Your Boat is Useless on Land

Fri, 6 December 1974 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Osho - The True Name, Vol 2
Chapter #:
am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
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Before proceeding with the sutras, there are a few things we should understand.

Thousands upon thousands of ways have been devised to search for God. But whenever a person has attained, he has found that He could not be attained through any means. Attainment comes always by His grace, as His gift; only through His compassion does a seeker arrive.

But alas, things become very complex, because without effort on the part of the seeker grace does not descend. Understand this a little, for without prior understanding of this complicated puzzle you cannot progress on the path of realization.

For example, you forget someone's name. You try very hard to remember. You feel it is on the tip of your tongue and will come to you at any moment, yet it does not come. You try a thousand ways to remember; you get all worked up inside, for you are so sure the name is so close. Then you give up in exasperation. What can you do if it doesn't come to mind? You go to do something else - read the newspaper, go for a walk or visit a friend's house. You have forgotten all about the name when suddenly, over a cup of tea, the name comes to you like a flash when you least expect it. You are completely relaxed and making no effort.

When we put out a great deal of effort, it becomes a hindrance in itself. Great effort produces great tension in the mind. When we pursue something doggedly and obstinately, the insistence becomes an obstruction. When the mind is concentrated it becomes constricted and we become closed. The mind can become so constricted that not even a single word can find its way out.

Concentration means constriction. The concentrated mind must be closed to all except the object of your concentration. Only a small hole is left open for you to see; all else is closed. For instance, when a person's house is on fire his mind is concentrated on the fire. At that moment if his shoe pinches him, he would be unaware of it. He is oblivious to everything around him. Rushing madly to extinguish it, if his hands burn or his clothes, he is totally unaware. All his energy is directed towards putting out the fire; all else is forgotten. In the same way, when you struggle to remember a certain name, the name doesn't occur to you, because your mind has become so concentrated and constricted.

The complication is that God is so vast that a narrow mind cannot grasp Him. If a small word cannot be recalled how can God be remembered? And His name is not on the tongue, it is in the heart. It does not come to mind until suddenly, when you are doing nothing and the mind is relaxed, its gates all open. When the constriction of concentration is gone, you open and God enters.

But the irony is thay the second happening can take place only after you have truly tried. Without that initial effort nothing happens, for the happening is the ultimate outcome of the initial effort and struggle. The intense effort ends in apparent failure; but when you give up, this effort slips into the subconscious mind and continues with the same intensity. Then, when you are relaxed, the thought wells up.

So trying is of two kinds: the conscious effort you put in does not lead to God. When you give up and accept defeat all the effort you had put in now penetrates every pore of your body. It spreads with every beat of your heart, in every breath that you take. It becomes a part of your being that you cannot lose. Do what you will, it has gone deep within you as an internal current, a flow in which the advent of God takes place. Scientists would say it has now become an effort of the unconscious.

The conscious mind is a very small segment compared to the unconscious. The ratio is one to nine.

It is just like a piece of ice floating on the water; one-tenth is above water and nine-tenths is below.

When you try with your conscious mind you never profit. The imperceptible gain will occur only when your conscious effort reaches its last gasp and you are completely worn out; you will give up but the effort will continue in the unconscious. Though you give up the unconscious never gives up.

This means that the conscious effort gradually becomes the unconscious effort. When this happens the japa, repetition, becomes the unpronounced repetition, ajapa. Now you needn't repeat the name consciously; it happens inside by itself. Wherever you are - running a shop, marketing, working in the office or even sleeping - the japa continues inside. Once the japa enters your unconscious, it permeates each atom of your being. You may not hear its music but it is sounding within you all right.

The conscious is useful inasmuch as it carries you up to the unconscious. One day the explosion takes place and suddenly you find God before you. Then you will feel that it is only His grace and compassion that have brought you so far. You had long since given up all effort and accepted defeat when suddenly the destination appeared; so it was not your effort. You had stopped traveling and the sacred place came before you. Since at that time you were making no effort, it is natural to feel that it is His grace.

Initially it is necessary to try your utmost through the conscious. Don't think that since your effort yields no result you should not try - that, since it happens only through His compassion, it will happen when it is to happen, so why should we bother? Then it will never happen.

Or if you think your endeavors alone will bring about the result and you keep on struggling consciously, then too it does not happen. Where your effort and His compassion meet, your efforts end, and only His grace remains.

You are restricted only by your conscious self. He is only in your unconscious. You are limited by the boundaries of your conscious mind, your thoughts. Below these, in your very depth, He resides.

Although He is already there within you, the door between the conscious and the unconscious has to be broken down by your own effort. The experience of union happens only through His compassion.

Those who wish to seek must first explore thoroughly and entirely; then they have to let go of all searching. Only when they have tried totally should the search be given up, not before that, or else all goes in vain. When the search is complete, when you have staked your all without holding back a single thing, only then does the search slip from the conscious to the unconscious; for there you are not, your ego is no more.

In sleep where is your ego, your arrogance? In sleep there is no one to say I: that "I am a king" or "I am a millionaire". The I is completely lost. In the same manner there is not the faintest inkling of the ego within your unconscious. The I is a product of the conscious mind. With effort his I breaks; when you are exhausted the ego dissolves. As the ego dissolves, the door to the unconscious opens. And the door of the unconscious is the entrance to God. Those who have reached have all passed through this door. But then you are not there, there is no one to say I; therefore in the moment of attainment you will say, "His grace, His compassion."

