Chapter 6: There Is No Meaning
Nobody has ever been able to experience the whole absurdity of the mind. It is infinite. You will not be able to experience the whole of it; it is very creative, it goes on creating new absurdities. You have been here in this existence so long and yet you have not been able to experience the whole absurdity of it. You are not for the first time on this planet Earth, you have been here before. I can see your ancient faces hidden behind your fresh skin. You are ancient ones.
There was a teacher in Buddha’s time in India; his name was Prakuddha Katyayana. He was a rare teacher. He always addressed his disciples as ancient ones. Even if a child came to see Prakuddha Katyayana he would say, “How are you, ancient one?” Because everyone is so old, older than the Earth. The Earth is not very old, just.in fact, very young, adolescent. But you are older than the Earth, you have been on other planets. You are older than the sun. You have been here since existence has been here, otherwise it is not possible - you cannot suddenly bubble up. How can you happen so suddenly? You have been here all the way.
One of the most important American psychologists, William James, was writing a book which became a very important milestone in the history of psychology and religion. The name of the book is Varieties of Religious Experience. He traveled all around the world to collect material for the book. Many books have been written since then on religion, but no book has yet reached that peak. William James worked hard on it. He also came to India, he had to - if you are writing a book on religion then India becomes a must.
He came to India and he went to see a sage in the Himalayas. He does not give the name; in fact sages have no names, so there is no need. He went to see the sage and he asked a question. He had been reading an Indian scripture in which it is said that the Earth is supported on eight white elephants.
He was puzzled - he was a logician - so he asked the sage, “This looks absurd. On what are those eight elephants standing? How are they supported?”
The sage said, “On another eight white and bigger elephants.”
William James said, “But that doesn’t solve the problem. On what are those bigger white elephants standing?”
The sage laughed and he said, “Elephants on elephants, elephants on elephants, all the way down. You can go on asking,” said the sage, “and I will go on answering the same thing - to the very bottom.”
So William James thought that once more the question could be asked: “And on what is that bottom being supported?” The sage said, “Of course, eight bigger elephants.”