The Eternal Spring
[Note: This is a translation from the Hindi series Shiva Sutra, which is in the process of being edited. It is for research only.]
SUKHA-ASUKHAVORBAHIRMANANAM TADVIMUKTASTU KEVALI TADARORHAPRANITESTATKSHAYAJ JIVASANKSHYA BHOOTAKANSHUKI TADAVIMUKTO BHUYAH PATISAMAH PARAH OM SHRI SHIVARPANAM SATU HAPPINESS AND SORROW ARE BUT EXTERNAL MOODS - THIS HE KNOWS CONSTANTLY.
FREED FROM THESE, HE ACHIEVES HIS ALONENESS.
THE YOGI WHO IS ESTABLISHED IN HIS ALONENESS CEASES TO DESIRE, AND THUS ATTAINS FREEDOM FROM BIRTH AND DEATH.
THE LIBERATED PERSON, FOR WHOM BODY AND MIND ARE NO MORE THEN CLOTHING, ATTAINS TO SHIVAHOOD.
OM! THIS IS DEDICATED TO LORD SHIVA.
Before entering into the sutras...
I told you before that I would say more about mantra, for I would like you to know how the right use of mantra can bring about a transformation in your life. The first thing is, as I said before, your personality contains a number of layers like an onion. You have to peel off each layer so that you can reach the center that is hidden within. The diamond is hidden. It is not lost; for you yourself are the diamond, and you can never lose it. It is only that the center is concealed under the various layers, but so is a diamond. A diamond lies concealed under layers of stone; it also looks almost like a stone, but that does not alter its intrinsic quality as a diamond.
Perhaps you do not know why diamonds are so valuable. Behind its worth lies the search of man for the eternal. The diamond is the most stable object in the world. All things change, but a diamond dies not change. Thousands of years can pass and it will not deteriorate. In this ever-changing world the diamond is the symbol of changeless existence. Hence its value; otherwise, it is just a stone. Its value lies in its changelessness, its stability.
You eternal nature is a diamond. All sadhana is designed to remove the layers of dust that are covering this diamond. Since the covering layers ar dust, they are easily removed. It is the constantly-changing that covers the changeless, so it is not difficult to remove it. Mantra is a method for removing these layers.
Let me tell you a short story:
Mulla Nasruddin met a friend who he had not seen for many years. The friend asked the Mulla about his family. "What about your daughter, Nasruddin?"
"Oh, my daughter," said the Mulla. "You won't believe this, but I have to tell you she is happily married. Not only that, her husband is a famous doctor."
The friend knew Nasruddin, and he couldn't believe a word. He said, "For give me, Mulla, but I find that difficult to accept. Not only was your daughter... well, not beautiful, she was very ugly - really ugly. She had a body like an army tent. It is hard enough to believe that she got married at all, but to a doctor? How did you hood wink a doctor?"
"All right! All right! replied the Mulla. "He may not be such a big doctor... He may not be a doctor at all, but he has relieved me of my headache, so for me he is the world's greatest physician."
The one who removes your headache is a doctor; but that which removes the head, is mantra. The proverb says: Without bamboo there can be no flute. But as long as the head remains there will be headache. There is a technique by which the head ban be removed. All your troubles are caused by your head; your thoughts, your reasoning, your arguing, your obsessing and wondering. If the thoughts are lost, then the head is lost; you will be, but not the mind! That which kills the mind is mantra. When the mind is not, then the bridge between the body and you is broken. It is the mind that connects you to the body; if the bridge breaks you stand here and the body stand before.
He who knows himself to the apart from the body and without mind, attains Shivahood. He is the ultimate 'aloneness'.
Therefore understand what mantra is. The definition of mantra is: that which destroys the head so that the mind is no more. There is a method for cutting through the layers of the body and of the mind. It is very necessary to go step by step; you have to exercise the utmost patience. It is a method that demands immense patience. Impatient people will not only not benefit from mantra, but they will quite possibly harm themselves. Understand this will. As it is you have troubles enough?
Mantra will just be an added problem for you if you are impatient.
Once, during my travels when the train stopped at a station, there was a man selling toys and shouting himself hoarse: "This toy is unbreakable. No child can possibly break it!" It looked at the toy; it appeared to be quite strong and it was very costly. It immediately thought of Mulla Nasruddin's son. Mulla's wife was always complaining that he broke his toys before he even got them home, so I bought the toy and took it to Nasruddin's house and left it for the child.
A week later I went to visit them again. No sooner had I entered the Mulla's wife said, "We are in a terrible fix."
"What happened," I asked. "Has your son broken the toy?"
"No," she answered, "In trying to break it he has broken all his other toys. Not only that, he has smashed every mirror in the house with it, and now we have to do something to save ourselves from this deadly weapon."
As it is you are already in a state of madness. Mantra can destroy the craziness, but there is also the danger of its getting worse. As it is you are already burdened in life, and mantra may just bring an additional burden. This offers and explanation for something very curious; those people whom we generally take to be religious often look more troubled than the worldly men. The worldly man carries his worldly troubles. The religious man has the same worldly troubles, but to this he has added another - his religion. His mind retains all its old activities and this becomes something additional; he becomes even busier.
Mantra requires that you have the utmost patience; otherwise, do not dabble in it. It has to be used like medicine. You don't consider drinking the whole bottle in one swallow. That won't cure anyone; it might kill him. The action of mantra is very subtle, so it requires homeopathic doses. The first requirement is patience, great patience. Do not expect quick results; the fruits of mantra ripen very slowly. It is not an annual plant which you can expect to flower soon after planting; it takes numerous birth for the flowers to come. Though it appears difficult to understand, the more patient you are the sooner the flowers cone, and the more impatient you are, the greater the delay.
