Actionless action and silent dialogue of the wise
CHAPTER 2: SUTRA 3
THEREFORE THE SAGE MANAGES AFFAIRS WITHOUT ACTION; AND CONVEYS HIS DOCTRINE WITHOUT WORDS.
Existence is dual. Whatever we do, the opposite also begins to happen simultaneously.
Lao Tzu has talked about Existence in his first two sutras. Now in the third sutra, Lao Tzu says:
"THEREFORE, THE SAGE MANAGES AFFAIRS WITHOUT ACTION." We shall have to go little deep to understand this.
Now if a sage tells a person that he loves him, he gives rise to hatred also. If he says he works for the good of people, much harm will also follow. If he says, "I am giving you Truth", he gives rise to untruth also. Lao Tzu has said in the very beginning that everything is filled with the opposite.
Whatever we do, the opposite also takes place immediately. There is no way to escape the opposite.
We do one thing and give rise to the other. We try to save one and we harm another. If we save one, we become the cause of another's destruction.
This duality is the quintessence of all life. So whatever we do, the opposite also happens at the same time. Whether we know or we do not know, whether we recognise this fact or not but it never can be - it is impossible - that we give rise to one and the other does not take place. Therefore Lao Tzu says: "THEREFORE THE SAGE MANAGES AFFAIRS WITHOUT ACTION." If they wish you well, they do not actively go about doing so for if they do, they give rise to your non-wellbeing also.
This is difficult, intricate and deep.
Generally we think that if we wish for the good fortune of a person, we have to actively work for his prosperity. If we wish to serve others, we have to actually serve them. But what Lao Tzu explains in his Sutra is that when you serve a person, you will create the mechanism of making him a slave.
When you love a person you make arrangements to give rise to hate towards him for hatred is born the moment love appears; and as soon as service is put into action, it becomes enmity. Then what is the sage to do? Is he not eager to serve?
If he is a sage, Lao Tzu says, "HE MANAGES AFFAIRS WITHOUT ACTION." Even when he loves, he does not make his love active. His love will never manifest actively. Leave aside action, he will not even give expression to it. He does not so much as say he loves, for as soon as these words are spoken, a line of hatred is formed around these words.
When I say to someone - 'I love you,' one thing becomes clear that I did not love him before. Then there will be stipulation in what conditions I shall love and in what condition I shall not or whether my love will be unconditional. Words that are expres-sed are never unconditional. Then when I say, 'I love,' I admit I did not love yesterday. Then it will have to be admitted that perhaps tomorrow I may not love.
Around the small island of love there is a boundless ocean of non-love. Actually, my declaration is nothing but an attempt to step aside from this ocean. I light a small lamp amidst the encircling darkness; and the wonder is, the lamp makes the dark-ness more outstanding, more clear, more strong.
In this precious sutra, Lao Tzu says "The love of the sage is not active love," even not so much as to say he loves. His love is inactive. His love is not declaration but his very existence. Love is his very soul. Nay, he is love itself. Therefore, it is not befitting for him to say that he loves. Where there is hate, love can be proclaimed but he who is love incarnate, how will he declare his love? He will never say. He will also not make the effort or the preparation for making love. His love will be a silent manifestation. It will be an unproclaimed presence! A presence undeclared, silent and inactive.
The most wonderful thing about it is, that such love does not create the opposite, that is hate, for that which has not become active, does not enter the world of duality.
Such love is love alone. And such love never ends for since it does not begin in the current of time, it does not end also in time. But such love is very difficult to recognise for we understand words and not action. If a person says he loves you only then do we understand. If someone exhibits his love then we understand. But if the love is inactive, unmanifested, undeclared, it does not come within our understanding. We will not recognise such love when it comes our way. Therefore it is, that the real lovers of the world remains unknown and unrecognised.
Jesus is passing through a village. He rests under a tree. This tree stands in the garden of a famous prostitute of those times - Magdalene. She happens to see him through her window just as he was about to leave. She had seen many men but never a one like him. There is one beauty that belongs to the body and which fades with familiarity. There is one beauty - that of the - soul - that deepens more and more as you come to know it. One beauty is of form, the other is of existence. She herself was one of the most beautiful women of her time. Kings use to wait at her door. She fell in love with Jesus. She hurried to the garden and stopped Jesus from going and asked him to be her guest.
Jesus replied, "I am well rested now, if ever I pass this way again and I am tired, I will certainly accept your invitation. But now it is time for me to go."
It was a great insult to Magdalene. When kings and emperors became her slaves at first sight, she could not imagine how such a beggarly youth could remain unsmitten by her beauty. Jesus picked up his belongings and prepared to leave. "This is an insult," said Magdalene, "This is the first time, I have ever invited anyone. Can you not show a little kindness towards me by stepping into my house for a moment or two?" Jesus replied, "Think well lady: Do they really love you, who come and profess love to you? Those who did have never loved you. I am the only one who is capable of love.
But now it is time for me to depart."
Magdalene could not have understood the above statement of Jesus - that he alone was capable of love. For hundreds of years efforts have been made to find the meaning behind these words What did he mean when he said he was the only one capable of love? If that were so, why did he not step into Magdalene's house and express his love? Besides, the statement itself is very impersonal.
Jesus has not said, "Magdalene I love you." He said, "I alone am capable of love." This is not a statement addressed to a person. But people argued that if there was the slightest love within him he would have gratified her wish and gone to her house.
What love was this, when Jesus never again passed that way, nor rested under the same tree, nor go to Magdalene's house? So this statement of Jesus was never converted into action, nor was it a declaration towards some person. Then what did ;t mean? If you understand Lao Tzu you will know what it means. Perhaps Lao Tzu may not have said this much also - that, 'I alone am capable of loving'. For this too, would have been saying too much. Even this much gives rise to a form, a shape. Things get manifested even by this much and enter the flow of time. Lao Tzu would have given no answer. He would have just picked up his bundle and walked away.
