Vedanta Seven Steps to Samadhi 08

Eighth Discourse from the series of 17 discourses - Vedanta Seven Steps to Samadhi by Osho.
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After this the seeker enters the third stage of yoga
which is known as nonattachment. He fixes his mind unwaveringly on the meaning of scriptural words.
He lives in the monasteries, ashrams, of saints well established
in austerities. He occupies himself with the discussion of the
scriptures and sleeps on a rocky bed. Thus it is that he lives his life. Because he has attained peace of mind, the man of good conduct spends his time in the enjoyment of pleasures that come naturally to him from his excursions into the forest.
He remains detached however, from the objects of desires.
Through the ritual of meritorious deeds and the cultivation of right scriptures, he attains that clarity of vision which sees reality.
On completing this stage,
the seeker experiences a glimpse of enlightenment.
The second stage is that of thought – purity of thought, intensity of thought, contemplation, meditation. Thought is energy; it can move through desires to the objects of the world, it can become a bondage. If thought is associated with desire it becomes bondage; if thought is not associated with desire, freed from desire, thought can be used as a vehicle to reach the ultimate liberation.
The way is the same, only the direction changes. When thought moves to objects, to the world, it creates entanglements, it creates slavery, it creates imprisonment. When thought is not moving to objects but starts moving within, the same energy becomes liberation. The second stage is of thought – to make it pure, to become a witness of it.
The third stage is of vairagya – nonattachment. Nonattachment is very significant, the concept is very basic to all those who are in search of the truth. Mind has the capacity to get attached to anything, and once the mind gets attached to something the mind itself becomes that thing. When your mind is moving towards a sexual object and you get attached, mind becomes sex; when the mind is moving towards power and you get attached to it, mind becomes power, mind becomes politics.
Mind is just like a mirror: whatsoever you get attached to becomes fixed in the mirror, and then mind behaves like a film of a camera. Then mind is not just a mirror, it has become a film. Then whatsoever comes to it, the mind clings to it. These are the two possibilities, or two aspects of the same possibility. Mind has the capacity to get attached, identified, with anything whatsoever.
In hypnosis this is revealed very clearly. If you have seen any hypnotic experiments…or if you have not seen any, then you can try a few experiments yourself; they will be very revealing. Hypnosis is not difficult, a very simple process. Let someone who is willing to cooperate lie down in a relaxed posture, and tell him to fix his eyes on something – the electric light bulb will do – anything shiny so that the eyes get dazed. Let him concentrate without blinking the eyes. After two or three minutes you will feel that his eyes are becoming vacant, empty, sleepy.
Then you start suggesting. You simply say, “Your eyes are getting very heavy, even if you try you cannot keep them open.” And he has to try to keep them open, he has to exert effort to keep them open. Go on suggesting, “Your eyes are getting heavy, heavier, heavier…it is difficult now, you cannot do anything, it is impossible, the eyes are going to close by themselves…no will, no effort of yours can keep them open….” And the person will start feeling as if the eyes have be-come loaded, heavy. He will try, he will make every effort to keep them open, and you go on suggesting the opposite.
After five or six minutes the eyes will close, and the moment the eyes close, the man will start feeling that something is happening which is beyond his control – he cannot keep his own eyes open. Then you go on suggesting, “You are falling into deep sleep, you will become unaware of everything except me.” You have to suggest, “Only my voice will be heard, and everything else will become blank.” Go on suggesting. After ten minutes the person will be fast asleep, but this sleep is totally different from normal sleep because he is not asleep to you. He is asleep to the whole world, he cannot hear anything; if someone else talks he cannot hear, but if you talk he will hear. His conscious mind has dropped, but his unconscious is linked with you – now he is suggestible.
Now try something, some experiment. You can prick his body with a pin and tell him that there will be no pain, and you can go on pushing in the pin and he will not feel any pain. Then you can believe that he has become suggestible. You can give him an onion to eat and tell him that it is an apple and he will think, “This is very sweet, very tasty. I like it.” He is eating onion, but if you have suggested that it is an apple, he will feel that it is an apple. Then he has become more suggestible.
Put a piece of stone, a piece of rock in his hand, and tell him that it is a burning coal. Immediately he will throw it as if his hand has been burned – and it was just a piece of rock, cold, but he will feel it as hot. And not only that, but the spot on his hand, on his skin, will look as if a burning coal has been put there. The skin has burned, it has happened; the body has reacted because the mind accepted the idea.
This is how in India, in Ceylon, in Burma, fakirs, monks, bhikkus, have been walking on fire. They just believe so totally that the body has to follow. Remember, the body always follows the mind. If you think that a cold stone is a burning coal and your mind gets attached to the idea, then the body reacts in that way. The reverse is also true. You can put a burning coal on the hand and say that it is a cold piece of rock, and the hand will not get burned.
Whatsoever the attachment, your life follows that. In this world, the Upanishads say, we are behaving as if we are hypnotized; we are in a deep hypnosis. Nobody else has done that, we have hypnotized ourselves. For millions of lives we have been attached to certain objects of desire; they have become fixed. So whenever you see a woman, immediately your body starts working in a sexual way.
