Sarvasar Upanishad, Chapter 17
I AM THE BRAHMAN KNOWN BY THE WHOLE VEDANTA (THAT WHICH IS BEYOND ALL KNOWLEDGE). AND I AM NEITHER ETHER NOR AIR, NOR ANYTHING THAT I APPEAR TO BE.
I AM NEITHER FORM, NOR NAME, NOR ACTION, BUT ONLY BRAHMAN WHICH IS SATCHIDANANDA EXISTENCE, AWARENESS, AND BLISS).
I AM NOT THE BODY, SO HOW CAN I BE SUBJECT TO BIRTH AND DEATH? I AM NOT THE VITAL BREATH, SO HOW CAN I BE SUBJECT TO HUNGER AND THIRST? I AM NOT THE MIND, SO HOW CAN I BE SUBJECT TO SORROW AND ATTACHMENT? I AM NOT THE DOER, SO HOW CAN I BE SUBJECT TO BONDAGE AND FREEDOM?
SUCH IS THE MYSTERY.
HERE ENDS THE SARVASAR UPANISHAD
Now the last assertion, the last thing to be said: The rishi says that knowledge must cease, because only then is knowing possible.
Knowledge means the accumulation of dead experiences - of your own, or of others, but knowledge means the dead past. Knowledge is always of the past. Knowing is always here and now, and knowledge is always of the past. The past must cease for the present to be, and knowledge must cease for the knowing to be.
Knowing is alive; knowledge is dead.
So really knowledge is not a help towards knowing; on the contrary, knowledge is the hindrance, the obstacle. The more you know, the more you accumulate information, the less is your capacity of knowing. That's why the capacity of children to learn is more, because they are fresh; knowledge is not there as a barrier for their knowing; their knowing is fresh. The old man cannot learn so much - not because the consciousness is not capable to learn, but because the consciousness is so much burdened with knowledge that the burden itself becomes a hindrance. Knowledge creates a barrier, and destroys the capacity to know.
All knowledge, whatsoever its nature, is a burden. So the rishi says:
Knowledge must cease for the knowing to be.
And the knowing, this knowing can happen only in total innocence. Knowledge is cunning; knowledge can never be innocent. So the more knowledge grows in the world, the more cunningness comes into existence. Why? - because the more you know, the less you begin to be spontaneous. You become calculating, and the more you calculate, the less you are conscious, and the more you are mechanical.
Really, calculators can do more calculation, and in a better way, and more efficiently than you. Soon computers will replace man, because they can accumulate more knowledge and in a better way.
Our own brains are also doing the same. The rishi says that the VEDA cannot reach to that supreme consciousness, brahman. And veda means all accumulated knowledge. So in India we have created a very strange word: VEDANT. It means the end of the vedas, just going beyond the vedas, just throwing the vedas far away, just being unburdened by the vedas. Veda means "knowledge," and vedant means "beyond knowledge." So in the end the rishi says: Now understand one thing - and this is one of the ultimates - that by knowledge you will never be able to know, to know the being; because being is always prior to knowledge.
We discussed the fact that being is prior to doing. Now the rishi says that being is prior to knowledge also.
You ARE before you know.
Being precedes knowing, knowledge, doing, everything.
That which precedes knowing cannot be known by knowledge. That which precedes doing cannot be reached by any doing whatsoever.
So the mystics say, "Reach there by non-doing; know that by not-knowing." These become very contradictory statements; that's why they are called mystics. Mystic statements are absolutely illogical, but not meaningless; rather, because they are illogical they carry more meaning, more dynamic meaning. Mystic statements are not just mad statements; they appear to be, but they are the most sane possible.
When the rishi says that you cannot know by knowledge, he means that knowledge is always concerned with something else, never with truth. My eye cannot see itself - why? When the eyes can see everything else, why not themselves? Of course I can see my eyes in a mirror, but that is not really seeing the eyes themselves - just a reflection, and the reflection becomes something else. The same is the phenomenon inside: the being can know by knowledge everything other than itself. Knowledge is just an opening, an eye towards the whole world.
