A beautiful servant, a dangerous master
HOW DOES WATCHING LEAD TO NO-MIND? I AM MORE AND MORE ABLE TO WATCH MY BODY, MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS AND THIS FEELS BEAUTIFUL. BUT MOMENTS OF NO THOUGHTS ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN. WHEN I HEAR YOU SAYING "MEDITATION IS WITNESSING," I FEEL I UNDERSTAND. BUT WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT NO-MIND, IT DOESN'T SOUND EASY AT ALL. WOULD YOU PLEASE COMMENT?
Prem Anubuddha, meditation covers a very long pilgrimage. When I say "meditation is witnessing", it is the beginning of meditation. And when I say "meditation is no-mind," it is the completion of the pilgrimage. Witnessing is the beginning, and no-mind is the fulfillment. witnessing is the method to reach the no-mind. Naturally you will feel witnessing is easier. It is close to you.
But witnessing is only like seeds, and then is the long waiting period. Not only waiting, but trusting that this seed is going to sprout, that it is going to become a bush; that one day the spring will come and the bush will have flowers. No-mind is the last stage of flowering.
Sowing the seed is of course very easy; it is within your hands. But bringing the flowers is beyond you. You can prepare the whole ground, but the flowers will come on their own accord; you cannot manage to force them to come. The spring is beyond your reach - but if your preparation is perfect, spring comes; that is absolutely guaranteed.
It is perfectly good, the way you are moving. witnessing is the path and you are starting to feel once in a while a thoughtless moment. These are glimpses of no-mind... but just for a moment.
Remember one fundamental law: that which can exist just for a moment can also become eternal.
You are given not two moments together, but always one moment. And if you can transform one moment into a thoughtless state, you are learning the secret. Then there is no hindrance, no reason why you cannot change the second moment, which will also come alone, with the same potential and the same capacity.
If you know the secret, you have the master key which can open every moment into a glimpse of no- mind. No-mind is the final stage, when mind disappears forever and the thoughtless gap becomes your intrinsic reality. If these few glimpses are coming, they show you are on the right path and you are using the right method.
But don't be impatient. Existence needs immense patience. The ultimate mysteries are opened only to those who have immense patience.
I am reminded...
In old Tibet it was customary, respectful, that every family should contribute to the great experiment of expanding consciousness. So the first child of each family was given to the monasteries to be trained in meditation. Perhaps no country has done such a vast experiment in consciousness.
The destruction of Tibet at the hands of communist China is one of the greatest calamities that could have happened to humanity. It is not only a question of a small country, it is a question of a great experiment that was going on for centuries in Tibet.
The first child was given to the monasteries when he was very small, five or at the most six years old. But Tibet knew that children can learn witnessing better than grown ups. The grown-ups are already utterly spoiled. The child is innocent and yet the slate of his mind is empty; to teach him emptiness is absolutely easy.
But the entrance of a child into a monastery was very difficult, particularly for a small child. I am reminded of one incident... I am telling you only one; there would have been hundreds of incidents like it. It is bound to be so.
A small child, six years old, is leaving. His mother is crying, because life in a monastery for a small child is going to be so arduous. The father tells the child, "Don't look back. It is a question of our family's respectability. Not even once has a child in the whole history of our family ever looked back.
Whatever is the test to be given for entrance into the monastery - even if your life is at risk, don't look back. Don't think of me or your mother and her tears.
"We are sending you for the ultimate experiment in human consciousness with great joy, although the separation is painful. But we know you will pass through all the tests; you are our blood, and of course you will keep the dignity of your family."
The small child rides on the horse with a servant riding on another horse. A tremendous desire arises in him when the road turns, just to have a look again back to the family house, its garden.
The father must be standing there, the mother must be crying... but he remembers that the father has said, "Don't look back."
And he does not look back. With tears in his eyes, he turns with the road. Now he cannot see his house anymore and one never knows how long it will take - perhaps years and years - until he will be able to see his father and mother and his family again.
He reaches the monastery. At the gate of the monastery the abbot meets him, receives him gracefully, as if he is a grownup, bows down to him as he bows down to the abbot. And the abbot says, "Your first test will be to sit outside the gate with closed eyes, unmoving, unless you are called in."
