I AM A SOCIOLOGIST. THAT MEANS I DEAL SCIENTIFICALLY WITH THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SOCIAL AND POLITICAL STRUCTURES, AND THE INDIVIDUAL. THOUGH I THINK THERE ARE SOCIOLOGICAL LAWS, AND THAT SOCIOLOGY CAN HELP US TO UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEMS OF SOCIETY BETTER, I AM MORE AND MORE IN DIFFICULTIES WITH SOCIOLOGY, IN THAT WAY OF THINKING, AND WITH THE SOCIOLOGISTS AS WELL.
IT HAS BEEN A PROCESS LIKE THAT SINCE I HAVE BEEN A SANNYASIN. I HAVE THE FEELING THAT I CAN'T STAND IT ANY LONGER AT THE UNIVERSITY.
CAN YOU SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT?
The whole so-called philosophy of sociology is very superficial, for the simple reason that society does not exist. What exists is the individual.
Sociology begins from the wrong end. It starts studying social relationships amongst the societies, amongst individuals. But they never bother about studying the individual - who is the source of all the relationships, of all the societies, of all the cultures that have happened or ever will happen.
Society has no soul. What can you study in it? It is almost as if somebody is studying Rotary Clubs.
A Rotary Club has no soul, it is just a club where people meet. But the reality belongs to the people.
And up to now sociology has not yet become a science. It pretends to be a science - it is not, for the simple reason that it has not started from the right point. The right point is the individual. There seems to be some fear about beginning with the individual, because there are millions of individuals in the world, and every individual is unique. It seems easier to take them as a whole and just study from the outside how the whole functions.
If it were a mechanical thing, the sociologist would have succeeded. But it is not a mechanical thing. It is not that the individuals are parts of the society. Society has no existence apart from the individuals. It is just in the individuals living together, relating together, that the society is created.
The fear of studying the individual should be dropped, because although there are millions of individuals and they are all unique, their basic consciousness is the same, and the principles of the functioning of that consciousness are the same. Either the consciousness is awake - then a person functions like a Gautam Buddha - or the consciousness is asleep; then the function of the person is similar all around the world. What you do in your sleep does not matter much; your sleep is the same.
It will certainly be difficult to study a Buddha, because he has attained an awakened uniqueness, and each Buddha is bound to respond differently, because his action is not a reaction. His action is purely action. You cannot make him do something; it is his spontaneity which is decisive.
Secondly, he is not logically a consistent person. He does not owe anything to logic: logic has not given him anything. Whatever he has attained, he has attained by dropping logic, by dropping thinking. He functions out of his state of no-mind; hence he is unpredictable.
And every science wants a subject to be predictable; otherwise what is the point of the science?
The whole purpose of the science is to predict, and to predict accurately, a hundred percent; there is not even a possibility of any exception. And each awakened human being is an exception - there is no rule.
The sleeping people... howsoever different they may be, in their sleep all their differences disappear.
A man may be a painter, a poet, a scientist, or he may have other talents which make him different from other people - but they are all asleep. The asleep man is predictable because he knows nothing of response; he only reacts. You do something, and he will react - which can be predicted.
So sociology has a basic difficulty, and that is, it has to be divided into two parts: the first part should be studying the reactions, the relationships of the sleeping humanity. And there will not be any difficulty in making a science out of it. Every sleepy person is going to be jealous, is going to be full of hatred, is going to make every effort to monopolize, is going to be competitive, is going to suffer from an inferiority complex - or a superiority complex, which is just the other side of the coin.
His life is almost the same, down the centuries, around the world. Cultures are different, religions are different, civilizations are different, but the sleep is simply sleep. It does not matter whether you are asleep in the nineteenth century or in the twentieth century; your reactions will be coming out of your sleep, which does not know anything of time, of change.
So the first part of sociology is not going to be difficult. But it is not the true part. It is the false humanity that you are trying to study.
The true part is of those few awakened individuals whom you will have to study separately. There is no way to make a category of them: in every way they are unique. And you should not mix them in with the sleepy people; then it becomes a mess. Then things become more complicated.
