The outward manifestation of existence is called prakriti - the material nature of the universe - visible to the eyes, touchable with the hands, knowable through the sense organs; all that with which our organs become conversant. It can be said that the visible God is prakriti; but this is the experience of those who know God. They can affirm that prakriti is the body of God. But we know only the body, we do not know that it is the body of God. Prakriti is the form of that hidden, invisible consciousness, it is the visible form of that. This fact is known only to those who know the invisible also. Otherwise we know only this much - that the visible is all there is.
The Upanishads say that those absorbed in the worship of prakriti - visible nature - enter darkness.
All of us are absorbed in this way. They alone are less absorbed who offer prayers and worship in
the temples. But we who are absorbed in prakriti offer our prayers and worship in the temples of the sense organs. Upasana - worship - also has the meaning to sit near. When you are absorbed in the taste of a thing, you are sitting near the organ of taste. When you are absorbed in sexual desire, you are sitting near the sex organ; the worship of the sex organ is going on at the time. Those who call themselves atheists are also absorbed, not in the worship of God, but in that of manifest nature.
It is very difficult to save ourselves from 'sitting near'. We have to sit near something - we can't avoid it. If we don't sit near God we will sit near manifest nature. If we don't sit near the soul we will sit near the body. If we don't sit near the spiritual and transcendental we will sit near the worldly and mundane. Certainly we will sit somewhere. The act of sitting near will go on in every condition with one single exception. I will talk about this later on.
This sutra of the Upanishad says that they enter darkness who are absorbed in the worship of manifest nature. They enter darkness because they can establish no connection with light. The worship and adoration of manifest nature is mainly due to darkness, to ignorance. Truly speaking, darkness is the basis on which being absorbed in manifest nature depends. If you wish to fulfill any desire or passion, it will be easy precisely to the degree that your mind is filled with darkness and ignorance. It will be difficult to sit near a desire if there is light - true knowledge - in the mind. The running, the searching after desires, will be exactly as smooth as the mind is filled with insensibility.
Desires pertaining to all the sense organs lead us into deep sleep. If you are awake you will pass by the sense organs; and if you are asleep and insensible you will find yourself sitting near the sense organs.
The greater the unconsciousness, the nearer you will sit. Therefore the worshippers of manifest nature will necessarily be in unconsciousness. These devotees of the sense organs will have to discover various ways and means to remain in unconsciousness. Hence they must always, by and by, seek out new intoxicants. It is no wonder that they resort to drinking wine and spirits. Actually, it is impossible for a devotee of the sense organs to be away from intoxicants for long. And whenever the number of such devotees goes on multiplying, more and more new ways and means will be discovered to remain unconscious. To be absorbed in the enjoyment of the sense organs, to sit nearer to the sense organs, it is good to keep the mind unconscious and lacking discretion. It is necessary to hold the mind in trance, in insensibility, if you want to be angry or greedy or full of sexual desire. Only in such an unconscious state of mind can you sit near, and worship, manifest nature.
So you see this sutra of the Upanishad is very significant. It says, they enter darkness who are absorbed in the worship of the manifest, the visible. It also says something else - that they enter greater darkness who are absorbed in the worship of the ego. The worship of the sense organs is natural. It is a kind of worship practiced even by animals; but no animal is absorbed in the worship of karma upasana - that is, in the satisfaction of ego. It is necessary to understand this a bit. The worship of karma upasana is a faculty unique to man.
Suppose a man is seeking prestige. There is no direct possibility of satisfying any particular sense organ by obtaining a certain professional position. By acquiring a certain status a man may make it easier for himself to indirectly satisfy certain sense organs, but there is no direct possibility of satisfaction. The sense organs have no direct link with status. The interest or desire to seek status does not belong to the sense organs, it pertains to ego - to "I am somebody." It is true that to be a
somebody will offer greater facilities for satisfying the sense organs than one has if one is a nobody, but "I am somebody" has its own absorption and pleasure. It is this interest - the satisfying of one's ego - that is meant by karma upasana.
