Chapter 16: There Is Only the One
Hindu thinking says that the world is divided into two, but that which is divided is a oneness. Hindu thinking says that if the world were really divided into two, then there would never be any possibility of peace. If the two were absolutes, then the struggle would never end; it would always be there. Sometimes God would win, sometimes the Devil; sometimes good would win, sometimes evil - but how would it ever come to an end? Because evil is an independent energy in its own right, it cannot be destroyed; it can only win or lose. And goodness is also an independent energy in its own right. Goodness also cannot finally win, because the energy of evil cannot be destroyed. Evil is also an energy; both are energies and both are eternal. God and the Devil are both eternal, the world and the state of liberation are both eternal - so how can there be any end to this situation?
If a man is entangled in the world and somehow, with great struggle and effort, he manages to come out of it, then what is the guarantee that tomorrow he will not fall back into it again? This is exactly what happened once, and it can happen again. The world will still be here, it does not just disappear, and it can entangle that person again. If it could do this once, why can’t it do the same thing again? So this struggle will be eternal. Not only the two energies, but the struggle itself will also have become eternal, and there will be no end to it.
Hence, Hindu thinking says a very beautiful thing: this struggle is a play, a leela; it is not eternal. This struggle is only a facade, but it is not part of the depth. This struggle is just an entertainment. This is why in India, and in particular in Hindu thinking, it is said that the world is a play; that there is no reason to believe that it is real. And if it is a play, then it can also come to an end. It is a play, and it is one and the same reality in the depths of both sides. The moment you experience this, the play is over. Even if it does not disappear, as long as you realize that it is just a play, you will be free of it.
This is why Hindu thinking has talked about two types of liberated people. One they call jeevanmukta, liberated in life. A jeevanmukta is someone who is participating in the play, but knows that it is a play. The other they call mukta, the liberated one, who knows it is a play and has stepped out of the play.
I am on both sides - both sides belong to me. This experience led to profound conclusions. It means that all defeats are mine, all victories are mine. It means that I am never defeated or victorious because I am the only player. It means that any separation between the world and the state of liberation is destroyed. It means that liberation can happen while living in the world, that there is no longer any contradiction anywhere, there is no reason to see the world as your enemy. Then, in the deepest sense, the world is the play of one single reality. Then there is no need to create a duality and become full of tension because of it.
Remember, by dividing the world in two, we also divide man into two. Then his body and his soul become antagonistic to each other; his senses and his consciousness become antagonistic to each other. This antagonism will also create tension inside, and there will be no way to dissolve this tension. A man who is filled with this tension will either start destroying his senses or he will start destroying his soul, but either way he will suffer.
The insight of Indian thinking is that tension is created only when we divide the One into two - and then anxiety is born. Don’t divide into two, because hidden behind the two is the One.