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Is awareness alone enough to guide one’s actions


Published by Penguin Books India

Philosophia Perennis, Vol 1
Chapter #7
Chapter title: Awareness: The Master Key
27 December 1978 am in Buddha Hall
Archive code: 7812270
ShortTitle: PEREN107
Audio: Yes
Video: No
Length: 104 mins
You have spoken of awareness and consciousness and it seems as though this is all that is needed to guide one’s actions. Does this mean then that murder, rape and theft are only wrong in so far as they are done without awareness, without consciousness?
YES– — THE ONLY SIN IS UNAWARENESS Yes–the only sin is unawareness, and the holy virtue is awareness. That which cannot be done without unawareness is sin. That which can only be done through awareness is virtue. It is impossible to murder if you are aware; it is impossible to be violent at all if you are aware. It is impossible to rape, to steal, to torture these are impossibilities if awareness is there. It is only when unawareness prevails that, in the darkness of unawareness, all kinds of enemies enter you.
Buddha has said: If the light is on in a house, thieves avoid it; and if the watchman is awake, thieves will not even try. And if the people are walking and talking inside, and the house has not yet fallen into sleep, there is no possibility for thieves to enter or even to think about it.
Exactly the same is the case with you: you are a house without any light. The ordinary state of man is that of a mechanical functioning: HOMO MECHANICUS Homo Mechanicus. Only in the name are you a man otherwise, just a trained, skillful machine, and whatsoever you do is going to be wrong. And remember, I am saying WHATSOEVER whatsoever you do even your virtues will not be virtues if you are unaware. How can you be virtuous when you are unaware? Behind your virtue will come a great, enormous ego it is bound to be so. Even your saintliness, practised, cultivated with great labour and effort, is futile! b Because it will not bring simplicity, and it will not bring humbleness, and it will not bring that great experience of the divine which happens only when the ego has disappeared. You will live a respectable life as a saint, but as poor as everybody else: inwardly rotten, inwardly a meaningless existence. It is not life, it is only vegetating. Your sins will be sins, your virtues will also be sins. Your immorality will be immorality, your morality will also be immorality.
I don’t teach you morality, and I don’t teach you virtue because I know, without awareness they are just pretensions, hypocrisies. They make you phony. They don’t liberate you, they can’t liberate you. On the contrary, they imprison you.
Only one thing is enough: awareness is a master key. It unlocks all the L locks of existence. Awareness means you live momenttomoment, alert, conscious of yourself, and conscious of all that is happening around you, in a moment-to-moment response. You are like a mirror,.
That’s what Pythagoras wants you to understand: you reflect. And you reflect so totally that out of that reflection whatsoever act is born is right, because it fits, it is harmonious with existence. It does not really arise in you, you are not a doer of it. It arises in the total context: the situation, you and all, are involved in it. Out of that wholeness the act is born it is not your act. You have not decided to DO do it that way; it is not your decision, it is not your thought, it is not your character. You are not doing it: you are only allowing it to happen.
Just as walking early in the morning, the sun has not risen, you come across a snake on the path there is no time to think, you can only reflect. There is no time to decide what to do and what not to do. You IMMEDIATELY immediately jump! Remember the word ‘immediate’ not even a single moment is lost. You immediately jump out of the way. Later on you can sit underneath a tree and think about it what happened, how you did it and you can pat your own back that you did well. But in fact you have not done it, it happened. It happened out of the total context. You, the snake, the danger of death, the effort of life to protect itself and a thousand and one other things are involved in it. The total situation caused the act. You were just a medium.
Now, this act fits. You are not the doer of it. In the religious way we can say: God has done it through you. That is only a religious way of speaking, that’s all. The whole has acted through the part this is virtue. You will never repent for it.
And this is really a freeing act. Once it has happened, it is finished. You are again free to act; you will not carry this action in your head. It will not become part of your psychological memory; it will not leave any wound in you. It was so spontaneous that it will not leave any trace.
THIS This act will never become a karma. This act will never leave any scratch on you. The act which becomes a karma, is the act which is not really an act but a reaction which comes from the past, from memory, from thinking. You are the decider, the chooser. It is not out of awareness but unawareness. Then it is all sin.
