The Witness and The Illusion

Fri, 14 October 1972 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Osho - Finger Pointing to the Moon
Chapter #:
pm in Mt. Abu, Rajasthan, India
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[NOTE: This is a translation of the Hindi series ADHYATMA UPANISHAD. This version is the final edit pending publication.]






How may one enter into that supreme truth, how may one know that supreme mystery which is so near and yet remains unknown; which is forever with us and yet is lost? How may we reach it, how has anyone ever reached it? In these sutras is the explanation of that science, the process of that path.

Let us first understand a few things about illusion. Illusion means to see as it is not. Truth means to see as it is. Whatsoever we see is illusion, because we involve ourselves in our seeing; our experience does not remain objective, it becomes subjective. Whatsoever is out there, it does not reach us as it is. Our mind distorts it, embellishes it, ornaments it, prunes it - making it bigger or smaller and changing it into many, many forms.

The biggest change and the deepest illusion is that we associate ourselves with everything, which in fact we are not associated with at all. As soon as we are associated the reality is lost and the dream projection starts appearing true. For example, we call a thing 'mine' - 'my house'... the house which was there when we were not and which will still be there when we will be no more.

Something that can be before I am, and will continue after I am not, which does not disappear with my disappearance - how can it be 'mine'? If I die this moment my house does not collapse or disappear, in fact it will not even know that I have died - then what kind of association can there be between myself and that house? What is the relationship? Tomorrow someone else will live in that same house and call it 'mine'. Yesterday somebody else was living in it and he was calling it 'mine'.

Who knows how many people have stuck their 'I' on that house, and have passed away? But that 'I' never sticks onto the house, and that house does not belong to anybody; the house belongs to itself.

In this world everything belongs to its own self. If we can understand this properly, we shall be able to shatter the illusions easily.

There is a piece of land. You call it 'my field', or 'my garden'. If not today, tomorrow there will be claims advanced about the moon - America will say it is 'ours', Russia will say it is 'ours'. Until yesterday the moon did not belong to anybody; it simply was. It simply belonged to itself. But now someone or other will claim the moon and sooner or later there will be struggles and confrontations.

Up to now the sun belonged to itself, but tomorrow the sun may also be claimed.

Wherever man puts his feet he labels it with his 'I'. Nature does not accept his labels, but other human beings have to, otherwise there will be confrontation. Others have to accept the labels because they want to put their own labels on things. So the house becomes somebody's and the piece of land becomes somebody else's. Why are we so impatiently eager to stick this label of 'I' somewhere? The eagerness is because the more places and things on which we stick this label, or make our signatures, the bigger the circle of 'mine' grows and the bigger the 'I' is developed within us.

'I' is as big as the number of things that carry its label. If someone says that he has one acre of land, how can his 'I' be as big as that of another person who says, "I have one thousand acres of land"?

With the expansion of the 'mine', the 'I' feels as if it is growing bigger. If the expanse of 'mine' decreases, the 'I' also shrinks. So every brick of 'I' is made up of 'mine'. Thus the more ways I can say 'mine', the higher rises the palace of 'I'. Hence our whole life we remain in only one race - how many things we can stick our labels on and say, "It is mine." In so doing, while we continue to label things, one day we die and wherever we had put our labels, someone else begins to stick his labels on the things we had called 'mine'.

Things belong to themselves, not to any person. They can be used, but there can be no ownership.

Ownership is an illusion, and while we are using them we should have a sense of gratitude because we are using something that does not belong to us. But when we say 'mine', all sense of gratitude disappears and a new world of 'mine' is created. That includes money, position, prestige, education and everything. For these things it may be okay, but what is more surprising is that things which have nothing to do with 'I' also get included. We say: my religion, my god, my deity, my temple - with whom 'I' can have no relationship whatsoever. And if it can, then there is no possibility of freeing oneself from the world. If religion can also be mine and thine, if God can also be mine and thine, then there is no hope; where shall we then find a way out of 'mine'? If God also falls within its jurisdiction, then there remains no space left anywhere for the 'I' to go away to. But we put the label of 'mine' on temples and mosques and on God as well.

Wherever man goes he reaches there with his 'mine'. Try to understand the implications: 'I' actually becomes bigger through 'mine', but the greater the expanse of 'mine', the greater the unhappiness.

The increase in 'I' is the increase of unhappiness, because 'I' is a wound. And the greater the 'I', the bigger the area vulnerable to hurt, so that more hurt can be inflicted upon it. It is like someone having a large physical wound which tends to get hurt every now and then; any move the person makes and it gets hurt. The wound is big, its area large, and any little touch becomes a hurt. The bigger the 'I', the bigger the hurt and the greater the pain.

With the expansion of 'mine', the 'I' expands. As the 'I' grows, the pain also grows. On one hand one feels that happiness is on the increase, on the other hand the unhappiness also goes on increasing.

The more we increase this happiness, the more unhappiness goes on increasing - and between the two an illusion is carried on. Where there is no possibility of saying 'mine', there too we go on saying 'mine' falsely, unmeaningfully. This hand you call 'mine', this body you call 'mine', are also not yours.

When you were not, even then the bones, the skin, the blood of this hand existed somewhere; and they will exist even after you. The bones in your body, they have been bones in so many other earlier bodies. The blood in your body has flowed in the body of some animal yesterday and in some tree the day before. Who knows how long, how many billions and trillions of years, the journey has been?

