Right Search, Wrong Direction
[Note: This is a translation from the Hindi series Shiva Sutra, which is in the process of being edited. It is for research only.]
SVASHAKTI PASCHAYOASYA VISHVAM.
WHATEVER HE UTTERS IS JAPA.
SELF-KNOWLEDGE ITSELF IS HIS GIFT.
HE IS THE MASTER OF THE INNER POWERS AND THE SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE.
THE CONSTANT ENJOYMENT OF SELF-ENERGIES IS HIS UNIVERSE. LIFE AND DEATH ARE UNDER HIS WILL.
Prayer does not depend on what you say; it depends, rather, on what you are. Worship depends not on what you do but what you are. Religion is involved not with your actions but with you existence. If love is at the center of your being there will be prayer at your periphery. If there is perpetual peace at your center there will be meditation at the periphery. If there is awareness at the center your life itself becomes an act of self-purification, but the reverse is not the case.
By bringing about a change at the circumference you cannot change the center, but a change at the center automatically brings about a change at the circumference, because the circumference is simply the shadow of the center. By changing the shadow you cannot change yourself the shadow changes accordingly.
It is very important for us to know this, for the majority of people waste their lives trying to change the periphery. They stake their all in to bring about a change in their behavior and their conduct, but even if these are altered nothing else changes along with them. However much you may modify your conduct, you will remain what your were: if you were a thief you will become a good man, if you were amassing wealth you will start giving to charity, but the you within will remain the same. For you the value of money will not change. Money had a certain value for you when you were a thief, and it will remain the same when you become a philanthropist. You certainly don't regard it is dust, for who makes a gift of dust?
If wealth has turned to dust in your eyes will you go about giving away your rubbish others? And if someone accepts it do you think you have done him a favor? Would you expect him to thank you?
In fact, if wealth is no more than dust for you, you should be grateful to the person who accepts you rubbish and does not spurn it, but a philanthropist never thinks in these terms. If he gives even one paisa he expects some return.
A miserly Marwari died. He went straight to the gates of heaven and knocked. He was confident that the gate would open for him, for had he not given alms? The gate opened and the sentry looked him over from head to foot. There people are recognized by their actions but for themselves. The sentry said, " Sorry, sir, but there has been a mistake. Perhaps you did not know that you had to knock at the other door. Kindly go there."
The Marwari fumed. "How dare you!" he exclaimed. "Do you not know who I am? Have you not heard of my alms? Why, only yesterday I gave two paisa to an old beggar woman, and the day before I gave one paisa to a blind newspaper boy."
When he spoke of alms the guard had to open his ledger. He scanned the page under the Marwari's name, but except for these three paisa the page was a blank. He asked, "What other alms have you given besides these?"
"Plenty, plenty," replied the Marwari, "Only I cannot recall them right now." Imagine someone who doesn't forget a paltry three paise saying that he cannot remember! And on the strength of these three paisa he knocks at the gates of he knocks at the gates of heaven!
The guard consulted with his associate as to what should be done with this man. His colleague said, "Give him his three paisa and tell him to go to hell!"
Can the doors of heaven be opened by money? Whether you hold on to wealth or whether you let it go, its holds the same value in your eyes. Whether you live in the world or run away from it, its hold on you is complete. It makes no difference whether your face is toward these things or away from them; unless you bring about a radical change at the center, the journey remains more or less the same.
An inner transformation is necessary and not a change in the pattern of your behavior. As soon as there is inner change, everything changes with it. These sutras are for the inner transformation. Try to listen to each sutra very attentively. If there is even a fraction of dry powder within you, it is bound to explode; but if the powder is not dry then the sparks will fall but they will be put out immediately.
The trouble with you is not that you do not get an opportunity to hear truth, but that you are adept at smothering it. Your powder is not dry. It is soaking wet. How have you managed to make the powder wet? The more knowledge you have the wetter becomes the gunpowder. The more you think you know, the wetter your powder becomes; it is because of this knowing that you smother every spark of wisdom. Your knowledge prevents the sparks of wisdom from igniting you. Your knowledge stands as a sentry barring all entry.
You are unconscious in your knowledge. Remember, there is no intoxicant more potent than the arrogance of learning, for nowhere is the ego more subtle than here. Wealth does not feed the ego half as much. For wealth can be stolen, the government can change, communism may come in - anything can happen. You cannot rely completely on wealth, however knowledge cannot be stolen or snatched away from you. Even if he is thrown into a prison, a man's knowledge goes along with him. Therefore a wealthy man is not half as arrogant as a learned man. It is this arrogance that dampens the powder inside you. Remove This arrogance and your powder will dry out and when it is dry a tiny spark is enough to ignite it.
These sutras are like sparks. Put all your knowledge aside and try to understand them. If you try to understand through your knowledge you will never succeed.
The first sutra is:
WHATEVER HE UTTERS IS JAPA.
The last sutra discussed yesterday-like state that is reached by the seeker. Whatever such a person speaks is japa, repetition of a mantra. Whatever he says is japa, no matter what words he uses, for there are no more desires, no more darkness; the world is absent from his heart. His heart is a light unto itself; whatever comes from such a heart is japa. It cannot be other than japa, for how can darkness come from light, hatred from love, or anger from compassion. Whatever comes out of him must be japa.
