If enlightenment and samadhi mean total consciousness, cosmic consciousness, all-pervading consciousness, then it seems very strange to call this state of cosmic consciousness centering, as the word ‘centering’ implies one -pointedness. Why is cosmic consciousness, or samadhi, called centering?
Centering is the path, not the goal. Centering is the method, not the result. Samadhi is not called centering; centering is the technique to samadhi. Of course, they look contradictory because when one realizes, becomes enlightened, there is no center left.
Jacob Boehme has said that when one comes to the divine it can be described in two ways: either the center is everywhere now, or the center is nowhere; both mean the same thing. So the word ‘centering’ seems contradictory, but the path is not the goal and the method is not the result. And method can be contradictory. So we have to understand it because these one hundred and twelve methods are methods of centering.
But once you become centered you will explode. Centering is just to gather yourself totally at one point. Once you are gathered at one point, crystallized at one point, that point explodes automatically. Then there is no center – or then the center is everywhere. So centering is a means to explode.
Why does centering become the method? If you are not centered your energy is unfocused, it cannot explode. It is spread out; it cannot explode. Explosion needs great energy. Explosion means that now you are not spread out – you are at one point. You become atomic; you become, really, a spiritual atom. And only when you are centered enough to become an atom can you explode. Then there is an atomic explosion.
That explosion is not talked about because it cannot be, so only the method is given. The result is not talked about. It cannot be talked about. If you do the method the result will follow, and there is no way to express it.
So remember this: basically, religion never talks about the experience itself, it talks only about the method; it shows the how, not the what. The what is left to you. If you do the how, the what will come to you. And there is no way to convey it. One can know it, but he cannot convey it. It is such an infinite experience that language becomes useless. The vastness is such that no word is capable of expressing it. So only the method is given.
Buddha is reported to have said continuously for forty years, “Do not ask me about the truth, about the divine, about nirvana, liberation. Do not ask me anything about such things. Just ask me how to reach there. I can show you the path, but I cannot give you the experience, not even in words.” The experience is personal; method is impersonal. Method is scientific, impersonal; experience is always personal and poetic.
What do I mean when I differentiate in this way? Method is scientific. If you can do it, centering will result. That centering is bound to result if the method is done. If the centering is not happening, then you can know that you are missing the point somewhere. Somewhere you have missed the method; you have not followed it. Method is scientific; centering is scientific; but when the explosion comes to you, it is poetic.
By poetic, I mean every one of you will experience it in a different way. Then there is no common ground. And everyone will express it in a different way. Buddha says something, Mahavir says something, Krishna says something else, and Jesus, Mohammed, Moses and Lao Tsu, they all differ – not in methods, but in the way they express their experience. Only on one thing do they all agree, that whatsoever they are saying is not expressing that which they have felt. Only on that one point do they agree.
Still, they try. Still, they try to convey somehow, to hint. It seems impossible, but if you have a sympathetic heart something may be conveyed. But that needs a deep sympathy and love and reverence. So really, whenever something is conveyed it doesn’t depend on the conveyer, it depends on you. If you can receive it in deep love and reverence, then something reaches you. But if you are critical about it, then nothing reaches. Firstly, it is difficult to express. And even if it is expressed you are critical – then the message becomes impossible; there is no communication.
The communication is very delicate. That is why in all these one hundred and twelve methods it has been left out completely – only hinted at. Shiva says so many times: “Do this, and then the experience,” and then he becomes silent. “Do this, and then the blessing,” and then he becomes silent.
“The blessing, the experience, the explosion”: beyond them there is personal experience. With that which cannot be expressed, it is better not to try to express it – because if expression is tried with that which cannot be expressed, it will be misunderstood. So Shiva is silent. He is talking simply of methods, techniques, of how to do it.
But centering is not the end; it is just the path. And why does centering happen, develop, grow into an explosion? Because if much energy is centered at one point, the point will explode. The point is so small and the energy is so great, the point cannot contain it; hence the explosion.
This bulb can contain a particular quantity of electricity. If there is more electricity, the bulb will explode. That is the reason for centering: the more you are centered, the more energy is at your center. The moment there is much energy, the center won’t be able to contain it. It will explode.
