The secret of a full stomach and an empty mind - Tao
CHAPTER 3: SUTRA 2
THEREFORE THE SAGE, IN EXERCISE OF HIS GOVERNMENT, EMPTIES THEIR MINDS, FILLS THEIR BELLIES, WEAKENS THEIR WILLS AND STRENGTHENS THEIR BONES.
Lao-Tze's talks seem upside down - or so it appears to us. The reason is not that they are upside down, the reason is that we are upside down.
A disciple of Lao Tzu, Chuang-Tse was on his death-bed. His friends who had gathered round him asked, "What is your last wish Chuang-Tse?" He replied, "I have only one desire. In this world I stood on my legs, in the next, I wish to stand on my head." His disciples were perplexed. They told him they could not follow what he said. "Do you wish to stand upside down in heaven?" they asked.
"What you call standing correctly," he said, "I discovered to be so topsy-turvy that in my next life I want to experiment by standing on my head. Perhaps things will then be right."
Lao Tzu says, "The awakened Ones, fill the stomachs of those in their governance alright and satisfy their hunger but empty out their minds." They take care to see that all their bodily needs are satisfied but work constantly towards keeping their minds free from ambition. What we do as a rule is, that we sacrifice the body to any extent to satisfy the ambitions of the mind and gratify its desires. We are forever ready to sacrifice the body at the altar of the mind's desires.
Our whole life is one long story of the murder of the body to satisfy the desires of the mind. And this normally, we call wisdom. But Lao Tzu says, "The stomach of man should be full but his mind should be empty."
What does he mean by an empty mind? What does he mean by a full stomach? People should be healthy and strong and well-nourished but their minds should be blank and empty! And the criterion of supreme health is - a well-filled body and an empty mind.
But we are more intent on filling the mind. This is our life-long effort - to fill the mind with thoughts, desires, ambitions! Gradually, the body remains small but the mind keeps growing. The body only drags behind the mind. But Lao Tzu says, "The mind should be empty, - like an empty vessel." Now what do we mean by the vessel? Do we mean the outer walls or the empty space within the walls?
Normally, we refer to the walls as the vessel. Lao Tzu says you are wrong. The walls are useless. It is the space within that comes of use - No one buys a filled vessel!
What do you mean when you refer to a house: the four walls or the space within? We, as a rule refer to the walls. When we think of building a house, we think of building walls. Lao Tzu says, "Your thinking is very inverse." The house is the empty space within the walls, for no man lives in the walls.
Man lives always in the empty space within. Now if this empty space is filled up, it is difficult to live there. The body is only the wall. It should be full and strong. It is the mind within that is the mansion and that should be empty. The soul of man, the atman, his consciousness, resides in this palace.
If the mind is empty, then alone can the atman stay there comfortably, for then there will be space enough for it to stay. If the mind is full it is just as, you would have a house but it is so filled with junk that you have to sleep outside, live outside; for there is no space whatsoever within.
We all are like the man who has over-filled his house, so much so that he cannot step in. He perforce has then to sleep in the verandah. Our minds are so full that there is no room for the atman, with the result that it has to wander outside. Whenever we go within, we shall find only the mind and not the atman. You will come across some thought, some desire, some condition, for that is what the mind is full of. Go within the house and there is nothing but furniture - the owner is missing.
Lao Tzu says, "Those who know say that the body should be healthy and well-nourished but the mind must be empty." The mind should be as if it did not exist. An empty mind, according to Lao Tzu, is a No-Mind - as if it is not. The supreme art of existence, unfolds itself from such an empty mind and the supreme visions of life, begin to appear therefrom.
'THEY STRENGTHEN THEIR BONES BUT WEAKEN THEIR WILL.' We always endeavour to increase our will-power. We always say, "Have you no will-power? If so, you are a spineless worm!"
But Lao Tzu says, "The sage weakens the will-power." This is very strange! We always exhort our children to develop their will-power.
The wise men of today feel that man's will-power should develop still further. Nietzsche has written an uncommon book. 'THE WILL TO POWER.' He says there is only one aim in man s life - the will for power. The more will-power a man has, the greater he is supposed to be. Carlysle Emerson and all thinkers of the West, lay great stress on a strong will-power. Your will-power should be an immutable wall of stone. Let the world stagger, you should not. You may break, you may die but never bow down!
