[NOTE: This discourse is in the process of being edited for publication. It is for reference use only.]
"O SON, LONG HAVE YOU BEEN CAUGHT IN THE NOOSE OF BODY-CONSCIOUSNESS. CUT THIS NOOSE WITH THE SWORD OF KNOWING 'I AM AWARENESS' AND BE HAPPY. THAT WHICH IS BORN, REMAINS, INCREASES, CHANGES, DETERIORATES AND PERISHES: YOU ARE NOT THAT. YOU ARE ALONE, VOID OF ACTION, SELF-ILLUMINATED AND INNOCENT.
YOUR BONDAGE IS THIS: THAT YOU PRACTICE SAMADHI.
"THIS UNIVERSE IS PERMEATED BY YOU, IT IS STRUNG ON THE THREAD OF YOU. IN REALITY YOU ARE PURE CONSCIOUSNESS BY NATURE, DO NOT BECOME SMALL-MINDED. YOU ARE UNCONCERNED, UNCHANGING, VOID OF FORM, OF COOL DISPOSITION, FATHOMLESS INTELLIGENCE, UNPERTURBED. THUS HAVE FAITH ONLY IN CONSCIOUSNESS.
"KNOW THAT WHICH HAS FORM IS FALSE, AND KNOW THE FORMLESS AS UNCHANGEABLE AND EVERLASTING. FROM THIS TEACHING OF THE TRUTH IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO BE BORN IN THE WORLD AGAIN. JUST AS A MIRROR IS THE SAME INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE IMAGE REFLECTED IN IT, GOD IS THE SAME INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THIS BODY. JUST AS THE ONE ALL-PERVADING SKY IS THE SAME INSIDE AND OUTSIDE A POT, THE ETERNAL EVERLASTING BRAHMA IS THE SAME IN ALL THINGS."
The first sutra: Ashtavakra said, "O son, long have you been caught in the noose of body- consciousness. Cut this noose with the sword of knowing 'I am awareness' and be happy."
In Ashtavakra's vision - and this is the purest vision, the ultimate vision - bondage is only a belief, bondage is not real.
There is an episode in Ramakrishna's life.... For his whole life he had been worshipping Mother Kali, but at the very end he began to feel, "It is duality; the experience of oneness has still not happened.
It is lovely, delightful, but two still remains two." Someone loves a woman, someone loves money, someone politics; he loved Ma Kali - but love still was divided in two. Still the ultimate nonduality hadn't happened and he was in anguish. He began looking out for a nondualist, a Vedantist - for some person to come who could show him the path.
A paramahansa named Totapuri was passing. Ramakrishna invited him to stop with him and asked, "Help me to have darshan of the one."
Totapuri said, "What's difficult in that? You believe there are two, so there are two. Drop the belief!"
Ramakrishna replied, "But dropping this belief is very difficult - I have lived with it my whole life.
When I close my eyes the image of Kali is standing there. I drown in that nectar. I forget that I am to become one; as soon as I close my eyes there are two. When I try to meditate, it becomes dual.
Help me out of this!"
So Totapuri said, "Try this: when the image of Kali is before you, pick up a sword and cut her in two."
Ramakrishna said, "Where will I find a sword?"
What Totapuri said is the same as what is said in Ashtavakra's sutra. Totapuri said, "From where did you bring this Kali image? - bring a sword from the same place. She too is imaginary. She too is an embellishment of your imagination. Through nurturing it for your whole life, through continuously projecting it for your whole life, it has become crystalized. It is just imagination. Not everyone sees Kali when they close their eyes."
After years of effort a Christian closes his eyes, and Christ comes to him. A devotee of Krishna closes his eyes and Krishna comes to him. A lover of Buddha closes his eyes and Buddha comes to him. A lover of Mahavira closes his eyes and Mahavira comes to him. Christ doesn't come to a Jaina, Mahavira doesn't come to a Christian: only the image you project will come. Ramakrishna's effort was with Kali, and the image became almost solid. It became so real from constant repetition, from continuous remembering, that it seemed Kali was standing in from of him. No one was standing there.
Consciousness is alone. There is no second here, no other.
"Just close your eyes," Totapuri said, "raise the sword and strike."
Ramakrishna closed his eyes, but as soon as he closed them his courage vanished. Raising his sword to strike Kali! - the devotee has to raise his sword and strike God - it was too hard.
To renounce the world is very easy. What is worth holding onto in the world? But when you have established an image deep in the mind, when you have created poetry in the mind, when the mind's
dream has become manifest, then it is very difficult to renounce it. The world is like a nightmare. A dream of devotion, a dream of feeling is not a nightmare, it is a very sweet dream. How to drop it?
how to break it?
Tears would start flowing from his eyes and he became ecstatic... his body would begin shaking.
But he didn't raise his sword - he would completely forget about it.
Finally Totapuri said, "I've wasted many days here. It's no good. Either you do it or I'm going to leave. Don't waste my time. Enough of this nonsense now!" That day Totapuri brought a piece of glass with him, and he said, "When you begin to be absorbed in delight, I will cut your forehead with this piece of glass. When I cut your forehead, inside gather courage, raise your sword and cut Kali in two. This is the last chance - I am not staying any longer."
Totapuri's threat of leaving... and it is difficult to find such a master. Totapuri must have been a man like Ashtavakra. Ramakrishna closed his eyes and Kali's image appeared to him. He was about to bliss out - tears were ready to flow from his eyes, overwhelmed, joy was coming - he was about to become ecstatic when Totapuri held his forehead and, where the third eye chakra is, made a cut from top to bottom with the piece of glass. Blood began to stream from the cut, and this time Ramakrishna found courage. He raised the sword and cut Kali in two pieces. When Kali fell apart he became nondual: the wave dissolved in the ocean, the river fell into the ocean. It is said that he stayed immersed for six days in this ultimate silence. He was neither hungry nor thirsty - there was no consciousness of the outside, no awareness. All was forgotten. And when he opened his eyes six days later, the first thing he said was, "The last barrier has fallen!"
