The music of opposing notes
CHAPTER 2: SUTRA 2
SO IT IS THAT EXISTENCE AND NON-EXISTENCE GIVE BIRTH THE ONE TO THE IDEA OF THE OTHER; THAT DIFFICULTY AND EASE PRODUCE THE ONE THE IDEA OF THE OTHER; THAT LENGTH AND SHORTNESS FASHION OUT THE ONE THE FIGURE OF THE OTHER; THAT THE IDEA OF HEIGHT AND LOWNESS ARISE FROM THE CONTRAST OF THE ONE WITH THE OTHER; THAT THE MUSICAL NOTES AND TONES BECOME HARMONIOUS THROUGH THE RELATIONSHIP OF ONE WITH ANOTHER; AND THAT BEING BEFORE AND BEHIND GIVE THE IDEA OF ONE FOLLOWING ANOTHER.
That which is opposing, that which is contrary, is also allied. The enemy is also the friend, the relative.
Lao Tzu does not see the opposing as the hostile; he does not consider the far away to be far away; and he does not understand the contrary to be the opposite. Lao Tzu maintains: "All distant things are measured by their proximities. All proximities are the diminutive forms of the distant things." If you want to draw a white line, you need a black background. Therefore, he who says white is the opposite of black, is mistaken. We have to make use of black in order to bring out the white in all its distinction. He who says the morning destroys the night, is mistaken. The truth is, the morn is born out of the night. Things which we see as contrasting and opposite, Lao Tzu sees as united joined.
It is a complete gestalt; his manner of seeing things, is absolutely contrary to ours.
Where we see tension in between things, Lao Tzu sees an attraction; where we see clearly that someone is trying to destroy us, Lao Tzu says, it is impossible for us to exist without them. He illustrates his points with many examples.
He says, "If there are not two, there is no place for one." This is an arithmetical example.
Mathematicians admit that if we want to preserve the number 1, we will have to preserve all the following numbers. If we wipe out all numbers from 2 onwards, there will be no meaning left to 1.
Whatever is in 1, is all due to 2. Think for a moment: If we had only the figure of 1, what will it means? Nothing. It will be meaningless. Its meaning construes from its expansions into 2, 3, 4.....9.
If we remove all figures after 1, 1 becomes meaningless.
Lao Tzu says: "One is not apart from Two. It is a part of Two." He says, if we remove the heights, what will become of the depths? If we remove the mountains, will the valleys remain? How? And yet the valleys look just the opposite of the mountain-tops. The peaks of the mountains seem to touch the skies whereas the valleys plunge deep into the netherlands. But Lao Tzu says, "The valleys are formed near and only because of the mountains." In fact, the valley is the other part of the peak of the mountains - its other dimension. Destroy the one and you destroy the other. If we destroy the peaks, the valleys are destroyed. But we always see them as opposites of each other.
Lao Tzu says, "The valleys are the support of the peaks. The peaks are creators of the valleys, "Both these are connected - one - and there is no way of separating them. And Lao Tzu says: "How can we call that opposing which we cannot tear apart?"
How can we call that contrasting, which we cannot separate?
A life-long enemy of Napoleon died. Napoleon's eyes were filled with tears. His friend told him, "You should be happy to be rid of a life-long enemy!" Napoleon said, "I do not understand myself. Today seeing him dead, he whom I had no hope of ever befriending, I feel a part of me is lost. I shall now no longer be what I was during his life-time." This feeling of Napolean makes Lao Tzu's theory absolutely clear.
Napoleon says, "Something died within me at the death of my enemy; something that could only be when he was alive. I am now the poorer to that extent. There was something in me which was entirely due to him. Today, he no longer is and within me also, it is not the same." This means that even enemies have a hand in making your personality and not your friends alone. Without enemies you will be less, you will be empty.
Lao Tzu says there are no opposing forces on this earth. They only appear so. Illness is not the opposite of health. If we ask the medical science, it too will say that illness is part of health. It is necessary to be healthy in order to be ill. Without being healthy, we cannot be ill. It is therefore that a dead man does not fall ill. Hence, it invariably happens, that after a certain age, death also becomes difficult. When a man does not have enough well-being even to die, it becomes very difficult. After the age of 80-90, death too. comes crawling.
Lukman has said that if a man has never fallen ill, he dies in his first illness. He is so alive that the first illness kills him. A man who falls ill many times, does not die easily. In order to die instantaneously, a living well-being is required.
This sounds contradictory. We see illness as against health. But if we observe from within, we shall find that illness is a means of protection for good health. The tough endeavour the body makes to preserve your health, is the illness itself. A man gets fever; this only means that the body has heated up in its effort to preserve your health. It is putting up a fight for your well-being, so much so, that it is tired. In existence, illness and good-health, are two parts of the same thing.
All contradictions and all oppositions are no contradictions according to Lao Tzu. If a man wishes never to be insulted, he must remember he will never be respected either. He who expects to be honoured, should be ready for insults. And only he is revered who has passed through many indignities. So also Lao Tzu says, "He who does not wish to be insulted should also not aspire for honours. Then only can he not be insulted."
Lao Tzu has said: "I always sat there, from where no one could displace me. I sat in the very last seat, where people placed their sandals. I sat where there was no further lower place I could be pushed into." "No one ever insulted me, says Lao Tzu, "For I never craved for honour." Desire honour and indignity comes. If there is not the readiness for insult, there is no means for honour and esteem. He who dreams of rising up is sure to fall. He who is afraid to fall should not venture to climb up and he who has the courage to fall, may endeavour to climb up. What Lao Tzu means to say is, that it is wrong to try to escape the opposite and it is in our effort to do so that we find ourselves in trouble. Either forsake them both or be prepared for both.
Existence is one. The existence we know and which is in the world of our mind is dual. Everything there is arranged thus - among the opposites; like an architect making an arc. In fact the word architect means one who makes arcs. The art behind the making of an are comprises in the inverse arrangement of bricks. Half bricks are placed in inverted arrangement along the are and this is why the arch can bear any weight above. The reverse placing of the bricks causes them to press against each other. They are always at war with each other and this generates power. This power upholds the whole building. One might think, if the reverse position of bricks creates so much force. what if we placed all the bricks in one position? The are will never be made. It is the reverse arrangement that generates a force capable of upholding the whole structure.
The door of life, the support of life is entirely based on the law of the opposites, whenever there is one thing, the opposite is ready immediately to hold it. Whether it be man or woman, the positive pole or the negative, whether the sky or the earth, whether fire or water, all around us, existence stands supported by the pairs of opposites. The opposites help each other. The bricks that are placed in opposite directions are not enemies but friends and their very contrariness forms the basis.
So Lao Tzu gives examples and says, "SO IT IS THAT EXISTENCE AND NON-EXISTENCE GIVE BIRTH THE ONE TO THE IDEA OF THE OTHER." Existence gives the idea of non-existence. Non- existence gives the idea of existence. In other words, life gives the idea of death, death gives the idea of life. We cannot think what existence would be like without non-existence. We cannot think what life would be like if there were no death. If there is life there is bound to be death. There is no way for life to exist without death. Why does Lao Tzu say this?
