The Lure of the Infinite

Fri, 30 November 1974 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Osho - The True Name, Vol 1
Chapter #:
am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
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An incident occurred at a research institute where they were investigating various types of poison.

The institute became infested with rats, their number increasing every day. Every possible method was used to kill them, but to no avail. Whatever poison they set out the rats ate merrily. The rats had learned to feed and thrive on poisons, because that was all that was readily available to them there, and they had become immune.

Then someone suggested the age-old method of setting traps, as for mice. So traps were brought and fitted with pieces of bread and cheese, but the rats ignored them completely! So accustomed to poison were they that they did not like anything else. Not a single rat was caught.

Finally someone came up with the obvious solution and covered the bread and cheese bait with poison. The rats immediately were caught in the traps.

This strange sounding story is nevertheless true. It actually happened at a research institute. Man's state is almost the same. He has become so habituated to words that even if silence is offered to him, he has to seek respite in words - just as the rats went only for the food covered by poison.

When the infinite is to be explained we need the help of pitiful words. Even when man is to be led into the void, the base language of words must be used. When explaining the ocean, one can speak only of the drop, and discussion of a drop cannot even hint at the ocean. It is not possible. Look at the mighty ocean, and look at the insignificant, tiny drop. Similarly, where are words compared to the void, where the intelligence of a lowly human being and where the immeasurable expanse?

There is space and space, there are worlds and underworlds, all without end.

But these have to be measured in terms of men's feeble understanding, because man has become so addicted to the mind, and it is very difficult to break out of any addiction. Truth is not so far away; only our habits are the hindrance. Truth is very near, even closer than one's own heartbeat, closer than one's very breath. God is closer to you than your own self. But we have woven an intricate web of habits, and because of them it is difficult for us to see. The mind is nothing but a collection of habits. Therefore all saints have striven to eradicate the mind, to bring about the state of no-mind.

As soon as you let go of the mind, let go of the shore, you enter the ocean. There is no other way of knowing the ocean than to become the ocean - nothing less will do. While standing on the shore, no matter how much you speculate or expound on the ocean, it is all useless babble. The very fact of your standing on the shore shows that you are not directly acquainted with it. Once you are really acquainted, why remain on the shore? Once a person becomes familiar with the infinite, no power on earth is strong enough to chain him to the shore. The attraction of the infinite will pull him away.

There is no power more magnetic than the lure of the infinite; all other attractions fade away when it pulls.

But we sit and just talk. We remain closeted in the room and talk of the open skies... outside! We lock ourselves within our own cages and talk of freedom. We are imprisoned by the web of our own words and we talk of the formless.

These verses of Nanak are very valuable:


There is space... and space... and nothing but space. It is one sky that becomes infinite, becausethere is no boundary to space. It is one boundless space. Says Nanak, There is the sky, and the sky, and only the sky.... infinite times infinite.

There is not just one single infinity; there are infinite infinities. Wherever you go you will find space.

Whichever direction you may take, you will find boundless space; whatever you touch you will find it is space. The boundless abounds everywhere.

In the midst of this boundless you are trying to trap God in your tiny cage of words? You try to imprison Him in books like the Vedas and the Koran. It is just like trying to imprison the vast skies within your palm. The wonderful thing about this is, when your palm is open there is space in it, but the moment you close your fist, whatever space was in it evaporates. The tighter you make the fist, the emptier it is.

Use words like an open fist, not like a closed fist; but words that are like an open palm no longer remain logical. The more logical you want to make an expression, the more you have to enclose it.

The greater the definition, the more constricted the expression. Whenever a thing is well defined, it becomes limited; you create a wall around it.

The more rational the words, the less are they indicative of God. It seems as if they tell you a great deal but they really tell you nothing; the palm is closed. When words are free of reason they seem to tell little but they tell all. Keep in mind this difference.

The words of Nanak are not the words of a logician; they are the words of a poet, a bard. They are the words of a lover of beauty. Nanak is not giving any definition of God through his words. They are like the open palm - hinting at something, not telling anything. They point towards something that cannot be said. Don't hold on to the words or else you will miss Nanak's message altogether.

If I point to the moon with my finger and you catch hold of my finger and refuse to look beyond it, how will you see the moon? The finger means nothing in itself; it is only a means to point at the moon. You have to let go of the finger to look at the moon, but people are such that they cling to the finger.

