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Chapter 9 – Watching the Watcher

Chapter 9

Watching the Watcher
(Title ‘Watching the Watcher’ under Chapter 9, of the Original book doesnot exist in the new edition. The discourse of this chapter is placed in Chapter 3 titled ‘Grasp the principle of two witnesses’ in the new edition)

Grasp the principle of two witnesses.
Always rely on just a happy frame of mind.
Even though you are distracted, if you can do it,
it is still mind training
Always observe the three general points.
Change your inclination and the maintain it.
Do not discuss defects.
Don’t think about anything that concerns others.
Train first against the defilement that is greatest.
Abandon all hopes of results.

The first sutra:

It is one of the most important sutras, one of the very fundamentals of inner alchemy. Let it sink deep in your heart. It can transform you, it can give you a new birth, a new vision, a new universe. It has two meanings; both meanings have to be understood.

The first meaning: there are two kinds of witnesses. One kind is the people that surround you. You are constantly aware that you are being watched, witnessed. It creates self-consciousness in you. Hence the fear when you are on a stage facing a big crowd. Actors feel it, poets feel it, orators feel it — and not only the beginners but even those who have wasted their whole life in acting. When they come on the stage a great trembling arises in them, a great fear, as to whether they will be able to make it or not.

With so many eyes watching you, you are reduced to an object. You are no more a subjectivity, you have become a thing. And you are afraid because they may not appreciate you. They may not feed your ego, they may not like you, they may reject you. Now you are in their hands. You are reduced to a dependent slave. Now you have to work in such a way that you will be appreciated. You have to buttress their egos, so that in response you can hope they will buttress your ego.

When you are with your friends you are not so afraid. You know them, they are predictable, you depend on each other. But when you face the anonymous crowd, more fear arises. Your whole being starts trembling, your whole ego is at stake — you can fail. Who knows? Your success is not guaranteed.

This is the first kind of witness. Others are witnessing you, and you are just a beggar. This is the situation in which millions of people live. They live for others, hence they only appear to live, they don’t live in reality. They are always adjusting to others, because they are happy only if others are happy with them. They are compromising constantly, they are selling their souls, for a simple reason — so their ego can be strengthened, so that they can become famous, well known.

Have you observed something of immense value, that whenever a poet, a novelist or a scientist gets a Nobel prize, immediately after that his creativity declines? No Nobel laureate has been able to produce anything valuable compared to the things that he created before he received it. What happens? Now you have attained the goal of the ego, there is no further to go, so there is no more need to adjust to people. Once a book becomes famous the author dies.

That’s what happened with Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. That’s what happened with Rabindranath’s Gitanjali. And that is almost the rule, not the exception. Once you are famous you stop compromising. For what? You are already famous. And when you stop compromising, people start neglecting you, ignoring you. Your whole creativity was rooted in the desire of the ego; now the ego feels at rest, all creativity disappears.

This is the situation in which ninety-nine point nine percent of people live. You know only one kind of witness — the other. And the other is always anxiety-creating.

Jean-Paul Sartre rightly says, “The other is hell.” The other does not allow you to relax. Why do you feel so relaxed in your bathroom, in your bathtub? — because the other is not there. But relaxing in your bathtub, if you suddenly become aware that somebody is looking at you through the keyhole, suddenly all relaxation disappears. You are tense again. You are being watched.

To create fear in people, down the ages, the priests have been telling you that God is constantly watching you — constantly watching you, day in and day out. You may be asleep; he never sleeps, he goes on sitting by the bed and watching. He not only watches you, he watches your dreams and your thoughts too. So you are not only going to be punished for your acts, but for your dreams, for your thoughts, your desires and your feelings.

The priests created great fear in people. Just think of God watching continuously. No moment, not even a single moment, is allowed when you can be yourself. That was a great strategy for reducing people to things.

Why do we hanker for the attention of others? — because as we are, we are hollow. As we are, we are NOT. As we are, we don’t have a center of being. We are just noise, a crowd, a house full of servants quarreling with each other because the master is absent or fast asleep. We hanker for other people’s attention so that at least we can create a pseudo-center. If the real is missing, at least we can depend on a pseudo-center. It will give you an appearance of togetherness, it will make you a person. You are not an individual — individuality is the fragrance of a really centered being, one who knows who he is.
But if you are not an individual, then at least you can be a person, you can attain personality. And personality has to be begged. Individuality is your innermost growth. It is a growth; you need not beg it from anybody else, and nobody can give it to you. Individuality is your unfoldment. But personality can be begged, people can give it to you — in fact, only other people can give it to you.

