The Journey in Consciousness – Osho

Man is mind.

The word ‘man’ itself comes from the Sanskrit root man, which means mind. If you understand the workings of the mind, you will understand the reality of man and the possibility too. If you understand the inner mechanism of the mind, you will understand the past of man, the present and the future too.

Man in himself is not a being but a passage. In himself man is not a being, because man is continuously a becoming. There is no rest in being a man. Rest is below man or above man.

Below is nature, above is God. Man is just in between – a link, a ladder. You cannot rest on a ladder, you cannot stop on the ladder. The ladder cannot become your abode. Man has to be surpassed, man has to be transcended.

Man is a journey between your two infinities. One is your nature, one infinity; another is your hidden God, the other infinity. And man is just between the two, a ferry boat. Use it, but don’t be confined by it. Use it, but don’t be defined by it. Always remember that you have to go beyond.

The whole message of Jesus is how to go beyond man. That’s why he again and again says: I am the Son of man and the Son of God. He goes on insisting on this contradiction, because he wants it to be completely clear that man is both: on the one hand part of nature, on the other hand part of God. That is the meaning of the word ’son’: son means a part of the father.

And because man belongs to these two realities – two separate realities – there is anxiety in man, there is tension in man, there is constant conflict in man, because these two natures go on fighting. Hence, as man, there is no possibility of peace. Either you have to become absolutely unconscious, like a drunkard when he has taken so much alcohol that he has lost all his consciousness – then there is peace, or you will have to become so conscious that all the nooks and corners of your being are full of light – you become a Buddha or a Christ – then there is peace. Either fall below man, or go beyond man. Don’t go on clinging to being a man, because then you are clinging to a disease.

That’s exactly what man is: a disease, a constant tension – to be or not to be, to be this or to be that – a constant fight between the soul and the body, the lower and the higher, unconsciousness and consciousness. To understand man as a conflict, to understand man as a constant tension will help immensely, because then you stop clinging to man as such. Rather, on the contrary, you start thinking ’How to go beyond, how to transcend, how to surpass?’

Friedrich Nietzsche is right when he says that man is the only animal who tries to surpass himself, the only animal who can surpass himself. It is the greatest miracle in the world: to surpass oneself. But it has happened. It has happened in a Christ, in a Buddha, in a Krishna. It can happen in you! You are a great promise, a project, an adventure. But don’t start thinking about yourself as if you have arrived. Then you cling somewhere in between, and a part of you will be pulled to one side and the other part to another side – you will be torn apart. And you will remain in anguish, and your existence will be nothing but a long, long, on-going nightmare.

Before we enter the sutras, a few things about the mind – because man is mind.

The first state of mind we can call ‘pre-mind’. It exists in a very small child – very primitive, animal-like. Hence the beauty of the children, and the innocence, and the grace – because that anxiety which we call man has not yet evolved. The child is at ease. The child is not yet a traveller; he has yet not left his home in search for some other home. The pilgrimage has not started yet. The child is at rest – perfectly at ease and happy to be whatsoever he is. That’s why his eyes have no anxiety, and the child has a certain grace around him.

But this grace is going to be lost. This grace cannot stay forever, because it is unconscious, because it has not been earned, because it is a natural gift, and the child is completely oblivious to it. He cannot hold onto it. How can you hold onto something when you are unconscious of it? It has to be lost. The only way to gain it is to lose it. The child will have to go into corruption, into perversion. The child will have to go into the cunningness of the mind, and then the child will understand that he has lost something – something immensely valuable.

But one can know it only when it is lost. There is no other way to know it. Then the search starts. Religion is nothing but the search for the lost childhood. Everybody carries the memory of it, the very alive memory of it, somewhere deep down. Maybe not very consciously, but it functions like an unconscious substratum that something has been lost, something has been forgotten, something was there which is no more there; something is being missed, and one starts searching for it.

The first stage is pre-mind. There is no responsibility, because a child knows nothing of duty, the child knows nothing of values, virtues. The child knows nothing of sainthood, so he is not aware of sin either. He exists before the diversion, he exists before those two paths of sin and sainthood diverge, separate and go apart. He is in a kind of primitive unity. This cannot last for long, this is going to go, but it has not gone yet. This is the state of the child near about three years of age.

Between three and four the child loses his innocence, loses his virginity, loses nature and becomes part of the civilised world – really becomes man.

This pre-mind is instinctive. It is very intelligent, but the intelligence is not intellectual, the intelligence is purely instinctive. The child functions very intelligently but not intellectually. The intelligence that a child shows is natural, he has not learned it. It is part of the wisdom of his body, it is inherited.

The child has no idea of good and bad, so there is never any conflict. His desires are pure.

Whatsoever he desires, he desires passionately, totally. No problem arises in his mind whether this desire is right or wrong. Whenever he is in a certain mood, he is totally in it – but his moods are momentary. He has no identity, he is unpredictable: one moment he is loving, another moment he is angry. And you cannot tell him ‘You are contradictory’; he is very inconsistent because he is always true to the moment. Not that he does anything consciously, it is just natural.

So the innocence is there, but it is not very deep. The innocence is there, but it has no meditativeness in it. It is shallow, momentary, temporary, tentative.

The child is more like an animal than like a man. The child is the link between the man and the animal. The child passes through all the stages that man has passed through down the ages.

The scientists say that during nine months in the mother’s womb the child passes through millions of years of evolution. He starts like a fish – as life started on the earth – and then by and by, he goes on growing. Within days he is passing through thousands, millions of years; in nine months he has passed through the whole of evolution. But even when the child is born, he is still not yet man – not at least, civilised – he is primitive, the cave-man.

The child lives in an inner chaos. He has no idea what he is going to do. He has no future, he carries no past; he lives utterly in the present. But because he lives utterly in the present and unconsciously, his life cannot have a discipline, an order. It is chaotic, it is anarchic. This is the first stage of man, the first stage of mind. And remember, that although sooner or later you lose it, it remains like a substratum in you. You can lose it totally only when meditation has gone deep, when meditation has transformed your being. Otherwise it remains there, and you can fall into it at any moment; in any stress, in any strain you can again become childish.

For example, your house is on fire, and you can start crying like a child. And you are not a man who cries ordinarily – nobody may have ever seen you crying. And your house is on fire and suddenly you forget that you are a grown-up man. You become like a small child, you start crying – tears come to your eyes – you are completely lost, helpless. What has happened? That pre-mind has reclaimed you. It was always there. You had grown a second layer upon it, on top of it, but it was there deep down. When the second layer cannot function, in a deep helplessness you fall to the first layer. This happens every day.

In anger you become more childish, in love also you become more childish. Listen to the dialogue of two lovers, and you will find it very childish. Remember your own memories when you first fell in love: how you behaved, what you said to your beloved or your lover, and you will find childishness. Or remember when somebody provokes you and you become angry – you start doing things which are very illogical, unintelligent, undisciplined, chaotic. You repent for them later on, because later on, when the second layer comes back, the second layer repents for the first layer. When the civilized mind comes back, takes hold again, it repents. It says ‘It was not good of me. It was not good to do.’

The first layer never completely goes unless you become a Christ or a Buddha. It remains there.

Watch it.

The first layer is very chaotic. The second layer is collective. The second mind I call the ‘collective mind’. Now the group, the family, the society, the nation become more important than yourself. A child is very, very, self-oriented, he thinks only of himself. He does not care for anything else, he is utterly selfish. The second mind starts thinking of others, starts sacrificing its own interests, becomes more collective, becomes more part of society, a clan, a tribe – starts becoming civilised. Civilisation means to become part of a society, to become part of many people: to become responsible, not to go on living a selfish existence. Civilisation means sacrificing oneself for others.

This second mind is very prevalent. Except in very rare cases, the first mind sooner or later disappears. Some imbeciles, idiots – in them the first layer never disappears, it remains predominant. They never learn how to be social, they remain primitive. Otherwise, normally the second layer evolves – the schooling, the family training, the teachers, the society, the experiences, the observation… And the child starts learning that he is not an island, but a member of an organism – the society, the church, the nation.

This second, collective mind has a certain identity. The first mind knows no identity. If you ask a child ‘Who are you?’ he can’t answer it. He does not know the answer – who he is. But a grown-up person can say ‘Yes, I am a Catholic, I am a communist, I am a Hindu, I am an Indian, I am a

German, I am an Italian.’ What is he saying? He is saying ‘I belong to this group called Hindu, or Christian, or Mohammedan. I belong to this nation, to this geography – India, Germany. Italy.’ Or ‘I belong to this ideology – communism, Catholicism, fascism.’ He is saying ‘I am to whom I belong’.

Now he has an identity. He can say ‘I am a doctor, or an engineer, or a businessman’ – then too he is saying ‘This is what I do. This is my function in the society.’ When you ask somebody ‘Who are you?’ – he answers by showing you where he belongs, to whom he belongs, what his function is in the society. Now this is not much of a self-knowledge. If this is self-knowledge then everybody knows who he is. But for utilitarian purposes it is enough, and many people stop there.

If you stop there you will never know who you are. Then you have taken just a false identity.

Just a few labels and you think ‘This is me’. This is not you. You exist on a far higher plane, or in a deeper depth. These labels that you have collected about yourself are good for functioning in the society as a member, but they don’t show anything about your reality. The inward reality remains untouched by them. But this is the second layer where almost everybody stops. The society does not want you to go beyond it. The school, the college, the university – their effort is that you should not remain childish, you should become civilised, and then their effort ends. Then the society’s work is finished.

The society has made you a member of the mass, has made you a kind of slave, has given you a certain imprisonment, has taken all that was dangerous in you – the chaos, the freedom, the irresponsibility; has made you dutiful, responsible, given you values what is good and what is not good; has pigeonholed you, categorised you. Now the society is finished. Now live silently, go to the office, come home, take care of your children, your parents, and so on and so forth – one day, die: your existence is complete. This is a very false completion: a routine existence.

Friedrich Nietzsche has called this state ‘the camel’, the beast of burden. This is the ‘camel state’. People go on carrying great loads and burdens for no reason at all. And they go on moving in a desert, like the camel moves in a desert. You can see these camels all around dry, dull, dead, still carrying, carrying great loads. The loads are crushing them, killing them, but they are carrying – maybe just out of habit. Because yesterday also they were carrying and the day before yesterday also they were carrying; it has become part of their habit, it has become part of their definition. Their load, their anxiety, their sadness, their misery have become part of their definition, their identity. These camels you will find everywhere, and this desert is all over the earth.

The child has to come from the first to the second, but nobody should stop there. To be a camel is not the goal. Something more is needed, something more existential is needed. Yes, you will have respectability if you are a good camel and carry great loads. People will respect you; they will all show honour towards you. That’s a kind of mutual understanding. When a person is carrying so much load, he has to be given some awards – that’s what respect is.

The word ‘respect’ is beautiful, it means to look again: respect. When a person is carrying a great load of responsibility, duty, family, society, people look at him and say ‘Look, what a great man!’ Re-spect: they look again and again and they say ‘Look! How much of a burden he is carrying. What sacrifice!’ He has sacrificed his whole being.

Naturally if you sacrifice yourself for the religion, the religion will sanctify you, will call you a saint. If you sacrifice for the country, the country will give you respect. If you sacrifice for something else, they will give you respect. One can go on collecting this respect, and one can go on dying without living at all. Beware of this situation!

In this state, there is a collective responsibility: the collective mind functions; you don’t have a personal responsibility yet. The child has no responsibility. The second stage has a responsibility, but it is collective. You don’t feel Personally responsible for anything, you feel responsible only because you are part of a certain collectivity.

In an Indian village you can find this state the camel, very, very pronounced. A Brahmin has no responsibility of his own. His whole responsibility is that he is a Brahmin; he has to behave like a Brahmin. In Indian villages you will not find individualities, you will only find collectivities.

The Brahmin, the Shudra, the Kshatriya – they all function according to their community, according to the rules. Nobody has any responsibility to think, there is no question of thinking.

The rules have been given down the ages, they are written in the scriptures. Everything is clear-cut – there is no need to speculate, to philosophise, to ponder, to meditate. All problems have been solved – Manu, the Indian Moses, has solved them.

