The Four Steps

Fri, 18 October 1972 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Osho - Finger Pointing to the Moon
Chapter #:
am 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.]




Four words have been used in this sutra. Each word is a world within itself. The four words are:

shravana, listening, manan, contemplation, nididhyasan, assimilation, and samadhi, enlightenment.

In these four words is contained the entire journey to the truth. For the one who may complete these four steps rightly, nothing else remains to be done. It is around these four words that the whole spiritual discipline is developed, so it is useful to understand each of the four words minutely, deeply, with all their subtleties.

The first word is shravana, listening.

Listening does not mean mere hearing. We can all hear, to have ears is enough for hearing. Hearing is a mechanical phenomenon. There was a sound, it fell on your ears and you heard it. But listening is not just this. Listening means that it has not been heard only by the ears, the vibrations have penetrated to the consciousness deep within you. Try to understand this a little.

You are going along a road, your house is on fire and you are running towards it. Somebody passing by on the road greets you. Your ears will hear it but you will not. The next day you will not be able to even recall that somebody greeted you on the road. When your house is on fire, if somebody is singing on the road your ears will hear it but not you.

Hearing with the ears is not listening by you. It is not necessary that if your ears heard, you also listened. The ears are necessary for listening but are not enough, something more is required within.

When your house is on fire, the greetings given to you are not heard by you. Why? The mechanism of your ears did not change but the attention to the ears is broken from within. The attention is with the house that is on fire. The ears are hearing, but the bridge of attention that is necessary to bring the contents to the consciousness is missing; that bridge has been removed. It is in use where the house is on fire. So the ears are able to hear but not you. The connection, the bridge of attention between you and the ears, is broken.

Listening means both you and your ears are present, connected - then listening happens. It is a difficult matter. To create the connection with the ears is a matter of spiritual endeavor.

Listening means that when you are hearing, your whole consciousness becomes the hearing; only the hearing remains, nothing else. No thoughts move within, because if there are thoughts moving within you, your attention is diverted into thinking and removed from the ears.

Attention is a very delicate and subtle thing. Any slight thinking going on inside and the attention moves to it. You are listening to me and an ant is biting your leg - it is not necessary for your house to be on fire - then for a period of time you become aware of the ant bite, your listening is lost. Your hearing continues but attention is diverted.

Another problem with attention is that it cannot be on two things simultaneously, it is always on one subject at a time. When it moves onto another subject it is immediately removed from the first. It can go on jumping from one to the other - and that is what we do. The ant bit the leg, the attention jumped there; attention came back again and you listened. You felt the sensation of itching, your attention jumped to it; afterwards it came back to hearing again. So there are gaps in the listening when the attention moves elsewhere, and therefore not much clarity in meaning can be found from what you hear because much is lost. Many times the meaning derived by you is your own, because much has been lost; and what you conclude after filling in the gaps is entirely your own.

I have been looking through a book written by a female disciple of Ouspensky. She has written:

"When I started working with Ouspensky on spiritual discipline, I was very troubled by one thing that he used to emphasize repeatedly, and I was unable to see the point because there appeared nothing in it worth emphasizing. I was also unable to understand why a man like Ouspensky put so much emphasis on such a small matter as this. The man is so wonderful that if he emphasizes something, there has to be some meaning behind it. But my intellect was unable to grasp the meaning. And he would repeat this fifty times a day."

A disciple may be referring to something Ouspensky had said the day before, saying, "Yesterday, you said so and so," and Ouspensky would immediately stop him and ask him not to say this; at the most he could say that this is what he had understood him to have said yesterday. 'Don't say that this is what has been said.' He would make this remark about every statement - never to say, 'You said so,' but say, 'I understood this from what you said.'"

This disciple has written, "We used to be very troubled. To have to say before every sentence, 'This is what I had understood; this is what I had understood from what you had said.' What is the need to do so? Why not simply say that you had said so, and the matter is over." Slowly she came to understand that these are two separate things.

Only those who have attained to the art of listening can understand what has been said. If you are only hearing, you will understand only what you can understand and not what has been said, because a lot will be lost in between. And that which is lost, you will fill the gaps for yourself - because empty space always gets filled up.

You hear, but in between, when your attention moves away, who will fill up those empty spaces?

You will do that. Your mind, your memory, your information, your knowledge, your experience will penetrate those gaps. And you will be the creator of the final shape, which is not what has been truly said. The one who said it originally is not responsible for it.

Listening means that the consciousness shifts to the very ears, with no thoughts, reasoning or arguing within. This does not mean that you accept everything that is said without understanding.

But acceptance has no role in the process of listening. Listening means just listen; acceptance or nonacceptance are matters for later on - no need to be in a hurry.

What are we doing? We are hearing and at the same time we go on accepting or rejecting. Our heads continue to nod in agreement or shake in disagreement. One goes on saying, "Yes, it is perfectly true." Somebody else says, "No, it does not appeal to me." They themselves are not aware of this continuous nodding and the mental process, but I can watch it.

It means that as I say something, while hearing it you also go on making decisions about it internally.

For the period of time you are making decisions the listening will be missed. You yourself are not aware that your head nodded, but inside you agreed with something, hence the nodding. When I say something which does not appeal to you, your head goes on shaking in denial, "No, it is not appealing to me." It is not your head moving, it is your attention inside moving. It is because of the moving attention that the head is also moving. In that little movement your listening is lost.

When it is said that you should not think while listening, it does not mean that you accept everything blindly. No, at this point there is no question of acceptance or rejection, at this point one has only to listen well as to what has been said. You have to listen exactly to what has been said; only after that will you be able to decide whether to accept or reject.

To bring the process of acceptance or rejection in while hearing is to miss the listening. Hearing means only hearing.

Right now we are listening. Right now we will not go on thinking simultaneously. Mind cannot do two things at a time; either you listen or you think. Those who think are unable to listen, those who listen have no way of thinking at the same time. But there is no hurry either - thinking can be done later on. It is also just and proper that first one listens and then one thinks... because what will you think about? If you have not heard rightly, or if you have added something of your own onto what you heard, or if there are gaps in what you have heard, what will you think about? Whatever you will think, it has no value. If something is not heard rightly, thinking about it is futile. So the first step, the seers have said, is shravana, the listening.