Lao Tzu says that as soon as something is manifested, the opposite takes birth along with it. It is just as the voice echoes back from the mountains. You say 'love' here and hate begins to gather there. On one side you say 'pity' and harshness gathers on the other side. So it is with Non-violence and violence. We cannot escape the opposite of whatever we do.
Therefore, a strange thing happens: We are tormented by the very person we love. This should not have been so. But we find that love creates hate no sooner it is born and hate gives pain. Lao Tzu says, "Those who know, those who are wise, they know the secret - when anything is created in Existence, its opposite is also formed automatically." There is no way of escape from it. It cannot be otherwise. This is the rule. Then what do the wise do? How do they go about? They also make provisions for their feelings but in their method, no action is involved.
"THE SAGE... CONVEYS HIS DOCTRINE WITHOUT WORDS." He manifests his personality without actions, he conveys his view-point, his philosophy without words. We shall have to ponder over this; for there has not been a single sage who has not made use of words. But Lao Tzu insists that the sage never conveys his doctrine through words. This can have two meanings: One is, that whoever has spoken was not a wise man; and that we have no knowledge of the real sages. Then it follows that, Lao Tzu, Buddha, Jesus, Mahavira and Krishna cannot be counted among the wise.
The second meaning can be (and that is the correct interpretation) that, whatever Buddha has said does not contain the quintessence of his doctrine. By speaking, he has merely called people towards him. It was only a device to draw those near him who understood only words and not to convey truth.
Let us explore this further:
Truth cannot be expressed by words. No sooner a word is spoken about truth is becomes untruth.
Therefore all doctrines become disputation - isms.
Then as soon as the spoken truth becomes an exposition, the opposite exposition also comes into being. Then all controversy and disputes, sects and dogmas and all chaos begin. It is possible that when truth is spoken it should give rise to controversy? This cannot be, for the fact remains that truth has never been spoken for it cannot spoken. Whatever has been spoken was a mere device to draw nearer those who only understand the lan-guage of words. Once they come closer, then it is possible to talk to them in silence.
The words of a sage are only an enticement just as we bribe little children with sweets in order to get them to go school. They are given toys to play with so that they may get used to the idea of going to school. The nursery is a playground for the children, there is no hint of studies in it. Then slowly the toys are replaced with books. But these also carry pictures for that is the only way the child can be lured to open a book. Then gradually these are taken away and words are introduced.
In just the same manner when Lao Tzu or Buddha talk, they speak only for those who understand words alone. Then when these people begin to draw near, when they develop the ability to come close to them, when they develop the taste for the company of Sages, then people like Buddha and Lao Tzu begin to go into silence. Then the one who came for the greed of words, leaves with a message from Silence.
The wise have never 'said' anything. This I say, knowing fully well that they have spoken a lot. They have preached people from dawn to dusk and yet they have said nothing about truth. Truth they have only given when the listener became ready to take it in silence. When he develops the receptivity for Truth, when he is ready to take, then only does the sage covey it to him in silence.
The happening of transmission of Truth, always takes place in silence.
Whatever we accumulate is all that is spoken. Therefore Truth is never included in Scriptures.
Whatever was spoken was a mere device to attract. It is just as if when we want to conserve a school for posterity, we would save all the toys and playthings. Then after thousands of years we declare that this is what was taught in that school. The fact however is, there were the mere devices to attract the children towards studies. There was no vestige of knowledge in the playthings. They were only an invitation for the children.
We accumulated whatever Buddha or Krishna, Mahavira or Lao Tzu said. But there was no way of conserving what was conveyed unspoken. That which was not spoken, that was conveyed in silence or that which was told without being spoken; and that which was conveyed in the presence of someone, that which was experienced in the nearness and the presence of someone, when each merged into the other like a live - current, that cannot possibly be conserved.
This is the reason why Sages strove for thousands of years not to write the Scriptures. For thousands of years they saw to it that no scriptures was written, in the written word That remains behind for which all this is written, even though it cannot be spoken in words. The empty place slips off; and this is the actual thing. Therefore nothing was written for thousands of years. The Vedas are only Sages of yore did not know the art of writing or that they did not know how to convey the message of the Vedas. This is impossible.
For 90,000 years the Vedas were not written. They were knowingly not written - Why?
Direct transfer is possible from one person to another, for the person concerned can give words as well as his silent Presence. The book can never give the silent Presence. The book is an inert thing. Also, the book can fall into the hands of one who knows nothing and then the ignorant person quickly develops the illusion of being wise. It is not bad to be ignorant but it is very dangerous when the illusion of wisdom develops in an ignorant man.
For then, the doors to knowledge close. This is why, for thousands of years the Sages insisted that the Vedas be not written. Whatever the sage knew. he transmitted to the person who was qualified to know. As long as the disciple was incapable of knowing, the sage used words and as soon as he developed his capability, the sage spoke to him in silence - he conveyed in silence what was to be conveyed. As long as a person was not qualified to receive in silence, he was made to understand explicitly that nothing has been conveyed to him. He should know that only superficial knowledge has been given to him and the real Truth has not yet been conveyed. He should be detained till such time as he becomes qualified, lest he goes away with the illusion of having gained knowledge.
From the day that books began to be written, there have been less men of wisdom and more men of knowledge. And then this tradition of live-transmission almost came to an end, for the written book catered to the very few. It was only when books began to be printed that they came within the reach of the masses. Then all that was significant gradually began to be lost for lack of the personal and direct touch of the Master.
Lao Tzu speaks in the period when THE WISE CONVEYED THEIR DOCTRINES WITHOUT THE USE OF WORDS. This should be understood from different angles.
