From Belief Towards Truth
Discourse Date: Fri, 26 February 1969 00:00:00 GMT
Friends have asked many questions. One friend asks: "You say that Truth is not obtained from words, much less from scriptures and from gurus, then what is the purport of your talk?"
Truth will not be obtained from my talk - please understand this well. Nobody's words can convey Truth. If a thorn gets embedded in your foot, you can use a second thorn to remove it; but once the thorn is out both become equally redundant. My words will not deliver Truth. but they can act like the thorn to remove the thorn of illusion of knowledge that you hold as your own. When this happens, my words will have served their purpose and become equally useless.
Words, be they from anybody, do not convey Truth. But if words delete words; if words are erased; and if the mind is emptied so that words have no hold on it, then of itself the mind attains Truth; for Truth is nowhere outside It is within each one of us. Once the mind gives up its habit of Looking outward, Truth is not difficult to attain. As long as we look to gurus, we look outside; as long as we hold on to shastras, we are looking outward As long as we cling to the cognition of other's words, that which is attained in the No-Word, silent states remains unknown.
A poet once went to the seashore. It was early morning: The sun's cool radiance filled the sky. The breeze came with a touch of the waves. The joy of the scene filled the poet's heart too. Delighted he began to dance. Oh the bliss, the joy!... but his thoughts went back to his beloved, lying in in a hospital. How he wished that she were here beside him to share this beautiful morning! He was a poet, so the scene affected him more. Tears welled up in his eyes but soon he wiped them away.
"What if I filled a casket with this beautiful morning and sent it to her?"
He brought a box and lovingly opened its lid to the wafting breeze and the dancing rays. He then sealed it with care and sent ;t to his beloved, explaining to her how much he had missed her in those lovely surroundings, but that he was sending them to her in a box.
The letter reached: so did the box but when she opened it there were no rays of the sun, no cool breeze, no glory of the morning that her lover had described. It was only an empty box.
What is at the seashore cannot be carried in a box; and also there is no way to fill the experience of the Ocean of Truth in the chest of words.
Only words, blank and empty, remain. That which was experienced at the seashore is left far behind.
Those who reach the shores of Truth, they too, long to convey the joy of their experience to those they love; so that those who could not come that far may also get a glimpse of that wonderful experience. They fill their chests with words and send them to us. The Geeta, the Bible, the Koran reach us; but that which they tried to send, remains far behind. Their compassion is unquestionable but heir words fail to convey Truth.
Words have never been adequate. If the beloved had held the box to her bosom and danced, we would have called her insane; but if she had caught the meaning behind the box, she would have run to the seashore. Then she would have partaken of the joy of the dancing waves and the cool breeze. But this is possible only if after getting the message, she is willing to cast the casket aside and set out towards the place from where something was attempted to be conveyed.
Those that likewise cast the shastras aside and proceed towards the source of the shastras, find themselves one day, at the shores of the Ocean of Truth. But we are such fools - we made a fanfare of the Geeta and are completely oblivious of the source from where Krishna sent the message of the Geeta. So also, have we done with the Bible and the Koran.
If Krishna and Christ, Mahavira and Buddha, happen to look at us, they will shed tears of anguish.
They will say: "We tried to send them a whiff of the sea-breeze but they have clung to the words of our message and remained where they were!" If they had their way, they would snatch all the books and throw them into the sea. But even if Krishna were to snatch the Geeta away from us, we would catch him by the neck - for what have we besides the Geeta?
Dostoevsky of Russia, wrote a book: The Brothers Karamazov. In that he says that after eighteen hundred years since his death, Jesus thought that the time was ripe for him to re-visit the earth.
There were churches erected in every village to preach his message; there were priests and monks with the cross dangling from their necks. Almost half the world had turned Christian! He was sure of a tumultuous welcome.
So one Sunday, Jesus descended into a village and stood under a tree. People were returning from the village church; the morning mass was over. They were surprised to see a Christ-like figure standing under the tree. Who is this man dressed like Jesus? He must be an actor, they thought.
They gathered round him, full of curiosity and began to question him: "Your acting is perfect. You look exactly like Christ."
