Chapter 9: The Emperor’s Nightmare
A mind full of desires can only understand desire, hence the desire for God. It is absurd; you cannot desire God. God comes to you when desire leaves. The cessation of desire is the coming of God to you. Again, I am using the word “coming,” which is not true. Because God is already there - you only recognize when the desire has ceased. Nothing ever comes, nothing ever goes, all is as it is. That’s what Buddha means when he says: Yatha bhutam - things are as they are. Nothing has gone wrong, nothing needs to be put right. Things are as they are, and they always remain as they are. The trees are green and the roses are red and the clouds float in the sky. Everything is where it has always been, the way it has always been. That is the meaning of the word nature - yatha bhutam.
But man has a capacity to dream, to desire; that capacity to dream is the problem. Then you start moving into the future, then you start planning for the future. You remain here, but your mind can move into the future. It is like a dream. You fall asleep in Pune but you can dream of Calcutta or Chicago or Washington or Moscow. You are here the whole night. In the morning you will not wake up in Moscow or Chicago, you will wake up in Pune. And then you will laugh, “I have been roaming too much.” While you were dreaming of Moscow you did not reach there, you remained here.
You always remain here; here and now is the only reality, there is no other. But desire can create a dream and in desire you go on moving outwards.
Now, what does it mean to turn inwards? The question is significant, it is very relevant. What does it mean to turn inwards? - it means seeing the futility of desire, seeing the futility of dreaming, seeing the illusoriness of dreaming. In that very seeing, desire disappears. In that clarity, desire cannot exist. And when you are with no desire, you are in. Not that you have to turn in; not that first you have to stop desiring, then you have to turn in. The cessation of desire is the turning, the transformation - what Jesus calls metanoia, the conversion. Suddenly another gestalt opens; it was there, but you were not aware of it because you were too much obsessed with the desire. The desire for money, the desire for power, the desire for prestige, does not allow your meditation to bloom because the whole energy goes down the drain in desires.
Once the energy is not moving anywhere.. Remember, I repeat again, turning in is not moving in. When the energy is not moving at all, when there is no movement, when everything is still, when all has stopped - because seeing the futility of desire you cannot move anywhere, there is nowhere to go - stillness descends. The world stops. That’s what is meant by turning in. Suddenly you are in. You have always been there, now you are awake. The night is over, the morning has come, you are awake. This is what is meant by buddhahood - to become aware, awake, of that which is already the case.
Remember Hakuin saying, from the very beginning all beings are buddhas. From the very beginning to the very end: in the beginning, in the middle, in the end, all are buddhas. Not for a single moment have you been anybody else. But the emperor is having a nightmare of becoming a beggar and is tortured by the nightmare.
The second question:
Is there an intellectual path to enlightenment?