The impartial awaiting, the death of pride and the one in the many
FOR THE LAST TWELVE YEARS I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THE WATERS OF MY MIND TO CLEAR, BUT THE CARTS OF SITUATIONS AND SURROUNDINGS KEEP PASSING THROUGH THEM CONSTANTLY. THIS WILL GO ON THROUGHOUT LIFE. SHOULD I STILL KEEP WAITING?
Waiting is important, necessary, but not enough. Together with awaiting one should know how to sit at the bank of the stream of the mind. If we sit in the current of the river and wait, there will be no results. Our very being in the river will bring up the dirt. The art of standing aside from the river is meditation.
Awaiting is a necessary part of meditation but it, in itself, is not meditation. He who cannot wait cannot meditate; but he who thinks awaiting is meditation is also wrong. Meditation is the art of sitting on the bank.
The mind has its own stream of thoughts. No matter how hard you try to watch it with patient awaiting, you shall never be able to step out of the mind. Nor will the stream of the mind clear. Your very presence pollutes the mind. Step out of the mind. Sit on its bank and watch it from a distance, as you would watch the birds in the sky, as you would watch a river flow by. The further you step away from the mind, the clearer and purer will it become. It will become silent, tranquil. This is one thing.
The second thing. In the infinite story of existence, twelve years is nothing. In the boundless saga of existence, what are twelve years? Nothing. So do not think that if you have waited twelve years you have waited long. If you have waited twelve years, you have spent twelve lakh years in polluting the stream. Therefore, I say, eternal awaiting! When I say this, I do not mean you shall have to wait for countless years. What I mean is that you should be prepared to wait indefinitely. The happening can take place in a moment. The greater your preparedness the earlier will be the happening.
Why is it so? It is because impatience agitates the mind. The carts of surroundings and situations, do not stir up the dirt of the stream of our mind as much as our own impatience. Awaiting means: I have attained patience. Let the happening take place whenever it pleases - now or after countless births - I shall wait patiently. I am in no hurry. I am in no haste. The longer the mind is readily willing to wait, the earlier the happening takes place. So to not think it was a big thing to wait for twelve years. And do not take awaiting alone to be enough. Concentrate more, and give more importance to sitting on the bank, to being alert and being a witness.
LAO TZU SAYS: THE EGO OF A SAINT ESTABLISHED IN TAO IS CONSTANTLY DISINTEGRATING, LIKE MELTING ICE. THEN SHALL WE TAKE IT THAT A PERSON CAN BE ESTABLISHED IN TRUTH IN SPITE OF THE EGO? IS IT POSSIBLE FOR A PERSON TO BE CALLED A SAINT OR A SAGE IN SPITE OF HIS EGO? IS THE STATE OF AM-NESS A MENTAL STATE OR A SPIRITUAL STATE? YOU ALSO SAY THAT ON THE COMPLETE ANNIHILATION OF THE EGO, THE SAINT BECOMES GOD HIMSELF. THEN IS THE SAINT SEPARATED FROM GOD AS LONG AS THE AM-NESS REMAINS?
There are three things. We have to understand the meaning of two words well. One word is "ego"
(ahankara) and the other is the "am-ness" (asmita). Ahankara (the ego) means: I am one with the body. When consciousness feels itself joined to the body, identifies itself with the body, feels one with it, the ego is born. When the consciousness separates itself from the body and breaks its identification with it, the ego breaks. To know that I am apart from the body is necessary but not enough in order to know that I am one with God.
If a person is fixed in the feeling that I am not the body and yet does not feel one with God (Paramatman), that state of a person is called asmita, am-ness. I am one with the body: this is the state of the ego. I am apart from the body: this state is am-ness. To feel that I am one with God is a state that is beyond am-ness.
Says Lao Tzu: it is necessary for a saint that his ego should dissolve and he should know that he is not the body, not the mind. This realisation is the indication of a saint. A saint can, however, stop at this and go no further. Many saints have. Those saints who have said there is no Paramatman, there is only the atman, belong to this category. They have broken one link of bondage: they have snapped their relationships with the false. This is a big happening. They have broken all ties with the insignificant. This is a great transformation. But this is only half of the transformation. One more step has to be taken: that of establishing a relationship with the infinite. When the relationship with the infinite is established, the am-ness also is lost.
When I say, 'I am', there are two words: 'I' stands for the ego, and 'am' stands for asmita. The saint's 'I' drops and only the am-ness remains. Lao Tzu says, the definition of a saint is one whose 'I' has dropped but whose am-ness remains. If this am-ness keeps melting like snow in the sun, as Lao Tzu describes it, it will disappear one day. The 'I' was annihilated before. The 'am' is then lost also.
