The Ultimate Alchemy Vol 1 02

Second Discourse from the series of 10 discourses - The Ultimate Alchemy Vol 1 by Osho.
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You said last night that those who have become void, valley-like,
do not react but they respond, and that the responses of these
different enlightened ones will be different – that the valley will
re-echo in its own unique and individual way.
Now a question arises whether those who become absolutely void,
nothingness, still have a personality and individuality.
If so, then please explain how this becomes possible.
This is one of the paradoxes of spiritual life: the more one dissolves into the divine, the more unique one becomes. The dissolution is not of the individuality but of the self: the dissolution is not of the uniqueness but of the ego. The more you are an ego, the more you are like others, because everyone is an egoist.
The ego is the most ordinary thing in the world. Everyone is an egoist; even a newborn child is an egoist – a perfect egoist. So it is not anyone’s achievement; it is not extra-ordinary. Really, it can be said that to be just ordinary is the most extraordinary thing possible – because no one feels just ordinary. So to feel oneself extraordinary is just the most ordinary thing. Everyone feels like that. So ego is not something unique.
If you have an ego, it is not something unique. Really, egolessness is the most unique thing, the most uncommon, rare. It happens only sometimes. Centuries pass, and rarely the event happens that someone becomes egoless – a Buddha, a Jesus. But when we say that someone becomes egoless, it does not mean that he is not. Really, for the first time, now he is – authentically grounded into the very being. He is no longer an ego.
So take it from a different root: ego is a false phenomenon – just an appearance, not a reality. It is not something grounded in the being – just a dream, a thought, just a mental construction. So the more you belong to the ego, the less you belong to the existence. The more you concentrate on your ego, the less and less you are authentic. You become false – an existential lie.
When we talk about becoming empty, nothing, valley-like, we mean that there is no ego – but you are! Let me say it in this way: I say “I am,” but when the ego dissolves there remains the pure “am-ness.” The “I” is no longer there, but “am-ness” is there, and for the first time pure, total, uncontaminated. The ego contaminates it.
The word personality and the word individuality must not be confused, they are totally different. They do not mean any similar entity; they are not the same at all. Personality belongs to the ego, individuality to the being. Personality is just a facade. The ego is the center and the personality is the circumference. It is not individuality at all.
This word personality is very meaningful. It is derived from the Greek word persona. “Persona” means a mask. In Greek drama, the characters, the actors, will use masks to hide their faces so the real face is hidden and the masked face becomes the reality. “Personality” means a mask – that which you are not but only appear to be.
So we have many faces; really, no one has one personality, mm? – we have multi-personalities. Everyone has to change faces the whole day. You cannot remain with one face. It will be so difficult because every time you face someone else you have to use another face. Before your servant you cannot have the same face as you have before your master. Before your wife you cannot have the same face as you have before your beloved. So we have a flexible system of continually changing faces.
For the whole day, the whole life, we are continually changing faces. You can be aware of this. You can feel when you change a face and why you change it and how many faces you have. So, really, a personality means a system of flexible faces, and when you say that someone has a great personality it only means that he has a more flexible system. He is not a fixed man: he has a more flexible system. He can change very easily. He is a big actor.
This is personality; you have to construct it every moment. So no one can be at ease with his personality, it is a constant effort. So if you are tired, your personality will lose its luster. In the morning your personality has a luster, in the evening it is lost. The whole day of utility: it is constantly changing. So when I use the word personality, I mean a false appearance which you have created around yourself.
Individuality is something else. Individuality does not mean something constructed and created by you, but the very nature of your being. Again, the word individuality is very meaningful. It means that which cannot be divided, which is indivisible. We have an inherent intrinsic nature which cannot be divided, which is indivisible. Carl Gustav Jung chooses the word ‘individuation’ as one of the deepest phenomena. He said individuation is the way towards truth, towards the divine – individuation: being an individual.
The Indian term “yoga” means the same thing as individuation. The term “yoga” means to conjoin again that which has become divisible, to join again that which has become divided, to come again to the indivisible. So when translating “yoga” into English, it would be better if we call it “the way to individuation.” This individuality remains and becomes more penetrating, becomes more sharp. The moment you lose the ego, the moment you discard your personalities, you become individual.
