ENERGY BLOCKAGE REMOVAL
|2005 AND 2006|
THE MAN AND HIS PHILOSOPHY
Chapter 4: Religion has no History, It is Eternal, Question 4
QUESTIONER: WE FULLY AGREE WITH YOU THAT WE NEED NOT CONCERN OURSELVES WITH THE RECORDS OF KRISHNA'S GROSS LIFE, LIKE THE DATES OF HIS BIRTH AND DEATH. BUT WE SHOULD CERTAINLY WANT TO KNOW THE WAY KRISHNA LIVED HIS LIFE, THE MESSAGE HE HAD FOR US, THE SIGNIFICANCE OF HIS LIFE'S STORY. YOU SAID A LITTLE WHILE AGO THAT RELIGION CANNOT HAVE A HISTORY BECAUSE IT IS ETERNAL. BUT WHAT DOES KRISHNA MEAN BY DHARMA OR RELIGION WHEN HE SAYS IN THE GEETA THAT ONE'S OWN DHARMA, EVEN IF IT IS QUALITATIVELY INFERIOR, IS PREFERABLE TO AN ALIEN DHARMA, THAT IT IS BETTER TO DIE IN ONE'S OWN DHARMA THAN TO LIVE WITH AN ALIEN DHARMA? HE SAYS THAT EVERY ALIEN DHARMA IS PERILOUS, AND SHOULD BE SHUNNED AT ALL COSTS. IF DHARMA IS ONE AND ETERNAL, WHY SHOULD KRISHNA THINK IT NECESSARY TO DIVIDE IT INTO GOOD AND BAD, INTO PERSONAL AND ALIEN?
It was very necessary for Krishna to say it. The Sanskrit text of his saying is, SWADHARME NIDHANAM SHREYAH, PARDHARMO BHAYAWAHA. And we need to under stand it from various angles.
Here Krishna does not use the word dharma to mean the traditional religions like those of the Hindus, Christians and Mohammedans. The Sanskrit word dharma really means self-nature, one's innate nature, one's essential nature, and it is in this sense that Krishna divides it into the primal nature or the self-nature, and the alien nature, the nature other than one's own. It is a question of one's own individuality, one's own subjectivity being quite different from the individuality of others. It is a question of your being truly yourself and not imitating another, not trying to be like another person, whoever he may be. Krishna here says, "Be immaculately yourself. Follow your own true nature and don't follow and imitate any other." He says, "Don't follow a guru or guide. Be your own guide. Don't allow your individuality, your subjectivity to be dominated, dictated and smothered by anybody else. In short, don't follow, don't imitate any other person."
Maybe the other person is going somewhere wherein lies his own individual, subjective destiny -- which is his freedom -- but it may turn out to be your bondage if you follow him. It is bound to turn into a bondage for you.
Mahavira's individuality is his own; it cannot be the individuality of any other person. The path of Christ cannot be a path for another. Why?
Wherever I go I can only go as myself; I can go the way I am. It is true that on reaching the destination my self, the "I" will disappear. But the day the "I" disappears, the other, the "he", will also disappear. And the state of nature or being that I will then attain is everlasting, eternal. This transcendent nature is impersonal and oceanic. But right now we are not like the ocean, we are like a river. And every river has to find its own way to the ocean. On reaching the ocean, of course, both the river and its path will disappear into the ocean.
Here Krishna is talking to a river and not to the ocean itself. Arjuna is still a river seeking a path to reach the ocean. And Krishna tells the river to go its own way and not to try to follow and imitate the ways of any other river. The other river has its own route, its own direction and its own movement. And it will reach the ocean on its own, by its own path. In the same way you have to build your own path, your own direction and your own movement, and then you will certainly reach the ocean. If there is a river it will undoubtedly reach the ocean.
Remember that a river never moves on a ready-made path, it always creates its own path to the ocean. Life, too, does not follow a ready-made path; it cannot. Life is like a river, not like a railroad.
