In order for you to understand this the structure of the various subtle bodies must be fully elaborated upon.
The individual can be divided into seven bodies. The first body is the physical body which we all know. The second is the etheric body, and the third - which is beyond this second - is the astral body. The fourth - which is beyond this - is the mental or psychic body; and the fifth - which is beyond this again - is the spiritual body. The sixth is beyond the fifth, and it is called the cosmic body. Then the seventh and the last is the nirvana sharir, or the nirvanic body, the bodiless body.
A little more information about these seven bodies will make it possible for you to understand the kundalini fully.
In the first seven years of life, the sthul sharir - the physical body alone is formed. The other bodies are in seed form. They have a potential for growth but they lie dormant in the beginning of life. So the first seven years are years of limitation. There is no growth of intellect, emotion or desire during these years. Only the physical body develops within this period. Some people never grow beyond seven years; they stagnate at this stage and are no more than animals. Animals develop only in the physical body; the other bodies remain untouched within them. In the next seven years - that is from seven years to fourteen years - the bhawa sharir, the etheric body, develops. These seven years are years of emotional growth of the individual. This is why sexual maturity, which is the most intense form of emotion, is reached at the age of fourteen. Now some people stagnate at this stage.
Their physical bodies grow but they are stuck with the first two bodies.
In the third seven-year period, between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one, the sukshma sharir, the astral body, develops. In the second body emotion is developed; in the third body reasoning, thinking and intellect are developed. This is why no court of law holds a child responsible for his actions up to the age of seven, because the child has only the physical body. We treat the child the same way as we would treat an animal; we cannot hold him responsible. Even if a child commits a crime it is assumed that he has committed it under the guidance of someone - that the real criminal is someone else.
After the development of the second body a person reaches adulthood. But this is the adulthood of sex. Nature's work is complete with this development, and this is why nature gives its full cooperation up to this stage. But at this stage man is not man in the full sense of the word. The third body, where reason, intellect and the thinking power develop, is an outcome of education, civilization and culture.
This is why the right to vote is granted to a person when he is twenty-one years of age. Though this is prevalent all over the world, some countries are debating whether to allow an eighteen-year-old the right to vote. This is natural, because as man is becoming more and more evolved the usual span of seven years for the growth of each body is becoming less and less.
All over the world girls reach puberty at the age of thirteen to fourteen years. Since the last thirty years the age for this is becoming less and less. Even a girl of eleven reaches puberty. The lowering of the voting age to eighteen is an indication that man now completes the work of twenty-one years in eighteen years. Normally, however, twenty-one years are required for the growth of the third body, and the majority of people do not develop further than this. Their growth stops short with the development of the third body, and there is no further development for the rest of their lives.
What I call the psyche is the fourth body - the manas sharir. This body has its own wonderful experiences. Now a person whose intellect is not developed may not be able to take interest in or enjoy mathematics, for instance. Mathematics has its own charm, and only Einstein can be absorbed in it as a musician is in music or a painter is in colors. For Einstein mathematics was not work but play, but the intellect must reach this peak of development in order to turn mathematics into play.
With each body that develops infinite possibilities open before us. One whose etheric body does not develop, who stagnates after the first seven years of development, does not have any interest in life beyond eating and drinking. So the cultures of those civilizations where the majority of people have developed only up to the first body revolve entirely around their taste buds. The civilization where the majority of people have got stuck at the second body will be sex centered. Their personalities, their literature, their music, their films and books, their poetry and paintings, even their houses and vehicles, will all be sex centered: all these things will be completely filled with sex, with sexuality.
In the civilization in which the third body develops fully, people will be intellectual and contemplative.
Whenever the development of the third body becomes very important in a society or in a nation, many intellectual revolutions take place. In Bihar, the majority of people were of this caliber at the time of Buddha and Mahavira. This is why eight persons of the stature of Buddha and Mahavira were born in the small province of Bihar. Besides, there were thousands of others at the time who were endowed with genius. Such was the condition of Greece at the time of Socrates and Plato; such also was the condition of China at the time of Lao Tzu and Confucius. What is even more wonderful to note is the fact that all these luminous beings existed within a period of five hundred years. Within those five hundred years the development of the third body in man reached its peak.
Generally man halts at the third body. The majority of people do not develop after twenty-one years.
There are unusual experiences of the fourth body. Hypnotism, telepathy, clairvoyance, are all the potential of the fourth body. Persons can have contact with one another without hindrances from time or place; they can read the thoughts of another without asking or project thoughts into another.
Without any external help one can instill a seed of thought into another. A person can travel outside of his body; he can do astral projection and know himself apart from the physical body.
There are great possibilities in the fourth body, but we do not normally develop this body as there are many hazards as well as much deception. As things begin to get more and more subtle, the possibilities of deception increase. Now it is difficult to find out whether a man has actually stepped out of his body or not. He can dream that he stepped out of his body and he can actually do so too, and in both the cases there is no other witness than himself. So there is every possibility of deception.
The world that starts from the fourth body is subjective, whereas the world before that is objective.
If I have a rupee in my hand, I can see it, you can see it, fifty others can also see it. This is a common reality in which we can all take part, and it can be investigated whether the rupee is or is not. But in the realm of my thoughts you cannot be a partner, nor can I be a partner in the realm of your thoughts. From here the personal world begins with all its hazards; none of our external rules of validity can be used here. So the real world of deception starts from the fourth body. All the deceptions of the preceding three can be seen through.
The greatest danger is that it is not necessarily the case that the deceiver is aware of the fact that he is deceiving. He can deceive unknowingly - himself as well as others. Things are so subtle, so rare and personal on this plane, that one has no means to test the validity of his experiences. So he cannot tell whether he is imagining things or whether they are really happening to him.
So we have always tried to save humanity from this fourth body, and those who made use of this body were always condemned and slandered. Hundreds of women were branded as witches and burnt in Europe because they used the faculties of the fourth body. Hundreds who practiced tantra were killed in India because of the fourth body. They knew some secrets that seemed dangerous to human beings. They knew what was taking place in your mind; they knew where things were placed in your house without ever having stepped into it. So the realm of the fourth body was looked upon as "black" art all over the world, as one never knew what might happen. We have always tried our best to stop progress from going any further than the third body, because the fourth has always seemed very dangerous.
There are hazards, but together with these there are wonderful gains. So instead of stopping, research was necessary. Then we could have found ways of testing the validity of our experiences.
Now there are scientific instruments, and also man's power of understanding has increased. So ways can be found just as in the case of many other new discoveries that have been made in science.
It is not known whether animals dream or not. How could this be ascertained unless an animal speaks? We know what we dream because we get up in the morning and say that we have dreamed.
