Since, in truth, bondage and freedom are related, these words are only for those terrified with the universe. this universe is a reflection of minds. as you see many suns in the water from one sun, so see bondage and liberation.
This is a very deep technique, one of the deepest, and only very rare minds have tried it. Zen is based on this technique. This technique is saying a very difficult thing — difficult to comprehend, not difficult to experience. But first comprehension is needed.
This sutra says that the world and NIRVANA are not two things, they are one; that heaven and hell are not two things, they are one; and that bondage and liberation are not two things, they are one. It is difficult because we can only conceive of something easily if it is in terms of polar opposites.
We say that this world is bondage, so how to get out of this world and be liberated? Then liberation is something which is opposite, which is not bondage. But this sutra says that both are the same — liberation and bondage — and unless you are freed from both you are not freed. Bondage binds, and liberation also. Bondage is a slavery, and liberation is also.
Try to understand this. Look at a person who is trying to go beyond bondage. What is he doing? He leaves his home, he leaves his family, he leaves the riches, he leaves the things of the world, he leaves society just to get out of bondage, out of the fetters of the world. Then he creates new fetters for himself. Those fetters are negative.
I have seen one saint who cannot touch money. He is respected — he is bound to be respected by those who are mad after money. He has moved to the other pole. If you put money in his hand, he will throw it as if there were some poison or as if you have put some scorpion in his hand. He will throw it and he will become scared. A subtle trembling comes to his body. What is happening? He has been fighting with money. He must have been a greedy man — too much greed. Only then can he move to this extreme. He may have been too much obsessed with money. He is still obsessed, but now in the reverse direction. However, the obsession is still there.
I have seen one sannyasin who cannot look at any female face. He becomes afraid. He will always look down, he will never look up if some woman is there. What is the problem? He must have been too much sexual, obsessed with sex. He is still obsessed, but then he was running after this woman or that and now he is running from women — from this one and that. But he is still obsessed with women. Whether he is running after or running from, his obsession remains. He thinks that now he is liberated from women, but this is a new bondage. You cannot become liberated by reaction. The thing you go against will bind you negatively; you cannot escape it. If someone is against the world and for liberation, he cannot be liberated; he will remain in the world. The attitude of being against is a bondage.
This sutra is very deep, it says “SINCE IN TRUTH, BONDAGE AND FREEDOM ARE RELATED…” They are not opposite, they are relative. What is freedom? You say, “Not bondage.” And what is bondage? You say, “Not freedom.” You can define them by each other. They are just like hot and cold, not opposite. What is hot and what is cold? They are just degrees of the same phenomenon — degrees of temperature — but the phenomenon is the same, and they are relative. If there is in one bucket cold water and in another there is hot water and you put in both your hands — one hand in the hot and one in the cold — what will you feel? A difference of degrees.
And if at first you cool down both your hands on ice and then you put both your hands into the hot and the cold water, what will happen? Now again you will feel a difference. Your cold hand will now feel more hot in the hot water than it felt before. And if your other hand has become cold, much colder than the cold water, then that water will now look hot; you will not feel it as cool. It is relative. There are only degrees of difference, but the phenomenon is the same.
Tantra says that bondage and liberation, SANSARA and MOKSHA, are not two things, but a relative phenomenon — of the same thing. So tantra is unique. Tantra says that you have to be liberated not only from bondage; you have to be liberated from MOKSHA also. Unless you are liberated from both, you are not Liberated.
So the first thing: don’t try to go against anything because you will move to something which belongs to it. It looks opposite, but it is not. Don’t move from sex to BRAHMACHARYA. If you are trying to move from sex to BRAHMACHARYA, your BRAHMACHARYA will be nothing but sexuality. Don’t move from greed to no-greed because that no-greed will again be a subtle greed. That is why if a tradition teaches to be non- greedy, it gives you some profit motive in it.
I was staying with a saint, and he told his followers, “If you leave greed you will get much in the other world. If you leave greed, you will gain much in the other world!” Those who are greedy, greedy for the other world, will be influenced by this. They may be motivated, and they will be ready to leave many things to gain. But the motive to gain remains; otherwise how can a greedy man move toward non-greed? Some motive must be there which fulfills his greed deeply.
So don’t create opposite poles. All opposites are related; they are degrees of the same phenomenon. If you become aware of this, you will say that both poles are the same. If you can feel this, that both poles are the same, and if this feeling deepens, you will be liberated from both. Then you are neither for SANSARA nor for MOKSHA. Really, then you are not asking for anything; you have stopped asking. In that stopping, you are liberated. In that feeling that everything is the same, the future will have dropped. Where can you move now? Sex and BRAHMACHARYA both are the same, so where is one to move? And if greed and non-greed are the same and violence and nonviolence are the same, where has one to move?
There is nowhere to move. Then movement ceases; there is no future. You cannot desire anything because all desires will be the same; the difference will be just of degrees. What can you desire? Sometimes I ask people — when they come to me, I ask them — “What do you really desire?” Their desire is based in them as they are. If they are greedy, they desire nongreed; if they are sexual, obsessed with sex, they desire BRAHMACHARYA, how to be beyond sex, because they are miserable in their sex.
