PHILOSOPHY is a search for Truth, but religion is not. Religion is a search for freedom - Ultimate Freedom. What is the difference? When you are searching for Truth, the emphasis becomes more and more intellectual, mental. When you are searching for freedom, it is not simply a question of intellect, but of your total being.
The moment someone utters the word "Truth", your intellect is affected. Your emotions remain unaffected, your body untouched. It appears that Truth is for the head. How is Truth concerned with your toe? How is Truth concerned with bones and blood? But the moment you utter the word "freedom", it is concerned with your totality. You are involved in it - totally! This is the first difference.
Religion is not an intellectual affair. Intellect is involved as a part, but your total being is required in it. Freedom is for the total being.
Secondly, whenever one is thinking about Truth, it appears that Truth is to be found somewhere else. You are only the seeker; Truth is somewhere else as an object to be found. But when you are seeking freedom, freedom is not something objective to be found somewhere else. You have to transform yourself in order to find it because freedom means to drop your slavery. Truth appears to be something static, just like anything. Freedom is a process - alive! That is why I say that religion is basically a search for freedom - for ultimate, total freedom!
It is true that I have told so many times that Truth liberates. There is no contradiction. The search of religion is for freedom; Truth is instrumental. If you attain Truth, it helps you to be free. Truth liberates, but liberation is the end.
Really, it will be better to define it differently. That which liberates is Truth, and unless it liberates you it is not Truth. But freedom is the end for religion. This emphasis is not just a small difference. It is a great difference - because whenever mind begins to seek, to search for Truth, the total approach changes. You begin to think about it, you begin to argue about it, you begin to intellectualize about it. It becomes a philosophical endeavour. When freedom is the aim, it becomes psychological.
Truth is meaningful, but only as an instrument toward freedom. So religion is not against the search for Truth: religion is for freedom. Truth helps it, but then Truth is secondary. It is not primary, it is not basic. It is a means; freedom is the end. That is why moksha is the ultimate aim of all Hindu thinking, of all Hindu seeking - moksha!
Truth helps to be free - so seek Truth. but only as a part of the greater search for freedom. Do not make Truth itself the end. If you make Truth itself the end, then your search is not religious: it becomes philosophical. That is the difference between the Greek mind and the Hindu mind.
For Aristotle or for Plato or even for Socrates Truth is the end - how to find it? Then logic becomes the means. Freedom is the end for the Hindu mind. How to find it? Yoga becomes the means.
If one is to be free, then one has to drop all his bondages. How to cut the chains? You need a science to cut those chains. That science is yoga. Then your search takes a totally different path.
Why are you a slave? Why are you in bondage? How do you happen to be in bondage? Why are you suffering? Why? This "why" will change the whole approach. The bondage has to be known, then broken. Then you will be free.
If Truth is the search, then why is man in error? Then the problem is how to avoid error: that becomes the basic thing. Logic will help to avoid error; then argumentation, philosophical contemplation, is the means. That is why the Greek mind could not conceive of anything like yoga. Yoga is basically Eastern. The Greek mind could develop logic; that is the Greek contribution to world thought. They developed it to such a climax that, really, for these 2,000 years nothing has been added to it. Logic came to a peak in Aristotle. It happens rarely that one man can develop a science to its completion.
Aristotle did that, but no concept of yoga is there.
In India, yoga is foundational. We have developed logical systems, but just to help the expression of those truths, of those experiences, which are beyond language. So we have developed logic as an instrument to express something, not to reach something.
Greek logic means a process of reaching toward Truth; Hindu logic means Truth has been achieved, freedom has been achieved, through something else. Then, when you have achieved the experience, in order to express it logic will be needed. To make this distinction clear I said that the Hindu mind is religious, the Greek mind philosophic. The religious mind is more practical.
I will relate one story to you. Buddha used to tell this story so many times: A man is dying. Buddha is passing through a forest and an arrow has penetrated into the man's body - some hunter's arrow.
The man is dying, but the man is a philosopher. Buddha tells him, "This arrow can be taken out of the body. Allow me to take it out."
The man says, "No, please first tell me who has been the cause? Who is my enemy? Why has this arrow penetrated into my body? Of what karmas is it a result? Tell me whether the arrow is poisoned or not."
So Buddha says, "These inquiries you can do later on - but first let me pull out the arrow, because you are just on the verge of death. If you think that these inquiries should be made first and then the arrow should be pulled out, you are not going to survive."
