The very foundation for one world
IN THE JAPANESE LANGUAGE, THE WORD FOR LOVE IS A PICTURE OF A PERSON WITH A FULL STOMACH, KNEELING, WITH BOTH HANDS RAISED IN OFFERING. THE PICTURE MEANS, "I AM SO FULL; PLEASE ALLOW ME TO SHARE, PLEASE TAKE FROM ME."
IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THE LANGUAGES OF CULTURES THAT USE SYMBOLS ARE MORE PROTECTED FROM DEPRECIATION IN VALUE, AS HAPPENS FOR EXAMPLE IN ENGLISH WITH THE WORD 'LOVE'?
The languages like Japanese or Chinese are certainly more protective of the essential quality of a word. But these languages are pictorial languages.
The pictorial language is the language of the unconscious mind. That's why in the unconscious mind you see dreams.
The pictorial languages are also the languages of the child, who can only think in pictures, not by the alphabet. That's why in children's books you will see bigger, more colorful pictures. And as the child grows, pictures start becoming smaller, and finally the pictures disappear; only abstractions, alphabetical letters, take their place.
The alphabetical languages have some qualities; that's why they have won the race against the nonalphabetical languages. They are simple to learn.
Some languages have twenty-six letters; all words will be made out of these twenty-six letters.
Sanskrit has the biggest number - fifty-two letters. More are not possible, because you cannot make more sounds than fifty-two. So while in English many sounds are missing which are in existence - there is only one 's' and in Sanskrit there are three - Sanskrit is as perfect a language as it can be.
But Sanskrit also got defeated in the race of languages. It was very poetic like Arabic and other old languages, but you cannot do science in poetry, you cannot do mathematics in poetry. You need a more prose-like style of language. Poetry may be closer to emotions and subjectivity; prose is closer to facts and the objective world. And we are dealing with the objective world. Very few people are dealing with the subjective.
So languages that were leaning more towards the subjective, towards the poetic, got defeated, and languages that were pictorial were very difficult. Unless you are born Chinese or Japanese, it will take almost half of your life to learn the language. That is too much - thirty years - because you will have to remember so many pictures of all things... so many symbols. So although those languages have the innocence of child, a purity....
And they are not so corruptible, because for each different shade of meaning, they have different symbols. For example, love - people love all kinds of things. People love their cars, people love their clothes, people love their food, people love their houses, people love their wives, their friends, their husbands - one word has to be used for so many different things. It naturally loses its purity.
A thing cannot be loved in the same way that you love a person. And if you love both in the same way you don't know what love is. Love should be a definite quality. But the language does not offer many words - only one word for everything. It is simpler, less complicated, more utilitarian, but you cannot save the purity of the word.
This Japanese symbol for love - a man with a big belly, offering with both his hands - can only be interpreted in one way; there are not two ways. It is simply saying that you are so full that you want to share. And that is the purity of love, when there is no desire to get but to give. And you can give only when you are overflowing, you can share only when you have too much - out of abundance.
The picture makes it definite. But then you will have to learn millions of symbols for every small thing in the world. And it is too tedious, too tiresome; for each small thing you have to make a symbol. In Chinese, the symbol for fight or war is one roof, and under one roof, two women. It shows that if you have two wives, there is going to be a constant fight. So for all fights, this is the symbol.
In a way it is very solid. It has its own beauty and gives a definite meaning which cannot be easily corrupted; hence, you will not find in Chinese or Japanese any commentaries on scriptures. A commentary means you have to interpret.
In Sanskrit you will find thousands of commentaries on a single scripture, because Sanskrit is a subjective and emotional and poetic language, immensely capable of expressing any nuance of feelings, sentiment - the whole spectrum. It has tried to be perfect, and it has almost attained perfection. But in attaining perfection it has lost something of humanness.
Each word has many meanings - a dozen meanings - because it has taken all sounds as letters.
Now it wants no meaning in life or existence to be left without a name. Even with fifty-two letters you cannot exhaust the whole existence, so each word has a dozen meanings. It gives a very flexible beauty to it, because poets can play with words more easily when there are so many meanings. But it creates a new phenomenon: the commentary.
Krishna has spoken in the shrimad bhagavadgita, and there are thousands of commentaries. The same line can be interpreted in a thousand ways. Now it has become a jungle of commentaries; you don't know what Krishna really wanted to say.
