The Second Evening
Date: Fri, 5 June 1964 00:00:00 GMT
THE FIRST QUESTION:
DO YOU THINK IT IS A BAD THING TO BE MORAL?
No. I do not consider it bad to be moral but I do consider the illusion of being moral bad. It gets in the way of real morality.
False morality is an outer coating, a covering. It serves no purpose other than satisfying hypocrisy and in my view there is no greater immoral state of mind than that of hypocrisy and egoism. False morality makes a show of humility and of freedom from egoism, but beneath it the ego is nourished and flourishes. Do you not see the truth of what I am saying in the so-called sadhus and saints in this country? This so-called morality, adopted, cultivated and achieved by effort is nothing but acting, in my view. Often things in a man's inner mind are just the opposite. What appears on the surface is absent inside. There are flowers above and thorns below. And this continuous battle between behavior and the inner being, this unbridgeable gap between consciousness and unconsciousness divides and disintegrates a man's personality. In such a man there is no harmony. And where there is neither harmony nor music there is no joy. In my view, a real moral life is an expression of joy.
Morality is an articulation of joy, a spontaneous expression. When joy flows from one's inner being it is expressed outside in good conduct, in morality. The fragrance of bliss that emanates from such a man is truly the goodness of life.
Therefore I ask you to create harmony, not conflict. Please try to see this truth. Do not just listen to what I say but try to live it. Then you will see how with our own hands we have thrown our lives into an anarchy of conflict and inner duality - lives we could have transformed into one continuous and beautiful dance to the divine music.
Morality comes of its own accord just as flowers appear on a tree. It is not an accomplishment. The seeds of meditation are sown and then the crop of morality is harvested. Morality is not something to be attained by effort. It is something that is accomplished, achieved, through meditation. From meditation, peace, harmony and beauty flow. And he who is peaceful within himself is incapable of making others restless. He who has music within him will find the echo of his own music reverberating from everyone around him, and he who has beauty within him will find that his behavior causes all ugliness to disappear. Is not all of this, in itself, morality?
THE SECOND QUESTION: YOU SAY THAT MORALITY IS A SOCIAL UTILITY. IS IT QUITE USELESS TO THE INDIVIDUAL?
Morality or moral behavior is simply utilitarian as far as society is concerned but for the individual it is not a utility, it is a joy. Therefore, society's needs are satisfied even by pseudo-morality but this is not good enough for the individual. That you behave well towards others is good enough for society but it is not good enough for you. You must be able to see even this - whether you are good inside yourself or not. Society is concerned with your personality, not with your inner being. But for you the personality is nothing more than apparel. You begin where this covering leaves off. Apart from and behind this mask of personality is your real being. And this is where real morality is born.
A society created by false morality is called a civilization, while a society consisting of men who have attained the reality of life is called a culture. This is the distinction between civilization and culture.
Civilization is a utility; culture, inner harmony and joy.
Today we have civilization but no culture. yet we can create this culture if we all make an effort together. Civilization comes out of purifying our dealings with other people; culture, out of purifying ourselves, out of becoming virtuous. Civilization is the body; culture, the soul. Only those who are firmly rooted in their souls can create a culture.
THE THIRD QUESTION: ISN'T RELIGION SOCIAL? IS IT TOTALLY PERSONAL?
Yes, religion is an absolutely personal matter. Society has no soul, no center of consciousness as such. Society is simply the product of our inter-relationships. It is the individual who has a soul and therefore religion must be individual as well. Religion is not one of my relationships, it is my being.
The discovery of one's true nature, of one's real being, and its subsequent expression is religion.
Religion, dharma, is self-knowledge. Since religion is not social, one's sadhana, one's practicing of religion, does not relate to a group, but one's religious experience does cast its light on the group, on society. Although the practice of religion is personal it also has its effect on society. When a man is filled with inner light his behavior is also permeated with it. The inner being is individual, personal, but behavior is social.
A sadhana can never be collective, for one has to come to know one's self not in the company of others, b;ut alone, all alone. Plotinus put it well: "It is the flight of the alone to the alone." It is quite true. The flight is indeed very lonely, companionless. But the joy that comes from the flight infects others and they are also moved. What is attained in loneliness, in the aloneness of one's self, spreads its fragrance on the four winds.
THE FOURTH QUESTION: WHAT IS GOD?
God is not a person, he is an experience. The vision, the experience one has of the universe after the dissolution of the ego, is what I call God. There is no particular type of experience of God, rather, the experience of perfect and universal love is God. It has no center; it is all existence. All existence is its center. It is incorrect to talk of the experience of God but you can say the experience of perfect love is God.