"But I AM Christ," said Jesus. They laughed aloud; one threw a stone, another a slipper and they all danced round him, calling him insane. One, out of pity, told him to go before the priest caught him.
"Your priest? He is my priest. Don't you recognize me? I am the one to whom you pray every morning."
"We shall worship you as you deserve, if you do not make yourself scarce quickly!" they told him.
Jesus in his compassion forgave them; perhaps they really did not recognize him, but the priest was bound to, for he sang his praises all day. Then along came the padre. The noisy crowd became silent as he approached. Then one by one, they touched his feet - such is the world: it will stone God but it will prostrate before those who make business out of Him.
"This is blasphemy!" exclaimed Jesus.
"Keep quiet," said the people. "If the priest hears you, he will feel insulted." This drew the priest's attention. "Who is this rascal?" he asked, "Bring him to me."
"You too do not recognize me?" Jesus asked the priest, "And you wear my cross around your neck!"
But Jesus overlooked the fact that the cross he was hung on was made of wood, while the cross that hung round the priest's neck, was made of gold. Was ever a cross to hang a man by made of gold? And it is the man who is hung on the cross and not the cross on the man!
"This man looks like Satan himself!" proclaimed the priest, "Our Jesus came to earth but once. There is no need for him to come again. Now we are here to look after his work."
So Jesus was locked up in the attic of the church, He was shocked! This was the same kind of treatment he had received eighteen hundred years ago. "Will I be crucified again?" He wondered.
The priest came to visit him in the middle of the night. He fell at his feet and begged forgiveness. "I recognized you alright, Oh Glorious One! But we are constrained to deny you in the market-place.
You need not take the trouble of coming again. We are carrying out your work with all sincerity.
Business is good, and if you come there is bound to be confusion. We have barely got things going smoothly and you come again! Please understand, we cannot acknowledge you in public. Not only that, we might have to resort to the same tactics to disown you, as we did eighteen hundred years ago. Pleas forgive us; we are helpless."
The same will be the fate of Krishna or Mahavir or Mohammed, if they chose to come again We little realize that those whose words we cling to, have clearly warned us not to; for Truth is not in words.
Truth is present in the "word-less" silence, where all thoughts are absent.
Truth will not be in my words, nor in the words of anybody else. Then why do I speak? - to snatch your words away from you. If my words, like the thorn. can pick out the words from within you, I will have attained my end. Then you will be freed from my words as well as the words within. Then the mind, devoid of words, is ready to set out towards Truth. It is a matter of great regret, that instead of grasping the essence of the message of those who come to liberate us, we merely catch hold of their persons.
Buddha had forbidden his disciples from making his statue, but today his statues outnumber those of anyone else; In fact the Urdu word for "statue" is derived from the word Buddha and it has come to mean any statue. There are Buddha idols to the tune often thousand in a single temple n China...
and Buddha bad warned: "Do not worship me!"
We are strange people! We catch the one who says "Do not hold on to me" - catch him all the more firmly, lest he slips away! The more we like a person, the more we tend to cling to him for fear of losing him. This tendency has made slaves out of us. If we lose our hold on the old ones, we find new ones to hold on to. If Mahavir and Krishna, Buddha and Rama are getting out of hand we create a Gandhi and begin to cling to him: we must have someone or the other to cling on to. We do not want to stand on our own two feet. I wish to declare that only that person is qualified to call himself a man who, discarding others, stands on his own feet.
Only he can take hold of himself who casts aside all outside help. Remember: he who clings to others has no faith in himself. Because he finds himself weak, he tries to derive strength from others. Lack of faith in one's self, becomes faith in others. He who has faith in himself, places his faith nowhere else. The irony of it all is: he who cannot hold on to himself, how can be hold on to another7 How can he sustain another. when he has no power over himself?
Faith in one's self is religion, and not faith in others. God has given to each person all that he has given to everybody. Each one of us has that in him which has manifested itself in others - some Ram, some Buddha, some Mahavir, some Gandhi. What becomes manifest is present in seed within all. But when I say "leave them," I have no enmity towards their person. How can there be? Such wonderful people - what can I have against their person? What reason do I have to find fault with them? All I mean is: as long as you hold on to their person, you will never be able to find yourself; and he who fails to find himself, is disqualified to enter the temple of God.
