Become A Mirror
HE WHO SEES THE ENTIRE WORLD OF ANIMATE AND INANIMATE OBJECTS IN HIMSELF AND ALSO SEES HIMSELF IN ALL ANIMATE AND INANIMATE OBJECTS, BECAUSE OF THIS, DOES NOT HATE ANYONE.
Dislike or hatred of another is the basis of deep-seated complications for mankind. It can be said that the poison of hatred becomes manifest in all his poisonous displays. The word hatred means the desire to destroy the other. Love means being willing to sacrifice oneself for another, if necessary.
Hatred means being willing to destroy another for oneself even if it is not necessary. In the way we all live there is an abundance of hatred and no music of love.
The feeling which we call love is, in fact, a form of hatred. In making love we make another our means for happiness; and no sooner does one make another a means than hatred begins. In making love we live for our own self. We want to serve our own selfish end. At times we appear to do something for another, but it is simply because we are out to get something from him in return.
We do something for another only when we have some hope of getting something from him - we desire the fruit; otherwise we do nothing. That is why our love may turn into hatred at any moment.
It happens: the love shown to somebody a few minutes before may turn into contempt for him soon after. If a small obstruction crops up that gets in the way of the fulfillment of our desire, our love will be changed into hatred. Love which can be turned into hatred and contempt is only concealed hatred. There is only hatred within, and the outer covering is just a semblance of love.
The Ishavasya presents here a very important sutra which makes love possible; otherwise not.
Without understanding and acting upon this sutra, there is no possibility for the flower of love to open. This sutra says that hatred will come to an end only when a person begins to see himself in all animate and inanimate objects, and begins to see all animate and inanimate objects - the whole existence - in himself. Remember, the Ishavasya does not say that love will be born then but says, "Then hatred will come to an end."
There is a very well thought out reason for saying so. There is no other obstruction in the way of love except the presence of hatred. If there is no hatred, love blooms of its own accord - spontaneously, naturally. Nothing else is to be done for it to blossom. It is like removing a stone blocking a small stream: once removed, the stream flows on of its own accord. In the same way the stone of hatred weighs on us. Because of the stone of hatred we are unable to see our faces reflected in the mirrors of all animate and inanimate objects; nor can we become mirrors reflecting all those objects in ourselves.
Both these phenomena happen simultaneously: the person who can see himself in all animate and inanimate objects - all the animals, the whole existence - will inevitably be able to see all in himself.
The person for whom the whole world becomes a mirror, himself becomes a mirror for the whole world. They happen simultaneously. They are the two sides of one and the same occurrence. The Upanishad says that when this happens, hatred disappears.
What is born then? The Upanishad hasn't said that love is born then, because love is eternal, it is our nature. Neither is it born, nor does it die. For instance, when the rainy season has set in and the sky is covered with clouds, the sun is obscured. Now, can we say that the sun will be born when the clouds disappear? No, we can only say that the sun, which was always there, will be visible.
When the clouds came the sun was not destroyed, it was just obscured. It was no longer visible, concealed behind the clouds. Clouds will disappear and the sun will shine again. Clouds are born and clouds die, but the sun is always there.
Love is the nature of life, so it has neither birth nor death. Clouds of hatred are born and die. Love is covered when those clouds are born; it manifests itself when they disappear, when they are no more. But love is eternal, so the Upanishad does not talk of the birth of love, it says this much only:
hatred dies and disappears.
But how? The sutra is not as easy as it appears. Many a time it happens that the things which look difficult are not so, and similarly, those which appear easy are not easy. Mostly, there is great depth and intricacy hidden within easy matters. This sutra seems to be straightforward and easy. The whole statement is completed in two lines only. It says, the person who sees himself in all objects - animate and inanimate - and begins to see all objects in himself, will have his hatred destroyed. But to make all his mirror, or to be a mirror for all, is the greatest alchemy and art. There is no greater art.
I have heard: A Chinese man once went to the court of the emperor of Iran and said, "I have come from China, and I am a very great artist. I can make paintings such as you have never seen before."
The emperor said, "Then make them here. But remember, there is no shortage of painters in our court and I have seen very wonderful pictures."
The Chinese painter said, "I am ready to meet any challenge."
The best among the court painters was selected to compete. Then the emperor warned his painter, "Use all your talent, do your very best. This is now a question of the prestige of the empire. See that you are not defeated by this foreigner."
They were given six months to complete their work. The Iranian painter began his work very seriously. With the help of ten to twenty co-workers he covered his whole wall with beautiful pictures.
