An Interview With Jean Klein

This interview was conducted in 1988 by Stephan Bodian when he was editor of Yoga Journal. I have posted it here for the benefit of those who would like to know more about Jean Klein.

Jean, I find you and your teaching interesting for a number of reasons. For one thing, you are a Westerner who went to India long before such journeys were common and ended up attaining a high degree of realization. What prompted you to go to India?

I was hoping to find a society where people lived without conflict. Also, I think, I was hoping to find a center in myself that was free from conflict – a kind of forefeeling, or foretaste, of truth.

While in India, you found a teacher with whom you studied for a number of years. What is the value of a teacher for the spiritual life?

A teacher is one who lives free from the idea or image of being somebody. There’s only function; there’s no one who functions. It’s a loving relationship; a teacher is like a friend.

Why is that important for someone on the spiritual path?

Because generally the relationship with other people involves asking or demanding – sex, money, psychological or biological security. Then suddenly you meet someone who doesn’t ask for demand anything of you; there’s only giving.

A true teacher doesn’t take himself for a teacher, and he doesn’t take his pupil for a pupil. When neither one takes himself to be something, there is a coming together, a oneness. And in this oneness, transmission takes place. Otherwise the teacher will remain a teacher through the pupil, and the pupil will always remain a pupil.

When the image of being something is absent, one is completely in the world but not of the world; completely in society, but at the same time free from society. We are truly a creative element when we can be in society in this way.

What did your teacher teach you?

The teacher brings clarity of mind. That’s very important. There comes a moment when the mind has no reference and just stops, naturally, simply. There’s a silence which you more and more live knowingly.

And the teacher shows you how to do that. Did you learn any meditation or yoga techniques from you teacher?

No. Because what you really are is never achieved through technique. You go away from what you are when you use technique.

What about the whole notion of the spiritual path – the idea that you enter a path, follow a certain prescribed way of practice, and eventually achieve some goal?

It belongs to psychology, to the realm of the mind. These are sweets for the mind.

What about the argument that if you don’t practice, you can’t attain anything?

You must first see that in all practice you project a goal, a result. And in projecting a result you remain constantly in the representation of what you project. What you are fundamentally is a natural giving up. When the mind becomes clear, there is a giving up, a stillness, fulfilled with a current of love. As long as there’s a meditator, there’s no meditation. When the meditator disappears, there is meditation.

So by practicing some meditation technique, you are somehow interfering with that giving up.

Absolutely.

How?

You interfere because you think there is something to attain. But in reality what you are fundamentally is nothing to obtain, nothing to achieve. You can only achieve something that remains in the mind, knowledge. You must see the difference. Being yourself has nothing to do with accumulating knowledge.

In certain traditions – Zen, for one – you have to meditate in order to exhaust the mind; through meditating the mind eventually wears itself out and comes to rest. Then a kind of opening takes place. But you’re suggesting that the process of meditating somehow gets in the way of this opening.

Yes. This practicing is still produced by will. For me, the point of meditation is only to look for the meditator. When we find out that the meditator, the one who looks for God, for beauty, for peace, is only a product of the brain and that there is therefore nothing to find, there is a giving up. What remains is a current of silence. You can never come to this silence through practice, through achievement. Enlightenment – being understanding – is instantaneous.

Once you’ve attained this enlightenment or this current, do you then exist in it all the time?

Constantly. But it’s not a state. When there’s a state, there is mind.

So in the midst of this current there is also activity?

Oh, yes. Activity and non-activity. Timeless awareness is the life behind all activity and non-activity. Activity and non-activity are more or less superimpositions upon this constant beingness. It is behind the three states of waking , dreaming, and sleeping, beyond inhalation and exhalation. Of course, the words “beyond” and “behind” have a spatial connotation that does not belong to beingness.

In the midst of all activity, then, you are aware of this presence, this clarity.

Yes, “presence” is a good word. You are presence, but you are not aware of it.

You’ve often called what you teach the direct way, and you’ve contrasted it with what you call progressive teachings, including the classical yoga tradition and most forms of Buddhism. What is the danger of progressive teachings, and why do you think the direct way is closer to the truth?

In the progressive way, you use various techniques and gradually attain higher and higher states. But you remain constantly in the mind, in the subject-object relationship. Even when you give up the last object, you still remain in the duality of subject and object. You are still in a kind of blank state, and this blank state itself becomes an extremely subtle object. In this state, it is very difficult to give up the subject-object relationship. Once you’ve attained it, you’re locked into it, fixed to it. There’s a kind of quietness, but there’s no flavor, no taste. To bring you to the point where the object vanishes and you abide in this beingness, a tremendous teacher of exceptional circumstances are necessary.

In the direct approach, you face the ultimate directly, and the conditioning gradually loses its impact. But that takes time.

So the ultimate melts the conditioning.

Yes. There’s a giving up, and in the end you remain in beingness.

You say that any kind of practice is a hindrance, but at the same time you suggest practices to people. You teach a form of yoga to your students, and to some you recommend self-inquiry, such as the question, “Who am I?” It sounds paradoxical – no practice, but you teach a practice. What practices do you teach, and why do you use practices at all?

To try to practice and to try not to practice are both practice. I would rather say listen, be attentive, and see that you really are not attentive. When you see in certain moments in daily life that you are not attentive, in those moments you are attentive. Then see how you function. That is very important. Be completely objective. Don’t judge, compare, criticize, evaluate. Become more and more accustomed to listening. Listen to your body, without judging, without reference – just listen. Listen to all the situations in daily life. Listen from the whole mind, not from a mind divided by positive and negative. Look from the whole, the global. Students generally observe that most of the time they are not in this listening, although our natural way of behavior is listening.

The path you are describing is often called the “high path with no railing,” which is the most difficult path of all. The average person wouldn’t know where to begin to do what you’re talking about. Most could probably be attentive to their inattention, but after that, what? There’s nothing to grasp onto.

No. there’s nothing to grasp, nothing to find. But it is only apparently a difficult path; actually, I would say it is the easiest path.

How so?

Listening to something is easy, because it doesn’t go through the mind. It is our natural behavior. Evaluation, comparison, is very difficult, because it involves mental effort. In this listening there’s a welcoming of all that happens, an unfolding, and this unfolding, this welcoming, is timeless. All that you welcome appears in this timelessness, and there’s a moment when you feel yourself timeless, fell yourself in welcoming, feel yourself in listening, in attention. Because attention has its own taste, its own flavor. There’s attention to something, but there’s also attention in which there’s no object: nothing to see, nothing to hear, nothing to touch, only attention.

And in that moment of pure attention, you realize the one who’s being attentive?

I would say that this attention, completely free from choice and reflection, refers to itself. Because it is essentially timeless.

