Vedanta Seven Steps to Samadhi 16

Sixteenth Discourse from the series of 17 discourses - Vedanta Seven Steps to Samadhi by Osho.
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In this seventh stage, the state of videhamukti,
liberation while living in the body is achieved. This stage is totally silent
and cannot be communicated in words.
It is the end of all stages, where all the processes of yoga come to their
conclusion. In this stage, all activities – worldly, bodily and scriptural – cease. The whole universe in the form of the world – viswa,
intelligence – prajna, and radiance – tejas, is just aum.
There is no division here between speech and the speaker.
If however any such division remains, the state has not been attained.
The first sound ‘a’ of aum, stands for the world,
the second ‘u’ for radiance and the third ‘m’ for intelligence.

Before entering samadhi, the seeker should contemplate on aum most strenuously, and subsequently he should surrender everything, from gross to subtle to the conscious self. Taking the conscious self as his own self,
he should consolidate this feeling: I am eternal, pure, enlightened, free, existential, incomparable, the most blissful Vasudeva and Pranava himself.

Since the whole visible world comprising a beginning, a middle and an end, is sorrow-stricken, he must renounce everything
and merge into the supreme. He should feel that he is blissful,
taintless, without ignorance, without appearance,
inexpressible in words, and that he is Brahman,
the essence of knowledge.

This is the Upanishadic mystery.

Thus ends the Akshi Upanishad.
The first three stages are just like the waking state of the mind, the surface of your personality – just a fragment, the part where waves exist. The fourth and the fifth stages are deeper than the surface. They are like the dream state of the mind, where for the first time you are no longer in contact with the outer world. The outer world has ceased to be, you live only in your dreams. You enter subjectivity. The objects have disappeared, only the subject has remained.
The sixth stage is still deeper, just like the dreamless sleep – the third state of mind – where even dreams cease to be. Objects have disappeared, now subjects also disappear. The world is no more, even the reflections of the world in the mind are no more. You are fast asleep with no disturbance, not a single ripple. These are the three stages of the mind, and parallel stages to these the seeker has to pass through on the spiritual path also.
The seventh is like the fourth. The Upanishads have not given it any name, because no name can be given to it. The first is waking, the second dreaming, the third sleep – but the fourth has been left simply as the fourth, without giving it any name. It is symbolic. The Upanishads call it turiya. The word turiya means simply the fourth, it doesn’t say anything more. It is nameless because it cannot be defined. Words cannot express it, it can only be indicated. Even that indication has to be negative. It can be experienced but not formulated in concepts, hence it is called the fourth. The seventh stage of the seeker’s consciousness is like the fourth stage of the mind.
Before we enter into the seventh stage and try to penetrate its mysteries, a few things will help to create the base for the understanding of something which is the most difficult to understand. First, the six are stages, but the seventh is really not a stage. It is called a stage because there is no other way to call it, but the seventh is not a stage. The six are stages, the seventh you are. The seventh is not a stage, it is your very nature; it is you, your being.
For example, you were a child once; childhood was a stage. You were not childhood, you passed through childhood. It was a station, a stage, a phase, but you were not identified with it. If you were the childhood itself then there would have been no possibility of becoming a youth. Who would have become a youth? The child could not have become a youth, the child would have remained the child. But you were not the child. You passed through childhood, you became a youth. Then youth is again a stage, you are not one with it. If you are one with it you could not have been a child and you cannot grow old. You will pass through it also, it is a phase.
So this is the definition of a stage: you come into it, you pass through it, you go beyond it – but you are not it. Then you will become old, that too is a stage. You will pass into death. Birth is a stage, death is a stage. One who passes through all these stages…. The being, the life force, the energy that you are, the consciousness that you are – that one is not a stage because you can never pass through it, you can never go beyond it. That is not a stage, that is your very nature; that you are. So the seventh is not a stage. It is called a stage because there is no other way of talking about it. Six are stages, the seventh is the one who passes through these stages. The seventh is your very nature. This is the first thing.
The second thing, all the six can be described, they have a defined nature. You enter into them, they have a beginning; you pass through them, they have a middle; you finish with them, they have an end – they can be defined. Anything which has a beginning, a middle and an end can be defined, but you – you are indefinable. You don’t have any beginning, you don’t have any middle, you don’t have any end. You never begin, you will never end. You are the eternal. The life energy that exists in you has always been in existence, will always be so. There was never a time when you were not, and there will never be a time when you will not be. You will always be, you are nontemporal.
The temporal can be defined through time. The nontemporal cannot be defined, it is timeless. Just as you are nontemporal you are nonspatial also. You exist in this space you call your body, but you have existed in many spaces. Buddha says he remembers his past lives. He says, “Sometime in my past lives I was an elephant.” So then he existed in the space called elephant. He relates a beautiful story about the elephant and how the elephant could become a buddha.

Once it happened that this elephant who was Buddha in a past life was living in a forest and the forest caught fire, the forest was on fire. It was a very terrible fire. The whole forest was burning and all the animals and birds were escaping from the forest. This elephant was also running. The forest was very big, and from running and the heat all around and the fire he got tired. Just then he saw a tree which was not yet on fire. There was shade there, so he rested just for a single minute under the shade of the tree.
