Freedom from belief

Fri, 4 February 1970 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
The Inner Journey
Chapter #:
pm in Ajol Meditation Camp
Archive Code:
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[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,

Man is tied up in chains of thoughts like a prisoner. In this prison of thoughts what kinds of stones have been used as a foundation? In the afternoon we talked about one of those stones. Tonight we will talk about the second but equally important one. If these two foundation stones are removed, the mistake of thinking that learned knowledge is real knowledge should be realized, and man can then very easily rise above his prison of thoughts.

What is the second stone? What is the other foundation stone on which the prison of thoughts in man's mind has been built, on which the web of thoughts has been woven? Perhaps you do not know. Perhaps you have no idea how we got so full of so many contradictory thoughts.

Our situation is like a bullock cart which is being pulled by bulls from all four sides. The bulls are being forced to move so that different destinations can be reached. The bullock cart is in danger.

Its structure is becoming loose. The bulls are pulling it from all sides in different directions - can it reach anywhere? Can it reach any destination? There can be only one destination for it, only one destiny - it will be broken apart, destroyed. With the bulls pulling it apart, running away in opposite directions with all its pieces, nothing else but destruction can happen. The bullock cart cannot reach anywhere.

The inner conflict between the thoughts in our mind is killing us. All our thoughts are irrelevant and contradictory - in opposition to each other. All the bulls of our thoughts are pulling our mind in different directions and we are disturbed and suffering in the middle. We have no idea how this contradiction, this conflict, has come to be there within us.

I was a guest in the house of a very great doctor. In the morning, the doctor and I were about to go out of the house when suddenly his child sneezed. The doctor said, "This means bad luck! Let us wait for a while, for a few minutes, and then we will go."

I said, "You seem to be a strange doctor! At least a doctor should know what causes a sneeze.

There is no relation between sneezing and somebody staying or going somewhere. This is just a superstition. It is very surprising that even a doctor isn't clear about this."

I told the doctor that even if I became sick and was close to death, I would not be treated by him.

In my opinion, his doctor's certificate should be taken away! It is wrong. It is very surprising that because of a childhood superstition, he would stop going somewhere when somebody sneezed.

The ideas acquired in childhood are still working even though the man has become a doctor, an F.R.C.S. from London. Two thoughts are present in him at the same time: when somebody sneezes, his feet stop, and yet at the same time he knows very well that it is absolutely stupid, that there is no relation between the two. Both these thoughts exist and function in his mind together.

Thousands of these types of thoughts exist within us and they are all pulling us in different directions at the same time. We have become very disturbed - it is obvious. This is why man seems to be absolutely mad. What else can he be? Madness is an obvious consequence. An infinite number of contradictory thoughts from thousands and thousands of years have gathered in the mind of one man. Thousands of generations, thousands of centuries, are living in one person at the same time. A five-thousand-year-old thought and an ultramodern thought from the present time exist simultaneously within him - and there can be no comparison nor any harmony between these two thoughts.

Thoughts coming from thousands of different directions have collected within one man. The ideas of thousands of tirthankaras and digambaras, avataras and gurus are residing within him, and all of them have done a unique thing. Although they have not agreed on anything else, all the religions, all the teachers, all the preachers of the world have always agreed on one strategy: that is to tell people to believe in what they are saying. All of them say, "Believe in what we are saying." They disagree on everything else. A Hindu says something, a Mohammedan says something, a Jaina says something, a Christian says something else - but on this one point they all agree, "Believe in what we say." All of them say contradictory things and all their contradictory sayings land on man's being, and all of them shout at him to believe in what they are saying. Man is poor and weak, he believes whatever all of these people say. They all laugh at each other's words, but nobody laughs at their own stupidities.

Christians say that Jesus was born out of a virgin girl and one who will not accept this will go to hell.

The poor listener feels afraid. If he does not accept this point, he will go to hell! So he accepts that what these people say is right. What does it matter if a virgin girl gave birth to Jesus or not? There is no need to go to hell over such a point.

The rest of the people of the world laugh at this Christian idea. Mohammedans, Jainas, Hindus laugh at this stupidity. How can a child be born out of a virgin girl? It is absolutely absurd.

But Mohammedans say that while in his body, Mohammed went to heaven sitting on his female horse. Christians, Hindus, Jainas laugh at this - what kind of stupidity is this! The first thing is that a female horse cannot go to heaven. If it had been a male horse, it might have been able to go. A man can go to heaven but there is no provision for women to go - so a female horse cannot go to heaven. If it had been a male horse the idea might have been tolerated, it might have been alright.

