[NOTE: This is a translation from the Hindi discourses: Nahim Ram Bin Thaon. It is being edited for publication, and this version is for reference only.]
There is no division in the flow of consciousness. It is only as a result of repression that there is a division between the conscious and the unconscious. It is important to first see this rightly.
When a child is born, its consciousness is one, and undivided. There is neither a conscious mind nor an unconscious mind; there are no such divisions. But before long the process of compartmentalization begins - because we will start teaching the child what is right and what is wrong, we will preach what is good and what is bad, what he should do and what he should not do. When we go on teaching the child, "You are not to do this, this is bad," what is the child to do?
Nothing dies just because we categorize it as bad. We tell him that anger is bad. The child hears and understands, but the anger in him is not going to cease to exist just because we say it is bad -
because anger is a natural instinct. The child has not learned to feel anger, he is born with it; anger is as much a part of him as his body, his eyes, his hands.
Nature uses anger. Anger is energy. Without anger, the child will not survive. Anger will give him the strength for struggle in his life, anger will give him strength to stand up against conflict anger will give him the drive. Anger is an unavoidable feature of his life's journey.
We say, "Sex is bad," but sex is not something that has been learned from the books and movies; otherwise, how would the birds and beasts learn it? They don't go to movies - though our so-called saints blame the movies for spoiling people - nor do they read sex literature, but sex is there. So the child is born with it. We say that sex is bad, and those people who say sex is bad have given birth to this child through their sex. Had there been no sex, the child would not be here. Each child is a living symbol of sex. Each and every cell of his body is constructed of particles of sex. His whole body is a crystallized form of sex. And we say it is bad! What is the child to do?
For the baby, nothing is bad and nothing is good... yet. He has not even thought about such things, we implant such thinking in him. And we are powerful. We reward him for doing what we call right, and punish him for what we call wrong. And it is not we alone who are labelling things as bad, the whole society all around is calling it wrong. The child is alone. He is very natural, but he is alone, weak, helpless; and he is dependent on those who are labelling our impulses as wrong. It is they who feed him and clothe him; they can beat him and punish him. What is the child to do?
If "wrong" could be brought to an end just by saying so, the child could bring his wrong impulses to an end. But no, it does not come to an end, so the child begins to repress it. Repression begins and whatever the parents and society call wrong, the child relegates it to the basement of his mind. And it is all this hidden away stuff that becomes the unconscious. This is how the unconscious is born.
Whatever is kept in the back cellar, the child has no wish to see, because if it is seen the child will become restless and troubled. So the child begins to create an inner blindness so that he cannot see the bad things in himself.
You may have noticed that at the first sign of fear, children close their eyes. Perhaps they think that if they cannot see, then the fear will go away. This is the logic of the ostrich. On seeing an enemy, the ostrich buries its head in the sand. This way it cannot see the enemy, so it thinks there is no enemy there. What is not seen, does not exist! Only what is seen, exists. What is the child to do?
We have no idea of the child's dilemma. The things that he has been told are bad, are now hidden within himself; he stops looking at them, turns his back on them. It is this turning of the back that gives birth to the unconscious.
Thus, you will be surprised to know that you cannot go back into your memory earlier than when you were four years old. Go back and you will find that your memory stops at a certain point, and you cannot go beyond that point. Five years, four years, three for those who can look back furthest - that's all. There it stops. Those three or four years at the beginning of your life you have completely wiped out. But if you are hypnotized and asked, those memories appear. It is not that the memory was really erased, but just that you have turned your back on it.
Why should you be unable to remember the first four years of your life? Psychologists have been very anxious to know. After all, you were conscious. The child less than four years old lives in a world
of conscious experiencing; there are events happening, there are happinesses and unhappinesses happening. Why is their remembrance lost? The scientific finding of psychologists is that we turn our backs on that which makes us unhappy - this is our way of getting rid of unhappiness. But everybody says that the childhood days were such happy days! Had they really been happy, those memories of the first four years would be available - because we preserve the memories of happiness, it is the unhappiness that we tend to forget. Had childhood been happiness, it would have crystallized in our memory; we would never have lost sight of it. But it is not the whole of our childhood that we remember, and herein lies the reason why we have the idea that childhood was such happiness - because the unhappiness is forgotten. Those four years that we have forgotten have become our unconscious.
It is or this reason that Freud and his followers, who have worked most deeply on the human mind, see it as their first task to restore the lost memories of childhood to their psychiatric patients. All psychoanalysis is the process of going back to the childhood memory. "Whatever your illness today,"
they say, "its root cause lies hidden in your childhood, and the illness cannot disappear until the cause is uprooted."
