What can Man Offer?
MIND CONSTANTLY ARROWED TOWARDS THAT IS ARGHYAM - THE OFFERING.
WHAT CAN man offer? What can the offering be7 We can offer only that which belongs to us. That which does not belong cannot become an offering, and man has always offered that which does not belong to him at all. Man has sacrificed that which is not his at all.
Religion becomes a ritual if you offer something which is not yours. Religion becomes an authentic experience if you offer something which really belongs to you. Rituals are really methods to escape from authentic religiousness. You can find substitutes, but you are deceiving no one except yourself - because how can you offer something which is not yours? You can sacrifice a cow, you can sacrifice a horse, you can offer properties of land, but nothing belongs to you. So, really, this is theft in the name of religion. How can you offer to the Divine that which is not yours?
So the first thing is to find out what is yours, what belongs to you. Is there anything which belongs to you? Are you the master of anything of which you can say, "This belongs to man and I offer it to the Divine"? This is one of the most difficult questions: "What belongs to man?" Nothing seems to belong. And when nothing seems to belong to you, then you can say only, "I can offer myself." But even that is not right because do you yourself belong to you? Is your being yours? Are you responsible for your being? Are you responsible to be?
Man comes from somewhere - some unknown source. He is not responsible for his being here.
Kierkegaard has said, "When I look at man, I feel that he has been thrown here." He is not even
responsible for his own being; the being is grounded in the Divine. Look at it this way: can a tree say, "I offer myself to the earth"? What does it mean? It is meaningless because the tree is rooted in the earth, the tree is just a part of the earth. The tree is just earth and nothing else, so how can a tree say, "I offer myself to the earth"? It is meaningless. The tree is already a part. It is not different, so offering is not possible. So, first, you can offer something which belongs to you. Second, you can offer if there is a distance, a separateness.
The tree cannot offer itself because it is not different from the earth. Or, think of it this way: a river cannot say, "I offer myself to the sea." The river is not rooted in the sea. It is separate. But, still, the river cannot say, "I offer myself to the sea." Why? It cannot say this because it is not the river's choice. The river has to flow to the sea. There is no choice left. The river is just helpless. Even if the river wants to choose not to offer, she cannot choose it; so offering is inevitable. When the offering has no choice it is meaningless.
The river cannot say, "I offer myself to the sea," because she has to come. This coming is just part of nature. The river is not coming to the sea by choice because there is no choice on the river's part.
The river is just helpless, she cannot do otherwise. So a third thing: you can offer something only when you can do otherwise. If you are capable of not offering, only then do you become capable of offering. Then this is your choice.
Man is rooted just like a tree. Man is a tree, only with moving roots - rooted in Being, rooted in Existence. And man is not separate: deep down there is no separation. And man is not responsible for his own being: he has to return helplessly, just like a river falling into the sea. So where is the choice? How can you offer? Your death will be a merging whether you choose it or not. Who are you? Where do you stand and where can the offering become possible?
This sutra is very deep. This sutra says:
MIND CONSTANTLY ARROWED TOWARDS THAT IS THE OFFERING.
You cannot offer yourself, but you can offer your mind. That belongs to you and that is your choice.
If you do not offer it, the Divine cannot force it to be offered. You are not helpless. It is not like a river falling into the sea. Mind has a choice. You can go on denying the Divine and the Divine cannot force you. Your being is rooted in the Divine, but not your mind. You cannot deny the Divine as far as Existence is concerned. You are part of it.
You can deny the Divine as far as consciousness is concerned. You can deny so much that you can live in a consciousness in which there is nothing like the Divine. So to say, "God is" or "God is not," can be your choice. Even if there is no God you can create one, you can believe. Even if there is God you can deny, and nothing can be forced upon you. So the only choice is with the mind, the only freedom is with the mind. Your being is rooted, but your mind is free.
Of course, your mind comes out of your being, but still it is free, free in the sense that a tree is rooted in the earth - the tree is rooted, the branch and the root, every flower is rooted - but the fragrance of the flower can be free and can move, unrooted. So you are just a tree, but your mind is fragrance.