Once it happened, I was sitting on the bank of the Ganges with a friend of mine. Suddenly I felt that he was uncomfortable, so I asked, “What is the matter?”
He said, “That woman!”
A woman was taking a bath in the river, and we could see only the back of the woman – long hair, curly hair, a beautiful back – and he was excited, so he said, “Pardon me, excuse me, we will continue our discussion later on. I must go and see, the body seems to be so beautiful.”
So he went, and then he came back very frustrated because it was not a woman, it was a sadhu, a Hindu monk, a Hindu sannyasin with long hair taking a bath, and the body was beautiful and looked feminine. There was no woman, but the mind got attached, a fixation, and then the whole chemical process in the body started.
Attachment creates the life; a life is created around whatsoever you are attached to. So the Upanishads say it is basic, the third step of sadhana, that the mind should get nonattached; only then this illusory world that you have created around you will disappear. Otherwise you will remain in a dream.
The world is not a dream, remember. This has been very much misunderstood. In the West it has been very much misunderstood; they think that these Indian mystics have called the world illusory. They have not called the world illusory, they call the world you have created around you illusory. And everybody has created a world around himself that is not the real world, that is just your projection. You have got attached to certain things, then you project your dreams onto the reality. By nonattachment, reality is not going to be destroyed; only your dreams will be destroyed, and reality will be revealed to you as it is. So nonattachment becomes a basic step, very foundational.
Now we will enter the sutra:
After this the seeker enters the third stage of yoga which is known as non-attachment. He fixes his mind unwaveringly on the meaning of scriptural words. He lives in the monasteries, ashrams, of saints well established in austerities. He occupies himself with the discussion of the scriptures and sleeps on a rocky bed.
Everything has to be understood. These are old symbols, they have to be penetrated deeply; they are not literal, they are symbolic.
He fixes his mind unwaveringly….
This is the first thing in nonattachment, because a wavering mind cannot get non-attached. Only a nonwavering mind, nishkam, a nonwavering mind, can get nonattached. Why? Look at your mind, observe it: every moment it is wavering. It cannot remain with one object for a single moment, every moment a flux is passing; one thought comes, then another, then another – there is a procession.
You cannot remain with one thought even for a single moment, and if you cannot remain for a single moment with one thought, how can you penetrate it? How can you become aware of its full reality? How can you see the illusion that it creates? You are moving so fast that you cannot observe – observation is impossible. It is just as if you come running into this hall. As soon as you enter from one door you go out from the other. You have just a glimpse, and you cannot know later on whether this hall was real or a dream. You had no time here to know, to penetrate, to analyze, to observe, to be aware.
So fixation of the mind on one content is one of the essential requirements for any seeker – that he should remain with one thought for long periods. Once you can remain with one thought for long periods, you yourself will see that this thought is creating attachment, this thought is creating a world around it, this thought is the basic seed of all illusion. And if you can retain a thought for long periods, you have become the master. Now the mind is not the master and you are not the slave.
And if you can remain with one thought for long periods you can drop it also. You can say to the mind, “Stop!” and the mind stops; you can say to the mind, “Move!” and the mind moves. Now it is not so; you want to stop the process but the mind continues, the mind never listens to you. The mind is the master and you are just following the mind like a shadow. The instrument – mind is just an instrument – has become the soul, and the soul has become the servant. This is the perversion and this is the misery of human beings.
Try to fix your mind on one thing, anything will do. Sit on the ground outside and look at a tree and try to remain with the tree. Whatsoever happens, remain with the tree. The mind will try many waverings, the mind will give you many alternatives to move. The mind will say, “Look! What type of tree is this? What is the name?” Don’t listen to it, because even if you have moved to the name you have moved away from the tree. If you start thinking about the tree you have gone away from the tree. Don’t think about it, remain with the fact that the tree is.
It will be difficult in the beginning because you are not so alert. You are so sleepy that you will forget completely that you were looking at the tree. A dog will start barking and you will look at the dog; a cloud will come in the sky and you have moved; somebody passes and you have forgotten the tree. But go on, again and again. When you remember again that you have forgotten and fallen asleep, move again to the tree. Do it.
If you go on working, after three or four weeks you will be capable of retaining one content in the mind at least for one minute. And that’s a big capacity! That’s a big phenomenon! – because you don’t know, you think one minute is not much. One minute is too much for the mind, because mind moves within seconds. For not even a full second is your mind on one thing. It is wavering – wavering is mind’s nature, it goes on creating waves. And that is the way the attachment is retained.
You love a woman. Even if you love a woman you cannot retain the idea of the woman in your mind. If you look at the woman you will start thinking about her – and you have moved away. You may think about her clothes, you may think about her eyes, you may think about her face and figure, but you have moved away from the woman. Just let the fact remain, don’t think about it, because thinking means wavering. To retain a single content means: don’t think, just look. Thinking means moving, wavering. Just look – looking means nonwavering.
