The Lamp of Awareness
CHIDADITYA SWAROOPAM DEEPAH
"TO BE ESTABLISHED IN THE SUN OF AWARENESS IS THE ONLY LAMP."
ONE DAY a lady came to Mulla Nasrudin's school with her small child, her son. The lady asked Mulla to frighten the boy. He had become unruly and he would not listen to anyone. He needed to be frightened by some big authority. Of course, Mulla was a big authority in his village. He assumed a very frightening posture. His eyes were bulging, all fiery, and he began to jump. The lady felt, "Now it is impossible to stop the Mulla - he may even kill the boy."
The lady fainted, the boy escaped, and Mulla became so frightened of himself he had to run out of the school. He waited outside and the lady came back. Then he entered, slowly, silently, seriously.
The lady said, "Mulla, it is strange! I never asked you to frighten ME."
Mulla said, "You do not see the real fact. It was not only you who was frightened; I myself was frightened of myself. When fear takes over, it destroys all. To start it is easy, but to control it is difficult. So I was the master when I started, but soon fear took over and it was the master and I was the slave; I could not do anything. And, moreover, fear has no favourites. When it strikes, it strikes all."
This is a beautiful parable, one which shows a deep insight into the human mind. You are conscious in everything just in the beginning, and then the unconscious takes over. The unconscious takes charge and the unconscious becomes the master. You can start anger, but you can never end it. Rather, the anger ends you. You can start anything, but sooner or later the unconscious takes charge; you are relieved of your duty. So only the beginning is in your hands, never the end. And you are not the master of the consequences that follow.
This is natural because only a very small fragment of the mind is aware. It works just like a starter in your motor car. It starts, and then it is of no use; then the motor takes it over. It is needed only to start; without it, it is difficult to start. But do not go on thinking that because you start a certain thing you are the master. This is the secret of this parable. Because you started, you begin to feel that you are the master. Because you started, you think you could have stopped.
You may not have started, that is another thing, but once started soon the voluntary becomes the non-voluntary and the conscious becomes unconscious, because the conscious is just the upper layer, just the surface of the mind, and nearly the whole mind is unconscious. You start, and the unconscious begins to move and work.
So Mulla said, "I am not responsible for what has happened, I am not responsible! I am responsible only for starting, and it is you who told me to start. I started to frighten the boy, then the boy was frightened, then you fainted, then I was frightened, and then everything was a mess."
Everything is a mess in our lives also, with the conscious starting and the unconscious taking over every time. If you do not feel it, if you do not realize it, this mechanism, you will always be a slave.
and the slavery becomes more convenient if you go on thinking that you are the master. It is difficult to be a slave knowingly, knowing that you are a slave. It is easy to be a slave when you go on deceiving yourself that you are the master - of your love, your anger, your greed, your jealousy, your violence, your cruelty; even your sympathy and your compassion.
I say "your", but it is yours only in the beginning. Just for a moment, just a spark is yours. Then your mechanism has started, and your whole mechanism is unconscious. Why is this so? Why this conflict between the conscious and the unconscious? And there is a conflict. You cannot predict even about yourself. Even you, your acts, are unpredictable to you, because you do not know what is going to happen, you do not know what you are going to do. You are not even aware of what you are going to do the next moment because the doer is deep in darkness. You are not the doer. You are only a starting point. Unless your whole mechanism becomes conscious, you will be a problem to yourself and a hell. There will be nothing but a long misery.
As I have been emphasizing daily, one can become whole in only two ways. The first is that you can lose the fragmentary consciousness, throw this fragment of the mind which has become conscious, into the dark unconscious, dissolve it, and you are whole. But then you are just like an animal, and that is impossible. Whatsoever you may do, it is not possible. It is conceivable, but not possible. You will be thrown forward again and again.
That small part which has become conscious cannot become unconscious again. It is like an egg which has become a hen. Now the hen cannot move back to be an egg again. A seed which has sprouted has begun the journey to be a tree. Now it cannot go back; it cannot regress and become a seed. A child which has come out of the womb of his mother cannot now go back, no matter how pleasant the womb may be.
There is no going backward. Life always moves in the future, never in the past. Only man can think of the past. That is why I say it is conceivable, but it cannot be actualized. You can imagine, you can think to go back, you can believe in it, you can try to go back, but you cannot go. That is an impossibility. One has to move forward. That is the second way to become whole.
