When one of the great Greek philosophers, Pythagoras, reached Egypt to enter a school — a secret esoteric school of mysticism — he was refused. And Pythagoras was one of the best minds ever produced. He could not understand it. He applied again and again, but he was told that unless he goes through a particular training of fasting and breathing he cannot be allowed to enter the school. Pythagoras is reported to have said, “I have come for knowledge, not for any sort of discipline.” But the school authorities said, “We cannot give you knowledge unless you are different. And really, we are not interested in knowledge at all, we are interested in actual experience. No knowledge is knowledge unless it is lived and experienced. So you will have to go on a forty-day fast, continuously breathing in a certain manner, with a certain awareness on certain points.”
There was no other way, so Pythagoras had to pass through this training. After forty days of fasting and breathing, aware, attentive, he was allowed to enter the school. It is said that Pythagoras said, “You are not allowing Pythagoras in. I am a different man, I am reborn. You were right and I was wrong, because then my whole standpoint was intellectual. Through this purification, my center of being has changed. From the intellect it has come down to the heart. Now I can feel things. Before this training I could only understand through the intellect, through the head. Now I can feel. Now truth is not a concept to me, but a life. It is not going to be a philosophy, but rather, an experience — existential.” What was that training he went through? This fifth technique was the technique that was given to Pythagoras. It was given in Egypt, but the technique is Indian. The fifth technique:
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5. Attention between eyebrows, let mind be before thought. let form fill with breath essence to the top of the head and there shower as light.
This was the technique given to Pythagoras. Pythagoras went with this technique to Greece, and really, he became the fountainhead, the source of all mysticism in the West. He is the father of all mysticism in the West. This technique is one of the very deep methods. Try to understand this: Attention between eyebrows,… Modern physiology, scientific research, says that between the two eyebrows is the gland which is the most mysterious part of the body. This gland, called the pineal gland, is the third eye of the Tibetans — Shivanetra: the eye of the Shiva, of the tantra. Between the two eyes there exists a third eye, but it is non-functioning. It is there, it can function any moment, but it does not function naturally. You have to do something about it to open it. It is not blind; it is simply closed. This technique is to open the third eye. Attention between the eyebrows… Close your eyes, then focus both of your eyes just in the middle of the two eyebrows. Focus just in the middle, with closed eyes, as if you are looking with your two eyes. Give total attention to it.
This is one of the simplest methods of being attentive. You cannot be attentive to any other part of the body so easily. This gland absorbs attention like anything. If you give attention to it, both your eyes become hypnotized with the third eye. They become fixed; they cannot move. If you are trying to be attentive to any other part of the body it is difficult. This third eye catches attention, forces attention; It is magnetic for attention. So all the methods all over the world have used it. It is the simplest to train you in attention because not only are you trying to be attentive, the gland itself helps you; it is magnetic.
Your attention is brought to it forcibly. It is absorbed. It is said in the old tantra scriptures that for the third eye attention is food. It is hungry; it has been hungry for lives and lives. If you pay attention to it, it becomes alive. It becomes alive! The food is given to it. And once you know that attention is food, once you feel that your attention is magnetically drawn, attracted, pulled by the gland itself, attention is not a difficult thing then. One has only to know the right point. So just close your eyes, let your two eyes move just to the middle, and feel the point. When you are near the point, suddenly your eyes will become fixed. When it becomes difficult to move them, then know you have caught the right point. attention between the eyebrows, let mind be before thought… If this attention is there, for the first time you will come to experience a strange phenomenon. For the first time you will see thoughts running before you; you will become the witness.
It is just like a film screen: thoughts are running and you are a witness. Once your attention is focused at the third eye center, you become immediately the witness of thoughts. Ordinarily you are not the witness, you are identified with thoughts. If anger is there, you become anger. If a thought moves, you are not the witness, you become one with the thought, identified, and you move with it. You become the thought; you take the form of the thought. When sex is there you become sex, when anger is there you become anger, when greed is there you become greed. Any thought moving becomes identified with you. You do not have any gap between you and the thought. But focused at the third eye, suddenly you become a witness.
Through the third eye you become the witness. Through the third eye you can see thoughts running like clouds in the sky or people moving on the street. You are sitting at your window looking at the sky or at people in the street; you are not identified. You are aloof, a watcher on the hill — different. Now if anger is there you can look at it as an object. Now you do not feel that YOU are angry. You feel that you are surrounded by anger — a cloud of anger has come around you — but you are not the anger. And if you are not the anger, anger becomes impotent, it cannot affect you; you remain untouched. The anger will come and go and you will remain centered in yourself. This fifth technique is a technique of finding the witness.