It is better to divide sociology into two parts. One that belongs to the people who are asleep - and that is a very simple job. The second is the difficult job, but not impossible. You can study the awakened people - although they are few. The first part will remain static; the second part will remain growing, because the more you will study new awakened people, the more light, the more dimensions will open up.
To avoid these difficulties, sociology has chosen not to study the individual but to study the whole group, its mechanism. This is a simple device to avoid the difficulties, but it is not going to lead to the truth, and it is not going to make it a science.
So I can understand the difficulty of a person who becomes a sannyasin, and who is a trained sociologist, who teaches in the university. Now he will be finding difficulties in which he is not clearly aware what is happening.
The first difficulty is that he can no longer say that sociology is a science, because he is aware of exceptions - the awakened people - not only one but many. Secondly, he cannot accept the idea of studying society as a whole from the outside, because that is a futile effort.
Society is not an organism. The individual is an organism - alive; and you can study only the alive, and how the alive organism reacts or responds. Because sociology has not done any of these things up to now, and the sannyasin must be becoming aware that the whole thing seems to be wrong... I can understand him very clearly, because to feel one way and then to teach exactly the opposite of it becomes a heavy load. He knows that what he is saying is wrong; still he has to teach it according to the syllabus of the university if he wants to remain a teacher in the university.
The same has been the situation with me. I was teaching religion, philosophy, logic, psychology; and with every subject there was trouble because it was not in tune with my own vision and insight.
I struggled, for nine years continuously, to manage somehow - and I found a way to manage it.
The way was that first I would teach them what the syllabus prescribed. So every period was divided into two parts: half of the period I would teach them what the prescribed books said about religion, and the other half of the period I would condemn it and criticize it and tell them, "This is what I say, and I feel. Now it is up to you to decide: if you want to pass, listen to the first part; if you want to fail, listen to the second part. I am not responsible - I am making it clear to you. It is just that I don't want to carry the burden on myself that I am teaching something which is absolutely absurd to me."
I would teach them about philosophers with whom I do not agree - so half the time for the philosopher and half the time for my disagreement. Now the students were getting very confused, and naturally they were agreeing with the second part because the first part was only in a dead book: I was alive and I was present, and I was destroying the whole structure that was in the dead book.
And their problem was that whatever I was saying they also felt was right, but they could not write it in their examination, because the people who would be examining them would be looking for the first part; the second part was not written anywhere.
So they were getting confused: "You have found a way not to be burdened, not to feel guilt that you are teaching something which you know is wrong. So it is good for you - but what about us? Now we will be writing something that we know is not right, and we cannot write that which we think is right."
It was a great struggle for nine years continually. Finally I thought it better to leave the university because it was creating unnecessary conflict in the minds of the students. And many who were the best failed, because they did not write what the books say; they argued according to me. But their examination copies were going to old and respected professors from different universities who had no insight, who simply looked for a repetition, an accurate repetition of the book.
So the best students were failing, and the third-rate ones were passing, because for the third-rate there was no question of conscience. It was not a question of truth; the question was how to pass.
So whatever helped to pass, they were writing; and whatever prevented it, they were not writing.
They were not really interested. They were not seekers, they had just come to get a degree. Why be bothered? But the best who had really come as seekers... it was painful to me and hurting me.
I argued with the vice-chancellor, "These students should not fail. I want to look at their copies." And I showed the vice-chancellor that their answers were absolutely right, although they were against the books.
"But books don't have a monopoly. And the books were written fifty years ago, and in fifty years do you think everything has stopped, gone dead? that a full stop came when this book was written?
In fifty years so much has happened in the world of philosophy, more than had ever happened in almost five thousand years previously. If you weigh five thousand years of philosophical thinking, and the last fifty years of contribution, these fifty years will still be weightier."
He agreed with me, but he said, "What can I do about it? The examiners have failed them. And it is not a question of one student, it is a question of many students."
So I said, "Then the only way is that I should leave the university, that I should start teaching what to me is true."
And this is the situation of the sannyasin. It is better he leaves the university. It will become a bigger and bigger burden. The more he understands, the more difficult it will be.
