FROM SILENCE TO SILENCE
In the scriptures, it is said: “From silence we come and to silence we return.”
We come from silence and end up in silence. Has it been a journey, or have we not travelled at all? That remains the question. If it has been a journey coming from silence and returning to silence, then who experiences this journey? Who is the experiencer of this journey if there has been a journey?
We do know that the Spirit of man, or the Universal Spirit, is omnipresent. It has nowhere to go and nowhere from which to come – it just is. So, what journeys – what takes this trip or goes on this trip from silence to silence? What are the mechanics that produce the experience of this journying? Is it an experience or an illusion, and, even if it is an illusion, how is illusion experienced? Because all illusion or delusion is just but a counterpart of reality. In the process of evolution, we experience that which is seemingly real yet unreal. What remains is reality. So where do you come from and to where are you going?
I gave a talk in San Francisco where I said that you come from nowhere and you are going nowhere. “Nowhere” is “now here.” Look at the similarity in the spelling: NOWHERE – NOW HERE. You are now here, and that is the important factor to recognise in practical life.
Nevertheless, the mind has a habit of inquiring. The mind is conditioned through the process of evolution of going through various stages whereby it gains these experiences, but who gains the experiences? The mind gains experiences. Having gained these experiences by the mind, of the mind, and from the mind, there is nothing outside the mind. The human mind is as vast as the entire universe, and if you individualise it, it only means that you are viewing one bubble in a vast pond. Yet, how can the bubble be separated from the pond? Man has the capacity within himself to experience the entirety of the universe with the mind, yet the Spirit remains aloof, for the Spirit cannot experience this journey. Therefore, we say, “From silence, we proceed, and we return to silence.” It means that the mind that has been manifested as the fragrance from a flower goes through this journey, be it illusion or not, and then finds itself at total at-one-ment with the Spirit. That is the journey. So, in reality, there has been no journey.
What are the reasons why the mind should assume that this has been a journey? What are the grounds that the mind thinks that “I have travelled from here to there” when the Spirit, the reality behind everything, does not travel or go anywhere – it just is?
THE MIND FINDS ITSELF TRAVELLING
From the beginning of this cycle of the universe, for the universe operates in cycles, there is a creation, or rather a manifestation. And the powers in the manifestation are known as the three gunas in Sanskrit: Tamas, Rajas and Sattva. Tamas, the forces of darkness, and Sattva, the forces of light, and Rajas, the activating force that interacts between light and darkness; for wherever there is darkness, there has to be light; wherever there is light, there has to be darkness.
In our concept of linear time and space, the entire mind, or the universe, is nothing else but propulsion that seemingly goes forth. In the third dimension that we exist in, we find this movement proceeding from A to B, while there is no space and no time beyond the mind. And Blake has said it well: “Eternity in an hour.” It is just a moment, instead. Blake was a bit wrong in his calculations.
In the process of the mind, the mind feels itself travelling. Why does it feel itself travelling, or why does it feel mixed up in the process of evolution? The various atomic and molecular structures that compose matter have always to be in motion for it to exist; when it becomes motionless, it ceases to exist in its grosser form. And as it exists in the grosser form, enmeshed in this motion of contraction and expansion, it thinks it is moving. If you watch a wave in the ocean, you think the wave is coming from a distance and going to the shore. That is not so. It is an illusion that is created, for the wave does not move. There is a rhythm in the ocean created by currents where each wave is bobbing just up and down where it is and the next bobbing up and down, and the next, and the next, giving us the illusion that the one wave has moved from that end to the shore. Likewise, in this flux of the universe, in this motion, this perpetual motion that perpetuates itself, within itself, by itself, because its nature is motion. We are trying to find that which is silent behind all the motion, for that which is motion cannot be silent, and that which is silent could have no motion. Very simple.
Because the mind can act and interact within its own components, it becomes more and more complex, and it is these very complexities that add to the motion of the mind. The mind creates the experience, and the mind itself is the experiencer, for the eternal Spirit within man is beyond all experience of motion or anything else. It just is. The sun does not create the heat, but heat rises from the sun, it is the nature of the sun to give off heat, and that is how that eternal energy, first in its very silent form, manifests itself as mind.
