Blessed are those who are ready to be last
CHAPTER 7: SUTRA 1 & 2
LIVING FOR OTHERS
THE REASON WHY HEAVEN AND EARTH ARE ABLE TO ENDURE AND CONTINUE THUS LONG IS:
BECAUSE THEY DO NOT LIVE OF, OR FOR, THEMSELVES.
THIS IS HOW THEY ARE ABLE TO CONTINUE AND ENDURE.
AND YET IT IS FOUND IN THE FOREMOST PLACE; HE TREATS HIS PERSON AS IF IT WERE FOREIGN TO HIM; AND YET THAT PERSON IS PRESERVED.
IS IT NOT BECAUSE HE HAS NO PRIVATE AND PERSONAL ENDS; THAT THEREFORE SUCH ENDS ARE REALISED?
There are two ways of existence.
One way is to live as if I am the centre of all Universe. To live as if the whole world has been created for me; as if I am God and all the world is subservient to me. This is one way of living. The second way is exactly the opposite of this: To live as if I was never the centre of the Universe, rather, I am a point on its circumference. To live as if, all the world is God and I its mere servant.
These two ways of living are the difference between a religious and an irreligious man. The irreligious man considers himself to be God and all the world his slave. He lives as if the world is created for his exploitation alone. A religious man lives quite contrary to this - as if he is not. The world is, he is not.
These two ways of life have two different results.
Lao Tzu says, "HEAVEN AND EARTH ARE LONG ENDURING" - eternal. Their life-span is very long. What is the reason that they exist so long? It is because they do not exist for themselves.
The more a person lives for himself, the more tense he becomes. His life is filled with anxiety and distress and these in turn will shorten his life. Anxiety shortens life, enfeebles it. The less a person lives for himself, the more free, burdenless, without tension and more relaxed he will be. If a few things are explained, this sutra will be easier to understand.
A child in the mother's womb, sleeps for nine months. When he is born, he sleeps for 23 hours and keeps awake for one hour in a day. Then gradually, he sleeps for 22 hours, then 20, Gradually his sleep gets less and less and his waking period becomes more and more. When a man is middle- aged, he sleeps for eight hours, then six, then four. In old ace, he cannot sleep for more than two hours. Perhaps you have never thought why a child needs to sleep more and an old man less?
When life creates, self-remembrance should be completely absent. Self-remembrance becomes a hindrance in the development of existence. As the child develops within the mother's womb, nature keeps it asleep so that the child does not become ego-conscious. As soon as this thought comes within the child, the development begins to be hindered. The 'I' becomes a burden on existence.
As ego develops, sleep becomes less and less till in old age, it is almost gone. Now death is close and there is no further development in life. Rather, life is now about to fade An old man can remain awake all the twenty-four hours but a child cannot.
Doctors say that if a patient cannot sleep, it is difficult to cure him. So the first thing they attend to is the patient's sleep. If he sleeps well, the illness can be cured. Why? Tn sleep he forgets his 'I'.
For as long as he forgets the ego, life becomes light, weightless. Then all the processes of life can work unhindered. If a man cannot sleep when he is ill, his sleeplessness is more dangerous than his malady for anxiety will surround him all the twenty four hours.
You feel fresh and cheerful after your eight hours' sleep in the night. The reason is only this, that you were free from your ego for eight hours. If man has taken pleasure out of intoxicating drugs, the reason was only this: he needs must forget himself at times for with so much anxiety and so much ego, it is impossible to live otherwise. Alcohol and drugs cannot be banished from the world until such time as the whole world becomes ready for meditation.
There are only two ways of being rid of the ego. Either you drown yourself in meditation, so much so, Lao Tzu says that you stop living for yourself, or you forcefully make yourself unconscious by chemical drugs, the 'I' cannot be annihilated by intoxicants. It can only be forgotten for some time.
As long as it is forgotten, you feel nice but as soon as the effect fades away, the ego stands up with double vigour. It will take its revenge for being suppressed so long.
As man's ego increased, the world had to invent many more means to become unconscious. The more civilized a country, the more intoxicants it has. Now we have had to discover new things like marijuana, mescaline, L.S.D. Man wants to forget himself somehow. Why after all, does a man take so much trouble to forget himself?
Lao Tzu says, "This Creation is so eternal for it is not aware of its existence. The space above is so enduring because it exists for others and not for itself." We exist for our own selves. The more a person lives for himself, the more he will be tormented, the more confused and insane he will become. Our madness and confusion is directly related to the radius of our existence. The more a person lives for others, the lighter he becomes. He (so to say) develops wings and soars in the sky! And if a person forgets his ego completely, he is unaffected by the gravitations of life. He has no roots in the soil, now he can fly, a free bird, in the skies. Such people have been called free, liberated, in the East, whose lives are not egocentric.
I told you that sleep makes you feel light. This is because you forget your ego for that much time. I also said sleep does not come in old age. This is because, the ego is so dense, so crystallized, that it does not allow sleep to come. The mind is so weighed down that relaxation becomes impossible.
We however, know about quite another type of person, who does not feel the need to sleep! Krishna has said in his GITA; "Such an awakened person, is awake even in his sleep." Buddha has also said:
"Now I sleep, but this sleep pertains to the body only and not myself." Mahavira has said, "As long as sleep remains, know you have had no experience of the Atman."
