ENERGY BLOCKAGE REMOVAL
|2005 AND 2006|
THE MAN AND HIS PHILOSOPHY
Chapter 19: Rituals, Fire and Knowledge
QUESTIONER: KRISHNA SAYS A MAN OF WISDOM, WHO GIVES UP ATTACHMENT TO THE FRUIT OF ACTION, IS RELEASED FROM THE BONDAGE OF BIRTH AND DEATH AND BECOMES ONE WITH THE ULTIMATE. HOW IS IT THAT KRISHNA BELIEVES THAT LIFE IS A BONDAGE? YOU DON'T BELIEVE SO, YOU SAY THIS VERY LIFE IS FREEDOM, THIS VERY WORLD THE NIRVANA. PLEASE EXPLAIN.
Krishna says a wise man gives up attachment to the fruits of action and attains to freedom from the bondage of birth and death. The whole thing needs to be understood in depth.
Firstly, Krishna does not talk about one's release from action itself, he emphasizes release from attachment to the fruits of action. He does not ask you to give up action and become inactive; he only urges you not to do something with a motive, with an eye on the results of the action. There is a meaningful difference between action and the fruit of action. It is in the interest of action itself, to make action real and total, that all wise men urge you to give up your desire for its result. Action without attachment to its fruit is what forms the heart of Krishna's teaching.
I would like to go deeply into this important matter of action without attachment to its fruits, be cause it is really arduous. Ordinarily, if you give up your desire for the fruit of action, you will give up action itself. If someone tells you to do something, but not to expect any result from it, you will say, "It is sheer madness to suggest such a thing. Why should anyone do something if he does not want to achieve a result? Everyone works with a motive to achieve something, be it bread, or money, or fame. If there is no motive to work, why should one work at all?"
This phrase "freedom from attachment to the fruit of action" has put many interpreters of Krishna in difficulty. These interpreters were themselves at a loss to understand or accept Krishna's emphasis on renunciation of the fruits of action. So they found a clever way to circumvent the real meaning of Krishna's teaching and bring in "the fruit of action" by the back door. They said one who relinquishes attachment to the result of one's labor attains to moksha, liberation. So the fruit of action was back in the form of liberation
What is after all this "fruit of action"? We then say, "If you do this you will achieve that," or "If you do this you will not achieve that." This is what we mean by the term "fruit of action." It is the same if you say that one attains to liberation if he gives up his attachment to the fruit of action. In my view, however, these interpreters have been very unjust to Krishna. They have betrayed him.
When Krishna says "A wise man, who gives up attachment to the fruit of action is released from the bondage of birth and death," he is not providing an incentive to desireless action. An action with an incentive can never be desireless, because what is incentive but a desire for result? Krishna's "release from bondage" is a consequence which follows desireless action as its shadow.
Krishna does not say that those who want to be free from the bondage of birth should give up attachment to the fruit of their action. If he says so, he is providing a motive, he is contradicting himself. No, he only says that freedom or liberation is a con sequence of desireless action, not its motive. One who desires liberation or freedom can never come to it, because desiring is the barrier. So the question is: How to work without attachment to result?
To understand this thing rightly, it is first necessary to know that there are two kinds of action in our life. One of these is what we do today in order to achieve something tomorrow as a result. Such an action is future-oriented; future is leading you into action. Just as an animal is dragged by a rope tied to its neck, so our future is dragging us into action. I do something with an eye on the future when my action of today will yield some result for me. While action takes plaice in the present, its fruit lies in the future. And the future is unknown and uncertain. Future means that which is not in existence, which is only a hope, a dream, an expectation. In that hope we are being dragged like cattle by our future.
The Sanskrit word for animal is pashu, which is meaningful. Pashu is derived from pash which means bondage. Hence pashu is one who is a captive, a slave. In that sense we are all animals, because we are captives of the future, we live in future hopes. The reins of our life are in the hands of the future. Man always lives today in the hope of tomorrow. And likewise he will live tomorrow in the hope of the day after, because when tomorrow comes, it will come as today. So he never lives really, he goes on postponing living for the future.
And he will never live as long as he lives on hope for the future. His whole life will pass away unlived and unfulfilled. At the time of his death he will say with great remorse, "All my life I only desired to live, but I could not really live." And his greatest sorrow at the time of death will be that the future is no more, there is no hope of achieving result in the future. If there was a future and a hope beyond death, he would have no regrets. That is why a dying man wants to know if there is life after death. In reality he wants to know if there is any chance of reaping a harvest of hopes in the future, because it was only hopes that he had sown in the soil of his life.
