There Is No End To It

Fri, 8 December 1974 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Osho - The True Name, Vol 2
Chapter #:
am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
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Nanak has divided existence and its quest into four realms. The division is very scientific and worth understanding. He names the realms: Religion, Knowledge, Shame and Grace.

The section of religion deals with the expression of dharma, the law, the rule, that governs the whole of existence. The Vedas refer to it as rut, which means unchangeable law - what Lao Tzu calls Tao.

From rut is derived rutu, the seasons. At the time of the Vedas, the seasons were so regular and clear-cut that there was not a moment's difference from one year to the next. Spring would come on the exact day, the rains would start the very day they were supposed to. Man has disturbed nature completely so that the seasons are no longer seasons. The word rutu was given specifically to the seasons for they worked exactly according to their timetable, following an unchangeable law. There was a system at work. Because of man's so-called knowledge, everything has gone haywire; even the seasons have gone off the rails, so to speak.

The West is now much more concerned about this state of affairs, giving rise to a movement around a new branch of science: ecology. Ecologists insist that nature be not tampered with. They believe that man should leave nature to God if he wishes to survive. Changes in nature bring about changes in the surroundings, which are being destroyed, and we are approaching a point that is dangerous for mankind.

The art of knowing the most intrinsic discipline of the supreme law of life is called dharma, religion.

Buddha used the Pali word, dhamma, to mean the rule. When a Buddhist monk says, "Now I surrender myself to the law," he lets go of his self to seek shelter in the supreme law "through which I was born and in which I shall dissolve." To know truth is to know this rule.

To express this fundamental law of life, Nanak says, is the basis for the realm of religion. We live, but we live by our thoughts. We think a thousand times before we take a single step. And the more we think the more our steps fall in the wrong place. Whatever steps we take without the intrusion of thoughts invariably lead us right.

You eat your food but you do not think about digesting it. The rule digests the food. Try this experiment: after meals concentrate on the stomach and the process of digestion - you will end with an upset stomach. As soon as you interfere with the unconscious law you create chaos within.

Every night you sleep. One night ponder at length on how you fall asleep, how sleep comes, and what happens - you will pass a sleepless night. It isn't strange that people who think a great deal suffer from insomnia.

Life goes on! The trees never think about when they should let the flowers bloom. The tree knows from its very roots. It does not think, for all its mechanisms are built in. The rivers flow towards the sea. Do they have any sense of direction? Do they have any maps? An unconscious rule guides their waters towards the ocean.

This gigantic universe works without thoughts; and nowhere do we find a single mistake or mishappening. Everything works according to the rule - except man. Man has gone wrong for he does not obey the rule; instead he is guided by his thoughts. He thinks: Should I do this or not?

Is this right or wrong? What would be the outcome if I...? Will I gain something? What will people say? In the haze of smoke created by a thousand-and-one such thoughts, the straight line of life gets hidden and lost. He who works in a state of no-thought is an enlightened being.

So religion is not wisdom, nor a decision of your intellect. Religion is a quest by a man who is tired of his intelligence, who is harassed by it, who has tried every direction and finds himself a helpless failure in the end. Such a man lets go of his intelligence and then says, "Your will, not mine, O Lord!

Take me where You will." This Nanak refers to as the divine order.

Don't imagine this to mean that there is a huge person sitting somewhere issuing orders, that there is a supreme father, the Supreme God! The rule works without the orderer, the rule is God Himself.

We have to use words that people can understand; so also we have to make use of symbols, signs.

Foolish people often cling to symbols; so they think God has hands, mouth, limbs, that he sits on a throne and dispenses justice and gives orders. If we do not obey his orders, we are irreligious; if we do, we are relifious. If we don't obey, He will be displeased and angry and then punish us. If we obey He will reward us.

This is all useless nonsense! You are attaching too much importance to mere symbols.

Only the law exists. There is no one sitting there on high who works the rule. When you move in harmony with the rule all wrong actions stop on their own, for the rule knows no wrong. Then when the right actions accumulate through you, the melody of joy begins to play. When your actions are right they will spread a fragrance of happiness and joy all around. This fragrance signals that your actions are correct.

When something wrong happens through you the shadow of sorrow will surround you. The greater the wrong, the greater the anxiety and worry and suffering. Don't look upon suffering as a punishment, but rather as the outcome of wrong action.

If a man leaves the straight road and wanders into a jungle and then thorns prick him, he understands that he has gone off the track. Not being on the road, there are bound to be thorns. The man looks for the right track and gets back to the road; now no thorns prick him because there are none. When you hit against a wall and hurt your head, the wall is not punishing you. What has the wall to do with you? When you find the door you can go out easily without hurting your head.

It is just like this. The day you begin to recognize the law, you will have found the door. As long as you are oblivious of the rule you will keep knocking your head against the wall. How many times have you hurt yourself, how many wounds do you bear on your head? These are wounds you have gathered over millions of births that are oozing, festering, and causing endless pain. And you think someone is punishing you.

No one is punishing you; you are reaping your own harvest. Always bear in mind whenever you are unhappy you have gone against nature; whenever you are ill you are out of harmony with nature.

Illness is a warning, a hint to you; as such it is helpful and for your own good. If there were no illness you would never know when you have left nature's path, or when you have gone against the eternal arrangement of life. Then you will keep wandering with no way for you to come back. Suffering and sorrow turns you back to God. This is why you remember Him when you are in pain and sorrow. In joy you never think of Him.

The saint prays: "Oh Lord, let there always be a little suffering as a reminder, so that we remain constantly in prayer, always calling out to you. If there is no pain or sorrow, we shall have no excuse to call You. In happiness we forget you; we shall be lost!"

Suffering means just one thing: you have wavered in religion somewhere, somehow. Do not blame others, nor your fortune, nor be angry with God. Take it as a hint, a warning, and try to find out where you have slipped. Where have you gone against nature? Then try to fall in line with nature - for that is religion.