What remains is pure existence. Then, says Lao Tzu, to call such a person a saint is meaningless.
The wave has become one with the ocean.
To be a saint is also to be at a distance from God. A sinner is very far away from God; the saint is nearer to Him. But this nearness is also a distance; it is not oneness. The saint is near God, very near, but however near, the distance remains. The final goal, according to Lao Tzu, is that even this distance should not be. This being near should also end. Then oneness is achieved.
Ordinarily we think that when distance is overcome, oneness results. This is not so. In fact, the truth is that as we come nearer to a person, we feel the distance to be wider. A sinner is not irked by being away from God because the distance is so great that he is not even aware of it.
He asks, "where is God?" The distance is so great that he sees God nowhere. The difficulty of a saint, however, increases. He puts out his hand and feels the touch of God; with every breath he experiences God; he moves and he bumps against God. There is so much nearness between God and him. This feeling of so much nearness, and yet not being one with God, brings about the sense of estrangement and separation that the saints speak of. Then this nearness, this feeling of being so close and yet so far, becomes unbearable. A thin curtain separates him from his beloved and the pain is excruciating.
The sinner is so far away from God that the question of separation is just not there. When there is wall in between, we cannot see on the other side. We cannot wish for things that we cannot see, much less hope for or desire.
Ego is the stone wall between man and God. Am-ness too, is a wall, but it is transparent, made of glass. The saint can see everything as if there was nothing in between, but no sooner does he go forward than the wall obstructs him. Then the pain is unbearable; the separation becomes too heavy to bear. Only saints know the pangs of separation.
So the saint is also away from God; a transparent wall separates him. When this wall also melts away, there is no nearness and no distance; there is only oneness. That day, the saint is lost and only God remains.
Whether this am-ness is a state of the mind or a spiritual state has been asked. It is the ultimate state of the mind; ego is the initial state. Ego is the gross state of the mind and am-ness is the more subtle state.
Let us take it in this way. The mind is in the middle: on one side is God and on the other side is the world. Where the mind is united with the world, the 'I' is born; and where the mind is united with God, there stands am-ness. There are two connections. The connection between the mind and the world creates the ego; where the mind joins God, am-ness remains.
A saint, according to Lao Tzu is one who has broken the first connection. His connections with the world are broken. But his second connection remains to be established. He is still not one with God.
The most subtle form of the ego still remains. Ego and am-ness are both happenings of the mind.
Remember, it is the mind that is the saint or the sinner. Beyond the mind, neither exist. The higher is within the mind; so also the lower. Beyond the mind there is neither high nor low.
Good is an attitude of the mind. So also bad. Beyond the mind, there is neither good nor bad; all opposites are lost. Where the opposites are not, the mind is not. The saint is also a part of the play of opposites. The saint and the sinner are two sides of the duality. If this is understood, the jump can be taken. The first jump is from the ego and the second is from am-ness.
Buddha talks of anatma (non-atman). Buddha uses this word in place of am-ness. He says: "First the ego, then the self, should go. Then only can you enter the ultimate truth."
What troubles our mind is whether such a person, for whom the mind still exists, can be looked upon as a saint. How can we say that he has attained the absolute truth? All things are relative as far as language is concerned. When we say that a saint has attained ultimate truth, it means that he is much nearer to truth than we are. Between us and reality there is a wall of stone; between the saint and reality there is a transparent wall which cannot be seen. Truth is now as clear to him as if the wall is not there, yet the wall still remains. But we cannot even see this wall.
Understand this well. He who is not a saint himself will not be able to see the wall. So we say: now there is no wall between the saint and God. But the saint who has reached the wall knows of its existence because he can feel it. It prevents him from reaching out to God. The wall of am-ness is so subtle that only the saint can sense it. The saint's devotees, who can see only a solid wall and not a transparent wall, feel the saint has become God. This is natural. But the saint experiences this wall that obstructs him every moment. He knows he has not yet become completely annihilated; he still is.
Lao Tzu talks from his own experience as a saint when he says: "Not until the am-ness melts away like snow in the sun can you attain the ultimate truth."
According to our experience, we say that the saint has attained Godhood. It is all relative. We too shall find, when we seek, that there is yet another wall to cross besides the ego. The am-ness is also an obstruction; it too should go. Till nothingness replaces the saint, the wall is still intact.
