The Ultimate Alchemy Vol 2 10

Tenth Discourse from the series of 12 discourses - The Ultimate Alchemy Vol 2 by Osho.
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Soham bhavo namaskarah.

The feeling of I am That – So-aham – is the salutation.
Existence is one, or, rather, existence is oneness. Al-Hillaj Mansoor was crucified because he said, “I am the beloved, I am the divine, I am That which created the world.” Islam was totally unacquainted with this type of language. This language is basically Hindu. Wherever man has contemplated, man has come to duality: God, the creator, and the world, the created. Hinduism has taken the boldest jump by saying that the created is the creator and there is no basic difference.
To Islam, or to other dualistic thinkings, this looks like sacrilege. If there is no difference between God and the world, between man and God, then for dualistic thinkers it appears there is no possibility of religion, no possibility of worship, no possibility of salutation. If you are divine, then whom are you going to worship? If you are the creator, then who is superior to you? Worship becomes impossible.
But this sutra says this is the only worship, this is the only salutation:
The feeling of I am That – So-aham – is the salutation.
Ordinarily, this sutra is absurd, contradictory – because if there is no higher power than you, if you are the highest, then whom are you going to salute? To whom are you going to pay your respects? This is the reason Mansoor was murdered, killed and crucified. This is heresy! He was thought to be a heretic, a nastik, an atheist. If you say you are God, you deny godhood. Then you are the supreme.
For a dualistic way of thinking, this is egoistic. The division must be maintained. You must come nearer and nearer, but you must not become the flame itself. You must become intimate with the divine source, but you must not become one with it. Then respect is possible, worship is possible.
So you can reach to the divine feet, but you cannot become one with the divine flame. How can the creature become the creator? And if the creature becomes the creator, that means the creature was not a creature at all. And if the created becomes the creator, that means there is no creator.
This is one type of religious thinking, the dualistic type. It has its own reasoning and it appeals to our ordinary minds. So, really, even those who are born Hindus are not Hindus unless they can come to conceive the attitude of being one with the creator. One may be born a Hindu, but there is no basic difference between the Hindu, the Mohammedan and the Christian attitude: the actual attitude – the attitude we live and the attitude we behave by.
A Hindu is really a deep absurdity, because he takes the impossible jump: the created becomes the creator. And this sutra says this is the only salutation. If God is there high above and you are here low down, if in you something is not divine already, there is no bridge possible. You cannot be related. You can be related only if you are already related; otherwise there will be an unbridgeable gap. God remains God and you remain just a creature.
Because of this, a third attitude developed – the attitude of the Jainas. They deny God altogether because they say: If there is a God as a creator and we are just created beings, we can never become gods. How can something created by you become you? The created will remain the created.
And the creator will always have the capacity to destroy you, because creation means also the capacity to destroy, the capacity for destruction. If God has created the world, he can destroy it this very moment. He is not responsible to you. You cannot ask why, because you have never asked why he created the world. So this very moment, just a whim in the divine mind, and the world can be destroyed. With all your holy men, with all your sinners, the world can be destroyed this very moment.
So if there is a God, Jainas say, then man is not really a spirit – just a created thing, not a soul, because then you don’t have any freedom. If God is the creator, then man is not free. And then everything becomes meaningless: whether you are good or bad, it is meaningless. The God remains the supreme power. He can do anything, he can undo anything.
And he is not responsible to you. You have created a mechanical device, you can destroy it. You are not responsible to your mechanical creation. A painter creates a painting; he can destroy it. The painting cannot say, “You cannot destroy me.”
And if God is the creator and man is just a created thing, how can the created thing evolve and become divine? That is impossible. So Jainas say there is no God. Only then can man become divine, because only then is man free. With a God we are slaves, with no God we are free.
