The Ishavasya Upanishad begins and ends with this sutra, and in it is declared all that can ever be said. It is quite unique. For those who fully understand it, no more is needed; the rest of the Upanishad is for those who do not. Thus the peace prayer, which usually brings the Upanishad to its close, is here invoked at the end of the very first sutra. And for those who have come to the peaks of understanding, this is the end of the Ishavasya; but for those who are still climbing, it is only the beginning.
Part of its uniqueness lies in the clarity with which it distinguishes between the Eastern and the Western methods of thinking and reasoning. Two schools of reasoning have flourished in the world - one in Greece, the other in India. The Greek system of logic gave birth to the whole of Western science, while from the Indian system emerged religion. The first and most fundamental of the differences between the two lies in the Western - Greek - method of progressing towards a conclusion. Whenever we seek the truth of a matter, an initial inquiry will lead via research to an eventual conclusion; first, thought and inquiry, then conclusion.
The Indian way is exactly the opposite. India affirms that what we are going to investigate is always there. It does not take shape as a result of our inquiry, but is already present even before our investigation begins. The truth which will become manifest was there before we were in existence.
It was there before we discovered it just as much as it is there once we have done so. Truth is not formed or constructed through our research; what research does is to bring it within the realm of our experience. Truth is ever-present. That is why the Indian way of reasoning declares the conclusion in the beginning, and afterwards discusses method and procedure; first conclusion, then method.
The Western way puts method first, then investigation, and finally conclusion.
One important point should be kept in mind: the Western method is very appropriate for those who look for truth by thinking about it. This method of reasoning is like trying to find something on a dark night with the help of a small lamp. The night is pitch black, and the light sheds its light dimly over three or four feet of ground. Only a small patch is visible, most remains unseen; and conclusions arrived at about that which is seen will be tentative. After a while, as one proceeds with the lamp, a little more becomes visible, and it is needed to revise or change the conclusion. As one progresses further and further, new things continuously become visible and so the conclusion is altered again and again.
Following as it does the Greek school of logic, Western science can never reach a final conclusion.
All its conclusions are therefore tentative, temporary, and based on the knowledge acquired up to the present time. If something new is discovered tomorrow, there will be a change in the conclusion.
That is why no truth arrived at by the West is absolute. It is not total. All its truths and conclusions are imperfect. But truth can never be imperfect or incomplete, and whatever is imperfect will be untruth. The conclusion we are required to alter tomorrow is in reality not the truth even today! It simply appears to be the truth. That alone can be truth which we never need to change. So the conclusions which are declared as truths by the West are really untruths based on the knowledge acquired so far and needing alteration according to the knowledge obtained tomorrow.
The Indian system of reasoning is not like investigating truth with the help of a lamp. It is like investigating the dark night in the dazzling brilliance of a lightning flash, when everything becomes visible simultaneously. Not that something - a part - is seen now, sometime later another part, later again something more, and so on; no, the Indian way is not like that. In the Indian system of investigation, the revelation of truth takes place all at once; everything is discovered at one and the same time. All the roads extend to the horizon, and all - whatsoever - is seen simultaneously in the flash of lightning. There is no scope for any change in the future because the whole has been seen.
The Western method called logic investigates truth by the process of thinking. The Indian way, which we call experience or wisdom, discloses all things at one time like the lightning flash, with the result that truth comes out as it is, in its totality, leaving no room for change or alteration. As a result there is no potential for change in what Buddha or Mahavira or Krishna has said. But Western thinkers - inclined to doubt and worry - question whether what Mahavira said twenty-five hundred years ago can still be true today. It is reasonable for them to raise such doubts; over such a period of time we should expect twenty-five thousand changes if we have been looking for truth with a torch!
New facts will appear every day, and we will be compelled to alter or transform the old ones. But the truths declared by Mahavira, Krishna or Buddha are revelations. They are not truths found by lamplight; they have been seen and known and revealed in the dazzling lightning flash of a still mind - a mind devoid of thoughts. The truth which Mahavira knew was not discovered by him step by step; otherwise he could not have known the total truth. He knew it in its totality in a single moment.
What I want to tell you is that everything revealed in its totality through the wisdom of the East is included in this short sutra. It is there in its totality. This is why we in India declare that the conclusion is first and the inquiry follows. The announcement of the truth is made in the beginning, then we discuss how the truth can be known, how it has been known, and how that can be explained. This sutra is an announcement - a proclamation. The rest of the book is not essential for those who can comprehend the full meaning from the announcement. Nothing new will be stated in the entire Upanishad: the truth will be retold again and again in various ways. The remainder of the book is for those who are blind to the dazzling flash of lightning, and stubbornly insist on searching for truth with the help of a lamp. By the light of this lamp, the truth can be picked out line by line in the Ishavasya sutra; but first the subject is presented in its entirety in this great sutra. That is why I told you this sutra is so unique: it says everything. Now let us try to understand it.
It declares that the whole is born out of the whole, and yet that which remains behind is always whole; in the end the whole is absorbed into the whole, and even then the whole increases not at all, it remains as it was before. This is a very great antimathematical statement. P. D. Ouspensky has written a book called Tertium Organum. He was a renowned mathematician of Russia, who in later years, as a disciple of a remarkable western master, Gurdjieff, became a mystic himself. He was a mathematical genius, his intelligence penetrating the heights and depths of his subject.