WHILE RECOUNTING THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A PERSON WHO IS ESTABLISHED IN THE TAO, LAO TZU SAYS THAT SUCH A PERSON MAKES NO DECLARATION ABOUT HIMSELF. BUT MANSOOR SAID, "ANALHAQ." THE RISHIS OF THE UPANISHAD SAID, "AHAM BRAHMASMI".
JESUS SAID, "I AM THE SON OF GOD." MEHER BABA SAID, "I AM THE AVATAR." HOW ARE THESE DECLARATIONS CONNECTED WITH LAO TZU'S ABOVE MENTIONED WORDS?
We have to have two things clear if we are to understand this sutra. One is, here are two ways of understanding life, of manifesting it, of expressing it. One is the positive; the other is the negative.
Whenever we have to say something, we can say it in two ways. If this room is dark, we can say the room is dark or that there is no light in the room. We can say that a man is alive or that he is not yet dead. So there are these two aspects of expression; positive and negative. It depends entirely on the individual which aspect he chooses to use. Lao Tzu and Buddha preferred the negative aspect. Whatever they said, they said in the negative. This had its reasons, many reasons. The most important reason was that Buddha found that, everywhere whatever, was said was said in the positive aspect and many who believed this were led astray. For instance, a man says, "I am God."
Now there are two things. One is that this man may be telling the truth and the other is that he may be Lying; he may be a hypocrite. Both are possible. Ninety-nine out of a hundred such people who declare "I am God" are liars. Man's ego takes pleasure in making this declaration. The ways of the ego are very subtle - and what could please the ego more than to feel "I am God"? So Buddha, as well as Lao Tzu, felt that this sort of proclamation was very harmful.
It is not that this statement is necessarily false. When Mansoor said, "I am God" (ana'l haq), he was telling the truth. On his part, there was no mistake. When Mansoor says, "I am God" what he is saying is that God alone is; I am not. When the rishi of the Upanishad says, "aham brahmasmi," he also means, "Where am I? I am nowhere. Only God is." This can be correct if it is the truth, but even a madman can declare, "I am God!" He cannot be stopped from doing so. The danger lies in the fact that such people can also impress others and influence them and, consequently, mislead them.
So Buddha and Lao Tzu were against all declarations. They said, "A saint makes no claims." But to be silent is also a proclamation. Whatever a man does, proclamation is bound to be there. Now, if people believe that he who makes no claims for himself is a saint, it is easy for a person who wishes to be called a saint. He just has to make no claims.
Buddha and Lao Tzu made use of the negative term. But soon it was discovered, both in India and in China, that the ways of the ego are very strange and mysterious. The ego has no difficulty either way. If you come to me and say, "So and so says he is God" I can say, "Then he is no saint, for a saint does not proclaim himself. Now look at me. I make no proclamation." This also is a proclamation even if it is negative.
Meher Baba says he is the avatar. This is a positive declaration. Krishnamurti says he is not God.
This is a negative declaration. Both are declarations all the same. It is difficult to escape from them. How will you escape them? Whether you do something or you do not, each act of yours is a statement. How can you escape from your statement? When I am silent, then too I am making a statement.
A friend took Bernard Shaw to see his play. Shaw did not want to go, but the friend insisted so he went. He slept throughout the play. The friend was very upset. With great difficulty he had persuaded him to come and now he was fast asleep. When the play finished Shaw said, "It was a fine play."
The friend replied, "You have no right to make any statement on the play. You were sleeping throughout."
Shaw said, "My sleeping is my statement. I say the play was good because I slept well."
Buddha and Lao Tzu made a very significant effort but it was not successful, because man can create tools of deception in any direction. Those who proclaimed themselves to be God mislead the people but, after Buddha, his bhikshus did the same, in spite of his making no proclamations.
Deception is possible from any direction; there is no way to avoid it.
This means that it depends upon the natural inclination of each person how he puts forth his views.
The propensity of Lao Tzu and Buddha is in the negative: not this, not this. If they have to say something, they will say, "Say only that which is not." If they could do it, they would prefer to speak through their silence.
So it depends upon each person. Meera could not keep quiet nor could Mansoor, and yet they were each different in their own way. Chaitanya could not keep silent. He had to sing and dance, and declare to the world. His declaration was not made; it happened.
We must understand this properly. One person can sit silent When knowledge dawned on Buddha, he was silent for eight days. There is a lovely story that is told about this. It is said that when the devas saw that Buddha had become silent, they went and prostrated themselves at his feet and implored him not to go into silence, for, they said, in a hundred aeons only a single individual attains this supreme state. For countless births there have been those who have been awaiting the advent of a Buddha. If he were to go into silence, who would quench their thirst?
