Awareness, not knowledge
25. THE DISASSOCIATION OF THE SEER AND THE SEEN WHICH IS BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE DISPERSION OF IGNORANCE IS THE REMEDY THAT BRINGS LIBERATION.
26. THE UNWAVERING PRACTICE OF DISCRIMINATION BETWEEN WHAT IS THE REAL AND WHAT IS THE UNREAL BRINGS ABOUT THE DISPERSION OF IGNORANCE.
27. THE HIGHEST STAGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT IS REACHED IN SEVEN STEPS.
THE state of ignorance is the cause of all delusions, of all unrealities, of all appearances, but to know more is not the state of knowledge. Ignorance is the cause, but knowledge is not the remedy -- knowledge in the sense of knowledgeability. You can know more and more and more, but you remain the same. Knowledge becomes an addiction. You go on adding it. but the being to which you add it remains the same. You know more, but you are not more.
And the root cause of ignorance can be dissolved only when you are more, when your being is stronger, when your being is powerful, when your being has awakened. The root cause of all suffering is ignorance, but knowledge is not the remedy -- awakening is the remedy.
If you don't understand this subtle distinction, first, you are lost in ignorance, and then you will be lost -- and lost more so -- in knowledge. In the Upanishads there is one of the most radical statements ever uttered. The statement is that in ignorance people are lost, but in knowledge they are lost in a deeper way.
Ignorance misguides, knowledge misguides more.
Ignorance is not absence of knowledge. If it was absence of knowledge then things would have been very, very easy -- and cheap. You can borrow knowledge; you cannot borrow being. You can even steal knowledge; you cannot steal being. You have to grow into it. Remember this as a criterion: that unless you grow in something it is never yours. When you grow, only then something belongs to you. You may possess something, but don't be misguided by the possession. The possession remains separate -- it can be taken away from you.
Only your being cannot be taken away from you. So unless knowing happens into your being, ignorance cannot be dissolved.
Ignorance is not absence of knowledge; ignorance is absence of awareness.
Ignorance is a sort of sleepiness, a sort of slumber, a sort of hypnosis; as if you
are walking in sleep, doing things in deep. You are not aware what you are doing. You are not a light; your whole being is dark. You can know about light, but that knowledge about light will never become light. On the contrary, it will become a hindrance towards light, because when you know too much about light you forget that the light has not happened to you. You are deceived by your own knowledge.
It is as if you have been living in a dark cell. You have heard about light but you have not seen it. And how can you hear about light? It can only be seen. Ears are not the medium to know light: eyes are. And you have heard about light. And hearing again and again about light you have started to feel that you know light.
You know about; but to know about is not to know. You have heard. How can you hear light? It will be as if someone says that he has seen music. It will be absurd.
Hearing about light, the mind becomes more and more greedy. You consult scriptures. You go and seek wise, old men. You may even come across somebody who has seen, but the moment he says something about that, to you it becomes the heard. In India the oldest scriptures are known as shruti, that which has been heard. That's beautiful. That's really beautiful. How can truth be heard? And all the old scriptures are called shrutis, and smritis. Shruti means "the heard," and smriti means "the remembered." You have heard and you remember. You have memorized it, but how can you know truth by hearing? You have to feel it. In fact you have to live it.
The man living in the cave, in darkness, can collect many facts about light. He can almost become a great pundit. You can consult him and you can rely on him.
He will say everything that has ever been said about light, but he will live all the same in darkness. And he cannot help you towards light; he himself is blind.
Jesus says again and again, "The blind are leading the blind.' Kabir says, "If you are suffering, become alert; you must have been led by a blind man. If blind people lead blind people, they fall in the well," says Kabir. And you are all in the well of suffering; you must have heard too much about truth; you must have heard too much about God. Thousands of pulpits continuously preaching God -- churches, temples, scholars -- continuously talking "about."
God is not a talk. It is an experience.
Ignorance cannot be dissolved by knowledge. It can be dissolved only by awareness. Knowledge you can go on collecting in the dream; but it is part of the dream, and the dream is part of your sleep. Somebody has to shake you.
Somebody has to shock you. Somebody has to bring you out of your sleep; otherwise you can go on and on. Sleep is alcoholic. Ignorance is alcoholic; it is a drug. You have to be pulled out of it.
I will tell you one anecdote I have always loved. It is about Siddha Naropa, the disciple Of Tilopa. It happened before Naropa found his Master, Tilopa. It happened before he himself became enlightened. And it is a must for every seeker; it has to happen to everybody. So whether it happened to Naropa or not
is not the point -- it is a must on the journey. Unless it happens, enlightenment is not possible. So I don't know historically whether it happened or not.
