Some Other Ganges

Fri, 24 November 1974 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Osho - The True Name, Vol 1
Chapter #:
am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
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Suddenly one night Nanak left his house and disappeared. Nobody knew where he had gone. They searched all the temples and dwellings of sadhus where he was likely to be, but he was nowhere to be found. Someone said he had been seen going towards the cremation ground, but nobody could believe it. No one ever goes to the burial ground of his own will. Even the dead man does not want to be there, so the question of a living person going voluntarily seemed impossible. But when Nanak was nowhere to be found, as a last resort they had to look for him there. They found him sitting before a fire deep in meditation.

His people shook him and said, "Are you out of your mind sitting here at this hour, leaving your wife and children behind? Don't you know where you are? This is the cremation ground."

Nanak replied, "He who comes here has already died; death is no longer ahead. What you call your house is where you will die in due course. Then which one is to be feared? Is it where people die or where people never die? Besides, if some day you have to come here, it is most unseemly to come riding on four people's shoulders; therefore I came myself."

This incident is very significant. Nanak has no quarrel with what has to be. He accepts all that is.

Death is to be. Death is welcome. Why trouble others? It is better to come on one's own. But we are always opposed to what will be. Our desire is for it to be different, but Nanak has no such desire. All is His wish! If He wills that Nanak should die, he accepts His wish.

That night, however, people persuaded him to come home. After he returned Nanak was never the same again; something within him had died and something new had been born. It is only by dying completely within that the new birth takes place. In the process of birth you have to go through the burning grounds, and he who passes through the burning ghats knowingly, voluntarily, attains a new birth. This is not the birth of a new body; it is the unfolding of a new consciousness.

You are full of fear; and where there is fear there can be no connection with God. All your prayers and worship are because you are afraid - not out of love for God. You visit the holy places, bathe in the holy rivers, perform sacred rites and worship - all out of fear. Your religion is the medicine of your fear; it is not a celebration of joy. You do all this to protect yourself. These are the precautions you take for your well-being. Just as you amass wealth, build a house, have a bank balance, take out an insurance policy, in the same manner God is also your insurance policy.

And who has ever arrived through fear? Fear is a way of separating; love is a way of integrating.

Fear creates distance; love brings closeness. Fear and love never meet. When fear is completely gone, only then does love arise. As long as fear prevails you can only hate. Though you may cover and decorate your hatred you cannot love.

How can you love one whom you fear? You fight the one you fear; you can never surrender to him.

And even if you surrender, it will only be a new device for battle; futilely you hope to be rid of fear this way.



People go to holy places and bathe in the holy waters, not as an act of joy but in the desire to be rid of sins. It is believed that by bathing in the Ganges all sins are carried away by the waters of the river. Now why should the Ganges wash your sins? How is it involved in your evil deeds? Besides, your sins come not from the body but from the mind. How can the Ganges wash your mind? At most it can clean your body and remove its dust and dirt; it cannot cleanse the dirt of your mind.

The Ganges is all right for washing your body, but not as a means of washing your soul. You will have to look for some other Ganges. There is an old story which says: One Ganges flows on earth, one flows in heaven. You will have to find the Ganges of heaven. The earthly Ganges can only touch the body, which is also of the earth. The Ganges of heaven will touch your soul and wash it. How is one to find the heavenly Ganges? Where is one to look for it?

These sutras direct you to the Ganges of heaven:


That He should be pleased with you is as good as bathing in the heavenly Ganges. "Attaining His pleasure" is a very deep and profound saying. Try to understand it. You will gain His pleasure only when you do not stand against Him. You will gain His pleasure only when you have completely dissolved yourself in Him, when your sense of being the doer is completely annihilated. He is the doer, you are only a means; and that is enough to please Him!

Right now however, there is a constant strain within you: I am the doer... I am the doer.... When praying it is you who prays; while bathing in the holy waters it is you who bathes; when you do charity, again it is you. Everything goes to waste: your bath, your charity, your worship. All is in vain, and all because of your sense of doership. Until now you have been thinking only in terms of myself, mine.

There is only one difference between a religious person and a nonreligious person: for a religious person he is the doer; for a nonreligious person I am the doer. Everything happens through Him - this attitude endears you to Him, because this attitude is religion. You stand with your back towards Him by your own will. It is your sense of doing that turns you away from God. The moment you give up this attitude you will stand face to face with Him, and all opposition ceases.

What are your performances that you are so proud of? Neither birth nor death nor life itself is the outcome of your actions. Everything is done by Him, but somehow you acquire this attitude of the doer. And with your sense of doing, when you commit sin it is sin; and even when you perform good deeds they too become sin. Remember! You are in the wrong. It is the sense of being the doer that is sinful! And nondoership is virtue! All good deeds become sinful if the sense of doership persists.

Then whether you build temples, perform worship, observe vows, observe fasts, go to holy places - to Mecca or Kashi - all goes to waste.

The more you say I have done, the more you add to your sins. So sin relates not to the act but to the attitude. Any act performed in the attitude of nondoing cannot be sinful. But if your attitude is that of nondoing, all acts are sins.

