|The Jain path
Freedom From Dependency
Most people go through their lives not knowing what
they want, yet sure that they did not get it. Because of that, they are
sour and bitter. They go on grumbling even though they really do not know
what they want. It appears a bit silly, but think of it. When you fall
into a depressed frame of mind and someone asks you, "Why are you
unhappy?" do you find the right cause of your unhappiness? Or do you start
blaming something in general?
Let us probe this further. What is the real cause of
unhappiness? Are outside things really deluding or tempting in themselves?
Do they have the innate capacity to harass us or allure us? Or is it our
addiction to them which makes us see them in that way?
It is our addiction which makes us blame outside things
which, if we look closely, are themselves only things. We want to go
beyond the blaming, beyond the addiction, beyond all these limiting
conditions. That is our quest. We will not be satisfied with superficial
answers or with a temporary boost. Genuine seekers do not spend their time
in search of a mere "high." They know that like soda water when it is
shaken, a temporary "high" will fall back down to the same state.
That is why we want to see both--the real and the
unreal, our essence and our addictions. The genuine teachers and teachings
take us into the depth of reality and help us understand the nature of
addiction. They encourage us to ask ourselves, "What is addiction? How
have we built addictions around us? In what ways have we identified with
them? Without them, does our life seem empty, miserable, and helpless?"
In order to see clearly, we meditate on the fourth
facet, ekatva. Ekatva means One, and you have so many in your mind.
Because of bahutva, or multiplicity, you don't see that One. Around that
One everything is circling.
We can think of it in this way: We have a circumference
and a center. The center is one, but on the circumference there are many.
The circumference is so big and obvious that we don't have the insight to
see the subtle center. That is why we are always moving on the
circumference, outside of ourselves.
That is why we look for some scapegoat to blame. We
like to pin our unhappiness on some-body, saying, "If you were not in my
life, my life would be heaven." Or we say it the other way around. "If you
were in my life, my life would be heaven."
The circumference plays such an elusive role that one
loses sight of the center. One must see that the whole circumference is
made for the center, that if there were no center, a circumference could
See yourself for a while, looking from the center to
the circumference. Until now your mind has been engaged twenty- four hours
a day with bahutva, the circumference. Always somebody or something has
been there engaging your mind-- money, power, possessions, a friend, or a
foe. That is why you are never completely with yourself. Even when you do
sit down to be alone with yourself, even in that moment, something is
there to distract you.
You act as though there were nothing in the center, as
though everything were on the outside.
The tangible world does exist. It is the material half
of our existence. In it we have trust. The problem arises when, instead of
accepting this material world for what it is, we become obsessed by it.
Then we neglect the invisible world. If something is not visible or
tangible, then we don't have trust in it.
But we must open our minds and see that the visible
depends upon the invisible. If there were no invisible, the visible would
have no meaning. If there were no intangible, the tangible would have no
feeling. The tangible cannot be felt without the intangible. The tangible
is dear to us precisely because there is the intangible at the center of
Take, for example, a woman who wins first prize in a
beauty contest. In all nations she becomes recognized as a universal
beauty. Seeing her beauty, many people will want to marry her. They do not
think of the soul inside this beautiful body. But one day her soul will
leave its house. Her body will lie lifeless, and then even those who do
not believe in soul will not be willing to marry her. Everything is still
there--the eyes, ears, limbs, and shapes.
Why is it that now this tangible, visible body no
longer has any attraction? Something surely has gone from it! The breath
has gone. But who was operating the breath? Who was inhaling and exhaling?
Who was in the center of that breath? Do you know? I tell you that is what
you have to come to know. When you meditate on this, you will discover the
intangible which makes this tangible body living, pleasant, acceptable,
When you see something in you beyond the physical
aspect, your life will become very meaningful. You will begin to
appreciate your human beingness. You will change your attitude toward
other people. You will not see only the physical body.
You will stop relating to people as objects. Your
relationship will be that of the subject. Now you see someone only as an
object and you do not feel oneness with the individual. When you see
someone as the subject, you see the "I," the one who is.
