On Saints and suffering…
Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Q The Universe does not seem a happy place to live in. Why is there so much suffering?
Master: Pain is physical; suffering is mental. Beyond the mind there is no suffering. Pain is merely a signal that the body is in danger and requires attention. Similarly suffering warns us that the structure of memories and habits, which we call the person is threatened by loss or change. Pain is essential for the survival of the body, but none compels you to suffer. Suffering is due entirely to clinging and resisting; it is a sign of our unwillingness to move on, to flow with life.
Q Nobody has suffered more than saints.
Master: Did they tell you, or do you say so on your own? The essence of saintliness is total acceptance of the present moment, harmony of things as they happen. A saint does not want things to be different from what they are; he knows that, considering all factors, they are unavoidable. He is friendly with the inevitable and therefore, does not suffer. Pain he may know, but it does not shatter him. If he can, he does the needful to restore the lost balance-or he lets things take their course.
Q: He may die.
Master: So what? What does he gain by living on and what does he lose by dying? What was born must die; what was never born cannot die. It all depends on what he takes himself to be.
Q: Imagine you fall mortally ill. Would you not regret and resent?
Master: But I am dead already, or, rather, neither alive or dead. You see my body behaving the habitual way and draw your own conclusions. You will not admit that your own conclusions bind nobody but you. Do see that the image you have of me may be altogether wrong. Your image of yourself is wrong too, but that is your problem. But you need not create problems for me and then ask me to solve them. I am neither creating problems nor solving them.
Read: Discovering Nisargadatta MaharajThe Magnetic Third Eye That Attracts AttentionTalk: Osho
When Greek philosopher Pythagoras reached Egypt to enter a school a secret esoteric school of mysticism he was refused entry. And Pythagoras was one of the best minds ever produced. He could not understand it. He applied again and again, but was told that unless he goes through a particular training of fasting and breathing he cannot be allowed entry.
Pythagoras is reported to have said: I have come for knowledge, not for any sort of discipline. But the school authorities said: We cannot give you knowledge unless you are different. And really, we are not interested in knowledge at all; we are interested in actual experience. No knowledge is knowledge unless it is lived and experienced. So you will have to go on a 40-day fast, continuously breathing in a certain manner, with a certain awareness on certain points.
There was no other way, so Pythagoras had to pass through this training. After 40 days of fasting and breathing, aware and attentive, he was allowed to enter the school. Pythagoras reportedly said: You are not allowing Pythagoras in. I am a different man; I am reborn. You were right and I was wrong, because then, my whole standpoint was intellectual. Through this purification, my centre of being has changed. From the intellect it has come down to the heart. Now I can feel things. Before this training I could only understand through the intellect, through the head. Now I can feel. Now truth is not a concept to me, but life. It is not going to be a philosophy, but rather, an experience existential.
What was that training he went through? The technique was as follows: Attention between eyebrows, let mind be before thought. Let form fill with breath essence to the top of the head and there, shower as light.
Pythagoras went with this technique to Greece, and really, he became the fountainhead, the source of all mysticism in the West.
This technique is among the deep methods. Try to understand it. Modern physiology says that between the two eyebrows is the gland that is the most mysterious part of the body. This gland, called the pineal gland, is the third eye to Tibetans. It is the Shivnetra, the eye of the Shiva, of tantra. Between the two eyes there exists a third eye, but it is nonfunctioning. You have to do something to open it. Otherwise, it remains closed.
Close your eyes and focus both eyes on space in the middle of your eyebrows. Give total attention to it. This is one of the simplest methods of being attentive. You cannot be attentive to any other part of the body so easily. This gland absorbs attention like anything. If you give attention to it, both your eyes become hypnotised with the third eye. They become fixed; they cannot move. The third eye forces attention. It is magnetic. Your attention is brought to it forcibly. It is absorbed.
It is said in ancient tantra scriptures that for the third eye, attention is food. And once you feel that the gland itself is magnetically pulling your attention, it is not so difficult. For the first time you will see thoughts running before you. You will become the witness. It is just like a film screen: thoughts are running and you are a witness.
Excerpted from The Book of Secrets. Courtesy: Osho International Foundation.