This story he told many times. What does he mean by it? He means that we are all just on the verge of death - everyone. Death's arrow has already penetrated you. You may know it, you may not know it: death's arrow has already penetrated you; that is why you are suffering. The arrow may not be visible, but the suffering is there. Your suffering shows that death's arrow has penetrated you. Do not go on asking: "Who has created this world and why have I been created? Are there many lives or one? Am I going to survive after my death or not?"
Buddha says, "Inquire afterwards. First let this arrow of suffering be pulled out." Then Buddha laughs and says, "And I have never seen anyone inquiring later on, so inquire when the arrow has been pulled out."
This is yoga: it is more concerned with your state - your real state of suffering and how to go beyond it - more concerned with your bondage, with your imprisonment, and how to transcend it, how to be free. That is why moksha is the end - the ultimate end, the practical end. It is not theoretical.
We have propounded many theories, but they are only devices. We have propounded many theories!
We have nine systems and a vast literature, one of the richest literatures. But theories are devices.
When I say that theories are devices, I mean that they are only to help you pull out the arrow. Really.
theories are not meaningful: we have created many strange theories. But Buddha, Mahavir, they say that if a theory helps you to go beyond your bondage, then it is okay.
Do not be bothered about the theory, about whether it is right or wrong; do not be bothered about its logical argument. Use it and go beyond. Why bother about a boat? If it can help you to cross the river, cross the river. Crossing is meaningful; the boat is meaningless. So any boat can help.
Because of this, Hindus could develop the only tolerant mind in the world - the only tolerant mind! A Christian cannot be tolerant: intolerance is bound to be there. A Mohammedan cannot be tolerant:
intolerance is bound to be there.
It is not his fault. It is because to him the boat is very important. He says, "You can cross this river only in this boat. Other boats are not boats; they are not true. The other shore is not very important:
this boat on this shore is very important. So if you choose some wrong boat, you will not be able to get to the other shore." But the Hindu mind says that any boat will do; the boat is irrelevant.
Theories are boats. If you are aiming for the other shore rightly, if your eyes are fixed on the other shore, if your mind is meditative on the other shore, any boat will do. And if you do not have any boat, then swim!
Even one individual can cross; there is no need of an organized boat. Swim! And if you know the ways of the wind, then even swimming is not needed. Just float! If you know the ways of the wind, then just wait for the right wind. Then drop yourself and relax, and the wind will take you to the other shore.
No boat has any monopoly. Without boats also one can swim. And if one is wise, then swimming also is futile: that is the last thing which cannot be understood intellectually. Hindus say that if you relax totally, then this shore is the other shore. Then there is no going. If you are relaxed totally and surrendered totally, then this shore is the other shore!
For this Hindu mind, theories, philosophies, systems are just games, devices - helpful, but they can be harmful also if you become too much attached to them. If someone becomes attached to a particular boat, he is not going to cross the river in that boat - because ultimately that boat will become the barrier. Even if the boat leads to the other shore, he cannot go out of the boat.
The clinging to the boat will be the barrier. This attitude about theories and systems as devices is nan-philosophical. Philosophy lives with theories; religion is more practical.
Mulla Nasrudin used to say that practical methods are only religious methods. One day he was working on his roof. Rains were to come and he was working on his roof. One fakir, one beggar from the street, called Mulla Nasrudin; he called him down. It was difficult, but yet Nasrudin came down and he asked, "What is the matter? Why didn't you tell me from here? I could have heard."
The fakir said, "I have come to beg something, some alms, and I was ashamed to call so loudly."
Mulla said, "Do not be in false pride. Now come up with me." The fakir followed him.
The fakir was a fat man. It was difficult to reach the top of the house. When he reached there, Nasrudin started his work again. The fakir said. "And what about me?"
Nasrudin said, "I have nothing to give you; excuse me."
The fakir said, "What nonsense! Why didn't you tell me this there on the street?"
Nasrudin said, "Practical methods are more useful. Now you will know."
Religion is practical, philosophy is non-practical. What do I mean? If you ask me, "Is there God?"
I can take your question in two ways - philosophical or religious. If you ask me, "What is God?" or "Is there a God?" and I take it philosophically, then we need not travel anywhere. You remain as you and you stay where you are. No need of any travel to any point. I will answer you here. I will say whatsoever is my belief. If you argue, I will argue and give you evidence and proofs, but this can be done here. No practical travelling is needed.
