Unbiased are the three - heaven, earth and the saint
CHAPTER 5: SUTRA 1
HEAVEN AND EARTH DO NOT ACT FROM (THE IMPULSE OF) ANY WISH TO BE BENEVOLENT; THEY DEAL WITH ALL THINGS AS THE DOGS OF GRASS ARE DEALT WITH.
THE SAGE DOES NOT ACT FROM (ANY WISH TO BE) BENEVOLENT; THEY DEAL WITH THE PEOPLE AS THE DOGS OF GRASS ARE DEALT WITH.
From all the people who have known on this earth, Lao Tzu is matchless, he is unique.
A man of ordinary intellect can easily add any of his own ideas to Krishna's GITA. In the same manner, anything can be added to the words of Mahavira, Buddha or Christ; and it will be difficult to detect these. The statements of these saints do not fall contrary to the morals and understanding of the common man. This is why all the scriptures of the world have become interpolated. Each generation adds something new of its own. Thus it has not been possible to preserve the purity of these scriptures.
But Lao Tzu's book is one of those very few books on earth which has preserved its purity. Nothing can be added unto it. The reason is, only a person of the calibre of Lao Tzu can ever add anything to it. The things Lao Tzu talks of are so contrary and opposed to the general common understanding, that an ordinary man cannot add anything of his own. To add anything to his works, a man has to become like Lao Tzu.
This statement is also a typical statement of Lao Tzu. You must never have heard that saints are never compassionate. All that you have heard about saints goes to show that they are filled with compassion - and Lao Tzu says: "THE SAINT HAS NO WISH TO BE BENEVOLENT." Now to add anything to this statement is very difficult. Lao Tzu says, "SAINTS DEAL WITH US AS WE DEAL WITH DOGS OF GRASS." This seems very strange, therefore it needs to be understood. No one understood saints better than Lao Tzu.
Actually, what we say about saints is according to our understanding: and what Lao Tzu says about saints is according to the saint's understanding.
Let us understand this sutra from the very beginning. HEAVEN AND EARTH DO NOT ACT FROM (THE IMPULSE OF) ANY WISH TO BE BENEVOLENT. Nature is devoid of all compassion, then be this the nature of heaven or of earth or whether it is on the level of the body or of the spirit. Nature is not benevolent. This does not mean that nature is heartless. This is our common understanding that that which is not compassionate must needs be cruel and heartless. But Nature is neither. It is neither benevolent towards anyone nor hard on anyone.
In fact, nature does not worry about you. It is not concerned with whether you exist or not. Tomorrow if you die, the skies will shed no tears, nor will the earth cry. When you were not there, the earth never felt your absence. Today, your presence makes no difference to the earth or the skies. Nature is oblivious of your presence. The rains will come as they do, the sun will shine and the flowers will bloom just as they always do. The day you die, flowers will bloom just the same. And your death will not cause any change in the coolness of the moon, nor will it change the course of the clouds in the skies. Your being or non-being is irrelevant to them. Nature does not even know that you exist.
But we are not aware of nature in this way.
The nature we know, is a product of our own imagination. If I am unhappy the moonlight appears sad to me; but the moonlight is never sad. Perhaps some lover meets his beloved in the same moonlight and sings songs of joy. So the same moonlight proves a source of joy to one and appears sad to another. It is quite possible that at one place, the moon seems to shed tears and at another, it causes flowers to bloom.
But neither do flowers bloom in moonlight nor does the moon become sad. The moonlight is oblivious of my presence or of anybody else's. It will be the same whether we exist or not.
When Lao Tzu says that nature is not benevolent, what he means is, do not spread your palms before nature unnecessarily. No mercy is obtained either from the skies or the earth. Do not fold your hands before a temple or a mosque. Do not pray to God with the hope that your prayers will bring about a change. No incantations of praise make any difference and even abuse makes no difference. Praise is meaningful only where abuse also is meaningful.
If my invectives unsettle God, my praise of Him is bound to be effective. And it God is displeased it I do not pray unto him, then my praise is hound to melt His heart and persuade him.
If I can induce God to be compassionate then He can be made to be cruel also. Then God does not remain God but a puppet in our hands.
