Vedanta Seven Steps to Samadhi 12

Twelth Discourse from the series of 17 discourses - Vedanta Seven Steps to Samadhi by Osho.
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The first stage, to which contentment and bliss
impart sweetness, springs from the innermost recesses of the seeker’s heart, as if nectar has issued forth from the heart of the earth.
At the inception of this stage the innermost recess
becomes a field for the coming of the other stages.
Afterwards the seeker attains the second and third stages.
Of the three, the third is the highest, because on its attainment all
the modifications of will come to an end.
One who practices the three stages finds his ignorance dead,
and on entering the fourth stage
he sees everything, everywhere, equally.
At that moment he is so strongly embedded in the experience of
nonduality – advaita – that the experience itself disappears.
Thus, on attaining the fourth stage
the seeker finds the world as illusory as a dream.
So while the first three stages are called waking ones,
the fourth is dreaming.
The fourth stage. The first is that of the oceanic feeling that Brahman exists everywhere – oneness. The one alone exists, the many are just its forms. They are not really divided, they only appear divided; deep down they are one.
The second stage is that of vichar – thought, contemplation and meditation – where mind has to be disciplined to become one-pointed, because it can disappear only when it has become one-pointed, when the flux has stopped; that is, when you can remain with one thought as long as you wish. You have become the master then, and unless you are the master of the mind, the mind cannot disappear, it cannot cease to be; you cannot order it out of existence.
If you cannot order thoughts to stop, how can you order the whole mind to go out of existence? So in the second stage one has to drop thoughts by and by, and retain only one thought. When you have become capable of dropping thoughts, one day you can drop the mind itself, the whole thought process. When the thought process is dropped you cannot exist as an ego. You exist as consciousness but not as mind; you are there but not as an I. We say “I am.” When mind drops, the I drops; you remain a pure amness. Existence is there, rather, more abundant, more rich, more beautiful, but without the ego. There is no one who can say I, only amness exists.
In the third stage, vairagya, nonattachment, you have to become alert – first of the objects of desire, the body, the world – and continuously practice and discipline yourself to become a witness. You are not the doer. Your karmas may be the doers, God may be the doer, fate, or anything, but you are not the doer. You have to remain a witness, just a seer, an onlooker. And then this has also to be dropped. The idea that “I am the witness” is also a sort of doing. Then non-attachment becomes complete, perfect. The third stage, this Upanishad says, is the highest of the three. Now we will discuss the fourth.
The fourth is the state of advaita, nonduality. This word advaita has to be understood before we enter the sutra. This word is very meaningful. Advaita means literally nonduality, not two. They could have said one, but the Upanishads never use the word one; they say nonduality, not two. And this is very significant, because if you say one the two is implied, it becomes a positive statement. If you say there is only one you are asserting something positive.
How can the one exist without the other? One cannot exist without the other. You cannot conceive of the figure one without other figures – two, three, four, five. Many mathematicians have worked it out, particularly Leibniz in the West. He has tried to drop the nine digits, figures. Instead of nine he uses only two: one and two. In his calculations, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine are dropped, because he said it is just superstition to continue using ten figures. Why continue using ten figures?
You may not have observed: ten figures exist in mathematics not by any planning, but just because we have ten fingers. The primitives used to count on the fingers, so ten became the basic figure and it has been taken all over the world. These ten figures, this basis of all arithmetic, was produced in India. That’s why even today in all languages the words that denote these ten figures are basically Sanskrit: two is dwi, three is tri, four is chaturth, five is panch, six is shashta, seven is sapta, eight is ashta, nine is nava. These are basic roots.
These ten counting figures, these ten digits, Leibniz says are useless. And science must try to work with the minimum, so he tried to minimize the digits. But he could not minimize more than two, he had to stop at two. So in Leibniz’s system there is one, two, and then comes ten; three means ten, four means eleven, and so on, so forth. But he had to at least concede two, because just one cannot be conceived. You cannot use only one digit, at least two are needed – the minimum requirement. The moment you say one the two is implied, be-cause one can exist only by the side of two. So the Upanishads never say that the Brahman is one, the truth is one; rather they use a negative term, they say he is not two. So one is implied but not directly asserted.
Secondly, about the total we cannot assert anything positive, we cannot say what it is. At the most we can say what it is not, we can negate. We cannot say directly, because once we say anything directly it becomes defining, it becomes a limitation. If you say one, then you have limited; then a boundary has been drawn, then it cannot be infinite. When you simply say it is not two there is no boundary – the implication is infinite.
The Upanishads say that the divine can be defined only by negatives, so they go on negating. They say, “This is not Brahman, that is not Brahman.” And they never say directly, they never assert directly. You cannot point to the Brahman with a finger because your finger will become a limitation. Then Brahman will be where your finger is pointing and nowhere else. You can point to the Brahman only with a closed fist so you are not pointing anywhere – or, everywhere.
This negativity created many confusions, particularly in the West, because when for the first time the West came upon the Upanishads in the last century and they were translated – first in German, then in English, and then French and other languages – it was a very baffling thought, because The Bible defines God positively. Jews, Christians, Mohammedans define God very positively, they say what he is. Hinduism defines God totally negatively, they say what he is not.
