It all seems so simple – I just can’t understand it. I keep grasping at it and it eludes me, a music that can almost be smelt, a taste that can almost be felt.
Sometimes I am on the very threshold; other times it’s not in a million years, not for me.
Krishna Prabhu, it is simple, hence it is impossible to understand it. If it was complex, understanding would be possible. Only a complex thing can be understood, because a complex thing can be analyzed, divided, broken into parts. A simple thing is indivisible; you cannot analyze it, you cannot dissect it. It is simply there; it is impossible to understand it.
That’s why all that is simple eludes knowledge. God is simple, that’s why science cannot know him. Love is simple, that’s why science can have no idea what it is. Whenever you come across a simple thing you have to drop the effort to understand it; only then can you understand it. A totally new kind of understanding will be needed – an understanding of the heart, which does not analyze, which does not dissect.
See: science dissects, analyzes, divides. It goes on trying to find the smaller and the smaller part – it reaches to the atom, to the electron, and it goes on dividing. It will never know about the whole, it will know only about the parts. And once it comes against a part which cannot be divided, again it is elusive.
Now, science knows nothing about the electrons yet, because they can’t be divided yet. Once you divide them you will know – you will know how they are composed, of what they are composed. But then again you are facing something else – the new division – and that eludes knowledge.
Religion moves in a totally different way. It does not go to the part, it goes to the whole. ‘God’ means the whole – the undivided whole, the totality of all. How can you understand God? In the very effort to understand, you have become separate from it; God is no more total. The one who is trying to understand is separate – division has started, you are on the way to science. The known and the knower have become separate; the first division has happened. Now it is a process ad infinitum.
God can be known only if you remain in an undivided relatedness with the whole. You don’t become a knower, you don’t become an observer. You don’t stand out of it – you can’t. You ARE in it, you ARE it – how can you know it? You can BE it! And that is a totally different kind of knowing, a different kind of understanding – the understanding that arises out of being.
You cannot know love from the outside, but you can be love – and then you will know. But that knowing will not be part of your head. The head will still remain ignorant; you will know, but you will not be able to translate it into the language that the head can understand.
You ask me: It all seems so simple…
Not that it seems simple, it is simple! But you have been taught again and again that if something is simple you will be able to understand it immediately. That is absolute nonsense. The simple is impossible to understand. The simple is elusive; there is no meeting between the effort to understand and between that which is simple. Either the simple has to be denied… If you say that it doesn’t exist then you are okay, then the problem has been dropped.
That’s what science has been doing: “There is no God, there is no soul, there is no love.” Deny all those simple things, then you can at least have your peace of mind; there is nothing left which haunts you. Science denies God just in self-defense – otherwise God stands there like an impossible problem. And the scientist cannot become a knower if even God has not been understood. And God cannot be understood. The simple way is: say that there is no God, so there is no question of understanding. Then you are at ease.
Religion says: God is, only God is. In fact to say ‘God is’ is repetitive, because God means is-ness. All that is, is God; God is not a separate entity. This is-ness, just this, is God. How can you understand it? You have to drop understanding, you have to become ignorant. If you approach God with your knowledge, knowledgeability, you will go on missing. You have to drop all your knowledge. You have to allow your scriptures to disappear, your doctrines to depart; say goodbye to them, and forever.
And suddenly, the moment you are in a state of no-knowledge, that is the state of meditation – the state of no-knowledge, the state of innocence.
Blessed are the ignorant. Why? Because only they can know. Jesus goes on saying to his disciples, “Unless you are like small children you will not enter into my kingdom of God.” Why small children? Innocent, ignorant, non-knowledgeable. Carrying nothing in the mind, just empty, with no ideas, no thoughts to project – not in any way trying to understand.
Innocence gives you wonder, creates awe. You simply feel a great Aha! like a tidal wave arising in your being. Body, mind, soul, all are involved in this Aha! All has stopped. You are there – not as a knower, you are dissolved as a knower. And then the knowing happens, because then the being happens. Then you are in tune with the whole.
That harmony, that rhythm, that togetherness with the whole, is what religion calls understanding. You are not to be an observer – in fact you are not to be at all. Then the simple is understood. And the simple is great, and the simple has splendour.
You say: It all seems so simple – I just can’t understand it.
