The Singer

Fri, 21 November 1974 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Osho - The True Name, Vol 1
Chapter #:
am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
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It was a dark moonless night; the clouds were heavy with rain because it was the monsoon season.

Suddenly thunder sounded and lightning flashed as a few rain drops started to fall. The village was asleep. Only Nanak was awake and the echo of his song filled the air.

Nanak's mother was worried because the night was more than half over and the lamp in his room was still burning. She could hear his voice as he sang. She could restrain herself no longer and knocked at his door, "Go to sleep now, my son. Soon it will be dawn." Nanak became silent. From the darkness sounded the call of the sparrowhawk. "Piyu, piyu, piyu!" it called.

"Listen, mother!" Nanak called out. "The sparrowhawk is calling to his beloved; how can I be silent, because I am competing with him? I will call my beloved as long as he calls his - even longer, because his beloved is nearby, perhaps in the next tree! My beloved is so far away. I will have to sing for lives upon lives before my voice reaches him." Nanak resumed his song.

Nanak attained God by singing to him; Nanak's quest is very unusual - his path was decorated with songs. The first thing to be realized is that Nanak practiced no austerities or meditation or yoga; he only sang, and singing, he arrived. He sang with all his heart and soul, so much so that his singing became meditation; his singing became his purification and his yoga.

Whenever a person performs any act with all his heart and soul, that act becomes the path. Endless meditation, if halfhearted, will take you nowhere; whereas just singing a simple song with all your being merged in it, or dance a dance with the same total absorption and you will reach God. The question is not what you do, but how much of yourself you involved in the act.

Nanak's path to supreme realization, to godliness is scattered with song and flowers. Whatever he has said was said in verse. His path was full of melody and soft, filled with the flavor of ambrosia.

Kabir says: "My enchanted mind was so intoxicated that it drained the filled cup without caring to measure the quantity." So it was with Nanak: he drank without caring how much he drank; then he sang, and sang, and sang. And his songs are not those of an ordinary singer. They have sprung from within one who had known. There is the ring of truth, the reflection of God within them.

Now another thing about the japuji. The moonless night described at the beginning was an incident from Nanak's life when he was about sixteen or seventeen years of age. When the Japuji was conceived, Nanak was thirty years, six months and fifteen days old. The first incident refers to the days when he was still a seeker in quest of the beloved. The call to the beloved, the refrain, "Piyu, Piyu, Piyu ..." was still the sparrowhawk calling; he had not yet met the beloved.

The Japuji was his first proclamation after the union with the beloved. The sparrowhawk had found his beloved; the call of "Piyu, Piyu," was now over. The Japuji are the very first words uttered by Nanak after self-realization; therefore they hold a very special place in the sayings of Nanak. They are the latest news brought back from the kingdom of heaven.

The incident preceding the birth of the Japuji needs to be understood also. Nanak sat on the bank of the river in total darkness with his friend and follower, Mardana. Suddenly, without saying a word, he removed his clothes and walked into the river. Mardana called after him, "Where are you going?

The night is so dark and cold!" Nanak went further and further; he plunged into the depths of the river. Mardana waited, thinking he would be out soon, but Nanak did not return.

Mardana waited for five minutes; when ten minutes had passed he became anxious. Where could he be? There was no sign of him. Mardana began to run along the shore calling to him, "Where are you? Answer me! Where are you?" He felt he heard a voice saying, "Be patient, be patient!" but there was no sign of Nanak.

Mardana ran back to the village and woke up everyone. It was the middle of the night, but a crowd collected at the riverside because everyone in the village loved Nanak. They all had some sense, a glimpse, of what Nanak was going to be. They had felt the fragrance of his presence, just as the bud gives off its fragrance before the flower has opened. All the village wept. They ran back and forth the whole length of the river bank but to no avail.

Three days passed. By now it was certain that Nanak had drowned. The people imagined that his body must have been carried away by the swift current and perhaps eaten by wild animals.

The village was drowned in sorrow. Though everyone thought him dead, on the third night Nanak appeared from the river. The first words he spoke became the Japuji.

So goes the story - and a story means that which is true and yet not true. It is true because it gives the essential truth; it is false in the sense that it is only symbolic. And it is evident that the more profound the subject matter, the greater the need for symbols.

When Nanak disappeared in the river, the story goes that he stood before the gate of God. He experienced God. There before his eyes stood the beloved he pined for, for whom he sang night and day. He who had become the thirst of his every heartbeat stood revealed before Nanak! All his desires were fulfilled. Then God spoke to him, "Now go back and give unto others what I have given unto you." The Japuji is Nanak's first offering after he returned from God.

Now, this is a story; what it symbolizes must be understood. First, unless you lose yourself completely, until you die, you cannot hope to meet God. Whether you lose yourself in a river or on a mountaintop is of little consequence; but you must die. Your annihilation becomes his being.

As long as you are, he cannot be. You are the obstacle, the wall that separates you. This is the symbolic meaning of drowning in the river.

You too will have to lose yourself; you too will have to drown. Death is only completed after three days, because the ego does not give up easily. The three days in Nanak's story represent the time required for his ego to dissolve completely. Since the people could only see the ego and not the soul, they thought Nanak was dead.

Whenever a person becomes a sannyasin and sets out on the quest for God, the family members understand and give him up for dead. Now he is no longer the same person; the old links are broken, the past is no more, and the new has dawned. Between the old and the new is a vast gap; hence this symbol of three days before Nanak's reappearance.

The one who is lost invariably returns, but he returns as new. He who treads the path most certainly returns. While he was on the path he was thirsty, but when he returns he is a benefactor; he has left a beggar, he returns a king. Whoever follows the path carries his begging bowl; when he comes back he possesses infinite treasures.

