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Chapter 2: Letters


The heat of noon is at its peak. The flowers on the palasa tree are glowing like embers.

I walk along a deserted path. Thick bamboo groves line the path and I find their shade very pleasant.

A familiar bird sings a song, and accepting its invitation I stop there.

A man who is with me asks, “How to conquer anger? How to conquer sex?”

This is a question so frequently asked nowadays. The mistake lies in the question - and I said so to him.

The problem is not to conquer, it is to know. We know neither anger nor sex. This ignorance is what defeats us.

Knowing brings victory. When there is anger, when there is sex, we are not. There is no awareness, hence we are not. What happens in this state of unconsciousness is completely mechanical. When the unconsciousness releases its grip, remorse follows - but that is futile, because the one who now repents will fall asleep again as soon as sex catches hold of him. If he does not sink into sleep - if he lets consciousness, wakefulness and right-remembrance prevail - he will find that there is neither anger nor sex. The mechanicalness is broken and there is nothing to be conquered - the enemy has gone.

You may understand this better through a symbolic story. In the darkness, a rope is taken for a snake. Seeing it, some run away, some get ready to kill it. Both are mistaken, because they both take the rope for a snake. Somebody goes near it and finds that there is no snake at all: he does not need to do anything more than approach it.

Man has only to approach himself. Whatever is within him, he must be familiar with it all. He does not have to fight with anything. And I say unto you that victory comes to him who does not fight.

Right-watchfulness towards one’s own mind is the key to victory over life.

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