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Chapter 11: The Discipline of Witnessing

One evening there was a big gathering in a temple and a large number of monks had assembled. After a long wait the speaker arrived. As he stood up to speak, someone in the audience asked a question, “What is truth?” An alert and expectant silence filled the room. The speaker knew, hence each and every word from him mattered.

But do you know what he said? He said - and very loudly - “O monks!” An unprecedented silence resounded with these two words and every eye was on him. All were silent, watchful. But the speaker spoke no more. His speech was over; he had conveyed what he wanted to convey.

Do you understand what he said? Nothing whatsoever, wasn’t it? But as I see it, he had said everything. Whatsoever is worth saying had all been covered by his speech. I too want to say the same thing. I will say only that. It alone is worth saying. That alone which words fail to say is worth saying.

Then what did he say? He said, “Don’t look for truth elsewhere and don’t ask anyone about it. If it exists at all, it exists within you. Otherwise it does not exist at all.” So although he was asked about truth he said absolutely nothing about it. He simply called out to the assembly. He called out to them as one calls out to awaken someone from sleep. This is the only answer to the inquiry about truth. To awaken from sleep is to attain truth. There is no other way.

You are asleep, so you cannot see that which you already have, which you yourself are. And in your dreams you wander far and wide in search of it, in search of something that is already there within you, within the searcher. You are like musk-deer running around, wandering in search of musk.

But no matter how hard you search on the outside for that which lives inside you, you will not be able to find it because it cannot be attained by searching. Outer things can be attained by searching, but one cannot attain one’s self with this kind of search. The truth is not found by searching, it is found by waking up. And that is why the speaker called out to the assembly and spoke no further. And for this same reason Mahavira, Buddha, Krishna and Christ have all been only calling out to you. It is not speaking, but calling. It is not a teaching, but an address, a call.

I do not intend to speak either, I intend to call. Will you hear me? Will you allow me to disturb your sleep and shatter your dreams? It may well be that your dreams are sweet, but it is the sweet dreams that are harmful, because they do not let you wake up but make the intoxication of sleep all the more intense.

I want you to become a participant in the bliss I am experiencing as the result of my awakening. And so I have decided to call you. I will not merely speak to you, I will call out to you. Pardon me if my call disturbs your sleep and disperses the fog of your dreams. I am helpless. Without shattering your dreams nothing can be said about the truth. We are engulfed in a sleep, and as long as this sleep continues all our actions are useless. So long as this sleep continues, whatever you do or you know is nothing but a dream.

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