Even when you won't be, not a single particle of your body will be annihilated. It will all exist. It will flow in some other bodies.

Understand it this way: the breath you took in just now, a moment ago it was inside the person sitting next to you. A moment ago he was calling it "my breath," and a moment later it does not belong to him any more, it has become somebody else's.

Life does not accept anybody's claim over it and goes on flowing each moment. But we go on claiming. This illusion of claim, this is man's deepest illusion.

So whenever a person says 'mine', he is falling in ignorance. This sutra is to break this very illusion.

Not only the land is not mine, the house is not mine, the money is not mine; even the body is not mine. Your body is made up from the atoms of your parents. Those atoms existed before you were, and they are coming to you after a long journey. Before your parents, they were in the bodies of their parents. These atoms have had a long journey of millions of years; now they constitute your body.

That body too is a field, a land in which you are rooted, but you are not it. You are not the body, you are separate from it.

This sutra says a man is not only not the body, it goes even deeper and says man is not even the mind, because mind is also an accumulation.

Do you have a single thought which may be yours, which you can say is yours? There are none.

Some have come from tradition, some from scriptures, some from hearing someone, some from your reading - they have come from one or the other external sources. If you search for the birth- chart of your every single thought, if you look at the journey of every single thought, you will find you don't have a single thought of your own, they are all borrowed; they have come to you from somewhere.

No thought is ever original, all thoughts are borrowed. But we claim even a thought to be 'mine'.

Remember, even a breath cannot be called 'mine'; thought is a much more subtle matter. Going deeper and deeper into this analysis, where does one come to? Where have the Upanishads come to? Where does Buddha come to? Where does Mahavira come to? Continuing this analysis, using the negation: "I am not this, I am not this"; when in the end nothing remains to be negated, when nothing remains about which I can even think whether it is mine or not, that which remains even then.... When there is nothing left to cut, when all relations are broken and none remains that can still be broken, that which remains even then is what the Upanishads have called sakshi, the witness.

There is a big world around me - it is not mine. Shrinking I come closer - this body is not mine.

Descending deeper into it - the mind is not mine. Then who is there whom I can call 'I'? Or is there nothing in me which I can call 'I'? Am I, or am I not? Cutting away 'mine' in its entirety, what purest thing remains within? Only one thing remains which is not discarded; there is no way it can be discarded.

In the West there was a philosopher named Descartes - a deep thinker. He decided not to accept anything until he found the truth which cannot be doubted, so he began to reflect. He labored hard and he felt everything was doubtful. One may say "God is," but a doubt can be raised about it. God may or may not be, but a doubt can always be created. "There is heaven," "There is liberation" - it can all be doubted. Descartes said, "I will believe only in a thing which cannot be doubted, not something that can be proved, or argued in favor of, no. Something that cannot be doubted, something which is inevitable, indubitable... only then I will accept it."

He searched and searched. However he too stopped at one point. He denied God, heaven, hell, and everything else, but he got stuck at one point - "Am I or not?"

Descartes said, "This cannot be doubted, because even if I say 'I am not,' then too I am needed to be able to say this." It is like a person who is in the house and who answers the caller, "I have gone out," or "Right now I am not in the house. Come back in a little while and then I may meet you because by then I will be back home." His very telling this will be the proof of his being at home. So the fact of my being is indubitable. This much is clear, that I am. Though what I am is not so clear.

Am I a body, or a mind, or what? - this is not so clear.

This is what the Upanishads are in search of. One after another everything is eliminated, just as one would remove layer after layer of an onion. If you go on peeling an onion, finally nothing will be left of it in your hand. An onion is nothing but layers upon layers of skin - clothing over clothing - and there is nothing to be found if you go on undressing it. It is as if someone may have made a cloth-doll and we remove the cloths one by one. The first layer removed, the second layer is revealed; the second layer removed, the third layer is revealed; and so on, until all layers of cloths have finally been removed - and there remains no doll any more, just a nothingness in your hand.

So the biggest search of man is to find out if he too is nothing but an accumulation of many, many layers that we can go on peeling off and in the end there is nothing in our hand. If we go on denying and saying, "I am not the body," "I am not the mind," "I am not this," "I am not that," it may turn out to be the story of the onion and in the end nothing may remain of which one may say that "This is me."

But the Upanishads say that even if it is so, yet it is necessary to know the truth; even if it is true that there is nothing within, yet it is worth knowing it, because the outcome of knowing the truth is very significant. But on searching deeply, however, it is found in the end that no, man is not just an accumulation of clothing, man is not just layers upon layers upon layers, there is something within the layers which is different. But we only come to know of that when by removing all the layers we arrive within ourselves. That element which remains in the end is called by the Upanishads sakshi, the witness.

This word sakshi is very beautiful and very valuable. The whole philosophy, genius and wisdom of the East is implied in this small word. The East has contributed no other more important word than sakshi, the witness, to the world.

What does sakshi mean? Sakshi means the seer, the witness. Who is this who is experiencing that "I am not the body?" Who is this who is experiencing that "I am not the mind?" Who is this who goes on denying that "I am not this, I am not this?" There is an element of seeing, of watching, of the watcher within us which sees, which observes everything.

