What is the best way to encourage people in meditation?
The first thing: for a patient to go to the doctor you must make him realize that he is sick; otherwise there is no need to go to the doctor.
So the people you want to encourage into meditation: first you have to make them aware that they are frustrated, perhaps for so long that they have forgotten that they are sad. They cannot remember when they laughed from their very hearts. They have become robots – they do things because they have to be done but there is no joy in doing them.
They are living an accidental life. Their birth is accidental, their marriage is accidental, their children are accidental, their job is accidental. Their life has no sense of intrinsic growth and direction. That’s why they cannot feel like rejoicing.
So first you have to make them aware where they are – and almost everybody is in the same situation. Death is coming close – you cannot even rely on your being here tomorrow. And your life is an absolute desert – it has not found any oasis, it has not felt any meaning, any significance – and death may destroy all possibilities in the future.
So first you have to make them aware of their meaningless, accidental, frustrated life. They know it, but they try to suppress their knowing in many ways, because to know it continuously is a torture. So they go to the movies to forget it. They go to parties, they go to picnics, they drink alcoholic beverages; they do everything – just to somehow not remember the reality of their life, their hollowness, futility.
This is the most important part – to remind them. And once a person remembers all this, then to lead him towards meditation is a very simple thing, because meditation is the only answer to all the questions of man. It may be frustration, it may be depression, it may be sadness, it may be meaninglessness, it may be anguish: The problems may be many but the answer is one.
Meditation is the answer.
And the simplest method of meditation is just a way of witnessing. There are one hundred and twelve methods of meditation, but witnessing is an essential part of all one hundred and twelve methods. So as far as I am concerned, witnessing is the only method. Those one hundred and twelve are different applications of witnessing.
The essential core, the spirit of meditation is to learn how to witness.
You are seeing a tree: You are there, the tree is there, but can’t you find one thing more? – that you are seeing the tree, that there is a witness in you which is seeing you seeing the tree.
The world is not divided only into the object and the subject. There is also something beyond both, and that beyond is meditation.
So in every act… and I don’t want people to sit for one hour or half an hour in the morning or in the evening. That kind of meditation is not going to help, because if you meditate for one hour, then for twenty-three hours you will be doing just the opposite of it.
Meditation can be victorious: witnessing is such a method that can spread over twenty-four hours of your day.
Eating, don’t get identified with the eater. The food is there, the eater is there, and you are here, watching. Walking, let the body walk but you simply watch. Slowly, the knack comes. It is a knack, and once you can watch small things….
This crow, crowing… you are listening. These are two – object and subject. But can’t you see a witness who is seeing both? – The crow, the listener, and still there is someone who is watching both. It is such a simple phenomenon. Then you can move into deeper layers: you can watch your thoughts; you can watch your emotions, your moods.
There is no need to say, “I am sad.” The fact is that you are a witness that a cloud of sadness is passing over you. There is anger – you can simply be a witness. There is no need to say, “I am angry.” You are never angry – there is no way for you to be angry – you are always a witness. The anger comes and goes; you are just a mirror. Things come, get reflected, move – and the mirror remains empty and clean, unscratched by the reflections.
Witnessing is finding your inside mirror.
And once you have found it, miracles start happening. When you are simply witnessing the thoughts, thoughts disappear. Then there is suddenly a tremendous silence you have never known. When you are watching the moods – anger, sadness, happiness – they suddenly disappear and an even greater silence is experienced.
And when there is nothing to watch – then the revolution. Then the witnessing energy turns upon itself because there is nothing to prevent it; there is no object left. The word “object” is beautiful. It simply means that which prevents you, objects you. When there is no object to your witnessing, it simply comes around back to yourself – to the source. And this is the point where one becomes enlightened.
Meditation is only a path: the end is always Buddhahood, enlightenment. And to know this moment is to know all.
Then there is no misery, no frustration, no meaninglessness; then life is no longer an accident. It becomes part of this cosmic whole – an essential part. And a tremendous bliss arises that this whole existence needs you.
Man’s greatest need is to be needed. If somebody needs you, you feel gratified. But if the whole existence needs you, then there is no limit to your bliss. And this existence needs even a small blade of grass as much as the biggest star.
There is no question of inequality. Nobody can substitute for you. If you are not there, then existence will be something less and will remain always something less – it will never be full. That feeling – that this whole immense existence is in need of you – takes all miseries away from you.
In the mind, in the process of thinking, there is so much energy. How can we use that energy in a creative and constructive way?
The question is very complex. It sounds simple, but it is not simple.
You are asking: The mind is full of energy, how to use this energy in a creative and constructive way?
Who is going to use this energy?
If mind itself is going to use this energy, it can never be creative and can never be constructive.
That is what is happening all over the world. That is what is happening in science. The whole misery of science is that mind is using its energy. But mind is a negative force; it cannot use anything creatively, it needs a master. Mind is a servant. Do you have a master?
So to me the question is… meditation brings the master in. It makes you fully aware and conscious that the mind is your instrument. Now, whatever you want to do with it you can do. And if you don’t want to do anything with it, you can put it aside and you can remain in absolute silence.
Right now you are not the master – even for five minutes. You cannot say to the mind, “Please, for five minutes, just for five minutes be silent.” Those will be the five minutes when mind will be faster, rushing more than ever – because it will have to show you who is the master.
There is a famous story in Tibet. A man wanted to learn the art of miracles, so he served a saint who was thought to be a knower of all the secrets. He served the saint day in, day out; he closed his business. The old saint told him again and again, “I don’t know anything. You are unnecessarily wasting your business, and you are becoming a burden to me because whenever I look at you…. Twenty-four hours a day you are sitting here, on my head, and I don’t know any miracles. What to do?”
The man said, “You cannot avoid me so easily. I have heard that you have been hiding those secrets. But if you are stubborn, I am also stubborn. I will die sitting here, but I will learn the secret.”