And secondly, how can somebody go to heaven while in his body? The body has to be left here, the body is a thing of the earth. Mohammed cannot go to heaven in his body. Everybody laughs at the idea. Christians, Jainas and Hindus all laugh, but Mohammedans say, "Believe it! If you don't believe it then you will go to hell. You will be forced to rot in hell, you will suffer in hell. You will have to accept this. If you do not accept it, if you do not agree with Mohammed's words, then know very well that you will get into great difficulty - because there is only one god in the world and Mohammed is his prophet."

Man is under a threat to believe, so he accepts that what he is told may be right. Jainas laugh at Mohammedans and Christians, but they say that Mahavira was conceived in a brahmin woman's womb. How can a Jaina tirthankara be born in a brahmin family? The real and the highest caste is kshatriya, so tirthankaras are always born in kshatriya families. They cannot be born in brahmin houses. Brahmins are beggars so how can tirthankaras be born in their house? Mahavira was conceived in a brahmin woman's womb but when the gods saw that this was going to be a great mistake - "How can a tirthankara be born in a brahmin family?" - they immediately removed the embryo and placed it in the womb of a kshatriya woman, and they took out the female embryo from the kshatriya woman's womb and put it in the brahmin woman's womb.

People all over the world laugh at all these things - they are very funny. First of all, what have gods to do with changing the embryo in somebody's womb - how can this happen? The whole world laughs, but Jainas become angry. They say, "You can laugh at this but you don't know what our tirthankara has said and whatever has been said by our tirthankara is absolutely true. Whoever does not believe this will suffer in hell. If you do not believe we are not concerned, you can suffer!"

Man is asked to believe many things by many people. There was a time when man did not know everyone's beliefs. People were living in their own circles. They knew only things within their own circles so there was not so much confusion. Now the world has become very small and everybody knows everyone else's beliefs. So man's confusion has reached a point of absolute madness. Now it is beyond his understanding what all this noise is about, what people are trying to convince us about.

But even in the past the situation was not much better. A Hindu not knowing about Mohammedan beliefs or a Jaina not knowing about Christian beliefs, did not make the situation any clearer.

Even Jainas do not believe in essentially the same things. The Digambaras say one thing, the Svetambaras say something else - you would be very surprised to know about what things they disagree on. It is amazing that people can have such diverse opinions about such things. One of the twenty-four Jaina tirthankaras was Mallinath. The Digambaras say that he was a man and the Svetambaras say that he was a woman. The Svetambaras say that he was Mallibai, the Digambaras say that he was Mallinath - and both of them say that if you don't believe us you will go to hell.

Digambaras say that a woman can never be a tirthankara - the fact itself is false - so he must have been a man. He was Mallinath, not Mallibai. It is really too much to have a conflict over whether a person is a man or a woman. But man is threatened that if he does not believe he will go to hell and will have to suffer. So he had better believe it!

All over the world the teachings of the people who want you to believe them have created a chaos and a confusion in man's mind. He listens to everybody and the impressions of all their teachings remain within him, and his being gets pulled in many different directions.

And then after all these religions, came communism. Communism said that religion is just opium.

There is no meaning in it, the idea of a god is absolutely false, it is all meaningless. Real religion is what Marx says: communism is the real religion. One should believe in it and nothing else. The Bible, the Gita, the Koran are all wrong - Das Kapital is the real religious scripture, one should believe only it. So a new belief started....

Then after communism came science. Science said that all these things are futile. Whatever is written in the religious scriptures is all wrong; only what science says is right. And even during the life of one scientist, another scientist gets a different idea and claims that he is right, that the first man is wrong. Then along comes a third scientist who claims that he is right and the previous two are wrong. And then perhaps a fourth scientist....

In the mind and psyche of man, these proclaimers of truth have created a confused entanglement of thoughts which is very diverse and pulls man in all directions. Fear and bribery have been used to create this entanglement; secret methods of fear and bribery have been used to impose a set of beliefs on man - if you believe you go to heaven, if you don't believe you go to hell.

These religious leaders have been doing the same thing that today's advertisers are doing, but the advertisers are not as bold or as courageous. The people selling Lux toilet soap advertise that a certain beauty queen says, "I became beautiful because I used Lux toilet soap." Therefore, whoever uses it will become beautiful and whoever doesn't use it will not become beautiful. One then becomes afraid that he or she may become ugly so he or she goes out and buys Lux toilet soap.

It is as if people were not beautiful when Lux toilet soap was not there, as if Cleopatra, Mumtaj and Noorjehan were not beautiful because Lux toilet soap was not there. But the advertisers are not very courageous yet; perhaps in the future they will say, "A certain tirthankara says, a certain prophet says, a certain teacher says, that one who does not use Lux toilet soap will go to hell, he cannot go to heaven. Only those people who use Lux toilet soap can go to heaven."

