The Ultimate Alchemy Vol 1 01

First Discourse from the series of 10 discourses - The Ultimate Alchemy Vol 1 by Osho.
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Tasya nishchintanam dhyanam

Meditation is the constant contemplation of That.
There are some points to ponder over before we step into the unknown. The unknown is the message of the Upanishads. The basic, the most foundational, always remains unknown; that which we know is always superficial. So some points must be understood before we can go deep into the realm of the unknown. These three words – the known, the unknown and the unknowable – must be understood first, because the Upanishads are concerned with the unknown only as a beginning. They end in the unknowable. The known realm becomes science, the unknown is philosophy and the unknowable belongs to religion.
Philosophy is the link between the known and the unknowable, between science and religion. Philosophy is totally concerned with the unknown. The moment something becomes known it becomes part of science; it no longer remains a part of philosophy. So the more science grows, the more philosophy is pushed ahead. The field that becomes known becomes science, and philosophy is the link between science and religion. So as science progresses, philosophy has to be pushed ahead – because it can only be concerned with the unknown. But the more philosophy proceeds ahead, the more religion is pushed ahead – because religion is basically concerned with the unknowable.
The Upanishads begin with the unknown; they end with the unknowable. That’s how misunderstanding arises. Professor M. G. Ranade has written a very deep book on the philosophy of the Upanishads, but it remains only a beginning, it cannot penetrate the deeper valleys of the Upanishadic mystery because it remains philosophical. The Upanishads begin with philosophy, but that is only a beginning. They end in religion, in the unknowable. When I say “unknowable,” I mean that which cannot be known.
Whatsoever the effort may be, howsoever we may try, the moment we know something it becomes part of science, the moment we feel something as unknown it is part of philosophy, the moment we encounter the unknowable – only then is it religion. When I say the unknowable, I mean that which cannot be known but which can be encountered; it can be felt, it can even be lived. You can be face to face with it. It can be encountered, but still it remains unknowable. Only this much is felt – that now we are deep in a mystery which cannot be solved. So before we enter this mystery some points have to be understood, otherwise there will be no entrance.
One is: how to listen, because there are different dimensions of listening. You can listen with your intellect, with your reason, mm? – that is one way of listening to a thing: the most common, the most ordinary and the most shallow, because with reason you are always either in defense or in attack. You are always fighting with reason, so whenever someone tries to understand something through reason he is fighting with the thing. At the most a very rudimentary understanding is possible, just an acquaintance is possible. The deeper meaning is bound to be missed because the deeper meaning needs a very sympathetic listening.
Reason can never listen with sympathy. It listens with a very argumentative background. It can never listen with love; that is impossible. So listening with reason is good if you are trying to understand mathematics, if you are trying to understand logic, if you are trying to understand any system which is totally rational.
If you listen to poetry with reason, then you will be blind. It is as if one is trying to see with one’s ears or to hear with one’s eyes. You cannot understand poetry through reason. So there is a deeper understanding – the second type of understanding – which is not through reason but through love, through feeling, through emotion, through heart.
Reason is always in conflict; reason will not allow anything to pass in easily. It must be defeated; only then can something penetrate. It is an armor around the mind; it is a defense method, a defense measure. It is alert every moment that nothing should pass it unawares, and that nothing should be allowed in – unless reason is defeated. And even when reason is defeated the thing is not going into your heart, because in defeat you cannot feel sympathetic.
The second dimension of listening is through heart, through feeling. Someone is listening to music; then no analysis is needed. Of course if you are a critic, then you will not be able to understand music. You may be able to understand the mathematics, the meter, the language, everything about music – but never the music itself, because music cannot be analyzed. It is a whole. It is a totality. If you wait for a single second to analyze it you have missed much. It is a flowing totality. Of course paper music can be analyzed, but never real music when it is playing. So you cannot stand aloof, you cannot be an observer; you have to be a participant. If you participate, only then do you understand.
So through feeling…the way of understanding is through participation. You cannot be an observer, you cannot stand outside. You cannot make music an object. You have to flow with it, you have to be deeply in love with it. There will be moments when you will not be and only music will be there. Those will be the peaks; those moments will be the moments of music. Then something penetrates to your deeper being. This is a deeper way to listen, but it is still not the deepest.
The first way is through reason – rational; the second is through feeling – emotional; and the third is through being – existential. When you listen through your reason, you are listening through one part of your being. Again, when you listen through your feeling, you are listening through one part of your being. The third, the deepest, the most authentic dimension of listening, is through your totality – body, mind, spirit – as a whole, as a oneness. If you understand this third way, only then will you be able to penetrate the mystery of the Upanishad.
