JUST the other day, I was reading an old Indian fable, the fable of the woodcutter. The story goes this way: An old woodcutter was coming back from the forest carrying a big, heavy load of wood on his head. He was very old, tired -- not only tired of the day's routine work, tired of life itself. Life had not been much to him, just a weary round. Every day the same: going to the forest early in the morning, the whole day cutting the wood, then carrying the load back to the town by the evening. He could not remember anything else, only this. And only this had been the whole of his life. He was bored. Life had not been a meaningful thing to him; it carried no significance. Particularly on that day, he was very tired, perspiring. It was hard to breathe, carrying the load and himself.
Suddenly, as a symbolic act, he threw the load. That moment comes to everybody's life, when one wants to throw the load. Not only that wood bundle on his head, it had become a symbolic act: he throws with it the whole life. He fell to the ground on his knees, looked at the sky and said, "Ah, Death. You come to everybody, but why don't you come to me? What more suffering have I to see?
What more burdens have I to carry still? Am I not punished enough? And what wrong have I committed?"
He could not believe his eyes -- suddenly, Death appeared. He could not believe.
He looked around, very much shocked. Whatsoever he was saying, he had never meant it. And he had never heard of anything like this, that you call Death, and Death comes.
And Death said, "Did you call me?"
The old man suddenly forgot all weariness, all tiredness, the whole life of dead routine. He jumped up and he said, "Yes... yes, I called you. Please, could you help me to put the load, the burden, back on my head? Seeing nobody here, I called you."
There are moments when you are tired of life. There are moments when you would like to die. But dying is an art; it has to be learned. And to be weary of life does not really mean that deep down the lust for life has disappeared. You may be weary of a particular life, but you are not weary of life as such. Everybody becomes tired of a particular life the dead routine, the weary round, the same thing again and again, a repetition -- but you are not weary of life itself. And if Death comes you will do the same as the woodcutter did. He behaved perfectly humanly. Don't laugh at him. Many times you have also thought to be finished with all this nonsense that goes on. For what to continue it? But if Death suddenly appears? You will not be ready.
Only a yogi can be ready to die, because only a yogi knows that through a voluntary death, a willing death, the infinite life is attained. Only a yogi knows that death is a door; it is not the end. In fact it is the beginning. In fact beyond it open the infinities of God. In fact beyond it you are for the first time really, authentically alive. Not only your physical part of the heart throbs, you throb.
Not only are you excited by outer things, you are made ecstatic by the inner being. The life abundant, the life eternal, is entered through the door of death.
Everybody dies, but then death is not voluntary; then death is forced on you.
You are unwilling: you resist, you cry, you weep; you would like to linger a little longer on this earth in this body. You are afraid. You can't see anything except darkness, except the end. Everybody dies unwillingly, but then death is not a door. Then you close your eyes in fear.
For the people who are on the path of yoga, death is a willing phenomenon; they will it. They are not suicidal. They are not against life: they are for greater life.
They sacrifice their life for a greater life. They sacrifice their ego for a greater self.
They sacrifice their self, also, for the supreme self. They go on sacrificing the limited for the unlimited. And this is what growth is all about: to go on sacrificing that which you have for that which becomes possible only when you are empty, when you don't have anything.
Patanjali's whole art is of how to attain to the state where you can die willingly, surrender willingly, with no resistance. These sutras are a preparation, a preparation to die and a preparation to a greater life.
Sthir sukham asanam.
Patanjali's yoga has been very much misunderstood, misinterpreted. Patanjali is not a gymnast, but yoga looks like it is a gymnastics of the body. Patanjali is not
against the body. He is not a teacher to teach you contortions of the body. He teaches you the grace of the body, because he knows only in a graceful body a graceful mind exists; and only in a graceful mind a graceful self becomes possible; and only in a graceful self, the God.
Step by step, deeper and higher grace has to be attained. Grace of the body is what he calls asan, posture. He's not a masochist. He is not teaching you to torture your body. He is not a bit against the body. How can he be? He knows the body is going to be the very foundation-stone. He knows if you miss the body, if you don't train the body, then higher training will not be possible.
The body is just like a musical instrument. It has to be rightly tuned; only then will the higher music arise out of it. If the very instrument is somehow not in right shape and order, then how can you imagine, hope, that the great harmony will arise out of it? Only discordance will arise. Body is a veena, a musical instrument.
"STHIR SUKHAM ASANAM" -- the posture should be steady and should be very, very blissful, comfortable. So never try to distort your body, and never try to achieve postures which are uncomfortable.
For the Westerners, sitting on the ground, sitting in padmasan, lotus posture, is difficult; their bodies have not been trained for it. There is no need to bother about it. Patanjali will not force that posture on you. In the East people are sitting from their very birth, small children sitting on the ground. In the West, in all cold countries, chairs are needed; the ground is too cold. But there is no need to be worried about it. If you look at Patanjali's definition, what a posture is, you will understand: it should be steady and comfortable.
If you can be steady and comfortable in a chair, it is perfectly okay -- no need to try a lotus posture and force your body unnecessarily. In fact, if a Western person tries to attain to lotus posture it takes six months to force the body; and it is a torture. There is no need. Patanjali is not in any way helping you, in any way persuading you, to torture the body. You can sit in a tortured posture, but then it will not be a posture according to Patanjali.