Man can be threatened that only those people who smoke Panama cigarettes will go to heaven, because to smoke and to get others to smoke Panama Cigarettes is a very good thing. And one who does not smoke Panama cigarettes will have to go to hell. If he smokes Indian bidis, he will have to suffer much in hell! If somebody does not believe all this then he will have to face the consequences. One who believes will have good consequences and one who does not believe will have bad consequences.

Modern advertisers have not yet become as courageous as those old advertisers were. They threatened man by telling him absolutely false things and he went on listening to those things and accepting them without any resistance. In fact any untruth, if repeated many times for thousands of years, starts to look like truth. If somebody goes on repeating even the most untrue thing - goes on repeating and repeating it - slowly, slowly you start thinking that perhaps it may be true, otherwise how could it have been repeated so many times for so long?

A poor farmer from a village bought a baby goat in the city. As he started walking towards his village with the baby goat, a few of the city hooligans thought that if they could somehow manage to seize the baby goat, they would be able to enjoy a good meal and also a celebration. They could invite some friends and make a feast. But how to get it?

The illiterate villager seemed to be a very strong and healthy man and the hooligans of the city were a little weak. To take the goat directly from him could lead to a fight and there could be trouble, so they had to be very careful and trick him somehow. They decided on a trick. When the villager was about to leave the city, one of those four or five people met him on the road and said, "Hello! Good morning!"

He replied, "Good morning!"

Then the hooligan looked up and said, "Why are you carrying this dog on your shoulders?" - in fact he was carrying the baby goat on his shoulders - "From where did you buy this dog? It is a very good dog!"

The farmer laughed. He said, "Have you gone mad? It is not a dog! I have bought a goat, it is a baby goat!"

The man said, "Don't enter your village carrying a dog, otherwise people will think you are mad. Do you think this is a goat?"

And the man went on his way. The farmer laughed and thought that this was very strange, but he touched the goat's legs to see whether it is was a goat or a dog. That was the hooligan's motive.

The farmer found that it really was a goat and feeling reassured he went on walking.

In the next lane a second hooligan met him. He said, "Hello, you have bought a very good dog. I also want to buy a dog. From where did you buy it?" Now the villager could not say with the same confidence that this was not a dog because now a second man was saying the same thing and two people cannot be mistaken.

Still he laughed and said, "This is not a dog, sir, it is a goat."

The man said, "Who told you that it is a goat? It seems that somebody has cheated you - is this a goat?" And he went away. The villager took the goat down from his shoulders to see what the matter was but it was definitely a goat. Both of those people were mistaken! But a fear arose within him that perhaps he was suffering from a delusion.

Now he felt rather afraid as he continued walking down the road - and then he met the third person who said, "Hello! From where have you bought this dog?" This time he did not have the courage to say that this was a goat.

He answered, "I bought it in the city." It was very difficult for him to say that this was a goat and he started to think that maybe he shouldn't take it to the village. He has wasted the money and he will be condemned in the village. People will think that he has gone mad. While he was thinking this, the fourth man met him. He said, "This is strange! I have never seen anybody carrying a dog on his shoulders. Do you think that this a goat?"

The villager looked around and saw that he was alone, nobody was around - so he dropped the goat and ran quickly to his village. His five rupees had been wasted but at least he wouldn't be called mad.

And the four hooligans took the goat away.

Because four people repeated something again and again, it became difficult for the farmer to believe that what they were saying could be wrong. And when the people who are telling you something are wearing orange clothes, it becomes more difficult. And when those people are models of truth and sincerity, it becomes even more difficult. And when they are sincere renouncers of the world, it becomes much more difficult - because there is no reason to disbelieve what they are saying. It is not necessarily that they are deceiving you - ninety-nine times out of a hundred they are people who have a wrong conception themselves and they themselves have been deceived. It is not necessarily that they are deceivers, but they are in the same rut as you are.

One thing is certain: as long as man is told to believe, he will continue to be exploited. As long as man is asked to believe, he cannot be free of exploitation. Then the belief may be of a Hindu or a Jaina or a Mohammedan, or of anybody else - it may be of a communist or of a non-communist, whomsoever - but as long as man is told to believe what somebody is saying, and is told that if you don't believe you will suffer and if you do believe you will be happy... as long as this trick is used, it will be very difficult for man to get enough courage to get rid of the entanglement of thoughts within him.

