[NOTE: This is a translation from the Hindi series BHAJ GOVINDAM, literally: Singing the Song of the Divine. This version is the final edit pending publication, and is for research only.] The first question:
Knowledge is negative, devotion is positive. Knowledge is like preparing the earth by removing the grass and the weeds and then putting in the manure, and devotion is like sowing the seed.
Knowledge in itself is not sufficient. It cleans the earth but it does not sow the seeds (cannot be sown). It is necessary but not sufficient, because knowledge is of the mind and devotion is of the heart. All the obstacles on the path of the divine can be removed by knowledge. But the steps of the stairs can be climbed only by devotion. That is why knowledge is negative. It is very effective in removing the meaningless but it is not able to create the meaningful.
Shankaracharya is talking about knowledge so that the layers of ignorance collected within you may be cleared away. And once the soil of the mind is cleared of all the unnecessary wild grass and plants the seeds of devotion can be sown. Then it is possible to sing the song of the divine.
There is no contradiction between the two. Devotion is the culmination of knowledge and knowledge is the beginning of devotion, because man has both heart and mind, and both of them have to be approached, both of them have to be transformed. If you get stuck only in knowledge then you will be like a desert - very clean but nothing will grow there; clean but seedless; vast but without any height or depth.
Knowledge is dry and lonely. And if you remain a devotee, a bhakta only, then there will be trees, flowers and greenery in your life but you will not know how to protect that greenery. You will not be able to protect those plants. If anyone puts the seeds of doubt in your fertile soil, they also will sprout.
If a devotee has not passed through the process of knowledge then his building is going to be shaky.
Anyone can put doubt in him. He knows how to believe the believers, those who are leading him on the path, and he believes even those who are misleading him. He does not have the sense of discrimination and discretion. He gets hold of the wrong in the same way as he gets hold of the right. The devotee is like a blind man and the knowledgeable person is like a lame man. If they both get together then things work out beautifully.
You must have heard this story. A blind man and a lame man were caught in a fire in a jungle. The blind man could not run away as he could not see. He had strong legs and feet and could save himself by running away, but he had no sense of direction. The lame person could see the path, he could see which part of the jungle had not yet caught fire, but he could not run away as he was lame. According to the story both of them got together. The blind man carried the lame one on his shoulders. By becoming one, they overcame their shortcomings. With the joint effort of the blind man's feet and the lame man's eyes they could come out of the jungle safely. The fire could not destroy them.
You cannot save yourself from the flames of life until the intellect and the heart unite. Intellect has eyes but no feet; intellect is lame. Heart has feet, but no eyes; heart is blind. That is why they say that love is blind. When they meet, there is perfume. When they unite, there is attainment, there is enlightenment, there is nirvana. If they oppose each other, both will be destroyed. Then it will be impossible to get out of the jungle which is on fire. Alone, both are crippled. United, both become whole. And you have both, you have to use both. Hence make knowledge a support of devotion; make devotion a support of knowledge.
You can fly in this sky if you make them both your wings. No bird can fly with one wing, no man can walk with one foot, nor can a boat be rowed with one oar; both the oars are needed. There is no contradiction, and those who have told you that there is a contradiction are wrong. They made this error because they did not know this great harmony. They were either mind-dominated people who possessed only dry thoughts and logic and never experienced the dance of the heart, or they were heart-dominated people who could dance but did not have any understanding.
It will be a fortunate moment when you can dance with understanding. That moment will be fortunate when you can love with understanding. And never refuse anything which existence has given you, because if you do so you will become disabled to that degree. You are whole, but everything has to be properly adjusted and made to coincide. It is as if there is a musical instrument, a veena:
the strings are there, and the strings have to be fixed to the veena, they have to be tightened and adjusted.
Everything is within you but the coincidence is not there. The name of that coincidence which can adjust your inner veena and its strings is sadhana.
Sufis say that a man was dying of hunger. In his house there was flour, water, fuel, an oven, but he did not know how to knead the flour, how to light the fire and how to bake the bread. Everything was there but he was hungry. The uncooked food was there. But these things did not coincide so he died of hunger.
This story applies to everybody. You have got all the means but you are hungry. You have got everything; existence sends everyone with all the means. But these means are to be adjusted in the proper proportions, the proper harmony and music; only then the light of the divine will shine within you.
You are not to be dominated either by intellect or by the heart; your consciousness should flow like a river between these two banks. If you become the Ganges, then the sea is not very far away. But do not insist on flowing with the support of one bank only, because the support of both the banks is needed. In the end both the banks will be given up. But this end is possible only through that support. In the ultimate condition, in the ultimate realization, there is neither devotion nor knowledge.
When a river flows into the sea then both banks disappear and the river becomes the sea.
Therefore, there are three types of people in this world. The first are the mind-dominated people - philosophers, metaphysicians. They go on thinking and arguing but reach nowhere. Their life is full of the dry sand of logic.
The second type are the heart-dominated people. They sing and dance a lot but their singing and dancing is without any understanding or discretion. They are not doing so out of freedom; it is a sort of madness or intoxication. Heart is like an intoxication for those who do not have awareness or discretion.
The third type are those who have made full use of mind and heart and have gone beyond both.
Your aim should be the third. You must desire, you must aspire for this great transcendence.
Ultimately the Ganges has to leave both the banks and flow into the sea. But do not hurry, you have to reach the sea with the support of the two banks, and you can give up the banks as soon as you reach there.
The second question:
Certainly it is so. Transiency is the cause of attraction. And religions do not create nonattachment by saying that life is transient. Religions say that whatever is transient will be followed by misery.
Transiency is not the cause of nonattachment: misery follows transiency like a shadow - the cause of nonattachment is misery. It is transiency which attracts and invites.
As life passes, the mind says, "Enjoy it as much as possible, it may be over at any moment. No one knows when you will die. So make the best use of every minute by enjoying it. Live as intensely as possible - not a moment is to remain empty. Suck it; enjoy every moment's possibilities."
