The enquiry about the oneness of the soul and the brahman to the great saying like “That Art Thou” is known as the right listening. And thinking in the right way on the meaning of what has been listened to is known as right contemplation.
And to harmonize and center one’s mind with the meaning, shorn of all doubts – that which is derived from right listening and right contemplation is what is known as meditation.
And finally, when the meditator and meditation are eliminated, and only you are fixed, meditating upon the means, then the mind becomes unwavering and settled like a flame in a place without air. And that is called samadhi.
This sutra uses four words as four steps – four steps towards the unknown. The first is shravan. Shravan means right listening – not just listening, but right listening.
We listen, everyone listens, but right listening is a rare achievement. So what is the difference between listening and right listening, shravan?
Right listening means not just a fragmentary listening. I am saying something, you are listening to it there. Your ears are being used; you may not be just behind your ears at all; you may have gone somewhere else. You may not be present there. If you are not present there in your totality, then it cannot be right listening.
Right listening means you have become just your ears – the whole being is listening. No thinking inside, no thoughts, no thought process, only listening. Try it sometimes; it is a deep meditation in itself. Some birds are singing – the crows – just become listening, forget everything – just be the ears. The wind is passing through the trees, the leaves are rustling; just become the ears, forget everything – no thought process, just listen. Become the ears. Then it is right listening, then your whole being is absorbed into it, then you are totally present.
And the Upanishads say that the esoteric, ultimate formulas of spiritual alchemy cannot be given to you unless you are in a moment of right listening. These spiritual formulas – ultimate, secret keys – cannot be handed over to you as you are: unconscious of yourself, fragmentary, partial, listening but not present there. These keys can be handed to you only when your total being has become receptive to take them in. They are seeds, and the seeds are powerful; they will explode in you. And they will begin to grow in you, but one has to become just a womb to receive them. If your ears have become just wombs to receive, and your total presence is there; if your whole body is listening – every fiber, every cell of the body is listening – only then these “great sentences” as they are called, mahavakyas, can be delivered to you.
So it has been a tradition in India, in the old India of ancient days, not to write down these mahavakyas, these great secret formulas – because if they are written, anyone can read them. He may not be ready. He may not be reading, he may not be listening, but he can become acquainted and that acquaintance becomes a barrier. When he begins to feel that he knows – and these secrets are not to be known through words, they can be known only through experience . . .
So the rishis, the writers of these Upanishads insisted for centuries not to write at all. These secrets were given from one individual to another, and not in an ordinary way – in a very extraordinary process. A teacher, a master would give these secrets to a disciple. And the disciple must wait, sometimes for years; just being near the master, forgetting himself completely; just becoming attention, just being attentive – whatsoever the master says, to listen; whatsoever he orders, to do. He had just to be obedient, serve, and remain there – constantly remaining in the presence of the master and waiting for the right moment. And the disciple cannot decide when the right moment is, so leaving it to the master, remaining in a let-go and waiting . . . and suddenly one day, any moment, the master will say it. When the master finds that now you can listen with your total being, that now you have become a womb, just receptivity, and now the secrets can be handed to you – then he will tell you.
And he will tell you very simple things; this sentence is very simple, the simplest, but the most difficult to realize: That Art Thou – Tat Twamasi.
We discussed last night that the Upanishads call the ultimate, “that.” So “that” is there; you are here. What is the relationship? What is the bridge between the two? This sentence says: That Art Thou.
“That” is not far away from you, it is just within you.
It is a within beyond.
It looks, it appears very far away because you have not recognized it; otherwise, it is just here and now within you. You are that.
This is a very simple sentence; even a small child can understand it and learn it. But it takes lives and lives to realize it. That Art Thou, I am That. To realize this, that my being is one with the universal being, to realize that my being and the universal being are not two things, but one . . . how to realize it?
The first step is right listening – listen to the master in a right way. And the right way means, listen to the master with your total being, with your total receptivity. Become just ears; only then you can understand it.
The second step is right thinking. You can think in two ways: you can think negatively, then it is wrong; you can think positively, then it is right. Negative thinking starts with denial, negating. Negative thinking starts with a no, the no is the starting point. Observe within yourself whether you start with no. Whenever something is said, what is the first feeling arising in you? – no or yes? And you will find ninety-nine percent of the time a no arising in you. You may not have observed it. Even for futile things where no “no” is needed, “no” arises. A Child asking his mother, “Can I play outside?” Immediately – “No!” She may not even be aware why she is saying no.
No is our basic attitude. Why? – because with “no” you feel you are somebody. The mother feels she is somebody – she can say no. The child is negated, the child’s ego is hurt and the mother’s ego is fulfilled. “No” is ego-fulfilling; it is food for the ego, that’s why we train ourselves in saying no.
Move anywhere in life and you will find no-sayers everywhere, because with no you feel authority – you are someone, you can say no. To say “yessir” makes you feel inferior; you feel that you are someone’s subordinate, nobody. Only then do you say “Yessir.” Yes is positive and no is negative. Remember this: no is ego-fulfilling; yes is the method to discover the self. No is strengthening the ego; yes is destroying it.
