This Direct Knowing

From the Katha Upanishad

Dialogue of Natchiketa with the Lord of Death, Yama.


"Although the divine, the innermost soul of all living beings, is one, in the bodies of different creatures it is reflected in their forms, just as the one fire in all the world takes myriad forms. The divine that dwells within also dwells without.

"Although the innermost soul of all living beings is one, in the bodies of different creatures it is reflected in their forms, just as the one air that permeates the world takes myriad forms. The divine that dwells within also dwells without.

"Even as the sun, the illuminator of the world, does not become identified with the flaws in man's vision, the divine, which is the innermost soul of all living beings, does not become identified with man's misery Though it is within all, it is separate from all.

"Only the wise ones, no others, who see the divine that is living within them in each moment the divine which is the knower of all inner thoughts and feelings; which is the non-dual; which is the mover of all will know the unchanging, eternal bliss.

"Only the wise ones who see the divine that is living within them in each moment the divine which is the stillness in the unmoving, which is the witness within all consciousness and which alone ordains the fruits of the actions of all living beings will know the unchanging, eternal peace."

As he heard of the majesty, the bliss and peace that comes of knowing the divine, Nachiketa thought, "How can I truly know this indescribable supreme bliss which the wise ones call the divine? Does it reveal itself or is it experienced?"

Listening to Nachiketa's inner thoughts, Yama, the Lord of Death, said, "The sun does not shine there, nor do the moon or the stars; nor does lightning or electrical phe nomena cast any light there. Where then does the fire of this world stand? All the suns and the moons and the stars are illumined by its light.., the whole existence is illumined by its light."

In India there are three points of view about the ultimate mystery of existence. The first is of the Hindu Upanishads, the Vedas and the Gita. According to their view, the ultimate reality is one; all else are expressions of this one. There are no individual souls, there is only a universal soul. There are no separate individuals, there is only one universal existence.

The second viewpoint is of the Jainas. According to them the ultimate reality is not just one, it is split into many: there is no universal soul, there are only individual souls. There is not one single totality; instead, there are many separate beings.

The third vision is of the Buddhists. For them there is neither a universal soul nor an individual soul, neither the whole nor the individual. For them there is nothingness, shunyata, the ultimate void.

These three viewpoints are very contradictory. And for thousands of years arguments have been going on over them but there has never been any conclusion. And the propounders of these three views are the enlightened ones who have experienced and known the truth, so it is very difficult to understand why there are these great differences. One can understand the arguments and debates of the scholars because they don't have any inner experience. They just use complicated words and they try to propound principles and explain theories according to their own logic, but they don't have any inner experience of their own.

But Mahavira, Buddha and Shankara are not scholars. Whatsoever they are saying is not from their thinking. It is not philosophy, they are telling of their own experiences. They are simply talking about that which they have known. There is no mistake, no flaw in their knowing.

 Then why is there so much controversy? Because of this controversy, in India there are three different attitudes towards life. Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism are the three main streams of thinking which dominate the Indian mind. And because there is no end to the controversy, the Indian mind is also full of confusion. It will be good to understand this more deeply.

I see absolutely no difference in these three views. The statements are absolutely different but there is no difference in the essence. And these statements are not only different, they are diametrically opposite — but their meaning and purpose are the same. And one who cannot see this one purpose will never be able to see the oneness in all the religions. Yet there are reasons why these three insights have been presented in three different ways.

The Vedas, the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Gita say that the divine is one, but the unconscious people interpreted this in a wrong way and it became disastrous. They said, "If there is only the one, then there is no point in doing anything — all forms are of the divine: it is in sin and in virtue, in the good man as well as in the thief, in the bondage of the world and in liberation; it is here, it is there, it is everywhere. It is also in evil. Then what is the need to do anything? Nothing remains to be done."

If this whole existence is only one reality, only one essence, then there is no need to do anything in life. Then what is the difference between good and evil? What is the difference between religion and irreligion? What is the difference between maya, illusion, and brahman, the ultimate reality? If in reality there is only the one, then there is nothing left to be done. What is there to aspire to? What is there to renounce? The result of this unique concept of the one ultimate reality has been a profound laziness; a great laziness has overpowered the Indian mind. So people would just read the Vedas and the Upanishads; they would memorize the Gita and think that there was nothing left for them to do. But in this way there was no transformation in life.