IN THE PROCESS OF MANIFESTATION, THE DIVINE FORCE GROSSIFIES ITSELF
When the mind assumes this motion, it also finds a direction, which is what we term as will. We can call it Divine will. There was will, and therefore all this you observe has come about. It is very true. From the theological point of view, it is very accurate; from the scientific point of view, it is also very true, and from the philosophical point. But from the mystical point of view, the truth assumes a different factor, and the factor is that in the manifestation which one could call will, the will, itself, becomes the mind. So here, there is no differentiation between mind and will. It is the activity of the mind, directed activity, which is self-created, called will. That is how this will, with the mind, tries to solve the question.
In the process of manifestation, this divine force has to grossify itself, and it grossify itself in the form of matter or grosser energies. The subtlest level of that silent energy assumes the form of activated energy, and the more the energy is activated, the grosser and grosser it becomes. That is why science today cannot reach or cannot explain the entire structure of atoms. They talk of subatomic matter and sub-sub atomic matter, and it would be challenging for them to prove in a test tube what that energy is, for the test tube itself is made of the energy in which they are trying to trap the energy. In scientific terms, one cannot prove that energy because what can be proven is only that which has motion.
Yet motion is of such substance that at one moment when you view the motion, immediately the motion changes, and you do not have the true picture of motion at its subtlest level. That is why we from laboratory experiments know so little about the mind. Yet a whole vast range exists of mind which is unexplored. Over 90% of that which is called the mind remains unexplored. As technology develops, instruments or certain inventions will probe a bit deeper into the mind. The 10% can reach 15, 20, 30. The highest percentage of the mind that has been cognised in ancient times, like the Atlantean Age, was just up to 30%, but we, here, we want to know here and now the entirety of the mind. And the mind is so involved in itself cannot know itself.
When you are involved in a problem, say an emotional problem, you cannot think straight because you are involved. But if you separate yourself from the mind’s machinations, you can view the mind from a different perspective altogether. That is why we have counsellors that when you are in a rut, you go to a counsellor who can view the subject or the problem objectively because he is not emotionally involved. People often have a business deal, and they tell you, “Look, let me sleep over this.” It only means that at this moment, I am so involved in this problem with you that let me, let the mind rest, let my mind rest. Tomorrow I shall look at the problem or the proposition with a rested mind, objectively. In the process, what travels from point to point is nothing else but the mind.
WHERE CAN THE MIND TRAVEL TO?
To where can the mind travel? That is another question. We have said that the Spirit within man, or the Universal Spirit that pervades the universe, is omnipresent. If the Manifestor is omnipresent, then its manifestation too must be omnipresent. So, where is there a place for the mind to go? It is just a shifting of energies in the mind. Because of contraction and expansion going on all the time in the universe, polarities are created. You lift the weight from this side of the scale and add some weight to the other side of the scale. The pendulum is forever swinging from one end to the other, which is happening in the universe. That is what is known as contraction and expansion. Here, too, the mind goes from nowhere to nowhere. We are just shifting energies.
WHERE DO YOU COME FROM, AND WHERE ARE YOU GOING
Through spiritual practices, we are also working with energies. We are also activating energies but activating grosser energies and systematically leading those grosser energies to reach the subtler and subtler energies in the mind. I have said before in many talks that the mind has the conscious level, various strata of the subconscious level, and the Superconscious level. All this falls under manifestation, and all manifestation is relative. It is relative to the Absolute.
Within the confines of this whole scheme of things, relativity also has its gradations. The conscious mind is gross, the subconscious mind and the various levels of the subconscious mind, which psychiatrists and psychologists only go to about 10, 15 percent into, is of a finer matter, and then beyond that is the Superconscious mind. So, we start with the conscious mind and lead it gently through the subconscious layers to the Superconscious and experience the finest, subtlest relative. And when we experience the finest and the subtlest relative, we can very safely say that we have the universe in the palm of our hands.