The Upanishads say such a person goes into greater darkness. He enters greater darkness than that of animals because the interest which animals take is natural and physical. A person takes interest in eating: it is animal-like. In a sense, he is an animal. But suppose a person takes an interest in politics and goes on seeking position after position; such a person is worse than an animal. His interest is not natural at all, it is perverted. The interest derived from holding a particular post does not satisfy any sense organ, any natural organ. It is a very unnatural growth. The knot, the tumor, of ego within goes on increasing and gives him the pleasure of feeling, "I am somebody and the other is nobody." It is the interest in domination, the pleasure of power over others. It is the interest in crushing others in one's fist. It is the pleasure of crushing the necks of others.
Therefore the meaning of the worship of karma prakriti lies in the various ways and means designed to satisfy ego. They may be directed towards fame, towards status, towards wealth. True, a person obtains more facilities to satisfy his worldly desires if he has money. If he has no money he has to face many difficulties; but there are some people who worship money for money's sake. They do not worship it because with money they may be able to buy a beautiful woman or good food. They worship it only with the idea that they will be somebody if they have money. The question of being able to buy something does not worry them. It is not a problem for them.
In pursuit of accumulating wealth it generally happens that a person loses his capacity to enjoy the pleasures of the sense organs. Then all that remains for him to do is to take stock of his riches - to see and check his bank balance until eventually this becomes his only interest. Such a person remains absorbed in this activity from morning to evening. He neither sleeps quietly at night nor is he truly awake during the day. He is running after money and amassing it in heaps. Another person is running after fame and goes on pursuing it more and more. Another is after so-called knowledge, setting himself to gather as much information as he can. All our great network of activities begins from our desire to satisfy our ego - our feeling of being somebody.
Be aware how much less disturbance or chaos there is in the lives of animals than in the world of man, because animals are all ardent worshippers of manifest nature. They are firm devotees and cannot be drawn to any other form of worship. They want food, they want protection, they want to satisfy their sexual desires, they want sleep, and then their journey of life is over. An animal does not want more than these things. In a sense their demands are few and limited. In one sense they are very temperate - their wants are very few. They never worry about anything else when the demands of their sense organs are satisfied.
An animal has no desire to be a president. It goes to rest after eating its food, and even its demand for sexual pleasure is very limited and controlled. Except in the world of man, the demand for sexual enjoyment in the whole world of animals is periodical. There is a period when it demands sexual enjoyment, and after the lapse of that period it loses all its urge for sexual satisfaction. Man is the only animal on this earth whose sex drive is always active, twenty-four hours a day and three hundred and sixty-five days of the year. There is no limit to his urge for sexual enjoyment; he remains eager all the time. The thirst for sexual pleasure fills his whole life. No other animal is so eager for it. If it gets food, the matter ends there - no further demands. Animals have no great desire even
to collect food for tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, or for a year or two hence. If an animal is anxious to collect food, it is, at the most, for one year - and such animals are rare. Man is the only animal who not only labors to collect for his whole life, but also labors to collect for that existence after death, if there is such an existence at all.
In ancient Egypt, when a person died the Egyptians used to keep all the things required in life in the grave with the mummified body. The things kept were in proportion to the greatness of the dead person. If an emperor died, all his queens were buried along with him as he might need them after death. All his wealth, food and a great many other things were also kept there. Surviving wives were buried alive along with the dead husband because they might be useful after death! No animal worries about itself after death. It does not even worry about its death. Its expectation of time is very limited. Man makes arrangements in various forms and ways for the next world, the other world. He builds temples and gives in charity so that he may find happiness in the other world. He wants it recorded in the other world that "I have given away so much in charity, here I expect my rewards."
The worship of sense organs alone is less subtle and complex; the network of desire and worship of karma prakriti is less sophisticated among primitive people, so there is not much tension in their lives. To a large extent in primitive societies there are only the demands of the sense organs, as there are among animals. Worship of karma prakriti does not exist. As man goes on becoming more and more civilized, the satisfaction of ego instead of sense organs becomes highly valued. We give great honor to the person who sacrifices the demands of his sense organs in order to satisfy his ego. We call him a great and self-denying person who gives up worrying about food, his wife and his children in his race for position. He is pursuing status, he is pursuing prestige, and we say, "Look at this man! - how indifferent he is to his food, to his clothes, to his home affairs!" But when you look behind his activities, you will find that he is sacrificing the demands of his sense organs to satisfy his ego.