Love is the relationship between two persons. When this same relationship exists between an individual and existence I call it God. The ultimate stage, the flowering of love, is God. And I am reminded here of a saying of Christ's: "God is love".
When the "I" disappears, what remains is love. When the walls surrounding the ego crumble, what remains is love. And love itself is God. It is therefore impossible to know god but it is possible to become God.
THE FIFTH QUESTION: YOU SAID THAT THIS LIFE WE LIVE IS NOT LIFE AT ALL, BUT A LONG DRAWN-OUT PROCESS OF DYING. WHAT DO YOU MEAN TO CONVEY BY THIS?
It is quite true that what we call life is not life. If it really were life how could it end in death? Life and death are two contradictory things so how then can death be the fulfillment of life? Death is the end of birth, not of life.
And because death comes at the end don't think it only starts at the end. It is present in birth itself.
It starts the very day one is born. After birth we die every moment. When this process of dying has been completed we call it death. What was in birth as a seed appears at the end in its fully-ripened form. Therefore nothing after death is for sure, but death is for certain. It is certain because it arrives with birth itself. Birth is just another name for death; it is the seed of death. Let this be carefully understood. You begin dying the day you are born. That is why I say that life as we know it is not life but a long process of slow, gradual dying.
Because we are familiar with this gradual dying and not with life, we are always busy trying to save ourselves form it. All our plans and activities are aimed at some sort of security and self-defense.
And what are we doing? Aren't we busy defending ourselves against death all the time? Men also become religious for the same reason, in defense. It is because of this that they take to religion when they sense death drawing near. For the most part, the religion of old men is of this type. I do not call this real religiousness. It is just an aspect of the fear of death. It is the last safety-measure.
Real religiousness does not come out of fear but out of the experience of life.
We should be aware that whatever we know at present is nothing but death - and this knowledge of death leads to immortality. The body dies; it is dying each moment. By watching the body, by waking up to an awareness of this mortal vessel we begin to experience that which is not the body.
To know that which is not the body, to know the soul, is to know life in its reality because the soul was never born and therefore it never dies. The truth existed before your birth and it will continue to exist even after your death. This is life. Life is not a span between birth and death - on the contrary, birth and death are just so many incidents that take place during its course.
During meditation, when the mind is quiet and empty, something that is different and apart from the body can be seen. It cannot be seen when the mind is restless just as one cannot look into the depths of a lake when there are ripples on the surface. And so because of the continuous current of thought-waves rippling on the mind, what is hidden under them remains hidden - and we take the surface for the whole truth. The body, which is only one's residence, seems to be all and everything.
It creates the illusion that the body is one's being, one's life. You consider your totality as limited to the body and nothing more. This identification with the body, this illusion of being one with the body does not allow us to know our real selves, and we look upon the gradual process of dying that is taking place over a period of time as life. This is the same kind of mistake you would make if you looked upon the construction and destruction of your house as your own birth and death.
This darkness disappears with the advent of mental peace. The illusion created by this mental unrest is dispelled by tranquility. What was hidden by the waves is revealed by wavelessness. And then for the first time we know the inhabitant of this body. As soon as we know him, death stops being anything more than casting off of old clothes, and birth, a putting on a new ones. And then there is a being who needs no clothes. The only man I call alive is one who knows this kind of life.
Those who look upon the body as their being are all still dead. Their real lives are yet to begin. They are in a dream, asleep, in a faint.
Without waking from this dream, without waking from this delusion that the body is his being a man will never be able to know his own self, his essence, his mainstay, his life. The world is full of the dead, full of the living dead, and the majority of people die without ever having lived. They are worn out trying to defend themselves against death and they never come to know who is within, immortal, beyond death.
THE SIXTH QUESTION: I GATHER FROM YOUR WORDS THAT I AM DEAD. WHAT SHOULD I DO TO BECOME ALIVE?
My friend, if you think so only because of my words it is of no value. Forget what I have said and what others have said and then look again. You have to see it yourself. That vision itself will become a path leading you to life. Then you won't have to ask, "What should I do to become alive?"
He who comes to realize that he is dead, that his existence and his personality have been dead all along, will at the same time begin to see that which is not dead. But in order for you to see this your mental restlessness must be cast off. Seeing, darshan, is only possible when the mind is quiet, empty, free of passion. At present there are only thoughts. There is no seeing, no DARSHAN Thinking what I have said to you7 is correct is also a thought in itself. This thought will not help at all.
Thinking cannot uncover truth because all thoughts are borrowed. All thoughts belong to others.
They just hide the truth all the more. Have you ever realized that all your thoughts are borrowed from others, that they really belong to others? You have amassed counterfeit capital. Do not depend on it because it is not capital at all. Castles built on this kind of capital are like the ones you build in dreams. They are not even as real as houses of cards.
