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Question: When a person has, after such a discussion, understood that this is what his situation is, what should he do after that?
Speaker: Who is to do what? Who are you referring to?
Listener: Probably me, myself.
Speaker: Where is that?
When you say, “What am I to do?” I want to ask that ‘I’ – “Why don’t you know what to do?” But to talk to him, I first need to see his face. Where is he? Where is he? Who are you referring to, so seriously? “What should ‘I’ do?”
Listener: A bundle of the past.
Speaker: Yes. (Smilingly) Bring them here.
What is a machine to do? As if the question means anything. The machine will really do nothing, at most it will do what it is programmed to do. So what is the point in a machine asking, “What am I to do?” Or if this ‘I’ has any volition, really free will, any freedom of any kind, then bring it here. Let’s speak to it.
This ‘I’, really, is so weak, it starts hiding the moment you really look at it. Understand this. This that keeps clamouring within you, all the prattle and the babble, is being done by a very-very weak and fictitious entity. It is so fictitious that people have said that it doesn’t even exist. I’ll only say that it is very wispy, very impotent, because, of course, it does appear, as all the noise in the head and such things. So let us give it the benefit of the doubt and say that it does exist.
But even if it does exist, it is so ashamed of itself that it dares not show its face. Have you ever been able to talk to your desires? The moment you want to have a real conversation with them, they don’t show up. But you ignore them and they dominate you. You don’t attend to them and they take complete possession of you. This that you are asking about, gains shape, form and prominence only in the absence of your attention.
When it starts shouting too much, then instead of turning outwards and seeking a solution, just turn inwards towards it. Settle down and ask it, “So, what do you want?” It will not be there even to answer you. It is such a recluse, you will find it gone in no time. You will be patiently waiting for it and you are asking a genuine and polite question. You are asking, “Yes, tell me exactly, what do you want?” and the more will be the peace with which you will ask it, the more inhibited it will be in turning up to answer. The more peaceful you are in asking, the more silent is your question; in fact, your question should be so silent that it should become a non-question, it should just become silence. This non-question that is asked in silence, is called ‘witnessing’. You are just looking at it and not even bothering to ask and it won’t be anywhere to answer. Wait patiently for it, wait for it to turn up. That is the only way to ensure that it never turns up. And if you stop looking at it, it will have a field day, it will create a ‘self’ and become the owner of that self.
Are you getting it?
Listener: That is why you have said that it has to be a continuous process and the moment you slip, you fall back.
Speaker: You know, we are all eligible to play this game, whichever way we please. There is no restriction at all upon the thought and action of man. So this question, ‘What do I do?’ becomes pretty meaningless. Who is stopping you from doing anything? You may say that there are laws of society and such things, they are there of course, but besides them. And you are so smart that you anyway find ways to go around even those laws. So, you can almost say that man’s freedom in acting is quite vast, if not infinite. Then why does man always ask this question, “What do I do?”
At this moment you can do anything. Of course, you cannot breach the law of gravity, you cannot just start flying. But even besides flying, there are a thousand things that you can do — you can move left, right, you can keep sitting, you can doze off, you can pick up a glass of water and drink, you can attack the man behind the camera, you can decide to pick up this flower-pot and lop it. Quite a few options are there. Then why does man ask, “What to do?” Why? And a lot of these options are not illegal, so why does man ask this – “What to do?”
We ask this because we are suffering. There is something that is dissatisfied and we are attached to it. That is the reason we ask this question. We ask this question because we think that in doing something, this suffering can be alleviated. Otherwise, why would I ask, “What to do?” The only reason can be that I am not happy and I want happiness, I want contentment. That is why we ask this. That is why we ask any question. Then the answer is simple – One has to act in a way that diminishes the suffering.
Now, what is that way? What is that way that diminishes the suffering? You have to apply your mind to really see that the suffering and the sufferer are just one. ‘You’ do not suffer; having embraced suffering, you become suffering. Are you getting it? The only way to get rid of suffering is hence, to get rid of the sufferer. And who is the sufferer? The one who is asking, “What to do?” If he does anything, what will happen to him?
Listener: He will again suffer.
Speaker: He will continue, and if the sufferer continues, what will continue?
Listener: The suffering.
Speaker: The suffering. Hence to do anything with a suffering mind is to ensure that the suffering continues. So what is the only advice I can give to a suffering mind that is asking, “What to do?”
The only advice I can give is, “Is the suffering arising from nowhere?” Is the suffering not related to what you are already doing daily, your little actions, your way of living, your way of communicating, your dressing, eating, daily schedule, relationships, thoughts, habits, is your suffering not related to all this?
Listener: Yes, it is.