This was not the intention of the enlightened people who shared these truths — but the intention of the awakened ones and the understanding of the ignorant are never the same. The intention of those who said there is only one reality was to help you to let go of your self, and then only it is.

Your ego is false. You think that you are separate, but this is just your illusion. This is the obstacle in your life; this is the cause of all your misery and your bondage. You should allow your self to dissolve and disappear into this vastness. Don't try to save yourself, to keep yourself separate. All the pain of life arises out of the belief that you are separate. And if you are separate then you have to protect yourself. If you are separate then you have to fight with everyone because nobody is with you in the difficulties of life. All are your competitors. Life becomes a quarrel and a fight and in this fight there is only worry and anxiety. If you are separate then the fear of death grips you — because you know that you will have to die.

Every day you see someone dying... but the whole never dies. People go on dying but this vast immensity lives eternally. Life is never destroyed but every day you see embodied life dying. Earthen lamps are extinguished every day but the light as such remains. This is why the fear of death possesses you: if you are separate, then you will certainly die. And if you have merged and become one with this vast existence, then there is no way to die. Then life is deathless, life is eternal.

The intention of those who wanted the concept of the one reality to prevail was so that the ego could dissolve, disappear, evaporate. But the ego did not dissolve, even though that was the intention of the awakened ones. The ignorant misinterpreted the concept of one ultimate reality so that instead of dissolving their egos, it only enhanced and supported the ego. The seers have said, "I am the ultimate reality." Their meaning was, "I am not, only the ultimate reality is." But the ignorant thought, "I am the ultimate reality!" Those who declared "I am the ultimate reality" meant that there is no drop, only the ocean is. But hearing this the drop thought, "I am the ocean." Because of this the drop could not dissolve, it became even more egoistic.

The awakened ones were thinking that on the day man realizes that there is only one reality there will be no more sin, because sin is against the other. When do you sin? — when you sacrifice the other for your own happiness, that is sin. But if I am in all, spread in all and there is only one reality and there is no one else, then there is no possibility of sin. For sin, the other is needed; for sin, the other must be sacrificed — for my benefit the other's benefit has to be destroyed. But if there is only one reality and no other, there is no possibility for selfishness or sin. Then to harm the other means to harm yourself. The intention of the seers was that you realize that when you cease to be as an ego, when you are no more, there will be no way to sin. But the ignorant interpreted that if there is only one reality then there is no sin or virtue; whatsoever you do is okay because this one reality is omnipresent in all.

When Mahavira saw what was happening to this supreme understanding he tried to destroy it from the very roots, so he said that there is no one ultimate reality; every person is himself divine and the drop does not need to dissolve itself in the ocean. The drop simply has to go on purifying itself, it has to become absolutely pure. He said that this idea of dissolving is wrong because the whole country had become very lazy and lethargic because of it: the ignorant people misinterpreted the word 'dissolve', so instead of destroying it, the idea of one supreme reality became the very foundation of ignorance.

So Mahavira did not talk about the ultimate reality. He said, "There is no universal soul, only the individual soul exists. You must become pure. Sin is sin, virtue is virtue — the same reality is not present in all. Bad is bad and good is good and the difference between the two should be kept clear. That dividing line should not be dissolved."

Mahavira has called his insight bheda-vigyan, the science of differentiation. The Upanishads say abheda, no difference. But Mahavira has called his whole technique bheda-vigyan, the clear awareness of difference: what is wrong and what is right, where is wrong and where is right, where is good and where is evil, from where does goodness begin and from where does evil begin, where does worldliness end and where does liberation from it begin? Mahavira made the understanding of this clear distinction the basis of spirituality. He said that each individual is separate, he has not to dissolve. And when each individual is separate then the whole responsibility for his life is his own. If you are suffering it is your own responsibility, not the divine's. If you experience bliss then only you are responsible and it is not by the blessing of any divine. Mahavira dropped prayer, only medita tion remained. Meditation to him means that one has to purify oneself so much that one day only pure consciousness is left. Mahavira called that pure consciousness paramatma. Paramatma does not mean God, it means param-atma, the ultimate soul, the purest soul.

