Chapter 8: Seek, and You Will Miss
The first question:
You told the story about how a king had to be cruel to save a man from a snake going into his stomach. We also have the snake of passion and jealously within us. Why don’t you use some cruel means to save us?
There is no need to use a sword where a needle is enough. And the work which can be done with a needle cannot be done by using a sword. Actually, a sword will spoil the work which can be done with a needle. Do not cling to the words in the stories which I tell you. Understand their essence.
Certainly you have a disease, but the disease is not gross, it is very subtle. The snake of passion and jealousy has entered your stomach, but it cannot be taken out by beating your body. You have to pass through an equally subtle process. If the snake had been an ordinary snake, then what the king did in the story could have worked. He whipped the man, he forced him to eat rotten fruit and when his stomach was full right up to his throat, stinking, he started to vomit. The king went on beating the man and in that pain and turmoil the man vomited and the snake also fell out.
If you take this story literally.. And it would not be surprising if you understand it that way because most of your saints and monks have understood it that way. The disease is within, yet they are beating their bodies; the disease is inside and they are busy changing their behavior. The ego is hidden deep inside yet they are standing in the sun, torturing their bodies. They are whipping their bodies. They are lying on thorns, and the ego is so subtle that no thorn can touch it. On the contrary, by sleeping on thorns it will become stronger. If by beating your body the snake would come out then it would be a very easy task.
The snake is not in the body, the snake is in the mind. It is in the subtle, unconscious layers of the mind. And if you can understand, I would say to you that if this snake were a real one then it would be very easy. But the snake is imaginary, it does not exist, you have imagined it. This is why very subtle methods are needed.
Let me tell you one more story; perhaps you will understand through it.
One night a man was sleeping and he had a dream. In this dream he saw that he had swallowed a snake. Afraid, he got up. The dream was so real and he was so strongly possessed by fear that he started screaming. His wife woke up and the other people in the house woke up and they tried to convince him that it must be a dream. He said, “No, I am still feeling it inside I can feel it moving in my stomach.”