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Chapter 1: The Hidden Harmony

The hidden harmony
is better than the obvious.

Opposition brings concord.
Out of discord
comes the fairest harmony.

It is in changing
that things find repose.

People do not understand
how that which is at variance with itself,
agrees with itself.

There is a harmony in the bending back,
as in the case of the bow and lyre.

The name of the bow is life,
but its work is death.

I have been in love with Heraclitus for many lives. In fact, Heraclitus is the only Greek I have ever been in love with - except, of course, Mukta, Seema and Neeta!

Heraclitus is really beautiful. Had he been born in India, or in the East, he would have been known as a buddha. But in Greek history, Greek philosophy, he was a stranger, an outsider. He is known in Greece not as an enlightened person but as Heraclitus the Obscure, Heraclitus the Dark, Heraclitus the Riddling. And the father of Greek philosophy and of Western thought, Aristotle, thought that he was no philosopher at all. Aristotle said, “At the most he is a poet,” but that too was difficult for him to concede. So later on he said in other works, “There must be some defect in Heraclitus’ character, something wrong biologically; that’s why he talks in such obscure ways, and talks in paradoxes.” Aristotle thought that he was a little eccentric, a little mad - and Aristotle dominates the whole West. If Heraclitus had been accepted, the whole history of the West would have been totally different. But he was not understood at all. He became more and more separate from the main current of Western thinking and the Western mind.

Heraclitus was like Gautam Buddha or Lao Tzu or Basho. The Greek soil was absolutely not good for him. He would have been a great tree in the East: millions would have profited, millions would have found the way through him. But for Greeks he was just outlandish, eccentric, something foreign, alien; he didn’t belong to them. That’s why his name has remained just on the side, in a dark corner; by and by he has been forgotten.

At the moment when Heraclitus was born, precisely at that moment, humanity reached a peak, a moment of transformation. It happens with humanity just as with an individual: there are moments when changes happen. Every seven years the body changes, and it goes on changing - if you live for seventy years, then your total bio-physical system will change ten times. And if you can use those gaps when the body changes, it will be very easy to move in meditation.

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