As we go back in history, we shall find that Sadhana is not learning or scholarship. Sadhana is a practice to go into silence whereas scholarship is a study of word accumulation.
Buddha left his house and went away in search of Truth. He went to each and all who knew. To each one he said: "I have come in search of Truth. If you have knowledge of the highest truth, please tell me." Wonderful people these were! Those who did not know, admitted openly: "We have no knowledge of the Ultimate Truth. We know only the Truth expounded by the Scriptures and that we can tell you." And Buddha replied, "I have no use for the Scriptural truths." In that case," they said, "you will have to go elsewhere."
Then Buddha approached those who taught him Sadhana. He stayed with one teacher for three years and practised all that he taught. In the end he asked the Guru if he had anything more to teach or whether there was any fault in his Sadhana. The Guru replied there was no error on his part nor any lack of sincerity. "But", said Buddha, "I have no knowledge of Truth!" "As much as I know, I have given unto you. I too have no knowledge of the Primal Truth. Now go to someone who knows. Seek elsewhere!" the Guru told him. For six years Buddha went from place to place learning and imbibing all that other Teachers taught. He never questioned will he learnt all that the Guru had to teach.
Three years he spends with one Teacher. When the Guru said he had nothing more to teach, Buddha said he had no knowledge of Truth yet. He could have easily asked in the very beginning whether this man could reveal the ultimate Truth! Where was the need to waste three precious years and then ask?
The actual question is not whether anyone has the knowledge of the Supreme Truth but of first making oneself fit and worthy. Therefore it is that Buddha asked after three years, when he felt his worthiness to ask the question. When the Guru himself said he had nothing more to impart, it was then that Buddha said he had no knowledge of Truth after all his teachings. He begged to know if there was any laxity on his part that had withheld the knowledge from him. The Guru assured him that he had worked with all zeal and sincerity but alas, he had no more to give! He had taught him all that he knew. Now to seek further he would have to go elsewhere.
Buddha went to all the Gurus and all the Scholars of the Shastras but he did not find Truth. Then he set out alone by himself. But before this, he knocked at each and every door! Remember, he alone can set out on his own, who has walked with many. It is only after travelling with others on many journeys and reaching nowhere that a person sets out on his own. All around us there are many who know. It is worthwhile to go as far as they can take you. It is dangerous and harmful also, to be alone before this. This experience is very necessary in order to set out on one's own.
So Buddha sought out each Guru who took him as far as he could. Buddha thanked them for having taken him that far and went further. When he experienced the ultimate Truth, he said "At first I used to wonder whether those who helped me on my path were keeping something away from me. But now I can say, they hid nothing. Actually the thing about the Ultimate Truth is, that no other can give it to us. Also, I could not receive it from somebody because my silence was not strong and capable enough to take it. I asked in words, they replied in words. When someone enters the absolute silence, only in that state can Truth be revealed to him."
Lao Tzu says, "THE SAGE PERFORMS NO ACTIONS." This does not mean they do nothing. Do not make this mistake. Non-doing does not mean idleness. It is not that the sage does nothing. It means something very different. It means: the sage arranges his actions by non-action.
If a father is really respected and honoured by his son, (and then alone he is really a father) then his son should find no discomfort and hesitation to sit before him. The father has not to thump the stick to proclaim: "Here I come - attention!" His presence should be enough to bring about the necessary arrangement. He should not even be aware of the difference. He comes and his presence should bring about a befitting change.
If the father is a little weak perhaps he has to convey his presence through his eyes. But even then he is a powerful father, who brings about the necessary changes with the flicker of an eye. It is difficult to find even such a father nowadays. This father however, is a weak for his mere presence is not enough. He has to act through his eyes to make his presence felt. Then there is yet another weaker father who has to announce his presence. "Here I am be silent and sit respectfully!" Even he is an effective father, for the like of such as he is also difficult to find - he says and he is obeyed.
The greater possibility these days is that the father says and no one listens.
Someone asked of Nasruddin, "You have seven sons. They must be troubling you a lot." Nasruddin said, "Never, my sons have never troubled me. Only once did I have to raise my hand in self-defence.
After that I have had no problems. Now I do not do any such thing by which that situation could be repeated."
The father says. "I avoid my sons! I take care not to cross their path!" There are fathers yet weaker who say a thing fifty times and to no effect. Even then he is eager to pass his orders for the fifty first time!
The same applies in the case of the sage. The sage conveys without action. His very presence brings about the necessary conditions. He does not go into action for action is a substitute for wisdom. When wisdom is not. then action has got to be employed.
Hence, another mystery becomes clear. The more you look into the history of the past, the more actionless will you find the wise man to be. You find him sitting in his hut or in the jungle. His presence alone brings about the necessary conditions. Even the King comes running to him for advice and sits at his feet! The Kings and emperors were eager and desirous that the sage should stay within their Kingdom. Their very presence was enough for them.
Then as we go forward in history, we find that the sage enters into action. Buddha and Mahavira also do not look very active to us. If they were to be born in our times, we would tell them to do some social work - work in hospitals, open schools - do something! Do something! - start the GARIBI HATAO (Remove Poverty) Movement! Where is the sense in sitting doing nothing? Buddha would have to face greater difficulties today and Lao Tzu should not even dream of being born into the world of to-day! God knows what work we would tell him to do!
Those whom we look upon as Mahatmas today, are no Sages. His title of 'Mahatma' depends on what work he is doing and not purely on his personality. His being a Mahatma depends not on his being but on his doing. The question today is not what he is but what he does - what is the distinction of his work?
If today we question: "What did Lao Tzu do?" We shall get no details of his work. His life was completely devoid of action. If we judge action-wise, then a mere village-hand of today, does much more than what Lao Tzu did. But in the olden days, this question was never asked. He was never asked what he was doing; rather, he was asked - what he was. And it is a well-known fact, that when such a great spiritual power descends on the earth, things happen by themselves, they have not to be done.