Finally the saint said, “Listen. This is the mantra” – it was not much, it was a simple mantra – “Just repeat Om, Om, Omkar and all the secrets of all the miracles will be available to you as you become more and more attuned with the mantra.”
The man rushed towards his home. While he was going down the steps of the temple the saint said, “Wait! I have forgotten one thing. After taking the bath, when you are sitting to chant the mantra, remember not to let any monkey enter into your mind.”
That man said, “You must be getting senile! In my whole life no monkey has ever entered into my mind. Don’t be worried.”
He said, “I am not worried. It is just to make you aware, so you don’t come later on and tell me that a monkey disturbed everything.”
The man said, “There is no fear about the monkeys. Everything has entered into this mind, but a monkey? I don’t remember this at all, not even in a dream.”
But as he started moving towards his house he was amazed; monkeys started appearing on the screen of his mind – big monkeys, giggling. He said, “My God!” He tried to push them away, “Get out! Get lost! I don’t have anything to do with monkeys, and particularly today!” But he was surprised that it was not one monkey, it was a vast line; they were coming from all sides.
He said, “My God, I had never thought that in my mind so many monkeys are hidden. But first let me take a bath.” But it was so difficult to take a bath because continually he was shouting “Get out! Get lost!”
Finally his wife knocked on the door – “What is the matter? Who is inside the bathroom? Are you alone?”
He said, “I am alone.”
“But then why are you shouting so loudly, get out, get lost?”
He said, “About these monkeys….”
The woman said, “You have gone mad. What monkeys? There are no monkeys here; keep quiet.”
He said, “Strange. This woman has never been so hard on me, but in a way she is right because there is nobody in the bathroom. But to say that they are in my head looks even worse.”
He sat in his worshipping place, but the monkeys were inside. He closed his eyes; they were sitting all around him. He said, “I have never thought that monkeys are so interested in me. Why are you bothering me? A few are inside the mind, and if I close my mind, a few are sitting all around me. They push me from this side and from that side, and giggling! I am a silent man, and this is not gentlemanly behavior.”
And again the wife looked into his worshipping place and she said, “With whom are you talking?”
He said, “My God, now I have to explain something which I do not understand myself. Just don’t you disturb me tonight. Tomorrow morning I will go and I will see that old man.”
The whole night he took showers many times, rubbed the soap as much as he could to clean himself, but there was no way. In fact, the bathroom was so full of monkeys that to make his way into the bathroom was difficult; to come out of the bathroom was difficult. And when he came back to his worshipping place they were sitting all over – even in his place a big monkey was sitting chanting Om, Om, Om.
That man said, “I cannot wait for morning.” It was midnight. He rushed to the temple, woke up the old man and told him, “What kind of mantra have you given to me?”
He said, “I have told you, that was the condition. That’s why for so many years I have not told it to anybody – because that condition is unfulfillable. You simply drop this idea of miracles, and the monkeys will disappear.”
The man said, “Just… I have come for that. I don’t want any miracles, I don’t want any secrets. Just please help me to get rid of these monkeys because they are sitting all over the place, and if I open my shop tomorrow they will be sitting all over the shop. I am a poor businessman. I got into the wrong business; this is not my business. You do your business but please, if you can help me….”
The saint said, “There is no problem. If you drop the idea of miracles those monkeys will disappear. They are the guardians of the miracles.”
If you try even for five minutes to stop thinking, more thoughts will rush in than ever – simply to show you that you are not the master. So first one has to get the mastery, and the way to become the master is not to say to the thoughts, “Stop.” The way to become the master is to watch the whole thought process.
If the man had simply watched the monkeys, had allowed them to giggle, had allowed them to do whatsoever they were doing; if he had been simply a witness, those monkeys would have gone – seeing that this man seemed to be absolutely indifferent, not interested at all.
Your thoughts have to understand one thing: that you are not interested in them. The moment you have made this point you have attained a tremendous victory. Just watch. Don’t say anything to the thoughts. Don’t judge. Don’t condemn. Don’t tell them to move. Let them do whatsoever they are doing, any gymnastics let them do; you simply watch, enjoy. It is just a beautiful film. And you will be surprised: just watching, a moment comes when thoughts are not there, there is nothing to watch.
This is the door I have been calling nothingness, emptiness.
From this door enters your real being, the master.
And that master is absolutely positive; in its hands everything turns into gold.
If Albert Einstein had been a meditator, the same mind would have produced atomic energy not to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki but to help the whole of humanity to raise its standard of living. Without meditation the mind is negative, it is bound to be in the service of death. With meditation the master is there, and the master is absolute positiveness. In its hands the same mind, the same energy, becomes creative, constructive, life affirmative.
So you cannot do anything directly with the mind. You will have to take a little roundabout way; first you have to bring the master in. The master is missing, and for centuries the servant has been thinking he is the master. Just let the master come in, and the servant immediately understands. Just the presence of the master and the servant falls at the feet of the master and waits for any order, for anything the master wants to be done – he is ready.
The mind is a tremendously powerful instrument. No computer is as powerful as man’s mind – cannot be, because it is made by man’s mind. Nothing can be, because they are all made by man’s mind. A single man’s mind has such immense capacity: in a small skull, such a small brain can contain all the information contained in all the libraries of the earth, and that information is not a small amount.
Just one library, the British library, has so many books that if we put those books in a line side by side they will go three times around the earth. And a bigger library exists in Moscow, a similar library exists in Harvard; and there are similar libraries in all the big universities of the world. But a single human mind can contain all the information contained in all these libraries. Scientists are agreed that we may not be able to make a computer comparable to the human mind which can be put in such a small space.
But the result of this immense gift to man has not been beneficial – because the master is absent and the servant is running the show. The result is wars, violence, murders, rape. Man is living in a nightmare, and the only way out is to bring the master in. It is there, you just have to get hold of it. And watchfulness is the key: just watch the mind. The moment there is no thoughts, immediately you will be able to see yourself – not as mind, but as something beyond, something transcendental to mind.
