The journey towards the navel: Right diet - labour - sleep
[Note: This is the final edit of the Hindi translation of Antar Yatra, later published as part of Sadhana Path. This is for reference use only, pending publication.]
My Beloved Ones,
How the life of man can become centered in his being, how he can experience himself, how he can attain his own self, we have discussed in the previous two talks of today. Some more things have been asked. In answer to them, I will talk to you now on three points. Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, I will answer the questions which are not related to today's discussion.
And now I will answer the questions which are related to today's discussion, dividing them into three points.
The first point is about how a man should start living his life from the center of the navel, centered in the self, centered in his being. Before I go into this I would like to discuss three other significant ways through which the energy that is dormant in the navel can become awake. Once it is awake it becomes a door through which man can experience a consciousness which is different from his body.
I will tell you the three points, then I will discuss them. The first point is right exercise. The second point is right diet. And the third point is right sleep. The person who does not get right exercise, right food and right sleep, can never become centered at the navel. Man has lost touch with all these three things.
Man is the only species whose diet is not predictable. The diet of all other animals is certain. Their basic physical needs and their nature decides what they should eat and what they should not; how much they should eat, how much they should not; when they should eat and when they should stop.
But man is absolutely unpredictable, he is absolutely uncertain. Neither his nature tells him what he should eat, nor his awareness tells him how much he should eat, nor his understanding decides when he should stop eating. As none of these qualities of man are predictable the life of man has gone in some very uncertain directions. But if there is even a little understanding - if man starts living with even a little intelligence, with even a little thoughtfulness, opening his eyes even a little, then it is not at all difficult to change to a right diet. It is very easy; there can be nothing more easy.
To understand right diet we can divide it into two parts.
The first thing: what should a man eat and what should he not eat? Man's body is made of chemical elements. The whole process of the body is very much chemical. If alcohol is put into a man, then his body will be affected by the chemical - it will become intoxicated, unconscious. Howsoever healthy, howsoever peaceful the man may be, the chemistry of the intoxication will affect his body.
Howsoever saintly a man may be, if he is given poison then he will die.
Socrates died from poisoning and Gandhi died from a bullet. A bullet does not see whether the man is a saint or a sinner; neither does poison see whether a man is Socrates or some ordinary person. Neither the harmful intoxications and poisons nor the food sees who or what you are. Its functions are straightforward - it goes into the chemistry of the body and starts working. In this way any food which is intoxicating starts harming and creating disturbances in man's consciousness.
Any food which takes man into any kind of unconsciousness, any kind of excitement, any kind of extremity, any kind of disturbance, is harmful. And the deepest, ultimate harm is when these things start reaching the navel.
Perhaps you are not aware that in naturopathy all over the world, mud packs, vegetarian food, light food, water-soaked cloth strips and tub baths are used to heal the body. But no naturopath has yet understood the point that the effects of water-soaked cloth strips, mud packs, or tub baths, on the body are not so much because of their special qualities but because of how they affect the navel center. And the navel center then affects the rest of the body. All these things - the mud, the water, the tub bath - affect the dormant energy in the navel center and when this energy arises, health starts arising in the person's life.
But naturopathy is still not aware of this. Naturopathy thinks that perhaps these beneficial effects are coming from the mud packs or the tub baths or the wet strips on the stomach! They do have benefits, but the real benefits are coming from the awakening of energy in the dormant centers of the navel.
If the navel center is mistreated, if a wrong diet, wrong food is used, then slowly, slowly the navel center becomes dormant and its energy becomes weaker. Slowly, slowly that center starts falling asleep. Finally it almost goes to sleep. Then we don't even notice it as any center.
Then we notice only two centers: one is the brain where thoughts are constantly moving, and the other is a little bit of the heart where emotions are moving. Deeper than this we have no contact with anything. So, the lighter the food is, the less it creates heaviness on the body, the more valuable and significant it will be for the beginning of your inner journey.
For a right diet the first thing to remember is that it should not create excitement, it should not be intoxicating, it should not be heavy. After eating rightly you should not feel heaviness and drowsiness. But perhaps all of us feel heaviness and drowsiness after our meals - then we should know that we are eating wrongly.
A very great doctor, Kenneth Walker, has said in his autobiography that according to his life-long experiences he can say that of whatever people eat, half of it fills their stomach and half of it fills the stomachs of the doctors. If they would eat only half of what they usually eat then they would not get sick at all, and there would be no need of doctors.
Some people get sick because they do not get enough food and some people get sick because they get too much food. Some people die of hunger and some people die of overeating. And the number of people dying of overeating has always been more than the people dying of hunger. Very few people die of hunger. Even if a man wants to remain hungry there is no possibility of him dying for at least three months. Any person can live without food for three months. But if a man overeats for three months then there is no possibility of his survival.
There have been people whose very ideas make us feel strange. There was a great emperor called Nero. He had two doctors whose job was just to make him vomit after his meals, so that he could enjoy eating at least fifteen to twenty times a day. So he would eat a meal, then he would take medicine to make him vomit so that he could enjoy food again. What we are doing is not very different.
