Can you say something about doubt and negativity? What is the difference?
The difference between doubt and negativity is great. They look alike; on the surface they have the same color, but deep down the difference is unbridgeable. First, doubt is not negativity; neither is it positivity.
Doubt is an open mind, without any prejudice. It is an inquiring approach.
Doubt is not saying anything, it is simply raising a question. That question is to know, to find what the truth is.
Doubt is a pilgrimage.
It is one of the most sacred values of human beings.
Doubt does not mean no. It simply says, “I do not know, and I am prepared to know. I am ready to go as far as possible, but unless I myself come to know, how can I say yes?”
Negativity has already said no. It is not inquiry. It has come to a conclusion, the same way somebody has come to the conclusion to say yes. One man says God is; his statement is positive. The other says there is no God; his statement is negative. But both are sailing in the same boat, they are not different people. They have not inquired. Neither the theist has doubted nor the atheist has doubted; both have accepted borrowed knowledge.
Doubt says that, “I myself would like to know, and unless I know for myself, it is not knowledge. Only my experience is going to be decisive.” He is not arrogant, he is not denying anything. He is just open for inquiry.
Doubt is not disbelief – that’s how religions have been confusing people. They confuse doubt with disbelief. In fact, disbelief and belief are exactly the same. Both accept knowledge from others, from books, from masters. And remember, anything that you do not know, yet you have started believing or disbelieving in it… you have missed a great opportunity for inquiry. You have closed the doors already, by yes or by no. You have not traveled.
It is easier to say yes, it is easier to say no, because there is nothing you have to do.
But to doubt needs guts.
To doubt needs courage to remain in the state of not-knowing, and go on questioning everything till the moment you yourself arrive at the reality. When you come to the reality there is no negativity, no positivity. You simply know – it is your experience. I will not say it is positivity because positivity always has the other pole of negativity. An experience goes beyond both; the whole world of polarities is transcended. That is true wisdom.
Doubt is the way to truth.
No or yes are not ways, they prevent you.
It will look very strange, that yes does the same thing as no. In dictionaries they are opposites, but in reality they are not. They look opposite only, but both have not asked the question. Both have not tried to find out what the case is.
The communist believes, exactly as the catholic believes. The communist believes that there is no God. You can call it disbelief, but it is his belief. He has not inquired, he has not meditated; he has done nothing to find out that there is no God. The theist says there IS God. He has also done nothing. Both have chosen without moving an inch towards truth. That’s why a very strange thing happens: the person who is a theist, a believer, can become a disbeliever, an atheist, in a single moment; and vice versa.
Before the revolution in Russia, Russia was one of the most theistic, religious countries of the world. Millions of people in Russia could have sacrificed their life for God. After the revolution, when the authority changed, when the priest changed, when The Holy Bible was replaced by the holy Das Kapital, within ten years the whole country became atheist.
It was amazing! People who had believed their whole life that there is God started disbelieving. Even communists could not understand that these people are the same people who could have died for God – and now they are ready to die for no-God.
Nobody has analyzed the situation up to now, what happened there. This is the analysis of the fact: negativity and positivity are both belief systems.
Doubt is against both. Doubt is the insistence of the individual that he wants to taste, to experience the truth. He is not ready to accept it from anybody else, this way or that.
They are very, very rare people who doubt.
But let me say to you: Blessed are those who doubt, because they shall inherit the kingdom of truth.
It is arduous to doubt, it is risky, it is dangerous. One is going into the unknown, with no preparation, with no prejudice. He is entering into the dark hole, not even believing that there will be the other end of the tunnel, and he will again come out of Darkness. There is no belief; he simply takes the challenge.
There is only a quest, a question.
He himself becomes a question.
It is very consoling to have the answer, and if it is freely available, as it is…. Jesus says, “Just believe in me and you need not bother: I will take care. I will choose you at the day of judgment. I will recommend you to God: ‘These are my people – they should be allowed in paradise.’ All that you have to do is believe.”
A real shortcut – simple belief. That’s why thousands of people around the world have believed, and thousands of others have disbelieved. Their sources are different but the basic approach is the same.
In India there has been a very ancient philosophy, charvaka. That philosophy says there is no God, no heaven, no hell, no punishment for your bad actions and no reward for your good actions. And thousands have believed in it. It is negative, absolutely negative, but very comfortable. You can steal, you can murder, you can do anything you like; after death nothing survives.
In many ways the West has lagged behind the East, particularly as far as religion, philosophy, culture, are concerned. Charvaka is a five-thousand-year-old ideology; Karl Marx just in the last stage of the previous century said there is no God. He was not aware of charvaka, he thought he had come to a great discovery. For five thousand years charvakas have already been saying that; but they had not inquired.
The man who created the philosophy was Brihaspati – must have been a man of charismatic personality. He convinced people that you can do anything you want to because the thief, the murderer, the saint, all fall: dust unto dust. And after death nothing is left; the saint disappears, the sinner disappears. So don’t bother at all about afterlife, there is none.
This is not inquiry, because charvakas and their master Brihaspati have never gone beyond death. According to their philosophy, if they had gone they would have not come back – so on what grounds do they say that there is nothing left? Nobody has visited the land. But it is very easy to believe. His famous statement is worth quoting.
Brihaspati says, “Rinam kritva ghritam pivet:” “Even if you have to borrow money, borrow it, but drink ghee as much as you can” – because after death you are not going to be questioned, punished. The person who had given you money cannot drag you into the court of God; there are no such things. His whole philosophy is simply, “Eat, drink and be merry.” You can believe in it – the theists will call it disbelief.
And that’s what Karl Marx did for the communists, he said that there is no soul, no consciousness. It is a by-product of matter, so when the body falls apart, nothing is left. This became a very dangerous attitude, because communists could kill people without thinking twice.
Their belief is that by killing you are not committing any sin. There is nobody inside a person; there is no inside. A man is chemistry, biology, physiology – but there is no soul. Joseph Stalin could kill almost one million people after the revolution without feeling even a slight doubt about what he was doing.
In Soviet Russia man has been reduced to a mechanism. You can kill – nothing is killed, because there was nobody in the first place. It is just like a clock functioning. It moves, it shows you the time; that does not mean that there is somebody inside. You can take the clock apart and you will not find anything.
I have heard…. Once Mulla Nasruddin’s clock stopped. It was an old clock, and some day everything has to stop. He opened the clock and found there a fly, dead. He said, “Now I know the clock is dead – this is the clock’s soul!” He was just going to bury the clock in the garden when his wife caught hold of him.
She said, “What are you doing? Have you gone mad? Clocks are not buried; graves are not made for them!”
Nasruddin said, “Those people have never known what I have come to know. The clock stopped; certainly I thought it was dead. I looked at it, opened it, and found its soul dead. This is the soul” – he was holding the fly in his hand; he said, “This is the soul.”
The wife said, “You are simply an idiot, and you will always remain an idiot! Bring that clock out. Perhaps it needs oiling, some repair work – it is an old clock. And clocks don’t die, because to die first one has to live: clocks don’t live!”
But that’s what Karl Marx has preached to the communists, that man is also just like a clock. And now almost half the world believes in Karl Marx. Strange – these same people had believed in God. Russians, Chinese, Indians, Mohammedans – all kinds of people change their yes to no. To change yes into no is so easy because they are not different. Basically they give you a consolation without the arduous journey to truth.
I have asked many communists, very old communists…. In India, S.A.Dange was a member of the international communist party along with Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin. He was an eyewitness of the Russian revolution. I asked him, “Have you ever meditated?”
He said, “Meditated – for what? Why should I meditate?”
I said, “If you have never meditated, then you don’t have the authority to say that there is no soul, no God, no consciousness. Without going inside yourself, how can you say that there is nobody? And see the absurdity of it: who is saying that there is nobody? Even to deny you will have to accept that there is somebody. Even to say that there is nobody, somebody has to be assumed.”
The same is the situation of religions.
Nobody has encountered God – no Christian, no Hindu, no Mohammedan – but they have all said yes because the crowd in which they were born was the crowd of theists. To say no amongst that crowd would have created difficulties for them. Yes was simply the accepted rule of the game. They have worshipped, they have prayed, not knowing why they were doing it. But everybody else is doing it so it must be right.
When the crowd changed – for example in Russia, the same people who were so certain of God became uncertain. It took ten years to change from one certainty to another certainty… an interval of uncertainty, but uncertainty is not doubt.
Doubt is simply a question, and doubt says, “I want to know.”
It has no ideology.
Doubt is absolutely pure quest.
You have asked, “What is the difference between doubt and negativity?”
Negativity and positivity are both the same.
Doubt is different from both.
It does not make you a theist, it does not make you an atheist.
Positivity makes you a religious believer, a theist; negativity makes you an unbeliever, irreligious, an atheist.
Doubt does not make you anything. It simply makes you an inquirer.
And that is the dignity of man.
I teach you doubt because I know if you can doubt to the very end you will realize the truth of your own being, and simultaneously the truth of the whole existence. And that will be liberation, that will be freedom.
Doubt is neither Christian nor Hindu, nor American nor German. Yes may be Hindu, yes may be Mohammedan, yes may be Christian; no may be communist, no may be fascist – but doubt is simply a quest, an individual quest.
Yes and no both belong to the crowd.
Doubt makes you assert your individuality.
You start finding your path on your own. You don’t accept the maps given you by others.
In India I have seen in Jaina temples, maps hanging which show seven hells, seven heavens, and the ultimate, moksha. Between seven hells and seven heavens is the earth. They show you exactly who goes where, what route he follows, what sufferings he comes across.
Even in my childhood I used to ask the priest, “Do you know where Constantinople is?”
