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Chapter 21 – Vagabonds of the Soul

Chapter 21

Vagabonds of the Soul
(Chapter title deleted and content moved to Chapter 6 under the title ‘Train impartially in every area’ in the new edition)

Train impartially in every area; it is important
to have trained deeply and pervasively in everything.
Always meditate on specific objects.
You should have no concern for other factors.
Therefore, apply yourself to important matters.
Don’t do things backwards.
Don’t vacillate.
Train as though cut off.

Once a jaina monk came to see me. He asked, “Is hell real? Is there really a hell?” Instead of answering him, I asked him, “And where do you think you are living?” Man lives in hell, because man is upside down. You need not go to some stupid yoga teacher to learn the headstand posture, because you are already doing it. Everything is in the wrong order. For centuries you have been messed up; a chaos has been created in you instead of a cosmos. You are just a kind of madness. Whatever you think is normal is not normal at all. It appears normal, because you have lived with these people from your very childhood and you have started thinking that these are the only people, so they must be normal.

It is as if one was born in a madhouse and from the very beginning was acquainted only with mad people; he will think them normal. In fact, if he ever comes across somebody who is sane, he will be very puzzled, he will not be able to believe his own eyes. He will think this man has gone crazy.
Man is a chaos. Let this idea sink deep into your heart, because only then the desire to create a cosmos out of this chaos arises. The moment you realize that you are standing on your head, a great moment has arrived. Now you cannot go on standing on your head any more: you have to do something, it is inevitable. You have to act — and that very act becomes religion.

Religion is against society, because society lives on this so-called normal madness of people. Society wants people to be abnormal; only then can they be exploited, only then can they be reduced into machines, only then can they be reduced to slaves — and happily, and without any revolt.

For thousands of years, man has lived in an imprisoned state. Those prisons have been given beautiful names: you call them churches, religions, ideologies. Somebody lives in a Catholic prison and somebody lives in a communist prison, and both go on bragging about their prison, that their prison is far better. But any person who lives through some ideology is a prisoner, because every ideology narrows down your consciousness, becomes chains on your being. Anybody who belongs to any crowd out of fear, out of conditioning, out of a kind of hypnosis, is not truly a man, is not yet born. The opportunity has been given to him, but he is wasting it.

You have been taught values which are not really values; you have been taught things which are basically poisonous. For example, you have been told not to love yourself, and you have been told so many times that it looks like a simple fact, truth. But a man who is incapable of loving himself will be incapable of loving anybody else. The man who cannot love himself cannot love at all.

You have been told to be altruistic and never selfish. And it looks so beautiful — but it only looks beautiful; it is destroying your very roots. Only a really selfish person can be altruistic, because one who is not rooted in his self, is not selfish, will not bother about anybody else. If he cannot care for himself, how can he care for anybody else? He is suicidal; naturally he will become murderous.

Your whole society up to now has been a society of murderers. A few people commit suicide; they become saints. A few more go on committing murder; they become great politicians, great leaders — Genghis Khan, Nadir Shah, Tamerlane, Alexander, Napoleon, Adolf Hitler, Stalin, Mao. But both are neurotic, both are unhealthy.

You have to be taught new values. Atisha’s sutras will help you immensely. He is really a revolutionary, a really religious man — a man who knows, not through scriptures but by his own experience; a man who has looked deep into the misery of man, a man who is really so full of compassion that he wants to help, to be of some help to the suffering humanity. And the suffering humanity is not helped by creating more hospitals or by making more people educated. The suffering humanity can be helped only by giving it a new soul.

People like Mother Teresa of Calcutta are simply serving the status quo. That’s why they are respected by the status quo. They are given gold medals, prizes, awards, and the society thinks Mother Teresa is the symbol of real saintlihoodness. It is not so; she is simply in the service of a rotten society. Of course the rotten society respects her. She is not a revolutionary, she is not a religious person.

And this is something to be understood: society respects only those saints who are not really sages but are agents — agents who help the society to continue as it is, agents of the establishment.
Atisha is not for the establishment. He wants to create a new man, a new humanity, as always buddhas have dreamed about. Their dreams remain yet unfulfilled.

Here I am, again dreaming a great dream of giving birth to a new man. You are my hope, in the same way Atisha had hoped with his own disciples. These sutras were not written as a book, these sutras were given to his disciples to meditate on.