There lies the movement: from grossness to its subtler levels, and yet it is standing still. All the movement in the ocean you see is surface movement. Truthfully speaking, the ocean is not moving. The Pacific Ocean is not moving east, and neither is it going west. It is there. If we think of movement and that which lies between the area of silence to silence, nothing has moved. Silence remains the same, and the superimposition remains the same. So, traveller, where do you come from and to where are you going?
In reality, man moves nowhere, and the apparent movement is only the mind experiencing itself at its subtler and subtler levels. And that is the most incredible illusion: by thinking that I move, I sit still.
THE SUBSTANCE OF ALL FORMS ARE NONDIFFERENT
For the mind to experience the subtler states, various forms of evolution are necessary. This evolution from a very gross matter to the present stage of man has taken millions of years to proceed through multiple forms. Yet, the substance of all those forms is nondifferent. The substance that makes up the vegetable kingdom is the same substance that makes up the animal kingdom. What makes up the animal kingdom is the same substance that makes up the human kingdom. In essence, the substance remains the same. What is this body? It is nothing but food. This very same substance, assuming different shapes and forms, are given names. This table and I are none different from each other. We are of the same substance. Perhaps this table is at a grosser level and having developed the power of thought, and I am at a subtler level. That is the only difference. This table cannot think, the animal cannot think, but I can think, so it is just a matter of degree, and it is not a matter of differences in substance.
This table’s molecular, atomic structure is the same that structures me, and it is accentuated because man has now reached a particular evolutionary stage where he starts thinking. The great illusion comes because man thinks that he thinks while he is not thinking. The less man thinks, the more he experiences because this very process of thought can be the wall between the changing unreality and the unchanging reality if wrongly used by man. That does not mean that we destroy the mind.
THE MIND HAS TO BE CONSCIOUSLY DIRECTED
The mind is a great instrument to be used. Like a sharp knife given to a criminal, that person will harm by it. But the same sharp instrument in the hands of a surgeon could help someone by performing an operation. The mind has to be consciously directed. The entire universe’s power, force, is contained in the mind, but it has to be directed.
If the mind tries to direct itself, then so many things can happen, including misdirection, because the instrument is trying to work upon itself. We are going deep down to the Superconscious level by meditation and spiritual practices, which is the closest to the Manifestor. We use those subtler energies to remodify the thought patterns of the conscious mind. The conscious mind is a conditioned mind, and we have to use a subtler force to repattern or overcome the conditionings of the conscious mind.
Most of our troubles are of the subconscious level, which in turn are pushed forth to the conscious level from the subconscious level. But there is a way where we enliven the connection between the left hemisphere of the brain, which controls thinking, analysis, verbalising, symbolising and the right hemisphere of the brain, which is the part that is connected to the intuitive ability of man. These two are not apart from each other. They are connected. We are enlivening this connection through meditation and spiritual practices, first in the brain, in the organ, and then to its subtler layer, which we call the mind, the subtler self. The entirety of the mind has been grossified into the brain’s organ to give us the individuality that we have. This brain, three and one-half pounds in weight, contain 12 billion cells, and we use only one-millionth of it.
By activating the right hemisphere, we are energising the left hemisphere. There is greater clarity of thought, greater concentration, greater one-pointedness, and all these qualities plus others are those that make one’s life successful. Because here, not only the energy of the left hemisphere is used, but by spiritual practices, we are also drawing upon the intuitive level. If we combine the analytical with the intuitional, how more forceful our actions can become, how more truthful our thinking can become, leading us to right thought and right action.
After practice over a period of time, the mind gradually starts functioning spontaneously just to do what is right. Then thinking is not necessary; you just do. You will come to a fork in the road, and you would just, very spontaneously, take the right road, and yet your analytical mind will not tell you why or how you did it. But there is that intuitional level which fulfils your every need, not your every want. Because there, the left hemisphere comes into play: “I want a million pounds, I want a 50-room mansion, I want this, and I want that.” That kind of analysis leads to ego-boosting.