There is another kind of awakening when there is no need within for sleep, for there is no ego within that makes sleep necessary. When there is no ego within, there is no tension within. When there is no tension, there is no need for sleep. The body tires, so it sleeps but the consciousness keeps awake. The consciousness within keeps a watch: it sees sleep descending on the body, spreading over it; it sees sleep departing from the body and the body getting out of sleep. Someone within is constantly awake and watching.
You must never have thought of this. Have you ever seen sleep coming to you or departing? If you have, you are a religious man. If you have not, you are not a religious man. Religion has nothing to do with how many times you go to the temple. It is not concerned with how many times you read the Gita or the Koran. The criterion is different and that is: have you seen sleep coming to you?
You can only observe this phenomena if there is someone awake within at the time of the coming of sleep. How else will you see it? Sleep comes and you are asleep; you awake only after sleep is done. When sleep comes, you are not present - who will then see? When sleep leaves you then also you are asleep - who will then see? Sleep and you never meet. This means, you fell asleep.
When sleep comes, you become so unconscious that no part of you stands aside to witness the happening.
He who cannot see sleep descending within him, cannot also see anger arising from within him, for the same state of sleepiness pervades within before the rising of anger. It is only after anger has left that he will be able to see it. Then he will be filled with remorse. He however fails to see the initial stages of anger. He who manages to see anger in its initial stage, is liberated from anger. It is the same with sex. When it arises first, we do not see it. He who identifies it in its first stage, is rid of sex.
All arrangements of life, like for instance our own life, is all based on a trance. We live in a trance; and the centre of this unconsciousness, is our ego.
Lao Tzu says, "Nature is eternal for it lives not for itself." He who has no thought about himself, will not live for himself. We all live for our own selves. There is an astonishing statement in the Upanishads: "The husband does not love the wife; through her, he loves his own self. The father does not love the son; through him, he loves his own self. The mother does not love her daughter; through her, she loves her own self". The Upanishads say that when we say we love someone then too, it is our own self that we love through that medium. Even when we say we live for others, our statement is not authentic. It is erroneous; for the one we allege we live for, today we might feel to kill tomorrow.
I say, "I live for my son". If tomorrow this son disobeys me, displeases me, goes against my wishes, I will create a thousand obstructions in his way. I will see that I cause him all kinds of hardships in life - and I used to say I live only for him! As long as he gratified my desires, obeyed all my commands, nourished my ego, he was an extension of my ego and I professed to live only for him. If I say, "I live for my wife". I can only do so when she satisfies my desires; when she is an instrument for the gratification of my passions, my very shadow. Let not this delude you though. I only live for her as long as she is useful to me. The day she is no longer useful, she becomes redundant for my ego. I will then throw her out as we throw away articles that have outlived their use. She becomes so much trash for me.
But we swear we live for others. As long as there is even a vestige of the ego within us, we cannot live for others. Then no matter how much we proclaim, we live for ourselves alone.
One person says, "I live for my country, I shall die for my country." This is absolutely false. No man lives or dies for a country. He dies for 'my country'. In that too, is the fulfillment of his own ego. If I am a Hindu, I can die for the Hindu religion. But supposing in the last moments before I am executed, I am told I am not a Hindu and that I was actually a Muslim brought up in a Hindu family, all sacrifice on my part becomes useless. That very moment my whole attitude will change. I was not going to the gallows for the sake of Hinduism, but because I was under the illusion that I was a Hindu, my ego was Hindu, and in dying for Hinduism, I was only gratifying my ego. Now today, this gratification is gone. The matter finishes. Now I shall curse myself for my foolishness.
As long as ego persists, whatever we do, ego will be the master. Try to understand this well:
We do many things, thinking the ego has nothing to do with it. But as long as there is ego within us, whatever we do will be related to the ego. We can implant humility on ourselves. It will only become an ornament for our ego and remain as such. I may fall at your feet and feel myself to be the dust on your feet. The ego within however, will keep reminding me that there is no one more humble than myself. My ego will exploit this humility and strengthen itself on it. Ego can even renounce. It can renounce everything but it will always save itself. It never dies.
A man like Lao Tzu says, "Life eternal can only be attained when you begin to live for others". But I can live for others only when there is no 'I' within me; or when I begin to see my own self in others.
These two happenings are the same. If I begin to see my own self in others it is the same as when my 'I' is annihilated. The happening is the same whether I begin to see myself in others or the 'I' within me becomes extinct. Though this statement seems paradoxical, I repeat: I can exist for others only when the other is no longer 'the other' to me. As long as the other is 'the other' to me, I cannot live for others; till then I live only for myself. The very feeling of the other being the other, is a feeling of the ego within me. Or else, how will I know the other to be the other? Only when the other does not feel as the other to me, can I live for him.
We can express it this way also: I should spread out so, that everything and everybody becomes my own self. If I live in this manner, my existence becomes free, without anxiety, it is without any burden; it is an existence of freedom in which our bonds with the eternal are cemented. Till then all our relationships are with the temporal. There is nothing more transitory than the ego and hence all its connections are with the momentary.
