Sarvasar Upanishad, Chapter 11
WHEN THE SELF AS CONSCIOUSNESS, WHICH IS TRUTH, KNOWLEDGE, INFINITY, AND BLISS, DEVOID OF ALL ITS ATTRIBUTES, SHINES LIKE PURE GOLD FREED FROM ALL ITS FORMS SUCH AS A BANGLE AND A CROWN, IT IS CALLED TWAM OR THOU.THE BRAHMAN IS TRUTH, INFINITY AND KNOWLEDGE. THAT WHICH IS INDESTRUCTIBLE IS TRUTH. AND THAT WHICH DOES NOT PERISH EVEN AFTER THE DESTRUCTION OF SPACE, TIME, ET CETERA, IS CALLED THE AVINASHI, THE IMPERISHABLE.
There is a dialogue, a deep dialogue between my existence and existence itself, a constant dialogue, a continuity every moment: the incoming breath, the outgoing breath. I am constantly linked with the universe, with existence.
If we take two points, between these two points the dialogue continues. One point is "I," and the other point - the total - is "thou."
A non-religious mind, a material mind, will say that the dialogue is not between "I" and "thou," the dialogue is between "I" and "that," because the world is just a thing; it is not a person. And really, if the world is just a thing and it is not a person, then there can be no dialogue, there can be no intimacy. But if the whole world is just a thing, then myself - I myself cannot be a person; this "I" is also a thing. This is what is meant by a materialist conception of the world.
Of course there are relations - stimulus-response relations - but no dialogue, no intimacy. You cannot address existence as "thou," because there then is no poetry, and then there is no religion.
Among THINGS only science can exist; among PERSONS religion grows.
The religious attitude towards existence is a personal attitude: the whole universe is taken as a person. The you can talk, then you can love, then you can be angry with the total; and your life becomes deeply rich, because life and richness develop only through deeper dialogues with the reality.
But still, even if a religious person thinks that the world is not just material, the world is personal, and existence has a personality - then too, "I" continues to be the center; "thou" is just the periphery, just the circumference. I remain at the center of the universe, and the whole universe just belongs to me as a periphery.
In this sutra, the rishi says that when the pure consciousness is know, when the witnessing consciousness is known, there is a mutation, a total change of emphasis. "Thou" becomes the center and "I" becomes the periphery. "Thou" becomes the center, and "I" just the periphery. This pure consciousness therefore is known as "thou - TWAMA, TU. It is not known as "I" because now I exists only as a periphery. It is really non-existential because periphery, in fact, is non-existential.
It is just a line, a demarcation line and nothing else. It belongs to the center; it is just a projection of the center, an extension of the center.
When pure consciousness is known, pure consciousness is known as "thou." This has many implications. One, the moment we conceive pure consciousness as "thou," the whole universe, the whole of existence becomes a very different thing than we know it now. If you address the tree as "thou," the tree is not the same; it has become a person, and a new dimension opens - a new dimension. And when the tree has become thou, you also cannot remain the same, because with a new relationship, with a new dimension, you are also different.
But as we are, even a living person, even a human person, is not "thou" for us. We use the word, but not meaningfully. We behave with persons as if they are not persons. For example, you love someone and then you begin to possess him or possess her. A person can never be possessed; only a thing can be possessed. How can a person be possessed? And how can love be possessive?
If love becomes possessive it means that you are transforming a person into a thing.
That's why a beloved may be a person, but a wife becomes just a thing, just a thing to be used. Why this possession? Because we just go on saying "thou," but we never mean it - we never mean it. If you are really saying "thou" to someone, it means you accept the other as a person and you cannot possess him. A person means a freedom; a person means: now you cannot be the master. So we turn even persons into things. But with this pure consciousness developing inside, things turn into persons, and the whole universe by and by takes a shape of "thou," of a great "thou" - everything becomes a person.
We live among things, mm? Even if we are living among persons, we live among things. And the more you live among things, the more you will be a thing yourself - that's bound to happen.
So a person who tries to possess someone becomes himself a possession. The phenomenon is reciprocal - if I try to possess someone as MY property, I am bound to become myself a thing, a property. So it is not that the husband possesses the wife; the wife also possesses the husband.
They both are possessors and both are things.
