Now here both kinds of people have gathered. When the Western mind comes to me he always asks how to relate with people – that is his basic question – how to be more loving, caring, how to grow deeper into relationship. No Indian, no Easterner, ever asks this. That is not his question at all. His question is how to get out of relationship, how to forget all this misery – birth and death, and reincarnation, and the whole wheel – how to stop it, how to jump out of it. You can watch it, it is very apparent. The Western mind is clear-cut, logical, rational, mathematical, alert. The Eastern mind is dreaming and, according to Western standards, lousy, sloppy, messy – because in a dream you cannot be very clear-cut, otherwise the dream will disappear. To the Eastern mind the Western mind is worldly, calculating, cunning, clever.
The third kind has happened both in the East, and the West – very rarely. In the West monasteries have existed, and people have renounced the world and moved – in the East too. One who becomes interested in dreamless sleep…. And it is greatly satisfying, no doubt about it, there is great pleasure in it, it is very tranquil, undisturbed, but it is a kind of death, not life. And there is fear that it can be disturbed – any small thing can disturb it – a small thought can move, and all is lost. A small dream is enough to destroy it.
Zen people have worked for the fourth. The fourth means: live in the world like a lotus leaf in water, be awake and yet remain centered. Do all that is needed to be done, be in the cyclone but remain the center of it, unaffected by it. Naturally, the Zen man creates the most alive, living, streaming, pulsating life. The Zen man creates action through inaction, or inaction through action. Polarities meet and merge, and wherever polarities meet and merge there is godliness.
The fourth is the primal state, the very basic and fundamental state out of which these three have arisen. These three are branches, the fourth is the root.
The sutras of today you will be able to understand only if you understand this approach, the approach through the fourth, through totality. One has not to escape; one has to go into the deepest world but is not to be lost there. One has to remain conscious, one has to remain alert, and one has to go deep into the world. The meeting of the extremes will bring you the richest crop of life.
Vivekananda once told his master Ramakrishna, that his highest spiritual aspiration was to remain immersed for days on end in nirvikalpa samadhi, the disappearance of all forms into absolute Godhead. He sincerely longed for what he then considered to be the ultimate spiritual experience. But Ramakrishna, who had once spent six months in unbroken nirvikalpa, his body kept alive only by force-feeding, replied, “You are a fool. There is a realization higher than nirvikalpa samadhi.” Vivekananda was at that time dedicated to what we have called the third dimension of contemplation, and Ramakrishna was attempting to turn him toward the fourth dimension, or turiya.