The first sutra:

The first thing is impartiality: one should be unprejudiced, and nobody is unprejudiced. And that is a basic requirement to grow into a greater vision. To come out of the prisons, the first thing is to drop prejudices — prejudices called Hinduism, prejudices called Mohammedanism, prejudices called Christianity. One has to drop all prejudices. How can you ever know truth if you have already decided what it is? If you are already functioning from a conclusion, you will never arrive to truth — never! It is impossible.

Don’t start by a priori assumptions, don’t start by any belief. Then only are you a true seeker. But everybody starts by belief — somebody believes in The Bible, somebody else in the Koran; somebody believes in the Gita, and somebody in Dhammapada. And they start by belief.

Belief means you don’t know, still you have taken something for granted. Now your whole effort will be to prove it right, it will become your ego trip. Each belief becomes an ego trip, you have to prove it right. If it is wrong, then you are wrong; if it is right, then you are right. And every person is nothing but a bagful of beliefs.

Remember, all beliefs are stupid. I am not saying that those beliefs are basically untrue — they may not be, they may be — but to believe is stupid. To know is intelligent. It may be that when you come to know, it may be the same thing that you were told by others to believe; but still to believe in it is wrong, and to know it, right — because once you believe in something that you have not known, you have already started gathering around yourself a darkness which will not help you to know, to see. You are already becoming knowledgeable. And knowing happens to those who are not knowledgeable, but innocent. Knowing happens to those eyes which are absolutely without the dust of knowledge.

The first thing Atisha says: Be impartial, start without any conclusion, start without any a priori belief. Start existentially, not intellectually; these are two different dimensions, not only different but diametrically opposite.

Somebody can start his journey into love by studying about love, by going to the library, by looking in the Encyclopedia Britannica to learn what love is. This is an intellectual inquiry. He may gather much information, he may write a treatise, and some foolish university may give him a Ph.D. but he knows nothing of love. Whatsoever he is writing is only intellectual, it is not experiential. And if it is not experiential, it is not true.

Truth is an experience, not a belief. Truth never comes by studying about it: truth has to be encountered, truth has to be faced. The person who studies about love is like the person who studies about the Himalayas by looking at the map of the mountains. The map is not the mountain! And if you start believing in the map, you will go on missing the mountain. If you become too much obsessed with the map, the mountain may be there just in front of you, but still you will not be able to see it.

And that’s how it is. The mountain is in front of you, but your eyes are full of maps — maps of the same mountain, maps about the same mountain, made by different explorers. Somebody has climbed the mountain from the north side, somebody from the east. They have made different maps: Koran, Bible, Gita — different maps of the same truth. But you are too full of the maps, too burdened by their weight; you cannot move even an inch. You cannot see the mountain just standing in front of you, its virgin snow peaks shining like gold in the morning sun. You don’t have the eyes to see it.

The prejudiced eye is blind, the heart full of conclusions is dead. Too many a priori assumptions and your intelligence starts losing its sharpness, its beauty, its intensity. It becomes dull. Dull intelligence is what is called intellect. Your so-called intelligentsia is not really intelligent, it is just intellectual. Intellect is a corpse. You can decorate it, you can decorate it with great pearls, diamonds, emeralds, but still a corpse is a corpse.

To be alive is a totally different matter. Intelligence is aliveness; it is spontaneity, it is openness, it is vulnerability, it is impartiality, it is the courage to function without conclusions. And why do I say it is a courage? It is a courage because when you function out of a conclusion the conclusion protects you, the conclusion gives you security, safety. You know it well, you know how to come to it, you are very efficient with it. To function without a conclusion is to function in innocence. There is no security, you may go wrong, you may go astray.

One who is ready to go on the exploration called truth has to be ready also to commit many errors, mistakes, has to be able to risk. One may go astray, but that is how one arrives. Going many many times astray, one learns how not to go astray. Committing many mistakes one learns what is a mistake, and how not to commit it. Knowing what is error, one comes closer and closer to what is truth. It is an individual exploration; you cannot depend on others’ conclusions.

Hence Atisha says:

The second thing he says: Let your life be as multidimensional as possible, don’t live one-dimensionally. Monks, nuns and the so-called priests have all lived, down the ages, one-dimensionally. They live a very narrow life; they move as trains move, on fixed rails. They go on doing the same ritual, the same prayer, day in, day out, year in, year out, life in, life out; they go on repeating. Their whole life moves in circles. And they are not rich, they cannot be — richness comes by living life in all its dimensions.

