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Papaji – H.W.L Poonja

The Lion of Lucknow

Papaji smiling

Wake Up and Roar!


with Students of Papaji

Vasant Swaha

Vasant Swaha was always a naturally free spirit and travelled the world at a young age. He settled down and spent many years as a personal guard for the Indian Spiritual Master Osho. Later he met Papaji and deepened his own Awakening. He currently splits his time between his native country Norway, and Brazil.

with Satyaa and Pari

Satyaa and Pari met in Papaji’s presence in Lucknow. Pari tells how Papaji tickled him to death, Satyaa shares how her love and passion for music flourished at Papaji’s feet. Together they share their love through music and Satsang. With their daughter they currently live in Munich and partly in Greece. 

Who was Papaji? 

Papaji, also known as Poonjaji, awakened after meeting his master Sri Ramana Maharshi at the holy mountain Arunachala in 1947. Papaji spent the rest of his life transmitting this energy of self-realisation. First, he travelled extensively in India; often visiting sacred places such as Rishikesh and Haridwar and helping seekers who came his way. 

In later years he settled down in Lucknow and during the 1990s he became a magnet especially for Western spiritual seekers. Many of these seekers awakened with Papaji and were sent out as messengers or Papaji Ambassadors.  This initiated a Satsang movement in the Western world and helped spread the teachings of Non-Duality. Papaji passed away in 1997.

What does the name Papaji mean? 

Papaji was born as Hariwansh Lal Poonja in 1910, Punjab. “Papaji” is in India a respectful way of addressing a father. This was how Poonja was addressed by his own children, and his Western students started using the same name as a way of showing affection. Thus, he is known both as Papaji and by his family name Poonja. 


Let there be Peace among
all Beings of the Universe

 Let there be peace 
Let there be peace

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

Welcome to Satsang…

“No Teacher, No Teachings, No Student” 

– Papaji

What is Papaji’s Teaching?

Papaji is often classified as an Advaita Vedanta (Non-Duality) teacher in the same way as his master Sri Ramana Maharshi. However, Papaji himself said that he had no particular teachings. His most common advice was: “Keep quiet”. His most profound teachings often arose in simple everyday life situations. Many students have described Papaji’s presence as a penetrating force. His gaze alone could often cut through the conceptual minds of his students leading to their awakening experiences. Papaji’s poignant quote “No Teacher, No Teachings, No Student” points to an ever-present oneness without separation and is a remarkably simple yet crystal-clear expression of his teachings.

"If you are acting like a sheep, do not blame the shepherd. You cannot herd lions. Wake up and roar and you are free." – Papaji

Papaji Satsang Stories

Qualifications for Satsang

There are certain qualifications to be fulfilled before one goes to a teacher for freedom.

The first requirement, discernment, is discrimination between what is real and what is unreal. This distinction is essential. You must desire what is real and reject what is unreal. What is real can only be truth. Your own Self. There is nothing beyond this. All the rest is falsehood…

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Papaji on Enlightenment

What is enlightenment?
‘I am bound’ is a concept that everyone has clung to [but] he cannot show any chains or fetters by which he is bound. This is his concept. He must have been told by someone, or read some books, or heard from his parents or priests or…

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Our True Nature

Hans was one of Papaji’s earliest western students. When they first met he lived in Germany and he would go to India, to Haridwar, for about three months at a time, often staying in a guesthouse with Papaji. They would share a room and go on long walks along the river, mostly in silence, which is where he asked Papaji this question….

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My Second Dialogue with Papaji

On my last blog I published this exchange between Sosan and his Master Huike.
Apparently Sosan spent six years with Huike who had received the transmission of the Buddha’s teaching from Bodhidarma.
Osho told that many people…

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My Job is to Destroy You

Then one day, this was the big change, I’ll never forget it, never to this day.
He sat up cross-legged on His bed and I was sitting on the floor in the hospital.
He drew a line and He said, “Look.” He said it like, “Look (gruffly), this is a line. On this side of the line is everything you’ve ever known, everything…

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Meeting Papaji

I asked the Master how much effort you have to make if you want to be free. Papaji whispered, he said, ‘You don’t have to make any effort to be free.’ The moment I heard those words, a vision appeared in my mind’s eye. I saw water flowing down the side of a mountain…

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Guru Purnima Day

When I was living with Papaji I still had very strong issues with my father, and sometimes I was looking to Papa to come and tell me I was a good boy. I guess he knew that.