This gives rise to an illusion, a doubt: you may wonder if His grace is more for some and less for others. If it is His grace alone, a few are attaining but the majority are not. Is this some rank injustice? Remember, through your own efforts alone you become worthy of His compassion. His grace showers on all, all the time, but you are not fit for it. Therefore it is your failure to accept what you are getting, not some discrimination on His part.


No one is worthy, no one unworthy. He gives, He showers on all alike. But if you are not ready to take, you will keep on missing. You are not ready to take His grace.

If you find a rough diamond by the wayside you will not pick it up, but if a jeweler passes that way, he will because he knows its value. To you it's only a piece of stone. The diamond was equally available to you and to the jeweler; it was there for anyone's taking. The diamond didn't differentiate between you and the jeweler; it hadn't refused you in favor of the jeweler. The fact remains, you did not recognize it; the jeweler did. He had the eyes, the capacity, to spot it.

God, similarly, lies before you, everywhere. Wherever your eyes reach He is there, but you do not have the eyes to see. Your eyes cannot see Him, your ears cannot hear Him, your hands cannot touch Him. You are deaf, dumb, lame! He calls you but you cannot run toward Him. He calls from all four sides but, alas, you are deaf. There is no differentiation, no discrimination from Him towards anyone. For all come from Him and ultimately merge into Him. How can there be any discrimination?

Do you differentiate between your right hand and your left hand - that when your right hand hurts it is worse than when your left hand is in pain? Both are yours, left and right, inside you are just one - yourself.

Does He differentiate between the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant, the good and the bad? If His gift were conditional, He would give only if you conform to His requirements. It would be a business deal, a bargain. No, God gives unconditionally. If you cannot receive His gift, it is you who are wanting. He knocks at your door, but you think it is the wind. You see His footsteps, but you begin to interpret and offer your comments, which only deepen the darkness in your eyes.

God comes to you from many directions. He does not spare Himself at all. He comes to you as much as He came to Buddha, as much as He came to Nanak. For Him you are not any different from Nanak. But Nanak recognizes Him; he is a jeweler. Buddha holds the hem of His robe while you keep missing Him again and again. When you are qualified, when you become an adept in the art of assaying, your blindness will vanish. After all your efforts cause your ego to fall, when through exhaustion you are no more, you find that He was always there before you. He was right at the tip of your nose; wherever your nose turned, there He was. You missed because of your own self.

Keep this well within your heart: if you miss you are the cause, if you attain it is through His grace.

This is incomprehensible to those who have not known. Logic would assert: if I miss because of myself, I shall also attain because of myself. While the logic seems tight it is a mistake; you miss because of yourself, you attain because of Him, His grace.

What does this mean? It means that as long as you are, you cannot attain Him. Then how can you attain through yourself, since your very self is the obstruction? The stronger the I in you, the greater is the obstruction, the stronger is the wall. Once the walls fall, He stands directly before you.

Conscious effort will break the wall and the door will open, but the light of God was always outside the door.

When you attain Him, many things become clear to you. One: I missed because of myself, I attained because of You. Two: You were near but I sought You in far off places, not where You were. Three:

the supports I used in my search were those by which You can never be sought.

In all dimensions of life the mode of travel is different. You can cross an ocean with a boat, but you cannot use it to cross the land. No matter how good a sailor you are, no matter how many seas you may have crossed, or how great your knowledge of the ocean, you cannot sail your boat on the road. Now because of this boat your whole journey comes to a halt. You could even have walked and arrived one day on foot, but now you are stuck with this boat around your neck, so to say. You may try to apply your knowledge and experience of sailing to land, you may have crossed vast oceans, but this small bit of dry land will defeat you for your boat is useless on land, and you don't abandon it.

This is exactly what is happening. The boat of ego is a useful vehicle in the world of samsara, the world of objects. You cannot take a step without the ego. Trying to make your way in life without the ego leads to grief; for it is a race of egos. All striving is in the I. The greater the ego, the greater the success. That this success ultimately turns into defeat is a different matter. But in the material world arrogance wins; the psychosis of arrogance is always victorious for this is a world of maniacs.

If however you begin on the path of God with this ego, you shall err. You may have been successful in the material world, your ego may have made a Napoleon, an Alexander of you, but do not make the mistake of carrying the ego along with you on this journey towards God. It becomes a hindrance that you will be caught and bound by. Having boarded the boat, you will simply sit becalmed in it. It won't sail. The journey is impossible.

At the first glimpse of Him a person realizes that He missed Him all this time entirely because of himself, and that the attainment came by His grace. He realizes that all his efforts that had seemed so intense and exhausting were hardly worth the name compared to the gift of attainment. There is no relation between the two - his effort and His grace.