Of course, when you follow another, imitate another, there is always someone ready to supply you with a road map, a chart, which has to be phony and false. And the moment you take this journey you embark on a journey to suicide. Then you begin to destroy yourself and to impose an alien personality on yourself. If someone follows me he will have to destroy himself first. He will have to constantly keep me in his mind: he will do as I do, he will walk as I walk, he will live as I live. Then he will obliterate himself and try to become like me. But despite his best efforts to imitate me he can never become me; I will serve only as a facade, a mask for him. Deep down he will remain what he is: he will remain the one who imitates, he can never be the one he imitates. Whatever he does, the masquerader cannot become the masqueraded.
Krishna says it is better to die in one's own nature than to live in any other's nature, that imitation is destructive, suicidal. To live the way another lives is worse than death, it is a living death. And if one dies the way one is, it means one has found a new life for himself, new and sublime. If I can die the way I am, retaining my individuality, then my death becomes authentic, then it is my death.
But we all live borrowed lives. Even our own lives are not our own, real and authentic. We are all second hand and false people. Krishna stands for an authentic life, a life that is our own. To be authentic means to be an individual, to retain one's individuality. The word "individual" is significant. It means indivisible, united and one.
There are people all around who are out to destroy your individuality, who are trying to enslave you and turn you into their camp-followers. It is their ego trip; it gratifies their ego to know so many people follow them. The larger the number of followers, the greater is their ego. Then they feel they are somebodies people have to follow. And then they try to enslave those who follow them, and enslave them in every way. They impose their will, even their whims on them, in the name of discipline. They take away their freedom and virtually reduce them to their serfs. Because their freedom poses a challenge to their egos, they do everything to destroy their freedom. All gurus, all Masters do it.
This statement of Krishna is extraordinary, rare, and it has tremendous significance. No guru, no Master can have the courage to say what Krishna says to Arjuna, "Be immaculately yourself." Only a friend, a comrade can say it. And remember, Krishna is not a guru to Arjuna, he is his friend. He is with him as a friend and not as a Master. No Master could agree to be his disciple's charioteer as Krishna does with Arjuna in the war of the Mahabharat. Rather, a Master would have his disciple as his charioteer; he would even use him for a horse for his chariot.
It is a rare event that Krishna worked as Arjuna's charioteer on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. This event says it is a relationship of equal friends, and in friendship there is no one above you or below you. And Krishna tells Arjuna to find his self-nature, his intrinsic individuality, his primal being, his authentic face -- and to be it. He tells him not to deviate from his authenticity, not to he in any way different from what he is. Why did he have to say this?
The entire being of Arjuna is that of a warrior, a kshatriya. Every fiber of his being is that of a fighter; he is a soldier. And he is speaking the language of a sannyasin, a renunciate. He is talking like a renegade, not like a warrior, which he really is. If he takes sannyas and runs away to a forest, and if he meets a lion there he will not pray, he will simply fight with the lion. He is not a brahmin, not a member of the intelligentsia. He is not a vaishya, not a businessman. He is not even a shudra, a workman. He cannot be happy with an intellectual pursuit, nor with earning money.
He can find his joy only in adventure, in meeting challenges, in fighting. He can find himself only through an act of adventure. But he is speaking of something which is not his forte, and therefore he is going off track, deviating from his self-nature, from his innate being. And so Krishna tells him, "I knew you to be a warrior, not a renegade, an escapist. But you are talking like an escapist. You say that war is bad, fighting is bad, killing is bad. A warrior never speaks this language. Have you borrowed it from others? It is definitely not the language of a warrior. You are deviating from your path if you are trying to imitate somebody. Then you are wasting yourself. So find yourself and be yourself, authentically yourself."
