Interview With Ganga, aka Mira
By Mark O’Brien
In 2002 I did an interview with Ganga, aka Mira (who had only recently changed her name to Ganga) when she came to the Byron Bay area where she is known as long-time devotee and wife of H.W.L. Poonjaji, also known as Papaji.
We talked about meditation and silence.
I had met Mira on several occasions socially, and also attended a couple of her Satsangs where I found her to be totally natural and relaxed, with none of the stage persona that one often associates with teachers.
This is the transcript of an interview Mira was gracious enough to grant me, and was attended by some of her devotees and friends.
Some of these also asked questions, some of which I have included.
Mark: Did you have an experience of a big bang or something like this that happened before you started teaching that told you to teach?
Mira: Ah no, about teaching, no. Actually a friend or a kind of a friend, a ‘kind of a friend’ I say because I did not know her much, invited me to give Satsang and with my great surprise I said yes.
I didn’t think that I would say yes. I never imagined I would do something like Satsang before. (laughs)
Mark: In Satsang the other day you said, ‘You cannot even trust your experience’. Can you say something about that?
Mira: Yes, it is a big issue.
You know, in this world of appearance that looks real and is real for the mind, the authenticity of each personal being is to always speak from personal experience.
Also you get mature in this life of phenomena with personal experiences so everybody relies on personal experiences.
But what it (freedom) is about is to be free from illusory concepts, then personal experiences here are not seen as valuable.
Because here the question is ‘to whom those experiences occur’.
Then questioning the subject, somehow one stays without mental reply and here I would say please don’t rely or give real value to experiences otherwise you give a full reality to the subject.
Mark: When you say a full reality to the subject…
Mira: Means you never question who is this I.
Mark: Around this is … well, where I ‘come from’ is Osho’s thing of ‘Zorba the Buddha’ in a sense …mixing the Zorba and the Buddha…
Mira: Oh yes!! Zorba the Buddha!! I love it too!! (laughing)
Mark: There is living in the world and then there is spiritual life too.
Somehow for me I become more and more interested in the world. I used to go and spend time sitting and now I find I am more and more in the world, interested in the world.
So I wonder then if there is any point to spirituality.
Mira: So it is a big question… so how can I approach that? (pause) You see I don’t think I believe also in any ‘ways’, in any attitude.
Whether it be the Buddha way of going and sitting in caves and just sitting silently or Zorba way which is to be totally into actions and so on.
So I don’t touch that subject in the sense that here everyone is free to behave, to respond to circumstances as his temperament is, as his tendencies are, you see.
So in Satsang I never touch the action or no-action in the world because this is not my subject since I feel Here is total freedom.
My main concern is just that when one is really quiet to see what is real and the rest is just appearance.
Let it be real for the mind but I will not call it real reality, you see. Some people are really meant to act and some people are really meant to just sit.
I think it is nice to give many different examples and ways for many different minds. (laughs)
Mark: Is there something else other than life?
Mira: I don’t know what you mean by this word ‘life’. I don’t know. For me, life, real life is the direct expression of what is.
But I have to add that I don’t separate the two as if there is like a state of reality, a state of what is and then life.
Somehow it is totally simultaneous and totally incomprehensible to speak about.
So life… I really try to show it is unnecessary to reduce life to daily life, to some references everybody carries and so on… I like to show that one can have a life in its full spectrum every moment.
And that is very unexpected… we don’t know what that will bring but I call that aliveness.
A quality of being-ness that may be alive-ness, you see. That I consider as life. And everything is included in that of course.
Mark: In a lot of people who are interested in spiritual life, in finding themselves, interested in meditating, there is an ambition for a quiet mind so that then if they don’t have a quiet mind they feel a failure.
Then there is the making the quiet mind a goal that they have to achieve so that there is another layer between them and what is real.
Mark: Is the quiet mind something that needs to be achieved? Is the quiet mind actually silence?
Mark: So it is not related to silence?
Mira: No, not at all. You see, to realise oneself, it has to be at once; you do not need some sort of preparation or quality for that because it is not put into time.
It is not some-thing you achieve; it is not a result of any practice.
When you realise who you are eventually as a consequence you might find your mind is quietened but there is no law to this.
It is absolutely useless and a loss of time to achieve any kind of state, even a quiet mind.
Mark: For me it is like on that level I notice that when I experience silence it has nothing to do with my mind.
Mira: Yes, here you are! (laughs) It is like this! And in Satsang I speak very often so please not confuse a quiet mind for oneself because one will lose it and then again the search is not finished.
Mark: Is there an object to Satsang? Is there a purpose to Satsang?
Mira: There is no purpose in mind, there is maybe the genuine purpose to love what is shared in Satsang and when I say sharing it is not the correct word, really, because I don’t think that if anyone is freed from illusion it can be transmitted.
It is just that if somebody searches for freedom that itself may just touch the right place in the seeker so that he drops the search, but I will not call it a transmission.
So Satsang is the best when there is no intention of teaching or receiving.
Mark: Sometimes I get the feeling, not in your Satsang when I went, but in others, that Satsang is a place where there is someone who knows surrounded by others who don’t know.
Mira: I think this is a result of a false attitude from the teacher because the one who really gives Satsang actually doesn’t consider anyone else different from what he is.
Only that (latter) attitude may work, but nothing else. You see, if a teacher looks at the trouble of the mind of someone, at the psyche of someone, he himself does the same as the seeker does by seeing separation already and that is why he himself is searching.
So instead some “look” should be there from the teacher to just be vacant from any objects.
That is what I say, real Satsang is not given, no doubt someone is there – how it happens is always mysterious – how he came to sit there – and his “free look” may be of a help.
This “free look” means to look at the heart of anyone, not making a separation or difference of anyone by looking at the mind. Otherwise it is therapy.
Mark: Yeah, for me, one of the things about Satsang that I do like is the opportunity to sit with lots of people and sit in what is true.
And now you are in town and you are just an excuse for everyone to sit together.
Mira: Yes! It is, it is! And it is genuine because there is no intention.
Other questioner: Mira, a lot of people in the Byron Bay area have been to lots of teachers, they come to every teacher that comes to town.
Can you say anything about making Satsang a profession and about seekers making a lifestyle out of going to Satsang?
Mira: There are two questions in you, isn’t it? There is the one about making Satsang a profession – giving Satsang professionally and there is the one about people who go always to Satsang.
Satsang as a profession: it is not my cup of tea and I totally disagree with it, totally.
Other questioner: Can you say why?
Mira: It is a compromise, you see. You sit there, pretending you are nobody and yet you are somebody in a profession selling some truth.
So from here the entire world can arise: money, fame, keeping disciples and fanaticism about somebody knowing the truth and so on.
It just creates the whole world. About the seeker coming to Satsang:
I can speak very little about this because with my own experience I saw that it was very helpful to have only one master.
But it is my own experience and so I don’t know about others and everything is possible anyway so I cannot really touch that question.
You know Satsang is very attractive because you find there a very attractive group called a Sanga.
So one may forget on the way that he came to solve an urgent question of life, you see, so one has to be careful not to become a professional seeker and get lost in the comfort of the Sanga.
They can take for granted the ability to sit in this safe space called Satsang and that he can always come. So already the fact you can put it into time steals the truth of Satsang.
But on the other hand if you still are searching, I really recommend it because there one gets to hear again and again that they can leave the tyranny of the mind.
But surely if one is not satisfied, a serious seeker will continue to look in Satsang.
Mark: I feel completish! Thank you Mira.
Mira: Thank you. It was a good excuse to meet!
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it was good. can I please the contact no or email of Gangaji?
Thank you for great texts