If you ask me the question as a religious question, then note the difference. If you say that this is a religious question, then I cannot give you any theory, then I will give you a method. Then I cannot say whether God exists or not; that is useless. Then I will give you a method, and I will tell you to practise this method and then you will know. Then you will have to travel long, and only when you have reached a particular state of consciousness will the answer come to you.
Philosophical inquiry needs no individual transformation. You ask me and I will answer you, here and now. Your change of mind is not needed. If you ask me a religious question, the question may be the same - but if you say it is religious, it means that now a certain change is needed.
A blind man comes and asks, "What is light?" If he is asking a philosophical question, I will propound a theory. It is irrelevant whether he is a blind man or not. Theories can be understood by a blind man also, theories about light. He may not be capable of seeing light, but he can understand a theory about light, that is an intellectual affair. And, really, he may be more capable of understanding a theory than you because he is not bothered by the light at all.
If you talk about light with a man who can see, he has his own experience about light. Your theory may suit his experience or it may not suit it, but he will argue more. However, to a blind man any theory will do. The only criterion will be whether it can be proved logically. If you can prove it as a logical statement, the blind man will believe it. But if a blind man asks it religiously, then something has to be done for his eyesight to be reclaimed: theories won't help. Some operation is needed, some surgery is needed, some method is needed, so that the blind man can see. And unless he sees, there is no light for him.
Now a very difficult thing is to be understood. Here is light, and you close your eyes. Do you think that there is still light when you have closed your eyes? Of course, logically, apparently, obviously, by closing the eyes light is not destroyed: light is there. When I open my eyes light is there; when I close my eyes light is there. With my closing of the eyes, light is not disturbed: this is common sense.
But physics says something else. It says that light is a phenomenon in which your eyes are contributing - that light cannot exist without your eyes. The source of light may exist, but light cannot exist. Light is your interpretation. Something, X-Y-Z, is there, which my eyes interpret as light. If my eyes are closed, there is no one to interpret - light has disappeared.
Take an easier example. We are sitting here. So many colours, so many clothes are here. But colour needs your eyes; otherwise it cannot exist. You see a rainbow in the sky. Close your eyes and the rainbow has disappeared - not simply for you, but it has actually disappeared because a rainbow needs three things in order to be there: drops of water suspended, then sunrays crossing, and then an eye looking at it. These three things are needed for a rainbow to exist. If one element is lacking, then the rainbow disappears.
If there were no men on the earth, there would be no rainbows. If there were no eye on the earth, there would be no colour. Why am I saying this? For a blind man, no light exists. For a spiritually blind man, there is no God. The source is there, but the source is not God. God is the interpretation when the source is experienced. The source is there; you are here, blind. Thus, there is no God.
When the source and your eyes meet, the phenomenon is God, the meeting is God.
Religion is a practical science for how to open your eyes - or, for how to make your non-functioning eyes function; or how to make your eyes adjusted to the angle from where you can feel the Divine.
This is not theoretical, and freedom is the end because the bondage is suffering. If you penetrate your own mind, you can understand this. Who is interested in Truth? You are interested in your suffering. Who is interested in Truth? You are interested in your pains, in your suffering, in your bondage. So, naturally, you are ultimately interested in your own bliss, in your freedom, not in Truth.
Truth can become meaningful only if it is felt that without Truth you cannot be free. But then Truth has instrumental values as a means: this is the difference. And there is no contradiction. I say Truth liberates, but it is Truth because it liberates. Liberation should be the end; then you can use even Truth.
Truth should not be the end, otherwise you will be misguided. Then you will begin to approach the Existence through intellect. And each step leads into another and each step creates a chain. A slight difference in your question, a very slight change, and your whole path will be different. Very delicate is the path!
Someone comes to Buddha and says, "Is there life beyond death?"
Buddha asks him, "Are you really interested?"
The man says, "Of course." but he becomes uneasy. He was curious, not really interested. He wanted to know just as a curiosity whether life exists beyond death, whether life survives death.
Buddha asks him, "Are you really interested?"
And his eyes must have penetrated the poor man, so the man became uneasy and said, "Of course."
Then Buddha said, "You think twice. If you are really interested, then I can show you the way to die, and then note whether life survives or not. Who can die for you and who can know for you?
You will have to pass through it. Even if I say that life survives, how are you going to believe it?
Then someone else will say no, so how will you decide? But if it is just a curiosity, then go to some theoretician. Go to some philosopher. I am not a philosopher!"
