The first is praman, right knowledge. The Sanskrit word praman is very deep and really cannot be translated. Right knowledge is just a shadow, not the exact meaning, because there is no word which can translate praman. Praman comes from the root prama. Many things have to be understood about it.

Patanjali says that the mind has a capacity. If that capacity is directed rightly, then whatsoever is known is true; it is self-evidently true. We are not aware about it because we have never used it. That faculty has remained unused. It is just… The room is dark, you come in it, you have a torch, but you are not using it – so the room remains dark. You go on stumbling on this table, on that chair, and you have a torch, but the torch has to be put on. Once you put the torch on, immediately darkness disappears. And wherever the torch is focused you know. At least that spot becomes evident, self-evidently clear.

Mind has a capacity of praman, of right knowledge, of wisdom. Once you know how to put it on, then wherever you move that light, only the right knowledge is revealed. Without knowing it, whatsoever you know will be wrong.

Mind has the capacity of wrong knowledge also. That wrong knowledge is called in Sanskrit viparyaya – false, mithya. And you have that capacity also. You take alcohol. What happens? The whole world becomes a viparyaya; the whole world becomes false. You start seeing things which are not there.

What has happened? Alcohol cannot create things. Alcohol is doing something within your body and brain. The alcohol starts working at the center Patanjali calls viparyaya. The mind has a center which can pervert anything. Once that center starts functioning, everything is perverted.

I am reminded… Once it happened that Mulla Nasrudin and his friend were drinking in a pub. They came out, completely drunk, and Nasrudin was an old, experienced drinker. The other was new, so the other was affected more. So the other asked, “Now I cannot see, I cannot hear, I cannot even walk rightly. How will I reach my home? You tell me, Nasrudin please direct me. How should I reach my home?”

Nasrudin said, “First you go. After so many steps you will come to a point where there are two ways: one goes to the right, the other goes to the left. You go to the left because that which goes to the right doesn’t exist. I have been many times on that right also, but now I am an experienced man. You will see two paths. Choose the left one; don’t choose the right. That right doesn’t exist. Many times I have gone on it, and then you never reach, you never reach your home.”

Once Nasrudin was teaching his son the first lessons of drinking. So he told him… The son was asking, he was curious. He asked, “When is one to stop?” Nasrudin said, “Look at that table. Four people are sitting there. When you start seeing eight, stop!” The boy said, “But father, there are only two persons sitting!”

Mind has a faculty. That faculty functions when you are under any influence of a drug, any intoxicant. That faculty Patanjali calls viparyaya, wrong knowledge, the center of perversion.

Exactly opposite to it there is a center you don’t know. Exactly opposite to it there is a center. If you meditate deeply, silently, that other center will start functioning. That center is called praman, right knowledge. Through the functioning of that center, whatsoever is known is right. What you know is not the question, from where you know is the question.

That’s why all the religions have been against alcohol. It is not on any moralistic grounds, no! It is because alcohol influences the center of perversion. And every religion is for meditation because meditation means more and more creating a stillness, more and more becoming silent.

Alcohol goes on doing quite the opposite, makes you more and more agitated, excited, disturbed. A trembling enters within you. The drunkard cannot even walk rightly. His balance is lost. Not only in the body, but in the mind also balance is lost.

Meditation means gaining the inner balance. When you gain the inner balance and there is no trembling, the whole body-mind has become still, then the center of right knowledge starts functioning. Through that center, whatsoever is known is true.

Where are you? You are not alcoholics, you are not meditators, you must be somewhere between the two. You are not in any center. You are between these two centers of wrong knowledge and right knowledge. That’s why you are confused.

Sometimes you have glimpses. You lean a little towards the right knowledge center, then certain glimpses come to you. You lean toward the center, which is of perversion, then perversion enters you. And everything is mixed, you are in chaos. That’s why either you will have to become meditators or you will have to become alcoholics, because confusion is too much. And these are the two ways.

Either you lose yourself into intoxication, then you are at ease. At least you have gained a center – may be of wrong knowledge, but you are centered. The whole world may say you are wrong. You don’t think, you think the whole world is wrong. At least in those moments of unconsciousness you are centered, centered in the wrong center. But you are happy because even centering in the wrong center gives a certain happiness. You enjoy it, hence, so much appeal of alcohol.

Governments have been fighting for centuries. Laws have been made, prohibition and everything, but nothing helps. Unless humanity becomes meditative, nothing can help. People will go on; they will find new ways and new means to get intoxicated. They cannot be prevented, and the more you try to prevent them, more prohibition laws, the more appeal.

