~ Khalil Gibran
Speaker: “When you reach the Heart of Life you will find yourself not higher than the felon, and not lower than the Prophet”. At the Heart of Life there are not even these two. There is neither the Prophet nor the felon. The Prophet stands for what we call the Guru in Indian traditions. The Felon would stand for what we call as Maya or Avidya in the eastern tradition. Both the Prophet and the felon or the Satan hold any meaning or significance only in the world of mind; that is where separation exists, that is where it makes any sense to talk of two or more, that is where there are at least two directions.
The two directions are: The one that takes the ego-center towards the Heart and the opposite one which takes the ego-center, the feeling of ‘I am’ further away from the Heart. Who is the Prophet? The One, the force, that takes your ego-center, your sense of self, your feeling of ‘I am’, towards the Heart. The same Heart that Khalil Gibran is calling as the Heart of Life, the same Heart that Ramana Maharishi calls as ‘Hridayam‘. No difference at all.
Now when you are located away from the Heart, when your sense of ‘I am’ is a mental sense, when that sense is located in the mind then there is a distinction that is created and that distinction is a significant distinction. That distinction is between the Prophet and the felon, Guru and Maya, God and the ungodly. Then it is necessary for the mind to choose wisely in surrender because there is a choice that exists, because there is a possibility for the mind to go this way or that way, because there is a definitive chance that the mind may fall instead of rise, because the mind anyway in its own world is choosing all the time.
So there is a distinction. Choice means that there are two distinct possibilities, so there is a distinction, but this distinction keeps diminishing and ultimately, totally vanishes when the mind immerses into the Heart. Now there is no need to choose, this is the stage of ‘Nirvikalpata’ or choicelessness. Now whatever is happening, is just happening. Now you need not bow down to the Guru neither do you need to be cautious of Maya because there is neither the Guru nor Maya. The Prophet’s work is done. You are home, and when you are home then there is only the Truth, there is no prophet, for the Prophet is just the messenger of Truth.
You are home, what do you find there? Well nothing and everything. Where has the Prophet gone? Has he left you, deserted you? Was he a mirage? No, what you were seeing earlier was a prophet in form, in body and name. Now that you are at the source, now that you are at the Heart, now that you are unlimited, what you will find is a prophet that too is unlimited. You will no more see a prophet in name, shape, form, that prophet, yes, would have gone but would have gone only as a dualistic figure. In fact now he would be more present than ever.
Earlier he was present only sometimes because you had thought of him as a form, so there was a way of escaping away from him. You could not come in front of him and you could have thought that you have escaped; you could have hidden things from him and you could have thought that you have managed to hide. But now there is no distinction between anything, now you and the Prophet are one, now there is no point in going to him. You are now so close together you cannot go to him.
He is now so very present that you cannot avoid or escape from him, and you need not ask him anything now because his will is now your will. What is the point in asking him, consulting him, seeking guidance from him? Because he has done his work.
He now sits right in your Heart. He is now your life-breath and your Heartbeat. Your thoughts will be his thoughts.
There is no hope left for you anymore, there is nothing within you now that would rebel against the Guru. So you do not need a Guru. You are the Guru now. You are the Guru not in the sense of having become a parallel authority. You are the Guru in the sense that the Guru now sits in your Heart and there is nothing in you now that is separate from him. There is nothing in you now that wants to deviate away from him. Even before he speaks, now you know what he is going to say. Even before he thinks, you know what his thoughts are, even before he can express a wish, you will fulfill the wish, even before he casts a glance at you, you know what he means to say.
You are the Guru, you have become one with him. The Prophet’s mission has succeeded but just as at the Heart you become one with the Prophet you also become one with the dual companion of the Prophet. These two are elements of duality. They exist only for the mind. the Guru who wants to take you towards the center, Maya that wants to keep you away.
At the center not only are you one with the Guru you are also one with Maya and there is no problem there. Yes, traditionally it has often been said that at the Heart you become one with the Prophet, with the Guru, but you also need to be reminded that at the Heart you also become one with Maya. Now Maya is not distinct from you, and remember it is not Maya that is evil, it is distinction that is evil, it is separation and distance that is evil and these always have been the two ways that must be used and parallelly and simultaneously used.
