Fifteen years ago I was a political militant, and I was trying to change the society by spreading ideas. Failure and frustration brought me to you. Now that your people cannot reach to you, can spreading your ideas and publishing your books and tapes be enough to give birth to the New Man? Or is there something else that we can do?
The question is from Avesh. What you were doing before you came to me is not the same thing that I am asking you to do now. You were working under the same fallacy – that the society can be changed and the individual will change automatically.
You failed, not because you were spreading ideas but because your ideas were based on a fallacy that there exists a society with a soul which can be changed. “Society” is only a collective name.
You cannot do anything to it. Whatever has to be done is to be done to the individual. He is the living, understanding part of existence.
So the first thing: when I say, “Let the word be spread,” I am talking about individuals, not about society.
In the second place: there is nothing more powerful than the word. It is so powerful that the biblical tradition begins with it. “In the beginning was the word. The word was with God. The word WAS God.”
I do not agree with the statement, “In the beginning was the word,” but I certainly agree that whoever wrote the biblical passage was immensely aware of the power of the word. He puts it even before God – because after all “God” is a word, and an empty word, with no content. He at least has the insight that the word is so powerful that it should be the beginning of existence.
I cannot agree with the statement because a word needs somebody to understand it, somebody to give it meaning; otherwise it is only a sound. What are words? – Sounds to which we have given certain meanings. Meanings are arbitrary, so the same word can mean one thing in one language, another thing in another language, and something still different in another language. A word has no meaning of its own, a word presupposes meaning. So the statement, “In the beginning was the word,” although it is a significant statement recognizing the power of the word, is not factually true.
The Hindu scriptures – not one but one hundred and eight Upahishads – begin with the sound, not with the word. They begin with OM – which is not a word because it means nothing, it has no meaning. It is a deeper insight. “In the beginning” can only be sound, not a word. Sound can become a word when there is somebody to give it a meaning.
But there are Buddhist scriptures which go to the very root of the thing. They say, “In the beginning was silence.” Silence, sound, word, are all connected. Silence is vast like the ocean. It is potential sound; it has not yet manifested itself. It is like music sleeping in the strings of a guitar – some fingers will be needed to wake the music up. Silence is sound, asleep. But in the beginning there can only be silence.
The insight deepens from word to sound to silence, but I do not agree with any of the statements, because there has never been any beginning. The very idea of beginning is false.
If I was to write, I would write, “In the end there is the word, then sound, then silence – if there is an end.” Of course there is no beginning… there cannot be any end. But to individual thinkers, individual enlightened beings, there is a beginning and there is an end as far as others are concerned. To the enlightened person himself, there is only beginning and no end. And in the beginning is silence.
Perhaps the Upanishads are too much influenced by the enlightened experience. There is a beginning when your mind disappears, leaving space for eternal silence, but there is no end for your self. Of course you will die as far as others are concerned – you will live as far as you are concerned.
Death is others’ opinion about you. For them, in the end will be the word – because the message of the master has to be contained in a word or in words.
So don’t think that words are not powerful. Ordinary, mundane words have no power; they have only utility. But when the enlightened man speaks, the word has no utility; it has simply a tremendous power to transform your heart.
So when I say, “Spread the word,” I mean whatever I have been telling you, go on spreading in as many ways as possible. Use all the news media use everything that technology has provided, so that the word reaches to every nook and corner of the earth. And remember, it is far more powerful than any nuclear weapons because nuclear weapons can only bring death – that is not power. But the word which has come from an enlightened consciousness can bring new life to you; it can give you rebirth, resurrection – that is power.
Destroying something, any idiot can do. Creating needs intelligence.
I will be leaving words of immense potentiality for you. If you can simply go on whispering them, you will be surprised that they can change the whole human heart.
If the word has come from the awakened consciousness, as it reaches within you it becomes sound – because meaning is of the mind: deeper than mind is no-meaning, just sound. But there is still a depth where sound disappears into silence. The true word, the authentic word, always creates silence in you. That is the criterion of its power – that it is not empty; it contains sound, the sound contains silence, and silence is the nature of existence.
You are asking the question, “Will it be enough just to spread the word?”
What do you want – to make bombs? Become terrorists? Kill people? What else do you want? No, there is nothing else. The awakened people down the ages have not seen anything more powerful than the word. It is just a question of spreading it, and spreading it not like a parrot, not like a gramophone record, but spreading it as a representative of it. Whatever you say, you should be; only then can your saying have power.
So don’t be worried. How many emperors have existed in twenty-five centuries around the world?
But nobody’s name comes even close to Gautam the Buddha. Just that one name stands like Everest – everything looks like a pygmy beside it. And what was the power of the man? He did nothing except use a single method: transform his silence into sound, into word.
That’s what happens inside the awakened man. He is in silence: he makes silence bring its potential to actuality; it becomes sound. He gives it meaning – because only meaning can be the bridge.
You listen to the word. In you also, again the same process has to happen. You understand the meaning through the mind, but you let the sound slip deeper. Meaning remains in the mind. Sound reaches to the heart. And if you allow the sound also to disappear then you reach your being, which is silence. What happens in the master’s case has to be reversed. It is a code language – you have to un-encode it.
And it is not only a question of simply repeating what I am saying; it is a question of living it. Your life should be a proof of it; then nothing else is needed.
The whole human evolution has happened through the word. Each master leaves the world with pregnant words which in the right hands can go on being a tremendous energy of transformation.
We are not here to kill anybody or destroy anything. We are here to create something, and the most essential, the most central, is the consciousness of man. Yes, when consciousness is created, many things will disappear on their own accord; you won’t have to destroy them.
This is the beauty of the whole work: nothing is destroyed but thousands of things disappear, and finally there remains only one – the experience of the eternal. Even you disappear into it. But even to call it “experience” is not right, it simply is. What I am teaching is an existential revolution.
From The Path of the Mystic, Discourse #38