The first statement he makes in this wonderful book is that there are only three great canons of thought in the world. The first, entitled Organum, is by Aristotle, father of the Western science of logic. Organum means the principle of knowledge. The second book is by Francis Bacon and is called Novum Organum - the new principle of knowledge. And the third one is his own book, which is called Tertium Organum - the third principle of knowledge. He follows this statement with a short sentence that has puzzled many people: "Before the first existed, the third was." That is, the third principle was already in the world before the first principle was discovered. The first book was written by Aristotle two thousand years ago, the second by Bacon three hundred years ago, and the third one was written some forty years ago. But Ouspensky says the third existed in the world before the first was written, even though he wrote this third book only forty years ago. When anyone asked him the meaning of this crazy, illogical statement, he replied, "Whatever I have written is not written by me. It was already in existence; I have simply proclaimed it."
The earth was under the influence of gravity before Newton was born. The earth attracted a stone before his birth in the same way that it has done ever since. Newton did not invent the principle of gravitation, he only revealed it. He opened what was hidden, he made known what was unknown.
But gravity was already there before Newton; otherwise Newton himself would not have been there.
Newton could not have been born without gravity. Gravity can exist without him, but he cannot exist without the earth's gravity. It existed already but was not known in the world.
Ouspensky says his third principle existed before the first was known. It is quite a different matter that it was not known; and perhaps it is wrong to say it was not known, because what Ouspensky has said throughout his book is contained in this small sutra. His Tertium Organum is a very valuable book. His claim that there are only three such great books in the world - and the third his - is not false. He does not say so out of vanity, it is a fact. His book is as important as that. If he had not said so, his silence would have been a false humility. It is a fact, his book is that important. But everything he says in it is there in this small sutra of the Ishavasya Upanishad.
He has tried throughout his book to prove that there are two kinds of arithmetic in this world. One is that which says two and two are four. This is simple arithmetic which we all know, a simple calculation which verifies that if we add up all the parts of a thing, they can never be greater than its whole. Simple arithmetic states that if we break a thing into pieces and then add up those pieces, their sum can never exceed the whole. This is a simple, direct fact. If we change a rupee into one hundred paise, the sum of these one hundred paise can never be more than one rupee. Can it ever be? It is simple arithmetic that addition of parts can never be greater than the whole. But Ouspensky says there is another, higher, mathematics, and that is the mathematics of life. In this mathematics, it is not necessary that two plus two should equal four. At times, two and two may make five - or three.
In life, he tells us, the sum of the parts sometimes exceeds the whole. We shall have to understand this a little more clearly, because if we cannot understand it we shall not be able to comprehend fully the significance of this first and the last sutra of the Ishavasya.
An artist paints a picture. Suppose we evaluate the cost of his materials. How much would the colors cost? Not much, certainly. And a canvas? Again, not so much. But no great work of art, no beautiful painting, is merely a mixture of colors added to canvas: it is something more.
A poet composes a poem, a song. All the words used in it are quite ordinary words which we use every day. Perhaps you might meet a word or two in it which is less frequently used; even so, we know them. Yet no poem is simply a collection of words. It is something more than the collection and arrangement of words. A person plays a sitar; the effect produced in our hearts on hearing the notes of the sitar is not merely the impact of the sound. Something more touches us.
Let us understand the phenomenon in this way. Shutting his eyes, a person touches your hand lovingly. Again, the same person touches your hand with great frustration. The touch in both cases is the same. As far as the question of physical, bodily touch is concerned, there is no basic difference between the two. Yet there is certainly some distinctive element in the feel of someone touching us lovingly: the touch of one who is angry is quite different from the loving touch. And again, when someone touches us with complete indifference we feel nothing in the touch. Yet the act of touching is the same in all these cases. If we were to ask a physicist he would reply that the degree of pressure exerted on our hand by another person's touch could be measured - even the amount of heat passing from one hand into another could be worked out. Nevertheless, all the heat, all the pressure, cannot disclose in any way whether the person who touched us did so out of love or anger.
Yet we experience the distinctions among touches that are qualitatively different. So certainly, the touch is not merely the sum total of the heat, pressure and electrical charge conveyed in the hand:
it is something more.
Life depends on some higher mathematics. Something quite new, and full of significance, is born out of the sum total of the parts. Something better than the sum of the parts is created. Something important is born out of even the lowliest things. Life is not just simple arithmetic - it is a far more profound and subtle arithmetic. It is an arithmetic where numbers become meaningless, where the rules of addition and subtraction become useless. The person who does not know the secret of life, which lies beyond the ordinary arithmetic of life, does not understand the meaning and purpose of life.
There are many wonders to this great sutra. It is said:
WHEN THE WHOLE IS TAKEN FROM THE WHOLE, BEHOLD, THE REMAINDER IS WHOLE.
