For so many lives we have remained only a womb, only a seed – for eternity we have carried ourselves in our own wombs. We have not been born yet! It is as if a butterfly has been enclosed in its cocoon for many, many lives: neither has the cocoon broken open, nor has the butterfly flown – it has never spread its wings in the open sky. And we are closed within ourselves in the same way.
This Upanishad is about the science which can break that shell. We have taken this shell to be our life, although it is not even the beginning of birth. What life does a seed have? Certainly the seed is there, but is it life? Life is manifested in the tree. What is the life of a seed? – the seed is only a possibility, merely a hope, a future, its present is nothing at all. It is only a potentiality, but it is not life.
What we call life is only a potentiality, a seed in its shell. The tree has life – it spreads in the open sky reaching to touch the sun, it spreads its branches to touch the stars and the moon. Flowers bloom on it and the birds make their nests in it, there are songs, there are storms – the mighty winds, the sunshine and the rains, the struggles and the challenges of death. Moment to moment there is life. What life is there for the seed? The seed is only an embryo.
We are also seeds. And there is much more pain to go through, there is much more pain ahead. We all want bliss, but without any pain. That is why we never attain it. Who does not wish for bliss? Who is not hungry for happiness, and who is not a seeker of bliss? Our each and every fiber asks for bliss, each and every breath longs for bliss. Every-body desires the same, yet bliss does not happen because nobody is ready to pay the price for it. We want to avoid the pain. We are like a mother who wants to avoid having labor pains.
If not today, then perhaps tomorrow, there will no longer be any delivery pain for mothers all over the world; it will be possible to give birth to a child without any pain. It has already become possible. But the day will never come when a person will enter into the rebirth of his own soul, when he will give birth to his own being, without going through birth pangs.
And there is another interesting thing, another truth, which people around the world who are trying to make childbirth painless will only realize later on. It often happens that we only come to realize the implications of something when it is already out of our hands, and the truth is that a mother who gives birth to her child without any pain will also be deprived of certain depths of her motherhood. The mother giving birth to a baby without any pain will lose the depth, the intensity of her motherhood. If the baby is born without pain, the mother too will not be born; she will be deprived of motherhood, she will not become a mother, because when a baby is born with pain, that pain becomes a valley, and beside that valley rises the peak of motherhood.
When we avoid the valleys, we are also avoiding the peaks. If we want to remove the valleys near the Himalayas and preserve the peaks, or preserve Mount Everest, we are mad; we don’t know anything about the logic of life. Peaks are there only because of the valleys. In fact, the peaks and the valleys are interconnected.