A posture should be such that you can forget your body. What is comfort? When you forget your body, you are comfortable. When you are reminded continuously of the body, you are uncomfortable. So whether you sit in a chair or you sit on the ground, that's not the point. Be comfortable, because if you are not comfortable in the body you cannot long for other blessings which belong to deeper layers: the first layer missed, all other layers closed. If you really want to be happy, blissful, then start from the very beginning to be blissful. Comfort of the body is a basic need for anybody who is trying to reach inner ecstasies.
"Posture should be steady and comfortable." And whenever a posture is comfortable it is bound to be steady. You fidget if the posture is uncomfortable.
You go on changing sides if the posture is uncomfortable. If the posture is really comfortable, what is the need to fidget and feel restless and go on changing again and again?
And remember, the posture that is comfortable to you may not be comfortable to your neighbor; so please, never teach your posture to anybody. Every body is unique. Something that is comfortable to you may be uncomfortable to somebody else.
Everybody has to be unique because every body is carrying a unique soul. Your thumbprints are unique. You cannot find anybody else all over the world whose thumbprints are just like yours. And not only today: you cannot find anybody in the whole past history whose thumbprints will be like yours, and those who know, they say even in the future there will never be a person whose thumbprint will be like yours. A thumbprint is nothing, insignificant, but that too is unique.
That shows that every body carries a unique being. If your thumbprint is so different from others', your body, the whole body, has to be different.
So never listen to anybody's advice. You have to find your own posture. There is no need to go to any teacher to learn it; your own feeling of comfort should be the teacher. And if you try -- within a few days try all the postures that you know, all the ways that you can sit -- one day you will fall upon, stumble upon, the right posture. And the moment you feel the right posture, everything will become silent and calm within you. And nobody else can teach you, because nobody can know how your body harmony, in what posture, will exactly be steady, comfortable.
Try to find your own posture. Try to find your own yoga, and never follow a rule, because rules are averages. They are just like, in Poona there are one million people: somebody is five feet tall, somebody five five, somebody five six, somebody six feet, somebody six and a half feet. One million people: you calculate their heights and then you divided the total height of one million people by one million; then you will come to an average height. It may be four feet eight inches or something. Then you go and search for the average person -- you will never find. Average person never exists. Average is the most false thing in the world. Nobody is an average. Everybody is himself; nobody is an average.
Average is a mathematical thing -- it is not real, it is not actual.
All rules exist for averages. They are good to understand a certain thing, but never follow them. Otherwise you will feel uncomfortable. Four feet eight inches is the average height! Now you are five feet, four inches longer -- cut it.
Uncomfortable... walk in such a way so you look like the average: you will become an ugly phenomenon, an ashtha walker. You will be like a camel, crooked everywhere. One who tries to follow the average will miss.
Average is a mathematical phenomenon, and mathematics does not exist in existence. It exists only in man's mind. If you go and try to find mathematics in existence you will not find. That's why mathematics is the only perfect science: because it is absolutely unreal. Only with unreality can you be perfect. Reality does not bother about your rules, regulations; reality moves on its own.
Mathematics is a perfect science because it is mental, it is human. If man
disappears from the earth, mathematics will be the first thing to disappear. Other things may continue, but mathematics cannot be here.
Always remember, all rules, disciplines, are average; and average is nonexistential. And don't try to become the average; nobody can become. One has to find his own way. Learn the average, that will be helpful, but don't make it a rule. Let it be just a tacit understanding. Just understand it, and forget about it.
It will be helpful as a vague guide, not as an absolutely certain teacher. It will be just like a vague map, not perfect. That vague map will give you certain hints, but you have to find out your own inner comfort, steadiness. How you feel should be the determining factor. That's why Patanjali gives this definition, so that you can find out your own feeling.
"STHIR SUKHAM ASANAM." There cannot be any better definition of posture: Posture should be steady and comfortable.
In fact I would like to say it the other way, and the Sanskrit definition can be translated in the other way: Posture is that which is steady and comfortable.
STHIR SUKHAM ASANAM: That which is steady and comfortable is posture.
And that will be a more accurate translation. The moment you bring "should," things become difficult. In the Sanskrit definition there is no "should," but in the English it enters. I have looked into many translations of Patanjali. They always say, "Posture should be steady and comfortable." In the Sanskrit definition -- STHIR SUKHAM ASANAM -- there is no "should." STHIR means steady, SUKHAM means comfortable, ASANAM means posture -- that's all. "Steady, comfortable: that is the posture."
Why does this "should" come in? Because we would like to make a rule out of it.
It is a simple definition, an indicator, a pointer. It is not a rule. And remember it always: that people like Patanjali never give rules; they are not so foolish. They simply give pointers, hints. You have to decode the hint into your own being.
You have to feel it, work it out; then you will come to the rule, but that rule will be only for you, for nobody else.
If people can stick to it, the world will be a very beautiful world -- nobody trying to force anybody to do something, nobody trying to discipline anybody else.
Because, your discipline may have proved good for you, it may be poisonous for somebody else. Your medicine is not necessarily a medicine for all. Don't go on giving it to others.