Buddha used to say, "I am a vaidya - a physician - so if you are really ill, come to me. I do not have theories, but I have the method to treat you. I am a physician."
Religion is medicine; philosophy is theory.
When meditating, working on yourself, if you wonder whether you are making any progress or not, know well that you are not making any progress - because when progress is made you know it.
Why? It is just like when you are ill and you are taking medicine. Won't you be able to feel whether you are getting healthy or not? If you do not feel it and the question arises whether you are getting well or not, know well that you are not getting well. Well-being is such a clear feeling that when you have it you know it.
But why does this question arise? This question arises for so many reasons. One, you are not really working. You are just deceiving yourself. You are playing tricks with yourself. Then you are less concerned with what you are doing and more concerned with what is happening. If you are really doing it, you can leave the result to the Divine. But our minds are such that we are less concerned with the cause and more concerned with the effect - because of greed.
Greed wants to have everything without doing anything. So the greedy mind goes on moving ahead. Then the greedy mind asks, "What is happening? Is something happening or not?" Be really concerned with what you are doing, and when something happens you will know it. It is going to happen to YOU. You need not ask anyone.
Another reason for asking this question is that we think that there are going to be some signs, some symbols, some milestones we can reach that show: "I have progressed so much," that "to this plane or to that plane I have reached so much." We want to calculate before the ultimate goal is reached.
We want to be confident that we are progressing.
But, really, there are no milestones - because there is no fixed road. And everyone is on a different road; we are not on one road. Even if you are following one technique of meditation, you are not on the same road; you cannot be. There is no public path. Every path is individual and personal. So no one's experiences on the path will be helpful to you; rather, they may be damaging.
Someone may be seeing something on his path. If he says to you that this is the sign of progress, you may not meet the same sign on your path. The same trees may not be on your path; the same stones may not be on your path. So do not be a victim of all this nonsense. Only certain inner feelings are relevant. For example, if you are progressing, then certain things will begin to happen spontaneously. One, you will feel more and more contentment.
Really, when meditation is completely fulfilled, one becomes so contented that he forgets to meditate - because meditation is an effort, a discontent. If one day you forget to meditate and you do not feel any addiction, you do not feel any gap, you are as filled as ever, then know it is a good sign. There are many who will do meditation, and then if they are not doing it a strange phenomenon happens to them. If they do it, they do not feel anything. If they do not do it, then they feel the gap. If they do it, nothing happens to them. If they do not do it, then they feel that something is missing.
This is just a habit. Like smoking, like drinking, like anything, this is just a habit. Do not make meditation a habit. Let it be alive! Then discontent will disappear by and by; you will feel contentment. And not only while you are meditating. If something happens only while you are meditating, it is false! It is hypnotic! It does some good, but it is not going to be very deep. It is good only in comparison. If there is nothing happening, no meditation, no blissful moment, do not worry about it. If something is happening, do not cling to it. If meditation is going rightly, deep, you will feel transformed throughout the whole day. A subtle contentment will be present every moment. With whatsoever you are doing, you will feel a cool center inside - contentment.
Of course, there will be results. Anger wi!l be less and less possible. It will go on disappearing.
Why? Because anger shows a non-meditative mind - a mind that is not at ease with itself. That is why you get angry with others., Basically, you are angry with yourself. Because you are angry with yourself, you go on getting angry with others.
Have you observed that you get angry only with those people who are very intimate with you? The more the intimacy, the more the anger. Why? The greater the gap between you and the person. the less the anger that will be there. You do not get angry with a stranger. You get angry with your wife, with your husband, with your son, with your daughter, with your mother. Why? Why do you get more angry with the persons who are more intimate with you?
The reason is this: you are angry with yourself. The more intimate a person is with you, the more he has become identified with you. You are angry with yourself, so whenever someone is near to you.
you can throw your anger upon him. Hc has become part of you. With meditation you will be more and more happy with yourself - remember, with yourself.
It is a miracle when someone becomes happier with himself. For us, either we are happy with someone or angry with someone. When one becomes happier with oneself, this is really falling in love with oneself. And when you are in love with yourself, it is difficult to be angry. The whole thing becomes absurd. Less and less anger will be there, more and more love, and more compassion.
These will be signs - the general signs.
So do not think you are achieving much if you are beginning to see light or if you go on seeing beautiful colours. They are good, but do not feel satisfied unless real psychological changes are there: less anger, more love; less cruelty, more compassion.