Even then Buddha had no mind to speak for he said, "I do not know what I should say. Whatever I say is bound to be false. Words are false; silence is true. Those who can understand silence will understand." But if people could understand by silence alone.... The skies are silent, the sun, the moon, the stars, the rivers and mountains, the trees and the flowers are all silent. All around is the realm of silence. But who understands by silence? So Buddha's silence would go unnoticed also.
The devas said, "Please speak. No matter if words do not convey, if people do not understand. If one in a hundred gets your message, it is enough."
Buddha said, "There are people who will understand my words correctly, but they will understand me even without my speaking. There are others who will interpret my words wrongly; for them there is no reason for me to speak. Let me remain silent."
But the devas also had a point to put forward. "You are right," they said, "but there is a third category of people in this world also. They are those who are in between the first two types. If you do not speak, they will never understand. If you speak, they will understand. They are standing on the brink. A slight push and they will be ready to jump. Please speak for their sake."
Now, it is only natural that the trend of speech of a person who advocates silence will be negative.
If you ask what is God he will reply, "He is not this; He is not that." The predilection of one who advocates silence is the negative aspect.
The knowledge of people like Meera and Chaitanya became a manifestation; it became a dance.
There was not a fraction of a distance between their knowledge and their manifestations. They were garrulous, not only with their mouths but with their whole bodies. Their entire personalities became full of expression. They never for a moment stopped to ponder that whatever is expressed becomes false, for they were not even aware of when or how the manifestation began.
So it depends entirely on the individual. The language of Meera and Chaitanya is positive. Meera will never say what God is not. She will say what God is. All devotees make use of positive language; what God is. Therefore, the God of the devotee remained a God with form. The devotee could not acknowledge the formless aspect of God. Positive means the attributive, the formative aspect.
All intellectual knowers make use of negation. Therefore their God will be the void - formless, attributeless. They will say, "Not this; not this"; whereas bhaktas say, "He is this; He is this." Both are right and both are wrong, for both are incomplete.
Expression can never be perfect. All manifestations are bound to be incomplete. Words can express only half the experience. The other half is bound to be left out because contradicting words make no sense.
Efforts have been made in this direction also. The Upanishads have said, "He is further than the furthest, and nearer than the nearest." There is a new school of thought in the West, a new theological concept, called Positive Analysis. These people would call the above statement of the Upanishads as nonsense. They would argue that when you say further from the furthest, you cannot say nearer than the nearest in the same breath; for both statements nullify each other. These thinkers of the West would also consider Lao Tzu's teachings absurd.
Lao Tzu says, "Formless is His form." This makes no sense to them, for form means form to them, and formlessness is formlessness. It is, according to them, like saying, "To be dead is to be alive,"
or, "His ugliness is his beauty." or "His sight is his blindness." They would entreat Lao Tzu not to make use of such statements because blindness is blindness and to have sight is to see. If you use blindness to mean eyes, and eyes to mean blindness, there will be too much confusion. One of the outstanding members of this school of thought, Ludwig Wittgenstein has said, "That which cannot be said must not be said. Do not say that which disturbs and confuses language."
So there are three ways open to us. One is the use of the positive language. Positive language has its own shortcomings. It forms boundaries, definitions, and narrows down the vast existence. The second is the use of the language of negation. No boundaries are formed, no forms take shape and the vast existence remains boundless. But then, existence goes beyond understanding; it becomes a mystery. The third way is to make use of the positive and negative together. Then you can say, "He is and yet He is not. He is big and He is also small." Use them both together.
But then, language becomes a riddle. Nothing will be expressed. Then what is to be done? There is a fourth way. Remain silent. But this solves no problems. So language is a necessary evil; and we have to choose. Each one's choice is his personal preference. Jesus and Mansoor prefer positive language. Lao Tzu prefers negative language. No one can say who is right and who is wrong. For Jesus, his own trend of thinking is correct; for Lao Tzu his own opinions are correct. Their trend of thought depends on their own way of thinking.
Our trouble is that we are always trying to find similarities between their sayings before we are willing to accept them as correct. We cannot accept them all as being authentic at the same time. It is either Lao Tzu who is correct or Buddha or Jesus or Krishna. They all cannot be correct.
I say unto you, leave this debate as it is. Take whatever appeals to you from all these people and follow it. Do not worry about everybody. The day you reach the goal you will find that they are all correct. Till such time as you reach the goal, select whatever suits your personality from all, or any, and proceed.
