Now the materialists – the communists, the Marxists, the scientists – have been trying the other way. They have been trying to pull the other leg. They say that there is nothing like consciousness; there is no self. It is just a combination of physical and chemical things that you are. You should be a body, nothing else. Now, both together have pulled both legs, and the whole man has become a miserable thing, a disease, a dichotomy.
Patanjali says, “Accept everything, use it, be creative about it; don’t negate it.” Negation is not his way, but affirmation. That’s why Patanjali has worked so much on the body, on food, on yoga asanas, on pranayam. These are all efforts to create harmony: right food for the body, right posture for the body; rhythmic breathing for the vital body. More prana, more vitality has to be absorbed. Ways and means have to be found so that you are not always lacking in energy, but overflowing.
With mind also, pratyahara; the mind is a bridge: you can go outside on the bridge, you can move on the same bridge and go inside. When you go outside, objects, desires, predominate you. When you go inside, desirelessness, awareness, witnessing, predominate over you; but the bridge is the same. It has to be used; it is not to be thrown and broken. It has not to be destroyed because it is the same bridge by which you have come into the world, and by which you have to go back again into the inner nature, and so on and so forth.
Patanjali goes on using everything. His religion is not one of fear, but of understanding. His religion is not for God and against the world. His religion is for God through the world, because God and the world are not two. The world is God’s creation. The world is His creativity, His expression; the world is His poetry. If you are against poetry, how can you be in favor of the poet? In condemning the poetry, you have already condemned the poet. Of course, poetry is not the goal; you should seek the poet also. But on the way you can enjoy the poetry; nothing is wrong in it.
A methodist minister was on a flight to America when the stewardess asked if he would like a drink from the bar. “At what height are we flying?” he asked. When told that it was thirty thousand feet, he replied, “I would rather not… too near headquarters.”
Fear – continuously, religious people are obsessed by fear. But fear cannot give you grace, cannot give you dignity. Fear cripples, paralyses, corrupts. Because of fear religion has become almost a disease. It makes you abnormal. It does not make you healthy, it makes you more and more afraid to live: hell is there, and whatsoever you do it seems to be that you are doing something wrong. You love and it is wrong; you enjoy and it is wrong. Happiness has become associated with guilt. Only wrong people seem to be happy. The good people are always serious and never happy. If you want to go to heaven you have to be serious and unhappy and sad and miserable.
You have to be austere. If you want to go to hell, be happy and dance and enjoy. But remember, Omar Khayyam says somewhere, “I am always worried about one thing: if all these unhappy people are going to heaven, what will they do there? They cannot dance, they cannot sing, they cannot drink, they cannot enjoy, they cannot love. The whole opportunity will be wasted on these foolish people. People who could enjoy themselves are thrown into hell. In fact, they should be in heaven. It seems more logical.” Omar Khayyam says, “If you really want to go to heaven, live a heavenly life here, so that you are ready.”
Patanjali would like you to radiate with life, to throb with the unknown. He is not against anything. If you are in love he says, “Make your love a little more deep.” There are greater treasures waiting for you. These treasures are good; these trees, these flowers, are good. Then man, woman, they are good and beautiful, because somehow, howsoever far away, God has come to you through them.
Maybe there are many screens. When you meet a man or a woman, there are many screens and sheets, but still the light is of God. It may be passing through many barriers, it may be distorted, but still, the light is of God.
Patanjali says, “Don’t be against this world. Rather, search through this world. Find a way so that you can come to the original source of light, the pure, the virgin light.”
There are people who live only for food, and there are people who go against food – both are wrong.
Jesus says, “Man cannot live by bread alone” – true, perfectly true – but can man live without bread?
That has to be remembered. Man cannot live by bread alone, right; but man also cannot live without bread.
I was reading a small anecdote.
The woman bought a budgerigar from the pet shop on the assurance that it would talk. Two weeks later she was back to complain. “Buy a little bell for it to play with,” suggested the pet shop owner.
“That often helps to get them talking.” The woman bought the bell and went off. A week later she was back to say the bird had still not uttered a word. The shop owner suggested that she buy a mirror, which was a sure-fire way of encouraging budgies to talk. She took the mirror and went away, only to return in another three days. This time the shop owner sold her a small plastic bird which he suggested would give the bird something to talk to. Another week passed and the woman came in to inform the shop owner that the bird had now died.
“Did he die without ever speaking?” asked the shop owner.
