The existentialist cul-de-sac

Second Question




Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Yoga Yoga Sutras of Patanjali


The second question:

Question 2


Yes, a few things are missing in the West which were not missing for Buddha in India. Buddha also reached to a point where Sartre is: the existentialist despair, the anguish, the feeling that all is futile, that life is meaningless. But when Buddha reached this point, that everything is meaningless, there was an opening in India; it was not the end of the road. In fact, it was only the end of one road but another opened immediately; the closing of one door but the opening of another.

That is the difference between a culture which is spiritual and a culture which is materialist. A materialist says, 'This is all; there is nothing else to life.' A materialist says that all that you see, that is all that reality is. If that becomes meaningless, then there is no door open. A spiritualist says, 'This is not all, the visible is not all, the tangible is not all.' When this is finished, suddenly a new door opens and this is not the end. When it is finished, it is only a beginning to another dimension.

This is the only difference between a materialist conception of life and a spiritualist conception of life -- the difference of world views. Buddha was born into a spiritualist world view. He also realized the meaninglessness of all that we do, because death is there and death will finish everything, so what is the point of doing or not doing? Whether you do or don't do, death comes and finishes everything. Whether you love or not, old age comes and you become a ruin, a skeleton. Whether you live a poor life or a rich life, death annihilates both; it does not bother about who you are. You may have been a saint, you may have been a sinner -- for death it makes no difference. Death is absolutely communist; it treats everybody equally. The saint and the sinner both fall down into the dust -- dust unto dust. Buddha came to realize this, but the spiritual world view was there, the milieu was different.

I have told you the story of Buddha: He comes to see an old man; he realizes that youth is just a passing phase, a momentary phenomenon; a wave in the ocean rising and falling, nothing of permanence in it, nothing of the eternal in it; just like a dream, a bubble ready to burst any moment. Then he sees a dead man being carried. In the West the story would have stopped here: the old man, the dead man. But in the Indian story, after the dead man he sees a sannyasin -- that is the door. And then he asks his driver, 'Who is this man, and why is he in ochre robes? What has happened to him? What type of man is he?' The driver says, 'This man has also realized that life leads to death and he is in search of a life which is deathless.'

This was the milieu: life doesn't end with death. Buddha's story shows that after seeing death, when life feels meaningless, suddenly a new dimension arises, a new vision -- sannyas: the effort to penetrate into the deeper mystery of life, to penetrate deeper into the visible to reach the invisible, to penetrate matter so deeply that matter disappears and you come to the basic reality, the reality of spiritual energy, the Brahma. With Sartre, Camus, Heidegger, the story ends with the dead man. The sannyasi is missing, that is the missing link.

If you can understand me, that is what I am doing: creating so many sannyasis, sending them to the whole world, so that whenever there is a man who comes to understand, like Sartre, that life is meaningless, a sannyasi must be there to follow, to give a new vision that life doesn't end with death. A phase ends, but not life itself.

In fact, life starts only when death has come because death ends only your body, not your innermost being. The life of the body is only a part, and a very peripheral part, a superficial part.

In the West, materialism has become the world-view. Even so-called religious people in the West are all materialists. They may go to church, they may believe in Christianity, but that belief is not even skin deep. It is a social formality. One has to go to church on Sunday; it is the thing to do, the right thing to do to remain 'the right people' in the opinion of others. You are the right people doing the right things -- a social formality. But inside, everybody has become a materialist.

The materialist world-view says that with death everything ends. If this is true, then there is no possibility of any transformation. And if everything ends with death then there is no point in continuing to live. Then suicide is the right answer.

It is simply wonderful to see Sartre going on living. He should have committed suicide a long time ago because if he had really realized that life is meaningless, then what is the point? Either he has realized it or he is still hoping against it and has not realized it. What is the point of carrying the whole thing again and again every day, of getting up out of bed? If you have really felt that life is meaningless, how can you get out of bed the next morning, for what? To repeat the same old nonsense again? -- meaningless. Why should you breathe at all?

This is my understanding: if you have really realized that life is meaningless, breathing will stop immediately. What is the point? You will lose interest in breathing, you will not make any effort. But Sartre goes on living and living and doing millions of things. The meaninglessness has not really penetrated very deeply. It is a philosophy; not yet a life, not yet an intimate happening inside, just a philosophy. Otherwise, the East is open; why shouldn't Sartre come? The East says, 'Yes, life is meaningless, but a door then opens.' Then let him come to the East and try to find the door.

And it is not only that somebody has said it; for almost ten thousand years many have come to realize this point, and you cannot delude yourself about it. Buddha lived for forty years in ecstasy with not a single moment of misery. How can you pretend? How can you live a forty year life acting as if you are ecstatic? And what is the point of acting? And not only one Buddha -- thousands of Buddhas are born in the East, and they have lived the most blissful of lives with not a single ripple of misery arising.

What Patanjali is saying is not a philosophy, it is a realized fact, it is an experience. Sartre is not courageous enough, other wise there would be two alternatives: either commit suicide, be true to your philosophy, or seek a way to life, a new life. In both ways, you leave the old. That's why I insist that whenever a person comes to the point of suicide, only then does the door open. There there are two alternatives: suicide or self transformation.

