The Royal song of Saraha
Talks on the Royal Song of Saraha
1 Aiming At the One
THE ROYAL SONG OF SARAHA
I bow down to noble Manjusri, I bow down to him who has Conquered the finite. As calm water lashed by wind Turns into waves and rollers, So the king thinks of Saraha In many ways, although one man.
To a fool who squints, One lamp is as two, Where seen and seer are not two, Ah! the mind works On the thingness of them both.
Though the house lamps Have been lit, The blind live on in the dark. Though spontaneity Is all-encompassing and close, To the deluded it remains Always far away.
Though there may be many rivers, They are one in the sea. Though there may be many lies, One truth will conquer all. When one sun appears, The dark, however deep, Will vanish. Gautama the Buddha is the greatest master who has ever walked on the earth. Christ is a great master, so is Krishna, so is Mahavira, so is Mohammed, and many more, but Buddha still remains the greatest master. Not that his achievement of enlightenment is greater than anybody else’s enlightenment is neither less nor more he has attained to the same quality of consciousness as Mahavira, as Christ, as Zarathustra, as Lao Tzu. There is no question of any enlightened man being more enlightened than anybody else. But as far as his being a master is concerned Buddha is incomparable, because through him thousands of people have attained to enlightenment.
It has never happened with any other master. His line has been the most fruitful line, his family has been the most creative family up to now. He is like a big tree with so many branches and each branch has been fruitful, each branch is loaded with many fruits. Mahavira remained a local phenomenon. Krishna fell into the hands of scholars and was lost. Christ was completely destroyed by the priests. Much could have happened, but it didn’t happen; Buddha has been tremendously fortunate in this. Not that the priests have not tried, not that the scholars have not tried; they have done all that they can do but somehow Buddha’s teaching was devised in such a way that it could not be destroyed. It is still alive. Even after twenty-five centuries a few flowers come on his tree, it still blooms. Spring comes, and still it releases fragrance, it still bears fruit. Saraha is also a fruit of the same tree. Saraha was born about two centuries after Buddha; he was in the direct line of a different branch. One branch moves from Mahakashyapa to Bodhidharma, and Zen is born and it is still full of flowers, that branch.
Another branch moves from Buddha to his son, Rahul Bhadra, and from Rahul Bhadra to Sri Kirti, and from Sri Kirti to Saraha, and from Saraha to Nagarjuna that is the Tantra branch. It is still bearing fruit in Tibet. Tantra converted Tibet, and Saraha is the founder of Tantra just as Bodhidharma is the founder of Zen. Bodhidharma conquered China, Korea, Japan; Saraha conquered Tibet. These songs of Saraha are of great beauty. They are the very foundation of Tantra. You will first have to understand the Tantra attitude towards life, the Tantra vision of life. The most basic thing about Tantra is this and very radical, revolutionary, rebellious the basic vision is that the world is not divided into the lower and the higher, but that the world is one piece. The higher and the lower are holding hands. The higher includes the lower, and the lower includes the higher. The higher is hidden in the lower so the lower has not to be denied, has not to be condemned, has not to be destroyed or killed. The lower has to be transformed. The lower has to be allowed to move upwards...and the lower becomes the higher. There is no unbridgeable gap between the devil and God: the devil is carrying God deep down in his heart. Once that heart starts functioning, the devil becomes God.
That is the reason why the very root of the word devil means the same as divine. The word devil comes from divine; it is the divine not yet evolved, that’s all. Not that the devil is against the divine, not that the devil is trying to destroy the divine in fact the devil is trying to find the divine. The devil is on the way towards the divine; it is not the enemy, it is the seed. The divine is the tree fully in bloom, and the devil is the seed but the tree is hidden in the seed. And the seed is not against the tree. In fact the tree cannot exist if the seed is not there. And the tree is not against the seed they are in deep friendship, they are together. Poison and nectar are two phases of the same energy, so are life and death and so is everything: day and night, love and hate, sex and superconsciousness.
Tantra says: Never condemn anything the attitude of condemnation is the stupid attitude. By condemning something you are denying yourself the possibility that would have become available to you if you had evolved the lower. Don’t condemn the mud, because the lotus is hidden in the mud; use the mud to produce the lotus. Of course the mud is not the lotus yet, but it can be. And the creative person, the religious person, will help the mud to release its lotus so that the lotus can be freed from the mud. Saraha is the founder of the Tantra vision. It is of tremendous import and particularly for the present moment in human history, because a new man is striving to be born, a new consciousness is knocking on the doors. And the future is going to be that of Tantra, because now, dual attitudes can no longer hold man’s mind. They have tried for centuries and they have crippled man and they have made man guilty. And they have not made man free, they have made man a prisoner. And they have not made man happy either, they have made man very miserable. They have condemned everything: from food to sex they have condemned everything, from relationship to friendship they have condemned all.
Love is condemned, body is condemned, mind is condemned. They have not left a single inch for you to stand on; they have taken away all and man is hanging, just hanging. This state of man cannot be tolerated anymore. Tantra can give you a new perspective hence I have chosen Saraha. Saraha is one of my most-loved persons, it is my old love affair. You may not even have heard the name of Saraha, but Saraha is one of the great benefactors of humanity. If I were to count on my fingers ten benefactors of humanity Saraha would be one of those ten. If I were to count five, then too I would not be able to drop Saraha. Before we enter into these songs of Saraha, a few things about Saraha’s life. Saraha was born in Vidarbha .Vidarbha is part of Maharashtra, very close to Poona. He was born when King Mahapala was the ruler. He was the son of a very learned brahmin who was in the court of King Mahapala; the father was in the court, so the young man was also in the court. He had four brothers; they were all great scholars, and he was the youngest and the most intelligent of them all. His fame was spreading all over the country by and by, and the king was almost enchanted by his superb intelligence. The four brothers were also very great scholars, but nothing compared with Saraha.