Nietzsche has said, without knowing that Mahavira has said this before him, “Now God is dead and man is free.” The same was the problem for Mahavira: if God is there, then man is not free. God’s being is man’s slavery, God’s nonbeing is man’s freedom. So Mahavira says there is no God – only then can you become divine.
Mohammedans, Christians, Jews, they say God is, man is, but man is just a created being. He can worship the divine and come nearer. The nearer he comes, the more he will be filled with divine light, bliss, ecstasy. But you cannot become one with the divine, because if you can become one with the divine that shows you were potentially already one with the divine, because nothing can happen in this world which is not already in the seed. A tree evolves because the tree was in the seed. If you can become divine, you were already divine.
So Jews, Christians and Mohammedans say if you are already divine, then religion becomes meaningless. If you are already divine in the seed, then there is no real evolution, then there is no growth. And whatsoever you do or don’t do, you will remain divine.
Christians, Mohammedans and Jews say religious growth is possible only if man is man and God is God. You come nearer and nearer, and that coming nearer is a growth. It is your choice. You may not come near, you may go far away – this is your freedom. But if you are already divine, then, Jews, Mohammedans and Christians say, then there is no real growth. All growth becomes illusory, just a dream growth. You were bound to become divine because in the seed you were already divine. So the whole thing becomes hocus-pocus, they say; the whole evolution becomes meaningless.
Hindus take a standpoint just between these two standpoints. They agree with Jainas that man is divine and they agree with Christians, Mohammedans and Jews that there is God as the creator. And still, they say, there is growth, there is evolution. Not only that: they say only then is growth possible. But to them growth means just unfoldment. A seed grows, and the growth is real, authentic, because a seed may not grow and may remain a seed forever; there is no inner necessity to grow. But a seed grows only to be a particular tree because that tree is already potential in it.
Man can remain man, or man may even fall down and become animal, or man can grow to be divine. This is choice. This is freedom. But this possibility, that man can become divine, shows that somewhere deep down in the seed form man is already divine. So it is an unfoldment. Something hidden becomes actual, something potential becomes actual, something that was just a seed becomes a tree.
So, in a way, the Hindus’ God is totally different from the Mohammedans’ and the Christians’ God, because for Hindus man can become God. And they say that if you cannot become God, then even the concept of coming nearer and nearer is false – because if you cannot jump into the flame, what does it mean to come nearer and nearer? Then what is the difference between you and someone who is not near? If you can come nearer, then the logical conclusion will be: more near, more near, more near, and ultimately you become one. If you cannot become one, then there is a limit, a boundary, and beyond that boundary and limit there will be a gap between you and the divine. That gap cannot be tolerated. And if there is a gap which it is not possible to bridge, the whole effort is useless.
Hindus say unless you become the divine itself, the urge will not be fulfilled. And the nearer you are, the more you will feel the gap, and the more you will suffer. And when you come to the boundary line from where no growth is possible, you will stagnate and you will die, and the suffering will be unbearable, absolutely unbearable.
Man can become divine because he is already divine, and Hindus say you can become only that which you are already. You cannot become that which you are not already; you cannot grow to be something else. You can grow to be yourself only. This attitude has many dimensions, and we will try to understand.
One, God as the creator. We can think of him as a painter, but Hindus have not thought that way. They say the creator is not a painter but a dancer – hence Shiva the dancer. In dance the dancer is creating something, but the creation is not something separate from the creator. In painting the painter and painting are two things. The painter can die and the painting may remain. And the moment the painting is complete, it is independent of the painter completely. Now it will take its own course.
Hindus say God is a creator like a dancer. A dancer is there dancing: the dance is the creation, but you cannot separate it from the dancer. If the dancer dies the dance will die, and if the dance continues the dancer will be there.
One thing more, basically important: the dancer can exist without the dance, but the dance cannot exist by itself. The dance cannot exist without the dancer, but the dancer can exist without the dance. Hindus say this world is a creation in this way: God is dancing, so whatsoever is created is part and parcel of it.