Psychologically I am certain, absolutely certain, it happened because nobody can move without it further into the beyond.
Naropa was a great scholar, a great pundit. There are stories that he was a great vice-chancellor of a great university -- ten thousand disciples of his own. One day he was sitting surrounded by his disciples. All around him were scattered thousands of scriptures -- ancient, very ancient, rare. Suddenly he fell asleep, must have been tired, and he was a vision. I call it a vision, not a dream, because it is no ordinary dream. It is so significant, to call it a dream won't be just; it was a vision.
He saw a very, very old, ugly, horrible woman -- a hag. Her ugliness was so much that he started trembling in his sleep. It was so nauseating he wanted to escape -- but where to escape, where so go? He was caught, as if hypnotized by the old hag. Her body was nauseating, but her eyes were like magnets.
She asked, "Naropa, what are you doing?"
And he said, "I am studying."
"What are you studying?" asked the old woman.
He said, "Philosophy, religion, epistemology, language, grammar, logic."
The old woman asked again, "Do you understand them?"
Naropa said, "Of... Yes, I understand them."
The woman asked again, "Do you understand the word, or the sense?"
This was asked for the first time. Thousands of questions had been asked to Naropa in his life. He was a great teacher -- thousands of students always asking, inquiring -- but nobody had asked this: whether you understand the word, or the sense. And the woman's eyes were so penetrating that it was impossible to lie -- she will find out. Before her eyes Naropa felt completely naked, nude, transparent. Those eyes were going to the very depth of his being. and it was impossible to lie. To anybody else he would have said. "Of course, I understand the sense," but to this woman. this horrible-looking woman, he couldn't speak the lie; he had to say the truth.
He said, "Yes, I understand the words."
The woman was very happy. She started dancing and laughing.
Thinking that the woman has become so happy.... And because of her happiness her ugliness was transformed; she was no longer so ugly; a subtle beauty started coming out of her being. Thinking "I have made her so happy. Why not make her a little more happy?" he said, "And yes, I understand the sense also."
The woman stopped laughing. She stopped dancing. She started crying and weeping, and all her ugliness was back -- a thousandfold more.
Naropa said, "Why? Why are you weeping and crying? And why were you laughing and dancing before?"
The woman said, "I was dancing and laughing and was happy because a great scholar like you didn't lie. But now I am crying and weeping because you have lied to me. I know -- and you know -- that you don't understand the sense."
The vision disappeared and Naropa was transformed. He escaped from the university. He never again touched a scripture in his life. He became completely ignorant: he understood that just by understanding the word, whom are you befooling; and just by understanding the word you have become an ugly old hag.
Knowledge is ugly. And if you go near scholars you will find them stinking -- of knowledge -- dead.
A man of wisdom, a man of understanding, has a freshness about him, a fragrant life -- totally different from a pundit from a man of knowledge. One who understands the sense becomes beautiful; one who only understands the word becomes ugly. And the woman was nobody outside: it was just a projection of the inner part. It was Naropa's own being, through knowledge became ugly. Just this much understanding that "I don't understand the sense," and the ugliness was going to be transformed immediately into a beautiful phenomenon.
Naropa went in search, because now scriptures won't help. Now a living Master is needed. Then after long journeys he came across Tilopa. Tilopa was also in search of this man, because when you have something, you want to share; a compassion arises.
The Buddhist term for compassion is karuna. The English word does not carry exactly the same sense -- it cannot carry. The word karuna is very, very meaningful. It comes from the same Sanskrit root as kriya. Kriya means action.
Kriya and karuna -- kriya means action, karuna means compassion -- they both come from the same root kra. The Buddhist term karuna means "compassion in action." And that is the difference between sympathy and compassion; when you are in sympathy there is no need for action -- you simply show your sympathy and the thing is finished. Compassion is active -- you do something. When you are really in compassion you will have to do something. How can you just be in sympathy? Sympathy will look so pale, so cold. Compassion is warm.
Compassion means it has to be active.
When a man knows, compassion arises. Tilopa had known. He had come face to face with the ultimate: and now compassion arose. And he started seeking and searching for somebody who'll be ready to receive... because you cannot throw this knowing of the ultimate before those who will not understand. A receptive heart, a feminine heart is needed. A disciple has to be feminine because the Master is to pour, and the disciple is just to allow.