This individuality is a unique phenomenon. This is unrepeatable. A Buddha cannot be repeated; a Gautam Siddharth can be repeated. A Jesus can be repeated, but not Jesus Christ. Jesus means the personality; Jesus Christ means the individuality. Gautam Siddharth is just ordinary; he can be repeated. Anyone can be Gautam Siddharth, but the moment Gautam Siddharth becomes enlightened and becomes the Buddha, now the phenomenon is unrepeatable. It is unique. It has never been before and it will never be again. This buddhahood, this peak of realization, is so unique that it cannot be repeated.
So when I said to be just like a valley, and when I said that every valley will echo differently, I meant that every valley has its own individuality. Buddha has his own, Jesus his, Krishna his. So, really, this will be good to understand.
Why do Krishna, Christ and Buddha differ so much? They differ! They differ as much as there is any possibility to differ, but still they are, in a very deep way, one. As far as individuation is concerned they are one; as far as individualities are concerned they are different. They have come to “the undivided.” They have realized the undivided, the basic unity of existence, but because of this basic unity and its realization, it does not mean that now they are not unique. Now they are really unique. That’s why I say this is one of the paradoxes.
Two ordinary persons can differ, but their difference can never be total, absolute – never! Even in their difference they have similarities. Really, their difference is always of degrees. Even if they are totally contrary to one another, their difference is of degrees. A person who is a communist and a person who is anti-communist – even they are different only in degrees. The person who is anti-communist is still communist to a lesser degree, and the person who is a communist is still a capitalist to a lesser degree. The difference is always of degrees. And they can change, they can change camps very easily; there is no problem. Ordinarily, they change. The difference is just like that of cold and heat – only of degrees. But a Buddha and Krishna, a Christ and Mohammed, and a Lao Tzu and Mahavira – their difference is not of degrees. They can never meet. This is the paradox: they have come to oneness, and yet they can never meet. The difference is not of degrees. The difference is of their uniqueness. What do I mean by this uniqueness?
We can conceive of “oneness” very easily. A drop of water drops into the ocean and becomes one with it. But that oneness is just dead – a dead oneness. The drop lost itself completely; now it is nowhere. A Buddha is not dropping in that way. His dropping is in a different way. If you put a flame before the sun the flame becomes one with the sun, but the individuality is not lost, it still remains itself. If we burn fifty flames in this room they will create one light, but every flame will be a flame unique in itself. So this dissolution into the cosmic is not a simple dissolution. It is very complex. The complexity is this: the one who dissolves, remains. Rather, on the contrary, for the first time he is.
This individuality echoes differently, and that is the beauty of it. It is beautiful! Otherwise it will be just ugly: just think, if Buddha responds in the same way as Jesus, the world will be poorer for it, very poor. A Buddha responds in his own way, a Jesus in his own way. The world is richer for it and there is beauty. The world is freer and you can be yourself.
But this distinction must be remembered: when I say that you can be yourself, I do not mean your ego. When I say you can be yourself, I mean your nature, your Tao, your existence. But it has an individuality. That individuality is not personality. So if I say they belong to the same existence, yet individually; they respond from the same depth, but individually; no sense of ego is there – but the uniqueness remains.
This world is not just a colorless unity; it is not monotonous. It has multi-colors; it is multi-tonal. You can create music with one note also, but then it will be just monotonous and boring. It cannot be lively, it cannot be beautiful. A more subtle and complex harmony is achieved through many notes – multi-phonal. A harmony runs through, but it is not a monotonous thing and each note has its own individuality. It contributes to the total harmony, and it contributes only because it has its own individuality.
A Buddha contributes only because he is a Buddha, and a Jesus contributes only because he is a Jesus. He gives a new note, a new vibration. A new harmony is born because of him, but that is possible only because he has an individuality. This is not only for deeper things. Even for very trivial and small things a Buddha and a Jesus differ. A Buddha walks in his own way; no one else can walk like that. A Jesus looks in his own way; no one else can look like that. Even their eyes, the very gestures, the very words they use, are unique. The other cannot even conceive….
This world is a harmony of unique notes, and the music is richer for that – every valley echoing in its own way.
All those well-wishers who try to impose a dead unity and who try to wash out individuality from everywhere – who say that the Koran means the same thing as the Gita, who say that Buddha teaches the same thing as Mahavira – are not really aware of what nonsense they are talking. If they could win, the world would become just a poor world. How can the Koran say the same thing as the Gita? How can the Gita say the same thing as the Koran? The Koran has its own individuality – no Gita can say that. No Koran can repeat the Gita because Krishna has his own aura, Mohammed his own. They never meet. Yet, I say, they stand on the same ground. They never meet, this is the beauty – and they will never meet. They will be just like parallel lines running to infinity.