And once you are attuned with the transcendental then the mind is in your hands. It can be immensely creative. It can make this very earth paradise. There is no need for any paradise to be searched for above in the clouds, just as there is no need to search for any hell – because hell we have created already. We are living in it.
I have heard that a great politician died. Naturally, he was afraid that he would be taken to hell. He knew his whole life: it was absolutely criminal and nothing else. It is impossible without crimes to succeed in getting political power. In going higher on the ladder of power, you have to crush, kill, destroy – you have to do everything. But if you succeed then you are forgiven, nobody remembers that you have done anything wrong. And he was a successful politician. But as he was dying he was afraid; he remembered his whole past, and he was certain that “I am going to hell. Now nothing can help. Those political tricks will not be helpful here.”
But when he opened his eyes he was in front of heaven. He could not believe it. He asked the angels who had brought him there, “There seems to be some mistake, some bureaucratic mistake. This is heaven and you have brought me here?”
“This is, certainly. And there is no mistake, you have earned it.”
The man said, “What are you talking about? I have done everything wrong that can be done.”
They said, “We know, but your whole life you lived in hell, and now to send you to hell again will not be justified. Moreover, our hell will look very old-fashioned. You have been living in a very ultramodern hell, and we don’t want to feel ashamed. Our hell is very ancient, our methods of torture are very ancient, and you have refined everything so well that in fact you will laugh – ‘Is this hell?’ So the only way… even God was puzzled. You are three days late. You must have died three days ago, but it took three days for God to make the decision about where to take you. Finally we decided, ‘It is better to take him to heaven, because hell he has lived enough.’”
People still go on thinking that hell is somewhere down underneath the earth – and you are living in it, this is the beauty – and heaven is somewhere above.
You can change this hell into heaven if your mind can be under the guidance of the master, of your self nature. And it is a simple process….
But don’t try directly with the mind; otherwise you will be getting into trouble. One can even get into insanity. If you try to put your mind energy into creative directions – you are not capable even of stopping it for one moment and you are trying to put it into a creative dimension – you will go crazy. You will have a nervous breakdown.
Don’t touch the mind. First just find out where the master is. It is a complicated mechanism. Let the master be there, and the mind functions as a servant so perfectly.
In the East we have done this. Gautam Buddha could have become Albert Einstein without any difficulty; he has a far greater genius. But his whole life was concerned with transforming people, with awareness, with compassion, with love, with blissfulness.
When Amido and I were on Koh Phayam, Thailand, in 2004 we met a New Zealand couple named Ross and Karyn. They had a bungalow next to ours. We had never spoken until after the tsunami that hit on December 26, which seemed to bring a lot of people together. There was a strange sense of oneness with everyone experiencing this huge swell that went all around the Indian Ocean. You could literally feel and see the interconnectedness. Anyway we struck up a friendship and found that we had many common interests, one of them was U.G. Krishnamurti. None of us had spent any time with him but we were all interested in doing so. I was particularly concerned with seeing him before he died.
A year later we ran into Ross in Bangkok. He and Karyn were on their way to India, as were we. We talked about Goa and keeping in touch to communicate if we found a spot we really liked. A couple of emails later and they were at Arambol Beach, Goa, and recommended the place, so we made plans to meet up.
On our arrival in Arambol, we were walking into the village with our backpacks and wondering how we would find them when from the other direction Ross appeared on his way to some shop. We spent a couple of breakfasts sharing information and stories over very large bowls of fruit muesli at the Buddha’s Smile restaurant.
Ross and Karyn met an English guy who had visited every guru he could learn about in India and kept a very well-documented address book. He told Ross and Karyn that of gurus he had seen the two that really affected him were U.G. and a 90 year old sage named Ajja. They proceeded to relate the story that this fellow had told them.
It went like this: He spent quite some time at Ajja’s ashram in Karnataka near Mangalore and he kept wanting to speak with Ajja. He was continually told to go to the mediation hall. Finally, he was sitting in the hall and became tremendously angry and just couldn’t handle the experience anymore, so he grabbed his bag and walked down the drive to leave. As he was leaving, he looked back at Ajja and saw Ajja watching. And that was the end of his time there. But this experience somehow really affected him.
When I heard the story I knew right away that I wanted to meet this man, Ajja. Karyn also shared with us an interview that Ajja had given to Andrew Cohen published in What is Enlightenment? Ross also told us that U.G. was going to be in Bangalore in February. This fellow had given them the contact information, but they were sworn to secrecy, so didn’t feel comfortable sharing the details of the information that had come from him. They said that once they arrived they would contact us and in that way it would be their information and not this other fellow’s.
We didn’t stick around very long in Arambol, as nice as it was; we wanted to go straightaway to Ajja’s ashram.
We phoned the ashram from Mangalore, an hour and a half away by bus, to ask if we could come. The woman on the phone told us to come right away and we would be in time for lunch. When we arrived Ajja was meeting with some Indians on his porch and we were told to hurry up and we could meet him. So we took off our hiking boots and dropped our packs as quickly as we could and had just enough time for a Namaste and then were told we could meet with him later. Lunch was being served in the dining hall. The food that was served at the ashram was simple and fabulous.
After lunch we were given a room. But very soon after our arrival Amido and I needed to be separated because there were a few other visitors coming. Amido shared a room with a lovely Swedish woman named Ingrid and I bunked (although there was no bed or mattress) with an Indian man who would be arriving later.
Besides Ingrid there were a couple of other foreigners, a German named Hans who had been coming regularly for a couple of years, an Israeli named Giri who was together with a lovely English woman named Thea. In addition, Giri’s brother was visiting along with a friend and his wife and daughter.
Later in the afternoon, an Indian doctor named Satish, who took care of organizing darshans with Ajja, paid us a visit. He wanted to get some background from us and learn why we were there. He asked us to clarify our questions if we had any so as to make better use of our time with Ajja. He said that he would talk with Ajja and let us know when it was time to see him.