But here is Lao Tzu, who says, "Let the bones be strong but destroy the will-power - wipe it off as if it never existed!" Why? Because man has to choose from only two - Will Power or Surrender.
He who strengthens his resolve, strengthens his ego. He who surrenders, his ego dissolves and becomes extinct. He who treads the path of Resolution reaches his own self. He who treads the path of surrender reaches the Universal Self (God). If you want to reach God, you have to leave even your self. To strengthen the 'I', you will have to hold your own self very hard. Then even if your bones break or you yourself die, your resolve should never break. This is our state of affairs and we call it a very straight and logical arrangement; for we say, "What a weak man you are? Can't you fight, have you no strength?"
And here is Lao Tzu who says you should not have this strength! It is not that you break or that you stoop. Lao Tzu says, "You be so that you do not even know when you bent." Even the air should not feel that you have resisted. You bend before the breeze that blows, just as the lowly grass does.
The haughty tree stands firm in the wind and does not bend. It resists the storm. And the fun is, the small weed overcomes the storm whereas the big tree loses the battle.
Lao Tzu says if you fight, you lose for you do not know with whom you are fighting. Every single individual when he fights, he fights with the infinite power. When we fight we fight with the infinite that resides all around us. Lao Tzu says, "Do not fight." Let not the question of resistance arise. Do not count yourself so apart that you believe you will have to fight. You drop yourself low. You become one with the storm, co-operate with it. Then the storm will have no knowledge of how it passed over you.
And when the storm passes away you will find that it has not touched you at all! Your strength is not a bit less for you never resisted. And there is no question of defeat for the storm belongs to Him to whom you belong.
That which came to fight, you felt he had come to fight. In fact, it had not. It was because of your will-power that you felt the storm was aggressive. You are ready to fight therefore you defined it as an enemy; or else, no definition was necessary. Try to understand this:
Is the enemy really an enemy? Or do we ourselves define one as such. And why do we define?
Because we are ready to fight. If I do not wish to fight, one thing is certain - I shall call no one my enemy. If I wish to fight, I shall create my foes. All enmity is born out of will-power. All struggle is born out of will-power.
Lao Tzu says, "You be as if you are not." As the air passes the sword or the sword passes through the air. The air is not cut anywhere by the sword because it does not resist the sword. Pass a sword through water, it cuts nowhere. As the sword cuts, the water joins again. The water does not resist. You too do not resist. Lao Tzu says, "Be like the water, be like the air." Let the force that cuts asunder, pass off. If you do not resist it, you will find that no sooner it is gone, you are one again.
You did not break whereas if you fight, you are bound to break.
As much importance as we give will-power, Lao Tzu's description of it, is just the opposite. We are bound to respect will-power for the frame-work of our existence is cast in the Ego and stands on ambition. We have to rush somewhere, reach somewhere attain something - wealth, fame, status, rank. We have to snatch something from someone and prevent someone from snatching something from us. Our whole life is a struggle. Our very way of looking at things is from the view-point of struggle and not of giving in. If we give in. If we bow to someone, it is a matter of great shame and disgust.
Lao Tzu says, "This way of looking at life leads to illness and disease. You be as if you are not." In this being as if you are not, the will-power will not be.
The entire art of Ju-Jitsu or Judo in Japan, stands on this sutra of Lao Tzu. It will be useful to understand this for then what Lao Tzu says will become clear. Now if I give you a blow, the natural reaction is, that you will oppose it. You can oppose in two ways: either you will obstruct my attack or you will box me in return. If you cannot do either, yet your body will try to resist. The muscles become taut and they will prevent the impact from penetrating into you. Your body will become tense and hard; it will become like a wall and try to prevent the blow from going in.
The art of Judo is exactly opposite of this; there is no art of war greater than Judo. A person who knows even a little bit of this art can defeat a champion in no time; and this he can do by merely not fighting. The art of Judo says, "Whenever anyone boxes you, you take it all in. You co-operate with it. Do not fight with it." You become at that time as if you are a pillow. Understand the difference between resistance to the blow and taking in the blow. You have received a blow. "Co-operate with it and take it in. Do not fight with it at any level." Then, Judo says, "The hand of the aggressor breaks!"