But foolish people always live by rules.
I have heard that Mulla Nasrudin was learning medicine with a great physician.
He watched his master to find out hints. When the master would go for his rounds to see the patients, Mulla would follow. One day Mulla was surprised.
The master took the pulse of the patient, closed his eyes, meditated and said, "You have been eating too many mangoes."
Mulla was surprised. How could he find out through the pulse? He never heard that anybody could find through the pulse beat: you have been eating mangoes.
He was puzzled. On the way back home he asked, "Master, please give me a little hint. How could you...?"
The master laughed; he said, "The pulse cannot show, but I looked under the bed of the patient. There were many mangoes -- uneaten and a few eaten. So I just inferred; it was an inference."
The master was ill one day, so Mulla had to go for the daily rounds. He went to see a new patient. He took the pulse in his hand, closed his eyes, brooded a little -- just exactly like the master -- and then he said, "You have been eating too many horses."
The patient said, "What! Are you mad?"
Mulla was very much puzzled. He came home very disturbed and sad. The master asked, "What happened?"
He said, "I also looked under the bed. The saddle and other things were there -- the horse was not there -- so I thought, 'He has eaten too many horses.' " This is how stupid mind goes on following. Don't be stupid. Take these definitions, sayings, sutras, in a very vague way. Let them become part of your understanding, but don't try exactly to follow them. Let them go deep in you, they become your intelligence; and then you seek your path. All great teaching is indirect.
How to attain to this posture? How to attain this steadiness? First look at the comfort. If your body is exactly in deep comfort, in deep rest, feeling good, a certain well-being surrounds you: that should be the criterion with which to judge. That should become the touchstone. And this is possible while you are standing; this is possible while you are Lying down; this is possible while you are sitting on the ground or sitting on a chair. It is possible anywhere, because it is an inner feeling of comfort. And whenever it is attained you will not like to continue moving again and again, because the more you move, the more you will miss it. It happens in a certain state. If you move, you move away; you disturb it.
And that's the natural desire in everybody, and yoga is the most natural thing: natural desire is to be comfortable, and whenever you are in discomfort you will like to change it. That is natural. Always listen to the natural, instinctive mechanism within you. It is almost always correct.
Beautiful words, great indicators and pointers: prayatna shaithilya -- relaxation of effort -- the first thing, if you want to attain to the posture, what Patanjali calls a posture: comfortable, steady, the body in such deep stillness that nothing moves, the body so comfortable that the desire to move it disappears, you start enjoying the feeling of comfort, it becomes steady.
And, with the change of your mood, the body changes; with the change of the body, your mood changes. Have you ever watched? You go to a theater, a movie: have you watched how many times you change your posture? Have you tried to correlate it? If there is something very sensational going on on the screen, you cannot sit leaning against the chair. You sit up; your spine becomes straight. If something boring is going on and you are not excited, you relax. Now your spine is no longer straight. If something very uncomfortable is going on, you go on changing your posture. If something is really beautiful there, even your eye- blinking stops; even that much movement will be a disturbance... no movement, you become completely steady, restful, as if the body has disappeared.
The first thing to attain to this posture is relaxation of effort, which is one of the most difficult things in the world -- most simple, yet most difficult. Simple to attain, if you understand; very difficult to attain if you don't understand. It is not a question of practice; it is a question of understanding.
In the West, Emile Coue has discovered a particular law he calls the law of the reverse effect. It is one of the most fundamental things in human mind. There are things, if you want to do them, please, don't try to do them; otherwise, reverse will be the effect.
For example, you are not falling asleep: don't try. If you try, sleep will be farther and farther away. If you try too much it will be impossible to sleep, because every effort goes against sleep. Sleep comes only when there is no effort. When you are not bothered about sleep, you are just lying down on your pillow, just enjoying the coolness of the pillow, or the warmth of the blanket, the dark, velvety surrounding encompassing you, you are just enjoying it... nothing, you are not even thinking about sleep. Some dreams pass through the mind: you look at them in a very, very sleepy way, not interested too much even in them, because if interest arises sleep disappears. You just, somehow, remain aloof, just enjoying, resting, not seeking any end -- sleep comes.
If you start trying so that sleep should come, once the "should" enters it is almost impossible. Then you can remain awake the whole night; and if you fall asleep that may be only because you get tired of the effort, and when effort is no longer there -- because you have done everything and you give up -- sleep comes in.
Emile Coue discovered, just in this century, the law of reverse effect. Patanjali must have known it, almost five thousand years before. He says prayatna shaithilya, relaxation of the effort. You should have assumed just the reverse: that very much effort should be made to attain to the posture. And Patanjali says, "If you make too much effort it will not be possible. No-effort allows it to happen."
Effort should be relaxed completely, because effort is part of the will and will is against surrender. If you try to do something, you are not allowing God to do it.
When you give up, when you say, "Okay, let thy will be done. If you are sending sleep, perfectly good. If you are not sending sleep, that too is perfectly good. I have no complaints to make; I am not grumbling about it. You know better. If it is needful to send sleep for me, send. If it is not needful, perfectly good -- don't send it. Please, don't listen to me! Your will should be done": this is how one relaxes effort.