Pradipam, to To me, awareness is all. I teach you awareness.
It was Plato who, attempting to convey the meaning of the educative process, told the parable of the cave. Chained within an underground cave, one of the prisoners who has perceived only the illusionary shadows of the real world is unchained and freed to journey into the light.
Emerging from the cave he is blinded by the brightness of the sun and for a moment desires to turn back. But he realizes that the only authentic life for man is one lived with a clear vision of things as they are. Though earlier blinded by the light and desiring the darkness, he resolves to leave behind the cave of shadows and its world of illusions. But having seen, having become aware, having perceived clearly, he knows he must return and free others to see through the veil of illusions that chain and imprison them in an unreal world.
The moment you become aware, it is not only that your life is transformed: you immediately start functioning in a new way, you start helping others to be transformed. Because once you have seen the light of awareness, once you are out of the cave of unconscious mind, you will be surprised that whatsoever you had known before was not real, it was only shadows of the real. You had dreamt about the real.
And once you have seen the light, you would like to share it. You would like to go back to the cave and unchain other prisoners. That’s what all the great M masters down the ages have been doing. That’s what Pythagoras was doing. He became free free, out of the cave.
For the first time, you will be dazzled. For the first time, you will feel your eyes are hurting that is the pain of growth. For the first time the desire, a great desire, will arise, to go back into the darkness because you have become accustomed to it. It was soothing. But once you have seen even a little bit of reality you cannot go back; you have crossed the point of no return. You will HAVE have to live in the light. You will have to learn how to absorb light, because the reality is so blissful. And out of the experience of the real, life becomes religious. Out of the experience of the real, you cannot act in the old ways.
Pradipam, I know why the question has arisen because you have tried not to be angry, you have decided so many times, but still it happens. You have tried not to be greedy, but again and again you fall in the trap. You have tried ALL all kinds of things to change yourself, but nothing seems ever to happen. You remain the same.
And here I am saying that there is a simple key: awareness. You cannot believe it. How can awareness, just awareness, help when nothing else has been of any help? Keys are always very small; keys are not very big things. A small key can open a very big lock. And why does awareness function as a key?
The person who is living in a dream, is deep asleep, has a nightmare, is being tortured, is being killed. And of course fighting, fighting back, he is very much afraid, wants somebody to save him, and finds no way to escape. All around him are enemies with naked swords. Death seems to be certain. Trembling, perspiring, just out of the pain of the nightmare, he awakes. Still his breathing is not natural, still he is perspiring, trembling, but he starts laughing. There is no problem… the dream has disappeared. All those enemies and the naked swords were not realities. He need not ask to be saved; he need not arrange any defence. The whole thing was just a shadow world.
Once awakened the whole dream has disappeared. And in the dream he had tried every possible way to protect himself and was finding it impossible. That’s how the case is with you, with everybody.
Anger is a shadow. You cannot be victorious by fighting with a shadow. Greed is a shadow… these are not realities. The reality is that which will remain even when awareness has happened. And this is the miracle: those who have known awareness have not known anything of anger or greed. Not that they dropped them they simply don’t find them! Once the light is there, darkness is not there.
Buddha is reported to have said when he became enlightened, the first moment of it, he smiled and he said: This is unbelievable! – so So, I have been enlightened from the very beginning!? And all those chains and all those imprisonments were just dreams?
When people would ask him, What should we do not to be angry, or what should we do not to be greedy, or what should we do not to be so much obsessed with sex or food? his answer was always the same: B be aware. Bring awareness to your life.
His disciple, Ananda, listening again and again to every kind of person different problems, but the prescription of the physician remains the same became puzzled. He said, What is the matter with you? They bring different kinds of illness somebody brings greed and somebody sex and somebody food and somebody something else, but your prescription remains the same!”
And Buddha said, Their illnesses are different just as people can dream different dreams.