If Arjuna had really been a brahmin, Krishna would never have asked him to fight, he would very gladly have let him go. He would have blessed his going the way of a brahmin. He is not a brahmin, but he does not have the courage to say so. He is a swordsman; in his makeup he has the sharpness and thrust of the sword. He can shine only if he has a sword in his hand. He can find his soul and its fulfill, ment only in the depths of courage and valor, of battle and war. He cannot be fulfilled in any other manner. That is why Krishna tells him, "It is better to die upholding one's true nature than to live a borrowed life, which is nothing less than a horror. You die as a warrior, rather than live as a renegade. Then you will live a dead life. And a living death is better than a dead life."
Here Krishna does not use dharma in the sense of religions like Hinduism, Christianity or Mohammedanism. By dharma he means one's individuality. India has made four broad divisions or categories on the basis of individuality. What is popularly known as varna is nothing but broad categorizations of human beings on the basis of their own individualities. These categories are not specific and exclusive. Not that two brahmins or intellectuals are the same; they are not. Not even two kshatriyas or warriors are the same. But there is certainly a similarity between those known as kshatriyas. These categorizations were made after in depth study of man's nature.
There is someone who derives his life's joy only through work -- he is a workman, a shudra. Not that he is a lowly being because of his being a shudra -- it is grievously wrong to think so -- but unfortunately this mistaken interpretation did receive wide acceptance, for which the wise people who originally conceived it are not responsible. The responsibility should lie with those ignorant people who imposed their wrong interpretations of varna on society. The wise ones said only this much, that there are people who can find their joy only through work, through service. If they are deprived of their work they will be unhappy, they will lose their souls.
Now a woman comes and wants to massage my legs. She does it for her own joy. Neither have I asked for it nor is she going to gain anything from me. And yet, because service is her forte, she feels re. warded. She regains her individuality; she gains her soul.
Someone gives up wealth for the sake of knowledge. He leaves his family, goes begging in the streets, even starves for the sake of knowledge. We wonder if he has gone out of his mind. A scientist puts a grain of deadly poison on the tip of his tongue just to know how it tastes and how it kills. He will die, but he is a brahmin, he is in search of knowledge. He will die, but he will discover the secret of that particular poison. Maybe he does or does not live to tell the world about his findings. There are poisons that kill instantly, but a daring scientist can take a particular poison because through his death he will tell the world what it is. That will be enough fulfillment for him.
We can say he was simply crazy to give up a thousand pleasures of the world and die to test a kind of poison. There were many other things he could have chosen for a scientific test. But this person has the mind of a knower, a brahmin; he will not derive any joy through service.
There is someone whose genius shines brightest in the moments of war, war of any kind, who attains the height of his potentials in fighting When he reaches a point where he can stake his all he feels fulfilled. He is a gambler; he cannot live with out risking. And he is not content with staking petty things like money, he will stake his whole life, where every moment hangs between life and death. Then alone, he can come to his full flowering. Such a man is a kshatriya, a samurai, a warrior.
Someone like Rockefeller or Morgan finds his fulfillment by creating wealth. There is an interesting anecdote in the biography of Morgan. One day his secretary told him jokingly, "Sir, before I saw you I nursed a dream that I would someday become a Morgan, but now that I have seen you at close quarters in the capacity of your personal secretary, my dream has vanished. If I had a choice I would say to God to make me anything but a Morgan. It is much better to be Morgan's secretary than Morgan himself."
Morgan was a little startled and asked, "What is wrong with me that makes you say this?" The secretary said, "I have been wondering at the way you function. Office boys come here at 9 am, the clerks reach the office at ten, the managers at eleven, and the directors at twelve. The directors leave the office at 3 pm, the managers leave at four, the clerks at five and the office boys at six. But so far as you are concerned, you arrive every day at seven in the morning and leave for home at seven in the evening. It is enough for me that I am your secretary. How do you manage, sir?"