All that we have repressed during our childhood will follow us like a shadow throughout our life, influencing our personality and coloring all our actions. You may go mad when you are sixty; but the seed of your madness might be lying in those first four years. Over the years that seed has become a tree, but its roots are in the childhood. If we dig down to those roots and cut them away, the whole tree will die. Hence the preoccupation of psychoanalysis with childhood.
The unconscious is created out of repression. Repression is the child of nonacceptance. Your impulses are lying hidden in your unconscious. Everything that is suppressed is very powerful.
Society has labeled it bad because it is powerful. Because society is afraid that if it is not repressed, it is so powerful that it will shatter society to pieces, it will destroy it.
The most powerful of all is sex; hence it is sex to which society is most opposed. Society seeks the total suppression of sex, because as soon as one's sexual feelings are repressed, the person becomes a slave to the society. Look at a bullock and compare it with a bull. The bullock has been castrated, the bull's sexuality is intact. These two animals seem not to belong to the same species.
The dignity, the grace, the power of a bull gives it such a different quality compared to the bullock.
The bullock is lifeless, without passion - but if we want to harness an animal to a cart, only a bullock will do; the bull is so powerful that his strength will make it impossible to control him. It is difficult to say where he will go. He will take the cart where he wants - into ditches and hedges, into ups and downs, which the cart will never survive. It is not so with the weak, domesticated bullock.
Every child is born a bull; and society converts every child into a domesticated ox, because only then can his power be harnessed and yoked; only then can he be used. It is because we have converted the wild into the domesticated that life lacks interest, magnificence and grace; and we have been doing it for such a long time that we no longer know - we have no idea - what we are doing.
Society is afraid of what the new generation will do if every child is left completely free in sexual affairs. Will they still carry the burden of society? The fear is that they will not.Will they still be prepared to become school teachers? The fear is that they will not. Will they still work as clerks, sitting in offices all their lives? The fear is that they will not. Ultimately will the institution of the family
be able to survive strong liberated sexual passion? The husband will be afraid: is the wife going to care for him? One feels fear with the idea of this much energy. Everything will be thrown into chaos, and anarchy will be the result.
Society's fear of energy runs very deep; hence the necessity to weaken the child. But the weakness is only superficial, just like the embers which stay alive and glowing from the inside, spreading their heat to the ashes. The topmost layer of your personality has become just like ashes. This is why you are so miserable and lusterless, smothered, because no one can be blissful and joyful without energy.
The experience of pure energy is bliss. William Blake, a great Western poet, said, :"Energy is delight."And where energy is on the wane, bliss is lost, weakness enters. Another name of weakness is lack of interest; and the whole of society is out to weaken you, and all that is lying buried inside you. Whatever was powerful and has been buried will drive you, push you, moment to moment.
So when you experiment with witnessing or meditation, on the one hand the witness will be there, and on the other hand the fiery waves will be rising up from the unconscious. Desires will be awakened, anger will be in an active state. There is no way to avoid it. Whatever is repressed will have to be witnessed; whatever is buried inside will have to be faced. Wherever we have made ourselves blind, we will have to create eyes. We will have to undo the things we were taught to do as children, and redo them in a totally different manner. We will have to return to that point in our childhood at which our energy was stolen. This is why all religiousness is nothing but reclaiming of childhood.
Jesus says,"Only those who are like children will enter the kingdom of heaven." Like children! - that state of pure energy, uninterrupted and undivided, where there are no labels like conscious or unconscious, only a continuous flow of one undivided consciousness; where the madness of right and wrong is still unborn; where everything is accepted; where the child has not yet begun thinking, where no thinking abides - this state will have to be regained.
Religion is a way of getting free of all the injustices perpetrated against you by society. Religion wants to return to you all that society has stolen from you.
This is why religion can never be social.
Religion is basically revolutionary and non-social. That is why whenever there is a religious person - a Jesus, a Buddha, a Mahavira, a Krishna - the society is always against them. Society never accepts a religious person, because rebellion is the basic stance of the religious man. His essential process is to demolish whatever injustice society has done to you - wherever society has paralyzed you, stolen your energy from you, blocked the upsurge of your fountain of life - and to free you utterly and completely.
So society is essentially anti-religion, and religion is essentially anti-society. And it may surprise you, because Hindus, Mohammedans, Christians, Jainas and Buddhists, are all social. Buddha is not social, Buddhists are. Mahavira is not social, Jainas are. It is again one of the society's tricks - to absorb religion.