After he had rested, the moment came when he wanted to move. He raised one leg. When he raised his leg a small hare, a white hare, who was also tired from running, came under his foot just to rest there. So this elephant thought, “If I put my foot on the earth this hare will be killed.” So he waited. He thought, “When this hare leaves, when he has rested, then I will move.”
But the hare would not move. The hare thought, “It is beautiful to be under the shade of the elephant, and there is no danger when the elephant is there, and the surrounding trees have not yet caught fire.” So he waited.
The hare did not move and, tired from standing on three legs, many times the elephant thought, “Crush this hare and move.” But then an idea came to his mind: “As I love my life this hare also loves his life. If I am escaping for my life and I am afraid of death this hare is also afraid of death.”
So he waited and died waiting there, because the fire came nearer and nearer and the tree caught fire. He waited for the hare and the hare would not move, so the elephant died standing on three legs. Buddha said, “Because of that awareness I was born as a man. The elephant changed into another being – man.” And he goes on relating many stories about his past.

You have also been in many spaces, many types of bodies – sometimes a tree, sometimes a bird, sometimes an animal. Hindus say that there are eight hundred and forty million types of existence, lives, and a man is born only when he has passed through eight hundred and forty million spaces. In the beginning Westerners used to laugh about this – such a great number! There seemed no possibility that eight hundred and forty million life forms exist. But now biologists say that this is almost the exact number, almost exactly this many species exist. And this is a miracle! How could Hindus fall upon this number?…because they had no biological research, they had known no Darwin, no Huxley. They must have come to this number through some other way. They say that they have come to this number through those who have remembered their past lives – Buddhas, Mahaviras, who could remember all the past lives.
Eight hundred and forty million is a very big number. And that’s why Hindus say that once you are born a man, don’t waste this life, because it is so precious, you have struggled for it for so long, for millions of lives you have waited for it. And for what are you wasting it – food, drink, sex? Eight hundred and forty million lives spent waiting for this life, and then wasting this life in futile things!
You were in many spaces, so you are not confined to space. If you can be an elephant, then a tiger, then a bird flying in the sky, then a small ant, and then you can be a man, that means that no space contains you. You can pass through many types of bodies, but you are bodiless. If you are bodiless, if consciousness is a bodiless phenomenon, then you are nonspatial. And these two things, time and space, are very very insignificant.
Physicists say that existence consists of two elements: time and space. And Einstein turned even these two into one. He said that these are not two. So he used to call it spatiotime – one word, not two. He used to say that there is not space and time, there is only spacetime, and space is nothing but the fourth dimension of time. Hindus say that you are neither in space nor in time; you pass through them but you are not them, you may be in them but you are not them. You pass through them, you go beyond; you enter, you come out. Space and time is your temporal abode, it is not you – hence transcendence is possible, you can go beyond both.
Somebody asked Jesus, “Tell us something about your kingdom of God, something special which will be there, some main characteristic.”
Jesus answered in a very strange way, he said a very strange thing. He said, “There shall be time no longer.” Hindus have always been saying that – but not only about time. They say there will be time no longer, there will be space no longer, because time and space are really not two things, they are one.
And this you can feel even in deep meditation. The deeper you move the less time will be. You are not aware of how much time has passed – as if time is just on the surface. The more inwards you move, the further and further away time goes. Then a moment comes when there is no time. And the same happens to space: the more inward you move the more you go on forgetting where you are. When you move more inward then you forget whether you are confined in a body or not. When you reach to the innermost center there is no time and no space, you simply exist without any boundary of time or space. Because you are not confined in any way you cannot be defined. Things which are limited and confined can be defined. So the seventh stage, or the seventh no-stage, is indefinable.
The third thing. About the six there is not much mystery, reason can understand them; they are rational in a way, you can argue about them. The seventh is total mystery, absolute mystery. We must understand what mystery is, because this Upanishad ends on the word mystery. What is a mystery? The mystery is that phenomenon which exists but has no cause to exist, the mystery is a phenomenon which is there but is paradoxical, contradictory, the mystery is that phenomenon which is not only unknown but unknowable.
Remember three words: the known, the unknown and the unknowable. The known is that which human mind has come to know – science is the known. The second phenomenon is that of the unknown. The unknown is that which will be known sooner or later, it cannot remain unknown forever. The unknown is the phenomenon philosophy is concerned with – it goes on thinking about the unknown and how to make it known.
The known is science, it has already been known. So science is really the past, the accumulated knowledge, the condensed knowledge, the essential knowledge that human mind has come to know. That’s why science is so certain and there is no poetry in science. Science is simply history, the past, the whole past. You may not have observed the fact that science is a dead thing, just the past accumulated. You destroy the past and science will disappear. If there are no more libraries, if suddenly all the libraries are destroyed, science will disappear. It is accumulated past, it is history, the known, but it is dead.
The second phenomenon is the unknown, which will be known sooner or later. Philosophy is concerned with the unknown, with how to make it known. So philosophy is nothing but a vanguard to science, just the pilot car moving ahead. That’s why philosophy goes on being reduced to less and less every day – because more and more unknown becomes known, it becomes part of science, and philosophy becomes less and less. In the days of Aristotle philosophy was a vast phenomenon, now it is not so vast. Every day philosophy is becoming less and less because more and more philosophy is becoming science.
