Chapter 2: Right Here, Right Now
That’s how we express it in language: “I am an empty sky.” But how is it possible as long as “I” is there? If “I” is, then the sky remains separate. When the feeling of empty sky comes, then “I” will be gone, only empty sky will remain.
People say, “Aham brahmasmi - I am God, I am brahman.” But when brahman is, how can “I” remain? Only brahman remains, not I. But there is no other way to express it.
Language is for people who are asleep. Language belongs to those who have settled in a strange country but consider it their homeland.
Silence is for those who know.
Language is for the ignorant.
So as soon as you say anything, just in saying it truth becomes untruth. “Aham brahmasmi” - I am brahman, I am the sky. Say it, it becomes a lie. Only sky is. But to say, “Only sky is” is not the whole truth, because “only” indicates that there must be something more; otherwise why the emphasis on only? “Sky is”? - there is difficulty even in saying this because “is” can become “is not.”
We say, “The house is.” Someday it will cease to be, it may fall down, become a ruin. We say, “The man is.” Someday the man will die. The sky is not like this, that sometimes it is and sometimes it is not. The sky always is, so to say, “Sky is” is a repetition. The very nature of the sky is to be. So why repeat “is”? It is correct to say “is” for those things which some day cease to exist. A man is. One day he was not, today he is, and tomorrow again he will not be. Our “is” exists between two “nots.”
The isness of the sky was yesterday, is today and will also be tomorrow. What is the meaning of “is” between two “ises”? “Is” has meaning between two “is nots.” So to say, “Sky is” is also a repetition. Let us say, “Sky.” But when we say sky, when we make a word, even then it is wrong. Just to say sky means there is something which is different from it, separate from it; otherwise what is the need of a word? If there is only one, there is no need to say one. One is meaningful only when two is, three is, four is - where there are numbers. Why say sky?
This is why wisdom is silent. It is impossible to bring the ultimate wisdom into words.
But we are fortunate that rare individuals like Ashtavakra have made untiring, impossible efforts. As much as it is possible they have made the effort to bring the fragrance of truth into words. And note: few have been as successful as Ashtavakra in their attempt. Many have attempted to bring the truth into words - all were defeated. Defeat is certain. But if you look among the defeated, the least defeated is Ashtavakra. He is the most successful. If you listen rightly you will be reminded of your home.