For example, I never could say to my students that psychology is a science. It is not. To become a science there is no possibility of having so many schools. Then there will be a single truth about any problem; not that Freud has one answer and Adler has another and Jung has another and Assagioli has another. What kind of science is this? But every book of psychology pretends that psychology is a science, because science has prestige: to declare it scientific is to declare it true.
So the best way for the sannyasin is to get out of the university. His university is now the whole universe. And he should not teach anything that goes against his conscience, because the conscience is so valuable that it cannot be sold for anything. A job, a good salary, a respectable position, does not matter. And he should make it clear why he is resigning - because the subject is not a science and it is pretending to be a science, and he doesn't want to pretend anything.
The subject is basically wrong; it starts with society - which does not exist - and it avoids the individual, who really exists. It avoids the individual because to accept the individual as the source of study, sooner or later one will have to encounter people like Gautam Buddha, Bodhidharma....
And that will be a totally different world. Whatever the sociologist has found amongst the sleepy people will be contradicted absolutely by looking at a buddha.
So either sociology should be divided into two parts, or sociology should become two subjects:
sociology of the awakened man, and sociology of the sleeping man. "And if it is not going to happen then I am not going to commit a crime against my own understanding and self." The sannyasin should make it clear to the university and to the news media.
Perhaps there are other sociologists who are thinking in the same terms but have not been able to put it together, what their problem is. He may be able to create a movement which someday brings about an authentic sociology.
BEFORE I CAME TO KNOW YOU, I HAD NEVER HEARD ABOUT ENLIGHTENMENT. BUT I WAS SEARCHING FOR SOMETHING. NOW, AFTER FOUR YEARS OF LIVING IN A COMMUNE, I FEEL FURTHER AWAY FROM REACHING SOMEWHERE THAN EVER BEFORE.
I'M JUST GRATEFUL TO BE HERE AND TO FEEL YOUR FRIENDSHIP AND COMPASSION. IS ENLIGHTENMENT STILL THE GOAL? IS THERE ANY GOAL AT ALL?
This is a troublesome question.
Enlightenment has never been the goal. Its very nature prohibits making it a goal. The goal is always in the future somewhere; and enlightenment is always now and here. Enlightenment is an experience in the present.
But this is one of the troubles of the mind, that it makes goals out of everything. If you love the idea of enlightenment, then immediately the mechanism of the mind makes it a goal: you have to achieve it - and that's where you go on the wrong path.
Enlightenment is a by-product of the understanding that to live in the past is foolish, because it is simply memory. But millions of people are wasting their time in memories. Millions of others are living in the future. You cannot live in the future; it is making castles in the air.
To understand that past and future are both nonexistential... all that you have got is a very small moment: this very moment. You don't even get two moments together. When one moment is gone, you get another moment. You always have only one moment in your hands; and it is so small and so fleeting, that if you are thinking of the past and the future, you will miss it. And that is the only life and the only reality there is.
Understanding this whole process, one thing becomes certain: why the mind avoids the present, which is the real, and why it tries to get involved with past and future, which are not real. As one tries to understand that, one thing becomes clear: that in the present moment, mind cannot exist.
Mind is simply a collection of memories of the past, and - out of those memories - imagination about the future.
Mind does not know three tenses.
It knows only two: past and future.
Present is nonexistential to the mind. The existential is nonexistential to the mind; and the nonexistentials are existential to the mind. Hence the whole effort is how to get out of the mind, how to get out of the nonexistentials and to stand in the middle - where existence is.
How to be in the present? - that is the whole knack of meditation. And the moment you are in the present, enlightenment is its by-product.
Don't give it to the mind - the mind will immediately make it a goal. Mind cannot do anything else.
It cannot put it in the past because you have never experienced it, so the past is closed. You have yet to experience it; naturally, it has to be put somewhere in the future. And it always happens in the present.
So forget about enlightenment. It is a by-product; you cannot do anything about it. This is the beauty of by-products: you have to do something else, and the by-product comes in. You have to learn to be in the present more and more. In other words: you have to learn to be in a state of no-mind more and more.