From the point of view of ordinary arithmetic this is absolutely incorrect. If we remove some part of a thing, the remainder cannot be the same as it was originally. Something less will remain. If I take ten rupees from a safe containing millions of rupees, the total will be something less. It will be less even if ten paise are taken out. The remainder cannot be equal to the amount as it originally was. However great the fortune may be - even Solomon's or Kubla's treasure - it is reduced if just ten paise are removed from it; it cannot be the same as it was before. Similarly, however great the fortune may be, ten paise added and it is still greater. But according to this sutra the whole may be taken from the whole - not just ten paise but the entire fortune - and still the remainder is whole.
This seems like the babbling of a madman whose knowledge of arithmetic is nil. Even a beginner knows that a thing will be less if something is taken from it, no matter how little is taken; and if the whole is taken, there will be nothing left at all. But this sutra declares that not just something, but the whole, remains. Those who know only the logic of the money-box will certainly not understand this phenomenon. Understanding appears from an altogether new direction.
Does your love decrease when you give it to someone? Do you experience any shortage of love when you give it totally? No! 'Love' is the word we need to come to an understanding of this sutra; this is the word we shall have to use. However much you may part with your love, what you are left with remains as much as it was originally. The act of giving it away produces no shortage. On the contrary it grows, increasing as you give it away, entering you deeper and deeper as you distribute it more and more. As you give it freely away, the wealth of love within you begins to grow. One who gives his total love, freely and unconditionally, becomes the possessor of infinite love.
Simple arithmetic can never comprehend that when the whole is taken from the whole, the remainder is whole. Only love can find the meaning in this statement. Einstein cannot help. To seek that kind of assistance will be useless. Go instead to Meera or Chaitanya; through them you may perhaps find your way to understanding, for this is a subject relating to some other, unknown dimension, in which nothing decreases when given away. The only experience you have that can enable you to understand this in a sudden flash of insight is love - and out of every one hundred, ninety-nine of you are blind to this experience. If, having given your love, you experience a sense of loss, then know that you have no experience of love at all. When you give your love to someone, and feel within you that something has disappeared, then know that what you gave must have been something else. It cannot be love. It must be something belonging to the world of dollars and pounds. It must be a measurable thing which can be valued in figures, weighed in a balance and estimated in meters. Remember, whatever is measurable is subject to the law of diminution. Only that which is immeasurable and unfathomable will remain the same no matter how much is taken from it.
Have you experienced that love, when it is given, diminishes? Almost everybody is familiar with it. If someone loves me, I want that she love no one else, because my reasoning says that love divided is love diminished. So I seek to become sole owner and possessor of her love. My demand is that the person loving me give not even a loving glance to anyone else; such a glance is poison for me, because "I know" that now her love for me will begin to diminish. If I cling to this notion of the love diminishing, I need to accept that I have no idea what love is. If I had any appreciation of true love, I would want my beloved to go out and give it freely to the whole world, because through so giving it she would come to understand its secrets and its mysteries, and as she fell deeper and deeper into love, her love towards me, too, would be overflowing.
But no, we are ignorant about higher mathematics. We live in a world of very simple mathematics where everything diminishes through distribution; so it is quite natural that everyone should be afraid of the act of giving. The wife is afraid of the husband giving his love to someone else, and the husband fears that his wife may fall in love with another man. Actually, to talk about the husband or wife falling in love with someone else is beside the point, for the dilemma already exists within the family. When the mother shows her love towards her son, her husband is jealous; and when the father shows his love for his daughter, his wife is jealous. Tension breeds in such circumstances, for true love is absent. That feeling which we are given to calling love is not true love.
The real test of love lies in whether it is beyond the laws of quantification. Love is immeasurable.
Drop your delusion that true love diminishes when it is shared. The stumbling block is the fact that all the other experiences available to us are measurable. Whatever we have can be measured; our anger, our hatred, and all other feelings can be measured.
The only experience which is beyond measurement is love; and love is unknown to you. This is why you find it so hard to understand what God is. One who understands what true love is does not worry about understanding God, because if you know love you know God - they are part and parcel of the same arithmetic, they belong to the same dimension. One who has understood true love will say, "It's all right even if I don't know God. I have known love, it is enough. My purpose is served - I have known! I am initiated into that higher world, that world where sharing brings no decrease, where the things freely and abundantly given remain with the giver."
And remember, when you feel within you a kind of love which remains whole even after it has been given in its totality, then your need of love from others disappears, because your own love cannot increase however much love you receive. Bear in mind that the thing which cannot be diminished through giving it away cannot be increased through receiving it. These phenomena happen simultaneously. So be aware also that you have no experience of love as long as you need to demand it from others.
It is not only the children but the grownups too! - all of us demand love, and go on demanding it. Throughout our lives we beg for love. Psychologists say there is only one problem in our lives, and that is our anxiety about how to get love from others. All our tension, all our cares, fears and anxiety are attributable to this single dilemma; and when we can't find love, we search for substitutes.
Throughout our lives we strive after love; we are hot on its scent, and in constant pursuit. Why? In the hope that our stockpile of love will increase if we get it. And all this means is that we have not yet known love, for that which increases in the getting is not love. No matter how great the amount of love received, love will remain as it was.
So the person who understands this sutra of love fully also understands these two facts. First, however much I give of it, my love will not diminish; and secondly, however much love I receive, the love in me will not increase. Even if the whole ocean of love rushes into me, my love will not increase one iota, nor diminish one iota if I give it all away.