Unless this happens, your seeing lights and colours and hearing sounds are child's play. They are beautiful, very beautiful; it is good to play with them - but that is not the aim of meditation. They happen on the road, they are just by-products, but do not be concerned.
Many people will come to me and they will say, "Now I am seeing a blue light, so what does this sign mean? How much have I progressed?" A blue light will not do because your anger is giving a red light. Basic psychological changes are meaningful, so do not go for toys. These are toys, spiritual toys, but you can become a paramahans if you see a blue light!
These things are not the ends. In a relationship, observe what is happening. How are you behaving toward your wife now? Observe it. Is there any change? That change is meaningful. How are you behaving with your servant? Is there any change? That change is significant. And if there is no change, then throw your blue light. It is of no help. You are deceiving and you can go on deceiving.
These are easily achieved tricks.
That is why a so-called religious man begins to feel himself religious: because now he is seeing this and that, but he remains the same. He even becomes worse! Your progress must be observed in your relationships. Relationship is the mirror: see your face there. Always remember that relationship is the mirror. If your meditation is going deep, your relationships will become different - totally different! Love will be the basic note of your relationships, not violence. As it is, violence is the basic note. Even if you look at someone, you look in a violent way. But you are accustomed to it.
Meditation for me is not a child's play. It is a deep transformation. How to know this transformation?
It is being reflected every moment in your relationships. Do you try to possess someone? Then you are violent. How can one possess anyone? Are you trying to dominate someone? Then you are violent. How can one dominate anyone? Love cannot dominate, love cannot possess.
So whatsoever you are doing, be aware, observe it, and then go on meditating. Soon you will begin to feel the change. Now there is no possessiveness in relationships. By and by, possessiveness disappears, and when possessiveness is not there relationship has a beauty of its own. When possessiveness is there, everything becomes dirty, ugly, inhuman. But we are such deceivers that we will not look at ourselves in relationships - because there the real face can be seen. So we close our eyes to our relationships and we go on thinking that something is going to be seen inside.
You cannot see anything inside. First you will feel your inner transformation in your outer relationships, and then you will go deep. Then only will you begin to feel something inner. But we have a settled attitude about ourselves. We do not want to look into our relationships at all because then the naked face comes up.
Mulla Nasrudin's marriage was arranged by his father. It was an arranged marriage, so Mulla had not seen the face of his would-be wife. Then on the wedding day, when the ceremony was over, the wife unveiled her face. She was terribly ugly, and while Mulla was just stunned by the shock she asked, "Now tell me, my love, your commands." That is a Mohammedan system. The first thing the wife asks is, "Tell me your commands, my love. To whom do I have to remain veiled? To whom am I allowed to show my face?"
Mulla Nasrudin said - rather, groaned - "You can show your face to anyone you like, as long as you do not show it to me! This is a contract."
We are also in a contract with ourselves. We go on showing our faces to everyone, but never to ourselves. That is a deep contract we have with ourselves - not to feel one's face. And the way to remain veiled is not to look into your relationships, because relationship is the only mirror. So probe, penetrate into your relationships, and look there to see whether your meditation is progressing or not.
If you feel a growing love, unconditional love, if you feel a compassion without cause, if you feel a deep concern for everyone's welfare, well-being, your meditation is growing. Then forget all other things. With this observation you will also observe many things in yourself. You will be more silent, less noise within. When there is need you will talk, when there is no need you will be silent. As the case is now, you cannot be silent within. You will feel more at ease, relaxed. Whatsoever you are doing, it will be a relaxed effort; there will be no strain. You will become less and less ambitious.
Ultimately, there will be no ambition. Even the ambition to reach moksha will not be there. When you feel that even the desire to reach moksha has disappeared, you have reached moksha. Now you are free, because desire is the bondage. Even the desire for liberation is a bondage. Even the desire to be desireless is a bondage.
Whenever the desire for anything disappears, you move into the unknown. The meditation has reached to its end. Then sansar is moksha. Then this very world is liberation. Then this shore is the other shore. But do not go for childish signs. Do not go! They are easy to create. If you think, if you imagine, you can create them.
I do not mean that every feeling of those signs is imagination, but if you think in those terms you can imagine them. If you think that a blue light will happen at a particular stage, you can create it without reaching to that stage. This is very easy; to reach to that stage is very difficult. To create this blue light is very easy. Close your eyes, concentrate on it, and within a few days you will begin to feel it. Then your ego will be strengthened. Now you are "on a spiritual path". Think of kundalini, and you will begin to feel it in your spine. That is imagination. It is easy, not difficult. But then you are misleading yourself.