That’s where Jesus found the Jews – at the second stage. Moses had done the first work; he had brought the primitive mind to a civilised state. Now Jesus was needed to bring another revolution, another transformation. People were existing just as cogs in a wheel, parts of a great mechanism. The only question was how to function efficiently.

That is not enough to live a joyous life. To be efficient is because the efficiency makes you a good mechanism but does not give you a soul. It does not give you a celebration, it can’t be ecstatic. But there are a few beautiful things about the second mind you have to remember; they will help you to understand the third.

The second mind is non-tense: there is no anxiety in it. The Indian villager, or the people of the East are more calm, quiet. They move with a certain ease, dignity. Even if they are starving, hungry, ill, they have a patience, a deep accep-tance. They don’t rebel. Rebellion has no appeal for them, they live in acceptance. They don’t have that much individual-ity to rebel. Indians feel very good about it, they think America is going mad; they think ‘We are fortunate.’ But this is not my observation.

America is in a difficulty. America is in great anguish, but that anguish is higher than the so-called Indian peace. That anguish can be more creative, that anguish can bring a higher stage of mind and consciousness into the world than this cow-like peace. This peace is not very creative. Yes, it is good in a way – one lives one’s life without much anguish. But nothing comes out of that life, just peaceful and peaceful, and that peace is never creative – creative of something out, or creative of something in. That peace seems to be very impotent. But in this second stage the peace is there, obedience is there, patience is there, and there is a feeling of belonging to the community, to the church. Nobody feels alone.

In America people are very alone. Even in a crowd they are alone. In India, even if people are alone, they are not alone. They know they belong, they know they have a certain function somewhere, they know they are needed. They know that they need not choose, everything has been chosen beforehand. A Brahmin is born a Brahmin. He will be respected by the society, he will become the priest. He has not to work for it; it is already decided by fate, by God.

When you don’t have to decide, naturally you don’t feel any anxiety. Decision brings anxiety. You have to decide, then there is a problem. Then to go this way or that? And there are a thousand ways, and so many alternatives – and choose in trembling, because who knows whether you are choosing the right or the wrong? The only way to know is to choose it. But then it will be too late. After ten years if you come to know that it was a wrong choice it will be too difficult to go back and choose again, because then those ten years will be gone – gone down the drain. There is a kind of belonging in the second state of mind. You need not choose, everything has been chosen, decided already; there is a kind of fatalism. All that happens has to be accepted because it cannot be otherwise. If it cannot be otherwise then why be worried? That’s why in India there are less psychological breakdowns than in America. But it is not a good state, remember. And I am not saying that a psychological breakdown is a great thing, and I am not saying that to be tense and to be anxious is something valuable. But I am saying that just not to be anxious and not to be tense is not some achievement either.

This state – the second state – is a kind of patriarchy. The father remains very important. The father-figures are very important. God is thought to be a father.

There is a difference between the mother and the father. The father is very demanding, the mother is non-demanding. Mother’s love is unconditional, father’s love is conditional. The father says ‘Do this then I will love you; if you don’t do this you will not get my love.’ And the father can get very angry.

This state is a state of patriarchy: father remains important, mother is not important. Unconditional love is not known. Society appreciates you, respects you if you follow the society. If you go a little bit astray, all respect is taken away and the society is ready to destroy you. The Jewish God says ‘I am a very jealous God. If you go against me I will destroy you!’ – And that’s what the state says, the government says, the priest says, the pope says. They are all very jealous. They are very dominating.

This state is very repressive: it does not allow anybody to have his own say; it does not allow anybody to have his own being. It is repressive: it does not allow one’s own impulses. It is dictatorial: it teaches you to say yes; no is not accepted, yes is enforced violently, aggressively. Of course this yes cannot be of much value, because if you cannot say no your yes is going to be impotent.  But this is the yes that exists all around. People believe in God because they have been told to believe in God. People go to the church because they have been told to go to the church. People go on doing things formally, ritualistically. Jesus called these people hypocrites.

Before we enter into the sutras, these things will be good to understand, then the sutras will be very, very clear.

This state of mind has only a painted exterior; the interior remains untouched, unevolved. A kind of theism – people believe in God, people believe in hell and heaven, and people believe in punishment and reward – but people believe, people don’t know. Yes is there, but it has been forced. It has not been given a chance to evolve and unfold within you. There is a communal solidarity because you are never alone, you are always together with people, and the crowd is all around you and it feels good. The moment you are alone, trembling arises. When the great crowd is all around you, you can trust. So many people can’t be wrong, so you must be right, because so many people are going in the same way, in the same direction, and you are also going with them.

The third mind I call the ‘individual mind’; Nietzsche calls it ‘the lion’. It is independence, it is assertion, it is rebellion. The ego has evolved. The ego has become very, very, crystallised. The man is no more just a part of a church, country, tribe, clan, family; he is himself. The real culture can only start when you have become an individual. The sense of the self is a must, and this is the third stage of the mind.

The identity is no more of belonging, the identity is no more that you are a Hindu, or a Mohammedan, or a Christian. The identity is more personal – that you are a painter, that you are a poet. The identity is more creative; it is not of belonging but of contribution – what you have contributed to the world.

In the nebulous mind a centre arises by and by. In the child’s mind there was no centre. In the collective mind there was a false centre imposed from the outside. In the individual mind an inner centre arises. The first was a kind of chaos – no order. The second was a kind of patriarchy – an imposed order by the father, by the demanding society and the father-figures. The third is a kind of fraternity: a brotherhood arises. You don’t belong to any crowd; nobody can impose anything upon you, nor do you want to impose anything upon anybody. You respect others’ freedom as much as you respect your own freedom. All are brothers.

In the second, the basic question was ‘Who is the father-figure?’ In the third, the question is not who is the father-figure – there is none, God is dead. That is the situation in which Nietzsche declares that God is dead: God, as father, is dead. That is the situation where Buddha says there is no God, and Mahavir says there is no God. And Patanjali says that God is just a hypothesis – needed in certain stages, and then is needed no more.

Responsibility arises, and a very personal responsibility. You start feeling responsible for each of your acts, because now you know what is right and what is wrong. Not that somebody says ‘This is right’, but because you feel this is right, because you feel this is good. A greater understanding, a greater consciousness will be needed. There will be more joy because you will be more crystallised, but there will be more anxiety too, because now if something goes wrong you go wrong. And you alone are responsible for each step. You cannot look to a father-figure, and you cannot throw your responsibility onto somebody else – no fate, no father exists, you are left alone on the road, with thousands of alternatives. And you have to choose. And each choice is going to be decisive, because you cannot go back in time. Great anxiety arises. This is the place where people start having psychological breakdowns. This is a higher stage than the second, and the West exists at a higher stage than your so-called East. But of course there are problems. And those problems can be solved, and those problems should be solved rather than slipping back to a lower stage of mind.

There is freedom, so there is tension. There is thinking, there is concentration – abstract philosophy is born, science grows, and no becomes very important. Doubt becomes very significant. In the collective mind faith was the rule; in the individual mind doubt becomes the rule. No becomes very basic, because rebellion cannot exist without no, and the ego cannot grow and ripen without no. You have to say no to a thousand and one things, so that you can say yes to the one thing you would like to say yes to. Now the yes is significant, because the man is capable of saying no. Now the yes has a potency, power.

The man who always says yes – his yes is not of much worth. But the man who says no ninety-nine times and says yes one time – he means it. It has an authenticity.

It is a very creative crisis because if you go above it, it will be creative. If you fall from it, you will not fall to the second, you will fall to the first. This has to be understood. If you fall from the third, the individual mind, you will go immediately into madness, because the second is no more possible. You have learnt no-saying, you have learnt being rebellious, you have tasted freedom, now you cannot fall back to the second. That door no more exists for you. If you fall from the third you will fall to the first: you will go mad.

That’s exactly what happened to Friedrich Nietzsche himself. He was a ‘lion’, but the lion went mad, roaring and roaring and roaring, and could not find a Way beyond the third.

When a man falls from the third, he falls to the first. This has to be remembered. Then you cannot go to the second – that is finished forever. Once your no has become very conscious you cannot go back to faith. A man who has doubted, and who has learnt to doubt, cannot go to faith again – that is impossible. Now the faith will be simply cunningness and deception, and you cannot deceive yourself. Once a man has become an atheist then ordinary theism won’t do. Then he will have to find a man like me. Then ordinary theism won’t do – he has gone beyond it.

Nietzsche needed a man like Buddha. And because Buddha was not available, and because the Western mind has not yet been able to make it possible for people to go beyond the third, he had to go mad. In the West it is almost a certainty that whenever a person becomes really evolved at the third stage, he starts slipping into madness, because the fourth is not available there yet. If the fourth is available, then the third is very creative. If there is a possibility to surrender the ego, then the ego is of immense value. But the value is in its surrender! If you cannot surrender it, then it will become a load – a great load on you. It will be unbearable. Then the lion will go on roaring and roaring and there will be no other way than to go mad.

This is a very critical stage – the third; it is just in the middle. Two minds are below it and two minds are above it. It is exactly the mid-link. If you fall, you go into the abyss of madness; if you rise, you go into the beatitude of being a Christ or a Buddha.

The fourth mind is ‘universal mind’. Remember, it looks collective but it is not collective. ‘Collective’ means belonging to a society, a certain time, a certain period, a certain country. ‘Universal’ means belonging to the whole existence, to existence as such. The ego, when ripe, can be dropped; in fact, drops itself if the fourth door is available. And that is the function of religion: to make the fourth door available. That is the problem in the .West now: the third mind has developed to its uttermost, and the fourth door is not available. The West Urgently needs the fourth door.

Carl Gustav Jung has said in his memoirs that through observing thousands of people in his whole life, he has come to a few conclusions. One conclusion is that people who are near about forty to forty-five are always facing a religious crisis. Their problem is not psychological, their problem is religious. Near the age of forty-two, forty-five, a man starts looking for the fourth mind. If he cannot find it, then he goes berserk. Then the hunger is there and the nourishment is not available. If he can find it, great beatitude, great benediction arises.

It is almost like at the age of fourteen you become sexually mature. Then you start looking for a partner – for a woman, for a man. You want a love object – near the age of fourteen. Exactly near the age of forty-two another thing in you matures, and you start looking for samadhi, for meditation, for something that goes higher than love, something that goes higher than sex, something that can lead to a more eternal orgasm, more total orgasm. If you can find it then life remains smooth. If you cannot find the door – hunger has arisen and the nourishment is not available – what will you do? You start breaking down: your whole structure is shaken. And when a man breaks down. He always breaks down to the first; he falls to the lowest.

This fourth I call the ‘universal mind’ – the ego can be dissolved because the ego has matured. Remember, let me repeat: the ego can be dissolved only when it has become mature. I am not against the ego, I am all for it – but I don’t confine myself to it. One has to go beyond it.

Just the other day I was reading Frankl’s book. He says ‘We must be willing to discard personality.’ Why should we be willing to discard personality? And how can you discard personality if you have not grown it? Only the perfectly ripe can be discarded.

What is personality? Personality is a persona, a mask. It is needed. The child has no mask, that’s why he looks so animal-like. The collective mind has a mask, but imposed from the outside; it has no interior definition of its being. The egoist, the individual mind, has an interior definition; he knows who he is, he has a kind of integration. Of course, the integration is not ultimate and will have to be dropped, but it can be dropped only when it has been attained.

‘We must be willing to discard personality. God is no respecter of persons.’ That’s true. God loves individuals, but not persons. And the difference is great. A person is one who has an ego definition. An individual is one who has dropped his ego, and knows who he is. A person is a circle with a centre; and the individual is a circle without the centre – just pure space.

‘The personality is only a mask, it is a theatrical creation, a mere stage-prop.’ The longing for freedom, salvation or nirvana, means simply the wish to be relieved of your so-called personality and the prison that it creates.

‘The trouble with the self is that it is derived from others.’ Your ego is also derived from others. You depend for your ego on the others. If you go to the Himalayas and sit in a cave, what ego will you have? By and by the ego will start disappearing. It needs support. Somebody needs to appreciate it. Somebody needs to say to you that you are a beautiful person. Somebody needs to go on feeding it. The ego can exist only in society. Although it tries to get rid of society, in a subtle, unconscious way it remains dependent on the society.