A sect is born when society manages to convert even a rebellious religiousness from a bull into a bullock. Just as it turns each rebellious child into a conforming child, when society manages to cut off the revolutionary element of a religion. then it becomes a cult, it is no more a religion. Jesus is religious, Christianity is a cult. So Jesus is crucified by society - it has no alternative but to crucify him - and around his crucifixion the church is created and Jesus is worshipped. Now the revolutionary element is dead, and in place of Jesus, enters the pope.
Adi Shankaracharya, the Indian mystic, was likewise scorned and was the target of much abuse, but the present shankaracharyas of his monasteries receive great honor. Adi Shankaracharya was an unbounded flow of revolutionary energy, a Ganges rushing towards the ocean. He cannot be channeled like a canal. And these shankaracharyas today are like canals; you can lead them anywhere you like - they have no freedom of their own.
Understand it well that religion is the greatest revolution possible in the world, because the goal of religion is to take you back to that original, innocent state of being in which you were born; it is to undo everything that society has done to you. Zen masters say, "Religion is discovering your original face." When you were born you had no inkling of life and death, right and wrong; neither was there fear or hatred, attachment or freedom, nor were you worldly or religious. At the moment of your birth you were like pure water, with not even a hint of any impurity. Religiousness is the name given to the regaining of that clarity, and religion is its process.
So when you become a witness to what is happening in you, all that society has taught you to repress will begin to rise, because witnessing means that the weight holding it all down is removed.
Right now you are sitting on top of it, so everything remains suppressed. People come to me to tell me about the strange states arising out of their meditations. They expected meditation to bring them peace, and instead they find themselves facing inner tempests. They expected meditation to bring them satisfaction, and find themselves aflame with dissatisfaction. They thought anger would disappear, and find themselves, to their dismay, hot with anger!
In the beginning this is bound to happen. You have been sitting on the lid that covers your repressions, and you have been riding on that lid a long time, trying continuously to hold down everything beneath it. To become a witness means that you have finally jumped off the lid; now you will only stand aside and will not do anything. Now you will no longer repress, now you will just witness. So everything suppressed will arise, all the repressions will catch fire; you will find flames leaping where there were only ashes. All the anger and sex and turmoil will surge up, will surround you, but even in these moments you maintain your witnessing. It will not last for long, because it is just the explosion of the repressions. As these flames flare up, and fade, the fire below will begin to disappear; and as the smoke is dispelled into the vastness, you will find a clear, smokeless space within. A day comes when you find suddenly that you are standing alone, nothing is left to be seen.
The witness is there, but there is nothing to be witnessed - no anger, no sex, no hatred, no envy, no jealousy. But this will take time....
If you were dealing with the accumulated repressions of only one lifetime, it would be different. But these are the repressions of numerous lives. Nobody knows how many times you have been born, and how many societies have crushed you. And each time a different society, and all these societies destroying you in different ways... this is why you carry so many inner contradictions.
Once you were a Hindu, and you were taught that this is right and that is wrong. Then once you
were a Mohammedan and you were taught exactly the opposite, that this is wrong and that is right.
Once you were a Jaina, and once a Buddhist... the number of societies you have wandered through is endless. You have learned so many rights and so many wrongs, and they are so contradictory to each other that you are in deep inner conflict and great confusion. So many people have carved and shaped you that no single image of you has developed. So many images have been carved, and your stone would have looked so much more beautiful if it had been left untouched. The sculptors have made it deformed and ugly.
The process of witnessing will take time, and this will depend on the effort you put into witnessing, and also on how much is repressed within you. If your effort is really profound, things may happen very quickly. If the effort is only lukewarm, you may begin to feel the effects only after a few lives, or may never feel it at all. The time taken will depend on how intensely, how enthusiastically and how totally you give yourself to the effort to become grounded in witnessing. If your witnessing can be total, all the turmoils can come to an end in an instant! If you become the very awareness, if in the moment of awareness all your energy becomes awareness itself - no doer remains at all, only the watcher - then even in an instant such a seeing will burn up everything lying suppressed within you.
Have you heard the story of how Kamadeva, the divine embodiment of sex, went to tempt Shiva?
Shiva was sitting in meditation, and all around him Kamadeva was weaving the web of passion and sex. The moment Shiva opened his one eye, Kamadeva's body was burnt utterly away. Since then he has no body, and is known as Ananga, the bodiless. Such a thing can happen to you, too. There will be no need to open even two eyes - just one eye is sufficient, provided your whole being is flowing through it, provided you are able to see in your totality through that eye. Then whatever rubbish you are carrying within will be burned away and will cease to exist.
