Action free from ownership and recognition
CHAPTER 2: SUTRA 4
ALL THINGS TAKE THEIR RISE BUT HE DOES NOT TURN AWAY FROM THEM; HE GIVES THEM LIFE, BUT DOES NOT TAKE POSSESSION OF THEM; HE GOES THROUGH THESE PROCESSES, BUT DOES NOT TAKE POSSESSION OF THEM; HE ACTS, BUT DOES NOT APPROPRIATE, IT IS BECAUSE HE LAYS CLAIM TO NO CREDIT THAT THE CREDIT CANNOT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM HIM.
Therefore the sage arranges his affairs in an effortless attitude and conveys his Teachings through silence.
Then in the following Sutra, Lao Tzu says, "Everything happens by itself."
Among the basic doctrines of Tao, there is this one which says, "All things happen by themselves."
There is nothing that requires our presence to be necessary to happen. Everything takes place, even without us. Sleep comes, so does hunger, birth happens, so does death; all these happen by themselves.
But we presume all that happens by itself as motivated by us. According to Lao Tzu, the biggest delusion of Man is, that he claims himself the doer of all that happens. To become the doer of that which happens, is the biggest of ignorance. Also, Lao Tzu does not say, "Do not steal, commit no fraud". He says, "Neither can you do anything, nor can you leave anything." You are free to leave a thing only if you are the doer. If I have done something, I can leave it also. If I am not the doer, there is no way to leave it. It is necessary to understand this well for all the concepts of the theory of renunciation stand against this theory of Lao Tzu.
He who renounces, believes that he can renounce. Lao Tzu says, "When you cannot do anything, there is no question of leaving it." He says, "There is no possibility of either doer-ship or renunciation in actions." The only freedom you have is, of becoming the doer. That you may not be the doer, even that freedom you have. Whatever is to happen will keep on happening.
There is a joke prevalent since the time of Lao Tzu, which makes an interesting story: A youth was sitting on the sea-shore with his beloved. It was a moonlit night and the waves were rising high in the ocean and rushing towards the shore. The youth lifted his face towards the skies and said, "Flow yet faster, O, Ocean! Let your waves rise higher!" The night was beautiful and the waves were of course rising high and rushing towards the shore! But the beloved is wonder-struck! "You have so much strength, I did not know!" She says, "I could never have dreamt that the mighty ocean obeys you! You ordered the waves to rise and they rose. You beckoned them to the shore and to here they were!" This story circulated in Lao Tzu's time. And Lao Tzu says, "Such are our affairs in life." The waves rise and fall but we stand on the shore and pass an order and believe within ourselves that it is we who have caused the waves to rise!
Lao Tzu says, "You can neither be the doer nor the renunciate." If you get acquainted with this little truth, that things happen by themselves, it is enough. They require no one's presence to happen.
It is in the nature of things to happen. And he who knows and experiences this, is a sage, according to Lao Tzu.
At the same time Lao Tzu says, "But the saint is not indifferent or opposed to the happenings; for when things happen of themselves, the saints are not opposed to them." The question of opposition or renunciation or apathy, arises only if I am the doer. Understand this: Hunger comes; the ignorant man eats more - thinking, 'I am eating'. But he too cannot just go on eating, even if he wanted.
There is an anecdote in Nasruddin's life. He was on a pilgrimage with one of his disciples. Every day he noticed that after meals, his disciple would shake himself vigorously and then begin to eat again. Months passed and this happened every day. One day he confronted him and asked "What is this? You eat then shake yourself, then eat again, then shake yourself again, then eat again?"
The youth replied, "This way, I create more space within myself so that I can take in more food."
Nasruddin gave him a tight slap on his face and said, "Rascal! Why did you not tell me earlier? Oh, to think of all the food I could have eaten but did not eat! I had my suspicions that I could eat much more t4an I did."
The ignorant man thinks, he is eating. There is another type of ignorant man who thinks he is fasting.
Lao Tzu would call both these ignorant, for both take themselves to be the doer - the one in doing, the other in non-doing. Lao Tzu would say, "He is wise who is against neither." He does not feel he is doing the eating of the food. He keeps watching - when he feels hungry he eats; when he does not, he does not eat. When there is no hunger, he is fasting, when he feels hungry, he eats. He neither denies hunger nor does he go out of his way to gratify it. He plays no mischief with hunger.
He remains a witness and watches the process of hunger.
Someone approached the fakir Takwan and asked, "What is your sadhana?" Takwan replied, "I practise no sadhana. My guru has directed me to sleep when I feel sleepy and get up when sleep is done. When I am hungry I eat, when I don't I do not eat. When I feel like talking, I talk, otherwise I remain silent." The youth said, "Is this called sadhana?"
Takwan replied, "I also do not know whether it is sadhana or not, for 'that which you can practise is ignorance' says my Guru. So I do not practise anything. I merely observe whatever is happening.
But this I can vouch that ever since I have accepted sleep, hunger, etc., I am in complete bliss; no misery has ever come upon me, for I have accepted all. Now when pain or anguish come, I do not take them as so but as a happening that is taking place."
Remember, pain appears as pain only when we deny it. The sting of pain is not in the pain but in our non-acceptance of it. We feel it should not have been so but it is - that is the sting. If I were to understand that what has happened was bound to happen in just the way it happened and could not be otherwise, then there is no sting in that pain. Then, there is no pain if happiness is snatched away from you. The joy that was yours, should not have been taken away from you, you could not save it - this feeling brings the pain. If I know that pain and pleasure come and go; whatever comes, goes also and if there is no inclination within mc tc. drop the one and hold on to the other, then there is no question of pain and anguish.