They met and Tilopa said, "Naropa, now I will say everything that I have been waiting to say. I will say everything because of you, Naropa. You have come; now I can unburden myself."
This vision of Naropa is very significant. This vision is a must. Unless you feel that knowledge is useless you will never be in search of wisdom. You will carry
the false coin thinking that this is the real treasure. You have to become aware that knowledge is a false coin -- it is not knowing, it is not understanding. At the most it is intellectual -- the word has been understood but the sense lost. Once you understand this you will throw all your knowledge and you will escape in search of somebody who knows, because only with somebody who knows -- heart to heart, being to being, the transfer happens. But if the disciple is already a man of knowledge the transfer is impossible, because the knowledge will become the wall.
I can see a subtle wall around you always. Whenever you come to me I see whether I can approach you or not, whether you are approachable or not. If I see a very thick wall of knowledge it seems almost impossible to approach you; I will have to wait. If I can find even a small crack I enter from there. But scared people, full of fear -- they don't even leave a crack; they make a solid wall. They make a citadel around them of knowledge, knowing, concepts -- abstract words.
Futile! Just noise! In fact a nuisance, but you believe in them.
So this is the first thing to be understood: knowledge is not knowledge. And only that knowledge which is not knowledge but wisdom, understanding, knowing, can cut the roots of ignorance.
Remember the word "awareness." Just as in the morning you become, by and by, alert and you come out of the sleep and the sleepiness falls down, disappears; the same happens again: you come out of your slumber; by and by your eyes open, you start seeing, your heart becomes available, your being open; and immediately, you are no longer the same person you were while asleep. Have you ever observed, in the morning, when awake, you become a totally different person -- you are not the same who was asleep? Have you observed, in sleep you become a totally different person -- in sleep you do things you cannot even imagine doing while you are awake -- in sleep you believe in things you cannot believe while you are awake? In sleep every sort of absurdity is believed. While you are awake you laugh at your own foolishness, at your own dreams.
The same happens when you finally awake. Then, the whole world that you had lived up to that moment becomes part of a dream, a great dream. That's why Hindus go on saying the world is maya: the stuff it is made of is dream; it is not real. Awake! And you will find all those phantoms that surrounded you have disappeared. And a totally different vision of existence becomes available -- that is freedom. Freedom is freedom from illusions. Freedom is freedom from sleep.
Freedom is freedom from all that is not and appears to be there.
To come to the real is to come to home; to wander in unreality is to be in the world.
Now, try to understand Patanjali's sutras.
THE DISASSOCIATION OF THE SEER AND THE SEEN WHICH IS BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE DISPERSION OF IGNORANCE IS THE REMEDY THAT BRINGS LIBERATION.
From where to begin?... because Patanjali is always interested in the beginning. If the beginning is not clear we may go on talking about what liberation is, but that will remain a talk. The beginning has to be absolutely clear -- every step clean-cut so that you can move from where you are. If you listen to Lao Tzu, Lao Tzu talks from the peak, the highest peak possible to human consciousness; if you ask Tilopa, he answers from where he is. If you ask Patanjali, he talks from where you are. He does not say anything about himself; he simply talks from where you are, the beginning. He is more practical; Lao Tzu is more true. Patanjali is more practical.
The other day somebody asked why I cannot continue talking on Lao Tzu.
Because of you. If I were alone that would be good, perfect; but you are also there, and I cannot forget you. When I am talking about Lao Tzu I have to leave you far behind. Then. immediately I start talking about Patanjali, or somebody, who talks about you and your first steps. There is a vast difference.
Lao Tzu you can enjoy but you cannot practice, because he doesn't say anything about practice. He has achieved and he talks about his achievement -- from that vision. Things are totally different. You may be hypnotized by that vision, that vision may have a great appeal to you, but it will remain a poetry. It will remain a romance: it will not become empirical; it will not become practical. You will not be able to find the way from where to go through Lao Tzu. Everything is perfectly true, but from where to go? The moment you become aware of yourself, Lao Tzu is somewhere so far, so distant....
Patanjali is just by your side. You can move with him hand in hand. He talks about the beginning.
"The disassociation of the seer and the seen...." So the first step is to remember, to be mindful, that you are separate from the seen: whatsoever you see you are the seer. The tree is there, so green and so beautiful, blossoming -- but the tree is an object; you are the subject. Separate them. Know well that the tree is there and you are here; the tree is out, you are in; the tree is the seen and you are the seer. It is difficult to remember because the tree is so beautiful and the flower so magnetic, they hypnotize you. You would like to be lost. You would like to forget yourself.