I do not want to make you think. I do not want to fill you with borrowed things. I don't want you to think but to awaken. I want you to give up thinking and see. And then see what happens. Advance from thinking to seeing. This alone will lead you to the truth and to the real capital, to the real wealth that is your own. How this process of seeing-without-thinking removes the curtain from the mystery cannot be known without actually doing it yourself.
Remember, there is no valuable experience in the world others can give you. Whatsoever can be given is never valuable. Nor can an experience ever be given. Material things can be given, taken, exchanged, but there is no way to barter live experiences. In the nature of experience, neither Mahavira, nor Buddha, nor Krishna, nor Christ can give you anything. And those who cling to thinking and accept their thoughts as the truth are the ones who are deprived of the truth. it is the truth he realizes by himself and not something he borrows from others that liberates a man.
Memorizing the GITA, the KORAN or the Bible will serve no purpose. It will not bring you knowledge.
On the contrary, it will smother your own capacity for self-knowledge and you will never be able to stand face-to-face with truth. The worlds you have memorized from the shastras, from the scriptures, will always come between you and the truth. They will create fog and dust and it will be impossible for you to see what really is. We must remove everything that stands between us and the truth.
To know the truth no help is required from thought. Strip everything away and then you will open up.
Then there will be an opening through which truth will enter you and transform you. Give up thinking and see. Open the door and see. This is all I have to say.
THE SEVENTH QUESTION: DO YOU THINK THE STUDY OF THE SHASTRAS IS UNNECESSARY THEN?
What purpose will the study of the shastras, of the scriptures, serve? You can't attain knowledge that way. It will just train your memory. You can learn a few things, but learning and knowing are two quite different things. You learn about God, about truth, about the soul. You will be able to give ready-made replies to questions about them. But there is no difference between that and what the parrot in your house repeats every morning - what it has been taught to say. Truth is not to be found in the scriptures. It is in the self, in your self.
The shastras are only words and they are meaningful only if one has realized truth within oneself.
Otherwise they are not only useless, they are harmful. Truth cannot be known by learning the shastras but if you know the truth the shastras can certainly be known.
But what do I see before me? People are studying the shastras instead of the truth and are satisfied with the knowledge they have gained from these studies. What hollow and false satisfaction! Does it not suggest that we really do not want to know the truth, that we only want people to believe we know the truth? anyone who really wants to know the truth is never satisfied with mere words. Have you ever heard of a man's thirst being quenched by the word "water"? And if it were quenched by a simple word, wouldn't that indicate there really hadn't been any thirst there at all?
If the shastras could teach us one thing, that the truth cannot be realized through them, it would be enough. This is their only use. If the word could only tell us that the word is useless it would serve its purpose. It would be enough if the shastras did not bring us contentment but created discontent for us, and if instead of giving us knowledge they made us aware of our ignorance.
I too am speaking words, and this is how the shastras came to be. If you just cling to the words my whole effort will be useless. No matter how many of them you memorize, they will serve no purpose.
These too will imprison your mind and then you will wander in your self-made, word-made prison all of your life. We are all locked in prisons of our own making. If you want to know the truth, break out of this prison of words, tear down the walls and burn the throne of information to ashes. From these ashes knowledge will be born and in a free consciousness you will see truth. Truth will come sooner or later but you must make room for it in yourself. If you throw words out, truth will occupy the space that has been vacated.
THE EIGHTH QUESTION: CAN'T MAN EVER CONQUER HIMSELF BY SUPPRESSION AND BY FIGHTING WITH HIMSELF?
What do you mean by the words "suppression" and "fighting with himself"? Don't they mean that the individual will be dividing himself? He will be fighting with himself. This means he will attack and defend at the same time. He will be both friend and enemy. His energy will be used by both sides.
This will never lead to victory, it will only weaken him and shatter his strength. Imagine what will happen if I make my two hands fight with each other. The same will happen if I fight with myself.
Such a fight is sheer foolishness.
My friend, you don't have to fight with yourself, you have to know yourself. The contradictions and the self-conflicts that have been born in us out of ignorance will disappear in the light of self-knowledge, just as the drops of dew on the greass evaporate as the sun rises in the morning. Victory over oneself comes through knowledge and not out of conflict, for there is nobody to defeat. There is no other, only ignorance. And if there is ignorance? What is there to defeat in ignorance? It vanishes the moment knowledge comes. Ignorance is just a negative approach, the absence of knowledge.
He who fights with ignorance fights with a shadow. He is walking the path of failure from the very beginning.
This concept of self-war for self-conquest comes from the reflection of conflicts between enemies in the world outside. We want to commit violence in our inner world just as we commit violence against our enemies in the outer world. What madness is this! Even in the outside world violence has never conquered anyone. Conquering and defeating are two very different things.