It may be offered, it may not be offered - it depends on you.
Man's freedom is man's mind. Animals are not free only because they do not have a choice: they are just what they are meant to be. They have no choice! They cannot go against nature. Man's mind is man's freedom. So one thing, the basic one to be understood, is that because the mind is a freedom it can become an offering. You can offer your mind, but you can resist also, you can go against also, and even God cannot force you - that is the glory, that is the beauty of human existence. So man is the only animal who is in a certain way free. This freedom you can use or you can abuse.
"Mind constantly arrowed towards That is the offering." If your mind can be arrowed constantly, continuously towards That, you have offered yourself. But because mind has a freedom it is very difficult to tether it somewhere. The very nature of it is freedom, so the moment you try to tether it, it rebels, it becomes rebellious.
It may follow you if you are not trying, but if you try then it is bound to rebel because the very nature of mind is freedom. And the moment you try to fix it somewhere, it rebels. This is natural. You can offer the mind, but it is not easy. It is the most difficult thing to offer the mind. And when I say, "Mind means freedom," it becomes more difficult. You are trying to put your mind against its nature.
Concentration is against mind because you are trying to narrow it down somewhere - exclusively somewhere. But the mind is freedom, movement, a constant movement. It lives only when it moves.
It is only when it is in movement. It is a dynamic force, so the moment you try to fix it you are trying something impossible. So what to do? The religious man has always tried to fix the mind towards the Divine; and the more he tries to fix it, the more the mind goes to the Devil.
Jesus comes to meet the Devil. The Devil is nowhere except in the effort of Jesus to be constantly arrowed towards the Divine. The Devil doesn't exist. It is just that when you force your mind to be tethered somewhere, it creates the opposite in order to move. So you must understand the law of reverse effect. With the mind, that law is foundational. Whatsoever you try to do, the reverse will be the result. The reverse, the very reverse, will be the result! So try to arrow your mind towards God, and you will come to face the Devil. The reverse will be the effect. Try to steer your mind and your mind will become anarchic, you will be encountering turmoil.
The more stillness is sought, the more unstill the mind becomes. The more you try to make it silent, the more noise it creates. The more you try to make it good, the more sins become tempting. This is the foundational law for the mind. It is as foundational with the mind as Newton's law is with physics:
the law of reverse effect.
So whatsoever you are trying to force you will never achieve. You will achieve the reverse, and then a vicious circle is created. When you achieve the reverse, you begin to think that the reverse is so powerful that "I am to fight more." The more you fight, the more powerful will be the reverse, the opposite. The opposite is not. You create it only because you try to tether your mind. It is a by-product - a by-product which comes only because you do not know the law. So what to do to offer the mind to the Divine? If you choose the Divine against something you will never be able to offer.
There is only one way: choose the Divine as the All; choose the Divine as the whole; choose the Divine everywhere in everything. Even if the Devil comes to face you, realize the Divine in it. Then you have offered - and then the offering can be continuous, with no break, with no gap, because
now no gap is possible. That's why the Upanishads don't use the word "God'. They use "That', because the moment you say "God" the Devil is created. They don't use any word really: they use just a finger. They say "That, and this "That" is comprehending all - everything everywhere. So if you can conceive of the Divine as the All, then you can offer. Otherwise the contrary will be created:
you will offer to God and the offering will go to the Devil.
All the religions have faced the problem, the dichotomy - Christianity or Judaism or Mohammedanism. All the religions born out of India have accepted the dichotomy. They have accepted the God-and-the-Devil dichotomy. So if you see the history of these religions, you will become aware of a very strange phenomenon. Jesus stands for God, but the Devil goes on tempting him also. And whatsoever Jesus stands for, his Church stands quite against it - diametrically against. So Christianity is least concerned with Christ. Rather, Christianity is his enemy, because whatsoever the Church has done, it cannot be said that it is God s work. It can be said that it is the Devil's work. But this had to be due to the law of reverse effect.