Knowingly or unknowingly, one is moving every moment. If you move knowingly, then the speed is accelerated. If you move knowingly, then you do not waste energy and time. Then the thing can happen even in one life which will not happen in a million lives of your just moving unknowingly, because if you move unknowingly you move in a circle. Every day you repeat the same, in every life you again repeat the same, and life becomes just a habit, a mechanical habit, a repetition.
You can break the repetitive habit if you move knowingly. Then there is a breakthrough. So the first thing is to be aware that your awareness is of such a small measure that it works only as a starter.
Unless you have more awareness than unawareness, more consciousness than unconsciousness, the balance will not change. What are the hindrances? Why is this the situation? Why is this the fact? Why this conflict between conscious and unconscious? This must be considered.
It is natural. Whatsoever is, is natural. Man has evolved through millions of years. This evolution has created you, your body. your mechanism. The evolution has been a long struggle - millions and millions of experiences of failures, of successes. Your body has learned much; your body has been continuously learning things. Your body knows much, and its knowledge is fixed. It goes on repeating its own ways of behaving. Even if the situation has changed, the body remains the same.
For example, when you feel anger, you feel it in the same way as any primitive man, you feel it in the same way as any animal, you feel it in the same way as any child. And this is the mechanism: when you feel anger your body has a fixed routine, a ritual, a routine work to do.
The moment your mind says "anger", you have glands which begin to release chemicals into the blood. Adrenalin is released into the blood. It is a necessity because in anger you will have to strike or else you may be struck by your opponent. You will need more blood circulation, and this chemical will help more circulation to be there. You may need to fight or you may need to escape from a situation, to run away. For both cases, this chemical will help. So when some animal is angry, the body becomes ready to fight or to take flight. And these are the two alternatives: if the animal feels that he is stronger than the opponent, he will fight; if he feels that he is not the stronger one, he will escape. And the mechanism works very smoothly.
But for man the situation has become totally different. When you feel anger, you may not even express it. That is impossible for the animal. It depends on the situation. If it is against your servants, then you may express it. If it is against your master, then you may not express it. Not only that: you may even laugh or smile; you may even persuade your master, your boss, to think that not only are you not angry, but that you are very happy. Now you are confusing the whole mechanism of the body. The body is ready to fight, and you are smiling. You are creating a mess in the body.
The body cannot understand what you are doing. Are you mad? It is ready to do one of two things which are natural: to fight or escape.
This smiling is something new. This deception is something new. The body has no mechanism for it, so you have to force the smile without the chemical flowing in which helps you to smile, which helps you to laugh. There are now no chemicals to laugh. You have to force a smile, a false smile, and the body has released chemicals into the blood to fight. Now what will the blood do? The body has a language that it understands very well, but you are behaving in a very mad, insane way. Now a gap is created between you and your body. This mechanism is unconscious, this mechanism is non-voluntary. Your volition, your will, is not needed because will takes time and there are situations in which no time can be lost.
A tiger has attacked you: now there is no time for meditation. You cannot contemplate about what to do. You have to do something without the mind. If the mind comes in you are lost. You cannot think; you cannot say to the tiger, "Wait! Let me think about it - about what to do." You have to act immediately, without any consciousness.
The body has a mechanism. The tiger is there: the mind just knows that the tiger is there; the body mechanism begins to work. That working is not dependent on the mind because mind is a very slow worker, very inefficient. It cannot be relied upon in emergency situations, so the body begins to work. You are frightened. You will run away; you will escape.
But the same thing happens when you are standing on a platform to address a big audience. There is no tiger, but you are frightened by the great gathering. Fear takes shape; the body is informed.
That information that you are in fear is automatic. The body begins to release chemicals - the same chemicals that it will release when a tiger attacks you. There is no tiger, there is really no one who is attacking you, but the audience seems to be making a great attack. Everyone there is really aggressive, it seems. That is why you have become afraid.
Now the body is ready to fight or to take flight, but both the alternatives are closed. You have to stand there and speak. Now your body begins to perspire, even on a cold night. Why? Because the body is ready to run or to fight. The blood is circulating more, heat is created, and you are standing there. So you begin to perspire, and then a subtle trembling takes over. Your whole body begins to tremble.
It is just the same as if you start a car and press the accelerator and the brake both simultaneously.
The engine will be heated, raced, and you are braking also. The whole body of the car will tremble.