The traditional term for the third listening is “faith.” So we can divide through reason, the method is doubt; through feeling the method is love, sympathy; through being the method is faith, trust – because if we are going into the unknown, how can you doubt? You can doubt the known, but that which is not known at all – how can you doubt it?
Doubt becomes valid if it is concerned with the known. With the unknown, doubt is just impossible. How can you love the unknown? You can love the known; you cannot love the unknown, you cannot create a relationship with the unknown. Relationship is impossible; you cannot relate with it. You can dissolve into it – that is another thing – but you cannot relate with it. You can surrender to it, but you cannot relate to it. Surrender is not a relationship. It is not a relationship at all. It is just dissolving the duality.
So with reason the duality remains: you are in conflict with the other. With love the duality remains: you are in sympathy with the other. But with being the duality dissolves: you are neither in conflict nor in love, you are not related at all. This third is known traditionally as faith, trust – shraddha. As far as the unknown is concerned, faith is the key.
If someone says, “How can I believe,” then he misunderstands, then he misses the very point. Faith is not belief. Belief is, again, a rational thing. You can believe, you can disbelieve. You can believe because you have arguments for believing, you can disbelieve because you have arguments for disbelieving. Belief is never deeper than reason. So theists, atheists, believers, nonbelievers, they all belong to the most shallow realm. Faith is not belief because for the unknown there is no reason for or against. You can neither believe nor disbelieve.
So what remains to be done? You can either be open to it or you can be closed to it. It is not a question of believing or not believing, it is a question of being open or being closed to it. If you trust, then you open. If you distrust, then you remain closed. This is just a key. If you want to open to the unknown then you will have to be in trust, in faith. If you do not want to be open to it you can remain closed – but no one is missing except you, no one is at a loss except you. You will remain closed like a seed. When I say it, I mean it.
A seed has to break, has to die, only then is the tree born. But the seed has never known the tree. The dying of the seed can happen only in faith. The tree is unknown, and the seed will never meet the tree. The seed can remain closed in fear, in fear of death – then the seed will remain a seed and ultimately will die without being reborn. But if the seed can die in faith that the unknown may be born out of its death, only then does it open. In a way it dies, in a way it is reborn – reborn into greater mysteries, reborn into a richer life. The same is the phenomenon with faith. So it is not belief: never misunderstand it as belief. It is not feeling. It is deeper than both. It is your totality.
So how to listen with one’s totality? – with neither reason functioning in antagonism nor feeling functioning in sympathy, but with the totality of one’s being. How can the totality function? – because we know only functions of the parts, we do not know how the totality functions. We know only parts – this part functioning, that part functioning; intellect working, the heart functioning, the legs moving, the eyes seeing…. We know only parts functioning. How does the totality function? The totality functions only in a deep passivity. Nothing is active, everything is silent, you are not doing anything. You are just here – just presence – and the doors open. Only then will you be able to understand what the Upanishad’s message is. So your simple presence is needed – no doing on your part, no functioning. That is what is meant by “total functioning” – just your presence.
I must make it more clear what I mean by “just presence.” If you are in love with someone, then there are moments when you are not doing anything. You are just present by your lover’s or beloved’s side: just present, totally silent; you are not even loving each other – just present. A very strange phenomenon happens. Ordinarily our existence is linear. We exist in a line, in a sequence – my past, my present, my future; this is a line. I move on my track, you move on your track. We have our tracks, linear tracks. Really, we never meet. We are parallel lines – no meeting. Even if we are crowded there is no meeting because you are on your track and I am on my track. You belong to your past, I belong to my past; my present is born out of my past, your present is born out of your past. Your future will be a causal sequence of your past and present, and mine will be of mine.
So we move on tracks – linear tracks, one-line tracks. There is no meeting. Only lovers meet because suddenly, when you are just present with someone, a different time comes into existence. You both meet in a single moment, and this moment neither belongs to you nor to your lover. This is something new. This is neither out of your past nor out of your lover’s past. Time moves in a different dimension – not linear, not from the past to the future, but one present to another present. There is a meeting between two present moments – a different dimension. This dimension is known as the dimension of eternity. So lovers have said that one moment of love is eternity unto itself. It never ends. It has no future, it has no past. It is just present, here and now.
This is what I mean when I say you can listen in such a totality that in your present moment only your presence remains: not with your past, not with your future. Then this very moment is enough – silent, passive, just present here and now, then a different dimension will open. The Upanishadic message can penetrate only in that dimension.
That is what is meant when it is said that the essence of the Upanishads is eternal. It does not mean permanent, it only means a different dimension of time in which there is no future and no past. So you will have to move in a different way – in your inner time. And with that inner change, words begin to take a different shape and a different significance is born out of them.
