The Final Evening
Date: Fri, 7 June 1964 00:00:00 GMT
[THE FIRST QUESTION IS MISSING]
The truth cannot be known before you actually realize it. And knowing something about truth is quite different from knowing truth. Whatever you know about truth, it is bound to be untrue. It is untrue because in the absence of personal experience it simply cannot be understood. It is untrue, not from the point of view of the speaker, but from that of the listener.
If I say anything about truth will you understand it in the same way in which I say it? It isn't possible because to understand something in exactly the same way you would have to be the same as me and in the same situation. By the time what I say reaches you it becomes untrue. This happens because I can only speak words and their interpretation has to come from you. The meaning will come from you and will therefore not be different from you. The words will be mine; the meaning and interpretation, yours.
That meaning or interpretation cannot be anything more than you are at present nor can it be beyond your present experience. Do you think you read Krishna when you read the GITA If you do, you are greatly mistaken. My friend, you are only reading yourself in the GITA - otherwise how could there be so many interpretations of, and commentaries on, the GITA In every shastra, in every scripture, we see our own image and each religion is nothing more than a mirror.
Before knowing truth only words can be known, not the truth. Those words will be from others, from the holy books, from the avatars and teerthankaras, from the enlightened ones, but the meanings and interpretations will be yours. Your "I" will be in them. Isn't this the reason there is so much antagonism and that there are so many differences between the so-called religions? Could any opposition or antagonism exist between Buddha and Christ? The difference of interpretation, the opposition, the antagonism is between you and me and we just carry it all on in their names.
Religion comes from those who know the truth and sects are organized by those who simply hear and believe. And so there are numerous sects - but there is only one religion. The experience of knowing the truth is unique and the experience is identical for all. But this is not the case with belief.
Knowledge is one, unique, but beliefs are as numerous as there are persons who believe.
Religion is the outcome of darshan, of the vision of truth, but religions are the outcome of not seeing the truth. Religion is founded by those who know but religions are organized by those who do not know - and even with their well-meant efforts, religion becomes irreligion. Throughout his whole history man has been a victim of this curse, of this contradiction in terms.
THE SECOND QUESTION: AREN'T WE ABLE TO THINK ABOUT TRUTH WITHOUT FORMING SOME CONCEPT ABOUT IT?
I am not asking you to think at all. Thinking can never go beyond what you know, and if you do not know truth how can you possibly think about it? Thinking always stays within the boundaries of your experience. It is just brooding about knowing. Thinking is never creative, it is merely repetitive.
What is unknown cannot be known by thinking. If you want to know the unknown you must get out of what you know. To enter the unknown you have to leave the shores of the known.
It is therefore better not to form any concept about truth at all. That concept will be totally untrue, a lifeless word without a living meaning. That word may be respected by tradition, revered by thousands, upheld by the shastras, but for your it will have no value at all. It is one thing to see the broken image of truth through the narrow and limited framework of that word, and quite another when frameworks fall away and you have a look at the whole expanse of the sky.
The sky is not hemmed in by anything. Nor is the truth contained by anything. All frameworks are manmade; all concepts are manmade. If you want to know the truth step out of your frameworks.
Forget words and thoughts and so-called knowledge and leave the known so the unknown can come in. And give up all manmade concepts. Then you will know the one who is nobody's creation, but the basis of all creation itself.
THE THIRD QUESTION: HOW CAN WE POSSIBLY KNOW TRUTH WITHOUT THE HELP OF THE SHASTRAS? ISN'T IT ONLY THROUGH THEM WE CAN KNOW TRUTH?
Do you mean to say that if all the scriptures, all the shastras, were destroyed that truth would also be destroyed with them? Is truth dependent on the shastras or are the shastras dependent on truth?
My friend, the truth has never been attained by means of the shastras. On the contrary, the shastras were obtained, were revealed after the truth had been realized. It is not the shastras that are of value, it is the truth which is of value. The fundamental thing is the truth, not the shastras. And if truth could be attained through the shastras it would be a very cheap truth indeed. You could attain it without making any change in yourself.