As they became mature, the four got married. The king was willing to give his own daughter to Saraha but Saraha wanted to renounce all, Saraha wanted to become a sannyasin. The king was hurt; he tried to persuade Saraha he was so beautiful and he was so intelligent and he was such a handsome young man. His fame was spreading all over the country and because of him Mahapala’s court was becoming famous. The king was very worried and he didn’t want this young man to become a sannyasin. He wanted to protect him, he wanted to give him all comfort possible; he was ready to do anything for him. But Saraha persisted and the permission had to be given: he became a sannyasin, he became a disciple of Sri Kirti.
Sri Kirti is in the direct line of Buddha Gautam Buddha, then his son Rahul Bhadra, and then comes Sri Kirti. There are just two masters between Saraha and Buddha; he is not very far away from Buddha. The tree must have been still very, very green; the vibe must have been still very, very alive. Buddha had just left; the climate must have been full of his fragrance.
The king was shocked, because Saraha was a brahmin. If he wanted to become a sannyasin he should have become a Hindu sannyasin, but he chose a Buddhist master. Saraha’s family was also very worried; in fact they all became enemies: this was not right. And then things became even worse we will come to know about it. Saraha’s original name was Rahul, the name given by his father. We will come to know how he became Saraha that is a beautiful story. When he went to Sri Kirti, the first thing Sri Kirti told him was, ”Forget all your Vedas and all your learning and all that nonsense.” It was difficult for Saraha, but he was ready to stake anything. Something in the presence of Sri Kirti had attracted him; Sri Kirti was a great magnet. He dropped all his learning, he became unlearned again.
This is one of the greatest renunciations. It is easy to renounce wealth, it is easy to renounce a great kingdom, but to renounce knowledge is the most difficult thing in the world. In the first place, how to renounce it? it is there inside you. You can escape from your kingdom, you can go to the Himalayas, you can distribute your wealth how can you renounce your knowledge? And then it is too painful to become ignorant again. It is the greatest austerity there is, to become ignorant again, to become again innocent like a child. But Saraha was ready. Years passed, and by and by he erased all that he had known. He became a great meditator. Just the same as he had started to become very famous as a great scholar, now his fame started spreading as a great meditator. People started coming from far and away just to have a glimpse of this young man who had become so innocent, like a fresh leaf, or like dewdrops on the grass in the morning. One day, while Saraha was meditating, suddenly he saw a vision a vision that there was a woman in the marketplace who was going to be his real teacher. Sri Kirti had just put him on the way, but the real teaching was to come from a woman.
Now this too has to be understood: it is only Tantra that has never been male chauvinistic. In fact to go into Tantra you will need the cooperation of a wise woman; without a wise woman you will not be able to enter into the complex world of Tantra. He saw a vision: a woman there in the marketplace. So first, a woman; second, in the marketplace. Tantra thrives in the marketplace, in the thick of life. It is not an attitude of negation, it is utter positivity.
Saraha stood up. Sri Kirti asked him, ”Where are you going?” And he said, ”You have shown me the path. You took my learning away. You have done half the work you have cleaned my slate. Now I am ready to do the other half.” With the blessings of Sri Kirti, who was laughing, he went away. He went to the marketplace he was surprised, he really found the woman that he had seen in the vision. The woman was making an arrow; she was an arrowsmith woman.
The third thing to be remembered about Tantra: it says the more cultured, the more civilized a person, the less is the possibility of his tantric transformation. The less civilized, the more primitive, the more alive a person is. The more you become civilized, the more you become plastic you become artificial, you become too cultivated, you lose your roots in the earth. You are afraid of the muddy world. You start living away from the world, you start posing as though you are not of the world.
Tantra says: To find the real person you will have to go to the roots. So Tantra says: Those who are still uncivilized, uneducated, uncultured, they are more alive, they have more vitality. And that’s the observation of the modern psychologists too. A negro is more vital than the American that is the fear of the American. The American is very afraid of the negro. The fear is that the American has become very plastic, and the negro is still vital, still down-to-earth. The conflict between the blacks and the whites in America is not really the conflict between black and white, it is the conflict between the plastic and the real. And the American, the white man, is very afraid: basically he is afraid that, if the negro is allowed, he will lose his woman, the white American will lose his woman. The negro is more vital, sexually more vital, more alive; his energy is still wild. And that is one of the greatest fears of civilized people: to lose their women. They know that if more vital persons are available, they will not be able to hold their women.
Tantra says: In the world of those who are still primitive, there is a possibility of starting to grow. You have grown in a wrong direction; they have not grown yet they can still choose a right direction, they have more potential. And they don’t have anything to undo, they can proceed directly. An arrowsmith woman is a low-caste woman, and for Saraha a learned brahmin, a famous brahmin, who had belonged to the court of the king going to an arrowsmith woman is symbolic. The learned has to go to the vital, the plastic has to go to the real. He saw this woman a young woman, very alive, radiant with life cutting an arrow-shaft, looking neither to the right nor to the left but wholly absorbed in making the arrow. He immediately felt something extraordinary in her presence, something that he had never come across. Even ri Kirti, his master, paled before the presence of this woman. Something so fresh and something from the very source.... Sri Kirti was a great philosopher. Yes, he had told Saraha to drop all learning, but still he was a learned man. He had told Saraha to drop all Vedas and scriptures, but he had his own scriptures and his own Vedas. Even though he was anti-philosopical, his anti-philosophy was a sort of philosophy. Now here is a woman who is neither philosophical nor anti-philosophical, who simply does not know what philosophy is, who is simply blissfully unaware of the world of philosophy, of the world of thought. She is a woman of action and she is utterly absorbed in her action.
