Living in your own Light

Second Question



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The second question:

Question 2



Anand Santamo,

THE UPANISHADS are not commentaries on the Vedas, neither are they extensions of the Vedas. Of course, Hindus go on insisting that they are commentaries or extensions of the Vedas, but that is a falsehood perpetuated by the priesthood for their own reasons.

In fact, Upanishads are rebellions against the Vedas. Another name for the Upanishads is vedanta. The priests have been saying that vedanta means the culmination of the Vedas; the word can be interpreted that way, but in fact it means the END of the Vedas and the beginning of something absolutely new. Vedas are very ordinary compared to the Upanishads.

The Upanishads say that there are two kinds of knowledges: the lower and the higher. The lower knowledge is the realm of the priesthood, the scholars, the pundits, and the higher knowledge is the world of the Buddhas, of the awakened ones. The priest is a businessman; his whole effort is to exploit people in the name of religion. He oppresses people, dominates people, and of course he goes on saying, "It is for your own sake." He makes people afraid of hell and greedy for heavenly joys. This is a psychological trick. He knows people are afraid, he knows people are greedy, so these are the two things that he goes on manipulating: fear and greed. And this is done by all the priests of all the religions in all the traditions all over the world.

Upanishads are rebellions against the priesthood. Upanishads are not at all commentaries on the Vedas -- Vedas are very mundane, ordinary. Yes, once in a while you can find a sutra in the Vedas which is beautiful, but that is only one percent at the most. Ninety-nine percent is just rubbish, while the Upanishads are hundred percent pure gold -- they are statements of those who have known.

The Vedas are full of prayers asking for worldly things: better crops, better cows, more money, better health, fame, power, prestige. Not only that, the Vedas are continuously praying "Destroy the enemies", "Destroy those who oppose us." They are full of jealousy, anger, violence. They have nothing to do with the Upanishads.

Upanishads are not commentaries and they are not the culmination of the Vedas either. Upanishads are a totally new beginning. The very word UPANISHAD is of immense importance. The word UPANISHAD is derived from the Sanskrit root SHAD. SHAD has many meanings and all are significant. The first meaning is "to sit".

The Zen people say:

Sitting silently, doing nothing,

The spring comes and the grass grows by itself.

That is the meaning of SHAD: just sitting silently in deep meditation; not only sitting physically but sitting deep down psychologically too. You can sit physically in a yoga posture, but the mind goes on running, chasing; then it is not true sitting. Yes, physically you look still, but psychologically you are running in all the directions.

SHAD means sitting physically and psychologically both. because body and mind are not two things, not two separate entities. Body and mind is one reality. We should not use the phrase "body and mind"; we should make one word, "bodymind". The body is the outer shell of the mind and the mind is the inner part of the body. Unless both are in a sitting posture, not running anywhere -- into the past, into the future -- not running anywhere, just being in the present, now and here... that is the meaning of shad; it is the very meaning of meditation.

It also means "to settle". You are always in a chaos, in a state of turmoil, unsettled, always hesitating, confused, not knowing what to do, what not to do. There is no clarity inside -- so many clouds, so much smoke surrounds you. When all these clouds have disappeared, when all this chaos has disappeared, when there is no confusion at all, it is called settling.

When one is settled absolutely, clarity arises, a new perspective. One starts seeing what is the case. Eyes are no more covered by any smoke; for the first time you have eyes to see that which is.

The third meaning of shad is "to approach". You are confused, you are living in darkness, you don't know who you are, you don't know the meaning of your life, of your existence. You have to approach somebody who has arrived home, who has found the way. You have to approach a Buddha, an enlightened Master -- a Lao Tzu, a Zarathustra, a Jesus, a Mohammed. You have to approach somebody who is afire with God, aflame, who is radiating godliness, in whose presence you feel bathed, refreshed, in whose presence something starts falling from your heart -- the whole burden, anguish, anxiety -- and something starts welling up within you: a new joy, a new insight. Hence the meaning "to approach".

UPA-NI-SHAD is made of three words. SHAD is to sit, to settle, to approach -- to approach a Master, to sit by his side in a settled, silent state. And from the prefix UPA which means near, close, in tune with, in harmony, in communion... When you are settled, sitting silently by the side of the Master, doing nothing, running nowhere, then a harmony arises between you and the Master, a closeness, an intimacy, a nearness, a possibility of communion, the meeting of the heart with the heart, the meeting of the being with the being, a merging, a communion. And NI meaning down, surrendered, in a state of prayer, in a state of egolessness.

This is the whole meaning of the word UPANISHAD: sitting in a settled state, unconfused, clear, approaching the Master in egolessness, surrendered, in deep prayerfulness, openness, vulnerability, so that a communion becomes possible.

This is UPANISHAD -- what is happening right now between you and me. This sitting silently, in a deep, loving, prayerful mood, listening to me not through the intellect but through the heart, drinking, not only listening -- this communion is UPANISHAD! We are living UPANISHAD, and that is the only way to understand what Upanishads are. It has to become an alive experience for you.