But in the inner world we cannot even use violence to defeat our so-called enemy because there is no such person to be defeated. Self-knowledge is not the result of conflict, it is the result of knowing.
So I say: don't fight, know. Forget war and choose knowledge.
And let this be your maxim: discover and know yourself. Let there be nothing in you that is unknown to you. Do not leave a single corner dark and uninspected. if you become familiar with all your inner rooms, that knowledge will become self-conquest.
We are all aware that in dark houses, in corners and in cellars inaccessible to sunlight and to fresh air, snakes, scorpions and bats make their abode, and if the owners of these houses spend their lives outside them, never entering them, is it surprising or unnatural that their houses are reduced to such miserable states? This is what has happened to us. We are also the owners of such houses and we have even forgotten where the doors to enter them are. Because of our continued absence and the lack of light, they have become the shelters of our enemies.
THE NINTH QUESTION: YOU SAY THAT THE SUPPRESSION OF ONE'S PASSIONS IS HARMFUL. DO YOU THEN MEAN TO SAY THAT INDULGING THEM IS THE PROPER COURSE?
I preach neither suppression nor indulgence. I preach the knowledge of suppression and indulgence.
Suppression and indulgence are both ignorance, both are injurious. Suppression is just a reaction to indulgence. It is only the inverted form of the other. It is only indulgence placed upside down. It is not too different from suppression. It is the same thing standing on its head.
Someone told me about a sadhu who used to turn his face away from money. Is turning one's face away much different from one's mouth watering at the sight of money? The same thing will happen if you try to run away from greed. Greed will not cease to be, it will take another form. And the big problem is that in this other form it will be as strong as ever - and more secure because now it is invisible to you. Therefore it will remain intact. In addition the illusion of greedlessness will have entered. This is like inviting two enemies in while trying to drive one out.
I want all of you here to know lust and to know anger. You are not to fight with them nor are you to follow them blindly. You should be vigilant. You should observe them and become well-acquainted with all their shapes, strengths and skills.
Have you ever noticed that anger disappears when you watch it? But you immediately begin to indulge it or to suppress it. Whatever the case, you don't observe it. It remains unseen and unknown.
This is where we make our mistake, and indulgence and suppression both contribute to this error.
Apart from these two, there is a third alternative as well, and I would like to suggest it to you. It is to see and to observe your tendencies - not to do anything with them, simply to watch them. Once the eye begins to see them clearly and steadily you will find they drop away and disappear. They cannot stand to look you in the eye. Their existence is only possible in a state of illusion, and in one's watchful consciousness they become lifeless and die. Our delusion, our non-observation of them is their existence. They are like insects who live only in darkness. As soon as there is light they die away.
I also want to tell you that how other people see me is of no consequence. How I see myself is the important thing. But we are in the habit of seeing ourselves through other people's eyes and we forget that there is a direct and immediate way to see ourselves. This is the real way to see. It is direct. However, we crete false images of ourselves and wear masks to deceive others, and then we base our opinion of ourselves on how others see us!
This process of self-deception is with us throughout our lives. It becomes one of the primary obstacles on the path of self-realization. We must break through this barrier. At the outset it is necessary to break through all the self-deceptions, to know what you are like, to know yourself in your total nakedness, because only after this has been done can any real steps be taken in the direction of self-realization.
A man cannot enter the realm of truth as long as he has false conceptions about himself and as long as the delusion persists that the role-playing personality is the real self. Before we can know God, the almighty, the truth or our real beings, we must reduce to ashes the imaginary personality with which we have covered ourselves. This mask of deception does not allow us to live real lives; it does not allow us to rise above the artificial lives we are acting out. Those who wish to walk the path of life must awaken from the false dreams in which they are living.
Don't you ever feel you are acting, performing in a drama? Don't you ever feel you are one thing on the inside and quite another on the outside? In sane moments, when you are yourself, doesn't the awareness of this deception ever trouble you? If such questions do occur to you and do trouble you, this very fact can take you out of the drama, can take you from the stage to the solid ground, to terra firma, where you don't act out a role but are your own selves.
One must ask oneself this question: "Am I really the one I have been thinking I am?" This question must echo in the very depths of your being. It must rise in your depths with such acuteness and such awareness that there will be no room for you to even consider it might be an illusion.
This question, this inquiry, this introspection brings about such a fresh awakening of consciousness in us that we feel we have been shaken out of sleep. Then we begin to see that the castles we built have been built in a dream, that the boats in which we have been sailing were made of paper. Your whole life begins to seem unreal, as if it were not yours but someone else's. In fact, it is not yours, but part of some drama you have been acting out - a drama in which education, training, culture, tradition and society have cast you. But this drama does not have its roots in you.