After great perseverance and effort, now the way has been found. One man has worked for years on monkeys in order to find out about this, and the measures he took for this experiment are worth understanding. He started by showing a film to the monkeys. As soon as the film started, the monkey being experimented upon was given an electric shock. A button was provided on the monkey's chair and he was taught to press this button whenever he felt the shock. So every day he was made to sit on the chair, and when the film began he felt the shock. Then he pressed the button to turn it off.
This went on for a few days; then he was made to sleep in this chair. Now when he began to dream he would begin feeling uncomfortable, because to him the film on the screen and the film in his dream were one and the same. He at once pressed the button. Time and again he would press the button, and this proved that he was dreaming. In this way, man is now able to penetrate into the inner dream-world of dumb animals. Meditators too have found ways of testing the experiences of the fourth body from outside, and now it can be proved whether what happens is true or false. The experiences of the kundalini on the fourth body can be psychic, but that does not make them false.
There are authentic psychic states and false psychic states. When I say that kundalini could be only a mental experience, it does not necessarily mean that it is a false experience. Mental experiences can be false as well as authentic.
You see a dream at night. Now this dream is a fact because it has happened. But on waking in the morning you might recollect some dream that you did not actually dream; yet you can insist that that is what you dreamed. Then this is false. A man might get up in the morning and say he never dreams. Many people believe they do not dream. They do dream: all night long they dream, and this has been proved scientifically. But in the morning they assert they never dreamed. So what they say is absolutely false, though they are not aware of it. In fact, they do not remember the dreams.
Quite the opposite also takes place: you remember dreams you never dreamed. This will also be false.
Dreams are not false; they have their own reality. But dreams can be real as well as unreal. Real dreams are those which have been actually dreamed. The trouble also is that you cannot narrate your dream precisely upon waking. For this reason, in the old days any man who could narrate his dream clearly and precisely was held in high esteem. It is very, very difficult to report a dream correctly. The sequence of the dream is one thing when you dream it and just the opposite when you remember it. It is like a film. When we see a film the story unwinds from the beginning of the film. Similarly, the reel of the dream drama winds in one direction in sleep and begins to unwind in the opposite direction in the waking state, so we remember the last part of the dream first and go backwards in recollection. What we dreamed first becomes last in recollection. This would be just like someone who tries to read a book from the wrong end; the reversed words would cause just such a chaos. So to remember a dream and give a true representation of it is a great art. Generally, when we recall a dream we recollect happenings we never dreamed of. We drop a good portion of the actual dream and later most of the rest.
Dreams are a happening of the fourth body, and the fourth body has a great potential. Whatever siddhis are mentioned in yoga are attained in this body. Yoga has incessantly warned the meditator not to go into them. The greatest danger is there of going astray. Even if you go into a psychic state it has no spiritual value.
So when I said that the kundalini is psychic, what I meant was that it is actually a happening of the fourth body. This is why physiologists cannot discover the kundalini within the human body. So it is only natural that they deny the existence of kundalini and the chakras and call them imaginary.
They are the happenings of the fourth body. The fourth body exists, but it is very subtle; it cannot come within our grasp. Only the physical body can be grasped. Yet there are corresponding points between the first body and the fourth body.
If we were to place seven sheets of paper one on top of the other, prick a hole through them with a pin so that all the papers are pierced, then even if the hole disappears from the first sheet it will still carry a mark that corresponds to the holes in the rest of the sheets. Then although the first paper does not have the hole, it has the point which will correspond directly with the pinholes on the other sheets when it is placed upon them. So chakras, kundalini, etcetera, do not belong to the first body as such, but there are corresponding points in the first body. So a physiologist is not wrong if he denies them. The chakras and the kundalini are in other bodies, but points corresponding to them can be found on the physical body.
So kundalini is the happening of the fourth body and it is psychic. And when I say that this psychic happening is of two kinds - one true and one false - then you will understand what I mean. It will be false when it is a product of your imagination, because imagination is also a characteristic of the fourth body. Animals do not have the power of imagination, so they have very little memory of the past and no idea of future. Animals are free from anxiety as anxiety is always of the future. Animals see many deaths taking place, but they never imagine that they can die also; therefore, they have no fear of death. Among men also there are many who are not bothered by the fear of death. Such a man always associates death with others and not with himself. The reason is that the power of imagination in the fourth body has not developed fully enough to see into the future.
This means that imagination can also be true or false. True imagination means that we are capable of seeing further ahead, that we can visualize that which has not yet come to pass. But to imagine that something will happen that cannot be, which does not exist, is false imagination. When imagination is used in its right perspective it be-comes science; science is primarily only imagination.
Since thousands of years man has dreamed of flying. The men who had dreamed in this way must have been very imaginative. If man had never dreamed about flying, it would have been impossible for the Wright brothers to make the first airplane. They made man's desire to fly something concrete.
This desire took some time to shape; then experiments were carried out, and finally man succeeded in flying.
Also, for thousands of years man has wanted to reach the moon. First it was only in his imagination; slowly slowly it gained ground, and now it has been fulfilled. Now, these imaginations were authentic:
that is, they were not on a false path. These imaginations were on the path of a reality which could be discovered at a later date. So a scientist also imagines, and so does a person who is mad.
If I say that science is imagination and madness is also imagination, don't think they are one and the same thing. A madman imagines things which do not exist and which have no relationship with the physical world. The scientist also imagines: he imagines things which are directly related with the physical world. And if it does not seem so at first there is a complete possibility of their being so in the future.
Among the possibilities of the fourth body there is always a chance of going wrong. Then the false world begins. This is why it is best if we do not harbor any expectations before entering this body.
This fourth body is the psychic body. Now, for instance, if I want to go down to the ground floor of this house I will have to look for a lift or a staircase in order to do so. But if I want to go down in my thoughts there is no need for a lift or a staircase. I can sit right here and go down.
The hazard of imagination and thoughts is that one has to do nothing except imagine or think, and so anyone can do it. Moreover, if anyone enters this realm with preconceived ideas and expectations, then he immediately goes down only into these, because then the mind will be only too willing to cooperate. It will say, "You want to awaken the kundalini? All right! It is rising... it has risen." Then you will begin to imagine kundalini rising, and the mind will encourage you in this false feeling until ultimately you will feel that it is fully awakened and that the chakras are fully activated. But there is a way of testing the validity of it, and that is that with the opening of each chakra there will be a distinct change in your personality. This change you cannot imagine or preconceive, because this change takes place in the world of matter.
