The Great Circle of Brahman
THE STORY GOES THAT BRAHMAN OBTAINED A VICTORY FOR THE DEVAS. THOUGH THE VICTORY WAS DUE TO BRAHMAN, THE DEVAS BECAME ELATED BY IT AND THOUGHT: "THIS VICTORY IS DUE ONLY TO US; THIS GLORY BELONGS ONLY. TO US"
BRAHMAN CAME TO KNOW THIS, THEIR VANITY. HE VERILY APPEARED BEFORE THEM, BUT THEY DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHO THAT YAKSHA - DEMI-GOD - WAS.
THEY ADDRESSED AGNI: "OH JATAVEDA, PLEASE FIND OUT WHO THIS YAKSHA IS." "YES," SAID AGNI.
AGNI HASTENED TO THE YAKSHA. THE YAKSHA ASKED HIM WHO HE WAS. AGNI REPLIED:
"I AM VERILY AGNI; I AM ALSO KNOWN AS JATAVEDA" - NEAR-OMNISCIENT.
"WHAT ENERGY DO YOU POSSESS, YOU OF SUCH FAME?" ASKED THE YAKSHA. "I CAN BURN EVERYTHING - WHATEVER THERE IS ON THIS EARTH," REPLIED AGNI.
THE YAKSHA PLACED A STRAW BEFORE HIM AND SAID: "BURN THIS." AGNI APPROACHED IT WITH ALL SPEED; HE WAS, HOWEVER, UNABLE TO BURN IT. SO HE WITHDREW FROM THERE AND RETURNED TO THE GODS SAYING, "I COULD NOT ASCERTAIN WHO THIS YAKSHA WAS."
THEN THEY ADDRESSED VAYU: "OH VAYU, PLEASE ASCERTAIN THIS, WHO THIS YAKSHA IS." "YES," SAID VAYU.
VAYU HASTENED TO THE YAKSHA. THE YAKSHA ASKED HIM WHO HE WAS. VAYU REPLIED, "I AM VERILY VAYU. I AM ALSO KNOWN AS MATARISVA" - CARRIER OF THE ATMOSPHERE.
"WHAT ENERGY DO YOU POSSESS, YOU OF SUCH FAME?" ASKED THE YAKSHA. "I CAN VERILY BLOW AWAY EVERYTHING - WHATEVER THERE IS ON THIS EARTH," REPLIED VAYU.
THE YAKSHA PLACED A STRAW BEFORE HIM AND SAID, "BLOW THIS AWAY." VAYU APPROACHED IT WITH ALL SPEED; HE WAS, HOWEVER, UNABLE TO BLOW IT AWAY. SO HE WITHDREW FROM THERE AND RETURNED TO THE GODS SAYING: "I COULD NOT ASCERTAIN WHO THIS YAKSHA WAS."
THEN THE GODS ADDRESSED INDRA: "OH MAGHAVAN - REJOICING ONE - PLEASE ASCERTAIN WHO THIS YAKSHA IS." "YES," SAID INDRA, AND HASTENED TO THE YAKSHA.
BUT THE YAKSHA DISAPPEARED FROM HIS VIEW.
AND IN THAT VERY SPOT HE BEHELD A WOMAN, THE WONDROUSLY EFFULGENT UMA, THE DAUGHTER OF THE SNOW-CLAD MOUNTAIN, HIMAVAT. AND OF HER HE ASKED: "WHO COULD THIS YAKSHA BE?"
In deep silence there is no ego. It exists only when you are disturbed. It is part of disease. When you are deeply silent, you are, but there is no feeling of the 'I'. It cannot exist in silence. When you are totally calm and quiet, the 'I' is not there. But the more disturbed you are, the more you will have the feeling of the ego.
The ego is a disturbed, diseased state of the mind. The ego is not healthy. It is an illness. You become aware of it only when you are not in total harmony. When you are in harmony, you are, but there is no 'I', no feeling of the 'I'. 'Am-ness' is there, being is there, but without a center.
This is one of the most significant phenomena to be understood. For instance, you become aware of your body only when it is ill. If you are really healthy you don't have a body at all; a healthy body is bodiless, there is no feeling that it exists. Your head exists only when there is a headache:
if the headache is not there, the head is not there. Can you feel your head? If you can feel it, it means there is some heaviness. Something is disturbed, something is ill. You become aware of your stomach when it is disturbed.
This is the definition of health: that if the body is not felt you are healthy, if the body is felt you are unhealty - because only pain is felt. Whenever there is some pain, you feel it. Pain is needed to feel the body and pain is needed to feel yourself. And that pain creates the I, that suffering, anguish, anxiety, creates the I.