Some other friends have asked me: "Why do you speak against Gandhi?"
What reason could I have to speak against Gandhi? Men like Gandhi, come to this earth after thousands of years of penance. But I find you all running after the man and not his message! So I am constrained to speak against him; and against Buddha, Christ and Mahavir for the same reason.
Not only do I have to speak against Gandhi but I have to be harsh towards him; for I find that a new idol is taking, shape and people are already clinging onto it. Before the old idols lose their hold, new ones are formed and man's slavery remains the same. Freed from karma, he clings to Buddha; freed from Buddha, he clings to Christ. He catches hold of the new before he lets go of his hold on the old. It never happens that he leaves all and relies on himself. He who dares to leave all and stand on his own two feet, endears himself to God.
A Muslim fakir dreamt one night that he had gone to heaven - people go to heaven only in dreams; for reality as they know it, is akin to hell. He found the streets of heaven crowded. On inquiring, he was told it was God's birthday. He praised his good fortune, at last the thirst of his eyes will be quenched, for he will see God Himself! He waited on the roadside with some others.
Soon there came a magnificent person riding on a horse, with thousands of attendants. The fakir whispered to the man next to him "Is that the Lord?"
"Oh no!" said the man, "This is Hazrat Mohammed!" The procession passed only to be followed by another. "Is this God?" asked the fakir of his neighbour, pointing at the central figure.
"No," came the answer, "this is Ram and his entourage."
Then followed Krishna and Christ, Buddha and Confucius and many such luminaries, all with their respective retinues. It was well past midnight and the crowd had already thinned out. "When will God come?" the fakir wondered. The streets were deserted except for him and all the fanfare was over.
Then an old man came riding alone - not a soul with him! The fakir eyed him curiously, "Who could this character be, riding all by himself?" he wondered. Then it came to him! This must be God, for no one is more lonely than Him in the whole wide Universe. He went up to him and asked: "Sir, Are you God and if you are, tell me why are you alone? The others had crowds following them."
At this God's eyes filled with tears and He said. "All the people were divided between them. Not a single one remained for me. Some went with Rama and some with Krishna and some with someone else. No one is with me, for only he can be with me who is with no one else."
The fakir got up with a start. He looked around and found himself on the floor of his hut. He went around telling everyone of this strange dream. "God is alone! God is alone!" he went about wailing.
"How is that possible?" he asked one and all. He asked me too and I told him: "Your dream was true. There is no one lonelier than God!"
The Hindu cannot be with God, nor can the Jain nor the Christian be with Him. He who is nothing, who has no epithets, who is nobody's follower or disciple who is absolutely alone - he alone can merge with the "Totally Alone," who is God. The door that leads to God opens in complete alone- ness. God is not in the least concerned with crowds. When we are Hindus, we are a part of one particular crowd; when we follow Rama, we are a part of one particular crowd - and so we follow our own mental projections. Truth has nothing to do with this. And when I say: "Leave them," I do not mean that Rama is a useless person. He can be very useful, provided we do not cling to his person.
By "leaving" I mean keep your hands free. The hands are tied as long as they hold anybody's feet; and tied hands cannot reach out to God. When the hands are completely empty, God is attained.
I will explain with yet another story: One day, Krishna sat town to dine and Rukmini, his queen, was fanning him as he ate. Suddenly, he pushed aside his plate and ran to the door. Rukmini called after him to finish his meal but he did not heed her and ran out to the gate. But then he hesitated and turned back looking sad, and resumed his meals. "What was the matter?" asked Rukmini.
"It was a grave situation," said Krishna. "One of my beloveds was passing through a village. People were stoning him and blood trickled down his face. The crowd surrounded him, hurling stones and abuses but he stood quiet and smiling. It was incumbent on me to go to his aid."
"Then why did you come back?" asked Rukmini.
