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

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

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

M: What have you seen?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Why should the knower remain unknown?

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

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

M: All?

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

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

Q: Some sensory experiences as related to myself.

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

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

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

Q: What makes me limited and superficial?

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

Q: How can a point contain a universe?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: How am I to practice desirelessness?

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

Q: That is all?

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

Q: How can one live without emotions?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Could I meet this urge half way?

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Nothing else is true?

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

Q: I thought the real is the mystery.

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Where does the Absolute come in?

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

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

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

M: Yes, the power of love.

– Nisargadatta Maharaj

I Am That, chapter 70.

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

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

An Interview with Ajja (Bhagavan Arabbi-Nithyanandam)

Ajja 1
Ajja (Bhagavan Arabbi-Nithyanandam

This interview was conducted by Andrew Cohen and  first appeared in the magazine What Is Enlightenment as part of a longer article. I am posting the interview portion for the benefit of those who have an interest in learning more about Ajja.
Ajja: First, we should introduce ourselves, so there will be mutual understanding and harmony. After that, our conversation can begin. Only then will there be usefulness in this conversation. Otherwise, words are mere words. The other day when we met, you described your experience of awakening, but the others here have not heard it, so could you please describe it again?

Andrew Cohen: I was sixteen years old.

Ajja: Who was sixteen years old?

AC: The individual, the young man, who was convinced that there was a problem, that there was something wrong.

Ajja: You can continue.

AC: Suddenly the doors of perception opened. It seemed like the walls in the room had disappeared and suddenly there was infinite space. And this infinite space was full of energy. And this energy was conscious, it was aware of itself.

Ajja: And what you are now—is it that awareness itself?

AC: Yes.

Ajja: So it’s not this body that you refer to as “I.” The awareness you experienced at that time, is that the “I” you feel now also?

AC: Yes. It’s the same.

Ajja: It’s not this body?

AC: There’s only one “I.”

Ajja: And what happened after that?

AC: Then what happened was that I realized that this energy which was aware of itself was intelligent—there was intelligence—and the nature of it was love. Unbearable love. Excruciating love. And it also became apparent that everything that existed in the manifest universe was of the same substance, which was this consciousness. And in that it became apparent that every point in space was exactly the same point as every other. For example, now we’re here in this room. We just came from Prashanti. Before that I was in Europe. Before that I was in America. While these all seem to be different places, what I realized in that moment was that every place I could be was the same point, literally and actually. Also, there were tears but I wasn’t crying. And my throat was opening and closing.

Eventually this experience faded. But then, six years later, when I was twenty-two, I began to seek for this experience once again, because even though by that time it felt very far away from me, I knew that it had been the most real experience of my life. I began to do sadhana [spiritual practice] and had various experiences and was with many different teachers. And then finally when I met my last teacher, I told him about it. Over the years, I had told many people about this experience and they had never known what to say, but when I told him, he said, “Then you experienced everything.” And when he said this, it began to come back. Then I experienced this overwhelming love and heat and burning for several weeks. After that happened I began to find myself speaking spontaneously about the Absolute—I couldn’t help it; I would start speaking about it and then it would come into the room. And my body would fill up with bliss, and other people would feel the bliss and be drawn into the experience.

Ajja: What is your state now?

AC: That’s what my experience is now. It happens when I’m teaching, when I’m speaking about the Absolute. Then this experience comes, and when I stop speaking about it, then I go back into a more ordinary state. But the difference now is that I have no doubt—self-preoccupation and doubt are gone—and this love that I met at that time is my whole life.

Ajja: In the beginning, the “I” was a constricted “I.” Later, it started becoming expanded, and then you reached a state where there was no time and space, beyond even emotions. In that, “you” and “I” become one—the supreme Divine. We only use the word “I.” Whatever there is in this body, for that we say “I” as a simple indication. We say that it is “me,” but I am nothing. I am not the body. I am not even a power. What really exists is That whose nature is light, its nature is satya [ultimate reality]. It is truth, it is bliss, it is peace, and that is the real existence.

Who is that energy, that power? What is the source of that? Who am I? What is my source? I am that energy. I am that power which is my source. So when I go to search for the source of this “I,” I reach that self-illumination. Then this power that is existing in this body, residing in this body, is also arising from that self-illumination itself. And it has all the qualities and nature of That itself. So when I know this, I start evolving. This “I” starts evolving to become That itself. That is its nature. Total expansion is its nature.

So what is that “I” which we were calling “I”? This body is not “I.” The one who resides in this body is the real I. That power, that shakti, is I. When one goes into that self-illuminated state and recognizes it as his own true nature, he also finds that it has endowed him with the qualities of illumination, expansion, compassion. The individual self has become one with That. Whatever he sees around him, where does it come from? It is evident that it always comes from within; in every instant, it seems to just come springing up from within. To a realized soul, that is how the whole world around us looks.

Everything has come out of that “I.” The most important answers, how do they come? It is not as if they were written down somewhere. These answers have just come out. Not from the individual self, but from this state they have come out. So there is no self! It has just spontaneously come out.
So for the individual soul who aspires to be totally free, what is the easiest and most direct path to freedom from the cycle of birth and death? The answer to that question will come when the mind becomes totally silent. So it is not what I say that is important. We have to get those answers ourselves, and that we can do only by silencing our minds. All of us have the capacity to get those answers, because every question has an answer within silence. When the mind has reached a state of stillness, the answer comes. This will not happen in one or two days, but it is certain that we will get the answer in the silence.

AC: I understand that when the mind is silent there is no problem and therefore no need to find a solution. However, I have some questions I’d like to ask you anyway, for the sake of the many people who will read this.

Ajja: Whatever question you ask, the answer that comes out of here is: “Silence the mind.” You have to first concentrate the mind on itself. If, after that, you still need a perfect answer, my life itself is the answer. By seeing my action, you can understand, you can realize That. That is my message. That is my answer.

AC: Can I ask you a question anyway? It’s a good one.

Ajja: If I answer something, it should be of some use. The importance is for action. When the message is given, will they bring it into practice?

AC: That is what I wanted to ask you about: What is the relationship between nonexistence and action in time and space?

Ajja: One loses his existence through knowledge and action. Through these he becomes free. Then he himself is a jivan mukta [liberated person]. But when that “I” has gone, what is there? Where is the question then?

AC: Even though he is free, isn’t the jnani [Self-realized individual], the jivanmukta, still expressing something through his actions?

Ajja: I don’t have the awareness that “I’m a jnani“or “I’m a jivan mukta.” I don’t have anything. When the “I” has gone, the consciousness does not even raise the feeling of “I.” That is completely gone. So for a jnani that question does not even arise. When there is no question of thinking, then ordinary action in day-to-day life does not take place. Our thoughts are transformed into contemplation. Then our day-to-day routine interactions become spiritual. In that, the regular routine itself becomes spiritual life. That itself is yogic life. That itself is divine life.

AC: There is a mystery that I’m infatuated with. From nothing, there became something; it’s literally the beginning of everything. In the jivanmukta, also, he is nothing, he’s in nothing. And yet, from nothing comes something: words, actions, etc. This is what I want to know about.

Ajja: I have already described how day-to-day interactions themselves can be converted into spiritual actions. Having that objective, when an individual soul is engaged in day-to-day actions and duties, he gets transformed. Then as he advances on the path of evolution, through contemplation on the thought “Who am I?”—who is that individual soul?—then, even while residing in this body, he becomes totally free from the cycle of birth and death. He becomes the Self itself, and the Self is total freedom. This is real freedom. This realization is the objective of human birth. It is for this alone that a human birth is taken. When this objective is fulfilled, our life itself is fulfilled. It is a state from which there is no more birth. It is a life free from duality, and beyond death. This is applicable everywhere in the entire world. This is true for the whole of humanity. When the whole of humanity understands this and puts it into action, then where is this question?

AC: Then there will be no difference between birth and death.

Ajja: Yes. Only when there is birth can there be death. Where is birth in this? We think: “I am this body. All the sense objects that are related to the body are mine. With such a constricted feeling, when a person is involved in action, and is experiencing the joys and sorrows that are resulting from such action, again and again he will take birth in this world. So his lives continue according to his actions. This is the secret of birth, life and death. But when the individual self is freed from the bondage of action, and also the bondage of this body, then he becomes one with the supreme Self, which is his original nature. He becomes the supreme Self itself. When the individual, through contemplation of the question “Who am I?” becomes free from karma, he evolves, he becomes the self-luminous Supreme. That itself is Self. That itself is bliss. That itself is satya, ultimate reality. That itself is Life. That itself is Self-realization.

So Self-realization is for the good of the whole. It brings auspiciousness and good to the whole universe. That is the objective of human life. When we understand the secret of this, we will really understand the relationship between the individual soul, the supreme Soul and the universe. The individual is a part of the cosmos. This body, this “I,” is nothing but a microcosm of that macrocosmic universe. When we understand the micro level, we are bound to understand the macro universe. Anyone who seeks here is bound to reach there, because this individuality is a part of That. And also, it containseverything. All the secrets of That, this also contains. Through the study of the individual—or even the atom—the basis of the whole universe can be understood.

How is this freedom realized? Through action alone does realization come. That is jnana, that is freedom, that is moksha [liberation].We must understand how, by doing action, we can reach that state. What kind of action will help us to become liberated? Chanting the name of God, contemplation, surrender, truth, nonviolence, detached action. One who, during his lifetime, can translate the knowledge of the Self into action, that one deserves to realize that supreme blissful state. Not only that, he becomes bliss itself. “Who am I? What is the secret of my life, my birth?” Understanding this, realizing this through his search, even when he is engaged in actions and duties, he attains his original nature, which is bliss. So it is through action that he becomes transformed.

AC: When you speak about karma yoga, or detached action, are you referring specifically to spiritual practice? Or to any form of detached action?

Ajja: Any action which is done as a duty without the expectation of a result. Any action, if you do it without expectation and selfishness, is transformed into duty. This leads you to a state where there are no emotions. One is doing, but he is not doing. There is no feeling that “I am doing something.” What happened to that “I”?

This evolution is step by step. It doesn’t happen all of a sudden. It has to pass through various stages. However, even the most elementary state of bliss is Bliss itself. The nature of bliss is Bliss itself. Bliss itself is the nature of bliss. Bliss is Bliss itself. Bliss is Bliss. This bliss is eternal reality. This bliss is eternal Truth. That bliss which is eternal reality, that is the eternal bliss. This is the supreme Bliss. This is the Brahmic [Absolute] Bliss. And that itself is Ananda [spiritual bliss]. There is nothing there—no state. Experience and words cannot reach there. The actual nature of the individual self is this bliss itself. And the easiest and the shortest path is to always dwell in that sahaja [natural] state that is our original nature.

