You will be surprised to know that the Christian cross is not Christian at all. It is an ancient, Eastern, Aryan symbol, the swastika. That’s why Adolf Hitler, who was thinking that he was of the purest Aryan blood, chose the swastika as his symbol. A swastika is nothing but two lines crossing. In India, without knowing why, at the beginning of every year, business people will write in their books, begin their new books with a swastika. The Christian cross is simply a part of the swastika. But it also represents the same thing: the vertical, the horizontal. Christ’s hands are horizontal; his head and his being are pointing in a different direction.
In a moment of meditation, you suddenly see that you can move in two directions – either horizontal or vertical. The vertical consists of silences, blissfulness, ecstasies; the horizontal consists of hands, work, the world.
Once a man has known himself as a crossroad, he cannot be disinterested, he cannot be unintrigued about the vertical. The horizontal he knows, but the vertical opens a door to eternity, where death does not exist; where one simply becomes more and more part of the cosmic whole; where one loses all bondages, even the bondage of the body.
Gautam Buddha used to say, “Birth is pain, life is pain, death is pain.” What he was saying was, to move on the horizontal line, you are continuously miserable, in pain. Your life cannot be a life of dance, of joy. If this is all, then suicide is the only solution.
That’s the conclusion the contemporary, Western philosophy of existentialism – of Jean-Paul Sartre, Jaspers, Heidegger, Kierkegaard and others – has come to, that life is meaningless. On the horizontal plane it is, because it is simply agony and pain and disease and sickness and oldness. And you are encaged in a small body while your consciousness is as vast as the whole universe.
Once the vertical is discovered, one starts moving on the vertical line. That vertical line does not mean you have to renounce the world. But it certainly means that you are no more of the world, that the world becomes ephemeral, loses importance. It does not mean that you have to renounce the world and escape to the mountains and the monasteries. It simply means that you start – wherever you are – living an inner life which was not possible before.
Before you were an extrovert; now, suddenly you become introvert. As far as the body is concerned, you can manage very easily, if the remembrance is there that you are not the body. But the body can be used in many ways to help you to move on the vertical line. The penetration of the vertical line, just a ray of light coming into your darkness of horizontal life, is the beginning of enlightenment.
You will look the same, but you will not be the same. Those who have a clarity of seeing, to them you will not look the same either. And at least for yourself, you will never look the same. And you can never be the same. You will be in the world, but the world will not be in you.
Ambitions, desires, jealousies will start evaporating. No effort will be needed to drop them, just your movement on the vertical line and they start disappearing – because they cannot exist on the vertical line. They can exist only in the darkness of the horizontal, where everybody is in competition, everybody is full of lust, full of will to power, a great desire to dominate, to become somebody special.