Takwan says, "I do not know what sadhana is. All I know is, that from the day I have known that things happen by themselves and I play no part in it, I have known no misery."
Lao Tzu says, "They are not hostile. They know things happen by themselves." To understand this it will be useful to understand Mahavira.
A sutra of Mahavira is very close to this sutra. And it is a priceless sutra. Wherever Mahavira uses the term Dharma, he has never used it to imply religion. By Dharma, Mahavira meant - the nature of things. His sutra is which means - The nature of things, is Dharma. Fire burns, that is its dharma.
Water flows towards lower level - that is its dharma. The child grows into a youth, that is his dharma.
Happiness comes and goes - that is its nature. Nothing is abiding or permanent in this world - that is the nature of the world. Man is born and he dies - that is his fate, his nature.
Mahavira says, "All this is the quality, the character of things." If you can understand this well, you can become free this very moment.
We are harassed and troubled because we fight our Nature. If the body gets old, we struggle to retain youth. If the body is diseased, we fight The disease. But this is the nature of the body.
Whatever happens in this world, is natural phenomena. Lao Tzu says, "All that happens, happens by itself but the wise do not oppose any happening." There is no reason for opposition. By opposing, I am only trying to prove that I can oppose.
No, Lao Tzu says, "The wise do not even desire liberation because all desires prove a bondage."
They never wish that a particular thing should happen in a particular way, for he thus desires lands himself in trouble. This world does not move according to anyone's desires. It moves according to its own law. Sometimes your desires are gratified then you are deluded - just as you believed the ocean obeyed you. And when the waves do not rise, you keep on ordering them and feel miserable when they do not obey. The ocean neither flows according to your will nor stops when you order.
It is a matter of coincidence that the waves rise according to your desire sometimes and sometimes not. Sometimes you keep on winning and you feel it is you who is winning. Sometimes you lose and you feel you are losing. But the truth is just this, that the nature of things is such that at times it gives you the illusion of winning and at times of losing. Sometimes whatever dice you throw is otherwise.
If your desire coincides with the nature of the thing, things turn out right for you; if it does not, things do not work out right for you.
I have heard of a man who was incurring losses in the market for a number of years. He was a multi-millionaire. His loss ran into millions of rupees. All his friends were aware of his consistent bad luck. Therefore they would do just the opposite of what he did and they always gained. This matter became so well-known that the whole market-business followed his movements.
After a number of years, things suddenly took a turn. He, as usual made the first move and as usual, all the other traders did the opposite. Everyone lost and he captured the whole market. All of them gathered round him and asked him the secret of his good-fortune. He said, "Today when I was going through my books, I realised how consistently I have been losing over a period of so many years.
So today I decided to do just the opposite of whatever decision I make. This time I decided against myself just as you all have been doing all this time.
"My decision was to buy and I sold. When you saw me selling, you began to buy. For the first time I realised that I was forever going against the nature of things and asserting my will obstinately. I did not know what was right but from the last few years' experience one thing was certain that I was wrong. Therefore today I decided against my own decision." When a man conforms with the nature of things, success is his; when he does not conform with the nature of things, he fails.
If you see this truth in the right perspective, you will understand Lao Tzu when he says he does not oppose. He stands firm in life and takes it as it comes. He does not run away because he knows it is not possible to run away from life. And if a situation occurs which requires him to run, he runs; he does not go against it and halt. So understand this well, otherwise there will be a mistake. If a situation arises and the happening requires him to run away, he will not stop. He will ho one with the running away. He does not do anything on his own, he moves with the happening. Take it this way - he does not swim, he floats. He does not throw his limbs about in the water, he just lets himself go with the current. Wherever the current goes, he goes. And he says unto the current, "Wherever you take me, that is my destination", verily whatever happens in the life of a person who has acquired this state of being,. is wonderful and unique and Lao Tzu has given us news of him.
"HE GIVES THEM LIFE BUT DOES NOT TAKE POSSESSION OF THEM."
The sage gives life to whatever comes in contact with him but he does not become the possessor thereof. He gives all he has to give but does not assert his right over them. For Lao Tzu says, "You assert your right and you insinuate the other into rebellion." You make an enemy of the person you take possession of. You take away his freedom and you instigate him to be self-willed. The wise man never takes possession. Whatever he has, he gives and at the same time makes no conditions to receive. If he gives love, he does not ask for love in return. If it is returned however, he accepts it. If it is not returned, that fact also he accepts. There is no difference in his attitude in both these conditions. He asserts no right for then arises the question of return.
What is the meaning of right, of possessor-ship?
It means - I have done something and now I have a right to get something back in return; I have a right to the reaction thereof. If I do not get it, I shall be unhappy. And the fun of the whole thing is, the things we claim our right on, if they are attained, give no pleasure but if not attained, they leave us unhappy! Now for instance, if I love somebody, I would expect his co-operation in the time of my need. But when such co-operation is extended, it well never occur to me to even thank him!
For when I have given love, I take his help for granted. There is no question of thanks. What was to happen, happened, so there will be no pleasure in the happening. No pleasure can be derived from that which is taken for granted.
Another example: I am walking along a road. If my handkerchief falls down and my wife picks it up for me, there is no pleasure in the act. If another woman (preferably unknown), picks it up and gives it to me, the same act gives a lot of pleasure! I will thank her also for I did not expect it of her. If my mother sits the whole night pressing my head I think nothing of it but if another woman presses it for a short while, I shall not forget her all my life perhaps! Where right is asserted, we expect things to be as they should be. If this is so, it gives no pleasure but if this is not so, it gives pain.