They will never meet! This is what I mean by uniqueness: they are like peaks. The higher the peak goes, the less is the possibility of meeting with another peak. You can meet when you are on the ground – everything is meeting – but the higher you go, the more of a peak you become, and the less is the possibility of any meeting. So they are like Himalayan peaks, never meeting. If you try to impose a false unity over them, you will just destroy the peaks.
They are different, but their difference need not be inimical, their difference need not be a conflict. The conflict arises only because we are not ready to accept differences. Then we try to find similarities. Either we must have similarities or we will have conflict. Either we must speak the same thing or we must be enemies. We have only two alternatives – and both are wrong. They belong to one attitude. Why should they not be different? – altogether different, meeting nowhere? What is the need of conflict? Really, different notes create a beautiful harmony. Then there is a deeper meeting – no meeting in the notes, but in what the notes create; in the harmony there is a meeting.
One must begin to feel that harmony. If one only knows a jarring note – a Mohammed, a Jesus, a Buddha are just notes – no harmony is felt.
The universe is a harmony. If you can begin to feel the gaps and the underlying unity and the soaring peaks meeting nowhere, and if you can see this whole in a totality, in a comprehensive unity, then you accept both – the individuality and the common harmony. Then there is no problem. There is not!

Can this also explain why Mahavira and Buddha,
who were contemporaries, never met –
never physically came across one another?
They cannot meet – even physically. They came, so many times, very near meeting. Once they were both staying in one sarai – an inn. In one part was Mahavira and in another part Buddha – but there was no meeting. They passed through the same villages. Their whole lives they were confined to Bihar, a very small area. They visited the same villages; they remained in the same villages; they talked to the same audiences. Their followers went on coming from Buddha to Mahavira and from Mahavira to Buddha. There was much controversy, there was much conversion, but they never met.
They cannot meet! Their very beings are now such peaks that the meeting is not possible. The meeting has become intrinsically impossible. Even if they just sit side by side they can never meet. Even if to us they appear to be meeting and embracing each other, they can never meet. Their meeting has become impossible. They are so unique, they are so peak-like, the inner meeting is impossible. What is the use of meeting outwardly? It is useless, it is meaningless.
This seems inconceivable to us. We think that two good persons should meet. For us, the non-meeting attitude is something bad. But really, there is no non-meeting attitude – there is impossibility. It is not that Buddha would not like to meet Mahavira. It is not that Mahavira is resistant. No, it is simply impossible; it just cannot happen. There is no attitude about it. So, really, this is miraculous. They remained in one village, they stayed in one sarai, but never, neither in Buddhist literature nor in Jaina scriptures, is there any reference to anyone suggesting that they should meet – not a single reference. There is not even any reference that it had been suggested it would have been better if they had met. This is miraculous, surprising. Neither has denied the other. Neither Buddha nor Mahavira has said, “I will not meet.” Why didn’t they meet? It is a sheer impossibility. It is not possible.
For us who stand on the ground it looks strange, but if you stand on the peak then it will not look strange. Why not ask a Himalayan peak to meet another? They are so near – so near! Why can’t they meet? Their very being, their very peak-hood, creates the impossibility. So it is not a question of why they never met – they cannot, they will never. The very door is closed. Yet I say they are one: howsoever one peak may differ from another, in their very roots they are one. They may both belong to the same part of earth, but only in the roots are they one.
There is another point to be pondered over: because they are so much one in the roots, there is not even any necessity to meet. Only those who are not one in the ground will try to meet, because basically they know there is no meeting.
Many people have asked me why I have not tried a great synthesis of all the religions. Gandhi has tried; many others – Theosophists have tried. They have tried for a great synthesis of all the religions. I say that, if you try, you show that you know there is no synthesis. The effort shows that you feel that somewhere religions are divided. I do not feel this at all. In the roots they are one, and in the peaks they are divided and they must be divided. Every peak has its own beauty – why destroy it? Why try to create a false thing which is not there? A peak must be a peak – an individual. In the earth they are one.
So the Koran must remain purely the Koran. Nothing should be imposed, infiltrated from the Gita or the Ramayana or anything else. No interpolation, no mixing. The Koran must remain in its purity the Koran. It is a peak – a beautiful peak. Why destroy it? This is possible only if you are aware of a deeper unity in the ground, in the roots.
