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Chapter 1: Toward the Awakening

Invocation

Aum, may Brahman protect us both. May he nourish us both. May we both achieve energy. May this study make us both illumined. May we never hate each other.
Aum, peace, peace, peace.

Aum, may my limbs become strong. Also, let my speech, prana - vital air - sight, hearing, and all the sense organs, be vigorous. The entire existence is the Brahman of the Upanishads. May I never deny Brahman; may Brahman not deny me. Let there be no denial at all. Let there be no denial at least on my part. Whatever virtues are in the Upanishads, may they abide in I who am devoted to the atman - self. May they abide in me.
Aum, peace, peace, peace.

I do not know where to begin or where to end, because life itself is beginningless and endless. Like these hills around you or the clouds wandering above you, or like the sky, you are also beginningless and endless. Nothing ever begins or ends, and that which can have a beginning or an end is bound to be artificial. Nature remains, abides; it is always there.

So whenever a question arises of talking about the ultimate, the supreme, the innermost, the very ground of being, it becomes difficult to know where to begin and where to end because it is always there, it has always been so and it will always be so. There has never been a beginning to it and never will there be an end. So I will begin just in the middle because that is the only possible place to begin, and I will end just in the middle because there is no other way to end it.

The first thing I would like to say to you is that I have chosen this Upanishad not to comment upon it. Commentaries are already too many and they have not helped anyone. They may have harmed many, they may have become hindrances to many, but they have not helped anyone. Commentaries cannot help because commentaries are second rate. I am not going to comment on this Upanishad, rather, on the contrary, I am going to respond to it. I will just echo and re-echo.

Really, whatsoever I say will belong basically to me. The Upanishad is just an excuse. Through it I will explain myself - remember this. Whatsoever I have felt, whatsoever I have known and lived, I would like to talk about it. I feel the same has been the case with the seers of the Upanishads. They have known, they have lived, they have experienced the same truth. Their ways of expression may be different - their language is very ancient; it has to be decoded again so that it becomes available to you, to the contemporary mind. But whatsoever they have said, they have said the basic thing.

Whenever someone comes to be a void, whenever someone comes to be a nobody, this happens - that which has happened to the seers of the Upanishads. Whenever you are not, the divine becomes present; whenever you are, the divine is absent.

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