Effortlessness is a great phenomenon. Once you know it, many millions of things become possible to you. Through effort the market; through effortlessness the God. Through effort you can never reach to nirvana -- you can reach lo New Delhi, but not to nirvana.
Through effort you can attain things of the world; they are never attained without effort, remember. So if you want to attain more riches, don't listen to me, because then you will be very, very angry with me, that this man disturbed your whole life: "He was saying, 'Stop making efforts, and many things will become possible,' and I have been sitting and waiting, and the money is not coming, and nobody is coming with an invitation to 'Come, and please, become the president of the country.' " Nobody is going to come. These foolish things are attained by effort.
If you want to become a president you have to make a mad effort for it. Unless you go completely mad you will never become a president of a country. You have to be more mad than other competitors, remember, because you are not alone there. Great competition exists; many others are trying also. In fact everybody else is trying to reach the same place. Much effort is needed. And don't try in a gentlemanly way; otherwise you will be defeated. No gentlemanliness is needed there. Be rude, violent, aggressive. Don't bother about what you are doing to others. Stick to your program. Even if others are killed for your power politics, let them be killed. Make everybody a ladder, a step. Go on walking on people's heads; only then do you become a president or a prime minister. There is no other way.
The ways of the world are the ways of violence and will. If you relax will, you will be thrown out; somebody will jump on you. You will be made a means. If you want to succeed in the ways of the world, never listen to people like Patanjali; then it is better to read Machiavelli, Chanakya -- cunning, most cunning people of the world. They give you advice how to exploit everybody and not allow anybody to exploit you, how to be ruthless, without any compassion, just violent. Then, only, can you reach to power, prestige, money, things of the world. But if you want to attain to things of God, just the opposite is needed: no-effort. Effortlessness is needed, relaxation is needed.
It has happened many times.... I have many friends in the world of politics, in the world of money, market. They come to me and they say, "Teach us, somehow, to relax. We cannot relax." A minister used to come to me, and he always came with the same problem: "I cannot relax. Help me."
I told him, "If you really want to relax you will have to leave politics. This ministership cannot go with relaxation. If you relax, you lose. So you decide. I can teach you relaxation, but don't be angry then, because these two things
cannot be possible together. So first be finished with your politics; then come to me."
He said, "That is not possible. I have come to learn relaxation so that I can work hard and become chief minister. Because of these tensions in the mind and continuous worries, I cannot work hard. And others -- they go on working. They are great competitors, and I am losing the battle. I have not come to leave politics."
Then I said, "Then, please, don't come to me. Forget about me. Just be in politics, get really tired, bored, be finished with it; then come to me." Relaxation is a totally different dimension, just the contrary.
You move in the world with will. Nietzsche has written a book, THE WILL TO POWER. That is the right scripture to read: THE WILL TO POWER. Patanjali is not "will to power"; it is surrender to the whole. The first thing: prayatna shaithilya -- effortlessness. You should simply feel comfortable. Don't make much effort about it; let the feeling do the work. Don't bring the will in. How can you force comfort on yourself? It is impossible. You can be comfortable if you allow comfort to happen. You cannot force it.
How can you force love? If you don't love a person, you don't love a person.
What can you do? You can try, pretend, force yourself, but just the reverse will be the result: if you try to love a person you will hate him more. The only result will be, after your efforts, that you will hate the person, because you will take revenge. You will say, "What type of ugly person is he, because I am trying so much to love and nothing happens?" You will make him responsible. You will make him feel guilty, as if he is doing something. He is not doing something.
Love cannot be willed, prayer cannot be willed, posture cannot be willed. You have to feel. Feeling is a totally different thing than willing.
Buddha becomes a Buddha not by will. He tried for six years continuously through will. He was a man of the world, trained as a prince, trained to become a king of a kingdom. He must have been taught all that Chanakya had said.
Chanakya is the Indian Machiavelli, and even a little more cunning than Machiavelli because Indians have a quality of mind to go to the very roots. If they become Buddha they really become Buddha. If they become Chanakya you cannot compete with them. Wherever they go they go to the very root. Even Machiavelli is a little immature before Chanakya. Chanakya is absolute.
Buddha must have been taught; every prince has to be taught -- Machiavelli's greatest book's name is THE PRINCE. He must have been taught all the ways of the world; he was to tackle with people in the world. He has to cling to his power. And then he left. But it is easy to leave the palace; it is easy to leave the kingdom. It is difficult to leave the training of the mind.
For six years he tried through the will to attain to God. He did whatsoever is humanly possible -- even inhumanly possible. He did everything; he left nothing undone. Nothing happened. The more he tried, the more he felt himself far away. In fact the more he made the will and the efforts through it, the more he felt that he was deserted -- "God is nowhere." Nothing was happening.
Then one evening he gave up. That very night he became enlightened. That very night prayatna shaithilya, relaxation of the effort, happened. He became a Buddha not by willpower, he became a Buddha when he surrendered, when he gave up.
I teach you meditations and I go on telling you, "Make every effort that you can make," but always remember, this emphasis to make all the efforts is just so that your will is torn apart, so that your will is finished and the dream with the will is finished: you are so fed up with will that one day, you simply give up. That very day you become enlightened.