So if you are egoistic, remember that this shows that your inner harmony is lost. You cannot do anything about the ego directly - unless you regain the inner harmony. If you start doing something for the ego directly, nothing will happen. On the contrary, you may get more disturbed. All the religions say: be egoless. They mean: be harmonious. Their insistence to dissolve the ego is the insistence to dissolve the disturbance - become a rhythm, become an inner silence. They insist for health.
The Sanskrit word for health is very beautiful: the word is SWASTHA - it means to be in one's self.
When you are in your self, there is no ego. The English word health also is beautiful from a different viewpoint. It comes from the same root as the word whole comes from - wholeness. When you are whole, you are healthy; when you are fragmented, divided, split, you are unhealthy. When you have a feeling of wholeness - no division, undivided, one - you are healthy. The word holy also comes from whole. When you are really whole, you are holy, you are pure, innocent.
The ego exists when you are fragmented, divided, split - when you are not one. When your parts are in conflict and there is a disharmony within, turmoil, anguish, the ego exists. The greater the anxiety, the greater will be the ego. If you try to fulfill your ego you will get more and more disturbed - and the last state of ego is madness. If you really try to fulfill the ego you will become mad.
In the East, madness is not such a problem as it is in the West because the whole Western mind depends on the ambition to fulfill the ego. American psychologists say that now three persons out of four are mentally ill. This is too much - unbelievable! And if it is true, then the fourth is just on the boundary line, because the fourth is a part; he lives among these three. He cannot be really healthy - just so-so, just on the boundary line. Any moment he can fall into madness.
Many modern psychiatrists are of the opinion that the whole of humanity is mad and the difference is only of degrees. If you are not mad that only means you are simply normally mad - not abnormally mad, mm? You are just within limits - mad within limits. You can function, that's all, but any moment you can cross the boundary. Any happening, any accident - you wife dies, your money is lost, your bank becomes bankrupt, your house is on fire - and you can cross the boundary in a single moment.
There is not much distance to travel and you can go mad. You were already mad but just waiting for the boiling-point. It can come any moment.
Why is this happening so much in the West? Why is everyone going for psychoanalysis? Really, those who cannot go for psychoanalysis are thought to be poor now. Those who are rich, those who can afford it, they go for it of necessity. It is a very costly affair. It is a luxury because psychoanalysis takes years - two years, three years, even five years, and it is a very costly treatment. Only the very rich can afford it. But the profession is growing, and now psychiatrists are very rich. They are getting richer every day.
The human mind gets more and more disturbed if you try to fulfill the ego because for a greater ego to exist you need greater disturbance, greater illness, disease, greater fragmentation, division.
When your fragments of being are in deep conflict, they create the tension. In that tension ego can exist. Fight is needed for the ego - a battleground: your being must become a battleground.
This can happen in two ways: either you can fight with others or you can fight with yourself. You can fight with others in a competitive world. You are ambitious, others are also ambitious. You want to be fulfilled as an ego, others are also on the same route. Then you fight with them. This is the worldly way to achieve the ego - the political way or the economic way.
But there are religious ways also. You stop fighting with others. You divide yourself and you start fighting with yourself. You fight with sex, you fight with anger, you fight with the body, you fight with this world - this world of 'sin' - you divide yourself. You divide yourself as body/mind, body/soul.
Not only that: you divide your body also into the lower body and the higher body. Through these divisions you can fight with yourself.
So remember, there are worldly egos and there are spiritual egos. A man who achieves riches, achieves prestige, becomes powerful, has ego. But do not think that a person who is struggling spiritually doesn't have one. He may have an even subtler ego - a deeper, a more refined ego, but he has one. Your so-called saints are all egoistic. They achieve their egos through austerities - through TAPA, through arduous effort. They have their own victories upon themselves. They have no enemies outside, they have created the enemy within. And then they fight with it, and when they win they have a very egoistic feeling. They feel power.
So the second thing to be understood: whenever you feel powerful, remember you have attained a crystallization of the ego. And whenever YOU are powerful, you cannot meet the divine, you cannot meet the truth, because power exists in conflict, power exists in fight. Power is created through war, through violence, through aggression. Power is against love, power is against silence, and power is against the total.
You cannot meet the Brahman, the absolute, if you feel yourself to be powerful. You meet the total only when you feel yourself to be totally powerless, helpless, no one, nobody. If you are feeling powerful in any way, you are creating a barrier. When you are powerful you are blind to the total.
And you are so much disturbed through your power, so much in inner turmoil, that you cannot have that silence which can become a meeting, a communion with the total. Hence, the emphasis of all religions to dissolve the ego: only then can you enter the divine.
Jesus says: "Only those who are like children will enter my kingdom of God." Why "like children"?
