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None Can Transcend It

"The human body is a pur, a city. It is a city of the divine with eleven gates. The divine is simple. It is never born, it is pure consciousness. It is because of the existence of the body that man can accomplish spiritual disciplines, such as meditation; he will thereby transcend grief and become a jivanmukta, one who is liberated while living in the body He will be eternally bodiless after death.

"This, is that.

"The self-illumined One lives in the pure and ultimate abode: it is the god Vasu of the sky; it is the guest in every house; it is the sacred fire that receives the offerings at the yagnas, the fire rituals, and it is also the blessed offerer; it is the dweller in all human beings; it is the dweller in all the gods beyond man; it is the dweller within the truth; it is the dweller of the sky; it is the One who lives within the myriad life forms of the water; it is the One who appears in the myriad life forms of the Earth; it is the One who is manifested in deeds of goodness; it is the One who lives in the many life forms of the mountains. This omnipresent One, is the ultimate reality.

"All gods honor this One. It lives in the middle of the body; it raises the prana upwards and pushes the apana downwards.

"When the embodied soul leaves the body on its journey to a new body, what is left behind?

"This, is that.

"No mortal, living being lives either through the prana vayu, the upward current of life energy, or through the apana vayu, the downward current: they both live through something else which sustains these two.

"Nachiketa, of the lineage of the sage Gautama, I will tell you what the mysterious and eternal brah man is; I will tell you once again what happens to the embodied soul after death.

'According to their actions, according to the inclinations developed from all they have heard and learned, many disembodied souls find other wombs; many others enter the realm of the inanimate—trees, creepers, mountains....

"The One which is the creator of all situations that living beings will experience according to their past actions, which remains awake when all else has gone to sleep in pralaya, the end of creation is the purest essence; it is the brah man. It is immortal and all the worlds dwell in it. None can transcend it.

"This, is that."

 

In the minds of the sages of the Upanishads, there is no condemnation of the human body. They have a great reverence, a feeling of trust for the human body because it is actually a temple. How can the body be condemned when it is the dwelling place of the supreme self? The body becomes sacred simply because of the fact that the supreme reality dwells within it.

According to the Upanishads, this body is not impure. The so-called religious people are full of a deep condemnation for the body — as if the body is evil, something to be hated; as if the body is the cause of all the unhappiness, the misery, the bondage in life. For them it is as if the body is the gate to hell. But this so-called religious concept has no foundation: only the sick-minded think like this.

The body is not binding you, it is not holding you. How can it hold you? It is you who are holding the body. You have chosen this body: it is the manifested form of all your desires and longings. So the first thing to be understood is that whatever body you have, whether it is human or animal, bird or tree or stone, whether it is of a woman or a man, beautiful or ugly, healthy or sick — whatever body you have — it is the manifestation of your desires, your passions, your longings. You have exactly what you have desired. But you cannot see this because there is a great distance of time between the desire and its fulfillment.

A man sows a seed and after many years it sprouts. In the meantime, he has totally forgotten that he had sown the seed. You will be surprised to know that there were many tribes around the world, and even today there are some African tribes, that don't know that a child is born out of sexual intercourse because months have passed since the intercourse took place and here, now the child is born. So many tribes could not understand this connection. And each sexual intercourse does not create a child. Out of hundreds one results in the birth of a child and that too takes nine months.

Sometimes it takes a very long time to see the fulfillment of your desires, longings and wishes: you yourself have forgotten that you had desired it. Psychologists say that you invite many diseases: at some time you have de sired them and that desire has remained suppressed in your unconscious mind. Then gradually the body creates that disease. It will be a little difficult to understand it because nobody likes sickness. Then why would someone desire to be sick? Why would someone sow the seeds of illness? There are profound reasons for this in the life of a person and it is a very complex network.

Whenever a small child becomes ill, people give him much attention and they care for him. When he is well nobody pays any attention to him. So in his unconscious mind it becomes clear that it is to his advantage to be ill because only then people will pay attention to him.

Everyone wants attention. It is a deep longing that people should pay attention to you because attention is food. Whenever someone looks at you you feel nourished and you become sad when nobody looks at you. Slowly, slowly a small child experiences that whenever he is ill something important happens — his father gives him more love and his mother sits near him. He has always wanted his father to be more loving towards him, for his mother to sit with him and everyone to care about him, but nobody ever bothered about him. But all his wishes are fulfilled when he is ill. Then his longing for attention becomes connected with illness. Later on, after many years, whenever this person feels neglected by others his unconscious desire to be ill will become very strong. This desire will not be conscious, it will be deep in his unconscious mind.

Most of the diseases of women are because of the lack of attention given to them. Whenever a man is in love with a woman she remains healthy, but as soon as the love affair is over she starts becoming sick — her sickness is saying that nobody is paying attention to her. Fifty percent of women's diseases arise out of the desire for attention. A wife gets sick as soon as her husband comes home: she was okay when he was out of the house. And it is also not true that she is pretending, no. But seeing the husband, she gets sick. Seeing him, the desire arises in her for her husband to pay attention to her, to care for her and worry about her. This desire goes deep down into her unconscious and she creates the situation in which her husband will be attentive to her, will care for her and serve her.