This is why books are worshipped. Some worship the Vedas, others the Koran and yet others the Gurugranth. They directed their attention towards the book, and miss what the book points to. The harder you hold on to the book, the further away from the truth you go - the fist gets tighter. For then words become more important; whereas the greatness lies not in the words but in the silence.

For through silence alone you can know.


Man is incompetent when he seeks through his intelligence. All who set out to seek His depths were themselves dissolved, while He whom they sought remained undiscovered. The Vedas are one long story of man's incapacity. All scriptures agree that whatever man does, his field of action is so small that God cannot be ensnared in the web of his maneuvers. The harder you try to catch Him, the emptier you find your hands.

The way of attaining God is different. Your method of grasping will not work; rather, you have to let go of your hold completely. Nor will your thinking and pondering help; you must discard these too.

Your reasoning and logic will be a hindrance rather than a help, and your intelligence will act more like a wall than a stepping stone. On this path the more you rely on your understanding, the further astray you go. You have to leave it all to Him.

To trust one's intelligence is the way of the ego. It means that you have taken upon yourself the task of finding Him. Have you ever realized that whatever we set out in search of must be less, smaller than ourselves? Whatever you attain or acquire must be small enough for your fist to hold. And if God comes within your grasp, He can no longer be God.

Then how is one to attain God? It is quite the opposite way: he who is ready to lose himself attains Him. The only way is to put yourself in the palm of His hand. Our usual attempt is to tie Him in a bundle and bring Him home to show off to others: See we have attained Him! The attempt must fail. Such a vast expanse can't be tied into a bundle. Space cannot be wrapped up in a packet. The packets and the bundles will reach home, but the space will not. Leave yourself in His hands if you wish to attain him.

Nanak never tires of saying: "Endless sacrifices of myself are too little", "Whatever pleases You is best for me", "Whatever You make me do, that is the path", "Whatever You show me, that is the truth."

All these statements suggest only one thing: I have removed myself. I shall not intrude myself on You. I have no wish, no goal, no motive. I shall flow within you.

Therefore I say, faith is priceless, reasoning is fatal. To reason means: I shall decide, I am the judge.

Faith means: You are the judge.



Veda does not mean only the four books of the Hindus; rather it means the words of the sages, of all who have known. The word veda is derived from vid which means to know. It refers to the words of those who have known - the Buddhas, the Jains, the rishis, just as the original Vedas, the Rig Veda, the Atharv Veda, etc., were the words of ancient rishis, people who have known. Whenever a person attains, knows, his words become Vedas, as will your words when you arrive. There is no limit to Vedas; the words of all those who have known in the past, all those who know today and all those who shall know in the future, are Vedas. Vedas are the quintessence of knowledge, of truth.

Nanak says: The Vedas declare that all those who set out in search ultimately give up, exhausted and frustrated. It is important to understand this, because exhaustion and fatigue bear great importance in the life of the seeker. You will not be prepared to annihilate yourself until you are completely drained and depleted from exhaustion. The time comes finally when you realize that all your efforts are meaningless, that whatever you try to do you know that nothing will come of it. When your attitude of doing reaches the last stages and you realize the uselessness of whatever you do, whatever you find, whatever you attain turns out to be meaningless. Desire goads you on but even success proves flat and useless. Then you are filled with deep sadness and melancholy becauseall the endeavors turned to nothing. This is the point you must reach before you can let go of your ego; not before that.

How could you let go as long as there is still the hope of attaining something - either a little more effort and it will happen, or the direction is wrong, so you change the method or the guru, and abandon temple for mosque, or church for gurudwara. Until you are completely exhausted and thoroughly frustrated, until your dejection is complete, you cannot let go of the ego.

Buddha searched for six long years. Perhaps never has a human being approached the guest with such intensity. He staked his all in each trial. Whatever he was told he did to the last dot. No guru could say that he was lacking in effort or resolve.

One guru told him to eat only one grain of rice per day for three months. Buddha carried out his instructions. He was reduced to skin and bone, his back and abdomen became one; he could hardly breathe he was so weak. Yet he did not attain knowledge, because knowledge is never attained by doing anything.

Buddha did all that he was told, but the sense of I-ness persisted. He undertook fasts, repeated endless mantra, did penance, worked diligently at other practices, but deep within the subtle ego kept repeating: I am doing it. The fist was closed, the I was present.

The only condition to attain Him is that the I must drop. What difference does it make whether you are running a shop or offering prayers? In both cases the ego is involved; it is you working or worshipping. They are both the shop because you remain at the shop as long as the ego exists; there is a vocation, a job - that is the everyday working world of samsara. When the ego drops God begins; as you fall away and disappear He appears. You are out, He is in. Both cannot exist together; duality has no place here. There is room for only one - either you or He.