The Japuji is the first gift from Nanak to the world.

To appear before God, to attain the beloved, are purely symbolic terms and not to be taken literally.

There is no God sitting somewhere on high before whom you appear. But to speak of it, how else can it be expressed? When the ego is eradicated, when you disappear, whatever is before your eyes, is God himself. God is not a person - God is an energy beyond form.

To stand before this formless energy means to see Him wherever you look, whatever you see. When the eyes open, everything is He. It only requires that you should cease to be and that your eyes be opened. Ego is like the mote in your eye; the minute it is removed, God stands revealed before you.

And no sooner does God manifest, than you also become God, because there is nothing besides Him.

Nanak returned, but the Nanak who returned was also God Himself. Then each word uttered became so invaluable as to be beyond price, each word equal to the words of the Vedas.

Now let us try to understand the Japuji:






He is one: Ek Omkar Satnam.

In order to be visible to us, things must have many levels, many forms. That's why whenever we see, we see multiplicity. At the seashore we see only the waves, we never see the ocean. The fact is, however, only the ocean is, the waves are only superficial.

But we can see only the superficial because we have only external eyes. To see within requires internal eyes. As the eyes, so the sight. You cannot see deeper than your eyes. With your external eyes you see the waves and think you have seen the ocean. To know the ocean, you must leave the surface and dive below. So in the story Nanak did not remain on the surface, but dived deep into the river. Only then can you know.

Waves alone are not the ocean, and the ocean is much more than a mere collection of waves. The basic fact is that the wave that is now, after a moment no longer will be; nor did it exist a moment ago.

There was a Sufi fakir by the name of Junaid. His son, whom he loved dearly, was killed suddenly in an accident. Junaid went and buried him. His wife was astonished at his behavior. She expected him to go mad with grief at the death of the son he loved so dearly. And here was Junaid acting as if nothing had happened, as if the son had not died! When everyone had left, his wife asked him, "Aren't you sad at all? I was so worried you would break down, you loved him so much."

Junaid replied, "For a moment I was shocked but then I remembered that before, when this son was not born, I already was and I was quite happy. Now when the son is not, what is the reason for sorrow? I became as I was before. In between, the son came and went. When I was not unhappy before his birth, why should I be unhappy now to be without a son? What is the difference? In between was only a dream that is no longer."

What was formed and then destroyed, is now no more than a dream. Everything that comes and goes is a dream. Each wave is but a dream; the ocean is the reality. The waves are many, the ocean only one, but we see it as so many waves. Until we see the unity, the oneness of the ocean, we shall continue wandering.

There is one reality, truth is only one: Ek Omkar Satnam. And, says Nanak, the name of this one, is Omkar. All other names are given by man: Ram, Krishna, Allah. These are all symbols, and all created by man. There is only one name that is not given by man and that is Omkar, and Omkar means the sound of Om..

Why Omkar? - because when words are lost and the mind becomes void, when the individual is immersed in the ocean, even then the strain of Omkar remains audible within him. It is not a man- made tune but the melody of existence. Omkar is the very being of existence; therefore Om has no meaning. Om is not a word but a resonance that is unique, having no source, no creation by anyone. It is the resonance of the being of existence. It is like a waterfall: you sit beside a waterfall and you hear its song but the sound is created by the water hitting against the rocks. Sit by a river and listen to its sound; it is caused by the river striking against the banks.

We need to go deeper to understand things. Science tries to break down the whole of existence.

What it first discovered was energy in the form of electricity, and then charged particles like the electron of which all of existence is made. Electricity is only a form of energy. If we ask a scientist what sound is made of, he will say that it is nothing but waves of electricity, waves of energy. So energy is at the root of everything. The sages say the same thing; they are in agreement with the scientists except for a slight difference of language. Sages have come to know that all existence is created out of sound, and sound is only an expression of energy. Existence, sound, energy - all are one.

The approach of science is to analyze and break things down, to reach the conclusion. The sage's approach is absolutely different: through synthesis they have discovered the indivisibility of the self.

The wind rises creating a murmur in the branches of the tree, a collision of air against the leaves.

When the musician plays a chord on an instrument, the sound is produced by a blow. All sound is produced by an impact, and an impact requires two - the strings of the instrument and the fingers of the musician. Two are necessary to form any sound.

But God's name is beyond all separateness. His name is the resonance that remains when all dualities have faded and cease to exist. Within this indivisible whole you come across this resonance. When a person reaches the state of samadhi, Omkar resounds within him. He hears it resounding inside him and all around him; all creation seems to be vibrating with it.

He is struck with wonder when it first happens knowing that he is not creating the sound. He is doing nothing and yet this resonance is coming - from where? Then he realizes that this sound is not created by any impact, any friction; it is the anahat nad, the frictionless sound, the unstruck sound.

Nanak says: Omkar alone is God's name. Nanak refers to name a great deal. Whenever Nanak speaks of His name - "His name is the path," or "He who remembers his name attains" - he is referring to Omkar, because Omkar is the only name that is not given to Him by man, but is His very own. None of the names given by man can carry you very far. If they do go some distance towards Him, it is only because of some slight shadow of Omkar within them.

For instance the word ram. When Ram is repeated over and over it begins to transport you a little, since the sound "m" in Ram is also the consonant in Om. Now if you keep repeating it for a long time, you will suddenly discover that the sound of Ram subtly changes into the resonance of Om, because as the repetition begins to quieten the mind, Omkar intrudes and penetrates Ram; Ram gradually fades and Om steps in. It is the experience of all the wise men that no matter with what name they started their journey, at the end it is always Om. As soon as you start to become quiet, Om steps in. Om is always there waiting; it only requires your becoming tranquil.