Mahavira's intention was to help people to overcome their lethargy. People are sleepy and unconscious because they are living in a deception which has been created by the principles which they believe in and which give them the permission to remain asleep. Mahavira wanted to destroy the whole basis of these theories so that man would become more aware, more silent, more conscious. He should stand on his own feet: he should not wait for any divine blessing or grace or support. This was a very important technique for the purification of man — but the end result of this too was exactly the same as it has always been and will always be.

Mahavira wanted that man should purify himself and rise to his divinity, but the ignorant understood, "I exist, and there is no divine to dissolve my self into; my existence is the end, the only reality." Mahavira's concept of the individual soul simply enhanced the egos of the ignorant: neither did they realize the soul nor did they purify themselves and rise to their own divin ity. Instead they became full of a very strong ego that believes that there is no God and that only "I am."

And as this ego of 'I am' becomes stronger, unconsciousness also be comes stronger because then the ego is an intoxicant. This intoxication increases in the same proportion as the ego; to the same extent, a man's life becomes more unconscious. When there is no divine there is no reason to bow down, so the people who were egoistic were supported by this. They were happy with the idea that there is no need to bow down, no need to surrender. Humbleness was no longer seen as a quality of saintliness; there was only pride and arrogance.

Mahavira said, "Be independent. Don't become lazy and dependent on prayer," and the ignorant understood, "I am all there is and I have only to trust in my own strength. I have to rely only on myself." The ego became stronger and this ego destroyed the Jaina philosophy. Just as the concept of brahman, the universal reality, made the Hindus lazy and lethargic, so has the concept of the individual soul made the Jainas very arrogant and egoistic.

When Buddha saw that both views — the universal reality and the individual soul — caused the downfall of man, he then said that there is no universal reality and no individual soul: there is only shunya, vast emptiness. His expression was very unique. He said that there is no universal reality and no individual soul because it was necessary to cut the very roots of the mistake made in the Hindu's way of thinking and in the Jaina's philosophy. "You are not, there is nobody within you..." Buddha says that to attain to this nothingness is the ultimate knowing.

This is why Buddha has not used the word brahmalok, the abode of the divine; neither did he use the word moksha, ultimate liberation. He used the word nirvana, the extinguishing of the flame of an earthen lamp. When the flame of an earthen lamp is burned out we don't ask, "Where is the flame? Where has it gone?" It simply does not exist anymore. Buddha says that it is not the earthen lamp of the awakened one which burns out but the flame of his ego which is extinguished. What remains within is the ultimate emptiness, pure silence. And to attain to that emptiness is nirvana. This was a very profound insight because with this there was no more space for man's laziness to continue and there was no more support for the ego to survive.

But when the ignorant heard that there is neither a universal reality nor an individual soul, they interpreted that there is nothing worth attaining! — "What is the point when there is nothing? And when emptiness is already there within, why make any effort? Why practice any spiritual discipline?" Buddha's insight seemed like atheism to the ignorant: ''When there is nothing, then whatever pleasures are available in this life, we should enjoy them! When there is nothing eternal then why give up the transitory? It is better to hold on to whatever is available now because later on there will be nothing to attain; there is only the void, emptiness." And Buddha's vision also failed because of this teaching of emptiness.

It is very strange that whatsoever was the deepest insight of any vision became the cause of its failure. The unconscious people are strange... the enlightened ones are always defeated by them. To save themselves the ignorant always find loopholes in everything. And they even argue and say that their theory is right and the other's is wrong.

Theories have no value in religion, the value is in the intention behind it. Try to understand this. Theories are of value to the scholars, who themselves are not worth much. The enlightened ones are concerned only with the intent of religion. What is Shankara's motive? What is the motive of Mahavira? What does Buddha intend? Whatsoever they are saying is not as important as their motive. Whatsoever they are saying is only a device, an indication. What are they indicating? But scholars take hold of the words and they go on fighting and arguing over the words for centuries! The Jaina scholars go on proving that there is no universal reality, that only an individual soul exists, the Hindu scholars go on proving that there is no individual soul, that only one universal reality exists and the Buddhist scholars go on proving that there is neither a universal reality nor an indi vidual soul, there is only emptiness.