The question may arise, “Where is that Bliss?” That Bliss is here and now, ever present. When this jivatma [individual self] is dropped, that Bliss is there, already existing. The individual soul has the bondage of action, but the Supreme doesn’t have that. There is not even birth for the Self. So let us go beyond this dualistic world of action, let us evolve, and reach the paramatma [supreme Self].

For all this, meditation is the starting point. In the beginning you should sit. You should have that internal preparation. One has to discipline oneself. But it is not enough only to sit. It is not merely that the body must sit; your mind must sit also. The mind should not be wandering. Unless the mind is controlled, there is no meditation. The wandering of the mind itself is the world.

AC: Yes. The mind is the world.

Ajja: So in the beginning, the mind should become still. The mind is wandering and that must stop. Through meditation, the mind turns inward. And this should happen not only in meditation, but also in the midst of action.

Nothing that we take to be real in this world actually is. When this world becomes unreal to you, then the true reality reveals itself. That is the beginning. In that, we realize that there is no death, there is no life, there is only existence. At one point or another, we all have to die. But I do not mean the death of this body. There is another kind of death—a death from which there is no rebirth. When the one who keeps coming back for reincarnation, when that one dies, that is the real death—as in my case, where all experiences have passed. Now, here in this state, there is nothing.

AC: When you say there is nothing here, do you mean that you have no experience right now? You seem to be expressing a great deal.

Ajja: Whose experience? Words are coming, it is true. Through this vehicle, some unknown force is acting, some power is working, using this body as an instrument. It is not this body that is speaking. There is a power that is inspiring this body, intellect and mind. In each one of us the same thing is happening, but often we say, “I am speaking.” Here that is not happening. Words are just coming out. That is the difference. I don’t say, “I say, I speak.”

AC: In my own experience, the relationship between this state of bliss, in which there is no “I,” and perfect action in the world of time and space seems to be very mysterious. So I would still like to know more about how you define that relationship for the one who is actually established in that bliss consciousness in which there is no notion of “I.” How do that individual’s actions in this world express the perfection of that condition? What is the relationship between that state and the expression of perfect action in this world of appearances?

Ajja: My level of interaction is totally different. There is no relationship between these two in my actions. What is your understanding about perfect action in the world?

AC: Perfect action means action that comes from pure love, in which there is no sense of individuality and no self-interest whatsoever. There’s no pride, there’s no greed, there’s no egotism, there’s no self-consciousness. And it is also the expression of pure love that has no sense of itself as being separate. But this action does occur. All the realized souls express this.

Ajja: This is difficult to explain, to put into words, but if one spends time in the company of a person who is in such blissful consciousness, then it becomes possible to understand. Such an individual will not tell you anything. He will communicate only in silence. But through contact with him, understanding can happen. One can know this only through experience.

What is love? Are we speaking about a love related to the senses? Or is it beyond the senses? Some people are the embodiment of love but the nature of their love is beyond the senses. You cannot see it with your eyes. You cannot describe that love with your words. They are love embodied. This love is not something to be displayed. It is their original nature. It’s not something they merely express. It is their nature always.

AC: It’s who they are.

Ajja: They exist in this world, but they are not. They are, and they are not. That is what self-illumination is. That itself is Atman [the Self]. That itself is bliss. That itself is truth. That itself is life. Which life is it? It’s not worldly life. It’s a life beyond duality and beyond death.

AC: So how they are, then, is the answer to the question. How they are is the answer to the question of what the relationship is between nothing and something.

Ajja: These things are beyond description. This we cannot explain. This can only be seen and understood. It’s not because they have something to say that they speak. It’s not possible to describe bliss. When you are blissful, it’s an experience, but there is no one there to speak. Words come out, but between the words that come out and that ultimate reality there is no relationship. The real state and the words that describe it are not related. That exists only as Itself. The words show That, they manifest That, but they are not That. The existence of that Supreme is indicated by the word “I” only for the sake of interaction in the world—for the sake of the world, but not for the sake of That.

My experience is of the Universal Soul only, which is energy, light and power—the self-luminous supreme Universal. It has come for evolution and it has evolved. Universal light comes for evolution and it evolves.

AC: The light evolves?

Ajja: Light and power came, but now only light remains in the evolved form. There is no power. The indweller of this physical body is the soul, which is nothing but self-luminous light and power. And in evolution, the power dissolves, leaving only light.

AC: Can you say that again?

Ajja: The indweller of the body is a universal power and light. And in the process of evolution, the power dissolves and the light remains. But the truth of this cannot really be communicated. Only through contact, by being in the proximity of a realized soul, can one understand. This is one of those questions the answer to which can only be discovered when you search for it in silence. Otherwise it becomes mere lecture from which none of us will benefit.

AC: I understand that the most important answer cannot be given in words, that it can only be found by the individual in silence. And yet it is my experience that by asking these kinds of questions sometimes magical and extraordinary things can happen.

Ajja: Even if the truth comes out or if, as you say, magical, miraculous things occur, when words come out, they are still nothing but words.

AC: But the words coming from a jnani have the power to enlighten.

Ajja: That is about the jnani. But where are the jnanis? Who is a jnani? And who is it that recognizes the jnani?

AC: The jnani and the one who recognizes the jnani are one and the same.

Ajja: Is that your experience?

AC: Yes.

Ajja: I do not deny that experience. But a jnani will never have the experience that “I am a jnani.” He is simply what he is. It’s his original state. If an unnatural state comes, he will be amazed. This is the original, natural state for a jnani. There is only bliss. There is no one to experience that bliss. The person who sees has gone. That is evolution. So what is, in that case, is a state which is not a state. This is the original state of every individual. But one must be ready to go to that original state.

AC: One of your disciples told me that when you get to know people more intimately you can see their past lives. Is this true?

Ajja: I am not an astrologer. I don’t read anyone’s mind. This is contradictory for spirituality. Liberation should happen in this life itself. Sometimes we are told that for some reason it’s not possible in this life, that we have to wait for future incarnations. But we don’t know if this is true or not, so here and now we should become free.

AC: I agree with you, and my question is based only on what I’ve heard from other people here. I personally feel that this kind of thing is a complete waste of time and also that it’s the opposite direction one should be looking in if one wants to be free. If one wants to be free, one wants to know the Self one is when there’s no time and no history. Finding out about past lives could never tell you anything about that which never happened.

Ajja: Yes. Let us know about this life. In knowing this you know everything you need to know. Now we are here. It’s now about this. Why should we go back? There is no future and no past. We have come here. We are here. What is this? Who are we? Who am I? Who is the one who has come? That which has come is self-luminous power with light. This itself is the foundation. There are engineers who build the building, but we must look only at the foundation, we are concerned only with the foundation. “Who am I?”—this inquiry is the foundation. When you go in search of That, it is possible to find the answer to every question on this earth. When you go in search of “Who am I?” you will reach a state where there is nothing. “I” means the state where nothing is there. It’s over. No sadhana is required for this—only search.

AC: Direct search.

Ajja: Yes, direct search. When the seeker goes in search of That, the seeker is no more. That state is Atman, which is bliss, which is self-luminous and which is silence. Until then, ego is there. Then it is not.

It sometimes happens in life that due to some incident there is total transformation. In many people’s lives, due to one incident there is total transformation. It is in the biographies of all the great saints of southern India—Valmiki, Tulsi Das, Ramana Maharshi, J. Krishnamurti. According to their karma, due to small incidents, they changed. Through all these stories, there is one thread. In my case, for example, there was pain for six months, then no pain. Then contemplation began; worry became contemplation. Untruth became truth. Darkness became light. As with fruit, when it is unripe, it is bitter. When it becomes ripe, it is sweet. But that sweetness was always there. That bitterness is transformed into sweetness.

So worry should become contemplation. For that reason alone we should give importance to thoughts. We should not get agitated or lost when we get worries or problems. We should experience them. Then there is an explosion.

AC: Do you mean that we must face them completely?

Ajja: Yes. Experience that. And how should the mind be when you experience that? During that time, the mind should be focused, the mind should contemplate on that. When the mind is fixed on that, then—

AC: You mean there should be no resistance to experience?

Ajja: No resistance. In this way, the same mind that experiences everything else now goes to contemplation. Beyond that there is no mind at all. So mind itself is both the cause of bondage and the means to liberation. This world is nothing but the roar of mind. When the works of mind are over, there is no mind. Then all desires are gone—desires which the mind imagines. Everything is imagined; all of that is mind. So the mind has to withdraw. All desires should go. Even if one desire is there, you cannot take the mind inward. The mind should go into the heart and begin the search. “Who am I? Who am I? I am here in this body. Who am I?” We should search like that. When you are in the search, in that the mind is gone. We are afraid to touch that place. But the mind must be totally gone. Give it up.

AC: You said earlier that this is universally applicable and true for the whole of humanity.

Ajja: Yes, this is a question for the whole of mankind. We need freedom. No one wants to be in bondage. Everyone wants to be free. My message for the whole universe is not that only one should get free. Others also should become free. The whole world should become free. That is my message.

What is the path to freedom? If you have a clear picture of the experiences I’ve had during my lifetime—joys and sorrows, triumphs and miseries, honor and dishonor, and how I reacted to these—that can help you to find your own way. How I faced those experiences, how I walked in my life, how I accepted death. How action was performed, and how transformation has come. My whole life, once understood, gives a clear picture of the way. When we have understood all these things, then we have to bring that understanding into our practice. Then we become free. If one individual is liberated in this way, then the mission of my life has been fulfilled. That is why I am giving these statements—so that it will be helpful for the public. That is why I have agreed to this interview. Otherwise I would remain in total silence.

The total picture is the integrated evolution of the individual and that power. When we become totally free in our action, only then is our birth fruitful. Then our life is really fulfilled. Freedom is the goal. Everyone should become free. And all have come to life only for that purpose—that freedom itself is bliss for all, for every individual. Every individual should be released from bondage. If I alone become free, it is not enough to make me happy. Everyone should become like that. Every soul has to become free. I have had a glimpse of that possibility, and if all were free, that would be true bliss for me.

AC: So this is for the benefit of mankind.

Ajja: Yes. This message is for the whole of humanity. When there is purity within, mind, heart and action should be one. Mind and heart should be pure and our deeds should be the same. We all have to go beyond thought to that state in which there are no obstacles at all. It is by this true search alone that one becomes a universal soul. And every individual has that capacity. Not just one. Every individual has the capacity to become That.

I am not in mind at all. I am in a state beyond all thoughts and emotions. I am speaking, but I don’t know anything. I don’t think; I read no books. For the true knowledge itself, none of this is necessary. For intellectual discourse, books are necessary, but for Self-experience, nothing is required. If I am in some remote corner, also it doesn’t stop. It spreads through the whole universe, percolates through the whole universe. If one reaches that state of ananda, even if he is in some remote corner, it just spreads. Even if he tries to hide, it just radiates from him. It reaches throughout the whole universe, the entire cosmos.