Children are helpless; they are not powerful. Children are still part of the cosmic whole. They have not yet become egos. They do not yet have a crystallized center of the ego; they are still undivided.
That is why children are so beautiful. It is difficult to find an ugly child and it is difficult to find a beautiful old man.
Why? If every child is born so beautiful, then why does every old man go on becoming ugly?
Something goes wrong somewhere. Every child is beautiful. The beauty comes from wholeness.
The child is whole, undivided. He has no fragments, no division. He is not schizophrenic, he is not fighting anything. He is simply living, breathing, with no fight. The world is not yet a struggle. And he is not fighting with himself either - he is not yet religious. He is simply a natural being just like animals, birds, trees, rocks. He is part of the cosmic whole.
He will come out of it. We will bring him out of it; we cannot leave him like that. And even if we leave him he will come out of it, because he has the potentiality to be divided, he has the potentiality to become an ego. And that is part of the ultimate education, that he must become an ego, because unless you have an ego you cannot lose it.
The child is pre-ego. His innocence is natural, but a natural innocence can be disturbed at any moment. Whenever he becomes mind, he becomes cunning. Whenever he will become alert about his individuality, he will become egoistic.
This is the meaning of the biblical story, that Adam and Eve were innocent in the garden of Eden and God prohibited them to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Why was the fruit of the tree of knowledge prohibited? - because the moment you know, you are separated. Knowledge separates.
The child is innocent because he is ignorant. He doesn't know where he ends and where you begin.
Child psychologists say that in the beginning the child cannot even feel where he ends and where his mother begins. He feels everything as one. For nine months in the womb he exists as one with his mother. He breathes through his mother, he lives through his mother. Even after being born, when he has come out of the womb, deep in his mind he goes on existing as one with his mother.
He has no ego and he cannot feel that he is separate yet. By and by he will know that he is separate, by and by he will become aware of YOU.
Remember, the consciousness of the 'you' comes first, and then he becomes aware of 'I'. When he starts feeling you as separate, then reflectively he becomes aware that he is separate, that he is not you. The mother goes away and he is still there. Now he becomes aware of the distance and now he starts feeling the 'I'. But that 'I' too is not very solid. In the beginning children always address themselves in the third person. If the child's name is Ram, he will say, "Ram is feeling thirsty." He will speak in the third person; he will not say, "I am feeling thirsty." The 'I' is not yet solid, it is not yet assertive. He still feels that 'Ram' is feeling thirsty - as if Ram is a 'you', not an 'I'.
Children always speak in the third person. They say, "Ram is feeling sleepy. Do not do this and Ram will feel good. Do not do that or Ram will feel bad." They address themselves as if they were addressing someone else. The 'I' is not yet solid. It will become more and more solid the more they come to an awareness of others. The others exist first and then you start existing. It is a reflection.
'I' is an inverted 'you'.
Adam and Eve were prohibited to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge but they had to eat it. It is part of maturing. They were innocent. The moment they ate the fruit they became alert and aware.
Suddenly they started hiding their bodies. Now Eve was aware of Adam and Adam was aware of Eve. Clothes came into existence through the ego. They became aware of themselves as separate.
Before that they were just part of each other; they never knew that they were separate. They became separated. And this happens to every Adam and Eve. It did not only happen once: whenever a child is born, he comes out of the garden of Eden.
In the mother's womb he is in the garden of Eden, one with existence, with no responsibilities, with no worries, with no ego. He exists but without any center. Then he is born. Really, the story, this biblical story of Adam and Eve, is the story of every child's birth. He is thrown out of the mother.
Adam and Eve were thrown out of the garden of Eden and every child has to be thrown out. Then the ego grows; it goes on growing. And with it the pain goes on growing.
Hence, every old man goes on thinking in terms that childhood was paradise. It was! In this sense it was a paradise because you were not yet an ego. You had not tasted the fruit of knowledge; you had not come to know yourself as separate. With separation problems arise: you become anxious.
With separation, death arises.
It is said in the biblical story that death didn't exist before. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, death came into existence. Before that they were immortal. Every child is immortal. He is not aware of death because death can become meaningful only to the 'I', to the ego. When you have a conception that you are separate, immediately the problem arises whether you are going to be here forever or whether you will die. The trees are immortal. Not that they do not die - they die but they have no awareness of death. The animals are immortal. Not that death is not going to be there - death will be there but they are not aware of it. They have no egos, so how can they feel they are going to die?
'I' must be there before I can feel that I will die. Death is part of the ego.
So now let me tell you: death arises out of disease, illness; and death is the last thing, the climax, where ego ends. Ego creates death around you and the fear - and this is the paradox: the more fearful you feel about death, the more you try to be powerful. Because you think that if you are powerful, then you can do something about death. At least you can postpone it; you can push it away a little.
