The Upanishads divide man into two categories. First, those who kill the atman - the self; they are suicidal because they kill their own selves. And there are those who know the self; they belong to the second category. The knowers of the self and the killers of the self. We have a word, atmahatya, meaning killing of the self, but we do not use it in its right sense. The Upanishad has used it in its true sense. When a person has destroyed his body, we say he has committed suicide - killed the atman. This is not right, because to kill the body does not mean to kill the atman. To kill your own body is certainly to commit suicide. It certainly means your own death, and yet, at the same time, it is not your own. It is merely a changing of the cover, of the body. It is the killing of the body, not of the self - not of the atman.
The Upanishad calls him the killer - the destroyer of the self - who goes on living without knowing himself, who is covered in ignorance. Such a person is killing his atman. To live without knowing oneself is the real suicide. And we all live without knowing ourselves. We live but we do not know at all who we are, from where we are, why we are, for what purpose we are, where we move, what the meaning of life is. No, about all these questions we have not the faintest idea. We know nothing about ourselves. We may know about many other things, but we are utterly ignorant about one thing; we know nothing about ourselves.
The Upanishads will brand us as killers of the self, as asuras - as demons. Knowingly or unknowingly we mutilate ourselves till we can no longer know ourselves. First our ignorance troubles us, then it troubles others. Bear in mind, an ignorant person attacks himself first and attacks others afterwards. In fact as long as we have not already attacked ourselves first, it is not possible to attack others. It is impossible to give pain to others before we do so to ourselves. The man who has never cut his own legs on thorns does not scatter them across the paths of others. And one who has not given himself cause to weep can never plan to create trouble for others. The fact is, first of all we create trouble for ourselves, and when it has become solid and concentrated and begins to manifest through us, then we start distributing it. Only the miserable make others unhappy. This seems all right because we are sharing that which we have. But this giving is subsequent, secondary; first of all we give pain and misery to ourselves.
Are we not all tormenting ourselves? We are! We may strive to give joy and pleasure to others but in the end we give only suffering. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and it is made with the efforts of good wishes that we entertain for ourselves. What our desires are is not the root problem.
We all desire to give joy to ourselves, but no one can give himself joy without knowing himself. How can a person who does not know "Who am I?" have any idea of "What is my joy? I can know what my joy is only when I know my nature, my own being, my self."
As long as I do not know anything about the kind of roots deeply embedded in me, how can I have any sense of what flowers may blossom in me? What flowers can I hope for when I am so ignorant of the seeds that lie within me? What flower should I desire to be? If I have not the least idea about the seed itself, the result can only be unhappiness for me, whatever I may try to be, because I cannot be what I try to be, and in consequence I become miserable, afflicted, worried. I will die in tensions and worries. My whole life will be a mad race of cravings, but I will reach nowhere. Though the journey is very long, I will not find the destination, because it is hidden in my nature, in my self.
First of all I should know who I am. I should ascertain whether I am trying to discover what I am, or whether I am trying to discover what I am not. If I fail to discover what I am not, I shall certainly be miserable. Still more interesting is the fact that if I actually succeed in discovering what I am not, I shall still be miserable. Those who are unsuccessful in life certainly become miserable, but there is no end to the miseries of those who succeed either. That unsuccessful people become miserable can be understood. But the successful ones also become unhappy. Just go and find out from successful people.
Then it appears that life is a great joke, a mockery. In this world the unsuccessful become unhappy, which seems quite logical; it seems just and proper. But those who succeed in life also are unhappy.
In such circumstances this world appears very crazy and unbalanced. When both the successful and the unsuccessful have to be unhappy, then there seems no way to be happy. So let us first of all ask the successful people why they are unhappy, as there is nothing surprising about the unsuccessful being unhappy. Let us ask people like Alexander the Great and Stalin; let us inquire of multimillionaires like Carnegie and Ford. Ask those who got what they wanted. Ask them, "Did you find happiness?" and you will be very puzzled to hear their replies. They say, "We have been successful, but successful in finding unhappiness." Those who are unsuccessful also say, "We failed to achieve happiness; we found unhappiness instead." Those who achieved success say, "We succeeded in becoming unhappy; we found only unhappiness in our hands."
Those who run fast in the race of life reach their destination only to arrive at unhappiness; and those who reach nowhere and wander here and there in the wilderness also wander in misery.
When such is the case, what is the difference between the destination and the path? What is the difference between roaming about and reaching the destination? There appears to be no difference.