There is a very well-known saying of Jesus: The kingdom of heaven is not determined by what you put in your mouth but what comes out of it. Whatever comes out of you indicates who you are. He who becomes like Shiva does not need to practise japa, for whatever he does is japa.
Kabir said: My very sitting and standing is an act of 'circling the temple'. Kabir was asked: When do you pray? When do you worship? We never see you performing any sadhana. You are called a great devotee, but we never see you performing any devotions. All you do is weave your cloth and sell it in the market. There is no sign of worship or meditation or going to the temple.
Kabir would answer: Whatever I do is 'circling the temple'; whatever I say is japa, and my very being is my meditation.
What do you do when you become interested in meditation? You give a small corner to meditation in your world of actions, but meditation is not an action, it is not an act. You look after the shop, you look after your job; you have to, it is required. Now you do your work and attend to the day-to-day necessities of life. They form a procession on the periphery of your life, and you treat meditation the same way. You say: Let me go to the temple before I go to the market.
Be aware of this distinction. You make meditation one more act to add to your daily activities. There are a thousand involvements in your life already, and you add God as just one more, but you will miss God, for God cannot be at the periphery. God has nothing to do with the market and the shops.
He is the very core of your being - where you actually are. Where all work becomes rest, where you simply exist, where there is no doer, where only the witness is - this where He lives.
God does not occupy a part of you. He is vast. He is all-pervading. Only if you are not prepared to be enveloped by Him completely will you attain. If you allow Him only a part of your time and attention you will go astray. The day you give yourself completely to Him...
This does not mean that you will give up all your activities; rather, you will do your work better, more efficiently. Remembrance of God will pervade your very being, it will be your very breath. When you go about your work, when you are busy in your activities, you do not stop breathing! Respiration goes on in spite of you; it is not a voluntary process. In just this way the remembrance of God should become an involuntary function within you. You will be doing your worldly duties and the stream of remembrance will keep flowing inside incessantly.
There is no question of competition or rivalry here, for this is not a part of your mundane world.
Actions form the mundane world; therefore, as long as the person is involved in actions he remains attached to the world of objects, samsara. When he attains to non-action, he attains God. Non- action means your existence, where there is no question of doing, where there is you and you alone, your being only. There you are united with yourself.
Every utterance of one who becomes like Shiva becomes a remembrance, japa. You will not find him praying because he does not need to set apart a time for prayer. You will not find him worshipping for that is no longer part of his 'actions'; he himself is worship. If you observe such a person minutely you will find that whatever he does is worship; when he breathes it is remembrance, it is japa. When he moves his hand that is also worship. When he sits or stands he is performing the ritual of circling the temple.
All acts of the Shiva-like person are acts of devotion. He need not observe any specific practices.
That would be unnatural. If something has to be practiced we are bound to get tired of it at times.
Then when we are tired we are bound to relax, and to relax means to switch over to the opposite.
If you have practiced saintliness you will be diligent for six days, but on the seventh day you will have to relax. On that day you will become a non-saint. Thus our so-called saints and sadhus have to take holidays from their saintliness. The sadhu has to go on leave. If he does not the tensions mount alarmingly.
Thus the sadhu finds moments of worldliness within him and the non-sadhu finds moments of saintliness. There is no sinner who has no virtuous moments in his life and no saint without moments of sin in his. The one is tired of virtue, the other is tired of sin, so that have to relax and rest by doing the opposite, in order to remove the burden from the mind.
A saint is a person whose saintliness has not been acquired through practice; it is the outcome of his nature. Then there is no question of a rest. You do not need to take a rest from breathing. You do not have to take a rest from such time as the Shiva-like state goes deep inside you, whatever you do will be superficial. It is like covering a stinking body with perfumes and fine clothes. You may succeed in deceiving others, but how will you hide it from yourself?
That is why we see our sadhus looking so depressed. There is no trace of cheerfulness in them.
To others they look like sadhus, but they themselves don't feel like sadhus; there is no dance, no music in their lives. Their anger and greed and lust is the same - just repressed. Their outer garb may hide the fact from you, but how can they hide it from themselves? And this keeps pricking at their conscience and makes them unhappy happy. As long as a sadhu does not laugh and dance spontaneously, know that his saintliness is cultivated; and cultivated saintliness is false. The only true saintliness is spontaneous; therefore Kabir says time and again: Spontaneous samadhi is best, my friend.
Spontaneous samadhi is that which needs no looking after, but this will happen only when the Shiva- state becomes the core of your being, when you become Shiva-like. Remember that this is no ideal to be achieved at some time in the future; if you understand then it can happen this very moment.
Actions need time, and this is no action; it is a jump. This is knowledge, you need only recognize it. It is just as if a man has a diamond in his pocket but he stands in the marketplace begging alms.
Then suddenly someone reminds him, "Why do you beg for alms? There is something sparkling in your pocket!"He puts his hand in his pocket and is shocked to find that he had a diamond there all along.
Shivahood lives inside you. It is your eternal treasure. There is no need to postpone its attainment:
you have only to turn your eyes inward. Had it been somewhere in the future then perhaps you would have needed time - maybe a number of births - to attain it. But Shivahood has not to be attained; it has to be uncovered. It has to be unfolded. As you would peel an onion layer by layer until ultimately you find mere emptiness, so also man has to uncover himself layer by layer.
Shivahood is like emptiness. Let us understand the various layers so that it becomes easy to unfold them, so that your life becomes Shiva-like and your every utterance a remembrance, a japa.