A man was walking along the read in great pain for his shoes were too small for his feet. He was swearing at the shoes and greatly upset. Nasruddin happened to pass by. He said, "Where did you ever buy such narrow shoes?" The man was already in a bad mood, and Nasruddin's question just made his blood boil.
"Where did I buy them, you ask? I plucked them off a tree!"
"Well," said Nasruddin, "you should have waited a little and allowed the tree to mature; then they would have fit your feet. You broke off an unripe branch."
Don't ever pluck an unripe mantra or you will be in trouble. It is easy to throw a shoe away, but the mantra or you will be in trouble. It is easy to throw a show away, but the mantra cannot be so easily got rid of, for the shoe is external and the mantra is internal. If you get involved in mantra by mistake it is almost impossible to get free of it. Many religious people go mad, and the reason is only this:
they are in such a great hurry that they pluck the fruit while it is till green. A ripened fruit is very sweet, while an unripe fruit is not only bitter but acid, and possibly poisonous.
The first layer is the body, so the mantra practice should begin on the body; you are in the body, so it is there that the cure must begin. If you skip this layer your illness will remain, and in due course you will find yourself with unripe fruit on your hands. Remember, you can only start from where you are; if you start somewhere else you are merely dreaming. Tight now you think you are the body, so you have to begin the mantra experience with the body.
Understand the technique. First, you have to sit quietly for ten minutes, but before you sit you have to purge yourself off all your restlessness by being totally active for five minutes; dance, jump, skip and run, whatever is required to satisfy your restlessness. It must be cleansed from every pore, from every part of the body; only then can you sit in silence for ten minutes. This catharsis is necessary before you begin to sit in silence; it will require from five to ten minutes, depending on the extent of your restlessness. Let your body shake, totally, completely, in every possible way, so that for then minutes it will have no more desire to more to satisfy its craving for activity. Then sit down - so still that there is not even a hint of movement. Keep the eyes half-closed.
Do not attempt this practice in an open place. A closed room, preferable small and empty, is ideal.
There should be nothing inside the room. A church or temple or mosque is ideal because of its emptiness. If this is not possible, clear out a corner of your room; let there be nothing in it. Remove all the pictures of gods and goddesses, for they too can create problems.
Only emptiness is God. All else is a play of the mind. And the mind is so crazy! Look for yourself at the shrines that people set up in their houses to worship in. You will find pictures of gods and goddesses hanging all over the walls. They may be cut out of the newspaper or they may be calendar pictures; it is the same thing. The walls are plastered with them. By looking at their walls you can tell what goes on in people's minds.
When people worship their household gods they hurriedly enter the shrine room, sprinkle a little over the whole collection of deities, fold their hands and believe that they have satisfied every one of them. None of them has been worshipped. If you try to satisfy them all, you haven't paid homage to any of them; but if you truly pay homage to one, they are all satisfied. Achieve one and you have achieved all; and the one is within, not without!
The emptier the site, the better it is; fir the search is for that very emptiness; the room will be the symbol for your internal emptiness. The room should be small; that helps the mantra. And it should also be empty; that also helps. Let the eyes be half-open; for when the eyes are fully opened you stand at the door with your back to the house and face towards the outer world. You cannot make a complete about-face, for a complete change is not easy. So keep the eyes half-open and half-closed; let them be half-closed to the world and half-opened to your inwardness. Begin here!
Remember, there is no hurry. When the eyes are half-opened you experience a state of drowsiness.
Keep looking at the tip of your nose; keep your eyes open only to that extent. You are not to concentrate. Observer the tip of your nose with a feeling of peace within. Then begin to say 'Om' loudly. You are using the body, you start from the body, because that is where you are right now.
Repeat 'Om' loudly, so that the sound strikes the walls and rebounds and falls back on you. This is why an empty room is essential, for that resonance is only possible in an amply room, and the greater the resonance the better it is. Christian cathedrals were designed for mantra; whatever is spoken reverberates and echoes a thousandfold from all sides. The Hindu temple is also constructed for meditation; the dome serves the same purpose. No vibrations can escape from a circular place; the sound turns inward.
Sit and repeat 'Om' as loudly as possible. Remember, you have to use the body. Your whole body should be bathed in the vibrations of 'Om'. You should feel that you have expended all your life- energy in that 'Om'. Hold nothing back; treat it as a matter of life and death. The mantra cannot be complete with anything less than this. If you repeat it softly, halfheartedly, then it is of no use. You have to say it with all your strength, and all your being, as if you very life depended on it; unless you say 'Om' with all you might you will die. Stake you all! Let 'Om' roar like a lion from within you. Eyes half-closed... half-opened... and a loud repetition of 'Om'. Remember, the vibrations are created like ripples in a pool when a stone is thrown. Similarly, your 'Om' will create ripples and vibrations everywhere; it will strike the walls and come back to you.
Also, repeat the 'Om' quickly, so that each repetition overlaps the previous one. Leave no interval between this, no space. Exert all you strength, until you are bathed in perspiration. In a few days you will find that the whole room is filled with 'Om'. You will find that the room is assisting you; all the sound will be coming back to you. If you can find a circular room it will be very good; if you find one with a dome, even better! The room should be absolutely empty, so that the vibrations rain on you from all sides. You whole body should be bathed in those vibrations. Then you will find a wonderful freshness that is unattainable even after bathing in water.
Scientists are carrying out extensive research on vibrations. They have discovered the plants flower and bear fruit earlier when they have been exposed to music of a particular vibration. In Russia and in America music has been used in agriculture to promote richer and earlier harvests; the results have been quite successful.
Ravi Shankar used his sitar in an experiment in Canada. He played the sitar when seeds of different plants were sown. When the plants come up the most astonishing thing was that they are all leaning towards the place where Ravi Shankar had played. When they grow taller they were still leaning in the same direction, just as a deaf person leans forward and brings his ear closer in order to hear better. All the plants have their ears to the sitar! And they grew twice as quickly! A plant is a gross body in which everything is asleep, unconscious; but even so, the body vibrates with sound an begins to sway.