The Zen master Dogen said: “Take the backward step that turns your light inwardly to illuminate the self.” That seems to be similar to what you are talking about.

Yes, but one must be careful. Turning the head inward is still doing something. And there’s really no inward and no outward.

I notice that you use the word “attention.” Is this the same as what the Buddhists call mindfulness – being acutely aware of every movement, every sensation, every thought?

Mindfulness mainly emphasizes the object, the perceived, and not the perceiving, which can never be an object, just as the eye can never see its seeing. The attention I’m speaking of is objectless, directionless, and in it all that is perceived exists potentially. Mindfulness implies a subject-object relation, but attention is non-dual. Mindfulness is intentional; attention is the real state of the mind, free from volition.

What about the yoga you teach, which you call “body-work?” What is it, and why do you teach it?

You are not your body, senses, and mind; body, senses, and mind are expressions of your timeless awareness. But to completely understand that you are not something, you must first see what you are not. You cannot say “I am not the body” without knowing what it is. So you inquire, you explore, you look, you listen. And you discover that you know only certain fractions of your body, certain sensations, and these are more or less reactions, resistance. Eventually you come to a body feeling that you have never had before, because when you listen it unfolds, and the sensitive body, the energy body, appears. It is most important to feel and come into contact with the energy body. Because in the beginning your body is more or less a pattern or superficial structure in the mind, made up of reactions and resistance. But when you really listen to the body, you are no longer an accomplice to these reactions, and the body comes to its natural feeling, which is emptiness. The real body in its original state is emptiness, a completely vacant state. Then you feel the appearance of the elastic body, which is the energy body. When we speak of “body-work,” it is mainly to find this energy body. Once the energy body has been experienced, the physical body works completely differently. The muscle structure, the skin, the flesh, is seen and felt in a completely new way. Even the muscles and bones function differently.

What is the yoga that you teach like?

It’s not really yoga. It’s an approach to the body based on the Kashmir teaching. The Kashmir approach is largely an awakening of the subtle energies circulating in the body. These energies are used to spiritualize the body, to make it sattvic [literally, “pure” or “true”]. In a sattvic body there is already a giving up. You see more clearly what you are not – your tensions, ideas, fixations, reactions. Once the false is seen as false, what remains is our timeless being. By spiritualizing the body, therefore, I mean orchestrating all the dispersed energy that belongs to the false. Our approach is an exploration without will or effort. It is inspired by the truth itself. The natural body is an expression, a prolongation, of this truth.

But I understand you use the traditional asanas of Hatha Yoga.

Every gesture, every position the body can take, is an asana; there are certain archetypes that are not even mentioned in the classical texts of Hatha Yoga. But there are archetypal positions par excellence that brings harmonization of body and mind. Before going to these archetypes, however, one must prepare the body. Otherwise, yoga is nothing more than a kind of gesticulation. What you see for the most part in Europe and the U.S. is gymnastics, gesticulation, and has nothing to do with body integration.

Do you have any other reasons for not using the term “yoga”?

Yes. The term “yoga” means “to join,” and so there must be something to join, something to attain. But join who? Join what? In a certain way the body approach helps you to listen quietly. It is through real listening to the body that you come to true equanimity of mind and body.

Should this be practiced every day?

Don’t make a discipline of it, because in discipline there is anticipation – you’re already emphasizing a goal. This doesn’t belong to exploration.

Practically speaking, wait until you are invited by the energy of the body itself. This recall of our natural state is not memory. It comes from the needs of the body and appears spontaneously. Go to it as you would to a dinner invitation. Otherwise, you’re doing violence to the body.

In your daily life you may experience moments of absolute silence in which there’s nothing to do, nothing to avoid, nothing to achieve. In these moments, you’re completely attuned to this stillness without any effort. Become more and more aware of these timeless moments, moments when you cannot think, because when you think, the moment is already past. Present moments free from all thoughts. Often you will have these moments when an action is accomplished, when a thought is finished, in the evening before you fall asleep, in the morning when you first wake up. Become more and more familiar with these gaps between two thoughts or two actions – gaps which are not an absence of thought, but are presence itself. Simply let yourself be attuned to these timeless moments. You will increasingly welcome them, until one day you are established in this timelessness, are knowingly the light behind all perceptions.

So you don’t recommend practicing meditation as a regular discipline?

No.

You talk about stillness and silence. Are these goals of spiritual life?

When I speak of stillness and silence, nobody is still and nobody is silent; there is only silence and stillness. This stillness does no refer to somebody or something.

So in the midst of this stillness there is activity?

Yes. Stillness is like the hinge of a door. The body is the door that opens and closes constantly, but the stillness never moves.

T.S. Eliot called it “the still point of the turning world.” Since the practice has no goal – in fact, there isn’t even a practice – what is the purpose of spiritual life at all? Obviously, most of us would say that we are not enlightened or liberated, and so we do feel a need to go somewhere where we are not. Then it seems as if we do need to undertake some kind of spiritual life. What is that like?

I would say that we are constantly, without knowing it, being solicited by what we are fundamentally. But the feeling by which we are solicited is very often mistaken for something objective, for a state, for some relative mental stillness that we can achieve through effort or practice. We seek this state as a kind of compensation for real stillness. The moment you are really solicited by the inner need and you face it and visit with it, you will be taken by it. But generally we are looking for compensation.

This process you’re talking about is very different from the way we usually do things. Usually we have an idea in mind of where we are going and then we set out in a certain direction and use our will to get there.

But all doing has a certain motive. I think this motive is to be free – from oneself, free from all conflict.

The motive is a good one, then, but the response is a little misguided.

When you become more and more acquainted with the art of observation, you will first see that you do not observe; when you see that you don’t observe, you are immediately out of the process. There is a moment, a kind of insight, when you see yourself free from all volition, free from all representation; you feel yourself in this fullness, in this moment beyond thought. It’s mainly through observation and attention that you come to feel what you are fundamentally.

How would you describe liberation?

I’ll give you a short answer. It is being free from yourself, free from the image you believe yourself to be. That is liberation. It’s quite an explosion to see that you are nothing, and then to live completely attuned to this nothingness. The body approach I teach is more or less a beautiful pretext, because in a certain way the body is like a musical instrument that you have to tune.

And we tune it to play on it the song of our own nothingness.

Exactly. Liberation means to live freely in the beauty of your absence. You see at one moment that there is nothing seen and no seer. Then you live it.

This is what you refer to as living free from psychological memory.

Absolutely.

Is it really possible to live in the world in this state of total openness and freedom from our own identity, doing the things we do – leading busy lives, taking care of family, etc. ?