‘The trouble with the self is that it is derived from others. It is constructed in an attempt to live up to the expectation of others. The others have become installed in our hearts, and we call them ourselves.’

The self is not you. It belongs to others who surround you. It exists in you, but it is possessed by others. That’s why it is so easy to manipulate an egoistic person. That’s what flattery is: flattery is a trick to manipulate the egoistic person. You go and say to him that he is the greatest man in the world, and he is ready to fall at your feet; you are manipulating. He knows, you know and everybody else knows that this is just false. He also knows that he is not the greatest man in the world, but he will believe it. He would like to believe it. And he would like to do anything that you want him to do. At least one person in the world believes that he is the greatest person. He cannot afford to lose you.

The ego exists in you but is possessed by others. It is the subtlest slavery yet invented by the priests and the politicians. It is like a Delgado electrode inserted in your head and manipulated by remote control.

The society is very clever. First, it tries to keep you at the second level. If you go beyond that, then it starts manipulating you through flattery.

You will be surprised that in India there has never been a revolution. And the reason? The reason is that the Brahmin, the intellectual, was so much flattered down the ages that he was never angry enough to revolt against the society. And only intellectuals revolt – only intellectuals, because they are the most egoistic people. They are the most independent people – the intelligentsia. And because in India the Brahmin was the highest… There was no one higher than him – even the king was lower than the Brahmin. A beggar Brahmin was higher than the emperor, and the emperor used to touch his feet. Now there was no possibility of revolution because who would do the revolution? These are the people, these intellectuals, who create trouble. Now they are respected highly, they are flattered highly… The revolution could not exist – it was not possible.

It has been the same thing in Soviet Russia. For these fifty years in Soviet society, the intellectual has been praised as much as anything. The academician, the writer, the poet, the professor – they are the most highly respected persons. Now who is going to do the revolution? Revolution is not possible, because the revolutionary has much investment in the conventional mode of the society, in the traditional society.

In India revolution didn’t happen, and in Russia it cannot happen. Revolution is possible only through the egoist. But the egoist can be manipulated very easily. Give him the Nobel Prize, give him a doctorate, and he is ready to do anything.

This third state of mind is now prevalent all over the world. If it is satisfied, then you are stuck in it. If it is not satisfied, then you fall back and become mad. Both are not healthy situations.

One has to go beyond it, and the fourth state, the universal mind, has to be created. The separation with the cosmos has to disappear. You have to become one with the whole. In fact you Are One, you just think that you are not. That barrier of the thought has to be dissolved. Then there is relaxation, peace, non-violence. In India we say: Satyam, Shivam, Sunderam: Then there is truth, there is good, and there is beauty. With the universal mind these three things flower: Satyam – truth, Shivam – good, Sunderam – beauty. With the universal mind these three flowers come into bloom, and there is great joy. You have disappeared, and all the energy that was involved in the ego is freed. That energy becomes beauty, good, truth.

This is the state of matriarchy. The collective mind is patriarchy; the individual mind is fraternity; and the universal mind is matriarchy. Mother love is non-demanding, so is the love of the universe towards you. It demands nothing, it is unconditional, it is simply showering on you. It is for you to take or not to take, but it is showering on you. If you have the ego then your doors are closed and you don’t take it. If the ego has disappeared, then it goes on and on showering on you, goes on nourishing you, goes on fulfilling you.

The first stage was chaotic, the second was intellectual, the third was intelligent. The fourth is emotional: it is of love, of the heart. With the third, intellect comes to its peak; with the fourth, love starts flowing.

This state can be called ‘God as mother’. When God as father has died, God as mother has to arise. This is a higher stage of religion. When father is important, the religion is more institutional, formal – because father himself is formal, institutional. Mother is more natural, more biological, more intrinsic. Father is external, mother is internal.

The universal mind brings the matriarchy. Mother becomes more important. God is no more a he, but becomes a she. Life is thought about, not according to logic, but according to love.

The poet Schiller has called it ‘the universal kiss’. If you are available, the universal mother can kiss you, can embrace you, can take you again into her womb. Yes comes again into existence, but it is no more imposed from the outside, it comes from your innermost core. This is trust. The collective mind lives in faith. The individual mind lives in doubt, the universal mind lives in trust – Shraddha. It is not belief, it is not that somebody has forced you to believe; it is your own vision, it is your own experience.

This is true religion: when you can become a witness of God, of Samadhi, of prayer; when you are the witness; when you have not taken it as borrowed – it is no more knowledge, no more belief – it has become your own existential experience. Solidarity again enters, but it is solidarity with existence itself, not with society. Creativity again comes, but it is no more the egoistic creativity. It is not you as doer – you become instrumental – God is the doer. Then God flows through you. You may create great poetry. In fact, you cannot create great poetry before it. The ego will create a shadow; the ego can never be transparent. The real creativity is possible only with the universal.

You must have read Gopi Krishna’s books on kundalini. He says that when kundalini arises, great creativity arises. That’s true. But whatsoever he gives as examples are not true. He says Sri Aurobindo became creative when his kundalini arose. But Sri Aurobindo has written poetry which is simply mediocre. Although it is not creative, at least it is mediocre. But Gopi Krishna has written poetry which cannot even be called mediocre – just rubbish, junk.

Yes, when you come to the universal, great creativity is born. Your very touch becomes creative.

There is an ancient story in Buddhist scriptures…

A very rich man accumulated much wealth – accumulated so much gold that there was no place to hoard it any more. But suddenly something happened. One morning he woke up and saw that all his gold had turned into dust. You can think he must have gone mad.

Somebody helped him towards Buddha – Buddha was staying in the town – and the man went there. And Buddha said ‘You do one thing. Take all your gold into the market-place, and if somebody recognises it as gold, bring that man to me.’

But he said ‘How is it going to help me?’

Buddha said ‘It is going to help you. Go.’

So he took all his gold – thousands of bullock-carts of dust, because now it was all dust. The whole market was full of his bullock-carts. And people were coming and asking ‘What nonsense is this? Why are you carrying so much dust to the market-place? For what?’

But the man kept quiet.

Then a woman came. Her name was Kisagautami. And she said to this man ‘So much gold?

From where could you get so much gold?’

He asked the woman ‘Can you see the gold here?’

She said ‘Oh yes. These thousand bullock-carts are full of gold.’

He took hold of the woman and asked her what secret she had. ‘How can she see? Because nobody… not even I can see that there is any gold; it is all dust.’

He took the woman to Buddha, and Buddha said ‘You have found the right woman – she will teach you the art. It is only a question of seeing. The world is as you see it. It can be hell, it can be heaven. Gold can be dust, and dust can be gold. It is a question of how you look at it. This is the right woman. You become a disciple of Kisagautami. She will teach you. And the day you know how to see rightly, the whole world turns into gold. That is the secret of alchemy.’

That Kisagautami was a rare woman of those days. And the man learnt through her the art of turning the whole world into gold.

When you enter the universal mind you are capable of creativity – not as you, but as God. You become a hollow bamboo and his song starts descending through you. He turns you into a flute.

If from the third, the fourth is not available you will fall into madness. Nietzsche talks only of three minds: the camel, the lion and the child. From the lion he falls back into the child: becomes mad.

There is another door too, and that is the universal mind – which is really childhood again, but a second childhood. It is no more like the first; it is not chaotic, it has a self-discipline. It has an inner cosmos, an inner order – not irresponsible like the first, not responsible like the second. A new responsibility, not towards any values, not towards any society, but a second kind of valuation arises because you can see what is right – how can you do otherwise? You see the right and the right has to be done. Knowledge here becomes virtue. You act according to your awareness; your life is transformed. There is innocence, there is intelligence, there is love, but all is coming from your innermost core; your inner fountain is flowing.

And then the fifth, the last, when you go even beyond the universal. Because even to think that it is the universal mind is to think. You have some ideas of the individual and the universe still left lingering somewhere. You are still conscious that you are one with the whole, but you Are, and you Are one with the whole. The unity is not yet total, is not utter, is not ultimate. When the unity is really ultimate, there is no individual, no universal. This is the fifth mind: Christ-mind, Buddha-mind.

Now three other characteristics appear: Satchitananda. Sat means being, Chit means consciousness, Ananda means bliss. Now these three qualities appear, now these new flowers bloom in your being. You are for the first time a being, becoming is no more. Man has surpassed himself, the bridge is no more. You have come home, you are a being: Sat. And you are utterly conscious because there is no darkness left: Chit. And you are Ananda, because there is no anxiety, no tension, no misery. All that is gone; the nightmare is over. You are fully awake. In that wakefulness is Buddha-hood, or Christhood.

These are the five stages. And remember, the third is the central. Two are below it, two are above it. If you don’t go above you will fall below. And you cannot go above without passing through the third, remember. These are the complexities. If you try to avoid the third you will remain stuck in the second, and you can think that it is universal. It is not, it is simply collective. If you try to avoid the third, you may even remain in the first, which is idiotic. And sometimes the idiotic looks saintly.

In Hindi we have two words from one root for both the stages; that root is Budh. The fifth we call Buddha, the ultimate stage, and the first we call Buddhu, the idiotic stage. Sometimes the idiot looks like the saint – he has some similarities, and sometimes the saint looks like the idiot. But they are far away – the farthest points in existence. Jesus sometimes looks idiotic. And there have been many idiots who looked like Jesus. The similarity is that both are without mind. The idiot is below mind and the Christ is above mind, but both are beyond mind. That is the similarity, but that is where it ends too. Beyond that nothing is similar.

Remember, the first is not the goal, it is the beginning. The second is very comfortable, but comfort is not the question – creativity. The third is creative but very uncomfortable, very anxious, tense. And how long can you remain creative? – There is so much tension. The tension has to be lost; hence, the fourth. In the fourth all is silent. Just the last lingering of the ego has remained, that one feels ‘I am one with the whole.’

A disciple of Rinzai came to the Master and said ‘I have become one with the whole! Now what next?’

The Master turned him out and told him ‘Now you get rid of this idea that you have become one with the whole. Get rid of this idea – this is the last barrier.’

Another disciple said to Rinzai ‘I have attained to nothing.’

And Rinzai said ‘Drop it. Drop that too!’

With the fourth just a very thin wall-almost transparent, you cannot see it – remains. That also has to be dropped; then arises the fifth.

– Osho

From I Say Unto You, Vol. I, Chapter 5

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Awakening to Total Revolution – Vimala Thakar

Enlightenment and the World Crisis

Awakening to Total Revolution

In a time when the survival of the human race is in question, to continue with the status quo is to cooperate with insanity, to contribute to chaos. When darkness engulfs the spirit of the people, it is urgent for concerned people to awaken, to rise to revolution.

The cleverness of the human mind has led us to the complex, horrifying, and all-encompassing crisis that we now face. The familiar solutions, based on a limited view of what a human being is, continue to fail, to be pathetically inadequate. Yet we pour vast resources into these tired solutions and feel that if we achieve a grand enough scale, the old solutions will meet the new challenges. Do we have the courage to see failures as failures and leave them to the past? Do we have the vitality to go beyond narrow, one-sided views of human life and to open ourselves to totality and wholeness? The call of the hour is to move beyond the fragmentary, to awaken to total revolution.

The call is not to one of the revolutionary formulas of the past; they have failed—why drag them out again even in new regalia? The challenge now is to create an entirely new, vital revolution that takes the whole of life into its sphere. We have never dared embrace the whole of life in all its awesome beauty; we’ve been content to perpetuate fragments, invent corners where we feel conceptually secure and emotionally safe. We could have our safe little nooks and niches were it not for the terrible mess we have made by attempting to break the cosmic wholeness into bite-size bits. It’s an ugly chaos we have created, and we try to remedy the complicated situation with the most superficial of patched-together cures.

Today, with the scars of our past failures marring our existence and the fears of the future weighing heavily on our spirits, we can no longer go on with this dangerous game of fragmentation. We can no longer escape the fact that we are all bonded, equal in wholeness. Science and technology have brought each of us into intimate relationship with all others. We are truly a global human family. Yet as a family, we have not learned how to live together in peace, to live without violence and exploitation. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Bertrand Russell wrote: “Man knows how to fly in the air like a bird, he knows how to swim in water like the fish, but how to live among other human beings, he does not know.”