When 'Omkar' - the sound of 'Om' - begins to shower on you from all sides the vibrations will from a circle. You will find that every pore of your body is filled with joy, and all the bodily illnesses are draining away; you will find a peace, a profound sense of well -being. It will surprise you how many body illnesses will disappear on their own, for it is a profound cleansing that penetrates you deeply.
The body is a concentration of vibrations, and there is no vibration more wonderful than 'Omkar', the repetition of 'Om'. Repeat 'Om' loud for ten minutes, using the medium of the body to its maximum.
Then close your eyes. The tongue should touch the roof of the mouth, which should be completely closed. Now you have to use the tongue and lips no more.
The next step is to repeat 'Om' inside, in your mind. Until now the room was outside, surrounding you on all four sides; now the body surrounds you on all four sides; now the body is the room. Let the mantra reverberate within the body for the next ten minutes. You are not to use the lips or tongue or throat at all. The mind should repeat 'Om... Om... Om...' but you must keep it the same rapid rate, the same speed. As you filled the room with omkar, so you fill the body, leaving it trembling with vibrations from head to toe. Allow no gap between two oms, so that the mind has no chance to intrude. The mind cannot think two thoughts at the same time.
If your repetition is so fast and intense that there is no gap between two repetitions, no thoughts will come in between. If you relax your peace is the slightest, thoughts will creep in. So, repetition without any gaps! Do not worry about overlapping of the repetitions. Let them pile up on top of one another like railway cars in an accident. Remember, you are not to use the body any more; therefore now the eyes have to be closed. The body must now be very still. The 'Om' vibrations should hit the walls of the body from within and fall on the mind, just as in the beginning they hit the walls of the room and were then reflected back to the body, which purified the body, just as the internal vibrations cleanse the mind. As the vibrations deepen you will find that the mind is beginning to fade. You begin to experience a deep silence that you never before tasted.
Keep this up for then minutes; then drop your head until the chin touches the chest. For a few days you might feel a strain in the neck, but pay no attention to it, and soon it will disappear. So in the third step you drop your chin on to your chest, as if the neck is cut off, lifeless. Now, no more repetitions - not even in the mind. Now just listen, as if the 'Omkar' is reverberating within and you are only the listener, not the doer. You can only step completely out of the mind when you abandon all sense of the doer. Become only the witness. Put all your effort into this. Let you head hang down all the way to your chest, and try to listen to the 'Om' resonate within.
There is a famous verse by Galib:
THE BELOVED PICTURE IS ON THE MIRROR OF THE HEART.
WHENEVER I CHOOSE, I MERELY BOW MY HEAD TO SEE IT.
This bowing of the head is necessary. No sooner does the neck band than the picture of the beloved appears before the eyes. But alas, you do not yet know how to band your head. You take pains to cultivate a stiff neck. When the question of bowing your head arises, you become even more stiff.
If you failed until now to attain God the only reason is that you are not prepared to bow your head; you are not prepared to surrender.
Bowing the head is merely a symbol. Hang your head down as if it is severed from the body; this is only so that you may bow down. No sooner does the head bow down, then it becomes easier to see; no sooner dies the neck bend, then thinking becomes difficult.
Now just try to listen. Until now you were repeating the mantra, first with the body, then with the mind. Now you try to become a witness to the mantra. You will be surprised; there is a very subtle sounding of the mantra going on within. It is exactly like 'Om' though is it not 'Om', for it is difficult to express it in any language. If you listen very silently you are bound to hear it.
Now you are standing apart from the body. The first step severed your connection with the body; the second step severed your connection with the mind; now the third step is the witnessing attitude, the feeling that 'I am the witness'.
No mantra is greater than 'Om'; no mantra is more wonderful. Ram, Krishna, Mahavir, Buddha are all beautiful sounds, but they cannot take you beyond the mind, for they have an image, a form; whereas 'Om' is formless. Besides, you have a relationship with Buddha, Krishna and Jesus; you have feelings of love, attachment, fondness, affection. These will not allow you to step out of your mind. 'Om' is absolutely meaningless. It is unique. It has no meaning, no form, no image - not even an outline. And it is not a part of the alphabet. It is closest to the sound which is actually continuously resonating within you, which is the very nature of your existence. Just as the brook does not babble, but its very flow causes the babbling sound; just as when the wind passes through the branches and the leaves rustle in the same way, your being is such that 'Om' resounds within you. It is the sound of your being.
Hence, 'Om' does not belong to any religion. It is neither Hindu nor Jaina nor Christian, nor Buddhist, nor Moslem. It is the non-sectarian mantra. You will be surprised to know that the Jainas, the Muslims, the Christians all make use of this mantra, though there are slight variations: the Muslims say amin, the Christians say amen. These are only altered forms of 'Om'. On the course of its journey from India to distant lands this mutation took place. 'Om' is not connected with any thought.
Whoever was observed into the no-thought state, heard it.
For the first two steps you will pronounce the mantra, and in the third step you will just listen to it.
You will be the listener, the witness. In the first two steps you are the doer, for the body and mind are parts of the doer; the third is the witness state. In it you listen, just listen. The body is cut off, so is the mind; the layers of the onion are peeled off, and only pure existence remains - only you! And that is Shivahood!
Also, once you get the taste, you will thirst for more and more. The taste will draw you, pull you inside; it becomes like a magnet. We are drawn towards things that appeal to us and we naturally go towards them. The trouble only arises of you do not get the taste; you meditate but you do not enjoy it. This is because you have not yet got the taste of meditation. Once you get the taste there is no difficulty; for then the mind hovers there by itself. Whenever you are free, even for a short time, your eyes will close, your head will drop and you will see the beloved's face in the mirror of your heart. Then it does not matter where you are, in the house or in the marketplace, it is all the same.