Nanak calls the second division the realm of knowledge. Religion exists. The day you recognize this you attain knowledge. Religion is - only you have closed your eyes to it. The sun is shining, only you have closed your eyes to it. The sun is shining, only you have closed your doors and windows; the lamp burns, but you stand with your back to it. It is pouring outside, but you are afraid to get wet, so you hide yourself in some dark cave. Religion is going on all the time but you have kept yourself away - somewhere far away.

To come back, to return and retrace your steps, is called Knowledge. Every man will have to come back. Man is capable of going far. The animals, the plants, the birds have no religion, for they do not have the ability to go outside of nature. Whatever they do is within nature's law. They do not have the sense even to wander. Wandering requires a little intelligence. You need at least a little courage to go wrong; and you need some awareness to step off the path. This much man has, but then to come back to the path you need more awareness.

So the animals are in their right place, for they cannot wander. This is not a very laudable state of being; it is actually a helplessness. The average man has a little intelligence. He can wander; therefore, he has gone astray. Then there are those who attain buddhahood, like Nanak and Kabir.

They have the highest awareness at their command; they have come back. What the animals have naturally you have to attain through your sadhana, through your spiritual practice. Buddha also returns to the point where the plants always are. The same supreme bliss that the plants enjoy is attained by Buddha but there is a basic difference between the two: Buddha is completely aware of the bliss that rains on him, whereas the plant has no awareness of the bliss that rains on it.

Nature is unconscious, whereas the buddha-purusha is naturally in full awareness. We are between these two. Nature is not conscious; in nature happiness and joy are natural but the knower, the enjoyer of this happiness is absent. It is just as if you are unconscious while jewels are raining all over you. It makes no difference to you whether it is raining stones or raining jewels. Then if you open your eyes you become aware of the endless bounty that has rained on you.

Buddha has attained only what was so readily available to the stones; he returns to the same place.

But this coming back is an absolutely new happening. The place is the same, the rocks are the same; the very tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment is also where Buddha is. And this is bound to be, for God is hidden in every grain, every particle.

But what is the difference between the Bodhi Tree and Buddha? There is a vast difference. The place is one, but the difference is infinite! The difference is that Buddha is experiencing this bliss in full consciousness; in full wakefulness he feels the infinite glory. The same glory pours on the tree but the tree is oblivious of it. The same glory rains on you also, but you have chosen to stand with your back to it. The trees face towards Him but they cannot know Him. You can know Him but you have turned in the opposite direction! The day you take a full turn, the day your eyes rest on His glory, you shall know. This knowing Nanak refers to as knowledge.

The realm of knowledge is man's attainment. Religion will be even if there is no man left on earth, but knowledge cannot be. Existence has tried to seek knowledge through man; therefore, man is the peak of creation. You do not know how many possibilities of glory are readily available to you.

God wishes to become awake through you; He wishes to awaken from within you.

In nature God is dormant. In man he has stirred. He wants to awaken in man. In nature there is the dark, moonless night and deep slumber. In man the moment of dawn has arrived. If you miss, you will remain in the dark night. If you open your eyes and see, you will also be like Buddha, Nanak, Kabir; until then you will suffer. Understand the eternal principle: if you do not become what you could become, you will suffer; if you become what you should have become, your life will be filled with bliss.

Bliss means fulfillment - the attainment of that which you had the power to attain. Until the tree that lies dormant in the seed attains its full growth and bears flowers and fruit, a tension always remains inside.

If you die without singing the song you were born to sing, you will die in sorrow. You shall have to be born again and again in order to sing this song for nature does not accept things in halves. The day you are complete, total, you will be accepted.

Therefore, the Hindus say, "He who is perfect is not born again." He has sung his song and attained his bliss. The stream has met the ocean and there is no reason for him to come back. You return again and again because you fail every time. Nature sends you back again and again, for nature is in no hurry. It has infinite time at its disposal.

I have heard: Two people were traveling in a train. One was from Bombay and the other from rural Bihar. The Bihari gentleman asked, "What is your name, kind sir?"

"Veenu," replied the Bombayite. "And what is yours?"

"Sri Sri Satyadev Narayan-Prasad Sinha."

The Bombayite's eyes almost popped out of their sockets. "Such a long name!" he exclaimed.

"Well, you see," explained the Bihari, "we are not Bombayites. We have enough time at our disposal for such names."

God is not a resident of Bombay. He has plenty of time. Nature is in no hurry. You may fall a thousand times; you may prove worthless endless times, and nature will patiently push you back here. But you will suffer endlessly until you succeed. Unless and until you have sung your song, unless and until you have fulfilled your destiny, you will not be accepted. There is only one sorrow, one anguish, that this existence does not accept you but turns you back again and again. Once you are accepted, you are immersed in it and then there is no return.

Nanak calls the second division the realm of knowledge - to know what is with full awareness.

Third is the realm of shame. When a person knows what is to be known, then only does he realize his own ignorance, hence the shame. The ignorant man swaggers about in arrogance. Without modesty the ignorant are totally unaware of the ignorance that fills them. An ignorant person struts about as a wise man. Only the wise knows how vast is his ignorance. He feels: What do I know?

Hardly anything!

Socrates said, "When I became enlightened the one thing I knew for certain was that I knew nothing."

When knowledge becomes complete this is what you know - that you know nothing, that you are nothing. You become a zero. This zero Nanak calls the realm of shame. Then you are filled with shame: What am I? Nothing worthy of the name, and how I prided myself on my knowledge - swollen like a bubble! How I exaggerated the little I knew.

Mulla Nasruddin had just returned from a journey. He was telling his father, "There was such a storm on the river as was never experienced before. The waves rose fifty feet high."

His father said, "You are exaggerating a bit too much. I have spent fifty years going up and down this river and I have never seen waves like you describe. The river never rises that high."

Mulla said, "Be sensible, father. Everything is increasing. Just look at how the price of grain has gone up."

Man finds ways and means to support his exaggeration. And on this stands his greatest exaggeration - that I am. It is the biggest lie in this world. If the existence of God is the greatest truth, the existence of the I is the greatest lie, for two I's cannot exist at the same time. Existence is one. If all existence is one, it can have only one center. But each man, each individual person constantly proclaims 'I am'.