That is the meaning of concentration, and all the religions of the world have used it in this way or that. Their methods may look different but the essential is this: that the mind has to be trained to retain one thing for longer periods. What will happen? Once you get this capacity nothing is to be done. You can penetrate, anything becomes transparent. The very look, and in that look your energy moving, goes deep.
There are two ways for the mind. One is linear, from one thought to another – a, b, c, d – the mind moves in a line. Mind has energy. When it moves from a to b it dissipates energy, when it moves from b to c again energy is dissipated, when it moves from c to d energy has been dissipated. If you retain only a in the mind and don’t allow it to move to b, c, d and so forth and so on, what will happen? The energy that was going to be dissipated in movement will go on hammering on the fact a, and then a new process will start – you will move deeper in the a. Not moving from a to b, but moving from a1 to a2, a3, a4. Now the energy is moving directly, intensely, in one fact. Your eyes will become penetrating.
One sannyasin came to me just yesterday. She is working well, doing well, but just after a meditation I looked deeply into her eyes when she was standing here, and she started trembling and weeping and crying. Then she came to me, crying and weeping, and said, “Why did you look at me so penetratingly? Can’t you look at me a little sweetly?” She said, “I became afraid, and I thought that I must be doing something wrong, that’s why you were looking so penetratingly.”
We have become completely unacquainted with the penetrating eye. We know only superficial, moving eyes from a to b, from b to c – just touching and moving, touching and moving. If somebody looks at you, stares at you deeply, and he is not moving from a to b, b to c, you will become scared – but that is the real look. And you will become scared because his eyes are going deep within you; he is not moving on the surface, he is moving deep, in the depth. You will become scared because you have become unacquainted with it.
Fixation of the mind will give you a penetrating eye. That eye has been known in the occult world as the third eye. When you start moving on a point, not in a line, you gain a force, and that force works. All over the world mesmerists, hypnotists, and other workers in the psychic field have been aware of it for centuries. You can try it. Somebody, a stranger, is walking on the road. You just go behind him and look at the back of his neck. Stare. Immediately he will look back towards you, the energy hits there immediately if you stare.
There is a center at the back of the neck which is very sensitive. Just stare at the center and the person is bound to look back because he will become uneasy, something is entering there. Your eyes are not simply windows to look through, they are energy centers. You are not only absorbing impressions through the eyes, you are throwing energy – but you are not aware. You are not aware because your energy is being dissipated in movement, is waving, wavering from one to two, two to three, three to four – you go on, and every gap takes your energy.
He fixes his mind unwaveringly….
First one has to try to fix this mind unwaveringly on objects, and then on the meaning of the scriptural words.
This is a totally different science. You read a book. Reading is linear: from one word you move to another, from another to another – you go on moving in lines. You may not have observed that different countries have different ways of writing. English is written from the left towards the right, because English is a technical language, not very poetic; a male language, not feminine. Urdu, Arabic, are written from the right to the left. They are more poetic, because the left side is poetry and the right side is mathematics – right is male, left is female.
Chinese is written downwards; neither from left to right, nor from right to left, just from up downwards, because Chinese was developed through Confucian ideology, and Confucius says, “The middle is the goal, the middle is golden – the golden mean.” So they don’t move from left to right, or from right to left; they move from up to down. This is the middle, the mean, neither male nor female.
English is male, Urdu is female – that’s why Urdu is so poetic. No language in the world is as poetic as Urdu. In any language of the world you will need hundreds of lines, and then too you will not be able to express a poetic thing. In Urdu just two lines will do and they will stop the heart. It moves from right to left, from male to female – female is the end.
All over the world God has always been conceived of as the father. Only in the East are there a few religions which conceive of God as the mother – but Sufis, Mohammedans, are the only ones who conceive of God as the beloved; not mother, beloved. The feminine is the end. From the male they move to the female, to the feminine, but movement is there.
Chinese moves from up to down, into the depth, so Chinese symbols can express things no other language can express – because every language is linear, and Chinese is in the depth. So if you have read Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching in translation, you know that every translation differs. If you read ten translations then all the translations will be different; you cannot say who is wrong and who is right, because Chinese carries so much meaning and depth that ten, or even one hundred meanings are possible. In depth more and more meanings are revealed.
In India it is said that a scripture like the Vedas, the Upanishads or the Gita, is not to be read in a linear way. You have to concentrate on each word. Read a word, then don’t move; look at the word, close your eyes, and wait for the meaning to be revealed. This is a totally different concept of studying a thing, so Westerners sometimes cannot understand that a person goes on reading the Gita every day for his whole life. This looks absurd. If you have read it once it is finished! Why do you go on reading the Gita every day? Once you have read it, what is the meaning in reading it again?
But Hindus say the Gita is not a linear book. Each word has to be looked at with a fixed mind; in each word you have to penetrate deep – so deep that the word disappears and only silence remains. And the word does not have the meaning, remember – the meaning is hidden in you. The word is just a technical support to help the meaning that is within you to come up. So the word is a mantra, or a yantra, a design which will help you to bring up the meaning which is hidden in your soul.