The small child sits at the gate, outside the gate with closed eyes. Hours pass... and he cannot even move. There are flies sitting in his face, but he cannot remove them. It is a question of the dignity that the abbot has shown to him. He does not think anymore like a child; so respected, he has to fulfill his family's longing, the abbot's expectations.
The whole day passes, and even other monks in the monastery start feeling sorry for the child.
Hungry, thirsty... he is simply waiting. They start feeling that the child is small, but has great courage and guts.
Finally, by the time the sun is setting, the whole day has passed, the abbot comes and takes the child in. He says, "You have passed the first test, but there are many more peaks ahead. I respect your patience, being such a small child. You remained unmoving, you did not open your eyes. You did not lose courage, you trusted that whenever the time is right you will be called in."
And then years of training in witnessing. The child was only allowed to see his parents again after perhaps ten years, twenty years had elapsed. But the criterion was that until he experiences no- mind, he cannot be allowed to see his parents, his family. Once he achieves no-mind, then he can move back into the world. Now there is no problem.
Once a man is in a state of no-mind, nothing can distract him from his being. There is no power bigger than the power of no-mind. No harm can be done to such a person. No attachment, no greed, no jealousy, no anger, nothing can arise in him. No-mind is absolutely a pure sky without any clouds.
Anubuddha, you say "How does watching lead to no-mind?"
There is an intrinsic law: thoughts don't have their own life. They are parasites; they live on your identifying with them. When you say, "I am angry," you are pouring life energy into anger, because you are getting identified with anger.
But when you say, "I am watching anger flashing on the screen of the mind within me" you are not anymore giving any life, any juice, any energy to anger. You will be able to see that because you are not identified, the anger is absolutely impotent, has no impact on you, does not change you, does not affect you. It is absolutely hollow and dead. It will pass on and it will leave the sky clean and the screen of the mind empty.
Slowly, slowly you start getting out of your thoughts. That's the whole process of witnessing and watching. In other words - George Gurdjieff used to call it non-identification - you are no more identifying with your thoughts. You are simply standing aloof and away - indifferent, as if they might be anybody's thoughts. You have broken your connections with them. Only then can you watch them.
Watching needs a certain distance. If you are identified, there is no distance, they are too close. It is as if you are putting the mirror too close to your eyes: you cannot see your face. A certain distance is needed; only then can you see your face in the mirror.
If thoughts are too close to you, you cannot watch. You become impressed and colored by your thoughts: anger makes you angry, greed makes you greedy, lust makes you lustful, because there is no distance at all. They are so close that you are bound to think that you and your thoughts are one.
Watching destroys this oneness and creates a separation. The more you watch, the bigger is the distance. The bigger the distance, the less energy your thoughts are getting from you. And they don't have any other source of energy. Soon they start dying, disappearing. In these disappearing moments you will have the first glimpses of no-mind.
That is what you are experiencing. You say, "I am more and more able to watch my body, my thoughts and feelings, and this feels beautiful." This is just the beginning. Even the beginning is immensely beautiful - just to be on the right path, even without taking a single step, will give you immense joy for no reason at all.
And once you start moving on the right path, your blissfulness, your beautiful experiences are going to become more and more deep, more and more wide, with new nuances, with new flowers, with new fragrances.
You say, "But moments of no thoughts are few and far between." It is a great achievement, because people don't know even a single gap. Their thoughts are always in a rush hour, thoughts upon thoughts, bumper-to-bumper, the line continues, whether you are awake or asleep. What you call your dreams are nothing but thoughts in the form of pictures...because the unconscious mind does not know alphabetical languages. There is no school, no training institute which teaches the unconscious language.
The unconscious is very primitive, it is just like a small child. Have you looked at the books of your small children? If you want to teach the child, you have to make a big picture first. so you will see, in childrens' books, pictures, colorful pictures with very little writing. The child is more interested in the pictures. He is primitive, he understands the language of pictures.