But don't be in a hurry, because you can give up right now without making the effort -- that will not help. That won't help. That will be a cunning thing, and you cannot win with God by being cunning. You have to be very innocent. The thing has to happen.
These are simply definitions. Patanjali is not saying, "Do it!" He is simply defining the path. If you understand it, it will start affecting you, your way, your being. Absorb it. Let it be saturated deep in you. Let it flow with your blood. Let it become your very marrow. That's all. Forget Patanjali. These sutras are not to be crammed. They should not be made part of your memory; they should become part of you. Your total being should have the understanding, that's all.
Then forget about them. They start functioning.
"Posture is mastered by relaxation of effort and meditation on the unlimited."
Two points. Relax effort: don't force it, allow it to happen. It is like sleep; allow it to happen. It is a deep let-go; allow it to happen. Don't try to force it; otherwise you will kill it. And the second thing is: while the body is allowing itself to be comfortable, to settle in a deep rest, your mind should be focused on the unlimited.
The mind is very clever with the limited. If you think about money, mind is clever; if you think about power, politics, mind is clever; if you think about words, philosophies, systems, beliefs, mind is clever -- these are all limited. If you think about God, suddenly a vacuum.... What can you think about God? If you can think, then that God is no longer God; it has become limited. If you can think of God as Krishna, it is no longer God; then Krishna may be standing there singing on his flute, but there is a limitation. If you think of God as Christ -- finished. God is no longer there; you have made a limited being out of it.
Beautiful, but nothing to be compared with the beauty of the unlimited.
There are two types of God. One, the God of belief: Christian God, Hindu God, Mohammedan God. And the God of reality, not of belief: that is unlimited. If you think about the Mohammedan God you will be a Mohammedan, but not a religious man. If you think about the Christian God you will be a Christian, but not a religious man. If you just bring your mind to God himself you will be religious -- no longer Hindu, no longer Mohammedan, no longer Christian.
And that God is not a concept! A concept is a toy your mind can play with. The real God is so vast... the God plays with your mind, not your mind playing with God. Then God is no longer a toy in your hands; you are a toy in the hands of the divine. The whole thing has totally changed. Now you are no longer controlling - - you are no longer in control: God has taken possession of you. The right word is "to be possessed," to be possessed by the infinite.
It is no longer a picture before your mind's eye. No, there is no picture. Vast emptiness... and in that vast emptiness you are dissolving. Not only God's definition is lost, boundaries are lost; when you come in contact with the infinite you start losing your boundaries. Your boundaries become vague. Your boundaries become less and less certain, more flexible; you are disappearing like smoke in the sky. A moment comes, you took at yourself... you are not there.
So Patanjali says two things: no effort, and consciousness focused on the infinite.
That's how you attain to asan. And this is only the beginning; this is only the body. One has to go deeper.
Tato dwandwa anabhighatah.
When the body is really in comfort, restful, the flame of the body is not wavering -- it has become steady, there is no movement -- suddenly, as if time has stopped, no winds blowing, everything still and calm and the body has no urge to move -- settled, deeply balanced, tranquil, quiet, collected: in that state, dualities and the disturbances caused by dualities disappear.
Have you observed that whenever your mind is disturbed your body fidgets more, you cannot sit silently?... or, when ever your body is fidgeting your mind cannot be silent? They are together. Patanjali knows well that body and mind are not two things; you are not divided in two, body and mind. Body and mind are one thing. You are psychosomatic: you are bodymind. The body is just the beginning of your mind and the mind is nothing but the end of the body. Both are two aspects of one phenomenon; they are not two. So whatsoever happens in the body affects the mind and whatsoever happens in the mind affects the body.
They run parallel. That's why so much emphasis on the body, because if your body is not in deep rest your mind cannot be.
And it is easier to start with the body because that is the outermost layer. It is difficult to start with the mind. Many people try to start with the mind, and fail, because their body will not cooperate. It is always best to begin from A, B, C, and go slowly, in the right sequence. Body is the first, the beginning: one should start with the body. If you can attain to tranquility of the body, suddenly you will see the mind is falling in order.
Mind moves to the left and to the right, goes on like a pendulum of an old granddad's clock: continuously, right to left, left to right. And if you observe a pendulum you will know something about your mind. When the pendulum is moving towards the left, visibly it is going to the left, but invisibly it is gaining momentum to go to the right. When the eyes say that the pendulum is going to the left, that very movement towards the left creates the momentum, the energy, for the pendulum to go to the right again. When it is going to the right it is again earning energy, gaining energy to go to the left.
So whenever you are in love, you are gaining energy to hate. Whenever you are in hate, you are gaining energy to love. Whenever you are feeling happy, you are gaining energy to feel unhappy. Whenever you are feeling unhappy, you are gaining energy to feel happy. This is how the momentum continues.
I have heard that when India became independent in 1947, there was a beautiful elephant in Delhi. Before independence the elephant was used in wedding processions and other things like that, but after the independence even political parties started using the elephant in their rallies, processions, protests. The elephant had something like a flaw. The legs on his left side were a little shorter, so when the elephant walked he would lean towards the left.
