The University of Inner Alchemy
(This chapter does not exist in the new edition. Questions and answers from this chapter has been included in the "Responses to Questions" of Chapter 4 of the new edited version)
The first question:
Yes and No!
Prem Madhu, man is a dilemma, he is both yes and no. It is not abnormal in you, it is the normal state of humankind. Man is half earth, half sky; part matter, part consciousness; part dust, part divine. Man is a tension. Friedrich Nietzsche says "a rope stretched between two infinities."
The past is that of an animal and the future is that of God. And between the two is man -- half animal, half angel. The no comes from the past, the yes is a possibility for the future. Doubt comes from darkness, trust is the by-product of light. The higher self in you is always trusting, the lower is cunning and always doubting. And you are both, as you are now.
Man is naturally schizophrenic. Schizophrenia is not a disease; it is not pathology, it is the state of normal human beings. It starts looking like a pathology only when it goes to the extreme, when yes and no are so divided that there is not even an "and" to bridge them. When they become unbridgeable, then it becomes pathological. Otherwise every human being is always in a kind of duality, in a state of either/or. No other animal is in that state. Dogs are simply dogs, and lions are lions, and trees are trees, and rocks are rocks. They don't have any duality, there is no division.
Man is dual, double, divided. It is his misery, but it is also the possibility for his bliss. It is his agony, but out of this agony ecstasy can be born. No animal can be ecstatic except man. Have you seen any animal ecstatic -- ecstasy like a buddha, a Ramakrishna? There is no possibility of coming across an animal which is so ecstatic. Even the rosebush with so many beautiful flowers is not ecstatic in the sense Jesus is. The rosebush is simply a rosebush; there is no exuberance, there is no overflowing, there is no rejoicing. It is a matter of fact -- not that something incredible is happening, not that something from the beyond has descended, not that God has been realized, not that light has come and penetrated to the deepest core of your being and you are full of it and you are enlightened.
The bird on the wing is free, but knows nothing about freedom. Only man, even though he may be imprisoned, knows about freedom. Hence the misery; the bondage on one hand, and the vision of freedom on the other. The reality, the ugly reality, and the tremendously luminous possibility.
Man can be miserable as no other animal can ever be miserable. Have you seen any animal crying its heart out, weeping, committing suicide? Have you seen any animal laughing, a belly laughter that shakes the very foundations? No, all these things are possible only for man. Hence the grandeur of man, hence his dignity, and hence his anxiety too.
The anxiety is over whether you are going to make it or not, whether this time it is going to happen or not. The anxiety is a natural consequence of two diametrically opposite possibilities: one can fall into hell, and one can rise into heaven.
Man is just a ladder, and you move on this ladder like a yo-yo. One moment you are in heaven, another moment you are in hell. One moment suddenly the sunlit peak, another moment the darkest valley that you have ever come across. One moment love, sharing; another moment anger, miserliness. One moment such an expanded heart that you can contain the whole world, and another moment you are so mean that you cannot imagine you had this possibility to be so mean. Man goes on moving between these two infinities continuously like a pendulum.
Prem Madhu, your question is significant, because it is everybody's question. It is not a question, it is far more existential. It is a problem; no answer can help, some solution has to be searched for.
Now, there are two possibilities for the solution. One is to fall back and be satisfied with your animalness. Be satisfied -- that's what millions are trying to do; drink, eat, sleep, and forget all about the greater challenges of life. Eat, drink and be merry, because tomorrow we shall be no more. That's what the materialist says.
The materialist has accepted the lower self; he denies the higher self just in sheer self-defense. He does not deny it because he knows that it is not; no -- he knows nothing about it. He denies it because if he does not deny it then that either/or opens up again. Again one is in a problem, again something has to be done, again the at-easeness is lost. Again the journey, the wandering, and the discomfort and the inconvenience and the insecurity of the journey.
It is better to say that the higher does not exist, that there is no God, that there has never been any God, that there is no soul, that there is nothing inner, that man has no interiority, that man is just what he is from the outside, that man is his behavior and there is no soul in him.
From Pavlov to B.F. Skinner, this is what is being taught to the world by the so-called scientific psychologists, the behaviorists, that man is only behavior. There is no one inside, just as there is no one inside a machine. The machine is just a functional unity; it has no organic unity in it, it has no soul. You can dismantle it, you can rearrange it again.