The Vedas consist of all kinds of knowledge of those days. They are a kind of Encyclopedia Britannica, of course very primitive, at least ten thousand years old -- at least -- it is possible they are far more older. Scholars are not decided; there is great controversy about the time when Vedas were composed. The possibility is they were not composed at one period, they were composed at different periods. There are people who say they are at least ninety thousand years old; so from ninety thousand years to ten thousand years, a long stretch of time.

The Vedas are called SAMHITAS; SAMHITA means a compilation, encyclopedia. They contain all kinds of things, all kinds of information of those days. Upanishads are pure religiousness, nothing else. Each single word is a finger pointing to the moon. They are not compilations of all kinds of knowledge; their whole insistence is for immediate experience of that which is. The emphasis is on direct experience, not borrowed -- not from scriptures, not from others. It has to be your own truth; only then it liberates.

Jesus says: Truth liberates. Certainly truth liberates, but it has to be your own. If it is somebody else's, then rather than liberating it imprisons. Christians are imprisoned. Jesus is liberated. Hindus are imprisoned, Krishna is liberated. Buddhists are imprisoned Buddha is liberated. Liberation comes by experiencing the truth on your own; it has not to be just an accumulation of information, it has to be an inner transformation.

The emphasis of the Upanishads is for immediate and direct experience of godliness. And why borrow when it is possible to drink directly from the source? But information seems to be cheap. transformation seems to be arduous. Transformation means you will have to go through a great inner revolution; information requires no revolution in you, no radical change in you. Information simply is an addition: whatsoever you are you remain the same, but you become more and more knowledgeable.

Knowledgeability is not wisdom; knowledgeability is, on the contrary, a hindrance to wisdom. The more knowledgeable you become, the less is the possibility of attaining your own experience, because knowledge deceives -- it deceives others, it deceives you. It goes on giving you the sense as if you know, but that "as if" has not to be forgotten. That "as if" can easily be forgotten and one can be deceived.

Remember one very significant saying in the Upanishads: Those who are ignorant, they are bound to be lost in darkness; and those who are knowledgeable, they are bound to be lost in a far more and far bigger darkness than the ignorant ones.

The ignorant person is at least sincere: he knows that he does not know; at least this much truth is there. But the knowledgeable covers up his wounds, his ignorance, his black holes. He covers them by scriptures and he starts pretending that he knows. He is harming others, but that is secondary, far more significant is that he is harming himself He will be lost in a far deeper darkness.

That's why it is very difficult for pundits, scholars, the so-called learned people, to become enlightened; it is a miracle if it happens at all. Sinners are more easily ready to go through the transformation because they have nothing to lose -- except their chains. except their ignorance. But the knowledgeable person is afraid to lose his knowledge; that is his treasure. He clings to it, he protects it in every possible way. He finds rationalizations, excuses why the knowledge has to be protected. But, in fact, by protecting his knowledge he is simply protecting his ignorance. Hidden behind knowledge is his ignorance. The knowledge is just a mask which covers his original face. You cannot see his original face, he himself cannot see it. He is wearing a mask, and looking in the mirror he thinks, "This is my original face."

It is very difficult for the knowledgeable to drop his knowledge and to become ignorant again. Unless he gathers that much courage of becoming ignorant again, of becoming like a child again -- innocent, not knowing anything, what Dionysius calls AGNOSIA, moving into a state of not knowing...

It is certainly very arduous for the knowledgeable person -- his whole LIFE he has been accumulating knowledge. He has wasted his whole life, he has invested his whole life in knowledge. How can he drop it? So he protects it, he fights for it.

And this is the most amazing thing in the world: the prisoner is fighting so that you cannot take him out of the prison! And of course he is very clever and very cunning, so he can play with words and he can quote scriptures, but all his quotations are parrotlike; he has no understanding.

The Upanishads emphasize direct experiencing. The Vedas belong to the priests, to the scholars, to the brahmins, who are the oldest priests in the world. And of course, because they are the oldest they are the most cunning in the whole world. No other religion can defeat the Hindu priest, obviously: he has lived for so long, he has become very clever in exploiting, he has become very cunning in rationalizing, in protecting.

Upanishads are a totally different dimension. Of course they don't speak the language of rebellion -- they are very soft -- but the rebellion is there. Because Upanishads could not create the revolution Buddha had to speak in a harsher tone.

Buddha speaks the same truth as the Upanishads, but his way has changed. Seeing that Upanishads have failed to have any impact -- because the priests started managing : Upanishads also and they started saying that Upanishads are nothing but commentaries on the Vedas -- Buddha had to be more alert. He was not so soft as the Upanishads. Of course his message is the same, but two, three thousand years have passed since the Upanishads were composed and one thing Buddha had become absolutely clear: that you have to be very harsh, very hard. He has sharpened his sword.

Twenty-five centuries have again passed, the same period. Upanishads and Buddha are divided by twenty-five centuries; between me and Buddha again twenty-five centuries have passed. I have to sharpen my sword even more, because Buddha has also failed.

The ignorance of man is so deep and the priests are so cunning that one has to be really hard. If one has compassion one has to be cruel, only then this whole stupidity that exists in the name of religion can be destroyed and man can be freed. Man needs freedom from all cages, from all fetters.


Next: Chapter 2, Living in your own Light, Third Question


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