Yes, transiency is the attraction. Death is approaching, so we hold on to life. If death were not approaching then nobody would have held on to life. Nobody would have worried if happiness came and never disappeared.
The cause of attraction is transiency. Anything which disappears quickly seems precious. The stone is not as precious as the flower because the flower blossoms in the morning and withers away by the evening. So you had better have a good look at its beauty and satisfy your eyes because anything which has blossomed has already started withering. It will not take a long time to do so. The sun is already in the middle of the sky. The flower has started withering, half of its life has passed away.
That is why there is so much attraction in beauty. If beauty could remain forever then nobody would have bothered about it.
Another interesting point is that ugliness is more permanent than beauty. An ugly person remains ugly all his life but a beautiful person does not remain beautiful all his life. He is beautiful for some time - during youth - and after that he withers away. Have you noticed that if a person is very beautiful, he withers away quickly? The more delicate the flower is, the more quickly it withers away.
The mind goes on saying: "Hurry up, don't waste time sitting and chanting in the temples. This can be done later on. Enjoy now as much as possible. Not only the other is changing, your capacity to enjoy is also becoming weaker day by day."
Certainly transiency is the cause of attraction. If things were permanent then nobody would have worried about them. Perhaps that is why you are not worried about the inner world. It is eternal so there is no hurry. It is not going to be lost, so we can easily go on postponing till tomorrow. If not in this birth then in the next one, and if not in the next one then still farther on. Whenever you will go the divine will be at home. The mind says, "But these transient flowers of life, the beauty of the eyes, the rosiness of the cheeks, this youth and your capacity to enjoy - all of them are withering away and weakening. So do not delay, enjoy them,"
Certainly transiency is the cause of attraction. There is no attraction for anything which is eternal.
How can there be any attraction in what is and always will be? Dreams always seem beautiful - they are finished as soon as the eyes open.
Religion is not trying to create a feeling of indifference or nonattachment in you by saying that life is transient. By calling it transient it is trying to point out to you the question: What will you do after that moment? After dancing for a moment you will cry. Life is transient; you will enjoy it for a moment but you will repent it afterwards. You will be finished in this useless chase.
Just as children chase butterflies, you are running after small enjoyments which will tire you thoroughly, and one day you will fall down and die. Actually you gained nothing by running after the transient, you have only wasted your time, because all the transient things wither away even before you get them, flowers are dead as soon as they are in your hands. And by the time you bring it home, happiness turns into anguish.
The awakening of nonattachment is because of misery and anguish. Religion says that you must try to see that the momentary pleasure is followed by unlimited misery. And you also know it very well that whenever you found happiness, misery followed. Whenever you were happy, later on your eyes were full of tears. You fell down whenever you were vain. Bad luck started as soon as you thought that good luck was smiling on you.
Religion says that if you want happiness which will not get lost and will not turn into misery then look for the eternal, the immortal, and wake up from this transient world. Time spent in dreams is time lost. Seek the truth.
What is the definition of truth? The definition of truth is that which was always, which is always and which will be always. The definition of untruth is that which was not yesterday but which is now and which will not be tomorrow. Untruth means the existence of that which is momentary between two nots - the illusion of being, between two nots.
Just think over it: if it is not on both sides, then how can it be in between? That is why Shankara says that the world is maya, an illusion. The meaning of maya is that it was not yesterday, it is today and tomorrow again it will not be. So what is not on both ends cannot be in the center either, though it appears to be so. How can 'is' be born out of 'is not'? And that which is, how can it not be?
There was a time when you were not. Where were you before your birth? Where will you be after death? It is only a dream of short duration. You see the dream while sleeping but it is lost as soon as you wake up. Sahajo has said that this world is like the morning star. Yes, the morning star is there for a short while and it disappears soon. It will disappear while you are watching it.
Yes, the whole of life is like the morning star.
Mahavira has said that life is like the dewdrops on the grass leaf. Have you noticed the dewdrop on the grass? It is about to drop at any time - it will drop while you are still watching it, a whiff of breeze is sufficient. It will evaporate with the sunrise. A small push by the breeze and it is gone. But during its existence it is so beautiful, even pearls are no match for it; even the pearl envies its luster. But its existence is momentary, it is like nonexistence.
If life is transient then it cannot be true. Whatever you have known, if it is later lost then it cannot be truth. It must have been the imagination of the mind or the projection of the mind. It is not the truth but you believed it to be true. That is your belief.
Belief is illusion. You go on watching the projection of your inner desire on the screen of life.
Have you ever noticed that a woman or a man who seems very beautiful at one time does not seem so after a few days? It is the same woman or the same man... what happened? Actually, a few days before you had projected your own desire. That desire has now disappeared, so there is nothing on the screen, there is no picture on the screen. With the mind full of desires you just cannot see that which is; you just go on seeing what you want to see.
Only the pure eye can see that which is. The impure eye sees whatever it wants to see. If you are in search of beauty then you will see beauty. Everyone has his own definition of life. Because of this definition, life is an illusion.
Mulla Nasruddin makes and sells medicines. On one packet he has written that the price of the medicine will be returned if it is not beneficial. I was sitting in his shop when a man came, he was very annoyed. He said, "I have been taking this medicine since last month but it has done no good to me, no benefit to me. So give me back the money I have paid for it."
Mulla said, "It is written on the packet that the money will be returned if it is not beneficial. Well, you may not have benefitted but I have, so why should I return the money?"
It all depend on one's own definition. You see life as you want to see it. Accordingly, the meanings of words change and the meanings of truths change. You build up a world of your own beliefs and you go on living in it. To keep up those beliefs one goes on finding one's own reasons to strengthen them so that they may not break.
Mulla Nasruddin quarreled with someone in the market. That man was very angry and he told Mulla, "I will give you such a slap that all your thirty-two teeth will fall out of your mouth."
