Devi, imagine the sanskrit letters in these honey-filled foci of awareness, first as letters, then more subtly as sounds, then as most subtle feeling. then, leaving them aside, be free.
Words are sounds. Thoughts are words in sequence, in logical sequence, in a particular pattern. Sound is basic. With sound words are created, and then with words thoughts are created, and then with thoughts religion and philosophy, everything. Deep down is the sound.
This technique uses a reverse process. Shiva says: DEVI, IMAGINE THE SANSKRIT LETTERS IN THESE HONEY-FILLED FOCI OF AWARENESS, FIRST AS LETTERS, THEN MORE SUBTLY AS SOUNDS, THEN AS MOST SUBTLE FEELING. THEN, LEAVING THEM ASIDE, BE FREE.
We live in philosophy. One is a Hindu, one is a Mohammedan, one is a Christian, or something else. We live in philosophies, systems of thought, and they have become so important that we can die for them. Man can die for words, for mere words. Someone calls his conception of the absolute a lie, or someone calls Ram or someone calls Christ or something else a lie — then man can fight, for a mere word he can kill the other. The word has become so important. This is nonsense, but this is history and this is how we are still behaving.
A single word can create such a disturbance in you that you are ready to kill or to die for it. We live in philosophies, systems of thought. What are philosophies? Thoughts arranged logically, systematically, in a pattern. And what are thoughts? Words arranged in a system, meaningfully. And what are words? Sounds, upon which it is agreed that they mean either this or that. So sounds are basic; they are the basic structure of the mind. Philosophies are the peak, but the bricks by which the whole structure is raised are sounds.
What is wrong? A sound is just a sound, and the meaning is given by us, agreed upon by us; otherwise it has no meaning. The meaning is invested by us, projected by us; otherwise “Ram” is just a sound — it is meaningless. We give it a meaning, and then we create a system of thought around it. Then this word becomes very significant, then we make a philosophy around it. Then you can do something, anything, for it. You can die or you can live for it. If someone insults this sound “Ram,” you can become infuriated. And what is this? Just an agreement, a legal agreement that “This word means this.” No word means anything in itself, it is simply a sound.
This sutra says to go in the reverse order — go backwards. Come to the sounds, then, more basic than sounds, a feeling is somewhere hidden. This has to be understood. Man uses words. Words mean sounds with meanings that are agreed upon. But animals, birds use sounds without any linguistic meaning. They do not have any language, but they use sounds with feeling. A bird is singing: it has a “feeling” meaning in it, it is indicating something. It may be a call for the partner, for the beloved, or it may be a call for the mother, or the child may be feeling hungry and just showing his distress. It is indicating a feeling.
Above sounds there are words, thoughts, philosophies; below sounds are feelings. And unless you can get below feelings, you cannot get below mind. The whole world is filled with sounds, only the human world is filled with words. And even a child who cannot use language uses sounds. Really, the whole language developed because of particular sounds that every child is using all over the world.
For example, in any language the word `mother’ is somehow related with `ma’. It may be `mater’, it may be `Mutter’, it may be `mata’, it may be `ma’, — anything — but somewhere it is related with the sound “ma” in all the languages, more or less. The child can utter “ma” most easily. The first sound which the child can utter is “ma.” Then the whole structure is based on this “ma.” A child utters “ma” because it is the first sound which is easy for the child to utter. This is the case anywhere, in any part of the world, in any time. Just because of the structure of the throat and the body, “ma” is the easiest sound to utter.
And the mother is the nearest and the first person who is meaningful. So the first sound becomes associated with the first person who is meaningful, and from this mother, mater, mata, ma, all the other words are derived. But when the child for the first time utters “ma,” he has no linguistic meaning for it, but a feeling is there. And because of that feeling the word becomes associated with the mother. That feeling is more basic than the sound.
So this sutra says first to imagine the Sanskrit letters. Any language will do. Because Shiva was talking to Parvati, that is why he said Sanskrit. You can use English or Latin or Arabic, any language will do. Sanskrit has no significance except in that Shiva was talking to Parvati in Sanskrit. It is not that Sanskrit is something superior to any other language, any language will do. First feel inside, in your consciousness, THE HONEY-FILLED FOCI OF AWARENESS filled with letters: A, B, C, D… any letters of any language. This can be done, and it is a very beautiful exercise. If you want to do it, close your eyes and just see your consciousness inside being filled with words.