Neither can the Guru help you if there is separation of any kind from the Guru nor can Maya harm you if there is no separation from Maya. Hence teachers have always advised that you must go very close to both.
You must go very close to the Guru and at the same time you must go very-very close to Maya. That is why I keep advising you to do these two together: First you must go very close to the world and observe it carefully. The world is able to cheat you and deceive you only because you don’t observe it closely. You are so afraid of the world, your morality prevents you from going close to the world. You just want to maintain a particular image of the world without trying to know what the world factually and really is. You do not go close to it. You have divided the world into good and bad. What you think as of as good, you do not go close to it because it is anyway good and what you have labelled as bad you do not go close to it because it is bad and you are not supposed to go close to it.
“Oh My God! I will be corrupted if I do these things. How can I do these things?” And that is the reason the world keeps on making a fool of you, because you have no guts to go close to Maya; and to go close to Maya, you first of all have to have the courage which comes only from being close to the Guru. If you are afraid of getting intimate with Maya it only shows that you have no relationship with the Guru either. Had you had any relationship with the Guru how could you have been so afraid of Maya? In fact if the Guru is the real Guru he will push you closer to Maya. He will say, “Go nothing can harm you; the world is such an impotent thing! You will not be harmed go.”
The converse is also true. Those who have been pushed into intimacy with Maya out of shear coincidence are the ones who rush to the Guru in their suffering. You go close to the Guru, the Guru will push you towards Maya. He will say, “Go and observe the world, observation is very-very important and you cannot observe without closeness, so go to Maya observe.” At the same time if you have first gone close to Maya, then you will suffer so much that you will have to rush to the Guru. These two go together always. So if you come across a man who says that I am very devoted to the Guru but I know nothing of Maya, then rest assure that that man is not close to the Guru either.
To be close to the Guru is to be close to the center. The one who is close to the center is prepared and willing to take on all kinds of troubles and tempests in the world. He is more than willing to embrace Maya, when there is peace at the center then you are more than willing to embrace all kinds of worldly disturbances, and if you are reluctant to embrace disturbances, it only shows that there is no peace in your Heart, that you are not close to the Heart at all. That is why you are so very reluctant to come close to the world, thinking that the world will harm you.
The world harms only those who are faithless and who do not have the blessings of the Heart. That is why the world keeps on harming you. At the Heart you are not only close to the Guru, you are also close to the Satan. The Satan has disappeared, the distinction has disappeared.
You have come to a point where now you know that “I was unnecessarily blaming something, somebody as the evil. There is no evil, all that there is, is ‘I am’. I am all that there is and there is no evil. Evil lay only in my misplaced morality that made me call myself as evil. I am all that there is and I was calling myself as evil. I had created an imaginary distinction between me and myself and one part of myself I had labeled as evil.”
After all what is that you call Satan. Satan is not anything other than your ignorance. Often we say that “Thoughts are The Satan.” Then we try to go deeper and we say, “No-no our ‘Vritti’ (tendencies) are the Satan. Then somebody goes even deeper and says, “No-no the fundamental feeling of ‘Aham-bhaav’, ‘I am’, that is the Satan. Neither of these are the Satan, your lack of understanding is the Satan.
When you understand thoughts, thoughts are beautiful. When you know what ‘Vritti’, the tendencies are, they become harmless. When you come close to your sense of ‘I am’ and you know it for what it is then it becomes divine. The Satan is neither thoughts nor tendencies nor ego, it is your ignorance. It is your fear in watching facts in their face, it is your fear to look at the world and yourself right in the eye, that is The Satan. When you are seated in the Heart then you realize that there is nothing evil about existence. In fact it is an even bigger revolution to realize that you are The Satan and there is nothing evil about the Satan.