Now psychologists say that the mind is very complex, but the sages of the East have always said that whatsoever we are and whatsoever we have be come is the condensed form of our old desires. Whatever we have wished for is fulfilled now, in this birth. So there is no reason to hate the body: you have asked for this body and you have got it.

The second thing to remember is that this body is not holding you: in fact, you are holding it. How can the body hold you? The day you are able to let go of the body, the body will let go of you. If you can let go of the body totally, even for a moment, the body will start to die.

This is why mystics are able to decide when to die. The secret of this art is that they know how to separate themselves from the body. They hold on to a few desires which function as a connecting link with the body so that the body can fulfill its purpose. But on the day that they see it is time to depart, they disconnect the last link and their boat leaves this shore.

This is why mystics can announce their death beforehand, that they will die on a certain day. People think that it is because the mystic can see the future. No, it is not because of that: a mystic does not know the future, he can simply free himself from the body whenever he wants to. This is his freedom: he can give up the body whenever he wants to. He has understood this secret that the body is not holding him, it is he who is holding on to the body. So he can hold on to his body as long as he wants and he can drop the body whenever he wants. You have forgotten this. You think that the body is holding on to you — and this misunderstanding has created so much nonsense.

The so-called saints of a certain Christian sect used to whip themselves day and night just to torture the body because they felt it to be an enemy. And the one who whipped himself more was thought to be a greater saint. Nowadays, we call these people masochists — they are sick people who enjoy torturing themselves. Now we put them in a madhouse as sick people, but in the Middle Ages the whole of Europe was full of these types of so-called saints. Actually, they were just mentally ill people, not saints.

There were some Christian saints who used to wear shoes with nails inside, who used belts which had spikes in them so that the body was in pain all the time. And people would give them much respect. We also give respect to people who are torturing their bodies. Somebody is torturing the body by fasting, somebody else is torturing the body by standing in the sun, somebody is torturing the body just by continuously standing and not sitting down at all, someone is torturing the body by lying down on thorns. If you go to Varanasi you will see many such exhibitions; the Kumbha Mela is full of these insane exhibitions.

But it is surprising that you also feel respect for these people who are torturing their bodies, as if they are doing something great! Nothing great is being done — it simply means that you don't even know that it is not the body that is holding you, it is you who are holding the body. It is just as if you beat up your car because it is taking you to the wrong place. How can a car take you anywhere? You are putting the gas into it, you are decorating it, you are steering it and it goes wherever you want it to go. Although you are sitting in the car, the car is following you, you are not following the car.

This Upanishad says that the body is like a chariot, a car that you are sit ting inside and driving. So if you are going towards sin don't think that the body is taking you there; this is utter stupidity. If you want to sin the body supports you: if you drive your car towards the red-light district the car will go there. The car is not concerned about where you are going, it just goes wherever you take it. If you want to take it to a temple it will stop at the entrance to the temple. But when it stops at the door of a brothel and then you start kicking the car, you are just being stupid.

It is not only you, but people that are widely respected have behaved like this. Some saints have destroyed their eyes because they say the eyes have created lust in them. They have cut off their hands because their hands have done some evil act. How can the hands do any evil? How can the eyes create lust? You are hidden behind the eyes, the eyes go wherever you take them. You are the driving force behind your eyes. You yourself are the culprit — who are you punishing by destroying your eyes?

Some saints have cut out their tongues, have cut off their sex organs... this is sheer insanity! You don't understand that the body is only a mechanism; it has no consciousness. You are the consciousness. You are responsible for your good and bad deeds. It is you who create your hell and it is you who create your heaven. One who blames the body is totally unintelligent.

Now that you have understood this concept of the Upanishads, let us enter this sutra.

The body is the pur, the city. This is why we have called man purush, which means: the divine lives in that pur, the divine is hidden in that city. 'Purush' is a very meaningful word. 'Pur' means city, and the body is a city. It cannot be called a house because a house is a very small thing. Your body is really a city and its population is not small: billions of cells are living there. It is a huge city! If each cell were measured and enlarged to your height, your body would be as big as the city of London. There are roads the same as in London; a river flows and a network of telegraph and tele phone lines are there just like in London. Just as in London there are roads, traffic, a vast network of telephone and other communication cables, a river flowing in the middle of the city, the police, the military, the citizens, the masters, the servants, the rich and the poor, it is the same arrangement with these billions of residents in the body. There are police constables in them... if you ask medical science, you will be amazed.

The body is a very unique phenomenon. If you are injured even a little, you will find that within moments a white liquid will accumulate there. You may never have thought about why this white liquid film is formed immediately when you are injured. It is not simply pus: these are the white cells of your blood which do the work of policemen in your body all the time. Whenever and wherever there is trouble, an accident, danger, they immediately rush and reach to that place and cover it because after that place is covered no infection can enter. If that place had remained uncovered, any bacteria or germs carrying diseases could enter immediately. So these are the white cells of your blood which immediately rush to the injured place, surrounding and covering it. You may have thought it is only pus, but it is not: it is a safety measure of the body. It is a very amazing phenomenon. And it was not easy for medical science to finally understand how these white cells come to know whether the injury is on the hand or on the head or on the foot. They rush with the blood from all over the body to the exact place of the injury and cover it immediately. If the quantity of white cells in your body decreases then you will get sick very often because your security force has become weak. That is why your body needs a certain quantity, a certain number of white cells. Without that specific quantity your resistance and your power to fight against diseases will be less. These cells go on fighting the infection and they don't know anything about you.