Really, this will be very significant to understand. The word "science" means exactly what veda means: knowledge. We can put it in very modern terminology: by science you can never know the being, because science means knowledge, systematized knowledge.
So how can you know it? If knowledge itself cannot know it, then how? If eyes cannot see a thing, if it is impossible to see it with your eyes, then what to do? The only possibility - and you may not be able just to remember it - is that if the eyes cannot see a particular thing, then CLOSE YOUR EYES AND SEE. That's the only alternative possible. If it is not possible at all to see with the eyes, then close them and see. If knowledge cannot know the innermost being, then throw away the knowledge, and know. This is what vedanta means - throwing away knowledge - because it is felt that by knowledge, we cannot know the knower. Then throw it, don't carry it, because it may prove a hindrance. Just throw it; just put it aside as if you are taking your clothes off. Take you knowledge off, and be without knowledge.
Be without knowledge.
In that innocent moment of not knowing, one happens to be there, where one has always been. One is just thrown to the center. Suddenly the periphery disappears, suddenly you are not whatsoever you have been, and you are something which you have never known yourself to be... this is the secret.
So the rishi says: This is the secret; by not knowing, is that known. He is not saying by ignorance.
Ignorance is not not-knowing; ignorance is just absence, absence of knowledge. Not-knowing is cessation of knowledge, not just absence.
So there are three steps: ignorance, knowledge, and supreme ignorance. You can call it supreme knowledge or can call it supreme ignorance; it means the same. It is supreme because it is beyond both knowing and not-knowing.
This is the secret of all secrets. UPANISHADS.... The very word UPANISHAD means the "secret doctrine." Why call it secret if you are going to call it a doctrine? If it is a doctrine it cannot be secret; if it is secret it cannot be a doctrine. So why call it a secret doctrine? Why use two contradictory words? The mystics have always felt that the moment you use one word without at the same time using the contradictory one, you divide life. And life exists in contradictions. The negative and the positive of electricity exist in a deep communion; the male psyche and the female psyche exist in a deep communion. The darkness and the light - we may think of them as contradictions, opposites, polar opposites, but they exist in a deep communion.
Have you ever seen any fight between darkness and light? Has there ever been any war between darkness and light? - they co-exist; they co-exist so silently. Really, there is no contradiction in existence; all contradictions are created by our minds, because we can look at a thing from a standpoint alone. We can never look at a thing as it is in its wholeness. Even a very small thing - just a pebble - you cannot look at the pebble from all sides simultaneously; the other side always remains in darkness. But the pebble is one. For you it is always an aspect that is known, and the remaining begins to be another aspect, but you can never know both simultaneously. But the pebble exists simultaneously.
Darkness and light are just two aspects of one thing. Birth and death - two aspects of one thing.
That's why the UPANISHADS are called the secret doctrine. Secret and open at the same time - simultaneously, because "doctrine" means open, a known thing, and "secret" means something unknown. So it is better to call it an open secret. It is open for everyone; but it is a secret, because even if you know it you can never claim the knowledge. By the very knowing the claimer is dissolved.
Socrates says, "When I was ignorant I thought myself to be wise; and now, when I have known, I know nothing else but ignorance."
This is the essence of all mysticism.
Polar opposites exist in a dynamic unity.
And by this statement that even knowledge is not you, everything else but pure being is negated.
And then the rishi asks the same question he was asked in the beginning. He has not answered it.
He was asked, "What is bondage, and what is freedom?" He has not answered. He has answered many things which were not asked; he has gone deep in many dimensions; he has discussed and analyzed everything that is needed for a seeker, but he has not discussed bondage and freedom.
And now in the end he ASKS the disciple, "Now tell me who is there to be in bondage? Where can bondage exist? - Because we have dissolved the ego. If the ego is there, bondage is possible. If the ego is not there, who can be in bondage, and how can bondage happen? To whom can it happen?