Saraha watched carefully: the arrow ready, the woman closing one eye and opening the other assumed the posture of aiming at an invisible target. Saraha came still closer.... Now there was no target, she was simply posing. She had closed one eye, her other eye was open, and she was aiming at some unknown target invisible, it was not there. Saraha started feeling some message. This posture was symbolic, he felt, but still it was very dim and dark. He could feel something there, but he could not figure it out, what it was. So he asked the woman whether she was a professional arrowsmith, and the woman laughed loudly, a wild laugh, and said, ”You stupid brahmin! You have left the Vedas, but now you are worshipping Buddha’s sayings, the Dhammapada. So what is the point? You have changed your books, you have changed your philosophy, but you remain all the time the same stupid man.” Saraha was shocked. Nobody had talked to him that way; only
an uncultured woman can talk that way. And the way she laughed was so uncivilized, so primitive but still, something was very much alive. And he was feeling pulled: she was a great magnet and he was nothing but a piece of iron.
Then she said, ”You think you are a Buddhist?” He must have been in the robe of the Buddhist monk, the yellow robe. She laughed again and she said, ”Buddha’s meaning can only be known through actions, not through words and not through books. Is not enough enough for you? Are you not yet fed up with all this? Do not waste any more time in that futile search. Come and follow me!” And something happened, something like a communion. He has never felt like that before. In that moment the spiritual significance of what she was doing dawned upon Saraha. Neither looking to the left, nor looking to the right, he had seen her just looking in the middle.
For the first time he understood what Buddha means by being in the middle: avoid the excess. First he was a philosopher, now he has become an anti-philosopher from one extreme to another. First he was worshipping one thing, now he is worshipping just the opposite but the worship continues. You can move from the left to the right, from the right to the left, but that is not going to help. You will be like a pendulum moving from the left to the right, from the right to the left.
And have you observed? when the pendulum is going to the right it is gaining momentum to go to the left; when it is going to the left it is again gaining momentum to go to the right. And the clock continues...and the world continues. To be in the middle means the pendulum just hangs there in the middle, neither to the right nor to the left. Then the clock stops, then the world stops. Then there is no more time...then the state of no-time.... He heard it said so many times by Sri Kirti; he had read about it, he had pondered, contemplated over it; he had argued with others about it, that to be in the middle is the right thing. For the first time he had seen it in an action: the woman was not looking to the right and not looking to the left she was just looking in the middle, focused in the middle.
The middle is the point from where the transcendence happens. Think about it, contemplate on it, watch it in life. A man is running after money, is mad, money-mad; money is the only god.... One woman was asking another, ”Why have you left your boyfriend? What happened? I had been thinking that you were engaged and that you were going to be married what happened?”
The woman replied, ”Our religions are different and that’s why we have broken up.” The questioner was puzzled because she knew that both were Catholics, so she asked, ”What do you mean by saying that your religions are different?”
The woman said, ”I worship money, and he is broke.”
There are people whose only god is money. One day or other the god fails it is bound to fail. Money cannot be the god. It was your illusion you were projecting. One day or other you come to the point where you can see that there is no god in it, that there is nothing in it, that you have been wasting your life. Then you turn against it, then you take an opposite attitude: you become against money. Then you leave money, you don’t touch money. You are continuously obsessed now; now you are against money, but the obsession remains. You have moved from the left to the right, but your center of consciousness is still the money. You can change from one desire to another. You were much too worldly...one day you can become other-worldly. You remain the same, the disease persists. Buddha says: To be worldly is to be worldy and to be other-worldly is also to be worldly; to be for money is to be mad after money, to be against money is to be mad after money; to seek power is foolish, to escape is also foolish.
Just to be in the middle is what wisdom is all about.
For the first time Saraha saw it actually there he had not even seen it in Sri Kirti. It was really there. And the woman was true; she said, ”You can only learn through action and she was so utterly absorbed that she was not even looking at Saraha who was standing there watching her. She was so utterly absorbed, she was so totally in the action that is again a Buddhist message: To be total in action is to be free of action. Karma is created because you are not totally in it. If you are totally in it, it leaves no trace. Do anything totally and it is finished, and you will not carry a psychological memory of it. Do anything incompletely and it hangs with you, it goes on it is a hangover. And the mind wants to continue and do it and complete it. Mind has a great temptation to complete things. Complete anything and the mind is gone. If you continue doing things totally, one day you suddenly find there is no mind. Mind is the accumulated past of all incomplete actions. You wanted to love a woman and you didn’t love; now the woman is dead. You wanted to go to your father and you wanted to be forgiven for all that you had been doing, for all that you had been doing in such a way that he was feeling hurt now he is dead. Now the hangover will remain, now the ghost.... Now you are helpless what to do? Whom to go to? And how to ask forgiveness? You wanted to be kind to a friend but you could not be because you became closed. Now the friend is no more, and it hurts. You start feeling a guilt, you repent. Things go on like this.
Do any action totally and you are free of it and you don’t look back. And the real man never looks back because there is nothing to see. He has no hangovers. He simply goes ahead. His eyes are clear of the past, his vision is not clouded. In that clarity one comes to know what reality is. You are so worried with all your incomplete actions you are like a junkyard: one thing is incomplete here, another thing is incomplete there, nothing is complete. Have you watched it? Have you ever completed anything? or is everything just incomplete? And you go on pushing aside one thing and you start another thing, and before it is complete you start another. You become more and more burdened. This is what karma is; karma means incomplete action.
Be total...and you will be free.
The woman was totally absorbed. That’s why she was looking so luminous, she was looking so beautiful. She was an ordinary woman, but the beauty was not of this earth. The beauty came because of total absorption. The beauty came because she was not an extremist. The beauty came because she was in the middle, balanced. Out of balance comes grace. For the first time Saraha encountered a woman who was not just physically beautiful, who was spiritually beautiful. Naturally, he was surrendered. The surrender happened. Absorbed totally, absorbed in whatsoever she was doing...he understood for the first time: this is what meditation is. Not that you sit for a special period and repeat a mantra, not that you go to the church or to the temple or to the mosque, but to be in life to go on doing trivial things, but with such absorption that the profundity is revealed in every action. He understood what meditation is for the first time. He had been meditating, he had been struggling hard, but for the first time meditation was there, alive. He could feel it. He could have touched it, it was almost tangible. And then he remembered that closing one eye, opening the other is a symbol, a Buddhist symbol.
