Papa ji and Organic India

While Baba’s are the focus of today’s public debate I want to bring this little known story from my city Lucknow. There was once a young man called Yoav Lev who had a deep spiritual yearning and his quest brought him to Lucknow to meet his master Shri HWL Poonja or Papaji as he was lovingly called by his disciples. Poonja ji was born in Pakistani side of Punjab but he later settled in Lucknow after serving in the army. Poonja ji had a vision of Krishna when he was just 8 years old and his lifelong quest took him to his master Shri Ramana Maharishi. When Poonja ji asked him if he could show him God Ramana told him that he must focus on the I or the seer within himself and he will realize what he wants. After years of practice, one day Ramana appeared in Poonja ji ‘s dream and gave him the vision of Krishna. Poonja ji became the disciple of Ramana Maharishi and after his retirement in 1966 settled in Lucknow .

During the late 80’s and early 90’s, He became very popular among the western seekers and the entire area of Indiranagar where he used to live became infested by foreigners. For the locals it was good business to rent out their extra rooms to his peaceful chelas who were harmless except an occasional drag of chillum. I still remember one friend who had a couple of them as his tenants. He ostentatiously tried to learn guitar from one of them and accompanied me in one of the solo performances. It was such a monumental flop that it’s still a legend among those who studied in Lucknow University during the early 90’s. Anyways, sorry for digressing let me come back to the main topic. Now the simple folk of Lucknow could never figure out what the hell these hippies were doing in their city. But they were certainly doing something at least one of them was. One day Poonja ji told Yoav Lev who was now called Bharat Mitra that he must start a limited liability company. The vision for this company would be to link spirituality with business and connect environment with sustainable livelihoods. Bharat Mitra recalls that at that time he did not know what a LLP company was! But few months later, by the grace of his Guru he was sitting as the CEO in his new office of a company called as Organic India.

25 years later today Organic India has become a household name with its signature Tulsi tea & other herbal supplements. A couple of years back Fab India picked up a 40% stake in the company to support it’s growth plans. Organic India today is a big company that sells it’s products not only in India but in 40 other countries. The total area under cultivation would run into thousands of acres.They do all this while still living upto the original resolve of supporting marginalised communities of farmers and giving back more to the planet than they take from it.

Fun trivia – I had approached Organic India for employment as a fresher back in 1995 but could not get through as they had already hired two of my batch mates. Later in 2002 I once again discussed with them for dealership for south India but even that didn’t move forward. The only link I have now is their Tulsi tea which I drink everyday 😊

In this video you can see another famous disciple of Papaji – Mooji singing Shiv Shiv Shambho for his master.

2 comments on “Papa ji and Organic India

  1. Vinayak Prabhu says:

    I use many products of ORGANIC INDIA and consider them as Prasad (blessings) of our Sadguru Papaji. Shri Bharat Mitra and his team have practically shown what Papaji taught us as even Sri David Godman has recorded the illuminating words of Sadguru Papaji. Thanks to these men and women PAPAJI is now well-known all over the world. Papaji frees us from suffering ‘Samsar’ not by mitigating the sufferings as such, but by showing to us that these are only for the body and mind. Our real nature is beyond the body-mind complex, as pure, changeless Consciousness or Brahman, the existence of which is prior to the thoughts and feelings.

    The real Sadhana comprises in taking the standpoint of THAT, where there are no thoughts or disturbances of any kind, and hence, no hint of sufferings or ups and downs. Papaji told us that we are not the seekers of freedom, but are ever free, here and now. It is only required to cognize this as a fact, by doing intense self inquiry on one’s real nature. Once an effort is made in that direction, the Grace of Sadguru comes to one’s help and progress is noticed. Papaji said, “Sadguru is ONE, He is your Own Self”. This is to suggest that Papaji’s teachings can be brought into one’s own life, by taking the standpoint, from which he was talking. For instance, when asked, “Papaji, who are you?” Papaji said:

    “I AM THAT, FROM WHICH you, me,he, she and rest of all have emerged”.

    Entire teaching of Advaita is in this brief sentence. Clearly, it shows that the word ‘me’ in above sentence stands for the human Sadguru that we saw and loved as dear Papaji–tall, handsome, full of joy and all. But, in reality, HE was not that. Real Papaji was THAT from which the entire Universe emerged including ourselves and the whole manifestation. All teachings of Papaji were outpourings of wisdom from THAT standpoint only. One, who takes that standpoint alone, shall imbibe the teachings, not as lofty doctrines to be respected and saluted, but as absolute, undeniable facts of one’s own ever-abiding intuitive experience (anubhava). This Sadhana, Papaji said, “Is not to be done in the caves of Himalayas, but in your day-to-day life, even while crossing the pedestrian traffic signal of Amina Bazaar of Lucknow (which requires extreme care and alertness of mind).

    Those, lucky people, who saught the holy satsangh of Papaji were benefitted by the spiritually invigorating ambience of His divine presence. But, those who read the books on His immortal talks today, would be immensely benefitted by simultaneously studying some Upanishads, which talk the same language and guide the seeker on this path of Advita. It is thrilling to find that what Papaji spoke in recent times, in so simple words, is nothing less in the content of wisdom from the teachings of the ancient wisemen called Rishis of the Vedic times.

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