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Chapter 15: The Art of Suchness

A musician is able to catch subtle nuances in music which we cannot. Not only is he able to catch the nuances, he even begins to experience the gap, the emptiness between the two notes. The real music is not born of sound, rather it springs from the moments of silence existing between the sounds. The notes on either side merely do the job of projecting that silence, that’s all. But people have no idea of this silence; for them music is no more than noise.

For a master musician, the words, or the notes have no direct bearing upon the music. To him the musical notes merely serve the purpose of emphasizing the state of no-sound that exists in between. So whatever we practice continuously, whatever we resolve persistently, begins to manifest, show results.

The way human beings, birds, animals, plants live, is determined by their will. Whatever we resolve deeply is what we become. There is a significant account in the life of Ramakrishna. In his life Ramakrishna had practiced six or seven spiritual disciplines of different religions. He felt that if all religions lead to the same place, why not follow their methods and verify this truth? So he underwent the disciplines of the Christians, the Sufis, the Vaishnavas, the Shaivites, the Tantrikas, and so on. Whatever method he could lay his hands on, he tried.

However, no one knew what he was doing, because these disciplines were practiced on the inner plane. Outwardly, no one could know what was going on with Ramakrishna. For instance, how could one figure out from the outside what was happening inside him when he followed the discipline of the Sufis? And he himself never mentioned a word about what he was involved in. Nevertheless, in the course of these practices he went through a certain discipline which produced such incredible results that even people from outside could not miss what was happening to him.

There is a sect in Bengal called the sakhi-sampradaya. In this sect, the seeker looks upon himself as Krishna’s beloved or wife. He begins to live like Krishna’s girlfriend. Whether the seeker is a male or a female doesn’t matter. To the followers of this sect, Krishna is the only man; the seeker becomes his beloved, his Radha, his girlfriend.

For six months Ramakrishna practiced the discipline of this sect, and strangely enough, the tone of his voice became feminine. No one could distinguish his voice from a distance. His gait became feminine. Actually, men and women cannot walk alike; their biological structure is basically different. Since the woman carries a child, she has a special place in her abdomen for that purpose - which is not the case with men. Hence both walk differently. No matter how carefully a woman may take her steps, she can never walk like a man. She can never run like a man does - there is no way; their physical makeup is different.

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