In the meantime Amido and I made use of the meditation hall and participated in the chanting and other activities. I found that Dr. Satish’s question about whether I had any questions a particularly powerful engine for my inquiry. The question was – did I have a question? This whole process of wanting to see Ajja seemed to be one of the primary teaching methods for westerners. We heard many stories of westerners wanting to see Ajja and being told to go to the meditation hall. To most it seemed like some kind of punishment. For Amido and I, from the very beginning, we enjoyed our time spent there and really used the opportunity to explore deeply.
In the afternoon at tea time, the doctor came and told Amido and I that there were some Indians coming to visit Ajja later and we could try and tag along. He wasn’t sure if Ajja would allow us to stay or not. It seemed that it wasn’t something that he could just ask Ajja. When Satish informed us of his plan the other westerners present overheard and the lights went on in their minds. This would be a good opportunity for them too.
When the time came, all of us foreigners filed on to the porch for darshan with Ajja. Ajja came and sat down and immediately said you, you, you, etc. to all the foreigners, go to the mediation hall. Amido and I went right away and used that opportunity to explore all the feelings that were aroused. We were joined by Ingrid and Hans but the others didn’t come.
So again it was an opportunity to explore the question about a question. And when I sat with that for some time I found that I did have a question. I was aware of a sense of awareness which somehow I could physically relate to the area at the back of my head. And I was also aware of an energy, a sense of being that I would say somehow related to the area around my heart. My question became – what is the relationship between these two? It was not very long after formulating this question that it was answered in my meditation.
It seemed that the awareness of awareness was not an activity, there was no movement. But the energy that I felt around the heart was active, not static. What seemed to happen was the awareness gave attention to the energy and with this attention the energy became less active. It gradually settled and when it completely settled it felt as if it was absorbed by the awareness. That is the best way that I can describe what took place. In that merging, that joining, that absorption there were no more questions. The question was answered in dissolving. And in that dissolving of the question there was light and bliss.
Our time passed wonderfully at the ashram and we found that there was some strange connection between Ajja and U.G. Almost everyone at Ajja’s had been to see U.G. In fact we learned that a couple of years earlier, Ajja, on two occasions, had been taken to the house where U.G. was staying in Bangalore. The first time, Ajja sat next to U.G. but they never said a word to each other. When Ajja left and was in the car ready to drive away, U.G. went outside and namasted to Ajja. The second time, Ajja sat next to U.G. and spoke for some time. Apparently it was the rare occasion when U.G. actually let someone else speak. Ajja spoke Kanada, so only the local Indians could understand but during that time U.G. was silent.
Thea was present during this meeting and it was the first time that she met either Ajja or U.G. and she met them both together. Thea continued to have a very strong connection with both Ajja and U.G. and would shuttle back and forth between Puttur and Bangalore. Several of U.G.’s close friends in Bangalore were regular visitors at Ajja’s ashram. Because of this we had no difficulty getting all the information necessary for a visit with U.G. In fact we were getting messages at the ashram as to the exact arrival of U.G. in Bangalore.
Daily, we participated in “chores” around the ashram in the morning and also any other time we were asked to help out. Thea was the one who assigned jobs in the morning and in the afternoon someone might come and ask for help with some other task. It invariably involved doing a very menial task with the utmost awareness. Because the ashram was so small, one was often within sight of Ajja who would sit on his porch and oversee all the activities. And Ajja’s presence was so strong that one was almost bowled over with the present moment. It was difficult ‘not’ to be in the moment. His presence created a very powerful Buddhafield.
One day Amido, Ingrid and I, were asked to help with some cleaning. Ajja had left the ashram and we were to help with the cleaning of the tile floor in his house. He had a very modest room but it was full of consciousness. There was “that something” the same that I had felt whenever I had been in Osho’s living quarters, a certain sensing, clarity, presence, to be honest not unlike the heightened awareness accompanying some of my past LSD experiences.
Sunday was the day that many Indian visitors came. It was the day that even the foreigners could count on spending time in Ajja’s presence. On the Sunday that we were there, we all went into the original house on the property which was a hut the musician lived in. It was small but there was a second story. The Indians and Ajja were downstairs and all of us foreigners were upstairs just above Ajja. Bhajans were sung, music was played and it was a lovely time. Finally Ajja asked for one of us foreigners to sing a song. I went blank, not a song came to mind but Thea, bless her heart, sang The Lord of the Dance. It was really extraordinary, because she is one of the most ethereal persons I have ever met, and in the beginning her singing was rather meek and then you could sense her taking courage and finding her power through the singing.
The following day was some kind of special day, it was a full moon and musicians were coming and there was going to be quite a celebration. We sang and danced out on the ground in front of Ajja’s porch. He came out and encouraged both the musicians and us dancers. There was a performance where two speakers enacted a conversation regarding Rama and his shooting of Vaali with an arrow from behind. After the music and performance a great meal was served. The whole event was wonderful.
Earlier in the day we had been asked what our plans were and without thinking I said we would leave the following day. It was going to be a week, and we had experienced so much, especially with the coming evening celebration it seemed appropriate for us to move on. In addition, we now knew that U.G. was in Bangalore and we wanted to go and see him.
The next morning, Dr. Satish came to visit us and said he would see what arrangements could be made for us to have darshan with Ajja before we left, but nothing was guaranteed. To be honest, Amido and I were so overflowing with the whole week it really didn’t matter if we would be able to have darshan or not. Of course it would be nice but we would be happy whatever happened.
Hans had made arrangements and was planning to see Ajja that day as well. He was going to take his camera to have a photo taken with Ajja. We packed our things and prepared ourselves to leave after lunch. Sometime before lunchtime, a woman named Kavita came and said “the two people who are leaving today should come now.” I ran and told Amido and we were ready. I saw Hans on the way and told him what Kavita had said. He was not leaving that day so stayed behind. Kavita took us over to the porch. We sat in front of Ajja and Kavita translated questions of where we were from and our background. While sitting with Ajja, the whole group sang Bhajans. Ajja turned to us and asked us to sing a song we knew. Because of the experience on the day of Thea singing, we had at least thought of a song that we both knew just in case. It was one of the celebration songs from the Poona Ashram, Asalaam Aleikum.
