But this sage is saying something else. This sage does not believe that the divine and the world are opposed to each other. He does not believe that the sense organs and the soul are opposed to one another. This sage, even in his search of the ultimate realization, begins his journey by praying for the strengthening of his sense organs.
There is no contradiction. There cannot be, it is simply not possible. Forget about any contradiction – there is not even any duality. The divine and the world are not two things. The divine that comes within the grasp of our sense organs we call “the world,” and the divine that doesn’t come within the grasp of our sense organs we call “the divine.”
This sage is saying a remarkable prayer. He is saying, “Right now, if I ask for the other part of the prayer – that you enter my experience from within me – that will be asking for too much. Right now, I pray only for this much: that my sense organs, through which you come into my perception even a little in the form of the world, should grow strong. I pray that you become available to me, all around me, in the world itself. I pray that my eyes grow so strong that when I look at a tree, not only will I see the tree, but I will also see you throbbing and growing inside it. And when my ears hear someone speak, I pray that they hear not only the words that come from the mouth, but also the soundless, which is always there beyond the words. And I pray that when my hands touch someone, then as well as touching the body, my fingers may also touch the one that is hidden within the body. For this, strengthen my sense organs, nourish my sense organs.”
This is a very novel point of view. And psychologists today support this view. They say that the more sensitive and alive a person’s senses are, the more he will begin to feel and have glimpses of the deeper reality that is hidden within life. What you are doing by killing the senses is that you are becoming enemies of the world. You are saying to the divine, “No matter how much I try, I cannot see you in this world.” So then you make your eyes blind, you deaden your hearing, you make all your sense organs weak and feeble, you dry them up – and you only search for the divine inside you.
But try to understand this a little: what you could not find even on the outside – which would have been easier – will you be able to find it within? Moreover, what you divide into outer and inner, are they really two? The sky that is outside your house and the sky that is inside you house, are they really two? And the breath that you inhale and the breath that you exhale, are they really two? What permeates inside you and what is everywhere outside you, are they really two? And there is such a vast expanse outside of you – if you are blind to it and cannot see it, will you be able to discover it in the tiny part within you?
The sage says: “First strengthen my senses, make them powerful so that through them I can experience what I cannot perceive when my senses are weak.”
It is a courageous prayer. This Upanishad has not been written in any moment of weakness.