The Upanishads say such an individual goes into great darkness. He who is absorbed only in the sense organs is in a better situation than that individual. His web, his network, is not so deep and subtle because the demands of the sense organs are not many. Endless are the demands of ego.
The beautiful thing about the demands of the sense organs is that all of them have few, very few, demands, they are limited. They are repetitive, but they are not limitless.
Bear this difference in mind and understand it. Those demands are repeated but are not limitless.
No demand of any of the sense organs is limitless. It never happens that you carry on eating and yet your hunger remains unsatisfied. When you have satisfied your sexual desire today, it will appear again tomorrow - but also when your desire for sexual pleasure is satisfied today, all of a sudden you are completely free of that desire. Sexual desire also is not limitless. It is certainly repetitive, but it is also limited.
Ego is limitless. It does not require repetition; it requires more and more. However much you may fill it and satisfy it, it is never filled, it is never satisfied. Ego is insatiable, it cannot be satisfied. If it acquires one position, it immediately begins a campaign for a better position. No sooner does it get one position than it makes preparations for a superior position. If you tell a person, "You have been made a minister," then he immediately - that very night - begins to have dreams of becoming the chief minister. He says, "It is all right, one desire is fulfilled." Then his ego sets out immediately on its next journey.
Ego is not repetitive. Desires, passions are repeated, but because their demands have limits they become quiet when they are fulfilled. When they are awakened again, they repeat the demands.
That is why animals are not inclined to worry and so never become neurotic. They do not commit suicide. They never require to be mentally examined, they don't need any psychoanalysis. No Freud, no Jung, no Adler is required by them; these are meaningless people for the animals. If you pay attention to how animals are, you will find them very quiet. Even very ferocious animals are quiet. If you have seen a tiger after his dinner, you will find him very quiet, no uneasiness at all.
He is a killer, a carnivorous animal through and through, but his killing nature is there only so long as he has not got his food. No sooner has he eaten than he becomes absolutely nonviolent - he becomes a staunch Gandhian. Then he remains indifferent to the food lying before him. When the lion is resting after his dinner, smaller animals which might well be his dinner gather round him and eat the remnants of his food. But then he is not ready to kill them. When he becomes hungry the next day he will be ready to hunt and to kill, but until then the matter of killing is over. The hunger of man's ego is never over; on the contrary, it goes on increasing as you go on satisfying it.
Understand this distinction between sense organs and ego. Satisfy the sense organs and they are soon full. They will be empty again and can then be filled again. But the ego is never filled, it is never satisfied. As you go on filling it, it goes on increasing. When you throw fat in the fire to extinguish it, the fire increases instead of being extinguished; similarly all the things thrown in to satisfy the ego help to increase it. It suddenly sends up a burst of flame and goes higher and higher. So whatever is offered to ego only helps it to grow. Hence, from the moment a person is caught in the grip of ego he is more entangled than animals can ever be in uneasiness, cares, tensions and worries.
A great movement to return to nature is going on today in the West. The young men and women whom we call hippies or beatniks or dropouts are today carrying on this great movement. It is a drive to return to the sense organs. They say, "We do not want your education, your degrees, your positions, your wealth, your cars, and your palatial buildings. It will be enough for us if we get food, love and sex. We don't want all those things of yours." And I believe this is a very great happening.
Such a movement on such a large scale has never happened in the history of mankind, when people have said, "We are willingly giving up the karma prakriti to return to that nature born of sense organs, the manifest nature of sense organs, desires and passions. This is enough for us, more than this we do not desire."
This shows that the network of ego-motivated activities has become so dangerous that man wants to be free from it and is willing to be like the animals. Even so, man cannot be free from ego by becoming like an animal. He can be free from ego only by becoming divine. By absorbing himself in the pursuit of the enjoyment of sense organs he will get some relief, but that network of activities will appear again. Man was living in his sense organs two thousand years ago, but ego arose from those circumstances. If we regress again today, ego will surely return tomorrow.
This sutra says they who are absorbed in the worship of manifest nature wander in darkness, and they wander in greater darkness who are absorbed in satisfying their egos. Then who can go beyond darkness? Who are they?