At last Buddha tired of it all. He had done all that was humanly possible - all to no avail. The hands were as empty as ever. He stepped into the river Niranjana to bathe. He had become so weak that he couldn't even wade out of the river. The current began to drag him away and he hadn't the strength to swim. He caught hold of a tree branch that was bent over the river; and there, while hanging onto the branch, he realized the fruitlessness of all his efforts. He had done everything that could be done, but gained nothing. In the bargain he had lost all bodily strength, and was so weak that he couldn't cross even a river as small as the Niranjana. Then how was he going to cross the ocean of existence? "All my efforts have brought me only to this. The world has become useless to me - the palace, all the wealth of the kingdom is like dust to my eyes. Now I am so terribly tired and disheartened that the spiritual search has become meaningless; even liberation is useless." At this point Buddha came to the realization that there is nothing worth achieving either in the mundane or in the spiritual world. All is a sham; all the running about is meaningless.

Somehow he got himself out of the river and went and sat under a tree. At that very moment he gave up all trying, all endeavor, because there was nothing to attain. All lesser attainments had led to frustration and hopelessness. His frustration became total; there was not an iota of hope. As long as there had been hope, ego persisted. Buddha slept under a tree that night. After endless births this was the first night when there was nothing to look forward to, nothing to attain, nowhere to go; nothing was left. If death had approached Buddha this moment, he would not have requested it to wait a while, becausethere was no need; all hopes were dashed to the ground.

In total tiredness all hues of the rainbow of hope have been rubbed away, all dreams are broken.

That night Buddha slept soundly; no dream disturbed him. Dreams stop when there is nothing left to be attained, for dreams follow on the heels of desires. Desires walk ahead, dreams follow like shadows, because they are the slaves of desires. No desires, no dreams.

Buddha awakened when the last star was about to fade. But today was different - there was nothing to be done. Everything had become meaningless. Until the previous day there had been all that feverish activity - to find his soul, attain religion, God, so many things. And today, nothing! He just lay there. What else was he to do? He was looking at the fading star and, the story goes, at that moment he attained realization.

What happened at that moment? What happened that night that had not happened while he was straining every fiber of his body for six long years? What unique event brought about the realization of the ultimate knowledge to Buddha that morning? The answer lay in that complete exhaustion that Nanak was talking about. Buddha could do no more. He had reached the end of his body's strength, and with no result. The ego was crushed. All activities left him.

As soon as all effort ceases, grace descends; as soon as your hopes are shattered and all activities drop away and all struggling ends, the ego falls and the palm opens.

Do you realize it takes no effort to open your palm, though it does require work to close the fist?

When you do nothing, the palm opens of its own accord, because that is its natural position. You needn't do anything to open the fist. Just don't close your fist and the palm remains open. That morning Buddha did nothing - and the palm opened.

Kabir said, "Things happen without being done." That moment Buddha did absolutely nothing - and everything happened! He was so tired, dead tired; he was frustrated. He had given up - and the ego fell away. As soon as the ego dropped God appeared.

Nanak says all the Vedas proclaim that those who set out to fathom His depth ended in utter frustration and exhaustion. And only when they were completely exhausted did they attain enlightenment. When you are completely tired then only will you attain Him.

Therefore the aim of all yoga is to tire you out. God is not attained through yoga; only the ego is tired out. No methods lead to God - just to exhaustion, so that you reach a state of perfect relaxation; so that when the fist opens there is no strength to close it again.

Many have been exhausted and disillusioned in their quest. The Vedas say that effort must lead to this state and then realization takes place. The satgurus, the perfect masters, say that God is attained by grace alone and not your endeavors. He would be small compared to you if He could be attained by your endeavors. He is infinitely greater. No sooner are you empty than you are filled.

When the rains come it rains equally on the mountains as in the valleys. The valleys get filled; the mountains remain dry. The mountains are filled and have no place for water, but the valleys are empty, so they fill with water and form lakes.

God showers on all alike. He shows no discrimination. Existence is the same for everyone, without any differentiation. There is no question of the worthy or unworthy, sinner or saint. God's grace showers on all alike just as the skies cover everything beneath. But those who are filled with themselves miss his grace, because there is no room within. Those who are empty inside become filled, because there is enough space.

