehow. He said, Go do it. No, right.
GAUTAM: Yeah, especially I remember, there was this lady from Europe, and she was a model in her younger years. And now she was in her late 50s. And she told Ramesh that, you know, I was the star wherever I walked. I walked into hotels, I walked on the street, people would turn around and look at me. And now nobody recognizes me. Nobody cares. I’m getting old, grey hair, wrinkled, and she was suffering. She was really suffering.
So he asked her, he said, What do you do now? And she said, nothing. I do nothing. And so he said, you know, because you’re so focused on me and the body, etc. Why don’t you go and if you have so much money, do social work, engage with orphans, you know, they need love. They need compassion. So get involved in that.
RICK: I think I heard you mentioned Brigitte Bardot in one of your podcasts and how, you know, she was one of the most beautiful women in the world. And she ended up being this great animal activist, you know, doing all kinds of work to help animals.
GAUTAM: Right. And he gave the example of Krishna Murthy and Brigitte Bardot watching the same program on television, which was the whales being killed yeah. You know, and Krishna Murthy turned off the TV because you could not bear to see the suffering and Brigitte Bardot created this foundation to save the whales. So each did what was in their nature to do.
RICK: And personally, I would sort of give her the plaudits for, for doing that.
In another of your podcasts I heard you use the you know the nursery rhyme Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. And I like that. That’s a very profound nursery rhyme. Actually.
GAUTAM: It is.
RICK: And, you know, it relates to what we were just saying, which is that, you know, the stream, you’re pretty much confined to the stream, if you’re in a boat on it. You can’t think oh, I’d like to be 100 yards off to the right of the stream or anything because your boat would be stuck. So you’re in the stream, but the stream is really doing most of the work. That’s where the momentum is right ?
But you do have an ore, you know, and you can sort of row it gently. And with that you have a little bit of wiggle room, you know you. If you’re totally passive, you might end up crashing into the rocks. Or if you grow too vigorously why you’re doing that because of the stream, you’re not going to get there any sooner; the stream is doing the work. But a little bit of, sort of discriminative discernment, discernment or guidance or something can make all the difference in the journey.
GAUTAM: Yes, and it reminds me of what I think Dayanand Saraswathi said, when he was asked this question about freewill. He said, Imagine a goat which is tied to a post on the ground. And obviously, it can go away from the pole only to a certain extent, which is the length of the rope. So that is the limit of the goat’s freewill. But within that range, where it goes, what it grazes on, etc., is up to the goat.
So it’s very similar to what you said that within that what we do, and how we manage. And I think that is where the Wisdom Teachings come in, to help us manage this river of life in the best possible way of least resistance, going with the flow.
RICK: I’m glad that this is going the way it is.
Because I had a feeling you know what I didn’t know enough about you. I was thinking that you were going to sort of be this kind of fundamentalist, absolutely no freewill under any circumstances you know, But I see that we pretty much think the same way. You know, on this whole topic.
GAUTAM: Oh God ! I’m a fundamentalist on peace of mind. That is truly Rick, my priority and what I speak about when I did satsangs at home before the pandemic and the Zoom talks. That is because I do feel that Peace is truly a gift. Peace is a very underrated gift. And as Bhagwan himself has said, the greatest Siddhi or spiritual power is peace.
RICK: Yeah, I saw a cartoon where a bunch of Buddhists were staging a protest, and the leader was saying, what do we want? they would say peace of mind. When do we want it ? now.
GAUTAM: Oh, yes, I would just like to touch upon the subject of witnessing if I may.
RICK: Excellent ! Yes, let’s talk about that.
GAUTAM: So what happens when one is actually carrying these concepts not as a concept, but as living the teaching, so to speak, you know, when, for example, when I don’t blame and condemn someone for something they are supposed to have done? I may not like it, I may complain, but there is no judgment, blame and condemnation. Because I accept that this is precisely the way this person has been made and designed to say what they did, and hurt may arise, but there is no involvement in that.
So what happens with this outlook to life, the thinking mind is now less and less involved in the drama and story of life compared to what it used to be. And when that happens, a natural happening is witnessing the movie of life. So it’s not merely that the ego can say that, Oh, I better be the witness. I must witness what happens because that’s impossible. The ego is the one which is away from the witnessing.
All the ego can do is observe. And to observe is to judge. But when a teaching- any teaching wisdom teaching is an operation, it is this wisdom that leads to witnessing the flow of life. And when that starts happening, for any seeker, I think that is the most beautiful start of a most beautiful journey.
The journey from awakening to deliverance.
RICK: Yeah, and I would suggest that there are different degrees or levels of witnessing, there can be a witnessing, where it’s just the there’s a kind of a greater inner silence, you know, and that kind of contrasts with activity. But there can also be a witnessing that of the true self or pure consciousness, which is so self-aware. So well established that, in a sense, there’s no connection whatsoever with without our activity, one just rests in that as that. And the world carries on, as it does, yes, the different degrees.
GAUTAM: Yes. And as Ramesh would say, you know, someone asked him the question, what is the difference between witnessing and non-witnessing.
So he would say that, imagine if I’m looking at traffic going by on the street, and I’m just witnessing it, because they’re not involved in it. And when there is no traffic there is non-witnessing, because there’s nothing to witness.
But coming back to witnessing, I think the quality of life, because it becomes so disengaged from involvement and drama. And he said this, and she did this, and this happened to me and God, this this to me, and all that garbage is completely annihilated. And witnessing is what becomes such a glorious way of being. And it’s quite beautiful to see when that happens.
RICK: And I might add, I think you’ll agree with this, that witnessing is not something you do. It’s something you are ,I mean, it’s more of a fundamental condition, it’s not something you consciously remind yourself to do or will to happen or anything.
GAUTAM: Yes, that in fact, like I said, takes one away from the witnessing, because the ego cannot, the ego thinks it can be the witness, whereas the witnesses the absence of the ego, which thinks that it can be the witness.
RICK: In my experience, witnessing is actually more kind of clear, or dramatic. If the activity itself is more intense, like if I’m running through a busy airport or playing a sport, you know, or I’m just sort of, you know, really, then there’s the it’s amusing or interesting to see how there’s this deep silence, which is just unperturbed by all the intensity.
GAUTAM: Yes. And as Ramesh would say, that is also because the working mind is engaged in the moment.
So even the working mind being in the moment has got the same quality except it is a mind at work. But that is why he would give this very common example at most office satsangs that the surgeon when he is operating on a patient is in his working mind mode, because all his faculties – he is almost in a Zen likes. Yeah. Right because of his experience and faculties are here and now.
But if he was told before the operation that you know, you better be careful because the guy you’re operating on is a very influential politician. And if something goes wrong, you’re in trouble. And if you’re in the surgery, the mind starts wandering, oh, God, I better be careful, I got to be careful there is involvement. So he’s moved away from this state, which is full, functional working mind and got involved in the process of time.