It is just as if a person travels with the help of a needle to realize the ocean. Really, what connection can a needle have with the ocean? All efforts of man are like the needle - small, very small. Until you meet God you cannot weigh your efforts or know what they mean. One man says he worships in the temple. What does he do? He sounds the bell, offers flowers to the image. Granted he is performing a worthy act, but has this anything to do with realizing God? Another man sits for an hour every day and repeats His name. He is mad if he thinks that by repeating His name over and over for an hour a day he can attain Him! How will his shouts and cries help? What value is his voice; how far will it reach?

When you arrive, you realize at once how childish, how insignificant were all your efforts. They will seem so trivial - all that going to temples, going to Kaaba or Kashi; all your worship, japa and penance; all the topsy-turvy postures, all the shouting and hollering. How much are they all worth?

You undertake these puny efforts, these petty, feeble efforts to attain the invaluable, the priceless - that cannot be had at any price in the market of the world? You work for an hour and earn a rupee; you worship for an hour and you expect to attain God? It is understandable and logical that an hour's labor can earn you a rupee, but how can you earn God by one hour's meditation?

That which is realized is infinite. Our labor is insignificant. When you attain you will appreciate the fact that you had set out with a spoon and the ocean poured into it. In that hour you are bound to call out: "Your grace, my Lord, Your compassion!" Saints have exhausted themselves in their endeavors, and in the end declared against their own efforts. Yet they exhorted their disciples to keep on trying, never to stop trying. Their words seem so illogical.

Each time I say that you cannot attain by your effort, that very evening people come and say, "Why go through all the strain of meditation if He can be realized without trying? If as you yourself say, efforts yield no fruit, what is the sense in all of this?"

It happened: Early in this century physicists made a discovery beyond all logic. All their data showed that the ultimate particle of matter, the electron, was operating in a way that was beyond comprehension: it was behaving in two different ways at the same time. It was acting both as a particle of matter and as a wave, a current, a ripple. What conformed totally to the words of the saints was inconsistent in the scientists' laboratories.

If you have studied geometry you will know that a line is a line and a dot is a dot. The line can never look like a dot nor a dot like a line, for the simple reason that a dot is a dot whereas a line is a continuation of many dots. If you have a dot in your book which sometimes becomes a line and sometimes becomes a dot as you are looking, you will be alarmed. You will imagine all kinds of things - that it is black magic or that someone is playing a trick! For a dot is a dot and cannot become a line. One thing cannot be two different things.

In the same way a particle is a particle, and a wave is a wave. But physicists discovered at the beginning of this century that the electron acts as if it is both, it behaves in a dual manner simultaneously. This was a great calamity for science, for all its premises were nullified.

Science is governed by logic, it is not a play of the mysterious. It is not poetry. It is arithmetic where two plus two must equal four. Then what was to be done? The more they explored the atom, the more their troubles increased. Ultimately they had to accept the dual behavior of the electron.

People questioned the physicists: How can this be? Such a discovery nullified Euclid's geometry. It is against all mathematical laws.

The physicists replied: What are we to do if the electrons don't obey the laws of Euclidean geometry?

We have verified every aspect of it and have to announce what we saw. If it doesn't conform to logic, let it not. We shall have to change our laws of science; we cannot tell the atoms to behave differently.

So a new geometry was born - non-Euclidean geometry. Geometry had to be changed, for the elements cannot be expected to change their nature and conform to man's theories.

For the first time in the history of science, Euclid was rendered useless and its definitions proclaimed defective. And all the doctrines of logic propounded by Aristotle were invalidated.

Saints face the same difficulty. They have tapped His door long before the scientists and they found that nothing is attained without a full-fledged effort; yet He is not attained through any amount of endeavor. The condition is such that there's nothing to do but try, though He is not to be attained by trying. If you really understand this, you will come to know the profound correlation between the two and you will risk your all in the effort. You will attain Him only through His grace, but you have to make yourself worthy of His grace by making an all-out, unsparing effort. This is the quintessence of this sutra.


Only then will you be exhausted, not before! How many times have you repeated His name? How many meditations have you done? You have hardly begun! You haven't used your full strength. If your house caught fire you would really run. But you haven't run towards God with half that effort. If your wife were to die, how much you would weep! Have you cried for Him in your grief of separation?

If your child is lost, you will run here and there like a madman, searching; have you looked for Him like this? Your quest is still lukewarm; it hasn't reached the boiling point.

Nanak is speaking of the boiling point when he says in this sutra: If my tongue becomes a hundred thousand, and if this hundred thousand turns into millions, with each tongue shall I repeat endlessly the name of God. Each hair on your body should fill with thirst for Him, each pore, every atom, yearning for Him. All else but 'I must attain Him!' should be meaningless in your life. God alone should be your only purpose. When you are ready to renounce all else, when your only goal is His attainment, only then is the concentration enough.

These are the steps of the name of the Lord: that one tongue becomes a million and then each tongue repeats His name millions of times. When traversed by the seeker, the names of the Lord are the very steps by which he becomes twenty-one - in other words, he attains God-realization.

The word twenty-one occurs in the reckoning of the Sankhya School of thought. Sankhya discusses the ways a seeker can become enlightened or twenty-one. The calculations of this philosophy are very valuable. The very word Sankhya means numbers, numerals. It is the first time man's existence was dealt with numerically; therefore the philosophy came to be known as Sankhya.

Sankhya says the five elements - earth, water, fire, air and ether - are born out of the One. But these elements are gross. There are also five subtle elements that cannot be seen by the eyes.