A religious person should explore in every possible way, should try to experience life in all its tastes, sweet and bitter, good and bad. The really religious person will be very experimental. He will experiment with music, he will experiment with dance, he will experiment with poetry, with painting, with sculpture, with architecture. He will go on experimenting with everything, everything that becomes available; he will be a child exploring everything. And that makes your inner life rich.

Do you know, all great discoveries are made by people who are not one-dimensional. One-dimensional people can never make discoveries; it is impossible, because a discovery happens only like crossbreeding. A mathematician starts writing poetry: now you can be certain something is on the way. His whole training is that of a mathematician, his approach is that of mathematics, and he starts writing poetry. Now, no poet can write poetry like this; this is going to be something new, because something of the mathematics is bound to filter in. And mathematics and poetry having a meeting is a crossbreeding.

Scientists say children that are born out of crossbreeding are stronger, more beautiful, more intelligent. But man is so stupid that he never learns. Now everybody knows that it is good to bring an English bull for an Indian cow; that is perfectly beautiful and that is being done. But as far as man is concerned we remain stupid. It would be beautiful if people marry different races, different backgrounds, different cultures. A Siberian marrying someone in Africa — then something is really going to happen, some miracle.

My own suggestion is — because within a few years we are going to find out other planets where evolution has almost reached to the point that it has reached on the earth, or a few planets where it has even reached higher — my own suggestion is for interplanetary marriages. Then miracles will start happening. A Martian marrying a Poonaite: then something is going to happen, something really new which has never happened before!

Atisha says: Experiment, experience as many dimensions as are available to you.
Become a gardener, become a shoemaker, become a carpenter — that’s what is going to happen in my commune. All dimensions have to be made available, and people have to experiment and enjoy and explore. It is not that when you do some scientific work, something happens only in the outside world. When you are doing some scientific work, something happens inside your consciousness: your consciousness starts taking a form, a scientific form. If this person starts painting, then the painting will have something of the science in it. And if the painter starts becoming a physicist, certainly his vision is going to give birth to new things.

All great discoveries up to now have been made by people who were trained for something else, but were courageous enough to enter into arenas where they were amateurs. Less courageous people remain clinging with the thing that they know best. Then they go on doing it their whole life. And the more they do it, the more efficient they become; the more efficient they become, the less capable of trying anything new.

A country remains alive only if people are multidimensional. America is now the most alive country in the world for the simple reason that people are trying every kind of thing. From mathematics to meditation, everything is being tried. America is just on the verge of a great step; if a new step is going to happen anywhere, it is going to happen in America. It can’t happen in India. It can’t happen because Morarji Desai and people like that won’t allow it to happen in India — rigid, stale minds, having no vision of the future, having no vision of what is going to happen tomorrow, having no idea of what is really happening today.

In America, people go on changing their jobs — three years is the average limit when people change their jobs. Three years also is the average limit when people change their towns. Three years is also the average limit when people change their spouses. The number three is very esoteric.

When a man has lived with many women, has done many kinds of work — has been a cobbler, has been a carpenter, has been an engineer, has been a painter and a musician — naturally he is very rich. Each woman that he has lived with has imparted some color to him, and each work that he has done has opened a new door into his being. Slowly slowly, many doors of his being are opening; his consciousness expands, he becomes huge, enormous.

You are your experience. Hence, experience more. Before settling, experience as much as possible. The real person never settles; the real person always remains homeless, a wanderer, a vagabond, a vagabond of the soul. He remains continually in search, he remains an inquirer, a learner — he never becomes learned. Don’t be in a hurry to become learned, remain a learner. To become learned is ugly, to remain a learner has tremendous beauty and grace in it, because it is life itself.


Whatsoever you are learning, learn it in its totality. Don’t let it be just a hit-and-run affair, go into it as if it is your whole life. Stake everything! Be total, whatsoever you do, because it is only out of totality that one learns. It is only when you are totally into something that mysteries are revealed to you. If you are totally in love, then love reveals its mysteries; if you are totally in poetry, then the world of poetry opens its heart.

