Chapter 7: Forgetfulness, the Only Sin
But if one has to choose between two fallacies - the religious fallacy and the scientific fallacy - if there is no other way and you have to choose one out of these two, then I will say: choose the religious fallacy, because at least it will take you to the other shore, to eternity.
But for three centuries we have decided to choose the scientific fallacy, which makes you more and more confined to the body. And when you are confined to the body, then “Eat, drink and be merry,” becomes the very goal. Just think of yourself as a being whose whole life is nothing but “Eat, drink and be merry.” It will be meaningless; it will be without any significance, it will be utterly mediocre. It will not have any ecstasy. Yes, there will be pleasures when you get lost in the body chemistry and there will be pains when you have to come out of that forgetfulness. So you will go on moving between pain and pleasure.
Pleasure is getting lost, getting unconscious in the body; and pain is again becoming aware of the non-body reality, again becoming aware of the world that surrounds you. So pleasure means forgetfulness and pain means remembrance. Have you observed that you remember only when there is pain? If you have a headache you become aware of the head, otherwise who thinks of the head? Only a headache makes you remember the head. If your shoe pinches, then you become aware of the feet; if the shoe is not pinching, you remain unaware of the feet. When your stomach is disturbed, you become aware of the stomach. When everything is going well, smoothly, you don’t become aware.
Pain brings awareness; awareness makes you aware of pain. Losing awareness gives you a false idea that there is no pain anymore. And many people have found many ways to become unconscious; those are all ways of getting drugged. You have found many anesthesias: chemical, physical, religious - yes, religious too.
If a person goes on chanting a certain mantra - what you have come to know as Transcendental Meditation - it is a drug, psychologically produced. If you repeat a certain word again and again and again, it goes on hitting your psychic sources and the continuous repetition creates a state of unconsciousness. It becomes like a lullaby; you start falling into deep sleep. It is soothing, it is restful, but it is not meditation. It is just the opposite of meditation; it is a psychological drug.
Do not let pleasure distract you from meditation, from the way. Be aware that pleasure can distract you: it can distract you from meditation and it can distract you from the way. And what is meditation in Buddha’s vision? Meditation is awareness, so anything that makes you unaware is a distraction; where it comes from does not matter. Whether you create it inside yourself by chanting a mantra or by ingesting some drug, by smoking, by injecting something, how you manage it does not matter. If it distracts you from awareness, it may create beautiful dreams, but you are no longer conscious. You may feel the world becoming golden, the trees are greener, the roses are rosier, and everything seems to be tremendously beautiful, psychedelic - but you are unconscious, you are no longer in your consciousness. This is the distraction.