In the search for the first principle, silence is the door – the only door. And except it there is no way to approach the first principle. The first principle can be known only when you move to the primordial state of your being. Thinking is secondary. Existence precedes thinking, existence comes first. First you are, and then you start thinking. Thinking is secondary. Thinking is a shadow activity; it follows you. It cannot exist without you, but you can exist without it. Through thinking you can know secondary things, not the primary things. The most fundamental is not available to thinking; the most fundamental is available to silence.
Silence means a state of consciousness where no thought interferes.
The first principle is not far away, it is not distant. Never think for a single moment that you are missing it because it is very far away. No, not at all. It is the closest thing to you. It is the obvious thing. It surrounds you. It surrounds you just like the ocean surrounds a fish. You are in it. You are born in it and born out of it. You live in it, you breathe in it, and one day you disappear in it. It is not far away, not that you have to travel to it. It is there. It is already there around you, within and without. It is your very existence, that first principle.
Zen people call it the first principle; other religions call it God. There is no difference. The Zen approach is far better because with the word “God,” trouble starts. The first principle becomes personified; then you can create an image. You cannot make an image of the first principle, but that’s what all the religions do. They say, “God is the first cause, the uncaused cause, the most fundamental, the substantial, the substratum.” Zen people call it the first principle. It is beautiful to call it the first principle because nothing preceded it. Everything has followed it.
So if you want to have a communion with the first principle, you will have to seek and search for a reality within yourself which is original, which has not been preceded by anything else.
Silence is primordial. Sound exists in silence. Sound comes and goes, silence remains. Sound is like light, and silence is like darkness. Darkness remains; light comes and goes. Light needs some cause to be. Darkness needs no cause. No fuel is needed for darkness; it simply exists without any fuel. It exists as primordial existence. Darkness is eternal; light is momentary. In the morning the sun rises and there is light. By the evening the sun is gone, the light is gone. Don’t think that the darkness comes. Darkness never comes; it is always there. Light comes and goes. You burn a lamp and there is light. You blow out the lamp and light is gone. Not that darkness comes; darkness is there. Light is accidental; darkness is existential.
Silence is there. You can create sound; you cannot create silence. The moment sound is no more created there is silence. Thinking is sound; meditation is silence. So all the religions of the world have been searching for and seeking in one way or another that silence which has not been preceded by anything else, which is the first.
Now a few things before we analyze this state of silence.
First thing. Man is missing this first principle not because he is not a skilled thinker but because he is, not because he is not a trained logician but because he is. Thinking creates a screen around you, a screen of smoke, and because of that smoke the obvious is lost. To see the obvious, you need clarity, not thinking, not logic. You simply need clarity, you need transparency. Your eyes should be completely empty, naked – naked of all clothes, naked of all concepts, empty, empty of all thoughts. When the eyes are just empty, you can see the first principle, and not only can you see it as an object outside you, you see it as your own interiority, as your own subjectivity.
In fact, it is thinking that creates the distinction between the subject and the object. It is thinking that creates division. It is thinking that creates a split. It is thinking that makes things separate. Once thinking is dropped, existence is one, it is one unity, it is one orgasmic experience where duality is totally lost. All boundaries lose themselves into each other, merge into each other. Everything is joined to everything else. The smallest leaf of grass is joined to the greatest star. And then there is nothing high, nothing low, nothing good, nothing bad, because all is joined together. The greatest saint is joined to the greatest sinner; they are not separate.
Nothing is separate. With the disappearance of thinking, schizophrenia disappears, this existential schizophrenia of dividing everything: this is man, this is woman, this is good, this is bad, this is beautiful, this is ugly, this is mine, this is thine. All distinctions create neuroses. Man is mad because he thinks too much, and he goes on missing the obvious.
God is very obvious.
I have heard about a great philosopher:
He married a beautiful girl many years his junior. After a while he began to be torn by doubts as to her faithfulness
Natural for a philosopher to be torn by doubts. A philosopher lives in doubts; doubt is his trade. He doubts, and he goes on doubting. Through doubt he creates questions and then answers, and through doubt he makes more questions out of the answers. His whole life is a procession of doubts. Naturally, “he began to be torn by doubts as to her faithfulness.”
. . . So he hired a private detective to watch her while he left on a trip. On his return he called the detective.
“Out with it, out with it!” shouted the philosopher. “I can take it. It is the element of doubt that is driving me crazy.”