So . . . what are you going to do with what you have recorded?

AC: It will be part of an article about you—your experience and what you are saying—that will help people in America and other places to benefit from what you have discovered.

Ajja: It feels as if you are very known to us. You do not feel like a stranger to me.

AC: Yes, I feel the same way.

Ajja: There is no America and no India. There is only the whole universe.

This interview was first seen here.

Read about a visit to Ajja’s ashram.

See a video of Ajja.

For more posts on Ajja.

To read more from Ajja.

The Four Dimensions of Man – Osho

Man is not a meaning but an opportunity. The meaning is possible, but is not given. The meaning can be created, but it is not already there. It is a task not a gift. Life is a gift, but life is open opportunity. Meaning is not a gift, meaning is a search. Those who seek will certainly find it. But those who simply wait will go on missing. The meaning, the Logos, has to be created by man. Man has to transform himself into that meaning. It cannot be something exterior to man; it can only be something interior.

Man’s inner being has to become illumined.

Before we enter into these sutras, a few things will be helpful to understand about man, because only then is the work possible.

The first thing to be understood is that man is a four-dimensional space-time continuum, just as the whole existence is. Three dimensions are of space, one dimension is of time. They are not separate: the dimension of time is but the fourth dimension of space. The three dimensions of space are static; the fourth dimension of time brings movement, makes life a process. Then existence is not a thing, but becomes an event.

And so is man. Man is the miniature universe. If you could understand man in his totality, you would have understood the whole existence. Man contains all – in seed. Man is a condensed universe. And these are the four dimensions of man.

The first dimension is what Patanjali calls sushupti, deep sleep, where not even a dream exists. One is utterly silent, not even a thought stirring, no wind blowing. All is absent That absence, in deep sleep, is the first dimension. It is from that that we start. And we have to understand our sleep, only then can we go through a transformation. Only then can we build our house on a rock, otherwise not. But very few people are there who understand their sleep.

You sleep every day, you live one-third of your life in deep sleep, but you don’t understand what it is. You go into it every night, and you also gain much out of it. But it is all unconscious: you don’t know exactly where it leads you. It leads you to the most simple dimension of your life – the first dimension. It is very simple because there is no duality. It is very simple because there is no complexity. It is very simple because there is only oneness. You have not yet arisen as an ego, you have not yet become divided – but the unity is unconscious.

If this unity becomes conscious you will have samadhi instead of sushupti. If this unity becomes conscious, illumined, then you will have attained God. That’s why Patanjali says: Deep sleep and samadhi, the ultimate state of consciousness, are very much alike, alike, because they are simple, alike, because in both there is no duality, alike, because in both the ego exists not.

In the first, the ego has not arisen yet; in the second, the ego has been dissolved – but there is a great difference too. The difference is that in samadhi you know what sleep is. Even while asleep your consciousness is there, your awareness is there. Your awareness goes on burning like a small light inside you.

A Zen Master was asked… It is a very famous saying in Zen:

Thus we are told that before we study Zen the mountains are mountains and the rivers are rivers. While we are studying Zen, however, the mountains are no longer mountains and the rivers are no longer rivers. But then when our study of Zen is completed, the mountains are once again mountains and the rivers are once again rivers.

‘What is meant by this?’ a disciple asked a great Master.

The Master explained this: ‘It simply means that the first and the last states are alike. Only just in the middle… the disturbance. First the mountains are mountains and again in the end the mountains are again mountains. But in the middle the mountains are no more mountains and rivers are no more rivers – everything is disturbed and confused and clouded. That clouding, that confusion, that chaos, exists only in the middle. In sushupti everything is as it should be; in samadhi, again everything is as it should be. Between the two is the problem, is the world, is the mind, is the ego, is the whole complex of misery, hell.

When the Master explained this, the disciple exclaimed ‘Well, if that’s true, then there is no difference between the ordinary man and the enlightened man.’

‘That’s true’ replied the Master. ‘There is no difference really. The only thing is, the enlightened man is six inches off the ground.’

But those six inches make all the difference. Why is the Master six inches off the ground? He lives in the world and is yet not in it – those are the six inches, the difference. He eats, and yet he is not the eater; he remains a witness – those six inches. He is ill, he knows the pain of illness but still he is not in pain; that difference – those six inches. He dies, he knows death is happening, and yet he is not dying: that difference – those six inches. He is asleep and yet he is not asleep, he is alert too.

The first state is of sushupti. We will call it ‘the first dimension’. It is dreamless undividedness, it is unconscious unity, it is ignorance, but very blissful. But the bliss too is unconscious. Only in the morning when you are awake again do you start feeling that there has been a good sleep in the night, that you have been in some faraway land, that you are feeling rejuvenated, that you are feeling very fresh, again young and alive; but only in the morning – not exactly at the time when you are in the sleep, only later on. Just some fragrance remains lingering in the memory. It reminds you that you have been to some inner depth, but where? What? – You cannot figure it out. You cannot give any account of it. Just a vague memory, a remembrance that somewhere you have been in a good space. There is no ego yet, so there is no misery possible, because misery is not possible without the ego.

This is the state where the rocks and the mountains and the rivers and the trees are existing. That’s why trees look so beautiful – an unconscious bliss surrounds them. That’s why mountains look so silent: they are in sushupti, they are in deep sleep, they are continuously in deep sleep. That’s why when you go to the Himalayas; an eternal silence is felt – virgin silence. Nobody has ever been able to disturb it. Just think of a mountain, and suddenly you start feeling silent. Think of trees and you feel life flowing in. The whole of nature exists in the first state, that’s why nature is so simple.

 

The second dimension is that of dream – what Patanjali calls swabha. The first disturbance in the sleep is dream. Now you are not one any more; the second dimension has arisen. Images have started floating in you: the beginning of the world. Now you are two: the dreamer and the dreamed. Now you are seeing the dream and you are the dream too. Now you are divided. That silence of the deep sleep is no more there, disturbance has entered because division has entered.

Division, duality, disturbance – that is the meaning of the dream. Although the duality is still unconscious, it is there; but not very consciously – not that you know about it. The turmoil is there, the world is born, but things are still undefined. They are just coming out of the smoke; things are taking shape. The form is not yet clear, the form has not yet become concrete, but because of the dualism – even though it is unconscious – misery has entered in. The nightmare is not very far away. The dream will turn into a nightmare.

This is where animals and birds exist. They also have a beauty, because they are very close to sushupti. Birds sitting on a tree are just dreams sitting in sleep. Birds making their nests on a tree are just dreams making their nests in sleep. There is a kind of affinity between the birds and the trees. If trees disappear, birds will disappear; and if birds disappear, trees will not be so beautiful any more. There is a deep relationship; it is one family. When you see parrots screeching and flying around a tree, it almost looks as if the leaves of the tree have got wings. They are not separate… very close. Birds and animals are more silent than man, happier than man. Birds don’t go mad. They don’t need psychiatrists; they don’t need any Freud, any Jung, any Adler. They are utterly healthy.

If you go into the forest and you see the animals, you will be surprised – they are all alike!;  and all healthy. You will not find a single fat animal in the natural state. I am not talking about the zoo. In the zoo things go wrong, because the zoo is no more natural. Zoo animals start following man; they even start going mad and committing suicide. Zoo animals even turn into homosexuals. The state of the zoo is not natural, it is man-created. In nature they are very, very, silent, happy, healthy, but that health too is unconscious – they don’t know what is happening.

This is the second state: when you are in a dream. This is the second dimension. First: dreamless sleep, sushupti – simple one-dimensional; there is no ‘other’. Second: dream, swabha; there are two dimensions: the dreamer and the dreamed, the content and the consciousness – the division has arisen – the looker and the looked at, the observer and the observed. Duality has entered. This is the second dimension.

In the first dimension there is only the present tense. Sleep knows no past, no future. Of course because it knows no past, no future, it cannot know the present either, because the present exists only in the middle. You have to be aware of the past and the future, only then can you be aware of the present. Because there is no past and no future, sleep exists only in the present. It is pure present, but unconscious.

With the dream, the division enters. With the dream, the past becomes very, very important. Dream is past-oriented; all dreams come from the past. They are fragments of the past floating in the mind, dust from the past which has not settled yet.

It’s her old man I feel sorry for. He was in bed the other night fast asleep. Suddenly she noticed he had a smile on his face. She thought ‘Hello, he’s having one of those dreams again.’ So she put down her crisps and her bottle of stout and woke him up.

He said ‘Blimey, you would, wouldn’t you! I was having a lovely dream then! I was at this auction where they were selling mouths. They had small rosebud ones for a quid. Pert little pursed ones for two quid, and little smiling ones for a fiver.’

She said ‘Ooh! Did they have a mouth my size?’

‘Yes. They were holding the auction in it.’

Whatsoever you dream has something to say about your past. It may be that you see an auction – little smiling rosebud mouths are being sold – but the auction is being held in your wife’s mouth.

Maybe you have never said to your wife ‘Shut up, and keep your big mouth closed!’ Maybe you have not said it so clearly, but you have been thinking that so many times. It is lingering in the mind. It is there. Maybe you have never been so true in your waking state as you are when you are asleep. And you can be! You can afford to be true. All dreams float from the past. With the dream, past becomes existential. So the present is there, and the past.

With the third, the third dimension, waking state what Patanjali calls jagrut – multiplicity enters. The first is unity, the second is duality, the third is multiplicity. Great complexity arises. The whole world is born. In sleep you are deep inside you; in dream you are no more that deep inside you and yet you are not out either – just in the middle, on the threshold. With waking consciousness you are outside yourself, you have gone into the world.

You can understand the biblical story of Adam’s expulsion in these three dimensions. When Adam was there in the Garden of Eden and had not yet eaten the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge it was deep sleep, unconscious – unconscious bliss it was. There was no disturbance, everything was simply beautiful. He had not known of any misery. Then he eats the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Knowledge arises, images start floating, dreams have started functioning. He is no more the same. He is still in the Garden of Eden but no more part of it – alien, stranger, an outsider. He has not yet been expelled, but in a subtle way he is no more centered there. He is uprooted. This is the state of the dream – the first taste of knowledge, because of the first taste of duality, the distinction of observer and the observed. And then he is being expelled from the Garden of Eden, thrown out – that is the third state, the waking state. Now he cannot even go back; there is no way back. He has forgotten that he has an inside too.