If Lao Tzu is present in this village - that alone is enough. Whatever could be possible for that village, happens by his mere presence. He who has to perform actions, is a weak sage. The presence of the sage is action itself. It is just as in the mere presence of the magnet, the iron-pieces are automatically drawn towards it. If the magnet has to make an effort to draw each piece towards itself, it is not a genuine magnet. The power of the magnet lies in its very being. Its very presence creates its field and whatever comes within that field is automatically drawn towards it.
Whenever Buddha sat, a magnetic field was created and things began to happen within it. There are stories (and there now remain merely stories) that wherever Buddha stayed, there used to be no thefts in that village. It was not that Buddha taught the thieves to give up stealing. There were no crimes - not that Buddha exhorted the people to take vows not to kill. His presence alone brought this about. And Buddha knew that if his presence did not bring about an effective change in the people, his words never would. When Existence fails to work what call words do? If my being is not efficacious, what can my proclamations do? Existence is a very powerful thing, and if Existence itself is proving useless of what use will my shouting be? If Buddha stands before a thief and the thief's tendency to steal does not fall, of what use will Buddha's preachings be to this man? If Buddha's being cannot stop him from stealing, then are his words greater than his being that they would more effective?
Now see it from another angle: If Buddha were to beg on his knees and tell the thief not to steal, then is his action greater than his being Buddha? No. What Lao Tzu says, "There is nothing greater than Existence." There is nothing greater than our very being. Actions etc., are all small and superficial things. If the quintessence of the Spirit cannot do anything, nothing else can.
Lao Tzu says, "Therefore, you create one and the opposite is born." Therefore, the sage arranges his work without involving action in his manner and transmits his philosophy in silence. What they have known, they convey in silence and what they have lived, they spread through their presence.
This a very silent and serene happening. The sage moves about as if he were naught as if he does not exist.
It is an interesting fact that nothing is known of Lao Tzu s death. No one knows when he died, where and how he died. There is however a popular story that the last man to see Lao Tzu, asked him where he was going. Lao Tzu replied, he was returning to where he came from. The man said however, "But people will worry about you; where you have gone and what happened to you?" Lao Tzu said, "When I was born, I was ignorant. So there was a little noise about my birth. Now that I have attained wisdom, there shall be no sound about my death.
"The happening of death will not take place, in a way, in my case. There shall be no account of my death in the world of happenings for the sage lively silently and departs in silence."
And thus he departed-silently.
All that the people know was, that Lao Tzu was and is no more. The happening of death did not take place in the sense that no one saw him die. His last words to some traveller were: "Now I have attained wisdom, therefore, my death shall produce no sound." When the Void walks, there are no signs of its foot-steps, when the Void walks, there are no signs of its foot-prints - as the birds fly in the air and leave no trail behind them.
It is difficult to explain in words this statement of Lao Tzu! that the sage performs his task without action. Actually, the sage makes no active effort to manage his affairs. Things get conducted by themselves. So instead of saying that: THE SAGE MANAGES AFFAIRS WITHOUT ACTIONS, it would be better to say that affairs are managed without action. The work of the sage is conducted without any action on his part. Knowing this, he has not to do anything consciously. He does nothing for the simple fact, that the illusion of doing falls with the ego. As long as the 'I' exists, the doer exists; till then the feeling of 'I am doing' persists.
And the irony is, that I declare the doer-ship of things that I do not do at all! And as long as the ego exists, I shall insist that I perform these actions. I say, "I breath, I live, I am ill, I am healthy, I am young, I am old" - as if I bring all these actions about!
Ego attaches every action to itself.
The sage's ego drops completely and therefore his each action is in unison with God. So it is the Universal Spirit that works through him. He becomes the medium for the Supreme Power its vehicle.
Then it is God that makes him stand, it is God who makes him sit; then it is God who walks and speaks or becomes silent in him.
Therefore the Rishis of the Upanishads never attached their names to their teachings. We have not been able to connect the Vedas with any person. Rather we have always known that they are not the creation of a human mind. This has however, given rise to many foolish conjectures also.
People began to say that God himself wrote the Vedas. The actual fact is, those who wrote the Vedas were very much human but they did not understand themselves to be the originators. Their ego was completely annihilated and hence they had no cause to feel themselves as the writers of the Vedas. If such a person was questioned, he would say, "God makes me write," or "God writes."
It is because they were completely oblivious of the feeling or doer-ship due to the extinction of ego, that they could say that the Vedas are not written by man, that the Vedas are the work of the Divine.
Whenever there has been a revelation of the highest Truth in the world, it has never been through a mortal being. Whoever revealed them, had no idea of doer-ship. And wherever the doer is cons- cious of his action, truth becomes changed and deformed; then beauty turns into ugliness and love into hatred.
Lao Tzu says that the sage performs no action nor conveys his message through words and yet he works. Lao Tzu stands, sits, he walks, he sleeps, he begs for alms and goes from place to place.
If anyone asks of him he gives him knowledge. Lao Tzu accomplishes all tasks but he does not delude himself that he is doing something for the world. Let us try to understand this further:
Whenever some one asked Lao Tzu, "You eat, sleep, you walk and talk, you even explain to people, then actions you do perform!" Then Lao Tzu would reply, "My actions are like the dry leaves of a tree. When the wind blows east, they go east, when the wind blows west, they go west. When the whirlwind whirls them up into skies, they fly high up in the air; and when the wind is silent, they drop to the ground.