“It looks bad,” said the detective. “As soon as you left the house a handsome fellow called for your wife. I followed them to a night dub. They had four or five drinks and then danced – and very close. Then they went back to their table and held hands. Finally they took a cab back to your house. The lights were on, and I saw them walk into the bedroom and embrace. Then the light went out and I could not see any more.”
“What did I tell you?” shouted the philosopher. “That damned element of doubt!”
Now, even the obvious – “That damned element of doubt! ” Even the obvious is not obvious to a philosopher. The greater the philosopher, the more doubts he has. He has doubts about everything. He doubts even his own existence – which in fact cannot be doubted. How can you doubt your own existence? Even to doubt, you are needed to be there. The doubt cannot exist in the air. The doubt cannot exist without you. The doubt can exist only if you are there, but philosophers have been doubting even their own existence: Who knows whether we are or we are not?
Doubt is the only outcome of thinking. Non-thinking gives you trust, non-thinking gives you faith, non-thinking brings you closer to reality, face to face with reality. So the first thing to be understood: thinking is not a way to the first principle. Not through philosophizing will you arrive at the first principle, because philosophy is secondary. You can know secondary things through the secondary. To know the primary, you will have to achieve the primary within yourself. You can know only that which you are.
If you live in thinking, you will be able to know only secondary things. You will be able to know the shadow world, what Hindus call the world of maya. Through the mind you can know only the world of maya, the shadow world, the world of illusions. You will be surprised. In Sanskrit we have two terms. One is vidya; vidya means “knowledge”. Another is avidya; avidya means “nonknowledge”. And you will be surprised, in Sanskrit “science” is called avidya – “nonknowledge”. Science is called avidya. Why? Science knows more than anything else, but in Sanskrit they call science avidya. Why? Because science knows only the shadow world – knows the secondary, the nonessential; knows the object, misses the subject; knows the body, misses the soul; knows the world, misses God; knows the secondary.
To know the primary, you will have to become primary. You will have to fall into that wavelength where the primary pulsates, that silence. That is the state of no-mind. No-mind preceded your mind.
A child is born. He comes without any mind whatsoever; he simply exists. His existence is pure, unhampered by any thought, unhindered by any cloud. Look into the eyes of a child. They are so innocent, they are so transparent, so crystal clear. From where comes this clarity? This clarity comes from no-thought. The child still has not learned how to think, how to accumulate thoughts. He looks, but he cannot classify. If he looks at the trees, he cannot say they are trees, he cannot say they are green, he cannot say they are beautiful. He sees the trees, but no classification, no category. He has no language yet to be clouded with. He simply sees. Color is there, but he cannot say is color; green is there, but he cannot say it is green. Everything is purely clear, but he cannot label it. Hence the innocence of the eyes.
A man of understanding again attains the same eyes. He again becomes a child, as far as the clarity is concerned. Jesus is right when he says, “Become like small children; only then will you be able to enter into my kingdom of God.” He is not saying become foolish like children; he is not saying become childish; he is not saying learn tantrum again; he is not saying that a child is the last stage. No, he is saying simply one thing. He is not saying become a child; he is saying become like a child. How can you become a child again? But you can become like a child. If you can drop thinking, if this cloak of thinking is dropped and you become nude, again you will have the same clarity.
It happens sometimes through drugs. Not a very good way to attain it – very dangerous, very costly, and illusory – but it happens. Hence the appeal of the drugs down the ages. Drugs are not new in the world; even in the Vedas they talk about soma. Soma seems to be one of the most powerful drugs ever discovered by man. It must be something like LSD. Aldous Huxley has said that in the future, when the ultimate drug will be known, we will call it soma. From the Vedas, the ancient most book in the world, to Timothy Leary, man has always been attracted by drugs – alcohol, marijuana, opium. Why this attraction? And all the moralists have been against it, and all the puritans have been against it, and all the governments have tried to curb and control, but it seems beyond any government to control it. What has been the cause of it? It gives something … it gives a glimpse into the innocent mind of the child again.
Through chemical impact, the mind becomes loosened for a few moments or a few hours. Under the impact of the drug your thinking slips. You start looking into reality without thinking; again the world is colorful, as it is for the child; again in a small pebble you can see the greatest diamond; ordinary grass looks so extraordinary; an ordinary flower looks so tremendously beautiful; an ordinary human face looks so divine. Not that anything has changed. The whole world is the same. Something has changed in you – and that too only temporarily. Through the forceful drug your mind has slipped down. You don’t have the mask; you can see into things with clarity. That is the appeal of the drugs down the ages.
