Theologia Mystica 10

Tenth Discourse from the series of 15 discourses - Theologia Mystica by Osho.
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I think, too, that you have understood how the discussion of particulars is more lengthy than of universals…. For the more we aspire to higher things, the more our discourse upon things of the intellect is cut short, even as, when we enter that darkness which passes understanding, we shall find not brevity of speech but perfect silence and unknowing. Herein speech descends from the universal to the particular, and as it descends it is increased in proportion to the multiplicity of things. But now, in truth, it ascends from the particular to the universal, and going up is withdrawn as it rises, and after the whole ascent it becomes inwardly silent, entirely united with the ineffable.

We say, therefore, that the transcendent maker of all things lacks neither being, nor life, nor reason, nor mind, yet he has no body; neither has he form, nor image, nor quality, nor quantity, nor bulk; he is in no place, nor is he seen, nor has he sensible touch; nor does he feel, nor is he felt, nor has he confusion and tumult, nor disturbance of material passions; neither is he without power, succumbing to the contingencies of sensible things; neither is his light in any deficiency, nor change, nor corruption, nor division, nor lack, nor flux, nor is he nor has he any other sensible thing.
An English Lord is playing golf with his wife, Lady Evelyne, who has lost the sight of one eye in an accident. While playing, the Lord hits the good eye of Lady Evelyne with the ball and she goes completely blind.
After a moment’s hesitation, he says, “Sorry, darling…good night, darling!”

A Swiss guide was taking a group of tourists up a mountain. It was a very tricky climb. Before reaching the summit they passed across an enormous abyss, at which point the guide said to the group, “I advise all of you not to look down, avoid vertigo.” There was a pause, “But if by any chance some of you slip and fall down, if you remember to look to your right there is a breathtaking panorama!”

Tired and thirsty, a man had lost his way in a desert. After wandering about for a while he met another rider. Glad to see somebody he hailed the rider with a friendly “Hello.”
“Hello,” answered the second.
“I’m English,” said the first.
“I’m English too,” answered the second.
“I’m Oxford,” continued the first proudly.
“I’m Cambridge,” came the answer.