See the difference. In the West if you read a thing, then the word has a meaning; in the East the word has got no meaning – the meaning is in the reader. The word is just a device to bring the reader to his own inner meaning, to encounter the inner meaning. The word will just provoke you inside so that your inner meaning flowers through it. The word has to be forgotten and the inner meaning has to be carried, but you will have to wait; and mind needs fixation, mind needs concentration, only then the inner meaning can be revealed. So one has to go on reading the same thing every day, but it is not the same because you have been changing.
If a boy of fifteen reads the Gita the meaning is going to be boyish, immature, juvenile. Then a man, a young man of thirty reads the Gita – the meaning is going to be different, more romantic. In that meaning sex will be involved, in that meaning love will be projected, in that meaning the youth will project his youth. And then an old man of sixty reads the Gita. He has passed through the ups and downs of life, he has seen misery and glimpses of happiness, he has lived through much. He will see something else in the Gita; in that something else death will be involved, death will be all over the Gita.
And a man of one hundred, to whom even death has become irrelevant, to whom even death has become an accepted fact, not a problem, who is not afraid of death but rather, on the contrary, is just waiting for it so that the imprisonment in the body is broken and the soul can fly – he looks in the Gita and it will be totally different. Now it will transcend life, the meaning will transcend life.
The meaning depends on the state of your mind. So the meaning of a word is not in the dictionary, the meaning of the word is in the reader, and the words are used as devices to bring that meaning up. But if you go on reading fast that will not help. In the West they go on creating more and more techniques for how to read fast, how to finish the book as fast as possible, because time is short. And there are techniques by which you can read very fast; whatsoever your speed right now it can be doubled very easily, and you can even double it again if you work a little harder. And if you are really persistent you can again double that speed.
So if you are reading sixty words per minute, you can read two hundred and forty words per minute if you work hard – but then you will be moving in a linear way. And if you move fast then your unconscious starts reading, the conscious just gives hints. Subliminal reading becomes possible, but then you cannot penetrate.
The question is not to read much, the question is to read very little but to read deep. The depth is significant, because in the depth quality is hidden. If you read fast quantity will be great, but quality will be no more there, it will be mechanical. You will not be imbibing whatsoever you are reading, you will not be changed through whatsoever you are reading; it will just be a memorization.
He fixes his mind unwaveringly on the meaning of the scriptural words.
In Sanskrit every word has multi-meanings. In the West it will be thought that this is not good; a word should mean only one thing, it should have only one meaning. Only then can there be a science of language, only then can the language become technical, scientific. So one word should have only one meaning. But Sanskrit is not a scientific language, it is a religious language. And if the people who spoke Sanskrit claimed that their language is divine it means something. Every word has multi-meanings; no word is fixed, solid, it is liquid, flowing. You can derive many meanings through it – it depends on you. It has many shades, many colors; it is not a dead stone, it is an alive flower.
If you go in the morning it looks different, if you go in the afternoon the same flower looks different, because the whole milieu has changed. When you go in the evening the same flower has a different poetry to it. In the morning it was happy, alive, dancing, filled with so many desires, hopes, dreams, was maybe thinking to conquer the whole world. By the afternoon desires have dropped, much frustration has come, the flower is not hoping so much now, it is a little depressed, a little sad. By the evening life has proved illusory, the flower is on its deathbed, shrunken, closed, no dreams, no hopes.
Sanskrit words are like flowers, they have moods; that’s why Sanskrit can be interpreted in millions of ways. The Gita has one thousand interpretations. You cannot conceive of The Bible having one thousand interpretations – impossible! You cannot conceive of the Koran having one thousand interpretations – not a single interpretation exists. The Koran has never been interpreted. There are one thousand interpretations of the Gita, and still they are not enough. Every century will add many more, and while human consciousness is on the earth interpretations will be added forever and ever. The Gita cannot be exhausted, it is impossible to exhaust it, because every word has many meanings.
Sanskrit is liquid, flowing, moody, and this is good because this gives you freedom. The reader has freedom, he is not a slave; the words are not imposed on him, he can play with those words. He can change his moods through those words, and he can change those words through his moods. The Gita is alive, and every alive thing has moods; only dead things have no moods. In that way English is a dead language. It will look paradoxical, because English scholars go on saying that Sanskrit is a dead language because no one speaks it. They are right in a way – because nobody speaks it, it is a dead language, but really modern languages are dead.
No one speaks Sanskrit now, but it is an alive language, the very quality of it is alive; every word has a life of its own and changes, moves, flows, riverlike. Much is possible through the play of Sanskrit words, and they have been arranged in such a way that if you concentrate on them, many worlds of meanings will be revealed to you.
He fixes his mind unwaveringly on the meaning of scriptural words. He lives in the monasteries….
First he fixes on the Vedas, on the old scriptures. These scriptures are not just books. They are not written for any other reason than this: they have been written to reveal a certain deep secret. They are not for you to read and enjoy and throw just like novels; they are to be pondered, contemplated, meditated on. You have to go so deep in them that this going into depth becomes natural to you. And they were not written by persons who were writers, persons not knowing anything but just through their egoistic feeling writing things.