Once you accept the dichotomy, the opposite will be the result. Christ preaches love and the Church stands for hate. Christ says, "Don't resist even evil,' but the whole history of the Church is a long war. So Nietzsche is right when he says, "The first and the la t Christian died on the cross" - the last also! After Jesus there has been no Christian. But, really, St. Paul and others are not so much responsible as they appear to be. The real responsibility goes to the ignorance concerning the law of reverse effect.
If you choose a part as Divine and a part as non-Divine or anti-Divine, then the mind will move. And the mind has its own tricks for moving. It can justify evil in the name of good; it can rationalize war for peace; it can kill and murder because of love. So the mind is very cunning and clever in moving to the opposite. And when it moves it gives you every reason to believe that "I am not moving." So if you choose God as something apart from the world or anti the world, you will never be able to offer the mind. And a partial offering is no offering: this must also be remembered.
A partial offering is mathematically wrong. It is just like a partial circle - which is not a circle. A circle is a circle only when it is full, complete. You cannot call a partial circle a circle. It is not! Either offering is total or it is not. How Can you offer partially? That is intrinsically impossible. How can you love partially? Either you love or not. No compromise is possible. No degrees of love are possible.
Either it is there or it is not there. All else is just deception.
Offering is a total phenomenon. You give up, you surrender, but you cannot say, "I surrender partly." What do you mean? A partial surrender means that you are Still the master and can even take it back. The part which has remained behind can take it back, can say no tomorrow. So a total surrender is that in which nothing has been left behind, no withholding, so you cannot go back.
There is no return possible because then no one remains behind to go back. So offering is total.
But if you divide the world, if you divide the Existence into polar opposites, then you will be in a very deep dichotomy and your mind will move to the opposite. And the more you resist, the more attractive it becomes. Negatives are very attractive. When you insist so much on "don'ts", the attraction becomes unbearable. "No" is a very enchanting invitation. So whenever you try to force your mind towards something, the other - which you are trying not to go towards - will become inviting. And sooner or later you will be bored with the part you have chosen, and the mind will move. It always goes on moving.
The Chinese philosophy says that the "yin" goes on moving into the "yang" and the "yang" goes on moving into the "yin", and they make one circle. They are in a constant movement of one into the other. The man goes on moving into the woman and the woman goes on moving into the man, and they make one circle. And the light goes on moving into the darkness and the darkness goes on moving into the light: they make one circle. And when you are bored with the light you are attracted by darkness, and when you are bored by darkness you are attracted by light.
You go on moving between the opposites. So if your God is also a part of the opposite world, part of the logic of opposites, you will move to the other extreme. That is why the Upanishad says "That".
In this "That", everything is implied, nothing is denied. The Upanishads have a very life-affirmative concept, a very life-affirmative philosophy.
Really, this is very strange: Albert Schweitzer has said that Indian philosophy is life negating, but he has really misunderstood the whole thing. In his mind, when he says "Hindu philosophy," he must have been referring to Mahavir and Buddha. But they are not really the main current - they are just rebellious children. Hindu philosophy is not life negating. On the contrary, Albert Schweitzer is a Christian, deeply Christian, and Christian philosophy is life negating! Hindu philosophy is one of the most affirmative.
So it is good to go deep in this life affirmation; only then will you be able to understand the meaning of "That," because this is one of the most affirmative words - not denying anything. "Life denying" means that your God is something against life. Jains are life denying. They say that this world is sin.
You must leave it, deny it, renounce it! Unless you renounce it totally you cannot achieve the Divine.
So the Divine becomes something you can achieve only conditionally - if you renounce the world.
It is a basic condition. For Buddhists also it is a basic condition: "You must renounce everything; you must choose death! Death must be the goal, not life! You must struggle not to be born again! Life is not of any value: it is of non-value. It exists only because of your sins. It is a punishment, and you must somehow go out of it, not be born again." But this is not the Hindu concept. The Upanishads are not concerned with this at all.