Speaker: And these are things that you are already doing. It’s not a question of what to do next. There are a thousand things that you are already doing. Those actions are ‘you’, and ‘you’ are your suffering. So the question, “What to do next?” must be turned upon its head. “What am I already doing?” — that needs to be changed or stopped.
And remember, what you are already doing defines you. It will not be so easy to change anything that you do, because that is your self, that is what you are. It sounds so easy, “From today onwards, get up in the morning and go to the gym”, now going to gym will actually be not so easy because you are this particular body, and this particular body has a particular habit of eating in a certain way, exercising in a certain way. Its patterns, its metabolism is what you are. That is why we are deceived, that is why we make plans that fail. Because we do not understand the momentum that the self carries. We underestimate it. Does it not happen so many times with you and certain other people? They will come and say, I am going to sleep and I’ll wake up after fifteen minutes and then resume my work, and I say, “Alright, go.” And then I smile and say, “It won’t be before five hours that he wakes up.” Does that not happen? It is so easy for the suffering to change itself? It is not at all easy for you to challenge yourself but you underestimate the very momentum that you are carrying. You totally underestimate that and that is the reason why you are defeated by it. You have no idea of your stubbornness, you have no idea of the rock solid defence mechanism that your ego has built up. You think you can challenge it? You think you can beat it? You can keep trying all your life, it won’t happen. It has now entered your
Is it so easy for the suffering to change itself? It is not at all easy for you to challenge yourself; you underestimate the very momentum that you are carrying. You totally underestimate that, and that is the reason why you are defeated by it. You have no idea of your stubbornness, you have no idea of the rock solid defence mechanism that your ego has built up. You think you can challenge it? You think you can beat it? You can keep trying all your life, it won’t happen. It has now entered your blood stream, it is like a blood infection now, and it is reaching every part of your body, every organ.
You know that’s why it happens, when you go to the gym, it changes your body. When you enter meditation, it changes your brain. The very organism changes. Physically you experience changes when you are peaceful. A man who lives peacefully, his brain maps – that denote physical activity in the brain, will not be the same as the man of who lives violently. There is a physical change. Do you understand how difficult is it to change the cells of your brain? That is what we have become.
Now you ask, “What to do?” What to do? The machine is already designed to do something. It will continue doing that and you are already doing that. Even asking, “What to do?” is a part of the program. Anything that you will do will not help you.
Cast a glance of real discrimination, that is what you can ‘do’ and this is not really doing. This looking, this discrimination that I am asking you, is not really doing. It is a particular realisation. You have great belief in the power of doing, but you have no faith in the power of realisation. Doing does not change anything; in fact, doing is the surest way of not changing.
Realisation changes the doing itself. That is the magic of realisation. Realisation in itself is not a doing, but it changes everything that you do.
Stop this obsession with, “What to do next?” First of all, realise what you have been doing all the time. Realise what you are doing day in and day out. What you are doing even this moment, what you will do next. Your very impulses. Your general tendencies. And to the mind that has decided that realisation is important, realisation becomes readily available. Because what you are to observe is happening continuously, you don’t have to go anywhere to get a book to know about it. Your own life is available for observation. That’s your own personal teacher. Look at it. Look at your words, your actions, your deeds, your dreams.
Listener: Sir, you rightly said that there is a deep stubbornness and a belief that ‘doing’ would change things, so the moment that either you or someone else would point out that this is going wrong in your life, even before realising anything, the first question that would arise is, “Please tell me, what do I need to ‘do’ now?” This is something that I can see happening.
Speaker: No, change doesn’t come because you want change. Everybody wants change, and change is the name of this world. Everything is changing, every time, anyway. Right? Nothing is stable at all; everything in this world is changing. And people clamour and beg for change.
Things are anyway changing!
What people really want is freedom from change. Understand this. Freedom from change. How? You buy a shirt and then soon you want another shirt, what do you say, “I want to change this shirt, I didn’t like it.” What has really happened? Examine the process.
What was the shirt for you, when you bought it? The shirt was a promise of fulfilment. At that moment, in the shop, when you were holding the shirt in your hands, it had a certain meaning, it meant something. And what it meant was quite peaceful to you. Right? You felt like paying money for it. What that shirt was about to bring to you or had already brought to you, even if in an illusory way, was quite substantial. What is this shirt? It is a promise of contentment.