If you are alone in the forest you will not have any personality, remember. You will have individuality but no personality at all. If you are alone in the Himalayas, who are you — a saint or a sinner? There is nobody to appreciate you or condemn you, there is nobody to make you famous or notorious, there is nobody except yourself. In your total aloneness, who are you? A sinner or a saint? A very very famous person, vvip, or just a nobody?

You are neither. You are neither a very very important person nor a nobody, because for both the other is a must. The eyes of others are needed to reflect your personality. You are neither this nor that. You are, but you are in your reality; you are not created by others. You are as you are, in your utter nudeness, authenticity.

This is one of the reasons why many people thought it wise to escape from the society. It was not really to escape from the society, it was not really against society, it was just an effort to renounce the personality.

Buddha left his palace. He is not a coward and he is not an escapist, so why did he leave the palace? Rabindranath has written a beautiful poem about it. He left the palace; for twelve years he roamed in the forests, practiced and meditated. And the day of ultimate rejoicing came, he became enlightened. Naturally, the first thing that he remembered was that he had to go back to the palace to deliver the good news to the woman he had loved, to the child that he had left behind, to the old father who was still hoping that he would come back.

It is so human, it touches the heart. After twelve years he returned. His father was angry, as fathers will be. His father could not see who he was, could not see what he had become, could not see his individuality which was so loud and so clear. The whole world was becoming aware of it, but his father was blind to it. He was still thinking about him in terms of the personality that was no longer there, that he had renounced the day he left the palace.

In fact Buddha had to leave the palace just to renounce his personality. He wanted to know himself as he was, not what others were thinking about him. But the father was now looking into his face with the eyes of twelve years ago. He again said to Buddha, “I am your father, I love you — although you have hurt me deeply and have wounded me deeply. I am an old man, and these twelve years have been a torture. You are my only son, and I have somehow tried to live so that you could come back. Now you are back, take charge of the empire, be the king! Now let me rest, it is time for me to rest. You have committed a sin against me, and you have been almost murderous towards me, but I forgive you and my doors are still open.”

Buddha laughed. He said, “Sir, be a little more aware of whom you are talking with. The man who left the palace is no more; he died long ago. I am somebody else — look at me!”

And the father became even more angry. He said, “Do you want to deceive me? I don’t know you? I know you more than you know yourself! I am your father, I have given birth to you, in your blood my blood circulates — and I don’t know you?”
Buddha said, “Still I pray, sir…. You have certainly given birth to me. I came through you, that’s true, but you were only a vehicle. And just because somebody has come riding on a horse, it does not mean that the horse knows the rider. I have passed through the doors of your body, but that does not mean that you know me. In fact, twelve years ago, even I did not know who I was. Now I know! Look into my eyes. Please forget the past — be here now!”

But the father was incapable. With his old eyes, full of tears of anger and joy, he could not see what had happened to Buddha. “What nonsense is he talking about, that he has died and is reborn, that he is a totally different individuality? That he is no more a personality, that he is an individuality?”

In dictionaries, “personality” and “individuality” are synonyms. They are not synonymous in life. The personality is false, a pretension, a facade. Individuality is your truth.

Why do we want many many people to give attention to us? Why do we hanker for this? To create personality. And the more personality you create around yourself, the less is the possibility of knowing your individuality.

And when Buddha went to see his wife, she was even more angry. She asked only one question, a very significant one. She said, “I have only one question to ask you. I have waited for all these years, and I have only one question. The question is simple, but be honest.” She still thinks that Buddha can be dishonest! “Be honest, be true, and just tell me one thing. Whatever you have attained in the forest, was it impossible to attain it here in the palace? Is God only in the forest and not here in the marketplace?”

Her question is of tremendous significance.

Buddha said, “Yes, the truth is as much here as it is there. But it would have been very difficult for me to know it here, because I was lost in a personality — the personality of the prince, the personality of a husband, the personality of a father, the personality of a son. The personality was too much. I never left the palace really, I was only leaving my personality behind so that there would be nobody to remind me who I was, and I could answer the question ‘Who am I?’ on my own. I wanted to encounter myself. I was not interested in others’ answers.”

But everybody else is interested in others’ answers. How much you love it when somebody says, “You are so beautiful.”
Sarvesh was saying to Mukta, “I feel a little lost.” Naturally. He is one of the best ventriloquists the world knows; he has lived the life of a showman — always on the stage, lights flooding him from everywhere, thousands of people absolutely alert, watching what he is doing with great appreciation. He has talent, genius, and he has lived flooded with others’ attentions.