It is very difficult to drop old habits, and that must have been the case with Dionysius. He was trained as a theologian; he speaks the language of a theologian, although now he is no longer a theologian, he is a mystic. But the moment he starts expressing himself it is but natural that his whole training, upbringing, will come into his expression. So please forgive him for his expressions. They are not as clear as the statements of the Upanishads because the Upanishads were sung by mad poets, not by theologians; hence the beauty of the Upanishadic statements.
It is fortunate, very fortunate, that Jesus was never trained by the rabbis; otherwise we would have missed the immense poetry and the grace of the New Testament, particularly of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the meek for theirs is the kingdom of God. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God. Blessed are those who are the very last because they shall be the first in my kingdom of God.”
These are not the words of a rabbi; these are the words of a simple man – not very articulate, not trained in reasoning. He is simply making statements without giving any reasons for them. He is not argumentative. These are shouts of joy. They are like small children playing, shouting, running, for no reason at all, just the overflowing energy. They are innocent statements.
One can see very easily the difference between Jesus and Dionysius, between Lao Tzu and Dionysius, between Zarathustra and Dionysius. It was unfortunate that this tremendously great man had to pass through a theological training. It was just an accident. But his training hangs around him; it is very difficult to get rid of old habits. What he is saying is of immense importance, but the way he is saying it is that of a very ordinary theologian.
Just listen to his statement:
I think, too, that you have understood how the discussion of particulars is more lengthy than of universals….
Now, Lao Tzu has not talked about particulars and universals, neither have Buddha nor Jesus nor Kabir nor Farid. It is a philosophical problem. It has some importance in the world of philosophy, but it is utterly meaningless as far as mystic experience is concerned. But Dionysius cannot find any other way to express himself; you will have to be a little patient with him. What he is saying is significant, but the way he is saying it is not significant at all. You will have to search for the diamonds hidden behind his expression.
By “particulars” is meant the manifestations of existence. There are people, animals, birds, trees, rivers. Then among people also there are black people and white people and yellow people and red people. Then among white people also there are men and women, children and old people. And if you go further into the particulars you are moving to the atomic. Ultimately you will have to come to the indivisible unit which cannot be divided anymore.
That’s exactly what the meaning of atom was in the beginning. Finally it was found that even the atom can be divided, but the old name has remained. Now the atom is divided into electrons, neutrons, positrons; they have become indivisibles. But who knows? Sooner or later somebody may divide electrons. There may be female electrons and male electrons – there is every possibility. Positive electrons and negative electrons are there, and the attraction between them is the same. You can call them yin and yang, male and female, Shiva and Shakti; it all depends on what expression you have chosen. The “neutron,” the “positron,” that is a scientific way of speaking, but some day somebody is bound to divide them.
Science goes on this way toward the particular; hence science can never conceive of God because God is the ultimate universal. God means the whole, the organic whole, and science and its concern is with the part, the ultimate part. You can see the ways of religion and science going in opposite directions. Science moves from the universals to the particulars; religion moves from the particulars to the universals. Hence they cannot agree; it is almost impossible for them to agree. They will not find any common ground where they can agree.
Science is bound to believe in analysis because analysis is the methodology for reaching the particular, and religion believes in synthesis because synthesis is the ladder that leads to the whole, to the universal.
Sigmund Freud called his psychology “psychoanalysis,” and he was right in calling it psychoanalysis because his whole effort, his whole life was devoted to one thing: how to make psychology a science. It can become a science only if it becomes analysis. His insight was very clear.
Assagioli calls his psychology “psychosynthesis.” He is on the right track for making psychology a religion, but he is not as insightful as Sigmund Freud. His synthesis is not much of a synthesis. Sigmund Freud really analyzes, and what Assagioli does is to reassemble the parts divided by Sigmund Freud.
It is like the body of a man is divided into parts, cut into parts by a butcher, and then, just by putting those parts together, or gluing them together, you think you will get the whole man back. You are wrong. You will not get the whole man back, you will only get a corpse. That’s why Assagioli has not made much impression, he has got only a corpse. He is trying to undo Sigmund Freud; he is just putting together whatever Sigmund Freud has divided. But he is not himself a mystic, and without being a mystic you cannot reach the alive universal.
The particulars are bound to be material, the parts have no life of their own. Life belongs to the whole. Life is the quality that arises in a miraculous way when parts are in a symphony with each other, in harmony with each other.
You can dissect a flower, but the moment you dissect it you are killing it too; and once dissected, you cannot put it together again. Yes, you can put it together materially, but the life of the flower will never come back. You cannot bring the original organic unity back to it.
Sigmund Freud’s work has left a great impact on humanity because this is the age of science and Sigmund Freud helped psychology to become at least something closer to science. Assagioli’s idea was good, but he was not capable of fulfilling his idea. He promised something which he was not capable of. He was not a Lao Tzu or a Buddha or a Dionysius.
Dionysius knows exactly what happens in these two processes. He was not aware of modern science, but in these words he describes it accurately, precisely. From the universal you come to the particular; that is the scientific approach.
Just one thousand years ago there was only one science. That’s why in old, ancient universities like Oxford, the department of science is still called the department of natural philosophy. There was only one science, the philosophy of nature; that’s why it is still a hangover. You may get a doctorate in psychology, but you are still called a PhD – PhD means a doctor of philosophy. You may get your doctorate in chemistry and still you are called a PhD – a hangover. You have nothing to do with philosophy, but in those days that was the only science: philosophy.
Then in these one thousand years science became divided again and again and again: chemistry became a separate science; physics became a separate science. Then pure physics became a science separate from practical physics; organic chemistry became a science separate from inorganic chemistry. Now there are even more chemistries: biochemistry…and soon there will be more divisions. There are almost three hundred sciences available today. Just within one thousand years, one science has become divided into three hundred sciences.
The whole process of science is knowing more and more about less and less. Science is an expertise, and the expert has to know more and more about less and less.
Just twenty years ago you used to go to the physician, to the doctor, and that was enough; now it is no longer enough. You go to the physician; he suggests that you consult a few experts because he cannot say anything about your eyes. Twenty years ago he would have done everything for you; your eyes, your nose, your ears. Your whole body was his domain. It is no longer so. If your eyes are hurting he will send you to the eye specialist.

I have heard that in the twenty-first century a man goes to an eye expert, and just before the expert is going to examine his eye, he asks, “Which eye is hurting?”
And the man says, “The right eye.”
He says, “Sorry, then you have to go to another expert because I cannot say anything about it. I only have expertise in left eyes.”