What do I want to tell you? I want to tell you that if we want to get rid of the entanglement of thoughts which has been formed within us, to which thousands of centuries have contributed, in which impressions of hundreds of years are collected, then one thing must be fully understood: there is nothing more suicidal than belief. One thing we have to definitely understand is that to believe, to believe blindly, to accept silently with closed eyes, has been the basic cause of the crippling our lives until now.

But everybody asks you to believe them - they tell you to believe them, not to believe others. They say, "Do not believe other people because they are wrong. I am right, believe me."

I want to tell you that it is destructive to believe anybody and it will be harmful to your life. No belief, no belief at all! Whoever makes a belief system a basis for his life is entering into a world of blindness - and no light to see with can ever enter into his life. He can never attain light in his life. One who believes in others will never be able to know himself.

So am I asking you to disbelieve? No! There is no need to disbelieve either. But we think that if we don't believe something then we inevitably disbelieve it. This is an absolutely wrong idea. There is a state of mind which neither believes nor disbelieves.... Disbelief is a form of belief. When we say that we don't believe in god, what are we saying? We are saying that we believe in the non- existence of god. When we say, "I don't believe in the soul," then we are saying that we believe in the non-existence of the soul. Belief and disbelief are similar things, there is no difference between them. Belief is positive and disbelief is negative. Belief is a positive trust and disbelief is a negative trust, but both are trusts.

A person can only become free from his inner entanglement of thoughts if he becomes free of trust and belief, if he becomes free of continually looking towards others for their point of view, if he drops the very idea that anybody else can give him truth. As long as a person has the idea that someone else can give him truth, he will be in bondage in some way or other. If he gets free from one he will be tied to another, if he gets free from the second he will be tied to the third - he cannot get free from the bondage.

But to get free of one and to be tied to the other always gives relief for a while.

When a man dies, four people carry his dead body to the funeral ground on a bier on their shoulders.

When one shoulder starts aching then they change to another shoulder. For a while they get relief for the tired shoulder. Then the second shoulder gets tired and they change to the other shoulder again. One who changes his beliefs is only changing from one shoulder to another, the weight is always present, it makes no difference. One gets relief only for a while.

If a Hindu becomes a Mohammedan, if a Mohammedan becomes a Jaina, if a Jaina becomes a Christian, if someone drops all religions and becomes a communist or something else, if he is just dropping one belief system and catching hold of another, there is no change in the burden on his mind. He gets relief for a while but it is only a change in the weight on the shoulders - there is no meaning in that kind of relief.

I have heard that there were two men in a village - one a theist, an extreme theist, and one an atheist, an extreme atheist. The whole village was very troubled because of the two of them. Villages always get into difficulty because of such people. Day and night the theist used to explain about the existence of God, and day and night the atheist used to refute it. The people of the village were in great difficulty about who to follow and who not to follow. At last they decided that since they were so troubled both of the men should be told to debate among themselves in front of the whole village.

And the village people said, "We will follow the one who wins. Don't make difficulties for us. You must debate with each other and whosoever wins we will follow him!"

One night, a full-moon night, the debate was arranged in the village. The whole village gathered.

The theist explained the theories of theism, presented all his arguments, and refuted atheism. Then the atheist refuted theism and gave all his arguments in favor of atheism. The debate went on the whole night, and in the morning the result was that the theist became an atheist and the atheist became a theist! Both of them liked each other's arguments.

But the problem of the villagers remained. It was not solved. The two men had convinced each other and agreed with each other so there was still an atheist and a theist in the village, the sum total remained the same - and the problem of the village remained the same as well.

If we change one belief for another belief it makes no difference to our life. The problem of our being remains the same. There is no difference. The problem of our being has nothing to do with being a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Jaina or a Christian or a communist or a fascist, the problem of our being is that we believe. As long as one believes, one puts oneself in bondage, one puts oneself in prison and one is tied in some way or other, somewhere or other.

How can an imprisoned person, an imprisoned mind, become free from thoughts? How can he become free from the thoughts which he is holding on to with his whole being and which he believes in? How can he get rid of them? It is very difficult. We can get rid of them if we remove the foundation stone.

Belief is the foundation stone at the bottom of the pile of thoughts. On the basis of belief, man has been initiated into thoughts and when thoughts grip the mind tightly then a fear also takes hold - what will happen if I drop them? So man says that if he is given something better to hold on to then he can drop his present thoughts - but the thought of dropping the idea of 'holding on' does not enter his mind.

Freedom, liberation of the mind, happens not from changing one's beliefs but from becoming free from belief itself.