When somebody would come to Buddha or when somebody would come to Mahavira, they used to ask the person to first become a shravaka, a listener. To become a shravaka means to become a listener. Even now Jainas go on categorizing in the same manner: sadhu-sadhvi and shravaka- shravika. But there are neither really any shravakas nor any shravikas, because those terms imply listening. A shravika is one who has attained to the art of listening. But there are neither really any shravakas and shravikas - the listeners - nor is there now anyone worth listening to.

You go and look at the shravakas and shravikas in the temples. Often you will find them asleep - listening is far away. Tired and tattered from the day's work, they rest and sleep there. Even if they do not sleep they for sure do not listen. They are busy in their own mental uproar and thoughts.

Your mind should completely stop, its movement should stop; only then listening happens. Listening is the first step. And the more significant the things discussed, the deeper the listening has to be, only then can it be understood. So the sutra says:


TATTVAMASI is a supreme statement. There are only three or four supreme statements of the truth in the world but none is loftier than this. Tattvamasi means, That art thou, you are that. 'That', tat, we were discussing yesterday as being the description of God. This is the meaning of Tattvamasi, that 'that' is not anything out and away from you, you are that. What we had called as tat, 'that', gives the impression of distance - 'that' is the indication of distance. Tattvamasi means, 'that' is you, 'that' is not far but very near, nearer than near. Your very existence is 'that'. This is a supreme statement.

A supreme statement means that if one explores it fully it will lead one to the ultimate state. This is why they are called supreme statements. Then no other scriptures are needed - no Vedas, no Koran and no Bible are needed - Tattvamasi is enough.

If one does the right listening, contemplation, assimilation and experiencing of this one statement, no other scriptures are required.

A supreme statement means a condensed statement which covers all - just like formulas in chemistry, or just like Einstein's formula of relativity, where the whole thing is covered in two or three words.

This supreme statement is a formula of spiritual chemistry. Three things are in it: Tat - that, tvam - thou, asi - you. They are the same, 'that' and 'thou' are one - this is all of this sutra. But the whole of Vedanta - the philosophy of the Vedas - the entire experience of the seers is covered by those three words. It is like a mathematical formula: 'that', the existence, God, and 'thou', the hidden consciousness within you, are not two things, they are one. And this is the essence of all the Vedas, everything else is just an expansion of this.

So in the Upanishads such statements are described as supreme statements. From this one statement, the philosophy, spiritual discipline and experience of the whole of life can be derived.

Such statements should be heard in total silence. Such statements should not be heard as one may hear a song. The quality of hearing has to be very different, only then might these statements enter within you. These statements cannot be heard the way one hears things passing by on a road.

That is why for thousands of years the seers in India were insistent that the supreme knowledge should not be written down. Their insistence was valuable. But it was not possible to carry this out forever, it had to be written down. But the insistence in not writing down the supreme knowledge persisted for thousands of years. Many people, particularly the linguists, think that because there was no script, no means for writing things down, that is why the Vedas and Upanishads were not written down for so long a time. But their thinking is wrong... because it seems impossible that the people who could attain to an experience of the caliber of Tattvamasi, those who could make such supreme statements their living experience, were incapable of devising the art of writing. That the people whose genius could touch such lofty peaks of experience were not able to devise such an ordinary thing as the art of writing does not feel right.

The art of writing was there, but they were not willing to use it. Why? Because if such supreme statements were written down, anybody could have read them under any inappropriate conditions.

And by reading them, the person could have formed the illusion of having understood them - because someone can also read these statements without having the certain kind of mental state which is necessary for reading or hearing them.

Where is the difficulty in reading 'That art thou'? Even a grade-one student can read it. And having read it, he will fall into the illusion of having understood it: "Okay, I am also that. This is what the sentence means, and that is that." Then he memorizes it, and he goes on repeating it for his whole life - and the whole thing is missed. The whole purpose of the statement is missed, the essential point is lost.

These statements deserve to be listened to only in a certain state of mind, with a certain quality of mind, in a certain milieu. Then only they penetrate your being. There is danger in hearing it just any time, anywhere. The dangers are two: one, that it will get memorized and one will feel one has known it. And the second danger is that due to this false sense of knowing, one will perhaps never make an effort to create that state of mind in which it should have been listened to.

There is a season, a special time, and a suitable, auspicious moment for sowing any seeds. And this is an extraordinary seed - it cannot be just thrown about anywhere. This is why the master used to whisper them in the disciple's ear. Try to understand this.

We have all heard that initiation mantras used to be whispered into the ear of the seeker. What we think is that the masters must have been whispering such mantras into the disciple's ears. That is nonsense.

The master used to give these ultimate seeds to his disciple only when the disciple had become just the ears, when the disciple's whole being was ready to listen, when he was not listening only through the ears but with every fiber of his body, when his whole being was there gathered behind his ears, when his very soul, fully withdrawn from all other senses, was attuned behind the ears - then the master would pass it on. He was saying this only: Tattvamasi - 'That art thou'. The words were the same, there was no change in the words, but the disciple in front of him, the quality of his consciousness, the capability of his consciousness....

And what does it mean to initiate people by whispering a mantra in the ear? Even now, so many fools go on whispering initiating mantras in the ears of so many other fools. They pass on these mantras in one's ear, without bothering even to know what 'the ears' means.

It has nothing much to do with the ears which are attached to your skull. What was meant by the ear was a way of your being, an openness in your being, a presence of a kind of peace, a readiness to listen, an eager thirst, a longing where one's whole being is ready to listen. Then the master used to simply pour such supreme statements into the ear. And sometimes it happened that the very penetration of such supreme utterances in the disciple instantly became the ultimate explosion of realization.

There are many people who have attained self-realization only by listening. The other three steps were not needed for them. You will be surprised to know that the other three steps were not needed, that only by listening have people become enlightened.