For the enemy puts in all his strength and will-power in the blow but you give him full freedom. Then his state will be like, when say, you and I are pulling at a string. Then suddenly I leave my end of it.
What will happen? You will fall!
The art of Judo says, 'Do not fight.' When anyone hits you, you co-operate with him, do not make him your enemy. You treat him as a part of your own body. Then the aggressor is tired out in no time. He will be tormented for he has lost his energy with each blow he has dealt. Your energy is intact. Not only this, but according to the science of Judo, the energy emitting from your enemy, will enter you and you will feel more powerful.
A person well-versed in Judo can defeat any kind of man within five minutes. The enemy is not to be vanquished, he gets defeated himself.
There is a very famous story about Judo: There was a famous swordsman. There was no one equal to him in all Japan. One night, he was returning home at about 2 A.M. As he entered his room, he saw a rat come out of his hole, and sit on his bed. He was very angry. He tried to frighten him away but the rat did not move. The swordsman was puzzled. He could frighten away the strongest of men and this rat - ? He was now very angry. He picked up a toy-sword with which his daughter used to play and hit the rat hard. The rat moved barely an inch. But he had dealt the blow in such anger that the sword fell down and broke into pieces. The rat sat silent in his place. Now the . man was disturbed and a little frightened himself. The rat did not seem to be an ordinary rat. He had never missed a blow - he could not imagine how he missed this?
He went and fetched his own sword. Now if a person brings a real sword to kill a rat, his defeat is certain. A warrior bringing a sword to kill a rat! He is now afraid of the rat. It seems an uncommon rodent! His hands began to tremble. Now he feared if the real sword broke there would be no way of redressing the insult and infamy. So he hit very cautiously. It is a known fact that a blow dealt cautiously, always misses the target. The very fact that you are cautious, shows that there is fear within. If there is no fear within, a man is never cautious. He acts and the work is done. He had wielded a sword many times in his life but today as he brought it down on the rat, his hand trembled.
The sword fell from his hand and broke into pieces. The rat moved just a little bit. The man was confounded - he lost his senses.
The story goes on, that he made it known in the town that if anyone had a clever cat, he should bring it to him. The wealthiest man of the town brought his cat the next day. She was an expert rat-killer.
But the swordsman was frightened and so was the owner of the cat when he heard the full story. If the greatest swordsman broke his sword over him, and he was not stirred, what chance did the cat have? The cat also got wind of it. She too was frightened. All night she lay awake making various plans to kill the rat. At times she wondered why all this preparations. Rats run away at sight of her!
But then she said to herself, "This rat is uncommon. I might as well be prepared." The next morning she came and stood at the entrance of the room. She looked in and saw the rat. She trembled at the sight - there was the rat still and silent and the swordsman's sword lying in pieces! Now to her consternation, instead of she advancing, the rat advanced. She could never have anticipated such a move - and that too from a rat! She quickly ran out!
Now the swordsman was really frightened. He sent a request to the king to send the palace-cat.
Now this cat was the best cat in town. Before leaving the palace she told the king, "Are you not ashamed to send me to kill an ordinary mouse? I am not an ordinary cat!" The fact is, she too had heard that the rat was no ordinary rat so in the order to dissuade the king from sending her, she was trying this trick. The king said, "It is no ordinary rat and it is I who am afraid whether you will return alive." The cat was taken to the swordsman's house. She pounced on the rat with all her might; but she missed the rat and her head struck against the wall. She went back to the palace with blood streaming down her head. The rat sat still where he was.
Now in that town there was a fakir. He had a cat that was the master of all cats. The palace- cat recommended that this master-cat's services should be employed. Perhaps she would have a method of tackling this rat. The master-cat was called. All the cats of the town gathered to see what would happen. It was going to be a decisive game. If the cat lost, the cats will forever lose against rats.
Now the rat was where he was. The fakir's cat entered the room. All the other cats began to advise her what she should do. The fakir's cat shouted at them and said, "You foolish things - making plans to kill a rat! The very fact that you plan, shows that you are frightened. After all, he is merely a rat - I'll catch him! There is no need for any method. To be a cat is the very art of catching a rat." The swordsman also warned her that it was no ordinary rat. He said if she failed, he would have to leave his house forever. The cat said, "What is so great about this rat? Please keep your calm!"