The words are as follows:
May the love we share here spread its wings
And fly across the earth and sing
Its song to every soul that is alive
May the blessings of your grace Bhagwan
Be felt by everyone and may we
All see the light within, within, within
Asalaam aleikum, Aleikum asalaam
Asalaam aleikum, Aleikum asalaam
Asalaam aleikum, Aleikum asalaam
While we were singing, I experienced what I had seen in Thea when she sang. In the beginning there was a hesitancy but we continued through it and then a power took over and one just rode with it. Ajja smiled and asked where we had learned the song and we told him at Osho’s ashram and he said that it was related to his name. Ajja is just a nickname which means uncle but his name is Bhagavan Arabbi-Nithyanandam. The Arabbi is related to Islam. He has joined the two together like so many Sufis of India.
At the end of the singing, Ajja said that we were very clean and didn’t have a lot of thoughts. I said that it was because we had spent a lot of time with Osho, and Ajja said that we had done a lot of work. I responded, “so not a lot more digging.” He said that now we needed to stabilize. He asked if we had any questions and we said no, (my questioning had dissolved days before). Eventually I piped up that yes there was one question, “Could I take a photo of him?” He agreed and had someone take a photo of Amido and me with him. After our time with Ajja, an Indian man, Sudarshan had some questions. When they were answered he had more questions. Eventually, Ajja turned to Amido and me and said, “Look, this couple has no questions and you are here with me every day and you have so many questions.”
Dr. Satish came and reminded Ajja that Hans was still waiting and so he was called over. He had his photo taken with Ajja and we all sang more Bhajans and then ate some ice-cream. We must have spent close to an hour with Ajja and it was truly glorious. We said our Namastes.
After lunch, Sudarshan was the one, when everyone was having their nap, who stayed around and made arrangements for a rickshaw for us. He wanted to make sure that it came and the driver knew where to take us. We had been bonded in the sweetness of Ajja’s Darshan. And then it was time to bid farewell. It had been one extraordinary week.
U. G. Krishnamurti
We had a hard time finding a room in Bangalore when we arrived late at night. Everywhere was full because one, it was the wedding season and two, there was a big “Art of Living” gathering in the city, with many visitors both Indian and western. In fact we had to resort to calling an Indian (Shiva) who we had met at Ajja’s and had given us his phone number. We stayed at his apartment that night and left early in the morning. Shiva, his wife and mother were going to London that day.
After finding a place the next morning, we made our way to Chandrashekar’s home courtesy of some very elaborate directions and a map. When we walked through the door the first people we saw were Ross and Karyn. We entered the living room where everyone was gathered and watching a video on the television. We sat down on the floor without really surveying the room. In fact I had been wondering where U.G. was when I realized he was sitting on the sofa watching the video of himself.
Soon the video was off and U.G. was telling stories. This is what his meetings consisted of at this point–gossiping with friends. Ingrid was there too. She had come from Ajja’s ashram and was sitting on the sofa next to U.G. We had tried to warn her about U.G., that he wouldn’t behave as she might expect an Indian holy man to act. He was throwing around the word bitch quite a bit and she looked uncomfortable.
It was a very informal arrangement and people would come and go at will. Because we were the new arrivals, U.G. directed some attention to us. Ingrid left and I suggested Amido move to the sofa where she sat enjoying being in his presence. When he learned that I was from the States he directed all of his stories about the States towards me.
It really was quite an interesting experience. First of all, there was the heightened sense of presence, that same presence that I have experienced with Osho, Jean Klein, the 16th Karmapa, J. Krishnamurti and also with Ajja. That presence was at the core, at the center. If you came out of that center you could get caught up in the whirlwind that blew around his words. He used language that could easily throw you off your center. And it was not just the words but the energy had an appearance of anger at times, and yet if you stayed in the center it was love.
We only visited over two days but even in that short time heard some stories so many times that I could finish them off myself. It was interesting to watch those that have spent a lot of time with U.G. They seemed to rest there at the center. Others would get caught up in what he was saying. That can be seen on some U.G. forums where people actually believed what he was saying about J. Krishnamurti or Osho. To me, he was just shocking people out of their conditioning, but he also seemed cognizant of how far he could go without really hurting someone. He seemed sensitively outrageous.
We learned that many of our sannyasin friends had become very close to U.G. We met some at the house and learned of others that had been hosting U.G.’s stay in Palm Springs. We said our goodbyes to Ross and Karyn who were staying on. I was so happy that we had managed to meet U.G. before he left the planet. As it turned out, this was his last visit to Bangalore. When we bid him farewell, it was namaste and I felt that we had connected with an old friend. The entire time he was so welcoming and loving in his unique way.
The following year we returned to India with the intention of visiting Ajja and then going on to Bangalore to see U.G. again. He was scheduled to be in Bangalore in February just like the previous year. As it turned out we arrived at Ajja’s ashram the day after he left the body.
We were able to take part in the ceremonies involved with the Samadhi, one of which was maintaining a chant through the night by taking shifts. Ajja was not cremated but buried in a traditional lotus Samadhi position. He had supervised the building of the structure to house the Samadhi all through the previous year. On top of the marble tomb a granite block was placed that had a small hole above Ajja’s head. We took part in the last day of the ceremony, chanting around the Samadhi through the night. We spent only two days at the ashram this time because we could sense the ashram had a lot of adjustments to make and we didn’t want to be in the way.
The first day we arrived at the ashram, we learned that on January 31st in Italy U.G. had fallen in his bathroom and couldn’t get up. He wasn’t eating, he wasn’t drinking water and he wasn’t passing urine. This information was coming to Srinath at the ashram who was in contact with Mahesh Bhatt, the longtime friend of U.G.
On February 1st, Ajja had a stroke. He was hospitalized in Puttur. After some days the doctor said that they couldn’t do anything for him there and so he was transported in an ambulance to Mangalore.