So it is scientific; it is just a scientific law. And if the center is not exploding, that means you are still not centered. Once you are centered, immediately the explosion follows. There is no time gap. So if you feel that the explosion is not coming, it means that you are still not focused. Still you do not have one center, still you have many centers, still you are divided, still your energy is dissipated, still your energy is moving out.
When the energy moves out you are just being emptied of energy, dissipated. Ultimately you will become impotent. Really, when death comes you have already died; you are just a dead cell. You have been constantly throwing energy outward – so whatsoever may be the quantity of energy, within a period you will become empty. Outgoing energy means death. You are dying every moment; your energy is being emptied; you are throwing your energy, dissipating it.
They say that even the sun which has been there for millions and millions of years, such a great reservoir of energy, is being emptied constantly. And within four billion years it will die. The sun will die simply because there will be no energy to radiate. Every day it is dying because the rays are carrying its energy toward the boundaries of the universe, if there are any boundaries. The energy is going out.
Only man is capable of transforming and changing the direction of energy. Otherwise death is a natural phenomenon – everything dies. Only man is capable of knowing the immortal, the deathless.
So you can reduce this whole thing into a law. If energy is moving out, death will be the result and you will never know what life means. You can only know a slow dying. You can never feel the intensity of being alive. If energy moves out then death is the automatic result – of anything, whatsoever. If you can change the direction of energy – energy not moving out, but moving in – then a mutation, a transformation happens.
Then this energy coming in becomes centered at one point in you. That point is just near the navel – because really, you are born as a navel. You are connected with your mother at the navel. The life energy of the mother is being poured into you through the navel. And once the navel cord is cut, you are separated from the mother, you become an individual. Before that you are not an individual, just part of your mother.
So real birth takes place when the navel cord is cut. Then the child takes its own life, becomes its own center. That center is bound to be just at the navel, because through the navel the energy comes to the child. That was the connecting link. And still, whether you are aware or not, your navel remains the center.
If energy begins to pour in, if you change the direction of the energy so that it comes in, it will hit the navel. It will go on coming in and become centered at the navel. When it is so much that the navel cannot contain it, that the center cannot contain it any longer, the center explodes. In that explosion, again you are no longer an individual. You were not an individual when you were connected with your mother; again you will not be an individual.
A new birth has taken place. You have become one with the cosmos. Now you do not have any center; you cannot say “I.” Now there is no ego. A Buddha, a Krishna, goes on talking and using the word ‘I’. That is simply formal; they do not have any ego. They are not.
Buddha was dying. The day he was to die, many, many people, disciples, sannyasi, gathered, and they were sad; they were weeping and crying. So Buddha asked, “Why are you weeping?” Someone said, “Because soon you will be no more.”
Buddha laughed and said, “But I have been no more for forty years. I died the day I became enlightened. The center has not been there for forty years. So do not weep, do not be sad. No one is dying now. I am no more! But still the word ‘I’ has to be used even to denote that I am no more.”
Energy moving in is the whole of religion, is what is meant by the religious search. How to move the energy, how to create a total about turn? These methods help. So remember, centering is not samadhi, centering is not the experience. Centering is the door to the experience, and when there is the experience there is no centering. So centering is just a passage.
You are not centered now: you are multi-centered really. That is why I say you are not centered now. When you become centered, there is only one center. Then the energy that has been moving to multi-centers has come back; it is a homecoming. Then you are at your center; then . . . explosion. Again the center is no more, but then you are not multi-centered. Then there is no center at all. You have become one with the cosmos. Then existence and you mean one and the same thing.
For example, an iceberg is floating in the sea. The iceberg has a center of its own. It has a separate individuality; it is separate from the ocean. Deep down it is not separate, because it is nothing but water at a particular degree of temperature. The difference between the ocean water and the iceberg is not in their nature – naturally, they are the same. The difference is only of temperature. And then the sun rises, and the atmosphere becomes hot, and the iceberg begins to melt. Then there is no iceberg: it has melted. Now you cannot find it because there is no individuality, no center in it. It has become one with the ocean.