This first sutra says, "O son, long have you been caught in the noose of body-consciousness." You have started believing this noose is your being. "I am the body, I am the body, I am the body!" - you have repeated this, life after life. From this repetition we have become the body. But we are not the body. This is our misperception, this is our habit. This is our self-hypnosis, and we have believed it so deeply we have become it.
There is another episode in Ramakrishna's life.... He did the sadhanas, the spiritual practices, of all religions. He is the only person in the history of mankind who tried to attain the truth through paths of all religions. Ordinarily a person reaches by one path. When you have reached the summit of the mountain, who bothers about other paths? Do you walk the other trails up it then? Who cares? - you have reached. The trail you came on, you came on; what's the use of walking all the others?
But Ramakrishna reached to the summit of the mountain again and again, then descended. He climbed by a second path, then by a third path. He is the first person who practiced the sadhanas of all religions and attained to the same peak through all religions.
Many have talked about synthesis - Ramakrishna is the first to create a science of synthesis. Many people have said that all religions are true, but it has just been talk. Ramakrishna made it a reality.
He gave it the strength of experience, he proved it with his life. When he was doing Islamic sadhana he became a real Muslim fakir. He forgot Ramakrishna and began chanting, "Allahoo... Allahoo." He began listening to the verses of the Koran and lived right on the steps of the mosque. If he came near a temple he didn't even lift his eyes, let alone bow in greeting. He had forgotten about Kali.
In Bengal there is a sect, the sakhis. When Ramakrishna practiced the sadhana of the Sakhi sect....
The Sakhis believe that God alone is male, everyone else is female - Krishna is God, everyone one
else is his sakhi, his girlfriend - so in the Sakhi tradition men also consider themselves women. But what happened in Ramakrishna's life had never happened in the life of any follower of the Sakhi tradition. A man can believe on the surface he is a woman, but he remains a man inside, he knows that he is a man. Members of the Sakhi sect take an idol of Krishna to bed with them - this is their husband. But what difference does it make?
But when Ramakrishna did this sadhana something unprecedented happened - scientists too will be surprised that such a thing happened.... He did the sadhana of the Sakhis for six months and after three months his breasts started to swell, his voice changed, he began walking like a woman, and his voice became sweet like a woman's. His breasts were growing, becoming the breasts of a woman's; the male structure of his body began to change.
This much is possible, because man too has breasts though undeveloped - women's are developed.
So it is possible that undeveloped breasts become developed, the seed does exist. Up to this point nothing great has happened. Many men's breasts become enlarged - this is not such a great surprise. But when six months were nearly over he started menstruating. This was a miracle! To menstruate is completely against the science of the body. This had never happened to any man.
What happened during these six months? The belief "I am a woman" - this idea became so strong, this feeling echoed so deep in his being, in every pore.... In every cell of the body it echoed: "I am a woman." No opposing feeling remained, he completely forgot about being a man; then it happened.
Ashtavakra is saying we are not bodies; it is just that we believed we were and we became bodies.
Whatever we believed we became. The world is our belief. And the moment we drop beliefs we can immediately be transformed. To drop it, nothing real has to be changed, only an idea must be dropped. If we were really the body, transformation would be very difficult. We are not really the body. In reality we are hidden inside the body as consciousness - the witness, the observer.
"O son, long have you been caught in the noose of body-consciousness. Cut this noose with the sword of knowing 'I am consciousness' and be happy." Raise the sword of awareness. "I am consciousness" - raise this sword of understanding, chop away the idea that "I am the body," and you are happy.
All suffering is of the body. Birth, illness, old age, death - all are of the body, and when there is identification with the body there is identification with all the pains of the body. When the body is worn out then we think "I have become worn out." When the body becomes ill we think "I have become ill." When the body approaches death we are frightened that we are dying. Beliefs... only beliefs.
I have heard that one night Mulla Nasruddin and his wife were lying in bed.... They had no children, and the wife was very eager to have a child. As they were about to fall asleep the wife said, "Listen, if we have a child where will we put him to sleep? - because there is only one bed."
So Mulla slid a little towards the side, saying "We will put him right here between us."
And the wife said, "And then if we have a second?"
Mulla slid over a little more saying, "We can put him here also." Miserly fellow!
The wife said, "And if a third comes?"
Mulla slid over more and was just going to say "Put him right here," when he fell off the bed with a crash. His leg was broken. The neighbors gathered hearing all the noise - he was crying loudly - and they asked, "What happened?"
He said, "This child - who does not yet exist - broke my leg. And when a nonexistent child can cause so much trouble, what to say of a real one! Excuse me, but I don't want any children. This experience is enough!"
Sometimes... no, not sometimes, usually we live like this - believing. We follow our belief, and when we follow our belief real consequences come, even if the belief is false. No child was there but a real leg was broken. The effect of the false can be real. If the false is believed deeply enough, its consequences will actually begin to happen.
Psychologists say many of the various experiences of our world are more belief than reality. A psychologist was doing experiments at Harvard University. In one, he sealed up a big bottle, carefully packed it and brought it to his classroom. Fifty students were there. He put the bottle on the table and told the students, "There is ammonia gas in this bottle. I want to do an experiment to find out how much time it takes for the smell of this gas to spread when I take the lid off. So when the smell reaches you raise your hand. As soon as you detect it raise your hand. I want to find out how many seconds it takes to reach the last row."
The students sat attentively. He opened the bottle. As soon as he opened it he quickly covered his nose with a handkerchief - ammonia gas! He stood aside. Before two seconds had passed someone in the first row raised his hand, then a second, then a third. Then a hand came up in the second row, then the third row. In fifteen seconds the ammonia gas reached the whole class - and there wasn't any ammonia in the bottle! The bottle was empty.
An idea - so consequences happened. They believed it, it happened. When he said there wasn't any ammonia gas, the students said, "Whether there was or not we smelled it." The smell was projected. It was ss if the smell came from within - there was nothing outside. They thought, so it came.
I have heard, a man was sick in the hospital and a nurse brought juice for him, orange juice. Just before she brought the juice another nurse had given him a bottle to put his urine sample in - for testing. He enjoyed practical jokes, so he poured the orange juice into the bottle and put it aside.