If you are totally in love with anything, that is the only possible way to have a rapport with that certain dimension. So be total, and go to the very depth of it. Don’t just go on swimming in many rivers; become a diver, go to the rock bottom of everything — because the deeper you go into anything, the more and more deep you will become. Depth calls the depth, height provokes the height. Whatsoever we are doing outside simultaneously goes on happening inside. This is a fundamental law of life.

Atisha says: Discipline in many many things, be total, go into depth, to the very roots of everything — because the secrets are in the roots, they are not in the flowers. Flowers are only expressions of joy, but the secrets are not there. Secrets are hidden in the roots, secrets are always hidden in darkness. You will have to go into dark depths, then only you will know the secrets. And the more you experience life in its multidimensionality, the richer will be your soul. It depends on you, how rich you make your soul, or how poor you live.

Millions of people are living a life of poverty — and I don’t necessarily mean the outer poverty. I know rich people, and so poor that sometimes even beggars are richer than they are. I know rich people who can afford everything but have never experimented with anything, who are simply vegetating comfortably, who are simply dying, slowly slowly… existing comfortably, but not living — no intensity, no flair, no flame, no fire, just a cold life. Comfortably they will live and comfortably they will die — but in fact they will never have lived.

And one who has never lived, how can he die?

Death is the ultimate mystery. That gift is given only to those who have lived really intensely, who have burned their torch of life from both the ends together. Only then it happens sometimes that in a single moment of intensity the whole life is revealed. In a single moment of total intensity, the whole eternity opens its doors to you, you are welcomed by God.
God is not found by praying on your knees; God is not found in the temples and churches. God is found in intense living — a life of depth, depth and totality, and a death also of depth and totality. Live totally and die totally, and God is yours and truth is yours.

The second sutra:

First thing: by meditation Atisha never means concentration, remember. Concentration and meditation are polar opposites. Concentration narrows down your mind; it is focusing on one point. It includes only something and excludes everything else. Meditation is all-inclusive, it excludes nothing. It is not a narrowing down of the mind, it is an expansion of consciousness. Concentration is of the mind, meditation is of consciousness. Concentration is mind, meditation is no-mind. Concentration is a tension: you will be tired of it sooner or later. You cannot concentrate for a long time, it is effort. But one can be meditative twenty-four hours, because it is relaxation.

So remember, Atisha says:
ALWAYS MEDITATE — he means always relax — ON SPECIFIC OBJECTS.
What does he mean by “specific objects”? Sadness, anger, greed, lust — the negatives; love, beauty, joy, freedom — the positives.

Begin with the negative, because you are living in the negative. When sad, meditate on it. Don’t be in a hurry to get rid of it, don’t be in a hurry to get occupied somewhere else so that you can forget it. That will be missing an opportunity, because sadness has its own depth, sadness has its own beauty, sadness has its own taste. Live it, relax into it, be it — and without any effort to escape, without any effort to get occupied somewhere else. Let it be there — enjoy! It is a flowering of your being. Sadness too is a flowering of your being.

And you will be surprised: if you can meditate on sadness, sadness will reveal its secrets to you — and they are of tremendous value. And sadness, once it has revealed its secrets to you, will disappear. Its work is done, its message delivered. And when sadness disappears, joy arises.

Joy arises only when sadness disappears out of meditation; there is no other way. Joy wells up when you have broken the ice of sadness that surrounds it. In fact, sadness is like the shell that surrounds the seed; it is protective, it is not the enemy. Once the seed has dropped its protection, is surrendered into the soil, the shell has died, only then the sprout is born.
It happens inside exactly like that. Meditate on anything negative, and slowly slowly you will be simply taken by surprise — that sadness turns into joy, that anger turns into compassion, that greed turns into sharing, and so on, so forth. This is the science of inner alchemy: how to change the negative into the positive, how to change the base metal into gold.

But remember, never start with the positive because you don’t know anything of the positive. And that’s what is being taught by many people in the world — the “positive thinkers” they are called. They don’t know anything about the inner alchemy. You don’t begin with gold. If you already have gold, then what is the point of beginning at all? You don’t need alchemy. You have to begin with base metal, the base metal has to be changed into gold. And the base metal is what you have, is what you ARE. Hell is what you are; it has to be transformed into heaven. Poison is available; it has to be transformed into nectar. Start with the negative.