It is only the first step that is very difficult. It amounts to one-half the journey hover there like a bee, ever thirsting for more and more. It is the mind's nature to go again and again to the place of pleasure. It is only because you have not yet enjoyed the pleasure that you have to find ways to turn the mind towards meditation.
Now your mind keeps saying, "Why not go to the market! Why waste time just sitting here! You can do all that later on when you have the time; now is the time for the shop or the office!" The mind takes you to the place where it gets pleasure. The mind is not to be blamed for this. Once you have the taste within, you will find it more and more difficult to focus the mind outward. first it was difficult to draw it in; now it is difficult to draw it out.
Sariputra, Buddha's disciple, attained the taste for 'Omkar'. He attained the highest state of the mantra; he heard the supreme manta within.
When this happened Buddha ordered him to go out and preach to the people.
He told Buddha, "Now I have no desire to go out."
Buddha replied, "That is exactly why I want you to go. First you were caught by the outside; that was one form of bondage. Now don't let the 'within' bind you."
The perfect, enlightened soul is one who has no difficulty either way. He goes in and out like a gust of wind. Now the in is no longer in, and the out is no longer out; they have become one. Just as you go easily in and out of your house, life is like your house; you should have no difficulty going in and out of it. There are people who are attached to the world and there are people who are attached to the soul; both are in bondage. They have yet not reached the ultimate salvation. The knowing one has no ties-neither inside nor outside. He flows naturally in and out!
You should try to maintain this third stage of the mantra for as long as possible. The first stage is to sit silently. The prelude it is to shake up the body by dancing, jumping, wriggling, for about ten minutes, so as to get rid of all the body's restlessness. The body is filled with restlessness; that is simply a scientific fact.
If you want to slap someone your body energy immediately flows into your hand. That is why someone who is quite weak can give you a hard blow; his hand does not remain in the ordinary state but is filled with energy. suppose for someone reason you cannot slap this person. There may be many reasons; life is very complex. Perhaps you are indebted to him, or maybe you want to use him to get something, so you restrain yourself; but the energy that has accumulated in your hand is blocked and has no way to go back.
Recent scientific research reports that there are ways to discharge the energy from the body, but there is no way to draw the energy back into the body; so if you so not hit somebody or something, the energy will remain in the hand. It does not matter whom you slap; even if you hit empty space, you will discharge that energy; but there are no channels to draw that energy back to the center. In this way energy gets blocked in various parts of the body. In any twenty-four hour period energy will be blocked in many different parts of the body, and that blocked energy is bound to hinder you. It is responsible for the feeling of numbness in your feet, or the feeling of ants crawling on your legs, or you back beginning to hurt, or suddenly feeling itchy. These things are not your imagination; they are really happening, but you have perhaps never noticed them before because your energy was always occupied and you never sat doing nothing before. Now that you sit doing nothing, wherever energy has been blocked causes restlessness.
Tell any little child to sit quietly for five minutes and you sense how cruel you are being to him, how difficult it is for him to sit quietly. Sometimes he lifts a foot, sometimes he presses his hands together, or he moves his lips or twitches his eyes; he will do anything in order to move. The energy flows on all sides. The legs want to run, the hands want to move, the eyes want to see, the ears want to listen. These are all old habits. That is the way that energy has always flowed.
That is why I always insist on catharsis before any meditation. It is very helpful. Rap, jump and skip around for ten minutes to eject all the blocked energy, then sit for meditation. The peace that follows catharsis is the calm that follows the storm; the body becomes light, it loses its restlessness.
These ten minutes are only preparation, not an actual stage in the meditation of mantra. It is the step outside of your house. The real journey occurs inside the house.
FIRST STEP, BUT THE BODY: SAYING 'OM' - TEN MINUTES SECOND STEP, BUT THE MIND: SILENT REPETITION OF 'OM' - TEN MINUTES.
THIRD STEP, LISTENING SILENTLY TO THE RESONANCE OF 'OMKAR' WITHIN - TEN MINUTES.
Repeating Rama, Krishna or Buddha will not be suitable for this journey, for they can only take you up to the second step; they cannot go any further, for in the third step the actual resonance in the head is the sound of 'Om'. Sometimes a person repeating 'Ram... Ram... Ram...' can attain the third stage. It is like when you are traveling by train, you hear the wheels saying anything you fancy.
You might think they are saying 'Ram-Ram-Ram' or 'Allah-Allah-Allah', but the fact remains that the sound of the wheels is actually 'Chucka-Chucka-Chucka'.
'Om' is that pure sound. If you repeat Ram you will also hear Ram, but this is just a superimposition, which indicates that the mind is still alive and working to some extent. We should experience only that which is. We should see only that which is, without giving it our own color. Hence, the ultimate mantra is 'Omkar'; all others are secondary, inferior. They only take the seeker as far as the second step. In actual fact they become an obstruction in the third step.
Use 'Om' as I have specified. For at least three months without worrying at all abut results. You are not to even think of results; just carry out the practice. Do not worry whether you are progressing or not progressing. Fix a date; in exactly three months you can start to think about the results, not before! If you can summon this much patience you will succeed.
A little child digs a hole, puts in a mango seed and covers it up. After half an hour his curiosity makes him dig it out to see whether it has begun to sprout. He is disappointed. He puts the seed back in the hole. After another half-hour his patience again runs out and he digs up the seed. Now he is really miserable, for nothing has happened. Now the seed will never sprout. Everything has its own timetable. A seed must lie in the dark earth for a specific period of time before it can sprout.
It is for this very reason that your meditation also fails to bear fruit. You are too impatient for results.