He says this so that once this comes within your understanding, your mind will be filled with the feeling of acceptance. Then you no longer will be afraid of death. Then you will know it to be a necessary part of life. Then you will have the ability to accept and welcome death also. Then you will understand that when we desire life, we automatically desire death. If I take a step towards life, I invariably walk towards death. Then you will know that to accept life alone, is foolish. Life can only be together with death. Life and death cannot be chosen separately, they go together. If I desire life I must desire death also. If I do not desire death, I cannot desire life. Then in both these conditions, an uncommon knowledge is born.
If a man gives up the desire both for life and death, he attains the state of non-attachment. Or if he embraces life and death together and makes no distinction between them, then too, he reaches the state of supreme non-attachment. The pair should be accepted completely or not accepted at all, then only can you slip out of the pairs of opposites.
Generally what we do is, we try to save one against the other. The mind says, "Life is worth saving, death deserves to be shunned. Love should he upheld and hate should be discarded; the friend should be protected, the enemy destroyed." The mind says, "Honour is welcome, indignity is not; health should be there but not illness; youth should come but not old age." The mind craves for happiness and runs away from unhappiness. When the mind thus chooses one against the other, life becomes a distress, an anxiety and an useless tension. To choose one and leave the other, is the cause of all grief and sorrow. Accept both or reject both. Then alone the state of absolute bliss and supreme contentment is born.
Lao Tzu wants to show that whether you deny or whether you accept, the pairs cannot be broken apart. They are united. To call them united is an expression of language. Actually, they are one.
They are the two ends of the same thing. It is just as if a man would say, "I shall breathe in but I shall not breathe out." This man will surely die for the in-going breath is also the out-going breath. Either both should remain or both should not. There is no way of keeping one and dropping the other. All Lao Tzu's illustrations are to explain this point.
He says that EXISTENCE AND NON-EXISTENCE BOTH JOIN AND GIVE BIRTH TO THE IDEA OF ONE ANOTHER. They are comrades, friends and not enemies. They are not against each other, they complement each other. Complex and simple create the idea of each other. If a man desires to be simple, as sadhus invariably do, they become more difficult, more complex. This is bound to happen. It is possible that in trying to be simple, he may keep only one pair of clothes, eat once in the day, sleep under a tree. All this he can do but he will still not be simple. So much effort and arrangement is required for the purpose, so much method and discipline are necessary, so much practice is necessary to sleep under a tree that all this will make the mind very complex and difficult.
The meaning of simplicity is, that a man should sleep even in a palace as if he were sleeping under a tree. We can easily visualize one type of difficulty. If a King who is used to all luxuries in life is made to put on a loin-cloth and sleep under a tree, we can very well understand his difficulty. But have you ever thought of the difficulty that a man, who is always clad in a loin-cloth and who always sleeps under a tree, would experience if he is suddenly loaded with the luxuries of a palace? His difficulty would be as great - perhaps greater. It requires no special discipline to live in a palace but it definitely requires great discipline to sleep under a tree. No arrangements or methods are required to wear beautiful clothes but great sadhana and effort is required before a person can discard clothes. So if we suddenly clothe the unclad, he will be very much troubled. He will experience a great deal of difficulty within himself.
Diogenes was a fakir. He once went to visit Socrates. Socrates was a very simple person - a simple person who had not cultivated simplicity. He who cultivates simplicity, becomes complex. Socrates had not cultivated simplicity, he had never favoured any form of simplicity against non-simplicity.
Diogenes was a complex person for he had cultivated simplicity. He used to go about naked. If anybody offered him new clothes, he would dirty them, tear them into rags and then wear them. He practised simplicity.
When he saw Socrates he said: "I wonder how you call yourself a good man, a simple man, when you are clad in such finery?" Socrates laughed. "It is quite possible that I am not simple." he said, "It is quite possible what you say is correct." Diogenes did not understand, how this could be the trait of a person who is simple. "So you agree?" He asked Socrates, "In fact that is what I have been telling people, that you are not a simple man. So you confirm what I said?" Socrates replied, "Since you say so, I see no reason to deny, I must be complex." Diogenes laughed out loud and left.
As he was going down the steps, he met Socrates' disciple, Plato, "Listen!" he called out to him "Your Guru has admitted before people in so many words, that he is not simple!" Plato eyed him from top to bottom and said, "Do not ever go naked far from within the holes of your clothes, I can see nothing but ego oozing out." He further said, "Little do you know that this is the indication of a man of simplicity, that he accepts what anyone has to give him! Your simplicity, that you declare from house-tops is very intricate, very un-simple." A cultured simplicity becomes intricate, whereas an uncultivated complexity does also become simplicity. The real question is not a choice between the opposites. It is intriguing how as soon as one is chosen, the opposite appears at once. If we cultivate non-violence, the element of violence will at once present itself within us. Therefore, he who practises non-violence, becomes violent in a very subtle manner. He who practises celibacy (BRAHMCHARYA) becomes sexual deep within himself. Without the opposite, we cannot cultivate anything, for in order to cultivate we have to fight the opposite.
Another intriguing fact is, that we become just like that which we fight against. It is possible that you may not be influenced by your friends but it is impossible not to be influenced by your enemies. The impression of the enemy is bound to be. If a person decides to be an enemy of violence deep within him he is bound to remain violent no matter how much of non-violence he cultivates. If someone decides to become ego-less, to wipe off his ego, his state will be like that of Diogenes. His ego will peep out from every tear in his garment.
Lao Tzu says "Simplicity and complexity give birth to the supposition of each other." If you come to know that you are simple, then know for certain you have become complex. If you feel you have become non-violent, know that your violence has become strong and robust. If you feel you have attained celibacy, know that you have fallen into the abyss of sexuality. If you declare you have attained God, know that you have missed Him. All our declarations are for the opposite always. And you cannot escape the opposites. Therefore simplicity is undeclared. He who is simple, is not aware of his simplicity.
Understand it this way: When you are healthy and well, you are not at all aware of health. Only an invalid is aware of health. This seems contradictory but all the same true. When you are absolutely well, you have no knowledge of health. When illness knocks at your door, you become conscious of health. Only the invalids are conscious of their bodies. Therefore in the Ayurveda, the indication af a healthy person is the feeling of Godlessness. He is called healthy, who is not aware of his body.
If he is aware of the body, then he is ill. In fact, as soon as you became conscious of some part of your body, that part is ill. If you become aware of the stomach, you have an upset stomach. If you become aware of the head, your head is ill. Have you ever been aware of the head without a headache? If you are aware in the slightest bit. the illness is present in that proportion. Health is a natural state. It is not aware of anything.
When a person really becomes simple, he is not aware of the fact that he has become simple. He becomes so simple that if anyone comes and tells him he appears a complex person, he readily agrees. He attains God and is merged so much in Him, that if anyone tells him that he knows nothing, he readily agrees. He becomes so non-violent that he is not conscious of his non-violence, for this thought can come to a violent person only.
In the same manner the bulk and the miniature create the shape of each other. The bulk looks big and the miniature small. The universe seems gigantic and the atom, a miniature; but it is the conjunction of atoms that forms the Universe. Remove the atoms and the Universe is nowhere.
