Sarvasar Upanishad, Chapter 13
THESE FOUR (TRUTH, KNOWLEDGE, INFINITY AND BLISS) ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS, AND THAT WHICH IS CHANGELESS, IN SPITE OF SYMBOLIC OBJECTS LIKE SPACE, TIME, ET CETERA, IS CALLED TAT OR THAT, WHICH IS THE EQUIVALENT OF PARAMATMA OR THE SUPREME SELF.
That which is separate even from such definitive distinctions as thou and that, and which is as subtle as the sky and existence or being is, whose nature is called parabrahma or ULTIMATE BEYOND ULTIMATE.
I, the ego, is the center, as we exist. As we are, we exist around the crystallization of the ego.
And ego is just a falsity, so the whole crystallization is just an appearance. There is nothing like "I," nothing substantial like "I" - it is just a shadow existence. Go deep into it and it just disappears. But escape from it and it becomes stronger and stronger. Try to destroy it, and you will not be able to, because a nothing cannot be destroyed. You can destroy something which is; you cannot destroy something which is not. You cannot fight with a shadow; and even if you fight... you can fight, but you can never win. On the contrary, you will be won over by the shadow.
This seems paradoxical, because how can a shadow which is not, win? But a shadow can win.
It wins because you believe it is. It wins because you cannot destroy it, but in the very effort of destroying it, you are destroyed. You dissipate energy in the conflict; in the absurd conflict you just waste yourself.
Try sometime. Fight with your shadow. You will be exhausted and the shadow will be as fresh as ever. You cannot even touch it; how can you destroy it? And that which is not... that which is not becomes stronger because you go on dissipating your energy. And a moment comes when you just fall down defeated, destroyed. Of course, again you will think that the ego is very very strong, that's why you have been defeated. Of course, obviously this is how logic will work: if you couldn't win over the shadow, that means the shadow is stronger than you - so escape from it.
There are two alternatives: either fight with it, or escape from it. If you feel that you are not so strong to fight, then escape. But how can you escape a shadow if it is your own? And the ego is you own shadow. So go on running, and the faster you run, the faster comes the shadow behind you. Again you are defeated, again you feel there seems no way: "Howsoever I run, and wheresoever I go, the shadow follows me. I cannot dodge it, even." You dodge it, and it is there with you; it has dodged you. So ultimately, the fighter and the escapist both come to the conclusion that it is impossible to win over the ego - to destroy the ego. It is impossible!
This happens because you are fighting with an absence, mm? - Just like one is fighting darkness.
So you may fight it, you may go on fighting it. You cannot decide, because darkness is not a positive something; it is just the absence of light. Bring light and it will be no more. But don't fight it.
The "I" exists as absence: absence of your real nature, absence of your real self, or real no-self - whatsoever you like to call it. It exists because you are not. So it is a false shadow, an absence of something which can be and is not. It is needed, because the master is absent and someone must be there who works, behaves as the master; otherwise, life will be very difficult.
A child is born, not with an ego, really - without the ego. Then we begin to cultivate the ego: society needs it, survival needs it. So we begin to create the ego through education, through competition, through comparison. We begin to create, because without the ego we cannot conceive how the child will fight for existence, for survival. How will he be able to move even? So there must be created a strong ego. Our whole culture, education... all training is just to create a strong ego in the child so that he can fight, so that he can move, so that he can compete, so that he can survive. This ego is a survival measure, but once created and crystallized, it will not allow the real master to come in its place.
Then there are so-called teachers who will say, "Be humble. Be egoless" - and then we begin to cultivate humility. With the ego on the throne, we begin to cultivate humility; then the ego takes on the garb of humility. And really, it is difficult to find a more egoist person than the so-called humble one. So what to do now?
I feel it as a necessity: ego has to be developed. As far as the child is concerned, ego has to be developed - it is a necessary evil. It has to be developed, but a moment comes where it becomes useless. The moment you are mature, the moment you are conscious, the moment you are alert, grown-up, you need not have the ego - you can step beyond it. One has to be on the step of the ego, and then one has to step out of it. It is a necessary evil; up to a limit it is needed. Beyond that limit it is not needed at all; rather, it becomes a hindrance. So as far as outward life is concerned, ego is a need; but as far as inward life is concerned, ego is a hindrance.
The moment you become aware that now you need a new growth, an inward growth, ego becomes a hindrance - the basic obstacle. And because you have strengthened it, you have fed it, and you have lived with it, it simply rejects that you can be without it. Mm? It becomes just an old habit, and you cannot conceive how you can be without it. You have always known yourself, felt yourself as an ego. For example: A child needs a nine-month pregnancy; it is a basic need. It is difficult, and in a way a long death: nine months, absolute bondage, no possibility even of movement, no thinking - not even breathing. The child cannot even breathe. He is so dependent on the mother that he only breathes through the mother - he cannot breathe. He has no heartbeat; mother's heartbeats are his. But these nine months are needed.