The same happens when you are standing on a platform. You feel fear, and the body is ready to run. The accelerator is pushed, but you cannot run. You have to address the gathering. You are a leader or some such thing. You cannot run. You have to face it, and you have to be there standing on the platform. You have to take the floor.
Now you are doing two things simultaneously that are very contradictory. You are stepping on the accelerator and pressing the brake also. You do not run, but the body is ready to run. You begin to tremble and heat is created. Now your body wonders, "How are you behaving?" The body cannot understand you. A gap is created. The unconscious is doing one thing and the conscious goes on doing something else. You are divided. This gap has to be understood deeply.
In your every act this gap is there. You are looking at a film, an erotic film: your sex is aroused.
Your body is ready to explode into a sexual experience, but you are only seeing a film. You are just sitting on a chair and your body is ready for the sex act. The film will go on accelerating, it will go on pushing you. You are aroused, but you cannot do anything. The body is ready to do something but the situation is not, so a gap is created. You begin to feel yourself different, and there is a barrier between you and your body. Because of that barrier and because of this constant arousal and suppression simultaneously, this acceleration and braking simultaneously, this constant contradiction in your existence, you are diseased.
If you would fall back and be an animal. which is impossible, then you would be whole and healthy.
This is a strange fact: animals are not ill in their natural state, but put them in a zoo and they begin to imitate human diseases. No animal is homosexual in its natural surrounding, in its natural state, but put animals in a zoo and they begin to behave absurdly: they begin to behave homosexually. No animal goes insane naturally, but in a zoo animals go mad.
It has never been reported in the whole history of human understanding that any animal has committed suicide, but in a zoo animals can commit suicide. This is strange, but not strange really, because the moment man begins to force animals into a life which is not natural, then they become divided inside. A division is created, a gap is created, the wholeness is lost.
Man is divided. Man is born divided. So what to do? How not to create this gap and how to bring awareness to every cell of the body, to every nook and corner of your being? How to bring awareness? That is the only problem for all religions, for all of yoga and for all systems for Enlightenment: how to bring consciousness to your total being so that nothing is unconscious.
Many methods have been tried, many methods are possible, so I will talk about some methods for how every cell of your body can become aware. And unless you as a total being become aware, you cannot be in bliss, you cannot be in peace. You will continue to be a madhouse.
Each cell of your body affects you. It has its own working, it has its own learning, its own conditioning.
The moment you start, the cell takes over and begins to behave in its own way. Then you are disturbed. "What is happening!" you wonder, "I never intended this; I never thought about it." And you are right. Your desires may have been completely different. But once you give your cells, your body, something to do, it is going to do it in its own way, in its own learned way. Because of this, scientists - particularly Russian scientists - think that we cannot change man unless we change the cells.
There is a school, a Behaviouristic school of psychologists, which thinks that Buddha is a failure, that Jesus is a failure, that they are bound to be failures. There is nothing strange in it because without changing the very structure of the body, the chemical structure of the body, nothing can be changed.
These Behaviourists - Watson, Pavlov, Skinner - say that if a Buddha is silent, it only means that somehow he has a different chemical constitution and nothing else. If he is silent, if peace surrounds him, if he is never disturbed, never angry, it only shows that somehow the chemicals are lacking which create disturbance, which create anger. So Skinner says, "Sooner or later we will be able to create a Buddha chemically. There is no need of any meditation, there is no need of becoming more aware. The only need is to change chemicals."
In a way he is right, but very dangerously right, because if certain chemicals are put out of your body, your behaviour will change. If certain hormones are introduced into your body, your behaviour will change. You are a man and you behave like a man. But it is not you who behaves like a man:
it is only the hormones in you that make you behave like a man. If those hormones are changed and other hormones are introduced which belong to the feminine structure, you will behave like a woman. So it is not really your behaviour: it is hormonal behaviour. It is not you who is angry, but a certain hormone in you. It is not that you are silent and meditative; it is certain hormone in you.
Skinner says, "That is why Buddha is a failure: because he goes on talking about things which are irrelevant. You say to a man,'Do not be angry,' but he is filled with chemicals, hormones, which create anger." So for a Behaviourist, it is just as if a person is in a high fever - a one hundred and six degree fever - and you go on talking about beautiful things to him and say, "Be silent, meditate, do not be feverish!" It looks absurd - what can the man do! Unless you change something in his body, the fever will remain. Fever is created by a certain virus, certain chemical things. Unless that is changed, unless the proportion is changed, he will remain feverish. And there is no need to talk.
