Chapter 11: Two Paths, One Ultimate Reality
You can feel oneness without becoming one. There is no need to become one; that is irrelevant. You can feel oneness without merging, without dissolving. You can remain two outwardly, inwardly you can become one. And the path of devotion, the path of love, says that if oneness means dissolution of the two, that oneness will be just flat. That oneness will have no poetry in it, that oneness will be dry. It will be a mathematical oneness.
Love says that oneness is more alive. It is not a mathematical unity. The lover and beloved remain, and yet they begin to feel they have dissolved. The twoness remains, but it becomes more and more illusory. Oneness is felt as more real than twoness, but twoness remains.
The seeker on the path of love says that this is the beauty, and the experience is richer for it. A mathematical unity means the experience is not a rich one. In a flat way, two things have disappeared and there is one. It is less mystic. Lovers say, “We remain two and yet we are not two,” and they go on talking in terms of this nonduality in duality, oneness in twoness. The oneness is basic, but on the surface the beloved is the beloved and the lover is the lover and there is a gap. Deep down, the gap has disappeared.
Love is a poetic approach towards existence, and minds differ.
I remember one anecdote about a British scientist, a Nobel prizewinner, Dirac. A friend of Dirac’s - another scientist, a Russian scientist, Kapitsa - gave him one of the most highly praised novels of Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment. Kapitsa said to Dirac, “Go through this novel and then tell me your impression.”
When Dirac returned the book he said, “It is nice, but there is one fault, one error in the book. The writer says that the sun rises twice in the same day - on the same day the sun rises twice.” In the story somewhere Dostoyevsky has made the error: the sun rises twice on the same day in the novel. So Dirac said, “That is the only error, and I have nothing more to say.”
This was the only thing he said about Dostoyevsky’s great novel, Crime and Punishment, and he is no ordinary man. But the approach, the approach of a mathematician, it is not the approach of a poet, of an artist, of a lover. It is the approach of an impartial observer, mathematical. Only this he had to say, “There is one error: the sun cannot rise twice in the same day.” About such a great creation, such a great piece of art, Crime and Punishment, only this struck his mind.
Why? The training of the mind, impartial observation, mathematical observation... No one had ever detected this error. He was the first man. Many have felt a deep insight in Dostoyevsky’s book, a depth psychology, a great poetry, a great drama, but no one has detected this error.