Tn fact you are always in search of forgetting yourself, trying to escape from yourself. You are so fed up with yourself.... Nobody wants to remain with oneself. A thousand and one paths you create just to escape from yourself. When you say, "The tree is beautiful," you have escaped; you have forgotten yourself.
When you see a beautiful woman passing by, you have forgotten yourself. The seer is lost in the seen.
Don't lose the seer in the seen. Many times it will be lost -- reclaim it. Reclaim it again and again. By and by you will become steady. By and by you will have a strength. Anything passes by, anything whatsoever -- even if God passes by -- Patanjali says, "remember that you are the seer and he is the seen." Don't forget
this distinction, because only with this distinction will your vision become clear.
will your consciousness concentrate. will your awareness become consolidated, will your being become rooted and centered.
Go again and again, fall again and again to self-remembering. Remember, self- remembering is not ego-remembering. It is not to remember that "I am," no. It is to remember that inside is the seer and outside is the seen. It is not a question of "I"; it is a question of consciousness and object of consciousness. The disassociation of the seer and the seen which is brought about by the dispersion of ignorance is the remedy that brings liberation." The more you become aware of everything that surrounds you, by and by, you will see that not only the world surrounds you, your own body surrounds you. That too is an object. I can see my hand, I can feel my hand, so I must be separate. If I were the body then there would be no way to feel the body -- who will feel it? To know, separation is needed. All knowledge. all knowing, separates. All ignorance is forgetfulness of the separation. When you become aware that the body is also the other." your consciousness is settling at home.
Then you become aware that your emotions, your thoughts -- they are also "the other," because you can see them. You have seen them again and again, but you don't remember that you are separate. You see a thought passing on the screen of the mind. It is just like a cloud passing in the sky: you see a white cloud passing or a black cloud passing, moving towards the north. When a thought passes just look where it is going, from where it is coming. Watch it. Don't get involved; don t become one with it. That getting involved, becoming one with it, is called identification, tadatmya: and that is ignorance. Identified, you are in ignorance.
Unidentified -- separate, witnessing, watching -- you are moving towards awareness.
This is the method, what Upanishads call the method of "neti, neti," the method of elimination: you see the world -- then I am not the world; you see the body -- then I am not the body; you see the thought -- then I am not the thought; you see the emotion -- then I am not the emotion. You go on, go on, go on... a moment comes, only the seer is left; all seen disappeared, and with the seen, the whole world.
In that aloneness of consciousness there is tremendous beauty. tremendous simplicity, tremendous innocence, austerity. Sitting in that consciousness, centered in that consciousness there is no worry, not a worry at all -- no anxiety, no anguish, no suffering, no hate, no love, no anger. Everything has disappeared; only, you are. Even the feeling that "I am" is not there, because if you feel "I am" you can become aware of the feeling -- that is separate from you. You are.
Simply, you are. So simple that there is no awareness that "I am," just an "amness," being. That is the definition of being. It is not a question of philosophy, how to define it; it is a question of experiencing, how to experience it.
All eliminated, all dreams dissolved, the whole world disappeared -- you sitting in yourself, not doing a thing, not even a ripple of thought, not even a breeze of
emotion passes you -- everything is so still and so silent: time has stopped, space disappeared. This is the transcendental moment. In this moment, for the first time, you are no longer ignorant. This is how you grow in being. This is how you become a knower, not a knowledgeable person. You have not gathered any information; on the contrary, you have separated all that was around you.
Totally nude, naked, like a sunya, a void, you are.
Patanjali says this is liberation from ignorance. So the first step is to go on separating. Whatsoever you see, always remember the seer, that "I am separate," and immediately, a sort of silence will surround you. The moment you remember, "I am the seer and not the seen," instantly, you are no longer part of this world -- instantly, you have transcended.
You may forget again. It is very difficult to go on remembering in the beginning, but even in twenty-four hours if you can remember for one single moment, that will be enough nourishment. And by and by more moments will become possible. A day comes when you remember so constantly that the very effort to remember is not needed: it becomes just natural, like breathing -- you breathe, you remember. It is not good to say "remember" then, because there is no effort.
It simply happens; it has become sahaj, spontaneous.
THE UNWAVERING PRACTICE OF DISCRIMINATION....
Then the second step. First step: of separation, disidentification between the seen and the seer. The second step: THE UNWAVERING PRACTICE OF DISCRIMINATION BETWEEN WHAT IS THE REAL AND WHAT IS THE UNREAL BRINGS ABOUT THE DISPERSION OF IGNORANCE.