Unless man changes inwardly, you cannot force man for any prohibition. It is impossible because then man will go mad. This is his way to remain sane. For a few hours he becomes drugged, “stoned”, then he is okay. Then there is no misery; then there is no anguish. The misery will come, the anguish will come, but at least it is postponed. Tomorrow morning the misery will be there, the anguish will be there – he will have to face it. But by the evening he can hope again – he will take a drink and be at ease.

These are the two alternatives. If you are not meditative, then sooner or later you will have to find some drug. And there are subtle drugs. Alcohol is not very subtle, it is very gross. There are subtle drugs. Sex may become a drug for you. And through sex you may be just losing your consciousness. Anything you can use as a drug. Only meditation can help. Why? Because meditation gives you centering on the center which Patanjali calls praman.

Why so much emphasis – of every religion for meditation? Meditation must be doing some inner miracle. This is the miracle: that meditation helps you to put on the light of right knowledge. Then wherever you move, then wherever your focus moves, whatsoever is known is true.

Buddha has been asked thousands and thousands of questions. One day somebody asked him that, We come with new questions. We have not even put the question before you and you start answering. You never think about it. How does it happen?”

So Buddha says, “It is not a question of thinking. You put the question and, simply, I look at it. And whatsoever is true is revealed. It is not a question of thinking and brooding about it. The answer is not coming as a logical syllogism. It is just focusing on the right center.”

Buddha is like a torch. So wherever the torch moves, it reveals. Whatsoever the question, that is not the point. Buddha has the light, and whenever that light will come on any question, the answer will be revealed. The answer will come out of that light. It is a simple phenomenon, a revelation.

When somebody asks you, you have to think about it. But how can you think if you don’t know? If you know, there is no need to think. If you don’t know, what will you do? You will search in the memory, you will find many clues. You will just do a patchwork. You don’t know really; otherwise the response would have been immediate.

Your question is just an excuse. When you put a question, Buddha simply moves his light toward that question and whatsoever is revealed, is revealed. He answers you; that’s a deep response of his right center – praman.

Patanjali says there are five modifications of the mind. Right knowledge. If this center of right knowledge starts functioning in you, you will become a sage, a saint. You will become religious. Before that you cannot become religious.

That’s why Jesus or Mohammed, they look mad – because they don’t argue; they don’t put their case logically, they simply assert. You ask Jesus, “Are you really the only son of God?” He says, “Yes.” And if you ask him, “Prove it,” he will laugh. He will say, “There is no need to prove. I know This is the case; this is self-evident.” To us it looks illogical. This man seems to be neurotic, claiming something without any proof.

If this praman, this center of prama, this center of right knowledge starts functioning, you will be the same: you can assert, but you cannot prove. How can you prove? If you are in love, how can you prove that you are in love? You can simply assert. You have pain in your leg; how can you prove that you have pain? You simply assert that, “I have pain.” You know somewhere inside. That knowing is enough.

Ramakrishna was asked, “Is there God?” He said “Yes.” He was asked, “Then prove it.” He said, “There is no need. I know. To me, there is no need. To you there is a need, so you search. Nobody could prove it for me. I cannot prove it for you. I had to seek; I had to find. And I have found. God is!”

This is the functioning of the right center. So Ramakrishna or Jesus look absurd. They are claiming certain things without giving any proof. They are not claiming; they are not claiming anything. Certain things are revealed to them because they have a new center functioning which you don’t have. And because you don’t have it you have to prove.

This first modification of the mind is right knowledge. Meditation leads to this modification. And when you can rightly know and there is no need to prove, then only mind can be dropped, not before it. When there is no need to prove, the mind is not needed, because the mind is a logical instrument.

You need it every moment. You have to think, find out what is wrong and what is right. Every moment there are choices and alternatives. You have to choose. Only when praman functions, when right knowledge functions, you can drop the mind, because now choosing has no meaning. You move choicelessly. Whatsoever is right is revealed to you.

The definition of the sage is one who never chooses. He never chooses good against bad. He simply moves towards the direction which is that of good. It is just like sunflowers. When the sun is in the east, the flower moves to the east. It never chooses. When the sun moves to the west, the flower moves to the west. It simply moves with the sun. It has not chosen to move; it has not decided. It has not taken a decision that, “Now I should move because the sun has moved to the west.”

If right knowledge functions, if your mind has taken the modification of right knowledge, you will become religious. Look, it is totally different. Patanjali doesn’t say if you go to the mosque, to the gurdwara, to the temple, you do some ritual, you pray… No, that’s not religion. You have to make your right-knowledge center functioning. So whether you go to the temple or not, it is immaterial; it doesn’t matter. If your right-knowledge center functions, whatsoever you do is prayer and wherever you go-is a temple.


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