True. You can’t, nobody can. Drop the effort – that effort will tire you. And when one becomes too tired doing something impossible, one starts denying it. If you cannot know, you cannot know, you cannot know… a moment comes when it is too much to tolerate it. The question becomes heavy on your heart. For sheer self-defense you start saying, “It is not there. If it was there then I would have understood it. Because I cannot understand it, it cannot be there. It is. pseudo-puzzle. God is not there – a created problem.”
Then you can rest. You can go back to sleep, you can walk again, you can again live your mediocre life. It is the cowards who deny God – cowards because they cannot gather courage to be ignorant enough to know the simple.
I have heard:
The farmer had just returned from a drive in his carriage. His dog, who had been running alongside, threw himself on the grass, his sides heaving with his heavy panting. “It is not the road that tires him,” explained the farmer, “but his zig-zagging. We have ridden for about five miles, but the dog has covered twenty-five miles. There was not a cat he did not chase, not a dog he did not bark at, not a driveway he did not investigate. Straight travelling did not tire him, only the zig-zagging did.”
Philosophy is zig-zagging. Religion is straight.
Jesus says, “My way is straight and narrow.” Religion is the shortest possible way between two points – between the knower and the known, the shortest possible way. It joins the knower and the known directly, without any zig-zagging. Philosophy zig-zags, and zig-zags so much that finally it loses all track of the goal.
What is the shortest distance between two points? Love is the shortest distance between two points – two alive points, two beings, two existences. Love is the shortest distance, knowledge the longest.
And that’s why religion has a totally different dimension in relating to existence. Those who have become accustomed to zig-zagging – analyzing, interpreting, philosophizing – they will go on chasing every cat, every dog, they will go on exploring every driveway, and they will be tiring themselves and reaching nowhere. They don’t have any sense of direction.
The simple man, the innocent man, simply goes straight.
And Jesus also says, “The way is straight and narrow.” Why narrow? It is so narrow that it cannot contain your ego. Only you can go – but you will have to leave your ego outside, outside the door. It is so narrow, two persons cannot walk together. You cannot take your child with you, you cannot take your aging mother with you, you cannot take your beloved with you.
Even a Buddha cannot take you with him. Buddhas only point the way – because two persons cannot walk on it, it is so narrow. One has to go alone: the flight of the alone to the alone. And so alone that not even your ego is with you, and so alone that not even your mind is with you, and so utterly alone that not even your self is with you.
You go into it as absolute silence, as a disappearing person, as an appearing presence.
It all seems so simple – I just can’t understand it. I keep grasping at it and it eludes me…
That’s why it eludes you. Not that it is elusive; that is not its nature. It appears to elude you, Krishna Prabhu, because you are trying to grasp it. You create the elusiveness in it by your grasping.
There are things which cannot be grasped. You cannot grasp the sky in your hand – or can you? You cannot grasp it in your fist; if you try you will miss. The more the fist becomes strong, closed, the less sky it will have in it. Open the fist and you have the whole sky available.
But mind is very much a miser, a hoarder. It always hoards; it immediately closes up on things. If you know something you immediately close up on it, you immediately reduce it to knowledge. That’s why knowing is constantly being reduced to knowledge – and the moment you reduce knowing to knowledge you have killed it. Then you have only a dead bird in your hands – it cannot fly into the sky; then you will never see it again on its wings.
Knowing is alive, a bird on the wing. Knowledge is a killed bird – it is in your hands, but you can only have the dead body. The soul has flown, and that was the real thing, the essential thing. You have missed the real and you are hoarding the unreal. But that’s our way, that’s what we do with everything. Knowing is immediately reduced to knowledge.
Leave your knowing as knowing! Existence consists not of nouns but of verbs. All nouns are false: no noun is true, can be true. There is no tree, there are only treeing phenomena. There is no river, only riverings.
When you say, “This is a man,” what are you saying? You are reducing a verb to a noun – because the man is growing! It is a growth, it is a process. It is not the same even for two seconds, it is a flow.
You say, “This is my friend” – but the time that you take in saying “This is my friend” may be enough to turn him into your enemy. You say ‘love’? There is no love, only loving. See life and you will be surprised: there is no life, only living.
Reduce all nouns to verbs and you will have a far clearer perspective of life. But no verb can be grasped. Nouns can be grasped; because of the miserly mind, man lives through nouns and has forgotten verbs.