It was for a certain reason that mystics called meditation "no-mind": if you call it meditation, again the mind makes a goal out of it. Then you have to achieve meditation. So it makes no difference whether the goal is enlightenment or meditation, the goal remains, the future remains, and goes on destroying the present.
The mystics time changed from meditation to no-mind for the first time had a tremendous insight.
Now no-mind cannot be made a goal: mind cannot make it a goal. It is simply absurd - how can mind make a goal of no-mind? It will simply say it is not possible; mind is all, there is no no-mind.
This was a strategy not to allow you to make it a goal. Very few people have understood the strategy, that that's why they have called it no-mind - to prevent the mind from making it a goal.
So be more and more in a state of no-mind. Just go on removing memories, imagination, to clean and clear the present moment. And as it deepens, as you become more and more capable of no-mind, enlightenment comes of its own accord.
Enlightenment is simply recognizing your being, recognizing the eternity of your being, recognizing that there has been no death before, nor is there any death to come - that death is a fiction. Seeing your being in its utter nakedness, in its absolute beauty, its grandeur, its silence, its blissfulness, its ecstasy - all that is involved in the word "enlightenment."
Once you have experienced that juice, mind starts losing its grip on you because you have found something which is qualitatively so high, so fulfilling, such a tremendous contentment, that mind feels its function is finished. It looks ugly, because it has only given you misery, worries, anxiety.
What has been its contribution to you? Its grip loosens; it starts hiding in the shadows, and by and by it falls away.
You continue to live, but now your living is moment to moment; and what you have got as a by- product in that small gap of no-mind goes on growing. There is no end to that growth.
Enlightenment only begins, it never ends.
Nobody has said this before. They have all said that it is perfect - but perfection means it cannot grow. It has happened once, and all growth, all evolution, is finished.
But as far as my experience is concerned, I can say very authoritatively that anything that you are stuck with permanently cannot remain ecstatic, cannot remain blissful. You will start taking it for granted.
It was ecstatic because you had lived in agony; compared to that agony it was ecstatic. You have lived in pain, in wounds; against that, it was contentment, fulfillment. But now, day after day, month after month, year after year, life after life, you have forgotten agony, the taste of pain. And with that forgetfulness, your enlightenment will become just ordinary - something that you take for granted, dull and dead. The ecstasy is the same but you cannot feel it the same. There has come a full stop, and life knows no full stop.
But why have all these mystics insisted that it is perfect? - because they were afraid. Logically they were not able to face the philosophers, the critics... because if you say it is imperfect, that means something more has to happen. You have not attained the goal - something is still missing. So it is partial, what you have attained. If it is not perfect, it is partial.
To avoid calling it partial, they said that it is perfect. But they forgot that some day somebody can raise a question against perfection. It has not been raised yet, but I am raising it: perfection is going to be dead, it cannot be living, because nothing is going to happen. It will be the same tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, for eternity.
You will get utterly bored with your ecstasy, with your contentment, and there is no going back. You cannot find that agony again, those moments of misery again, because all that has fallen out of your being. There is no way back, and in the future, for as far as you can see, it will remain the same.
I deny perfection. Enlightenment appears perfect because nothing seems to be missing at the moment. All that you have ever dreamed - it is much more than that. All that you could have ever conceived - it is much more than that. So it appears absolute, perfect, ultimate; but this is a fallacy.
It will grow, it will become vast. New qualities will be added to it; and each time it is going to be a surprise because you have never thought about this quality.
So I want it to be clearly understood by my people, that enlightenment is only a beginning, the beginning of tremendous evolution, that has no limits. Only then can you remain dancing, singing.
And you can remain thrilled every moment, because one never knows what the next moment is going to bring - new insights, new visions, new experiences.
And there is no limitation to it. There never comes a point when you can say the journey has ended.
The journey only begins, it never ends.
Other mystics have not said it because they were afraid that if you say to people that the journey only begins and never ends, they will never begin it. What is the point of a journey that begins and never ends? Then do something else. Why waste your life in such a journey, where nowhere you will find a place where you can say, "I have come home"?