In the West this looked not very religious, because you cannot worship a negativity. You can worship only something positive, you can love only something positive, you can devote yourself only to something positive. How can you devote yourself to something which is simply a denial, a negativity, a neti neti, neither this nor that? You cannot make an idol of a negative Brahman. How can you make an idol of a negative Brahman?
That’s why Hindus conceived their highest conception of Brahman as shivalinga. And people go on thinking that shivalinga is just a phallic symbol. It is not just a phallic symbol, that is just one of its implications. Shivalinga is a symbol of zero, shunya, the negative. Shivalinga doesn’t define any image. There is no image on it – no face, no eyes, nothing; just a zero, not even one. And the zero can be infinite. Zero has no boundaries; it begins nowhere, it ends nowhere.
How can you worship a zero? How can you pray to a zero? But Hindus have totally a different conception. They say prayer is not really an address to God, because you cannot address anything to him. Where will you address him? – he is nowhere or everywhere. So prayer is not really some address; rather, on the contrary, prayer is your inner mutation. Hindus say you cannot pray, but you can be in a prayerful mood. So prayer is not something you can do, prayer is something you can only be.
And prayer is not for God, prayer is for you. You pray and through prayer you change. Nobody is listening to your prayer and nobody is going to help you, nobody is going to follow your prayer but just by praying your heart changes. Through prayer, if authentic, you become different – your assertion changes you.
In the south there is one old temple. If you go in the temple there is no deity; the place for the deity is vacant, empty. If you ask the priest, “Where is the deity? Whom to worship? And this is a temple – to whom does this temple belong? Who is the deity of this temple?” the priest will tell you, “This is the tradition of this temple – that we don’t have any deity. The whole temple is the deity. You cannot look for the deity in a particular direction. He is everywhere – that’s why the place is vacant.”
The whole universe is Brahman. And this is such a vast phenomenon that positive terms will only make it finite; hence negativity – it is one of the highest conceptions possible. And this negativity reached its most logical extreme in Buddha. He would not even negate. He said, “Even if you negate, indirectly you assert, and every assertion is blasphemy.”
Jews could have understood this. They have no name for God. Yahweh is not a name, it is just a symbol; or it means “the nameless.” And in the old Jewish world before Jesus, the name was not to be asserted by everybody. Only the chief priest in the temple of Solomon was allowed once a year to assert the name. So once a year all the Jews would gather together at the great temple of Solomon, and the highest priest would assert the name, Yahweh. And it is not a name, the very word means the nameless.
Nobody was allowed to assert the name, because how can the finite assert the infinite? And whatsoever you say will be wrong because you are wrong. Whatsoever you say belongs to you, it comes through you, you are present in it. So unless you had become so empty that you were no more you were not allowed to assert the name. The highest priest was the man who had become just an emptiness, and to assert the name, for the whole year he would remain silent. He would prepare, he would become totally empty, no thought was allowed in the mind. For one year he would wait, prepare, become empty, become a nonentity, a nobody. When the right moment came he would stand just like an emptiness. The man was not there, there was nobody. The mind was not there. And then he would assert, Yahweh.
This tradition stopped because it became more and more difficult to find persons who could become nonentities, who could become nothingness, who could become anatta, nonbeing – who could destroy themselves so completely that God could assert through them, who could become just like a passage, just like a flute, empty, so that God could sing through it.
Buddha went to the very extreme. If you asked him about God he would remain totally silent. Once it happened: Ananda, his chief disciple, was sitting with Buddha, and a man came, a very cultured, refined philosopher, a great brahmin, and he asked, “Bhante, tell me something about the ultimate.”
Buddha looked at him, remained silent, then closed his eyes. Ananda became disturbed, because this man was very useful. This brahmin had a great following, thousands followed him; if he was converted then thousands would become Buddhists. And Buddha remained silent, he didn’t answer him. The man, the brahmin, bowed down, thanked Buddha and went away.
The moment he left Ananda asked, “What are you doing? You have missed a great opportunity. This man is no ordinary man. Thousands follow him, he is a great scholar. Thousands worship him, his word is significant. If he becomes a Buddhist, if he follows you, many will follow automatically – and you didn’t answer him!”
Buddha said, “For a good horse even the shadow of a whip is enough. The shadow of the whip is enough, you need not beat him. He is converted.”
Ananda was not convinced, but next day he saw the man coming with all his followers, his disciples; thousands followed, great scholars. He had a big ashram and they were all coming. Ananda couldn’t believe his eyes. What was happening? – and Buddha had not answered the man. So again in the night he asked, “What has happened? You have done a miracle. I was there. You remained completely silent; not only silent, you closed your eyes. I thought this was insulting. The man had come with so much inquiry and you were rejecting him.”
Buddha said, “This is the subtlest answer. He knows that nothing can be said about the ultimate. Had I said anything the man would have gone, because the very saying would have shown that my ultimate is not ultimate – it could be defined, something could be said about it. Nothing can be said. And that’s why I even closed my eyes – because, who knows, he may have thought that I was saying something through my eyes. So I became completely silent, closed my eyes – this was my answer. And for a good horse even the shadow of the whip is enough. You need not beat him.”
The Upanishads are negative about the Brahman. That’s why they say “the nondual,” that which is not two. Now we will enter the sutra:
The first stage, to which contentment and bliss impart sweetness, springs from the innermost recesses of the seeker’s heart.