Nero could have doctors at his palace because he was an emperor. We are not emperors but we have doctors in our neighborhood. Nero was making himself vomit every day, we make ourselves vomit every few months. We eat a wrong diet and accumulate all kinds of things and then the doctor gives us a cleansing. Then we start eating wrong food again. Nero was a wise man! He arranged for a cleansing everyday - we do it after every two or three months. If we were also emperors then we would do the same thing. But we are helpless, we do not have the facilities, so we cannot do it.
We laugh at Nero but in a certain way we are not different to him.
Our wrong attitudes towards food are becoming dangerous for us. They are proving to be very costly. They have taken us to a point where we are somehow just alive. Our food does not seem to create health in us, it seems to create sickness. It is a surprising situation when food starts making us sick. It is as if the sun rising in the morning creates darkness. This would be an equally surprising and strange thing to happen. But all the physicians in the world are of the opinion that most of the diseases of man are because of his wrong diet.
So the first thing is that every person should be very aware and conscious about his eating. And I am saying this especially for the meditator. It is necessary for a meditator to remain aware what he eats, how much he eats, and what its effects are on his body. If a man experiments for a few months with awareness, he will certainly find out which is the right food for him, which food gives him tranquility, peace and health. There are no real difficulties but because we do not pay any attention to food, we are never able to discover the right food.
The second thing about food is that the state of our mind when we eat is much more important than what we eat. Food will affect you differently if you eat joyously, happily, or if you eat when you are filled with sadness and worry. If you are eating in a worried state, then even the best food will have a poisonous effect. And if you are eating with joy then it is possible that sometimes even poison may not be able to have its total effect on you. It is very possible. So what state of mind you eat in is important.
In Russia there was a great psychologist called Pavlov. He did some experiments on animals and he reached an amazing conclusion. He experimented on some dogs and some cats. He gave food to a cat and he observed the cat through an X-ray machine to see what happened in her stomach after she ate her food. When the food went into the stomach the stomach immediately released digestive juices. At the same time a dog was brought to the window of the room the cat was in. When the dog barked, the cat became afraid and the X-ray machine showed that the secretion of digestive juices within her stopped. The stomach closed. It shrunk. Then the dog was taken away, but for six hours the stomach remained in the same condition. The digestive process of the food did not begin again and the food remained undigested in the stomach for six hours. After six hours, when the juices started flowing again, the food was not in a digestible state, it had become solid and had become difficult to digest. When the cat's mind became worried about the presence of the dog the stomach stopped its work.
Then what about our situation? We live in worry for twenty-four hours a day. It is a miracle how the food we eat gets digested, how existence manages it in spite of us! We have no wish to digest it. It is absolutely a miracle how it gets digested. And how we remain alive! This is also a miracle! Our state of mind should be graceful and blissful.
But in our houses the dining table is in the most gloomy state. The wife waits the whole day for her husband to come home to eat and all the emotional sickness she has gathered in twenty-four hours comes out just when the husband is eating. She does not know that she is doing the work of an enemy. She does not know that she is serving poison on her husband's plate.
The husband is also afraid and worried after the whole day's work - he somehow dumps the food into his stomach and leaves. He has no idea that the act which he has finished so quickly and has run away from should have been a prayerful one. It was not an act which should have been done in a hurry. It should have been done in the same way as someone entering a temple, or as someone kneeling to pray, or as someone sitting to play his veena, or as somebody singing a song for the beloved. This act is even more important: he is giving food to his body. It should be done in a state of tremendous blissfulness. It should be a loving and prayerful act.
The more happily and joyously and the more relaxed and without worry a person can take his meal, the more his food starts becoming the right food.
A violent diet does not only mean that a man eats non-vegetarian food. It is also a violent diet when a man eats with anger. Both of these things are violent. While eating in anger, in suffering, in worry, man is also eating violently. He does not realize at all that just as he is violent when eating the flesh of something else, so when his own flesh burns up inside due to anger and worry, violence is present there too. Then the food which he is eating cannot be non-violent.
The other part of right food is that you should eat in a very peaceful, a very joyful state. If you are not in such a state, then it is better to wait until you are and not to eat for a while. When the mind is absolutely ready, only then should one take his meals. For how long will the mind not be ready? If you are aware enough to wait then at the most it can remain hungry for only one day - but we have never bothered to listen to it. We have made eating food a completely mechanical process. One has to put food into the body and then leave the dining table. It is no longer a psychological process - that is dangerous.
On the body level, the right food should be healthy, non-stimulating and non-violent; on the psychological level the mind should be in a blissful state, graceful and joyous; and on the level of the soul there should be a feeling of gratefulness, of thankfulness. These three things make food the right food.
