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The ways of knowledge

The ways of knowledge

We can reach the goal of perfection in three different ways –  by the knowledge of reality (ज्ञान) , by love of supreme (भक्ति)  or by subjection to the will of divine (कर्म ).  These are distinguished on account of distribution of emphasis on the theoretical, emotional and practical aspects. Men are of different types – reflective, emotional or Doers, but they are not exclusively so.  One type is sometimes more dominant than the other. At the end, love, knowledge and Action mingle together. God himself is सत (Truth), चित (Reality) and आनंद Bliss. To those seeking knowledge, he is the eternal light, clear and radiant as the sun at Noon in which there is no darkness, to those struggling for virtue, he is eternal righteousness, steadfast and impartial and to those emotionally inclined, he  is the eternal love and beauty. Even as the God combines in himself these features, man aims at the integral life of spirit. Cognition, will and feeling, though logically distinguishable, cannot be separated in real life. They are different aspects of the same soul.

 

The law of karma

The law of karma

The law of karma does not limits Gods omnipotence. The Hindu thinkers even during the time of composition of Rig-Veda knew about the reasonableness and law abidingness of nature. The reign of law is the mind and will of God and therefore cannot be regarded as limitation of his power.

Neti Neti – Neither this, nor that!

Neti Neti – Neither this, nor that!

“Who am I?” is not really a question because it has no answer to it; it is unanswerable. It is a device, not a question. It is used as a mantra. When you constantly inquire inside: “Who am I? Who am I?” you are not waiting for an answer. Your mind will supply many answers; all those answers have to be rejected. Your mind will say: “You are the essence of life. You are the eternal soul. You are divine,” and so on and so forth. All those answers have to be rejected:neti neti — one has to go on saying: “Neither this nor that.”

When you have denied all the possible answers that the mind can supply and devise, when the question remains absolutely unanswerable, a miracle happens: suddenly the question also disappears. When all the answers have been rejected, the question has no props, no supports inside to stand on any more. It simply flops, it collapses, it disappears.

When the question also has disappeared, then you know. But that knowing is not an answer: it is an existential experience. Nothing can be said about it, or whatever will be said will be wrong. To say anything about it is to falsify it. It is the ultimate mystery, inexpressible, indefinable. No word is adequate enough to describe it. Even the phrase “essence of life” is not adequate; even “God” is not adequate. Nothing is adequate to express it; its very nature is inexpressible.

But you know. You know exactly the way the seed knows how to grow — not like the professor who knows about chemistry or physics or geography or history, but like the bud which knows how to open in the early morning sun. Not like the priest who knows about God; about and about he goes, around and around he goes.

But the moment you directly penetrate into existence, you disappear as a separate entity. You are no more. When the knower is no more then the knowing is. And the knowing is not about something — you are that knowing itself.

So we cannot say, what “I” means in the question “Who am I?” It means nothing! It is just a device to lead you into the unknown, to lead you into the uncharted, to lead you into that which is not available to the mind. It is a sword to cut the very roots of the mind, so only the silence of no-mind is left. In that silence there is no question, no answer, no knower, no known, but only knowing, only experiencing.

That’s why the mystics appear to be in such difficulty to express it. Many of them have remained silent out of the awareness that whatsoever you say goes wrong; the moment you say it, it goes wrong. Those who have spoken, they have spoken with the condition: “Don’t cling to our words.

Lao Tzu says: “Tao, once described, is no more the real Tao.” The moment you say something about it you have already falsified it, you have betrayed it. It is such an intimate knowing, incommunicable.

“Who am I?” functions like a sword to cut all the answers that the mind can manage. Zen people will say it is a koan, just like other koans. There are many koans, famous koans. One is: “Find out your original face.” And the disciple asks the master: “What is the original face?” And the Master says: “The face that you had before your parents were born.”

And you start meditating on that: “What is your original face?” Naturally, you have to deny all your faces. Many faces will start surfacing: childhood faces, when you were young, when you became middle-aged, when you became old, when you were healthy, when you were ill…. All kinds of faces will stand in a queue. They will pass before your eyes claiming: “I am the original face.” And you have to go on rejecting.

When all the faces have been rejected and emptiness is left, you have found the original face.

Emptiness is the original face. Zero is the ultimate experience. Nothingness — or more accurately no-thingness — is your original face.