Gurdjieff divides all scriptures into two divisions: one he calls subjective, the other he calls objective. These scriptures – the Vedas, the Upanishads, are objective, not subjective. The whole literature that we are creating is subjective, the writer is throwing his own subjectivity into it. A poet, a modern poet, or a painter, a modern Picasso, or a novelist, a story-writer – they are writing their own minds there. They are not concerned with the person who is going to read, remember, they are more concerned with themselves. This is a catharsis for them. They are mad inside, burdened – they want to express.
You can read a good novel, but don’t go to see the novelist; you may be disappointed. You can read a good poem, but don’t go to see the poet; you will be disappointed, because the poetry will give you a glimpse of a high realm, it will put you on high, but if you go to see the poet you will find a very ordinary man – you may even be better than him. The man has not changed through his poem, how can the poem change you? The man has not known that height, he may have dreamed it or he may have taken LSD.
One girl came to me just two or three days ago, and she said, “I was in Goa” – she is my sannyasin – and she said, “I took LSD and then I became certain that enlightenment had happened to me, so I threw your mala into the sea, because now there is no need. I changed the dress, because I am now enlightened, so what is the use of orange or the mala or anything?”
This is a sort of madness. Enlightenment is not so cheap. But in the West they are making everything cheap. I go on hearing that there are three week intense enlightenment growth groups – in three weeks you are enlightened!
A poet may have dreamed, may have taken hashish. And scientists say that poets have some difference, some chemical difference from ordinary persons – they have some hashish in their blood, really, so they can imagine more, they can dream more, they can go on dream trips more than others. So they write, but their writing is imaginative, it is not objective. It may help them as a catharsis, that they are unburdened.
But there is another type of literature, totally different, which is objective. These Upanishads were not written for the joy of the writer, they were written for those who were going to read them – they are objective. What they will do to you if you contemplate on them has been planned; every single word has been put there, every single sound has been used. If someone contemplates on it, then the state of the writer will be revealed to him; the same will happen to him if he contemplates. These scriptures are called holy; that’s why.
A totally different body of literature exists in the East, a totally different body – not meant to be enjoyed, but meant to be transforming. And when one has penetrated deep into the meaning of the scriptures…. And these scriptures belong to those who have known. It was thought to be a great sin to write something which you have not known. That’s why very few books were written in the past.
Now every week ten thousand books are written all over the world – every week, ten thousand. And this goes on and on. Now they are worried, because libraries cannot contain such a growing body of literature, so minibooks have to be created, or microfilms of books have to be created so that they can be contained; otherwise soon there will be more libraries than there are houses. And people don’t have shelter, so how can one shelter books? It is becoming almost impossible.
But in the past very few books were written because no one was interested just in writing. Modern authors write because it gives an egoistic feeling that you are an author, everybody knows your name because you have written a book. Your book may be dangerous because it will carry your mind and your germs. If you are ill, then whosoever reads that book will get ill; if you are mad…. Just read Kafka’s books or look at Picasso’s paintings. Try this method with a Picasso painting – you will go mad. Just fix the mind on a Picasso painting, go on staring at it for the inner meaning. Soon you will feel that insanity is arising within you. Picasso is insane, he is putting his insanity on the painting. That is good for him because he is relieved, but not good for you; it is dangerous.

I have heard an anecdote. Once it happened that one of Picasso’s very valuable paintings was stolen, and Picasso was there when the thief came and took the painting, so he had seen the thief. The police asked for particulars, for details of how the thief looked, so he said, “It is difficult to say, but I will paint him.”
So he painted a picture. The police caught twenty persons. Of those twenty persons one was a professor, one was a politician, one was a musician – all types of men. And not only that, it is said that many other things were caught – some machines, and finally the Eiffel Tower!…Because you cannot know what Picasso paints, it is difficult to say what the painting says; it says nothing, or it says so much that it is a confusion.

So don’t try this method on modern writings, you will go mad. Kafka, Sartre, or paintings of Picasso – don’t try this method on them. Only with objective literature can you go deep, because the opposite will be the result. These writings are from those who have known, who have become enlightened, and they have put in these writings their own mind – the mind is hidden there. If you penetrate, the mind will be revealed to you. And only after that…
He lives in the monasteries, ashrams, of saints well established in austerities.
The ashram is an Eastern concept, there is no word to express it in English. “Monastery” is not a good word; ashram is totally different. You have to understand the concept. A monastery is where monks live. There are Christian monasteries – there is no need for an enlightened person to be there; abbots are there, administrators are there. The monastery is like a training school. The abbot need not be enlightened, but he will train you, because they have a curriculum, a course. Christian priests are prepared that way.
I used to visit a Christian theological college. For five years they train the priest there. Everything is conditioned: how much you have to raise your hand when you assert something from The Bible, how you have to make gestures, how loudly you have to speak, and where you have to go slow – everything is trained. They become robotlike and the whole thing is missed.