So, for instance, when the kundalini awakens you cannot take intoxicants; it is impossible. The mental body gets influenced by alcohol very quickly as it is very delicate. This is why - and you will be surprised to know this - when a woman consumes alcohol she becomes more dangerous than a man who does so. This is because her mental body is even more delicate, and it gets affected so quickly that things get out of her control. This is why women have protected themselves from this hazard by certain rules in society. This is one place where women did not seek equality with men, although unfortunately of late she is trying to. The day she asserts her equality in this area and tries to outdo men in it she will cause such harm to herself as has never been caused by any action by men.
In the fourth body the awakening of the kundalini cannot be proved by your telling about the experience, because, as I said before, you can falsely imagine the awakening and experiencing of the kundalini also. It can only be judged by your physical traits: whether any radical transformation has taken place in your personality. No sooner does the energy awaken than there will be immediate signs of change in you. This is why I always say that behavior is the outer criterion and not the inner cause. It is a criterion of what has happened within. With each attempt some things inevitably begin to happen. When the energy awakens it becomes impossible for the meditator to take any intoxicants. If he does indulge in drugs and alcohol, then know that his experiences are all imaginary, because it is absolutely impossible.
After the awakening of the kundalini the tendency for violence disappears completely. Not only does the meditator not commit violence, but he has no feeling of violence within himself. The urge to commit violence, the urge to harm others, can only exist when the vital energy is dormant. The moment it awakens the other ceases to be the other and so you cannot wish to harm him. Then you will not have to repress violence within yourself because then you cannot be violent.
If you find that you have to repress the feeling of violence, then know that the kundalini has not awakened. If after the eyes open you still feel your way about with a stick, then know that the eyes cannot see yet, no matter how much you claim otherwise - because you have not yet given up your stick. Whether an outsider can find out whether you can see or not is dependent your actions. Your stick, your stumblings and your unstable walk prove that the eyes have not yet opened.
So there will be a radical change in your behavior with the awakening, and all the religious vows like those of the mahavrata - nonviolence, not stealing, nonpossession, celibacy and full awareness - will become natural and easy for you. Then know that your experience is authentic. It is psychic, however, but authentic all the same. Now you can proceed further. You can proceed ahead if your path is authentic, but not otherwise. You cannot stay forever in the fourth body because it is not the goal. There are yet other bodies that have to be crossed.
We find, as I said, that very few are able to develop the fourth body. That is why there are miracle performers in the world today. If the fourth body in everyone were developed, miracles would vanish from the earth at once. If there were a society of people whose development had stagnated after the fourteenth year of age, then the one who had developed a little further, who could add or subtract, would be thought to be performing miracles.
A thousand years ago, when a person declared the date of the eclipse of the sun, it was considered a miracle that only the very wise could perform. Today we know that even a machine can give us this information. It is a matter of calculation and does not require an astronomer or a prophet or a very learned person. A computer can give the information not of a single eclipse but of millions of eclipses. It can even forecast the day when the sun will get cold - because these are all calculations.
The machine can calculate from the date provided that the quantity of energy the sun emits per day divided by the total energy of the sun gives the number of years the sun will last.
But all this does not look like a miracle to us now, because now we are all developed up to the third body. A thousand years ago it was a great miracle if a man prophesied that next year, in this month, on this night, there would be an eclipse of the moon. He would be considered superhuman. The "miracles" that take place nowadays - the magic charms, the ash dropping from picture frames - are all ordinary happenings of the fourth body. But since we do not know it is a miracle for us.
It is just as if you are standing under a tree and I am sitting on the tree, and we two are talking. Now I see a cart coming from far away and I tell you that in an hour's time a cart will come and halt under the tree. You will say, "Are you a prophet? You talk in riddles. There is no cart anywhere around. I do not believe what you say." But in an hour's time the cart rolls up to the tree, and then of necessity you have to touch my feet and say, "Beloved Master, my respects. You are a prophet." The difference was only this, that I was sitting on a little higher level than you - on the tree - from where the cart became visible an hour before it did for you. I was not talking of the future, I was talking very much in the present. But there is a distance of one hour between your present tense and mine because I am at a higher level. For you it will become the present after one hour, but for me it is present now.
The deeper a man stands within his inner being, the greater a miracle he becomes for those who are still on the surface layers. Then all his doings will become miraculous for us because we have no way to gauge these happenings as we do not know the laws of the fourth body. This is how magic and miracles take place: they are a slight growth of the fourth body. So if we want miracles to end in this world, it will not happen by preaching to the masses. Just as we have given man the education of the third body and made him understand languages and mathematics, we must now give him training for the fourth body. Each man has to be qualified accordingly, because only then will miracles cease; otherwise, someone or other will always take advantage of this. The fourth body develops until the twenty-eighth year - that is, for seven years more. But very few people are able to develop it.
The atma sharir - the fifth body, which is called the spiritual body - is of great value. If growth in life continues in the proper manner, then by the age of thirty-five this body should be fully developed.
But this is a faraway idea because even the fourth body is only developed in a very few people. This is why the soul and such things are only a topic of discussion for us; there is no content behind the word. When we say atman, it is merely a word; there is nothing behind it. When we say wall, there is not only the word but also the substance behind the word; we know what "wall" means. But there is no meaning behind the word atman, because we have no knowledge, no experience of the atman.
This is our fifth body, and only if the kundalini awakens in the fourth body is entrance possible in the fifth; otherwise we cannot enter. We are not aware of the fourth body so the fifth also remains unknown.
Very few people have discovered the fifth body; they are those whom we call spiritualists. These people take this to be the journey's end and declare, "To attain the atman is to attain all." But the journey is not yet over. However, these people who stop at the fifth body deny God. They say, "There is no brahman; there is no PARAMATMAN," just as he who stagnates on the first body would deny the existence of the atman. Just as the materialist says, "The body is everything; when the body dies, everything dies," so the spiritualist declares, "There is nothing beyond the atman: the atman is everything; it is the highest state of being." But this is only the fifth body.
The sixth body is the brahma sharir - the cosmic body. When a person evolves beyond his atman, when he is willing to lose it, he enters the sixth body. If mankind develops scientifically the natural development of the sixth body would take place at the age of forty-two, and that of the nirvana sharir - the seventh body - at the age of forty-nine. The seventh body is the nirvanic body which is no- body - which is a state of bodilessness, an incorporeal state. This is the ultimate state where only the void remains - not even the brahman, the cosmic reality, but only the emptiness. Nothing has remained; everything has disappeared.
So when anyone asked Buddha, "What happens there?" he replied, "The flame dies out." "Then what happens?" he would be asked again. "When the flame is lost, you do not ask, 'Where has it gone? Where is the flame now?' It is lost, and that is all." The word nirvana implies the extinction of the flame. Therefore, Buddha said, nirvana takes place.