That's what scientists hope, that sooner or later they will be able to dismantle man and reassemble him. At least theoretically, it seems possible for them. It is not possible. You cannot dismantle and reassemble man, because there is something which is nonmechanical in man. And that nonmechanical part is his glory. But it is better to deny it; it makes life easier, it makes life less anxious, it makes life less of a problem. You can go on living the shallow day-to-day life of so-called pleasures -- eat, drink and be merry.
Those who decide for that are renouncing the opportunity Atisha is talking about. They are renouncing the opportunity to become gods. They are settling for something very low, they are settling for something very cheap, they are missing something very essential. Yes, you can be at ease with the lower self, you can settle with the doubting self. But then there is no growth. And there will be no ecstasy, because there will never be any buddha born in you. You will never come to know anything of christ-consciousness. You will remain in darkness -- of course at ease, but what is the point of being at ease?
Far more valuable is creative discontent, far more valuable is the insecurity of the unknown, far more valuable is a homeless wandering in search of the real home.
Religion is for those who don't accept the lower as the be all and end all. I am not saying deny the lower, remember, because there are foolish people who go to the other extreme. One stupid type of people denies the higher, says it does not exist, and settles with the lower. The other stupid kind denies the lower, says there is no lower, there is only the higher. One says God is illusion, the world is truth. The other says the world is illusion, God is truth.
In my approach, both are being stupid, because both are doing the same thing. Both want to be at ease; both are denying the polar opposite, both are denying the possibility of any inner tension. And remember, it is the inner tension that gives you aliveness. And the bigger the tension, the more alive you are.
You know, you have experienced it. Everybody has experienced it, more or less -- the attraction of the opposite. A man is attracted to a woman, and vice versa -- why? The negative pole of electricity is attracted towards the positive pole, and vice versa -- why? Why the attraction for the opposite? Because in that very attraction, life arises. In that tension, how can you remain dead? In that very tension you start pulsating.
Those who settle and choose one against the other become stale, become dead. The materialist becomes superficial, and your so-called spiritualist also becomes phony. Your so-called materialist lives with shallow pleasures, and your so-called spiritualist lives in imagination, in fantasy. Both are missing life and its life-giving tensions. Man has to live with both, and in such a way that neither is denied and yet both become complementary to each other. Yes need not be against no; there is no necessity that the no should be against the yes. They can define each other, they can nourish each other.
That's my whole effort here. I bring you a new dispensation, that the earth and the sky have to be accepted together. Body and soul, the world and God, have to be accepted together. Nothing is wrong in the lower, the lower has to become the base for the higher. The lower has to function as the foundation; if you deny it you won't have any foundation.
That's why religious countries, for example India, became poorer and poorer and poorer. They lost their foundations and became very phony. How can you be true if you deny something which is all around you and so real? If you say the world is illusion, maya, how can you be true? You know it is not.
Even the person who says that the world is maya does not try to pass through the wall, he goes through the door. If both are maya, illusion, what is the difference? Can you find any difference between two illusions? Is one a little less an illusion and the other a little more? Even the person who says the world is illusion does not start eating stones. What is the difference between bread and stones then? Both are illusions, both are dreams.
But by denying the world you lose contact with the reality. That's what happened in the East, particularly in India. India became disoriented from reality, it lost its roots in the earth. It became unearthly, a little ghostly. That's my experience of India -- India is a ghost, it has lost its body. And nobody else is responsible for it. It could not gather courage to accept the polar opposites. It became poor, it became ugly, it became ill.
India chose this so that it could be at ease with the higher. But the higher can exist only with the lower; this is one thing more of great importance to be remembered. The lower can exist without the higher -- it will remain unfulfilled, but it can exist. The higher cannot even exist without the lower.
You cannot have a building -- a temple, a church -- without the foundations. But you can have the foundations without making the temple. That is possible because the lower comes first and the higher comes later. The lower can come, and the higher may not come.
The East tried the higher without the lower, the temple without the foundations. Now, such a temple can only be in your imagination, it cannot exist in reality. And it creates hypocrisy. The greatest hypocrisy possible in the world has happened in India. The hypocrisy is: we have to live in the lower because the lower is the real, and we have to deny it and talk about the higher. And because the lower is denied, the higher cannot have any substance; it is dream stuff. So people are very much obsessed with money, but they talk of God; obsessed with politics and power, and they talk of God. That remains just talk.
In the West, just the opposite has happened. The lower was accepted, for the same reason -- because if there is only one, you can relax. You can drop the creative discontent if there is only one. Hence the attraction for the one; it is an attraction towards suicide.
