[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.]
There is a Greek mythological story. There was a very handsome young man named Narcissus who fell in love with a young woman named Echo. This name is worth pondering over. People fall in love with echoes. You always fall in love where you hear your own voice, where your own ego is satisfied, where you find yourself in the hidden form. Your love is nothing but the extension of your ego. Echo also fell in love with him. Echo has to fall in love because she is the echo of your voice. There is no possibility or way of her being separate from you.
But one day a mishap occurred. It had to be so, because mishap is certain in the life of one who gets deceived by echoes - one who falls in love with his own voice.
Narcissus had gone to the forest. There he saw his own reflection in the lake, which was absolutely calm, there was not even a ripple. He was enchanted. In the lake, which was like a mirror, he saw his own face. But he saw it for the first time. It was so lovely! Who does not like his own face?
People love only their own faces. Narcissus became hypnotized; he could not move, he became still. Attachment creates this type of stillness. He was afraid to move lest the reflection break. He just did not move from there. Echo kept on waiting for him. And when Narcissus did not return, love died.
Echo... your voice can echo only if you go on humming. If your humming stops, then for a little while the echo will be heard in the mountains and then it will be lost. Narcissus did not come back.
They say that standing at that lake Narcissus became a plant: there is a plant named Narcissus which is found by lakes, streams and rivers. If you ever come across it you must watch it carefully: it is always looking into the water, it is always looking at its own reflection.
This is a wonderful mythological story. If you become enchanted by yourself then you lose consciousness; then you do not remain a human being, you become a plant. Then the humanity in you disappears, your inner soul is negated, you fall back. A plant has no freedom. Man is free, he can walk. A plant cannot do so, it doesn't have feet, it has roots. Narcissus became a plant - it means that any person who gets caught in the reflections of the ego, his feet become roots, he stops; his pace stops and he loses his freedom of movement.
This happens to almost all people. The Upanishads say that when a man loves his wife, actually it is not the wife whom he loves but through the wife he loves himself. A man does not actually love his children but in the children, through the children, he loves himself. Children are a mirror, the wife is also a mirror. And every man is Narcissus.
The doors of the ultimate freedom cannot open with this kind of mental condition of man; in fact it finishes whatever little freedom he has. You should have had wings so that you could fly towards the divine - but you lost even your feet!
Do you understand the bondage of the tree? It cannot move. It has to stand wherever it is, it cannot move even an inch from where it is standing. It is helpless, it has no freedom to move.
Man can move, he can walk. A bird can fly. But there is a limit to the movement of the body; at a certain point it gets tired, and that tiredness will become the bondage. And even if a bird is able to fly for miles, you cannot measure the sky in miles. It will get tired - there is a limit to the body. And freedom can be freedom only when it is unlimited. The freedom of the soul is needed. When the soul has wings and it can fly without any limit, without any obstacle, without any chains, then that is moksha, liberation.
The search is for this moksha. Your search for happiness is actually the search for moksha. That is why every happiness of yours becomes a misery, because when you find that instead of liberation you got bondage, then the happiness does not appear like happiness. When you are in search of money, even that is for moksha. You think that with money you will get a little freedom, you will be able to move about a little. The poor man's sky is small; a rich man's sky seems to be a little bigger, more convenient. But when you get money you find that your space, your sky, has become even smaller than the poor man's sky. The money has not given you any freedom, it has become a bondage. Now you cannot even give it up.
There are stories about wealthy people, that after their death they become serpents and they guard their treasures. It is not necessary to know what happens after their death because the fact is that even when they are alive they guard their wealth like serpents. Those who have money are always afraid of losing it, they are always guarding it. They do not enjoy it. They are not even the masters of their money; they are just guarding it. Very seldom does one come across a wealthy man who is really the master of his wealth. A poor man may be the master of his poverty, but the rich man is not the master of his money.
If you watch carefully you will find that man wants money for freedom, he wants position for freedom.
If you have position, power, capacity, then you will be able to break away from a few bondages and you will be able to enter a little into the unknown and the unknowable.
Man wants freedom from every side. Deep down in the consciousness of man the yearning is only for moksha. That is why every type of bondage makes him restless. Even when you fall in love you do so in the hope that this love will become a sky, that you will be able to fly. You hope to get somebody's support in attaining freedom. But when you fall in love you find that, never mind about flying, you cannot even move. You expected to get support from the other but the other, the lover, finished all your freedom, and thus love became a bondage. Freedom is only in dreams, and in reality love is only bondage.