Mulla was also enraged. He said, "What do you think of yourself? If I slap you, all the sixty-four teeth will fall out."
A third person who was watching this fight said, "My dear fellow, you should know that a man does not have sixty-four teeth."
Mulla said, "Well, I knew that you would interfere. That is why I said sixty-four teeth! With my one slap all sixty-four teeth of you both will fall out."
Man is like that. You cannot accept your own mistakes. You find reasons and logic to justify your mistakes. Actually it needs great courage to admit one's own mistakes. If you admit the mistakes then gradually the mistakes disappear.
You are in love with a woman - you dream of heaven, you write poetry and you think that you have attained heaven, but in a few days the heaven disappears. You do not realize that it was you who had made a mistake, you think it was the woman who had deceived you. You do not see that your imagination, your conception has broken. You do not realize that your idea, which was like the morning dew, has disappeared. You think that this woman has deceived you, this woman was wrong. So now you will look for another woman. You start looking for a new woman again. You will go on projecting your ideas, and again you will make the same mistake, have the same hangover!
Again the same dream which will again break in a few days.
There is a very old and sweet story in the Mahabharata. The four Pandava brothers were living deep in a forest. One day they lost their way; it was afternoon and they could not find water anywhere.
One of the brothers went in search of water and he came across a lake. But as he bent down to take the water from the lake, a voice said, "Stop! You cannot take the water till you answer my question."
It was a yaksha, a spirit, who possessed the lake.
"What is your question?" asked the Pandava.
The yaksha said, "If you don't answer the question or if you give the wrong answer then you will die immediately. But if the answer is correct then you will get water as well as innumerable presents from me." The question was: What is the greatest truth of man's life? But the answer - whatever the answer was - was not correct, so the first brother fell down and died.
One by one all the four brothers went looking for water and died. In the end Yudhishthira followed them, wondering what had happened to them all. He found all the four dead. Then the yaksha called out, "Be careful! First answer my question, otherwise you will also die like them. You can take water only on one condition - that your answer has to be correct, because my salvation depends on that reply. I will be free the moment I get the correct reply; the bondage of my being a yaksha will break.
The question is: What is the greatest truth of man's life?"
Yudhishthira said, "The greatest truth is that man does not learn from his experiences."
The yaksha got free of the curse. All the four brothers came back to life - the yaksha was so happy to be free that he brought all four of them alive again.
Yes, man never learns from his experiences. He is hardly free from one woman when he starts running after another one. One trouble is over and he is ready for another. He is always running after something or other. After the fulfillment of one desire he will be wanting ten more. He cannot see the illusion of desire. He never realizes his mistake and justifies every one of his mistakes with reason and logic. He makes someone else responsible for his own faults and then happily again indulges in the same mistake.
Making the other one responsible for your mistake is preparing to repeat it again and again.
Whenever you make the other responsible for your mistake you are refusing your own responsibility.
That responsibility could have awakened you, because in that moment of responsibility you could have realized that you were making a mistake.
There is no fault in any woman or in any man; fault is in the desire or imagination which you projected on that man or woman. That desire is transient, that desire will break. Just think, how long can you keep a thought in your mind? Even the morning star remains for some time, even the dewdrop remains for some time. But how long can you hold a thought? It is there for a second and it disappears. Even if you try to hold it, it is gone. You cannot catch it in your fist. Even if you run after it you cannot find it. It comes and goes like a whiff of a breeze. The life that you live in this world on the basis of such a mind is transient. Do not think that the world is transient, it is only a way of speaking. The world is not transient. The world was when you were not and it will remain when you will not be. The world is eternal. But the world that you make on the basis of your mind is transient.
In fact, that world does not exist, only godliness exists.
These pictures of your own desires which you make on the screen of existence, these pictures are the world, and that world is full of misery. Every day you get misery but you go on hoping for the happiness which tomorrow will bring. Many times you fall down but you stand up again. Many times life says that you will never get what you are looking for, but you always find some excuse or the other saying that now you will not repeat the same mistake again; no longer will you commit the same mistake.
I have heard that one prisoner was released from the prison. He was there for the thirteenth time.
The jailer felt pity for him - half of his life was spent in the prison - so while setting him free the jailer told him, "Be sensible now and do not come to the prison again."
The prisoner replied, "Every time I try not to come here but I come again and again. But this time I will not come back."
The jailer said, "I am happy to hear this."
The prisoner said, "From your happiness it seems that you have not understood. I am saying that now I will not make those mistakes that allowed me to be caught. I am not saying that I will not steal - but I will not repeat the old mistakes which were the cause of my getting caught. I will not repeat the mistakes which I made thirteen times. I will steal but now there will be no blunder on my part."
Really, stealing is not the mistake; the mistake is in being caught! The people who are sent to prisons come back as hardened criminals because there they meet even greater criminals. They learn all the tricks from them; they gain from their experience, they get trained by them and then again indulge in crime.
It seems that stealing is not the wrong thing, the wrong thing is in being caught. Yes, just think over it: if you are sure of not being caught then will you steal or not? Your mind will say, "Why not?
Stealing is not bad but being caught is bad." You will be in misery if you go on thinking this way.
Because actually misery is not in being caught but in being a thief; misery is in stealing and not in being caught.
If you could see that misery is in my wrong-being, then you will realize that misery is because of my being wrong. This is the meaning of the theory of karma. It means that if you are in misery it is because of your own actions, and if you are happy it is because of your own actions.
If you want bliss then you have to go beyond actions - where there is no happiness and no misery, you are beyond both. There, there is utmost peace and your inner balance is absolutely correct, just as when both sides of the scale are even they stand in one line. Similarly, when you have the capacity to go beyond happiness and misery, then you gain the ultimate bliss.