Jesus said, "Let not your left hand know what the right hand is doing." Act the same way! Bury the mantra deep inside you. This is why the mantra is referred to as a seed. All it means is that you should not keep digging it up over and over again to examine its progress. It has its own rhythm. It will sprout in its own good time. Your impatience can only spoil thing for you.
Take this ultimate mantra along with you and carry out the experiment. If you do it with total patience for three months you will be filled with a sweet nectar, and then it will be what Kabir calls the taste of 'raw sugar to the dumb' - what can never be spoken of. When you have tasted of it, wherever you are you are alright, whatever you do is alright. Then the world becomes like a dream for you, and all of life is no more than a drama; you become a witness and that itself is Shivahood.
Now let us take up the sutras:
HAPPINESS AND SORROW ARE BUT EXTERNAL MOODS - THIS HE REMEMBERS CONSTANTLY.
He who attained Shivahood is constantly aware of the fact that happiness occurs outside, and so also sorrow; neither of the two penetrates you interior. But you are disturbed by both. You cling to happiness and identify yourself with it and think that your are happy. In this way you have created the sorrow. From this point on the journey to suffering begins. In fact, it has already started.
As soon as you say, "I am happy," you have sown the seed of unhappiness; now it will not be long before it comes. Suffering means to identify with your moods. Then, when the suffering comes, you identify with that. Your trouble is that you identify with whatsoever comes before you. You do not remain the observer, but become the reactor to whatever appears before you. If sorrow comes you beat your breast and tear your hear; if happiness come you dance with glee. Both happiness and sorrow come from without and have no way of going within. It is you who identifies with them and suffers from them. As soon as a person goes beyond the mind, he begins to see that all this happens outside the temple, and that nothing enters within.
HAPPINESS AND SORROW ARE EXTERNAL MOODS - THIS HE REMEMBERS CONSTANTLY.
Here the word 'constantly' is important. You also remember this sometimes, especially when you are advising or counselling others; then you know it for certain. If only you were as wise for your own self as you are for others. You are so wise when you counsel others. It would be very good if you could apply the same understanding to your life's journey.
What is the reason for this deep understanding and wisdom for others? If someone is in great trouble you say, "Why are you so upset? That is life! That is the way the world is! Don't get so involved with it!" When you find yourself in the same trouble it is quite possible that this very person will return your good advice and say, "Do not worry, brother. Happiness and sorrow are only external states."
Now what is the reason behind this? It is simply that, when suffering comes to others you become the witness, so understanding arises within you. The sorrow has come to others, not to you; you are merely the observer. To the extent that you become an observer, when sorrow comes to you, this understanding will remain with you. Right now you have given your understanding away.
Mulla Nasruddin went to a psychologist and said, "My wife's condition is very bad. You will have to do something."
The psychologist worked with her for a few weeks, then he told the Mulla, "She has completely lost her head. I am very sorry, Mulla."
I knew she would," exclaimed the Mulla. "Every day she used to give me a piece of her mind and eventually everything has come to an end."
You advise and counsel others. You give you wisdom to others, but you never use it for yourself.
When happiness comes your way the next time, observer it as if it is happening to someone else.
Try to stand a little apart from it and observe it. A little distance is enough. Do not remain so very close to yourself. You are your neighbor; keep a little distance.
Once I told Nasruddin, "Mulla, the owner of the restaurant at the end of the street says that he is a close relative of yours."
"Certainly not!" replied the Mulla. "That is not correct. He is a distant relation of mine."
"How distant is the relationship?" I asked.
"Well," said the Mulla, "we have the same father, but he is the first child and I am the twelfth. So there! We are quite far apart!"
What you are you neighbor will be enough of a distance between the two of you. Do not stand so close to your neighbor. When there is no distance the perspective is lost. Anything you want to look at should be held at some distance. If you hold a flower right up to your eye can you see it? If you press your face against a mirror you will not be able to see your reflection. A little distance is required. A little distance from yourself - that is all that sadhana is about. As this distance increases you will be surprised at how meaningless all your troubles were! Things happened outside you - not to you! Because of your closeness they were reflected in you, the vibrations touched you and you took it as yourself vibrating. You allowed it to affect you.
A house caught fire. The owner beat his breast and wept loud. A man standing next to him said, "You are tormenting yourself unnecessary. It was only yesterday that your son sold the house for a good sum.
The man could not believe his ears. He stopped his lamenting. The house was still burning, but he looked on unconcerned. He stood at a distance; he was no longer the owner of the house.
After a little while his son came running, "Oh, 'god, how did the house catch fire? I made a deal on the house but the payment is still to come. Now who will pay for a ruined house?"
The father began to wail again. The house was unaffected. The happiness or sorrow of its owners had no effect on it. It was burning before and it continue burning after, but the owner's mood would have changed again if the buyer had appeared and said he would honor the contract although the house was burned down.
Everything happens outside you, but you stand too close; that is the trouble. Keep your distance!
When happiness comes stand apart and watch. When sorrow comes stand a little away and watch.
Mind you, start with happiness, not with sorrow. Generally people try to dissociate from themselves at times of sorrow in order to escape from it. That is a general tendency of the mind, and it gets you nowhere. Create the distance when you are happy, because everybody wants to escape from sorrow. If you want to establish a genuine detachment just running away from sorrow will not do.
You have to do just the reverse. Your journey so far has only taken you astray. You will have to turn back and retrace your steps. This turning back and doing the opposite Mahavira called pratikraman.
Patanjali used the word, pratvahara, which literally means recovering or removing the sense organs from the object; it means returning to the source.
You have to retrace a few steps. When happiness comes stand aside; do not let your heart run wild with joy, do not dance with glee. Know that this too will pass. Nothing is permanent; everything is transitory; nothing stops for you. Any mood is like a gust of wind that comes and goes. You are hardly aware of its presence before it is gone. Stand apart of watch - like an observer.