The Prophet is a unique book by Kahlil Gibran. In it a person asks, "Speak to us of love." And the hero of this book, Al Mustafa, says, "Love each other but do not possess each other. Be near each other but not too near. You should be like the pillars of a temple which hold the same roof and yet remain far from each other. If the pillars of the temple come nearer, then the roof will fall down. Keep a little distance from the lover so that there can be some free space between the two. If this empty space is absolutely lost then you will be trespassing on each other, attacking each other."
But all these things are written in books. In real life we take away all the freedom from the person we love because we are afraid that his love may turn somewhere else: somebody else may become the possessor of the love which I have. We are always afraid of losing whatever we have. If we have money, then we are afraid of losing money. If we have love, then we are afraid of losing love.
Because of this fear, freedom becomes impossible.
The flower of freedom blossoms only in a state of fearlessness. The only yearning one has is for freedom. Everyone's inner search is for liberation.
Wherever you get this freedom, you will be overjoyed. You will become sad whenever you feel the bondage. If you are sad then the reason is very clear: you wanted freedom but got chains. You wanted the sky but got a prison, you wanted wings for flying but even the feet were cut off, you wanted ultimate freedom and you staked and lost everything you had for it. There is no chance of getting what you hoped for. That is why you are sad.
The meaning of the word god can only be moksha. That is why the great enlightened people have not used the word god. Mahavira talks about moksha and not about God, because there are many illusions with the word god and even the word has created prisons. Buddha also talks about nirvana and not about God, because even the word god has created new bondages - of being a Hindu, a Muslim or a Christian. A Hindu is tied down to being a Hindu, a Mohammedan is tied down to being a Mohammedan. Somebody is tied to a temple and somebody is tied to a mosque.
Religion is the ultimate freedom. That is why there cannot be any temple or mosque of religion. The day you become really religious you will see the divine in the temple as well as in the mosque. Then sometimes you will pray in the temple and sometimes in the mosque. Actually, there will be no need for you to go to the temple or the mosque; you will be able to see the divine in your own house, you will see him everywhere.
You can understand this last sutra of Shankara only if you keep in mind that religion is the ultimate freedom.
DROPPING SEX, ANGER, GREED AND ATTACHMENT, MEDITATE UPON YOURSELF.
Sex, anger, greed and attachment, these are the four bondages which keep your moksha, your freedom, suppressed. The base of all these four is sex, because sex creates attachment, attachment creates greed, and anger is born towards the person who creates an obstacle to our greed. The basic disease is sex.
You must understand the meaning of sex. The meaning of sex is the hope of getting happiness from the other. Sex means that my happiness is outside myself. And meditation means that my happiness is within me.
The journey will become very easy if you understand these two definitions properly. The meaning of sex is that my happiness is outside of me, in someone else; if the other gives then I can get it. I cannot find the happiness alone; it is miserable to be alone and it is a pleasure to be in the company of the other. That is why you do not want to be alone. You are afraid to be alone. You feel uncomfortable when you are alone even for a short time. As soon as you are alone you start throwing into yourself all types of garbage. You will start reading the newspaper all over again - you will not mind if you have read the same paper three or four times! Or you will switch on the radio so that there can be some noise to save you from being alone. Or you will play cards, or you will run to a hotel or a club - anywhere, anyhow.
A young man came to me three days ago and said that because he is meditating his fear of being alone is increasing, and sometimes he just runs out of the house and goes to the bazaar, and by being in the crowd of the bazaar he gets the feeling of relief that he is not alone. He comes home feeling reassured.
You say that you are very busy, but most of the busyness of your life is not necessary; that time can be utilized for your rest. It is not that work is very important, but you feel lost without work.
In the West the psychologists have a new worry. For the first time in the history of mankind this worry is troubling people. The worry is that by the end of this century, in the Western countries like America and Sweden, when all the work will be done by robots, man will have a lot of free time. So the psychologists are worried about what man will do in his free time, because as yet man does not have the ability to be empty or sit quietly. Just think of the situation: all the work is being done by the machines and there is no work for you!
Now you say that there is too much work and you want to have some free time for your rest, although even now when you have free time you do not rest; you just cannot spend the Sunday holiday sitting at home so you go on a picnic. On Sunday you get bored and you start thinking of Monday, you wait eagerly for Monday, so that you can start your work again.
But if your whole life becomes a Sunday holiday, will you be able to tolerate that much rest and peace? No, you will find ways and means to keep yourself involved and occupied.