AND WHEN THE WHOLE IS TAKEN FROM THE WHOLE, BEHOLD, THE REMAINDER IS WHOLE.
This entire universe comes out of God. It is not small - it is endless, limitless, without bounds. It has no direction, no beginning, no end. God remains whole even though such immensity has been born out of him. And even when all this vast universe returns into that highest totality - existence - and is once again immersed in it, God will remain whole. There will be neither increase nor decrease in it.
Let us try to understand this phenomenon from another direction. We know the ocean: it is an experience seen and felt by our sense organs. It can diminish, and it can be augmented. Vast as it is, it is not limitless. Rivers flow into it continuously, and never re-emerge. The clouds of the sky go on taking up its waters and showering them back onto the earth. There is never any deficiency of water in the sea. And yet it does diminish, for though it is vast, it is neither endless nor limitless.
The thousands of rivers flowing into it make hardly a difference of an inch in its volume, it is so vast.
It defies the imagination to conceive of the amount of water thrown into the sea every moment by great rivers like the Brahmaputra, the Ganges, the Amazon. Yet to all appearances the sea remains the same. Day by day the sun's rays drain off its water, and the clouds in the sky are born out of it.
In spite of all these operations the sea appears to remain constant in volume, but it is not in actual fact in a condition of no increase or decrease. It diminishes and it increases, but it is so vast that we know nothing of the changes.
If we turn our faces to the sky and look up into space, we encounter an experience of a different kind. Everything that exists, exists within space. The very meaning of space is that element in which everything is contained. Space is that in which all things are included. So take note, that space cannot exist within any other element. If we start thinking that space must itself be contained within some other element, we have to conceive of the idea of some greater space. The situation becomes difficult, and we are forced into the fallacy that logicians call infinite regression. This is to embark on an endless foolishness, in which we now have to determine the nature of the greater space in which space is contained. The question becomes endless, because forever we must now ask, "And what is the nature of the surrounding element?"
No, we have to accept that everything is contained in space, and space is uncontained. Space surrounds all and is unsurrounded. Therefore everything happens within space, but it is not added to by the happening; and though everything within it comes to an end, space is undiminished.
Space is as it is. It remains in its suchness; it remains in its own condition. You construct a building, a magnificent palace; after a time, your palace will crumble in ruins. So palaces that reach for the skies are reduced to earth again. Space will be unaffected; it was not lessened when you built your palace, and it will not increase when your palace falls down. The palace is constructed within space, and will likewise crumble within space. The events cause no difference in space. Perhaps, then, space brings us closer to existence: this I intended to explain to you.
Space is beyond our reach, it is insubstantial: and yet, while constructing a building or making any other thing, we have the sense of space increasing or decreasing. You cannot occupy the seat where I am sitting, because I have occupied this space. There was space here which you could have used if I had not filled it. On one spot we can construct only one building; we cannot raise another building on the same spot. Why? - because the building constructed by us has consumed that space. Now if this building has consumed that space, there is a sense in which space can be said to have decreased. We are compelled to build skyscrapers precisely because the surface space of the earth is decreasing day by day. As the cost of land increases, so the buildings are raised higher and higher, and the land has become more expensive because more and more of it is being occupied. So, as the available space diminishes, the buildings climb higher and higher. Soon we will start constructing buildings underneath the ground, because there is a limit to the height to which we can build.
We are busy filling our sky space, our atmosphere. More and more we encroach upon the sky, devouring ever more space. So much has empty space decreased.... It is true that endless space spreads into the void on all sides. There is really no shortage of space at all. But no other space can be created on the land on which we are sitting. Wherever buildings stand, space is consumed.
There is that much less land space available to us.
God is unbounded. God does not diminish. The ocean, so vast to us, is such a tiny drop of what God is. Yes, it is huge compared to great rivers like the Ganges and the Brahmaputra. All their flowing into the ocean makes no visible difference to it; and yet there is a difference, though it cannot be weighed or measured. So much greater again than our seas and oceans is the sky; yet for us, this too has limits. To reach the concept of God needs one more jump, in which all logic, ideas and imagination will have to be discarded.
God means existence, being - what simply is: isness is God's attribute. Whatever we may do, it makes no difference to his isness. Scientists have another way of stating this truth. They say, "Nothing can be destroyed." This means that we cannot remove anything from its isness. If we wish to destroy a piece of coal, we can turn it into ash, but that ash will exist. We can even throw the ash into the sea; it will blend into the water and will no longer be visible, but whatever its form now, it will still exist. We can destroy its forms, but we cannot destroy its isness. Its isness will remain for ever.
Whatever we go on doing with it, will make no difference to its isness. Isness will remain. Of course, we can alter its shapes and forms; we can give it a thousand different shapes - we can transform it again and again - but we cannot change what is within it. That will remain. It was wood yesterday, it is ash today. It was clay yesterday, today it is coal. Yesterday it was coal, today it is diamond.
Always, it is. Nothing makes any difference to it: it remains.
God is the isness in all things - their being, their existence. Things may be created in any number, but there will be no addition to that isness; they may be destroyed in any number and still there will be no reduction in that isness. It will remain the same - unsullied, unattached and untouched.