Penetrating to the Roots of Conflict

Even though our very survival is in question, we tend to look at the crisis superficially, emotionally, sentimentally. We have tried in subtle ways to absolve ourselves of any deep responsibility for the condition of the human family. We perceive ourselves, or our small identity groups, as truly sincere and peace-loving, and we ascribe to outsiders, to those apart, to power-hungry villains, responsibility for aggression and wars.

Yet as members of societies that are prepared for war, how can we set ourselves apart as peace-loving and the others as violent? This is, however, what we attempt to do. We see on the television or hear on the radio news about massacres and wars taking place in different countries, and we feel how stupid it is to wage war and wonder why the politicians and the statesmen don’t have the wisdom to stop all this nonsense. This is the reaction perhaps of every sensitive citizen of the world. But who wages war? Where are the roots of war? Are they in the minds of a handful of individuals ruling over their respective countries? Or are the roots of war in the systems that we have created and have been living by for centuries—the economic, the political, the administrative, the industrial systems? If we are not romantic and sentimental, and do not feel gratified just by reacting emotionally, by expressing how bad the wars are, but rather go deep, won’t we find the roots of war in the systems and structures that we have accepted?

We will discover that there are systems and structures that inevitably lead to aggression, exploitation, and war. We have accepted aggression as a way of living. We create and entrench ourselves in structures which culminate in wars. Retaining the structures and avoiding wars is not possible. You and I as individuals have to realize how we are responsible, how we cooperate with the systems and thereby participate in the violence and wars. And then we must begin to inquire whether we can discontinue cooperating with the systems, whether we can stop participating in wars, and explore alternative ways of living for ourselves.

We must go to the roots of the problem, to the core of the human psyche, recognizing that collective social action begins with action in individual life. We cannot separate the individual and the society. We each contain the society when we accept the value structure of society, when we accept the priorities worked out for us by governments and the states and the political parties. We are expressions of the collective, repeating the pattern created for us, and we feel happy because we are given physical security, economic security, comfort, leisure, entertainment. We have been trained to be obsessed with the idea of security; the idea of tomorrow haunts us much more than the responsibility for today.

Going Beyond Fragmentation

If there is a willingness to face these unpleasant facts, and be with these facts, then we can proceed. If we enter into self-pity and depression, then negativity may lead to cynicism and bitterness against others and bitterness against the system. And releasing such negative energy does not help solve the problems. We have to stick with the facts as they are. Whether we like it or not, we are responsible participants in what is happening in the world.

If we sanction violence in our hearts, we are going to cooperate with whomever is waging war. We are participants because psychologically we sanction violence. If we really want to put an end to warfare, we need to explore deep into the human psyche where the roots of violence have a stronghold. Unless we find the roots of violence, ambition, and jealousy, we will not find our way out of chaos. Failure to eliminate their roots will doom us to endless miserable repetitions of the failures of the past. We must see that the inner and the outer are delicately intertwined in a totality and that we cannot deal with the one successfully without the other. The structures and systems condition the inner consciousness, and the conditionings of the consciousness create the structures and systems. We cannot carve out one part of the relationship, make it bright and beautiful, and ignore the rest. The forces of human societal conditionings are powerfully entrenched; they will not be ignored.

Traditionally, there have been two separate approaches. One approach takes us toward the social, the economic, the political problems, and says, “Look here, unless the economic and political problems are solved, there will be no happiness and no peace, there will be no end to suffering. It is the responsibility of every individual to engage in solving these problems according to some ideology. Turning toward the inner life, the imbalances and impurities of the inner life, that is not so important, that can be taken care of later on, for it is a self-centered, egoistic activity. But the responsibility is toward the society, toward the human race, so keep aside all those problems of meditation and silence, inner sophistication, transformation for inner revolution—keep all that aside. First turn toward this.” And the other approach says, “The political and economic problems cannot be solved unless the individual is transformed totally. Be concerned with your psychological mutation, the inner, radical revolution. The political, the economic, the social problems can wait.”

People have generally followed one or the other of these two conventional approaches: religious groups concerned with inner growth and inner revolution, and social activist groups concerned with social service. Traditionally we have created boundaries, and exploration beyond our home territories has been only superficial. The social activists have staked out their territory, the outer life—the socioeconomic, political structures—and the spiritual people have staked out theirs—the inner world of higher dimensions of consciousness, transcendental experiences, and meditation. The two groups, throughout history, have been contemptuous of each other. The social activists consider the spiritual inquirers to be self-indulgent, and the inquirers consider the activists to be caught in a race of activity, denying the essence of living. Traditional spiritual leaders have divided life into worldly and spiritual, and have insisted that the world is illusion. They said, “This world is maya, is an illusion. So whatever action you take should be in relation to the absolute truth and not in relation to maya.” Thus a religious person sitting in meditation for ten hours a day need not mind the tyranny or the exploitation or the cruelties surrounding him. He would say, “That’s not my responsibility. It’s God’s responsibility. God has created the world. He or She will take care of it.”

There have been superficial blendings, as spiritual groups take up social service work and social activists join religious organizations, but a real integration of social action and spirituality at a deep, innovative level has not yet happened to any significant degree. The history of human development has been fragmentary, and the majority of people have been content with the fragmentation. It has the sanction of society. Each fragment of society has its own set of values. Among many social activists, anger, hatred, violence, bitterness, and cynicism are accepted norms, even though the effectiveness of these motivations for peaceful living has been seriously put in doubt. And indifference to the needs of the poor has had shocking acceptance among generations of spiritual people who considered higher states of consciousness much more significant than the misery of the starving millions.

A new challenge awaits us at the beginning of the twenty-first century: to go beyond fragmentation, to go beyond the incompatible sets of values held even by serious-minded people, to mature beyond the self-righteousness of one’s accepted approaches and be open to total living and total revolution. In this era, to become a spiritual inquirer without social consciousness is a luxury that we can ill afford, and to be a social activist without a scientific understanding of the inner workings of the mind is the worst folly. Neither approach in isolation has had any significant success. There is no question now that an inquirer will have to make an effort to be socially conscious or that an activist will have to be persuaded of the moral crisis in the human psyche, the significance of being attentive to the inner life. The challenge awaiting us is to go much deeper as human beings, to abandon superficial prejudices and preferences, to expand understanding to a global scale, integrating the totality of living, and to become aware of the wholeness of which we are a manifestation.

As we deepen in understanding, the arbitrary divisions between inner and outer disappear. The essence of life, the beauty and grandeur of life, is its wholeness. Life in reality cannot be divided into the inner and the outer, the individual and social. We may make arbitrary divisions for the convenience of collective life, for analysis, but essentially any division between inner and outer has no reality, no meaning.

We have accepted the watertight compartments of society, the fragmentation of living as factual and necessary. We live in relationship to these fragments and accept the internalized divisions—the various roles we play, the contradictory value systems, the opposing motives and priorities—as reality. We are at odds with ourselves internally; we believe that the inner is fundamentally different from the outer, that what is me is quite separate from the not-me, that divisions among people and nations are necessary, and yet we wonder why there are tensions, conflicts, wars in the world. The conflicts begin with minds that believe in fragmentation and are ignorant of wholeness.

A holistic approach is a recognition of the homogeneity and wholeness of life. Life is not fragmented; it is not divided. It cannot be divided into spiritual and material, individual and collective. We cannot create compartments in life—political, economic, social, environmental. Whatever we do or don’t do affects and touches the wholeness, the homogeneity. We are forever organically related to wholeness. We are wholeness, and we move in wholeness. The awareness of oneness refuses to recognize separateness. So the holistic approach de-recognizes all the fragmentation in the name of religion or spirituality, all the compartmentalization in the name of social sciences, all the division in the name of politics, all the separation in the name of ideologies. When we understand the truth, we won’t cling to the false. As soon as we recognize the false as the false, we no longer give any value to it. We de-recognize it in daily living. A psychic and psychological de-recognition of all manner of fragmentation is the beginning of positive social action.

When awareness of the totality, of wholeness, dawns upon the heart, and there is awareness of the relationship of every being to every other, then there is no longer any possibility of taking an exclusive approach to a fragment and getting stuck there. As soon as there is awareness of wholeness, every moment becomes sacred, every movement is sacred. The sense of oneness is no longer an intellectual connection. We will in all our actions be whole, total, natural, without effort. Every action or nonaction will have the perfume of wholeness.

Inner Freedom Is a Social Responsibility

Viewing the world as a large pieced-together collection of fragments, some of which are labeled as friend and others as foe, begins internally. We map out our internal territories with the same positive or negative designations as we do external territories, and wars go on there as they do in the world. Internally, we are divided against ourselves; the emotions want one thing, the intellect another, the impulses of the body yet another, and a conflict takes place which is no different in quality, although it is in scale, from that of the world wars. If we are not related to ourselves in wholeness, is it any surprise that we cannot perceive the wholeness of the world? If we believe ourselves each to be a patched-together, unmatched assortment of desirable and undesirable features, motives at odds with each other, undigested beliefs and prejudices, fears, and insecurities, will we not project all this on the world?

Because the source of human conflict, social injustice, and exploitation is in the human psyche, we must begin there to transform society. We investigate the mind, the human psyche, not as an end in itself, as a self-centered activity, but as an act of compassion for the whole human race. We must move deep to the source of decay in society so that the new structures and social systems we design will have a sufficiently healthy root system that they will have an opportunity to flourish. The structures of society need to be transformed, but the hidden motivations and assumptions on which the structures rest need to be transformed as well. The individual and collective values and motives that give sanction to the injustice and exploitation of modern society must become the focus of change as much as the socioeconomic and political structures. We no longer will be able to allow the motivations and values that underlie personal and collective behavior to remain hidden and unexamined. It serves no lasting purpose for us to change the surface structures and behaviors while the deep foundations remain decadent and unsound.

Those of us who have dedicated our lives to social action have considered our personal morality and ethics, our motives and habits, to be private territory. We not only want our personal motivations and habits cut off from public view, but from our own recognition as well. But in truth, the inner life is not a private or personal thing; it’s very much a social issue. The mind is a result of collective human effort. There is not your mind and my mind; it’s a human mind. It’s a collective human mind, organized and standardized through centuries. The values, the norms, the criteria are patterns of behavior organized by collective groups. There is nothing personal or private about them. We may close the doors to our rooms and feel that nobody knows our thoughts, but what we do in so-called privacy affects the life around us. If we spend our days victimized by negative energies and negative thoughts, if we yield to depression, melancholia, and bitterness, these energies pollute the atmosphere. Where then is privacy? We need to learn, as a social responsibility, to look at the mind as something that has been created collectively and to recognize that our individual expressions are expressions of the human mind.

Inner freedom from the past, from the thought structure, from the organized, standardized collective mind, is absolutely necessary if we are to meet one another without mistrust or distrust, without fear, to look at each other spontaneously, to listen to one another without any inhibition whatsoever. The study of mind and the exploration of inner freedom is not something utopian, is not something self-centered, but it is urgently necessary so that we as human beings can transcend the barriers that regimentation of thought has created between us. Then we will perceive ourselves, each as an unlabeled human being; not an Indian, an American, a capitalist, or a communist—but as a human being, a miniature wholeness. We have not yet learned to do that. We are together on this small planet, and yet we cannot live together. Physically we are near one another, and psychologically we are miles apart. Clearly the social responsibility for arriving at inner freedom is a very relevant issue. We study the mind because we want the harmony of peace to prevail, because we need the joy of love in our hearts, because we care about the quality of life our children will inherit. We do not undertake such study because we want something new and esoteric for the ego, some transcendental experiences to enhance our self-image. We study the mind as a social responsibility; we recognize that the roots of violence, injustice, exploitation, and greed are in the human psyche, and we turn our clear, precise, objective attention there.

We are related organically, and we have to live that relationship. To be attentive to the dynamics of the inner being is not creating a network of escapes to avoid responsibility. It is not continuing a false superiority that I am sensitive and you are not. It is simply recognizing that our personal relationships and collective relationships are miserable affairs, and that these relationships stimulate fear and anxieties and throw us on the defensive. However much we yearn for peace, emotionally we are not mature enough for peace, and our immaturity affects everything we do, every action we take, even the most worthy of actions.