Scientists also agree that the wall we can see with the naked eye is the gross wall; the subtle wall we are never able to see. Scientists have obtained only a bare glimpse of it. The wall that appears so static and immovable to us is not static; it contains a great deal of movement. Each particle moves at incredible speeds, approaching the speed of light; and the light ray travels at 186,000 feet per second. This is so fast, so subtle, that we cannot grasp it.

The microscopic particles that make up the wall revolve at such tremendous speeds. It is so far beyond what the physical eye can observe that the wall appears stationary. The fact is ,however, that each thing is vibrating, everything is alive and moving. One day the wall will fall. If it was totally static and devoid of any movement, inside and out, it could not disintegrate; how could it fall? Activity brings about a struggle that results in destruction.

The wall is going through great activity, with tremendous friction between the particles of the wall and the external forces of wind and dust that ultimately causes the wall to break down.

Recent scientific experiments show that the human body can be kept alive for a great length of time if kept below a temperature of zero. It can thus be preserved for an indefinite period. The theory that applies is that the less the activity, the less the disintegration. This is what refrigeration is all about.

Keep a fruit in the refrigerator and it can be preserved for a length of time. On a similar basis, we find that people mature sooner in tropical countries and appear to age sooner. The greater the heat, the quicker the movement and the quicker the maturation and eventual disintegration. Because of this increased activity and metabolism we feel restless in the hot season and enjoy the cold season.

In winter you often feel healthier.

Sankhya says there are five subtle elements. These subtle elements are related to five gross elements. Together they make ten.

Then there are five organs of perception that are subtle, and five organs of action that are gross.

The eye is your organ of action, while the capacity to see is your subtle organ of perception. If you do not have the power of seeing, you are blind in spite of the eye. It sometimes happens that the eye is in perfect condition yet cannot see; this is because the power of vision has shifted away from the eyes. The ears are the gross organs of hearing; but hearing, the power to hear, is the subtle organ of perception.

Therefore when Nanak tells us again and again, "Listen!" he is not referring to your ears. The external organ of hearing, the ear, is always open to sound, unlike the eyes, which can be closed or open. Then why does Nanak say, "Listen"? He is hinting at your subtle ear. He means come nearer to the ear, don't wander here and there because then the ears will hear but you will not listen.

These five gross sense organs and the five subtle organs of perception make ten. Together with the elements they make twenty. Nanak says that he who wagers his all becomes twenty-one, and this is God. If you do not bet your all, you do not seek Him, even then you become twenty-one. But this twenty-one is your ego.

So there are two ways of becoming twenty-one. The first twenty are the states of being. Either you attain God or realize your own soul and you become twenty-one, or you visualize a false picture of yourself - that I am this or that, a millionaire, a hero, a renunciate, or a king. There too you will be twenty-one, but this would be the twenty-first lie.

Either you add one lie to the twenty and you have twenty-one lies, or add one truth to the twenty and you have twenty-one truths. In either case you become twenty-one. We are all twenty-one. Nanak is also twenty-one. No one can be more than this, but we have joined one lie to our twenty and we have never sought in the other direction.

You have never tried to know anything about your own self; you are under the ullusion that you know yourself and there is no greater lie. You have never tried to know yourself, nor have you even a glimpse of your authentic self. Yet you say, "I am!" You haven't the slightest notion of who you are.

You know only as much as the mirror tells you. And how much of you can the mirror show except the external appearance of your body? You can see your body, your clothes - that is all. The mirror cannot reflect the soul within you, your real self. Whatever the mirror shows, you accept as your own self, the I.

And this I you have taken to be the twenty-one. That is the whole trouble; it is hell. If your twenty-first is a falsity, you fall into suffering. The twenty in every case is constant; it is only the twenty-first that is the deciding factor. No sooner is the twenty-first the truth, you experience the bliss of supreme liberation. The twenty are an arrangement of life, they cause no confusion. Only if the twenty-first is inauthentic does it bring untold troubles.

Nothing causes as much pain and suffering as the ego. There is no synonym better suited to express the nature of the ego than suffering. Increase your ego, you increase your suffering. You can contain the whole of hell within your fist.

The more you desire joy, happiness, the less your ego will have to be. The day your ego is no more, the whole of heaven will be in your grasp. It will follow you like your own shadow. Then you cannot be sent to hell. Even if by chance you are sent to hell, you will create heaven there too, for he who has no ego finds heaven everywhere. And he who is filled with ego, will create a hell out of heaven if he happens to go there. Happiness and unhappiness are not connected with situations but with the twenty-one within you - whether it is false or true.



Nanak says that he who gives his all is taking the steps to the Lord's name. If you keep investing your all, a moment comes when there is nothing left in you. Traveling on that path ultimately makes the seeker twenty-one. In other words, the seeker becomes enlightened.




Here Nanak makes a valuable statement about how religion is altered and deformed When His light enters a person, he cannot help talking about Him. How can a flower stop spreading its fragrance when it blooms? How can a lamp not spread light once it is illumined? Whenever divinity descends into a person he is bound to talk about it. He will sing His glories, what he has attained will ooze from each pore of his body and will be manifest like fragrance around him, like light. Even if he remains silent, by basking in Him his very being radiates news of Him.