If you have read about Vivekananda then you will remember this. Vivekananda himself was not an enlightened person, but he impressed America very much – and the reason was not that he was enlightened, the reason was something else. The reason was that he was the only spontaneous person there. All the Christian missionaries, priests, abbots, and big names in Christianity were all disciplined, conditioned, nonspontaneous, robotlike.
So when Vivekananda stood in the American Fair of World Religions, just from the way he stood there, from the way he started, from the first thing when he said, “Brothers and Sisters,” the whole audience was happy – because when you say, “Ladies and gentlemen,” it is something else. No one had addressed the audience there in that fair in that way. Hundreds of speeches were made, and Vivekananda said, “Brothers and sisters….” Immediately the faces of people sitting there changed. Someone was spontaneous, not formal. And whatsoever he said was not very significant, because he was a Hindu sannyasin, untrained.
A monastery is a training school; an ashram is not a school, an ashram is a family. And an ashram doesn’t exist as an institution, cannot exist as an institution. The ashram exists around an enlightened person, that is a basic must. If the enlightened person is not there the ashram disappears; it is the person around whom the ashram can come into being. When the person is dead the ashram has to disappear. If you continue the ashram it becomes a monastery.
For example, Aurobindo is dead and now the Mother is dead – now Pondicherry is a monastery, not an ashram. It will persist as a dead thing, an institute. When Aurobindo was there it was totally different. The person is important, not the institute – institutions are dead. So remember this: a live phenomenon, a master, just by his presence creates a milieu – that milieu is the ashram. And when you move in that milieu you are moving in a family, not in an institute. The master will take care of you in every way, and you will be there in intimate, close proximity.
Eastern ashrams are disappearing, they are becoming monasteries, institutes. The Western mind is so obsessed with institutes that everything is turned into an institute. I was just reading a book on marriage. It begins by saying that marriage is the greatest institute, the greatest institution – but who wants to live in an institute? The ashram is more intimate, more personal.
So every ashram will differ from others, every ashram is going to be unique, because it will depend on the person around whom it has been created. All monasteries will be similar but no two ashrams can be similar, because every ashram has to be individual, unique; it depends on the personality of the master. If you go to a Sufi ashram it will be totally different – much dancing and singing will be there; if you go to a Buddhist ashram, no dancing, no singing, much sitting silently will be there. And both are doing the same, they are leading towards the same goal.
The first thing to remember: an ashram exists with a master; it is his personal influence, his person, the atmosphere, the milieu that he creates through his being. An ashram is his being, and when you enter into an ashram you are not entering into an institution, you are entering a live person, you are becoming part of the soul of the master. Now you will exist as part of the master, he will exist through you. So no forced discipline, but spontaneous happenings will be there.
He lives in the ashrams of saints well established in austerities.
In the third state it is good to move to someone who has known, to live with him. The first two will make you capable, patra; the first two will make you worthy of having a master look at you, of a master allowing you to be in intimacy with him. Without the first two no master will look at you; you will not be allowed, he will avoid you, he will create situations so that you will have to leave his ashram. Only after these two states, when you enter the third, will you be allowed, because a master is not going to waste…. He cannot work with you unless you are ready, and unless you show readiness.
One sannyasin goes on writing letters to me. He is here, he has again written a letter to me, a very long letter, saying, “Give me the method so that I can move into my past lives.” And he is not capable at all even to live in this life! He will go mad if I give him a method to move into the past lives. Why do you think nature prohibits it? Why does nature create a barrier so that you cannot remember the past lives?
Nature is more wise than you. Nature creates the barrier because even one life is too much; it is a burden. You have to forget many things, and if you continuously remember the past life you will be confused, you will be nowhere, you will not be able to decide what is what. Everything will become vague, cloudy, and the past life will remain on your mind like a burden and it will not allow you to live here and now.
Just think, you are in love with a woman and you remember that in the past life she was your mother! So now what will you do? If you go on making love to her you are making love to your mother, and that will create guilt. Or if you think that she is your mother so you should leave her, that will again create guilt because you love her so much. The whole thing will become very difficult and arduous to carry on. And this is how it is happening: your wife may have been your mother, your husband may have been your son, your friend may have been your enemy, your enemy may have been your friend. You have moved in so many lives, it is very complex. Nature creates a barrier: when you die a curtain falls and you cannot remember.
This man goes on writing to me, “Give me a method.” And now he has threatened, “If you don’t give me a method I am going to leave sannyas.” If you leave sannyas, what is it to me? And if I give you a method and you go mad, then who will be responsible? And you will go mad – you are already mad, just on the brink; any step further, a little more burden on the mind and you will explode.
The ashram, or the master, will accept you only when you are ready, and he will start working only when a certain thing can be done to you, you have come to a certain state; nothing can be done before it. And this should be the attitude of the disciple – that he should not ask. The master knows what is to be done and you have to wait. If you cannot wait you have to leave, because nothing can be done when you are not ripe for it.
The first two stages make you ripe to be accepted by a master.
He occupies himself with the discussion of the scriptures, and sleeps on a rocky bed.