Here you are: if all of you, all two thousand sannyasins, fall asleep you will have two thousand dreams. Remember, you cannot invite anybody to share your dream it is very private, not even your wife or your husband, nobody can share it. So two thousand people will have two thousand dreams. But if you come to me and ask how to get rid of this dream, the medicine will remain the same: Wake up! It is not going to be different; the prescription is going to be the same. You can call it awareness, you can call it witnessing, you can call it remembering, you can call it meditation these are different names for the same medicine.
Act with more awareness.
THERE WAS A MAN There was a man travelling home from work on a train. Shortly after its departure he had fallen asleep, lulled off by the motion of the train. Somewhere in between stations, the train suddenly stopped at an emergency red signal.
The man, waking up suddenly, thought the train had arrived at his destination and proceeded promptly to step out of the door and fell flat onto the track! Quite shaken and bruised, he was helped by the other passengers back into the carriage.
Dusting himself off and rearranging his tie and dabbing his bloody nose dry, he then exclaimed: How stupid of me to get out at the wrong side! a And then proceeded to leave by the door opposite and step ped in front of the oncoming express!
The only problem with man is that he is fast asleep with open eyes! That’s why you are not even aware that you are not aware. Your eyes are open and you are dreaming a thousand and one dreams, a thousand and one desires. You are not here now, that is the meaning of not being aware. You are in the past, in the memories that is a dream. Or you are in the future, in imagination that is a dream.
Be now, here. !
If the past is there, you are not aware. If the future is there, you are not aware. Awareness means presence in the present. Just be here this moment. Even if a single thought passes inside you, you are not aware. To be in a thought-process is to be asleep. Not to be in a thought-process is to be awake.
And that crystal purity of being here, of being now… how can you commit any sin? In THAT that clarity, the ego disappears, and it is the ego which brings all kinds of problems in life. The ego is violent. And if you try to become humble, you may become humble but the ego will remain there hiding behind your humbleness. Unless you become aware, the ego will go on playing new games. The games will be changed; you may move from one prison cell into another prison cell, that’s all, but you will not get out of the prison.
The only way to get out of the prison is to be utterly alert. In that alertness you become crystallized, in that alertness you become centered. And that very centering takes you into the very core of reality. And that experience is so blissful that you cannot remain a thief any more because all that you need, all that you have ever desired, is fulfilled. In fact, you had never asked so much ever as is showering on you of its own accord. Who would like to be a thief? For what?
Who would like to murder? For what? You CANNOT cannot even imagine murdering because now you know nothing can be murdered all is eternal. It is a futile effort. You cannot kill anything. At the most, you can take the garments away, but the inner being continues. Once you have seen your own inner being, in the light of awareness you have seen the being of all. It is eternity. Death is a falsity. Death happens only in dreams, not in truth, not in reality.
How can you rape when you are aware? Awareness brings tremendous love in its wake, and a loving person cannot rape. Rape is possible only when the person has never known anything of love. And, remember, the people who are rapists are not the only people who rape: you may be a good husband, and a good wife, married legally and everything, and your relationship may be nothing but rape. If you are unaware you cannot do anything else; your relationship will remain that of a rapist. You may be raping in a legal way, authorized, sanctioned by the society, but that doesn’t matter. If your wife is making love to you because it is her duty to make love to the husband whenever the husband wants, it is rape. She is not REALLY really in it it is rape. She is simply fulfilling the duties of a wife. If you are making love to your woman and not being totally present in that moment, it is rape. The woman is raping you; you are raping her.
Love is love only when it is meditative. Love is love only when there is great awareness Ss from both sides. Two nows meeting, two heres meeting; two presences merging, melting into each otherthen it is love, and then it has a spiritual quality to it.
But you have learnt how to live without awareness. You know how to move without awareness; you know the doors of your house, and the rooms, and you have become acquainted with all kinds of skills…. You can drive to the office and come back, and there is no need to be aware. You can just go on doing these things mechanically.
All sins arise out of this mechanicalness. Your life becomes a hell. Hell simply means not to be in the present, and paradise means just to be in the present.
A young farm boy from Arkansas was sent to New York by his father to learn the undertaking business under the tutelage of the great Frank E. Campbell.
Some months later, the father visited his son in the big city. Tell me, he said, have you learnt much?
