Chapter 18: Neither This, Nor That
Truth helps to be free, so seek truth, but only as part of a greater search for freedom. Don’t make truth itself the end. If you make truth itself the end, then your search is not religious - it becomes philosophical. That is the difference between the Greek mind and the Hindu mind.
For Aristotle or for Plato or even for Socrates, truth is the end. So how to find it? Then logic becomes the means. Freedom is the end for the Hindu mind. How to find it? Then yoga becomes the means.
If one is to be free, then one has to drop all one’s bondages. How to cut those chains? You need a science to cut those chains. That science is yoga. Then your search takes a totally different path. Why are you a slave? Why are you in bondage? Why are you in bondage? How do you happen to be in bondage? Why are you suffering? Why? This “why” will change the whole approach: then the bondage has to be known, then broken. You will be free.
If truth is the search, as to why man is in error, then how to avoid error? - that becomes the basic thing. Logic will help to avoid error. Then argumentation, philosophical contemplation, are the means. That’s why the Greek mind could not conceive of anything like yoga. Yoga is basically Eastern.
The Greek mind could develop logic; that is the Greek contribution to world thought. They developed it to such a climax that, really, for these two thousand years nothing has been added to it. Logic came to a peak in Aristotle. It happens rarely that one man develops a science to its completion. Aristotle did that, but no concept of Yoga is there.
In India, yoga is foundational. We have developed logical systems, but just to help the expression of those truths, of those experiences, which are beyond language. So we have developed logic - as an instrument to express something, not to reach something. Greek logic means a process of reaching towards truth. Hindu logic means truth has been achieved, freedom has been achieved, through something else. Now, when you have achieved the experience, to express it logic will be needed.
To make this distinction clear I said that the Hindu mind is religious, the Greek mind philosophical. The religious mind is more practical.
I will relate one story to you. Buddha used to tell this story so many times:
Buddha is passing through a forest. One man is just dying - an arrow has penetrated into the man’s body, some hunter’s arrow. The man is dying, but the man is a philosopher. Buddha asks him, “This arrow can be taken out of the body. Allow me to take it out.”
The man says, “No, please first tell me who has been the cause? Who is my enemy? Why has this arrow penetrated into my body? Of what karmas is it a result? Tell me whether the arrow is poisoned or not.”