This seer is the sakshi, the witness. What is seen is the world. The one who is seeing is who I am, and what is being seen is the world. Adhyas, the illusion, means that the one who is seeing misunderstands himself to be all that is seen. This is the illusion.

There is a diamond in my hand: I am seeing it. If I start saying that I am the diamond, that is an illusion. This illusion has to be broken and one has to come, finally, to that pure element which is always the seer and is never the seen. This is a little difficult. The one who is the seer can never be seen, because by whom will it be seen? You can see everything in the world except yourself. How will you see yourself? - because two will be needed for seeing, one who sees and the other who is seen. We can grab everything with a pair of tongs except the tongs themselves. That effort will fail.

We may find it puzzling that when the tongs grab everything, why can they not grab themselves?

We see everything, but we are not able to see ourselves. And we will never be able to. Whatsoever you can see, know well that that is not you. Thus take one thing to be certain, that whatsoever you are able to see is not you. If you are able to see God, then one thing has become certain, that you are not God. If you have seen light within you, one thing is conclusive, that you are not light. If you have an experience of bliss within you, one thing is determined, that you are not bliss. Whatsoever has been experienced, you are not that. You are that which experiences.

So whatsoever becomes your experience, you are beyond it. Therefore it will be useful to understand one difficult point here, that spirituality is not an experience. Everything in the world is an experience, but not spirituality. Spirituality is reaching towards that which experiences all, but which itself never becomes an experience. It always remains the experiencer, the witness, the seer.

I see you: you are on one side, I am on the other side. You are there, the one who is being seen; I am here, the one who is seeing. These are two entities.

There is no way of dividing oneself into two so that one part sees and the other part is seen. Even if it was possible to divide, then the part that would be seeing is myself, the part that would be seen would not be myself. The matter is finished.

This is the whole process or methodology of the Upanishads: neti, neti - neither this nor that.

Whatsoever can be seen, say that you are not that. Whatsoever can be experienced, say that you are not that. You can go on stepping backwards, until nothing remains that can be denied or eliminated. A moment comes when all scenes are lost. A moment comes when all experiences are dropped - all!

Remember, all! The experience of sex is of course dropped, the experiences of meditation are also dropped. The experiences of the world, of love and hate are dropped, the experiences of bliss and enlightenment are also dropped. Only the pure seer remains. Nothing is there to be seen, only emptiness remains all around. Only the watcher remains, and the empty sky all around. In the middle stands the seer, the watcher, who sees nothing because everything has been denied and eliminated that could be seen. Now he experiences nothing. He has removed all experiences from his way. Now he remains alone, the one who was experiencing.

When there is no experience, there is no seeing; there is nothing seen and there is no object to be seen, and the witness alone remains. It becomes very difficult to express in language what really happens because we have no other word except 'experience' in our language, therefore we call it 'self-experience' or 'self-realization'. The word experience is not right. We say "experience of consciousness" or "experience of the Brahma, the absolute," but none of these expressions are right, because the word experience belongs to that same world which we have eliminated. The word experience does have a meaning in the world of duality, where there was 'the other' too. Here it has no meaning at all. Here only the experiencer remains, the witness remains.

The search for this witness is spirituality.

Remember: the search for God is not spirituality. In the ancient yoga sutras God is not discussed, not even mentioned. There was no need. Later, even when the sutras mentioned God, they called God a means in the journey of spirituality and not a goal. It is said God is useful in the spiritual practice, in the spiritual search, hence it is good to accept it, but it is only a means, a device, that's all.

Buddha and Mahavira also denied God. They invented new devices. This device is not needed, they said. If God is nothing but a device, then other devices will serve the purpose as well.

But both Buddha and Mahavira cannot deny sakshi, the witness. They can deny God, they can deny everything else, but when it comes to sakshi, it is religion. If there is no mention of the witness, understand it well that the whole thing has nothing to do with religion. Everything else is secondary. Everything else may be useful, may not be useful, there can be differences of opinion about everything else, but not regarding the witness.

Therefore, if some day in this world a science of religion is created, there will be no mention of God, soul or Brahma. These are all local matters - some religions believe in them, some do not - but the sakshi will certainly be mentioned because it is not a local issue.

There can be no religion without the witness. So the witness alone is the scientific basis for all religious experiences - of all religious search and journeying. And it is on this and around this sakshi that all the Upanishads revolve. All principles and all indicators are for pointing out the witness.

Let us try to understand this a little further. It is not difficult to understand the meaning of the word witness, but it is a complex thing in actual practice.

Our mind is like an arrow, sharpened on one end. You may have seen an arrow: it cannot be shot from both its ends, an arrow will only go in one direction. It can't travel in opposite directions simultaneously, it will go only towards its target in one direction.

So, when the arrow is on the bow and then it is shot, there are two aspects to be considered - when it leaves the bow on which it was set it begins to move away from it; and it begins to come closer towards the target, where it was not earlier. One state was that the arrow was on the bow, and far away on a tree was sitting a bird. The arrow was still on the bow and had not yet pierced the bird.

Then the arrow left the bow, started moving away from it and coming closer to the bird. And then comes the state when the arrow has pierced the bird; the bow remains vacant and the arrow is in the chest of the bird.