At the same time, do not ever make the mistake of thinking that what is right for you is right for all. Do not try to convince your friend of your way of thinking, for it is quite possible that it may not suit his personality and you may become responsible for his death. We are all responsible for destroying each other. One man dances and sings; another says, "What foolishness you are indulging in! Use your common sense!" Actually what he means is that if he himself danced it would be nonsensical; it would seem foolish. But he is crossing his limitations and imposing his will on the other by denouncing him. He makes himself the criterion for others.
No man is a criterion for anyone else in this world. One who thinks he is commits a grave violence; he is a criminal. It is very possible that what seems foolishness to me may be giving immense joy to another, and what seems the ultimate knowledge to me may seem foolish to another. The other is of no consequence in this matter; my own self is what matters. I have to seek out the way that leads me to bliss, no matter how foolish it seems to the rest of the world. Therefore Krishna has said, "One's own nature is best. One should leave the other to his own."
But we are forever imposing our religion on others. Those who prefer the language of negation will find Lao Tzu interesting and will understand him. Those who prefer positive language will not understand Lao Tzu. There is no need to. Where you start from is not important. What is important is the fact that you finally reach the destination that both Jesus and Lao Tzu have talked about. The day you reach, you shall find that all roads converge on the same point. Until that time, you have to choose one path for yourself.
There is another danger. There are some people who are extra-wise. They say that both the positive and the negative are correct. But such people make no progress, for no one can walk on two roads at the same time. You must walk on one path only. In this age, the number of such wise people is increasing rapidly. They say that Christianity is all right, Hinduism is all right, so also Islam, etcetera.
They say, "Allah and Ishwara are only His names." These people do not proceed to their goal. If all roads lead to the same destination, it is hard to choose one. The seeker sets out on one. No sooner does he go a little further, than he wishes to try another path. Then a third, then a fourth. The result is that he remains where he is. For one who wishes to begin his journey, one road is the answer.
For one who is merely indulging in mental acrobatics, all roads are right.
For the seeker, there is always one path. For one who has already reached, all paths are right. But as long as you have not reached, do not speak the language of those who have reached. Standing at the gate, if you feel you are familiar with the inside of the palace you are an unfortunate person. You are still outside the palace; you still have to go within. Similarly, for one who is still at the periphery to say that all roads lead to the same goal is like cutting his own feet. He speaks a language borrowed from those who have already reached, whereas he himself has hardly begun his journey. He will be unable to make any progress.
For this very reason, each religion denounces other religions. All religions have done this. Their claim is very precious, and very dangerous. All valuable things are dangerous. It is only cheap things that involve no danger. The more significant a truth, the more dangerous it is. The slightest mistake and it becomes dangerous. Each religion has said, "This alone is the true religion." This is a dangerous statement; at the same time, a very powerful one. It is dangerous if you take it to mean that 'no one is true except me.' This is dangerous. The meaning is quite different. It means that for the seeker one path is enough, for only then can he progress. None of the religions have worried about proclaiming the ultimate truth for they knew that when a person reaches, he will come to know himself.
But we all have abortive minds. We hardly begin a thing before the mind is filled with a thousand statements regarding it. We hardly take a step and we begin to talk of the destination.
Lao Tzu is right. So is Mansoor. But this you shall only know when you also reach the same place.
So do not be hasty. Whatever path suits, take that to be the path. What seem wrong, take those ways to be absolutely worthless. This does not mean that you make your choice and then just sit, doing nothing. That has no meaning. To choose a path that seems to be the right path to you is only meaningful if you intend to begin on it.
People think that the misunderstandings between the Hindus, the Sikhs, the Christians, the Muslims, the Buddhist and the Jainas are getting less; the world is improving. This is not the case. The fact is, no one is now eager to follow any religion. Then what is the need to quarrel? It is not that people have become bigger hearted and believe in live and let live. Rather, religion has lost its importance in the lives of people and thus it can be conveniently disregarded. If a person says, today, t"There is no God," no one will challenge him. No one bothers. Not because people are so tolerant but because of the general apathy and lack of interest. If it is declared that the Gita and the Koran convey the same message, we accept it: perhaps it is so. This is not because we have studied the Gita or the Koran but because we do not wish to waste time in idle discussions.
A friend has sent me a book he has written to prove that the Bible and the Gita give the same message. He has taken great pains over both these books. I went through his whole book and found that his efforts have been in vain. There is no similarity anywhere. Not a single statement from one can be found in the other. And yet, from Radhakrishnan to Vinoba, all have approved and extolled his work. This has given me the feeling that none of them has read the book. Perhaps they thought it was a laudable effort which should be encouraged. Both the positive and negative statements are correct - but only for those who have reached, not for you. I talk on Krishna. If you like positive language, you can follow Krishna. I talk on Lao Tzu, because no one else has given such a beautiful rendering of negation. Lao Tzu is superlative on the path of negation. Those who are drawn towards the path of negation may follow Lao Tzu.