But there is no question of proving anything: only the purpose and the meaning have to be understood. The indication has to be understood. The only motive of a Mahavira, a Buddha or a Shankara is that you should be transformed, that you become reborn; that the dust on your mirror should be removed, that it should become clean so that you can see that which is. Call it whatsoever you like: the brahman, nirvana, shunya, atman — these are only words. Any word can be used, but that which is has no name. Their only desire is that you should be able to experience it.

But you go on discussing what they say and you don't experiment with what they say. You just think about it and talk about it but you don't meditate on what they say. You just stuff your mind with their words. But by doing all this your life will not be transformed, no revolution will happen. So, in a way, all the enlightened ones have failed.

Whenever someone becomes enlightened he finds it very difficult to communicate because it has been said in a thousand-and-one ways, but you are somehow able to protect yourself from listening to their actual message. The cunning people can always find ways not to listen. Just a few simple people, who are not so cunning, do listen, and they are benefited by it. But all the traditions are created by the cunning people. The enlightened one shares his religiousness and the cunning ones create the traditions.

According to the Upanishads it is the simple and innocent people who have the subtle intelligence, and they are the people who transform them selves and don't create any traditions. They don't care whether what is said is the actual truth; they understand that what is said is only indicating towards truth.

All words are just indications. The only value of the indication is that it takes you forwards, keeps you moving further and further, just as the arrows on the milestones on the road show the right direction. If you are going to Delhi, the arrow is pointing you towards Delhi. But you are so unconscious that when you see the milestone with the arrow and with 'Delhi' written on it, you become attached to the milestone and you stop there in the belief that you have arrived in Delhi. You pay no attention to the arrow. That stone with 'Delhi' written on it is not Delhi; the milestones only indicate that Delhi is some distance away. When you see a zero on the milestone then you know that you have arrived in Delhi. Then there will be no arrow on it, no word on it, only a zero will be there. But as long as there are arrows to point the way, understand that the destination is still far away.

No scripture is truth. All scriptures are like milestones that say, "Go forwards." But you start worshipping the milestones, and different people keep different kinds of milestones on their heads. And then great discussions go on to prove whose Delhi is the real one. No scripture is truth, all scriptures are just indications towards the truth. And one who holds on to the scripture will only prove that the scripture is wrong, and he himself will go astray.

All the scriptures say to go on moving, go forwards until you reach the zero where all words disappear and nothing more is written. And when you have reached the zero you will realize that all the words were different indications, different devices of the enlightened ones to take you to the zero, to the wordless silence.

Now we will enter this sutra.


Just like fire, the divine energy has taken many different forms. The forms are different but the energy, the formless within the form, is one.



This sutra has to be deeply understood. It can be very useful for the seeker on the path.

In one of his memoirs, Rabindranath Tagore has written: One early morning I was going towards the sea. It was monsoon time. All the pits, ponds and ditches were full of water. Some puddles were clean and some were dirty. As I reached nearer the sea the sun rose and its reflection could be seen in the dirty water of the puddles, in the clean water and also in the sea. Rabindranath has said, "This phenomenon filled me with wonder! I immediately understood that whether the reflection happens in dirty water or in clean water, it does not make any difference for the reflection. How can a reflection become dirty? How can the reflection of the sun in a dirty puddle become dirty? No dirt can make the reflection dirty. The reflection in the sea is of the same sun and the reflection in the dirty pond is of the same sun and the reflection in a small puddle is also of the same sun, and there is no difference in these reflections." Rabindranath has said, "That day, I understood the meaning of the words of the Upanishads — that the divine is manifest in all; the forms are different but that which is manifested in all the forms is the One."

So the second thing that this sutra is saying is that your own impurity cannot make the divine impure; the impurity of the puddle cannot make the reflection impure. This is why the Upanishads say that the divine within the sinner does not become a sinner and the divine within the saint does not become a saint — because it was never a sinner in the first place, so how can it become a saint? The Upanishads say that the divine is pure consciousness. All impurities are confined to the form. This form may become dirty or impure, but the divine that is hidden within it is not touched by impurities of any kind; it simply cannot be affected by them.