It is absolutely absurd.
The same is with anger for a Skinner, for a Pavlov; the same is for sex. You go on talking about brahmacharya - celibacy - and the body is filled with sex energy, sex cells. That sex energy is not dependent on you. Rather, you are dependent on that energy. So you go on talking about brahmacharya, but nothing is possible by these talks. And they are right in a way, but still, only in a way. They are right that if the chemicals are changed, if every sex hormone is thrown out of your body, you will not be able to be sexual. But you will not become a Buddha. You will simply be impotent, incapable. You will lack something.
Buddha is not lacking anything. Rather, on the contrary, something new has come to his life. It is not that he has no sex hormones. They are there. So what has happened to him? His consciousness has deepened, and his consciousness has entered even into the sex cells. Now the sex cells are there, but they cannot behave independently. Unless the center orders them to act, they cannot act.
They will remain inactive.
In an impotent person sex cells are not. In a Buddha they are there and more strong than in an ordinary person - stronger, because never used, not used. Energy is accumulated in them, they are bubbling with energy, but consciousness has penetrated into the cells now. Now the consciousness is not only a starting point: it has become the master.
Skinner may prevail in the coming days. He may become a very great force. Just like Marx suddenly became a great force for the outer economy of society, just like Marx, any day Pavlov and Skinner may become a very central force for the inner economy of the human body and the human mind.
And they can prove whatsoever they say - they can prove it! But the phenomenon has two aspects.
You see an electric bulb. If you destroy the bulb, the light will disappear; it is not that the electricity will disappear. The same happens when you put off the current: the bulb is there intact, but the light will again disappear. So the light can disappear in two ways. If you destroy the bulb, electricity will be there, but because there is no medium through which to express it, it cannot become light. If your sex cells are destroyed, sexuality will be in you, but with no medium to express itself. This is one way.
Skinner has experimented with many animals. Just by operating on a particular gland, a ferocious dog becomes Buddha-like. He sits silently, as if in meditation. You cannot tempt him to be ferocious again. Whatsoever you do, he will look at you without any anger. It is not that the dog has become a Buddha, nor is it that the inner mind has disappeared. It is there all the same, but the medium through which anger can be expressed is absent. This is impotency. The medium has disappeared, not the desire. If the medium is destroyed, when the bulb is not, you can say, "Where is your light and where is your electricity?" It is there, but now it is hidden.
Religions have been working from the other corner - not trying to destroy the bulb: that is stupid, because if you destroy the bulb then you will not even be aware of the current meaning behind.
Change the current, transform the current, let the current move in a new dimension, and the bulb will be there intact alive, but with no light.
Skinner, I said, can prevail because he shows a very easy way. You are angry: you can be operated upon. You feel sexual: you can be operated upon. Your problems will be solved not by you, but by a surgeon - by someone else. And whenever a problem is solved by someone else you have missed a very great opportunity, because when you solve it you grow. When someone else solves it, you remain the same. The problem can be solved through the body and there will be no problems - but you will also no loner be a human being.
The religious emphasis is on transformation of consciousness, and the first thing is to create a greater force of awareness inside to help that awareness to spread. This sutra is beautiful. It says, "To be established in the sun of awareness is the only lamp."
The sun is very, very far away. Light takes ten minutes to travel to the earth, and light travels very fast - 186,000 miles per second. It takes ten minutes for the sun to reach the earth; it is very, very far. But in the morning the sun rises, and it reaches even to the flower in your garden.
"Reach" has a different meaning. Just rays reach, not the sun. So if your energy becomes a sun deep inside your center, if your center becomes a solar center, if you become aware, centrally aware, if your awareness grows, then the rays of your awareness reach to every part of your body, to every cell. Then your awareness penetrates every cell of the body.
It is just like when the sun rises in the morning, everything begins to be alive on the earth. Suddenly there is light, and sleep disappears; the monotonous night disappears. Suddenly everything seems to be reborn. The birds begin to sing and they are again out on the wing, the flowers flower, and everything is alive again just from the touch, just from the warmth, of the sun's rays. So when you have a central consciousness, a central awareness in you, it begins to reach to every pore, to every nook and corner; to every cell it penetrates. And you have many, many cells - seventy million cells in your body. You are a big city, a big nation. Seventy million cells, and now they are all unconscious.
