Consciousness in itself is nothing. One is always conscious about something; so the "about" is important. Consciousness is always objective: you are conscious of something. If there is nothing in front of you, consciousness will drop - you will not be conscious.
This state, the oriental religious perception says, is the sushupti; this is the third state. When there is no object to be known, the knower is lost. When then is no object in the outside world to be aware of, and when there is no object in the mind, dream object, when all objects have dropped - outside all are dream objects - then consciousness drops. Then you are not conscious; then you are unconscious. This unconsciousness is sushupti, the third stage.
But this is amazing: it means that we are not conscious really, we are only objectively conscious.
We have not known ourselves, we have known only objects and things. Our consciousness is other- oriented; it is not self centered. I can be conscious only when something else is present. When nothing is present I will go to sleep. I have not known any subjective consciousness which can exist without the object. That's why in the third state, consciousness equals unconsciousness - it becomes unconscious. When there is no object as a challenge, one becomes unconscious.
So this consciousness, this so-called consciousness, is just a struggle, just a challenge, just a constant stimulus-response; it is not anything in itself. You are not the master of it; you are not really conscious: you are only being forced to be conscious constantly. Everything is forcing you to be conscious; otherwise, to go to sleep will be the spontaneous act - one will just drop into a coma. So can we call it consciousness? It is not. This state is not the state of self consciousness, it is just a constant tension between you and the world, between you and the thoughts. If there are no objects and no thoughts, you drop... and be unconscious. This is the third state, sushupti. And unless one transcends it, one cannot be called conscious.
Gurdjieff used to say that man has no soul. He used to say that you have got no self, because self means self consciousness; otherwise, how can you be said to have a self? If you are not conscious, how can you be a self? How can you be an individual? So Gurdjieff's teaching doesn't believe that every man has got a soul. He says, "Every man has got a potentiality he can develop, he may not develop."
If you become self conscious, then you develop the individual; then you become the individual. If you are not self conscious then you are just one object among other objects, and there is nothing more. Gurdjieff's teaching makes this central point the supreme point. He says, "Try to remember yourself without any object. Try to remember yourself without any object, without any relation to anything else. Remember yourself directly, simply." It is very arduous; in a way it seems impossible.
You cannot remember yourself without in any way relating to something else - Can you?
Can you remember yourself?
Can you feel yourself?
Whenever you feel, you feel in relation to: someone's son, someone's daughter, someone's husband, being rich or poor, belonging to this country or that, being healthy or ill - but this is all in relation to something else. Can you remember yourself without any relation? - unrelated? without any context? just you? It becomes inconceivable. Really, we have not known ourselves, we have known only in relation. And this is the miracle: you know yourself in relation to someone, who knows himself in relation to you. See the absurdity of it! Everyone knows themselves because of others - and the others know themselves because of him.
Everyone is ignorant, but by being related with other ignorant people, you become wise. You know yourself because you know your name, you know your house, your address, your city, your country - and not for a single moment have you known who you are. This sushupti, this third state of unconsciousness must be broken apart, must be penetrated beyond. One must become aware of oneself without being related to anything else - this is self knowledge. This fourth is known as the turiya.
We must make a distinction between the being and the states. Any state, whether it is awake, or dreaming, or nondreaming sleep, cannot be synonymous with the being, because the being is that upon which these states happen. The being is one who goes through all these three states. He cannot be identified with any; otherwise, he cannot move.
You cannot be awake if you are identified with dreaming: if you are dreaming, then you cannot be awake. If you are awake, then you cannot go into sleep. But you move - just as one moves into one's house and out of one's house, you come in and you go out; so you cannot be identified with the inside of your house or the outside of your house. You move: you can come in, you can go out; so you become the third. You move from dreaming to non-dreaming; you move from sleep to dream, from dream to wakefulness.
So this mover must be something else, more than all the three - this is the fourth; hence, it is called "the fourth." And therefore no name is given to it... because from the fourth it can never move. From the fourth it can never move. When I say this, a question must come into your mind: "But this fourth goes into sleep, goes into dreaming and other states?"