We should have a feeling that "Because today food is available to me, I am grateful. I have been given one more day to live - I am tremendously grateful. This morning I have woken up alive again, today the sun has given its light to me again, today I will be able to see the moon again, I am alive again today! It was not necessary that I should have been alive today, today I could have been in a grave - but life has again been given to me. I have not earned it; it has been given to me free." For this at least, a feeling of thankfulness, of gratitude, should be there in one's heart. We are eating food, we are drinking water, we are breathing - we should have a sense of gratefulness about all this. Towards the whole life, towards the whole world, towards the whole universe, towards the whole nature, towards the divine, there should be a feeling of gratefulness - "I have received one more day to live. Once more I have received food to eat. For one more day I am seeing the sun, seeing the flowers blossoming. I am again alive today."
Two days before death came to Rabindranath, he said, "Lord, how grateful I am! Oh God, how shall I express my gratitude? You gave this life to me when I was not in any way worthy of receiving it.
You gave breathing to me when I had no right to breathe. You gave me experiences of beauty and bliss which I had not earned at all. I am grateful. I am overpowered by your grace. And if in this life given by you, I may have received any pain, any suffering, any worry, it must have been my fault; because this life of yours is very blissful. It must have been my fault. So I do not ask you to give me liberation from life. If you feel me worthy, then send me into this life again and again. This life of yours is very blissful and I am utterly grateful for it."
This feeling, this feeling of gratitude, should be there in all aspects of life - and very particularly with diet. Only then can diet become the right diet.
The second point is: right labor. That too is no longer an essential part of our lives. Physical labor has become a shameful act.
A Western thinker, Albert Camus, has written jokingly, in one of his letters, that a time will come when people will start asking their servants to make love for them. If someone falls in love with somebody, he will appoint a servant to go and make love on his behalf. This can happen some day.
We have already started getting everything done by others; love is the only thing which we still do ourselves. We appoint others to pray for us. We employ a priest and tell him to pray on our behalf, to do the rituals on our behalf. We appoint a priest in the temple and tell him to worship on our behalf.
Even the things like prayer and worship we are getting done by our servants. So if we are getting our servants to worship for us, it is not unthinkable that some day wise people will tell their servants to make love to their beloved on their behalf. What is the difficulty? And those who will not be able to afford servants to do their job, will feel ashamed that they are so poor that they have to make love themselves.
It is possible someday because there is so much in life which is significant but which we are now getting done by our servants! And we are not at all aware of what we have lost by losing the significant things.
All the strength, all the vitality of life is lost because man's body and man's being have been created for a certain amount of labor - and now he has been spared from all that work. Right labor is also an essential part in the awakening of man's consciousness and energy.
One morning Abraham Lincoln was polishing his shoes in his house. One of his friends who was visiting him, said, "Lincoln! What are you doing? You polish your own shoes?"
Lincoln said, "You surprise me! Do you polish other people's shoes? I am polishing my own shoes - do you polish others' shoes?"
The friend said, "No, no, I get my shoes polished by others!"
Lincoln said, "It is even worse to get your shoes polished by others than to polish others' shoes."
What does it mean? It means that we are losing our direct contact with life. Our direct contacts with life are those that come through labor.
In the time of Confucius - about three thousand years ago - Confucius once went to visit a village.
In a garden he saw an old gardener and his son pulling water out of a well. For the old man the work of drawing water out of a well was very difficult even with the help of his son. And the old man was very old.
Confucius wondered if this old man did not know that bulls and horses were now being used to draw water out of the well. He was drawing it himself. He was using such old methods!
So Confucius went to the old man and said, "My friend! Don't you know that there has been a new invention? People are drawing water out of wells with the help of horses and bulls. Why are you doing it yourself?"
The old man said, "Speak softly, speak softly! For me, it does not matter what you say but I am afraid my young son may hear you."
Confucius asked, "What do you mean?"
The old man replied, "I know about these inventions, but all inventions like this take man away from labor. I do not want my son to become disconnected because the day he becomes disconnected from labor, he will be disconnected from life itself."
Life and labor are synonymous. Life and labor have the same meaning. But slowly, slowly we have started calling those people who do not have to do physical exertion, fortunate, and those who have to do physical exertion, unfortunate. And in a way it has become so, because in a way many people have dropped doing labor so some people have to do too much labor. Too much labor kills one.
Too little labor also kills one. Hence I said "Right labor. Proper distribution of physical labor." Each person should do some physical labor. The more intensely, the more blissfully, the more gratefully a man enters the labor part of his life, the more he will find that his life-energy has started moving down from the brain closer to the navel. For labor neither the brain nor the heart is needed. The energy for labor is derived directly from the navel. This is its source.
Along with the right diet a little physical labor is very essential. And it is not that it should be in the interest of others - that if you serve the poor, it benefits the poor; if you go to a village and do farming, it benefits the farmers; if you are doing some labor, you are doing a great social service.
These are all false things. It is for your own sake, not for anyone else's sake. It is not concerned with benefiting anybody else. Someone else may benefit by it, but primarily it is for your own good.
When Churchill retired, one of my friends went to see him at his house. In his old age, Churchill was digging and planting some plants in his garden. My friend asked him some questions about politics.