MAN IS ESSENTIALLY DIVINE
This is all within the framework of traveling from silence to silence. This is the motion that is created. When the left hemisphere dominates us, then we are enmeshed in our ego selves, and the ego only knows this: me and mine. If the right hemisphere empowers it, the intuitional level, which has its roots in the core of one’s personality, which is called the Heart, then “me” and “mine” disappears, and it is “thee” and “thine.” The core of the human personality, though outwardly seeming individualised, also exists in its universalised form.
What happens to man is this, that he can exist as an individual and yet at the same time be universal. For he has now realised, through his meditational and spiritual practices, how vast he is. Man is Divine, and he recognises and experiences this Divinity.
If anybody tells you this comes overnight, forget it. It takes time. You have got this big load you are carrying, the load of samskaras, all the experiences on this journey that has been gathering up, gathering up, gathering up, forming this bundle that we are carrying. That is why, when Christianity says man is born in sin, there is great truth in that. We have brought with us all those samskaras which form our tendencies in life. Essentially man is divine, but he comes with this burden. The outer man or the mental man is nothing else but a bundle of impressions of all those experiences that the mind has attracted to itself, and that which it has attracted to itself, it experiences. That is the journey, and that journey is the experience from silence to silence. That is talking from the left hemisphere; we are trying to analyse this. But still, beyond analysis, we can experience this.
BY SPIRITUAL PRACTICES, WE ARE CLEARING THE PATH
It is unnecessary to experience all samskaras in the subconscious mind, for there is a subtle nervous system connected directly from the ten percent conscious mind to the Superconscious mind. This falls within the scope of what we know as the chakric system. When we do our spiritual practices, we are activating these vortexes of energies. By activating these vortexes of energies, we are clearing the path whereby the direct line from the conscious to the subconscious is reached, bypassing all that is contained in the subconscious.
By doing this, and drawing upon the superconscious energies, the subtlest energies within the relative sphere of life, it floods the dirt away in the subconscious.
Modern psychology tries to probe and find causes. They have interpretations. They find the causes to things. We do not. We do not see the causes why this has been caused. Why analyse the causes? There is a way whereby those energies can be brought forth to clear away the dirt and the muck.
If there is a lot of dirt lying around in this room, are you going to analyse the dirt? Or are you going to bring the broom? Which is better? What is the sense of saying this is sawdust, and the wind blew in this, and this is this, and that is that, and the baby made a wee there? Bring the broom and sweep it out; that is what we say. The direct line and man has this.
That is the journey we talk of, for man is eternally immortal. He is eternal, and only that mind comes in between. Yet the mind can be so beautified that everything in life can be enjoyed. Like this great poetess of India, Mira, she wrote a beautiful poem, she wrote a lovely poem, and she says: “Oh Lord, I do not want salvation. I do not want to merge away in Thee. But let me be born again and again and enjoy the joy of worshipping at Thy feet.” How beautiful! What great beauty we could add to this mind! The process of life will eventually lead man to this oneness, this Unity Consciousness, Brahman Consciousness. It is inevitable. Everyone has to reach there. Every atom since the time of the Big Bang will have to dissipate its energy. Every atom that has been propelled through so-called space will have to dissipate its energy, and this very dissipation is returning back to silence.
OUR VERY NATURE IS JOY
Even in duality, there is so much fun. It takes two to tango. There is so much fun in life. Life is so full of joy. Look how joyfully Beth has prepared my dinner tonight for me. Life is so filled with joy all the time, and what greater joy can there be than the experience of love? To love and to be loved. That is the activation of what we call God. Then God does not remain an abstract quality but a living reality. That is what we want. The lover must love the beloved, truly love, and not an assumed love which could be created by dependence.
In this play of life, we are all children, are we not, and we are enjoying this merry-go-round. And those whose minds are not attuned to that which is within will feel dizzy on this merry-go-round; but those whose minds that are tuned within will find the joy on the merry-go-round of life. That is how joy enters us. From the outside, we attract it. We attract joy, and we give off joy because our very nature is joy, and all that around us is joy. Sometimes a little thing happens, sometimes someone slights you or something, and you feel despondent; in a few days, you forget it. “All that suffering of despondency, was it really worth it?” you think to yourself. Therefore, the Gita says that be so established in yourself that no insult can deflate you or no praise will inflate you. You are not living at the ends of the polarities of the mind, but you are centred in the centre. Then nothing can affect you; then, you experience the joy. That is the journey. Although in this whole flux of life, this contraction-expansion, the element of joy is still there, for it is this very element of the Manifestor contained within all manifestation, is bliss and joy.