Says Nanak: "Ek Omkar Satnam."

The word sat needs to be understood. In Sanskrit there are two words: "sat" means beingness, existence, and satya means truth, validity. There is a great difference between the two, though both contain the same original root. Let us see the difference between them.

Satya is the quest of the philosopher. He seeks truth. What is the truth? It lies in the rules whereby two plus two always equals four, and never five or three. So satya is a mathematical formula, a man-made calculation, but it is not sat. It is logical truth but not existential reality.

You dream in the night. Dreams exist. They are sat/reality, but not satya/truth. Dreams are - or else how would you see them? Their being is there but you cannot say they are true, because in the morning you find they have evaporated into nothingness. So there are happenings in life which are true but not existential. Then there are other occurrences that are existent but are not logically true.

All mathematics is true but not existential; it is satya but not sat. Dreams are; they are existential, but they are not true.

God is both. He is sat as well as satya, existence as well as truth. Being both, He can neither be fully attained through science, which probes truth, nor through the arts, which explores existence.

Both are incomplete in their search, because they are directed only towards one half of Him.

The quest of religion is entirely different from all other quests. It combines both sat and satya: it is in quest of that which is more authentic and true than any mathematical formula. It is in quest of that which is more existential, more empirical, than any poetic imagery. What religion seeks is both.

Looking from any one angle, you will fail; from both directions, then only shall you attain.

So when Nanak says: "Ek Omkar Satnam," both sat and satya are contained in his expression. The name of that supreme existence is as true as a mathematical formula and as real as any work of art; it is as beautiful as a dream and as correct as a scientific formula; it contains the emotions of the heart, and the knowledge and experience of the mind.

Where the mind and the heart meet, religion begins. If the mind overpowers the heart, science is born. If the heart overpowers the head, the realm of art is entered: poetry, music, song, painting, sculpture. But if head and heart are united, you enter into Omkar.

A religious person stands above the greatest scientist; he looks down on the greatest artist, because his search contains the essentials of both. Science and art are dualities; religion is the synthesis.

Nanak says:

"Ek Omkar Satnam.

He is one.

He is Omkar, the supreme truth.

He is the creator..."

To take them literally limits your understanding of Nanak's words. It will be a mistake.

One difficulty of the sage lies in the need to use words in general usage. He has to talk to you and so he must speak your language, but what he means to say is beyond words. Your language cannot contain it; it is very limited, whereas truth is very vast. It is just as if someone were trying to compress all the sky into his house, or to gather all the light within his palm. Yet he has to use your language.

It is because of words, because of language, that there are so many sects. For instance, Buddha was born two thousand years before Nanak and used the language of his time. Krishna was born yet another two thousand years before Buddha. His was quite a different kind of language because he belonged to a different country, a different climate, a different culture, and so it was with Mahavira and Jesus. The difference is one of language alone, and languages differ because of people; otherwise there is no real point of difference between the enlightened ones. Nanak made use of the language prevailing during his lifetime.

Nanak says, "He is the creator." But at once the thought arises: "If He is the creator, and we are the created, that establishes a difference between the two," but Nanak has denied duality in the very beginning, saying that "God is one." It is language that is responsible for all the obstacles, and these will increase as we proceed further into Nanak's words.

The first words uttered by Nanak after samadhi were: "Ek Omkar Satnam."

Now the fact is that the entire Sikh religion is contained in those three words. Everything else is merely an effort to teach you, to help you understand. Nanak's message was complete in these three words. Because it was not possible for ordinary people to understand the message directly, an effort had to be made to expand on it. Explanations are given out of your inability to understand; otherwise Nanak had said all he wanted to convey: "Ek Omkar Satnam." The mantra was complete.

But for you it has no meaning yet. These three words alone cannot solve the mystery for you; then language must be used.

God is the creator. But realize that He does not stand apart from his creation. He is absorbed and one with all that He has created. This is why Nanak never separated the sannyasin from the householder. If the creator was separate from his creation, then you would drop all worldly activities in order to seek Him, abandoning the shop, the office, the marketplace. Nanak did not give up his worldly duties till the very end. As soon as he returned from his travels he would go to work in the fields. All his life he ploughed the fields. He named the village in which he settled, Kartarpur, which means the village of the creator.

God is the creator, but do not think He is separated form His creation. When man sculpts an idol and the idol is completed, the sculptor and the sculpture are no longer one; they are separate. And the sculpture will remain long after the sculptor is dead. If the image fractures, the sculptor is not also broken, because the two are separate. But there is no such distance between God and His creation.

What kind of relationship exists between God and His creation? It is like a dancer with his dance.

When man dances can you separate him from his dance? Can he return home leaving the dance behind? If the dancer dies, the dance dies with him. When the dance stops, he is no longer the dancer. They are united. This is why since ancient times, Hindus have looked upon God as the dancer, "Nataraj." In this symbol the dancer and the dance are one.

The poet is no longer related to his poem, once it is finished. The sculptor is separated from his sculpture as soon as it is completed. A mother gives birth to a child, and they are separate; the father is always distinct from the child. But God is not distinct from His creation; He is contained in it.

It would be more accurate to say: the creator is the creation, or the creator is nothing but creativity.

Discarding all idea of separateness Nanak says there is no need to renounce or run away from the world. Wherever you are, He is. Nanak has given birth to a unique religion in which householder and sannyasin are one. He alone is entitled to call himself a Sikh who, being a householder is yet a sannyasin; who, being a sannyasin is still a householder.