Psychologists say that we will have to find such types of work which may not be of any utility but which will be given to people who cannot sit idle. And a unique idea has come to their minds. The government will give money to the people who are ready to sit idle; it will pay you for sitting idle! But those who work will not get pay, because two things cannot be given at the same time - work and pay.
It seems very strange to us now, but the Western countries are getting nearer to this point. The Eastern countries just cannot imagine this as there is so much poverty, so much conflict, in these countries. But at the close of this century the people who are ready to sit idle will be called gentlemen and those who are not ready to do so will be called non-gentlemen.
But only that person can sit idle who has tasted meditation. That is why in the West people are now keenly interested in meditation. They are very eager to know about it. Nothing happens without reason; whenever anything is going to happen the consciousness becomes eager about it.
It is not by chance that people from faraway Western countries are coming to me. They have an acute desire to know the happiness of being with oneself - because one does not find, one cannot find happiness by being with the other. It is always miserable to be with the other. But the problem is that we do not know the art of being alone. That is why we go on tolerating the hell which the other is making us suffer. And there is no way out, because to be alone is absolutely intolerable, more hellish. So we prefer to be with the hell of the other rather than suffer the hell of being alone.
At least we can talk a little with the other - never mind if it turns out to be a quarrel.
Have you ever thought about it? If you are left alone, you think that it is better to be in the company of the enemy than to be left with oneself. You can fight with the enemy, you can abuse him and feel a little lively. But you can do nothing when you are alone; you just sit like a dead person. One must do something. Then people start pottering around in the room.
I used to travel a lot by train. Very often I used to be left alone with another passenger in the compartment, so I used to watch what the other person was doing. I would not talk to him, because if I talked his reality would not be revealed.
He would make attempts to converse with me by asking, "Where are you going?" I would reply in monosyllables and close my eyes. When he could understand that he was incapable of making a conversation with this man, then his real self would be revealed. I would watch him quietly. He would open his suitcase, then close it, again arrange it properly; he would open the window, then close it, and feel very restless. He would start the fan and then put it off. He would go out and bring tea. He would get down at every station and buy some snacks, or he would call the servant and talk to him.
But I understand his restlessness. He is unable to tolerate the aloneness of twenty-four hours in the train. He just cannot relax in these twenty-four hours, although he would claim that he cannot even get a minute's time for meditation because he is very busy.
If a man becomes absolutely peaceful, absolutely empty for twenty-four hours, he will surely become a Mahavira. In fact, twenty-four hours is too much time because Mahavira has said that if a person becomes absolutely empty for forty-eight minutes he will become enlightened. Just forty-eight minutes, not even one full hour! I am saying twenty-four hours so that the Jainas are not angry with me. Mahavira has said that if a man becomes empty just for forty-eight minutes, that is sufficient.
Just forty-eight minutes, not even an hour. The fact is that you cannot be peaceful even for forty-eight seconds. You yourself will create many disturbances.
Sex means happiness in the other. One never gets it, and that is the idiocy of man. There is certainly some reason for Shankara to call you an idiot; he says it after a lot of contemplation. You go on hoping against hope and you know it. You go on trying to extract oil from sand. If you did not know this it means you were ignorant, and an ignorant person can be excused. But an idiot cannot be excused. A person who goes on hoping against hope is certainly an idiot. He knows that oil cannot be extracted out of sand yet he goes on trying because he cannot sit idle.
Just look at your life carefully. Really, you are idiotic! Just think: how many times have you had the urge for sex? How many times have you indulged in sex? Have you ever been satisfied? Have you ever been happy? But you are afraid of even thinking about these facts. You are just keeping yourself involved in this way to pass your life away. You will feel lost without it. So you carry on this game, and the name of this game is sex. In fact this is the only game; this is the whole world. You are too much entangled, too involved in it. You know that this path will not take you anywhere - it has never taken anyone anywhere - yet the mind goes on deceiving you by saying, "It might not have taken me anywhere until now but tomorrow it may take me somewhere. I may prove to be the exception." Everyone thinks like this.
It is said that there is a very famous proverb in Arabia that whenever God creates anyone he whispers in his ear, out of fun, "I have made you very special, you are an exception. The rest of the people are very ordinary but you are extraordinary." That is why each person thinks that he is unique. "The others are just ordinary people but I am special!"
Because of this joke of God each one of you has this idea of being unique. You do not tell it to the other person, but the other person also thinks in the same way. And without saying anything, you try to tell the other about this: the other one also tries to tell you without saying anything. And those who say it loudly are put into mental asylums. But each one has the illusion that he is an exception.