Remove the drop and the Ocean will be no more, though the Ocean does not know that it is the drop from which it is born. The ocean is nothing but a collection of drops; and if each drop goes to form the ocean, the drop also is a miniature ocean. The drop can be described in no other way. So it will not be wrong if we say that the drop is a small ocean and the ocean is a big drop and this is very near the truth.
That which we call the Extension, that which we call the Enormous, that which we call the Universe are all atoms. So that which we call the Universe is nothing but an atom, and that which we call an atom, is also the Universe.
"There is no difference between the body and the Universe," so say the Rishis of the Upanishads.
"There is no difference between the big and the small; everything and nothing is one and the same."
Lao Tzu says, "All the differences we behold are nothing more than illusion."
If we question a scientist, he will agree with Lao Tzu.
You will be surprised to know that many young Western Scientists are now very interested in Lao Tzu. They are debating the possibility of a new science being evolved on the basis of Lao Tzu's teachings. A very important thinker and mathematician has written a book called. "Tao and Science."
Can an entirely new kind of science be evolved from the Teachings of Lao Tzu?
It will because the science of the West up-to-date, has evolved on the Greek ideology that accepts the corresponding idea. All Western Science is Aristotle-oriented. It stands on the doctrines of Aristotle. There is no greater an opponent to Aristotle than Lao Tzu. The Eastern Ideology is that of Lao Tzu whereas, the Western Ideology is that of Aristotle.
If we understand the differences between them, we shall be able to comprehend better.
Aristotle says, "Darkness is darkness; light is light. Both are different and apart. There is no meeting- point between the two." And he says, "The evident requires no proof." Light a lamp and the darkness vanishes. Put off the lamp and there is nothing but darkness. Therefore, it follows, that darkness comes in the absence of light and light comes in the absence of darkness. So Aristotle maintains that light is light and darkness is darkness and the two never meet anywhere. The topic of his ideology is based on this: A is A, B is B and A cannot be B.
If we want to explain Lao Tzu's ideology in the language of Aristotle it will be like this: A is A and A is also B; and A cannot remain A, without becoming B. Aristotle's ideology is a solid ideology.
Lao Tzu's, ideology is fluid. Lao Tzu says, things are in such a fluid state that they flow into their opposites and change. The valley becomes the peak of the mountain and the peak becomes the valley. Life becomes death and from death evolves life again. Youth changes into old age and the old are reborn into children. No, darkness is not darkness and light is not light. Darkness is the dim form of light and light is the bright form of darkness. Lao Tzu or Aristotle - such is the decisive state of the world today. So the scientists of the West think that if science is developed on the basis of Lao Tzu's ideology, it will have an entirely different dimension. Up to now, all their knowledge is based on the Greek ideology and Aristotle is the father of Greek Ideology. His doctrines have been developed over a period of two thousand years. Aristotle and Einstien are the two links of the same chain. Their logic, their way of thinking is the same.
Lao Tzu is absolutely opposite. If Lao Tzu becomes the father of a Science, it will be a different science altogether. We cannot imagine what its vision will be.
Understand it this way:
If Aristotle is right, we shall be able to destroy death and preserve life. The more we annihilate death, the more of life will be preserved. If some day we succeed in annihilating death completely, we shall be able to preserve absolute life. The there will be life and life alone.
But according to Lao Tzu, it is just the opposite. If we annihilate death, we destroy life also. If death is completely destroyed, life will be no more. Let us examine this properly in context with the happenings of today. Now this is interesting that the more cures we have found for man's ailment, the more ill man has become. His health has not improved by the advance of medical sciences.
In the times of Lao Tzu there were not so many cures to fight the diseases, as they are today. Even today, the Adivasis in the jungles do not have so many medicines to fight diseases; but they are much more healthier than us. The proofs of their health is amazing. It is said that in the African jungles there are uncivilised people whose wounds (of any type) heal within 48 hours without any treatment! An axe falls on the foot, the wound heals up within 48 hours. Scientists say, their health is unsurpassed. They are so full of vitality and this vitality quickly fills up the wounds - without any treatment or with such cures as they know. They might tie a leaf on it, which may have no meaning medically. The Adivasi or the African jungle man is surrounded on all sides by disease. He has no means of medicine or medical research, yet his health is extraordinary!
Lao Tzu can be correct. He says, the more you try to eradicate disease, the more you will destroy health. If the universe stands on duality, if you remove the bricks from one side, the opposite bricks on the other side are bound to fall. Now the Western scientists have begun to apply their minds to Lao Tzu for they feel he may be right.
There is an ancient story: It is said that an old follower of Lao Tzu, who was 90 years old, was busy pulling water from the well, together with his young son.
Confucius and Lao Tzu were contemporaries. There was as much difference between them as between Aristotle and Lao Tzu. Confucius' way of thinking is Aristotalean, therefore. the West honoured Confucius very much these last 300 years. It is only now that Lao Tzu is rising in their esteem. This is because Science now finds itself in a strange predicament and is faced with great difficulty.
To continue our story: Confucius happened to pass by. He saw the old man and his young son, yoked together pulling water from the well. He was filled with compassion. He went up to the old man and said: "Do you not know, you foolish fellow, that now we harness horses or oxen to do this job? Why are vou unnecessarily tiring yourself and this young boy?"
The old man said, "Hush! Pray speak softly lest my son hears! Come after some time when my boy goes for lunch." Confucius was perplexed. When the youth left, he asked the old man, "Why would you not let your son hear what I said?" He replied, "I am 90 years old and yet I have the strength to work side by side with a youth of 30. If I engage horses to pull the water, my son will not have the same strength at 90, that I have now. So I pray to you, do not talk of this before my son. It is a question of his health. We have heard that in towns, the horses pull water from the well. We also know that there are machines that do this job as well. But then, what will my son do? What will happen to his health, his constitution?"
What we do on one hand has an immediate effect on the other.
If Lao Tzu is correct, the result will be disastrous. For example: We want to sleep soundly. He who wishes to sleep soundly is, inveritably fond of rest. And he who does not toil, cannot sleep soundly. Lao Tzu says, "Work and rest are both united. If you wish to relax, toil hard." Strive so hard that relaxation falls on you. Now if we think the Aristotalean way, work and rest are different and opposite. If I am fond of rest and comfort, and wish to sleep soundly, I shall just sit around the whole day and do nothing. But he who rests in the day, destroys his repose of the night. Rest has to be earned through labour. Or else, you shall have to pass a restless night.
Another thing that happens is: that a man who is comfort-loving, relaxes the whole day and loses his night's rest. Now the more his nights become sleepless, the more he rests the next day in order to make up for lost sleep. Then the more restless his nights become. Then he finds himself in a vicious circle, where rest becomes impossible.
Lao Tzu says: "If you wish for rest, go the opposite way - work hard!" This is because rest and work are not opposite but associated, they are co-operators. The more you toil, the deeper you shall sleep. The opposite is also true: the sounder you sleep, the greater will be your ability to work, "Once we understand this," says Lao Tzu, "then the question remains not of destroying the opposite but of making use of it."