The other day I had said, “Kranti hai apna saakshatkaar, mahaa kranti hai apna sahaj sweekar” (“Self-awareness is revolution, but the ultimate revolution is simply accepting yourself”)
That is the more difficult thing: To accept yourself as you are. To not to label some part of yourself as evil. Just knowing often proves insufficient because even though you are knowing, yet labeling is going on. Seated in the Heart, you are full of acceptance towards everything. That is what The Buddha called as ‘Tathata’ (This is it). After all what has man been labeling as evil all these centuries?
Given what I am, given this physical form, given the evolutionary process in time, given the social surroundings, this was bound to happen. How can I castigate myself, how can I look down upon myself? And then one develops a very–very healthy relationship with oneself. The further away you are from the Heart, the more is your distance from yourself. The closer you go to the Heart, the closer you are to yourself. The Heart is a point of perfect unity. Now you are not punishing yourself, now you are not angry with yourself, now you do not want to transform or reform yourself, now you are not in search of any Guru, you are home.
If I do not want to change myself, what do I need a Guru for? And if I am full of loving acceptance toward myself then there is no question of demanding to change myself. Do you know how difficult it is to love yourself? People keep on talking of loving the neighbor, loving the entire world, loving this and that, but fundamentally we are all full of disgust towards ourselves, we simply don’t like ourselves. There is hardly anybody who likes himself and the proof of that is everybody is always trying to become something else. Ambition, the need to rise, the need to transform, the need to become better.
All of these come from a fundamental dislike towards the self. These two are together: Becoming one with the Guru is becoming one with yourself. Closeness to the Guru is closeness with Maya. Are you getting it? You cannot come close to the truth without having come close to the expression of the truth. Krishna says so beautifully ‘Mum Maya’, ‘It is my Maya’. How can you be close to Krishna and yet be full of hatred toward his Maya? How? How can you love a man and hate his picture or his image or his shadow ?
The world is the shadow of Truth. How can you love God and hate the world? If the Guru is the messenger of truth, Maya too is an offspring of truth. Guru is just a messenger remember, Maya is the very daughter, don’t hate her (laughingly), both are ‘Anaadi’ (God). But you will continue to hate her till the time you do not get the courage through the proximity of the Guru. Maya makes you shiver in your pants, doesn’t it? The source of fearlessness is the Heart and the Guru is the representative of the Heart. Without the Guru how will you get the fearlessness to jump into Maya? And remember to jump into Maya is not the same as being enslaved by Maya.
To jump into Maya means to go, stand face to face with Maya, talk to her, get right in her house and then come out unscathed. “I went as close to you as possible, I was not afraid of you, in fact I was enjoying your company. I was very very close to you, I live life fully.”
But also remember that while the picture of a man becomes lovable if you have love for the man but loving the picture is not same as loving the man. So kindly do not take my words as a license for getting attached to Maya.
If you know me you will probably be reminded of something by my picture. Now the picture is useful because first you know me, but just don’t get attached to my picture without knowing me. Let not my picture become a substitute of what I am, let not Maya become a substitute for the truth. Let Maya become a reminder of the truth, let my picture become a reminder who I am. Similarly, let Maya remind you of the truth, and won’t that be great.
We started off by saying that Maya takes you away from the truth. The art of living lies in making Maya itself a reminder of the truth. That’s what Kabir means when he says:
Maaya to thagni bhayi, thagat firat sab desh
Jaa thag ne thagni thagi, taa thag ko aadesh
(Maya is a great cheat, she has fooled the whole world.
He who makes a fool of Maya, to him I offer salute)
“Maya thought that she would come and take me away from the Truth, I made Maya itself the reminder of Truth. Whenever Maya would come I would remember the Truth. So I want more of Maya. Come, come, come! The moment you will come will be an auspicious moment because whenever you will come, I will be reminded of the Truth. Now I am not afraid of Maya, because I am so close to the Truth that Maya has become beautiful. Maya has become the messenger of the Truth, “Mum Maya’ and Maya is all around.”
As long as you are in the human form there is nothing but Maya. You will have to learn to live with Maya, and you cannot live with Maya unless you are living with the Truth and the Truth will not come to you in any form other than a human form as long as you are identified with your human form.