The cat went in, caught the mouse and brought it out!
All the cats gathered round her to know how she had done it? The cat replied, "The fact that I am a cat, was enough. I am a cat and he is a rat and the rat always co-operates with the cat for the cats have always caught them. This is our nature - I am a cat and he is a rat. I will catch and he will be caught. You all made plans and hence you lost for you brought your intellect in-between."
Since hundreds of years the Zen fakirs have been telling this story. This cat belonged to a poor fakir.
She was not even as strong and healthy as the palace-cat but she was aware of her nature and that of the rat's. Nothing untoward had taken place.
Those who teach Judo say, that nature has a rule and a disposition of her own. If a blow is directed towards you and you resist it, then both the energies fight and both the energies are destroyed. If you do not resist, then the energy flows from one only and the other becomes a hollow; and in him the energy from the other is absorbed. The aggressor is distressed. He has planned his attack. You do not plan and also you take in the attack. If such an emptiness is created within that there is no resistance to any attack because there is no will-power within to resist, then this emptiness unfolds an energy which has no equal in this world.
Lao Tzu says "Be devoid of resolutions." This means be resolve-less, be empty within. Do not try to be something. That cat says to her friends, "You are cats and you are trying to be a cat? Have you got to toil to be a cat? You are cats - that is enough. All your efforts put you into trouble."
The Judo-teacher teaches his pupils not to attack but to await an attack. And when the attack comes remember only one thing - to absorb the attack! If someone abuses you and you take in his abuse, the aggressor becomes weak. Try this out if you may! He who drinks in the abuse - not suppresses it - as if it is a loving gift; he who absorbs it within his whole being, becomes a pool. And this pool is filled with the energy that flows out of him who abuses, and he becomes that much stronger.
Also, when the vilifier finds that no abuse is forth coming from the other, he becomes very uneasy.
If you were to return his abuse with abuse, he is not uneasy for that is what he expected in return.
Then he extends his vituperations with added vigour in order to incite you.
But if you are well-versed in the art of taking-in, you will keep taking in his abuses and weakening him till ultimately he falls himself.
Judo says, 'the enemy falls by his own weakness'. There is no need to throw him down.
Judo was developed from this very sutra of Lao Tzu. And with the sutras of Lao Tzu and thoughts of Buddha, Zen was born. The concepts of Buddha reached China from India. At that time Lao Tzu's thoughts were prevailing in the atmosphere of China and the confluence of these two produced an absolutely new religion - the Zen religion. Buddha had also said on a different level and in different words, that he was defeated by the foes within him, with whom he fought for a long time. He could not overcome them. And then when he gave up all fight, he realised he had never lost! When these thoughts of Buddha coincided with the sutras of Lao Tzu a completely new science came into being - the science of winning without fighting. That science is: Fight not and win. Victory without struggle.
Success without will-power!
We cannot imagine this for we have always believed that where there is competition and rivalry, there is victory; and where there is war, there are garlands of triumph. So Lao Tzu will appear contrary to us for he says "THE BONES SHOULD BE STRONG BUT THE WILL-POWER ABSENT." Why does he differentiate between bones and will-power? If I were to attack you, your bones should be so strong as to absorb the onslaught. By bones is meant the structure that absorbs the blow. This should be strong enough to bear any excesses committed on the body by another. At the same time, there should be no ego within to resist and fight back.
Remember, to fight we do not require as strong a body as we do to resist. A weak person can also fight. And if the body is weak and the mind insane the person can fight very well. A weak constitution is no hindrance to fight and the truth is, it is always the weak who spoil for a fight.
I have been told that when the first American stepped out of the port of Hong Kong, he saw two Chinese fighting. These Chinese were connected to the order of Lao Tzu. For ten minutes he stood looking at them. Both men brought their faces close to each other, brought their clenched fists right up to each other's nose, hurled abuses and made a lot of noise then they withdrew. But there was no fight. After watching them for ten minutes he asked his guide, "What is happening?"
The guide said, "This is fighting - Chinese style." "But there is no fight!" Said the American. "I am watching for the last ten minutes. The men come close to hitting each other, then why do they fall back?" The guide replied, "For the last 2,000 years, it is the belief of this country that he who attacks first, loses. So both are waiting for each other to begin, for he who begins will have lost control over himself first. And as soon as one of them strikes, the crowd will disperse for they know the winner.