But the matter is not so easy. You might think: "If it is possible to become enlightened just by listening, then why should I bother to do anything else? Here we are, just utter it for us and we will become enlightened!"

Only those can become enlightened by listening whose totality is invested in listening, when not even a fraction of them is held back, when the listener does not exist at all and only the act of listening remains; when even that feeling does not remain that 'I am listening', even the feeling of 'I am' is no longer there, when one has become only the listening.... When only the process of listening has remained, when everything else within has become utterly silent, a nothingness, in that nothingness, just this much impact - Tattvamasi, 'That art thou' - causes the explosion of the being... only this much impact!

But one more thing is to be kept in mind in this connection - that the whole preparation on the part of the disciple or the seeker is that he should be a nothingness; but at the same time, just anyone coming and uttering Tattvamasi, 'That art thou', in his ear won't do. Anybody can utter that; even a human being is not required for it, a tape recorder can do the job of uttering it.

But no, this won't do. Words have power - but that power is dependent on the speaker, it is not in the words. It all depends on from what depth the words are emanating, and how much life energy is contained in the words, and how much juice of direct experience there is in them. And the speaker of those words should also have disappeared at the time of uttering them. The speaker simply should not be there, the echo should have arisen directly from the soul: Tattvamasi. And the listener also should not be there, the echo should have gone directly to the soul: Tattvamasi, 'That art thou'. At this point of meeting, even without doing much, enough would have been done... and a revolution takes place, an explosion happens, and the one who was ignorant suddenly becomes a knower.

There are such happenings in recorded history, when it has happened just by listening. We find it difficult to believe, because even with a lot of effort and doing it does not happen to us; we attempt in many ways, but still it feels that nothing is happening.

When the meeting of two such consciousnesses takes place, where the speaker is not but the words are revealed, and where the listener is not but the listening happens - the listening is sufficient to trigger the journey.

But such a coincidence is hard to find. Even if such a coincidence is found, it is difficult to utilize it. Such a coincidence is a subtle affair. So the disciple used to be near the master for many years awaiting such a coincidence, when the time for such an opportunity may present itself and when he may also be ready. So for many years the only spiritual discipline for the disciple used to be how to remain quiet and silent.

Svetketu went to live with a master. For years the master did not even ask him why he had come.

Svetketu also felt that when the time was right he would then ask, so he waited. The master did not ask him for years. The story is very beautiful - the master's yagyagui, the sacred oblational fire that used to burn around the clock, and the dug-out vessel that held the fire - even they became impatient.... The story is really beautiful: Svetketu had come and even the havankunda - the dug- out vessel for the sacred oblational fire - started taking pity on Svetketu. So many years had passed by since he came and the master had still not bothered to even inquire, "What brings you here?"

Svetketu would chop and bring wood, light the fire, milk the cows, massage the master's feet, and when night fell he would go to sleep near the feet of the master. Rising in the morning, he would get busy again with the chores of the day. That sacred oblational fire which would be burning twenty-four hours a day, even that fire began to feel pity, "What is going on here? Svetketu won't say from his side why he has come and Uddalaka, the master, won't ask why he has come."

Such a waiting, such a patience, such a quietness makes one automatically a listener. Slowly, slowly not only the words of the master but even the breathing of the master comes to be heard; even the heartbeats of the master come to be heard in such an awaiting and in such a silence. It is not necessary that the master should speak, even his movements come to be heard. And when the right moment comes the master speaks. When the right moment comes the speaking happens; neither the master has to make an effort to speak, nor the disciple has to make any effort to know anything. At the right moment the event happens.

Listening is a very valuable step. You may remember these two or three things: one, be the listening itself while listening; forget the listener, be just the ears - extended all over your body - so that your whole body becomes ears listening from all directions. Another, let there be no thinking; just let the mind be fully absorbed in listening and let no thoughts move.

We are all afraid that if we do not think, perhaps someone may put some wrong things in our mind.

Who knows, someone may shatter our beliefs. So we are constantly engaged in self-defence: I will let in only things that may be useful to me; if they are not useful to me, I will not let them in.

You will be surprised to know that psychologists say that if one hundred things are said to you, your mind hardly lets five of them in. The remaining ninety-five things it returns, does not let in. And why?

Because your beliefs are based in the past, they are pre-determined. Somebody is a Mohammedan, somebody is a Hindu, somebody is a Jaina and somebody a Christian. It is all inside you, it is your mind accumulated from the past, sitting there within you. The whole time it is keeping watch: if there is something in tune with some of your ideas, strengthening them, then let it in. If it is not in favor of your ideas, if it is not strengthening them, then just don't allow it in, stop it on the outside; or hear it in a way as if you have not heard at all; or if you heard it, oppose it immediately and vehemently so it cannot enter in.

Just pay a little attention to your mind and you will see that you go on saying yes or no inwardly all the time. Who is this saying yes or no within you? It is not you, it is your mind that you have accumulated from the past.

So the mind chooses what is favorable to it and rejects what is against it. It is a difficult task: this is the mind that is to be dropped and this is also the mind that chooses what is the favorable and opposes the unfavorable - so how is this dropping to be accomplished? This is the mind that is your enemy and your controller, and this is also the mind you have set out to drop - and if you set out to drop with its own help, then you will never be able to drop it. Just the smallest apprehension, that this thing does not appeal to you in the light of your beliefs, and your mind immediately shuts its doors. It says, "Do not hear anymore," "Ignore that," or "Go on opposing from within."

We are constantly engaged in defending ourselves as if some battle is going on. In that case there will be no listening possible, rather a conflict is triggered. But listening does not mean blind acceptance either. Listening has nothing to do with acceptance. Listening has to do with right hearing of what has been said.

The second step is manan, contemplation - after hearing what has been said, to contemplate over it. To contemplate over what has been said after hearing it in its authenticity is the first condition for contemplation. But if you choose what you like and contemplate over only that, it is not contemplation, it is only deception.

