Ends and means are not two things. Don’t divide. The end is just the flowering of the means, the end is just the realization of the means. The end is hidden in the means, just like the tree is hidden in the seed. The seed is the tree. Don’t look at the seed as if the seed has some secondary importance and the tree is meaningful and significant, and you can avoid the seed. If you avoid the seed the tree will never be there. Take care of the seed, love the seed, give soil to it, prepare the ground, and help the seed to grow. It will become the tree. It is already the tree unmanifest.
So let me say it in this way: means are the unmanifest end, and end is the manifest means. Means are seeds, and ends will be the trees, the flowering – so love the means as the end.
Vairagya is all, nonattachment is all. It is the beginning, it is the middle, it is the end. It is a method, it is an intermediate stage, it is the goal. Desirelessness is the end – but the end must be there in the beginning, only then can it grow. So desirelessness is both the first step and the last also. Of course the quality will differ. In the first step the desirelessness will be with effort, in the inter-mediate stage desirelessness will have become unconscious effort. In the beginning it will be conscious effort, you will have to do it; in the middle it will start happening, it will have become unconscious effort. Effort will be there, but indirect, unconscious. In the end it will be spontaneous, effort will have completely disappeared. But desirelessness is the same. Desirelessness in the beginning is with conscious effort, in the middle is with unconscious effort, in the end is effortless.
Avoid this tendency to divide, to cut things, and see that every phenomenon is a continuity, everything is joined together. Even those things which look opposite are also joined together, they are also polarities. Develop this way of looking at things – that will be very helpful. For those who are really sincerely interested in traveling this inner path, this approach of nondividing is a must.
The second question:
Are there really discrete stages on the way to the ultimate happening, as this Upanishad seems to suggest, or does this happening occur suddenly and unexpectedly? Is it a matter of long conscious effort, or of a sudden total surrender to existence?
It is both. You have to make all effort that is possible, that you can do. No stone should be left unturned, no energies should be left unused. You must get totally involved. You are required to work as a unit, only then the flowering, the happening, will become possible. But that doesn’t mean that it is an outcome of your effort; just by your effort it is not going to happen. This is a little delicate and you will have to be very penetrating about it, then only will you understand.