In the Gita this is exactly what Krishna exhorts Arjuna to do. He tells him to abandon all sense of being the doer, to do only what God is doing through you. Let His will be done; don't put yourself in between. Make no decisions by yourself. Do not think: What is right? What is wrong? How can you know what is right or wrong? What is the scope of your vision? What is the strength of your understanding? What is your experience? How much consciousness do you have? Don't try to see with your small lamp of consciousness when it cannot see more than four feet ahead - whereas life spreads into infinite space. Do what He makes you do; be a medium only. Just as the flute allows the flute player to play his tune, give way to Him to act through you.

He who becomes His implement becomes His beloved. He who remains a doer becomes His foe; however, His love flows all the same, because it is unconditional. It makes no difference who you are, His love pours on everyone all the time. It is you who are unable to accept His love. Similarly, an upright pot gets filled with rain water, but if it is kept upside-down it will not fill. The rain pours all the same, because it is unconditional. It does not say: If you do this, or be like this, then only shall I rain on you.

This is important to understand, since, hearing Nanak's words, many people thought that "If I become this way He will love me." No, this is wrong! His love and benediction pour forever. If it were not so, what is the difference between temporal love and divine love? The very bane of human love is: If you do this I shall love you. If you become like this I shall love you. I shall love you only if you fulfill my conditions. This is what the father says to the son, the wife to the husband, the friend to a friend.

Nanak refers to an experience beyond worldly love. His love rains forever. If you fulfill the conditions you will be filled like the upright pot. Filled to the brim, you will overflow with His love and everyone around will receive the overflow.

The guru is one whose vessel is so filled with God's love that he can contain no more. As he begins to overflow other vessels are filled through him. The guru means one whose wants are all fulfilled, since all desires have died, and longing is silenced. His vessel is so full that now he is capable of giving. And what can he do but give? When the cloud is saturated it must rain. Then only can it become light. The flower saturated with fragrance must give it up to the winds.

In the same way, when your vessel is filled with His love, it will shower all around you. There is no end to His grace. Once you know that you will fill merely by keeping your vessel upright, the grace from above never ceases to pour. Then no matter how much you give out your vessel is always brimming. So remember, Nanak is addressing you when he says he has succeeded in winning His love by bathing in all the holy rivers.

Know that He lives! Otherwise how could you exist? Had He not wanted you to be even for a moment, you would have disappeared long ago. He resides in every one of your breaths. It is He throbbing within your heart. Existence has loved you, desired you, made you. It does not matter what you are like; it is still giving you life. You are already the loved one. But you turn your back to Him, afraid of His love. You run away and hide just when He wishes to fill your being. When Nanak speaks of winning His love he means to become upright, stand facing Him, and shed all fear.

It is only out of fear that you overturned your vessel, fear that it may be filled with something unwanted or wrong. It is out of fear you have closed all doors: for fear of thieves, for fear of enemies.

Out of fear you have closed your heart on all sides. When you close your doors thieves cannot get in, but then the beloved cannot enter! For the door is only one, either for the thief or the lover.

Avoiding the thief, remember, you have shut the door to the beloved too! And what is this life without the beloved?

You are so afraid of something entering that you have covered the opening and then cry that you are empty. You complain that no visitor ever comes to your house, no one ever knocks at your door, but it's your fear that has turned you away from your God.

It is interesting that your religions are only an expansion of your fears. Your so-called gods are concepts born of your own fears, and out of fear you have accepted them. You are afraid of doubting and so you raise no question, but real faith is not within you. If you are a believer out of fear, then faith is only superficial and doubt lurks within. How then can you meet the most mysterious, the most profound?

Mulla Nasruddin stood for election. He got only three votes: one his own, the second from his wife and a third from a stranger. When his wife heard this she cornered him: "So who is she?"

What lies hidden within surges up on the slightest pretext; it does not take long for superficial faith and love to break down. Any slight happening and doubt raises its head; a thorn pricks and you begin to doubt Him, your head aches and your faith is gone; you lose your job and your love for God flies out of the window.

When the hidden doubt bursts out it is like an ulcerated boil; a slight knock and pus begins to flow.

You may try to cover it with the ointment and plaster of faith, but it serves no purpose. Who is there to cheat? You can't even fool yourself, because you know very well that your faith is because of your fear, and you are filled with internal doubts.

You may bathe in the holy places or pray in the temple, church or gurudwara, but to no avail; unless the note of faith and trust arises within, you have not really called Him. Also, when you go out of fear, you are bound to ask for something; fear always begs. If you get what you ask for you are satisfied; if not, the doubt becomes more intense. You are forever asking. Faith is only a form of thanks:

"Already You have given too much. Your grace, Your compassion is so great." Faith is always filled with gratitude; and gratitude dispels all sign of doubt. Where there are demands, doubt is lurking.

The demands are a form of test.

There is a story in the life of Jesus. After he performed the excruciating forty-day ordeal, Satan appeared to him and said, "Since it is said in the scriptures that when a prophet is born God always protects him, if you are really the Son of God jump from this mountain and He will save you!"

Jesus said, "That is correct, but the scriptures also say that only those who doubt test Him. I have no doubts. I am sure that the angels are standing there to protect me. I am thoroughly convinced.