Nanak says: seeing such a person and hearing him talk of divine things, inferior and worthless people, who are no more than worms in human form, feel a sense of competition. These people are filled with envy and jealousy and do their utmost to discount the attainment of such a one.

So the first thing that happens around a person when he attains is that people around him will deny him and his attainment. They will brand him a liar, a hoax. They will set out on a fault-finding mission.

This is the kali yuga, the Age of Darkness, they will say, and who can attain in this era? The days of sat yuga, the Age of Truth, when so many beings were enlightened, are gone. They will ask for a thousand-and-one proofs and do their utmost to demonstrate that he has not attained.

There is no way to prove one's attainment, neither by one's behavior, one's clothes or one's food.

But realization needs no proof; its light manifests all around the person.

Then what do these people do? Those among them whose ego is stronger than the rest proclaim to the world, I have attained! The ego first denies the attainment of a genuine seeker: how could anyone do such a thing before he - the egoist - has realized? When he finds that the man in question cannot be proved wrong, he lets it be known by the beat of a drum that he also has attained!

Nanak speaks of the mean and lowly - for nothing can be meaner or lower than the ego. They are like lowly worms or insects. They are filled with the spirit of competition. Then they give rise to false stories of achievements.

So if there is one sadguru in the world, for each perfect master there are ninety-nine pseudo- sadgurus. This is always the ratio: 1 to 99. And the joke lies in the fact that the pseudo-gurus are more successful in attracting you than the genuine guru, for they speak your language. The pseudo-guru knows you very well and does all that you wish of him deep within yourself. If you want him to produce ashes from his hands, he does go. if you want an amulet to fall from the skies, he gets one for you.

You see the wayside magician performing the same tricks, but you are not impressed. When a holy man or saint turns round and indulges in these same tricks, you go mad after him; you dance with joy that at last you have found the sadguru! Then you pour out your desires to him. You want to be rid of your ailment, he blesses you; you desire a son, he blesses you. He tries to satisfy all your desires. Therefore you find crowds of thousands, millions, around a pseudo-sadguru, for he is but a reflection of your own life.

It is difficult to recognize a sadguru, for it requires a transformation in your life: you must change! A pseudo-guru gives to you and tries to satisfy your desires; an authentic guru snatches away all you have.

And the most interesting part in this whole affair is if you were to light a fire and sit before it blessing whoever comes, it is certain that your blessing will be successful fifty percent of the time! These are significant odds. Whoever comes, bless him! You need do nothing more. If a man wants your blessings to win his law suit, bless him. fifty percent of lawsuits are bound to be won - with or without your blessings! But now the focus of attention will be shifted to you and your blessing! The other fifty out of the hundred will go to some other pseudo-saint, for you were no good to them.

The fifty who win are now your confirmed followers; they will keep coming to you. Now this crowd of fifty will impress any newcomer with their stories of success; one won a lawsuit, another got back his wife, a third was lucky in love, someone was rid of an ailment, another's child was saved in an accident... and so on. Such is the crowd around the false saints; they are people whose wishes are fulfilled. The disappointed ones continue to move on and one day, when their wish is fulfilled, they will follow the guru they happened to be serving at that moment, presuming it to be the result of his blessings.

If you recognize the guru by your desires, you will err; what has the guru to do with your desires?

The true guru is not there to gratify your desires; he is interested in awakening you. To accomplish this it is better for you to be rid of desires - as many as possible. The guru is not interested in your illness, in your court cases or your wife and children; he is interested in you and your God. And his path is not the path of desires, but of desirelessness. Therefore he will not be able to attract you to him.

Thus you usually find crowds around the pseudo-guru. Whenever you see such a crowd, beware!

For a crowd is always of deluded people. You will find very few people in the right place, near a sadguru. And they are extremely hard to find. You will find only a selected few whose aim is to attain God. A crowd is always made up of desire-ridden people.

Nanak says that the false people then spread false tales. The irony is, the stories of such people often seem to be correct, for life is such that fifty percent of the people will be satisfied and convinced when their desires are fulfilled, and the other half will move further on in search of fresh gurus. When by chance their desire is fulfilled they will take it as the grace of the guru they are currently serving; if not near one Sai Baba, then another. Now each tells the other what he has gained from the guru, and so the crowd multiplies. Then when you see thousands of people have gathered...

You too have come there goaded by your desires. You also have put your faith in someone and many times your good luck is the result of your faith. Psychologists say that most illnesses are mental. If you have full faith that you will get well, you get well.

Many hospitals have experimented with this. Physicians call it the placebo effect. A group of patients with the same illness are divided into two groups. One group is given the regular treatment and the second group is treated with pills made only of plain sugar. The most interesting part is that about three out of five will recover independent of which group they come from, whether they got the regular treatment or the placebo. This is why there are so many 'pathies': allopathy, homeopathy, naturopathy, and what-not. And all these 'pathies' work on people and they recover, or else the treatment would have vanished long ago.