Your consciousness has never reached them.
Grow in consciousness and every cell is penetrated. And the moment your consciousness touches the cells, it is different. The very quality changes. A man is asleep; the sun rises and the man is awakened. Is he the same man who was asleep? Is his sleep and awakening the same? There was a closed, dead bud, and the sun has risen, and the bud opens and becomes a flower. Is this flower the same? Something new has penetrated. An aliveness, a capacity to grow and blossom, has appeared. A bird was just asleep, as if dead, as if just dead matter, but the sun comes up and the bird is on the wing. Is it the same bird? It is a different phenomenon. Something has touched and the bird has become alive. Everything was silent, and now everything is singing. The morning is a song.
The same phenomenon happens inside the cells of a Buddha's body. It is known as BUDDHA-KAYA - the body of an Enlightened One, of a Buddha. It is a different body. It is not the same body as you have, not even the same body as Gautam had before he became a Buddha.
Buddha is just on the verge of death, and someone asks him, "Are you dying? Then where will you be?" Buddha says, "The body that was born will die. But there is another body - the buddha-kaya, the body of a Buddha, which is neither born, nor can it die. I have left that body which was given to me, that came to me from my parents. Just as a snake leaves the old body every year, I have left it.
Now there is the buddha-kaya - the Buddhabody."
What does this mean? your body can become a Buddha-body. When your consciousness reaches to every cell, the very quality of your being changes, becomes transmuted, because then every cell is alive, conscious, Enlightened. Then there is no slavery. You have become the master. Just by becoming a conscious center, you become a master.
This sutra says, "To be established in the sun of awareness is the only lamp." So why are you taking an earthen lamp to the temple? Take the inner lamp! Why are you burning candles on the altar?
They will not help. Kindle the inner candle! Become a Buddha-body! Let your every cell become conscious; do not allow any part of your being to remain unconscious.
Buddhists have preserved some bones of Buddha. People think they are just superstitious. They are not, because those are not ordinary bones. They are not! The cells, the particles, the electrons, of those bones, have known something which happens rarely. In Kashmir, in a mosque, one hair of Mohammed is preserved. That is no ordinary hair. It is not just superstition. That hair has known something.
Just try to understand it in this way: a flower which has never known any sunrise and a flower which has known, encountered the sun, are not the same, cannot be the same. The flower that has never known a sunrise has never known a light to rise in it, because it rises when the sun rises. That flower is just dead - a potentiality. It has never known its own spirit. A flower which has seen the sunrise has also seen something rise in itself. It has known a soul. Now the flower is not just a flower. It has known a deep stirring inside. Something has stirred; something has become alive in it.
So the hair of Mohammed is a different thing; it has a different quality. It has known a man, it has been with a man who was an inner sun, an inner light. This hair has taken a deep bath in something mysterious which rarely happens. To be established in this inner light is the only lamp worth taking to the altar of the deity. Nothing else will do.
How to create this center of awareness? I will discuss several methods. Because I was talking about Buddha and the BUDDHA-AYA, it will be good to start with Buddha. He invented a method, one of the most wonderful methods, a most powerful method, for creating an inner fire, an inner sun, of awareness. And not only to create it: the method is such that simultaneously the inner light begins to penetrate to the very cells of the body - to your whole being.
Buddha used breathing as the method - breathing with awareness. The method is known as "Anapansati Yoga" - the Yoga of incoming and outgoing breath awareness. You are breathing, but it is an unconscious thing. And breath is prana, breath is the Bergsonian elan vital: the vitality, the very vitality, the very light - and it is unconscious. You are not aware of it. If you needed to be aware of it, you might drop dead any moment because then it would be very difficult to breathe.
I have heard about certain fishes which cannot sleep for more than six minutes, because if they sleep more they die: they forget to breathe. If their sleep is deepened, they forget to breathe, so they die. Those particular fishes cannot sleep for more than six minutes. They have to live in a group, always in a group. Some fishes are sleeping, other fishes have to be constantly alert not to allow them to go more into sleep. When the time is over, they will disturb the sleep; otherwise a sleeping fish will just go dead. He will not come back again.
This is a scientific observation. It would be a problem with you also if you had to remember it - if you had to do breathing. Then you would have to remember constantly in order to do it, and you cannot remember anything even for a single moment. If one moment is missed, you will be no more. So breathing is unconscious; it does not depend on you. Even if you are in a coma for months together, you will go on breathing.