Aristotle says, "Nature causes illnesses, so fight nature." Therefore all of the Western Science is based on fighting nature. Its whole language is of conflict. Bertrand Russell has written a book:
"Conquest of nature", It is all in the language of war. Lao Tzu would laugh! He would say, "You have no idea you are a part of nature. How will you win?" What will happen if my hand sets out to conquer me; if my leg wishes to defeat me? It would be rank foolishness. Lao Tzu says, "Nature cannot be conquered because you yourself are nature." He who sets out to fight nature is an integral part of nature himself and so he only succeeds in creating tensions and turmoils within his own self. Live in Nature, do not try to conquer it. Do not fight nature in order to know her secrets. Love her, be absorbed in her and she will reveal all her mysteries.
If the structure of Science is based on Lao Tzu, it will be a different Science altogether. Its language will be one of co-operation, then only can we think in a different dimension. He who thinks in terms of conflict, his logic is always that A is A and B is B and if you want to attain A, you must destroy B, A increases only if B is diminished. So according to him, if you want to be healthy, fight the diseases.
Eradicate illness to promote better health.
I was reading the recollections of Rothschilde in which he writes, that he had air-conditioned the whole of his house - even his porch! When he comes home in his air-conditioned car from his air-conditioned office, the automatic doors of the porch open and he steps straight inside his house.
Then gradually Rothschilde found himself suffering from very many illnesses. His doctors advise him to sit in a tub of hot water for two hours daily. So he sits in the tub and sweats himself out. It was then that he realized what he was doing! By being in the air-conditioned surroundings for twenty-four hours he was preventing the body from perspiring. By sitting in the tub his body perspired and he felt hot, then he went again to his air-conditioned rooms and cooled himself! Then when he becomes more cold and cannot perspire, he falls ill. He himself was amazed at what he was doing! The language of conflict is such that it puts us into trouble and perplexity.
Lao Tzu says, "That which we consider to be inverse and contrary, is not actually so." If you wish to enjoy the cold, you cannot do so without enjoying the sun. This may seem contrary but I say, Lao Tzu is correct. The cold cannot be enjoyed without the heat and he who has not enjoyed the pleasures of perspiration, is not capable of enjoying the cold weather, for then it will become an illness for him. He who has had the pleasure of the sweat streaking down his face, he alone can enjoy the coolness of the cold. Actually, he who does not know it is to be hot, cannot know what coolness is. This is not opposed to each other, this is conjoined. it is the alliance of both that forms the melody of life.
Therefore Lao Tzu says, "The concepts of high and low are interdependent." The notes and sounds of music co-ordinates with each other to create a harmonious melody.
The notes of music, that are inverse and opposite, combine together in harmony and give rise to the best of music, what we refer to as harmony in music, is nothing but a collection of the opposite notes. When we make a noise, then too, we make use of opposite notes just as we do in music.
Then what is the difference?
In noise and din, the notes become anarchical. There is no rhythm, no co-ordination between the notes. The same notes combine and co-operate with each other to form the harmony of music.
Whether we break this house and make a heap of bricks or whether we lay the bricks in order to build a house, the bricks is the same. So the notes and sounds are the same in music as in the din in the market-place. Then what do we do to create music?
We remove the anarchy. We remove their quarrel among themselves and establish friendship between the opposites. Then those very notes, those very sounds, become uncommon melodies.
Now if a man thinks he can produce music with one note only, he is mad! Many notes and many sounds are required to make a harmony sounds that seem contrary and conflicting. Then only is music born.
The Aristotalean concept that has been imbued within our minds since childhood has to be wiped out if we are to understand Lao Tzu. Our gestalt of observing things is always in the opposite.
Whenever we see a thing, we at once weigh it in terms of the opposite. Wherever you find a man criticizing you, you at once look upon him as your enemy.
But he could be your friend also. Those who know, will tell you that he is a friend. Kabira says, "Keep your critic near you. Give him a shady place in your courtyard. He is bound to tell you such things about yourself, that no one will ever tell you - least of all, your friends. His remarks will prove useful for your self-perception. His words may etch out the path that leads you to discover yourself. You will do well to keep him with you."
Now Kabira speaks the language of Lao Tzu: Do not hold enmity towards him who maligns you.
There is no need. Perhaps his slander may become useful, perhaps his defamation may provide the opposite notes of the melody!
But our nature is contradictory. We not only take a maligner to be our enemy but if someone suddenly praises us, we at once suspect his intentions too! We at once see mal-intentions behind his praise - either he needs money or some other favour!
One of our methods of viewing life is that we stand in opposition to the whole world. Illness is our enemy, death is our enemy, old age is our enemy. All the world and even God, seem to be arraigned against us. We find ourselves all alone in this world, we have to struggle alone in the face of all this!
This is one attitude, one gestalt of looking at life.
Another way, another gestalt is, that everything that is: the moon, the stars, the sky and the earth, the birds and the animals, the trees and the plants, the illnesses and the enemies and even death everything is - my comrade, my friend - the very part of my life; I cannot be alive without them. This is another way of looking at life.
For certain the first attitude will cause anxiety. If we have to fight with all the world all the twenty-four hours of the day, life cannot be joyful. And ultimately, the struggle leads to death. Each day, we have to lose: for who has ever won against life? Death comes invariably, old age comes, illness and disease do not spare us, more so when we fight against life. Death will keep coming and we will keep fighting till ultimately we find ourselves completely spent. Then nothing remains of our existence except anxiety.
The science of the West has reached man to almost this condition. Everything has to be fought, everything has got to be suspected and feared. We only fight that, of which we are afraid; and if fight we must, we have to make arrangements for our defence against everything and everybody. Hitler did not marry, for if he did, at least one person would have had the right to share his room! Then if she became unfaithful?
If all the world is a struggle, if there is nothing but enmity, then according to Freud, the husband-wife relationship is also a conflict. This is an expansion of the Aristotalean theory - the entire concept of the West! Freud calls the relationship between husband and wife, as sexual war. There is no element of love involved in it. It is an act of war, where the husband tries to dominate the wife and vice versa. Those who are intelligent give a sophisticated turn to this domination; those who are uneducated uncivilized, indulge directly into this act of warfare. In both cases, it is a struggle alright.
This is one gestalt in which all our relationships follow the same pattern.
It is not that our relationship with nature alone becomes unnatural. When we begin to have a mutilated concept of things there can be no relationships. Then between a father and a son also, the relationship is one of enmity and conflict. Turgnev has written a book called "FATHERS AND SONS". He says in this book that the relationship between a father and son, is always one of conflict.
There is no other tie, except the tie of conflict between them. The son is the rightful successor of the father and therefore, is always engaged in removing him. He waits eagerly for him to vacate his position. This is yet another gestalt. If you observe, you will find that everywhere the son is busy trying all means to remove the father from his place of authority. He advises him under many pretexts to hand over the keys and retire from active work. The father in his turn, tries to hold on as far and as much as he can. He takes all precautions not to let the son in. This state of affairs can be clearly observed for this state of affairs, actually exists. The way we have modelled our lives. things are such.
Now this is an intriguing fact, that the father brings up the son, gives him the best he can, only so that he can snatch his position one day! He educates him so that he can take-over his accounts. He looks after his health and saves him from illness, only to snatch the keys away form his hands! The mother is always eager to get the son married. Then the new bride slowly begins to strip her of all her possessions. And then the conflict starts - and continues!
