[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.]
YOU SAY THAT THE LOVE BETWEEN A LOVER AND HIS BELOVED CAN BE LASTING, BUT NOT THAT BETWEEN A HUSBAND AND WIFE. BUT YESTERDAY YOU DESCRIBED THE LOVE BETWEEN RAMA AND SITA AS SO TOTAL THAT THEY WERE CONTENT WITH EACH OTHER FOR THEIR WHOLE LIFE. IS THIS POSSIBLE? OR IS THIS THE EXCEPTION WHICH PROVES THE RULE? AND IF THIS IS POSSIBLE, HOW SO?
AND ANOTHER THING, YOU HAVE GIVEN SANNYAS TO MANY MARRIED COUPLES AS WELL AS TO LOVERS. HOW SHOULD THEY RECONCILE THEIR SEX AND MARRIED LIFE WITH THEIR SADHANA AND SANNYAS?
PLEASE GIVE US SOME GUIDANCE.
The relationship between Rama and Sita is of love, it is not a husband and wife relationship.
Marriage is possible in two ways. One is the arranged marriage, which is determined by the parents, the palm readers and the astrologers, the family and the society. The couple to be married is not consulted. This is called an arranged marriage. There is great safety and security in such a marriage, because when the elders decide something they calculate everything, they use their whole experience. They have known, learned and understood things in life, and they make their
decision on that basis. The older people become shrewd. They use their shrewdness, their cunning and calculation to come to their decisions. They have seen significant things in life that the younger ones cannot see yet just because they are young. They have seen that feelings change quickly, that decisions taken in moments of deep emotions are forgotten when the mood changes and those lofty peaks of romance have faded into the distance. They know that we cannot live in our dreams for very long; eventually the dreams break down.
Romance is a dream - a dream in which we see the other as a god. But our psychological state is such that this vision cannot last long. We see the other as a god, but only momentarily; then the vision disappears and we are left in pitch darkness. And the relationship that was created on the basis of that vision of a god in the other will wither away.
There are so many divorces in the West because there marriages are not arranged by society; instead the young people themselves decide. Out of every hundred marriages made this year, twenty-five will be divorces by the next year. The remaining seventy-five which continue as marriages seem to be continuing out of helplessness. They seem to be continuing because of some other reasons, not because of love. The children are there, the job is there, the fear of loneliness is there, it is difficult to divorce - and it hurts their prestige to divorce. These are the reasons why they are held together.
So it is the marriages arranged by the society that are lasting, that is the first point. The reason this kind of marriage lasts is that there are no heights of love, but only a plain world of calculated moves where cunningness dominates over feelings. When society decides, it decides with the head, not with the heart. The heart cannot be relied upon, because it says yes one moment and no the next.
Stability of the heart is available only to those who have attained samadhi, enlightenment.
The intellect has logic and mathematics, it has a stability that is available to everybody. That is why the intellect can be trained; there are schools and universities and examinations for it. But there are no schools for the heart, no universities, no examinations; the heart cannot be trained. The heart is like mercury; it cannot be caught hold of, except by those who have attained samadhi, who have dissolved. Those whose egos completely disappear attain to samadhi. The love that arises from the heart living in samadhi is eternal, without end. But love such as this happens only once in a while, to a Rama, to a Sita. Society cannot be managed on the basis of this kind of love. If we try to make this love the basis, even more people will fall into trouble and misery.
So there exists a marriage arranged by society - experience, calculation and know-how are all used for this kind of marriage. Things are more lasting in such an arrangement. True, the great heavenly heights are never touched, but at least the feet stay planted firmly on the ground. There will be no great showers of bliss, but at least a tiny trickle of happiness and unhappiness continues. And of those who desire showers of bliss, ninety-nine per cent get lost in the desert of misery. But those who are ready to come to terms with a little trickle of happiness and unhappiness, never reach to the heights of bliss, nor do they get lost in the desert of misery. They somehow strike a compromise with life. Happiness and unhappiness become like the two wheels on which their cart of life moves.
What we call life is this cart moving on the wheels of little happinesses and unhappinesses.
The arranged marriage will be lasting and stable, knowing neither great happiness nor great unhappiness. Neither is it born out of love, nor will it collapse through the disappearance of love.
Because it is not created out of love, the question of love disappearing does not arise at all. It is a social institution, based on the experience of thousands of years, and this experience gives the heart no chance; the whole matter is decided by the intellect.
Marriage is a decision of the intellect. Love is an entirely different matter. It has no relation whatsoever to the intellect; it is quite unconnected to thought. Just as meditation is thoughtlessness, so is love. And just as meditation cannot be managed by the intellect, so it is with love. In fact, meditation and love are two names of almost the same experience. When meditation happens through contact with another person, we call it love; and when love happens in a person without any contact with anybody else, we call it meditation. Love and meditation are two sides of the same coin. Meditation and love are names of the same door seen from two different places. Seen from the outside, the door is called love. Seen from the inside it is called meditation. It is just like a door labeled entrance on one side and exit on the other; the same door serves both purposes. So if you arrive at the door from the outside, the label is love, if you arrive from the inside, the label is meditation.