Think of a world where only men exist and no women. There will be no tension, certainly. There will be great brotherhood, everybody will be gay -- literally gay! But life will lose something, something of immense importance -- there will be no tension. It will be like having loose strings on a sitar; you cannot create music. You have to make them tight and tense, only then can you strike music out of them, only then can the hidden become manifest. With loose strings on a sitar how can you create music? They have to be tight, in a certain tension. Only great masters know how much tension is the right tension. And in the right tension the greatest melody is possible.
I teach you the right tension between the lower and the higher, between the body and the soul, between the earth and heaven; a right tension with no antagonism. The lower has not to be denied for the higher, neither has the higher to be denied for the lower. They are together, they are two aspects of the same reality, they interpenetrate.
So I don't say drop your doubt, I don't say drop your no. I say let your no become the tension for your yes, let your no become the background for your yes. Let your no create the context in which the yes will be more meaningful. Only in contrast does meaning arise. You write with white chalk on a blackboard -- why? Because only in contrast will the white show; it will be loud and clear. Let no become the blackboard, and yes the white writing on it.
Your trust should not be a blind trust, your trust should be a trust which has eyes. Your trust should not be an impotent trust, a trust which is trust because you are impotent to say no. Your trust should be alive, strong and vital. Your trust will be capable of saying no. Say yes and yet retain the capacity to say no, then you will be surprised -- your yes has such sharpness, such brilliance, such intelligence! Then it is not blind, it has eyes to see.
Use no as a foundation for yes, use doubt as manure for the rosebush. Use everything that God has given to you. Nothing, nothing at all, has to be denied; all has to be absorbed, because nothing is unessential or unimportant. Even though sometimes it looks unessential and unimportant, even though sometimes it looks positively harmful and poisonous, it has not to be denied. It has not to be thrown out, because later on, on the way, as you become wiser you will repent if you threw something away, because you will need it in some situation. There are moments when poison is needed as medicine. There are moments of wisdom when just the touch of the wise man and the poison becomes nectar.
I want you to become alchemists. This is an alchemical school, a university for inner alchemy. We are trying to change the baser metal into gold. So remember, I accept your no too, I love your no too. I accept all that you are. I accept all that you are not, even that too. You are accepted whatsoever you are, and you are accepted whatsoever you are not. You are accepted in totality.
From my side there is no question of denying anything, but of transforming it.
The second question:
What is the ego? Remaining unenlightened, are we always functioning through the ego or are there moments when we are free of it?
Prem parijat, man has no center separate from the center of the whole. There is only one center in existence; the ancients used to call it Tao, dhamma, God. Those words have become old now; you can call it truth. There is only one center of existence. There are not many centers, otherwise the universe would not be really a universe, it would become a multiverse. It is a unity, hence it is called the "universe"; it has only one center.
But this is to be meditated upon a little. That one center is my center, your center, everybody's center. That one center does not mean that you are centerless, that one center simply means that you don't have a separate center. Let us say it in different words. You can make many concentric circles on one center, many circles. You can throw a pebble in a silent lake: one center arises from the fall of the pebble and then many concentric circles arise and they go on spreading to the farthest shore -- millions of concentric circles, but they all have one center.
Each can claim this center as his own. And in a way it is his center, but it is not only his. The ego arises with the claim, "The center is mine, separate. It is not your center, it is my center; it is me." The idea of a separate center is the root of the ego.
When a child is born he comes without a center of his own. For nine months in the mother's womb he functions with the mother's center as his center; he is not separate. Then he is born. Then it is utilitarian to think of oneself as having a separate center; otherwise life will become very difficult, almost impossible. To survive, and to struggle for survival in the fight of life, everybody needs a certain idea of who they are. And nobody has any idea. In fact nobody can ever have any idea, because at the deepest core you are a mystery. You can't have any idea of it. At the deepest core you are not individual, you are universal.
That's why if you ask the Buddha, "Who are you?" he remains silent, he does not answer it. He cannot, because now he is no more separate. He is the whole. But in ordinary life even Buddha has to use the word 'I'. If he feels thirsty he has to say, "I am thirsty. Ananda, bring me a little water, I am thirsty."