We are hardly men. We are mere scarecrows, without any roots, without any foundation, like characters in a fairy tale, in a dream, with no existence in reality. I see you lost and moving in this dream. All your actions are done in sleep. All your activities are in sleep. But you can always awaken from this sleep. This is the difference between sleep and death. You can awaken from the former but not from the latter. No matter how deep your sleep, there is always the possibility of awakening. Sleep has this potentiality hidden within it.
If you come face-to-face with yourself many illusions will be shattered, just as a man who considers himself very handsome is disillusioned when he stands before a mirror for the very first time. Just as there is a mirror for looking at the body, there is a mirror for looking at the self. I am talking about this mirror. Self-observation is this mirror.
Do you really want to see the truth about yourself? Do you want to meet the person that is really you?
And knowing there is the chance of seeing yourself in all your nakedness, do you not feel afraid?
Such fear is quite natural. It is because of this fear that we constantly conjure up new dreams about ourselves and try to forget who we really are. But these dreams cannot be your companions; you cannot get anywhere with their help. They simply waste time and you lose the priceless opportunity that can lead you home.
You must wonder why I insist so much on your seeing this nakedness, the ugliness and emptiness of yourselves. Wouldn't it be better to leave unseen what is unfit to be seen? And isn't it nice, isn't it a good idea to decorate what is ugly with jewelry and to cover what isn't worth seeing with curtains?
Generally this is exactly what we do. This is the common custom. But this habit is very harmful because the wounds we hide o not heal. On the contrary they become all the more infected and dangerous. And then the ugliness we have covered up is not removed but enters the inner currents of our personality. We go on sprinkling artificial perfume on the surface while foul odors prevail inside. And a time comes when perfume no longer helps and the inner odor or sickness begins to smell, when jewelry no longer helps and the underlying ugliness stands out.
I am not for sprinkling perfume; I am for eradicating foul smells. I am not for covering ugliness with jewelry and flowers; I am for doing away with ugliness and for awakening the beauty and music inside. In their absence everything else is pointless. All our efforts are useless. It is like trying to get oil by pressing sand.
And so I ask you to uncover what is hidden in yourself. Uncover yourself and know your self. Do not run away from yourself. And escaping from yourself is not possible. Where will you go? What will you achieve by running away? No matter where you go you will be with you. You can transform yourself but you cannot run away from yourself.
The first link in this chain of transformation is self-observation. And the wonder of wonders is that when one knows ugliness one is freed from it! To know the fear of the self is to be free from that fear; to know hatred is to be free from hatred. They are there because we do not look at them. They are after us because we are trying to run away from them. The moment we stop they will also stop - just as our shadow runs with us when we are running and stops when we stop.
And if we can look at these things the whole situation will be immediately transformed. What we thought were ghosts and spirits were merely shadows! Because we were running these ghosts and spirits ran after us - and this made us run even more! The moment we stop running they become lifeless; as soon as we look at them they cease to exist. They are just shadows. And surely shadows can't do anything! There was the shadow of ugliness, so to cover it we clothed and decorated it with flowers. And thus we created an illusion. Now, when we see it was just a shadow and nothing else and that it is no longer necessary to clothe it, we are freed from the shadow and we realize that it has always been a shadow that was there. And this very realization gives us a vision of beauty, of the most beautiful.
I have had this vision. I stopped running away from shadows and that gave me the strength to look beyond them. And what I saw there, that truth, transformed everything. Truth transforms everything.
Its very presence is a revolution. Therefore I say to you not to be afraid. See what is really there and don't look for shelter in dreams and imagination. The man who dares to give up these shelters is sheltered by truth.
This morning someone asked me what was meant by direct knowledge of oneself. Direct knowledge of yourself means not accepting other people's opinions about you. See for yourself what is there inside, what is hidden in your thoughts, in your passions, in your actions, in your hopes, in your desires. Look at these things directly, just as one looks at a new place after reaching one's destination. Look at yourself as one looks at an unfamiliar person, at a stranger. This will do you a lot of good. More than anything else it will shatter to pieces the graven image you have created of yourself in your mind. The shattering of this idol has been smashed and you pass from the land of dreams into the land of reality.
Before we can become truthful and good, we must first dispel the illusions of truth and goodness that we have created to hide the untruth and evil in ourselves. These illusions were self-deceptions anyway. Nobody creates a fictitious image and personality for himself for nothing. It is done out of necessity. It is done in order to save oneself from humiliation in one's own eyes. When a man glimpses the animal that resides in him, the very presence of the animal torments him and he feels humiliated in himself.
