What is the relationship between enlightenment and the spring of life? Is enlightenment the spring of life?
One basic thing has always to be remembered: not to get involved in questions of intellect. They are pseudo questions; they don’t belong to your experience. Mind is tremendously capable of creating questions out of words.
But any question that is created by the mind, out of words, not out of experience, is an exercise in utter futility. You don’t know what enlightenment is as an experience, you don’t know what the spring of life is as an experience. The question is purely intellectual. It can lead to a great philosophical discussion, but it will not lead to any understanding or any transformation.
Intellect is one of the barriers to reach to the sources of existence. It does not allow you to ask the authentic question. It goes on giving you questions which only appear as questions, but they are not your quest. Of course in a dictionary, enlightenment will mean one thing and spring of life will mean something else.
But here we are not discussing linguistics. And the people who have been writing dictionaries, analyzing language and grammar, are not the people of the path. So the first thing: always remember whether the question is arising from some experiential source or not. If it is not arising from experience, then it is not worth discussing.
Carol, a newlywed, brags that her Romeo is a model husband. We looked up the word ‘model’ in the dictionary, and found it means “a small imitation of the real thing.”
It has been heard that the pope died but was allowed to return to earth to speak to the cardinals. They gathered around him eagerly.
“What is he like?” they clamored. ”Is he very old, with a long, white beard, like in all the paintings? Tell us, describe him.”
“Well,” said the pope, “to start with, she is black.”
Knowing is one thing; knowing directly and knowing through books are so different. Sometimes they may appear to be similar, but they are not similar.
I cannot answer your question in terms of intellect, but I can answer it in terms of existential experience. The spring of life and enlightenment are not the same, although they are deeply related. The spring of life, when it becomes aware of itself, brings you to the experience of enlightenment. In other words, spring of life plus awareness is equal to enlightenment.
The spring of life is available to everybody; otherwise how can you live? Your life is continuously being nourished by the spring of life. The trees are nourished by the spring of life, the flowers blossom… but the juice comes from the spring of life. The whole existence is nothing but a manifestation of the springs of life.
But trees cannot become enlightened – neither can mountains or oceans; neither can animals or birds. They all have the same source of life that you have. But man has a prerogative, a privilege, that he can become aware of his spring of life. This awareness is not possible in any other form in existence. It is man’s grandeur, it is his dignity. Existence has given him the most precious opportunity. If he can create awareness, consciousness, more alertness, then his spring of life explodes into a new dimension. The dimension of life becomes the dimension of light, of knowing – knowing the deepest roots of our being in eternity. And the moment we know our roots are eternal; we know our flowers are also going to be eternal.
Enlightenment is a flowering.
The springs of life are seeds; enlightenment is a flower. The seed has come to its ultimate expression – there is no further to go. Springs of life are the lowest rung of the ladder, and enlightenment is the highest rung of the ladder, although the ladder is the same.
The change comes slowly, as you become more aware of who you are, of what life is – not intellectually, not by reading through scriptures, but by reading the only holy scripture: your own being, and bringing your potential to its realization. So that which was hidden in the seed becomes an explosion in the flower, in the fragrance. That fragrance is enlightenment. It comes from the sources of life, but it is not synonymous with it.
The seed is not synonymous with the flower, although the flower comes from the seed. The seed is the womb, but the flower – although connected with the seed, with the womb – is a totally new experience.
Awareness ordinarily is objective. You know others, you know the world, you know the faraway stars. The moment awareness turns inwards and starts knowing itself – in other words, the moment awareness is the object of its own knowing – enlightenment blossoms with all its beauty, with all its immortal glory.
Life is accepted by the scientist, but he is not yet capable of accepting the possibility of enlightenment. Life is accepted by the atheist, but he is also not capable of comprehending the ultimate explosion. Just as for millennia we had no idea that matter is made of small atoms, which are not visible to the eyes … they are so small that if you put one atom upon another atom, and then go on putting one on top of another, you will need one hundred thousand atoms, and then they will be as thick as a human hair. Such a small atom, one hundred thousand times thinner than a human hair, when it explodes, releases so much energy that a city like Hiroshima or Nagasaki disappears within seconds – evaporates.