Buddha says psychologists will agree with him now; after two thousand and five hundred years psychology has come to that point where Buddha was so long before Buddha says half the mind reasons and half the mind intuits. The mind is divided in two parts, in two hemispheres. The left-side hemisphere is the faculty of reason, logic, discursive thought, analysis, philosophy, theology...words and words and words and arguments and syllogisms and inferences. The left-side mind is Aristotelian. The right-side mind is intuitive, poetic inspiration, vision, a priori consciousness, a priori awareness. Not that you argue you simply come to know. Not that you infer you simply realize. That is the meaning of a priori awareness: it is simply there. The truth is known by the right-side mind. Truth is inferred by the left-side mind. Inference is just inference, it is not experience. Suddenly he realized that the woman had closed one eye: she had closed one eye as symbolic of closing the eye of reason, logic. And she had opened the other eye symbolic of love, intuition, awareness. And then he remembered the posture.
Aiming at the unknown, the invisible, we are on the journey to know the unknown to know that which cannot be known. That is real knowledge: to know that which cannot be known, to realize that which is unrealizable, to attain that which cannot be attained. This impossible passion is what makes a man a religious seeker. Yes, it is impossible. By impossible I don’t mean that it will not happen; by impossible I mean that it cannot happen unless you are utterly transformed. As you are it cannot happen. But there are different ways of being, and you can be totally a new man...then it happens. It is possible for a different kind of man. That’s why Jesus says: Until you are reborn, you will not know it. A new man will know it. You come to me you will not know it. I will have to kill you, I will have to be drastically dangerous to you; you will have to disappear. And the new man is born, a new consciousness comes in because there is something indestructible in you which cannot be destroyed; nobody can destroy it. Only the destructible will be destroyed and the indestructible will be there. When you attain to that indestructible element in your being, to that eternal awareness in your being, you are a new man, a new consciousness. Through that the impossible is possible, the unattainable is attained.
So he remembered the posture. Aiming at the unknown, the invisible, the unknowable, the one that is the aim. How to be one with existence? The nondual is the aim where subject and object are lost, where I and thou are lost.
There is a very famous book and a great book of Martin Buber, I and Thou. Martin Buber says the experience of prayer is an I-thou experience. He is right. The experience of prayer is an I-thou experience: God is the thou, you remain an I, and you have a dialogue, a communion with the thou. But Buddhism has no prayer in it, and Buddhism goes higher. Buddhism says: Even if there is an I-thou relationship, you remain divided, you remain separate. You can shout at each other, but there will be no communion. The communion happens only when the
I-thou division is no more, when subject and object disappear, where there is no I and no thou, no seeker and no sought...when there is unity, unison.
Realizing this, seeing into this woman’s actions and recognizing the truth.... The woman called him Saraha. His name was Rahul; the woman called him Saraha. Saraha is a beautiful word. It means he who has shot the arrow: sara means arrow, ha(n) means have shot. Saraha means one who has shot the arrow. The moment he recognized the significance of the woman’s actions, those symbolic gestures, the moment he could read and decode what the woman was trying to give, what the woman was trying to show, the woman was tremendously happy. She danced and called him Saraha, and said, ”Now from today you will be called Saraha: you have shot the arrow.
Understanding the significance of my actions, you have penetrated....” Saraha said to her, ”You are not an ordinary arrowsmith woman. I am sorry to have even thought that you were an ordinary arrowsmith woman. Excuse me, I am tremendously sorry. You are a great master and I am reborn through you. Till yesterday I was not a real brahmin; from today I am. You are my master and you are my mother and you have given me a new birth. I am no longer the same. So, right you are you have dropped my old name and you have given me a new name.”
You ask me sometimes, ”Why do you give new names?” To drop the old identity, to forget the past, not to be any more in any attachment with the past, a clean break is needed. You have to become discontinuous with the past. Rahul became Saraha. The legend has it that the woman was nobody but a hidden buddha. The name of the buddha given in the scriptures is Sukhnatha the buddha who had come to help the great potential man, Saraha. Buddha, a certain buddha of the name Sukhnatha, took the form of a woman. But why? Why the form of a woman? because Tantra believes that just as a man has to be born out of a woman, so the new birth of a disciple is also going to be out of a woman. In fact all the masters are more mothers than fathers. They have the quality of the feminine. Buddha is feminine, so is Mahavira, so is Krishna. You can see the feminine grace, the feminine roundness, you can see the feminine beauty. You can look into their eyes and you will not find the male aggressiveness.
So it is very symbolic that a buddha took the form of a woman. Buddhas always take the form of a woman. They may be living in a male body, but they are feminine because all that is born is born out of the feminine energy. Male energy can trigger it but cannot give birth.
A master has to keep you in his womb for months, for years, sometimes for lives. One never knows when you will be ready to be born. A master has to be a mother. A master has to be tremendously capable of feminine energy so that he can shower love on you; only then can he destroy. Unless you are certain about his love, you will not allow him to destroy you. How will you trust? Only his love will make you able to trust. And through trust, by and by, he will cut limb by limb. And one day suddenly you will disappear. Slowly, slowly, slowly...and you are gone. Gate, gate, para gate going, going, going, gone. Then the new is born. The arrowsmith woman accepted him. In fact she was waiting...a master waits for the disciple. Old traditions say: Before a disciple chooses the master, the master has chosen the disciple. Exactly that’s what happened in this story. Sukhnatha was hiding in the form of a woman waiting for Saraha to come and be transformed through him.
And it seems more logical too that a master should choose first because he is more aware, he knows. He can penetrate to the very possibility of your being, the very potentiality. He can see your future, he can see that which can happen. When you choose a master you think you have chosen. You are wrong. How can you choose a master? You are so blind, how can you recognize a master? You are so unaware, how can you feel a master? If you start feeling him, that means he has already entered in your heart and has started playing with your energies that’s why you start feeling him. Before a disciple ever chooses a master, the master has chosen him already. She accepted. She was waiting for Saraha to come. They moved to a cremation ground and started living together. Why to a cremation ground? because Buddha says unless you understand death you will not be able to understand life. Unless you die, you will not be reborn.