Lao Tzu says, "Things are just the other way round. We are puppets in his hands." If he is benevolent, we could play with him. Therefore Lao Tzu says that nature is not benevolent nor does he say that nature is cruel. The cruelest of men can be compassionate, then be it Tamer or Genghis or Hitler, there are weak spots in their hearts also. He can love someone and he can also be pained at the suffering of someone. There may be a difference of degree. His limit of compassion may be restricted and his limit of hard-heartedness may be larger. It is the other way round in the case of a compassionate man but the most compassionate of men has also a strain of cruelty within him. His compassion also has a limit. Therefore you will find that the heart of the kindliest of persons has a hard core within - there ale stones somewhere within his heart too!
This is inevitable, for whatever we know in this life is split into two. I he man who loves, hates also.
The man who is wrathful, can also forgive. And as morning is followed by even tide, so do these dualities come and go across the mind of a man.
Lao Tzu says, "Nature is non-dual." Nature follows the law of one-ness. There everything is similar.
And there is never any fluctuation in this law. Nature is neither kind nor cruel. It neither punishes the bad nor rewards the good. This means that whatever we do and whatever we attain is the result of our doing. Nature has no hand in it.
If a thorn pricks my foot, it is not because nature is eager to pierce thorns within my feet, on the contrary, it shows that I am keen to walk on thorny ground. And if flowers rain over my head, it is not because the skies were showering them on me but that I sought out the trees that scattered flowers. This is coincidence and this search is mine alone, whether it was for thorns or for flowers, or whether it was for invectives or for honour. And whether I enjoy heaven or rot in hell or whether there is music all around me, it is entirely my doing.
Nature however, is impartial. It is not interested in you at all. It should not be or else there would be disorder.
Lao Tzu says, "This is nature's arrangement that it is not interested in you at all." If Nature was interested in you, you will not fail to take advantage of it and even misuse it. If it were so, man would keep it under his control. Just because it is not interested in you, it is beyond your control.
If your prayers are fulfilled, it is not because someone has heard them; rather, it is because you have done something else to fulfil them. If your prayers go unanswered, it is not because God is displeased with you; rather, it is because they are merely prayers and you have done nothing to back them up with. If prayers give you strength, this strength too, comes from within you, it is your own strength. If whilst returning from the temple after prayers, you feel yourself filled with energy, it means your resolve is more awakened. If your legs feel strong and your steps become firm, the strength has come from inside of you. The thought of praying in the temple is entirely yours and so also the result. It is entirely of your own making and can happen even in wilderness where there is no sign of any temple.
This is exactly why it sometimes happens that a mere stone fulfils your prayers, whereas at times even the presence of men of the stature of Lao Tzu or Mahavira or Buddha, fail to be effective.
The other is not in the picture at all. The matter rests entirely with you and to make this very clear, Lao Tzu has said that nature is not benevolent.
This statement sounds very harsh and cruel in a way, for then we feel helpless. All our strength oozes out of our hands if someone says nature is not kind. If I fall in a pit, no voice from heaven will warn me beforehand. This seems very hard and affects our mind.
And because of the jolt that this statement gives to the mind, Lao Tzu is outside of the understanding of many people, for he gives no promises to make good your incapabilities. It is very difficult to form a religion after Lao Tzu. Religions can only be formed if you defects can be exploited. If you are told that God wants just what you want, that God is willing to give exactly what you desire, then religions are formed.
No religion could be formed after Lao Tzu. He is one of his own kind, who has no church, no order, no religion behind him.
How could this be possible? For Lao Tzu says, "Nature is not benevolent." Prayers and praises and even God is nipped in the bud. You stand alone. We are so afraid of being alone that we are even willing to take a false companion to ease the mind. If I am alone on the high seas with not a soul near me, even then I can dream of someone beside me and put my mind to rest. That is why perhaps, man dreams. Not only does he dream whilst asleep but also when he is awake!
What we look upon as religion is nothing but our vast dreams spread out. We see in them only that which we want to see and we get it cheap! A man eats once a day, or goes about in a loin-cloth, or goes about naked, or he goes and rings the temple-bells daily and feels that heaven is assured for him.
No - Nature is not compassionate.
But who are the people who crave and beg for compassion? Surely they are the wrong type of people. The right kind of person never asks for compassion. He will spurn it even if he is given for that which is obtained out of pity, is never attained. It never can become a part of us. That which is created by our own effort, that alone is our possession.
Lao Tzu maintains that nature is non-compassionate. Then is it cruel? No, it is not cruel either.