To learn to enjoy Maya, learn to enjoy the company of the Guru. But your problem is you are so deeply afraid of both Maya and the Guru that, when Maya comes in front of you, you shiver; when Guru comes in front of you then again you shiver. And you shiver all the more when Guru says, “Come, I will take you to Maya”. Then you feel like just running away. Then you say, “Is this Guru or Maya?” Coincidentally you are totally right. The Guru is not very different from Maya. What is the Guru’s task? To make you comfortable with Maya.
The only point where you can be comfortable with Maya is the Heart. So, the Guru will take you to the Heart; that is the only point where you will start relishing Maya. Now you can live, breathe freely, carelessly. Now you are not running for your life all the time. “Oh my God! Maya is chasing me, she will spoil me, she will corrupt me.” Who can corrupt whom? You are incorruptible, nothing can stain you. Kindly get rid of the traditional image of the teacher where the teacher’s job is to instil all the so called good values in you. That teacher is surely not a Guru.
The Teacher does not give you good values. If he is a Guru, the Teacher simply displays to you the foolishness of valuing anything as per the mind. The Teacher’s job is not to instil a sense of morality in you, the Teacher’s job is to help you rise above morality. Those are just agents of society that teach you what is right and what is wrong as per the society. The teacher liberates you from both your physicality and your mentality; he liberates you from both the body and the mind. He will not teach you all the good things; he will tell you there is no difference between the good things and the bad things. After all, both of these are products of your mind and your mind is totally conditioned.
But when you go even to a Guru your expectation is that you will be taught the so-called good things and when the Teacher does not match your image you are disappointed. You will say, “But he is talking of the bad things as well. Why is he is pushing me towards Maya?” Because that’s what his real job is. He is not a shopkeeper who will supply the goods that you desire. He is a Guru. You will not go to him, ask for the menu and order from it. He will tell you what the real meal is, and you don’t have a taste for the real thing. He will introduce you to the real thing.
He will not bring you stuffs as per your demand, and if the right thing for you is wine and whisky then he will make you go towards it. And if you are not going towards it then it only shows that well you are still shivering a little too much, quite feverish, deeply conditioned and not even willing to come out of the sick conditioning of the past. Getting it? Get rid of your images. And you have images of everything, you even have an image of God. What I can assure you is, you will never know anything till you have an image of it.
Listener 1: Sir you talked about choice. Choice of surrender. Where does this choice to surrender come from?
Speaker: This choice is Maya, the right choice is Grace. The feeling that you have a choice is Maya but to make the right choice is Grace. Whenever you will have a feeling that you have a choice, it only means that you have a choice between coming close and going away. By yourself you will never decide to come close. Choosing to come close is Grace. Having the choice to go away is Maya.
Listener 2: Sir, till the mind is active and thoughts are running, the images are automatically formed. Problem arises when those images start interfering with the facts, when the situation comes and the only faculty to tackle those images is thought itself. So, what is the way out?
Speaker: You are powerless about imagining. You have a mind whose only task is to imagine, and when imagination is the only faculty available to the mind it applies that faculty on everything within its domain. As they say that, “When a hammer is all you have, then you view everything as a nail.” So mind can only imagine, it cannot go beyond that. So, whatever falls into the domain of the mind, the mind just tries to imagine about it. Don’t think that you can stop this. It will happen. It may happen in a more subtle way, but still it will continue to happen. Yet you can at least see that this is just imagination. Is it too much to ask?
Continue imagining, and at the same time don’t forget to realize that, “I am just imagining”. About imagination, as I said, you are powerless. The mind will imagine because that is all it can do. But even at the moment when it is imagining, can’t you tell yourself, “Oh, this is just imagination.” Don’t you have a choice there? And when you are day-dreaming, when you are lost in pleasant imagination, don’t you see that even in those moments you have the choice to tell yourself that this is just an imagination. But you don’t exercise those choice. If you tell yourself that this is just an imagination then the pleasure that the imagination is giving you will get spoiled.
