Chapter 17: Don’t Imitate, Just Be Yourself
Questioner: As your discourse gathers momentum we are carried away with it, we give up resisting it, rather we try to flow with you. But our difficulty is that your energy is so powerful that we cannot keep pace with you.
In the book named The Way of the White Cloud it is said, “Sometimes I take away the man, the subject, but do not take away the circumstances, that is object. Sometimes I take away the circumstances, but do not take away the man. Sometimes I take away both the man and the circumstances. And sometimes I take away neither the man nor the circumstances.” You spoke about Shree Arvind this morning. I agree with you to a large extent, but I have some reservations in regard to your interpretation of Arvind seeing visions of Krishna. Then you say it is meaningless to quote scriptures like the Vedas and the Upanishads in support of what one has to say, because it reflects one’s inferiority complex. But Krishna thinks differently. He says to Arjuna, “I teach you the knowledge, the wisdom that is available to me from anadikal or time infinite.” Krishna asserts that the wisdom he brings to this earth belongs to infinity. But Buddha claims that his wisdom is founded on personal experience, although his concept of nirvana or ultimate freedom is the same as is formulated by the first Upanishad and the Bhagavad Gita. And Dr. Radhakrishnan says that Buddha’s teachings are nothing but extensions of upanishadic principles. Under the circumstances, it is difficult to vouch for one’s authenticity. We find ourselves in difficulty in regard to your style, the way you speak. It seems you overwhelm us with your logic, but when you come to facts things become easier for us. When I came here I had a feeling that coming in contact with Rajneesh, the ice of my ego will melt and disappear. And it is true that my ego has diminished to a large extent. Please comment.
Truth is beginningless.
The Upanishad’s word anadi does not mean old, it means beginningless. Anadi means that which has no beginning, the beginningless. It does not mean ancient as you seem to think. However old and ancient a thing may be, it has a beginning, but truth has no beginning. And that which becomes old cannot be truth, because truth is now, in this moment.
Truth is neither new nor old. What is called a new truth is going to become old in the future. What is now called old was new sometime in the past, and what is new today will grow old tomorrow. It is in the nature of things that everything new becomes old. Truth is neither of the two; truth is eternal. Or you can say that which is eternal is truth. So anadi means the eternal, not old and ancient.
When Krishna says, “I teach the truth that is anadi,” it does not mean that he is talking about some old and ancient truth. Krishna means to say that which is, is truth. He says, “I teach you the eternal truth.” Those who knew it in the past - if they really knew it - knew the truth that is eternal. And those who know it today - if they really know it - know the same eternal truth. And those who will know it in the future, if they really know, it will be the same truth that is without beginning and without end. Only falsehood can be old and new; truth cannot be new or old.
Of course, there are two ways of saying the truth.
When Buddha speaks about truth he does not refer to all those who have known truth in the past, there is no need. When he knows truth on his own, he need not produce witnesses in his support; that would make no difference whatsoever. What he knows he knows; witnesses are not going to add anything to it. Even a thousand names of people who have known truth will not add one iota to the measure of Buddha’s truth, nor will they add to the glory and grandeur of truth itself. That is why Buddha says it directly as he has known it.
And Buddha does so deliberately; there is a good reason why he does not mention the names of the old seers. In Buddha’s time these authoritative names were being misused and they carried a danger with them. Remember, whenever Buddha said something he always asked his listeners not to accept it just because somebody else knows and says it. He always warned his listeners against authority. Throughout his life, Buddha insisted that unless someone knows truth on his own, he should not accept it as true on the authority of others - including Buddha.