You cannot become a Sikh merely by growing your hair or wearing a turban. It is difficult to be a Sikh. It is easy to be a householder or to be a sannyasin, but to be a Sikh you have to be both.

You have to remain in the house - but as if you are not there, as if you are in the Himalayas. Keep running the shop, but maintain the remembrance of His name ever throbbing within; you can count your cash but take His name along with it.

Before attaining samadhi, Nanak had many small glimpses of God - what we call satori. The first occurred when Nanak was working in a grain shop where his job was to weigh wheat and other grains for the customers. One day as he measured, "One, two, three..." he reached the number thirteen. Now the number thirteen is tera in the Punjabi language. "Tera" also means "yours."

When Nanak reached thirteen, tera, he lost all consciousness of the outside world because he was reminded of his beloved lord.

He would fill a measure and repeat "tera, thine, thou." Again and again he filled it..."tera" - as if all numbers ended at tera. Tera became his mantra. The destination was reached; everything ended at tera for Nanak. People thought him mad and tried to stop him, but Nanak was in a different world altogether: "Tera! Tera! Tera!" He could not move past tera. There was nothing beyond it.

There are really only two halting places; one is I and the other is you. You start with I and finish at you.

Nanak is not against the mundane world. In fact he is in love with it, because to him the world and its creator are one. Love the world and through the world, love God; see Him through His own creation.

When Nanak came of age, his parents told him to get married. Nanak did not refuse, though people feared he would because his ways were so different from others since his childhood. His father was very much troubled on his account. He could never understand Nanak - all these devotional songs and always in the company of holy men.

Once he sent him on a business trip to the adjoining village with twenty rupees to buy some goods for resale at a profit. Since the way of business is to buy cheaply and sell at a higher price, his father told him to buy something which would be profitable. Nanak made a few purchases. On the way back he came across a band of holy men who had not eaten for five days. Nanak pleaded with them to come to his village instead of sitting there expecting food to come to them.

"But that is the vow we have taken," they replied. "God will provide when He pleases. We are happy to abide by His will. Hunger is no problem to us."

Now Nanak thought to himself, "What can be more profitable and worthwhile than feeding these great holy men? I should distribute among them my food I have bought. Didn't my father say to do something profitable and worthwhile?"

So he gave away to the sadhus whatever he had brought from the village, though his companion, Bala, tried to stop him, and said, "Are you mad that you do that?"

Nanak insisted: "I am doing something worthwhile, as my father wished," and returned home very pleased with himself.

His ways were strange and his father was very angry. "What a fool you are. Is this how you make a profit? You will ruin me!"

Nanak answered, "What could be more profitable than this?"

But nobody else could see the profit either, much less Kale Mehta, Nanak's father. He could not see any good in this act. He was certain the boy had gone astray in the company of these holy men and lost his senses. He hoped marriage would make him more reasonable. People generally think that since the sannyasin renounces women and runs away, the way to keep a man in the world is to tie him to a woman. This trick did not work on him because Nanak was not against anything.

When his father told him to get married Nanak readily agreed. He married and had children, but this did not change his ways at all. There was no way to spoil this man, because he saw no difference between God and the world. How can such a person be defiled? If a man leaves wealth behind to become a sannyasin, you can tempt him just by giving him riches. If another has left a wife behind, give him a woman and in no time he falls. But how can you spoil a man who has left nothing? There is no way to bring about his downfall. Nanak cannot be corrupted.

My view of the sannyasin is similar to Nanak's, because he is a formidable sannyasin who cannot be corrupted. He who sits right in your world and yet is not of it can in no way be tempted.

This God Nanak refers to as the creator, the fearless, because fear is when the other is. An expression of Jean Paul Sartre has become famous: "The other is hell." It describes your experience.

How often do you want to escape from the other, as if he is the source of all your trouble? When the other is closer to you, the turbulence is less than when the other is more remote, stranger. But the other is always troublesome.

What is fear? Fear always involves the other: if someone can take something away from you it destroys your security. Then there is death and there is illness - both are the other. Hell is being surrounded by the other; hell is the other.

But how can you escape the other? Should you run away to the Himalayas you will still not be alone.

Sit under a tree; a crow's dropping falls on your head, and you are filled with anger towards the crow. There are the rains and the sun - irritations everywhere. How will you escape the other who is present everywhere? The only way to escape the other is to seek the one; then no other remains.

Then all fear fades away. There is no death, no illness; there are no inconveniences, because there is no other. Finally you are alone. Fear persists as long as the other remains the other for you.

Ek Omkar Satnam. Once this mantra has penetrated your being, where is fear? God has no fear.

Whom should He fear? He is the only one, there is no one besides Him.




Understand that time means change. If nothing changes you will not be aware of time. You cannot tell the time if the hands of the clock do not move. Things are changing constantly: the sun comes out and it is morning; then it is afternoon, then evening. First there is the infant, then the youth, then the old man. A healthy man becomes ill, an ill person becomes healthy; a rich man becomes a pauper, a pauper becomes a king. There is constant change. The river is forever flowing. Change is time.

Time means the distance between two changes.

Just imagine getting up one morning and no events occurring till evening. There are no changes:

the sun stands still, the hands of the clock do not move, the leaves do not wither, you do not grow older - everything is at a standstill. Then how will you know the time? There will be no time.

You are aware of time because you are surrounded by change. For God there is no time because He is eternal, perpetual, immortal. He is forever. For Him nothing is changing; everything is static.

Change is the experience of sightless eyes that do not see things in their full perspective. If we could see things from the furthest vantage point all change drops away, and then time stops; it ceases to exist. For God all things are as they are; nothing changes, everything is static.