Don’t laugh because even a single eye is a universe unto itself. Even to understand a single eye, left or right, is enough work for your whole life. In fact, there is not a single person in the world who can say he has read everything written about the eye. So much research has gone into everything about it that there are experts and experts; you have to go to many experts.
A great problem has arisen: there is no one to look at you as an organic unity. Somebody treats your eye; he does not know anything about your heart. Somebody else treats your heart; he knows nothing about your stomach. Somebody else treats your stomach… You are being treated in parts and nobody knows about the whole unity of your body – what to say about the whole unity of existence?
Hence, experts are creating great confusion. The eye expert may do something which goes against the heart or goes against the brain. The brain expert may do something which goes against the eye or against the nose. The heart specialist may do something which goes against the stomach or the kidney, and so on and so forth.
Now one of the greatest problems before all the scientists of the world is how to unite all these different branches. In the old days, in Aristotle’s time, a single person used to write about the whole of science. Aristotle, a single man, has written about all the sciences. Now nobody can be an Aristotle again; those days are gone. He has not only written about all that was scientifically available, he has also written about God, heaven, hell – the supernatural world.
Hence, the word metaphysics. Metaphysics has a very strange origin. Aristotle wrote about mathematics, chemistry, physics, whatever scientific knowledge was available in those days. And then after all these chapters he wrote a chapter about God. It was just a coincidence that after the chapter written on physics he wrote about God; the next chapter was about God. Metaphysics means after the chapter called “Physics.” It became the very name of philosophy – metaphysics, beyond physics. In fact, it refers to Aristotle’s book: the chapter that followed the chapter “Physics.”
But a man like Aristotle will not be possible now. Science has become much more divided, and it goes on being divided. Remember the definition: knowing more and more about less and less. Then religion will be just the reverse process: knowing less and less about more and more. Hence in religion nobody can be an expert. It is a movement from the particular to the universal.
Mysticism is the ultimate peak of religion. Mysticism can be defined in the same way: knowing nothing about all. That’s how Dionysius defines it: agnosia, knowing nothing. About the all, about the whole, nothing can be known because you are part of it. The knower and the known are no longer different; they are one.
This is what he is saying in the language of theology. What he is saying is significant. He is defining science very clearly, not knowing that he is defining science. He is defining religion very clearly and mysticism very accurately. He says: I think, too, that you have understood how the discussion of particulars is more lengthy than of universals….
Of course! The description, the discussion of the particulars is bound to be very lengthy. The Encyclopedia Britannica cannot be written on a postcard. But the essence of all the Upanishads, one hundred and eight Upanishads, can be written on a single postcard, or even a single postcard may be too big. It can even be condensed into a single sutra, into a single statement. And exactly that kind of statement is available.
The Upanishads say, “Tatvamasi. Thou art that” – and they say all is contained in it. Everything else that is said in the Upanishads is nothing but an explanation of this single statement consisting of three words: “Thou art that.” There is no difference between you and the universe. You are it.
But you cannot describe science in this way. Science has to be lengthy – science has to cover millions of things. Even now we don’t know how many species of living beings exist on the earth. After three hundred years of research, every day people go on finding new species of insects, flies – new species which have never been known before. We don’t know how many species of vegetation exist on the earth; millions have been catalogued, but many more are still there.
And there is no problem in going into research as far as science is concerned; thousands of unknown territories are still available. Millions of stars have been counted, but still many more are there to be counted. It seems the universe is so infinite that we may never be able to know all the forms. And to be concerned with the particular means to be concerned with all the manifestations.
Dionysius says:
For the more we aspire to higher things, the more our discourse upon things of the intellect is cut short, even as, when we enter that darkness which passes understanding, we shall find not brevity of speech but perfect silence and unknowing.
But as you start moving from particulars to universals – and that is what he means by “higher things” – remember, he is not talking of any moral evaluation, he is simply talking of higher things in the sense of universals. For example, to be a Hindu is lower than to be a human being, to be a Mohammedan is lower than to be a human being. To be a man is lower or to be a woman is lower than to be just a human being. But to be a human being is lower than just to be a being because being covers a far greater territory. Then animals are in it, then insects are in it, then trees are in it. To be is even higher than to be a being because then rocks are in it. Then even things which you think are dead things are included in it because they are. Even dreams are included in it because they are. Howsoever false, howsoever imaginary, but they exist. To be is equivalent to God.
This is what he means by going higher: higher means reaching closer and closer to the ultimate universal. The very word universal has to be understood: it means one, uni; uni means one. It is not a multiverse, it is a universe. Coming closer to the one is what he means by going higher; coming closer to the many is what he means by falling lower. His evaluation is not moral, his evaluation is far more significant – it is existential. He says: For the more we aspire to the higher things, the more our discourse upon things of the intellect is cut short…
And, in fact, the higher you move the less you will need the intellect because the intellect is nothing but an instrument of analysis.
Now you will be able to understand why all the mystics have been against the mind, for the simple reason that the mind means the process of analyzing, and analysis leads to the particular. If you drop the mind, the universe is one, suddenly one. All distinctions disappear because distinctions exist only through the intellect. Intellect says, “This is different from that.” Intellect is a process of labeling: this is man, this is woman; this is Hindu, this is Mohammedan, this is Christian. And not only that: this is a Catholic Christian and this is a Protestant Christian, and so on and so forth. It goes on dividing and labeling.
As you move higher, the function of the intellect is less and less. In other words, if you want to move higher you will have to move beyond intellect. That’s what he wants to say, but his way of saying it is theological. If he had been a Zen monk like Bodhidharma he would have said the whole thing in a single word: no-mind.

When the Emperor Wu asked Bodhidharma, “What is your message for me?” he said, “No-mind” – and that’s all.