This is what we are doing with our awareness the whole time. Whenever the arrow of our awareness leaves us, the bow within becomes vacant and the arrow, on reaching the object, is attached to it. A face looked beautiful to you, the arrow of your awareness is released. Now that arrow is not within you, the awareness is not within you. The awareness raced away and attached itself to the beautiful face.

There is a diamond lying on the road; the arrow is released from the bow. Now the awareness is not within you, now the awareness moves and, reaching the diamond, pierces its heart. Now your awareness is with the diamond and no longer within you. Now the awareness is somewhere else. So all the arrows of your awareness have reached out and pierced somewhere else - and somewhere else, and somewhere else. You have no awareness within you any more, it is always going out. An arrow can only go in one direction but awareness can be bi-directional - and when that happens, the witness is experienced. The arrow of awareness can go in both directions; it can be two-edged.

When your awareness is drawn somewhere, if you can manage only this much, then one day the witness will happen within you. When your attention is drawn outside - say a beautiful young woman passed by or a beautiful young man passed by, your awareness was caught there and now you have completely forgotten yourself, the awareness is no longer within. Now you are not conscious, now you have become unconscious because your consciousness has traveled to someone else, now your consciousness has become the shadow of that person or object - now you are no longer conscious.

Now, if you can do this one thing: you saw someone beautiful, your awareness was drawn there. If in that same moment you can be aware of the bow within from where this arrow has been shot, if you can simultaneously see them both - the source from where the awareness is shooting forth and the object where awareness is going to - if they can both come into your attention simultaneously, then you will experience for the first time what is meant by the witness. From where the awareness is arising, from where the awareness is shooting away - that source has to be found.

We see a tree - we see its branches, its foliage, its leaves and flowers, its fruits, but we are not able to see the roots. The roots are hidden in the darkness underneath. But the tree is taking its nourishment from the roots. Your awareness expands and travels all around, a big tree of the world is created, but the source from where the awareness emanates, that oceanic consciousness remains unnoticed. What is needed is that the roots are also seen at the same time, both the roots and the tree are seen simultaneously.

Understand it this way: when I am speaking, your awareness is on my words. Make this a double- pointed arrow... it can become so right now, this very moment. When I am speaking, do not only listen to what I am saying, also remain aware simultaneously that you are listening. The speaker is someone else, he is speaking; I am the listener, I am listening. If even for a moment, now, here, you can manage both things simultaneously - listening as well as remembering the listener, this remembrance within that, "I am listening" - then there is no need to repeat the words. If you repeat the words, "I am listening," you will not be able to listen at the same time, you will miss what I said.

There is no need to form the words inside, "I am listening, I am listening." If you did that, you would be deaf for that period of time to what I was saying. In that moment when you heard your own voice saying, "I am listening," you wouldn't hear what I was saying.

It is a simultaneous experience of listening to what I am saying and also being aware that you are listening. The feeling, the realization, the experience that you are the listener is the second aspect.

Achieving awareness of the second aspect is difficult. If you can manage it, becoming aware of the third aspect is very easy.

The third aspect is this: if the speaker is A, the listener is B, then who is the one that is experiencing them both, the speaker as well as the listener? That one is the third, and this third point is the witness. You cannot go beyond this third. This third one is the last point. And these are the three points of the triangle of life: the two are the object and the subject, and the third point is the witness of these two, the experiencer of these two, the seer of these two.

Now we may understand the sutra.


The seeker, the explorer of this truth, the aspirant for liberation, having experienced that "I am the witness" and never a doer, that "I am ever a witness" and never the indulger, drops the feeling of 'mineness' and the desire over everything. He goes on receding within to that point beyond which it is not possible to recede any more.

GIVING UP FOLLOWING LOK, THE SOCIETY.... Such a man stops following the society. The word lok means the society, the culture, the civilization, the people who are around you, the crowd.

To give up following the society before you have the experience of the witness is dangerous also; because with society are associated its morals, its rules, regulations, limitations, organization and discipline. So society will certainly become the master for one who is not yet his own master.

Somebody has to control one who is not his own master; some discipline is needed, otherwise all systems will go berserk, will become anarchic. But the one who has experienced his own being, the one who has experienced his witnessing, is himself his master in this world.

It is very interesting that one who drops all mastery over everything becomes his own master; and the one who goes on accumulating all kinds of mastery, he only indicates that he has no mastery of his own self yet. This means that one who is busy making efforts to have more houses, more land, a kingdom, this and that - one thing is certain, that he does not yet belong to himself, because to one who acquires his inner kingdom, all other kingdoms become insipid and worthless. The one who acquires his inner kingdom does not have any desire for any other kingdom.

Even if he has an outside kingdom, it becomes worthless. If his desire for the outside kingdom is strong, it only indicates that he has no idea at all of the inner master, the witness; he is trying to substitute for it. There is no master inside, so through gaining mastery over things he is trying to convince himself that he is a master: "Look! I have so much land, so much money, so many possessions!" By so doing, he is trying to create a confidence within himself that, "Who says I am not a master? I am a master of many things!" This mastery is false, because nobody is ever a master of things in this world.