All the buddhas have insisted: Go VIA NEGATIVA, because the negative brings the positive, and the negative brings the positive so easily. You don’t drag it, you don’t impose it upon yourself. If you start with the positive, as the so-called positive thinkers are teaching, you will become phony. What will you do? How will you start with joy? You may start smiling, but that smile will be painted: it will be just on the lips, not even skin-deep.

Start with the negative and you don’t need to think about the positive at all. If you meditate on the negative, if you go deeply into it, to the deepest root of it, suddenly an explosion happens: the negative disappears and the positive has arrived. In fact it has always been there, hidden behind the negative. The negative was a shelter. The negative was needed because you were not yet worthy enough; the negative was needed so that you could become worthy enough to receive the positive.
The world is the negative pole of God. You need not renounce it, you have simply to be meditative in it. And one day you will see the world has disappeared and there is God and only God.

Bayazid of Bistam, a Sufi mystic, used to say in his later years, “First I used to ask people, ‘Where is God?’ And then one day it happened, I started asking people where God is NOT. One day there was no God and I was asking where he is; the next day there was only God, and I was asking ‘Is there a place where he is not?'” The same world, but your eyes are different now; you are not the same.


Start with the negative and you will find the positive. Dig a well. First you find only earth, rocks, garbage. Slowly slowly you come to the water. First it is very dirty, then it becomes purer and purer and purer. Exactly the same way one has to dig a well within one’s own being. The beginning has to be negative, and the end is of itself positive. Your work has to be with the negative; the positive is the reward.

The third sutra:

Atisha says: While you are meditating on any specific subject — for example, sadness — then be it and forget everything else, as if nothing else exists. Just be totally sad. Savor it, taste it, let it sink in you, soak in it; just be a sponge.
That’s what meditation is all about: just be a sponge. And when this mood is there, soak in it to your total capacity, to the optimum. Meditating on sadness, be it. Meditating simply means dropping the distinction between the observer and the observed; let the observer become the observed. Drop that old dichotomy of object and subject; disappear into the object of your meditation. Don’t stand aloof, don’t be a spectator. Secrets are not revealed to the spectators; secrets are revealed only to those who take a jump, who dive deep into something, people who don’t hold themselves back.

And if you are totally sad, you are just on the verge of a discovery: sadness will evaporate. At a certain intensity, at a certain point, it simply evaporates as dewdrops evaporate in the morning sun. Once the heat has reached a certain intensity, the dewdrops disappear. Exactly like that the sadness will disappear, and suddenly, out of nowhere, joy has arrived, the guest has arrived. Now be a host to it. Now meditate on it, again be one with it. Now be joy. Don’t stand aloof again. Don’t start thinking, “Such a beautiful experience is happening, I am having the experience of joy.” Don’t start creating a distance between you and the joy. Be the joy. Dance it, sing it. Manifest it, be it!


Life is short, energy limited, very limited. And with this limited energy we have to find the unlimited; with this short life we have to find the eternal. A great task, a great challenge! So please, don’t be concerned with unimportant matters.
What is important and what is unimportant? In Atisha’s definition, or in the definition of all the buddhas, that which can be taken by death is unimportant and that which cannot be taken by death is important. Remember this definition, let this be a touchstone. You can judge anything immediately on this touchstone.

Have you seen the touchstone on which gold is judged? Let this be a touchstone for what is important: Is death going to take it away from you? Then it is not important. Money then is not important — useful, but not important, has no import. Power, prestige, respectability — death will come and efface them all, so why make so much fuss about them for the few days you are here? This is a caravanserai, an overnight stay, and by the morning we go.

Remember, only that which you can take with you when you leave the body is important. That means, except meditation, nothing is important. Except awareness, nothing is important, because only awareness cannot be taken away by death. Everything else will be snatched away, because everything else comes from without. Only awareness wells up within; that cannot be taken away. And the shadows of awareness — compassion, love — they cannot be taken away; they are intrinsic parts of awareness.

You will be taking with you only whatsoever awareness you have attained; that is your only real wealth. All else is “illth,” not wealth.

This is a very significant sutra. I said to you in the beginning, people are upside down, in a permanent headstand posture. People are living backwards. Life moves forward, people live backwards in many many ways.