There are two ways to save yourself from this humiliation: either the animal has to disappear or you just have to forget about it. In order for it to disappear you must pass through a sadhana, a discipline. But it is very easy to forget the animal. It is a very simple thing. Imagination alone can do the trick. We create a false image of ourselves and with the help of this image the animal is suppressed. But it does not disappear. It becomes active behind this image. This image only has an outward appearance because at the back of it lies the animal. Don't you see that in real life this image is losing out, is being defeated every day? This is only natural. The animal inside is the real thing and so it defeats all our efforts. Every day the imaginary is defeated by it.
Yet despite this, you keep your images alive and well cared for. And all the time you are busy trying to find ways to prove to others and to yourselves that they are real - through your charities, your sacrifices, your acts of compassion and of service, through all of your so-called moral actions. Aren't all of these just looking for evidence? aren't these all just attempts to prove the images are real?
But all of this is to no avail. The image you have constructed of yourself is still dead. it will remain lifeless; there is no possibility that life will enter it.
I ask you to free yourselves from this dead weight. Let this false, dead companion go, and know and understand the one who is real. Setting up a false image will block the path, but observing the animal within you and freeing yourselves from this deception will show you the way.
Last night I passed a field where I saw mockups of men. Sticks had been put up and had been dressed in shirts. On the top, as heads, were earthen jars. In the darkness the birds and the animals took them to be watchmen and were frightened away. I looked at the scarecrows and also looked at the people with me. Then I said, "Let us look within ourselves to see if we too aren't scarecrows." At this my companions began to laugh. But I saw that their laughter was completely false.
Everything about us has become false - our whole lives, our dealings, our laughter, our tears.
Everything has become false. We are exhausted with the weight of this false hood. And although this falsehood is so heavy we do not throw it off because we are even more afraid of what lies behind the falsehood. We are afraid to go in there, for nowhere is the one we always thought of as ourselves to be found. On the contrary, the one whose presence we have always scorned in others will be found there in full bloom. Our fear does not allow us to discover our selves.
For one's sadhana, for self-realization, fearlessness is the first order of the day. The man who cannot dare isn't even able to go into himself. Far greater daring is needed to go into oneself than the daring required to walk along a lonely rocky path on a dark night, because as soon as a man enters himself all the sweet dreams about himself he has cherished for so long are shattered and he finds himself face-to-face with the ugliest and most sordid of sins - sins from which he thought he was totally free.
But when he who dares to discover himself moves into the dark lanes and valleys within himself, into places long abandoned, he finds that he has embarked upon a new life. With this daring plunge into the darkness he embarks on a journey which ultimately leads to the attainment of light - the goal he has been seeking for many lives, the goal that always eluded him because he dared not walk into the darkness.
Darkness has enveloped and hidden the light just like a heap of ashes hides a spark of fire. As soon as we penetrate the darkness the light is seen. Therefore I say to you: if you want the light do not be afraid of the darkness. The man who is afraid of darkness will never find the light. The path to light passes through darkness. As a matter of fact, this daring entry into the darkness is itself transformed into the light within. Thanks to this daring, he who has been so far asleep, awakes.
I perceive that you don't want to attain self-knowledge but are afraid of yourself as you really are.
You like to hear words like "sat-chit-anand - being-consciousness-bliss", words like "eternal" and "pure". But this is because they help you forget what your really are - the complete antithesis of sat-chit-anand.
But you want to feed your egos. And that is why sinners crowd around sadhus, because the talk they hear there is about the purity of the soul and about being one with brahma and it's very pleasing to them. They feel sorry when they hear the sermons, the suppress their sense of inferiority and are then once again able to stand erect in front of themselves. They begin to feel it is quite easy and quite harmless to sin, since the soul is pure and is not affected by it! Believing that your soul is pure and untouched does not put an end to sin. It is only a very deep self-deception. It is the last trick of the human mind. By merely believing there is no darkness you do not have light.
An ideology that teaches one to believe that sin does not exist and that the soul is not involved in sin is very dangerous. It is just a means of forgetting one's sinful condition. It does not lead to the extinct6ion of sin but to forgetting about sin. And forgetting about sin is worse than the existence of sin. Are you able to see your sins? Being aware of them is good, beneficial. But being unable to see them, being ignorant of them is harmful, because when they have been seen they begin to goad us, to prick at us to transform ourselves. Awareness of sin brings about change and the full consciousness of sin brings about instantaneous transformation.
Therefore please don't get involved in talk about the purity of the soul, enlightenment and so on.
The soul has nothing to do with belief. It is something to be realized directly when the sin-ridden personality has been cast off and when the seeker, breaking through the layers of darkness, enters his own secret, innermost, center of light. It is a direct realization. It is not something that can be imagined.