The elimination of inner disorder takes place in the lives of those who are interested in being truly creative, vital, and passionate whole human beings, and who recognize that inner anarchy and chaos drains energy and manifests in shabby, shoddy behavior in society. To be attentive requires tremendous love of living. It is not for those who choose to drift through life or for those who feel that charitable acts in society justify ugly inward ways of being. The total revolution we are examining is not for the timid or the self-righteous. It is for those who love truth more than pretense. It is for those who sincerely, humbly want to find a way out of this mess that we, each one of us, have created out of indifference, carelessness, and lack of moral courage.

The Choice Is Ours

Most of us are not aware of our motivations for living or our priorities for action. We drift with the tides of societal fashions, floating in and out of social concerns at the whim of societal dictates and on the basis of images created by the media or superficial, personal desires to be helpful, useful persons. We are used to living at the surface, afraid of the depths, and therefore our actions and concerns about humanity are shallow, fragile vessels easily damaged. Ultimately most of us are concerned chiefly with our small lives, our collection of sensual pleasures, our personal salvation, and our anxiety about sickness and death, rather than the misery created by collective indifference and callousness.

We have reached the point, however, where we no longer have the luxury to indulge in self-centered comfort and personal acquisition or to escape into religious pursuits at the cost of collective interests. For us there can be no escape, no withdrawal, no private arena in which we can turn our backs on the sorrows of humanity, saying, “I am not responsible. Others have created a mess; let them mend it.” The writing on the world’s wall is plain: “Learn to live together or in separateness you die!” The choice is ours.

The world today forces us to accept, at least intellectually, our oneness, our interrelatedness. And more and more people are awakening to the urgency of arresting the accelerating madness around us. As yet, however, our ways of responding are superficial, unequal to the complexities of the challenge. We do not take or even consider actions that threaten our security or alter our habitual ways of drifting through life. If we continue to live carelessly, indifferently, emphasizing private gain and personal indulgence, we are essentially opting for the suicide of humanity.

We can become involved in many acts of social service, according to our resources, without ever moving one inch from the center of our private interests; in fact, the very act of social service typically enhances self-image and self-centeredness. But we cannot become involved in true social action, which strikes at the roots of problems in the society and in the human psyche, without moving away from ego-centered motivation. We must look deep into the network of personal motivations and discover what our priorities are. Our yearning for peace must be so urgent that we are willing to free ourselves from the immaturity of ego-centered action, willing to grow into the sane maturity required to face the complex challenges that affect our existence. If we are motivated by desire for acceptance either by the dominant culture or the counterculture, clarity of right action and passion of precise purpose will not be there. We may be praised for our contributions, but unless there is a deep awareness of the essence of our lives, a penetrating clarity about the meaning of human existence, our contributions will not penetrate to the roots of human misery.

To be ready for social responsibility, we will have to be mercilessly honest with ourselves. Wherever we are, we are responsible to resist injustice, to be willing to put our comforts, securities, our lives at stake in fearless noncooperation with injustice and exploitation. If we adopt all the habit patterns of the enslaved—the fear, the acceptance of tyranny, the intellectual and emotional blindness to injustice—we deserve the inevitable consequences that are descending upon us in a dark storm cloud. If we are submissive, clinging to our small islands of security, naturally terror will reign. If we are willing to allow all others to perish—the peoples of other countries, races, castes, cultures, religions; the other creatures of the earth—so that we may flourish and endlessly increase our network of pleasures and comforts, obviously we are doomed to rot and decay. The callousness of letting others be abused so that our petty little lives will be undisturbed, so that all the comforts of a lovely home, pleasant meals, and good entertainment will not be threatened, portends doom for us all.

When we come face-to-face with the actualities of human and planetary suffering, what does the powerful moment of truth do to us? Do we retreat into the comforts of theories and defense mechanisms, or are we awakened at the core of our being? Awareness of misery, without defense structures, will naturally lead to action. The heart cannot witness misery without calling the being to action, without activating the force of love. We may not act on a global or national scale; it may be only on a community or neighborhood scale—but act, respond, we must. Social responsibility flowers naturally when we perceive the world without the involvement of the ego-consciousness. When we relate directly to suffering, we are led to understanding and spontaneous action—but when we perceive the world through the ego, we are cut off from direct relationship, from communion that stirs the deepest level of our being.

The Force of Love Is the Force of Total Revolution

A tender, loving concern for all living creatures will need to arise and reign in our hearts if any of us is to survive. And our lives will be truly blessed only when the misery of one is genuinely felt to be the misery of all. The force of love is the force of total revolution. It is the unreleased force, unknown and unexplored as a dynamic for change.

We have moved very far away from love in our collective lives, dangerously near destruction, close to starvation. Perhaps we have the wisdom now, the awareness that love is as essential to human beings as the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Love is the beauty, the delicate mystery, the soul of life, the radiant unspoiled purity that brings spontaneous joy, songs of ecstasy, poems, paintings, dances, dramas to celebrate its indescribable, never-to-be-fully-captured bliss of being. Can we bring love into the marketplaces, into the homes, the schools, the places of business, and transform them completely? You may call it a utopian challenge, but it is the only one that will make a significant difference or that is fully worthy of the potential of whole human beings.

Compassion is a spontaneous movement of wholeness. It is not a studied decision to help the poor, to be kind to the unfortunate. Compassion has a tremendous momentum that naturally, choicelessly moves us to worthy action. It has the force of intelligence, creativity, and the strength of love. Compassion cannot be cultivated; it derives neither from intellectual conviction nor from emotional reaction. It is simply there when the wholeness of life becomes a fact that is truly lived.

Compassion does not manifest itself when we live on the surface of existence, when we try to piece together a comfortable life out of easily available fragments. Compassion requires a plunge to the depths of life—where oneness is reality and divisions merely an illusion. If we dwell at the superficial layers of being, we’ll be overly conscious of the apparent differences in human beings on the physical and mental level, and of the superficial difference in cultures and behavior. If we penetrate to the essentials, however, we will discover that there is nothing fundamental that differentiates any human being from another, or any human being from any other living creature. All are manifestations of life, created with the same life principles and nurtured by the same life-support systems. Oneness is absolute reality; differentiation has only transitory, relative reality.

It is not sufficient that a few in society penetrate to the depths of living and offer fascinating accounts about the oneness of all beings. What is necessary in these critical times is that all sensitive and caring people make a personal discovery of the fact of oneness and allow compassion to flow in their lives. When compassion and realization of oneness becomes the dynamic of human relationship, then humankind will evolve.

We are suffering throughout the world in the darkness of the misery we have created. By believing in the fragmentary and the superficial, we have failed to live together in peace and harmony, and so darkness looms very large on the horizon. It’s in such darkness that common people such as you and I feel the urgency to go deeper, to abandon superficial approaches that are inadequate and to activate the creative forces available to each of us as expressions of wholeness. The vast intelligence that orders the cosmos is available to all. The beauty of life, the wonder of living, is that we share creativity, intelligence, and unlimited potential with the rest of the cosmos. If the universe is vast and mysterious, we are vast and mysterious. If it contains innumerable creative energies, we contain innumerable creative energies. If it has healing energies, we also have healing energies. To realize that we are not simply physical beings on a material planet, but that we are whole beings, each a miniature cosmos, each related to all of life in intimate, profound ways, should radically transform how we perceive ourselves, our environments, our social problems. Nothing can ever be isolated from wholeness.

There is much unexplored potential in each human being. We are not just flesh and bone or an amalgamation of conditionings. If this were so, our future on this planet would not be very bright. But there is infinitely more to life, and each passionate being who dares to explore beyond the fragmentary and superficial into the mystery of totality helps all humanity perceive what it is to be fully human. Revolution, total revolution, implies experimenting with the impossible. And when an individual takes a step in the direction of the new, the impossible, the whole human race travels through that individual.

– Vimala Thakar

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That NOW Which is the Harmony of Reason and Love – J. Krishnamurti

The following was a morning talk given in Ommen, Holland in 1929.

This morning I want to go over the whole of my subject in a condensed form, so that if you will use your keenest intelligence there will be no possibility of misunderstanding. It is very difficult to pierce through the illusion of words. Many of you here understand English and many do not; but even those who understand English will interpret the words in their own manner, and that is where the difficulty lies. I wish it were possible to invent a new language! Please give me your intelligent attention, analyze, criticize and make up your minds. Either what I say is entirely false or it is entirely true. If it is false, then every one of you must shout it down, destroy it. If it is true, then everything else must go, because Truth cannot exist with, cannot be set beside falsehood. Truth and falsehood cannot exist together. My purpose this morning is to make myself perfectly clear, so that you will be able to decide if what I say is true. If it is, then you must shout from the housetops, then you must live it, then it must be the one thing that matters for you. But if it is false, do not make a weak compromise with it -set about to destroy it. You must either be for the Truth entirely, or against it entirely, you cannot compromise. You cannot build in any other manner. You cannot stand in the shade and worship the sun; you must come out of the shade and delight in the sun, rejoice in its purity, so that you yourself become pure, perfect, incorruptible. You cannot compromise, for Truth does not lie in dead hopes.

In the minds of the majority who listen to me, there is an inclination to believe that what I say is purely destructive, and hence negative, that I am all the time merely pulling down, that as I do not put anything in the place of what I pull down I am not constructive. What I say is neither constructive nor destructive, because I speak of Life, and in Life there is neither destruction nor construction. It is the foolish that divide Life into the destructive and the creative. But when I say that certain things are childish, unnecessary, foolish, unessential, false, it is because I wish to make the one essential thing clear, positive, outstanding, and distinctive. On you alone therefore, on every individual alone, depends the destruction and the rebuilding. In the very process of pulling down you are building. That is what you do not realize. As soon as you have withdrawn from all childish things, from all crutches, from all unessential, futile, trivial things, inside you begins to grow that assured certainty, which is above all transient things, which is constant, which is your true measure of understanding. So it is not a matter of destruction, but rather of the desire to discover for yourself the true value, the true meaning, the true purpose of life. To discover that, you must set aside everything that is of little value, as otherwise your mind is perverted, your judgment made crooked.

As the river must go to the sea, must wander through many lands, urged on by the great volume of water behind it, so must every individual, through his own experience, through his own struggles, through his own suffering, ecstasy, rejoicing, enter that sea, which is boundless, limitless, immeasurable, which is Eternity itself. The sea cannot enter the river; the river is too limited. So the river must go to the sea. In like manner I have attained. All your worships, your fears, your anxieties, your ambitions have thrilled me, your hopes, your gurus, your discipleships have held me, but only by putting all these aside have I found. You must come to that Truth unburdened, fearless. You must not come to it with a prejudiced mind, with preconceived ideas, with false hopes, false fears, ambitions and personal glory. By putting aside everything which I held as glory before, I found that which is everlasting, unconditioned, which is Truth itself; by cutting away the past entirely, ruthlessly within myself, I found that which is eternal, which is neither past nor future, which has no beginning, no end, which is Eternal. Having by this means found that which is everlasting -and there is no other means- I would give of that understanding to others.

What is it therefore that all of you, who gather here year after year, are seeking? Please, when I ask this question, put it to yourselves, do not let it pass by. What is it that everyone is seeking? Why do you attend these Camps? To enjoy a pleasure resort? To pass a few days together with those whom you have not met for a whole year? To indulge yourselves in your petty passions? To listen to words of comfort? To be made certain in your doubtful beliefs? What is it you are seeking? What is it that every one of you desires? I will tell you what you desire -not what you desire individually, but what the world is seeking.

Ignorance has no beginning but it has an end, and every one of you is seeking to end that ignorance, because ignorance is a limitation and causes sorrow. To be unaware of the self is ignorance, and knowledge is fully to understand the self. Ignorance is the intermingling of the false and the real. Being uncertain, being doubtful, you are not sure of what is true and what is false, of what is essential and what is transient, of what is bitter and what is sweet. To know what is true, to know what is false; to recognize the truth in the true, and the falsehood in the false, is true knowledge of the self. That knowledge of the self creates no barriers and no limitations, and hence gives lasting happiness. You are seeking the power to destroy for yourselves all the limitations that are placed upon you by yourself, and thereby attain freedom, which is happiness. Anything that leads to freedom, to poise, to the boundless, immeasurable vastness of Life leads essentially to Truth. Anything which creates a barrier, a weakness, anything which imposes a bondage, a limitation, a belief, anything which acts as a crutch, which leads to reliance on another, is false, and will not lead you to Truth. So the intermingling of the true (which is the choice of the essential that shall set you free) and the false (which places a limitation on you and hence binds you) is ignorance. The falsehoods, the unessentials, the childishnesses, the weaknesses on which you depend, the fears which you take to your heart, cannot lead you to freedom, and hence they are false, they are a limitation to be set aside.