Now each is trying to instigate the other. Let us see who loses." A very strange sutra indeed - He who attacks, loses the fight.
This is Lao Tzu's trend of thought - the weak attacks first.
I mentioned Machiavelli yesterday. The philosophy of Lao Tzu and Machiavelli are parallel.
Machiavelli says, "The best remedy for protection is to attack first." The best form of defence is to attack first. And Machiavelli is right for the weak should have one over his adversary then only are there chances for him to win. This message is for the weak. In fact, only the weak think in terms of defense. Lao Tzu says, "When the attack comes, drink it in!" The question of attack does not arise - either first or last. Take it within yourself. "If the body is healthy, the mind is void and the bones strong - the walls should be strong and the owner with in as if he is not. Then," Lao Tzu says, "the Perfect Man is born."
This concept is just the reverse of our way of thinking; and it is because all our standards of judgments our very way of thinking is opposed to Lao Tzu. We would say, it is a sign of weakness, of cowardice, not to resist an attack. Life challenges at every step and you stand where you are!
The storm summons and you lie flat on the ground; or the river carries you along and you get carried away, you do not swim!
Nasruddin's neighbours came running to him one day. "Hurry Mulla, your wife has fallen in the river! The current is strong and the river is full with the rain's waters. Hurry or she might reach the Ocean!" Nasruddin ran. There was a great crowd on the river bank. He jumped into the river and began swimming against the current. The current was so strong he could make no headway. People shouted at him that he was going in the wrong direction. They said, "Mulla you are foolish. When a person falls in the river he does not float against the current! Your wife has gone down the river."
The Mulla replied, "Forgive me, I know my wife better than you. She always did the opposite thing. I know her for the last 30 years. She could not be down the river if you say all who fall in the river go down-stream. She must have gone upstream!"
There are just such inverse stops between Lao Tzu and us. Therefore it is difficult to understand him. His science of logic is completely inverse to our reasoning. What we look upon as cowardice, Lao Tzu calls strength. He says, "The greater the ability you have to fight, the lesser will be the eagerness to fight. And if a man's strength and power is complete, there shall be no fight at all!"
Take it this way: We stand before the gates of the Almighty and hurl abuses at Him. There is no response. The atheists are vilifying God since thousands of years, yet not once has it happened that God has made known His Presence. Does He not feel it is cowardice not to prove Himself?
But He is silent. And Lao Tzu says "He is silent because He is the Supreme Power." There is no resistance there. If the Atheist acclaims "There is no God," an echo comes back, "There is no God!"
He co-operates with the non-believer also - there is no opposition. The bigger the power, the lesser is the resistance.
A priest was taking a class of Bible in a school. He asked the boys if they had understood all that he had told them about forgiveness, the day before. "If someone gives you a slap, will you forgive him?" He asked one boy. The boy replied, "I may be able to if he is older than me. But it would be difficult to forgive him if he is younger than me."
This is exactly the state of our mind. We subjugate those we can suppress, we trouble those whom we can trouble, we hurt those whom we can safely hurt and when we cannot, we resort to Scriptures to explain it away.
Lao Tzu says, "Let not that centre remain within you that thinks in terms of big and small, high and low; that thinks and plans how to behave with whom, that plans every situation. In other words, let there be no resolve."
Lao Tzu does not respond even if a small child slaps him. He also does not respond if the King attacks him! If you understand this sutra well, it becomes a great sutra for sadhana.
Try out an experiment of non-resistance - just for a week. Resolve not to resist, whatever happens.
Whatever you had resisted before, you shall not resist for the next seven days. All the things you repressed so far, you shall not for the next seven days. Within this short span you will find that you have collected so much energy. you cannot imagine. Then you will find it very difficult to waste this energy. We have no idea how we dissipate our energies! I am walking along the road. A small child laughs at me; at once the resistance begins!
Once Lao Tzu was attacked by someone in his village. Lao Tzu did not even look back to see who the miscreant was. The villain came back running to him and said, "Please look back at least or my effort will go in vain!" Lao Tzu replied, "Sometimes by mistake our own nail hurts us. Then what do we do? Or at times we fall down and break our limbs - and it is all our own fault! What do we do then!"