Religions are one in their roots, but never in their expression – and they should not be. So as the world progresses more, as human consciousness becomes more conscious, more integrated, there will be more religions. Not less – more. Ultimately, if every human being becomes a peak, there will be as many religions as there are human beings. Why should anyone follow Mohammed if he himself can become a peak? Why should he follow Krishna if he himself can become a peak?
This is unfortunate – that one has to follow anybody. This is just a necessary evil. If you cannot become a peak, only then do you have to follow, but follow in such a way that the sooner you can become a peak the better. We can have a beautiful world, a greater world with a greater humanity, with everyone as a unique peak. But that peak can come only through individuation, through dissolving the ego and the false personality and remaining centered in your nature, in your pure being. Then you become like a valley, and then there are echoes.

Yesterday you explained about three types of listening: first, listening though the intellect; second, through emotion, sympathy and love;
and third, through the whole being, through faith.
Considering the first two types of listening, how does one arrive at the third type of listening – that is, through the whole being, through faith?
And are the intellect and emotions included and involved in the third type of listening?
Intellectual listening means that when you are listening you are simultaneously arguing with it. A constant argument is going on. I am saying something to you, you are listening, and constantly there is an argument inside whether this is right or wrong. You are comparing with your own concepts, your own ideology, your own system. So constantly, when you are listening to me, you are comparing whether I confirm your ideas or not, whether I am according to you or not; whether you can concede to me or not, whether I am convincing or not. How is listening possible in this way? You are too full of yourself, so it is miraculous that within this constant inner turmoil you are capable of listening to something. Even then, whatsoever you have heard will not be what I have said. It cannot be – because when the mind is full with its own ideas it goes on giving colors to everything that comes to it. It hears not what is being said, but what it wants to hear. It chooses, it drops, it interprets, and only then does something penetrate – but that has a completely different shape. So this is what is meant by intellectual listening.
If you want to go deeply into understanding what is being said, this inner turmoil must stop. It must cease. It must not continue. Otherwise you are in your own way, and constantly destroying the very possibility of something which can happen to you. You can miss; and everyone is missing much.
We live enclosed in our own minds, and we carry that enclosure with us everywhere. So whatsoever we see, whatsoever we hear, whatsoever happens around us, it is never transmitted to the inner consciousness directly. The mind remains in between, always playing tricks. One must be aware that this is happening. This is the first thing, in order to go deep.
This is the first thing for the second stage of listening – to be aware of what your mind is doing to you. It is coming in between. Wherever you move, it moves before you. It is not like a shadow which follows; you have become a shadow to it. It goes, and you have to move. It moves before you and colors everything. So you are never in contact with the facticity of anything. The mind creates a fiction.
You must be aware of this phenomenon of what the mind is doing. But you are not – because we are identified with the mind, we never think that the mind is doing something. When I say something and it does not tally with your thought, it is not that you will think that your mind is not tallying with the thought. You will think, “No, I am not convinced.” You do not have a gap between you and your mind. You are identified – and that is really the problem. That is how the mind can play tricks with you.
You are identified with a thought or with a thought process. This is strange because, only two days before, this thought was not yours, you heard it somewhere; now you have absorbed it and it has become your own. Now this thought will say, “No – this is not right, because this is not according to me.” You will not feel the difference that this is mind speaking, memory speaking, the mechanism speaking. You will not feel that “I must remain aloof.”
Even if you have to compare, even if you have to judge, you must remain aloof – aloof from your memory, from your mind, from your past. But there is a subtle identification: “My mind is me.” So you say, “I am a Communist” or “I am a Catholic” or “I am a Hindu.” You never say, “My mind has been brought up in such a way that my mind is Hindu.” This is the fact: you are not Hindu. How can you be a Hindu? It is only the mind. If you are the Hindu, then there is no possibility of any transformation.
The mind can be changed, and you must remain capable of changing it. If you become identified with it then you lose your freedom. The greatest freedom is to be free of one’s own mind. The greatest, I say – to be free from one’s own mind – because it is a subtle bondage, so deep that you never feel it as a bondage The very prison becomes your home.
Be constantly aware that your mind is not your consciousness, and the more you are aware, the more you will feel that consciousness is something totally different. Consciousness is the energy, mind is just the thought content. Be the master of it. Don’t allow it to be the master; don’t allow it to just go ahead of you everywhere. Let it follow you, use it, but don’t be used by it. It is an instrument, but we are identified with this instrument, mm? So break the identification. Remember that you are not the mind.