This man cannot understand Morgan, who has the mind of a vaishya, a businessman. He is seeking his happiness, his soul, by creating and owning wealth. Morgan laughed and told his secretary, "It is true I come here even before the office boys, but the office boys cannot have the joy I have by coming here at the earliest hour as the owner of the establishment. Granted, the directors leave the office at three, but they are only directors. I am the owner." A man like Morgan is fulfilled only when he creates and owns wealth.
After studying millions of human beings over a long stretch of time we decided to divide mankind into four broad categories. There was nothing hierarchical about this division, no category was higher or lower than the other. But the foolish pundits, the foolish scholars, took no time in reducing it into a hierarchy, which created all the mischief. The categorization of four varnas is, in itself, very scientific. but to turn it into a hierarchy was unfortunate and unhealthy. It was not necessary at all.
The division of mankind into varnas represents an insight, and a deep insight at that. Therefore Krishna tells Arjuna. "Know rightly who you are. It is better to die upholding your self-nature than to live as a second-hand man. That is sheer madness."
In fact, it does not characterize the self-nature adequately, it is, after all, only a broad and rough categorization. Really, every person is unique and different; not even two are alike. God is a creator, not a technician, and he only creates original things, first-hand things. He never repeats what he once creates. Not even poets and painters do it. If someone asks Rabindranath Tagore to compose a poem like one he composed earlier, he will protest, "Do you think I am a spent bullet? Do you think I am dead? If I repeat a piece of poetry it will mean that the poet, the creator in me is dead. Now I can only write another original piece." No painter worth his salt repeats his paintings.
Once a very amusing incident took place in the life of Picasso. Someone bought a painting of his for a hundred thousand dollars and then brought it to him to confirm it was an original and not an imitation. The great painter said, "It is a downright imitation; you just wasted your money."
The man was startled and said, "What are you saying? Your wife confirmed it was your original painting."
As he said this, Picasso's wife came in and said to Picasso, "You are quite wrong to say it is not your painting; it is very much yours. I saw you doing it. You even signed it; it is your signature. How can you say it is a copy?"
Picasso then said, "I did not say I did not paint it. But it is a remake. I made a copy of one of my own old paintings, and so it is not authentic, original. It has nothing to do with Picasso the creator. It was the imitator in me who made it. Any other painter could have done it. So I cannot say it is my authentic painting, it is an imitation of my own painting. The first one was authentic because I had created it. This one is just an imitation."
God creates; he is creativity itself. So his every act of creativity is original and unique and authentic. Let alone two human beings, not even two rose flowers are alike, not even two leaves on a tree are alike. Pick up a rock by the roadside and go round the earth to see if there is another piece like it. It is impossible. And God has not yet exhausted himself. When he is spent he will, of course, repeat and begin to make inauthentic human beings.
He created Krishna only once, and although five thousand years have since passed, he has not made another Krishna. Nor is he going to, ever. He created Mahavira only once, the first and last Mahavira. Two thousand years have passed, but he has not repeated Jesus Christ. Likewise, each one of you is a unique creation of his -- and he is not going to repeat you either. And this is your glory and grandeur. There has never been another person like you in the whole past, nor will there be in any future.
So don't lose yourself, your individuality, that which you are. God did not create you in the image of any other person, a carbon copy of another, he made you altogether genuine and new. So don't turn it into a counterfeit: it would be a betrayal of his trust. That is why Krishna says, "Rather die in your own nature than live in an alien nature." It is simply suicidal. Beware of it. Do not, even by mistake, follow any other, or become like another. To be oneself is the only virtue and to be like another the only sin."
But don't forget that this teaching is relevant to you as a river, not as an ocean. For the ocean you have yet to be, there is nothing like oneself or the other. The ocean is the destination, it is not where you begin your journey as a river. And you have to begin your journey as an individual, as a somebody. And when you arrive where neither "I" nor the other exists, you will cease to be an individual, you will be just nobody. But remember, you will reach there only as yourself, not as somebody else. It is in this context that Krishna said, SWADHARME NIDHANAM SHREYAH PARDHARMO BHAYAVAHAH.