When you experience "I am," you are living in your
consciousness. There is no duality. As soon as you say "I want," desire
begins. From desire comes the object. Now you are separating from the
world. Out of the two, "I" and "want," a third thing comes, "the world";
"I want the world." This trinity is born from duality. The world out there
is born every time you separate from the subject, your center, "I." As
soon as you are out of your consciousness, duality is there, the world is
Ekatva means to realize ultimately "I am," not "I
want." It means to break the concept of duality and be oneself. When you
bring the whole world into "being," life merges into one flow. Then there
is no manifestation of otherness, only oneness.
If you keep that essence in awareness, then seeing what
you see does not create duality. You are not seeing someone or something
through the eyes of wanting or judging. Rather, you see as if you were
seeing in a mirror. The person whom you used to see as an object is now
the subject, the same as you. You see the reflection equal to you, no
less, no more. The reflection is not different from what you are.
Once there was an artist. He decided to put pieces of
mirror all around his room, on the ceiling and on the walls, so that they
would reflect the one light which was in his room. And it was his joy to
sit and watch the reflected lights. By chance his dog entered the room.
Not being able to understand that the dogs he saw in the mirrors were his
own reflections, he started barking at what he viewed as rivals. He saw so
many other dogs, and he could not stop barking. Eventually he became
exhausted and collapsed. The poor dog saw the many reflections only as
rivals biting and jumping at him. In this way, he created duality.
See the world as a reflection of your own desires.
Remove your desires and only see. Do not bark. When you see yourself as
the seer, the world merges in your awareness.
This is one insight. It is difficult to explain, but
when you feel it, it makes you equal to all. Then it does not make any
difference to you if you are with a rich man or a poor man, a prince or a
pauper. It does not create any fluctuation in your mind. Why not? Because
you now have a new perception. What you see in you is in him. His "I" and
your "I" are the same in quality, pure Atma.
If you see in terms of "less" and "more," then you will
see a common man as less and a friend with a high post as more. When you
see another as object instead of subject, he who has more things is seen
as a rich object and he who has fewer things is seen as a poor object.
This kind of relationship, which we notice so often, is an objective
relationship. And that kind of relationship is maintained only so long as
certain things are there. When those things are no longer there, the
relationship is over. Why? Because the dependency in the relationship is
on outside things.
This reflection brings a new way of thinking. Starting
with yourself, say, "Ekatva, I am One. I came as One into the world.
Traveling alone and floating from the universe, I entered some sweet
mother's womb and there I rested to grow.
In this way you go beyond and see how you came alone.
At that time nobody knew you. You were a stranger. You did not have any
address, acquaintance, or letter of recommendation. You had nothing.
All of us came alone in a small vehicle, in a
microscopic form--a sperm and egg. At that time we had no equipment. Now
we have so much equipment with which to see, express, speak, and move. But
at the outset of this life, we entered in a small body, our vehicle.
At that time who was there? For whom were you crying?
Now you are crying for so many things, but then you were crying for
one--to take a deep breath! That was your first need. You cried, you
breathed, and all the body processes started working. The first thing you
could feel was the heart beating.
Go on working with the thought, "I came as One," and
you will know how to stand on your own feet. Tears handicap your vision
when you cry, "I can't live without you! I can't live without this or
that!" It is all mental addiction . You have lived without them ! You came
alone! At that time you wanted only breath and some-thing to sustain the
body. So you can live without them now !
The idea behind this meditation is to make an
individual strong to stand on his or her own. In this way, the person will
not lean on anyone or become a burden to someone. The point is not to
separate you from the world, but to make you a healthy person. When you
build your inner muscles, your mind becomes sound and vigorous. You
realize you can be alone.
From the moment you came into the world, you started
unfolding that invisible through the visible.
And the unfolding brings out so many qualities. Take
the seed of any plant. It is so insignificant-looking. When it unfolds,
sprouts up, and brings out a beautiful flower, then we realize that beauty
was hidden in that tiny yellow, white, or black seed. At the beginning, we
do not pay much attention to the seed, but when the seed uncovers its
whole beauty, we notice it. In the same way, this invisible soul has had
from beginningless time all this beauty. Now it is unfolding through human
According to the seed, the form is created. The quality
of the seed determines the result, its blossoming. That is why, if we have
the seed of a rose, then a rose flower comes. If we plant the seed of a
mango, the seed will open its heart and turn into a delicious mango. When
an apple seed grows, apples come. But you don't see the apples and mangoes
when you first look at those small black seeds. Yet in your awareness, you
can know that they hold unique qualities.