Nature is only unprejudiced towards you. It is feeling-less towards you. It takes no sides for or against you. It is our way of thinking, therefore we always think in duality - whether nature is our friend or foe. Nature is neither. It does not keep your account. You are not accountable in its eyes.
There is no loss in nature due to your absence and no profit in your presence. Our being is like a line drawn over water. Just as it makes no difference to the water whether the line is drawn or not.
This means non-compassionate, meaning thereby, it has no feeling towards you.
This in one way is very harsh and in another way a very joyful matter, for if nature takes sides there is bound to be partiality. Then even there somebody will be able to deceive. Then even a sinner will pull strings and go to heaven, while the virtuous ones may rot in hell. If there is the slightest feeling in Existence, the element of choice will step in.
This is why all religions of the world that stand on selection and on the theory of nature's compassion, stand on judgment. If you ask a Muslim what will happen to a non-Muslim, he will say that the poor fellow will go astray. There is no way without being a Muslim. If you ask a Christian what will happen to a non-Christian, he will say that a person who does not follow Christ will keep groping in the dark.
God sent his son on earth. Those who follow him, will be saved and those who do not, shall perish.
If God has any son, there is bound to be confusion; and if it is advantageous to speak in favour of the Son of God and if even Existence takes his side, then there is bound to be difficulty.
No, Lao Tzu says, "Nature has no sons." Nature has no one of its own, for no one is alien to nature also. Nature accepts no one for it denies nobody. Nature takes no sides and this is a matter of joy in a way. Therefore, each one attains according to his strength and ability for there is no partiality. So if I attain hell it will be of my own making and if I attain heaven, it too will be of my own making. I cannot hold anyone responsible. I cannot therefore thank anyone or abuse anyone that it was because of him that I attained what I attained.
The meaning of this statement of Lao Tzu is: "Ultimately, I am responsible. The ultimate responsibility is mine".
Therefore Lao Tzu's second statement seems even more cruel. He says, "HEAVEN AND EARTH DO NOT ACT FROM (THE IMPULSE OF) ANY WISH TO BE BENEVOLENT." Their dealings with all creatures is like a person's attitude towards a dog made out of grass. And how will you behave towards a dog made out of grass? If he wags his tail, you will not feel happy for it is only a dog of grass. If he barks you will not be frightened for you know he is only made of grass. This dog will not prompt you to react in any direction. You will neither run away when he barks, nor will you feel happy when he wags his tail.
But if you have the slightest indication that he is a genuine dog, you will react. Even if the dog is of grass but you take him to be real, you are bound to respond. Then you will feel happy when he wags his tail.
Man keeps dogs just for this reason for it is a difficult task to find a man who would wag his tail at all that you do. A man keeps a dog. When he comes home, tired from his work, it is not certain whether the wife will greet him with her tail wagging, more so after he has wedded her. But the dog is bound to wait for him at the gate and wag his tail when he sees him!
Mulla Nasruddin's friend told him one day, "I am in a fix. As long as I was not married, the dog used to bark at me and my wife used to bring my slippers but now things are entirely changed. Now the wife barks and the dog brings my slippers." Nasruddin says, "But I see no difference. The services are the same. The work done is the same, only the workers have changed. You get your slippers and also the usual bark, then what is your worry?"
Man can be gratified by the tail of a dog. He can be frightened by his bark also. The same reactions can be obtained from a grass-dog if you do not know it is made of grass. The reason is, we do not live in reality, we live in our conceptions. My conceptions are the realities of my world.
In this peerless statement, Lao Tzu says, "NATURE DEALS WITH US AS IF WE ARE DOGS OF GRASS." It is neither directed nor motivated by us. There is a very deep insight in this statement.
We are dogs of grass in the eyes of nature, not only metaphorically but also in actuality. And what more can we mean to nature than dogs of grass?
As far as we are concerned, we are statues stuffed with grass. If the grass is removed from within us, nothing remains. Our bodies are mere grass - a conglomeration of food, water, bones and fibre. And we have not the slightest idea that there is anything besides body within us! We are the body. Open the body and there is nothing but this 'grass' within. The scientists say that the human body is worth only about 4 to 5 rupees. There is some aluminium, some iron, some copper, some phosphorous.
That which we call life, a scientist will say is the evolution of vegetable. Even today, our life is entirely dependent on this. One man consumes one ton of grass in one year in order to subsist. We have to keep taking in grass all the time. Different people take grass in different forms but it is grass all the same. That is our fuel, that is our existence, that is our body.