Now naturally in this commune nobody comes to say to him, “Sarvesh, you are great. Sarvesh you are this, you are that.” He must be feeling a little bit lost. That is a problem for people who are public figures, it is very difficult for them to drop their personality.

But he is trying, and I am certain that he will succeed. It is going to happen. On one hand he has hankered for the attention of others, but sooner or later you become tired of it too, because it is just artificial food. Maybe it tastes good, maybe its flavor is beautiful, but it does not nourish, it does not give you vitality.

Personality is a showpiece. It can deceive others, but it cannot deceive you, at least not for long. That’s why Sarvesh has come here, tired, exhausted by all the attention. But old habit persists a little longer. Sooner or later he will start enjoying himself, sooner or later he will start enjoying his individuality.

And the day you can enjoy your individuality, you are free — free from dependence on others. If you ask for their attention you have to pay for it in return. It is a bondage. The more you ask people to be attentive towards you, the more you are becoming a thing, a commodity, which can be sold and purchased.

That’s what happens to all public figures — to politicians, to showbiz people. This is one kind of witnessing; you want to be witnessed. It gives you respectability, and in order to have respectability you will have to create character and morality. But all that character and all that morality is just hypocrisy. You create it with a motivation, so that others can be attracted towards you.
If you want respectability you will have to be a conformist, you will have to be obedient to the society and its demands. You will have to live according to wrong values, because the society consists of people who are fast asleep — their values cannot be right values.

Yes, but there is one thing: you can become a saint. That’s how thousands of your saints are. They have sacrificed everything at the altar of respectability. They have tortured themselves, they have been suicidal, but they have gained one thing. They have become saints, people worship them.

If you want that kind of worship, respectability, sainthood, then you will become more and more false, more and more pseudo, more and more plastic. You will never be a real rose. And that is the greatest calamity in life that can happen to a man, to be a plastic rose and not to be a real rose.

The second kind of witnessing is totally different, just the polar opposite. It is not that you hanker for others’ attention; on the contrary, you start paying attention to yourself. You become a witness to your own being. You start watching your thoughts, desires, dreams, motives, greeds and jealousies. You create a new kind of awareness within you. You become a center, a silent center which goes on watching whatsoever is happening.

You are angry, and you watch it. You are not just angry, a new element is introduced into it: you are watching it. And the miracle is that if you can watch anger, the anger disappears without being repressed.

The first kind of saint will have to repress it. He will have to repress his sexuality, he will have to repress his greed. And the more you repress anything, the deeper it goes into your unconscious. It becomes part of your basement and it starts affecting your life from there. It is like a wound that is oozing with pus, but you have covered it. Just by covering it, you don’t become healthy, it does not heal. In fact by covering it you are helping it to grow more and more. Your saints stink, stink of all kinds of repressions.
The second kind of witnessing creates a totally different kind of person. It creates the sage. The sage is one who knows who he is, not according to others. The sage is one who lives a life according to his own nature, not according to others’ values. He has his own vision and the courage to live it.

The sage is rebellious. The saint is obedient, orthodox, conventional, traditional, conformist. The sage is nonconformist, nontraditional, nonconventional, rebellious. Rebellion is the very taste of his being. He is not dependent on others. He knows what freedom is, and he knows the joys of freedom. The saint will be followed by a big crowd. The sage will have only the chosen people who will be able to understand him.

The sage will be misunderstood by the masses, the saint will be worshipped. The sage will be condemned by the masses, maybe even murdered. Jesus is crucified and the pope is worshipped. Jesus is a sage and the pope is a saint.
The saint has character and the sage has consciousness. And there is a tremendous difference. They are as different as the earth and the sky. Character is imposed for some ulterior motives — to gain respectability in this world and to have more and more heavenly pleasures. Consciousness has no future, no motivation, it is a joy unto itself. It is not a means to some end, it is an end unto itself.

To be with a saint is to be with an imitator. To be with a sage is to be with something true and authentic. To be with a saint is to be with a teacher, at the most. To be with a sage is to be with a master. These are the two witnesses.

Atisha says:


Avoid the first and plunge into the second.
There is another meaning to this sutra too. The other meaning is, first witness the objects of the mind. This is a higher meaning than the first. Witness the objects of the mind.