Buddhas have said that after searching all the deserts of sex, no oasis of happiness could be found.
Mahavira has said the same thing. Shankara says, in spite of the long journey, no oasis, not even the shadow of a date tree could be found. A date tree hardly has any shadow, but even that could not be found. But you go on thinking that the others may have missed it; they might not have been able to find it, they may not know its location or they may not have been sensible enough to get a map, and since they did not get it they go on saying that it is impossible to find. Or, they may be thinking, "It doesn't exist and I didn't want it anyway."
You are always under such illusions and hence you will never be able to get rid of sex. And if you do not wake up from sex, you cannot be aware of the divine. Only he who is able to wake up from sex can become aware of the divine. It is no use chanting the name of the divine, because if the mind is full of sex then your chanting itself will be polluted.
When the mind is empty of sex then there is no need to chant; then the call will arise on its own, your every fiber will be calling out to the divine - this is not something which you can do yourself.
This is not something which needs the support of your throat or of your lips or of your tongue. This will be possible only when sex disappears from your being. Suddenly you will find a perfume arising from your being. When the energy being used in sex is freed it turns towards the divine.
Sex means the false hope of happiness in the other.
The divine means to find the happiness within oneself.
And that is the only place of happiness. Everyone who has lost happiness has lost it in the same manner as you lost it. That is why Shankara says, "Oh idiot! Wake up!" But it is very difficult to see the idiot in oneself.
A play was being staged in the village of Mulla Nasruddin. They needed a fool in the play, so they chose a political leader for this role. This leader was a big fool; if he had not been a fool he could not have been a leader! Anyone with a little bit of sense does not like to be a leader, because people throw shoes and rotten tomatoes at them, curse them, abuse them. But a leader does not mind all these things; he is only worried about remaining in the chair. This leader was also the same type, so the people requested him to play this role.
The leader asked Mulla Nasruddin's advice in acting this role efficiently.
Nasruddin looked at him from top to toe and said, "Please go on the stage as you are. There is no need to make any change."
The leader was very annoyed. He said, "I know that you go on spreading the rumor in the village that I am the number one fool. Now you have said it to me."
Nasruddin protested vehemently, saying, "I might have called you a fool but I did not say that you are a number one fool. I know that you will never miss being first, even if it means being the number one fool!"
Really the leaders are always trying to be number one!
You are quite blind. You cannot see what the whole world is seeing. What sort of idiocy is this that you go on desiring again and again the same experiences which you have had a thousand times and still haven't found happiness? When will you wake up?
One who is asleep in sex is really asleep, and one who has awakened from sex is really awake. And the journey of meditation starts only when you wake up from sex, because meditation means that happiness is within oneself. Admit defeat in the other. You have searched enough in the other; now repent it and return home.
DROPPING SEX, ANGER, GREED AND ATTACHMENT, MEDITATE UPON YOURSELF.
Shankara is deliberately saying that you can meditate on yourself only when you give up these four.
If sex is given up, if the hope of getting happiness from the other is over, if it can be realized that happiness is not in the other, then the revolution has happened, because as soon as you realize that happiness is not in the other, you will not have attachment for the other.
We are attached to those things from which we hope to get happiness. We look after them, we save them, we protect and guard them so that we may not lose them, so that others may not take them away from us. We have attachments for things which give us the hope of happiness. We go on hoping that tomorrow we are sure to get happiness, so we save these things for tomorrow. We do not learn anything from the experience which we had in the past, and we go on hoping for tomorrow.
The question of greed does not arise if there is no attachment. Greed means the desire to get more pleasure out of the things which have given you some pleasure. If you have ten rupees, then you want one thousand: this is greed. If you have one house, then you want ten houses: this is greed.
Actually, greed means the desire for multiplication of the thing which gave you pleasure. Attachment means to get hold of the thing which gave you pleasure and greed means the desire for multiplication of that thing.
But why should you try to multiply the things which gave you no happiness? There is no reason for it. What does anger mean? When someone puts obstacles in the path of your desires which you think will bring you pleasure, you get angry. When you are trying to earn money and somebody is creating obstacles, then anger will be born. You are trying to get married to a particular woman and someone is putting obstacles in the way, then anger will be born. You were about to win the election when somebody else also stood for the election with his flag, then anger will be born. Anger means when someone puts obstacles in the way of your desire.
So anger, greed and attachment are the shadows of desire.