This constant struggle to discriminate between what is real and what is false, what is bondage and what is freedom, what is misery and what is happiness, this struggle, pain, this constant battle is going on within each one. It is this problem you must solve. It is this to which you must pay attention, give your concentration, and not to the trivial things created by man, not the forms that the perverted life creates. They will exist but they are of little importance. What you have to concern yourself with is how and in what manner you will distinguish for yourself, without the authority of another, that which is true and that which is false. When you have decided for yourself you must no longer play with them, you must be either firmly for one or for the other. There can be no compromise, for compromise cannot exist in spirituality.

What is it for which everyone in the world is struggling, groping, fighting, crying? It is to be sure for himself, to grow for himself, eternally, to acquire that inward peace which cannot be disturbed either by the false or by the true. This is what everyone is seeking, and it is to this that you must give your minds, your hearts, your whole concentration. I tell you that the only manner in which you can find it is as I have found it, by setting aside all trivial things -worships, gurus, fears, paths, everything- to discover this one thing. If you want that happiness you must do likewise. I am not urging you to do it. It is not my authority that should impel you. It is because you are unhappy, because your faces are shrouded with misery, because there are tears, and laughter that is bound by sorrow, that you must seek.

There are two elements in every human being -this is not a dogma or a philosophy or a theory- one eternal and the other progressive. You must concern yourself with changing the progressive self into the eternal. In every human being, in every one of you there is this progressive self that is struggling -struggling to advance to that which is immeasurable, limitless, eternal. In making that progressive self incorruptible, by the union with that which is eternal in you, lies the acquisition of Truth. I am dividing the self into the eternal and the progressive purely for explanation, but do not translate it into other words and make a theory, a dogma, a complicated system out of it, and thereby destroy what you are seeking. The whole process of existence consists in changing the progressive into the eternal. The progressive self that is in limitation, created by itself, is the cause of sorrow. The progressive self, because it is small, because it chooses the unessential, the false, the limited, is constantly creating barriers. That progressive self is constantly asserting itself, and that assertion will exist, must exist, until there is that union with the eternal.

This progressive self is ever seeking that eternity, which is not the eternity of the individual, but of the whole, which is not limited to individuals, but is the consummation of all life, individual as well as universal. The progressive self is in process of advancing, is all the time climbing, through struggle, by the destruction of barriers, and in that advancement, in that climb, it is creating, by its self-assertion, echoes. Those echoes return to it as sorrow, pain, and pleasure. That self-assertion of the progressive self will always exist and is bound to exist, until you are made one with the eternal. Existence itself, that is, the life that you are leading, is self-assertion, and that very self-assertion in limitation creates sorrow and that sorrow perverts your judgement, complicates your life. You are constantly led astray by things that are of no value, by things that are unessential, by things that place greater limitations on your search. If your search is not constantly watched over, guided, helped, encouraged, you are caught up in things that are trivial, absurd, and childish. Therefore, I say again, you cannot escape from the self-assertion, which is the cause of sorrow, but that self-assertion can be made so vast that it becomes boundless. Because what you perceive you desire. Your desire is transformed by that which you perceive. If your perception is narrow, limited, then your desires will be small. But if your perception of life is limitless, vast, whole, complete, then your desire becomes whole, vast, limitless.

The self-assertion of the “I” which does not create sorrow is timeless. The present, the immediate now, is ever the past. The moment I have done something it is over, it belongs to the past, it is dead. Every action, which takes place in the present, instantly becomes the past, and to that past belongs whatever you have understood of the progressive self. Whatever you have understood, whatever you have dominated, conquered, is over, it belongs to the past, it is dead, finished with.

All that you have understood and conquered, dominated brings you nearer to that future which is NOW. To that past which is the ever-changing present, belongs birth, acquisition, renunciation, all the qualities that you have developed. The moment you understand something of the progressive self it is over, it is finished with and belongs to the past. It is dead, dust, and nothing of it remains except that you are nearer to eternity.

The present being the ever-changing past, there remains the future, to which you all look with such delight, with such hopes, with such variation of longing that you create theories, innumerable philosophies, which have very little importance, because, as I will show you, the future is not real.

To that future, which is the mystery in which you take so much delight, to that future belong what remains of the unsolved, progressive self. Whatever you have not solved of the progressive self is a mystery, and in that mystery you are caught. That is the future, because that is the mystery of the self, which you have not conquered, which you have not gained, attained and solved.

So it remains a mystery. To the mystery of the future, which is the unsolved “I”, belongs death, of which you are so afraid. Directly you understand, there is no birth, no death. Whatever remains to be understood has not come to an end. Whatever has not come to an end is a mystery, and in that mystery you place death. Because you do not understand it, it belongs to that unsolved portion of the “I” and from that insoluble mystery comes fear -fear of death, fear of the entanglements of love (love which is not returned, jealousy, envy), fear of loneliness, fear of friendship, fear of all that is of the future and belongs to the unsolved “I”. You should seek that happiness you desire neither in the future nor in the past, but now. What is the good of being happy in ten years’ time? What is the good of being companionable, full of friendship in ten years’ time if you are lonely now, if every moment creates tears, sorrow, and misery? When you are hungry you want to be satisfied immediately, now.

To solve the mystery of the unsolved “I”, of the self, you cannot look to the future, because the future, if you have not solved it, is never-ending; it is continuous. But to the man who understands, the solution is at that point where the past and the present and the future meet, which is now. The moment you understand, there is no mystery.

The eternity, which the progressive self is seeking, is neither in the past nor in the future. If it is neither in the past nor in the future, it is now. Now is the moment of eternity. When you understand that, you have transcended all laws, limitations, karma and reincarnation. These, though they may be facts, have no value, because you are living in the eternal.

You cannot solve your problems in the future; your fears, your anxieties, your ambitions, your deaths and births cannot be solved either in the future or in the past, you must solve them NOW. That progressive self, which is constantly seeking, through its limitations, through its sorrow, to find eternity, must be made incorruptible NOW. Not with whether you will be corruptible or incorruptible in the future, but with whether you are corruptible or incorruptible NOW must you concern yourself, because you are concerned with sorrow now, and not in the future. You must make that progressive self incorruptible, strong, whole, complete in the immediate NOW, which is the moment of eternity.

As you should have nothing to do with the past or with the future (I am afraid you have, but that does not matter!), you must concentrate your whole attention, focus every action, every thought, towards the incorruptibility of the mind and the heart, because there is the seat of self. The moment you are incorruptible, you will be a light and cast no shadow, so that all happiness, all rejoicing will be concentrated in you; then you can truly help, and give light to those around you who dwell in darkness.

To live in that immediate NOW, which is eternity you must withdraw from all trivial things that belong to the past or to the future. Your dead hopes, your false theories, your goals, everything must go, and you must live -as the flower lives, giving its perfume to everyone- fully concentrated in that moment of time, in that NOW which is neither the future nor the past, which is neither distant nor near, that NOW which is the harmony of reason and of love.

That NOW is Truth, because in it is the whole consummation of life. To dwell in that NOW is true creation, for creation is poise, it is absolute, unconditioned, it is the consummation of all life. If you would dwell in that eternity which is now, you must look neither to the future nor to the past, but with the desire to make that progressive self incorruptible, free, unconditioned, you must live concentrated, focused, acute, in every action, in every thought, in every love. Because that NOW exists where ever you are; that NOW abides in each one, whole, complete, unconditioned. It is that eternity which the progressive self, bound in limitation which is sorrow, is ever seeking.

– J. Krishnamurti

From Morning Talk, Ommen, Holland, 1929
Collection of Jiddu Krishnamurti Early Writings

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The Flame – J. Krishnamurti

The following was a talk given in 1928.

Some years ago I was talking with a great friend of mine, one who is not altogether of my way of thinking, though he agrees with me in many things -but he is not quite so uncompromising as I am. He said to me that I was as sweet as the meandering waters without the necessary fire for the destruction of useless things, and the creation of essential things. And he ended up by saying: If you would do anything in life, you must have the white flame to carry through your purpose. Because you will be opposed in your ideas, the sweet meandering waters will be dammed and turned to other purposes of irrigation rather than give life to the parched lands. I have been thinking considerably about what he said during the last two years, and wondering if the time has come for the white flame to burn. I hold that the white flame of which my friend spoke is necessary, but it is also necessary to have patience.

This spring in Ojai I was watching a sparrow, building her nest just outside my sleeping-porch. It was the most precarious nest, because it was built in the sunblind. Any person who came along and unconsciously pulled up that awning would necessarily have destroyed the nest. I watched it day after day, and saw the nest coming into being, the immense efforts of the mother bird, its gigantic struggles to create the lovely nest, in which it laid three eggs successively, night after night. In the building of that nest in that precarious position and in the bringing forth of the young birds in spite of the carelessness of human beings and the cruelty of other animals, that little sparrow was contending against the whole world in its creation. It had the white flame, necessary to contend, struggle and assert itself. And that sparrow gave me the necessary understanding that the white flame comes, not by a sudden onrush but by patience, by continual assertion of the essential truth, by continually contending against the small things of life, against narrowness of belief and small understanding. It would have been very easy for me to have hurled myself against the wall of orthodoxy and tradition and sets of beliefs some years ago, but it would have been unwise, because the wall was much too strong; there were very few people who really understood, and therefore would have helped to create a breach in that wall. But now, since I have been here, that white flame has grown strong within me, and I will not ever again compromise with anything, I will never try to reconcile the things which are not of the truth, I, personally, will never put aside the eternal for the sake of the passing.

I have been wondering how many of you have the flame, how many of you are like the steel, forged by your own hands, by your own understanding and by your own contention against life. I am now certain for myself, I am certain of that of which I speak. Even though everyone disagrees with me, though everyone contends against me, though everyone misunderstands that which I say. The more there is misunderstanding, the more there is divergence of opinion, the more certain I am. I would that you could be likewise, not because of what I say, but because you have perceived for yourself. Then that knowledge and wisdom shall give stability to your understanding, so that nothing can destroy it, so that you will constantly have the white flame that shall burn away the dross, the useless things of life, and destroy your innumerable crutches and the divisions which hold people apart. The sweet meandering waters are very pleasant to behold and delightful to sail upon, but if you would go out to sea where there are many waves, storms and tempests, you will have to leave the sweet meandering waters behind, you will have to put them aside and venture forth to discover your own strength, to contend with your own wisdom and knowledge against those things which are unessential and unimportant. For that one needs to have courage, not the stupid courage born out of lack of thought, but courage born out of understanding, courage born out of intelligence. As perhaps some of you agree with me, and see and feel and know and understand with me: if you will not compromise with the truth, then the realization of happiness and the bringing about of that happiness in the world will become a certainty. But if you who have perceived, who have known, who have considered and understood with me, have not the white flame but are merely meandering as the sweet waters, you will not create, you will not stand against the old beliefs and traditions. The time for sweet meandering is over, not for you perhaps, but for me. Not for those who have not understood, but for those who have seen, who have known, who have understood; not for the people who are all the time concerned with reconciliation and compromise, but for those who have invited doubt and have conquered doubt, and who have set aside reconciliation.

You cannot reconcile with truth -truth cannot be twisted, warped to your purpose. You will never bend truth to your particular understanding, but rather you will have to unbend your understanding to the truth; make straight those things which are crooked in order to understand the truth. In order to straighten out those things which have been made crooked, you need a flame. If you would bend the steel to a particular shape, you heat it; so if you would unbend and make straight those things in yourself, which are crooked, you must be heated by the white-hot flame of truth. You must be like the sea, against which nothing shall stand, whose waters are in continual motion, never still, always destroying those barriers that men create to hold them back. If a person is dying, and you would revive him and bring him back to life, your sweet fear of hurting him does not hold you back from inviting the surgeon who shall heal. It is no true affection that is afraid to hurt; no love that will not contend against false sentiment, vain hopes and fleeting pleasures. If you who have seen will stand for truth without compromise, we shall go forward together; if not, you will be on the sweet meandering waters, sailing smoothly along, with your particular pleasures and your delightful, smooth reconciliation, and Truth and I will be far away.