Two types of worship are observed. There are the worshippers of sense organs, and the worshippers of ego, and generally the ego-worshippers are against worshipping the sense organs. Suppose a person is into renunciation. Now if we can explore his mental condition thoroughly, if we can perform
an exploratory operation on his mind, we will see that the secret of his renunciation is that it satisfies his ego. He has observed a fast for thirty days, so he is honored with great acclaim by the people of the town; a great reception is arranged for him. He has been able to endure fasting for thirty days.
We declare it to be an act of great self-denial; it is no small matter to remain hungry for thirty days!
No, it is not a small matter. But it would certainly be a small matter if the ego were satisfied. If his ego derived satisfaction from it a man would remain hungry not merely for thirty days but for thirty years! Ego will persuade any sense organ to go into self-denial. We have long known this secret - this trick - so if we want renunciation from someone, we start to stroke his ego.
Mankind is very familiar with this device. That is why we have honored the self-denying person.
Nobody will be ready for self-denial if he is not to be honored. The truly self-denying person does not expect any respect and honor for his renunciation. If you withdraw your honoring, if you stop honoring, you will see: ninety-nine out of a hundred self-denying people will drop out. If you want to know the truth about this practice, just withdraw your honor from such people.
See what happens. A person takes only one meal a day, so people touch his feet and bow down to him. They have given that much food to his ego, and that is enough for him. He can easily let go his second meal. He will suffer in body but will fatten his ego. Thus people can be induced to do anything for the sake of this ego-worship, and almost everything has been tried to induce people to renounce in order to satisfy their egos. In the long history of mankind we find thousands of devices inducing man to do anything for the sake of satisfying his ego.
In the Middle Ages in Europe there was a great movement of holy men who whipped themselves.
These men were honored in proportion to the number of times they whipped themselves, because they were subjecting their bodies to so much agony. Some of them were extraordinary people. Their only merit was that they were bleeding and tearing off their flesh by whipping themselves. Their fame spread from town to town. People declared, "This man inflicts fifty lashes on his body; that one inflicts a hundred," and so on. This was their only claim to fame; they had no other merit, but for this alone they commanded great respect. Some became great experts in self torture.
Now, you will be surprised and say, "What madness was this? What was the reason for respecting a person who had no other merit than whipping himself?" But if you think a little about your own holy men you will know the reason. Some sadhu goes from place to place on foot - he never uses a vehicle - and that is his distinction, his mark of esteem. Another sadhu vows to take only one meal a day; another vows never to touch a woman, another remains naked.
Are these distinctive qualities worthy of merit? There is nothing special about them. Then what is the secret? You can travel on foot as much as you like: after all, the animals go on foot! No, but the ones who honor a sadhu for walking are those who can no longer do something so natural. The car owner bows down to the man who goes on foot. He feels himself insignificant confronted by this man who walks everywhere, this man who destroys his car owning, car driving ego completely. You may drive a car, but you have to touch the feet of this one who always goes on foot!
This walking sadhu may not be able to buy a car, it is quite a difficult thing for him to obtain; but he can walk. There were two ways open to him to hit your ego. He can either buy a more expensive car than yours, which is out of the question for him, or he can walk, which is so easy. So he hits
at your ego by walking. This way he keeps up his ego. But what merit is there in walking? What transformation has happened in this person who prefers to walk? Nevertheless, we praise him. We honor him because we feel he is doing something we find too difficult to do. So we think he is performing a great, self-denying act, and we honor him.
In pursuit of honor a person is prepared to go around the world on foot. Why on foot? People can go around the world rolling on the ground to get respect and honor. There are people who do this!
They go rolling along the ground on a pilgrimage to Kashi, and hundreds of people follow them on foot precisely because they have become so famous by rolling on the ground. There is no need to ask whether there is any other value to it besides this. Generally, self-denying people go on supplementing their egos by sacrificing the physical comforts of their sense organs.
I call this man a self-denying person who liberates himself from attachment to his sense organs and has no interest in satisfying his ego. That is real renunciation; otherwise there is no meaning in all those exhibitionist activities. The Upanishads are talking about people who renounce both these things. Such people are absorbed neither in the worship of manifest nature nor in that of ego. The Upanishads are talking about people who are interested in neither.