When we draw a line on water, even though it vanishes no sooner than it is drawn, something has happened. Not even a line as momentary as this can be drawn into existence - not even this much is possible. The sutra says that this whole has come out of that whole. That is unknown; this is known. This which is seen has come out of that which is unseen. This which we know has come out of that which we do not know. This which we experience has come out of that which lies beyond our experience.
Understand this phenomenon properly. Whatever falls within our experience always comes from that which lies beyond our experience. Whatever is seen by us emerges from that which is invisible.
What we know comes from the unknown; and whatever is familiar to us derives from that unfamiliar.
If we plant a seed, a tree grows from it. If we break the seed and crush it into pieces, there will be no tree. There will be no trace of the flowers which should have blossomed. There will be no trace of those leaves which should have appeared. From where do they come?
They come from the invisible. They are created by the invisible. Every moment the invisible is being transformed into the visible, and the visible is being lost into the invisible. Every moment the limitless enters into the limited and returns every moment from it. It is just like our breathing process - breathing in and breathing out. The whole of existence is continuously inhaling and exhaling.
Those who know the secret of the breathing process of existence call it creation and annihilation.
They say the creation takes place when existence inhales, and the annihilation when existence exhales, and between the two breaths we pass through endless lives. As existence breathes once in, then out, we go through endless births, times without number we come and go.
Two things this sutra says. First, that the whole comes out of the whole and what remains is whole.
Second, that when the whole is absorbed into the whole, it is still whole. That whole remains always virgin, always untouched. Nothing affects its virginity. This is a very difficult matter to understand.
It is like this: a child is born, but its mother remains a virgin. Such a story is told of Jesus and his mother, Mary. Having given birth to Jesus, Mary is called the blessed virgin. The story prevails through those who knew and understood Jesus and Mary, and it is exactly like the birth of existence; the whole comes out of the whole.
Christianity is unable to explain this event. Christians are baffled by the concept of the virgin birth.
They are ignorant of that arithmetic which can leave the mother a virgin after she has conceived and borne a child. They know nothing at all of that arithmetic; they are totally ignorant about higher mathematics. Christianity is greatly puzzled. Christians ask, "How can we explain this phenomenon?
It is impossible - it is a miracle! It is absolutely impossible but it has happened, God has shown us a miracle."
Whatever miracle is shown by existence in this world is shown by its every moment. No miracles take place in this world - or, to see it the other way, the happening of every moment is a miracle.
All is a miracle. When a tree grows from a seed, it is a miracle; and when a child is born from a mother's womb, it is a miracle. No, there is nothing strange here: this vast universe is born out of the whole, yet that from which it comes is untouched. If a mother goes so deep that she is absorbed - in the meaning of this sutra - in the whole, then where is the difficulty in her remaining virgin after childbirth? If a woman merges into this sutra, becoming one with it, she can become a mother and remain a virgin.
But the seeker has to understand this sutra correctly - and I am saying this because I see your desire to attain. You want to achieve something. The true seeker does not talk about all this: after all, what can happen by just talking? He knows that he does not know; and in any case what can happen through just knowing? He lives it. He is conscious. Perhaps you will understand more easily through a personal experiment than you will through my words. So experiment. Involve yourself in a small, routine action, and be conscious all the time: It is happening - I am not doing it. Test it.
See it, while doing anything. See it while eating, see it while walking along the road, see it when you are angry with somebody. And be aware that the thing is happening. Stand behind and be a witness to the thing happening - then you will discover the secret of this sutra. You will hold its secret key in your hand. You will understand that something is happening outside and you are standing behind, untouched and unconcerned. As you were before doing it, so you remain after, and the thing happening in between comes as a dream, and passes away as a dream.
To existence, samsara - the wheel of life - is no more than a dream. If it becomes a dream to you too, then you become inseparable from existence. I repeat: to existence, samsara is no more than a dream; and as long as samsara is more than a dream to you, you will be less than existence. The day on which samsara becomes as a dream to you, you are existence. You can then say, "I am the Brahman."
This is such a profound sutra. No one knows how many secrets are implied in it. The remainder is whole even when the whole is taken from it. Bear both in mind - the whole remains, and the whole is taken: it goes totally, it remains total! What does this mean? It means that every individual also is existence, in toto. Each and every individual, and each and every atom, is total existence. It is not that an atom is partial existence - no, it is existence in toto. Because this is unknown in our ordinary arithmetic, it is a little hard to understand.
If you have understood that the whole comes out of the whole, and still the remainder is whole, then I can tell you more. The endless whole comes out of the whole, and still the remainder is whole.
If, after one whole emerges, there is no possibility for another whole to appear, it means that some deficiency is caused by the birth of the first whole. But if, after the first whole emerges, the second to appear is as much the whole, and the third also - if successive wholes keep emerging and still there is always as much potential for the emergence of wholes - then the remainder is in truth the whole.
Therefore it is not that you are a part of existence; to say this is mistaken. Whoever says you are a part of existence is wrong. He is again talking of lower mathematics. He is talking of that world where two and two make four. He is talking of the world of weights and measures. I tell you, and the Upanishads tell you, and those who have ever known the truth tell you, that you are existence in toto. This does not mean that your neighbor is not existence in toto also.