"By the time I reached the gate, he needed me no more. He had picked up a stone in his defence As long as he was absolutely defenceless, and was absolutely alone, he needed me. His entire being drew me towards him like a magnet but now he is helpless no more. He has taken the help of a stone."
How far this story is true I cannot tell, and it matters little, but one thing I know and I wish to tell you too: as long as your hands are full, your mind is full; as long as you lean on anything for support, you cannot hope to attain the Divine help. God's support is attained only when one is completely helpless. But we always tend to lean on something or the other and that very support becomes an obstruction. So when I say: "Leave everything!" I exhort you to be totally helpless. One has to forsake all scriptures, all gurus, all heroes and abandon all that we cling on to.
Please do not misunderstand me. My words are very much misunderstood. When I tell you to renounce Gandhi - people think I am Gandhi's enemy. I am telling you to leave not only Gandhi but anybody you have taken hold of. If anyone tries to hold on to me, I should tell him to forsake me in the same manner. I ask you to be non-aligned; your hands should be free of everything. Wonderful is the moment when a man casts all aside and steps out. Then what occurs in his life is beyond our imagination. Then for the first time God enters his life; then for the first time he hears the foot-falls of Truth. Therefore I say: "Leave all else!"
One friend has asked: "If Truth cannot be conveyed by words, and if it cannot be written in scriptures, then what other means is there for its communication?"
There is no way of imparting Truth through words, nor is there any need. It is needed only to be known and more than knowing, BECOMING Truth is more essential. The question of transmission does not arise. To know is, and to experience it, is the question. Where is the sense in related truth?
There was a fakir, Sheikh Farid. In the course of his pilgrimage he happened to pass by Kashi, where Kabir resided. His companions urged him to visit Kabir. "Let us spend a day or two at the Sage's ashram," they implored him. "We shall gain immensely from your talk with him. This is a God-given opportunity and we do not want to miss it."
"As you wish," said Farid. "We shall visit Kabir but about the talk, I cannot promise."
"Won't you talk to him?" they asked with surprise.
"There is no need to talk to Kabir," he said. "Kabir knows and I know - what small we talk about?"
Now Kabir's companions too, were urging him to meet Farid.
"We all have a lot to gain, when the two of you converse It will be a rare treat!"
"That is going to be difficult," said Kabir. ' I shall call him if you wish. We will meet each other, embrace each other, cry together, but we shall not speak.
They still insisted however, for they were sure this could not be. When Kabir saw that they were adamant, he invited Farid to the ashram. On the appointed day Kabir went to the outskirts of the village to welcome him. The two met; and they embraced. For a long time they clasped each other, tears streaming down their eyes. They sat together under a tree. The disciples waited eagerly to catch every word that was spoken. But there was no talk. A full day passed, then the next and then the time came to say good-bye. The disciples became restless. They implored them to talk but they merely looked at each other and laughed. Then they parted.
Kabir's disciples demanded an explanation and Farid's disciples did the same. "Why did you not speak?" they demanded.
"What could we speak about?" said Kabir. "What is known cannot be expressed! And nothing remains to be said, before one who already knows."
And Farid told his disciples: "The one who spoke, would have proved himself a fool "
But the question arises: Why did these two not speak? Truth can only be known, never spoken. But the Sheikh spoke among others and so did Kabir! Then of what did they speak if Truth cannot be spoken? They spoke in order to convey the message that Truth cannot be spoken by, nor derived from others. They wanted to convey this negative thought that truth can he attained, can be sought - but it can never be obtained from someone. If their talk could implant just this idea into a person's mind; If this much is understood, that this is an individual quest in which there are no partners, then perhaps he may set out on this path - for then he will have grasped the hint.
But we are such foolish people that if a person points out the moon to us, we will immediately catch hold of his finger and begin to worship it as the moon! All remonstrations will fall on deaf ears, for we refuse to see that it is only a finger and that the moon is far away. We will still maintain blindly that that is the moon.
There is a temple in Japan, where there is an idol of a finger instead of the usual idol and Buddha's words are inscribed underneath: "I point out the moon to you with my finger and you turn round and worship me!"