It appears that people are cured more by faith than by medicine. If a doctor who has just started his practice, who has just graduated from medical college, prescribes a treatment, it will not work, for you have no faith in him. If he happens to be your son it is bound to fail. What father has ever trusted his son? If a well known doctor prescribes the same treatment it will work. The bigger the doctor and the higher the fees, the more effective the treatment. Half the work is done by your faith in him. A doctor in whom you have no faith can never cure you.

This is why we find a doctor's diplomas and certificates hung on the walls of his consulting room.

These are medicines in themselves for his patients. In India if the doctor is 'foreign-returned', his cures are certain! Seeing the certificates the patient gets half cured. Have you noticed how many illnesses vanish when the doctor begins to examine you? He may have just taken your pulse, checked your blood pressure, he may just have applied the stethoscope to your chest and you feel the pain half gone.

A crowd gives confidence and faith, and faith yields results, while the phony person at the center of this crowd reaps the profits. You are engrossed in the play of your own mind.




Here worms denote the egoists. The worms are filled with awe and terror. How is this possible?

The word Nanak means small, wee. This wee man has reached and not we! This man who is way behind us in the world has reached? This illiterate village bum, this penniless farmhand without place, position, or family to boast of? Is anything known of his background; can you name one great man from his ancestors? That this man without heritage, wealth or property has reached while we have not is just impossible!

So Nanak says He can be attained only through His grace, not through your conceit. Who you are does not entitle you to attainment; what you are does not count in His attainment. He is attained only through His munificence. Your conceit and arrogance are only a hindrance in His path.

And yet, false people spread false stories. In the field of religion this is so easily done. Therefore we find the greatest amount of hypocrisy in the name of religion and the greatest amount of untruth.

This is so because the subject is the heavens. The subject is so wide and so far away, so splendid and so mysterious, that anyone can say anything and get away with it. If you set up a shop and begin to sell invisible cloth, how long will your shop last? It will be difficult to get even the first customer.

In the marketplace your wares must be not only visible but well displayed and laid out if you want to sell them. How can you cheat now?

I have heard: A store in America began to sell invisible hair pins for women. You may take it as a story of the future. Women would love to have invisible hairpins! A woman came and asked for a box of them. When she was served she asked the salesman if they were selling well. He answered, "Madam, we were out of stock these last three days. Thousands have bought them."

This was possible, for the primary quality advertised was their non-visibility. Once having advertised them this way, when you open the box and find it empty, whether there are hairpins in it or not is not questioned.

The business of God is just such a business of selling invisible hairpins. Since nothing is visible it is paradise for cheats; that is why we find that the more religions a country has, the greater the hypocrisy prevailing in it.

Our country is proof of this. You will not find more hypocrisy or more humbug anywhere else in the world. Nowhere else in the world has religion been studied as in India. This led to so many sadgurus in this country, but each sadguru led to ninety-nine pseudo-gurus. You get so tired of all the deceit and fraud, the tyranny and chaos, you come to feel that this whole business of God is one big swindle, a racket. Best to keep away from it all!

Nanak says false people spread false tales and tall stories. And as your faith in them gets stronger, the stories get taller still.

Mulla Nasruddin was telling his little nephew about his experiences. He said, "I was going through the jungle when ten hyenas surrounded me. I killed five at one stroke...."

"But," interrupted the nephew, "Three month ago you said you met five hyenas. Now you say ten."

The Mulla replied coldly, "Then you were smaller. You weren't ready to hear such a frightening and dangerous story. You could not have understood it properly and would have been so shaken with fear."

As your capacity to hear their lies increases, the claims of these hypocrites increases also. They keep watching you to see how much your faith has increased and expand their stories accordingly.

Your faith nurtures God knows how many false gurus. When your faith develops you become blind to everything and believe almost anything.

Last night I was reading a discourse of a Christian padre who is well-known in the West. At the very outset he stated an outright lie. I wonder how anyone can believe such nonsense, yet there are people who believe him! He has a following of thousands. He writes in the foreword that very soon the advent of Jesus will take place. He will gather together all the millions of his followers and disappear. He promises that Jesus will not be long in coming now and even mentions the date and day. Tens of millions of Christians will vanish from this earth. Imagine! The rest of the world will look on amazed. And as soon as Jesus collects his devotees and disappears, all kinds of catastrophes will fall on this earth; it will become a veritable hell. He therefore exhorts all people not to waste a single moment, and start believing in Christ - join the flock. In the end he says, "There are only two alternatives before the people who read this book: if he is a sinner he will not believe in what is said in the following pages. If he is a man of good actions and virtue, he should tarry no longer and become his follower at once. He offers you only two alternatives. If you have the slightest sense and if you are basically good, you will follow Jesus. If you don't like the book at all it is because you are a sinner.

There is nothing wrong in going along with Jesus, but this man is exploiting his name. Jesus is a beautiful person, very lovely, but this man - what he says is a brazen lie; yet how can you prove it?

I can give you many instances where man's gullibility is exploited.

In 1930 a Christian priest announced that the end of the world would occur on the first of January.

Some fifty-thousand of his followers sold all they had and spent the money in merrymaking. There was no sense in keeping the money when the world was coming to an end! They spent as much as they could and gave away the rest. It was a question of believing or not believing. Those who believed were virtuous people. Those who did not were sinners.