Patanjali calls it dhyana, meditation — from the same word come zen and CH’AN. Witness the objects, the contents, of the mind. Whatsoever passes before you, watch it, without evaluating, judging or condemning. Don’t be for or against, just watch, and dhyana, meditation, is created.

And the second is, witness the witness itself — and samadhi is created, satori is created, the ultimate ecstasy is created. The first leads to the second. Start watching your thoughts but don’t stop there. When thoughts have disappeared then don’t think that you have arrived. One more thing has to be done, one more step. Now watch the watcher. Now just witness the witnessing. Nothing else is left, only you are. Just suddenly become aware of awareness itself, and then dhyana is transformed into samadhi. By watching the mind, the mind disappears. By watching the witness, the witness expands and becomes universal.
The first is a negative step to get rid of the mind. The second is a positive step to get rooted in the ultimate consciousness — call it God or nirvana or whatever you wish.

The second sutra:

If you are unhappy, that simply means that you have learned tricks for being unhappy, and nothing else. Unhappiness depends on the frame of your mind. There are people who are unhappy in all kinds of situations. They have a certain quality in their mind which transforms everything into unhappiness. If you tell them about the beauty of the rose they immediately start counting the thorns. If you say to them, “What a beautiful morning, what a sunny day!” they will look at you as if they are surprised by your statement. They will say, “So what! One day between two dark nights! It is only one day between two dark nights, so what is the big deal? Why are you looking so fascinated?”

The same thing can be seen from a positive reference; then suddenly each night is surrounded by two days. And then suddenly it is a miracle that the rose is possible, that such a delicate flower is possible among so many thorns.
Everything is the same. All depends on what kind of frame you are carrying in your head. Millions of people are carrying crosses; naturally, obviously, they are burdened. Their life is a drag. Their frame is such that it immediately becomes focused on everything that is negative. It magnifies the negative; it is a morbid approach towards life, pathological. But they go on thinking, “What can we do? The world is such.”

No, the world is not such! The world is absolutely neutral. It has thorns, it has roses, it has nights, it has days. The world is utterly neutral, balanced, it has all. Now it depends on you as to what you choose. If you have decided to choose only the wrong, you will live in a wrong kind of world, because you will live in your own chosen world.

That’s how people create hell and heaven on the same earth. It looks very unbelievable that Buddha lived on this earth with the same kind of people, and lived in paradise. And you also live on the same earth with the same kind of people, and you live in hell.

Now, there are two possibilities. The political mind says, “Change the world.” The religious mind says, “Change the frame of your mind.”
Religion and politics are diametrically opposite. There is a possibility one day of a meeting of science and religion. Sooner or later, science and religion are bound to meet, because their approach is very similar. Maybe the direction is different — science searches the outer, and religion the inner. But the search, the quality of the search, is the same. The spirit of the search is the same.

But I don’t see any possibility that politics and religion can ever meet. Politics always thinks the world is wrong; change the society, the economic structure, this and that, and everything will be okay. And religion says the world has always been the same and will remain the same; you can change only one thing — the context of your mind, the space of your mind.


Let it become one of the fundamental rules of your life. Even if you come across a negative, find something positive in it. You will always be able to find something. And the day you become skillful at finding the positive in the negative, you will dance with joy.

Try it, try the new vision of life. Think in terms of optimism, don’t be a pessimist. The pessimist creates hell around himself and lives in it — you live in the world you create.

Remember, there is not only one world, there are as many worlds as there are minds in the world. I live in my world, you live in your own world. They are not only different, they never overlap. They are utterly different, they exist on different planes.
Atisha makes it a fundamental rule for his disciples to live in a happy frame of mind. Then you start turning each opportunity into a challenge for growth. For example, somebody insults you. Now it is so clear that you have been insulted, how can you practice a happy frame of mind now? Yes, it can be practiced. Insult a buddha and you will know.

Gautam Buddha was insulted once. He was passing by a village, and the villagers were very against him. It was impossible for them to comprehend what he was teaching. Compared to the buddhas, the whole world is always very primitive, very unsophisticated, very stupid. The people gathered and insulted him very much.

Buddha listened very silently and then he said, “If you are finished, can I take leave of you, because I have to reach the other village, and they must be waiting for me. If you are not finished, then when I return tomorrow morning you can come again and finish your job.”

One man from the crowd asked, “Have you not heard us? We have been insulting you, abusing you. We have been using all kinds of dirty words, anything that we can find.”