Religion is not trying to make you unattached to the world by calling it transient. By calling it transient is meant: Do not get lost in happiness; anguish is fast following it. As soon as happiness comes, misery enters from the other door and you are bound to meet misery sooner or later.
The attraction is to the transient, not to misery. If you are able to see misery behind every happiness then a revolution will occur. You will try to be free of not only misery but also of happiness. If every pleasure is definitely followed by misery then one has to be free of pleasure as well as of misery .
This is the difference between a sannyasin and a householder. The householder wants to be free of misery and wants to hold on to pleasure. The sannyasin has understood that every pleasure is followed by misery. He wants to be free of misery and pleasure both. And whosoever wants to be free of both can certainly be free of them, but whosoever wants to be free of only one of them cannot be free of it. It is just like if you have a coin in your hand, and you want to get rid of its one side and keep the other. That is not possible. Either the whole of the coin with both sides is kept or you lose the whole of the coin. Either happiness and misery both will disappear or both will remain. If this kind of clarity comes into your life only then will there be nonattachment, only then will there be sannyas.
The third question:
It appears like murder to you, but not to him. You see it as murder because you are under illusion.
He saw only the divine in that spear; he saw that the death was a meeting with the divine. Existence protected him in the sense that even death did not seem like death to him. Death became the door of the ultimate bliss. To you it seems that he died, he was finished.
When the Ganges flows into the sea, to you it seems that it is finished. But ask the Ganges: it will say, "I have disappeared and thus become the sea." The Ganges will say, "The fear of annihilation was there before but now it has disappeared. Before this I was very narrow, bounded by the two banks. I could have been finished. I was limited so I could have died. But now I have become unlimited, now there is no death." The Ganges has become the sea.
Ask that sannyasin: he saw godliness even in that soldier, even in that murderer. Even in that spear he saw the arrow of the divine piercing his heart. It seems death to you but not to that sannyasin.
He attained the ultimate life.
You have asked, "You have said that when the ego surrenders then the whole existence protects."
Really, it will not protect you, and if you try to surrender yourself to get this protection then this surrender will not be true, it will not be real. Surrender means that there is nobody left in me who can be protected.
If you think, "Existence will protect me so I will surrender," then you are not surrendering at all, you are only appointing the divine in your service. Surrender means, now I am not, only you are; now there is no question of my protection. Now you are just a plain sky, an empty house. There is nothing left to be finished. I finished myself long before you. The meaning of surrender is, I am finished; now there is no need for you to finish me. I will not give you that trouble, I will do it myself.
The actual meaning of surrender is suicide. The suicide which you think of as suicide is only the killing of the body. The soul does not die, only the body dies and a new body is acquired. But actually, surrender is suicide. You destroy your ego. You tell it, "Now I am not, only you are." Now there is no question of your protection. Now who are you? Whose protection do you want? And when you do not exist, only then the whole existence protects you. Now there is no fun in annihilating you - what is the point? When you annihilate yourself, death becomes meaningless.
When the spear pierced the chest of the sannyasin, the soldier must have thought that he had killed him. It must have appeared to the onlookers also that he had died, but ask that sannyasin: he announced, "Tattvamasi - you are also that." He said, "You may come in any form but you cannot deceive me, I will recognize you. Today you have come with a spear and played the drama of death but I recognize you, I am looking at you. You may come in the garb of an enemy or in the garb of a friend - I will recognize you in every situation."
The sannyasin did not die. His Ganges had become the sea.
But I understand your difficulty. Even when you do right things you do them for the wrong reasons; your reasons are not right. Even if you go to the temple it is for the wrong reason. Someone goes there asking for a job, someone goes there asking for money, someone goes asking for a wife and someone goes asking for a son. You do not realize that you never step out of the market. Is this the way to go to the temple? You are taking the whole of the market with you to the temple. If you are like this, then the temple cannot purify you, you will pollute the temple.
The temple is not a place, it is a state of mind. There can be no temple as long as there is a demand.
You go on asking for such petty things which are available in the market - as if it is a supermarket.
You couldn't get these things in the shops, so you want to get them in the temple. You couldn't get them in this world, so you will get them in heaven! But why do you ask?
Only that person can reach the temple who has understood that asking for anything is in vain, who has understood that by asking one does not get anything except misery; who has understood that in spite of all efforts the beggar's bowl remains empty - it is never full.
Only that person reaches the temple who goes there not for asking but for thanking. The day you are full of gratitude - flowers blossom and you are thankful, it rains from the clouds and you are thankful, a child shouts with joy and you are thankful, even your breathing, your being is so peaceful that you feel thankful - this state of gratitude, this feeling of thankfulness which is within you day and night is actually the song of the divine. There is no need of chanting: one does not become devotional by chanting. Devotion is the continuous inner state of mind. The day you realize that existence has given you more than you deserved, will you go to thank him or ask him for more? You have not even earned what you have got. He has showered his grace on you, he is in abundance so he has distributed it, but he has not given it to you because you deserved it.
People ask me, "Why did God create the world?" They think that this creation must be out of some desire, because we do not make anything without desire. Even an ordinary man has a reason for making a small house. So why has God made this whole world?
And it is not that only ordinary people think like this. Somebody had asked the great German musician Wagner, "Why did you create such wonderful music?"
He replied, "I was unhappy. So to keep myself occupied, involved, I created this music." And Wagner said, "I say to you that God also must have been unhappy so he created this world." What Wagner is saying is true about man. Man writes poetry to cover up his wounds; to hide his tears he sings, he smiles so that he does not cry; he walks merrily on the road because his inner poverty hurts him.
Others should not know your inner poverty, so to deceive them you smile. When anyone asks you, "How are you?" you answer, "I am fine, I am happy." Have you ever thought over what you are saying?
You, and happy? But of course you have to say this, otherwise it does not look nice. To say this is only a formality. Truth is not to be uttered. Only those words are said which are appropriate and not the truth.