People come to me and say that they want to give up anger. I tell them that this is a wrong thing to ask. Someone wants to know how to give up greed and someone asks how to give up attachment, but hardly anyone asks how to be free of desire. This means that you do not even know the basic problem of life. How can you find the solution? How can you get cured when you have not even diagnosed the illness?
Many people want to get rid of anger because it is very troublesome. Because of it people fight and enmity is born unnecessarily. It is quite clear that anger creates a lot of trouble and unpleasantness, but this is like trying to get rid of your shadow while you are walking in the sun. For that I will have to say, "Do not go in the sun," and your answer is, "It is impossible. I will walk in the sun but there should not be any shadow. I will live in this world of desire but there should be no anger."
Many times desire is not fulfilled because of this anger. When one speaks one wrong word in anger the whole plan gets upset. So you do want to get rid of anger. But this too you want so that your sexual desires can be fulfilled more conveniently. But anger is nothing but the shadow of sex.
That is why Shankara has mentioned sex first. The second is anger, because whoever has lust has anger as well. When you have desire, competition will be born, enmity will be born. You want to have money. The whole world wants to have money. The day desire arose to gain money, you became the enemy of all those people who were also having the desire of gaining money. The seed of enmity is sown from that moment. Anger follows desire immediately. It may take years for its expression, but the journey has started. When you ask for something, when you desire something, anger is born. This anger is so unpredictable!
You are sitting happily when a car passes by and you wish you had that car. You did not even speak about this to anyone of course; you may say, "What is wrong? There is no quarrel, no conflict...."
But I say unto you that this is the beginning of anger in you against all those who will be obstacles in your way. The shadow of anger is forming in your subconscious. Soon it will enter the conscious, because you will have to struggle to get this car, you will have to compete with others to get this car and this will create enmity. If you have desired to have something which belongs to someone else, then surely anger will be born.
But this anger will not be born if, by your desiring and having something, the other person does not have to lose what he possesses. But there is only one such thing, and that is the divine. However much you attain, it is never snatched from others. If I attain the divine, then it will not make any difference to your attainment of the divine. In fact, if I attain then you will get some help in attaining; then you will be able to attain sooner, because by my attaining the door has opened.
If one has attained, the other can also attain. The stair is there ready, only a little effort is needed.
Now the confidence and the assurance are there. If one person has attained then he can show you the path, and he is called a guru, a master. One who has attained you call a guru. He will be able to guide you.
The divine is the only thing which does not become less if one attains. The divine is not a subject of economics. If anyone attains him he does not become less; in fact he becomes available in greater quantity. If one person attains him, all become rich. The attainment of one seems like the attainment of all.
When Buddha attained, when Shankara attained, when Christ attained, that day the divine showered on the whole earth. Yes, nothing could be done for those who had kept their pitchers upside down; they could not get anything. But the other pitchers got filled up. When Krishna attained thousands of pitchers were filled, when Buddha attained thousands of pitchers were filled, when Shankara attained thousands of souls danced. This festival of ecstasy was not of Shankara alone.
Try to understand this. Happiness is only that which can be shared. Happiness is that which shares itself - which spreads. Happiness is that which does not have to be snatched from the other to attain it. In fact by your attaining it, others will also. That is what we call bliss; that is what we call great happiness.
What you call pleasure is something very shallow. It is like the story in the Puranas. One kite caught hold of a dead rat and flew away. As soon as it caught hold of the rat, the other kites started hovering around it and attacking it. They went on pecking at it and it started bleeding badly. It was quite surprised at this attack but it did not give up the dead rat. But when the other kites attacked, it accidentally dropped the rat. As soon as the rat fell, all the kites which were hovering around left it alone and started chasing the rat. The kite sat on a tree and started thinking.
That kite must have been more intelligent than you. Shankara could not call it "idiot." It thought in this way; "First I thought that all these kites were my enemies but they went away as soon as I dropped the rat, which means that there was no personal enmity with me. The cause of their attack was this rat. The mistake was mine, I was holding the rat. I should have thrown it away earlier. But I was stupid enough to think that they are angry with me."
Ramakrishna used to tell this story often, and he used to say that holding a desire is like holding this dead rat in your mouth.
Yes, all around anger will be born, enmity will be born. You may go on saying that you have never harmed anyone: "I live quietly in my home, I am only concerned about my family. I don't have anything to do with others, then why do people become my enemies?" But indirectly you are concerned with others and others are concerned with you. You married the beautiful woman in whom the whole village was interested. Now you say, "I live with my family." But the whole village has become your enemy because you married that beautiful woman.