He is not born of someone. God has no father, no mother. All who are begotten by the process of procreation enter the world of change. You have to find within your own self the unborn one. This body is born, it will die. It is born by the conjunction of two bodies; it will disintegrate some day. When the bodies that gave birth to it have perished, how can something remain which is a component of the two?

But within this, there is also that which was never born but has nevertheless come with the embryo.

It was there even before the formation of the foetus, and without it the body will one day return to no more than clay. The timeless has penetrated within this body; the body is no more than a piece of clothing to the timeless. That which is beyond time dwells within the time-bound. Only when you attain the timeless being within your own self will you be able to understand Nanak's words. You have to seek within yourself that which never changes, that which is changeless.

If you practice just sitting with your eyes closed, you will be unable to make out within yourself what age you are. You would feel yourself the same inside at the age of fifty as you felt at the age of five - as if time has not passed for the world within you. Close your eyes and you will discover that nothing has changed inside.

What is changeless within is not born through the womb. You have come through your parents, but they are only the path for your coming; they do not bestow life on you. You have passed through them because the requirements of your body were nourished by them, but what has entered into your body has come from beyond. The day you attain the unborn within you, you will know that God has no origin, no source, because God is the entirety; He is the aggregate of all things. God means the totality. How can the totality be born to a particular someone? There is nothing beyond totality for there to be a mother and father, so He is "Never born, self-creating."

The meaning of self-creating is that He exists by Himself and has no support except His own; He is self-begotten and has no origin. The day you glimpse, however briefly, this fact within yourself, you will be rid of all anxieties and worries. Why do you worry? Your worry always arises out of your dependence on things, because any support can be snatched away from you at any moment.

Today you have wealth? It may be gone tomorrow. What will you do then if you consider you are rich because of your wealth, not because of yourself?

A sannyasin is rich by his own right; he is rich because of himself so you cannot rob him of his riches. What will you steal from Buddha or from Nanak? You cannot make them poorer by taking anything from them; you cannot add to their wealth nor subtract from it. Whatever Nanak is derives from being one with the supreme support. You have nothing to lean on.

The supreme being is not a separate entity. God is without support. The day you too are prepared to be without support, your union with God will take place.

This definition of God is not the philosopher's interpretation, but is valid for the seeker so that he may know the characteristics of God. If you want to attain God, you will have to make these characteristics your religious practice. You have to try to be God in a small way. As you gradually begin to become like Him, you will find a rhythm establishing itself and a resonance struck between you and God.



Why does Nanak say "by the guru's grace"? Is not man's own labor enough? It is necessary to understand this very subtle point, because Nanak stresses the guru a great deal. Later Nanak says that without the guru God cannot be attained. What is the reason for this? If God is omnipresent why can't I meet Him directly? What is the need to bring in the guru?

Krishnamurti says there is no need of a guru at all. This idea appeals to the intellect and to reasoning. What need to introduce the guru since I am born of God, as is the guru? Mind does not approve of the guru; so a congregation of egoists revolve around Krishnamurti. What he says is perfectly correct, that there is no need of a guru - provided you are capable of annihilating your ego yourself.

But it is as difficult to drop the ego yourself as it is to lift oneself up by your bootstraps. It is just like a dog trying to catch his tail. The quicker he turns, the further his trail swishes away. If, however, a person is competent enough, then Krishnamurti is absolutely right that no guru is necessary.

But here lie all the complications. No sooner have you somehow conquered your ego then you will say, "I have dropped my ego," and there you introduce a new form of ego even more dangerous than the old. The guru is needed so that this new ego is not born. Even as you say, "By the grace of the guru," you can convey by your behavior: "See how humble I am! No one can be more humble!" And now these new paths are etched out by the ego. Till yesterday you were proud of your wealth; today you are proud of its renunciation and your humility. The rope is burned but the twists remain. How is this arrogance to be destroyed? - hence Nanak's emphasis on the guru.

There is no difficulty in attaining God directly, because He is present right in front of you. Wherever you go, there He is. But the one difficulty is that you stand within yourself, and how will you remove this interfering you? Hence, "THE GURU'S GRACE." The seeker may labor but the attainment will always be by the guru's grace. This concept of the guru's grace will not allow your ego to form. It will destroy the old ego and prevent the new from forming; otherwise, you rid yourself of one ailment and contract another.

A very funny situation has arisen. A crowd of egoists have collected around Krishnamurti, people who do not wish to bow before anyone. They are completely at ease since they don't have to touch anyone's feet; they bow to no one. They firmly believe that the guru is not required, they will arrive by themselves. And this itself is the difficulty.

If there were a person like Nanak or Ramakrishna around Krishnamurti then his message would have been effective, but the crowd around him consists of those very people who are unable to drop their egos - the ones in most urgent need of a guru. This is the ultimate irony: all those around Krishnamurti need a guru. Those who surrounded Nanak were people who could have done without a guru.

Now, you might say this is all a riddle, but it is a fact that those around Nanak would have arrived even without a guru, because they were people ready and eager to accept the guru's gift; they were ready to renounce their own selves. The attainment comes without the guru, but the idea of the guru is effective in destroying the ego so that you are not filled with arrogance for whatever you accomplish. Otherwise you will boast, "I can stand on my head for three hours, and I meditate every morning!"

The wife of a Sikh gentleman once complained to me: "Things are getting out of control. My husband comes to see you, so please advise him."

"What is the matter?" I asked.

"He gets up at two in the morning and begins to recite the japuji. It is impossible for the rest of the family to sleep. If I complain he tells us that we should all get up and chant too! What should we do?"

I called the husband to me. "When do you recite the japuji?" I asked him.

"Early every morning, about two," he replied proudly.

