Chapter 3: Sleep, Identification, Duality
If you have seen only the movement of life, Patanjali says, “This is lack of awareness, avidya.” You have not seen enough. If you think that somebody is a child, then he becomes a young man, then an old man, then he dies - you have seen only the wheel. You have seen the movement: the child, the young man, the old man, the dead, the corpse. Have you seen that which was unmoving within all these movements? Have you seen that which was not a child, not a young man, and not an old man? Have you seen that on which all these stages depend? Have you seen that which holds all and always remains the same, and the same, and the same, which is neither born nor dies? If you have not seen that, if you have not felt that, Patanjali says, “You are in avidya, lack of awareness.”
You are not alert enough because you cannot see enough. You don’t have eyes enough because you cannot penetrate enough. Once you have eyes, the vision, the perception, the clarity, and the penetrating force of it, you will immediately see that change is there, but it is not all. In fact, it is just the periphery that changes, that moves. Deep down in the foundation is the eternal. Have you seen the eternal? If you have not seen, this is avidya; you are hypnotized by the periphery. The changing scenes have hypnotized you. You have become too involved in them. You need a little detachment, you need a little distance, you need a little more observation. Taking the transient for the eternal is avidya; taking the impure for the pure is avidya.
What is pure and what is impure? Patanjali has nothing to do with your ordinary morality. Ordinary morality differs. Something may be pure in India and impure in China. Something may be impure in India and pure in England. Or, even here, something may be pure to Hindus and impure to Jainas. Morality differs. In fact, if you start penetrating the layers of morality, they differ with each individual. Patanjali is not talking about morality. Morality is just a convention; it has utility, but it has no truth in it. And when a man like Patanjali talks, he talks about eternal things, not local things. Thousands of moralities exist in the world, and they go on changing every day. Circumstances change, then the morality has to change. When Patanjali says “pure” and “impure,” he means something absolutely different.
By “purity” he means natural; by “impurity” he means unnatural. And something may be natural to you or unnatural to you, so there cannot be any criterion. To take the impure for the pure means to take the unnatural for the natural. That’s what you have done, what the whole of humanity has done. And that’s why you have become more and more impure. Always remain true to nature. Just think of what is natural, find it. Because with the unnatural you will always remain tense, uneasy, uncomfortable. Nobody can be comfortable in an unnatural situation, and you create unnatural things around you. Then they become a burden and they destroy you. When I say “unnatural,” I mean something foreign to your nature.
For example: a milkman comes, you take the milk and you say that it is impure. Why do you say that it is impure? You say it is because he has poured water into it. But if the water were pure and milk were also pure, then two purities would make double purity. How can two purities meet and the thing become impure? But they become impure. Pure water and pure milk meet, and both will become impure. Water will be impure, milk will also be impure because something foreign, something from the outside has entered in.