Patanjali says, “Now the discipline of Yoga”: that “now” will happen only when you are neither. Pessimistic attitudes or optimistic attitudes, both are ill. But there are teachers who go on talking in terms of optimism, particularly American Christian missionaries. They go on talking in terms of hope, optimism, future, heaven. In the eyes of Patanjali that is just juvenile, childish, because you are simply giving a new disease. You are substituting a new disease for the old. You are unhappy and somehow you are seeking happiness. So whosoever gives you an assurance that, “This is the path that will lead you to happiness,” you will follow it. He is giving you hope – but you are feeling so much misery because of your past hopes. He is again creating a future hell.
Yoga expects you to be more adult, more mature. Yoga says there is no possibility to expect anything; there is no possibility of any fulfillment in the future. There is no heaven in the future waiting for you and no God waiting for you with Christmas gifts. There is nobody waiting for you so don’t hanker after the future.
And when you become aware that there is nothing which is going to happen somewhere in the future…you will become alert here and now because there is nowhere to move. Then there is no way to tremble. Then a stillness happens to you. Suddenly you are in a deep rest. You cannot go anywhere; you are at home. Movement ceases, restlessness disappears. Now is the time to enter Yoga.
Patanjali will not give you any hope. He respects you more than you respect yourself. He thinks you are mature and toys will not help. It is better to be alert to what is the case. But immediately when I say, “Total hopelessness” your mind will say, “This appears pessimistic,” because your mind lives through hope, your mind clings to desires, expectations.
You are so miserable right now that you will commit suicide if there is no hope. Really, if Patanjali is true, what will happen to you? If there is no hope, no future and you are thrown back to your present, you will commit suicide. Then there is nothing to live for. You live for something which will happen somewhere, sometime. It is not going to happen, but the feeling that it may happen helps you to be alive.
That’s why I say when you have come to a point where suicide has become a meaningful thing, where life has lost all its meaning, where you can kill yourself, in that moment Yoga becomes possible because you will not be ready to transform yourself unless this intense futility of life has happened to you. You will be ready to transform yourself only when you feel there is no way – either suicide or sadhana, either commit suicide or transform your being. When only two alternatives are left, only then is Yoga chosen, never before. But Yoga is not pessimistic. You are optimistic, then Yoga appears to you as pessimistic. It is because of you.
In the West Buddha has been taken as the peak of pessimism because Buddha says life is dukkha, anguish. So Western philosophers have been commenting on Buddha that he is a pessimist. Even a person like Albert Schweitzer, a person we can expect to know certain things, even he is in confusion. He thinks the whole East is pessimistic and this is a great criticism for him. The whole East – Buddha, Patanjali, Mahavira, Lao Tzu, they are all pessimists for him. They appear so! They appear so because they say your life is meaningless. Not that they say life is meaningless, but the life that you know. And unless this life becomes absolutely meaningless you cannot transcend it, you will cling to it.