Dharma 20th August 1999 (Auroville) - Dharma 103


There is another search also, a similar search. There is one thing that human beings find most surprising and mysterious. There is nothing as mysterious as the fact that the living suddenly one day happens to be dead. In other words, the phenomenon of death is such a phenomenon – it is like doubt, it is like impermanence. Death also is a similar thing which gives you a sense of losing, something gone, and you cannot bear it. Some of the greatest stories of the world are woven around the phenomenon of death. It is a search as to why? Why something that is alive, something that is bubbling, pulsating, suddenly stops. There is no vibration at all, and this stoppage of vibration, if you are living a deep life, affects you tremendously. Those who have experienced deepest love in human life, and suddenly your best object of life dies; you feel yourself dissolved. When your object of love suddenly passes away, you immediately feel: oh! It ought not to be. This is something that is unbearable, it should not be, it should be, in any case, healed, thrown out, "I want it back". That is why the theme of love and death is one of the perennial themes of human life. Death gives you greatest shock when you are in the deepest state of love. If there is something inconsistent with love, it is death.

You know the great story which Sri Aurobindo has written: Ruru and Priyamvada. I do not know if you have seen, one day you should read the poem that Sri Aurobindo has written, "Love and Death". Priyamvada suddenly dies and then Ruru cries, and makes his utmost effort to revive Priyumvada. She must come back. It is an opposition; it is a kind of revolt against death. Oh, death should not be. The great story that Sri Aurobindo has written and of which you know so well called, "Savitri" What is the main theme? It is Love and Death. Satyavan dies; this is the basic fact on which the whole of the poem, Savitri is written. Satyavan dies and Savitri rises in revolt against it, and says "Death ought not to be." If you read the whole of Savitri, what is the cry in Savitri? 'The whole of Savitri, the whole poem, the deepest cry is: "Oh, no, death ought not to be!" And she goes out... It is an epic. Why is it called an epic? Do you know the meaning of epic? Epic is always a great poem any great poem is not an epic. An epic is an account of one of the most difficult endeavours, most difficult of adventures, something in which you have to do something so marvellous, that ordinary humanity cannot do, and an account of death can be called an epic. And Savitri is called an epic because the question is: "Can death be conquered? Can death be illuminated?" This is the question. The whole of Savitri is this question: "Can death be conquered?" In other words, "Can you attain to immortality?"


So human beings, throughout the whole human history have made these three quests: The quest of Permanence, the quest of Certainty, and the quest of Immortality. In all the three you find you remain held up: stability. I dwelt upon these three words very deeply because the whole concept of Dharma is connected with these three ideas. Dharma is that which holds, but holds permanently, that which holds with certainty, that which holds immortally, which cannot perish. Even when there is flow, and that is very important, even when there is flow, even when there is development, when there is growth, even the impermanent is held by the permanent. Even the change is held by the changeless; even death is held by immortality. So the easiest definition of Dharma is: Permanence, Certainty, and Immortality. Because it is that which holds, and all human life is a search for it. Now we human beings gradually grow. In fact we do not know what we are looking for in this world, our quest is very − you might say, in the beginning, − flimsy, it is like a butterfly, we go from one point to the other point.

Even in studies you find, we go from one subject to the other, we get bored with one thing and we go to the other that is because our quest has not yet become ripe. When our quest becomes very ripe, then you can ultimately come to a rest in your quest only when you attain to these three things or one of these three. Why is it that these three are not immediately available to us? Permanence you hardly see anywhere, everything is floating. Certainty is very difficult to attain. Descartes had to spend years and years to arrive at Certainty. Why is it that it is so difficult to attain to Certainty? And Death: who has conquered Death? How to attain to Immortality?

In fact if you read the whole of the Veda – You have heard of the Veda, isn't it? You have heard of the word `Veda'? It is a huge, huge book. There are four Vedas. Rig Veda alone consists of ten thousand verses. I've got one edition of Rig Veda with translation into English of Rig Veda. Sanskrit and English, it consists of twelve big volumes, these ten thousand verses are printed, and without commentary, it is only the Sanskrit and the English translation. It is twelve volumes, Rig Veda alone. Then there is Yajur Veda, there is Atharva Veda, and there is Sama Veda. If you put all these together, it is a huge, huge composition. Just as Descartes wrote a book “Meditations", in search of certainty, you might say, Veda, such a huge thing, is an account of the search of Immortality. And the whole writing of the Buddha is a huge writing. In fact Buddha's writings − if you go to the Tibetan library in Sarnath, I have gone there once to see, in Sarnath the huge library of Tibetan literature − and if you see only what Buddha has said, it is a huge number of volumes. And what is the purpose of all this? To arrive at permanence. Now human beings − we are also human beings, so you have to see that human beings have striven in this world for three greatest things. Now, it is very easy to say what are these three things: Permanence, Certainty, Immortality.

These three things are not easily available, or even with difficulty not available. They can be available only with the greatest difficulty, with the greatest effort, and unless you have it, you cannot be `held', you cannot rest. Therefore you might say Dharma is inevitable, because you can't rest otherwise. You will constantly go on and on and on, and you will not find any resting place unless you find these three things unless you find Dharma. That is why you can't escape Dharma. Dharma is inescapable whether you like it or not. Your whole human nature is such that you've got to seek after it. That is the speciality of the human being. 

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