But the more powerful you grow, the more death becomes significant. The more powerful you grow, the more you become afraid of death, because with the power grows the ego. If you are rich, politically powerful, you will be more afraid of death. If you are poor, with no power, you will not be so afraid of death.
Western people, when they come to the East, simply cannot understand why people in the East are so indifferent to death. They are so powerless. They do not have very fixed and solid egos so they cannot be so much afraid. You become more afraid. You become afraid in proportion to what death is going to take away from you. If you do not have anything, what can death take away from you?
A poor man is not so afraid of death. Really, death cannot take anything away from him. He may attain something through death, but he cannot lose.
The richer you grow, the more afraid you are because all your riches will be taken away. Whatsoever is achieved will be taken away. The more power you have, the more you feel powerless before death because it will make you impotent again. All the glory and all the power will go and you will die like any beggar.
Death is absolutely communistic: it equalizes all. The lowest, naturally, cannot be much afraid.
The highest will be afraid because he will be pulled down. Death will take your presidentship, your prime-ministership, and death will take from the beggar his beggary. The president and the beggar will become equal in death. Of course, the president will be more afraid. He has a deeper fear than a beggar can have.
The West has become very much afraid of death. It has become an obsession. This is bound to be because now the West is more powerful; they have something to lose. And when they see the indifference in the East, they cannot understand why people are so indifferent to death. This is the reason: they have not much to lose. They are existing on the lowest rung, so death cannot become a fall to them. They are already fallen; they are already existing in the grave.
What I intend to say is: power gives you ego, ego creates lust for power and this becomes a vicious circle. And when you are powerful you become afraid of death. When you become afraid of death you cannot enter the divine because the divine is a sort of death. Really, to enter the divine, to enter the whole, means to lose yourself as an individual - to become a child again.
But this childhood, this second childhood, is qualitatively different from the first. The first childhood was animal-like; the second childhood is godlike. The first childhood was bound to be disturbed; the second childhood cannot be disturbed. By "second childhood" I mean a state where you have consciously - through understanding, through meditation, through surrender - lost yourself again into the total. Then the circle is complete; you have become a child again. Hindus have called such a person in second childhood DWIJ - twice-born. This is a new birth. The old is dead. The man is again a child.
A saint, if he is really a saint, must become a child again. And Jesus says that only children can enter into God - can enter into the kingdom of God. Unless you become like Adam and Eve again, unless you throw the fruit of knowledge that you have eaten out of your system again, you cannot enter the garden. If you can understand this, then this parable will be easy for you to follow.
This is a parable - one of the most loved. This parable is easy but its implications are very complex.
First I will read the parable, and then we will discuss it.
THE STORY GOES THAT BRAHMAN OBTAINED A VICTORY FOR THE DEVAS. THOUGH THE VICTORY WAS DUE TO BRAHMAN, THE DEVAS BECAME ELATED BY IT AND THOUGHT: "THIS VICTORY IS DUE ONLY TO US; THIS GLORY BELONGS ONLY TO US."
It always happens so. Whatsoever you attain is attained by your inner spirit, not by your ego. But the ego always exploits the whole victory. It says, "I have done this." And, really, nothing is ever done by the ego. The ego is the exploiter - an exploiter par excellence. Even things like birth are exploited by the ego. You say, "This is my birthday" - as if you have done something about your birth. You say, "MY birthday! I was born on this day," as if the 'I' did something. The birth happened. It is a happening, not a doing. But your ego exploits even that.
You say, "I breathe." It is absolutely wrong. Breathing happens; you are not breathing. Breathing goes on without you. You can interfere but you cannot breathe. Breathing is a natural thing. The Brahman breathes through you. If it was so, as we say, that "I breathe," then death would become impossible - because if you can go on breathing, what can death do?
But you cannot go on breathing. If the breath goes out and doesn't come back, what can you do?
You cannot do anything, because really, if the breath has gone out and doesn't come in, you are no more there to do anything. You do not exist; you are out of existence. Breathing is not something which you are doing. It is something which is happening to you: a greater force... life you may call it. The Upanishads call it Brahman, the elan vital of Bergson, or whatsoever you like to call it.
Life breathes through you, but the ego goes on exploiting everything and goes on saying, "I am breathing." You fall in love and you say, "I love." Really, it is never anything on your part. Or can 'you' love? If I say, "Love this woman," you will say, "How can I love if I have not already fallen in love?"
What will you do? You can imitate love, you can act, but you will not be involved in it unless the life force has thrown you into it. Unless it happens to the life force that you are in love, you cannot love.