And then there is the third phenomenon, the unknowable. Religion is concerned with that. Unknowable means that which cannot be known whatsoever you do; it can never become science, it can never be reduced to history. That is the meaning of mystery, that which cannot be reduced to history, that which cannot become known, it always remains unknowable. It is not unknown, be-cause the moment you say it is unknown it can be known some day – more refined instruments, more technological devices and it will be known. It is not unknown, it is unknowable.
Science says there is nothing like the unknowable, that’s why science denies religion. Science says there are only two things, the known and the unknown. And the unknown is that which is possible to know again some day – maybe somewhere in the future – but potentially it can be known. So science believes there is no real mystery, only known facts and unknown facts, and a day will come when science has known everything. This is the presumption of the scientific approach, that somewhere in the future – it may take time, but conceivably, somewhere, a day will come when everything is known and there is no mystery. That is the basic point, the basic conflict between religion and science.
And philosophy also believes that there is no mystery, so philosophy is just a servant, a maidservant to science. That’s why philosophers have become secondary to scientists in this century; they are not very important, their departments in the universities are no longer important. Science has taken the place of importance and they have retreated – they exist just in the back rooms of science. They also say there is nothing unknowable. It is unknown, but we will do something – logic, analysis, speculation, experiments – and it will be known.
Religion says that the substratum of existence is unknowable. Whatsoever you do is irrelevant; it will remain unknowable, it cannot be reduced to history. Why? Religion has a point, and that point is: How can a part know the whole? Man is just a part, how can the part know the whole? Man is just a by-product of this existence, just a throbbing of this existence. How can this throbbing know the whole? Your heart throbs, beats; how can the beats of the heart know you, the whole?
The part cannot know the whole, and the whole is vast, really infinite. You cannot conceive of any end to the universe, there can be no boundary to it – or can there be? Can you conceive of any boundary to existence? How will you conceive the boundary? – because a boundary needs two. Your house has a boundary because of your neighbor, the earth has a boundary because of space. The other is needed for the boundary. If there is only one it cannot be bounded, because who will bound it?
The existence is one; then it cannot be bounded, there can be no boundary. If you stand on the boundary what will you see? If you can see anything beyond, this is not the boundary. Even if you can see emptiness ahead then that emptiness is there. Can you conceive of a point in existence where a scientist can stand and there is nothing? But Hindus say that even nothing is something. If you can say that there is nothing then space exists, you will have to move ahead. There cannot come a point where you can say, “Existence ends here!” It cannot end, it cannot have any boundary. The whole is infinite. And you can know something which is finite, you cannot know the infinite. The mystery will remain.
Secondly, man is part, he is not apart from existence. You cannot kiss your own lips – or can you? You will need somebody else’s lips to kiss, you cannot kiss your own. Man is part of this whole. To know this whole you will need to be apart, you will have to be separate; the knower must be separate from the known, only then knowledge is possible. The knower is not separate. The existence flows in you, you are just a wave. The existence trees in the trees, it waves in the waves, it mans in you. As it trees the earth, so it mans the earth. ‘Manning’, if I can coin a new word, manning is just like waving; it is a process. You are not apart from it, not separate.
You cannot kiss your own lips, religion says, hence the mystery. And the more science progresses the more religion is proved right. A few days before Einstein died he asserted, “When I started my journey on the scientific path I was certain that the universe can be known, but now I am not so certain. On the contrary, my uncertainty has been growing every day, and I feel that it is impossible to know the existence in its totality. It is a mystery.”
Edison, another top scientist, a great name, said in his last letters to his friends, “I thought in the beginning that the world consists of matter, there is no mind. But the more I penetrate into the secrets the more I feel that the universe is more like thought than like thing. It is more like the mind, less like matter. It is more mysterious.”
And that has been the feeling of all individual scientists – not of science, but individual scientists. Science as a body remains adamant, goes on saying that there can be no mystery, and if there is it is only a question of time and we will dissolve it. So the effort of science is to demystify the universe. That may be one of the reasons why people are so unhappy today. That may be one of the basic reasons why people are so bored, that may be one of the basic reasons why people are feeling so meaningless – because without mystery there can be no meaning in life.
If everything is explained then everything is explained away, if everything is known then there is nothing worthwhile, if everything becomes just factual you are finished with it. Just go to a biologist and ask him what love is, or go to a chemist and ask him what love is. He will explain to you the whole mystery, he will talk of hormones, secretions of certain chemicals in the body, and he will say, “You are just a fool! Love is nothing. It is just a question of certain chemicals flowing in the bloodstream.”
He can explain everything about love, and when he explains everything about love then all your Kalidases and Shakespeares and Byrons will look stupid – because he can explain. But this same man who is explaining will fall in love. He will sit with a woman under the sky and then start talking poetry. This is the mystery. Life remains alive for mystery. And it is a good sign that even a scientist can fall in love, and a few great scientists sometimes even write poetry. This is a good sign. Man can still survive – there is a possibility, we can hope; otherwise, everything explained, poetry dies.
This age is very nonpoetic. Even poets write things which are facts, not mysteries; they talk about mundane things in their poetry. The poetry that has been created in this age is not very poetic, it is more prose than poetry. There is no music in it, because music can come only through mystery. Something unknowable throbs around you; you become part of that unknown mystery, you dissolve into it, become a drop in the ocean.
