Chapter 6: Desireless Devotion
The first question:
Buddha insists on absolute emptiness and Shankara insists on absolute fullness. And both of them have great logic and arguments to support their view. They have known the truth, the divine, so why do they refute each other and create support for their own way? And here you support both of them simultaneously! Why is this so?
Buddha realized the divine in absolute emptiness, shunya. He can show others only the same way which he has known. He can only take you on the path that he has walked. It would be dangerous to take you on a path that he has not walked; then it would be impossible for him to guide you. It is not that Buddha does not know that you can attain through the other path too. But even to say that there is another path that also leads to the same place is to shake your trust in this path. They have to refute each other’s paths just out of compassion for you, because you are already so confused. Your confusion is that you cannot make any decisions; indecisiveness is your disease.
If Buddha says that you can know the divine through emptiness and you can also know it through fullness, that you can reach from the east and also from the west, then this would add more indecisiveness to your state of confusion.
So Buddha emphasizes that you can reach only through absolute emptiness. And when he says that you cannot reach through absolute fullness, through purna, it simply means that you can reach through absolute emptiness. He is not saying anything about absolute fullness. He is saying to his listeners, “I don’t want to add to your confusion. You have already strayed so far away.”
He emphasizes that his is the only path, that the other path is wrong because until you are clear that the other path is wrong you will not be total on his path.
That’s why the enlightened ones have often had to deny many things that they did not want to deny. They had to do it only out of their compassion for the ignorant. But an ignorant person is ignorant - he will even misunderstand your compassion.