But I want to be absolutely truthful about enlightenment. And I want it to be an excitement that it does not end. It is not something against it, it is something favorable about it - that everything goes on expanding, everything goes on growing, everything goes on getting higher; and still the infinite sky is there, the infinite universe is there.
And if the universe can be infinite, which is inconceivable for the mind... you cannot conceive the universe as infinite. Mind cannot conceive infinity, for the simple reason that mind functions through logic. It will say, "It may be far away, but somewhere it has to end. How can it go on and on and on?
We may never reach the end, we may never find the boundary line where the universe ends - that is possible because we are limited - but that does not mean that the universe is unlimited."
Logic cannot conceive it, thinking cannot have any justification for it. And if you start thinking, you cannot believe it. You can push on the boundary as far as you can but the boundary remains.
But the truth is, the boundary cannot be there, because a boundary always needs two things: one on this side and one on the other side. You cannot make a boundary with only one side. You have a fence around your house because there is a neighbor's house. Your fence is not the end - it is simply the beginning of another house.
So if sometime logic forces you to conclude there must be a boundary, it has to be asked: What will be beyond the boundary? There must be something. Even though it is going to be nothing, that nothing will also be part of the universe. Why are you creating a boundary? That emptiness will also be the universe.
Once you understand that every boundary needs two things - something that it closes and something that it opens - then you can have some idea that a finite universe is impossible. Only an infinite universe is possible.
But for the infinite universe you need an infinity of growth, because if you come to a point where you think you have become perfect, you fall out of tune with the universe.
The same logic has to be understood about evolution. It has to be forever and forever - because again there is the question of a boundary.
You cannot make any boundaries in existence.
Boundaries do not belong to reality.
One of my professors, Doctor S.S. Roy, had written a doctoral thesis on Bradley and Shankara - both are absolutists, both believe in perfection. And his doctoral thesis was accepted, he got the Ph.D.
But I told him, "You may have got the Ph.D., but if I had been one of the examiners of your thesis, you would not have got it, because Shankara and Bradley are preaching - and you are trying to make a comparative study, that they are saying the same thing - that there is a boundary at perfection. And you are saying it with so much emphasis that it seems you also believe in it."
He said, "Yes, I have been studying Shankara and Bradley my whole life, and they have left an immense impact on me. They both are the greatest philosophers in the world."
But I said, "They are just childish, that both believe there is a boundary at perfection. Then there is no growth possible. Perfection is death and life is growth."
And I asked him directly, "Would you like to be perfect and dead, or imperfect and alive? That is the choice."
He said, "I have never thought about it - that perfection means death, and imperfection means growth. But when you say it, it sounds correct."
And I said, "You just think: For how long has existence been there? It has not yet reached perfection.
Growth has not stopped, evolution has not stopped, and existence has been for eternity. So what reason can there be to think that tomorrow it will be perfect?
"The whole of eternity in the past has failed to make it perfect. What reason is there to think that just one day more is needed, or a few days, or a few years? We are always in the middle." I told him, "We are always in the middle. We will never know the beginning because there has never been one, and we will never know the end because there is not going to be any."
We are always in the middle, growing. It is eternal growth, in all the dimensions.
And the same applies to enlightenment.
A GERMAN WRITER, HANS-HENNY JAHN SAID ONCE: "DREAMS ARE THE BLOOD OF THE SOUL."
CAN YOU SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THIS STATEMENT?
It is just a poetic statement. It is beautiful - "Dreams are the blood of the soul." But only in poetry. It is saying that the soul is always hoping, projecting, dreaming - it is never contented. But as I said, it is only true and beautiful as poetry, but not as a statement of truth.
Then I would like to say: Dreams are the blood of the mind. The soul has no dreams, the soul has no hopes. It is the mind.
Perhaps he is confused between mind and soul. If he puts "mind" in place of "the soul," it becomes a statement of truth, because mind's whole life-blood is in dreams, in the future.
But the soul is in the present. It cannot dream. Much happens to it in the future, but it is not that it dreams about it. It is always a surprise - unexpected, undreamed of.
So as poetry I can forgive it, but as a statement of truth it is simply stupid!