Meditation is becoming filled with love in your own aloneness, and love is the art of slipping into meditation with the other. In either case it is only rarely that someone reaches, because meditators are rare, and lovers are equally rare. The world is not run according to the laws of meditators, nor according to the laws of lovers. In fact, in the eyes of the world the meditator and the lover are both insane - blind fools who understand nothing. Only intellect is considered to have eyes; the intellect thinks that it alone has eyes. It is quite oblivious to the fact that the heart can also have eyes, and even if it comes to know this it cannot trust the information, because the heart lives from moment to moment.
The heart is a spontaneous stream, maintaining no record of the happenings of yesterday and the day before. The intellect keeps track of all that has happened in the past, and every decision it takes in the present is based on the past. In deciding what is to be done today, it refers to the whole record of what it has come to know up until now in life. The heart has no such accumulated wealth; it is weightless, without past, without memory, so that whatever it decides is born impulsively, in this very moment. It does not think things out, it does not refer to the past, it does not seek advice from the voice of experience, it does not search though memory. Its response is fresh and new, born in this very moment. The heart is as fresh as the morning dew.
The intellect is always stale, and the heart is always fresh, like a new shoot on a tree in springtime.
Intellect is always old and rotten - just rubbish, just the ruins of the past. Heart is always here and now. So in the eyes of the intellect, the heart is mad and blind.
Lovers and meditators are not found in abundance, they cannot be. We agree that meditators are rare, but we are less inclined to agree that lovers are also few and far between - we are all under the impression that we are lovers. But I am telling you that this is an illusion. Lovers are as rare as meditators, because love is also a meditational experience. Just as Buddha, Mahavira, Krishna and Christ were meditators who can be counted on the fingers, so Sita, Meera and Radha were lovers to be counted on the fingers.
You have mistaken sex for love, but it is not love; and the sex act to which you attribute such profound importance has no importance at all. It is simply a natural instinct, an impulse forced on you by
nature to ensure that you are a good vehicle for reproduction. Seeds break open and grow into trees which again scatter their seeds. Birds sing their courting songs, attract mates, have intercourse, lay eggs and from them produce young ones. This is all that you too are doing! You are no different in this respect from the birds, the fish, the trees; in your sexual activity there is no difference at all.
Sex is a natural event. Love is not natural, it is not of this world, it is a supernatural phenomenon.
Love lies far beyond nature. Please take this in, and then try to understand.
The love of Rama and Sita is love; it is not marriage. If you have not read Valmiki's Ramayana - the story of Rama - you must read it. Tulsi and many others have written versions of the Ramayana after Valmiki, but all those Ramayanas have lost the purity of Valmiki's Ramayana. Valmiki's version is pure because he is not concerned about morality or religion. Valmiki narrates the Ramayana in the spirit of Rama himself. Tulsi, however, is too preoccupied with preserving Rama's image, so that whatever he feels to be detrimental to Rama's moral character he has left out. Tulsi has removed from the Ramayana every detail, however small, that might tarnish Rama's image. Tulsi is an idealist, Valmiki is a realist. You may find yourself troubled by many features of Valmiki's narrative, because so many of the events surrounding Rama and Sita will defy your imagination.
Rama comes to the city where Sita lives and, wandering in a garden, sees Sita and falls in love with her. This is inconceivable to us, this is the kind of thing that any vagrant boy might do - to set eyes on a girl and immediately fall in love with her. Is this any way for a Rama to behave? But so it was! Love happened to Rama before marriage. Marriage came afterwards just as a supplement to love. To Sita too, love happened the moment she saw this young man. Their two hearts met - the essential meeting had already happened - before they married, before society played the part of the formal witness. My understanding is that after what had happened between the two, if Sita had to marry someone else, that would have been merely a superficial marriage. The freshness, the virginity of the meeting of these two hearts would not have been there in any other marriage. It would have been only a business transaction, something just on the body level.
This is why, even if Ravana would have been able to marry Sita, he could not have her; that event had already happened, her giving of herself had already happened. And likewise, had Rama married another woman, he would have missed the music of the meeting of two hearts; what was spontaneous and unplanned would not have been possible in any other marriage.
Rama and Sita have never been studied from this aspect, because love is something we do not study - we want to avoid such things. Their falling in love with each other is the very first thing between Rama and Sita, and all that unfolds afterwards between them has to be understood in this light. If we ignore the fact that first and foremost they have fallen in love with each other, then many apparently meaningless issues arise in the lives of Rama and Sita, and to resolve these becomes very difficult.
