Chapter 4: The Four States of Existence
Sometimes amazing incidents happen. Buddhists have been worshipping the bodhi tree for two thousand five hundred years. Anyone can say that this is nonsense: it was just a coincidence that Buddha sat under that tree. What is there to worship? He could have sat anywhere! But during the past fifty years, science has discovered a very startling fact. The fact is that the third eye, in the middle of the forehead, had always been thought to be just imagination by scientists and thinkers, and they laughed at it and denied its existence. But during these fifty years, science has found a gland between the two eyes which is the most important gland in the human body. Whatever consciousness has grown in man, it is due to the secretion from that gland. And this gland is the same as that which has been called the third eye by the wise men of the East. The secretion that comes from that gland - and without which consciousness cannot evolve in man, intelligence cannot grow in man - surprisingly is found in large quantities in the pipal tree, the bodhi tree. When compared to all other vegetation in the world it is a very large amount.
Colin Wilson has written in his new book, The Occult, “It would not be surprising if the tree might have had an influence on Buddha’s sitting under it and attaining to enlightenment. The tree may have influenced it, it was not just accidental; the tree may have helped it.”
India has always worshipped the pipal tree. In that sense, the pipal is a unique tree among all the vegetation on earth; all other trees are quite different. It is dangerous to sit or to sleep under any other tree in the night, except the pipal. Trees exhale oxygen during the day - it is beneficial to be near them - and during the night they exhale carbon dioxide. It is only the pipal tree which exhales oxygen for all of the twenty-four hours. You can be near it any time; it is beneficial to life.
Those people who chose the pipal tree to worship from among all the others were full of gratitude. It is not just a coincidence that Buddha attained enlightenment sitting under this tree, it was a conscious choice. To sit and meditate under this tree is a part of a scientific process.
Those who have felt gratitude have felt it in each and every minute thing in the world. Whenever they felt something had helped them, in gratitude they called it a god. “A god” means something which gives to us and does not take anything in return. A god means something from which we always receive, we are always receiving - and receiving without even asking for anything, continuously receiving without even thanking. It is given unconditionally, so we called it a god. And we cannot give anything in return. But, of course, we can show our gratitude.
Every fiber of our being is connected with the existence spread all around us. When consciousness knows this connection through the sense-organs, it is called the waking state. To call it the waking state is only symbolic. Because we do not know the greater awakening, we therefore call this the waking state. So this is relative, because we know only three states.
This first state is our relation with the world through the senses, the second state we know is the dreaming state, and the third state we know is the sleeping state. We know nothing about the fourth state. The day we will know the fourth, we will also know that what we had understood as the waking state up to now was also a state of dreaming and sleeping.
Sri Aurobindo has said that when he was awakened, he came to know that until then he had been asleep, and when he knew the real life, he found that what he had taken for life was only death. But it is natural that we cannot conceive of what we do not know, and we cannot even make comparisons.