Ego is somewhat like this: If we take the explanation of Buddha - Buddha has given the same meaning to ego and atman. Buddha says, "The ego and the atman are like this: we burn a lamp at night and we put it off in the morning. We think we are putting off the same flame that we had lighted the night before. This is wrong. The flame dies every moment and is reborn every moment. It is only that we do not see the gap in between. One flame turns into smoke and goes upwards into space and another takes its place. Then this one burns off and is replaced by a third. This continues in a series and it happens so fast, our eyes cannot catch the gap in between. A series of flames keep burning and fading the whole night. The flame we put off in the morning is one of the flames in the series; and this was not there at all in the evening."
Buddha says that the ego also, is a series. This series also works at such speed that the ego looks one whole. It is just like a movie film. When the film is shown in slow motion, we can see the action in detail. If a man is shown lifting his hand, it takes a thousand different pictures in series to show that motion. Then these are projected with such speed that we see the hand going up.
The pictures taken in a motion picture are all static. these static pictures are projected with such speed that the picture comes a movie.
When you see pieces of these films, you will be surprised to see so many pictures taken in series, of the same pose. The difference between each picture is so insignificant that we can hardly detect it. Now if we take a motion picture of a man coming down a ladder, you will not be able to make out where the man is. There is a picture by Picasso, of a man coming down a ladder and he has shown a thousand legs and arms and heads all mixed together and coming down the ladder. If our vision can keep pace with the speed of the film, we shall see not the man but the movements. If you then watch a film of my hand rising up, you will not see the hand but the figures and formations of the hand from the bottom to the top and it will be difficult to envisage what it is all about. We cannot see the intermittent gaps and hence we can see the hand.
Ego is a film moving at great speed. Ego is born every minute just like the flame of the lamp.
Therefore you do not always have the same ego. It changes a thousand times in twenty-four hours and takes a thousand forms. If you concentrate just a little and slow down the speed of the projector of your mind, you will be able to see this. You are sitting in a room, your boss enters the room. Is your ego now in the same state as it was when your servant entered the room in the morning?
The truth is you hardly notice the movements of the servant. If he is new, you may notice him but if he is an old servant and you are used to him, you do not notice when he comes and goes. It is good in a way or else, his constant coming and going may disturb you. The servant comes, sweeps the room and goes away. You keep sitting as you were. There is no difference in your gestures. If the servant had not come, you would have still sat in the same manner.
But if your boss steps in, everything will change. You are then, not the same person. You would get up and be ready to welcome him. If you were sad, you would now smile. Your ego takes a different form altogether in the presence of your boss. Before the servant it takes a different form and before a friend, yet another form; with a stranger it will take another form and yet another form with an enemy.
Your ego has to change all the twenty-four hours but it changes so fast that you cannot notice the change. It changes in a split second.
The ego is not an object. It is a continuous happening that takes place between relationships. It is an event and not a thing. If you are left alone in a jungle, your ego does not remain the same as it is in a town for the conditions that produce the ego in the town are not the same as in the jungle. If you are left in the solitude of a jungle, you are not the same person you were amidst the bustle of a town.
This is why people feel a sense of comfort and relaxation and peace in a jungle. This peace does not belong to the jungle. It is because the conditions around you are different from the conditions in a town. If a man can create conditions to escape the ego, he can be outside his ego even at Chowpatty in Bombay. But you have to go to the jungles, to the Himalayas for it is only then that you are away from the conditions of a crowd. The fuel that your ego received in the town, is not available here. But then, how long can this last?
You are the same old person. If ego is your habit, you will create new egos. The convict in a jail, begins talking to himself. He divides himself into two and answers his own questions. There have been cases where captives talk to lizards and spiders; give them names too and talk on their behalf!
You may laugh but you do not know that you too would do the same for it is difficult to save the ego in solitude. Then you take the help of even a spider. It is not that the ego can be propped up with the help of a palace only. The oil of a loin-cloth is enough to burn the lamp of the ego. If required the ego can make use of your loin-cloth and feel just as much at home as it would if you owned a kingdom. There is no qualitative difference. There is only a quantitative difference.
I have heard that once the great King Akbar came to visit the river Jamuna. The person who took him there was the head-priest of the temple on the banks of the Jamuna. Verily there was a competition among the priests to get Akbar to visit the Jamuna for they expected high rewards. Everyone was jealous of the man who was ultimately chosen for this privileged job. A great crowd gathered.
After having gone around and seeing everything, Akbar bent down and picked up a broken coin that was lying on the road and gave it as a gift to the high-priest. The Brahmin touched the coin to his forehead and closed his fist so that no one may see what he had received. No one knew what the Brahmin received from the king. All the village was eager to know what the emperor had given.
They gathered round him and asked. The priest replied, "The king has given me such a thing that will not diminish for generations to come."
A broken coin cannot be spent however.
The news spread to the royal palace. Akbar was asked what it was, after all, that he had presented to the priest? The courtiers were filled with jealousy for the Brahmin said for generations his children will be free from want for the gift cannot lessen. The king also was perplexed for he knew the coin was useless. He too began to wonder whether there was something in the coin! He had picked it up from the road. Perhaps it was very precious. He could not sleep at night. Even his wives began to pester him - what was it so precious that he gave to this Brahmin?
