Chapter 16: The Great Dance of Suchness
I always like to illustrate this point by the phenomenon of dance. A painter paints, but the moment he has painted his picture, the painter is separate from the picture. Now the painter can die and the picture will remain. Or you can destroy the picture, but by doing that the painter will not be destroyed - they are separate. Now the picture can exist for centuries without the painter. The painter is not needed. Once painted, it is finished; the relationship is broken.
Look at the dancer. He dances, but the dance is not separate; it cannot be separated. If the dancer is dead, then the dance is dead. Dance is not separate from the dancer; the dance cannot exist without the dancer. And the dancer cannot exist without the dance either because the moment there is no dance, the person may be there, but he is not a dancer.
God’s relation to the world, for the Upanishads, is that of dance and the dancer. Hence, we have pictured Shiva as Nataraj, the dancer. A very deep meaning is there - that this world is not something secondary that God has created, then forgotten about and become separate from. The world is not of a secondary order. It is as much of the first order as the divine himself because this world is just a dance, a leela, a play. It cannot be separated.
Calling Brahman that, says all that is is Brahman, all that is, is he - the manifested and the unmanifested, the creation and the creator. He is both.
The word that - Tat - also has a very subtle meaning. Buddha has used that meaning very much and Buddhists have a separate school of teaching just based on this word. Buddha has called that suchness, he has called it tathata; hence Buddha’s name, Tathagata - the man who has achieved suchness, who has achieved that.
This word suchness is very beautiful. What does it mean? If you are born, Buddha will say, “Such is the case that you are born.” No other comment. If you die he will say, “Such is the case - you die.” No other comment, no reaction to it; things are such. Then everything becomes acceptable. If you say, “Things are such that now I have become old, ill; things are such that I am defeated; things are such that I am victorious; things are such.” then you don’t claim anything, and you don’t feel frustrated because you don’t expect anything. Such is the nature of things. Then one who is born will die, one who is healthy will become ill, one who is young will become old, one who is beautiful will become ugly. Such is the nature of things.
Unnecessarily you get worried about it; this suchness is not going to change because of your worry. Unnecessarily you get involved in it; your involvement is not going to change anything. Things will go on moving in their own way. The suchness, the river of suchness, will go on moving in spite of you. Whatsoever you do makes no difference; whatsoever you think makes no difference. You cannot make any difference in the nature of things.
Once this feeling settles within your heart, then life has no frustration for you. Then life cannot frustrate you, then life cannot disappoint you. And with this feeling of suchness a subtle joy arises in your being. Then you can enjoy everything - you are no more, really. With the feeling that “Such is the nature, such is existence, such is the course of things,” your ego disappears.