What is the gestalt of our vision?
If we view our life in the language of struggle and conflict, then gradually, these enter into each fold of our existence and in each one of our relationships. Then the person finds himself alone and the whole world stands as one against him. Is it not natural then, when a person stands in conflict against the whole world, that he should be weighed down by a mountain of anxieties? And then inspite of all these anxieties victory is nowhere in sight. The simple reason is, - defeat is the ultimate result. For old age is bound to come, death will overpower him for certain and then - all is lost!
No matter how much the father holds on, ultimately he has to hand-over his possessions to his son.
No matter how much the mother objects, the daughter-in-law becomes all-powerful in the house; and no matter what the Guru does, the disciple one day takes his place.
The well-known Sufi saint Byajeed has said, "All whom I taught the art of archery, ultimately made me their target." What he has said is correct. If there is a conflict between the guru and the disciple, this bound to be; for he is preparing the disciple only to take his place some day.
All life is a struggle - to remove the other. All around there are enemies and friends are nowhere.
Those who look to be friends are merely lesser enemies. Some are immediate foes some are distant foes. The former are a little thoughtful, the latter are not. The enmity is the constant factor in both.
Lao Tzu based his foundation on a completely different gestalt. Would that his concept came within the understanding of man! Then we would create an entirely new world! He says, "You are not a separate entity. Then where is the question of enmity?"
You are not an individual. You appear so only because you have no idea of the Aggregate. The fact is, wherever there is the individual, he is connected to the Aggregate Whole. The individual cannot exist without the Total Aggregate. You are because everything else is. The tree at your gate is also a part of the reason for your existence.
I here is a story about Lao Tzu: One day one of his disciples was sent by someone to break a few leaves from a tree. He broke a full branch and was taking it when Lao Tzu stopped him. "Don't you know you fool," He told the disciple, "If any part of this tree is destroyed, you too become less to that extent? When this tree stood before us, full and green, we too in a manner, were also full and green.
Today, its wound has caused a scar within us also. We are not apart, we are one."
But even with full knowledge, we have cut off so many trees!
Lao Tzu objected to a single branch being broken from the tree but we have destroyed full jungles!
Now we realise it was a terrible mistake. We had cut off the jungles because we thought them to be our foes. Man was afraid of the wild life they harboured and so destroyed them and built townships.
He did not realise that all the rains that poured on his land, all the breeze that blew and cooled the land cannot be without the jungles! If we cut down the jungles our towns will be no more.
All over Europe now, there is a stir against the cutting of trees. It is a crime to break a single leaf for man will fall with the extinction of trees. Lao Tzu said 2,500 years ago that when a tree is denied of a single branch, we too are lessened somewhat, within ourselves. The tree is very much a part of us, a part of existence. It is just as if we were to remove a part of a painting from the main work. It would not then be the same. One single stroke of the brush can change a whole picture. A slight digression changes the total from and hence, all the following connections.
The tree that stood between the hut and the space outside is hewn down. Now the sky and the hut stand bare and naked. We cut down trees unscrupulously in order to clear a good place for man's dwelling. We have destroyed completely many species of animals also.
This new movement in Europe, is called Ecology, which believes in the interrelationship of organisms with their environment. They say, that man has to suffer because of the things he has destroyed.
The birds that sing in the jungles. are equally a part of us. When birds stop singing in the jungles, we shall have created a hindrance in the music that is in nature and then our minds will never know the peace and joy that came with their singing. We are not aware of this for man is a small creature who spends all his life in a corner of his house. He knows not of the vast world outside. He is totally unaware of the clouds that glide in the skies, he does not see the flowers blooming on the trees, nor does he hear the song of birds in the spring.
Three years ago, a book was published in England called "The Silent Spring". A sudden drastic change had taken place. Thousands of birds suddenly fell down from trees and died. Thousand other lay dead in the streets of the towns. All spring was suddenly hushed into silence. Due to some fault in the atomic energy research experiments, this catastrophe took place. England lost a major part of her singing birds which will be hard to replace. The spring in England can never be the same.
And we think - what difference will the change in spring make in our lives? Will our roads or our market-places be affected if the birds stop singing in the trees? Would that life were so aloof and apart! But it is not so. There, everything is joined and inter-connected. If a star becomes extinct, it affects the earth, even if it be millions of light years away.
If the moon is no more there will be enormous changes on earth. There will no longer be waves in the Oceans; the menstrual cycle of women would become erratic. It will not move in a cycle of 28 days, as it does now. Then everything will change. A slight difference - and everything changes.
Lao Tzu says, "Let things be as they are." Accept them, they are your companions. Do not segregate the opposite. That which seems hostile and unfriendly, let even that be where it is, for the pattern of nature is deep and profound and full of mystery. Everything is joined within. You do not know, what problems you create when you set apart a single thing in Nature.
Now as the science of Ecology has begun to spread and man has begun to understand, we have begun to realize how difficult it is to tell in how many ways we are inter-connected. For example: if we cut off trees then the life-elements that the trees gather for us will no longer be. The trees absorb the rays of the Sun and make them fit to be absorbed by our bodies. The direct rays of the Sun cannot be converted into a fit form of consumption for our body. The plants draw the elements from the soil and turn them into food for us. Little do we realize that if the trees and plants had not been there to produce the vegetables we eat, they would be under the soil - a mass of earth! It is the soil below that turns into the food that is capable of being digested by our system.
All the twenty-four hours of the day. you take in Oxygen and throw out Carbon-di-Oxide. The trees take in this Carbon-di-Oxide and take out Oxygen. If the trees of the World are destroyed, how will you escape the poison of Carbon-di-Oxide that you yourself produce? Then the quantity of Oxygen will grow less and less day by day. Ultimately, all life will come to a stop for the trees that give us the life-giving Oxygen, are no more.
Now Lao Tzu had no knowledge of Oxygen. He did not also know what part the trees played in our lives and yet he said - "All things are connected. There is one integrated Existence. The moment you effect the slightest change in the order of things, you effect an equal change within your own selves." There is One Integrated Existence and the Non-Existence is very much a part of it. Everything is connected within this existence - death, illness: everything!
And Lao Tzu says, "If there is the attitude of friendship, of companionship, between the various parts of Existence, if there is the feeling of one-ness with each other, instead of over-powering each other, a wonderful music is created in life." This very music Lao Tzu calls Tao; that very music is Religion; that very music is 'Rit'.
It is now becoming more and more clear that as the understanding of Ecology expands, our understanding of Lao Tzu, will also become more profound. The more we begin to understand the unity within the diversity, the less we shall be in a hurry to change the order of things.
I was reading somewhere the other day, that if we continue to throw oil into the seas, either through the waste-matter from factories or from ships, in sixty years time this oil will cover the surface of the Oceans. Then we shall need no more world wars to finish us, for the life-elements formed by the sea-waters with the help of the sun. will no longer be formed due to the layer of oil.
Now we use detergents instead of soap. The latest discovery of Ecology says that if man continues to use these detergents, he will kill himself. When we wash clothes with soap, the soap gets re- absorbed in the soil within fifteen days. In fifteen days, it is again lost in nature; but detergents take turn into poison within he first 15 years. This means, it will stay in the soil for 135 years, as poison.
