ENERGY BLOCKAGE REMOVAL
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THE MAN AND HIS PHILOSOPHY
Chapter 12: Discipline, Devotion and Krishna, Question 3
QUESTIONER: SARTRE SAYS, "EXISTENCE PRECEDES ESSENCE," AND YOU SAY, "ESSENCE PRECEDES EXISTENCE." PLEASE EXPLAIN THE ACTUAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO STATEMENTS. PLEASE ALSO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THE CONFUSION IN WHICH WE FIND OURSELVES WITH REGARD TO THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN DEVOTION AND DISCIPLINE, BECAUSE HERE IN MANALI WE ARE PARTICIPATING IN A CAMP MEANT FOR SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE.
It is part of my work to put you into confusion. You will know the meaning of this camp only when all distinctions between devotion and discipline disappear.
Sartre and other existentialists believe that existence precedes essence, but it is a very odd state, ment. Perhaps never before had such a concept been put forth. Down the ages the contrary belief has been held. Almost every thought system, every philosophy believes that essence precedes existence. So it is good to understand it in depth.
All schools of philosophy that were born be, fore Sartre and other existentialists believe that the seed precedes the tree. And it seems natural and logical. But Sartre says the tree precedes the seed. By and large, every thought-system says that essence pre. cedes existence; without essence or soul, existence is not possible. But Sartre asserts that existence comes first and essence later. He believes that in the absence of existence essence cannot be manifested.
Let us now go into this question in the context of Krishna.
In fact. all philosophical quarrels are childish. Even the biggest philosophical battles have been fought over a problem which can be summed up in a child's question: "Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?" It is really around this small question that all the great battles between philosophers have taken place. But those who know will say the chicken and egg are not two. Those who raise this question are stupid, and those answering it are even more stupid.
What is an egg but a chicken in the making? And what is a chicken but an egg fulfilled, come to its fullness? Egg and chicken hide each other in themselves. The question of who precedes whom is meaningful if egg and chicken are two separate things. The truth is that they are the same. Or we can say that they are the two ways of looking at the same thing. Or they are two different phases, two states of the manifestation of the same thing.
Similarly, seed and tree are not separate. Neither are light and dark. Nor are birth and death They are two ways of looking at the same thing. Maybe, because we don't know how to see a thing rightly, we see it in fragments. For example, there is a big room inside a house and the house is locked. Someone wants to have a look at the room and so he drills a hole through a wall. Now he peers into the room from side to side. At first a chair will come into view, then another chair, and so on and so forth. He cannot have a full view of the room all at once. And he can very well ask, "Which comes first and which afterward?" No arguments can settle this question. But if the person manages to enter the room he can see the whole room together, and then he will not ask what comes first.
There is a laboratory in Oxford University which has to its credit some of the greatest explorations and researches done in the present century. And I think this laboratory is performing the most significant job for our future. It is known as the De La Warr Laboratory. There a miracle happened when a bud was exposed to a camera, and it turned out in print to be the picture of the full flower into which the bud was eventually going to bloom.
The film used in the camera had such high sensitivity, the highest ever, that it captured the hidden potential of the bud in the form of a fully-blossomed flower. It was simply incredible how a camera photographing a bud brought out the picture of the flower that the bud was going to be in the future. At the moment of photographing it was only a bud, and no one knew what kind of flower it was going to make. Maybe the flower was already present, physically present at some mysterious level of existence which we cannot see with our physical eyes -- but the extra-sensitive film used in the camera succeeded in seeing it.
It was a breathtaking event, and even the scientists working at De La Warr were dazed and left puzzled about how the magic worked. They thought that perhaps at some unseen level of existence the bud and the flower were in existence simultaneously. The scientists thought perhaps through some technical error the film had been exposed earlier, when it had taken in the picture of a flower. Or, maybe some chemical mishap has brought about this inexplicable result.
So the scientists decided to wait until the bud turned into a full flower. But when it happened they were amazed to see that it was exactly the same flower whose picture the camera had captured earlier when it was only a bud. They now knew there was no chemical or technical error involved. A photographic miracle -- say a scientific miracle -- had really taken
This small incident happening within the small confines of the De La Warr Laboratory is packed with tremendous significance for the future. We can now say that at some unseen level of their existence the egg and chicken happen simultaneously, but we fail to see it with our gross eyes. It is something in our way of looking at things that the egg is seen first and the chicken afterwards. If we have the eyes of a Krishna, it is not difficult to see them simultaneously. But the way we are, we will say it is something impossible; it defies our reason and logic.
But in the past twenty-five years science has been compelled to accept many things that defeat our logic.