Churchill said, "Drop it! Now it is over. Now if you want to ask me something, you can ask me about two things. You can ask me about the Bible, because I read it at home, and you can ask me about gardening because I do it here in the garden. Now I have no concern about politics. That race is over. Now I am doing labor and prayer."
When my friend returned he said to me, "I do not understand what kind of man Churchill is. I thought he would give me some answers. But he said he was doing labor and prayer."
I told him, "Saying labor and prayer is a repetition. Labor and prayer mean the same, they are synonymous. And the day that labor becomes prayer and prayer becomes labor is the day that right labor is attained."
A little labor is very essential but we have not paid any attention to it. Not even the traditional sannyasins of India paid any attention to labor - they refrained from doing it. There was no question of their doing it. They simply moved in another direction. Rich people stopped laboring because they had money and they could pay for it and sannyasins stopped because they had nothing to do with the world. They neither had to create anything, nor did they have to earn money, so what did they need labor for? The result was that two respected classes of society moved away from labor.
So those in whose hands labor remained, slowly, slowly became disrespected.
For a seeker labor has great significance and usefulness - not because you will produce something from it but because the more you are involved in some kind of labor, the more your consciousness will start becoming centered. It will start coming downwards from the brain. It is not necessary that the labor has to be productive. It can be non-productive also, it can be a simple exercise. But some labor is very essential for the agility of the body, complete alertness of the mind, and total awakening of the being. This is the second part.
There can be a mistake in this part also. Just as one can make a mistake with one's diet - either one eats too little or one eats too much - so a mistake can happen here also. Either one does not do labour at all or one does too much. Wrestlers do too much labor. They are in a sick state. A wrestler is not a healthy person. A wrestler is putting too much of a burden on the body - he is raping the body. If the body is raped, then some parts of the body, some muscles, can be developed more. But no wrestler lives long! No wrestler dies in a healthy state. Do you know this? All wrestlers - whether he is a Gama, or a Sandow, or anybody else with a great body, even the greatest in the world - die unhealthy. They die earlier and they die of violent diseases. Raping the body can swell the muscles and make the body worth looking at, worth exhibiting, but there is a great difference between exhibition and life. There is a great difference between living, being healthy and being an exhibitionist.
Each person should find out according to himself, according to his body, how much labor he should do to live more healthily and more freshly. The more fresh air there is inside the body, the more blissful each and every breath is, the more vitality a person has to explore the inner. Simonbel, a French philosopher, has written a very wonderful thing in her autobiography. She said, "I was always sick until the age of thirty. I was unhealthy and I had many headaches. But it was only at the age of forty that I realized that until the age of thirty I was an atheist. I became healthy when I became a theist. Only later did I see that my being sick and unhealthy was related to my atheism."
A person who is sick and unhealthy cannot be full of gratitude towards existence. There can be no thankfulness in him towards existence. There is only anger. It is impossible for such a person to accept something towards which he is full of anger. He simply rejects it. If one's life does not attain a certain balance of health through right labor and right exercise, then it is natural that one will have some negativity, a resistance, an anger towards life.
Right labor is an essential rung on the ladder to ultimate theism.
The third point is right sleep. Food has become disorganized, labor has become disorganized - and sleep has been totally murdered! The thing which has been harmed the most in the development of human civilization is sleep. From the day man discovered artificial light, his sleep has become very troubled. And as more and more gadgets started falling into man's hands, he started feeling that sleep is an unnecessary thing, too much time is wasted in it. The time when we are asleep is a complete waste. So the less sleep we can do with the better. It does not occur to people that sleep has any kind of contribution to the deeper processes of life. They think that the time spent sleeping is time gone to waste, so the less they sleep the better; the more quickly they reduce the amount of sleep, the better.
This was one group of people who wanted to reduce the amount of sleep needed and another group were the monks and the hermits who felt as if this sleep, this unconsciousness in the form of sleep, was the opposite state of self-realization or self-awakening. So, according to them, it wasn't good to sleep and the less you slept the better.
There was one more problem for the monks: they had collected too many suppressions in their unconscious and in sleep all those suppressions started surfacing and entering their dreams! So a kind of fear about sleep arose, because all the things that they had ignored during the day started surfacing in their sleep at night. The women they had left and run away from into the forest started arriving in their sleep. The monks started seeing them in their dreams. The money, the fame that the monks had run away from started following them in their dreams. So they felt that sleep was a very dangerous thing - out of their control - so the less they slept the better. These monks created a kind of feeling in the whole world that sleep is something unspiritual. This is an extremely foolish notion.
