Chapter 4: Don't Compare
The first question:
Sitting near you I increasingly feel deep silence and what seems to be emptiness, but there is no bliss in it. I tend to regard this as an indication that something is wrong, especially at darshan where so many people are so blissful. I don’t seem to have any idea whether I am on the right track or not. Sometimes I think I am becoming more meditative and other times I think I am totally off beam and lost. Please comment.
Deva Ashoka, the temple of godliness has many doors. Each door has its uniqueness and one should not compare one door with another door. Silence is one of the doors to the divine, just as bliss is, truth is, love is, freedom is, awareness is, meditation is, prayerfulness is. Man can enter into the divine through as many ways as there are types in the world. And each type will have its own joys, experiences on the way.
But finally, when one has entered the temple, all those experiences melt and merge into one experience which is not possible to express. The ways can be expressed, but the goal remains unexpressed. Nothing can be said about it - it is a nameless experience - but the ways have names.
Silence is totally different from bliss. If you start comparing with others you will be getting into unnecessary difficulty. Comparison creates anxiety - no need to compare with what is happening to others, just see what is happening to you. Is it healthy? Is it nourishing? Without any comparison just watch what is happening to you. Are you becoming more centered, more rooted, more grounded? Are you feeling at home?
And this has to be without any comparison, otherwise everybody here will be in difficulty, because somebody is moving through the door of bliss and he will start comparing, “Why I am not as silent as Ashoka? Something is wrong. I dance and I sing and I feel great joy, but where is that profound silence which Buddha speaks of? Something is wrong, I am not on the right track.”
The same is happening to you, and each path has its own language. I have given you the name Deva Ashoka. It will be helpful to be reminded that Ashoka was the man who transformed the whole face of Asia. It was he and only he who made Buddha the light of Asia. Ashoka was one of the greatest emperors in the world. In many ways he was far greater a man than Alexander the Great because, even being a great emperor, the only emperor who ruled over the biggest map of India possible.. Since then India has never been so big; many chunks of it have fallen away. Still it is a vast country, but Ashoka was the emperor of the greatest India possible, almost half of Asia.