I do not say that every experience of that type is imagination, but if you are concerned, it is going to be imagination. Forget it completely. Be concerned with meditation, with your changing relationships, with your silence, with your contentment, with your love. Be concerned with these, and suddenly sometimes, there will be an upsurge of energy into your spine. But do not be concerned with it. Note it down and forget it. Suddenly, you will see a particular light: note it and forget.
Suddenly a particular chakra will begin to revolve: note it and forget it. Do not be concerned with it. Your concern is harmful. Remain concerned with contentment, peace, silence, love, compassion, meditation.
These things will go on happening. Then they are real. When you are not concerned and they happen, then they are real. And they show many things, but you need not know what they show because when they happen you know what they are showing. Because the human mind is stupid, if I tell you what they show you will be less concerned with love, silence and compassion. These are very difficult things. It is easy to create a blue light and it is very easy to feel a snake rising in your spine. It is very easy; there is nothing difficult about it.
So, remember, there are two types of inner experience. One type is created by your imagination, another is of happenings. But for happenings, you are not needed; for imagination you are. Do not play with imagination. It is a dangerous game. One can imagine anything, you can imagine anything, but that is not going to help you in any way. And the mind is such that it always tries to find some false substitute, because false substitutes are cheap.
If you have to grow a real rose in your garden, it takes time. It demands patience, effort, and then too nothing is certain. The rose may come, it may not come. It is easy to buy a rose, but then it is not yours. rt looks just as if it has come up in your garden, but it has not come up. When you purchase a rose-flower, it has no roots in you: it is just in your hand. It has not been a part of your being. You have never waited for it; you were not patient for it. It is not a child - not your child. You have purchased it. It is there, but like a foreign element in you, not an inner growth.
But there are even more cunning people. They will not purchase a real flower. They will purchase a paper flower, a plastic flower, because it is more permanent. A real flower will fade away. By the evening it will be no more - "So purchase a plastic flower! It is economical, less troublesome, permanent!" But then you are deceiving. Real growth needs time, patience, work. Imaginative growth is imitation. Remember this distinction always.
One thing more: whatsoever you are doing, do not think that results will be coming in the future. If you are doing something real, results are here and now. In inner work, if you have meditated today, results are not going to be tomorrow. If you have meditated today. the perfume of it, howsoever little, will be there. If you are sensitive you can feel it. Whenever something real is done, it affects you here and now.
So do not think that something will happen in the future. If whatsoever you are doing is not changing you now, it is not going to change you at all. Time will not help. Time alone will not help. Time will deepen it, but time alone will not help.
But you may not be sensitive. Whatsoever you are doing, you may not be sensitive. We have become insensitive because in insensitivity there is a certain security. If you do not feel much, you suffer less. The person who feels much suffers much. Because of this, we have tried to make ourselves insensitive. So when something happens so intensely that it is impossible to avoid it, then only do we become aware. Other vise we go dead, asleep. We move on. That insensitivity will create problems. Then when you meditate, you will not be sensitive to what is happening to you.
So be more sensitive. And you cannot be sensitive in one dimension. Either one is sensitive in all dimensions or one is not sensitive in any. Sensitivity belongs to your total being. So be more sensitive; then every day you will be able to feel what is happening.
For example, you are walking under the sun., Feel the rays on your face; be sensitive. A subtle touch is there. They are hitting you. If you can feel them, then you will also feel the inner light when it hits you; otherwise you will not be able to.
When you are Lying in a park, feel the grass. Feel the greenness that surrounds you, feel the difference of moisture, feel the odour that comes from the earth. If you cannot feel it, you will not be able to feel when inner things begin to happen. Then you will go on asking whether you are progressing or not.
Start from the outer, because that is easier. And if you cannot Feel the outer, you cannot feel the inner. Be more poetic and less businesslike in life. And sometimes it costs nothing to be sensitive.
You are taking your bath: have you felt the water? You simply take it as a business routine, and then you are out. Feel it for a few minutes. Just be under the shower and feel the water: feel it flowing on you. It can become a deep experience, because water is life. You are ninety percent water. And if you cannot feel water falling on you, you will not be able to feel the inner tides of your own water.
Life was born in the sea and you have some water within your body with a certain quantity of salt.