RICK: A question came in from a friend of mine named Girdhar Gopal, and he sent this by email the other day, so recently, Gautam has presented his mother to his audience and related her experiences with Kundalini. My question if allowed, has, Gautam had any kind of Kundalini awakening himself ?
GAUTAM: when I would not know that because I have not had any experiences within the body, which I’ve felt like chakras moving and all that kind of stuff.
But thanks to my mother, I have, you know, being in her presence, learnt so much about this process that so much of it comes spontaneously to me. You know, the functioning of energy. And one thing important, which she said, not in my case, but let’s say in the case of sages and masters, that it is not necessary that everyone experiences the Kundalini rising.
Because for example, if there’s a master who’s a clear channel, then you see because the rising of the Kundalini is sensed because there are blockages and obstructions in the pathway. But if all that is clear, then it will ascend.
Now even someone like Ramkrishna has written in the Gospel of Ramakrishna about the Kundalini piercing the chakras, so and Ramana Maharshi has said Kundalini is the self.
So you see, it’s actually a very broad term, which I think is just the energy. And so what? I don’t know what would qualify as a kundalini experience and whether I have had it frankly, that is the honest truth.
RICK: Yeah. But what you said there, I think is really pertinent, which is, I think a lot of times there can be more fireworks with Kundalini stuff. If there are a lot of blockages because the Kundalini, the energy is sort of trying to clear those blockages. But if the channel is unclear, you might not even experience anything like that.
GAUTAM: And in Gopi, Krishna was a case in point who went through hell with the Kundalini.
Now my first case was not like that. She was very fortunate that she didn’t have to go through all that, let’s say someone like he went through. And she did see the fireworks, she saw everything and the end process of the vision she showed us, the process of death.
Where the body the subtle body unwinds and merges with the elements. And that is when the vision stop. So for her query, which was also who am I, when that whole sequence got answered through her experiences, that was the end of experiences.
RICK: Yeah. Yeah, this actually loops back to something we were talking about a little while ago, which is that, you know, some people’s path. You know, there’s a verse in the Bible someplace which says that heaven, the kingdom of heaven sneaks up like a thief in the night. And, and so a lot of times spiritual progress, or spiritual awakenings. They’re so kind of gentle and incremental, that you just kind of feel nothing’s happening or you feel normal. You feel good, but there’s nothing, nothing flashy going on.
GAUTAM: I’m thank God because that is actually a safer way for the unfolding.
RICK: Yeah. Someone I interviewed years ago, calls such people Oozers. Yeah, because they kind of ooze into it, rather than all kinds of dramatic stuff.
GAUTAM: Yeah, I think that’s actually and that’s what gets missed. And people get confused, because they feel that they haven’t had validation, or experiences which validate various stages of evolution. And that’s so not true, Rick, it’s so not true. I’ve asked this with my mother. I’ve checked this with people, my own experience. But it comes down to that.
What is the criteria you set for yourself? Where are you today, compared with, let’s say two years earlier, five years earlier, in terms of how you deal with life, how we process it? What are your thoughts? Are you more and more present? Or are you still lost in the living dream of life? As simple as that?
RICK: Yeah. And I’ve often said this, but if you can magically snap back to where you were 10 years ago and be in that state of mind all the sudden it would, even though you felt fine, then it would be horrible. I think, by contrast to the way you feel now, that’s, you know.
exact vice versa, if you could snap suddenly, to where you’re going to be 10 years from now or something, you’d be like, Oh my God, oh, my God, this is incredible. But when that happens, it’ll be normal.
GAUTAM: Yeah, beautiful. It’s like, what again, Ramesh would say that, you know, imagine you get your driving license. And he calls that, let’s say, the moment of awakening, but it’s only after a couple of years, you’re driving down a hellish street, let’s say in Mumbai, where there’s no like lane culture and all that. And after two years, you look back and say, My God, two years ago, if I had driven down this street, I would have been shit scared.
So it is in hindsight, then you realize, my God, things have really changed. I’m handling situations differently – with equanimity, as Bhagwan said, with calm and then it’s in hindsight that the realization dawns that I was a very different person some time ago.
RICK: Yeah. Who was it? You said, recommended a couple hours of meditation ? Was that Ramesh? Was that Maharaj?
GAUTAM: Maharaj. Yeah. Nisargadatta Maharaj
RICK: Okay. Yeah.
GAUTAM: Because even when I was I used to visit his translator Muller Pattan. And he would say that, that, in fact, sometimes the foreigners would go in the morning and Maharaj would be reading his paper, and he didn’t like that they were sitting there and looking at him intently. But he’s the one who told them you meditate, so they would come and meditate and he was in favor of it.
And you know, Maharaj’s first book, I don’t think many people know about it ‘Self-realization and Self knowing’, if you read between the lines and out and out Kundalini experience.
RICK: That he had ?
GAUTAM: Yeah. It is such a different book compared to what comes after that. He doesn’t use I’m not sure if he uses the word Kundalini. But if you read it, it’s very clear. It’s a small, very thin booklet. I think it’s available as a free PDF download. So that is where Maharaj started.
RICK: Yeah. There’s another interesting thing, which I’ll show the graphic on the screen right now, but you won’t be able to see it but um, Regarding Maharaja, he said to Jean Dunn towards the end of his life, he said, Forget I am that, I realized so much more since then it’s so much deeper. Yeah, I think that’s kind of cool.
I thought of another example that we could use with regard to, you know, freewill and how compelled we are by our conditioning and genetics and so on. And it actually relates to climate change. You know, these days, there are a lot, much more severe hurricanes, and they come more frequently and later in the season, and all that stuff.
And we can’t really do anything about a particular hurricane. Because the conditions for its creation have already been set up. But those conditions took several centuries to be created, you know, since the start of the Industrial Revolution.
So like that, I think that, you know, there are many things that will beyond way beyond our control in life at this stage of the game, but it’s taken a long time to create the milieu, you know, the state of mind in which we would do a thing like that or be able to resist or not be inclined to do a thing like that.
So I don’t know, what are your thoughts on that?
GAUTAM: I mean, I feel Rick that ultimately, everything that arises including tornadoes, and, you know, earthquakes, etc., all are arising in consciousness. Yeah. And the karmic law is actually a law of give and take.
So I am not one to say that, Oh, you know, Advaita doesn’t believe in all this doesn’t get into that. Many people say that these are not to be considered…
RICK: Well, I was using that more as a metaphor or an analogy, you know, about the climate and particular storms, the analogy relating to our life. And let’s say a person is tempted to commit a crime or something like that. And they commit the crime, and we, you know, they can’t help but do it.