Now this is a most interesting thing: Possessor-ship brings nothing but pain. It never brings pleasure for it is taken for granted that it should yield pleasure. If it does not bring the pleasure it should have brought, it becomes painful. Lao Tzu says, "THE SAGE GIVES THEM LIFE BUT DOES NOT TAKE POSSESSION OF THEM." In fact, the sage knows the secret of happiness. His condition is exactly the opposite of ours. Since he does not assert his right, he is happy when anyone does something for him and there is no cause for pain if anyone does not. The expectation was never there that anyone should do anything for him. Remember this is exactly the opposite of our condition.
If a sage is invited to a meal, he feels very blessed and grateful for he had never thought anyone would be so kind and thoughtful as to feed him. It had never occurred to him that it was his right to be invited to a meal, that his followers are duty-bound to invite him. He is grateful, he thinks his host to be very kind to feed him - because he never expects! There is pain behind expectation, pain behind assertion of right.
There is nothing but hell in possessor-ship. Therefore wherever there is possessor-ship there is hell.
Let this owner-ship be of any kind: husband over wife, or wife over husband; friend over a friend, father over a son or even a guru over the disciples. Where possessor-ship exists in any garb, in any form and anywhere, hell flourishes behind them. Where possessor-ship is not, in those open skies, heaven is born.
Wherever you find hell, be sure there is ownership in the relationships of those concerned. Hell cannot be otherwise. Wherever there is pain, agony, know that ownership is there and it is giving trouble. But we are strange people! We never realise that it is the ownership that is the root cause of trouble; rather, we feel it is the other who is the cause. Therefore also, we fail to understand that non-ownership brings happiness. We just cannot understand this.
The fact remains however, that wherever there is happiness there is no attitude of ownership and where there is pain, there is the ownership attitude behind it. If the sage does not have the wisdom to realise this and lift himself out of hell, his wisdom has no value.
The sage passes through every process of life.
In childhood he is a child, in youth he is a young man and in old age he becomes an old man.
But when passing through youth he does not try to possess youth for he who does so. will weep when old age comes. He passes through youth without possessing it and when old age comes, he welcomes it also. He passes through life without claiming to own life. And this is why, when death comes, it finds him waiting with open arms. He claims no ownership of life, therefore death cannot snatch anything from him.
Remember, only that can be snatched from you over which you have developed the attitude of ownership. Your theft can be discovered, you can be looted, you can be deceived, when the feeling of ownership arises in you.
A wise man can never be fooled, nothing can be taken away from him, nothing can be stolen from him, nothing of his can be destroyed for the basic sutra of all these do not allow the sutra of ownership to take root within him. He refuses to be the owner.
Try to understand this further: ownership is the root cause of all our troubles. This attitude of ownership comes so stealthily that we cannot tell. Not only do we become masters of those things on which we can easily assert our influence but even where we cannot, we develop attitudes of.
ownership. If we get so much as a seating place anywhere, we begin to assert our right. The slightest opportunity and we try to become owners - sometimes in such places, we can never imagine. Our whole lives pass in such attitudes of ownership. If you come to me and I make you sit lovingly beside me, you will begin to assert ownership on me also!
People write to me. As a rule, I reply the first letter, and at once I receive a second letter, then a third, a fourth! When I am able, I reply them but soon I discover they have nothing to write! It is only to get a letter from me that they write - just anything. Then I do not reply a few of their letters; and right enough I receive a derogatory letter filled with abuses! Then I wonder - what has happened?
I did not reply one or two letters but they had established their ownership as soon as they received my first reply!
If I do not reply or if I have delayed by eight days or so, their letters come where anger is clearly visible - "why have you not replied yet?" They are definitely pained and hence the anger. You have the right to write a letter but how does my answer become a definite mud? That I should write to you, is my right but that does not mean that an answer is absolutely incumbent. If I am free to write you are free not to reply. But the mind makes such subtle arrangements of ownership and then it becomes very sad and unhappy.
Lao Tzu says, "They pass through all processes." What we know as life is a long span of processes.
Every moment a process is on, either of love or hate, of wealth or friendship, one or the other is always in process. Sleep comes, breath comes and goes, we eat, we come, we go. But in all this net-work of processes, the sage does not become the owner. Therefore they never fall. No one can remove or drop him from his mastery of himself.
Lao Tzu says, "HE ACTS BUT DOES NOT APPROPRIATE!" They do what they deem proper but take no credit. They never say: "Say that I have done this, accept the fact."
Nasruddin is bathing in a river. The river is deep. He had no idea how deep it was, He went further in and was about to drown. A man saved him. Then wherever this man met him, whether in the mosque or the market-place, he never failed to remind him: "Remember, it was I who saved you?"
Nasruddin was fed up. The man never missed a single opportunity. Wherever he met him, he would say, "Remember Nasruddin, how T saved you from drowning?"
One day Nasruddin caught him by the hand and said, "Come with me, quick!" He took him to the river and leaving him on the shore, he went and stood exactly at the spot where he had saved him.
Then he said to him, "Brother, I am standing exactly where you saved me. Is it not? Now please go away and leave me. Do not save me, it has turned out very expensive. Leave me to my fate I shall die if I have to, I shall live if fate decrees but you please go!"
Whatever little we do, we proclaim with the beat of drum; and this very act shows this was a transaction and not an action on our part. We experienced no joy out of it, rather there also, we bargained, there also we calculated.
In this sutra Lao Tzu says, "They perform the act but take no credit." When the task is done, they leave silently. When the performance is over, They leave without a sound. They do not wait, even so much as you can thank them. It always happens that whatever the sage does, he does so quietly that you are not even aware of it. More often than not, someone else takes the credit for it. The saint retires to a corner while another steps in to take the acclaim. The sage is in the fore-front during the action and steps away back when the credit is given - why?