It became such a phenomenon - it has not happened anywhere else in the world - that Shankara will write a commentary on Krishna, then Shankara's commentary itself becomes a question - what does he mean? Then Shankara's disciples start writing commentaries on his commentary, and so on and so forth, generation after generation.
Krishna's gita is left far away. You will not find even the echo of it, because from one commentary to another commentary, they are changing their focus. The person who writes a commentary on Shankara is not concerned with Krishna, he is concerned with Shankara - with giving a definite meaning to Shankara. And there are other disciples trying to do the same - to compete with each other - so there are hundreds of commentaries on Shankara. Then these people, on their own, will produce disciples who will be writing commentaries on their commentaries.
To go into Indian scriptures is really to enter into a wonderland. How people can go on playing with words, finding new meanings contradictory to each other! And there is no way to say who is right, because the language allows all the meanings.
Because of this flexibility Sanskrit cannot be a scientific language, although it has beauty. To chant it is almost like singing. It has flexibility, not monopoly. Everybody is free to manage the meaning, to derive a philosophy from it, which nobody else has ever tried to do before. So there is a freedom of thought, but there is bound to be confusion. Science cannot afford that.
The pictorial languages like Japanese are very systematic. They have a single-pointed meaning.
No commentary is needed, the meaning is in the symbol. But you need so many symbols that such a big language cannot be used for the whole world as an international language, because if you are not born with it from childhood, it is going to take half of your life just to learn the language; the question of using it does not arise. Life is so short, people are in a hurry, death is so close, that it will be a sheer wastage of time - thirty years or more just to memorize symbols.
All the languages of the world have something significant in them, but they also have problems.
Geeta's question is significant. It is true - in English or in any language which uses an alphabet, no word can remain pure, because it will have to be used for many things. In different contexts it will get polluted, contaminated - and people don't even recognize it. Somebody says, "I love you" in the same way that he says, "I love smoking." He does not see that loving to smoke and loving a person cannot be put in the same category; they can't have the same meaning. English is poor in that way.
In Sanskrit, if a brother and sister love each other, there is one word for it that excludes a sexual relationship automatically without saying anything. It is love, but not of the kind that exists between husband and wife. So for the husband and wife there is a different word. For your parents there is a different word, because the same words cannot be used. When you are using it for your parents, there must be something of gratitude in it, something of respect, reverence. And when you are using it for a thing, again, it cannot be from any other category; it will have its own category. It will be more like liking, not loving.
But then there are so many words that it becomes unmanageable, and with slight changes their meanings change. And every language has developed with a different background.
I have been thinking that there must be a language which can have all the beautiful qualities of all the languages without their problems, but it seems impossible. There have been efforts like Esperanto, but they don't take root; they are artificial, man-made.
It would be a great thing if the whole world had one language. It would help immensely to bring humanity closer to each other. It would be one of the greatest steps against war - a basic groundwork for understanding - because most of the conflicts are of misunderstanding, and language plays a great role in understanding or misunderstanding.
So there have been people who have tried to create an artificial language accepted by the whole world, but no effort has succeeded for the simple reason that the language you have learned since you were born has gone so deeply into your bones, into your blood, into your marrow, that it is almost a part of you. Something can be transplanted over it, but it will not be a joy. And why should one carry a burden?
The mother language goes so deeply into your being.... One of my professors, S.K. Saxena, who lived almost all his life in the West studying, then lecturing, being a professor, came back to India only in his old age. But he confessed to me, "It is strange, but I have to confess to you that I have lived almost all my life in the West, but still, if I fall in love with a woman, I want to talk in my mother tongue. To talk with her in a language which is not my mother tongue seems to be superficial."
Or in fighting you will forget the transplanted language. You would like to fight in your mother tongue.
There is a famous incident in the life of the famous emperor, Bhoj. He was well-known for respecting all kinds of talented people. His court was full of talented people. From all over the country, he had picked up the best - the cream - in every direction, in every dimension. He had the best scholars, the best philosophers, the best singers, the best poets.
One day a man appeared, and he challenged Bhoj: "You are too proud of your so-called scholars.
I challenge your scholars to recognize my mother tongue. I speak thirty languages; I will speak in those thirty languages, and if anybody can recognize which one is my mother tongue, then there are one hundred thousand gold pieces for him. If he loses then he has to pay me the same amount - and all are challenged."