News of his paintings reached distant regions, and people came from afar to see his work. But a greater miracle than this was happening. The Chinese artist said, "I need no implements or materials for my work, nor any paints either. I insist on one condition only - that the curtain covering my wall not be removed till the picture is finished."
Each morning he would go behind his curtain, and reappear in the evening quite exhausted, with drops of perspiration on his forehead. But it was a matter of great perplexity, mystery and wonder that he did not carry any brush or paints with him when he disappeared behind the curtain. Neither were there ever any traces of color on his hands, nor any spots of paint on his clothes, and he carried no brush in his hands. The emperor began to wonder whether he was crazy. How could there be any competition under such circumstances? But it was necessary to wait for six months to fulfill the condition.
With great impatience everyone waited for the six months to pass. The news about the pictures of the Iranian painter reached far and wide, and along with this news, the word also spread about his crazy competitor who had entered the competition without any paints. You can't imagine how eagerly the people waited for those six months to pass.
After six months the emperor went to see the pictures. He was spellbound on seeing the pictures of the Iranian painter. He had seen many paintings in his life, but he had never seen paintings of such unsparing skill. Then he requested the Chinese painter to show his work. He removed the curtain covering his wall. On seeing it the emperor was very much puzzled. It was the same picture. The Chinese painter had created the same picture as the Iranian, but with one additional feature: it was not painted on the wall, but emerged from twenty feet deep inside the wall. The emperor asked, "How have you done this? What is this magic?"
He replied, "I have done no magic. But I am an expert in making mirrors, so I turned the wall into a mirror by rubbing it continuously for six months. The picture which you are looking at is that of the Iranian painter's on the opposite wall. I simply turned the wall into a mirror."
He won the competition, because shimmering in the mirror the Iranian painting became infinitely more profound than its original. The Iranian painting acquired great depth when seen in the mirror.
It became a three-dimensional picture. The Iranian one was two-dimensional; it had no depth. The Chinese painter's picture gained a three-dimensional depth. The emperor asked him, "Why did you not tell us in the beginning that you only know how to make mirrors?"
The Chinese painter replied, "I am not a painter, I am a sadhu, a monk."
The emperor said, "This becomes more and more interesting. First you didn't tell us that you make mirrors, and now you tell us you are a sadhu. Why should a sadhu make mirrors?"
The Chinese painter replied, "I have been making only mirrors since I made myself a mirror and saw the world in it. Just as I turned this wall into a clean mirror by continuously rubbing and cleaning it, so I made myself a mirror, pure as crystal, by keeping constant watch on myself. And such a beautiful image of this world as I have seen within was never seen without. The day on which I saw and realized the world within me, I became like a mirror. All the animate and inanimate objects of the world have penetrated within me."
We will be able to see God on the day on which our heart becomes like a mirror. Then all the world enters into us, and the whole world becomes a mirror for us also. Then we are able to see ourself every moment, everywhere. But the whole world cannot be turned into a mirror; only our own self can be turned into a mirror. That is why the seeker after truth begins by making a mirror of himself.
To know the alchemy and art of making ourself a mirror, three points are to be understood. First, perhaps it is not correct to talk of making a mirror of the self, because we are all mirrors already, but covered with dust. Our work is to clean and polish our mirror and make it bright and clear. A mirror is not a mirror if dust is allowed to settle on it; then it does not reflect anything. Its capacity to reflect is destroyed when it is covered with dust. We are such mirrors - the dust has accumulated on us. Just as dust collects on a mirror carried along a busy road, so it collects as we pass through countless lives. It is gathered in many many ways from our desires, our innumerable actions, and from our becoming constantly the doer. No one knows what a heap of dust is collected - the dust of actions, of becoming doers of actions, of ego, of thoughts, of desires and feelings. So there is a very deep layer of dust on us.
The important matter is to remove it. If it is swept away, we are mirrors again. And everything is like a mirror for one who is himself a mirror. Why? - because whatever we are is seen by us on all sides. To understand this, keep this important sutra in mind: "We see only what we are, we never see anything else but this." Whatever is seen by us is always our projection. Always we are that. It is only our face we see. If no good is seen by us in the world outside, then it is because the seed of such a view is within us. If only ugliness is seen in the world outside, we should know that ugliness has taken a firm root within us. If faithlessness is seen everywhere outside, we should know that faithlessness is within us. The projector is within, only the screen is without, and we go on projecting onto it. We go on expanding whatever is within us onto the screen.