We too do nothing but worship fingers. Words and scriptures are mere pointers towards that which has no words, no scriptures and no pointers. We however, are like the man who walks along the trunk road and coming upon the mile-stone, which says: "Junagadh - 50 Miles, " sits down besides the stone, convinced that he has reached his destination. He refuses to believe that the stone, in fact, conveys that Junagadh is miles away and that many such mile-stones are to be reached and crossed until the final stone, which says: "Junagadh - O Mile," is reached. That mile-stone is the destination which says: "Zero miles"; that scripture which says: "Zero - Naught," is the authentic religious scripture. We have to proceed further and further and yet further, leaving all words as we go along, until we come to the point from where there is no further to proceed there is only the void.
All words point towards this void, this emptiness.
Void means contemplation; void is samadhi. To be in the void means: leaving everything to become "just nothing." Then everything is attained from that nothing. The void is the door to the Absolute.
Words are barriers - silence is the way. Those that stop at words break their heads against the wall and perish, but those who go through emptiness, gain entrance there.
Have you ever pondered on the fact that the door in your house is an empty space, while the walls are solid structures? The door is an emptiness and actually means: where there is nothing - no obstruction. And this is the only opening in the walls that allows entry and exit, to and from the house. Thus this empty space, the door, is the most important part of the house. Without it the house becomes useless.
You fill water in a vessel - where does the water fill? In the empty space of the vessel of course. So the vessel actually comprises of the empty space, whereas the walls of the vessel merely surround the empty space within. When you buy a water-pot from the market, you actually buy the empty space within its walls, for it is there that the water is stored. So the empty space within the pot is the important part of the pot; the empty space within, the the door is important part of the house; so also the space within is of prime importance.
In a mind filled with words, there are walls; in its silence there is the door. But we fill our minds with words, words and more words; and we think we are wiser for them! We little realize the poverty of knowledge. Those who "know" have found the door of silence and have broken the walls of words. Man "knows" only when he leaves words and never when he holds on to them. This seems contradictory but nonetheless true.
When Buddha became enlightened, people asked him what he had attained. Buddha replied: "I have gained what I already possessed! I have become aware of my possessions within."
"What did you do to attain them?" they asked.
"As long as I did anything, I did not attain. As soon as I left all doing, it was attained."
"You talk in converse terms!"
"As long as I tried to do something, the mind was restless; for restlessness is caused by the act of doing. As soon as all doing stopped, the mind became tranquil, and that revealed itself which was always within."
Words are turmoil; as long as they whirl within, the mind is in a state of unrest. When they no longer roll within, when all recitations of the Geeta and the Koran cease; when no words of Mahavir and Buddha, reverberate within; when all becomes still and silent within - then in that moment, that reveals itself which was forever there and never lost.
That is truth, our real Being. But we are ignorant of it. We have gathered layers of words around it - like the onion, each layer when peeled, reveals another and this in its turn reveals yet another, till in the end, nothing remains. Such are the layers within the mind - thousands of layers gathered over numerous lives. Start to peel them, one by one; keep on till all of them are removed. Then what will be left behind? Nothing but the void; and this void, this emptiness, is the Truth which abides.
If we remove the objects in a house, the furniture, the Portraits, the calendars, the utensils etc., something still remains behind which cannot be removed - the emptiness. This emptiness is the actual house - "The house." Then this empty house we fill with so many things that it becomes difficult to enter it!
The mind too, is a house that we fill with word.., so much so that it is impossible to go within. Have you ever tried going within? You will always encounter words and more words like the cacophony of a market-place, which is always filled with people! If you throw out all these words from within, "you"
still remain, for you are not words - you are something else. This something else, that still stands within, is the Atman (Soul). He who knows the Atman realizes Truth; and he who knows his own inscape, knows the inscape of all; and he who has once experienced Truth, begins to see it in all things, at all times.
