Hence, when Buddha’s message reached China, the word was left untranslated, because there was no equivalent in the Chinese language either. And the Chinese language is far richer than any other language of the world. Yet there was no word which could be called synonymous with the word dhyana – for a simple reason: such a word was missing because dhyana has never been practiced anywhere else except in this country.
This country has contributed only one thing to the world, and that is the art of dhyana. And that one contribution is enough, more than enough.
The whole of science can be put on one side and still it will not be more weighty than the single word dhyana. All the knowledge of the world can be put on one side, but the word dhyana will still weigh more. It has infinite significance. It is a totally new vision of consciousness: a consciousness without content, a consciousness without any thought, desire – an ocean without ripples, waves, utterly silent and still, reflecting the whole sky with all the stars. So is dhyana.
In China it was left untranslated, but when you write a word from one language in another language, even if you don’t translate it, it changes its color, its form. That’s natural; it has happened many times.
Now, you know the word India. It is simply a different pronunciation for Sindu, the great river that now passes through Pakistan. When the Persians crossed that river for the first time they pronounced it Indu not Sindu. From Indu it became Indus, from Indus it became India. And then some other language group passed and pronounced it not Sindu but Hindu: hence Hindu, Hinduism, Hindustan. But they have all arisen out of the name Sindu. Now it seems so far away that Hindu and India seem to be not related at all.
When the Indian constitution was being prepared.,W there was great discussion about hat to call this country: India or Hindustan? Great controversy over the same word – because they both arise from the same word – the name of the great river that now passes through Pakistan, Sindu. It traveled in one direction and became Hindu and Hindustan, traveled into another direction and became Indus, India.
The same has happened with dhyana. Buddha never spoke Sanskrit; that was also one of his originalities. In India Sanskrit has always been the language of the priests, of the cultured, of the sophisticated. Buddha was the first to bring about a radical change: he started talking in the language of the people.
Sanskrit has never been a language of the people, it has always been the language of the highest strata of the society. And they have guarded it with great care, so that it never falls into the hands of the common people.
It has been one of the strategies of all the priests all over the world, that their language should not be understood by the common people, because if their language is understood by the common people then they will be exposed. Because what they go on saying is simple, very ordinary, but in a language that you don’t understand it appears as if they are saying something superb, something very supernatural.