Chapter 8: Why Go to Others?
Kabir is sitting in his cottage, saying, I’m in a muddle. You resolve it, bhagwan. For mystics like Kabir, God is not a person, not an individual; for them, the whole existence is bhagwan. And if there is a problem in your life, where else will you take it? You have only to disclose it to existence - if a problem arises within you, then ask existence. Ask the existence out of which everything has come, out of which we have come, out of which your problem has come. Ask the existence into which we will all be absorbed. Is it not possible that your knot, your problem, will be absorbed into existence along with you? Can you see any way out for your tiny problem when we will all be lost like drops of water into this vastness? Will not the disease be cured when the patient himself is lost?
Then why do you beg from house to house? Why should you consult anyone else? Why should you not simply bare yourselves, simply surrender yourselves before that totality? This is the essence of prayer. And Kabir’s love of prayer is very profound.
Let us try to understand this a bit more deeply. There are two ways to reach the destination. One way is that of meditation; the other, that of prayer. The path of meditation is for the pursuers of knowledge; the path of prayer is for the lovers, for the devotees.
On the path of meditation there is a danger that the ego, the “I,” may not vanish, because the idea that “I am meditating” remains. In meditation there is no one else but “I”; there is neither God, nor anyone else. In meditation you are alone. Unless you remain tremendously alert in meditation, the ego, the “I,” will thwart you. No matter what heights you reach in meditation, the stone of the ego will remain heavy on your chest and you will be unable to fly. So at the final moment the meditator has to give up the ego. This is his emptiness. This is what Buddha calls the void, when the ego vanishes completely.
To attain to meditation is not enough - after that you will have to give up the ego. The ego will be purified, but it will still be there. That is the final veil. It is very fine, you can see through it. The veil will be transparent, but you will also have to remove it or it will simply remain there like a glass wall. You will be able to see what is beyond it, but you will be unable to meet him, you will be unable to become one with God.
On the path of prayer, one has to give up the ego at the outset, at the initial stage. The devotee sets aside first what the yogi, the meditator, the sage, gives up at the end.
Prayer means surrender. Prayer means to absorb oneself, to lose oneself at the feet of another. If you are able to pray, in the real sense of the word, there is no need for meditation.
I lay stress on meditation because I know you are not able to pray. My emphasis on meditation will begin to diminish when I see you are becoming strong enough to pray. I stress meditation because meditation can be practiced in spite of the ego, but prayer cannot. And this century is an age of great ego. Never before in history has there been such an egoistic age. The stumbling block of this century is that every individual is filled with ego. Everyone has become a peak unto himself; everyone considers himself complete, without defect. “Why and for what should I surrender?” you ask.