Man is not a meaning but an opportunity. The meaning is possible, but is not given. The meaning can be created, but it is not already there. It is a task not a gift. Life is a gift, but life is open opportunity. Meaning is not a gift, meaning is a search. Those who seek will certainly find it. But those who simply wait will go on missing. The meaning, the logos, has to be created by man. Man has to transform himself into that meaning. It cannot be something exterior to man, it can only be something interior.
Man’s inner being has to become illumined.
Before we enter into these sutras, a few things will be helpful to understand about man, because only then is the work possible.
The first thing to be understood is that man is a four-dimensional space-time continuum, just as the whole existence is. Three dimensions are of space, one dimension is of time. They are not separate: the dimension of time is but the fourth dimension of space. The three dimensions of space are static; the fourth dimension of time brings movement, makes life a process. Then existence is not a thing, but becomes an event.
And so is man. Man is the miniature universe. If you could understand man in his totality, you would have understood the whole existence. Man contains all – in seed. Man is a condensed universe. And these are the four dimensions of man.
The first dimension is what Patanjali calls sushupti, deep sleep, where not even a dream exists. One is utterly silent, not even a thought stirring, no wind blowing. All is absent. That absence, in deep sleep, is the first dimension. It is from that that we start. And we have to understand our sleep, only then can we go through a transformation. Only then can we build our house on a rock, otherwise not. But very few people are there who understand their sleep.
You sleep every day, you live one-third of your life in deep sleep, but you don’t understand what it is. You go into it every night, and you also gain much out of it. But it is all unconscious: you don’t know exactly where it leads you. It leads you to the simplest dimension of your life – the first dimension. It is very simple because there is no duality. It is very simple because there is no complexity. It is very simple because there is only oneness. You have not yet arisen as an ego, you have not yet become divided – but the unity is unconscious.
If this unity becomes conscious you will have samadhi instead of sushupti. If this unity becomes conscious, illumined, then you will have attained God. That’s why Patanjali says: Deep sleep and samadhi, the ultimate state of consciousness, are very much alike. Alike, because they are simple. Alike, because in both there is no duality. Alike, because in both the ego exists not.
In the first, the ego has not arisen yet; in the second, the ego has been dissolved – but there is a great difference too. The difference is that in samadhi you know what sleep is. Even while asleep your consciousness is there, your awareness is there. Your awareness goes on burning like a small light inside you.
A Zen Master was asked… It is a very famous saying in Zen:
Thus we are told that before we study Zen the mountains are mountains and the rivers are rivers. While we are studying Zen, however, the mountains are no longer mountains and the rivers are no longer rivers. But then when our study of Zen is completed, the mountains are once again mountains and the rivers are once again rivers.
‘What is meant by this?’ a disciple asked a great Master.
The Master explained this: ‘It simply means that the first and the last states are alike. Only just in the middle… the disturbance. First the mountains are mountains. and again in the end the mountains are again mountains. But in the middle the mountains are no more mountains and rivers are no more rivers – everything is disturbed and confused and clouded. That clouding, that confusion, that chaos, exists only in the middle. In sushupti everything is as it should be; in samadhi, again everything is as it should be. Between the two is the problem, is the world, is the mind, is the ego, is the whole complex of misery, hell.
When the Master explained this, the disciple exclaimed ‘Well, if that’s true, then there is no difference between the ordinary man and the enlightened man.’
‘That’s true’ replied the Master. ‘There is no difference really. The only thing is, the enlightened man is six inches off the ground.’
But those six inches make all the difference. Why is the Master six inches off the ground? He lives in the world and is yet not in it – those are the six inches, the difference. He eats, and yet he is not the eater; he remains a witness – those six inches. He is ill, he knows the pain of illness but still he is not in pain; that difference – those six inches. He dies, he knows death is happening, and yet he is not dying: that difference – those six inches. He is asleep and yet he is not asleep, he is alert too.
The first state is of sushupti. We will call it ‘the first dimension’. It is dreamless undividedness, it is unconscious unity, it is ignorance, but very blissful. But the bliss too is unconscious. Only in the morning when you are awake again do you start feeling that there has been a good sleep in the night, that you have been in some faraway land, that you are feeling rejuvenated, that you are feeling very fresh, again young and alive. But only in the morning – not exactly at the time when you are in the sleep, only later on. Just some fragrance remains lingering in the memory. It reminds you that you have been to some inner depth, but where? what? – you cannot figure it out. You cannot give any account of it. Just a vague memory, a faint remembrance that somewhere you have been in a good space. There is no ego yet, so there is no misery possible, because misery is not possible without the ego.