The most surprising thing is that this city of billions of cells has no knowledge of your existence; it cannot have. They have never met you. They go on doing their work: some are making blood, some are digesting the food. You eat food and these cells are breaking it down, digesting it and turning it into nutrients, blood and flesh are created. All this work is going on and it is all properly assigned.

In ancient times Hindus conceived the idea of four castes, and there are also four types of cells in the body. The shudra cells go on doing service, the vaishya cells are doing the business of converting things, transforming things. They transform one thing into another: they turn one chemical into a hormone and another into something else — all the time they are busy with their business. There are kshatriya cells which are guarding and defending all the time and there are brahmin cells which go on thinking all the time. Your brain cells are the brahmin cells. The Hindus have described the sudras as 'the feet' and the brahmins as 'the head' — these symbols are very significant.

The whole body is divided and there is every possibility that yogins, the mystics, have organized the society according to how they experienced the inner arrangement of the body. This may be the model for the origins of the caste system; the possibility is there. Otherwise how did this idea of four castes arise? And it has happened only in India; outside India nobody has created these four castes. Actually, outside India, nobody has ever made an effort to enter into the city of the body. Mystics must have thought of it only after they saw the workings of the inner system of the body; they must have applied the same system that they found in the body to the society.

Whether the world thinks in terms of four castes or not, the fact is that there are always four castes. Whether it is in Russia or in America, the sudra always exists. In Russia the sudra is known as 'the proletariat' The change in name does not make any difference; there is someone who is continuously doing the work of a sudra. Even if the society or the administration of the state or the economic situation changes, there will always be someone doing the work of the sudra. Whether it is a democracy, a dictatorship or any other kind of system, there will be someone who will be dominating it like the kshatriya. And no matter what the system, it is impossible to bring the brahmins down from their heads!

Today, in Russia, the status of professors, doctors, engineers and scientists is very high — these are the brahmins, they deal in knowledge. In America a fear is growing that in the coming hundred years scientists can become so powerful that they may overpower the government because all the keys are in their hands. Today the politician seems to be very powerful on the surface, but behind him it is the scientist who is more powerful be cause he has the key to the atom. Sooner or later he is going to be on the top. Even now politicians seek their advice. As soon as Kennedy became the President of America, he immediately called the best minds from all over America as his advisors. Kennedy gathered great professors, great writers, great poets and great scientists around him because the kshatriya himself is not so intelligent; he has always been taking advice from the brahmin. The kshatriya is up front but it is the brahmin who directs him from behind.

There is a big city within the body and the work of this city is so organized that no other city can compare to it. The work is very systematic and it happens so silently; it is totally automatic. Whether you are asleep or awake the work goes on; whether you are working or resting this work goes on. And you are not disturbed by it, it goes on automatically. You don't know when your food is digested, when it becomes blood, when it becomes bones or when the dead cells are thrown out. This whole city is automatic.

You are at the center of this city...it is worthy of respect. This city has given you an opportunity to reach to heaven or to hell through it; or if you wish, you can be free of heaven and hell and attain to moksha, liberation — and the body is only the means.

This sutra says:

There are five senses, five organs of action and one mind: these are the eleven gates.

Then this body, this city, is not needed at all. Then one is free of this mechanism of the body.

This machine-like body can be used in two ways: one is for self-forget fulness, which is what desires and passions are; the other is for self-remembrance, which is what meditation is. You can use this body in the search for the trivial pleasures of life. And what is pleasure? — wherever you can forget yourself for a while, you think that is pleasure. Pleasure is simply forgetting yourself. Somebody forgets himself by drinking alcohol, somebody forgets himself by listening to music, somebody forgets himself in sex, somebody forgets himself in eating food, somebody forgets him self sitting on a throne — and they think that all these things are giving them pleasure.

What is your definition of pleasure? Wherever you forget yourself you feel pleasure and wherever you remember yourself you feel misery. Actually, whenever you start remembering yourself your pain starts becoming more intense because then you ask, "What am I doing? Where am I? What is this all about?" Then you become worried, anxious; then you want to forget yourself. Someone is trying to forget himself by reading the newspaper and someone else by reading the Bhagavadgita. There are many ways of forgetting yourself but the effort to forget continues.

Lust and desire are self-forgetfulness, a way to forget yourself. And how can one who is busy forgetting himself reach to his soul? How can he attain consciousness? The divine will be very far away from him. The more you forget yourself the further away you will be from the divine.

This is why all the religions are against alcohol. Actually, they are not against alcohol; it is an innocent thing, why should they oppose it? The opposition is only because it helps you to forget yourself. If you could remain aware after drinking alcohol then there would be no objection.

