Chapter 11: The Choice Is Always Yours
Again and again, I would like to remind every seeker that, whatever sadhana he may be following, basically it is an antidote for his getting himself into a falsehood. And an antidote for a lie will inevitably have to be a lie. Only a poison can counter another poison - for it works in the opposite direction. It is essential to bring this point home to a seeker, otherwise he may succeed in dropping the sansara, but grab on to sannyas, to renunciation. He may drop the marketplace but seize upon the temple. He may give up money but latch onto meditation. It is dangerous to cling to anything, because whatsoever one hangs on to becomes a bondage - regardless of whether it is money or meditation. The day meditation is not needed, the day it becomes meaningless, that is when the sadhana becomes real.
Obviously, one who has reached the roof should find the ladder useless. If he still insists the ladder is useful to him and clings to it, then understand he has not yet reached the roof, he must still be standing somewhere on the ladder. It is conceivable one may reach the top rung of the ladder and yet hold tight to it. Should this be the case, then remember the man is still as far away from the roof as he was when he was standing on the first rung of the ladder. He has not reached the roof yet. In both cases he is far away from the roof.
You may climb almost the entire ladder, but if you stop at the last rung, it doesn’t mean you have reached the roof - you are still on the ladder. And that makes the difference. Initially you were on the first rung, now you are on the hundredth rung, but you are on the ladder nevertheless. And one who is on the ladder is definitely not on the roof. If you want to be on the roof, you will have to do two things: you will have to climb the ladder, and after reaching the roof, get rid of it.
That’s why I say, on the one hand, that meditation is useful. And at the same time I also say that meditation is nothing more than an antidote. Hence, I maintain, follow a spiritual discipline, and then drop it too. So when I say both things simultaneously it obviously creates a difficulty. It is natural you feel that on the one hand I say, do this, do that, and then I declare all sadhanas are false.
“If this is so then why should we follow them?” you naturally ask. Your logic says, “If one has to get off the ladder eventually, then why climb it in the first place?”
Remember, however, that one who doesn’t climb the ladder stays off it, and one who has climbed it and stepped out on the roof is also off the ladder - but both exist on totally different planes. One will be on the roof while the other will be on the ground below. Although neither is on the ladder, there is a fundamental difference between the two. One is off the ladder because he didn’t climb it, while the other is off because he did climb the ladder and then got off.
Life is a great mystery wherein one needs to climb up certain things and climb down other things; wherein one needs to cling to certain things and drop certain other things. But the human mind says, “If you want to hold on to something then hold to it completely; if you want to drop it then drop it absolutely.”
This kind of reasoning is dangerous. It cannot help bring about any dynamism in life. I am aware of both things, and I can see the problem. Some people are holding on to their riches while others are holding on to their religion. Some are clinging to the sansara, while some are holding tight to the idea of moksha - but basically the holding remains.