Buddha was visiting a small village. Some people brought a blind man to him and said, "This man is blind and we are his closest friends. Although we try in every way to convince him that there is light, he is not ready to accept such a fact. His arguments are such that we are at a loss. Even though we know that there is light, we have to admit defeat. The man tells us that he wants to touch light. Now how do we make it possible for him to touch light? Then the man says, 'Ok, if it cannot be touched then I want to hear it. I have ears. Make the sound of light so that I can hear it. If this is also not possible then I want to taste it, or if the light has a fragrance I want to smell it.'"

There is no way to convince the man. Light can only be seen if one has eyes - and he has no eyes.

He complained to the village people that they were unnecessarily talking about light just to prove that he was blind. He felt that they had invented the story of light just to prove him blind.

So the people asked Buddha if, as he was in the village for a while, perhaps he could make their blind man understand.

Buddha said, "I am not mad enough to try to convince him! Mankind's problems have been created by people who have tried to explain things to those who cannot see. Preachers are a plague to humanity. They tell people things which they cannot understand."

So he said, "I won't make this mistake. I will not explain to this blind man that there is light. You have brought him to the wrong person. There was no need to bring him to me, take him instead to a physician who can treat his eyes. He does not need preaching, he needs treatment. This is not a question of explanations, or of him believing in things you tell him, it is a question of treatment for his eyes. If his eyes get cured then there will be no need for you to explain; he himself will be able to see, he himself will be able to know."

Buddha was saying that he didn't consider religion to be just a philosophical teaching - it should be a practical cure. So he recommended that the blind man be taken to a physician.

The villagers liked what Buddha said so they took the blind man to a physician for treatment and fortunately he was cured after a few months. By that time Buddha had gone to another village so the blind man followed him. He bowed to Buddha, touched his feet and said, "I was wrong. There is such a thing as light but I couldn't see it."

Buddha answered, "You were certainly wrong, but your eyes got cured because you refused to believe what others told you unless you experienced it for yourself. If you had accepted what your friends had told you then the matter would have ended there and no question of treatment for your eyes would have arisen."

People who believe are unable to reach any understanding. People who accept silently are unable have any experience of their own. The journey of those who are blind and hold on to the fact that if the others say that there is light then certainly there must be light, ends right there. The journey only continues when the restlessness stays and stays and stays and never disappears. Restlessness comes only when you feel there is something which people say is there, but you don't see it so you cannot accept it. You can accept it only when you see it. This kind of restlessness: "I will accept only when I see with my own eyes," needs to be there in the mind.

The people who want you to have beliefs are the ones that say that you don't need your own eyes.

Mahavira had eyes, that is enough. Buddha had eyes, that is enough. Why should everybody need eyes? Krishna had eyes and wrote the Gita, then why do you need eyes? Read the Gita and enjoy it. Krishna could see, and he described what he could see, so what is the need for everyone to see? You should simply believe. Those who could see have already spoken - your job is simply to believe. The knowledge has been attained - what is the need for you to know by yourself?

This preaching kept man blind. Most of the people on the earth remained blind and today most of them are still blind. And looking at the situation now, most people will probably stay blind in the future as well because the basic alchemy of correcting the blindness, the thirst to overcome the blindness, has been killed. It has been destroyed by giving strong belief systems.

In fact it should be said that however good Krishna's eyes were and however far they could see, they are not your eyes. And however beautiful Mahavira's eyes were - even like a lotus - they are not your eyes. Your eyes may not be very significant - they may be only like a field flower, not a lotus - but they are your own eyes. Only with your own eyes can you see.

So one should search for one's own understanding because one cannot attain anything by worshipping the insights of another. In fact, the search for one's own understanding can only begin when one drops the idea of the other. As long as there is any outer substitute, as long as something is being supplied from the outside, the search cannot begin.

When there is no support or fulfillment from something else, when nothing can be attained from another, then a challenge arises within man to search for his own way, for his own understanding.

Man is very lazy. If he can attain knowledge without making any effort, why should he make the effort, why should he do any work? If enlightenment can be attained just by believing, without seeking, then why should he try to make the journey to enlightenment on his own? And when someone says, "Believe in me, I will take you to enlightenment," why should he make a huge effort by himself? When somebody says, "Sit in my boat. I will take you to the other shore and then the matter is over," he would prefer to sit silently in the boat and go to sleep.

But nobody can reach anywhere in somebody else's boat. And nobody can see with another's eye - nobody ever has and nobody ever will. One has to walk on one's own feet, one has to see with one's own eyes, one has to live by one's own heart beat. One has to live by oneself and one has to die by oneself. Nobody can live in another's place; nobody can die in another's place. Nobody can take another's place; neither can one take anybody else's place. If there is anything totally impossible in this world, it is the fact that no one can take anyone else's place.