The same life denying attitude is of Christianity also: "Life is sin and man is born in sin." History begins in sin. Adam has been expelled from heaven because he has sinned. He has disobeyed, and now we are born out of the sin. That's why Christians have been insisting that Jesus was not born out of sex, that he was born out of a virgin girl: because if you are born out of sex you are born out of sin, and at least Jesus must not be born out of sin. So everyone is born in sin; mankind lives in sin. So a deep renunciation is needed to reach the Divine.
Christianity is also death-oriented. That's why the cross became so meaningful. Otherwise, the cross should not be so meaningful. It is a symbol of death. Hindus cannot conceive how the cross can become a symbol, and even Jesus became so significant and important because he was crucified. If you don't crucify Jesus and he is just ordinary, Christianity would not be born.
Really, those who were death-oriented became attracted towards Christ because he was crucified.
The death of Jesus became the most significant historic moment. So, really, Christianity was born because Jews foolishly crucified Jesus. If he had not been crucified, there would be no Christianity.
So Nietzsche is again right. He says Christianity is not really Christianity but is "cross-ianity" - crossoriented.
Schweitzer says that Hindus are life negating. He is wrong because he is thinking about Buddha.
He was as much Hindu as Jesus Christ was Jewish, but just this much. He was born a Hindu as Jesus Christ was born a Jew. But Hindus really have their essence in the Upanishads which precede Buddha, and Buddha has said nothing which is not in the Upanishads. They are of life affirmation, total life affirmation. And what do I mean when I say total life affirmation? You cannot conceive of Jesus dancing, you cannot conceive of Jesus singing, you cannot conceive of Buddha dancing or singing or loving, you cannot conceive of Mahavir fighting. You cannot! Only Krishna can be conceived of as laughing, dancing, loving, even standing in a war, with no denial - with no denial!
The whole life is Divine. So to choose God is not to renounce the world. To choose God means to choose God through the world. That is the meaning of That. And when you choose God through the world, not against the world, then there is no opposite. Only then can you escape from the law of reverse effect. When you choose That through this, there is no opposition, there is no polarity. And when there is no polarity, mind has no layer in which to move. It is not that it is tethered, it is not that it is in bondage, it is not that you have forced it here. Now there is no possibility for it to move. The opposite is not.
Understand it clearly: when the opposite is not, the mind is free to move, yet it moves not - because where can it move? If it can move, it will move, because movement is its nature. And if you create dichotomy, then it will move to the opposite, it will rebel against you. If there is no duality, if the opposite is not and if you have comprehended the opposite also in the Divine, then where can the mind move? Then wheresoever it moves, it moves only to That. So if Krishna is dancing with a girl, he is dancing with the Divine because the girl is not excluded, the Divine is not against the girl. If the Divine is against the girl, then the girl will become the Devil. Then the girl will tempt, and there is bound to be difficulty.
Christ cannot laugh: he lives in a constant tension. Krishna can laugh because there is no tension at all. When everything is Divine and when through all he has been giving the offering, then where is the tension? Then there is no need. Then Krishna can be at ease anywhere. Even in hell he can be at ease because even hell is That.
I was telling you that Jains have put Krishna into hell because he was responsible for the Mahabharat, the great Indian war. They have put him into the seventh hell - the deepest hell for the greatest sinners. But when I close my eyes and begin to think of him in hell, I cannot conceive of him except as dancing. He must be dancing there. Even if he is there he must be dancing, because even hell is That. And he will not be in any hurry and he will not pray to be put out of hell. He will make no effort, because the That is present everywhere. You need not go anywhere and you need not think of conditions, that only in certain conditions He is possible.
He is possible in every condition. He is unconditionally present. When you can conceive of the Divine as being unconditionally present, then it becomes the That of the Upanishads. Then even in poison It is; then even in death It is; then even in suffering It is. And you cannot move anywhere. Or, wherever you move, you move to That. So That must be conceived of through this; otherwise the law of reverse effect will begin to work. And every religious person has to fall into this law of reverse effect.
Unless you understand totally, unless you begin to feel that this law is working everywhere, never create any polar opposites in the mind - otherwise you will be a victim of your own nonsense. the
moment you choose something as opposite to something, you have created the ditch where you will fall. You will be hypnotized by the opposite.