No, the fact cannot be altered. A rose blossoms on a bush - and blossoms to the full; but the totality of its blossoming does not hinder the blossoming of its neighboring bud. Help and cooperation become possible, but there is certainly no hindrance. A thousand roses can bloom to their fullest capacity: the totality of existence is endless totality. Out of endless totality, endless wholes can be born. Each individual is existence in toto. Each atom is this vast universe in toto; there is not an iota of difference between it and the whole. If there is any difference then it can never be the whole, then there is no way to make it whole; and if it is ever going to become the whole then it is whole right now - we are just ignorant of the fact. The deficiency is simply in our knowledge.
Keep this sutra in mind during these days of our sadhana - our work together. Repeat to yourself, "The whole comes out of the whole, and the remainder is whole. When the whole is absorbed in the whole, the whole still remains the whole." It all makes no difference! Remember this, and go on humming it within you with every breath you take. Every day its many interpretations will be revealed in various forms and in various ways. Keep the sutra in mind, and as we go on discovering it, keep going deeper and deeper into its meaning, and into your remembrance of it. Let these processes go on working within you. During these seven days it is possible that at any moment something may happen - all of a sudden this sutra may tumble from your lips, and you will feel the whole coming out of the whole, and the whole remaining. The whole is lost in the whole and yet the whole remains the whole. There is no difference at all. All this takes place like a dream and yet nothing really happens.
All this happens like play-acting, and yet the whole remains as undisturbed and untouched as ever.
To remember the sutra as much as you possibly can will help you. Try to live in its spirit twenty-four hours a day.
The substance of the Upanishads cannot be understood through the mind alone; it must be comprehended by living it. This sutra is not proclaiming theories; it presents certain sadhanas, certain practices. It does not consist just of conclusions arrived at with the help of knowledge; it proclaims experiences. When you live these experiences within yourself - giving them birth within yourself, allowing them to enter your blood, bones, flesh and tissues, allowing them to merge into your breathing; when you live in listening, remembering and humming them while going through your daily routine of waking, standing, sitting and sleeping - then, and only then, will their secret, their doors, begin to open to you.
You are given only the first announcement in this sutra. They must have been remarkable people to have said, as they did, all there is to be said in this one sutra. It comes to an end declaring the quietening of the three forms of pain:
OM. SHANTI, SHANTI, SHANTI.
What relation can this sutra have to the quietening of threefold pain? Have anybody's miseries ended by chanting certain formulas? No, but the sage says, "Om!" and that finishes the matter. Can all your miseries be over, can you become free from them all by chanting this sutra?
If it is chanted in all sincerity, with full understanding, it is possible. If it is merely read from the book, it is never possible. This is to say that if it is chanted with the attitude, "I have already read this - I have already heard it," then nothing is possible. But for those who have said, "Om!" with all their courage and daring, all problems are over. All the miseries of people who have realized the truth are ended. All the afflictions of their body, mind and soul disappear. Such people go beyond affliction.
You think, "There must be some significance when he says this with such ease, such confidence."
The significance is this: whoever lives this sutra, whoever gives birth to it within himself, will experience himself free from all afflictions, because there is only one kind of affliction, only one pain - whether on the mental, physical or spiritual level; there is only one kind, and that is ego. "I am doing this - this is done by ME," is the only affliction, the only obstacle. "This insult is directed against me - I am abused thus...." All these happenings accumulate around this I. But when such a vast universe makes no difference to existence, and leaves it unaffected, do I have to allow such insignificant things to affect me? Can I not also remain untouched? Can I not stand aside and say, "The insult given was not given to me"; and, "Whatever I did has been done. I have not done it." If I become a witness to the actions that come to me and proceed from me - if I cease to be the doer - then wonderful secrets begin to unfold.
So try to live this sutra during these seven days. While I am talking on the Ishavasya Upanishad you will hear this sutra interpreted from various perspectives. If you just try to live according to the interpretation I have given today, understanding will certainly come to you; not otherwise.
This is enough on the sutra. Now I shall give certain instructions regarding meditation, because tomorrow morning we shall begin to practice meditation. The first thing to keep in mind is throughout the day to breathe as totally as possible and, whenever you remember, to inhale as deeply as you can. Hyperoxygenate! The energy you liberate for your work will be in direct proportion to your intake of breath. A great deal of energy lies hidden in your body. It must be aroused and activated towards meditation; it must be channelled into meditation. So the first meditation sutra I give you is to activate that energy. The nearest and the easiest means available to you is your breathing activity.
As soon as you wake up in the morning and come to your senses, begin to breathe deeply, sitting on your bed. When you are walking along the road, breathe as deeply as you can. Do it slowly, don't overexert yourself, be comfortable and joyful - but remember, your breathing should be deep.
Bear in mind all the time that it will be easier for you to go into meditation if you take in as much oxygen as possible. The more oxygen you have in your blood, in your heart, the easier you will find your meditation. The more you expel carbon dioxide, the easier it will be for you. The impurities decrease as you increase the amount of oxygen in your body. It is interesting to know that the mind finds it difficult to function if the basis of bodily impurity is removed. The opportunity for thoughts to flourish in your mind will lessen as you absorb more fresh air; and as I told you, this will enhance the potential for sutras like this to blossom and flower within you.