The whole life is really a happening. Birth, death, love, all that is significant, is a happening. And if you move deeper, then even trivial things are happenings. You say, "I have made this house," but even birds are making their nests. Really, it is something that the life force is doing, not you. Do not think yourself very intelligent, very powerful, very clever, because you have made this house. Even birds are making such beautiful nests - without any training, without any knowledge, without going to any college. It is instinctive. Life makes its abode.
You go on accumulating riches and you think YOU are doing it. No! The life force goes on accumulating. Even animals accumulate. Even they try to possess; even they make arrangements for the rainy season.
If you look deep, then you will find a subtle phenomenon happening within you. Everything is done by the life force, and everything done by the life force is exploited by the ego. And ego says, "I am doing this," and then feels very elated.
This is the parable:
THE STORY GOES THAT BRAHMAN OBTAINED A CERTAIN VICTORY FOR THE DEVAS...
for the deities. In Indian mythology, all the forces of nature are deities. Fire is a deity - a natural force; air is a deity - a natural force. Every natural force is conceived as a DEVATA - as a deity.
THE BRAHMAN OBTAINED A CERTAIN VICTORY FOR THE DEVAS - for the deities. THOUGH THE VICTORY WAS DUE TO BRAHMAN, THE DEVAS BECAME ELATED BY IT AND THOUGHT:
"THIS VICTORY IS DUE ONLY TO US; THIS GLORY BELONGS ONLY TO US."
And this is a constant parable - the story that is happening to YOU.
The air, the fire, all the natural forces, are also working because of the deeper original source of the Brahman. Otherwise they could not work. Nothing can exist and nothing can be active unless the elan vital, the Brahman, is active in it - the substratum, the original force.
But you are not aware of it. On the surface you go on doing things and you go on thinking that you are doing it: "I am the cause of it, I am the source of it." You are not the source of it. It is just like the Ganges flowing to the sea. The Ganges must be thinking that she is flowing to the sea. Is she really flowing, or is she just part of a greater circle? She will flow to the sea, and then through sunrays the water will rise again and the water will become clouds. And the air will take those clouds to the Himalayas and they will rain there on the Gangotri - on the source of the Ganges. And then the river will be created and it will move; it will go on moving. It will fall into the sea because it is natural for water to move downwards.
It is not the Ganges flowing to the sea. It is just a natural law, part of the divine, that water moves downwards. So from the Himalayas, water will move downwards. It is not that the Ganges is moving; the Ganges cannot have an ego, cannot be allowed to have an ego. It is part of a great circle. Again the water will fall into the sea, and again the clouds will come, and again they will pour water down the Ganges, on the Gangotri, and the river will go on flowing. It is a great circle. Clouds, Gangotri, Ganges, the sea - clouds, Gangotri, Ganges, the sea: it is a great circle. You are also just a part of a great circle. That great circle of energy is called Brahman.
But the part goes on thinking that "I am doing it." So the devas became elated and they thought:
"THE VICTORY IS DUE TO US ONLY, THIS GLORY BELONGS ONLY TO US."
And one more point, by the way: whenever you get defeated you never say, "This defeat is due only to us." Whenever you are dishonored you never say, "This dishonor belongs only to me." This is strange! If glory belongs to you, then why not dishonor? If victory belongs only to you, then why not defeat? Whenever you are defeated you say, "Circumstances, the situation, the way things are, destiny, the gods, are against me."
Whenever you are defeated, why do you throw the responsibility onto something else? - because through defeat ego cannot be fulfilled. Only through victory can it be fulfilled, so defeat has to be thrown onto the Brahman. If the gods were defeated, they would certainly have said, "The Brahman is against us, destiny is against us, fate is against us. That is why we have been defeated." If you are victorious, then you say that it is because of you.
Look at the trick of the ego. Neither is because of you, or both are because of you. Decide and the ego will die. If you say, "Both are not because of me: a greater force is working and I am just a particle, an atomic thing, just a cell, just helpless. Things are happening to me - I am not a doer, so whether victory comes or defeat, both belong to the ultimate," your ego will dissolve. Or say, "Both belong to me, victory and defeat, honor and dishonor" - then too your ego will disappear, because both are contradictory. They negate each other. Victory will give you a little ego and defeat will take that little ego away., You will be just without the ego.
These are the two ways. Hindus have followed the first. They say victory and death and everything belongs to the divine, to the order of the cosmos. Jainas and Buddhists have followed the second.
They say that there is no God: "Everything belongs to me - the defeat and the victory, the loss and the gain, the birth and death, everything belongs to me." Then these two contradictory things negate each other and the ego is dissolved. In both cases the happening is the same. The ego can persist only if you go on giving all the victories to it and go on giving all the defeats to the world or to the destiny or to the Brahman. Then the ego can exist. This is how the ego exists.