"That is proving to be quite a nuisance to others," I said.

"That is their fault," he said. "They are lazy and indolent! - they should all get up at that time.

Besides, I'm doing them a service by reciting aloud so that the holy words can fall not only on the family's ears but the neighbor's as well."

"Take it easier with your practices," I advised him. "You can get up at four in the future." You have to bring down such a person by degrees, or else it is impossible to bring him down at all.

"Never!" he replied. "I never expected to hear such words from you. Do you want to rob me of my religion?" He couldn't believe his ears.

Now this was his arrogance - that no one could recite the japuji like him. This alone is his obstacle.

You may repeat the japuji all life long, but the real need is to destroy your arrogance.

Therefore Nanak says time and again, "Nothing can be attained by whatever you do, unless you eradicate your own self." This concept of the guru is a priceless alchemical device to annihilate the ego, because whatever you do, you just say, "It is all the grace of the guru." I am doing is the difficulty.

If you can eradicate your I without any help, you do not need a guru. But it is one in a million who can do this; he is the exception for whom we need not make any rules or regulations.

It happens sometimes that some person drops his ego without the help of a guru, but it requires a very deep and profound understanding which you do not have. The understanding should be so deep that you can order your ego to stand before your eyes - and by your mere looking, the ego must drop. Your eyes must be like the eyes of Shiva, through whose very glance the god of love turned to ashes. You should have such awareness. A Buddha, a Krishnamurti, surveys the ego with such intensity that it melts into nothingness. No other feeling then arises in its place; and they are not even aware of having done something, it just happens.

But you are not they. Whatever you do, a voice within constantly repeats : "I have done this, I have done that...." If you sing hymns, you are conscious that you are singing the hymns. If you meditate, the feeling within is: "I am meditating." With your prayer or your worship your ego is replenished and recreated every moment.

Let us leave these one-in-a-million exceptions aside, because they are bound to attain. For the millions of others there is only one way: whatever they do, whatever practice or ritual or repetition, the feeling should be that whatever results is due to the guru's grace.

He was truth before the ages began and as time ran its course.

Nanak says, Now is He truth eternal, and forever will He be.

There is a very old saying in India that during the sat yuga, the age of truth, the guru was not needed much, but in kali yuga, the age of darkness, which began about five years ago, the guru will be a necessity. What is the reason? The Sat Yuga was the period when people were very alert, full of awareness. In the Kali Yuga people are insensitive, slumbering, almost unconscious.

Therefore the religions of Buddha or Mahavira born in the Sat Yuga, are not of as much use in today's world as the religion of Nanak. Nanak's religion is the newest, though it too is now five hundred years old. We need another new religion, because those who heard Mahavira and Buddha were relatively more alert than us; they were also wiser, simpler and more artless. And even further back, the people who listened to Krishna were even more aware and alert.

As we move backward we find more innocence... just as when a person recounts his life backwards, he arrives at the period of his childhood. In infancy he is simple and innocent; in youth he begins to become complicated. It is difficult to conquer an old man filled with wisdom. He knows nothing and yet he feels he knows everything. He has been thrown about by life. Through his suffering he feels he is very experienced; he has gathered trash and he thinks he has collected diamonds.

The child is simple, innocent; he is the symbol of Sat Yuga. The old man is highly complicated, and his insensitivity increases day by day as death is drawing near - he is the symbol of Kali Yuga. The child's consciousness is very fresh because the fountain of life is very close to him. He is like a wave just arisen from God. The old man is dirty, weighted down by dust, and about to fall back into God.

The child is a fresh bud; the old man is a withered flower whose life breath is just about spent.

Kali Yuga means that period where the end is near. Life is now old. In Kali Yuga you cannot, under any circumstances, do without the guru because you will be constantly filled with ego. When each little thing that you do fills you with ego, how will you not be filled with arrogance when you do your spiritual practice? If you build a small house and pride yourself on it, fill your treasure chest and your conceit will know no bounds; and when you start on the quest for the supreme treasure your self-importance and vanity will be unfathomable.

Notice the contemptuous look of the man who goes to the temple or to the mosque towards those who do not. His eyes tell you: You sinners will rot and burn in hellfire! Look at me! I pray every day and I am saved." He recites, "Ram, Ram," and thinks the gates of heaven are open for him and all others will go to hell.

The greater your insensitivity, the more somnolent you are, the greater your need for a guru.

Understand that. If you are fast asleep, how can you awaken yourself? Someone else will have to shake you. Even then the chances are that you will roll over and fall back asleep again.



This is the definition of satya, truth, and asatya, untruth. "Asatya" is that which never was, which now is, but again will fade into nothingness. It means that which is nonexistent at both ends and exists only in the middle. Take dreams for example: during the night as you slept, dreams existed; in the morning when you awake the dream is lost and then you say that dreams are untrue.

Once in the past your body did not exist, and one day again it will cease to be. Thus body is a falsity.

Anger comes; a moment before it was not there, and after a while it shall again not be there. Anger is like a dream because it is not truth. Only that is true which is forever. If you can only grasp this thought and allow it to penetrate you deeply, your life will undergo a transformation. Don't be taken by things that are not. Seek only what is unchanging and unmoving.

Who it is within you who never changes, look only for him. All changes occur around him like the shaft of the wheel: it never moves but the wheel revolves around it and because of it. If you remove the shaft the wheel falls. All changes that take place occur around the eternal; the hub of the soul is static, while the wheel of the body revolves around it. No sooner does the hub disintegrate than the wheel falls apart.

Nanak says that God alone is the truth, that one alone, because He was beyond all beginning of things. He still is; He always will be; He is forever. All else is a dream. Let these words penetrate deep within you.