And unless meditation becomes available to millions of people, drugs cannot be prevented.
Drugs are dangerous because they can destroy your body’s equilibrium, they can destroy your nature, they can destroy your inner chemistry. You have a very delicate chemistry. Those strong drugs can destroy your rhythm. And more and more drugs will be needed and you will become addicted – and less and less will be the experience. By and by, the mind will learn how to cope with the drugs, and then, even under the drug, you will not attain to the state of innocence. Then you will need even stronger drugs.
So this is not a way.
The mind can be put aside very easily. There is no need to depend on anything chemical, on anything artificial. There is a natural possibility to get out of the mind, because we were born without minds. Deep down we are still no-minds. The mind is only on the periphery. That’s why I say it is just a cloak, a dress that you are wearing. You can slip out of it.
And one moment of slipping out of it will reveal to you a totally different world: the world of the first principle.
So the real fight in the future is going to be between meditation and drugs. In fact, that has always been the case: the real fight is between drugs and meditation, either drugs or meditation.
So it is not coincidental that when you start meditating by and by the pull of the drug becomes less and less. If it is not becoming less and less, then know well you are not meditating yet, because when you know the higher, the lower is dropped automatically.
But one thing has to be understood. Drugs do something; they UNDO something in you. They help you to get out of the mind. They give you courage to look into reality without thinking. For a moment the curtain slips, and suddenly you are aware that the world has a splendor. It had never had it before. You had passed through the same street and you had looked through the same trees and at the same stars and the same people, and today now everything suddenly is so luminous and everybody is so beautiful and everybody is afire with life, with love. A saint – one who has attained – lives in that state continuously, without any effort.
You were born as a no-mind. Let this sink into your heart as deeply as possible because through that a door opens. If you were born as a no-mind, then the mind is just a social product. It is nothing natural; it is cultivated. It has been put together on top of you. Deep down you are still free; you can get out of it. One can never get out of nature, but one can get out of the artificial any moment one decides to.
Existence precedes thinking. So existence is not a state of mind; it is a state beyond. To be is the way to know the fundamental, not to think. Science means thinking, philosophy means thinking, theology means thinking. Religion does not mean thinking. The religious approach is a nonthinking approach. It is more intimate, it brings you closer to reality. It drops all that hinders, it unblocks you; you start flowing into life. You don’t think that you are separate, looking. You don’t think that you are a watcher, aloof, distant. You meet, mingle, and merge into reality.
And there is a different kind of knowing. It cannot be called “knowledge”. It is more like love, less like knowledge. It is so intimate that the word “knowledge” is not sufficient to express it. The word “love” is more adequate, more expressive.
In the history of human consciousness, the first thing that evolved was magic. Magic was a combination of science and religion. Magic had something of the mind and something of the no-mind. Then out of magic grew philosophy. Then out of philosophy grew science. Magic was both no-mind and mind; philosophy was only mind; and then mind plus experimentation became science. Religion is a state of no-mind.
Religion and science are the two approaches to reality. Science approaches through the secondary; religion goes direct. Science is an indirect approach; religion is an immediate approach. Science goes round and round; religion simply penetrates to the heart of reality.
A few more things. Thinking can only think about the known – it can chew the already chewed. Thinking can never be original. How can you think about the unknown? Whatsoever you can manage to think will belong to the known. You can think only because you know. At the most, thinking can create new combinations. You can think about a horse who flies in the sky, who is made of gold; but nothing is new. You know birds who fly in the sky, you know gold, you know horses; you combine the three together. At the most, thinking can imagine new things, but it cannot know the unknown. The unknown remains beyond it. So thinking goes in a circle, goes on knowing the known again and again and again. It goes on chewing the chewed one. Thinking is never original.
And the first principle means to come upon reality originally, radically, to come upon reality without any mediator, to come upon reality as if you are the first person to exist and you come upon reality. That is liberating. That very newness of it liberates.
And when you come to know reality directly, it is never reduced to the known; the mystery remains. In fact, it becomes a deeper mystery than ever. The more you know, the more you feel that you don’t know. The more you know, the less you feel you know. The more you know, the more vast is the mystery of it. Religion is mysticism, religion is magic, because religion is a no-mind approach.