A scholar came to me, a devotee of Krishna and opponent of Rama. This is just the way scholars behave: if he is a devotee of Krishna he will be opposed to Rama, and if he is devoted to Rama he will oppose Krishna. The scholar is always for one party and against the other. They have no heart which can understand, otherwise they would see that Rama and Krishna are one.
This scholar said to me, "Everything in Rama's life seems fine to me, except for his expulsion of Sita to the jungle on the basis of gossip spread by a worthless washerman. On the strength of hearsay
and rumor, Rama sent his pregnant wife away from their home. This is a very unworthy act on Rama's part - this shows that his love fell short. Rama may have been kingly and skilful in worldly matters, but he certainly is not a lover, because what kind of love is this?"
I don't think the scholar was able to understand my answer when I told him, "To me, this is one of those rare acts of love. Only a lover could do this." It was difficult for the scholar to catch my meaning. As I see it, Rama could send Sita off into the jungle only because the love between them was so deep that it would never cross Rama's mind to think that Sita might doubt his love for her.
Their love is so unique that Sita could accept whatever happened without ever thinking that Rama would do her wrong. It is everybody but Sita who raises the question of impropriety. Even her sons Lav and Kush were caught up in the question; Lakshmana questioned it, but not Sita. Everyone who reads the Ramayana asks, "Why? What was the matter?" Only Sita has not raised the question; she accepts it.
To love someone is to accept that person totally, the way they are. It can be anything but wrong whatever that person does to me then. It is in the very nature of love that though the whole world may find fault, the lover sees no trace of it. The lover has already taken leave of the ego. Rama can send Sita into the jungle because it is not a sending - it is his own going. Even this much discrimination is not left between them. If one is causing some trouble to the other, one thinks, one considers; but if one is putting oneself into trouble, there arises no question of thinking. To Rama, Sita is so much part of himself that even the thought that there is something improper in sending her away did not occur to him. Sita leaves for the jungle just as Rama did one day when he was told to do so by his father. There is no questioning where there is love, there is only deep acceptance.
What has happened between Rama and Sita is nothing but a supreme incident of love. That they are husband and wife is secondary - a social formality, a social conformity - it is not irrelevant. In Sita's mind will never arise the thought of other men, in Rama's mind will never arise the thought of other women. The idea of other men or women arises only when there is no love. Only when there is no love, when we are not content, does the other attract us.
Love is a nonduality, with no question of any desire of the other. The day you are in love with someone, all women or all men are contained in your beloved. This woman is prakriti, the entire feminine energy of the universe; this man is purush, the entire male energy of the universe, and the whole world disappears for you. This is why there is such a hunger for love. And until such love is found there will be no fulfillment, no matter how many partners you change - and you have already done that.
In the West they are in a great hurry, so they change their partners again and again in a single lifetime. Here, in the East, you are not in such a hurry - you change partners in different lives. But the basic approach is the same. Here in this country we know that it is a long journey of lives upon lives, there is no hurry. One life, one wife; another life, another wife, another husband - we have the convenience of changing this way.
Since Christianity asserts in the Western world that there is only one life, Westerners don't have the same convenient arrangement available that we have. They have to cram into a single life that which for you is spread across many lives. As a result, being so short of time they are in a hurry. For you there is ample time, so you are in no hurry, but basically there is no difference between the two.
Looking at a beautiful woman, for a moment you forget your wife - she disappears. For a moment your mind is full of the smoke of desire and you long to enjoy this woman. You may try to blot out your desire by chanting "Rama, Rama," or by averting your eyes, or by hurrying on your way to work without looking back, but all this makes no difference. The desire is there, and will remain there, as long as love has not happened in your life.
And there are only two journeys available: either love has to happen or meditation has to happen.
Individuals are of two types. One is the feminine type, for whom love happens first and meditation follows; for the male type, meditation happens first and love follows. These are the two possibilities.
Let either one happen, and the other is bound to follow - it is inevitable. Once the first step is taken, the second has to happen.
So if you are going to seek godliness in your life, then understand which is your way. There is no point in trying to meditate if your energy is in loving and meditation has no interest for you. Then it is better for you to try to immerse yourself in love - and it is not going to make any difference whether that love is directed towards your wife or your children or your cow or even a tree. To whom your love is directed is of no importance; it is not a question of the other, but of the love process itself. It can happen even if you love a stone.