Attention between the eyebrows, let the mind be before thought. Now look at your thoughts; now encounter your thoughts. Let form fill with breath essence to the top of the head and there shower as light. When attention is focused at the third eye center, between the two eyebrows, two things happen. One is, suddenly you become a witness. This can happen in two ways. You become a witness and you will be centered at the third eye. Try to be a witness. Whatsoever is happening, try to be a witness. You are ill, the body is aching and painful, you have misery and suffering, whatsoever — be a witness to it. Whatsoever is happening, do not identify yourself with it.
Be a witness, an observer. Then if witnessing becomes possible, you will be focused in the third eye. The vice versa is the case also. If you are focused in the third eye, you will become a witness. These two things are part of one. So the first thing: by being centered in the third eye there will be the arising of the witnessing self. Now you can encounter your thoughts. This will be the first thing. And the second thing will be that now you can feel the subtle, delicate vibration of breathing. Now you can feel the form of breathing, the very essence of breathing.
First try to understand what is meant by “the form,” by “the essence of breathing.” While you are breathing, you are not only breathing air. Science says you are breathing only air — just oxygen, hydrogen, and other gases in their combined form of air. They say you are breathing air! But tantra says that air is just the vehicle, not the real thing. You are breathing prana — vitality. Air is just the medium; prana is the content. You are breathing prana, not only air. Modern science is still not able to find out whether there is something like prana, but some researchers have felt something mysterious. Breathing is not simply air. It has been felt by many modern researchers also. In particular, one name is to be mentioned — Wilhelm Reich, a German psychologist who called it “orgone energy.” It is the same thing as prana.
He says that while you are breathing, air is just the container and there is a mysterious content which can be called orgone or prana or ELAN VITAL. But that is very subtle. Really, it is not material. Air is the material thing — the container is material — but something subtle, non-material, is moving through it. The effects of it can be felt. When you are with a very vital person, you will feel a certain vitality arising in you. If you are with a very sick person you will feel sucked, as if something has been taken out of you. When you go to the hospital, why do you feel so tired? You are being sucked from everywhere. The whole hospital atmosphere is ill, and everyone there needs more elan vital, more prana. So if you are there, suddenly your prana begins to flow out of you. Why do you feel suffocated sometimes when you are in a crowd? Because your prana is being sucked. While you are alone under the sky in the morning, under the trees, suddenly you feel a vitality in you — the prana. Each person needs a particular space. If that space is not given, your prana is sucked.
Wilhelm Reich did many experiments, but he was thought to be a madman. Science has its own superstitions, and science is a very orthodox thing. Science cannot feel yet that there is anything more than air, but India has been experimenting with it for centuries. You may have heard or you may have even seen someone going into SAMADHI, cosmic consciousness — underground samadhi — for days together, with no air penetrating. One man went into such underground samadhi in Egypt in 1880 for forty years. Those who had buried him all died, because he was to come out of his samadhi in 1920, forty years afterwards. In 1920 no one believed that they would find him alive, but he was found alive.
He lived afterwards for ten years more. He had become completely pale, but he was alive. And there had been no possibility of air reaching to him. He was asked by medical doctors and others, “What is the secret of it?” He said, “We do not know. We only know this, that prana can enter and flow anywhere.” Air cannot penetrate, but prana can penetrate. Once you know that you can suck prana directly, without the container, then you can go into samadhi for centuries even. By being focused in the third eye, suddenly you can observe the very essence of breath — not breath, but the very essence of breath, prana. And if you can observe the essence of breath, prana, you are at the point from where the jump, the breakthrough happens. The sutra says, let form fill with breath essence to the top of the head… And when you come to feel the essence of breathing, prana, just imagine that your head is filled with it — just imagine.
No need of any effort. I will explain to you how imagination works. When you are focused at the third eye center, imagine, and the thing happens — then and there. Now your imagination is just impotent; you go on imagining and nothing happens. But sometimes, unknowingly, in ordinary life also things happen. You are imagining about your friend and suddenly there is a knock on the door. You say it is a coincidence that the friend has come. Sometimes your imagination works just like coincidence. But whenever this happens, now try and remember and analyze the whole thing. Whenever it happens that you feel your imagination has become actual, go inside and observe. Somewhere your attention must have been near the third eye. Whenever this coincidence happens, it is not a coincidence. It looks that way because you do not know the secret science. Your mind must have moved unknowingly near the third eye center. If your attention is in the third eye, just imagination is enough to create any phenomenon.
This sutra says that when you are focused between the eyebrows and you can feel the very essence of breathing, let form fill . Now imagine that this essence is filling your whole head, particularly the top of the head, the Sahasrar — the highest psychic center. And the moment you imagine, it will be filled. THERE — at the top of the head — Shower as light. This prana essence is showering from the top of your head as light. And it WILL begin to shower, and under the shower of light you will be refreshed, reborn, completely new. That is what inner rebirth means. So two things: first, focused at the third eye your imagination becomes potent, powerful. That is why so much insistence has been given on purity. Before doing these practices, be pure. Purity is not a moral concept for tantra, purity is significant — because if you are focused at the third eye and your mind is impure, your imagination can become dangerous: dangerous to you, dangerous to others. If you are thinking to murder someone, if this idea is in the mind, just imagining may kill the man. That is why there is so much insistence on being pure first.