This is something very subtle to be understood. No, this fourth never goes anywhere; those states come upon it and pass - this fourth remains in itself constantly. Dreaming comes over it just like clouds coming over the sun. Mm? The sun remains, then there are clouds, then the clouds have gone. This fourth is the non-moving center within you. Dreams come, then objects are seen, then thoughts are seen; then objects drop, and thoughts drop, and you are engulfed in a dark sleep; but the fourth remains its center - it has never moved. That's why no name has been given to it; no name is needed - it remains the nameless. One has to penetrate to this fourth, mm?
This is not a state really; when we talk we have to call it the fourth state, but it is not a state. All the three are states; this fourth is beyond these states. This fourth is the being - this fourth is the very nature of one's self. Unless one goes to this fourth, unless one becomes aware of this non-moving center, unless one is centered in it, there is no freedom and there is no bliss. Really, there is nothing except dreaming, many many dreamings, many types of dreamings; but nothing else - just bubbles in the air.
This fourth.... How to achieve this fourth? How to reach this fourth? How to penetrate this deep sleep? How to destroy this darkness within? What to do?
The one basic thing is to be aware first: in the first state when you are awake, be aware. Be aware whatsoever you are doing. Walking on the street, then be aware that you are walking. Let your awareness be double-arrowed: one arrow conscious of the act of walking, another arrow going deep inside and aware of the walker. Listening to me, be aware, double-arrowed: one arrow of your consciousness going outside listening attentively, another going inside constantly aware of the listener.
Mahavira has a very beautiful word. He used "listener", shravak, with a very original meaning, and he has given a very new shape, a new nuance to it. He says if you can be simply a right-listener, nothing else is needed. This much will do: if you can be a right listener - samyak shravak. If you can listen attentively with double-arrowed attention, then this much is enough, you will be awakened. No other discipline is needed.
Buddha has used the word, "mindfulness" - samyak smriti, right mindfulness. He says whatsoever you are doing, do it mindfully; don't do it in sleep, do it mindfully - whatsoever you are doing. Do it consciously, then consciousness begins to crystallize in the first state, wakefulness. When you have become conscious, when you are awake, the your consciousness can penetrate the second state, dreaming. It is not difficult then. Then you can become conscious of your dreams; and the moment you become conscious of you dreams, dreams disappear. The moment dreams disappear you become conscious of your dreamless sleep, and the arrow goes on. Now be aware that you are asleep, and by and by the arrow penetrates - and suddenly you are in the fourth.
Religion cannot be a belief.
Religion cannot be a tradition.
Religion cannot be an accepted dogma.
Religion is totally individual:
One has to discover it again and again.
One has to know it for oneself, for oneself.
Unless you know there is no knowledge.
All knowledge gathered from others is just false, it is pseudo, it is deceptive. One has to encounter the reality oneself. This is just like love - you know if you love. If you have not loved you may know everything about love, but love will not be known, because love is not really a knowledge, it is a realization, it is an experience... rather, not even experience, but experiencing. Experience means something which you have experienced and now it is dead. Experience means something which has finished, which is finished with a full stop. Experiencing means a process, a continuous process.
You have to go on discovering, discovering - and there is no end to it.
Religion is like love:
There is a beginning to it but no end.
You have to begin it but you never reach it - you go on reaching. You go on reaching, but it is never of the past. It is not that there comes a full stop and you can say, "I have reached." No, never. That's why we call the religious search, the ultimate search. By "ultimate" we mean that which begins, which never ends. Rather, on the contrary, a moment comes when you are lost but the end has not been achieved. But this, this seeker being lost is the explosion.
So unless you know, never believe. Unless you know, never feel at ease with words, doctrines, scriptures. Unless you know, remember continuously that you have to seek and find, that you have to go on a far, faraway journey. And that's why religion really is the only adventure; all else is just childish. That which can be found is just childish; that which can be found is not really the adventure; that which is possible needs no courage. Only the impossible needs courage, only that which cannot be found. If you go on the search for it, you have gone on an adventure.
But the moment one is ready for the impossible, the impossible become possible. The moment one is ready to take the jump, the miracle happens. You are not in a way, in the jump - you are lost. And still, for the first time, you are - you have found yourself.
The states are lost, the identities are lost, the names and forms are lost. There only remains the original source of all This rishi says: These are the states; these three are the states. The fourth is the knower of all these states. These three states come out of the fourth, again are dissolved in the fourth, and the fourth never comes out of anything and is never dissolved in anything else.
The fourth is the eternal principle, the eternal life, the eternal aliveness.