The Brahmin turned out to be a clever person. The king had to send for him. He came happily.
"I laud my good fortune," he said, "What a gift your Majesty gave me! It will never be spent for generations to come!" The king took him alone to a room and asked him, "What is all this about?"
"Nothing your Majesty," he replied, "You are very kind." Akbar tried all means to get the secret out of him. It was difficult to get anything out of a person who had caused such a commotion over a false coin. The more he asked the more the priest folded his hands and said, "Your Majesty's compassion knows no bounds. There have been many kings but no one ever gave such a present. There have been Brahmins before who have received gifts but never has such a gift come to the hands of a Brahmin as I have received."
This is a historical fact. In the end Akbar begged him to tell him the truth. "I thought I had given you a false coin. What is it that you got?" The king asked. The Brahmin replied, "If the ego is skilful, it can raise a kingdom even on a false coin. That I have done. The doubt I created in your mind made even you envious of me though you knew very well it is a false coin you gave me."
The ego is clever. It can raise a kingdom on a false coin. We have nothing to stand our ego by - not even a counterfeit coin; and yet we raise kingdoms on it! If we cut ourselves off from all our relationships. we feel the emptiness for a few days. This is what happens when we go to the mountains and quiet places. But within a few days, the mind begins to establish new relationships. It will collect fresh oil and the flame will burn once again. One thing you must remember however, the ego has to be created all the twenty-four hours. It is not a thing that is. It is like a man who pedals a bicycle. As long as he pedals, the cycle goes; as soon as he stops pedalling, the cycle stops. It may run for a while with the momentum or if it is on a slope but ultimately it will fall.
The ego works only if you keep working on it all the twenty-four hours. You have to do nothing to destroy it. Stop working the ego and that is enough. Generally people ask how to destroy the ego.
If you think in terms of destroying, you will start pedalling again - devising methods and ways. This does not destroy it. But teachers all over the world say, "Destroy the ego!" for they read people like Lao Tzu. It is easy to read but difficult to understand. On reading only one thought comes to mind - If the ego. is destroyed, life becomes eternal and we attain immortality.
Greed catches hold of our mind. Greed - not Knowledge. Greed - how to attain the nectar of immortality. How to attain that life where there is no death, no darkness. How to attain the eternal consciousness? Greed catches hold of us. It is this greed that tells us, "Lao Tzu says there should be no ego". Then this greed asks, "How is the ego destroyed?" Then we begin fresh endeavours to destroy the ego.
One person leaves the house, another leaves his wife; yet another renounces wealth, another casts off his clothes, casts away his friends and relations. Then we begin to cast off everything and run away thinking perhaps this way the ego will be destroyed.
The illusion of renunciation comes from our belief that we should cast off all that which enhances the ego. When I pass a hut, my ego swells for I own a palace. So foolish people advise, "Leave the palace and the ego will leave you." These fools do not know that now when you pass the hut the ego that stands behind you is even greater. Now you look upon the hut-dweller as a sinner who will rot in hell for he cannot even let go of his miserable hut! And here I am - I have left a palace. This man who renounces the palace, collects fresh fuel to light his flame. It makes no difference.
No one's ego is because of the palace. Albeit, palaces are raised on the ego. Ego can stand on any prop. So the real problem is how to stop the ego that forms every moment. Ego has no substantial existence that can be done away with once for all. It is formed every moment. We feed it every hour, we water its roots and thus strengthen them. It gives out fresh leaves every day. This is the result of our effort.
When we sleep at night we feel light and fresh in the morning for we do not feed the ego in our sleep.
The pedal stops working for the night and we feel the lightness in our being in the morning. It is a different man who gets up in the morning; even his face is different. If any favour is to be asked of him this is the best time of the day. By afternoon, everything becomes confused and disorderly. That is why beggars come for alms in the mornings - never in the evenings. They know the psychology:
if you have slept well at night, you may be in a benevolent mood in the morning! There is no hope from you in the evening for by then you will have pedalled so much that your ego stands firm and strong.
Invariably people come to blows by evening. They either go to sleep fighting with their wives or with someone else. This is a kind of disquietude. Throughout the day, the ego gathers strength. It burns sharply and creates a lot of smoke around it. If this smoke is too much, sleep may become difficult due to the acute tension. This tension will penetrate within and prevent the muscles from relaxing.
The more a person gets civilized the greater his ego becomes and the lesser he is able to sleep.
There is nothing substantial about the ego. According to Lao Tzu, it is a happening. It is not quite correct to call it a happening also. It is perhaps better defined as a series of events. If this series is broken from anywhere, the happening is destroyed there and then. The truth is, we should not give it fresh strength and fresh momentum. How do we give it new strength and acceleration? What is the method?
The method is - all the twenty-four hours we are finding ways and means of nourishing the ego.
We are forever finding fresh fuel for its flame; and to this end we apply many means. The most outstanding is: in what way can I attract the attention of others? This is the most effective fuel for the ego - that people should look at me; that I should be the cynosure of all eyes. This is why politics is so powerful. The world is fast becoming more and more political-minded and the reason is, nothing attracts the human mind as much as politics.