We use similar words. Everyone uses the same words, but with a different mind the words have a different meaning. For example, a doctor asks a patient, “How are you?” and at a casual meeting on the street you ask someone, “How are you?” and a lover asks a beloved, “How are you?” The words are the same, but is the meaning the same? When a doctor asks a patient, “How are you?” does it mean the same as when a lover asks a beloved, “How are you?” A different significance comes into being.
The Upanishads cannot be understood in an ordinary way. That is how scholars miss the whole point, linguists miss the whole point. Pundits miss the whole point because they work with language, with grammar, with everything that is pertinent, but still they miss. Why do they miss? The missing happens because their inner time is linear. They are working with their intellect, not with their being. Really, they are working on the Upanishad, they are not allowing the Upanishad to work upon them. That is what I mean when I say to just be present, then the Upanishad can work upon you – and that can be a transformation. That can transport you to different planes of existence.
So the first thing to remember is how to listen just by your presence. Absorb through your faith and trust – drink! Do not fight with reason, do not feel with feeling. Just be one with your being. This is the key – the first thing.
The second thing is that the Upanishads use words – they have to – but they stand for silence. They talk and they talk continuously, but they talk for silence. The effort is absurd, paradoxical, contradictory, inconsistent – but this is how it is possible, this is the only way. Even if I have to provoke you toward silence I have to use words. They use words, but they are completely against words and language; they are not for them. This must be remembered continuously, otherwise it is very easy to be lost in words.
Words have their own magic, they have their own magnetism, and each word creates a sequence of its own. Novelists know, poets know: they say sometimes they only begin their novel. When it ends, they cannot say they have ended it. Really, the words have their own sequence. They begin to be alive in their own way, and then they go on.
Tolstoy has said somewhere, “I begin, but I never end, and sometimes my own characters say things that I never wanted to say.” They begin to have their own life and they go on their own tracks. They become free from the author, from the novelist, from the poet. They become as free as children become free from their parents. They have their own life.
So words have their own logic. Use a word, and you are on a track. And the word will create many things. The word itself will create many things, and one can be lost. But the Upanishads are not for words. That is why they use as few as possible. Their message is so telegraphic that not a single word is used unnecessarily. The Upanishads are the shortest treatises; not a single word is used unnecessarily, because words can create a hypnotic sequence. But words have to be used, so be aware that you are not lost in words.
Meaning is something different. Even more than “meaning” – it would be good to use the word significance. The Upanishads use words as signs, as symbols, as indications. They use words to show something, not to say something. You can say something by your words, you can show something by your words. When you show something, then the word must be transcended, must be forgotten; otherwise words come in the eyes and they distort the whole perception.
We will be using words, but with this caution: go on remembering that not only are meanings given, but some indications. The words have been used symbolically – just like “a finger pointing to the moon.” The finger is not the moon, but one can cling to the finger and one can say, “My teacher showed me – this is the moon!” The finger is not the moon, but the finger can be used to show. The word is never the truth, but words can be used to show. So always remember that the finger has to be forgotten. If the finger becomes more significant and important than the moon then the whole thing will be perverted.
Remember this second point: words are just indicators to something else which is wordless – something which is silent, something which is beyond, something which transcends.
This forgetting that words are not realities has created much confusion. There are thousands and thousands of commentaries, but they are concerned with words, not with the wordless reality. They go on discussing…. For centuries, millennia, pundits have discussed what this word means and what that word means and they have created much literature. But so much search for meaning – and totally meaningless! They have missed the point: the words were never meant to be realities, only pointers towards something else totally different from words.
Thirdly: I am not going to comment on the Upanishad, because commentary can only be something concerned with intellect. Rather, I am going to respond, not comment. Response is a different thing – altogether different. You whistle in a valley or you sing a song or you play on a bamboo flute and the valley echoes, re-echoes, re-echoes. The valley is not commenting: the valley is responding.
A response is a living thing; a commentary is bound to be dead. A response means that the Upanishad will be read here – I will not comment on it, I will just become a valley and give an echo. It will be difficult to understand it because even if the echo is authentic you may not be able to get the same sound back. You may not be able to find out the relevance because when a valley responds, when it echoes something, that echo is not just a passive echo; it is creative. The valley adds much, the nature of the valley adds much. A different valley will echo differently. That is how things should be. So when I say something, it is not meant that everyone is bound to say this. This is how my valley echoes it.
I am reminded of Stevens’ lines. They look like a Zen poem: “Twenty men crossing a bridge into a village, are twenty men crossing twenty bridges into twenty villages.” When I read some-thing, my valley echoes in a certain way; it is not passive; in that echo I am also present. When your valley re-echoes it, it will be a different thing. When I say “a living response,” I mean this.