The enlightened person is filled with shame at the excesses and exaggerations he formerly engaged in. What proclamations he made over mere nothings! There was only a large bubble that burst at the slightest touch; there were paper boats that disintegrated as soon as they touched the water; there was a house of cards that fell in the slightest breeze. But how many exaggerations he indulged himself in for them!

Mulla Nasruddin was arrested and brought before the court for using foul language about a well- known politician. When the magistrate asked him why he called him a big ass, Mulla said, "Your Honor, it was not my fault. I know the high position this gentleman holds. He is our minister. But what could I do when he himself asked me, 'Do you know who I am?' I had to tell him."

Your eyes ask the same question of others: Do you know who I am? If someone's feet trips you, or you are pushed by someone, you turn back as if to say, "Don't you see who I am?" The fact is that you do not know who you are. Who knows himself? Those who really know, their egos are annihilated. As long as you do not know, the I exists. Next time a person asks you, "Do you know who I am?" please ask him in return, "Do you?"

It is all arrogant talk when a man asks, "Do you know how rich I am? Don't you know my status, my position?" He implies that he can get you in trouble, that he is a dangerous man. It is a proclamation of violence. You say that, only when you want to convey your power to destroy the other person.

All your arrogance is violence. Ego is the thread of violence. The one who knows is not even aware of his being; he does not know who he is, he is lost. The ignorant remains arrogant and proclaims, "I am." He who is enlightened stops this language.

So Nanak calls this third part the realm of shame. He says, when the enlightened one is asked to speak he does not know what to say, and to whom. He has nothing to say, he makes no claims.

Even before God he is filled with shame, for in his heart he is aware of the endless false claims he has made before. God in His compassion graced him with enlightenment! If, as he stood before Him and conveyed: Here I am! Accept me! it would be total arrogance. If he prayed it was only that he might be accepted by Him. If he did a good act, if he built a temple or mosque or gurudwara, it was only to show Him that he was something.

The wise man becomes overcome with shame; with what face will he stand before Him? All your appearances are false, made up to show the world. Just think, if today you were to stand before God which of your faces would you show Him? The one you show to your wife, your boss, or your servant? Will you show Him the face that you take to your sweetheart or the one you assume before the lowly and poor? Which of these masks will you put on?

Before those who are powerful your tail keeps wagging and you try to please in every little way. Your appearance bears the expression of flattery and wily charm. And how stiff is your posture before a lowly person! From him you expect the same flattery and attention as you give to those who are higher than you. You expect him to wag his tail and appreciate every word that comes out of you.

Remember, he who demands flattery has had to flatter someone somewhere, and is actually taking revenge. But the person who has seen himself correctly, never praises anyone nor expects praise from others. There is one God. If He is praised that is enough. From whom is he to ask praise? For everywhere it is He.

Nanak says, one dies of dreadful shame when one stands before truth; for one finds that not a single appearance is worth the name. All are dirty, all are false.

Zen masters tell their disciples: "When you have discovered your original face your search is over."

They exhort them to find the face they had before they were born, to look for the face that will be with them after death. All intervening faces are false.

Psychologists say that if a person tries to go back into his past by reawakening his memory he can only go up to the age of five or four, or at the most to three. He cannot go beyond that. The first three years of life cast no imprint on the mind. Why? Because till then you are so artless and simple that you have no mask. To have a memory one has to claim something.

The ego creates memory. All remembrances are the ego, which remembers everything and keeps account of every moment of your life. For the first three years you are so innocent, so guileless, you do not know who you are. You have no claim to anything. A three-year-old comes jumping and prancing and laughing aloud as he tells his mother, "I was last in the class today." He has no idea what it is to be first or to be last. The ego is not yet formed. He has no idea of caste or creed, of his house and home, high caste or low caste. He is blissfully unaware whether he is a brahmin or untouchable. He knows nothing yet. His face is without blemish. Only such a face can you present before God.

But the parents begin their vicious training very early in life. They begin to impose the false masks from the very first day. The mother, at the very outset, expects the child to smile when she looks at him. If he does not she feels hurt. The child may not feel like smiling, but soon he learns that he must smile at his mother's glance, whether he likes it or not. The lying has started. The child gets his first mask. Then many, many more masks are added as the child grows up.

It becomes most embarrassing to stand before Him with these false faces, says Nanak. Whenever anybody becomes aware of this fact he is filled with shame. Then he looks and looks and cannot discover which one is authentic. The more he seeks, the more he is faced with other appearances, just as when you remove one layer of an onion another one appears; for the false is deposited on the mind in layer upon layer from infinite births. That is all that you have done in your infinite births, but when you remove them layer by layer, you find nothing remains - except emptiness! Nanak says that when the emptiness emerges one is drowned in shame. One feels: What was I? I was nothing and yet I claimed to be this, and that. This is the shame that Nanak refers to as the third realm.

The fourth division is the realm of grace. He says, when you are filled with shame His grace pours on you. When you become zero, emptiness, then perfection descends on you - not before that. Your stiff-backed arrogance is the obstruction between you and His grace. You rely on your own self, you need no help even when you pray. When you ask Him for something, it is just one of your many attempts. You are also tapping this source - perhaps something will come of it. And if something does emerge you claim it was your own effort that brought about the achievement.

Mulla Nasruddin climbed up into a cherry tree. The cherries were ripe, but high in the tree so he had to climb way up. He became frightened and prayed, "Oh, God, if I reach the cherries and get them, I shall offer one naya paisa in the mosque." Now Mulla began to climb with full faith that God would see to him. As he neared the top branch, the thought struck him, "One naya paisa is too much to have committed, and there aren't that many cherries; besides I'm climbing on my own. It wasn't necessary to bring God into this at all." When his hands reached the cherries he said, "I could buy more than this for one naya paisa in the market and You haven't moved a finger. I'll offer a few cherries in place of the naya paisa." As he was busy thinking this his foot slipped and he came crashing to the ground. As he lay there he called out to God, "Couldn't You even take a joke? If You had been a little more patient I would have offered the one naya paisa at the mosque as I promised."

