The Seed and The Tree
IT HAS BEEN POINTED OUT THAT THE FRUITS OBTAINED BY THE WORSHIP OF MANIFEST BRAHMAN ARE DIFFERENT FROM THOSE OBTAINED BY THE WORSHIP OF UNMANIFEST BRAHMAN.
WE HAVE HEARD THIS FROM THOSE WISE PEOPLE WHO KNEW AND EXPLAINED IT TO US.
The Upanishads talk about two forms of Brahman, the supreme element. The forms are two, the element is one. But it would be better to say there are two kinds of people who know, while the element is one. The one is the unmanifest original form of Brahman; the other is the manifest form of Brahman. The seed is the cause, the tree is the action, the effect. Everything is hidden in the seed, everything is manifest in the tree. So there is one seed-Brahman, seen nowhere by us. What is visible is the tree-Brahman, not the seed-Brahman. What has become manifest is seen by us; and what is hidden, unmanifest, is invisible to us. Worship can be made of both unmanifest and manifest Brahman, and in many and varied ways. The results of the two kinds of worship are quite distinct.
Worship of gods was very much in vogue when the Upanishads were sung. It is necessary to grasp well the meaning of 'gods'. In gods there is the clearest manifestation of the effects of God, of unmanifest Brahman. Thus even a stone is a manifestation. We call someone a god in whom the unmanifest shines, though he himself is manifest. We call such people incarnations of God, or tirthankaras, or sons of God; for example, Jesus, Mohammed, Mahavira, Krishna and Rama. Such individuals are standing in the doorway. They are manifest and seen by us from outside the door.
Their faces from the front are clearly visible. They are very similar to our faces, and yet they are not like ours. Some spark of the unmanifest, some glimmer of that hidden seed-Brahman, is also in them. From all their worldly activities in life some radiance of the unmanifest shines forth and indicates the divine to us. All such spirits are divine. The meaning of the word divine is that which is visible and also radiates with the unmanifest.
The Upanishads affirm that worship, prayer and devotion to such divine spirits brings fruit, because there is something in them beyond the visible. For a person who looks hard at them in deep meditation, the visible form will disappear and the unmanifest will remain. As a result of this a difficulty arises. Suppose Rama is standing in front of his disciple; the disciple will not see Rama as a human being because he becomes so much one with the unmanifest that the visible form disappears. Rama's features disappear, and only the Brahman, the supreme, remains. So when a disciple of Rama repeats his name as a mantra - Rama-japa - he has no concern at all with the man who was the son of King Dasharath. Then he is contemplating only the seed-Brahman.
But one who is not a disciple of Rama does not see that part of Rama which is unmanifest. That seed-Brahman is not seen; only that part which has assumed the physical body is seen by him.
Only the son of Dasharath, or the husband of Sita, or the enemy of Ravana, is seen. A friend of somebody, or an enemy of somebody - the manifest part only is seen. So when a true disciple talks about Rama and another so-called disciple also talks about Rama, they are talking about two different beings. There is no rhythm or harmony in their talk. There cannot be any communion between them. They do not understand each other because they are talking about two separate parts of the same individual.
This sutra of the Upanishad says that worshipping - sitting near - the manifest form of the Brahman where some radiance of the unmanifest form is also seen, brings its own fruits. They will be enjoyable and pleasant, or it would be better to say they will be heavenly. They will be very euphoric, but they will not be enlightening. That is why we use three words for the fruits: one is hell, the other is heaven and the third is enlightenment. One can go as far as heaven by sitting near - that is, worshipping - gods. One can experience heavenly pleasures and happiness, but one cannot rise into enlightenment; one cannot rise into bliss.
What is the difference between happiness and bliss? However deep and great happiness may be, it will surely pass away. No matter how longstanding, it will surely come to an end. So understand this distinction perfectly. Enlightenment - bliss - begins, but has no end. Heaven - happiness - begins, and ends also. Hell does not begin; it has only an end. Let me repeat this so that it may be perfectly grasped. Hell has no beginning - misery has no beginning. There may be no happiness, but it can be begun.
Hell has no beginning but it can be ended.
Heaven has the beginning and also the end. It will begin and will end also.
Enlightenment has only the beginning and no end. Once begun, it is endless.