So don't think that all the stone statues you come across have always been devoid of meaning; many times love has happened there too, a devotee has found God through his love for these stones. The question is not of the stone outside, but of the heart within. If you really watch the devotee in his relationship with the stone statue, his behavior with it, you will come to see that you have not begun to relate like that even with living human beings. His involvement and his care for his stone statue are worth seeing. At dawn he awakens his statue, his beloved, ringing the bell at his door and saying: "Rise now, O Nand-kishore! The dawn has come." Not understanding what lies behind this madness, we can easily laugh at this devotee washing the face and cleaning the teeth of his beloved, raising him up and changing his clothes, and tending him with all the adoring love of a mother caring for her child, or a woman for her lover. And he is so totally absorbed in it. In these moments of loving humility the whole world disappears, the stone image becomes the whole of existence for this devotee. Only when food has been prepared and offered to his beloved will this devotee eat. In the afternoon heat he will close the door for his beloved, and at night - when his beloved is tired - he will lay him down and cover him with a mosquito net.
Our analysis of all this will be that it is madness, and if we ask a psychiatrist to look into the matter he will diagnose this fellow as a pathological case and label his activities as perversion. He will have to do so because psychology knows nothing whatsoever about the loving heart, the heart overflowing with love.
Who is loved is immaterial; the loved one is just an excuse. The real objective is that because of a beloved, the river of love that has up to now been blocked within the lover may start flowing; the fountain that has for so long been covered over may spring up again; all the boulders that have obstructed the flow may be removed. The beloved acts just as an instrument to clear away these rocks. The fountain of love is within, and once it starts flowing you will clearly understand that it is not dependent on the beloved; it is your own nature, and it is you who have been preventing the flow of this fountain by blocking it with rocks. The presence of the beloved was a help; the rocks got cleared away and now the fountain of love flows without any limits.
If your path is love, then you must be prepared to be mad. Then who the love is for is not the question; the image of Krishna or the image of Jesus will do, or even an unsculptured piece of stone will do.
A man went to a fakir and said to him, "I want to find God."
The fakir replied, "The search is very difficult. To find God you will have to make a great leap; so first you begin by practicing small jumps."
The seeker asked, "How do I take a small jump?"
"Love someone," said the fakir. "Practice this small jump, and eventually you will be able to take the ultimate leap into God, in which you will be utterly dissolved into the infinite void, with no trace of you remaining. Those who come to look for you will not find even your ashes. That is the final jump, but you will have to wait a while before you are ready for that one. It requires great courage, so start with shorter jumps."
The seeker said, "But I love nobody! All I have been thinking so far is how to get rid of my wife and children so that I can seek God in earnest. And I have always avoided giving anybody even so much as a loving glance, because I was afraid that love will lead me into bondage".
Certainly, love becomes bondage - if there is ego within you then love becomes bondage. But if there is no ego within, then who is there to be bound? Love becomes our bondage because the one who can be bound is present within. So when love begins to encircle us from all sides, then we begin to get uneasy within. In fact, as long as the "I" is there, love cannot be. All that we call love is only desire, longing, passion and attachment; as long as ego is there, all these bind one.
We have called passion pashvik - animalistic. You are probably not aware of the meaning of this word. It comes from the word pashu, which means that which is tied; pash means the binding rope and pashvik means to be tied. Pashu does not mean only animal, it means anyone who is tied.
And the only one who can be tied is the one who is internally tied. Lovers cannot bind or be bound; hence those who have known love have called it ultimate freedom. They say that love is liberation, because in love you dissolve, so who is there to be bound? Even if bonds are there they will merely hang in the void. Who is there to be bound? And if you try to put the void in bondage, you will end up putting knots in the rope itself, as there is no one to be found within.
So this seeker said to the fakir, "I have lived always in great fear of love, always avoiding it, because love is bondage. And what is this you are teaching me? To love? I have never loved anybody."
The fakir replied, "Think this over carefully, because to find anywhere a man who has never loved anybody is impossible - no matter how much he may have tried to avoid it. Love is our nature. So close your eyes and try to remember."
The seeker thought long, and finally he said, "Well, if you are really asking me, I have to confess that I have a cow for whom I feel a little affection!"
"That will do," said the fakir. "This cow of yours will become your first lesson in jumping. Go and love your cow whole-heartedly. Let her occupy all your attention, let your every pore be possessed by
her. Cow when you stand up, cow when you sit down, cow when you walk, cow when you talk - let your whole being be filled with cow!"
"What madness are you teaching?" said the seeker. "What will people say? This is just insanity!"
"Yes," said the fakir, "love is always insanity. And God in the form of love showers only on those who are ready to be insane and ecstatic. So go now, and try this."
And it is said that through this cow alone this seeker found God. He never needed to return to the fakir to ask what jump to take next. Looking deep into the eyes of his cow, drowning in them again and again, he recognized the eye of God.
And certainly, cows have that eye. This is why Hindus have called the cow the mother. Eyes as innocent as those of the cow are hard to find anywhere else. Even human eyes are not so innocent.