As I said to you, the first is the feeling, the first is the heart. The first stage be-longs to the heart and only the heart can know contentment and bliss. If you are in contact with your heart you will know contentment and bliss, just like sweet springs flowing towards you, filling you, overflooding you. But we don’t have the contact with the heart. The heart is beating, but we don’t have the contact.
You will have to understand it, because just by having a heart, don’t go on thinking that you are in contact with it. You are not in contact with many things in your body, you are just carrying your body. Contact means a deep sensitivity. You may not even feel your body. It happens that only when you are ill do you feel your body. There is a headache, then you feel the head; without the head-ache there is no contact with the head. There is pain in the leg, you become aware of the leg. You become aware only when something goes wrong.
If everything is okay you remain completely unaware, and really, that is the moment when contact can be made – when everything is okay – because when something goes wrong then that contact is made with illness, with something that has gone wrong and the well-being is no more there. You have the head right now, then the headache comes and you make the contact. The contact is made not with the head but with the headache. With the head contact is possible only when there is no headache and the head is filled with a well-being. But we have almost lost the capacity. We don’t have any contact when we are okay. So our contact is just an emergency measure. There is a headache: some repair is needed, some medicine is needed, something has to be done, so you make the contact and do something.
Try to make contact with your body when everything is good. Just lie down on the grass, close the eyes, and feel the sensation that is going on within, the well-being that is bubbling. Lie down in a river. The water is touching the body and every cell is being cooled. Feel inside how that coolness enters cell by cell, goes deep into the body. The body is a great phenomenon, one of the miracles of nature.
Sit in the sun. Let the sunrays penetrate the body. Feel the warmth as it moves within, as it goes deeper, as it touches your blood cells and reaches to the very bones. And sun is life, the very source. So with closed eyes just feel what is happening. Remain alert, watch and enjoy. By and by you will become aware of a very subtle harmony, a very beautiful music continuously going on inside. Then you have the contact with the body; otherwise you carry a dead body.
It is just like this: a person who loves his car has a different type of contact and relationship with the car than a person who doesn’t. A person who doesn’t love his car goes on driving it and he treats it as a mechanism, but a person who loves his car will become aware of even the smallest change in the mood of the car, the finest change of sound. Something is changing in the car and suddenly he will become aware of it. No one else has heard it; the passengers are sitting there, they have not heard it. But a slight change in the sound of the engine, any clicking, any change, and the person who loves his car will become aware of it. He has a deep contact. He is not only driving, the car is not just a mechanism; rather he has spread himself into the car and he has allowed the car to enter him.
Your body can be used as a mechanism, then you need not be very sensitive about it. And the body goes on saying many things you never hear because you don’t have any contact….
In Russia a new research has been going on for thirty years. Now they have concluded many things. One result which is very revealing is this: that when-ever a disease happens, for six months continuously before it happens the body goes on giving signals to you. Six months is such a long time! A disease is going to happen in 1975; in the middle of 1974 the body will start giving you signals – but you don’t hear, you don’t understand, you don’t know. When the disease has happened already, only then will you become aware. Or even then you may not be aware – your doctor first becomes aware that you have some deep trouble inside.
The person who has been doing this research for thirty years has now made films and cameras which can detect a disease before it actually happens. He says that the disease can be treated, and the patient will never become aware of whether it existed or not. If a cancer is going to happen next year it can be treated right now. There are no physical indications, but just in the body electricity things are changing – not in the body, in the body electricity, in the bioenergy, things are changing. First they will change in the bioenergy and then they will descend to the physical.
If they can be treated in the bioenergy layer then they will never come to the physical body. Because of this research it will become possible in the coming century that no one need be ill, there will be no more need to go to the hospital. Before the disease actually comes to the body it can be treated, but it has to be detected by a mechanical device. You cannot detect it, and you are there living in the body. There is no contact.
You may have heard many stories that Hindu sannyasins, rishis, Zen monks, Buddhist bhikkus, declare their death before it happens. And you may be surprised to know that that declaration is always made six months before it happens – never more, always six months before. Many saints have declared that they are going to die, but just six months before. It is not accidental, those six months are meaningful. Before the physical body dies the bioenergy starts dying, and a person who is in deep contact with his bioenergy knows that now the energy has started shrinking. Life means spreading, death means shrinking. He feels that the life energy is shrinking; he declares that he will be dead within six months. Zen monks are known to have even chosen how to die – because they know.

It happened once: one Zen monk was to die, so he asked his disciples, “Suggest to me how to die, in what posture.” That man was a little eccentric, a little crazy, a mad old man but very beautiful.
His disciples started laughing; they thought that he may have been joking because he was always joking. So somebody suggested, “How about dying standing in the corner of the temple?”
The man said, “But I have heard a story that in the past one monk has died standing, so that won’t be good. Suggest something unique.”
So somebody said, “Die while just walking in the garden.”
He said, “I have heard that somebody in China once died walking.”
Then someone suggested a really unique idea: “Stand in shirshasana, headstand, and die.” Nobody has ever died standing on his head, it is very difficult to die standing on the head. Even to sleep standing on the head is impossible, death is too difficult. Even to sleep is impossible and death is a great sleep. It is impossible – even ordinary sleep is impossible.