It is important to remember that anger, sex, jealousy, are all aspects of your body, they are not aspects of you. This is where lies the difference between society and religion. Society thinks of them as belonging to you yourself, and so engages itself in suppressing them. Religion recognizes that they are not part of your essential being, but are parts of your body. So religion sets out to awaken you. Society endeavors to repress you, religion endeavors to awaken you, because it is the understanding of religion that the more awakened you become, the more you will be free from passions. The society thinks that the more you are repressed and made to sleep, the more you will be relieved of passions. Society's insight is based on the experiences of mediocre people; people like Buddha do not create society.
People like Buddha are born into their aloneness.
There exist no societies of such people, hence, so far, none of the laws of society are intelligent.
Society is made up of great crowds of fools, mobs of unintelligent people, and the laws are framed by them. It is as though the laws are made by blind men; and when a child is born with eyes, those blind men operate on the eyes of the child to blind him, saying, "This child is born with an accidental deformity. Eyes should not exist, but this child has eyes. Cut them out!" Or else they will teach the child to keep his eyes closed, because no one sees; and when no one sees, it is a crime to see.
They will create in the child a sense of guilt about seeing, and teach him to regard it as a sin. "If you see you are a sinner, so be prepared for your eyes to be removed, or agree to keep them shut."
Society is made up of the blind. Those who have eyes have no society; they are born alone. Kabir said, "There are no crowds of mystics and they do not form a group." The mystic is all alone, because these heights are such that they can be attained only by individuals. The crowd cannot reach there.
The heights are so difficult and arduous to climb that it is only once in a while that an individual makes it; the rest of the people are left behind. Society is made up of people who have no intelligence. But the fools also create the rules, and they live under the impression that they are intelligent. The first principle of the unintelligent is that you are the body, and nothing else but this body - this is the first principle of the ignorant - so whatever resides in your body is you. The first principle of the mystics, of those who know, is that you are not this body; you are other than the body and separate from it. Your being is altogether unique and unconnected with it. You are in the body, but you are not the body. The body is like a house and you are its resident. The body is like clothes and you are wearing it to hide yourself. The body is like an instrument to be used, or a chariot, and you are the charioteer.
So the first principle of the mystics is that you are separate from the body, and the first principle of the ignorant is that you are identical with the body. The whole trouble between the two is based on this. If you are not separate from the body, then whatever faults and shortcomings you have will have to be eliminated from your body. But these things do not get eliminated by your efforts, they only go into hiding. Once they are hidden, they create diseases; all manner of diseases arise.
Freud says that of all the diseases known to psychoanalysis, ninety percent are the product of sexual repression. And modern medical science says that a minimum of fifty percent of all diseases are of a psychological nature. You will be surprised to know that a minimum of three out of four individuals are troubled by one or another kind of psychological disease, and Freud says that of these, ninety percent are the result of sexual repression. As soon as sex is repressed, a climate of disease is created. It is as if a kettle is boiling, and you have sealed the lid down with a heavy weight and closed off all the outlets - and all because you are inimical to steam! And underneath, the fire is still burning. Now the explosion is bound to happen.
Every day your body is active, every day you eat meals, and with every breath you take oxygen into your body. All this creates new blood cells and through all this sex is being born. The food provides the fire, your breathing assists the combustion, and the fire finds its expression in sex - and that is what we are repressing. The stove is burning full, we keep on adding new fuel to the fire, and we have placed great stone weights on the lid of the kettle - stone weights of religions, morality and social behaviour. Neither do you allow the steam to escape, nor the fuel intake to lessen. Then what is going to happen? Explosion! This man is in a diseased state; he will go mad. Madness means the explosion, madness means all norms and boundaries have been broken. The kettle is blown to pieces, the fuel is scattered everywhere, and the contents of the kettle too!
So some so-called religious people - who are not actually religious at all - begin to remove the fuel instead of removing the weight from the lid of the kettle. They eat less food because they are afraid of sex.... because if the body is fed, then sex is going to be vitalized. It is food that provides the energy for sex - so the saint fasts! Through fasting, no new energy is created, so there will be no explosion in the kettle. But the saint who is like this will be impotent and long-faced. It is unusual to find a blissful saint, a happy and smiling saint. He will be sad, old and serious, a stunted tree, because he only allows himself as much food as he needs to keep himself alive. A little more food than meets this basic need, and sex will stir in him.