They are pure, they are as a cloudless sky. Try, some time, standing near a cow with your heart full of love, looking into her eyes, and immediately you will feel the love in the cow's heart arising, because the cow is not conditioned by society, she has not been taught to be moral, she has no discrimination like "mine" and "not mine"; she has no calculating intellect weighing the pros and cons. The cow is pure heart, so if you have any heart within you she will immediately start transmitting waves of love towards you.
You will be surprised to know that there is great research going on now into the emotional life of plants. If you think the cow's love is remarkable, then what to say about plants? Just stand beside a plant lovingly, say the scientists involved in this work, and the plant will begin to transmit love waves to you.
One of these researchers has invented instruments which, if connected to a plant, plot a graph of the plant's palpitations, just as an electrocardiogram plots the beating of the heart. This scientist found that if a man who feels love for the plant stands nearby, touches and caresses it, feels happy to be near it, the plant's graph changes, and it can be seen from the changes that the plant is feeling happy. The moment the gardener approaches with cutters in his hand, the graph changes at once.
Even though he has not actually used the cutters, and is only approaching, the plant's palpitations change. As the gardener begins to cut the plant, it is not only that particular plant's graph which changes, but the graphs of all the other plants nearby change too, because they too feel the trauma of the plant that is being cut.
This scientist was even more amazed to discover that the plants were disturbed not only by the cutting of other plants, their pain being reflected in the graph, but reacted also with pain when a chicken was killed close by. And he found that the matter went even further than this. If the man who cut the plant or killed the chicken approached again the next day, the graphs of the plants indicated their suffering; they are aware of the approach of a dangerous man. Even after months the graphs of these plants would express their anxiety at the approach of this man.
Plants are a far less developed life-form than animals, so you can imagine the love that you could share with a cow! Search deep into her eyes and she will become the door on the outside of which is written love, and on the inside, meditation.
If love is your path, if love is your thirst, your lifestyle, then love anybody. But go deeply and fully into it; only then is the transformation. If you seek to save yourself in any way from drowning deep into it, you will never be liberated.
If love holds no attraction for you - and there are such people - there is no need for you to feel discouraged. Then meditation is your path, and you should be alone and dive deep into yourself. If you cannot immerse yourself in the other, then sink into yourself. These are the only two possibilities; either you dissolve in yourself, or in the other.
Mahavira dissolves in himself, so he attests that there is no God. The meditator does not need God, because the meditator does not need the other as such. And God is other too, something other than you. So Mahavira says there is no need for God: Appa so paramappa - the soul is God. The one hidden within is the soul, he says, and that soul is God, there is no other God.
This is not atheism; this is the statement of the meditator. Lovers get very disturbed by this because they think this man is an atheist. Meera will not be pleased if she hears Mahavira saying this. Sita will not be pleased. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will say, "What is Mahavira saying? This man is an atheist!" But Mahavira is not an atheist; this is the theism of the meditator.
But when Meera is dancing, shedding tears of ecstasy, and singing, "Giridhar Gopal is my lover, my only love!" then hearing this it is Mahavira who will ask, "What madness is this? What attachment is this? What a mind game this is !" Mahavira will be unable to call it religion, because he knows nothing about it. It is the religion of the lover, it is the theism of the lover. The lover's theism will always seem to the meditator a little frenzied, a mad and weird thing. And the meditator's theism will always appear to the lover as atheism. This is why the Hindus have always regarded the Jainas, Buddhists and Charvakas as atheistic traditions.
Regarding the Charvakas as atheists is one thing, but they count the Jainas and the Buddhists in the same category. There is a reason for it. The reason is that the lovers cannot even comprehend how you can drown yourself in yourself. For the lover, this is like trying to pull yourself up by your shoelaces. How will you drown in yourself? The lover says that there must be something else to drown into, and that something else is God in whom one can truly drown. But the meditator says as long as the other is present, there is bound to remain a little tension. Worrying about the other, worshipping and thinking about the other, means that mind will continue to function. How will you drown while the other still exists? The very presence of the other will function as a little hindrance to drowning completely; only when the other has disappeared will you be able to really and totally drown into your own being. They are both right; they are talking about the two sides of the same door.
Between Rama and Sita has happened total love. No other discipline was needed, nothing else remained to be done; just love achieves all that can be achieved. This love was of such excellence that Hindus have put the name of Sita ahead of Rama's name and call them by one name - Sitaram.
Because Rama is after all a man, even his love will carry some shadow of meditation in it. Sita is a woman, and traces of love will be present even in her meditation. So the lovers reversed the order of the names themselves - bringing Sita's name first.