The man accepted the idea. He enjoyed it. He said, “This is good.”
They thought that he was just joking, but he stood in shirshasana. They became afraid: What is he doing? And what to do now? And they thought he was almost dead. It was weird – a dead person standing in shirshasana. They became scared, so somebody suggested, “He has a sister in the nearby monastery who is a great nun. Go and fetch her. She is the elder sister of this man and may do something with him. She knows him well.”
The sister came. It is said that she came and said, “Ikkyu” – Ikkyu was the name of the monk – “don’t be foolish! This is no way to die.”
Ikkyu laughed, jumped from his shirshasana, and said, “Okay, so what is the right way?”
She said, “Sit in padmasana, Buddha posture, and die. This is no way to die. You have always been a foolish man – everybody will laugh.”
So it is said he sat in padmasana and died, and the sister left. A beautiful man. But how could he decide that he was going to die? And even to choose the posture! The bioenergy started shrinking, he could feel it – but this feeling comes only when you have a deep contact not only with the surface of the body but with the roots.

So first try to be more and more sensitive about your body. Listen to it; it goes on saying many things, and you are so head-oriented you never listen to it. Whenever there is a conflict between your mind and body, your body is almost always going to be right more than your mind, because the body is natural, your mind is societal; the body belongs to this vast nature, and your mind belongs to your society, your particular society, age, time. Body has deep roots in existence, mind is just wavering on the surface. But you always listen to the mind, you never listen to the body. Because of this long habit contact is lost.
You have the heart, and heart is the root, but you don’t have any contact. First start having contact with the body. Soon you will become aware that the whole body vibrates around the center of the heart just as the whole solar system moves around the sun. Hindus have called the heart the sun of the body. The whole body is a solar system and moves around the heart. You became alive when the heart started beating, you will die when the heart stops beating. The heart remains the solar center of your body. Become alert to it. But you can be-come alert, by and by, only if you become alert to the whole body.
While hungry, why not meditate a little? – there is no hurry. While hungry just close your eyes and meditate on the hunger, on how the body is feeling. You may have lost contact, because our hunger is less bodily, more mental. You eat every day at one o’clock. You look at the watch; it is one – so then you feel hunger. And the clock may not be right. If somebody says, “That clock has stopped at midnight. It is not functioning. It is only eleven o’clock,” the hunger disappears. This hunger is false, this hunger is just habitual, because the mind creates it, not the body. Mind says, “One o’clock – you are hungry.” You have to be hungry. You have always been hungry at one o’clock, so you are hungry.
Our hunger is almost ninety-nine percent habitual. Go on a fast for a few days to feel real hunger, and you will be surprised. For the first three or four days you will feel very hungry. On the fourth or fifth day you will not feel so hungry. This is illogical, because as the fast grows you should feel more and more hungry. But after the third day you will feel less hungry, and after the seventh day you may completely forget hunger. After the eleventh day almost everybody forgets hunger completely and the body feels absolutely okay. Why? And if you continue the fast…. Those who have done much work on fasting say that only after the twenty-first day will real hunger happen again.
So it means that for three days your mind was insisting that you were hungry because you had not taken food, but it was not hunger. Within three days the mind gets fed up with telling you; you are not listening, you are so indifferent. On the fourth day the mind doesn’t say anything, the body doesn’t feel hunger. For three weeks you will not feel hunger, because you have accumulated so much fat – that fat will do. You will feel hunger only after the third week. And this is for normal bodies. If you have too much fat accumulated you may not feel hungry even after the third week. And there is a possibility to accumulate enough fat to live on for three months, ninety days. When the body is finished with the accumulated fat, then for the first time real hunger will be felt. But it will be difficult. You can try with thirst, that will be easy. For one day don’t take water, and wait. Don’t drink out of habit, just wait and see what thirst means, what thirst would mean if you were in a desert.
Lawrence of Arabia has written in his memoirs: “For the first time in my life, when I was once lost in the desert, I became aware of what thirst is – because before that there was no need. Whenever my mind said, ‘Now you are thirsty,’ I took water. In the desert, lost, no water with me and no way to find an oasis, for the first time I became thirsty. And that thirst was something wonderful – the whole of the body, every cell, asking for water. It became a phenomenon.” If you take water in that type of thirst, it will give you a contentment that you cannot know just by drinking through habit.
So I say to you that Mahavira, and people like Mahavira, have known the real taste of food. You cannot know it…because for three months Mahavira would fast, then he would go begging. And he would go begging only when the body would say so, not the mind. When the body would say, “Now I am exhausted completely,” and the hunger gripped the whole body and every cell of it asked, then he would go begging. He would not listen to the mind. He must have tasted food as no one has ever tasted on this earth. But Jainas think completely differently; they think that he was taste-less, they think that he had no taste. My feeling is, only he knew what taste is, and he knew it with his whole body, his whole being.