Many people who commit murder, have confessed that they killed only so that their names may appear in the newspapers - in big prints! His only ambition is that his name may be printed in red, that his picture may be printed in papers, that all the world may see him, hear of him! What pleasure does this give him? When a thousand eyes look at you, your ego gets fresh fuel. The attention of others becomes the food for your ego. There is a very subtle intoxication in the eyes of others and when these eyes look at you, your ego derives a strange pleasure from it and it gains fresh momentum.
If ego has to be annihilated there is a different method: Concentrate on the other. When you concentrate on the other, you feel a lightness within you. What we call love is nothing but the focussing of our attention on another. When you are in love with someone, the mind feels very light.
When the beloved is near you, you feel absolutely unburdened. You feel you have developed wings and will soar away in the skies! This is because your attention is focused completely on the beloved.
Here the conditions are absolutely different. Now you are anxious about another. When a mother looks at her child, she forgets herself completely.
Attention is a one-way traffic. You can either be attentive towards yourself or you can be attentive to someone else. When your attention is centred on the other, you forget yourself. When your attention is centred on yourself, you forget the other.
We however, are always endeavouring to gain the attention of others. We invent a thousand ways to this end. One person wishes to be a king, so that people may look at him. Another person wishes to be a president for the same reason.
If this is not possible a man even tries nefarious methods only to gain attention. If he cannot find a good method, he will use a bad method. He becomes a murderer, a hooligan, a rogue. Students in schools and colleges create mischief just for the sake of attention. The most mischievous boy is made the prefect of the class. That is the only way to stop him from mischief; for the reason of his mischief was to show to others that he is and this is satisfied when he is made the captain of his class.
The youth may choose a correct path to this end. If this is not available he will choose a wrong path also. In America today, there are hippies and beatniks and a hundred other complexities. The most significant reason for this confusion is the new hierarchy that has risen there - the hierarchy of status, wealth. The youth there today cannot hope to reach the top place. He has no hope of becoming a Nixon or a Ford or a Rockefeller. But he can wear unusual clothes and go out on the road. He can live in dirt and filth - so much so that even Nixon is constrained to pay attention to him. Whatever the youth is doing, is merely to gain attention. Ego demands attention. If it does not come by right methods, it will employ wrong ones.
You must remember one thing, whenever you demand attention, you are pedalling your ego. This needs must be remembered. When you enter your house and your son forgets to greet you, you are pained. This pain is not because you feel the boy has become mannerless, disrespectful. These are mere rationalizations. The actual pain is the lack of attention. Now if even the son does not pay you attention, what next? All the world seems to ignore you for now even your son does not bother about you!
Parents have always remained most satisfied in India because they have made very good arrangements for themselves. As soon as it was morning, the first thing a son was supposed to do, is to touch his parents' feet. This kept them satisfied for the day. This was the daily routine. It was not much that the son had to do and it kept the parents satisfied. The parents in the West will have to devise some way for there is no such arrangement there; though the demand for respect is just the same. This causes trouble. When the father enters the house, he expects the rest of the family to be conscious of the fact that the head of the family has arrived. The mother also expects recognition so do the other members of the family, even the smallest child!
One story of Nasruddin goes that once, when he was yet a boy, he was sitting on the road-side, smoking. An old woman happened to pass by. She stopped and said, "Child, does your mother know that you smoke?" Nasruddin blew rings of smoke through his nose and said, "And does your husband know you stop on the road and talk to strange men?"
The smallest child desires attention, Mothers are always perplexed that the otherwise quiet child raises Cain when there are visitors at home! What could be the reason? When the children are alone by themselves and there are no strangers around, they play quietly but as soon as someone comes they indulge in all kind of mischief. Actually, the children demand attention from the visitors.
It is as good as their saying, "We also are here". How can they convey this? They throw things, they make a noise, they fight, they cry. A moment ago, the mother asks them to eat their dinner but they said they were not hungry. Now when someone has come to visit, they suddenly feel hungry! They are not actually hungry. Their egos are learning to pedal. They are endeavouring to gain attention.
This childishness exists from childhood to old age. If you remember this, Lao-Tzu's sutra becomes easy to understand. "Do not demand attention from others". He who demands attention from others, creates the momentary ego. But then its existence is momentary. When Lao Tzu says, "Live for others", he means that you focus your attention on others. As soon as you centre your attention on the other, a transformation begins to take place in your life.
Then you can laugh for the foolishness of others becomes apparent to you. When you centre your attention on the other you see his ego kindle and burn. This is what was happening to you also, till late. But now you can have pity on him. As your attention on the other becomes deeper and deeper, you find you have become extinct to the same extent. As emptiness spreads within you - as the attention centres on the other, a person becomes empty within - you realize for the first time what the condition of tensionlessness is like.
When Freud became old someone asked him, "You treat the mental illness of others from morn to night. Has this not affected your mind?" Freud replied, "I never had time to think of myself". It is difficult to go mad without paying attention to yourself. He says, "From morning I plunge into the troubles and anxieties of others. In the night I fall asleep worrying and thinking of others. Where do I have time to think about myself?"
This is why usually great scientists become tranquil, for their whole attention is taken up by something other than themselves. Their attention is focused on their research. This was the trouble with Einstein. He forgot his own self. Sometimes he sat for six hours at a stretch in his bathroom.