Lao Tzu said, "Once I was sitting in a boat. An empty boat came and bumped against my boat. Then what could I do? Had there been a boat-man in the boat. there would have been trouble. Since that day I decided that if I did not do anything when the boat was empty, what difference does it make if the boat-man was there? You have done your job. Now go your way. Let me attend to my work."
The man came again the next day and said, "I could not sleep the whole night! What sort of a man are you? Please do something, say something so that I can be free of anxiety!"
It is but natural that he was troubled within. We all live in hope and expectations. If I abuse someone, I am confident the abuse will be thrown back. If it is thrown back, I feel everything is moving according to rule. If it does not come back, we feel restless. If I love someone, I take it for granted my love will be returned. If it is not, I am disturbed. We decide the give and take coins for everything.
Lao Tzu says, "Change these coins. Become naught within, remove the will-power and let whatever happens, happen." We will then say, "We might contract some illness, we might die, we might be looted, we shall be ruined!" We find a thousand excuses. But our arguments will hold no water for from all the things that we are trying to save, nothing remains. Everything is lost. Neither can we hold back death nor illness nor anything. Everything is destroyed. And in our endeavour to save these things, we do not even attain any of them. If there was something to be attained, it would not be destroyed.
Try out the above mentioned experiment for seven days. For me the meaning of sannyas is what Lao Tzu says. He says, "A sannyasin is one who gives up all resolve and accepts surrender; he gives up all fight with the world and becomes co-operative. He declares he has enmity towards none; wherever the winds take him, he goes. He does not insist on anything. He accepts whatever happens. There is no goal that he wants to reach. Wherever he reaches, that is his destination.
Such a person is a sannyasin. Such a sannyas-attitude opens the doors to the supreme treasures of the world."
Lao Tzu says, "THE SAGES IN THEIR GOVERNMENT..." This word needs pondering over for sages have no government. At least, we have never heard of it! But this is a very ancient truth. There was a time when the sage ruled. He had no government he had no structure of a government but the rule was his.
In the Jain order they say "Mahavira's rule". He who governs is called a King, a preceptor. Therefore we call Mahavira and Buddha, preceptors. And whatever the Shastas (preceptors) said was compiled in books that came to be known as shastras (Scriptures), shasan (Government) means that which given such rules, by the observance of which, a man reaches his destination.
So Lao Tzu says, "That saints in their rules and in their declarations create such scriptures by which they try to empty the mind of man and fill his belly. They break their will-power and strengthen their bones." All the method of Hatha-Yoga is towards strengthening the body. It is aimed at removing the will-power, and bringing in surrender. If this comes within one s understanding, this is an entirely new form of personality. Then we are not as we are now. This is a different way of looking at things - a different gestalt.
Things then begin to appear as soon as we begin to see. It you have decided to be alert and be prepared for an attack all the time, you will surely find a foe every day. The universe is very big and satisfies everyone's needs. If you are out to find an enemy, you will find one every moment and this is somewhat the same as when you hurt your foot, the whole day it seems you are receiving hurts at that very place only! Sometimes you wonder also - why? Why does the same place keep on getting hurt again and again and no other part of the body? The fact is, the foot is hurt every day at that particular place but you do not feel it; today there is a wound there and so you feel it. Today that part of you is sensitive, so you feel it. The other parts of the body do not feel for they are not sensitive.
We sense only those things that we become sensitive to. If we are sensitive towards aggression, if we feel the whole life to be a struggle, a war, then we shall find such people who can be enemies and we shall find such conditions which can lead to strife.
Lao Tzu gives us the other gestalt, the other sensitivity, the other way of looking at things. He says, "Seek co-operation." And he who sets out with this feeling, will begin to find friends wherever he goes; for now his sensitivity is different. Whatever we seek, we find, or we can say, "Whatever we get is of our own seeking." We never get what we have not searched for in this world. So remember whenever you get something, it is a result of your own seeking. But we do not think this way. If we meet an enemy, we say, "How could I have sought him? He is an enemy that I have encountered."
No. You are ready to meet an enemy, you are sensitive towards him. You were looking for him.
What is this state of co-operation? What is conflict and co-operation?
