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Chapter 1: The Ultimate Experience

In my childhood I used to go early in the morning to the river. It is a small village. The river is very, very lazy, as if not flowing at all, and in the morning when the sun has not yet arisen, you cannot see whether it is flowing, it is so lazy and silent. In the morning when there is nobody - the bathers have not come yet - it is tremendously silent. Even the birds are not singing, in the early morning, no sound, just a soundless-ness pervades. And the smell of the mango trees hangs all over the river.

I used to go there, to the furthest corner of the river, just to sit, just to be there. There was no need to do anything, just being there was enough; it was such a beautiful experience to be there. I would take a bath, I would swim, and when the sun rose I would go to the other shore, to the vast expanse of sand, and dry myself there under the sun, and lie there and sometimes even go to sleep.

When I came back, my mother used to ask, “What have you been doing the whole morning?” I would say, “Nothing,” because, actually, I had not been doing anything. And she would say, “How is it possible? For hours you have not been here, how is it possible that you have not been doing anything? You must have been doing something.” And she was right, but also I was not wrong.

I was not doing anything at all. I was just there being with the river, not doing anything, allowing things to happen. If I felt like swimming - remember if I felt like swimming - I would swim, but it was not a doing on my part, I was not forcing anything. If I felt like going into sleep, I would go. Things were happening, but there was no doer. And my first experiences of satori started near that river; not doing anything, simply being there, millions of things happened.

But she would insist, “You must have been doing something.” So I would say, “Okay, I took a bath and I dried myself in the sun,” and then she was satisfied. But I was not, because what happened there in the river is not expressed by the words I took a bath; it looks so poor and pale. Playing with the river, floating in the river, swimming in the river, was such a deep experience. To simply say, “I took a bath,” makes no sense, or just to say, “I went there, had a walk on the bank, sat there,” conveys nothing.

Even in ordinary life you feel the futility of words. And if you don’t feel the futility of words, that shows that you have not been alive at all, that shows that you have lived very superficially. If whatsoever you have been living can be conveyed by words that means you have not lived at all.

When for the first time something starts happening which is beyond words, life has happened to you, life has knocked at your door. And when the ultimate knocks at your door, you have simply gone beyond words: you become dumb, you cannot speak, not even a single word is formed inside. Whatsoever you say looks so pale, so dead, so meaningless, without any significance. It seems that you are doing injustice to the experience which has happened to you. Remember this, because Mahamudra is the last, the ultimate experience.

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