Bear in mind, the worship of the sense organs is quite obvious, but that of ego is very subtle so it is often difficult to detect the worship of ego. When a person takes great interest in food, it is obvious.
But what is the interest of a person who puts on fine clothes and goes out on a trip around town? Is it not his desire that people in the town should see his fine clothes, should know that he has such clothes, and should consider him to be somebody? What is the desire of a woman who goes out wearing a mink coat worth a couple of thousand dollars? It does not have the use a coat should have. The sum of two thousand dollars bears no relation whatsoever to the coat. A coat worth forty or fifty dollars would have been all right. But what can it mean to have a coat worth two thousand dollars?
It is obvious that there is no meaning in it other than to create the fire of envy in the eyes of other women. The helplessness and inferiority of other women becomes apparent before that coat. That is the real interest, and it can be detected without much difficulty. We at once understand what is what when a person puts on a coat worth two thousand dollars. But what is the intention of a person who stands naked in a marketplace? Is not his interest also that people should see that he is somebody of note? Then there is no difference between the mink coat and nakedness. Or, we can say, to buy the mink coat one will have to work hard for a long time to earn two thousand dollars, whereas standing naked will bring the same self-satisfying pleasure derived from the mink coat, and far more easily - no need to earn a couple of thousand dollars.
The worship of the sense organs is simple, not subtle, so it is visible and obvious, while that of ego goes on becoming subtler and subtler. But be sure about yourself. Don't worry about what another person does, or why he acts so. If a person is standing naked you will not be able to know why he does so. The whole matter is so subtle that it should be considered alright if the doer himself understands his action. It is possible his nakedness may be true innocence.
If Mahavira stands naked, it is certain he is not using his nakedness in the way a woman uses the mink coat, because he had many such coats. Mahavira possessed very valuable coats. He had the material means to be somebody. So it is almost impossible for a person like Mahavira to gratify his
ego by standing naked. But we cannot judge even this action of Mahavira by outward appearances; it is best left to Mahavira to decide. If your neighbor is standing naked, you cannot know why he is standing naked. It should be left to him to find out. Let him seek the cause, because this is a very subtle and deep phenomenon.
We have to go outward if we wish to satisfy the demands of the sense organs. It is not necessary to go outward if we wish to satisfy our ego. It can be satisfied from within also.
I have heard that a hermit was living alone in a very remote forest. He did not initiate anyone. A traveling monk passing by his dwelling, saw him and said, "You are very humble and modest. You have not made anyone your disciple even though you are such a great and wise man. You have been a guru to no one. I am on my way to another sadhu who has thousands of disciples."
The holy man smiled and said, "How can you compare him with me? I am a completely secluded person. I have no attachment of any kind. I have no desire even to make someone my disciple. I do not wish to nurture any kind of ego, so I do not nurture the ego of becoming a guru. I am absolutely egoless."
The traveler said to him, "I have also seen another monk as egoless as you." On hearing this, the face of the monk changed and his smile immediately vanished. He saw a competitor in front of him and his ego began to make him uneasy. In the beginning he was pleased because his ego was not challenged by the first monk about whom the traveler was talking. On the contrary, his ego was swelling with satisfaction. But the statement, "I have seen another monk as egoless as you," made him uneasy; he was upset. The mind becomes very unhappy on hearing, "Someone else like you also exists." That hermit was nurturing his ego even in that solitary place, feeding it on this feeling that, "I live a secluded life and have not accepted anyone as my disciple."
One feeds his ego with the feeling, "I have many disciples," while the other nourishes it through his pride in having none. One says, "No one is greater than I," and the other says, "I am a poor, humble person, only as good as the dust under your feet." What he means is, "There is no greater dust than me! Do not talk of dust superior to me - I am the last and the best!" It makes no difference which way you choose to feed the ego. But to understand these workings of the mind, you will have to enter deep within yourself.
So, declares the sage, he alone enters light who liberates himself from both kinds of worship - of the senses and of the ego. He has to liberate himself from the worship of manifest nature as well as from that of subtle ego.