Only the tantrikas have made this effort of being conscious even after drinking alcohol. Slowly, slowly they increase the quantity of alcohol and try to remain conscious; they increase only as much as allows them to re main conscious. They go on increasing, and finally the tantrikas can drink poison without losing consciousness. When alcohol and poison cannot affect their consciousness, then they tame a snake and make the snake bite their tongue. When that also has no effect they can say that now they are really awake; now nothing can make them unconscious. So in a way, the tantrikas are also opposed to alcohol.

In fact all the traditions are opposed to unconsciousness. The spiritual search is a search for consciousness, but the ways can be different. Jaina and Buddhist monks cannot even conceive that alcohol or poison can be used as a means to become aware. A tantrika says, "Drink, but don't lose awareness — remain conscious." And both are saying the same thing. One says, "Do not drink because you cannot remain aware," and the tantrika says, "Drink to see if you can remain aware. Your awareness should go on growing more and more."

And I believe that the awareness of the tantrika is more true than that of any monks, because the tantrika tries to remain conscious even in difficult situations. The depth and the height of his awareness is great. If all the monks in the world were gathered together and made to drink alcohol, only the tantrikas would stay conscious; the rest of them would be in trouble. Even if poison is given to them the tantrikas do not become unconscious.

So the path of tantra is very arduous. Ordinarily man can deceive himself by thinking that he is drinking alcohol because he is a tantrika. And tantra has not condemned the so-called evils: it says awareness can be there in so-called evil. That is why it is not against sex. If you can remain aware during sexual intercourse, then sexual intercourse has become a meditation. But one thing is clear: religions may or may not be against each other, but all of them are against unconsciousness and are for consciousness.

One who uses the body to remain conscious will become free of the body even while living in the body. As awareness goes on increasing one can see that the body is separate: "I am separate." The distance between the two, the body and the self, goes on growing. Then whatsoever happens to the body it does not seem to be happening to you, it feels as if it is happening only to the body.

If you are driving a car and it starts making some noise you know that something is wrong with the engine, you don't feel that something is wrong with you. You simply stop the car and check the engine. In the same way, if you are aware and something happens to your body, you don't feel that it is happening to you. You know that something is wrong with the body so you see a doctor, but you will not suffer and get upset about it. When you feel hungry you will know that the body is hungry, just as when a car needs petrol. When the petrol is finished then you put some more petrol in but you are not putting the petrol in you.

As awareness grows, all activities are experienced as belonging to the body. Only one thing belongs to you and that is witnessing, meditation. Only meditation is spiritual, everything else is physical. So anyone who is not meditating is living only in the body, he cannot enter into his being. There is only one thread leading to your being, and that is meditation.

The sutra says that while the body is there, the man who practices the spiritual disciplines such as meditation, will never grieve because for him there is no more reason for unhappiness. Unhappiness enters because of your deep conviction, your identification, that you are the body. But as soon as you experience that you are not the body, all misery will disappear and you will be liberated while living in your body.

The jivanmukta, the one liberated while living in the body, is the person who has known that he is not the body. He can still remain in the body for some time more. Just as you are living in the body, the liberated one also lives in the body for some time after his enlightenment. Mahavira stayed in his body for forty years after he was enlightened. When Buddha became enlightened he also stayed in his body for forty years. Why did they stay? You live in a body, a Mahavira and a Buddha also lived in a body — but you live in a body to fulfill your own desires and lusts and Buddha and Mahavira lived in the body because of their compassion for others. They wanted to share all that they had received in enlightenment.

After many, many lives Buddha attained enlightenment. He could have left his body at that time if he had wanted to. Actually, Buddha wanted to leave his body immediately. When he became enlightened he remained silent for seven days afterwards.

There is a very sweet story that the gods bowed at his feet and asked him to speak, to help people understand, because only after many centuries does somebody attain to the state of buddhahood: "Do not remain silent! Do not dissolve and disappear! Stay on this shore for some time more." So Buddha stayed on this shore for forty years His staying here was not to attain anything for himself, it was to share something. You are holding on to the body to get something but a buddha holds on to the body to give something.

A jivanmukta can still remain in his body. But as soon as one becomes a jivanmukta one thing becomes certain — that after leaving this body there will be no return to another body, it is not possible. After leaving this house there will be no other house.

After his enlightenment the first words that Buddha uttered were, "God of Desires, now you will not need to make another house for me. You have made my last house and now it is not needed. Now you don't have to create new bodies for me. God of Desires, you have created so many different bodies for me in so many, many lives — now you are free, now your services are no longer needed."

A person who has realized that he is not the body while still living in this body will enter the bodiless state as soon as he dies and leaves this body. He will exist but he will have no form. Then he lives without a house. He is one with this vast universe — just as a drop lives in the ocean but not as a drop, it has become the ocean; just as the flame of an earthen lamp is lost in the sky but actually is not lost — because no energy is ever lost — it becomes part of the great sun, it becomes part of the great light. But this is so only for the one who experiences that he is not the body while still in this body.