The parable says:
BRAHMAN CAME TO KNOW THIS, THEIR VANITY.
He came to know about their egos, that now they are feeling very elated and they are saying THEY are victorious. It is because of them - victory belongs only to them.
HE VERILY APPEARED BEFORE THEM. BUT THEY DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHO THAT YAKSHA - DEMI-GOD - WAS.
The second part of the parable: whenever the original, the cosmic source, feels that you are feeling elated, that you are feeling egoistic, it appears before you - but you cannot recognize it. The ego will not allow you to recognize it; it will close your eyes. It comes to you also, not only to those devas. This is a human story, a very psychological parable. Whenever you feel elated, there are happenings around you which would pull you back down to the earth if you could recognize them.
But you never recognize them, you cannot. Your eyes are now not in reality. Now you are living in a fiction.
So the devas couldn't recognize who this adorable spirit was. The Brahman was standing before them, the ultimate energy was standing before them. But they were closed. They were in their heads, they were in their egos, enclosed, encapsulated. They couldn't see, they couldn't understand.
Whenever you are in some egoistic mood, you cannot see anything: you are blind. Whenever you are victorious, you cannot see, you cannot understand. You lose all your senses. Even your common sense is lost. You are really mad in your victory, in your success.
THEY ADDRESSED AGNI - the deities addressed Agni - and they said, "PLEASE FIND OUT WHO THIS SPIRIT IS - who has appeared in this form - WHO THIS YAKSHA IS." AGNI SAID, "YES, I will try to find out." AGNI HASTENED TO THE YAKSHA, to the spirit who had appeared. The Yaksha is the form the Brahman had appeared in.
THE YAKSHA ASKED HIM WHO HE WAS. AGNI REPLIED - Agni means fire - AGNI REPLIED: "I AM VERILY FIRE - AGNI; I AM ALSO KNOWN AS JATAVEDA - NEAR - OMNISCIENT."
"WHAT ENERGY DO YOU POSSESS, YOU OF SUCH FAME?" ASKED THE SPIRIT. "WHAT ENERGY DO YOU POSSESS, YOU OF SUCH FAME?"
Fire has been very significant. In the old days, fire came to be the top deity, because man lived in darkness, lived in caves, lived in forests, and it was dangerous. There were animals, and in the dark they would attack and the night was very fearful. And then Agni, the fire, helped them to come out of the darkness. Then even night became not so dangerous. So Agni once came to be the top deity.
Fire was worshipped all over the world; fire became the symbol of God.
Hence, the deities asked fire to go first and inquire, "Who is this spirit who has appeared before us?" And the spirit said: "WHAT ENERGY DO YOU POSSESS?" The emphasis is on YOU. "WHAT ENERGY DO YOU POSSESS, YOU OF SUCH FAME?"
"I CAN BURN EVERYTHING - WHATEVER THERE IS ON THIS EARTH," REPLIED THE FIRE.
The emphasis is on "I can burn everything."
THE YAKSHA PLACED A STRAW BEFORE HIM AND SAID, "BURN THIS" - the Brahman placed a straw before him and said, "BURN THIS." AGNI APPROACHED IT WITH ALL SPEED... with full vigor, with totality, with whatsoever he had. HE WAS, HOWEVER, UNABLE TO BURN IT - because it is not Agni that burns: it is the cosmic force through Agni that burns. Without the cosmic force, Agni cannot burn, fire cannot burn. And when the Brahman was standing there before him, Agni was impotent because the source was not there behind it. Now there was only ego; the source had disappeared. Only the exploiter - that which has never done anything but which goes on thinking that "I can do this and that."
Agni could not burn the straw... SO HE WITHDREW FROM THERE AND RETURNED TO THE OTHER GODS SAYING, "I COULD NOT ASCERTAIN WHO THIS SPIRIT WAS."
He didn't say that he had been a failure, that he couldn't burn it. He simply said, "I COULDN'T ASCERTAIN WHO THIS SPIRIT WAS."
This is how the ego functions. Even if the divine is standing before you, you will go on saying: I couldn't ascertain who this spirit was. Even if life reveals to you that your ego is impotent, you will not realize it. Life goes on revealing to you that your ego is impotent - is it not so? Every moment life goes on saying to you, "Don't claim. You are not the doer." But you never look at it.
THEN THEY ADDRESSED VAYU - the air force, the deity of air: "O VAYU, PLEASE ASCERTAIN THIS, WHO THIS YAKSHA IS." "YES," SAID VAYU.
