Chapter 16: Atheism, Theism and Reality
Witnessing is the beginning of meditation; attainment of unity with the non-dual, with the supreme intelligence is its culmination. Witnessing is a means to the ultimate unity. One has to go beyond witnessing; even the witness should cease to be. Be cause as long as someone is a witness and there is something to be witnessed, as long as the observer and the observed are separate, duality will remain. A moment of meditation comes when both the observer and the observed disappear, and only pure consciousness remains. It is difficult to say who is the subject and who is the object, where the knower and the known melt and disappear into each other. As long as there is the slightest separation between the witness and the witnessed, know well that you have yet to transcend the mind.
That is why I say Arvind’s experience is not real. That which comes and goes can never be real; it is sheer imagination, a dream, a projection.
Then what is a true experience of reality? One that is everlasting and indestructible is a real experience; all else is a mind game. Arvind did not go beyond witnessing, he just stopped at that. And then he severed his relationship with Lele who had so fat taught only the rudiments of meditation. And this man had something of meditation in him; he was capable of leading Arvind further.
Arvind’s second meeting with Lele happened at a time when he himself had become a master. And his behavior during their second meeting was marked by a lack of respect and gratefulness towards Lele. Arvind tried to show that what Lele had taught him was of no consequence and might as well be forgotten.
Arvind is not alone. This situation has happened many times when seekers have stopped with their very first experience of meditation. The very early experiences of meditation are so blissful, so exhilarating and exciting, that a seeker comes to believe he has achieved all there is to be achieved. The most formidable obstacles in the spiritual path do not come in the form of the seeker’s attachments to his family and possessions, they invariably come in the form of his first experiences of meditation itself. The dangers that a seeker faces are more internal than external. These experiences are so delightful, so blissful that one wants to cling to them forever. Not only Arvind, but thousands of people have mistaken the stopover for the destination. If a caravanserai gives a traveler such comforts and happiness that he has never known before, it is not surprising if he quits his journey and makes a home of the caravanserai.
There is plenty of evidence that Arvind’s meditation never went an inch beyond what he had learned from Lele. For the rest of his life he taught his disciples and others the same rudiments of meditation that Lele had taught him in those first three days. Whoever went to him for guidance in meditation received Lele’s wine in Arvind’s bottle. There was nothing of his own, except that he, being an accomplished intellectual and a master of words, explained them in a sophisticated way and elaborated them into thousands of pages. I have scanned all his writings to see if he has said anything more than what he had borrowed from Lele, and I say he does not add anything worthwhile to Lele’s teachings. Lele was a simple man and said what he had to say simply. Arvind, on the other hand, is a complex man who can turn even a simple idea into a complicated treatise. But all he taught was simple witnessing.