Everyone has different masks on his face and he is hiding the deep anguish and hell behind them.
A thousand and one things have to be done to forget that hell. Someone paints... look at Picasso's paintings. It seems as if anguish and misery are spread all over. There is a very famous painting by Picasso named 'Guernica'. It is nothing but madness spread out. You will go mad if you keep looking at it for half an hour.
Wagner is right in saying this about man - that man is in misery, that is why he creates. But this is absolutely wrong regarding existence. The world was not created for any reason. That is why we in this country call creation leela. Leela means without any reason; leela means play; leela means that the energy is so much! - what else to do? The bliss is so much that it is overflowing, so it has to be distributed. There is so much water in the lake that it is overflowing - not because of any reason, only because it is too much so it has to be distributed. When the flower is full of fragrance, it opens and the fragrance flows out. In the same way godliness flows in this world: he has so much in abundance, he has so much surplus that there is no other way but to distribute it.
Creation is bliss and not anguish, but you are miserly even in giving thanks. He has flowed so much in you, he has given you doors of such unique possibilities - he has given you eyes so that you can see beauty; he has given you ears so that you can hear music; he has given you hands so that you can feel the touch of life; he has given you mind so that you can understand; he has given you heart so that you can be overjoyed; he has given you life so that your life can become a big festival. But you are miserly even in giving thanks. When you go to the temple you do not even say, "You have given me so much without any reason. If you had not given, we could not have complained even if you had not created us. In which court could we have complained about you not creating us? What you have given us is too much. We did not deserve it."
The meaning of prayer, the meaning of Bhaj Govindam, singing the song of the divine, is that you are singing out of your happiness. You are saying, "You have given us too much and it will be discourtesy on our part if we cannot even thank you."
But whenever you go to the temple you go to complain: "My son is ill, why hasn't he recovered yet?
My son is not employed, are all our prayers and devotion in vain? Why don't you hear anything - are you deaf?"
Whenever you go to the temple you go to complain. Going with a complaint means that you have never entered the temple, you remained outside the temple. If you are asking for something then you cannot go into the temple. Only those go in who go there to thank. Even your surrender is with the motive of asking for protection. Who are you, that you need protection? You want to make even the divine your bodyguard. You want him to stand near you with a gun to guard you.
Surrender means, I have nothing worth saving in me; I surrender my emptiness at your feet. And while surrendering you do not feel that you are doing something great. You simply return to existence what he had given to you: "Your gift is returned to you."
But what else do you do? You must be returning it after making it a little dirtier. There are very few blessed people like Kabir who are able to say that they have returned the sheet just as clean as it was. It is certainly very difficult to keep the sheet clean, because it always gets a little stained. So when you offer yourself at the feet of the divine, you do not do so with the hope that he will be made happy by this act and will be thankful and grateful to you. In fact you will feel sorry for making the sheet dirty; you will feel bad for not returning only what he gave you. You will say, "I am not even returning just what you gave me, I could not add anything to it, I could not fill that sheet with pearls and diamonds." In that moment the whole existence protects you.
Do not surrender to seek protection. The essential result of surrender is protection.
The fourth question:
"There is such an intense emptiness within me that I seem worse than dust in my own eyes."
If emptiness becomes so intense then you will not be conscious of your being. Then you will not be able to say that emptiness has become intense within me; you will only say "emptiness has occurred." You will not be able to say "within me," because as long as you are, emptiness cannot be.
You are full of yourself.
And you say that you feel even more frivolous than dust in your own eyes. Who told you that dust is insignificant? Who taught you this condemnation? You are made out of this dust and eventually you will go into this dust, and you say that dust is insignificant.
Man's ego is wonderful! Just because dust remains under his feet he thinks it is insignificant. But this very dust is your heart and your mind. Every particle of your body is made of this dust. Earth is the mother. You came out of it and you will go back to it.
"More frivolous than dust" - this language of 'great' and 'frivolous' is the language of the ego. The day you become empty you will see the divine in every particle of dust and no longer will it seem insignificant to you. Then nothing will be insignificant because he is great, he is present everywhere and in everything and in every way. Then you will kiss even the dust and you will see his feet there.
Dust is insignificant? This is your ego speaking. There is no emptiness within you yet. You have only thought about it. Man is very clever in thinking. If one becomes empty then there is nothing left to be done.
And you are asking "when there is no capability left...." What kind of capability can there be? To attain the divine the question of capability does not arise. If capability is needed for the attainment of godliness then it is like getting a government job. Then Kabir could have never got it; he was illiterate and did not possess any certificate. Even Mohammed could not have got it; he could not read or write.
When Mohammed heard the echo of God for the first time he got nervous. He started shivering and got a fever, because he thought, "How can God shower on me? Impossible! There are so many capable people in this world, how can he choose me? Impossible! I must be under some illusion."
Just then a voice echoed, "Read." Mohammed said, "Now this is sheer madness. I am not literate."
He came home, covered himself with a blanket and went off to sleep.
His wife asked him, "What happened? When you went from here in the morning you were all right."
He said, "I am under the illusion that God's voice has spoken to me. But it cannot be - I have no capability."
But this was the capability. As long as you think that you are capable, you are incapable. Until then the obstacle is there, until then the ego is there. Capability means ego. You are standing in front of the temple and not in front of the employment exchange. Here certificates will be of no use. In fact the more the certificates, the more difficult it will be to enter the temple. Only incapable ones can enter there.
You must understand properly what I am saying, because you are under so much illusion that you can make even incapability out to be capability. You will say, "I am incapable, why has God not met me yet?" You can make incapability seem like capability. No, the meaning of denying capability is that you cannot claim the divine; you cannot ask him why you have not been able to attain him yet.
Any claim is ego. If you do not attain him, you know that there is no reason for you to attain him. But if you attain him then you will dance out of gratitude - that you attained him without any reason, just by his grace.
