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The Only Revolution

India 1969

The Only Revolution India Part 3

It was an old Mogul garden with many great trees. There were big monuments, dark inside with marble sepulchres, and the rain and the weather had made the stone dark and the domes still darker. There were hundreds of pigeons on these domes. They and the crows would fight for a place, and lower down on the dome were the parrots, coming from everywhere in groups. There were nicely kept lawns, well trimmed and watered. It was a quiet place and surprisingly there were not too many people. Of an evening the servants of the neighbourhood with their bicycles would gather on a lawn to play cards. It was a game they understood, but an outsider looking on couldn't make head or tail of it. There were parties of children playing on a lawn of a different tomb. There was one tomb which was especially grand, with great arches, well proportioned, and a wall behind it which was asymmetrical. It was made of bricks and the sun and the rain had made it dark, almost black. There was a notice not to pick flowers but nobody seemed to pay much attention to it for they picked them all the same.

There was an avenue of eucalyptus, and behind it a rose garden with crumbling walls around it. This garden, with magnificent roses, was kept beautifully, and the grass was always green and freshly cut. Few people seemed to come to this garden and you could walk around it in solitude, watching the sun set behind the trees and behind the dome of the tomb. Especially in the evening, with the long dark shadows, it was very peaceful there, far from the noise of the town, from the poverty, and the ugliness of the rich. There were gypsies uprooting the weeds from the lawn. It was altogether a beautiful place - but man was gradually spoiling it.

There was a man sitting cross-legged in one of the remote corners of the lawn, his bicycle beside him. He had closed his eyes and his lips were moving. He was there for more than half an hour in that position, completely lost to the world, to the passers-by and to the screech of the parrots. His body was quite still. In his hands there was a rosary covered by a piece of cloth. His fingers were the only movement that one could see, apart from his lips. He came there daily towards the evening, and it must have been after his day's work. He was rather a poor man, fairly well fed, and he always came to that corner and lost himself. If you asked him he would tell you that he was meditating, repeating some prayer or some mantra - and to him that was good enough. He found in it solace from the everyday monotony of life. He was alone on the lawn. Behind him was a flowering jasmine; a great many flowers were on the ground, and the beauty of the moment lay around him. But he never saw that beauty for he was lost in the beauty of his own making.

Meditation is not the repetition of the word, nor the experiencing of a vision, nor the cultivating of silence. The bead and the word do quieten the chattering mind, but this is a form of self-hypnosis. You might as well take a pill.

Meditation is not wrapping yourself in a pattern of thought, in the enchantment of pleasure. Meditation has no beginning, and therefore it has no end.

If you say: "I will begin today to control my thoughts, to sit quietly in the meditative posture, to breathe regularly" - then you are caught in the tricks with which one deceives oneself. Meditation is not a matter of being absorbed in some grandiose idea or image: that only quietens one for the moment, as a child absorbed by a toy is for the time being quiet. But as soon as the toy ceases to be of interest, the restlessness and the mischief begin again. Meditation is not the pursuit of an invisible path leading to some imagined bliss. The meditative mind is seeing - watching, listening, without the word, without comment, without opinion - attentive to the movement of life in all its relationships throughout the day. And at night, when the whole organism is at rest, the meditative mind has no dreams for it has been awake all day. It is only the indolent who have dreams; only the half-asleep who need the intimation of their own states. But as the mind watches, listens to the movement of life, the outer and the inner, to such a mind comes a silence that is not put together by thought.

It is not a silence which the observer can experience. If he does experience it and recognise it, it is no longer silence. The silence of the meditative mind is not within the borders of recognition, for this silence has no frontier. There is only silence - in which the space of division ceases.

The hills were being carried by the clouds and the rain was polishing the rocks, big boulders that were scattered over the hills. There was a streak of black in the grey granite, and that morning this dark basalt rock was being washed by the rain and was becoming blacker.

The ponds were filling up and the frogs were making deep-throated noises. A whole group of parrots was coming in from the fields for shelter and the monkeys were scrambling up the trees, and the red earth became darker.

There is a peculiar silence when it rains, and that morning in the valley all the noises seemed to have stopped - the noises of the farm, the tractor and the chopping of wood. There was only the dripping from the roof, and the gutters were gurgling.

It was quite extraordinary to feel the rain on one, to get wet to the skin, and to feel the earth and the trees receive the rain with great delight; for it hadn't rained for some time, and now the little cracks in the earth were closing up. The noises of the many birds were made still by the rain; the clouds were coming in from the east, dark, heavily laden, and were being drawn towards the west; the hills were being carried by them, and the smell of the earth was spreading into every corner. All day it rained.

And in the stillness of the night the owls hooted to each other across the valley.