This is the state where the rocks and the mountains and the rivers and the trees are existing. That’s why trees look so beautiful – an unconscious bliss surrounds them. That’s why mountains look so silent: they are in sushupti, they are in deep sleep, they are continuously in deep sleep. That’s why when you go to the Himalayas an eternal silence is felt – virgin silence. Nobody has ever been able to disturb it. Just think of a mountain, and suddenly you start feeling silent. Think of trees and you feel life flowing in. The whole of nature exists in the first state, that’s why nature is so simple.
The second dimension is that of dream – what Patanjali calls swabha. The first disturbance in the sleep is dream. Now you are not one anymore; the second dimension has arisen. Images have started floating in you: the beginning of the world. Now you are two: the dreamer and the dreamed.
Now you are seeing the dream and you are the dream too. Now you are divided. That silence of the deep sleep is no more there, disturbance has entered because division has entered.
Division, duality, disturbance – that is the meaning of the dream. Although the duality is still unconscious it is there; but not very consciously – not that you know about it. The turmoil is there, the world is born, but things are still undefined. They are just coming out of the smoke; things are taking shape. The form is not yet clear, the form has not yet become concrete, but because of the dualism – even though it is unconscious – misery has entered in. The nightmare is not very far away. The dream will turn into a nightmare.
This is where anima]s and birds exist. They also have a beauty, because they are very close to sushupti. Birds sitting on a tree are just dreams sitting in sleep. Birds making their nests on a tree are just dreams making their nests in sleep. There is a kind of affinity between the birds and the trees. If trees disappear, birds will disappear; and if birds disappear, trees will not be so beautiful any more. There is a deep relationship; it is one family. When you see parrots screeching and flying around a tree, it almost looks as if the leaves of the tree have got wings. They are not separate… very close. Birds and animals are more silent than man, happier than man. Birds don’t go mad. They don’t need psychiatrists; they don’t need any Freud, any Jung, any Adler. They are utterly healthy.
If you go into the forest and you see the animals, you will be surprised – they are all alike! And all healthy. You will not find a single fat animal in the natural state. I am not talking about the zoo. In the zoo things go wrong, because the zoo is no more natural. Zoo animals start following man; they even start going mad and committing suicide. Zoo animals even turn into homosexuals. The state of the zoo is not natural, it is man-created. In nature they are very, very silent, happy, healthy, but that health too is unconscious – they don’t know what is happening.
This is the second state: when you are in a dream. This is the second dimension. First: dreamless sleep, sushupti – simple one-dimensional; there is no ‘other’. Second: dream, swabha; there are two dimensions: the dreamer and the dreamed, the content and the consciousness – the division has arisen – the looker and the looked at, the observer and the observed. Duality has entered. This is the second dimension.
In the first dimension there is only the present tense. Sleep knows no past, no future. Of course because it knows no past, no future, it cannot know the present either, because the present exists only in the middle. You have to be aware of the past and the future, only then can you be aware of the present. Because there is no past and no future, sleep exists only in the present. It is pure present, but unconscious.
With the dream, the division enters. With the dream, the past becomes very, very important. Dream is past-oriented; all dreams come from the past. They are fragments of the past floating in the mind, dust from the past which has not settled yet.
It’s her old man I feel sorry for. He was in bed the other night fast asleep. Suddenly she noticed he had a smile on his face. She thought ‘Hello, he’s having one of those dreams again.’ So she put down her crisps and her bottle of stout and woke him up.
He said ‘Blimey, you would, wouldn’t you! I was having a lovely dream then! I was at this auction where they were selling mouths. They had small rosebud ones for a quid. Pert little pursed ones for two quid, and little smiling ones for a fiver.’
She said ‘Ooh! Did they have a mouth my size?’
‘Yes. They were holding the auction in it.’
Whatsoever you dream has something to say about your past. It may be that you see an auction – little smiling rosebud mouths are being sold – but the auction is being held in your wife’s mouth. Maybe you have never said to your wife ‘Shut up, and keep your big mouth closed!’ Maybe you have not said it so clearly, but you have been thinking that so many times. It is lingering in the mind. It is there. Maybe you have never been so true in your waking state as you are when you are asleep. And you can be! You can afford to be true. All dreams float from the past. With the dream past becomes existential. So the present is there, and the past.