The day of resurrection arrived. In darkness they all went up the mountain. When the sun came out, they would be praying on top of the mountain while all the world was destroyed and Jesus would pull all his followers high up into the skies. Morning arrived, the sun came out - nothing happened! All the people of the village headed towards the mountain to question them. They were met halfway - by the followers coming down! When they were asked to explain, they said, "Everything is in order.

Our prayers have been heard and accepted. God has postponed the annihilation of creation."

The sect is still very active in spite of this. It is astonishing how blind faith works. And we have no way to prove their falseness. People were prepared to take them to task for playing a hoax on them, but the priests were cleverer. They said it was an even greater proof of their prayers - God had put off the day of judgment because of their intervention!

Mulla Nasruddin sprinkled salt on his doorstep every evening. When someone asked what he was doing so religiously, he said, "It is to keep away wild animals."

"But there are no wild animals around!" people exclaimed.

"That is because I sprinkle the salt every day," Mulla answered.

What can you do to such a man? He leaves you no way out. The proof is before your eyes. Not only do wild animals never come to his doorstep, they do not dare come anywhere near the village!

Man is only too willing to be deceived, for deceit has its own logic. Fraud and deception have their own way of advertisement, their own logic; and they excite your desires. They persuade you in their own insidious way.

Nanak says false people spread empty boastful tales. But He is attained only by him who makes no untoward claims, whose I is completely annihilated. He is attained by him alone to whom He condescends to be gracious.




These are revolutionary words. If there is one thing, and one thing alone that Nanak stresses in the whole of Japji - it is remembrance of His name; yet here in these lines Nanak declares that even remembrance has not the power. This is the last, the ultimate step coming into view. Nanak tries to snatch everything away from you - even remembrance. For if you have the slightest inkling that something has the power, you will protect yourself, your hold on yourself will be strengthened; all strength ultimately proves to be the strength of your ego.

So Nanak says there is no power even in the utterance - that you will take his name and somehow achieve. Then, in order that people not feel that if utterance has not the power perhaps silence does, Nanak says that even silence has no power. He is pulling everything out of your hands, anything he feels you might cling to. You may have thought: Right! Talking is so much babble; silence is the answer! So you become silent and go into meditation. But Nanak says that even silence has no power, for there is still the you in you; it is the you that had been talking that has now become silent.

The quality of your being does not change. If the one who speaks is a sinner how can he become a saint merely by becoming silent?

Try to understand this business of qualities. If an evil person observes silence, he is still evil. How can his silence bring any change? A good man is a good man whether he speaks or is silent. A bad man is a bad man in both cases. An evil person will contrive some fresh device to harass others even while remaining silent.

Do you think merely by keeping quiet you can bring about a change in yourself or you will gain some power? What difference can there be? You were present in your words; you are present in your silence. You are still there. You will say, "I have become silent. I have entered into meditation." The same arrogance was there before, that you could speak well. Arrogance is blind - whether in silence or in speech.

I have heard: The ministry was being expanded and Mulla became a minister. He prided himself in his oratory and was confident he would impress and influence the public. Instead his speeches proved so long that the audience got bored. Because of the guards' instructions, nobody could leave the hall until the honored minister had finished his speech. He watched people yawning and stretching and squirming right before his eyes.

So he told his press agent to write shorter speeches, because people were getting bored. On the next occasion, Mulla started out hopefully to read the speech prepared for him. Yet the people still became bored; they were squirming in their seats. Mulla again rebuked his press agent: "Didn't I tell you to write shorter speeches? Yet you wrote such a long one that people were thoroughly bored. If this continues I am going to lose all my following."

"But, sir!" said the press agent, "That speech was quite short. No one said you had to read all three copies!"

Intelligence cannot be borrowed. People get speeches prepared, but quality cannot be bought or borrowed. The quality of one's individuality can easily be obtained, for no one else can give it to you.

If you are a Satan at heart and you sit in silence, you are still a Satan. Until yesterday you prided yourself on your words; today you can pride yourself on your silence.

The Zen fakir, Bokoju, went to his guru and said, "Now I have become absolutely silent; the emptiness within is complete. Please speak now."

The guru said "Go out first and throw away this silence, then come in."

"Throw away silence?" asked Bokoju, "All this time you were saying become empty!"

"That was the first step," explained the guru. "Now this is the second: be silent first, then throw away the silence or else your silence will make you stiff with arrogance. Who is it now who says, 'I am empty'? This is the very thing that has to be dropped."


What will you give? What do you have to give? The beggar and the giver stand in the same place.

One asks God for wealth, while the other distributes wealth or builds temples or feeds the poor; but both have their eye only on wealth. And it is possible that the beggar is humble, but how can the benefactor be humble? He will say, "I am a benefactor." But there is only one true benefactor. How can you be a benefactor? What have you got to give? You can give only what you have: pebbles and stones, pieces of gold and silver, paper currency. These are all artificially given their value by man.


You cannot achieve Him by living, so people think they should die. You see such people in ashrams everywhere. They don't have the courage to die in one stroke, so they do it gradually. This gradual dying is considered to be sannyas.

first they run away from the world, which cuts out ninety percent of their life. Then they stay in an ashram where they cut down their intake of food by eating only once a day. So one half of the remaining life is lost. Gradually they reduce their food even more; eventually they are walking around almost dead.