Two soldiers were lying in a battlefield during the second world war. One soldier was about to die.

He was so badly wounded that there was obviously no hope for him. The other soldier was wounded also but he was alive and there was no question of his dying. Both were friends.

The dying soldier hugged his friend and said, "Now I must say goodbye to you because there is no possibility of my surviving. I suggest one thing: take my record book and give your record book to me. Your record book is not good, there are many humiliating comments in your record book, but my record is good. So let's exchange our books. This way the officers will think that you have died, and I am alive. Because my record is good, you will be able to get a good promotion, you will become more respectable. So hurry! Exchange the book and the number."

The dying friend's wish was absolutely right, because soldiers have only numbers, they have no names. And a soldier has only a record book, no soul. So it was right that they should exchange the books - a bad man would have died and a good man would remain alive.

But the man who wasn't going to die answered, "Forgive me. I can take your book and your number but I will still be myself. I am a bad man and I will remain a bad man. I drink alcohol; I will still drink it. I go to prostitutes; I will still go to them. How long can your good record book remain good, how long can a book deceive anyone? On the contrary, two persons will become bad. You will die as a bad man, but a bad man will still be alive. Now at least people will say that a good man has died.

They will offer you flowers - if you are me they will not offer flowers. You cannot be in my place and I cannot be in your place. Your idea about changing places comes from your love for me, and it is good, but this is beyond the laws of life. Nobody can change places with another. Nobody can live or die in place of another. One cannot know on behalf of another; neither can one have the ability to see on behalf of another."

The people who want you to have beliefs have told you to look through somebody else's eyes - look through the eyes of the tirthankaras, look through the eyes of the avataras. We have continued to believe, which is why we have got entangled in a blind net. Thousands of teachers have created so much noise and the followers of the thousands of teachers have made so much noise, that they have created a great fear of hell and a great greed for heaven - so slowly, slowly we have accepted what they say. And the words of all of them have created such a contradiction within us that the journey of our life will be disrupted rather than going anywhere.

So the first thing for an intelligent person to do is to say goodbye to all his contradictory thoughts and decide, "I will not believe. I want to know. The day that I understand for myself, that day only can I use the word 'belief'. Before that there can be nothing like belief for me. It is deception, it is self-deception. I cannot deceive myself and say that I know without knowing, that I recognize without recognizing. It is not possible for me to accept blindly."

This does not mean that you are rejecting something; it simply means that you are standing aloof from both acceptance and rejection. You are saying, "I do not agree nor disagree. I neither say that Mahavira is wrong nor do I say that he is right. I simply say that I do not know myself what Mahavira is saying so I have no right to agree or disagree. The day I come to know for myself that he is right, I will agree. If I come to know that what he says is wrong, then I will disagree. But I do not know yet, so how can I say yes or no?"

If our mind could distance itself from both acceptance and rejection, then the entanglement could break here and now. If the basic substance of this net gets broken, then it will be as fragile as a castle of cards which will fall down with a little push. Right now it is like a castle of stone with a solid foundation which cannot easily be seen. So our minds are conditioned to understand that those who believe and accept are religious and those who reject and do not believe are irreligious.

But I say unto you: one who believes is not religious, neither is one who does not believe. A religious person is one who is true. 'True' means that he neither believes nor disbelieves what he does not know. He simply announces with utter sincerity that he does not know, he is ignorant, so there is no question at all of his acceptance or rejection.

Can you gather the courage and strength to take your being to this middle point? If you can, then this castle of thoughts can fall down immediately - there is no difficulty about it at all.

I told you three points this morning, one point this afternoon and one now. Think about these five points carefully. Don't start using them just because I have talked about them, otherwise I will also become a preacher for you. Don't believe something just because I have said it - because maybe what I have said is all wrong, maybe it is false and futile, so you may get into difficulty. Don't believe what I have said.

Think, search and see - and if through your own experience you feel that there is some truth in what I say, if you feel because of your own search, because of looking into the window of your own mind, that there is some truth in it, then that truth will become a truth of your own, it does not remain only mine. Then it is not my understanding, it becomes an understanding of your own; then whatever you do becomes a way for your life to move towards wisdom and awakening. But whatever you do through believing takes you into more darkness and unconsciousness. It is helpful to think carefully about this point also.

Before we sit for the night meditation I will answer some questions about meditation which have been asked. First I will talk about them and then we will sit for the meditation.

A friend has asked that in meditation can chanting - chanting some sacred mantra - be helpful?