And if there is no bondage, then what do you mean by freedom? On this question the UPANISHAD ends.
This is a strange book. A question has been raised in the beginning, an enquiry has been made:
What is bondage? What is freedom? And on the same question the enquiry ends: What is bondage?
Who is in bondage? Who can be in bondage? How can bondage happen, and what do you mean by freedom? Who is going to be free?
Who is the agent to whom bondage and freedom can happen? What type of a book... answering nothing, and the question comes back! But now the quality of the question has totally changed. The question was asked in the beginning by the disciple; now it is asked by the master. And the disciple was asking in ignorance; the master is asking in supreme knowledge. The disciple asked because he didn't know; the master is asking because he knows.
Really he is saying, "You have asked absurdities. Your question was irrelevant; it was not a question at all."Just because the form of it was that of a question, doesn't make it a question. You can ask anything and it may look grammatically right, linguistically exact, and it may no be a question at all.
There are many questions the human mind goes on asking without knowing the fact that those questions are just absurd, they cannot be answered; because really there exists nothing in reality corresponding to them.
The disciple asks, "What is bondage?" One thing is implied - there is someone who can be in bondage. That has not been questioned at all. He asks, "What is bondage?" - with an implication, taken for granted, that bondage is possible. Someone can be in bondage, and someone exists who can be in bondage - that has been taken for granted, that has not been questioned at all. It has been accepted and assumed that there is bondage.
Then he asks, "What is freedom, and how to be free?" You can go on asking, but the basic assumption is false, pseudo. There is no one inside who can be in bondage. Really, if you don't ask the basic question - is there someone inside who can be in bondage?... if you miss the first basic question, you may ask and ask, and many answers can be given to you, but no answer will be an answer. And no answer will satisfy you, because the basic question has not been asked. These questions are secondary.
The rishi goes on talking about things which raise the basic question again and again. And then he goes on dissolving the basic factor upon which creates bondage, and freedom also. Then ultimately when the agent is no more, when the doer is no more, when the knower is no more, when the ego is no more, when the center is just dissolved - in that very moment, in that total silence and egolessness - when the guru sees, when the master looks into the eyes of the disciple, and feels that now there is no one inside but total silence, nothingness or pure being, then he asks. He must penetrate deep into the eyes of the disciple, and ask, "Now tell me: who can be in bondage? And for whom are you asking freedom?"
The book becomes still more strange, because the disciple remains silent. This is the last; here the secret doctrine ends - with a question mark. The master has asked, and the disciple has not even nodded his head. He has not said anything, not even a thanks. He remains just silent, as if he is not. The disciple has disappeared, and this disappearance is the real essence of disciplehood.
The disciple has disappeared.
When the disciple has disappeared, only then the master can ask. This disappearance of the disciple, this total evaporation, is the answer. No verbal answer has been given, but an existential answer has been conveyed. Now the disciple knows, but the disciple is not.
That's why the teacher asks. The question is raised not because any answer is expected; the question is raised only to know whether there is still someone who reacts. But there is no reaction; the question just echoes in the disciple and disappears. This is the answer from the disciple. They have come to the end of their journey, for which they prayed. They prayed to the divine, to God:
"Help us, help us both in our common endeavor, in our common effort. This is going to be a deep communion, so help us" - teacher and taught both, the master and the disciple both - "help us both so that we may endeavor and find out the truth."
The truth has appeared, but only when the disciple has disappeared. And the master has never been there, so there is no problem, no need for him to disappear - he has not been.
The master means one who has disappeared already. The disciple means one who has to disappear.
When the disciple also disappears, there is neither master nor disciple, and then exists THAT - that which we once called "I," then "thou," then "that"... and then, even beyond that.
There is a tradition in Tibetan Buddhism: when the disciple disappears, the master puts his head at his feet, at the disciple's feet. The circle becomes complete - because now there is no disciple; in a way there is only the master. And by master I mean one who has disappeared.