Nanak says that neither your living has the energy nor your dying. If you did not attain while alive, how can you attain after death? It is you who will die, is it not? And it is you again who will be born.

You only shift positions, places; but you do not change.

What Nanak is saying is very significant.

THE POWER LIES NEITHER IN LIVING NOR IN DYING; THE POWER LIES NEITHER IN THE WEALTH OF KINGDOMS NOR THE RESOLVES OF THE MIND; Some people amass wealth, others collect meditation: they sit, they concentrate with great resolve, they do great penance. But Nanak says, even these do not have the power to attain.

And most significant of all, he says:

THE POWER LIES NEITHER IN REMEMBRANCE NOR IN KNOWLEDGE OF THE DIVINE; Thoughts do not have the strength - and many people have said this - for thoughts are on the surface. Knowledge also has no strength, and many people have said it. Reading the scriptures, learning from the world or even from the guru - what power can they have? For it is always you at the center of the vortex.

Now this is interesting. Here all the paradox of the mystery manifests fully. All along Nanak has spoken of surati, His remembrance. And here he says: Even His remembrance has not the strength.

The first step is His remembrance, and the second step is what use is mere remembrance? For it is I who will remember. That remembrance will be my very own. It is I who will call out to Him, all my qualities will be contained in the remembrance; and what strength can that have?

The second phase is now at hand, when the seeker lets go of everything - but only after doing everything, remember! Don't be in a hurry to stop. If there is the slightest lack, there will be no results. This is only at the very end when nothing is left to be done. The fact is, you do not do it; things fall away by themselves. If you quit consciously, it means something still remains to be done.

You strive and you strive and you strive, then the moment comes when you fall down exhausted.

This falling is not of your own doing - you suddenly find yourself flat! Nanak refers to this when he says nothing has the strength, the power. For if there is even a little bit of strength left, you are bound to go further.



Nanak says that none of the methods and tricks devised to be free of samsara have any strength in them either. The authentic power lies in the hands of Him who creates the world and, having created, admires it. It is all in His hands. All strength, all power lies in His hands. Become weak, helpless, you will get His support. If you are strong you need no support. God is the strength of the weak and helpless.

If you become helpless here, God awaits you there; but He belongs to the weak, not to the strong.

The strong man does not need Him; he believes in helping himself. He denies God from all his endeavors, his arrogance is still strong. He does not feel the need of God's help.

Once it happened this way: there was a Christian saint, Saint Theresa. She was an exceptional woman. One day she went to the village church and announced that she was going to construct a big church. The village was small and the people were poor. They thought it was a worthy idea, but wondered where would they get the funds. Who will give the money? One of them asked her, "How much money do you have to start with?"

Theresa put her hand in her pocket and produced two paise. "I have this with me: two paise!" she said exultantly. "We can start with this."

The people laughed, "We already doubted your sanity. Two paise for such a gigantic project! You need tens of millions of rupees, Theresa!"

St.Theresa replied, "You see these two paise? That is all I have, but what about Him? He is with me. I have two paise plus God. How much does that make? And these two paise are only for beginning; later it will be He who has to see it through. How much can we poor mortals do? What is our capacity? It is worth not more than two paise; the rest is His. The two paise we have got, we shall go that far. He will see to the rest. Thy will be done! Let us make the beginning."

The church was completed and stands to this day. It is an enormous edifice. It could not have been completed by man's puny effort alone. His effort is worth only two paise. But you can set out to fulfill so grand a dream provided you remember that your own worth is so petty. Realizing your worth and taking shelter in the Lord's grace, you have infinite power and wealth to back you. You can move mountains provided you keep your trust in God and are fully conscious of your own insignificant strength.

No sooner do you become helpless than the fountain of the supreme strength begins to flow for you.

As long as you rely on your own strength and give it importance, your power is not worth a penny.

Therefore Nanak keeps repeating again and again: neither this has the power nor that... he is depriving you of all your strength. Therefore, I say, the sadguru snatches things away from you; he does not give. He takes away your all, he makes you helpless, he makes you weak. He leaves you in the state of a man in the middle of a desert, dying of thirst and no water anywhere. At the moment of the thirst that arises out of this helplessness - that moment you shall attain. You will call out, "Oh helper of the helpless!" and there He will be! When you are completely helpless you get the supreme help.

And remember: there is no one high, no one low here.

Therefore do not worry about anything else. before Him, all are equal, all are the same. So do not fear that the strong will reach, or the virtuous will reach, or the benefactors, or those who meditate, will reach first. There is no one high and no one low here.

If you feel the difference of high and low, it is entirely your own doing; it is not because of Him. If you lose yourself entirely, you shall rise high; if you save yourself, you shall be low.

Jesus has said: He who loses himself will attain, and he who saves himself will lose forever.

Do not save yourself. This is one mistake that man can commit. Then he is left with two paise only; then he is really a pauper. Do not save yourself and you will find the two paise are nowhere - the whole of existence is at your disposal. The full energy of God is at your service. Then you become a king. You can be a beggar of your own making, but a king through His compassion.

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"Now, my vision of a New World Order foresees a United Nations
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   February 6, 1991
   Following a speech to the Economic Club of New York City