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Chapter 13: Birth of a New Man

It is the witness - the knower - which is the self. This self is separate from birth and death, separate from maya and moksha, world and liberation. It is only a witness, a witness to everything - to light, to darkness, to the world, to nirvana. This self is beyond all dualities. The truth is, this self is even beyond the self and the other, because it is a witness to them as well.

As soon as one knows this witness he becomes like a lotus - separate from the mud out of which it was born and untouched by the water in which it lives. Such a man is calm and composed in all life’s varied situations - in pleasure and in pain, in honor and in humiliation - because he is only a witness. Whatever happens it does not happen to him, it happens in front of him. He becomes just like a mirror which reflects thousands of images but on which no mark of any of them is left behind.

An old monk came to the shore of a river with a young companion. The young man asked, “How shall we cross this river?” The old man replied, “In such a way that your feet don’t get wet.” The young man heard him and like a flash of lightning something became very clear and evident to him. The river had come and gone but the mysterious maxim had penetrated deeply into his heart. It became the guiding principle and style of his life. Because of this he learned to cross the river in a way that his feet did not get wet.

Become a person who eats and yet is fasting, who is in the midst of a crowd and yet alone, who is awake while sleeping, because only such a man attains to liberation while in the world and finds the divine in matter.

Someone has said, “The world should not be in the mind, the mind should not be in the world.” This is the key. And if the first half of the maxim is perfected, the second half follows on its own. The first half is the cause; the latter, its effect. If the first is perfected the second is its natural consequence. Those who begin with the second half are mistaken, because that does not work, the second half is not the cause, not the root. So I say the maxim is only this: The world should not be in the mind. The remaining is not part of the maxim, it is the consequence of the maxim. If the world is not in the mind, the mind does not go to the world. That which is not in the mind cannot pull the mind.

In samadhi, enlightenment, there is no object to be known, hence the state of samadhi cannot be called knowledge. It certainly isn’t knowledge in the ordinary sense but at the same time it isn’t ignorance either. There is nothing there for not-knowing either. It is different from both knowledge and ignorance. It is neither knowing nor not-knowing of any object, for there is no object there at all. There is only subjectivity. There is only that which knows. There is no knowledge of any object there, but only the knowing - consciousness empty of content.

Someone once asked a monk, “What is meditation?” He replied, “To be in that which is near is meditation.”

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