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Chapter 1: Ask a Question Close to Home

This is the first thing to be understood about yoga it is a science. It is very pragmatic, empirical. It fulfills all the criteria of science. In fact what you call science is a little far away, because science concentrates on objects. And yoga says unless you understand the subject, which is your nature, closest to you, how can you understand the object? If you don’t know yourself, all else that you know is bound to be erroneous, because the base is missing. You are on faulty ground. If you are not enlightened within, then whatsoever light you carry without is not going to help you. And if you carry the light within then there is no fear: let there be darkness outside; your light will be enough for you. It will enlighten your path.

Metaphysics does not help; it confuses.

It happened When I was a student in the university. I joined the subject of moral philosophy, ethics. I attended only the first lecture of the professor. I could not believe that a man can be so outdated. He was talking almost a hundred years back, as if he was completely unaware of what new growth has happened to the subject of moral philosophy. But that could have been forgiven. He was tremendously boring, as if he was making all efforts to bore you. But that was also not a big problem; I could have slept. But he was annoying also, jarring - his voice, his manners.. But that, too, one can become accustomed to. He was very much confused. In fact I have never come across a man with so many qualities all joined in one person.

I never went again to his class. Of course, he must have been annoyed by that, but he never said anything. He waited for his time, because he knew one day I will have to appear in the examination. I appeared. He was even more annoyed because I got ninety-five percent marks. He could not believe it.

One day when I was coming out of the university cafeteria and he was going in, he caught hold of me. He stopped me and said, “Listen. How did you manage? You only attended my first lecture, and for two years I have not seen your face. How did you manage to get ninety-five percent marks?”

I said, “It must be because of your first lecture.”

He looked puzzled. He said, “My first lecture! Just out of one lecture?” “Don’t try to befool me,” he said. “Tell me the truth.”

I said, “Propriety won’t allow it.”

He said, “Forget all about propriety. Just tell me the truth. I will not mind.”

I said, “I have told you the truth, but you have misunderstood it. If I had not attended your lecture I would have got a hundred percent. You confused me! That accounts for those five percent I lost.

Metaphysics, philosophy, all distant thinking simply confuse you. It leads you nowhere. It muddles your mind. It gives you more and more to think, and it doesn’t help you to become more aware. Thinking is not going to help: only meditation can help. And the difference is: while you think, you are more concerned with thoughts; while you meditate, you are more concerned with the capacity of awareness.

Philosophy is concerned with the mind; yoga is concerned with consciousness. Mind is that of which you can become aware: you can look at your thinking, you can see your thoughts passing, you can see your feelings moving, you can see your dreams floating like clouds. Riverlike, they go on and on; it is a continuum. The one that can see this is consciousness.

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