With the third, the third dimension, waking state what Patanjali calls jagrut – multiplicity enters. The first is unity, the second is duality, the third is multiplicity. Great complexity arises. The whole world is born. In sleep you are deep inside you; in dream you are no more that deep inside you and yet you are not out either – just in the middle, on the threshold. With waking consciousness you are outside yourself, you have gone into the world.
You can understand the biblical story of Adam’s expulsion in these three dimensions. When Adam was there in the Garden of Eden and had not yet eaten the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge it was deep sleep, unconscious – unconscious bliss it was. There was no disturbance, everything was simply beautiful. He had not known of any misery. Then he eats the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Knowledge arises, images start floating, dreams have started functioning. He is no more the same. He is still in the Garden of Eden but no more part of it – alien, stranger, an outsider. He has not yet been expelled, but in a subtle way he is no more centered there. He is uprooted. This is the state of the dream – the first taste of knowledge, because of the first taste of duality, the distinction of observer and the observed. And then he is being expelled from the Garden of Eden, thrown out – that is the third state, the waking state. Now he cannot even go back; there is no way back. He has forgotten that he has an inside too.
In deep sleep you are inside. In wakefulness you are outside. In dream you are just in the middle, hanging, not settled yet where to go, still indecisive, in doubt, uncertain. With the waking state, the ego enters in. In the dream state there are just rudimentary fragments of the ego arising, but they settle in the third. The ego becomes the most concrete, most solid, most decisive phenomenon. Then whatsoever you do, you do because of the ego.
The third state brings a little consciousness – just one per cent, not much of it, just a flickering consciousness, momentary consciousness. The first was absolutely unconscious, the second was unconsciousness disturbed, the third is the first glimpse of consciousness. And because of that – the momentary glimpse of consciousness – that one per cent of consciousness coming in creates the ego. Now the future also enters in.
First there is only the present unconscious, then there is the past unconscious, now there is future. Past, present, future, and the whole complexity of time revolves around you. This is the state where people are stuck, where you are stuck, where everybody is stuck. And if you go on building your house with these three dimensions, you will be building it on sand, because your whole effort will be unconscious.
To do something in unconsciousness is futile – it is shooting arrows in the dark not knowing where the target is. It is not going to bring much result. First, light is needed. The target has to be looked for, searched for. And enough light is needed so you can move towards the target consciously. That is possible only when the fourth dimension starts functioning. It rarely happens; but whenever it happens, then meaning is really born, logos is born.
You will live a meaningless life if you live only with these three. You will live a meaningless life because you will not be able to create yourself. How can you create in such unawareness?
The fourth dimension is of awareness, witnessing – what Patanjali calls turiya. And in the Gospels Jesus goes on saying again and again to his disciples: Awake! Beware! Watch! All these words indicate turiya. And it is one of the misfortunes of history that Christianity has not been able to bring this message clearly to the world. It has failed utterly.
Rarely has a religion failed so utterly as Christianity. Jesus was not very fortunate, because the disciples that he found turned out to be very ordinary, and the religion became almost a political organization. The church became not a follower of Jesus but deep down really antagonistic to Jesus. The church has been doing things against Jesus in the name of Jesus.
Buddha was more fortunate. The followers never became a church, they never became so organized politically and they never became so worldly. They carried little bits of Buddha’s message down the ages.
This fourth dimension has to be understood as deeply as possible, because this is the goal. It is pure consciousness, simplicity again. The first was simple but unconscious; the fourth is simple but conscious. Unity again, bliss again – with only one difference: now everything is conscious, the inner light is burning bright. You are fully alert. It is not a dark night inside you but a full-moon night, moonlit. That is the meaning of enlightenment: the inner illumination.
Again there is only one time left – present, but now it is conscious present. Past is no more hanging around. A man who is aware cannot move in the past, because it is no more. A man who is aware cannot move in the future, because it is not yet. A man who is aware lives in the present, here-now. HERE is his only space and NOW is his only time. And because he is only here-now, time as such disappears. Eternity is born, timelessness is born. And when one is totally alert, ego cannot exist.
Ego is a shadow cast in unawareness. When all is light, the ego cannot exist. You will be able to see the falsity of it, the pseudo-ness of it. And in that very seeing is its disappearance.
These are the four dimensions of human consciousness. And people live only in the first three. The fourth carries the meaning; hence the people who live only in the three live a meaningless life. They know it. You know it! If you look into your life you will not find any meaning there, just a haphazard, accidental progression of things. One thing is followed by another, but with no particular consistency, with no particular relevance. One thing is followed by another just accidentally.