Communists were very happy, socialists were very happy -- the elephant was leftist. So they paid money to the owner to borrow the elephant; and they clapped, and their followers threw flowers on the elephant. Really, this is how an elephant should be -- leftist. Of course, it was very difficult for the elephant to walk, but who bothers about the elephant? It was difficult because two legs were small, and the whole burden was falling on the left legs. An elephant has much weight; it was difficult. Tons of weight have to be carried. But flowers, garlands... and he was received, and photographs were published in newspapers: that this is a communist elephant.
Seeing that, that communists and socialists and other leftists have a beautiful elephant, even rightists, when their time of procession and rally came, they also borrowed the same elephant -- not knowing that the elephant is a leftist elephant.
When the elephant went with the rightists they were very angry. This elephant was against them: he should lean towards the right. They started throwing old shoes, tomatoes, banana peels, and all rotten things. In short, they gave him a VIP treatment. They were very angry. They were angry at the owner also, and they told the owner, "Next time we take it, you make arrangements."
So the owner had to make arrangements because he lived on the elephant; that was his only earning. So he made big shoes. Then whenever it w as a rightist procession he would put on the big shoes, and the animal would lean towards the right; and whenever it was a leftist procession, he would remove the shoes.
Nobody bothered about the elephant. One day the elephant fell, just in Connaught Place, because it was too much to carry that big load with shoes. And it was so uncomfortable -- it was not an asan. It was really uncomfortable. He fell and died.
This is the situation of your mind also: continuously moving from one extreme to another -- leftist, rightist, leftist, rightist -- never in the middle. And to be in the middle is really to be. Both extremes are burdensome, because you cannot be comfortable. In the middle is comfort, because in the middle the weight disappears. Exactly to be in the middle -- and you become weightless. Move to the left and the weight enters; move to the right and the weight enters. And go on moving... the farther away you move from the middle, the more weight you will have to carry. You will die someday in some Connaught Place.
Be in the middle. A religious man is neither leftist nor rightist. A religious man does not follow the extremes. He is a man of no extreme. And when you are exactly in the middle -- your body and your mind both -- all dualities disappear, because all dualities are because you are dual, because you go on leaning from this side to that.
"TATO DWANDWA ANABHIGHATAH" -- "When posture is mastered there is a cessation of the disturbances caused by dualities." And when there is no duality, how can you be tense? how can you be in agony? how can you be in conflict? When there are two within you, there is conflict. They go on fighting, and they will never leave you in rest. Your home is divided; you are always in a civil war. You live in a fever. When this duality disappears you become silent, centered, in the middle. Buddha has called his way "MAJJHIM NIKAYA" -- the middle way. He used to tell his disciples, "The only thing to be followed is: Always be in the middle; don't go to the extremes."
There are extremists all over the world. Somebody is chasing women continuously -- a Romeo, a Majanu -- continuously chasing women. And then, someday he becomes frustrated with all the chasing. Then he leaves the world; then he becomes a sannyasin. And then he teaches everybody to be against woman, and then he goes on saying, "Woman is hell. Be alert! Only woman is the trap." Whenever you find a sannyasin talking against women you can know he must have been a Romeo before. He is not saying anything about women; he is saying something about his past. Now one extreme finished, he has moved to another extreme.
Somebody is mad after money. And many are mad, just obsessed, as if their whole life is to make bigger and bigger piles of rupees. That seems to be their only meaning to be here, that when they go to death they will leave big piles -- bigger than others'. That seems to be their whole significance. When such a man becomes frustrated he will go on teaching, "Money is the enemy." Whenever you find somebody teaching that money is the enemy, you can know that this man must have been a money-mad man. Still he is mad -- on the opposite extreme.
A really balanced man is not against anything, because he is not for anything. If you come and ask me, "Are you against money?" I can only shrug my shoulders.
I am not against, because I have never been for it. Money is something, a utility, a medium of exchange -- no need to be mad about it either way. Use it if you have it. If you don't have it, enjoy the nonhaving of it. If you have it use it. If you don't
have it then enjoy that state. That's all a man of understanding will do. If he lives in a palace he enjoys; if the palace is not there then he enjoys the hut. Whatsoever is the case he is happy and balanced. He is neither for the palace nor against it. A man who is for and against is lopsided; he is not balanced.
Buddha used to say to his disciples, "Just be balanced, and everything else will become possible of its own accord. Just be in the middle." And that is what Patanjali says when he is talking about the posture. The outer posture is of the body, the inner posture is of the mind; both are connected. When the body is in the middle -- restful, steady -- the mind is also in the middle -- restful, steady.
When the body is in rest, body-feeling disappears; when the mind is in rest, mind feeling disappears. Then you are only the soul, the transcendental, which is neither the body nor the mind.
Between body and mind, breath is the bridge -- these three things have to be understood. Body posture, mind merging into the infinite, and the bridge that joins them together have to be in a right rhythm. Have you observed? If not, then observe that whenever your mind changes, the breathing changes. The reverse is also true: change your breathing, and mind changes.
