Chapter 11: The Choice Is Always Yours
We are living in lies. In following a spiritual discipline, only the direction you face will change. We will have to live in lies, that is unavoidable. Your back will be toward what you were facing before, and your face will be where your back was. The fact remains, we will have to retrace the same route to the same extent we have walked ourselves forward into lies. The day we return on the same path, the whole thing will look very amusing.
It is like giving an antidote to someone who has taken a wrong medicine. The antidote was not needed; it was only used because the man took the wrong medicine. Since the poison, the wrong medicine, has already entered his body, it is necessary to give the man another poison to counteract the former one. Remember, however, the antidote is a poison too. Only a poison can act against another poison. The second potion is a poison too, except that it is meant to work in the opposite direction. You would be horrified if a physician were to tell you your body is poisoned and that he is giving you more poison. You might cry out, “As it is, I am dying of poison. Now you are adding more to it!” The doctor explains, “This is an antidote. It is indeed a poison, but antithetical to the former one.”
So when I say this world is a lie, then a sadhana, a spiritual discipline, cannot be true. How can a true sadhana be applied to counter a false world? You cannot use a real sword in order to kill an imaginary ghost - you will hurt yourself if you do. Make sure you have a false sword to kill an imaginary ghost. You will obviously create a problem for yourself if you go to kill a nonexistent ghost with a real gun. The real gun can cause you harm. So if you need to drive out a ghost it would be good to wear a talisman; it is neither a sword nor a gun. It is a false cure, it is an antidote too. It is perfect, an exact antithetical lie meant to counter another lie.
All spiritual disciplines are nothing but ways of getting out of the sansara, the mundane world. And since I call this mundane world an illusion - illusion in the sense that it is not what we understand it to be..
So the question is: What can we do to remove this illusion? We need to retrace our steps to the same extent we have gone deeply into the illusion. Why do I feel like reminding you of this? - because a seeker constantly faces a danger. And the danger is: he may use a talisman in order to keep the ghost away; however, in doing so, although he succeeds in saving himself from the ghost, he holds on to the charm tightly. He finds the talisman the savior of his life. Now he is as afraid of losing the charm as he was of the ghost. Naturally. How can he afford to lose something that saved his life? So he is freed from the ghost but gets hooked to the talisman. That’s why he needs to be reminded that just as the ghost was unreal so is the talisman. Now that the ghost is gone, he had better throw the charm away as well.