We were told that when U.G. heard about Ajja he said, “I don’t want to breathe, I don’t want to eat, I don’t want to be in this body.”
Ajja left his body on March 12th and on March 14th we heard from Srinath that U.G. had sent everyone away and that it seemed he would be going soon too. We left the ashram and continued on our travels. We later learned that U.G. left his body on March 22nd. No one ever seemed to know the nature of this strange connection between Ajja and U.G but it was a blessing to have met them both.
This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.
Your last words at this morning’s discourse were ‘Meditate on this.’ What do you mean? How does one who only knows how to think about things learn to meditate on things?
Knowing what thinking is, is the beginning of knowing what meditation is. Thinking is the negative part; meditation is the positive part. Thinking means mind in turmoil; meditation means mind in silence. But the turmoil is the beginning of silence, and only after the storm there is silence.
If you can think, then you are capable of meditation. If a man can be ill, then he can be healthy. Health becomes impossible only when you cannot even be ill. Then you are dead. Only a corpse cannot fall ill. If you can fall ill, then there is still hope. Then you are still alive.
And so is the case with thinking and meditation. Thinking is mind which is ill–not at ease, not reconciled with itself, disturbed, fragmented, divided. Meditation means the division is no more, the fragments have disappeared into oneness–you are at ease, at home.
It is the same mind. Divided, it becomes thinking; undivided, it becomes meditation. If you can think, then you are capable of meditation, although meditation is not thinking. Thinking is an ill state of affairs, a pathology. But one can transcend it, and the transcendence is easy; it is not as difficult as you think. The difficulty comes because you don’t really want to go into meditation. Because in meditation not only is thinking going to disappear, you also are going to disappear. Only an ill man is, a healthy man disappears. In health you are not; you exist only in illness, you exist only in pain, in suffering, in hell. You can’t exist in heaven, because to feel one’s existence means to feel pain.
Have you ever not observed it? When you have a headache, then you have a head. When the headache disappears, the head disappears too. If your body is perfectly healthy and everything is running smoothly, humming smoothly, you don’t feel the body at all: you become bodiless. In the ancient Indian scriptures, health is described and defined as bodilessness: you don’t feel your body. How can you feel your body if it is not ill? Onlhy illness creates knowledge; self-consciousness is created by it, self is created by it.
So meditation is not difficult if you really want to go into it. It is the simplest thing possible–the most simple, the most primal. In your mother’s womb you were in meditation. There was no distracting thought; you were not thinking about anything, you simple were. To regain that state of womb is what meditation is all about. When you see a person meditating, what do you see? He has disappeared into the womb again, he has made his whole body like a womb and he has disappeared into it. Buddha sitting under the Bodhi Tree…what is he doing? He has moved back to the source. He is not there. There is nobody sitting under the Bodhi Tree. That’s waht a Buddha means: There is nobody sitting under the Bodhi Tree.
When Jesus goes to the mountains away from the multitude, where is he going? He is going inwards, he is trying to make contact again with the original source, because from that original source is rejuvenation. From that original source there is again freshness, vitality, and the waters of life are flowing again–one is bathed, one is resurrrected.
In the world thinking is needed. In your inner being thinking is not needed. When you are communicating with somebody, thought is a must. When you are just communing with your self, what is the need of thought? Thought will be a disturbance.
Try to understand why thinking is needed and what thinking is. When there is a problem thinking is needed to solve it. You have to go round about, look from every angle of the problem, think of all possible solutions. And then there are many alternatives, so one has to choose which one is the right one. And there is always the possibility of error, and there is always fear and anxiety–that is natural and still no guarantee that you are going to succeed in finding the solution. One gropes in the darkness, one tries to find a way out of it. Thinking is the confronting of a problem. In life there are millions of problems, and thinking is needed.
I am not saying thinking is not needed. But when you relate with the outside, it is needed. But when you are facing your own being, it is not a problem, it is a mystery. And let it be very clear what a mystery is. A problem is something that can be solved; a mystery is something that cannot be solved by its very nature. There is no way out of it, so there is no question of finding the way.
You are a mystery. It is never going to be solved, because you annot go behind yourself, how can you solve it? You cannot stand outside yourself and tackle yourself as a problem, so how can you solve it? Who is going to solve whom? You are the solver, and you are the problem, and you are the solution. There is no division at all. The knower and the known and the knowledge are one–this is the mystery.
When the knower is different from the known, then there is a problem. Then there is something objective there. You can think of a way out, you can find out something which becomes knowledge. But inside yourself you are facing the eternal–the beginningless, the endless–you are facing the ultimate. You cannot think. If you think you will miss. Only through non-thinking you will not miss. You can only see into it–with awe, with great wonder. You can go into it deeper and deeper, you can dive into it. You can go on digging, and the more you dig, the more you will understand that this is a mystery to be lived not a problem to be solved. So thinking is irrelevant . And when thinking is irrelevant, there arises meditation.
The failure of thinking is the arousal of mediation.
Science is thinking, religion is meditation. If you think about God, it is philosophy, it is not religion. If you live God, then it is religion.
If you are looking at a lotus flower and thinking about it, then it is science, philosophy, aesthetics. But if you are simply looking at the lotus flower. . .the look is pure, uncontaminated by any thought, and the lotus flower is not thought to be a problem but just a beauty to be experienced . . . you are there, the lotus flower is there, and there is nothing in between–just empty, nobody is standing between you and the flower–it is meditation. Then the flower is not outside you, because there is nothing to divide as the in and the out. Then the lotus flower is somehow within you and you are somehow within the lotus flower. You melt into each other; divisions are lost, boundaries become blurred. The lotus starts touching your heart, and your heart starts touching the lotus. There is communion. It is meditation.
Whenever thought is not functioning, it is meditation. Listening to me, sometimes it becomes meditation to you. I say ‘sometimes’ because sometimes you start thinking and then you lose track. When you are just listening, not thinking at all about what is being said–neither for nor against, not comparing with your past knowledge, not tbeing greedy to accumulate it for your future use, not trying to justify, rationalise, not doing anything at all . . .I am here, you are there, and there is a meeting. In that meeting is mediatation. And then there is great beauty.
