Sufis call it “the watcher on the hills.” The valleys go on changing but the watcher remains on the top of the hill. Sometimes the valley is dark and sometimes the valley is light and sometimes there is dancing and singing and sometimes there is weeping and crying – and the watcher sits on the hill-top and just goes on watching.
By and by the content of consciousness does not matter Only consciousness becomes significant. That is the essential foundation of all true religion. And this is the understanding of the Sufis.
Before we enter into this small parable today. Let me tell you that there are four ways to approach truth, to be connected with truth.
The first is known in the East as karma yoga – the way of action. Man has three dimensions in him: action, knowing, feeling. So three ways use these three directions: action, knowing feeling. You can act, and you can act with total absorption, and you can offer your act to God. You can act without becoming a doer. That is the first way – karma yoga: being in action without being a doer. You let God do. You let God be in you. You efface yourself.
In this, the path of action, consciousness changes the content. These two things have to be understood: consciousness and content. This is all that your life consists of. There is something which is the knower in you and something which is the known. For example, you are listening to me. Now two things are there: whatsoever I am saying will be the content, and whatsoever you are inside, listening, watching, that is the consciousness. You are looking at me. Then my figure in your eyes is the content and you, who are looking at that figure in the eye, are consciousness – the object and the subject.
On the path of action, consciousness changes the content That is what action is. You see a rock. Somebody may stumble upon it – because it is getting dark, night is falling. so you remove the rock from the path. This is action. What have you done? Consciousness has changed the content.
On the path of action, content is important and has to be changed. If somebody is ill and you go and serve him and you give him medicine, you are changing the content. If somebody has fallen in the river and is drowning, you jump in and you save him from drowning. You have changed the content.
Action is content-directed. Action is will – something has to be done. Of course, if the will remains ego-oriented, then you will not be religious. You will be a great doer, but not religious. And your path will be of action but not towards God. When you allow God to become your will, when you say, “Let thy will be mine,” when you surrender your will to the feet of god and his will starts flowing through you, then it is the path of action – karma yoga.
The goal of karma yoga is freedom, moksha – to change the contents so much that nothing antagonistic is left there, nothing harmful is left there; to change the content according to your heart’s desire, so that you can be free of limitations. This is the path of Jainism, yoga, and all action-oriented philosophies.