We are all hypnotized by the opposite. A society becomes sexual if you say that sex is sin. Then sex becomes romantic; it begins to have a mysterious aura around it. A very simple fact of life, only because it is called sin, becomes the ditch - only because it is called sin! Call anything sin, and you have created a point by which you will be hypnotized. Auto-hypnosis is now possible. Deny something, and you are in the trap.
Lao Tzu says, "An inch's distinction between earth and heaven, and everything is set apart. An inch's distinction between good and bad, and everything is set apart." No distinction should be made. That's why religion is not morality. Religion is beyond it because morality cannot exist without distinctions, and religion cannot exist with distinctions. Morality cannot exist without creating the other. It depends on polar divisions - good and evil, and so on. So God and the Devil are not part of religion but of morality. The concept of God as opposite to evil, the Devil, Satan, is not really a religious concept. It is a moral concept.
When for the first time the Upanishads were translated into Western languages, the scholars were at a loss because they were not anything like the Ten Commandments which say. "Do this, don't do that!" There was nothing like the Ten Commandments, and without the Ten Commandments, how can a religion be? How? The West couldn't conceive of it. So these books were "not really religious", because there was no discussion about what is good and what is bad and what should be done and what should not be done.
They were right in a way. If we conceive of religion as a morality, then the Upanishads are not religious. But if the Upanishads are not religious, then nothing is religious - because morality is just a convenience, and morality can differ from nation to nation, from race to race, from geography to geography, from history to history. It will differ, because every race, every nation, creates its own conveniences Religion is not a convenience, and it cannot differ from race to race. It is not dependent on geography and not dependent on history. Really, it is not dependent on human thinking. It is dependent on the very nature of Reality. So religion is, in a way, eternal.
Moralities are always temporal. They belong to some age and to some time and to some space - then they change. When time changes, they change. But religion is eternal because it is the very nature of Reality. It is not dependent on your thinking. This religion belongs to non-polar Reality. But Reality is divided into polarities. As we see it, it is divided, because the very seeing divides it, just like a ray of light, a ray of sun, is divided through a prism.
When the mind looks at things, they are divided into polarities. The moment we look we have divided. We cannot remain in undivided Reality for a single moment. I see you and I have divided:
beautiful-ugly, good-bad, white-black, mine-not mine. The moment I see you, division sets in. The mind works as a prism, and the prism divides Reality. And if you go on choosing, then you will be a victim of your mind. The good and bad are divided as such by the mind.
Don't choose the good against the bad; otherwise you will ultimately fall into the bad against the good. Choose good through bad; know bad through good. They are one: feel this undivided
oneness. See life through death; see death through life: not as opposites, but as one - as two ends of one thing. This is what is meant by That. And the sutra says, "Mind constantly arrowed towards That is the offering." Mind must be flowing towards That constantly, continuously, without any gap. How can the mind flow if you make your God separate from the world? You will have to eat and then you will forget:
you will forget your God. You will have to sleep, and then you will forget: you will forget your God.
You will have to do many, many things, and God will be coming constantly as a conflict. So a religion which lives with a God against the world creates much anguish, and so-called religious persons are not constantly arrowed towards God, but are just constantly arrowed - tense. They live in anguish.
Everything becomes against God, so anguish is bound to be there. How can they laugh? How can they sing? Everything comes m between. Wherever they go to find God, something comes as a hindrance.
The whole world becomes inimical. Friends are not friends. They come m between, they become enemies. Love becomes poison because it comes in between. Everything goes on coming in the way. You are hindered from everywhere How can you live in peace? You cannot. Even a very ordinary man, a worldly man, can live in more peace than you. If your God is something opposite to the world, you cannot live in peace. You will be in a constant torture.
Of course, when the torture is self-imposed, the ego is fulfilled and strengthened so you can enjoy it.