Why do we not act as witness to our happiness? What is the fear? There is a reason behind it. As soon as you relate to happiness as a witness, it no longer gives you joy; it no longer is happiness.
The closer you are to yourself, the more intense the happiness. The more you stand apart from yourself, dissociate from yourself, the more you realize how transitory are those times of happiness.
The more you associate yourself with it and forget your intrinsic being, the more you experience the joy of happiness. This is why nobody wants to be an observer of happiness, but this is the only place from which the journey can begin.
When happiness comes, witness it. Soon you will find that as you watch happiness fades and only you remain. Once you succeed with happiness, you will also succeed with sorrow. Then the key is in you hand - come joy, come sorrow. A little effort will bring success. All you have to do is stand a little apart from your body. There is already a great distance between you and the body. No two wings can be further apart - for it is the distance between matter and consciousness. Even the stars are not as distant from earth as you are from the body. One is living and the other is inanimate; one is made of clay and is perishable and the other is the spirit. They are the two extremes.
Begin with happiness, and the word towards unhappiness, remembering only one thing all the time, you are involved! You will have to practice it again and again. Time and again there will be lapses; it will not be continuous right off. The remembrance can be constant only when you are will-established in the soul, when the mantra has succeeded in cutting out the mind. Until then you will have to practice it, keep at it as much as possible. This cleanses the way. The seed may not yet be sown, but the ground is cleansed at least. When you are ready to plant the seed the soul will be ready. The remembrance will disappear time and again, a slight unawareness and happiness will again overwhelm you, but do not give up.
The yogi who has attained Shivahood is constantly aware that happiness and sorrow are external states. Constant means incessant - without a moment's break. Only what is your very nature can be that constant. What is not your nature cannot be constant. How long can you remain angry, for example?
Bodhidharma went to China, where the king who came to visit him said, "I am troubled by my anger.
What should I do?"
Bodhidharma replied, "For how long can you be angry?"
The king was surprised. "For an hour or two at the most," he answered.
"What you can do for an hour or two is not your nature," said Bodhidharma. "Can you be angry for twenty-four hours a day?"
"An hour or two of anger is torment, and you ask me if I can be angry for twenty-four hours. I have not come to find out how to be angry all the time," said the king.
Bodhidharma said, "That is why I am telling you that what you can do constantly is your nature. So why are you troubled?"
What is it that you can do constantly? Think about it a little. You cannot remain constantly happy.
You may find this difficult to understand, but it is a fact. Think a little: how long do you remain happy? After a while happiness wanes and you begin to be unhappy; if nothing happens to disturb you happiness you will start getting bored with it yourself. A palace to live in, rich food to eat, a beautiful woman for your wife and no trouble or problems - then what will you do? Soon you will be fed up an yearn for a change.
It often happens that a man who has a very beautiful wife begins an affair with an ordinary servant girl. People wonder what he sees in such a plain Jane when he has such a beautiful wife. They wonder because they are witness to it. The man is only seeking a change. He is bored, even by beauty. How long can you keep looking at a beautiful face? How long can you listen to a lovely melody? After a while it just hammers at your ears and you will want it to stop. If it continues it becomes sheer hell.
The mind cannot bear anything constantly; it cannot bear even happiness for too long. That is why whenever happiness comes the mind looks for ways to create unhappiness. The mind keeps changing its tasted; when there is happiness it wants sorrow; when there is sorrow it craves joy. You cannot sit quietly for any length of time; soon the mind becomes restless and bored by the tranquility.
Bertrand Russell wrote: "I would not choose liberation, for I have heard that people in the realm have just been sitting on the magic, wish-fulfilling rock for eons." There is nothing to do there, for doing means the mundane world, samsara. What could Mahavira do sitting on this rock? Besides, who knows how long he will have to sit there? What can one so sitting doing nothing? There is no newspaper to while away the time, and nothing ever happens there. Things only happen in the wrong sorts of places. In hell there must be lots of news. Perhaps they produce twelve or more editions a day, for news always involve killings, arson, looting, violence. Nothing ever happens in heaven. It must be very boring.
Bertrand Russell says, "My mind dreads to think of heaven. It would be better without it." The mind speaks the truth. Bertrand Russell doesn't know that there is no salvation as long as the mind exists.
Only he whose mind is annihilated, he who is constant, prefers salvation.
Is there anything that you can bear continuously? Neither suffering nor happiness can be constantly tolerated because they cause tension. The only thing that is tolerable for any length of time is peacefulness; it holds no excitement. You can be serene constantly for it is a state between the two, and beyond the two.
One day I was having dinner at the Mulla's house. His son was sitting with us at the table. When he started the meal he was eating with his left hand. Soon he switched over to the right hand. After a while he resumed eating with the left hand, then again switched to the right. Nasruddin said, "How may times have I told you, young man, to eat only with your right hand?"
The boy said, "What difference does it make which hand I use, my mouth is in the middle either way?"
Only he can be constant who finds the point of balance between happiness and sorrow. The equilibrium between rightness lies exactly at the mid-point between happiness and sorrow. Here there are no extremes. It is like the movement of the indicator on the balance scales; the stable point is right in the middle. Any slight weight and the needle deflects either sad or happy, constantly you will soon tire of the weight of it and will want to move it to the other side.
When people are carrying a body to the burning ghats they bear the wight of the bier on one shoulder and soon they tire and change shoulders; the weight does not decrease but the shoulder is relieved.
Happiness and sorrow are your two shoulders and the attitude of being the doer is your bier. You keep changing shoulders. Sometimes you identify with happiness and sometimes with sorrow. Be the witness - stay in the middle - then you will be able to be constant.
Buddhahood can be constant for it is a state of peacefulness. There is bliss in it, but it is not like the sharp rays of the sun. It is cool and refreshing like moonbeams. Bliss is not like burning rays but like a cool luster; there is no tension in it, no restlessness.