The state of moksha is experienced in the fifth body. The limitations of the first four bodies are transcended and the soul becomes totally free. So liberation is the experience of the fifth body.
Heaven and hell pertain to the fourth body, and he who stops here will experience them. For those who stop at the first, second or third body, life between birth and death becomes everything; there is no life beyond death for them. If a person goes beyond into the fourth body, after this life he experiences heaven and hell where there are infinite possibilities of happiness and misery.
If he reaches up to the fifth body there is the door of liberation, and if he reaches up to the sixth there is the possibility of the state of God-realization. Then there is no question of liberation or no liberation; he becomes one with that which is. The declaration of "AHAM BRAHMASMI" - I am God - is of this plane. But there is yet one step more, which is the last jump - where there is no aham and no Brahman, where I and thou are totally nonexistent, where there is simply nothing - where there is total and absolute void. That is nirvana.
These are the seven bodies which are developed within a period of forty-nine years. This is why the midpoint of fifty years was known as the point of revolution. For the first twenty-five years there was one system of life. Within this period efforts were made to develop the first four bodies; then one's education was supposed to be complete. Then one was supposed to search for his fifth, sixth and seventh bodies throughout the remainder of his life, and in the remaining twenty-five years he was expected to attain to the seventh body. Therefore, the age of fifty was looked upon as a crucial year. At this time a man became a wanaprasth, which only means that now he should turn his gaze towards the forest - that now he should turn his eyes away from people, society and the marketplace.
The age of seventy-five was yet another point of revolution - when a man was to become initiated into sannyas. To turn toward the forest means to remove oneself from crowds and people; sannyas means, now the time has come to look beyond the ego, to transcend the ego. In the forest the 'I' will necessarily be with him though he has renounced all else, but at the age of seventy-five this 'I' too has to be renounced.
However, the condition was that in one's life as a householder one had to pass through and develop all the seven bodies so that the rest of the journey would become spontaneous and joyful. If this is not done it is very difficult, because with every seven-year cycle a particular state of development is connected. If the physical body of a child does not grow fully in the first seven years of his life, he will always be sickly. At the most we can see to it that he does not remain ill - but healthy he will never be because his basic foundation for health that should have been formed in the first seven years has been shaken. That which should have become strong and firm was disturbed, and that was the time for its development.
It is just like laying the foundations for a house: if the foundations are weak it will be difficult - no, impossible - to repair it once the roof is reached. At the foundation stage only could it have been well laid. So in the first seven years, if proper conditions are available for the first body, the body develops properly. Now if the second body and the emotions do not develop fully over the next seven years, a number of sex perversions result. Then it is very difficult to remedy these later. So the period of development for a particular body is most crucial.
On each step of life, each body has its predetermined period of development. There may be a slight difference here and there, but that is beside the point. If a child does not develop sexually within fourteen years his whole life becomes a long ordeal. If the intellect does not develop by the time he is twenty-one there is very little chance of its developing at a later period. But so far we are in agreement: we take care of the first body, then we take care to send the child to school to develop his intellect also. But we forget that the rest of the bodies also have their apportioned time which if lost puts us in great difficulties.
A man takes fifty years to develop the body he should have developed in twenty-one years. It is obvious that he does not have as much strength at fifty as he had at twenty-one, so he has to put in a lot of effort. Then what would have been easier to accomplish at the age of twenty-one becomes long and arduous.
There is yet another difficulty which he encounters: at the age of twenty-one he was right at the door but he missed it. Now, over the following thirty years, he has been to so many places that he has lost sight of the right opening. His wandering now makes it impossible for him to locate the place where he stood at twenty-one and which then needed only a slight push to open.
Therefore, a well organized situation is required for children until they reach the age of twenty-five. It should be so well planned that it takes them to the fourth body level. After the fourth body the rest is easy. The foundation will then be well laid; now only the fruits remain to grow. The tree is formed up to the fourth body; then fruits begin to appear from the fifth which culminate in the seventh. We may have to make a little allowance here and there, but we should be very mindful of the foundations.
In this respect a few more things should be kept in mind. There is a difference between man and woman throughout the first four bodies. For instance, if the individual is a man his physical body is a male body. But his second body - the etheric body, which is behind the physical body - is female, because no negative or positive pole can exist by itself. A male body and a female body, in the terms of electricity, are positive and negative bodies.
The woman's physical body is negative; therefore, she is never aggressive in the matter of sex. She can bear the violence of man in this respect, but cannot be violent herself. She can do nothing to a man without his consent. Man's first body is positive - aggressive. He can, therefore, do something aggressive to a woman without her consent; he has an aggressive first body. But by negative is not meant zero or absent. In terms of electricity, negative means receptivity, reservoir. In the woman's body, energy lies in reserve; much energy lies in reserve. But it is not active: it is inactive.
This is why a woman does not create anything. She does not compose poetry, nor does she create a great painting, nor does she carry out any scientific research. This is because it is necessary to be aggressive for research or for some work of creation. She can only wait; that is why she can only produce children.
Man has a positive body, but wherever there is a positive body there must be a negative body behind it or else it cannot last. Both are present together; then the circle is complete. So the second body of a man is female, whereas the second body of a female is male. This is why - and this is an interesting fact - man looks and is, as far as his physical body goes, very strong. But behind this outward strength stands a weak female body. This is why he manages to show his strength only for a few moments at a time. In the long run he loses at the hands of the female, because the body behind her weak female body is a strong positive body.
This is why a woman's power of resistance, her capacity to endure, is greater than a man's. If a man and a woman suffer from the same illness the woman can endure it longer than the man.
Women produce children. If men had to produce children they would realize the ordeal that has to be passed through. Then perhaps there would be no need for family planning - because man cannot bear so much pain for so long a time. For a moment or two he can freak out in anger, beat a pillow perhaps, but he cannot carry a child in his abdomen for nine months, nor bring him up patiently for years afterwards. If it cries all night long he might strangle it. He will not be able to tolerate the disturbance. He has extraordinary strength, but behind him is a frail, delicate etheric body. Because of this he cannot bear pain or discomfort.
This is why women fall sick less than men, their lifespan is longer than that of men. For this reason we should keep a difference of five years between a boy and a girl at the time of marriage, or else the world would be filled with widows. If the boy is twenty we should choose a girl of twenty-four or twenty-five for him. Man's lifespan is four or five years less, so this difference would equalize things and both synchronize each other.
A hundred and sixteen males are born to every hundred females. The difference in number at time of birth is sixteen, but later on the number becomes equal. Sixteen males die by the time they reach the age of fourteen and so the number becomes almost equal. More boys die early than girls. This is because the latter have a great power of resistance that comes to them through the second male body.