The difference cannot be seen, because the person who does not know who he is will be made miserable even by his success. The day on which he becomes successful he will realize that the building which he constructed - his great achievement - has not fulfilled his need. It gives his nature no nourishment. The building has been constructed, he has accumulated wealth, he has found fame and fortune; but these achievements fail to nourish any part of his inner life, they fail to bring contentment. He should have sought to discover, "What is my true desire, what is my longing? What do I really wish for?" Without knowing your true desire you will simply go on and on desiring, jumping from one desire to another.
Some days before his death, Freud wrote in a letter to his friend: "After hearing about the miseries of thousands of people throughout my life, I have come to the conclusion that mankind is destined to remain unhappy always, the reason being that man does not know what he wants." When a man like Freud says such a thing, the matter is worth thinking about. He says, "I have arrived at the conclusion that man does not know what he wants, after studying the sufferings, worries, anxieties and mental conflicts of thousands of unhappy people."
Man will never know what he wants because, in the first place, he does not know who he is. Suppose I go out to get clothes made for myself. I do not know anything about my body, I do not know anything about my measurements, I do not know anything about my bodily requirements; in brief, I don't have any idea about myself and yet I go out to get clothes made. When they are ready I find that they do not fit me. There is something wrong somewhere; they are unfit for my use. By all means go and have your clothes made, but before going out find out who you are, find out for whom the clothes are to be prepared, for whom the building is to be constructed, for whom happiness is to be sought.
It is very interesting to observe that no sooner does a person know who he is than the journey, and all the arrangements and preparations of his entire life, are transformed. He no longer goes looking for the things which we seek. He shows no willingness to smile and look pleased because someone offers him at a throwaway price - or for nothing - the things for which we labor hard. If someone is willing to give him something free, he will turn away from that man in case the thing is thrust upon him. He is out to achieve something quite different, something unusual; and it is interesting to find that those who know themselves never fail. Up to now they have never been unsuccessful. They succeed as much as those who do not know themselves remain unsuccessful. The man who knows himself becomes successful because, on knowing the self, he opens for himself that secret and that door where bliss is. That bliss is hidden within the self.
So, the Upanishads declare there are two types of people: those who know themselves, and those who are ignorant of themselves. Those who do not know themselves pursue their way deep into ignorance, and everything they do is done in ignorance. They go on acquiring in ignorance, they make decisions in ignorance, and in their ignorance, their race becomes faster and faster. The normal view is: "I did not achieve what I wanted in my life because I did not run as fast as I should have. Let me run a little faster, and faster, and still faster, so that I may achieve my goal. Perhaps I did not get it because I did not stake all. If I stake all, I might get."
We never stop to consider whether what we are trying to achieve has any inner harmony with ourselves or not. Even if the thing is achieved, it will be of no use, and if it is not achieved it cannot be of any use; and the time spent in getting it or in being unable to get it is lost. To this extent we have become our own assassins. We have become asuras, demons, killers of the atman - the self.
The word asur means those who live in darkness. It means those who live in a place where the light of the sun does not reach, a place where there is no illumination. They grope in darkness, they wander about in darkness, like germs of darkness. Those who do not know themselves are living in this darkness.
To know oneself is to become the sun. The journey of such an individual is into the world of light; but there are those whose inner light is not burning, is extinguished; they are deep in darkness. Those who keep on running, groping, hankering, following the blind, are like the blind following the blind.
And there are some among them who are great talkers; such people have the following of those who talk less, and so the race goes on. The blind with a little courage gather around themselves the blind with less courage.
Kahlil Gibran has written that he was roaming from village to village, promising to show God to people if they followed him. Nobody ever followed him so no trouble ever arose. The villagers told him to come again as they were then very busy with other things. The crop was ripe and ready for harvesting, so he should come again after some time. When he visited them again, they said, "The crops are not good this year; there is scarcity and we are in difficulty. Please come next year."
He continued to visit villages. He was not in a hurry to persuade anyone to follow him, but one impetuous man from a village decided to follow him. When Gibran said, "Follow me if you wish to see God," that man threw away his axe and said, "I am following you!"
Gibran became nervous. Then he thought, "How long will he follow me? In a week or two he will get tired and will leave me." But the villager continued to follow him.
One year passed. The man said, "I shall follow you wherever you lead me." Two years passed and Gibran became more nervous. He tried to avoid his follower, but the man always stood behind him, saying, "I am prepared to follow you wherever you lead me. I shall abide by whatever you ask me to do."
Six years passed in this way. Then one day the man took Gibran by the neck and said, "You have taken a long time, now show me God. Where do you wish to go now?"
