Awakening Bharat Rochlin
The awakening of Bharat Rochlin
In 1991, I was in Poona and I heard about Papaji via a fax from a friend. It mentioned a guy who had been to visit Papaji and had said that he got enlightened m two weeks. At first I thought this was nonsense. I knew the guy and I just thought he must have got freaked out. I left Poona and went back to Europe. I was in Amsterdam and the subject came up again about this guy meeting Papaji. I was with some friends and we decided to call the guy up who was living in California. We spoke to him and, I don't know, something started to smell. The way he was talking on the phone - it was like something was clicking inside me. Later that day I went to an esoteric bookstore and I saw a book by Andrew Cohen, My Master is Myself, and I read it and I thought, 'This is really nice'.
So I got a ticket for Lucknow. I didn't even know where Lucknow was. But it was like meeting the sadhus in Delhi. It was the same exact feeling — I was going into the unknown, I had no idea what was going to happen, you know. It was scary.
I met Papaji's son and he said that I could come the next day. So I went to Papaji's house the following morning. I walked in and there were about eight Western people there — satsang had already started. Papaji was sitting on a dais -his eyes were already closed. So I just sat down and closed my eyes and instantly there was like this avalanche of energy. It just continued and continued and continued . . . and by the end of the satsang I was beginning to recognize what had happened to me with those sadhu men 15 years ago.
It was like, ah, oh, ha ha, yeah! I went back the next day but I didn't make any contact with Papaji. We didn't talk or anything. And I went back the day after that and the exact same thing happened again. This time it was deeper. I felt the peace in my heart more than I had ever felt before. I asked Papaji a question about effort. He said, Don't make any effort, drop all your concepts, knowledge and all your experience and just be quiet.' I thought, 'I don't know about this', but the energy of his shakti was so strong that I didn't care about 'being quiet' or 'not making any effort' or not. Effort can arise from the Self but it's something different than that coming from your own decision, the ego or the body, to make an effort.
Anyhow, the third day I went there and I opened my eyes and Papaji opened his eyes at the same time and we looked at each other and it was so strong. It was like I had to hold on not to look away, you know — I forced myself to look at him. During the break time, one of the assistants came over and said that Papaji wanted to see me. I walked into his bedroom and he was sitting on the bed and he looked up at me and smiled. I tell you, there was so much love and so much energy and so much happiness coming out of him that I almost ran out of the room. I sat down next to him and he said, 'When you walked in that door, I knew you came here for a purpose. What was the purpose, why did you come here?' At first I wanted to say, all kind of wishy-washy, 'Oh Papaji, I came for enlightenment,' but then the lion in me roared, 'Papaji! I'm here for enlightenment!' And he just started laughing and we started hugging and kissing and rolling around on his bed, you know. And then he got up and he was like a rooster and said, 'I always get them at the end and I work really fast. Don't worry, in just seven days you 11 be enlightened!' And I said, 'Yeah, right!'
Firstly, he asked me if I had anything to say, so I told him the story of what happened with the sadhus. In fact for 10 years I didn't even tell Osho — I told nobody about what happened to me. I could not talk about it, it was so sacred. I told him the story and he confirmed it and said that these men were very special. And then he totally dropped it and I couldn't talk about it with him again, which I see was because I was hanging onto that experience.
But I still couldn't believe that I could be enlightened. I was still thinking that I wasn't good enough. Me, Bharat - enlightened? So this was what Papaji was doing in the beginning. He was getting rid of this belief that you can't be enlightened. What he did first of all was bring it out in me again but 1,000 times beyond it. In the next two years, what I experienced with Papaji and where he took me was like what happened with those men in the beginning. Papaji kept me in experience for at least two years. Whenever my mind would start to come back he would do something again. And I would remain in presence or beingness for those two years. I went through every esoteric spiritual experience you can think of. He gave me that gift — he let me finish that. So the first thing he did was show me truth again and then he gave me the confidence to live it.
Papaji said to me, 'In seven days you'll be enlightened!' So there I was, waiting. Day one, day two — yeah, this is good but I'm not enlightened. Day three, day four, five, six, day seven . . . There I was in the first half of satsang and nothing was happening. When we went off in the break I started to get really frustrated, even a little bit angry with Papaji. I said, 'Papaji, it's seven days now and I'm not enlightened.' And he just looked at me and laughed and he said, You know, if you go to the other shore, we're not going to have you anymore and we love you so much.' But then when he looked at me and I at him, all separation disappeared. There was no me, there was no him, there was nothing — just absolute beingness. Absolute beingness. Again, I just collapsed.
All I could do during this time was go to satsang and go back to my room and sit on a chair and look out of the window. It was so overwhelming. Just beingness, being in being. Every day would just get deeper and deeper and deeper. Levels of peace would get deeper and deeper and deeper. And then what also became apparent was the illusoriness of the mind, you know. I would walk into Papaji's house lost in some incredible, heavy mind-trip and within one second it would be gone in his presence. And this would happen over and over. All this mind is maya — it is illusion. It s not real and it can disappear in a split second. It's just a matter of being quiet.
One day in satsang, I was standing at the back and I was in this really depressive state but by the end of the satsang I was really feeling great. Papaji got up and walked out of the room and as he passed by me he said, 'Feeling better?' I realized what he was - not a little old man but this true sadguru. I began to see the immensity of who he was or what he was and what he was doing. He invited me to stay with him and live in Lucknow. This continued and continued and continued from '91 until '97 when he died.
I kept going higher and higher with him. What can I say? Papaji s main thing is that nothing exists. One day, I was sitting in my room and then the idea of my body disappeared, time disappeared, and I was in this place or no place where nothing existed and nothing ever existed. It was so absolutely clear that there has never been a creation and never was a creation. One is never born and one will never die. Absolutely that's the truth. But it's a very paradoxical thing because then the idea of the body would return and then I would be back here like this. Everything seemed really real again. That was confusing me for some time but Papaji would always tell me that there was no difference. But to me it felt different. So this went on for at least two years.
At one point I thought, 'God, I am enlightened.' But I had to keep checking. Am I enlightened? Am I enlightened? Then there was a point where I would think, 'I can't say yes, I can't say no. I can't say I'm enlightened, I can't say I'm unenlightened.' So that went back and forth. At one point, when I was leaving Lucknow, Papaji said that I should go out and give satsang. He gave me the name of Bharat - Bharat was the name of the brother of Ram and means 'India'. So I gave satsang wherever I was but I always came back and, within minutes of being with him, I realized that I was still accumulating things. I always chose to be with Papaji — that was more important than any kind of satsang or ever being special. There would be plenty of time after Papaji died.
Papaji said enlightenment for me happened with the sadhu men. But I didn't have the right understanding about what was going on. There was no wisdom — I had no consciousness knowledge of what was happening to me, I had no confirmation. I found out these things are very important, even as important as the actual breakthrough. Dis-identification with the mind — that's only the beginning. It's not like you become enlightened and you're now in this bubble and you're not touched by anything and you've got full knowledge, you know. It s not like that. Everything that you read in a book about enlightenment is not true and you only know it when you meet it face to face, either with your own face or a jnani or a sadguru, like at the level of Papaji's. Then you see what it's really about.
Original interview here