It is only the Hindus who have done such a thing - making the names of the lovers into one and putting the woman's name first, like Sitaram, Radhakrishna; it is because to Hindus all the deeper
spaces of life have developed through the door of love. There have been meditators too, but they have fallen out of the mainstream of Hinduism. The main thread of the Hindu current is love. So although Buddha, Mahavira and Patanjali were also here, they were outside of the Hindu current; they could not be absorbed in the main thread. They are not the mainstream of this tradition, they are just incidental, small fountains springing up alongside. Whoever wants to understand Hindu thought will have to fully understand the alchemy of love.
What has happened between Rama and Sita can also happen between you and anybody. You do not need to waste time wondering where on earth to find Rama or Sita, or when, if ever, this great meeting is going to happen. If you think in this way you are falling into the wrong kind of logic from the very start. The fact is that whenever you love anyone you will find your Sita, you will find your Rama. After all, where is the lover who is going to be satisfied with a beloved who is less than a Sita, and where is the woman who wants her lover to be less than a Rama?
We have a saying, Pati paramatma - the husband is God. Husbands may have taken advantage of it, it may have caused immense harm, women may have been exploited and suppressed due to it, but there is an element of basic truth in it. Whenever you love somebody, immediately the human being disappears and God appears. Love is like a chisel that carves through the stone, revealing the image hidden within it. The social norms that dominate you are like a curtain that is pushed aside by love; the lover unveils the curtain and beholds the eternal one who resides within you. That you are a man or a woman is only a matter of external form - a formality. The lover draws aside that external form, and Sita becomes manifest. So you don't need to go all the way to the city of Ayodhya to find Sita, and nor do you need to go searching in the past. And it won't do to sit waiting for Rama; if love is there, then wherever casts its light, you will start seeing Rama there, or Sita will be manifest there.
Everyone has to find out the nature of his own thirst rightly. This is the most arduous part of the seeker's work - to rightly understand his own thirst. Otherwise, no matter how much the lover goes on meditating, it will be useless; and all the meditator's attempts to be a lover will all be useless because a constant conflict from within will always be present. Taking Mahavira to a rasleela - a celebration of singing and dancing - will be pointless, because he will not be able to overcome his inner opposition to joining in. And if you tell Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to sit under a bodhi tree and close his eyes, all he will be able to think of will be his drums and cymbals. No, the bodhi tree is not for Chaitanya.
And between the two, I say unto you, there is no conflict. It is just a matter of one's own individual way. Whenever a consciousness reaches God, it is a virgin experience, it has never happened before. It is happening for the first time and the last time. It is the glory of existence that there is no repetition in it. And there is no way the ultimate experience of existence can ever be repeated. This experience is eternally unique and unparalleled for each individual.
Recognize your destiny first, see where your interest lies; then select your path of love or meditation accordingly. First experiment with love. If it does not work for you then start with meditation. Or, first experiment with meditation, and if it fails to bring any results then experiment with love. And if you feel you can't be sure which one to start with or you are confused about it, then first begin with love.
And there is no failure on this journey, because even if you fail on the path of meditation whatever you gained in experimenting will be helpful on the path of love. And the other way round is also true.
Anything gained in your unsuccessful experiments on the path of love will be helpful to you on the path of meditation.
Nothing in existence goes in vain. In the process of creating God, no stone goes in vain; all stones get used. Even the rejected stones get used in building the house. And sometimes it so happens that it is the rejected stone that forms the foundation block of the house.
SOMEWHERE IN YOUR DISCOURSES THERE IS A MENTION OF THE SAGE DURVASA AS AN EXAMPLE OF ONE IN WHOM CONCENTRATION HAS TURNED ITSELF INTO A STATE OF INSANITY. BUT IN YOUR TRATAK MEDITATION, THE GAZING MEDITATION, CONCENTRATION SEEMS TO BE THE MAIN PROCESS. PLEASE, COULD YOU EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO?
The traditional form and concept of Tratak is indeed that of concentration. And through concentration, as I told you, energy is generated and siddhis - powers - are developed; but that ultimate relaxation we are seeking, the meeting with God, does not happen. Concentration is a part and extension of the ego itself; through it you are not dissolved but strengthened. You are not melted but solidified like ice. Your powers increase, but not your bliss.
What I am calling Tratak is not an experiment in concentration, but an experiment in just looking.
Understand the difference. Traditional Tratak means focusing the whole mind on a single point - it may be the sun, or a statue, or a point. The mind is to be narrowed down, so it does not run here and there. The whole flow of mind is turned into one direction, keeping it flowing just towards one point so that the whole mind focuses on one point only, without any diffusion. The effort is in fixing the mind to the one point; catching hold of it, pulling it back whenever it strays.
But what I am calling Tratak is only for the name's sake. What I mean by tratak is that you become empty within, that you just look at me without any effort to force your mind towards me. You don't make any inner effort to look, you simply become empty and relaxed in this looking and then just look. You keep your unblinking eyes towards me, and through the eyes you do not have to come to me, I shall come to you through them. The eye is your door. But if you are too full inside, then there is no space. If you are empty within and your throne is unoccupied, then through the door of your empty eyes I can enter you.