Many Tantra diciples have lived in the cremation ground since Saraha; he was the founder. He lived in a cremation ground...people would be brought, dead bodies would be brought and burned, and he lived there, that was his home. And he lived with this arrowsmith woman, they lived together. There was great love between them not the love of a woman and a man, but the love of a master and a disciple, which is certainly higher than any man-woman love can ever reach; which is more intimate, certainly more intimate because a man-woman love affair is just of the bodies. At the most sometimes it reaches to the mind, otherwise it remains in the body. A disciple and a master it is a soul love affair.
Saraha had found his soulmate. They were in tremendous love, great love, which rarely happens on the earth. She taught him Tantra. Only a woman can teach Tantra. Somebody asked me why I have chosen Kaveesha to be the group leader for Tantra only a woman can be a Tantra group leader, it will be difficult for a man. Yes, sometimes a man can also be, but then he will have to become very, very feminine. A woman is already, she has already those qualities, those loving, affectionate qualities; she naturally has that care, that love, that feeling for the soft.
Saraha became a tantrika under the guidance of this arrowsmith woman. Now he was no longer meditating. One day he had left all the Vedas, scriptures, knowledge; now he left even meditation. Now rumors started spreading all over the country: he no longer meditates. He sings, of course, and dances too, but no meditation any more. Now singing was his meditation, now dancing was his meditation, now celebration was his whole lifestyle. Living in a cremation ground and celebrating! Living where only death happens and living joyously! This is the beauty of Tantra: it joins together the opposites, the contraries, the contradictories. If you go to the cremation ground you will feel sad; it will be difficult for you to be joyous. It will be very difficult for you to sing and dance where people are being burned, and where people are crying and weeping. And every day death and death...day and night, death. How will you rejoice? But if you cannot rejoice there, then all that you think is your joy is just a make-believe. If you can rejoice there, then joy has really happened to you. Now it is unconditional. Now it doesn’t make any difference whether death happens or life, whether somebody is born or somebody is dying. Saraha started singing and dancing. He was no longer serious. Tantra is not Tantra is a playfulness. Yes, it is sincere, but not serious; it is very joyous. Play entered his being. Tantra is play, because Tantra is a highly evolved form of love love is play.
There are people who would not like even love to be a play. Mahatma Gandhi says: Make love only when you want to reproduce. Even love they change into work reproduction. This is just ugly! Make love to your woman only when you want to reproduce is she a factory? Reproduction the very word is ugly. Love is fun! Make love to your woman when you are feeling happy, joyous, when you are at the top of the world. Share that energy. Love your man when you have that quality of dance and song and joy not for reproduction! The word reproduction is obscene. Make love out of joy, out of abundant joy. Give when you have it! Play entered into his being. A lover has always the spirit of play. The moment the spirit of play dies you become a husband or a wife; then you are no longer lovers, then you reproduce. And the moment you become a husband or a wife, something beautiful has gone dead. It is no more alive, the juice flows no more. Now it is just pretension, hypocrisy.
Play entered his being, and through play true religion was born. His ecstasy was so infectious that people started coming to watch him dancing and singing. And when people would come and watch, they would start dancing, they would start singing with him. The cremation ground became a great celebration. Yes, bodies were being burned still, but more and more crowds started gathering around Saraha and the arrowsmith woman, and great joy was created on that cremation ground.
And it became so infectious that people who had never heard anything about ecstasy would come, dance and sing, and fall into ecstasy, go into samadhi. His very vibration, his very presence, became so potent that just if you were ready to participate with him, it would happen...contact high. Those who came around him he was so drunk that his inner drunkenness started overflowing to other people. He was so stoned that others started becoming stoned and more stoned.
But then the inevitable...the brahmins and the priests and the scholars and the so-called righteous people started vilifying and slandering him that I call the inevitable. Whenever there is a man like Saraha the scholars are going to be against him, the priests are going to be against him, and the so-called moral people, puritans, self-righteous people. They started spreading absolutely biased rumors about him. They started saying to people, ”He has fallen from grace he is a pervert. He is no longer a brahmin; he has given up celibacy, he is no longer even a Buddhist monk. He indulges in shameful practices with a low-caste woman and runs around like a mad dog in all directions.” His ecstasy was just like a mad dog to them it depends how you interpret. He was dancing all over the cremation ground. He was mad but he was not a mad dog, he was a mad god! It depends on how you look.
The king was also told these things he was anxious to know exactly what was happening. He became worried... more and more people started coming to him. They knew him, they knew that the king was always deeply respectful towards Saraha, that he wanted to appoint him as his councilor in the court, but Saraha had renounced the world. The king had much respect for his learning, so they started coming to the king. The king was worried. He had loved the young man and respected him too, and he was concerned. So he sent a few people to persuade Saraha and tell him, ”Come back to your old ways. You are a brahmin, your father was a great scholar, you yourself were a great scholar what are you doing? You have gone astray, come back home; I am still here. You come to the palace, be part of my family. This is not good.”
The people went and Saraha sang one hundred and sixty verses to those people who had come to convert him. Those one hundred and sixty verses...and those people started dancing and they never came back! The king was even more worried. The king’s wife, the queen, was also always interested in the young man. She wanted the young man to marry her daughter, so she went there. And Saraha sang eighty verses to the queen...and she never came back.
