Taoism - Daoism - Tao - Dao



There Is No Meaning

Second Question



Energy Enhancement          Enlightened Texts          Taoism          Tao: The three treasures



The second question:

Question 2


The first part of the question:


I AM NOT SAYING that you should remain in the middle. If you try to remain in the middle you will never be in the middle. The middle is a balance; you cannot try to be there. You will have to lean to the left, you will have to lean to the right. Don't cling to any position. Be free. And between leaning to the left and leaning to the right, somewhere a subtle point arises in you. It is not outside of you. If you go to look outside there is left and right; there is no middle.

It is just like time. Space and time are together. Try to understand. If you look at the clock there is past and there is future, there is no present. Your clock never says what the present is -- it cannot say, because the moment it has said it, it is already the past. So the hands of the clock move from the past to the future; there is no present in your clock -- cannot be. Present is not part of time. You have learned in your schools and your universities that the present is part of time -- that is absurd. Present is not part of time. You have heard it repeated so many times that time is divided into three tenses -- past, present and future -- that it has become a conditioning in your mind. No. Time has only two divisions: past and future.

Then where is the present? The present is in you. If you look out, you will find past and future; if you look in, you will find the present and always the present. There is no past and no future -- there cannot be.

Inwards you move, and you move into the eternity of the present; outwards you move, either you move into the past or you move into the future.

And the same is true about space -- in space there is either left or right. If you lean towards the left it is outside, if you lean towards the right it is also outside. But if you gain a balance between the two, suddenly you are in. The middle point is within you, it is not a part of space outside. In fact, the present and the middle are together. Whenever you are in the present you are in the middle, whenever you are in the middle you are in the present. The middle is not a position outside you. It is an inner phenomenon just like the present.

So when I say or Lao Tzu says, "Be balanced," we are not saying make balance a static phenomenon in your life. It cannot be static, you will have to continuously maintain it, moving to the left and the right. In that movement sometimes you will pass the innermost point of your being and suddenly you will be in the middle. And suddenly you will find an implosion -- not an explosion. Implosion. Something inside implodes; suddenly you are no more the same. Whenever you pass the position of the middle inside, you are no more the same -- you become intensely alive, you become intensely innocent, you become intensely pure and holy. In that moment there exists no darkness for you, no sin, no guilt. You are divine, you are a God whenever you can find that balance. But you cannot find it once and for all -- no. Life is always a constant balancing, a continuity, a continuum. You cannot make it a commodity that you purchased once and now it is always there in your house. No. If you are not aware you will miss it again and again.

This is the first part of your question: the middle is not a fixed point outside. You can reach it from either point, or try to gain a balance moment to moment between the opposites -- hate in love, anger in compassion.

Go on balancing between the opposites. By and by you will come to feel the knack of it. Somewhere between hate and love it happens. I say "somewhere" -- the point cannot be figured out; it is such an alive phenomenon that you cannot pinpoint it. It is just like butterflies flying in the garden -- if you catch a butterfly and pin it down it is dead. You can pin it down but it is no more a butterfly, the life has left it.

Just like a butterfly is the inner balance, you cannot pin it down. That's why it is indefinable, elusive. Says Lao Tzu: The Tao that can be said is no more Tao. The truth that can be uttered has already become untrue. Indian scriptures say "That" cannot be known by scriptures. nayam atma pravachanen labhya. You cannot understand "That" by any verbal communication. "That" is elusive because it is so alive. By the time you reach it the butterfly has gone. Just go and see. Move in the garden. You come nearer and nearer and the butterfly is getting ready to take off. When you are nearly at the point of catching it it has left the flower, it is already on another tree. You cannot pin it down. If you can, it is dead.

I was reading just yesterday one of the very perceptive poets of the West, Wallace Stevens. In one of his maxims he says Aristotle is a skeleton. I liked it. Logic is a skeleton. Logic is always of the dead, of death. It does not belong to life. Anything fixed is always dead -- that's why I say marriage is a butterfly pinned down; love is an alive phenomenon.

You can define marriage, you cannot define love. Even a court can decide what marriage is or is not, but nobody can decide what love is. Marriage is legal; love transcends all legality -- something of the unknown penetrates into love, into the phenomenon of love.

Inner balance cannot be pinned down, you will have to find the knack of it. And you can find it -- because if I can find it, why not you? If Lao Tzu can find it, why not you? If one man finds the inner balance, the inner tranquility, the inner still small voice, the inner knack that passeth all understanding, then every human being becomes capable of it. In Lao Tzu is your future, your possibility. You can also do it.

