Let us understand it this way. If you are standing before a mirror, at a certain distance your image is very clear. If you move too far away from the mirror there will be no image. If you come too close to the mirror, so much so that you put your eyes against it, then you cannot see your image at all. But here the situation is that you are standing behind the mirror; thus there is no possibility of there being any image of you in the mirror – the eyes are in the front and you are behind them.
Eyes see that which is in front of them. How are the eyes to see that which is behind them? Ears hear that which is outside the ears. How are the ears to hear that which is within the ears? Eyes open outwards, ears also open outwards. I can touch you, but how can I touch myself? And even if I am able to touch my body, it is just because I am not the body – the body too is the other, hence I am able to touch it. But how can I touch the one that I am, the one that is touching? With what can I touch?
Therefore the hands touch everything but cannot touch themselves. The eyes see everything but cannot see themselves. In regard to our own selves we are blind; none of the senses that are known to us are of any use. Unless some other senses open up – some eye that can see withinwards, backwards, in the reverse, or some ear that is affected also by the inner sound – there is no way we would be able to see and hear and know ourselves. Till that happens there is no way of touching our own selves. What is near is missed; what is nearest of all is not possible to be known. This is why the fish is not able to know the sea.
The second thing: a fish is born in the sea, it lives in the sea; the sea is its food, the sea is its drink, the sea is its life, the sea is its everything. Then it dies and dissolves into the sea, but it never gets the opportunity to know the sea because it does not have any distance from the sea. A fish, however, comes to know what the sea is if someone comes and lifts it out of the sea. This is a very contradictory thing: the fish comes to know the sea when it is away from the sea – when it is struggling for its life on the sand under the hot sun, then it knows what the sea is. For knowing, this much distance is necessary.
How can we know the one that existed even before we were born and that will remain even after we are dead? How can we know the one in which we are born and in which we shall disappear? For knowing, some separation is a must. That is why the fish does not know the sea; only when someone throws it out onto the shore does it come to know.
Man is in a greater difficulty. The divine is the ocean that surrounds us. It has no shores to it where you can be thrown out, where you may start writhing with pain like a fish. It would have been very easy if there was such a shore, but there is no such shore. God is the ocean. This is why those who look for God as a shore are never able to find him. The shore is available only to those who are ready to drown in the ocean of the divine.
There simply is no shore so there is no way to find it. How can there be a shore? Everything else can have a shore; the whole cannot have a shore – because something else is needed to form the shore. The bank of a river is formed of something other than the river. The shore of the sea is formed of something other than the sea. But there is nothing other than God which can form the shore.