When the nurse came to take the bottle she was startled that it had such a strange color. The man said, "You are surprised too - its color is rather strange. Okay, let me recycle it through the body one more time, that will fix the color" - and he lifted the bottle to his mouth and drank the contents. They say the nurse passed out and fell over: she thought the man was drinking urine. And he had said, "... I will pass it through my body one more time and the color will be corrected, it will be put right."
What kind of man is this? But it was only orange juice. If she had known it was orange juice she would not have passed out. But her becoming unconscious was real, though it came from belief.
In life you can find thousands of such incidents around you where belief has done something, where belief becomes actualized.
"I am the body" - we have believed this for many lives, and believing it we have become the body.
Believing it we have become small. Believing it we have become limited. Ashtavakra's fundamental premise is that this is self-hypnosis, auto-hypnosis. You have not become the body, you cannot become the body. There is no way to do it - how can you become what you are not? What you are, you are right now; you only have to cut away false beliefs.
"Cut this noose with the sword of knowing 'I am awareness' and be happy." Right now awaken in joy... because all our miseries are parasites of the belief that we are the body. Buddha also dies, but does not suffer at death. Ramakrishna dies, but does not suffer at death. Raman dies, but does not suffer at death.
When Raman died he had cancer. The doctors were very surprised: it was a a very difficult illness and it caused much suffering but Raman remained the same as ever, as if the illness made no difference. It made no change at all. The doctors were disturbed. It was not possible; how could it happen? Death was at the door and the man was relaxed, unwavering. We can understand the discomfort of the doctors: so much suffering but the man was calm, unwavering. We can understand their discomfort, their reasoning, because the body appears to be all to us. One who knows that "I am not the body... death is coming but it is the death of the body. And pain is coming, that too comes to the body...." A new consciousness has manifested that stands back and watches. And this distance between the body and consciousness is as the distance between earth and sky. There is no greater distance than this. In your inner world the most distant things in existence are meeting.
You are the horizon where earth and sky meet.
"That which is born, remains, increases, changes, deteriorates and perishes: you are not that." That which observes all of this.... You have seen childhood, and you also saw childhood depart: if you were your childhood then who could remember now that there was childhood? You would have disappeared with childhood. You have seen youth: you saw it come, you saw it go. If you were youth then who remembers now? You would have gone with youth. You watched youth come, you watched it go - obviously you are other than youth. It is such a simple thing, such a clear thing. You have seen suffering, seen pain arise, seen the clouds of pain gathering around you - and you have seen suffering depart. You have seen unhappiness, you have seen happiness. A thorn has pierced your skin, you observed pain. The thorn is removed, and now there is no pain. You saw it - you are the seer. You stand beyond. You cannot be touched, no event can touch you. You are a lotus floating on water.
"You are alone, void of action, self-illuminated and innocent. Your bondage is this: that you practice samadhi." This is an amazing, revolutionary statement. It is impossible to find such a revolutionary statement in any scripture of the world. When you understand it completely a deep gratitude arises.
Patanjali has said, "Yoga is the stopping of chitta-vritti - projections of the mind." In Yoga it is an accepted idea that until the mind stops projecting a person cannot know himself. When all mental projections become quiet, a person can know himself.
Ashtavakra is speaking against Patanjali's sutra. Ashtavakra is saying, "You are alone, void of action, self-illuminated and innocent. Your bondage is this: that you practice samadhi." Samadhi cannot be practiced, samadhi cannot be prepared for, because samadhi is your nature. Mental projections are lower states. Trying to stop them is like entering a dark house and trying to fight with darkness.
Understand this. Bring your swords, spears, staffs and start fighting with darkness; call soldiers, strong men and start pushing darkness out. Will you ever be victorious? As a definition it is accurate - the absence of darkness is light. But understand this definition. It is true that the absence of darkness is light. It is true that the quieting of mental projections is Yoga, but don't take it the other way. The absence of darkness is light, but don't start trying to get rid of darkness. The actual situation is just the reverse: the presence of light is the absence of darkness. Light a lamp and darkness disappears by itself. Darkness does not exist - darkness is only an absence.
Patanjali says to calm the projections of the mind and you will know your being. Ashtavakra says know your being, and projections of the mind will become quiet. Without knowing your being, projections cannot be stilled. Mental projections arise because the being is not known. If you think you are the body, desires of the body arise. If you think you are the mind, desires of the mind arise. The desires of whatever you identify with will shadow you, will reflect in you. The color of whatever you sit next to reflects on you.
It is like placing a colored stone next to a crystal: the colors of the stone will shine on the crystal.
Put it with a red stone and the crystal appears red. Put it with a blue stone and the crystal appears blue. This is from the proximity. The crystal doesn't become blue, it only seems to.
Darkness only seems to be, it is not. The nonexistence of light is called darkness. Darkness has no reality of its own, no existence of its own. Don't start fighting with darkness.
Yoga and Ashtavakra's vision are opposite. Hence I say if you want to understand Ashtavakra, you should try to understand Krishnamurti - Krishnamurti is a modern edition of Ashtavakra. What Krishnamurti says in a modern idiom, in today's language, is the essence of Ashtavakra's message.
The followers of Krishnamurti think he is saying something new. There is nothing new to be said, whatever can be said has already been said. Whatever facets life can have, have all been explored somewhere. Man has been seeking from time immemorial. There is nothing new to be said under the sun; only the language changes, the packaging changes, the clothes change. New ideas change according to the times, but what Krishnamurti is saying is exactly this.
Ashtavakra's language is very ancient, Krishnamurti's language is very modern. But those who can understand a little will see that they say the same thing.
Krishnamurti says that Yoga is not needed, meditation is not needed, mantras and ascetics are not needed. All of these are practices. Practice has to be done for what is not our nature. What practice can be done to find our inner nature? Drop all practices, look into yourself and your nature will become manifest.