Now the third body of the male - that is the astral body - will again be male, and the fourth or the psychic body will again be female. Just the reverse will be the case in the female. This division of male and female exists only up to the fourth body; the fifth body is beyond sex. Therefore, as soon as the atman is attained there is no male and no female - but not until then.
There is another thing that comes to mind in this connection. Since every male has a female body within him and every female has a male body within her, if by coincidence a woman gets a husband who is identical with the male body within her, or if a man marries a woman who is identical with the female body within him, then only is a marriage successful; otherwise not.
This is why ninety-nine percent of marriages are failures: because the intrinsic rule of success is not known yet. As long as we are unable to ascertain the right alliance between the respective energy bodies of two persons, marriages are bound to remain a failure no matter what steps we take in other directions. Successful marriages can only be possible if absolutely clear scientific details concerning these various inner bodies are achieved. A boy or a girl who has reached up to the point of the awakening of the kundalini finds it very easy to choose the right partner in life. With the full knowledge of all his bodies within, one can make the right choice outwardly. Prior to this it is very difficult.
Therefore, those who knew insisted that the child should be made to develop his first four bodies in the first twenty-five years by maintaining brahmacharya, and then only could he marry - because whom should he marry? With whom does he want to spend the rest of his life? Whom is he seeking? What man does a woman seek? She seeks the man within her. If by coincidence the right connections are made, then both the man and woman are satisfied; otherwise, dissatisfaction remains and a thousand perversions result from this. The man then goes to a prostitute or seeks the woman next door. His distress grows day by day, and this misery is bound to increase with the growth of man's intellect.
If a person's growth stops at fourteen he will not suffer this agony, because all suffering starts from the growth of the third body. If only the first two bodies are developed the man would be satisfied by sex. So there are two ways: either in the first twenty-five years, during the period of brahmacharya, we should develop the child up to the fourth body, or else encourage child marriages. Child marriage means marriage before the development of intellect so that the person stagnates at sex; then there is no trouble as the relationship is entirely on the animal plane. The relationship of a child marriage is purely a sexual relationship; there is no possibility of love in it.
Now in places like America, where education has made great strides and where the third body has developed completely, marriages break. They are bound to, because the third body rebels at a wrong partnership. So divorce results, because it is not possible to drag such marriages along.
The correct form of education is that which develops the first four bodies. Right education is that which takes you up to the fourth body. There the work of education is complete. No education can help you enter the fifth; you have to go there by yourself. Right education can easily take you up to the fourth body. After this the growth of the fifth body, which is very valuable and personal, begins.
Kundalini is the potential of the fourth body; this is why kundalini is a psychic phenomenon. I hope this is now clear to you.
Ties that bind can never be useful, because ties are bad in themselves. The deeper the attachment, the worse it is. Psychic binding is a very bad thing. If someone ties me in chains only my physical body is affected, but if someone ties me with the chains of love it penetrates deeper and is more difficult to break. If someone binds me with the chain of shraddha, faith, it goes deeper still. Then to break this chain would be "unholy." So all bonds are bad, and psychic bonds even more so.
He who acts as a medium in shaktipat would never want to bind you. If he does so he is not worthy of being a medium. But it is quite likely that you may get tied to him. You may catch hold of his feet and vow never to leave him because of the great blessing bestowed on you. It is necessary to be very alert at that moment. The meditator should protect himself from attachment. However, if it becomes clear to the meditator that all attachments prove to be heavy burdens on the spiritual journey, then the feeling of gratitude will not be a binding force but a liberating one. If I am thankful to you for something, where is there any question of attachment? In fact, if I do not express my gratefulness this fact will remain as a bondage within: that I did not even show my gratitude. But this thanksgiving completes the matter.
Gratitude is not a bondage. On the contrary, it is the expression of ultimate freedom. But the tendency to become bound is always within us because there is a fear within. We are never sure whether we shall be able to stand by ourselves or not; hence there is an urge to cling to someone.
What to say of clinging to another - when a man passes through a dark street in the night he sings loudly because the sound of his own voice alleviates fear. If it is the voice of another person, then too it would be something to cling to, but basically he musters strength and courage from his own voice. Man is frightened so he holds on to anything; that is why if a drowning man comes across a piece of straw he will hold fast to it even though this does not protect him from drowning. Rather, the straw also sinks with him. So out of fear the mind tends to hold on to someone, to something, whether it be a guru or anyone or anything else. By doing so we want to protect ourselves. The fear is the root of all kinds of binding.
Meditators should always be wary of security. Security is the greatest web of attachment for a meditator. If he seeks security for even a single moment, if he feels that he has the support of someone in whose protection he has nothing to fear and thus he will now not go astray, if he is thinking that he will go nowhere and be under his guru's wing forever, then he has already lost his way. For a seeker there is no security; insecurity is a blessing for a seeker. The greater the insecurity, the greater is the opportunity for his soul to expand and to become bold and fearless.
The more the protection, the weaker he will become in the same proportion. To take assistance is one thing, but to keep on being dependent is quite another.
You are given support so that you can stand without support. It is given with the intention that soon you will need no more. Have you noticed that when a father is helping his child to walk he holds the child's hand and not the child? In a few days' time he learns to walk, and then the father lets go of his hand. But at first the child catches hold of the father's hand for confidence. So if the child takes hold of the father's hand it means that although he has learned to walk he will not let go of it.
If the father holds the child's hand, then know that the child still does not know how to walk and it is dangerous to let him be on his own. The father wants his hand to be relieved soon; that is why he teaches the child to walk. If some father allows his child to go on holding his hand out of the sheer pleasure he gets from it he is his child's enemy.
Many fathers, many gurus, do this, but this is a mistake. The reason for which the support was given is defeated. Instead of giving rise to a strong healthy person who can walk on his own two feet he has given rise to a cripple who will depend upon crutches all his life. This, however, is the pleasure that gives satisfaction to the father or the guru - that you cannot go on your way without their support. In this way their egos are satisfied.
But such a guru is not a guru. So it is for the guru to shake off the meditator's hand and tell him firmly to walk on his own two feet. And there is no harm if he falls a couple of times: he can get up again. After all, one has to fall in order to rise, and it is necessary to fall a few times in order to get over the fear of falling.
The mind tries to catch hold of some support and so the binding starts. This should not happen. The meditator should always keep in mind the fact that he is not in search of security. He is in search of truth, not security. If he is sincere about his quest for truth he must give up all ideas of safety and security. Falseness affords a lot of protection - and very quickly too, so he who is in search of safety is quickly attracted towards it. The seeker of convenience never scales the heights of truth, because the journey is long. Then he fashions falsehoods out of fanciful ideas and begins to believe that he has attained while he remains sitting just where he was.