Capability means that you have confidence in yourself and not in the divine. Capability means that you are ready to buy him also. Capability means that you are saying that I have acquired all the virtues, so why is there this delay? I have prayed, I have worshipped, I have lit so many earthen lamps, burned so many incense sticks, offered so many flowers at your feet. I have fasted, meditated and undergone a lot of austerity. I have done all this but you have not come yet. Through these words your ego is announcing, "I have earned him and he is being unfair to me. You are coming to other people who have done nothing. You have come to those who had no claim on you and you did not come to me." This very claim is the obstacle.
Only those people have attained godliness who have given up all claims. They say, "We are very insignificant, very small, so whatever we will do will be insignificant, very ordinary; we are ordinary.
We can't attain by doing anything or by our own efforts - our doing is like trying to grasp the sky in the hand. Such a vast sky and such a small fist!"
It is so ridiculous: you can attain godliness only when you accept your uselessness and helplessness in its totality. Then you become an empty vessel which does not make any claim. Only that person can attain godliness who is not harassing the divine to come to him and just goes on waiting. Even to say that you must come to me is egoistic.
You write, "And when there is no capability left I cannot believe...."
If there is no capability, belief will emerge at that very moment. Even now there is some capability.
Actually you are thinking that your so-called intense emptiness is your capability. You say that you have become more insignificant than dust; you think this is your capability. Now you are waiting for him and if he does not come to you, you think he is being unfair to you. "I have done so much, still you have not come. It is too much!"
Remember, the divine dawns in your emptiness. That is the condition. When you are totally empty then there will be no delay. As soon as you become empty the divine appears. These two things happen simultaneously.
So what you think to be emptiness is just a thought of your mind. Beware of the mind's tricks. Mind is very cunning, very efficient, very calculating. It does everything with full calculations and keeps account of everything - even of religion. Beware of this mind.
It is this mind which is saying, "I am neither here nor there." Well, what is the need of being either here or there? What is wrong in being in the middle? But you think that you have neither gained the divine nor this world. I have understood your meaning. The ambition of attaining this world is still suppressed in you, therefore you are neither here nor there. Otherwise the freedom exists in the middle. What difference does it make to the laundryman's donkey whether he is tied up at home or at the river side? In fact there is some freedom in between: he can run away from there because the washerman is at home at both places.
The mind says that if the time devoted to meditation could have been utilized in doing business, then some money could have been earned, or "I would have become a leader by contesting an election.
The whole world is busy doing something or the other and I am doing meditation! I am not attaining the divine and am losing the world as well."
This thought arises only because you still have attachment to this world. Therefore it will be better if you go back to the marketplace because your sannyas will not be real and your meditation also cannot be real. Your attraction to money is still there. You are only curious about meditation. You are not thirsty, you are not a seeker yet.
That is why I say that you had better return to the marketplace instead of sitting and thinking that existence is being unfair to you. Perhaps it is not the right time yet; you are not ripe yet. You are raw. To become ripe, mature, you will have to undergo a lot of misery and anguish. You have not suffered much yet.
When a person has suffered all his life, when he has experienced only unhappiness in life, then he arrives at the conclusion that there is nothing worth gaining in this world. Then he says, "Now it does not matter whether I find the divine or not, but one thing is clear, that I will not get anything out of this world. Regarding the attainment of godliness, it does not matter now and the question of returning to the world does not arise - that gate is closed, that bridge is broken, that ladder has been thrown down so the question of climbing down does not arise.
The fifth question:
So that you may become ripe, mature... I do not want to break you off from the world. I want to make you free of this world.
To break off and to be free are two different things. Breaking off is like plucking the raw fruit and to be free is like the falling of the ripe fruit. Outwardly these look alike because in both of them the fruit separates from the tree, but there is a basic difference between them. When a raw fruit is plucked, the pain of being plucked remains in the fruit and a wound is left in the tree also. There is no need to pluck the ripe fruit; the ripe fruit falls down by itself without any pain, without any yearning to be with the tree for a little more time. When the fruit ripens the work of the tree is complete so there is no pain left in the tree. A ripe fruit forgets the tree absolutely, it does not look back. And after the fall of the fruit the tree also becomes lighter, it is not wounded.
I do not want to break you away from this world because whosoever is deliberately plucked from this world remains attached to the world. You are to be free of this world and you are not be be plucked from it. And where can you go after a forcible breaking away? You have your wife, children, family, a shop. Even if you leave them, where will you go? You may go anywhere, but if the shopkeeper remains in your mind then you will open a new shop! It will not make any difference.
If the attraction for women remains in the mind then running away from your wife is not going to help you; some other woman will attract you. If you are interested in money, giving it up will not make any difference. You will start collecting coins in some other sense - maybe this time the coins are of renunciation and austerity, but coins are coins. You will start amassing the other kind of wealth. First you used to announce about the amount of money you possessed. Now you will announce about how much you have renounced. Your vanity will remain just the same. I want to free you from the world; I do not want to break you off from it. In this commune I am trying to make you free to live.
If you can be free while living in this life then that is real freedom. You walk in water, but your feet should not get wet. You should become like the lotus leaf: you may touch the water but the water will not touch you. You live in the water but you are free from it.
The ultimate conception of sannyas is: sannyas is not nonattachment, vairagya, as the opposite of attachment, raga. Sannyas is beyond attachment and nonattachment. It is veetragata, beyond both attachment and nonattachment.
The sannyas about which Shankaracharya is talking is nonattachment. But the sannyas about which I am talking to you is veetragata, beyond attachment and nonattachment. Shankara's sannyas will not take you very far. After Shankara's sannyas, you will still have to search for the sannyas I am talking about. Shankara's sannyas can be the beginning of the journey, not the end. What I am telling you is the end.
I do not tell you to run away from a woman; I say, "Wake up from the attachment to women." I do not say, "Give up money"; I say, "Understand money." In that understanding is freedom.