Think of consciousness as a blackboard, then: A, B, C… Visualize all the words, all the letters. Visualize these first as letters. “A”: look at it as “A” as you write it. Write it with consciousness and look at it. Then by and by, forget the letter “A” and just remember the sound of “A” — just the sound. Start with visualization — because eyes are predominant for us. Ears are not so predominant. We are eye-oriented, eye-centered. Again, the reason is the same. Because eyes help us to survive more than anything else, our consciousness is ninety percent in the eyes. Conceive of yourself without eyes, and your whole life goes dead — then a very minor part remains.
So first visualize. Use your eyes inwards and see the letters. Letters are more related to ears than eyes because they are sounds, but for us, because we are reading, reading, reading, they have become associated with eyes. Basically, they are associated with ears — they are sounds. Start with the eyes, then forget the eyes by and by. Then move away from the eyes to the ears. First imagine them as letters, then see them, hear them MORE SUBTLY AS SOUNDS, THEN AS MOST SUBTLE FEELINGS. And this is a very beautiful exercise.
When you say “A”, what is the feeling? You may not have been aware of it. What is the feeling inside you? Whenever you use any sound, what type of feeling comes into existence? We are so feeling-less that we have simply forgotten. When you see a sound, what happens inside? You go on using it and the sound is even forgotten. You go on seeing it. If I say “A”, you will see it first. In your mind, “A” will become visible; you will visualize it. When I say “A”, do not visualize it. Just hear the sound “A”, and then go and find out what happens in your feeling center. Does nothing happen?
Shiva says, move from letters to sounds, uncover sounds through the letters. Uncover sounds, and then, through the sounds also, uncover feelings. Be aware of how you feel. They say that man has now become very insensitive; he is the most insensitive animal on earth.
I was reading about one poet, a German poet, and he relates one incident of his childhood. His father was a lover of horses, so he had many horses at the house, a big stable, but he would not allow this child to go to the stable. He was afraid, as the child was very small. But when the father was not there the child would sometimes steal into the stable where he had a friend — a horse. Whenever the child would go in, the horse would make some sounds.
And the poet has written, “Then I also started making sounds with the horse, because there was no possibility of language. Then, in communication with that horse, for the first time I became aware of sounds — their beauty, their feeling.”
You cannot be aware with a man because he is dead. A horse is more alive, and he has no language. He has pure sound. He is filled with his heart, not with his mind. So that poet remembers, “For the first time, I became aware of the beauty of sounds and their meaning. This was not the meaning of words and thoughts, but a meaning filled with feeling.” If someone else was there, the horse would not make those sounds, so the child could understand that the horse meant, “Do not come in. Someone is here and your father will be angry.”
When there was no one, the horse would make the sounds meaning, “Come in. There is no one.” So the poet remembers that “It was a conspiracy, and he helped me very much, that horse helped me very much. And when I would go and love that horse, he would move his head in a particular way when he liked it. When he did not like it, he would not move his head in that way. When he liked it, then it was a certain thing, he would express it. When he was not in the mood, then he would not move in a certain way.”
And this poet says, “This continued for years. I would go and love that horse, and that love was so deep, I never felt any affinity with anyone else so deeply. Then one day when I was stroking his neck and he was moving and enjoying it ecstatically, suddenly for the first time I became aware of my hand, that I was stroking, and the horse stopped. Now he would not move his neck.” And that poet says, “Then for years I tried and tried, but there was no response, the horse would not reply. Only later on did I become aware that because I became aware of my hand and myself, the ego came in and the communication broke. I couldn’t recapture again that communication with the horse.”
What happened? That was a feeling communication. The moment ego comes, words come, language comes, thought comes, then the layer is changed completely. Now you are above sounds; then you were below sounds. Those sounds are feelings, and the horse could understand feelings. Now he couldn’t understand, so the communication broke. The poet tried and tried — but no effort is successful because even your effort is the effort of your ego.
He tried to forget his hand, but he couldn’t forget. How can you forget? It is impossible. And the more you try to forget it, the more you remember. So you cannot forget anything with effort. Effort will simply emphasize the memory more. The poet says, “I became fixed with my hand; I couldn’t move that horse. I would go up to my hand, and then there was no movement. The energy would not move into that horse and he became aware of this.”