You can be two if you ARE, but if you have disappeared you cannot be two. We are so many here because we ARE. If we all disappear, and there are so many nothingnesses, will there be so many nothingnesses? - nothingness is bound to be one. How can you count absences? You can count only presences; absence is always one. You can count egos; you cannot count consciousness.
There is no way to count egolessness, nothingnesses, absences.
In this moment who is the master, and who is the disciple? They have both disappeared. This disappearance of master and disciple is the culmination, is the climax; is the peak of communion, of love, of intimacy. Neither husband and wife, nor mother and son, nor brothers, nor friends, can come to this disappearance. Only a master and disciple relationship can come to this highest peak of non-existence, of dissolving one into another.
That's why in the East, nothing was more sacred than this relationship of the master and the disciple - nothing was more sacred, nothing whatsoever! No love was higher than that; it cannot be. Because in any other love and intimacy, you never disappear; you remain, and you continue to remain. And that continuity of the presences becomes a constant conflict, a continuous misery and anguish.
Love fulfills itself, becomes a perfect flower only in a relationship between two, of whom one has already disappeared, and the other is ready to disappear. In all other relationships both are present, too much present, and each one is trying to be more and more present. Of course they also try for the other's disappearance - but that disappearance is different. Both try so that "the other should disappear, and I should be completely, totally, the master of the whole." And both are trying, so there is conflict.
A master is one who has disappeared already, so there is no question of his domination. He is not. And the other has come to him, not to possess him, but to be dispossessed of himself. That's the reason that when the master says something it has to be obeyed. Not that it is the master's domination; on the contrary, because the master cannot dominate, he is not. So his order becomes just an order from the source of all being. There is no ego, so there is no question of domination.
Again the paradox: a guru cannot dominate, so he dominates totally.
We tried to understand, to discuss, to analyze something which cannot be discussed, cannot be analyzed. We have discussed and analyzed not in order that whatsoever I say may be meaningful, but the way I say it, and the way I convey it to you may be meaningful. Not my words, but these silences between words may become glimpses to you. This is just beating around the bush, because the bush cannot be beaten directly. The truth cannot be indicated directly. So round and round about, I have been beating the bush in the hope that it may be... perhaps just by going around and around the bush, you may have a glimpse of the bush itself.
And that's why I am more more emphatically interested in meditation than in discussions. These discussions are just to give you a push, to satisfy you in an intellectual way; just to give you a feeling that whatsoever you are doing is very intellectual, rational. It is not.
So whatsoever I have been saying is in a way quite the opposite of what I have been trying to pull you into. My approach, as far as these discussions were concerned, was rational, just to satisfy you - just to give you some toys to play with, so that you can be persuaded into something else. That something else is not rational; that is irrational.
Someone came to me and said... he is new here, he has come just two days ago, and he is not acquainted with the Eastern mind at all; he is from the West. So he came to me and said, "I am bewildered, because whatsoever you are saying, and whatsoever is being done in meditation... there seems to be no connection at all."
I said to him, "Of course there is no connection; but still there is. But it is very indirect." I try to pacify your mind just to help you take a jump out of it. I go on rationalizing things, talking logically, arguing about, only in order that your argumentative mind is just exhausted, and you can take a jump out of all the nonsense that is called rationality.
So our meditation has been just a jump into irrational existence. And existence IS irrational - it is mystic, it is a mystery. So please don't cling to what I have said to you; rather, cling to whatsoever I have persuaded you to do. Do it, and someday you will realize that whatsoever I have said is meaningful. But if you go on clinging to what I have said, it may give you knowledge, it may make you more knowledgeable, but you will not attain to knowing. And even whatsoever I have said may become a hindrance.
I don't know. I may have helped you to create a hindrance - I don't know. It depends on you.
Now our last meditation. Because it is going to be the last, do not withhold yourself at all. Just be in it as totally as possible.