Another thing: a painter paints – he can complete the painting and then go to sleep. But a dance is a constant creation. The God cannot go to sleep. So the world was not created on a particular day. It is being created every moment. Christians think the world was created on a particular day and date, and before that there was no world. In a week – in six days, to be exact – the God created the world, and on the seventh day he rested. Now, even if he exists, he is needed no longer. He may have died in the meantime. The painter can die and the painting can continue. The painter may have gone mad, the painting remains as it was.
Hindus say the world was not created: it is being created every moment. It is a constant flux of creation, it is a continuum of creation. So, really, if you see it in this way, then God is not a person, God is energy. Then God is not something static; it is movement, dynamic, because a dance is a dynamic movement. You have to be in it every moment, only then can it exist. Dance is an expression, a living expression, and you have to be in it continuously.
The world is a dance, not a painting. And everything is part of this dance, every gesture is divine. So Hindus say a very beautiful thing. They say: If everything is not divine, then nothing can be divine. If everything is not holy, then nothing can be holy. If everything is not God, then there is no possibility of any God.
This is one dimension, to see this oneness. They never say it is oneness, they always say it is nondual – because Hindus think that to say that the world is one, existence is one, gives you a feeling that one can exist only if something else also exists.
One is a number, and one can exist only if other numbers exist – two, three, four. If there are no other numbers, one becomes meaningless. Then what do you mean by one? Because there are nine digits, from one to nine, one is meaningful. It is meaningful in a pattern of digits, numbers. If there is only one, you cannot say it is one. Then numbers become meaningless.
Hindus say that existence is nondual, not one. They mean it is one, but they say it is nondual, they say it is not two. This is a noncommittal statement. If you say “one” you have made a commitment, you have committed yourself in many ways. If you say one, you are saying that you have measured it. If you say one, you are saying it is finite.
Hindus say existence is nondual. They mean it is one, but they say it in a roundabout way. It is very meaningful. They say it is nondual, it is not two; this way they only indicate that it is one. It is never said directly, only indicated: it is not two.
This is also meaningful, because when we say the dancer and the dance are one, then there will be many difficulties. If the dance ceases, the dancer will cease – if they are one. Hindus say instead they are not two. The dancer will be there even if the dance ceases, but the dance cannot be there if the dancer ceases.
This nondualness is hidden, the duality is manifest. Manyness is manifest, oneness is hidden. But this manyness can exist only because of that hidden oneness. Trees are different, the earth is different, the sun is different, the moon is different, but now science says that deep down everything is related and one. The trees cannot grow if there is no sun. But we have come to know only this one-way traffic. We know trees cannot grow and flowers cannot flower if the sun ceases to be. But Hindus say it’s true, trees cannot grow if there is no sun, but if there are no growing trees, the sun cannot exist either. This is a two-way traffic: everything is related.
Jainas say if there is God, then man will be a slave. Mohammedans say if man declares, “I am God,” then the God is dethroned and the slave pretends to be the master. Hindus say there is neither independence nor dependence: existence is interdependence – interdependence. So to talk in terms of dependence and independence is meaningless. The whole exists as an interdependent whole. Nothing is high and nothing is low, because the high cannot exist without that which you call low.
Can the peak exist without the valley? Can the holy man exist without the sinner? Can beauty exist without that which you call ugliness? And if beauty cannot exist without ugliness, then it depends on ugliness. And if the peak cannot exist without the valley, then what is the meaning of calling the peak something high and calling the valley something low?
Hindus say the lowest is the highest and the highest is the lowest. By declaring this, they mean that this whole world is a deeply interdependent pattern. And all religions are arbitrary: they are good for thinking, for analyzing, for understanding, but basically they are false. And this is the longest jump.
The rishi says:
Soham bhavo namaskarah.

