The supreme self is formed by the word “that” which has maya, illusion as its disguise – which is the source of the world, which is invested with the quality of omniscience, omnipresent, et cetera; which is mixed with the indirectness, and which is reality itself.
And that which is the shelter of the I-experience, and of the word “I” and whose knowledge about his own inner being is false, is called by the word “thou” – twam.
The supreme has maya, or illusion, as its disguise, and the self has ignorance as its disguise. Being shorn of them, only the supreme self remains, which is indivisible: satchidananda – existence, consciousness and bliss.
The Upanishads do not believe in a personal God. Neither do they believe in any personal relationship with the divine. They say that personal relationship is impossible, inconceivable. Why? – because the Upanishads say that personality itself is illusory. Try to understand this.
I am a person. It means I am separate from existence – personality means separation. I cannot be a person if I am not defined, I cannot be a person if I am not different. I cannot be a person if I am not separate. Personality exists as an island, defined, demarked, different, separate. The Upanishads say, personalities are false; you only appear to be persons, you are not.
The inner being is impersonal; it has no limitations, no boundaries. It begins nowhere and ends nowhere. It goes on and on to the infinite; it is the infinite and eternal. In space and in time both, it is undefined, undifferentiated; it is not separate like an island.
This word “personality” is very beautiful; we don’t have such a beautiful word in Sanskrit or Hindi. This word “personality” comes from a Greek root which means mask. The Greek root is persona. “Persona” means mask. Actors used it to deceive or to create the impression of some face in a drama. The original word means just a mask, a face, artificial. So if you are playing in a drama, acting as Rama, you can use a false face which gives the impression that you are Rama. Inside you are not Rama, only the face is Rama. The word personality comes from “persona.”
We all have personalities, which are simply masks. Inside there is no person at all; inside you are just eternal energy, infinite energy. Outside you have a face. That face is not you, that face is just like any mask in any drama. The world is a great drama and you have faces to play – and that’s why one face is not enough. The drama is so long and so big and multi-dimensional, so everyone has many faces. You are not one person, you are many persons together.
When you are talking to your friend, you have a different face; you are not the same person. When you are encountering your enemy, you have a different face; this is not the same face. You are with your beloved; this is a different face; you are with your wife – this is a different face. You can see: a couple is passing, and you can say whether they are husband and wife or not. If they are happy, they are not; if the feel blissful, ecstatic, they are not – the man must be moving with someone else’s wife. With one’s own wife it is a suffering, a pain, a burden – a duty. Any duty becomes a burden; it is not fun; it is not play.
Look at a person moving with his wife . . . he cannot look here and there; if a beautiful woman passes, he will remain a monk. Then you can know the man is moving with his wife, because the wife is observing him every moment – “Where are you looking? Why are you looking?” And he will have to explain everything back home. Of course, no explanation is ever accepted, but still explanations have to be given.
You are talking to your servant; look at your face in the mirror. You are talking to your boss; look – look at your tail, which is absent but still working, wagging. It is not there, but it is there.
Man has many faces, has to have, because every moment you need a new face. And the more civilized, the more faces; and the more civilized and cultured, the easier it is to change faces immediately. Really, you are not even aware that you go on changing faces; the whole thing has become automatic.
So personality is not personality, it is really personalities. Every man is many men – a crowd inside, and many faces constantly changing moment to moment. But are you your faces?
In Zen, in Japan, whenever a seeker comes to a master, the master says to him, “Meditate – and this is the object of your meditation; I give you this object for your meditation: find your original face. Find out how you looked before you were born; or find out how you will look when you have died. Find your original face – which is yours, not for others.”
All our faces are for others. Have you any face of your own? You cannot have, because faces are basically for others. You do not need them for yourself, there is no need. You are faceless. Really, the original face is faceless. You have no face inside – all the faces are outside; they are for others, meant to be for others.
The Upanishads say that you are impersonal inside – just life, not a person; just energy, not a person; just vitality, not a person; just existence, not a person. So how can you create a relationship with the divine? How can you create any relationship with the original source of life? When you don’t have any face, how can the divine have any face? The divine is faceless. The divine has no face, he need not have any. The divine is just pure existence with no body and no face. So you cannot be related personally.
Religions have talked in terms of personal relationship. Some religions call God father, mother, brother, beloved, or anything you wish – but they go on thinking in terms of relationship, of being related. They go on thinking in terms of anthropocentric attitudes. The father is a human relationship. Brother, mother, beloved, all – all relationships are human. You think in terms of relationship with the divine; you miss the point, because the divine is not a person, and there is no possibility of personal relationship. That’s why the Upanishads never call God the father. They never call God the mother; they never call God the beloved or the lover. They simply call God “that” – tat.
