Ignorance, Liberation and Perfection (Auroville) - Audio-4, 14 Feb 2002

We are at the White House in Bombay and we find this young hero of our story entering into the big mansion, accompanied by his elderly friend Videsh, who is now greeted by a number of people, members of his staff, his secretary, some of the people working in his editorial staff, and also some workers working in the garden, working in the household, all greeting these two young persons. Anak, is overwhelmed with the hugeness of the building, with the number of people greeting, but his mind, as I said, was stunned, mind was stuck, paralyzed and he was not able to appreciate all that was around him. He was very quiet. He was wondering himself what has happened to me. Where is his cheer, his smile, his happiness, he was asking. Where is myself? Where am I? and there was no answer. Videsh presently calls a young woman. Her name is Leela and says to her: here is our young guest, take charge of him and see that he has everything that he needs and presently Leela comes forward and takes the young man along with her.

He very quietly follows her and he's taken to his room. It’s a very beautiful big room for one individual. It was too big for him. He doesn't react to anything. His luggage is placed in his right place. Leela tries to speak to him, does not succeed. Then she takes his hand in her hand and immediately he says to her: I don't touch women. Anak said. Leela is rather shocked. She withdraws her hand and says: remember, I am not a woman, nor are you a man, but it is your concern. She becomes rather stiff with him and she leaves his room. She does not meet him thereafter. She sends the food to him to eat, but she watches, because the work was given to her to look after his needs. The first encounter was not a very happy encounter and Anak after his bath, after he gets refreshed, looks out through his window, which opens out in a vast ocean, beautiful ocean, but even the beauty of the ocean doesn't stir him and he asks himself: why am I not happy with the ocean? What has happened to me? There is no sense of wonder with the hugeness of the ocean. He had never seen the ocean in his life before because he was living in a small village where, apart from a small river, there was nothing else as far as the flowing of water is concerned, but even this huge ocean does not stir him.

He comes back to his chair, sits down at his desk, takes out a piece of paper and writes on it: what is matter? This is the one question which is reigning in his mind. What is matter? and presently Videsh comes into the room and greets him. He stands up. He's asked: are you happy? He said yes, I’m happy. Everything is all right? Everything is all right. What are you doing? He sees his paper. What is matter? So he laughs and says, Oh, you are a bright young man with a great enthusiasm, that was his character, full of life energy. Videsh means life energy, bubbling energy.

He says: what is matter? He said matter is meant for life. That was his answer. Matter is meant for life, life is meant for creativity and creativity is making forms after forms after forms. Yesterday Angelo said creativity is form-making, very good answer. So he said creativity is making forms and forms and forms. Anak does not answer, Videsh withdraws. Alone again in his room, now a new thing has happened in his mind after this answer which was received from Videsh: what is life? One question was already troubling him: what is matter? Now a new question arises: what is life and what is the connection between matter and life? How is life different from matter? Is there a difference between the two? If so, what is the difference?

Can you help Anak? Can you answer this question? What is the difference between matter and life? What is the difference between a stone and a plant? Can you make out any difference between the two? Yes, the stone doesn't feel pain but the plant does, the plant lives and the stone does not. How do you know that it lives? Good. So you could say the stone does not grow, but the plant grows. Therefore it lives. Stone is hard and plant is not so hard. Good. You take a plant which has withered away. What happens? Is there a difference between a withered plant and a stone? Yes, it has died, the stone does not die. The plant dies, right. Fine.

This was another question in his mind. Now, what is life? He just looks blankly at the wall because he has no books to consult, no library around as he had earlier in his house. He lies down on his bed staring at the roof. There is a blankness in the mind. Now at this moment Leela enters into his room and says tell me: what are you thinking about? Please tell me: what is the matter? You are not happy here? He said I’m happy. Do you want to talk to me? He said no. She said, but I want to talk to you. So all right talk to me. What should I talk about, then she looks at his notebook. What is matter? It’s written there. What is the matter, she said, look, you may be a budding philosopher, but I am already a philosopher, Leela said. Therefore, if you want to find the answers to your questions, I invite you to talk to me. I have answers to your questions. Anak is moved and says: fine, tell me what is mind. Those two questions are apart: what is matter, what is life.

These two questions already were in his mind, but now he puts the question: what is mind. So Leela asks: do you know what is thinking? He said: I knew what was thinking, but I do not anymore know what is thinking. Why do you think he answered this question in this way? Can you find out? I knew what was thinking, but I do not know anymore what is thinking. Yes, he's confused. You must remember that Anak is a young boy who used to think a lot, but he had never asked the question: what is thinking. You can think without knowing what is thinking. Have you experienced it? Have you felt it anytime? No.