The moment you begin to feel someone as a thing, you begin to expect. With a person there can be no expectation, because person means a freedom. You have loved me this evening, you have been loving towards me; if I expect that tomorrow also you must give me love, it means I am thinking of you as a thing. And if tomorrow you are not going to love me, then I will be angry, I will be frustrated, and I will take revenge. I will begin to feel that my possession is being lost. Why?
With a thing you can expect that it will behave the same tomorrow also - but not with a person. A person is a constant flux, the freedom to move. He may be something else tomorrow, who knows?
He may be not love me at all. If I take you as a person, then I will never be frustrated with you, because the frustration comes when I take you as a thing.
But this pure consciousness begins to feel the whole universe as a "thou"; therefore this consciousness is never frustrated. Never! There is no reason to be frustrated at all. Whatsoever happens, happens. It is never against expectation, because there has been no expectation at all. If tomorrow the tree moves from my garden to somewhere else, even that will not frustrate me. I will just say, "Oh, so thou hast gone. So thou hast moved."
The truth, the infinite truth, the eternal consciousness, the formless is known as "thou," never as "I." Then you begin to live in a world of freedom, of non-possession. And when you behave in a non-possessive way, the whole world begins to behave non-possessively towards you. The whole universe becomes non-possessive of you.
This is what is meant by freedom: if you give freedom to the whole universe, you become free. But this freedom happens only when "I" is not at the center, but "thou." Really even "thou" is not exactly what the case is; even "thou" is a bit less than true, because "thou" cannot exist without a subtle feeling of "I." I cannot address someone as "thou" without myself being there, even indirectly, even in a very absent ways - even unconsciously. But the "I" must be there to address someone as "thou."
So this is just to express something in language which cannot be expressed. Really, when you are not in the center, not even the "thou" is the center. "I and thou" both dissolve into oneness. But that oneness is inexpressible, and still, the rishi tries to say something about it to the disciple, to the enquirer. So what to say? He says at least one thing is certain; it cannot be called "I," it is called "thou." And when the disciple is ready, the the inexpressible can also be indicated. But in the beginning, it is more than enough. "I" is not in the center, that consciousness is impure. And "I" IS in the center, so consciousness IS impure. That happens only when you know the formless. And if it is not happening and "I" is in the center, that means you are in the form, obsessed with the form, obsessed with the superficial. You have not gone deep, you have not gone to the innermost core of your being. You have just lived outside your house; you have not know it from the inside.
"I" in the center is symbolic, indicative that we have not known what we are. We have known only identities with the for. The body is form, the mind is form, thought is form - all that we know about ourselves is form. And these forms happen upon the ocean of the formless. With that formless coming into your awareness, the "I" becomes the periphery and "thou," the center.
Now the definition of truth. What is truth? Everyone is seeking, and everyone is trying to find it out, but what is it? How to define it? The materialist mind defines truth as the FACT; whatsoever is objectively true, objectively factual, is truth. And personal experience which cannot be objectified will not be considered as truth. So if Jesus says, "I see my father in heaven," either he is a dreamer or just psychotic, neurotic, just mad - because no one else can see the father in heaven. So either he is just a poet, just an imaginary dreamer, or just mad, insane, abnormal... seeing things which are not.
This definition of truth as fact is dangerous in many ways. It is useful, it is utilitarian, it helps - particularly it helps the scientific research - but it is dangerous. Because even if there is no objective proof, even if all cannot see a particular thing, the thing can be. It is not necessarily that because all others are not seeing it, it is not there.
For example: there are colorblind people; out of ten one is colorblind. By being colorblind it is meant that he cannot see a particular color. For example, George Bernard Shaw was blind to yellow; he couldn't make any distinction between yellow and green. But for sixty years continuously he was not aware of it, because how could he be aware? It was just an accident that he became aware.
On one of his birthdays, someone presented a suit of a green color, but he forgot to send a green tie with it. So Bernard Shaw went to purchase a green tie, but he purchased a yellow one, because there was no distinction for him between yellow and green. His secretary said, "What are you doing?
This will look very funny. This is yellow and the suit is green." For the first time after sixty years' living in this colorful world, he became aware that he was colorblind. He could not see any distinction between yellow and green - both were the same.
If ten persons are colorblind just like Bernard Shaw, and you can see yellow and ten cannot see yellow, what will be the truth? You will be either neurotic or just a dreamer.