That’s what Jean-Paul Sartre means when he says ‘Man is a useless passion’: man is accidental. Yes, he is true if he is talking about the three dimensions: first, second and third; but he is not true about the fourth. And he cannot say anything about the fourth because he has not experienced anything of it. Only a Christ or a Buddha can say something about the fourth.
Christ-consciousness is of the fourth, so is Buddha-consciousness. To remain confined in the three is to be in the world. To enter into the fourth is to enter into nirvana, or call it the ‘kingdom of God’. These are only different expressions for the same thing.
A few things more: The second dimension is a shadow of the first: sleep and dream. Dreams cannot exist without sleep, sleep is a must. Sleep can exist without dreams. So sleep is primary, dreams are secondary – just a shadow. And so is the case with the third and the fourth. The third is the shadow of the fourth, because the third can exist only if there is some consciousness. A little bit of consciousness has to be there, only then can the third exist. The third cannot exist without little bit of consciousness in it – a ray of light. It is not much of a light, but a ray of light is needed. The fourth can exist without the third, but the third cannot exist without the fourth. The fourth is awareness, absolute awareness; and the third is just a small ray of light in the dark night. But it exists because of that small ray of light. If that ray of light disappears, it will become the second; it will not be the third any more.
And your life looks like a shadow-life because you are living with the third. And the third is the shadow of the fourth. Only with the fourth do you come home. Only with the fourth are you grounded in existence.
The first is absolute darkness, the fourth is absolute light. Between these two are their two shadows. Those two shadows have become so important to us that we think that is our whole life. That’s why Hindus have been calling the world maya, illusion, because of these two dimensions which have become predominant – the second and the third. We have lost track of the first, and we have not yet searched for the fourth.
And one thing more: If you find the fourth you will find the first. Only one who has found the fourth will be able to know about the first, because once you have come to the fourth you can be asleep and remain alert. Krishna defines the yogi in the Gita as ‘one who is awake while asleep’. That’s his definition for the yogi. A strange definition: who is awake while asleep.
And just the reverse is the situation with you. You are asleep while awake. That is the definition of a non-yogi: asleep while awake. You look awake, and you are not.
It is just an idea, this awake state. Ninety-nine per cent consists of sleep – only one per cent of wakefulness. And that one per cent also goes on changing. Sometimes it is there and sometimes it is not there at all. It was there; somebody insults you – and it is not there. You have become angry, and you have lost even that small awareness. Somebody treads on your feet – and it is gone. It is very delicate. Anybody can take it and destroy it, and very easily. You were perfectly okay; a letter comes and something is written in the letter, and suddenly you are no more okay. All is disturbed. A single word can create such a disturbance! Your awareness is not very much.
And you are awake only in rare moments: in danger you are awake, because in danger you have to be awake. But when there is no danger, you start snoring. You can hear people snoring – walking down the road, they are snoring. And they are caged in their own unconsciousness.
A drunk bumped into a stop sign. Dazed and disoriented, he stepped back and then advanced in the same direction. Once more he hit the sign. He retreated a few steps, waited awhile, and then marched forward. Colliding with the post again, he embraced it in defeat and said ‘It is no use. I am fenced in. I am stopped in every direction.’
And he has not moved in any other direction. He has been moving again and again to the post. And being hit, naturally he concludes that he has been fenced in from every direction.
And that is the situation of the ordinary human consciousness. You go on moving in the same unconscious way, in the same unconscious direction. And again and again you are hit, and you think ‘Why is there so much misery? Why? Why did God create such a miserable world in the first place? Is God a kind of sadist? Does he want to torture people? Why has he created a life which is almost like a prison, and in which there is no freedom?’
Life is absolutely free. But to see that freedom, first you will have to free your consciousness. Remember it as a criterion: the more conscious you are, the more free; the less conscious you are, the less free. The more conscious you are, the more blissful; the less conscious you are, the less blissful. It depends on how conscious you are. And there are people who will go on looking into the scriptures to find out ways to become more free, to become more blissful, to attain to truth. That is not going to help, because it is not a question of the scriptures. If you are unconscious and you go on reading the Bible and the Koran and the Vedas and the Gita, it is not going to help, because your unconsciousness cannot be changed by your studies. In fact the scripture cannot change your consciousness, but your unconsciousness will change the scripture – the meaning of the scriptures. You will find your own meanings there. You will interpret in such a way that the Bible, the Veda, the Koran, will start functioning as imprisonments. that’s how Christians and Hindus and Mohammedans are – all imprisoned.