In traditional tratak the seeker was bringing his consciousness to the point, but in this tratak the seeker is not going anywhere, he is just becoming empty within, and his eyes are open so that I can enter. This is basically different. And this process of just looking is very unique, because when you are just looking, you are not even trying to do tratak - because even in that doing the looking will be contaminated, waves of thought will intrude on the mind. When you are just looking your eyes become as empty as the sky. When you make no effort to look but only look, you become still and free of tension within.
Sometimes, lying on the ground, just look at the sky. Don't think, and if there are clouds, don't look for images in them. Don't find horses and elephants in the clouds, don't think about anything; just
look, as though your eye is simply the lens of a camera - it can see but not think. You are lying there like a mirror, available to whatever is happening. All that happens in front of the mirror is reflected in it, but the mirror does not think about it; it does not think whether it is a black cloud or a white cloud, or whether it should have been like this or like that, or why there are clouds there, or if it is going to rain. No, don't think! Just look, just gaze, open-eyed. In a short while you will find that the outside sky has entered you, that the sky outside and the sky within you have merged to become the great sky. The thin wall that separates the two has disappeared, and now you will find no one inside. You will not even be able to find where is the within, where is the without. Where does within end and where does without begin? All boundaries have disappeared. You too are the sky.
Just like this is the experiment of my tratak. I am sitting here empty, you are sitting there full up; how can the meeting take place? I am here, eager to flow, but your pot there is kept upside down. I am here, ready to enter you through your every pore, but you have not left a single opening anywhere; you have built up a concrete wall all around you. You are fretting and crying within - I hear how thirsty you are, I see the trouble you are in. Your search is deeply honest, but you are enclosed within the fences you have created around yourself. And your difficulty is that you have mistaken your prison for your home, and you think your chains are precious ornaments and you seek to protect them, afraid that somebody may rob you. You are so busy guarding them, you have created all kinds of protections. And the result is that you have no bigger enemy than yourself.
Yet your pain is real. Your unease and restlessness is not false. You want to come out, the intention and the desire are there, but what you do not see is that you hinder your escape yourself. You are like a man who wants to run but fetters his legs with chains, as if he thinks this will strengthen his legs and enable him to run better. You are engaged in so many activities that are directed against yourself. This really is man's suffering. He thinks what he is doing is for his own welfare, but it proves to be harmful. And until you see the truth of this there can be no end to your suffering.
It is of profound importance to understand that you alone are the creator of your sufferings, nobody else. You alone are responsible for it. You sow the seeds of your sufferings, but you think you are sowing seeds of bliss. The seed is a closed cell, nothing is visible in it, neither bliss nor suffering.
You sow it imagining it is a seed of bliss, but years later when it starts bearing fruit of suffering, you start wondering - who is causing me all this suffering? The gap between the sowing of the seeds and the coming of the fruit is so great that you have completely forgotten that you yourself sowed the seeds. The time gap, and the fruit being so different from your expectations, prevent you from seeing that the fruits are coming from the seeds you sowed. You think that the seeds you sowed went to waste - perhaps they rotted, perhaps they could not find the right soil - and this suffering is the fruit of seeds which others cast in your way.
Just a century ago there were tribes in Africa who had no idea that the birth of a child and sexual intercourse were connected - just a hundred years ago! And there is a reason why this was so, and why it was once the case all over the world. It is only after nine months of pregnancy that the child is born. The gap between conception and birth is so big that it is really difficult for a couple to intuitively connect their intercourse with the birth of their child. Now we know it, so it does not surprise us. And remember too that not every sexual intercourse leads to conception; maybe once in a hundred times it happens and then the birth of the child takes place nine months later. So among these African tribes, childbirth was attributed to other factors that were visible to witnesses, like sacrifices offered to the gods, or other kinds of worship, or a blessing bestowed by the witchdoctor, and so on. But it never occurred to them to regard sexual intercourse as the cause of the childbirth!
This is exactly the way in which the whole of humanity deals with its deeper issues. You don't even consider that you are sowing the seeds of your own sufferings. The time gap can be much longer than nine months, the seeds are even subtler than the seeds sown in the sex act, and the fruits may sometimes not appear for nine years or ninety years, because they are not all seasonal seeds.
Some of the seeds of sorrow sown by you blossom quite quickly, when the rains come, and then disappear soon; but there are others which, like great cedar trees, grow slowly over the years until they stand vast against the sky, and it never occurs to you that this huge tree could have been born out of so small a seed.
But you alone are responsible. No one else is sowing seeds in your field - no one can. It is not possible because nobody else has entry into your inner spaces. It is you who sow the seeds there and water them, you who nurture their growth, and harvest the fruit; because only you are there, alone.