Really, just by the way, I would like to say that those fishes are rare. And someday science may come to know that they have a certain deep awareness which even man lacks, because to breathe consciously is a very difficult thing. Those fishes may have attained a certain awareness which is not with us.
Buddha used breath as the vehicle to do two things simultaneously: one, to create consciousness; and the other, to allow that consciousness to penetrate to the very cells of the body. He said, "Breathe consciously." It is not a pranayama. It is just making breath an object of awareness without any change. There is no need to change your breath. Let it be just as it is - natural. Let it be as it is. Do not change it. Do something else: when you breathe in, breathe consciously. Let your consciousness move with the ingoing breath. When the breath goes out, move out. Go in, come out. Move consciously with the breath. Let your attention be with the breath; flow with it; do not forget even a single breath.
Buddha is reported to have said that if you can be aware of your breath even for a single hour, you are already Enlightened. But not a single breath should be missed. One hour is enough. It looks so small, only a fragment of time, but it is not. When you try it, one hour of awareness will look like millennia because ordinarily you cannot be aware for more than for five or six seconds - and that too for a very alert man. Otherwise you will miss every second. You will start: the breath is going in.
The breath has gone in, and you have gone somewhere else. Suddenly you remember again that the breath is going out. The breath has gone out and you have moved somewhere else.
To move with the breath means that no thought should be allowed, because thought will take your attention, thought will distract you. So Buddha never says stop thinking, but he says, "Just breathe consciously." Automatically, thinking will stop. You cannot do both - think and breathe consciously.
A thought comes to your mind, and your attention is withdrawn. A single thought and you become unconscious of your breathing process. So Buddha used a very simple technique and a very vital one. He would say to his bhikkhus, "Do whatsoever you are doing, but do not forget a simple thing:
remember the incoming and outgoing breath. Move with it; flow with it." The more you try, the more you endeavour, the more you can be conscious Consciousness will increase by seconds and seconds. It is arduous, a difficult thing, but once you can feel it you are a different man - a different being in a different world.
This works in a double way: when you consciously breathe in and out, by and by you come to your center, because your breath touches the center of your being. Every moment that the breath goes in, it touches your center of being.
Physiologically you think that breath is just for the purification of the blood, that it is just a function of your heart, that it is bodily. You think that it is a function of your heart - just a pumping system to refresh your blood-circulation, to give to your blood more oxygen which is needed, and to throw out carbon dioxide which is excreta, used stuff: to throw it out, to remove it and replace it.
But this is only physiologically. If you begin to be aware of your breath, by and by you will go deep - deeper than your heart. And one day you will begin to feel a center just near your navel. That center can only be felt if you move with your breath CONTINUOUSLY - because the nearer you reach to the center, the more you tend to lose consciousness. You can start when the breath is going in. When it is just touching your nose, you can start being alert. The more inward it moves, the more consciousness will become difficult. And a thought will come or some sound or something will happen, and you will move.
If you can go to the very center, where for a single moment breath stops and there is a gap, the jump can happen. The breath goes in, the breath goes out: between these two there is a subtle gap. That gap is your center. When you move with the breath, then only, after a very long effort, will you become aware of the gap - when there is no movement of the breath, when breath is neither coming nor going. Between two breaths there is a subtle gap, an interval - in that interval you are at the center.
So breath is used by Buddha as a passage to come nearer and nearer and nearer to the center.
When you move out, be conscious of the breath. Again there is a gap. There are two gaps: one gap inside and one gap outside. The breath goes in, the breath goes out: there is a gap. The breath goes out and the breath goes in: there is a gap. It is even more difficult to be aware of the second gap.
Look at this process. Your center is in between the incoming breath and the outgoing breath. There is another center - the Cosmic center. You may call it "God". When the breath goes out and the breath comes in, there is again a gap. In that gap is the Cosmic center. These two centers are not two different things, but first you will be aware of your inner center and then you will become aware of your outer center, and ultimately you will come to know that both these centers are one. Then "out" and "in" lose meaning.
Buddha says move with the breath consciously and you will create a center of awareness. And once the center is created, awareness begins to move with your breath into your blood, to the very cells - because every cell needs air and every cell needs oxygen and every cell, so to speak, breathes - every cell! And now, scientists say, it even seems that the earth breathes. And because of the Einsteinian concept of an expanding universe, now theoretical scientists say that it seems that the whole universe is breathing.