To be exactly right, he should say, "Ananda, bring some water. The universal center is a little thirsty." But that will look a little odd. And to say it again and again -- sometimes the universal center is hungry, and sometimes the universal center is feeling a little cold, and sometimes the universal center is tired -- it will be unnecessary, absolutely unnecessary. So he continues to use the old meaningful word 'I'. It is very meaningful; even though a fiction, it is still meaningful. But many fictions are meaningful.
For example, you have a name. That is a fiction. You came without a name, you did not bring a name with you, the name was given to you. Then by constant repetition you start becoming identified with it. You know your name is Rama or Rahim or Krishna. It goes so deep that if all you three thousand sannyasins fall asleep here and somebody comes and calls, "Rama, where are you?" nobody will hear except Rama. Rama will say, "Who has come to disturb my sleep?" Even in sleep he knows his name; it has reached to the unconscious, it has seeped through and through. But it is a fiction.
But when I say it is a fiction I don't mean it is unnecessary. It is necessary fiction, it is useful; otherwise how are you going to address people? If you want to write a letter to somebody, to whom are you going to write?
A small child once wrote a letter to God. His mother was ill and his father had died and they had no money, so he asked God for fifty rupees.
When the letter reached the post office they were at a loss -- what to do with it? Where to send it? It was simply addressed to God. So they opened it. They felt very sorry for the little boy and they decided to collect some money and send it to him. They collected some money; he had asked for fifty rupees but they could collect only forty.
The next letter came, again addressed to God, and the boy had written, "Dear Sir, please next time when you send the money, send it directly to me, don't send it through the post office. They have taken their commission -- ten rupees!"
It will be difficult if nobody has a name. Although nobody has a name in reality, still, it is a beautiful fiction, helpful. And nobody knows it more than I do, because I don't think anybody in the whole history of humanity has given as many names as I have given. You can count on me!
Names are needed for others to call you, 'I' is needed for you to call yourself, but it is just a fiction. If you go deep into yourself you will find the name has disappeared, the idea of 'I' has disappeared; there is left only a pure am-ness, is-ness, existence, being.
And that being is not separate, it is not yours and mine; that being is the being of all. Rocks, rivers, mountains, trees, all are included. It is all-inclusive, it excludes nothing. The whole past, the whole future, this immense universe, everything is included in it. The deeper you go into yourself, the more and more you will find that persons don't exist, that individuals don't exist. Then what exists is a pure universalness. On the circumference we have names, egos, identities. When we jump from the circumference towards the center, all those identities disappear.
The ego is just a useful fiction.
Use it, but don't be deceived by it.
Parijat, you also ask, "Remaining unenlightened, are we always functioning through the ego or are there moments when we are free of it?"
Because it is a fiction, there are moments when you are free of it. Because it is a fiction, it can remain there only if you go on maintaining it. A fiction needs great maintenance. Truth needs no maintenance, that is the beauty of truth. But a fiction? You have constantly to paint it, to give it a prop here and there, and it is constantly collapsing. By the time you have managed to prop up one side, the other side starts collapsing.
And that's what people go on doing their whole life, trying to make the fiction seem as if it is the truth. Have more money, then you can have a bigger ego, a little more solid than the ego of the poor man. The poor man's ego is thin; he can't afford a thicker ego. Become the prime minister or president of a country, and your ego is puffed up to extremes. Then you don't walk on the earth.
Our whole life, the search for money, power, prestige, this and that, is nothing but a search for new props, a search for new supports, to somehow keep the fiction going. And all the time you know death is coming. Whatsoever you make, death is going to destroy it. But still one goes on hoping against hope -- maybe everybody else dies, but not you.
And in a way it is true. You have always seen other people dying, you have never seen yourself dying, so it seems true also, logical also. This person dies, that person dies, and you never die. You are always there to feel sorry for them, you always go with them to the cemetery to say goodbye, and then you are back home again.
Don't be deceived by it, because all those people were doing the same thing. And nobody is an exception. Death comes and destroys the whole fiction of your name, your fame. Death comes and simply effaces all; not even footprints are left. Whatsoever we go on making out of our life is nothing but writing on water -- not even on sand, but on water. You have not even written it, and it is gone. You cannot even read it; before you could have read it, it is gone.
But we go on trying to make these castles in the air. Because it is a fiction, it needs constant maintenance, constant effort, day and night. And nobody can be so careful for twenty-four hours. So sometimes, in spite of you, there are moments when you have a glimpse of reality without the ego functioning as a barrier. Without the screen of the ego, there are moments -- in spite of you, remember. Everybody once in a while has those moments.