The feeling of I am That – So-aham – is the salutation.
Unless the lowest can feel that he is the highest, he cannot be at home in this universe. But this is not a declaration, this is a feeling. You can declare that “I am God” and that may not be a deep feeling at all. That may be just an egoistic assertion. If you say, “I am God,” and you say, “No one else is God,” then you have not felt it. When it is a feeling, it is not a declaration on your part – it is a declaration on the part of the whole existence.
When the rishi says, “I am God, I am That,” he is saying everything is God, everything is That. With him the whole existence declares it. So it is not a personal statement. Al-Hillaj was crucified because Islam couldn’t understand this language. Al-Hillaj said, “I am God.” They thought, “Al-Hillaj is saying that ‘I am God.’” It was not al-Hillaj at all; it was simply that al-Hillaj became vocal on the part of the whole existence. It was the whole existence, through al-Hillaj, speaking, declaring. Al-Hillaj was no more – because if he is, then this declaration becomes personal. This is the second dimension.
Man exists in three categories. One, when he says “I am” without knowing who he is. This is the ordinary existence of everyone: “I am” – without knowing who I am. The second stage is when he comes to know “I am not” – because the deeper you ponder over this I-amness, the more you dig, the more you will find you are not, and the whole phenomenon of “I” disappears. You cannot find it. So there is no question of making it disappear; you simply don’t find it, it is not there.
If you exist without any inward search, then you go on feeling “I am.” If you begin to search, you will come to know that you are not. This is the second state: when man comes to know that “I am not.” First he was probing deep into the phenomenon of “I am”; now he will have to probe into the second phenomenon of “I am not.”
This is most arduous. The first is difficult, very difficult. Even to come to the second is a long journey. Many stay at the first. They never probe into “Who am I?” Only very few go into a deep search to know who it is that says “I am.” Then amongst those few, very few will go again on a new journey to know what this “I am not” is, what this feeling that “I am not” is. “Still I am, but now I cannot say ‘I am.’ I feel as if there is a deep emptiness.”
Hindus have said the first is “I-amness.” The second is simply “amness.” The I has dropped, but my existence is there. Even if I am empty, nothing, I am. This they call amness. The first they call ahankar, ego; the second they call asmita, amness. If someone goes deep into ahankar, the ego, he comes to asmita, amness. And now, if someone goes again deep into this amness, he comes to divineness. Then he says, “I am That – aham brahmasmi – I am godliness.” Through emptiness one becomes all. Through nonbeing one becomes the very ground of being. Dissolving, one becomes all.
This sutra, Soham bhavo namaskarah, is the feeling of the third state. When man has dissolved completely, ego has disappeared. Even amness is not a finite thing now. One has come to the very source, as if you were just a gesture in a dance – just a gesture in a dance. You probed deep, and now you have come to the dancer. Now, a gesture of dance is, “I am the dancer.”
This going in…first you go into yourself, but you are related to the universe. So if you continue, then you are stepping down into existence. If you keep on continuing, then from the periphery one day you will come to the center.
A leaf in the wind has its own individuality. If the leaf begins to travel inwards, sooner or later it will go beyond itself: it will enter into the branch. If it goes on, then sooner or later it will not be the leaf, it will not be the branch: it will become the tree. If it goes on, sooner or later it will not be the tree: it will become the roots. And if it still continues, sooner or later it will become the existence: it will go beyond the roots.
But a leaf can remain with itself without moving in. Then the leaf can think, “I am.” This is the first state. If the leaf moves, sooner or later it will find, “I am not the leaf. I am more: I am the branch.” Then, “I am not the branch. I am even more: I am the tree.” And then, “Not even the tree, I am more: I am the roots, the hidden roots.” And if the journey goes on, from the roots also it will take a jump – it will become the whole existence.
So this is a feeling, a realization. And this is the more difficult part, because intellectually your ego would like to declare that you are God, you are divine. Intellect tries always to be on high, at the peak. The very effort of the ego is to be something supreme. So this can appeal to you, this can appeal to the ego: “Okay this is right – I am God.”
But this sutra says this is the salutation. Salutation is a deep humility, a humbleness. It is not to put yourself on the peak, because then there is no one whom you can salute. That was the problem before Islam when al-Hillaj declared. He was declaring himself God. “This is not humbleness – this is the climax of being egoistic!” So those who killed him, killed him very righteously, in good faith. This was the peak of ego.
This sutra is contradictory. It declares, “You are That – this is the salutation.” If this is felt and realized, then the peak will salute the valley, because now there is nothing other than the divine. And now the peak will realize that it is dependent on the valley. Then light will salute the darkness and life will salute death, because everything is interdependent, interrelated.
At this peak of realization one becomes humble, because this declaration that “I am God” is not against anyone. It is for all: “Now, through me, everything is declaring its divinity.”

