Chapter 9: Only the Knowing Remains
This will be easily understood if we put it this way: meditation leads you up to the great experience of light. After this, meditation is not useful. So those who have never practiced meditation but are offering prayer are foolish - there is no need of prayer where they are. And they too are foolish who have practiced meditation and consider prayer unnecessary, because meditation will bring us to the door of light, but once there, only a deeply sincere prayer can help.
In the end you will have to pray, “I am in your hands, lead me! I have come to this point, now lead me beyond this.” And remember, the man who has traveled to the limits of meditation earns the right to ask God to lead him beyond. Now, when God’s grace begins to descend on him, he is prepared. He has reached as far as man can go, and even God cannot expect more than this from him. This is the utmost limit of man’s ability. If now God also demands more from man, it is tyranny, it is excess.
No question of more than this arises. Now, only prayer can help, and the prayer is, “I surrender to your hands: O God, remove this curtain.” Prayer is the step that brings meditation to its completion, and total surrender is the final step on the path of will and determination. You have to exert yourself as far as you can, but the moment you feel, “I can go no further than this,” resort to prayer. At that moment, cry aloud for God’s grace; tell him, “I have come as far as was possible on my feeble legs, but it is beyond me to go further. Now you take care of me!” This is the moment when the sage prays that the curtain may be removed and the true face revealed.
What will truth be like? What will it be like when light is also removed? It is necessary to grasp this. It is very difficult, very deep and subtle, but it is necessary to understand it a little so that it can be useful to us. I told you that in the outside world there are illuminated objects and the light source. There is no experience of light itself in the world outside. It is experienced only within, where there are neither objects nor source. And then, finally, the light also disappears.
We think there will be darkness when light disappears, that is our experience; and we might regard the sage’s prayer as foolish, because how can he see God’s face in the darkness which will be there when the curtain of light is removed? Remember, he has already conquered darkness; now, when the light disappears, there will not be darkness. Darkness has already disappeared long before. Facing him now is the curtain of light. What will remain when the light disappears?
When the sun sets it is evening; the night has not yet come. It is a period when the source of light has disappeared and darkness has not yet descended. That moment we are seeking to describe is the twilight which lies between day and night. That is why prayer and twilight are described by the same Hindi word - sandhya - they are synonymous. People began to call prayer sandhya, and to look upon sunset as the time for prayer. There are two sandhyas - one before sunrise and the other after sunset. They are midpoints; the day is over but the night has not yet come, or the night is over and the day is yet to come. That small gap between the two is known as sandhya, and we have made that period the time of worship and prayer. But the real fact is different.