When you worship or pray it is all a display of your egotism and arrogance. It is a decoration for your ego. Real prayer is when you are not, when the worshipper is no more, worship starts.

Nanak says, in shame you melt, you are obliterated. On the one hand you are no more, and on the other His grace pours showers of joy on you. Bliss is always pouring down, but you were so filled with your arrogance that there was no place for it inside. So grace only pours constantly when shame empties you inside.

These are Nanak's four realms.



No sooner does a man awaken towards existence than he is filled with awe, and great wonder surrounds him. You are not affected by wonder. You go about as if you know everything. A pundit is never astonished; he has an answer for everything. A child is full of wonder. At every step he questions all that he sees and is filled with wonder. Don't think that a child questions because he wants to know; he simply exhibits his wonder and excitement; therefore he doesn't even wait for your answer before he asks another question. He isn't really interested in answers.

He sees the butterfly and asks, "Why does the butterfly have so many colors?" He expects no specific answer. He is merely expressing his wonder. "Why are the trees so green? Why are flowers so colorful? Why are there clouds in the sky? Why does the sun come out every morning?" The child asks because everything fills him with such wonder and mystery, but he is only expressing his astonishment.

A scholar is one who is all answers, but has no questions; he has an answer for everything. A wise man is one who has only questions but no answers. Understand this well. The sage is wonderstruck like a child; he is even more so, for a child sees at most a butterfly or a flower, whereas the sage sees the whole of existence. How far can a child's vision go? The sage can see through and through, and what he sees strikes him dumb with awe.

These words of Nanak convey his wonder and his love, but you want information, you want answers; for then you can be the master. You can't be a master of wonderment. You can be filled with wonder and astonishment, but then they become your masters; they will surround you and drown you. In wonder you cannot survive - you will be lost. You desire an answer, for you can hold an answer in your hand. You can use answers; you can defeat others and cut their questions short. People are not in quest of knowledge, but of answers so they can be known as wise people.

Remember no one becomes a sage by seeking answers. You become wise only by going deeper into the question. The deeper a person delves into questions, the more doors open to wonderment and mystery; enter one door and a thousand others open before you.

This is the wonderment that Nanak is talking about. He is a rustic, an illiterate villager; therefore you shouldn't be concerned about the form of his language. When a villager enters this realm of wonder he too becomes garrulous. In utter amazement he tries to convey the magic of that wonderland! He speaks in his simple dialect:

SO MANY WINDS, WATERS, AND fiRES; SO MANY KRISHNAS AND SHIVAS; So many Krishnas! When you begin to see, you too will find there are infinite flutes playing; an eternal dance of the gopis is going on. Infinite is this existence. It does not end with your earth, but you are filled with much arrogance that you feel that existence ends in you! You might even think the infinite dance of existence is only for your entertainment!

Once a villager was caught by the ticket-taker for traveling without a ticket. The villager begged him to let him go for he hadn't a paisa on him. But the conductor wouldn't give in. He pulled the chain and stopped the train and told the man to get out.

The man pleaded, "Please drop me at the first station, then. It is very dark and there is heavy jungle all around."

But the conductor was adamant and he was forced to leave the train. The motorman suddenly saw the man walking on the tracks, so he sounded the whistle for him to get out of the way. "Let him keep sounding the whistle, I shall not get on the train again," the man said to himself.

You think you might be asked to get back on the train, but the whistle is for you to get out of the way, to leave the path. But each man thinks nature is playing for him alone; each man thinks he is the center, and all of existence revolves around him. This is why ancient people like to believe that the earth is at the center and the sun goes around it.

Bernard Shaw once said jokingly, "I do not believe in the theory that the earth revolves around the sun. I just can't accept that idea. It is wrong." Someone got up from the gathering and said, "Every child of the twentieth century knows that the earth revolves around the sun. What proof do you have to negate the theory?" Bernard Shaw replied, "Who bothers about science and what it proves and does not prove? The proof is only this: as long as Bernard Shaw resides on this earth, it cannot revolve around anything else. The sun has to revolve around the earth."

The joke pokes fun at all of us. It is hard for you too to believe that your earth revolves around the sun.

When Galileo made this discovery there was great commotion. The church objected, the priests rose in opposition, even the popes denied its validity. Galileo was told to ask pardon for making such an outrageous announcement. Galileo was a wonderfully strange person - he asked forgiveness. He was a clever man and a true man. He had no intention of becoming a martyr over such a matter. He was a genuine person who was not afraid of the consequences. He said, "I shall ask pardon. I shall put it in writing that it is the sun that goes around the earth, but how will my words change matters?

I have not made up this doctrine. If a thousand Galileos deny the fact, what difference is it going to make?"

Man always thought this way, and that was the only reason. Christianity is far behind Hindu thought.

It is a very ancient Hindu concept that there are infinite worlds, that our world is not the only one that has life on it. Science now confirms the fact that there are at least fifty thousand worlds where life is possible. The Hindus have always said there are infinite worlds, infinite species and generations.

Things do not finish with this world; it is not the ultimate. In fact it is a mere speck. The sun is sixty thousand times bigger than the earth and this sun is a mere ball compared to other suns! There are suns that are tens of millions times bigger than this sun. With such a mediocre sun, this earth is a mere nothing.

Bertrand Russell has written a story: A priest slept one night and dreamed he had died. He went to the gates of heaven, which were closed. He was rather surprised. He had expected the doors to be wide open and God Himself waiting on the steps to welcome him. Hadn't he served the poor and tended the ill? Hadn't he opened schools for poor children? Hadn't he served in the true Christian spirit? But the door was closed, and it was so enormous that he couldn't see where it started or where it ended. He shouted aloud, but his voice couldn't penetrate the thick door. He banged with his hands. He banged his head against the door, but to no avail. It was just like an ant banging on your door! His ego turned to ashes. He had dreamed of a grand welcome. How much service, how much worship, how much charity he had performed; how many he had converted to Christianity, and here no one seemed to bother about him.