"You are alone, void of action, self-illuminated and innocent." Look at this declaration. Ashtavakra says you are innocent. Don't even think yourself a sinner. Let the sadhus and priests say thousands of times that you are a sinner, to cleanse yourself of sins, to repent, that you have done bad karma - become released from it. Remember Ashtavakra's sutra: You are free of action, how can you do anything?
Ashtavakra says there are six life waves. These six waves are hunger and thirst, sadness and happiness, birth and death. Hunger and thirst are waves of the body. If there is no body there is
neither hunger nor thirst. These are needs of the body. When the body is healthy hunger increases.
When the body is ill hunger decreases. If the body is out in the sun, thirst increases because sweat will evaporate. There is more thirst in hot weather, less thirst in cold. These are needs of the body, these are waves of the body. Hunger and thirst are of the body; sadness and happiness are of the mind.
When someone leaves you there is unhappiness because the mind grabs hold, makes attachments.
When you meet someone, a beloved, there is happiness. When a beloved leaves, unhappiness.
When you meet a disagreeable person, unhappiness; when the disagreeable leaves, happiness.
This the play of the mind, the play of affection and disgust, the play of attraction and repulsion.
Inside one in whom mind has ceased to exist there is no sadness, no happiness. These are waves of the mind.
And birth-death... birth and death are waves of life energy. At birth breathing starts; at death breathing stops. As soon as a baby is born the doctor is concerned that he should start breathing, start crying - crying, because to cry he will need to breath. In the spasms of crying the breath passages will open. In the spasms of crying the closed lungs will start functioning. If the child doesn't start crying within a few seconds the doctor will hang him upside down and spank him, forcing the breath to start. Breathing is birth. Breathing means the process of life. When a man dies, breathing is finished, the process of life stops. This goes on moment to moment. As the breath comes in, life comes in. As the breath goes out, life goes out.
Birth and death are happening every second. Every incoming breath is life. Every outgoing breath is death. So life and death are happening every moment. These are waves of life energy.
Ashtavakra says these are the six waves and you are beyond these six waves, you are the observer of these.
Buddha based his whole system of meditation on the breath. Buddha said one technique is enough:
go on watching the incoming and outgoing breath. What will happen from watching the breath come and go? Slowly, as you see that the outgoing breath has gone out and that the incoming breath has come in, you will find a short gap in between where the breath stops, where it neither goes out nor comes in. Between each half breath there is a momentary gap - where breath does not flow, does not move, does not stir. It goes out, stops for a moment, then comes in. It comes in, stops for a moment, then goes out. You will begin to see a gap. In this very gap you will find that you are: this coming and going of the breath is the play of life force. And if you become capable of watching the coming and going of the breath, then the seer is separate from the breath, is other than the breath.
Our body is the outermost circumference, mind is a circle within, and life, a circle deeper within. It is possible for the body to be crippled, broken, destroyed, and still man goes on living. The mind can be split, insane, idiotic, and still man goes on living. But without breath man will not live. Remove a man's entire brain, still he will go on living - lying in a coma, but still alive. Limbs can be cut off so only breathing remains, man goes on living. If the breath stops, even if everything else is okay, the man will die. These are the six waves, and the observer is beyond these six.
"You are alone." No one is your companion. The body is not your companion, the breath is not your companion, thoughts are not your companions. You are alone. There is no companion within - what
to say of outside! Husband-wife, family, friends, beloveds: none are companions. There is none who is near, none who is related. To be near is only an outer phenomena. From within no union can be made with anyone.
"You are alone, void of action." Don't even raise the question of your karmas, your acts. If you should ask Ashtavakra, "You say one can be liberated right now, so what will happen to the fruits of our actions? What will happen to the sins of lifetimes? How to get released from them?," Ashtavakra will say, "You have never done them. Out of hunger the body may have done something. Out of vital energy life may have done something. Out of its own needs the mind may done something. You have never done anything. You are ever aloof, in non-doing. Doing has never happened through you; you are the observer of all actions. Liberation is possible right now."
Consider it: if we have to destroy the whole web of actions, we can never become liberated. It is impossible. We have done so many acts over infinite time - just estimate how many. If we have to be released from all these actions then the release will take an infinite time, and during this infinite time you won't be sitting idle, you will do something, so acts will again accumulate. This chain will be endless. This chain will never finish, it will never come to any conclusion.
Ashtavakra says that if, to be free you have to become free of actions, then liberation can never happen. But liberation does happen. You cannot become free - you are free. The existence of liberation is the proof that the being has never done any act. You are not a sinner, you are not a saint; you are not virtuous, not unvirtuous. There is no hell anywhere, there is no heaven. You have never done anything; you have only seen dreams, you only thought you were doing. You were sleeping within - the body was doing. Those bodies that did things are long gone: how can the fruit of their actions be yours? You were sleeping inside - the mind acted. The mind that acted is disappearing every second.
I have heard that a former maharaja saw that his drawing room was dirty. He scolded his servant, Junko, saying, "There are spider webs all over the drawing room. What have you been doing all day long?"
Junko said, "Some spider must have made those webs - I have been dozing in my room."
You were dozing inside, some spider must have made the webs! The body spun webs, the mind spun webs, the life energy spun webs - you were sleeping. Wake up! Awakening you find that you never did anything. Even if you wanted to do something you couldn't do it. Your nature is inaction.
Non-doing is your natural state.
"You are alone, void of action, self-illuminated and innocent." Did you hear this proclamation? You are innocent! Throw away what the pandits and priests have taught you! You are innocent. Their teaching has been very harmful, they have made you a sinner. They have taught you in a thousand ways that you are bad... they have filled you with humiliation and guilt. You are innocent, you have committed no wrong.
"Your bondage is this: that you practice samadhi." Look at this revolutionary statement! "Your bondage is this: that you practice samadhi" - you are making efforts for samadhi to come to fruit, for meditation to flower, for liberation to happen: practices, rites, rituals.... "Your bondage is this: that you practice samadhi." This is your bondage. Raise the sword of awareness and sever it!
Now these two will become clear to you: the path of Yoga and the path of awareness are completely different. The ancient name for the path of awareness is sankhya. Sankhya means awareness, Yoga means sadhana, techniques. Sankhya means simply wake up, nothing needs to be done.