This statement is very revolutionary. It is very dangerous too because the sinner will say, "Then it is okay— if I cannot become impure, then why should I stop sinning? And when I cannot become pure by being virtuous because I have never in the first place become impure, then what is the need to be virtuous?" This type of interpretation by the unconscious people has created much confusion.

The Upanishads say that the divine can never become impure. If you can understand the meaning of this then the burden of any feelings of guilt about the past will disappear in one moment. If you understand that the divine within you has never become impure, then the burden of sin and guilt in your mind will immediately disappear.

Psychologists say that the greatest misfortune in human life is the feeling of guilt. They say that in the West Christianity has done much harm by creating the guilt-complex. But in this country we have done as much harm to man by removing the feelings of guilt in him. Christianity has helped and benefited a few people and a few people in this country have been helped by the other insight — but it seems that those who can transform themselves will transform themselves in any case, and those who are in the habit of missing and always harming themselves will do it, no matter what the cir cumstances. There are people who can support life even with poison and there are people who can commit suicide even with nectar. It depends on the people whether they want to harm themselves or help themselves. Nectar or poison alone cannot do anything; it depends on how you use them.

In the West Christianity emphasizes that man is a sinner and that he is born in sin; the first man was born in sin. God banished Adam from heaven because he had sinned by disobeying his order, and the gates of heaven will remain closed to him until he frees himself from sin. And every human being is suffering for the sin committed by Adam, and they have to make efforts to get out of the state of sin. Christianity insists that man is a sinner, that he is born in sin. This has certainly created a deep feeling of guilt.

Those who understand things rightly try to be free of sin by changing their lives. But the foolish people think that if man is born in sin then it is impossible for him to become free of sin: "When the first man, Adam, was also a sinner, and if he could sin even in heaven in the presence of God, then we, who are just ordinary people and Adam's progeny, can do nothing to become free of sin. Thousands of centuries of sin are on our shoulders. It is such a great burden that it seems impossible to ever throw it off. Our very beings have become sinful so there is no way but to accept sin.

Because of this the West has become very materialistic. The reason for this is that the West has just accepted sin because it could see no way to be free of it — man will always be a sinner. Yes, if God is kind he will pull man out of sin. But then again if it were a question of God's kindness, he could have saved Adam from sin. There was no need to create this long chain of sins. The West has become materialistic because it thinks there is no way to get out of sin. The question becomes only of how to sin more cleverly, more efficiently, of how to do it as much as you can. There is no other way. Since every cell of our being is born in sin, we cannot do anything but sin.

In India we have tried the exact opposite experiment: we have said that the ultimate, the pure soul, can never be a sinner. It is ultimate purity and it can never become impure; no amount of sin can affect its purity. Those who really understood this truth gave up any idea of sinning because they realized that there is no point in it; they simply dropped out of it. Because of this understanding of the ultimate purity of reality the concept of sin simply disappeared, the desire to sin disappeared and the question of doing evil disappeared.

But the majority of people said, "If it does not affect the purity of the ultimate reality, why not sin? When it remains always pure, then we can go on sinning." The enlightened ones explain that the soul is absolutely pure and mostly the sinners go on nodding their heads and saying, "Absolutely right!" They think, "Yes, we are absolutely pure — there is no difference between us and a Buddha, between us and a Mahavira. The difference is only superficial, within we are all the same.

But this statement is very valuable in itself: consciousness cannot be made impure. You may go on trying for lifetimes to make it impure, but consciousness cannot be made impure because the nature of consciousness is purity. You can accumulate dust on its surface but the diamond inside, the shining light inside, cannot be destroyed; you can only cover it. Those who understand this will give up the effort to change the surface and will start searching for the diamond inside which sin can never touch.

This can become clear with a little experience, because the divine within you is not the doer: it is the witness. When you are stealing, someone inside you is aware that you are stealing. This awareness, this witnessing, cannot be affected by the sin of stealing. It is the witness that has seen you stealing. When you go to a temple to pray, even then it is the witness that knows that you are going to a temple to pray. No virtue can touch it. Whatsoever you are doing remains outside. Doing is on the periphery and awareness is within, at the very center. This awareness can never become the doing and the doing can never become awareness.