Bhartrihari renounced his kingdom: he left his kingdom, went to a forest and began to meditate deeply. Later, a very interesting event happened. He was sitting near the mouth of his cave; suddenly a horse rider came along the road that ran in front of the cave. Almost simultaneously another horse rider appeared from the other direction and swords were instantly drawn for a deadly battle. Bhartrihari could not understand this sudden happening. As they pointed their swords towards something on the road, Bhartrihari saw that there was a diamond lying there. The first rider claimed that he had seen the diamond first, therefore it was his. The second rider said, "Do you see the sharpness of my sword? Do you see the strength of my arms? How does it matter who saw it first? Whoever is fit to be the owner is the owner. Naturally, I am the owner!"

A deadly battle ensued and within moments both the riders' heads were rolling on the ground; both the blood-soaked bodies were lying on the ground, and the glittering diamond lay where they had seen it.

Bhartrihari thought how strange the incident was! The diamond, for which both riders had claimed ownership and had perished, wouldn't even know what had happened around it, because of it.

And who knows what else might have happened in the past around this same diamond? And the diamond is just lying there. Many more may perish for it in the future, and the diamond will still be lying there, unconcerned.

The efforts for mastery over things is an indication that the person so doing has no mastery over himself. Whenever a person starts experiencing the witness he becomes his own master. His desire for mastery drops. He no longer wants to become the master of anybody or anything else, because now he knows that there is simply no way to become a master of the other. Let me repeat it, "There is no way of becoming a master of the other."

If a husband thinks he is the master of his wife, he is insane. If a wife thinks she is the master of her husband, her mind needs medical treatment. Nobody can be anybody's master, because everybody is born as his own master. In the very nature of things everyone's mastery is hidden within oneself. On no account can it be revoked. And unless it is revoked, how can anybody else become its master?

Therefore, a very interesting thing happens. A husband thinks, "I am the master." The wife laughs inwardly and she knows, "I am the master." That is why there is friction twenty-four hours a day. That friction is for this very reason, that each moment it has to be decided as to whom is the master, who is in power. There is no certainty. There never is certainty. Since there is no certainty even in relation to things, there can be absolutely no certainty in relation to individuals. There can be no mastery even over a diamond, how can there be mastery over a living individual?

One who is the witness drops all kinds of mastery because he has become his own master. The mastery that can be, it becomes his; the mastery that cannot be - he does not bother to fall in that madness. In such a state he drops bothering about society; he drops it because now there is no control over him, he is his own controller. Now he can walk on his own feet, now he can walk in his own light, now he does not need any borrowed light any more.


Not only does he stop following others, as the realization of the witness deepens he drops the slavery of the body too. Then he does not do things because the body is saying so, now he does what he wants to and the body follows him like a shadow.

Right now your body does not follow you like a shadow; on the contrary, you follow the body like its shadow. The body dictates to you to do things or not to do things, and you have to act accordingly.

The body is the master, and it has its own indicators which control you.

It is bound to be so, because whosoever is not his own master, the society will be his master, his biology will be his master. Society is the group of human beings around us, and our body is connected with the earth, with nature. One who becomes his own master becomes free of the systems of the society and also of his biology. Then the body does not tell him, "Do this"; then he moves on his own and the body follows.

The phenomenon of the body following you is very valuable. We cannot even conceive how the body can follow. Only when the body is hungry... even if it is the body of a Mahavira, he too will feel hunger only when the body is hungry first; and it is only when the body indicates its hunger that Mahavira will go out in search of food, begging for food. So how can the body follow one? Does it mean that suddenly Mahavira will say, "I am hungry," and the body will become hungry?

What is the meaning of the body following? It is a deep alchemy. Certainly the body will not be hungry unless Mahavira agrees. Whatever happens to the body, whatever it feels, it will be able to convey it to Mahavira only when he is ready to listen. It is Mahavira who decides that he will fast for a month. If you decide that you will go on a fast for one day, for twenty-four hours you will go on eating food in your mind, because the body will protest, "Who is the master? Without consulting me... fasting? I will see to it!" The body will go on sending the message around the clock: hunger, hunger, hunger; and your whole consciousness will be covered over by hunger. Ordinarily the body will not trouble you very much if you just could not eat, even if it is for a whole day, but you make a decision one morning that you will not eat that day, and...!

A very interesting thing happens which is worth noting. If you take your meals daily at one o'clock in the afternoon, normally your body will not report hunger till about one o'clock. But if early one morning you get up at six o'clock and decide that today you will fast, your mind will start having lunch right from six o'clock that day. The body should have waited at least until one o'clock! But no, the body has received the hint that you are trying to establish your mastery. One o'clock is a far-off matter, your body will begin to agitate right from the morning. It has never before happened like this, you used to feel hunger only around one o'clock, but today it will start happening right from the morning.

The mastery of the body is ancient, thousands upon thousands of lifetimes. And whomsoever is the master, no one ever wants to relinquish the mastery so easily.

If Mahavira says he will fast for a month, the body becomes silent for one month, it does not communicate any message of hunger till then. The body follows, which means that it does not report. It will report only after a month whether it is hungry or not; for the whole month it will remain quiet. But what does this mean? Will it happen through practicing? If you go on practicing every day - just as one takes daily exercise, similarly if you go on practicing fasting every day then slowly will a habit be formed? No, do not fall in this fallacy. It is not a question of practice and habit, it is a matter of the experience of the witness.