When you are deep in sexual passion have you watched how you breathe? -- very nonrhythmic, feverish, excited. If you continue breathing that way you will be tired soon, exhausted. It will not give you life; in fact, in that way you are losing some life. When you are calm and quiet, feeling happy, suddenly one morning or evening looking at the stars, nothing to do, a holiday, just resting -- look, watch the breathing. The breathing is so peaceful. You cannot even feel it, whether it is moving or not. When you are angry, watch. The breathing changes immediately. When you feel love, watch. When you are sad, watch. With every mood the breathing has a different rhythm: it is a bridge.
When your body is healthy, breathing has a different quality. When your body is ill the breathing is ill. When you are perfectly in health you completely forget about breathing. When you are not in perfect health the breathing comes again and again to your notice; something is wrong.
"The next step after the perfection of posture is breath control...." This word "breath control" is not good; it is not a right rendering of the word "pranayam."
Pranayam never means breath control. It simply means the expansion of the vital energy. Prana-ayam: prana means the vital energy hidden in breath, and ayam means infinite expansion. It is not "breath control." The very word "control" is a little ugly, because the very word "control" gives you a feeling of the controller -- the will enters. Pranayam is totally different: expansion of vitality breathing in such a way that you become one with the whole's breathing; breathing in such a way that you are not breathing in your own individual way, you are breathing with the whole.
Try this, sometimes it happens: two lovers sitting by each other's side holding hands -- if they are really in love they will suddenly become aware that they are breathing simultaneously, they are breathing together. They are not breathing separately. When the woman inhales, the man inhales. When the man exhales, the woman exhales. Try it. Sometime, suddenly become aware. If you are sitting with a friend, you will be breathing together. If the enemy is sitting there and you want to get rid of him, or some bore is there and you want to get rid of him, you will be breathing separately; you will never breathe in rhythm.
Sit with a tree. If you are silent, enjoying, delighting, suddenly you will become aware that the tree, somehow, is breathing the same way you are breathing.
And there comes a moment when one feels that one is breathing together with the whole, one becomes the breath of the whole, one is no longer fighting, struggling, one is surrendered. One is with the whole -- so much so, that there is no need to breathe separately.
In deep love people breathe together; in hatred never. I have a feeling that if you are inimical to somebody, he may be a thousand miles away.... This is just a feeling because no scientific research exists for it, but someday the scientific research is possible. But I have a very deep feeling that if you are inimical to somebody, he may be in America and you may be in India, you will breathe separately, you cannot breathe together. And your lover may be in China, you may be here in Poona -- you may not even have the address with you where your lover is -- but you will breathe together. This is how it should be, and I know it is that way, but no scientific proof exists. That's why I say this is just my feeling.
Someday, somebody will prove the scientific thing also.
There are a few proofs which suggest.... For example, in Russia there have been a few experiments about telepathy. Two persons, separate, far away, hundreds of miles away: one person is the broadcaster, another is the receiver in telepathy. At a fixed time, twelve in the afternoon, one starts sending messages. He makes a copy of a triangle, concentrates on it, and sends the message that "I have made a triangle." And the other person tries to receive, just remains open, feeling, groping -- what message is coming. And scientists have observed that if he receives the triangle then they both are breathing in the same way; if he misses the triangle then they are not breathing in the same way.
In deep breathing together, something of deep empathy arises; you become one - - because breath is life. Then feeling can be transferred, thoughts can be transferred.
If you go to meet a saint always watch his breathing. And if you feel sympathetic, in deep love with him, watch your breathing also. You will suddenly feel that the nearer you come to him, your feeling, your breathing, fall with his system of breathing. Aware, unaware, that is not the point; but it happens.
This has been my observation: if I see that somebody has come and not knowing anything at all about breathing he starts breathing with me, I know he is going to become a sannyasin, and I ask him. If I feel that he is not breathing with me I forget about asking; I will have to wait. And sometimes I have tried, just for an experiment I have asked, and he will say, "No, I am not ready." I knew it, that he is not ready -- just to test whether my feeling is going right, whether he is in sympathy with me. When you are in sympathy you breathe together. It simply happens by itself; some unknown law functions.
Pranayam means: to breathe with the whole. That is my translation, not "control of breath": to breathe with the whole. It is absolutely uncontrolled! If you control how can you breathe with the whole? So to translate pranayam as "breath control" is a misnomer. It is not only incorrect, inadequate, it is certainly wrong.
Just the opposite is the case.
To breathe with the whole, to become the breath of the eternal and the whole is pranayam. Then you expand. Then your life energy goes on expanding with trees and mountains and sky and stars. Then a moment comes, the day you become Buddha... you have completely disappeared. Now you no longer breathe, the whole breathes in you. Now your breathing and the whole's breathing are never apart; they are always together. So much so that it is now useless to say that "this is my breath."
When you breathe in, there comes a moment when the breath has completely gone in -- for a certain second breathing stops. The same happens when you exhale. You breathe out: when the breath is completely released, for a certain second, again, breathing stops. In those moments you face death, and to face death is to face God. To face death is to face God -- I repeat it -- because when you die, God lives in you. Only after the crucifixion is there resurrection. That's why I say Patanjali is teaching the art of dying.
When the breathing stops, when there is no breathing, you are exactly in the same stage as you will be in when you will die. For a second you are in tune with death -- breathing has stopped. The whole of THE BOOK OF THE SECRETS, VIGYAN BHAIRAV TANTRA, is concerned with it -- emphatically concerned with it -- because if you can enter into that stoppage, there is the door.