Some people think that they can realize this state in the last moments of their lives. Some people stretch this logic to such an extent that when they are almost dead, when they are not even able to hear anymore, then they have others recite mantras, the Gita or the Namokar Mantra, into their ears. And they did not have the intelligence to listen to all these scriptures while they were alive! Other people also make them drink the water of the holy Ganges hoping that then they will be delivered from bondage. When they were alive they never even went near the Ganges and now when they are dying bottled Ganges water is given to them. While still alive they never searched for truth: now the words from dead scriptures are recited to them, and that too is done by hired people who repeat the words for the money they will get. They themselves don't know what they are repeating; they will themselves need hired people to recite the scriptures to them when they are about to die.

Man has not only deceived himself in this life, he has made arrange ments to try to deceive in the afterlife. You are so cunning that you think that somehow you can even deceive existence. So you have invented stories like the one where a sinner, who named his son Narayan, which means God, was dying. As he was dying he called out to his son, "Narayan!" and the Lord Narayan in heaven thought that the man was calling him. And so the dying man, who had never thought about God in his whole life, went straight to heaven!

Such a story must have been invented by some sinner. Now this sinner must have been calling out to his son Narayan to pass on some secret of his trade. He had cheated, stolen and picked pockets for his whole life so he must have been wanting to pass the secrets of his trade on to his son. But Lord Narayan was deceived. It proves that this Lord Narayan in the sky must have been a perfect idiot! But sinners invent these stories just to console themselves.

There is no way to deceive existence. There is no way to deceive the di vine. It is not a government office where files can be tampered with, misin terpreted, misplaced. The truth of your life is your only connection with the existence. There we are absolutely naked, there we are as we really are; there is no way or means to hide. So don't console yourself with these kinds of stories thinking that "No problem, I will also name my son Narayan."

Perhaps that's why people name their sons Rama, Krishna, Narayan and so on: they think that they will also be able to play the same trick which that sinner, whose name was Ajamil, played, that it may be useful some time; or that a hired priest will repeat the name of God in their ears. But can a hired person pronounce God's name for you? Can anyone else pray on your behalf? Can somebody else worship for you? It means that you are not understanding the meaning and the significance of worship, of prayer.

It's as if you are in love with someone and you appoint a servant to make love on your behalf because you have no time. No, you would not do such a thing where your love is concerned. But people have been doing this with prayer for centuries. Prayer is the greatest love that can exist, but the rich people build temples in their houses and hire priests who will worship on their behalf.

The Tibetans are more clever: they have invented a wheel which they call a prayer wheel. It is a small, round wheel on which a mantra has been written. They go on doing their other work and at the same time turning the wheel; the mantra is repeated each time as the wheel makes a full round.

One Tibetan lama had come to me with his prayer wheel in hand. I told him, "What are you doing? Get it connected to electricity — then it will go on turning automatically without disturbing your work at all. As it is you have to keep revolving it again and again and it is hindering your work. This work of turning the wheel can be done by electricity." But can prayer be done this way?

But because man is so dishonest, his dishonesty spreads in all dimen sions. His dishonesty is also spread in the dimension of the divine.

Everywhere, here and there, above and below, without and within, the divine is manifest. But you will realize this One only when your meditation has gone so deep that you can see that you are separate from your body. As long as you are identified with your body you will see the many because there are many bodies all around you.

It is as if you put one thousand pitchers here; in all the places where you are sitting we put a pitcher next to you. The same space would be there in each of the pitchers, but anyone who was to count the pitchers would say, "There are one thousand separate spaces in these one thousand pitchers. Each pitcher encloses its own separate space inside it. How can the enclosed space of one pitcher be the same as the enclosed space of another pitcher? Each pitcher has its own separate space. If seen in this way then there are one thousand separate pitchers with one thousand separate spaces.

Then someone comes along and strikes each pitcher with a stick and breaks them all: then there will be only one space left.

Your body is nothing but a pitcher. When death demolishes your pitcher, and if you have not been identified with your pitcher during your life, only then will you be able to say, "It is okay, take this pitcher. The space cannot be taken, only this pitcher will be gone. In any case this pitcher has become old." At the moment of death, if you can realize that the pitcher is breaking and that the inner space is untouched, then you will not need to find an other pitcher — then you will not enter into another body.

But you believe your body to be your existence. And there are so many bodies in this world; naturally, then so many personalities and so many dif ferences. Each body then becomes a wall and that encircles and separates the one space.

In existence there is only one space and one soul. But nothing will happen if you go on repeating this all your life as a theory: you will have to experience it. You will have to know it by separating the pitcher from your self; only then will all the pitchers disappear and only one space will be left. The name of that one space is the brahman, the divine. It is the divine that is outside and inside, below and above, that is everywhere; in the small and in the vast, in the lower and in the higher, in mountains and in rivers, in earth and in sky — it is everywhere.

There is a very profound research of Indian yoga hidden in this sutra. Even today Western medical science is almost ignorant about it. This research is about prana and apana. The Indian medical science, ayurveda, yoga and tantra all say that there are two directions of energy-currents in the body. The current of energy which goes upwards is known as prana and the current of energy which goes downwards is apana. There are two qualities of energy in the body and also two kinds of flow. Apana causes the movement of urine and stool; the current of energy that goes down wards causes the stool and the urine to move out. And all that goes up wards in the body is caused by prana. This is why the more proficient one is in pranayama, the more one will rise upwards because pranayama is nothing but expanding, extending and enlarging the prana, the current of energy that flows upwards.

