Seeing the dialectical facts of life, can one practice the path of relaxation and the path of effort simultaneously?
No, it is not possible! You cannot practice both simultaneously because both are diametrically opposite. They lead to one point, but they don’t pass through the same road, through the same route, through the same realms. They are quite diametrically opposite.
You cannot practice both, just like you cannot go to one place simultaneously following two roads. Two roads may be going. You are going to the station and two roads may be going to the station, but you cannot follow both the roads simultaneously. And if you do follow them, you will not reach the station. Both roads go, but then you will not reach because then you will have to go ten steps on one, then come back, follow the other, then come back, follow the first one. Then you can follow much, but you will reach nowhere.
Every way is a particular way. It has its own route, its own steps, its own milestones, its own symbols, its own philosophy, its own methodology, its own vehicles, its own mediums of movement. It has its own everything: every way is a perfect way. So never be in two minds. It will simply create confusion. Follow one! When you reach to the end, you will know that even if you had followed the other you would have reached. When you have reached, you can try just as a play to go on the other – that’s another thing – just to know whether this road also comes or not. But don’t follow two simultaneously, because every path is so scientifically perfect that this will only create disturbance.
Really, in the old days, even to know about the other path was prohibited because even that knowing creates disturbance. And our minds are so childish and so curious, and foolishly curious, that if we hear about something else or read about something else, we begin to amalgamate. And we don’t know that anything which is meaningful on a particular path may be just harmful on another. So you cannot amalgamate. Some part in one car may be meaningful, useful – so useful that the car cannot move without it. But the same part can become a hindrance in another car. Don’t use it, because every part is meaningful only in its own pattern, in its own gestalt. The moment you change the whole, the part becomes a hindrance.
So much confusion has come into the religious world because now every religion is known to everybody, every path is known, and you are just confused. Now, to find a Christian is difficult, to find a Hindu is difficult, to find a Mohammedan is difficult, because everyone is just something of a Hindu, something of a Mohammedan, something of a Christian – and that creates a lot of danger. It is dangerous. It may prove suicidal.
So purity of path is a basic necessity for one who has to follow. If one has just to think about it, then there is no need for any purity. You can go on thinking. But if you are to travel, then purity of the path is very essential. And you must be aware not to confuse anything and not to bring any alien, foreign element in it.
It doesn’t mean that the other is wrong. It only means that the other is right only on the other’s path. You need not take the other conclusion that “Only I am right and the other is wrong.” The other is right in its own way. And if you have to follow another path, just go to the other’s way leaving your way completely.
That is why the old religions – and there are only two basic religions: Hindu and Jewish – were never ready to convert anyone. And the only reason was this, that they knew a very old, very deep tradition – that to convert is to confuse. If someone has been brought up as a Christian and you convert him into a Hindu, you will just confuse him because now he cannot forget that which he has known. Now you cannot just wash it out. It will remain there, and on that foundation, whatsoever you give him as Hinduism will not mean the same because his old foundation will always be there. You will just confuse him, and that confusion will not make him religious, cannot make him.
So the old religions – really, there are just two old religions, the Jewish and the Hindu, and all other religions are just branches of those – have remained very dogmatically non-converting. The Hindu concept was disturbed by Dayananda. Because his mind was working in a political way, not in a religious one, he began to convert. But that concept has a beauty of its own. It doesn’t mean that other religions are bad; it doesn’t mean that others are not right. It doesn’t mean anything like that. It only means that if you have been brought up in a particular concept, it is better to follow that – follow that! It has gone deep in your bones and blood, so it is better to follow that.
But now it has become impossible, and it will never be possible now again because the old patterns have broken. Now, no one can be a Christian, no one can be a Hindu. That is not possible now, so a new categorization is needed. Now I don’t categorize as Hindu and Mohammedan and Christian. That categorization is not possible now. It is just dead and must be thrown away. Now we must categorize every path.
For example, there are two basic divisions: the path of relaxation and the path of effort, the path of surrender and the path of will. This is a basic division. Then other divisions will follow, but these two are basic and quite diametrically opposite. The path of relaxation means surrender just here and now with no effort. If you can, you can. If you cannot, you cannot. If you can, you can. If you cannot, you cannot – there is no go. The path of surrender is very simple: Surrender! If you ask how, then you are not for this path, because the “how” belongs to the other path. Mm? “How” means by what effort, by what technique: “How am I to surrender?” If you ask, “How I am to surrender?” then you are not for the path of surrender. Then go to the other.
If you can just surrender without asking how, only then is it possible. So it seems simple, but it is very difficult, very arduous, because the “how” comes instantaneously. If I say “Surrender!” you have not even heard the word and the “how” comes up: “How?” – then you are not for this path. Then the other path is of will, effort, endeavor. Then every “how” is supplied – how to do it. Then there are many ways. So surrender has only one way, and there are no branches. There cannot be. There cannot be different types of surrender. Surrender is simply surrender. There are no types. Types belong to techniques. There can be different techniques; but because there is no technique surrender remains the purest path, without any division.
Then the second: the path of will. It has many divisions. All the yogas, methods, belong to the second. The second says, “You cannot relax just now, so we will prepare you: a preparation is needed. So follow these methods, and a moment will come when you will drop.”
They look difficult – they are not! They look difficult because they say preparation, methods, years of training and discipline are necessary. So they look difficult, but they are not – because the more time is given to you, the more simplified the process becomes. And surrender is the most difficult process because no time is allowed. They say, “Just here and now.” If you can, you can. If you cannot, you cannot.
Baso, a Zen monk, would say to whosoever would come, “Surrender!” If the person asks, “How?” he would say, “Go elsewhere!” His whole life he used only two statements continuously – never a third. He would say, “Surrender!” If you would say, “How?” he would say, “Go somewhere else!”
Sometimes some persons came who would not ask, “How?” and would surrender. But rare becomes the phenomenon! As our modern mind progresses surrender will be rare, surrender will be difficult, because surrender means an innocence, a trusting mind, an absolute faith. It doesn’t need effort; it needs faith. It doesn’t ask for the method and the way and the bridge; it takes the jump. It doesn’t ask for the steps – it doesn’t ask anything.
But the other path is of effort, tension. And many methods are possible, because to do something there are many techniques. There are many techniques for how to create the ultimate tension so that you explode. But never follow both. You cannot follow! You can just go on thinking about both. And don’t confuse. Determine clearly, exactly, which is for you.
Can you trust? Are you ready without any “how” to take the jump? If not, then forget relaxation, then forget surrender, then even forget the very word – because you cannot understand it. Then effort – and this Upanishad is talking about effort: upward effort, a continuous arrowing of the mind towards the peak.
From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.1, Discourse #8
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