To understand Yoga Sutra 32, I will tell you one story.
Patanjali and Lao Tzu came to a stream. Patanjali began to cross the stream by walking on the surface of the water. Lao Tzu stood on the bank and called him to come back.
“What’s the matter?” Patanjali inquired.
Said Lao Tzu, “There is no need to cross the stream, because this shore is the other shore.”
That’s the whole emphasis of Lao Tzu: There is no need to go anywhere; the other shore is here. There is no need to do anything. The only need is just to be.
Effort is irrelevant because you are already that which you can ever be. Go nowhere. Follow no path. Seek nothing. Because wherever you will go, the very going is missing the point because everything is available here already.
I will tell you another story, one of the most important stories in the world of human consciousness. The story is concerned with Zarathustra, another Lao Tzu, who believed in being natural, who believed in being easy, who believed in being just to be: Once, when Vishtaspa, king of Persia, was returning from a victorious campaign, he came near to the place where Zarathustra lived. He decided to visit the mystic. The king said to Zarathustra, “I have come that you may explain to me the laws of nature and the universe. I cannot tarry as I am on my way home from a war and important matters of state await me at my palace.”
Looking at the king, Zarathustra smiled and took a grain of wheat from the earth and gave it to him. “In this small grain of wheat,” he declared, “are contained all the laws of the universe and the forces of nature.”
The king was much astonished by this answer, which he didn’t understand, and when he saw smiles on the faces of those around him, he was angry and threw the grain upon the ground thinking that he was being mocked. And to Zarathustra he said, “I was foolish to waste my time by coming here to see you.”
Years passed. The king was successful as a ruler and a warrior, and led a life of luxury and apparent contentment, but at night when he went to bed, strange thoughts came into his mind and troubled him: “I live in luxury and abundance in this splendid palace, but how long shall I enjoy this – this abundance, this power, this wealth – and what will happen to me when I die? Can my power and my riches save me from illness and death? Is everything lost with the coming of death?”
No one in the palace could answer these questions, but meanwhile, the fame of Zarathustra grew. So putting aside his pride, he dispatched a great caravan of treasure to Zarathustra and with it an invitation and a request. “I regret.” he wrote, “that when I was impatient and thoughtless in my youth, I asked you to explain the great problems of existence in a few minutes of time. I have changed and do not want the impossible now, but I am still deeply interested to know the laws of the universe and the forces of nature, even more so than when I was a young man. Come to my palace. I pray, you. Or if that is not possible, then send to me the best of your disciples that he may teach me all that he can about these questions.”
After an interval, the caravan and the messengers returned. They told the king that they had found Zarathustra, who sent him greeting, but returned the proffered treasure. The treasure, Zarathustra had said, was of no use to him because he has attained to the ultimate treasure. Moreover, Zarathustra had sent the king a gift wrapped in a leaf and had asked the messengers to tell him that this was the teacher who could teach him everything.
The king opened it and found the same grain again – the same grain of wheat that Zarathustra had given him before. He thought there must be something mysterious and magical in it, so he put it in a golden box and hid it among his treasures. Almost every day he looked at it expecting some miracle to happen, such as the turning of the grain of wheat into something or someone that would teach him all he wished to know.
Months went by, and then years, but nothing happened. At last the king lost patience and said, “It seems that Zarathustra has deceived me again. Either he is making a mock of me or else he does not know the answers to my questions, but I will show him that I can find the answers without his help.” So the king sent a caravan to a great Indian mystic, Tshengregacha, to whom came disciples from all over the world, and with the caravan went the same messengers and the same treasure that he had once sent to Zarathustra.
After many months, the messengers returned from India with the philosopher, but the philosopher said to him, “I am honored to be your teacher but in frankness must tell you that I come chiefly to your country that I may meet the great Zarathustra.”
Then the king took the golden box containing the grain of wheat and answered, “I asked Zarathustra to teach me. See, this is what he sent me. Here is the teacher who shall teach me the Laws of the universe and the forces of nature. Is this not ridiculous?”
The philosopher looked long at the grain of wheat, and silence fell upon the palace while he meditated. At length he said, “I do not regret my many months of journeying, for now I know that Zarathustra is in truth the great teacher that I have long believed him to be. This tiny grain of wheat can indeed teach us the laws of the universe and the forces of nature, for it contains them in itself right now. You must not keep the grain of wheat in its golden box. You are missing the whole point. If you plant this little grain in the earth, where it belongs, in contact with the soil, the rain, the air, the sunshine, and the light of the moon and the stars, then like a universe in itself it will begin to grow bigger and bigger. Likewise you, if you would grow in knowledge and understanding, must leave your artificial life and go where you will be close to all the forces of nature and of the universe, to the sum total of things. Just as inexhaustible sources of energy are ever flowing towards the grain planted in the earth, so will innumerable sources of knowledge open and flow towards you till you become one with nature and the organic universe. If you watch the growth of this seed of grain, you will find that there is an indestructible and mysterious power in it – the power of life. The grain disappears, and in that disappearance there is victory over death.”
“All that you say is true,” answered the king, “yet in the end the plant will wither and die and will be dissolved into the earth.”