Do not worry about what is right. What is important is what you feel to be right for you. That is the basic, most valuable question.
IN THE LAST SUTRA YESTERDAY IT WAS SAID THAT HE WHO HAS COME TO KNOW THE SECRET OF THE REST THAT FOLLOWS NATURALLY AFTER EVERY ACTIVITY MAINTAINS HIS CALM FOR ALL TIME. YOU HAVE ALSO SAID THAT INTENSE ACTIVITY IS FOLLOWED BY DEEP RELAXATION. BUT OUR EXPERIENCE IS THAT THE CALM ATTAINED BY INTENSE ACTIVITY IS ALSO UNSTABLE SINCE IT TOO SOON DISPERSES. PLEASE TELL US HOW A PERMANENT CALM CAN BE ATTAINED.
There are two conditions of the mind: one is of restlessness; the other of tranquillity. Whenever we are active, the mind is restless. Activity begins and tensions are formed and thoughts awakened.
As much work begins within as without. That is the restlessness. Then, work ceases. If we enter into our activities with one pointedness, then, says Lao Tzu, the activity within ceases. Then peace ensues.
Our condition is such that we are neither completely restless nor completely at rest. To be completely relaxed we would have to be completely motivated in our work. Otherwise it is not possible.
Therefore, the tension and restlessness that still remain even after the work is over, begin to move within and remain, there.
For instance, say that I am angry with you. But, what happens naturally is that I do not become completely angry with you. I suppress part of my anger. Then, when you have gone away and the matter has ended, the anger that still remains within me will begin to work. Had I been totally angry, the anger within would have ended along with the ending of the incident.
Gurdjieff used to teach his disciples how to be angry He was the only sensible teacher of this century.
There is no dearth of senseless teachers in the world who tell us we should not be angry, we should not be greedy. They merely repeat the time-worn adages of their forefathers, which they themselves do not understand.
Gurdjieff would tell his disciples to bring out their anger. The poor pupil would be nonplussed. "But anger is what I want to be rid of. It is consuming me," the disciple would say.
"Had you vented your anger completely," Gurdjieff would tell him, "You would have found it impossible to bear. You would have jumped out of it.
When a house catches on fire, men run out of it as quickly as they can. No one waits to inquire where the door is, much less to sit and ponder whether he is being rightly guided or not. When a house is in flames, people within simply jump out of it. A man tries to escape in whatever manner possible.
He has to find a way out somehow. That becomes the most important thing. Which way, whether it is suitable or not, does not matter. Remember, as long as the way appears more significant, it shows that you are still unaware of the fire raging within. Once you are aware of the flames within, you cannot dilly-dally, asking about what is the way and how best you can go. Then all that matters is how to jump out of the fire.
Gurdjieff would say, "Be thoroughly angry." He would teach his pupils how to be so completely angry that no anger remained within. He told them not to suppress their anger in the slightest way. A wonderful thing happened to the student who followed this order. He found that a strange, beautiful calm and restfulness pervaded his entire being. Everything became silent and peaceful, like after a storm.
So we must first understand this rule of nature that Lao Tzu speaks of. That is that rest is inevitable after each activity, if the activity is complete. But this is not enough in order to remain calm.
Maintaining one's calm is a deeper happening that is directly dependent on a particular experience.
When a man realises that anger is followed by tranquillity, that day follows night and again night is followed by day, that light follows darkness, which is again followed by light, and so on, he comes to realise the play of opposites that goes on all around him. Then he suddenly comes to understand that "I am apart from this play of the opposites."
If I can see anger descending on me and then leaving me; then, again, if I can witness the coming and going of anger and the resultant peace, it is as if I am sitting in a room and watching the rising of the sun in the morning and the setting of the sun in the evening. Then, do I say in the morning, "I am light?" Or do I say in the evening, "I am darkness"? No. I experienced both light and darkness; I know both. I am the witness. I watch the morning arrive and depart. So also the evening.
Calmness does not mean tranquillity. Calmness is to know the mid-point between restlessness and tranquillity. He who says he seeks tranquillity can never attain calmness. If you desire peace, what happens to restlessness? It is as good as saying, "I want light, I do not want darkness. I want the sunrise and not the sunset." If you desire one, you have to pass through the other. He who desires peace must pass through turmoil. He who desires birth must go through death.
