Chapter 12: I Am the Ultimate
To lie, one needs some experience. Lying is a complicated phenomenon, truth is not. To lie you need a developed memory, you have to remember what kind of thing you have said to one person and what kind of thing you have said to another person. A lying person needs a good memory. A man of truth needs no memory because he is simply saying that which is the case.
The child has no experience other than the truth, other than what he experiences. He cannot lie. The days of the Upanishads are the days of man’s childhood, of purity and innocence, of deep love and trust. The first age the Upanishads call satyuga, the Age of Truth. Truth was not a long journey. You were not to go anywhere to find it. You were living in it.
The situation was exactly expressed by Kabir in a symbolic parable: A fish in the ocean, who must have had a philosophic bent, started inquiring of other fish, “I have heard so much about the ocean, but I want to know where it is.”
The poor fish that she questioned had also heard about the ocean but they were not so curious, so they never bothered about where it was. They said, “We have also heard about the ocean, but where it is we have never bothered to ask, and we don’t know the answer.”
And the young philosopher fish went on asking everybody, “Where is the ocean?” And they were all stunned. They had heard about it from their forefathers - it had always been known - but as far as an exact description or experience was concerned, nobody was able to explain it to the young fish.
Finally the young fish declared, “You are all stupid. There is no ocean at all.” Nobody could answer the fish.
Kabir says the same is the situation of man. Man goes on asking, “Have you seen God? Have you seen the mysterious, the miraculous?” And all he can hear is, “We have heard about it, we have read about it.” But there was a day when people were so innocent, childlike, that they knew it - that they are surrounded by the ocean, that the ocean is not to be searched for, it is within and without. They are part of it, they are born in it, they live in it, they breathe in it, and they will one day disappear into it. They are part and parcel of the ocean.
But every child has to grow. And just as every child has to grow, Satyuga, the Age of Truth, could not remain forever. It produced the great scriptures called the Upanishads - the word is so beautiful: it simply means ‘sitting by the side of the master’ - those are recordings from the notes of disciples who were sitting in silence by the side of the master. Once in a while, out of his meditation, he would say something; out of his heart something would be transferred to the disciple, and the disciple would take a note. Those notes are the Upanishads.
Satyuga, the Age of Truth, disappeared - the child grew. The second stage is called treta - it is compared to a table. The first, Satyuga, the Age of Truth, was almost like a table with four legs, absolutely balanced. Treta means three. One leg of the table has disappeared. Now it is no more a table with four legs, with that certainty, with that trust, with that grounding, with that centering, with that great balance.Now it is only a tripod, three legs.