What is the first layer? The first layer is the body. The majority of people build their identity on their body and consider themselves to be nothing more than the body. It is like spending your life on the steps on the palace gate, taking it to be the palace. You have no idea that this is just the stairway leading to the palace. You drink and eat, you marry and raise a family - all on the porch outside.
Your children know nothing about the palace, for the were born on the steps!To them the steps are their home. They never go and knock at the gates. Perhaps the gates have rusted or become one with the wall, so that now no one even knows where the gates were.
The first layer is the physical body, and you live there, entirely within the body. You establish an identity with it, which makes you feel that you are the body. The body is mine, but it is not me. That which is mine can never be me. Whatever is mine is within my control, but it is not myself. If your leg is amputated you do not feel yourself to be diminished by that amount. If you lose your limbs or lose your eyes, or any other part or faculty of your body, you still remain an integrated whole. The body is crippled but you are a perfect whole.
For this reason the most ugly men does not see himself as ugly, for inside each one of us is beautiful.
And the worst of sinners is not prepared to call himself a sinner for he catches glimpses of the good and generous aspects of himself. He will admit that a particular action was wrong, but he will insist that it was a mistake, for he is not a bad man. He calls the act wrong, but not his own self. This is as it should be though he does not know why it is so.
People around you, in your family, in your neighborhood, in your town, die; but you never feel that you too will die. This must be a deep seated, innate feeling, for is it not astonishing that you don't think about death for yourself when others are dying in front of you? You may philosophize outwardly, but deep inside there is the peeling of bells proclaiming your immortality: Others may die, but I can never die! If this were no so, it would be difficult to live where death is taking place every moment.
All around, death occurs with such persistence. Each man stands in the queue awaiting his turn - even you! And there you live with such nonchalance, as if life were eternal. There is an intrinsic reason, which is: that which is within can never die. No matter how much you identify yourself with the body, you are not the body. The truth within cannot be falsified by any means. You may drown yourself with intoxicants but the sound of truth keeps reverberating within.
One morning I found Mulla Nasruddin sitting outside his house. He was laughing so loudly and so long that I had to ask him what made him so happy. He said, "A most wonderful thing has happened, but you will not understand it unless I tell you the whole story."
"Please tell me the story," I asked.
"I had a twin brother," began the Mulla. "We were so alike that it was difficult to tell who was who.
This gave me no end of trouble. He would throw a stone at someone in school and I would be caught and punished. He would steal something and it was me who was punished. He started rows in the street and the neighbors would catch hold of me. It was the same at home. And as if this was not enough, he ran away with my girl."
"Then what is there to be happy about, Mulla?" I asked him.
"Seven days ago I got even with him!" gloated Nasruddin.
"How come"? I asked "I died, but they buried him!"
Now no one can be as stupid as this! The Mulla was dead drunk. But you have also spent many lives just as drunk; yet you are never so drunk that your consciousness is completely absent. It surfaces again and again. Somewhere deep within you are aware of the immortality of your being.
All the facts point to one certainty: - that you will die! And yet you keep believing that you will never die.
The body belongs to you, but the body is not you. You are in the body, but you are not only the body.
It is the first layer, but you have identified with it over innumerable births. It has, so to say, become your twin brother, and you find it difficult to tell one from the other. You cannot distinguish between the two faces. Moreover, the world outside knows you by your physical appearance, for they only see the body. They consider the form of your body to be your form. Now, since you are only one against the collective opinion of all the others, you are naturally influenced by them. If your body is ugly they call you ugly. If your body is beautiful they call you beautiful. If the body is old they tell you that you are old. Now, this collective opinion gives strength to your belief that you are the body, for no one can see the soul that is you.
There is a very old story from the Upanishads:
King Janak once called a meeting of all the wisemen of his kingdom. Invitations were sent to all those who were considered well-versed in spiritual knowledge. The idea was that these luminaries would engage in discussing spiritual matters with a view to discovering the supreme truth. As you would expect, only the most eminent scholars were invited: those who had written scriptures, those who had taken part in religious conferences and who were expert in the art of debating. There was one such person who was deliberately left out. He was Ashtavakra. He was so named because his body was bent in eight places. His appearances was ugly and repulsive. How could so distorted a form belong to a man of spiritual knowledge? However, his father was invited.
For some reason, Ashtavakra had to go to Janak's court to see his father. When he entered he found a conference of the wise in congress. As soon as he appeared, these people forgot their wisdom and burst out laughing at the sight of him. Indeed, he was a funny sight. His walk, his speech, everything about him evoked laughter. He should have been a clown in a circus. He was a caricature of a man. When Ashtavakra saw how these noble scholars were laughing he too began to laugh. He laughed so loud that all the rest fell silent.
They could not understand why he should laugh so. At last Janak asked him"I can understand why these people laughed, Ashtavakra, but I cannot understand why you laughed."
"You have taken this conference to be a conference of the wise, but I see only dealers in skins and hides gathered here," said Ashtavakra. "They can see only as far as the skin and no further. Their knowledge is limited to the body. Here I am, the most upright and straight in this room, but they see only my mutilated body. These are the mutilated people, Oh King! If you want to get knowledge out of them you are trying to get oil out of sand. If you want knowledge come to me."
Ashtavakra was absolutely right, for the physical eyes see only the external form.