You say:


Don't try to remain in the middle, forget about the middle. You just try to be balanced. Move into the opposites but always remain alert so that someday you can find the balance between the two. And you are doing it -- only awareness is needed. Just a moment before you were happy, then in another moment you are unhappy. You have moved to the opposite. You must have passed through the middle. How can you move to the opposite without passing through the middle? Maybe you passed it for only a fragment of a second, but that is not the point; you passed it. If you had been a little alert you would have known where the middle was. Just now you are so silent, then a single minute passes and your whole mind starts chattering. You must have passed the middle somewhere.

When a man dies he is alive just a moment before, then he is dead. If he is alert he will find the middle which is beyond death and life, which is deathless. But he is not alert. You have died many times; millions of times, in fact, you have passed the middle but you are not alert. And every day you pass the middle many times, thousands of times: compassion and anger, a man feeling so good and suddenly so bad, a man feeling so saintly in the morning.... Look at people praying near the Ganges or in the temple -- look at their faces, so beautiful. The ugliest faces become beautiful when there is prayer. And then look at them in the market -- even the most beautiful face looks ugly. They must have passed it somewhere -- from the temple to the market there must have been a middle point -- but they were not aware.

So what is to be done? Don't try to be in the middle. I'm not saying try a little anger and a little compassion together -- no. I'm not saying try to be in the middle -- you will go mad. I am saying move from one opposite to another, but move so alertly that you can find the middle point inside you. The moment you find the middle point, for the first time you become the master of your life. Up to now you have been just a slave. For the first time you become awake -- up to now you have been fast asleep.

And the second part of the question:


Nobody has ever been able to experience the whole absurdity of the mind. It is infinite. You will not be able to experience the whole of it; it is very creative, it goes on creating new absurdities. You have been here in this existence so long and yet you have not been able to experience the whole absurdity of it. You are not for the first time on this planet earth, you have been here before. I can see your ancient faces, hidden behind your fresh skin. You are ancient ones.

There was a teacher in Buddha's time in India; his name was Prakuddha Katyayana. He was a rare teacher. He always addressed his disciples as ancient ones. Even if a child came to see Prakuddha Katyayana he would say, "How are you, ancient one?" Because everyone is so old, older than the earth. The earth is not very old, just... in fact, very young, adolescent. But you are older than the earth, you have been on other planets. You are older than the sun. You have been here since existence has been here, otherwise it is not possible -- you cannot suddenly bubble up. How can you happen so suddenly? You have been here all the way.

One of the most important American psychologists, William James, was writing a book which became a very important milestone in the history of psychology and religion. The name of the book is VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. He traveled all around the world to collect material for the book. Many books have been written since then on religion, but no book has yet reached that peak. William James worked hard on it. He also came to India, he had to -- if you are writing a book on religion then India becomes a must.

He came to India and he went to see a sage in the Himalayas. He does not give the name; in fact sages have no names, so there is no need. He went to see the sage and he asked a question. He had been reading an Indian scripture in which it is said that the earth is supported on eight white elephants.

He was puzzled -- he was a logician -- so he asked the sage, "This looks absurd. On what are those eight elephants standing? How are they supported?"

The sage said, "On another eight white and bigger elephants."

William James said, "But that doesn't solve the problem. On what are those bigger white elephants standing? "

The sage laughed and he said, "Elephants on elephants, elephants on elephants, all the way down. You can go on asking," said the sage, "and I will go on answering the same thing -- to the very bottom."

So William James thought that once more the question could be asked: "And on what is that bottom being supported?" The sage said, "Of course, eight bigger elephants."

It goes on and on -- of course it has to be so. If you move backwards you will find yourself again and again and again. Otherwise how could you be here? You are supported by your past life, that's why you are here. And your past life is supported by another past life -- that's why you were in your past life. And this goes on and on and you cannot ask, "How did I come for the first time?" You never came for the first time because even before that you were. Even before the first time you were supported by a past life -- elephants on elephants, elephants on elephants. Hindus are really beautiful. They create absurd stories, but those stories have deep meanings and significances. You are here only because the whole past -- not your past, the whole past of existence -- is supporting you. You are the whole past and yet you have not been able to exhaust all the absurdities. Do you think it will ever be possible to exhaust all the absurdities of the mind? No, nobody has ever been able to. If you become aware, even one day is enough. If you remain unaware, even millions of lives are not enough. If you become aware, even a single moment is enough to see the absurdity of the mind. And if you go on sleeping and snoring then you can go on sleeping and snoring. That's how you have been in the past, the same you can be in the future.