The Scientists proclaim that at the rate these detergents are being used in the world today, whatever grows on the soil will become poisonous within the next 50 years. Then you will not be drinking water but poison. Then the Vegetables we eat, will be poisonous. But this understanding we do not have now. We use detergents because soap costs more. It seems alright now - we are being thrifty but remember; whatever we do, is inter-related. The slightest modification causes a great deal of difference.
Lao Tzu was against change of any kind. He used to say: "Accept life as it is. Accept the Opposite also, for there is a secret to it also. Embrace death when it comes. It too, has its secret. Do not fight with life; yield to it. Fall at the feet of Existence - Surrender. Do not enter into any struggle with it.
And it is Lao Tzu's contention that if you surrender whole-heartedly, there will not be trace of anxiety in your life. What worry can surrendered mind have? What anxiety is left for one, who has no enmity with nature? Why should he be afraid to lose when he is not out to conquer? His victory is certain for his defeat is his victory. Lao Tzu's aphorisms all tend towards surrender.
In the last line he says: "... AND THAT BEING BEFORE AND BEHIND GIVE THE IDEA OF ONE FOLLOWING ANOTHER." That which has gone and that which follows, determines our order of things, If that which is no more, does not depart, that which is to come, does not follow. You can understand it this way; an old man in the household dies. Now this we do not connect with the fact that the birth of a child necessitates the death of the old man. But we weep and mourn the death of the old man and rejoice with music when a child is born. We do not see the connection between these two events - that the death of the elder is a preparation for the birth of the younger generation.
We however do not want to part from the old and wish for the young also at the same time. But both these things are not possible. Just imagine what would happen to a household where the elders do not die! In such a family, the children will go mad at their very birth! The presence of even a few ancestors would make the existence of children impossible. As it is, one generation of elders makes things quite difficult for them. All the ancestors with the knowledge of their experiences, would make it impossible for a child to learn anything. They would be knowing so much that there will be no field left for a child to inquire and investigate. They will not allow the child even to stir - they will smother him with their knowledge and experiences, so the poor child is hound to go mad.
It is necessary that the old should depart so that children are ushered in. When children are born, the older generation will depart automatically.
Therefore Lao Tzu says, "All order is inter-connected." If youth comes childhood must depart. When old age comes, youth has to depart. All this is joined, united; but we try to segregate this also. What we like, we strive to save. We try to hold on to youth. When someone asked Bernard Shaw how he felt about his old age. he gave a very singular reply. He said, "When I was young, I wished to remain young always. Now that I am old. I realise that God has wasted energy, by giving it to the young. Had he given this strength to the old together with their knowledge and experiences, they would have enjoyed it better. He has wasted energy by giving it in the hands of the inexperienced."
But strength diminishes with experiences and the inexperienced are always stronger - this is a secret of nature.
The child has the greatest amount of energy. This old man is the weakest of all. If it was left to us to decide, then like Bernard Shaw, we would want our children to be absolutely weak and the elders to be strong for they are experienced. But the inexperienced child has the energy to develop, to expand - while the experienced old man has none. What is the reason? The reason is significant.
Actually, the accumulation of experiences is the advance of death, Aggregation of experiences means approach of death. It means, life's work is over and one should depart. It is now time to leave the University of Life. So now you need strength no more. No energy is required to go to the grave. You have only to slip into the grave. The inexperienced require strength, for strength is required to gain experience. There will be many omissions and commissions and wanderings on the path. The inexperienced needs strength to fall and rise. The experienced errs no longer, he has a clear cut path before him. On this, he walks and does not falter. He does not require more energy now.
The child has more energy for the full vista of experiences, lies as yet before him. He has as yet to set out to learn. So the inexperienced needs the strength to learn, whereas the experienced knows everything except death.
But we are forever trying to reverse this process of existence. We strive to impart all knowledge to the child long before his time. We try to impose our experiences on him long before he begins to experience on his own. This is never possible. We overlook the fact that nature has its own harmonious method. It has its own process in which that which follows, is invariably connected with that which is past. But we have no knowledge of this.
One man comes and pays reverence to me. Now if I expect reverence from him every day, I shall be wrong. For he who reveres me today creates a great possibility of non-reverence towards me.
Non-reverence has also to be fulfilled in the order of totality for life is made up out of the cohesion of the opposites. He who has revered me, will also show non-reverence. Lao Tzu with his profound understanding knows that he who respects him today is bound to revile him tomorrow. But we expect greater respect from one who shows respect towards us and hence find ourselves in difficulty. And we also expect the person who abuses us to do so always. This also is wrong. He who reviles today will revere tomorrow, for the opposites are joined.
I often narrate the story of the Jew fakir Hasid. He was a revolutionary and as was natural, all the priest-class was against him. Hasid wrote a book which he sent to the high-priest of his community.
He told the bearer of the book to watch the priest's reaction. He bade him not to speak a word. He was only to witness, watch.
When the messenger reached the high-priest's house, he and his wife were sitting in their garden.
He handed the book saying such and such a fakir has sent you this book. The priest had hardly held the book when he flung it away at the mention of Hasid's name saying, "I would not care even to touch such an unclean book. His wife remonstrated with him. She said there was no need to be so harsh. After all there were very many other books in the house. This one could have also been kept along with them! And if he had to throw it away, he should have waited for the man to depart.
There was no need for such uncivilised behaviour! Where was the hurry? He could have thrown the book away later.
The messenger witnessed all this. He thought the wife was a good woman. He went back and told the fakir that the priest was all evil man, and there was no hope that he would ever come to him. But his wife can become interested in him. Hasid told him to recount all that took place without offering his comments. He said, "The high priest flung the book away as if it was poison saying, he would not even touch such an evil book. But his wife remonstrated with him and chided him for his rude behaviour."
Hearing this, the fakir said, "It is possible that there could be some connection between the priest and me sometime but with his wife, never. For he who is filled with so much hatred, how long can he remain thus? Love awaits behind this hatred. It is bound to return. But the wife who talked of propriety and decorum in such an indifferent manner, had no feelings towards me either of love or hate therefore there cannot be any relationship with her. But there is bound to be an alliance between the priest and me. Go back. You shall see the priest reading the book by now."
The man said it was not possible but Hasid ordered him to go. He went back. The door of the house was closed but he saw the priest sitting in the window reading the book!
Life is like that!
He who piles abuses, gathers the strength to love and he who professes love gathers the ability to hate. Such is life. It is a synthesis of the opposites. He who reveres is gathering the strength to revile and he who reviles gathers strength to beg forgiveness. If life is viewed in this way, then the friend is not the friend and the enemy is not the enemy. All things appear in a vast pattern. an enormous gestalt.
When someone comes nearer to me, I know he will go away further. When anyone goes further away, I know he will come back to me. But there is no need to worry in either case for the law of existence is such. When a person is born, it is only to die. If a person dies, it is only to be reborn. If we understand the harmony of the inter-connection of the opposites in this vast law, it will be easier to understand Lao Tzu. This is the meaning of this sutra.