There was a custom in ancient India, which continued up until Buddha's time, that the most beautiful girl of the village or town was not allowed to get married, because her marriage to one man would create a lot of trouble. Instead she was made the bride of the whole town - nagar vadhu. She was made the prostitute. That was the only way of keeping peace in the village.
You must have heard the name of Amrapali. She was nagar vadhu - the wife of all. The most beautiful woman of the village was not allowed to be the wife of one man because then people would start fighting, so it was better for her to be everyone's wife. But fighting is inevitable as far as sex is concerned. There used to be fights at Amrapali's gates also, because Amrapali could only be available to one man for one night, and all the men from far and near were keen to be with her.
There must have been queues of people standing at her door, there must have been competitions between the rich and the poor and the kings; there must have been a lot of suffering because of her.
But this was the only solution.
If a dead rat is in your mouth then it is natural that all the other kites will attack. Just give up the rat, and suddenly you will find that the whole world has become friendly. With the disappearance of sex and desire the whole world seems friendly, there is no enemy. There was no enemy; the fight was because of the dead rat. You thought that it was because of personal enmity: it was because of the dead rat in your mouth.
That day the kite must have been in meditation, sitting alone on the tree. It could understand that there was no happiness in having that rat; it was the source of unhappiness. It was the cause of the enmity.
Anger cannot disappear if desire does not disappear. People ask me, "How to get rid of anger?" I tell them, "It is difficult. You are asking me the wrong thing. You want to cut the branches and save the root. This will create more branches. The root should be cut off."
That is why first of all Shankara says lust is the root. Then anger, its shadow. Then greed, its growth, its by-product. Then attachment, its last conclusion. After giving them up, meditate on yourself. One can meditate on oneself only after giving them up, because then the mind is not on others.
When desire is no more, then the mind is not attracted towards the subjects of desire. When anger is not there, then all the subjects of anger disappear. When there is no greed, then the anxiety involved in greed is also over. When you are free from all these, then the inner journey starts. And this inner journey is the only pilgrimage; the other pilgrimages are just deceptions. One who goes within has really reached the pilgrimage. The others who are wandering outside are fooling themselves.
MEDITATE UPON YOURSELF: "WHO AM I?" BECAUSE IDIOTS WITHOUT SELF-REALIZATION SUFFER THE ANGUISH OF DEEP HELL HERE.
Do not think that people without self-realization will suffer only after going to hell. People try to deceive themselves by saying that they will be miserable when they go to hell - as if they are happy here. Will they suffer only when they go to hell? What are they getting here?
I have heard that recently when people reach hell Satan asks them, "From where have you come?"
"From the earth," they reply.
He says, "Then you can go to heaven. You have already suffered hell on the earth."
Now the latest news is that those people who sin in hell are being sent to the earth for punishment.
In hell people are told that if they sin they will be sent to earth!
Shankara is saying that you are suffering hell here; what makes you think that you will go to hell in the future? These are just ways of fooling yourself. You think that you will suffer in hell, but aren't you suffering now? You have never gained anything but misery and unhappiness. You are full of suffering.
Ask yourself, "Who am I?" But this can be asked only after the disappearance of the four. If you then ask, "Who am I?" you will get the reply. Actually, then there is no need to ask the question. You just close your eyes. Don't ask, "Who am I?" - you don't have to utter these words because now there is no one else to speak to, only you are. Whom are you going to ask, "Who am I?" You are facing yourself. Better see and recognize - what is there to ask? But Shankara is saying for the sake of saying.
Shankara was very fond of a story. A disciple used to ask the master, "What should I do to get self-realization?" The master just used to become deaf when he heard this. He used to reply to other questions, he used to hear everything, but whenever the disciple asked, "What am I to do to get self-realization?" suddenly the master would become deaf. He became busy with some other work and never replied.
At last one day the disciple caught hold of him and shook him, and asked, "You reply to all my questions but only when I ask you this...."
The master said, "I reply but you do not listen. This is the only way of attaining self-realization, to keep quiet. I keep quiet so that you may listen, that you may understand."
This is the only secret: if one becomes quiet within. When the dead rat falls then the inner silence is natural. In that moment one becomes aware who one is.
ONLY THE GITA AND THE SAHASTRANAM, THE ONE THOUSAND NAMES OF GOD, ARE WORTH SINGING; ONLY THE FORM OF VISHNU IS WORTH MEDITATING UPON INCESSANTLY.
ONE SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE COMPANY OF GOOD PEOPLE, ONE SHOULD GIVE MONEY TO THE POOR ONLY.... OH IDIOT! ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.