Suppose you see an ocean. You are looking at it. A friend comes from behind and gives you a thud on your back and you suddenly turn back and you ask the question: what are you doing? Then he realises that he was seeing the ocean but he was seeing it. There is a very interesting word in the English language, which you must learn. There is perception, and then there is apperception. Perception is an act of perceiving and apperception is an act of perceiving that you are perceiving. You may perceive, but when you perceive that you are perceiving and this can go on, to perceive that you are perceiving that you are perceiving, then you can have perceiving that you are perceiving that you are perceiving that you are perceiving and further. You are perceiving that you are perceiving that you are perceiving that you are perceiving that you are perceiving. No? it is like a mirror, if you put one mirror against another mirror, what do you see? Have you seen any time? You see many mirrors, mirrors after mirrors after mirrors after mirrors. No? So similarly you may think, but you may not think that you are thinking. So a time comes when you think and that you are thinking, and then you think that you are thinking that you are thinking, and you think that you are thinking that you are thinking that you are thinking. No? It's a very important stage of development.

This young boy was passing through a very important stage of his development, so when he said I was thinking but no more I can think. That means already now he understands what he's thinking, because now he says I was thinking. I am now no more thinking. So you recognize what he's thinking and he says I am no more able to think. There is a very important word in English language again, which says that there is in us a witness. Every one of us is a witness. Anybody knows the meaning of witness? Yes, witness is one who watches.

So Leela answered: good, you are now entering into a consciousness of a witness. She said you are now entering into a consciousness of a witness, and he was surprised. What is this? When Leela said you are now entering into a state of a witness when he said I used to think, but I no more think, now she said you are now entering into a state of a witness and he withdrew himself and said what is this witness. Leela went away. This was the only answer she gave and she went away.

She was a young woman of about 27-28 years of age, extremely intelligent with a very good brain power, and she had done a good deal of study of philosophy. She had read a lot of Indian philosophy, a lot of western philosophy. In fact, she had stood first in her examinations throughout, a very bright student, and she was very observant. She all the time was observing. She was watching because she had a developed sense of witness consciousness. Whenever you can watch, you examine yourself when you watch, you watch that you watch. If you are very quiet, you will not only watch, but you will also watch that you are watching. Have you made the experiment anytime? No. Have you see anytime, when you watch, you begin to watch that you are watching.

In fact, one of the great exercises that everyone should perform in his life is to watch to watch, to see that you are seeing, to think that you are thinking. When Anak was left alone in his room, once again, he was stunned and he asked himself what is thinking and his mind was not moving forward. What is thinking? Now, let us see, let me ask the question to all of you. Are you thinking? Yes, what is thinking? When you say you are thinking you should be able to tell me what is thinking? Yes? To see or to visualise something in the head? There is a difference between seeing and thinking. Is there a difference? Yes, so your answer is of what you are seeing, not of thinking. My question is: what is thinking? Yes? Yes, you should have ideas in your mind, apart from seeing you should have ideas in your mind, that is the mark of thinking. Thinking is concerned with ideas.

But he was not able to go forward. He had some ideas moving forward, but he didn't know what he's thinking; merely having ideas is not thinking, ideas are a part of thinking, but it's not the whole process of thinking. There should be ideas in the process of thinking, but mere having ideas is not thinking. Is that right? Yes, yes, you should have a dictionary beside you. Good and suppose you have a dictionary with you. What do you see? You'll get the meaning. Would you like to see the dictionary? Yes all right afterwards, all right when you go home, you open the dictionary and see what the dictionary says what is thinking.

But now immediately Anak was very much concerned with three questions. What is matter, what is life, what is thinking; and now he had entered into this idea of witnessing. This was a very dry period of his life. There was a visit to a desert in the mind. What is the desert? A dry area plain dry area where there is no greenery, no wetness right. So he found that he was travelling in a dry, plain area. There was no feeling in his heart. It is all dried up. There is no charm, no wonder there was only a thought, an idea, but without knowing what is an ideation, what is thinking and suddenly he got one letter. It was dropped in his room. It was a letter written by Leela.

She was a very nice good teacher. She wanted to do all that she could do to treat her guest so that all his anxieties, worries and problems could be resolved, so that letter was a very short letter and said: Dear Anak, I have a remedy for you. The remedy is to think of the subject and the predicate. That's all. Finished. Very short, very short statement: think of a subject and the predicate.