It cannot be helpful at all; on the contrary, it can become an obstacle - because when you chant a mantra, you repeat the same thought again and again. A mantra is a thought. When you chant a name, you repeat the same word again and again. A word is a part of a thought, a piece of a thought. So if you want to become free from thoughts by repeating a thought, you are making a mistake. As long as you go on repeating one thought, it will seem that there are no other thoughts in your mind because, as I told you, the nature of the mind is to be stuck on a single thought. But the thought which you are repeating is as much a thought as other thoughts are. There is nothing useful in repeating it. On the contrary, it is harmful because by repeating the same word again and again, an unconsciousness, a sleep is created in the mind.

Take any one word and repeat it again and again - soon sleep will arise within you, not an awakening. A repetition of any word is a way to create sleep. So if you cannot sleep, it will be helpful to repeat 'Rama, Rama' or 'Aum, Aum' at night, but it will not be helpful in the search for the realization of the self or of the truth, nor in a deeper realization of existence.

This method is known to everybody in every village but we have never thought about it. When a mother wants her child to go to sleep, she says, "Go to sleep, my little darling - go to sleep, little darling - go to sleep, little darling." She is using a mantra. She is repeating the same two words:

little darling, little darling. "Go to to sleep, little darling, go to sleep, little darling...." After a while the little darling will definitely go to sleep. If the mother thinks that he has gone to sleep because of her very musical voice then she is making a big mistake - the child goes to sleep because of boredom.

If you sit at somebody's head and say, "Go to sleep, little darling, go to sleep, little darling," he gets irritated, bored. The small child cannot run away anywhere so the only way to escape is to go to sleep so that he can no longer hear this nonsense. The only way to get rid of this nonsense, the only escape, is to go to sleep, otherwise he will have to listen to this, "Go to sleep, little darling, go to sleep, little one." How long will the little darling be ready to listen to this nonsense? However darling the little one may be he will also start feeling irritated and in that irritation, in that boredom, the only alternative he has is to go to sleep quickly. Only then the nonsense will stop.

So if you go on repeating 'little darling, little darling' or 'Rama, Rama' - it doesn't make any difference which word you use, they are all the same - then you start doing the same thing to your mind that the mother is doing to the little child. So after a time the mind will become annoyed, bored, fed up and then there is only one way to escape: it goes to sleep to avoid the nonsense. If you think this going to sleep is meditation, you are making a great mistake. This sleep is a state of unconsciousness.

Yes, you will feel good after it. After this sleep you will feel as good as after every sleep. You will feel some relief because for that time, you have escaped from worry, pain and life itself.

It is the same kind of feeling that an alcoholic or a drug addict or an opium user has as long as he is intoxicated. He forgets all his worries until he regains consciousness and finds that the pain is still there. Then he needs more opium. At first only a little portion of opium was enough, but then after a few days he needs double the amount and after a few more days even more than that.

There are sadhus who have used so much opium that after a while opium stops having any effect, so they breed snakes, and only when they get the snakes to bite their tongues can they get intoxicated - otherwise nothing happens.

A person always needs more and more intoxication, so if today he chants 'Rama, Rama' for fifteen minutes, then tomorrow he will need thirty minutes. After a month, he will need an hour. Then he will need two hours, then ten hours.... Then he cannot run his shop because he needs to chant 'Rama, Rama' before starting work. So he has to go into the forest and drop everything because this Rama chant has become an addiction. And now the more often he does it, the more important it seems, because if he comes out of it he will feel pain. Then he says now he will chant totally, twenty-four hours a day.

This is touching the boundaries of madness. No knowledge, no understanding arises in a man's life from this - and the countries and the races who get caught up in this kind of madness lose everything and become spiritless. Our country is a simple and living example. Our country has lost all its life, glory and spirit; it has become spiritless because of these kind of stupidities. Glory does not develop through repetition; repetition gives birth to unconsciousness. So those races which have learnt the method of repetition, learn to go to sleep by repeating something. If your child is sick in the house you can avoid the situation by chanting 'Rama, Rama'. As you become unconscious the child disappears, the world disappears, you do not know anything anymore. If you cannot find a job, you chant 'Rama, Rama' and avoid the situation. Now you don't need to worry about a job or food.

The poor races, the wretched and needy countries, go on finding these kinds of ways to avoid doing something constructive and so go on becoming more and more poor and destitute.

Life changes by fighting and by struggling. Life changes by the effort of facing it and changing it.

Life does not change by keeping your eyes closed and chanting mantras. All these things are simply opium - so forget about chanting words, names, mantras. Meditation is the way of waking up the consciousness deep inside you, not making it go to sleep. That which is hiding deep inside you should wake up, and become so aware that not a single part inside remains asleep. Your whole being should wake up. Meditation is the name of that state of awareness.