Buddha laughed. He said, “You have come a little too late — you should have come ten years ago. Then I was in the same frame of mind as you are; then I would have replied, and replied well. But now this is simply an opportunity for me to be compassionate, to be meditative. I am thankful to you that you allowed me this opportunity. This is just a test — a test of whether or not I have anything of the negative lurking anywhere in my unconscious mind.

“And I am happy to declare to you, friends, that not even a single shadow of the negative has passed through my mind. I have remained utterly blissful, you have not been able to affect me in any way. And I am tremendously happy that you gave me such a great opportunity. Very few people are as kind as you are.”

This is how one should use situations, this is how a sannyasin should use negative opportunities for inner growth, for inner understanding, for meditativeness, for love, for compassion. And once you have learned this happy frame of mind, this positive vision of life, you will be surprised that the whole existence starts functioning in a totally different way. It starts mothering you. It starts helping you in every possible way, it becomes a great friend.

And to know this is to know God. To know this, that existence mothers you, is to know God. There is no other God — just this feeling, this tremendous feeling, this penetrating feeling, that the existence loves you, protects you, helps you and showers many many blessings on you; that the existence is graceful towards you, that you are not alienated, that you are not a stranger, that this is your home.

To feel that “This existence is my home” is to know God.

The third sutra:

Yes, sometimes you will be distracted. You are not yet all buddhas — there will be times when you will be distracted, there will be times when you will be dragged down by the negative, sucked in by the old habit. And by the time you know, it has already happened; you are miserable. The shadow has fallen on you, that sunlit peak has disappeared, you have fallen into the dark valley.

Then what to do in those moments? Atisha says:
What does he mean by “if you can do it?” This is of great importance. If you can be attentive to your inattention, if you can be aware that you have fallen into the trap of the negative, it is still meditation, it is still mind training, you are still growing.
Yes, many times you will fall, it is natural. And many times you will forget, it is natural. And many times you will be trapped and it will take time for you to remember. But the moment you remember, remember TOTALLY. Wake up totally and say, “I have fallen.”

And see the difference. If you ask the ordinary religious person he will say, “Repent — punish yourself.” But Atisha is saying: If you are attentive, that’s enough. Be attentive to your inattention, be aware that you have not been aware, that’s all. No repentance is needed. Don’t feel guilty; it is natural, it is human. To fall many times is not something to feel guilty about. To commit errors, to go astray, is part of our human frailty and limitations. So there is no need to repent.

Repentance is ugly. It is like playing with your wound, fingering your wound. It is unnecessary, and not only unnecessary but harmful — the wound may become septic, and fingering your wound is not going to help it heal either.
If you have fallen, just know that you have fallen, with no guilt, with no repentance. There is no need to go anywhere to confess it, just knowing it is enough. And knowing it, you are helping your awareness to grow. Less and less will you fall, because knowing will become more and more strong in you.

The fourth sutra:

What are the three general points? The first is regularity of meditativeness. Remember, it is very difficult to create meditation, it is very easy to lose it. Anything higher takes much arduous effort to create, but it can disappear within a moment. To lose contact with it is very easy.

That is one of the qualities of the higher. It is like growing a roseflower — just a little hard wind and the rose has withered and the petals have fallen, or some animal has entered the garden and the rose is eaten. It is very easy to lose it, and it was so long a journey to create it.

And whenever there is a conflict between the higher and the lower, always remember, the lower wins easily. If you clash a roseflower with a rock, the roseflower is going to die, not the rock. The rock may not even become aware that there has been a clash, that it has killed something beautiful.

Your whole past is full of rocks, and when you start growing a rose of awareness in you, there are a thousand and one possibilities of it being destroyed by your old rocks — habits, mechanical habits. You will have to be very watchful and careful. You will have to walk like a woman who is pregnant. Hence the man of awareness walks carefully, lives carefully.
And this has to be a regular phenomenon. It is not that one day you do a little meditation, then for a few days you forget about it, and then one day you do it again. It has to be as regular as sleep, as food, as exercise, as breathing. Only then will the infinite glory of God open its doors to you.

So the first general point is: be regular.

The second general point is: don’t waste your time with the nonessential. Don’t fool around. Millions of people are wasting their time with the nonessential, and the irony is that they know that it is nonessential. But they say, “What else to do?” They are not aware of anything more significant.