The first day he spoke a few passages in one language, then in another, then in another. A few people tried and they lost. Just one man, a poet, Kalidas - he is the Shakespeare of India - remained silent, for the simple reason that the challenge was for the scholars, not for the poets. But he was watching the man very carefully. But after thirty languages - and at least fifteen persons had already lost - even Kalidas could not manage to find even a small way to distinguish which one was his mother tongue.
When all the scholars were finished - nobody else was ready to take the challenge, seeing the fate of the fifteen most prominent scholars of the court - Kalidas appealed to the man, "I could not participate today because you did not invite the poets. You invited only the scholars. It would be a great kindness if you can come tomorrow again and give a chance to the poets."
The man was more than happy. He said, "I can go on continuing as long as you want. Poets, singers, musicians, dancers, theologians, philosophers... anybody. I can go on coming every day."
The next day Kalidas was standing in front of the gate with the whole court and the emperor. He asked them to stand there to receive and welcome the guest. They said, "This is not necessary," but he said, "This is part of my strategy - you just stand here."
There were at least a hundred marble steps leading to the palace, and as the man reached the upper step, Kalidas pushed him. He slipped on the steps, rolled down, and started shouting. Kalidas said, "This is your mother language!" - and the man had to accept that this was his mother language.
"But," the man said, "this is not right."
Kalidas said, "There was no other way - either love or fight. It is something that cannot be managed superficially."
I told the story to Dr. S.K. Saxena. He said, "The story is perfectly true; it is my experience. I have loved many women, but it was always superficial because I could not speak my mother tongue. I could not say how much I loved her. And to say it in a foreign language was simply a translation; it was not the original."
In the world there are thousands of languages, and nobody is willing to drop his own language. The only way seems to be that everybody be allowed to have two languages.
One is the international language - and English is perfectly right for it. It is more contemporary than any other language. Every year eighteen hundred words are added to it. No other language has that. It goes on renewing itself continually with the times. It seems right now to be the only language which is still growing, and the future needs a continually growing language, growing in all directions so that it can be very comprehensive.
But it cannot fulfill the need for a mother tongue to everybody. So everybody should be taught two languages from childhood. Every person has to be bilingual. And the gap can be bridged if both languages are brought in from the very beginning. It is not that one first learns the mother language up to a certain age and then starts learning another language; then the other language is never going to have the rootedness which the mother language has.
Any efforts like Esperanto are going to fail. They are arbitrary. They have taken everything good from this language, from that - eclectically. But a language has an organic unity which is missing in Esperanto.
One of my friends, a sannyasin, a traditional sannyasin, Swami Satyabhakta, has developed a language of his own. He was a linguist, knew many languages, and was developing a new language that could become a world language. He used to stay with me. I told him, "Don't destroy your life unnecessarily. Many people have tried, but it simply does not work."
I told him a small story. Charles Darwin's birthday was being celebrated. He used to teach about birds, insects, animals - that was his whole life. The children of his family and the neighborhood all enjoyed his stories about exotic lands where he had visited and the different kinds of animals there.
The children had an idea: "Let us see whether he can find it or not...." They caught at least ten or twelve insects, cut pieces from them - somebody's legs, somebody's head, somebody's wings, somebody's tail - and they glued together all those different parts of the different insects. It looked like an insect. They pasted it well, framed it as a present for his birthday, and they all came to present it to him. They said to him, "We have only one question. We have found this insect; we just want to know the name of it."
He looked at the insect. He had never seen such a thing in his whole life... and just in the neighborhood! How did these children get this? He has been searching all over the world.... Then he looked closer and he found that it was not one insect. They had been really clever; all the parts were separate and they were glued together. So he said, "Its name is 'Humbug'!"
All these arbitrary languages are humbug. You can manage to give them a shape, but it doesn't work.
But a vast area of the Far East is nonalphabetical, and it will be very difficult for Chinese or Japanese to exist in the future because, for scientific use, they are not the right languages; they are too big.
Science needs precision, simplicity, directness. It wants to use as small an amount of letters as possible. That is a basic theory in science: use as few hypotheses as possible, because otherwise complexities grow.
So for a scientific future of the world, I don't see that Chinese, Japanese or allied languages of the Far East, can survive. And it will be a sad thing if they don't survive; they have a beauty of their own.
The only way for them to survive is that one international language be accepted and used for all scientific and international communications and research work - and their own mother tongue can continue to grow in its old path, with its old beauties and its old frailties. If this is not done, then either they will lag behind scientific progress or they will have to kill their own languages.