"I drift in the air like a brown leaf; let the wind take me where it wills let it take me high in the sky, I am not swollen with pride that I have attained great heights. Let it drop me to the ground, I do not sit to weep that I have been slighted, insulted. When the breeze lifts me up into the air, I take the pleasure of floating in the skies and when it throws me to the ground, I delight in complete relaxation. When it takes me East, I go East; when it takes me West, I go West. I have no direction of my own. I have nowhere to go. And I have no reason to annoy the wind either! That could only have been, if I had a will of my own. Then I could have directed the wind where to go but I have no desire of my own."
Lao Tzu says, "I am not the doer of whatever is happening. Things are happening by themselves.
And therefore let the result be what it will, I am not interested," If people understand him, it is alright, if not, it is still alright by him. He is not out to convince people. Understand the difference: A Mohammedan friend came to see me the other day. He said, "Why are there less numbers of Hindus if Hinduism is the highest and oldest religion on the earth? What is the reason that there are more Muslims, more Christians?" I said, there was a reason for this.
The Rishis who laid the foundation of the Hindu religion always said, "Who are we to convince others? Who are we to convert others, to coax others, to leave their faith and embrace ours? We are nobody." When a person went to Patanjali or Yagyawalkya, all his questions were answered by the sage but there the matter ended. There was no give and take whether the man was convinced or not was immaterial; nor did the sage care whether he became his follower. The sage for himself, is a total Void - he is naught. Then where is the question of anyone following him? Someone raises a question, if the answer rises within the sage gives; if it does not, he remains silent. There also, is not the attitude that 'I have given the answer'.
It is not necessary that you will get an answer to your question from Lao Tzu. Lao Tzu will say, "If the answer comes, I shall give. If it does not - forgive me." Many a time people felt themselves in difficulty with Lao Tzu. Someone walks many miles to put him a question and Lao Tzu says, "Friend, the answer won't come!" The man pleads, he has came a long way but Lao Tzu pleads his inability to answer, if the answer will not rise within. At the most he would advice the man to tarry a little.
Then if the answer came, he would give it. If it did not, he was helpless.
There is no attempt at conversion. The sum rises - let the flower bloom if it will or let it not. The sun will not be blamed for the buds that did not open; nor will he be praised for those that did. The sun is not responsible. His task is to rise every morning and set in the evening. Let the flowers bloom or not, it is entirely their look-out. The sun comes and goes.
So also do people like Lao Tzu - they come and they pass away. They make no arrangements, they give no message. Yet if someone is ready for it, he gets the message. If someone wants to establish himself in the Self, it can be brought about in the presence of such a one. But these are all happenings that cannot be directed. These are innate and spontaneous happenings.
This Sutra is difficult to be grasped by our understanding. for we have in our lives, never performed an action-less action or spoken in speech unsaid. Therefore it is difficult to fit these within the dimension of our experiences. But I say unto you that if you experiment, you will find that this has begun to come within your understanding.
For instance, if you wish that there be peace in your house - hold, do not go about organising peace. Just become tranquil yourself. Then even if there are ten members in the house-hold, you will gradually begin to feel an uncommon harmony pervading in the family. We know not from what unknown paths and unfamiliar openings peace permeates within; and it is the same house where the only cure for restlessness was more restlessness and disquietude. Within a year's time the house will be a heaven of peace. And you have actually done nothing! Or whatever you have done, you did within yourself.
A tranquil person begins to create vibrations of peace around him. A restless person likewise, radiates vibrations of chaos, and confusion around him. Now Scientists have evolved machines to gauge whether a man radiates peace or chaos. Machine can measure the wave-lengths of the rays emanating from the person standing before it and each wave-length denotes the type of a particular radiation.
Now if this man, who is being tested, is told that his wife has run away with the neighbour, the machine will at once record the change in his radiation; for now this man is seething with rage there is fire within him. Or if you were to tell him that he has won a lottery, again there is a change in his radiation. The wave-lengths of these radiations can be studied and the internal condition of the individual can be correctly assessed.
The human body is a radiator. We are each a small nucleus which throws out thousands of kinds of rays. Now the most interesting thing is that when we throw out these rays and they are reflected back to us from another person, we feel it is this other who is venting wrath on us. Now if I emit around me such rays as are reflected back to me as anger, I will feel it is that other person who is angry with me. It will never occur to me that whatever I do with my person is such that it turns into anger when it returns from the other person. But this is what we all do! And when everyone does the same thing, then there are ten members in a family, the anger is not only ten times mole but is 10 x 10 more. Then there is no end to the confusion they cause as These rays are thrown from one
to the other. They form an intricate net-work in which the same kind of rays cross and re-cross each other and within this we all live. And then we set about redressing our ills!
This tormented man, filled with confusion and turmoil, then sets about finding remedies for peace and creates more confusion in the bargain.
Lao Tzu says, "Be at peace and peace will spread all around you." And yet it is not inevitable. A person sitting at Buddha's feet can contemplate murder. Buddha's step-brother who stayed for years with him was always planning to kill Buddha. He made a thousand schemes to destroy Buddha.
Buddha sits at the foot of a hillock and this man rolls stones from the top. Now when Buddha is in meditation, peace should radiate around him. If this does not happen around Buddha, where else will it happen? But this man, Devadatta sends boulders rolling on to him! Buddha passes by on the road, this Buddha who is absolutely desireless who would feign hurt even a flower, and this Devadatta arranges to let loose a mad elephant - And he is his brother! Then the question arises - what is the reason? If there were waves of bliss and tranquility emanating from Buddha, what was happening to this man?
But tranquility also spreads only if you are receptive or else. it cannot penetrate within you. You are at liberty to keep your doors closed. You have that much freedom. You can live with the poison within you. You can put up your umbrella even when it is raining nectar. Keep this in mind when this is being said.
A sage with Lao Tzu's understanding, will be tranquil on his path and will emit rays of tranquility. Yet only those who are receptive will be affected by them and those who are not, will remain unaffected.