You are also plagued by the external eyes, for all around there are eyes and eyes... that look at you. They decide for you whether you are ugly or beautiful. Their sin is so great, so loud are they, that you are helpless. You stand alone; the whole world is on the other side. If you give in it is no surprise. It is only natural that you should believe 'I am the body'. It would be a wonder of wonders if you could tear yourself away from the eyes around you and recognize the fact that you are not the body.
To be liberated from society means only this. It does not mean running to the Himalayas, it means to be liberated from the eyes of the crowd that surrounds you. It is very difficult, for when an untruth is repeated incessantly from every side, it also appears to be truth. You may be a healthy person, but if the people around you decide to drum it into you constantly, 'You are ill, you are ill', you will soon feel ill. It will not take long. The hypnotic power of suggestion is difficult to overcome.
All the world declares that you are the body. Not only men, but even stones and rocks, earth and sky seem to be in the conspiracy to proclaim that you are the body. When a thorn pricks, it pricks the body, not the soul. If someone hurls a stone at you, the blood flows from the body, not from the soul.
Everything - all the world - proclaims: 'You are the body! You are the body!" When this constant repetition comes from all sides it is difficult to break.
And you stand alone! You are one against the whole world; for only you are within, and the rest of the world is outside. Besides, they are not wrong, for they can only see your body. Your neighbor can only see the facade of your house, not the interior. He takes the facade to be your house, for that is all he can see. The trouble begins when you too begin to think the facade is the house.
To be freed from society is to be freed from the influence of external eyes. He who is thus freed begins to see clearly that he is within the body, but he is not the body.
Gradually start breaking the first layer. Intensify this remembrance that you are not the body.
Experience it! Mere repetition is of no use. When a thorn pricks, remember it has pricked the foot; the pain is in the foot and you are only an observer. The thorn cannot prick you; the pain cannot reach you, for you are only the light that knows. Because of this, anesthesia is used in surgery. Once you are unconscious you are not aware of what is happening to the body. This could not be so if you were the body. You are not the body; you are the consciousness. The surgeon merely severs the connection between your body and your consciousness before he can start to work on the body.
Those who have carried out intensive research in the field of life and death have experienced - and I endorse their statements - that when a person dies he is not fully aware of the fact that he is dead for three or four days! Normally it takes three days for the person to realize that he is dead. The reason is that death takes place in unconsciousness, and the physical body drops; but a similar body - the mental body - remains within you. It takes three days or longer for the person to realize that he is dead. Until then he wanders around the house and his friends and his family.
The soul wanders around the physical body and its earthly connections for three days, and it is perplexed at what is happening. No one seems to look at him or recognize him. He stands at the door and his wife goes on weeping. He cannot fathom the mystery for he is just as he was before - entirely! Nothing is lost with the loss of the body. It is just as if you removed your clothes. If you removed your clothes and stand naked you do not changed in the least. You are the same, with clothes or without. You will remain the same. There is a still subtler body that stays with you. It has the same shape, the same feelings. It takes you a long time to realize that you are dead.
There is a method in Tibet called the Bardo. When a person is about to die this process is begun.
People sit around the dying man and give him suggestions: 'See, you are about to drop your body.
Be filled with the thought that the body is falling away. Be aware that very soon the body that you find yourself in will not be the physical body; it will be your subtle body. Now you have left the body.
Now it is up to you to choose what kind of womb you want to enter'. Such are the suggestions that are given.
Nowhere else in the world has there been such extensive research into death as in Tibet. Until his last breath a dying man is made to listen to the suggestions. Even after his death, the instructions continue, for to the monk who is giving the instructions the man is not dead although the body has been left. The monk knows that death has made no difference to the dead man; he is still listening.
Now the monk influences and directs his next rebirth. It is a very good moment to give directions, for the man who has just died can be freed from the attachments of his past life. In these moments he can be reminded and made aware of the fact that he is not the physical body; otherwise, this is very difficult to accomplish. Now he can see clearly that he is, while the body lies inert on the ground.
Now the monk tells him; 'See, you are above while the body lies below. 'Look carefully! This is the very body with which you identified yourself. Now your dear ones, your friends, will take the body to the burning ground. Follow them! See the body burning, see it burning to ashes; yet it has made no difference to you. Remember this is your onward journey. Do not be involved with the body again.
In your next birth from the very first moment remember that you are not the body. Everyone will tell you that you are the body, but keep your remembrance alive; let it not be smothered by any outside suggestions.'
If you can only succeed in throwing off all external suggestions, then spiritual knowledge is not far away.
In this century none equals Picasso as a painter, yet he was not spared by people. There was no shortage of people coming to him with free advice. The truth is that only a feel gives unsolicited advice. The wise have to be approached. You have to beg and entreat them for advice. You have to work hard for it. Only the fool gives free advice.
People would come to Picasso, people who did not even know the ABC's of painting, and say:
'Perhaps a little more color here would help' or 'Perhaps a different angle would have conveyed your meaning better'. Picasso was tired of them. Finally he hit upon a plan. It would be good if you also followed the same plan. He made a beautiful basket and printed the words 'Suggestion Box' on it. Everyone who came was direction to bring his suggestions on paper and put them into the box. People were thrilled to think that he valued their opinion so much, but there was a slight snag - the basket had no bottom. Instead there was a hole that held a dustbin. Every day the dustbin was emptied by his servants. You should do likewise!