Yes. You can live in a family perfectly without the image of being a father or a mother, a lover or a husband. You can perfectly educate your children not to be something, and have a love relationship with them as a friend, rather than as a parent.

One teacher of vipassana meditation who is also a clinical psychologist has written, “You have to be somebody before you can be nobody,” meaning that for many people, particularly now in the West, who have been brought up in dysfunctional families, there are very often such deep lack of self-esteem and such a conflicted or uncertain sense of who they are in an everyday way, that they must first develop psychological and emotional strength before they can embark on the path to becoming nobody. There are people who would near you say that ultimately we have no identity, we are nothing, and we live in this nothingness, and would turn around and say, “Oh, yes, I know that.” What they are really talking about is their own inner emptiness, their own inner feeling of lack or deprivation, which is a kind of sickness. Do you agree that we have to be somebody before we can be nobody?

First you must see how you function. And you will see that you function as somebody, as a person. You live constantly in choice. You live completely in the psychological structure of like and dislike, which brings you sorrow.  You must see that. If you identify yourself your personality, it means you identify yourself as your memory, because personality is memory, what I call psychological memory. In this seeing, this natural giving up, the personality goes away. And when you live in this nothingness, something completely different emerges. Instead of seeing life in terms of the projections of your personality, things appear in your life as they are, as facts. And these appearings naturally bring their own solution. You are no longer identified with your personality, with psychological memory, though your functional memory remains. Instead, there is a cosmic personality, a trans-personality, that appears and disappears when you need it. You are nothing more than a channel, responding according to the situation.

This interview was part of a larger article that was published in Yoga Journal, Issue 83, November/December, 1988.

Here you can read more from Jean Klein.

The Journey in Consciousness – Osho

Man is mind.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is an ancient story in Buddhist scriptures…

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

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

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

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

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

But the man kept quiet.

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

From where could you get so much gold?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Osho

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

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An 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.

Divine Love – Meher Baba

Love

The functioning of love and reason is of three types. In the first type, the sphere of thought and the sphere of love are kept as separate as possible, i.e., the sphere of love is practically inaccessible to the operation of reason; and love is allowed little or no access to the objects of thought. Complete separation between these two aspects of the spirit is of course never possible; but when there is an alternate functioning of love and reason (with both oscillating in their predominance) we have a love which is un-illumined by reason or a reason which is unenlivened by love. In the second type, love and reason are both simultaneously operative but they do not work in harmony with each other. But though this conflict creates confusion it is a necessary phase in the evolution of the higher state where there is a real synthesis of love and reason. In the third type of love this synthesis between love and reason is an accomplished fact with the result that both love as well as reason are so completely transformed that they precipitate the emergence of a new level of con-sciousness which (in comparison with the normal human consciousness) is best described as super-consciousness.

Infatuation, lust and greed might be looked upon as perverted and lower forms of love. In infatuation a person gets enamoured of a sensual object; in lust he develops a craving for sensations in relation to it; and in greed he desires to possess it.

In infatuation, the person is a passive victim of the spell of conceived attraction of the object; but in love there is an active appreciation of the intrinsic worth of the object of love.

Love is also different from lust. In lust, there is a reliance upon the object of sense and consequent spiritual subordination of the soul in relation to it; but love puts the soul into direct and coordinate relation with the Reality which is behind the form. Therefore, lust is experienced as being heavy and love is ex-perienced as being light. In lust, there is a narrowing down of life and in love there is an expansion in being. To have loved one soul is like adding its life to your own, your life is, as it were multiplied and you virtually live in two centres. If you love the whole world, you vicariously live in the whole world. But in lust there is the ebbing down of life and the general sense of hopeless dependence upon a form which is regarded as another. Thus, in lust there is the accentuation of separateness and suffering; but in love—there is the feeling of unity and joy. Lust is dissipation; love is recreation. Lust is a craving of the senses; love is the expression of the spirit. Lust seeks fulfilment but love experiences fulfilment. In lust, there is excitement; but in love there is tranquility.

Love is equally different from greed. Greed is possess-iveness in all its gross and subtle forms. It seeks to appropriate gross things and persons as well as the abstract and intangible things like fame and power. In love the annexation of the other person to your individual life is out of the question and there is a free and creative outpouring that enlivens and replenishes the psychic being of the beloved independ-ently of any expectation for the self. And we have the paradox, that greed which seeks for the self the appropriation of another object does in fact lead to the opposite result of bringing the self under the tutelage of the object; and love which aims at giving away the self to the object does in fact lead to a spiritual incorporation of the beloved in the very being of the lover. In greed the self tries to possess the object, but is itself spiritually possessed by the object; and in love the self offers itself to the beloved without any reservations, but in that very act it finds that it has included the beloved in its own being.

Pure love, which is awakened through the Grace of the Master is more valuable than any other method which may be adopted by the aspirant. Such love not only combines in itself the merits of all the discipline but excels them all in its efficacy to lead the aspirant to his Goal. When this love is born the aspirant has only one desire; and that one desire is to be united with the Divine Beloved. Such withdrawal of consciousness from all other desires leads to infinite purity; nothing purifies the aspirant more completely than this love. The aspirant is ever willing to offer everything for the Divine Beloved; and no sacrifice is too difficult for him. All his thoughts are turned away from the self and come to be exclusively centered on the Divine Beloved. And through the intensity of this ever-growing love he eventually breaks through the shackles of the self and becomes united with the Beloved. This is the consummation of love. When love has thus found its fruition it has become Divine.

Divine Love is qualitatively different from human love. Human love is for the many in the One and Divine Love is for the One in the many. Human Love leads to innumerable complications and tangles; but Divine Love leads to integration and freedom. In human love the duality of the lover and the Beloved persists; but in Divine Love the lover and the Beloved become one. At this stage, the aspirant has stepped out of the domain of duality and become one with God; for Divine Love is God. When the lover and the Beloved are one, that is the end and the beginning.

It is because of love that the contacts and relations between individual souls become significant; and it is love which gives meaning and value to all the happenings in the world of duality. But, while love gives meaning to the world of duality, it is at the same time, a standing challenge to duality. As love gathers strength, it generates creative restlessness and becomes the main driving power of that spiritual dynamic which ultimately succeeds in restoring to consciousness the original Unity of Being.

From Discourses

For more posts on Meher Baba see:   https://o-meditation.com/category/meher-baba/

To read more from Meher Baba see:   https://o-meditation.com/jai-guru-deva/some-good-books/downloadable-books/meher-baba/

The Ego and its Termination – Meher Baba

The formation of the Ego serves the purpose of giving a certain amount of stability to conscious processes and also secures a working equilibrium which makes for a planned and organized life. It would therefore, be a mistake to imagine that the arising of the Ego is without any purpose. Though it arises only to vanish in the end, it does temporarily fulfill a need which could not have been ignored in the long-drawn journey of the soul.