This is one step; then there is another step. They both work together. It is not good to say the other is the second step -- they move simultaneously. But it is better to start first with the discrimination between the seen and the seer; then the other will be possible, because the other is more subtle, the distinction between the real and the unreal.
For example, in ordinary life you have got completely messed up. You don't know what is real and what is unreal. You are so messed up that any fantasy can become real for you; and when it becomes real, that means when you take it to be real, it starts affecting you; and when it starts affecting you it looks more real, because it is affecting you. It becomes a vicious circle.
In the night you dream that somebody is sitting on your chest with a knife and is just going to kill you -- a nightmare. You scream. Because of the screaming, the sleep is broken. You open your eyes; there is nobody sitting on your chest.
Maybe in your sleep you have pulled your own pillow on your chest, or just your own hands, and the pressure gave you the impression; the pressure created
the dream. Now you know it was a dream, but still your heart goes on throbbing fast. You know that it was a dream. Now you are fully awake. You have put on the light -- there is nobody, nothing -- but your body goes on trembling a little. rt will take time to settle again.
An unreal dream, how does it create real phenomena in the body? Only two possibilities are there. One, the body is also not very real. That is the Hindu standpoint about life: because a dream can affect it, it must be like the dream; it cannot be real. The second possibility is: because you take the dream as real, that s why it affects you. It becomes real. It is only your own mind: if you take something as real it becomes real. If you understand. it is unreal. Immediately it stops affecting you in any way.
Just watch: you are feeling hungry. Is it real, your body need, or just because you eat every day at this time; so the clock says now is the time? "Feel hungry!" says the clock, and you immediately follow the order: you start feeling hungry. Is it real hunger? rf it is real hunger. the more you stay hungry, the more it will grow.
If you eat every day at one o'clock and you are feeling hungry at one o'clock, wait: just after fifteen minutes you are not feeling hungry; after one hour you have completely forgotten. What happened? If the hunger was real, after one hour it would have been more -- but it has disappeared. It was a mind creation -- not a real body need, just an imaginary need, an unreal need.
Watch what is real and what is unreal and you will become aware of many things. And then you can sort them out and life will become more and more simple. This is what sannyas means: to find out what is unreal. If it is unreal, if you have found it so, it simply has no power over you. The moment you understand "this is unreal," the power is lost, the thing is dead, it no longer affects you. Life becomes more simple, more natural. And then, by and by, you become aware that ninety-nine percent of things are unreal. Ninety-nine percent, I say. I leave one percent for the final step, because in the final step that too becomes unreal -- the only reality that is left is you. Everything, by and by, is felt to be unreal and dropped. Finally, only consciousness is real.
For instance, in the night you sleep, you see a dream. The dream is real in the night. You take it to be real. You live through it -- you feel, you are angry, you love -- all sorts of emotions, thoughts, all sorts of life pass through you. Then, in the morning it has become unreal. Now you are moving to the office, to the shop, to the world, to the market -- now this world is real. By the evening you come back. You go to sleep -- the market, the shop, the marketplace -- everything has become unreal again. In deep sleep you don't remember the market, the family, the house, the worries -- they all have disappeared.
But only one thing remains always real: the seer. In the night, while the dream is passing, the dream may be a dream, but the seer is not a dream -- because even for a dream to exist, a real seer is needed. Both cannot be dreams.
You are a young man, then you become old, but the seer remains the same. You are ill, you become healthy; but the seen remains the same. The consciousness
within you;s always the same, the constant factor -- the only reality, because Hindus define reality as that which abides forever and forever. Their definition is, "That which is eternal is real, and that which is momentary is not real," because one moment it is there, next moment it is gone. Why call it real? It was a dream. Anything that was meaningful for a single moment and then becomes meaningless is a dream. The whole life, Hindus say, is a dream because when you die the whole life has become meaningless, as if it never existed.
By and by, discriminating real from the unreal, sorting it out, more and more authentic awareness will arise out of it. Remember, this sorting out, discrimination between the real and unreal, is a method to create more awareness. The real point is not to know what is real and what is unreal. The real point is: trying to know what is real and what is unreal, you will become intensely aware. It is a methodology. So don't get caught in it; because people can be caught in their methodology. Always remember it is a methodology. It is just a device. The more you become penetrating and aware of what is real and what is unreal -- what is happening between these two? Your intensity is becoming more and more intense, alive. Your eyes are becoming more penetrating, far- reaching into the phenomena of life. That is the real point.