But the shastras can only fill your memory, they cannot give you knowledge of the self. And in the direction of truth a trained memory doesn't help at all. For truth, you have to pay the price of self-transformation. The shastras can make you a pundit, a scholar, but they cannot give you knowledge. The shastras can give birth to more shastras though. This is only natural. The material can only produce the material. But how can knowledge come out of this? Knowledge is a form of consciousness. It cannot be born out of unconscious matter. The shastras are without life, without consciousness. This is not so for the truth. The shastras can only enrich the unconscious, lifeless memory. Conscious knowledge cannot be attained through them but can only be attained by going into oneself.
You ask how the truth can be known without the help of the shastras. To this I ask how can you know the truth as long as you confine yourself to the shastras? It is a false notion that truth can be obtained from someone else, from the shastras or from a guru, because this does not allow you to search for it within yourself. This idea is a big obstacle. This is also a search in samsara, in the world. Bear in mind that the shastras are part of the world as well. Whatever is outside is the world.
The truth is there, inside and not outside - within, where the self is. The self is the real shastra. It is also the only real guru. By entering the self, truth is attained.
THE FOURTH QUESTION: IS WHAT INTELLECT SUGGESTS TO BE THE TRUTH NOT TRUE?
Intellect is thinking. Intellect is not knowledge. Thinking is groping in the dark, it is not knowing. The truth cannot be thought - it is seen, realized. It is not realized through the intellect but is realized when the intellect is quiet and empty. This state of inner knowledge is intuition. Intuition is not thinking, it is insight. To one who wants to see truth, intuition is like acquisition of sight to a blind man. No one ever gets anywhere by thinking. It is an endless groping. A blind man may grope for years but will he be able to attain light? Just as there is no relation between groping and light, there is none between thinking and truth. They are altogether different dimensions.
THE FIFTH QUESTION: DO YOU NOT CONSIDER A VISION OF KRISHNA OR OF CHRIST A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE?
No, this is not a spiritual experience. No vision is a spiritual experience because on that plane all experiences are psychological. As long as there is the vision or realization of someone else it cannot be the realization of the self. Even in such experiences you are still outside yourselves, you have still not come into your selves. That coming into one's self takes place when there are no outer experiences. When consciousness is not related to any object it settles spontaneously on the self.
Only a consciousness without object can settle on the self.
Outside myself I am surrounded by two worlds, the world of matter and the world of the mind. Both of these are outside me. Not only is matter outside, the mind is outside as well. Because the mind is inside the body it creates the illusion of being inner, but the mind is not within. The self is inner, behind the mind, beyond the mind.
We do not mistake physical experiences for spiritual experiences, but our psychological experiences do create the illusion of being spiritual because the mental images we see are different from those of the world we know and we also see them after we have closed our eyes. But among mental experiences we do not think of dreams as spiritual experiences even though they too only appear when we shut our eyes and even though awakening, contact with the outside world, puts an end to them.
There are certain mental experiences that create the illusion of being real and spiritual. These are mental projections. The mind has the capacity to hypnotize itself to such a degree that it can see the dreams it sees with the eyes closed even after th eyes have been opened. This happens in a kind of waking sleep. Thus we see God as we want to - Krishna or Christ. Such visions are only mental projections in which we don't see what really is but whomsoever it is we wish to see. These experiences are neither spiritual nor divine. They are simply psychological experiences and are caused by self-hypnosis.
THE SIXTH QUESTION: HOW CAN GOD BE SEEN THEN?
Here, the word "seen" is misleading. It leads one to suppose there is someone to be seen, and the word "God" itself creates the illusion of a person, a personality. There is no person life God. There is godliness; there is a force. There is no person, but a force. God is an infinite ocean of energy, an infinite ocean of consciousness. He manifests himself in all forms. As the creator, god is not separate; he himself is the creation. He himself is creative reality. He is life.