Yoga means there is much to be done before awakening will happen. In Yoga there are means; in sankhya there are only ends. There is no path, only the destination, because you have never left the destination to go anywhere else, you have just been sitting in your inner temple. You don't have to come back - just know that you have never gone anywhere.
"You are alone, void of action, self-illuminated and innocent. Your bondage is this: that you practice samadhi." You are bound only by this, that you are seeking liberation. The search for liberation creates new bondage.
A man is enslaved by the world, then he freaks out and begins to seek liberation. Here he renounces house and home, renounces his family, renounces business and money; then he is enslaved in a new bondage - he becomes a monk. New restrictions, how to move and sit, how to eat and drink - he creates a new slavery.
Have you observed that a monk's condition is like that of a prisoner. A monk is not free, because a monk thinks first he has to accept restrictions to become free. This is a hilarious idea! For liberation first one has to accept restrictions! To be free no restrictions are needed.
Krishnamurti has a book, The First and Last Freedom. It is the most up-to-date expression of Ashtavakra. If you are to be free then become free on the very first step. Don't think you will become free in the end. You can be free only on the first step, not on the second. On the first step if you make preparations for freedom, these very preparations will create bonds. Then to get rid of these new bonds you will have to make new preparations. These preparations will again make new bonds.
You will get rid of one and be bound by the next. You will escape from the ditch and fall in the well.
Look how married people and sannyasins are both bound. Their slaveries are different, but the distinction is nothing. It seems that whatever you do will enslave you unless the basic stupidity is broken.
I have heard that someone's woman had run away, so he went to look for her. Searching everywhere he reached the jungle and there a sadhu was sitting under a tree. The man asked, "Have you seen my woman going this way? She has run away from home. I am terribly upset."
The sadhu asked, "What is her name?"
He said, "Her name is Trouble."
The sadhu said, "Trouble! You have given her a great name. All women are trouble, but only you have actually given the name. So what is your name?" The sadhu was eager to know - this man seemed to be very clever with names.
He said, "My name is Foolish."
The sadhu started laughing. He said, "You drop this search. Wherever you sit 'Troubles' will come.
You don't need to go anywhere. You being 'Foolish' is enough. Troubles will find you."
When someone renounces the world and escapes, this renunciation does not destroy his weak mindedness, his foolishness, his stupidity. He takes this stupidity and sits in the temple making new bondages. That stupidity weaves new webs. First enslaved by the world, now enslaved by sannyas, he cannot remain without bondage.
Freedom is on the first step. There is no planning it. Planning means to be bound in plans. Make preparations and you are enslaved in preparations. Then this will have to be renounced. How long is it going to go on? It will be endless.
I have heard, a man was afraid to enter a graveyard. His house was on the other side of the graveyard, so he had to cross it every day. He was so afraid that he wouldn't come out of his house at night; by dusk he would return home, trembling. Finally a sadhu took pity on him. He told him, "Stop worrying about it and take this charm. Always keep this charm tied to your wrist; then no ghost or spirit can bother you."
It worked. By tying the charm on his wrist his fear of ghosts disappeared. But now a new fear caught hold of him: What if the charm got lost? Naturally, that charm had protected him from ghosts... now he would cross the graveyard in the middle of the night with no fear. There had never been ghosts there - it was only his own fear. The charm released him from that fear, but he was caught in a new fear, of losing the charm. He took the charm with him when he went to bathe, checking again and again to see that he had it. He was terrified now that while he slept at night someone would open the charm, someone would steal it. The charm became his life.
The fear continued in the same way - if not of ghosts then of losing the charm. Now if someone substitutes something else for the charm, what difference will it make? - this man is not going to change his fearfulness. It is not a question of ghosts, it is a question of fear. So you can push fear around from one place to another. Lots of people go on playing this kind of volleyball. Throwing the ball from here to there, from there to here, they just go on throwing and playing. And meanwhile life passes by.
Ashtavakra says practicing for samadhi is the cause of bondage. If you are to be free, then declare your freedom, don't go on getting ready. So I say, look at this revolutionary statement. This statement is rare, it is incomparable.
Ashtavakra says to declare your freedom here and now. Don't prepare for it. Don't say that first you must get ready, and then... because the preparations will enslave you. Then how to drop the preparations? One disease is dropped, another disease is taken up. This is just switching shoulders.
You have seen people carrying a body on a stretcher to the burning grounds: they go on switching shoulders. Tired of carrying the weight on one shoulder, they shift to the other shoulder. They get a few minute's relief; then the other shoulder starts to hurt, and again they switch. You are doing this life after life. You only find a short relief from this, you never find the ultimate rest from it.
Drop this carrying of dead bodies. Make your declaration. If you want freedom, then in a second, in a fraction of a second, it can be declared.
People ask me why I give sannyas to each and everyone. I say that everyone is entitled to it - it is only a question of declaring it. There is nothing else needed, it only has to be declared. This
declaration has to be enthroned in your heart, that "I am a sannyasin," and you have become a sannyasin, that "I am enlightened," and you are enlightened. Your declaration is your life.
Find the courage to declare. Why make small declarations? Proclaim: "Aham Brahmasmi - I am Brahma!" - and you have become the ultimate.
In the next sutra Ashtavakra says, "This universe is permeated by you, it is strung on the thread of you. In reality you are pure consciousness by nature, do not be small-minded." Why be involved with trivial things? Sometimes you are involved with, "This house is mine, this body is mine, this money is mine, this business is mine...." What trivial things the mind gets involved in!
"THIS UNIVERSE IS PERMEATED BY YOU, IT IS STRUNG ON THE THREAD OF YOU. IN REALITY...." This whole existence is infused by you. The whole expanse of Brahma is permeated by you. "... you are pure consciousness by nature, do not be small-minded." Why make small claims?
Make a great proclamation. Proclaim this, "I am pure consciousness, I am pure intelligence!" "Do not be small-minded."
