Papaji: The concept "I am a body" is a dream.
Questioner : This is very difficult to understand.
Papaji: No, it is not difficult. Every day your experience this. Every night, when you go to sleep you experience this. You leave your body and friends behind and fall asleep. At that moment, are you happy or unhappy? To leave everything behind – apartment, car, money, friends – and say, "Good night, I am going to sleep." You leave the body, the mind and the ego all behind. And where are you wanting to go and disappear from all the pleasures of life? Why do you want to hide yourself and be alone? It must be a happier place than this world, that's why you want to run away. To enjoy your Self, alone. No one likes suffering. You must be very happy in sleep, therefore, you turn your back on everything and go to sleep alone, don't you?.
Papaji: First, I will tell you a little story. The story runs like this. Every day, a local washermen goes down to a river to wash clothes. He loads the soiled clothes on the back of several donkeys, washes the clothes, waits for them to dry on the river bank, and then returns home at the end of the day.
One day, a lioness goes down to the river to drink some water. In those days, lions were hunted for their skin and their head. Nowadays, it is forbidden. While this lioness was drinking water, a hunter hiding behind a bush shoots and kills her. This lioness was pregnant, and while skinning the lioness, the hunter pulled out a lion cub and left it on the bank.
A little later, the washerman goes to the river and sees the dead lioness and the newly born lion cub. He decided to look after the cub instead of leaving it to die. He washed it before putting it in a basket and returned home with it. He fed it milk and slowly when the cub grew big enough, he took the lion cub with him each day down to the river, where he left it along with the donkeys to eat grass on the bank of the river. It got used to walking with the donkeys. After awhile, it got rather big, so the washerman decided to load the soiled clothes on the young lion's back as well, treating it like the other donkeys. This lion slowly became a 'donkey', doing exactly what the other donkeys did. He lived with other donkeys – carried clothes on his back, drank milk and ate grass just like them. He had no idea what a lion was.
Several months later, another lion came to drink at the river and was amazed to see this lion cub eating grass near the river bank along with the donkeys. Lions usually eat donkeys and humans, not grass. It moved closer for a better look. He couldn't believe his eyes. Was he dreaming? How could this be? He got even closer, which caused all the donkeys to flee away and the washerman to climb a tree. The tame lion also tried to run away, because he was afraid just like the donkeys. The hunter lion chased and caught the tame lion. He jumped on him and knocked him to the grass.
The tame lion was very afraid. "Please, sir, please don't eat me", he said. "Let me go and join the others."
"But you are a lion", the one on top replied.
"No, sir, I am a donkey."
So the hunter lion took his charge down to the river.
"Look at your reflection", he said. "We are the same."
The tame lion looked into the water and saw two lions looking back.
"You are a lion and you have always been a lion."
"Then how is it that I felt I was a donkey?"
"By associating with donkeys you became a donkey."
"Then how can I now live like a lion since I have only lived as a donkey?"
"Listen, look, open your mouth and utter a roar, like I do." He roared and then the other lion roared!
"It is as simple as that. Don't practice being a lion. Roar! How long does it take to roar? No time! Open your mouth and it's finished."
"I am a lion!" He never returned back with the donkeys.
He needed a teacher to tell him, he needed someone similar, another lion to tell him,"Utter the roar." And what is that roar? "I am Reality. I am free! I am God itself!" This is the roar. Afterwards, you will not go and play with any donkeys. Playing with donkeys means listening to the senses, chasing after objects which constantly change. This is what I call "sleeping to the Self". So, for one instant of your life, turn your face towards the Self. Keep quiet and see who you are. Utter a roar.
Those who cannot keep quiet, they are donkeys. Let them play all their life with other donkeys, getting loaded with soiled linen, under the command of the washerman.