Chapter 4: Death Is Life
Even meeting with oneself is no small matter; it is very great. But it is big only in the context of the first six sutras; in the context of the eighth sutra it is not a big thing. Attaining to oneself is difficult. To know oneself totally is also very difficult. But it is much more difficult to lose and dissolve oneself.
If a person is imprisoned, then the first condition for him to become free of that prison will be for him to realize that he is in a prison. If he does not realize that he is in a prison then there is no way for him to get out of that prison. The first condition for him to get out of the prison will be to know that “I am in a prison.”
The second condition will be to know the prison well - what it really is. Where are the walls, where are the exit doors? Where is the way out? Where are the windows, where are the bars? Where is the weak point from which it is possible to escape? Where are the guards? The second step will be to become completely familiar with the prison, to become totally aware of the prison; only then is it possible to be free of the prison.
Deep down inside, the “I” is the prison. The ego, the self, is the only prison. It seems to be a small prison, but it is not. It is full of great energies, full of great treasures, but still it is a prison. Outside it is the vast expanse of existence where there is freedom, where there is liberation. First of all we are not aware of our own self - how vast it is or what it is. The search for this is total. And when it is known totally, there is danger, great danger. I will tell you about that danger.
One who manages to get past that danger will be able to understand the eighth sutra. The moment you become aware that you are the master of so many treasures, so many jewels, so much wealth, the prison starts looking like an emperor’s palace and not a prison anymore.
If a prisoner comes to know that there are so many treasures in the prison, so much gold, so much wealth; if he comes to know about the treasures of the prison, then most probably he will also deny that this is a prison and will say that it is an emperor’s palace. And perhaps this treasure will now become the only barrier to his getting out of the prison. It is possible that the guards may not have been able to stop him, his chains may not have stopped him, all the arrangements of the prison may not have stopped him from escaping - but the treasures he finds in the prison can.
The danger is that the day we come to know about the whole treasure of our being, the full extent of our bliss, we may forget that this self is a very small territory, it is a very small part of the vast infinity. It is as if somebody has filled an earthen pot with water and emptied it into the ocean. The water that is inside the earthen pot is also from the ocean, but how can there be any comparison between the water from the ocean that is inside the pot and the ocean that is outside the pot?