Really, so-called religious persons always remember: “We are not the body.” They never remember: “We are not the mind.” And body is not a bondage at all. Mind is the bondage. Your body is not a bondage at all, your mind is. Really, your body comes from nature, from the divine, and your mind from the society. So body has a beauty, but never the mind. Mind is always ugly. It is a cultivated thing, a false construct. The body has a very beautiful realm. If you can drop the mind, then you will not feel any conflict at all with the body. The body becomes just a door to the greater, to the infinite expanse. There is nothing ugly in the body – mm? – it is a natural flowering, but the so-called religious people are always against the body and always for the mind. They have created such a nuisance. They have created such confusion. They have destroyed all sensitivity, because body is the source of all sensitivity. If once you begin to be against your body you will become insensate.
The mind is just an accumulation of past knowledge, information, experiences. It is just a computer. We are identified with it. One is a Christian, one is a Hindu, one is a communist, one is a Catholic, one is this and that, but one is never oneself…always identified somewhere with something. Remember this: be aware, and create a distance between you and your mind. Never create any distance between you and your body. Create a distance between you and your mind – you will be more alive and more childlike and more innocent and more aware.
So the first thing is to create a distance: that is, not to identify. Remember you are not the mind, then the first listening will change into the second.
The second is emotional – deeply felt, sympathetic. It is a love attitude. You are hearing some music or seeing a dance, so you don’t just remember the intellect, you begin to participate. When you are seeing a dance, your feet begin to participate. When you are listening to music, your hands begin to be participants; you begin to be part of it. This is a sympathetic way of listening, deeper than intellect. That’s why, whenever you can listen with your heart and feeling you feel elated, you feel transported to somewhere else. Then you are not in this world. Really, you are in this world, but you feel that you are not in this world. Why? Because you are not in the world of the intellect. A different realm opens – you begin to be actively in it.
Intellect is always an onlooker standing out – never in. So the more intellect grows in the world, the more we become just passive observers, in everything. You will not dance, but you will watch others dancing. If this goes on as it is going on, day by day, soon you will not be doing anything, you will just be looking at others doing. This will be possible some day: you will not love – it has become possible, it is there now – you will just watch others loving. What are you watching in a film? – others loving. You are just an onlooker – a dead, passive, onlooker. You are watching others playing. You are watching others singing, others dancing.
Somewhere one of Camus’ characters says, “Love is not for me. My servants will do it for me” – love! A really rich man – even love has to be done by his servants. Why should he do it? The logic is the same. If servants can play music for you, if servants can do prayer for you, why not love? A servant is doing worship for you in the temple, so why not love? If a servant can be used in between you and the divine, why not between you and your lover or beloved? What is wrong in it? The logic is the same, really. Soon those who are rich will not do their loving themselves because servants can do it. Only poor ones will do their own loving and will feel very miserable because of it. Everything can be deputed. You can be just an onlooker, because intellect is basically an onlooker, never a participant. If we create a world around intellect then it is going to happen.
The second center is more involved; you begin to participate. I say you will understand more if you begin to participate, because the moment you are sympathetic your mind is open, more open than when you are in a constant fight. It is open, receptive, inviting.
This is how one can listen through feeling, but still there is a depth even deeper than feeling, and that depth I call total listening, with your full being – because feeling is again a part. Intellect is a part, feeling is a part, the source of action is another. There are many parts in your existence, in your being. You can listen with feeling better than with intellect, but still it is only a part. When you are listening with your feeling the intellect will just go to sleep; otherwise it will disturb. It will just go to sleep.
The third is to listen totally – not even participating with it, but being one with it. One way is to watch dance through intellect, another is to feel dance and begin to participate in it. Sitting in your seat, the dancer is dancing. You begin to participate; you begin to keep the beat. The third is becoming the dance oneself – not the dancer, but the dance. The total being is involved. You are not even out to feel it: you are it!
So remember that the deepest knowledge is possible only when you become one with something. This is “by faith.”
How to come to it? Be aware of your intellect; be unidentified with the mind. Then come to the second – feeling. Then be aware that feeling is just a part and your whole being is just lying dead. The whole is not there, so bring the whole into it. When you bring the whole in, it is not that the intellect is denied or feeling is denied, they are in it, but now in a different harmony. Nothing is negated. Everything is there, but now in a different pattern. The whole being is participating, is in it – has become it.
So when you listen, just listen as if you have become the listening. When I am saying something, let it go into you not with a fight, not with a sympathy, but with a totality. Be it! Let it go. Vibrate – with no resistance, with no feeling, but with totality. Experiment with it, and you will begin to experience a new dimension of listening. That goes not only for listening, it is for everything. You can eat that way, you can walk that way, you can sleep that way – you can live that way.