You ask me: Your last words at this morning’s discourse were ‘Meditate on this.’
Yes. Whether I say it or not, that is my message every day, in the beginning, in the middle, in the end–that’s what I am saying: Meditate on this. Meditate.
The English word ‘meditation’ is not very adequate for what we mean by dhyana is the East; ‘meditation’ again carries some idea of thinking. In English, ‘meditation’ means to think about, to meditate upon something. Dhyana does not mean to meditate upon something. Dhyana simply means to be in the presence of something, just to be in the presence. If you are in the presence of a tree, it is meditation on the tree. If you are in the presence of the stars, then it is meditation on the stars. If you are in the presence of me, then it is a meditation. And when you are alone, and you feel your own presence, that is mediation.
From dhyana came the Chinese word ch’an; from ch’an came the Japanese word zen. They are all derivations of dhyana. Dhyana is a beautiful word. It is not translatable into English, because English has words like ‘meditation’, ‘contemplation’, ‘concentration’–they all miss the point.
‘Concentration’ means concentrating on one thing. Meditation is not a concentration, it is an absolutely de-concentrated state of consciousness–it is just the opposite. When you concentrate there is a tension, you start focusing, there is effort. And when you concentrate on one thing then other things are denied, then you are closed for other things. If you concentrate on me, then what will you do with this plane passing by, and the noise? Then you will close your mind to it, you will focus on me, you will become strained because you have to deny this roaring aeroplane. A bird starts singing–what will you do? You will have to close yourself. That’s what is being taught in the schools and the colleges and the universities. It is concentration.
Meditation is not concentration, it is just openness, alertness, presence. You are listening to me, but your are not listening to me exclusively. You are simply listeneing. And the aeroplane goes roaring by–you listen to that too. And the bird starts singing, and you listen to that too. And there is no division; you don’t choose. All that happens in the surroundings is accepted: it becomes part of your listening to me. Your listening is not exclusive, it is inclusive of all.
So concentration is not meditation. Then the word ‘meditation’ itself is not meditation, because in meditation somebody meditates on Jesus, somebody meditates on the Bible, somebody meditates on God. Again it is not meditation. If there is a God as an object and Jesus as an object, then there is a distinction between the knower and the known: there is duality. And in duality there is conflict, and in conflict there is misery. In non-duality conflict disappears; and when conflict disappears, hell disappears. Then there is joy.
So meditation is not ‘meditating upon something’, meditation simply means a different quality of your inner being. In thinking your mind goes on weaving, spinning thoughts. In meditation your mind is simply silent, utterly silent, not doing anything at all–not even meditation! Not doing anything at all. Sitting silently, doing nothing…and the grass grows by itself. The spring comes, and the grass grows by itself. Meditation is a natural state of silence. It is not contemplation either.
In contemplation you think about ‘high thoughts’, spiritual things–not mundane things, not about the market, not about the family, but high values, truth, beauty, bliss. But you contemplate on these. You try to think about these high values of life, then it is contemplation.
But meditation is not even that. Meditation is a state of stillness. And this state of stillness has not to be forced, because it cannot be forced. If you force it, it will not be the right stillness. If you force it, you will be there forcing it; it will not be natural, it will not be spontaneous. So what has to be done?
One has to understand the ways of thinking. One has to understand the stupidity of thinking. One has to understand that thinking creates conflict, division, struggle, that thinking fragments you, that in thinking you start falling apart. One has to see what thinking does to you. In that very seeing arises meditation. In that very understanding, suddenly you feel breezes of silence coming to you. For a moment everything becomes still, utterly still, a standstill. And the taste of it will bring more of it. And by and by you will know the knack of it. Meditation is a knack. It is not science, it is not even art, it is a knack. You have to learn it slowly, slowly, through your own experience. So when I say ‘Meditate on this’ I mean don’t think upon it. Just close your eyes, be in silence. Let it be there.
For example, Jesus’ story: Jesus and the woman of Samaria are standing at that well, Jacob’s well, and Jesus is asking ‘Give me some water to drink’–the dialogue that ensues, just let it be there.
And you be utterly silent in front of this parable. Let this parable be like a lotus flower; it is. Just let it be there, throbbing, pulsating with a beating heart. Let it become alive in front of you, and then become silent. What can you do? You can only be silent. Let this drama be enacted in front of you. In deep silence you see it, and that will reveal to you the meaning of it. And that will reveal to you all the dialogues that have happened between any enlightened person and the disciple. And it will become not only a Jesus parable, it become a parable between you and me too.
It is happening every day. That’s what I mean when I say ‘Meditate upon this.’
Osho addresses the often quoted statement by Jesus.
Jesus saith unto him, I AM the way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.
This statement is of immense importance, and has been tremendously misunderstood by Christians, misinterpreted. This statement has become a protection for the priest, for the dogmatist, for the demagogue. Christians have taken it to mean that nobody ever comes to God unless he comes through Christ – that means Jesus, son of Mariam. Nobody comes to God unless he comes through Jesus. They have meant, or they have interpreted it in such a way, that Christianity becomes the only right religion. All other religions become wrong. All other religions are against God – only Christianity.
Jesus saith unto him, I AM the way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.
What does he mean? These priests and the missionaries and the Christians who go on converting the whole world to Christianity, are they right? Is their interpretation right? Or has Jesus something else? He has something UTTERLY else.
In the Bhagavad Gita also there is a statement which Hindus go on misinterpreting. Krishna has said to Arjuna… And almost the same quality of closeness existed between Arjuna and Krishna as between Jesus and Thomas – the same relationship. And the same flowering had happened, and the same statement had bubbled up out of that relationship. Krishna said to Arjuna: Sarva dharman parityajya mamekam sharanam vraja: Drop all religions, forget about all religions and come to my feet, because it is only through me that one reaches to God.
