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Chapter 6: The Great Teaching

The Song of Mahamudra continues:

In Mahamudra all one’s sins are burned;
in Mahamudra one is released from the prison of this world.
This is the Dharma’s supreme torch.
Those who disbelieve it are fools, who ever wallow
in misery and sorrow.
To strive for liberation one should rely on a guru.
When your mind receives his blessing, emancipation is at hand.
Alas, all things in this world are meaningless;
they are but sorrow’s seeds.
Small teachings lead to acts.
One should only follow teachings that are great.

Tantra believes, not in gradual development of the soul, but in sudden enlightenment. Yoga believes in gradual development: inch-by-inch, step-by-step, you progress toward the final.

Yoga is very arithmetical: for each sin that you have committed you have to balance it by a virtuous act; your account has to be closed completely. Without completing the account with this world, you cannot become enlightened. It is a mathematical conception, scientific, and the mind will say, “Of course, it has to be so. You committed sins, who is going to suffer for them? You committed the sins; you have to suffer for them. And only through suffering can you become liberated. Your acts have been evil; you have to balance them, you have to pay for them, and you have to perform good acts. When the balance is complete, only then is liberation possible; otherwise you will have to be thrown again and again to the earth, to be reborn, to move, to grow.” That is the whole philosophy of transmigration, rebirth.

Tantra says just the opposite. Tantra is a very, very poetic approach, not arithmetical. And Tantra believes in love, not in mathematics; it believes in sudden enlightenment. And it says that small teachings teach you about action; great teachings don’t teach you about how to act, they teach you what to be, how to be.

Actions are millions, and if you have to pay for all the actions, it seems almost impossible that you are ever going to be liberated. You have lived millions of lives; in each life, you have committed millions of acts. If you are going to pay, suffer for all those acts, and you have to balance each bad act with a good one, it will again take you millions of lives. And meanwhile, in the complex relationship of life, you will be committing many more actions. So where will this chain end? It seems impossible. Liberation becomes almost impossible; it cannot happen. If this is the way, that inch by inch one has to grow, then growth seems an impossible dream.

If you understand the attitude of Yoga, you will feel very, very hopeless, but Tantra is a great hope. Tantra is like an oasis in a world of deserts.

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