I would like to cite another case from the scientific lab, so that you don't go with the impression that I am saying something unscientific.
Only some fifty years ago no one could have imagined that it was the case. Soon after man succeeded in splitting the atom and discovering the electron, science found itself in deep water. The behavior of the electron put scientists in great difficulty; how to describe it? Never before had science been faced with such a dilemma; everything was going very well, as science should go. Everything was clear-cut, defined and logical. But with the discovery of the electron science was confronted with a tricky problem; how to define the electron. On being photographed sometimes the electron appeared as a particle and sometimes it appeared as a wave. And there is a great difference between a particle and a wave. If they called the electron a particle it could not be a wave, and if they called it a wave it could not be a particle. Therefore they had to coin a new word in English to define the electron. This new word is "quanta". This word is not found in any other languages of the world, because they have not yet reached that depth in science. Quanta means that which is both a particle and a wave simultaneously.
But quanta is a mysterious phenomenon; it is both a particle and wave, an egg and chicken together. With quanta science has entered a new phase of its journey.
So I don't agree with Sartre, nor do I agree with those who say essence precedes existence. I don't accept either position. I see the whole thing in a different perspective. To me, existence and essence are two ways of looking at the same thing. Because of our limited perception, we divide the same thing into fragments. In fact, essence is existence and existence is essence. They are not two separate phenomena. So it is wrong to say that essence has existence or that God has existence, because then it means God and existence are separate. No, if we understand it rightly we should say: God is existence.
It is utterly wrong to say that God exists. We say a flower exists because tomorrow this flower will cease to exist. But will God ever cease to exist? If so then he is not God. One who will never cease to exist cannot be said to have an existence. We can say that we exist, because we will certainly cease to exist sometime in the future. But it is an error of language to say that God exists, because he is ever and ever and ever. It is utterly wrong to say God exists; the right way to say it is: God is existence.
But language always puts us into difficulty; it is in the very nature of language. In fact, even the phrase "God is existence" is erroneous, because the word "is" between God and existence creates a schism and confusion. It means on one side is God and on the other is existence and the two are related by the word "is". This word really divides God into two -- he and existence -- which is again wrong. So even the word "is" has to go, and we had better say God means is-ness, God means being, God means existence. The word "is" is also a repetition; it is repetition to say Gd is. "is" means God; is-ness is God or God is is-ness. That which is, is God. But language has its own limitations; it is created for the dualistic world.
This is the reason that one who knows wants to keep away from the trap of words and remains completely silent. The moment he says something, he at once separates himself from what he says; what he says becomes an object. But, in fact, he who says and what he says are one. Under the circumstances, there is no better way than to keep quiet.
Someone goes to a Zen sage and requests him to say something about God. The sage laughs and sways. The man says, "Why do you laugh and sway? Why don't you answer my question? I have traveled a long way just to ask this question." The sage now begins to dance, and the visitor is puzzled. He says, "Are you crazy? I want an answer to my question."
The sage says, "I am answering your question, but you don't listen."
The questioner is annoyed and says, "It seems you are going to make me as crazy as you are. You have not said a word yet."
Now the sage remarks, "If I say something, it is going to be wrong. Whatever I will say will be untrue. If you cannot understand my silence it is better you go somewhere else where truth is spoken in words. But when the ultimate truth is said in words it becomes false. One can speak so long as he is journeying to the temple of truth; the moment he enters its innermost sanctuary all words, all languages fail. At the ultimate point one has no other way than to become silent."
Wittgenstein, one of the most profound thinkers of this age, wrote a small maxim toward the last days of his life. And what he said in this maxim is extraordinary: "That which cannot be said must not be said." Had Wittgenstein been alive I would have said to him, "But this much has to be said about that which cannot be said: that it must not be said. What you say is also a statement about the inexpressible, and whether you say much or little makes no difference. "
Wittgenstein had written in his first book, TRACTATUS, that whatever can be said can only be said through language. This statement of his is correct to some extent. What is said through gestures will have to be included in this statement, because gestures are a kind of language. A dumb person raises his hand to his mouth to say that he is hungry; it is the language of the dumb. There is a maxim in Hindi which says, "God is the dumb man's candy." A dumb person can very well enjoy the flavor of candy, but he cannot communicate it to others. This means to say that God can only be expressed through gestures -- the language of the dumb. In whatever way you express it, whether you do it through silence or a dance or a smile, it all amounts to saying something. But it is true that despite everything we do to say that which is, it remains unsaid and unsayable.
What Lao Tzu says in this context is much more profound than Wittgenstein's maxim. He says, "Truth cannot be said, and that which is said is not truth." This much can he said. Therefore those who know often become silent.