“Ah, no,” replied the woman. “It said one thing shortly before it passed away.”
“What was that?”
“Food! For Pete’s sake, give me food!”
One has to be very, very alert, otherwise one can move to opposite polarities very easily. Mind is an extremist. This is my observation: people who have lived only for food, when they get frustrated with their life-style, start fasting. Immediately, they move to the other extreme. I have never come across a faster; a fanatic about fasting, who has not previously been a fanatic about food. They are the same people. People who are too much in sexuality start becoming celibate. People who are very miserly start renouncing everything. This is how the mind moves from one extreme to another.
Patanjali would like you to balance your life, to bring an equilibrium. Just in the middle somewhere, where you are not mad after food and you are not mad against food, where you are not mad after women or men and you are not mad against them; you are simply balanced, tranquil.
A psychiatrist says that we are a little strange in our behavior. We all are a little strange in our behavior. Another way of saying this is: I am original, you are eccentric, he is nuts. When you do the same thing you think you are original, when your friend is doing the same thing you think he is eccentric, and when your enemy is doing the same thing you think he is nuts. Remember, this egoistic way of thinking will destroy all the opportunities for growth. Be very objective about yourself.
There is a strain of insanity in everybody, because humanity has been insane for millennia. There is a strain of neurosis in everybody, because civilization has not yet come to a point where it can allow the full functioning of the human being. It has been repressive. So watch: if you are neurotic you will eat too much. You can move to the other extreme – you can stop eating completely – but your neurosis remains the same. Now, the neurosis is against food. And don’t think that you are doing great spiritual work, very original work.
Once my friend brought a boy to me. In fact, that is how she got caught with me. She had come with some other boy who was almost neurotic. He had come to ask me, “Can a man live on water alone?”
He wanted to live on water alone. And he was very thin, and almost dying and pale. When I said, “Don’t be foolish,” he was not happy. He said, “You just give me some address, some people who can help me, because I want to live only on water. Everything is impure – just pure water.”
These people are neurotic. You can find them all over India: in monasteries, in ashrams. Out of a hundred people you will find ninety-five neurotic. And you cannot call them mad because they are doing yoga asanas, fasting, prayer, this and that. But their neurosis can be seen immediately, what I call neurosis. Any extremism is neurotic. To be balanced is to be healthy; to be unbalanced is to be neurotic. Wherever you find any unbalance within yourself or in somebody else, beware.
Otherwise, you will miss the ultimate unison. Lopsided, unbalanced, you cannot create the orchestra that Patanjali is trying to give you a glimpse of.
THE MODIFICATIONS OF THE MIND ARE ALWAYS KNOWN BY ITS LORD, DUE TO THE CONSTANCY OF THE PURUSA, PURE CONSCIOUSNESS.
SADA JNATAS CHITTA-VRITTIS TAT-PRABHU PURUSASYAPARINAMITVAT.
TAT-PRABHU, the lord has to be found. He’s hiding in you; you have to seek him. Whatsoever you are, he’s present. Whatsoever you do, he’s the doer. Whatsoever you see, he’s the seer. Even whatsoever you desire, it is he who has desired it. Layer upon layer, like an onion, you have to peel yourself. But peel yourself not in a rage, but in love. Peel yourself very cautiously, carefully, because it is God you are peeling. Peel very prayerfully. Don’t become a masochist. Don’t start creating suffering for yourself. Don’t enjoy suffering. If you start enjoying suffering and you become a masochist, you are going on a suicidal trip. You will destroy yourself. One has to be very, very cautious, careful and creative. You are moving on holy ground.
When Moses reached the top of the mountain where he encountered God, what did he see? He saw in a bush, a flame, a fire, and he heard a voice: “Leave your shoes off, because it is holy ground you are walking on.” But wherever you are walking, you are walking on holy ground. When you touch your body, you are touching something holy. When you eat something, you are eating something holy; annam brahma: food is God. When you love somebody, you are loving the divine, because it is He all around, in millions of forms. It is He who is expressing.
Keep this always in mind so that no neurosis can take possession of you. Remain balanced and tranquil, just walk the path in the middle, and you will never be lost, you will never be unbalanced, lopsided.
Yoga is a balance. Yoga has to be a balance because it is going to be the path to the ultimate unity, the ultimate harmony of all that is.Tags: Patanjali Yoga Sutra 49 Balanced And Tranquil