Until all the four disappear and you can ask in your inner space without words "Who am I?"... until then go on singing the Gita and the thousand names of the divine. Go on meditating on the form of Vishnu, be in the company of good people, give money to the poor - distribute as much as you can, and hear as much about truth as possible. Sing the songs of the divine. Go on making all these preparations until the arrival of that moment.
ONE INDULGES WITH WOMAN FOR PLEASURE, BUT WHAT A PITY THAT IN THE END ONE ONLY HAS A WORN OUT BODY.
You go in search of happiness but you get only sickness. You go in search of life and you meet death.
ALTHOUGH DEATH IS THE ONLY CERTAINTY IN THIS WORLD, PEOPLE DO NOT STOP SINNING.
Death is absolutely certain. Everything else can be uncertain but death is not uncertain. To die is the only certainty. Even then people do not give up sinning. Everyone has to die yet they are always ready to sin for a very small amount - as if they are going to live here forever, as if it will be very inconvenient for them to live here forever without this paltry sum of money.
People think that the waitingroom of the railway station is their home. They arrange their luggage in such a way as if they are going to live here forever. But the bell is about to ring and the train is coming and they will have to pack up and board the train soon.
You must have seen in the waitingrooms of the railway stations that people do not even open their bed or suitcases, they just sit waiting, because why take the trouble of opening them when you have to be going in a short while? This life is also like a waitingroom. It is just a night's halt, and everyone has to go in the morning on his journey.
If this could be seen then it will become difficult to sin. For whom are you sinning? Why should it be done? Everything remains here in the end. Then why sin at all? You are able to sin because you live as if you are going to be here forever. You can sin only when you believe that you are not going to die. But your sinning will become less and less as you go on remembering death. That is why I consider the remembrance of death as a good deed. Sin becomes impossible in the life of a person who remembers death.
MONEY IS DISASTER - ALWAYS CONTEMPLATE OVER IT. THE TRUTH IS THAT THERE IS NO HAPPINESS IN MONEY AT ALL. IT HAS BEEN SEEN EVERYWHERE THAT THE RICH MAN IS AFRAID EVEN OF HIS OWN SONS. THEREFORE, OH IDIOT! ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.
PRANAYAM AND PRATYAHAR, INTELLIGENT DISCRIMINATION BETWEEN TRANSIENT AND INTRANSIENT, DISCIPLINING OF SAMADHI WITH JAPA - DISCIPLINE ALL THESE WITH CAUTION, WITH GREAT CAUTION.
PRANAYAM AND PRATYAHAR.Pranayam means that you should not think yourself to be small.
Expand your energy, enlarge its dimension. You are big, you are vast. But you believe that you are small - it is only your belief that you are small.
Just see carefully: from where do you begin and where do you end? You are not limited to the body only, because if this sun which is millions of miles away finishes, then you will also be finished here.
You are connected with it. You are also connected with the moon and the stars which are billions of miles away.
You cannot live without the atmosphere of the earth, you are breathing in it. Those who know say that it is not right to say that we are breathing in it; actually it is more proper to say that it is breathing in us. The breath which was mine just now will become yours after a moment, and before I finish saying this it will become somebody else's. The body which is yours today was sometimes in the trees, sometimes in the animals, sometimes in the birds. When you are dead water will flow into the river, dust will go into dust; again plants will grow, again trees will grow. Maybe your sons will eat the fruits grown out of your dust.
Everything is connected, everything is united, there is nothing separate here. We are not small islands. There is a big continent, and we are its different parts.
Pranayam means, expand yourself. The process which is known as pranayam in yoga is actually the method of expanding. Take such a deep breath in that it fills all the pores of your lungs; then let out the whole of the breath. As you go on deepening this process you will suddenly find that it is not you who is breathing but it is the divine breathing in you. This is only a method. This is how pranayam happens. The bio-energy expands with this method, and it seems that we are small particles of a vast consciousness, we are drops of a vast ocean. Then even a drop becomes full of the grace of the divine. The ocean in your small cup also begins to stir.
PRANAYAM AND PRATYAHAR.... Pranayam is expanding your life energy, and pratyahar is the return to your home - to return, to come in. Pratyahar is to return within yourself - from where you have come. Pratyahar is like the shrinking of a tree - if it were to become a sapling and then a seed, by shrinking. If you start shrinking inside, going in and in, then you will find the original source from where you have come. If the Ganges goes back to Gangotri, into Gomukh, the source, then that is pratyahar. Pratyahar means to regain your source. Zen monks say, "Come to know your original face, the face which was yours before you were born." To know your face when you were not yet born is pratyahar.