People are playing cards, and if you ask them, “What are you doing?” they say they are killing time. Killing time? Time is life! So you are really killing life. And the time that you are killing cannot be recaptured again; once gone, it is gone forever.
The man who wants to become a buddha has to drop the nonessential more and more, so that more energy is available for the essential. Take a look at your life, how many nonessential things you are doing — and for what? And how long you have done them — and what have you gained? Are you going to repeat the same stupid pattern your whole life? Enough is enough! Take a look, meditate over it. Say only that which is essential, do only that which is essential, read only that which is essential. And so much time is saved and so much energy is saved, and all that energy and time can easily be channeled towards meditation, towards inner growth, towards witnessing.

I have never seen a man who is so poor that he cannot meditate. But people are engaged in foolish things, utterly foolish. They don’t look foolish, because everybody else is also doing the same.
But the seeker has to be watchful. Take more note of what you are doing, what you are doing with your life — because to grow roses of awareness much energy will be needed, a reservoir of energy will be needed. All that is great comes only when you have extra energy. If your whole energy is wasted on the mundane, then the sacred will never be contacted.
And the third general point is: don’t rationalize your errors and mistakes. The mind tends to rationalize. If you commit some mistake, the mind says, “It had to be so, there were reasons for it. I am not responsible, the very situation made this happen.” And the mind is very clever at rationalizing everything.

Avoid rationalizing your own errors and mistakes, because if you rationalize you protect them. Then they will be repeated. Avoid rationalizing your errors. Stop rationalization completely. Reasoning is one thing, rationalization is totally another. Reasoning can be used for some positive purposes, but rationalization can never be used for any positive purpose.
And you will be able to find when you are rationalizing, you can deceive others but you cannot deceive yourself. You know that you have fallen. Rather than wasting time in rationalizing and convincing yourself that nothing has gone wrong, put the whole energy into being aware.

All these general points are to help you so that you can block the leaks of your energy. Otherwise God goes on pouring energy into you, and you have so many leakages that you are never full. Energy comes, but leaks out.

The fifth sutra:

Change your inclination from the mind to the heart. That is the first change. Think less, feel more. Intellectualize less, intuit more. Thinking is a very deceptive process, it makes you feel that you are doing great things. But you are simply making castles in the air. Thoughts are nothing but castles in the air.

Feelings are more material, more substantial. They transform you. Thinking about love is not going to help, but feeling love is bound to change you. Thinking is very much loved by the ego, because the ego feeds on fictions. The ego cannot digest any reality, and thinking is a fictitious process. It is a kind of dreaming, a sophisticated dreaming. Dreams are pictorial and thinking is conceptual, but the process is the same. Dreaming is a primitive kind of thinking, and thinking is a civilized kind of dreaming.
Change from the mind to the heart, from thinking to feeling, from logic to love.

And the second change is from the heart to the being — because there is a still deeper layer in you where even feelings cannot reach. Remember these three words: mind, heart, being. The being is your pure nature. Surrounding the being is feeling, and surrounding feeling is thinking. Thinking is far away from being but feeling is a little closer; it reflects some glory of the being. It is just as in the sunset the sun is reflected by the clouds and the clouds start having beautiful colors. They themselves are not the sun, but they are reflecting the light of the sun.

Feelings are close to being, so they reflect something of the being. But one has to go beyond feelings too. Then what is being? It is neither thinking nor feeling, it is pure am-ness. One simply is.

Thinking is very selfish and egoistic. Feeling is more altruistic, less egoistic. Being is no-ego, egolessness — neither selfishness nor altruism but a spontaneity, a moment-to-moment responsiveness. One does not live according to oneself, one lives according to God, according to the whole.

Feeling is half, and no half can ever satisfy you. Thinking and feeling are both halves and you will remain divided. Being is total, and only the total can bring contentment.

And the ultimate, the fourth change, is from being to non-being. That is nirvana, enlightenment; one simply disappears, one simply is not. God is, enlightenment is. Light is, delight is, but there is nobody who is delighted. Neti neti: neither this nor that, neither existence nor nonexistence — this is the ultimate state. Atisha is slowly slowly taking his disciples towards it.
Let me repeat: from thinking to feeling, from feeling to being, from being to non-being, and one has arrived. One has disappeared and one has arrived. One is no more, for the first time. And for the first time one really is.

The sixth sutra:

The mind tends to discuss the defects of others. It helps the ego to feel good. Everybody is such a sinner; when everybody is such a sinner, comparatively one feels like a saint. When everybody is doing wrong, it feels good that “At least I am not doing that much wrong.”

