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Chapter 1: Gorakh: The Foundation Stone

Then I said to him, “These four individualities are like the four directions. These are four dimensions, like the four dimensions of time and space. These four arms are like the four-armed conception of the divine. Although the divine is one, it has four arms. To leave out any one name would be like cutting off an arm. I cannot do that. Up to now I’ve been going along with you, I was continuing to decrease the number because until now the ones that had to be put aside were like clothes. Now limbs would have to be chopped off. I cannot do that. Please don’t insist on such violence.”

He said, “Some questions have arisen. One is: you could drop Mahavira, but not Gorakh?”

I cannot drop Gorakh because with Gorakh came a new beginning in this country. No new beginning came from Mahavira. He was a rare man, but just a repetition of what the first twenty-three Jaina tirthankaras had already said in the past. He is not the beginning of any new journey. He is not the first link in a new chain, rather, the last link.

Gorakh is the first link of a chain; through him a new type of religion arose. Without Gorakh there could be no Kabir, no Nanak, no Dadu, no Wajid, no Farid, no Meera - without Gorakh none of these are possible. The basic root of all of them is in Gorakh. Since then this temple has risen high, and on this temple many golden spires have been added - but the foundation stone is still the foundation stone. Though the golden spires are seen from afar, they cannot be more important than the foundation stone. And the foundation is not visible to anyone, but on these very stones stands the whole structure - all the walls, all the high peaks, all the domes and spires. But the domes and spires are worshipped, and people simply forget about the foundation stones. Gorakh has been similarly forgotten.

But India’s whole Sant tradition of mystics is indebted to Gorakh. Just as without Patanjali there would be no possibility of yoga in India, and without Buddha the foundation stone of meditation would be uprooted, and without Krishna the expression of love would find no path, similarly, without Gorakh the search that began for various techniques and the systems that developed to attain to the ultimate truth and the systems of spiritual practice could not have been possible. No one else has ever created the number of techniques that Gorakh invented for the inner search. He created so many methods, that if you look from that angle Gorakh is the greatest of inventors. He carved out so many doorways for man to enter into his innermost being, he hammered out so many ways inward, that people are puzzled by them. Hence while people have forgotten Gorakh, they have not forgotten the word gorakhdhandha, the word meaning “an intricate maze,” which still remains in use. He created so many methods that people were confused: “Which method is right, which is wrong? Which to do, which to drop?” He opened up so many paths that people became confused, hence the word gorakhdhandha - maze. Now if somebody is entangled in something we say, “What gorakhdhandha have you got yourself into?”

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