We have made such trivial claims, and we become what we declare. In this, India's contribution to the world is unique because India has made the world's greatest proclamations. Mansoor proclaimed in the Muslim world, "Anal Haq! - I am the truth." They murdered him. They said, "This man is making too great a claim. "I am the truth" - only God can say that. How can man say it?" But we didn't murder Ashtavakra, nor did we murder the seers of the Upanishads who said, "Aham Brahmasmi - I am Brahma," because we understood one thing, that man becomes the proclamation he makes.
Why make a small claim? When the evolution of your life is dependent on your claim, then claim the most expansive, claim the infinite, the omnipresent, make the divine proclamation. Why be satisfied with anything less? Why be miserly? You are miserly in your very declaration. Then make your miserly claim and you will become it.
Say yes to the small, you will become small. Say yes to the infinite and you will become infinite. Your belief is your life.
"You are unconcerned, unchanging, void of form, fathomless intelligence, of cool disposition, unperturbed. Thus have faith only in consciousness." This one conviction is enough. Not practice - faith, conviction. Not practice - trust. This much faith is sufficient - that you are pure consciousness.
This is the greatest magic in the world.
Psychologists say that when you tell someone again and again that he is unintelligent, he becomes unintelligent. People aren't as stupid as they look. They are the supreme being. They have been called stupid, told they are stupid. It has been repeated by so many people and they have listened so many times that they have become idiots. They could have become buddhas, but they have become idiots, buddhoos.
Psychologists say that if you meet someone in good health on the street and say to him, "Oh! What happened to you? Your face looks yellow. You seem to have a fever. Let me feel your pulse... you are sick! Your legs seem to be shivering," at first he will deny it, because he hadn't thought until a moment before.... He will say, "No, no! I am completely fine. What are you talking about?"
You may say,"Okay, suit yourself." Then a little later another person comes to him saying, "Wait! Your face has gone completely pale. What's the matter?" Now he won't be able to say so boldly that he is completely fine.
He will say, "Yes, I'm feeling a little out of sorts." He will begin accepting it. His courage will start slipping.
Then a third man comes and starts the same talk. Now he will return home feeling, "My condition is very bad. Now there is no sense in going to the market."
You may have heard a story like this: once a brahmin bought a goat and was taking it home. Three or four thieves saw him and thought the goat could be snatched away from him. But the brahmin was strong and to steal from him would be no easy job, so they decided to try diplomacy, a little trickery.
One came up to him on the road saying, "Well done! How much did you pay for the dog?"
That man, that brahmin said, "Dog! Are you blind? Or only mad? It is a goat! I am bringing her from the market. I paid fifty rupees for her."
The thief said, "It's up to you, but you know... seeing a brahmin carrying a dog on his shoulders....
Dear brother, to me it looks like a dog. Could there be some mistake?"
The brahmin went on his way, wondering what kind of man was that! But he fingered the feet of the goat just to check, saying to himself, "It is a goat." Another of the gang was waiting across the road.
He called over to the brahmin, "What a fine dog you bought!"
Now the brahmin hadn't the courage to insist it was not a dog: who knows maybe it was a dog - two men could not be wrong. Still he said, "No no, it's not a dog." But it was weaker now. He said it, but the foundations inside were shaken. He said, "No, no it's a goat."
The man said, "It's a goat? You call this a goat? Then, respected brahmin, the definition of goat needs to be changed! If you call this a goat then what will you call a dog? But it's up to you. You are a scholarly man; you can change it if you want. It's just a name. Perhaps you say dog, perhaps you say goat - a dog it remains. Nothing changes just by calling it a goat."
The man went away. The brahmin put the goat down and looked: it was definitely a goat... a goat like any other goat. He rubbed his eyes and splashed them with water from a roadside tap. He was nearing his own neighborhood: if people saw a brahmin carrying a dog on his shoulders it would be a blow against worship in the temple and against scholarship. People paid for his worship - they would stop paying, they would think him mad.... Again he thoroughly inspected the animal, making sure it was a goat. But what was with those two guys?
Again he shouldered the goat and started off, but now he moved a little nervously. What if anyone else saw him? Then he came across the third fellow. He exclaimed, "What a fine dog! Where did you get it? I too have wanted to have a dog for a long time."
The brahmin said, "Friend, you just take it! If you want a dog, take it. It is really a dog. A friend gave it to me, you please relieve me of it." And he ran home before anyone could find out that he had bought a dog.
This is how man lives. You have become what you believe. And there are many cheats and scoundrels all around - you have been led to believe all kinds of things. They have their own motives. The priest wants to convince you that you are a sinner, because if you are not a sinner how will he continue to pray for you? It is in his interest that a goat be taken for a dog. A pundit... if you are not ignorant what will become of his scholarship? How will he run his business? A religious teacher... if he explains to you that you are inactive, free of doing, that you have never committed sin - then what need is there of him?
It is as if you go to a doctor and he explains that you are not sick, that you have never been sick, you cannot be sick, health is your nature - then the doctor is committing suicide. What will happen to his business? In robust health go to a doctor, go when you are not at all sick; then too you will find that he discovers some problem. Go and try it. Go in absolutely top form, when you are not sick at all; just go and do it, tell the doctor that you just want him to do a check-up. It is not easy to find a doctor who will say you are not ill.
Mulla Nasruddin's son became a doctor. I asked Mulla, "How' is your son's practice?" He said, "Things are going very well indeed." I asked how he figured that things were going well. He said, "Things are going so well that many times he tells patients that they are not sick. Only a great doctor can say it, one whose practice is going well. It's going so good that now he doesn't want to be bothered, he doesn't have time." Mulla said, "This is how I know its going well. Many times he tells people there is nothing wrong with them!"
There are many businesses - they have their own interests. Thousands of businesses are riding on your back - pundits, priests, religious teachers. They need you to be a sinner, it is necessary that you have done evil. If not, what will happen to those who explain how to be released from bad karma? What will happen to those messiahs who come to save you? If Ashtavakra is right then all messiahs are useless. Then there is no need for your release - you are saved, you are liberated.
Ashtavakra has no such profession. Ashtavakra doesn't want to do business with you. He speaks straightforwardly, he is giving crystal clear truths: "You are unconcerned, unchanging, void of form, of cool disposition, fathomless intelligence, unperturbed. Thus have faith only in consciousness."