Many people were there when al-Hillaj was killed, many were throwing stones. He was laughing, he was prayerful, he was loving. There was a Sufi fakir also present in the crowd. The whole crowd was throwing stones, and the Sufi fakir, just to be one with the crowd, to not let them feel that he didn’t belong to them, threw a flower. He couldn’t throw a stone, so he threw a flower – just to be with the crowd, so everyone would feel that he was amongst them, belonged to them.
Mansoor began to weep. When the Sufi’s flower hit him, he began to weep. The Sufi became uneasy. He came nearer and he asked Mansoor, “Why? They are throwing stones and you are laughing and you are praying for them? And I have thrown only a flower!”
Mansoor said, “Your flower hits me more because you know. And this is not a declaration of me; I have declared for you – and you know, so your flower hits me more. Their stones are just like flowers, because they don’t know – that this has been a declaration for them. If Mansoor can be divine,” said Mansoor, “then everything can be divine. If even Mansoor can be divine, then everything can be divine.” Mansoor said, “Look at me! I was no one and yet I declare I am divine. Now everything can be divine.”

This is a declaration, not from the ego: this is a declaration from the nonego realization. When one begins to feel that one is nothing, only then can one come to this. Then it is humble. Then it is the most humble possibility. It becomes a salutation – a salutation to the whole existence. Then the whole existence has a divinity.
Mystics have denied temples, mosques, churches, not because they are meaningless, but because the whole cosmos is a temple. Mystics have denied statues, not because they are meaningless, but because the whole existence is the divine image. But to understand their language is difficult. They appear to us as anti-religious – denying statues, denying images, denying temples, churches, denying scriptures, denying everything that we believe to be religious. But they are denying only because the whole is divine. You cannot make a part of it divine. And if you insist on the part, that shows you don’t know about the whole.
If I say, “This temple is divine,” just by saying this, I have said that the whole universe is not divine. If this temple is just part of a greater temple, then it is a different thing. But if this temple is against the whole, against other temples – not only against other temples: if this temple is against any ordinary house even, if this temple says that houses are not holy and only temples are holy – it is a denial of the whole.
For the whole, mystics have denied the parts. But for us there is no whole. We don’t know anything about the whole. So even when the part is denied, it is uncomfortable, because that’s all we know. And if someone says, “There is no temple!” it is enough for us that he is not religious. He may be saying only this: “Because everything is a temple, don’t make anything in particular a temple. Don’t say anything in particular is divine, because everything is divine.” This is the salutation.
We are also worshiping. We go to the temples, to the mosques, to bow. We bow down, but the ego remains standing. It is only a bodily movement. The inner ego remains unmoved. Rather, it may become even more straight – because you have been to the temple, you have been to the tirth, you have been on a holy pilgrimage, you have been to Kaaba. Now you are no ordinary person: you are religious! So you bowed down, but it was a bodily gesture. Your ego is more strengthened. It has been a food for your ego. It has been vitalized, it is not dead.
That’s why so-called religious persons will always be more egoistic than ordinary, worldly persons. They have something more that you don’t have. They are religious: they pray daily. When you go to a cinema hall your ego may not be strengthened, but when you go to a temple it is strengthened because you can never feel in a temple that you are guilty.
You may feel in a cinema hall that you are guilty, you may feel in a hotel that you are guilty, but you can never feel in a temple that you are guilty. You feel superior, you become more respectable. You gain something in terms of ego. Look at the faces of persons coming out from the temple, observe: their egos are more straightened. They are coming out with some gain. This has been a vitamin!
You can bow down without bowing down at all – and that is the problem. Bowing must be inner. And if then the body follows, it is a deep experience; even in the body it is a deep experience. If you are bowing inwardly because everything is divine, so that wherever you bow down you are at the feet of the divine, if with this feeling your body moves, then your body will also have a deep experience. And you will come out of it more simple, more innocent, more humble.
But what to do? Many things man has invented – they have not helped. And man’s ego is so subtle and so cunning that it can deceive you in such subtle ways that you cannot detect them. If there is a God somewhere in the heaven you can bow to him and you can still behave egoistically with the whole existence – because “this world is not divine.” Your divinity, your God, is somewhere high in the heaven. To this world you can go on behaving as you were behaving, and you can behave even worse because now you are related to the supreme authority. Now you have a direct link. You can dial any moment to the supreme authority; you can tell him to do anything.

