IT is very difficult to be non attached in the world, but it is even more difficult to be non attached when the spiritual world opens its doors. The difficulty of the second is a millionfold because the worldly powers are not real powers. They are impotent; and they never satisfy you, they never make you content. In fact every new achievement in the world creates more desires. Rather than satisfying you it sends your mind into new trips, so whatsoever power you attain in the world, you use it only to create new desires.

Whatsoever money you can gather in the world, you invest it to gain more money. Then the more money comes; you invest it for still more money; and this way it goes on. Only means and means and means, and never does the end come closer. So even a stupid person becomes aware sooner or later that he is moving in a vicious circle and there seems to be no way out of it – except to drop out. For an intelligent person – one who thinks about his life, meditates about it – it is very obvious.

So nonattachment is not so difficult in the worldly things, but when it comes to the inner powers, the psychic powers, they are so close to your being and so infinitely satisfying, it is almost impossible to be non attached to them. But if you are not non attached, then you have again created a world and you will remain far, far away from the ultimate liberation.

Because whatsoever you possess, possesses you, the sacrifice has to be total, utterly total.

You have to drop everything that you can possess – except your nude nature. That which cannot be sacrificed, only that can be left. That which can be sacrificed should be sacrificed.

In this sutra Patanjali is asking almost the impossible, but that too becomes possible through understanding. It is very satisfying, gratifying, to have spiritual powers, and it gives you such a subtle joy of the ego, so pure, that you cannot feel any sting in it. It never frustrates you. In the worldly things there is much frustration – in fact nothing but frustration. It is a miracle how people can avoid seeing this. It is a miracle how people can go on deceiving themselves and believing that there is some hope. The outside world is hopeless, it is doomed.

Howsoever big a house you can make, or howsoever powerful you become politically, economically, socially, death is going to take them all away from you – and not much intelligence is needed to understand this – but the inner powers, death cannot take them away. They are beyond death. And they never frustrate you. They are your powers, your potentialities come to flower. There seems to be no need to sacrifice them, no need to renounce them, but Patanjali is saying that they have also to be renounced. Otherwise you will start living in a world of visions – again the power trip. And religion is not a power trip.

You are not seeking the ego; rather you are trying to find out the whole; and the whole is possible only when all sorts of egoistic trips are dropped and sacrificed. When you are not, God is.

Let me tell you one very famous Sufi story, “The Holy Shadow.”

There once lived a saint so good that the angels came from heaven to see how a man could be so godly. This saint went about his daily life diffusing virtue as the stars diffuse light and the flowers scent, without being aware of it. His day could be summed up by two words – he gave, he forgave – yet these words never passed his lips. They were expressed in his ready smile, his kindness, forbearance, and charity.

The angels said to God, “Lord, grant him the gift of miracles.”

God replied, “Ask what it is that he wishes.”

They said to the saint, “Would you like the touch of your hands to heal the sick?”

“No,” answered the saint. “I would rather God do that.”

“Would you like to convert guilty souls and bring back wandering hearts to the right path?”

“No, that is the angels’ mission. It is not for me to convert.”

“Would you like to become a model of patience, attracting men by the luster of your virtues, and thus glorifying God?”

“No,” replied the saint. “If men should be attracted to me, they would become estranged from God.” “What is it that you desire, then?” asked the angels.

“What can I wish for?” asked the saint, smiling. “That God gives me his grace; with that would I not have everything?”

The angels said, “You must ask for a miracle, or one will be forced upon you.”

“Very well,” said the saint. “That I may do a great deal of good without ever knowing it.”

The angels were perplexed. They took counsel and resolved upon the following plan:

every time the saint’s shadow fell behind him or to either side, so that he could not see it, it would have the power to cure disease, soothe pain, and comfort sorrow.

When the saint walked along, his shadow, thrown on the ground on either side or behind him, made arid paths green, caused withered plants to bloom, gave clear water to dried-up brooks, fresh color to pale children, and joy to unhappy men and women.

The saint simply went about his daily life diffusing virtue as the stars diffuse light and the flowers scent, without being aware of it. The people, respecting his humility, followed him silently, never speaking to him about his miracles. Soon they even forgot his name, and called him “The Holy Shadow.”