So the first condition for contemplation is that you hear without saying yes or no - no condemnation, no praise, no acceptance, no rejection, no nothing; no evaluation, no judgment - neither in favor nor against. You only hear silently and naturally what has been said, and let it sink into the deepest corner of your heart so that there may be an acquaintance with it, because contemplation can happen only about that with which one is acquainted.

This is the difference between thinking and contemplation. Thinking is done about something with which we are not properly acquainted. Thinking is an intellectual activity with the new - mental gymnastics. Contemplation is a reflection on something that has been absorbed, that has been taken deep within oneself. There is a great difference between the two. Thinking contains conflict within itself, contemplation contains sympathy. In thinking there is confrontation, in contemplation there is reflection. And these are big differences. Thinking means you are fighting with something.

If you are unable to win then you will agree with it, but there will be pain in that agreeing.

When you debate a point with somebody and you are unable to logically argue your point of view and you have to concede, have you watched the pain you feel inside? You concede because you cannot argue any further... but inside? Inside you have a feeling that if not today, then tomorrow, eventually you will turn the tables against that person and be able to reject their point.

Thus it is not possible to transform anybody in this world through argument, because argument implies defeat. Even if you are able to prove something to that person through argument he will feel defeated - not transformed, but defeated. He will experience defeat: "Okay, I am not able to reply properly or to search for the right argument today but the day I have the right arguments I will come and see you." He feels defeated.

And remember, a defeated person is not a transformed person. You can make somebody silent through argument but you cannot transform him that way. And it is right also, that no one should become transformed through argument, because when two persons debate something, it does not necessarily mean that the one who lost the debate was wrong or the one who won was right. All it means is that the one who won can argue better and the one who lost the debate cannot argue so well - nothing more than this is proved.

So it is natural that nobody is ever transformed and no revolution happens in one's life by argument.

Loss of an argument only hurts one's ego, and that injured ego wants to take revenge. Argument is a struggle.

In thinking there is an inner struggle. Whatever you are thinking about, you are fighting with it; an inner struggle is going on. You line up all your past memories and all the past thoughts that go against it. If you are still defeated you accept, but in that acceptance a pain, a bite, a piercing thorn is experienced. This acceptance is out of your helplessness. There is no joy happening in this acceptance; your inner flower does not blossom due to this acceptance, but withers. So because of all the thinking the thinkers are doing all over the world, you will not see the joyousness of a buddha on their faces.

Why, what is the difference?

You will not find the pleasant personality of a Mahavira in the thinkers. On the faces of thinkers you will see the wrinkles of anxiety, not the flowers of contemplation. On the forehead of a thinker the wrinkles will go on increasing with time. Every single line of the forehead will be profoundly pronounced - after all he has worked hard his whole life. But that which happens to a Buddha or a Mahavira, that flowering will not be seen. Thought is burdensome, you are bent over with it. A thinker looks anxious. There is no qualitative difference between thinking and worrying. All thinking is a form of worrying. A restlessness is hidden behind it, a tension, because there is an inner struggle, a conflict, a battle. So a thinker by the time he grows old is bent over by the weight, by the sheer weight of his thoughts.

A contrary phenomenon happens with Buddha and Mahavira. As they go on growing older something within them goes on becoming younger; their look of freshness increases.

This is the difference between thinking and contemplation.

Thinking begins with logic, contemplation begins with listening. Thinking begins with struggle, contemplation begins with listening. Listening is receptivity, where there is no struggle. This is the difference between thinking and contemplation. Thinking begins with conflict because its base is in logic. There is no sympathy there; opposition, enmity, argumentation are its basis. The very fact that contemplation begins with listening shows sympathy is the basis there.

What is meant by sympathy? - sympathetic consideration. Whatsoever we are thinking, or in whichever connection we are thinking, we do so with great love and sympathy.

What is the qualitative difference between thinking and contemplation? When you are considering something with sympathy, your whole inner desire is to feel that, "Whatsoever I have heard may be right. And if it is right, can it be beneficial to me?" So you first try to search for those points which are right. When you think, you begin from a belief that whatsoever you have heard is wrong, so you first try to search for those points which are wrong.

Understand it this way. A person is standing near a bed of roses: if he is thinking, he will first count the thorns; if he is contemplating, he will first count the roseflowers. This makes a fundamental difference - from where you begin.

The one who first counts the thorns, his opposing attitude is evident. He will first count the thorns, and thousands of them will be found. And in counting the thorns, a number of thorns will pierce his hands, blood will flow out. That piercing by thorns, the number of thorns and the bleeding of his hand, will all become the basis for opposition to the roseflowers. And when he has counted thousands of thorns and maybe one or two flowers will be seen, his mind will say, "These flowers are only a deception, they cannot be real, because where there are so many thorns, how can the flowers there be so delicate? This is an illusion."

It is natural, it will feel right. Where there are so many thorns, thorns capable of causing bleeding, how can these delicate flowers blossom there? It is impossible. And even if he agrees that the flowers are there, he will say, "They are of no value; amid thousands of thorns, what is the value of a flower or two? It rather appears as a conspiracy of the thorns, so that thousands of thorns can remain in the world with the pretext of just one flower. This is a deception. This flower is a mask for the thorns. This flower is a participant in their conspiracy."

A person who begins contemplation with flowers will first touch the flowers. His hands will be full of the fragrance of flowers, his eyes will be filled with the colors of the flowers. The delicacy of the flowers will be available to his touch, the beauty of the flowers will encompass him from all sides.

Then he will approach the thorns - after having seen the flowers, after having known and lived with the flowers, he has fallen in love. Now when he approaches the thorns they will have a completely different quality.

A person who approaches the thorns after understanding the flowers will understand that the thorns are for the protection of the flowers - they are not enemies of the flowers, they are not against the flowers. The same juice that is flowing in the flowers is also flowing in the thorns. And the thorns are for the protection of the flowers. One who is seeing the flowers, one who has been able to see even one flower rightly... thousands of thorns will lose all consequence for him, because the presence of even one flower is enough to render thousands of thorns inconsequential. And if a flower can blossom amidst so many thorns it is an impossible miracle; then the impossible can also happen.