When the I-ness falls He himself comes, and the I-ness persists as long as there is hope for attainment.


In this infinite expanse with infinite forms, there is only one hidden behind the many. If you concentrate on the many, you will wander in the world; if you concentrate on the one, you will reach God.

Take it this way: there is a mala with many beads but the string that holds them together is one. If you hold on to the beads you will wander, but if you catch hold of the thread you will attain God.

There are infinite waves on the surface of the ocean. If you do not concentrate on the ocean but get involved with the waves, you will keep wandering. For the waves will form and disintegrate endlessly; one wave will lead you to another, then another... and another. You will be like a fragile little paper boat, jumping from one wave to another, drowning in one then in another, suffering here, suffering there. You will not reach the destination becausethe waves have no destination; there is only change. The destination is eternal, ever-abiding. You cannot rest in the waves. You can rest only where all waves become tranquil. There you attain that which never changes.

Do you realize that the more changes there are in your life, the greater is your restlessness? This explains so much of the agitation in the world today, because there is constant change. Scientists say that as much change took place in the course of the first thousand years after Christ, as took place in the five thousand years before Christ. Within the next two hundred years as much change took place as in the previous thousand years. By the time we reach the present century the rate of change is fantastic - in five years the changes equal the five thousand years before Christ! And by the time this century draws to a close, the same change will occur in five months. It happens so quickly that you can hardly reach one wave before another comes.

Ask an old villager; he will tell you his village is almost the same as when he was born. But look at the towns; they are the blueprints of the future; nothing is the same on two consecutive days. In the West the change is reaching a frightening pace.

People don't remain in one place in America. The average occupancy there is three years. Since this is the average, actually half the people stay longer, and there are others who change places every two to four months. Imagine every second month a change of place, change of atmosphere, of food, of clothes. With each change of season there is a change of cars, of clothes. The waves are increasing at a frightful pace, and they believe that the greater the change the more the enjoyment.

In fact the greater the change, the greater the suffering. It is just as if you would uproot a plant every second day and plant it elsewhere. You do not have time to find your roots before you move again.

The greater the change, the more hellish life becomes. Therefore hell has become more intensified in the West. In the olden days the East was very tranquil because change was almost nonexistent; everything was static. In such stability it was easier to descend into the ocean, becausethe roots were well consolidated and each person could muster up the courage to dive deep.

Remember, if you keep floating with the waves you are a worldly person. If you begin to search for the ocean within the waves, by and by you become a sannyasin. To seek the eternal in the changing is sannyas. To grasp the unchanging within the changing is the art of sannyas. That alone is religion.

Nanak says that the writers of the holy books said there are eighteen thousand worlds. There are eighteen thousand existences, but the power behind all is essentially one. It depends on what you choose; both are open to you. You may choose the changeable that comes and goes; or you may choose that which is unchangeable, which never comes, never goes, but always is - on whose breast all change occurs, but which remains forever unchanged.

He who catches hold of this One, finds his life showered with bliss. He who grasps the infinitely changing finds himself passing from one suffering to another. He is never happy; he experiences merely a shadow of happiness in the process of change between two states of suffering.

How many times have you changed houses? How many times have you changed your car? When you exchange your old car for the new, the process of change gives you a momentary happiness; but this is how you felt when you bought the old car before, and this is how you will feel when you sell the present car for a newer model. And these are the same glimpses you feel when you change this wife for another, or one husband for the next. There is a momentary ray of hope.

When people are carrying a dead body to the burning grounds they keep changing shoulders when the weight is too much for one shoulder. For some time they feel relieved but the weight is the same, and soon the other shoulder tires and the weight has to be shifted again.

You are merely changing shoulders, as you change one wave for another. The way to attain happiness is to slip into the ocean through the wave. The waves are many; the ocean is one.

There may be multiple existences, but the power is one. The One hides within everyone. The entire art of life lies hidden in this small verse - seek the One, grasp the string within the mala.




Nothing can be written about Him, because anything written can be erased whereas He is forever.

How can a perishable thing give evidence of the imperishable? All writings get lost. How many scriptures have already been lost? And those that exist now will be lost. How many words have been born and how many have dissolved into the emptiness? But truth has remained the same forever.

So the quality of the two is different. What can be written can be erased. If you learn the art of reading that which is not written - if you learn the art of reading a blank paper - you will be able to understand God.