So meditate on that tiny beginning of yours. Go back
and see, "I came alone, there was joy, no fear, no addiction.
You will be surprised to know that the more addictions
you have, the sooner old age comes. The fewer addictions, the more
youthful you remain. People wither because of their tensions and worries.
Watch yourself when you are on a vacation. You feel
fresh. Why? You don't have any demands, any pulls. Demands and addictions
corrode you. You think you are getting something by continuing with them,
but really you are decaying inside.
That is why wise people don't have addictions to so
many things. Once there was a wise man who lived in a big house. But his
house was empty. One evening, some thieves came. "What to do?" the wise
Thieves don't have any sense, and when they find out
that I don't have anything for them to take, they will be angry. They may
try to harm me."
So he opened his only cupboard, which was empty, and
hid himself inside. The thieves came and looked about. They found nothing.
When they noticed the cup-board, they opened it. They saw the old man
"Why are you hiding yourself from us?" they asked.
"What to answer?" he thought. Then he said, "I am
hiding from you because of shame."
"What is your shame?" they asked him.
"Sirs," he answered, "there is nothing in this house to
present to you. I am ashamed to have nothing to offer to you guests. So I
thought I must hide."
The thieves laughed. "Yes," they said, "you are a wise
man because you don't have anything."
"Yes," answered the wise man, "if you have some-thing,
you have worry. If you don't have anything, what worry can you have?"
By collecting things, you are collecting worries. You
even worry whether or not people notice what you have. If guests come and
do not appreciate your painting, you think they don't have any sense of
appreciation. If thieves come and take it away, you also fret.
The initiate is given this reflection so that he will
not become unhappy upon seeing so many worldly things. As a monk, he goes
from house to house for his alms. At that time, he should not become upset
that he has nothing in his monastery except four walls and an empty room.
So he meditates on that oneness.
"I came into the world with nothing, only my good
vibrations. Because of them, I have been unfolding my human life.
Identifying with so many material things, I am getting tired, exhausted,
withered. I don't want to carry this burden on my head any more.
At the same time, the initiate meditates on the exit he
or she is going to make from this world. "I came alone and I will go
It is the truth. It may make you feel sad. Always when
some created illusion drops away, there is sadness unless you see the
truth behind it. Then you become happy. The heart may cry for what it has
lost, but the soul laughs for what it has gained!
So we enter and exit alone. Then why do we live with
the world? What is this whole human family? Why do we have friends? If we
come and go alone, why do we need this whole thing?
There is a meaning. We are here to communicate, to
build a bridge with the world, but not to bind ourselves to the world.
This is the difference. A bridge allows us to go from one end to another.
Bondage ties us to one end and does not allow us to go anywhere. Knowing
this, we use the process of bridging rather than that of binding.
However, our mental habit is inclined toward addiction
and binding. We always want to bind things to ourselves. Once George
Bernard Shaw was sitting by a window overlooking his garden. His cousin
went into the garden, plucked many flowers, and put them in a vase. Shaw
asked him, "Why did you do this?"
His cousin answered, "To decorate our drawing room."
So Shaw asked, "If somebody came and cut off your head,
how would you feel? Why did you not go into the garden and enjoy the
blossoming plants? I sit and watch from here. To decorate the house, you
had to take them out from their own place. Why do you not go to them
It is an example of the psychology of the mind. When
you have attachment, you don't want to see life grow in its own place. You
want to keep it, put it in a packet, affix your label to it, and call it
your own. You want to say, "It belongs to me." If you do this, what
happens? The life soon withers.
When this insight opens and blossoms, you become very
comfortable with the world. You are friends with all. You say, "Let us be
as bridges and communicate with one another."
You no longer care to be a cause for bondage to
anybody. You want to be free, not tied down. If you identify with a person
in a binding way, taking his or her problem on your head, then you are not
giving space. You will become irritated when the person does not do as you
desire. You will complain, "He is not doing as I wish. I have told him
twenty times and still he does not listen." You become unhappy, angry.