There are personal faculties which may not have developed as a communal thing - the community may be lacking. There are personal faculties.... But this definition of truth as fact will deny them.
So sometimes even very intelligent people, very logical rational people, go on being superstitious in denying things which are, but which cannot be shown objectively. The whole psychic phenomenon has suffered only because of this. There are people who have faculties, but only individuals. So either they are deceivers - either they are playing tricks, deceiving others - or they are just claiming things which are not real.
There is one man, Peter Herkos. He can see things from very, very far off. Three hundred miles distance makes no difference to him. From here he can see three hundred miles away, a village on fire. No one would believe him, no one; but by and by, people became aware that yes, he was seeing things, and things proved objectively true.
There was a fire and someone died. He said from just HERE that someone had died in that village, and that very moment someone HAD died; but still scientists tried to disprove it. They thought somehow that he was maneuvering things - someone might have telephoned, some signal, something... something was there which they did not know about. But many many experiments were carried out, and still no deception was found. And the thing became more amazing because Herkos himself was a skeptic; he himself did not believe that such things could happen. How could they happen? So he said, "If this would have been the case with someone else, I myself would say that he is deceiving. But how can I say it now? I am not deceiving at all - I go on seeing things." But they are personal....
A buddha experiencing what he called NIRVANA - it is a personal experience. It is not a fact, but it is a truth. So it is not necessarily that truth should be a fact, and not vice versa also that a fact is bound to be a truth.
The rishi defines truth more deeply, more absolutely. He says truth means that which is always unchanging, which is always. If a fact changes, it is also not a truth. And if a dream remains continuously, eternally, it is true; it is truth. So by truth, the UPANISHADS mean: the absolutely eternal.
What is absolutely eternal in this world of movement and change? Only change seems to be eternal and nothing else. Everything changes except change. And change cannot be called the eternal truth, because the very definition is "the unchanging one," and change means "changing one." Where is the eternal? - we never see it, we never feel it, we never know it - nowhere; everywhere is form and movement and change, and everything is impermanence itself.
Buddha says, "Everything is impermanent, EVERYTHING - even you yourself - just impermanent.
Nothing is permanent here." So is there any truth, or not? Only one thing seems to be deeply eternal: the see-er, and nothing else - the witnessing soul, nothing else. Buddha says, "Nothing is permanent." But who has seen this? This "nothing is permanent" - who has seen this? Someone must have seen this impermanency. Someone must have felt this constant flux, change. And to feel the change, this constant change, to be aware of it, at least the awareness must be eternal. So that's why truth and the inner consciousness become synonymous.
For a philosophically minded person the enquiry into truth becomes a logical enquiry - metaphysical, philosophical. He goes on finding what is truth, logically, rationally. He may create a philosophy but he is not going to find the truth. For a religious mind, the enquiry begins to be a search for the eternal. And when a religious man says, "I am seeking the truth," he means "I am seeking that which is always, that which is eternal - the eternity itself." Time ceases, space ceases, everything is dissolved, but that which is remains still.
This witnessing consciousness.... You are ill, then you are healthy; you are rich, then you are poor; you are respected, and then you are condemned; you are in hell, and you are in heaven - everything is changing. Only one who goes on knowing, "Now I am in hell, now I am in heaven; now they are respecting me, now they are condemning me; now I am ill, now I am healthy; now I am this, now I am that" - only one, and all else goes on moving, moving, moving. But this movement is known, and the knower is immovable, because only an immoving knower can know movements. Only an immovable knower can know movements. Only the eternal one can know change. If the inner one is also changing, then change cannot be felt. You know that once you were a child, now you are not.
If the inner consciousness itself has changed, who will remember that you were a child? If you have completely changed, then there will be no continuity. Who will remember that once you were a child and now you are not? Something behind all change remains the same. That something remembers, "I was once a child, now I am young, now I am going to be old, now I am going to die."
This continuity, this consciousness, for the rishi of the UPANISHADS, is the truth. This truth is eternal, infinite, and the nature of it is just knowing, pure knowing. It is not love, it is not bliss; it is pure knowing, because even love has to be known, even bliss has to be known. So ultimately, love and bliss and all else become objects of knowledge. This remains to be always the knower, always the transcending knower, the transcendental one.