When anger comes or hatred or greed, repeat these words to yourself. Let it remind you of what is real, what is true. Remember, what wasn't before but which now is, can only be a dream and will fade away. There is no need to become too involved in it, but maintain the attitude of the witness.

Gradually, all that was useless will fall away from you on its own because your connection with it has broken; and that which is useful, meaningful, will begin to take root within you. The eternal has begun to arise, the world has begun to fade away.




This is a very valuable sutra. It is the quintessence of Nanak's teachings. With all our thinking we cannot think of God. We think a million times, yet we cannot think about Him. Nobody has ever arrived at Him by thought; in fact we have lost Him through excessive thinking. The more we think, the more we lose ourselves in thought.

God is not a concept, not a thought. He is not the settlement of an argument, not an outcome of the mind. God is truth. Thinking isn't relevant - you have to see. By thinking you will only wander. You have to open your eyes, but if they are filled with thoughts and concepts, they will remain sightless.

Only eyes without thoughts enable you to see.

It requires what Zen masters call no-mind, which Kabir names the unmani state, the state of no- mind. Buddha refers to it as the dissolution of the mind and Patanjali named it nirvilkalpa samadhi, the samadhi without thoughts. They are all describing the same state in which all doubts and debates end. This is what Nanak is referring to.

We cannot think of God even with infinite thoughts, although we think a million times. By keeping quiet we cannot attain this silence, although we can remain in continuous meditation. Why is it that with all our thoughts we are not able to conceive of Him? Why is it that we cannot attain silence by effort?

You will find that the harder you try, the more impossible it is to become silent. Certain things cannot be attained by effort. Sleep cannot be brought about by effort; the harder you try, the more difficult it becomes. The essence of sleep is the absence of all effort, then only does sleep come. Effort keeps you awake, but stretch out on the bed completely relaxed with all activities suspended and sleep comes. Similarly, how can you make yourself silent? You may force yourself to remain seated in a buddhalike posture while the mind keeps boiling within.

Nanak was a guest of a Mohammedan nabob. For Nanak there were no Hindus and no Mohammedans; the sage observes no sectarian boundaries. The nabob said to Nanak, "If you really mean what you say - that there is no Hindu, no Mohammedan - then come along with us to the mosque. Since today is Friday, let us pray together."

Nanak readily agreed, but he insisted, "I shall offer prayers only if you also pray." The nabob replied, "What a strange condition to set! That is exactly why I am going."

The news spread like wildfire through the village. Everyone gathered at the mosque. The Hindus were greatly upset, and the members of Nanak's family were particularly abusive; everyone thought Nanak was becoming a Mohammedan. In such a way do people burden others with their own fears.

Nanak reached the mosque and the prayers were begun. The nabob was very annoyed with Nanak because, whenever he turned around to look, he found Nanak still erect, neither bowing now offering prayers, but just standing like a statue. The nabob raced through his prayers as quickly as possible, because how can a person pray when he is angry? Finally he turned to Nanak and said, "You are a fraud. You are neither saint nor seeker! You promised to pray but you never did."

Nanak said, "I did promise, but have you forgotten the conditions? I said I would pray provided you also prayed. But you didn't, so how could I pray?"

"What are you saying? Are you in your right senses? There are so many witnesses here; everyone saw me offering prayers!"

"I can't believe these other witnesses because I was looking within you all the time. You were buying horses in Kabul."

The nabob was taken aback because that was exactly what he was doing. His favorite horse had died just that morning and he was still strongly affected by the loss of such a fine animal. His mind was preoccupied with how to reach Kabul as early as possible to buy another thoroughbred. To him a horse was a symbol of status and honor.

"And the priest who led the prayers," continued Nanak, "was busy gathering the harvest in his fields."

The priest admitted that he was worried about his harvest that was ready to be reaped. "Now please tell me, did you offer your prayers so that I could offer mine?"

You force yourself to pray, you force yourself to worship, to meditate - it is all meaningless. By bending the body into certain postures you cannot force the mind to follow suit. The cacophony of the mind continues, and in fact it becomes louder and more intense. When the body was engaged in some activity the energy was divided. Now when the body sits absolutely inactive, all the energy flows to the mind and the thoughts spin at even greater speed!

This is why when people sit to meditate, the mind becomes more and more active... a real avalanche of thoughts cascading one upon the other! You sit to worship, but the marketplace still grips your thoughts. You go to the temple and ring the bells, but the mind races in other directions. Normally the mind is not so restless. You go to see a film and the mind is quiet and you feel at peace, but no sooner do you enter the temple or mosque or church it becomes its most restive. What is the reason? The theater is linked to your desires. In the movies all the things that you are filled with are brought out, all the rubbish, all the trash. It strikes a chord within you. In the temple what you hear touches nothing within, and hence the confusion.

Nanak is saying that by enforcing silence you will gain nothing, because you cannot attain that silence. Even if you remain in constant meditation, nothing is going to happen. The hunger cannot be appeased even by a mountain of bread, because this is not a hunger that can be appeased by bread. The hunger for meditation, the hunger for God, is not an ordinary hunger. Nothing of the world can appease it. This thirst is unique. It can only be quenched if God Himself descends on the seeker.

How can we become authentic, true? How can the veil of falsehood be destroyed? The answer, says Nanak, is to follow when God orders, according to His wish alone. Everything should be left in His hands; everything should be left to His will, to His design, and that alone will help.



Nothing will happen by your doing. Whatever you do, it will be your doing. Even when you tell a truth, because it arises out of your false personality, it will be a falsehood. From where can you utter truth when you are absolutely false?