The Upanishads speak on a very deep matter when they say that the worship of the senses does not lead you into deep darkness, because the ultimate fact is that the sense organs are given to you.
They are nature, you have not created them. But ego is your invention, ego is a manufactured thing.
You brought your sense organs with you when you were born.
One day you may lose interest in taste and flavor, but you will never be free from hunger; that will remain with you till you die. Hunger is a necessity. You came with sense organs into this world, and however much you free yourself from the senses you cannot be free from the necessities of the sense organs. You can be liberated from their desires but you cannot be free from their needs.
You can become free from the madness of the sense organs but not from their necessities. Neither Mahavira nor Buddha nor anyone can be free from them. Food you must have, it is an unavoidable part of life.
Of course, this much is possible for one who is free from the worship of sense organs - that he ceases to be obsessed with them. This much happens - that he does not increase his desires, he keeps them to the minimum; that is, he stops when the need is fulfilled. If his body needs two slices of bread, he takes only two. He does not increase his demand. If his body can be covered with one piece of clothing he will make do with one piece only. He has no desire to adorn himself. If a cottage provides him with the rest and shelter he needs, it will be enough for him; he will not demand a palace.
Everyone has to decide for himself the nature of his basic needs; they differ from person to person.
One person needs two slices of bread, another needs five. For the former, five slices will be an indulgence. So don't seek to imitate the example of others. Everyone has to search within himself, and a simple guideline to follow is that fulfilling the basic needs of the sense organs never creates worry in a person. But no sooner does a man exceed his body's basic needs and make extravagant demands than worries begin.
So consider anxiety as your unit of measurement. As soon as anxiety begins to make you uneasy then at once take note that you are demanding more than is necessary - because it is desire for the nonessential which creates anxiety. Necessities do not create anxieties at all. The unessential thing - without which we can carry on but are not willing to do so - is the cause of our cares and anxieties.
So when the mind becomes worried, observe how you have been busy in satisfying demands which go beyond the needs of the sense organs.
Worry is symptomatic; it is an informer. For example, you are hungry and you start eating your food.
When will you know that you are eating to excess? As soon as you feel the stomach becoming heavy, not giving any feeling of satisfaction, but on the contrary giving trouble, then you should realize that you have gone beyond your body's need. The stomach has become worried.
I told you this as an illustration. Similarly each sense organ is disturbed when it is fed more than necessary. It remains unperturbed, quiet and satisfied if it is fed according to its need. As soon as it receives more than is necessary it becomes perturbed, sick, diseased and harassed. We become very content when our hunger is satisfied, but to eat more than necessary is to invite disease and sickness. As someone once said, half the food we eat fills our belly; the other half feeds our doctor's belly. Half is necessary for us and the other half invites sickness. One remains alert and active by keeping oneself a little hungry, but overeating produces dullness; a sort of darkness descends upon the eater.
Each must decide for himself what is necessary, according to his own organic structure. The sense organs are very quick to give a warning of impending troubles and diseases. Sense organs are very sensitive and will warn you quickly that you are exceeding your needs. Remove the unnecessary; remove the nonessential.
Sense organs, then, accompany you to the end of your life; your life runs on the wheels of the sense organs. But ego is not an essential thing. It is our creation, and we can without doubt
live without it - egoless. Ego leads us into greater darkness because it is created by man. It is absolutely nonessential. There is something necessary in sense organs to which we add something nonessential, and that is our trouble. Sense organs lead us into darkness due to the effect of the nonessential part, while ego is totally nonessential so it leads us into greater darkness. The truth is that the less the ego the deeper one lives; the bigger the ego the more petty and superficial life one lives, because ego does not allow one to go deep within. It keeps you on the surface. Why? This also needs to be understood properly.
The simple fact is that ego gets its pleasure from the eyes of others. If you are left alone in a forest, your ego will lose all its pleasure. Then to put on a diamond necklace will be meaningless: and if you do put it on, the animals will laugh at you! Even if it is of diamonds you will feel it as a burden around your neck which you will gladly remove. What can you do to your ego in a jungle? No, the total interest of ego is in the reflections created in the eyes of others and, like all reflections, they happen on the surface. These reflections surround us on all sides. Ego is like ornate fencing round a building. It may be enjoyable, it may be beautiful, but it is created by the eyes of others.