So the first group of people opposed sleep and felt that it was a waste of time, that there was no need to sleep for so long. The more time a person remained awake the better. People who calculate everything, make statistics about everything, are really strange. They have calculated that a person sleeps for eight hours. One third of his day goes into sleeping. If a person lives for sixty years then twenty years have gone to waste. Out of a life-span of sixty years, only forty years are available for use. And then they have calculated even more. They have calculated how much time a man takes to eat food, to wear clothes, to shave, to bathe, and so on. After calculating everything they said that almost our whole life goes to waste. And when they started subtracting all that time, they realized that it just seems as if a person lives for sixty years - in reality, twenty years go in sleep, some years go in eating, some years go in bathing, some years go in reading a newspaper. Everything goes to waste and nothing remains in life. These people created a panic. Their advice was to cut down on all these things if you want to have some time to live. Sleep takes up the maximum time in a man's life, so reduce it. So, while this group were advising a reduction in sleep and creating a wave of opposition against sleep, the second group, the monks and hermits, were calling sleep unspiritual and telling people to sleep as little as possible. The less a person slept the more of a holy person he was; and if he did not sleep at all, then he was a totally holy person.
These two groups and their ideas killed man's ability to sleep, and with the murder of sleep all the deep centers of man's life got shaken, disturbed and became uprooted. We have not even noticed that the cause behind all the illnesses, all the disorders that have entered man's life is lack of sleep.
The person who cannot sleep rightly cannot live rightly. Sleep is not a waste of time. The eight hours of sleep are not being wasted; rather, because of those eight hours, you are able to stay awake for sixteen hours. Otherwise you would not be able to stay awake all that time. During those eight hours life-energy is accumulated, your life gets revitalized, the centers of your brain and heart calm down and your life functions from your navel center. For those eight hours of sleep you have again become one with nature and with existence - that is why you become revitalized.
If you want to torture somebody then the best method - invented thousands of years ago - is to prevent him from going to sleep. It has not been possible to improve upon this method so far. During the last war in Germany, and even now in Russia, the most popular method of torturing prisoners was prevention of sleep. You simply don't allow the person to sleep. This is torture beyond all limits for the person So guards were put next to the prisoners to disturb their sleep.
The Chinese first discovered this method some two thousand years ago. Simply not allowing a person to sleep was a very cheap method of torture. They would make the man stand in a cell which was so small that he could not move at all, could neither sit nor lie down. Then they used to drip water from above which used to fall on his head, drop by drop. He could not move at all, could neither sit nor lie down, so after a maximum of twelve or sixteen or eighteen hours the man would start shouting and screaming - "I will die! Save me! Get me out of here!" Then they would ask the man to tell them the things he was concealing. After three days even the most courageous person would give up.
Hitler in Germany and Stalin in Russia did the same thing with hundreds of thousands of people.
They kept them awake, would not let them sleep. One cannot experience a worse torture than this.
Even if you kill a person, he does not suffer as much as when you do not let him sleep - because it is only in sleeping that he regains what he has lost. If he is unable to sleep, then he goes on losing and losing his life-energy and does not get anything back. He becomes totally dried out. We are dried-out people because our doors for attaining something are closed, and our doors for losing everything have got more and more open.
Sleep needs to come back into man's life. Really, there is no alternative, no other step, for the psychological health of humanity than that sleep should be made compulsory by law for the next one or two hundred years.
It is very important for a meditator to see to it that he sleeps properly and enough. And one more thing needs to be understood - right sleep will be different for everybody. It will not be equal because the body has needs which are different for everyone - according to age and to many other elements.
For example, when a child is in the mother's womb, he sleeps for twenty-four hours because all his tissues are developing. He needs complete sleep; his body will develop only if he keeps on sleeping for twenty-four hours. It is possible that children who are born lame or crippled or blind woke up during the nine months in their mother's womb. Perhaps some day science may be able to understand that the children who somehow wake up in the mother's womb are born crippled, or with part of their body undeveloped.
It is necessary to remain asleep in the womb for twenty-four hours because the whole body is getting created, the whole body is developing. A very deep sleep is necessary, only then can all the activities of the body take place.
When a child is born, he sleeps for twenty hours. His body is still growing. Then he sleeps for eighteen hours, then fourteen hours.... Slowly, slowly, as his body starts becoming mature, his sleep also gets less and less. In the end it settles at a time between six to eight hours. The sleep of an old man gets less, it becomes five hours, four hours, even three hours - because the growth of the body of an old man has stopped. He has no need of much sleep every day because now his death is coming close. If an old man sleeps as much as a child sleeps, then he cannot die, death will be difficult. For death it is necessary that sleep becomes less and less. For life it is necessary that sleep is deep. That is why an old man by and by starts sleeping less and less but a child sleeps more.
If old people start expecting the same behavior from children as they do from themselves, it becomes dangerous.
Old people often do this. Old people treat children as if they are also old. They wake them up too early in the morning - "It is three o'clock, it is four o'clock! Get up!" They are not aware that because they are old it is alright if they wake up at four o'clock. But children cannot wake up at four o'clock.
To wake them up is wrong. It is harming the body functions of the child, it is very harmful for him.
A child once said to me, "My mother is very strange. When I am not feeling sleepy at all at night, she forces me to sleep and when I feel sleepy in the morning, she forces me to wake up. I do not understand why I am forced to sleep when I am not sleepy and I am forced to wake up when I am sleepy. You explain things to many people, can't you explain this to my mother?" He wanted me to help his mother understand that what she was doing was very contradictory.