Slowly slowly you make the pictures and the language associated - whenever he sees the mango he knows, "It is a mango." And he starts learning that underneath the picture of the mango there is a certain word describing it. His interest is in the mango, but the word 'mango' slowly becomes associated. As the child grows, pictures will become smaller and language will become more. By the time he enters the university, pictures will have disappeared from the book; only language will remain.
By the way, it reminds me to tell you that television has taken humanity back into a primitive stage, because people are again looking at pictures. There is a danger in the future - it is already apparent that people have stopped reading great literature. Who bothers to read, when you can see the film on the TV? This is a dangerous phenomenon, because there are things which cannot be reproduced in pictures. Great literature can be only partially reproduced in pictures. The danger is that people will start forgetting the language and its beauty and its magic, and they will again become primitives, watching the television.
Now the average American is watching television for seven and a half hours every day. This is going to destroy something which we have achieved with great difficulty. Now, this man who is watching television for seven and half hours per day...you cannot expect him to read Shakespeare, Kalidas, Rabindranath Tagore, Herman Hesse or Martin Buber or Jean Paul Sartre. The greater the literature, the less is the possibility of putting it into pictures.
Pictures are colorful, exciting, easy, but they are no comparison to language. The future has to be protected from many things. Computers can destroy can destroy people's memory systems, because there will be no need - you can keep a small computer the size of a cigarette packet in your pocket. It contains everything that you will ever need to know. Now there is no need to have your own memory; just push a button and the computer is ready to give you any information you need.
The computer can destroy the whole memory system of humanity that has been developed for centuries with great difficulty. Television can take away all great literature, and the possibility of people like Shelley or Byron being born again in the world. These are great inventions, but nobody has looked at the implications. They will reduce the whole of humanity into a retardedness.
Anubuddha, what you are feeling is a great indication that you are on the right path. It is always a question for the seeker whether he is moving in the right direction or not. There is no security, no insurance, no guarantee. All the dimensions are open; how are you going to choose the right one?
These are the ways and the criteria of how one has to choose. If you move on any path, any methodology and it brings joy to you, more sensitivity, more watchfulness and gives a feeling of immense well-being - this is the only criterion that you are going on the right path. If you become more miserable, more angry, more egoist, more greedy, more lustful - those are the indications you are moving on a wrong path.
On the right path your blissfulness is going to grow more and more every day, and your experiences of beautiful feelings will become tremendously psychedelic, more colorful - colors that you have never seen in the world, fragrances that you have never experienced in the world. Then you can walk on the path without any fear that you can go wrong.
These inner experiences will keep you always on the right path. Just remember that if they are growing, that means you are moving. Now you have only a few moments of thoughtlessness... It is not a simple attainment; it is a great achievement, because people in their whole lives know not even a single moment when there is no thought.
These gaps will grow.
As you will become more and more centered, more and more watchful, these gaps will start growing bigger. And the day is not far away - if you go on moving without looking back, without going astray - if you keep going straight, the day is not far away when you will feel for the first time that the gaps have become so big that hours pass and not even a single thought arises. Now you are having bigger experiences of no-mind.
The ultimate achievement is when twenty-four hours a day you are surrounded with no-mind.
That does not mean that you cannot use your mind; that is a fallacy propounded by those who know nothing about no-mind. No-mind does not mean that you cannot use the mind; it simply means that the mind cannot use you.
No-mind does not mean that the mind is destroyed. No-mind simply means that the mind is put aside. You can bring it into action any moment you need to communicate with the world. It will be your servant. Right now it is your master. Even when you are sitting alone it goes on, yakkety-yak, yakkety-yak - and you cannot do anything, you are so utterly helpless.
No-mind simply means that the mind has been put in its right place. As a servant, it is a great instrument; as a master, it is very unfortunate. It is dangerous. It will destroy your whole life.
Mind is only a medium for when you want to communicate with others. But when you are alone, there is no need of the mind. So whenever you want to use it, you can use it.
And remember one thing more: when the mind remains silent for hours, it becomes fresh, young, more creative, more sensitive, rejuvenated through rest.