It is not necessary to be annoyed with Lao Tzu when he calls us dogs of grass. We too are not aware whether we are anything more than this. That Nature knows us as such, is reasonable but that we too, know ourselves as this only, is not worthy. But we have no idea whether there is anything besides the body within us. That there is a soul, we have heard but fail to understand for we can only understand that which comes within our Comprehension.
But in other ways also we are like grass. Have you seen the scarecrow that a farmer makes? He stuffs it with grass and puts an old pot on its head. It helps to frighten the birds away. The birds take him to be real and so are frightened and fly away. If you come upon it on a dark night, perhaps it can frighten you too. Your feelings get projected on the scarecrow and cause you to react.
Now also, we are motivated by nothing more than figures stuffed with grass. If a beautiful body attracts me, have I ever thought that it is the grass that attracts me? If I am eager to kill someone, do I realize that I am only waiting to run a knife through grass? Someone's presence delights me and someone's absence fills me with sorrow. Have I then realized that figures of grass can bring about such a wave of emotions within me merely by their presence or non-presence?
Lao Tzu says, "Nature has nothing to do with you. It only knows you as dogs of grass." You do not exist, you are merely a house of cards.
Now if we are willing to understand Nature to be such, what Lao Tzu says further is even more difficult to understand. He says, "The saints, those who know, they too are not compassionate."
Saints have always been known and believed to be compassionate. We say they are the ultimate in compassion. Mahavira's devotees said he was the symbol of forgiveness, Buddha's devotees said he was the last word in compassion. The devotees of Jesus proclaim that he was born out of compassion for mankind, to bring them out of pain and misery. The devotees of Krishna say that whenever the world is filled with sorrow and grief, Krishna will come and liberate all. So up to now this is our conception of a saint - all-compassion!
But Lao Tzu says, "Saints are non-compassionate, for he is a saint who has united himself with the intrinsic essence of Nature." Otherwise he is not a saint. Then if Existence is non-compassionate, how can a saint be compassionate? The meaning of the word saint is: One who has attained the Truth of existence and become one with it.
Then it Truth itself is non-compassionate how can a saint be otherwise? The saint is one with Truth.
Saints make no sacrifices. This immediately brings up the illusion that then they must be harsh and cruel. No, they are neither harsh nor cruel. They are neither harsh nor humble. They are beyond the pairs of opposites. If they act in a certain manner, it is not because they are hard on you or because they think kindly of you. They do only that which their Nature silently bids them do. Their actions are spontaneous and natural. You go to a saint and put your head on his feet and he puts his hand on your head. This is not out of any compassion towards you. It can also be that he might push you away. Then too it is not necessary that he is harsh on you.
When Rinzai approached his Guru for the first time, it was a well known fact among the people there, that the Guru was a very harsh man. Generally such rumours are wrong for the people have no idea whether a saint is kind or cruel. So when Rinzai prepared to go to him, they tried to stop him. "Do not go to him, he is very harsh," they all counselled him. "Let me go and find out for myself," Rinzai told them. "It is quite possible you may be wrong. This has often happened with me that the person I go to meet turns out to be exactly the opposite of what people tell me."
Rinzai went. He found the Guru sitting by his door with a staff in his hand. Zen fakirs always kept a staff with them. Shankara's sannyasins were also made to carry a staff with them. No one knows why, for the concept of a saint in India has always been linked with compassion. So Shankara's sannyasins, though they carry a staff, they never make use of it. The Zen fakirs of Japan are the only order of sannyasins who have made full use of the staff.
The Guru sat with the staff in his hand. Rinzai approached him and bent down to touch his feet.
"Stop!" The Guru shouted. "Answer my question first, then only are you eligible to touch my feet!"
"What is the question?" Rinzai asked respectfully. "First of all let me tell you," said the Guru, "whether your answer is yes or no in both the cases this staff shall descend on you. So think first." Rinzai replied, "Let me touch your feet first and let the ritual of the staff be done with. Then we shall talk."
Saying thus, he put his head on the fakir's feet and requested him to hit him with the staff.
The Guru kept his staff down and said, "Perhaps I shall have no need to beat you." "Why?" asked Rinzai. "Whoever comes begging for my compassion my being becomes harsh towards him. I am not present, it is not my doing, it happens so. No sooner a person pleads for mercy, my being becomes harsh and cruel. Where there is the sense of ownership, my being gets filled with compassion. But," he continued, "the fact is, I am outside both of these. Nothing is of my own doing.