This word “that” is very basic to upanishadic teaching and philosophy. When you say “that,” it gives no sense of personality. When you call existence “that,” you cannot be related to it – there is no possibility. How can you be related to “that”? You cannot be related to “that.” What does it mean? Does it mean that you cannot be really related to the divine? No, but this shows that to be related to the divine is going to be altogether a different relationship; the quality cannot be human. Rather the relationship with the divine is going to be the very reverse of a human relationship.
When I am related to someone as husband and wife, or brother and sister, or father and son . . . two are needed in any relationship. Relationship can exist only between two points – two relators. This is how human relationship exists: between two. It is a flow, a bridge between two; it is dual. Human relationship is dual: two points are needed, then it can exist between these two. But with “that” – pure existence, divine, or God – you cannot be related in a dual way. You can be related only when you become one. You can be related only when you are no more. As long as you are, there can be no relationship. When you are not, then you are related. But then the very word becomes absurd, because relation always means between two. How can there be relationship when only one exists?
But this is the reverse of relationship. To call the divine “that,” indicates many things; there are many implications. One, you cannot be related in the ordinary sense of relationship with the divine. You can be related in a very extraordinary sense, absurd sense, when you have become one. Secondly, you cannot worship “that”; that’s impossible.
The Upanishads don’t preach any worship, any prayer – no. It would be good to understand the difference between prayer and meditation. The Upanishads teach meditation, never prayer. Prayer is always personal, a dialogue between you and the divine. But how can you have a dialogue with “that”? Impossible – the person must be there; only then a dialogue is possible.
One of the greatest Jewish thinkers of this age, Martin Buber, has written a book, I and Thou. Jewish thinking is dual, just the contrary of the upanishadic thinking. Buber says, “I and Thou – this is the basic relationship between man and man, and between man and the divine also. Because this is the only relationship: I and Thou.
When you stand before God as “I,” and God becomes “thou,” you are related. Buber says that when God becomes “thou,” you are in love. The Upanishads will not agree. They say if God is “thou,” then you are still there to call him “thou.” The “I” exists, and “I” is the barrier: the ego exits and the ego cannot be related. And if you think that the ego is related to the divine, then this thinking is false and pseudo. Really, you are in imagination. If God becomes “thou,” it is imaginary. The Upanishads say: “that.” But we can say “I and thou”; we cannot say “I and that,” because there is no relationship between “I” and “that.” The “I” must drop; only then the “that” evolves, arises. With the dropping of the “I,” the “that” is born. It is there, but the “I” is a barrier. When the barrier drops for the first time you realize existence as it is – that which is.
So the Upanishads always call the ultimate truth “that” – tat.
The second thing to be understood in this sutra, is that the nature of “that” is sat, chid, ananda – satchidananda. Sat means existence; chid means consciousness; ananda means bliss.
These three are the attributes of “that”:
It exists, it is conscious, and it is bliss.
The very nature of it is bliss.
If you can attain these three qualities, you have attained “that.” You exist – go deep. Everyone says, “I exist.” You were a child and you said, “I exist.” Where is that existence now? You have become young; you again say, “I exist.” You will become old.
The child said, “I exist”; the young man said, “I exist”; the old man says, “I exist.” And the child is no more, and the young man is no more, and the old is dropping himself, disappearing. Who says “I exist”? Who is that which goes on existing? Childhood transforms into youth, youth into old age; life becomes death. Who is that which says, “I exist”? Have you known it?
When you say, “I exist,” you always identify your “I” with the state you are in. If you are a child, you mean “I, the child, exists.” If you are old, you mean, “I, the old man, exists.” If you say, “I” . . . and if you are a man, you mean a man exists; if you are a woman, you mean “I exist, a woman exists.” Always the state is identified with the ”I,” and states go on changing. So really, you have not known that which exists; you have known only that which goes on changing.
The Upanishads say that which goes on changing is not existential; it is dreamlike. That which is always eternal, is existential. So attain in yourself the point, the center, which can say, “I exist, never changing, eternal, absolutely eternal.” If you can attain this point of existence, you will attain the two automatically, immediately: you will become absolutely conscious and you will become absolutely filled with bliss. Or, try from other routes. There are three attributes, so there can be three basic routes. Either attain existence – then the other two will follow, or attain any other one of the two, and the remaining two will follow.