In deep sleep you are inside. In wakefulness you are outside. In dream you are just in the middle, hanging, not settled yet where to go, still indecisive, in doubt, uncertain. With the waking state, the ego enters in. In the dream state there are just rudimentary fragments of the ego arising, but they settle in the third. The ego becomes the most concrete, most solid, most decisive phenomenon. Then whatsoever you do, you do because of the ego.

The third state brings a little consciousness – just one per cent, not much of it, just a flickering consciousness, momentary consciousness. The first was absolutely unconscious, the second was unconsciousness disturbed. The third is the first glimpse of consciousness. And because of that – the momentary glimpse of consciousness – that one per cent of consciousness coming in creates the ego. Now the future also enters in.

 

First there is only the present unconscious; then there is the past unconscious, now there is future. Past, present, future, and the whole complexity of time revolves around you. This is the state where people are stuck, where you are stuck, where everybody is stuck. And if you go on building your house with these three dimensions, you will be building it on sand, because your whole effort will be unconscious.

To do something in unconsciousness is futile – it is shooting arrows in the dark not knowing where the target is. It is not going to bring much result. First, light is needed. The target has to be looked for, searched for. And enough light is needed so you can move towards the target consciously. That is possible only when the fourth dimension starts functioning. It rarely happens; but whenever it happens, then meaning is really born, Logos is born.

You will live a meaningless life if you live only with these three. You will live a meaningless life because you will not be able to create yourself. How can you create in such unawareness?

The fourth dimension is of awareness, witnessing – what Patanjali calls turiya. And in the Gospels Jesus goes on saying again and again to his disciples: Awake! Beware! Watch! All these words indicate turiya. And it is one of the misfortunes of history that Christianity has not been able to bring this message clearly to the world. It has failed utterly.

Rarely has a religion failed so utterly as Christianity. Jesus was not very fortunate, because the disciples that he found turned out to be very ordinary, and the religion became almost a political organization. The church became not a follower of Jesus but deep down really antagonistic to Jesus. The church has been doing things against Jesus in the name of Jesus.

Buddha was more fortunate. The followers never became a church, they never became so organized politically and they never became so worldly. They carried little bits of Buddha’s message down the ages.

This fourth dimension has to be understood as deeply as possible, because this is the goal. It is pure consciousness, simplicity again. The first was simple but unconscious; the fourth is simple but conscious. Unity again, bliss again – with only one difference: now everything is conscious, the inner light is burning bright. You are fully alert. It is not a dark night inside you but a full-moon night, moonlit. That is the meaning of enlightenment: the inner illumination.

Again there is only one time left – present, but now it is conscious present. Past is no more hanging around. A man who is aware cannot move in the past, because it is no more. A man who is aware cannot move in the future, because it is not yet. A man who is aware lives in the present, herenow. HERE is his only space and NOW is his only time. And because he is only herenow, time as such disappears. Eternity is born, timelessness is born. And when one is totally alert, ego cannot exist.

Ego is a shadow cast in unawareness. When all is light, the ego cannot exist. You will be able to see the falsity of it, the pseudo-ness of it. And in that very seeing is its disappearance.

These are the four dimensions of human consciousness. And people live only in the first three. The fourth carries the meaning; hence the people who live only in the three live a meaningless life. They know it. You know it! If you look into your life you will not find any meaning there, just a haphazard, accidental progression of things. One thing is followed by another, but with no particular consistency, with no particular relevance. One thing is followed by another just accidentally.

That’s what Jean-Paul Sartre means when he says ’Man is a useless passion’: man is accidental.

Yes, he is true if he is talking about the three dimensions: first, second and third; but he is not true about the fourth. And he cannot say anything about the fourth because he has not experienced anything of it. Only a Christ or a Buddha can say something about the fourth.

Christ-consciousness is of the fourth, so is Buddha-consciousness. To remain confined in the three is to be in the world. To enter into the fourth is to enter into nirvana, or call it the ’kingdom of God’. These are only different expressions for the same thing.

A few things more: The second dimension is a shadow of the first: sleep and dream. Dreams cannot exist without sleep, sleep is a must. Sleep can exist without dreams. So sleep is primary, dreams are secondary – just a shadow. And so is the case with the third and the fourth. The third is the shadow of the fourth, because the third can exist only if there is some consciousness. A little bit of consciousness has to be there, only then can the third exist. The third cannot exist without little bit of consciousness in it – a ray of light. It is not much of a light, but a ray of light is needed. The fourth can exist without the third, but the third cannot exist without the fourth. The fourth is awareness, absolute awareness; and the third is just a small ray of light in the dark night. But it exists because of that small ray of light. If that ray of light disappears, it will become the second; it will not be the third any more.

And your life looks like a shadow-life because you are living with the third. And the third is the shadow of the fourth. Only with the fourth do you come home. Only with the fourth are you grounded in existence.

The first is absolute darkness, the fourth is absolute light. Between these two are their two shadows. Those two shadows have become so important to us that we think that is our whole life. That’s why Hindus have been calling the world maya, illusion, because of these two dimensions which have become predominant – the second and the third. We have lost track of the first, and we have not yet searched for the fourth.

And one thing more: If you find the fourth you will find the first. Only one who has found the fourth will be able to know about the first, because once you have come to the fourth you can be asleep and remain alert. Krishna defines the yogi in the Gita as ‘one who is awake while asleep’. That’s his definition for the yogi. A strange definition: who is awake while asleep.

And just the reverse is the situation with you. You are asleep while awake. That is the definition of a non-yogi: asleep while awake. You look awake, and you are not.

It is just an idea, this awake state. Ninety-nine per cent consists of sleep – only one per cent of wakefulness. And that one per cent also goes on changing. Sometimes it is there and sometimes it is not there at all. It was there; somebody insults you – and it is not there. You have become angry, and you have lost even that small awareness. Somebody treads on your feet – and it is gone. It is very delicate. Anybody can take it and destroy it, and very easily. You were perfectly okay; a letter comes and something is written in the letter, and suddenly you are no more okay. All is disturbed. A single word can create such a disturbance! Your awareness is not very much.

And you are awake only in rare moments: in danger you are awake, because in danger you have to be awake. But when there is no danger, you start snoring. You can hear people snoring – walking down the road, they are snoring. And they are caged in their own unconsciousness.

A drunk bumped into a stop sign. Dazed and disoriented, he stepped back and then advanced in the same direction. Once more he hit the sign. He retreated a few steps, waited awhile, and then marched forward. Colliding with the post again, he embraced it in defeat and said ‘It is no use. I am fenced in. I am stopped in every direction.’

And he has not moved in any other direction. He has been moving again and again to the post. And being hit, naturally he concludes that he has been fenced in from every direction.

And that is the situation of the ordinary human consciousness. You go on moving in the same unconscious way, in the same unconscious direction. And again and again you are hit, and you think ‘Why is there so much misery? Why? Why did God create such a miserable world in the first place? Is God a kind of sadist? Does he want to torture people? Why has he created a life which is almost like a prison, and in which there is no freedom?’

Life is absolutely free. But to see that freedom, first you will have to free your consciousness.

Remember it as a criterion: the more conscious you are, the more free; the less conscious you are, the less free. The more conscious you are, the more blissful; the less conscious you are, the less blissful. It depends on how conscious you are. And there are people who will go on looking into the scriptures to find out ways to become more free, to become more blissful, to attain to truth. That is not going to help, because it is not a question of the scriptures. If you are unconscious and you go on reading the Bible and the Koran and the Vedas and the Gita, it is not going to help, because your unconsciousness cannot be changed by your studies. In fact the scripture cannot change your consciousness, but your unconsciousness will change the scripture – the meaning of the scriptures. You will find your own meanings there. You will interpret in such a way that the Bible, the Veda, the Koran, will start functioning as imprisonments. That’s how Christians and Hindus and Mohammedans are – all imprisoned.

I have heard…

After booking into a large hotel, a self-styled evangelist read in his room for an hour or two – and he was reading the Bible – then went down to the bar, and after a couple of drinks, he struck up a conversation with the red-headed barmaid. He stayed up until closing time and after the girl had cleared up, they both went up to the evangelist’s room.

When he started to interfere with her clothing, the barmaid seemed to have second thoughts. ‘Are you sure this is alright?’ she said ’after all you are a holy man.’

‘My dear’ he replied ‘it’s written in the Bible.’

She took him at his word, and they spent a very pleasant night together. The next morning, however, as the girl was preparing to leave, she said ‘You know, I don’t remember the part of the Bible you spoke about last night.’

The evangelist picked up the Gideon’s Bible from the bedside table, opened the cover, and showed her the flyleaf, on which was inscribed ‘The redheaded barmaid screws.’

Reading the whole Bible for one hour and this was his finding. Somebody had inscribed on the flyleaf…

If you read the Bible, you read it, remember. And the meaning that you give it will] be yours, the interpretation will be yours. It cannot help you, because it cannot even protect itself from you. How can it help you? The only way to have any change in life is to change consciousness. And to change consciousness you will not have to go into the Bible and the Vedas. You will have to go inwards, you will have to go into meditation. Scholarship won’t help.

A blind man was invited to a festivity and there he ate some delicious pudding. He was so enchanted by its taste that he asked someone sitting next him to tell what it looked like.

‘White’ the man said.

‘What is white?’ the blind man asked.

‘White? – like a duck’ came the answer.

‘How does a duck look?’, persisted the blind man.

Puzzled for a moment, the man finally said ‘Here, feel this’ and took the blind man’s hand in his hand and guided it along his other hand and arm, which he bent at the elbow and wrist to resemble the shape of a duck.

At this, the blind man exclaimed ‘Oh, the pudding is crooked!’

That’s what is going to happen. You cannot help the blind man to know what is white, or what is color, or what is light. All your help is going to give him something wrong. There is no way to help the blind man by definitions, by explanations, by theories, by dogmas, by scriptures. The only way to help him is to heal his eyes.

Buddha has said ‘I am a physician. I don’t give you definitions of light; I simply heal your eyes.’ And that’s what Jesus is, and all the miracles that are reported in the Bible are not miracles but parables – that a blind man came to him and he touched his eyes, and the blind man was healed and he could see immediately. If it is just about the physical eye, this is not much. Then Jesus is already out of date, because medical science can do it. Sooner or later, Jesus will have to be completely forgotten. If he was simply curing physical eyes, then it is not going to mean much in the future. This can be done by science. And that which can be done by science should be done by science; religion should not enter into it – there is no need. Religion has far higher things to do.

So I insist again and again that these stories are not miracles but parables. People ARE blind, and the Jesus-touch IS a magic touch. He helps them to see, he helps them to become aware, he helps them to become more conscious. He brings the fourth.