If the experience of the witness is there, if a Mahavira decides to fast not only for a month but even for a year.... The body may become just a skeleton of bones, and die, and be finished, but it will not need to send any message to Mahavira. It will not dare to communicate the message to Mahavira that it is hungry. It is none of the body's business to send the message. It is a matter of settling once and for all who is the master. As long as the body knows that it is the master it does the mastery, but once the witness is experienced the mastery of the body is immediately gone. The inner law simply changes. The body starts following you. And then there are unique experiences.

After Mahavira thousands of people have fasted - so many Jaina monks are engaged in fasting - but Mahavira's fasting was unique. Have you looked at Mahavira's body, his statue? If you put the bodies of these Jaina monks in front of Mahavira's you will know what I mean. Where is the difference? Monks' bodies are continuously reporting hunger, not only to them but even to you.

Mahavira's body does not report any hunger - neither to Mahavira nor to you.

It is very difficult to find a body as beautiful as Mahavira's. That handsome body is saying that now someone has become the master inside and the body has no capacity to disturb. Now the body cannot say anything like, "Do this" or, "Do not do that." Now it is of no concern for the body; now everything is in the hands of the knower within. Now whatsoever he decides, howsoever he decides he may do - the decisions are in his hands. He may live if he chooses to live, he may die if he chooses to die, but the body cannot interfere. The body will only follow like a shadow.



Thus one goes on giving up: the society, the body, the following of the scriptures. For one who is the witness, all scriptures become meaningless. This is a little complex. We can say this in the opposite way also, that to him who is the witness, the scriptures also become meaningful. And this is the same. The reason it is the same is that as long as you have not become the witness, no scriptures can be meaningful to you. You may learn them by heart, you may have learned all the Vedas by heart, but they are not meaningful because the meaning is not in the words but in the experience.

The experience is not your own. You may go on repeating the word witness like a parrot, but even while you are repeating it there is no witness within who may be listening to it.

Until you are a witness all scriptures are useless. But they will appear to be meaningful until you have your own knowing. The day you have your own knowing, you yourself become the scripture.

When you yourself have become the scripture, what use have you now for scriptures?

Thus the day the scriptures become meaningful they become useless too. You now know that which the scriptures express. Now what value are the scriptures? You have arrived at the destination; the journey is completed, so what is the use of that map that you have been carrying up to now? Now you can throw the map away. What will you do with it now?

Buddha used to say that when someone crosses a river in a boat, the moment he has crossed the river the boat is of no further use. The person leaves the boat there and moves on. But Buddha told the story: It once happened that four idiots crossed a river in a boat. Upon crossing the river they lifted up the boat and started carrying it on their heads. People of the village said to them, "We have seen many people crossing the river, but they all leave the boat there at the river. What are you doing?"

They replied, "How can we leave the boat that has been so helpful? We are not so foolish."

Now they were stuck. The boat had helped them to go beyond the river, but now how to go beyond the boat? So they started carrying the boat wherever they went. Now it was becoming impossible to get rid of the boat.

Do not think that such people existed only in the past. They may have died, but their children are there and they continue to carry the boat. They say, "Our father used to carry this same scripture and we shall also carry it. Our father's father also did the same; so what can we do now, we are helpless. This has always been on the heads of our forefathers, so we too will keep it on our heads.

Moreover, this scripture is a kind of boat, and how many sages have been able to cross over due to these boats."

The day one experiences oneself, nothing remains to be learned from the scriptures - and this is also true, that that day the scriptures also become meaningful. It is then that we come to know that what is written in the scriptures is correct. This will appear to be a paradoxical statement: the day you know firsthand that what the scripture says is right, from that day on the scripture becomes useless, and one drops it. The real spiritual traveler drops all the scriptures.

And the last thing said in the Upanishads is miraculous. Only Buddha gathered that much courage and said, "I am not a soul either." This sutra of the Upanishad is wonderful. It contains the whole essence of what Buddha had said. Finally, GIVING UP FOLLOWING THE SCRIPTURES, HE GIVES UP THE ILLUSION OF THE SOUL ALSO.

Then he does not even say, "I am the soul."

"I am not the society," this is where the thing began. It went deeper when it said, "I am not the body, I am not the mind." Now this is the last jump. "I am not even the soul." What would this mean? It means that now it will be foolish on my part to create any boundaries for myself.

When we say, "I am the soul," my soul and your soul become different entities. When I say, "I am the soul," I become an individual, and the whole universe becomes separate from me. This last illusion also disappears, that I am separate, I am an individual. Then all distance and all boundaries between me and the universe disappear. The drop becomes the ocean. How can the drop even say, "I am a drop?" The drop has become the ocean.

In the end, when everything has disappeared, even the idea that "I am a soul" drops - and what does this mean? This does not mean that there is no soul. It means that "I am God." Being a soul is not enough! This is a very difficult declaration. Whenever this declaration is made, trouble arises.

Al-Hilaj Mansoor declared to the Mohammedans, "I am God." They immediately killed him. They said, "What a sinful thing you are saying. What a sin you are committing! You and God! Whatever heights you may attain, however great a siddha, the fulfilled one, you may become, you cannot be God, because being God means the last thing. Man is made of earth... and Mansoor is talking of such lofty flights... no, it is not possible."

