We have become very poor, poor through our experience of life. Here nothing is attained without doing, so we have become very narrow-minded. We cannot think that enlightenment could be attained without doing. Our poverty cannot even imagine it.
But we are not poor. This is why Janak says, “Oh!” I am amazed! I bow down to myself. “I bow down to myself,” means both the devotee and the divine are within me. To say “both” is not right; there is only one within me, and mistakenly I think he is a devotee. When I realize this error, I know him as the divine.
Think of it this way: you have two chairs and you put them in a room, then you put two more chairs in the room and count them, mistakenly getting five. But in the room there are only four. If you mistakenly count five, or six, or fifty, the number of chairs in the room does not become five or six or fifty. There are four chairs, whether you count three or you count five. Only you know about your three or five; it doesn’t make any difference to the chairs, they are still exactly four.
Your thinking to seek the divine is your three or five. The divine is already attained, the chairs are exactly four! Whenever you find out the right calculation will you think, “Oh, but before there were five chairs, now they have become four” – will you think this way? No, you will think, “I was mistaken: there were always four, I had counted five. The error was only in addition.”
The error is not existential, the error is only in memory. The error is not existential, the error is only in your arithmetic. This error is in your understanding.
This is why Ashtavakra says there is no question of doing. To make these five chairs into four one doesn’t have to take one out. Or, if you counted three you don’t need to bring one in from outside to make four – there are four chairs already. It is only an error of addition. Add it correctly. When the addition is correct, then would you think that it was without cause that the three chairs became four? Without cause five chairs became four? No, you would laugh. You would think, “It was not a question of becoming, they already were, the error was only in thinking. The error was only mental, not existential.”
If you take yourself to be a devotee it is an error in addition. This is why Janak can say, “Oh!” I bow down to myself! What an idiot I have been! How amazing that I had gone astray in my own illusions. I did not know what always was, but knew what has never been. I saw a snake in a rope. I saw silver in mother of pearl. I saw an illusion of an oasis in the play of light. I saw what was not! “What is” was hidden in this hallucination, in this maya, and I did not see it.”