You know only by your tongue, and that tongue is very deceptive. That tongue has been serving the mind so long it is no more serving the body. The tongue can deceive you, it has become a slave of the mind. It can go on saying, “Go on eating. It is very beautiful.” It is not serving the body any more, otherwise the tongue would say, “Stop!” The tongue would say, “Whatsoever you are eating is useless. Don’t eat!” Even the tongues of cows and buffaloes are more body-rooted than your tongue. You cannot force a buffalo to eat any type of grass – she chooses. You cannot force your dog to eat when he is ill – he will immediately go out, eat some grass and vomit. He is more in contact with his body.
First one has to become deeply aware of this phenomenon of the body. A revival of the body, a resurrection, is needed – you are carrying a dead body. Then only will you feel, by and by, that the whole body with all its desires, thirsts and hungers, is revolving around the heart. Then the beating heart is not only a mechanism, it is the beating life, it is the very pulsation of life. That pulsation gives contentment and bliss.
Contentment and bliss impart sweetness.
Your whole being becomes sweet, a sweetness surrounds you, it becomes your aura. Whenever a person is in contact with his heart you will immediately fall in love with him. Immediately, the moment you see him, you will fall in love with him. You don’t know why. He has a sweetness around him. That sweetness your mind may not be able to detect, but your heart detects it immediately. He has an aura. The moment you come into his aura you are intoxicated. You feel a longing for him, you feel an attraction, a magnetic force working. You may not be consciously aware of what is happening; you may simply say, “I don’t know why I am attracted,” but this is the reason. A person who lives in his heart has a milieu around him of sweetness – sweetness flows around him. You are flooded with it whenever you are in contact with that person.
Buddha, Jesus, attracted millions of people, and the reason is that they lived in the heart; otherwise it was impossible. What Buddha demanded was impossible. Thousands of people left their homes, became beggars with him, moved with him in all types of sufferings, austerities, and enjoyed it. This is a miracle. And those who left their homes were rich, affluent people, because India knew the golden age in the time of Buddha. It was at its highest peak of richness. Just as America is today, India was at that moment. At that moment the West was just wild; no civilization existed really. The West was totally uncivilized at the time of Buddha, and India was at its golden peak.
Buddha attracted millions of people who were rich, living in comfort, and they moved and became beggars. What filled them, what attracted them, what was the cause? Even they couldn’t explain what the cause was. This is the cause: whenever a person of heart is there, a person who lives in his heart, he imparts around him vibrations of sweetness. Just being in his presence, being near him, you feel a sudden joy for no visible cause. He is not giving you anything, he is not giving you any physical comfort. On the contrary, he may lead you into physical uncomfort; through him you may have to pass through many sufferings – but you will enjoy those sufferings.
Buddha was dying, and Ananda, his disciple, was weeping. So Buddha said, “Why are you weeping?”
Ananda said, “With you I can move on this earth, millions of times I can be reborn and it will not be a suffering. I can suffer everything. Just if you are there, then this sansar, which you call dukkha, suffering, is no more suffering – but without you even nirvana will not be blissful.”
Such a sweetness surrounded Buddha, such a sweetness surrounded Jesus, such a sweetness surrounded Saint Francis, such a sweetness surrounds all those who have lived through the heart. Their charisma is that they live in their heart.
Jesus was not a very learned man, he was just a villager; he remained a carpenter’s son. He was talking in people’s ways, ordinary parables. If someone gives you Jesus’ parables, his statements, without saying that these belong to Jesus, you will throw the book, you will never read it again. But he influenced people, impressed so much, that Christianity became the greatest religion of the world. Half the earth belongs now to Christianity, to a carpenter’s son who was not educated, not cultured. What is this mystery? How did it happen? He was not a man of knowledge, he was not like Bertrand Russell. Bertrand Russell could have easily defeated him in any argument. It is not difficult to conceive of that. Jesus could be defeated easily.

It happened in India in just the last century. Ramakrishna, Vivekananda’s master, was here. He was a man of heart, completely uneducated, not in any way proficient in the scriptures. He had no logic, no arguing force, could not convince anybody. It happened that one of the greatest scholars ever born in India, Keshavchandra Sen, went to see Ramakrishna. He was a great scholar, very logical, rational, argumentative, so many people followed just to see what would happen, because everybody knew – it was decided – that Ramakrishna would be defeated immediately. Nobody could argue with Keshavchandra.
Ramakrishna’s disciples were very scared. They also knew that this Keshavchandra was going to be difficult, and once Keshavchandra defeated Ramakrishna – and he could defeat him on any point, there was no question about it – then that defeat would spread all over the country. So what to do? How to protect Ramakrishna? They started thinking. They were so worried they couldn’t sleep for days. Whenever they said anything to Ramakrishna he laughed and he said, “Let him come. I am waiting.”
Then that day came. The whole ashram was sad. Keshavchandra came, very proud, very egoistic. And he had reason to be proud and egoistic; he was one of the finest intellects, a genius. And many of his followers came; professors of the universities, pundits, scholars, men who knew the Vedas – there was a big, big crowd of many renowned persons. Keshavchandra started the argument. “Does God exist?”
So Ramakrishna said, “You say whatsoever you want to say.”
Keshavchandra started criticizing, saying that there is no God, but by and by he became very uncomfortable, because whenever he would give an argument against God, Ramakrishna would laugh and enjoy so much that there was no argument. And he would say, “Right! Absolutely right!” He was not refuting, he was not going against, so the whole thing became nonsense because you can defeat a person only when he argues. The very effort to win was futile because there was no one to defeat. Then by and by he became sad, and the whole thing looked useless. Then he asked Ramakrishna, “Why do you go on saying ‘Yes’? I am saying God is no more!” Keshavchandra thought, “He is so foolish, he cannot understand what I am saying.”