Passion is abundance of energy, it is an expanding, it is your surplus energy involved in sex play. So the saint will take only the minimum food necessary. He will eat only once a day, and not enough, separating out the nutritious part alone. He will live on dry foods so that he absorbs no extra fuel.
Now there will be no fire, only a mild, smoky warmth, enough to warm the contents of the kettle so that life can somehow continue, so that it does not altogether go cold. Naturally, this man is in the same situation as an oven with only smoke: the smoke produces a little warmth in the water, but there is no boiling, no steam, no music from the kettle.
Many Zen masters have sung the praises of this steam-music, and Russian poets have sung songs to it. It is a music to be heard in the early morning before the bustle of the day begins, when people are still in bed, when the birds have not yet spread their wings. Then you can listen to the murmur of the kettle. But without fuel this music will cease to play.
Hence, it is very difficult to find a saint humming with energy. His life force is weakened, he is almost dead; he walks, he sits, he moves around, but he is tired. He is tired even without doing anything; the flow of his life energy has stopped. There are other dangers, too, if the earth is full of such monks as these. A gloomy person cannot endure the bliss of others - he wants everyone to be gloomy. And the gloomy person creates a sense of guilt in the minds of those who are smiling. The diseased man always look at the healthy ones with jealousy, and creates an atmosphere as if to be healthy is a sin.
It may surprise you to know that Leo Tolstoy, who was very favorable towards this diseased saintliness, has written that to be healthy is to be ill, and that if a man seeks to be spiritual he will have to drop the desire to be healthy. Instead, he must be ready to be sick, he must be ready for a pitiful lack of vitality, and for a generally wretched state of health.
So in the name of spirituality there are two possibilities available: either withdraw the fuel supply so that there is no fear of the steam being created, or go on adding weights on the kettle lid so that there is no fear that it will blow off. In one case the result is a dull person who is dead before he has died, and in the other a person doomed to go mad when the explosion finally happens. Those whom we call monks follow one or the other of these two paths of sickness.
But look at Buddha or Mahavira; they look neither sick nor insane. It is rare to find a body as beautiful as Mahavira's. His every cell is the incarnation of dance and bliss. Looking at an image of Mahavira it is hard to imagine that we could ever find a more beautiful body. But just look at the monks who are followers of Mahavira! The degree of emaciation will make you feel ill. They look really sick; there is none of the bloom of Mahavira in them. And how can there be ahimsa, nonviolence, where there is no blooming? A miserable man must be violent. He would like to see others as miserable as himself, and he cannot rest until he has made you all miserable. That is why these so-called holy men devise every means they can to bring others into misery. "Eat less," they teach. "Take the vow of celibacy." And if you don't, they look at you as though you are the greatest sinner in the world. You will feel hatred and condemnation from their eyes. But what this condemnation from the "holy" men really amounts to is the declaration that they have not found their own health, their lives are sick.
The true saint is an individual overflowing with infinite dance; he is a continuous music. Sitting near him, even if he is sitting still, doing nothing, you will feel that something is dancing in him. You will hear his poetry even when he is silent. If you have ears and you are around him when he is walking,
you will hear the music of a dancer's bangles. In his every action you will discover the melody of his life's Veena. His whole being has become musical and artistic. Only then is life a festival, and only then can a man give thanks to existence.
How can a miserable saint be thankful? Even if he talks to God, he only complains. All he can say is, "What a life you have given! What a burden! Stop it!" The only thing he can possibly be full of is complaint; he cannot be full of gratitude. You can only thank if you have known the beautitude.
And witnessing is the path to beautitude. No withholding of fuel, because in the fuel is life. No decreasing of energy, it has to be increased - because energy is bliss, and God is just a name for the supreme energy. You cannot attain to it through de-energizing yourself. You can only experience God when your energy is growing to such abundance that it floods all your boundaries and barriers.
You can attain it only when your energy is overflowing, flooding all the banks. How can a dry river reach the ocean? As the water becomes exhausted, puddles will appear obstructed by heaps of sand; everything will go dry. And if the river flows any further at all it will be only to form a few more such puddles - if you withhold the fuel.
Enhance the energy of life! Let life-energy reach to its ocean - and at that point there is no end to it, because the energy of life is infinite. With life-energy, excess is impossible. You cannot have too much energy, because no matter how much you have, you will discover that there is still more.
The river that is bound for the ocean has to have abundant water and abundant joy. A flowing force is needed so that it does not end in puddles but can maintain the flowing journey across all boundaries, immersing all that obstructs... and such a river one day will finally reach to the ocean.