And if a flower can blossom amidst so many thorns, that person would see the point that if he sought deeper, perhaps these thorns might also prove to be nothing but flowers.

Contemplation begins with sympathy, thinking begins with opposition. If the condition of listening is fulfilled sympathy is aroused.

If sympathy is aroused, the very stream of thinking takes a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn and becomes contemplation. Contemplation does not mean blind acceptance. So the seer has said, TO REASONABLY PURSUE THE MEANING OF WHATEVER HAS BEEN LISTENED TO, IS MANAN, CONTEMPLATION.

Nobody needs to think that contemplation means accepting blindly. Neither listening means accepting nor does contemplation mean accepting, reason has to be used.

But the use of reason also changes. Reason in itself is neutral. For example, there is a sword in my hand.... Now, the sword is neutral: if I want I can take somebody's life or I can save somebody's life - the sword is neutral. Reason is neutral, but there are different patterns, and the effect of reason can change. If the mind is full of enmity, opposition and confrontation, reason becomes violent.

If the mind is full of sympathy, listening, love, search and longing for the truth, reason becomes a protecting sword. Reason in itself is not bad.

So in this country we have accepted two types of reasoning: one, positive reasoning; another, negative reasoning. Negative reasoning is also reasoning. Sometimes negative reasoning appears even more logical than positive reasoning, because negative reasoning has an edge, a sharp edge, that is capable of cutting through and killing.

So negative reasoning sometimes appears to be deeply logical. How would you distinguish what is positive reasoning and what is negative reasoning? This is the difference: that if reasoning is in the search of the good and the truth - is full of sympathy, begins from the flowers and then moves to the thorns....

When I say something to you, just watch from where you are beginning. I am amazed so many times: I speak for an hour, then afterwards somebody comes to me and whatever I have said in this hour has not reached him, he is caught up in the fight against just one single thing. He picks up just one point and comes to oppose it. Whatever else has been said in this one hour he does not remember, just this one tiny matter. And that too he tears out of its context. It had meaning in its context; torn out of it context it takes on an entirely different meaning. But he heard only that.

He must have been ready for only that. He must have come prepared to find out something wrong somehow.

If you are here hearing me only to find something wrong you will never be able to move into contemplation.

Remember, howsoever many wrongs you may discover, that will never become a help to your inner growth. No matter how clearly you may establish the location of all the faults - you may come to know of all the faults in the whole world - still no inner growth can happen to you through it.

One who is seeking and is interested in his growth does not bother to find out what is wrong, he bothers to find out what is right. He begins with the right. And he who begins with the right may some day arrive at a point from where he realizes that what was appearing to be wrong has also some meaning, has also some value. Thus what appeared wrong earlier may appear right afterwards.

The difference is only of the emphasis.

The negative reasoning seeks the wrong, it begins the journey from there. The positive reasoning begins with the right.

You give the Koran to someone to read; if he is a Hindu, he will not see any of that which is significant in the Koran, all that will go unnoticed by him. He will underline all that is not right according to him, and bring it to you saying, "See! I always said that the Koran is not a religious scripture!" Or give the Gita to a Mohammedan and he will pin-point exactly what is wrong in it. And if you want to learn this art, learn it from the Hindu fundamentalist group, the arya samajis. They are experts in finding out what is wrong and where. No others are such experts. Save the mind from becoming an Arya Samaji; only then can contemplation become possible. Otherwise contemplation cannot be possible because you are on the lookout for what is wrong, and the wrong will be found in plenty. After all, where is the scarcity of thorns? But what purpose is served by the thorns? Are you going to prepare garlands of thorns, and wear them around your neck?

The purpose, the concern is with flowers, not with the thorns.

So if there is positive reasoning, flowers will be picked from the Koran also - and these flowers are in no way inferior to those of the Gita. If there is positive reasoning, flowers will be picked from the Gita also - and these flowers are in no way inferior to those of the Koran or the Bible.

A contemplating person is in search of flowers, a thinking person is in search of thorns. You have to decide yourself. But remember one thing, that you will become surrounded by that for which you are searching.

If you search for thorns you will be surrounded by thorns, if you search for flowers you will be surrounded by flowers.

So remember that by searching for thorns you are not harming anyone but yourself, because you will get what you search for. Life becomes hell because you are surrounded by all the wrong people, no one seems to be a right person. And not because there are no right people but because your search is for the wrong people.

You tell somebody that a certain person is a very good flute player. He says, "What flute could he play? He is a thief, a charlatan. How could he play the flute?"

Now what contradiction exists between a thief or a dishonest person and flute-playing? He may be dishonest, but who says that a dishonest person does not or cannot play the flute? Who is making this connection? In a thief a flower of flute-playing can also bloom. Theft will be a thorn, the flute-playing will be the flower. When flowers can bloom amidst thorns, why cannot a thief play the flute?

But no, it hurts to accept that someone can do anything good. We would immediately condemn him:

"He is a thief, a dishonest man - how could he play the flute?"

The attitude of a person who contemplates would be different. If you say to him that such and such a person is a dishonest man and a thief, he will say, "Maybe, but he is a wonderful flute-player."

This is a difference of choice. And when a person plays a flute so wonderfully well, even his being a thief or a dishonest person begins to become doubtful. When a person is such an amazing thief and a dishonest person, his ability at flute-playing begins becoming doubtful. Whatever we adhere to, it affects the other thing too.

What is the need to determine whether a person is dishonest or a thief? If we want our neighbor to be a thief and a dishonest person, then we will find him to be so. Or if we want our neighbor to be a good flute-player, we should look out for that. In life both things are there. Night is there, day is also there; and the good is there, the bad is also there.

Do not think that heaven is somewhere apart from this earth or that hell is somewhere away from this earth; it is in your eyes. On this very earth people live in heaven, and on this very earth people live in hell. What you seek for becomes your world.

Contemplation begins the journey with flowers - with sympathy. It does not hurriedly attack the wrong, first it assimilates the right. And when the right is fully assimilated, only then it reflects upon what had appeared wrong in the first observation.