Ramakrishna said only one thing: “I was never so convinced that God is before I saw you, but the moment I saw you I was absolutely convinced that God is.”
Keshavchandra asked, “Why?”
Ramakrishna said, “How could such a beautiful mind exist without God? Such a refined intellect. You convince me that God is! I am a poor man, uneducated; such a mind like me can exist even without God, but such a mind like you? – impossible!”
Keshavchandra had to touch his feet and say, “You have defeated me!” He became a lifelong devotee of Ramakrishna.
What was the miracle? What was the charisma? A person living in the heart. Keshavchandra is reported to have said to his followers, “This man is dangerous, don’t go near him. He has converted me, not saying anything, just being present there, laughing, enjoying. And he filled me with such sweetness as I have never known. Just in his presence I have felt the first ecstasy of my life, the peak experience. The unknown has touched me.”
The first stage, to which contentment and bliss impart sweetness, springs from the innermost recesses of the seeker’s heart, as if nectar has issued forth from the heart of the earth. At the inception of this stage the innermost recess becomes a field for the coming of the other stages. Afterwards the seeker attains the second and third stages. Of the three, the third is the highest, because on its attainment all the modifications of will come to an end.
All the modifications of will come to an end. The third is the highest. And the reason? Let it penetrate deep in your heart. The third is the highest. Why? – because all the modifications of will come to an end. Your will is the cause of your ego. You think you can do something, you think you will do something, you think you have got willpower, you think that there is a possibility for you to struggle with existence and win. Will means the attitude to fight, the attitude to conquer, the attitude to struggle. Will is the force of violence in you.
Bertrand Russell has written about “the conquest of nature.” This is impossible to conceive in the East. Lao Tzu cannot use these words, conquest of nature, because who will conquer nature? You are nature. Who will conquer nature? You are not separate from it. But the West has lived for these twenty centuries with this wrong concept – the conquest of nature. We have to defeat nature, to destroy it, to cripple it, to force it to follow us. You cannot win, this whole struggle is nonsense, because you are nature. There is no division. The East says, “Follow nature, become nature. Leave the will. The will is the cause of misery. The will is the door to hell.”
The third is thought to be highest, because when you leave all desires there is no need for the will – because will is needed to fulfill desires. You have desires, you need will. There are many books in the West, and particularly in America, which go on teaching willpower. And they are sold in millions, they are best-sellers, because everybody thinks that he has to conquer and create willpower. People even come to me, to such a person who is absolutely against will, and they say, “Help us. How can we have more willpower?”
Will is your impotence. Because of will you are defeated, because you are doing something absolutely absurd, something which cannot happen. When you leave will, only then will you be powerful. When there is no will you have become potent. Omnipotent also you can become when there is no will, because then you are one with the universe, then the whole universe is your power.
With the will you are a fragment fighting with the whole existence, with such a small quantity of energy. And that energy is also given by the universe. The universe is so playful that it even allows you to fight with it, it gives you the energy. The universe gives you the breath, the universe gives you the life, and enjoys your fighting. It is just as a father enjoys fighting with a child and challenges the child to fight. The child starts fighting and the father falls down and helps the child to win. This is a game for the father. The child may be serious, may get mad; he will think, “I have conquered.”
In the West this childishness has become the source of many miseries: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the two world wars, were because of this will. Science should not be any more the conquest of nature. Science must now become the way towards nature – surrender to nature, not conquest of nature. And unless science becomes Taoist – surrender to nature – science is going to eliminate the whole of humanity from this earth. This planet will be destroyed by science. And science can destroy only because science has become associated with this absurd notion of conquest.
Man has willpower. Every will is against nature, your will is against nature. When you can say totally, “Not mine, but your will should be done” – “your” means the divine, the totality, the wholeness – for the first time you become powerful. But this power doesn’t belong to you, you are just a passage. This power belongs to the cosmos.
The third is the highest, because all the modifications of will come to an end. Not only the will but the modifications – because will can get modified. We saw that the Upanishad divides desirelessness, nonattachment, in two parts. First, when you make effort to be nonattached – that too is a modification of the will. You struggle, you control, you detach yourself, you make all the efforts to remain a witness. Those efforts to remain a witness belong to your will, so really that is not real nonattachment, just a rehearsal; not real, just a training ground.
Nonattachment will become real only in the second stage, when even this struggle to be a witness has dropped; when even the idea that “I am a witness” has dropped, when there is no more conflict between you and existence. No more any conflict, you simply flow with it.
Lao Tzu is reported to have said, “I struggled hard but I was defeated again and again, fortunately.” He says, “Fortunately I was defeated again and again. No effort succeeded, and then I realized – against whom am I fighting? Against myself I am fighting, against the greater part of my own being I am fighting. It is as if my hand is fighting against my body, and the hand belongs to the body. It can fight, but the hand has the energy through the body.” Lao Tzu says, “When I realized that I am part of this cosmos, that I am not separate – the cosmos breathes in me, lives in me, and I am fighting it – then the fight dropped. Then I became like a dead leaf.”
