There is no difference in the ancient Upanishads, in this upanishad, or in the future upanishads. An upanishad is a phenomenon which is beyond time, beyond space. Don’t call upanishads ancient, because that word ancient makes them related to time. Don’t call this upanishad modern, because time has no place as far as the phenomenon of upanishad is concerned. There is no ancient love, there is no modern love.
And neither is it confined to space: it can happen anywhere, any time; the only necessity is that somebody is overflowing with blissfulness and somebody else has the guts to be available to this overflowing bliss, is not afraid.
People are always afraid of unknown things, and this is the most unknown. People are always afraid of the strange, and this is the strangest experience possible. People are always afraid of the mysterious, and this is the last word in the world of mysteries.
Are the Upanishads and Zen the same?
They are not. The upanishad is a happening between the master and the disciple, Zen is the happening in the disciple himself. The master may help him, may create devices, show the path – but Zen is basically an individual experience. It is not like love. It happens in your aloneness. It is not a relationship.
Upanishad is the greatest relationship. It cannot happen if the master is alone. He may be full, overflowing; but it cannot happen because the receiving end is absent. It cannot happen if the disciple is alone, however open, however available – but available to what? Open to what?
Upanishad is a more human phenomenon than Zen. It is closer to human reality because it is closer to love. It can be understood more easily, because it is very difficult to find a person who has not tasted something of love in some moments. There is some experience which can be used to explain to him what happens when a master and a disciple dissolve into each other. So the first thing: the upanishad is a totally different phenomenon than Zen.
And the second thing: the experience is the same. The paths are different, but finally – whether you have followed Zen and reached alone to the peak, or you have allowed a master to hold your hand in deep trust and reached the peak – it does not matter how you reach the peak. Your vehicles can be different, your means can be different; the peak is the same. The experience of finding oneself and simultaneously finding the whole secret of existence is the same.
So on the one hand I say they are totally different. On the other hand I say they are exactly the same. And there is no contradiction in these two statements. The paths are different but the ultimate finding is the same.
Zen is an arduous path, a hard and long way. But it is up to you – there are people who love to go the hard way. The simple way does not appeal to them; the hard way is exciting.
Upanishad is not a hard way. It is a very simple and relaxed experience. It is the shortest way possible to the ultimate reality.