How did the horse become aware? If I suddenly start speaking some other language, then the communication is broken, then you will not be able to understand me. And if this language were not known to you, you would suddenly stop because now the language is unknown to you. Thus, the horse stopped.
Every child lives with feeling. First come sounds, then those sounds are filled with feeling. Then come words, then thoughts, then systems, religions, philosophies. Then one goes farther and farther away from the center of feeling.
This sutra says, come back, come down — down to the state of feeling. Feeling is not your mind: that is why you are afraid of feeling. You are not afraid of reasoning. You are always afraid of feeling because feeling can lead you into chaos. You will not be able to control. With reason, the control is with you; with the head, you are the head. Below the head you lose the head, you cannot control, you cannot manipulate. Feelings are just below the mind — a link between you and the mind.
Then Shiva says, THEN, LEAVING THEM ASIDE, BE FREE. Then leave the feelings. And remember, only when you come to the deepest layer of feelings can you leave them. You cannot leave them just now. You are not at the deepest layer of feelings, so how can you leave them? First you have to leave philosophies — Hinduism, Christianity, Mohammedanism — then you have to leave thoughts, then you have to leave words, then you have to leave letters, then you have to leave sounds, then you have to leave feelings — because you can leave only that which is there. You can leave that step upon which you are standing; you cannot leave a step upon which you are not standing.
You are standing at the step of philosophy, the farthest away one. That is why I insist so much that unless you leave religion you cannot be religious.
This sutra, this technique, can be done very easily. The problem is not with feelings, the problem is with words. You can leave a feeling, just as you can undress — as you can get out of your clothes. You can throw off your clothes; you can leave feelings simply in that way. But right now you cannot do it, and if you try to do it, it will be impossible. So go step by step.
Imagine letters — A, B, C, D — then change your emphasis from the written letter to the heart sound. You are moving deep, the surface is left behind. You are sinking deep — then feel what feeling comes through a particular sound.
Because of such techniques, India could discover many things. It could discover which sounds are related to particular feelings. Because of that science, the MANTRA was developed. A particular sound is related to a particular feeling, and it is never otherwise. So if you create that sound within you, that feeling will be created. You can use any sound, and then the related feeling will be created around you. That sound creates the space to be filled by a particular feeling.
So do not use just any mantra, that is not good; it may be dangerous for you. Unless you know, or unless a person who gives you the mantra knows, what particular sound creates what particular feeling, and whether that feeling is needed by you or not, do not use any mantra. There are mantras which are known as death mantras. If you repeat them, you will die within a particular time. Within a particular period you will die, because they create in you a longing for death.
Freud says that man has two basic instincts: libido — eros — the will to live, the will to be, the will to continue, the will to exist. And thanatos — the will to die. There are particular sounds which, if you repeat them, the will to die will come to you. Then you would like just to drop into death. There are sounds which give you eros — which give you more libido, which give you more lust to live, to be. If you create those sounds within you, that particular feeling will overwhelm you. There are sounds which give you a feeling of peace and silence, there are sounds which create anger. So do not use any sound, any mantra, unless it is given to you by a master who knows what is going to happen through it.
When you come down from sounds, you will be aware. Each sound has its counterpart in feeling. Each sound has a corresponding feeling that goes with it, just hidden behind it. Then move to the feeling; forget the sound and move to the feeling. It is difficult to explain, but you can do it. And there were techniques for this. Particularly in Zen, there were techniques. A particular mantra would be given to a seeker. If he was doing it rightly inside, the master could know from the face. The master could know from the face whether he was doing it rightly or not because a particular feeling would come. If the sound is created, then the feeling is bound to come, and it will be on the face. You cannot deceive a master. He knows by your face what is happening inside.
Dozo was a great master, but he himself was very much disturbed, when he was a disciple, about how his master came to know what he was experiencing. And the Zen master moved with his staff and he would hit you immediately. If something goes wrong with your sound inside, he will hit you immediately. So Dozo asked, “But how do you know? And you hit me exactly in the right moment. How do you know?”