Ordinary people's minds start somewhere around three or four years of age, and then they go on continuing for seventy years, eighty years without any holiday. Naturally they cannot be very creative. They are utterly tired - and tired with rubbish. Millions of people in the world live without any creativity. Creativity is one of the greatest blissful experiences. But their minds are so tired...
they are not in a state of overflowing energy.
The man of no-mind keeps the mind in rest, full of energy, immensely sensitive, ready to jump into action the moment it is ordered. It is not a coincidence that the people who have experienced no- mind, their words start having a magic of their own. When they use their mind, it has a charisma, it has a magnetic force. It has tremendous spontaneity and the freshness of the dewdrops in the early morning before the sun rises. And the mind is nature's most evolved medium of expression and creativity.
So the man of meditation - or in other words, the man of no-mind - changes even his prose into poetry. Without any effort, his words become so full of authority that they don't need any arguments.
They become their own arguments. The force that they carry becomes a self-evident truth. There is no need for any other support from logic or from scriptures. The words of a man of no-mind have an intrinsic certainty about them. If you are ready to receive and listen, you will feel it in your heart:
The self-evident truth.
Look down the ages: Gautam Buddha has never been contradicted by any of his disciples; neither has Mahavira, nor Moses, nor Jesus. There was something in their very words, in their very presence that convinced you. Without any effort of converting you, you are converted. None of the great masters have been missionaries; they have never tried to convert anyone, but they have converted millions.
It is a miracle - but the miracle consists of a rested mind, of a mind which is always full of energy and is used only once in a while.
When I speak to you, I have to use the mind. When I am sitting in my room almost the whole day, I forget all about the mind. I am just a pure silence... and meanwhile the mind is resting. When I speak to you, those are the only moments when I use the mind. When I am alone, I am utterly alone, and there is no need to use the mind.
Anubuddha, you say, "When I hear you say 'Meditation is witnessing,' I feel I understand. But when you talk about no-mind, it doesn't sound easy at all."
How can it sound easy? - because it is your future possibility. Meditation you have started; it may be in the beginning stages, but you have a certain experience of it that makes you understand me.
But if you can understand meditation, don't be worried at all.
Meditation surely leads to no-mind, just as every river moves towards the ocean without any maps, without any guides. Every river without exception finally reaches to the ocean. Every meditation, without exception finally reaches to the state of no-mind.
But naturally, when the Ganges is in the Himalayas wandering in the mountains and in the valleys, it has no idea what the ocean is, cannot conceive of the existence of the ocean - but it is moving towards the ocean, because water has the intrinsic capacity of always finding the lowest place. And the oceans are the lowest place... so rivers are born on the peaks of the Himalayas and start moving immediately towards lower spaces, and finally they are bound to find the ocean.
Just the reverse is the process of meditation: it moves upwards to higher peaks, and the ultimate peak is no-mind. No-mind is a simple word, but it exactly means enlightenment, liberation, freedom from all bondage, experience of deathlessness and immortality.
Those are big words and I don't want you to be frightened, so I use a simple word, no-mind. You know the mind... you can conceive of a state when this mind will be non-functioning.
Once this mind is non-functioning, you become part of the mind of the cosmos, the universal mind.
When you are part of the universal mind your individual mind functions as a beautiful servant. It has recognized the master, and it brings news from the universal mind to those who are still chained by the individual mind.
When I am speaking to you, it is in fact the universe using me. My words are not my words; they belong to the universal truth. That is their power, that is their charisma, that is their magic.
ARE THERE REAL DIFFERENCES IN DIFFERENT RACES, OR IS IT JUST SUPERSTITION?
Maneesha, there are differences not only in the races, but even in the individuals. Each individual has a uniqueness about himself. There is no other individual exactly like you. You are alone.
And this is the dignity of the individual - that he is not a replica, not a repetition, not a carbon copy.
What is true about individuals is in a different way true about races. Because each race of humanity has passed through different terrain, a different history, it has grown different psychologies, different minds. It is absolutely natural that the Eskimos will certainly be different from the people who have not even known how it feels when snow is falling.
Eskimos have twelve names for snow; no other language has twelve names for snow, because only Eskimos know the slight differences which make twelve names which are not synonymous. But to know those slight and subtle differences you have to be in the same geography, in the same climate, and you have to pass through the same experiences.