Why? Because you identify.
If you are building a bridge with your friend, you say
what you feel, and if your friend does not agree, at least you can say,
"We agree that we don't agree." There also you have agreement. There is no
reason to be angry. It's a very subtle feeling--to untie yourself from all
We have not come into the world to fight, to quarrel,
to be sad, and in the evening to go to bed miserable. We are not here in
the world for that. There are many who are engaged in such vicious,
circular behavior. Let them do it. Those whose minds are obsessed with
worldly things--power, position, money--cannot do otherwise! And you can
notice what happens to them when their power and worldly attachments go;
their life sinks very low. You cannot imagine their bitterness, their
sorrow. But it is the nature of those things to go. People become sad
because they allow their whole mind and energy to be consumed by those
things which ultimately have to go.
But you, who want to grow and help others grow, know
that this life is to build communication. You tell yourself, "Let me
commune with as many people as possible." And your relationships are
genuine because you are not creating duality.
A person may be short or tall, thin or fat, rich or
poor, of one race or another, educated or not; you relate to the subject
who is in the center of that person. You don't consider anyone as higher
or lower. You do not limit yourself by that kind of fluctuation. So any
fluctuation which is causing anxiety goes away and from that moment you
have a very fine connection with the world. It becomes easy to move and
communicate with all, because you are with people on a level of sharing.
When one meditates on aloneness, there is the
possibility of fear creeping in. "I am alone? Is there nobody in the whole
world whom I can call mine?" you might think. That thought may frighten
you and make you feel gloomy.
When this occurs, you must see yourself in a new way.
See yourself as an individual, as a life force. In your meditation see the
dynamic, potent reality of your Self. As you focus on this energy, you
will realize that you are eternal, the creator of your future. In the
ancient teachings, we call it the simhavruti, the quality of lionhood .
The lion in the forest does not move in big herds. In a
zoo you may see several lions together, but not in a wild forest. There
each lion has his own abode, his own cave, his own kingdom. A lion wants
to be alone. At the same time, he does not have any fear in his heart. He
knows he is the king. That lionhood must emerge in meditation. That
fearlessness must be experienced.
Once a lioness was killed and her small cub went
wandering in the wilderness. A shepherd found him and took him home. He
reared the cub with his own goats and sheep. The cub grew up with them,
growing bigger and stronger each day. One day all the sheep and goats,
along with this lion cub, were grazing when a big lion came to the top of
the mountain above their meadow and roared with all his might. Hearing the
roar, all the sheep, goats, and the little cub started running away. The
lion who roared saw them all run and thought, "Yes, they all must run, but
why is that lion cub running away also?"
He ran after the cub and grabbed him. The cub became
frightened and began bleating. So the lion drew him near the water and
said, "Why do you bleat? You are a lion! Look at your reflection in the
water and roar." But the little lion did not understand or believe his
words. He wandered off to graze.
"What are you doing, nibbling blades of grass?" asked
the great lion. "This is not your food." By this time the lion cub was
"Why are you trembling?" he asked the baby cub. "I am
like you. You are like me. You have forgotten your nature."
This mind is so weak that once it has accepted a
certain form, it is difficult to convince it of another approach. It
remains in the same frame, the same compartment. Our mind limits itself in
this way. The lion cub was not ready to leave his limited way of seeing.
But the big lion would not rest until he had convinced him.
"No, you must understand," he told him. "You are like
He made him look into the water of the pond. He stood
beside him and said, "See your reflection. See my reflection. See your
yellow color, your mane, your tail. See how curly it is. See your sharp
teeth just like mine. See your lion face." And the cub started seeing and
"Yes, I have a big lion face. It is true. I'm not
covered with fleece and I don't have horns on my head. Yes, but this
animal roars and I say 'Baa, baa.' It's a big difference! "
"Well, young lion, bring out your voice! Your heart is
very large. I can hear its throbs, so bring your roaring voice out!"
The cub tried a little bit. He opened his throat, but
because of habit, his voice box was contracted and he could not roar.
Slowly he made an effort and at last the real roar came out.