Therefore I say not words, not scriptures - but silence is the door. And hence the stress on giving up everything, for then that which cannot be given up by any means, is our very Self. That which can be given up is not your Self; that which can be added unto you is also not your Self; neither is that your Self, which can be taken away from you. That which cannot be added unto me or taken away from mc is my intrinsic self. To be in one's intrinsic self is another name for Truth. To that end, do I insist that you leave all scriptures - all! What can I have against shastras - against books? My war is only against Man filling himself with these; for a man so filled is deprived of the knowledge of that which he is, and so remains unacquainted with his very being.
There was a Japanese fakir by the name of Bokozu. Once a university professor came to visit him.
He was a learned man, well versed in the scriptures. He had travelled a long way in the hot sun to meet this fakir. He entered the hut and after paying his respects to Bokozu, he wiped the perspiration from his forehead. "Sir?" he addressed Bokozu, "From you I have come to learn what is truth."
"Where was the need to come all this way in the hot sun to know what truth is?" asked Bokozu. "If truth is, it will be in your house too. If not, it will not be here also. What makes you come to me?
Have I taken a contract to supply truth? If you could not see truth where you were, you will not be able to see it here also."
If a blind man walks a thousand miles to ask of another man where light is, he will tell him: "If you had eyes, light was there also where you came from. Without eyes, light will not be, no matter where you go." Light is wherever eyes are - else there is nothing but darkness."
The fakir told the professor, "If you were capable of seeing truth, there was no need to come here.
The very fact that you have come to ask me, shows that you do not have eyes. What can I do? I can only suggest that perhaps the knowledge you have gathered has made you blind. There is no greater ignorance in the world than knowing too much.
"Anyhow, you rest awhile if you are tired. I shall make some tea and then we shall talk. The tea will alleviate your fatigue and perhaps also provide the answer to your question."
"How can a cup of tea provide an answer to truth? I feel I have come to the wrong place. This man is insane; and I have travelled in vain!" he thought to himself.
As he got up to leave Bokozu said: "Don't be hasty. Have a cup of tea before you leave."
The professor was tired so he sat down again; but as for finding an answer to his question, he had given up all hope. What could be expected of a man who connects the drinking of tea with the quest of truth?
The fakir came with the tea. He handed an empty cup and saucer to the professor and began to pour the tea. The cup filled and so did the saucer but still the fakir kept on pouring. When it came near to spilling over, the professor cried out: "Stop please! There is no space more for Q single drop!"
"Can you see that there is no space for another drop in your cup?" asked the fakir, "And you also see that if you pour more, it will spill over?" The professor was like the full cup - filled with words, very near spilling over.
How does a person become insane? When so many thoughts take possession of his mind that he cannot contain them, they start to overflow. Then he keeps talking as he goes along the road, catches people by force and talks to them He talks in sleep, and he talks to himself endlessly. When there is a deluge of words, insanity results.
In fact, we are all insane to a certain degree, for within the head, there is perpetual conversation.
There is no rest for the mind. There is only a difference of proportion of madness between an average man and a mad man; the quality of madness is the same. A slight increase in the ratio and we too, would be mad.
We can carry out a small experiment: Lock yourself up in a room with a paper and pen and write down, sincerely, truthfully, all the thoughts that come to your mind. When you read these thoughts you will not have the courage to show that paper even to one who is nearest to you. You, yourself, will be aghast to know what is happening in your mind.
Within ten minutes, we will come to know the disordered condition of our mind. Yet, somehow, we have taken hold of ourselves to perform our normal functions. We are the insane, who have somehow sustained our insanity; who have somehow subdued our lunacy. If ever the words within burst out, you shall know the quality and state of our mind.
Give a man a drink. He who was talking of God just a little while ago, will start to abuse Him in the filthiest terms. Why is this so? Is there a chemistry in alcohol that changes God's name into abuses? Alcohol has only brought to the surface what was already within. It broke the bastions of his personality. Till then his defence was perfect - abuses flowed within while there was nothing but God's name on his lips; but now the limbs became limp and the mind was so dazed that he had no strength to control himself, and the truth came out!
A respectable person is invariably unrespectable within. The mind is in near chaotic condition with such a mad rush of thoughts, and this over-crowding prevents the entry of truth within the mind. The cup we can see over-filling, but do we realize that the mind is over-filled from many lives past? Yet we are busy, loading thought upon thought, and all this excess causes the mind to be diseased and unhealthy, breaking all its connections with Truth.