If you are to reach the ocean, you will have to become the ocean to a certain extent, because only like can meet like. If God is infinite energy, then de-energized you cannot meet him. If he is vast, and you are depleted you cannot meet him. So at least to some extent become like him. If he is life, how can you journey to him as a corpse? Look around! He is dancing. Flowers are blossoming in him, melodies are pouring from him, and all around life is full of exultation.
We have a few festive days. Once a year we observe Holi, the festival of colours, painting ourselves and each other with bright colors. Once a year we celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights, and light many lamps in the darkness. But our life is dry and dull; and it is just because this is so that man has had to create festivals. The birds, the beasts, the plants, the rivers, the waterfalls - they have neither Holi nor Diwali. It is because man is sick that he is satisfied with just one Diwali. One Diwali is just a consolation. So on that day the new clothes, the firecrackers, the lighted lamps - and then we return to the same gloominess, the same prison, the same misery, the same anxiety.
When Holi comes, and we sing and dance, breaking all bounds and throwing off our normal codes of conduct. On that day we throw all our morality, rules and etiquette to the winds; for one day our river flows, breaking all disciplines. But do you think that a river that flows for one day of the year is going to reach the ocean? And even this one day is only an apology for the real flowing; it is just a mockery of our real selves!
Look at nature: there is Existence enjoying Holi every day, and celebrating Diwali daily. In nature the colors flow afresh every day, new flowers open each morning. Even before the old leaves fall,
the new buds are bursting out and the new shoots are springing up. The festival does not stop even for a moment - it is non-stop, every moment is Diwali. Such will be the life of a religious person. He will be festive each moment - he is grateful that he is. His every breath is an expression of gratitude and benediction.
And this is a by product of witnessing. In witnessing there is to be no frugality with the fuel; you are not to be de-energized. And neither is the lid to be weighted down - you are not to be turned insane either. It is not intended that you should explode into madness, be broken into chaotic pieces.
Witnessing means seeing from a distance whatever is happening. This burning fuel is very beautiful; these rising flames have a magnificence, and this life which is manifesting itself like a fire, has a deep attractiveness. These songs of boiling water - the humming, the bubbles, the foam, the rising steam - it is all so beautiful! All this is accepted.
Remove the lid, let the steam. Let the fire burn and the steam fly free and you see all this from a distance, and an extraordinary truth reveals itself: that you are watching all this happen in the body.
This fuel, this water, this steam, all are happening in the body. You are surrounded by it but you are beyond it.
The day you begin to see that you are beyond all that which is surrounding you each moment, you have transcended. From that day on you will no longer be disturbed by anger, you will not be troubled by sex. From that day, even if you enter into sex you will be standing at a distance, and now you will know that you are flowing with the supreme energy of existence. If existence wills that you should enter into sex, okay! Let it be done! And even if you are angry, after this day has come, then anger will be a playing, a game, an act. If it is necessary you will allow it; but not for a single moment will you be identified with it. You and the passion will remain separate.
To be in the world, but not of the world; to be in the body, but to not belong to the body; to pass through the river, but without getting wet - this is the essence of witnessing.
A Zen master was bidding farewell to his disciple. He was telling the disciple to go into the world and tell others all that the master had taught him, to give them whatever the master had given him. Just as the disciple was descending the steps of his master's house to set off, the master added, "And when you cross the river, see that your feet do not get wet."
The disciple was taken aback, and his agitation was evident. To cross the river without getting his feet wet? If the feet are not to get wet, then better to avoid the river! It can only be crossed if the feet are allowed to get wet - so don't go to the river!
The master said, "It is better that you stay back. If you have not understood this small matter, then the time for your leaving has not yet come." The disciple asked him to explain. "This is not a matter to be explained," said the master. "You begin your meditations again. Practice witnessing again, because this is the meaning of witnessing."
This is the whole meaning of witnessing: go through the river, but don't get your feet wet! If you avoid the river, it is because you are weak. If your feet get wet, then you have gone astray. It is difficult, but as the witnessing begins to happen, so the complications begin to evaporate. You remain only the watcher, you do not become the doer. So watch the anger, watch the sex, watch the jealousy,
and know well that you are the seeing, and not that which is being seen. Break your identification with the seen, and connect it with the seer.
As you start getting glimpses of it, you will slowly find that the world is running on its own energy.