Sometimes it may look absolutely irrelevant because the valley will give it a shape, a color of its own. This is natural. So I say that commentaries are criminal; there should only be responses, no commentaries – because the commentator begins to feel that whatsoever he is saying is absolutely true. A commentator begins to feel that other commentators are wrong, and he begins to feel a self-imposed duty to criticize other commentators because he feels his commentary can be right only when other’s commentaries are wrong. But that is not the case with a response. Multi-responses are possible, and every response is right if it is authentic. If it comes from your depths, then it is right. There is no outward criterion of what is right and what is wrong. If something comes out of you from your depths, if you become one with it, if it vibrates through your whole being, then it is right. Otherwise howsoever clever and howsoever logical, it is wrong.
This is going to be a response. And when I say “response,” I mean it will be more like poetry and less like philosophy. It will not be a system. You cannot create systems through responses. Responses are atomic, fragmentary. They have an inner unity, but to find that inner unity is not so easy. The unity is just like a mainland and an island: between an island and a mainland there is a unity, but deep down, deep down in the depths of the sea, the land is one. If that is understood, then no man is an island. Deep down things are one. The deeper you go, the more you reach to the oneness. So if a response is authentic then any response, even the opposite response which may look absolutely contradictory to it, cannot be different. Deep down there will be a unity.
But one has to go deep, and commentaries are superficial things. So I am not going to give you a commentary. I will not say what this Upanishad means. I will say only what this Upanishad means in me. I cannot claim any authority, and those who claim are really immoral. No one can say what this Upanishad means. All that can be said is what this Upanishad means in me – how I echo it.
This response can create a responsiveness in you also if you are just present here. Then whatsoever I say will echo in you also, and if it can echo, only then will you be able to understand it. So just be like a valley, be in a let-go, so that you can echo freely. Be concerned with yourself being a valley rather than with the text of the Upanishad or with what I am saying. Be concerned with yourself being a valley and all else will follow. No tension is needed, no strained effort is needed to understand me – that can become a barrier. Just relax, just be silent and passive and let whatsoever happens echo in you. Those vibrations will transport you to a different perspective, to a different vision.
Lastly: I am not a Hindu, neither am I Mohammedan nor a Christian…a homeless wanderer. So I do not belong to the tradition of the Upanishads outwardly, I have no investment in them. When a Hindu comments or when a Hindu thinks about the Upanishads he has investments. When a Mohammedan writes about the Upanishads he has anti-investments; they cannot be true and authentic. If one is a Hindu he cannot be true about the Upanishads; if one is a Mohammedan he cannot be true about the Upanishads, he is bound to lie. But the deception is so subtle that one may not even be aware.
Man is the only animal who can lie to himself and can live in deceptions. If you are a Hindu and are thinking about the Upanishads, or a Mohammedan and thinking about the Koran, or a Christian and thinking about the New Testament, you will never be aware that you cannot be true. Your being a Christian is the barrier. You cannot be true! One must not belong, only then is the response true. Belonging disturbs, perverts the mind, distracts and projects things which are not or denies things which are.
So to me that is not a problem, and for you also I would suggest that when you are reading the Koran, listening to the Upanishads or to the Bible, do not be Hindus, Christians and Mohammedans at all – just being is enough. You will be able to penetrate deeper. With concepts, with dogmas, you are never open, and a closed mind can create deceptions of understanding, but can never understand.
So I belong to no one, and if I am responding to this Upanishad it is simply because I have fallen in love with it. This, one of the shortest Upanishads, “Atma Pooja,” is a rare phenomenon. So something about this rare Upanishad, why I have chosen to talk about it.
Firstly, it is the shortest, it is just seedlike – potent, pregnant, with much in it. Every word is a seed with infinite possibilities, so you can echo it and re-echo it infinitely, and the more you ponder over it, the more you allow it to go in, the more, newer significances will be revealed. These seedlike words show that they were found in deep silence. Really, this looks strange, but this is a fact. If you have less to say, you will say more. If you really have something to say, you can say it in a very few lines, few words – even a single word may be enough. The less you have to say, the more words you will have to use. The more you have to say, the fewer words you can use.
Now it has become a known fact to psychologists that words are used not to say but to hide. We go on talking because we want to hide something. If you want to hide something you cannot be silent because your face may say it, your silence may indicate it. The other may become suspicious that you are hiding something. So a person who has to hide something will go on talking continuously. Through words you can deceive; through silence you cannot deceive.