For example, every night when you fall deeply into sleep, and the sleep is so deep that you cannot even dream, then the ego is no more found; all the fictions are gone. Deep dreamless sleep is a kind of small death. In dreams there is a possibility that you may still manage to remember it. People go on managing to maintain their ego even in their dreams.
That's why psychoanalysis tries to go deep into your dreams, because there is less possibility of you maintaining your identity; more loopholes can be found there. In the daytime you are very alert and on guard, continuously there with a shield to protect your ego. In dreams sometimes you forget. But the people who have been studying dreams say that even in dreams the protection remains; it becomes a little more subtle.
For example, you see in a dream that you have killed your uncle. If you go deep into it you will be surprised: you wanted to kill your father, but you killed your uncle. You deceived yourself, the ego played a game. You are such a good guy, how can you kill your own father? And the uncle looks like your father, although nobody really wants to kill their uncle. Uncles are always nice people -- who wants to kill one's uncle? And who does not want to kill one's own father?
There is bound to be great antagonism between the father and the son. The father has to discipline the son, he has to curb and cut his freedom and order him and force him to obey. And nobody wants to obey and be disciplined and given shoulds and should-nots. The father is so powerful that the son feels jealous. And the greatest jealousy is that the son wants the mother to be completely his own, and this father always comes in between, he is always there. And not only does the son feel jealous of the father, the father also feels jealous of the son because he is always there between his wife and him.
Mulla Nasruddin's son got married. He came home with his wife and with his friends and relatives; the whole house was full. He went out for something and when he came back he was very much taken aback -- his father was hugging his wife and kissing her. This was too much! This is not allowed. He was very angry and said, "What are you doing?"
The father said, "And what have you been doing your whole life? You have been kissing and hugging my wife -- and I never said anything to you."
He may not have said anything, but he must have felt like it. There is an antagonism between the father and the son, between the daughter and the mother -- a natural antagonism, a natural jealousy. The daughter wants to possess the father but the mother is there; she looks like the enemy.
Uncles are very beautiful people, but in a dream you will not kill your own father. Your moral conscience, part of your ego, will prevent you from doing such a thing. You will find a substitute; this is a strategy.
If you minutely observe your dreams you will find many strategies the ego is still trying to play. The ego cannot accept the fact: "I am killing my own father? I am such an obedient son, respectful towards my father, loving him so much -- and I am trying to kill my father?" The ego won't accept the idea; the ego shifts the idea a little bit to the side. The uncle looks almost like the father; kill the uncle, that seems easier. The uncle is only a substitute. This is what goes on even in dreams.
But in dreamless sleep the ego completely disappears, because when there is no thinking, no dreaming, how can you carry a fiction? But dreamless sleep is very small. In eight hours of healthy sleep it is not more than two hours. But only those two hours are revitalizing. If you have two hours of deep dreamless sleep, in the morning you are new, fresh, alive. Life again has a thrill to it, the day seems to be a gift. Everything seems to be new, because you are new. And everything seems to be beautiful, because you are in a beautiful space.
What happened in these two hours when you fell into deep sleep -- what Patanjali calls sushupti, dreamless sleep? The ego disappeared. And the disappearance of the ego has revitalized you, rejuvenated you. With the disappearance of the ego, even though in deep unconsciousness, you had a taste of God.
Patanjali says there is not much difference between sushupti, dreamless sleep, and samadhi, the ultimate state of buddhahood -- not much difference, although there is a difference. The difference is that of consciousness. In dreamless sleep you are unconscious, in samadhi you are conscious, but the state is the same. You move into God, you move into the universal center. You disappear from the circumference and you go to the center. And just that contact with the center so rejuvenates you.
People who cannot sleep are really miserable people, very miserable people. They have lost a natural source of being in contact with God. They have lost a natural passage into the universal; a door has closed.
This century is the first century which is suffering from sleeplessness. We have closed all the other doors; now we are closing the last door, the door of sleep. That seems to be the last disconnection from the universal energy -- the greatest danger. And now there are foolish people in the world who are writing books, and with very logical acumen, saying that sleep is not needed at all, it is a wastage of time. They are right, it is a wastage of time. For people who think in terms of money and work, people who are workaholics, for them it is a wastage of time.
Just as there is now Alcoholics Anonymous, soon we will need Workaholics Anonymous. I propose Morarji Desai's name for the president of Workaholics Anonymous.