And this miserliness penetrates into everything you do. Why grasp? You see a beautiful flower and immediately you are on the way to pluck it. Why? It was beautiful on the stem, alive, rooted in God. And you killed it. And are you thinking you are going to give it to your girlfriend? You are presenting death to your girlfriend! Or do you think you are going to put this flower at the feet of the god in the temple? That god is dead, this flower is dead, and between these two deaths you are dead. The flower was already offered to God on the bush – it was with God, you took it away from God to offer it to a stone. Why this immediate desire to pluck the flower?
I have heard: A friend was visiting George Bernard Shaw. He was very much against people plucking flowers from his garden – he had put notice-boards all over the garden: “Don’t Pluck Flowers.” The friend asked, “Don’t you love flowers? Don’t you like flowers being arranged on your table?”
Bernard Shaw said, “I love flowers, that’s why. I love children too, but I would not like anybody to cut off their heads and arrange those heads on my table.”
The idea of the ego is always to kill and destroy. Why? Because once a thing is destroyed you are in control. You can control only dead things. That’s why people worship dead gods in the temples, and they worship dead masters.
When Buddha is alive they will not worship him, they will worship Krishna. When Buddha is gone they will worship Buddha, they will not worship Christ. When Christ is gone they will worship Christ, they will not worship Kabir – and so on and so forth. Once a master is gone, great shrines are raised in his name and people start worshipping him. But while he is alive they stone him to death, they crucify him, they reject him, they deny him. Why? Why are you so much interested in death?
With death you become masters. With an alive master you cannot be in control, he will be in control. With an alive flower the flower is in control, not you; once plucked, you are in control. Then you can go on doing any stupid nonsense – you can call it ikebana and you can go on arranging flowers and you can go on learning flower arrangement, and that is all nonsense.
You have destroyed the flower, now you are feeling guilty. Hence ikebana – it is out of guilt. Now you are trying somehow to pretend that you are creating beauty again. There is deep guilt – you have destroyed beauty. It was perfectly beautiful on the bush, on the stem, in the wind, with the sun.
But the mind has a constant desire to grasp. Watch this miserliness.
I have heard:
A rich old miser became critically ill and the doctor prescribed a medicine with the following warning: “If after taking the medicine you perspire, it is a sign that you will recover. If you don’t perspire, only God can help.”
The miser took the medicine, but failed to perspire. It seemed that the rich man was about to die.
“Let us call on him,” said the mayor to the elders of the town. “Perhaps he will now repent his way and leave something for the church.”
They visited him, and found him in a repentant mood. They brought paper and ink and the mayor got ready to write. “The church,” he said, “is badly in need of repairs.”
“A hundred dollars for the church,” said the miser, and groaned.
“The widows and orphans fund is depleted,” said the mayor.
“A hundred… wait a minute, wait a minute!” the miser cried suddenly. “Cross it out! I’m perspiring! I’m perspiring!”
The mind is always clinging to things. It may be money, it may be meditation. It may be knowledge, it may be love. Watch that the mind always wants to grasp, hold things in hand.
Now, you cannot hold God in your hand. You can hold a flower, you can pluck a flower, but you cannot hold God in your hand. God is too big for that. God means totality. How can you hold this totality in your hand? One has to approach in a different way – one has to surrender oneself into God’s hands. Rather than grasping God, you have to pray to be grasped by him.
You cannot hold the ocean in your hands, but you can drop into the ocean and disappear. That’s the way to be it.
I keep grasping at it and it eludes me, a music that can almost be smelt, a taste that can almost be felt.
If you go on grasping that will remain so, and forever. You will always be just on the verge, and missing. It will be a music that can almost be smelt – but an almost smelt music has not been heard at all. And almost is almost; it is just a way of deluding oneself. Either you have it or you don’t have it – you can’t say, “I almost have it.” You are alive or you are not alive – you cannot say, “I am almost alive.” You cannot say, “I am almost in love.” Either this or that – it is either/or, and there is no middle way. You will always be on the threshold and missing.
Stop grasping at it; drop that very effort to grasp. Allow it to enter into you, be open to it, be vulnerable. Let him grasp you, let him possess you – don’t try to possess him.
Sometimes I am on the very threshold; other times it’s not in a million years , not for me.
And you will be on this see-saw. Again and again you will think you are on the threshold – just one step more and the bird will be in your hands. But that one step will remain impossible. And then of course you feel frustrated – how long can you remain in hope, just standing on the threshold? You become tired. When you become tired, it is a million years away from you… Again you start striving; again one day you will feel it is just on the threshold. This way it will remain – this is how seekers go on missing.