That’s why children are so happy, old men so unhappy. The reason is that the old man knows more – he has explained many things, more facts are known to him – and children are ignorant, more mystery is around them. That’s why even in old age you go on thinking that childhood was the golden period, the real paradise.
Why is childhood so paradise-like? – because the child exists in mystery. Everything is mysterious – even the shade of a tree moving with the sun is so mysterious, so poetic. An ordinary flower, maybe a grass flower, is so mysterious because the whole life is expressed through it. A breeze blowing in the tree and creating rhythmic sounds, echoes in the valley, reflections in the water…. Everything is mysterious for a child, nothing is known. He is happy. Remember this, your happiness will be in the same proportion as your mystery – less mystery, less happiness; more mystery, more happiness.
This Upanishad ends with the word mystery. Make that word mystery a secret in your heart, and try to live in such a way that nothing is reduced to facts and even facts become just doors for more mysteries. And unless you can turn facts into mysteries you will not become religious. So I can conclude, a scientist goes on reducing mystery to facts, and a religious man goes on changing facts into mysteries.
The world was happier when it was religious. It was less affluent, it was poorer, food was scarce, wealth was not there; everything was just poor, poverty existed – but people were happier…because you cannot live by bread alone. They lived through mystery. Everything they saw they treated as poetry of life. All these Upanishads are written in poetry. If life can appear to you not like prose but like poetry, a song, a bird in flight always towards the unknown…only then will religious consciousness dawn upon you.
Now we will enter the sutra.
In the seventh stage, the state of videhamukti, liberation while living in the body is achieved.
The Upanishads divide liberation in two. One, liberation while you are in the body. That is called videhamukti, liberation while in the body. And then the ultimate liberation when this body dissolves and you no longer enter into another body, you remain bodiless. So liberation with the body and bodiless liberation. Buddhists have used two words: nirvana, and mahanirvana. Nirvana means liberation in the body, and mahanirvana means liberation from the body also – freed from all embodiments, bodiless consciousness. Then you have become cosmos.
The seventh stage is of videhamukti. You are living in the body, but living in the body you are no longer the body; the body has become just an abode, a house or your clothes. You are no longer attached to it in any way. You use it, you live in it, you take care of it, but you are no longer concerned, no longer afraid that if the body dies you will die. Now you know you are deathless; only the body can die, never you. You are not identified with the body, that is the liberation – videhamukti.
This stage is totally silent and cannot be communicated in words.
A person who exists in this stage remains inwardly totally silent. There is no inner talk, he never talks with himself. Really, to talk with oneself is a sort of in-sanity. If you see a man sitting outside alone talking you will think he is mad. But you are also doing the same, only less loudly. He is a little more daring, that’s all. You also go on talking within; continuously the inner talk is there, not for a single moment do you stop. Your mind is a marketplace – so many voices, crowded – and it goes on and on and on. And look, observe what goes on there: just futile things, absurd, senseless, with no rhyme or reason. You are just flooded.
In the seventh stage the inner world becomes totally liberated from inner talk, everything is silent within. You can talk, but only with someone else, not with yourself. In that stage Buddha speaks, but he never speaks with himself. Buddha speaks to others, but that speech is qualitatively different from yours. Look! Whenever you are talking with others, then too the other is just an excuse – you continue your inner talk. Observe people talking. When you are talking with someone else you are not really talking with someone else, you go on talking within. You just catch some words from the other, and then you hang your inner talk on those words and continue.

One psychologist was watching two madmen from a window, and he was surprised at their behavior. Those two madmen were both professors – professors are always prone to go mad because they are experts at talking. But he was surprised not because they were talking, he was surprised for some other reason. Both were mad, but whenever one was talking the other would remain silent as if he was listening. When the first one would stop the other would start, and the first one would remain silent as if listening. And the second mystery was this, their talk was not connected at all. The first was talking about one thing and the other was talking about something else which was totally irrelevant, which had no connection at all. They were moving parallel, not meeting anywhere.
So the psychologist went and said to them, “I have observed many madmen, and I have seen that when they talk they don’t talk with the other, they simply talk with themselves. That is okay. But I have never seen them remaining silent while the other is talking. So why do you remain silent while the other is talking?”
The professors said, “Just old habit. Just old habit, just to be gentlemanly. When he is talking it is unmannerly to start talking, so we have to force ourselves. When he stops then I can talk and then he has to keep silence. And this is a mutual understanding.”

But this is all that is happening amongst you. This is just from mutual understanding and old habit that you keep silent when the other is talking. But you are not silent, you are just waiting for the opportunity, and when he stops you start. Only one thing you will do which those madmen were not doing because they were more frank, and that is that you will catch some word from the other’s talk and through that word you will hang your inner talk and you will proceed.
Look at two persons discussing anything, they are never talking about the same thing. Ninety-nine percent of debates and discussions are just mad; people are not talking about the same thing, they are not using the words in the same way, they are not communicating at all. Just look at a wife and husband talking, they are not communicating at all. The husband is saying something and he goes on saying, “You are not understanding me.” And the wife goes on saying something else, and she also says, “You are not understanding me, you don’t understand what I am saying.”