His wife would come and knock time and again. She too did not have the courage to disturb him for who knows what thoughts he was lost in!
Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia went to meet Einstein. His wife gave him the appointment but said, "I am giving you the time but I cannot promise you will meet him." Dr. Lohia said, "It is with great difficulty that I shall be able to make it; but I cannot spare more than an hour myself." His wife said, "I shall try my best but Einstein is most unreliable."
And it also happened that way. Dr. Lohia went. Einstein's wife told him to sit down. Einstein had just gone in for a bath. He came out after five hours! When Dr. Lohia asked him what he was doing, he replied he was engrossed in a problem.
So if the attention is concentrated on a problem, then Einstein is no more, the bathroom is no more; where he is, that also is no more! As soon as the mind gets concentrated on anything, the ego is cut off. This is why great scientists became egoless, Great painters, great dancers, became egoless, whereas great renunciates find it difficult to be. The renunciate's whole attention is on himself. He is always worried about what he should eat, what he should not eat; what he should wear, where he should sleep, what he should do. All his attention is on himself. He calls himself a renunciate but he is very much ego-conscious. I shall do this, I shall not do this; all his attention is centred around himself. Therefore very often the tragedy happens that renunciate cannot be freed of his ego. More often than not, ordinary persons whom we look upon as pleasure seeking people are freed from their egos easily.
The secret however is one only. If your is less on your own self, your ego is starved to that extent.
the more your attention goes outside of you the more egoless you become.
Therefore Lao Tzu has said, "HEAVEN AND EARTH ARE ETERNAL". There immortality is due to the fact that they do not live for themselves. Therefore they are ever-abiding. Their extinction is not necessary. Ego alone becomes extinct. There is only one thing that is mortal in this world and that is the ego. This is a little difficult to understand.
In this world neither is matter ever destroyed nor the Spirit, only ego is destroyed. The body is never destroyed. This body of mine was, even when I was not. Every particle of this body was present.
There is nothing new in it. When I die, not a single atom of my body will die with me. The body is eternal for nothing within it dies. Scientists say that we cannot destroy a single atom - nothing can be destroyed. Everything within the body is eternal: the water will merge into water, the fire will be lost in the fire, the space will become one with space; everything is eternal. Only the shape is lost; but nothing within the shape is lost. My spirit also does not die - then what dies?
Death happens. Only the connection between the body and the soul breaks. And in between this connection there is the ego, which I create through the meeting of the body and the soul and which I create every day - this ego breaks. Once I come to know that I am not the ego, then there is nothing within me that can die. As long as I know myself to be the ego, I have no knowledge of the nectar within me. I cannot possibly know - there is no way of knowing for I am completely identified with my ego. Then nothing except death can happen to me for the thing with which I have identified myself, is the only thing that dies. This seems to be an astonishing statement.
In the whole universe, only one thing is capable of death and that is the ego. Nothing else dies for nothing besides the ego is born. All other things are. Ego alone is born, it is a bi-phenomena. Just as for example: I am walking on the road. The sun has come out. When I was not walking on the road, the sun still was in the sky. It is midday and the sun is right above and the road below. I sit in my house; I am and so is the sun. Then when I come out into the light of the sun, a new phenomena takes place - that is my shadow. Where was it all this time? When I sat within my house, it was not there in the house nor was it anywhere under the sun. When I came into the light of the sun, it appeared as a by-product of a relationship between me and the sun. This shadow is destructible.
As soon as I step aside or the sun moves away, it shall be lost. Even now it is not and if I think I am the shadow, the shadow is my being, I shall find myself in difficulty, just the way a fox did, I am told.
Early one morning, a fox came out. The sun was just rising in the sky. He saw that his shadow was very long. He thought to himself, "I shall need one full camel for my meal today." He gauged his size according to his shadow. There were no other means either for him to know. So when he saw his long shadow he was convinced that he was a big animal. So he set out in search of a camel. It was now midday but he could not find a camel. He was feeling very hungry but there was no food. He then turned round to see how his shadow was faring. The sun was right overhead. The shadow had now shrunk to a very small size. Then he thought "Well, now a small rabbit will do."
He who lives by his shadow always finds himself in difficulty. Sometimes the shadow looks very big - it is mere coincidence. In youth the shadow appears very big to all, for then the sun is just rising.
Nasruddin used to say that when he was young he had decided that he would not rest till he became a millionaire. That was his firm resolve. He was telling this to his friend who was a beggar. They were both beggars. The beggar-friend looked at him thoughtfully and said, "Then what happened?"
Nasruddin said, "Later on I realized it was easier to change the resolve. So I changed it."
This is what happens to everyone and there is a reason for it: the shadow has shrunk and even a rabbit would do. When a man gets old he realizes that in youth the shadow was long and that was only a coincidence. In old age it shrinks and becomes small. Those who know, know also in youth that the shadow is merely a shadow and not himself. In just the same manner, there is a shadow within which is the ego. The ego is the inner shadow. The various relationships of life cast a shadow within which is called the ego. and I measure myself with the yardstick of the ego. I decide who I am according to my ego and every day I have to change my decision for it depends entirely on coincidence.
One man comes in the morning and says, "Yar! There is no one like you on the face of this earth!"