Have you noticed that it is often when a man is happy that he has a heart attack. Suddenly a man wins the lottery. He is extremely happy... and he drops dead!
A man won a lottery of ten lakh rupees. When the news came he was not at home. His wife was terribly upset. She knew her husband, and if he were to hear that he had won two paise he might die of a heart attack. She ran to a nearby temple where she knew the priest was a wise man. She asked for his help. He told her not to worry and returned home with her, promising to break the nows immediately to her husband.
When the husband cam the priest thought it would be best to start with a smaller amount, so he said, "I would like you to know that you have won one lakh rupees in the lottery."
The husband replied, "Really? If that is true then I shall donate fifty thousand rupees to your temple."
The priest dropped dead of a heart attack. It never occurred to him that fifty thousand rupees would be too much to bear.
Happiness can also kill. It is not only sorrow that kills, for both contain a stimulant that causes excitement; and wherever there is excitement something is bound to break. The only thing that can remain constant is your non-excited nature, and this need not be practised. It is always within you.
You cannot lose it, for it is your very nature.
Hence the search of all religion is the search for the individual's basic nature. The search for one's true nature is religion, for it is eternal; you can never feel bored by it, for it is your true self. There is no way you can separate yourself from your nature; you cannot stand back from it and see it. If what you see bores you when you create a distance from it, know that it is not your true nature.
When the mind is killed by the mantra, when the mantra causes the mind to commit suicide, the eternal spring arises within. When this eternal spring has arisen, the individual is liberated from the external states of happiness and sorrow, and he achieves the ultimate aloneness. Now he is alone!
Now he is drunk with his own self; now he needs nothing ; all his wants, all his desires are now dead, because happiness and sorrow are external. He neither longs for happiness nor wants to get rid of sorrow. All his external ties are broken. Now he is stable, and fixed within his own self. He is constantly in bliss; there are no further desires. Now he is absorbed in his own consciousness. His satchitananda, his truth-consciousness-bliss, now flows constantly. It is in his every breath, in every stomp of his being.
FREED FROM THESE HE ACHIEVES HIS ALONENESS.
THE YOGI WHO IS ESTABLISHED IN HIS ALONENESS CEASES TO DESIRE, AND THUS ATTAINS FREEDOM FROM BIRTH AND DEATH.
Then there is no birth; then there is no death. Birth and death are necessary when we journey in search of happiness. We desire happiness and happiness can only be attained through the body; so we have no choice but to take on a body. The happiness we desire decides the kind of body that we take on. The desire for happiness lingers at the moment of death and becomes the seed for the next birth.
What does a tree do before it dies? It draws all its life-energy into its seeds. The seed is the desire of the tree to exist after death. A seed is a wonderful phenomenon. The vast spreading giant of a tree extracts its essence and deposits it in the seed, which i sends off on the journey of life. Its own body will die, but the tree has already made arrangements for a new body to live once again. And this explains the fact that although the tree is born from a single seed, it produces millions of seeds in the course of its lifetime. The tree takes no chances. It has to take into account so many factors; what if the seed falls onto rocks or barren ground? What if it gets no water? It may be eaten by animals or crushed by someone. The tree cannot take a chance, so it produces millions of seeds, and by various means scatters them far and wide, so that at least some of them find a suitable place in which to grow.
In India there is the silk cotton tree. Nothing can grow beneath the tree, for its roots such up all the water; so the tree has a wonderful way to scatter its seeds; it fills the seed pods with cotton so they can fly away from the tree when the wind comes. It has arranged that the seeds don't fall on the ground below, for that would be certain death to them.
It is not easy for a plant to grow under a bog tree, almost impossible, therefore all trees have devised their own ways to exist. Trees are clever and cunning in their own way; do not take them to be simple and guileless. In this world nothing and no one is plain and simple; no one can be, for complexity and cunningness are necessary qualifications for existence. As soon as he becomes simple and guileless one has attained liberation.
Trees and plants have devised thousands of different ways to scatter their seeds. The sweet nectar in flowers is only there for the bees and the butterflies. They settle on a flower to such the nectar, thinking that it has been provided expressly for them, little knowing that while it sucks at the flower it picks up hundreds of seeds on its legs in the form of pollen. Then the bees carry the seed to distant places. When plants devise so many methods for survival, now many must you be inventing? You cleverness has no limit.
One man contains within his body sufficient sperm to father as many people as there ar living in the world. An ordinary person, neither celibate nor libertine, has intercourse at least four thousand times in his lifetime. With each act he ejects about a hundred million sperm. Each sperms is capable of creating life, if given the opportunity. Since a woman's capacity to produce ova is restricted to one or two at a time, this is not possible, though some day it will be possible. Thus it is that kings in older times kept so many wives.
Science is now making it possible for the semen of a single individual to fertilize all the women in the world. This is a real possibility, for the discoveries of science can ultimately be put into effect, no matter now dangerous they may be. The scientists to today maintain that not everyone has the right to procreate - only people of the stature of an Einstein, let's say. When we are so careful about the quality of plants, when we take so much trouble to improve the quality of flowers and animals, it is to be expected that we will start to think the same way about the human race; so in the near future it is possible that the scientists will decide which people should be given the right to procreate. Consideration will be given to various factors: health, intelligence, age, alertness, genius.
Those who are acceptable in those categories will be chosen, and their seed will be used. Then it is possible that one man's sperm can populate the whole world. There is also a desire for survival of each individual.
You will be surprised to know, and it has not yet been written in any book, that when a man reaches 'aloneness', when he is beyond happiness and sorrow, his body stops producing semen; but the formation of sperm only stops when the desire for survival is completely extinguished. As long as the desire to survive remains, the body keeps producing sperm whether in this body or in another.
