… AND THE CONFLICTS THAT ARISE BETWEEN THE THREE ATTRIBUTES AND THE FIVE MODIFICATIONS OF THE MIND.
Then there is a continuous fight between mind modifications and the three attributes which Hindus say constitute your being. They say that sattwa, rajas, and tamas are the three constituents of the human personality. Sattwa is the purest, the very essential of all goodness, of all purity, of all saintliness, the holiest element in you. Then there is rajas, the element of energy, vigor, strength, power; and tamas, the element of laziness, inertia and entropy. These three constitute your being. And it seems that Hindus have a great insight into it, because these are the three things that physicists say are the constituents of matter, of the very atomic energy. They may call it the electron, proton, and neutron, but those are differences of name only. Hindus call it sattwa, rajas and tamas. Scientists agree that three types of qualities are needed for matter to exist, or for anything to exist. Hindus say that these three qualities are needed for the personality to exist; not only for the personality, but for the whole existence to exist.
Patanjali says that these three are against each other and that creates trouble.
And all three are in you. The element of laziness is there, otherwise you would not be able to sleep. People who suffer from insomnia suffer because the tamas element is not in them in enough quantity. That’s why tranquilisers help, because a tranquiliser is a tamas creating chemical. It creates tamas in you, laziness. If people are too rajas, too full of vigor and energy, they cannot sleep.
That’s why in the West insomnia has now become a universal problem. In the West there are too much; of rajas, the energy element. That’s why the West has ruled all over the world. A small country like England continued to rule half the world. They must have been very rajas. A country like India with sixty crores of people now remains poor; there are so many people doing nothing. They become more and more burdensome. They are not assets, they are burdens on the country. There is too much tamas, laziness. And then there is sattwa which is against both. These three elements constitute you. And they are all going in three different dimensions. They are needed, they are all needed in their oppositeness because through their tension you exist. If their tension were lost, if they became harmonious, death would happen. Hindus say that when these three elements are in tension, existence exists, there is creation; when these three elements come to a harmony, existence dissolves, there is pralaya, there is de-creation. Your death is nothing but these three elements coming to a harmony in the body – then you die. If the very tension is not there, how can you live?
This is the problem: you cannot live without these three tensions – you will die.
And you cannot live with them because they are opposite and they pull you in different directions. You must have felt many times that you are being pulled in different directions. One part of you says, ‘Be ambitious’; another part says, ‘Ambition will create anxiety. Rather, meditate, pray, become a sannyasin.’ One part says that sin is beautiful, sin has an attraction, a magnetic force in it: ‘Enjoy, because sooner or later death will take over. Dust goes unto dust and nothing remains. Enjoy before death takes over, don’t miss.’ One part of you says this and another part of you says, ‘Death is coming, everything is futile. What is the point of enjoying it?’ These are not the same parts of you speaking. You have three parts in you. In fact there are three egos, three individuals in you.
Patanjali says, as Mahavir says, that man is polypsychic. You don’t have one psyche, you have three minds; and three minds can become three thousand through permutations, combinations. You have many minds, you are polypsychic; each mind is pulling you somewhere else. You are a crowd. Of course, how can you be at ease, how can you be blissful? You are like a bullock cart which is being pulled in different directions by many bullocks, one yoked to the north, one yoked to the west, and one yoked to the south simultaneously. It cannot go anywhere. It will create much noise and, finally, a collapse, but it cannot reach anywhere. That’s why your life remains a life of emptiness. These three are in conflict, and then modifications of the mind, vrittis, are in conflict with the gunas.
For example, I know a man who is a very lazy man. And he was telling me, ‘If I had no wife, I would have rested. I had enough money, but this wife would go on forcing me to work. It was never enough for her.’ Then the wife died. So I told the man, ‘You must be happy. Why are you crying? Be happy! You are finished with the wife, and now you can rest.’ But he was crying and weeping like a child. He said, ‘Now I feel lonely. And it has become a habit.’ Wives and husbands become habits. He said, ‘Now it has become a habit. Now I cannot sleep without a woman.’ I told him, ‘Now don’t be foolish! Don’t try to get remarried, because your whole life you have suffered, and another woman is going to be again a woman – she will force you. Again, your money will not be enough.’
I have heard about a very rich man, Rothschild. Somebody asked him, ‘How have you attained so much wealth? How could you attain? What was the desire? How did you become so ambitious?’ He was born a poor man, and then he became the richest man in the world. He said, ‘It is because of my wife. I was trying to attain as much wealth as possible because I wanted to know whether my wife could be satisfied or not. I failed – she was always asking for more. There was a competition between us. I was trying to attain more and more, and I wanted to see a day when she would say, “It is enough.” She never said it. Because of that competition I continued earning, and continued earning madly. Now I have attained so much wealth that I don’t know what to do, but my wife is still not satisfied. If one day I want to relax and not get up early in the morning, she comes and says, “What is the matter? Are you not going to the office.”’ I told this man, ‘Don’t get into a trap again. Your whole life you have wanted to rest, and even now she is here.’