Now the king was much puzzled: What is happening there? So the king himself went there and Saraha sang forty verses and the king was converted! And he started dancing in the cremation ground like a mad dog! So there are three scriptures available in the name of Saraha. First, The People’s Song of Saraha one hundred and eighty verses; second, The Queen’s Song of Saraha eighty verses; and third, The Royal Song of Saraha, which we are going to meditate upon forty verses. One hundred and sixty verses for the people because their understanding was not great; eighty for the queen she was a little higher, her understanding was a little higher; forty for the king because he was really a man of intelligence, of awareness, of understanding. Because the king was converted, the whole country by and by was converted. And it is said in the old scriptures that a time came when the whole country became empty. Empty...it is a Buddhist word. It means people became nobodies, they lost their ego trips. People started enjoying the moment. The hustle and bustle, the competitive violence disappeared from the country. It became a silent country. It became empty...as if nobody was there, the men as such disappeared from the country. A great divineness descended on the country. These forty verses were at the root of it, the very source of it.
Now we enter into this great pilgrimage: The Royal Song of Saraha. It is also called The Song on Human Action very paradoxical, because it has nothing to do with action. That’s why it is also called The Song on Human Action. It has something to do with the being, but when the being is transformed, action is transformed. When you are transformed, your behavior is transformed not vice versa. Not that first you change your action and then your being changes no. Tantra says: First change your being and then your action changes automatically, of its own accord. First attain to a different kind of consciousness, and that will be followed by a different kind of action, character, behavior. Tantra believes in being, not in action and character. That’s why it is also called The Song on Human Action because once being is transformed, your actions are transformed. That is the only way to change your actions. Who has ever been able to change his actions directly? You can only pretend. If you have anger in you and you want to change your action, what will you do? You will suppress the anger and you will show a false face; you will have to wear a mask. If you have sexuality in you, what will you do to change it? You can take the vow of celibacy, of brahmacharya, and you can pretend, but deep down the volcano continues. You are sitting on a volcano which can erupt any moment. You will be constantly trembling, constantly afraid, in fear.
Have you not watched the so-called religious people? They are always afraid afraid of hell and always trying somehow to get into heaven. But they don’t know what heaven is; they have not tasted it at all. If you change your consciousness, heaven comes in you, not that you go to heaven. Nobody has ever gone to heaven and nobody has ever gone to hell. Let it be decided once and for all: heaven comes to you, hell comes to you it depends on you. Whatsoever you call, it comes.
If your being changes, you suddenly become available to heaven heaven descends on you. If your being does not change you are in a conflict, you are forcing something which is not there. You become false and false and more false, and you become two persons, you become schizophrenic, split.... You show something, you are something else. You say something you never do it, you do something else. And then you are continuously playing hide-and-seek with yourself. Anxiety, anguish, are natural in such a state that’s what hell is. Now the song:
I bow down to noble Manjusri, I bow down to him who has conquered the finite. This word manjusri has to be understood. Manjusri was one of the disciples of Buddha, but he was a very rare disciple. Buddha had many rare disciples; in different ways they were rare. Mahakashyapa was rare because he could understand the message not delivered in words...and so on and so forth. Manjusri was rare because he had the greatest quality of being a master.
Whenever somebody was too much of a difficult problem, somebody was a problematic person, Buddha would send him to Manjusri. Just the name of Manjusri and people would start trembling. He was really a hard man, he was really drastic. Whenever somebody was sent to Manjusri, the disciples would say, ”That person has gone to Manjusri’s sword.” It has become famous down the ages the sword of Manjusri because Manjusri used to cut the head in one stroke. He was not a slow-goer, he would simply cut the head in one stroke. His compassion was so great that he could be so cruel.
So by and by the name of Manjusri became a representative name a name for all masters, because they are all compassionate and they all have to be cruel. Compassionate because they will give birth to a new man in you; cruel because they will have to destroy and demolish the old.
So when Saraha bows down first before starting his song, he says: I bow down to noble Manjusri the master of all masters I bow down to him who has conquered the finite. And then he bows down to Buddha who has conquered the finite, and who has become the infinite.
As calm water lashed by wind Turns into waves and rollers, So the king thinks of Saraha In many ways, although one man.
Visualize a lake, a placid, silent lake with no waves. Then there comes a great wind and it starts playing on the surface of the lake, and the lake is disturbed, and a thousand and one ripples and waves arise. Just a moment before the reflection of the full moon was there in the lake; now it is no longer there. Now the moon is still reflected, but in a thousand and one fragments. It is all over the lake. The whole lake is silvery because of the reflection, but you cannot catch hold of the real reflection where the moon is, how it looks. It is all distorted. Saraha says this is the situation of the worldly mind, of the deluded. This is the only difference between a buddha and a non-buddha. A buddha is one whose wind is no more blowing. That wind is called trishna desire. Have you watched, observed? whenever there is desire, there are a thousand and one ripples in your heart; your consciousness is disturbed and distracted. Whenever desire stops, you are at ease, at peace with yourself. So desire is the wind that distorts the mind. And when the mind is distorted, you cannot reflect the reality. As calm water lashed by wind Turns into waves and rollers, So the king thinks of Saraha In many ways, although one man.
Saraha says two things. First he says: Your mind is too disturbed by the rumors, so much wind has blown over the surface of your mind. You will not be able to see me, though I am one but your mind is reflecting me in a thousand fragments.
This was true. He could see through and through the king. The king was puzzled. On one hand he respected the young man, on one hand he had always trusted the young man he knew that he could not be wrong. But so many people, so many so-called honest, respectable people, rich, learned, came to him and they all reported, ”He has gone wrong, he has become almost mad he is a maniac, he is a pervert. He lives with an arrowsmith woman of low caste. He lives in the cremation ground this is not a place to live! He has forgotten all old rituals, he no longer reads the Vedas, he no longer chants the name of the God. He is not even heard to meditate. And he is indulging in strange, ugly, shameful practices.”