The guru said, "Please pardon me; I have even lost my own way in your good company. I myself have lost my way since you followed me. Before you began to follow me, my road was quite clear for me. Everything was clearly visible. I was near the destination, God was in front of me. What a calamity that I let you join me! Now I too have lost my way. So, please leave me and go your own way."
That villager warned him, "Don't visit our village again!"
Gibran said, "Brother, I beg your pardon. I shall never visit your village, but I can go to other villages, because there are no such people as you in all these villages. They simply hear me and I go on my way alone."
Man, living himself in ignorance, is often given to telling others about the light of true knowledge; to do so comforts him and helps him forget his own darkness. It is important to be aware of such people. When you start to discourse on matters about which you know nothing it is difficult to estimate how much harm you do to others. But it is difficult to find a person who follows the rule of talking only about what he knows, and who keeps silent about that which he does not know. No, there is a great attraction to showing others, to telling others, if an opportunity arises. The attraction is tremendous. If we meet someone who appears a little weak on the subject of God and the soul, and who can be overwhelmed and awed by our talk, then we certainly thrust our knowledge upon him. Then we will show him the path to attain God and instruct him how to proceed.
This work of showing the path to others is delightful and gratifying because it creates a delusion in us that we already know the path: and in showing it to others over a long time, we forget, by and by, that we ourselves do not know the truth. There are very few people who really know, but there are lots of people who are always ready to advise others. It would benefit the world greatly if those who do not know but go on talking to others would remain silent on the subject of spiritual knowledge.
But it is very difficult for them to keep quiet, and it is equally difficult for others to silence them. If you try to silence them they will begin to shout all the more, because in shouting aloud they can deceive themselves. Their own sound falling into their ears creates confidence in them: "It's all right, I know the truth!"
The Upanishads declare that there are two types of people. Weigh and consider carefully to which of the two types you belong, to which category you belong. It is necessary to make a decision faithfully and truly about yourself so that the next step can be taken correctly and in the right direction. Who are you? The self-killer or the self-knower?
If you are a self-knower then no question arises, the matter is over. Then there is no journey for you.
If you are a self-killer then you have to make the journey. It has not yet begun, let alone the question of its being over. But it is easy to consider ourselves as knowers of the self, because all have read the Upanishads, the Gita, the Bible, the Koran and what Mahavira and Buddha have said. It is difficult to imagine how costly and harmful this has been for mankind. These 'religious' books are at the tip of everyone's tongue; they are all known completely. The fact is, nobody knows anything about them but all are in delusion that they know everything, because the whole book is memorized.
People write me letters, saying, "You said something about a certain matter, but it doesn't seem to be correct because there is something else written about it in such and such a book." Now, if you know what is right then it is not necessary for you to listen to what I say. And if you don't know what is right then how can you decide that what such and such a book has written is correct? This matter cannot be decided simply by thinking and pondering on it. One has to do something in this matter, simply thinking and pondering will not do.
Yesterday when I was leaving this place, a friend approached the car and said, "What you were saying in your lecture today is said in the Yogasara also." Now, this person has already read the Yogasara. So I said, "Take heed to do as I am telling you - because if you had acted upon what the Yogasara has to say, you would not have needed to come to me. You have shown the Yogasara great reverence; but you did nothing. Please don't honor me in the same way. And now you ask whether this has not been said already in the Yogasara. What difference does it make? You have read the Yogasara and now you have heard me. The question is: when will you put into practice what you have heard?"
The questioner was not a child, children never ask such foolish questions. He was an old man. If you want to gather very foolish stories, you should approach the old people, because their foolishness has been ripened and seasoned. They have experienced ignorance in all its strength and heaviness.
They are familiar with all the scriptures. They know all that has been said. They have become 'knowers of the self.' There is no harm in having become so. It is very good, very praiseworthy. If someone becomes a knower of the self, it is cause for celebration. But then there is no need for him to come to me, and since he has come, I know that his reading of the Yogasara was useless and that whatever he has read up to now has been of no avail.
It is very likely that such people will make me as useless as they have made all their reading. They are so busy with this activity. If I say that what the Yogasara has said is right, then - I know it - the matter will be over. But if I say, "It is not said in this way in the Yogasara," they will seize the opportunity to start a debate. You can argue for the whole of your life.
I am not eager for any debates, I am not anxious for any isms. I am eager about this one small matter - that you may be able to decide clearly whether you are a killer of the self or a knower of the self. If you are a knower of the self, you are beyond consideration. Then I have no concern with you. The matter is over! If you are a killer of the self then something can be done, and I am telling you what can be done. Remember this: it is not my telling you that makes it right, nothing becomes right because of my saying so. You will not know it in any way until you have translated it into action.