QUESTION: MODERN SCIENCE HAS TAKEN THE HUMAN RACE AWAY FROM THE NATURE AND DEVELOPED VERY MANY DIMENSIONS OF LIFE. PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW THE INTRICATE PATTERN OF THE SCIENTIFIC SYSTEM OF LIFE CAN BE BALANCED WITH THE NATURAL LIFE OF THE TAO-AGE?
Bhagwan Sri: It is not a matter of striking a balance, between Lao Tzu and the present day Science.
If Lao Tzu's view-point comes within the understanding of man, a completely new Science can come into being. This is because his way of looking at life is entirely different. The Science that developed on the basis of the Aristotalean theories is incomplete and ignorant. It has tried to discover and understand a very infinitesimal part of life, leaving the greater part of it alone. You may call it childish. It has made no effort to understand the Totality at all. It is also true that so far it could not; now it can.
Alter discovering atomic weapons and developing Atomic-energy, Science will be constrained to revise and reconstruct in its fundaments. You may ask why?
If Science progresses as it has been progressing so far, it can only proceed towards the extinction of mankind. There is no other dimension open to it. Science has to rethink about its old conceptions for now they suspect there is a basic mistake in its very fundaments. They find that all their efforts yield only destructive results. Our efforts to improve life have been herculean but the result has always been the opposite. All efforts lead to pain and sorrow. Therefore Science has to revise its old conceptions.
After all reconsiderations if they discover their fault, they will find it is the error of following Aristotle.
Then the Science that is evolved win not be based on possibility towards existence but on co- operation with it. All the bases will change. The science that is based on antagonism towards nature always thinks in the language of destruction. We will understand this better by an example:
Take for instance, the mosquito which causes malaria. The Aristotalean Science says, exterminate the mosquito if you want to be rid of malaria. This is the language of destruction. But it is very likely that there is something that is conducive to life that comes with the mosquitoes. If the mosquitos are destroyed, this will stop coming. Mosquitoes can be useful to life in other respects also but this we can only know after their compete annihilation. Then perhaps we shall have to try and replace them again!
If Lao Tzu was faced with the problem of eradicating Malaria, he would never think in terms of destroying the mosquitoes. He would have suggested two methods. He would have suggested a change of attitude towards the mosquitoes or a change in man's physical system to make him immune to malaria. There is no need whatsoever of destroying the mosquito. It is also possible to change the composition of the mosquitoes' body system by which it would not be an enemy of man but rather a friend. Either or both of these methods can be implemented.
If we had followed the Lao Tzu method, we would have worked out an accord between the two. If it is possible to annihilate the mosquito completely, why should it be difficult to annihilate the poison within it? And if the mosquito can be completely destroyed or its poison removed from its system, then there is no reason why man's resistance cannot be built up to withstand the poison of the mosquito? Lao Tzu would definitely be in favour of increasing man s power of resistance.
There are always two ways to any problem. Now for instance, it is sunny outside. One way is, that I use the Umbrella to keep the sun away. In that case, I treat the sun as my enemy and I prevent its rays from reaching me. There is another way also - I can make my body so strong and healthy that it can withstand the rays of the sun. Lao Tzu would say: "Make your bodies strong. Then you will feel the sun to be your friend for it is never so sunny as to be unbearable to a healthy body. The sun seems a foe only to weak and unhealthy bodies.
We should think on the lines of establishing friendship and accord with everything in life. Struggle ultimately leads to suicide. How long will we struggle? The theory of struggle is - to destroy everything that harms us. Today we destroy the mosquito, tomorrow we find the Chinese are causing us harm. Then why not destroy them? Then we feel the Indians are dangerous - so destroy them...
and so on. This is the language of war which is applicable everywhere. Whatever you find harmful, destroy it. America thinks of destroying Russia and Russia thinks of destroying America.
But after the Atomic research, both America and Russia have understood the fact, that this language of annihilation does not hold good any longer. Now neither can destroy the other and save itself.
There can only be a period of 10 minutes before the destroyer gets destroyed himself. The aggressor will die 10 minutes after and there will be no time to acclaim victory! Therefore, since the last ten years, America and Russia have began to think in terms of co-operation for hostility has lost its meaning. So now the trend is of co-existence.
It is not, however, enough to think in terms of co-existence only between man and man. Co-existence should be complete. The same principle should hold good vis-a-vis all existence. Our attitude should be one of friendliness even towards disease and illness. Lao Tse's language, is the language of co- existence - towards the Total Existence - . And we cannot differentiate and choose to co-exist with one and not with the other, for if the element of hostility remains, we may become hostile towards those with whom we are in amity.
A new Science will be born - in accordance with Lao Tzu's way of thinking. And if we understand Lao Tzu thoroughly Lao Tzu implies the Eastern mind - the Eastern way of thinking. Aristotle means the Western mind - the Western way of thinking.
We may say, the western way of thinking is Logic and the Eastern way of thinking is Experience.
All Science today, stands on the basis of the object. It is research in the field of objects. If ever a science is evolved based on Lao Tzu. Yoga, Patanjali, Buddha, it will be based on the search within the mind of man and never any search outside of him. There can be no accord, no union between these two. If and when the Lao-Tseian Science begins to evolve, the present day science will gradually merge into it, for it is only a part of science. The Science of Experience will be vast and total. This modern science will be absorbed into it and then alone will it attain its worthiness.
Then as a part of the whole, it will lose its sting and all that is precious within it, will come to light.
There are many indications now in the West that clearly show the beginning of the onslaught on present day science. Lao Tzu is penetrating from many sides. The meaning of Lao Tzu is - the East. Now there is an architect in America named Wright who has designed a house on the Lao- Tseian style. The whole house is so designed as to look a part of the ground outside and the very mountains and trees around it. Now if a tree comes in the way of his building, Right will not remove the tree, he will rather, shape his building so as to take in the tree as it is. The tree will not be touched at all; it is the house that will be designed accordingly.
If the tree happens to come in the sitting Room, he would so design it that the whole room is in harmony with the tree. So the houses this man builds become a part of nature. Viewed from afar, these houses cannot be seen as such. Lao Tzu feels that houses that stand out are violent. They are violent, like this building 'Woodlands'. If a house goes up to 26 floors, where will the trees be, where will the mountains be and where man? They are all lost! Only the bare building remains. This is unharmonius, grotesque. for there is no co-existence, no harmony with the surroundings. Such a building stands lone and forlorn, in its own arrogance. A house should be such that it is covered with trees, it is touched by the hills and riders go racing by its compound walls. When someone passes this house, it should not seem so formidable as to give him the feeling of inferiority. He should not feel like a worm before it. If man feels inferior to a thing of his own creation, the result can be dangerous.
The houses created by Wright are such that the gardens, the lawns go within the living rooms. There are trees and plants over-growing on roofs and the house looks as if it has grown out of nature itself.
It is not as if it has been constructed. It seems it too, has grown like the trees beside it.
The new architecture of Right has had a great impact on America and Europe. His houses have a unique beauty all their own. There is a rare experience to sit within the shadows of his house. To sit in one of these houses is not to be torn away from nature but to be in the midst of nature. So the Lao-Tseian way of thinking is capturing the Western mind in a thousand ways.