The sage believes that the act itself is so much bliss! the task in itself is a perfect joy. Only he tries to take credit who gets no joy in performing the task.
A mother brings up her son. If she experiences joy in bringing him up, she will never go about saying it was she who brought him up. If she ever mentions that she has brought him up, kept him in her womb for nine months, taken so much trouble over him, then know that she has denied herself the joy of motherhood. She was merely a nurse; she could not be a mother. To be a mother is so blissful that if she had really been the mother, she had nothing to ask of the son. The bliss derived from motherhood is so much greater than the duty of motherhood!
More often than not, the sage will thank you for affording him an opportunity to experience bliss. He however, expects no thanks from you.
IT IS BECAUSE HE LAYS CLAIM TO NO CREDIT THAT THE CREDIT CANNOT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM HIM.
In the final utterance Lao Tzu says that since they claim no credit they cannot be deprived of the credit. Only he can be refuted, who asserts credit. Claims can be disclaimed but how can he be rebutted, who lays no claims? Lao Tzu says therefore, that he who lays no claim to credit cannot be deprived of it.
Those who demand credit, only they can be refuted and the thing is, that they are already deprived of the credit for they attain nothing from the act.
The desire for acclamation is a proof that the task in itself afforded no pleasure and so pleasure is sought in acclamation. Actually, the desire for praise arises when the action is not performed for the performance of an action is so total in itself, that the question of acclamation does not arise. But he who does not perform the action in its entirety, feels repentance and remorse within and to kill the worm of repentance, he proclaims credit.
The mother who has not been able to do anything for her son, will always recount things she did for him. And the mother who has done a lot for her son, will always recount what all she could not do for him and this will always irk her. Such a mother, is a mother in the true sense of the word, whereas the former is not really the mother. All claims in life are born out of remorse.
Psychologists of today affirm the truth of this fact, specially Adler. He is one of the three most acclaimed psychologists in the world. He accepts this statement of Lao Tzu very profoundly.
Adler says, "He who makes a claim, does so because within himself he feels he is not worthy of it."
It is an inferior man who is always ambitious; and always the fearful makes a show of fearlessness; and he who is weak within makes a show of strength; and the ignorant is always busy loading himself with knowledge.
Adler says, "A man always claims to be the opposite of what he is." What is within is always painful, so he tries to wipe out his inside with the opposite acclamations. This is true to a great extent. Those who suffer from inferiority complex always try to prove to the world that they are something; and till they succeed, they cannot get out of the knot of inferiority. The day the world acclaims them that they are something, it becomes easier for them also to believe the fallacy.
But the feeling of nothingness remains within. It cannot be wiped out that easily. Only a self- deception can be maintained.
Try to understand this statement of Lao Tzu, that the sage makes no claim to credit, in this context.
The real claimers make no claim. Their claim is so righteous, so authentic that it requires no saying.
Their claim is so sound that even God cannot deny it. Therefore there is no necessity of acclaim.
Jesus was crucified. His disciples thought he could never be crucified. A miracle was bound to take place. Jesus cannot be hung on the cross. On the contrary, they thought his enemies had provided a golden opportunity for him to prove that he was the son of God!
On the other hand, even the enemy challenged him that the cross will decide whether he really was the son of God. If God does not protect his own son, whom else will He protect? And if a son of God can be put to death by ordinary men and God cannot do a thing about it, then this claim is false.
The enemies of Jesus were as eagerly waiting to see what happens on the cross as his followers. If he were really the son of God, they will not be able to crucify him. His followers also eagerly awaited the moment. They looked forward for the miracle to happen.
But Jesus died quietly on the cross, like an ordinary man. When nails were being driven in his hands, his followers followed each movement expectantly - now the miracle will happen - now!
The enemies also waited - perhaps this man is the son of God? But both were disappointed: the enemies as well as the followers, Jesus died as any ordinary man. This was a great blow.
There was no need for the enemy to be dejected. They on the contrary said, "We told you so, this man was a fraud! He was nothing more than the son of an ordinary carpenter. He was no son of God - and so he died and the fact is proved!" But the followers were terribly hurt. That was natural.
Their expectations were great, they were disillusioned.
For 2,000 years, the lovers of Christ have pondered upon this. Jesus should have proved that he was the son of God. If however, they could understand Lao Tzu, they will be able to understand Jesus.
Jesus is so much the son of God, the claim is so very authentic that there is no need to prove it.
Had Jesus performed a miracle, he would have fallen in my esteem, for it would have shown that he was very eager to prove his bona fide. His silent acceptance of death, his indifference, shows that he was no ordinary man. An ordinary man struggles. No, Jesus did not do anything, leave aside struggling. The cross was heavy and the men carrying it were old, they could hardly carry it. Jesus said, "Put the cross on my shoulder, I am as yet young." So he carried his own cross up to the hill.
Then without a word, he climbed the cross and died silently.
The claim was so profound, the presence of God so near him that proving it was of no consequence.
Had Jesus tried to prove himself, he would have only proved that he was not the son of God. In fact, the one whose right it is to acclaim, is never the acclaimer. Christianity has not understood this fact even up to now, for Christianity knows not of Lao Tzu and without knowing Lao Tzu, you cannot understand Jesus. The Jew religion has no sutras whereby it can understand Jesus and there has never been a personality like Jesus, ever in their history. To the Jew, Jesus was a foreign element.