In you and in Buddha, in those who were crucifying Jesus and in Jesus, in Krishna and in Arjuna, there is no difference in nature. Arjuna is like an iceberg and Krishna is like an ocean. There is no difference in nature. They both are one and the same, but Arjuna has a form, a name – an individual, isolated existence. He feels, “I am.”
Through these methods of centering, the temperature will change, the iceberg will melt, and then there will be no difference. That oceanic feeling is samadhi; that being an iceberg is mind. And to feel oceanic is to be a no-mind.
Centering is just the passage, the point of transformation from which the iceberg will be no more. Before it there was no ocean – only an iceberg. After it there will be no iceberg – only ocean. The oceanic feeling is samadhi: it is to feel oneself one with the whole.
But I am not saying to think oneself one with the whole. You can think, but thinking is before centering; that is not realization. You do not know – you have only heard; you have read. You wish that someday this may happen to you also, but you have not realized. Before centering you can go on thinking, but that thinking is of no use. After centering there is no thinker. You know! It has happened! You are no more; only the ocean is. Centering is the method. Samadhi is the end.
Nothing has been said about what happens in samadhi because nothing can be said. And Shiva is very scientific. He is not interested at all in telling. He is telegraphic; he will not use a single extra word. So he simply hints: “The experience, the blessing, the happening.” Not only this, sometimes he will simply say, “Then.” He will say, “Be centered between two breaths and then.” And then he will stop. Then sometimes he will simply say, “Be in the middle, just in the middle between two extremes, and that.”
These are indications – “That, then, the experience, the blessing, the happening, the explosion.” But then he stops completely. Why? We would like him to say something more.
Two reasons. One: That cannot be explained. Why can it not be explained? There are thinkers – for example, modern positivists, language analysts and others in Europe – who say that which can be experienced can be explained. And they have a point to make. They say if you can experience it, then why cannot you tell of it. After all, what is an experience? You have understood it, so why can you not make it understood for others? So they say that if there is any experience, then it can be expressed. And if you cannot express it, it shows simply that there is no experience. Then you are a muddlehead – confused, blurred. And if you cannot even express it, then there is no possibility that you will be able to experience.
Because of this standpoint, they say religion is all hokum. Why can you not express it if you can say you have experienced? Their point appeals to many, but their argument is baseless. Leave aside religious experiences, ordinary experiences also cannot be explained and expressed – very simple experiences.
I have a pain in my head, and if you have never experienced a headache, I cannot explain to you what a headache means. That doesn’t mean that I am muddleheaded; that doesn’t mean that I am only thinking and I am not experiencing. The headache is there. I experience it in its totality, in its full painfulness. But if you have not experienced a headache, it cannot be explained, it cannot be expressed to you. If you also have experienced it, then of course there is no problem, it can be expressed.
Buddha’s difficulty is that he has to talk with non-buddhas – not non-Buddhists, because non- Buddhists can also be buddhas. Jesus is a non-Buddhist, but he is a buddha. Because Buddha is to communicate with those who have not experienced, there is a difficulty. You do not know what a headache is. There are many who have not known headaches. They have only heard the word; it means nothing to them.
You can talk with a blind man about light, but nothing is conveyed. He hears the word ‘light’, he hears the explanation. He can understand the whole theory of light, but still the word ‘light’ conveys nothing to him. Unless he can experience, communication is impossible. So note it: communication is possible only if two persons are communicating who have had the same experience.
We are able to communicate in ordinary life because our experiences are similar. But even then, if one is going to split hairs then there will be difficulties. I say the sky is blue and you also say the sky is blue, but how are we to decide that my experience of blue and your experience of blue is the same? There is no possible way to decide.
I may be looking at one shade of blue and you may be looking at a different shade of blue, but what I am looking at inside, what I am experiencing, cannot be conveyed to you. I can simply say “blue.” You also say “blue,” but blue has a thousand shades – and not only shades, ‘blue’ has thousands of meanings. In my pattern of mind, blue may mean one thing. To you it may mean something else, because blue is not the meaning. The meaning is always in the pattern of the mind. So even in common experiences it is difficult to communicate.
oreover, there are experiences which are of the beyond. For example, someone has fallen in love. He experiences something. His whole life is at stake, but he cannot explain what has happened to him, what is happening to him. He can weep, he can sing, he can dance; these are indications that something is happening in him. But what is happening in him? When love happens to someone, what is happening really? And love is not very uncommon. It happens to everyone in some way or other. But still, we have not been able to express yet what happens inside.
