Chapter 6: Desireless Devotion
Buddha said out of his great compassion that you will be able to know truth only through absolute emptiness. But you might have heard him through your ego and thought that Buddha is also an egoist: he says that only his path is right and he says that the other’s path is wrong.
Buddha is not saying that the other’s path is wrong. He is simply saying, “Those who understand will know that I have walked on this path. I have known through this path and you can also know. And your mind is in so much confusion that if I say that you can know through both paths then you will not walk at all, you will remain sitting at the crossroads. You will say, “First let it be decided by which path I will arrive and only then is it right to walk. Otherwise I may start on a wrong path and stray far away.’”
Buddha explained, but you did not listen. A thousand or fifteen hundred years after Buddha, Shankara appeared. Buddha had said that you will know truth through emptiness and Shankara could see that very few of those who heard him had known truth. He saw that many people who had heard Buddha could not understand, so they did not experience truth. On the contrary, they became entangled in nonsensical discussions about emptiness, they created an “ism” about it. They were not living the life of the empty inner sky that Sahajo calls, “Sleeping in the empty inner sky.” They had not created such a life where one sleeps in emptiness, wakes up in emptiness, moves in emptiness. Rather, they created a scripture about emptiness. They became nihilists, they were ready to refute anybody. No transformation happened in their lives but they became very expert in refuting other’s thoughts.
So it was necessary to change the stream: Shankara said that you can know only through fullness, that you will become lost through emptiness. And Shankara said this with the same firmness as when Buddha said that you can reach only through emptiness. Shankara denied emptiness as much as Buddha denied fullness. And Shankara said, “Purna brahman - the ultimate reality is fullness, is wholeness.” He said it is the only way - but those who know say that Shankara is just a disguised form of Buddha.
Those who know say that Shankara is also saying the same as what Buddha said; he has only changed the words. If you see the definition of Shankara’s fullness you will be surprised - it is the same as Buddha’s definition of emptiness. What is emptiness? Formless, attributeless, beginningless, endless - this is Buddha’s definition of emptiness. What is fullness, what is brahman? Formless, attributeless, beginningless and endless - this is Shankara’s definition of fullness. Only the words have changed.
And the words were also changed because so much dust had gathered around the word emptiness that the word itself became dirty. When Buddha used the word emptiness it was used for the first time. Before him “fullness” had often been used and it had become stale. So many people had discussed it that there was no meaning left in it, there was no life in it, no call in it, no invitation arose out of it - it had become a scriptural word.