So they cut Mansoor to pieces limb by limb. While Mansoor was being butchered he was laughing!

Somebody from the crowd asked him, "Why are you laughing?" Mansoor replied, "I am laughing because I have already said, from the beginning, that I am not that which these people are cutting up. Who do they think they are cutting up? I have already said, 'Oh fools, I am not that which you are cutting up.' Only when I could say that, I came to know that I am God."

Until his last breath, from the mouth of Mansoor the words, "Ana'l haq, ana'l haq," meaning, "I am God, I am the truth," were resounding in the whole atmosphere.

There was a fakir named Sarmad. He is looked on with great respect by Sufis. He is among those chosen few who can be counted on your fingers. Aurangzeb, the Moghul king of India, came to hear some complaints about Sarmad, that he was saying some strange things. There is a mantra of the Mohammedans, "No one is Allah except Allah, there is one Allah only." But Sarmad was only repeating half of the mantra, "No one is Allah, No one is Allah." Now this changed the whole meaning. It meant there is no Allah. It was a very serious matter!

Aurangzeb summoned Sarmad and said, "You call yourself a Sufi fakir, a lover of God! and you go on repeating 'No Allah.' This is too much."

Sarmad replied, "I have attained only this far. I have yet to travel the rest of the territory. You are saying the whole mantra 'No one is Allah except Allah, there is one Allah only.' I have not yet reached the experience of the full mantra. Let me move further, slowly, slowly perhaps I may attain. But so far I can only say that much. And I am not ready to tell a lie. Up until now I have known only this much, 'No one is Allah.' The remaining part '... except Allah, there is one Allah only' I have not yet understood. Wait a little, I am working towards it. If you have understood the mantra fully, say so."

Undoubtedly it was a sin; and this man was an atheist. How many more people are being spoiled by him? Sarmad had a great prestige in Delhi. Millions of people were touching the feet of this man who was saying, "No one is Allah." This is called a miracle - when somebody says, "There is no Allah," and millions of people see Allah in him!

It has happened so. It happened so with Buddha, it happened so with Mahavira, it happened so with Sarmad. Mahavira asserted, "There is no God," and millions of people called him bhagwan, the blessed one. Buddha said, "There is neither any God nor any soul," and millions of people bowed down to his feet and asked him to indicate the way, and how to reach that place where there is no soul and no God.

Sarmad was given three days by Aurangzeb to correct his mistake and start repeating the complete statement of the mantra - otherwise he would be beheaded.

Sarmad said, "What is the guarantee of the three days? I may be alive, I may not be alive, and you may be deprived of the opportunity to behead me. It is also not certain that in three days' time I shall be able to attain to the complete mantra - and as long as I do not attain to the truth of the whole mantra myself, I am not going to repeat it the way you want it. I will say something only if it is my experience. So it is better that you behead me now."

Sarmad is reported to have said further, "It is also possible that on being beheaded my remaining journey may be completed, the last part that I have not been able to know up to now. Perhaps it is my head that is being the hindrance."

It is doubtful that Aurangzeb would have understood. Emperors and intelligence do not have much relationship anyway. Aurangzeb had Sarmad beheaded that very day. In Jama Masjid, in Delhi, Sarmad was beheaded. And when his head fell on the steps of Jama Masjid and started rolling down the steps, it was heard to have spoken, "No one is Allah except Allah, there is only one Allah."

Thousands and thousands of witnesses heard it.

Aurangzeb repented very much, but it was too late. When he asked Sarmad's disciples, they laughed and said, "Sarmad told us, 'As long as I am surviving even in the tiniest way how can there be any talk of the second part of the mantra? Allah will be on the day when I won't be. This head is a small hindrance. It is good if it is cut off. It is very kind of Aurangzeb that he is having it cut off. I would have managed it myself, but that would have taken time. Aurangzeb is getting the job done faster.'"

When a person dissolves himself completely, he does not even say that he has a soul. Then even the last illusion drops. As long as you do not know that you are God, know well that the illusion is still surviving. As long as you do not have the very experience, "I am Brahma, the ultimate," understand well that ignorance still prevails - and go on discarding it. Become free of the society, become free of the body, become free of the scriptures, and finally become free of your own self too.


The mind can be suppressed - though even that is difficult. The mind can be hidden - though even that is difficult. But the annihilation of mind - that is the last thing that can be managed.

Even if your mind becomes quiet, it becomes unquiet again the next day. It arises again and again; it revives again and again. It sprouts again and again - somehow its seed remains. However much we may meditate, pray and remember God's name, one moment it feels that everything is alright and the next moment it feels that everything has gone topsy-turvy; sometimes it feels that the destination has come, this is the place, and then again everything gets lost.

This whole game appears like the one of snakes and ladders which children play. There are both ladders and snakes in it. Up the ladders you climb and then suddenly you come to the mouth of some snake and immediately you have dropped down to a lower level. This goes on happening - climbing up, falling down. A similar thing goes on with the mind. Sometimes it feels one has climbed, everything is fine, perfectly okay; one feels one has arrived. "So this is what the saints have been talking about - this is the very place, this is the very state - and I didn't get it until now!" But just as you remember the saints, you fall in the mouth of the snake and drop down headlong to discover that you are where you have started from. You feel those saints must have been telling lies or, "Probably I hallucinated; I just imagined everything was alright, but in fact everything is wrong."