Money is not holding you, you are holding it. It is your inner condition, it is your attraction. You can be free of this attraction only when the experience of life will tell you that this is useless. If you do not learn from the experience of life then you may go on thinking in your mind, "It is useless, what is there in the world?" But deep down somewhere in the mind you will think, "Who knows, there may be something worthwhile in this world and I left it. I might have made a mistake."
Many sannyasins have been coming to me - some as old as seventy or eighty years. They say, "Sometimes we wonder if we have wasted our lives because we have not attained the divine and we gave up the world also." So now this doubt wavers in the mind.
This doubt arises because you ran away from the world when you were still attracted towards it. You did not leave the world because of your own experience, you left it because you were influenced by somebody.
When people like Shankaracharya and Buddha are in this world their influence is unlimited, their influence is all pervasive. Like magnets they attract thousands of people. Their life is beyond attachment and nonattachment.
They are quite right when they say, "This world is meaningless; there is no meaning in man, in woman or in children."
They are like the ripe fruits on the tree. But by listening to their words the raw fruits start thinking that since there is no meaning, let us give up this world. They break away from the tree, then the doubt arises because they do not have even the fragrance of the ripe fruit. The ripe fruit has a fragrance, its own smell; even that they don't have and they have already broken away from the tree. They have neither related to the earth nor connected with the sky. They are hanging in between.
This was exactly the meaning of the previous question: "I am neither here nor there, I am hanging in between." This hanging in the middle is a very miserable condition. That is why I tell you that there is no need to run away from anything. Wake up wherever you are. Forget about leaving the world; call the divine, ask him to come, and let him appear in your innermost space. As soon as his rays start penetrating you, you will begin to become ripe. The sun ripens the fruits, existence ripens you.
And do not run away from life, because if existence has given you life there must be some reason for it. It is not a coincidence. There is total planning behind this, because nobody can be free without going through the experience of life.
There is a great statement in the Upanishads which says: Ten tyakten bhunjeetha. I have not found a more revolutionary sentence than this in any scripture of the world. It is a unique statement. It has two meanings. The first meaning is: only those experienced who renounced. The second meaning is: only those renounced who experienced. Both meanings are very valuable; both meanings are actually like the two sides of a coin. Only those renounced who experienced - how can you renounce unless you experience it? The understanding of renunciation can come only by going through the experience. The lotus of renunciation can bloom only out of the mind of experience, there is no other way. So do not denounce the experience of pleasure, because the lotus will grow out of it. Do not condemn experience, do not run away from the mud, otherwise you will remain without the lotus.
And how different is the lotus from the mud!
Godliness will arise in you, the lotus will blossom. How different the divine is from you! Even where you are living with your wife, your children, the shop, the market, one day all of a sudden the divine nectar will start flowing in you. All that you have to do for his nectar is to make yourself empty. When you receive diamonds and precious stones then you will automatically throw away the pebbles and the rocks. Do not insist on renouncing, insist on receiving. But of course it is not certain that you will get diamonds and precious stones just by throwing away the dirt and pebbles. But one thing is sure, that after getting diamonds and precious stones nobody hoards dirt; it is given up automatically. And that giving up has a beauty of its own, it has a different music. Why? - because when you give up without knowing that you are giving it up, then no imprint of the giving up is left - then there is no claim of renunciation.
Every morning you sweep the house and throw the garbage away outside. Do you inform the newspapers that you have renounced so much rubbish today? If you do, then people will laugh at you. They will think that you have gone mad. If it is rubbish, then throwing it away does not mean renunciation. And if it was not garbage, then why did you renounce it?
When you announce your renunciation, you are actually saying that I had money but I renounced it under the influence of someone. You were not ready yet, you were not ripe yet; you were still raw and you took the step in a hurry. No one ever becomes transformed through hurry. I do not want you to hurry at all. If you have an attraction for women, then go through that experience. Indulge in it thoroughly. Ten tyakten bhunjeetha - renunciation will be born out of that indulgence. When you go on indulging and find that you have gained nothing out of it, then you realize that by this indulgence you only get misery, nothing blossoms in life. Then the indulgence has given you the key of renunciation.
Indulgence is not your enemy, it is your friend. My only condition is that you go through the indulgence with awareness. You should not go on experiencing without learning anything; experience should teach you a lesson. Experience is always worth going through. Even going through hell is useful, if you go through it fully awake, because in that wakefulness you find the path to heaven.
That is why I do not want to cut you off from life at any level. Remain where you are and sow the new seeds of awareness in your heart. That is why my emphasis is not on renunciation but on meditation.
I do not say anything against the world but I say a lot in favor of godliness. Shankaracharya's emphasis is against the world.
The old conception of sannyas was that people should give up the world so that they can attain the divine. My idea is that people should be brought near the divine so that the world can be given up by them.
The last question:
Just understand these words, "My mind is extremely skeptical...."
It may be skeptical but not extremely skeptical, because an extremely skeptical person starts doubting the doubt. That type of doubt has not arisen in you yet. Your doubt is lame, quite impotent.
You have doubted but you have not yet reached the climax of doubt. The climax of doubt is faith...
because when you go on doubting everything, then in the end you start doubting the doubt. You start thinking, "Will I get anything out of this doubt? Has anyone ever gained anything through this doubt?"
When you start doubting the doubt, then it is the extreme of skepticism. But at that moment doubt cuts off the doubt and a virgin faith is born.
You are skeptical but lame; you have not traveled the whole path. If you were not lame you would not have come to me. There was no need to come to me for doubting, the whole world is there for doubting. Actually, you are tired without completing your doubt, and now you want to have faith so you have come to me. But you have come a bit too soon, you should have waited a little longer. Go on doubting a little longer and remember, just as a thorn is taken out by a thorn, in the same way doubt is removed by doubt.
"My mind is extremely skeptical. That is why in spite of all the efforts it does not settle anywhere."