This is actual and symbolic both. In the old ashrams everybody had to sleep on a rocky bed – actually also, because it helps. In yoga, your spine, your backbone, is very important, and not only in yoga but in biology also. Now biologists say man could become man because he started standing erect, his backbone erect. Animals’ backbones are parallel to the earth, only man has a backbone which is not parallel to the earth but makes an angle of ninety degrees. This changed the whole being of man, this angle of ninety degrees with the gravitation created the possibility for the mind to develop. Now biologists say that just by standing on two feet the animal became human – because it changes the whole thing. Less blood flows in the head, so the head and the nervous system there can become more delicate and refined. When more blood flows in the head the subtle tissues are broken, they cannot grow.
So don’t do too much shirshasana. Unless a master suggests it to you don’t do shirshasana, because I have never seen a person who has been doing shirshasana who is not stupid. You will become stupid. You will become more healthy of course, because animals are more healthy; so if you are just after health, shirshasana is good, do it forever. You will become healthy like a bull but at the same time stupid also, because when more blood moves into the head delicate tissues are destroyed, and those delicate tissues are needed for intelligence. When man stood erect the possibility developed for more delicate tissues in the head.
You see primitives sleep without pillows, and they will remain primitives if they continue to sleep without pillows, because more blood flows in the night. A more intelligent person will need more pillows. He may not be healthier, but intelligence needs a certain mechanism in the mind, a very delicate mechanism. And mind is very complex; seventy million cells are there, and so delicate, bound to be so delicate, when in such a small head there are seventy million. They are very delicate, very small particles, and when blood flows fast, in great quantity, they are destroyed, they are killed. So biologically, and scientifically also, the spine is the most important thing in man. Your head is nothing but a pole to your spine: you exist as a spine – on one pole is sex, on the other is your mind, and your spine is the bridge.
Yoga worked very much on the spine, because yogis became aware of its significance – that the spine is your life. The angle of ninety degrees will be more exact if your spine is straight, so yogis say that when you sit, sit with a straight spine. They worked out many postures, asanas; all their asanas are based on an erect spine, straight. The straighter it is, the more is the possibility to grow in intelligence, awareness.
You may not have observed: if you are listening to me and you are interested your spine will be straight, if you are not interested then you can relax. If you are looking at a movie in a cinema, whenever something interesting comes you will sit straight immediately, because more mind is called for. When the interesting scene has gone you can relax again into your chair.
In the day the spine has to be erect for yogic postures, and in the night also it has to be trained to be more straight. On a rocky bed it is more straight than on a Dunlop mattress. On a rocky bed it is bound to be straight, because the rocky bed is not going to give way for it. If the spine is erect the whole night it will be-come conditioned to being erect, so in the day also, while walking, sitting, it will remain erect. This is good. So this is physiologically, biologically, and in the eyes of yogis, very helpful. But this is only one part of it, the other part is symbolic.
Whenever a person goes through suffering we say he is lying on a rocky bed. And the ashram is going to be a long suffering, because many old habits are to be broken and they are hard; many old patterns are to be broken and they are very fixed. Really you have to be destroyed and created again, and in between there is going to be suffering and chaos. That is the rocky bed.
With a master you will have to move through much suffering. You have got many blocks in the body and the mind; they have to be destroyed, and to destroy a block is painful. Unless those blocks are destroyed you cannot flow, you cannot become spontaneous, your energy cannot rise high, it cannot move from the sex center to the sahasrar, it cannot move to the ultimate center of your being. So many things have to be destroyed and every habit has a big pattern, its own system – it takes time.
If you are ready and you trust your master it will not take so much time, be-cause trusting him you can pass through suffering. If you don’t trust, then every suffering becomes a problem, and the mind says, “What are you doing here? Why are you suffering here? Leave this man, go away! You were happy before.” You were never happy before, but when suffering starts you will feel that you were happy before.
For the real happiness to happen you will have to throw all suffering, you will have to pass through it – it is part of growth. And when all suffering has been passed through, only then you become capable of bliss; for the first time you can become happy. And there is no other way.
Thus it is that he lives his life. Because he has attained peace of mind, the man of good conduct spends his time in the enjoyment of pleasures that come naturally to him from his excursions into the forest.
This is something very significant. In an ashram, under the guidance of a master, you will have to pass through many sufferings. But you are not to create those sufferings, you are not to be masochistic. Many pleasures will also come. Re-member, this is the type of our mind – that either we are attached to pleasure and then we demand pleasure, or we can even become attached to suffering and then we say we don’t want any pleasure. We start having pleasure through suffering, and that is dangerous. That’s the masochistic attitude – you can torture yourself and you can enjoy it.
This is a very deep phenomenon in the human psyche, and it has happened because of some association. Every pleasure is with some pain, so if pleasure becomes intense you will feel pain, and the reverse is also true: every pain has its own small pleasure, and if the pain becomes intense you will feel pleasure. Pain and pleasure are not really two things, the difference is only of degree.
You love a woman. To be with her for a few hours is beautiful, to be with her for a few minutes is just heavenly, to be with her for a few seconds you feel you are in nirvana. But to be with her for twenty-four hours becomes difficult, and to be with her continuously for months becomes boring, and if you are to be with her for your whole life you would like to commit suicide. Every pleasure has its pain, and every pain has its pleasure. They are not two. They differ in intensity, degrees, but they don’t differ in quality.