Under no circumstances however, will Lao Tzu be a partner in their non-tranquility. This could only be, if he were throwing rays of non-tranquility. Now at least, he does not increase their restlessness.
If a person is non-receptive to his rays of tranquility, his non-tranquility does not increase in the presence of such a person. And this is not less, even this is a great thing. The sum total of its collective effect will be tremendous.
It is very recently that we have come to know by the explosion of the atom, of the boundless energy that is contained in the ultimate particle of matter. It was beyond our imagination that a single atom would contain so much force, for we always thought that strength can only be in the big and strong - what power can there be in that which is small? We always equated power with the massiveness, the bulk of a thing. The smaller a thing, the more insignificant and weak we considered it to be. But the truth is the opposite. The more subtle a thing, the more powerful it is. Power lies in the subtle and never in the mass. The greatest power resides in the subtlest thing. And that which is the Void, is the measureless store of energy, where there is in-calculable power. The energy increases as the thing becomes more and more subtle till ultimately the Void is reached, which is absolute power.
When a sage becomes totally void, actionless: doing nothing saying nothing; when there is no movement in him, no tremor and he is absolutely still, void, he becomes the store-house of the absolute power. This absolute power then begins to take effect in several forms; it evolves many methods and regulations. Many lives change in its presence and its effect is felt in distant places. At times the effect lasts for thousands of years.
Just now I told vou about Devadatta. the step-brother of Buddha. He stayed for years with Buddha and yet was forever evolving ways and means to kill him. On the other hand, there are people, who even after 2,500 years are filled with joy at the very mention of Buddha's name - -some unknown door opens within them. Even after 2.500 years the rays of the Buddha still penetrate within them.
This is because no radiation is ever lost in the Universe. Whatever is contained in the Universe is never lost. The rays that diffused from the heart of Buddha, are spreading every where even today.
And if a heart opens to them they immediately penetrate within even today.
Not Buddha alone but all those who have known as Buddha, their rays too are scattered in a like manner. And all Those who have not known, their rays also pervade the skies.
When you think of murder you are not alone. The vibrations of all the murderers of the world become available to you. Remember, in this world, never has a man committed murder by himself alone nor has a man ever attained the Supreme Knowledge all by himself. Whenever a person becomes restless to attain the Universal Wisdom, the strength and power of all saints and sages flow towards him. When a man becomes ready to kill, the strength of all the murderers - those that were, those that are and those who, will be - flows towards him they become a hollow, a pit. This is why a criminal and a sage say the same thing: The criminal always wonders after the act, how he could possibly have done it. He cannot imagine ever having planned the murder.
There is a little truth in this statement. It is a fact that the thought of murder came to him but at the time of killing, the waves he received of strength came from multitudes of murderers, past, present, and future.
This is exactly why a sage also never says that he has attained knowledge although he did make an attempt, he did practise sadhana, he did make a resolve, he did surrender; but when wisdom dawns on him, the strength and power of all the sages are at one with him. We do not exist in this world as an indi-vidual. Rather, we exist as a small drop in the vast net-work of humanity.
This is why Lao Tzu says "Everything becomes silent. Silence also conveys and there can be action- less action." The individual is an atom of consciousness just as science has discovered the atom to be the ultimate particle of matter. We have to go within the individual and this going within is what is called religion. All the sutras of Lao Tzu point to this alone: that we should go within.
We say "Things do not happen by action, they happen by our very being." But actions are on the periphery whereas being is within. Doing is outside whereas being is inside. So Lao Tzu says, "You become immaculate and purity spreads all around. Do not try to purify others." What he means is "Go within." He says, "You will not be able to express truth in words, you can only express it in silence - 'no-word'. But words are without and the No-word state is within. So what he implies is to go within. All his effort, all his suggestions and indications are towards the inward journey.
When a person travels within and reaches, he attains the atom which is the atom of consciousness that atom of spirituality. Its power is vast and boundless. This very atom of consciousness, is what we call God. As soon as we reach there, the power becomes so great that then the power alone works. Then we have not to work separately on our own. It would seem odd if we were to say that in this world only the powerless work. A powerful person's being is enough to bring the necessary work about. In this world those who do not know, achieve a little by effort alone. Those who know, achieve everything effortlessly. Those who know, speak even in silence and those who do not, are unable to convey anything even with the help of thousands of words.
This sutra of Lao Tzu, is very subtle. He was a very subtle person himself. Whatever he says appears very small on the surface. It was only this morning that a friend came and said, "Today's sutra is very short". It is not a short sutra, it is very big. And though it is expressed in a simple line, it contains all the Vedas within it. All the religious teachings, all that the sages have ever said, is contained within this small sutra. If the whole of TAO-TEH-KING is lost and only this short sutra remains, the one who knows will seek out the rest of the book with the key of this one-line sutra. This is enough. Therefore let me repeat the sutra once more, then you may ask questions.
"THEREFORE THE SAGE MANAGES AFFAIRS WITHOUT ACTION AND CONVEYS DOCTRINES WITHOUT WORDS."
If there are any questions left with regard to this sutra, let us take them up now. We shall have to have another sitting tomorrow as one more sutra still remains.
QUESTION: BHAGWAN SRI, FROM LAO TZU'S ELUCIDATION OF THE ORIGINAL ADVAITA MONO-THEIST PHILOSOPHY, IT IS CLEAR THAT HE HAD ATTAINED THE SUPREME KNOWLEDGE. THEN WHY IS IT THAT VERY FEW PEOPLE FOLLOWED HIS PHILOSOPHY AND TREAD ON THE PATH HE SHOWED? IS NOT THIS FAILURE TO GAIN FOLLOWERS, A BITTER CRITICISM OF HIS VIEW-POINT? AND IF MANY FOLLOWED ARISTOTLE, IS THAT NOT THE PROOF OF THE EXCELLENCE OF HIS SCIENCE? PLEASE ENLIGHTEN US ON THIS.