Thinking can think only about the known; it is repetitive. Philosophy is repetitive. You can go into the books of philosophy, into the history of philosophy, and you will see the same thing being repeated again and again – new phraseology, new words; new terms, new definitions, but nothing fundamentally different. From Thales to Bertrand Russell you can go on, but you will find the same thing being repeated again and again. The wheel moving: the same spokes come to the top again and again.
Science can experiment only with the objective; experimentation is possible only with the objective. You cannot experiment with the experimenter himself; there is no way. The subjective reality remains outside science. Einstein may know much about matter, but he does not know anything about himself. Newton may know much about gravitation, but he does not know who he is. One goes on accumulating knowledge about the objective world, and one remains in deep darkness within one’s own self. One’s own light is not yet there, and one goes on groping, experimenting.
Science can experiment only with the objective, philosophy can think only about the known, and the reality is beyond both. The reality is unknown – not only unknown, but unknowable – and the reality contains the subjective element. So the very methodology of philosophy and science prohibits coming to the fundamental, to the first principle. To come to the fundamental, you will have to find another door, a door other than science and philosophy. That door is religion.
And religion can be reduced to one word, and that word is “meditation,” or call it silence – to be in such a silence that you are almost not, there is no noise within you, the stillness is absolute. Only in that stillness something stirs, only in that stillness do you start hearing the still, small voice of the first principle – call it God or call it soul. Only then life calls forth life. Only then the source calls forth the source. Only then are you close to reality, hand in hand with the fundamental. And that is the search, that is what we are seeking; and without knowing it, without realizing it, there is going to be no fulfillment.
The last thing; then we enter into this small parable. When thinking disappears you are left with the first principle. It has always been there; you were not there just because of thinking. Now you are also there: two presences meet. Ordinarily you are absent, you are somewhere else. In your thoughts you are lost. When there is no thought you are here-now; then there is no way to go from here-now. Thought functions as a bridge to go away from yourself. The moment a thought has come in, you are already far away from yourself. When there is no thought, where can you go, how can you go? When there is no thought you have to be in the present. Thought can take you to the past, thought can take you to the future; no-thought brings you to the present. And only the present is. This moment is all there is.
When you are here-now, absolutely here-now, how can you miss the real, how can you miss God? When thinking disappears you are left with the first principle.
But when I say “when thinking disappears,” I am not saying “when you fall asleep,” because in deep sleep thinking does disappear. In the East we have divided human consciousness into four phases. The first phase we call “waking”, jagrat. Waking means “consciousness plus thinking”; you are conscious, but your mind is crowded with thoughts. The second state we have called “dreaming”, swapna. The second state means “unconsciousness plus thinking”; you fall asleep, but the thinking continues so there is dreaming. Dreaming is a way of thinking in sleep, and thinking is a way of dreaming while awake. Thinking and dreaming are not two separate things. Dreaming is only thinking in a very primitive language – the language of images. Then the third state we call sushupti: sleep, deep sleep, dreamless deep sleep. The third state is “unconsciousness minus thinking”; you are unconscious – you don’t know where you are, who you are, all consciousness has disappeared, you are at rest – and with the consciousness has disappeared thinking too, dreaming too.
These three are ordinary states: waking, dreaming, sleeping. We all know these three. The fourth is the state of meditation. The fourth is called samadhi, turya. It means” consciousness minus thinking”.
So four stages: consciousness plus thinking is waking, consciousness minus thinking is samadhi, unconsciousness plus thinking is dreaming, unconsciousness minus thinking is sleep.
So samadhi has something similar to waking and something similar to sleep; hence Patanjali has defined samadhi as “waking sleep” – sleep and yet not sleep. Sleep in the sense that there are no thoughts now, no dreams. And not sleep in the sense that you are perfectly aware, that the light of your awareness is there, that you are conscious, that you know that there is no knowledge now, that you are aware that all thinking has disappeared, that you are aware that now there is no dream lurking in your field of consciousness, that you are absolutely zero, shunyam.
This is the state that the East has been trying to achieve. The West has been too involved with science; hence it has missed religion. The East’s involvement is with samadhi: hence it has missed science.
These four states can be thought of in some other ways also. Consciousness plus thinking means waking. Science is a waking activity, so is philosophy, so is theology. Second, dreaming: unconsciousness plus thinking. That is what art is, poetry, painting, music. It is a dream activity, so it is not just accidental that we call the poets dreamers, that we call the artists dreamers, that we don’t trust them much – they are not reliable, they cannot be the guides to reality. We enjoy them, it is fun, but we cannot accept them as guides to reality – they are not. They live in fantasy. They dream while awake. Their eyes are full of dreams. So waking is science, philosophy, theology, logic; and art, all kinds of art, is dream activity.