If you want to be freed from society - and that is what sannyas means - then free yourself from other people's opinions. They are outside of you, and their opinions have to do with the outside world; they can only be a hindrance on the path of inner knowledge. Do not listen to them. If you want to hear the inner voice then shut out all outer sounds. Shut all the doors through which they come, for these sounds are so terrible, so sharp, that they will smother the soft wound within and you will not be able to hear it. This inner voice is always calling, but you are lost in the sin of the marketplace.
The first layer is the body, and there is only one key to open it. It is a master key, for it opens all locks. All locks are alike. The key is: become fully conscious of the body. When walking be aware that the body walks, not you. When you are hungry, know the body is hungry, not you. When thirst, know the body is thirsty, not you. Let this awareness always be with you. Gradually you will find that this consciousness creates an abyss between you and the body. As the awareness increases, the distance between you and the body will become greater and greater. There is an infinite distance between you and the body. Remember! As your awareness deeps the connecting links will begin to separate; then one day you will observe the profound fact that the body is just a shell; you are life, the body is death; you are consciousness, the body is matter, a play of atoms. You are not a collection of anything. You are consciousness - integrated consciousness - that always was, always is, and always will be.
As soon as the first layer is peeled off, like the first layer of an onion, the second layer comes into view. This second layer is the mind. This illness is more deep seated, for the body is further away from you than the mind. If the body is a conglomeration of atoms, the mind is a conglomeration of thoughts. If the body is gross matter, the mind is subtle matter. Thoughts are subtle vibrations, and vibrations are matter. You are total in the grips of the thoughts. They are not like the body, which can be compared to clothing that is worn. Thoughts are more like the skin of the body; they don't come off as easily as clothing.
You have always been under the illusion that thoughts are really 'yours'. You are always ready to find on the grounds that 'that is my idea'. you always try to uphold your views, whether right or wrong. You are always afraid that if your viewpoint is wrong you are wrong. You identification with your thoughts is much stronger than your identification with your body.
If someone is told, 'Go to a doctor, your body is ill,' he won't object; only the body is involved. Tell a person he is ill and he will not be offended, but tell someone that his mind is ill and he should go to a psychiatrist and he will not like it at all. Tell him that he is mad and he will immediately come flying at your throat. This is because there is some distance between you and the body, but your identification with the mind is more deep-rooted. Thoughts envelop you from all sides like smoke; as long as this smoke persists, your eyes will remain blind to this fact.
The second experiment - and it is a difficult practice - is to become aware of your thoughts, all thoughts. It does not matter what kind of thoughts - good, bad, right or wrong, whether they come from the scriptures, whether they are traditional or non-traditional - just know that 'I am not these thoughts'. All thoughts are borrowed. They are given to you by society; they come from others and you have learned them. You are that which is within you - the untaught. You are only the consciousness, not the thoughts. Thoughts are the surface ripples on a lake. They are like flotsam on a river. You are the river. You are the eternal stream of consciousness.
Slowly, slowly you must begin to peel off the layers of thoughts. Whenever a thought catches hold of you, immediately remember; It is not me! It is only the outside dust. As dust gathers on a mirror, so thoughts have gathered on you. Never consider any particular thought to be so much your own that you are ready to come to blows over it.
If people were to break their connection with their thoughts there would be no more war in the world.
All wars, all conflicts, all violence is caused by your identification with your thoughts. Someone is a Hindu, someone else is a Moslem; one is a communist, another is a socialist; this is nothing more than being identified with thoughts. You are only God. You are neither Hindu nor Moslem nor Jain nor Buddhist. Your purity is your Shivahood.
Unfortunately, you get caught up in what is cheap and worthless. You think it is more important to be a Hindu than to be God, or more important to be a Moslem than to be God. Your being a Hindu or a Moslem only causes the temples to fight against the mosques, and this earth is being deprived of religion in the process. All religions cause strife with one another because all religions become mere ideas. Religion is only one - your Shivahood. You yourself are God. Religion is no more than this; it cannot cause any strife, for how can there be fighting when there are no thoughts? What kind of opposition can there be? What kind of support can there be?
The body separates you from others. Thoughts separate you still further. Understand one thing clearly, though it may appear contradictory: that which disconnects you from your own self also disconnects you from others. The body has separated you from yourself; it has also estranged you from others. Thoughts have disconnected you even more from yourself, and just as much from others. The day you have peeled away the covers of the body and thought, and are established in your own nature, the day you become pure existence without any shell, you will find that you have become one with all, for these are not two Gods. Then the God outside you and the God inside you merge into one. The space within the walls of the vessel of clay and the space without will become one. The vessel will break. Identification is the vessel.
As you continue removing the layers - and by layers I mean the identification with things, which are not you! - you are proceeding into meditation. Meditation is breaking identifications. Meditation is the key. By and by all that remains is what you are. When you have removed every layer of the onion you have nothing in your hands but emptiness. This emptiness, this very void, is your godliness, your Shivahood.
Have you ever seen a Shivalingam? It is a phallic representation of Shiva, but its form is the void. It is made that way intentionally. It has no face of Shiva. There is no more beautiful statue or image of anyone, for it has no face. It is the form of the void. As you go deeper and deeper and deeper into yourself, this very voidless form will begin to appear within you, and you are getting nearer and nearer to Shiva. The day you become an illuminated emptiness, a light that is formless and nameless, from then on whatever you say is japa, the mantra, the remembrance.