Pythagoras was told to go through fasting, through particular breathing — this breathing — because here one is traveling in a very dangerous land. Because wherever there is power there is danger, and if the mind is impure, whenever you get power your impure thoughts will take hold of it immediately. You have imagined many times to kill but the imagination cannot work, fortunately. If it works, if it is actualized immediately, then it will become dangerous — not only to others, but to yourself also, because so many times you have thought to commit suicide. If the mind is focused at the third eye, just thinking of suicide will become suicide. You will not have any time to change, immediately it will happen.
You might have observed someone being hypnotized. When someone is hypnotized, the hypnotist can say anything and immediately the hypnotized person follows. Howsoever absurd the order, howsoever irrational or even impossible, the hypnotized person follows it. What is happening? This fifth technique is at the base of all hypnotism. Whenever someone is being hypnotized he is told to focus his eyes at a particular point — on some light, some dot on the wall or anything, or on the eyes of the hypnotist.
When you focus your eyes at any particular point, within three minutes your inner attention begins to flow toward the third eye. And the moment your inner attention begins to flow toward the third eye, your face begins to change. And the hypnotist knows when your face begins to change. Suddenly your face loses all vitality. It becomes dead, as if deeply asleep. The hypnotist knows immediately when your face has lost the luster, the aliveness. It means that now attention is being sucked by the third eye center. Your face has become dead; the whole energy is running toward the third eye center. Now the hypnotist immediately knows that anything said will happen. He says, “Now you are falling into a deep sleep” — you will fall immediately. He says, “Now you are becoming unconscious” — you will become unconscious immediately. Now anything can be done.
If he says, “Now you have become Napoleon,” you will become. You will begin to behave like a Napoleon, you will begin to talk like Napoleon. Your gestures will change. Your unconscious will take the order and will create the actuality. If you are suffering from a disease, now it can be ordered that the disease has disappeared and it will disappear. Or any new disease can be created. Just putting an ordinary stone from the street in your hand, the hypnotist can say, “This is fire in your hand,” and you will feel intense heat; your hand will get burned — not only in the mind, but actually. Actually your skin will get burned. You will have a burning sensation. What is happening? There is no fire, there is just an ordinary stone, cold. How? How does this burning happen? You are focused at the third eye center, your imagination is being given suggestions by the hypnotist, and they are being actualized.
If the hypnotist says, “Now you are dead,” you will die immediately. Your heart will stop. It WILL stop. This happens because of the third eye. In the third eye, imagination and actualization are not two things. Imagination is the fact. Imagine, and it is so. There is no gap between dream and reality. There is NO gap between dream and reality! Dream, and it will become real. That is why Shankara has said that this whole world is nothing but the dream of the divine… the DREAM of the divine! This is because the divine is centered in the third eye — always, eternally — so whatsoever the divine dreams becomes real. If you are also centered in the third eye, whatsoever you dream will become real.
Sariputta came to Buddha. He meditated deeply, then many things, many visions started coming, as it happens with anyone who goes into deep meditation. He began to see heavens, he began to see hells, he began to see angels, gods, demons. And they were actual, so real that he came running to Buddha to tell him that such and such a vision had come to him. But Buddha said, “It is nothing — just dreams. Just dreams!” But Sariputta said, “They are so real. How can I say that they are dreams? When I see a flower in my vision it is more real than any flower in the world. The fragrance is there; I can touch it. When I see you,” he said to Buddha, “I do not see you as real. That flower is more real than your being here just before me, so how can I differentiate between what is real and what is dream?” Buddha said, “Now that you are centered in the third eye, dream and reality are one. Whatsoever you are dreaming will be real, and vice versa also.” For one who is centered in the third eye dreams will become real and the whole reality will become just a dream, because when your dream can become real you know there is no basic difference between dream and reality.
So when Shankara says that this whole world is just Maya, a dream of the divine, it is not a theoretical proposition, it is not a philosophical statement. It is, rather, the inner experience of one who is focused in the third eye. When you are focused in the third eye, just imagine that the essence of prana is showering from the top of the head, just as if you are sitting under a tree and flowers are showering, or you are just under the sky and suddenly a cloud begins to shower, or you are just sitting in the morning and the sun rises and rays begin to shower. Imagine, and immediately there is a shower — a shower of light falling down from the top of your head. This shower recreates you, gives you a new birth. You are reborn.