I am ready and willing for whatever happens. If my hand picks up the staff, I beat. Right now, the hand has left the staff, so I have let it go."
In fact, saints are natural. Understand what I mean by natural: without any cause, they become one with whatever their being bids them do from within. They are choiceless. They cannot be compassionate, they cannot show mercy. They cannot also be cruel. They however, appear to be kind but that is only our understanding of them and at times they seem unduly harsh - that again, is our understanding. Our understanding is the understanding of an insane mind and very rarely, (if ever) this understanding turns out true.
A friend came to me two months ago. He has been coming to me for the last five years or so. Every time he comes to me, he would say, "If I do not have your darshan for 2-4 days, I become very restless." This he told me so many times, that I should believe it was the truth. So many times he repeated this that I should have accepted the fact that it could not be otherwise. Many times though, I felt like confiding my doubts to him that I suspected the contrary.
This time be came after two months! "May I ask you a question?" I asked him, "You say you become restless if you do not see me for two or four days. Or is it that I become restless if I do not have your darshan for two or four days?" "What is this you say?" He asked. "It has never ever occurred to me this way." It is not necessary that he should think of it. We are so clever at deception. "Still, give it a thought." I told him. "The question does not arise." He said, "The day I cannot see you or talk about you or read your books, my mind becomes very restless."
Fifteen days later he came again. He came with three other friends. I looked at the three and ignored him. I talked to these three as if they alone were in the room. He touched my feet and looked at me. I looked as if I was unaware of his presence. He became restless. He went and sat in a corner.
He was a different man altogether. Everything about him had changed. I should have inquired how his wife was and how his son was and his daughter. He was under the illusion that he had come for darshan. So today also, he had my darshan but I did not have his. He did not touch my feet before leaving. When he closed the door after him that day, I knew it was for the last time. He will never enter that door again.
He never came. Someone told me he has thrown my books away. Now he is getting on famously without me. Not only that, he cannot rest till he abuses and scandalizes me before a few people every day. What has happened to this man?
For years he swore he was restless without me. I knew all the time that the actual thing was not my darshan. I do not say that he did this on purpose. He was totally oblivious of this. We are such masters at deception that we even deceive ourselves. We do not let our own selves know what is happening within us. In those ten minutes when I did not give him attention, so much of rubbish poured out from within him, it is difficult to tell. The atmosphere in the room became heavy and oppressive when he left.
Very recently, another incident took place. A lady came to see me. She sat with me for about 10 minutes. Her mind was filled to brim. She gave vent to all the hatred, malice, jealousy that was within her. She relieved herself of her burden. Soon after, a youth entered. He looked around restlessly and said, "I am feeling very strange! What is the reason?" I told him, "Do not fear. A woman was here before you and she has spilt some rubbish. The air has become a little heavy for the vibrations of her malady are within this room. Within five minutes the room will clear again."
It is not the body alone that throws out refuse. There is much more refuse within our minds. It is not the body alone that ejects excreta and urea. The same has also to be ejected from the mind. This is why you cannot be filled with love towards a person for all the twenty-four hours. You will have to show disgust towards him or else, how will you throw out the refuse? As we provide a bathroom in each house, so also we have to arrange disgust in our mind, where all the refuse can collect.
The refuse collects. Then it has to be thrown out. This is why there is divorce not only between a husband and wife but also between Guru and disciple, between two friends, between father and son. We do not take this into account but these do happen.
Now when we are filled with love towards a person, for him we become without a toilet. Our whole house becomes a sitting room for him. Now where is the toilet to go? We shall have to hide it. By and by the sitting room will begin to contract and the toilet will expand till one day the whole house will turn into a toilet and there will be a sitting room no more. This happens for this is inevitable in the case of a mind filled with duality.
Lao Tzu says, "The saints do not live in duality (dwandwa). They love no one and therefore they despise no one." Let us understand this well. Our reasoning is different. We say, "Since I love you, I do not despise you." This logic is absolutely false. Whenever a person says, "I love you," the other part that he leaves unsaid is, "I despise you." This other part is inevitable logic but we hide it. Later on we have to reap the fruits thereof.