Right thinking means yes-saying. First find out whether you can say yes – if you cannot say yes, if it is impossible to say yes, only then say no. But our method is first to say no; if it is impossible to say no, only then, defeatedly, say yes. And wait for the moment when you can say no. No-oriented mind and yes-oriented mind . . .
In a religious search, no-saying is just undoing yourself because there, no-saying will not help. You are not there to strengthen your egos. Yes-saying . . . try it someday. Take it as a vow, that for twenty-four hours you will try in every situation to start with yes. And look what a deep relaxation it gives to you. Just ordinary things! – the child asking to go to the cinema… he will go; your no means nothing. On the contrary, your no becomes inviting, your no becomes attractive, because when you are strengthening your ego, the child is also trying to strengthen his. He will try to go against your no, and he knows ways to make your no a yes, he knows how to transform it. He knows it needs just a little effort, insistence, and your no becomes yes.
For twenty-four hours try in every way to start with yes. You will feel much difficulty, because then you will become aware: immediately, the no comes first! In anything, the no comes first – that has become the habit. Don’t use it; use yes, and then see how the yes relaxed you. And particularly in the spiritual search, if you are working with a master, yes-saying saves much time, much energy. You become a total receptivity, and then in that total receptivity things begin to flower.
Right thinking means to start thinking with yes! It doesn’t mean that you cannot use no; it only means to start with yes. Look with a yes-saying mind. And then if it is impossible, say no. You will not find many points to say no if you start with yes. If you start with no, you will not find many points to say yes. The starting means ninety percent is done – your start is ninety percent, done. Your start colors everything, even the end.
Right thinking means think, but think with a sympathetic mind. Think with a yes-saying mind. Use logic, use reason, but use reason and logic to find out how to say yes. I will repeat: use reason, use logic, but use them as instruments to find out how to say yes. We go on using reason, logic, to find out how to say no. Our whole logic is just a structure to find no. It should be otherwise; then it is right thinking.
The third is right contemplation.
If you find something with right thinking to be true, then contemplate it, then meditate on it. Then try to find some harmony between you and it. Because a truth no lived is not a truth – sometimes it is even more dangerous than an untruth. A truth unlived is a burden. A truth unlived divides your mind. A truth unlived becomes a haunting – it is a nightmare. So it is good not to think about truth if you not going to transform yourself accordingly. Because if you are not going to transform yourself accordingly, the truth will haunt you, disturb your sleep. You will become more uneasy; you will have to suffer much unnecessarily.
So if you are ready to change yourself according to the truth, only then contemplate it; otherwise, it is dangerous. And don’t play with dangers; it is playing with fire. It is better to be unaware of truths, because then you are blissfully ignorant. Ignorance has a certain bliss. The moment you begin to contemplate, that bliss will be destroyed. Uneasiness will come to you; you will feel nowhere, strange, an outsider. Now you cannot go back; there is no going back, there is no movement backwards. You cannot fall again into your blissful ignorance; you can only move forward.
And the third step is right meditation. Right listening, first; right thinking, second; right meditation, third. Now, whatsoever you have found – whatsoever you have encountered in right thinking – meditate on it. Try to create a bridge between you and it. Try to be like it yourself, transform yourself accordingly. Become a shadow to it, and follow it. Unless you do this, the truth will remain just intellectual. It will not become your bones, it will not become your blood, it will not become your heartbeats, it will not be your being. Contemplate, meditate, go on meditating. Remember this: that you become that upon which you meditate.
If you constantly meditate upon anything, by and by you will be transformed by your meditation; you will become like that. Meditation transforms you. Remember, the truth found in right thinking – meditate upon it. Create some harmony between you and the truth. Don’t go on carrying it in your head; let it go deep – so deep that you begin to feel a certain oneness with it. I say, “certain oneness.” You cannot feel totally one with it at the third step, but a certain oneness, a similarity, a certain attunement – not total oneness, That total oneness comes at the fourth step.
That fourth is samadhi, right ecstasy. If the third step is attained and you have begun to feel a certain harmony, attunement, an opening, a bridge with the truth, now immerse yourself in it.
Samadhi means the remaining of only one. In meditation there are three points. Meditation is divided into three: the meditator, the meditated upon, and the relationship – meditation. So meditation has three things in it, three divisions: meditator, meditated upon, and the relationship – meditation. When these three dissolve, the meditator loses himself into meditation, and the meditation drops into the meditated upon. Anyway one remains, and the three are lost. What does it mean? Simple consciousness remains; simple knowing remains; simple awareness remains. You are not aware of anything, just aware. You are not aware; there is no you, just awareness – it is better to say, only awareness remains. Or, you can choose any point among the three – one remains.
There are different sets of seekers. One set says the object of meditation remains, another says the subject of meditation remains; another says object and subject both are lost; only meditation remains. But there is no conflict; this is just a difference in names.
Three are no more; three are lost into oneness.
This oneness is That Art Thou.
This oneness is to come to realize I Am That:
Or That I am – tat twamasi.
Step by step, move into the unknown and become the unknown.
From That Art Thou, Discourse #44
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This Oneness is That Art Thou is from the morning talk, Then Only You will be Able to Know is from the evening talk of the same day.