Why like a dead leaf? – because the dead leaf has no will of her own. The wind comes, takes the dead leaf; the dead leaf goes with the wind. The wind is going north, the dead leaf doesn’t say, “I want to go to the south.” The dead leaf goes to the north. Then the wind changes its course, starts flowing towards the south. The dead leaf doesn’t say, “You are contradictory. First you were going to the north, now you are going to the south. Now I want to go to the north.” No, that leaf doesn’t say anything. She moves to south, she moves to north, and if the wind stops she falls down on the ground and rests. She doesn’t say, “This was not the right time for me to rest.” When the wind raises her into the sky the dead leaf doesn’t say, “I am the peak of existence.” When she falls to the ground she is not frustrated. A dead leaf simply has no will of her own. “Thy will be done.” She moves with the wind, wheresoever it leads. She has got no goal, she has no purpose of her own.
Lao Tzu says, “When I became like a dead leaf, then everything was achieved. Then there was nothing to be achieved any more. Then all bliss became mine.”
All the modifications of will come to an end. One who practices the three stages finds his ignorance dead, and on entering the fourth stage he sees everything, everywhere, equally.
Two things: One who practices these three stages finds his ignorance dead. Your ignorance cannot become dead by accumulating knowledge. You can accumulate all the knowledge available in the world, you can become an Encyclopaedia Britannica, but that won’t help. You can become a walking encyclopedia, but your ignorance will not be dead through that. Rather, on the contrary, your ignorance will become hidden, secret; it will move to the deep recesses of the heart. So on the surface you will be knowledgeable and deep down you will remain ignorant. This is what has happened, and all the universities go on helping this.
Your ignorance is never dead; it is alive, working. And just on the surface you are decorated, you are a painted being. Your knowledge is painted just on the surface and deep down you remain ignorant. The knowledge, real knowledge, can happen only when the ignorance is dead. Before that, knowledge will remain information – borrowed, not yours, not authentic – it has not happened to you. It is not a lived experience, but only words, verbal, scriptural.
And ignorance can become dead only when you practice these first three stages, because ignorance is a mode of life, not a question of information. It is a way of life, a wrong way of life, that creates ignorance. It is not just a question of memory, of how much you know, or how much you don’t know – that is not the point. That’s why Ramakrishna can become wise and Keshavchandra remains ignorant. Jesus became enlightened and Pontius Pilate remained ignorant. He was more cultured than Jesus, more educated; he had all the education that was possible. He was the governor-general, the viceroy, he knew whatsoever could be known through books. And in the last moment before Jesus was sent to the cross he asked him a very philosophical question.
Nietzsche wrote about Pontius Pilate, because Nietzsche was always against Jesus. When he became mad in the end – and he was bound to become mad because his whole way of life, the whole style was madness – he started signing his signature as “Anti-Christ, Friedrich Nietzsche.” He would never sign his signature without writing before it “Anti-Christ.” He was absolutely against Jesus. He says that only Pontius Pilate was the man who knew, and Jesus was simply an ignorant carpenter’s son. And the reason that he proposes is that in the last moment before Jesus went to the cross, Pontius Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” This is one of the most significant philosophical questions which has always been asked, and philosophers enjoy answering it – but nobody has answered yet. To Nietzsche Jesus looks foolish. He writes that when Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” he was asking precisely the peak question, the sole question, the ultimate question, the base of all philosophy, the base of all inquiry – and Jesus remained silent.
Nietzsche says that was because in the first place Jesus would not have understood what Pontius Pilate meant, and secondly, he could not answer because he didn’t know what truth is. He was ignorant, that’s why he remained silent. And I say to you, he remained silent because he knew, and he knew well that this question can never be answered verbally.
Pontius Pilate was foolish – educated, well-educated, but foolish – because this question cannot be asked in such a way, and it cannot be answered when a person is going to be hanged. For the answer to this question Pontius Pilate would have had to live with Jesus for years, because the whole life has to be transformed, only then can the answer be given. Or the transformed life itself becomes the answer, there is no need to give it.
Jesus remained silent, that shows he was a wise man. Had he given any answer, to me he would have proved that he was ignorant. Even Jesus’ followers became a little uncomfortable, because they thought that had he answered Pontius Pilate, and had Pilate been convinced that his answer was true there would have been no crucifixion. But crucifixion is better than answering a foolish question with a foolish answer. Crucifixion is always better than that. And Jesus chose crucifixion rather than answering this foolish question…because such questions need a mutation in life; you have to work upon yourself.
Truth is not something which can be handed over to you. You will have to raise your consciousness, you will have to come to the climax of your being. Only from there the glimpse becomes possible. And when you die completely to your ego truth is revealed, never before. It is not a philosophical inquiry, it is a religious transformation.
One who practices the three stages finds his ignorance dead, and on entering the fourth stage he sees everything, everywhere, equally. At that moment he is so strongly embedded in the experience of nonduality – advaita – that the experience itself disappears.
This is a very subtle and delicate point. Let it go deep in your heart. He is so embedded in the fourth stage…. After the three stages the fourth follows automatically. The three have to be practiced, the three have to be deeply rooted in your being through your effort – the fourth happens. Suddenly you become aware that there is nonduality, only one exists – one being, one existence.