He had wasted all his todays in the hope of a tomorrow that never came. And on the last day of his life he faces a cul-de-sac beyond which there is no tomorrow, and no hope of any fruits of action. That is the despair of a future-oriented life.
There is another kind of action which is not future-oriented, which is not done with a motive to achieve some future result, which is not based on any ideas and patterns. Such an action is natural and spontaneous; it arises from the depths of our being. It springs from what I am, not from what I want to become. You are passing down a street when you come across an umbrella dropped unaware by a person walking ahead of you. You pick up the umbrella and hand it to the owner without any fuss. You don't look around for a press reporter or a photographer to report to the public your great act of selfless service to a fellow traveler. You don't even expect a "thank you" from the person concerned, nor hope for any results in the future. This is what I call a natural and spontaneous act.
But if the owner of the umbrella goes his way without thanking you, and if you feel even slightly hurt thinking how ungrateful the man is, then your action is no more natural and spontaneous, it is not without motive. Maybe you were not aware of your expectation of a thank you when you picked up the umbrella and handed it to him, but it was very much there in your unconscious. An expectation even of a thank you destroys the spontaneity and purity of action; it is no more free of attachment to its fruits. Then it is a contaminated act, contaminated with the desire for result.
If action is total in itself, if it is self-fulfilling, a love's labor -- if it has no other expectation outside of it, then it is what Krishna and I call action without attachment to its fruits. This action is complete in itself like a circle it has no expectations for the future. It is an end unto itself. In that case you will feel thankful to the other person -- say the man with the umbrella -- for giving you an opportunity to act totally, to do something without desire for results.
A future-oriented mind is full of desires for achieving results in the future, and its action is always fragmentary and partial. But when there is no such desire for results, when the action is without any motive, such an action fills you with tremendous joy and bliss. In my vision action without attachment to its fruits is so complete, so total, that there is nothing beyond it. It is its own fruit, it is its own end result. It is fulfilling in the moment. Such an action is its own reward, there is nothing outside of it.
Jesus is passing through a village and he comes across a field full of lilies. He stops near it and says to his disciples, "Do you see these lilies?" The disciples look at the flowers, but they really do not look because looking through eyes alone is not enough, one has to look with his whole being. So Jesus says again, "Do you see these flowers?"
The disciples say to him, "What is there to see? They are lilies as other lilies are. They are nothing different." Jesus then tells them, "It seems you are not looking, look again. How beautiful they are! King Solomon in all his grandeur and glory is not that beautiful."
The disciples are surprised to hear their Master compare the lilies with King Solomon, who happened to be the wealthiest king of their times. There was, they thought, no point in comparing an ordinary flower with the wealthiest king of the world. So noticing their confusion and bewilderment, Jesus again says, "Look at them again and look with attention. They are ordinary flowers, but they are so beautiful that they outshine even King Solomon with all his grandeur and glory."
One of the disciples asks why they are so beautiful. Jesus says, "These lilies are blossoming here and now; they live and act in the moment. They don't do anything out of hope for the future, whereas Solomon lives for the future and in the future. And this tension between the present and the future makes everything tense, sick and ugly. These flowers have no idea of tomorrow; they are fulfilled in the moment. This small piece of land on which they are growing is enough for them, they don't crave a larger field. The wind that is passing through them, making them sway, is everything for them. The sun that is shedding light on them is more than everything they desire. These bees humming around them give them the joy of the world.
"They are contented in being what they are; just being is enough, and they don't want to become anything else. Not that another moment will not come for them. It will come, and it will come of its own accord. And when it comes they will welcome it and live it as totally as they are living this existing moment. Not that the lilies will not bear fruit, they will, but it will be another action complete in itself and it will arise from their existential moment. That is why they are so beautiful."
We believe everything happens according to our desires and expectations. We are like that crazy woman of a fable I love to tell again and again.
This crazy old woman had lived her whole life in a certain village, but one fine morning she left the village in anger, cursing the inhabitants with foul words. When the people enquired why she was leaving the village she said, "I go because of the torments that you have inflicted on me so long. But you will know what my going means to you from tomorrow. You will learn the lesson of your life."
The villagers were surprised at the threat the old woman made. They asked, "What is that lesson you are going to teach us?"
She said, "I am taking with me my cock at whose crowing the sun rose here every morning. Now the sun will rise in another village where I am going."