The truth is, Jesus received his message of truth from India, Egypt and China. He received his training in these countries. The quintessence of the very life of the East. was in the possession of Jesus. Therefore those who know. consider it a miracle that Jesus performed no miracle! Small people make great efforts to bring about something unusual. Jesus did nothing. The matter was so straight and clear - where was the question of acclaiming? And before whom had he to prove himself? When the claim was clear before God Himself, there was no need to prove before man!
Only he tries to prove himself before men, who cannot prove himself before God.
Because they claim no credit, they cannot be denied credit. Therefore I say, that since Jesus did not claim credit, the credit cannot be taken away from him. He proved himself the son of God by the miracle of no-miracle. A Man's mind is always ready to perform something. And where there was such tension! - Jesus hanging on the cross, millions of people waiting and watching, all eager to witness a miracle, friends and followers! All were disappointed.
Jesus died silently. It was the same man who touched a corpse and it came to life. He is the same person whose touch brought back the sick to health. He is the same who sat under a dry tree and it spring to life bearing new leaves! And he is the ONE, who ordered the waves by a mere lifting of hand, to be silent and the Ocean obeyed!
Even when dying, he made no claims. The enemies too were shocked! This man did know something after all. He may not be the son of God but he certainly had some knowledge and power for they had seen the sick being cured by the mere touch of his hand; they had seen corpses coming back to life at his command. The enemies also expected a miracle - something - perhaps the breaking of the cross or they being unable to hammer nails into him or no blood coming out of Jesus - something! And these were ordinary matters that a common-place yogi could also perform.
An ordinary yogi with some knowledge of pranayam, can check the flow of his blood-stream and prevent the blood from flowing. People were filled with expectation but nothing happened.
This man must have been unique! His thus dying without a sound, is a miracle in itself. If you understand Lao Tzu. you will understand Jesus.
There are many sayings of Jesus that cannot be understood without understanding Lao Tzu. Jesus says, "Blessed are those who have nothing for they shall own the Kingdom of heaven." This is difficult to understand unless we understand Lao Tzu. Jesus says, "Blessed are the humble, for they shall have the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the ones who are poor in the Spirit for all the treasures of the Lord are theirs." The source of these statements is no other than Lao Tzu. They have no place in the Jew scriptures.
The Jewish tradition says, "If a man takes away your one eye, you take away both of his." If a man blinds another in one eye, the community punished him by blinding him in both. Now here is born a boy who says, "If someone snatches your coat, give him your shirt also." - Perhaps out of embarrassment he could not take it away from you! - "And if someone tells you to carry his load for two miles, you carry it for three."
This viewpoint is completely Lao-Tsein: "Take no credit and credit can never be taken away from you." Ask for acclaim and a thousand will gather round you to snatch it, for Lao Tzu says the opposite occurs at once. Desire praise and you get blame, Desire respect and contempt is certain. You aim at a throne and you will roll in the dust. Lao Tzu says, "Sit in a place from where there is no lower to go. Then no one can drop you, and it is then that you are on the throne."
According to Lao Tzu, a throne is that which cannot be moved. And who sits on the throne? You sit at a place below which there is no other. Then no one can displace you. Then you are on the throne for there is no question of displacing you.
Lao Tzu never claimed knowledge. If someone went up to him and said, "I have heard that you are a wise man". Lao Tzu would reply, "You have definitely heard wrong. Believe me. Others do not know about me as I do. I am utterly ignorant." Those who could not understand him went away thinking it was an unnecessary waste of time. Those who knew, caught hold of his feet and begged to remain with him. They knew it was always the ignorant who claimed to have knowledge. The wise always disclaimed knowledge. They always said they did not know, and that the seeker had been misguided by someone and he should go elsewhere.
There is a sect of St. Francis - and St. Francis was one of the very humble saints of Christianity.
So there are Franciscan fakirs. The humility of St. Francis was unique. His humility knew no bounds but it was very difficult for his followers and disciples to be that humble. There was once a mass meeting of all Christian sects. One of the Franciscan fakirs said in his speech, "It is true that we are not as rich in tradition as the Catholics; we are also not as intelligent and wise as the Trappists and we are not as adept in prayers as the Quakers but in humility we are at the top!" This was bound to create confusion. A follower of St. Francis claiming the top position in humility! He says there is no one to beat them in humility?
The very meaning of humility is not to be above anyone. Not only does it mean not being above anyone but humility expresses the feeling of being behind everyone! Jesus has said, "Blessed are those who are always last, for in my kingdom of heaven, they shall be first."
All this is a Row of the Lao-Tsein current. Claim no credit but ignorance will make claims - even as far as the Franciscan fakir claimed! He could have easily said, "We claim no credit," but no, he said, "In humility we are at the top." In the subtle complexities of the mind, this is a very big play that the mind can even say, that it makes no claims; but then the claim is already made! Since the wise say they are ignorant therefore the mind can also claim to be ignorant. But this does not mean anything.
Then we just turn round and say the same things and the mind keeps turning round and round.
The idea behind Lao Tzu's view-point is, to break and destroy the intricate wheel of life. What is this intricate wheel of life? It is this, that we invariably miss whatever we set out to do. It is just like a person who tries hard to sleep and misses sleep altogether. Sleep never comes by effort. When there is no effort, sleep comes.
Lao Tzu says, "Claim credit and you deprive yourself of it. Lay no claim and the credit is already yours." If you try to be the master you will fall into slavery; or else, who is snatching your ownership from you? Ask and you shall fall into trouble for nothing is ever obtained by begging. Ask for nothing and you already have everything. Those sutras that appear contrary, are not contrary. It is we who are topsy turvy.