Lao Tzu says, "They love no one for they hate no one." They are kind to no one for they are not harsh or cruel to anyone. They forgive no one for they are never angry with anyone. Understand these pairs of opposites (dwandwa) well. They are the two sides of the same coin and they go along together always, no matter how much you hide the other side. How long will you hide it? Then boredom results. You become curious to see what you have been hiding; and that which you have seen a lot, you wish to see no more. Then you have to change the side (of the coin). The end of a lover is that he is filled with disgust, and when friendship is strong, enmity is born. If the friendship is not very intense, it can work for a long period.
People come and ask me, "So and so used to love you so much, he had such faith in you and why has he now gone against you?" To this I reply, "It is entirely because of this reason." This they cannot understand for they think that one who loves cannot go against you. "I do not love you half as much but I have not gone against you," they say. To this also I reply, "It is entirely because of this reason."
If you understand this statement, you shall be able to understand Lao Tzu.
Lao Tzu says: "The saint is beyond the opposites." So if you feel that Mahavira is kind to you, it is entirely your understanding. Mahavira is not responsible for this. And if you feel Mahavira looks at you with eyes that are sharp and burning, that also is entirely your understanding. This is purely your interpretation. Mahavira has nothing to do with it. The saint never divides himself in two.
But Lao Tzu also says, "Saints deal with men as if they were stuffed dogs." A saint looking upon man as a stuffed dog! The saint is always believed to be seeing God within all creatures - not only men - that he should see man thus! He should not even look upon a stuffed dog that way! He should see God even in a dog - that is what we have heard!
What is this that Lao Tzu says? He is saying quite the opposite thing. But this is not contrary. It is the other side of the same matter. The man who sees God within you, also sees the grass-stuffed dog within you. Try to understand this: In you I say In Existence, he will see nothing but God. But you are not Existence, you are only a bundle full of hay, a knot, a complex. You are not man - you are a complex of illnesses. The man in you lies hidden behind the complex.
When the saint says he sees God everywhere, he puts aside this complex and speaks - he puts you aside, you who are a bundle of maladies. When he says: "This is," he is not addressing you but he is addressing that which is beyond you, that whom you have never met. You hear him speak and you think he means you. You are merely a bundle of hay - a complex of maladies and this complex the saint looks upon as a stuffed-dog.
This complex is our ego. That is what 'I am'. With that it feels to us that 'I am'. The saint does not think this to be of any worth. But this ego finds ways and means to be of consequence. It can lie at the feet of a saint or it can strut arrogantly outside in the market-place with the knowledge that it was 'I' who could reach the saint's feet - I! When others stood helplessly and looked on, it was I alone who had the singular honour of touching his fee; and when others were craving for a single look, I had the honour of his being a glance! How filled with love those eyes were - but these very eyes would turn into stone some day for they are the product of your imagination.
This is why people like Lao Tzu did not appeal to the masses. The masses are only attracted towards those who feed their ego, by those who are adept in the art of seducing their ego. Salesmanship, is what pays with human beings. Thousands of books have been written on this in America in the last twenty years. They teach people - 'HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE'. They teach them how to trap the wife or the husband, how to coax customers into buying things. They show thousands of ways in which man's ego can be flattered.
If the ugliest of woman is capable of enticing your ego, Mumtaz-Mahal and Noorjahan would become worthless. The beauty of a woman lies more in her power of persuasion than in her looks. This is why ugly women at times perform the impossible whereas the beautiful ones still stand in the queue!
Many a time an ordinary person becomes a powerful leader whereas no one even looks at a man of extraordinary intelligence. What is the secret? The lesser man knows the art of feeding the other's ego.
Nothing is ever captured or sold in this world until you master the art of flattering the other's ego.
And what can be easier than this? The other is always ready to succumb to your flattery. In fact he eagerly awaits it. You take one step towards him and he is ready to fall ten times.
A person like Lao Tzu cannot be influential for he says that your ego is nothing more than a stuffed dog!
Confucius came to meet Lao Tzu. He found there was no place to sit - no chair, no high platform.
Confucius was a very disciplined person. He looked all around the room to find a place to sit. Lao Tzu said, "Sit wherever you like, it makes no difference to the room. I am sitting here since a long time and the room has not looked at me even once." Confucius sat down but he was very ill at ease for he had never sat directly on the floor before. Lao Tzu said, "The body has sat down. You too, sit down." The ego is standing erect behind him. Lao Tzu says, "Since you have sat down, let the ego sit also."