Kabir sends his son, Kamaal, to the field one day. Kabir’s cows have no food that day, so he sends Kamaal to cut some grass from the field. Kamaal goes, and has not yet returned. The afternoon has come and the evening has come, and Kabir is just waiting and the cows are hungry. Where has Kamaal gone? So Kabir goes to find out.
Kamaal is standing in a grass-field. The sun is setting, the wind is blowing, the grass is moving like waves, and Kamaal is standing there moving wave-like, just with the grass. The whole day has passed like that, and Kabir comes and says, “Have you gone mad, Kamaal? What are you doing?”
Suddenly Kamaal is brought back to a different world and he says, “Oh, I had forgotten that I am Kamaal; I became just grass. I was not. I became just grass. I moved with it, I danced with it, and I forgot what I had come here for. Now tell me, what had I come for?”
Kabir says, “To cut the grass!”
So Kamaal laughs and says, “How can one cut oneself? Today it is not possible. I will come again and try, but I cannot promise because I have known a different realm. A different world has opened before me.”
Kabir, on this day, named him Kamaal. Kamaal means “a miracle.”

This is the miracle. If you can be totally in anything the miracle happens, and this is not only for listening, it is for everything. Be total! Move totally. Don’t divide yourself. Never divide yourself. Any division is just wasting your energy, any division is just suicidal. Don’t divide! If you love, love totally – don’t withhold. If you listen, listen totally – don’t withhold anything. Just move totally.
Only this total movement can bring you to a realization where ego cannot be found. It can be found with intellect, it can be found with feeling, but never with your total being. It can be found with intellect, because intellect has no center of its own. It will not allow the center of the total to come into operation, so the intellect has to create its own center – it becomes the ego. Feeling will not allow the total, so feeling has its own center – it becomes the ego.
That’s why men and women have different types of egos, because man’s ego is intellect-centered and woman’s ego is feeling-centered. They have different qualities of ego. That’s why a man can never understand a woman, a woman never understands a man. They have different types of centers and different languages.
When intellect says yes, it means yes. When emotion says yes, it does not necessarily mean yes. When emotion says no, it may mean yes; it may just be an invitation to be persuaded more. If you take a woman at her word you will be in difficulty, because her word is not an intellectual assertion. It has a different way of movement, a different quality. Intellect has a direct, mathematical ego. You can understand it easily. So to understand a man is not very difficult because the logic is straight: two and two make four. To understand a woman is different because the logic is not straight, it moves in circles, so two and two never make four. They can make anything, but never four – the logic moves in a circle. Emotion moves in a circle; logic and intellect move in a straight line.
When something moves in a circle, you can never be certain because it may mean just the contrary. Soon it will move in a circle, and it will be the opposite of its own assertion. So with a woman one has to be aware not of what she has said but of what she means. The actual assertion is not to be given much importance, but what she means, and the meaning may be something very different.
So it has always happened that very intellectual persons have never been at ease with their wives – never. Socrates, a very intelligent person, an intellectual genius, knew every nook and corner of logic, but was never at ease with his wife, Xanthippe – never. He could not understand what she was saying. That is, he understood what she was saying, but he never understood what she meant. He was so logical that he always missed the point. He went direct, straight, and she went in circles.
Intellect has its own ego – direct, straight. Emotion has its own ego – circular. They both have egos. The totality has no ego. The totality has individuality. So when you reach totality, you are neither man nor woman. You are both and you are neither. You transcend and comprehend both. That is what is meant by ardhanarishwar – half-man, half-woman: a deep communion inside happens. You have become total, one, with no division.
One thing you must note: this is not a fixed arrangement. When I say that a man has an intellectual ego, it is not a fixed arrangement. In some moments he may just regress to an emotional ego; in some moments a woman may come up to an intellectual ego. Then things are more confused. When a man is in difficulty, he will just regress to an emotional ego. He will begin to weep and begin to talk in ways which are not even comprehensible to him, and later on he will say, “I cannot say what happens. In spite of myself I begin to weep, I begin to act in ways in which I would not like to act.” A very strong man, in a particular situation, may begin to behave in a very emotional way. A very emotional woman, in a particular situation, may begin to behave very “man-like.” In a different setting the ego may change from one center to another. That creates even more difficulties – but one has to be aware.