And the story says when the old woman reached another village and her cock crowed and the sun rose, she said to herself, "The idiots of that village must be weeping bitter tears, because the sun is now rising here, and they are in the dark forever."
The old woman's logic is flawless. Her cock crowed and the sun rose in the village where she had lived before. And when she went to another village and the sun rose with her cock's crow, there was no doubt left in her mind that sunrise depended on her cock's crow. But no cocks become victims of such illusions, only their masters. Cocks know they crow when the sun rises, but their masters think otherwise.
This fable reflects human mind.
The future comes on its own; it is already on the way. We cannot stop it from coming; we cannot prevent tomorrow from becoming today. Let man do his work and do it completely; that is enough. There is nothing beyond or outside of the act. We need not worry about tomorrow, which will come for itself.
The act must be total; this is the whole of Krishna's teaching. By total action he means, once you have done your thing you are finished with it; there is nothing more to be done about it. And if something remains to be done, even if you have to wait in expectancy for its result, then the act is not total. Your act is complete in itself when you don't look forward to some reward, some recognition or even appreciation.
For this reason Krishna says, "Leave the fruits of labor to God." By God he does not mean there is some accountant-cum-controller general sitting some where in the heavens who will take care of it on your behalf. Leaving it to God means: please do your work and leave it at that, leave it to existence.
Existence is like a mountain which echoes every sound that is uttered around it. It is like some one telling us, sitting here among the hills, to make a sound and leave it to the hills to echo it. We don't have to wait prayerfully for the echo, it will come on its own.
If one worries about what the echo is going to be, he will not be able to create a sound properly. And then it is possible the hills won't echo it. To produce an echo a proper sound, a sound of a particular volume is needed. This is how the desire for a result, the tension caused by desire and expectation does not allow you to do your work rightly.
People who are anxious for results often miss the moment of action itself, because the moment of action is now and here, while the result lies in some future. So those whose eyes are set on the future are bound to miss the present. If you are concerned with the result, if the result is what is important to you, then the action itself becomes meaningless. Then you don't love your work, you love only the result. Then you don't give your whole heart and mind to action -- you do it reluctantly, haphazardly.
If your attention is focused on the future -- and you are where your attention is -- then you can not be totally in the present. And action lies in the present. And that which is done inattentively cannot be deep and total; it cannot be blissful.
Krishna's vision of action without attachment to results is clear. He tells you to be totally in the present, in the moment. He tells you not to divide yourself between the present and the future. Not even a fraction of your attention should be passed on to the future. Then only you can act wholly and joyously, and then only will your action be total.
Desire for results is a distraction from action, so give up your attachment to results and be totally in action.
Leave future to the future, to existence, and be totally in what you are doing now and here. Then you will also be total in the future when that future comes. Otherwise your habit of being fragmentary will pursue you throughout. Be whole in the now and you will be whole in the future, you will always be whole. And this wholeness, not your desire, will bear fruit. So you can trustfully leave the matter of fruit in the hands of God or existence or whatsoever you like to call it.
I would like to explain it in a different way. Unless we make action our joy, unless we love what we do, unless we do something for the love of it, we cannot be free of our attachment to the future, to the result. And unless our action flows from our being, our blissfulness, like a stream flows from its source, we cannot be totally into it; we will always be pulled by the future.
Do you think a stream is flowing towards some future? Do you think a river is running to the sea? You are mistaken if you think so. It is another matter that the river reaches the ocean -- but it is certainly not flowing for the sake of the ocean. A river flows for the love of flowing, it is really its abundant energy that is flowing. And this energy, this force, this strength of a river comes from its source, its original source.
The Ganges flows with the strength of the Gangotri; it is the Gangotri flowing through the Ganges. Of course she reaches the sea, but it is just a by product, it is inconsequential. In her whole journey the Ganges has nothing to do with the ocean; she is not even aware that she is going to the ocean. It is her own abundant energy that makes her flow and dance and sing and celebrate.
The Ganges dances not only when she reaches the shore of the ocean, she dances on every shore, on every bank. She dances through hills and valleys, through green forests and dry deserts, through cities and villages, through happiness and misery, through human beings and animals. She dances and rejoices wherever she happens to be. And if she reaches the ocean it is just a consequence which she had neither desired nor expected. It is the culmination of her life's journey; it is existence's echo, its answer to her.
Life is a play of energy; like a river it moves with its own energy. Krishna says man should live so that his action stems from his own energy, from its innermost source. In my view there is only one difference between a householder and a sannyasin: a house holder lives for tomorrow, he is future-oriented; a sannyasin lives and flowers now and here. He derives his strength from his today. For him today, now is enough unto itself. And when a sannyasin's tomorrow comes, it will come in the form of his today, and he will live it the way he lives his today.