Then there is a crisis: the birth. The child resists being born, because it is a very traumatic experience; it is just being thrown from your so-conditioned existence. In a way the child was absolutely safe - the bondage was a safety. The child was absolutely free of responsibility - even the responsibility to breathe was not there. In a way, the child was an absolute slave, and in a way, the most free, because there was not even the botheration of breathing. These nine months create a conditioning and the child resists.
Even the mother also resists. That's why there is pain; otherwise, these is no need of pain. Nature is throwing the child out and the child resists. Of course, it has been his home - and such a safe home. The mother also resists, because something so drastic is going to happen. There is a natural resistance - that's why there is pain in birth.
But this pain has to be passed through if the child just declines to be born - that is the case with us.
Ego is a shell; ego is an egg. There comes a moment when the egg is to be broken and you have to be born. Of course, there is going to be a painful birth. And you have lived with this ego so easily, in a safety - in a deep safety. This ego has been your home, and then comes a moment when this ego itself becomes the bondage - it is the bondage and one wants to be free of it.
This is the spiritual urge: to be free from the ego. If you have not felt that you, your ego, is the bondage and you want to be free from it, the spiritual urge has not yet come into being. The spiritual urge means to be free from this egg, from this shell, from this ego - from this long pregnancy.
And this long pregnancy is really millenia long - lives and lives and lives. And we are in the shell, enclosed, imprisoned. It is a necessity; one has to be in it. But again, one has to break it and come out of it.
There is fear. There is fear, when for the first time some bird comes out of its egg. The bird has fully-grown wings, but he cannot just go into the sky, fearful of the unknown. The bird waits, waits, looks around; there is fear - with full-grown wings! But how can the bird know that these are wings and he can fly; that he can go into a totally free space and move, and can experience ecstasy? How can he know? The same happens with us - we are in an eggshell. It is difficult to come out of it, but even if we can, if we come out of it, then again there is fear to go into the unknown, into something uncharted, into something we have not known before. Fear....
What to do? One thing is to be aware of the whole fact of the ego - what it is. The moment you become aware, then you know it is just a safety measure; it is not so substantial as we have been thinking. It is just a safety measure; it is just a functional thing. It was needed; now it is not needed, so it is just an old habit. The minute you see the ego as an old habit - as a functional unity, not anything substantial; as a necessity but not as a reality - ninety-nine percent of the ego will have disappeared just through this knowledge. The one percent will need a jump.
That jump... I was talking about a bird just waiting, and looking around with fully grown wings - with fear; but the bird takes the jump, takes the challenge. And once taken he becomes aware that now there is no fear; the whole sky is his - he has wings. In that moment what happens in the psychic realm of the bird? What happens?
That happening has been known as faith - that happening. What happens in the mind of the bird?
There is fear, the unknown is there; he doesn't know that he has fully-grown wings and in a moment he can be the master of the whole sky and totally free. What to do? But other birds are in the sky moving freely, flying freely. Seeing them thus, a faith is born: to take the jump.
A Buddha, a Mahavira, a Christ, a Mohammed - just birds flying in the sky. And you, waiting with fully grown wings - with fear, not knowing what to do. By faith, by SHRADDHA, only this, this trust is meant. Seeing a buddha flying, you take the jump and you become a buddha yourself.
Faith is not blind belief in someone else. On the contrary, faith is faith in oneself, seeing someone else fully grown.
Faith is not in someone else.
Faith is always in oneself.
Seeing the possibility - that "this can happen to someone else; why cannot it happen to me?" - one gathers courage; one becomes potent. One has always been so, but now one remembers - one becomes potent.
Sariputta came to Buddha to thank him, and said to Buddha, "I have come in a deep gratitude to thank you."
Buddha said, "I have not done anything for you, Sariputta. You have not even come to me before. I have not even uttered a single word to you. How is this thankfulness?"
Sariputta said, "I have been looking and looking. Wherever you have moved, I was moving just behind, like a shadow. I have been watching and watching, and suddenly a faith is born in me that I can also be this. So I have come to give you my gratitude and show you my gratitude. You have not uttered a single word; you have not taught me anything. You have never been my teacher; I have never been your follower, but I have followed you like a shadow. I have moved with you from village to village - just seeing that if this can happen to this man, why not to me? A faith is born in me, a faith is born unto me and I am transformed."
This is how a teacher works: as a catalytic agent. The moment you take the jump from the "I," you are in the "thou." So the rishi says, the second definition - deeper, higher - is to know existence in the form of "thou." We have known only the "I" existence - a very minute fragment of existence, we have known what is known as "I-existence." Take the jump from the "I," and you become aware of existence, of the total existence as "thou." Mm? We discussed before what this "thou" means.