There are persons who feel love as a fever, as a sort of disease. Rousseau says that youth is not the peak of human life, because youth is prone to the disease called love. Unless one becomes so old that love loses all meaning, mind remains muddled and puzzled. So wisdom is possible only in very, very old age. Love will not allow you to be wise – that is his feeling.
There are others who may feel differently. Those who are really wise will become silent about love. They will not say anything – because the feeling is so infinite, so deep, that language is bound to betray it. And if it is expressed then one feels guilty, because one can never do justice to the feeling of the infinite. So one remains silent: the deeper the experience, the less the possibility of expression.
Buddha remained silent about God not because there is no God. And those who are very much vocal about God really show they have no experience. Buddha remained silent. Whenever he would go to any town, he would declare, “Please, do not ask anything about God. You can ask anything, but not about God.”
Scholars, pundits, who had no experience really but only knowledge, started talking about Buddha and creating rumors, saying, “He is silent because he doesn’t know. If he knows then why will he not say?” And Buddha would laugh. That laughter could be understood only by very few.
If love cannot be expressed, then how can God be expressed? Then any expression is harmful – that is one thing. That is why Shiva is silent about the experience. He goes to the point from where a finger can be used as an indication – “Then, that, the experience” – and then he becomes silent.
The second reason is: even if it can be expressed in a certain way, even if it can be expressed only Partially . . . Even if it cannot be expressed, really, then too some parallels can be created to help. But those too Shiva is not using, and there is a reason. It is because our minds are so greedy that whenever something is said about that experience the mind clings to it. And then the mind forgets the method and remembers only the experience, because method needs effort – a long effort which is sometimes tedious, sometimes dangerous. A long sustained effort is needed.
So we forget about the method. We remember the result and we go on imagining, wishing, desiring the result. And one can fool oneself very easily. One can imagine that the result has been achieved.
Someone was here a few days before. He is a sannyasin – an old man, a very old man. He took sannyas thirty years ago; now he is near seventy. He came to me and he said, ‘I have come to make some inquiries, to know something.”
So I asked him, “What do you want to know?”
Suddenly he changed. He said, “No, not to know really – just to meet you, because whatsoever can be known I have known already.”
For thirty years he has been imagining, desiring – desiring bliss, divine experiences – and now, at this late age, he has become weak and death is near. Now he is creating hallucinations that he has experienced. So I told him, “If you have experienced, then keep silent. Be here with me for a few moments because then there is no need to talk.”
Then he became restless. He said, “Okay! Then suppose that I have not experienced. Then tell me something.”
So I told him, “There is no possibility with me to suppose anything. Either you have known or you have not known,” I said. “So be clear about it. If you have known, then keep quiet. Be here for a few moments and then go. If you have not known, then be clear. Then tell me so.”
Then he was puzzled. He had come to inquire about some methods. Then he said, “Really, I have not experienced, but I have been thinking so much about aham brahmasi – I am the brahman – that sometimes I forget that I have only been thinking. I have repeated it so much, day and night, for thirty years continuously, that sometimes I completely forget that I have not known this. It is just a borrowed saying.”
It is difficult to remember what is knowledge and what is experience. They get confused; they get mingled and mixed. And it is very easy to feel that your knowledge has become your experience. The human mind is so deceptive, so cunning, that that is possible. That is another reason why Shiva has remained silent about the experience. He will not say anything about it. He goes on talking about methods, remaining completely silent about the result. You cannot be deceived by him.
That is one of the reasons why this book, one of the most significant of books, has remained altogether unknown. This Vigyana Bhairava Tantra is one of the most significant books in the world. No Bible, no Veda, no Gita is so significant, but it has remained completely unknown. The reason? It contains only simple methods without any possibility for your greed to cling to the result. The mind wants to cling to the result. The mind is not interested in the method; it is interested in the end result. And if you can bypass the method and reach the result, the mind will be extremely happy.