For yoga everything is a device. The goal is to make you perfectly aware, so not even a fragment of darkness remains in your heart, not even a corner remains dark -- the whole house is lighted. "The unwavering practice of discrimination between what is the real and what is the unreal brings about the dispersion of ignorance." So the point is: the dispersion of ignorance.
In India there are a few very, very poisonous snakes, cobra and others. When a cobra bites a man, the only problem is: if you can keep the man awake for thirty- six hours, the body itself throws the poison out of it. The blood circulates and purifies itself; the poison is thrown out of the system. But the only point is fo.
thirty-six hours the man should not fall asleep. once he falls asleep, then it is impossible. So when a cobra bites a man in the forests of India or among primitive tribes where no other medicine exists, the whole village gathers together. Once I was in a village and it happened, and I watched the whole phenomenon -- for thirty-six hours. It was beautiful, because that is the whole process of becoming aware.
The problem is that the poison makes the man sleepy. He feels a tremendous urge to fall asleep. It is not ordinary sleep -- tremendous urge to fall asleep. He cannot be allowed to sit; people have to prevent him, hold him. Sitting or standing he has to be shocked, and continuously a situation is to be created -- drums and bands and singing and dancing all around, and howling and screaming and shouting -- so he cannot fall asleep. The moment his eyes are closed he is to be shocked out of it, again and again. He is even to be beaten. A moment comes after twelve hours, it becomes almost impossible for him to be awake: you go on shouting, he doesn't listen; his body becomes limp, you cannot hold him -- standing or sitting. Then he has to be beaten hard; only that keeps
him awake. If thirty-six hours are complete then the poison is thrown by the body and the man remains alive. If he falls asleep, even for a few minutes, the man is lost.
The whole effort of yoga is like that. Many methods have to be used to remain alert: and because of this many things have gone wrong. For example, fasting: fasting is a method to remain alert -- it has nothing to do with the body -- because whenever you are fasting you cannot fall asleep easily. To fall asleep, the body needs food. When you have overeaten you fall asleep immediately. If you have overeaten, immediately you feel that now you cannot move. you cannot do anything. The consciousness is losing itself. The whole energy of the body moves into the stomach, it leaves the head where it remains conscious, because the food has to be digested, and that's the first thing to be done -- immediately, the first necessity. The whole body energy concentrates near the stomach and you start feeling sleepy.
In a fast, if you have ever fasted, you will feel that in the night you cannot fall asleep. You turn again and again; something is missing. The body energy is completely free -- there is no need to digest anything. The free energy moves all over the body. It is no longer concentrated in the stomach. In fact it is available, so your mind goes on functioning: you remain alert. Sleep is difficult. Fasting is a way to create awareness. If you fast for a long time, you will attain to a certain duality of awareness which is difficult to attain while you go on eating. It can be attained, but it will take a longer time. Fasting is a shortcut to achieve it.
But, somewhere, something went wrong. It always happens with sleepy people.
You give them something: they become addicted to it. They forget the goal -- the method becomes the end; the means becomes the end. Now there are thousands of Jain monks continuously on fast -- and nothing happens. I have been wandering all over the country meeting so many types of people. I have asked thousands of Jain monks, "Why do you fast?" They say, "Because it purifies the body." Absolute foolishness.
It may purify the body, but that is not the point at all. It may be good for health sometimes, not always. If you have too much accumulated fat in the body, it will be helpful to purify it; it reduces fat. If you have eaten too much for so many years that you have accumulated many toxins in the body, it helps to purify. But that is secondary; that has nothing to do with religion. It is naturopathy, not religion.
But why should a Jain monk purify the body? He's not ill. He's not poisoned. He has completely forgotten the goal. The goal was awareness. Now he keeps on doing the means, using the means, not knowing the goal. He simply suffers. So the fasting is no longer a fasting; it is just a starvation. And this has happened many times -- almost always it happens -- because things are given to sleepy people. They cannot understand the goal; the goal is far away. They cling to the means.
You must have seen pictures, or if you have not seen pictures you can go to Benares and see people lying on a bed of thorns. That was the oldest method of creating awareness, very old, ancientmost. "To create awareness" -- it has nothing to do with a feat. It has nothing to do with creating an impression on others. The man should not be there on the streets of Benares; he should be hidden in a forest, deep, where nobody reaches, because it is not an exhibition. But now it has become an exhibition.
