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Chapter 7: You Are the Knot

The delusion of things being in one’s soul is an imposed phenomenon. Dropping it, one is oneself the perfect, nondual and actionless Brahman - the absolute reality.
The world that appears as a different thing from the soul is almost untrue.
Where is the division in a pure, formless and organless entity?
The conscious-soul is free of the notions of seer, seeing and the seen, etcetera. It is immune and utterly full like the ocean at the time of deluge.
Even as darkness dissolves in light, the cause of illusion dissolves in the unparalleled absolute reality which is without organs - so where is the division in it?
The supreme reality is one singularity; how can there be division in it? The state of sushupti - deep, dreamless sleep - is blissful; who has seen divisions in it?

A very important question has been raised in this sutra. This question has been arising in man’s mind for centuries, since the beginning of time: how to be free from this world in which we are entangled, this world in which we have become encompassed by sorrow and anguish? And what actually is this world and what is the nature of this darkness in which we are drowned and lost?.because without knowing its nature, there cannot be any way of being free from it.

Whatsoever one wants to be free from, one will have to know it well. The bondage is created by our ignorance. So if the bondage is to be opened and loosened, it is only through knowing that the knots can be opened.

One day, when Buddha came amidst his disciples, he was holding a silk handkerchief in his hands. The disciples were surprised, because Buddha never carried anything in his hands when he came to address his disciples. Then he sat before them and tied one knot in the handkerchief, then a second knot, then a third - five knots, one upon the other. Then he asked his disciples, “When I came here with this handkerchief there were no knots in it, and now there are five knots. Now I ask you, whether anything is changed in the handkerchief or if it remains the same handkerchief I came with?”

Certainly the disciples must have been in difficulty. It is incorrect to say that the handkerchief has changed, because the handkerchief remains exactly the same. Tying knots in a handkerchief does not make even an iota of difference in the nature of the handkerchief - how large it was and what it was still remains the same. But it is also not right to say that the handkerchief has not changed at all, because previously it was an open handkerchief and now it is full of knots. That much change has certainly taken place.

One disciple stood up and said, “You are asking a very difficult question. The handkerchief has almost changed.”

Understand this a little, because this word almost will soon be coming up in the sutra and then it will be imperative that you understand it. “Has almost changed” - it means that it is changed and it is also not changed. It is changed if we look at the body of the handkerchief, and it has not changed if we look at the nature of the handkerchief. It is changed if we look at its body. It is not changed if we look at its soul. A change has taken place externally because of the knots, but it is not changed on the inside. The shape and form are changed. It is not changed if we look at its real nature, but it is changed if we look at the practicality of it, because the handkerchief that was open can be used as a handkerchief, but the handkerchief that has five knots in it cannot be used as a handkerchief. It cannot even be called a handkerchief, because handkerchief is the name of a utility.

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