To go into the fourth, work is needed. Work in the sense that Gurdjieff used to use that word. Work means a great effort to transform your being, a great effort to center your being, a great effort to drop all that which creates darkness and to bring all that which can help a little light come in. If a door has to be opened, then open the door and let the light come in. If a wall has to be broken, then break the wall and let the light come in. Work means a conscious effort to search, to inquire to explore into the dimension of the fourth – into light, into awareness – and a conscious effort to drop all that which helps you remain unconscious, to drop all that which keeps you mechanical.

A man bought a farm and a sow. He asked his wife to watch the sow, explaining that if she saw it eating grass it was ready for mating and could be taken to the next farm. A couple of days later his wife told him that the sow had started to eat grass. So the farmer put it on a barrow and took it to the next farm to be mated. When he came back, he told his wife to watch the sow again. ‘If the sow eats grass again, it has not taken’ he explained.

A few days later, his wife reported that the sow was eating grass again. So it was put on the barrow and taken for mating again. The farmer brought it back and again asked his wife to watch it closely. Two days later he asked his wife if it had been eating grass again.

‘No’ she said ‘but it’s sitting in the barrow.’

The mechanical mind, the instinctive mind, the repetitive mind – that has to be broken and dropped. Work means an alchemical change. Great effort is needed. Hard and arduous is the path. It is an uphill task.

– Osho

Excerpted from I Say Unto You, Vol.1, chapter 7

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

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Three Stages of Human Consciousness: Adam, Jesus and Christ – Osho

Man’s evolution is from innocence to innocence.

The first innocence is ignorant, the second innocence is luminous. The first innocence is a kind of sleep; the second innocence is an awakening. The first innocence is a gift of God, the second innocence is man’s own effort, his earning, his work upon himself. The first can be lost, the second cannot be lost. The first has to go – in the very nature of it, it cannot be eternal; but the second, once it comes, remains forever – it is eternal.

Remember, whatsoever you attain consciously, only that can you possess, ONLY that. Whatsoever is given to you, and you receive it unconsciously, will be taken away. Only that really happens to you for which you work hard. Only that belongs to you which you create in your being. You become Master of it.

The first innocence in Christian terms is called Adam. And the second innocence is called Christ.

And Jesus is just in-between the two. Jesus is the bridge between the first innocence and the second innocence. Hindus call the second innocence ’rebirth’: one becomes twice-born, DWIJA. And that’s what Jesus also said to one of the famous professors and theologians of his time, Nicodemus: Unless you are born again, you will not attain to the kingdom of God.

Unless you are born AGAIN…

The first birth has happened; the second birth has to happen. The first has happened without cooperation, the second cannot happen without your cooperation. The first birth was almost like an accident – it happened to you unawares. The second birth can only be in immense consciousness; it cannot happen unawares, it can happen only in deep meditation.

Jesus is a bridge between Adam and Christ. That’s why the story of virgin birth has a metaphoric meaning. Jesus is born innocent. Everybody is born innocent – there is no other way to be born.

Every child is born in innocence. But then that innocence is lost sooner or later, and the more intelligent the child, the sooner it will be lost. If the child is stupid, imbecilic, idiotic, then it may go on lingering for a long time; it may not be lost. If you are intelligent, you will start moving away from it. You will start exploring the world. You will start adventuring into the world, into the unknown; you will become a wanderer. And the more intelligent you are, the more is the possibility that you will not follow the crowd, you will find your own way – you would like to do your ‘own thing’. You will not move on the superhighway, you will move on small footpaths into the jungle; because intelligence wants to take risks. Intelligence wants to dare, intelligence wants to go into the unknown and the dangerous, because it is only in danger that intelligence comes to its peak. It is only when you dare that your intelligence becomes a crystallization. It is only when you risk that you are. The more you risk, the more you are. Risk brings being. A man who never risks remains without a being.

George Gurdjieff used to say that not everybody has got a soul. Because you have never dared, how can you get a soul? The soul comes only through daring. The only right way to attain a soul is to go into dangers, to risk all, to be a gambler, to go into the dark unknown.

The first innocence is going to go, has to go. And it is good that it goes. If it continues, you will not really be a man; you will be a vegetable or a cow or a buffalo, but you will not be a man. That is where man is different from the whole of nature. Nature lives in the first innocence; only man is capable of losing it. It is great dignity, it is glory – only man is capable of sin, no other animal can commit sin. You cannot call a dog a sinner, you cannot call a lion a sinner and you cannot call a tree a sinner. Only man can sin, and because man can sin, only man can go beyond sin. Only man can go astray – that means only man can come back home. Except for man, all the animals, birds and trees still exist in the Garden of Eden – they never left it. That’s why nature has such beauty, such peace, such silence.

The Himalayas still exist in the Garden of Eden. So exists the rose bush of your garden, so exist the birds that come in the morning and sing songs around you. Nature is still there; it never left home, it never went astray, it never committed anything against God, it never disobeyed. It never dared; it is completely satisfied with the first birth.

To be satisfied with the first birth is to remain unconscious. It is only through sin that you become conscious. It is only by going wrong that consciousness arises. This HAS to be understood. So going wrong is not really going wrong, because only through it does the consciousness arise. All has to be lost. One has to come to the point where all is lost, God is lost, heaven is lost – one cannot believe in paradise, and one cannot believe that innocence is possible. Only from that peak of frustration, anguish, anxiety is there a possibility of a one-hundred-and-eighty degree turn.

Adam is perfectly at ease, so is Christ. The problem is with Jesus. Jesus is troubled. Zen people are right when they say for a man who has never heard of meditation; mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers. He is happy; he is in a kind of natural state. He has no anxiety, because God has not yet become a challenge to him. He has no future goals, he has no destination. He eats drinks and is happy – the first hedonism I was talking about the other day: ‘Eat, drink and be merry.’ He lives in the body, he IS the body; he knows nothing more than that. With the body there is a kind of peace and health that surrounds him. You can always see that happiness around a child. The child is the first kind of hedonist. He believes only in eating, drinking and being merry. He simply lives the moment. He is completely abandoned in the moment – no anxiety, no clouds yet – his sky is clear.

The people who have not heard of meditation and enlightenment and Nirvana and God, who have never pondered over these great problems – for them things are clean; they are not confused.

‘Mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers.’ But once a man has become interested in meditation, in growth, in spirituality, in the other shore, in the other reality – problems bubble up in thousands, problems crowd. Mountains are no more mountains now, and rivers are no more rivers; everything becomes confused, everything becomes topsy-turvy. Man goes into a chaos. The old cosmos, the old innocence, simply falls into pieces; not even a trace is left.

This is the meaning of the Christian parable of Adam’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. He became interested in higher things; he became interested in knowing things. He ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, he started becoming more conscious. He started trying to understand what this reality is. He moves into knowing, and suddenly the doors of the Garden are closed for him.

Suddenly he finds himself outside the Garden, and he does not know where the way back is. He has to go farther and farther away.

This is what Zen people say: Mountains are no more mountains, rivers are no more rivers. Then one has to go on a long journey. Tedious is the journey, full of miseries and nightmares. It is a wandering in a desert where oases are only dreams; they exist not. And then after a long, long journey – it may continue for many, many lives – one can come back. This time, coming back has a totally different meaning. Now one comes as a knowing consciousness. One is again innocent, but this innocence is no more ignorant, it is luminous, it is full of light. This is Jesus turning into Christ.

Adam finds himself outside the Garden. Jesus wanders in the world. Christ suddenly finds himself back in the Garden one day.

Adam, Jesus, and Christ – these are the three stages of human consciousness. Adam is absolutely unconscious. Jesus is half-conscious, half-unconscious – hence the conflict, the confusion, the division, the tension. And Christ is absolute consciousness.

-Osho

Excerpted from I Say Unto You, Vol. 2, chapter 9.

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

 

A Cup of Tea with Vimala Thakar

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Vimala Thakar’s house in Mt. Abu

It was at Ajja’s ashram in Puttur, Karnataka, that Vimala Thakar’s name first came up. We were told that a woman who lived in Mt. Abu had become enlightened through J. Krishnamurti and that she was available for visitors.

On our way north through India we went through Rajasthan. We arrived in Mt. Abu and chose a guesthouse from Lonely Planet. After settling in we informed the manager that we were interested in visiting Vimala Thakar and asked if he knew of her. We had chosen well, the guesthouse was located less than 100 meters from her house and the manager himself was a friend of hers.

He called and made arrangements for an appointment for us the following day.

We arrived and were shown into a small sitting room where we met Vimalaji. A tremendous force of presence surrounded her. We introduced ourselves and told her that we were Osho sannyasins. She spoke to each of us about the names Osho had given us. Vimalaji asked us about our travels in India and in general about the life we were living allowing life itself to lead the way.

Over tea Vimalaji told us that Osho had invited her to Jabalpur to speak at the university where he was chair of the Philosophy Department. Osho took her out on the Narmada river in a boat and then to the Kwality Ice Cream shop in town. She said she chided him about his tastes in food because they were not good for his health and that she felt like an older sister but that Rajneeshji was Rajneeshji, meaning that he wasn’t one for listening to advice.  Vimalji also said that she was sad for what had happened to him in Oregon.

I told her that I didn’t know much about her but had heard the story concerning Krishnamurti and her experience and wanted to ask her about it. She proceeded to relate the story that you will find in her book On an Eternal Journey. She stated that if one wants to say that the transformation that happened to her was through the grace of Krishnaji, she was fine with that. I will let her tell you the story so in that way you will not need to rely on my memory. This story is also related in an interview Vimalji gave to Chris Parish for the magazine What Is Enlightenment. There is a link below.

When our time was up Vimalji gave us four of her books. The giving was a very deliberate act and seemed pregnant with significance. I had never read any of her books but because of this event I paid special attention and kept a look out for what might jump out at me and shout “This! This! This is for you.” Here is one such statement:

In meditation, there is no movement. Life has no movement: it is only matter that has movement. Movement and energy are the property of matter. Life is is-ness without any movement whatsoever. That which remains without movement can be called neither individual nor universal. It has no center and no circumference. Intellectual activity has a center, the me, the self, the ego. Awareness as the activity of the intelligence has the whole human body, the human individual, as the center. Beyond awareness, the individual is not at the center. Nothing moves out of the individual. Nothing emanates or radiates from the person. Just as in the state of observation there is no ego-centered activity, so in the state of awareness, the whole cerebral organ does not function. Beyond awareness, the individual entity and the movements contained in the individual entity are simply not there. I wish that I could verbalize this more fully. The Movement of Mind.

This has proved to be extremely helpful. Thank you, Vimalaji.

Two of her books are easily available in the west through Rodmell Press. The book I mentioned above, On an Eternal Journey, I have not been able to find copies for sale, but you can download it from the link above.

-purushottama

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.

Here is the link for the Chris Parish interview Set Them on Fire.

For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.