It happened once in the state of Maharashtra in India, there were three saints: one was Eknath, and there was Nivruttinath, and a woman fakir, Muktabai. Eknath sent a letter to Nivruttinath that was only a blank sheet of paper; nothing was written on it. Nivruttinath opened the letter and read it with great interest, then handed it to Muktabai. She, too, read it with one-pointed attention. Then both were lost in ecstatic bliss. Nivruttinath handed back the same letter to the messenger saying, "Take this reply back to Eknath."

The messenger was very puzzled. When he had brought the letter he had not known the contents.

He certainly didn't suspect a blank piece of paper. Now seeing the same blank paper sent then returned in answer left him confused. He folded his hands and turned to Nivruttinath: "Maharaj, before I leave would you be so kind as to satisfy my curiosity? When nothing was written, what did you read? And not only you, even Muktabai read that letter with interest, and you were both overjoyed. You read so intently that it seemed you did read something. What did you read? And now you are returning the same piece of paper without writing a single word!"

"Eknath sent word," explained Nivruttinath, "that if you must read Him you will have to read a blank paper. Whatever you read on a written paper is not Him. We agree with him. We have understood his message, and this is our message - that we have understood. What he says is absolutely correct."

Books have been written but God cannot be written. How will the books tell about Him? You wish to read the unwritten. Read the Vedas, the Gurugranth, the Koran; leave the written words and attend to the unwritten. Read the space between the lines, between the words, and remember what you have read.

If you read and concentrate on the written word you will become a pundit or a priest. If you read the unread, you become a sage. If you concentrate on the written word you will acquire a lot of information ; if you remember the unwritten, you will become like a child - innocent, artless.

Remember, the unwritten is the door.

Therefore, asks Nanak, is there a record or an estimation of Him that can be written? Has anyone ever known something about Him that he can tell? No information can be His information. Those who know become silent. If ever they say anything it is always an arrow pointing towards silence. If they have written anything it is always with the intent that you may read the unwritten.

No account of Him can be written. Whatever is written will disintegrate one day. No matter how much you may protect the books, they are bound to be lost. After all, they are made of paper and the words are ink. What can be more perishable than these? Regard them as paper boats. Those who ride the boat of the scriptures and attempt to reach God are sailing in paper boats that are bound to capsize and drown them. Don't ride paper boats. They are all right for children to play with, but not safe for undertaking a journey. And this journey is a great journey, perhaps the greatest of journeys that man ever embarks on, because there is no ocean greater than the ocean of existence.

No, scriptures will not do. Understand their message, the hint they give. It is only this: become empty.

But there is no end to man's foolishness. We promptly fill ourselves with that very person who tells us to be empty, cramming our skulls with such people, once again starting the cycle of changes.

Our hopes, our expectations, our intelligence, offer no wisdom or understanding.

I must tell you a well-known story from the life of Alexander the Great. It is said that he was in search of the elixir of life, which once taken keeps death away. His plan to conquer the whole world was mainly in order to find this nectar.

The story goes that he ultimately found the spring of the immortal waters in a cave. Alexander entered the cave filled with joy, that now his lifelong desire was about to be fulfilled. He rested his eyes for a moment on the bubbling brook in front of him. Just as he was about to take the water, a crow that was sitting in the cave called out, "Wait, don't make that mistake!" Alexander looked at the crow. His condition was pitiful. It was difficult to make out that he was a crow. His wings had fallen off, his eyes could see no more, his whole body was in a state of disintegration. He was just a skeleton. Alexander asked him, "Who are you to stop me? What is your reason?"

"Listen to my story first, O king, then do as you see fit," said the crow. "I too was in search of this spring. I too discovered the cave and drank this water. Now I cannot die and I want so much to die. Look at my state: my eyes are blind, my body is old and withered, my wings have broken and I cannot fly, my feet have disintegrated, but alas, I cannot die! Look at me just once and then do what you please.

"Now I beg that someone should kill me, but alas I cannot be killed because I have drunk this nectar.

Now I pray to God night and day to grant me death. I want to die somehow, anyhow!"

It is said that Alexander stopped and pondered, then he silently left the cave without touching the water.

If your desires are fulfilled you find yourself in as much difficulty as when they are unfulfilled. You do not wish to die. If you were to find this cave and you drink the water from the spring, then you will find yourself in a dilemma - what will you do with your life now? When life was in your hands, when you could have really lived, you were busy looking for the nectar to escape death. You cannot live with the elixir, you cannot live with death, you cannot live in poverty, you cannot live in riches; you cannot live in hell, you cannot live in heaven, and yet you consider yourselves wise!