PRANAYAM AND PRATYAHAR, INTELLIGENT DISCRIMINATION BETWEEN TRANSIENT AND INTRANSIENT.
And to go on knowing, thinking and seeing every moment what is meaningful and what is meaningless. This is not to be forgotten even for a moment, because as soon as you forget you catch hold of the futile and forget the meaningful. It does not take long to catch hold of the dead rat.
But you leave it as soon as you become conscious.
DISCIPLINING OF SAMADHI WITH JAPA.
Here Shankara is saying something very beautiful. He is saying, DISCIPLINING OF SAMADHI WITH JAPA, disciplining of enlightenment with chanting. Patanjali says that eventually the samadhi should be without japa. Nanak says, AJAPA JAP, chantingless chanting. Buddha and Mahavira also say that everything should disappear, only void should remain.
But Shankara is saying japa-samadhi, disciplining of samadhi with japa. He is saying that void, emptiness should be there, but the dance of the whole should not be lost. The whole should be present in the emptiness. Thoughts should disappear but emotions should not disappear, because with the disappearance of emotions you will become dry. You will become peaceful but no song will be born out of that peace. Then Meera will not dance and Chaitanya will not sing songs of the divine. You will become silent, you will attain, but you will not be able to express it. Your song will remain buried in you; nobody will be able to hear it. Your bliss will not overflow; its waves will not be able to drown others in it.
That is why Shankara says one has to become thoughtless but not without emotion. Knowledge should be attained but one should not lose devotion. It is a unique coincidence, but it happens. It is an impossible happening but it happens. Thoughts disappear but emotions do not. Thinking and worry disappear, but the heart dances with joy.
DISCIPLINING OF SAMADHI WITH JAPA - DISCIPLINE ALL THESE WITH CAUTION. He repeats again, DISCIPLINE ALL THESE WITH CAUTION.... And, OH IDIOT! ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE....
TOTALLY SURRENDERED TO THE LOTUS FEET OF THE MASTER, FREE FROM THE BONDAGES OF THE WORLD, HAVING DISCIPLINED THE MIND ALONG WITH THE SENSES, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THE DIVINE WITHIN YOUR HEART.
The divine is not very far away. He is in your heart. You do not have to go anywhere in search of him, you have to return to your own home. You have never lost him, you have only forgotten him.
He is ever-present even in that forgetfulness. You have forgotten him, you have your back towards him, and even then he is present.
Actually, who are you? Only the divine is. You have forgotten him so you think that "I am." When you remember him you will disappear; only godliness will remain.
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THE DIVINE WITHIN YOUR HEART.... Therefore, OH IDIOT!
ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.
Actually, Shankara is emphasizing an integration between meditation and devotion. He wants a harmony between meditation and bhajan. He wants an impossible bridge to be created between meditation and bhajan.
There have been many bhaktas, devotees, but they have not experienced the shunya samadhi.
They are always full of the image of god; the duality always remains. There have been many gyanis, self-realized people; duality disappears in them and only advait, non-duality, remains. But with the disappearance of duality the sensitivity of the heart also dries up.
Shankara says, try to bring such a moment - which can come, which has come sometimes - when you can become empty like the gyani and whole like the bhakta.
The synthesis of knowledge and devotion is the ultimate happening. It is the event. There is nothing higher than this - where bhakti and gyan are united; where devotion becomes knowledge and knowledge becomes devotion; where samadhi sings, where samadhi flowers, where samadhi is not a desert, it becomes greenery; where mind is totally finished and the heart fills it. There is the temple of the divine.
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THE DIVINE WITHIN YOUR HEART.
The devotee is not separate from the divine. The day the bhakta comes to know this then only godliness is.
Many realized the divine; then their inner bhakta was finished, only the divine remained. And many have tried to save their bhakta; then bhakta remains and the divine remains - a duality remains, a distance remains. Is it not possible that you become a bhakta and the divine at the same time, that your kirtan, your divine song, goes on automatically - that you dance and you watch also?
It is possible. And that is Shankara's hypothesis. Such a unique personality flowered in Shankara, where the culmination of knowledge and devotion were found together. If the saying "Fragrance in gold," has ever been actualized, it is in Shankara.
BHAJ GOVINDAM, BHAJ GOVINDAM, BHAJ GOVINDAM MOODHAMATE.
OH IDIOT! SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.
Enough for today.