One is a number, and one can exist only if other numbers exist – two, three, four. If there are no other numbers, one becomes meaningless. Then what do you mean by one? Because there are nine digits, from one to nine, one is meaningful. It is meaningful in a pattern of digits, numbers. If there is only one, you cannot say it is one. Then numbers become meaningless.
Hindus say that existence is nondual, not one. They mean it is one, but they say it is nondual, they say it is not two. This is a noncommittal statement. If you say “one” you have made a commitment, you have committed yourself in many ways. If you say one, you are saying that you have measured it. If you say one, you are saying it is finite.
Hindus say existence is nondual. They mean it is one, but they say it in a roundabout way. It is very meaningful. They say it is nondual, it is not two; this way they only indicate that it is one. It is never said directly, only indicated: it is not two.
This is also meaningful, because when we say the dancer and the dance are one, then there will be many difficulties. If the dance ceases, the dancer will cease – if they are one. Hindus say instead they are not two. The dancer will be there even if the dance ceases, but the dance cannot be there if the dancer ceases.
This nondualness is hidden, the duality is manifest. Manyness is manifest, oneness is hidden. But this manyness can exist only because of that hidden oneness. Trees are different, the earth is different, the sun is different, the moon is different, but now science says that deep down everything is related and one. The trees cannot grow if there is no sun. But we have come to know only this one-way traffic. We know trees cannot grow and flowers cannot flower if the sun ceases to be. But Hindus say it’s true, trees cannot grow if there is no sun, but if there are no growing trees, the sun cannot exist either. This is a two-way traffic: everything is related.
Jainas say if there is God, then man will be a slave. Mohammedans say if man declares, “I am God,” then the God is dethroned and the slave pretends to be the master. Hindus say there is neither independence nor dependence: existence is interdependence – interdependence. So to talk in terms of dependence and independence is meaningless. The whole exists as an interdependent whole. Nothing is high and nothing is low, because the high cannot exist without that which you call low.
Can the peak exist without the valley? Can the holy man exist without the sinner? Can beauty exist without that which you call ugliness? And if beauty cannot exist without ugliness, then it depends on ugliness. And if the peak cannot exist without the valley, then what is the meaning of calling the peak something high and calling the valley something low?
Hindus say the lowest is the highest and the highest is the lowest. By declaring this, they mean that this whole world is a deeply interdependent pattern. And all religions are arbitrary: they are good for thinking, for analyzing, for understanding, but basically they are false. And this is the longest jump.
The rishi says: