From Unconciousness to Conscious 24

TwentyFourth Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - From Unconciousness to Conscious by Osho.
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What is the function of mind in religion?
The mind is the most complex phenomenon in the whole of existence. It will be a little difficult to understand the function of mind in religion. You will have to go through three doors.
The first is modern Western psychology’s attitude about mind. Psychology says mind has three functions: cognition, thinking, feeling. Through cognition you become aware of the whole objective world around you. Everything that you see, hear, taste, smell, touch – it is all cognition. The world is known through cognition. The five senses are the five ways of knowing the world.
But through cognition there is no way to know yourself; just because through cognition you can know only the world of things, Western psychology has dropped the idea of being, of your innermost self. It is a very strange situation, because they say you become aware of the world through cognition, but they deny you. Who becomes aware of this objective world? Who sees the sunset and the sunrises? Certainly not the eye. There is somebody behind the eye, but the eye cannot see that someone who is behind the eye. Who hears the sound, the music, the song, the birds singing in the morning? It is not the ear. The ear is only a passage; somebody is standing behind the passage. You recognize the window, but you don’t recognize the person who is standing behind the window and looking at the sky.
Western psychology is in a very stupid state because of this denial. You recognize knowledge, you recognize the known, but you don’t recognize the knower. Now, without the knower how can there be knowledge? How can there be anything known? But strange, no Western psychologist has even raised the question.
Cognition certainly cannot help to go within. All the five senses are five ways that lead you out, away from the center. But they have no way to turn upon the center itself. For that, something else has to be known.
We will discuss it. Because these three things are recognized, first let us discuss those three things.
Cognition is knowing the world, the other, but ignoring you. You become knowledgeable about everything and you become absolutely ignorant of yourself. Do you see the strange situation? Knowledge goes on growing, and the knower goes on shrinking – and the knower is the most important thing, because it is you.
The second thing is thinking – another function of the mind. Thinking can produce philosophy, theology, science. But thinking cannot give you the truth of your being, because thinking is always going to be about what the cognition supplies you. It is dependent on cognition. For example, a blind man cannot think about light. There is no way for him to think about light, because in the first place he has no eyes. The cognition of light has not happened. The object is not there; hence he cannot focus his thinking on something that is not present. It is impossible for a deaf person to think about music. How can he think? There is no way to conceptualize.
So philosophy is dependent on cognition, but it only thinks, it never goes farther than thinking. It never experiments.
Science is a further step – it is a by-product of philosophy, when thinking starts experimenting, starts searching for facts…because thinking, in itself, remains fiction. A thought is just hot air, unless you prove it by some facticity. Science comes after a long tradition of philosophy, when philosophy becomes fed up, going round and round and round, and not catching anything which can be called factual. Yes, it comes to know what is logical, but the logical is not necessarily real. Sometimes the logical proves to be unreal; sometimes the real proves to be illogical. They are not synonymous.
But both philosophy and science are impotent as far as religion is concerned. Yes, theology they can create. Theology is nothing but philosophy about God. That’s the meaning of the word theology. Theo means God; logy means logic – logical thinking about God. Nothing can be more absurd. You don’t know God, cognition has not supplied God.
That’s why science goes on succeeding, and theology goes on failing, because science has some grounds, through cognition, to enter objective reality. Theology has no way through cognition. So it simply remains thinking about a fiction. It thinks about God. You don’t know God; how can you think about God? Before you start thinking, you must have some sort of experience. So theology is pseudo-religion – pretending to be religion, but it is not religion.
The third function psychology recognizes is feeling. Feeling gives you the whole dimension of all the arts – poetry, painting, music, dance, literature – but feeling also has no way of proving facticity. It can give you beautiful poetry, but it cannot prove that it is a fact. Nobody asks the poets to prove facticity; that would be meaningless. Poetry is not supposed to give you facts, it is supposed to give you beauty, the enjoyment of beauty – which is a feeling. If there is nobody to feel, do you think the sunset will still be beautiful? You are wrong. The sunset will be there, but it won’t be beautiful. Nothing will be beautiful, nothing will be ugly, nothing will be good, nothing will be bad. All these divisions are through your feeling.
The same is true about cognition too. You will be surprised. First your mind will tend not to believe it, but it is a fact so nothing can be done about it. The moment you close your eyes, all the colors in the room disappear – for you. If everybody closes his eyes, then all the colors in the room disappear for all. In this room then, there is no color, because color needs light and eyes meeting. It is at the meeting point that the color happens. If the eyes are closed the meeting point is missing. Light will be there but there will be no eye to contact it, and through the contact, to create the color.
Every ray of light consists of the seven colors of the rainbow. Your robes are red for a strange reason. They are not really red. Your robes are absorbing six colors of the ray of light, all except red. The red is thrown back. The other six are absorbed. Because the red is thrown back, it falls on other people’s eyes, so they see your clothes as red.
It is a very contradictory situation – your clothes are not red, that’s why they appear red. If they appear blue, then they are not blue. If they appear green, then they are not green, because whatsoever they appear means that color is not being absorbed. The remaining six colors are absorbed, only one color is left out. And the color that is left out reaches to people’s eyes, and naturally that color they project on your clothes. It is coming from your clothes. But when I close my eyes, your clothes immediately are no longer red because my eyes will not be projecting the color.
So even science can only say that it deals just with facts, not with truth. This is a fact, that your clothes are red, but this is not a truth. Know the difference between the fact and the truth. Fact means: as things appear to your senses. And truth means: as things are, without any reference to your senses.
Theology has nothing of cognition, so it is pure fiction. Philosophy is also fiction, but halfway, because it can turn toward theology, then it becomes pure fiction; or it can turn toward science, then it becomes nonfiction, a factuality.
But none of these three has any way to know about the person who is knowing through all these three doors, who is behind these three doors: cognition, thinking, feeling. And because he is not available through these three doors, psychology simply denies his existence. It is the most dangerous error that Western psychology has committed.
The second possible way of looking at the functions of the mind in reference to religion is Western psychoanalysis. Western psychoanalysis again divides mind into three parts: the conscious mind, the unconscious mind, and the collective unconscious mind. That is the Jungian division, and I am using it because it is a step further than the Freudian. The Freudian division is: conscious mind, subconscious mind, and the unconscious mind. In fact the subconscious mind is only the boundary line between the conscious and the unconscious – it is not very important, hence I am not using the Freudian division.
Jung’s division is far more important. He is saying you have a conscious mind, through which you think, see. All those three divisions of psychology happen through the conscious mind. Just underneath, nine times bigger than the conscious, is the unconscious mind, which has immense possibilities, which comes to life in your dreams, in your fantasies. It has also possibilities like telepathy, clairvoyance, thought transfer. It can read other people’s minds, it can project its thoughts into other people’s minds, and they will think that these are their thoughts. It has a certain capacity which is known as hypnos.
Hypnos is a deliberate kind of sleep – not natural sleep, but a deliberate kind, a special kind of sleep. In ordinary sleep you lose all contact with the outside world. In hypnos – hypnos, the word, means sleep, but I am using it just to keep ordinary sleep separate. Ordinary sleep is when you are disconnected from all the outside world – the world of objects. Hypnosis is when you are disconnected from all outside objects except the one person who has created the sleep in you, with whom you remain in contact. You will not hear anything else. If somebody speaks, you will not hear, but if it is the person who has put you into hypnosis, you will hear it. If he orders you, you will follow. If he tells you to do something, you will do it. And this unconscious mind, in the state of hypnosis, can do things which look like miracles.
For example, you can walk on fire. There are many people around the world – Mohammedan Sufis walk on fire, Buddhist monks walk on fire in Sri Lanka, in India, in China, in Java, in Sumatra. Every year, in many places, in many temples it happens. And thousands of people are eyewitnesses. You can also walk on fire. All that you need is to be told in hypnosis, by the person who has hypnotized you, that you can walk and you will not be burned.
The unconscious mind is so powerful that it transforms your very physiology. You walk in fire, and you are not burned. The other way is also possible. You are in a hypnotic sleep; just a cold stone is put in your hand, and you are told that this stone is red-hot, just pure fire – and your hand will be burned. No, the stone cannot burn your hand. What has happened? Your unconscious mind is so powerful that the body simply follows it. Religions have used this capacity of the mind tremendously.
In India, you can see in almost every village people putting spears in their mouths through one side and taking out the spear from the other side. Two holes – in both cheeks – and not a single drop of blood. And for hours they will move around in that state, with the spear in their mouth. When the spear is taken out, no blood appears and the wounds heal immediately. No scar is left behind. But it needs the same faculty to function – hypnosis.
Now in Russia they are using hypnosis for education. The child is sleeping with earphones, and in a very, very slow and almost silent voice that does not disturb his sleep, he is being taught things. He will remember them in the morning, and he will remember them far better than if he had tried to remember them while he was conscious…because while you are conscious, your mind is doing a thousand and one other things too. But when you are in a hypnotic sleep your mind is not doing anything. It is simply absorbing whatsoever is being poured into it.
Now they are using it for indoctrination, for teaching communism. They are using it on prisoners, prisoners of war. In China it has been used so widely that when the people who were caught in the Korean war came back to their countries, they were totally different people – they were communists. And they had gone to fight communism. They had gone with a very anti-communist attitude, and when they came back from a prison camp they were communist, absolutely for communism. And nobody had told them anything, everything was done in their sleep. But the sleep has to be managed; it has to be hypnotic, not ordinary sleep.
And that can be done because all the religions have been doing it for centuries without your knowing. For example, if you chant a mantra before you go to sleep at night, and you go on chanting, chanting, chanting, chanting, chanting, till you fall asleep, it will not be ordinary sleep: you have created hypnos yourself. It is autohypnosis. Now you will have a totally different kind of sleep, and certainly in the morning you will feel the difference. You are more refreshed, more rejuvenated, more clear, clean, younger, fresher, because in hypnosis nothing moves, all activity ceases. And it was autohypnosis, so nobody was torturing you.
But you can manage to hypnotize yourself and indoctrinate yourself also. For example, you can go on chanting a certain mantra with the idea: “Tonight I will see Krishna, Krishna is going to appear in my sleep.” In the background, the idea, and you go on chanting…and Krishna will appear in your sleep as real as anything you have seen. You can touch him, you can talk to him; he will be answering you. There is no possibility for you to doubt. That’s how Christians see Christ, Hindus see Krishna, Buddhists see Buddha; and once they have seen them in their hypnotic sleep, their belief becomes absolutely indubitable. Now you cannot shake their belief until you disturb the hypnotic conditioning that they have created.
The people who were caught in China were all religious people, coming from different countries. When they came back they were all anti-religious. Their whole religion was taken away in the same way that it had been put there in the first place – the same method.
The unconscious has tremendous powers. It can communicate. It communicates sometimes even without your practicing it. For example, if a son is dying, it is possible that the mother may be thousands of miles away but she will start feeling something wrong is happening, because she has a certain connection with the son. The son is just part of her. For nine months he was part and parcel of her physiology, her psychology, everything. His foundation is still connected with her.
It happened: one of my friends is a very well known poet, Professor Rameshwar Shukla, whose pen name is Anchal. We were traveling from Jabalpur to Nagpur in the same car. It must have been twelve-thirty in the night. We were midway between Jabalpur and Nagpur and he suddenly heard something. I didn’t hear anything. He said, “Did you hear something?”
I said, “No.”
He said, “Strange, but I have heard it three times.”
I asked him, “What have you heard?”
He said, “I have heard ‘Munna, Munna, Munna.’”
I said, “What does that signify to you?” I had no idea that his childhood name was Munna. In India it is a popular name, Munna. Before children get a legal name, they are called Munna, Pappu, just like that – any meaningless word. It was his childhood name.
He said, “Only my father uses it, nobody else,” because he was now about sixty himself, principal of a college and a well known poet. Who would call him Munna? Only his father, and his father lived in Allahabad.
I said, “Then it is better we stop somewhere and you immediately make a phone call to Allahabad.”
He said, “Nonsense! Why?”
I said, “Don’t say nonsense…because if only your father calls you Munna, and you heard it three times, and I have not heard it, that means something in your unconscious is stirring, and it must be connected with your father.”
He said, “Do you believe in such things?”
I said, “It is not a question of belief; to me it is very scientific.”
We stopped at Seoni, a big city between Jabalpur and Nagpur; that was the only place where we could get to the phone. We phoned. His father had died exactly at twelve-thirty, and before he died he had called three times, “Munna, Munna, Munna,” because he was his only son. And at exactly twelve-thirty my friend had heard it. Now, this has nothing to do with the conscious mind. But the unconscious can have a communication.
In primitive societies you will find many people capable of communicating with each other, hundreds of miles away – sending messages, receiving messages as accurately or perhaps more accurately than we can manage through the conscious mind. By writing a letter you may commit a mistake; sending a message on the telephone something may go wrong. The weather may not be right, you may be connected to a wrong number – anything is possible. But when one unconscious relates to another unconscious, nothing ever goes wrong.
This unconscious mind has tremendous powers which are unexplored. And because they are unexplored, religions have exploited them. So many religious miracles can be reduced to the unconscious, unexplored possibilities. And one day, every miracle will be able to be explained by the unconscious mind and its potentialities. All its potentialities have not been developed. But the unconscious cannot help you to know yourself. That is beyond it, that is not its power.
The third part of the Jungian division is the collective unconscious, which is even deeper and more foundational than the unconscious – because the unconscious was individual: it is your unconscious that you have gathered from the day you were conceived in your mother’s womb. I am not saying from the day you were born. No, it starts from the moment you were conceived, because not only does your body start growing, your mind starts growing with it. So the first impact on your mind is from your mother. In those nine months, whatsoever happens to your mother’s psychology is bound to have an impact for your whole life.
So if a scientific society ever exists in the world, then in those nine months a mother’s psychology should be taken care of, because it is not only her mind – she is creating, side by side, another mind which will be a continuity. If she is angry, something of anger enters into the unconscious of the child. If she is miserable, then something of her misery enters into the child.
But the collective unconscious means it is millions and millions of years old. It carries your forefathers, and their forefathers. It carries…if man has come, according to Darwin, from the monkeys, then somewhere in the collective unconscious the monkey’s experiences are stored. But the monkey is not the beginning.
Scientists say that man must have come from the sea. The first life must have appeared in the sea, as a fish perhaps. Your collective unconscious carries all that, all those experiences. You are carrying the whole history of life on this planet, and it affects you. Without your knowing, it manipulates you, it makes you do things, think things, behave in a certain way.
But even this unconscious, the collective unconscious, has no way toward your being. It can lead you back to all kinds of bodies your being had. Perhaps that’s what gave the idea of reincarnation. Just think of it – perhaps that is what gave the Eastern people the idea of reincarnation: that they were before this life. Buddha says he was an elephant in one life. Perhaps he has entered into his collective unconscious and what he is remembering is not his individual experience but the collective experience. But when you remember it, it looks like it is individual.
The day we are able to go deeper, and dive deeper into the collective unconscious, that day will be very decisive. Whether lives continue individually – one is born into one body, then in another body, then in another body – or it is just the collective evolution that leaves its track in each individual, and he remembers…. But when he remembers, he feels, “I have been an elephant.”
Now, Hindus say that the first incarnation of God is a fish. Strange…just to think of it. Why should they have thought that? There are so many animals in the world, why should God’s first incarnation be a fish? Hindus have another incarnation of God which is half man, half animal. Nobody has bothered to think about these facts in a psychological way. Perhaps it is a remembrance of the very depth of your collective unconscious that you feel “fish.” And that certainly means life incarnates as a fish. You can call it God, it doesn’t matter; it simply means the same. And the idea, the very idea occurring to Hindus – and the idea is ten thousand years old, it is not a new idea – to anybody to whom this idea occurred, I can say he must have dived deep into the collective unconscious and found life arising as a fish.
And the second idea is even more important. One incarnation of God is Narasinha, half man, half lion. Certainly if man has evolved through animals, then there must have been a time when he was half animal and half man. You cannot just jump: at ten o’clock you are a monkey and by ten-fifteen you are a man – this cannot be. Somewhere between ten and ten-fifteen you must be half monkey and half man, transforming, changing. And perhaps that is true even today as far as the majority of humanity is concerned – half monkey, half man. The division can be two ways: either you can divide man into the lower half, monkey, and the upper half, man; or you can divide man into the outer half, monkey, and the inner half, man – or vice versa.
But there seems to be so much animal in man that Darwin’s hypothesis gains ground. Whether man comes from monkeys or not is not the point; the point is the idea that man grows somewhere from animals. But where will the animal go? Where does your childhood go when you become a youth? It becomes part of your unconscious. When you become old, your youth becomes part of your unconscious. Nothing goes anywhere. It can’t, there is nowhere to go. It simply goes on piling up within you. But what happened to life millions of years before must be somewhere within your life – of course at a depth where it is not easy to reach. The depth must be oceanic. The Atlantic and the Pacific at some points are five miles deep. I think man’s collective unconscious must be far, far deeper; five miles won’t do, because the whole life – so many changes, so many transformations….

But even from plumbing the whole depth of the collective unconscious you cannot go toward yourself. Your being still remains the one who is plumbing, the one who is trying to know. You cannot be reduced to an object. Let me emphasize it: You cannot be reduced to an object. You are always a subject, always and always. Whatsoever you know, you are the knower – you are never the known.
The third dimension is from Eastern psychology, which accepts “the fourth.” Western psychology only accepts three, Western psychoanalysis accepts only three divisions. Eastern psychology accepts four: waking consciousness, dreaming consciousness, sleeping consciousness, and the fourth. The fourth is not named; it is called turiya – the fourth, simply the fourth. And they have done well by not naming it, because it is so vast and indefinable that to name it would give it a limitation, would give it a meaning, would make it an object. So they have not named it, they have simply called it the fourth.
Western psychology and psychoanalysis both need the fourth – they are in immense need of the fourth. Without the fourth they are incomplete – incomplete, illogical, irrational…because you go on doing things leaving aside the most important factor of your existence, yourself. Now, Freud is concerned with fear, guilt, repression, sex, greed – his writings are great, his researches are great – but not even for a single moment is he concerned about his being.
In India, the most famous Freudian psychoanalyst was Doctor Laljiram Shukla; he was the head of the psychological studies in the Hindu university of Benares. Just by a coincidence it happened that one of my friends who used to study with me in Jabalpur – after graduation, I moved to Sagar university, he moved to Benares university – he fell in love with Doctor Laljiram Shukla’s daughter. Doctor Shukla was a very famous man. By and by he agreed to their marriage. They were of the same caste, so there was no problem. And this boy belonged to a very rich family, so there was no problem. And he was the only son – so far so good.
Laljiram Shukla was very eager to complete the marriage quickly, so he brought this boy – who is now himself a very famous historian in the university of Jabalpur, head of the department of history, Doctor Baijnath Sharma – he brought him from the hostel to his home, saying, “Why do you live there? You are going to be my son-in-law. There is no need for you to live in the hostel, you can live in my house. I have such a big house. And only I, my daughter, and my wife – three persons – are living in that big house. You can have everything separate for yourself.”
By and by, Baijnath started talking about me because he was immensely impressed by me – four years he was with me – and he created so much curiosity in Laljiram that he said, “You’d better invite this man. I would like to see him who has impressed you so much. And I have heard it not only from you – anybody who comes from that side of the country to my department brings his name. It has come from so many sources that now I cannot wait any more. Send him a telegram to come immediately and to be my guest for a few days, as many days as he can manage.”
The telegram came to me. I thought it was a good opportunity to have a little wrestling with a great psychologist. I had been wrestling with religious people, and all kinds of people, but a great Freudian – this was a good opportunity.
I sent the telegram: “I am coming immediately, and I will be your guest as long as you can manage.” Even my telegram made him afraid: “as long as you can manage….” Was I going to live there forever?
Baijnath said to him, “I cannot say anything about him – he may live here forever, but the fault is yours. You have told him: ‘You can stay here for as long as you can manage.’ He has replied to you, ‘I will stay there as long as you can manage.’”
Laljiram said, “The trouble has started. I was worried that there was going to be trouble.”
I arrived there in the night, about twelve o’clock. He had come to receive me. He was an old man. We went home. He didn’t say a single word on the way. The way was long because my train used to reach Mugalsarai, not directly to Benares, and from Mugalsarai I had to go by car to Benares. Mugalsarai is on one side of the Ganges and Benares is on the other side of the Ganges. So there are trains which go to Benares and there are trains which go to Mugalsarai, but this particular train, which was the first available…. So he had come to pick me up at Mugalsarai – but no one spoke a single word.
Baijnath was very uncomfortable. He said, “What is the matter? You are both silent.”
Laljiram said, “I am silent because if I say something and he contradicts it, then we cannot sleep the whole night. And I don’t know why he is silent.”
I said, “I am simply silent, waiting for the morning.”
He said, “What do you mean?”
I said, “You have started! Wait for the morning, please don’t start it right now. I am tired…a long journey, and now, in the middle of the night…. Wait for the morning!”
He said, “You have disturbed my sleep. What are you going to do in the morning?”
I said, “The morning means the morning. I am not going to give you any clue.”
Baijnath told me in the morning, “The whole night he has been walking in the corridor. I told him two or three times, ‘You should go to sleep. What are you thinking about?’ He said, ‘I am thinking about what is going to happen in the morning.’”
Baijnath said, “What is going to happen? Nothing is going to happen – he is absolutely harmless. You can go to sleep.” But he could not. He tried – but he would get up again and walk.
He said, “Tonight I cannot sleep.”
In the morning…it was a winter morning so we sat in the sun, and all his postgraduate students, his Ph.D. research scholars – about thirty-five people from the university – had come. A few professors of his department were also there.
I said, “Now you can start. The morning has come.”
He said, “So let us start from the very beginning. Is God or not?”
I told him, “That is not from the very beginning. God cannot be the first. There must have been something before him. There must have been a father to him, a mother to him; otherwise how does he suddenly jump into existence? And if he can suddenly jump into existence, then why bother about the whole thing? The whole existence suddenly jumps into existence: if this is going to be the final position that we have to accept – that God is uncreated – then why not accept the simple thing that existence is uncreated? Why bring in this one fiction unnecessarily? This is a basic principle in science: use the least amount of hypotheses possible. Anything that can be dropped should be dropped. The most minimal hypothesis should be used. That’s a basic fundamental of all scientific research. God is a useless hypothesis. He does not help in any way, because the question remains the same: ‘Who created him?’ It does not change the question, so it is useless.”
So I said, “Ask something relevant, meaningful. I have not come so far to see you to discuss God with you. And what business has a Freudian with God? I have come to you as a psychologist. That will be better, you will be on solid ground. With things like God, etcetera, you will be in trouble. You be on your ground, and I want to test you on your solid ground.”
So to this man I said for the first time, “Your whole psychology is missing the most important point. You are talking about the conscious, subconscious and unconscious, but you are not talking about the fourth, turiya – and the fourth is behind everything.”
I have shown you three divisions: the Eastern, divided into waking consciousness, dreaming consciousness, sleeping consciousness; the psychoanalysts’ divided into conscious, unconscious, collective unconscious; the psychologists’, divided into cognition, thinking, feeling. These are the only divisions man has made up to now. But only the Eastern psychology has recognized the fourth, without giving it a name. And the fourth is the door to religion. What is this fourth?
You see things there, outside in the world – that’s the objective world, the people, the trees, the mountains, the oceans. Then you see thoughts, feelings, emotions, anger, greed – that is your inner world. But who is the seer? These are the two worlds – the outer world and the inner world – but who is the seer?
To inquire who is the seer of it all is to raise the basic religious question. God is not the religious question. It is a very childish question. The religious question is: who is the seer? The seer of thoughts, emotions, the seer of things, people, mountains, clouds…who is this seer hidden behind everything? The watcher on the hills does nothing but simply watch. No action of any kind, just a pure mirror which reflects whatsoever comes in front of it.
The way to this watcher is very simple. You drop the objects of watching, because they are covering the watcher – as if the sun is clouded from all sides, and you cannot see the sun. It is easy to drop the outer objects; you can just close your eyes, and outer objects are no longer there. The difficulty arises with the inner objects. They are just shadows of outer objects – thoughts passing by, dreams passing by, fantasies passing by. Don’t fight with them. If you fight with them you have become an actor; you are no longer a watcher. You have forgotten that you have to remain just a watcher.
It is a simple knack. Once it happens there is not any difficulty, but the first time, certainly it is difficult. It is just like swimming. If you see other people swimming in the river or in the ocean, you are amazed, because you cannot swim. And they say it is very simple, there is no problem in it.
In my village there was a very beautiful, old, good man. Everybody loved him; he was so simple and so innocent, even though he was more than eighty. And by the side of the village flowed a river. He had made a special spot of his own on the river, where he used to take his bath. As far as anybody in the village could remember, they had always seen him there, day in, day out, year in, year out – whether it was rainy season, summer, winter, made no difference; whether he was sick or healthy made no difference. He would be there at exactly five o’clock in the morning at his spot. That was the deepest part of the river, so ordinarily nobody used to go there – and it was far away.
People used to go to the river; it was just half a furlong from my house, but that spot was almost two miles away. And just like our hills surrounding the river, you had to go and pass one mountain, then another, then another, then you would reach that spot. But it was a beautiful spot. When I became aware of it, I started going there, and we immediately became friends because… You know me, what type of person I am: if he was going to be there at five, I was going to be there at three. One day, two days, three days passed; he said, “What is the matter? Have you decided to defeat me?”
I said, “No, that is not the point. But I am going to be here at three – just as you have decided to be here at five.”
He said, “Do you know how to swim?”
I said, “I don’t, but you need not worry; if people can swim, then I can swim. If you can swim, then what is the problem? One thing is certain: it is humanly possible. That’s enough. At the most I can drown – so what? One day everybody has to die. It does not matter.”
He said, “You are dangerous. I will teach you how to swim.”
I said, “No.” I told him, “Simply sit here and I will jump in. Don’t try to save me if I am dying; even if I am calling out to you to save me, don’t listen.”
He said, “What kind of child are you? You will be crying, ‘Save me!’ and I am not to save you?”
I said, “Yes. I will not be crying. I am simply making absolutely sure. Perhaps when I am drowning, dying or suffocating, or water is going in my nose and mouth, I may start crying, ‘Save me!’ but I want to be clear: I don’t want to be saved by anybody in any case. Either I will come out knowing what swimming is or I will go down, knowing that swimming is not for me.”
And before he could stop me, I jumped in. Certainly I had to go two or three times under the water and come up. And he was standing there waiting, so that if I called him… But I simply waved my hand to show, “No, I am not going to call.” I went down three or four times, came up, threw my arms about haphazardly because I had no idea how to swim – but what can you do? When you are drowning you try every possible way you can. And within five minutes I knew the knack. I came back and I told him, “You were offering to teach me this – which I can learn within five minutes? I just had to risk, and accept the fact: at the most it could have meant death.”
Swimming is a knack, it is not an art that somebody has to learn. You have just to be thrown into water. You are bound to start splashing and throwing your hands and your legs about, and soon you will find that if you throw your hands and legs about in a harmonious way, in synchronicity, then the water itself keeps you up.
I had told that old man, “I have seen dead bodies passing along the river. When a dead man can swim, do you mean to say to me that I am alive, and I cannot swim? Even the dead man knows the art.” In the rains, when there were floods, many times it would happen that whole villages would be taken by the river – many people, dead bodies, dead animals would pass by. So I said, “Even dead people go by, fast. And I am alive, so let me have the chance of knowing it by myself because my feeling is that it is only a knack. What art can there be? It is not craftsmanship, or some difficult art to be understood. All that I see is that people are throwing their hands about – so l can throw mine about too.”
You have to remember: watching is not some art, some craft, no; it is a knack. All that you have to remember is, don’t drown in the river that is flowing inside. And how do you get drowned in it? If you become in any way active, you are drowned.
If you remain inactive, passive, not doing anything…alert; “I am not supposed to do anything; the anger is passing, let it pass. Good-bye.” If some thought is going past, good or bad, don’t bother. Your simple concern is to watch, not to call names, not to condemn, because all those are actions.
Action brings you into the mind. Inaction takes you out of the mind. Action is a bridge between you and the mind; with inaction the bridge is dropped, you are standing there all alone. And the moment you are not active, not in any way participating, a miracle is experienced.
It is your participation that gives life to the mind – its thoughts, feelings, emotions – it is your participation that gives life to it. When you are not participating, they simply disperse, leaving a pure emptiness: you alone, in your utter aloneness. Time stops. As mind stops, time stops. And for the first time in your life you see the seer, you observe the observer. You become aware of awareness, and this is all that religion is about.
But you have to remember the fourth. The three divisions made by three different kinds of people around the world are not enough. You need the fourth.
And the fourth is simple – watchfulness.

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