Now these two words are difficult words. Now you have to tell me what you know about subject and predicate. Have you heard these two words, subject and predicate? Yes, you heard of these two words? Yes, two parts of a sentence. A very good answer. The sentence has two parts. Now give me an example of a sentence. I saw a cat. Good. Now what is the subject? and what is the predicate? Yes, I is a subject. Good and where is the predicate? Yes, saw is a predicate and cat is the predicate. What is the predicate? “Saw a cat” as a whole is a predicate, cat is a direct object. Now this is a small sentence and Leela just gave a very small hint.

There is a process of thinking here. I saw a cat. Now, let us see. Anak was thinking when he got this idea, now he was thinking of a sentence like this, and then he began to perceive something very important. First is the word I, the question is what is I, can you understand what is I without thinking? I is a witness. Correct. I saw a cat, I is a witness, so unless I witness, I cannot think. So that is the first part. Secondly, to understand that this is a cat I must have an idea, but a very special idea. You spoke of idea, which is good. I must have the idea of catiness. You know the meaning of catiness? No? Supposing I say I see a white cat. The white is a word, it is an object? Can you see white without thinking of whiteness? You must understand what is whiteness? Isn’t it? Similarly, if you want to say this is cat, you must know what is catiness. Why do you call it a cat? Because there is something like catiness.

Now, thinking about it all the time by the evening, it took one full day for him to come to this conclusion, which was very important. I cannot think without universals. It is a very important statement he made. I cannot think without universals. Let me write down this word, so what is a universal? Can you give some examples of universals, any universal? Whiteness is a universal. Universal is something in the whole world, yes, good, something that is spreading in the whole world, whiteness is everywhere in the world. Therefore, it’s a good answer. That which you find everywhere in the world is called universal.

Now you can give easy examples of these universals. Vehicles, nature, air, waste, this is a big question of Plato. Plato had a big difficulty with the idea of waste and dirt! Very good, very nice. You see how Plato is near to the mind of you all. Sky, all living creatures, internet.. infinite, Now, let us see is infinite a universal? Is infinite only one, or there are many? This is a very important question. If infinity is only one, it is not universal. If there are many, then it is really universal. Zero, universe itself..

Anyway, if this is a question which has to be thought over, it's not easy to answer this question, but you will find that many things that you have said can be considered for certification as universal, but in any case, all quality.., You know the meaning of quality? Have you heard the word quality? Yes, whether it is good or bad. Goodness is quality, badness is quality. Any other example of quality? The difference in quantity and quality? Yes, perfection is a quality. Yes, good question quantity quantities and how many things? Yes? How the thing is.. excellent. I think that there are many budding philosophers in this class. Philosophy is not in books. Philosophy is in the mind, if you examine your mind thoroughly well, you become a philosopher, you study your mind and you become a philosopher. So now you give a good example of quantity and quality. Now take examples of qualities. You gave an example of goodness and badness, any other quality? You have got some ideas of what qualities are? some examples of qualities? No? Whiteness is a quality? Redness is a quality. The flower is red, is redness is a quality. Yes, it is a universal. Greenness is a quality. Yes, beauty is a quality. Yes, so now you have many examples of quality, of universals.

Now, this one day was over. The next day starts. On the second day, Leela has sent one more letter. That is because Anak doesn't talk much, so he is very much considerate. If somebody doesn't talk, one should not should not disturb somebody and impose yourself on him or on her. So she's now sending letters after letters, little by little. In a day, three four letters now pour upon him from Leela, because Leela is looking after him. She has been given a child to look after, to make him happy.

So in the second letter she says: thinking is inference. A new sentence has now come: thinking is inference. Have you heard the word inference any time before? No. Let us take an example: all planets orbit around the sun. You understand the sentence? This is from astronomy: all planets orbit around the sun. This is the second letter of Leela. She first of all declares the sentence: thinking is inference. In the afternoon she wrote a letter in which only one sentence was given: all planets orbit around the sun. Therefore, some bodies that orbit around the sun are planets. Therefore, some bodies that orbit around the sun are planets. This is the correct statement: all planets orbit around the sun. You know the meaning of this orbiting? Yes, spinning around. Good, so all planets spin around the sun. The next sentence is: therefore, some bodies that orbit around the sun are planets.

You write down these two sentences then I’ll see what is the main thing to be observed. All planets orbit around the sun, first sentence. Now you write down the second sentence. Therefore, some bodies that orbit around the sun are planets. Whenever any sentence begins with “therefore” then that sentence is called inference. Take any example. I saw that you were keeping silent, therefore, it follows that you were not talking. This is a very simple inference. I saw that you are keeping silent. Therefore, it follows that you were not talking. I saw you near the house of Patricia. Therefore, you were not in your house, this is an inference. You can make out such sentences? No? I went to school, therefore I was learning. Good, so this is what is called a kind of inference.