This flower that gives a fragrance is giving off particles of itself. It is not just the fragrance that you smell. When you inhale the flower’s fragrance, you are taking within yourself particles of this flower. The Manifestor exists in all its manifestation, for, to use theological terms, the Creator and the creation are but one. One cannot exist without the other. Illusion starts when we emphasise the wrong thing. We do not put emphasis on reality, which is the Manifestor, but we put undue focus on manifestation. That is the illusion.
I HAVE COME FROM NOWHERE, AND I AM GOING NOWHERE
When these people talk of Maya, “Oh, everything is just a dream,” the dream, too, is real, while you are dreaming. Why call it unreal? You are dreaming; you are activating subtler energies. A dream is totally real. So many factors, through various experiences in this life or in other lifetimes, come together to create a story in the mind, and that is real. Every thought you think is real. Every word you say is real. But what we have to be concerned about is how is it going to rebound on us? That should be our concern. In simple words, it means that you will reap what you sow. Do you see the deeper meanings behind these simple sayings?
If you throw a ball against an electronic wall, it will bounce back so hard that you will not even have a chance to shift away. It will knock you out. But throw a ball against a cardboard wall; it will bounce back slowly. So, in all our actions and all our thoughts, may they be so directed that it does not bounce back upon us negatively but positively.
Watch the child playing. This is a favourite hobby of mine. Whenever I pass a park and have some little time, I stop and sit down on the bench and watch the children play. It is so beautiful. There is even beauty in the child’s crying. There is even beauty in the child’s laughter. For all is beauty. For without the child experiencing the pain of falling and bruising its knee, how is it ever going to experience the value of that which is opposite of it? Here we are meshed in all these opposites, and that is the journey, and when the realisation dawns that I have come from nowhere and I am going nowhere, now here, then we begin to live—life – and not the living dead. We live.
LIFE IS JOY
Life is joy. Everything is joy, joy, and nothing but joy. Our meditational and spiritual practices are designed very scientifically, very mystically, and with all the other elements that are involved is to bring about this joy. Bringing out this joy, we can do it painlessly. Why have painful childbirth? You can have a painless one, too. Why extract a tooth painfully? Get an injection. You do not feel the pain of the tooth being extracted. Meditation is the injection. Then life can become smooth and painless. Or, if this flux, this contraction-expansion, is so vast and uncontrollable by our minds, we still can stand apart and view this flux, so we are not affected. And this we do in our daily lives.
If someone else’s child falls in the street or has an accident, we will feel sorry, but we will not feel so pained. But if your child falls and has an accident, you will feel hurt and so, so pained within yourself. Because, with the one which is not yours, you think it is not yours. You are not apart from someone else’s child. Every child is your child. But we do not know that; that comes at a very subtler level because we are not involved. We feel sorry: “Oh, the poor child fell.” But if your child falls and gets hurt, you feel so pained.
That is the exact principle in life: not to be involved. And if you are not involved, you are non-attached and yet perform every duty in life that requires performing. Then whatever comes, it just comes. Then you say, “So what!” “Oh, I lost $50,000 on the stock exchange today. So, what! Tomorrow I will make up $200,000.” If you have that attitude, you are going to pick that 200,000 on the stock exchange because your mind is setting forth a positive force, and whatever you think, you are.
KNOWING THAT I AM DIVINE, HOW CAN I BE UNHAPPY
If you think I am so unhappy, you are going to be unhappy, by all means. You are creating it yourself. But looking at the positive side of life and knowing that I am Divine, how can I be unhappy? How can I be unhappy? This tragedy on the stage, this play of life, all this is happening; I am looking at it; I am observing it; I am not involved in it. Then how can I be unhappy? I am the observer of this play around me, and even if I have to act in the play, I will know that I am not King Lear, I am still Gururaj. How can I be unhappy?
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang US 1979 – 10