People who are obsessed with work, they have to be constantly on the go. They cannot rest, they cannot relax. Even when they are dying, they will be doing something or other.
These people are now suggesting that sleep is unnecessary. They are suggesting that sleep is really an unnecessary hangover from the past. They say that in the past, when there was no electricity and no fire, out of necessity people had to sleep. Now there is no need. It is just an old habit imbibed in millions of years; it has to be dropped. Their idea is that in the future sleep will disappear.
And the same is happening behind the iron curtain in Russia too. They are creating new devices so that people can be taught things while they are asleep -- a new kind of education, so time is not wasted. It is the last torture that we are going to invent for children. We invented the school; we are not satisfied with that. Small children, imprisoned in schools....
In India, schools and prisons used to be painted the same way, the same color. And they were the same type of building -- ugly, with no aesthetic sense, with no trees and birds and animals around them, so that children would not be distracted. Otherwise, who will listen to the foolish mathematics teacher when a cuckoo suddenly starts calling from the window? Or a deer comes into the class, and the teacher is teaching you geography or history.... Children will be distracted, so they have to be taken away from nature, away from society. They have to be forced to sit on hard benches for five hours, six hours, seven hours.
This goes on for years together. Almost one third of life is spent in schools. You have made slaves of them. In their remaining life they will remain workaholics; they will not be able to have a real holiday.
Now these people are thinking, why waste the night time? So children can be put into night education. They will be asleep in bed but their ears will be connected to a central school, and in a very very subtle subliminal way, messages will be put into their heads. They will be programmed.
And it has been found that they can learn more easily in this way than they learn while they are awake. Naturally, because when you are awake, howsoever you are protected, a thousand and one things distract your mind. And children are so full of energy that everything attracts them; they are continuously distracted. That is just energy, nothing else; there is no sin in it. They are not dead, that's why they are distracted.
A dog starts barking, somebody starts fighting outside, somebody plays a trick on the teacher or somebody tells a joke -- and there are a thousand and one things which go on distracting them. But when a child is asleep -- and deeply asleep, when dreams are not there -- there is no distraction at all. Now that dreamless sleep can be used as part of pedagogy.
It seems we are in every way ready to disconnect ourselves from the universal source of being. Now, these children will be the ugliest possible, because even when there was a possibility of being lost completely beyond the ego, that has also been taken away. The last possibility of ego disappearance is then no longer available. When they could have been in contact with God, they will be taught some rubbish history. The dates when Genghis Khan was born -- who bothers, who cares? In fact if Genghis Khan had never been born, that would have been far better. That's what I wrote in my paper, and my teacher was very angry. I had to stand for twenty-four hours outside the class, because I had written, "It is unfortunate that he was born. It would have been very fortunate if he had not been born at all."
But kings and emperors, they go on and on being born just to torture small children; they have to remember the dates and the names for no reason at all. A better kind of education will drop all this crap. Ninety percent of it is crap, and the remaining ten percent can be very much improved. And then life can have more joy, more rest, more relaxation.
Because the ego is a fiction, it disappears sometimes. The greatest time is dreamless sleep. So make it a point that sleep is very valuable; don't miss it for any reason. Slowly slowly, make sleep a regular thing. Because the body is a mechanism, if you follow a regular pattern of sleep the body will find it easier and the mind will find it easier to disappear.
Go to bed at exactly the same time. Don't take it literally -- if one day you are late you will not be sent to hell or anything! I have to be cautious, because there are a few people here who are health freaks. Their only disease is that they are continuously thinking of health. If they stop thinking of health they will be perfectly well. But if you can make your sleep a regular thing, going to bed at almost the same time and getting up at almost the same time... the body is a mechanism, the mind is too, and it simply slips into dreamless sleep at a certain moment.
The second greatest source of egoless experiences is sex, love. That too has been destroyed by the priests; they have condemned it, so it is no longer such a great experience. Such a condemnation for so long, it has conditioned the minds of people. Even while they are making love, they know deep down that they are doing something wrong. Some guilt is lurking somewhere. And this is so even for the most modern, the most contemporary, even the younger generation.
On the surface you may have revolted against the society, on the surface you may be a conformist no more. But things have gone very deep; it is not a question of revolting on the surface. You can grow long hair, that won't help much. You can become a hippy and stop taking baths, that won't help much. You can become a dropout in every possible way that you can imagine and think of, but that won't help really, because things have gone too deep and all these are superficial measures.