A lazy man wants to rest, but when he lives with the wife, a modification happens in the mind. Now a woman becomes part and parcel of his being. He cannot live with her because maybe she fights every day, but that too becomes part of habit. If there is nobody to fight with when he comes home, he will not feel homey.
I have heard that Mulla Nasrudin went into a restaurant. The waitress said, ‘What you need, I am ready to do.’ He was the first customer that day, and it was in India. The first customer has to be treated and welcomed like a guest, because he starts the day. Mulla Nasrudin said, ‘Treat me in a homey way. Bring things.’
The waitress brought things, whatsoever he ordered: coffee, this and that. Then she asked, ‘Anything else?’ Mulla Nasrudin said, ‘Now sit in front of me and nag. I am feeling homesick.’
Even if the wife fights every day, it becomes a habit. You cannot afford to lose it, you miss it. I told the man, ‘Don’t bother again now. It is just a modification of the mind, a habit. You are a lazy man.’
For lazy men, brahmacharya is best. They should remain celibate. They can rest, relax and do whatsoever they want to do with themselves. They can do their own thing and nobody is there to nag. He listened to me. It was difficult, but he listened to me. After two years, he retired from the service, so I said, ‘Now you are perfectly at ease; now you rest. Your whole life you have been thinking of it.’
He said, ‘That’s right. But now after forty years of working, it has become a habit, and I cannot remain unoccupied.’
Retired people die sooner than they were going to die originally almost ten years sooner. If a man was going to die at eighty, retire him at sixty and he will die at seventy. Unoccupied – what to do? – One slowly dies.
Habits are formed and the mind takes modifications. You are lazy but you have to work, so your mind has become habituated to work. Now you cannot relax. Even if you are retired you cannot sit, you cannot meditate, you cannot rest, you cannot go to sleep. I see that people are more restless on holidays than ordinary days.
Sunday is a difficult day; they don’t know what to do. On the six working days, they are waiting for Sunday. For six days they hope that Sunday is coming: ‘One day more and Sunday is coming, and then we will rest.’ And from the very morning on Sunday, they are at a loss for what to do.
In the West, people start on their Sunday or weekend trips: they go to the sea or to the mountains. There is a mad rush all over the country; everybody is running somewhere. Nobody thinks that everybody else is going to the sea, so where are they going? – The whole town will be there. It would have been better if they had remained at home. That would have been more sea like. You are alone and the whole town is gone. Everybody has gone to the seashore. And more accidents happen on holidays, people are more tired. They drive a hundred miles there and a hundred miles back, and they are tired. I have heard it said that on Sunday, people get so tired that on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, these three days they take to rest and revive the spirit, and for three days they wait and hope again for Sunday. When Sunday comes again, they are again tired.
People cannot rest because rest needs a different attitude. If you are lazy and you work, your mind will create something. If you are not lazy, then too mind will create something. Mind and your gunas will always be in conflict. Patanjali says that these are the reasons people are in misery. So what to do? – How can you change these reasons? They are there, they cannot be changed. Only you can be changed.
FUTURE MISERY IS TO BE AVOIDED.
Don’t think about the past. The past is finished and you cannot undo it. But future misery can be avoided, and has to be avoided. How to avoid it?
THE LINK BETWEEN THE SEER AND THE SEEN THAT CREATES MISERY, IS TO BE BROKEN.
You have to be a witness to your gunas, attributes, modifications of the mind, tricks of the mind, games, traps of the mind, habits, samskaras, past, changing situations, expectations: you have to be aware of all these things. You have to remember only one thing: the seer is not ;the seen. Whatsoever you can see, you are not that. If you can see your habit of laziness, you are not that. If you can see your habit of constant occupation, you are not that. If you can see your past conditionings, you are not those conditionings. The seer is not; the seen. You are; awareness and awareness is transcendental to all that it can see. The observer is beyond the observed.
You are a transcendental consciousness. This is vivek, this is awareness. This is what a Buddha attains to and remains in constantly. It will not be possible for you to attain it constantly, but even if for moments you can rise to the seer and beyond the seen, suddenly, misery will disappear. Suddenly, clouds will not be in the sky and you can have a little glimpse of the blue sky – the freedom that it gives and the bliss that comes through it. In the beginning, only for moments will it be possible. But by and by, as you grow into it, as you start feeling it, as you imbibe the spirit of it, it will be more and more there. A day will come when suddenly there are no clouds left anymore; the seer has gone beyond. This is how future misery can be avoided.
In the past you suffered; in the future there is no necessity to suffer. If you suffer, you will be responsible. And this is the key, the master key: always remember that you are beyond. If you can see your body, then you are not the body. If you close your eyes and you can see your thoughts, then you are not the thoughts – because how can the seer be, the seen? The seer is always beyond. The seer is the very beyondness, the very transcendence.Tags: Patanjali Yoga Sutra 20 Man Is Polypsychic