Had I the slightest doubt that perhaps they are not there, or that perhaps I am not the Son of God, then I would have tested Him."

As soon as there is doubt, the question of trial and investigation comes in and you make your demands. Your conditions are: "Fulfill my desire if You exist. If it is fulfilled then You are; if not, You are not." The faithful one makes no demands, makes no tests. Being always filled with gratitude, he never asks favors. The day you stop your demands, your fear will cease. As you are filled with gratitude, the demands will lessen and you will feel your face turning Godward, straightening your vessel. And as your vessel becomes upright, drops of His grace will begin to fall in it and fear will vanish. Then you will find He is always pouring and you were unnecessarily frightened. Then you will open your doors wide because you know that even in the form of the thief, it is only He; in the form of the cheat, it is He. And until you begin to see Him in all, you will not be able to see Him at all.


If He does not like me, my bathing and adorning will only strengthen my ego. Have you ever seen a man returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca? He becomes the picture of arrogance. Had he really gone on a pilgrimage he would have returned a more humble person, a changed man who left his ego behind; but the reverse happens - he expects a loud welcome with great applause, and wants people to touch his feet and praise his action.

Even when you perform good deeds, you only want to fill your ego. You fast so that you may be feted. You secretly desire that bands should be playing and far and wide it should be known how much you have fasted. And as the ego gets stronger, you turn further and further away from Him.

The more you are, the more you stand with your back to Him. Understand that equation: the less you are, the more you are turned in His direction. And when you are completely not, He stands before you. Then the thief who enters is also Him and all fears vanish, because He is everywhere.




Whatever He has created and whatever is visible, nothing is attained without actions. Nothing is attained in this world without actions. This causes the illusion that we have to labor, to strive, in order to attain to God. Understand that although everything in this world is attained through labor, love is not attained thus - nor is prayer, nor worship, nor faith nor proximity to God.

Why? Because actions make the ego stronger. If you want to gain wealth, you will have to work hard. If you want to be known in this world you cannot afford to sit doing nothing. You will have to run about, plot and plan for or against others; you will have to carry many anxieties. Since effort, labor and work are the only ways to achieve anything in this temporal world, it is but natural for us to think it must require even more effort to reach the all-embracing, vast existence! And this is where we go wrong. The rules of that realm are entirely opposite to the rules of this world. To attain anything of this world, we need to have our backs towards God.

Understand that the more we ignore His support the more effort we have to make, because then we have to do what normally He would have done for us. We have to substitute our labor for His.

To go out into this world is to turn your back towards Him. His help is less, the flow of nectar is no more; although it keeps flowing, we do not receive it because our doors are closed in our desire to be self-reliant, to be in charge.

Thus, Nanak says again and again: "He is the Master; I am the slave." The very endeavor to be self-reliant is because of the ego. The more we feel: "I shall do it," the more we deny the support of His power. It is like a man trying to row his boat against the wind. Nanak has given us the secret.

Why use the oars at all? Go wherever the winds take you.

And Ramakrishna said the same: Why do you row the boat? Why do you not float along with the current? Open your sails and relax! The winds will themselves take you to the shore. You have to keep an eye on the right moment and the right direction - that is all. Do not go against the wind.

If the wind is blowing towards the other shore, open your sails; if the wind is blowing towards this shore, then too, open your sails. Do not labor unnecessarily.

If you go against the wind or the flow of the river, you will have to struggle, and what will be the outcome? You will never arrive, you will only get tired. Observe the face of a worldly man after a whole life's labor - nothing but signs of fatigue. People are dead long before they die, so that at life's end they hanker for rest - at any cost! Why do you tire yourself so?

When man gets old he becomes ugly. The animals of the jungle do not become ugly but remain as beautiful as when young. So also the trees; though some are a thousand years old and near death, there is not a grain of difference in their beauty. With each year they grow a little more, and more and more people can rest under their shade. Their beauty increases with every year, and the pleasure of sitting under an old spreading tree is so much more than under a younger tree which has had so much less experience.

God knows how many seasons the old tree has seen, how many monsoons, how many springs, how many summers and winters; how many people rested under its shade; how much life passed under it, and the winds and the clouds that passed overhead; and how many sunrises and moonrises it must have witnessed, and how many dark, moonless nights. All is contained within it. To sit next to an old tree is to sit next to history. A profound tradition has flowed through it.

The Buddhists are still trying to save the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. The unique event that took place under its branches is still contained within its experience. It still throbs with its vibrations; the rays of the light of the supreme knowledge that Buddha attained are still contained in its memory. To sit under it is to feel a peace you have never felt before. Having known infinite peace, it allows you to share in its experience.

Old trees become more beautiful. Old lions become yet more majestic, because in the young there is still a kind of excitement, impatience, and longing that have become quiescent in the old. Man becomes ugly because he gets tired. The trees do not fight existence; they keep their sails wide open, and they are happy wherever the wind takes them. You are fighting existence; therefore you break. You become old and decrepit because your life is one long struggle.

All that is achieved in the object-world is attained through hard labor and toil, but you need no action to attain God. You need no worship, no prayer, nor yoga, nor austerities, nor the repetition of some mantra. He cannot be attained by deeds - but only through love! The direction of love and the direction of deeds are very different from each other.