So the first thing is: hyperoxygenate. Let there be an abundance of oxygen in you. Remember this throughout these seven days. Two or three things will happen if you do this, but don't be afraid of them. When you start breathing deeply, your sleep will become shorter. This is not something to worry about. When sleep is deep and sound, its duration decreases, and as you begin to breathe more deeply, the depth of your sleep will increase also. This is why those who do hard physical work sleep so soundly at night. The depth of your sleep will increase in proportion to the depth of your breathing, and as the depth of your sleep increases, so its duration will decrease. Do not worry about this. If you sleep seven hours now, it will become four or five hours. Don't be anxious about it - you will wake up in the morning more refreshed, more joyful and healthier from these five hours' sleep than you used to after sleeping for eight hours. So when your sleep comes to an end in the morning - and this will begin to happen earlier if you have been breathing deeply - you should get up immediately. Don't miss that blissful moment of the morning; use it for meditation.
The second point to remember is that the less food you eat, and the lighter it is, the better it is for you. Reduce the quantity as much as is comfortably possible. The pace of your meditation will be quicker and easier the less you eat. Why is this? There are some sound reasons for it. Our bodies have certain settled habits. Meditation is not one of them; it is new work for the body. The body has fixed associations. If the settled habits of the body are interrupted at any point, then our body and mind can form new habits easily. Suppose you are worried, and begin to scratch your head out of habit. Now if your hands are tied down at that time so that you cannot scratch your head, then you cannot remain worried. This is very puzzling. You might ask, "What is the relation between worrying and scratching?" The answer is habit. The body holds its habits fast and functions through them.
Eating is the most deep-rooted habit of the body; it is the deepest because no life is possible without it. Bear in mind, it is stronger and more potent than sex. Among all the deep-rooted habits of life, the food habit is the most profound. It begins from the first day of life and continues till the last day.
The very existence of life, the body itself, depends upon it.
So, if you want to change the habits of your mind and body, then weaken their deepest habit at once. As soon as you do this, all the fixed physical routines and arrangements of your body will be disturbed, and you will find it easier to enter new regions, and to go in new directions with your body in this disturbed condition; otherwise you will find it more difficult. So commit yourself as much as you can in this direction. You may choose to fast, or perhaps to eat once a day. Do as you choose; there is no need for rules. Quietly, and at your own pace, follow the path which is easiest for you.
The third point is concentration. You have to breathe deeply twenty-four hours a day, and at the same time be aware of your breathing. Pay attention to your breathing, and concentration will easily take place. When walking, bring awareness to walking, bring awareness when taking a shower.
Concentration can easily be achieved - even walking along the road. In this way: breathing in, observe that the breath from without is entering within - be attentive! Keep on observing the inhaling and also the exhaling of your breath. If you are attentive you will also be able to breathe in deeply. If you are not attentive you will forget to watch, and your inhaling process will become shallow. If you go on taking deep breaths you will be able to remain attentive because you will have to be attentive to do the deep breathing. So associate meditation with breathing. While you are doing certain jobs, if you feel it is not possible to keep your attention on your breathing, then keep your concentration on your task. For example, when you are eating your food, concentrate fully on the act of eating. Take every mouthful with full concentration. When you are taking a shower, concentrate on the water pouring over your body. Walking along the road, concentrate on each step you take.
Immerse yourself in concentration for twenty-four hours a day during these seven days. The meditation we shall do here is quite separate, but I am explaining to you the background of what you should do during the rest of the time. So practice this third point: great attention, great concentration - and especially on your breathing, because breathing is a ceaseless, twenty-four-hours-a-day process. No one can go on eating or swimming or walking for twenty-four hours, but breathing goes on ceaselessly, so concentration can be practiced on it all the time. Concentrate on it! Forget that there is anything else going on in the world. Live as though only one thing is happening in the whole world, and that is the breath coming in and the breath going out. It is enough; follow this process of the breath entering and leaving like the beads of a rosary. Concentrate just on this.
The fourth point is sense deprivation. Three things are to be done. If you feel able to observe silence for the whole day, then begin immediately; and if you find this hard, then be telegraphic in your speech. Understand that you are paying a price for each word you speak. So don't speak more than twenty words during the course of the day. Speak only when it is absolutely necessary, when it is unavoidable - like a matter of life and death! You cannot imagine how beneficial it will be for you to observe total silence - its value is incalculable.
So let yourself be totally silent; you will not find it hard. Keep a paper and pencil with you and if you find it absolutely essential, write down your message and show it to someone. Remain utterly silent.
Your total energy will be accumulated within by observing silence. This energy will help you to go deeper in meditation. More than half of man's energy is consumed by words. So stop using words completely. To your utmost capacity, observe silence; and take great care that nobody else's silence is broken because of you. If yours is broken, it is your misfortune, it is your own responsibility; but see that nobody else's silence is broken by you. Don't ask anyone useless questions, don't make unnecessary inquiries, don't raise useless questions, don't try to drag anybody into conversation.