There is a significant episode In the life of Mohammed. Mohammed is a rare kind of sannyasin, and I would like to see many more sannyasins like him in the world.
Every day his lovers bring all kinds of gifts for him. Someone brings sweets, another brings clothes, and another money. Mohammed shares everything with his visitors and others, and if something is left over by the evening he asks his wife to distribute it among the needy.
By the evening Mohammed again becomes a pauper, a fakir. When sometimes his wife suggests that something should be saved for tomorrow, Mohammed says, "Tomorrow will come as today, and it will care for itself." If his wife still grumbles he says to her, "Do you think I am an atheist that I should care for tomorrow? Caring for tomorrow is what I call atheism. Worrying for tomorrow means I don't trust existence, who has provided everything for today. I trust existence will provide for our tomorrow too. Worrying about tomorrow is lack of trust in existence, in the cosmic energy. And after all, what carl we do? What worth is our own effort?"
Mohammed insists that his wife give away everything that is left over saying, "With trust in our hearts we will wait for tomorrow. I am a theist, and if I save for tomorrow God will say, 'Mohammed, don't you have even this much trust in me?'"
This is the way Mohammed lives all through his life. Then he becomes critically ill, and one evening his physicians declare that he is not going to survive the coming night. So his wife, thinking she should save something for any emergency that may arise that night, saves five dinars and hides the money under her pillow.
As midnight comes Mohammed becomes restless, tossing and turning in his bed. He is surprised at this strange kind of suffering. At last he uncovers his face and tells his wife, "It seems tonight Mohammed is no more a pauper; you seem to have saved something for this night."
His wife was surprised and asked, "How could you know it?"
Mohammed answers, "Looking at your face tonight I can see you are not calm and peaceful as you always are. For sure there is some money in the house. Those who are worried become acquisitive and acquisitive people become worried. It is a vicious circle, So take out what you have saved and distribute it so that I can die in peace. Remember, this is my last night. I don't want to spoil it and appear before God with a guilty conscience."
His wife hurriedly takes out the five dinars from under her pillow, and says to Mohammed, "But there is no one out there to receive this money, it is midnight."
Mohammed says, "Just call out and someone will come."
And someone, a beggar really appears at the door. Mohammed says to his wife, "Just see, if someone comes to take in the dead of night, someone else can come to give as well." With these words he drew the shawl over his face and sank into eternal sleep. This was his last act -- to cover his face with the shawl.
It seems the five dinars were blocking Mohammed's passage to eternity. They were too much load on the heart of a true sannyasin like him.
If each day, each moment, each act is complete, it will be followed by a complete tomorrow. Tomorrow always comes, but if you complete your today your tomorrow will be new and fresh, not old and stale. It will not be frustrating.
But if you leave your today incomplete with expectations for tomorrow, it will frustrate you and your expectations, and you will be miserable on top of it.
The future will never conform to your expectations, because the future is immense and your hopes and desires are petty, trivial. The immense, the infinite cannot be controlled and manipulated by the trivial. A drop cannot decide the course of a river the river goes its own way irrespective of what the drop wants.
But if a drop has its own desires and expectations if it wants to go upstream, or go right or left, then it will suffer and suffer immeasurably. This is man's misery; it is hopes and dreams that turn into his frustration and despair.
One who lives each moment totally knows no anxiety and no frustration; he is contented and blissful and fulfilled.
Let each of your actions, no matter whether you are peeling a potato or composing a poem, be complete in itself. Leave the result to God. If you do so, Krishna says, you will be released from the bondage that comes in the form of birth. Krishna does not say that birth is a bondage. He only says that one who is full of expectations, who is attached to the fruits of action is always in need of tomorrow, future, future life.
One who lives in desires, in hopes and expectations anxiously seeks a new birth after his death; he cannot escape rebirth. And for such a person birth becomes a bondage; it can never become his freedom. Because such a person is not really interested in life and living, he is interested in his expectations, in the results he expects from it. For him birth is just an opportunity for achieving some results.
And for such a person death is going to be very painful, because death will put an end to all the desires and demands he lived for. Naturally when he is born again he will find his birth to be his bondage. Birth is bondage for one who does not know the life that is freedom. In fact desiring is bondage, craving and attachment to result is bondage.
