Chapter 17: Awareness and Effort
So many of his longtime listeners - people who have been listening to him for thirty years or forty years - come to me and say, “We are in a great difficulty. We have heard this idea so much that there is nothing to do. Now even if we want to do something, we can’t. The moment we do something, we immediately remember that doing is futile and that the flower blooms without doing anything; it blooms through non-doing, through effortlessness; there is no need for any spiritual practice. This idea has gone so deep within us that now we can’t do anything at all! We have also stopped doing what we used to do, and by not doing anything at all we have not had even a glimpse of what Krishnamurti says will happen through non-doing. The flower has not bloomed at all.”
The problem has gone even deeper, because they never reached to the same state as a tree reaches when its flowers bloom on their own. Perhaps there are only roots, or their tree has just sprouted, or the branches and leaves have just begun to grow. Now they are not ready to do anything, either to water the plant or even to put a fence around the plant to protect it. Now they no longer actively try to grow towards the sun. Their beings are restless and their flowers don’t bloom, but deep down the flower wants to bloom. The pain in their being is the pain of the flower that wants to bloom - but they have been told that there is nothing to do.
So on one side there is this problem in the approach of sankhya, that it talks about the ultimate flowering. On the other side, yoga creates a different problem: yoga searches deeply for the roots in the soil, for the water and the sun, but the danger is that you become lost in all the techniques and rituals of yoga. The flowering that you have been doing the rituals for is forgotten, and the rituals themselves take over so much that you begin to feel as if these rituals are your very life. The rituals and practices have become a habit.
Patanjali has mentioned the Eightfold Path of Yoga, and the last three points are dharana, conception, dhyana, meditation and samadhi, enlightenment. These three are the really significant ones, and the other five are the basic steps that lead to them. Samadhi, enlightenment, is the flower, and the other seven are the tree. But often yogis go on doing body postures and pranayama, breath exercises, for their whole lives. They go on doing these same things for their whole lives: they forget the flower of samadhi completely and these rituals become an end in themselves. The means becomes the goal, the path itself starts to become the destination.
The mistake of sankhya is that the goal becomes all-important, as if no path is needed. And the folly of yoga is that the path becomes so important that even if the goal has to be abandoned in favor of the path, it is done. Even if God were to stand in front of a man who is obsessed with rituals, he would ask God to wait until he has finished doing his rituals! This idea that on the path of yoga rituals are everything misleads thousands of people. The mistake of sankhya rarely happens, because people with a sankhya personality are rarely born. Not many people fall into that trap.