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Chapter 13: Passive Alertness Is the Key

This silence is totally different from the silence which you can create. You can create silence - you can sit in your house, you can close the doors, you can take a rosary, a mala, and you can go on turning its beads. A silence will come to you, but that will not be the real silence. It will be just like a child who has been given a toy to play with, so he goes on playing and becomes absorbed in his play; then he is not mischievous.

Parents use the toy as a trick just to make the child less mischievous. So he sits in a corner and goes on playing, and the parents can continue their own work and he is not a continuous nuisance. But the child has not transcended mischief; his mischief has been directed toward the toy, that’s all. The mischief is there; the child is there. Sooner or later he will become fed up with the toy. Bored, he will throw it away and the mischief will be back.

Rosaries are old men’s toys. Just as you give a toy to a child, children give rosaries to old men so that they are not mischievous. They sit in a corner and they go on turning their rosary. But they also get fed up; they get absorbed, but they also get fed up - then they keep changing rosaries. They go to another master and ask for another mantra because the old one is not functioning. They say it functioned in the beginning.

Many people come to me and say: “We have been doing a mantra; in the beginning it was helpful but it is not helping any more. Now we don’t feel anything, it has become boring. We do it as a duty, but the love has disappeared. If we don’t do it, we feel that we have missed something; if we do it nothing is gained.”

This is what addiction means. If you do it nothing is gained; if you don’t do it you feel that something is missing. This is what a smoker feels. If he smokes, he knows nothing is gained. He is doing something silly, just a stupid thing - taking smoke in and throwing it out. But that too is just like a rosary. You take the smoke in, and then you throw it out. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale - it becomes a rosary; you go on changing the beads. You can make it a mantra; when you inhale the smoke, say Ram; when you exhale, say Ram. It becomes a rosary.

Anything that you can repeat continuously becomes a mantra. Mantra means a repetition of a certain word, a certain sound, anything. A mantra helps the mind to be absorbed - it is a toy. For a few moments you feel good because the mischief stops, and you are so absorbed that the mind cannot function. This is a forced silence. It is pathological, it is not good. It is negative, it is not positive. This silence is like the silence that happens in a graveyard, the silence of death.

But the silence I am talking about is totally, qualitatively different. It is not a diversion of mischief, it is not a forced occupation, it is not a mantra hypnosis. It is a silence that happens to you when you are passive and alert, not doing anything, not even moving your rosary - totally passive, but alert.

Remember, passivity can become sleep. That’s why I emphasize the word alertness - because you can be passive and go to sleep. Sleep is not meditation. One quality of sleep is there, that of passivity; and one quality of waking is there, that of alertness. Relaxed as if you are asleep, alert as if you are awake.

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