Bayazid was a Sufi mystic. He told God in his prayers, "O Lord, do not listen to my prayers; do not fulfill my prayers, because where have I the wisdom to ask for what is good for me?"

Man is absolutely without intelligence. He gets himself caught in the web of his desires and then wanders about within them. If his desires are not satisfied he is in difficulty. If they are satisfied he finds himself again in difficulty. Ponder a bit, go back into your own past and take stock of your life.

What have you desired that has even partially come to pass? Has it given you happiness? Some of your desires that have not been fulfilled - have they given you happiness? In both cases you have had nothing but sorrow and suffering. You become involved with your desires, some that were fulfilled; and you are still involved with the unfulfilled desires.

What is understanding? What are the characteristics of wisdom but to ask for that which when attained, all sorrow and miseries end? On that basis nobody in the world except a religious person is wise. Only he who desires God never repents; whatever else you ask for ends in regret.

Keep in mind that all your desires end in regret and repentance, except to desire God. Less than that will not do, because that is the goal of life.

Can you attain Him through the scriptures? Nanak says you will not find Him there. You will find mere words and doctrines, not truth. Where will you find truth? The answer Nanak gives is: He is the greatest of the great and He alone can know Himself. It means that you cannot stand away from Him and know Him. When you drown yourself in Him, then only can you know Him. The only path to truth requires that you become one with God.

We can obtain information about matter. That is the basis of science. The scientist examines and investigates matter from the outside and obtains knowledge of it. But nothing can be known about God in this manner. You have to go within, so deep within yourself that the boundary between Him and you is lost. You become His heartbeat and He yours. Where there is such oneness, there wisdom resides.

How can this come about through scriptures, through mere words? It can happen only through love.

Therefore Nanak declares: Love is the key. If love for His name arises within you, if His melody begins to play within you, and you go mad in His love, then only can you know.

In the scriptures you will find a lot of material to discuss and debate. Don't confuse this with wisdom or you will miss the real thing. You will know neither God nor yourself, because the way to know both is the same. To know your own self, be one with God; then alone the wisdom to know is attained. To know God, then, become one with Him. You have to taste Him; that is the only way. All your debates and discussions without this experience will be childish and foolish.

When Nasruddin reached the ripe old age of eighty, he sent for his eldest son, who was about sixty.

He told him that as it was quite some months since his mother had died and he could no longer stay without a woman, he had decided to remarry.

The son was worried - marriage at this age? He asked Mulla, "Whom have you decided to marry?"

"The girl next door," replied Nasruddin.

The son burst out laughing, "What a joke! Are you crazy? That girl is not more than eighteen years old!"

"Call me crazy?" the Mulla shouted at his son. "You fool! Your mother was barely eighteen when I married her. How does her age make a difference?"

All reasoning of man in connection with God is like that. It is always outside of the facts. For all purposes the girl is of a marriageable age, but the Mulla forgets his own age. Likewise you try to catch God from the outside with the help of reasoning and doctrines, but you do not give any thought to the fact that you have to go within yourself; you have to become a part of the doctrine.

The pundit, the learned ecclesiast, always remains outside. Knowledge is the goods he gathers, but he remains outside of it. He is very clever, very cunning. He does not risk the disruption of going within; he calculates from outside. But this cleverness ultimately proves to be great foolishness, because there is no other way to know Him.

It is just as if someone were to read treatises on love and assume that he knows what love is.

Someone else reads about the dawn and feels he knows the beauty of day breaking. Yet another reads about flowers and considers himself an authority on them. This is no more than information.

But the real encounter is with the rising sun or the dew-filled flowers! Then the sun is not outside of you; for just that moment you and the sun are one, when your hearts beat together.

And when you meet the flowers - when their fragrance and your very existence are intermingled - you are lost in each other, you are one. Oh, the bliss! This is the moment when your being and that of the flowers dance together, sway in the breeze; can you ever get this moment from a book?

Impossible! When the experience with an ordinary flower cannot be obtained from books, how can the experience of God, who is the highest flower of life?

How can you establish a relationship with Him through doctrines? You will have to go within. Only those who are mad can enter, not the intelligent; they are left out. For your intelligence, your cunningness is not genuine. It has always been true that lunatics have attained and the wise have lagged behind.

Nanak says there is only one way and that is to know Him. He is great and He alone can know Himself. You can never know Him unless you become one with Him and merge in His omnipresent power. To know God you must become God! There is no other way. Reach those very heights, those very depths, then only can you know. You have to be one with Him.