But this desire for BRAHMACHARYA is based, rooted, in their sexuality. They ask, “How to get out of this world?” The world is too much on them, they are too much burdened and they are clinging too much, because the world cannot burden you unless you cling to it. The burden is in your head — not because of the burden, but because of you, you are carrying it. And they are carrying the whole world; then they get burdened. And in this experience of misery there arises a new desire for the opposite, so then they start hankering for the opposite.
They were running after money, so now they run after meditation. They were running after something in this world; now they are running after something in that world. But the running remains, and the running is the problem. The object is irrelevant. Desire is the problem. What you desire is meaningless. You desire, that is the problem, and you go on changing objects. Today you desire A, tomorrow you desire B, and you think you are changing. Then the day after tomorrow you desire C, and you think you are transformed. BUT you are the same. You desired A, you desired B, you desired C, and A-B-C are not you. You desire — that is you, and that remains the same. You desire bondage, then you get frustrated, fed up; then you desire liberation. You desire, and desire is the bondage.
So you cannot desire liberation. Desire is bondage, so you cannot desire liberation. When desire ceases, liberation is. That is why this sutra says, “IN TRUTH, BONDAGE AND FREEDOM ARE RELATIVE.” So don’t become obsessed with the opposite.
“These words are only for those terrified with the universe.” These words of bondage and freedom are for those who are terrified with the universe.
“THIS UNIVERSE IS THE REFLECTION OF MINDS.” Whatsoever you see in this universe is a reflection. If it looks like bondage, it means it is your reflection. If it looks like liberation, again it is your reflection.
“AS YOU SEE MANY SUNS IN WATER FROM ONE SUN, SO SEE BONDAGE AND LIBERATION.” The sun rises, and there are many ponds — dirty and pure, big and small, beautiful and ugly — and one sun reflects in many ponds. One who goes on counting the reflections will think that there are many, many suns. One who looks not into the reflections but to the reality will see one. The world, as you look at it, reflects you. If you are sexual, the whole world seems sexual. If you are a thief, the whole world seems to be in the same profession.
Once Mulla Nasruddin and his wife were fishing, and the place was restricted; only license holders could fish there. Suddenly a policeman appeared, so Mulla’s wife said, “Mulla, you have the license so you run away. Meanwhile, I will escape.”
So Mulla started running. He ran and ran and ran, and the policeman followed. Of course, Mulla left the wife there, and the policeman followed him. Mulla ran and ran until he felt that now his heart would explode. But by that time the policeman caught hold of him. The policeman was also perspiring, and he said, “Where is your license?” So Mulla produced his papers. The policeman looked at them and they were okay. So he said, “Why are you running, Nasruddin? Why did you run away?”
Nasruddin said, “I am going to a doctor, and he says after every meal to run for half a mile.”
The policeman said, “Okay, but you saw me running after you, chasing you, yelling, so why didn’t you stop?”
Nasruddin said, “I thought that maybe you go to the same doctor.”
It is logical; it is what is happening. Whatsoever you see all around you is more a reflection of you than of any real thing there. You look at yourself mirrored everywhere. The moment you change, the reflection changes. The moment you become totally silent, the whole world becomes silent. The world is not a bondage: bondage is a reflection. And the world is not liberation; liberation is again a reflection.
A Buddha finds the whole world in NIRVANA. A Krishna finds the whole world celebrating in ecstasy, in bliss; there is no misery. But tantra says that whatsoever you see is a reflection unless all seeing disappears and only the mirror is seen with nothing reflected in it. That is the truth.
If something is seen, it is just a reflection. Truth is one; many can only be reflections. Once this is understood — not theoretically, but existentially, through experience — you are liberated, liberated from both bondage and liberation.
Naropa, when he became enlightened, was asked by someone, “Have you achieved liberation now?”
Naropa said, “Yes and no both. Yes, I am not in bondage, and no because that liberation was also a reflection of bondage. I thought about it because of bondage.”
Look at it in this way: you are ill then you long for health. That longing for health is part of your illness. If you are really healthy, you will not long for health. How will you? If you are really healthy, where is the longing? What is the need? If you are really healthy, you never feel that you are healthy. Only ill, diseased persons feel that they are healthy. What is the need? How can you feel that you are healthy? If you are born healthy and you have never been ill, will you be able to feel your health? Health is there, but it cannot be felt. It can be felt only through contrast, through the opposite. Only through the opposite are things felt. If you are ill, you can feel health — and if you are feeling health, remember, you are still ill.
So Naropa says, “Yes and no both. `Yes’ because there is no bondage now, but with the bondage liberation has also disappeared; that is why `No’. It was part of it. Now I am beyond both — neither in bondage nor in liberation.”
Don’t make religion a search, a desire. Don’t make MOKSHA, Liberation, NIRVANA, an object of desiring. It happens when there is no desiring.