But this is what we do. We want birth but no death; we want the morning but not the evening; we want youth but not old age. We want only half. That cannot be, for that is not the rule of existence.
And hence, we can never attain calm!
Everyone desires peace and tranquillity; but the harder one strives, the greater becomes his restlessness. He who desires the morn and not the eventide begins to worry about the evening as soon as morning comes. In so doing, he loses the pleasure of the morning by in thinking of ways and means to escape the evening. Then, when evening comes, as it is bound to, he is unhappy once again. He never enjoys the pleasure of the morning because the evening appears along with the morn.
The man who strives for tranquillity finds himself fearful and afraid even in its midst because he is afraid he may lose it at any moment. Then, when restlessness takes hold of him, he again desires tranquillity. And when tranquillity comes he is fearful of losing it and hence does not enjoy it. So, calmness becomes impossible.
Calmness, equality of temperament, is a priceless thing. It means that when restlessness is there, one knows it is there; when tranquillity is there, one knows it is there. A man who has known this faces restlessness calmly and faces tranquillity calmly. He knows the law of life: that day and night follow each other. Such a man calmly accepts his periods of restlessness and tranquillity.
This state is called the state of calmness, of equilibrium. It means that now neither restlessness nor peace affects him. He neither looks forward to them, nor denies them. Now he desires nothing. He just watches. He is a witness who only observes. Calmness happens in a witnessing state. This is a stable calmness which cannot be destroyed by restlessness or increased by tranquillity. It is fixed mid-way between the two. Restlessness and peace are not stable states because they are two sides of a big happening. Calmness is fixed. It is stable; it is eternal, it is forever.
YOU HAVE SAID THAT THOSE WHO ATTAIN THE TAO LOOK UPON LIFE AS A CONSTANT DANGER AND BECOME GRAVE. ON THE OTHER HAND, WHEN YOU TALK OF KRISHNA, YOU SAY THAT LIFE WAS A MERE PLAY TO HIM. HE LAUGHED HIS WAY THROUGH LIFE.
WHATEVER HE DID WAS A DANCE, A FROLIC. YOU SAY THAT THE BEHAVIOUR OF SAINTS IS BOUND TO BE DIFFERENT. THIS DIFFERENCE IN BEHAVIOUR WE CAN UNDERSTAND BUT THE DIFFERENCE IN THE VERY NATURE OF KRISHNA AND LAO TZU IS DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND. KINDLY EXPLAIN.
You will never be able to understand the nature of Krishna and you will never understand the nature of Lao Tzu. Only Krishna can understand Krishna's nature; only Lao Tzu can understand Lao Tzu's nature - just as you alone can understand your nature. All we can understand of another is his behaviour, his actions. We can only see what Krishna does. How can we see what he is? We can see what Buddha does, what he says, but how can we know what he is? Nature means that which is unmanifest, hidden within. And that, you cannot see. You can only see the actions.
Buddha sits serenely and Krishna plays the flute. You infer that Krishna is happy because he plays the flute and Buddha cannot be happy for he plays no flute; but just sits with his eyes closed. You cannot see their nature, which is one. But Buddha has his own way of manifesting his nature and Krishna has his own way. This depends upon their individual personality.
For example, suppose there are ten bulbs of different colours in this room. The current passing through them is one, but each bulb gives a different light according to its own colour. The bodies of Krishna and Buddha are the different bulbs, but the current within is the same. The bulbs can be likened to the personalities, and the electric current to the energy within. Personalities are different (like the bulbs), but the energy within (like the electric current) is one.
Krishna's body is his bulb; Lao Tzu's body is his bulb. These are personalities. The nature within both of them is one, but you cannot see it. Only when you yourself go within will you discover that this nature is colourless - neither blue nor red nor yellow. That which appeared to be Buddha was the personality of Buddha; that which appeared to be Krishna was the personality of Krishna.
Personalities can be seen, behaviours can be observed, but that which happens within is invisible.
If we interchange the bulbs we shall find that it makes no difference to the current if, where there was a blue light, now there is a red light. If it were possible to change personalities, we would find Buddha playing the flute with the same gay abandon as Krishna, and Krishna sitting silent and serene under a tree. But this is not in our hands, fortunately. It is within our hands, though, to enter within our own bulbs and observe our own nature. Then we shall find that, within that nature, everything is quiet, serene; there is no form, no shape. But to manifest this formless, we have to make use of the body, the mind.