For thousands of years we have been told that sex is the greatest sin. It has become part of our blood, bone and marrow. So even if you know consciously that there is nothing wrong in it, the unconscious keeps you a little detached, afraid, guilt-ridden, and you cannot move into it totally.
If you can move into lovemaking totally, the ego disappears, because at the highest peak, at the highest climax of lovemaking, you are pure energy. The mind cannot function. With such joy, with such an outburst of energy, the mind simply stops. It is such an upsurge of energy that the mind is at a loss, it does not know what to do now. It is perfectly capable of remaining in function in normal situations, but when anything very new and very vital happens it stops. And sex is the most vital thing.
If you can go deeply into lovemaking, the ego disappears. That is the beauty of lovemaking, that it is another source of a glimpse of God -- just like deep sleep but far more valuable, because in deep sleep you will be unconscious. In lovemaking you will be conscious -- conscious yet without the mind.
Hence the great science of Tantra became possible. Patanjali and yoga worked on the lines of deep sleep; they chose that path to transform deep sleep into a conscious state so you know who you are, so you know what you are at the center.
Tantra chose lovemaking as a window towards God. The path of yoga is very long, because to transform unconscious sleep into consciousness is very arduous; it may take many lives. And who knows, you may or may not be able to persist for so long, persevere for so long, be patient for so long. So the fate that has fallen on yoga is this, that the so-called yogis go on only doing body postures. They never go deeper than that; that takes their whole life. Of course they get better health, a longer life -- but that is not the point! You can have better health by jogging, running, swimming; you can have a longer life through medical care. That is not the point.
The point was to become conscious in deep sleep. And your so-called yogis go on teaching you how to stand on your head and how to distort and contort your body. Yoga has become a kind of circus -- meaningless. It has lost its real dimension.
In the new commune, I have the vision of reviving yoga again in its true flavor, in its true dimension. And the goal is to become conscious while you are deeply asleep. That is the essential thing in yoga, and if any yogi is teaching anything else it is all useless.
But Tantra has chosen a far shorter way, the shortest, and far more pleasant too! Lovemaking can open the window. All that is needed is to uproot the conditionings that the priests have put into you. The priests put those conditionings into you so that they could become mediators and agents between you and God, so that your direct contact was cut. Naturally you would need somebody else to connect you, and the priest would become powerful. And the priest has been powerful down the ages.
Whosoever can put you in contact with power, real power, will become powerful. God is real power, the source of all power. The priest remained down the ages so powerful -- more powerful than kings. Now the scientist has taken the place of the priest, because now he knows how to unlock the doors of the power hidden in nature. The priest knew how to connect you with God, the scientist knows how to connect you with nature. But the priest has to disconnect you first, so no individual private line remains between you and God. He has spoiled your inner sources, poisoned them. He became very powerful but the whole humanity became lustless, loveless, full of guilt.
My people have to drop that guilt completely. While making love, think of prayer, meditation, God. While making love, burn incense, chant, sing, dance. Your bedroom should be a temple, a sacred place. And lovemaking should not be a hurried thing. Go deeper into it; savor it as slowly and as gracefully as possible. And you will be surprised. You have the key.
God has not sent you into the world without keys. But those keys have to be used, you have to put them into the lock and turn them.
Love is another phenomenon, one of the most potential, where the ego disappears and you are conscious, fully conscious, pulsating, vibrating. You are no more an individual, you are lost into the energy of the whole.
Then, slowly slowly, let this become your very way of life. What happens at the peak of love has to become your discipline -- not just an experience but a discipline. Then whatsoever you are doing and wherever you are walking... early in the morning with the sun rising, have the same feeling, the same merger with existence. Lying down on the ground, the sky full of stars, have the same merger again. Lying down on the earth, feel one with the earth.
Slowly slowly, lovemaking should give you the clue for how to be in love with existence itself. And then the ego is known as a fiction, is used as a fiction. And if you use it as a fiction, there is no danger.
There are a few other moments when the ego slips of its own accord. In moments of great danger: you are driving, and suddenly you see an accident is going to happen. You have lost control of the car and there seems to be no possibility of saving yourself. You are going to crash into the tree or into the oncoming truck, or you are going to fall in the river, it is absolutely certain. In those moments suddenly the ego will disappear.