He is so strongly embedded in the experience of advaita – nonduality – that the experience itself disappears.
…Because for experience to exist, duality is needed. So the Upanishads say you cannot experience God. If you experience God, then the God remains separate and you remain separate, because only the other can be experienced. Experience divides. This is the deepest message of all the Upanishads: “experience divides,” because whenever you say experience it means there are three things: the experiencer, the experienced, and the relationship between the two, the experience.
The Upanishads say that God cannot be known, because knowledge divides the knower, the known and the knowledge. If really you have become one, how can you experience? So even the experience disappears. The Upanishads say a person who claims he has experienced the divine is false, his claim proves that he is false. A knower cannot claim, one who has really experienced the divine cannot claim, because the very experience disappears. Buddha says again and again, “Don’t ask me what I have experienced. If I say anything then I am not true. Rather come near me, and you also go through the experience.”
One man came, Maulangputta, and he asked Buddha serious questions. Buddha said, “You wait for one year and then I will give you the answers. And for one year you have to follow me, whatsoever I say, with no argument, no discussion. Put your reason aside. For one year be with me and experience, and after one year has elapsed you can ask all your questions, bring all your reason back, and then I will answer you.”
While Buddha was saying this and Maulangputta was being convinced, one sannyasin, one bhikku of Buddha, Sariputta, who was sitting under a tree, started laughing. Maulangputta became uncomfortable. He asked Sariputta, “Why are you laughing? What is wrong?”
Sariputta said, “Don’t be deceived. This man is a deceiver – he deceived me the same way. Now I cannot ask, so he need not answer. If you want to ask at all, ask now. After one year it will be too late!”
Then one year passed, and Maulangputta waited, meditated, became more and more silent, and started realizing why Sariputta was laughing – because the questions were disappearing. One year passed and then he started hiding, because if he met Buddha he would say, “Now where are the questions?”
But Buddha remembered. Exactly on the day when he had come one year be-fore, exactly on that day as he was hiding behind ten thousand monks, Buddha said, “Where is Maulangputta? He must come now, the time has come. Bring your reason and bring all your questions. I am prepared to answer.”
Maulangputta stood, and said, “You are really a deceiver. That Sariputta was right – because now I have no questions!”
Buddha says, “Experience – and you cannot even claim that you have experienced.”…Because who will experience? There is no other. Who will experience whom? Even the experience itself disappears. There is nothing like God-experience; it is only in the minds of the ignorant. The knowers know that God disappears and the I disappears, the duality disappears. Knowing is there, but the knower is not and the known is not.
Because of this Mahavira has used a beautiful word. He calls it kaivalya gyan; he calls it, “Only knowing remains” – only knowing, neither the known nor the knower. You disappear, the God you were seeking disappears, because really the God you were seeking was created by you. It was your ignorance that was seeking. Your God was part of your ignorance. It is bound to be. How can you seek the real God? You don’t know it.
You project your God through your ignorance, you seek it. All your heavens are part of your ignorance. All your truths are part of your ignorance. You seek them and then your ignorance disappears. When your ignorance disappears where will those gods remain who were created by your ignorance? They will also disappear.
It happened: when Rinzai became enlightened he asked for a cup of tea. His disciples said, “This seems to be profane.”
And he said, “The whole thing was foolishness: the seeking, the seeker, the sought. The whole thing was foolishness. You just give me a cup of tea! None existed. The seeker was false, the sought was false, so of course the seeking was false. It was a cosmic joke.”
That’s why I say there is no purpose – God is joking with you. The moment you can understand the joke you are enlightened. Then the whole thing be-comes a play, even the experience disappears.
Thus, on attaining the fourth stage the seeker finds the world as illusory as a dream. So while the first three stages are called waking ones, the fourth is dreaming.
When the fourth stage is attained, when even God disappears, when the God-seeker, the worshipper disappears, this whole world becomes like a dream. Not that it is not there – it is there, but like a dream; it has no substantiality in it. It is a mental phenomenon, it is a thought process. You enjoy it, you live in it, but you know that this is all a dream.
This is the Hindu concept of the world, they say it is a dream in the mind of God. It is just as when you dream in the night; when you dream you can create a reality in the dream, and you never suspect that this is a dream and you are the creator. The beauty is this – that you are the creator, you are the projector, and you cannot suspect that it is just a dream. Hindus say that as there are private dreams, individual dreams, this is the collective dream – God dreaming the world. You are a dream object in the God’s dream. We take dreams to be real, and Hindus say the reality is a dream.
I will tell you one anecdote.

Once it happened, Mulla Nasruddin was fast asleep with his wife in bed. The wife started dreaming; she had a very beautiful dream. One charming young man was making love to her, and she was enjoying it very much. She was old, ugly, and he was a very charming young prince and she was enjoying it.
Suddenly in the dream, when she was enjoying the lovemaking, Mulla Nasruddin entered from the roof – in the dream. She became afraid. She became so afraid and disturbed that she said loudly, “My God, my husband!” She said it so loudly that Mulla heard it and jumped out of the window. He thought he was sleeping with some other woman.

Our dreams are realities for us.
For the Upanishads, our reality is just a dream.

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