I have heard: Mulla Nasruddin was sitting just outside his village and someone, a stranger, was asking the way to Mulla’s village and how far it was. So Mulla said, “It depends.”
The stranger couldn’t understand. He said, “What do you mean ‘it depends’?”
The Mulla said, “If you keep on going the way you are going, if you keep on following the direction you have taken, then my village is very far away. You will have to go around the whole earth, because you have left the village just behind. But if you can turn back, if you are ready to make an about-turn, then the village is just the nearest thing.”
So it depends on where we are – on the very point where we are, on the very point of consciousness where we are just now. If we can see that point and penetrate that point, then this is very far away and That is the nearest thing. But if we cannot look at the center where we are and we follow the direction of the eyes and the senses, then this is near and That is the most faraway thing. It depends. But in both the ways That transcends this. If you go in, if you reach to the center of your being, then again you transcend this that surrounds you, and That is achieved. Or, if you go out, then you will have to go on a very long journey, an infinite journey, and you can touch That only when this ends.
That’s why science is a long journey, very long. Eddington, only in his last days, and Einstein, also in his last days, could feel that they had come to a very mysterious glimpse of the universe. Eddington is reported to have said, “When I started my probe into existence I thought this whole existence to be a big mechanical thing – a big mechanical existence, a big machine. But the more I penetrated it, the less it looked like a machine, and now that I have gone deeper and further away from my starting point I can say it looks more like a thought than like a machine – more like a thought.”
This glimpse is through science; science is a probe into this. When you go on probing, a moment comes when the this is exhausted – but it is a very long journey. Only a mind like Eddington can have this glimpse. Ordinary scientists will never be able to come to this glimpse, only a mind like Einstein can come to this – the ending of this and the glimpse of That.
Einstein has said, “The universe is now a mystery to me, not a mathematical problem.” But this conclusion through mathematics is a very long journey, a very long journey. Through mathematical calculations he has come to a point where everything drops. Your mathematics becomes just absurd; your calculations are of no use. Your reason itself in this encounter just drops, you cannot think anymore. Thinking becomes impossible because thought has a field. It can work only in a particular scheme, in a particular pattern.