When you really float you disappear, because the ego can exist only when it fights. The ego can exist only when there is resistance. The ego can exist only when you have some private goal against the whole. Try to understand this, how the ego exists. People come to me and they say, “We would like to drop the ego,” and I tell them, “If you like to drop the ego you cannot drop it, because who are you to drop? Who is this who is saying, ‘I would like to drop?’ This is the ego. Now you are fighting with your ego also.”

You may pretend to become humble, you may force humility on yourself, but the ego will exist. You may have been a king, now you may become a beggar, but the ego will exist. It existed as a king: now it will exist as a humble beggar. Your very way of walking – seeing will show it. The way you will move – you will announce it. The way you will talk – you will announce it. You may say, “I am the most humble man in the world,” that makes no difference. Before, you were the greatest man in the world, now you are the humblest – but you are extraordinary. You are there.

If you start fighting with the ego you will create a subtler ego which is more dangerous, because that subtler ego will be a pious ego. It will pretend to be religious. In the beginning it was at least this-worldly, now it will be that – worldly – greater, powerful, subtle – and the grip will be more dangerous, and it will be difficult to come out of it. You have moved from a smaller danger to a greater one. You are more in the trap. The prison has closed upon you, even in a stronger way.

Pranayam, which has been continuously and wrongly translated as “breath control,” is not controlled at all. Pranayam is a way of being spontaneous with the universe. It is not a control at all. All control belongs to the ego; otherwise who will control? Ego is the controller, the manipulator. If you understand this, ego will disappear – there is no need to drop it.

You cannot drop an illusion, you can only drop a reality – and ego is not real.

You cannot drop maya. Illusions cannot be dropped because, in the first place, they are not. You have only to understand, and then they disappear. A dream cannot be dropped. You have just to become aware that this is a dream, and the dream disappears. The ego is the subtlest dream: the dream that I am separate from existence, the dream that I have to achieve some goals against the whole, the dream that I am an individual. The moment you become alert, the dream disappears.

You cannot be against the whole, because you are part of the whole. You cannot float against the whole, because how can you float? It is just as foolish as my own hand trying to go against me. There is no way to go against the whole. There is only one way: to be with the whole.

Even when you are fighting you cannot go against – that is just your imagination. Even when you think that you are moving against the whole or separate from the whole or you have a different dimension of your own, that is just a dream; you cannot do that. It is just like a ripple on the lake thinking to go against the lake: absolutely stupid – not the least possibility there of it ever happening. How can a ripple on the lake move somewhere on its own? It will remain part of the lake. If it is moving somewhere it must be the will of the lake, that’s how it is moving.

When one understands, one knows. One starts laughing that “I was in a great dream – now the dream has disappeared. I am no more. I was the dream and the dreamer, both. Now the whole exists.”

Pranayam creates the situation in which return becomes possible, because now there is nowhere to go. The fight has stopped. The enemy disappears. Now you start floating towards your own being – and that is not a going, really, that is a floating. If you stop fighting, if you stop going outward, you will start floating inward. That’s natural.

After pranayam, Patanjali says, “Then comes the dispersion of the cover that hides the light.” This sutra has to be dissected, analyzed, and understood, because many things will depend on this sutra.

Patanjali is not saying that after Pranayam, the inner light is achieved. Many commentators on Patanjali have taken the wrong attitude. They think that this sutra says that the cover drops and one attains to light. That’s not possible. If it happens then what about dharana, dhyan, samadhi? If it happens in pratyahara that you have attained to the goal, reached to your innermost being, known the inner light, then what is the point of dharana, dhyan, samadhi? Then what will you do? No, Patanjali cannot mean it, and the sutra is clear. Patanjali says “dispersion of the cover,” not the attainment of light – these are two things.

Dispersion of the cover is a negative achievement – it creates the possibility to attain to the light – but dispersion Of the cover in itself is not the attainment of light. Many more things are still there to be done. For example, you have remained with closed eyes; your eyelids have functioned as a cover on the sunlight. After millions of lives you open your eyes: the cover is no longer there, but you will not be able to see the light – you have become attuned to darkness.