But now the rishi says that even this "thou" is not the ultimate. It is just a step ahead of the "I," but not the ultimate. You have even to jump from this "thou," because to thank the universe in the form of "thou" is still to continue the memory of the "I." The "thou" can only be meaningful in relation, and in reference to, and in context with an ego. How can I say "thou" without there being a "me"? Only the "I" can say meaningfully, "thou." If there is no "I," what does it mean? What does this "thou" mean?
Is it only an old memory habit that we again call this world, this existence, "thou," because we know only the language of "I"? The "I" has dropped, but not the language.
The rishi says, "Now drop even that language, and take a jump from the "thou" also - then the universe becomes a "that." From "I" to "thou," and from "thou" to "that" - simply "that."
You must have heard one of the deepest insights of the UPANISHADS: TAT TWAMASI - THAT ART THOU, in which both are used, "that" and "thou." That art Thou, or Thou art That, but "that" is still higher, because now no reference to the ego is implied. "That" becomes pure existence - "that."
You are irrelevant now. "That" can exist even without you; but "thou" cannot exist - thou needs you.
"That"..."That" doesn't need. "That," is a simple statement of the fact. But these deeper journeys need a still deeper jump.
The rishi says that even "that" is not the ultimate, because still it is your assertion. And when you say "that" you indicate something. You are not addressing now; "thou" is an address. "I" is there to address. "That" is simple assertion, not anything addressed; but you are indicating - a finger is there indicating "that." A very nonpersonal indication, but still indication; someone is showing "that."
The rishi says, one step more. This "thou" and this "that" both are again limitations. Even drop "that,"
then nothing can be said. Then it is sheer existence, mere existence, pure existence.
Buddha says it is nothingness, shunya; because he says all that we knew has been denied and eliminated; all that we could indicate is irrelevant. Language cannot go further; mind now cannot reach further; expression is not possible - not only not possible, it is absurd, it is nonsense.
Whatsoever you say becomes nonsense. You say "I" - it is nonsense. You say "thou" - it is nonsense. You say "that" - it is nonsense. It may be higher nonsense, but it is nonsense, because it makes no sense at all.
So Buddha says, "Do not say anything," or if you insist, he says, "Say, now it is nothingness." But by nothingness he doesn't mean that there is nothing. By nothingness he means there is no- thingness. "Now there is nothing" means no-thing, no THINGHOOD which can be indicated, showed and expressed; otherwise, there is all. Otherwise, there is all: pure existence, the is-ness.
Buddha chooses a negative way: he says shunya, nothingness. This rishi chooses a positive way:
he says when "thou" and "that" have fallen, all the limitations are gone; limits cease, boundaries are no more. That which remains is simple existence - SATTA MATH, simple existence.
Simple existence.... What does he mean by simple existence? A table exists, a man exists, a tree exists - these are not simple existences. A table exists.... There are two things: the table and existence - the table exists. The table is something which exists; existence is something more, a plus. When the table is not there, only the table is lost; but the existence which was a plus, remains behind. You cannot see it, of course, because we can only see the table. The table is not there, but where has existence gone? Existence is still there.
If every thing-hood is not there, then the ocean of pure existence remains. The rishi says that this is pure existence - nothing exists, only existence is. This, he says, is parabrahma. By parbrahman is meant: that which is even beyond brahma, because brahma can be defined. We have been defining brahma, we can indicate something about it; even if we say it is indefinable, we define it. Even if we say we cannot say anything about it, we have said something. So we go on contradicting ourselves.
If we say nothing can be said, then this much has been said, and we have contradicted ourselves.
If we say something, it becomes nonsense. If we don't say something and say that nothing can be said, we have said something.
But with brahma there is some possibility to define it - in relation to us we can define it. We can say it is bliss, because we feel bliss. When we come near it we feel bliss. It is just as you feel near a garden... the air becomes cooler, you begin to feel the flowers, their scent, the perfume. But really, this is YOUR feeling - this is in relation to you.
We can define brahma. In relation to us, we can say it is blissful, because we, deep in misery will come near it - really it is a bliss. We can say it is knowledge, because deep from ignorance, darkness, when we come to it, it is light. But it is in relation to us. These assertions are relative.
Now comes the absolute: parabrahma means the absolute, about which only this much can be said:
"Whatsoever we say about it, it is beyond and beyond. Whatsoever is said, falls down, doesn't reach it - and it always goes beyond." Parabrahma means the transcendence which always transcends everything.
This is the ultimate goal, because this is the ultimate existence. And unless one achieves it, one remains in death, in misery, in SAMSARA. By samsar is not meant the world; by samsar is only meant the wheel of life and death.
The word "samsara" means the wheel, the constantly moving wheel - birth, life, death; birth, life, death - and the wheel goes on moving, and on and on. This constant wheel in which we are caught is samsar. If we can jump out of this wheel, these are the three steps: from the "I" to "thou," from "thou" to "that," and from "that" to the all - or to the nothingness, or to the transcendence, or to the beyond and beyond.