Only one conviction is needed: "I am the witness." It is enough. Such a self-confident person is religious. There is no need for any other conviction. There is no need for faith in God, no need for faith in heaven and hell, no need for faith in the law of karma. One faith is enough, and that faith is that you are the witness, unchanging. And as soon as you have this conviction you find yourself becoming unchanging, steady.
A psychologist did an experiment. He divided a class in two, half the children here, half there - in separate rooms. He told the first group, "This problem is very difficult, none of you will be able to solve it." He wrote an equation on the board and said, "It is not within your capacity. It is so difficult that even the students of the next class couldn't do it. But I am doing an experiment: I want to know if anyone among you can come close to solving it. If anyone can find a method, or make two or three
steps in the right direction.... But it is impossible!" He repeated again and again, "It is impossible.
Still you try."
He went into the other room with the rest of the students from the same class. He wrote the same equation on the board and said, "This problem is so easy it is unlikely that any of you will be unable to solve it. Children in the lower class have solved it too. So I am not giving you this as any kind of examination, it is so easy you are bound to solve it. I only want to know if there is anyone in the class who will have any difficulty with it."
The question was the same, the class was the same, but there was a great difference in the results.
In the first group only three out of fifteen students could solve it. In second group twelve out of fifteen students solved it; only three could not. Such a big difference. The same question! The deciding factor was the attitude with which the problem was presented.
Ashtavakra does not say that religion is arduous, Ashtavakra says it is very easy. Those who say it is difficult, make it difficult. Those who say it is almost impossible, a razor's edge - they are frightening you. They say it is like climbing the Himalayas, only rare beings can climb - then you drop the idea, thinking, "I am not such a rare being. It is beyond me. Let the rare ones climb, I am not going to get into this trouble. I applaud these rare beings - they can go ahead! But I am a simple person; just leave me in this ditch."
Ashtavakra says it is very easy. It is so easy, you don't need to do anything, just observing with alertness is enough.
This in the highest declaration of man's genius.
It is to make man aware of the highest possibility of human life.
Religion is the ultimate miracle of man's genius.
In contrast, politics is the most inferior expression of human intelligence, religion is the superiormost.
Once a politician fell seriously ill. The doctor advised, "Don't do any mental work for two or three months."
The politician asked, "Doctor, do you have any objection to my doing a bit of politics?"
The doctor replied, "No, none at all. Do as much politics as you want, just don't do any mental work."
The brain doesn't function at all in politics. In politics there is violence, not intelligence. There is grabbing, scrambling, struggling, not peace. There is no rest, only restlessness. There is ambition for greatness, jealousy, aggression - there is no soul.
Religion is nonaggression, nonviolence, freedom from competition. It is not struggle, it is surrender.
Nothing needs to be taken from anyone else. One declares what he has. When we have so much, what need is there to steal from others? Only those who don't know themselves can steal. They are fighting over bits and pieces when God is enthroned inside. Dying over bits and pieces while the ultimate expanse is present within. The ocean is present, and they crave droplets!
Only those who don't know themselves can be in politics.
And when I say politics, I don't mean only those who are in political parties. By politics I mean all those people who are struggling in some way: struggling for money, money politics; struggling for power, power politics; struggling for renunciation, the politics of renunciates.
Among renunciates there is great rivalry that no other renunciate should get ahead. An Olympics goes on among the renunciates, that no mahatma becomes too big. One mahatma will go out to defeat another. If the Olympics are ever hosted by India, there should also be an event for the competition of mahatmas.
But wherever there is competition, there is politics. The basis sutra of politics is, "What I don't have, someone else has; I can seize it and make it mine." But what you take from others, how can it become yours? How will stolen goods become yours? What has been seized will be taken away.
If not today, tomorrow someone else will take it from you. And if no one succeeds in taking it from you, death will surely take it. Only that which you don't have to take from anyone else is yours. Then even death will not be able take it.
Yours is what you had before you were born, what you will still have after death.
Seek that one.
And to search for that one, Ashtavakra says you don't need to practice: only be alert, only witness.
Many times you feel you are running unnecessarily, but how to stop? It is not that you haven't felt it is a meaningless rat-race. You have, but how to stop? And the training for the rat-race is very deep.
You have forgotten how to stop - your legs are in the habit of running, the mind is in the habit of running. Your training is such that you can't sit. Training for sitting has disappeared.
"A complaint came to my lips but who to tell it to that it won't be meaningless. Swallowing the pain, I keep moving along, refusing to sit, refusing defeat."
And people still think it is defeat to just sit. If they sit they think they are defeated. If they sit they think it is escapism, running away! If they just sit the passing thousands will look with condemnation... so people keep moving.
"Complaints that all is useless come often to the mind, but who to tell? Who will understand? Here everyone is like you. No one tells anyone. People go on moving, each hiding his own wound."
"A complaint came to my lips but who to tell it to that it won't be meaningless." If you meet an Ashtavakra or a Buddha it is meaningful to say it. Here who can you tell?
"Swallowing the pain, I keep moving along...." People swallow the pain and move on. "Refusing to sit, refusing defeat."
And this becomes the idea of the ego: "Sitting defeated means... finished, gone under, dead. Keep going, keep doing something or other. Keep trying to accomplish something or other. If not you will be lost."
And those who just sit attain. Those who stop attain.
God is not attained by running, he is attained by stopping.
Ashtavakra says attain in ultimate ease.
Just sit sometimes. Find some time, only to sit, not doing anything. Zen monks have a meditation technique: Zazen. Zazen means just sitting not doing a thing. It is a very deep method of meditation.
To call it a method is not right, because there is no method, just sit not doing anything. Zen says the same as Ashtavakra is saying: Sit down! Sit for a while and relax. Leave this turmoil for a while.
Leave all ambition a little while. Leave the mind's running around, leave its rat-race. Simply sit a while, and sink into yourself.