If a relationship is to be established with Truth, this crowd of thoughts has to be thrown out. We must be freed from the mob of words. But we argue that words give knowledge. Then how is one to be free from them? When we realize that words lead to false knowledge and not the authentic knowledge, then alone, we shall be able to throw away words. The day words are cast out a revolution takes place within - an "explosion" and a new world comes into being - a new door opens!
I shall make it more explicit with a story: The prime minister of an ancient kingdom died. It was a custom in that land to choose the wisest man in the country for that post. To this end, many were examined and three were chosen. They were sent to the capital for the final test.
When they arrived in the city, they were tense and worried, wondering what the final test would be - like any student. They asked whoever they met if they could tell them what the test was going to be; and were surprised to hear that everyone knew. The king had built a special room that was fitted with a lock that opened only with a mathematical solution. They would be kept within this room, and the first to come out, would become the prime minister.
Two from among them were very worried, but the third made straight for his room and went to bed. The other two thought; "Maybe he has already given up!" These two ran to the shops and bought all books that contained information on locks, and sat poring over them the whole night. The poor fellows! They knew everything about everything but locks; for they were neither thieves nor locksmiths, nor engineers, nor politicians. They were in a fix! They made inquiries from locksmiths and mathematicians. They asked engineers; they read all night for it was a question of their future; and the sacrifice of one night's sleep was not too great.
Our students do the same, little realizing that they tire and confuse the mind in order to know all. So much so, that if they were to be asked the next morning: "What is two and two?" they will hesitate to answer. The mind is filled with so many solutions that the simplest answers are forgotten.
The third contestant got up refreshed after a good night's rest. He washed his face, got ready and left for the palace with the others. The rumours were correct. The king took them to the house where the much-talked of lock was, and explained: "This lock opens with a mathematical figure. He who opens it first becomes my prime minister. I shall wait outside."
The three men entered the room, and the door was closed. The one who had slept all night went into a corner, and sat with his eyes closed. The other two laughed: "Can locks be opened by closing the eyes?" They jeered. They dismissed him for a stupid fellow, and plunged into their work. They brought out the books they had smuggled in. and began to pore over them. Let not the students of today think that people of old were not cunning and dishonest. Dishonesty is an ancient attribute of men - older than the Vedas. Books have changed but not the art of cheating.
As soon as the doors closed, they drew out their books. The third man sat for about half an hour.
Then he walked silently up to the door. The others were too busy to notice him. When he reached the door, he tried the lock. Lo, it was open! All he had to do was to walk out! The king came in and told the other two to fold up their books. He had chosen his prime minister.
"The man who was to come out, has come out!" he said.
"But how could he? He had done nothing!"
"There was nothing to be done," said the king. "The lock was merely hung, and not fastened. I had gathered that the most intelligent of you will not first inspect whether the lock was really locked."
Before solving a problem, is it not necessary to first find out whether the problem actually exists? If it exists, it needs to be solved but if it does not, how can it be solved? This man demonstrated his wisdom. He first set out to know whether the problem existed. That is the first sign of an intelligent man.
Then they questioned the man how he came to the conclusion that the door was not locked. He said: "I did not do anything for I knew I could do nothing in the matter with the knowledge at my command. Whatever I know has not the remotest connection with the problem at hand. Since all my knowledge was useless, I thought to myself: "What should I do "' Then it came to me that I should forget about my knowledge, sit in silence, and see if an answer would come from within. I knew the more I wracked my brains, the more restless I would become, and the more difficult the solution would be. The question is new, but my answers are all old. So I chose to leave all old solutions and sat quietly and watch whether any guidance came from within.
"And as I became totally silent within, an inner voice spoke 'Go inspect the door, it is not closed.' I got up, went up to the door and tried the lock - it was not fastened! I did nothing to open the door.
When I stopped all search, the answer came - the answer of God! You were busy finding your own answers, and so were deprived of His. I left everything and just waited - waited to see what happens - and the answer came!"