Nobody understands anybody. You cannot understand, because understanding can flower only in inner silence, it cannot flower while you are talking in words. So you are not listening to the other at all. The mind cannot do two things simultaneously – you can listen to yourself or the other. Communication has become such a great problem, everybody feels that one cannot relate. What is the problem? Why can’t you relate with the other? – because you are relating with yourself.
A man who has attained the seventh stage is silent inwardly. He can listen, he can communicate, he can relate, he can answer. In India this was taken as a basic condition: one should not start preaching unless one has attained the inner silence…because if somebody starts teaching, advising, and his inner talk has not stopped, he is going to create more mischief in the world than there already is. He will be destructive. He cannot help anybody, he is not interested really in helping anybody. He is not interested in giving advice, he is interested only in bringing his inner talk out in the name of giving advice. He is throwing his rubbish on others, he is using you, your mind. He is too burdened, he shares only his burden with you. He may feel a little relief, but for his relief he has created much mischief all around.
Political leaders, social reformers, so-called revolutionaries, they all belong to this category. They go on throwing rubbish on more and more people. And if you go on insisting and telling people something, it is possible they may start believing, because belief is created by constant repetition.
Adolf Hitler writes in his autobiography Mein Kampf that there is no difference between the truth and a lie; the difference is only of repetition. Repeat a lie constantly and it becomes a truth. And this is a proven thing, he himself proved it through his life. He constantly repeated certain things and they became true – and to a country which is one of the most intelligent in the world, Germany. Hitler befooled the Germans. Then remember it, Hitler-type people can befool any country; if Hitler can befool the Germans, then no country is safe.
Germany was the country of the professors, scholars, great scholars, great professors, logicians, philosophers – Kant, Hegel, Schiller, Marx, Feuerbach – the country of the best minds, but a Hitler, just a madman, could befool them. Madmen can befool you very easily, because they are obsessed with their ideas, they go on repeating. They won’t listen to you, they are fanatic; they are not worried about what you will think, they will go on repeating, and through repetition it becomes a suggestion, a hypnosis. If somebody goes on repeating you are bound to believe it. Psychologists say that if you go on repeating others will believe, and by repeating constantly in the end you will also believe that it is true.
I have heard one anecdote.

Mulla Nasruddin died and immediately he proceeded towards heaven. He knocked on the door and the man on the gate said to him, “Who are you, and what has been your business there in the world? – because we have a quota, just like the Rotary Club.”
Nasruddin said, “I was a journalist. You will have to allow me, otherwise I am going to report it and that will create bad news.”
And journalists have become a power, so the man, the watchman, said, “Wait, let me inquire.” Then he said, “It is difficult because we have a quota – only twelve journalists can be allowed in heaven and they are already there. And even they are useless because newsprint paper is not available. Moreover, nobody is interested in gossiping in heaven; even if you print a newspaper nobody purchases it. Nobody reads them, so even those who are here are unemployed. It is better,” he suggested, “you go to hell. Journalism flourishes there like anything, everybody reads newspapers. Many newspapers are published with great circulation, and there are gossips and stories and news – real news happens there.”
You must have heard Bernard Shaw’s definition of news. He says, “When a dog bites a man it is not news, but when a man bites a dog it is news.”
“So real news happens in hell. You go there, Nasruddin!”
But Nasruddin insisted. He said, “No! I want to be here. You will have to find some way.”
So the man suggested, “I will allow you in for twenty-four hours. Go in and spread the news in heaven that a big new newspaper is going to be published soon in hell and editors are needed. You may be able to persuade some other journalists to go. They are unemployed and bored, so if they go, if even one man goes, I will allow you.”
Nasruddin said, “Okay!”
For twenty-four hours he was creating the rumor. To whomsoever he met he said, “If you don’t feel good here, go. Many posts are vacant, a great newspaper is going to be started soon. Readers are waiting for it, the whole of hell is expectant about it. Editors are needed, sub-editors are needed, news reporters are needed!”
He told the story in such an honest, sincere way that by the evening when he came to the door to ask the watchman if anybody had gone to hell, the watchman immediately closed the door and said, “Don’t move out! All twelve have left!”
Nasruddin said, “Open the door. If all twelve have left then there is something in the rumor. I can’t wait here, I want to go to hell!”
The watchman said, “What are you saying? You created it!”
Nasruddin said, “It doesn’t matter. If twelve persons are convinced it means there must be truth in it, and I don’t want to be here!”

If you go on repeating a lie you will end up believing it. Constant repetition becomes hypnotic. In India it has been one of the basic laws that one should not start teaching people unless one becomes inwardly totally silent. When dreams have stopped, only then should one start advising anybody. If you still have dreams don’t advise anybody, because you are still in a state of dreaming. Your advice is of no use, you will create more mischief and misery for others. If somebody follows your advice he will be in danger.
Fortunately nobody follows anybody’s advice. They say that advice is the thing which everybody gives wholeheartedly, without any cause, but which no-body takes. It is good, fortunate, that nobody takes anybody’s advice, otherwise the world would be in more misery, because the advisor – not the advice, but the advisor – is significant.
This stage is totally silent.
And because it is totally silent it cannot be communicated in words. It can be indicated; that is all that can be done, and that is what this sutra is going to do.