And when someone begins to enjoy his own imposed tortures, he is mad, insane. Now he is not in his senses. So you may become a martyr to your own nonsense, and you can even be worshipped by others because there are persons who feel very happy when someone tortures himself. They enjoy it. They are sadists and you begin to be a masochist. You torture yourself. You can torture yourself continuously, and you will torture yourself when the whole world is against God. Then the life is bound to be a constant torture. Everything is sin, and everything will create guilt and fear and anxiety, and you will be constantly in a chaos.
You will torture yourself and become a masochist. And whenever there is a masochist, sadists will come around and worship. There are people who feel good when someone is suffering. They would like to make you suffer, but you have even saved them the trouble: you are torturing yourself. They feel very good. So out of one hundred, ninety-nine so-called saints are just ill, existentially diseased:
they are masochists. You can worship them, but they will lead you into a hell. And this is not religion at all. Religion is basically to create an ecstatic life, a life which is a benediction, which is absolute bliss. So how is this anxiety and bliss related? They are poles apart.
The Upanishads say, "Offer your mind to That through this, through everything." Don't create any hindrance, don't create the opposite. Whatsoever is, is That. And, really, a miracle happens. When I say see good through the evil, evil disappears. When I say see That through this, this disappears.
It becomes transparent and only That remains. The world is not there, but we are not yet capable of knowing the That which is there.
The world disappears. That's why Shankara could say it is an illusion. By illusion or by maya it is not meant that the world is not. Only this much is meant: that the world is not a reality, but only a transparency. If you can look deep, the Brahma is revealed and the world disappears.
If you cannot see That, then the world becomes very much real. This reality comes because you cannot find the Real. The moment you find the Real, the world disappears. That doesn't mean there will not be houses and there will not be nations and there will not be roads; this is not what is meant.
When Shankara says that the world is an illusion and it disappears when That is revealed, it is not meant that it will disappear like a dream - no! It will disappear in a very different sense.
It will disappear when the hidden is revealed, when the Total is revealed. The gestalt changes, the whole gestalt changes. In a new pattern you begin to look differently. The same tree for a woodcutter is one thing, and the pattern, the gestalt for a painter is something else. For a woodcutter it may not be green at all because he is concerned with the wood, with the texture of the wood - whether the wood can be used in furniture or not. This mind has a gestalt; in that gestalt, in that pattern, the tree may not be green at all. He may not have seen the greenness of it.
A painter is standing nearby. For him the tree is green, and I wonder whether you know or not that when a painter looks at a tree it is not just green, because there are a thousand types of greens.
When you look ordinarily, every tree is green, but no two greens resemble each other. Two greens are two colours. Every green has its own greenness. So for a painter, it is not simply green. It is green A, green B, green C - many shades, many individualities.
A lover who is sad, who has lost his beloved, may not look at the tree at all - the green may look very sad and will have a different colour and shades. He cannot feel the texture, or it may even be that he will remember the body of his beloved, not the texture of the tree. And a child playing there and an old man dying there - are they looking at one reality? Their gestalts are different. A different tree evolves, a different tree is there.
Is it not possible for a Shankara not to see the tree at all but only the That? Not the texture of the tree, not the greenness of the tree, not the sadness of the lover, not the play of the child, not the sorrow of the dying man - nothing? Is it not possible for a Shankara not to see the tree at all, but only the That? Then the tree becomes transparent. In a new gestalt the tree disappears and the Brahma is revealed. This is what is meant when I say look, find out, penetrate everywhere for That.
And when you begin to feel That everywhere, your mind cannot move - the opposite is not.
Then the offering - only then! Then you have been, then you have given. You cannot give yourself.
You can give only your mind because you can take away your mind. You are in That, but your mind is not. It can be! And you are free: the choice is yours. So you will be responsible - no one else. The responsibility is yours, so to be religious or not is your decision. Don't go into unnecessary things - whether God is or not. It is your decision! It is meaningless to go on discussing whether God is or is not: it is your choice. You can say He is not, but by saying that you are denying a greater Reality and the opening towards it. You can say he is, and, by saying that, you are open to a greater Reality.