Or another famous koan is: “The sound of one hand clapping.” The Master says to the disciple: “Go and listen to the sound of one hand clapping.” Now this is patent absurdity: one hand cannot clap and without clapping there can be no sound. The Master knows it, the disciple knows it. But when the Master says: “Go and meditate on it,” the disciple has to follow.

He starts making efforts to listen to the sound of one hand clapping. Many sounds come to his mind: the birds singing, the sound of running water…. He rushes immediately to the Master; he says: “I have heard it! The sound of running water — isn’t that the sound of one hand clapping?”

And the Master hits him hard on the head and he says: “You fool! Go back, meditate more!”

And he goes on meditating, and the mind goes on providing new answers: “The sound of wind passing through the pine trees — certainly this is the answer.” He is in such a hurry! Everybody is in such a hurry. Impatiently he rushes to the door of the Master, a little bit apprehensive, afraid too, but maybe this is the answer….

And even before he has said a single thing the Master hits him! He is very much puzzled and he says: “This is too much! I have not even uttered a single word, so how can I be wrong? And why are you hitting me?”

The Master says: “It is not a question of whether you have uttered something or not. You have come with an answer — that is enough proof that you must be wrong. When you have really found it you won’t come; there will be no need. I will come to you.”

Sometimes years pass, and then one day it has happened, there is no answer. First the disciple knew that there was no answer to it, but it was only an intellectual knowing. Now he knows from his very core: “There is no answer!” All answers have evaporated.

And the sure sign that all answers have evaporated is only one: when the question also evaporates. Now he is sitting silently doing nothing, not even meditating. He has forgotten the question: “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” It is no more there. It is pure silence.

And there are ways…there are inner paths which exist between a Master and a disciple. And now the Master rushes towards the disciple. He knocks on his door. He hugs the disciple and says: “So it has happened? This is it! No answer, no question: this is it. Ah, this!”

The Tao that can be told is not the absolute Tao

The Tao that can be told is not the absolute Tao

For ninety years Lao Tzu lived – in fact he did nothing except live. He lived totally. Many times his disciples asked him to write, he would not write anything. Then what were the disciples doing with him? They were only being with him. They lived with him, they moved with him, they simply imbibed his being. Being near him they tried to be open to him; being near him they tried not to think about anything; being near him they became more and more silent. In that silence he would reach them.

For ninety years he refused to write anything or to say anything. This was his basic attitude: that truth cannot be taught. The moment you say something about truth, it is no more true: the very saying falsifies it. You cannot teach it. At the most you can indicate it, and that indication should be your very being, your whole life; it cannot be indicated by words. He was against words; he was against language.

Lao Tzu lived in silence. He always avoided talking about the truth that he had attained and he always rejected the idea that he should write it down for the generations to come. At the age of ninety he took leave of his disciples. He said goodbye to them, and he said, ”Now I am moving towards the hills, towards the Himalayas. I am going there to get ready to die. It is good to live with people, it is good to be in the world while you are living, but when one is getting nearer to death it is good to move into total aloneness, so that you move towards the original source in your absolute purity and loneliness, uncontaminated by the world.”

The disciples felt very, very sad, but what could they do? They followed him for a few hundred miles, but by and by Lao Tzu persuaded them to go back. Then alone he was crossing the border, and the guard on the border imprisoned him. The guard was also a disciple. And the guard said: ”Unless you write a book, I am not going to allow you to move beyond the border. This much you must do for humanity. Write a book. That is the debt you have to pay, otherwise I won’t allow you to cross.” So for three days Lao Tzu was imprisoned by his own disciple.

It is beautiful. It is very loving. He was forced – and that’s how this small book, the book of Lao Tzu, TAO TE CHING, was born. He had to write it,  because the disciple wouldn’t allow him to cross. And he was the guard and he had the authority, he could create trouble, so Lao Tzu had to write the book. In three days he finished it. And, the first sentence of the book is:

THE TAO THAT CAN BE TOLD OF IS NOT THE ABSOLUTE TAO.

THIS IS THE FIRST THING he has to say: that whatsoever can be said cannot be true. This is the introduction for the book. It simply makes you alert: now words will be following, don’t become a victim of the words. Remember the wordless. Remember that which cannot be communicated through language, through words. The Tao can be communicated, but it can only be communicated from being to being. It can be communicated when you are with the Master, just with the Master, doing nothing, not even practicing anything. Just being with the Master it can be communicated.