Ego can never be created without the presence of the other - it depends on the other. That is why we always remain afraid of the other, because the satisfaction of our ego is in the hands of the other and he may withdraw his hands at any time. Suppose A greets B this morning, and does not do so the next morning. B's wall of ego falls down, his ego is hurt. His mind becomes agitated and he is preoccupied with what he should do now. Suppose his acquaintances decide to forget B. He goes out for a walk and they fail to acknowledge him; they take no notice of his presence. Then B will be as good as dead. Ego's interest and pleasure is in the eyes of others, and the eyes of others have turned away from him.
One whose pleasure is in these eyes cannot go deep within himself. He cannot live on a deeper plane. He lives only in outer coverings and garments. He alone can enter the depths of life who enters the soul, and he alone can enter the soul who forgets ego. He has to forget the eyes of others and begin to walk within his own eyes. Let him see himself. He has to cease worrying about how others look at him. Let him give up thinking about the opinions others have of him and what they say about him. He has to bear in mind this much only - "Who am I?" The question, "What do others say about me?" is absolutely meaningless. What concern have you with others? The approval of others will be of no use. In life it is not useful to have the approval of others.
I have heard: A Jewish saint called Josiah was on his deathbed, and the town's rabbi had come to him to say the last prayers for him. He asked the saint to remember Moses the prophet as he was on his way to God.
The dying saint opened his eyes and said, "Don't ask me to remember Moses, because when I am standing in front of God he will not ask me why I did not become like Moses; he will ask me why I did not become Josiah. He will certainly not ask me about Moses. He will ask me why I did not become 'that for which I sent you into the world'. He will ask me, 'Why did you not become the flower of that potential seed with which I sent you into the world?' So please do not ask me to remember Moses at this moment. The question is about me now."
Hearing this the rabbi said, "Do not spoil your reputation on your deathbed. People are standing on all sides, and they may hear what you are saying about Moses."
The saint opened his eyes again and said, "I lived in that madness throughout my life; let me be free from it at the time of my last breath. I am giving up that reputation now. Let me be free from this false reputation at the time of my death. Don't worry about those who are standing around me. I shall be free of them in a moment. They are not going to be my witnesses. God will not ask them their opinion about me. God will see me for what I am, so let me worry about myself."
In fact, ego is always worrying what others say about you. It is so anxious about the evaluations of others. And soul is the experience of 'what I am'. It has no concern with what others say. Others may be wrong or they may be right - that is their business.
To give up the worship of sense organs is to stop at the point of necessity, and to give up the worship of ego is to come to the zero point. If these two conditions are fulfilled, then the individual is sitting near neither the sense organs nor the ego. He sits near the soul - the atman. Then a new sitting- near starts - sitting near God. Really it is not correct to speak of being near God, because to be near God means to be one with God. Then we lose our identity. We cannot be 'the other' with God.
As long as we are absorbed in the worship of these two - sense organs and ego - we are far away from God. Nothing else at all is to be done to be near him, to be one with him. No sooner do you give up these two religions than you are one with him.
It is like this: if a person, before taking a jump, asks, "I am about to jump to the ground, but what should I do to reach the ground?" then we will tell him, "You simply jump! The rest will be done by the ground - you don't have to do anything else." It will be enough if a person takes a jump from the roof of sense organs and ego; the rest will be done by God. Then you are not going near him; you are going in him. His gravitational pull is very powerful.
In our country we have named Krishna the perfect incarnation of God. The word krishna means gravitation - one who attracts, who draws others towards himself. The gravitational pull of the earth is very great, but you can stop yourself from being attracted towards the earth. Even a small grassblade can hold itself against this powerful attraction of the earth. It can resist it.
If you cling fast to something, then the gravitation of the earth will not be able to attract you. If you stop your clinging, if your hands are free, not grasping anything, then the earth will immediately draw you towards itself. No matter how far off, you will be drawn by it. But provided you are clinging to something you will not be drawn towards it, even if you are very close to it.
God draws towards himself the man who has let go of these two - the sense organs and the ego.
Such a person enters light.
Enough for today.