Those who praise, praise Him, but this does not bring about awareness. No matter how much you sing His praise, you still remain outside of Him. The distance persists. He will forever remain God and you the devotee. You will be repeating words and words, but never bridge the distance, which will only be increased. Prayers should not be said, they should be heard. Listen, do not speak. Be silent so that He may speak and you can hear Him.

Instead you keep on talking - not only talking, but shouting! Kabir had to say, "Is your God deaf?

Can He not hear, that you have to shout so much? Does He not have ears? For whom are you shouting? Will your voice reach Him quicker?"


The word surati, remembrance, is the quintessence of Nanak's practice. All saints merge into surati. The word comes to us from Buddha, who uses the sanskrit word smriti. Gurdjieff calls it self remembering, and Krishnamurti refers to it as awareness, a state of complete consciousness.

Remembrance is very subtle. It needs to be explained with an example. A mother is very busy cooking. Her little child is playing around. For all purposes it looks as if she is engrossed in her cooking, but her surati is in the child - lest the child fall, or go too near the staircase, or pick up something wrong to put into its mouth. She is busy in her work, but in everything that she does there is a persistent remembrance of the child. While the mother sleeps at night, no thunderclap can disturb her asleep, but let the child so much as stir her sleep is disrupted and her hand goes out to the child. Surati persists even in sleep - remembrance of the child.

Surati involves a continuous remembrance, like the thread in the beads. Do everything that the world demands of you, but let your mind stay always with Him. Sit, sleep, walk, eat; no purpose is served by running away from the world. Go to work, go to the office or the shop or the factory. Dig pits, because money has to be earned; worry about your kids. All these webs of the material world are there, but through it all keep alive remembrance of Him. Let life go on outside as usual, but within let there be only He! Keep your relationship with Him always fresh and alive.

Nanak says there is no need to run away from the world. Attain surati and you become a sannyasin.

Once remembrance is found, everything is in order. Of what use is your running to the woods if your surati is filled with the world? But this is what usually happens. People leave the world and flee to the forest - and think of home! It is the mind's way not to worry about where it is, but focus on where it is not. When you are here you think how wonderful it must be in the Himalayas. Then you go to the Himalayas and start thinking: Perhaps I could have been in Poona. Maybe I have gone astray. The rest of the world stayed where they were. They can't all be wrong. What am I doing sitting under this tree?

Even in the wilderness you will count your money and keep your accounts. The faces of wife and children will hover around you. You will be in the Himalayas all right, but your surati will be in your home with your family.

Nanak says: Stay where you wish, but let your remembrance be in God. Nothing is achieved by singing praises; everything is achieved by surati. All singing of praises is superficial, whereas remembrance is within. There is no need to shout aloud: "You are great, O Lord, I am a sinner. You are the redeemer, I am a beggar." Why shout like that? Whom are you telling? There is no need to ring bells and sing praise; what is needed is remembrance. Keep his remembrance; do not forget for a moment. Nurture His remembrance.

If you were to find a diamond, you would quickly put it safely away in your pocket. You might even tie it in a handkerchief lest it fall somewhere. Whether you go to the market, make your purchases or meet your friends, your remembrance will always be with the diamond. A faint low sound repeats again and again saying, "The diamond is in the pocket,.the diamond is in the pocket..." Every now and again you will feel it with your fingers to see whether it is still there.

Nurture the remembrance of God within in the same manner. Now and then touch it inside to be sure it is there. While walking on the road, stop and look inside. Is the thread of remembrance intact?

Is the flow continuous? While eating stop for a second and check; close your eyes and watch if the remembrance is flowing.

Gradually the experience will go deeper and deeper. Then the flow of remembrance continues in your sleep too. When it flows all twenty-four hours of the day, you will have made the bridge between yourself and Him. Now you can close your eyes and merge into Him whenever you please. The road is now made; the instant you close your eyes you are lost in Him. And when you return to the world from your meeting with Him you will be refreshed, filled with absolute energy, as fresh and light as if you have just had a bath. Therefore Nanak says that bathing in thousands of holy places takes place in surati.



The rivers and the streams fall into the ocean, but that is not enough to know the ocean. The rivers and canals have no consciousness; therefore, though they fall into the ocean they are not aware of it. We also are falling into God all day long, but we are not aware of it. We move round and round and about Him but we know not. Again and again we fall into Him. In every death we fall into Him, in every birth we arise from Him, but we lack remembrance.

