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Chapter 14: The Infinitesimal and the Cosmic

Psychologists say that the search for moksha, for ultimate liberation, is because of the absolute peace that we experience in the womb. And to a certain extent, there is some truth in it. That experience is a deep one, and it is followed by the shock of the world. So far no psychologist has made a connection between this finding and Indian thinking, otherwise they would be amazed. If they made this connection they would immediately understand that the desire of the Indian mind to become free from birth and death is about freedom from the birth trauma - how to be free of the shock that has come from being born.

The Indian concept of moksha is of a vast womb. We have called it hiranyamaya-garbha, the womb of the divine. The wish is to disappear into the womb of the divine in the same way as one was in the mother’s womb - with no worry, no hurt and pain, no awareness of the other.

But when the child comes out of the womb he sees the world. When the seed breaks and sprouts, it sees the sun. This is our situation: that as we are, we are closed in the shell of the ego. We don’t see anything beyond it; only “I” and more “I” is seen. Even if once in a while a glimpse of somebody else happens, that too is because the person is “mine.” He or she is my friend, is my brother, is my wife, is my husband. Only then does a slight contact happen with the person via this “mine,” only then do I have a little glimpse of the person. This is my whole world, and I have no idea about the vastness that is beyond my world.

Religion is a rebirth - it is the coming out of another womb. It also is shattering for the ego. But the ego will shatter only when something sprouts in you that is beyond the sum of all your parts, when something other than the sum total of your parts starts arising in you. The day you start feeling the whole in the parts, only then know that you have set out on the journey towards the brahman, the ultimate reality.

The first thing is that the indivisible whole is not a sum total of parts. Understand this a little more deeply, then perhaps you will be able to grasp it, because the concept is difficult. And because it is not your experience in any way it becomes even more difficult to understand.

For example, the number ten is a summation: if you add the number one ten times, it becomes ten. If you subtract the number one ten times, it becomes zero, nothing is left. So the number ten is just a sum of parts; in it there is only the summation.

Then there is a poem: it is not just a sum total of all the words in it - there is something more than that in it. That “something more” than the sum total of words is the difference between mathematics and poetry. If somebody says a poem is just the sum total of its words, he is making a wrong statement. When you read a poem, even if later on you forget the words, some fragrance of the poem will still remain with you. Even if the words don’t stay in your memory, the impact of the poem on your heart will still linger behind. If you take all the words out of the poem and make a list of them on a piece of paper, then reading them will not create a feeling that will stir your heart. Or if you rearrange those same words in the poem differently, all the poetry will fall apart, it will disappear. What you experience when you read a poem is not just the sum total of the words. It is something more than that.

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