Different races have passed through different lands, through different experiences, and naturally they have grown certain characteristics. According to me that makes the earth more beautiful, because it gives variety.
But your question is, "Are there real differences... or is it just superstition?"
There are real differences - and there are many more which are only superstitions, they are not real differences. Naturally, a man born in Tibet will have different superstitions from a man born in India.
For example heaven, according to the Indian tradition, is a very cool place, almost air-conditioned, cool breezes all day long, never hot. But Eskimos and Tibetans will not agree with this heaven. They are tired of cold.
In fact, in Tibet for centuries it has been a strange tradition that whenever a child is born, he is immediately dipped into ice-cold water nine times - a just-born child! Nine children out of ten die - but the reasoning behind such an act is out of deep understanding of Tibet. If a child is not strong enough to survive those nine dips in the ice-cold water, it is better for him to die, because he will remain sick, unhealthy, miserable his whole life.
It looks cruel, because it is killing almost nine children out of ten. But it is out of compassion, not out of cruelty; they know perfectly well what is ahead. If the child is not capable, has not the stamina to face Tibetan ice - eternal ice which has never melted all year round - if he is weak from the very beginning, his whole life will be a miserable life. It is better to die before suffering a life of unnecessary pain and misery. The child who survives proves certainly to be capable of living in the eternal snows - perfectly healthy.
Tibetans are very healthy people - but the reason is that the unhealthy ones have been canceled from the very beginning. Their heaven is warm and remains warm all the year round. Snow never falls in their heaven, it falls in their hell - the hell is utterly cold, far worse than Tibet.
These are all superstitions.
These also make differences.
One of my friends, a professor of Sanskrit, wanted to go to Tibet. He was doing certain research on a few Sanskrit scriptures which have disappeared from India, but their translations exist in Tibet. He wanted to translate them back into Sanskrit.
Those were very important scriptures, particularly concerned with Gautam Buddha. Perhaps Hindus have burned those scriptures in India, but because Tibet became Buddhist, before they were destroyed they were translated into Tibetan. They exist in Chinese, they exist in Japanese; only in Indian languages they don't exist - and Buddha was born in this land, he was speaking the language of the people of this land.
So this man's research was really very significant in bringing Buddha back to his own land. But he was a high-caste brahmin, and he had learned Tibetan with great effort. Of course Sanskrit was his family language. He belonged to a very learned family; they used Sanskrit in their family instead of any other language of the people, so he was perfectly capable of translating from Tibetan into Sanskrit.
But I told him, "I expect to see you back within three days."
He said, "What are you saying? It will take at least three years."
I said, "Forget all about it. I know you - and I know something about Tibet."
He said, "I don't understand, you always make strange statements."
He went to Tibet. He was a high-caste brahmin with all the superstitions of the brahmins. The brahmin has to take a cold bath in the river before sunrise; then he has to do his religious worship - and only after that he can take his breakfast. As he reached Tibet, he remembered me. My statement was not wrong. He took only one bath and that was enough; he forgot all about translations.
By the third day I had to receive him at the airport. I said, "What do you think about my statement?"
He said, "I would have been killed in three years. Just one day was enough. Even now I am still shivering; the coldness has entered into my bones. Without taking a bath before sunrise I cannot even take my breakfast. So the choice was either to live without food or to have a cold bath before sunrise."
I said, "That's why I had said what I said. You are a fanatic brahmin; you will not drop your stupid idea. It is perfectly good in India... In fact the best time to take a bath is before the sun rises; only then it is cool. As the sun rises things become hotter. The moments before sunrise are the most beautiful in India. But that is not the case with Tibet."
Now, the Dalai Lama, the head of the state of Tibet and also the head of the Buddhist church of Tibet, has escaped from Tibet. He lives in India - and thousands of Tibetans have come with him.
I was taking a meditation camp in Bodhgaya, where Gautam Buddha became enlightened, and thousands of Tibetans had come just to pay their respects to Gautam Buddha and the place and the tree under which he became enlightened. Hearing that I was also staying just near the place where Gautam Buddha became enlightened, and hundreds of my people were meditating there, they became curious. They came to see me.