Attain consciousness, become fully conscious; you are not. We are asleep, unconscious, moving as if in somnambulism, asleep. You are doing things like an automaton. Look at a man eating: he is eating here, but his mind is not here. His mind may be in his office or somewhere else. If the mind is not here, then he is eating in his sleep. It has become a routine, so he is going on. You are walking, your legs are walking but you are not in the legs. You are no longer there; you have already reached the goal where the legs have to reach. Or, you may be lagging behind, but you are not there with the legs, fully conscious that “I am moving, walking, eating.”
Attain to consciousness. Whatsoever you do, do with a fully conscious mind, mindful, aware, alert. If for a single moment you can be totally aware with no sleep inside anywhere, with no unconscious mind in your being . . . if you have become fully conscious, you have become enlightened. The other two will follow immediately – immediately! It is not right to say “follow” – they will happen immediately. There will be no following – immediately, yugapat. The very moment you are fully conscious, you will be existence, absolute, eternal, and you will be bliss – total.
Or, try to be blissful. Don’t allow your consciousness to be vulnerable to misery. Don’t allow your consciousness the weakness to be miserable. Be strong, resist the temptation of falling into misery. We all have temptations to fall into misery. There are reasons, psychological, because when you are miserable people pay more attention to you.
A child is sick and the whole family moves around him; when the child is not sick, no one cares. The child learns the trick: be miserable, be ill, and then the whole world will just go around you. It never does, but man goes on trying. Do you remember that when you are sick, you have a certain enjoyment in it? A certain satisfaction? Now you can throw everything on your sickness: your business is failing, so what can you do? You are sick. Your mind is not working well, what can you do? You are sick. Now you can throw everything on your sickness. And when you are sick you become a dictator. Now your wife has to follow, your brother has to follow, your children – you are sick. So the old man says to his children, “I am an old man. I am sick, I am going to die.” This creates authority. He says, “You have to listen to me.”
We have investments in misery; that’s why we go on inviting misery. If misery is not coming, we become miserable. No misery? Then where to stand? What to do? When you are in misery, going from one doctor to another, you feel good.
I have heard about a great surgeon, Kenneth Walker. He has written somewhere that he was studying with his teacher . . . he was studying surgery with his teacher. The teacher was a very well-known professor. One day he was sitting, checking some notes, and a patient came to the great doctor, his professor. And the professor said, “Where have you been? For two years I have not seen you. Have you been sick? For two years I have not seen you!”
“Have you been sick?” – of course, when people fall sick they cannot come to the doctor! Those who come are enjoying the trick; they go on changing doctors – from this to that, and they go on saying, “I have been to this doctor and to that, and no one can help me. I am incurable. I have defeated all the doctors.”
I know it in a different way. Many people come to me. They say, “I have been to this guru, I have been to that mahatma, I have been to this and that, and nothing happens.” They have defeated all; now they have come to defeat me – “Nothing happens. Can you do something?” As if someone else is responsible for them, that nothing happens. Really, if something happens, they will become miserable: now they cannot go anywhere else; now they cannot say, “I have been to this man and nothing happens.” They will become miserable if something happens, so they continue . . .
Feel blissful. Don’t allow yourself to be miserable. Don’t help yourself to be miserable. Don’t cooperate with misery; resist the temptation. It is very alluring – resist it! And try to be blissful in every state of mind. Whatsoever happens outside, don’t allow it to disturb your bliss. Go on being blissful.
I will tell you one anecdote. Chuang Tzu, one of the great Taoists of China, was sitting in front of his hut playing on an instrument and singing. Just that very morning his wife had died, and he was singing. The emperor came, just to offer his consolations to Chuang Tzu. Chuang Tzu was a great man, and the emperor respected him very much. It was rare that the emperor should come to a fakir, a poor man. But the emperor felt very awkward when he saw that Chuang Tzu was singing and laughing and sitting under the tree alone. But he had come, and he must have prepared . . . as many of you know by experience. When someone is dead, someone has died, you go and prepare the whole dialogue – what is to be said, how to console, and how to escape immediately! It is a duty to be done, and a very ugly duty. Someone has died and you have to do something, to say something; go there, make a face, be sad, and then escape. The king was prepared, but this Chuang Tzu disturbed everything.