Wherever the divine flame appears in visible, manifest Brahman, its worship and prayer can take one to heaven, to happiness. Therefore those who desire happiness are engrossed in the worship of gods. Those desirous of enlightenment are not so absorbed in the worship of gods; they turn away from gods. They do not pray for happiness because happiness can never take the place of enlightenment. Happiness, though enjoyable, will always be a bondage, and those desirous of enlightenment wish to attain to the highest form of liberation. They long for the highest bliss which has no limit, they desire that nectar which is boundless, they wish to reach that point which is the point of no return, that place beyond which there is nothing to seek.
Those who long for this point beyond which there is nowhere to go will have to go in search of the seed-Brahman. They will have to go in search of the unmanifest Brahman and not the manifest Brahman. They will be enlightened by their devotion; attaining to the Brahman they will attain to the highest liberation.
There are distinctly different outcomes to these two kinds of worship, and the great beauty of the Upanishads is that they do not reject either of them. The results, the fruits, of both kinds are clearly stipulated. They do not reject either of them but they say those who wish to worship gods should do so with the understanding that it is a journey to happiness, and not beyond that.
In the latter part of the sutra it is declared that "We have this from those who have known." There is one important point to bear in mind here. Knowledge is endless. However much knowledge you may gather, it is always incomplete. It is like this: from one shore you descend deep down into the ocean, but even though you fathom its depth you can never know the whole ocean. It is possible that the ocean may have known you thoroughly, but you cannot know the entire ocean. There are other shores also, and on them countless and endless travelers. Innumerable pilgrims have entered the ocean from countless places, and it would be a good thing if your knowledge and their knowledge were to be gathered and blended together in as large a measure as possible.
That is why the sages of the Upanishads always declare that what they say they have gathered from those who have known. They blend their knowledge with that unbounded store of knowledge. They say, "We have heard this from those who know. Why should we talk about our little knowledge? We contribute our little knowledge into that vast, boundless store of knowledge collected by countless people." Why should they talk separately about their knowledge? They would feel embarrassed talking about it. They do not even refer to it. They say this as if they themselves have not acquired it. In an attitude of humility they say, "We have heard from those who have known."
There are countless people, countless incarnations, and they come from countless shores. Tirtha means a shore. So, the Jainas call such people tirthankaras. The word tirthankara means one who works on the shore, helping sailors cast off and put to sea. But because the ocean is boundless, the shorelines are endless. Because the ocean is boundless, there are countless tirthankaras. We do not know all of them. If we look back in the past, we know nothing of the sages who flourished before the Vedas. The references are only to the Vedic and post-Vedic sages.
It is not that truth was not known by any who lived before the Vedic sages, because the Vedic sages themselves often say, "We have heard from those who know." The Upanishads are our most ancient scriptures written and compiled by those who know. But the Upanishads continuously declare, "We have heard it from those who knew." The import of this declaration is that truth has always been known since time immemorial, and it has been known by so many, in such quantity, and in such infinitely varied ways, that "I cannot talk about my little knowledge! I add something to a vast reservoir." So he says, "I am telling that which has been said by those who knew it."
There is another point to remember in this matter - that those ancient wise ones who knew were never eager for originality. They were not yearning to be original. Nobody ever said, "What I am telling is the original truth; I am telling it for the first time, and nobody has ever said it before me."
There is a great difference in attitude in our modern age. Today everybody wants to claim that what he says has never been said before - that he is original.
What does this mean? Does it mean that the ancient sages were unoriginal? Are people today original? No, the fact is quite the opposite. The ancient people were so undoubting, so sure of themselves, that there was no need for them to announce their certainty, while today people are so doubtful about originality, so uneasy about it, that they cannot but make a declaration of it. Modern man is always afraid that someone might say, "Do you think you are saying something new? What you are saying is nothing new to people." This simply shows that modern man does not understand the true meaning of original.
The correct meaning of the word original is not what is new but 'from the source'. Original does not mean unprecedented, the word means 'from the source'. He who knows the root is original, and many people have known it, so the word does not refer to anything new. But today people all over the world are looking for something new. Everybody asserts: "What I am saying is new," because the fear is that there is nothing special about his knowing if others have known it already. The interesting fact is that there is only one special characteristic in this world. In this connection I remember a line from the mystic Jakob Boehme: "The only thing that is extraordinary is to be ordinary."
These sages who, instead of claiming that they know, declare that they have heard from those who know, are extraordinary people. They must have been very uncommon people because they are willing to be so common. In fact, he is an ordinary person who entertains even a slight notion that he is uncommon. All ordinary people have this notion. Even the most ordinary person believes that he is extraordinary. This is a very common belief. Then whom can we call extraordinary? We can call him an extraordinary person who does not even know that he is extraordinary. He who is so humble is extraordinary.