You need not support it, you are not needed. The body functions without you. The body feels hunger, demands food and itself puts it in. You are unnecessarily coming in between. The body feels the heat, and the body seeks out the shade of a tree. If you come in between, you do so unnecessarily. You were not needed. You could have just watched the body feeling the heat, watched the perspiration telling the body it was in trouble, and watched the body rising and moving into the shade. If you can just watch this body in trouble because of the heat, moving into the shade - a witness to the scene, but not its doer - then you are already liberated. There is no other liberation. And before long you will find that you are free of all that society repressed in you. But whatever is given by nature, from that there is no liberation.
Witnessing will relieve you of all that society has forcibly repressed in you, of all that is unnatural.
But understand this well, that there is no freedom from that which is given by nature. If the disciple does not understand this he will be in difficulty, because he will think that freedom has still to happen from this and from that.
Remember, you can get rid of that which is given to you by others, but not that which you have brought with you. You will be able to leave that only on the day you depart from your body.
One who has found liberation from society and from its conditionings we call jivan mukta; one who is liberated while living, one who has no repressions left in him. But still nature must run its course in him, even now. The jivan mukta will still experience hunger - and he must. In fact he will experience hunger in a way which is not possible to you, because everything in him has become so pure. The witness is pure in him and stands separate from him.
The hunger that you feel is not real hunger, and this is because you are not a witness. If you eat food at one o'clock every day, then just the clock showing one o'clock makes you hungry - and it may be that the clock stopped in the night at one o'clock, and is showing one o'clock now when in fact it is only eleven o'clock in the morning! Just seeing this false indication of lunchtime, and hunger can arise. This hunger is false, and it is interesting to observe that this hunger will disappear if you just wait a little. Only false hunger can disappear. If this hunger were real, it would only grow in intensity.
If you go to sleep at ten o'clock every night, then every night at ten o'clock you will feel sleepy. This drowsiness is false, mental. If for ten minutes you don't go to bed, and instead find something to do, the sleep will disappear, and you may stay awake the whole night. If it were real, it would have been more intense by ten-thirty, and still more by eleven; the sleepiness would have just grown more. But it is not real; it is your imagination, it is your identification.
So you cannot feel the kind of hunger that the enlightened one feels, nor can you experience the kind of sleep he experiences; even on the body level you cannot derive the same pleasure that he does. But whether it is pleasure or pain, sleep or no-sleep, or hunger or thirst, the enlightened one is standing detached - that is his enlightenment. He allows the body to run on its own. He understands the fact that the body functions on its own, that there is simply no point in being the doer. Remove yourself, separate yourself a little, and just see whether the body continues on at its own or not! Your doing only creates problems. You create trouble by interfering and preventing the body from working with its own ease.
Whatever has been imposed by society will disappear in witnessing. Whatever is given by nature will be purified and cleansed, but will only disappear with the disappearance of the body. The jivan mukta is liberated only from the society, and when he becomes free of his body, that is the final liberation, the supreme liberation. Then, free from nature also, he remains the pure witness.
The buddhas talk of two nirvanas, two enlightenments: nirvana and mahanirvana, the great nirvana.
Nirvana happened to Gautam Buddha on that day when, at the age of forty, he came to know that he was a witness. Buddha lived for another forty years after entering this state of nirvana, experiencing hunger and thirst, needing to drink and to sleep at night; he continued to know the tiredness of the body after walking during the day, and knew both health and sickness. Then came mahanirvana - the body also disappeared. First society disappears, then nature. And when society and nature both disappear, then pure brahman, pure soul, the absolute reality alone remains.
Let society disappear first. Sannyas is the declaration that now I have begun the work to free myself from society. This in itself is the meaning of sannyas. Sannyas does not mean that you have retired into the jungle to become a religious seeker - because it is quite easy to take society into the jungle with you. Go to the jungle, and if you were a Hindu here and continue to regard yourself as a Hindu there also, then you are carrying into the jungle what you learned in society and have not left society at all.
Renouncing society does not mean running away from society. There is nowhere to run away to - where will you run? Renouncing society means finding freedom from all that has been imposed by society. And that freedom from society's chains is to be found in the reclaiming of your childhood innocence. Become as fresh again as you were in childhood. To regain the lightness of a child is to be freed from society.
Your nirvana will happen on the day that you finally attain complete freedom from society. First you will begin to feel how nature and your self are separate. Society lies between the two, spanning the two like a bridge. That bridge will disappear. On one side you, on the other, nature; purush and prakriti, soul and nature - and there is great juice in the game!
This game played by pure soul - purush, the male, and pure nature, prakriti, the female - is very juicy. It is this game that the Hindus have called in their mythology rasleela - the game of purush and prakriti, of the soul and nature.