Sartre is not courageous. He talks about courage, sincerity, authenticity, but is none of these. If you are authentic, then either commit suicide or seek a way out of the misery. If the misery is final and total, then why do you go on living? Then be true to your philosophy. It seems that this despair, anguish, meaninglessness, is also verbal, logical, but not existential.

It is my feeling that the existentialism of the West is not really existentialist; it is again a philosophy. To be existentialist means it must be a feeling, not a thinking. Sartre may be a great thinker -- he is, but he has not felt the thing, he has not lived it. If you live despair, you are bound to come to a point where something has to be done, radically done, immediately done. A transformation becomes urgent, becomes your only concern.

You have also asked what is missing. The world view, the spiritual world view is missing in the West. Otherwise, many Buddhas could be born. The season is ripe -- despair, meaninglessness is felt; it is in the air. The society has achieved affluence and found it lacking. Money is there, power is there, and man feels deep down totally impotent. The situation is ripe, but the world view is lacking.

Go to the West and give the message. Spread the word, the world-view of spirituality, so that those who have come to the end of their travels in this life should not feel that it is the end  -- a new door opens. Life is eternal. Many times you will feel that everything has ended and suddenly something again starts. A world view of spirituality is lacking. Once that world-view is there, many will start moving into it.

The trouble is that many so called religious teachers from the East are moving in the West, and they are more materialist than you. They are there simply for the money. They cannot give you the world view of spirituality. They are salesmen. They have found the market because the season is ripe.

People are hankering for something, not knowing what. People are finished with this so-called life, frustrated, ready to take a jump into something unknown, unlived yet. The market is ready for people to exploit, and there are many merchants from the East. They may be called Maharishis, that makes no difference. Many merchants, salesmen, are moving in the West. They are just there for the money.

With a real Master, you have to come to him, you have to seek him, you have to find him, you have to make efforts. A real Master cannot go to the West because just by going the whole point will be lost; the West has to come to him. And it will be easier for Western people to come to the East to learn the inner discipline, the awakening, and then go to the West and spread the new milieu. It will be easier for Western people to learn in the East, to be here in the atmosphere of a spiritual Master, and then carry back the message -- because you will not be materialist if you go and spread the news in the West. You will not be materialist because you have been enough, you are finished with it.

When poor people from the East go to the West, of course they start accumulating money. That's simple. The East is poor and now the East is not hankering for spirituality, it is hankering for more money, more material gadgets, more engineering and atomic science. Even if a Buddha were to be born, nobody will talk about him in the East, but a small toy sputnik is released by India and the whole country goes mad and happy. What stupidity! A small atomic explosion, and India feels very happy and proud because she has become the fifth atomic power.

The East is poor, and the East is now thinking in terms of matter. A poor mind always thinks about matter and all that matter can give. The East is not in search of spirituality. The West is rich and now the West is ready to seek.

But whenever there is a Master, one has to seek him. Through the very seeking many things happen. If I come to you, you will miss me. If I come and knock at your door, you will think I have come to seek something from you; that will become the closing of your heart. No, I will not come to your house and knock. I will wait for you to come and knock, and not only knock, I will also force you to wait -- because that is the only way that your heart can be opened.

I don't know what Patanjali would have said to the West. How can I know? Patanjali is Patanjali; I am not Patanjali. But this is what I would like to say: the West has come to a point where either suicide or a spiritual revolution will happen. These are the only two alternatives. I'm not saying this only about individual people, individual persons. This is so for the West as a whole. Either the West will commit suicide through atomic war for which it is preparing, or there will be a spiritual awakening. And there is not very much time left. Within this century, in just twenty five years more, the West will either commit suicide or the West will know the greatest spiritual awakening that has ever happened in the history of man. Much is at stake.

People come to me and they say, 'You go on giving sannyas without considering whether the person is worthy or not.' I tell them that time is short, and I don't bother about it. If I give sannyas to fifty thousand people and only fifty prove to be true, that will be enough.

The West needs sannyasis. The story there has gone to the point where the dead man is being carried. Now a sannyasi has to appear in the West. And the sannyasi should be Western, not Eastern, because the Eastern sannyasi will become a victim, sooner or later, of all that you can give to him. He will start selling; he will become a salesman because he comes from the starved East. Money is his god.

The sannyasi should be Western: one who comes from the roots of the West, who realizes the meaninglessness of life, who realizes the frustration of the whole effort towards materialism, who realizes the futility of all Marxism, communism, and all materialist philosophies. This frustration is in the blood of Western man now, in the very bones.

That's why my whole interest is to make as many Western people sannyasis as possible and send them back home. Many Sartres are waiting there. They have seen the death. They are waiting to see the ochre robe, and with the ochre robe, the ecstasy that follows.


Next: Chapter 6, The existentialist cul-de-sac: Third Question


Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Yoga Yoga Sutras of Patanjali



Chapter 6




Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Yoga Yoga Sutras of Patanjali




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