Love is an emotion. Love is the only thing in life that never gets tired, because love is no work, no deed. The more you love, the more proficient you become at loving. As your experience of love deepens, you find your capacity to love also increases. Love keeps expanding. In the flood of love it is always high tide, never low. Love always ascends, higher and higher; there is no descent.

But love is a divine gift - not the fruit of your labor. In the right perspective love is your resting place; therefore, you always find yourself fresh when in love. You are calm, composed and relaxed. This is also true in what we ordinarily know as love. When you are in love with someone, beside him, all fatigue leaves you; you feel light and fresh. You are filled with cheer; all the dust of toil is shaken off.

Now imagine the condition of divine love! The day His love is born within you, what effort, what fatigue remains? God is attained not by labor but through His grace. Nanak speaks of the guru's gift. You cannot have a direct relationship with Him, your eyes are not ready as yet. In order to look at the sun you have to start with a lamp. Concentrating on the flame of the lamp, you go on to a bigger flame, then to a yet more powerful light. Only gradually do you concentrate on the sun itself; or else, with your ordinary sight, the sun will make you blind.

The vessel has to be kept straight. First, it should be turned towards the guru, who is the preparation.

When you are ready to be filled with the guru, when you become thrilled and happy and all your fears have left you, only then can you open towards God. A direct opening towards God can be dangerous, because you may not be able to contain Him. To bring the goddess Ganges down from Heaven you need a Bhagiratha, the king who achieved it through his penance. You will not be able to hold her up, since a small puddle is enough to drown you - as you are now.

Nanak lays so much stress on the guru, and this is solely because the guru prepares you. As you become more and more capable of learning directly what flows from the guru, you will become a Bhagiratha. Then you too will be capable of supporting the heavenly Ganges.

If God is attained but not through actions, then how is He attained? Nanak answers:


It is very difficult to listen to even one teaching of the guru since you cannot hear anything with your present being. It requires a complete transformation of your life. For the guru's teachings you have to be eager and look up towards him, you have to learn the art of being quiet and serene in his presence. You must learn to leave your head behind at home, because if you bring it along with you, you will not be able to hear. Even if the guru teaches, your head will draw different meanings. You will be told one thing, you will hear another. Having come empty-handed, you will leave empty-handed.

The guru's teachings cannot be learned through the head, but heard through the heart. He has to be listened to with total faith. When the guru teaches, if you are thinking he is right or he is wrong, you are still sitting in the classroom and not yet in a gathering of seekers.

Coming to the guru means: I am tired of judging right and wrong. Now I can judge no more. It means: I am tired of thinking, I can think no more. It means: I am sick and tired of myself and I want to give myself up. In short, this is what is called faith.

You come to the guru only when you are completely tired of yourself. If you still think yourself to be very intelligent, there is no point in coming to the guru because you are still your own guru. You still need to wander a bit more, bear more hardships, incur more pain through doubts and indecisions. It is no use coming when you are still raw. More pain and suffering are needed to ripen you. The day that you are completely fed up with yourself, then go to the guru.

People often go to the guru when they are not yet ready; they still believe in their own selves. Thus whatever the guru says they sit and weigh his words, judging the right and wrong. What suits them they will believe; what does not they will not believe. In that case, you are obeying your own self and not the guru.

You cannot look upon this as faith, or call it surrender because you have changed nothing. There is only one secret in going to the guru: leave your self behind and go. Then whatever the guru says is right; there is nothing for you to decide. Only then can you hear his teachings, with the entire heart - then only can you learn. He who has heard the guru's teachings becomes a sikh.

The word sikh is a beautiful word, coined from the Sanskrit word for student. He who is ready to learn is a Sikh. He who is ready to listen to the teachings is a Sikh. But he who is still full of ego and not prepared to listen is not a Sikh. To put on the turban and adopt all the outward signs of a Sikh does not make you a Sikh, because to become a Sikh is an emotional happening.

Nanak says:


By hearing a thousand things, nothing happens; by hearing just one, everything happens. And no matter how much yOU hear, nothing whatsoever happens. And no matter how much you have read, it brings no change within you - and the reason is clear: you have not heard from where you should have heard.

There are two ways to listen: with the intellect or with the heart. When the intellect listens, there is always a dichotomy: it thinks in terms of right/wrong, correct/incorrect, believable/unbelievable. The intellect never goes beyond the ego. It looks upon the heart as insane and never trusts it. The heart has almost been smothered because it cannot be trusted. You never know when it might make you do things you'd have to pay for later.

You are going along a street, you see a hungry man, and the heart says:"Give him something." The mind says: "Wait. First find out if he is a genuine case. He might be a fake out to deceive you.

Besides, he seems fit enough to work, so why doesn't he?" The intellect will tell you a thousand things but if even one emotion arises in the heart the intellect suppresses it.

If love arises in the heart, the mind says, "That's a dangerous path. Love is blind and has ruined many. Open your eyes and gather your wits about you. The path of love is a footpath wandering into forests and glens: the path of intellect is like the royal path, wide and clear. Where are you going?

Don't lose the main road. Go along with the crowd, because it is always better to go where others are and dangerous to go on one's own."