Hence people talk about others’ defects; not only do they talk about them, they go on magnifying them. That’s why there is so much joy in gossiping. When the gossip passes from one hand to another hand, it becomes richer. And when it passes back again, something will be added to it. By the evening, if you come to know the gossip that you started in the morning, you will be surprised. In the morning it was just a molehill, now it is a mountain. People are very creative, really creative and inventive.
Why are people so interested in gossiping about others, in finding fault with others, in looking into others’ loopholes and defects? Why are people continuously trying to look through others’ keyholes? The reason is, this helps to give them a better feeling about themselves. They become Peeping Toms, just to have a good feeling, “I am far better.” There is a motivation. It is not just to help others — it is not, whatsoever they say, notwithstanding what they say. The basic reason is, “If others are very ugly, then I am beautiful.” They are following Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.

I have heard: Mulla Nasruddin was staying in a hotel. A telegram had arrived from home and he was in a hurry to catch the train. He rushed. But when he reached downstairs and looked at his luggage the umbrella was missing. He had to go up to the room again and by the time he reached the fourteenth floor the room had already been given to somebody else — a newlywed couple.

Although he was in a hurry and he might miss the train if he lingered there a little longer, the temptation was great. So he looked through the keyhole to see what was happening.

A newlywed couple — they were also in a hurry, they had already waited too long; the marriage ceremony and the church and the guests and all that — somehow they had got rid of all of them and they were lying naked on the bed, talking sweet nothings. And the young man was saying to the woman, “You have such beautiful eyes. I have never seen such beautiful eyes! To whom do these eyes belong?”
And the woman said, “To you! To you, and only to you!”
And so on, the list went on. “These beautiful hands, these beautiful breasts,” and this and that — this went on and on. And Mulla had completely forgotten about the train and the taxi waiting downstairs. But then suddenly he remembered his umbrella. When the list was about to be completed, he said, “Wait! When you come to the yellow umbrella, that belongs to me.”

People are unconsciously doing many things. If they become conscious these things will drop. Atisha says: Don’t ponder over others’ defects, it is none of your business. Don’t interfere in others’ lives, it is none of your business.

But there are great moralists whose whole work is to see who is doing wrong. Their whole life is wasted; they are like police dogs sniffing here and there. Their whole life’s work is to know who is doing wrong.

Atisha says: That is an ugly trait and a sheer wastage of time and energy. Not only is it a wastage but it strengthens and gratifies the ego. And an ego more gratified becomes more of a barrier.

And remember, it is not only a question of not discussing others’ defects. Don’t even be too much concerned about your own defects. Take note, be aware, and let the matter be settled then and there. There are a few other people who brag about their own defects….

It is suspected by psychologists that Saint Augustine’s autobiography, his confessions, are not true. He bragged about his defects. He was not that bad a person. But man is really unbelievable. If you start bragging about your qualities, then too, you go to extremes. If you start bragging about sins, then too, you go to the extreme. But in both ways you do only one thing.
What Saint Augustine is doing is simple. By bragging about his defects and sins and all kinds of ugly things, he is preparing a context. Out of such a hell he rose and became a great saint. Now his saintliness looks far more significant than it would have looked if he had been simply a good person from the very beginning.

And the same is the case with Mahatma Gandhi in India. In his autobiography he simply exaggerates about his defects and goes on talking about them. It helps him in a very vicarious way. He was so low, he was in such a seventh hell, and from there he started rising and became a great mahatma, a great saint. The journey was very arduous. This is very ego-fulfilling.
Don’t discuss others’ defects, don’t discuss your own defects. Take note, and that is that. Atisha says awareness is enough, nothing else is needed. If you are fully aware of anything, the fire of awareness burns it. There is no need for any other remedy.

And that’s what you go on thinking. Ninety-nine percent of the things that you think about concern others. Drop them — drop them immediately!

Your life is short, and your life is slipping out of your fingers. Each moment you are less, each day you are less, and each day you are less alive and more dead! Each birthday is a death day; one more year is gone from your hands. Be a little more intelligent.


Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples — the first thing, the very very first thing, “Find out what your greatest characteristic is, your greatest undoing, your central characteristic of unconsciousness.” Each one’s is different.

Somebody is sex-obsessed. In a country like India, where for centuries sex has been repressed, that has become almost a universal characteristic; everybody is obsessed with sex. Somebody is obsessed with anger, and somebody else is obsessed with greed. You have to watch which is your basic obsession.

So first find the main characteristic upon which your whole ego edifice rests. And then be constantly aware of it, because it can exist only if you are unaware. It is burnt in the fire of awareness automatically.
And remember, remember always, that you are not to cultivate the opposite of it. Otherwise, what happens is a person becomes aware that “My obsession is anger, so what should I do? I should cultivate compassion.” “My obsession is sex, so what should I do? I should practice brahmacharya, celibacy.”