Lin Chi was sitting on the bank of a river and a philosopher came, bowed down and asked him, “What is your essential message?”
Lin Chi looked at the philosopher and did not say a single word. The philosopher thought, “He is very old, maybe he is deaf too. He shouted, “It seems you cannot hear me! I am asking, what is your essential message?”
Lin Chi laughed. The philosopher thought, “Something is strange. First he didn’t answer, now he laughs! Maybe he is just trying to pretend that he has heard, but because he has not answered he cannot have heard. That laughter seemed to be just a cover-up.” He shouted even more loudly; he said, “I am asking, what is your essential message?”
Lin Chi said, “First I said silence. You could not understand it. I had to come a little lower. I said laughter. You could not understand even that, so I have to come a little lower.” And he wrote on the sand with his finger: Meditation. He said, “This is my message, the essential message.”
The philosopher said, “Elaborate a little more. Make it a little clearer.”
Lin Chi said, “It cannot be made clearer! All that can be said has been said in it.”
But the philosopher insisted, so Lin Chi wrote, in bigger letters, again: MEDITATION.
The philosopher was getting a little irritated and angry and he said, “Are you joking or what? You are writing the same word in bigger letters! I want a little more elaboration – I am a professor of philosophy!”
Lin Chi said. “Why didn’t you say that before?” So he wrote No-mind.
The philosopher hit his head with his hand and left the place without even saying good-bye to Lin Chi. “What kind of man is this? First he writes meditation, then he simply writes No-mind.

But Lin Chi is saying exactly that which is pertinent, to the point. Lin Chi is not a theologian or a philosopher; he is a pure mystic.
Lin Chi brought the message of Bodhidharma from China to Japan. He transformed the whole of Japan into a new vision, into a new world. Japan owes more to Lin Chi than to anybody else. Lin Chi is Japan’s first buddha, and then from one light another light…and then many buddhas blossomed. But Lin Chi was the beginning, he brought the seed from China. Just as Bodhidharma took the message of Buddha from India to China, Lin Chi did the same, taking it from China to Japan.
But Dionysius is a rare case. Theologians are not known to become mystics, hence he is, in a way, more important.
I have heard…

One day a great mystic and a great pundit, a great scholar, died – the same day, the same time. And they used to live just opposite each other in the same street.
The mystic was surprised to see that the angels of death were also carrying the pundit, the great scholar, to heaven. He had never thought – no mystic has ever thought that pundits can enter heaven. Even sinners can enter, but not scholars, not theologians, not philosophers. They are wordy people. They know nothing, but they go on pretending that they know. They are the most hocus-pocus people around the earth, the most superficial and shallow people, but they use big words, great jargon.
But the mystic kept silent. And he was even more surprised when the doors opened: St. Peter received the pundit, the scholar first – in fact, the mystic was almost ignored – and with great singing and alleluias and a big divine band he was taken in. Nobody took any notice of the mystic who was standing outside the gate looking at all that was happening.
When the procession of the scholar, of the pundit went inside, St. Peter asked the mystic to come in – without any music, singing, any band – nothing. Just, “Come in.”
The mystic said, “I am a little puzzled. I lived my whole life in prayer, in silence, in meditation, and is this the way to receive a mystic? And this man, I know perfectly well, is only knowledgeable; he does not really know anything, he has never experienced anything. And he has been received in such a way?”
St. Peter laughed and he said, “You don’t understand. Mystics come here almost every day. This is the first time that a scholar has come. It is a very rare occasion, that’s why the special reception. It may not happen again for millions of years because for millions of years it has not happened before. It may not happen again at all, so this is the only opportunity to receive a scholar.”

Dionysius is a rare flower in that sense because theologians, rabbis, pundits, are not known to know. Knowledgeable they are, they have great information, they can quote scriptures, but they have not experienced anything on their own. Dionysius has experienced.
But this is to be understood: whatever you are now, when you experience you will have to express it in the old way, the way you were before the experience. For example, if you are a painter and you experience God, what will you do? You will paint – of course with a new quality – the same sunrises, the same sunsets, but with something new added to it, something inner, interior to it, some depth to it.
A famous Zen story says…

The emperor of China asked a Zen master, “I would like you to paint something on the wall in my palace where I sit for meditation. I have a small temple. I would like you to paint something on the wall.”
The master said, “Okay, I will do it, but it will take one year or two or three years. One never knows because I paint only when He paints through me. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it does not happen. I am just a vehicle.”
The emperor said, “You take your time.”
After three years, the painting was complete. The master had painted all the walls inside the temple with beautiful mountains, rivers, springs, fountains. And he had told the emperor not to enter the temple until the painting was complete, so for three years the emperor had waited, asking again and again, “When? When can I come?”
After three years, one day the master said, “Now you can come.”
He went in. He was surprised, the temple was so small, but the way the mountains were painted all around gave it such vastness. The feel was as if you were standing in the mountains, not inside a temple. And he started inquiring about everything: “What is this? What river is this? What mountain is this? What is this peak called?”
And then they came to the most beautiful peak. There was a small path going behind the peak and the emperor asked, “Where does this path lead to?”
The master said, “In fact, I have never gone on it, but I will try. Wait.”
And the master entered the painting, and never came back again.