Being surrounded by the ego creates the illusion of being different, of being separate from life. This is your distance, your separation from God. And in actual fact, no distance or separation is possible - the very illusion of "I" is the distance. This separation is because of ignorance. In fact, ignorance is the separation. As such there is not real separation at all.
The infinite, boundless, creative life-force that is realized with the dissolution of the ego is God. The experience one has after the death of "I", after the extinction of the ego is the true vision of God.
And then what do I see? Nowhere do I see "I"; nowhere do I see "that", the "other". That which is in the waves of the ocean is in me; that which is in the new spring blossoms is in me; that which is in autumn's falling leaves is in me. Nowhere am I separate from the cosmic being. I am in it; I am it.
This is the true vision of God. A seer has said, "Tattvamasi svetaketu - thou art that." The day you feel and experience this you have realized God. Whatever falls short of this or is different from this is all imagination.
What is the vision of God if it is not the identification of the self with him? What is the vision of the ocean for a raindrop? It can only lose its identity and become the ocean itself! As long as it is a raindrop the ocean is different from it, very far away from it, but once it loses its identity, its entity, it has become one with the ocean. In truth, the drop has become the ocean.
Do you search for God? Seek the attainment fo godliness. The path of this search is the same as the raindrop's in its search for the ocean.
THE SEVENTH QUESTION: I HAVE FAITH IN GOD BUT YOU SAY FAITH IS HARMFUL. SHOULD I GIVE UP MY FAITH?
Isn't the answer to your question to be found in the question itself? What value is a faith one can hold on to or let go as one wishes? It is just a blind mental concept which clearly has no worth at all. That is blind faith and the less blindness you have in life the better.
I do not ask you to believe, I ask you to know. Only a state of mind that one has reached by knowledge, by realization, has any value. You can term it right-belief if you wish, but it is not belief, it is knowledge. Don't believe in some vague truism. Search for truth. Seek it out. But don't hold on to any belief or concept. This is a sign of weakness of the mind. It is lethargy; it is a lack of caring.
It is an injurious way to save yourself from the work of seeing your self.
Blind faith is an escape from sadhan, from the effort for self-realization. In a sense it is nothing short of suicide because once one falls into this culvert one becomes incapable of climbing the peak of truth. These paths lead you in two opposite directions. One is the ditch you fall into; the other, the lofty summit you have to climb.
Faith is an easy thing because a man is not required to do anything. In that sense, knowledge is not so easy. Knowledge is the complete transformation of life. Faith is the outer apparel; knowledge, the inner revolution. Rather than allowing you to reach the peak of atonement towards which your spirit is striving, a simple faith can easily throw you back into the slumber of blind belief. Religion is not faith but unfortunately, religions are. What is religion to me does not coincide with what the concepts of the world's religions appear to be. On that score Karl Marx was right to brand religions as opiates but profoundly wrong to say so about real religion!
You have been told to have faith in the shastras, faith in the words of God, faith in the teachers. I do not say so at all. I say: have faith in yourself. It is only by knowing your self that you will be able to know what the shastras have said, what god has said. For one who has no faith in himself, following any other faith will be in vain. Can you stand on someone else's feet? Buddha said, "Be your own lamp. Be your own refuge. There is no proper refuge but the refuge of one's own self." And I say the same thing.
One night a certain sadhu was bidding farewell to another sadhu who had been his guest when the latter said, "The night is very dark. How can I see to go?" The host lit a lamp and gave it to his guest.
But as the guest was going down the staircase the host blew out the lamp. The place was enveloped in darkness again. Then the host said, "My lamp will not be able to light your path. For that you must have a lamp of your own." The guest understood the sadhu's advice and this understanding become such a lamp on the path of his own life that it could never be extinguished again.
Sadhana is not just a part of life, it has to permeate the whole of one's life - standing, sitting, speaking, laughing. It has to be there all the time and only then does it become spontaneous.
Religion does not consist of any particular act, worship or prayer either. It is a way of living in which everything in life becomes worship and prayer. It is not a ritual, it is a way of life. In this religion, it is not one's acts that are religious, it is the individual who is religious. No behavior is religious, life is religious.