Now Hindus are happy with this statement. Krishna has said so clearly: Forget all religions. Drop all kinds of other religions and hold unto me. Hold to my feet – Mamekam sharanam vraja. Come to my feet; they are the bridges to God – the only bridges.
Both statements happened in the same kind of situation. Arjuna must have been very very close when Krishna said this. And so is the case with Thomas – he must have been very close. Christ must have been showering like flowers on Thomas when he said this. You will need that loving understanding of a Thomas, only then will you be able to understand the meaning of this. You will need that loving intimacy of an Arjuna, only then will you be able to understand the statement of Krishna. Both are the same, both mean the same – and both have been misinterpreted.
The misinterpretation comes from the priest and the politician – those who try to convert religion into organisational, political strategies.
Jesus saith unto him, I AM the way…
I AM… That has to be understood. It does not mean Jesus, it simply means the inner consciousness: ’I am’ – the inner life. This consciousness inside you, which you call ’I am’, this ’I am’ is the only way. If you can understand this ’I am’, what it is, what this consciousness is, you have found the way. It has nothing to do with Jesus, it has nothing to do with Krishna. When I say to you ’I am the gate’ it has nothing to do with me! That I AM is the gate. The gate is within you, the way is within you, the truth is within you. You have to understand who this is calling himself ’I am’ within you, what this consciousness is, what it consists of.
If you can go into your consciousness, if you can feel, see, realise the nature of your consciousness, that is the way. Meditation is the way – not Christ, not Krishna, nor Mohammed. Who am I? – this question will become the way.
Raman Maharshi is right when he says that only one question is relevant: Who am I? Go on asking this question, let this question become a fire in you. Be aflame with it! Let every cell of your body and your being, and every fibre of your existence pulsate, vibrate with it. And let this question arise from the deepest core: Who am I? And go on asking; don’t accept any answer that is given by the mind. You have been reading the Upanishads, and in the Upanishads they say ’You are God’. And your mind will say ’Why are you asking again and again? I know the answer: You are God. And keep quiet!’ Or if you are a Christian and have been reading the Bible again and again, you know: The kingdom of God is within you. So, ’Who am I?’ – ’The kingdom of God. Now keep quiet!’
No answer from the head has to be accepted. No answer from the.memory has to be accepted. No answer from knowledge has to be accepted. All answers have to be thrown in the whirlwind of the question ’Who am I?’ A moment comes when all answers have gone and ONLY the question remains, alone like a pillar of fire. You are afire with it! You are just a thirst, a passionate quest: ’Who am l?’ When the question has burned all the answers, then the question burns itself too, it consumes itself. And once the question has also disappeared, there is silence. That silence is the answer. And that is the door, the gate, the way, the truth.
Please be careful. When Jesus says I AM THE WAY, he means the one who calls himself I AM within you is the way. It has nothing to do with Jesus. Just by holding the feet of Jesus you are not going to go anywhere. Just by praying to Jesus you are not going to go anywhere. Listen to what he is saying.
Each Master throws you back to yourself, because ultimately God is hidden in you as much as in the Master. You are carrying your light within yourself. You just have to turn back, you have to look inwards.
I AM the way, the Truth…
Yes. In your very consciousness is the truth. When you become fully conscious you become the full truth. When you are absolutely conscious, it is not that you face truth as an object, you ARE the truth, it is your subjectivity, it is you. That’s what Upanishads say: Tatwamasi: Thou art that.
…… and the Life…
Three things Jesus says: It is the life – I AM, consciousness, awareness. This is life – the life that you know, the ordinary life. Then the second: I AM THE WAY – the way that joins the ordinary life with the extraordinary life, the way that joins Adam with Christ, the way that joins body with soul. And the third thing: I AM THE TRUTH. Jesus has said all the three things.
You are that right now, because I AM THE LIFE. And you have the way too, hidden behind you, within you: I AM THE WAY. And you are the ultimate goal too, the destiny. You are the beginning and the middle and the end. You are Adam, Jesus and Christ.
… no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.
No man has ever entered into God unless he has entered into his consciousness, until he has entered into his ’I am’-ness. This is the meaning. This is the meaning of Krishna, and this is the meaning of Christ. This is the meaning of all the Masters.
Jesus was a Buddha and Gautama was a Christ. Both of these enlightened masters were speaking from the same Ultimate Reality. And yet within the teachings of Christianity there seems to be such a narrow teaching that Jesus is the only way.
It seems that much of the conflict between Christianity and other religions stems from a couple of sayings attributed to Jesus. What if we just got the translation wrong or they were not fully understood when they were spoken.
Certainly one of the most repeated is quoted in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” And following that, and in Christians eyes makes it clear that Jesus is the only way, “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.”
This statement can be looked at from a higher vision, from an unlimiting consciousness rather than the common narrow interpretation. Rather than “I am the way”, we could say “I AM is the Way, I AM is the truth and the Life.” What a difference is made by just adding “is.” Looked at from this light it is easier to understand the statement of Jesus from John 8:58, “I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.”In fact it is the only way that the sentence makes sense. I AM is the ultimate subject, first person, singular which each of us at our very core are. It is this “I AM” that we have to return to in order to reach the Father.
This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.
Franklin Merrell-Wolff addresses this issue in chapter seven of his Philosophy of Consciousness Without an Object. The chapter is titled Jesus and the Way which can be seen here.
To be able to help others we must first help ourselves. Most everyone would agree with this statement. But if we look a little deeper we find that we often engage in helping others as a means to avoid doing the inner work on ourselves. It is a way to avoid that work and still feel good about ourselves.
Ouspensky in his In Search of the Miraculous quotes George Gurdjieff as saying:
“In order to be able to help people one must first learn to help oneself. A great number of people become absorbed in thought and feelings about helping others simply out of laziness. They are too lazy to work on themselves; and at the same time it is very pleasant for them to think about that they are able to help others. This is being false and insincere with oneself. If a man looks at himself as he really is, he will not begin to think of helping other people: he will be ashamed to think about it.”
This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.