THE HIGHEST STAGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT IS REACHED IN SEVEN STEPS.
Patanjali believes in gradual growth. He says the goal is reached in seven steps. Osho says it is reached in one step, but Patanjali divided the same one step in seven parts to make it easier for you, nothing else. You can jump six feet, seven feet, in one jump; you can walk the same space in seven steps. Patanjali does not believe in “jump,” because he knows you are cowards; you will not be able to take the jump. You can be persuaded, in fact seduced, by and by to take small steps. You can take small steps because with small steps you can make sure that there is no danger. The jump is dangerous because you don’t know where you will land. A small step: you can look around and feel safe; slowly, you can step it: and you always know that if something goes wrong you can always step back, it is only a question of a small space. But you cannot jump back if something goes wrong.
The jump is a tremendous change, radical.
Patanjali always looks at you whenever he says something. Now – immediately – after describing how to attain awareness, immediately he says, “The highest stage of enlightenment is reached in seven steps.” So don’t be worried, don’t be afraid. you can go slowly.
What are these seven steps? The number seven is very very important. It seems to be the most important number. From so many paths and so many ways that number bubbles up again and again. If you ask Gurdjieff, he says there are seven types of men. Those seven types are seven steps. If you ask the esoteric Kabbalah or old Egyptian mysteries, they say there are seven bodies in man. Seven layers of bodies. Those seven layers of bodies become seven steps. If you ask yogis, they say there are seven centers in man. Those seven centers become seven steps.
Somehow, seven seems to be very, very important. And you will come across this seven again and again, but the basic meaning is the same.
Two possibilities – one, you take a jump, a sudden jump, as Zen Masters require you to do – as I always hope that you will be able to do. In the jump those seven steps are covered in one step. But much courage is needed. Not only courage, but irrational courage is needed – because you are moving in the unknown. The difference is vast between you and the valley where you will land. You cannot even imagine. It is from the known to the unknown. There is no gradual growth: a sudden flare-up. The other possibility is to divide the space in seven – so that you can move slowly, so your cunning mind, clever mind, can be satisfied.
People come to Osho and he asks them, “Would you like to take sannyas without thinking, or you would like to think about it?” Rarely it happens somebody says, “I am fed up with thinking.” Maneesha said that when she came. The very first day she came to me Osho asked, “Would you like to take sannyas? With thinking? Would you like first to think about it, feel safe? Or are you ready right now?” She said, “I am fed up with thinking.” Rarely it happens somebody says, “fed up with thinking.”
In almost all the cases it happens that they say, “We will think.” And they miss an opportunity, because if you think, you continue. If you decide it, then it is no longer a jump. If your reason first feels safe, tries to feel safe, all security, tries to understand everything; then it remains a modified form of your being. Then your past goes on playing a part in it. And sannyas means dropping the past; it is not a modified state of your past. It is a total revolution: it is radical. So those who say, “We will think,” miss something. They come. They think about it for a few days, then they come. then they take sannyas – but more was possible, more was available. They simply missed it. If you can take the jump, then take the jump. If you want to move slowly, you can move, but you will miss something.
Osho have seen this happening. The people who are courageous for sudden enlightenment, they achieve, to a peak that is never reached by gradual growers.
They also reach the peak, but they reach so gradually, they divide the whole space in so many parts, that it never becomes ecstasy. They reach the same peak..
You must watch. Meera dances, Chaitanya’s mad and dances and sings.
Yogis? No, they never dance, they never sing, because they reach so gradually that it is never such an exhilarating experience, never. They reach so gradually, in parts they achieve ecstasy. They achieve it in so many doses – small doses, homeopathic doses – that before another dose is given the first dose is gone, they have absorbed it, digested it. Then the second dose is given – that too is absorbed before the third comes. They cannot dance. You cannot see a yogi dance. He has missed something. He has reached the same peak, but in the path something is missed.
Osho is always in favor of the sudden, because when you are going to reach, why not reach dancing? When you are going to reach, why not reach in a deep ecstasy of being? Yogis look businesslike – calculating, mathematical – not mad like lovers. But both paths are open. It is for you to choose.
It is just like you have won a lottery – ten lakh rupees – and then one rupee is given to you, then another one rupee, then another one rupee; by and by you get it, but you are never allowed to have the ten lakh rupees and you are never allowed to know that you are going to have ten lakh rupees. You will attain, to ten lakh rupees, but a millennium will pass – and you will always remain a beggar: one rupee in the pocket. Before you use it, the other will not be given; when you have used it, the other will be given.
Sudden enlightenment has a beauty, a wild beauty about it: that suddenly you are given the ten lakh rupees – you can dance! But if your heart is weak it is better to move slowly.
I have heard, it happened: A man was always purchasing tickets for lotteries and, as it happens, he never got any prize. Years passed, but it had become a routine. Every month he would go and purchase a few tickets from his salary.
But one day it happened. He was in the office and the wife came to know that he had attained his goal – ten lakh rupees. She became afraid because he was a poor man, just a hundred rupees per month salary he gets. Ten lakh rupees will be too much. It will be so much that it can kill him.
So what to do? She ran to one of her neighbors who was a priest in a church. He was a wise man, and she couldn’t think of anybody wiser, so she went there and told the priest, “You have to do something. He will be coming from the office, and if he comes to know ‘ten lakh rupees’ so suddenly, it is certain he will not survive. I know him well. He is a miser and he has never seen more than a hundred rupees. He will go mad or he will die, but something is going to happen. You come and save him.”
The wise man said, “I will come. Don’t be afraid; I am coming.”
He planned, as all calculators plan. The man came home. The priest was sitting there. He said, “Listen, you have won a lottery. You have won in the lottery one lakh rupees.”
He thought this would be a small dose – he divided it in ten parts. By and by he will say that no, not one, two. When he will see that he has absorbed the shock, he will say three.
The man said, “One lakh rupees? Is it true? If it is true, I will give half of it to you for your church.”
The priest fell down and died. Fifty thousand rupees! He couldn’t believe it. It was too much.
So you have to choose; the choice is yours. If you feel the heart is strong, come with me. If you feel the heart is weak and there is a possibility of heart failure, move with Patanjali. He is a mathematician. He gives to you in slow doses, but remember, you will miss something. You will reach the same state of affairs, same state of being – silence, blissfulness – but ecstasy will not be there. You will sit under a bodhi tree, silently; but you will not be able to dance like a Meera or like a Chaitanya. And that dance has something in it. It always happens to sudden achievers.Tags: Patanjali Yoga Sutra 22 Seven Steps