One night a monk was reciting a sutra bequeathed by Kashyapabuddha. His tone was so mournful and his voice so fainting, as if he were going out of existence. The Buddha asked the monk, “What was your occupation before you became a homeless monk?”
Said the monk, “I was very fond of playing the guitar.”
The Buddha said, “How did you find it when the strings were too loose?”
Said the monk, “No sound is possible.”
“How when the strings were too tight?”
“How when they were neither too tight nor too loose?”
“Every note sounds in its proper tone.”
The Buddha then said to the monk: Religious discipline is also like unto playing the guitar. When the mind is properly adjusted and quietly applied, the way is attainable; but when you are too fervently bent on it, your body grows tired; and when your body is tired, your spirit becomes weary; when your spirit is weary, your discipline will relax; and with the relaxation of discipline there follows many an evil. Therefore, be calm and pure, and the way will be gained.
Man’s whole misery consists in his being off-center. here is a maladjustment between the hub and the wheel. There is a maladjustment between you and reality, and that maladjustment manifests itself in a thousand and one ways. The farther you are away from reality, the more miserable. Hell is the farthest point from reality. The closer you are to reality, the more close you are to heaven. When there is no maladjustment between you and reality, you are heaven itself.
It is not a question of going anywhere, it is a question of how to get in tune with reality again. It is a rediscovery – because in the mother’s womb each child is centered in reality. In the mother’s womb each child is profoundly blissful. Of course he is unaware of it, not knowing anything about it. He’s so one with his bliss that there is no knower left behind. Blissfulness is his being, and there is no distinction between the knower and the known. So of course the child is not aware that he is blissful. You become aware only when you have lost something.
Mulla Nasruddin was saying to his son one day, “You don’t know what happiness is until you get married – and then it is too late.”
It is so. It is very difficult to know something without losing it, because when you have not lost it you are so totally one with it. There is no distance: the observer and the observed are one; the known and the knower are one. Every child is in a profoundly blissful state.
Psychologists also agree with this. They say that the whole search of religion is nothing but a way to again find the womb of the mother. They use it as a criticism of religion, but to me it is not criticism at all. It is simply true. Yes, the search for religion is again a search for the womb. The search for religion is again a search to make this whole existence a womb.
The child is in absolute tune with the mother. The child is never out of tune with the mother. The child does not know that he is separate from the mother. If the mother is healthy the child is healthy; if the mother is ill the child is ill; if the mother is sad the child is sad; if the mother is happy the child is happy; if the mother is dancing the child is dancing; if the mother is sitting silently the child is silent. The child has no boundaries of his own yet. This is the purest bliss, but it has to be lost.
The child is born, and suddenly he is thrown off-center. Suddenly he is uprooted from the earth, from the mother. He loses his moorings and he does not know who he is. There was no need to know it when he was with the mother. There was no need to know – he was all, and there was no need to know, there was no distinction. There was no “you,” so there was no question of “I.” The reality was undivided. It was advait, pure advait, pure nonduality.