And you will see people lying on the bed of thorns and you will not see even a single spark of awareness in their eyes or face; on the contrary, you will feel them to be very, very dull, insensitive -- unintelligent, idiotic. This is a miracle, because the method was to create awareness. What has happened? They completely forgot for what it is: it became an end in itself. They have "learned the trick." And if you have to learn the trick, you have to become insensitive; only then can you lie down on a bed of nails or thorns. The body should be dull so that it doesn't feel much. It should be dead so the thorns or nails cannot harm it. You should gather a thick dullness around your body, insensitivity.
Now just the reverse was the goal: to become more sensitive, to feel the body in all its sensitivity. If you lie down on a bed of nails or thorns you will feel every pore of the body. The whole body in pain -- and the pain gives you a shock, and the pain awakes you, makes you alert. It is not to be practiced. If you practice it, by and by the body learns the trick. Then the body becomes dead; the body starts creating dead spots so that wherever the nail hits the body a dead spot arises.
The body has to protect itself. Then you will see the man Lying on the nails absolutely unaware -- more unaware than you. If you lie down on the bed you will scream with pain. You are more alert; you are more sensitive. He is Lying down happily; he even sleeps on it. His body is more stony. He has lost something which is needed -- awareness. Now just the reverse has happened.
And this is so in all the practices of religion: they become rituals. I came across a man who has been standing for ten years. He has not slept; he will not sit; he simply stands -- one of the old hatha yoga methods to create consciousness, because the body will need sleep. The body will say, "I want to go to sleep." How long can you stand? After a few hours, or a few days, you will feel a tremendous urge to sleep. To overpower that urge, to bypass it, and to remain alert -- that is the use of the method.
But I came across this man. He is very famous, thousands of people come to pay respect to him, but they don't know what they are doing and to whom they are doing. That man has become completely dull. He has stood so long, his legs have become almost dead parts. Now he cannot bend them. They have become as it happens in a disease called elephantitis: the legs become like elephants'. His whole body weight has moved to the legs. He is a thin man. The upper part has become very thin and the lower part has become very thick and heavy. He is distorted. His face is in a distortion.
You can see that he may have tortured himself very much -- but he has not become alert; rather, through the torture, he has become attuned to it, acclimatized, immune. Now it doesn't bother him. He has lost consciousness through it rather than gaining.
So remember, these are all methods: to discriminate between the seen and the seer, to discriminate between the real and the unreal are just methods. The goal is awareness. "The unwavering practice of discrimination between what is the real and what is the unreal brings about the dispersion of ignorance."
THE HIGHEST STAGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT IS REACHED IN SEVEN STEPS.
Patanjali believes in gradual growth. He says the goal is reached in seven steps. I say it is reached in one step, but Patanjali divided the same one step in seven parts to make it easier for you, nothing else. You can jump six feet, seven feet, in one jump; you can walk the same space in seven steps. Patanjali does not believe in "jump,' because he knows you are cowards; you will not be able to take the jump. You can be persuaded, in fact seduced, by and by to take small steps. You can take small steps because with small steps you can make sure that there is no danger. The jump is dangerous because you don't know where you will land. A small step: you can look around and feel safe; slowly, you can step it: and you always know that if something goes wrong you can always step back, it is only a question of a small space. But you cannot jump back if something goes wrong.
The jump is a tremendous change. radical.
Patanjali always looks at you whenever he says something. Now -- immediately - - after describing how to attain awareness, immediately he says, "The highest stage of enlightenment is reached in seven steps." So don't be worried, don't be afraid. you can go slowly.
What are these seven steps? The number seven is very very important. It seems to be the most important number. From so many paths and so many ways that number bubbles up again and again. If you ask Gurdjieff, he says there are seven types of men. Those seven types are seven steps. If you ask the esoteric Kabbala or old Egyptian mysteries, they say there are seven bodies in man. seven layers of bodies. Those seven layers of bodies become seven steps. If you ask yogis, they say there are seven centers in man. Those seven centers become seven steps.
Somehow. seven seems to be very, very important. And you will come across this seven again and again, but the basic meaning is the same.
Two possibilities -- one, you take a jump, a sudden jump, as Zen Masters require you to do -- as I always hope that you will be able to do. In the jump those seven steps are covered in one step. but much courage is needed. Not only courage, but irrational courage is needed -- because you are moving in the unknown. The difference is vast between you and the valley where you will land. You cannot even imagine. It is from the known to the unknown. There is no gradual growth:
a sudden flare-up. The other possibility is divide the space in seven -- so that you can move slowly, so your cunning mind, clever mind. can be satisfied.
