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Chapter 1: The Great Illusion

When I say “God,” what does it mean to you? You have never stood on God’s shore, you have never floated on his waves; nor have you been one with his waves, or dissolved into the music of his waves. You as a drop have remained as a drop. The drop is afraid that if it goes into the ocean it will disappear. This fear is true, but it is also false. The drop will disappear certainly, but nothing is lost because in its very disappearance the drop will become the ocean. The small will be lost, and the greater will be attained. Nothing will be lost, and all will be gained. But the drop is not aware of what it will gain, it is only aware of what it will lose - hence the fear.

Get rid of words! Understanding that words are of no value in this realm is the first step toward abandoning them. The words of sages cannot be explained in the schools. What the mystics have said cannot be related in any way with the universities. What the mystics have said has been compiled in the scriptures, but really it could not be compiled. The external, the shell, was compiled, but the inner essence was left behind. The outer lines were traced, but the inner, the soul, remained untouched.

This phrase, There is no other refuge but existence - there is nowhere to go but in - is unique. In this one statement all the Vedas, all the Upanishads, all the Gitas are contained; if this one statement is understood, there remains no need to understand any Koran, any Bible separately. This small statement is like atomic energy - immense energy within a tiny atom!

And the saints who made these atomic statements were not very educated people. It is a strange fact that the educated are often unable to attain to saintliness. Exceptions may be found, but as a rule the learned do not attain to saintliness, because those who are highly educated become so skilled in finding substitutes, and so expert at deceiving themselves, that they are never able to catch themselves red-handed at what they are doing. The uneducated - Kabir, Dadu, Nanak - enter very easily. They do not have too much load on them to be unloaded, there is no great wall to be demolished - just a small push and everything falls down.

This statement is the essence of the life experience of such uneducated people. The statement is direct, the words present no difficulty: There is no shelter other than existence; there is no other shade, no other refuge than existence.

Under what conditions does such an understanding dawn? We seek refuge and shelter in wealth. The language of the people all around is that of money, they measure people by their money. How much you have is the weight of your soul. If you have nothing, you have no soul.

But wealth, in whatever currency, is external - and you are within. Whatever you have, there is no way to take it within. There is no way to take your safes inside; they will have to stay on the outside. Great kingdoms too will have to stay outside, there is no way to take them within. And you are always within, there is no way that you can be brought outside. This is why wealth and soul never meet. Soul means interiority, wealth means outer, always outer; and these are two lines that can never intersect each other. They simply do not meet anywhere, ever; there just exists no way of their meeting. Their dimensions are different, they are two different worlds.

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