Love is the path that has to be trod alone; it needs privacy, seclusion, solitude. Love says: "Give!"

The intellect says:"Wait! Make inquiries before you give." But then you never will give. Love says:"Surrender! Rest your head on someone's feet and forget about yourself." The mind asks:"How can that be? The world is full of deceit. God knows how many have taken advantage of gullible people!"

But what have you that anyone can take away from you? What is it that you will lose by giving?

There is nothing but misery and miserliness inside you, yet you protect and preserve it with all your might.

If you live according to the dictates of your mind, your heart will gradually contract and break. There is such a distance created between you and your heart that no news of the heart reaches you. When the mind stands in between, then even if you love, you love with your mind.

Have you noticed that your love also comes from the head? Even if you say you love with all your heart, these words are but inventions of your mind. If you search your heart there is not the slightest stir there; there is no thrill, no dance, no song within you.

The guru's teachings can only be heard with the heart. When Kabir said, "If you can cut off your head and put it on the ground, come with me," which head was he talking about?

Bodhidharma, the Buddhist master, went to China. He sat facing a wall and said, "I will only turn my face when the true disciple comes. Why should I talk to anyone else? It is as useless as talking to the walls!"

And one day a man came by the name of Hui Neng. He stood silently behind Bodhidharma for twenty-four hours. Finally he said, "Bodhidharma, please turn this way," but Bodhidharma did not move. Hui Neng cut off his right arm and placed it before Bodhidharma, saying, "If you still persist, I shall cut off my head and put it before you."

Bodhidharma said, "Of what use would that be? Are you really prepared to cut off your head?"

Hui Neng said, "Yes, I am prepared for whatever you wish."

That was the first time Bodhidharma turned his face towards somebody; Hui Neng received this honor. When Bodhidharma had asked if he was ready to lay down his head, he was not talking of the head on his shoulders; he was talking of the ego. As long as there is an I am or I am the judge, you cannot be the disciple; you cannot hear the guru's words.


His mind attains to such a cleanliness, such a transparency that he begins to see through things.

Thoughts vanish, because they are not of the heart. As intellect is pushed away and its fog clears, what remains is a purity that is crystal clear, a freshness. It is this cleansing that is referred to as "bathing in the Ganges."

When Nanak speaks of bathing in the sacred rivers, it is an internal bath where the understanding becomes clear, where you think no longer, where the head is put aside. The head is a borrowed affair given to you by this world. When you were born the heart already was, but there were no thoughts - only innocence. One by one you were given words and society began conditioning your thinking to prepare you for what is necessary in the world. It gave you your mind. It had to crush anything that endangered the society. A dichotomy was created within; the heart and the mind were broken apart.

The heart was your own. But unfortunately, that which was truly yours was taken away and became not your own; and that which was created by society was made your own. What was implanted from above became your center, and you have completely forgotten the heart - the authentic center.

Only by removing the head can you hear the guru's teaching. And one teaching is enough; there is no need for a thousand. One lesson, one secret is more than enough, and what is that secret?



There are two states that require understanding: smarana means remembrance and vismarana means forgetfulness. The remembrance, smarana, is always flowing inside whatever you may be doing - walking, talking, sleeping, working.

A pregnant woman does all her daily chores - she cooks, she sweeps, she makes the beds - but all along she is extremely aware of the child she holds within her. A new life has struck root within her, a tiny heart has begun to throb. This awareness of the life she holds and has to protect is always with her; it results in a particular way of walking, so that from her walk you can tell she is pregnant.

Remembrance does not require a separate effort, because then you will keep forgetting. A thousand times in the day such a remembrance would be lost - while cooking, marketing or in the office.

Similarly, it is not the remembrance of repeating a mantra. If you say, "Ram, Ram, Ram," all day, this is not smarana. Should you continue this, you could meet with an accident if you don't hear the car honking behind you. Any remembrance that is brought about by effort, rattling only in the mind, is not smarana.

That which permeates each hair of your body is what Nanak calls the unremembered remembrance.

This remembrance has not to be repeated outwardly, because such a remembrance is superficial.

Rather it saturates every pore of the body, every bit of you; whatever you do as His remembrance should reverberate like a soft melody within. Such remembrance Kabir called surati; therefore we have his "Surati Yoga." Surati also means remembrance.

Then there is the other state, vismarana: you remember everything - except one thing - you have completely forgotten who you are. And he who has no remembrance of his own self, what can he know of existence?

In this century Gurdjieff has put great emphasis on self-remembering. His method consisted mainly of one thing: to remember all twenty-four hours of the day that I am. By constant knocking, this remembrance becomes stronger and stronger. A crystallization takes place - a new flowing element forms within.

But there is a great danger in this method, as also in the method of Mahavira and in Patanjali's yoga.

And that danger is that you connect this new element to your ego; because they are very close together. Gurdjieff calls this element the crystallized self, and there is every possibility that you will be superimposing the ego over it. You might become filled with arrogance. You may begin to say: I alone am. There is the real hazard that you might deny God. Then, having almost arrived, you will not arrive. Then you will almost have reached the other shore and turned back.