Now this is a very strange story, but I love it. It is really beautiful, it shows how the painting was alive. The master must have poured himself totally into it. That is the meaning of him getting lost in it, of him never coming back.
When a master painter paints, the painter disappears, only the painting remains. When the master musician plays, the musician disappears, only the music remains. When the master singer sings, there is only song and no singer at all. So whatever your training is before your enlightenment, that will become your expression after enlightenment.
Dionysius was a theologian, a bishop. And to be Bishop of Athens means he must have been very sophisticated, very educated, the most important bishop of those days because Athens was one of the most cultured cities that the world has ever known. So he speaks in this language, but don’t get lost in his language. Just try to find the essence of it.
He says as our discourse rises upward toward universals: …the intellect is cut short, even as, when we enter that darkness which passes understanding, we shall find not brevity of speech but perfect silence and unknowing.
This is a very pregnant statement and, in a way, unique. There have been mystics who have said and talked much about the knowledge that passes understanding. That can be understood, knowledge that passes understanding. You know something, but you cannot understand it. You know the beauty of a roseflower, but do you understand it? If somebody asks you, “What is beauty?” You will be at a loss. And it is not that you don’t know. You have seen it in the sunset, in the stars, in the face of a woman – you have seen it many times. You know it, but you cannot say that you understand it. Knowing is one thing, understanding is totally different. Understanding means comprehending it by the mind. Knowing is existential, understanding is intellectual.
Many mystics have said “that knowledge which passes understanding,” but Dionysius is very special in this way. He says: …that darkness which passes understanding. Why even call it knowing? – because knowing somehow carries something of understanding in it. The moment you say “I know,” somewhere there is a lurking idea that you understand.
St. Augustine is reported to have said, “I know what time is, but don’t ask me. The moment you ask me what time is, I don’t know.”
Everybody knows what time is, but can you explain what time is? In fact, physicists have been working for fifty years on time and have not been able to come to any conclusion about what exactly it is that we call time. We have certain vague notions about time, but they are just vague. The moment you start thinking about them you will find them all faulty.
For example we say, “Time passes by,” as if time is a river. But is time a river that passes by? Do you stand on the bank and time passes by? It is not so because with time you go on changing; with the river you don’t change. You can even stand in the river and you will feel the flow of the river, the passing of the water, but you are not changing; you are the same person. But time never leaves you the same person. And in a river you can go backward, you can go upstream, but in time you cannot go backward – except in H. G. Wells’ novel, The Time Machine.
H. G. Wells invented a machine in his novel in which you stand and it takes you back. You just turn a dial, you say, “Twenty years back,” and you move twenty years back, and you are a child. H. G. Wells’ idea has arisen out of the ordinary understanding of time, that time passes. If time passes, then why can we not go backward? If we can go forward, why not backward? What is wrong with going backward? But this idea of time cannot be proved. You don’t even feel its passing. You feel the breeze, you feel the water passing by; you don’t feel time passing by at all, not at all.
And from where does it come? The river comes from somewhere; the Ganges comes from Gangotri in the Himalayas. From where does time come and to where does it go? From nowhere to nowhere, from nothing to nothing. It exists only for a single moment, the now. And then where does it go? Can something disappear into nothing? Can something come out of nothing? Then a thousand and one questions will arise.
St. Augustine is right: “I know what time is, but please don’t ask me the question. If you ask me the question, then I won’t know at all.”
He is saying that knowing and understanding are different things. But in knowing there is some vague undercurrent of understanding. To avoid that, Dionysius is the only mystic in the whole world who has not used the word knowledge. Instead he says darkness which passes understanding, unknowing which passes understanding, agnosia which passes understanding.
And then he says, “As you go higher it is not only that you find brevity of speech…” Yes, there is a stage, the sutras of Patanjali, the Brahmasutras, the Bhaktisutras… In the East, all the great scriptures are written in sutras. Sutra means the most condensed statement, so thin as if it is just a thread. Sutra literally means a thread, a thin thread. Everything inessential has been cut; only the most essential has been saved. It is the most telegraphic way of expressing things. Hence in the East there are great commentaries. In the West there are no commentaries at all, because in the West no sutras have been written. A sutra needs a commentary.
For example, all the great sutras in the East start with one word, athat – now. Athat means now. Every great scripture in the East: Brahmasutras, Bhaktisutras, the Yoga Sutras; they all start with athat. The Brahmasutra, the most important sutras in the East, starts with this statement: “Athato brahman jigyasa. Now the inquiry into God.” What do they mean by now? Thousands of commentaries have been written on the single word now in “Now the inquiry into God.” Why now? Is it not enough to say “The inquiry into God”? Or “We start the inquiry into God”? But “Now”? It has a significance.
My own interpretation is unless you have experienced now – the present moment – you cannot inquire into God. “Now the inquiry into God.” In fact, to be in the now is to be in the inquiry for God. The mind is always in the past or in the future. The past is no more, the future is not yet. And God always is, God is always now. To inquire into now is really to inquire into God.
But the sutra is so condensed, it does not say a single word about the now – just now, and finished. Sutras means small seeds which contain thousands of flowers. But then you will have to sow them, grow them, protect them, and wait for the spring.
As you move upward, first comes brevity – your statements become sutras – and then comes perfect silence. Even to say a single word seems to be doing something wrong.
Lao Tzu says, “To say the truth is to falsify it.” Hence he avoided doing so his whole life; he never wrote a single word. He indicated in indirect ways, hinted at but never said any direct thing about God, never mentioned God.
When Buddha became enlightened, he remained silent for seven days. And the story is that the gods became very disturbed because it was such a rare opportunity – a man becoming enlightened, “Is he going to speak or not? If he does not speak then the world will lose such a precious treasure.” So they came down from heaven, bowed down to Buddha and asked him to speak. Again and again they said, “Sir, speak because this is a rare experience! Once in a while a man becomes a buddha – he should speak. Be compassionate because there are millions who are searching for truth. Your single word will be like a drop of nectar to them.”