Know it after putting it into practice - after its execution.
Religion is experimentation, not thought. Religion is a method of acting, not of thinking. Religion is science, not philosophy. It is certainly a laboratory, but not a sophisticated one where we go and collect materials and instruments, and start performing experiments. You yourself are the laboratory.
The whole experiment is conducted within yourself.
Enough for today. We shall talk on other sutras tomorrow. Now I shall say a few words on our experiment here and then we shall start doing it. I start with the belief that you are killers of the self. You may be offended by my words. It is good if you are offended. It is good if you hurt a little.
Sometimes I find people so emotionally dead that they are not even affected by such words. If you label them as killers of the self, they will say, "You are right, we accept your label." I tell you that you are living till now without knowing yourself. I want you to enter within your self, and to be able to say to your self, "I am living without knowing my self"; because the anguish of not knowing oneself is so acute that it will guide you in your experimenting. Otherwise it is not possible to do it.
Bear in mind, the experiment is such that you will know it only if you do it. You will not be able to know because your neighbor does it. In this afternoon's meditation I saw some ten absolutely childish people who were looking here and there to see what others were doing. What will they see?
Someone is running, someone is dancing, someone else is shouting aloud. What are you looking at? Maybe you are thinking that these people are mad. I am telling you to think again - you are the mad ones! That person is doing something. Have you come to watch mad people? Why have you come all the way here? Just to watch someone dancing? Your labor in coming here was wasted.
Such a long journey and worthless. If you wanted to see mad people you could have done so in your own town. It was not necessary for you to make such a long journey and to climb this mountain.
You will never be able to know what is happening within another's body. If he is laughing you will be able to hear the sound of laughing, but you will never know the dream which he is dreaming within himself. If he is weeping you will be able to see his tears, but you will never know the thing which has been excited within him and which flows out through his tears. If he is dancing you will see his hands going up and down, or you will see him jumping, but you will never know what sound began to play within him, what wires began to hum within him: you will not be able to hear that unknown sound of his inner flute, no matter how close you keep your ears to his chest. Therefore I tell you to forget the other completely, to leave aside all concern with others.
So I want to say that from tomorrow you wear blindfolds even during our afternoon meditations.
Nobody should sit here without a blindfold on; and plug your ears with cottonwool. Leave aside your curiosity to hear and to see; you will get nowhere through such activities. You have to keep your eyes open during the night program; those who have kept their eyes shut to the maximum during the day will be able to go as deep as is possible. Those who have not done so today should bear this in mind and keep their eyes shut as far as possible. The night program will be with open eyes.
Remember this: when your eyes are open, your energy continues to flow out all the time. If you wish to do this experiment with your maximum energy, then keep your eyes shut as much as you can during the day so that energy may be accumulated. Your eyes can use this energy in the night program; otherwise it cannot be made use of. So be very careful about this tomorrow. Keep your eyes, ears and mouth shut to your utmost capacity. The morning program and the afternoon silence will be gone through blindfolded, and your eyes will remain open for forty minutes during the night program.
Now we will sit here for forty minutes and you keep on simply gazing at me; don't even blink. Keep the eyes wide open for forty minutes. You will begin to have many experiences, and those who have carried through the experiment in the daytime - and many friends have done it very conscientiously - will discover some very important results. Those who prefer to do it standing should move to the outer circumference on all sides and stand there, as they are likely to jump and dance vigorously.
People sitting in the center around me on all sides in this corner should remain where they are. Now those who are standing should scatter in all directions. Those who have the least idea that standing will be a more appropriate position for them should move away now, so that they won't need to get up in the middle of the program, because once we start you will not be allowed to stand up and disturb those around you.
Keep complete silence - nobody should talk. I want to watch and see you for forty minutes. I shall be sitting in complete silence. Then let whatever happens, happen to you. If you desire to take in deep breaths, do it; if you want to dance, then dance; but your attention should be on me, your eyes should gaze at me. If you have a mind to shout, or to dance, or to weep or to laugh, do that. Do whatever you want to do, but keep your eyes towards me.
I may give you a few instructions. When I feel that you are now well into your own tempo, I shall raise both my hands upwards. At that time exert yourself fully. That will be my signal that your kundalini within is rising - is awakening. Now put all your energy into your activity. And when I feel that you are so full of energy that godliness can descend upon you, I shall lower my hands. Then put all your energy, without keeping any remainder in reserve, in your activity - and much will happen!