Infinite years passed. He sat crouched near the door of heaven, which still had not opened. He had forgotten everything. Then one day the door opened slightly and a man with a thousand eyes, each eye like the orb of the sun, looked around and spotted him - just as you would spot a tiny object with a magnifying glass.

The priest cringed even more, for he thought it was God. He addressed him: "Oh God, how your eyes frighten me, for each is like a sun. I cannot bear to look into them."

The man laughed and said, "I am not God. I am merely a guard. What are you doing here?"

He lost all courage. This was only a guard! If the guard is like this, what would it be to face God?

At last he said, "I have come from earth, where my church is well known. I am a believer in Jesus. I am his devotee..." His courage sank further and further.

The guard said, "Jesus? Earth? Which earth are you talking about? Give the file number. There are infinite worlds. Which earth do you come from and which Jesus are you talking about? Each earth has its own Jesus."

Imagine the state of the poor priest. He said, "I speak of that Jesus who is the only son of God."

The guard said, "You seem to be mad! On each earth such Jesuses are born and their devotees declare them the only son of God. Anyway, we shall find out. first tell me the number."

The poor man said, "We know of no number. We don't think in terms of numbers. We always thought our earth was the only one of its kind."

"All right," said the guard, "then give me the number of your sun. Which solar system do you come from?"

"We know only one sun and no other," the poor man wailed.

"Then it will be very difficult," said the guard. "But wait here while we make enquiries."

And again infinite years passed. The guard did not return for it was not an ordinary enquiry. It would take ages more, if he ever did manage to identify him. By this time the poor man's ego was turned to ashes; his hopes of a grand reception remained a dream. He had planned everything: there would be bands playing, flowers everywhere and God would make him sit at His right hand. In this state of fear and agitation he awakened. He was covered with perspiration. It was only a dream - thank God! But from that day onward he lost all courage.

And this dream is the truth. Nanak is talking of the truth contained in this dream:

SO MANY WINDS, WATERS, AND fiRES; SO MANY KRISHNAS AND SHIVAS; If a priest had asked Nanak he would have said: "So many Jesuses! So many Krishnas and Shivas.... There is no end to it, no end."

Nanak is expressing his awe and wonder. This wonder gives birth to shame and all claims fall. What is one to claim?

There is a well known incident in the life of Socrates. A very wealthy man of Athens went to visit Socrates. His arrogance was natural. When people who have nothing are so arrogant, imagine this man who was a multi-millionaire, the very wealthiest man in Athens. When Socrates paid no attention to him, the man could not bear it. He said, "Do you know who I am?"

Socrates said, "Please be seated. We shall try to understand." He had a map of the world brought before them and he asked the visitor, "Where is Athens on this map?"

Naturally Athens was marked by a point on the map. The millionaire pointed, "This is Athens."

"Now please show me where your palace is in Athens," Socrates said.

"How can I show you my palace when the whole of Athens is shown only by a dot?"

"And where are you in this palace?" Socrates insisted. "Remember this is a map of this world only, and there are infinite worlds, infinite suns. Who are you?" As he was about to leave, Socrates gave him the map and said, "Keep this map with you. Whenever arrogance takes hold of you, open the map, locate Athens and ask yourself, 'Where is my palace?' Ask yourself, 'Who am I?'"

We are like nothing, and the obsession of being everything has caught hold of us. This is the bane of all mankind. The day you awaken and look around, what will you be able to say of yourself? What are you? You will begin to lose yourself. As you get lesser and lesser and shrink into nothingness, the vast form of the Lord will manifest. He manifests only when you are completely empty.

Wonder is bound to destroy you. Wonder is suicidal. It kills not only the body but your whole being. It is the death of the whole am-ness. This is why you seek answers, whereas the wise man gives you questions. And he gives you such questions that have no answers. And this is to kill your arrogance.

Wake up a little, brush the dust from your eyes and see all around you - what answer does a man have? Science has discovered so many answers. Which answer is an authentic answer? No answer is an authentic answer; it merely pushes the question a little further back.

A small child asked D. H. Lawrence while they were strolling in a garden, "Why are the trees green?"

It isn't that Lawrence didn't know the answer, for the answer is simple: because of the chlorophyll in the leaves. But then the question would have arisen: Why is there chlorophyll in leaves? And this one question would lead to another and another. Lawrence was definitely a wise man. He would have got along well with Nanak. He said to the child, "The fact is, trees are green because they are green." There was no need for any further explanation.

This is an answer that a poet would give. It is an answer that a master would give. They do not destroy your wonder but enhance it. This is not an answer in the narrow sense of the word. What Lawrence tries to convey to the child is: I too am filled with wonder why trees are green. All I can say is, they are green because they are green - and there is no way of knowing why they are green.

All searching for answers merely pushes the answers further away. Therefore philosophy reaches nowhere. Each question gives rise to ten more. Bertrand Russell has written: "I chose philosophy as my subject in the university so that I might know the answer to every question in life. Now at the end of my life I know only this: that I found not a single answer but my questions have increased a thousandfold."

So there are the philosophers and thinkers who are forever in search of answers. Each answer creates fresh questions. Those who are weak stop halfway and hold on to their answers. Those who are courageous go to the very end. Then they come to realize how useless their labors were.

Then religion is born and mystery takes hold of them.

Overpowered with wonder and mystery, Nanak says, KNOWING IS THE EXPRESSION OF THE REALM OF KNOWLEDGE.







In the Realm of Knowledge there is an overbearing power of awakening awareness - an overabundance of consciousness - not of answers or of scriptures or principles, but of awareness.

Knowledge means awareness, not scriptural knowledge or information or words.



Nanak does not mention scriptures at all, nor does he talk of doctrines or principles. There are no answers, but then what is there? Music... NADA.

This nada, the sound, the music, is an experience. Before you awaken in the morning the birds may be singing, only you do not hear them. Then your sleep is broken and you begin to awaken; you turn over, your eyes still closed, but you hear the birds outside your window. The fresh morning breeze caresses you tenderly and you begin to hear the sounds all around. As you awaken you begin to experience the music of existence.