The face expresses the feeling, not the sound. The sound cannot be expressed by the face, but the face is bound to express the feeling. And the deeper you move, the more your face becomes flexible to express, more liquid. It immediately shows what is happening inside. This face which you have right now will drop because this is a mask — this is not a face. When you move in, masks fall down because they are not needed. Masks are needed for others.
Because of this, the old masters insisted on moving away from the world. This was so that you could move away from the mask easily; otherwise others will be there, and because of them you have to carry masks. You do not love your wife or your husband, but you have to carry a mask — a loving face, a false loving face. The moment you enter the house, you arrange the face: you come in and you start laughing. This is not your face.
Zen masters insisted that first one should attain the original face, because with the original face everything becomes easy. Then the master can simply know what is happening. So enlightenment was never reported. If some seeker attained enlightenment, he was not to report to the master that he had attained because the master would simply know. He would tell the disciple. No disciple was allowed to tell the master, “I have attained.” There was no need. The face will show, the eyes will show, the very movement, the walking, will show. Whatsoever he does, every gesture will show that he has attained.
When you move from sounds to feelings, you move into a very, very ecstatic world, an existential world. You move away from the mind. Feelings are existential; that is what the word means — you feel them. You cannot see them, you cannot hear them, you simply feel them. When you come to this point, you can take the jump. This is the last step. Now you are standing near an abyss; you can jump.
And if you jump from the feelings, you jump into yourself. That abyss is you — not as your mind, but as your being; not as the accumulated past, but as the present, here and now.
You move from the mind to the being, and the bridge, the link, is the feelings. But to come to the feelings you will have to leave many things — words, sounds, the whole deception of the mind. THEN, LEAVING THEM ASIDE, BE FREE.
You ARE free. This saying, BE FREE, doesn’t mean that you have to do something to be free. THEN, LEAVING THEM ASIDE, BE FREE means you are free! Being is freedom; mind is bondage. That is why it is said that mind is the SANSAR, the world.
Do not leave the world… you cannot leave it. If the mind is there, you will create another world; the seed is there. You can move to a mountain, to a retreat, but you will move with the mind; you cannot leave it here. The world moves with you, you will create another world. Even in your retreat you will start creating it again, because the seed is there. You will create relationships again. It may be with the trees, it may be with birds, but you will create relationships again, you will create expectations again, and you will go on spreading the net because the seed is there. You will again be in a world.
Mind is the world, and you cannot leave mind anywhere. You can leave it only if you move within. So the only Himalaya is this; no other Himalaya will do. If you move within from words to feelings, and from feelings to being, you are moving away from the world. And once you know this inner abyss of being, then you can be anywhere, even in hell. Then it makes no difference. It makes no difference then! If you are without mind, hell cannot enter you, and with mind ONLY hell enters. The mind is the door to hell.
LEAVING THEM ASIDE, BE FREE. But do not try directly with feelings, you will not succeed. Try first with words. But with words also you will not succeed if you do not leave philosophies, if you do not leave thoughts. Words are just units — and if you give significance to words you cannot leave them.
Know well that language is a human creation. It is utilitarian, necessary, and the meanings we have given to sounds are our own creation. If you can understand this well, then you can move easily. If someone is saying something against the Koran, or against the Vedas, how do you feel? Can you laugh about it or does something clench within you? Can you laugh about it? Someone is insulting the Gita or someone is saying some derogatory thing against Krishna or Ram or Christ — can you laugh? Can you see through the words, that these are mere words? No, you will be hurt. Then it is difficult to lose words.
See that words are just words — noises with agreed-upon meanings and nothing else. Be convinced of it. And it is so! First become detached from words. If there is detachment from words, then you can understand that these are just noises.
It is just like in the military where they use numbers. One soldier is number 101: he can become identified with `101′. And if someone says something derogatory against the number 101, he will feel insulted, he will start fighting. And `101′ is just a number, but he has become identified with it. Your name is just a number, just an index number. Things will be difficult otherwise, so we have labelled you. That is just a label; any other label can do the same work. But it is not just a label for you, it has gone deep; your name has become the center of your ego.
So they say, the so-called wise ones, they say, “Live for your name. See that your name remains pure. Respectability of your name must be there, and even if you die your name will live.” It was never there, it is just a code number. You will die and the name will live… When you yourself cannot live, how is the label going to live?
Look at words — at their futility, their meaninglessness, and do not become attached to any word. Only then can you do this technique.