The Ego thus marks and fulfils a certain necessity in the further progress of consciousness. But since the Ego takes its shelter in the false idea of being the body, it is a source of much illusion which vitiates experience. It is of the essence of the Ego that it should feel separate from the rest of life by contrasting itself against the other forms of life.

In the ripeness of evolution, comes the momentous discovery that life cannot be understood and lived fully as long as it is made to move around the pivot of the Ego: and man is, therefore, driven by the logic of his own experience to find the true centre of experience and reorganize his life in the Truth. This entails the wearing out of the Ego and its replacement by Truth-consciousness. The disintegration of the Ego is a condition of realising the Truth.

The false nucleus of the consolidated sanskaras must disappear if there is to be a true integration and fulfilment of life.

While provisionally serving a useful purpose in the development and progress of consciousness, the Ego, as an affirmation of separateness, constitutes the chief hindrance to the spiritual emancipation and enlighten-ment of consciousness.

Every thought, feeling or action which springs from the idea of exclusive or separate existence binds; all experiences—small or great—and all aspirations— good or bad—create a load of impressions and nourish the sense of the ‘I’. The only experience which makes for the slimming down of the Ego is the experience of love and the only aspiration which makes for relieving the sense of separateness is the longing for becoming one -with the Beloved. Craving, hatred, anger, fear and jealousy are all exclusive attitudes which create a gulf between oneself and the rest of life; love alone is an inclusive attitude which helps towards the bridging over of this artificial and self-created gulf and which tends to break through the separative barrier of false imagination. The lover longs too; but he longs for union with the Beloved; and in seeking or experiencing union with the Beloved the sense of the ‘I’ becomes feeble. In love, the ‘I’ does not think of self-preservation, just as the moth is not at all afraid of getting burnt in the fire. The Ego is the affirmation of being separate from the other: and love is the affirmation of being one with the other: so, the Ego can be dissolved only through real love.

The Ego is implemented by desires of varied types. The failure in the fulfillment of desires is a failure of the Ego; and success in the attainment of desired objects is a success of the Ego. Through the fulfilled desires as well as through the unfulfilled ones the Ego gets accentuated. The Ego can even feed upon the comparative lull in the surging desires and asserts its separative tendency through feeling that it is desireless. But, when there is a real cessation of all desires, there is a cessation of the desire to assert separativeness in any form: therefore, a real freedom from all desires brings about the end of the existence of the Ego. The bundle of the Ego is made of the faggots of multi-coloured desires; and the breaking of these faggots amounts to the destruction of the Ego.

The limited Ego of explicit consciousness is only a small fragment of the real being of the Ego. The Ego is like the iceberg floating in the sea. About one-eighth of the iceberg remains above the surface of the water and is visible to the onlooker; and about seven-eighths of the iceberg remains submerged below the level of the water and remains invisible to the onlooker. In the same way, only a small portion of the real Ego becomes manifest in consciousness in the form of an explicit I; and the major portion of the real Ego remains submerged in the dark and inarticulate sanctuaries of the subconscious mind.

If the Ego is submitted to curtailment in one direction it seeks compensating expansion in another direction: and, if is overpowered by a flood of spiritual notions and actions, it even tends to fasten upon this very force which is originally brought into play for the ousting of the Ego.

When, through the grace of the Master, the ignorance which constitutes the Ego is dispelled, there is the dawn of Truth, which is the goal of all creation.

The superiority complex and the inferiority complex have to be brought into intelligent relation with each other if they are to counteract each other; and this requires a psychic situation, in which they will both, for the time being, be allowed to have their play at one and the same time, without requiring the repression of the one in order to secure the expression of the other. When the soul enters into a dynamic and vital relation with the Master, the complexes concerned with the sense of inferiority and the sense of superiority are both brought into play and they are so intelligently accommodated with each other that they counteract each other. In himself, the disciple feels that he is nothing; but in and through the Master, he is enlivened by the prospect of being everything. Thus, at one stroke, the two complexes are brought into mutual tension and tend to annihilate each other, through the attempt which the person makes for adjusting himself to the Master. With the dissolution of these opposite complexes there comes the breaking down of the separative barriers of the Ego in all its forms; with the breaking down of the barriers of separation there arises Divine Love; and with the arising of Divine Love, the separate feeling of the ‘I’, as distinguished from ‘you’, is swallowed up in the sense of their unity.

The Master, when truly understood, is a standing affirmation of the unity of all life; allegiance to the Master therefore brings about a gradual dissociation with the Ego-nucleus which affirms separateness. When the Ego-nucleus is completely bankrupt and devoid of any power or being, the Master as Truth is firmly established in consciousness as its guiding genius and animating principle. This is at once the attainment of union with the Master and the realization of the Infinite Truth.

The long journey of the soul consists in developing from animal consciousness the explicit self-consciousness as a limited ‘I’ and then to transcending the state of the limited Ithrough the medium of the Master, in order to get initiated into the consciousness of the Supreme and Real Self, as an everlasting and Infinite ’I Am’, in which there is no separateness and which includes all existence.

– Meher Baba

From Discourses

For more posts on Meher Baba see:   https://o-meditation.com/category/meher-baba/

To read more from Meher Baba see:   https://o-meditation.com/jai-guru-deva/some-good-books/downloadable-books/meher-baba/

No Way – Osho

Osho, the Fourth Way, as taught by Gurdjieff, has been called the way of conscience. What place has conscience in your teaching?

The question is from Cecil Lewis.

No place at all. I don’t believe in conscience, I believe only in consciousness. I don’t believe in morality, I believe only in religion. I am amoral. Conscience is a trick of the society played upon you. The society creates conscience so that you may never need consciousness. You have been deceived. For example, when Jesus says ‘Love is God’ it is not out of his conscience, it is out of his consciousness. He knows it. It is not a belief, it is his experience. When a Christian says ‘Love is God’ it is his conscience, not his consciousness. He has not known it, he has not lived it. He has only heard it repeated again and again – he has become hypnotized by it.

Each child is being hypnotized by the parents, the priests, the politicians, the society. Constant repetition of a certain thing becomes conscience. You go on teaching to the child, ‘this is right. This is right. This is right.’ Hearing it again and again, his mind is being conditioned. After many years he will also say ‘This is right’ – it will be automatic. It will not be from his own being, it will come from the gramophone record that the society has placed in his being. It is like an electrode of Delgado. It is the dangerous trick that the society has been playing on everybody, down the centuries.

That’s why there are so many consciences in the world – the Hindu has one type of conscience, the Mohammedan has another type of conscience. How can consciences be so many? Truth is one. And consciences are so many?