But Buddha remained silent. When they insisted, he argued. He said, “For seven days many times I have thought whether to speak or not to speak, and always I have concluded that it is better not to speak. In the first place, no word is adequate enough to contain my experience. In the second place, whatever I say will be misunderstood. I know it because when I was not enlightened, if somebody had said something I would have misunderstood him myself. So what is the point of unnecessarily falsifying the truth and creating misunderstanding and confusion in people?
“Thirdly, out of one hundred people, ninety-nine point nine percent will not be benefited at all; they will remain the same. Yes, point one percent may be benefited, but about that point one percent, I have also been thinking that if a person can understand what I am saying, then he is so intelligent that even without my speaking sooner or later he will discover the truth himself. So why not let him discover it himself? Maybe it will take a little longer – so what? There is infinity.”
But the gods also discussed among themselves how to persuade him, how to argue with him. This man was saying something right, they could not deny it. But they found something that persuaded Buddha to speak. They said, “We agree with you on all the points, just one doubt remains. We know a few people, very few people – and you also must be aware of those very few people – maybe one in a million, who is intelligent enough to understand you, but is not intelligent enough to discover it by himself, who is just on the boundary line. A little push and he may take the jump. And if there is nobody to push he may not take the jump. He may even turn back, he may lose whatever he has gained. He may go back to the world, into the world of things. What about that man? And they are not many, we agree, but the question is not of many, it is not a question of quantity. The question is, if even a single man can become a master through your speaking that is enough, more than enough, more than one can ask for.”
And Buddha had to concede this point. But whatever he has said is very condensed. The Dhammapada, his statements, are just small sutras; they have to be elaborated, they have to be explained. They are seeds; they have to be opened. They contain mysteries, but those mysteries are hidden.
The most important thing that Dionysius says is: …we shall find not brevity of speech but perfect silence and unknowing.
This and unknowing is his specialty, his unique contribution to the whole history of mysticism. Even Buddha says, “I cannot say that which I have known because no word will contain it.” Dionysius says, “It is a state of unknowing, so how can any word contain it?” If it is a state of knowing then maybe some part of it can be contained or maybe a bigger word can be found or maybe better words can be invented. Why not? If we have been able to invent words to express beauty, love, bliss, why can we not invent words to express truth, nirvana, moksha? The words can be improved upon. But if it is a state of unknowing then nothing can be done. Then it is not a question of language at all; then it can be conveyed only in silence.
Do you see what he is saying? He has taken a step ahead of all the buddhas in expressing the fact that because it is a state of unknowing, it is impossible to express it.
Herein speech descends from the universal to the particular, and as it descends it is increased in proportion to the multiplicity of things. But now, in truth, it ascends from the particular to the universal, and going up is withdrawn as it rises, and after the whole ascent it becomes inwardly silent, entirely united with the ineffable.
The particular can be expressed. Hence science is very precise in its expression; it can express things with absolute clarity. For example, H2O; now nothing more can be added to it, nothing can be misunderstood about it. H2O means simply H2O. Science has found a mathematical language to express itself because its concern is particular.
But as you move up from the particular to the universal you become vague. More and more mist surrounds you, more and more mystery. And ultimately you become one with the ineffable, the inexpressible.
These are the stages to be remembered. The first stage according to Dionysius – and I agree with him totally – is the state of unknowing. If you descend from it, the second state is a vague knowing. You know that you know something; what it is exactly is not yet clear. It is just like early in the morning the sun has not risen yet and great mist surrounds. You cannot see far away, but you can still see a little bit; it is not dark, it is not light either.
In India the language of the mystics is called sandhya bhasha, the evening language. It is neither night nor day; it is in the middle. Something is dark in it and something is luminous in it. Hence Dionysius’ expression: luminous, translucent darkness.
The first state is of unknowing; nothing can be said about it. But if you want to approach people, if compassion arises in you…
Buddha has said that there are two types of enlightened people: one he calls arhats and the other he calls bodhisattvas. Arhats are those who remain in the state of unknowing; they never bother. That’s what Buddha was thinking for seven days: he was thinking to remain an arhat. Nobody would have heard about him, nobody would have known about him; he would have never conveyed anything to anybody. He would have blossomed like a lonely flower far away in the deep forest. Nobody would have even smelled the perfume of it. Nobody would have known that the blossoming had happened, that a flower, a beautiful flower, had opened up. No bees would have reached it, no butterflies would have flown to it.
The second he calls bodhisattvas: the people who, out of compassion for others, speak. The gods helped him to become a bodhisattva. And then his whole life he insisted that all his bhikkus, all his sannyasins, become as loving and compassionate as possible because when you attain truth, if your heart is full of compassion you will become a bodhisattva. If you have not gathered any compassion in your heart, if you have remained dry like a desert, you may attain truth, but nobody will be benefited by it. You will reach the other shore, but alone.
The arhat remains in the unknowing state, in agnosia. He disappears into the universal without leaving a single trace behind. Nobody is helped by him. The bodhisattva descends from those heights. He has known the sunlit peaks of Gourishankar, of Everest, and then he remembers all those struggling millions in the dark valley of life and he descends, back to the valley.
This is the descent: from unknowing he comes to vague knowing; from vague knowing to articulate knowing, from articulate knowing to expression, language, words; through language and words he reaches the listener’s mind; then the listener’s mind interprets it, then the person who has listened to those who have known starts telling others.
These are the seven stages, but much is lost by the time it reaches the seventh; almost all is lost. But nothing can be done, that’s how things are. “Aes dhammo sanantano,” Buddha says: “Such is the law of life.”
Dionysius also is trying to be a bodhisattva, but he can use only his old language.