People come to me and I ask them, "Would you like to take sannyas without thinking, or you would like to think about it?" Rarely it happens somebody says, "I am fed up with thinking." Maneesha said that when she came. The very first day she came to me I asked, "Would you like to take sannyas? With thinking?
Would you like first to think about it, feel safe? Or are you ready right now?" She said, "I am fed up with thinking." Rarely it happens somebody says "fed up with thinking."
In almost all the cases it happens that they say, "We will think." And they miss an opportunity, because if you think, you continue. If you decide it, then it is no longer a jump. If your reason first feels safe, tries to feel safe, all security, tries to understand everything; then it remains a modified form of your being. Then your past goes on playing a part in it. And sannyas means dropping the past; it is not a modified state of your past. It is total revolution: it is radical. So those who say, "We will think," miss something. They come. They think about it for a few days, then they come. then they take sannyas -- but more was possible, more was available. They simply missed it. If you can take the jump, then take the jump. If you want to move slowly, you can move, but you will miss something.
I have seen this happening. The people who are courageous for sudden enlightenment, they achieve to a peak that is never reached by gradual growers.
They also reach to the peak, but they reach so gradually, they divide the whole space in so many parts, that it never becomes ecstasy. They reach the same peak..
You must watch. A Meera dances, a Chaitanya's mad and dances and sings.
Yogis? No, they never dance, they never sing, because they reach so gradually that it is never such an exhilarating experience, never. They reach so gradually, in parts they achieve the ecstasy. They achieve it in so many doses -- small doses.
homeopathic doses -- that before another dose is given the first dose is gone, they have absorbed it, digested it. Then the second dose is given -- that too is absorbed before the third comes. They cannot dance. You cannot see a yogi dance. He has missed something. He has reached the same peak, but in the path something is missed.
I am always in favor of the sudden, because when you are going to reach, why not reach dancing? When you are going to reach, why not reach in a deep ecstasy of being? Yogis look businesslike -- calculating, mathematical -- not mad like lovers. But both paths are open. It is for you to choose.
It is just like you have won a lottery -- ten lakh rupees -- and then one rupee is given to you, then another one rupee, then another one rupee; by and by you get it, but you are never allowed to have the ten lakh rupees and you are never allowed to know that you are going to have ten lakh rupees. You will attain to ten lakh rupees, but a millennium will pass -- and you will always remain a beggar: one rupee in the pocket. Before you use it, the other will not be given; when you have used it, the other will be given.
Sudden enlightenment has a beauty, a wild beauty about it: that suddenly you are given the ten lakh rupees -- you can dance! But if your heart is weak it is better to move slowly.
I have heard, it happened: A man was always purchasing tickets for lotteries and, as it happens, he never got any prize. Years passed, but it had become a routine. Every month he would go and purchase a few tickets from his salary.
But one day it happened. He was in the office and the wife came to know that he had attained his goal -- ten lakh rupees. She became afraid because he was a poor man, just a hundred rupees per month salary he gets. Ten lakh rupees will be too much. It will be so much that it can kill him.
So what to do? She ran to one of her neighbors who was a priest in a church. He was a wise man, and she couldn't think of anybody wiser, so she went there and told the priest, "You have to do something. He will be coming from the office, and if he comes to know 'ten lakh rupees' so suddenly, it is certain he will not survive. I know him well. He is a miser and he has never seen more than a hundred rupees. He will go mad or he will die, but something is going to happen. You come and save him."
The wise man said, "I will come. Don't be afraid; I am coming."
He planned, as all calculators plan. The man came home. The priest was sitting there. He said, "Listen, you have won a lottery. You have won in the lottery one lakh rupees."
He thought this will be a small dose -- he divided it in ten parts. By and by he will say that no, not one, two. When he will see that he has absorbed the shock, he will say three.
The man said, "One lakh rupees? Is it true? If it is true, I will give half of it to you for your church."
The priest fell down and died. Fifty thousand rupees! He couldn't believe it. It was too much.
So you have to choose; the choice is yours. If you feel the heart is strong, come with me. If you feel the heart is weak and there is possibility of heart failure, move with Patanjali. He is a mathematician. He gives to you in slow doses, but remember, you will miss something. You will reach to the same state of affairs, same state of being -- silence, blissfulness -- but ecstasy will not be there. You will sit under a bodhi tree, silently; but you will not be able to dance like a Meera or like a Chaitanya. And that dance has something in it. It always happens to sudden achievers.