Oh sure, Dad, said the son. I have learnt a lot. And it has been very interesting.
What was the most interesting thing you learnt?
The son thought for a moment and then said, Well, we did have one wild experience that taught me a lesson.
What was that?
Well, said the son, one day we got this phone call from the Taft Hotel. It seems that the housekeeper had checked one of the rooms and she discovered that a man and woman had died in their sleep on the bed and completely naked.
Wow! said the father. What did Mr. Campbell do?
Well, he put on his tuxedo and he had me put on my tuxedo. Then we were driven in one of his limousines to the Taft Hotel. The manager took us to the desk clerk who gave us the room number. Then the manager rode up with us in the elevator. We were silent because Mr. Campbell always believes in doing things with great dignity.
How marvellous! exclaimed the father. Then what happened?
Well, we came to this room. Mr. Campbell pushed the door open with his gold-tipped cane. He, the manager, and I walked in quietly. Sure enough, there on the bed was this naked couple lying on their backs.
And then what happened? asked the father.
Well, Mr. Campbell saw an immediate problem. The man had a large erection.
And then what happened? asked the father.
Mr. Campbell, as usual, was up to the situation. He swung his gold-tipped cane and very stylishly whacked the prick.
And then what happened? asked the father.
Well, Dad, said the son, all hell broke loose. You see, we were in the wrong room!
That’s how it goes on and on… you ARE are in the wrong room, you are always in the wrong room. Unawareness is the name of the wrong room. And whatsoever you are doing, good or bad, respectable or unrespectable, is ALL all the same in the ultimate final analysis because you are in the wrong room, and in the wrong room you cannot do anything right. You can become a saint in the wrong room, but you will remain exactly in the same room as the sinner. You can become very moral you may not be a thief and you may not be a rapist and you may not be a murderer but the ROOM room is wrong and whatsoever you are, you cannot be right.
Your total state of mind has to be transformed, and that is the meaning of awareness. You are in the past, in the future; that means you are in the mind. The mind is the name of the wrong room. Come out of the mind! Be in the present… and when you are in the present, you are not part of the mind. Then each act has tremendous clarity, because you are a mirror. And there is no dust on the mirror because there is no thinking going on.
That’s all I teach here: how to be aware, how to be conscious how to be, and without thoughts. And then life starts changing of its own accord. I don’t teach you non-violence. Non-violence has been taught down the ages in this country and people are not non-violent at all. In fact, it is difficult to find more violent people anywhere else than in this country. Every day, in every possible way, violence erupts any excuse is enough. And buses will be burnt burned and people will be murdered, and the police will have to fire. Every day! It is not news at all: it is not new, how can it be news? You can be certain it will be happening somewhere or other in this country.
Madhura Somebody has asked: a question: Why in India is there so much public violence? It is because of the teachings of non-violence. For five thousand years people have been taught to be non-violent; they have learnt the trick of pretending. And all that has happened is that they have repressed their violence. They are sitting on volcanoes any excuse, any small excuse, and the violence is triggered. And then it goes on spreading like a wild fire.
Whenever there is a Hindu-Mohammedan riot, you can see the real faces of the people of this country murderous. And just a day before, the Hindu was praying in the temple and the Mohammedan was praying in the mosque, and one was reading the Vedas and the other was reading the Koran, and they looked so pious. Let there be a riot, and all that piousness simply evaporates as if it had never been there, and they are ready to kill, rape…. T they are ready to do anything!
This violence erupts again and again in this country because of the teaching, a wrong teaching, which is based on repression. Whenever you repress something, it will come up again and again.
I teach you awareness, not repression. That’s why I don’t talk about non-violence. I don’t say, Don’t be violent. I only say, Be alert, be aware! Whatsoever you are doing, do it with such care, with. such meditativeness, that you are absolutely there, in it, involved; that you are not just making some empty gestures. Your presence is there and that very presence brings an alchemical change. You will never repress, you will never sit on a volcano. And the more you become aware, the more your life will attain to silence, peace, love. They are by-products of awareness.
–From Philosophia Perennis, Volume 1, Discourse 7



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