So we are like the rivers and rivulets. We fall into the ocean but are unconscious of the event.

Without awareness we are unfeeling, unconscious. We move as if in a trance, as if under the influence of drugs, or in sleep, or caught in a deep weariness. The rivers and streams fall into the ocean but remain inferior, because they are unaware of what has happened.

We are going in and out of Him every moment. If you observe carefully and as your remembrance becomes stronger, you will realize how each breath you take goes into Him and comes back to you from Him. When the breath goes out of you, you go into God; when the breath comes in, God flows into you. In every moment, with each breath, He spreads all over you. And your joy can know no bounds.

With this experience you will get your first feeling of gratitude, of thanksgiving. Then only will you be able to say, "Your grace is unbounded." Then only will you be able to say, "Blessed am I," and then for the first time the light and splendor of faith in Him will descend. Singing the Lord's praise does not make one a believer in God, but remembrance does.


The greatest of kings possessing wealth as vast as the ocean and whose splendor is untold, cannot equal a tiny, lowly ant who has acquired the alchemy of remembrance, who always thinks of You.

The lowliest of the lowly became the greatest of the great on acquiring surati; whereas the greatest of kings remains miserably destitute without remembrance.

There is only one wretchedness - to forget God. There is only one wealth - to attain His remembrance. He whose surati awakens has acquired all that is worth acquiring, achieved all worth achieving. Then it doesn't matter if he has no cloth to cover him, or roof to shelter him. It doesn't matter how much wealth you possess, how many palaces, how many titles, if in the absence of surati you feel a miserable beggar within. The pain, the anguish of poverty will always gnaw at your heart.

Nanak says the only kind of wealth is His remembrance. The only kind of poverty is to forget Him.

Ponder well over this. Are you rich or poor? Don't think of your bank balance, which is a deception, but open your internal accountand see the entry labeled remembrance. You are rich to the extent of your remembrance. If There is none, then you have not yet begun to acquire wealth. What you amass in the outside world makes no difference.

When Alexander the Great was about to die he told his ministers that his hands should be left hanging outside the coffin. When they complained that this was not the custom and wanted to understand the reason, he said, "I want people to see that in spite of all my conquests I leave this world with empty hands."

People like Alexander die as paupers. The most powerful turn out to be impotent; but if even an ant is filled with remembrance, all the Alexanders pale in insignificance before it.

Who was Nanak? What was he? He had no wealth, no status, no kingdom, but how many kings faded into insignificance before him? Nanak became precious because of his surati. Kings will come and go but Nanak will remain forever. Fame and honor are made and destroyed, it is not possible to destroy Nanak, because he who takes shelter in Him who is indestructible cannot be destroyed.

Even if you are a lowly ant it does not matter; only let His remembrance forever be. Do not indulge in the madness of acquiring vast kingdoms, because it always happens that the more you are engaged in piling up outside wealth, the more you forget to remember Him; how else could you succeed? If you remember Him all outside wealth will be as dust to you, then the world's honor and fame will be of no consequence.

When little children gather colored stones, try to explain to them that they are worthless pebbles; they will still smuggle them home. The mother finds their pockets filled with this junk. These same children, once they grow up and their understanding develops, no longer collect these stones; they in turn tell their children not to indulge in this foolish game. But what about all the useless things they continue to collect?

Whatever you gather in the world holds significance and value for you as long as your understanding or remembrance has not awakened. As soon as remembrance awakens in you, you become mature.

Then a flame of understanding is kindled. By its light you come to know that all you hold precious was mere rubble. You wonder why in heaven you went after it, why you were so mad about it. What have you attained by gaining this you ask yourself.

Suddenly it all becomes meaningless and worthless in your eyes. Life is transformed the moment surati awakens. A revolution takes place within you. Your old personality dies and a new one is born.

The quest for this new birth is religion. Think about this. Seek within - is there a place, ever so slight, for surati within you? Some little corner? Is there a temple in you where remembrance vibrates? Do you hear some little melody inside singing His remembrance? Is that remembrance always inside you or do you keep forgetting? Or do you remember Him at all?

If you begin to contemplate these lines the very thinking will provoke the birth of remembrance within, because as you begin to think, you will naturally start thinking of Him. The very thought that there is no remembrance of Him inside me will awaken His remembrance.

As the remembrance appears more and more frequently, as the hammer strikes again and again, the mark goes deeper and deeper. Constant hammering writes a mark even on a stone; and so with your heart the mark is bound to be intensified.

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