Therefore they appear topsy turvy to us. Whatever we see appears, reversed. Lao Tzu will appear inverse to us - as a man standing on his head. The logical sutra would be - if you want credit, work for it; if you want fame, happiness, work to attain them. It is as simple as that. But here is a man who talks in inverse language. He says, "If you seek happiness, make no effort to attain it." Then how will happiness be achieved? Here, inspite of our efforts, happiness is not attained and he says do not even desire to be happy! Then we shall never attain it.
Watch - where all the mind's logic makes us wander! The mind says, "If with so much effort we cannot attain then without any effort how is it possible?" But Lao Tzu says, "You are deprived of it because you desire it." Try once not to desire and see. You have desired enough. You have desired for hundreds of lives and found that you attained nothing. Yet we keep on and on for the mind says, 'You have not desired enough, you have not striven enough.' And the mind is never tired of goading you thus. And its logic seems very sound. If you have not reached the peak of the mountain, you will have to strive yet more. But Lao Tzu says, "It is your desire that is the obstruction. Stop desiring."
What is the meaning of this? What makes Lao Tzu say so?
Lao Tzu says this because, whatever is worth attaining in life has already been given to us. But we are so preoccupied and harassed by our desires that we fail to see this. Many a time we fail to see the thing Lying nearest to us, especially if we are restless and in a hurry. Sometimes you try frantically to remember someone's name. You say it is on the tip of your tongue and yet you cannot remember - you are in such a hurry! You meet a person and he says, "Do you remember me?" Now you start frantically trying to remember. The harder you try the more restless you become and the more you cannot recall. Then this man goes away and you relax. You begin to read the news paper or perhaps take your cup of tea and then suddenly the person's name occurs to you! When you were trying hard to remember, the name was lost; when you gave up all efforts, it came back to you.
The experience of the discoverers of the biggest scientific discoveries have been that they were unable to discover what they were out to discover as long as they searched consciously. Even the scientists who have received the Nobel Prize say, "Whatever we have known has never been known through our effort." In a moment of complete inaction, when there was no striving within, something rose from within and the answer came. Madame Curie was tired working all day on the mathematics of her problem. She had not found the answer. Then she slept and in sleep, the answer came. She got up quickly and wrote it down. In the morning she checked and found the answer correct! The answer came without any working, without any method. Then it took days to work out the method.
Wherefrom did the answer come?
Those who know the innermost resources of the human being say, that whatever is to be known, is already known to man. Whatever is to be known ever on this earth, that you know already this very minute. Only, you do not know this fact. It lies embedded in man's unconsciousness waiting to manifest someday. The leaves that will appear a hundred years after on the tree, are already present in the seed; or else they could not appear on the tree. Man knows even today, what he will come to know a thousand years hence. The only thing is, he does not know he knows. He is busy seeking outside.
All moments of discovery are moments of relaxation. Newton sits under a tree and an apple falls. It was a moment of relaxation. There was no research-centre there!
There is a joke I've heard in connection with this. A scientist was exhorting his students to work hard, use their intellect. "Don't you know?" He said, "Newton was sitting under a tree. An apple fell and he made such a big discovery! And here you are slogging away, achieving nothing." One of the students stood up and said, "If we are allowed to sit under a tree, we too, may discover something!"
Under the stress and strain of a research institute even Newton would not have discovered anything.
When, the happening took place, Newton was not thinking. He was thoughtless.
The greatest discoveries of the world took place only in the moments of relaxation and No-thought.
Lao Tzu's fundamental philosophy is, that if man does not desire, does not strive, does not become the doer, does not acclaim, he is bound to attain the treasures he is seeking. By seeking nothing is found. You too, will realise this some day in a moment of relaxation. And it is not necessary that you should realise this as I am saying. Perhaps some day, you languish under a tree, a fruit falls and you will suddenly understand Lao Tzu. When I am explaining, your mind is tensed up to understand.
This effort to follow what I say, becomes a barrier. When you are absolutely desireless you, can understand.
In Scandinavia, Sweden and Switzerland, a new method of education is being evolved. This method I shall call Lao-Tsein. According to this method the children are not coerced into studying. In our schools the children sit all tensed up. If a child were to throw his head back and put his feet on the table, the teacher would reproach him for his bad manners?
The psychologists say that because of our old methods, we have not been able to teach much. So now this new method is evolved in which the children are absolutely relaxed. There are no hard and fast rules. The child is let free to do what he likes. He can sit or stand or spread himself out or even lie down if he so wishes. He may even close his eyes when the teacher talks! This is absolutely the reverse of what we know! When the teacher talks they have only to listen and not strive to understand. Not only are they to hear the teacher alone but also the chirping of the cricket in the grass outside the window and the croaking of the frogs! They can hear the wind outside or even the beating of their own heart. They have merely to listen - completely relaxed!
The result of this experiment was fantastic. In three months the children completed a course that previously took two years. It was found that the tension created by the old method destroyed many cerebral tissues of the children in the course of two years.
The fact is, there is hardly a person who continues to read and write after he leaves the University.
He is so tired, and bored that he does not touch books for the rest of his life. The fact however is, the Universities only give the ability to read, to understand and it is now that a person should begin.
But we take University education to be the end. This is but natural for the student gets so tired, so tense that he hardly learns anything. By this new method, the subliminal consciousness is directly trained. The conscious mind is not brought in at all and hence no tension is created. The student can relax completely.
In Russia many new experiments are being carried out on Hypnopedia - night education. The student sleeps and a small mechanism is placed next to his ear. This gadget will begin to function one hour after he has fallen in deep sleep. For two hours this teaching session goes on - say between 1 and 2 A.M. at 2 a bell in the mechanism rings. The student gets up and notes all that he has learnt. He goes to sleep again. Then in the morning from 4 to 6 there will be a repetition.