A Jew asks his neighbor for a hammer.
“You don’t have one?” asks the neighbor, surprised. “Yes, I do,” replies the Jew, “but it’s a new one and I’m afraid of spoiling it!”

Two Jews are sipping a drink in the garden of a luxurious villa. One says to the other, “Well, yes, my dear friend, I am a self-made man. I started with nothing, absolutely nothing. Now I have over two million dollars’ worth of debts!”

A Jew heard that at a certain gas station they pumped up tires for free. He went there, and in his excitement over the deal he blew all four tires.

Old habits die hard. And it is very difficult to find a man without habits. Life naturally becomes patterned, structured. Otherwise, truth could be said more clearly.
Now look at these words:
We say, therefore, that the transcendent maker of all things lacks neither being, nor life, nor reason, nor mind, yet he has no body; neither has he form, nor image, nor quality, nor quantity, nor bulk; he is in no place, nor is he seen, nor has he sensible touch; nor does he feel, nor is he felt, nor has he confusion and tumult, nor disturbance of material passions; neither is he without power, succumbing to the contingencies of sensible things; neither is his light in any deficiency, nor change, nor corruption, nor division, nor lack, nor flux, nor is he nor has he any other sensible thing.
Now, this is just an old habit. The poor fellow cannot forget – a hangover. To express the inexpressible a child will be far more capable, but a child cannot know it, that’s the difficulty. If a child can know the truth he will be very clear, he will be straight. And that’s why I see the beauty in Jesus’ words – he is more like a child. He was very young, only thirty, when he started expressing. Dionysius must have been old by the time he wrote this treatise.

The teacher was describing the Last Judgment dramatically: “Thunder will boom! Flames will come from the heavens! There will be earthquakes and floods! The whole world will split and swallow millions!”
Right there, Johnny held up his hand and asked, “Will we get the day off from school?”

Now children are very clear and straight, “What nonsense are you saying, that is not the point. The point is whether we will be able to get the day off to see the whole scene or not!”

While helping her son with his spelling, the mother came to the words conscious and conscience. Did he know their meaning?
“Sure, Mom,” he said, “Conscious is when you’re aware of something and conscience is when you wish you weren’t!”
So clear!

Six year old Jojo approached his neighbor, a beautiful lady, and asked, “Will you marry me?”
To which the lady replied, “I don’t like kids!”
Answered little Jojo, “Then we won’t have any!”

Two babies were talking together in a maternity ward. One says to the other, “So what are you – a boy or a girl?”
“I don’t know,” replies the smaller of the two.
“Well,” says the first, “let’s wait til the nurse goes out and then we’ll find out.”
When the nurse is safely out of the ward, the bigger baby sits up, looks carefully from side to side, then quickly takes a look under the blanket of his little neighbor.
“You are a girl,” he announces.
“How can you tell?” asks his little friend in awe.
“Because I saw your little pink booties!”