Buddha spoke the Pali language because that was the language he knew. Krishna spoke in Sanskrit because that was the language prevalent in his time. Jesus spoke in Hebrew for that was his language. But truth is neither in Pali nor Sanskrit nor Hebrew. If you think truth is in Sanskrit only, then when it is spoken in Hebrew it will become untruth. But when Jesus experienced the truth, was it in terms of Hebrew - or, in the case of Krishna, in Sanskrit, and, in the case of Buddha, in Pali?
No. When truth is experienced, there is neither Pali nor Sanskrit nor Hebrew within. All words are lost, all languages vanish and the infinite existence is experienced as a great silence an emptiness within.
When a person realises truth, all language is lost within. But when this truth needs to be expressed, some language has to be made use of. Buddha could not express in Sanskrit, nor Krishna in Pali.
Each could expresS only in his own language. Language is a part of the individuality.
The negative or positive aspects are part of the individuality of a person. Whether to dance or sing or to be silent are all part of the individuality of a person. But the experience within is beyond all these.
This, however, we cannot see, and therefore are unable to understand. We shall only understand this when we delve within our own nature, not before that.
We are bound to observe the difference because, from where we stand, there is no way to see the non-difference. To experience the non-difference you shall have to be established within yourself at the centre, where all the causes that create difference and non-difference vanish.
Suppose I have one hundred pieces of blank paper. There will be no difference between them.
Now if I were to give one hundred people one paper each and ask each of them to draw a picture of a man, these hundred pieces of paper will become a hundred pictures and no two will be alike.
Each paper becomes different from the rest. The picture painted by Picasso will fetch thousands of rupees but the painting you have made will not be acceptable even as waste paper; and yet the paper in both cases will be the same. They were equal to each other in value as long as they were blank. As soon as we stamp our individuality on it, its value changes: Picasso's paper becomes more valuable, and ours gain or lose in value according to our individual personality.
Buddha, Jesus and Lao Tzu are blank sheets of paper within, but as soon as we see them from outside they form a picture, the picture of their individuality. This picture does not portray the existence; it is their particular individuality.
The word "individuality" is a very meaningful word. It does not mean that which is hidden within.
Rather, it is the characteristic of that which is expressed through the medium. A flame burns through a lantern. The light is dim because the chimney is covered with soot. There is another lantern with clean, clear glass. Its light is brighter. The name within is the same; the difference is in the glass of the chimney. The individuality can dim or brighten that which comes from within.
When Kabir speaks, he can speak only in the language of a weaver. All his symbolisms and similes pertain to weaving, because all his life he was a weaver. Therefore he could sing, "I have woven the sheet so fine, so fine!" Buddha could never say such a thing for he had no idea of weaving, nor did his forefathers ever have anything to do with weaving. Kabir alone could talk in this language because all his life he was a weaver. Kabir's language is harsh and crude; there is a rough sharpness in it.
When Buddha speaks, even if he rebukes a person it seems as if he is throwing a flower at him.
There is a majestic beauty in his speech.
The immediacy we experience in the speech of Jesus and Mohammed is completely absent in others. There is a reason for this. Both Jesus and Mohammed were uneducated village people.
Village people have very few words at their disposal, and these too are not refined. They are like rough, unhewn stones. The language that is at the command of Buddha or Mahavira is like a stone that is carved into a beautiful image. It is no wonder that Jesus and Mohammed penetrated deep within the masses and Mahavira and Buddha lagged behind. The words of Jesus and Mohammed appeal to the masses because their language is easily understood; their teachings are simple enough for the common man.
It is difficult to follow the teachings of Buddha and Mahavira. They appear so far away to the common man, as if they are talking from a mountain peak. There is a gulf between them and the common man. These are because of differences in personalities.
Also, if Mahavira or Buddha spoke the language of Jesus or Mohammed in India, no one would have listened to them because this country was at that time, at the zenith of its culture.
Also had Mohammed made the mistake of speaking to his people in the same strain as Buddha, no one would have heeded him. Those amongst whom he spoke were barbaric desert people who believed in the rule of the sword. They could only understand things pertaining to the sword and nothing else.
Personality, and the time and the situation, we can see and understand. Not so the existence within.
But do not worry too much on this account. If you begin to have an idea of the difference between individuality and existence, you will gradually begin to search within. And the day you discover your individuality to be apart from your existence, the doors within shall open and you shall be able to look within. Buddha is just the outer clothing. So is Lao Tzu. So is Jesus and Mohammed. That which is hidden within the clothing is completely apart from them.
Do not think of existence in terms of outer clothing. But, alas, what can we do? We think only in terms of the outer; we have no notion of what is within. Go beyond the clothes and see what lies hidden beneath. Then you shall be able to go beyond all clothing, all covering, and see the one existence.