We are not aware that children are often treated like old people and then, as they grow older, they have to start living according to many fixed rules written in many books.
Perhaps you may not be aware that the latest research says that there cannot be one fixed time for everyone to wake up. It is always said that to wake up at five o'clock in the morning is good for everyone. This is absolutely wrong and unscientific. It is not good for everyone - it may be good for some people but it may be harmful for other people. Within twenty-four hours, for about three hours, the body temperature of each person goes down. And those three hours are the hours of deepest sleep. If the person is woken up during those three hours, his whole day will be spoiled and his whole energy will be disturbed.
Generally these three hours are between two to five in the morning. For most people these three hours are between two to five in the morning, but it is not the case with everyone. For some people their body temperature is low until six o'clock, for some it is low until seven. For some their temperature starts becoming normal at four in the morning. So if someone wakes up within these hours of low temperature, all twenty-four hours of his day will be spoiled and there will be harmful effects. Only when a person's temperature starts rising to a normal level is it time for him to wake up.
Normally it is alright for everybody to wake up with the rising sun, because as the sun rises everyone's temperature starts rising. But this is not a rule, there are some exceptions. For some people it may be necessary to sleep a little later than sunrise, because each individual's body temperature rises at a different time, at a different pace. So each person should find out how many hours of sleep he needs and what is a healthy time for him to get up, and that is the rule for him - whatever the scriptures may say, whatever the gurus may say. There is no need to listen to them at all.
For right sleep, the deeper and the longer you are able to sleep, the better. But I am telling you to sleep, not to keep on lying on the bed! Lying down on your bed is not sleep!
To wake up when you feel it is healthy for you to wake up should be the rule for you. Usually it happens along with the sunrise but it is possible that this does not happen to you. There is no need to be afraid or worried or to think that you are a sinner and to be afraid of going to hell. Many people who get up early in the morning go to hell and many people who get up late are living in heaven.
None of this has any relation whatsoever to being spiritual or unspiritual. But right sleep certainly does have a relationship with it.
So each person should discover what is the best arrangement for him. For three months each person should experiment with his work, with his sleep and with his diet, and should find out what are the most healthy, most peaceful and most blissful rules for him.
And everyone should make his own rules. No two persons are alike, so no common rule is ever applicable to anybody. Whenever someone tries to apply a common rule, it has a bad effect. Each person is an individual. Each person is unique and incomparable. Only he is like himself, there is no other person like him anywhere on the earth. So no rule can be a rule for him until he finds out what the rules for his own life-processes are.
Books, scriptures and gurus are dangerous because they have ready-made formulas. They tell you that you should wake up at a certain time, you should eat this, you should not eat that, you should sleep like this, you should do things in this way.... These ready-made formulas are dangerous. They are good to understand, but each person has to make his own arrangements for his life. Each person has to find his own path of meditation. Each person has to walk by himself and create a path for his spiritual journey. There is no ready-made highway for you to go and start walking on. There is no such highway anywhere. The path of the spiritual journey is like a small footpath - but a footpath that isn't even there! You create it as you walk along it and it continues for howsoever long you walk on it. And the more you walk, the more your understanding of the journey that is yet to come develops.
So these three points have to be kept in mind: right diet, right labor and right sleep. If life proceeds rightly on these three points then there is more possibility of opening what I call the navel center - which is the door to spiritual life. If it opens, if we get close to that door, then a very unique thing happens - something of which we have had no experience in our ordinary life.
Last evening, when I left here, a friend came and said, "What you say is alright, but until we have contentment, it is very difficult to be convinced." I did not say anything to him. Perhaps he thinks that he will get contentment by my talking about it - but he is absolutely wrong and is wasting his time.
I make whatever effort is needed from my side, but an even greater effort must be made from your side. If you do not make the effort, there is no purpose, no meaning in my saying anything.
People constantly say to me that they want peace, they want bliss, they want a soul. Yes, you want everything, but you do not get anything in the world just by wanting. Desire alone is absolutely impotent, there is no strength in it.
Desire alone is not enough - determination and effort are also needed. It is alright that you desire something, but how much effort do you make for that desire, how many steps do you take towards that desire, what do you do for that desire?
According to my criterion, the only proof of your desire is the effort you make to satisfy it; otherwise there is no proof that you have a desire. When a person desires something, he makes some effort to get it. That effort is the proof that the person desired something. You say that you desire, but you have no intention of making any effort to get it. You have no determination for it.
To close this talk I will repeat one more point. I told you about the three centers: the center of intellect is the brain, the center of feelings is the heart.... What is the navel the center of? The navel is the center of will power. The more activated the navel is, the more intense the will force becomes, and the more you can attain the determination, the power, the life-energy for doing something.
Or think of it in reverse: the more determined you are, the more you gather energy for doing, the more your navel center will develop. Both of these are interdependent, related to each other. The more you think, the more your intellect will develop. The more you love, the more your heart will develop. The more determined you are, the more the center of your inner energy, that central lotus of the navel, will develop.
