For instance, if you break a seed and look into it, there is no trace of any tree there. No matter how much you search, you will not find any trace of a tree. But the tree certainly comes from this small seed. You have never thought that what is not found in the seed…where does it come from? And such a huge tree was hidden in such a small seed! And then, after giving birth to seeds, that tree dissolves. Exactly like this, the whole existence comes into being and then dissolves. Energy comes into existence and then merges into non-existence.
It is very difficult to catch hold of non-existence. Existence is of course visible to us. Hence, according to yoga, those who accept only existence – those who believe that existence is all – are seeing only leela, the play of life. And to know only the play is ignorance.
Ignorance does not mean that one does not know; ignorance means that one knows only the play. Knowing as such is there; even if one knows that he does not know, then too the knowing is there. So knowing is in all of us. And ignorance doesn’t mean “not knowing.” The most ignorant of all beings also knows some things. According to yoga, the meaning of ignorance is to know only half. And remember, the half-truth is worse than untruth – because it is possible to be free from untruth, but to be free from the half-truth is very difficult. It appears to be the truth and it is not. If it is wholly the untruth, purely the untruth, then it won’t take any time to be free from it. But if it is a half-truth it is very difficult to be free from it.
There is one more reason that a thing like truth cannot be divided into halves – because in dividing it into halves, it dies. Can you divide your love in half? Can you say, “I half love you” to somebody? Either you love or you don’t love, but half-love is not possible. Can you say “I half steal”? Maybe you steal half a dollar, but the stealing of half a dollar is also full stealing, and the stealing of a million dollars is also full stealing…so is the stealing of half a cent. Half-stealing cannot be done. Half of a thing can be stolen but the stealing itself cannot be half. The very meaning of “half” is that you are in illusion.
Yoga says that those who see only existence are grasping only half. And he who grasps only the half lives in illusion, lives in ignorance. No, the other side is also there. A man who says, “I am born but I don’t want to die,” is clinging to the half. He will suffer; he will live in ignorance. And no matter what he may do, death is bound to come – because the other half cannot be parted with. If you have accepted birth, death is the other half of it, it comes together with it. A man who says, “I will choose only the pleasures, not the pains,” is falling into a fallacy.
Yoga says that the moment you choose only the half you fall into error. Suffering is only the other side of pleasure, it is half of it. Hence, one who wants to be peaceful will have to know restlessness also. There is no way out. Yoga says that to avoid one half is ignorance. They are together. But we do not see the whole; what we see first we hold on to. And we go on denying the other side without understanding that when we have been holding on to one half, the other half is waiting behind it. It is just waiting for an opportunity; it will soon appear.