And remember, the real differences of this transformation in attitude only begin to be seen later on. A contemplating person slowly grows, sprouts; assimilating the right, he himself becomes right.

And the one constantly searching for the wrong, constantly assimilating the wrong, becomes wrong himself. One who sees only dishonesty, theft and wrong in others cannot remain honest for long.

The truth is that such a person cannot be honest in the first place.

Actually a thief cannot believe others to be non-thieves - or can he? No, he can never believe others to be non-thieves. The very pattern of a thief's thinking becomes that of theft. He immediately searches for and sees the qualities of theft in others too. A debauched person cannot believe that there is any person of character. He just cannot accept it. His very experience becomes a hindrance in believing that.

This is a very interesting thing: no debauched person can believe that someone is a celibate. He simply cannot believe! This is all right, because if somebody is really celibate, he too cannot believe that somebody else can be debauched. But what is interesting is that not only a debauched person never believes that anybody is a celibate, but a celibate also does not believe that anybody is a celibate.

Then it is a very problematic issue. A debauched person not believing that anybody can be celibate is logical; because, "When I have not been able to be one, how can anybody else be?" But when a celibate also is not ready to believe that another person can be celibate, his situation becomes dubious; then he too is not a celibate. His own inner experience is that all talk about celibacy, etcetera is just superficial, there is debauchery within. He, therefore, does not believe.

If you come across any saint who takes others to be non-saints, you can be sure that he himself has not been able to become a saint yet. The very meaning of becoming a saint is that for him the whole world would have become saints at once. For him the whole thing has changed, because his angle of vision has changed. When one becomes a saint inside, everywhere in the world he sees saintliness, goodness, because what is within is what is seen without.

If you are seeing bad in everybody, if in everybody you see theft, dishonesty and evil, then leave them aside and worry about yourself at once. What is seen outside is within you. That is what you are able to see. That is what is seen at once, because that falls in tune with the inner at once.

Contemplation begins with the bright side of life. Thinking begins with the dark side of life. If you can remember this, reasoning is then a wonderful thing; thoughts and logic are then very helpful.

Reasoning can then be used wholeheartedly. And reasoning is then not harmful, it becomes helpful, friendly.


You listened to the supreme statement 'That art thou', you are the Brahma. You listened to it wholeheartedly; then with sympathy you thought it over, reflected upon it, searched for the true meaning of the statement, its many, many conclusions. You groped for its inherent depths from many, many angles, touched them, tasted them, drowned yourself in them, contemplated, and then found that it is true.

It will certainly be found to be true because those who said it have said it after having attained it. These are not conclusions arrived at by thinkers, these are the words of those who have experienced. This is not a statement of those who thought and thought and then decided it to be so, these are intimations from those who knew it, drowned in it and found out.

They are bound to find out. If listening and contemplation run well, they will definitely find it to be right. If it is right, then to become attuned to it is nididhyasan, the assimilation. If it is right that "I am Brahma," then to begin to live like Brahma is nididhyasan, the assimilation. In your doings, in your behavior, become attuned from all sides; then make efforts so that there remains no separation between you and what is right, because if the statement is right, then "I am mistaken."

There are only two possibilities: either you are right, then this statement is wrong; or if the statement is right, then you are wrong. And what is our usual assumption? Try to understand this a little. Our assumption is always that "I am right." This is our problem. The biggest trouble, worry and anguish of our lives is that we move with the belief that "I am right." This is our beginning point in everything, that "I am right." We test everything on this basis. This is our touchstone, that "I am right." Now whatsoever does not fit with you is wrong.

This matter must be decided, a seeker must decide that this foolish thought "I am right" does not become the initial step. If you are right, no search is necessary.

This is very interesting. One woman came to me yesterday: she told me that some twenty years ago she had been initiated by some swami, that her kundalini had also awakened but there is no peace at all, she is very restless.

If the kundalini has awakened, how is this restlessness there? And if restlessness is there, please accept that the kundalini is asleep and not awakened.

But no, people make simultaneous claims from both sides. If you are right, if you think you know, then there is nothing left to seek, the matter is over. Every person moves with the presumption of "I am right" and then says, "I want to seek the truth." If one is to seek the truth, the decision must be clear before the consciousness that "I don't know." Only then is the search possible. When I don't know, my entry into some truth is possible; if I know from the very beginning, the truth itself will appear to be wrong, because when a person who does not know believes that he knows, he can never see the truth as it is.

The very working of the mind is to move with the assumption that "I am right" - my idea, my viewpoint, my religion, my scripture. If you have to begin from "I am right," there is no need to begin at all, you have already arrived at the goal; you are unnecessarily taking the trouble now. And where would you find the goal? You are already standing on the goal. You are the goal.

This must be made clear; if that madness of "I know" has taken possession of one the matter is over, no search should be undertaken.

The very meaning of search is "I don't know". There is suffering, anguish, pain and tension, "I am in trouble, in disease, and am surrounded all around by my diseases; I am nothing but a combination of all these diseases." Moving with such a belief is the search.

And this is the reality also. You are nothing more than a combination of diseases - a bundle containing all sorts of diseases. And every man is an inventor, he invents his own diseases. And even amidst all these diseases, he persists in the feeling that "I am right."

Assimilation means: one saw that this supreme statement was right. One listened, reflected upon it and saw that it was right. The mind has seen the fact of its being right, the consciousness has begun to realize the fact of its being right; now to mold yourself in accordance to that is assimilation - to start living that which has appeared right.

And remember, once something is seen to be right, then there is no difficulty in living it. The moment it is seen the living begins. Who knowingly puts his hand into fire? Only in ignorance are hands put into fire. Who knowingly does evil? Only in ignorance is evil done. Who knowingly invites insanity?

Only in ignorance is insanity invited. Once it begins to be seen what is right, the very glimpse will begin to transform you from within - all your vibrations will slowly begin to harmonize with what you have seen.

This attunement, this harmony is called assimilation.