He was a schoolteacher, a Brahmin, with a clean dhoti. He was bare footed and wore a western shirt. He was clean, sharp-eyed, apparently gentle in manner, and his salutation was a show of this humility. He was not too tall, and spoke English quite well, for he was an English teacher in town. He said he didn't earn much, and like all teachers throughout the world he found it very difficult to make both ends meet. Of course he was married, and had children, but he seemed to brush all that aside as though it did not matter at all. He was a proud man, with that peculiar pride, not of achievement, not the pride of the well-born or of the rich, but that pride of an ancient race, of the representative of an ancient tradition and system of thought and morality which, actually, had nothing whatever to do with what he really was. His pride was in the past which he represented, and his brushing aside of the present complications of life was the gesture of a man who considers it all inevitable-but-so-unnecessary. His diction was of the south, hard and loud. He said he had listened to the talks, here under the trees, for many years. In fact his father had brought him when he was a young man, still at college. Later, when he got his present miserable job, he came every year.

"I have listened to you for many years. Perhaps I understand intellectually what you are saying but it doesn't seem to penetrate very deeply. I like the setting of the trees under which you talk, and I look at the sunset when you point it out - as you so often do in your talks - but I cannot feel it, I cannot touch the leaf and feel the joy of the dancing shadows on the ground. I have no feelings at all, in fact. I have read a great deal, naturally, both English literature and the literature of this country. I can recite poems, but the beauty which lies beyond the word has escaped me. I am becoming harder, not only with my wife and children but with everybody. In the school I shout more. I wonder why I have lost the delight in the evening sun - if I ever had it! I wonder why I no longer feel strongly about any of the evils that exist in the world. I seem to see everything intellectually and can reason quite well - at least I think I can - with almost anybody. So why is there this gap between the intellect and the heart? Why have I lost love, and the feeling of genuine pity and concern?"

Look at that bougainvillaea out of the window. Do you see it at all? Do you see the light on it, its transparency, the colour, the shape and the quality of it? xxxx "I look at it, but it means absolutely nothing to me. And there are millions like me. So I come back to this question - why is there this gap between the intellect and the feelings?"

Is it because we have been badly educated, cultivating only memory and, from earliest childhood, have never been shown a tree, a flower, a bird, or a stretch of water? Is it because we have made life mechanical? Is it because of this overpopulation? For every job there are thousands who want it. Or is it because of pride, pride in efficiency, pride of race, the pride of cunning thought? Do you think that's it?

"If you're asking me if I'm proud - yes I am."

But that is only one of the reasons why the so-called intellect dominates. Is it because words have become so extraordinarily important and not what is above and beyond the word? Or is it because you are thwarted, blocked in various ways, of which you may not be conscious at all? In the modern world the intellect is worshipped and the more clever and cunning you are the more you get on.

"Perhaps it may be all these things, but do they matter much? Of course we can go on endlessly analysing, describing the cause, but will that bridge the gap between the mind and the heart? That's what I want to know. I have read some of the psychological books and our own ancient literature but it doesn't set me on fire, so now I have come to you, though perhaps it may be too late for me."

Do you really care that the mind and heart should come together? Aren't you really satisfied with your intellectual capacities? Perhaps the question of how to unite the mind and the heart is only academic? Why do you bother about bringing the two together? This concern is still of the intellect and doesn't spring, does it, from a real concern at the decay of your feeling, which is part of you? You have divided life into the intellect and the heart and you intellectually observe the heart withering away and you are verbally concerned about it. Let it wither away! Live only in the intellect. Is that possible?

"I do have feelings."

But aren't those feelings really sentimentality, emotional self-indulgence? We are not talking about that, surely. We are saying: Be dead to love; it doesn't matter. Live entirely in your intellect and in your verbal manipulations, your cunning arguments. And when you do actually live there - what takes place? What you are objecting to is the destructiveness of that intellect which you so worship. The destructiveness brings a multitude of problems. You probably see the effect of the intellectual activities in the world - the wars, the competition, the arrogance of power - and perhaps you are frightened of what is going to happen, frightened of the hopelessness and despair of man. So long as there is this division between the feelings and the intellect, one dominating the other, the one must destroy the other; there is no bridging the two. You may have listened for many years to the talks, and perhaps you have been making great efforts to bring the mind and the heart together, but this effort is of the mind and so dominates the heart. Love doesn't belong to either, because it has no quality of domination in it. It is not a thing put together by thought or by sentiment. It is not a word of the intellect or a sensuous response. You say, "I must have love, and to have it I must cultivate the heart". But this cultivation is of the mind and so you keep the two always separate; they cannot be bridged or brought together for any utilitarian purpose. Love is at the beginning, not at the end of an endeavour. "Then what am I to do?"

Now his eyes were becoming brighter; there was a movement in his body. He looked out of the window, and he was slowly beginning to catch fire.

You can't do anything. Keep out of it! And listen; and see the beauty of that flower.

The Only Revolution

India 1969

The Only Revolution India Part 3

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