But in India you can lie there in an unconscious state and the people around you say that you have attained samadhi! Saliva is dribbling out of your mouth and you are lying there dizzy and in a fit and people are saying that you have attained samadhi! This is hysteria but people think that you are in samadhi. This is neither meditation nor samadhi, it is just a hysterical disease. Becoming unconscious is a disease. In America or Europe, if somebody gets hysterical or falls sick, he is treated, but in India people are so mad and ignorant that they will sing devotional songs around the person saying that this great man has attained samadhi! If the people were intelligent they would arrange for some treatment for all these great people. They are all sick, not healthy. Their disease is mental; it is the ultimate result of mental tension. It is not samadhi when a person is lying on the ground unconscious with saliva dribbling out of his mouth. It is sheer stupidity that the devotees are singing songs and saying that the person has attained samadhi. Samadhi means total awareness, it does not mean sleep, unconsciousness.

Samadhi means that the being has become so aware that no darkness remains; all has become illuminated. A lamp of awareness has been lit deep inside. Samadhi does not mean sleep and unconsciousness, it means awareness, alertness. A man in samadhi remains aware and awake all his life, every moment, every breath. All this madness and hysteria is not samadhi - but if somebody manages to collect devotees around him, why should he say that something is wrong?

What is happening is right, it is good! This stupidity has been going on for thousands of years and unfortunately we can't say for how much longer it will continue. We are helping it to continue. I don't call chanting or repetition, meditation. Meditation means two things: making the effort to meditate, and creating awareness inside oneself.

And in the meditation which we are going to do tonight, don't go to sleep either!

Now we will do the night meditation. You should not go to sleep. Relax the body, relax the breath, make the mind silent, but do not go to sleep. Be totally awake inside. That's why I have told you to keep listening to everything outside, because if you are listening you will remain awake but if you are not listening there is a possibility that you will go to sleep. Sleep is a good thing, sleep is not bad, but don't think that sleep is meditation. Sleep is necessary but sleep is not meditation - one must remember that. If sleep does not come then you can produce sleep by doing some chanting but don't make the mistake of thinking that you might experience something spiritual. You can make that mistake, it is not difficult. Just as a person takes sleeping pills, you can chant a mantra. It does not matter. It will work as a sleeping pill.

When Vivekananda was in America and said something about mantras and meditation, a newspaper reported in an article that what Vivekananda was saying sounded good. A mantra sounded like a non-medical tranquillizer. It was a good way to bring sleep.

If you want to induce sleep that is one thing, but bringing about a state of meditation is a totally different thing.

So in the experiment that we are doing here, everybody should become relaxed, everybody should go on listening, but everybody has to stay totally alert inside. Tomorrow we will talk more about the phenomenon of staying alert, then things will be clearer to you.

Before doing this experiment, first understand a few things. Firstly, this is a very simple experiment.

Don't get the idea in your mind that you are doing something very difficult. Whatever we think of as difficult becomes difficult - not because it is difficult, but because our thinking makes it so. Whatever we think of as easy becomes easy. The difficulty is in our vision.

We have been told for thousands of years that meditation is a very difficult thing. It is available only to some rare people, it is like walking on the edge of a sword, and this, and that.... All these things have created a feeling in our mind that meditation is for rare people, it is not for everybody. All that we can do is pray and worship or chant 'Rama, Rama' or sing some devotional songs non-stop for days together - usually very loudly into a microphone so that not only we are benefited but all the neighbors also! We think that this is all that is possible for us and meditation is only for the very few.

This is all false. Meditation is possible for every person. Meditation is so simple that it is difficult to find a man for whom meditation is not possible. But one has to prepare; one has to understand one's capacity, one's role and one's attitude when entering such simplicity. It is very simple, it is as simple as the most simple thing can be.

As simply as a bud becomes a flower, so simply can the mind of man change into meditation. But for a bud to become a flower, light, water and fertilizer are needed. This is natural, these are its needs. In the same way the mind has certain needs to become meditative. This is what we are talking about.

Yesterday we talked about the needs of the body; today we talked about how to bring health to the mind and brain, how to become free of the entangling net of the brain. And tomorrow we will talk about the heart, the second center. If the heart and the mind are sorted out then it will be very easy to enter into the third center.

There may be some new people here today so I must tell them that now we will lie down for the meditation. This is a night meditation, to be done lying down before going to sleep. So everybody make your own space and lie down without touching anybody else. Some people can come up here and some lie on the floor in the front....

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