Gangaji is a spiritual teacher and author of self improvement books on the
subject of self realization.
She teaches a technique called self inquiry to get people to turn
inwards to silence and discover the true nature of themselves and
The Life of Gangaji
Gangaji was born on June 11, 1942 in Texas. She was
given the name Merle Antoinette Roberson and was called Toni. She grew up in
Mississippi and moved to San Francisco in 1972 after getting married and having
a child. Shortly thereafter, she became divorced and began her spiritual search.
She practiced Vipassana and Zen meditation, and took Bodhisattva vows.
She became an acupuncturist and helped at a Tibetan Buddhist meditation center
in San Francisco.
In 1989, her spiritual pursuits took her to Hawaii when
she studied with Andrew Cohen for two months. After that she traveled to
India to meet Papaji and counts that as one of the most extraordinary events in
her life. Papaji bestowed her with the name Gangaji and asked her to teach
others about her spiritual realizations.
The Teachings of Gangaji
Gangaji teaches others through her self improvement books and workshops.
explains the truth of who we are can be realized once we stop searching for it.
She teaches we already have everything we need and are already at peace, and the
way to realize that is to be still and practice self inquiry.
Self inquiry is a
practice taught to her by Papaji who learned it from the great spiritual
teacher, Ramana Marharshi. It is the practice of turning the mind inward for
answers rather than seeking answers outwardly.
The teachings of Gangaji are said
to be consistent with the Hindu philosophy of Advanta Vedanta but they are not
specific to any religion and freely offered to all spiritual seekers.
Self Improvement Books by Gangaji
• "You are That
was published in 1995 and is available today as a book and
Kindle ebook (from Amazon.com). In this work, Gangaji
encourages readers to examine themselves and question their
stories to get the truth of reality and bypass the dramas that
rob them of serenity and spiritual growth. This is an
excellent book for those who find it difficult to process the
teachings of Papaji or Ramana Marharshi.
• "Freedom &
Resolve: The Living Edge of Surrender
" was published in 1999.
This is a small book packed with wisdom that speaks to the
hearts of westerners in a way that makes it easier for them to
understand eastern teachings. In this book, she encourages
readers to awaken from the trances they believe is their lives
and become free through the practice of self inquiry.
"Just Like You, An Autobiography
" was published in 2003. In
this book, Gangaji tells the story of her life and how she
overcame adversity to achieve peace and freedom. The book
includes an autobiography, Q & A, and copies of correspondence
from her spiritual teachers. Gangaji explains the purpose of
the book is to teach readers she is just like them and they
can be just like her once they stop their stories of suffering
and embrace truth.
• "The Diamond in Your Pocket:
Discovering Your True Radiance
" is one of the more popular
self improvement books by the author. It was published in 2007
and is also available as an audio book. In this book, Gangaji
teaches readers how to quiet the mind. She explains it is
impossible to find happiness by chasing it. We must become
still and discover it has existed in us all along.
Treasure: Uncovering the Truth in Your Life Story
published in 2011 and can also be read as a Kindle ebook. In
this book, Gangaji teaches that we believe life stories that
are false dramas, and once we uncover the truth about
ourselves, then we can finally reach a state of deep peace and
experience simple 'being' rather than constantly chasing and
The Work of Gangaji Today
the Gangaji Foundation which was founded in 1993 and supports
her work. The foundation is in Ashland, Oregon where Gangaji
lives with her husband, Eli Jaxon-Bear, also a spiritual
Her mission is to spread the teachings of self
realization as taught by Ramana Marharshi and Papaji.
To that end, she holds workshops all around the world,
produces videos, publishes self improvement books and audio
programs, hosts a website, and operates outreach programs
including one for prison inmates.
Her videos can be
seen on many public access television stations around the
country thanks to her followers who submit them to local
In addition to writing books, Gangaji has had
several articles published, and has been interviewed in
In 2012 she was named to the Watkins'
Mind Body and Spirit magazine's list of the 100 Most
Spiritually Influential Living People.
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