There is still another daybreak exactly like this, another awakening. Right now your life is one long slumber: you walk as if asleep; whatever you do is in a trancelike state. You fight, you love, you meet, you part; you do all kinds of things in this unconscious state.

Once it happened: A news editor wrote a scathing article against the town drunkards. The drunkards were very angry. One of them got hold of a stick and went in search of the editor. He entered his room and waving his stick he called out, "Where is that damn editor?"

The poor editor was in a fix! He was a small, weak man, whereas the drunk was a gigantic fellow.

Thinking fast, he said, "He has just gone out. Please be seated. I will go and find him." And so he slipped out.

Just as he walked out he met another burly drunk on the steps. "Where is that so-and-so editor of yours?"

He hollered, "Go right in. There he is!" You can just imagine what happened inside.

This is exactly what is happening all around us. Nobody is in his right senses. You are not quite aware of what you are doing, certainly not of why you are doing things. You are completely oblivious of the doer. You live in a crowd of sleepwalkers. If you are unhappy, what else can you expect? And if your relationships turn out to be veritable hells, no wonder!

Nanak says, In the Realm of Knowledge there is profusion of 'knowing', of awareness. Right now you are in the field of ignorance, where nonawareness runs rampant. Where being asleep is the ultimate.

The first thing that a man of knowledge experiences is the music, the nada. This sound Nanak calls Omkar. He declares: ek omkar satnam. It is the sound Nanak talks of. Omkar is only a symbol to convey the message to you. Existence is song - a very deep song - unobstructed music! No one has created it; no instrument plays the melody. It is an unsounded sound, a causeless song that plays without any reason. Music is the very being of existence, therefore you find it so absorbing.

And if you find yourself drowning in music, be sure that melody has a shade of the nada.

A great musician is he who can capture the nada in his instrument. He is able to draw down the Omkar to some degree into your otherwise sleeping world. Music is not meant to stimulate your basic desires.

Music is of two types. One is oriental music, which has been deeply explored and studied by the Hindus. Eastern music is based on the nada. When music wafts towards the nada the listener gradually slips into meditation, which means that you become more aware. You are filled with total consciousness, as if a lamp has been lit within you.

You have heard stories of musicians lighting unlit lamps. Do not take these to be external lamps; they have nothing to do with music. It is you who are the snuffed-out lamp, and if the singer is in a state of samadhi, then only can he light your internal lamp. He can only integrate Omkar in his music and bring it down to your level if he is in a state of samadhi himself. If he can bring down even a drop of this nectar, a slight glimpse of that divine music, when you awaken you are filled with awareness, as if someone has shaken you from your sleep. Then this music becomes meditation.

Then there is the opposite kind of music: it puts you to sleep, carries you further into drowsiness.

This music also excites passion. For this very reason Islam had banned music. The Muslims did not know the music the Hindus had discovered, which was connected with the sahasrara, the center of the thousand-petaled lotus located at the top of the head.

There are the two types of music: one is connected with the lowest center, the sex center, and the other is connected with the highest, the sahasrara. The music connected with the latter is the nada.

The former only agitates passion, but it was the only music known where Islam was born; therefore all music was completely banned in the mosque.

And it was just as well, for ninety-nine percent of the music that is prevalent is such that can never lead you to the temple steps. The West has evolved a form of music that is all distorted: The loser loses all sense, as if he is drunk. This music leads you into deeper slumber and deeper passions.

Prostitutes make use of this music. Saints have also made use of it, but with the difference that the singer-saint has experienced the nada.

Nanak was a singer. He never spoke. He only sang. He answered in music. His songs are not constructed with due rhythm and meter; they were improvised creations that came straight from his heart. Someone asked a question; Nanak made a sign to Mardana who began to play his rabab and Nanak began to sing. Whatever Nanak has said is in song form, for all of existence understands the language of music. And when the singer is himself in a state of samadhi, the nada inadvertently enters into his song.

Nada means the supreme note that forms silently in existence, like the sound of silence on a quiet night. In the same manner, the nada keeps ringing all twenty-four hours of the day. It is the rhythm of existence. When nothing is, it still sounds. But you have to become very, very silent in order to hear it. When all sound within you stops, then only can you hear. Internally you are a thousand-and-one marketplaces, each replete with its noise and tumult; in this tumult you can hear only what is loudest and what satisfies your cravings. Only then are you conscious of it.

Mulla Nasruddin's neighbor has been practicing his music for hours. When it was well past midnight Mulla could not contain himself any longer. He told him, "You should give a performance in Moscow or London or Peking." The man was very moved by this appreciation.

He told Nasruddin, "Mulla, I never knew you took so much interest in music. Did you like my song so much?"

"It's not that," said Mulla. "At least you will be far enough away from here that we can sleep peacefully."

What passes as music is often nothing but noise and chaos. It is better that you not hear it since you are already so filled with dissonance and discord. Why arouse this poison even further? People dance to incite their passions and sing to work up their frenzy.

But the very thing that arouses passion can also calm; poison can be turned into nectar, depending on what use you make of it. Poison can be both a cure or your death, depending on how you use it.

Nanak says the first experience of the Realm of Knowledge is nada. Then the second is mirth, merry-making. This must be examined, for what has mirth to do with a saint? Mirth means that life is no longer grim but pleasant; it means life becomes sweet, light, joyful, and not burdensome.

Ordinarily you see our so-called saints with their long grim faces, as if they bear the burden of the whole world.

Nanak says he who has heard the nada can't be sad and despondent, but filled with mirth and laughter. He can laugh. In fact, only he can laugh in the true sense. Your laughter is a sham; your life energy isn't filled with joy, so how can there be a genuine smile on your lips. Only he can truly laugh, who has known. There is no grimness, no gravity in his life; you find him authentic, genuine. His life is filled with joy and cheer; there are no dark circles of suffering under his eyes, only celebration.