Confucius sat down but he did not hear a word of what Lao Tzu had to say. If a hundred words are spoken, ninety-nine will in all probability go unheard even in the case of all of you.
Napoleon Hill was a clever thinker of America. He says, "If you want to make your way within a person, flatter his ego. Then he will be ready to hear you. Otherwise he will not he prepared even to hear you." You come to me and I ask you as soon as you enter what thoughts are going on within you and if you give an honest reply, you will find your mind occupied with all kinds of thoughts. Now if I want to penetrate within you, I shall have to break this flow of thoughts. Then only can my words reach within you. Otherwise your eyes will look at me, your ears will hear me but the internal flow of thoughts will keep on.
Napoleon Hill says, "If you want to break the inner flow of thoughts of a person, fan his ego. Then he will immediately be prepared to listen to you." He has written in his memoirs that a man hovers around four things - name, wealth, desire and age. All these are parts of the ego. If you want to make an entrance into someone's heart, you can begin from any one of these.
He (Hill) has got into a bus. The bus was moving fast and it was raining heavily outside. He had to get down at stand No.55. He went up to the driver and said, "Please tell me when stand 55 comes, I have to get down there. It is a dark night and it is raining hard. I do not want to miss my stop." The driver replied, "How can I remember? Besides it is raining hard and the night is dark. Shall I keep my eyes on the traffic or on the stands? Please look out for yourself."
Had it been another man, he would have quietly taken his seat but Napoleon wanted to try out his experiment. "I was only trying to tell you," he said, "that there is a big pot-hole near stand 55 and you should be careful." He then went and took his seat. When stand 55 came, the driver promptly stopped. "Where is the pot-hole?" he asked Hill, "There is no pot-hole. I only wanted to make a hole in the flow of your thoughts." And he got off the bus.
If the thought of death grips you, the ego gets a jolt, if the thought of wealth or status grips you, the ego falls and the stream is broken and an opening is made. Then you can penetrate within.
But how can a person like Lao Tzu enter within you? He talks neither of wealth nor status or standing; nor does he talk of desires. He will only say, "You are a dog stuffed with hay". Who will listen to such a man?
After returning from Lao Tzu, do you know what Confucius told his disciples? He said, "Do not ever go to that old man. He is not a man but a lion! He seems ready to eat you up. I have never come across a man more harsh than him. I was frightened of him! I did not catch a word of what he said - not that I did not hear him well. I did not hear him at all! It was a difficult task to look this man in the eye."
Lao Tzu is neither compassionate nor harsh. But Confucius found him harsh, for a great thinker like him - he was much better known than Lao Tzu. It was Confucius who created China. He was well established. Even the king revered him and gave him all honour. They got up hastily and took him to his seat when he arrived - and this old fakir tells him, "Sit down. the room won't mind!" His mind closed even more.
Saints are non-compassionate. They are so one with Existence that it is Existence that speaks from within them. It is Existence that carries out all their dealings. It is Existence that bids then stand or sit. The saint does not exist in himself. If this is kept in mind, it will be easy to understand this seemingly strange sutra of Lao Tzu.
Would that we can see saints this way, then our entire concept of saints will change completely.
Then we shall see differently, think differently.
But we take our own particular angle of vision when we go to a saint. We do not go to a saint to understand him. We go to investigate our own point of view. If we hear him, then too we sort out the things which we deem are correct. What does this mean? It means, what saying of the saint agrees with you. If it agrees with you then it is correct otherwise not. Then this man is wrong. You make yourself the criterion. Therefore your meeting with a saint never takes place.
The saint Lao Tzu talks of, you shall never meet. You are however, bound to meet saints who distribute sweets! He will place a candy on your tongue and you will become tremendously happy.
The grass-dog will wag his tail in appreciation and say, "This is a saint!" He will spray water on your head and bless; you that success is bound to be yours. He will give you some talisman, some mantra to win your case in court, to win your lost love. Such saints are plenty in the world but one like Lao Tzu is very hard to come by.
He will not come your way unless you are prepared to look upon yourself as a stuffed-dog. And he who is ready and willing to look upon himself as such, finds such a saint right on his door-step! He does not need to set out in search of him for Existence begins to reveal itself - to us its mysteries, its secrets - according to our own preparation! Everything rests on our receptivity.