Why can’t the truth be said? What is the difficulty? The truth cannot be said for many reasons. The first and the most basic reason is: truth is always realized in silence. When your inner talk has stopped, then it is realized. And that which is realized in silence, how can you say it through sound? It is an experience. It is not a thought. If it was a thought it could be expressed, there would be no trouble in it.

But truth cannot be expressed because the very reaching to it is through silence, soundlessness, thoughtlessness. You reach to it through no-mind, the mind drops. And how can you use something which as a necessary condition has to drop before truth can be reached? Mind cannot understand, mind cannot realize, how can mind express? Remember it as a rule: if mind can attain, mind can express; if mind cannot attain to it, mind cannot express it. All language is futile. Truth cannot be expressed.

Then what have all the scriptures been doing? Then what is Lao Tzu doing? Then what are the Upanishads doing? They all try to say something which cannot be said in the hope that a desire may arise in you to know about it. Truth cannot be said but in the very effort of saying it a desire can arise in the hearer to know that which cannot be expressed. A thirst can be provoked. The thirst is there, it needs a little provocation.

For example, we can say something about light to a blind man knowing well that it is impossible to communicate anything about light because he has no experience of it. But something can be said about light – theories about light can be created. Even a blind man can become an expert about the theories of light; about the whole science of light he can become an expert – there is no problem in it – but he will not understand what light is. He will  nderstand what light consists of. He will understand the physics of light, the chemistry of light, he will understand the poetry of light, but he will not understand the facticity of light, what light is. The experience of light he will not understand. So all that is said to a blind man about light is only relative: it is something about light, not light itself. Light cannot be communicated.

 

What is that I seek in you ?

What is that I seek in you ?

I cannot understand, what is it that I seek in you ?

Are you the most beautiful women that I have ever come across?
Certainly not! And yet you are so breathtakingly beautiful that it takes my breath away.

Are you great to converse with? Of course.
But you know, I do hate your dark sense of humour and yet I want to be eternally conversing with you.

I don’t know what is it that causes me to seek you out. Is there some gap in my life that I want to close with your help?
Naah….. And yet, I seek you like a person in desert searches for water. This thirst is the thirst for life, for finding self.

Do I lust after you?
If to become one with you is lusting after you, then yes! I do lust after you!

May be I seek the divine in you. May be you are not aware of it yet. May be one day you will.

Outer desire and Inner Quality

Outer desire and Inner Quality

To divide a man into outer desire and inner quality is to violate the integrity of human life. The two orders of reality – the transcendental and empirical are closely related.

How what I want is separate from what I am? I think it is not same as “I am what I do”. What I do and what I want or desire are two different things – they exist at different levels of our existence.

The entire universe of manifestation and multiplicity is not real and seems to be real only for those who live in ignorance (avidya). To be caught in it is the bondage in which we all are implicated. The last condition cannot be removed by our efforts. Works are vain (are they really?) and bind us firmly to the unreal cosmic process – the endless chain of cause and effect. Only the wisdom that the universal reality and individual self are same can bring us redemption. When this wisdom arises, the ego is dissolved, the wandering ceases and we have perfect joy and blessedness.

 

 

And so the journey starts

And so the journey starts

“We touch reality most deeply, where men struggle, fail and triumph”

(pp.1,  The Bhagvadgita, S RadhaKrishnan)

A friend of mine had advised me to read Shrimadbhagvadgita when I was going through tough times. Life has its share of ups and downs and although I too had my share of them, I never thought that I should look to Gita while understanding my own reaction to such ups and downs. But sometimes, you need a trigger (may be a stent or two in your heart) to kick start your journey. And that’s what S Radhakrishnan’s statement says.

I started back in Jan 2016, and I continued until March 2016, wherein the life became comfortable again and Gita got shelved. However, as that common idiom goes, what goes around, comes around.

During my school days, I had discovered that I learn much better when I write. So that is what I am going to do here as well.

 

Beginning of a new journey

Beginning of a new journey

I have been thinking of this since quite some time, but my lethargy and overall attitude basically delayed it. Anyway, even now, when it’s all set up, it isn’t that I am raring to go; quite the contrary in fact. So, I plan to take it easy and write as and when I feel like it.