Even after this, if the attunement does not happen or it seems to be difficult, the seeker now knows that the difficulty is on his part. So he melts himself further. If the journey seems to be complex, he knows that it is his complexity. So he tries to untangle himself.

But if the person who proceeds with the notion of being right takes two steps and sees no fruits coming, he thinks that the notion of 'Thou art that' itself is wrong... so leave it.

People come to me... yesterday one friend came: he did meditation for the first time yesterday, and yesterday he said to me that nothing has happened.

Is there a limit to the foolishness of man? In this world foolishness and Brahma are the only two things that seem to be limitless. There seems no limit to them.

Only yesterday he had arrived, for the first time. In the morning he must have jumped up and down a little, and in the afternoon he approached me saying that nothing has happened so far. He said, "There seems to be no substance in this method. Nothing has happened to me up to now."

I asked him how many lives he had been doing this method.

He said, "I have just arrived today. There is no question of lifetimes."

Give the method at least a little opportunity to work. Have some mercy on the method, give it some opportunity.

Man is on the move always assuming himself to be right. So wherever any difficulty appears, the other must be wrong. He keeps his rightness intact and proceeds on the journey. You will have to wander then for birth after birth, nothing will ever fall together, because attunement is a great effort.

It will not happen just like that, because the conditionings of lives upon lives are in the background; you will have to break them. Even if you come to see today - suddenly, clearly, in a split second - what is right, still your feet are in the habit of walking; your body has habits, your mind has habits, there is a long network of habits.

That network would not be broken suddenly today. One will have to work hard to break that network.

It is not a question of the methods, the question is about you. Any method can work, but you.... Take note of it, our whole life is a habit. From small things to big things, everything is a habit. There is a long line of these habits and our consciousness is habituated to flow sticking to and following the same groove. Even if it is seen suddenly, today, that the old path is wrong, a new path has to be created in order to follow it. And remember, you will have to create a deeper groove than the older one for the stream to take this new route, to alter from the other one. But just by your thinking that a certain thing is right, nothing is going to be solved.

Assimilation means, whatsoever is listened to and understood to be right, one's life has to be transformed accordingly. It will take time to be in accord with it. The mind will create hindrances, the body will create obstructions - all this will happen. But once the right way has been seen then the courage to throw yourself completely, in every respect, into this journey is also necessary. Then sitting back will not do.

If the guiding star has been seen - however far away it may be - if the star has been seen, then plunge forward on the journey. And do not begin to think that now you have taken one step and you have not yet reached the star, that you have taken two steps and you have not yet reached the star.

Do not be concerned. Even with these two steps you have come closer; these two steps you have taken are not a small matter. There are many who have been simply sitting down for lifetimes; they have not yet even stood up, they have simply forgotten that one has to even stand up, that one has to even walk.

Buddha has said, just walk. There is no concern about the number of mistakes you may make. That you walked is sufficient. You walked, you made mistakes, we will correct them. You went astray - don't worry, at least your feet made some movement. Today you wandered off the path, tomorrow you will come back towards the right way. There is only one mistake, said Buddha, and that is that you do not walk at all and just go on sitting.

Although one who remains sitting will never make any mistakes. How can one make a mistake by just sitting idle? In this world mistakes are made by those who move, who do something.

How can those who do not do anything and who are just sitting make any mistake? They are absolutely mistake-free. But the only real mistake in this world is to remain sitting.

Get up and proceed on the journey of what feels to be right. Even if it proves to be wrong tomorrow, at least there will be one benefit, that you would have learned to walk. And once you have learned to walk, tomorrow the right direction can also be found. The direction is not the real thing, the real thing is moveability, the capacity to walk.

Nididhyasan, assimilation, is an effort to become attuned. It is a wonderful word.


Now our mind should become attuned with whatsoever has been understood through the listening.

It should not remain only as a glimpse, it should become our total mind. It should not remain just one thought among many, it should become our very mind.

For example, a man takes sannyas. Now sannyas can be taken when it is an intellectual decision, an idea; it seems right, it makes sense - so one takes sannyas. But it is still only a thought in the mind, just as there are a thousand others, so no attunement will be born yet. Slowly, slowly the color of what has entered one as a single thought will spread over all the thoughts.

What is meant by spreading over all the thoughts is that even while eating your meals... there should appear a marked difference between a sannyasin eating his meal and a worldly person eating his meal. That tinge of sannyas should even spread over the act of taking meals. A sannyasin should take meals in such a way as if he is not taking meals, a sannyasin should walk in such a way as if he is not walking, a sannyasin should get up in such a way as if he is not getting up; he should drop all doing.

One form of sannyas is that which is taken by way of a thought, and another is when one's entire life becomes attuned with it; then the very mind becomes a sannyasin.

So Buddha said, even when a sannyasin sleeps... one should be able to distinguish between a sleeping sannyasin and a sleeping worldly man. The very quality, the very manner of a sannyasin's sleep should change, because whosoever's mind has completely mutated, its shadow, its tinge, its vibrations should spread over all his actions. It is bound to spread.


Samadhi is the ultimate happening. The first three are the steps towards it, the fourth step is samadhi itself. Beyond that the world of words does not exist. Beyond that there is no world of speech. Only up to samadhi can anything be said. That which is beyond it, nothing has ever been said about it and nothing will ever be said about it.

Whosoever stands at the door of samadhi comes to see that which is invisible, comes to know that which is unknowable, meets that without which life was all misery, all pain and all anguish. That which is unknowable becomes known and that which is a mystery is revealed and disclosed. All complexes shatter, the consciousness becomes one with the truth in its open sky.

Samadhi is something that comes after assimilation to one who has attuned his mind with the supreme statements like Tattvamasi, 'That art thou', aham brahmasmi, I am Brahma, soham, I am that. One whose mind and behavior have become expressions of these statements, one in whose movements there is the melody of 'That art thou', one in whose movements there is the gesture and the indication that he is moving in tune with Brahma - such a person is able to attain to samadhi.

When the meditator and meditation both are lost, only the meditated-upon, the aim, remains - this is samadhi.