He said, “Constantinople? That has nothing to do with religion.”
I said, “That has nothing to do with religion, but it has something to do with maps. You don’t know Constantinople and you know seven heavens, seven hells? Just be kind enough to tell me, how many have you visited? Who has made this map?” And for thousands of years Jainas have believed in this map.
People who had no idea that the earth is round were able to know how many hells there are, how many heavens there are; and each according to his action goes to a certain space, certain place. They had no idea of the earth they were living on but they had ideas about things which are just fictions.
Now slowly, slowly those maps are disappearing from the temples, because even followers have started asking embarrassing questions. But it continues. One small sect in India is that of Radhaswamis. They divide the whole existence into fifteen parts; the earth is the lowest.
I have been to their temple in Agra. They are very egoistic people; they have been trying for almost one hundred years to make the temple better than the Taj Mahal. They have poured immense amounts of money into it, but only one story is complete. They have done tremendous work. Certainly if they succeed in making all the three proposed stories, the Taj Mahal will look very pygmy before that temple.
The Taj Mahal is also in Agra, and Radhaswamis originated in Agra; their founder was there. And from all over the world tourists come to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Radhaswamis wanted to make something so that the Taj Mahal becomes secondary. And seeing what they have done – it is only one-third complete in one hundred years, but even that much is enough to show you they have transcended the Taj Mahal already.
In their temple, this half-built temple, they have engraved in golden letters the fifteen levels of existence. And they have marked – for example, Jesus Christ has only reached up to the sixth. A long journey is still ahead for that poor carpenter carrying his cross. How many times he will be crucified, nobody knows.
Mohammed is still on the fourth, Moses on the fifth, Mahavira on the seventh, Buddha on the ninth. And their own master is on the fifteenth.
When I had gone to visit their temple, their priest welcomed me, he showed me everything. He showed this description of fifteen stages and he said, “What do you think about it?”
I said, “There is no question of thinking, I know your master is on the fifteenth.”
He said, “How do you know?”
I said, “Because I am on the sixteenth – and he is trying hard, but I go on pushing him back. I won’t allow anybody else to be on the sixteenth.”
He was very much shocked, but I said, “If you can just imagine fifteen, what is the trouble? On what authority do you put Buddha under your master? On what authority do you put Jesus… what grounds have you got?”
They said, “Our master said it.”
So I said, “I am a master, and I say to you, make a place also for me on the sixteenth. And of course your master could only talk about the fifteenth because he has never entered the sixteenth. I will not allow him to enter! I am alone there.”
These are your theists who simply believe.
It is cheap to believe, it is cheap to disbelieve.
But it is really a dangerous journey to know.
I would like my sannyasins neither to be negative nor to be positive, but open, available, with a quest, a question mark, and to go on searching.
Many times your mind will say it is good to believe – because the journey is arduous, and one never knows where one is going, whether one is going to find anything or not. But don’t listen to the mind.
Mind has created all these “yes” philosophies, “no” philosophies.
Doubt has never created any philosophy; doubt has created science.
And doubt is going to create religion.
They are exactly the same – the same application of doubt in different fields. About objects, the outside world that spreads to millions of stars, doubt has given tremendous insight just within three hundred years. You are carrying another world within yourself, which is in no way smaller than the world you see outside; perhaps it is bigger.
Why do I say that perhaps it is bigger? I am including the word ‘perhaps’ so that you should not believe. I know it is bigger, for the simple reason that you know the stars, you know the sun, you know the moon – but the moon does not know you, the sun does not know you. The stars are great, the universe is vast, but you are the only knower. You have something more than the whole universe.
That’s why I say inside you are carrying something bigger than the universe, more than the universe. Just inquire.
One of the most beautiful men of this century was Maharishi Raman. He was a simple man, uneducated, but he did not accept the ideology, the religion in which he was born. When he was only seventeen years of age he left his home in search of truth. He meditated for many years in the hills of Arunachal in south India, and finally realized himself.
After that his whole teaching consisted only of three words, because those three words had revealed to him the whole mystery of existence. His philosophy is the shortest. What are those three words? Whoever came to him – because as he became slowly, slowly known, people started coming to him from all over the world – his whole teaching was to sit silently and ask only one question: “Who am I?” and go on asking that question.
One day the question will disappear, and only you will be there. That is the answer.
Not that you will find the answer written somewhere; you will find yourself. You just go on digging with this question – this question is like digging – but do you see the question? It is a doubt: Who am I? It does not accept the spiritualist who says you are a soul. It does not accept the materialist who says there is nobody, don’t waste time; eat, drink and be merry. He doubts. Those three words are followed by a question mark: Who am I?
And he says this is enough. If you can go on and on and on patiently, one day the question suddenly disappears and what is left is your reality. That is the answer.
And the moment you know yourself you have known everything that is worth knowing.
From From Death to Deathlessness, Discourse #24
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