The Royal Way – Osho

The belief in the myth of change is the most dangerous kind of belief. Man has suffered much from it – much more than from any other kind of belief. The myth of change – that something better is possible, that man can improve upon himself, that there is some place to go to, that there is somebody to be, and that there is some kind of utopia – has corrupted human mind infinitely down the centuries. It has been a constant poisoning.

Man is already there. Man has been all along that which he wants to be. Man need not change in order to be. All that is needed is an understanding, an awareness – not a change. Becoming is never going to give you being. Through becoming you will remain constantly in anguish, in tension – because becoming means that the goal is somewhere else, that the goal is never here, never now, that the goal is far away. You have to strive for it and your whole life is wasted in striving. And you can go on striving and you will not find it because the goal is here and now, and you are looking then and there.

Your being is in the present, and all ideas of becoming are projections into the future. By projecting into the future, you go on missing the present. That is a way of escaping from the reality. The idea that you have to become something is the idea that takes you away from your real being, from your authentic being. You are already that – that’s why I say the myth of change is one of the most dangerous myths.

It has two dimensions to it. One is political, the other is religious.

The political dimension is that the society can be improved, that revolution can help, that there is a utopia that can be realized. Because of this, politicians have been able to torture, to murder, to exploit, to oppress. And people have suffered in the hope that revolution is going to happen. That revolution never happens. Revolutions come and go and society remains as it has always been.

Hitlers, Stalins, Maos, can exploit people for their own sake. And if you want to get to the utopia, to the wonderland, to paradise, you obviously have to pay for it. This is the secular dimension of the myth – that something better is possible. Right now it is not there, but some day it can be – you have to sacrifice for it. Millions of people were killed in Soviet Russia, tortured inhumanly, for their own good. And logic says that if you want to have a better society, who is going to pay for it? You are going to pay for it, naturally. So the people cannot even revolt, they cannot even resist. If they resist, they look like enemies of the revolution. And the myth is so deep-rooted in the mind that they accept all kinds of humiliations in the hope that maybe if they cannot live in a golden age, their children will. This is the secular direction of the same neurosis.

The religious dimension is that you can have a better future – if not in this life, then in the next. Of course, you have to sacrifice. If you sacrifice the present, you will have the future.

That future never comes. The future in itself cannot come. The tomorrow is not possible, it is always today. It is always the present that is there. The future is just in the mind, in the imagination. It is a dream; it is not part of reality.

The political myth has been taken up by the sadists – those who want to torture others; and the religious myth has been taken up by the masochists – those who want to torture themselves. Torture yourself. Fast. Don’t sleep. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. This is the whole secret of the so-called ascetic attitude towards life: torture yourself. And naturally, your body is helpless, your body is defenseless. It cannot protest. It cannot go against you.

There is a possibility that people may revolt against the politicians, but what is the possibility that your body may revolt against you? There is no possibility. The body is very innocent, helpless. You can go on torturing it and you can go on feeling that you have immense power because you can torture it. You can go on killing it, and feel powerful. And you can attain to a great ego.

There are two kinds of people in the world: the sadists and the masochists. Sadists are those whose enjoyment consists of torturing others, and masochists are those whose enjoyment consists of torturing themselves – but it is the same violence, it is the same aggression. The sadist throws it on somebody else; the masochist turns it upon himself. Because the sadist throws it on others, sooner or later they will revolt. But when the masochist throws it upon himself there is nobody to revolt.

In fact, all revolutionaries; once they are in power, by and by lose respect. Sooner or later they are dethroned; sooner or later their power is destroyed; sooner or later they are thought to be criminals. Your whole history consists of these criminals. Your history is not the history of humanity because it is not the history of humanness. How can it be the history of humanity? It is not the history of humanity; it is only the history of politics, political conflicts, struggles, wars.

It is as if you write the history of robbers and murderers and you call it the history of humanity. The revolutionaries are great murderers, they are no ordinary murderers – otherwise they would have been in the jail or sentenced to death. They are powerful people. They possess power. Until their power goes, they are worshipped like God. But their power goes sooner or later. A day comes when Hitler is no longer honored; he becomes an ugly dirty name. A day comes when Stalin is no longer honored. Just the reverse happens.

But with the other dimension, the religious dimension, of the myth – the ascetic, the self-torturer, the masochist – people never come to know their reality because they never torture anybody else. They torture only themselves. And people go on respecting them. People respect them very much because they are not harmful to anybody except to themselves. That is their business. The ascetics have always been worshipped. But ascetism is a kind of neurosis; it is not normal.

To eat too much is abnormal; to fast is also abnormal. The right amount of food is normality. To be in the middle is to be normal. To be exactly in the middle is to be healthy and whole and holy.

If you go to one extreme, you become a politician. If you go to the other extreme, you become a religious fanatic, an ascetic. Both have missed balance.

So the first thing to be understood is that the religion that we are creating here – and it has to be created again and again because it becomes corrupted again and again – the religion that we are invoking here is not political and is not in the ordinary sense even religious. It is neither sadistic nor masochistic. It is normal. It is to be in the middle.

And what is the way to be in the middle? The way to be in the middle is to be in the world but not to be of it. To be in the middle means to live in the world but not to allow the world to live in you. To be exactly in the middle and to be balanced means you are a witness to all that happens to you. Witnessing is the only foundation for a real authentic religion. Whatsoever is, has to be witnessed – joyfully, ecstatically. Nothing has to be denied and rejected. All denial, all rejection, will keep you in limits and you will remain in conflict. Everything has to be accepted as it is.

And you have to be a watcher. Pleasure comes – watch. Pain comes – watch. Neither be disturbed by pleasure nor be disturbed by pain. Let your calm remain unperturbed. Let your silence, your tranquility, remain undisturbed. Pain will come and go and pleasure will come and go. Success will come and go and failure will come and go. And soon you will come to understand the point that it is only you who remains. That is eternal. This witnessing is eternal.

The contents that flow in the consciousness are temporary. One moment they are there, another moment they are gone. Don’t be worried about them; don’t be either in favor of them or against them. Don’t try to possess them; don’t hold onto them, because they are going to go. They have to go. It is the very nature of things that they cannot be permanent.

Something pleasant is happening. It cannot be permanent. It will have to go. And following it, something unpleasant is already getting ready to happen. It is the rhythm of life – day and night, life and death, summer and winter. The wheel goes on moving.

Don’t hold on and don’t try to make something very, very permanent. It is not possible. The more you try, the more frustrated you will become, because it cannot be done. And when it cannot be done, you feel defeated. You feel defeated because you have not understood one simple thing: nothing can be static. Life is a flux. Only one thing is eternally there and that is your consciousness, that innermost watcher.

Sufis call it ’the watcher on the hills’. The valleys go on changing but the watcher remains on the top of the hill. Sometimes the valley is dark and sometimes the valley is light and sometimes there is dancing and singing and sometimes there is weeping and crying – and the watcher sits on the hill-top and just goes on watching.

By and by the content of consciousness does not matter only consciousness becomes significant. That is the essential foundation of all true religion. And this is the understanding of the Sufis.

Before we enter into this small parable today; let me tell you that there are four ways to approach truth, to be connected with truth.

The first is known in the East as karma yoga – the way of action. Man has three dimensions in him: action, knowing, feeling; so three ways use these three directions: action, knowing feeling.

You can act, and you can act with total absorption, and you can offer your act to God. You can act without becoming a doer. That is the first way – karma yoga: being in action without being a doer. You let God do. You let God be in you. You efface yourself.

In this, the path of action, consciousness changes the content. These two things have to be understood: consciousness and content. This is all that your life consists of. There is something which is the knower in you and something which is the known. For example, you are listening to me. Now two things are there: whatsoever I am saying will be the content, and whatsoever you are inside, listening, watching, that is the consciousness. You are looking at me. Then my figure in your eyes is the content and you, who are looking at that figure in the eye, are consciousness – the object and the subject.

On the path of action, consciousness changes the content. That is what action is. You see a rock. Somebody may stumble upon it – because it is getting dark, night is falling. So you remove the rock from the path. This is action. What have you done? Consciousness has changed the content. On the path of action, content is important and has to be changed. If somebody is ill and you go and serve him and you give him medicine, you are changing the content. If somebody has fallen in the river and is drowning, you jump in and you save him from drowning. You have changed the content.

Action is content-directed. Action is will – something has to be done. Of course, if the will remains ego-oriented, then you will not be religious. You will be a great doer, but not religious. And your path will be of action but not towards God. When you allow God to become your will, when you say, ’Let thy will be mine,’ when you surrender your will to the feet of god and his will starts flowing through you, then it is the path of action – karma yoga.

The goal of karma yoga is freedom, moksha – to change the contents so much that nothing antagonistic is left there; nothing harmful is left there; to change the content according to your heart’s desire, so that you can be free of limitations. This is the path of Jainism, yoga, and all action-oriented philosophies.

The second path is the path of knowledge, knowing – gyana yoga. On the second path consciousness is changed by the content. On the first, content is changed by consciousness; on the second it is just the reverse – consciousness is changed by the content.

On the path of knowledge you simply try to see what is the case – whatsoever it is. That’s what Krishnamurti goes on teaching. That is the purest path of knowing. There is nothing to be done.

You have just to attain to clarity, to see what is the case. You have just to see that which is. You are not to do anything. You have simply to drop your prejudices and you have to drop your concepts, notions, which can interfere with reality, which can interpret reality, which can color reality. You have to drop all that you carry in your mind as a priori notions – and then let the reality be there. Whatsoever it is, you just see it. And that changes you.

To know the real is to be transformed. Knowing the real as the real, you cannot act in any other way than the way of reality. Once you have known the reality, reality starts changing you. Consciousness is changed by the content.

The goal of the path of knowledge is truth. The goal of karma yoga, the path of action or will, was freedom. The goal of the path of knowing – Vedanta, Hinduism, Sankhya, and other paths of knowing, Ashtavakra, Krishnamurti – is truth, Brahman. Thou art that. Let that be revealed, then you become that. Once you know that, you become that. By knowing God, one becomes God. Thou art that – that is the most essential phenomenon on the second path.

The third is bhakti yoga – the way of feeling. Love is the goal. Consciousness changes the content and the content changes consciousness. The change is mutual. The lover changes the beloved, the beloved changes the lover. On the path of will, consciousness changes content, on the path of knowing, content changes consciousness; on the path of feeling, both interact, both affect each other. The change is mutual. That’s why the path of feeling is more whole. The first path is half, the second path also half, but the path of love is more round, more whole, because it has both in it.