Lao Tzu points to that which is the most important part of our preparation. This is not merely metaphysical. Lao Tzu's suggestion is to make us understand what we should do if we want to meet such a saint. We shall have to be very clear about ourselves - as to what we are.
If it becomes clear to my understanding as to what I am, the knot that has formed within me, will dissolve in no time. But the trouble is, this does not occur to us.
Recently a mother had come to me all the way from New York with her daughter. There was a lot of struggle between the two. The mother was under the impression that she loved her daughter very much. She had come two months before also. Then she had told me that she loved her children so much that she would even give her life for them. I told her to think over again for this was not natural.
She insisted that she loved her three daughters so, it would be hard for me to imagine! I again told her to think it over.
At this she began to cry and beat her breast. She said, "You are cruel, take back your words, for I really and truly love my children." The louder she screamed the more adamant I became. "Whom are you trying to convince by this - me or your own self?" I asked her. "If you love them, you love them. There the matter should end. There is no need to make an exhibition like this! Since you cry and scream so much and beat your breast I tell you again. Look within and try to understand yourself. Your crying will have no effect on me; but it is bound to affect you."
If you want to love you must know how to cry and beat your breast or else how can others know what you feel? The louder you cry the better you can convey your feeling and that is why women can easily prove that they love whereas a man finds it difficult.
"This will not work with me," I told her.
So this time she brought her eldest daughter along with her. She said, "Now look at us." I did and within fifteen days as much enmity as can exist between two individuals, manifested itself in full between these two.
Enmity exists between a mother and daughter, society, family, hides it. As the daughter grows into a young girl, the mother starts becoming her enemy. This is absolutely natural. This is our animal heritage. As the son grows up and becomes a young man, the father is filled with jealousy. This is not a matter to be discussed. All fathers and all sons know it. As the boy grows up, he tries to push the father out. Verily, he has to make a place for himself. Looking at the daughter in the full bloom of youth, the mother feels she lost hers on account of her. No one is the cause for loss of youth.
Without children too, she would have become old. But she does not think of this. Every man that enters the house first looks at the young girl and then at the old mother. This is very painful.
The custom of sending married daughter off to her husband's home was initiated by women and since the woman always has her way, the man had to give in. Daughters had to be sent away from the house. Even if the father takes more interest in his daughter, which is very natural, the mother is filled with jealousy. Then the daughter no longer looks a daughter in the mother's eyes but a sheer woman.
For fifteen days I tried my best to bring out all their maladies from within. I instigated them both against each other. Their fever reached such a pitch that they were ready to fall on each other's throat. Then I made them both sit with me and told them to bring out whatever was within them.
Then the disease that came out of them was such no mother or a daughter could ever imagine. This is so within each mother and each daughter. But we suppress these feelings and dress our wounds.
We spread flowers without when there is nothing but dirt and filth within.
Lao Tzu says, "You are a complex of this filth and nothing more. We consider it no more than a stuffed dog and neither do we forgive nor show any compassion, nor harshness towards them.
"We say only this that it is useless and irrelevant. It is worthless. As long as this complex does not dissolve, that which is priceless within, does not get an opportunity to manifest itself. Until all the filth and dirt from within is thrown out, the gold within cannot be purified."
You will be shocked to know the jealousy, the disgust, the invectives the mother and daughter expressed against each other. So much so, that I found myself in a fix. I was afraid that if their problem is not solved quickly - they had to return to New York soon - there would be chaos. Then I had to carry out processes to remove all their hatred. There they sat - the mother and daughter - and they said such things to each other as a daughter has never ever openly told her mother or a mother, her daughter, but which they both have always thought about each other from times immemorial.
You could never dream a mother telling her daughter, "You are my enemy. You always try to snatch away the man who tries to love me." And the daughter says, "You are a harlot!" When the mother asked, "Do you hate me?" She said, "I do, I do, I hate you, this very moment!" The mother said, "You are nobody to me. I cannot bear the very sight of you!"
When all this invective came out in an hour's time, I told them to sit silently with their eyes closed.
Thus they sat for 5 minutes and both were crying. Then they both clung to each other. That night they slept on one cot. The next day the mother said, "It was our honeymoon night. After years, I was able to make love to my daughter again." But I told her to beware for this love will only gather hatred.
Wherever there is (dwandwa) duality, we tend to gather the opposite.
Lao Tzu says, "The saint is beyond the opposites. He is apart from both of them. They are neither harsh nor compassionate."
Enough for today, the rest tomorrow.