This is the ultimate: one has to become the holy shadow, just a shadow of God. This is the greatest revolution that can happen to a human being: the transfer of the center. You are no longer your own center; God becomes your center. You live like his shadow. You are not powerful, because you don’t have any center to be powerful. You are not virtuous; you don’t have any center to be virtuous. You are not even religious; you don’t have any center to be religious. You are simply not, a tremendous emptiness, with no barriers and blocks, so the divine can flow through you unhindered, uninterpreted, untouched – so the divine can flow through you as he is, not as you would like him to be. He does not pass through your center – there is none. The center is lost.

This is the meaning of this sutra: that finally you have to sacrifice your center so you cannot think in terms of the ego again, you cannot utter “I,” to annihilate yourself utterly, to erase yourself utterly. Nothing belongs to you; on the contrary, you belong to God.

You become a holy shadow.

It is difficult to conceive of it because it is so difficult to be unattached with useless rubbish. You go on collecting in the hope as if whatsoever you accumulate can fulfill you. You go on accumulating – knowledge, money, power, prestige. You go on just accumulating. Your whole life is a stuffing in. And of course if you become a dead weight there is no wonder in it. That’s what you have been doing: collecting dust and thinking of it as if it is gold.

The valueless becomes of immense value if seen through the ego. The ego is a great falsifier, the great deceiver. It goes on lying to you, and it goes on creating illusions, dreams, projections. Watch it. It is very subtle. Its ways are subtle and it is very cunning.

If you stop it in one direction, it moves in another direction. If you stop one path, it finds another path, and in such a Gunning way that you cannot think that the other path is also of the ego.

I have heard about an old woman who had fallen down the stairs and broken her leg:

The doctor put it in a cast and warned her not to walk up and down the stairs. It finally mended after six months and the doctor announced the cast could be removed.

“Can I climb the stairs now?” asked the old lady. “Yes,” said the doctor.

“Oh, I am glad,” she giggled. “I am sick of going up and down the drainpipe.”

If you block the ego coming from the staircase, it comes from the drainpipe – but it comes.

See your so-called religious men. They have renounced all – but they have not renounced a renunciation. They have renounced all; now they are clinging to their renunciation. That renunciation has become their wealth – the drainpipe. Now they are climbing to the same ego but in a more cunning and subtle way; so subtle that, not only are others deceived, they themselves are deceived.

Watch. You are a worldly man; then one day you feel the frustration. One day everybody feels it; there is nothing special in it. Then you start becoming religious and you start feeling very egoistic about it. You are becoming “religious.” You look at others as sinners, worldly people. You are religious: you have become a sannyasin, you have renounced.

Just watch. The enemy has entered from another door. The world is not to be renounced; the ego has to be renounced. So one has to be very, very careful not to allow it.

The ego cannot be repressed, remember. It has to be simply evaporated – through the heat of understanding, through the fire of understanding. If you repress it, it is easy. You can become humble, you can become simple, but it will hide behind your simplicity.

A woman told her doctor that she was convinced she had a very dangerous illness. He advised her not to be so foolish, that she could not possibly know whether she had it or not because, “the disease,” he added, “carries with it no discomfort whatsoever!”

So there is no way for her to know.

“But doctor,” she told him, “that’s exactly how I feel – no discomfort whatsoever! The disease is there.”

You can go on deceiving yourself and you can find rationalizations, and on the surface they look very reasonable – on the surface they look almost like proofs – but look into them.

And it is nobody else’s business, remember. It is for you to see. The whole world can see it, but if you have Not seen it that is useless.

Now modern psychology is by and by turning from individual therapy to group therapy, and the only reason for it is this: that it is very difficult for the psychoanalyst to convince the patient, person to person, about what he is doing to himself. About the patient, about his complexes, about his rationalizations, repressions, about his deceptions, stupidities; it is very difficult to convince him person to person. But in a group it becomes easier because the whole group can see the foolishness, the obviousness of it – that he is clinging to something and unnecessarily becoming miserable. The whole group can see it, and the understanding of the whole group functions more tremendously and deeply than the understanding of one person can function on you. That’s why group therapy is growing, individual therapy is disappearing.

Group therapy has a tremendous advantage. Twenty persons working in a group: nineteen persons become alert that you are doing something which you don’t want to do and to which you are still clinging.


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