Someone was asking me, “Why so many methods? Kabir has said, ‘sahaj samadhi bhali – be spontaneous.’ Spontaneous ecstasy is good, so there is no need of methods.”
I told him, “If you have achieved sahaj samadhi – spontaneous ecstasy – then of course no method is useful; there is no need. Why have you come here?”
He said, “I have not achieved yet, but I feel that sahaj – the spontaneous – is better.”
“But why do you feel that the spontaneous is better?” I said. Because no method is suggested, the mind feels good that you have nothing to do – and without doing, you can have everything!
Because of this Zen has become a craze in the West – because Zen says, achieve it effortlessly; there is no need of effort. Zen is right; there is no need for an effort. But remember, to achieve this point of no-effort you will need a long, long effort. To achieve a point where no effort is needed, to achieve a point where you can remain in non-doing, a long effort will be needed. But the superficial conclusion that Zen says no effort is needed has become very appealing in the West. If no effort is needed then the mind says: this is the right thing, because you can do it without doing anything. But no one can do it.
Suzuki, who made Zen known in the West, has done a service and also a disservice. And the disservice will remain for a longer period. He was a very authentic man, one of the most authentic men of this century, and for his whole life he struggled to carry the message of Zen to the West. And alone, with his own effort, he made it known in the West. And now there is a craze; there are Zen friends all over the West. Nothing appeals like Zen now.
But the point is missed. The appeal has come only because Zen says no method is needed, no effort is needed. You do not have to do anything; spontaneously it flowers.
This is right – but you are not spontaneous, so it will never flower in you. To be spontaneous . . . It looks absurd and contradictory, because for you to be spontaneous many methods are needed to purify you, to make you innocent so that you can be spontaneous. Otherwise you cannot be spontaneous in anything.
This Vigyana Bhairava Tantra was translated into English by Paul Reps. He has written a very beautiful book, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, and just in the appendix he included this book Vigyana Bhairava Tantra. The whole book is concerned with Zen; just in the appendix he added this book also, the one hundred and twelve methods, and he called it a pre-Zen writing. Many Zen followers didn’t like this because they said, “Zen says no effort is needed, and this book is concerned only with effort. This book is concerned only with methods, and Zen says no method, no effort is needed. So it is anti-Zen, not pre-Zen.” Superficially they are right, but deep down they are not, because to achieve a spontaneous being one has to travel a long way.
One of Gurdjieff’s disciples, Ouspensky, used to say, whenever someone would come to him to ask about the path, “We don’t know anything about the path. We only teach about some footpaths which lead to the path. The path is not known to us.” Do not think that you are already on the path. Even the path is far away. From where you are, from that point, even the path is far away. So first you have to reach to the path. Ouspensky was a very humble man, and it is very difficult to be religious and to be humble – very, very difficult, because once you begin to feel that you know, the head goes mad. He would always say, “We don’t know anything about the path. It is very far away, and there is no need just now to discuss it.” Wherever you are, first you have to create a link, a small bridge, a footpath which will lead you to the path.
Spontaneity – sahaj samadhi yoga – is very far away from you. In the place where you are, you are totally artificial, cultivated and cultured. Nothing is spontaneous – nothing, I say, is spontaneous. When nothing is spontaneous in your life, how can religion be spontaneous? When nothing is spontaneous, even love is not spontaneous. Even love is a bargain, even love is a calculation, even love is an effort. Then nothing can be spontaneous. And then to explode spontaneously into the cosmos is impossible.
From the situation you are in, from that situation it is impossible. First you will have to throw away all your artificiality, all your false attitudes, all your cultivated conventions, all your prejudices. Only then will a spontaneous happening be possible. These methods will help you to come to a point from where nothing is needed to be done – just your being is enough. But mind can deceive. And mind easily deceives, because then it can get consolation.
Shiva never talks about any result, just methods. Remember this emphasis. Do something, so that a moment may be possible when nothing is needed, when your central being can just dissolve into the cosmos. But that has to be achieved. Zen’s appeal is for the wrong reasons, and the same is true for Krishnamurti, because he says no yoga is needed, no method is needed. Really, he says there is no method of meditation. He is right.