And there is another, deeper, association. When you make love…. Love is the most pleasurable thing in the world, naturally – beyond nature there are more pleasures, more blisses, but naturally, biologically, love is the most pleasurable thing. Sex is one of the most pleasant things nature has given to you, but in sex, pain is also involved. When you make love you do many things which give mild pain, but they are good. Even your kiss is a mild pain. You play with each other’s body, and in playing with each other’s body you create a certain pain also. In the Kama Sutra, Vatsyayana has given many clues and suggestions. He says that when really you love a woman, then you will do many things – biting, penetrating your nails into her body – and she will enjoy it. In other circumstances it would be painful, but associated with love it becomes pleasure. But this can go to an extreme, you can become a de Sade.
From de Sade’s name comes the word sadism. De Sade had many devices to torture his beloveds, his mistresses. Nails wouldn’t do, so he had thorns; nails wouldn’t do, so he had iron instruments to penetrate the body. The blood would ooze and he would whip them. He would always travel with a bag with him; in his bag there were all these things. Whenever he found a woman who was ready to love him he would close the door. First he would beat her, blood would start oozing. He would torture the woman and then he would make love. And you will be surprised: he loved many women, and the women, any women that he loved, would declare later on that after de Sade loved them, nobody else has loved that way. He gave them the greatest pleasure, he really loved them.
Even a torture can be pleasurable, because when you beat a person more energy is thrown all over the body, the whole body becomes sexual. When you beat a person the whole body is excited – and then you make love. From the excitement of torture, suddenly the fall in love. It gives a very pleasant sensation…as if first you were hungry, starved, and then came good food – the contrast.
But in every pleasure some torture, some pain, is involved. You can move to the other extreme, you can start giving pain to yourself and can enjoy it. Go to Benares, you will see the monks lying on a bed of thorns. They are enjoying it, it is a sexual pleasure. They have left the pleasure part and retained the pain part.
So in the ashrams you are not to make yourself suffer, not to be a sadist, not to torture yourself. You have to be hard just to break the old habits, but there is no need to seek pain, and if pleasures come by automatically you are allowed to enjoy them. An ashram is not a torture house; if pleasures come by themselves you are allowed to enjoy them. They are good. You have to be thankful for them.
Because he has attained peace of mind, the man of good conduct spends his time in the enjoyment of pleasures that come naturally to him from his excursions into the forest. He remains detached, however, from the objects of desire.
He remains detached. Pleasures come, moments of enjoyment come; he enjoys them and forgets them. He will not demand them again, he will not say, “Now I cannot live without these pleasures.” Whatsoever God gives, one has to be thankful but never demanding. He remains unattached to desire.
Through the ritual of meritorious deeds and the cultivation of right scriptures, he attains that clarity of vision which sees reality. On completing this stage, the seeker experiences a glimpse of enlightenment.
Just a glimpse – not enlightenment. This glimpse is known in Japan as satori. Satori is not samadhi, satori is just a glimpse. You have not reached enlightenment, you have not reached the peak of the hill, but standing in the valley when there are no clouds, when the sky is clear, you can look at the peak with snow caps – but it is very far away still. You cannot see when the sky is clouded, you cannot see when it is night, you cannot see if you are standing at such a point from where it cannot be looked at.
These three steps will bring you to such a viewpoint from where the peak can be glimpsed. These three stages will make your mind clear. The clouds will disappear and the peak will be revealed – but this is a faraway glimpse, this is not enlightenment. At the third stage a glimpse comes, but remember well, don’t think that this is enlightenment. And this can happen even through chemical help also. Through LSD, marijuana, or other drugs also this is possible, because drugs can create such a chemical situation within you, they can force such a chemical situation where for a moment clouds disappear; suddenly you are thrown to a point from where the peak can be glimpsed. But this is no attainment, because chemistry cannot become meditation and chemistry cannot give you enlightenment. When you come back from the trip you are the same again. You may remember it, and that memory may disturb you, and that memory may make you an addict. Then you have to take LSD again and again, and the more you take the less will be the possibility of even the glimpse, because the body gets accustomed and then a greater quantity is needed. Then you are on a path which will lead to insanity and nowhere else.
So don’t try chemical things. If you have tried them, thank God, and don’t try them again. Once you become addicted to chemical help sadhana becomes impossible, because chemicals seem so easy and sadhana seems so difficult. Only sadhana, only spiritual discipline, will help you grow, will give you growth to the point from where the glimpse is not forced but becomes natural. And it is not lost then – any moment you can look, you know from where to look, and the peak will be there. Occupied in your day-to-day activities, any moment you can close your eyes and see the peak and that will become a constant happiness within you, a joy, a continuous joy. Whatsoever you are doing, whatsoever is happening outside, even if you are in misery – for you have built so many jails – you can close your eyes and the peak is there.
After the third stage the glimpse is always available. But the glimpse is not the end – that is only the beginning.

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