“But not,” said the philosopher, “until it has done an act of creation and has turned itself into hundreds of grains, each like the first. The tiny grain disappeared as it grew into a plant, and you too as you grow must turn yourself into something and someone else. Life always creates more life, truth more abundant truth, the seed more abundant seeds. The only art one needs to know is the art of how to die. Then one is reborn. I propose that we journey to Zarathustra himself that he may teach us more of these things.”
In a few days, they came to the garden of Zarathustra. His only book was the great book of nature, and he taught his disciples to read in it. The two visitors learned another great truth in Zarathustra’s garden: that life and work. Leisure and study, are one and the same: that the right way to live is a simple, natural life – a creative life within which individual growth is a single, total dynamism.
They spent a year in the garden, learning to read the laws of existence and of life from the vast book of nature. At the end of that time, the king returned to his own city and asked Zarathustra to set out systematically the essence of his great teaching. Zarathustra did so, and the result was the great book of the Zend-Avesta, the great book of the Parsis.
This long story is the whole story of how a man becomes God, how that which you are hiding within yourself can become revealed.
Be a seed. You are, but you may be still in a gold box, imprisoned. Fall into the earth, where you belong, and be ready to die into the earth. Don’t be afraid to die, because all those who fear death are preventing themselves from life. Death is nothing but the door to life. The first acquaintance with life is death, so those who are afraid of death are barring themselves against life. Then they will remain secure in a gold box, but then they will not grow. Fearing death, they will not be able to resurrect themselves. In fact, their life in the gold box will be virtually nothing but death.
Death in the soil, in the earth, is just a beginning, not the end, but remaining in a gold box is the very end. There is no beginning in it.
You are a seed. There is no need to go anywhere. All that you need is ready to come to you, but the shell of the seed needs to be broken. The ego needs to dissolve into the earth; the ego needs to die into the earth. Immediately, the whole universe starts converging on you. Suddenly you see that which you are always meant to be. The very destiny starts growing in you.
In fact, this shore is the other shore. There is no need to go anywhere. All that you need is to go within. All that you need is to take a jump into your own being, to be in tune with yourself. Lao Tzu would not show a way, how to go to the other shore.
We can manage the story in a different way. Let there be three persons: Patanjali, Buddha, Lao Tzu. Patanjali will try to walk on the surface of the water – he can.
He is a great scientist of the inner world of consciousness. He knows how to defy gravity. Buddha will say, “This is no way to cross the stream. Come, I will show you a place where there is no need to do such hard work. Easy is the way – The stream is shallow: we just have to walk a few hundred yards and you can walk in the shallow stream. There is no need to learn this great art. This Can be done so easily.” Buddha will say this.
And Lao Tzu? He will laugh, and he will say to Buddha and Patanjali, “What are you doing? If you leave this shore you will go astray because this is the other shore. Here, this very moment, everything is as it should be. There is nowhere to go. Seeker of truth, follow no path, because all paths lead where, the truth is here.”
Lao Tzu says simply relax into yourself. It is not a journey; it is simply a let-go.
No preparation is needed because it is not a journey. As you are, just as you are, relax. Relax into your nature. Drop all nonsense about gold boxes – prisons of morality, prisons of concepts, philosophies, religions. Drop all that rubbish.
Don’t be afraid of the earth and don’t ask for heaven. Drop into the earth. Don’t be afraid that your hands will become soiled. Fall into nature because only there, in fact, you belong, to the sum total of things.
Zarathustra did well. He was not mocking the king. He was a simple man, and because the king had himself said that he cannot waste much time and he has great affairs waiting at the palace and he has to go soon, that’s why Zarathustra gave a symbolic sign, the seed. But he missed the whole point. He could not understand what type of message this is. Zarathustra had given him the whole Zend-Avesta in that seed; nothing remains. That is the whole message of the true religion. All else is just commentary.
That day Zarathustra gave the seed, he did the same as Buddha did when he gave the flower to Mahakashyapa. With that seed, Zarathustra had given something more than the flower. Try to understand these symbols.
Buddha gives the flower. Flower is the end. It can be given only to a Mahakashyap, who has come to the very end. Zarathustra gave the seed. Seed is the beginning. It can be given to one who is just beginning to seek, who is just inquiring, who is just trying to find the way, who is groping in the dark.
Buddha’s flower cannot be given to everybody and anybody; a Mahakashyap is needed, In fact it can be given only to someone who does not need it.
Mahakashyapa is one who does not need it. It can be given only to one who does not need it. Zarathustra’s seed can be given to those who need it. And, what he said; he simply said, “Become a seed. You are a seed. Hidden is God within you. But don’t go anywhere else.”
Zarathustra’s religion is one of the most natural religions to accept life as it is, to live life as it is. Don’t ask the impossible. Take it easy. Look all around. The truth is present; only you are absent. This shore is the other shore; there is no other shore. This life is the life; there is no other life.
But you can live this life in two ways: at the minimum, or at the optimum. If you live at the minimum, you live like a seed. If you live like a flower, you live at the optimum. Let your seed become the flower. It is the seed itself who will become the flower. It is you who will become the other shore. It is you who will become the truth.
Remember this. If you can remember this, just to be natural, you have understood all that is basic, all that is fundamental, all that is essential to be understood.Tags: Be A Seed Patanjali