So, you continue the imagination deliberately, don’t you do that? Don’t you have a choice to not to let the deception continue? The imagination might be there but can’t there be a simultaneous realization, acceptance, admittance that it is just an imagination? Don’t you have the choice there? That is the choice that I am talking about, that is the choice that is always there.
Listener 3: To know imagination as imagination and morality as just morality, the awareness that is needed, where does that come from? Can something be done about it, to get it?
Speaker: Something can be done about it. Yes surely. When you yourself are the barrier, what will you do about it? What will you do about it?
Listener 3: In what sense am I the barrier?
Speaker: In the exact sense that you are asking the question right now, in your insistence that you do not know. What is this insistence that, “I do not know!” This is a stubborn expression of the knowledge that, “I do not know”. Your knowledge is the barrier. Even this, that “I do not know” is a form of thought, an accumulation of knowledge. Whether you say “I know” or whether you say “I do not know”, both are just estimates of who you are, right? ‘I’, your sense of self, it is in a meaningless, senseless, blankness that all is known, but that blankness is actually very absolutely senseless, and you are used to valuing only that which makes some sense.
Now blankness makes no sense to you, it looks idiotic. So, you do not value it. You do not value it and then you wonder and exclaim and demand that, “How can I know the Truth? What can I do to be bestowed with grace?” You just need to go blank, like a fool, like an idiot, like an absolute duffer, like the sky. Just go blank. You will be very terrified, even your bones will be shivering, because you exist in your thoughts. To go blank is to come to non-existence, it is like death. So, you will be very afraid. Even at this moment you see, there are two kinds of people here. One, who are sitting blankly, idiotically and then there are others who are thinking and analysing.
It is evident and written upon your faces that there are two kinds of peoples here. The idiots are the ones who are getting everything, and the smart ones who are analysing and imaging and registering and memorizing, are the ones who never get anything, never at all. An idiotic blankness is the key to wisdom, that is the wisdom. It promises you nothing because it is just blank. How can there be a promise in it? It is totally blank. There is no promise there.
We know many Mahavakyas (“The great sayings” of the Upanishads). We know that Aham brahmasmi (“I am Brahman”) is a Mahavakya, Prajñānam brahma is a Mahavakya; “I am Aatman” ,”I am Brahman” is a mahavakya. We also know that Koham (“Who am I?”) is a valuable utterance, so is Soham (“I am that”), so is Naaham (“I am not”).
As valuable as all of these are, neither of these is the utterance “I don’t know“, which is not a thought; I am not referring to a thought, I am referring to a state of mind in which it is free of knowledge. “I don’t know. I am free of knowledge, I don’t know”. I am even prepared to say that this statement is the mother statement from where all the Mahavakya’s originate. Unless you have that blankness of mind , “I don’t know“, you will not understand anything. When you have that blankness, emptiness there, then from that emptiness there is a spontaneous and beautiful eruption of a thousand Mahavakyas.
From that Silence, a million beautiful words explode. That Silence is of the greatest importance. But the moment I say silence, you again have an image of silence. I say, “Silence is of importance” and what do you do? You purse your lips, you say, “I will not speak anything and that is silence.”
You are never silent. Silence has not much to do with whether or not you are talking. What does silence have to do with the tongue? To be silent is to be a total fool, and you have no guts to be a fool. To be silent is to forget your respectability, and you have no guts to forget your respectability. To be silent is to forget your past and your conditioning, and you have no faith to forget them.
You have an image of silence, you conform to that image and you think that, “All right, I have ticked this box, now I am silent. I did what Sir ask me to do.” Silence is not your doing. Silence is to leave all security. Silence is to live without any sense of what will happen next. Silence is to leave yourself to the mercy of existence. And when you do that you do come to know that existence is actually compassionate and knows more about you than you do, takes better care of you than you ever could.
God loves only fools and let me extend that to say that God is the biggest fool, because whatever you define as smartness, cleverness, God is free of all that. Whatever you have defined as smartness, cleverness, God is totally free of all that. He loves only fools. “Not possible”, you say. Think of all your images of God. Who is God in your images? A wise old man, is He not? Is He not? People say they dreamt of God and who is God in your dream?