From my childhood I was taught a very, very, strict vegetarianism. I was born in a Jaina family, absolutely dogmatic about vegetarianism. Not even tomatoes were allowed in my house, because tomatoes look a little like red meat. Poor innocent tomatoes, they were not allowed. Nobody has ever heard of anybody eating in the night; the sunset was the last limit. For eighteen years I had not eaten anything in the night, it was a great sin.

Then for the first time I went on a picnic with a few friends to the mountains. And they were all Hindus and I was the only Jaina. And they were not worried to cook in the day. Mm? The mountains were so beautiful and there was so much to explore – so they didn’t bother about cooking at all, they cooked in the night. Now it was a great problem for me to eat or not to eat? And I was feeling really hungry. The whole day moving in the mountains, it had been arduous. And I was really feeling hungry – for the first time so hungry in my life.

And then they started cooking. And the aroma and the food smell. And I was just sitting there, a Jaina. Now it was too difficult for me – what to do? The idea of eating in the night was impossible – the whole conditioning of eighteen years. And to sleep in that kind of hunger was impossible. And then they all started persuading me. And they said, ‘There is nobody here to know that you have eaten, and we will not tell your family at all. Don’t be worried.’ And I was ready to be seduced, so they seduced me and I ate. But then I could not sleep – I had to vomit two or three times in the night, the whole night became nightmarish. It would have been better if I had not eaten.

Conditioning for eighteen years that to eat in the night is sin. Now nobody else was vomiting, they were all fast asleep and snoring. They have all committed sin and they are all sleeping perfectly well. And they have been committing the sin for eighteen years, and I have committed it for the first time and I am being punished. This seems unjust!

Conscience is created; it is a conditioning. All that you think is good or bad is nothing but a conditioning. But this conditioning can go on managing your whole life. The society has entered in you and controls you from there, from within. It has become your inner voice. And because it has become your inner voice, you cannot hear your real inner voice. So my suggestion is: Unburden yourself of conscience. Throw all the conditioning out, cathart it, be free from it. That’s what I mean when I say don’t be a Christian, a Hindu, a Jaina, a Buddhist.

Just be. And be alert. In that alertness you will always know what is right and what is wrong. And the right and the wrong is not a fixed thing – something may be right in the morning and may be wrong in the evening, and something may be wrong in the evening and may be right in the night. Circumstances change. An alert man, a conscious man, has no fixed ideas. He has spontaneous responses but no fixed ideas. Because of fixed ideas you never act spontaneously. Your action is always a kind of reaction – not action really.

When you act out of spontaneity, with no idea, with no prejudice, then there is real action. And action has passion in it, intensity in it. And it is original and it is first-hand. And action makes your life creative and action makes your life continuously a celebration; because each act becomes an expression of your being. Conscience is a false being.

I think the French language is the only language which has only one word for consciousness and conscience – a single word, meaning both. That is beautiful. Real conscience should be only consciousness, nothing else. You should become more conscious.

But about consciousness also, I have differences with George Gurdjieff. When he says ‘be conscious’ he says ‘Be conscious that you are.’ He insists for self-remembering. Now, this has to be understood. Your consciousness has two polarities. One polarity is the content. For example, a cloud of anger is inside you – that is the content. And you are aware of the cloud of anger – that is consciousness, the witness, watchfulness, the observer. So your consciousness can be divided in two – the observer and the observed.

Gurdjieff says: Go on remembering the observer – self-remembering. Buddha says: Forget the observer, just watch the observed. And if you have to choose between Buddha and Gurdjieff, I will suggest choose Buddha. Because there is a danger with Gurdjieff you may become too self-conscious – rather than becoming self-aware, you may become self-conscious. You may become an egoist. And that I have felt in many Gurdjieff disciples – they have become very, very, great egoists. Not that Gurdjieff was an egoist – he was one of the rarest enlightened men of this age. But the method has a danger in it: it is very difficult to make a distinction between self-consciousness and self-remembering. It is almost impossible to make the distinction, it is so subtle. And for the ignorant masses it is almost always self-consciousness that will take possession of them; it will not be self-remembering.

The very word ‘self’ is dangerous – you become more and more settled in the idea of the self. And the idea of the self isolates you from existence.

Buddha says: Forget the self, because there is no self. The self is just in the grammar, in the language; it is not anything existential. You just observe the content. By observing the content, the content starts disappearing. Once the content disappears, watch your anger – and watching it, you will see it is disappearing. Once the anger has disappeared there is silence. There is no self, no observer, and nothing to be observed. There is silence. This silence is brought by vipassana, Buddha’s method of awareness.

Ordinary man does both. He goes on changing his gear – sometimes he observes the self, sometimes he observes the content. He goes on moving from this to that, he is a constant wavering. Gurdjieff says the one thing is: Be settled in the observer. Buddha says: Look at the observed.

My own approach is different from both. My approach is that Gurdjieff’s method is more dangerous than Buddha’s method, but even in Buddha’s method there is bound to be some tension – the effort to watch. The very effort to watch will make you tense.

A Buddhist monk was brought to me from Ceylon. He was unable to sleep – for three years he had not slept. And all kinds of medications had been tried upon him but nothing was helping, no tranquillizer was of any help. And nobody had bothered that he goes on doing vipassana, the Buddha’s method of insight – nobody had thought about it. When he came to me, the first thing I asked him was, ‘Are you doing vipassana?’– Because he is a Buddhist monk, he must be doing it. He said, ‘Yes – for three years.’ I said, ‘Then that is the cause of your sleeplessness.’

If you are continuously making effort to watch, then in the night you will not be able to relax and fall into sleep – the watching will become continuous. And if you are watching even in the night, how can you fall asleep? You cannot relax, the tension has become fixed. It is a known fact that Buddhist monks sleep only three, four hours at the most. It is not a gain. They think, and others also think, that this is a gain – they have attained something, they sleep only three, four hours. It is not. They are losing something very valuable – relaxation. And they will look tense; on their faces they will look tense. They will look very quiet, but tense. They will look very silent – but their silence is not the silence of relaxation, but of effort. You can see the effort in the comer, defining them.

My own method is: You relax. Neither watch the watcher nor watch the watched. Just relax, be passive. If something floats and you cannot help seeing it, see it. But don’t make any effort to see it deliberately. If you are relaxed like a mirror, if some cloud passes by, it will be reflected. Be like a mirror – lucid, passive. Drop both – the Gurdjieffian method of self-remembering, and the Buddhist method of watching.

But if you have to choose between Gurdjieff and Buddha, choose Buddha. If you have to choose between Buddha and me, choose me.

