Chapter 20: Base your Rule on the Rule

Question 3



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Question 3


You want to understand how a sthitaprajna compares with a devotee, a bhakta. A sthitaprajna is one who has ceased to be a devotee and becomes Bhagwan, God himself. And a devotee is one who is on his way to becoming God. So while a devotee is one who is on the path, a sthitaprajna is one who has already arrived. In other words, devotion is the path and steadied intelligence or wisdom is the destination. One who has arrived at the goal is called a sthitaprajna, and a traveler to this goal is called a devotee.

As such there are many similarities between an awakened man, a wise man and a devotee, because the path and the goal are inescapably united. A goal, a destination is nothing other than completion of the path; when the path ends the goal arrives. There is a lot in common between a devotee and a man of settled intelligence, because one who is on the path is also on his way to the goal; there is just a small distance between the two.

It is only a matter of some distance, some time, which a devotee has to cover so he becomes a sthitaprajna. It is always the traveler who arrives at the goal; so the difference is one of journey and destination. The devotee is journeying; the sthitaprajna, the wise man has arrived. The aspirations and expectations of a devotee turn into the achievement of the enlightened, the awakened one -- the traveler turned sthitaprajna, wise man. They are inextricably linked with each other.

The last stage of a devotee's journey is the stage of his disappearance as a devotee and his emergence as God. And so long as a devotee does not become God himself, he will be thirsty, he will be discontented. Even if a meeting between them takes place and they are in the embrace of each other, the devotee is not going to be satiated and satisfied,

No matter how intimate an embrace is, a subtle separation remains between two lovers. Even if I squeeze you tightly in my embrace, a distance, a separation will be there. This distance can disappear only when two lovers disappear as egos and merge into each other and become totally one. Otherwise every distance is a distance, whether it is a distance of an inch or of a million miles. Even if you reduce the distance to a thousandth part of an inch, it re mains a distance nonetheless.

So a devotee cannot be satisfied even if he remains locked in God's embrace. He can be fulfilled only when he disappears as a devotee and becomes God himself.

This is the sorrow and pain of every lover. No matter how close and intimate he is with his loved one, he remains discontented and unhappy. His problem is that unless he becomes one with his beloved, not only physically but spiritually, at the level of love, of being -- there is no way for him to be satisfied and happy. And this is really, really difficult. To be one at the level of love and being is one of the hardest things to achieve.

This is not going to happen even if two lovers remain tied to each other like faggots for the fire. And the irony is, the nearer they are to each other, the greater their disillusionment and misery. When there was a distance between them they had hoped for the heavenly happiness and joy that would come when they became close to each other. But when they are really close, even closest to each other, they feel disillusioned, almost cheated by their own hopes.

Nothing is lacking in their relationship, in their intimacy and trust, yet the hoped-for happiness remains a distant dream. Then the lovers begin to fret and fume at each other, they begin to suspect each other. Each of them thinks that while he is doing his best, the other has his reservations, or is deceiving him. Now they are besieged by worries and anxieties that they never had before. But the real reason is that unless lovers become totally one, they can never be content and happy.

For this reason I say the lovers of today are devotees of tomorrow; they have no way but to turn to devotion. When they know for themselves that it is impossible to be one with an embodied person, they will turn to God, who is bodiless, because it is quite possible to be really one with him. So sooner or later every lover is going to turn into a devotee, and every word of love is going to turn into a prayer.

This is how it should be. Otherwise there is no escape from the torture and misery of love. A lover who refuses to be a devotee is bound to be in everlasting anguish. Ironically, while his longings are those of a devotee, he is trying to fulfill them through ordinary love. His aspirations are running in one direction and his efforts in another, and so frustration is inevitable. He so longs to be one with another that nothing should come in between them, not even the thought of "I" and "thou". But he has chosen a wrong medium for the fulfillment of his longings.

No two persons can come so close to each other that the thought of "I" and "thou" cannot come in between them. It is impossible. Only two non-persons, non egos, can achieve this unity and oneness. And since God is a non-person, a devotee can be one with him the day he ceases to be a person, an ego. As long as a devotee remains a separate entity, fusion with God is impossible.

God is not an entity as a devotee is; God's being is like non-being, his presence is like an absence. This aspect of God is significant! and needs to be understood rightly.

We always ask, all devotees have asked why God does not manifest himself. We forget that if he becomes manifest, meeting with him in the sense of fusion, unity, oneness, will be impossible. Such fusion is possible only with the unmanifest. Devotees have always said to God, "Where are you hiding? Why don't you manifest yourself?" This is an utterly wrong question. If he really becomes manifest, then a great wall will rise up between the seeker and the sought, and oneness will be simply impossible.