With feeling or with intellect, the ego is bound to be there. Only with totality is there no ego. So this I give you as a criterion: If you are, and you don’t feel any “I,” you are total. You are sitting here: listen as if there is no “I” in you. Ears are there, a listening process is there, your consciousness is there, but no “I”; then you are total. How can you be divided without an “I”? Without an ego, how can you be divided? The ego is the division.
Just as I said that there are many personalities, there are also many egos. Each center has its own ego. Intellect has its own, emotion has its own, the sex center has its own ego, its own “I.” If you go deep down into the bio-structure of the body, each cell has its own ego. That is the division. If you are without an ego, if you just are, with no “I”-feeling anywhere, then you are total. In that totalness – even if for a single moment you are total – you will be suddenly awakened. Then anything can awaken you – anything.

A Zen nun is carrying an earthen water-pot from the well. For thirty years she has been in this monastery – working continuously, meditating, making every effort to achieve a tranquillity, a state of stillness where the truth can reflect, but it has not come.
Suddenly the water-pot falls and is broken, shattered. She stands there, sees it shatter, and the water flows out – and she is awakened. Suddenly she achieves the enlightenment. She runs, she dances, goes into the temple. Her master comes and touches her feet and says, “Now you are a buddha, you have achieved.”
But the nun asks, “Tell me, how did this happen? – because I tried and tried and tried continuously for thirty years and it was not happening. This morning I decided that this seems just absurd and it will not come, so I left every effort. So why, this day, has this happened?”
The master says, “Because for the first time you were total and without an ego. Effort creates an ego. The very effort was the barrier. Now, without any effort, without any motive, without any ambition, you were just carrying a water-pot and suddenly the pot falls – bang! The pot has fallen and broken and suddenly you become aware, with no ego. The very listening, the very breaking of the pot, the shattering, the noise, the flowing of the water and you there without any ego, listening totally – the thing has happened.”

So when I say listen totally, I mean this.

What are the characteristics and indications that show whether one has reached the authentic and real, cosmic sound aum?
It is a difficult question – difficult because the happening is always inside, in a way private, and you cannot know of it or about it from the outside. You can never decide from the outside whether someone has achieved the cosmic sound aum. The deeper you go, the more private is the happening. The public world from where you can decide is just the outside. So how to decide whether one has achieved the cosmic sound, whether one has gone to the deepest ground, has known?
You cannot decide it from the outside; that is one thing. Of course, many things which can be known from the outside will begin to happen through the person who has reached, but still the feeling that he has reached the cosmic ground will just be an inference – an inference from his behavior. Behavior can be false; behavior can be imitated. Buddha walks a certain way; Buddha sleeps a certain way; Buddha talks a certain way. You can imitate it without being a buddha. Sometimes it happens that you can imitate better than Buddha – mm? – because Buddha is just unaware: whatsoever is happening is just happening. So you can imitate it in a better way, you can practice it, you can become an expert, and Buddha may not even be able to compete with you because he may not ever have repeated anything.
So from the outside imitation is possible – very easily possible. To achieve the authentic is arduous; to imitate is easy, very easy, because inside you remain the same. You can just create it outside. So it is difficult, it is difficult to say from outside, what has happened inside. One thing – you cannot decide from outside. But from inside, if you ask, “How can I know whether I have achieved the cosmic sound aum or not?” – if you ask this, then I will say that when you achieve it you know it. If someone asks, “How can I know whether I am alive or dead? How can I know?” What will we say to him? We will say that even if you can think this much – whether you are alive or dead – you are alive.
When you come to the cosmic sound, to the very ground of being, when you hear the aum – not uttered by you, not uttered by anyone, but just as a cosmic sound all around – you know. The phenomenon is so real that, really, the question never arises whether this aum, this sound, is real. The question arises whether I am real now or not. You fade, you become just unreal. You become just a phantom, a ghost. Now your reality is not like it has ever been. The real is all around.
But it may even be a dream. You also feel in a dream that everything is real, so how to decide whether this sound that you are hearing is a dream or a reality? The decision comes from a certain source. You will never be the same again – the before and after. This hearing of the sound will be a discontinuity in your existence. You will never be the same again. You will not even be able to connect yourself with your past, it will just drop. You will only remember it as if it belonged to someone else. Your memory will not be yours now. After this experience you will be reborn, and your rebirth will be the evidence. You will never be the same again. The old has dropped; you cannot find the old man again. It is nowhere now. It was there, it is now not there. For you, this will be the evidence that you have heard.