Jesus is passing through a village. The village is antagonistic. They will not shelter the disciples or Jesus; they have refused. They will not give any food, not even water, so they have to move to another village.
The disciples say to Jesus, “This is the moment. Show your miracle: destroy this village! Such irreligious people should not exist.” These are the disciples who later on created the whole of Christianity. “Destroy this village this very moment. This is the time, show your miracle!”
They are saying to Jesus, “Now prove that you are the Son, the Only Begotten Son. Now tell your Father who is high in the heavens to destroy this village this very moment.”
Why this arrogance? Why this anger? And they were prayerful people. They were praying daily, they were living with Jesus. Why this arrogance? If there were some ordinary people in their place… Because the villagers have only refused to give food. This is not a sin. This is up to them. If I come to your house and you refuse me food, okay; it is up to you. Why this arrogance?
And the whole village has not denied them. There were small children and old men: they had not denied them – only a few people. But the disciples say, “Destroy this whole village. This whole village must be destroyed this very moment.” The trees have not denied them shelter, but they are asking Jesus to destroy everything that belongs to that village. Why?
Through prayer, through salutation, through worship, they have become more arrogant. They are not humble people; humility is far from them. And if they are not humble, how can they be religious? But why did this become possible? Because of this attitude: “God is in heaven. The person who has denied me food is not divine, the village is not divine. God is somewhere in heaven and we are God’s chosen people. These people are anti-God – destroy them!”

Real humility is possible only when God is not far away. It is your neighbor every moment. Wherever you are, it is your neighbor. To put God somewhere else, far away, is very easy, convenient, because then you can behave as you like with your neighbor and God is always on your side.
I was reading:

One French general was talking to an English general after the Second World War. The French general said, “We were continuously defeated and you were not defeated. Why is this so?”
The English general said, “This is because of prayer. We pray – before we start any fight, we pray.”
The French general said, “But that we also do.”
The English general said, “That’s okay, but we pray in English and you pray in French. From where did you get this idea that God knows French? He cannot know it.”

This is how the so-called religious mind becomes arrogant. Sanskrit is the “only sacred language.” You can laugh at this anecdote, but now laugh: “Sanskrit is the only sacred language and the Vedas are the only scriptures written by God himself. The Koran – how is it possible? From where did you get the idea that God knows Arabic? He knows only Sanskrit!” Then “God is always on my side. Or, if he insists not to be on my side, I can change my god. That is always within my capacity. So because of that fear he always remains on my side. It is my god – he has to follow me!”
This attitude is created because of the idea that the whole existence is not divine. If the whole existence is divine, then the divine even understands the language of trees – not only Sanskrit and Arabic, but even the language of the stones. And then it is not a problem of language at all, then language is irrelevant. It is not prayer which is meaningful now, it is a prayerful mind. And a prayerful mind is something totally different from a praying mind.
This sutra says this is the only salutation, the only humbleness possible, but in a very paradoxical way: “I am God – to feel this is the salutation.”
We would like to say, “You are God,” and then it is easy to salute. But this sutra says, “I am God – this is the only salutation.” We will ask to whom….
There is no need really to salute. There is no need to salut – it is not an activity, it is not something you have to do. If the whole existence is divine, then whatsoever you are doing, it is a salutation.

Kabir was asked…because he continued to work as he was working before his enlightenment. He was a weaver, he continued weaving. Disciples would come from far, very, very faraway places, and they would say, “Why? – you are an enlightened one, you are now a buddha – why do you continue weaving?”
Kabir would say, “This is the only prayer I know – this is the only prayer I know. I was a weaver, so I know only this way to salute him.”
Someone asked Kabir, “But Buddha, when he became enlightened, left everything.”
Kabir is reported to have said, “He was a king. He knew only one way: to be a king. But I am a weaver, a poor weaver, so I know only one way. This is my prayer. When I am weaving these clothes, I am weaving them for the divine.”
And then Kabir would go to the market to sell them. So someone asked him, “But you go to the market to sell them. You say these are for the divine, then go to the temple and put them at the divine feet?”
Kabir said, “I put them always at the divine feet, but my gods are waiting there in the market – my Rama is waiting there. And I believe in living gods.”
This attitude needs no salutation. This is not now an act to be done; rather, it is a way to live. Your prayer can be just a part of your act, just one act among many. But to persons like Kabir it is not an act, it is a way to live. So Kabir says, “Whatsoever I am doing is prayer – whatsoever I am doing is prayer!”

