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Saturday, April 24, 2010

The great dance of suchness

The Upanishads are the purest teaching possible; they do not make any compromise. They do not make any compromise for you. They are rigorous, very hard and they try to remain totally pure. So what do the Upanishads call Brahman? They simply call him TAT -- that. They do not give him a name. 'That' is not a name; 'that' is an indication. And there is a great difference. When you do not have a name, then you indicate and say "That." It is a finger pointing toward the unknown. 'That' is a finger pointing toward the unknown, so the Upanishads call him Tat.

You may have heard one of the most famous sentences of the Upanishads: TAT-VAM-ASI -- That art thou. You are also the Brahman, but the Upanishads go on calling him 'that'. Even to say calling him is not good because the moment we use he, him, the ultimate becomes a person. The Upanishads do not say that he is a person; he is just a force, energy, life, but not a person. So they insist on calling him Tat -- that. That is the only name given by the Upanishads to the ultimate.

Many things are implied, of course. One: if there is no name, or if Tat, that, is the only name, prayer becomes impossible. You can meditate on that but you cannot pray. The Upanishads really do not believe in prayer; they believe in meditation. Prayer is something addressed to a person. Meditation is simply sinking, drowning, within yourself. The person is somewhere outside you but that, the Brahman, the ultimate force, is within you. You need not relate to it as the other; you can simply drown yourself inwardly. You can simply sink within yourself and you will find that -- because "That art thou."

To take Brahman as the other is false for the Upanishads. Not that the other is not Brahman: everything is Brahman; the other also, the outer also, is Brahman. But the Upanishads say that if you cannot feel him within, it is impossible for you to feel him without -- because the nearest source is within; the without is far away. And if the nearest has not been known, how can you know the faraway, the distant? If you cannot feel him in yourself, how can you feel him in others? It is impossible.

The first step must be taken within. From there the Brahman, that, is nearest. You are that. To say nearest is false; there is not even that much distance -- because even when someone is near there is distance. Nearness shows a certain distance; nearness is a sort of distance. He is not even near you -- because you ARE that. So why go wandering without? He is in the home. You are looking for the guest and he is the host. You are waiting for the guest to come and he is already the host. He is you.

So the first implication is: for the Upanishads there is no prayer; there is meditation. Prayer is a relationship between two, just like love. Meditation is not a relationship between two. It is just like surrender. Meditation is going withinwards, surrendering yourself unto yourself -- not clinging to the periphery but sinking deep to the center. And when you are at your center you are in that -- Tat, Brahman.

The second implication: when the Upanishads call him that, it means he is not the creator; rather, he is the creation -- because the moment we say, "God is the creator," we have made him a person. And not only have we made him a person: we have divided existence into two -- the creator and the created. The duality has entered. The Upanishads say that he is the creation. Or, to be more accurate, he is the creativity -- the very force of creation.

I always like to illustrate this point by the phenomenon of dance. A painter paints but the moment he has painted his picture, the painter is separate from the picture. Now the painter can die and the picture will remain. Or you can destroy the picture but by doing that the painter will not be destroyed -- they are separate. Now the picture can exist for centuries without the painter. The painter is not needed. Once painted, it is finished; the relationship is broken.

Look at the dancer! He dances but the dance is not separate; it cannot be separated. If the dancer is dead, then the dance is dead. Dance is not separate from the dancer; the dance cannot exist without the dancer. And the dancer cannot exist without the dance either because the moment there is no dance, the person may be there but he is not a dancer.

God's relation to the world, for the Upanishads, is that of dance and the dancer. Hence, we have pictured Shiva as Nataraj, the dancer. A very deep meaning is there -- that this world is not something secondary that God has created, then forgotten about and become separate from. The world is not of a secondary order. It is as much of the first order as the divine himself because this world is just a dance, a LEELA, a play. It cannot be separated.

Calling Brahman That says all that is is Brahman, all that is, is he -- the manifested and the unmanifested, the creation and the creator. He is BOTH.

The word that -- Tat -- also has a very subtle meaning. Buddha has used that meaning very much and Buddhists have a separate school of teaching just based on this word. Buddha has called that suchness, he has called it TATHATA; hence Buddha's name, Tathagata -- the man who has achieved suchness, who has achieved That.

This word suchness is very beautiful. What does it mean? If you are born, Buddha will say, "Such is the case that you are born." No other comment. If you die he will say, "Such is the case -- you die!" No other comment, no reaction to it; things are such. Then everything becomes acceptable. If you say, "Things are such that now I have become old, ill; things are such that I am defeated; things are such that I am victorious; things are such..." then you don't claim anything, and you don't feel frustrated because you don't expect anything. Such is the nature of things. Then one who is born will die, one who is healthy will become ill, one who is young will become old, one who is beautiful will become ugly. Such is the nature of things.

Unnecessarily you get worried about it; this suchness is not going to change because of your worry. Unnecessarily you get involved in it; your involvement is not going to change anything. Things will go on moving in their own way. The suchness, the river of suchness, will go on moving in spite of you. Whatsoever you do makes no difference; whatsoever you think makes no difference. You cannot make any difference in the nature of things.

Once this feeling settles within your heart, then life has no frustration for you. Then life cannot frustrate you, then life cannot disappoint you. And with this feeling of suchness a subtle joy arises in your being. Then you can enjoy everything -- YOU are no more, really. With the feeling that "Such is the nature, such is existence, such is the course of things," your ego disappears.

How can your ego exist? It exists only when you think that you can make certain changes in the nature of things. It exists only when you think that you are a creator -- you can change the course, you can manipulate nature. This very moment, when you think that you can manipulate nature, ego enters, you become egoistic. You start functioning and thinking as if you are separate.

--- excerpt from 'The Supreme Doctrine, discourses on the Kena Upanishad' by Osho ---