The result of this method was astounding. What could not be taught over months, is easily conveyed in seven days of hypnopedic treatment. The reason is, in that state the mind is at rest, there is no tension and the child is just floating in sleep. Then whatever is conveyed, goes straight to the heart and he never forgets. The intellect is not brought into play at all.
All these are Lao-Tsein methods. If we understand this well, then you will know what I meant when I told you that Lao Tzu is invading the world from all sides. Many people do not know that these are Lao Tzu-oriented methods. Lao Tzu used to say. what will you learn by learning? Do not learn.
The attempt to learn is wrong. You just pass through it. Whatever is worthy of imbibing, you will learn. You pass through, silently and in a receptive attitude. Do not endeavour for that decreases the receptivity and you become closed to influence.
Whatever Lao Tzu has said, in whichever direction he has tried to explain, is this only - that the feeling of do-ership is an illusion. Things happen. If man gives up his doer-ship, he will come to know a great deal, for the tension of 'doing' reduces the power of knowing. Whatever man desires, he never gets, Beggars never achieve anything. Emperors get everything. He who does not ask, all the world is his.
The sage does not impose his ownership, his right. He does whatever happens in life that is worth doing. But he takes no credit - and all credit is his!
QUESTION: WHAT IS THE PLACE FOR METHOD IN LAO TZU'S PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE? HOW CAN A MAN REACH HIS GOAL WHOSE AIM IS NOT DOING BUT JUST FLOATING? AND IS EFFORT NOT NECESSARY TO REACH THE GOAL? LAO TZU'S METHOD OF NO-DOING, TO BE INACTIVE, ALSO ESTABLISHES A GOAL. AND CAN WE CALL IT WISDOM TO LET OURSELVES LOOSE ON UNKNOWN AND UNFELT WAYS? IS THIS THE CHARACTERISTIC OF A WISE MAN OR AN UNWISE MAN?
Bhagwan Sri: Lao Tzu does not believe in method for he says, "Whatever is attained by method will not be natural." Try to understand this a little: That which is attained by practice, cannot be natural and that which is inculcated, is no more than a habit. The nature of a thing is that which is already has without practice. What is, is the character of a thing. That which has to be created, is not natural. One man can develop the habit of smoking, another can develop the habit of praying. Both are habits and all habits overspread the character just as leaves spread over water. The character, the quality of the person, is suppressed.
Lao Tzu says nothing is to be practised. What you already have, what you have already attained, that which is you, that alone has to be known. Therefore develop no new habits. Lao Tzu is neither in favour of Yoga nor Sadhana or anything. Lao Tzu says, "Without imposing habits on yourself, know that which you were before birth and which you will be after death. Seek Him who is even now present deep within you. Also, whatever method you practise, will bear effect only on the circumference. Nothing can be attempted on the centre. Whatever paint and varnish you apply, will be only the surface, the body. At the most, the effect will be on the mind. But character, nature, is beyond body and mind. There is no necessity for you to do anything to know your nature.
But remember - not to do anything, is a very big doing. Not to do anything is not a small thing.
When we hear this we say, "But we are doing nothing!" This is absolutely alright and Lao Tzu also says, "As we are - doing nothing."
But Lao Tzu is not talking about you. You are doing a lot of things. If you are not attaining God you are attaining the world. Your practice continues! If you are not out to seek God, you are out to loss him and you are straining every nerve towards that end. So do not think you are doing nothing and this is exactly what Lao Tzu says. Your not doing anything is no 'No-Doing'. Rather, it is doing a great deal in the direction of the mundane world and nothing in the direction of God. Lao Tzu is against you, as you are.
Lao Tzu says only one in a million from worldly men set out to attain God-realisation, but here again he applies methods as is his habit. To attain God, he uses the same method that he used to achieve wealth. First he earned riches, now he is out to earn God. In the same way he toils and strains his body. Lao Tzu says, "You of course are wrong but even this man is wrong." If that which is to be attained is somewhere in the future. then effort is necessary. But it is already attained. It has only to he discovered, uncovered. And all methods will only cover it more and hide it.
Now you may ask, "Then what do the various orders of Sadhana do? Are they wrong?"
According to Lao Tzu, they are absolutely wrong, for Lao Tzu says "Do nothing. Let go! And you will know." According to you the methods are correct because you understand the language of 'doing' only. You do not understand the meaning of the language of 'No-doing'. One in a million understands what Lao Tzu is trying to convey - No-doing. He who grasp the meaning of No-Doing, is liberated that very moment. There is no need for him to wait for another moment. But the rest of the people do not understand. Then what is to be done about them?
Then is it, that Lao Tzu should keep on saying and the rest of the people keep on doing what they like? No, Then those who understand only the language of action, must be made to do something; and they have to be so involved in the doing that they fall tired and leave what they are doing.
Remember the happening will not take place first. When the sadhaka is completely tired, completely spent and has reached the peak of tension, when he can do no more, then the tension breaks.
There are two rules of tension. (1) You understand it thoroughly and leave it this moment. Now for instance, I have clenched my fist. Now one way is, that you can tell me it is unnatural to clench the fist and I shall get tired unnecessarily for I shall have to exert myself to clench the fist. Then I may ask you, "What shall I do? How shall I unclench my fist?" And you will reply, "No method is needed to open the palm. You have to do something to clench the fist but if you have understood, you will realise you have to do nothing to unclench it. The fist will open on its own. Your question was irrelevant. There was no need even to ask."