The Upanishads really have something to say, so they say it in seed form – in sutras, in aphorisms. This Upanishad has only seventeen sutras. They can be written on a half page. This whole Upanishad can be written on one postcard – on one side! But it has a very potent message, so we will take each seed word and try to penetrate it, to be in a living response with it. Something may begin to vibrate in you, and it can begin, because these words are very potential, they have much. If their atoms could be broken much energy would be released. So be open, receptive, in a deep trust, and let the Upanishad work.

Now we enter into the Atma Pooja Upanishad.
Meditation is the constant contemplation of That.
Aum: this word aum is very significant – significant as a sign, as a symbol, as a secret key. So first we must decode it.
Aum has five matras, five steps. The first step is a, the second is u, the third is m. These are gross steps. When we utter aum, a, u, m – these are three words. But utter a-u-m, and in the end the m resounds – mmm. That is a half step – the fourth. Three are gross and can be heard. The fourth is half gross. If you are very aware only then is it heard, otherwise it is lost; and the fifth is just never heard. When the sound of aum vibrates and the vibrations go into the cosmic emptiness, when the sound has gone and a soundlessness remains, that is the fifth. You utter the word aum, then a-u-m is heard very clearly, then a lingering sound of mmm – half a step – and then soundlessness. That is the fifth. These five steps are just signs towards many things.
First: The Upanishads know that human consciousness has five steps. We know the three gross ones – the waking, the dreaming and the sleep. These are three gross – a, u, m. The Upanishads call the fourth turiya. They have not named it because it is not gross. The fourth is that in which one becomes aware of deep sleep also. If you have been deep in sleep, in a deep, dreamless sleep, if in the morning you can say, “I have been in a deep, deep sleep,” then someone in you has been aware and remembers somehow that there has been a very deep, dreamless sleep…but a witness was there. That witness is known as the fourth. But the Upanishads say that even the fourth is not the ultimate because to be a witness is still to be separate. So when the witness also dissolves – if only the existence remains, without a witness – that is the fifth. So this aum is a sign for many things, for many things – for five bodies in man. The Upanishads divide them into anamaya, pranamaya, manomaya, vigyanamaya and anandamaya – five sheaths, five bodies.
This aum is a cosmic sign. This is just a sign, but it is also a symbol. What does it mean when I say it is also a symbol? When someone goes deep into existence, to the roots, to the very roots, then thoughts are no longer there, the thinker is no longer there, objectivity is no longer there, subjectivity is no longer there – but, still, everything is. In that thoughtless, thinker-less moment, a sound is heard. That sound resembles aum – just resembles it. It is not aum; that is why it is a symbol. We cannot reproduce it, this is the approximate resemblance. That is why it has been likened to many sounds, but it is always nearer to aum.
Christians and Mohammedans have represented it as “amen.” That sound which is heard when everything is lost, and only a sound vibrates, resembles aum. It can resemble amen. In English, there are many words – omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent. That “omn” is the sound. Really, “omniscient” refers to one who has seen the aum, and aum is a symbol for all. “Omnipotent” means one who has become one with aum, because that is the potentiality of the whole cosmos. “Omnipresent” means one who is present in the sound of aum, and that sound surrounds all; it overflows all.
The omn in omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, is aum. Amen is aum. Different seekers, different persons, have come with different resemblances, but they always somehow resemble aum. This is a symbol – a symbol of a universal sound. Modern science thinks in terms of electric particles as the foundational units of existence, but the Upanishads think not of electrical particles but of sound particles as the basis.
Science says that sound is a modification of electric vibrations; sound itself is nothing but electricity. The Upanishads say electricity is nothing but sound modifications. One thing is certain – that somehow sound and electricity are convertible. Which is basic? Science says electricity is basic; the Upanishads say sound is basic. I think this difference is simply because of their approaches. The Upanishads reach to the ultimate reality through sound, through mantra. They use sound to reach sound-lessness. By and by, the sound is dropped; by and by, soundlessness is achieved. Ultimately, when they reach to the bottom, they hear a cosmic sound. It is not a thought, it is not a created sound. It is just in the very nature of existence that it sounds.
That sound they have called aum. They say that when we say aum it is just a resemblance – a very far, far-off copy. It is not true, it is not that which is known there, because it is created by us. It is created by us! It is just like a photograph of something; it simply resembles. My photograph simply resembles me; it is not me.

I have heard about the Dutch painter, van Gogh. A sophisticated lady met van Gogh on the street and said, “I have seen a portrait of you, and it was so lovely and so beautiful that I kissed it.”
Van Gogh asked, “Did the portrait reply?”
The lady said, “No. How can the portrait reply?”
So van Gogh said, “Then it was not me….”