Bhagwan Sri: Very few people know Lao Tzu. The higher the peak, the lesser will be the number of eyes that can see it. The greater the depth, the lesser will be the number of those who dive to the bottom of it. The waves of the ocean are visible to the naked eye, not so the pearls within the ocean. The depth of Lao Tzu is the depth of the ocean. Some rare diver alone can reach it. The world is not made of divers; the world moves on those who span the waves by making boats. Man travels from one shore to another; he has no use for the ocean's depth. So he creates the science of making boats and primarily such science is significant.
Therefore Aristotle became so significant. His logic proved useful to the world. It was proved harmful in the long run but it seems very gratifying in the beginning. The core may be poisonous but the upper crust is sweet. You see, it is easier to under-stand Aristotle because Aristotle's sutras show the way to obtain power. Lao Tzu's sutras show the way to obtain tranquility. Peace, tranquility however, is the ultimate form of energy whereas power alone in its ultimate form is nothing more than restlessness.
This is not so though in the initial stages.
Walk on the path of Aristotle and it will lead you up to the atom bomb. The path of Lao Tzu leads you not to the atom bomb but up to Lao Tzu alone. So for those who wish to travel, Aristotle is the answer for they will be reaching somewhere or the other always - to the moon and then further and further! Those alone. however, can tread the path of Lao Tzu, who do not want to travel at all.
They can reach up to Lao Tzu alone and not up to the moon or some other star or the atom bomb - nowhere else.
Besides, there is the desire, the ambition for power within all of us. We desire wealth, power, status, fame, pride, egotism. If we hear Lao Tzu, we will run away as fast as we can for he talks of snatching all these away from you. Lao Tzu offers us nothing; rather he takes everything away from us. But we are beggars. We are out to beg. We cannot stand a second before Lao Tzu, for fear he might snatch even our begging bowl away!
There is a story about Diogenes. It is said he used to go about with a lantern in the streets of Athens, even in the bright day light. When asked what he was looking for, he would reply "I am looking for an honest person." For many a year he went about like this. Then when someone questioned him whether he has succeeded in his search, he replied, "Is it less that I have yet got my lantern with me? Many tried to snatch even my lamp away from me."
When a person is prepared to lose all, then only can he approached Lao Tzu. how many are prepared to lose? Everyone is ready to snatch. So the science of snatching evolved from Aristotle's theories. This is why the East was conquered. It could not produce an Aristotle and so it remained a slave and bore a lot of trouble and harassment for a long time. The East could not create a Scripture of extortion. But who can tell who stands to gain ultimately - the East or the West?
What is spread over a long time, is difficult to gauge The initial successes cannot decide anything.
Things change at the second step and by the time the end is reached, everything can change. And it is bound to change. It seems the East has suffered a great loss. If however, the East stands confidently by Lao Tzu and Buddha, the West will come to understand its foolishness. What it had snatched were mere toys that hardly made any difference What it had lost. it would realise, was its very soul. What the East had lost, was a mere toy and what it had retained was the soul. If the East stands firmly by Lao Tzu, it is bound to be victorious.
The name of Lao Tzu reached only to a very few: and the reason for that is no one wants to go up to Lao Tzu. If we chance to meet him, we will try and avoid him, we will say - "Not now, later; when the time comes, we shall come to you. As yet we are seeking worldly wealth."
This is one reason. Another reason is, what Lao Tzu says is a different matter altogether. There are two types of knowledge in this world. One is that which comes within the understanding of the very common man. The other type is such that unless the person changes completely, it cannot come within his understanding. The former is the very preliminary knowledge that is directly understood by the most primitive of men, who are almost like animals. No training is required, his very instinct tells him what is what.
Then there is the other type of knowledge which does not come within the understanding of a person unless he is fully learned and transformed. And Lao Tzu's knowledge is not for the simple man. The man must be transformed, that is to say, a certain alchemy has to be passed through. Then only can Lao Tzu be understood. Otherwise, he cannot be understood.
It is like this: Supposing we tell a little child to pick out red and green pebbles. he will do so. But if you tell him to pick out the diamonds, he will find it difficult. To discern the diamonds, the child will have to wait. It is very likely otherwise, that the child might throw away the diamonds and preserve the stones. The diamond has to be prepared and its hidden lustre has to be brought out. Many a time the diamond in its original state looks worse than an ordinary stone. After a great deal of effort, it appears in its full lustre. So the child will he unable to discern. The child has also to prepare in order that he may be able to discern and discriminate.
Lao Tzu talks of diamonds, of maturity. When a person becomes mature, he is able to understand Lao Tzu, whereas a school-going child's intelligence is adequate enough to understand Aristotle.
He requires no special qualifications. Even up-to-date, the human race has not reached the stage where greater number of people can understand Lao Tzu. Even now, only one in a million can understand him.
Remember all that is significant in life, is aristocratic, whatever is excellent, is majestic; it can be understood by a few only. Knowledge has its own conditions. It climbs down for nobody; rather, you have to reach up to it. Lao Tzu will not step down for you; you will have to climb up for him.
Knowledge is all ascent - a steep ascent. Science can be achieved right where you are. Knowledge is achieved only when you proceed forward. Therefore, it is true that very few understand Lao Tzu. But those who have understood, were most excellent flowers of wisdom. Aristotle is useful for everyone but those who followed him, are not the flowers of humanity.
The deeper the knowledge the much earlier it dawns - much before its time. For instance, what Lao Tzu has said it will take another 2,500 years to become contemporary. Then people will understand him right from where they are.