To live and know life totally is freedom. And for one who knows this life there is no birth and death. He is released from both birth and death. Krishna has said only the half truth; it is a half-truth to say that one is released from the fetters of birth. To complete it, I say he is released from death as well. He is released from both birth and death.
This does not mean that birth and death are bondage. In ignorance, for an ignorant person birth and death appear to be bondage; they bind him. For a wise man, one who knows the truth, birth and death cease to be, he is in freedom. In fact, bondage and freedom are states of mind. While the ignorant mind experiences bondage, the mind of the wise is free. Krishna does not condemn birth as such, but the way we are, birth feels like imprisonment to us.
We are a strange people, who turn even love into a bondage. I receive any number of wedding invitations from time to time. Someone's daughter is going to be married; another friend's son is being married. They invariably write in their invitation letters that their daughter or son is going to be "bound with the fetters of love." We turn even love, which is utter freedom, into shackles.
Love is freedom, so the right way to say it is that someone is going to be set free in love. But we say and do the opposite, we turn love into an imprisonment. Not that love is imprisonment, but we make it into one. The way we are, even death looks like captivity to us. The way we are, we turn life itself into a concentration camp.
On the other hand, he who lives in the present, in the moment, who lives without expectations and attachments and does his work without hope for reward or fear of punishment, whose action is like inaction and whose inaction is like action, who turns his whole life into a play -- he turns even bondage into freedom. For such a person, action is freedom, love is freedom, living is freedom, life is freedom, and even death is freedom. For him everything is freedom.
It all depends on the way we are; we carry both our slavery and freedom within us. If one begins to live without desire for the fruits of action, if he becomes responsible to himself and to existence, if he trusts life, then life for him will cease to be a bondage -- it will be a blessing, a benediction. Such a person attains to a life of freedom he is free while he is living in this world. Such a life is possible here and now. And it depends on us.
I have heard that a rebel sage -- a sage is always a rebel -- was thrown into prison for his irrepressible love of freedom. He was going around the country singing songs of rebellion. He was a Sufi sage and his captor was a Caliph who was both the religious and temporal head of Mohammedanism. The sage was put in shackles from his neck downward, but he continued to sing his songs of freedom.
One day the Caliph came to see him and enquired if he had any troubles. The sage asked, "What troubles? I am a royal guest, your guest; what troubles can I have? I am utterly happy. I live in a hut and you have put me in a palace. Thank you!"
The Caliph was amazed. He asked, "Are you joking?"
The Sufi said, "I say so because I have turned life itself into a joke."
Then the Caliph came with a down-to-earth question: "Are the chains on your hands and feet heavy and painful?"
The Sufi looked at his chains and said, "These chains are far away from me; there is a great distance between me and these chains. You may be under the illusion that you have imprisoned me, but you can only imprison my body, you cannot imprison my freedom. You cannot turn freedom into prison because I know how to turn prison into freedom."
It all depends on us, on how we see things. Seeing is foundational. The Sufi told the Caliph, "There is a great distance between me and the chains on me. You cannot imprison my freedom."
Mansoor, another Sufi rebel, was executed. And the manner of his execution was very cruel and brutal. One by one, his limbs, even his eyes were severed from his body. Hundreds of thousands of people had gathered to witness the event. As his hands and feet were being cut off, Mansoor was laughing and his laughter went on getting louder as his body shrunk in size. Someone from among the spectators shouted, "Are you crazy, Mansoor? Is this a time to laugh?"
Mansoor said, "I am really laughing at you, because you think you are killing me. You are badly mistaken, you are really killing someone else. Don't forget that Mansoor is laughing when you are killing him in such an inhuman manner. How could it be possible? Let alone killing him, you cannot even touch Mansoor. The one you are killing is not Mansoor. Mansoor is the one who is laughing."
These words of Mansoor infuriated his executioners, his enemies, and they said to him haughtily, "Now we want to see how you laugh!" and they cut his tongue. Then Mansoor's eyes began laughing. Someone among the spectators mocked at the executioners. "Even after you have removed his tongue his eyes are laughing." And the executioners gouged out his two eyes. But then Mansoor's face, every fiber of his being was laughing. Spectators told them, "You cannot stop his laugh; see, his whole being is laughing." They had spared nothing, not a single part of his body, and yet he was laughing.
Our life becomes what we are psychologically and spiritually, our death becomes what we are in our mind and spirit. If we are free, our birth, our life, our death, everything becomes free. And similarly if we are in bondage, then everything we do or don't do binds us. Then action binds, love binds, life binds, even death binds. Then even God binds.
In fact, we are our own makers.