He is right, but Shiva says these one hundred and twelve methods of meditation are there, and Shiva is also right. And as far as you are concerned, Shiva is more right. And if you have to choose between Krishnamurti and Shiva, then choose Shiva. Krishnamurti is of no use to you. Even this can be said to help you – that Krishnamurti is absolutely wrong. Remember, I say to help you. And he is harmful. That too I say to help you, because if you get into his argument you will not achieve samadhi. You will achieve only one conclusion – that no method is needed. And that is dangerous. For you method is needed!
There comes a moment when no method is needed, but that moment has not come for you yet. And before that moment, to know about something that is ahead is dangerous. That is why Shiva is silent. He will not say anything of the future, of what will happen. He simply sticks to you, to what you are and what is to be done with you. Krishnamurti goes on talking in terms which cannot be understood by you.
The logic can be felt. The logic is right; it is beautiful. It will be good if you can remember the logic of Krishnamurti. He says that if you are doing some method, then who is doing that method? The mind is doing it. And how can any method done by mind dissolve mind? Rather, on the contrary, it will strengthen it more; it will strengthen your mind more. It will become a conditioning, it will be false.
So meditation is spontaneous; you cannot do anything about it. What can you do about love? Can you practice any method for how to love? If you practice, then your love will be false. It happens, it cannot be practiced. If even love cannot be practiced, how can prayer be practiced? How can meditation be practiced?
The logic is exactly, absolutely right – but not for you, because by listening to this logic continuously you will be conditioned by this logic. And those who have been listening to Krishnamurti for forty years are the most conditioned persons I have come across. They say there is no method, and still they are nowhere.
I say, “You have understood there is no method and you do not practice any method, but has the spontaneity flowered in you?” They say, “No!”
And if I tell them, “Then practice some method,” immediately their conditioning comes in. They say, “There is no method.”
They have not been practicing any method, and samadhi has not happened. And if you tell them, “Then try some method,” they say there is no method. So they are in a dilemma. They have not moved an inch, and the reason is that they have been told something which was not for them.
It is like teaching a small child about sex. You can go on teaching, but you are saying something which is as yet meaningless for the child. And your teaching will be dangerous because you are conditioning his mind. It is not his need; he is not concerned with it. He doesn’t know what sex means because his glands are still not functioning; his body is still not sexual. His energy has not yet moved biologically to the sex center, and you are talking to him. Because he has ears, do you think that anything can be taught to him? Because he can nod his head, do you think you can teach him anything?
You can teach, and your teaching can become dangerous and harmful. Sex is not an inquiry for him, it has not become a problem for him. He has not reached that point of maturity where sex becomes significant. Wait! When he begins to inquire, when he matures and when he asks questions, then tell him. And never tell more than he can understand, because that more will become a burden on his head. It is the same with the phenomenon of meditation.
You can be taught only about methods, not about results – that is taking a jump. And without getting a foothold on the method, taking the jump is simply a cerebral affair, a mental affair. And then you will always miss the method.
It is like small children doing arithmetic. They can always go to the back of the book and can know the answer. The answer is there; at the back of the book, the answers are given. They can look at the question, then they can go to the back and know the answer. And once a child knows the answer it is very difficult for him to learn the method, because there seems to be no need. When he already knows the answer, there is no need.
And really, he will do the whole thing in reverse order. Then through any false, pseudo method he will arrive at the answer. He knows the real thing, he knows the answer, so he can arrive at the answer by just creating a false method. And this happens so much in religion that it seems, as far as religion is concerned, everyone is just doing what children do.
The answer is not good for you. The question is there, the method is there, and the answer must be reached by you. No one else should give you the answer. The real teachers do not help you to know the answer before the process is done, they simply help you to go through the process. In fact, even if you have known somehow, even if you have stolen some answer from somewhere, they will say that this is wrong. It may not be wrong, but they will say, “This is wrong. Throw this – it is not needed.” They will debar you from knowing the answer before you really come to know it. That is why no answer is given.
Shiva’s beloved, Devi, has asked him questions. He is giving simple methods. The question is there, the method is there. The answer is left for you to work out, to live out.
So remember, centering is the method, not the result. The result is cosmic, oceanic experience. There is no center then.
From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #14, Q1
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