The shadow within. expands immediately. The secret of flattery is only this. The most interesting thing is, no one realizes this is flattery for flattery is so gratifying - it elongates the shadow. What we cannot enlarge by hard work, flattery inflates in no time.
It is said that once Nasruddin was sent by the Sultan as his emissary to the King of India. It was a difficult commission for him. He was representing his king to the King of India. He went to the palace and stood before the king and said, "Glory unto you, the perfect full moon!" Now the ambassador of his country was present at that time. He was furious. He at once sent a message to the Sultan apprising him of Nasruddin's doings. Why, he had insulted the Sultan by calling this king the full moon! The king was angry with Nasruddin. On his return from India he sent for him and asked for an explanation.
Nasruddin said, "Your Majesty, you are the moon of second night. You will grow more powerful day by day. This king has reached the height of his power. Now he is the waxing moon, his end is near."
The Sultan showered him with gifts. The king of India had also showered him with gifts. In one place he flattered the ego by addressing him as the full moon. In the other he flattered the ego by calling him the moon of the second night. Man is so feeble he can be deceived by either. We are always ready to be flattered. The most ordinary looking woman will be taken in by you if you say she's the most beautiful woman you ever saw. She will not take the trouble to consult the mirror, she will believe you implicitly.
Nasruddin was sitting with his sweetheart on the sea-shore. His sweetheart tells him, "You are so much like the sea! Whenever I look at you, I am reminded of the sea. Whenever I look at the sea, I think of you." Nasruddin was elated! He said, "Forsooth, you are right! The sea also is so vast and so raw and so romantic - just like me!" "Forgive me!" His sweetheart cried out, "It is not that. I feel sick when I look at the sea and I feel sick when I look at you! That is the only thing common between you two."
Say anything to anybody and he is ready to believe you. What absurd things people readily believe!
you tell a woman her eyes are like the fish - she will believe you. No one's eyes are like the fish!
You say her lips are like a rose-bud, or her body is fragrant with the scent of roses. All these things are not true but everyone is ready to believe. Poets sing about it and people listen and accept their words. Ancient hackneyed stories are told and retold a thousand times over and yet their charm is unabated. Why? The inner-shadow of the ego is gratified by it.
We have to be alert and awake towards this inner shadow. So Lao Tzu says, "He who is awake and alert towards this inner-shadow establishes his relationship with the reality of Truth; and he who remains bound to this inner-shadow, his relationships remain with all that is mortal and momentary."
This sutra has been carried further into the next sutra and explained more extensively by Lao Tzu.
Therefore the saints keep their person last. Jesus has said, "Blessed are those who are able to stand last." Why does Jesus make this statement? Why are they blessed who are ready to be in the background? For Jesus says: "Whether you know or you do not know, he who stands last becomes first." There is nothing that carries more dignity, there is no attainment greater than this. He who has lost his ego, there is no way of bringing him back even to a second position. He is always first, without making any effort to be first! Now he will have to stand first.
If Mahavira and Buddha gave up their kingdom it was not that this would lead them to egolessness; rather it is that he whose ego is annihilated has no longer any need to be a king. Now he is a king!
Now it makes no difference where he is, in what direction he is. All this is irrelevant. Now Buddha can take the begging-bowl and go from door to door but nowhere in his eyes will you find the beggar.
If ever there has been a Beggar in the world, it was he - Buddha. He is the one who has asked for most alms!
Now actually, he is so unconcerned about the majesty of his princeliness that the begging-bowl brings no change in him. Remember - he is so unconcerned about his majesty! The fact of his kingliness is so real that even if he begs, it brings no change in his dignity. We are afraid to beg, not because we are afraid to beg but because if we beg we are bound to become beggars. We have no knowledge of the King within us. No sooner we beg, we become beggars! As our actions, so we are! Mahavira and Buddha could ask for alms with the majesty of an emperor! There was a reason for this: They were so confident. The day they put themselves last, it became their very nature to be first!
Lao Tzu says, "And hence saints put their person last and yet they are found at the very head of the line." They wipe themselves out completely, withdraw themselves in from all sides and yet history bears out that they were always in the forefront!
Do you know the name of even one king who ruled in Bihar at the time of Buddha or of a politician of those times? They are all lost - faded, wiped off! And one beggar came and stood in front, in all his splendour! Buddha's father when he saw his son in a beggar's attire, was deeply hurt. He told him, "People toil for a life-time and yet fail to attain such a palace as you inherited from your ancestors; and you turned your back on such a vast and glorious kingdom? You are really foolish!" If anyone remembers the name of Buddha's father, it is because he was Buddha's father and not because he was a king. Thousands like him ascended the throne and went away. If this king's name is known today, it is entirely because of the fact that his son set out with a begging bowl.
Buddha left his father's kingdom and went away because everyday people came and begged of him to return to the palace. He went to the kingdom of the neighbouring king thinking no one would trouble him there. But when the king of that country came to know, he came running to him. He told him: "You are foolish. If you are angry with your father never mind. Come to my palace. I shall marry my daughter to you. My kingdom shall be yours for I have only one daughter." Buddha replied, "I have no grouse against anyone, much less against my father. I am only trying to escape. To escape my father I came here but here you come with the same proposal. Have pity on me, leave me alone.