If anyone waits sincerely for the answer, he has to discard all the noise and tumult without and within, for as long as these exist, it cannot be heard.
Those who have heard the voice of God, are the people who have discarded their own voice. Those who have known the Truth of God, are people who have cast out all acquired knowledge from within them. Those that have opened the book of God, have closed all man-made books; and only those who have not followed another man have been able to look upwards to God.
His door lies in silence, emptiness, and tranquillity; and these are ever present within us. Perhaps they do knock at our door; call out to us every moment, but we are never present to hear them! We are so preoccupied with our own thoughts that their gentle voice is drowned. We are so involved in our petty talk that it is well-nigh impossible to trace this voice.
Therefore I stress, again and again: "Leave all words and become "word-less"! Try this out once and see what happens. Too long have you tarried in words. Be in silence and see what happens. This being in the "no-word state," is what i call "meditation."
I shall explain in short about meditation. Then we shall sit in meditation for ten minutes and then part for the day. Whatsoever I have said will not be grasped by you by my mere saying but it is possible that my words cause a thought to spark within you, and your thirst awakens! Be silent for ten minutes and see. Think of that man who sat in the king's room quiet, empty. What did this man do then7 He merely let go of his thoughts and busied himself in becoming silent. When the silence was complete, the answer came. This answer was not his. It was an answer from above - an answer from his inner-most being; an answer from God. We shall also try to be silent and tranquil for ten minutes. There is no difficulty in th s. It only may seem difficult because we have never tried before; but that which was never done, can be done now. That which cannot be performed today, can be mastered tomorrow, for possibilities are always natural and easy. With a slight effort, possibility turns into reality.
What shall we do for these ten minutes? Look around - the night is silent. The trees and the wind, the stars and the moon are all one with this silence. Come, let us also be silent along with them. It will be difficult for the kaleidoscope of words will keep revolving within and the thoughts will go on - "when will these ten minutes end?" It will urge you to open your eyes and see what the other person is doing. The shallow, paltry, turbid mind will waste these precious moments in such trivialities and refuse to be silent. But it can be silenced, if we are wakeful and alert in our experiment.
What shall we do that it becomes quiet? There is only one way and no other. That way is the development of the "Witness-state." A person who sits for ten minutes with this witness-attitude, can become silent. There is this night all around us; there are people all around us. A child may cry; a bird may call out; a car may pass on the road; the breeze might rustle he leaves of the trees - something or the other will keep happening all around.
If for ten minutes you decide to he a witness only - a mere Spectator. an onlooker - if you say to yourself: "I shall only watch, silently, experience all that is going on without any effort on my part - as a man would watch the river flow by, or the clouds passing in the sky, or a group of birds, flying back to their nests! or as a man would witness the market babble with its shops and buyers! or as he would see a cinema show when he just watches, doing absolutely nothing. Then a strange happening takes place... a silence begins to pervade within - words begin to fade. So for ten minutes, we shall sit and carry out this witness experiment. There are one or two small rules for this experiment.
The first thing is: Leave the body absolutely relaxed - so limp, as if it were lifeless. There should be no tension, no strain in any part of the body.
The second is: Close the eyes, naturally, effortlessly by lowering the eye lids gently and slowly.
The lights will be put off. The mellow light of the moon will be enough, and in its light we shall sit with our eyes closed for ten minutes - only ten minutes - in the witness-attitude. We shall do just nothing, as we would in a cinema house. We shall hear whatever falls on our ears, we shall feel whatever is felt from outside; we shall witness the thoughts within. We shall only watch - whatever happens within, let it happen.
Ten minutes of this silent witnessing and we will be amazed at the equal amount of peace and quiet that is born within. If the within becomes silent and empty for even a moment, the first step is taken in a completely new world.
If someone finds this interesting, and feels something can be achieved, let him practise this silence every night for ten minutes before going to bed. The accrual of ten minutes every day opens a door within, and in three months time will give an inkling of a completely new and wonderful world. He will then become acquainted with an altogether new person within himself, one whom he had never known before.