Cooperate and help others to observe silence. If somebody asks a question, signal him to keep silence. He needs reminding.
Leave aside talking absolutely for seven days. You have talked a great deal up to today, and you will do so again in seven days' time. But for this one week, give up talking completely. Everyone should try his best. If you can remain silent for the whole seven days it will help you tremendously, and you will have no need for the excuse, "I cannot meditate." If you follow the five guidelines I am giving you, you will have no cause for complaint. If you create problems by ignoring these points, you only are responsible. So observe total silence, and if you cannot do this - if you are weak, if you lack determination, if your intelligence is not strong enough - then make do with as little talking as possible. If you have some intelligence, some willpower, some strength, some self-confidence, then observe total silence.
Silence is the first essential of a sense-deprivation program. The second is a blindfold. Make one, and begin using it from tomorrow morning. Your eyes must be completely covered. The eyes are the door through which you go out. The more you keep them closed, the better it will be for you. Even when you are just sitting around, keep the blindfold on, because then you won't see others, and the opportunity for conversation will not arise; and seeing you blindfolded, others will not try to harass you unnecessarily. So be blind. You have already heard about observing silence; now I ask you to be blind also.
To be silent is a kind of liberation, and to be blind is a greater and deeper liberation, because it is the eyes which make us run outside all day long. Closing your eyes, you will have much less scope for going outwards, and the energy will start circling within. So keep the blindfold on. While walking push it a little up, enough to see downwards, enough to see the road four feet ahead of you. Keep the blindfold on for the whole day. If you can sleep wearing it at night, do so. Only take it off if you find it uncomfortable. If you sleep with it on, there will be a difference in the soundness of your sleep.
Keep it on during the rest of the time you are here. When we meet here for the morning meditation, the blindfold should remain on. Take it off for the afternoon meditation, but keep it on till you come to the meditation ground. At night also you have to come wearing the blindfold. Once here, remove it for the duration of the night meditation.
So, when I begin to talk in the morning, remove your blindfold, and for the afternoon and the night meditations. I am giving you these opportunities to use your eyes because having some chance to see the world outside may help your eyes to go within; otherwise keep your eyes closed. You will be surprised how much mental tension disappears when your eyes are kept closed. A lot of mental tension enters through the eyes, and it is eye tension which causes tension in the brain tissues. If the eyes remained undisturbed, calm and relaxed, ninety-nine percent of mental diseases would disappear. So make a conscientious and full use of the device.
There is no question of anyone being excused or exempted; if you try to avoid it, I am not the loser, you are. Bear in mind that you have to remain blind for most of the time. You have to give your eyes a one-week holiday; imagine that you have no eyes at all. After seven days you will realize how relaxed and calm your eyes can be. You would never have imagined that so much joy could flow from their relaxation. But if during these days you choose to deceive yourself, then I am not responsible. It all depends on you. No one is responsible for anyone else here. You can deceive yourself or not, as you wish.
As well as a blindfold, get cottonwool to put in your ears. We wish to give the ears a rest too. If eyes, ears and speech are shut down and rested, the result is a condition of sense deprivation. Put the cottonwool in your ears, then tie the blindfold over them. That way others, even if they want to, cannot disturb you in your silence. If your ears are open someone may be tempted to talk to you.
There will be no temptation if your ears are closed. Keep your ears open only when I talk here in the morning, and at night when you go to sleep. Keep your eyes open and your ears closed during the afternoon and night meditations.
The fifth and last instruction is the most important and essential condition of all. It is this: only people who dance and laugh and are full of gladness and joy enter existence's temple. No weeping people have ever gained entrance there. So drop your melancholy and depression for these seven days.
Be blissful! Laugh, dance and remain joyful. Let bliss be with you all the time. Remain cheerful and joyous even in your routines. Be blissful while sitting or walking - be drunk with music, mad with joy! When you are walking, do not walk as everyone walks ordinarily; walk as a seeker, as a sadhu would walk, with a dance in your step. Don't worry about what others may say. We have come here in order to be free of others' criticisms. At worst, others may take you for a maniac, a lunatic. So accept the situation right from the start; this is the worst that can happen. Try to create a blissful and joyous atmosphere for the entire camp.
Observe silence - a silence shimmering with joy and delight, a silence dancing in mirth and merriment; silence without, and the energy dancing within. In your delight, dance and laugh. If you feel to dance even during the afternoon silent meditation, you can do so. Be full of joy and happiness even during the morning meditation here. If you want, if you feel like it, even during the meditation dance and jump and laugh. If you weep, let that weeping be the outcome of your joy. Let your tears help your bliss to flow. Keep all this in mind. If you want to sway, then sway. If you want to dance during night meditation, then dance. If you want to swing to and fro, do it. If you want to laugh, then laugh. The vibe of joy should be always with you.
These five things are to be practiced from tomorrow morning. So make arrangements now to get a blindfold for your eyes and cottonwool for your ears. By sunrise tomorrow morning you will not be the same person who came here today. This is my expectation. Do what I have said, and if you fulfill my expectation, nothing can keep you from being able to say, "OM. SHANTI, SHANTI, SHANTI! - peace, peace, peace!" when you depart from here. If, when you leave here, your heart can utter these words, then there is no difficulty for you.