The king came, he saw Chuang Tzu laughing and singing and playing on some instrument; he felt very awkward. Now all that he had thought of could not be said. Chuang Tzu was not sad at all; it was as if there had been no death. Or, he seemed even to be celebrating. So the king said, “Chuang Tzu, I know you are a great sage, but it is enough, more than enough not to be sad. This is going too far . . . to celebrate? Don’t be sad, that’s enough; it suits a saint. But this is going too far. Your wife has died this very morning, and what are you doing? – singing, laughing, and you look so cheerful. Is it your marriage day? Are you going to be married again? What are you doing?”
Chuang Tzu said, “I have made a vow to my teacher that I will remain blissful – whatsoever happens, it is not going to disturb my bliss. So whatsoever happens I always interpret it in such a way that it helps me to be blissful.”
Remember, everything is an interpretation. If you want to be miserable, you will interpret it in that way – everything! If you want to be blissful, the same situation will be interpreted in a different way.
So the king says, “Please let me know, because I have really too many wives, and sometimes wives die. So tell me the trick, the secret: How can you be blissful in such a state?”
Chuang Tzu said, “Everything that happens there outside, happens outside; it is not happening inside. One has to remember constantly. And whatsoever is happening outside need not disturb you, because you are not the outside; you are the inside. So a division, a remembrance, a constant mindfulness. And always look at life with total acceptance. Then you can never be miserable. My wife has died; everyone has to die. Sooner or later, I will die also, so death is a part of life. Once you are born you will die, so nothing untoward has happened – just a natural phenomenon, just a natural process. Secondly, my wife was ill, old, suffering; not only has my wife died, but also her oldness, her suffering has died. And this was worth that; this death was worth it. Now she is at ease. When I saw her face dead, it was the first time in my life I saw her blissful. She was never so blissful. So I am celebrating the event – at last, even my wife is blissful.”
Interpretations . . . and moreover, Chuang Tzu is reported to have said, “This is the last time, the departure day. She was with me for so long. And she helped me and served me, and made my life in many, many ways pleasant, happy, enjoyable. So what do you think? Should not I pay my gratitude, my respects, my thanks on the day of departure, the great departure? I am celebrating all the memories, all the pleasant memories that are associated with my wife. I am singing.”
It depends. If you try to be blissful continuously, if you don’t allow yourself to disturb yourself; if you remain centered in your being, undisturbed, unwavering – immediately the two others will happen. You will attain existence, and you will attain consciousness. These are the three paths. To be blissful is one path; many have tried this.
To be conscious is another path, one of the most followed. Mahavira, Buddha . . . they all followed the path of being conscious. To be existence – that too, the third path. These are the three basic paths, and they are basic paths because these three are the attributes of the ultimate reality.
Any attribute followed becomes a river.
You flow into it and move into the divine, into the supreme ocean. These three rivers fall there.
Really, it is just a symbol. In our mythology, we have been thinking of Ganga, Jamuna, Saraswati – these three rivers – as sacred rivers. These are the three rivers, the three paths. Ganga and Jamuna are visible, and the Saraswati has become invisible.
The path of bliss will be visible. Whosoever follows the path of bliss will be known everywhere, because his bliss will be coming out and flowing. His eyes, his movements, everything will be a blissful gesture. You cannot hide your bliss – that’s impossible.
The man who follows the path of consciousness will also be visible, because his very effort to be consciously continuously, will give a very strange look to his features, to his movements, to his gestures. He will move consciously; his every step will be conscious. And you can see him – you can see a buddha walking; he walks differently. You can see a buddha speaking; he speaks differently. Every gesture is conscious. When every gesture is conscious, it gives a different quality to every movement. It cannot be invisible; it becomes visible. These are the Ganga and Jamuna.
And Saraswati is invisible – the path of existence. He simply goes on inside, remembering who is that which exists – he will not be known; you cannot feel him from outside. So those who have followed the path of existence are the unknown masters; they are not known ordinarily. Unless one goes in deep search of them, they are not known.
Sufis have been following the third path, Saraswati – the invisible, the river which no one can see. So if you ask any Sufi “Where is your master?” you may be sent to a cobbler or to a tailor, or to a sweeper. No one knows; even his neighborhood has never known that he is a master. He is just a cobbler, and even you cannot see how this man is a master. But you will have to live for two, three years, five years with him, in his vicinity, in his presence. And then, by and by, you will become aware that this man is different. But his difference has to be felt. It takes time; it is deep, invisible.
These are the three paths – and three only, because three are the attributes of the divine, of the absolute, or of existence.
From That Art Thou, Discourse #43
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