Vaishnavas, Christianity, Islam, and other paths; Ramanuja, Vallabha, and other devotees – they say that subject and object are not separate. So if one changes the other, then something will remain unbalanced. Let both change each other. Let both meet and merge into each other, let there be a unity. As man and woman meet and merge into each other, let there be a unity. As man and woman meet and there is great joy, let there be an orgasm between consciousness and content, between you and reality, between that and thou. Let it not be only a knowing, let it not be only partial – let it be total.

These are the three ordinary paths. Sufism is the fourth. One of the greatest Sufis of this age was George Gurdjieff. His disciple, P. D. Ouspensky, has written a book called The Fourth Way. It is very symbolic.

What is this fourth way? If it is neither of action, nor of knowing, nor of feeling – because these are the three faculties – then what is this fourth way? The fourth way is the way of transcendence. In India this is called raja yoga – the royal path, the fourth way. Neither consciousness changes the content, nor the content changes consciousness. Nothing changes nothing. All is as it is with no change. Content is there, consciousness is here, and no change is happening. No effort to change is there.

This is what I mean by being. With all the three paths something remains in the mind that has to be done. With the fourth, all becoming disappears. You simply accept whatsoever is. In that acceptance is transcendence. In that very acceptance you go beyond. You remain just a witness.

You are no longer doing anything here, you are just-being here.

A goal is not possible with the fourth way. There is no goal. With the first, the goal is freedom; with the second, truth; with the third, love. With the fourth there is no goal. Zen and Sufism belong to the fourth. That’s why Zen people say ’the pathless path, the gateless gate’ – because there is no goal. The goal-less goal. We are not going anywhere. We are not striving for anything. All that is needed is already here. It has been here all along. You have just to be silent and see. There is no need to change anything. With the fourth, the myth of change disappears.

And when there is no need to change, joy explodes – because the energy that gets involved in changing things is no longer involved anywhere; it is released. That released energy is what is called joy.

Sometimes it happens to you too, unknowingly. Sometimes sitting alone, doing nothing, you feel something happen. You cannot believe what it is. You cannot even trust what it is. It is so incredibly new, so unknown. It happens to everybody – in rare moments, for no reason at all. You cannot figure it out; you cannot reckon why it has happened.

You have been lying in your bathtub and suddenly something happens. The mind is not rushing in its usual way; the body is relaxed in the hot water. You are not doing anything; you are just being there. Suddenly it comes – the silence of the house, the birds singing outside, the children playing in the street. All is there as it has been, but with a new quality. There is great restfulness, a relaxation. Something in you is no longer striving for anything. You are not goal-oriented, you are just herenow.

If you start thinking about what it is, you miss it immediately. If you start trying to get hold of it again, you will never get hold of it again. It comes when it comes. It comes when the right situation is there. But you cannot create that right situation. If you try to create it, you will fall into one of the first three ways. If you try to change the content, you will become a follower of the path of action. If you try to change your consciousness through the content, you will become a follower of the second path – the path of knowledge. If you try to make both meet and mingle and merge, then you will become a follower of the third path.

But if you don’t do anything – not willing, not knowing, not feeling – if you just relax, then there is witnessing. Witnessing is not knowing; witnessing is totally different. In fact, it cannot be said that you are witnessing. You are not doing anything – not even witnessing. You are just there. Things are happening. Suddenly a bird starts singing outside and you hear it – because you are there, you hear it. There is no effort to hear it, there is no deliberate concentration for it.

Just the other day I came across a Shankhya sutra of immense beauty: Dhyanam Nirvishayam Manah – that’s how Shankhya sutras define dhyana. Meditation is mind without thoughts, without feelings, without will. Meditation is consciousness without any striving. Dhyanam Nirvishayam Manah. There is no longing for any object. You are not striving for anything. Then you are in dhyana, then you are in meditation. You are not doing anything; on no plane are you doing anything. All doing has simply disappeared. There is utter silence inside you, and absolute rest.

Let this word ‘rest’ be remembered by you; relaxation. You cannot do it, remember. How can you do it? If you do it you cannot relax, because then relaxation becomes a goal and you become a doer. You can only understand it. You can only allow it to happen; you cannot do it, you cannot force it. It has nothing to do with your doing. You can only understand how it happens and you can remain in that understanding. And it comes.

Dhyanam Nirvishayam Manah. When the mind is, with no desire, no object, no goal, not going anywhere, then how can it be tense? It is not a state of concentration. It is not concentration at all because concentration will need striving; concentration is a kind of tension. It is not even attention, because attention is also a kind of tension.

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines the word ’meditation’ as concentration. That is absolutely wrong. Meditation is not concentration. Concentration means mind striving, forcing, willing, trying to do something. Putting one’s whole energy into one direction – that’s what concentration means. Meditation means you are not putting your energy into any direction; it is simply overflowing. It is not going in any particular direction; it is simply overflowing like a fragrance, a fragrance overflowing from a flower, unaddressed – neither to the north nor to the south. It is not going anywhere, or, it is going everywhere. Wherever the winds will take it, it is ready to go. It is utterly relaxed.

This moment happens sometimes to you. I would like you to remember that it is not something rare that happens only to religious people. It happens in ordinary life too but you don’t take note of it. You are afraid of it.

Just a few days ago, I received a letter from a woman. She had been here, and then she went home. For six months she was trying and trying to meditate and it did not happen according to her idea of meditation. She must have had some desire about what it should be like. She must have had some expectations, and it was not happening.

She has written a letter to say that one day she was just sitting in the room. There was nothing to do. The husband had gone to the office; the children had gone to school; the house was empty. She was just sitting, not doing anything; there was no desire to do. She was just sitting in the chair with closed eyes – and it happened. It was suddenly there, with all its benedictions. But she became frightened. She became frightened because when it happened suddenly a fear came to her – because it was there, meditation was there, but she was not there. That became a great fear and she simply pulled herself out of it. It felt as if she was disappearing.

Yes, it happens. Your ego cannot exist there. Your ego is not possible there. Your ego is nothing but all your tensions together. Your ego is nothing but a bundle of past tensions, of present tensions, and of future tensions. When you are non-tense, the ego simply falls to the ground in pieces.

She became afraid. For six months she had been trying to meditate and nothing was happening, and then one day it happened. It came while she was completely unaware of it. She was taken aback. It was there. And she had been provoking it and desiring and asking and praying, and it had not come. And then it came. But she missed. It was there but she became frightened. It was too much. She felt as if she might disappear into it and might not be able to come out of it. She pulled herself out of it. Now she writes that she is crying and weeping, and wants it back.

Now this wanting it back won’t help – because it came that day without any wanting. Without any idea of what was going to happen, suddenly it came. It always comes like sudden lightning.

This is the fourth way, that’s why it is called raja yoga – the royal path. The king is not supposed to do anything. Servants do. The king is not supposed to do anything. He simply sits on his throne and things happen. There are so many people to do it. That’s why it is called raja yoga – the path of the king. The other three are ordinary; the fourth is really exceptional. The king is not expected to do anything; he simply sits there relaxed. That’s what we mean by one who is a king. Doing has disappeared, knowing has disappeared, feeling has disappeared – the king is utterly relaxed. In that relaxation it happens.

Sufi and Zen are raja yogas – the royal paths. Neither consciousness changes the content nor the content changes consciousness. This is the fundamental principle: nothing changes, there is no change happening. Things are. The flower is there and you are there. You don’t change the flower and the flower does not change you. Both exist together. It is existence with no motive.

Zen people call it nirvana, the goal, the no-goal – nirvana. One simply ceases to be. The word ‘nirvana’ is beautiful. It means: as if somebody has blown out a candle. Just a few minutes before it was there, the lamp was burning bright, and then you blew it out. Now the flame has disappeared into the infinity. It has become part of the cosmos. You cannot find it. You cannot trace where it has gone, where it is. It has simply disappeared.

There is a Sufi parable.

A Sufi mystic was entering a village and he came across a small boy who was carrying a lit candle. The boy was going to the mosque. The night was coming and the boy was going to the mosque to put the candle there – as an act of worship.

The mystic saw the boy, the innocent boy, his face lighted by the light of the candle. The mystic asked the boy, ’Have you yourself lighted the candle?’ And the boy said, ‘Yes, sir.’ The mystic jokingly asked, ‘Then you must have seen from where the flame comes. Can you tell me from where the flame comes?’ The boy laughed and blew out the candle and said, ‘Now you have seen it going. Can you tell me where it has gone?’

Nobody knows from where it comes and nobody knows to where it goes. It comes out of nothingness or out of all – which means the same – and it goes back into nothingness or into the all – which is the same. That is nirvana.

Sufis have the word for it – Fana. It means exactly the same. One is utterly lost.

There is no need to do anything on the path of will or on the path of knowledge or on the path of feeling. Nothing is needed to be done – because if you do something you will remain, you will persist a little. Something of the ego may linger on. No change, no improvement, no effort to make you better is needed – just be.

Mohammed says: ‘Be in this world as a stranger or as a passer-by.’ Be in this world but don’t be of it. Be in this world but don’t allow the world to be in you. ‘Be for this world as if thou were to live a thousand years, and for the next as if thou were to die tomorrow.’ Live this moment as if you are going to live forever and yet be mindful that the next moment may not come. So live totally, and yet remain a witness. Be involved in it, but still keep yourself like a watcher on the hill.

– Osho

Excerpt from: Sufis: The People of the Path, Volume 2, #11

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Concentration, Attention, and Awareness – Vimala Thakar

Mount Abu; July 12, 1973

Let us begin our inquiry by considering concentration, attention, and awareness. Concentration is attention that is limited by motive, by direction, and by time duration. Motive gives direction and thereby creates the boundaries of attention. Concentration is attention that has chains on its hands and feet as it were.

You can have a motive in relation to known things: things that are known to you, to your family, to your community, to your fellow countrymen, or to the human race at large. You can have a motive in relation to things that have been experienced by people all over the world. But a motive in relation to the unknown is impossible. You can have a motive in relation only to that which has been known, experienced, measured, evaluated, and judged, either by you or by your family or community, and so on, and so on. That is how we have been brought up.

Now, divinity (call it divinity, call it God, call it reality, call it the universal intelligence, call it cosmic consciousness, call it the totality of existence: give it any name) is not in the category of the known, the experienced, the compared, the evaluated, and the judged. The human race has inhabited the globe for millions of years, but there are things that have not been adequately verbalized yet, like truth, beauty, love, and freedom. And silence has not yet been measured. It has not been grasped by the mind and put into the framework of time and space. So in relation to the known, there can be motives. Concentration is an activity always in relation to the known. Either you want it or you want to give it up.