Nanak was a guest of Lalu, a poor carpenter. The rich landlord of the village was performing a religious sacrifice to which he had invited the whole village. He sent a special invitation to Nanak.

When Nanak did not appear the landlord himself came to bring him along.

He said, "How can you refuse to come to my mansion and partake in such a feast? Everything is of the best and purest ingredients, and it is specially prepared by brahmins who have first bathed and performed their rituals. Can you refuse this food cooked with the water of the Ganges and prefer the meager meal of this lowly carpenter who is not even a brahmin?"

Nanak said, "If you insist, I will go with you," but he asked Lalu to follow him and bring his food.

It is said - and this is a symbolic story - that Nanak took Lalu's dry bread and squeezed. A stream of milk poured forth. With the other hand he squeezed the landlord's bread and a stream of blood came out.

Nanak said to the landlord, "You cannot hide your impurity. Whether you have your food cooked by brahmins, whether you clean each grain with the Ganges water, it makes no difference. Your whole life is one long tale of exploitation, deceit, theft and lies. Blood is hidden in every bite of your bread."

Whether blood actually came out of the bread or not is inconsequential, but the story deals with truth. Only if you are true in your very being, can you be truth. Otherwise who can remedy it?

Nanak says nothing will happen by your doing. You are dishonest, so dishonesty will creep into your truth also. Your truths will somehow be made to serve your dishonesty, and in such a way that it harms others. You will look for such truths that will pierce another person's heart. Before you harmed the world with your lies, now you harm the world with your truths. Whatever you do will be wrong if you are wrong.

What is the cure? Nanak says the only remedy is to leave everything to God: His will be done. Await His pleasure. Live the way He wants you to. Be whatever He wants you to. Go wherever He takes you. Let His command be your one and only spiritual practice. Brush aside hopes and desires, and fill yourself with wonder and gratitude. If He has brought you sorrow there must be a reason behind it, some meaning, some mystery. Do not complain but be filled with gratitude: "Come joy, come sorrow, keep me as Your will!" If He has kept you poor, welcome poverty; if He has made you rich, be grateful. In happiness or in sorrow let one tune play incessantly within you.: "I am happy the way You keep me. Your command is my life."

Suddenly you will find yourself tranquil. What did not happen through a thousand meditations begins merely by leaving all to His will; and it is bound to happen, because now there is no cause to worry.

What do you mean by "worry"? Worry arises whenever things are not happening as you wished them. Your son lies dying; that should not happen, is your worry. You have gone bankrupt; this should not be is the anxiety. You are trying to impose your will on existence. Things should not have happened as they have happened, and things should not be happening as they are happening: this is your anxiety, and then you suffer because of it.

With all these troubles plaguing you, you sit down to meditate. What can you do but go on reaping your harvest or buying a horse in Kabul! Your anxieties infiltrate and take over your meditation. Then how can you possibly become tranquil? There is only one formula for this: Accept whatever is. If you grasp it, you have understood the entire quest of the East from Lao-Tzu to Nanak.

The ancient name for this is fate or destiny. The words have been spoiled as all words are through long usage, because the wrong kind of people use them and hence attribute wrong meanings. Now to insult someone as irresponsible or old-fashioned you accuse him of believing in fate. Nanak says, By submission to the divine order which is preordained. Everything should be left in His hands; everything should be left to His will, to His design, and that alone will help.

Think, take a chance, experiment a little; live as He wishes you to. Haven't you tried hard enough?

Are you any better off than you were? You are perhaps more deformed, but certainly no better than what He made you. You have not even preserved, the innocence and simplicity that were yours in infancy. You have filled to capacity the book of your life with your scribbling. It stands spoiled, defiled, and what have you gained besides suffering, pain, tension and remorse?

Try to listen to Nanak's words and act on them for a few days. "Leave all unto Him," Nanak says - no prayers, no mantra, no penance, no meditation, no resolutions. There is only one spiritual practice - His wish. As soon as the thought is nourished deeply within you that all happens at His command, an intense peace, a gentle shower inside washes away all tension, all anxiety.

The West is filled with anxiety and tension. It is much more prevalent than in the East in spite of the East's backwardness, its poor and its diseased; there is not enough to eat or to cover the body, nor even a roof over everyone's head. The West has everything, and yet it is filled with such tension and anxiety that large numbers of people are on the verge of breaking down or require tranquilizers.

What is the reason? It is clear. The West has tried to force its own will on existence. The West has tried to have its own way. Western man has faith only in himself: We shall do everything for ourselves. There is no God! And he has done a great deal, but the man in him is almost lost as he is turning schizophrenic. He has performed wonders outside, but within himself everything has become sick and diseased.

If this verse penetrates you, nothing remains to be done. Just let things happen by themselves Do not swim, float. Do no fight with the river because it is not your enemy but your friend. Float! By fighting, you create enmity; when you swim against the current, the river opposes you. It is not the river but you who introduces the struggle. The river flows along its course; it is not even aware of you. Of your own will you begin swimming against the tide. You are asserting your will by going in the opposite direction, and that means you are nourishing and strengthening your ego.

His wish... and you become one with the current. Now wherever the river takes you is your destination. Wherever it takes you is the shore. If it drowns you, that is your destination. Then where is the anxiety, then where is the pain? You have cut off the very roots of suffering. What Nanak says is invaluable - that all be left to God's will and command. Only by following the path he has etched out for you can everything happen.

Nanak has closed all doors on the ego: first, by emphasizing the guru's grace - that whatever you attain through your effort is attained only by the guru's grace - and then, that whatever happens, wherever the current of life takes you, is by His command. Then nothing remains to be done. Then it will not be long before you realize that:




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