The first meaning is: the heart has to be the master and the head the servant. But people are upside down: the head has become the master and the heart has become the servant. Logic rules, love is not even heeded. Personality has become more important than individuality. Personality is that which is conferred on you by others, individuality is that which is given to you by God. Personality is just a mask, persona; individuality is your uniqueness.

The society wants you to have beautiful personalities; the society wants you to have personalities which are comfortable for the society, convenient for the society. But the person is not the real thing, the individual is the real thing. The individual is not necessarily always comfortable to the society — in fact he is very inconvenient.

Jesus must have been very inconvenient; otherwise people don’t kill, don’t murder, don’t crucify. If Jesus were really a personality, there would have been no trouble. He would have been a well-respected rabbi; the masses would have worshipped him, Jews would have remembered him as a great saint. But he was an individual. Individuals don’t fit easily with others, individuals fit only with other individuals — and then too, the harmony is not imposed, enforced, the harmony is natural. But individuals don’t fit with personalities. Light cannot be adjusted with darkness, that is the trouble.
Jesus may have been too much of a troublemaker, because he only worked for three years, and in only three years he created so much offense that people had to kill him. And Jews are not dangerous people, Jews are business-minded people. In fact for these two thousand years Jews have been crying and weeping deep down, because they killed Jesus and missed the opportunity of the greatest business possible. Christianity is the greatest firm on the earth! Jews must have been very jealous.
This time when it was going to happen they didn’t miss. Sigmund Freud was a Jew; he started another business,
psychoanalysis. This time they did not miss — all the important psychoanalysts are Jews. Now psychoanalysis is big business.
Jesus must have offended terribly; they could not tolerate him even for a single day. So too Socrates, Buddha and Mahavira — all individuals have suffered because of the phony society. The truth becomes intolerable. But though they may have suffered from the outside, from the inside they lived a blissful life, they lived an orgasmic life. Each moment of their life was an orgasm, a deep love affair with existence.

Unless you start living right-side-up, you will go on missing being an individual, you will never become authentic. The head is good, but only as a servant, not as a master. The heart has to be the master; feelings should dominate thoughts. And once this has happened then another step can be taken: being should dominate feelings.

These are the three layers: thoughts, the outermost; and being, the innermost; and feeling, in between, the bridge. Move from thoughts to feelings and from feelings to being, and start living from being. That does not mean that you don’t have any feelings — you will have feelings, but those feelings will follow being; they will have the flavor of being, the heartbeat of being. It does not mean that you will not be able to think — you will be able to think far more intelligently, but now your thinking will have the juiciness of your feelings and the light of your being; your thoughts will be luminous.

Right now it is just the other way: thoughts are dominating feelings. And because of this domination, everything has gone topsy-turvy; because of this domination you cannot reach to the being, because thought is impotent to reach to the being. The inner is capable of reaching the outer, not vice versa. The center can touch the circumference, but not vice versa.

Future has become more important to you than the present. Present should be the central and everything should go round it. “That” has become more important than “this,” “then” has become more important than “now.” Change these values. Unless you change these values you are not sannyasins. Let “now” be more important, let “here” be more important, let “this” be more important.

Upanishads say, “Thou art that.” I say to you: “Thou art this” — because “that” means far away, as if God is far away. “Thou art that” — no. “Thou art THIS”: this very moment, this air that surrounds you, these chirping birds, this railway train passing by, these trees, this sun, these people, I and you, this silence where neither I am, nor you are. Thou art this. Let “this” become more important than “that” and your life will have a totally different quality to it.

Because life goes ahead and your mind is past-oriented, mind and life never meet. Mind goes backwards, lives backwards. Mind is a rear-view mirror. Use it when the occasion arises. Yes, the rear-view mirror in the car has some important function to fulfill. But if you become obsessed with the rear-view mirror, and you only look into the rear-view mirror and drive the car looking always into the rear-view mirror, then there is going to be danger. Then there are going to be accidents and accidents and nothing else.

And that’s what has been happening to humanity. Look: three thousand years of history and you will find only accidents and accidents and accidents. In three thousand years we have fought five thousand wars. What more accidents do you want? And in these three thousand years, what have we done to the earth, to nature? We have destroyed the ecology. Now if something is not done immediately, the earth may become uninhabitable.

The earth has been poisoned by us, we are killing it. And we have to live on it, and we are turning it into a corpse! It has started stinking in many places. We have given nature and earth a cancer: nature has given us life, and we are giving death to nature in return. And the basic reason, the basic cause, is that we have been listening to the mind which moves backwards.

