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Chapter 9: You Are Your Prison

So a knot is not an object. It doesn’t have substance, it has no independent existence; it is just a form - just a shape, just a form without any substance - only a form and nothing of itself in it. Inside the knot is the rope, but a knot itself has nothing inside it. A knot is nothing in itself - just a form without any substance. Hence it can be understood like this: that a knot has no substantial existence, it is just form, it only has a form.

That is why the sages have called this world namrup, which means a name and form with no substantial existence of its own - just like a knot. The knot exists in name and is recognizable in form, it creates an obstruction and it can be undone, yet it does not exist. The knot is maya, illusion. Those who know say that the world is a knot of name and form - just a knot. And this applies to man in the same way as it applies to the world.

Man too is just a knot of name and form. If the knot is untangled, untied, what remains is called the universal self. Man is just a knot; if untied, man disappears - the name and form disappear, the one who was saying I disappears. The I disappears - I is just the sum total of all the knots. We will talk of the panchvargas, the five categories; I is the name of the sum of these five knots.

The sage calls the mind the first knot because mind has no existence, it only appears to exist, it is only a form. When consciousness is disturbed mind is created - it is only a form. A dream in the night has no existence but has a form. You go to see a film: a film has no existence in reality but has a form on the screen, it only appears to exist. And it is strange that even the so-called intelligent people can be seen wiping their eyes and drying their tears at the cinema. Even an intelligent person cries and laughs at a film, although they know perfectly well that nothing exists on the screen.

But the form creates an illusion - the illusion of existence. And for a moment, when we are overwhelmed by the form and forget the self, then the form becomes very real. If you can remember, next time when you go to see a film, do an experiment - try to remember yourself continuously and watch the film at the same time. Then tears will be impossible. Tears are possible only if you forget yourself - when you forget yourself as the watcher, when you become so identified that you forget that you have come to see the film - then only the film which you are watching exists and you are not. When the thing you are watching becomes everything and the one who is watching is forgotten then you can cry, the mind can become sad, the mind can become happy; everything can happen in the mind, although there is nothing real on the screen.

Mind is form. But the watcher inside, the knower within, has forgotten his own existence. That is all. Only this much forgetfulness and the film becomes everything; then the knot is formed.it is formed and it becomes stronger. And for many lives we have been sitting in this cinema called the mind. The knot has continued to become more and more entangled, making the forms thicker and thicker.

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