It is very subtle and narrow. Jesus has said again and again, "Narrow is my way - - straight, but narrow, very narrow." Kabir has said, "Two cannot pass together, only one." So narrow that if you are a crowd inside, you cannot pass. If you are even divided in two -- left and right -- you cannot pass. If you become one, a unison, a harmony, then you can pass.
Narrow is the way. Straight, of course; it is not a crooked thing. It goes directly to the temple of the divine, but very narrow. You cannot take anybody with you.
You cannot take your things with you. You cannot take your knowledge. You cannot take your sacrifices. You cannot take your woman, your children. You cannot take anybody. In fact you cannot take even your ego, even yourself. You will pass through it, but everything else other than your purest being has to be left at the door. Yes, narrow is the way. Straight, but narrow.
And these are the moments to find the way: when the breath goes in and stops for a second; when the breath goes out and stops for a second. Attune yourself to become more and more aware of these stops, these gaps. Through these gaps, God enters you like death.
Somebody was telling me, "In the West, we don't have any parallel like Yama, the god of death." And he was asking me, "Why do you call death a god? Death is the enemy. Why should death be called a god? If you call death the devil it is okay, but why do you call it a god?" I said we call it a god very consideredly: because death is the door to God. In fact death is deeper than life -- life that you know. Not the life that I know. Your death is deeper than your life, and when you move through that death you will come to a life which doesn't belong to you or me or to anybody. It is the life of the whole. Death is the God.
A whole Upanishad exists, kathopanishad: the whole story, the whole parable is that a small child is sent to Death to learn the secret of life. Absurd, patently absurd. Why go to Death to learn the secret of life? Looks like a paradox, but it is reality. If you want to know life -- real life -- you will have to ask Death, because when your so-called life stops, only then real life functions.
"The next step after the perfection of posture is pranayam, which is accomplished through holding the breath...." So when you inhale, hold it a little longer so that the gate can be felt. When you exhale it, hold it outside a little longer so that you can feel the gap a little more easily; you have a little more time. "... or stopping the breath suddenly." Or, anytime, stop the breath suddenly. Walking on the road: stop it -- just a sudden jerk, and death enters. Anytime you can stop the breath suddenly, anywhere, in that stopping, death enters.
The more you do these stoppages, the gaps, the more the gate becomes a little wider; you can feel it more. Try it. Make it a part of your life. Whenever you are not doing anything, let the breath go in... stop it. Feel there; somewhere there is the door. It is dark; you will have to grope. The door is not immediately available. You will have to grope... but you will find.
And whenever you will stop the breath, thoughts will stop immediately. Try it.
Suddenly stop the breath: and immediately there is a break and thoughts stop, because thoughts and breaths both belong to life -- this so-called life. In the other life, the divine life, breathing is not needed. You live; there is no need to breathe.
And thoughts are not needed. You live; thoughts are not needed. Thoughts and breath are part of the physical world. No-thought, no-breath, are part of the eternal world.
Patanjali says these three -- stopping inside, stopping outside, stopping suddenly -- and there is a fourth which is internal. That fourth has been emphasized by Buddha very much; he calls it "anapana sata yoga." He says, "Don't try to stop anywhere. Simply watch the whole process of breath." The breath coming in -- you watch, don't miss a single point. The breath is coming in -- you go on watching. Then there is a stop, automatic stop, when the breath has entered you - - watch the stop. Don't do anything; simply be a watcher. Then the breath starts for the outer journey -- go on watching. When the breath is completely out, stops -- watch that stop also. Then the breath goes on coming in, going out, coming in, going out -- you simply watch. This is the fourth: just by watching you become separate from the breath.
When you are separate from the breath you are separate from the thoughts. In fact breath is the parallel process in the body to thoughts in the mind. Thoughts move in the mind; breath moves in the body. They are parallel forces, two aspects of the same coin. Patanjali also refers to it, although he has not emphasized the fourth. He simply refers to it, but Buddha has completely focused his whole attention on the fourth; he never talks about the three. The whole Buddhist meditation is the fourth.
"There is a fourth sphere of PRANAYAM" -- that is of witnessing -- "which is internal, and it goes beyond the other three." But Patanjali is really very scientific.
He never uses the fourth, but he says that it is beyond the three. Must be Patanjali didn't have as beautiful a group of disciples as Buddha had. Patanjali must have been working with more body oriented people, and Buddha was working with more mind oriented people. He says that the fourth goes beyond the three, but he himself never uses it -- he goes on saying all that can be said about yoga. That's why I say he is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end: he has not left out a single point. Patanjali's YOGA SUTRAS cannot be improved.
There are only two persons in the world who created a whole science alone. One is Aristotle, in the West, who created the science of logic -- alone, with nobody's cooperation. And for these two thousand years nothing has been improved; it remains the same. It remains perfect. Another is Patanjali, who created the whole science of yoga -- which is many times, a million times greater than logic -- alone.
And it could not be improved; it has not been improved; and I don't see any point how it can be improved any day. The whole science is there, perfect, absolutely perfect.