There is another kind of mental activity that is called attention. Attention is the involuntary reflex action of the brain, of the cerebral organ. When your eyes are open, they see things. You may not look at things, but the involuntary action of the eyes is to see objects; the involuntary action of the ears is to hear sounds; the involuntary action of the nose is to smell odors, scents, perfumes, fragrances. The involuntary action, the action built into the very structure of the skin, is to feel the touch, the hot, the cold, the pleasant, and the unpleasant. In the same way, the human brain has been made sensitive in such a way that its built-in action is to attend to things, even without a motive.

Concentration, which is based upon motive, gives direction and limits attention. Attention is an involuntary cerebral activity. You can’t change it, you can’t suppress it, you can’t inhibit it, unless you use violence against yourself. You use violence in many forms. Either you dull the brain with medicines, with drugs, or you dull the brain by repetition of certain words, chanting them over and over again so that the brain moves in a channel and can’t move outside of the channel. It is the built-in action of the brain to attend to things. Your eyes are closed and there is a bird chirping somewhere on some branch of some tree and the brain attends to it. Being a cultured and civilized human being, your brain immediately distinguishes the sound of the horn of a car from the sound of the call of a bird: it says, that is the horn of a car. A person who has lived in deep jungles or forests somewhere in Africa or in Australia will not be able to recognize the noise of the jet plane flying over a city. It may not be possible for the person living in a village to distinguish the sound of a transistor, a tape recorder, a radio, and so on. So civilization has developed certain powers, cultivated certain powers, and now they are built into your brain and my brain. That is our inheritance. The cultivated brain is our inheritance, and people living in countries where science and technology have advanced to a very considerable extent have very sophisticated brains.

So the brain attends to a sound. And what does “attending to” imply? Recognizing. First, cognition: there is a sound. The brain cognizes. Then recognition: the brain recognizes, that is to say, it identifies and gives the sound a name, distinguishing it from others. That is what naming implies. You give a name to distinguish one thing as separate and independent of the other, separate from the other. There is a car passing by, there is a child shrieking, and so on. So attention means cognition, identification, recognition, and naming.

All this goes on and I don’t think it is bondage. The naming and the indentifying process in the brains of cultured and civilized people is a very harmless, innocent cerebral activity. It goes on. The brain attends to it. It is not concentration. The mind has not come into play to focus all the brain’s energy on a certain purpose in order to gain something from it. It is just simple, innocent, bare attention, which is bound to go on as long as you and I are alive. And I think that is the beauty of human life. Attention is different from concentration, and yet it is an activity of the brain.

Now from attention we move to awareness. Awareness is the nature of intelligence. It has nothing to do with the brain, with intellect, with naming, with identifying. So first of all, when one sits down in silence, one plunges into an unconditional relaxation. One comes face-to-face with this deep-rooted habit of concentrating on things. One says, I am sitting down in silence, but the bird disturbs me. The bird won’t disturb me unless I concentrate upon it. I attend to it and call it a disturbance the moment I judge it, evaluate it, the moment I have concentrated upon it. So I say, It disturbs me, it distracts me. The moment I say that it distracts me or it disturbs me, it indicates that I have been resisting.

Resistance is inverted concentration. Resistance as a form of concentration has got to be unmasked. Before one can proceed toward meditation, it is absolutely necessary to unmask various activities. Resistance is a form of concentration: otherwise, why should it disturb me? The fact that it disturbs me implies that I have formed a relationship with it, a relationship of resistance. It is as if the bird is singing in order to disturb me, as if the car is passing by in order to distract me. I relate myself in that way. Resistance implies relationship. A relationship that has the friction of resistance leads to disharmony.

I wish that you could see the beauty of this. Unless you form a relationship of resistance, there cannot be disturbance and distraction. And one speaks this out of personal experience. For the past thirty or forty years that one has lived, one has not come across things and individuals who could disturb, who could distract. To be disturbed or distracted by something means it irritates me, it annoys me. I want to do something, and it does not allow me to do it. You build up a relationship with disturbance or distraction.

When you are attending—that is to say, when the brain is attending—to objects and there is no resistance built up by the mind, due to certain motives, for certain purposes, the attention burns as brightly as a flame. This is again a cerebral activity. This is a habit of the brain to attend to things. In that state of attention, whatever flows is allowed to flow, allowed to come in and move out, allowed to come up from within and subside. Thus in the mirror of attention it becomes possible for you to look at yourself: the feelings, the thoughts, the sentiments, and the emotions. You are looking at yourself. When you stand before the mirror you are looking at yourself. There seems to be the other, and yet there is no other. There is only you yourself and there is the mirror and there is the activity of looking at yourself.

This metaphor is very important for what we are going to talk about. We have to deal with things invisible, intangible, and so we will need the help of metaphors without stretching them too far, without making them ugly. So attention enables you to be in a state where thoughts, experiences, and memories are looked at. Yet you are looking at them, but not concentrating upon them. The moment that you begin to analyze them, you are concentrating upon them. The moment that you compare and evaluate them, you slip from the state of attention into the state of concentration.

It is a slippery ground between attention and concentration. If, for the fun of it, you sit before a mirror and look at your hands, nose, clothes, and the shape of your body, you are looking at particular parts of yourself. The relation is in duality. But you can look at your own body—you see your image, you see your reflection—but you are not looking at particular parts of your body. You are not looking at the clothes, the feet, the hands: it is just seeing and not looking. Then you are aware. When you are not looking at particular parts of the body, you are aware of the shape of the mirror, you are aware of things that are behind you getting reflected into the mirror. You are aware of the light of the sun coming through the window toward the mirror, and of the play of the light and the dance of the light in the mirror and in the room: you are aware of the whole room. The moment that looking at particular parts of the body is over, you are in the state of seeing. Seeing enables you to be aware of yourself, of the reflection, of the mirror, and of the ceiling, do you see? Frontiers are widening, horizons of attention begin to widen.

Concentration is a relationship with the particular, and attention is a relationship with the whole. And then, as before, your seeing goes on widening and widening and you are aware. It is not a cerebral activity any more. As long as you were looking at it, it was a cerebral activity, but later on you see the mirror, the walls and the reflection. You are not looking at anything. You are just seeing. And the seeing changes into being aware.

Awareness is the nature of intelligence that vibrates in the universe. Awareness is the purest movement of energy. We have talked about the physical, we have talked about the cerebral, and now we come to awareness, which is a movement of intelligence contained in your whole being. When you listen to music, you do not hear only with the ears. First of all, you listen with the ears to the melody, the notes, the volume, the frequency of sound vibrations. Then the listening widens into hearing. You are aware of the notes, the overtones, and the undertones: the whole person is singing. You are aware of the movement of singing in the person and the movement that music has brought about within you. So listening grows into awareness: awareness of the musician, awareness of the listener, awareness of the surroundings. So awareness is a movement of the sensitivity, of the intelligence, that is vibrating in the whole of you. When you are near a forest, mountain, hill, lake, beautiful field, or seashore, your whole being becomes aware of the scenery. Those who look only with the eyes will get bored with the mountains, the river, or the Himalayas in no time. Because they look only through the eyes, and hear only through the ears, they do not allow the looking and listening to grow into awareness. Concentration and attention and then unresisted attention—unmutilated attention—develops into awareness. It is no longer a cerebral activity: it has become the movement of your total sensitivity, of your intelligence, of your whole being. It is a happening in your totality. And yet I say that this is not meditation.

Awareness has a movement, the movement of intelligence, which is the nature of energy outside you and within you. This is not yet meditation. But it leads you to the threshold of the state of meditation. Intelligence is the movement of energy. It is the purest form of movement, not contaminated by the cerebral structure, the thoughts, the feelings, the sentiments, the habits, the values, or ideologies. It is untouched by the human mind, and yet it is a movement of energy. Tomorrow morning we will see how energy is the property of matter. But even the movement of intelligence, even the state of awareness, is not the state of meditation, because you are still in the field of very subtle matter. Energy and movement go together; energy is the property of matter. Movement is an indication that we are still in the field of matter. We are proceeding very slowly and very gradually, because we are dealing with meditation, which is a new dimension of consciousness. The whole human race is struggling emotionally and intellectually to grow into an entirely new dimension of life. So this is not a game of words; this is not speculation; this is not sentimentalism. This is something that you have to explore within the laboratory of your own mind and body.

From concentration you move to attention. In the state of attention, there are no frontiers; there is no direction; there is no motive; but still there is you looking at yourself, which is a cultivated duality, a conceptual duality. From attention you grow into the state of awareness, where there is no “I” and “it,” there is no “me” and “you”: there is only a movement of intelligence vibrating. The person is living and therefore vibrates with intelligence. That is the sensitivity contained in his or her body. Concentration involves mind, memory, experience, and energy. Every attention involves the habit pattern of the cerebral organ. Awareness implies and involves sensitivity of the totality and yet there is movement. And wherever there is movement, there is energy. Energy is the property of matter, and therefore a person living in the state of awareness of the totality is not yet in the state of meditation.

Those of you who have been with me in Norway, the Netherlands, or California know very well that I am interested in this subject from an educational point of view, that is, the education of the human psyche, the human race trying to educate itself and grow into a new dimension. So I deal with meditation as far as words can carry us rationally, scientifically, and sanely. As long as the brain can work, we have to move with the brain. If you deny the brain, then there will be an inhibition and every inhibition is an intrusion and is an obstruction. If you go against the brain, if you deny the brain, if you deny yourself, or if you deny sentiments, the emotions, then every suppression will lead to a psychosomatic obstacle. So we are not going to do that. We will go with reason as far as it takes us. This helps the inquirer to maintain his freedom, his initiative, and his balance of mind.

If you surrender your freedom and expect everything to be done for you by others, then you give up your initiative and you give up the balance of your mind. Man has struggled for freedom in the political and economic field. He should be careful not to throw away his psychic freedom. There will be exchanges, there will be communications, there will be discussions with persons who have made the inner journey, but the exchanges will be in the atmosphere of friendship and not in the atmosphere of authority. Man has struggled for freedom for so many centuries: witness the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Indian Revolution under Gandhi, The African-Americans struggling for freedom under the guidance of Martin Luther King Jr., the Africans struggling under the leadership of Kenneth Kuanda and Jomo Kenyata. So if you value economic, political, and social freedom, don’t give up your psychic freedom in a minute in exchange for a few shabby experiences. Those who say that without the relationship of authority, spiritual exploration cannot take place, are doing damage to the human mind. I say to you, it is possible. It has been possible. If it is possible in the life of an average person—Vimala, who sits before you—then it can happen in your own life. It can happen provided there is an inquiry, provided the inquiry is correlated with your whole life, and provided the inquiry is allowed to grow, blossom, and bring about changes in your life.

This is something very serious that I am communicating every day. Bit by bit, step by step, we will go into the deeper regions of the human psyche.

– Vimala Thakar

from Blossoms of Friendship. Motilal Banarsidass, 1973. Rodmell Press, 2003.

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