A photograph can resemble; it is not real, mm? Nothing is wrong with it, it is enough that it resembles, but one should not mistake it for the real. So aum is just a symbol – a symbol of something it resembles – like a photograph.
Aum is also a secret key. When I say a secret key, I mean because it resembles the ultimate sound. If you can use it and, by and by, go deep with it, you will reach to the ultimate door because it resembles, and it will resemble more if you do certain things with it. For example, if you utter aum then you have to use your lips – your body mechanism is to be used. Then it will resemble less because a very gross mechanism has to be used and it perverts. It changes aum into a gross thing. Do not use your lips. Create the sound of aum in yourself only through your mind, do not use your body. Then it will resemble more, because now you will be using a more subtle medium. It will give a finer photograph, more close to the real.
Do not even use mind: first use the gross body, then drop it. Then use your mind – just create the sound of aum inwardly. Then even stop that and let the sound echo itself. Do not make any effort: it comes. Then it becomes ajapa – then you are not creating it, you are just in the flow of it. Then it goes even deeper and it becomes even more real. You can use it as a key. When it becomes effortless – when it is not with your body, nor with your mind, but when the sound just flows in you – you are very near.
Now only one thing has still to be dropped – the one who is feeling this aum. The “I,” the ego, that feels “Aum is surrounding me.” If you drop this also then there is no barrier and the copy, the photograph, drops into the real, the original. So it is also a secret key.
This aum is miraculous. It is as foundational to mystics as Einstein’s formula of relativity is to physics. That formula is three things: a sign, a symbol and a secret key – and aum is also three things. But basically it is a secret key. Unless you open the doors it is useless to go on thinking about it, futile, wasting time and life and energy. Unless you are ready to open the door, what is the use of talking about the key? Even if you understand all the implications, all the philosophical implications, it is meaningless. So aum is always put in the beginning and it is always put in the end. The Upanishads always begin with aum, they always end with aum. This is the key.
If you enter the house, the first thing to be used is the key; and again, when you come out, the last thing to be used is the key. So enter! Use the key! But if you begin to contemplate on the key and continue sitting at the door, then the key is not a key for you but a barrier. Throw it! ? because it is not opening anything. Rather, it is closing. And you are constantly thinking about the key.
One can go on thinking about the key without using it. There are many who have pondered, thought and contemplated about what aum means. They have created structures, big structures on it, but they have never used the key, they have never entered the palace. It is a symbol, it is a sign, but basically it is a secret key. It can be used as a method to enter into the cosmic, as a method to drop into the oceanic. The subtler it becomes, the deeper, the nearer it goes to the real; the grosser, the less.
Meditation is the constant contemplation of That.
This is the first sutra.
We live in a world of three dimensions. One dimension is I-it – the world of things. I and my house, I and my furniture, I and my wealth: this is the realm of I-it. A world of “it” surrounds me.
Then there is another dimension, I-thou: I and my beloved, I and my friend, I and my family – a world of persons. This is the second realm.
Then there is a third realm, I-That: I and the universe. The Upanishad says: Meditation is the constant contemplation of That – neither of it, nor of thou, but of That. “That” means the whole. It is not a thing, not a person, it is a That. But why use That? Whenever we say “That,” it means something that transcends, something that is beyond, something that is not where we are – neither in our relationships with things nor in our relationships with persons…. That, without any name, because if you give it a name – for example, if you call it God – it becomes an I-thou relationship. If you call it father or mother, then you bring it to the second dimension. If you say there is no God, then you have to live in a one-dimensional world, I-it.
That is not a thing. Theists are ready to say it is not a thing, but they say it is a person. The Upanishads are not even ready to call it a person, because to make it a person is to limit it and to make it a person is to make it finite. They simply use the word that. They say, “It is all, but we cannot name it because it has no form, no limitation. It is the allness.” So what to call it? They do not call it God, they do not call it divine, they do not call it lord – they do not call it by any name. No form, no name, they simply use the word That, and continuous contemplation of That is meditation.
If you can remember That continuously, then you are in meditation. When you are with things, remember That. When you are with persons, remember That. Wherever you are, remember That – the all. Never see the limited as limited: always look deep and feel the unlimited. Never see the form as the form: always look deep and see the formless in it. Never see the thing as the thing: go deep, feel it, and the That will be revealed. Never see any person caged in his personality. Penetrate deep and feel That which goes beyond – the within beyond.