So there are two separate currents within you. One is of doing, which is born out of your body. Lately, many experiments have been done to find out where desire actually arises in man, because it is desire which makes you act. These scientific experiments are amazing because they prove that all desires are born in the body.

There are male and female hormones and these are different chemicals. If male hormones are injected into a woman then her whole behavior will change: her voice will become deep like a man's, the woman's delicacy and sweetness will disappear and she will become aggressive. The woman is not aggressive, she waits. Even in love she does not take the initiative. No woman ever tells the man in the beginning that she loves him or that she will die without him. If any woman says this then the man should run away from her because that woman is not a woman anymore.

It is always the man who says, "I love you and I will die without you. The woman will just agree, will condescend to agree. Even her yes will be silent and receptive; she is not active. It is because of her body structure and the system of her body — the woman receives the man into herself.

The man takes the initiative, man's nature is aggressive — but if male hormones are injected into the woman then she also will become aggressive. If female hormones are injected into the man then he will become receptive, he will wait for a woman to take the initiative.

One scientist was experimenting with a group of monkeys. He chose a female monkey who was very humble and very feminine and who had no place in the hierarchy of that group of monkeys... monkeys have a hierarchy system. Just as politicians have a hierarchy, in the same way, monkeys also have a hierarchy. Some monkey is the president, someone else is the prime minister, some are cabinet members; this way, the hierarchy goes on. Scientists say that the politicians are just continuing with this habit of the monkeys; there is no difference.

A large dose of male hormones was injected into this female monkey who did not hold any position and was at the bottom of the hierarchy. After twenty-four hours this injection started affecting her. She became so aggressive that she attacked all the male monkeys that were holding the high positions. She almost came out on top, like Indira Gandhi! All the other politicians, the Kamrajas and the Nijalingappas in the group, were pulled down. The scientist has written that that female monkey managed to put all the old fighters in their place. They all became sad and she dominated them so much that she did not even allow them to do any mischief — which is the nature of a monkey. And this change was just because of an injection of male hormones!

What you do is a contribution of your body: your behavior, your way of walking, talking and sitting, your desires, your wishes, your ambitions, your struggle for things — your hormones are responsible. Just a few chemicals can make the whole difference.

Scientists have said that there are just five rupees worth of chemicals in a man's body. It was cheaper in the ancient times... now they are worth about fifteen rupees. A female body is worth sixteen rupees, so remember that chemically, a woman is more costly. Only one rupee worth of chemicals makes all the difference between a man and a woman! This is why scientists say that a womans body can be turned into a male body just by giving an injection, and a male body can be turned into a female body. By the end of this century you will be able to decide whether you want to be a man or a woman; this will be possible. Now there is no difficulty for this experiment.

Scientists say that it is because of some chemicals in the body that one man steals and another man murders or is violent, and it is sheer stupidity to punish them. It is just like punishing a man who is suffering from TB and you say, "Why have you got TB?" What can that man do?

Scientists say that we go on punishing people who murder because until now we have not been able to discover which chemicals in the body compel them to murder. It will be better to change the hormones than to hang them or to sentence them to life imprisonment — a simple injection can put them right. This is a very valuable discovery, but it is also very dangerous. All valuable discoveries are dangerous in the hands of ignorant people. This means that if by one injection we can turn a murderer into a non-murderer, then by one injection we can also turn a non-murderer into a murderer. If the country is at war you can inject all the soldiers and they will go on madly killing people, 'the enemies'. Then the other country will not be able to win if they don't know this trick of injecting people. If people are rebelling they just have to be injected: they will become totally obedient and will start praising you! So this is a dangerous discovery, but at the same time very valuable.

The Indian seers have always been saying that the divine that is hidden within is only a witness, it is not a doer. The doer is outside. All actions are connected with the body and the mind. The inner, pure consciousness is a witness, it only watches; it has never done any act. If slowly you start be coming a witness to your actions, the witnessing consciousness within you will begin to awaken. It is sleeping because you have never used it.