In India the same problem is there. There are thirty major languages, and all have their own beauty, something of a special quality. Hindi is the most widely understood and widely spoken language, and for forty years they have been trying to make Hindi the national language. But they have not succeeded, because it may be the majority language, but all other languages together....
Against each single language, Hindi is the major language. For example, forty percent of people speak it, and no other language has that majority. But all those other languages together are spoken by sixty percent; so as far as a fight is concerned, they are major. If a vote is to be taken they will defeat Hindi. They are not friendly with each other - they are against each other - but as far as Hindi is concerned, it is a common enemy and they are all together.
Only two percent of people understand English. But still I have suggested that India should accept thirty national languages and one international language. English should be the international language, because nobody is against it, it is nobody's mother tongue. Nobody is for it, people are neutral about it. And if their national language is also accepted, then the area where their language is spoken can go on growing its own literature, its own poetry, its own drama, without any trouble.
Except for that, there is no solution.
English should be taught from the very beginning, not at a later stage; otherwise, it will always remain superficial. And the world has to accept one language. It is just a coincidence that the British Empire has spread the English language, but the opportunity should be used. The English language should be made the international language by the U. N.
Each person should have two languages: one, his mother tongue; the other, his international language. And efforts should be made that both grow together as early as possible. Then the international language also enters into your being so that your mother tongue and your international language are interwoven. There is no conflict, and you have the capacity of smoothly moving from one language to another language - no question of translation, but a smooth movement - if both languages are available to you with the same roots within your being.
It is one of the significant questions facing humanity. But it is strange that humanity never decides anything that is significant. It goes on fighting about insignificant things, things that are meaningless.
For centuries they have been wasting time and not bothering to see that unless you can create one international language, you cannot create one world. These are basic steps.
I am for one international language, and my choice is English - for the simple reason that it is already spread all over the world, although it is not the major language.
Of the major languages, first is Chinese. But it is confined only to China; it cannot become a world language. More people speak Chinese, read Chinese, than any other language. Out of five, one person speaks Chinese, but they are located only in China; it cannot have any possibility of spreading. And if you have to learn it for thirty years I don't think it is wise to even advise that it should become a world language.
The second is Spanish, but its scope is also not as wide as English. And it is spoken not in the most advanced countries, but in the less advanced countries.
Third in number is English. Although less people speak it than Chinese or Spanish, it is spread over a wide area, and that is a more significant reason to make it an international language.
But people are concerned with such stupid things. Anando was just showing me a book review on Christianity in the Middle Ages.
I have said again and again that Christianity is a cancer - but that book review even shocked ME!
In the Middle Ages they had special courts appointed by the pope and the Vatican where any woman could declare that her husband was impotent and that she wanted a divorce. And you cannot think of such stupidity - none of those bishops or cardinals had any knowledge of gynecology. And the court used to be full, because the man had to be naked before the court and show whether he was impotent or not.
It is a simple, well-known fact that if people are watching you, you cannot have an erection. With so many people around watching and the fear that if he does not succeed in having an erection he will be stamped impotent, divorced.... And even if he managed - if he could not manage, that was decisive, he was finished - if he managed an erection, that was not enough. He actually had to make love to his wife before the court - because you may have an erection and you may not be able to penetrate the woman.
And all this was being done in the name of religion! Humiliating!
And it was an everyday thing. Any woman in anger would simply go, knowing perfectly well that her husband was not impotent. But to show your potency in public is a totally different affair.
All those cardinals and bishops sitting and lining the court as judges were nothing but voyeurs. On a table the naked woman is lying and the man is trying to make love to her before this whole crowd of stupid people. In what kind of things humanity has been involved! - And it continued for centuries.
It was also easy for a man to divorce - very easy. He just had to declare that he is impotent and stand there naked without an erection. Just take a cold bath and stand there in the court so it is proved that you are impotent - and sealed, a divorce is given to the woman. And all these people had great theological degrees and honors - and some of these people were going to become, in turn, popes.
But humanity has remained involved with stupid things. Even if it was such an important thing, then a gynecological doctor and his dispensary - that would be the place to check the man and then inform the court, not in the court itself. But they really were voyeurs; they wanted to see living pornography. They were talking against pornography while creating living pornography, and never thinking for a second that they were reducing two human beings almost to animals, degrading them from humanity.
But you can look from every aspect, from any corner, and you will find the so-called great religious leaders, political leaders, concerned with such stupid and small things - while the bigger issues, the real issues, are not even discussed.