The new poet of today is not concerned about the rhyme or the grammar in his poetry; for Lao Tzu says, does the wind worry about the form and rhythm as it blows by? Or do the clouds consider the alliteration and the cadence of their thunder? And yet there is a rhythm in that thunder - a measureless measure. So this measureless form of poetry, in which there is an inner rhythm but no outward metre, is descending upon the whole of the West and also the whole world. In this poetry, there are no notations, no rhyming verse, no measure, no juggling of words and yet there is a perfect flow within - a stream and in this flow there is a harmonized melody.
There are painters in the West who have stopped putting frames on their pictures; for the frame is nowhere except on things created by man. There is no frame to the sky and the Sun or to the flowers and the trees! There is an endless existence. Things do not seem to be ending anywhere.
Everything seems to be continuing on and on. So the painters no longer bind their work in frames.
They say that is a man-made thing. Also, it is not necessary that everything should come within the picture. The Lao Tzu type of painting was born in China, thousands of years ago. The Tao School of Painting is a different form of painting altogether. Whenever a man like Lao Tzu appears, all functions of the world begin to take shape according to his concept. So the Lao-Tseian types of painting came into being. These pictures have a charm of their own. These pictures bear no frames, they have no beginning and no end. In life also, there is no beginning and no end. All things are beginningless and endless. Only the things that we make have a beginning and an end. So the Lao-Tseian type of pictures start from anywhere and end anywhere.
This new vogue is now gaining ground in modern art, be it painting or poetry or story-telling. The older stories always started with - "Once upon a time", - there was always a beginning and always an end - "and they lived happily ever after." Everything was contained in a particular frame-work.
The modern stories of today, start from anywhere and end anywhere. In fact, the modern story has a beginning but no end. It is a fragment, for according to the Lao-Tseian Theory, whatever we say, is no more than a fragment; it cannot be whole. We ourselves are not complete. When all things are thus fragmented. incomplete, let them remain so. Do not indulge in the useless task of completing them or else, everything will become ugly and grotesque.
The Eastern mind is penetrating from all sides: through poetry and paintings, through music and architecture and through sculpture; and the Western world is afraid for it is surrounded on all sides.
Hermann Hess has written somewhere that soon the Western world will come to know that its victory over the East was very short lived. But the day the East attacks with all her internal spirit, her conquest will be permanent. Your victory could not be enduring for it was attained by the point of the gun. But if the East choses to attack with all the knowledge of her experiences gathered over thousands of years, she will attack in an altogether different way. Experience and Knowledge, are not aggressive. They penetrate within a person most unobtrusively; and it is permeating within the mind of man already.
The West is besieged on all sides and with every day it realises that all its scales of measurements are tottering. Whatever it had accomplished is shaking now.
And the East is spreading fast as the clouds spread suddenly sometimes in the sky. By and by, it will spread all over the West. This is but natural, for if we see properly, the grasp of the West is entirely superficial therefore its successes are very quick. The grasp of the East is so deep and profound that it cannot succeed that quickly. Remember, seasonal plants blossom in four months, two months, whereas the perennials take years to bloom.
The hold of the East is very deep-seated. Therefore it takes thousands of years before a concept or to gain ground. The hold of the West is very superficial. A single concept succeeds in a hundred years and it is lost also that quickly. But the East can wait. It can wait a long time for the right opportunity.
Lao Tzu is the innermost wisdom of the East. The essence of the East lies hidden in Lao Tzu.
There cannot be an accord? there cannot be an union between the two methods of life-perception.
An entirely new science can be born on the concept of Lao Tzu and this birth will take place very soon. There are many things that do not strike the mind immediately. For instance, Euclid's Geometry was the mainstay of the West. All the mathematics involved in Science was Euclidean.
No one could have ever dreamt that any non-Euclidean Geometry would one day nullify it but since the last 150 years, non-Euclidean Geometry has come into being which is absolutely Lao-Tseian even though people do not know it.
Euclid says, "Two parallel lines never meet." The non-Euclid Geometry says, "Two parallel lines are already connected." This is a Lao-Tseian sutra that they are already joined. If we keep drawing these lines till the very end, we find that they meet. The trouble is we do not draw them enough. We see them from close quarters, we do not see far enough; but the distant is a part of the near. Now it has been proved that if two parallel lines are drawn out from both sides, till infinity, they meet.
Then Euclid says that no part of the circumference of a circle, can be straight line - how can it be?
Any part of a circle is always curved. But the non-Euclidean Geometry says that a straight line is a part of a big circle. If a straight line is drawn out further from both extremities, a circle will begin to be formed. Now this fact is accepted that any straight line drawn on the earth can never be straight, for the earth is round.
For example, I draw a line in this room which appears absolutely straight. Now this line also, is absolutely straight but since the earth is round, this line cannot be straight. It is a part of the wider circle of the earth. All straight lines, when drawn to infinity become circles. This means that all straight lines are parts of a circle. But Euclid said that parts of a circle cannot be straight.
So now we have non-Euclid Geometry in place of Euclidean Geometry!
The basic fundament of the Western Science for the last 200 years, was the factor of certainty. If there is no certainty in Science, what is the difference, between art and science? There must be absolute certitude, then only Science is Science. But now since the last 15 years, a new concept has taken shape - the concept of Uncertainty. As soon as the atom was broken into electrons, it was discovered that the behaviour of these was most uncertain. We can never predict how they will, behave at any given time.
The behaviour of the electrons is like that of a human being. Nothing can be predicted about a man who is genuine - what he would do next, whereas a hypocrite can be well predicted in advance.
About him we can easily tell that he will be angry three times in the course of the day, he will smoke six times and so on. Nothing however, can be foretold about an authentic person.
The Authentic man sleeps in the night with his wife and their one-day-old child. Never could have Yashodhara dreamt that he would leave them and go away in the middle of the night! There was no ostensible reason for this man to do so! The authentic man, is unpredictable, independent, the unauthentic is predictable, in other words, a slave.
We were under the impression that matter was predictable, for after all, matter is matter. But now we know that even matter is energy and energy cannot be predicted. So far the last 15 years, the most intensive research in science is on this principle of uncertainty. Now if science also proves to be uncertain, then what is the difference between Science and Art?
Einstein had said in his later days, that very soon, the statements of Scientists will look like the pronouncements of mystics. Eddington has said in his memories "I used to think that the world is an object. Now as I come to life's end, I can say, the world is not an object but a thought. It resembles more a thought than a thing."
There is a great difference between a thought and a thing. If the Scientists say that the world resembles more a thought than a thing then what is the difference between this and the statement of the Rishis who declare "The world is God?" The Rishis have said that the world is a Soul, a Consciousness. Now Eddington says, "The world is a thought", so there is very little difference now between the two.
Science is breaking up in many places. By the turn of this century, it will be gradually destroyed.
Its place will be taken by an entirely new consciousness. This new life-consciousness will be one of co-existence and of being one with the vast Totality. It will be a flow of life. It will be spiritual and not material. There will not be a union of the present day science and the new Science. The former must break and fall for it is but a fragment. And the universal spirit will rise from within it. This should be. There is a definite possibility.
Enough for today, the rest tomorrow.