So basically, all the techniques of meditation are an effort to awaken the witness within you. As the witness becomes more awake, all the wrong things in your life will drop on their own and whatsoever is right will go on growing because the body cannot act without your cooperation, your support is needed. You do not act, but inner cooperation is needed also by the body.

If a person has totally become the witness, then even if you give him many injections to make him aggressive and violent, he will not become aggressive. This has to be deeply understood.

All twenty-four tirthankaras of the Jainas are kshatriyas, warriors, and have been born into warrior families. If their hormones could ever be tested — it is difficult to do it now — then it might be proved that there were very aggressive hormones in their bodies because they were the sons of kings, born into kshatriya families. Their whole tradition, the lifestyle of their parents, was aggressive. Hormones are genetically inherited.

All the twenty-four Jaina tirthankaras and Gautama the Buddha, all were kshatriyas — and all of them preached non-violence. They were born in violent families, violence was their heritage, but all of them preached non violence. Certainly they must have become witnesses to the extent that their aggressive hormones could not affect them at all anymore.

It is interesting to note that until now not a single brahmin has preached non-violence. The most dangerous brahmin we know of is Parashurama, who killed all the kshatriyas on this Earth several times over. And these twenty-five — Buddha and the twenty-four Jaina tirthankaras — are kshatriyas: fighting was in their blood but they became teachers of non-violence. But the phenomenon is the same — witnessing — that was happening to Parashurama and to the people I have just mentioned. Parashurama was a witness, all his hormones were of non-violence, but by witnessing Parashurama could see that the kshatriyas were playing havoc all over the Earth. The life everywhere was full of trouble and the kshatriyas were the cause of all that trouble, all that violence. To end the violence, Parashurama started killing all the kshatriyas! If the witness awakens, then even a brahmin can be so violent.

One who becomes a witness and becomes separate from his acts is able to see what is right and what is wrong. All these twenty-five, Buddha and the twenty-four tirthankaras, inherited violence; fighting and aggressiveness was in their blood. But by witnessing they were able to see that fighting was futile, nobody would gain anything out of it. They became peaceful and silent and all the violence simply disappeared from their lives.

What I am saying is that if the witness has been awakened within you, your hormones will not have any more effect. They will not affect a Parashurama or a Mahavira because the witnessing consciousness makes its own decisions. The body is no more the master; the body cannot influence the witness. And the witnessing consciousness lives life in a natural way. The witnessing consciousness has its own spontaneity and that spontaneity has no limitations.

Secondly, whatsoever the witnessing consciousness does, even while doing it knows that "I am not the doer, I am only the witness." So I accept that Parashurama was not affected by any sin — could not be. Parashurama's personality is worth understanding. No sin could touch him because these killings were done when he was in a profound state of witnessing. It is this kind of killing that Krishna is suggesting to Arjuna in the Gita. He says to Arjuna, "Go to war not as a doer, but as a witness. You are just the medium." But the difficulty for Arjuna was that he was unable to fight and remain a witness; he went on feeling that he was the doer: "How can I kill my loved ones?" He was identified with the doer, with his actions. And Krishna's whole effort was to create witnessing in Arjuna even as he fought in the war.

But as soon as a person becomes full of awareness he ceases to be a doer.

The sutra says:


That awareness that you are separate is the realization of the witness.


Only those who are able to separate the witness from the doer experience bliss. As this experience grows deeper, the bliss also goes on growing. At the peak point, when the witness is absolutely separate and the seer is absolutely separate from the doer, one experiences the ultimate bliss.



A very profound question has arisen in Nachiketa's mind about the divine: does the bestower of ultimate peace and the ultimate bliss reveal itself, or is it to be experienced? This difference has to be understood.

I see you: I am not experiencing you, you are revealed to me. If it becomes dark then I will not be able to see you. Light is needed to see the other; the other can be seen only when it is revealed in the light. But light is not needed for me to see myself, the experience is enough; it can also happen in darkness.