VAYU HASTENED TO THE YAKSHA. THE YAKSHA ASKED HIM WHO HE WAS. VAYU REPLIED, "I AM VERILY VAYU - AIR. I AM ALSO KNOWN AS MATARISVA - CARRIER OF THE ATMOSPHERE."
"WHAT ENERGY DO YOU POSSESS, YOU OF SUCH FAME?" ASKED THE SPIRIT. "I CAN VERILY BLOW AWAY EVERYTHING, WHATEVER THERE IS ON THIS EARTH," REPLIED VAYU.
THE YAKSHA PLACED A STRAW BEFORE HIM AND SAID, "BLOW THIS AWAY." VAYU APPROACHED IT WITH ALL SPEED; HE WAS, HOWEVER, UNABLE TO BLOW IT AWAY.
"WITH ALL SPEED" - your ego can act with all speed but nothing will happen out of it. Your ego can do something with all speed, all effort, but nothing will happen out of it. Remember this; this will be helpful.
People come to me and they go on saying, "I am making such an effort to meditate, but nothing is happening." Nothing will happen because the 'I' is making the effort. You are not allowing the divine to happen within. YOU are trying to do something.
You are impotent. Whatsoever potency you have comes through the original source, from the cosmos, from the Brahman. It doesn't belong to you. You are just a vehicle. So when the 'I' starts trying something, then nothing happens.
In Zen monasteries they teach the seekers only one secret, and the secret is: do something without bringing the 'I' into it. If you can do something without bringing the ego into it, everything will happen.
Herrigel, one German thinker, was in a Zen monastery in Japan. He was learning archery there, and the master said, "Allow the life force to aim and allow the life force to release the arrow. You do not do anything."
It was difficult, really impossible - and particularly for a German mind that is basically intellect- oriented. That is why the experience of Germany proved so fatal: too much intellect, too much ego, too much effort. Then the ego came to a point where it said to the German people, "Now you can be victorious all over the world." Hitler was just the expression of all the minds - ego-oriented.
Herrigel was unable to understand: "If I do not release the arrow, how can the arrow be released? If I am not making an effort, there will be no effort at all."
And this is how we would feel also. For three years he was there with the master. He learned the art completely - as completely as possible. His aims were a hundred percent right. The arrow would always reach the target. But the master went on shaking his head. He said, "This is nothing."
A hundred percent results, and the master would say, "This is nothing; you have not learned anything. You are still releasing the arrow. And we are not interested in the target, we are interested in you. We are not interested in the other end, we are interested in you. YOU are the target. That target is not the target. When the arrow is released without you, when the life force has taken possession of you, only then"... because archery is not the point: meditation is the point.
The master said, "Even if you miss - even if you miss the target completely - that is irrelevant. But you should not miss the original source."
Herrigel was desperate. And the more desperate he was, the more effort he made. The more he tried, the more the master would say, "You disappoint me."
Then a day came when Herrigel thought, "This is impossible, it cannot happen. Three years is too long a time, making so much effort every day." He felt frustrated. He said to the master, "Now allow me to leave. I think this is not for me. It seems impossible to conceive. I have done whatsoever I could but nothing happens."
The master said, "Because YOU were doing whatsoever you could, you were not allowing the life force to do anything. YOU are the barrier."
Herrigel decided to leave. The day he was leaving, he came just to say goodbye to the master. The master was training another disciple. Herrigel just sat there. For the first time he was indifferent because now he was leaving, and he had left the whole effort, and there was no point in it. He sat silently and just saw the master without the eyes of desire, ambition, achievement. He just saw the master, and for the first time in three years he could realize that the master was not releasing. It was the life force. The arrow was released by something which was not coming from the ego. It was coming from a deeper energy.
He stood as if hypnotized. He came near the master, took the bow from his hand and released the arrow, and the master said, "Right! You have done it." And Herrigel writes, "I now know the difference between when the life force releases it and when you do it."
"WHAT ENERGY DO YOU POSSESS, YOU OF SUCH FAME?" ASKED THE YAKSHA. Vayu tried to show his energy. VAYU APPROACHED IT WITH ALL SPEED. HE WAS, HOWEVER, UNABLE TO BLOW IT AWAY. SO HE WITHDREW FROM THERE AND RETURNED TO THE GODS SAYING, "I COULD NOT ASCERTAIN WHO THIS YAKSHA WAS."
And it was so clear! There was no need to ascertain. The whole thing was so clear. Vayu tried to blow away a straw and he could not. And the fire tried to burn a straw. He could have burnt the whole earth, and a single straw was not burnt. The thing was so clear: the Yaksha was the original source of energy.
But they couldn't recognize that the energy had been taken away, that now they were just vehicles - empty. The fire could not burn a straw, the Vayu could not blow a straw. It was so clear to realize that the original source had withdrawn. But they couldn't recognize it.