Only by being free from the bondage of the ego, of the "I", can consciousness rise above the individual and become one with the totality. Just as an earthen jar separates water from the ocean, the clay pot of the ego keeps the individual away from the truth.
What is this ego, this "I",? Have you ever searched for it in yourself? It only exists because you have never looked for it. When I myself tried to find it I found that it did not exist. In some quiet moment go deep into yourself and look. You won't find the "I" anywhere. The "I" does not exist. It is a mere illusion that we have ushered into existence because of its social utility. Just as you have a name, you have your ego too. Both are utilities, of value from the practical point of view, but they are not real. That which is in you has neither name nor ego.
There is no such thing as entering into nirvana, into moksha, into liberation, into the soul, into the atman. How can you enter a place you have never left? So what happens then? As I said, there is no such thing as an entry into nirvana, but what happens is that the world we were in dissolves like a dream and we find ourselves in our selves. As such, this experience is not at all like an entering, it is more like finding yourself on your bed at the abrupt termination of a journey you were taking in a dream. Since you haven't gone anywhere there is no question of returning; since you haven't lost anything, talk of achieving something is meaningless. You are only dreaming a dream; your traveling and searching are in a dream. You don't have to go anywhere or find anything. All you have to do is awaken.
The realization of the truth is always perfect, always complete. And that experience, that attainment, is not gradual. It is not evolution, it is revolution. Does anyone awaken from a dream progressively, gradually? Either there is a dream or there is no dream. There is no middle stage.
Yes, the sadhana may take a long time but the realization of truth takes place like a flash of lightening - in a moment and in all its totality. Realization does not take any time to happen as such, because whatever happens over a period of time is always gradual, progressive. The sadhana occurs in and occupies a span of time, but realization does not take any time at all. It is beyond time.
For the realization of the truth, a sadhana of goodness and renunciation is not enough. This is a partial sadhana. For the realization of truth it is essential to rise above both good and evil, love and hate, above both samsara and moksha, the world and emancipation. That state, in our language, is called veetaragata, the state beyond both attachment and detachment. Veetaraga chaitanya, desireless consciousness, is the state where there is neither love nor hate, neither good nor evil, but where there is only pure chaitanya, pure consciousness, steadfastness in the self. The realization of truth only happens in this state.
You must cultivate an unconcerned and watchful mind. You must weave that mental state into yourself like the very breath that is interwoven throughout your life both night and day. You should be unconcerned and watchful in every activity, practicing no-action in action - just as an actor is quite aware that he is acting when he plays a role. He does not become concerned with the character and lose his consciousness in it. Although acting, he remains detached. You have to become like that and remain like that.
If a man is watchful while engaged in activity it is not difficult for him to remain unconcerned. It is the natural consequence of observation. I am walking on a road. If I observe the act of walking fully, I will feel that I am walking and at the same time that I am not walking. Walking is being done on the physical plane but there is no walking on the level of consciousness. You will feel the same while eating or while doing other things. There will be one point in you which will remain just a witness. It will neither be the doer nor the enjoyer. The deeper the experience of this witnessing becomes, the more the feelings of happiness and of sorrow will gradually dissolve - and then you will realize that absolute and pure consciousness that is atman, your self.
What is the mind? It is both the collector and the collection of whatever is perceived by the senses.
Anyone who considers the mind as his self has mistaken the servant for the master. And if you want to realize your real self you will have to give up what you know and will have to follow one who knows. Your mind is only what you know about; the self is the means by which you know all.
The witness, the knower is the self. This self is different from birth and death, different from maya and moksha, from illusion and liberation. It is only a witness, a witness to all things - to light, to darkness, to the world, to nirvana. The self is beyond all dualities.