A small story and then I will finish my talk.
A blind fakir was begging in a town and came to a mosque. He spread out his hands in front of the door of the mosque and asked, "Can I get something to eat? I am hungry."
The people passing by said, "Idiot! This is not a house where you can get something to eat. This is a mosque, this is a temple. Nobody lives here. It is a mosque that you are begging at - you will not get anything here! Go somewhere else."
The fakir laughed. He said, "If I do not get anything from the house of God, then from what other house can I get anything? This is the last house I have come to and by mistake this final house is a temple. How can I move away from here? If I move, where will I go? There is no other house after this so now I will stay here and I will move only when I get something."
The people started laughing at him. They said, "Idiot! Nobody lives here. Who will give anything to you?"
He replied, "That is not the question. If I have to go away from the house of God with empty hands then where will my hands be filled? Then my hands will not be filled anywhere. Now that I have stumbled upon this door I will leave only when my hands are full."
The fakir remained there. And for one year his hands remained spread out in the same way and his being went on longing in the same way. The people of the town started saying he was mad. They said to him, "You are absolutely a fool! Where do you think you are sitting with your hands spread out? There is nothing to be gained here."
But the fakir was one of a kind, someone unique. He remained sitting and sitting and sitting.
After one year had passed by, the people of the town saw that perhaps the fakir had attained something. The aura of his face had changed. There was a kind of breeze of peace floating around him; a kind of light appeared around him, a fragrance.... The man started dancing. Where before there were tears in his eyes, now there was a smile on his face. He had been almost dead but in this one year his life blossomed again and he started dancing.
People asked, "Have you gained something?"
He said, "It would have been impossible not to have gained something because I had decided that either I would gain something or I would not stay. I have attained more than I desired. I desired only food for my body and I have gained food for my soul also. I wanted only to fulfill the hunger of my body but now the hunger of my soul has also been fulfilled."
They started asking, "How did you attain this? How did you gain this?"
He said, "I did nothing, but I put all my will power behind my thirst. I said to myself that if there is thirst then along with it there should be total determination also. My total determination was behind my thirst and now my thirst is quenched. I reached the place where that water is available, and after drinking it my thirst remains no longer."
The meaning of determination is to have the courage, the inner strength and will power to do something about whatever it is you want, to act according to whatever you think is right, and to follow whichever path seems right for you. If you do not have this determination, then nothing can happen through my or anybody else's words. If something could happen through my words, then things would be very easy. There have been many people in the world who have said very good things. If things could happen just through their words, by now everything would have happened to the whole world. But neither Mahavira, nor Buddha, nor Christ, nor Krishna, nor Mohammed can do anything. Nobody can do anything unless you yourself are ready to do it.
The Ganges goes on flowing, the oceans are full, but you have no container in your hands - and you are shouting that you want water.
The Ganges says, "There is water, but where is your container?"
You say, "Don't talk about the container. You are the Ganges, there is so much water in you, give some to me."
The doors of the Ganges are not closed, the doors of the Ganges are open - but you need a container.
Where there is no container of determination, no fulfillment or contentment on the spiritual journey is ever attained.
You have listened to my talks so silently.... The three meetings of our first day come to an end now and from tomorrow we will start discussing the two other points. Now, after this meeting, we will sit for the night meditation for about ten minutes.
We should understand two or three things regarding the night meditation, then we will sit for it....
Would it be possible to lie down? Is there space enough for the meditators to lie down? First understand, then we will do the night meditation. The morning meditation is to be done sitting. Life arises, wakes up in the morning, so it is helpful to meditate sitting up. The night meditation has to be done lying in bed, before you go to sleep. After the meditation, just go to sleep silently. This is the last thing in the day. The morning meditation is the first thing that happens after waking up; the night meditation is the last thing that happens before going to sleep.
If one enters a state of meditation properly before sleeping, one's whole sleep is transformed. One's whole sleep can become a meditation, because sleep has certain rules. The first rule is that the last thought at night becomes the central thought in your sleep, and it will be your first thought on waking up in the morning. If you have gone to sleep at night in anger, then throughout the night your mind and your dreams will be filled with anger. And when you wake up in the morning, you will find that your first feeling and your first thought will be of anger. Whatever we take to sleep with us at night stays with us the whole night.
That is why I say that if you do need to carry something in your sleep, then it is better to carry meditation with you so that the whole sleep revolves around meditation, around its peace. Slowly, slowly, within a few days, you will find that the dreams disappear, that your sleep becomes a deep river. And when you wake up in the morning from a deep sleep - deep from this night meditation - your first thoughts will be of peace, of bliss, of love.
So the morning journey has to be started with the morning meditation, and the night journey has to be started with the night meditation. The night meditation has to be done while lying down - while lying down in bed. We will do the experiment here lying down.
After you have lain down, you have to do three things.
The first thing is that the body has to be totally relaxed, as if there is no life in it. So loose, so relaxed, no life in the body.... And for three minutes one's mind has to feel that the body is becoming relaxed, more relaxed, more relaxed.... Whatever the mind feels, the body will follow it.