Right now, whatever you say is a deception. Your religious actions are non-religious. Right now you cannot do otherwise. You try to save yourself from one mistake and you commit a thousand others.
The best thing to do under the circumstances is to do nothing. Start breaking your identifications.
Just be awake... and do nothing! Otherwise, in trying to correct one error you will find yourself caught in another.
Mulla Nasruddin was sitting at the seashore, very calm. Another man sat next to him, who was very upset. At last, with great anger in his voice, he said to the Mulla, "Excuse me, but is that your child who is throwing sand at me?"
No," said the Mulla with a kindly smile. "That is my nephew. The one who just broke your umbrella and is busy filling your shoes with water is my son."
You try to right one thing and another goes wrong. The excuses you put forward for your mistakes turn out to be bigger mistakes. In ancient times a king always kept a fool in his court to remind him always of the fact that man's intelligence is not much of an intelligence.
A king kept a jester at his court. One day, as the king stood before a mirror, the jester suddenly came from behind him and gave him a sound kick. The king fell down and was badly bruised; the mirror fell and broke. When the king saw the jester he could not believe his stupidity! "Unless you give me a plausible explanation for this I will have you hanged. I have seen many fools, but none to surpass you."
The jester replied, "I did not know it was you, your majesty. I thought that it was the queen!"
The king had to let him go.
Wherever you stand, you stand in darkness. You make one mistake, and in your efforts to correct it, you invariably make another; so a vicious circle is set up. You want to avoid going to your shop so you go to the temple; but you convert the temple into a bigger shop. In essence, you are never able to reach the temple. You break away from one place and get caught in another, and the reason is within you, not without. You are in darkness; wherever you go, you will create problems.
Mulla Nasruddin was in jail. I went to see him. He is an old colleague of mine, so I had to visit him.
"You are so clever, Mulla," I said to him. "How come you got caught?"
"What can I say?" said the Mulla. "It is all a result of my own foolishness."
"How come?" I asked.
"For three months I worked hard getting friendly with the dog of the house that I planned to rob, but as look would have it, as soon as I got inside I tripped over the cat's tail."
All your life this is what you have done. You try your best to win the dog's friendship and you step on the cat! You have no eyes to see. You stumble here and there in the darkness. The real problem is not one of seeking: the real problem is the lack of light. By groping in the darkness you reach nowhere. If there is light then the door becomes visible and you can walk through it.
He who is preoccupied with changing his pattern of behavior is groping in the dark. Once he ate too much, and now he fasts. What he was doing until yesterday he does even today - but in reverse!
Whether you overeat or fast makes no direction. Until now you were seeking in one direction and now you seek in the opposite direction; however, in both cases you have your eyes closed. You go astray not because the direction is wrong, but because your eyes are closed. The eyes must be opened! And when I say 'eyes' I mean your consciousness. Your unconsciousness must break and your consciousness increases. Do not walk like a somnambulist. Wake up! As soon as you awake you become Shiva-like.
WHATEVER HE UTTERS IS JAPA.
SELF-KNOWLEDGE ITSELF IS HIS GIFT.
He does not give wealth, for wealth is no better than rubbish. Giving wealth has no meaning for him.
What is the point in giving what he himself has renounced? There is no sense in giving what he considers useless. He performs no service for your body. He gives only one thing, which is in fact the only thing worth giving: that is self-knowledge. This is his gift, but you take no account of it. You have to look very carefully to see it.
Ask the Jainas, for they have kept a full accounting of exactly how many horses and elephants and chariots, how many precious stones, etcetera, that Mahavir gave in charity. He couldn't have as many horses and elephants as the Jainas say. According to their count, he would have had to be emperor, not just a local king. The astronomical figures are totally wrong. He could not possibly have possessed so much, for his kingdom was very small, no larger than a district, about the size of Sikkim today. In Mahavira's time there were about two thousand kingdoms in India. Mahavir would have been on the approximate level as a deputy tax collector of today.
Now what is the reason for inflating the figures? The Jainas think that ordinary charity does not befit such a great tirthankara, as they inflated the figures in order to convey the greatness of his renunciation. Little do these blind people know that Mahavira's renunciation has nothing to do with this charity. The real diamond that Mahavir gave was self knowledge, but this is never mentioned at all.
You see only what corresponds with your desires. You see only that which interests you. Self knowledge? The word does not sound very valuable. If I place the Kohinoor in one hand and self knowledge in the other, tell me in all honesty which one you would choose. You will say to yourself:
'Self knowledge can be attained any time, if not in this life time then in the next, but the Kohinoor - who knows if it will come my way again?' So you will invariably choose the Kohinoor. Your interests lie in things that are useless, for you are blind.
The contribution of a Shiva-like person is only one: - self knowledge. What he has attained he distributes. What he has tested he offers you. He gives away his very self. He does not give away possessions, but gives of himself. He makes you the joint owner of his inner possessions, for the external possessions are not worth a penny; they have no value. It doesn't matter whether you die a prince or a pauper, whether you die of illness or of heart failure. What really matters is that you live in full consciousness and die in full consciousness. All else rests on this. Your life's destination depends on it; it is this that decides the essence of your existence. All else is valueless.
HE IS THE MASTER OF THE INNER POWERS AND THE SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE.