People move from one thing to the opposite. That is not the way of transformation. It is the same pendulum, moving from left to right, from right to left. And that’s how your life has been moving for centuries; it is the same pendulum.

The pendulum has to be stopped in the middle. And that’s the miracle of awareness. Just be aware that “This is my chief pitfall, this is the place where I stumble again and again, this is the root of my unconsciousness.” Don’t try to cultivate the opposite of it, but pour your whole awareness into it. Create a great bonfire of awareness, and it will be burned. And then the pendulum stops in the middle.

And with the stopping of the pendulum, time stops. You suddenly enter into the world of timelessness, deathlessness, eternity.

And the last sutra:

The ego is result-oriented, the mind always hankers for results. The mind is never interested in the act itself, its interest is in the result. “What am I going to gain out of it?” If the mind can manage to gain, without going through any action, then it will choose the shortcut.

That’s why educated people become very cunning, because they are able to find shortcuts. If you earn money through a legal way, it may take your whole life. But you can earn money by smuggling, by gambling or by something else — by becoming a political leader, a prime minister, a president — then you have all the shortcuts available to you. The educated person becomes cunning. He does not become wise, he simply becomes clever. He becomes so cunning that he wants to have everything without doing anything for it.

The mind, the ego, are all result-oriented. The being is not result-oriented. And how can the non-being ever be result-oriented? It is not there at all in the first place.
Meditation happens only to those who are not result-oriented.
There is an ancient story:

A man was very much interested in self-knowledge, in self-realization. His whole search had been to find a master who could teach him meditation. He went from one master to another, but nothing was happening.
Years went by, he was tired, exhausted. Then someone told him, “If you really want to find a master you will have to go to the Himalayas. He lives in some unknown parts of the Himalayas; you will have to search for him. One thing is certain, he is there. Nobody knows exactly where, because whenever somebody comes to know of him he moves from that place and goes even deeper into the Himalayan ranges.”
The man was getting old, but he gathered courage. For two years he had to work to earn money for the journey, then he made the journey. It is an old story. He had to ride on camels and horses and then go on foot, and then he reached the Himalayas. People said, “Yes, we have heard about the old man, very ancient he is, one cannot say how old — maybe three hundred years old, or even five hundred years old; nobody knows. He lives somewhere, but the location cannot be given to you. Nobody is aware of where exactly you will find him, but he is there. If you search hard you are bound to find him.”
The man searched and searched and searched. For two years he was roaming in the Himalayas — tired, exhausted, dead exhausted, living only on wild fruits, leaves and grass. He had lost much weight. But he was intent that he had to find this man; even if it took his life, it would be worth it.
And can you imagine? One day he saw a small hut, a grass hut. He was so tired that he was not even able to walk, so he crawled. He reached the hut. There was no door; he looked in, there was nobody inside. And not only was there nobody inside, but there was every sign that for years there had been nobody inside.
You can think what would have happened to that man. He fell on the ground. Out of sheer tiredness he said, “I give up.” He was lying there under the sun in the cool breeze of the Himalayas, and for the first time he started feeling so blissful, he had never tasted such bliss! Suddenly he started feeling full of light. Suddenly all thoughts disappeared, suddenly he was transported — and for no reason at all, because he had not done anything.
And then he became aware that somebody was leaning over him. He opened his eyes. A very ancient man was there. And the old man, smiling, said, “So you have come. Have you something to ask me?”
And the man said, “No.”
And the old man laughed, a great belly laugh which was echoed by the valleys. And he said, “So now you know what meditation is?”
And the man said, “Yes.”

What had happened? That assertion which came from his deepest core of being — “I give up” — in that very giving up, all goal-oriented mind efforts and endeavors disappeared. “I give up.” In that very moment he was no more the same person. And bliss showered on him. He was silent, he was a nobody, and he touched the ultimate stratum of non-being. Then he knew what meditation is.

Meditation is a non-goal-oriented state of mind.

This last sutra is tremendously significant:

And then there is no need to go anywhere, God will come to you. Deep down say, “I give up.” And silence descends, benediction showers.

Meditate over these sutras, they are meant only for meditators. Atisha is not a philosopher, he is a siddha, a buddha. What he is saying is not some speculation. These are clear-cut instructions given only to those who are ready to travel, to go on the pilgrimage into the unknown.

Enough for today.



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