Relax. And just see things. And there is nothing much – if you miss something, it is not of worth. You can miss, you are allowed to miss. Take life easy, take it easy.

So people who have been in some kind of effort – and Gurdjieff’s work is of great effort – will be puzzled here. That’s why Lewis is puzzled, a little bit confused. And sooner or later, either he has to understand me or he has to condemn me – both are open. And condemnation will be easier.

Because for thirty years working hard – and now suddenly he has become attracted to a man who does not believe in effort at all. Who does not believe in improvement, who does not believe in growth, who does not believe in going anywhere, who does not believe in any way.

He says, the Fourth Way, as taught by Gurdjieff.

What I am teaching here is: No Way. There is really no way, because truth is not a goal. All ways lead away from where we are. All roads, all ways, all paths, distract you from truth. And there is nowhere to go, either, and nobody to go. There is no way of being here and now but to be here and now. When I say ‘Be here and now’ don’t ask how – the ‘how’ will take you away. When I say ‘Be here and now’ don’t ask ‘What is the way to be here and now?’ There is no way of being here and now but to BE here and now. There is no way to be still, and no need of any way. To see, wholly to see, that there is no way, is at once to be still. Seeing that – is stillness. All ways lead everywhere but here.

To live one’s life as it comes and goes, is awareness; passive, lucid, mirror-like, with no tension. So I don’t teach you attention, because attention has the word ‘tension’ in it. And the phenomenon of attention has the feeling of tension in it – hence the word ‘attention’. Enjoy, relax. Just understanding this, that there is nowhere to go, is liberation. Liberation is not like a goal somewhere else waiting for you. Liberation is understanding that you are already liberated.

It is impious for us to assert so flatly what should be, in the face of what is. What is, is the truth. Yatha Bhutam – that which is, is the truth. To assert what should be, is impious, sacrilegious, it is a sin. ‘Should’ is a sin. That which is – relax with it, float with it. I don’t teach even swimming, I simply say float with it. It is our responsibility to know how to accept and live through that which is.

So I don’t teach any way – fourth or fifth or sixth. And I don’t teach conscience, I teach a lucid relaxed consciousness. Out of that, many flowerings happen. Out of that, many songs are born.

But they are born on their own. You cannot be the doer of them and you cannot feel enhanced that ‘I have done’. You cannot feel your ego fulfilled through them. The more those flowers will come, the more you will disappear. And one day there is flowering, but you are not. That is the day, the moment, of liberation.

– OSHO

From This Very Body the Buddha, Chapter 4

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.

The Challenge of Emptiness – Vimala Thakar

Vimala Thakar on the Spiritual Emancipation of Women
an interview by Shanti Adams

Shanti Adams: This morning I would like to talk with you about women in relationship to spiritual liberation.

In the course of the last ten years I have been part of a community of men and women who are students of spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen. We have been trying to live, together in a mixed community, what we have learned through being with him and through practicing and studying his teaching. Initially, the people who joined this community did not attach any particular importance to being either male or female. Speaking for myself, I was never drawn to women’s movements. I was just interested in the truth. I’m not a feminist and I’m not an antifeminist either. I have no doubt that real freedom transcends nationality, transcends religious bias and also transcends gender.

At first there didn’t seem to be any particular differences in our community between male and female conditioning when it came to spiritual practice or liberation. But over time, deep differences between male and female conditioning seem to have emerged. And this doesn’t seem to be just an individual matter; each sex as a group seems to have its own distinct conditioning.

Let me give you an example. Really trying to live these teachings requires an ability to observe one’s conditioning, habits, and tendencies clearly—or objectively—and to actually transcend them or be free of them. One thing that is beginning to emerge is that women often have difficulty with that kind of objectivity. For example, when a tendency or habit is revealed, women often take it more personally and in some cases will initially be defensive. They tend to feel hurt and they seem to have more difficulty than the men not being distracted by their emotional response to what has been seen. The men don’t seem to get quite so distracted by their fear or their pride, and they seem to be more interested in just looking objectively at whatever it is that they may be facing. This tendency to take things personally, and therefore to defend themselves, seems to be something that the women in particular are coming up against.

Vimala Thakar: The objectification of the inner psychological life is extremely difficult for women.

Woman has had a role to play in human history. She has been the wife, the mother, the sister, protected by others, especially by men. In India the Hindu religion says woman is always to be protected—in childhood by the father, in young age by the husband, and in old age by her son. It is said that she does not deserve freedom. That is the basic principle. And I feel that perhaps in other countries also she has had only one role to play. It is a secondary role, protected by the male, and she did not require objectivity. As a subjective person she always has to react. Man has to act, man has to earn; she has to take care. In this secondary role, she never lived for herself as a human being. She lived for the parents, for the husband, for the children, for the family. The family institution has survived at the cost of woman. So the inner freedom of objectifying her own emotions or perceiving the situation entirely objectively is very difficult for women, very difficult. And man finds it easy, objectification. But it is very difficult for men to transcend their egos. Woman, through emotional strength and emotional integrity can go beyond the ego easier than man. Man can objectify more quickly and easier than woman.

There are certain limitations because of the role that man and woman have played in human history and civilization. The woman immediately withdraws into her own shell to protect her emotions, her reactions, everything.

SA: Yes, I recognize that.

VT: In India women have been prescribed the yoga of devotion, bhakti yoga. In identifying with a god, a goddess, an idol, or a guru, all the emotional strength and vitality is consumed so it doesn’t trouble her in other human relationships. But that is not so all over the world. And in many places man and woman live together, which rarely happens in India. Even in ashrams in India men and women live separately. They come together only for prayers and for meditation in the presence of the teacher. But visiting each others’ rooms and discussing things together—the kind of thing that takes place in other countries—has not yet come to India. So in India they may not have the problem you describe.

In your situation, men and women are on an equal footing. They are trying to understand the teachings and live together. So they will have to go through their different conditionings, conditionings that are not consciously adopted, but are inherited.

It is so true, you are so correct when you say that women withdraw into psychological isolation very easily. They feel that they can protect their feelings, their observations, that way. And that’s a defect because that withdrawal, that retiring or retreating into their shell, prevents them from assimilating the essence of the teachings. They have to accept the world, they have to accept whatever happens in their interactions and be there.

SA: Yes, exactly.

VT: They will have to face attachment also. Without the context of the family, with men and women living together, the biological phenomena of attraction and repulsion are there. You cannot ignore or deny it. So that attraction or repulsion gets expressed in relationship. Like-minded people have come together, and their quest is the same, but after all they are human animals. The animality is there, the instinctive part is still there. It has to be transcended through meditation, but that duality is there. So woman and man have to go through this phenomenon of understanding the attraction, recognizing the attraction or the repulsion, even infatuation, and not accept it but go beyond it. Unless you recognize it you can’t go beyond it. So without feeling guilty, without making a fuss about it, without calling it a sin or a crime, one has to see it as it is.