If God is not seen in the world outside it means simply that we do not experience the divine within us. He who realizes God within begins to see God instantly in all objects. Then there is no other way. Then he will see God even in a stone. But at the moment only stone is seen in God. For me there is no other meaning to the word materialist but this: he is a materialist whose spiritual heart has turned to stone. One whose heart within is like a stone sees stones everywhere. For me, he is a spiritualist whose spiritual heart is not like a stone but throbbing, living, pulsating, vibrant.
The scientist would say that there is nothing spiritual in the throbbing of our heart. It is a kind of system, nothing more. The scientist would say that any heart about which we talk can be seen by dissecting it; and what we will find is a pump which circulates blood, by the pressure of air, throughout the body. There is nothing more to it than that. And if this is how the scientist sees his own heart and source of life, then he can have no experience of life, and no consciousness of the world outside. If heart means for a man only a machine to push blood around within, then he will see only a mechanical expanse in the outside world: then the whole system is complete. The world is merely a mechanical thing. The world outside is only stones.
No, there are other ways to go within. It would have meant great difficulty if the way of science was the only way to go within. Then the scientist would have won. But he cannot win, his defeat is sure. It is possible there will be some delay in finding ways to go within, because there are many possibilities. For example, someone wants to learn to play a veena. Now, it is possible to find out what a veena is by breaking it open and looking into it. One could tear off all its strings, smash it into pieces, examine the pieces, and finally declare, "There is no music at all in it. Who said this was a musical instrument? Here it is in front of me separated into parts, and there is no music in it at all."
If this is the only way to know what a veena is then the musician is already defeated. But there is also another way to find out what the veena is. Certainly it is a hard way; it is easy to destroy it, but to know what it really is, is very arduous. Only by playing it can one know what is hidden in the heart of the veena. It is so subtle that it is difficult to grasp, certainly, and if you are deaf you will not grasp it at all. If you are only intellectually efficient, but deficient in sensitivity, deficient in sentiment, then you will not understand even if you hear it. When one listens to music one hears only sounds - a profusion of sounds. But music means something more than just hearing. In hearing it, something else is added. We have to pour our heart into it; then and then only, the sounds turn into music.
Otherwise there are only confused sounds, there is only noise.
If there was only one way of knowing the heart - that of the surgeon who dissects it on his operating table - it would have been no good; but there is one more way also. A spiritual person knows it, a saint knows it. He has come to know it by playing upon the heart, not by taking it apart. He has known it by producing music in the heart. So he asks, "Which heart within are you talking of? You are as mad and idiotic as a person who breaks an electric bulb, takes the pieces of glass home and says, 'This is light.'" It is true that light was produced through it, but the glass pieces which you carried home are not and were not light. That the light vanished when the bulb was broken is a fact. So the logical reasoning behind this happening seems correct - that when the bulb was broken the light went away, so the bulb was the light; otherwise the light should not have gone out when the bulb was broken. The pieces we have brought home make up the total light. This is true, that when a bulb is broken the light disappears; it is not lost or destroyed, it simply disappears, becomes invisible. The medium that makes it visible is broken.
If we demolish the heart, the medium for the spirit to manifest is broken. The bulb is broken. Then the spiritual heart cannot shine out, just as the light cannot shine on breaking the bulb. The spirit is then concealed. The heart only helps the spirit to manifest. But there are very few people among us who have known the spiritual heart. We know only the physical heart, through which the blood is circulated and life is mobilized. We have known only this mechanical arrangement, so we see it magnified in the outside world also.
The day on which we come to know the supreme consciousness within us, then the outside world also will appear to us like the expanse of the supreme consciousness. The whole will be a mirror to us when we become a mirror within. If we stand near a stone, then we will be able to see ourself even in the stone. Then we will not look at the stone with that hardness with which we look at man now. Then we shall touch a stone as if we are touching our beloved, because the stone is not stone then, it is God. Then we shall tread on the ground with great care, sensitivity and awareness, because there also life is hidden, there also is the expansion of existence, and there also life is throbbing; there also someone is dancing. Existence is dancing in various dimensions, in various forms, and in various ways. We are not the only masters of life. Endless are its forms, and we are one of them. Ours is a very small way. And yet we have no knowledge of our way within.
How can we become a mirror? To become a mirror we will have to brush away the dust settled on us. Not only do we have to remove it but also we have to stop gathering new dust. If we go on brushing aside the dust at this end and at the same time we continue the way of life that collects it, then there is no possibility of becoming a mirror. We have to make a twofold attack. The old dust, the accumulated dust, will have to be removed and at the same time we have to stop gathering new dust. The old dust is accumulated in the form of memories and the new dust is collected through desires. The old dust is hoarded in memories and the new dust comes through desires.