When you breathe in, your chest expands. When you breathe out, your chest shrinks. Now theoretical scientists say that it seems that the whole universe breathes. When the whole universe is breathing in, it expands. When the whole universe breathes out, it shrinks.
In the old Hindu Puranas - mythological scriptures - it is said that creation is Brahma's one breath, the incoming breath; and destruction - PRALAYA - the end of the world, is the outgoing breath: one breath, one creation.
In a very miniature way, in a very atomic way, the same is happening in you. When your awareness becomes so one with breathing, then your breathing takes your awareness to the very cells. Rays now penetrate, and the whole body becomes a Buddhabody. Really, then you have no material body at all. You have a body of awareness. This is what is meant by the sutra, "To be established in the sun of awareness..." this is the only lamp.
Just like we are learning about Buddha's method, it will be good to understand another method, one more method. Tantra has used sex. That is again another very vital force. If you want to go deep, you have to use very vital forces - the deepest in you. Tantra uses sex. When you are in a sex act, you are very near to the center of creation - to the very source of life. If you can go into a sex act consciously, it becomes meditation.
It is very difficult - more difficult than breath. You can breathe consciously in a small measure, of course, that you can, but the very phenomenon of sex requires your unconsciousness. If you become conscious, you will lose your sexual desire and lust. If you become conscious, then there will be no sexual desire inside. So Tantra has done the most difficult thing in the world. In the history of experiments with consciousness, Tantra goes the deepest.
But, of course, one can deceive, and with Tantra deception is very easy, because no one other than you knows what the fact is. No one else can know. But only one in a hundred can succeed in the Tantric method of awareness - because sex needs unconsciousness. So a Tantric, a disciple of Tantra, has to work with sex, sex desire, just like with breathing. He has to be conscious of it; when actually going into the sex act, he has to be conscious.
Your very body, the sex energy, comes to a peak to explode. The Tantric SADHAK - seeker - comes to the peak consciously, and there is a method to judge. If sex release happens automatically and you are not the master, then you are not conscious of it. Then the unconscious has taken over.
Sex comes to a peak, and then you cannot do anything but release. That release is not done by you. You can start a sexual process, but you can never end it. The end is always taken over by the unconscious.
If you can retain the peak and if it becomes your conscious act to release it or not to release it, if you can come back from the peak without release or if you can maintain that peak for hours together, if it is your conscious act, then you are the master. And if someone can come to a sexual peak, just on the verge of orgasm, and can retain it and be conscious of it, suddenly he becomes aware of the deepest center inside - SUDDENLY! And it is not only that he is aware of the deepest center inside of himself: he is also aware of the center of his partner, the deepest center.
That is why a Tantra practitioner, if he is a man, will always worship the partner. The partner is not just a sex object. She is Divine! She is a goddess! And the act is not carnal at all. If you can go into it consciously, it is the deepest spiritual act possible. But the deepest is bound to be virtually impossible. So use either breath or sex.
Mahavir has used hunger. That again is a very deep thing. Hunger is not just hunger for your taste or for something else - it is for your very survival. Mahavir used hunger, fasting, as a method of awareness. It is not an austerity. Mahavir was not an ascetic. People have misunderstood him completely. He was not an ascetic at all. No wise man ever is. But he was using fasting, hunger, as a vehicle for awareness.
You might have stumbled upon the fact that when your stomach is full, you begin to feel sleepy, you begin to feel unconscious. You want to go to sleep. But when you are hungry, fasting, you cannot sleep. Even in the night you will turn this way and that. You cannot sleep on a fast. Why can't you sleep? Because it is dangerous to life. Now sleep is a secondary need. The first need is food, to get food. That is the first need. Sleep is not a problem now.
But Mahavir used it in a very, very scientific way. Because you cannot fall asleep when you are fasting, you can remember things more easily. Consciousness comes to you more easily. And Mahavir used this very hunger as an object of consciousness. He would stand continuously. You might have seen Buddha's statue sitting, but Mahavir's statues are, more or less, standing. He was always standing. You can feel your hunger more when you are standing. If you are sitting you will feel it less; if you are lying you will feel it still less. When you are standing, the whole body begins to be hungry. You feel the hunger all over the body. The whole body flows; it becomes one river of hunger. From head to foot you are hungry. It is not only the stomach: the feet feel it, even the whole body feels the hunger. And Mahavir would stand silently watching, moving with hunger just like one moves with breath. It is reported that in his twelve-year period of silence, he fasted more or less for eleven years. Only for three hundred and sixty days in twelve years did he take food. Hunger was the method.