It was a special day; it was Guru Purnima day when everybody gives a garland to the Guru. We all came in a long line, each holding a garland, and slowly we came closer to Papaji.

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Got It !

As I sat there looking at him doing what I could to just be and when the five seconds were over he asked me what happened. I said well I’m just sitting here.  He said, no, no, I told you no thinking. I am sitting here thinking. So let’s do it again.  So we did it again.  At that point I…

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Master Connection
An Individual Connection to the Master

“Wow, this silence and bliss is so beautiful.” He gets up and says, “I’m going downstairs to make some yoghurt.” So, I follow Him down, and I said, “Why did you do that?” He said, “Where’s your silence now?” I said, “Well, it’s still here.” He said, “This is why I did it.”

Full Story »

Books about Papaji

Interviews with Seekers of Enlightenment - And how they found it
by John David

15 powerful interviews with seekers for Truth who sought out Papaji in the period from 1990-1997. An intimate and rar look at the Master – disciple relationship and into different moments of Satori.

Beautifully illustrated with quotes and photos pages of Papaji and his disciples.

John David’s New Book Interviews with Twelve Spiritual Teachers

Fascinating life stories from Remarkable People inspiring the lives of many trough their Clarity and Radiance. Each of them a spiritual magnet.
In John David’s penetrating interviews they intimately share what has not been heard before.

Beautifully designed, with various color fotos of each teacher.

More Books at:

Photos of Papaji

Papaji Mala
Papaji with Ram Dass
Papaji with Car
Papaji Smiling
Papaji with John David
Papaji with Ram Dass
Papaji with Andrew Cohen
Papaji in Meditation
Papaji Laxman Jhula
Papaji Satsang

H.W.L. Poonja – Papaji’s Life

Year Biography
1910 Born in Lylepoore, W Punjab. Given name Hariwansh Lal Poonja. His uncle was the famous Vedanta teacher Swami Rama Tirtha.
1919 First Samadhi.
1926 Married at 16 years old.
1930 Visited famous gurus and asked if they can show him, God. No one could
1935 Daughter Sivani born
1936 Son Surendra born
1942 Summer met Swami Shivananda
1942 Resigned his Officers Commission
1942 Sadhu visited him in Lylepoore, Punjab
1944 Visited Bhagwan Sri Ramana Maharishi. Found Sri Ramana to be sadhu who visited in Punjab. Moment of “final realisation”.
1947 Last time with Sri Ramana
1947 Brought his family safely from Punjab to Lucknow during partition of India.
1952 Resigned construction sales job for Allis Chalmers, left for Ramanashram.
1952 Starts mining job in Goa and Karntaka
1953 met Swami Abhishiktananda
1964 Resigned mining management job
1966 Finally retired. Travelled extensively around India.
1968 Met Ganga Mira for the first time in Rishikesh
1971-72 European Tour: Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Visited tomb of St Francis in Assisi. There Ganga Mira became pregnant.
1972 The daughter of Papaji and Ganga Mira born, named Mukti
1974 New European Tour: stayed 3 months with Ganga Mira’s family in Portugal. Then gave satsangs in Spain, France and Switzerland. Attended J. Krishnamurti’s lectures in Saanen.
October 1974 Returns to India
1975-76 Venezuela, Europe, Australia 12 months foreign trip.
Late 1970s early 1980s: Staying in India. Many people had exceptional meetings with him and became devotees.
1986 (late) 1987- Stayed several months in New York then visited Hawaii
March 1987 Back in India
1990 Aged 80 He settled down in Lucknow
1992 Started giving satsangs in the Satsang Bhavan hall.
1990 1997 Thousands Visited Him. Some later became well-known Satsang teachers.
1997 Died of pneumonia in Lucknow aged 87
Papaji Meditation

In Gratitude to Papaji