Chapter 8: Enlightenment: An Endless Beginning
But this is something very different from the knowing of science. The very word science means knowing, but knowing in the sense of making a mystery demystified. Religious knowing means something quite the contrary. It is not demystifying reality; rather, all that was known before becomes mysterious again, even ordinary things about which you were confident, absolutely confident, that you knew. Now even that gate is lost. Everything, in a way, becomes gateless - endless and unsolvable.
Knowing must be conceived of in this sense: it is participating in the exclusive mystery of existence; it is saying yes to the mystery of life. The intellect - intellectual theory - is not there now; you are face to face with it. It is an existential encounter - not through the mind, but through you, the totality of you. Now you feel it from everywhere: from your body, from your eyes, from your hands, from your heart. The total personality comes in contact with the total mystery.
This is just a beginning. And the end will never be, because the end would mean demystifying it. This is the beginning of enlightenment. There is no end to it, but this is the beginning. You can conceive of the end of ignorance, but there will be no end to this enlightened state of mind. Now you have jumped into a bottomless abyss.
You can conceive of it from so many points of view. If one comes to this state of mind through kundalini it will be an endless flowering. The one thousand petals of the sahasrar do not mean exactly one thousand: the “one thousand” simply means the greatest number - it is symbolic. This means that the petals of kundalini that are flowering are endless; they will go on opening and opening and opening. So you will know the first opening, but the last will never be there because there is no limit to it. One can come to this point through kundalini or one can come to it through other ways. Kundalini is not indispensable.
Those who reach enlightenment by other paths come to this same point, but the name will be different, the symbol will be different. You will conceive of it differently because what is happening cannot be described, and what is being described is not exactly what is happening. The description is an allegory, the description is metaphoric. You can say it is like the flowering of a flower - though there is no flower at all. But the feeling is just as if you are a flower that is beginning to open; the same feeling of opening is there. But someone else can conceive of it differently. He can say, “It is like the opening of a door - a door that leads to the infinite, a door which goes on opening.” So one can use anything.
Tantra uses sex symbols. They can use them! They say, “It is a meeting, an endless union.” When tantra says, “It is just like maithuna, intercourse, what is meant is: a meeting of individuals with the infinite - but endless, eternal. It can be conceived of in this way, but any conception is bound to be just a metaphor. It is symbolic; it is bound to be. But when I say symbolic, I do not mean that a symbol has no meaning.