If children were writing about God, things would be very clear! But theologians write, scholars write, or people who have been scholars in the past and then become mystics. But their old language persists; they go on talking in it.
And the problems become more and more difficult because of the continuous fall from the truth. From unknowing to vague knowing much is lost. In unknowing, everything is as it is. In vague knowing, something of your mind has entered. Then in articulate knowing, the third step down, something of your logic has also come in – not only mind but logic too. And then in the fourth, when you express, there is not only logic but language, and language is created by others. And there are things which cannot be translated into any language. The moment you translate, something goes wrong.

A firm experimenting with an electronic brain designed to translate English into Russian fed into it the words: “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
The machine translated the sentence into Russian, which read: “The whiskey is agreeable but the meat has gone bad.”

It is always a problem to translate, the more poetic a phenomenon, the greater the danger in translation. That’s why many beautiful books cannot be translated at all; if you translate them you destroy.
The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu has been translated many times, many people have translated it, and each translation has something of its own. But when all the translations are read together you will be surprised, it seems that the real thing is still missing because there is something in one translation, something else is in another translation, and both seem to be right. When you read them they seem logical.
The moment you start using language for something which has been experienced in silence, a great distance arises. You know it perfectly well, that now you are moving into the world. And once the words have escaped you, you are no longer master of those words; then the listener’s mind enters. Up to now at least everything was within you and you have known the ultimate, so you knew what faults have entered, what flaws have entered. Now, once the truth is expressed, it enters a mind which knows nothing of the heights. What this person will think about it depends on him; his mind will be the decisive factor.

One day an unhappy citizen in New Delhi was wandering around alone in a back street, muttering and talking to himself. “I hate them,” he was saying, “those dirty profiteers, nepotists, squanderers,” and other unprintables. “I hate them, I hate them, I hate them!”
At this point a policeman tapped him on the shoulder and said, “You are under arrest for insulting the Government.”
“I didn’t even mention the Government!” retorted the citizen.
“I admit that, but you described it so perfectly!”

The sixth thing is when the listener not only listens but interprets. And the seventh is really very, very far away from the original source, when the listener starts telling others according to his interpretation.
That’s what for two thousand years Christian missionaries have been doing, for twenty-five centuries Jaina monks have been doing, Buddhist monks have been doing, and for five thousand years the Hindu pundits have been doing. They have heard… Each Buddhist scripture begins: “I have heard…” this is the beginning of each Buddhist scripture. It is a report by somebody who has heard. Now what he has heard cannot be the same as what was said.

Young Vladimir, visiting the big city for the first time, is impressed by its tall buildings and its cultural happenings. While wandering around the city’s museums, Vladimir is suddenly possessed with the urge to shit. When his efforts to locate a toilet fail, he finds a corner and spreads his handkerchief on the marble floor. He grunts and groans for a few minutes and deposits a fairly healthy load. Vladimir leaves the museum, handkerchief in hand, and at that precise moment a thief is making off with four pounds of meat from the neighboring butcher shop.
The police arrive on the scene immediately, a crowd gathers, and in the confusion Vladimir is taken into custody. His innocence is proven when a high-ranking police officer, schooled in the latest investigatory techniques, is called in to solve the baffling case. After many hours of fruitless investigation, the officer decides to weigh the handkerchief and finds it weighs only three pounds.
Vladimir, again a free man, returns to his home town.
He is met at the train station by many friends and townspeople who eagerly inquire about life in the big city.
“It is wonderful,” says Vladimir, “really amazing! But let me warn you – if your shit weighs more than three pounds, you can get into a lot of trouble!”

This is what has happened to all the religions. That’s why there is so much trouble in the world, a lot of trouble. People have interpreted the great masters according to themselves. Knowing nothing, understanding nothing, never having meditated in their lives; they go on pretending that they know. Just words, and in those words they go on putting their own meanings.

The game between Celtic and Rangers was in its twenty-ninth minute when Celtic scored the first goal. One spectator cheered wildly with all the Celtic fans, though he was not wearing the colors of either team.
Ten minutes later Rangers equalized. The Rangers fans went wild, so did the lone spectator.
The man standing next to him exclaimed, “Just a minute, Jock – you’re yelling for both teams?”
“That’s right,” said the spectator. “I am enjoying the whole show and I don’t care who wins.”
“Oh, an atheist, eh?” said the second man.

If you are enjoying the whole scene then the other immediately interprets that you are an atheist, you don’t belong to a particular religion – Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan.
And that is the problem with my sannyasins, I am enjoying the whole scene and you are enjoying the whole scene. Otherwise Hindus listening to Dionysius, or Christians listening to Rinzai, or Jainas listening to Mohammed – impossible! It has never happened in the world.
Hence, there are many who call me an atheist. They don’t know what theism is, what atheism is, but they go on using words not even knowing their meaning. But this is bound to happen. One should be aware of it – you have to be aware of it.
What I am saying, never try to interpret it; listen silently, absorb it, let it become part of your blood, bones, and marrow. And then you will know its meaning far more clearly than through your mind.
Enough for today.

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