You say you have understood whereas the fact is, you have not understood. If you have understood, the fist should open. That would be the only proof that you have grasped the meaning. If we do not indulge in clenching the fist, it is already open!
You have never had to do anything for keeping the hands open. Have you ever thought of that?
Therefore there is no exertion, no load, no trouble on an open palm, for you have to do nothing.
Liberation is man's very nature. The mundane world (Samsara) is unnatural to man. Samsara is like the closed fist and liberation is like an open palm.
Lao Tzu, here would ask "You ask about opening the palm"? If you had asked about clenching the fist that could be understood. For opening you have to do nothing - just open it!
We find this very difficult - how can we open? The truth is, we do not want to open. We feel there is a Kohinoor tucked away within our hands. Now if Lao Tzu says, "Open!" Then the Kohinoor will drop! And we do not want even Lao Tzu to know about it. So we ask him, "How shall we go about it? What shall we do? Show us a way!" These are mere postponements to cling on to the Kohinoor.
Your condition is, "I must first learn to open the fist properly."
Now Lao Tzu does not know what we are hiding. So he urges us, "Friends, open your fists, you have to do nothing!" He is not aware that something will have to be done for man is under an illusion of grasping something within his hand. We are not unnecessarily filled with tension! We are afraid that once the tension is lost, we will lose the diamond.
Wherever there are pockets of tension, . we are holding on to something. Let go of all ownership!
And it is nothing but a whole big play of ownership. Supposing the son leaves the house or the wife leaves you? All ownership will be lost. We say, we have understood thoroughly but what is the method, the way to get rid of our tensions? These methods we ask only to postpone the day. "We shall try your methods, then we shall see," you say. "Right now it does not open. When it opens, we shall see." Now Lao Tzu cannot for the life of him understand what you are talking about. What have you to do, to open the fist? Just nothing! You have to do nothing for that which is natural to you, which is your very nature. All you have to do is - open!
Now there is another interesting way: If you cannot open the fist straight, there is another way. This is the second way. There are only two ways: One - from doing reach the No-doing state or two - jump or go step by step.
If you are not prepared to open your fist, other means have to be found. Then you are told to clench your fist hard - as hard as you possible can, with all your might. When you reach the climax, when you can clench no further, you will find that the fist is opening on its own and the Kohinoor is falling!
But alas, it is too late! You can no longer clench your fist for you have used up all your strength.
There is no energy left to save the diamond!
So the methods say, "Clench the fist!" And this is said knowing for your stupidity is very apparent - You cannot open the fist! It will only open when you can clench no more!
Understand this well. Then you will be incapable of clenching the fist. You will suddenly realise that all your efforts to do so will go in vain for you have no energy left. Now you cannot clench; it opens!
So methods are to be evolved to make you clench your fist harder and yer harder! All methods are meant to take you to - the peak of tension, to the climax, after which dispersal starts. Suddenly you discover that the fist has opened and the diamond has fallen! It was never there. We never gathered courage to open the fist and see for fear that it might fall or the neighbour might know about it! Then you feel all the effort of holding on to it, was in vain. So the method says, "Clench your fist!"
The methodless way of Lao Tzu says, "You will not attain till vou open. Open when you will, now or later." Lao Tzu says, "Open now!" He knows there is no Kohinoor but we do not and hence all the trouble. Other methods also have the same goal in view but they work according to your understanding. Lao Tzu's method is according to his understanding. Therefore he is bound to go over your head.
The second way says, "If you cannot open the palm, clench it and it will open." Then it shows methods of clenching harder and harder. They say, "Swim yet further, yet further!" But where does the ocean end? Then how long will you swim?"
Lao Tzu says, "Do not stress uselessly for the Ocean is shoreless. Do not strive, just float." Lao Tzu says, "There is no destination. The Ocean is the destination." You have to dip into it, be one with it.
If you swim, you will be fighting it. Then how will you be one with it? You will always be apart from it.
The swimmer is never one with the ocean. To swim means to fight. We shall not allow the Ocean to drown us, to destroy us; we shall protect ourselves. We shall fight the waves. And the shores and reach the destination. This is our dimension - where we want to reach, which is our goal. The other dimension is of one who floats and that is what Lao Tzu says, "There is no destination save the ocean; there are no shores except the mid-ocean, there is nowhere to reach except where you are!" So let go! Do not swim. Flow away; to flow with the current is the destination. You will attain this very moment if you let go! Then you will be one with the ocean. The enmity with the ocean will fall and there will be an intimate friendship.
But we say, how can one leave that way? There is bound to be the shore and if we let ourselves at the mercy of the ocean, who knows whether we shall reach at all! So we will swim. Then these various methods say, "Then swim, swim as hard as you can!" Then a moment will come when the hands and feet will become life-less, your very breath, your very lungs will give way. And the shores are nowhere in sight. Wherever you see, there is water, water everywhere. Swim where you may, there is only the ocean. The shore seems to be at a distance. When you reach near, you find it was nothing but waves. Lives upon lives we keep swimming and all we find is the ocean - nothing else.
Then at last when we are tired, we give up.
And in this giving up, the happening takes place, that Lao Tzu spoke of, many births before. The day this happens, you will feel sorry you did not listen to Lao Tzu earlier. It was not possible for you, as you are, to believe Lao Tzu however. You are clever people and it is the characteristic of clever people that until they try out all their cunning, they will not believe. When his cunning and cleverness run out and he is completely spent, then alone does a person heed. In any case, the happening takes place as soon as you let go as Lao Tzu says. Will you tire yourself out and reach there or will you use your understanding?
That which can happen now this very moment by understanding takes a number of births by the tiring-out process. There is a time gap, no other difference.
Enough for today.