No, by sleeping you will never exhaust the absurdities of the mind. Don't hope; that is hopeless. That cannot be done. It is impossible. Become alert. It is time, in fact it is already getting late. Become alert, and suddenly you can see. Because absurdities cannot be exhausted by experiencing, they can only be exhausted by experiencing with awareness. By experience alone you will not be able to exhaust them.

You love one woman but the relationship becomes stale and everything goes wrong. Then you start thinking of another woman. The mind says, "This woman is not right for you, but there exists a right woman. You try to find her. You got hooked with the wrong woman, that's why the problem has arisen." The problem has not arisen because of this woman -- remember. If you are alert you will see the problem has arisen because of desire, not because of this woman. But the mind says, "Leave this woman, divorce, move to another." And with another the same thing happens -- the mind again says, "Find someone else." And you go on and on and on. And the mind will always hope that somebody will turn up someday and everything will be right, and you will be in heaven.

It has not happened, it is not going to happen. Otherwise there would be no need of religion, no need of yoga, no need of Tao. By and by everybody would have come to the right life -- but it never happens. But hope goes on winning over experience, and to the very end you go on hoping that someday, somehow, everything will be good.

Hope is the basis of all absurdities and the existence is such that with ignorance and a sleeping mind there is no hope. Become alert.

It happened: Alexander was coming towards India. He met Diogenes on the way. Diogenes was a rare Being -- if Diogenes had met Lao Tzu, they both would have sat and laughed and laughed and laughed. They are of the same quality.

Alexander was passing. He heard that Diogenes was just nearby so he went to see him. Even Alexander was impressed by the man, even Alexander felt puny before him. Diogenes was a naked fakir, he had nothing, but his being was such -- so magnetic, so powerful -- that Alexander was impressed, very impressed. In fact it is said that he was never impressed again by any other man.

He asked the secret of it: "How have you become so powerful, not having anything? And I am a world conqueror, I have almost won the whole world. Just a little more is left; soon I will finish. And you -- a naked man, having nothing -- what is the secret of your happiness?"

Diogenes is reported to have said, "I renounced hope. That is the secret. And I tell you, you also renounce hope; otherwise you will always suffer."

Alexander said, "I will come to you to learn the secret, but not now. I am on the way -- half the world, more than half the world I have won, but there is a remaining part. I have to become a world conqueror, then I will come."

Diogenes said, "Nobody has ever been a world conqueror. Something or other always remains to be done. The dream is never complete and the desire is never fulfilled. If you really understand me, and if you really see that I am happy without bothering about winning the whole world, then you can also be happy without it."

Logically, intellectually, Alexander understood it. But he said, "I will come later. This is not the right time for me."

When he was leaving Diogenes, Diogenes said, "Remember, you will die before you have conquered the world; everybody has died and you cannot be an exception. "

And it happened. Alexander never reached back home. Returning from India, he died on the way. He must have remembered Diogenes, that naked fakir, in his last moments.

And then there has been another story; I cannot vouch for it. There is a story that on the same day Diogenes also died. And they met on the way to the other world, passing the river that flows between this world and that. They met on the river. Diogenes started laughing loudly, and he said, "Look, do you remember, you fool? You died, and you died in the middle, and the victory was not complete."

Just to save his face, Alexander also tried to laugh but he could not. Just to save his face he said, "Yes, this is strange, the meeting of an emperor and a naked beggar in this river. It may not have happened before, it may not happen again."

Diogenes laughed even more uproariously and he said, "You are right, but you don't understand who is the emperor and who is the slave. And who is the emperor and who is the beggar -- that you don't know exactly. There you are wrong, otherwise you are right: it is the meeting of an emperor and a beggar, but I am the emperor and you are the beggar. You were begging for the whole world -- you are the biggest beggar ever. And I lived like an emperor, but look what has happened to your empire...."

Now even Alexander was naked -- because everything has to be left on this shore -- and he was feeling very shy and awkward, embarrassed. But Diogenes was not embarrassed. He said, "Knowing this well, that someday one has to become naked, I threw away those clothes myself. Now look how embarrassed you are feeling before God. I will stand laughing, and you will feel guilty and embarrassed and everything. Everything is wrong around you."

There is no possibility of exhausting the absurdities. Even Alexanders never exhaust them. If you want to exhaust them the only way is to become aware. The more aware you are the more absurdities look like absurdities. When they look like absurdities, when you see them as absurd, you simply stop. You don't do them anymore. There is no need to renounce anything in the world -- one has just to be aware and things which are useless, meaningless, drop by themselves, on their own accord.


Next: Chapter 6, There Is No Meaning, Third Question


Energy Enhancement          Enlightened Texts          Taoism          Tao: The three treasures



Chapter 6






Search Search web