I think there is a third implication also. One can go on repeating aum, so how will one find out whether the aum one is repeating and the aum one has come upon are different or just the same? You will feel it because you are the center of the aum that you utter, and then it vibrates outside, mm? – this is the dimension. You create it just as you throw a stone into a silent lake. The stone becomes the center, and then there are waves which go outward towards the banks. When you say aum you create a center in yourself: you drop a stone, and then the sound goes out and out and out, far off from you. This is the dimension, the direction.
When you hear the sound aum, the cosmic sound, it is different. It comes; it never goes. It is not a going away from you, it is a coming to you, and the center is nowhere to be found. It just goes on coming and coming and coming and coming. You are overflowed with it. You see the difference? You are not the center, rather, you are the bank, and from some unknown center the sound waves come to you. They go on coming, they never stop. So this direction – the sound center, you, and the waves going outward – is aum uttered by you. You, not as the center, and sound waves coming and coming and coming from somewhere – the center is never known and will never be known….

Someone asked Jacob Boehme, “Where is the center of God? Where is the center of the universe?”
He said, “Either everywhere or nowhere.” Both mean the same.

So when you begin to feel that the aum is coming to you…. Let me say it in a different way. Ordinarily seekers go towards the divine, but until the divine comes to you, remember, you may just be in a fantasy, just in a dream. The seeker going to the divine, to God, to find the center – you will go on searching, but you will never find it.
How can you find the center? The center can only come to you. So it is always a false relationship – the seeker going towards God. The real relationship is completely different – godliness coming to the seeker. When you are ready, he comes. When you are open, he becomes the guest. When your invitation is valid, total, he is there. It is always a coming, never a going. So really there is not a phenomenon of man in search of God, but rather it is God in search of man.
But you are hiding, escaping, so he cannot find you. Wherever he comes, you escape. You are a closing, never an opening. He goes on knocking and your doors are shut. So when this aum begins to come, when it is a coming to you, you are just filled, you are just bathed in it – and the source is not found. If you can find the source, again it may be that someone is creating the sound from outside – and it is coming! Someone may be playing aum on some instrument, and it is coming.
There is no source of it. That’s why mystics have always said that God is the sourceless one. There is no source. It comes as if from nowhere – just out of the blue – and it is here. When you feel this, then you know that the aum is now cosmic. It doesn’t belong to you.
In Zen they use koans – puzzles, absurd puzzles – as meditation objects. Rinzai always gave to his disciples the koan of hearing the sound of one hand clapping. It is impossible. How can you hear the sound of one hand? So whenever seekers would be there he would say, “First go and find out what is the sound of one hand clapping. Hear it, and then come to me and tell me.”
It looks absurd, but when a man like Rinzai would say this to someone the person would go, close the door, sit down in meditation, and he would think. Then he would come within hours and say, “What nonsense you have asked. How can it be?”
Rinzai would say, “I have heard it, so you go and try again. I also said to my teacher, ‘How is this possible?’ but he said, ‘I have heard, so you try.’ I tried, and now I have heard. So you try – and it will come.”
The person would go on coming. Every morning he would have a darshan – go to see his teacher – and then the teacher would ask, “Have you heard?”
He would say, “No, I have not heard yet.” The teacher would tell him to try harder. So he would begin to imagine, because it is very frustrating to go every day with nothing to show to the teacher. So he would say, “Oh yes, I have heard it. It is just like wind passing through leaves.”
But the teacher would say, “No, it is not, because wind and leaves are two things. It must be of one. Wind passing through leaves is just an ordinary sound. Two things can create friction, so it is still of two hands. You cannot befool me! Wind passing through the trees – it is of two hands. Never come again unless you hear the sound of one hand.”
He would come, and again and again he would say, “I have heard this and that, or I have heard the sound of the water-drops falling on the roof.” He would come with so many things, and he would be denied. This would go on for months.
Then suddenly one day Rinzai asked, “Where is that man? He has not come and it has been so long. Go and find out what he is doing.”
He was found in his cell or under some tree, just lost, and he was brought to the teacher, and the teacher said, “Now you have heard. Haven’t you heard?”
He said, “I have heard! I have heard!”
What sound has he heard? There is only one sound, that is the sound of the cosmic aum which is without friction – not two things, but simply the sound. It is not created by any clapping.
The moment someone says, “I have heard,” he will be a different person. You cannot be the same again, mm? The difference will always be: sound coming to you from nowhere – sourceless sound, uncreated. Then it is the cosmic aum.

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