A light will gradually begin spreading inside of you. Perhaps you won't see it at first. It is like returning home in the bright afternoon sun, at first the house seems dark inside. The eyes are used to the sun. Sit a little while, and the eyes will adjust, and the room becomes lit. Slowly, slowly light comes into the room. It is the same inside. You have been going out, going out for lives, so it seems dark inside. The first time you go in nothing will be visible... nothing but darkness. Don't freak out. Sit...
let the eyes get adjusted to the inside. The pupils of those eyes have been used to bright sun.
Have you ever thought, in the sun the pupil of the eye becomes small. If you look in a mirror right after being in the sun the pupil will appear very small because so much sunlight cannot be taken in, it is more than enough, so the pupil contracts. Contracting is automatic. Then when you come into the dark the pupil has to expand, the pupil has to enlarge. After sitting in darkness for a while, again look in the mirror and you will find the pupil has become enlarged.
For the third eye it happens exactly the same as with the outer eyes. To look outside the pupil should be small; to look within the pupil should be large. There has been a long and ancient training. To destroy that training no new practice is needed - just go on sitting.
People ask, "What will we do sitting? Just give us 'ram-ram,' some mantra to chant, we will repeat it - give us something to do." People say, "We want crutches, we want help." As soon as you practice, bondage starts. Just sit! By sitting I don't mean sitting down; you can remain standing, you can lay down also. Sitting means don't do anything, in twenty-four hours just spend some time in non-doing.
Become free of action. Remain empty. Let what is happening happen. The world is flowing by, let it flow. It is moving, let it move. Sounds come, let them come. A train starts out, a plane flies over, there is noise - let it be, you go on sitting. Don't concentrate - you just sit. Samadhi will gradually start becoming strong inside of you. You will suddenly understand what Ashtavakra means - what it means to be free of practice and rituals.
"Know that which has form is false, and know the formless as unchangeable and everlasting.
Learning this truth it is not possible to be born in the world again."
Then you are what the Buddha has called anagamin - a person who never returns after death. We come back because of our desires, we come because of our politics; we come back because of desires and hopes. One who dies knowing, "I am the knower," doesn't enter again. He is released from this useless wheel - from coming and going.
"Know that which has form is false, and know the formless as unchangeable and everlasting.
Learning this truth it is not possible to be born in the world again."
"Know that which has form is false...." Within us what has form is illusory, what has no form is the truth. Look at a whirlpool sometime. What is a whirlpool but waves arising in water? When it becomes calm, where has it gone? There was no whirlpool, it was just a wave in the water, it was just a shape that arose in the water. Likewise, we are just waves of the divine. When the wave is gone, nothing is left behind. Not even ash is left, not a trace remains. It is like writing on water, it disappears as you write - in the same way all that happens in our life are only waves.
"Just as a mirror is the same inside and outside the image reflected in it, God is the same inside and outside this body." You have seen that when you stand in front of a mirror it makes a reflection.
Does something happen in the mirror? A reflection made means that nothing happens. Move aside and the reflection is gone - the mirror remains just as it was. Your reflection is made by your coming before it; step aside and it is gone. But in the mirror nothing is made and nothing moves aside. The mirror remains in its own nature.
This sutra of Ashtavakra says: stand before a mirror, a reflection is made in the mirror, but is a reflection really made? It seems to be. But don't be fooled by the reflection. Many are fooled by reflections.
And this sutra says that reflective mirrors are surrounding you; outside, inside, mirrors are reflecting in mirrors, and there is nothing at all. In just the same way God exists inside and outside of this body.
God is within, God is without, God is above, God is below, God is in the west, God is in the east, God is in the south, God is in the north - in every direction that same one. We are small whirlpools, small waves rising in that vast ocean.
Don't get confused by thinking of yourself as a wave - think of yourself as the ocean. Just this much difference in belie: it is the difference between slavery and freedom. See yourself as a wave and you are bound, see yourself as the ocean and you are liberated.
"Just as the one all-pervading sky is the same inside and outside a pot, the eternal everlasting Brahma is the same in all things."
"Just as the one all-pervading sky is the same inside and outside a pot...." Consider a pot: it is the same sky inside the pot, the same sky outside. You may smash the pot but the sky is not smashed.
You can make a pot but it doesn't distort the sky. No matter how the pot is shaped - crooked or round - the sky takes no form. We are all vessels of clay, earthen pots. It is the same outside, the same inside: don't place too much value on the thin wall of clay. This wall of clay makes you into a vessel - don't be too tightly identified with it. If you believe you are this wall of clay, you will go on being made into pots of clay, your belief will pull you back here again and again.
No one else brings you into the world. Your fixation that you are a pot brings you back. Once you know that you are the emptiness inside the pot.... Lao Tzu's statement is meaningful. Lao Tzu says, "What is the meaning of the sides of the pot? The real meaning is in the emptiness inside the pot.
If you fill it with water, the water fills the space, not the sides. When you make a house, do you call the walls the house? That is not right. The empty space left inside is the house. You live in this,
you don't live in the walls. The walls are only a boundary. In reality we live in the sky. We all exist as digambaras, sky-clad. What difference do the walls make? We remain in the sky, inner or outer.
Today the wall exists, tomorrow it will fall - the sky always exists.
If you mistakenly take the house as the walls, take the pot as layers of clay and take yourself as a body, it will be the same bondage. Just a small mistake in reading the sutra of life and everything goes wrong; a very small mistake....
Once Mulla Nasruddin boarded a bus. Absorbed in thought he took a seat and lit a cigarette.
"It is clearly written that smoking is forbidden on the bus," the conductor angrily said. "Didn't you read it? Don't you know how to read?"
"I read it but there is so much written in the bus. Which of them should I do?" Nasruddin said. "Look at this: it says here, 'Always wear Handloom Saris!'"
One need only be a little careful to avoid such mistakes. The body is very close - to read the language of the body is very easy. And the body is so close that its shadow falls on the inner mirror and is reflected. You are in the body, but you are not the body. The body is yours, you are not the body's. The body is your means, you are the end. Use the body, don't lose your mastership. Though living in the body, remain beyond the body - like a lotus in the water.
Hari Om Tat Sat.