Around me I constantly have a crowd of people who have been climbing ladders and coming down through the snake's mouth. One day they come and report to me, "How wonderful, fantastic! Now there really remains nothing to be done." And the next morning they are coming back, beaten down.

Against every ladder a snake is awaiting you.

Many times you will feel the mind is gone for good, and it will be back again. You will get glimpses.

Even if it disappears for only a little time, you will have a small glimpse of beyond the mind. Even if it moves out of your way for a while, a space is created; the sky is cleared, a window has opened up and you see the stars in the sky. But this does not last long. A yogi becomes a siddha, the enlightened one, when the mind is annihilated. The mind is annihilated when one experiences that, "I am not even a soul." ?? As long as I feel that, "True, I am not the body, I am not the mind, but I am the soul,"Eas long as there is any support left for my 'I', my mind will survive in its seed form. As long as there is any support whatsoever left, even that of the soul, my mind will remain in its seed form. Whenever a drop of rain will come the seed will break open, sprout and start growing into a tree.

Only when I no longer remain does the mind cease. It is easy to give up money, it is easy to give up position, it is easy to give up attachment to the body, it is easy to give up attachment to the mind, but it is the most difficult task to break the attachment with my very self, with my very individuality, with my very existence. But as soon as this is broken, the mind is annihilated.

Sariputta came to Buddha. He asked Buddha, "How can I be liberated?" Buddha said, "Do not come to me, go elsewhere - because I cannot liberate you, I can only liberate you from this 'you'."

Buddha said further, "'I' is never liberated. One is liberated from the 'I'. So if you are looking for your liberation, go somewhere else. But yes, if you want liberation from yourself, you have come to the right place. I will make you free from yourself. So do not ask how you will be liberated. You will not survive in your liberation. You should ask how to be free from this 'I' - how to be liberated from this 'I'."

Therefore Buddha did not select the word moksha, liberation. He selected the word nirvana. With the word moksha, there is a feeling of 'my'. At least this much will remain, the soul will remain - and sitting on siddhashila, the seat of the liberated one, one will enjoy liberation. The same person, the same man who was running a shop here, now sitting on a seat of the liberated one in the world of liberation is enjoying there!

This interest remains lurking in your mind, that you will remain. But what is there in you that is worth keeping? And what is there in you worth saving? Have you ever thought about it? Have you ever considered what you have that would be worth saving for eternity? What kind of fragrance have you that you could say that it should remain forever? What kind of melody have you that you would want to make it immortal? What is there in your personality which you would want to remain forever?

There seems to be nothing of the sort within you.

Buddha says, "This too is a sort of desire, a lust for life - that one should survive, for no reason at all. There seems to be no reason why you should survive. What is in you which, if saved, may be beneficial to the world? There is nothing."

So, Buddha says, "No, this word liberation is not right"; and he chose the word nirvana.

This sutra is a sutra for nirvana. Nirvana means the extinguishing of the lamp. When a lamp is extinguished can you tell where the flame has gone? The flame does not go anywhere, it simply ceases to be, it disappears, it simply merges. Now you will not be able to find that extinguished flame anywhere. Nowhere in all the worlds, nowhere in the vast infinity will you be able to locate that extinguished flame. It has merged, it has merged so utterly that it cannot be called back from the infinity. It has moved so deeply into the formless that it cannot take any form any more. It is annihilated.

So Buddha says that you will also get annihilated, just as a lamp is extinguished. Hence he chose the word nirvana. He says, "You will attain to nirvana, not moksha but nirvana. The flame that is faintly flickering in you will be extinguished."

This seems to be a very frightening thing. What, then, is the purpose of all this? To put more oil in your lamp and keep the flame burning? What really is the essence? But Buddha says that when you are annihilated, only then will you know what you are. And when you have disappeared only then will you know that you are not lost - you have gained all, you have become all.

So the soul is also dropped.


Everything goes on dropping. Sleep is dropped, unconsciousness is dropped. We have forgotten our selves - this the Upanishads call sleep. This forgetting of our own selves, who we are, this not knowing of the truth that "I am God" - this the Upanishads call sleep. The day this sleep does not possess us even for a moment, that day there remains no way for the unconsciousness to take over. When this smoke no longer surrounds us, these clouds no longer hang around and the sky becomes spotless and clear and a darkness due to the clouds never descends, then there is a constant remembrance.

Remembrance is not the right word. All words are wrong for expressing what the Upanishads want to say. But one is helpless. There is no other way but to use words.

It is not right to say 'remembrance', because the word remembrance implies something which is past and forgotten also. Constant remembrance implies something that is never forgotten.

It happened once: There was a mystic in Tibet called Naropa. Many people used to come to him and they were puzzled, because it was well known that he was totally merged in the divine and they never heard Naropa ever remembering God's name. His disciples often asked Naropa, "People say that you are merged in the divine, but how come you never remember God?" Naropa is said to have replied, "How am I to remember when I never forget? And the day I start remembering God, know that Naropa has fallen. The day I remember, the day I call God's name, you may understand that Naropa has fallen, that he has forgotten and has fallen asleep. When I do not fall asleep, when I never forget God, how am I to remember then?"

In such a state is entry into that absolutely secret cave which is within us all.

Enough for today.

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