These are the two currents of energy in the body. Exactly at the center of these two dwells the divine, the soul, consciousness, or whatsoever name you want to give it. The soul, which is the size and shape of the tip of the thumb, is situated just at the center of these two currents: it pushes the energy downwards and it pushes the energy upwards. The current of energy that moves upwards is prana and the current of energy that moves down wards is apana.

Up to now Western medical science has not been able to recognize this double current of energy. They think that there is only one kind of energy. Because of their awareness of these two directions of energy, what allo pathic medicine cannot do, ayurveda can do. A person who understands these two currents of energy can revolutionize his life.

You may have noticed that when a little baby breathes, his belly moves up and down, but his chest is not affected and it does not move up and down. When a baby is lying down and breathing his belly moves up and down and his breathing is very deep. When you breathe only your chest moves: your breath is very shallow, it is not deep. Psychiatrists are puzzled over this fact: "Why does this happen, why does the breath become shallow as people grow older and why is the breath of a child so deep?" An animal's breathing is also deep, the aboriginals also breathe deeply. The more civilized a man, the more shallow his breath will be. It is a little difficult thing to understand what relationship civilization can have with breathing. What happens in the moment when a child stops breathing deeply?

Yoga knows this secret. It is becoming a little bit clearer now to psychology also because psychologists say that the child's breathing becomes shallow as soon as he learns to be afraid of sex, when his parents have warned him against sex. When breathing goes deep it hits the sex center; it becomes apana and awakens the sexual urge. The deeper the breathing the stronger will be the urge for sex.

Children are made to feel guilty and afraid: they are told that sex is evil, that sex is sin. They become frightened and start supporting the shallow breathing, they don't allow it to go deep. Slowly, slowly their breathing will start to reach only the upper part of the body so a distance is created between their being and their sex center. Their sexual energy becomes perverted: they cannot enjoy any sexual pleasures because for that, deep breathing is needed. When the breathing is deep the whole body vibrates. In this vibration of the whole body, when the whole body is immersed in this energy, some semblance of joy happens. But even that much semblance of joy becomes impossible when the breathing is not deep.

Many diseases are created by this, because your apana has become weak. The people whose breathing is shallow are constipated because the apana, the current of energy which goes downwards and throws out the excrement, is not moving downwards. But the fear is the same because semen is also a type of excrement, and to throw it out the energy has to move down, it has to become apana. A person who is afraid of sex will also be constipated because it is the same energy that pushes these two.

Brahmacharya, celibacy, cannot be attained by blocking the apana: it can be attained only by increasing the prana. It will be good to understand this difference very clearly. Many people, in the name of brahmacharya, have made the mistake of blocking the apana. Because of this they have become morbid, sick. The grace and health of their personality is destroyed. The body becomes full of many poisons because the apana which was throwing all the poisons out of the body cannot throw them out. You are afraid: this is a negative process of celibacy.

There is a positive process: you don't interfere with the apana but you increase the prana. The prana should increase so much that in comparison to it, the apana becomes weaker. You just draw a bigger line — the apana should remain but the prana should become vast. Then your energy will start flowing upwards.

This is why pranayama is so important in yoga — because it pushes the energy upwards. The sex energy which becomes sex through the apana becomes kundalini through the prana and begins to flow upwards. It finally reaches to the head where its lotus blooms. With the push of the apana the sex energy causes the birth of a baby, and with the push of the prana the same sex energy causes your own rebirth — but only when it has reached to the head. The prana is what takes the energy upwards.

The sutra says that the divine is hidden between the prana and the apana. It takes the apana downwards, thus it is the base for the manifest world; and it takes the prana upwards, thus it is the base for the realm of the divine. It is up to you to decide into which current you want to enter. If you want to enter the current that goes downwards then you will have to increase the apana.

All animals have a very strong apana but their prana is very weak. Only yogins have a strong prana. Their apana is healthy but their prana is so strong that even the healthy apana cannot overpower their prana; the apana is under the control of the prana. The ordinary man's prana is already weak and he also makes his apana weak because of his fear.

A fearful person does not breathe deeply, only a fearless person will breathe deeply. A person who is afraid for any reason will not breathe deeply. Your breathing will stop immediately if someone puts a dagger to your chest. Whenever you feel terrified your breathing will stop. Whenever you feel nervous — for example, you are going to meet a big official and you are nervous — immediately your breathing will become shallow. You will breathe normally again only when you have come out of his office. People have frightened each other so much that their whole breathing system has become unhealthy. The divine is hidden between these two, the prana and the apana, but it is the master of both.

There is no need to be afraid of the apana because the total health of the body depends on it. It causes excretion, and if excretion does not happen properly many poisons and toxins will accumulate in the body. They have already accumulated in the body: there is poison flowing in everyone's blood. If a person does exercises such as walking, running or swimming then his apana will become stronger. This is why the body becomes fresher and healthier after exercise. You can just breathe deeply — but pranayama is not only breathing deeply, pranayama is breathing deeply with awareness.

