The cause is not outside, it is within you, hidden in your misery. Misery is just like smoke. Somewhere there is fire inside you; penetrate deep into the smoke so you can find the fire. Nobody can put the smoke out because it is a by-product. But if you put the fire out, the smoke disappears of its own accord. Find the cause, the effect disappears because then something can be done. Remember, only with the cause can something be done, never with the effect. If you go on fighting with the effect, all fight is in vain. That is the meaning of Patanjali’s method of prati-prasav: go back to the cause, penetrate the effect and reach to the cause. The cause must be there somewhere. The effect is just like smoke surrounding you; but once the smoke surrounds you, you escape into hope. You dream about days when there will be no smoke. This is all foolish. Not only is it foolish, but suicidal, because this is how you are missing the cause.
Patanjali says “the discriminating person.” The Sanskrit word is vivek – it means awareness, it means consciousness, it means discriminating force. Because through awareness, you can discriminate between what is what: what is real, what is false, what is the effect and what is the cause.
The discriminating person, the man of vivek, the man of awareness, realizes that everything leads to misery.
As you are, everything leads to misery. And if you remain as you are, everything will go on leading to misery. It is not a question of changing the situations, it is a question of a very deep-rooted thing within you. Something within you frustrates the very possibility of bliss. Something in you goes against your flowering into a blissful state. The man of awareness comes to know that everything leads to misery, everything.
You have done everything, but have you watched that everything leads to misery? If you hate, it leads to misery; if you love, it leads to misery. There seems to be no logical system in life. A man hates, it leads to misery. Simple logic will say that if hate leads to misery then love must lead to happiness. Then you love, and love also leads to misery. What is this? Is life absolutely absurd, irrational? Is there no logic? Is it a chaos? You do whatsoever you want, and finally comes misery. It seems that misery is the road and every road leads to it. From wherever you want to start, you can start: right, left, in the middle; Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian, Jaina; man, woman, knowledge, ignorance, love, hate everything leads to misery. If you are angry it leads to misery; if you are not angry, that too leads to misery. It seems that misery is there and whatsoever you do is irrelevant. Finally, you come to it.
I have heard a story, and I have loved it always.
A psychoanalyst was visiting a madhouse. He asked the superintendent about a madman who was crying and weeping and beating his head against the wall. He had a beautiful picture of a woman in his hand. Asked the psychoanalyst, “What has happened to this man?” The superintendent said, “This man loved this woman very much. He went mad because the woman did not agree to marry him. That’s why he has gone mad.” Logical, simple, but next door to him was another madman and he was also crying and weeping and beating his head. He had a picture of the same woman in his hand, and he was spitting on the picture and using four letter words. Asked the psychoanalyst, “What has happened to this man? He has the same picture. What is the matter?” The superintendent said, “This man was also madly in love with that same woman, and she agreed and married him. That’s why he is mad.”