"Now," the great lion told him, "walk alone. Don't move
in the herd. You do not belong there. They are all sheep and goats. You
are a lion. How can you live with sheep and goats? Now go there and make a
So the cub went back and roared so fiercely that they
all ran away, sheep, goats, shepherd, and all. He realized his nature. He
was transformed. "I am able to stand alone. At the same time, I can live
without feelings of helplessness and fear."
So ekatva is a transforming reflection. It gives a new
ideal, a new perception to your mind. Slowly this becomes a symbol and you
start seeing yourself in another dimension.
"I come alone and I go alone, but I am not alone.
Knowing that oneness in me, I see it in each
individual. So all are like me and I am like all."
You have respect for all, as you have respect for
yourself. You are neither superior nor inferior. Both scales have gone.
You are one with all. When you treat everyone as equal, each person feels
comfortable with you. If you treat someone as inferior, he may feel
resentful or unsure of himself. If you treat someone as superior, he may
feel uncomfortable also. He won't know how to be with you. He is no
greater than you, but by your making him great, he may try to hide his
smallness and live up to your false image of him.
We are on an eternal journey. From here, do we have an
itinerary? Most cannot say, but we do know that all must go somewhere.
That's the law of the universe.
Where do we go? We go to those places, to those people,
to those conditions which we are preparing here and now with our love, our
connection, our bridge building between each other. What we are creating
now will be waiting to greet us then. It may sound a little paradoxical.
But when you go deeper and deeper through meditation into your timeless
infinite being, you touch your life's quest. That becomes your invisible
path. That becomes your dream come true. That becomes your eternal journey
Each person is an individual traveler. At the same
time, he is in company. We have both, individuality and company. In a
subtle sense it is oneness; in a general sense it is allness. In one way,
it is the invisible world; in another way, it is this visible world. The
two are deeply interconnected, working together on a personal level as
well as on a universal plane to bring a soul to its ultimate fruition.
From now on, you can start working with the world on a
universal level. Notice if you are seeing a person as an object or as a
subject. It is a daily practice. Start from today. Ask yourself, "How do I
see that person?" First create a mental picture. Do you see him or her
exactly equal to you? When you do, then tell yourself, "What I don't like,
that person may not like, so I must not do that. And what I want, that
person may want. So let me share and give space, live and let live."
When you experience oneness, you have won your goal in
life. When you don't see that oneness, then you are constantly dependent,
always crying on somebody's shoulder. What happens when you don't find a
shoulder to cry on? You are miserable. But if you build inner strength and
understanding, then, even in old age, you will have friends around you.
They will feel neither burdened nor bound by you; they will enjoy
communication with you, subject to subject.
This unique meditation helps us have a glimpse of the
truth. It allows us to see that the flame in our being is the same flame
everywhere. The outer shapes may be different--the chimneys, the bulbs,
the shades--but inside, the living light is the same. You become aware of
everyone as flame, including yourself. Only on this level is a bridge of
communication built. There is no other way to build such a bridge with
mankind. So long as you see forms, there is no bridge.
In realizing that everyone has this quality of light,
you discover that it is inborn, not given or applied. It is man's
intrinsic nature, his birthright as a human being. That is why this
teaching has great relevance to our lives. It removes the old habit of the
mind which likes to create duality and it brings our lionhood to the
surface. When the mind starts to separate, saying, "Somebody else has this
quality of lion, not I," remember ekatva to bring you back to yourself.
Experience the oneness. See the lion quality in yourself as well as in
Now you are ready to know both, your innate
potentiality and your present condition, your center and your
circumference. By meditating on the multiple and the solitary, you can
remove the manyness, peel away the layers of mind, and bring out that
exultant feeling of all-oneness.
SEED-THOUGHTS FOR MEDITATION
Ekatva, I am One. I came alone into the world. I will
depart alone. I know how to stand alone, without addiction or prop apart
from the herd, fearless and strong in my Self
I have only to go into the depth of aloneness to know
the meaning of all-oneness.
Everyone has come into the world to know this oneness,
to build a bridge of communication with one another.
Let me be aware of everyone as flame, as living light,
including myself. Let me realize the magnificence and potency of soul and