Try to understand this difference. Many people do pranayama without any understanding or awareness; they just go on breathing deeply. If you just breathe deeply the apana will become healthier. That is also good but there will be no upward journey. The upward journey is possible only when awareness is joined together with deep breathing.

Buddha has said that when you breathe you should remain aware of the breath touching your nose. You should be conscious of the breath touching your nose as it goes in, and when the breath goes down into the throat you should be aware that it is touching the throat, and when the breath reaches to the lungs and goes down into the belly you should continue to witness it. Your awareness should follow it. Then the breath will stop for a moment, there will be a gap — and that gap is very valuable. When you take a deep breath in for a moment there will be no breath, in or out, everything will stop. The breath will go out; after resting for a few seconds it goes out. Then your awareness should also go out with it, rise with it, come to the throat with it, come to the nose with it. When it goes out you just go on following it. Again, after it has gone out, everything will stop for a second; then a new breath will start, again in and again out. Buddha has said that you should make a string of beads with the breath and in this way you can awaken your remembrance with each breath.

If there is awareness with deep breathing the prana will expand and the life energy will start to rise upwards. Awareness is the key for rising upwards and unconsciousness is the key for falling downwards.

If a person can come to awareness through breathing then he needs no other practice, this is enough — but it is very difficult. For twenty-four hours a day, whenever you remember, be aware of your breath. Nobody will know, it can happen quietly; nobody will ever know what you are doing. Jesus has said that your right hand should not know what your left hand is doing. This also is something that no one else will know about. Silently, along with your breathing, your remembrance will gradually grow. As the breathing becomes deeper and the remembrance becomes more profound, it will hit and raise your energy upwards through the spine.

This is not imaginary: you will certainly feel the electric current rising in your spine. The electric waves moving in your spine will be hot. If you want to you can even feel this when you touch your spine with your hand: it will be hot where the waves are vibrating. With the rising energy your spine will become hot: you will be able to feel the point up to where the energy has risen. Again it will fall down and again it will rise.

By constant practice one day this energy will reach to your sahasrar, the crown chakra. But meanwhile it will pass through other chakras and on each chakra there are different experiences; on each chakra your life will be filled with a new light. And as your energy passes through each chakra, new fragrances, new meanings, a new significance will start to happen in your life, new flowers will bloom in your life.

After experimenting many thousands of times, the science of yoga discovered what exactly happens on each chakra. I will give one or two examples so that you can understand, because the chakras have also been named according to the experiences connected with them.

For example, yoga has named the chakra between the two eyes the agya chakra, the command chakra. It has been called the agya chakra because the day on which your energy passes through that chakra, your body and your senses will start obeying you. Whatsoever you desire will immediately happen. You will have command over your personality, you will become the master. Before your energy reaches to this chakra you are a slave. You will become the master only on the day your energy enters into this chakra. From that day onwards your body will obey you. Now you are obeying your body because in the place from where the body can be mastered you are empty. The energy is not in the place from where you can command it. This is why this chakra is called 'the command chakra'. All the chakras are named in this way. These names are meaningful because there is a particu lar state connected with each chakra.

The seventh, the last chakra, is sahasrar. 'Sahasrar' means the lotus with a thousand petals. And on the day when the energy reaches there your whole head will feel as if transformed into a lotus with a thousand petals. Now your lotus has blossomed and all the petals have opened and are facing the sky. For the first time in life there is an experience of bliss, a unique shower of fragrance and total light.

We have chosen the name of the lotus rightly, and there are many reasons for this. We have called it sahasrar or sahasradal kamal. The unique quality of the lotus is that it is born out of mud — and there is nothing more beautiful and more pure than the lotus. It is born out of the dirty mud, a stem comes out of the mud, grows and rises above the water: this stem is your spine and the dirty mud is your sexual desire. One day a flower blossoms out of the stem of your spine and when this lotus that has been born out of water and mud blossoms, the water cannot touch it. Even if the water were to fall on it, it would remain untouched. Nothing can touch it, it remains untouched and unaffected.

The lotus flower is the ultimate expression of sannyas — nothing can touch it. Anything can fall on it but it remains untouched. Born out of mud and yet beyond mud.... This possibility for the lotus to attain to such purity is also the potential of each human being. That is why we have called the last chakra 'sahasradal kamal'. These two, the prana and the apana are the energy-currents, and the divine dwells just exactly in the middle, between these two.

There are some truths which must be told again and again. It is not that the person telling them gains anything by repeating them, but that you are so deaf that perhaps you may not have heard the first time so it has to be repeated.

Buddha had the habit of saying everything three times. Now the people who are translating Buddha's words leave out two parts because they say it is a repetition: "What is the need for this repetition?" They think they are more intelligent than Buddha himself.... Repetition was needed because the people to whom Buddha was talking were incapable of hearing the first time. By repeating three times Buddha was trying his best to hammer it in somehow.

Yama also says to Nachiketa, "Nachiketa, now I will tell you again..."