The body is just a servant, a follower. The body expresses whatever we feel with action. If you feel anger, the body picks up a stone to throw; if you feel love, the body hugs somebody. Whatever you want to be, whatever you want to do, when the thought arises in the mind the body turns it into action.
Everyday we see the miracle of the body transforming a thought into action whenever it arises. We never think of becoming relaxed, otherwise the body would do that too. The body can relax so much that one does not even know if it exists or not - but this only happens after doing this experiment for a while. For three minutes you have to go on feeling relaxed.
Right now, I will give you suggestions so that you come to experience the feeling. When I give you the suggestion that the body is becoming relaxed, then you will feel that the body is becoming more relaxed, more relaxed.... The body will become relaxed!
As the body becomes relaxed, the breath will become calm. Calmness does not mean that breathing will stop, but it will become slow, tranquil and deep. Then for three minutes you have to feel that your breathing is becoming calmer and calmer, the breathing is becoming relaxed.... Then slowly the mind also becomes relaxed and tranquil. When the body becomes relaxed, the breath becomes calm; when the breath becomes calm, the mind automatically becomes silent - all these three things are related.
So first we will feel that the body is relaxed - this will make the breathing calm. Then we will feel that the breathing is relaxed - this will make the mind silent.
And then I will give you a third suggestion - that now your mind is becoming silent and empty. In this way, after following each of these three suggestions for a short time, I will say that now the mind has become completely silent. Then for ten minutes you will lie in silence in the same way that you were sitting in silence this morning.
You will hear the cry of a bird, you will hear the sound of a dog - and many other sounds - just keep listening silently. It is just as if there is an empty room and a sound comes in, resounds and goes. You should not think about why you are hearing these sounds, neither should you think about why the dog is barking - because you have nothing to do with the dog. There is no reason for you to think about why this dog is barking, nor why this stupid dog is disturbing you now that you are meditating! No, you have nothing to do with it either. The dog does not know at all that you are meditating. He has no idea about it, he is absolutely innocent - he is just doing his job. It is nothing to do with you. He is just barking, so you have to let him bark. It is not a disturbance to you unless you make it a disturbance. It becomes a disturbance only when you resist, when you want the dog to stop barking - the trouble begins there. The dog is barking - it should bark. We are meditating - we should meditate. There is no conflict between these two; there is no opposition. You are silent, the dog's sound will come, linger, and go; it is not a disturbance to you.
Once I was staying in a small village in a rest house. A political leader was also staying with me.
That night I don't know what happened but all the dogs from the village gathered near the rest house and started barking. The leader became very disturbed. He got up, came into my room and asked, "Have you gone to sleep? I am in a great difficulty. I have driven those dogs away two times, but they return again!"
I said, "If you drive anybody away they will always return. It is a mistake to try to drive somebody away because whoever you drive away thinks that he is needed in some way. He thinks that he has some importance - that is why he is being driven away. And dogs are just poor dogs! They must think that they are needed in some way, that they are important to you, so they came back.
"And the other thing is that the dogs have no idea that a political leader is staying here, that they are barking for you. They are not human beings - if human beings hear that a political leader is here they will gather around him. Up to now dogs have not become intelligent enough to gather around when a political leader comes. The dogs come here every day. Do not have this unnecessary idea in your mind that they have come here because of your importance. They would definitely not know about it. And as far as the problem of your sleeping is concerned, the dogs are not keeping you awake, you are keeping yourself awake. You are unnecessarily thinking that the dogs should not bark. What right do you have? The dogs have the right to bark and you have the right to sleep. There is no contradiction between them, these things can happen simultaneously. There is no conflict or clash between them. Let the dogs go on barking and you go on sleeping. Neither the dogs can say that you shouldn't sleep because your sleep creates a disturbance in their barking, nor can you say that they disturb you."
And I told him, "Just accept that the dogs are barking and listen silently. Drop the resistance. Accept their barking. And the moment you accept it, the barking of dogs is also transformed into a musical rhythm."
I don't know when he went to sleep but when he woke up in the morning, he said to me, "I don't have any idea what happened but I am really amazed. When there was nothing else to do I had to accept.
At first your idea made no sense to me...." My ideas do not immediately make sense to anybody! It did not make sense to him either.... "but when I felt so helpless, I realized there was no other way:
either I ruin my sleep or I accept what you say. There were only two alternatives. Then I thought that as I had given so much attention to the dogs, now I should give attention to your suggestion and see what happens. So I lay down silently and listened and accepted the barking. After that I have no idea when I fell asleep, and I have no idea how long the dogs kept on barking or when they became silent. I really had a good night's sleep."
So do not resist. Listen silently to whatever is all around. This listening silently is a very miraculous phenomenon; this non-resistance, this non-opposition towards life is the clue to going into meditation.
So first we will become relaxed, and then we will listen silently in a state of non-resistance. Lights will be turned off so that you do not feel that others are present. It is easy to forget the dogs, it is far more difficult to forget the people around you.