The statement of the sage is certainly extraordinary. When the people who knew so much and knew it so deeply say, "We have heard it..." then such people must be remarkable - must be extraordinary.
They must have been like zeros, like nothingness. They must have been utterly humble. They make no claim at all, either of truth or of path, and there is weight and substance in the statements of those who lay claim to nothing. That is why they often repeat again and again that they have heard from those who knew.
This mental attitude of erasing oneself, of destroying oneself totally, of rubbing out one's presence, of making oneself as if not, is related to the deepest root source of life - to pure existence. It is beyond the mind, beyond imagination or sentiments. It is transcendental.
Enough for today.
We shall meet again in the evening.
Now let us go to the root, let us go towards the transcendental.... I will tell you a few things which I remembered just now about the meditations.
About ninety percent of you are doing so fine and progressing so well that I am immensely pleased with you. But I feel sorry for the other ten percent. Do not remain in your wretched condition; don't be one of that ten percent group. Do not throw away those valuable gifts of yours cheaply.
One more instruction about the afternoon meditation. Some of you sit here without wearing your blindfolds. You will not be benefited at all. No one should sit here without the blindfold on his eyes.
Another point to remember is this: be careful about yourself, do not worry about others. Those who do nothing will begin to worry about others, because they are idle. So don't sit idle; be joyful, dance and laugh!
I was very happy yesterday - there was great lightness, you were very much like children. One old person was shouting like a child. He was very innocent. He was shouting, "Ma, Ma, Ma!" Be light like children. There was great celebration. It should go on increasing. It will go on increasing as meditation becomes deeper and deeper. If an old man becomes like a child, it means he has attained to meditation. This much for the afternoon meditation. I am completely happy with the morning meditation - it is going well.
Now I have to give one instruction with regard to the night meditation. There were two or three friends organizing the session and they were enough. But the rest who came up to involve themselves in the organizing created a lot of confusion. None of you should make self-appointments here. You are here to meditate, not to organize things. In fact it was those who sit idle who took this on themselves.
They thought, "Let us go in for management." Those two or three people authorized to do this job of management will do their work - the rest have not to bother about it.
I was very sad for those sitting behind the platform as they could not meditate properly. They were disturbed by other busybodies. What difference does it make if somebody falls on me? It makes no difference! And those in meditation have not lost their consciousness, they are fully alert. They are not going to fall down. Don't start thinking that someone may rush at me or attack me. They are all in full consciousness. They love me as much as the managers do. So don't worry about all this.
They were much disturbed when they could no longer see me. That was when the trouble started, because this meditation entirely depends on my being seen. So my idea for tonight's meditation is that all those standing should be in the hall, and those who practice meditation in a sitting posture should sit behind them. This is the only arrangement required.
One more undesirable incident happened yesterday. Many outsiders forcibly entered the meeting place. This creates a great disturbance. The complete tuning which can be created in such a meeting cannot be created when outsiders come in. Even if there is just one wrong person in the hall, he will create different kinds of vibrations. So not one such person should be allowed to enter. Those in the camp who only want to listen and do not wish to participate in meditation should immediately go out of the hall when the lecture is over. They will greatly oblige us by doing so. They should not harm us.
We do not want even a single person in the hall who is merely an onlooker. He creates an obstacle, a gap. When so many consciousnesses are flowing in the same experience the whole atmosphere becomes charged, and then, if one person not so charged is among the company, he creates a discontinuity in the atmosphere. A certain portion is torn off by him. There can be no pouring of spiritual energy through that portion. Because of this, the vibrations which could penetrate through and through from one corner to the other are not being able to do so. This is why I am not at present happy with our night session of meditation.
The night meditation is the most important and valuable, and the other two sessions of meditation are meant to prepare you for this night meditation. When you are prepared after those two meditations there can be an explosion in the night meditation, but some obstacles are coming up in the program.
It has not yet been accomplished. Some outsiders entered the place the day before yesterday and so it could not be done properly. It was a little better before that. We could have achieved good results yesterday, but some unauthorized people came up onto the platform and began to dabble in the management. You have not come here to manage.
And don't worry about me, you worry about yourselves. I am satisfied even if I die in helping someone, even just one person, to be successful in meditation.