Kropotkin has written a book and Kropotkin is an unique personality of this Age. This age is an Age of conflict. Our whole era is one of conflict where all thoughts, right from Marx to Mao, are filled with conflicts and quarrels. In such an Age, there is one exceptional person - Kropotkin; and he is a Russian. He says, "Co-operation not conflict!" This is a very precious slogan he has proposed, though no one heeds him for the sensitivity of this Age, is not in this direction.
Darwin tried to prove that to live there is struggle for survival and he also proved the survival of the fittest. The fittest according to him is the one who is an expert in the art of war.
Within 300 years of Darwin, the theory of struggle became fully developed and this thought - stream made us more and more eager for conflict. This concept we have now fully accepted - that life is a struggle. Everyone is fighting: the father with the son, the son with the father, the husband with the wife and the wife with the husband. Everybody is fighting. It is not only a war of classes, our whole life has assumed the form of conflict, which has gradually penetrated into all levels of existence.
And each man is alone, fighting the rest of the world!
Kropotkin says, "Not conflict but co-operation should be the basis." The most interesting thing he says is, "Even for conflict, co-operation is necessary." Your enemy must co-operate with you in order to fight. If he refuses to co-operate, there is no way to fight! "So," Kropotkin says, "even for conflict, co-operation is necessary but at the same time, conflict is not necessary for co-operation, co-operation is foundational for even conflict cannot be without it."
If I wish to fight you, your co-operation is absolutely necessary in one form or the other. If you do not co-operate at all, then the fight is impossible. Fighting is also a big game of co-operation. When two men fight, they co-operate with each other in many ways. But for co-operation, conflict is not required. This means that co-operation is more deep within.
Kropotkin says, "Darwin went to the jungle and saw that the lion kills another animal knowingly. Now if the lion attacks one animal in 24 hours, he co-operates with the other animals for the remaining 23 hours! This Darwin did not notice. The animals of the forest, do not fight all the twenty-four hours.
The truth is, there is no animal that fights more than man."
There was a Sufi fakir, Jalaluddin. He was sitting, lost in meditation. One of his disciples came running to him and said, "Please get up quick, a monkey has got hold of a sword! Some calamity is bound to take place." Jalaluddin said, "The sword has not fallen in the hands of a man, has it? Then there is no fear. Do not be so upset."
There is not so much conflict or struggle in the jungles a, we imagine. This is just our concept of the jungle. This is not true. There is a lot of co-operation there. But man's jungle, which he calls, culture, society, is absolutely a den of conflict. This is not apparent: but all the while this web of enmity is spreading all over.
Kropotkin says what Lao Tzu has said on an altogether different and deeper level. Lao Tzu says, "Co-operation," but only that person can co-operate whose will-power is extinct. Conflict is possible by only those whose will-power is strong within. The greater the resolve the greater the conflict.
Resolve is the sutra of conflict. If the will-power fades. conflict will disappear, for then the fighting element will be no more. Practise this and see.
All Lao Tzu's sayings are worth experimenting upon. If you experiment on it, your understanding of it will be deeper. By merely hearing me, it will not come that clearly to you. You may hear me and feel you understand. Yet you will not have understood, for this understanding will be like the flash of lightning in the dark - one moment everything is bright, then all is darkness. This is because your own logic, your own reasoning is with you since many births, and this is comprised of conflict, of struggle. In such a long train of logic, if the lightning flashes for a moment with the talk of someone on co-operation, how long can it last? As long as you have not experimented co-operation and felt the difference as against your experience of strife, this flash will not last. Carry out this experiment - just for seven days.
To understand this sutra, make a vow for seven days that from tomorrow for seven days you will practise co-operation, happen what may. Wherever the condition of conflict arises. I shall co- operate. Then this sutra will give up its secret. The secret of all these sutras open not by elucidation but by experimentation. If by explanation it becomes clear that it is worth experimenting upon, then it is enough. Co-operate with the person you fought with. Bow down in the circumstances in which you stood stiff and haughty, flow in them, lie low - absolutely flat. Then see whether in seven days, you are destroyed or reborn. See whether in seven days you have become weaker or stronger; whether you are lost or saved; whether you are ill or healthy. Then a new quality of health will begin to come within your experience.
Enough for today.