The continuous contemplation of That is meditation – no ritual, no method, no technique, simply continuous contemplation. But it is arduous, because one has to remember continuously with no gap, no discontinuity, not even a single moment’s forgetfulness. Remembrance – continuous, constant, without any gap. It is the most arduous thing to remember continuously. We cannot remember continuously even for a few seconds. Just begin to count your breaths, and remember how many breaths you can count while continuously remembering, constantly remembering the process of breathing – the incoming, the outgoing breaths. Remember, and count. You have counted three or four, and then you miss. Something else comes in and you have forgotten. And then you remember, “Oh, I was counting, and I have counted only three and I missed.”
Remembrance is the most difficult thing, because we are asleep. We are deeply asleep. We are walking in sleep, talking in sleep, moving, living, loving, doing everything in sleep, in a deep somnambulism, a deep, natural hypnosis. That is why there is so much confusion and so much conflict, so much violence and so much war. It is really a miracle how the human race has survived – so much sleep, and still we manage somehow!
But we are asleep. Our behavior is not a behavior which can be called alert, attentive, aware – we are not. For a single minute we cannot be aware of ourselves. Try it, and then you will feel how much asleep you are: “If I cannot remember myself continuously for one minute, for sixty seconds, how deeply asleep I must be! Two or three seconds, and then sleep comes and I am not there, I have moved. The consciousness has been dropped, the unconscious has come in. There is a deep darkness, and again I remember that I was trying to be aware.”

P. D. Ouspensky was working with Gurdjieff on his method of self-remembering. The first time he met Gurdjieff he said, “What do you mean by self-remembering? I remember myself: I am P. D. Ouspensky.”
Gurdjieff said, “Close your eyes and remember that you are P. D. Ouspensky, and when you forget, tell me. Be frank.”
Only three or four seconds passed and Ouspensky opened his eyes and he said, “I began to dream. I forgot that I am P. D. Ouspensky. I tried three or four times. I said within myself, ‘I am P. D. Ouspensky, I am P. D. Ouspensky, I am P. D. Ouspensky,’ and then a dream broke in and I was not aware.”
So Gurdjieff said, “This is not self-remembering – that you are P. D. Ouspensky. Firstly, you are not P. D. Ouspensky, and secondly, this is not remembering. When the remembering comes you will be the first to deny that you are P. D. Ouspensky.”
For three months Ouspensky tried hard, very hard. The more you try, the more you become aware how hard it is. The more you try, the more you begin to feel that “I have been asleep all my life.” This is just a mechanical awareness that we have. We can move with it, do the routine, but can never go deep. For three months, when he tried and tried and tried and then became aware, a new pillar of consciousness came into existence. When he could feel and be aware constantly, then Gurdjieff asked him to come with him and to move on the street. So Ouspensky said, “For the first time, on the street of a big city, I became aware that everyone is asleep, everyone is moving in sleep. I had moved in the same street but was never aware, and I saw every man asleep – just with open eyes.” He became so afraid that he said to his teacher, “I cannot go further; I must go back. Everyone is so asleep that anything can happen here. I cannot move.”

Just sit by the side of the street and look at people’s eyes moving, then you will become aware that everyone is closed within himself. He is not aware of what is happening around him. Someone is talking with himself, someone is moving his hands, making gestures; he may be in some dream. Lips are moving, everyone is talking within; no one is aware of what is happening around him. All are moving just automaton-like. They are going to their homes; they need not even remember where their homes are – they just move automatically. Their legs move, their hands move their car wheels, they reach their homes, but this whole process is just a sleep, a mechanical routine. Tracks are there, and on those tracks they go on moving. That is why we are always afraid of the new – because then we have to create new tracks. We are afraid of the new because for the new the routine will not do and for some time we will have to be a bit alert. We are always fixed in our dead routines and are, in a way, dead. A sleeping person is really dead. He cannot be said to be alive.
Only for moments, for a few moments in the whole life, do we become aware, and those moments are either in deep moments of love, which are rare…. It happens only to a few people, to very few. When it happens everyone else will feel “That man has gone mad” because he becomes so different, because he comes to see things in a different color, with a different music, with a different light. He begins to look around and he sees a different world. Of course for us he has gone mad, so we can forgive him because “He is mad. He is in a dream.” Really, the contrary is the case: we are asleep, and for a moment he has become aware of a deeper reality. He is alone, but that awareness cannot continue because it is just an accidental happening.
It is not by his effort that he has attained it. It has just happened. It is an accident. He will go to sleep again, and when he goes to sleep then he will feel that he has been betrayed by his lover or beloved because that magic is no longer there. That magic came because he became aware of a different world – in this world there are different worlds. He became aware and now he is asleep again, so he feels he has been betrayed. Every lover feels that he has been betrayed. No one has betrayed him, only in a sudden awakening he has seen a different world, with a different beauty, with different sounds, and now he is again asleep. That glimpse is lost and he feels he has been betrayed. No one has betrayed him, it is only that suddenly he became aware.