What is the use of you all agreeing with me, sympathizing with me, smiling with delight at my sayings, if there is not the true alteration of your mind and heart, if there is no straightening of those things that are crooked? I tell you that Truth is much too serious to play with; it is much too dangerous to have one part of your heart in the temple of truth and another part in the temple of unrealities and half-truths. For that way is the way of sorrow, is the way of contention, is the way of vain beliefs which shall decay. If you have not that white flame, which comes from understanding, which is born out of patience, you will not enter into that kingdom where Truth abides. As a sweet flower that decays and perishes, so shall be he who merely holds to sweet enjoyments, but if you would be as the tree that withstands every storm and dances in every breeze, you must delight in truth and walk in the light of truth.

– J. Krishnamurti

From Collection of Jiddu Krishnamurti Early Writing, 1928

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Seek the Source of Consciousness – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: We were talking the other day about the ways of the modern Western mind and the difficulty it finds in submitting to the moral and intellectual discipline of the Vedanta. One of the obstacles lies in the young European’s or American’s preoccupation with the disastrous condition of the world and the urgent need of setting it right.

They have no patience with people like you who preach personal improvement as a pre-condition for the betterment of the world. They say it is neither possible nor necessary. Humanity is ready for a change of systems — social, economic, political. A world-government, world-police, world-planning and the abolition of all physical and ideological barriers: this is enough, no personal transformation is needed. No doubt, people shape society, but society shapes people too. In a humane society people will be humane; besides, science provides the answer to many questions which formerly were in the domain of religion.

Maharaj: No doubt, striving for the improvement of the world is a most praiseworthy occupation. Done selflessly, it clarifies the mind and purifies the heart. But soon man will realise that he pursues a mirage. Local and temporary improvement is always possible and was achieved again and again under the influence of a great king or teacher; but it would soon come to an end, leaving humanity in a new cycle of misery. It is in the nature of all manifestation that the good and the bad follow each other and in equal measure. The true refuge is only in the unmanifested.

Q: Are you not advising escape?

M: On the contrary. The only way to renewal lies through destruction. You must melt down the old jewellery into formless gold before you can mould a new one. Only the people who have gone beyond the world can change the world. It never happened otherwise. The few whose impact was long lasting were all knowers of reality. Reach their level and then only talk of helping the world.

Q: It is not the rivers and mountains that we want to help, but the people

M: There is nothing wrong with the world, but for the people who make it bad. Go and ask them to behave.

Q: Desire and fear make them behave as they do.

M: Exactly. As long as human behaviour is dominated by desire and fear, there is not much hope.

And to know how to approach the people effectively, you must yourself be free of all desire and fear.

Q: Certain basic desires and fears are inevitable, such as are connected with food, sex and death.

M: These are needs and, as needs, they are easy to meet.

Q: Even death is a need?

M: Having lived a long and fruitful life you feel the need to die. Only when wrongly applied, desire and fear are destructive. By all means desire the right and fear the wrong. But when people desire what is wrong and fear what is right, they create chaos and despair.

Q: What is right and what is wrong?

M: Relatively, what causes suffering is wrong, what alleviates it is right. Absolutely, what brings you back to reality is right and what dims reality is wrong.

Q: When we talk of helping humanity, we mean a struggle against disorder and suffering.

M: You merely talk of helping. Have you ever helped, really helped, a single man? Have you ever put one soul beyond the need of further help? Can you give a man character, based on full realisation of his duties and opportunities at least, if not on the insight into his true being? When you do not know what is good for yourself, how can you know what is good for others?

Q: The adequate supply of means of livelihood is good for all. You may be God himself, but you need a well-fed body to talk to us.

M: It is you that need my body to talk to you. I am not my body, nor do I need it. I am the witness only. I have no shape of my own. You are so accustomed to think of yourselves as bodies having consciousness that you just cannot imagine consciousness as having bodies. Once you realise that bodily existence is but a state of mind, a movement in consciousness, that the ocean of consciousness is infinite and eternal, and that, when in touch with consciousness, you are the witness only, you will be able to withdraw beyond consciousness altogether.

Q: We are told there are many levels of existences. Do you exit and function on all the levels? While you are on earth, are you also in heaven (swarga)?

M: I am nowhere to be found! I am not a thing to be given a place among other things. All things are in me, but I am not among things. You are telling me about the superstructure while I am concerned with the foundations. The superstructures rise and fall, but the foundations last. I am not interested in the transient, while you talk of nothing else.

Q: Forgive me a strange question. If somebody with a razor sharp sword would suddenly severe your head, what difference would it make to you?

M: None whatsoever. The body will lose its head, certain lines of communication will be cut, that is all. Two people talk to each other on the phone and the wire is cut. Nothing happens to the people, only they must look for some other means of communication. The Bhagavad Gita says: “the sword does not cut it”. It is literally so. It is in the nature of consciousness to survive its vehicles. It is like fire. It burns up the fuel, but not itself. Just like a fire can outlast a mountain of fuel, so does consciousness survive innumerable bodies.

Q: The fuel affects the flame.

M: As long as it lasts. Change the nature of the fuel and the colour and appearance of the flame will change.

Now we are talking to each other. For this presence is needed; unless we are present, we cannot talk. But presence by itself is not enough. There must also the the desire to talk.

Above all, we want to remain conscious. We shall bear every suffering and humiliation, but we shall rather remain conscious. Unless we revolt against this craving for experience and let go the manifested altogether, there can be no relief. We shall remain trapped.

Q: You say you are the silent witness and also you are beyond consciousness. Is there no contradiction in it? If you are beyond consciousness, what are you witnessing?

M: I am conscious and unconscious, both conscious and unconscious, neither conscious nor unconscious — to all this I am witness — but really there is no witness, because there is nothing to be a witness to. I am perfectly empty of all mental formations, void of mind — yet fully aware. This I try to express by my saying that I am beyond the mind.

Q: How can I reach you then?

M: Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of consciousness. That is all. Very little can be conveyed in words. It is the doing as I tell you that will bring light, not my telling you. The means do not matter much; it is the desire, the urge, the earnestness that count.

– Nisargadatta Maharaj

I Am That, chapter 68.

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Transiency is Proof of Unreality – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: My friend is a German and I was born in England from French parents. I am in India since over a year wandering from Ashram to Ashram.

Maharaj: Any spiritual practices (sadhanas)?

Q: Studies and meditation.

M: What did you meditate on?

Q: On what I read.

M: Good.

Q: What are you doing, sir?

M: Sitting.

Q: And what else?

M: Talking.

Q: What are you talking about?

M: Do you want a lecture? Better ask something that really touches you, so that you feel strongly about it. Unless you are emotionally involved, you may argue with me, but there will be no real understanding between us. If you say: ‘nothing worries me, I have no problems’, it is all right with me, we can keep quiet. But if something really touches you, then there is purpose in talking.

Shall I ask you? What is the purpose of your moving from place to place?

Q: To meet people, to try to understand them.

M: What people are you trying to understand? What exactly are you after?

Q: Integration.

M: If you want integration, you must know whom you want to integrate.

Q: By meeting people and watching them, one comes to know oneself also. It goes together.

M: It does not necessarily go together.

Q: One improves the other.

M: It does not work that way. The mirror reflects the image, but the image does not improve the mirror. You are neither the mirror nor the image in the mirror. Having perfected the mirror so that it reflects correctly, truly, you can turn the mirror round and see in it a true reflection of yourself — true as far as the mirror can reflect. But the reflection is not yourself — you are the seer of the reflection. Do understand it clearly — whatever you may perceive you are not what you perceive.

Q: I am the mirror and the world is the image?

M: You can see both the image and the mirror. You are neither. Who are you? Don’t go by formulas. The answer is not in words. The nearest you can say in words is: I am what makes perception possible, the life beyond the experiencer and his experience.

Now, Can you separate yourself both from the mirror and the image in the mirror and stand completely alone, all by yourself?

Q: No, I cannot.

M: How do you know that you cannot? There are so many things you are doing without knowing how to do it. You digest, you circulate your blood and lymph, you move your muscles — all without knowing how. In the same way, you perceive, you feel, you think without knowing the why and how of it. Similarly you are yourself without knowing it. There is nothing wrong with you as the Self. It is what it is to perfection. It is the mirror that is not clear and true and, therefore, gives you false images. You need not correct yourself — only set right your idea of yourself. Learn to separate yourself from the image and the mirror, keep on remembering: I am neither the mind nor its ideas: do it patiently and with convictions and you will surely come to the direct vision of yourself as the source of being — knowing — loving, eternal, all-embracing all-pervading. You are the infinite focussed in a body. Now you see the body only. Try earnestly and you will come to see the infinite only.

Q: The experience of reality, when it Comes, does it last?

M: All experience is necessarily transient. But the ground of all experience is immovable. Nothing that may be called an event will last. But some events purify the mind and some stain it. Moments of deep insight and all-embracing love purify the mind, while desires and fears, envies and anger, blind beliefs and intellectual arrogance pollute and dull the psyche.

Q: Is self-realisation so important?

M: Without it you will be consumed by desires and fears, repeating themselves meaninglessly in endless suffering. Most of the people do not know that there can be an end to pain. But once they have heard the good news, obviously going beyond all strife and struggle is the most urgent task that can be. You know that you can be free and now it is up to you. Either you remain forever hungry and thirsty, longing, searching, grabbing, holding, ever losing and sorrowing, or go out whole-heartedly in search of the state of timeless perfection to which nothing can be added, from which nothing — taken away. In it all desires and fears are absent, not because they were given up, but because they have lost their meaning.

Q: So far I have been following you. Now, what am I expected to do?

M: There is nothing to do. Just be. Do nothing. Be. No climbing mountains and sitting in caves. I do not even say: ‘be yourself’, since you do not know yourself. Just be. Having seen that you are neither the ‘outer’ world of perceivables, nor the ‘inner’ world of thinkables, that you are neither body nor mind — just be.

Q: Surely, there are degrees of realisation.

M: There are no steps to self-realisation. There is nothing gradual about it. It happens suddenly and is irreversible. You rotate into a new dimension, seen from which the previous ones are mere abstractions. Just like on sunrise you see things as they are, so on self-realisation you see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.

Q: In the state of realisation do things change? They become colourful and full of meaning?

M: The experience is quite right, but it is not the experience of reality (sadanubhav), but of harmony (satvanubhav) of the universe.

Q: Nevertheless, there is progress.

M: There can be progress only in the preparation (sadhana). realisation is sudden. The fruit ripens slowly, but falls suddenly and without return.

Q: I am physically and mentally at peace. What more do I need?

M: Yours may not be the ultimate state. You will recognise that you have returned to your natural state by a complete absence of all desire and fear. After all, at the root of all desire and fear is the feeling of not being what you are. Just as a dislocated joint pains only as long as it is out of shape, and is forgotten as soon as it is set right, so is all self-concern a symptom of mental distortion which disappears as soon as one is in the normal state.

Q: Yes, but what is the sadhana for achieving the natural state?

M: Hold on to the sense ‘I am’ to the exclusion of everything else. When thus the mind becomes completely silent, it shines with a new light and vibrates with new knowledge. It all comes spontaneously, you need only hold on to the ‘I am’. Just like emerging from sleep or a state of rapture you feel rested and yet you cannot explain why and how you come to feel so well, in the same way on realisation you feel complete, fulfilled, free from the pleasure-pain complex, and yet not always able to explain what happened, why and how. You can put it only in negative terms: ‘Nothing is wrong with me any longer.’ It is only by comparison with the past that you know that you are out of it. Otherwise — you are just yourself. Don’t try to convey it to others. If you can, it is not the real thing. Be silent and watch it expressing itself in action.

Q: If you could tell me what I shall become, it may help me to watch over my development.

M: How can anybody tell you what you shall become when there is no becoming? You merely discover what you are. All moulding oneself to a pattern is a grievous waste of time. Think neither of the past nor of the future, just be.

Q: How can I just be? Changes are inevitable.