It is the end of all stages, where all the processes of yoga have come to their conclusion. In this stage all activities – worldly, bodily, scriptural – cease.
In this stage there is no activity – activity as action, by effort. The person who has achieved the seventh stage leaves all activities. That doesn’t mean that he will not do anything, but now he will be spontaneous. He will not be active, he will be spontaneous. He will move like a wind. Whatsoever happens will happen; whatsoever doesn’t happen, he will not think about it happening. He will become a flow. Now he will not force anything. That’s the meaning that he will not be active.
Buddha was active. After he attained enlightenment, for forty years he was active, but that activity was not activity, he was spontaneous. He moved, but with no conscious effort on his part, as if the existence was moving him, he had become just a passage, a passive vehicle. If life wanted to move through him it would move, if it didn’t want it was okay. He had no mind to do anything. Many things would happen, and really only in such a state do many things happen that are wonderful, that are mysterious.
When you are not the doer, then you become capable of receiving existence. This is what is meant by Jesus’ saying, “Not I, but he, lives in me. My father lives in me.” Jesus is a vehicle, Mahavira is a vehicle, Krishna is a vehicle – just passages. The total can move through them, they don’t create any hindrance, they don’t change in any way. They have no will of their own, no mind of their own.
The whole universe in the form of the world – viswa, intelligence – prajna, and radiance – tejas, is just aum.
In this seventh stage of consciousness the person has really dissolved and become the whole universe, he has become Aum. This word aum is very symbolic. First, this word aum consists of three sounds: a, u, m. These three sounds are the basic sounds, all the sounds are created out of them. All the languages, all the words, are created out of these three sounds: a, u, m. And this is not a myth, now phonetics agrees that these are the basic root sounds. And the word aum is meaningless, it is simply a combination of all the three basic sounds.
Hindus say that aum is the sound of existence, and then it divides in three: a, u, m, and then the three become many. From one, three; from three, many and millions. Now even science agrees that there is only one energy in existence; that one energy is divided in three. You may call it electron, proton and neutron; you may call it a, u, m; you may call it the Christian trinity: God, the Son, the Holy Ghost; you may call it the Hindu trimurti: Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu – whatsoever the name, the name is irrelevant, but one thing is certain: one becomes three, and then three becomes many. And if you want to move backwards to the one, move from the many to three and then let the three combine – it will become one. Aum is a way, it is a mantra, a path, to combine all the sounds in three, to first reduce all the sounds to three – and then aum becomes the door for the one.
And this has been the experience of all the mystics all over the world, not only Hindus. They all have the same experience. They may have interpreted it differently. Mohammedans, Christians, and Jews end their prayers with amen. Hindu mystics say it is the same, aum. They interpreted differently, because the sound can be interpreted in many ways. You are traveling in a train and you can interpret the sound of the train in many ways; you can even feel that there is a song going on, because the interpretation is yours – sound is not creating the interpretation, the mind is creating the interpretation. Hindus say it is like aum; Christians, Jews, and Mohammedans have felt it as aumen, or amen.
English has three or four words which are mysterious for linguists. They are omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and such words. They cannot reduce them to any logical order. What does omnipotent mean? And from where does omni come? It comes from the Hindu word aum. What does omniscient mean? From where does the word omni come? Linguists have no way to explain it, these words have remained unexplained in English. But if you can understand aum then those words become clear, because aum is the symbol of the universe for Hindus. So omnipotent means one who knows all, one who is all-powerful; omnipresent means one who is everywhere present – present in the aum, seeing the aum, powerful like the aum.
If you enter deeper meditation soon you will realize that a sound is continuously happening there. It is the sound of existence itself, the humming sound of existence itself. And if you listen without interpreting it, if you don’t force any interpretation on it, if you simply listen and watch and observe, sooner or later you will realize it is aum vibrating inside.
In this stage all activities…cease. The whole universe in the form of the world – viswa, intelligence – prajna, and radiance – tejas, is just aum.
In this stage only aum exists – the sound, the ultimate sound. Or you can call it the soundless sound, the uncreated sound.
There is no division here between speech and the speaker.
This has to be understood. You speak but there is always you, the speaker, and that which you speak. You walk, there is always the division: the walker, you, and the walk, the activity. You eat, there is always the division: the eater, you, and the activity. You can fast but the division will remain: you, the faster, and the activity, fasting. The activity and the active agent remain two, a division exists.
At this stage, the seventh, this division also disappears. The walker is the walk, the observer is the observed, the speaker is the speech – life becomes a process undivided. If you ask a question of the person who is in the seventh stage he never thinks about it, because there is no thinker. You ask the question, he responds. That response is not a thinking one, the response is just like a valley responding, a valley echoing. You sing a song in the valley and the whole valley echoes it. The valley doesn’t think that this sound is beautiful and should be echoed in such and such a way.
A buddha is a valley. You throw a question, the valley echoes. There is no-body who can think, there is nobody who can plan, there is nobody who can choose – really there is nobody now. It is emptiness, shunyata, it is a void. There is a valley; the valley responds. The speaker and the speech are one, the mover and the movement are one. This inner division falls immediately.