Only self knowledge can make you master of your inner powers. Only self knowledge fills your life with light, knowledge and splendor. The day you become capable of awakening, or becoming aware, you will realize that you were always a king. You will wonder. You will laugh at your foolishness in considering yourself a beggar for so long! you will be shocked that you 'remained in the nightmare of sorrow for so long; for that is what life is without awareness.
Sometimes while asleep you put your hand on your chest; then you dream that someone is sitting on your chest, or that someone has placed a huge boulder on you, or that you are being crushed under an avalanche. You will begin to perspire and your sleep will be interrupted. When you wake up you will find that it is only your hand, your own hand. Dreams are such exaggerations that your own hand turns into a mountain! If the hand falls over the edge of the bed you think that you have fallen into an abyss!
Try a few experiments. You can induce dreams in a person who is asleep. Place a small fire at his feet. He will dream that he is in a desert and his feet are burning in the sand and he is dying of thirst.
He burst into a sweat. Or touch his feet with ice; then he will dream that he is climbing Everest, that his feet are frost-bitten, and he is dying of cold. Or put a pillow on his chest and he will see Satan riding on him; or put his hand around his neck and he will dream he is being hanged. But all this can be verified only on awakening. Dreams are much exaggerations. He is bound to laugh when he awakens. How much he has suffered - and for no reason at all! A slight gesture and the mind swings into action, the imagination running wild!
You never suffer nearly as much as you imagine you suffer. You never suffer the illnesses you most dread nor the miseries that you fear. Ninety percent of your suffering is psychological; only ten percent is real. If the ninety percent, the imaginary ills, were to be eliminated, the real ills would be easily overcome. There is a way to overcome them. There is a way to step outside of them and be freed from all ills. It is you who magnify them so much that you become small; then you tremble and think you can do nothing.
As soon as the ray of knowledge awakens and the flame within is lighted, you become the master of all your energies, which is in fact the very source of your knowledge. Knowledge is the ultimate happening. Knowledge means the inner eye, the ability to see, the ability to see through and beyond.
Then life has no more sorrows, and there is bliss, and bliss alone. All sufferings are caused by your own blindness. Your sleep turns your dreams into nightmares. Consciousness knows no ills; it knows bliss, and only bliss.
THE CONSTANT ENJOYMENT OF SELF ENERGIES IS HIS UNIVERSE.
He who attain knowledge and constantly enjoys his self energies is in permanent bliss. The enjoyment of self energy, the energy within, gives rise to infinite pleasure. Bliss flows in a continuous stream, like a river that is constantly flowing. Infinite springs of bliss flow within you but you have turned your back to them.
Remember, religion is not renunciation. Religion is supreme enjoyment. God is not someone who sits and weeps. He is always dancing. Do not seek a weeping God; You will never find him. And if you do find him he will not be God but an imposter. God dances - always dances!
All of life is a great blissful festival. Life knows no suffering; it is only your imagination. You have created misery and sorrow; you have thought it all out and planned it. What else can a blind man do? Wherever he goes he is bound to hit against something; however, he is under the illusion that the whole world is ready to bang into him. Why should anyone want to hit you Does the wall or the door have any reason to knock you down? Wherever a blind man goes he is hit by a wall or a door, but he is always ready to find fault with the wall or with the door. No one hits the one who has eyes.
No one is out to knock against you. It is you who is at fault. It is you who is blind. The responsibility is entirely yours but you throw it onto others.
The words of this sutra are well worth understanding: THE CONSTANT ENJOYMENT OF SELF ENERGIES IS HIS UNIVERSE; it is bliss. When this state of knowledge is reached bliss occurs every moment. There are flowers, flowers everywhere, and no sign of any thorns. There the elixir of life flows, and death is nowhere. Not a ray of suffering dares to enter.
There is a kingdom of supreme happiness within you, and it is this that you are seeking; but you are searching outside. Your search is right, but the direction is wrong. The sage who knows himself gives you the direction and that is his contribution. He takes you in the direction that he had taken.
The man of self knowledge gives no explanations, for there is no way to explain. He merely takes you by the hand and leads you there. But you are so timid and fearful; you are afraid even to take his hand! You cannot surrender, you cannot have faith, you cannot believe anyone. You have been so frightened by your sufferings, you have been made to feel so insecure, that you cannot trust even one who offers to lead you out of them. You feel that he will create new problems for you. You are so surrounded by problems that you see problems everywhere.
If you do not put out your hand, the man of self knowledge cannot help you. How can he give to you when your hands are closed; you will have to accept his gift. If you are not prepared to open your hands, if you are not prepared to accept his generosity, the one who knows himself will have to turn back without giving.
THE CONSTANT ENJOYMENT OF SELF ENERGIES IS HIS UNIVERSE.
THERE IT IS CONSTANT PLEASURE, WHILE HERE YOU ARE IN CONSTANT PAIN.
TO MERGE INTO THE VOID OR REMAIN BEHIND IS WITHIN HIS WILL.
This is difficult to understand, for it can only be known through experience, but if you have some idea of it, it can sometimes be helpful.
As soon as a person becomes capable of knowing himself, a unique energy - which is the greatest energy in this world and the greatest miracle - is achieved by him. The miracle is: he can be when he wishes, and he can not be when he wishes. He can come into existence when he pleases and he can lose himself in the void when he pleases. Now you sleep and get up, but not voluntarily. If your sleep is done then you wake up, and you cannot go back to sleep again. Just as you are with sleeping and waking, the one who knows himself disappears into the void and comes into existence at his own will.