Seeking is not the way to find God. If you want to find him, stop seeking, and find. Stop seeking, and he is found immediately, instantly – not even a single moment is lost. Why? Because in the very effort of seeking him you are forgetting one thing, that he is already in you. The sought is in the seeker – but the seeker cannot see it, he is engrossed too much in his seeking. He is running after it, he is searching for it – his search keeps him so occupied, so engaged, that he cannot look inside and see who is there.
God is already in you, God is already the case. Just stop seeking. And that is the greatest message of Zen: Stop seeking. “Sitting silently, doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself.” Zen does not give you any seeking, it takes all seeking away from you. Seekers are the losers! because in their very search they go on looking at distant lands. They go on looking at stars – they don’t look within themselves.
And do you know? There is an ancient parable:
In the beginning when God created the world, he used to live on MG Road. But then he became tired, because people were continuously nagging him. In the middle of the night the phone would start ringing, and complaints….
“Why have you not done this?” and “Why have you done this, and what is the reason for it?” Naturally he got tired.
He asked his counsellors, “Help me. I would like to go somewhere and hide from people.” He confessed, “In creating man I have committed my greatest mistake.” Do you know? since then he has not created anything else; he is still repenting. That was his last – he became so afraid of man that he stopped being a creator.
They suggested, “You can go to the Himalayas, nobody will come there.” And he said, “You don’t know, within just a few seconds”… and millions of light years are just a few seconds for God – a different time scale. For one who lives in eternity, millions of light years are just moments. He said, “Within moments, you don’t know, a man will be there – Hillary. And Tenzing will be there, and they will reach Everest and find me. And once they have found me then the whole MG Road – then people will start moving there. That won’t help.”
Somebody suggested, “Then why don’t you go to the moon?” He said, “Just a few seconds more, and people will reach there. They are going to reach everywhere!”
Then an old adviser came close to him and whispered something in his ear. And he was very happy and he said, “This is the right thing to do.” The man had whispered in his ear, “My suggestion is: why don’t you hide in man himself? There he will never go. He will go to the mountains, he will go to Everest, he will go to the moon and to Mars and he will go to the planets and stars – he will go everywhere. One thing he will never suspect is that you can be hiding within his own soul.”
God agreed. And since then he has been hiding in you. And you have been searching for him on Everest, on the moon, on the stars, in the scriptures, in the temples, in the mosques, in the churches… Go on searching and you will not find him.
A seeker never finds. Seeking is a sure way of missing. Then who finds him? One who relaxes, one who drops all seeking – just dives deep into one’s own being, sits there silently, starts moving towards the bottom, to the very ground of one’s own being. Sitting in your deepest core, you find him. There is no need to go anywhere.
If you are a seeker, and Krishna Prabhu seems to be a seeker…
Sometimes I am on the very threshold…
Yes, it will happen again and again. Again and again you will think, “Now! This time I am going to make it, it is going to happen.” And it will never happen. Then again frustration and the dark night of the soul will follow. Many times you will see that you have almost made it, ninety-nine percent made it – but it will never be a hundred percent. And unless it is a hundred percent it is not at all. ‘Almost’ means nothing, ‘approximately’ means nothing. That one step is as far away as millions of light years, because it cannot be taken.
So after each euphoria, elation, ecstasy, after each feeling of “Now I have arrived,” there will be great depression. You will fall back into a dark hole. Again you will have to grope, again you will have to reach that threshold, and again you will fall.
This has been continuing for so many lives – you are not new here. You have been playing this game for millions of lives: coming closer, coming closer, coming closer, and you feel the ecstasy, now you are just there… and all is missed again, you are falling far away, far away, again disappearing. This wheel goes on moving.
You have to jump out of this wheel. He is not out, so you can never come close to him. If he was far away from you then there would be a possibility sometimes to come close, and there would be a possibility to cross the threshold and reach him and hold him. He is not out, he is your innermost core. He is the beat of your heart and the vitality of your breath and the redness of your blood. He is the pulsation of your being. How can you be just on the threshold?
You have to forget all these thresholds and you have to forget all these distances. And remember always: to be close is also to be distant. Closeness is a kind of distance; you are not yet it.
I teach you the way of non-seeking. I teach you to relax. I teach you to forget all about God and just be yourself.
And one day suddenly, like a great surprise, comes the benediction.
From Take It Easy, Discourse #18
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