The question arose in Nachiketa's mind: "Will the divine be revealed like an outer object, that I will see the ultimate reality standing in front of me shining in some profound light, or will I experience it within me where no outside light is needed? Will the divine manifest itself like matter as an other, or will it be experienced as consciousness, as myself? Will the divine be revealed within me or outside of me? Is this divine within or without?"

To see the things which are outside, light is needed, some medium is needed to reveal them; only then do they become visible. But for the inside no medium, no light is needed. Only through experiencing does the phenomenon happen.

So the question has arisen in Nachiketa's mind: "Does the divine become revealed or is it to be experienced? Because if it is revealed then it is away from me and I have to go in search of it. I have to search for its palace, its temple, its throne. If it is revealed then I will have to search for the light by which I will be able to see it. The process will be totally different. If it is an experience then I don't have to go anywhere. If it becomes an experience then no light is needed. Then I will know it by diving deeply into myself."

These are two different paths. Generally, people pray to the divine, and prayer means that it is outside you. Prayer will serve as a light, a focus: you can see it. You can worship the divine: worship is the light. It will be come revealed in the light of worship and you can see it. One path is that of worship, prayer and devotion. The concept of worship means that the divine is outside, that it is hidden somewhere out there in the sky and it will be revealed to you only if you become worthy.

The second path is of meditation, of spiritual discipline. Then the divine is not outside, it is present within — there is no question of worship or prayer in it. It is only a question of purifying oneself. If you go on purifying yourself, awakening yourself, then it will become your experience. For this, no outer worship or ritual is needed.

The first path is absolutely wrong but it appeals to the majority of people. The second path is totally correct but it attracts very few people. Why? — because the first path seems easy. You are more attracted to the easy than to the truth. On the first path you don't have to transform yourself. What is the difficulty in collecting all the things that are needed for worship? What is the difficulty in lighting an earthen lamp, burning incense, ringing a bell? — you remain just the same.

The person who is going to the temple is the same person who was sitting in his shop; there is not even the slightest change in him. The way he will perform the rituals of worship in the temple will be the same as what he was doing working in the shop. He will come out of the temple the same person as when he went in. You will not find the slightest difference in him when he returns to the shop. He may become even more dangerous because the hour that he wasted in a temple may have to be compensated for by taking revenge on the customers in the shop! He will extort more money from his customers, he will exploit them more because of the hour that was wasted in praying. This is why shopkeepers with so-called religious leanings are more dangerous. Beware of a shopkeeper with religious leanings, because he is devoting some time for God — which he knows is a sheer waste of time — and he would like to make up for it from somewhere. No change seems to happen in his life. In spite of his going to the temple, in his life he remains just the same.

But it is easier to go to a temple than to go within. This is why people choose the easy, but this easiness has nothing to do with truth. Convenience has nothing to do with truth. This is why most people prefer to worship and to pray. Very few people meditate — but only those who meditate will finally know truth.

This question arose in Nachiketa's mind: "Should I pray or should I meditate? Should I look for the divine on the outside, through some ritual, or should I search within by awakening myself? Does it become revealed or is it to be experienced?"


When the sun rises, how do you come to know it?

One morning Mulla Nasruddin was telling his servant, "It is very cold. Look outside and see if the sun has risen."

The servant went out, then came back and said, "It is very dark outside!"

Nasruddin said, "So light a lamp so you can see if the sun has risen!"

But no lamp is needed to see the sun, the sun is self-illuminated. We see other things by the light of the sun, but the sun itself is not seen by any other light. And Yama is saying that even the light of the sun is there through the light of the divine. Behind the sun this divine energy is hidden. The divine is the light in all fire, and all light is the light of the divine.

So in what light will you be able to see the divine? No light is needed to see it because it is the original source of all light.

The divine is not revealed by any light, it has to be experienced.

It will be experienced only by moving to the original source. For that, one does not have to search with an earthen lamp. In fact, one does not have to go anywhere in search of the divine. You simply have to go within yourself. You have to enter into your interiority to the original source of life: the divine is there... and all is illuminated by it. Only because of it can your eyes see. The moon and the stars are illuminated only because of its light. The whole existence is its heartbeat. And no medium is needed to know it. You can know it directly, in this moment, because no medium is needed. This knowing is direct, immediate, without any medium.

Get ready for meditation.