Go on swimming in the sea and feel the water outside. Soon you will know that you are part of the sea and that the inner part belongs to the sea. Then you can feel that also. And when the moon is there and the ocean is waving in response to it, your body will also wave in response. It waves, but you cannot feel it. So if you cannot feel such gross things, it will be difficult for you to feel such subtle things as meditation.
How can you feel love? Everyone is suffering. I have seen thousands and thousands of people deeply in pain. The suffering is for love. They want to love and they want to be loved, but the problem is that if you ever love them they cannot feel it. They will go on asking, "Do you love me?"
So what to do? If you say yes, they won't believe it because they cannot feel it. If you say no, they feel hurt.
If you cannot feel sunrays, if you cannot feel rains, if you cannot feel grass, if you cannot feel anything that surrounds you - the atmosphere, then you cannot feel deeper things such as love or compassion; it is very difficult. You can feel only anger, violence, sadness, because they are so crude. Subtle is the path that goes inward - and the more subtle your meditation goes, the more subtle will be the feelings. But then you have to be ready.
So meditation is not just a certain thing which you do for one hour and forget. Really, the whole life has to be meditative. Only then will you begin to feel things. And when I say that the whole life is to be meditative, I do not mean to go and close your eyes for twenty-four hours and sit and meditate - no! Wherever you are you can be sensitive and that sensitivity will pay. Then there will be no need to ask, "Am I progressing or not?"
You are like a blind man. You cannot feel the path because you have never felt anything. And the way we are taught, educated, cultivated, is for insensitivity. A child is weeping; the whole house is against him: "Do not weep! Guests are coming." Guests are very important, and the child weeping is not at all important. Now you are crushing him for his whole life.
He will stop his weeping, but to-stop weeping is a serious affair. It will change the whole metabolism of his body. To stop weeping he will have to be tense; he cannot be relaxed. He has to push something under which is coming up. He will have to change his breathing. Really, he will stop his breathing - because if the breathing moves easily, weeping will move with it. He will pull in his stomach; everything will be disturbed in his body. Then he will not weep, but he cannot laugh either.
Then you are crippling him for his whole life.
Everyone is crippled and paralyzed. We live in a paralyzed world. Now there will be continuous suppression. He cannot laugh, he cannot weep, he cannot dance, he cannot jump. Whatsoever his body feels to do, he cannot do. Whenever the body feels to have something, it cannot have it. And then, when you allow him to play, it is not spontaneous. Even his play becomes fake. You say, "Now you can play." He was not allowed to play when his whole being was ready to play, and now you tell him to play. But now he tries to play, and it is a work.
Ultimately we create a human being who is more or less an automaton. Can you weep? Can you laugh spontaneously? Can you dance spontaneously? Can you love spontaneously? If you cannot, how can you meditate? Can you play? It is difficult!
Everything has become difficult. Man has become insensitive. Bring your sensitivity back again.
Reclaim it! Play a little! To be playful is to be religious. Laugh, weep, sing, do something spontaneously with your full heart. Relax your body, relax your breathing, and move as if you are a child again. Then when you meditate, you will not ask, "What is happening to me? Am I progressing or not, or am I moving in a circle?" You will know.
I understand your difficulty. You cannot feel it now because you have lost feeling. Regain feeling - less thought, more feeling. Live more by heart, less by head. Sometimes, live totally in the body; forget about soul, Self, ATMAN. Live totally in the body - because if you cannot even feel your body, you are not going to feel your soul. Remember this. Come back into the body. We are really hanging around the body; we are not in the body. Everyone is afraid to be in the body. Society has created the fear; it is deep-rooted. Go back into your body; move again; be like an innocent animal.
Look at animals jumping, running. Sometimes run and jump like them, then you will come back to your body. Then you will be able to feel your body, the rays of the sun, the rains, and the wind blowing. Only with this capacity of being aware of all things happening around you will you develop the capacity to feel what is happening within.
There exists no such entity as the common man. Everyone is uncommon. You may know it, you may not know it, but no one is common. One thing.
The second thing: Meera, Narsi Mehta and Chaitanya have not attained their goal easily. That concept is absolutely false. Rather, on the contrary, Meera has travelled a more arduous path. That is why you can name thousands of yogis, but you cannot name thousands of Meeras. If you go on counting bhaktas of the calibre of Meera, the fingers of your two hands will be more than enough.