This exists because of the ego. Who thinks when somebody asks a question? Who thinks inside you? The ego. You have to give the right answer, or an answer which will be appreciated. But why are you worried about it? If you are the right person the right answer will flower through you. You are worried because you are not the right person. You have to force an answer, you have to create it, manufacture it somehow through the memory. You have to choose, combine, look at the person, at what type of person he is, and then it is a whole process of planning, choosing and thinking, but you are not spontaneous.
If you are a valley, if you have reached the seventh stage and the ego has disappeared, who will choose? The answer will flow. It will flow from the total person, not from the ego. Because of your ego you cannot be spontaneous – because you are always afraid you may not look good, you may not be appreciated. Your ego is exhibitionist. The speech and the speaker become one because there is no exhibitionist ego. Buddha responds with his totality; whatsoever the response, he is not concerned really.
If however, any such division remains, the state has not been attained.
So this is the criterion: if you feel any division inside, then know well this state has not been attained.
The first sound ‘a’ of aum, stands for the world – the universe; the second ‘u’ for radiance – life, élan vital; and the third ‘m’ for intelligence – consciousness, awareness. Before entering samadhi – that is, ultimate ecstasy, the final ecstasy….
This path has to be remembered well, it will be very helpful. This is the last advice of this Upanishad, the final. And only Hindus and Tibetans have used this advice for millions of years. This is their last secret.
Before entering samadhi – that is, death with consciousness…. Samadhi means death with consciousness, dying fully alert. You have died many times but it was not samadhi, it was simple death, because whenever you died you were unconscious. Before death happens you are unconscious, it is just a surgical procedure. Because death will be so painful for you, you cannot be allowed to be conscious – just as a surgeon gives you anesthetic, chloroform, before he operates on you, and then his operation is just nothing.
Death’s operation is so big because the whole being has to be taken out of your body with which it has become so attached, identified. It is not simply removing a bone, it is removing the whole body from you. So nature has a process: before you die you fall unconscious, fast asleep, you are no longer in your senses, and then your being can be removed. This is not samadhi.
And remember, if a person dies in unconsciousness he is born in unconsciousness, because the birth, the coming birth, will be the same, the same quality. If in this life you die unconsciously, in the next life you will be born unconscious in a womb. If you can die consciously then you can be born consciously. And if you can die with total awareness, the whole being alert, not a single part unconscious, then you will not be born at all. Then there is no need, then you can simply discard this body and become bodiless.
Before entering samadhi – that is, conscious, alert, aware of death…. And only the person who has attained the seventh stage can enter it. He will be born no more, he will be out of the wheel of existence.
…The seeker should contemplate on aum most strenuously, and subsequently he should surrender everything, from gross to subtle to the conscious self. Taking the conscious self as his own self, he should consolidate this feeling: I am eternal, pure, enlightened, free, existential, incomparable, the most blissful Vasudeva and Pranava himself – I am the Brahman.
Before entering death the seeker should try this.
Many things. First, before you enter death ordinarily you cling to the body, you don’t want to give it up. That is the ordinary reaction of the mind, to cling. Death is snatching everything and you cling, you start a fight with death. In this fight you will be defeated. This sutra says: Give up consciously. From the gross to the subtle to the self, give up everything. Just say to death, “Take it. This is not me. Take this body, take this mind, take this self, this ego. I am not this.”
Don’t cling, let your life be a gift to death. Don’t create any fight and resistance. If you create fight you will become unconscious and you will miss an opportunity again. Give up. Give death whatsoever you have – from the gross to the subtle to the very self, go on giving. Don’t create any resistance. This is the foundational thing. Don’t create resistance, don’t fight with death. What will happen? If you can give up knowingly, consciously, blissfully, you will not fall unconscious, there is no need. Your clinging creates the problem.
It happened just at the beginning of this century, the king of Benares was to undergo an appendix operation. He was a very religious man, a very saintly man, and he said, “I have never taken anything to make me unconscious and I would not like to do that. So please, if you can operate, then operate on me when I am fully conscious. I will not take any anesthetic, chloroform, or any type of thing which can make me unconscious.”
The doctors were worried, and the case was serious. The appendix had to be removed soon, otherwise the man would die. And he was adamant. He said, “I can die, that is not much of a problem – but I don’t want to be unconscious.” He must have been thinking of this sutra, he must have known about this secret, that one should never die unconsciously. Death is not the problem, unconsciousness is the problem.
So he said, “It is okay. If you cannot operate then let me be as I am. I will die but I will die consciously. You give me chloroform, and if I die in the operation then who will be responsible? Can you take the responsibility? Can you give me a guarantee that I will not die through this operation?”
Nobody could give such a guarantee. The case was serious and there was a possibility that he might die in the operation. So the doctors agreed, because there was no other alternative. They said, “Let us try, there is no risk. The man is going to die within hours, so take the risk. Let us try, let him remain conscious.”
So no anesthetic was given. That was the first operation of this type in the whole history. And it was miraculous, because the king remained conscious. It was a long operation, almost two hours, and the whole stomach was opened and the appendix removed. The surgeons could not believe that the man was conscious, that he remained conscious. They asked him later on how it happened.
He said, “There is no secret about it. I was not resisting. I said, ‘Okay death, take everything – this appendix, this body, this whatsoever I have been calling me – take everything. I am ready. There is no resistance.’”