What you offer me has no value in my eyes".
There is a priceless statement of Buddha. He said, "As long as I had no knowledge of the treasures within me, all outside things seemed valuable. Now since I have found the diamond within, all earthly diamonds have paled into insignificance.
Lao Tzu says, "WE FIND HIM YET, RIGHT IN THE FOREFRONT." History is filled with crowds of people in which each is eager to be in the forefront. Then suddenly all the politicians, all the kings and men of wealth fall in the back line and somehow, as if mysteriously, these people who had kept themselves in the background are found right in front!
It is some 2,500 years since Lao Tzu tread the earth. So many people have come and gone within this period but not one has ever stood before Lao Tzu. And this man was such, he kept himself absolutely in the background. There was no question of standing behind him. He made himself the last! Before his death he left China, so that they may not make his samadhi (grave). Since he had not made any mark in his life-time why should there be any mark left of him after death? But such a one who wipes himself out completely could not be so easily forgotten by us. Centuries will pass but Lao Tzu will be forgotten.
He is right when he says, "THE SAINTS KEEP THEMSELVES AT THE BACK, YET THEY ARE ALWAYS FOUND IN THE FRONT."
But you do not lag behind so that you can be found in the front! Some of you may think this is a good device! Be last and come in front! Those who keep themselves in the background are found in the foreground but those who keep themselves back only to come to the forefront remain at the back. There is no way for him to come in front. There is no cause and causality here. It is only a consequence. Remember this or else you will err. This appeals to the mind. The ego urges you saying this is very good - to be in front without doing anything! This is not so. To be right at the back means, you have no wish, no ambition to be in the front.
Therefore the second sentence, "It is not linked causally", is not the result of the first statement - that you put your hand in fire and it shall burn. It is not like this. This is the consequence. Do not think in terms of mathematics - that be at the back and you will find yourself in front. This will never be. To be at the back means - one who has shed all thought of being in front. He then does not know whether he is in front or whether he is behind. He is unaware of where he is.
They are indifferent towards their own power yet their power is secure. They neglect their own selves completely, they forget themselves. They do not worry about themselves and yet they are well protected. Actually, as soon as a man lays down the burden of his own self, God is ready to pick up his burdens. As soon as a man decides to lay aside the worries and anxieties of his person, the whole Existence begins to worry about him. When a man decides to handle his anxieties himself, Existence stops worrying about him. He is then alienated. He becomes a stranger to all existence and for no reason he goes about carrying his own load.
Since these people have no selfish ends, their goals are realized. These words are the most paradoxical words that have ever been spoken in this world and at the same time, they are the most valuable. Each word spoken here can become a Bible. Lao Tzu says, "Since they have no self-interest all their interests are satisfied " What he means to say is that the supreme bliss of life is the very interest of life.
He who renounces the ego, attains the supreme bliss. Fear ends when a man renounces his ego, for with ego there is fear - fear of extinction, fear of defeat, of failure. All these fears are, now no more; and where there is no fear, there is complete security.
We do the opposite. The more security we arrange for ourselves, the more insecure we become.
The more we try to save ourselves. the more fearful we become. The more we try to save ourselves the more we find we are losing ourselves.
One last thing and then we shall talk tomorrow.
Have you seen a whirlpool in a river? If you throw anything in the whirlpool, it goes round and round and then is pulled down by the whirlpool. If you are caught in a whirlpool and you do not know the philosophy of Lao Tzu, you will be in difficulty. If you know Lao Tzu, you can save yourself. When you fall in the whirlpool, it is but natural that you will try to save yourself. You will resist the whirlpool and refuse to be screwed down by it. The more you fight the more energy you will lose, because the enormous strength of the whirlpool is against you. It will break you. Soon you will be tired, spent.
Then it is difficult to save yourself.
Lao Tzu says,"If ever you get caught in a whirlpool, do not fight with it. Be prepared to be sucked down by the whirlpool." Then your energy will not be spent. The whirlpool draws a man down very quickly. Now the whirlpool is broad at the top and narrow at the bottom like a screw. Once you are down there is no difficulty in getting out. You came out of it automatically. You have not to do anything.
You must have seen living people drowning in water and dead corpses floating on the river. Have you ever thought why? Corpses float and a living man drowns! It sounds very paradoxical. The living person makes a tremendous effort to save himself. In this, he spends himself and thus has no strength to save himself. It is not the river that drowns the man, or the whirlpool. A man drowns by sheer exhaustion. The corpse offers no resistance. It allows the waters to take it wherever they will.
Then the Ocean lifts it up. It does not fight and so is lifted up!
Those who learn swimming actually learn the art of a corpse. The clever swimmer lets go off himself like a dead man in water. He does not work his arms and legs and the water does not drown him.
There is no compromise, no understanding between the swimmer and the sea. He has only to know the method - the method of a dead man. What is meant by the method of a dead man? He must give up all fear. He should take himself to be dead. Then he floats on water.
Lao Tzu says: "Those are secure who have no anxiety for security; who have embraced fear and do not escape it. Those who stood right behind are right in front. And those who are prepared to become extinct, to die, have received nectar as their attainment."
Enough for today. We shall take the next sutra tomorrow.