They’re just compelled by their nature. But it took a long time to, you know, their history, who knows how far back a person’s history goes, if we get into the whole reincarnation thing, it’s taken a long time to develop a state in which they would be inclined to do such a thing. And like you say, we have a little bit of wiggle room. And, and you’re not going to become a completely different person overnight.
But you can keep using that wiggle room to change the mental atmosphere, so to speak, just as we could do now, things to mitigate Co2 in the atmosphere and gradually, you know, reclaim a healthier climate in which severe hurricanes won’t arise
GAUTAM: Sure. And you know, it reminds me of Dr. Roberts, I think he’s been on your show. And his books and work on Vimala Nanda, who was incidentally from Mumbai – Vimala Nanda, under his guru. And in one of the books Vimala Nanda talks about a lady called Mamhra Behen and him killing each other in consecutive lifetimes.
And he said that I have to be in so much awareness that the pattern does not repeat in this lifetime. Because when the thought comes to her, she is going to act, and I am the one who has to be in awareness to break the chain. I mean, I’m just paraphrasing this, but I clearly remember reading it. So that is what you are referring to that little bit of wiggle room. You know, you know, it’s like coming back to Ramana Maharshi. There is no destiny and free will for the Gyani That says again, so there’s no destiny, nor is there free will for the Gyani , because he’s transcended.
RICK: It’s no longer relevant.
GAUTAM: Yeah. Yeah. So certainly with one could use the term evolution in this sense, spiritual evolution that one gets out of these dynamics and equations eventually,
RICK: Yes. Yeah, in fact, I just remember that Swami Sarvapriyananda was saying last night that we have this fleeting moment, you know, where we could exercise that wiggle room, and either reinforce our some scars and deepen the addiction to a particular tendency, or we could weaken them by choosing not to do the thing. And, either way, it’s not going to be all or nothing, we’re not going to totally eradicate such tendencies on the spot, but we will, you know, move in one direction or the other of either eventually eliminating them or making them even more compelling.
GAUTAM: Yes, and I think grace plays a very big role here.
You see, Rick Osho was very right when he said that, you know, it’s easy to kind of surrender to a master who’s passed away. I’m just giving an example. You know, because you don’t really have bowed dry. actually surrender the ego to another individual who you think is an individual
RICK: someone, someone put it that gurus don’t kick ass…
GAUTAM: You know, so. So I’m coming to the point of grace here actually, that when you accept that there is a higher intelligence or higher power, which will help you in that wiggle room.
You know, because if you’re left to yourself, you’re going to create a mess of that wiggle room, because you’re struggling and struggling. But when you accept that there’s something far bigger at play, something which humbles you truly humbles you.
You know, Ramana Maharshi said when he was asked, How do I know that a sage is a sage?” He said, by the two things that degree of peace you feel in His presence and the sense of respect that you feel for him. And he said, by the humility he expresses.
And Ramesh used to be asked the same thing. How do I know a genuine sage is genuine. He said, I don’t know that. But I know when a sage is not genuine, when there is an absence of humility. So humility, when we are forced into these very tight spaces in life, which is so often and kind of, you know, a surrender to a higher power is what gives us that maneuverability.
RICK: Yeah. On the on the point of grace that you’re just discussing, I heard a story about dairy farmers in India, and they could tell which calves would live or die by, you know, when the cows were born, they had to stand up and start walking pretty soon, and the farmers would help them and the calves that were actually making an effort to stand up on their own. And with a little bit of the farmers help, they knew those ones would live, but the calves that wouldn’t even try. And the farmers had to lift them entirely without the calf helping, they knew those calves aren’t going to make it.
GAUTAM: Really, that’s beautiful. And it reminds me of…we knew an astrologer who’s now passed on, and he was diagnosed with cancer. And he had an ashram in Brindavan. And you know, which is Krishna’s place.
And Rick, he got cured of his cancer. So the doctors were quite surprised and asked him what he did. And he said, I absolutely did nothing. So I’m even surprised how I got cured ?
And then he thought about it. And he realized that for six months, he was walking in front of the Goshala, the cow shed up and down, up and down. And he said he, he said that I would feel the cows looking at me while I was walking all the time.
And then got this insight that somehow they had something to do with it.
RICK: I wouldn’t be surprised,…
GAUTAM: Because I mean, that was quite fascinating. It was really very touching to hear, because I have heard stories of how pets have taken away illnesses of their pet owners and then die. Many cases like this. So this, that’s the thing, like it is so beautiful.
Anything is possible in this journey. And our disdain for the animal kingdom is what is shocking.
And I remember once one lady had visited Ramana ashram. And as you might know, Bhagwan used to, you know, he was had such a great relationship with the monkeys and the crows and the cows. And so she was extremely upset. She said, You know, I left that place, because, I mean, everything was fine. But till I saw that there was a Samadhi for Crow and a dog, I thought, this is really the pits so she ran from there.
And so we went for a cup of tea after the satsang. And I said, you know, I feel it’s far more simpler for an animal to get liberated than a human being with all the complexities in the mind. So why is that so shocking, but she could not stomach that, basically, you know. And this is another thing because I do feel that, you know, compassion for life, other than ours, is something which happens naturally, with any understanding of what’s actually going on.
RICK: Yeah, Jesus said, Whatsoever you do unto the least of these you do unto me.
GAUTAM: Yes. Beautiful.
RICK: And the point of that cow story with the baby cows is that it’s God helps those who help themselves. So, you know, God will help us, but we have to sort of make an effort from our side as well.
GAUTAM: Sure. Um,
RICK: Question came in this is from Govinda in Puna. Could you please talk about…Related to Maharaja’s teaching, holding on to I am, and how it can lead to realization? And he also asked, Could you also please talk about self-inquiry, which I guess is pretty closely related?
GAUTAM: So, I think this is very beautiful. The first part of the question is what I can relate to absolutely because.. what happened break was there was no question of holding on to the I Am. The presence of I Am is what got uncovered when the thinking mind of the ego dissolved. So, when Maharaj would constantly say abide in your being, abide in your being, be in the I am..
RICK: which was his instruction from Siddharameshwar, his Guru.
GAUTAM: Yes. And so what happened for me was with Ramesh’s teaching and Eckhart because I do feel Eckhart was a tremendous influence in my life.
When the ego stopped going, dancing the jig and getting involved in drama and stories, the natural outcome was the abiding in the being, you know, the, the natural outcome of the thinking mind of the ego being completely pushed into the background was the abiding in your being emerged.
So that was the beauty. And that’s why I say to anyone, you know, when you just look at your life through the lens of concepts, like all these concepts are tools – doership, Free Will Destiny pick what you like, as long as it brings you to peace, you find that when your thinking mind is disengaged, you are naturally abiding in your being.
So rather than making abiding in your being such a laborious effort, where the ego gets frustrated, that I am not able to abide in being, the annihilation of the ego itself, through the process of life, and living is what leads to a natural abiding in one’s being.