If there is no resistance there is no problem. Resistance creates conflict, conflict creates problem. So at the moment of death the seeker should contemplate on aum. He should feel himself as the aum, the universe, the very life, the very existence, the very awareness. And subsequently he should surrender everything – from gross to subtle. And this is not only for the seeker, even an enlightened person who has achieved the seventh has to surrender.
It is reported of Buddha that he told his disciples one day just in the morning, “This evening I am going to surrender my body back to nature, so if you have to ask anything you can ask. This is the last day.”
They were very worried, depressed, sad; they started weeping and crying. And Buddha said, “Don’t waste time. If you have to ask anything this is the last day. In the evening when the sun is setting I will surrender my body. I have used so many bodies and I have never thanked nature before. This is the last, now I will never move in a body again. This is the last house I have been living in, this is my last residence, so I have to thank nature and give the body back. It served many purposes, it led me really to this enlightenment. It was a means, and was a good means. It helped me in every way. So I have to thank nature and surrender the whole abode back, because it is a gift from nature and I must surrender it consciously. So there is no time….”
But nobody asked any question, they were not in the mood to ask. They were sad and they said, “You have said everything and we have not followed, so just give us your blessing that we may follow whatsoever you have said.”
Then by the evening Buddha retired. He went behind a tree to surrender. And it is said that a man named Subhadra who lived in a nearby town came running – there are many Subhadras always. He came running in the evening when Buddha had retired and he said, “I have some questions to ask.”
Buddha’s disciples said, “It is too late now, we cannot disturb him now. This is not good. You could have come before. Buddha passed through your village many times, at least ten times in his life, and we have never seen you come to him.”
The man said, “Every time Buddha was passing through my village there was something or other which prevented me. Sometimes my wife was ill, sometimes there was too much of a crowd in my shop, too many customers; sometimes I was ill, sometimes there was some other urgent thing to be done, sometimes there was some marriage going on – so I went on postponing. But now I have heard that he is going to die. There is no time to postpone now, and I must ask him. So allow me.”
They prevented him. They said, “It is impossible.”
Buddha came back from his retirement and he said, “Let it not be written in history that while I was still alive somebody came and knocked at my door and went away empty-handed. Let him ask.”
Then he again retired. First he surrendered his body. It is reported that when he surrendered his body there was a radiance around the body as if the body had become energy and was moving into the cosmos – a conscious surrender. Then he surrendered his mind. It is said a fragrance spread, went on spreading. A buddha’s mind is a fragrance, the condensed fragrance of such a great and pure and innocent life, it was felt. Then he surrendered his self. These three things surrendered, he died. This was mahaparinirvana, mahasamadhi. But it was a conscious surrender, death was given back everything that nature had given. This man will never be back again. Only such a conscious surrender can become samadhi, the ultimate samadhi.
Even if you have not attained the seventh stage, wherever you are, at any stage, when death approaches you try to be conscious, surrendering. Don’t fight with death. If you fight with death, death will conquer. If you don’t fight with death there is no possibility of conquering.
This is the way with death, to be in a let-go. And this has been done even by buddhas who have attained the seventh stage. So try it. For you it will be an effort, but worth doing. Even if you fail it is good to do, because doing it many times you will succeed. And once you succeed with death fear disappears, surrender becomes easy.
This is the difficulty with surrender. Many people come to me – one girl was here just the other day and she said, “I feel very sad because everybody else seems to be surrendered to you, trusting, in deep faith. I cannot surrender. Meditation is good, I feel good, but I cannot surrender.”
What is the problem in surrendering? Surrender is a death, you are afraid of dying. Whenever you think of surrender you feel, “Then I am no more, then I dissolve,” and you want to persist.
If you can surrender in death you can surrender in love, you can surrender in trust, you can surrender in faith. And the reverse is also true, vice-versa is also true; if you can surrender in love, surrender in faith, you will be able to surrender in death. Surrender is the same, the same phenomenon – and surrender is the key.
Learn to surrender in death, and if you cannot surrender in death you cannot surrender in life also. Those who are afraid of death are always afraid of life. They miss everything.
And subsequently he should surrender everything, from gross to subtle to the conscious self. Taking the conscious self as his own self, he should consolidate this feeling: I am eternal….
While dying, or while in deep meditation, which is a sort of death, or while making love, which is a sort of death – wherever you feel a surrender, think:
I am the eternal, the pure, enlightened, free, existential, incomparable, the most blissful Vasudeva and Pranava himself – God himself.
It will be a thought for you, because you have not attained the seventh stage. But if you attain the seventh these will be spontaneous feelings, not thoughts. Then you will not do them, they will happen to you. This is the difference: for a seeker who is yet below the fourth stage, this will be an effort; for a seeker who has gone beyond the third, this will be a spontaneous feeling. He will feel this way – that he is God, he is Brahma himself, Vasudeva.
Since the whole visible world, comprising a beginning, a middle, and an end, is sorrow-stricken, he must renounce everything and merge into the supreme. He should feel that he is blissful, taintless, without ignorance, without appearance, inexpressible in words, and that he is Brahman, the essence of knowledge.This is the Upanishadic mystery.

Thus ends the Akshi Upanishad.
What is the Upanishadic mystery? The art of dying is the Upanishadic mystery. And one who knows how to die knows how to live. One who knows how to surrender conquers the whole.

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