Therefore, any type of attachment is dangerous - and even more so the attachment to a guru, because this is a spiritual attachment. The very term spiritual attachment is contradictory. Spiritual freedom has a meaning, but spiritual slavery is meaningless. But in this world other types of slaves are considerably less enslaved than are the slaves of spirituality. There is a reason for this. The fourth body, from where the spirit of freedom arises, remains undeveloped. The majority of human beings have developed only up to the third body.
It is seen very often that a high court judge or a vice-chancellor of a university is sitting at the feet of an absolute idiot. Seeing this, others follow suit thinking that if such well known people are sitting at this man's feet... we are nothing in comparison. They do not know that though this judge, this vice-chancellor, has developed his third body to the full, that though he has developed his intellect to a very high level, he remains ignorant so far as his fourth body is concerned. He is equally as ignorant as they are in matters of the fourth body. And his third body - that which has developed intellect and reason - is thoroughly exhausted by constant thinking and debating and is now at rest.
Now when intellect gets tired and relaxes it indulges in very unintelligent pursuits. Anything that relaxes after extreme activity becomes opposite to its nature. This is the danger, and this is why you will invariably find high court judges in ashrams. They are exhausted and they are distressed by their intellects, so they wish to be rid of them. In such a condition they will do anything irrational; they will just close their eyes and put their faith in anything. Their contention is that all their learning and reasoning and discussions led them nowhere, so they drop them. And in order to sever all connection with them they promptly catch hold of something that is completely contrary. Then the rest of the crowd, which gives credence to the intellects of such high-placed people, begins to imitate them. These people may be very intellectual, but in matters of the fourth body they are just nothing.
Therefore, a slight development of the fourth body in any individual will suffice to bring the greatest of intellectuals to his feet, because he has something that the intellectual lacks completely.
This sort of binding occurs when the fourth body is not developed. Then the mind wants to hold on to someone whose fourth body is developed, but this will not help you to develop your fourth body.
Only by understanding such a person can your fourth body develop. However, in order to avoid the trouble of understanding him you catch hold of his person. Then you will say, "Where is the need to understand? We will hold on to your feet so that when you cross the river of hell we too will cross with you; we will cling to your boat to cross the river of heaven."
One has to suffer in order to grow into understanding. A transformation is needed for the understanding to happen. Understanding is an effort, a sadhana. Understanding needs endeavor, understanding is a revolution. In understanding a transformation takes place, everything changes.
The old has to be changed into the new. Why go through all this bother? It is better to hold on to one who knows. But the fact is that no one can attain to truth by following someone else. One has to go alone. It is a path of total aloneness. Therefore any kind of attachment is a hindrance.
Learn, understand, welcome the glimpse wherever you get it. But do not stop anywhere; do not make an abode out of any resting place; do not catch hold of the hand that is extended to you and take it as the destination. You will, however, find many who will say, "Go no further. Stay here; this is the other shore." As I said before, some fearful people desire to be bound and there are other fearful ones who want to bind them in order to feel fearless themselves. When a man sees a thousand people following him he is bound to feel that he is wise - or else why should these people follow him? He says to himself, "Surely, I know something, or why should these people believe in me?"
It will surprise you to know that many a time the phenomenon of gurudom is caused by an inferiority complex that seeks to gather a crowd around itself. So a guru gets busy increasing the number of followers - a thousand, ten thousand, twenty thousand. The greater the number, the more he is assured of his knowledge - or else why should these people follow him? This reasoning helps to boost his morale. If these followers are lost, everything is lost. Then he would feel that all is lost and that he does not know.
Many mind games go on and it is better to be aware of them. And this game can be played from both the sides. The disciple is bound to the guru, and he who is bound today will bind someone else tomorrow because all this is a chain reaction. He who is a disciple today will be a guru tomorrow.
How long can he remain a disciple? If he has caught hold of someone today he will see that someone catches hold of him tomorrow. Slavery runs in a series, and the intrinsic reason for all this is the nondevelopment of the fourth body. If you set about developing this body you can be independent.
Then there is no bondage.
This does not mean that you become inhuman, that you will have no connection with people. Rather, the opposite will be the case: where there is bondage there is no relationship. Between a husband and wife there is bondage. Do we not use the expression "bound in holy matrimony"? We send out invitations reading that "My son or daughter is being joined by the thread of affection...." Where there is servitude there is no relationship. How can there be? Perhaps in some distant future a father might send out an invitation saying that "My daughter is becoming free in someone's love."
And it feels intelligent that somebody's love is making her free in life; now there will be no bondage; she is becoming free in love. And love should give birth to freedom. If even love enslaves then what else in this world will liberate?
Where there is bondage, there is misery, there is hell. Appearances are deceptive; inside everything is rotten. Be this the bondage of guru-disciple, father-son, husband-wife or even of two friends:
where there is bondage there cannot be relationship. If a relationship is there then the bondage is not possible. And though outwardly it seems correct that where there is a bond there should be relationship, the fact is that we can have a relationship only with that person to whom we are not tied in any way. This is the reason why many times it happens that you tell a stranger things which you would never tell your son.
I was surprised to know that a woman talks more openly to a stranger whom she has met just an hour before and even tells things which she would not dream of telling her husband. It is a fact that when there is no bondage relationship becomes easier. This is why we are always so nice to strangers and not so nice to those we know. With strangers there are no bonds, and hence no relationship; otherwise there are bonds, and hence no relationship. Then even if you wish someone good morning, it seems like a task.
There can be a relationship between guru and disciple, however, and all relationships can be beautiful. But bondage cannot be beautiful. Relationship means that which liberates.
There was a beautiful custom among the zen masters. When a disciple finished his training, the master ordered him to join the campus of his antagonist and study there. He would say, "You have gained knowledge from one side, now know it from the other." Then the meditator would go from one monastery to another for years and sit to learn at the feet of his master's rivals. His master would say, "It could be possible that what my opponent says is correct. Go and hear all that he has to say; then you decide for yourself. It may also be possible that you will be able to decide things better after hearing both of us. Or perhaps what remains after discarding both of us may turn out to be the truth. Therefore, go and seek." This only happens when spiritual genius reaches its ultimate growth.
Then nothing can bind.
My feeling is that when the condition of this country becomes such that masters will send their disciples out into the world without binding them, then there will be wonderful results. And who knows what the final outcome will be! Now such a man who sends you out to learn and hear others cannot be wrong, even if all that he himself has taught you turns out to be wrong. When such a man says to you, "Go, seek elsewhere; perhaps I may be wrong," then even if all his teachings prove false, you will be grateful to him. He can never be wrong, because it is he who has sent you out.
Today what is happening is that everybody binds the meditator and stops him from going out. One guru forbids his disciple from hearing another guru. The scriptures say, "Never go to another temple.