No, it will not settle. Has any skeptical person ever attained renunciation, ever attained meditation or ever realized the divine? No, because a skeptical person cannot do anything. What he does with one hand, he removes with the other hand.
I have heard:
A great thinker joined the army during the first world war. It was a compulsory recruitment where everyone had to go to war, so he also went. But it became a problem because he was a great thinker, a philosopher, and was always doubting. When his commander would order "Left turn," the whole regiment would turn left but he would remain standing as he was, thinking whether he should or should not turn.
His commander asked, "Why do you take such a long time? Are you deaf? All the lines have moved but you remain here!"
He answered, "Excuse me, but I don't do anything without thinking first, and it takes time to think.
First of all the question is: Why turn left? What is the necessity of turning? What is the harm in turning to the right? Just because you have said, "Left turn," why should we turn left? I don't understand the purpose of all this turning left and turning right! What is the use of this parade? In the end we come back to where we were standing before. But I am already standing there! All these people will also come back here after all their left turns and right turns."
He was a famous thinker. So the commander understood that this sort of doubting was his old habit and he would not be of any use in the army, so he was sent to the army kitchen. The very first day he was given some peas and was asked to separate the big ones from the small ones. When the commander came after some time he was sitting lost in thought near the peas - they were just as they were given to him. The commander said, "You couldn't even do this?"
He said, "It is very difficult. There are big peas and small peas, but there are medium ones also.
Where should they be put? I don't start any work until everything is very clear. I was waiting for you to tell me what to do with these medium ones."
This type of personality cannot do anything. He cannot do any work. Every action is full of doubt, which destroys it like poison.
Meditation is the ultimate act. What to say of it, meditation is the last thing. At present you are wavering. When you doubt even about turning left, then turning in is going to be very difficult.
"Since birth I have known only the material."
Your saying this is also wrong. If you really were a doubting person then you could not have said that you have known only the material. Real skeptics say, "No one knows whether matter exists or not." And it is not certain.
I am sitting here and you are listening to me. You may be dreaming: is it definite that I am here and you are sitting there? In your dreams too you have seen people many times so this can also be a dream. And have you ever seen matter? You are hidden behind the brain and matter is outside of the brain. Have you ever taken matter inside the brain? You have never seen matter; only the pictures of matter go into the mind. Do you see the tree there? No, you have never really seen it.
The rays which come out of the tree fall on the eyes; these rays carry a picture inside. Just as a picture is created in a camera, the same way a picture goes into your brain. You have seen only that picture. It is not certain that there is a tree just like that picture. There is no proof; there is no proof that the tree exists outside.
A doubting person cannot even believe in matter, to say nothing of the divine. But I am telling you that it is difficult to know matter but easy to know the divine, because matter is outside and the divine is inside. The divine is near and matter is far away. You yourself are godliness and matter is the world.
The divine is not a thing to be known. He is not an object to be known, he is the knower. You are that; he is your consciousness. The one who is doubting is that godliness. Try to understand this:
if the one who is doubting is the divine, then how can you doubt him? - because the one who is doubting is inside. Even if you doubt he is there... because even for doubting he is needed. If he is not, then who will doubt? Try to understand.
One evening Mulla Nasruddin came home with his friends. When they were sitting in a hotel one of them remarked, "You are a great miser."
Mulla said, "Who says that? I am a charitable person!"
Hearing this the friends said, "Well, if it is so, then you had better invite us home to your house today."
On hearing this Mulla replied, "Yes, come on, let us all go." And a crowd of thirty to thirty-five friends went with him. But by the time he came to his house he had realized his mistake. In the excitement he had forgotten about his wife sitting at home - his wife did not like even one guest coming to their place and here were thirty-five people! So he told his friends, "You are all men with families, you know a man's reality; you must understand my problem. My wife is inside. You had better wait outside and I will go in first, explain to her, then I will call you all inside. He went inside and closed the door, leaving them outside.
His wife lost her temper when she came to know that he had brought so many people with him. She said, "There is no food, no vegetables, nothing to eat. Where were you the whole day? You have not brought the food from the market."
Mulla said, "You had better tell me what to do. It is night time now, even the market is closed. How am I to deal with these people?"
She said, "You have brought this trouble, so now you had better deal with it."
He said, "Go and tell them that Mulla is not at home."
She went out and told them that Mulla was not at home. "How can that be?" they argued, "He came with us. He went inside and we never saw him come out."
Mulla was listening to the arguments and in his enthusiasm he forgot that he was inside. He peeped out of the window and said, "Well, he could have gone out from the back door also."
You cannot deny yourself. Back door or front door, you cannot say that you are not in. If somebody knocks at your door you cannot say, "I am not at home." If you say so, it will mean that you are, because even to deny you, you are needed.
The divine is not a thing, not a commodity. He is not outside you, he is your inner being, your inner nature. He is your innerness. He is your swaroopn, your being. But don't believe this just because I am saying so; that will be dishonesty. You yourself should go in search of him. And you know, yesterday I was reading the words of a poem which I liked:
"Ages passed; I did not even remember you, But it is not that I forgot you."
"Ages passed; I did not even remember you, but it is not that I forgot you." The divine is just like this.
Ages might have passed, you might not have remembered - but you have not forgotten him!
It is only a question of sitting down with peace within you and that is meditation.
The meaning of meditation is: be peaceful within and know the one who knows all. Be conscious of your consciousness.
The divine is not sitting up in the sky. He is surrounding your inner sky. "You are the divine" - this is the announcement. You have to search the essence of this sutra within yourself. You do not have just to believe in me. When you find it, only then you will have faith in me. Your experience will give you the faith. Your faith in me cannot give you the experience.
When you have a little fragrance within you, then you will have faith in me, because then you will be able to understand what I am saying.
"Ages passed, I didn't even remember you, But it is not that I forgot you."
Enough for today.