Let us understand this. There are three words: meditator, meditation and the meditated-upon - the aim. For example, 'That art thou' is the goal, the meditated-upon. We are trying to grasp this supreme statement. This is the goal. This is worth achieving, only this is worth achieving. This is the goal, this is the final destination. Then I, the meditator, is the one who is thinking of this aim, is the one who is contemplating this aim, who is longing for this aim, who is thirsty for this aim; who is eager to attain this goal.... This is I, the meditator - the consciousness moving towards the goal.

And when the meditator runs toward this goal, when all other running ceases and only this running of the consciousness toward this goal remains, this is called meditation.

When all streams of consciousness begin flowing towards the goal united and do not flow separately in dozens of streams any longer, when they are integrated into one, when the consciousness becomes a single stream and begins flowing toward the goal, constantly - flying straight like an arrow - this flowing consciousness is called meditation.

Samadhi - the Upanishad says that when the meditation drowns in the goal leaving not even a trace of life-energy behind, when the meditator's total energy and total consciousness becomes one with the goal, the moment comes when the meditator is not even aware that 'I am'. A moment comes when the meditator is not even aware that meditation is, that only Tattvamasi, only the goal, remains. That state is called samadhi, when not the three - the meditator, the meditation and the meditated-upon - when not the three but only the one remains.

Let this be understood a little more, because different spiritual disciplines have selected differently as to which of the three should remain in the end.

The Upanishads say that the meditated-upon, the goal, should remain; the meditator and the meditation should be lost. Mahavira says that the meditator should remain, the meditation and the meditated-upon should be lost; only the soul, the pure 'I' should remain. It all sounds contradictory.

Sankhya, the path of nonduality, says both the meditator and the meditated-upon should be lost; only the meditation should remain, only the consciousness should remain - just the awareness.

It seems these are all very contradictory statements, but they are not contradictory at all. Scholars have always been having great debates, ludicrous debates. They have been debating heavily, and these debates are bound to arise. Those who understand only words will debate that these three are contradictory statements.

The Upanishads say that only the meditated-upon should remain, somebody else says the meditator should remain, and still another says the meditation should remain. What really is samadhi then? Is samadhi of three kinds? Moreover, if samadhi is when only the goal, the meditated-upon remains, then how can that be samadhi when only the meditator remains? So it will have to be decided as to which one is the right samadhi. Two of them will be wrong, only one can be right.

A scholar lives in words, not in experiences. The experience has a totally different taste to it: all these three are one and the same. Why? Because there is a very interesting thing about these three, that when any two out of the three disappear and only one remains, then a name for this remaining one is such a superficial matter that what name you give it is up to you.

Right now there are these three - the meditator, the meditation and the meditated-upon. For a seeker, for a seeker up to the state of assimilation, there are these three. When the three have disappeared and only one remains, then he selects for it any one name out of the three. This selection is altogether personal, it does not make any difference what name you give it. If you want you may select even a fourth name for it. Many Upanishads have in fact given it the name 'the fourth'; so all the three are lost, there remains no point of dispute... Because if any one of these three is selected, if two are dropped in favor of one, that may look like a bias, so they called it turiya, the fourth.

They have not given it any name, just called it 'the fourth', so that no dispute arises. But those looking for a dispute have no problem, they say that there were only these three, from where has the fourth come? Which is this fourth? Which one of the three is this fourth? Or have all those three vanished and is this fourth something completely different from them, or it is a combination of the three? What is this fourth?

It makes no difference - those who want to argue, they pick on anything to start an argument. But the one who is interested in real seeking, his journey is entirely different.

Out of these three, the Upanishads chose the meditated-upon as the one that remains; Mahavira chose the meditator as the one that survives; Sankhya, the path of nonduality, said it is the meditation that remains. But all these are just names.

One thing is certain, that only one of the three remains. Names are all artificial, you may give it any name. Just remember one thing, that when only one remains there is samadhi, the enlightenment.

As long as there remain two know it well that all the three are there, because as long as the two remain, the third, adjoining them in the middle, is a must.

Two alone cannot remain, two always means three. So those who always think in mathematical terms do not call the world dwaita, dual, they call it traita, the triple, because when there are two the third is bound to be there, otherwise who will join or separate the two? The third becomes inevitable when there are two. Three is the way of existence.

This is why we have made trimurti, the three-faced statue representing Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh:

it is indicative of traita, that the world is made up of three. But the three faces are of the same person which is 'the fourth'. You enter through any of these three faces and when you reach within the three faces no longer remain. But the seeker will admire the face through which he entered. Some seeker may enter through Brahma, some through Vishnu and some through Mahesh; each will name the experience after the face through which he entered. So he will say the fourth to be Vishnu or Mahesh or Brahma. But after reaching inside, all the three faces are lost. There is no space within, there everything is one.

This trimurti is not just a statue, it is the conclusion of our ultimate endeavors in seeking.

The three are just before the final jump; they remain there - the meditator, the meditation and the meditated-upon. And whichever out of these three makes the jump, that one remains. Whatsoever name you want to give it, it is up to you; the name makes no difference whatsoever. If you do not want to name it, it is up to you. If you want to call it 'the fourth', beautiful. If you do not want to call it anything and you remain silent, that is the best.

Hear: turn hearing into listening. Think: turn thinking into contemplation. Contemplate: derive conclusions and let the conclusions become assimilation, to allow attunement.

And let attunement not remain mere attunement, let it ultimately become oneness.

Understand the difference. Attunement means the two still remain; though a harmony, an attunement has happened between the two, yet the two still remain. Oneness means the two are lost and only the harmony has remained.

Attunement is assimilation; oneness is samadhi, the awakening.

Enough for today.

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"Who are we gentiles to argue.

It's rather telling that the Jewish people elected Ariel Sharon as
Prime Minister after his OWN government had earlier found him
complicit in the massacre of thousands of Palestinians in the Sabra
and Shatilla refugee camps.

Sums up how Israeli Jews really feel, I would have thought. And they
stand condemned for it."