The third is frolic, play. Such a person finds wonder in his life. His frolic has come to the fore, filling him with wonder he thrills at everything he sees, at everything he feels and hears - just like a little child. Wherever he looks he finds infinite wonder. He has no answer for anything and others' answers no longer concern him. Wherever an answer is found, the ego gets a foothold; whenever no answer arises the ego dies a natural death.

Mystery means you cannot hold anything in your grip. You can enter into the mystery if you wish, but you cannot capture it in your grasp. You cannot store it in your safe nor make it a captive of your scriptures; it can't be brought under any regulation. Mystery is like the vast space of the skies: you may enter into it as you would enter an ocean.

So Nanak says, first the nada, then mirth, then frolic, then bliss. Mirth is like bliss; bliss is deep mirth. Mirth is the top layer, like the waves in the ocean, while bliss is the ocean depths. Smiles and cheerfulness are the thrills of bliss that come to the lips. You can laugh only if there is bliss within you. So mirth is on the surface; bliss is the depth. When they combine, supreme blessedness descends on you.

But your mirth is diseased and unnatural. You cannot even laugh unless someone cracks a dirty joke; it requires filth and dirt. Most jokes are about sex, which everyone can enjoy because they are dirty and debasing.

A man has to slip on a banana peel in order for you to laugh. Where kindness is needed, you laugh and joke. Your humor is sick, diseased. A man who has fallen needs help. Give him help! How is it an occasion for laughter? Deep within you, you desire to lower and abuse everyone else. The more you want to see a person fall, the greater your mirth. For example, if a beggar falls you won't laugh so much; but if Indira Gandhi falls you'll be unable to control your laughter. What is there to laugh about a beggar falling? He was already fallen. But there is an unconscious desire in you to knock Indira down. That would be hilarious to you. If a servant falls no one laughs so much; if the master falls it is an occasion for mirth.

Your unconscious hostility is contained within your laughter. Your laughter is a poison, your mirth but sarcasm - a sneer. The difference between mirth and sarcasm is the bitterness, the sting to it.

It has thorns without flowers.

The saint also laughs. His laughter carries no sting, no thorns, he laughs mainly at himself for he is aware of his own state. When he laughs at you, then he is also laughing at himself, for he sees a glimpse of himself in you. When he sees a man fall, he sees humanity falling - not just a man. He knows that man is helpless and that his arrogance is thus ridiculous.

How well this man was dressed: tie, coat and whatnot, but a little peel of banana and he is flat on the ground - tie and all! A banana peel pulled a joke on him.

The saint sees man's helplessness behind this fall: how weak he is and yet so proud! He had a Himalayan ego, but he is brought down by a lowly banana peel. He struts about with the idea of defeating God, but he is shamefully defeated by a banana peel. So, if a saint laughs when a man falls, he is laughing at his state of helplessness. He laughs at the thought of his own helplessness, and is filled with shame. He never laughs to revile or beat someone else. Within him is the bliss which overflows into mirth and merriment.


As knowledge deepens, awareness increases and so also modesty. He who has attained buddhahood, the Buddha-Purusha, hesitates when he speaks; he doesn't bang the table. Therefore, it is the non-buddhas who gather the followers. They gauge their leader by the force of his words. If a man is hesitant they feel he isn't sure of himself. How can he be our guide? But the Buddha-Purusha is hesitant out of modesty, out of shame, for he knows how difficult it is to tell.

Many people would come to Buddha with new and different questions. Buddha answered very few questions. Some particular questions that have no answer he would not answer at all. Only non- special questions have answers. Whatever troubles man has created for himself have an answer, but the mystery that belongs to existence has no answer.

So Buddha would hold his peace. When he did not answer, many thought he did not know, for they insisted that if he did know he would have answered. This silence of Buddha you will never comprehend; such modesty as was in Buddha very, very few people had. In Buddha's time there were many theoreticians who answered forcefully. People flocked around them. These theoreticians incited their followers to go and ask buddha certain questions: "If he is enlightened he must answer."

This is how people generally believe: if knowledge is attained all answers must be available.

All answers are lost when a person becomes enlightened. He has no answer to give; he feels ashamed; what answer could he possibly give to your question? He also is ashamed of the futile question you put forth, and you are so oblivious to it. People walking on the road have sometimes accosted me with such questions as 'Does God exist?' I am on the railway platform about to catch a train and someone shakes my shoulder, "Please, one minute - what is meditation?"

What can be said to such people? They do not know what they are asking. They want answers. If I answer them my answer should make 2+2=4. Would that life were a straight case of mathematics!

Everything would have been so easy then.

Life is not an arithmetic problem. Life is a poem and you need the necessary ability to understand it. You need the qualification to hear it in silence. Poetic answers never make 2+2=4;they arouse wonder, they awaken you from wherever you are. They tear you by your roots and take you on a new journey: from wonder into more wonder, towards greater wonder. Nanak says, it has no end, it has no end.

Buddha remained silent whenever anyone asked does God exist. This gave rise to two misconceptions. Hindus thought this man knows nothing. You can ask the dullest village pundit and he will give you an answer. He says, "God is," and offers proofs. If any ordinary man can give an answer, what about this man?

I have heard: In a land of fools, the worst of the fools among them became a minister. Now this fellow was a very good speaker. He was adept at lecturing, and that is all that is required to become a minister. He used to impress the crowd by his loud talking. People thought: Here is a man who knows something; but he was really an illiterate who could neither read nor write.

The trouble arose when he become Prime Minister, for tradition demands that he read his lecture and not speak extempore. But the man was clever. He thought to himself, "Never mind. I shall find a way out." So he would pick up any old newspapers, hold it before the audience, and speak as if he were reading his speech. As he could not read he sometimes held the paper upside down.

One day it happened that someone brought a friend who had just come from a foreign land to hear the Prime Minister. Now this man was literate and he saw that the Prime Minister held an old newspaper, and even held it upside down. He stood up and announced, "This man is a cheat. He is not reading what is in the paper for he is holding it upside down."

Now the local people were convinced by the stranger that their Prime Minister was illiterate.