Any imaginary concept of it is probably going to be very harmful. I can become a hindrance and can stand in the way of attaining the light, because if you believe there is no darkness, there is no question of your being able to remove something you do not believe exists. And if the soul commits neither good nor evil, then what is the point of rising above them? These meaningless statements and questions of our so-called philosophers have thrown many people into worlds of delusion. This poison has spread far and wide and because of it, we think of ourselves as God. And at the same time it would be difficult, on this earth, to find greater sinners than us!
Don't forget, also, that all this self-glorification and talk about the purity of the soul is really directed towards ignoring the existence of sin. It is very difficult for those who fall into the trap of this talk to get out of it later. It is easy to become free from sin but it is very difficult to escape the clutches of this dangerous kind of philosophy.
The fact that the soul is pure is neither a theory nor a principle, it is a direct realization. And any discussion about it is useless. It is just like creating an illusion in the mind of a sick man that his sickness does not exist. If the sick man accepts this as gospel, the result won't be recovery but certain death.
Those who know do not discuss realization. They talk about the sadhana, the path that leads to realization. It is not the realization but the sadhana that should be considered. Realization is bound to follow the sadhana. It is useless to think about it. And if anyone takes realization for granted his sadhana will become impossible for him.
And yet look how easy it is to take realization-without-sadhana for granted! This way one begins to feel the joy of freedom from sin without actually being rid of it, and in the deep spell of illusion beggars begin to feel the joy of emperors. What a joy it must be for beggars to be told they're emperors! It is no wonder that those who tell them so are respected and that they worship them by falling at their feet. There cannot be an easier and cheaper liberation from poverty and sin! This phony philosophy gives you a very easy freedom but sadhana requires great effort on your part.
I hope you are not caught int he trap of any philosophy or philosopher. I hope you have not resorted to any such short cut. The easiest and cheapest way is just to believe that the soul is pure and enlightened, that the soul is Brahma itself and that there is nothing to be done by you - and of course, that whatever you happen to be doing at the time is the best thing because nothing needs to be given up.
Don't forget that even truth can be abused, and even the most noble truth can be used to hide the meanest ones. This has happened in the past and it happens every day. Cowardice can be hidden by non-violence, sin can be hidden under the philosophy of the purity and enlightenment of the soul, and no-action under the garb of sannyas.
I want to warn you against these dangers. If you aren't wary of them you cannot make much progress in the direction of the self. Don't seek shelter in any philosophical lean-to to try to get away from the sin and darkness that have enshrouded you. Know them. Become familiar with them. They are there. Don't forget they exist. Even though they are like dreams, they are still there. And don't think that dreams don't exist. Even a dream has an existence. It can also overwhelm us, disturb us.
Saying "It was just a dream" leads nowhere. There is no other solution than waking up. But if he likes, a man can even dream he has woken up. A false philosophy, a philosophy-without-sadhana does the very same thing. It does not awaken you, it simply causes a dream of awakening. This is a dream within a dream. Haven't you had dreams where you have seen yourself as awake?
Merely believing and saying that there is nos in, no darkness, serves no purpose. It is only an expression of your desire, not of the truth. it is our desire that there should be no sin, no darkness, but desiring alone is not enough. It is important. And gradually these philosophers begin to believe the dreams of accomplishment, just like a beggar who wants to be a king will ultimately start dreaming he has become one. They are always wishing for it and they finally imagine they have achieved what they wanted, but in actuality they have not achieved anything. And so it is easy to forget defeat. And they have a sigh of satisfaction in their sleep because they've achieved in a dream what they could not in reality.
I hope you are not seeking such satisfaction here. If so, you have come to the wrong person. I cannot give you any dreams. I cannot give you any basis for self-deception. I am a dream-breaker and I want to wake you from your slumber.
Awakening is painful, without a doubt, but it is the only penance. This penance, this pain, begins with your awareness of your actual sinful condition, of the reality of the sorry state of the self. You are unable to harbor any more illusions. You know what reality is, as it is. This will cause unhappiness and this will cause pain because it will destroy the sweet dreams in which you see yourselves as emperors. The emperor will disappear and the beggar will stand in the light; beauty will vanish and ugliness will appear; good will evaporate and evil will materialize; the animal in you will stand before you in all his nakedness.
This is all necessary, very necessary. It is imperative to pass through this agony. It is inevitable because it is the travail of childbirth. And it is only after this, after we have seen the animal face-to- face, that we will begin to know clearly the one who is not the animal.
A man who sees the animal face-to-face becomes different from the animal. This recognition of the animal within breaks his identification with it. The observation separates the observer from the observed. And then the seed of awakening is sown, which when fully developed, flowers into self-realization.
Running away from sin, from darkness and from the animal is not sadhana but an escape from it.