As soon as a person knows this witness he becomes like a lotus - separate from the mud of which it was born and detached from the water in which it lives. Such a man is calm and composed in all life's varied situations - in pleasure and in pain, in honor and in humiliation - because he is only a witness. Whatever happens, happens. But it does not happen to him, it happens in front of him. He witnesses. He becomes just like a mirror. A mirror reflects thousands of images but no mark is left behind.
An old sadhu came to the shore of a river with a young companion. The young man asked, "How shall we cross this river?" The old man replied, "In such a way that your feet don't get wet." The young man heard him and like a flash of lightning something became very clear and evident to him.
The river had come and gone but the mysterious maxim had penetrated deeply into his heart. It became the guiding principle of his life. He learned to cross the river so his feet did not get wet!
You should become like this young man - like the man who eats and yet fasts, like the man who is in the midst of a crowd and yet alone, like the man who is sleeping and yet awake - for only such a man attains liberation in the world and finds God in every stone.
Someone has said that the mind should not contain the world and the world should not occupy the mind. This is the tenet to be followed. And if the first half of the maxim if perfected, the second half follows automatically. The first half is the cause; the latter, its effect. But those who begin with the second half make an error. So therefore I say only this much of the maxim: don't let the mind contain the world. What follows this is not a maxim, it is the consequence. If the mind does not contain the world, the world will never occupy the mind. That which is not contained by the mind can never occupy it.
In samadhi there is no object to the known, therefore the state of samadhi cannot be called knowledge. It certainly isn't knowledge in the ordinary sense but at the same time it isn't ignorance either. There is nothing there with which to know. It is different from both knowledge and ignorance.
It is neither knowing nor not-knowing any object for there is no object at all. There is only subjectivity.
There is only the one who knows. There is no knowledge of any object, there is just pure knowledge - consciousness empty of content.
Someone once asked a sadhu, "What is meditation?" He replied, "To be in that which is near is dhyana, meditation."
What is near you? Except for your self, isn't everything apart from you? You alone are near your self.
But you are forever leaving yourself and are always far away from it. You are always somewhere in the neighborhood. To be in the self and not in the neighborhood is meditation. When you are nowhere and your mind too is nowhere, even then you are somewhere. That somewhere is meditation.
When I am nowhere I am in my self. That is not being in the neighborhood; that is not being away.
That is inwardness; that is intimacy. Only by being there can one awaken to the truth. You have lost everything by being in the neighborhood but it can all be regained by being in your self.
I do not ask you to renounce the world, I ask you to transform yourself. By denying the world you will not change, but if you change, the world will cease to exist for you. True religion is not world- rejecting, it is self-transforming. Don't think of the world but of your outlook in relation to the world.
You have to change that. Because of it, there is the world and there is bondage. Once the outlook is changed, the whole creation changes. There is no fault in samsara, in the world. The fault lies in you and your outlook.
Yoga is the science of the transformation of life, of self-transformation. Through self-analysis physical science reaches the atom and atomic energy but yoga reaches the spirit and spiritual energy.
Through the former, the mystery hidden in matter is discovered; through the latter, the world hidden in the self is revealed.
But yoga is more important than science because there is nothing in this universe more important than the self. Man is out of balance because he knows a lot about matter but nothing about his self.
He has learned how to dive into the unfathomable depths of the ocean and how to fly to amazing heights but has forgotten how to retire into his self. This is a suicidal state. This is our misery exactly.
Yoga can restore this balance and therefore the teaching of yoga is a necessity.
Only through yoga can the birth of a new man, in the true sense, take place - and only then can the foundations of a new humanity be laid. Science has conquered matter and now man has to conquer himself. His conquest of matter has made it imperative that he now know and conquer himself. Otherwise, his mastery of the unlimited power of matter, of atomic power, will cause his own destruction because power in the hands of the ignorant is always fatal.
If science falls into the hands of the ignorant, the combination of science and ignorance is bound to be destructive - but if science is in the hands of those with knowledge it will lead to the birth of an unprecedented creative energy that will transform the world into heaven.
Therefore I say to you that the future and the destiny of man are now in the hands of yoga. Yoga is the science of the future, for it is the science of man.