Then count yogis: they are innumerable. Why? If the path of yoga is arduous and the path of bhakti - of love and devotion - is simple and easy, why this disparity? Because it is not easy. But do I mean that the path of bhakti is more arduous than yoga? No - it depends! It depends on you.
If your mind is of a certain type, then a particular path will be easy for you. If you are a devotional man or woman, then bhakti will be easy for you and yoga difficult. But it depends on you. the paths are not to be compared. If I happen to be a non-devotional man, then yoga will be easy for me and bhakti arduous. So it depends on the seeker, not on the path. No path is easier, no path is harder.
But then why have there been more yogis and less bhaktas? There are many reasons. Firstly. this fallacious idea that the path of devotion is easy has created much trouble. So those who are not for the path of devotion go on it. But then they cannot become like Meera or Chaitanya; it is not for them. It is not for them! They have not chosen according to themselves. They have chosen according to the fallacious concept that is prevalent.
Really, those who choose the path of bhakti, they do not really choose it to travel it. They think that through it there is nothing to be done and you gain everything. The path of bhakti is believed to be such that you need not do anything and you attain everything - that just bhakti is enough. They say that not even bhakti, but just naarn smaran - remembering of the name - will do. And particularly for the Kaliyuga!
Really, those who do not want to do anything, they choose bhakti, and bhakti is not a promise that you will attain everything without doing anything. Bhakti demands your totality. It is not just naam smaran - you have to surrender yourself totally, but total surrender is arduous. This false belief has created so many so-called devotional people, but they are deceiving themselves.
Secondly, this concept that the path of yoga is arduous also creates problems, because those who are egoists are attracted to it. Ego needs something arduous to do. If something is simple, it is not appealing to the ego.
If there is an Everest, a Gourishankar, then it appeals to the ego. If I reach, then I can say, "Only I have reached. It is so arduous! No one else has reached." If it is just a small hill and any child can reach it, it is not appealing to the ego. So because of this concept that the path of yoga is durgam - very arduous, difficult, impossible - egoists are attracted toward it. And ego is a barrier!
Those who do not want to do anything, they are attracted to bhakti, and bhakti involves much doing:
it is not non-doing. Those who are egoists become attracted to yoga, but they are attracted because of the ego. They become more and more egoistic. If you want to see a perfect egoist, then you do not have to go anywhere else. Go to the so-called yogi; then you will know a perfect egoist. He is doing "the most arduous thing in the world"!
Both concepts are wrong. Choose according to you yourself; be aware of yourself first. Really, if you are aware of yourself you need not choose. You will begin to move on the path that is for you.
Just be aware of yourself. Feel yourself more and more; meditate and feel yourself more and more.
Then do not bother about any choice.
Meera has never chosen. It has happened! Nor has Mahavir chosen. It has happened! If you know yourself, if you feel yourself and you meditate, by and by, you will move in the direction which is for you. You will move toward your destiny. If you choose, you will disturb things - because your choice is, after all, your choice. How can you choose your destiny? You can only allow it to happen; you cannot choose it.
If you choose, then you fall into a deep fallacy. You are bound to choose wrongly. You are wrong, so you are bound to choose wrongly! Then much endeavour will be wasted, and you will go on rationalizing, "Why am I doing so much, and such and such is not happening? If it is not happening, then there must be some reasons! My past karmas are creating a barrier. Or, I have to make a much greater effort. Or, I need much more time. Or, I started late, so in the next life I will start early."
One anecdote about Mulla Nasrudin, and we will finish: Mulla Nasrudin bought a donkey. The owner of the donkey told Nasrudin to give it a certain amount of food daily. Mulla thought that this was too much, so he said, "Okay! By and by, I will reduce the food of the donkey and make him accustomed to a smaller ration." So he reduced it.
By and by, daily, the food was reduced, the ration was reduced. Finally, the ration was almost nothing - ALMOST NOTHING! Then the donkey fell down and died. So Mulla said, "It is a pity. If I had had a little time more, if this donkey had not died so easily, I would have made him accustomed to no diet at all. The experiment was just about to be completed, and it is a pity that the donkey has died."
Man goes on rationalizing. Rationalizations will not help. Do not try to choose. Rather, allow! Feel your swabhav - your nature - your Tao; feel your intrinsic possibilities. Be sensitive, meditate, and do not try to choose. By and by, you will move in a particular direction. That movement will come to you; it will not be a chosen effort. It will happen to you, it will grow in you, and you will begin to move.