So it’s so important that your life is sorted out on a level of daily living, because you know, otherwise, you’re going to have inharmonious relationships, you’re going to have conflicts in the day, and you’re going to come home and sit in the evening and say, Okay, now I’m going to abide in my being.
That’s what happens. Yeah. You see, so I think it’s an all-encompassing thing. And that is what if you ask people who’ve been impacted by these teachings, you know, it’s a natural outcome, that abiding in your being is abiding in peace, the peace of being – the Peace be still.
RICK: Yeah, I think another way of phrasing it is just in terms of the level of excitation of the mind…. If a mind is sort of unanchored to being, we could say, then it’s kind of like a boat on a choppy Sea, which is just getting tossed all over the place. But, you know, when sort of the awareness of the deeper quieter levels of the ocean of the mind arises, or the mind gets, you know, it just doesn’t get so stirred up. Very, very subtle impulses of thought are adequate to serve the function of thought; it just isn’t allowed to get to such an excited state.
GAUTAM: Yes, that’s actually very beautiful what you said and that’s what happens. The excitement levels, you know, this kind of up down movement gets reduced. Yeah. So what was earlier going like this (Gestures hand movement of high peaks and troughs) is now like this like a blip.
RICK: Yeah, I know. I forget the words, but there’s something and there’s these four levels of speech in Sanskrit, you may remember them this – Vaikhari, Prashanti, Madhyama and Vak. That’s it. I think, or Para
GAUTAM: Para which is the Source. Para, Pashyanti – when thoughts emerge. Madhyama & Vaikari – when the speech is released from the tongue.
And that is why Ramana Maharshi. His teaching was in silence from Para – Para vak.
And there’s that beautiful story of Ganpati Muni, who was this great, great devotee of Bhagwan. And he wrote about 700 verses in praise of the Divine Mother, and then he hit a roadblock. And so he went to Bhagwan and said, You know, I’m stuck. And Bhagwan said, All right, I’ll come and sit with you. So he sits through the night with Ganpati Muni.
And what happens when Ganapati Muni’s students are there, and he starts telling them, You take down the first line of the first verse, you take down the first line of the second verse, you take down the first line of the third verse, and then the second line of the first verse, the second line, and he goes on at the end of a few hours. When it’s all over. He says, Bhagwan, it’s finished and Ramana Maharshi said, “So you took down all that I dictated” And Ramana hadn’t uttered a word. That was flowing from Para.
You know, that is why silent teachings. Of course, the teachings have to emerge from a being who is established in silence, just being quiet is not going to do it. But there as he would say, you know, silence is the true speech. And they are so beautiful when one is absorbed in that because the tongue tends to even burn away the efficacy of words, like, I had a friend who was an adept in mantra chanting, you know, and he said, even when you say I love you, takes away the feeling, the depth of file of you, which is in your heart, because the, the tongue burns a bit of it.
RICK: That’s good.
GAUTAM: So, and many people who are not expressive, are actually condemned for not being expressive, or you don’t express yourself at etc. etc. cetera. But deep down, they may have such beautiful and pure feelings. So we are too quick to judge people who are quiet and silent.
RICK: Yeah, I have a friend who I’ve interviewed a couple of times Susanna Murray. And she said that she actually just doesn’t have the voice in the head kind of thoughts that most people have, you know, oh, I think I’ll go to the grocery store and buy some, you know, it’s just like, there’s just no words in the head kind of thoughts.
So she must be operating it maybe that? What is it? Shanti? Is that the subtlest one?
RICK: The thoughts are just sort of subtle impulses. I’ve also heard interesting stories about saints who could actually understand foreign languages, because they could just pick up on the impulse of a person’s thought before it actually emerged as a specific language and catch the meaning from just that subtle impulse.
GAUTAM: Yes, absolutely. And I think it was Niranjanananda Saraswati, when he was a young boy of the Bihar School of yoga, he was a naughty child would not learn anything, and his Guru decided to teach him and he was asleep.
RICK: That’s great. Did he learn?
GAUTAM: Yeah, oh, my God.
RICK: Okay, we have like three questions that came in here. This is from my wife, Irene. She says, as one’s consciousness or awareness evolves the humane treatment and compassion for animals should grow. I have met people who purport to be spiritually advanced, who do not have much of this sensitivity or love developed? Is it more a matter of inclination or affinity? Or Should this not be a marker of one’s development?
GAUTAM: Well, Rick, I am, again, a bit of a traditionalist on this, because, you know, if you have a natural recognition of the oneness of all life, then it is, you know, a natural outcome that your compassion arises for, let’s say, the animal kingdom.
Now I can understand, you know, if it’s not the be all and end all, although Ramana Maharshi… And I keep referring to him, simply because I’m so impacted by him. It was very clear that, you know, I mean, you have to see God in everything.
Even Shirdi Sai Baba would say the same thing I can understand, let’s say, if you are in the highlands, where you don’t have the option of vegetation and generations and generations, like I read, I don’t know if it’s true that in the Tibet, they would only eat meat, which was killed by a natural cause. And they found it, they would not kill animals. I don’t know if that holds true today. But that makes sense to me. And I can understand if one is running on a kind of conditioning, where from birth one has been eating a particular food, let’s say. And if one is as evolved as Sri Aurobindo, and one transcends the limitation of the food being consumed, like let’s say he was adding fish, that’s, you know, a one off. But for us normal people, I think it would just be.. I mean, it’s common sense, Rick, that, you know, if there was a respect for life, there would be a different way of seeing things.
RICK: Yeah. I’m reminded of the Native Americans who, you know, obviously killed Buffalo and all in order to eat but they wouldn’t kill for sport. And they were completely aghast when the railroads were built. And trains would stop and people would just shoot buffalo from the train for a little bit of fun. And then the train would keep going leaving the buffalo all dying in the field. These people are crazy.
GAUTAM: Yeah. And you know, I was a hardcore non-vegetarian about 20 years ago. And once I had visited Varanasi, and the taxi driver told me, Come, I’ll take you to this old blind Sage. He was 90 years old at the time, and I sat next to him. And he said, I see that you eat meat. Right? He saw it. I don’t know how? if he was blind, but that’s what he said…
GAUTAM: And he said, You’re my son, don’t worry. In a few years it will drop away. And that’s what started happening. First, red meat was given up and I can’t even recall it wasn’t even a moral ground. Frankly. I just kind of lost the taste and never missed it. And then there was white meat and chicken and I love chicken. I used to have it three times a week. And then there was a gap of two, three months and I tried to eat it and it felt like stones in my stomach, I was shocked, I said, Is this what, what I was conditioned to?