And fifteen days later? Things have changed. Do you see what has happened? Things have changed. You look at the same shirt and it looks so ordinary. The promise is defeated; the hope is falsified. It is just an ordinary shirt similar to what your colleague is wearing, nothing special about it. It is not giving me that that which it promised. So things have changed. At this point, there is a clear difference between the wise man and the ignorant man. The wise man says, “I have seen that things will change and hence now I will not place my hopes on
At this point, there is a clear difference between the wise man and the ignorant man. The wise man says, “I have seen that things will change and hence now I will not place my hopes on things. Having seen that this shirt has betrayed me, I will no more place my trust upon the material.” This is what the wise man says. He says, “Everything that this world can give me will change.” And what does the lost man, the ignorant man do? He says, “I want more change, this shirt couldn’t give it to me, hence, I’ll go and buy a new shirt.” Now, this is ridiculous. It’s quite amusing as well, but it’s ridiculous. And if he doesn’t get satisfied with the second shirt also, he will come here and sit on this chair and say, “What do I do?” Now, what to do? You are already doing so much, buying one shirt after the other, without seeing that shirts will not give you that.
Are you getting it?
One exquisite location after the other, one relationship after the other. “We have been to sixty-two countries of the world, and now we are planning to go to the sixty-third.” Why? These sixty-two left you as poor as you always were, and what will happen when all the countries will be exhausted? You will start with a second round? Then a third round? And keep going round and round? If sixty-two countries could not give it to you, what will the sixty-third give? Simple mathematical induction.
All beginnings happen, ostensibly, to come to an end. But the beginning itself is a movement away from the end. You have had enough beginnings, do not begin anymore. Instead, look at what all you have already begun, look at the loose ends, look at what remains un-ended and bring it to closure.
The scriptures will say, “Don’t build more karma for yourself. Instead, just burn away the stock of your existing karma.”
Burn it away. You already have accumulated a lot of stock. Don’t add more to it. Exhaust it. Burn it away. In exhausting it, you’ll have to burn it. Burning it might be a little painful, but sooner than later, the fire will be extinguished, and that is Peace. No load on my head anymore. And every new beginning will be a new departure.
In no way am I implying that the peaceful man does not do anything, instead, that is a different quality of doing altogether. That is not the desperate running around of a craving man. What is done in peace is actually not even a ‘doing’. What we normally call as ‘doing’ is always goal centric; and the goal is Peace. The man who is already in Peace cannot have a ‘goal’ of Peace. Getting it?
So his doing is then goal-less. Pretty purposeless, as far as his self is concerned.
Listener: Sir, even as you are telling me that we need to realise what ‘doing’ has done to us, but if I can see my mind when I am listening to it, I am somewhere telling myself out of habit, that these are the things that I will not ‘do’ now. But it is still a ‘doing’.
Speaker: No, what I am saying is that because you are so disturbed by this thing within — the voices, the desires, the demands — all the stuff that keeps arising from within, why don’t you have a conversation with them? Why don’t you talk to them? Why don’t you turn inwards and try to look at their face? Because they are so important, because they keep knocking on the doors of your consciousness, why not invite them in? “Come on in, let’s have a cup of tea.” Why not? Have you ever had a frank discussion with your desires, or fears?
Listener: I have not.
Speaker: What do you want? What really do you want? And the discussion will not go very far, chances are, it may not even begin.
What survives in darkness will not come to face the scrutiny of light.
Listener: Sir, as it is being said that the man who does purposeless action has a different quality all together, he is at Peace. But if somebody is doing a purposeful action, and he is the ‘doer’, that means that he has stakes in the world?
Speaker: You see, at the level of the body, at the level of the drama, there would always be stakes in the world. As you are sitting on that stool, you have a stake in the stability of the stool. Don’t you have a stake?
Listener: Yes Sir.
Speaker: And if some of the fastening is little loose, you’ll want to do something about it. But most people take the stake to be far deeper, they take the stake to be existential. They don’t say that if this fastening comes off or falls apart, I may just fall down. For them, the fact of falling down is not merely a fact; it becomes a declaration of something about them. It gets related to the question, “Who am I?”, it becomes a declaration of their self-worth, their very existence.
“Who am I?”
“The fellow who fell down.”
So the stakes becomes ridiculously disproportionate.
Listener: Sir, it’s the amount of importance that is given to them?
Speaker: It is not only about the degree of importance, it is the dimension of importance. Now it not only about getting a little hurt because you fell down. “Oh, I got a little bruised on my knees.” It is as if within you, something very essential, has been bruised. Not the knees, not the knuckles, nor the skin, but the self has taken a beating. Getting it?
It becomes you, it becomes you. It is no more about your ‘body’, now it is you. And it’s a huge distinction. The man who can say, “It is about my body” versus the man who says, “It is about me.” These are two very-very different men.
You fall down right now and if you can say, “Oh my God, my leg got hurt,” and there is another one that says, “I got hurt (giving emphasis on ‘I’ – the ego),” these are two very different people.
And we allow anything to hurt us, we allow anything to touch us. We have lost a point (the Centre) that cannot be touched. Small things become very important matters to us.
Now, sometimes small things can be important, but they should have their importance within their domain.