In this sutra one thing needs to be understood: "It remains awake when all else has gone to sleep in pralaya." This is the very divine about which Nachiketa has asked. When everything is annihilated in pralaya, or when all goes to sleep and all of nature's working stops, even then, what remains awake...?

How to understand this? — because you don't have any experience of pralaya, the end of creation. It will be easy to understand it by looking at your sleep.

The body goes to sleep — 'the body' meaning the divine's manifestation; it goes to sleep — but have you ever realized that something remains awake in you?

When a mother is sleeping with her little baby, nothing disturbs her. There may be a storm outside, there may be thunder and rain, there may be lightning but nothing disturbs her sleep, she sleeps soundly. But if her baby cries just a little she will wake up immediately. It is amazing that outside there was thunder and lightning and her sleep was not broken and then she wakes up with just the small sound of her baby. There is something in her which keeps remembering the baby. If there are a thousand people sleeping here, in deep sleep, and I call out the name Rama, nobody but the person named Rama will wake up and ask who is disturbing his sleep. Certainly, some part of him which knows that his name is Rama must be awake.

When you get up in the morning and say that last night you slept soundly, who knows it? If you were absolutely asleep then who is it that is knowing that he had a sound sleep? Who is the knower of sleep? If your sleep were sound then there would be no one: all parts of you would have been asleep. But there was something that remained awake; some part was watching if the sleep was sound or not, if there were dreams or not. Some part inside remembers the dreams that you see at night. If you were totally asleep then who has this memory? Who remembers the dreams after waking up? No, you were not absolutely asleep.

Hypnotism causes the deepest sleep. Many experiments in hypnosis are happening in the West. It has become a legitimate science now; it is no longer considered to be magic. Hypnosis is now even being used in hospitals. They are using it not only for minor things but also for major surgical operations. You cannot undergo surgery in ordinary sleep: the patient will wake up even if he is pricked with a needle. But a major surgery can be per formed in a hypnotized state: an appendix can be removed or the stomach can be operated on. The surgery may take many hours but the patient will remain asleep, so hypnotism is the deepest sleep. But there is one very interesting thing about hypnotism and that is that the patient will keep on sleeping even when his stomach is being cut open, but if you want him to do something which is against his morality, against his beliefs, then he will immediately wake up.

For example, if a Hindu woman, who in accord with the Hindu tradition, has not loved anyone except her husband, is hypnotized — if she has loved another man then it's a different thing — and told to kiss a man who is sitting next to her, she will immediately come out of the hypnosis no matter how deep it had been. She will get up and say, "What did you say? This is impossible!" But you can cut the stomach open and it won't break a hypnotic sleep. Inside, some part remains awake. If the woman agrees to give the kiss, then psychiatrists say that it is because she wanted to do it but it was suppressed in her unconscious because of her moral code. Now in a hypnotic trance she has the opportunity and she will not be held responsible for her action. She can say that she was unconscious — "I can't take any responsibil ity for what I did" — so she can give the kiss.

A person will wake up from a deep hypnosis if something goes against his moral values. He will do only what he wants to do. Ultimately the choice is his.

Even in the deepest sleep, within you there is something that is awake. This sutra says that the One that is awake while the body is asleep, that very essence remains awake when all of nature has gone to sleep in pralaya, the end of creation. Western scientists and mathematicians have now begun to respect the insights which have been prevalent in India. In the West the Christian theory is that God created this world just four thousand years ago. Now this idea has been proved to be wrong. This has harmed Christianity because they keep on insisting that it is written in their holy book, so it must be true. But their own scientists have discovered that this Earth has existed for four billion years and the Christians say that it is only four thousand years old. On this Earth there are fossils which prove to be millions of years old, so this Christian theory has been proved wrong.

The Hindu calculation goes back for billions of years, and they say that billions of years are like one day to the divine. They say that the beginning of creation and the end of creation are the same as one day to the brahman; billions of our years are as one day to the divine.

Then comes night and the whole of nature goes to sleep; finally, nature also becomes tired. It is not only that you get tired in a day: the trees, plants, these mountains, this Earth, this moon and these stars also get tired. This understanding of the phenomenon of tiredness is very clear to the Indian sages. If you can become tired, then one day everything will become tired. It does not matter how long it takes — the day on which all of creation tires and goes to rest, then this will be pralaya. When everything returns to sleep then it is the beginning of the Night of the Brahman. But even then, the one that will remain awake is the divine.

The relationship between your body and you is the same as the relationship between physical nature and the divine. It can be said that this whole universe is the divine's body. You are but a miniature existence, a miniature universe. You and your body, it is the same as the physical universe and the divine. And when all else has gone to sleep, even then, the divine will remain awake. This is why in the Gita, Krishna has said that a yogin remains awake also when the worldly person has gone to sleep. He is wakeful even when he sleeps at night. His body sleeps but inside he remains continuously awake, aware.

As your awareness grows you will find that you can be awake even in your sleep. The day that you feel that even in sleep you are awake and sleep has become your direct experience, on that day, understand that now your anchors in the shore of the body have started loosening and your boat has begun to move towards the shore of the soul.

Now get ready for meditation.