It can be, but then the whole existence must be divine. Then whatsoever you are doing…then if you are eating, it is prayer because it goes to the existence. Then it is not you who are eating, but the existence through you. Then you are moving or walking – it is prayer, because it is existence moving through you, walking through you.
Then you are dying… it is prayer, because it is existence taking back: that which was given, manifested, becoming unmanifested. Then you are not in between. You are no more. You are just an opening – just an opening for the existence, a window. Existence moves through you, in and out. You are nowhere in between.
At this moment of nothingness, man can say, “Aham brahmasmi, I am the absolute, I am That.” This is not an egoistic assertion. This is one of the humblest of assertions, but it looks very paradoxical.
Life is such a complexity that if you have to assert simple truths you have to be paradoxical. If you are asserting complex truths you need not be paradoxical; you can be very logical. This has to be understood: only very simple truths are difficult to express, because the more simple they become, the more nondual. And when it comes to the very center, then the statement has to imply all dualities.
Look at it in this way: the Upanishads say the absolute is near and the absolute is far away. If you say it is only near, it is false; if you say it is only far away, it is false – because that which is near can become far and that which is far can become near. You can move, you are already moving. It is everywhere. This simple truth has to be expressed in a very paradoxical way. It is the nearest and the most far. It is the minutest and the greatest. It is the seed and the tree. It is the birth and the death, because if it is life then it must be both birth and death.
But why not simply say that he is life? Because in our minds life is against death. So this simple truth, that he is life, cannot be asserted in this way. It has to be asserted in a paradoxical way: he is birth and he is death. He is both. He is life only because he is both. He is the friend and the foe, because the foe can become a friend and the friend can become a foe. He is both! We would like him to be the friend and never the foe, but our likings are not truths. Really, unless our likings and dislikings cease we cannot come to the truth, because we go on choosing and projecting.
This statement is again a paradox. The first part of it – the feeling that I am divine, I am That – is the peak. And the second – the salutation – is the valley. Valley and peak both! The most egoistic assertion possible: I am That. And then, falling down unto the feet of everything: the salutation. These are two extremes, two polar opposites, and many things are implied.
If you feel that you are inferior and then you bow down, it is not a salutation. If you feel that you are inferior and then bow down, it is not a salutation, it is just part of your inferiority. If you say, “I am superior and cannot bow down,” then you are not really superior, because one who cannot bow down is dead. He cannot be superior. And one who cannot bow down is still afraid somewhere for his superiority, afraid that “If I bow down I will not be superior.” Only one who is at ease with his superiority can bow down. Only one who has gone beyond his inferiority can bow down. And this is the highest peak possible – I am That – and then bowing down.

Buddha has told his past-life memoires. In one he says, “I was just ignorant.” Buddha says, “I was just ignorant. Then a buddha, a person who had become enlightened, passed through my village. I went to touch his feet, I touched his feet, but then suddenly I became aware that he was doing something. He was bowing down and he touched my feet. I became afraid and I said, ‘What are you doing? I should touch your feet – that is as it should be – but why are you touching my feet?’”
That enlightened one said to Gautam Buddha, “You are touching my feet because I am a buddha. I am touching your feet because you are a buddha also.”
Gautam Buddha, in his past life, said to him, “But I am not. I am ignorant. I am no one.”
The enlightened one said to him, “Because you don’t know what you are, you don’t know what you can become. You are bowing to a present buddha, I am bowing to a future buddha. I have become manifest, you will become manifest. It is only a question of time.”