The same hazard lies in Mahavira's method, because there too you have to intensify the feeling of I am. This leaves no place for God. Mahavira says when the feeling of I am becomes total, through it alone will God reveal Himself; the total I-amness becomes God. It is true and that is how it happened for Mahavira. However, the followers of Mahavira could not experience this; therefore, the flow of his method was stopped. The danger also exists in this method that the ego may begin to proclaim itself in the name of the atman.

This explains why we find no monks as egoistic as the Jaina muni. A Jaina monk cannot even fold his hands in namaskara, in greeting; he does not fold his hands at all. Again, the method is correct but hazardous. While every method has its hazard there is no such risk in Nanak's method, because Nanak does not tell you to remember yourself. He says: There is one benefactor of all living creatures - may I never forget Him! The One resides in all; the One is hidden in the many - ek omkar satnam. It is He that trembles in every leaf; it is He who wafts in every gust of the wind; it is He in the clouds, the moon, the stars, in every grain of sand. It is He! It is He! It is He! May I never forget Him! May His remembrance within me become crystallized and solid.

It is difficult to find a sage more humble than Nanak, because if He resides in everyone, it is easy to fold your hands and bow to another. It is easy to touch the feet of another because He is in all.

If there is no risk of egoism in Nanak's method, there is another type of hazard: in the constant remembrance that He is in all, you may forget your own self. You may forget that you also are and fall into a deep slumber, and begin to live as if in a trance. You will see Him all around you, except in your own self. All four directions will be filled with Him. You will sing his praises. You will tell of His glory but you will remain untouched by His glory.

This danger is less than that of egoism, because he who is asleep can be awakened but he who is filled with the ego is in deep sleep, in a coma that is very difficult to break. The sleep of the devotee can be broken. Yogis have given this sleep the name of yoga tandra, which is not actually sleep; if you are in tandra and someone claps his hands the tandra breaks.

Nanak's path is easier than Mahavira's, but each method carries some risk of going astray and falling from the path. The path of Mahavira got lost in renunciation; the path of Nanak went astray in worldly pleasures.

Mahavira said to renounce the world completely, and to not allow an iota of enjoyment, but become the supreme sannyasin. As a result Mahavira's sannyasins lived as enemies of the world. But to develop enmity with someone is to become tied to the very foe. While Mahavira's renunciate is constantly fighting with the mundane world, the very struggle keeps the remembrance of the object- world always fresh within and the remembrance of soul pushed to one corner. He worries about where to sleep, what he will eat, his clothes, his food. So deeply involved is he in mundane things that he has gone astray.

Nanak has said just the opposite: Everything is He. Since He is present in all things there is no need to leave the world, so his followers went astray within the world. The Punjabis, the Sikhs, the Sindis - all followers of Nanak - center their lives in eating, drinking, clothes; they take the mundane world to be everything. This was not Nanak's intent. When he said there was no need to leave the world, he did not mean that the world alone is enough. We have to seek Him in the world. The world need not be renounced nor is it everything.

Since there is a risk in every method, if you are not conscious and aware of it, ninety-nine times out of one hundred, you are bound to fall into the hazard. For your intellect never follows a straight course but is like a donkey walking: he never walks straight, but either sticks to the wall or goes to the other extreme. While a dull fellow can be called a stupid ass, intellect is true donkeyish-ness.

Intellect never walks a straight line but is either at one extreme or the other; the wise person is always in the middle.

Most of the secrets of Nanak's path were lost. The Sikhs still exist, but they are not truly Nanak's Sikhs - those who have heard the teachings, those who have set aside their heads, those whose hearts are filled with faith and those who have remembered but one thing, one secret method that solves everything: that there is but one benefactor of all beings - LET ME NEVER FORGET HIM!

This knowledge should remain within constantly. If every act fills your very being with remembrance, then being in the world, you transcend the world - living in the middle of the world, you can reach there. There is no need to go to the temple, since the house itself becomes a temple. If the most ordinary task is filled with His special dignity, no work of yours will be ordinary; it will be extraordinary.

Wherever you bathe, there will be the Ganges.

Whatever the hazard, it is all right. It makes no difference what you do; the real question is your own self. When you are different, the most ordinary stream becomes the Ganges; but if you are no different from the ordinary, then even the holy waters of the Ganges become ordinary. So it is a question of your being ordinary or nonordinary. And what is ordinariness but to live without His remembrance? Extraordinariness is priceless. It is to live with His remembrance. Accept losing everything but not His remembrance.


Why talk of jewels? You will leave everything if need be, but not a jewel. If the need arises and you have money and a ruby in your pocket, you will part with the money, but not give up the ruby, because it has the most value. Remembrance is the precious jewel; let anything else in life drop away, because you know it is not worth a penny.


Nanak says you may have a life of four yugas, extending from the Sat Yuga to Kali Yuga. Your life may become the life of creation - and ten times more.

All the people in the world and in creation may know you and go along with you, great may be your name and fame, yet if He is not pleased by you, all this is useless, worthless.