SA: Precisely, yes. That’s very clear, and that, I think, is the challenge to women who are really serious.

VT: To both.

SA: To both, exactly. That is the challenge, yes. It’s interesting, Vimalaji, what you’re saying about something inherited just by virtue of being, as you said, protected. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. In the West, although this is changing, there is still the fundamental fact that women are the weaker sex. And there’s always this fear of exploitation and so on. I wonder whether an inability to trust, in the biggest sense of the word, has come from this. By trust I mean here a very fundamental trust in life, an ability to actually let go in order to be able to see things clearly for what they are, and not instinctively to defend.

VT: Shanti, besides the inheritance part, the psychological inheritance part, look at the biological factor. In the sexual relationship woman receives and man asserts. This cannot change, this biological factor in the sex life that leaves its imprint on the psychology. The residue of sexual relationship builds up the male psychology and the female psychology, unless one educates oneself in transcending the sex consciousness and the “I” consciousness, the ego, which go together. As long as the “I” consciousness is at the center you cannot escape the sex consciousness, the duality. That duality cannot be negated. It cannot be rejected, it cannot be ignored, it is there.

So besides the psychology of being protected, the receptive role of the woman has also been a handicap to her, and she has to go beyond it. And man has to go beyond that assertive psychology. What is true in the physical and the biological he extends to the psychological realm. There is a kind of assertiveness and domination without being conscious of it. It’s in the blood. So we have to go beyond the biological and the psychological facts and only then will living the nonduality that is the substance of truth become possible. This is a challenge for modern men and women who are exploring together, unlike in India where it is done separately. Doing it while living together requires much more fearlessness.

SA: Yes, that’s true.

VT: I congratulate those who go through these challenges. It is a challenge. There is no precedent for this. Nobody has an answer for it or a remedy. You have no prescriptions, norms, or criteria in any religion for the challenges you are asking about. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism have no answer because they have not faced it this way. There has been segregation. And now there is the segregation that comes about through the feminist movement. So when you say you are neither feminist nor antifeminist I feel very happy.

All the truths have not been verbalized. The last word in spirituality has not yet been said. Truth is infinite and there is hope for humanity because the human potential is inexhaustible. People will find remedies to these challenges, ways to meet these challenges.

SA: What you’re saying about it is very helpful, Vimalaji.

VT: I have seen the difficulties of women in the West, in Europe, in America and in Australia. I have met them. And they do not understand the harsh biological realities, the roles that they have had to play, the scars and scratches and the residue of memory that were left behind, which inhibit the psychology. They have to be conscious of it, recognize it and go beyond it.

SA: Yes, that seems to be the answer, becoming conscious of it. The recognition of it has to precede going beyond it. I think that’s why we are trying to open this up. Because we are beginning to see that there are limitations here that seem very deep, almost instinctive. They need to be penetrated in order for us to go further.

VT: Perception of bondage is the beginning of freedom.

SA: I’m very thrilled to meet you, Vimalaji, because it seems to me that there are very few women teachers like yourself who are teaching real liberation in the world. I haven’t met many. I’ve met more men, such as Krishnamurti and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. It seems that most of the women figures who are leaders in the arena of spirituality are kind of Divine Mother figures, and that’s very different. They’re apparently teaching unconditional love through the expression of who they are, in a sense. But there does not seem to be a real teaching of liberation there. So it’s very inspiring for me to meet someone like yourself who has actually transcended the conditioning that we are speaking about. It seems to me to be unusual.

VT: My dear, it is unusual because, for example in India, Hinduism says woman can never be liberated in a woman’s body. If she behaves, if she follows bhakti yoga, then she may be born again in a male body and then she will be liberated. Buddhists and Jains also never accept that a woman in a woman’s body can be emancipated. Nor do the Catholics accept it. So at best a woman becomes a mother figure, such as Anandamayi Ma, or this figure or that figure. And she teaches as the Mother, not as an emancipated person.

Shall I tell you something? I was visiting Los Angeles in 1968 and I was staying at Ramakrishna Mission. I was asked to give a talk to the inmates of the ashram but they said, “You cannot speak in the chapel because you are a woman. Only sannyasins [monks] can speak there, and a woman cannot be a sannyasin.” The Swamiji there was Swami Prabhavananda, who was a very powerful swami. He wrote books along with Christopher Isherwood on the Bhagavad Gita, and commentaries on the Gita. He knew J. Krishnamurti, and so on. He was a very fine person. I said to him, “Swamiji, excuse me. Will you please remove the photographs of Sarada Devi, Ramakrishna’s wife, from the chapel?” There were two photographs there. So I said, “Since you tell me that I cannot give an address in this chapel, I will not give an address. But, will you please remove those photographs?”

Even in Ramakrishna Mission there is a differentiation. So who will stand up against all this and assert the humanness concealed in woman’s body, the divinity concealed in woman’s body, and demand equality on that level—not just on the physical and psychological levels?

So it is unusual. But let us be thankful that it has happened here.

SA: Yes.

VT: It is something in the orbit of human consciousness. Whether it happens there or here is immaterial. But it can happen.

This person has been hurt in many ways by the ancient Hindu authorities. When I wanted to study the Vedas, the Brahma Sutras, in Varanasi, I went with folded hands to the authorities on the Vedas and they said, “No, a woman should not study the Vedas. What have you to do with the Vedas and the Brahma Sutras?” they said. “No, we won’t teach you.” “Alright,” I said, “I will study by myself.”

For a woman to be unconditionally and totally emancipated is something unacceptable at least to the Indian consciousness, and maybe to the non-Indian consciousness also. This differentiation has to go. There is differentiation that has to do with the body, with different kinds of limitations. But that doesn’t mean that woman is not entitled to liberation.

I am so glad that you are talking about this and that you are looking at the issue in this way. This challenge has to be met. Not aggressively—you don’t have to fight for it, you have to work for it.

SA: Yes, I feel that very strongly because I’ve experienced within myself the very conditioning that we are talking about. And I can see that unless I can recognize this very deeply within myself I cannot transcend it. So I feel this is very important. I feel that it’s up to women individually to meet the challenge of being a woman and all the conditioning, as you were saying, that is biological, hereditary, psychological and so on. I think that’s what you mean by working for it, earning it.

VT: Have you discussed these matters with your teacher?

SA: Very much so. He’s incredibly observant and very passionately interested in each person’s liberation. And initially he had no concept of any differences between the conditioning of men and women. But then over time he was actually the first person to recognize in his female students what he called female pride.