That's why there is a great attraction to move into dangerous situations. People climb Everest. It is a deep meditation, although they may or may not understand this. Mountaineering is of great importance. Climbing mountains is dangerous -- the more dangerous it is, the more beautiful. You will have glimpses, great glimpses of egolessness. Whenever danger is very close, the mind stops. Mind can think only when you are not in danger; it has nothing to say in danger. Danger makes you spontaneous, and in that spontaneity you suddenly know that you are not the ego.
Or -- these will be for different people, because people are different -- if you have an aesthetic heart, then beauty will open the doors. Just seeing a beautiful woman or a man passing by, just for a single moment a flash of beauty, and suddenly the ego disappears. You are overwhelmed.
Or seeing a lotus in the pond, or seeing the sunset or a bird on the wing -- anything that triggers your inner sensitivity, anything that possesses you for the moment so deeply that you forget yourself, that you are and yet you are not, that you abandon yourself -- then too, the ego slips. It is a fiction; you have to carry it. If you forget it for a moment, it slips.
And it is good that there are a few moments when it slips and you have a glimpse of the true and the real. It is because of these glimpses that religion has not died. It is not because of the priests -- they have done everything to kill it. It is not because of the so-called religious, those who go to the church and the mosque and the temple. They are not religious at all, they are pretenders.
Religion has not died because of these few moments which happen more or less to almost everybody. Take more note of them, imbibe the spirit of those moments more, allow those moments more, create spaces for those moments to happen more. This is the true way to seek God. Not to be in the ego is to be in God.
The third question:
Why do You emphasize the importance of herenow so much?
Rahim, because there is nothing else. Here is the only space, now is the only time. Beyond the herenow, there is nothing. Two thousand years ago, a great Jewish master, Hillel, wrote a little poem in Aramaic. The poem is this:
"If I'm not for myself,
Then who can be for me?
And if I'm only for myself,
Then what am I?
And if not now,
It is a beautiful statement: if not now, then when? Tomorrow? But the tomorrow never comes.
Hence I emphasize the herenow. Don't let this moment slip by unused, unlived, unpenetrated; squeeze all that you can out of it. Live it passionately and with intensity, so you need not repent later on that you missed your life.
It was after the Second World War; the war had ended. Joe Dink was still in Japan waiting to be discharged. His wife, Irma Dink, was wild with anxiety and jealousy because she read about the goings on between the American soldiers and the Japanese girls.
Finally she could stand it no longer, and she wrote her husband, "Joe, hurry up and come back. What do those girls have, anyway, that the American girls don't?"
"Not a thing," wrote back Joe. "But what they've got, they've got here."
And that is the most important thing. The question is of here and now.
And the last question:
What is a miracle?
Sadhananda, it depends. To me, everything is a miracle. I never come across anything that is not a miracle; only miracles exist. Everything is such a surprise, it is so unbelievable! But if your eyes are closed, if your eyes are full of dust, if your mind is too knowledgeable, if you think you know all, then nothing is a miracle.
To know "I don't know anything" makes everything a miracle. It depends on your inner state, it depends on you. And to live a life without miracles is not to live at all. You can have a million miracles every day, you are entitled to have them. But because you don't know how to connect yourself with the miraculous, you are being cheated by stupid people.
Somebody produces a Swiss-made watch and you think this is a miracle. Then you become victims of ordinary magicians. Don't be befooled.
The seed sprouting into leaves is a miracle -- not somebody producing a Swiss-made watch out of nothing. That is just a trick, a very ordinary trick; street magicians are doing it all over the world. They are just simple people, not cunning people, otherwise you would have worshipped them.
While exploring the wilds of South America, a man was captured by savages. They were dancing excitedly around before killing him when the explorer had a bright idea. He would baffle them with magic. Taking a cigarette-lighter from his pocket, he shouted, "I make fire!"
With a flick of the thumb, the lighter burst into flame. The savages fell back and gazed in wonder.
"Magic!" cried the explorer.
"It certainly is," said the chief. "It's the only time I ever saw a lighter work on the first try."
It depends on you, what you call a miracle. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing else except miracles. And drop these stupid kinds of miracles.
Mulla Nasruddin and his wife are sitting one Sunday listening to the radio, when this faith healer comes on and he says, "If you have a part of your body you want healed, place one hand on the radio and the other hand on the afflicted part."
The wife placed one hand on the radio and the other on her heart. The Mulla placed one hand on the radio and the other on his appendage.
So the wife said, "Mulla, he's trying to cure the sick, not raise the dead."
Enough for today.