What is the reason? Have you ever come across a person who is satisfied? Even after attaining wealth is the millionaire ever contented? After achieving fame were Alexander the Great or Hitler satisfied? Instead of an atmosphere of well-being and fulfillment around the so-called successful man of the world, the reverse is the case. The nearer you approach these people, the more you sense their wretchedness. Their begging bowl has become bigger - they ask for more, and yet more! The nine continents of the world are not enough; life - four yugas long - is not enough.

Infinite are their demands; they can never be filled because the more they receive the more they desire.

Desires always precede you. Wherever you may go, whatever you have, there is no sense of satisfaction and the ego won't let you retrace your steps.

Two beggars were resting under a tree when one of them began to complain. When even kings are unsatisfied, imagine the complaints of a poor beggar! "What a life! Is this living? Today we are in this village, tomorrow another. When they discover us traveling without a ticket they throw us off the train. Everyone preaches at us; if we ask for bread we get a sermon. They are always telling us we are fit enough to go to work. Nothing but insult and injury! Everywhere we are driven away. Every policeman is after us. Wherever we sleep they awaken us. It's impossible to get a good night's sleep."

The other beggar said, "Then why don't you quit this work?"

"What?" said the first beggar. "And admit I failed?"

If a beggar refuses to accept failure, how can a millionaire? How can a politician who is always proving himself accept his defeat? No one has yet been able to prove that he has accomplished anything real in worldly matters; if anyone had Mahavira, Buddha, Nanak would all be fools.

But the ego refuses to turn back; it forever goads a person forward. Maybe the goal is still ahead.

Who knows? Perhaps just a few steps more and we may reach. The ego spreads its net of hopes before you, drawing you further and further on, preventing you from turning back. You have come so far without acknowledging that you are on the wrong path, how can you do it now? So you cover your weakness and hide your faults and go on, as if some day you are sure to succeed.

All your so-called successful men hide the tears within and don't allow them to show. Their public faces are different from their private faces. They are all smiling and laughing, but alone in their own rooms they cry.

Nanak says: After attaining all there is no satisfaction. You can be satisfied only if He is pleased with you. Even a naked fakir sometimes attains satisfaction whereas a man having everything remains unhappy. This means that satisfaction has nothing to do with what you have. It has everything to do with your connections with the supreme law - not your worldly attainments but your relationship with God. If you have established a relationship with Him, if you have succeeded in turning your face towards Him, having His grace, that decides whether you are fulfilled or not.

This is the meaning of attaining favor in His eyes. If He is not pleased with you, why did He give birth to you? He loves you, but alas, you stand with your back to Him! To find favor in His eyes means to stand facing Him, to have His grace. When you see His face in every face and feel His presence everywhere, then you find Him throbbing even in a stone; and when you begin to see Him everywhere, then you have found favor with Him.

Nanak says, If I have attained His pleasure, I have bathed in all the holy rivers. Now the heavenly Ganges has truly descended on you, not by bathing in the Ganges that descends from the Himalayas and flows through Prayag and Kashi. His Ganges descends from on high, when you find favor with Him.

Any worldly attainment is less than worthless; it is a loss in a deeper sense. All your fortunes are no more than misfortunes, since the only fortune worth attaining is to find favor in His eyes. When this becomes your only quest you become a sannyasin in the world. Then, whatever you do, your eye is on Him. You keep busy in works great or small, but never for a moment is He out of your mind. He is always present within you. This smarana, this surati, this remembrance which is the unrepeated repetition, gradually carves a place for you within His heart. Finding favor in His eyes, receiving His grace, your life is filled with dance and celebration is everywhere. Then you have nothing - and you have everything.


Nanak says that he who is bereft of God, even if he amasses all fortunes, is rated the lowest of worms, and even the worst of sinners heaps abuse on him.



None but God can bestow you with good qualities. To miss Him is to miss all. Remember, He is the target, the bull's-eye, the only attainment. If the arrow of your life does not reach Him, no matter where it falls, you have failed.

Imagine how it feels to fall in love. The beloved accepts you, takes you to his heart, and your life thrills with the magic of love. Your feet hardly seem to touch the ground; you seem to fly in the air, as if you have developed wings. Unknown bells begin to ring in your life; you have never heard such a melody before. Your face lights up with a strange charm, your eyes convey something not of this world!

Therefore it is difficult to hide love. Everything else you can hide. If you are in love it will show in your face - in the way you walk, the way you talk - your eyes and everything about you will give news of it. Every pore of your body will be saturated with love, because love is a remembrance. If the love and acceptance of an ordinary person fills your life with such thrill, then when the whole existence accepts you, what will it be like? When the whole existence loves you, embraces you; when you are tied in the bond of love with existence...!

This is what Meera means when she says, "Krishna, when will you come to the nuptial bed? I have adorned it with flowers. When will you come? When will you accept me?"

The devotee is always thirsting for the lord, as the beloved is for the lover. When the partridge thirsts for the morning dew he calls out. Even a single drop satisfies; one drop becomes a pearl.

When a person is so thirsty - the longing is so great - then ordinary water turns into pearls. When your longing is so great, a single teaching of the guru becomes a jewel. One drop is enough; one teaching of the guru can become the ocean.And what is the teaching? It is such a small sutra. If you understand it, grasp it - it is small; if you do not, you may take infinite lives more to understand!