It is an escape from reality. It is like the ostrich hiding its head in the sand and feeling secure in the thought that since it cannot see the enemy, the enemy does not exist. How nice it would be if this were true! But it isn't. Not seeing an enemy doesn't mean he does not exist. On the contrary, he becomes more dangerous that way. You will be an easier prey with your eyes closed. In the presence of an enemy our eyes should be open all the wider, since knowledge of the enemy is in our interest.
Ignorance can do us nothing but harm. It is for this reason I ask you to discover your dark side fully and to observe it. Take off all your clothes and see what you are. Set aside all your principles and theories and see what you are. Lift your head out of the sand and look.
The very opening of your eyes, this very looking is a transformation, the beginning of a new life. With the opening of your eyes a change begins and whatsoever you do thereafter takes you towards the truth. Breaking through the layers of darkness, you walk into the light; sweeping away the webs of sin, you attain god; striking the fatal blow at ignorance, you reach the soul.
This is the right path for one's sadhana, for one's journey to self-realization. And before this no dreams need be dreamed - no dreams about the soul and God, no dreams about sat-chit-anand and brahma. This is like living in a fool's paradise while the real paradise is being lost. You too can reach that state of perfection, sat-chit-anand, by the path of action, by karma, by dispelling ignorance and darkness.
Last night someone asked me what satsang was. I answered that satsang meant the company of one's self, of the truth, and that the truth was not to be found outside. Neither guru, nor teachers, nor shastras can give it to you. It is inside you and if you wish to attain it, seek your own company.
Be with yourself. But we are always in the company of someone or other, and never at all on our own.
Eckhart was once sitting all alone under a grove of trees in a lonely field. A friend who was passing by saw him sitting there. He went up to him and said, "I saw you sitting all alone and I thought I would keep you company and so I have come over to join you." do you know what Eckhart replied?
He said, "I was with myself, but you have come and now I am all alone."
Are you ever in your own company like this? This is satsang. This is prayer. This is meditation.
When I am all alone within myself and when there is no thought, no thought of anyone, I am in the company of my self. When the outer world is absent, inside there is the company of one's self.
In that companionlessness and solitude, in your pure being the truth is realized because in your innermost being you yourself are that truth.
It is therefore a question of being religious, not of appearing religious. Whenever anyone asks me about being religious the first question I ask him is, "do you want to appear religious or to become religious?" The two paths are quite different. Being religious is a sadhana, a process of self-realization; appearing religious is just self-adornment. The garbs of the sadhus and saints, their stereotyped, conventional robes, their books, the marks on their foreheads and on their bodies - all these are for appearing religious. If you too want to appear religious like this it is very easy.
But remember, appearing is for others, becoming is for oneself. I am not as others know me from the outside. I am that which I know myself to be from the inside. If I appear to you to be in tune with myself, self-composed, does it hold any value for you? In reality, the value only has to do with my own being.
Religious qualities can also be worn, like religious clothes. People wear them like ornaments for decoration. And this is all the more dangerous. Man's behavior can be of two kinds, like genuine flowers or like paper flowers. The first come from the very life and sap of the plant; the others have no life in them. They don't bloom into flowers and their petals have to be pasted together.
When we have a fever and the body is running a temperature, we don't try to get rid of the fever by bringing down the temperature. We try to reduce the fever and this brings the temperature back to normal. Temperature is nothing but a symptom of the fever, not a disease in itself. It is only an indication, it is not the enemy. What would you call a doctor who began to battle with temperature?
This same lack of sanity can be found in religious life. Outward indications are mistaken for the enemy and, taking the symptoms for the disease, we begin to fight. This does not help to eliminate the disease. One the contrary it is the patient, the diseased, who will surely be eliminated.
Egoism, untruth, violence, lust, greed, passion are all indications, all symptoms. They are the temperature. They are not the diseases. Our fight is not to be directed against them but through them we need only learn there is a culprit within. This culprit is ignorance of th self. It is this ignorance of the self that is expressed in a variety of ways, like egoism, lust, fear, anger, violence, lies and so on. And since these are mere indication, just expressions, they cannot be done away with by striking at them.
Then what do we have to do? Do we have to try to hide them by exhibiting the artificial flowers of truth, non-violence, benevolence, bravery? You as well must have decorated yourselves with such flowers at some point. Beware. Be sure you are not deceived by them, even though you may have succeeded in misleading others.
The question is not to get rid of untruth, violence and fear, but to rise above this ignorance of the self.
They are all there because of this ignorance. Without it they cannot exist. If there is no ignorance of the self all these will automatically disappear and their places will as automatically be taken by truth, humility, desirelessness, freedom from anger, non-violence, non-possessiveness. They too are signs. They are indications of self knowledge.