It is better to be trampled by a mad elephant than to take refuge in someone else's temple." The fear is always there that something might fall on the meditator's ears. So even if the teachings of a guru who binds you are correct, still the man is wrong and you can never be grateful to him. Such a man has only made you a slave. He has crushed your spirit and killed your soul. If this is understood, there is no question of bondage.
Correct. There will be no binding.
It is possible. Much spiritual exploitation is possible in the name of shaktipat. In fact, where there is a demand, a declaration, there is always exploitation. When a person declares that he will give, he will take something in return also, because giving and taking go together. Then whatsoever form it is in - in the form of wealth, in the form of reverence, in the form of trust - he will take. Where there is giving with insistence, then for sure there is taking. And he who claims to give is bound to take more in return, or else there was no need for him to shout in the marketplace.
A fisherman puts a worm on the hook of his rod because the fish does not eat the hook. Perhaps someday the fish may be coaxed into swallowing the hook directly, but it is the worm that attracts the fish to the rod and it swallows the hook with the intention of eating the worm. It is only after swallowing it that it comes to know that the hook was the main thing and the worm was only a bait.
But by then it is caught.
So whenever you come across anyone who claims to do shaktipat, who claims to give you wisdom and take you to samadhi, who makes a thousand other claims, beware. Be aware, because he that belongs to the realm of the beyond makes no claims for himself. If you tell such a person, "Because of you I experienced grace," he will say, "How can it be? I do not even know. You must be mistaken.
It must have happened by the grace of God." So your thanks will not be acknowledged by such a one; he won't even acknowledge that he was a medium for the happening. He will insist that grace descended because you were worthy of it - that was God's compassion falling on you. Who is he?
Where does he stand? What is his worthiness? He does not come in at all: that is what he will say.
Jesus was passing through a town. A sick man was brought to him. Jesus embraced him and he was cured of all his ills. This man told Jesus, "How can I thank you? You have rid me of all my woes."
Jesus replied, "Do not speak thus. Give thanks where it is due. Who am I and where do I come in?"
The man said, "But there is no one else except you here."
Jesus said, "You and I are not. You are unable to see he who is - and all happens through him. He has healed you."
Now, how can such a man exploit? The hook has to be covered with the worm in order to exploit.
He is not even ready to own the worm, let alone the hook. So wherever a person claims results, be on your guard. When he claims to do this for you and that for you, he is only covering the hook with the worm. He is raising your expectations; he is inciting your hopes and desires. And when you are possessed by desire and you say, "Oh, beloved master, give...!" he will begin his demands. Very soon you will come to know that the worm was just on the top and the hook was inside.
So watch your step wherever there are miraculous claims. It is dangerous territory. Avoid the path where someone waits to be your guru. There is fear of entanglement there. So how is the seeker to guard himself? He should guard himself from those who make big claims, and thus he will save himself from all evil. He should not seek those who claim wonderful results; otherwise he will be in difficulty, because such men are also seeking. They are on the lookout for those who will fall into their trap. There are persons such as these going about everywhere. Do not ask for any spiritual gains and do not accept any spiritual claims.
What you have to do is entirely a different matter. You have to prepare yourself from within. And the day you are ready the happening is bound to take place. Then it will happen via any medium. The medium is secondary; he is like a hook. The day you acquire a coat the hook is ready to hang it by.
Then the hook is not very important. If there is no hook you can hang your coat on the door. If there is no door you can hang it on the branch of a tree. Any hook will work; the main question is of the coat. But we do not have the coat, while the hook calls out: "Come here! I am the hook." You will be caught if you go. You do not have the coat so what will you do by going to the hook? There is every danger of your hanging yourself on it. You have to seek your own worthiness, your own capability.
You have to make yourself ready in order to be able to receive grace when it comes.
You do not have to worry about the guru at all; that is not your concern. That is why what Krishna says to Arjuna is correct. He says, "Carry out your action and leave the fruits to the divine." You have not to worry about the result of your action; that will become a hindrance. Then all kinds of complexities will arise: concern over what your action will yield, over what will be the result. And in your anxiety about the result your performance will go off. That is why the action itself should be our main concern.
We should be concerned about our own worthiness and receptivity. The moment our effort is complete - just as when a seed has reached its point of bursting - that very moment all is achieved.
The moment the bud is ready to burst and blossom into a flower the sun is always ready, but we do not have the bud that breaks into a flower. Then even if the sun shines brightly in the sky it is of no use. So don't go seeking the sun; get involved in developing your bud. The sun is there for ever and is always available.
No vessel remains unfilled for even a moment in this world. Any kind of receptacle becomes filled immediately. In fact, to be receptive and to be filled are not two happenings; they are the two sides of the same happening. If we were to remove all air from this room, fresh air from outside would at once fill the vacuum. These are not two happenings, because as we remove the air in the room the outside air rushes in. Such are also the laws of the inner world. We are hardly even ready on our side when the fulfillment of our efforts begins to descend. Our difficulty is, however, that our demands start long before our preparedness. Then there are always false supplies for false demands.
Some people really amaze me. One man comes and says, "My mind is very restless; I want peace."
He talks to me for half an hour, and in the course of his talk he confesses that the cause of his unrest is that his son is jobless. If the son gets a job his mind will be at rest. Now this man came with the excuse that he wanted peace of mind, but his actual requirement was absolutely different; it has nothing to do with peace of mind. He only wanted a job for his son. Thus, he had come to the wrong man.
Now, one who has gone into the business of religion will say, "You want a job? Come here. I will get you a job and I will give you peace of mind too. Whoever comes here gets a job; whoever comes here, his wealth increases and his business runs well."
Now a few people will gather around the "shop" who will tell you, "My son got a job." Another will say, "My wife was saved from death." A third will say, "I won my lawsuit." A fourth will say, "Wealth is pouring on me." It is not that these people are telling lies or that they are hirelings; nor are they the agents for this business. It is nothing like that. When a thousand men come asking for jobs ten of them are bound to get employed in the normal course of things. Now these ten remain while the remaining nine hundred and ninety go away.
Then these ten slowly spread word of the "miracle," and the crowd around increases. This is why every such shop has salesmen and advertisers. Those who say their son got a job are not telling an untruth; nor have they been bought over by the shopkeeper. Such a man had also come seeking, and it happened that his son got a job. Those whose sons did not get a job left long ago to seek other gurus who would fulfill their desires. Those whose desires are fulfilled begin to frequent the shop often; they come on each festival every year. The crowd increases day by day, and a group forms around such a so-called guru. Then what they tell becomes his indisputable testimony. If so many people's wishes were fulfilled, why not yours? Now this is the worm; the hook which traps the man is within.