There is a story in the life of Buddha: When Buddha reached heaven and the guard opened the door, Buddha turned his back to heaven. He said, "I will not enter until each and every person is liberated. When the last person enters I will follow behind him."
This is a beautiful story. In this world there are two types of self-realized persons, and all religions have known these two kinds. One attains self-realization and becomes one with the void; the other type attains self-realization but still remains in existence to help others. The first type of enlightened person is called kaivalya, he who has known the ultimate aloneness, by the Jainas. There have been so many kaivalyas who have attained enlightenment and have disappeared into the void. They have reached their destination. They enter and don't wait at the door.
The Jainas have named twenty-four of these enlightened souls, 'tirthankaras'. These twenty-four waited at the door. They are the ones who guided others, who paved the way for them. The Buddhists have also recognized these two types. One is the arhat, who attains self-realization and merges into the void; the other is the bodhisattva, the one who waits for others.
So there are two kinds of self-realized souls. When you also reach this ultimate state, if a desire to help others - for the urge to help others is also a desire - remains within you, you will wait. If it does not, you will merge with the void. This is why the true master tries to develop those of his disciples who have the greatest capacity for compassion into bodhisattvas.
Two elements remain at the end: compassion and wisdom. Among you there are those who have either a greater proportion of compassion or a greater proportion of wisdom. Those who have a greater proportion of wisdom will immediately merge into the void. They cannot be trained to be gurus. Those with a greater proportion of compassion are qualified to become gurus and tirthankaras and bodhisattvas.
So it falls to the guru to train his disciples. Those in whom he finds the element of love, compassion and service to a greater degree, he works on so that the longing for compassion stays with them to the very end. When such a disciple's knowledge ripens, the element of compassion and love is still there. When his boat is ready to set sail one post will still hold the line - the post of compassion.
When there is plain, dry knowledge within, there is nothing to hold the boat back. As soon as it is ready to sail it disappears into the void.
A person who has attained Shivahood either remains or is absorbed, according to his own will; he can remain in existence to serve or he disappears into the void. It is entirely up to his own will.
Remember, only he has a will of his own, not you! You are not present in your being, so how can your actions be by your own will? You may say, "I wanted to do this and therefore I did it," but this is not correct; whatever you do is due to the pressure of some longing or desire.
What is free will? You may say that you have free will if, when somebody swears at you, you do not get angry. It is possible you may not show it, but as soon as someone insults you the anger is there inside. You possess free will if, when someone insults you, you are as calm inside as if nothing had happened; or if, when someone praises you, you are as calm and unaffected by the praises as if it were directed to someone else. There should not be the slightest change within you; only then can you say that you are the master of yourself. This mastery can only be decided in the ultimate moment.
Correspondingly, Buddhism has two major branches; hinayana and mahayana. Mahayana means the greater vehicle; this is the 'big boat' of the bodhisattva. Even after he sits in his boat he waits so that others may join him. Hinayana is the lesser vehicle, the 'small boat' which can carry only one person, and that is the boat of the arhat. As soon as he is ready he steps in and sets sail.
It is difficult to say who is right and who is wrong, the arhat or the bodhisattva. From this state it is difficult to judge; what suits a person's nature is best for him. Those who have a feminine heart become bodhisattvas. Those who have a masculine heart become arhats. There are these two types of hearts, and in the final analysis, it is the heart that decides. Either you have a heart saturated with love and compassion, or you have the heart of a plain, dry man of knowledge; you are either a devotee or a sage.
This world is created by the combination of opposites: there is light and darkness, male and female, birth and death; and so also there is knowledge and compassion. At the last moment both these elements are present at the shore; whichever is stronger becomes the deciding factor. Then you have to use your own free will, for a liberated person has no ties. For the very first time his free will comes into existence. It is only a self-realized person whose will is free, who can really reach a decision. Before that, anything the person does is determined by his desires; it just flows from his longings. He cannot really decide.
Someone once asked Gurdjieff, "Please tell me what I should do." Gurdjieff's answer was, "If only you could do something I would surely have told you!"
Right now you are incapable of doing anything. You are merely flowing blindly. You are like a wisp of straw in a racing river. You go wherever the current takes you. Where are you?
Someone once told Buddha that he wanted to serve people. Buddha looked at him compassionately and said, "You, yourself, are not yet; so how will you serve?"
The decision happens at the last moment. Only after Self-Realization do you attain the power to decide, for then you are Shiva-like. Then you are no longer the creation but the creator. Then you are no longer a part of this universe; you are God, Himself. Then the play is in your hands; then you are in control. Then, when the time comes to depart, it is you who decides whether to stay back and wait for the others to board your boat, and you become a tirthankara; or you want to be concerned about them. You will say that each man must find his own path; each man has to follow his own way.
Who can guide whom? Who is to sit in whose boat? And you will open your sails and set forth.
It is necessary to remember this sutra: TO MERGE INTO THE VOID OR REMAIN BEHIND IS WITHIN HIS WILL; for by paying attention to it you may begin to think about what you will opt in that last moment, if you are given the chance. This thought will invariably rise within you, and it is useful, for this very seed of a thought will grow into a tree by the time you reach the end of life's journey.