And then I went to South India to an Ayurvedic Center, which is where my mother used to go there for a month, every year and the head doctor, you know, they read the pulse
RICK: tantric karma and all that stuff. And,
GAUTAM: Right…. so he held my pulse. And he said, Oh, I see you’ve stopped eating meat, I was shocked.
And on a more kind of material level record, so obvious that you know, the fear enzymes which are secreted by an animal which is being slaughtered is what we are ingesting. You know, I mean, if, if one is aware of one’s dreams, you can even see in the dream state that dreams which come when you have a particular non-vegetarian meal in the night, because it plays on the subconscious. Even that happens.
RICK: Yeah, of course, I don’t know about India, but over here, they pump the animals with antibiotics. Because otherwise they don’t survive very well in the very unnatural conditions in which they’re raised. And that that gets into the meat, but it also is rendering antibiotics useless for human beings. And it’s you’re generating all these superbugs and so on, which are antibiotic resistant bacteria.
GAUTAM: Yes, and now, I think they are trying to make mock meat and all these other concepts. And yeah, so I mean, I do when I go to like a seaside town, I go, Ah, if there’s fish on the menu, I may or may not have it. But there’s absolutely no kind of impulse. Dispassion, as far as this is concerned. But I would agree with Irene that I think at least that’s what she’s trying to say that it would be natural. Compassion for all living beings would be natural.
RICK: Yeah, I forget who it was. I was interviewing not too long ago. And you know, how the Jains are so super careful about not killing anything whatsoever. But we’re talking about how it had sort of grown in us kind of spontaneously, that, you know, you can’t step on an ant on the sidewalk or something. I mean, it’s just you, you’re just recoil from, from doing that naturally, not out of some belief, but just more out of the sort of the oneness feeling of an appreciation of all life.
RICK: Okay, shift. Any more on that? Or should I ask another question?
RICK: Well, okay. Shifting gears.
So this is from Jay Jeffrey in Victoria, British Columbia. Nisargadatta said that the book ”I am that “was for that particular time and his later books were more advanced. How much more advanced can a spiritual book get? Aren’t all spiritual books pretty much repeating what every other spiritual book is trying to convey? And then are Ramesh’s books more advanced than Nisargadatta’s.
GAUTAM: I don’t know if he used the word advanced Rick. Because we published a book called ‘Beyond freedom’, which is 10 tapes which Muller Pattan had given me. And in those in one of the tapes, he says that, but he says ‘I am that’ was for that time. This is for this time. He didn’t say this is advanced.
You see, it was like I remember, when I was new to Ramesh.. Earlier, Ramesh was saying, there’s no free will. But then Ramesh realized that the import of that communication is getting missed, and people are misinterpreting it.
And so he changed it to – There is freewill as a mechanism of daily living without which you can’t function in life. So it’s not that this teaching was advanced compared to there’s no free will.
So I don’t think that’s what the masters are referring to. It just evolves as a teaching, and what was presented then, through them as an instrument and what is presented now it’s different. Yeah,
RICK: I think evolves is a key word there. You know, naturally, teachings evolve. And as teachers teach, the longer they teach, the more they kind of, you know, see what works and what doesn’t, and better ways of saying things and so on. And plus there, I believe that everybody’s a work in progress, and that even someone like Nisargadatta was probably still advancing in his spiritual growth.
GAUTAM: And in a Tibetan course, which I did, it clearly says that the teaching itself evolves with each new generation. So the way it’s represented, new instruments come to present the same teacher, but the words may be different. The delivery may be different. And that is again, a natural process.
RICK: Yeah. Okay, good. Let’s see here. Here’s a Okay, never mind, this wasn’t a question. Okay, good.
So let’s, let’s kind of like, assess where we’re at now in terms of what we’ve been discussing and what more we want to discuss. We Have another, you know, 20-30 minutes or something if we’d like. What are some things that we haven’t covered that you would like to get into?
GAUTAM: Hmmmm… not particularly. I mean, whatever it would be, I’d like to get into would be leading to peace of mind.
RICK: Or we could sit here and close your eyes for the next 20 minutes? Alright, let me just go
GAUTAM: As Vimala Nanda would say, and I truly believe this, that the test of any teaching is its impact in daily living.
And you know, here in our schools, we had this concept of surprise tests. So one was the exams, which were declared like, these are the half term exams, the yearly exams. And then one was where suddenly go to class and the teacher will say, today’s a surprise test, and know the true words of how much a student has learned with the surprise test.
Because otherwise, they have to prepare. And Maharaj would say, the expected seldom happens, the unexpected always does. And therefore, life is an ongoing surprise test. And, therefore, peace of mind becomes all the more important because as you said, whether your boat is in choppy waters, or whether you can sense the depth of the ocean while you’re going through life, it all comes down to that.
So I know I’m kind of repeating this point to a degree of boredom. But truly, that has been my experience. And that’s what I feel is worthy of sharing, that it comes down to the tests, one could call it the tests, because life is full of surprises, and how we deal with it.
RICK: That’s very good. And I think there’s repeating things as a good way of teaching actually, you know, I mean, because we don’t always get things the very first time and I repeat, yeah,
GAUTAM: Ramesh would be charged with this crime that, you know, you say the same thing day in and day out? His reply was, he said, the shell of the ego is so hard that it needs constant hammering to break.
RICK: Yeah. I mean, how many times did Ramana say, self-inquiry or whatever I mean, I’m sure he said many of the same things hundreds of times over the course of his teaching.
So. And, you know, the cool thing about that, though, is like with a teaching like that, or a profound book, like the Gita, or the Bible, or anything else, you can read it over and over again, throughout the course of your life. And you just keep shifting to subtler levels of understanding. And even though you’re reading the same thing over again, you don’t get it. So it’s not only a matter of memorizing the words, or anything, it’s a matter of having the insight to realize the deeper values of a particular point.
GAUTAM: Yes, and I mean, it’s with any book, if it’s ‘I am that’ or ‘Talks with Ramana Maharshi’, I used to have this habit of underlining what I like. And when I would go back and read it, I was like, wow, did I underline that ? Because there is new insight, you know.
And what I feel that is, is a recognition. Because that is already – that level of understanding is within us already and it gets recognized. So there are layers, as you said, and with each unfolding each peeling of the onion, you know, it kind of.. because it’s already recognized by us. And it’s just that the layers are getting peeled away and peeled away and peeled away, and that’s how it operates. Yeah.
RICK: Yeah, I’ve also heard that in the context of Yana yoga that someone on that path would kind of chew away at the same point over and over again, and just kind of keep getting kind of deeper and deeper values of it. Anyway, I think that’s probably everybody’s experience.
RICK: Here’s something you know that article I mentioned by a Arindam Chakrabarti that Swamiji sent me but here’s a point he made that I thought was interesting. He said, according to classical yoga, only what’s what species or family one is born in the length of life, and the general hedonic quality of life – Jati , Aay and Bhog are supposed to be determined by karma.