I have seen a picture sent by a friend from Japan … just looking at the picture, one feels so sad about humanity, so hopeless. The picture is of a small girl, maybe nine years old. She is going from the ground floor to the first story with her bag and books – perhaps to do her homework before she goes to sleep. She is just in the middle of the staircase when the atom bomb falls on Hiroshima. Just a small atom exploding creates so much energy … you can use it for destruction or you can use it for some creative purpose. Right now the scientists say we have come so far from Hiroshima and Nagasaki – our new nuclear weapons are so great in their energy – that the atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima look like children’s toys.
If matter, in its smallest particle, contains so much energy, can you conceive how much energy may be available in the living cell of human beings?
Enlightenment is the explosion of a living cell. Certainly it is not destructive at all, but it transforms the whole man. In that way, it is destructive. It destroys the old man, it destroys the night, it destroys all that was constituting your personality: your jealousy, your anger, your hate, your lust, your greed – all that is simply finished in a single moment. And the same energy that was involved in jealousy, hate, greed, ambition, and a thousand and one desires, is changed into totally new forms of energy: love, silence, peace, compassion, wisdom – all that is the basic search of life itself.
Life in itself is dormant, it is fast asleep. Enlightenment is absolutely awake. But it is the same energy that was asleep that becomes awake. So they are not synonymous, but they are two extremes of the same energy.
But this, if taken as an intellectual understanding, is not going to help you in any way. It has to become your own experience.
You have to see that light.
You have to see that explosion within your own being.
You have to see the darkness disappearing. You have to see the new dawn of a new life – a life of grace and gratitude, a life of beauty and blessings.
Chandaram, you have to remember, it is very easy to ask questions as mind gymnastics. I am not interested in mind gymnastics because it leads you nowhere; you remain stuck where you are. You only become more burdened with knowledge – knowledge which is meaningless because it is not part of your own experience.
Rabbi Bierstein was asking his congregation to donate money to help build a new synagogue.
Suddenly, the town prostitute stood and shouted, “Praise the Lord. I repent. I will give two thousand dollars right now.”
“Well, as much as we need funds, I am afraid I cannot accept tainted money,” said Bierstein.
“Take it, Rabbi,” shouted a man from the back, “after all, it is our money anyway!”
Now, what are these guys doing in a synagogue? Just a formality. They are visiting prostitutes. The prostitute is more authentic. Perhaps the money also belongs to the Rabbi; that’s why the man is saying, “It is our money anyway.”
Mind has been befooling man for centuries.
After holding mass in Warsaw Cathedral, the pope was giving words of encouragement to a group of devout Poles. One of them asked, “Your Holiness, Poles are such devout Catholics, why was Christ not born in Poland?”
“Don’t you understand,” said the pope, “that for such a birth, there had to be three wise men and a virgin?”
And where can you find three wise men and a virgin in Poland? You must know the story of Jesus, that he is born out of a virgin, and three wise men come from the East to pay him respect. They are the first to recognize in the small child the possibility of a future enlightened being. They recognized in the seed, the flower.
I recognize in you the seed and the potential of the flower. But if you go on thinking intellectually, you will become a philosopher, a theologian; you will never become a mystic. And unless you become a mystic, you have wasted your life. Such a great opportunity, where you can grow to your greatest height of consciousness, is being wasted in unconscious trivia.
Even if you think about something great, it is only a thought, it never becomes an actual reality in your being.
I would like you to be more existential. I am not an existentialist because that is again falling into the same trap. Existentialist philosophers are not enlightened people. Neither Jean-Paul Sartre is enlightened nor Jaspers, nor Martin Heidegger, nor Marcel, nor Soren Kierkegaard; they are philosophers of existence, they think about existence.
I want you not to be existentialist thinkers; I want you to be existential experiencers. That difference is so great, and makes all the difference – because Jean-Paul Sartre, or Jaspers or other existentialist philosophers live in anguish, in anxiety, in boredom, in despair. They even think that perhaps suicide is the only way out of this mess. These people are not to be categorized with Gautam Buddha or Chuang Tzu or Baal Shem. These people are thinking about existence, just as old philosophers were thinking about God; only the object of thinking has changed, but thinking continues, and thinking can only lead you into a desert.
It is only the experience which leads your life river towards the ultimate merger with the ocean, with the universe, with the life of full awareness. You come back home. You had left the home unconscious, you come back home with consciousness. The circle is complete. Your life has come to fulfillment and contentment. This is the only benediction and this is the only authentic religious path.
From The New Dawn, Chapter 16
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