Because he is unmanifest, a merger with God is possible. Because he is invisible and infinite like the sky, the devotee can drown himself in his being, which is as good as non-being. He is visible nowhere, and so he is everywhere. If he becomes visible, union will be impossible,

Eckhart, a seer of extraordinary vision, has expressed his thanks to God in a strange way. He says to God, "Your compassion is infinite that you are so invisible no one can see you, no one can find and meet you. One reaches for you everywhere and you are nowhere to be found. And this is your singular compassion for man, because this way you teach him a lesson. The lesson is that unless a person becomes as invisible as you are, unless he becomes a non-being, an absence like you, union with you is impossible." God is formless, and so when a devotee becomes as formless, when he becomes a non-entity, an absence, he becomes one with the ultimate.

If there is any obstruction in the way of meet. ing and merging, it is from the side of the devotee, not from God.

A sthitaprajna is a devotee who has disappeared, who has become nothing. Now he does not even cry for God, because there is no one who will cry. Now he does not pray, because who will pray to whom? Or we can say, in the words of Kabir, that whatever he does now is worship, whatever he says is prayer. We can say it both ways: he is nothingness and he is all. A sthitaprajna is a man who has become God-like.

A devotee is one who has set himself on God's path, who is a pilgrim, but he yet remains a man; all his hopes and aspirations are those of a man. Meera's songs are a case in point. She cries for God, she dances for God. Her songs are superb in the sense that they are so human. Her cries are the cries of a lover, a devotee. She says, "I have made a beautiful bed for you, please come and grace it. I have opened the door and I have been waiting long for you." These are all human feelings. So a devotee is one who is yet human aspiring to be God, to melt in him, be lost in him.

A sthitaprajna, one steadied in his intelligence, has ceased to be a man, an ego. He has ceased to be a pilgrim; he has stopped all movements. He is not going anywhere. Now the question of going anywhere does not arise; he is where he is. Now he knows God is everywhere and only God is. He knows God is eternal, he is eternity itself. But unless we become as invisible as he is, unless we become nobodies, we cannot find him. Jesus says, "He who saved himself will be lost; he who loses himself will be saved." The sthitaprajna has lost himself, and he is saved, he has arrived.

A devotee is only an aspirant, a seeker. So he is yet an ego, his ego is intact. By and by, his ego will be burnt in the fire of experience and understanding. Kabir says, "As I wandered around searching for God I lost myself." This is the miracle of the spiritual search: the day one loses himself the search is complete. As soon as the seeker disappears, God, the sought, appears.

In fact, the seeker is the sought. Lao Tzu's words in this context are of tremendous significance. He says, "Seek and you will not find. Do not seek and you will find, because Tao is here and now." One really misses God or truth or whatever you call it, just because he seeks him. How can you seek something which is here and now? Seeking means that what you seek is not here, it is there, somewhere else. Because of seeking you drift away from reality.

Someone goes to Kashi, another goes to Mecca, some others go to Gaya, Jerusalem and Kailas; one can even come to Manali. But they are all deviating, drifting away from reality or truth, which is here and now. But so long as a seeker goes on seeking and searching, he also goes on losing himself. And the day he is dead tired, the day he loses himself completely and falls down to the ground, he finds he is in reality; It does not matter whether he falls down in Manali or Mecca, in Kashi or Jerusalem, in Girnar or Gaya -- wherever he falls he finds him present. God is ever-present, he is present everywhere, but our own presence prevents us from meeting him. The moment the seeker becomes absent, God or truth is present. God is always present, he is eternally present.

The devotee is one who is present, who is an ego. The sthitaprajna is not, he is absent as an ego, a self.

It has to be clearly understood: so long as the devotee is present, God is absent. For this reason the devotee creates a substitute God, a proxy God. He makes a statue of God, or he builds a temple of God; this is proxy. But this is not going to help, because it is the devotee's own creation, it is his own projection. Soon he will be fed up and disillusioned with such games. How can a God of his own making satisfy him? He will realize the unreality of the whole game; he will throw away the statue, the proxy, and he will now seek for the real.

But reality comes into being only when I die as an ego, when I am not. Reality has a single condition: that I should disappear. My being is the wall; my non being is the door.

This is the difference between a sthitaprajna and a devotee. While a devotee is a wall, the sthitaprajna has become a door. In fact we are all walls, but a devotee is a wall with a difference. While we are comfortably settled in our position as walls, the devotee has begun to move away from the wall to the door.


Next: Chapter 20: Base your Rule on the Rule, Question 4


Energy Enhancement           Enlightened Texts            Krishna            Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy



Chapter 20






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