Tantra looks shameful to people who are very much sexually repressed. They cannot understand because of their repressions they cannot understand what is happening. So all these things are like a great wind in the mind of the king. One part of him loves and respects; one part of him is in deep doubt. Saraha looked directly and he said: So the king thinks of Saraha in many ways, although one man. Although Saraha is one man.... I am just like the full moon, but the lake is in turmoil. So please, if you want to understand me, there is no way to understand me directly. The only way to understand me is to stop this wind which is blowing on the surface of your mind. Let your consciousness be at ease...then see! Let all these waves and the rollers stop, let your consciousness be a placid pool, and then you see. I cannot convince you of what is happening unless you are able to see it. It is happening, it is here. I am here standing before you. I am one man, but I can see in you you are looking at me as if I am a thousand men.
To a fool who squints One lamp is as two, Where seen and seer are not two, ah! the mind Works on the thingness of them both.
And then he takes similes, metaphors. First he says, ”Like a lake you are in turmoil.” Then he says: To a fool who squints one lamp is as two he cannot see one, he sees two.
I have heard....
Mulla Nasruddin was teaching his son the ways of being a drunkard. After a few drinks Mulla said, ”Now let us go. Always remember, this is the rule to stop: when you start seeing that one person is looking like two, then go home it is enough.”
One person looking like two, but the son asked, ”Where? Where is that one person?” Mulla said, ”Look, there are two persons sitting at that table.”
And the son replied, ”There is nobody!” He had already drunk too much. Remember, when you are unconscious things don’t look as they are. When you are unconscious, you project. Tonight, looking at the moon, you can press your eye with your finger and you can see two moons. And when you are seeing two moons, it is very difficult to believe that there is one you are seeing two. Just think.... Somebody is born with a natural defect, his eye has that pressure which makes one thing look like two; he will always see two things. Wherever you see one, he will see two.
Our inner vision is clouded with many things, so we go on seeing things which are not. And when we see, how can we believe that they are not? We have to trust our own eyes, and our own eyes may be distorting. To a fool who squints One lamp is as two, Where seen and seer are not two... Saraha says to the king: If you are thinking I and you are two, then you are unconscious, then you are a fool, then you are drunk, then you don’t know how to see. If you really see, then I and you are one, then the seer and the seen are not two. Then you will not see Saraha dancing here you will see yourself dancing here. Then when I go into ecstasy, you will go into ecstasy. And that will be the only way to know what has happened to Saraha, there is no other way. What has happened to me? If you want to know, the only way is to become a participant in my being. Don’t be a watcher. Don’t stand aside and just become a spectator. You will have to participate in my experience; you will have to lose yourself a little bit into me. You will have to overlap my boundaries. That’s what sannyas is all about. You start coming closer, you start losing your boundaries into me. Only then, one day, through participation, when you fall en rapport with me, something will be seen, something will be understood. And you will not be able to convince anybody else who has been just a spectator because your visions will be different. You have participated, and he has only been observing; you are living in two different worlds.
Though the house lamps have been lit...
Listen to this beautiful saying of Saraha:
Though the house lamps have been lit, the blind live on in the dark. Though spontaneity is all-encompassing and close, To the deluded it remains always far away. He says: Look! I have become enlightened. Though the house lamps have been lit...my innermost core is no longer dark. See! There is great light in me, my soul is awakened. I am no more the same Rahul you used to know. I am Saraha; my arrow has reached the target. Though the house lamps have been lit, The blind live on in the dark.
But what can I do? Saraha says. If somebody is blind, even when the house lamps are lit he goes on living in darkness. Not that the lamps are missing, but his eyes are closed. So don’t listen to blind people! Just open your eyes and look at me, see me...who is standing in front of you, whom you are confronting. The blind live on in the dark, though the house lamps have been lit.
Though spontaneity is all-encompassing and close...
And I am so close to you...the spontaneity is so close to you, you can already touch it and eat it and drink it. You can dance with me and you can move into ecstasy with me. I am so close you may not find spontaneity so close again!
To the deluded it remains always far away.
They talk about samadhi, and they read the Patanjali's sutras; they talk about great things, but whenever that great thing happens they are against it.
This is something very strange about man. Man is a very strange animal. You can appreciate Buddha, but if Buddha comes and just confronts you, you will not be able to appreciate him at all you may go against him, you may become the enemy. Why? When you read a book about Buddha, everything is okay the book is in your hand. When an alive buddha has to be confronted, he is not in your hand you are falling into his hand. Hence the fear, resistance; one wants to escape. And the best way to escape is to convince yourself that he has gone wrong, something is wrong with him. That is the only way if you prove to yourself that he is wrong. And you can find a thousand and one things in a buddha which can look wrong, because you are squinting and you are blind and your mind is in a turmoil. You can project anything.
Now this man has attained to buddhahood, and they are talking about the low-caste woman. They have not looked into that woman’s reality. They have only been thinking that she is an arrowsmith woman, so low-caste, sudra, untouchable. How can a brahmin touch an untouchable woman? How can the brahmin live there? And they have heard that the woman cooks food for him. This is a great sin, this is a great fall a brahmin eating food cooked by a sudra, by an untouchable, by a low-caste woman?
And why should a brahmin live on the cremation ground? Brahmins have never lived there. They live in the temples, they live in the palaces. Why on the cremation ground? dirty place, skulls and dead bodies all around. This is perversion! But they have not looked into the fact that unless you understand death you will never be able to understand life. When you have looked deep into death and found that life is never dead, when you have looked, penetrated deep into death and found that life continues even after death, that death makes no difference, that death is immaterial.... You don’t know anything about life life is eternal, timeless. So only the body dies, so only the dead dies; the alive continues.
But for this one has to go into deep experimentation they will not look at that. Now they have heard that he is going into strange practices. They must have gossipped and exaggerated; things must have gone out of their hands. Everybody goes on multiplying the gossip. And there are Tantra practices which can be gossipped about. In Tantra the man sits in front of the woman, the naked woman, and he has to watch her so deeply, to see her through and through, that all desire to see a woman naked disappears. Then man is free from the form. Now this is a great secret technique otherwise you go on continuously seeing her in your mind. Each woman that passes by on the road, you want to undress her that is there.