This cannot be proven - whether He is or not. This cannot be proven as a scientific fact, because if it is proven then there will be no freedom. Then offering will be impossible. If it becomes a fact, as secular as any, if it becomes a fact like the moon or the sun or the earth, if it becomes a common, objective fact, then you will not be free to choose. So God can never become a scientific fact, and it cannot be proven whether He is or not. Only this much can be said: if you choose Him you become different; if you don't choose Him you will be different again. If you don't choose Him you will create a hell for yourself; if you choose Him, then you can create an ecstatic existence.
He is irrelevant. It is your choice that counts. Whether God is or is not is meaningless. It is not even worth discussing. The basic, relevant thing is that if you choose you become different, if you don't choose you are again different. And it depends on you! It depends on you whether you want an existence which is just a trembling and a fear, just an anguish and death, just a long suffering - or a bliss, a moment-to-moment opening into greater and greater bliss. So it is not a question of whether God is or not. It is a question whether you want to be transformed and transported into another Existence or not. And it will always be your choice.
If the whole world says God is and I deny, I can deny and it cannot be forced on me. That's why it is an offering. It is an offering! You can offer; you can withhold. You are offered already, so that is not the question. But your mind is not offered, and this is the riddle: that you live in That, but you suffer. You are in That, but you suffer. Why? Because your mind is not in That. And, really, your mind suffers - not you. You have never suffered, you cannot suffer. You have never died, you cannot die. But your mind suffers, your mind dies and is born, and it dies and suffers and goes on suffering.
This mind is an "overgrowth". Offer it to That and you will come to the point where you have always been. You will come to realize that which is your nature.
Buddha was asked, "What have you achieved?" When he had achieved Nirvana, achieved Enlightenment, he was asked, "What have you achieved?" Buddha said, "I have not achieved anything, only that which was always with me. Rather, on the contrary, I have lost something. I have not achieved anything. I have lost the mind that was with me, and I have achieved That which was always with me, but because of that mind I could not penetrate to it, could not see it." It is our choice. The screen on Reality is our choice. The covering on Reality is the mind. This life of misery is our decision, and no one else is responsible. And you can continue for lives together.
You have continued, and you can continue still for lives together. And no one can break through and no one can pull you out, because that is your freedom. Only you can jump out of it, and you can jump the moment you decide. So don't think in the terms that "Because I have lived for so many lives in this ignorance, how can I jump in a moment? When I have lived for so many, many lives in ignorance, how can I?" You can jump in a moment because all these lives were your decision.
Change the decision and the whole thing changes.
It is just like this: if in this room for years together there has been darkness, will you say: "How can we light a candle this very moment? The darkness has been so long! For years it has been here, so how can a candle burned at this moment dispel it? We will have to struggle for years and years, and the candle will have to struggle for years and years. Only then can the darkness be dispelled, because the darkness has a past, a history. It is long, deep-rooted." But put on the flame and the darkness is not there. Darkness really has no time: it has only duration.
But by "duration" I mean that it is not piled one upon another, so it cannot become thick. So one moment's darkness is as thick as one year's or one century's. It cannot be any more thick. It cannot be piled one upon another; it is not being piled up every moment. It cannot become thick and dense so that candlelight cannot penetrate it. It remains the same. It has only duration - a simple duration without any thickness being gathered.
Ignorance is just like darkness - a duration. You can be in it for centuries, for millennia, and in a single moment's decision it is not there. It is just like light. The moment light is present the darkness
is not there. And the darkness cannot say, "This is not as it should be. I have been here for many, many centuries and this is not good. I have a hold on this place and I have the possession; I have been in possession." Nothing can be said. When the light is there, darkness simply drops. Just like this comes the Enlightenment, comes the offering. You can offer any moment - you decide. But the offer must be total, and it can be total only if you do not divide Reality. Affirm life as Divine; affirm both the polar opposites as That. Then, if you move or don't move, you cannot go anywhere. Or, anywhere you go you will encounter That. This is a continuously arrowed mind, and this the Upanishads say is the only offering. All else is just false substitutes.