Ego is really so blind that it never recognizes its impotency. Even when the source has moved away, it goes on thinking in old terms. Even when everything is defeated and everything is a failure, it goes on thinking in old terms.
THEN THE GODS ADDRESSED INDRA.
Indra is the chief of the gods in Indian mythology. They asked Indra:
"OH INDRA, PLEASE ASCERTAIN WHO THIS SPIRIT IS." "YES," SAID INDRA, AND HASTENED TO THE YAKSHA. BUT THE YAKSHA DISAPPEARED FROM HIS VIEW.
When Indra approached the Yaksha, the Yaksha disappeared from his view.
The word Indra is very meaningful; it comes from the same root as the word INDRIYA. Indriya means the senses and Indra means the chief of the senses - the head. What is the chief of the senses?
The mind. All the senses - your ears, your eyes, your hands - are just subordinate to the mind.
Mind is really Indra in the body, so mind is the chief deity.
Eyes belong to fire and all your senses belong to some deity, but your mind belongs to Indra. Indra means the chief of the indriya - all the senses. So when all the deities, senses, failed, they asked the head, the brain, the mind. But what happened? This is beautiful, this parable is just wonderful.
When the senses approached the deity, the ultimate, the Brahman, he was there - but when mind approached, he disappeared.
With mind you cannot see him, with mind he is not approachable. When mind tries to find out who the ultimate source is, it becomes invisible. It is not visible for the mind. For the intellect, the ultimate becomes invisible. That is why science never finds any divine element. Science cannot find it because science is the Indra - the mind, the intellect, the reason.
The spirit disappeared from Indra's view. If you bring your mind to find, there is nothing to find. It disappears. One more point is to be understood. You can feel God through the body, you can feel God through taste, you can feel him through smell, but you cannot feel him through the intellect - through the reason. Even through the senses he is approachable. If you become more sensitive you can touch him. But through the intellect he is absolutely unapproachable. Intellect is not the door at all.
If you have a sensitive body you can live in God, you can breathe him. But no matter how keen an intellect you have, you cannot touch him, you cannot come near him. If you simply bring intellect in, he is no more there; he simply disappears.
AND IN THAT VERY SPOT HE, INDRA, BEHELD A WOMAN, THE WONDROUSLY EFFULGENT UMA, THE DAUGHTER OF THE SNOW-CLAD MOUNTAIN, HIMAVAT. AND OF HER HE ASKED, "WHO COULD THIS YAKSHA BE?"
With the mind, if you bring mind in, if you bring reason in, the ultimate disappears. And what happens? This parable gives many clues, many dimensions. When the ultimate disappears, then only sex remains the source of all. Then you feel that sex is the source of all energy. When you cannot feel the divine as the source, you feel sex as the source of all energy.
Science proved that there is no God, and then came Sigmund Freud, and he said there is only woman - or you can say there is only man if you are a woman. Science cleared the ground and God became invisible. Whenever there is no God, only sex remains to be the God. Then you feel that everything is because of sex; Freud says so. If Freud could have known about this parable, he would have understood. This parable is a criticism, a deep criticism, of his whole ideology. When there is no God, sex becomes the God.
A beautiful woman appeared before Indra, and he asked that woman, "Uma, who was this who has disappeared?" Now psychologists are asking sex: What is the origin of life? They are penetrating into sexual energy and trying to know something about the original source of life through sex, through the door of sex.
With intellect, you cannot penetrate deeper than sex. Sex is, of course, part of that great energy. But with mind alone you become acquainted with the part, not with the original source. And mind gets entangled with sex. The whole Western mind is now entangled with sex. It has become a labyrinth.
You cannot move out of it. Wheresoever you move, you come back again and again to it.
Everything is now reduced to sex. Freud says that if a mother loves a child it is sex; if a father loves his child it is sex. If a father loves his daughter it is heterosexual; if the father loves his son more it is homosexual.
Just now, a few days ago, I was reading a book. The book is written by a psychoanalyst, and he says that it is possible that Jesus was a homosexual because he always moved with his twelve apostles - with boys. Always moving with boys means homosexuality. Somewhere I have read some other psychoanalyst who wrote that Buddhist monks must be homosexual because they are always living in the company of men. Everything is reduced to sex if mind is the approach.
Before Indra, before mind, the ultimate disappeared.
AND IN THAT VERY SPOT HE BEHELD A WOMAN, THE WONDROUSLY EFFULGENT ONE, THE DAUGHTER OF THE SNOW-CLAD MOUNTAIN, HIMAVAT. AND OF HER HE ASKED: "WHO COULD THIS YAKSHA BE?"
This is what we are asking - asking sex what this life is.