The rest is left to human effort – deliberation and environment. There’s a lot of elbow room for freewill within such a theory of predestination. That’s speaking of, you know, hammering on the same point over again, that’s kind of what we talked about, but that I just saw this quote, hear from him on that.
GAUTAM: Well, Rick, my experience is that the biggest happenings in my life which shaped my life, I had no control over.
So you know, if I go by my own experience, then I don’t find that quote to be sold relatable for myself, but it could be for someone else.
But… and I must say because there was this very fortunate infusion of grace through the meeting of these people in my life, which kind of pushed me onto the path.
And, you know, I want to go back to one thing when Maharaj was asked that, is there any benefit of being in the presence of a sage? And you could extend this to is there any benefit of being immersed in a teaching, let’s say?
And his reply was that the crease around a sandalwood tree in the forest, start emitting the same fragrance. So when we hold on to any teaching that we are following, and live it and breathe it, which is what sadhana is about, you emit that vibration. It is so true, you don’t have to do anything for it. Because if one is contemplating on it, if one is viewing life situations through that prism, it becomes part of one’s being.
RICK: Yeah, that’s very true. There’s a sort of an osmosis or an entrainment that takes place. You kind of to some extent, you know, rise to the level of vibration of the sage in whose presence you’re sitting.
GAUTAM: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it is like the same friend I was talking about one day we were sitting on the marine Dr. Promenade knew my house. And he said that, like if a person does mantra chanting like 1000s of times a Jappa, like home nama Shivaya or something. And he’s sitting there, like, we were sitting on the ledge, and he said, if that person gets up, I can actually hear the chanting going on where he said, so the point is the vibration, you will vibrate, your being is vibrating at a certain frequency, if one can call it, so we don’t I don’t know if that’s too abstract. But that is why we are drawn to sages. Right? We are drawn by the peace that we feel in the presence.
RICK: Yeah, a number of times Arma, you know, Amrita Nanda Mayi, came to our area in my in my wife was instrumental and help setting up her visits. But um, one time I went to the house where she had been staying. And there was a little puja room in which she had been, you know, meditating or whatever. And, you know, she’d gone by then. And but we went in there. And it was like, ah, you know, you just sort of sink into, into silence. Just being in in that room, which is just an ordinary room and an ordinary house, but the whole place had been kind of saturated.
GAUTAM: Absolutely. I mean, you can imagine if, …I don’t know if you’ve been to Ramana ashram, but the old meditation hall, where his couch is,…..
RICK: must be profound…
GAUTAM: same thing. Profound. And even if you have been to Dakshineshwar where they have preserved Ramkrishna has room since 1886. I think, when you enter that space, it’s like a time warp, you know, you see it in Hollywood movies, but this is the real thing, you just completely, the mind shuts down. Even now, it’s quite fascinating.
RICK: And that brings up an interesting point, which is that, you know, we all radiate a certain influence, whether we’re saint or crazy person, we’re all radiating a certain influence. And that influence kind of saturates the world’s atmosphere. All 8 billion of us collectively, you know, atmosphere is saturated with our collective contributions to it.
And so you can understand how, you know, if the percentage of people who are spiritually awakened or meditating or whatever increases, even perhaps a small percent, 1 %- 2%, it could have a profound influence on the atmosphere of the whole world and actually changed the behavior of people who never even thought about such things.
GAUTAM: I think Maharshi Mahesh Yogi had these experiments, right, where the crime rate and towns came down because of a collective group meditation was
RICK: part of them. I want spent three months in Iran doing those things.
GAUTAM: Yeah. And it’s so true. And that is what the Sat Yug is about the age of truth. When consciousness when understanding and humanity evolves to a certain level, we enter the age of truth, the saga.
RICK: And that’s part of my motivation in doing this show, actually, just the feeling that it helps the world not only the individuals who listen to it or something, but then the whole world, then obviously, this is just one of many contributions, but that’s part of the thinking.
GAUTAM: Absolutely. So beautiful Rick. And you have been like, you know, in Hindi, we have a saying Lumbey race ka Ghoda, which means a horse which runs a long race. Yeah. You mean it for years? Right?
RICK: Well, personally, yeah. Since about 1968. And then the show since 19… It’s been about 12 – 13 years now. 2009 I think I started Yeah.
GAUTAM: That’s some great seva and great service. That’s, I can’t even say you’ve been doing it, but that is happening through you.
RICK: I have that feeling.
You know, people sometimes say Oh, it’s so wonderful what you’re doing and I think wait a minute, I’m not doing anything. That’s not just a cliche, it’s more like a feeling, you know?
All right, so how can we go out with a bang? We’ve talked about some nice things here.
GAUTAM: Can we touch upon death ?
RICK: Yeah, but not actually demonstrate it?
GAUTAM: You know, what Rick, I feel is, as we all know, all fears lead to the fear of death.
And I see that when the understanding starts unfolding in people, it is actually the fear of the death of the ‘Me’ – the ego as a separate entity, which starts dissolving. And, you know, when one sees that, that process of you know, as we’ve heard dying, while you’re living starts happening, you know, you die to your patterns, your diet, your reactions, you die to your complaints, you die to your judgments.
Automatically, this fear of death starts dropping away, the concern may still be that I hope I don’t have a painful then which is a biological issue, you know, but that fear of the of death, which is the fear of the unknown, what I find is that peace, when one is more and more at peace, that fear starts dissolving. And as the Buddhists say, it all comes down to that. And for me, I think for many people, that, like we said, for me, when my father died, when I was 14, any form of death, people are introduced to whether it is death of a person, of an object, of a pet, or so on. That truly is an opening or doorway into understanding what death is about. And, you know, the only certain, certainty in life is that, and we brush it under the carpet, all the taxes,
RICK: They say, death and taxes.
GAUTAM: And, you know, if you consciously look at this, especially today, especially today, what’s happening, humanity has not been so collectively linked in their suffering as they have been today. And this is a period of deep transformation, deep suffering, deep transformation. The point is, do we go back to our old patterns? Or do we have deep insights and lessons from these?
RICK: Yeah, well, you know, Woody Allen said, I’m not afraid of dying. I just don’t want to be there when it happens. And there’s something actually profound about that, you know, because if, if the self is realized, then you’re not there when it happens, in the sense that you meant it.
Yeah. Yeah. And there’s also that line from the Upanishads. Certainly, all fear is born of duality. You know, as long as there’s a sense of duality, there’s, we’re threatened, you know, there’s a possibility of being harmed by something other than us.
GAUTAM: Yes, as Joel Goldsmith said that, you know, the exit from the Garden of Eden was because of the belief into powers – good and evil. So we’ve all been always picking up a sword, we are always fighting, opposing. And when we drop that kind of thinking, based on polaric opposites, when we see everything as a kind of stream of consciousness – ‘ what is’.