Now suddenly you see Saraha sitting before a naked woman how will you interpret? You will interpret according to yourself. You will say, ”So okay, what we always wanted to do he is doing, so we are better than him. At least we are not doing it. Of course we visualize sometimes, but it is only in thought, not in deed. He has fallen.” And you will not miss the opportunity.
But what is he really doing? It is a secret science. By watching, for months together...the tantrika will watch the woman, meditate on her body form, meditate on her beauty; will look at everything, whatsoever he wants to look at. Breasts have some appeal? he will look and meditate on the breasts. He has to get rid of the form, and the only way to get rid of the form is to know it so deeply that it has no attraction anymore. Now something just the opposite is happening from what the gossippers are saying. He is going beyond. Never again will he want to undress a woman, not even in the mind, not even in a dream: that obsession will not be there. But the crowd, the mob, has its own ideas. Ignorant, unaware, they go on talking about things. Though spontaneity is all-encompassing and close, To the deluded it remains always far away. Though there may be many rivers, they are one in the sea, Though there may be many lies, one truth will conquer all. When one sun appears, the dark, However deep, will vanish. And Saraha says: Just look at me the sun has risen. So I know, howsoever deep your dark, it is going to vanish. Look at me the truth is born in me! You may have heard thousands of lies about me, but one truth will conquer them all. Though there may be many rivers, they are one in the sea.
Just come close to me. Let your river drop into my ocean, and you will have my taste. Though there may be many lies, one truth will conquer all.
Truth is one. Only lies are many, only lies can be many truth cannot be many. Health is one, diseases are many. One health conquers all diseases, and one truth conquers all lies. When one sun appears, the dark, However deep, will vanish.
In these four verses, Saraha has invited the king to enter into his inner being, he has opened his heart. And he says: I am not here to convince you logically, I am here to convince you existentially. I will not give any proof and I will not say anything in defense of myself. The heart is just open you come in, you go in, you see what has happened...so close is spontaneity, so close is God, so close is truth. The sun has risen, open your eyes! Remember, a mystic has no proof.
He cannot have any proof by the very nature of things.
He is the only proof...so he can bare his heart to you.
These verses, these songs of Saraha, have to be meditated on deeply. Each song can become the opening of a flower in your heart. I hope these forty verses will become forty flowers in your being, as they became in the being of the king. The king was liberated so can you be. Saraha has penetrated the target. You can also penetrate the target. You can also become a Saraha one whose arrow is shot.
Enough for today.
The goose is out!
Audio:Yes Video:No Length:95 mins
Question 1 The first question:
Osho, Is there any difference between the approaches of Shiva and Saraha towards Tantra? Not really, not essentially. But as far as the form is concerned, yes. Religions differ only in the form, religions differ only in their methodology. Religions differ as far as the door into the divine is concerned, but not existentially. And there are only two basic formal differences: that of the path of devotion, prayer, love; and the path of meditation, awareness. These two basic differences persist.
Shiva’s approach is that of devotion; it is that of prayer, of love. Saraha’s approach is that of meditation, awareness. The distinction is still formal, because when the lover and the meditator reach they arrive at the same goal. Their arrows are released from different angles, but they reach the same target. Their arrows are released from different bows, but they reach the same target. The bow does not matter finally. What type of bow you have chosen does not matter if the target is attained. These are the two bows because man basically is divided into two: thinking and feeling. Either you can approach reality through thinking or you can approach reality through feeling.
The Buddhist approach the approach of Buddha and Saraha is through intelligence. It is basically through the mind that Saraha moves. Of course the mind has to be left behind, but it is the mind that has to be left behind. By and by the mind has to disappear into meditation, but it is the mind that has to disappear; it is the thinking that has to be transformed, and a state of no-thought has to be created. But remember: it is a state of no-thought, and that can be created only by slowly dropping thoughts, by and by. So the whole work consists in the thinking part.
Shiva’s approach is that of the feeling, of the heart. The feeling has to be transformed. Love has to be transformed so that it becomes prayer. On Shiva’s way, the devotee and the deity remain, the bhakta and bhagwan remain. At the ultimate peak they both disappear into each other. Listen to it carefully: when Shiva’s Tantra reaches to its ultimate orgasm, I is dissolved into thou, and thou is dissolved into I; they are both together, they become one unity.
When Saraha’s Tantra reaches to its ultimate peak, the recognition is: neither you are right, neither you are true, neither you exist, nor I; both disappear. There are two zeros meeting, not I and thou neither I nor thou. Two zeros, two empty spaces dissolve into each other...because the whole effort on Saraha’s path is how to dissolve thought, and I and thou are parts of thought. When thought is utterly dissolved, how can you call yourself l? And whom will you call your God? God is part of thought; it is a thought creation, a thought construct, a mind construct. So all mind constructs dissolve and shunya, emptiness, arises. On Shiva’s path you no longer love the form, you no longer love the person you start loving the whole existence. The whole existence becomes your thou; you are addressed to the whole existence. Possessiveness is dropped, jealousy is dropped, hatred is dropped; all that is negative in feeling is dropped, and the feeling becomes purer and purer.
A moment comes when there is pure love. In that moment of pure love, you dissolve into thou and thou dissolves into you. You also disappear, but you disappear not like two zeros; you disappear as the beloved disappears into the lover and the lover disappears into the beloved.
Up to this point they are different, but that too is a formal difference. Beyond this, what does it matter whether you disappear like a lover and a beloved, or you disappear like two zeros? The basic point, the fundamental point, is that you disappear, that nothing is left, that no trace is left. That disappearance is enlightenment. So you have to understand it: if love appeals to you, Shiva will appeal to you, and The Book of The Secrets will be your Tantra bible. If meditation appeals to you, then Saraha will appeal to you. It depends on you. Both are right, both are going on the same journey. With whom you would like to travel, that is your choice. If you can be alone and blissful, then Saraha.... If you cannot be blissful when you are alone, and your bliss comes only when you relate, then Shiva. This is the difference between Hindu Tantra and Buddhist Tantra.