Thus you keep the body alive on one hand and your soul desire-ridden on the other, so the soul will keep seeking a new womb. You will wander as long as you identify yourself with happiness and sorrow, for then you will be longing for pleasure and more pleasure, and your dreams will lead you to new births.
Because all his desires have tone, the yogi who is established in the state of 'aloneness' is completely freed from the cycle of birth and death. He takes birth no longer; and he who is not born has no reason to die. If you are born you must die. Death is the other side of birth. They are the two sides on one coin. He who wishes to be liberated from death will have to free himself from birth also.
Everyone wants to be freed from death, but not from birth. That is our difficulty. Everyone wants to be rid of suffering and sorrow, but nobody wants to give up joy and happiness. The day you seek freedom from joy your life will undergo a transformation; on that day you become religious.
Mulla Nasruddin went on an ocean voyage with his wife. It was the first time that the Mulla had gone to sea. He felt terribly sick; he could hardly lift his head. Besides, the sea was very rough and that made things so much worse for him. He called his wife and said to her, "Listen, I made my will before embarking on this journey, and it is just as well that I did. I have transferred everything to your name, and the will is in the bank with all the necessary papers. Bury me on the other shore - even if I am not dead - for I will never take another sea voyage. You can go home and claim all my possessions."
The day that life appears worse then death - as truly it is - the day that life appears so hideous, grotesque and meaningless, that under no circumstance will you undertake a new voyage, on that day you undergo a transformation. Right now if you are interested in religion it is only a part of your search for happiness - perhaps a new kind of happiness; and that is why you never attain religion.
Your search for religion will be real only when your are not prepared to step into another life journey.
You have seen it all and found it meaningless. You have experienced happiness and found that it also gets filled with suffering and sorrow. You have seen sorrow and found it full of suffering. Sorrow is suffering all right, but even joy is not free of suffering; rather it is another name for suffering. All that tastes sweet turns out to be poison. That which is proclaimed to be nectar is just another brand of poison. The day you recognize how useless and meaningless everything is, and also that it is all outside of you and has nothing to do with your intrinsic being, on that day religion is born in you.
Remember to ask yourself whether you are only interested in religion in order to gain happiness.
Then you are not interested in religion at all. Dedication to religion is true only when you are looking for peace and serenity. Happiness is useless, suffering is useless; good riddance to both!
The yogi who is established in his aloneness is rid of all desires. Without desires he no longer wants to undertake any new life journeys. The journey itself has become meaningless to him. It is then that the cycle of birth and death is forever destroyed.
THE LIBERATED PERSON, FOR WHOM BODY AND MIND ARE NO MORE THEN CLOTHING, ATTAINS TO SHIVAHOOD.
He is Brahma! It is he who is God, the ever-abiding supreme spirit! The Sanskrit word for such a person is liberated, refers to the five elements and the clothing. It means that all five elements - earth, air, fire, water and ether - that go into forming the body are no more than clothing for such a person. Body and mind are made of the fie elements. The gross forms of the five elements form the body, and the subtle forms make up the mind. When such a person recognizes the fact that the mind and the body are no more than outer clothing, that his real self lies hidden deep within the folds of his clothing, he peels off the layers like we peel an onion and he knows the Shivahood within himself. Such a liberated person becomes God himself.
In our country we do not believe in one lone God sitting somewhere high in the sky ruling the universe. No! In this country we believe that every life journey ends in God. It is through gradual flowering that one become godlike. God is not an existential state. God is man's future possibility.
Try to understand this further. Judaism, Christianly and Islam are the three significant religions born outside of India. Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism are the great religions that were born in India. There is a basic difference between the two. Islam, Judaism and Christianity put God at the beginning, as the primal cause, the maker of the universe. We in India see God ahead of us, as the ultimate fruition. This makes a great difference. God is the future, not the past. God is the flower, not the seed. Hence we have placed our Buddhas on a flower, seated on a lotus flower in full bloom, with its thousand petals.
If God stands at the beginning of off things and is the creator, then he is the one. Then this world is a dictatorship. Then there could not be any liberation, for where can there be independence once you have been created? A thing that is created has no freedom of its own, for the creator can create and destroy as he chooses. Then you are mere toys and puppets. Then your soul, your freedom, has no meaning. Hence in India we do not look upon God as the creator; we look upon him as the ultimate culmination, the ultimate completion. He is your final development.
God is not the first step of your evolution; rather, he is the final peak. He is the Gourishankar, the Mount Everest. He is the holy Mount Kailash, where all consciousness ultimately reach. Everybody is heading to this very place. Sooner or later everyone has to reach there. Every day you are becoming God, evolving into God. God is not a happening that once took place. God is a stream that is constantly flowing. God is happening every moment. He is growing within you; you are his womb.
Hence this Shiva sutra ends with this ultimate happening. All scriptures end here. They start from you and end with God! What you are now is the first step. What you will ultimately be is the last and final step. You are right now like the seed; that is your wandering. When you develop fully your totality, like a tree in full bloom, that will be your ultimate culmination, your fulfillment.
When the flowers bloom the tree's life is completed; in its blooming the tree has attained the full fragrance of its life. What is was born for has come to pass. With the blooming of flowers the tree is filled with an ecstasy. It is filled with a dance. Each pore of its being is thrilled, for it has not lived in vain. Its purpose has been fulfilled because it has bloomed to its ultimate fragrance and beauty.
When a tree is so filled with joy at the blooming of a flower - a flower that begins to wither as soon as it opens, a flower that blooms for not even one single day - then now much more ecstasy must there be in the universe when a Vardhaman becomes Mahavira or a Gautam Siddhartha flowers into Buddha. We call such a flowering that never fades shivahood, and that is God!
Use the mantra so that all that is useless and meaningless in you drops away, and all that is meaningful and purposeful is cleansed and purified. Make use of the mantra so that all that you are right now may shatter, and you may be scattered on the ground so that what is you possibility may sprout.