I have heard…
After booking into a large hotel, a self-styled evangelist read in his room for an hour or two – and he was reading the Bible – then went down to the bar, and after a couple of drinks, he struck up a conversation with the red-headed barmaid. He stayed up until closing time and after the girl had cleared up, they both went up to the evangelist’s room.
When he started to interfere with her clothing, the barmaid seemed to have second thoughts. ‘Are you sure this is alright?’ she said ‘after all you are a holy man.’
‘My dear’ he replied ‘it’s written in the Bible.’
She took him at his word, and they spent a very pleasant night together. The next morning, however, as the girl was preparing to leave, she said ‘You know, I don’t remember the part of the Bible you spoke about last night.’
The evangelist picked up the Gideon’s Bible from the bedside table, opened the cover, and showed her the flyleaf, on which was inscribed ‘The redheaded barmaid screws.’
Reading the whole Bible for one hour, and this was his finding. Somebody had inscribed on the flyleaf…
If you read the Bible, you read it, remember. And the meaning that you give it will be yours, the interpretation will be yours. It cannot help you, because it cannot even protect itself from you. How can it help you? The only way to have any change in life is to change consciousness. And to change consciousness you will not have to go into the Bible and the Vedas. You will have to go inwards, you will have to go into meditation. Scholarship won’t help.
A blind man was invited to a festivity and there he ate some delicious pudding. He was so enchanted by its taste that he asked someone sitting next him to tell what it looked like.
‘White’ the man said.
‘What is white?’ the blind man asked.
‘White? – like a duck,’ came the answer.
‘How does a duck look?’ persisted the blind man.
Puzzled for a moment, the man finally said ‘Here, feel this’ and took the blind man’s hand in his hand and guided it along his other hand and arm, which he bent at the elbow and wrist to resemble the shape of a duck.
At this, the blind man exclaimed ‘Oh, the pudding is crooked!’
That’s what is going to happen. You cannot help the blind man to know what is white, or what is color, or what is light. All your help is going to give him something wrong. There is no way to help the blind man by definitions, by explanations, by theories, by dogmas, by scriptures. The only way to help him is to heal his eyes.
Buddha has said ‘I am a physician. I don’t give you definitions of light, I simply heal your eyes.’ And that’s what Jesus is, and all the miracles that are reported in the Bible are not miracles but parables – that a blind man came to him and he touched his eyes, and the blind man was healed and he could see immediately. If it is just about the physical eye, this is not much. Then Jesus is already out of date, because medical science can do it. Sooner or later, Jesus will have to be completely forgotten. If he was simply curing physical eyes, then it is not going to mean much in the future. This can be done by science. And that which can be done by science should be done by science; religion should not enter into it – there is no need. Religion has far higher things to do.
So I insist again and again that these stories are not miracles but parables. People are blind, and the Jesus-touch is a magic touch. He helps them to see, he helps them to become aware, he helps them to become more conscious. He brings the fourth.
To go into the fourth, work is needed. Work in the sense that Gurdjieff used to use that word. Work means a great effort to transform your being, a great effort to center your being, a great effort to drop all that which creates darkness and to bring all that which can help a little light come in. If a door has to be opened, then open the door and let the light come in. If a wall has to be broken, then break the wall and let the light come in. Work means a conscious effort to search, to inquire to explore into the dimension of the fourth – into light, into awareness – and a conscious effort to drop all that which helps you remain unconscious, to drop all that which keeps you mechanical.
A man bought a farm and a sow. He asked his wife to watch the sow, explaining that if she saw it eating grass it was ready for mating and could be taken to the next farm. A couple of days later his wife told him that the sow had started to eat grass. So the farmer put it on a barrow and took it to the next farm to be mated. When he came back, he told his wife to watch the sow again. ‘If the sow eats grass again, it has not taken’ he explained.
A few days later, his wife reported that the sow was eating grass again. So it was put on the barrow and taken for mating again. The farmer brought it back and again asked his wife to watch it closely. Two days later he asked his wife if it had been eating grass again.
‘No’ she said ‘but it’s sitting in the barrow.’
The mechanical mind, the instinctive mind, the repetitive mind – that has to be broken and dropped. Work means an alchemical change. Great effort is needed. Hard and arduous is the path. It is an uphill task.
From I Say Unto You, Vol. 1, Discourse #7
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