Mind means past. Mind has no idea of the present, cannot have any idea of the present. Mind only means that which has been lived, known, experienced — the accumulated past. It cannot have any contact with the present; it will have that contact only when the present is no more present and has become past. And life moves ahead. We live in the present and we move in the future, and mind never lives in the present and always clings to the past. This is the dichotomy, the greatest calamity. This is the knot that has to be cut.


Another meaning of this sutra is: remember life can be really lived only if you live it naturally. If you impose artificial commandments over it, you will destroy it.

For example, I told you: unless you love yourself you cannot love anybody else. Hence I say to you, be selfish, because only out of selfishness is altruism born. But you have been told again and again that you are worthless. You have been told that you have no value — that as you are, you are only worth condemnation; that as you are, you are bound to hell. You have to be worthy, you have to change, you have to become a saint, this and that. One thing is certain: that as you are, you are not of any worth. How can you love yourself?

And when a person cannot love himself and hates himself, he hates everybody else, he hates the whole world. By hating himself he becomes life-negative, and the person who is life-negative is life-destructive.

Your monks and nuns have all been life-negative; they have not affirmed life, they have not nourished life, they have not beautified life, they have not been a blessing to the world. They have been a curse! Your monasteries should disappear; we don’t need monasteries. We certainly need sannyasins, but they should live in the world, part of the world, transforming the world. But the basic transformation that has to happen is that they should be lovers of themselves.

The person who does not love himself becomes a masochist, he starts torturing himself. And these masochists have been worshipped as saints down the ages. And a person who is a masochist cannot be anything else than a sadist too, because he who tortures himself would like everybody to be tortured. Torturing becomes his sacrifice to God.

So there have been masochists, there have been sadists. And because in life you cannot find any quality purely, so you will not find masochists and sadists separate. It is almost always the case that the same person is both: masosadist — everybody is like that. You have been conditioned by your religions in such a way that you are against yourself and against others. On the one hand you torture yourself with beautiful rationalizations, and on the other hand you torture others, again with beautiful rationalizations.

Life has become a torture chamber, a concentration camp; it is no more a celebration. It should be a celebration. If nature is allowed to take its own course, it is bound to be a celebration.

So the last thing to be remembered:


Go with nature, don’t try to go upstream. Go with the stream of life. Go with the river, don’t push the river. Don’t try to conquer nature — you cannot; you can only destroy it, and destroy yourself in the effort. The very idea of conquering nature is violent, ugly. Victory is not going to be against nature, victory is possible only with nature.


Your mind will vacillate. Mind is vacillation, mind is either/or, mind is always in that space of “to be or not to be.” If you really want to grow, mature, if you really want to know what this life is all about, don’t vacillate. Commit, involve! Involve yourself with life, get committed to life, don’t remain a spectator. Don’t go on thinking whether to do or not — “Should I do this or that?” You can go on vacillating your whole life, and the more you vacillate, the more trained you become in vacillation.

Life is for those who know how to commit — how to say yes to something, how to say no to something decisively, categorically. Once you have categorically said yes or no to something, then you can take a jump, then you can dive deep into the ocean.
People are just sitting on the fence. Millions of people are fence-sitters — this way or that, just waiting for the opportunity to come. And the opportunity will never come, because it has already come, it is there!

My own suggestion is that even if sometimes it happens that you commit to the wrong thing, even then it is good to commit, because the day you will know it is wrong you can get out of it. At least you would have learned one thing: that it is wrong, and never to get into anything like that again. It is a great experience; it brings you closer to truth.

Why do people vacillate so much? — because from the very childhood you have been told not to commit any mistakes. That is one of the greatest teachings of all the societies all over the world — and very dangerous, very harmful. Teach children to commit as many mistakes as possible, with only one condition: don’t commit the same mistake again, that’s all. And they will grow, and they will experience more and more, and they will not vacillate. Otherwise a trembling… and time is passing by, out of your hands, and you are vacillating.

I see many people standing on the shore vacillating, whether to take the jump or not. Here it happens every day.