Both efforts have to be made simultaneously. We will have to free ourselves from memories and from desires. We have to tell our desires that we don't wish to get anything now, there is now no further journey, and we have to tell our memories that what happened in the past is only a dream now. There is no need to go on carrying this load uselessly. But all of us are carrying our load of memories. We forget nothing; on the contrary, we nurture old memories and hold onto them. We collect this refuse and keep it on our shoulders. From birth to death we collect our refuse. So we have to dispense with memories. We have to say, "What has happened has happened, I am not that old self now." We have to tear ourselves away from yesterday. We have to free ourselves from the past and from the future too. When we are free from these two, then our mind will become a mirror.
For me, a sannyasin is one who says, "I tear myself from the past. I am not now what I was yesterday - I end that identity." That is why names are changed. The changing of names is symbolic. It means:
"I will not be that old I which was linked with the old name. Now I free myself from that. Now I bury those old memories, that old mess of things of the past, along with my old name. Now I am a new person and begin my journey from the start." In the steady determination to be new from today, from now, is found the real sannyas.
Remember this: freedom from the past is possible; but if we continue our old habits then our past will remain as our past. How long will the effect of the change of name last? It will not remain new even for a moment. After breaking off with the past, if we continue old habits, then we will be collecting old memories around the new name, and the same old burden will be there, and the mirror will remain concealed.
So sannyas is a twofold resolution. Tearing away from the past - that is, "I am not now what I was yesterday; I break the continuity. I am aware. I am a new person now. That old name is no longer mine. He is not my father, that is not my family. No, that past has nothing to do with me. I am reborn from today."
A man called Nicodemus once approached Jesus, and asked, "What shall I do to achieve that ecstasy which you are talking about?"
Jesus said, "You will have to be born again."
The man asked, "How is that possible? What are you talking about? How is that possible? I have already been born, I have already been an infant. Now how can I be born again?"
Jesus said, "You have not understood me. You have never taken birth, so I tell you, you will have to be born again. You will have to be born a new person. You will have to be born free from your past mess of memories and relationships."
We used to call such a person twice-born in our country. Twice-born does not mean that one has gone through the brahmin initiation ritual of putting on the sacred thread. It means one whose second birth has taken place. Nobody can be twice-born before becoming a sannyasin. Nobody can be twice-born just by putting on the sacred thread. Nobody can be twice-born by being born in a brahmin family. The word dwija means one who took a second birth. The first birth is given by the parents and the second is the result of one's own endeavor.
It is a twofold process. "I am breaking myself off from the past and also from the old pattern of living through which I was becoming more and more attached to the past. Now I am born anew every day.
Now there will be no dust settling on my mirror. Now this name will remain fresh forever. Now there will be no memory linked with it. Now I shall never say I did this and I did not do that. I shall now never declare that I am the doer. I shall now never say that the building is mine, or the wealth is mine, or the property is mine."
Remember this: a sannyasin is not one who leaves his home and begins to say, "The ashram is mine." The sannyasin is one who stops using the word 'my'. It does not matter where he lives. He may sit and run a shop, provided the shop does not become 'mine'. Then the whole matter ends.
But we have a habit of leaving the shop, of quitting it, and then reasserting our old habit by entering an ashram and beginning to talk of my ashram. It makes no difference then whether we live in the house or live in an ashram. Then changing the name is of no use. It is as useless as the elephant's practice of bathing in a river or pond, and then coming out and throwing dust over its body. The bath has served no purpose. The whole labor is wasted.
This sutra of the Upanishad is asking us to be a mirror. A right mind is a mirror. One who can say, "I have neither past nor future, I am living in the here and now; this very moment is all," becomes a mirror immediately.
How can there be any hatred in a heart which reflects all animate and inanimate objects in its own mirror? And how can there be any feeling of hatred when his own reflection is seen in all animate and inanimate objects? The feeling of hatred goes away; its smoke vanishes. The clouds of smoke disappear, and what becomes visible is the sun, the sun of love. Remember, as long as there is still hatred in your heart, the love you make and go on making can only be a form of hatred. When hatred dissolves at its very roots - that is, when it has utterly and finally disappeared - the thing that is born is love.
Only a sannyasin can make love. It is only from the self - the soul - that love's stream flows. Nothing but hatred will flow from the body and the mind. Only hatred will flow from selfish ideas - ideas of mine and thine. The seeker must correctly understand the art of becoming a mirror himself. As soon as he can he has to learn to make the present moment his existence, and begin to live from moment to moment. He has to separate himself from the past as well as the future. He has to find freedom from memories and from desires. Then the accumulated dust will fade away and there will be no possibility for new dust to settle.