Unconsciousness minus thinking means sleep. Of course all activity ceases in sleep, so nothing is born out of sleep – no science, no art.
Consciousness minus thinking is samadhi. Samadhi gives birth to religion. When Jesus attained to samadhi Christianity was born. When Nanak attained to samadhi Sikhism was born. When Buddha attained to samadhi Buddhism was born. Religion is born out of samadhi, the fourth state. What is samadhi? If you can stop your thinking and yet remain alert and don’t fall asleep. Difficult, arduous, one of the most difficult things, almost impossible. It is easy to be awake and thinking, it is easy not to think and fall asleep, but to remain awake and not think is the most difficult thing, because it is not part of evolution. It is a revolution. It is not given by nature automatically. You have to attain it.
That is the task man has to solve. That is the challenge given to man, and very few have accepted that challenge. And those who have accepted it, only they are man; others are man only for the name’s sake. We exist as potential man, not as actual man. It is our potentiality. We can become a Buddha or a Christ, but it has not happened yet. We are just seeds. That’s our misery because a seed can never be satisfied unless it becomes a tree and blooms. A seed will remain miserable because there is a feeling deep down that “I am not yet that which I am meant to be; my destiny is not fulfilled.”
Have you not observed this in you? If you had not observed it, you would not be here. You are here only because you feel something is missing. You are here only because you continuously feel that something has to happen and it is not happening, that something is just there by the corner and yet you cannot grasp it, seems to be not very far away, yet seems to be beyond reach. The tree is not very far away from the seed. If the seed finds the right soil, falls into the soil, relaxes, surrenders to the soil, dissolves into the soil, dies into the soil, then the tree is not very far away. In the right season the seed will sprout, a tender plant will be born, and the seed will be able to see the light.
Only when the seed has become a plant will it be able to feel the wind and the ecstasy that the wind is and be able to feel the sunrays and the ecstasy that the sun brings and be able to live and be able to accept the challenges and start growing. Come storm, come wind, come rains, and the small, tender plant will become stronger and stronger. Every challenge will give it strength and integration; and one day there will be a great tree whispering to the skies, it will bloom, and the fragrance will be released to the winds in all directions. Then there will be jubilation.
When Jesus says again and again to his children, to his disciples, “Rejoice!” what he is saying is true because he has become a tree and he has bloomed. But his disciples must have looked here and there, they must have thought, “What does he mean? Why does he go on saying again and again, ‘Rejoice’?” They are seeds; how can they rejoice?
When I say to you, “Celebrate!” you start thinking, “For what? Why? What have we got to celebrate?” You cannot celebrate because celebration is possible only when you bloom. I know it! But I go on saying, “Celebrate!” And Jesus knows it and he goes on saying, “Rejoice!” In fact, he wants to create such a thirst in you to know what this rejoicing is that out of that thirst you start seeking and searching for the right soil.
To find a right Master is to find a right soil because only through the Master will you be able to dissolve, only through the Master will you be able to surrender. A seed needs to surrender. A seed has to die; only then is there a new life born out of it. Death makes it possible. Death is tremendously beautiful: it makes it possible that a man can be new, a man can be reborn.
Samadhi is celebration, samadhi is rejoicing. Samadhi is your gratitude towards God, your thanksgiving.
How can you thank God right now? You have nothing to thank him for. You can complain, you cannot thank him; so your prayers are more of complaints, less of thanks. You cannot say, “Thank you.” How can you? For what? In fact, you are very angry with God. Why has he given birth to you? Why has he created so much misery? Why has he put you in such anguish and turmoil? Why in the first place? What wrong have you done? If suddenly you come across God you will jump upon him. That’s why he goes on hiding. You will kill him. You will say, “What have you been doing? For what are we suffering? What wrong have we done? Why did you make us in the first place? Not to be would have been better – no anxiety, no anguish. Not to be would have been more peaceful. Why did you create us?”
The whole existence seems to be mischievous. It seems as if somebody, a sadistic God, is sitting there, torturing people, creating a thousand and one ways to torture them.
Right now, you cannot thank him because right now you are not. When you are, you will be able to thank him. And the way to be goes through death, through surrender. And the way goes through silence. But it is not easy to be silent; it is the most arduous thing to be silent.
From The First Principle, Discourse #3
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