VT: Oh yes, oh yes!

SA: So he was the first person to really get us to start looking at that ourselves. He’s very interested in this, and he’s also very concerned that his female students really meet this challenge. Because some of them are not interested. There is quite a lot of denial still going on among some of his students. But in others there is the recognition that there is something that we need to meet, to understand, to penetrate, in order to be free. There is an awakening to the fact that, as women, to really be able to live what we understand we need to come to terms with this. He’s encouraging all of us individually to really have the fire and the fearlessness and the humility to actually recognize this and to take it on.

VT: How nice.

SA: We were speaking earlier about women seeming to have a bit more difficulty than men being objective and impersonal. When things about themselves are pointed out to them, they often take it personally and defend themselves at first, taking time to come around to accepting what has been revealed, and then overcoming or transcending it. There sometimes seems to be an almost innate visceral response of defending, of protecting, of surviving and maintaining that operates in women. The reason I am saying this is because while I know that men have tendencies they have to face—male traits such as selfishness, aggression and even cowardice have been revealed in our investigation—the men do seem to be able to more easily accept the impersonality of their condition. They do not seem so proud or defensive about these negative tendencies. I was wondering whether underneath their defensiveness women have a deeper fear of nonexistence, a deeper existential insecurity or fear of emptiness, than men.

VT: Nothingness, nobodyness, emptiness—even the intellectual understanding of this frightens women. It frightens women! At the depth of our being there is fear because of our physical vulnerability, because of our secondary role in human civilization. It is in the subconscious, not in the consciousness. On a subconscious level there is fear. If I get converted into or if I mature into nonduality, into nothingness, into nobodyness, what will happen to my physical existence? Will it be more vulnerable? Will I be able to defend myself in case of difficulty, in case of some attack against me? That is a basic fear among women.

So women very rarely take to meditation. They take to devotion, to bhakti yoga. They can take to service, seva yoga or karma yoga. But not meditation, dhyana, samadhi. Consciously, intellectually they understand everything, because regarding the brilliance of the brain there is no distinction such as male and female. But psychologically, at the core of their being is this fear. And that fear has to be dispelled. Woman has to understand that nobodyness or nothingness, the emptiness of consciousness in samadhi or meditation, generates a different kind of energy and awareness which is more protective than self-conscious defensiveness. When woman appreciates that, when she understands that, then this fear will be dispelled. Otherwise it is very natural for a woman to feel frightened even by the idea of nothingness.

SA: It’s amazing, Vimalaji. Everything you say rings perfectly true to our experience. The areas women excel in are exactly what you have said—in service they are very strong, they give everything to help and to support. Physically and emotionally they are very, very giving. They will give everything and work very hard, very selflessly. So it’s very interesting what you say about women being naturally inclined to devotion and to service because that is exactly what is happening in our community. And yet on the other hand, as we have been saying, to really engage with meditation in the truest sense, to really let go into being nobody—many women are unwilling to do that.

VT: There is a subconscious resistance.

SA: Yes, exactly.

VT: They don’t find any resistance on the conscious level. They will say, “No, we do not resist,” and they are being honest. And yet at the deeper level of their being there is an unverbalized resistance.

SA: Exactly. That is exactly what is happening.

VT: That has to be perceived. That has to be recognized. Perhaps if the women recognized the resistance at the subconscious level, it might disappear, it might dissolve.

SA: Yes, that seems to be the only possibility. And I think some of us are just beginning to recognize that. I know, for myself, for many years my teacher pointed this out, and I said no. Because consciously I accepted and was thrilled by the idea of being nobody, by the concept of freedom that that means. But now I’m beginning to see that subconsciously there is a resistance which needs to be completely met in order to be truly free.

VT: To allow the divinity or the absolute truth to use your body, your brain, your mind for the service of humanity is one thing. “I want to serve and I get pleasure out of that service. I’m serving so and so, the cause or the individual.” There is pleasure in that. But to let go of that pleasure and allow the truth to shape your life, to mold it, to give it a direction and to use it for the cosmic purpose, requires tremendous fearlessness. And very few are willing to let go of the last noble pleasure for that.

It’s a noble pleasure to serve. You’re offering service and you’re offering your life and here is someone who says, “No. Not that, not the conscious service, the ‘I’ doing the service. No, not the ‘I’ devoting itself. You are again creating a different field for the survival of limitations. Let it go.” Then the resistance comes, the inhibitions come. Women begin to suffer. They don’t like it if you point it out, even on a conscious level. They hear it, but they don’t receive it. It doesn’t go in because of the subconscious resistance.

SA: Yes, that’s absolutely true.

VT: Oh, yes. One has seen it happening. One has seen it happen in people around you. The emptiness, the nobodyness, as you have rightly put it—that frightens them. Me doing the service, me giving, me working; that is O.K. Yes, we are dealing with the crux of the issue here. Hitting the nail on the head. Such merciless perception of truth, merciless analysis of the subjective world, is very rare to come across. People find it unbearable. Even the verbalization is unbearable to some.

SA: Yes, definitely.

VT: One has to go very slow. That during our first visit we could do that together is an exceptional occurrence. So I have to congratulate your teacher.

SA: Thank you.

VT: Thank you for raising these questions. You are the first person in the last ten years to raise these questions. Non-Indians come to me from at least twenty countries here. Women come from many different nations and discuss with me the problems of women in modern Western culture, but not the question you have raised this morning. It is from a very deep level that this question has come. I’m glad about it.

SA: Thank you. It’s been a fabulous opportunity to explore this together.

VT: For both of us to share. Life is fulfilled in sharing. Not only meals and clothes and money, but when you share your flesh and blood then there is a rare fulfillment.

It takes two to have a conversation, a dialogue. One person can’t do it.

Vimala Thakar

At the time of this interview Shanti Adams was a student of Andrew Cohen living in London, England. Her previous contribution to What Is Enlightenment?, “The Long and Winding Road” [July 1994], describes her many years as a spiritual seeker in India.

For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.

Here you can download a PDF copy of one of Vimala Thakar’s books On An Eternal Voyage.

Awakening to Total Revolution – Vimala Thakar

Enlightenment and the World Crisis

Awakening to Total Revolution

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

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

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

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

Penetrating to the Roots of Conflict

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

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

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

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

Going Beyond Fragmentation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inner Freedom Is a Social Responsibility

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Choice Is Ours

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Force of Love Is the Force of Total Revolution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Vimala Thakar

This essay was originally posted on:  http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j19/vimala.asp?page=1

For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.

To read more of Vimala Thakar see:  https://o-meditation.com/jai-guru-deva/some-good-books/downloadable-books/vimala-thakar/