One becomes aware either with love or with death. If you are suddenly in the grip of death you will be aware. In sudden accidents – the car speeding uncontrollably down the hill – you will become aware, because there is no future and the past has ended. Only the present moment – this moment of dropping down the hill – is all. Now a different dimension of time opens. You are here and now for the first time. Dreams are not possible because there is no future. You cannot think about the future; the past is just ending. Between these two, for this moment, in this calamity, you have become aware. So love and death are the only moments when we become aware, but they are not in our hands. They are not.
So when the Upanishad says: …the constant contemplation of That, it means that if you can remember continuously, constantly in everything, in every event, that whatsoever is, is That – inside, outside, if everything becomes just a symbol for the remembrance of That – then the consciousness will explode, the sleep will not be there, you will become conscious and aware. That consciousness, that awareness, is meditation.
There are two more things. “Continuous” means without any gap – not a single moment’s gap. But this is difficult, because then your life will be impossible. If you go on continuously remembering the divine how can you live, how can you move, how can you eat? That problem arises if you begin to remember his name, if you begin to remember Rama, Jesus, or something else. If you begin to remember his name, if you give some name to him and begin to repeat “Rama-Rama-Rama,” then your life will become impossible, because either you can remember Rama or you can move on the street.

A soldier was brought to me, a very sincere man, a very devoted one. He was trying continuously to remember Rama. Someone, some guru, told him to remember Rama continuously. He became so much absorbed with that repetition that outward life became impossible – impossible! He could not sleep because he had to remember Rama. If you are repeating “Rama-Rama-Rama” inside you cannot go to sleep, this constant activity will not allow it. He could not move on the street because someone may be honking a horn and he could not hear. He was surrounded by his own repetition, closed. He became insensitive. He was a military soldier, so his captain brought him to me and said, “He cannot even listen. I say, ‘Left turn!’ and he is standing and he is looking. He is absent. What is he doing?”
The captain told me, “It has become impossible. This man has to be hospitalized.”
I asked the soldier, “What are you doing?”
He said, “I can tell you but not my captain. My guru has given me a mantra to repeat continuously, so I am repeating ‘Rama-Rama-Rama.’ Now the repetition has gone so deep – for three years I have been repeating continuously – that I have lost sleep. I cannot see what is happening, I cannot hear what is happening around me. A great barrier has come between myself and the world. I am enclosed within my repetition of ‘Rama.’” He asked me, “How can I do both? If I have to repeat it continuously then I cannot do anything else. So tell me what to do. If I do anything else then this repetition breaks. Gaps are bound to come there.”

This is not meant here. That is why the Upanishad is not giving any name, any form, but is simply saying That. It is possible to remember That continuously, because you are not to remember his name. Rather, you have to feel That in everything you are doing…just carrying water from the well….

One Zen monk, Bokuju, was asked, “What do you do continuously?”
He said, “I don’t do anything continuously. Whatsoever I am doing, I am doing it totally. When I am carrying water from the well, I am carrying water from the well. When I am chopping wood, I am chopping wood. When I am sleeping, I am sleeping.”
The questioner asked, “Then what are you doing?”
Bokuju said, “I am not doing anything. When I am chopping wood, the divine is chopping wood. When I am carrying the water, he is carrying the water. He is the water which is being carried, and he is the wood which is being chopped. Now he is and I am not! So everything has become a worship and everything has become a meditation.”

This whole Upanishad is concerned with how to make your whole life a worship. This Upanishad is absolutely anti-ritualistic. No ritual is needed, only a different attitude, a remembering of That – doing, nondoing, but remembering That. When I say “remembering That” it is not a mental remembering. You are not to remember, “Okay, this stone is That.” If you have to remember in this way, that “this stone is That,” then it is not remembering because two still exist – this stone and That. When the Upanishad says, …constant contemplation of That, it means the stone must drop. Only That is. That is a deep realization, a constant realization.
Begin to feel. Do not touch a thing without feeling the That; do not love anyone without feeling That; do not move, do not even breathe without feeling That. It is not that you have to impose That on everything, you have to discover That in everything, mm? The distinction must be clear. You are not to impose That on everything. You can impose; that will be just a trick. You have to discover. Seeing a flower, you can impose and can say, “Oh, that flower is That.”
No, do not impose, do not say anything. Just remain silent near the flower. Look at it; be in deep sympathy with it, in a deep communion with it. Forget yourself. Just be a passive awareness there, and the flower will flower into That. The That will be revealed.
So go on discovering That. That is what is meant by constant contemplation. And constant contemplation of That is meditation.

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