This morning you spoke of the need to be responsible, to not lean on others, to be alone.
I see I have been taking sannyas as an excuse to avoid these things – Asking you all the time what to do, calling on your presence when I am sad and lonely, imagining you are with me, filling all the emptiness. I feel irresponsible and confused again about what sannyas is.
You will always feel confused if you lean on somebody else because then the understanding will not be yours, and understanding cannot be borrowed. So you can befool yourself a little while. Again and again the reality will erupt and you will feel confused. So the only way to avoid confusion is not-rationalization. The only way to avoid confusion is to stand on your own feet, to be alert, to be aware. Don’t postpone awareness. Whenever you start leaning on somebody, you are avoiding awareness — and you have been taught and conditioned for it from the very beginning. The parents, the peers, the society, the educationists, the politicians, they all go on trying to condition you in such a way that you always depend on others. Then you can be manipulated, then you can be dominated. Then you can be exploited and oppressed, then you can be reduced to being a slave. You lose your freedom.
This conditioning is there. When you come to me you come with that conditioning, of course; there is no other way. And immediately your mind starts functioning from your conditioning: you start leaning on me. But I am not going to allow you that. I will push you again and again, throw you again and again to yourself. Because I would like you to stand on your own understanding. Then it will be something of the permanent, then you will never be confused.
Confusion comes in…. I say something to you, you start believing in it — but it is not your vision, it is not your perception. Tomorrow in life something happens and you are in a difficulty. The difficulty arises because you have learned by rote — you have memorized me. Now you will try to respond through this borrowed understanding. Life changes every moment. My understanding of this moment will not be of any help to you the next moment. My understanding of this moment cannot be made a permanent reference. And if you take it verbally, intellectually, mentally, and you carry it with you, you will again and again be confused; because life will always sabotage your so-called understanding.
Life trusts only real understanding. Real means your own, authentic, that arises from you.
I am not here to give you knowledge, I am not here to give you theories. That’s what has been done for centuries, and man has remained as ignorant as ever. I am here to make you alert to the fact that hidden behind you, within you, is a source of light. Tap that source. Let that light bum bright within you. And then you have something alive. Then whatsoever problems come in life, you will not tackle them from your past knowledge. You will tackle them in the present. You will face them with your present understanding.
Whatsoever I say will always become past. The moment I have said, the moment you have heard, it has already gone into the past. And life goes on changing; it is a constant movement. It knows no stopping, it knows no rest. Again and again you will feel confused.
And with me also there is a problem. The next moment you will ask the same question, and I will never answer the same again. Because I respond. I don’t answer, I don’t remember my old answers — I respond. Your question is there, I am here, I respond again. And if you go on collecting my answers: not only confused, you will become mad. Because you will not find any harmony in them, any consistency in them. They are inconsistent. What can I do. Life is inconsistent. If I am to be true to life, I have to remain inconsistent in my statements. If I want to be true to my statements, then I betray life. And I would like to remain true to life. I can betray my past, but I cannot betray the present. I can go against my statements, but I cannot go against the present life, this moment.
So confusion will arise. Someday I will say something, and I will say something else some other day. If you compare, if you try to make a consistent whole out of my statements, you are going to be in trouble, in deep trouble. Don’t do that. You just listen to me. And don’t learn my answer; learn my response. Don’t be bothered with what I say. See the way I say it. See the way I respond to a situation, to a question. The answer is not important, but my alive response is.
And if you can learn the alive response, you become responsible. My meaning of the word “responsibility” is totally different from the dictionary meaning. In the dictionary responsibility seems something like a duty, a commitment, as if you are responsible to somebody else. The word is almost dirty. The mother goes on saying to the child, “You are responsible to me, remember.” The father goes on saying to the son, “You are responsible to me, remember.” The society goes on saying to the individuals, “You are responsible to us, to the society, remember.” And your so-called images of God, they also go on telling people, “You are responsible to us… to me.”
When I use the word “responsibility” I mean your aliveness, responding aliveness. You are not responsible to anybody else except your own being, this moment. You are responsible to be responsible. To respond with an open heart, with vulnerability. Not with closed fists but with open hands. Not hiding and holding something. Opening yourself completely, in deep trust with life. Not trying to be clever and cunning. Then you float with life moment to moment… your response will change because life is changing.
Sometimes it is hot and you cannot sit outside in the sun and you would need a shelter. Sometimes it is too cold and you cannot sit under the shelter and you would like to sit under the sun. But nobody is going to say to you that you look very inconsistent: “The other day you were sitting in the shelter, and now you are sitting under the sun? Be consistent! Choose! If you want to sit in the sun, then sit consistently in the sun.” You will laugh at this absurdity, but this is what people have expected of you in life.
Everything is changing around you. Don’t get fixed ideas; otherwise you will be confused. And don’t listen to what others say; listen to your own heart. I have heard:
What mankind had feared for generations finally happened: a nuclear reaction ran out of control and the entire globe exploded, killing every living thing in it.
Naturally, at the Pearly Gates there was terrible confusion, what with so many souls arriving at the same time, so St. Peter decided to try and sort out the grades by putting up various notices behind which the appropriate souls could form queues.
One sign read Bosses Only, and another read Men Who Were Under Their Wives’ Thumbs. Behind the Bosses Only sign was one solitary soul, whereas under the other sign was a queue stretching right to the Milky Way.
St. Peter, curious, said to the solitary soul, “How is it that you are the only one here?”
“I don’t know — the wife told me to stand here,” was the reply.
Sometimes it is the wife, sometimes it is the husband, sometimes it is the father, sometimes the mother — sometimes the guru. Somebody is telling you to stand here, and you don’t know why. Make sure why you are standing there.
Listen. It is a little complex. Even if you decide to follow somebody, listen to your heart, as to whether you want to follow. I am not saying don’t follow anybody, because if your heart says follow, then what will you do? But listen to the heart, feel your own feeling first because ultimately you are responsible to your heart. Everything else is secondary; you are primary. You are the center of your world.
If you choose to follow me or if you choose to be initiated by me, if you choose to surrender to me, feel first your own feeling. Otherwise you will again and again be confused, and again and again you will start thinking, “What am I doing here?” You will start thinking, “Why have I taken sannyas? Why?” Don’t take it because somebody else is saying to. Feel it. Then the confusion will never arise. Then it cannot arise; then there is no question of confusion.
Confusion is a wrong functioning. If you function from your center, confusion never arises. If you function from somebody else’s center, the confusion is bound to arise continuously — and people are functioning from others’ understandings, from advisers, experts. They are living through them. People have completely left their lives in others’ hands.
Feel it, wait for the feeling to arise. Be patient, don’t be in a hurry. And if you have felt your feeling well, then you will have a deep root, and that root will make you strong, and that root will not allow any confusion to settle around you.
From Yoga: The Path to Liberation, Discourse #2 (Originally published as Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, V.9)
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