Just a few days ago, one young man came to me. For three years he has been vacillating whether to take sannyas or not. I said, “Decide either yes or no, and be finished with it! And I am not saying decide yes, I am only saying DECIDE. No is as good as yes. But wasting three years? If you had taken sannyas three years ago,” I told him, “by this time you would have known whether it is worth it or not; at least one thing would have been decided. Vacillating three years, nothing has been decided. You are in the same space, and three years have gone by.”


This is the secret of meditation, the last sutra today.


Mind is vacillation. The discipline of a meditator is to become so watchful of the mind, so alert to the mind and its stupidities — its hesitations, its tremblings, its vacillations — to become so watchful that you are cut off.
That is the whole purpose of watching: watching cuts you off.
Watch anything in the mind, and you are cut off. Watching is a sword.

If a thought is moving in your mind, just watch it — and suddenly you will see the thought is there, you are here, and there is no bridge left. Don’t watch, and you become identified with the thought, you become it; watch, and you are not it. Mind possesses you because you have forgotten how to watch. Learn it.

Just looking at a roseflower, watch it; or at the stars, or the people passing on the road, sit by the side and watch. And then slowly slowly close your eyes and see the inner traffic moving — thousands of thoughts, desires, dreams, passing by. It is always rush hour there.

Just watch as somebody watches a river flowing by, sitting on the bank.
Just watch — and watching, you will become aware that you are not it.

Mind is being identified with it. No-mind is being disidentified with it. Don’t be a mind, because in fact you are not a mind. Then who are you? You are consciousness. You are that watchfulness, you are witnessing, you are that pure observation, that mirrorlike quality that reflects everything but never becomes identified with anything.

Remember, I am not saying that you are conscious. I am saying you are consciousness: that is your true identity. The day one knows, “I am consciousness,” one has come to know the ultimate, because the moment you know, “I am consciousness,” you also know all is consciousness, on different planes. The rock is conscious in its own way, and the tree is conscious in its own way, and the animals and the people. Everybody is conscious in his own way, and consciousness is a multifaceted diamond.
The day you know, “I am consciousness,” you have known the universal truth, you have come to the goal.

Socrates says, “Man, know thyself.” That is the teaching of all the buddhas: Know thyself. How are you going to know yourself? If mind remains too much and goes on clamoring around you, goes on making great noise, you will never hear the still small voice within. You have to become disidentified with the mind.

George Gurdjieff used to say, “My whole teaching can be condensed into one word, and that is disidentification.” He is right. Not only his teaching can be condensed into one word, all the teaching of all the masters can be condensed into one word: disidentification. Don’t be identified with the mind.

That is the meaning of Atisha. He says:

Discipline yourself into deep awareness, so that you are cut off from the mind. If you can have only a single moment of this cut-offness, the first satori has happened. In the second satori you become capable of cutting off from the mind whenever you want. In the first satori it happens accidentally: meditating, watching, one day it happens almost like an accident. You were groping in the dark and you have stumbled upon the door. The first satori is a stumbling on the door.

The second satori is becoming perfectly aware where the door is, and whenever you want to, you can go to the door — whenever you want to go. Even in the marketplace, surrounded by all the clamor of the market, you can go to the door. Suddenly you can become cut off.

And the third satori is when you are absolutely cut off, so that even if you want to join with the mind, you cannot. You can use it like a machine, separate from you, but even in your deep sleep you are not identified with it.

These are the three satoris, three samadhis. First, accidental stumbling; second, becoming more deliberate, conscious in reaching to the door; and third, becoming attuned so deeply with the door that you never lose track of it, that it is always there, always open. This is the state called satori in Japan, samadhi in India. In English it is translated as ecstasy. That word is beautiful; literally it means “standing out.” Ecstasy means standing out, standing out of the mind.

Atisha’s last sutra: TRAIN AS THOUGH CUT OFF, is exactly the same as the meaning of the word ecstasy — so cut off from the mind that you are standing out, that mind is there but you are not it. Some people have also started translating samadhi not as ecstasy but as instasy. That too is beautiful, because it is not standing out; it is standing out of the mind if you think of the mind, but if you think of consciousness then it is standing in.

As far as mind is concerned ecstasy is the right word, but as far as consciousness is concerned instasy is far better. But both are aspects of the same thing: standing out of the mind is standing in consciousness, knowing that “I am not mind” is knowing “I am consciousness, AHAM BRAHMASMI.” That is the meaning of the Upanishadic saying, I am God, I am consciousness.
Enough for today.



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