So Nanak says one small secret formula quenches all your thirst, that is all: HE IS THE BENEFACTOR OF ALL. LET ME NEVER FORGET HIM. Such a small maxim - and it quenches all thirst, destroys all desires! And Nanak says: HE MAKES THE WORTHLESS WORTHY and fills you with qualities. When you face Him you become worthy of all attributes. You always were worthy.

You were always empty and as you turned towards Him, Lo! You were filled. His glory has stirred you. The veena was always ready within. When you entrusted it to His hands, when His fingers have touched the strings... Lo! Music is born - the music that lay dormant all this time, awaiting His touch. It can only happen if you put your veena in His hands.

This entrusting itself is shraddha, disciplehood - to surrender, to be a Sikh. To entrust the veena is the meaning of sannyas. Then you say: Thy will be done. Your wish is now my life. All that is mine is to remember You; all else is Yours. The only need in life is that He should fill your vessel for you not to remain a lonely wanderer in life, that He should be your friend and companion, or else you may seek Him in many places but find Him in none.

Some look to wealth to bring a comrade. Some look to a wife, a husband; but all these guests are imperfect. Until you seek Him directly you will not attain Him. All disqualifications and shortcomings vanish, as soon as He is attained.

Nanak does not suggest that you get rid of your defects one by one, because they are infinite. Avoid stealing, killing, anger, sex, greed, attachments, envy and what else? Nanak does not advise this.

He says turn your face Godwards. Remember Him! As soon as His gaze falls on you everything will change. When you have been accepted and have won His favor, then wrath will vanish and greed will fall all on its own.

Once He is attained - for what are you greedy? What is left for your wrath? Where is the sex?

Where is the desire when the ultimate ccoupling has already taken place - the union with existence.

After the ultimate nuptial there is no more search for the beloved. Kabir says, "I am Rama's bride."

When you are in love with Rama, when you become His bride, what sexual desire remains?

In our lust we were really searching for Him. We sought Him in dirty gutters and were never satisfied, because the filth of sex could not satiate. It is like forcing the swan to drink from the gutter when it is used to the crystal-clear waters of Lake Mansarovar. The swan within asks also for Mansarovar.

Nothing less than God can quench your thirst.

Wander where you will, no one besides Him can satisfy you. You are wandering for lives on end without Him, yet you have not come to your senses. You still hope to reach without Him. Your ego stands guard behind, telling you not to let a full life's toil go in vain.

It is just as if a man builds a house on shaky foundations, perhaps on sand. When the house is nearing completion another man comes and tells him not to enter the house, because it is sure to fall and he may die. Then the mind says, "You have spent so much money, taken so many pains, gone through so much difficulty. Can you let so many years' toil go in vain? And who knows? It might not fall! Perhaps the expert is wrong. Besides, right now it is standing. Who can be sure it will fall?"

Such is your case too, like a man who has lost his way and has been told that he left the road far behind.

In reading the memoirs of a poet, I particularly liked one incident. He writes that he lost his way in the valleys of the Himalayas. He stopped his car before a hut. When a woman opened the door he asked, "Am I on the right path to Manali?"

The woman looked at him keenly and said, "But I don't know which way you are heading."

The poet thought she was a mountain girl and perhaps not too intelligent, so he said, "Tell me, is the light of my car pointing in the direction of the road to Manali?"

"There is a light," she said, "red in color."

When you have traveled a number of miles in mountainous terrain and someone says your light points in the wrong direction, you feel a terrible blow. It means you have to retrace your steps and go back all the way you came. Your ego protests and says, "Go a little further; don't give up. Who knows, this woman may be wrong! She may be stupid, or mad, or lying, or trying to mislead you!"

To turn back is a blow to the ego. You wonder, "Could I have been wrong all this time?" Therefore it is easier to teach children than to teach older people. If they have already walked sixty or seventy miles can they admit to being wrong all that time? The child never resists, because the child has yet not walked. He will go wherever you take him. An old man never will. He will insist that the path he has followed is correct - because his ego depends on it.

You are all old! God knows how many lives you have been walking, and that is the difficulty. You haven't the courage to abandon the wrong path, because it involves so much effort through infinite lives... rather than to admit that all is in vain, that for lives on end you have been ignorant. Therefore, when you go to a sage you prepare a thousand devices to save your old self, lest His grace pour on you and your cloak of knowledge and experience come off!

Remember! You will have to turn back, because you have left the road way behind... far, far away.

It is in this light that Jesus said: "Become like children once again." He is telling you to turn back, to be once again innocent as children. Once you move your intellect out of the way all attributes will shower on you. They always have!

Nanak was not a highly educated person, nor did he come from a rich family. He was born in an ordinary household. On the very first day he started school, schooling was seen to be useless, and yet the divine showers poured on him.

If it rained on Nanak, if it rained on Kabir, why not on you? The only obstacle is that you stand with your back to Him.

One secret formula solves everything: HE IS THE BENEFACTOR OF ALL living creatures. Let me never forget Him.

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Our cause is great and holy, and its success is guaranteed.
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(Adolphe Cremieux, Founder of Alliance Israelite Universelle,
The Manifesto of 1869, published in the Morning Post,
September 6, 1920).