The mistake, the central ignorance is to forget what belongs to which domain. Within its domain, everything has importance. Within its domain, everything needs to be taken seriously. But you need to be very sure, what belongs where.
The very distinction of Vivek, discernment; Intelligence is to be able to distinguish between that which is time and space dependent, anitya, worldly, body and That which is beyond. We forget that distinction. So instead of ‘my leg’ being hurt, it should be ‘I’ get hurt.
Listener: Sir, so clearly I can see that because that immense, that beyond is missing, that is why the things which have a specific domain get out of their boundaries.
Speaker: Wonderful. Not only do they get out of their boundaries, we unjustly place the burden of our expectations on them.
Listener: Sir, expectation of fulfillment.
Speaker: Expectation of fulfillment. Now, what is this? (pointing towards a handkerchief) This is the piece of cloth. And a piece of cloth is a piece of cloth. But what do I do? Because I do not have the Real thing, so I entrust this or burden this with providing me the Real thing. It cannot do that. It cannot do that. It will fail and then what will I say, “The world has deceived me, the world has let me down, I have been betrayed.” The world hasn’t let you down, the world has its own domain beyond which, it is impotent. The world can give food to your body, the world can give medicines to your body, the world can give ideas to your mind, but the world cannot give you freedom; why were you expecting freedom from the world? And is the world to be blamed if you were needlessly expecting from it?
Speaker: We have misplaced expectations from the world. We get a woman and what do we start singing? “You are my angel, you are my God.” Now, the woman will fail because no man and no woman can ever exceed his or her limits, and the limit is always there, in the mortal form. And when they fail, we blame them. They can only do what a man and a woman can do. Because you didn’t have God in your life so you put all the burden of Godliness upon this man. Load him with all your expectations and then become more bitter towards the world. And then you say, “You know, anybody I trusted and everybody I trusted, proved false.” Why are you foolishly trusting apples to be oranges and the earth to be sky, why are you?
Listener: Sir, it’s basically and outrightly our fault that we are expecting something from someone when he is not capable of giving us that. If we can understand that it’s beyond his domain and beyond his capability, then there won’t be any question of keeping expectation from them?
Speaker: It is from both sides, you know, when I do not know who I am, then not only does the other think that I am capable of providing something extraordinary, sometimes, I develop illusions about myself also. Have you not seen all the gurus, “Come to me, I will give you enlightenment.” Just as the lover says, “Come to me, I will give you perfect fulfilment”. Now, how can a lover give you fulfilment? Similarly, how can a guru give you enlightenment? But you feel so secure in the company of a guru, “Now the onus to give me enlightenment is upon him. Let him take all my responsibility and if I don’t get enlightened then I have a false guru. That is what I will declare.”
The one that you are calling as ‘guru’ is a mortal being. Right? He has his particular limited domain. If you are calling a man as your guru, he can at best assist you and help you and indicate to you. The rest is upon you. Right? But you have already decided that there is nothing called Truth, there is only man and material. So what are you doing? You are vesting in man the responsibility to be beyond man. And when man cannot do that then you’ll be disappointed. That is why relationships break. That is why you feel like hopping from one man to the other, one woman to another, one guru to the other.
Yes, he promised something that he cannot give. But at the same time, you believed in that promise! Why did you? He cannot give that. And the one who can give that, who will give that, you are staunchly opposed to that One. In fact, you have already decided that that other One, that real centre simply does not exist. So even as the Guru points at that real centre, you keep on looking at the face of the Guru.
Now, the Guru in himself, in the physical form, as a human being, he is not the real centre. He is an ordinary mass of flesh and blood. Why are you looking at his face? Can’t you look at what he is pointing at, pointing towards? That you will not look! Why? Because that which he is pointing at is dangerous to you. It is something of the beyond, of the other dimension. But you are interested in looking at the face of the Teacher. You are so interested in the personality of the Teacher. “What is the name of the teacher? What is he doing? What is his past?”
That’s why even well-meaning teachers are going to fail with you. Because all you know is man and material. You will latch onto the man and defeat his intension; or you’ll run away from the man, equally possible. When you are coming to somebody, you are coming to the man, and what are you running away from?
Listener: The man.
Speaker: Again the man. The Truth anyway does not matter to you. To whom did you come?
To the man.
And from whom did you run away?
The Truth anyway did not matter to you.
Material is a poor thing. Do not give it such a grand responsibility.
Bread is bread — it cannot become Love.
Flesh is flesh — it cannot become fulfillment.
Flesh is not to be abjured, nothing despicable about it, but remember that flesh is flesh. Do not place unrealistic expectations upon flesh. Money is money. Money will do what money can do. Money will not bring you realisation, money will not bring you Intelligence.
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