Third day she wrote another letter. It is a very famous inference. All men are mortal. Socrates is a man, and therefore Socrates is mortal. I'll write down this for you. All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal. This is called an inference from two sentences in the first one you had as inference from one sentence. Now here it is much more complex, you have two sentences and then you have a conclusion, an inference from two sentences. When you combine two sentences, you get a third sentence. Right.

So inferences are two kinds. So now this is the third letter from Leela. Inferences are of two kinds: immediate inferences and mediate inferences, two words: immediate inferences and mediate inferences. Immediate is an inference in which there is no gap between the first sentence and the second one. It is immediate. You go from one to the next without any passing through anything else. In the mediate inference, there is a gap between the first sentence and the second, the third sentence is a mediate sentence. Mediate sentence is a middle man as it were. If I put my hand here and she catches my hand, it is an immediate connection and then, if she puts her hand to Suzy, then I am connected with Suzy but through Dipti, this is a mediate connection, not immediate connection.

Now, when you think you will find examples of both, immediate inference and mediate inference, this is how you become aware of your thinking. What is thinking? Thinking consists of immediate thinking and mediate thinking. Thinking consists of immediate inference and mediate inference. All thinking, you take all process of thinking, you will find immediate inference and mediate inference.

You know these three letters and these few sentences were enough to break the mind of Anak. There was an immediate relief in his mind and next time when Leela appeared in the room, he smiled. He was very grateful to her, because a big blockade in the mind had disappeared. He had understood what was thinking and now he was able to think and become conscious of thinking, and when she came into the room she said you have become a witness who is other than yourself. You are a witness, and yet you are different from yourself. So there was a shock for some time when he heard this sentence. You are a witness, but other than yourself. Witness only watches, and that which is watched is other than himself. She said this is the beginning of self-knowledge. This is the beginning of self-knowledge when you witness what you are doing, then you begin to have knowledge about yourself, what you are.

And then she said I will give you one more sentence: the more you know yourself, the more you control yourself. And the more you control yourself, the more you know yourselves.

The two had now become friends, Leela and Anak became very good friends. In the evening when the moon was bright in the eastern horizon, they both sat on a bench and he began to ask her: where do you live? Up till now he was so occupied with himself, he was concerned with his mind. Now he asks: where do you live? She said I live next door. I have a room just next to your room and then she began to explain. She said in this house, which is a very big house, there is a special apartment for Mrs Modi. Her name is Rupa. She is not here just now. She has gone abroad, but she is an extraordinary woman. She said we are four secretaries attached to Rupa. She was only one of them, but there are four secretaries. There is Leela, there is Nalini, there is Shalini and there is Sujata. There are four friends so to say, all of them attached as secretaries of Rupa.

In what way was she extraordinary? He asked. She said you will see when you meet her. She's coming very soon and you will find out what she is, but I shall take you to her room when she is not there and if you like tonight, you come with me and I’ll take you to her room. So at night both of them visited the room of Rupa. That room consisted only of paintings all over, huge paintings, beautiful paintings, all paintings from the west. Then there was another room next one, it consisted only of Indian paintings. There is a third room where there are so many beautiful sculptures: sculptures of ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, ancient India, all kinds of sculptures. You know the meaning of sculptures? yes, statues, all kinds of statues. And then inside there was one room where there's only one chair and a small table and nothing else, and she was told that Rupa actually lives in that room most of the time alone.

Within a few days, she was to come and Anak began to wait for her arrival. In the meantime Videsh came to see this young boy to ask how he was faring and he asked the question: do you want to join a college? You remember, this was the question put to him earlier, have you changed your mind? Do you want to join a college? So Anak said no. I am now convinced, life is a great teacher of life. I want to learn life from life itself. Already. My last few days have taught me: it is from my life that I have learned what life is, and I want to continue this experience. So Videsh was very happy. And then he asked him the question I heard so much about Rupa. Can you tell me something about her? So he said I do not know her sufficiently. He was his wife and he said I do not know her sufficiently. I respect her. I love her, but I do not understand her sufficiently. I am myself a vitalist and she is an idealist. Now these are very important words. I am a vitalist and she is an idealist. Let us see what it means. He said, I am a vitalist and she is an idealist. I think you have a chance to see the dictionary. Now you go to your school today and tomorrow and see in the dictionary what is the meaning of vitalist and what is the meaning of idealist. All right, so we meet tomorrow again.