I have never felt so miserable in my life - because they stink and I am allergic to smells. They are the most smelly fellows in the whole world. Their holy scripture says, "At least one bath every year is absolutely necessary." They are covered with the dust of Indian roads, perspiring - but they will not take a bath. Only one bath per year is allowed. They use the same clothes they were using in Tibet, many layers of clothes. It is very difficult to make a Tibetan naked: you take off one layer of clothes, another layer... you take off that you find another layer. And each layer becomes dirtier.
I had to tell my people, "Prevent these people from coming to me." They have been living now for years in India, but they have not changed their superstition.
A more intelligent humanity will not follow superstitions, will not follow what is right in one place but may not be right in another place. Intelligence demands that you respond to the situation in which you are. So there are superstitious differences, and those differences make humanity not beautiful, they make humanity stupid.
I believe in the old saying, "when in Rome, act like Romans: order spaghetti." That's why I have refused my sannyasins...
They have been continuously trying to persuade me to come to Italy and I am saying no, either spaghetti or me!
And this is not a superstition. One of my secretaries, a beautiful Italian woman, well educated - she was a professor in the university of Rome. She had all the degrees in philosophy, post graduation, Ph.D., D.Litt., and she was the first Italian to come into contact with me. She destroyed my interest in spaghetti, because she prepared spaghetti one day for me.
That woman never used to take a bath. I don't think she had ever taken one in her whole life. Her face had layers of powder, centuries old; she went on putting more powder but she would not take a bath. I used to tell her to sit a little far away.
Very lovingly she brought the spaghetti. I could not refuse - it looked too unmannerly - so I said to her, "Leave it on my dining table, but you leave the room."
She said, "I would just like to see you eating spaghetti."
I said, "Please leave the room, and then I will take care of the spaghetti." And as I went close to my dining table, the spaghetti smelled exactly like the woman smelled. I had to throw it down the toilet.
Even after twenty years, whenever I remember I start smelling the spaghetti. I don't know the real smell of spaghetti, but I don't want to know.
But there are beautiful differences which should be protected.
Humanity should remain a beautiful garden of all kinds of flowers. Even the wild flowers should be protected. They all make life richer, more beautiful, more adventurous.
The people that run international car shows have discovered that the nationality of the visitors can be determined by the way in which the visitors approach a car. If a visitor opens the hood to look at the engine, he is a German. If he is interested in the style and the lines of a car, he is French. If he tries the horn, he is Italian. And if he checks the size and the price-tag, he is a Jew.
"Man, am I scared!" confided Paddy to Seamus, looking furtively around the pub. "I just got a card from a guy saying that he would shoot me if I did not stay away from his wife."
"Well, stay away from his wife," advised Seamus, "and you have got no problem."
"How can I?" moaned Paddy, "he did not sign his name."
Hymie Goldberg was telling his friends about his sailing holiday and how his boat had capsized in rough weather, throwing him into the water.
"I had abandoned all hope," said Hymie, "and as I sank for the third time, my past lives seemed to rise up before me in a series of grim, realistic pictures."
A murmur of sympathy came from the group listening. But before Hymie could continue, his friend Moishe Finkelstein spoke up sharply saying, "And did you happen to notice a picture of me lending you five dollars in late 1960?"
The sun never sets on the British Empire... because God would not trust an Englishman in the dark.
Nathan Nussbaum from Israel is visiting Paris. He goes to a brothel and insists on the services of a girl called Gloria. Gloria is unavailable, but when Nathan shows a thousand-dollar bill, she is brought to him and they spend the night together.
On the following two nights again a thousand-dollar bill changes hands and Nathan and Gloria spend the nights in passion.
Finally Gloria asks why she is receiving such generous attention.
"Well," says Nathan, "you see, I am from Israel."
"Why, so am I," exclaims Gloria.
"Yes, I know," replies Nathan. "It happens that your grandmother lives in the same building as my parents and when she heard I was going to Paris, she asked me to give you the three thousand dollars you asked for."