The Prime Minister put down the paper and addressed the gathering, "What is up and what is down for a man who knows how to read? You must have heard the saying, He who knows not the dance finds the floor crooked. What difference does the floor make? One should know the dance. One must know how to read! Let the paper be of any kind. I can read this paper from all directions. This man is illiterate."

He is still the leader of the town.

When people asked Buddha, "Does God exist?" Buddha remained silent. The other fallacy, the second misconception that arose was that people thought Buddha's silence meant that there was no God. Because of the silence Hindus thought that Buddha did not know and Buddha's followers thought there was no God. His own disciples took him for an atheist, whereas there was no greater theist to appear on this earth.

You will understand this from Nanak's words when he says, modesty is the expression. When you ask, "Does God exist?" Buddha keeps silent, for how should he speak? With what face can he speak? What is he to say of so great a mystery? Buddha answers through his silence, and you do not understand. However you interpret his silence is wrong.





How does this happen? As soon as the words are spoken the speaker realizes that what he meant to convey remained unsaid, and what he said is not what he intended. Just looking at the listener he knows he has failed to convey the message. Ninety percent falls off as soon as the first words are formed, and the remaining ten percent never reaches the listener's ears. You said one thing; they heard something else.

Buddha would say one thing; the ignorant people would hear something quite different. Then these ignorant people form sects and establish religious traditions. Thus there is no connection whatsoever between the buddhas and these religious organizations. Therefore all of those who have spoken have regretted it. Those who have tried to speak on this mystery have always insisted that the listener should not cling to his words but use them only as guidelines.

Now Nanak must be sorry for having spoken. When he sees the Sikhs today he must be filled with regrets. Likewise Buddha, Mahavir, Mohammed must all be regretting what they started. They must be together in heaven telling one another their sad stories. They are bound to be weeping together.

What the Buddha has to convey cannot be understood by words, for the listener holds on to the words; then he drags them along and forms religions and organizations around these words. Then these organizations go on for thousands of years. Thousands of errors are committed because of these creeds and doctrines, and thousands of deformities arise. It spreads like a wound on the earth, like an illness on man's consciousness. Nanak says, he who tries to speak, repents later. His words then become the code of law, opinions, beliefs, and hence the mind and understanding of man.

Where consciousness awakens in the Realm of Knowledge, in the Realm of Shame all forms of consciousness take shape.


In that consciousness all these forms are seen. Just as a potter makes so many forms with clay, so also the clay of consciousness takes many forms: intellect, mind, wisdom, remembrance, recollection, genius, brilliance.

When you are sufficiently awakened to rise above these, you realize that they are but various forms of the mind. Whatever you know through them is bound to be limited, for you cannot know the formless through form. That which is behind understanding, memory, mind, intellect is awakening - that is realization! that is awareness! that is consciousness!

You must take hold of this formless and let go of the forms within. As soon as you catch hold of the delicate thread of the formless within you, you begin to recognize the formless in the world outside.

Whatever you know through the intellect will be limited by having form. Like seeing the sky through your window, you will see only as much as the window frame permits.

Consciousness takes many forms, just as matter has many forms - somewhere it is a rock, somewhere a cloud, somewhere it is ice, somewhere it is the skies - so consciousness also has infinite forms: intellect, remembrance. Wise men are intelligent, like pundits; holy men have recollection and remembrance, and some have powerful memories. Even if they have no intelligence their rememberance is very strong. It often happens that very intelligent people have hopeless memories; and many whose memories are strong are not intelligent. There are many examples where people with strong memories were found to have dull intelligence. This because the function of memory is different: to store whatever it comes across and recall it. The function of intelligence is different: to make way through the unknown, with which it is unacquainted. Both are oriented differently: remembrance focuses on the past, and intelligence looks toward the future.

Scientists now believe that if memory is very strong, intelligence gets locked up in it thereby preventing intelligence from working freely. At present most educational institutions lay stress on memory, so it is no wonder that the world is so full of dull people. By the time a child finishes his education his brain is so clogged with data and theories that he is lucky if he manages to save anything of his intelligence. Memory is different; intelligence is different; a genius is altogether different. Genius means the natural ability to know life and recognize it. It is the capacity to know and understand in a flash the answer to any question of life. Ask the greatest scientists like Einstein, who would say, "Whatever I have known was not through my intelligence but through my intuition."

He has no answer to the how of his achievement. Genius, intuition happens in many, many ways.

Madam Curie was awarded a Nobel Prize for her discovery. For a long time she had sought the answer to the problem but to no avail. One night she got up in her sleep, went to the table and wrote down the key to her work. In the morning she was shocked to see what she had written. Where had it come from? She recalled the previous day's events - how tired she was by the evening, how she had fallen asleep disappointed - another day lost. Things came back to her as in a dream. She saw herself get out of bed and walk towards the table. She saw herself pick up the pen and write the answer. She recognized her own handwriting. What she had vainly sought for days and months had come to her in a flash in the middle of night. This is the experience of all artists and creative people.

A poet will tell you that only when he gives up trying does the verse descend on him. This is a part of intuition.

But Nanak says that all this intelligence, understanding, intuition, etc. is a play of the mind. These are different molds, and whatever you know through them will be limited. You have to rise above them. Only One has to be known within; only One has to be known without. And when the One within is known, then only will you know the One without; for when you become an integrated One within, then only shall you recognize the Oneness without.

When you know the One within and the One without, it does not mean you know two, rather you find that the One that is within, is the one that is without. You suddenly discover that all these distances and directions of within and without are self-created. The space outside your house is the same space as inside your house; it is you who have created the walls, and made doors and windows. Do you think you have succeeded in splitting space by raising a wall? No! Space is indivisible. Your walls may or may not be but the skies remain forever.

No sooner do you recognize the One within and the One without than both fall and nonduality is born. The ultimate peak is the experience of the indivisible, the experience of the One.

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From Jewish "scriptures":

Erubin 21b. Whosoever disobeys the rabbis deserves death and will be
punished by being boiled in hot excrement in hell.

Hitting a Jew is the same as hitting God