Look at Krishna playing with the gopis - the thousands of beautiful women who were his lovers.
That story is beautiful. Krishna, the soul, purush - the male energy - has become a pure witness, and all around him dance the gopis, seducing the one who cannot be seduced! The day the bridge disappears within you, there is no social link left.
And it is hard to find a more asocial being than Krishna. Hence no matter how much you worship Krishna, deep down you remain afraid of him. If you were to suddenly meet Krishna, you would be afraid to introduce him to your wife - this man is dangerous! Nor would you want your children to have anything to do with him - this man is a troublemaker! If is fine to worship him from a distance, but to be close to him is a different matter. Krishna has let go of society completely; he is totally asocial.
This story of the gopis dancing around him is the story of what happens when you shake off every last trace of society's impositions and become pure again like a child. This is why Krishna is mostly portrayed looking like a child. He lived to be eighty years old, but there are no paintings of Krishna as an old man, not because he never grew old - he must certainly have done so because nature will have its way. His body must have become frail and bent, his teeth gone - maybe he needed a walking stick to support himself. But to think of Krishna walking with the aid of a stick is inconceivable to us; we cannot allow ourselves such thoughts. It seems improper to think of Krishna's body as old and tired.
Yes, nature must have taken its course, but still purush, the spirit, must have remained constantly fresh and boyish, like newly-sprouting leaves. Hence artists, and poets like Surdas, all reflect in their lyrics and pictures the childhood of Krishna. This is the essential nature of the pure spirit.
Krishnamurti calls this childlike state the unconditioned state - free of all conditioning, free of society, free of the slightest trace of a line drawn in you by anyone else: unconditioned, undisturbed consciousness.
But the fact that you have disappeared into pure witnessing does not mean that nature stops at once.
Nature continues her dance; she has her own momentum. If you are pedaling a bicycle and then stop, the bicycle will coast on for some distance under its own impetus. If you are pedaling uphill at the time, this distance will be very short, but if you are riding downhill you will be able to freewheel a long way. Hence, people who enter nirvana before they are thirty-five years old are like the cyclist who stops pedaling when he is traveling uphill. It is difficult for the bicycle to travel much further.
Up to the age of thirty-five, life is an uphill climb. Thirty-five is the peak. Hence those who attain to knowing, nirvana, before they are thirty-five, do not live very long lives; nature's dance comes to a standstill very soon after that. Only with great difficulty can the dance of nature, of the body, be made to continue. The desire, the passions, that previously provided the impetus have now ceased.
The impetus to keep the body going can now come only from compassion, and this is not easy. So all those who become enlightened before they are thirty-five, like Shankaracharya and others, die young.
People who become enlightened after they are thirty-five, their bicycle continues running on its own momentum; life is now on a downhill course. So Mahavira and Buddha lived till they were eighty.
Once life is traveling downhill, it can run for much longer without you pedaling. Even though you have become only a witness, the dance of the body goes on - the hunger, the thirst - but now you are standing at a distance. Before you were the doer; now you are the watcher. Up to now you were a participant, but now you are a witness, no longer bothered about the results, no longer trying to affect them. As long as you were a participant you lived with an inner anxiety about the result, the consequences. Now, whatever the outcome, there is no anxiety.
This is what Krishna says to Arjuna when he asks him to stop worrying about the outcome of the battle and to drop any desire for victory. He is asking Arjuna to be a witness, to simply watch whatever happens. Let nature - prakriti - take her course and do what she wants. You stand aside.
First every trace of society, its conditionings will disappear. Then nature, prakriti, will also come to a standstill. How long can the gopis keep on dancing? They will get tired.
The Sankya Sutras say that when purush - the male manifestation of soul - is able to witness, then prakriti - the female manifestation of soul, nature - puts all her talent into her dancing, trying to
seduce, because she too feels unhappy at the thought of you being at a distance. Your becoming a witness and standing aside is bringing her game to an end, so she employs all her artistry to call you back again, to engage you again. But the sutras say that once you have begun witnessing nature, the dancer, she gets tired and eventually dances to a standstill. She drops all memories of you, and you are beyond her limits. Then is mahaparinirvana. Then there is no more birth. Now the soul is one with the vast ocean, gone in the fusion of is and is not. The soul is not, because now there is no center of ego, of I. The soul is, because there is no way for what is to die! The soul becomes one with the great centerless void. You as you are will not remain; only as the whole you will remain.
This is the goal, this is what we seek.
Enough for today.