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Chapter 5: Desiring the Unattainable

Is there something that death cannot take from you? If there is nothing, then religion is pointless, meaningless. But there is something that death cannot take over, and that something is hidden within you: you already possess it. It is your innermost nature. It has come with you, you are born with it. Or rather, it will be better to say, you are it. Not that you possess it, because if you possess it, it can be taken away.

You are it. It is your very being. It is your very ground, it is your existence. That is what is called atma. Atma means that which you are already. No one can take it away from you, not even death can destroy it.

This sutra says: Desire only that which is within you. Desire atma, desire your innermost self, desire the center, which you already possess but have forgotten completely.

Why does man forget? It is just part of a necessity: to survive, attention has to be paid to the outside world. To survive, to exist, to remain in life, you have to continuously pay attention to things: to food, to shelter. The body needs attention. The body becomes ill, the body is prone to suffering. The body is continuously in a struggle to survive, because for the body there is death and a continuous struggle with death. So you have to pay attention to it. The body is always in a state of emergency because at any moment death can occur. You have to be continually aware and conscious of this fight - this fight against death - so your whole attention moves outward. No energy is left to move within. This is a survival necessity. That’s why we go on forgetting that a center exists within us that is deathless, a center exists within us that is eternal, a center exists within us that is absolute bliss.

Pain attracts attention, suffering attracts attention. If you have a headache, your attention moves to the head - then you become aware that you have a head. If there is no pain, no ache in the head, you forget about it. You become headless, as if you have no head.

To me, the body is felt only when it is ill. If your body is absolutely healthy you will not feel it; you will become weightless. Really, you will become bodiless. This is the only criterion of authentic health: that the body is not felt at all. Wherever the body is felt it means that there is an illness, a disturbance, and your attention is called.

There are so many problems outside that your attention is constantly engaged and occupied there. That’s why you forget that something exists just in the very center of your being that is deathless, that is divine, that is blissful.

This sutra says:

Desire only that which is within you.

For within you is the light of the world - the only light that can be shed upon the path. If you are unable to perceive it within you, it is useless to look for it elsewhere.

The eighth sutra:

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