Food and sex are two of the deepest things, just like breath. When you go on being conscious of your hunger, doing nothing but just being conscious, suddenly you are thrown to your center, to your being. First hunger moves from the surface. If you do not feed the surface, the deeper layers become hungry. If you do not feed these deeper layers, then still deeper layers become hungry. And it goes on and on and on; ultimately the whole body begins to be hungry. When the whole body is hungry, you are thrown to the center.
When you feel hunger, that is a false hunger. Really, that is more or less a habit, not hunger. If you take your lunch at a particular time, say at one o'clock, then at one o'clock you begin to feel your hunger. This is a false hunger, not connected with the body at all. If you do not take food at one o'clock, then at two o'clock you will feel that the hunger has disappeared. If it was natural, it would have grown more. Why should it disappear? If it was real, then you would feel it more at two and more at three and more at four. But it has disappeared. It was just a habit, a very superficial habit.
If a well-fed man fasts for three weeks, then only can he come to a real hunger. Then, for the first time, he will know what real hunger is. Just now you can never feel that hunger is as forceful as sex.
It is more forceful, but only the real hunger. So it happens, when you are on a fast, that your sex desire will die, because now a more foundational thing is at stake.
Food is for your survival, sex is for the survival of your race. It is a distant phenomenon, not related with you. Sex is food for the race, not for you. You will die, but through sex humanity can live. So it is not really your problem; it is a racial problem. You can even leave it, but you cannot leave food because that is your problem. It is concerned with you. So if you go on a fast, by and by sex will disappear; it will become more and more distant.
Because of this, many people are just fooling themselves. They think that if they take less food, they have become celibate, brahmacharins. They have not. The problem has only been shifted. Give the proper food, and sex desire will come back - more forcibly, more fresh, more young.
If you fast for even more than three weeks, then your whole body hungers. Each cell, every cell of your body, begins to feel the hunger. Then, for the first time, you are hungry, your stomach is hungry, your whole body is hungry. You are surrounded by a deep fire of hunger. Mahavir used this as a method for being aware; so he would be hungry - fasting and aware.
A man can live without food for three months - a healthy man, of course. A normally healthy man can live for three months without food - for three months! If you go on fasting for three months, then, suddenly one day, you will be just on the verge of death. This is a conscious encounter with death, and that encounter comes only when you are on the verge of leaving your body and jumping into your center, inside. Now the whole body is exhausted. It cannot continue. You are thrown back to your source and you cannot live in the body. By and by you are thrown from the body - inside, inside, inside.
Food takes you outside, fasting takes you inside. A moment comes when the body cannot carry you any further; then you are thrown to your center. In that moment the inner sun is released.
So Mahavir would fast for three months - even for four months. He was extraordinarily healthy. And then, suddenly, he would go to the village to beg for food. It is yet a secret why suddenly, after three or four months, he would go to the village to beg for food. Really, whenever he came on the verge where even a single moment could prove fatal, only then would he go to beg for food. He would again enter the body and then again he would fast, then again go to the center; again enter the body, again go to the center.
Then he could feel the passage: just breath coming in, breath going out; life coming into the body, life going out of the body. And he would be aware of this process. He would take food and he would be aware of this process. He would take food and he would be back into the body, so to speak, and then he would fast again. This he was doing continuously for twelve years. This was an inner process.
So I discussed three things: breath, sex and hunger - very basic, foundational things. Be conscious in any. Breath is the easiest. It will be difficult to use the Tantra method. The mind would like to use it, but it will be difficult. It will be difficult to use the hunger method. The mind would not like it.
These two are very difficult. Whether you like them or not, they are difficult. Only the breath process is simple. And for the coming age, I think Buddha's method will be very helpful. It is moderate, easy, not very dangerous.
That is why Buddha is known always as the originator of the middle path - MAJJHIM-NIKAYA - the golden mean. Sex and food are between these two. Breath is the golden mean, the exact middle.
And there are many more methods. With any method you can be established in that inner light. A.nd once you are established, your light begins to flow to your body cells. Then your whole mechanism is refreshed and you have a Buddha-body - an Enlightened One's body.