In fact, one of the most beautiful definitions of destiny, which Ramesh gave was destiny is ‘what is’ . You know, as simple as that, what arises in the moment here and now is what we are faced with. And the fact that it has arisen in our awareness means it is already accepted my awareness, but then the ‘ Me’ steps in and says, I reject this, I don’t like this, I don’t want this. And that’s when again, the drama starts. So dealing with the situation happens, but the first acceptance is already happened. So that fight that opposition, that initial, I don’t accept this part of duality that drops away.
RICK: I once heard humility defined as the quality of not insisting that things happen any particular way.
GAUTAM: Yeah, that’s beautiful.
RICK: And you know, what you’re saying a few minutes ago about the pop quiz, you know, as opposed to the test that you can study for,….You know, anything that happens to us, really the time to prepare for it has already passed. It’s too late, you know, and throughout the day, it’s sort of like, oh, so but we can do things to prepare for any eventuality.
And I’d say, you know, essentially those things are, well, of course, there’s education and all that but in terms of education is not going to help you if you get cancer or if your loved one dies or something like that. Thus, we can sort of prepare for the quizzes of life by developing a spiritual depth that will enable us to face any circumstance with grace and equanimity.
GAUTAM: Yes, and you know, as the say in Indian spiritual thought, you know, when your baby your parents look after you. And thanks to them, you grew up and they bring you up. But suddenly you’re faced with life and the challenges which life throws at.
So why not seek and find people who have walked the talk, who have found a way through the vagaries of life and get immersed in what they have to say and what the books have to say, because that’s only going to help you along the way. Rather than acting on your own.
You know, and thinking that, you know, like, I mean, just, it’s incredible. We can see in one day, how many thoughts come up, where we automatically put up an opposition to it. It’s just incredible. And you know, when that stops happening, then one is truly living life.
RICK: Yeah, you’re probably familiar with Byron Katie’s teachings, you know, just loving what is and not arguing with reality, not fighting against it.
GAUTAM: Yeah. It’s like, I remember when Eckhart was here in I think, 2002. And like I said, the traffic in Mumbai is quite notorious. And it’s not even easy to cross the street as such. Now, of course, it’s very different. It’s more organized. But we were driving somewhere. And he said, just looking at the traffic, he said, No wonder there’s so many people enlightened in India,
RICK: Because they’re so challenged by the traffic or? Yeah, I’ve heard certain countries’ traffic laws described as suggestions, you know, like red lights and things like, you know, maybe I’ll stop. When I was in Iran, it was like that you would hear crashes all the time from the hotel room, because people would just sort of like, not take it very seriously.
GAUTAM: Once I was in Puna, a town which is near Bombay, and a flight got canceled the return flight, so there was me and a German couple. So we decided to rent a car, hire a car and come back. And the driver was going all over the highways zipping and all that stuff. So the man got very angry, and he told the driver in English, are you driving on the left side of the road or the right side of the road? And the driver smiled and replied, Yes.
RICK: He’s kind of an enlightened driver, wasn’t he ?
GAUTAM: but he probably didn’t understand
RICK: Yes, sir. Very good at both sides.
That’s great. Okay, so tell us about like, you’re not, I mean, you let me say, I’ve listened to all of your podcast episodes, and they’re great. And you also have a YouTube channel with probably hundreds of hours of talks that you’ve given. And you’ve written about five books. And you also have a website. I’m going to show your website on the screen here for a minute.
There is the website…Heavens to be found in the heart, the quote, changed.
Anyway, these are some things that people can plug into if they want to get more familiar with your work. You want to elaborate on those a little bit? Or is there anything else besides those that people should know about?
GAUTAM: Not really Rick. If peace of mind is what appeals to them, that’s what I speak about in a very simple, relatable language. And that’s because that’s the way I have been made. And I’m not too big on concepts and you know, all that stuff. If it’s something that appeals to them, then that’s great.
RICK: And have we adequately covered the point about how to achieve peace of mind ?
Just occurred to me that way? Maybe we haven’t. People might be thinking, Oh, that sounds great. But I don’t have it, and how do I get it?
GAUTAM: But I don’t think we have time for that. Right?
RICK: Go into it for a few minutes if you feel like it?
GAUTAM: No. So for me, it was actually very simple because I followed a simple path laid down my by my teacher, where he said that as far as human interactions are concerned, when you accept that everyone is acting on their conditioning, you are no longer opposing people, and you can agree to disagree without being disagreeable.
And, and so, you know, I just found that it was so easy to maneuver through relationships, because this entire labeling and judging dropped away, like, I mean, just like a castle made of sand. It just fell off. And I just saw people through this light of just ‘ being’ it transformed relationships.
And, you know, I’ve had my share of conflicts in that sense. I had a general manager who stole a lot of money from us and ran away. And truly if you asked me that, if I met him tomorrow on the street, what would I do and say I’d probably ask him how he’s doing and why did he do that?
But you know, this whole kind of blame game and finger pointing and all that is his toast. Its history. And so, you know, if we just look at these simple things like, how do we use this concept, which sounds so vague of non-doership, and we bring it down to just the human level, and then how do we accept, as you know, everything that is happening is God’s will not as an image of God, but as what consciousness presents itself here, and now, you know, and the total acceptance, whether one likes it or not, and that again, transforms, in fact, the whole situation gets transformed.
Because if I don’t fall into a particular action-reaction loop and perpetuate the drama, you will be surprised that how even outcomes change, because they are not being pushed by this kind of, you know, auto feed of how things should be. And so this whole how things should be and what should be changes to ‘ what is’ . And so when that happens, then that peace of mind is brought into daily living.
And so all that I speak about, which by and large is, because, you know, I mean, Maharaja told Ramesh that you won’t parrot my words, and you will say it in your own style. And I tell people, I parrot Ramesh’s words, because that’s my life experience.
When I went to Ramesh, I had no resistance at all to what he was saying, because it was a validation of my life’s experience. So when he would say nobody does anything, many would say All there is is consciousness. It was so accepted to me.
And then I assumed that everyone accepted it, you know, on the face of it. And I thought that was it. But that was not it. People struggled with these concepts, the Free Will was so ingrained and so strong. And so for me, it was a validation of my life’s experiences. And so that is what I speak about in all my talks right about and it always comes down to just that simple stuff.
I mean, you know, Rick, I have met Yogi’s who have explained past lives to me or for relationships in the Himalayas, and it’s beautiful. At one level, it’s fascinating. You know, I met, I was in touch with someone who actually got a message from above saying that, you know, you have two homes by the sea in India, and she had no way of knowing that I had a home in Goa, a small apartment by the seaside.
But the more I kind of focused on what Bhagwan said, the state of equanimity is the state of bliss, all these fascinations with, you know, these kinds of fantasies and all that they started falling away. And the gift of daily living started to blossom.