This bowing down of an enlightened man is the secret of this sutra. He was a peak, and he is bowing down to an ignorant man. Now from his peak he can see another peak which is hidden in ignorance. It is not hidden for him; to him it is as clear as anything.
You can bow down to this ordinary existence only when you feel that you are That. To say it in another way: unless you become godly you cannot salute, unless you become a god you cannot be humble, unless you become godly you cannot be innocent. That innocence is expressed through this sutra. Salutations we know. We know about godliness, we know about salutations. But this sutra is very difficult, impossible to conceive of. It makes you godly, and it makes this being godly a basic condition for salutation. For us, we always salute to the higher, higher than us. This sutra makes you the highest, and that the basic condition for salutation. Whom to salute now? You are the highest – now salute to the lowest.
From the lower, the salutation towards the higher is just ordinary. There is nothing in it. It is the ordinary mind working, the political mind, the ambitious mind working to salute to the higher. But when you are the highest, the mind will say, “Now you need not salute anyone. Now the whole existence must salute you. You are the highest; now let the whole world come to you to salute. Now let the whole existence bow down to your feet.”
This will be your feeling. If you take it as you are, if you begin to follow this sutra, this will be the feeling: “Now let the whole world come and salute me.” But this sutra says: this is the basic condition for you to salute the divine.
When you are no one, ego feels starved. When you feel inferiority, you want that someone should salute you. This is a hunger – hunger for food. This shows that you are still just at the first stage of the mind, “I am.” And below this stage there is nothingness, so whatsoever you put in this “I am” goes deep into the abyss, and the “I am” remains always vacant.

One day a seeker came to Mulla Nasruddin to ask him how to find the truth. Nasruddin said, “There are many conditions to be fulfilled before I can accept you as a disciple. So come with me. I am going to the well to fetch some water.”
He went there. On the way he said to the future disciple, “Don’t ask any questions, because I have not accepted you yet as a disciple. When I accept you, you can ask. Just observe. Don’t ask anything. If you ask anything before I am back at my home, you disqualify yourself.”
The future disciple thought, “It is not such a difficult thing, just going to the well, fetching a bucket of water and then coming back. I will remain totally silent.”
So he kept silent. But Mulla was doing such absurd things that it was impossible to keep silent. He had two buckets: one bucket to pull water from the well and another, a bigger one, to fill with water. But the bigger one had no bottom at all, so he would pull the water and throw it into the bigger one with no bottom. The water would go out, then he would drop the bucket again.
So the future disciple said, “What are you doing?”
Mulla said, “Now you disqualify yourself. Now no more questions. Leave me. It is not your business. Who are you to ask me?”
The future disciple said, “I am going. And there is no need to tell me to go because there is no need to stay with you. But some advice – I am leaving, but some advice to you: you can labor on this bucket your whole life and it will never be filled.”
So Mulla said, “I am concerned with the surface, not with the bottom. I am looking at the surface. When the surface is okay, I will go back to my home. To consider the bottom is irrelevant.”
The future disciple left, but in the night he couldn’t sleep. “What type of man is this?” He began to brood and there was no sleep, so he thought about many, many clues: “What is the secret of it?” By and by, he mystified himself. And then he thought, “It may be that he was just examining me, testing me, just seeing whether I can keep silence in a situation where it is impossible to be silent.”
So in the morning he ran back, came to Mulla Nasruddin, and said, “Pardon me, excuse me. I was at fault, it was my fault. I should have kept silent. But what was the secret of it?”
The Mulla said, “Because I am not going to accept you as my disciple I can let you know the secret. The secret is this: that bucket was nothing but the first state of man’s mind. You go on filling it, but it will never be filled. But no one is concerned with the bottom; everyone is concerned with the surface. You go on filling it with prestige, respect, wealth and everything. You are concerned with the surface. One day your ego will be filled. No one is concerned with the bottom, whether this bucket has any bottom at all!”
The disciple began to weep and said, “Accept me. You are the right man.”
Mulla Nasruddin said, “It is too late. This bucket is so helpful to me. Whenever someone turns up with the mind to be a disciple, this bucket disqualifies – anyone! It has disqualified many and it has saved me much labor. Because this bucket will not disqualify a person only if he has come to feel that his mind is a bucket without a bottom. Then he is qualified to be my disciple, because all disciplehood is from ‘I am’ to ‘I am not.’”

If you drop from the bottom to the abyss, to the second layer of the mind, that is what every discipleship is for. Then there is nothingness. And beyond that nothingness is the feeling of “Aham brahmasmi – I am That.”

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