Who is God in your dream? A wise old man, is He not? Even in your dreams, you cannot imagine God as an idiot.
You have superimposed your notions of worldliness, cleverness, calculative-ness even upon God. Though all imaginations are rubbish but if you must imagine then do think of God as an innocent child, as a wandering mendicant, and if you must assign an age to God, all ages are meaningless, but if you must assign an image to God, do think of God as young, very young, a young fool, and there is nothing which pleases God as much as a young fool. That is why Maya, through your society makes all the attempt to prevent young people from becoming fools.
I am repeating God loves nothing more than a young fool. So it is ensured through various ways that young people just don’t turn spiritual, they keep their backs towards God. A thousand institutions have been raised, and of course there is the role that the body plays. But beyond the role of the body, the society has raised a thousand institutions to prevent young fools from coming into existence. And there is no worst sight than to see a calculative young man. Just as there is no sight more divine then a young fool, similarly there is no sight worse than seeing a worldly young man.
There is a greater chance of finding God in a mental asylum than finding him in a temple. He loves fools. You do not like it when somebody calls you a fool, right? You are insulted. In fact you are so afraid that you are doing everything just so that people don’t call you a fool. That is your deepest insecurity. “Let me be called intelligent by the society.”
One moment of innocence, one moment of innocence and you will understand everything, but not even one moment have you made available to yourself. Your face always has something written on it, it is never blank. And what is written on your face? Always the same story of fear, possessiveness, insecurity, calculation, reputation, respect, this and that. Always that same old boring story, again and again, is written on your forehead. Don’t you get bored of yourself? Don’t you ever get tired of yourself? Such a boring story you are, and you have read that same boring story a thousand times. First of all it is boring, and secondly you have read it a thousand times.
Are you not tired of yourself?
Listener: Sir, this environment is so peaceful but from the next working day we will be part of the same old thing. Is there a kind of detachment we should have from it?
Speaker: You cannot force yourself to have this detachment. There is no question of using a should that, “We should have this detachment.” Being what you are detachment will just remain a word. Remember that while the choice to not to turn up into the same routine the next day, is there, always there, yet for you to exercise the right choice you require not yourself but Grace. The more you are able to remove yourself, the more right will your choices be. The more there is the presence of you in your choices, the more is the guarantee that your choices will be the wrong choice.
You decide to return to the same environment every morning. The fool will not decide. Kids often refuse to go to school. They would hide under the chair. I have not seen grown ups do that. I want to see young idiots who go and hide in the water tank because they don’t want to go to the office, and everybody, their colleagues and even may be the police is searching for them and the idiot is hiding in the water tank I will not go to the office. He just does not want to go, why? He does not like it. You too don’t like but you still go. That is the difference between you and the fool.
The fool lives spontaneously. That is what is called as Sahaj (“Simple”). He knows what is not right and what is not right need not be done; that is his logic. The only logic that he knows is that “If it is not right I will not do it.” But in your life there is cleverness. What do you say, “Well, I know it is not right but… I have XYZ reasons.” Or, you say, “I know this is right but I will not do it because… I have XYZ reasons.” The fool has no reasons. Have you ever seen a child reasoning something? If he wants something he wants something. He will not say, “I want it but I will not take it because…” If he wants it, he extends his hand and takes it; such is the simplicity of the existence, such is the man that God loves.
God says, “Want me, take me. I am there for the taking.” But you have logic, you say “Yes I want God but… let me first ask my wife.” The idiot is not like this. The child likes the snake, he reaches out for the snake. The child doesn’t like your face and you might be anybody, he doesn’t like your face, what does he do? He can slap you, he can even spit on you. You don’t like the face of your boss but you will not spit on his face. You will say, “You know I have reasons, he is my professor, he may deduct my marks; he is my boss, he may deduct my salary.” You have reasons, the idiot has no reasons. God loves idiots, they have no reasons.
~ Excerpts from a Shabd-Yog session. Edited for clarity.
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 1: Who is a Guru?
Article 3: Pay the price of living by the Heart