If a Master’s teachings are perfect, why are they corrupted in time?
It is something very essential to understand, because it has always happened and it is going to happen always in the future too. There is not going to be any change. Every teaching is bound to be corrupted; it is in the very nature of things. Just as every child is to become old one day and everyone who is born is going to die one day, each teaching is out of necessity bound to be corrupted. It cannot be avoided. It is not that the great Masters have not tried; they have tried their best, but you cannot go against the laws of nature. Nobody can go against the laws of nature.
There are seven things to be taken note of.
The first is the experience of the Master himself. When he experiences the truth there is no mind at all. It is a state of no-mind, or as Dionysius will call it, a state of agnosia – absolute innocence; not even a single thought moves in the mind. Hence the memory system is not functioning; the mind is in a complete state of non-functioning. It is frozen, it is absolutely still.
This is the moment when the teaching is perfect, but nothing has been taught. The teaching has not yet become teaching. Nothing has been said, nothing has been heard. In fact, even the Master is not yet aware of what has happened. Something has happened, but he is simply so lost in it that there is no possibility of him becoming aware of it. To be aware of something means division, the observer and the observed; the experience has become split. When the experience happens it is indivisible. There is no knower and no known, no subject, no object. All is silent. This is the most perfect teaching.
The second stage is when the Master becomes aware of what has happened – corruption has begun, even inside the Master. He has not said a single word, but a vague awareness has started arising in him. The experience is no more undivided, it is divided, it has gone from one to two. It is no more the same, it is not the whole. Part of it has become subjectivity – the knower, the observer, the awareness – and the other part has become the object, the known, the experienced. This is the first corruption, and it happens inside the Master.
The third is: the Master formulates his experience; he starts making it more clear, more expressible. Now there are not only two but three things. The one is divided into three: the subject, the object and the mind, because without the mind nothing can be made articulate. The mind is the expert. Language has to be used, logic has to be used. The mind has to be awakened from its deep sleep; the mind has to be called forth. Just as one day the Master had struggled hard to put the mind into a deep-frozen state, now he struggles hard to unfreeze it, because without it there is no possibility of being absolutely clear about what has happened. It has to be conceptualized.
Now, the moment the ultimate experience becomes conceptualized a great corruption happens, because the wordless is being forced into the word. And words are small things, and the experience is as vast as the sky – even the sky is not its limit. The unlimited has to be brought within limits. Naturally much will be lost. First it was the whole sky with all the stars, with all its infinity and eternity. Now it is only a small window with a frame, a man-made frame. Now you are looking through the window: it is no more the whole sky but just a small piece of it.
And the fourth thing to be understood is the expression. Out of great compassion, out of love, the Master would like to share with others what has happened, because he can see millions of people groping in the dark in the same way as he was groping one day. He can see everybody groping in the same darkness, with the same confusion, with the same misery, and now he is in a state where he can help. At least he can indicate the way; at least he can show something of the beyond. He can make something transpire, he can trigger some process.
He has to use the art of synchronicity. He has to sing the song so your song which is in the seed starts moving, becomes alert, comes out of its dormant state, starts reaching towards the sky – so that your seed is broken, so that your song also starts having a longing. Your heart has to be touched.
The Master speaks, but the moment he speaks even more is lost, because to conceptualize within yourself is one thing; to communicate it to somebody else is totally different. Now you have to look at the other person, at what he can understand; only that can be said. You have to come to the lowest possibility because that’s where people exist. You have to use language which they can understand.
The Buddha cannot use the language which only other Buddhas can understand. He has reached the sunlit peak, but he has to come back; he has to descend back into the darkness of the valley. He has to use your language, your expressions, your ways of saying things. And naturally, almost ninety-nine percent is lost; only one percent is expressed, and that too needs a very skillful Master. Not all the Masters have been able to express even the one percent; many have remained silent seeing that they have no skill.
When I decided to become a teacher in the university, a few of my friends who were aware of what had happened to me asked me, “What are you going to do?”
I said, “It will be good if I can be a teacher for a few years, it will help me tremendously: it will give me the skill. Now I have something to express, I have something to share, but the skill is needed. The best teacher is one who can help the last person hearing him, the lowest in intelligence, to understand. Of course the best ones will understand easily, but you have to keep aware of those who are not that intelligent.”
And humanity, the greater part of humanity, is not intelligent at all. It lives in a very stupid way; it lives in mediocrity. Its consciousness is so much covered with dust and rust that its mirroring quality is completely lost. It cannot reflect anything, it cannot echo anything. Great skill is needed; only then can one percent of the experience be expressed.
And the fifth thing is the hearing of the experience. Now that the Master has spoken he is no more the master of what he has spoken. Now the person who has heard becomes the master of it; now it is his possession. Up to now the corruption was happening inside the Master, because he was bringing it to the level of the mind. Once he has spoken then it enters into a mind which has never experienced anything of the unknown, anything of the beyond. In the very entry, out of that one percent almost ninety percent is lost. It is bound to be so because everybody understands things in his own way, according to his own conditioning, his past experiences, his philosophy, his religion, his ideology.
Nobody hears in silence. If you hear in silence, then there is a possibility you may be able to get hold of the one percent, and that is enough for you to be transformed. Once a small flame enters into you, the whole forest will be afire soon. That one percent is enough. It is pure fire! It will make you afire.
But even that one percent never enters. It enters only into those who are devotees, who are totally devoted to the Master, who have no conditions, no barriers, who are almost like shadows, who have effaced themselves completely. Otherwise, ordinarily the sixth thing is bound to happen: the interpretation. The person who hears is going to interpret it. The moment your mind comes across any word it immediately interprets it; it cannot allow it to remain as it is.
Looking at a rose flower your mind immediately says, “A beautiful flower!” You cannot resist the temptation of saying it. You may not say it to anybody, but deep inside you have said it to yourself: “What a beautiful flower!” You could not remain silent with this beauty. Interpretation is bound to happen.
Now you are here – Christians, Jews, Mohammedans, Jainas, Buddhists, Parsis, Sikhs – all kinds of ideologies, all kinds of philosophies are there in your minds. Whenever you hear something you will give it your color. Then not even point one percent is left. What to say about one percent? – Not even point one percent is left. It has become so diluted, so contaminated that it is almost something else.
And there is the seventh possibility: the moment the hearer starts telling it to others, what he has heard… All the Buddhist sutras begin with: “I have heard the Blessed One say this….” Buddha never wrote a book, neither did Christ nor Lao Tzu; they all depended on the spoken word. There is a reason for it: because while I am speaking, the word is one thing, but the pauses are far more pregnant, the silences are far more meaningful; my gestures may touch your heart more easily than my words. My words are bound to go into your memory system; they will revolve there. But my presence, my eyes can penetrate you far more deeply.
Hence all the great Masters have used the spoken word. Nobody has ever written a book, and I don’t think they are ever going to write a book. The moment you write something it becomes dead. The moment you say something it is not only a word: behind it is standing an alive being, full of joy, full of the experience, so full that he is overflowing. His words can take many, many things towards you, crossing all the barriers; there is a possibility of reaching.
But when the person who has heard it from somebody else goes on telling it to others, he is just repeating like a parrot.
That’s why, Anand Ravi, all the great teachings, all the teachings which were perfect become corrupted in time. They become corrupted even in the presence of the Master.
These are the seven steps of corruption. And if you keep alert then something can be saved – only something, but that something is enough. If you can save even a seed that will do, because out of that seed the whole earth can be made green.
From Guida Spirituale, Discourse #6
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