M: Changes are inevitable in the changeful, but you are not subject to them. You are the changeless background, against which changes are perceived.

Q: Everything changes, the background also changes. There is no need of a changeless background to notice changes. The self is momentary — it is merely the point where the past meets the future.

M: Of course the self based on memory is momentary. But such self demands unbroken continuity behind it. You know from experience that there are gaps when your self is forgotten. What brings it back to life? What wakes you up in the morning? There must be some constant factor bridging the gaps in consciousness. If you watch carefully you will find that even your daily consciousness is in flashes, with gaps intervening all the time. What is in the gaps? What can there be but your real being, that is timeless; mind and mindlessness are one to it.

Q: Is there any particular place you would advise me to go to for spiritual attainment?

M: The only proper place is within. The outer world neither can help nor hinder. No system, no pattern of action will take you to your goal. Give up all working for a future, concentrate totally on the now, be concerned only with your response to every movement of life as it happens.

Q: What is the cause of the urge to roam about?

M: There is no cause. You merely dream that you roam about. In a few years your stay in India will appear as a dream to you. You will dream some other dream at that time. Do realise that it is not you who moves from dream to dream, but the dreams flow before you and you are the immutable witness. No happening affects your real being — this is the absolute truth.

Q: Cannot I move about physically and keep steady inwardly?

M: You can, but what purpose does it serve? If you are earnest, you will find that in the end you will get fed up with roaming and regret the waste of energy and time. To find your self you need not take a single step.

Q: Is there any difference between the experience of the Self (atman) and of the Absolute (brahman)?

M: There can be no experience of the Absolute as it is beyond all experience. On the other hand, the self is the experiencing factor in every experience and thus, in a way, validates the multiplicity of experiences. The world may be full of things of great value, but if there is nobody to buy them, they have no price. The Absolute contains everything experienceable, but without the experience they are as nothing. That which makes the experience possible is the Absolute. That which makes it actual is the Self.

Q: Don’t we reach the Absolute through a gradation of experiences? Beginning with the grossest, we end with the most sublime.

M: There can be no experience without desire for it. There can be gradation between desires, but between the most sublime desire and the freedom from all desire there is an abyss which must be crossed. The unreal may look real, but it is transient. The real is not afraid of time.

Q: Is not the unreal the expression of the real?

M: How can it be? It is like saying that truth expresses itself in dreams. To the real the unreal is not. It appears to be real only because you believe in it. Doubt it, and it ceases. When you are in love with somebody, you give it reality — you imagine your love to be all-powerful and everlasting. When it comes to an end, you say: ‘I thought it was real, but it wasn’t’. Transiency is the best proof of unreality. What is limited in time and space, and applicable to one person only, is not real. The real is for all and forever.

Above everything else you cherish yourself. You would accept nothing in exchange for your existence. The desire to be is the strongest of all desires and will go only on the realisation of your true nature.

Q: Even in the unreal there is a touch of reality.

M: Yes, the reality you impart to it by taking it to be real. Having convinced yourself, you are bound by your conviction. When the sun shines, colours appear. When it sets, they disappear. Where are the colours without the light?

Q: This is thinking in terms of duality.

M: All thinking is in duality. In identity no thought survives.

– Nisargadatta Maharaj

I Am That, chapter 69.

For more posts on Nisargadatta Maharaj see:   https://o-meditation.com/category/nisargadatta-maharaj/

To read more from Nisargadatta Maharaj see:   https://o-meditation.com/jai-guru-deva/some-good-books/downloadable-books/nisargadatta-maharaj/

God is the End of All Desire and Knowledge – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Maharaj: Where are you coming from? What have you come for?

Questioner: I come from America and my friend is from the Republic of Ireland. I came about six months ago and I was travelling from Ashram to Ashram. My friend came on his own.

M: What have you seen?

Q: I have been at Sri Ramanashram and also I have visited Rishikesh. Can I ask you what is your opinion of Sri Ramana Maharshi?

M: We are both in the same ancient state. But what do you know of Maharshi? You take yourself to be a name and a body, so all you perceive are names and bodies.

Q: Were you to meet the Maharshi, what would happen?

M: Probably we would feel quite happy. We may even exchange a few words.

Q: But would he recognise you as a liberated man?

M: Of course. As a man recognises a man, so a jnani recognises a jnani. You cannot appreciate what you have not experienced. You are what you think yourself to be, but you cannot think yourself to be what you have not experienced.

Q: To become an engineer I must learn engineering. To become God, what must I learn?

M: You must unlearn everything. God is the end of all desire and knowledge.

Q: You mean to say that I become God merely by giving up the desire to become God?

M: All desires must be given up, because by desiring you take the shape of your desires. When no desires remain, you revert to your natural state.

Q: How do I come to know that I have achieved perfection?

M: You can not know perfection, you can know only imperfection. For knowledge to be, there must be separation and disharmony. You can know what you are not, but you can not know your real being. You can be only what you are. The entire approach is through understanding, which is in the seeing of the false as false. But to understand, you must observe from outside.

Q: The Vedantic concept of Maya, illusion, applies to the manifested. Therefore our knowledge of the manifested is unreliable. But we should be able to trust our knowledge of the unmanifested.

M: There can be no knowledge of the unmanifested. The potential is unknowable. Only the actual can be known.

Q: Why should the knower remain unknown?

M: The knower knows the known. Do you know the knower? Who is the knower of the knower? You want to know the unmanifested. Can you say you know the manifested?

Q: I know things and ideas and their relations. It is the sum total of all my experiences.

M: All?

Q: Well, all actual experiences. I admit I cannot know what did not happen.

M: If the manifested is the sum total of all actual experiences, including their experiencers, how much of the total do you know? A very small part indeed. And what is the little you know?

Q: Some sensory experiences as related to myself.

M: Not even that. You only know that you react. Who reacts and to what, you do not know. You know on contact that you exist — ‘I am’. The ‘I am this’, ‘I am that’ are imaginary.

Q: I know the manifested because I participate in it. I admit, my part in it is very small, yet it is as real as the totality of it. And what is more important, I give it meaning. Without me the world is dark and silent.

M: A firefly illumining the world! You don’t give meaning to the world, you find it. Dive deep into yourself and find the source from where all meaning flows. Surely it is not the superficial mind that can give meaning.

Q: What makes me limited and superficial?

M: The total is open and available, but you will not take it. You are attached to the little person you think yourself to be. Your desires are narrow, your ambitions — petty. After all, without a centre of perception where would be the manifested? Unperceived, the manifested is as good as the unmanifested. And you are the perceiving point, the non-dimensional source of all dimensions. Know yourself as the total.

Q: How can a point contain a universe?

M: There is enough space in a point for an infinity of universes. There is no lack of capacity. Self-limitation is the only problem. But you cannot run away from yourself. However far you go, you come back to yourself and to the need of understanding this point, which is as nothing and yet the source of everything.

Q: I came to India in search of a Yoga teacher. I am still in search.

M: What kind of Yoga do you want to practice, the Yoga of getting, or the Yoga of giving up?

Q: Don’t they come to the same in the end?

M: How can they? One enslaves, the other liberates. The motive matters supremely. Freedom comes through renunciation. All possession is bondage.

Q: What I have the strength and the courage to hold on to, why should I give up? And if I have not the strength, how can I give up? I do not understand this need of giving up. When I want something, why should I not pursue it? Renunciation is for the weak.

M: If you do not have the wisdom and the strength to give up, just look at your possessions. Your mere looking will burn them up. If you can stand outside your mind, you will soon find that total renunciation of possessions and desires is the most obviously reasonable thing to do. You create the world and then worry about it. Becoming selfish makes you weak. If you think you have the strength and courage to desire, it is because you are young and inexperienced. Invariably the object of desire destroys the means of acquiring it and then itself withers away. It is all for the best, because it teaches you to shun desire like poison.

Q: How am I to practice desirelessness?

M: No need of practice. No need of any acts of renunciation. Just turn your mind away, that is all. Desire is merely the fixation of the mind on an idea. Get it out of its groove by denying it attention.

Q: That is all?

M: Yes, that is all. Whatever may be the desire or fear, don’t dwell upon it. Try and see for yourself. Here and there you may forget, it does not matter. Go back to your attempts till the brushing away of every desire and fear, of every reaction becomes automatic.

Q: How can one live without emotions?

M: You can have all the emotions you want, but beware of reactions, of induced emotions. Be entirely self-determined and ruled from within, not from without. Merely giving up a thing to secure a better one is not true relinquishment. Give it up because you see its valuelessness. As you keep on giving up, you will find that you grow spontaneously in intelligence and power and inexhaustible love and joy.

Q: Why so much insistence on relinquishing all desires and fears? Are they not natural?

M: They are not. They are entirely mind-made. You have to give up everything to know that you need nothing, not even your body. Your needs are unreal and your efforts are meaningless. You imagine that your possessions protect you. In reality they make you vulnerable. realise yourself as away from all that can be pointed at as ‘this’ or ‘that’. You are unreachable by any sensory experience or verbal construction. Turn away from them. Refuse to impersonate.

Q: After I have heard you, what am I to do?

M: Only hearing will not help you much. You must keep it in mind and ponder over it and try to understand the state of mind which makes me say what I say. I speak from truth; stretch your hand and take it. You are not what you think yourself to be, I assure you. The image you have of yourself is made up from memories and is purely accidental.

Q: What I am is the result of my karma.

M: What you appear to be, you are not. Karma is only a word you have learnt to repeat. You have never been, nor shall ever be a person. Refuse to consider yourself as one. But as long as you do not even doubt yourself to be a Mr. S0-and-so, there is little hope. When you refuse to open your eyes, what can you be shown?

Q: I imagine karma to be a mysterious power that urges me towards perfection.

M: That’s what people told you. You are already perfect, here and now. The perfectible is not you. You imagine yourself to be what you are not — stop it. It is the cessation that is important, not what you are going to stop.

Q: Did not karma compel me to become what I am?

M: Nothing compels. You are as you believe yourself to be. Stop believing.

Q: Here you are sitting on your seat and talking to me. What compels you is your karma.

M: Nothing compels me. I do what needs doing. But you do so many unnecessary things. It is your refusal to examine that creates karma. It is the indifference to your own suffering that perpetuates it.

Q: Yes, it is true. What can put an end to this indifference?

M: The urge must come from within as a wave of detachment, or compassion.

Q: Could I meet this urge half way?

M: Of course. See your own condition, see the condition of the world.

Q: We were told about karma and reincarnation, evolution and Yoga, masters and disciples. What are we to do with all this knowledge?

M: Leave it all behind you. Forget it. Go forth, unburdened with ideas and beliefs. Abandon all verbal structures, all relative truth, all tangible objectives. The Absolute can be reached by absolute devotion only. Don’t be half-hearted.

Q: I must begin with some absolute truth. Is there any?

M: Yes, there is, the feeling: ‘I am’. Begin with that.

Q: Nothing else is true?

M: All else is neither true nor false. It seems real when it appears, it disappears when it is denied. A transient thing is a mystery.

Q: I thought the real is the mystery.

M: How can it be? The real is simple, open, clear and kind, beautiful and joyous. It is completely free of contradictions. It is ever new, ever fresh, endlessly creative. Being and non-being, life and death, all distinctions merge in it.

Q: I can admit that all is false. But, does it make my mind nonexistent?

M: The mind is what it thinks. To make it true, think true.

Q: If the shape of things is mere appearance, what are they in reality?

M: In reality there is only perception. The perceiver and the perceived are conceptual, the fact of perceiving is actual.

Q: Where does the Absolute come in?

M: The Absolute is the birthplace of Perceiving. It makes perception possible.

But too much analysis leads you nowhere. There is in you the core of being which is beyond analysis, beyond the mind. You can know it in action only. Express it in daily life and its light will grow ever brighter. The legitimate function of the mind is to tell you what is not. But if you want positive knowledge, you must go beyond the mind.

Q: In all the universe is there one single thing of value?

M: Yes, the power of love.

– Nisargadatta Maharaj

I Am That, chapter 70.

For more posts on Nisargadatta Maharaj see:   https://o-meditation.com/category/nisargadatta-maharaj/

To read more from Nisargadatta Maharaj see:   https://o-meditation.com/jai-guru-deva/some-good-books/downloadable-books/nisargadatta-maharaj/