RICK: It’s interesting. I was gonna say, you know, it’s interesting that just sort of deeply contemplating a different philosophical perspective about, you know, the Ramesh was presenting to you really shifted your whole perspective, your state of mind, but it almost sounds like you were kind of ready for that. To certain extent that already was your state of mind. And he just kind of confirmed it, and maybe, you know, solidified it a little bit or not he but just engaging with the ideas he was presenting.
GAUTAM: Yes. And you actually hit the nail on the head, because, you know, I had my first book pointers from Ramesh Balsekar. And he wrote the foreword for that. And he said in that, that, you know, he realized awakening had already happened, and that I was on the way to deliverance.
And I went back and I told him that, how’s it possible? Because if awakening happened, I would know it happened. He said, No, you wouldn’t. And I would say, don’t be absurd. If something happens, you know, it happens. And so this kind of went nowhere.
But you’re so right, because maybe, you know, life had prepped me up and the suffering till that point in teenage years and all.
You know, someone asked me recently, how was it like meeting Ramesh and Eckhart in a span of two months, when you had no, you hadn’t read the books, I had not read the books. I had no idea what they were saying.
And, you know, I told them recently, it was like these two doses of COVID. You know, you get the first dose …
RICK: You mean the vaccine… ?
GAUTAM: …and you get a second dose. And that’s kind of what happened. And so I’m truly fortunate that I went with an unconditioned mind, because I had absolutely no background and all this. To Eckhart, I was completely unconditioned. And, you know, thanks to my sister, not only in Hong Kong, but when he started giving talks in you know, Canada and Glastonbury and all that I tagged along, I was the excess baggage.
So he would spend time together and just by being in his presence, I think that is where I learned a lot. I learned a lot and similarly, I started reading Ramesh’s books, perhaps after one year after attending his talks, so the unconditioned, awakened mind, free of this heavy load of concepts.. it really helps.
RICK: Yeah, well, there was a lot of grace in your life, it sounds like and, and you took advantage of it, God helps those who help themselves. And, you know, it’s really great and wonderful what you’re doing publishing these books and popularizing these ideas.
GAUTAM: Yeah. And that was also an accident of fate getting into publishing. You know, my mother had this experience, and she was doing all these drawings. And half the people said, don’t publish it, because people will laugh at you. And this is secret knowledge. And the other more progressive half said, no, no, you must, because others are going through it.
In fact, one lady had come to Ramesh who was under psychiatric treatment, because she was having similar visions. And so Ramage sent her to my mom. And you know, she said, Oh, my God, this, these things happen. It really happened. That was fascinating. And so this is how we approached publishers. And they said, Oh, nice book, but her drawings are in color. Either we make them black and white, or you give us the money. And if I’m giving you the money, I might as well publish it.
RICK: does your mom still I’m sorry, continue.
GAUTAM: And then I made all possible mistakes, and could make in publishing, I got cheated on the paper, the printing, I went to a bookstore, I put five books there, they never paid me for those five books. And that’s, you know, I learned everything in that first book, that is also grace. So we should not judge our failures too quickly. Because those same mistakes were never repeated. Does everything?
RICK: Does your Mom consult with people who are having Kundalini symptoms? And
GAUTAM: Yes, Yes ..
RICK: Oh, that’s interesting. That’s good to know.
Because a lot of people get in touch with us, you know, or some of them are really having a hard time of it. And she would be a good resource to refer people to.
GAUTAM: Yes, yes. Yeah, I just want to read out this email from a person who has been immersed in the teachings.
And she says, I recently lost my cousin to COVID. I had always wondered if all this understanding would stand true. If I lose somebody close to me. And yes, I am hurting but I am not suffering. I know she’s in a better place. I know she is being taken care of. And that was it for her. And I’m okay with that. Tears come, it hurts to think of a 10-year-old daughter who lost her mom, but I am not suffering. There is acceptance for ‘ what is’ . The understanding has helped me immensely. The question Why did this happened doesn’t even come up. COVID has now entered a home. My father-in-law is positive.
But COVID has been unable to enter my being. I am able to do what needs to be done without fear. Everything is happening. I am not doing anything. Even in the midst of intense sanitization rituals and managing home with no maids and dealing with an emotionally disturbed husband. I have not lost my peace for a single moment. Gratitude is all I feel for whatever is.
That’s beautiful. And on that note, Rick, as you must be knowing it’s been a very painful few weeks in India. The second wave has devastated us. There’s been a loss of many lives.
And, you know, I am reminded Rick in 2008, there was a terrorist attack in Mumbai. And we have some people in the five-star hotel from the States. And I think that was the last time I actually spoke with Eckhart. I was in the office and a phone call was organized with him. And, you know, he said, there’s not much we can do, except offer our presence. And so if you are okay, we can just be on the phone call in silence.
And so I told my telephone operator that don’t disturb us. And I don’t recall whether that was a 10-minute, silent conversation or half an hour in the memory has gone, but if just for a minute, we can offer our being, our silence, which is the most precious gift we have which we can give another especially someone who is suffering immensely and such immense pain and suffering India has faced. And that’s perhaps the best we can do where we are.
RICK: Yeah. Are you suggesting that you and I do that right now? Are you saying just in general?
GAUTAM: No, just now. Right now for men, okay, good.
RICK: You, you tell us when we want to stop, and otherwise we’ll just sit in silence.
GAUTAM: That’s it. It has started.
(Few minutes of silence)
GAUTAM: Thank you, Rick,
RICK: Thank you Gautam. It’s wonderful spending time with you
GAUTAM: Thank you for two hours of your time and are really giving this opportunity to share these beautiful teachings with everyone familiar with your beautiful channel.
And I wish you much growth, success, prosperity, and I do hope more people in India get familiar with it, because they would love your content.
RICK: Yeah. And most of them speak English. I mean, yeah, a lot of people do. Alright, so it’s all good. And hope to meet you in person someday.
GAUTAM: Hope soon. Look forward to.
RICK: I haven’t been to India since 1986. But if I ever get over there, I’ll, I’ll make a point.
GAUTAM: You better.
RICK: Alright, thanks. And thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching. Really appreciate your participation. And there’s an upcoming interviews page on BatGap. com where you can see what we’ve got scheduled. And, you know, the day and the time and there’s always a link to the live stream of the interview in case you’d like to watch it LIVE.
And there’s a question form on the bottom of that page through which you can submit your questions, which is how we’ve been getting them. And I think I guess next week is Anita Moorjani. You probably know Anita, don’t you? Yeah. And she’ll be number 600. And we will actually be talking about her new book, which is ‘ Sensitivity is the new strong’ So and probably other things we’ll talk about. Alright, so thank you all.
Thank you Gautam. Take care.
GAUTAM: Thank you. Take care.