The sun will be there in front of you and the cover no more hides it, but you will not be able to see it.

The cover has disappeared, but the long habit of darkness has become a part of your eyes. The gross cover of the eyelids is no longer there, but a subtle cover of darkness is still there… and if you have lived so many lives in darkness, the sun will be much too dazzling for your eyes. Your eyes will be so weak that they will not be able to tolerate so much light. And when there is more light than you can tolerate, it becomes darkness again. Try to look at the sun for a few moments: you will see darkness falling on your eyes. If you try too much you can even go blind. Too much light can even become darkness.

And you don’t know for how many lives you have lived in darkness. You have not known any light, not even a ray has penetrated into your being. Darkness has been the only experience. The light will be so unknown that it will be impossible to recognize it. Just by the dispersion of the cover, you will not be able to recognize it.

Patanjali knows it well. That’s why he formulates the sutra in such a way: “tatah kshiyate prakasha vaaranam” – then the dispersion of the cover which hides the light. But not the attainment of light. This is a negative attainment.

Let me try to explain it to you in some other way. You are ill: medicine can help – the illness can disappear through medicine – but that doesn’t mean that you have attained health. Illness may disappear, now there is no longer any illness in the body, but health has not appeared yet. You will have to rest to recoup.

Disappearance of illness is not necessarily attainment of health. Health is a positive phenomenon; disease is a negative phenomenon. It may be possible that you go to the doctor and he cannot find any disease – that does not mean that you are healthy. You may go on saying, “I don’t feel healthy. I don’t feel a well-being arising in me. I don’t feel the zest of life, I don’t feel that I am alive.”

The doctor can only detect disease, he cannot detect health. There is no way for him to detect whether you are healthy or not. The doctor cannot give you a certificate that you are healthy; he can only give you a certificate that you are not ill. Not to be ill is not necessarily to be healthy. Of course, not to be ill is a basic condition to be healthy – if you are ill you cannot be healthy – but if you are not ill it is not necessary that you are healthy. Health is something positive.

It happens in many cases. A person – old, ill, weary of life – loses the lust for life, what Buddha calls tanha. He loses interest in life. You can go on treating him – you may help him to become completely okay as far as medicine can help, he is no longer ill – but you are worried: he is no longer ill, but he is not healthy. The desire to live has disappeared. Illness is not there, the hospital is ready to discharge him, but he has no desire to live. He will not be healthy; he will die.

Nobody can help him. To be healthy is a positive phenomenon; to be ill is a negative phenomenon.

Patanjali says the cover is no longer there. That does not mean that you have known the light – three more steps still wait. By and by you will have to train your eyes in your being to feel, to know, to imbibe light. Sometimes it can take years.

“Then comes the dispersion of the cover that hides the light.” So I disagree with all those commentators who say that the inner light is attained – that is not the meaning. Now, the hindrance no longer exists, the barrier disappears, but the distance is still there. You will have to walk a little more, now even more carefully than before because you can also fall in the same error: you may think, “Now everything is attained; the barrier has broken, disappeared. Now I am back home.” Then you will settle before the goal has been achieved.

There are many yogis who have settled with the fifth. Then they cannot understand what is happening. The barrier is no longer there, but they are not deeply content also. In fact if you are very egoistic you will stop here, with this sutra, because with the barrier, the ego has something to fight. The cover: you go on trying to penetrate it, to disperse it. When it disperses then there is nothing. It is just like you were fighting with something that suddenly disappears – your whole meaning of life disappears with it. Now you don’t know what to do.

There are people in the world who are fighting with others in deep competition – in business, in politics, this and that. Then they become tired. If they are a little intelligent, they are bound to become tired. Then they start fighting with their own ego, which is the cover. One day that cover also disappears, then there is nothing to fight. Once there is nothing to fight, it becomes impossible for the ego to move even an inch, because the whole training of the ego is to fight with somebody – either somebody else or your own ego, but fight. When there is nothing to fight, the hindrance no more, one stops. There is nowhere to go now… but three steps are still waiting.

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