I don't think anybody is bothering about whether there should be a world language, because that is the very foundation for one world.
HEARING YOU TALK ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING A DISCIPLE AND A DEVOTEE, I REALIZED HOW FAR AWAY I STILL AM FROM DEVOTION. MY MIND IMAGINES DEPENDENCY; BUT SOMETHING ELSE IN ME MOVES TOWARDS BEING DISSOLVED AND SUCKED INTO YOUR BEING, IN SPITE OF ALL THE FEARS. I EXPERIENCE THOSE MOMENTS OF DISAPPEARANCE - THEY ARE TREMENDOUSLY RELAXING, BUT ON THE OTHER HAND THEY ARE PAINFULLY SHORT.
CAN I TURN INTO A DEVOTEE ONLY WHEN I REACH TO THE CENTER OF THE CYCLONE, OR IS IT A CONDITION FOR REACHING THERE?
It can happen both ways. Either you reach the center of the cyclone and you become a devotee, or you become a devotee and you will reach the center of the cyclone. They are not two things, just two ways of saying the same thing.
And don't be worried that you are too far away; you are not. Even if you have moments when you feel a merger, that is enough indication that greater moments will be coming. But don't be greedy; greed is destructive. And don't be desirous; desire is obstructive.
Go on flowing the way you are flowing. You are exactly on the right path. It doesn't matter whether you become a devotee or you reach the center of the cyclone; they are two names of the same space.
It is going to happen to everybody - whoever is courageous enough to remain in tune with me just a little more. I don't ask you for many years, for many lives - but just a little more; because my experience is, if you can go deeper for a few moments it will be beyond you to go back. Once you have passed the barrier from where a person can go back, then there is no fear, then you can take it at ease. It may happen tomorrow or the day after tomorrow - it doesn't matter.
My concern is only that somehow I should help you to cross the barrier from where you cannot return.
Beyond that, existence takes care of you.
A FEW YEARS BACK, EVERY NIGHT WHEN I WAS GOING OFF TO SLEEP I WOULD GO INTO A SPACE THAT WAS IN BETWEEN SLEEP AND WAKEFULNESS AND FEEL LIKE I WAS LEAVING MY BODY. THERE WAS NO EFFORT ON MY PART; IT WAS HAPPENING ON ITS OWN. IT FELT LIKE I WOULD ALWAYS ONLY GO A LITTLE WAY OUT, AND THEN MY BODY WOULD SUDDENLY JERK - ALTHOUGH THERE WAS NO OUTER OR INNER DISTURBANCE - AND IMMEDIATELY I WOULD RETURN TO MY BODY.
NOW THIS SPACE HAS NOT COME UP FOR ME FOR A WHILE. I'M WONDERING IF IT IS THAT I AM LESS RELAXED. ALSO, WHAT WAS HOLDING ME BACK WHEN IT WAS HAPPENING THAT DID NOT ALLOW ME TO GO OUT FURTHER?
First, there is no need to be worried about it. Out-of-body experiences are good nourishment for your spiritual growth, but they are not necessary. So if they are happening, or just by relaxing they come upon you, it is good; otherwise, don't bother about them. They don't have any essential meaning for your growth.
So just out of curiosity don't try to get out of your body. It won't work. It either works spontaneously for certain reasons of which you are not aware... and I cannot say what the reasons were in your situation at that moment which caused your being to go out of the body.
One thing is certain: whenever you spontaneously get out of the body, the body will give a jerk - because it is the death of the body, and you are going into a dangerous state.
If something happens that disturbs your coming back, if somebody suddenly opens the door and your silver cord is broken.... The body has its own wisdom; it allows you a certain rope of freedom, so it allowed you in a certain state to go out, but not to go too far. That's where it jerked, and that jerk was enough to bring you back because the relaxation was gone.
And now it is not happening; there is no need, because it helps in no way in your spiritual growth. It only helps you to become a more authentic seeker, because you know your being as a truth. But if you are a seeker already, it will not be happening.
There is no need to worry about it. Always remember: whatever happens, let it happen. Enjoy it.
When it does not happen, just forget about it; perhaps its work is done. Don't get puzzled, worried about it - why it happened, why it is not happening.
This is what I call trust: something happens, you enjoy it; something does not happen, you enjoy that too. And whatever is necessary for your spiritual growth, existence will go on leading you towards it.
Simply leave yourself in the hands of the unknown.