Never ask or else you are bound to be caught. Prepare yourself and leave all else to evidence. Let the grace happen when the moment is ripe for it to happen. If it does not happen we will know we are not yet ready to receive.
The fact is that you will feel the need for shaktipat again and again only when the happening has not yet taken place. And you will find the need to take from others only when your experience with the first has been in vain. If the first shaktipat is successful, the matter ends there. It is like trying many doctors because the disease has not yet been cured. Naturally, the doctors have to be changed.
But the patient who is cured never raises the question of changing doctors.
The slightest experience of a glimpse due to shaktipat makes this question irrelevant. Besides, once this glimpse is attained from someone it makes no difference if it is attained again from another. It is the same energy coming from the same source, only the medium is different - but this does not result in any difference. Whether it comes from the sun or an electric bulb or oil lamp, the light is the same.
It makes no difference and there is no harm, if the happening has taken place. But we do not go seeking for the happening. If it comes to you along the way, accept it and go further - but do not seek it. If you seek there are hazards, because then only the tricksters will come your way and not someone who can really give. He will appear only when you are not seeking, when you have prepared yourself. So to seek him is wrong, to ask is wrong. Let the happening take its own time and let the light come from a thousand paths. All paths will prove the authenticity of the same original source. It is the same; only it is appearing from all sides.
Someone was saying the other day that he went to a sadhu, a religious man, and said that wisdom should be one's own. The sadhu retorted that it cannot be - that wisdom "always pertains to another, and that such and such a monk gave it to such and such, then he passed it on to another."
Then I explained to this friend that Krishna's experience was his own. When he says that "so and so got it from so and so," he means that this wisdom that has revealed itself to him has not been revealed to him alone; it was revealed to so and so also, before him. Then this person had shared the happening with another person, and this happening took place in him also. But what is to be noted here is that the revelation did not take place by mere telling; it was told after the happening.
So Krishna says to Arjuna, "This wisdom I am conveying to you is the same that has come to me.
But my telling of it will not bring it about in you. When it happens to you, you will be able to tell others that it is like this."
Do not go begging for it, because it is not attained from anyone. Prepare yourself for it and it will begin to come from all directions. Then one day when the happening takes place you will say, "How blind I was that I could not see that which was coming to me from all sides."
A blind man may pass by a lamp or an electric light or go out in the sun, but he will never see light.
Then one day if his sight is restored he will be shocked to see that he was always surrounded by light. So on the day of the happening you will see it all around you. And until the time comes when it takes place, offer your respects wherever you get the glimpse of truth. Take it from wherever you can get it, but please do not beg for it like a beggar - because truth is never obtained by a beggar.
Do not beg for truth or else some businessman might lure you with lucrative suggestions. Then a spiritual exploitation will begin.
Go along your way always preparing yourself, preparing yourself, and wherever you happen to find it, accept it. Offer your gratitude and move on; then at the moment of full attainment you will not be able to say that you got it from so and so. That moment you will say, "What a miracle I got from existence. Whosoever I approached, I received from him." Then the final thanksgiving will be to existence and not to anyone in particular.
Yes, it will get less and less. In fact, what is attained from another is bound to diminish. Besides it is only a glimpse and you are not to depend on it. You have to awaken it within yourself: then only will it be permanent. All influences are foreign; they belong to the outside. I pick up a stone and I throw it in the air: it will fall according to the force exerted by me. The stone has no strength of its own, but it may well think, as it flies through the air, that it has strength to cut through the air and that there is no one to stop it. But then it does not know what influence has caused this; it does not know the force of the hand behind it. It will fall - if not after ten feet then after twenty, but it will fall. Actually, any effect that comes from another is always limited and it is bound to diminish.
The only advantage of an outside influence is that in the momentary glimpse you experience you may be able to find your original source. Then it will be useful. It is as if I light a matchstick: how long will its flame last? Now you can do two things: firstly, you stay in the darkness and depend on the light of my matchstick. In a moment the light will go out and it will become pitch dark. Secondly, in the light of the matchstick you locate the door and you run out; you no longer depend on my matchstick. You are out; now it makes no difference to you whether the match is burning or not.
Now you have reached where the sun is. Now something has become lasting and stable.
All these happenings have only one use: that with outside help you do something inner for yourself.
But don't wait for these happenings, because the matchsticks will burn and go out again and again and you will become conditioned to them. Then you will become dependent on the matchstick and you will wait in the dark for the match to light, and when it lights you will keep on dreading the moment when it goes out, when once again you will be plunged into darkness. So this will become a vicious circle. No, you are not to stop at the matchstick. It is lit so that in its light you see the way and run out of the darkness as fast as possible.
This is all the advantage we can take from the other. It can never be a permanent gain; yet it is a gain and is not to be neglected. It is a wonder that we can get even so much from another. If the other is wise and understanding he will never tell you to stay on. He will say, "The match has been lit, now run - because soon the match will burn out." But if the medium tells you to stay on, on the ground that he and no other has lit the match, if he tells you that you should be initiated by him and take vows of being loyal to him, then this relationship will remain. If he asserts his right over you and forbids you to go elsewhere or listen to anyone else, then this is very dangerous.
It would have been much better if such a person had not lit the matchstick at all, because he has done great harm. In the dark you would have felt your way out someday and reached the light. Now you have landed yourself in difficulty by holding on to his matchstick. Now where will you go? And one thing is certain: this man has stolen this match from somewhere. It is not his own; otherwise he would have known its use. He would have known that it is meant to help a man to get out of darkness and that it is not meant to stop anyone or halt his progress.
Therefore, this is a stolen match that he is trading in. Now he proclaims that all who get a glimpse from his matches must stay with him and be devoted to him: this is the end! First darkness barred the way; now it is this guru. And darkness is better than a demanding guru, because it does not spread its hands to stop you. The obstruction of darkness is passive, it is quiet, but this guru obstructs actively. He will catch you by the hand and bar your way saying, "This is treachery, this is deceit."
Just the other day a girl came and told me that her guru objected to her coming to see me. The guru said, "Just as a husband or a wife belong to each other and not to anyone else, so also if a disciple forsakes the guru it is a great sin." He is right - but his are stolen matchsticks. There is no difficulty in stealing matches; there are many available in the scriptures.
The thing is that one who has not seen the light cannot tell what has been burned in order to show him the light. When he sees the actual light, only then will he know what was what. Not only will he know what had been lit but he will even know whether anything was really lighted or whether he was only made to imagine it was.
The moment the light is seen ninety-nine percent of the gurus will be proved to be friends of darkness and enemies of light. Then only will we know what dangerous enemies they are: they are the agents of darkness.