If this realization crystallizes then the seeker is born in you. You begin to see clearly, you stop sowing poisonous seeds, and you start weeding out those that are already growing. Now your whole energy becomes involved in cultivating nectar, the elixir of bliss.
You have never known nectar, you have never tasted it. So you face a great difficulty, and one that is real. How can you rightly desire that which you have never known? How can you reap this crop about which you know nothing - of which you have no experience? How can you seek, how can you invoke, how can you look for something which you have never come in contact with - and where can you look for it?
You have experienced unhappiness and happiness too, but you have not experienced bliss. So, how will this search for bliss begin? You say that you are searching for bliss, but actually it is not so; what you consider bliss is nothing but an imagination of bigger happiness. You imagine bliss as a kind of great happiness. You think that the pleasure you get in sexual orgasm, perhaps the same pleasure multiplied a thousandfold is bliss. But it remains only multiplication - an enlargement of your happiness.
Meeting your beloved brings you great happiness, and you think that meeting God will bring a similar happiness multiplied an infinite number of times. In your conception the difference is not of quality, only of quantity. For you, achieving the heavenly kingdom is an infinitely enriched and magnified version of the happiness one gets in achieving an earthly kingdom; again, the difference is only of quantity.
But I tell you, the difference is not of quantity at all. Bliss is something you have never known.
You cannot weigh bliss in these little scales made for measuring happiness; you cannot know bliss through the dimension in which happiness exists. But the fact is that you are only searching for happiness, though you call it bliss - that is the only difference. Hence the experiment with my tratak; it is to give you a taste of bliss.
Tratak is used here as a deep experiment in satsang, sitting with the master. When I ask you to become silent and empty, to simply look at me so that I can enter your being, it is to give you - in my entering your being - that first taste of bliss. That taste will intensify your efforts, that taste will tell you, for the first time, what a single drop of bliss can be. And knowing this, you will set out on
your journey to the ocean of it. Then there will be no need for me to do anything. This taste itself will entice you and take you ahead - then there is nothing that can stop you. Not all the forces in the world will be able to block your way. You will be able to cross even Himalayan obstacles.
Once your taste of bliss is aroused, all obstacles are trivial. But until your taste is awakened, you won't bother even to look although the ocean of bliss may be there just at your back door, because you have no reason to do so, your eyes are fixed only at where you have known the taste of happiness.
It is the experience of those who keep a tamed lion or tiger in their home as a pet that the danger begins the day the animal gets its first taste of meat. As long as he has been reared on vegetables and bread he will be content to be a vegetarian. I have heard about a hunter who kept a lion cub.
He reared it on a pure vegetarian diet, never once giving it the taste of meat. But it so happened that one day the hunter was sitting in his garden with his lion beside him, and the hunter happened to have cut his leg. The lion licked the blood that was seeping from the cut, and this was enough for the difficulties to begin. The lion had tasted blood, and the hunter could no longer keep him as a pet.
Just to awaken a similar taste in you is my tratak. If you catch only a hint of the taste, if just a single ray of bliss flashes before your eyes, you will attain one day the whole of the sun. Let just the taste in a drop be recognized, and the ocean is not far away anymore.
This is the very meaning of satsang: that in the company of one who has known, you too catch the quest for knowing, that living close to one who has found life and light, your lamp also catches the flame. This is why the mystics have always said that this will not happen without a master. The reason is not that the master is going to teach you something and then it will happen; no, the reason is that the very taste will not happen without a master. It is not a matter of teaching - that the master will give you precepts and rituals, or a map and formulae by which to find your way; it is not that he will give you a book and say, "This is your guidebook, abide by it!" No, this is not the meaning.
You can do without all of these things, because infinite are the paths leading to the infinite, from all directions. There is no need of any guidebook; beginning the journey from any place you will reach it. Maps will be just a useless burden, they have become a burden for so many. Some are carrying the Vedas, some the Bible, some the Gita in their heads. They could not set out without the map, but the map is so enormous that neither can they move with it!
No, the point of the master is that without him you will not know the taste. And you need no maps, you will reach without them, because there is no map for that which is everywhere.
The real point is the taste. The one who offers you the taste is the scripture; the one who offers you the taste is the master. Where you find the taste is the holy place. And once you have tasted even a single drop, suddenly you will find that this world has become meaningless. A new dimension of meaningfulness opens up, a new journey begins; the old dream shatters and the dawn of a new awakening begins.
The meaning of my tratak is that I may become your taste; that for a little while you allow me a little space in you, just a little opening, just a little light into your darkness - and that will be enough. The
traditional concept of tratak is not my concept. To me, tratak is an experiment in meditation, not in concentration.
Enough for today.