Let me put it this way, it will be easier to understand. A man composes a poem. If his poem is easily understood by all it will not remain in vogue for long. The poem that is not understood by all except those who are at the top, endures for thousands of years. A Kalidas endures for thousands of years. A film song lasts for hardly a month or two, though it is understood by all. Its tune catches on immediately. From village to village, from field to field, from every street and by-lane, its melody spreads. The young and the old sing it alike and yet suddenly we find, it has disappeared. It is never heard of again! What is the reason?
It was understood by all because it was the level of the intelligence of the masses. Therefore it could not exist long. But when a Song is really created, tit takes years to decipher its meaning. Many a time, it is understood long after the poet's death.
Soren Kierkegaard wrote books. During his life-time, no one heard of them. he was able to publish only one book of which only five copies were sold and these too, were bought by his friends. he lived all his life on the money his father left him for, for all the twenty four hours he was engrossed in his thoughts, in his search; where was the time to earn a living? Every first of the month, he would go to the bank and draw some money on which he lived the entire month. Then one day he was told that the money has finished. Soren fell down at the door of the bank and died, because there was no hope of money coming from any other source.
For a full hundred years, no one remembered Soren Kierkegaard. no one knew either his books or even his name. Now since the last 30-40 years, he has been rediscovered. Today it can be said that the West has been greatly influenced by Soren Kierkegaard. People say, it will take hundreds of years still, to understand Kierkegaard well. But in his life-time, people of his village laughed at him.
People used to deride him for wasting his time. They advised him to do some useful work and earn a living.
The pictures that Vincent Van Gogh created. are now valued in millions but Vincent in his lifetime, could not sell a single one. If he took a cup of tea from a tea-shop, he gave a painting in return for he had no money. He would barter his paintings for a packet of cigarettes. Sixty years after his death when his genius was discovered people delved in to their junk-yards to take out his paintings. Some paintings were recovered from a tea-shop, some from a hotel where he must have had a meal. All these owners of his paintings became millionaires.
Each painting drew a sum of five lacs of rupees. Today only 200 of his paintings are available.
Vincent Van Gogh was a painter of the highest calibre in the history of man. But it is now that he is acclaimed. In his life-time he went hungry three days in a week. His brother sent him money from which he ate four days in a week and spent the three days allowance to buy painting requisites. He was on the verge of death by the time he was 32 for how long could he continue like this? So he shot himself.
He wrote before he died that now it was no use living any more. He had created what he wanted to create. His work was done, so why should he be a burden on his brother? He had to provide funds for his meals after all, and now that he had achieved what he was striving for since a year, his work was done.
Now such people live on a different plane altogether. When the human race reaches that level, then only are these people appreciated and rediscovered. And yet people like Vincent Van Gogh and Soren Kierkegaard are not people who have reached the Rights of the Everest. They have attained smaller mountains, whereas Lao Tzu can be said to belong to the heights of Gourishankar. It is always a numbered few who ever reach that height. Now if we hope that even a small part of the human race would some day dwell on these heights, we shall have to wait for thousands of years.
Therefore it is, that Lao Tzu's influence is so little. But time and again such people have to found.
Their vibrations are never lost. They forever keep echoing. Sometimes it happens that such people are completely forgotten. Then if someone begins to talk like them, we feel he is saying something new.
Lao Tzu's disciple Chuang-Tse has said, "Every discovery is a rediscovery." There is nothing in the world that was not known before. But those who knew were on such a high plane, that their teachings could not become common and were lost. Then when another person capable of understanding comes along, we feel he is saying something new. But there is nothing in this world that has not been known thousands of times before.
It is Man's bad luck that he does not live on the mountains. He lives on the plains and therefore the wisdom of the peaks get lost and forgotten. Then after a long time someone comes along and brings them back and they appear new. These sayings of Lao Tzu are a few of the supreme statements that Man has given before. They are the statements that are on the boundary-line, the very last words that can be spoken. And Lao Tzu stands tottering at the verge of this boundary-line, beyond which is the realm of No-Word. Lao Tzu speaks from this ultimate boundary-line. So he alone can understand him, who has reached this boundary whereas those who have not do not understand him. This is no fault of Lao Tzu.
Then there are a few things which you will not understand until you have experienced them. If we tell a child things that are beyond his sphere of experience, he will hear alright but he will quickly forget it all. The matter will not register in his remembrance. Only that registers in the mind, which is within the boundary of experience and coincides with it. So our experience should also tally somewhere.
Now whatsoever Lao Tzu says does not tally with our experiences at all. Therefore Lao Tzu's book remains untouched - and this is a boon!
Now here Lao Tzu says, "Those who are capable of action-less action, are the wise. Those who speak without words are the exponents of truth." He does not move and yet does everything. His lips do not open and yet the message is conveyed. Now this is nowhere within our experience.
We shout ourselves hoarse and yet the message is not conveyed. Then how can we believe that anything can be conveyed without speech? When after so much talk, the message is not conveyed; the same message is repeated to the ends of our lives and still it does not go home! We make so many arrangements and yet we die the beggars we were.
Lao Tzu says, "Make no arrangement, do not manage your affairs." Just be and all arrangements will take place duly. We will say - "What madness! we refuse to be mad with you!"
Only those will be willing to follow Lao Tzu, who are well-acquainted with the madness of our so- called society. Those who are so badly filled with melancholy because of us, those who have understood well that what we call sensibility is pure ignorance and that what we call wisdom is utter foolishness, those alone will be willing to step towards Lao Tzu.
And to step along with Lao Tzu, is to step into danger for he gives no assurance of protection. The path he shows is so dangerous that you will be lost; you shall be no more.
Lao Tzu says, "This is a path of extinction, annihilation is the way." He alone will be prepared to go with him who knows for certain that by achieving he achieved nothing, now he should lose and see.
When by running nothing was attained, he will halt and see and when wisdom took him nowhere, he will become insane and see.
It is very few people who gather so much courage therefore very few can go along with him.
Enough for today. We shall continue tomorrow.