The Conditions of Freedom
What are the conditions or requirements that are needed for freedom or enlightenment? Truly speaking, there are no hard and fast rules or conditions that you have to be fulfilled to be free. But I will cite one example of a king.
When the question of enlightenment comes I do not know why kings are always mentioned. We have heard that in ancient times enlightenment was won only by kings and not by workers. Vaishista was a king, Vishwamitra was a king, Yagnavalka was a king, Gyanasruti was a king, Buddha was a prince. There may be something in this because they have fulfilled their vasanas and desires. Perhaps those who have not done enough to fulfill their vasanas cannot renounce; they are addicted to vasanas. Therefore, we always hear that kings have won freedom: Janaka was a king, Dasaratha was a king, Rama was a king, Krishna was a king. It can be won by everyone but the story goes in favor of the kings.
There was a king who spoke to his wife, “My hairs are getting gray now.” In ancient times, when people were seeing gray hairs on their head they rejected everything and went to the forest or to some rishi’s ashram to sit with him and to be free. This king was very much attached to his wife, she to him. But on this morning he said, “My dear queen, I will leave you now.” “Why are you going to leave me?” she asked. “You told me that there is nothing else more beautiful than me. Didn’t you say that?” “Yes I did,” the king replied. “Then why should you leave me now?” she said.
He answered, “My dear queen, my beloved one, my dear one, there is something else that I cannot attain here with you on the throne. So I leave you and I go.” He did not listen to the queen’s beseeching.
The queen said, “I can teach you knowledge. I know that which you want to learn and I can teach you. I did not speak on this matter until now because the time was not ripe. You were young, you had vasanas, and the time had not come; but now I can teach you.”
Still the king did not listen. He said, “What you can teach? What is a woman going to teach me? I am going now. Here are the ministers who are very able. They will help you in government. Here are the treasures. I am giving you everything. I will go now.”
This queen had been going to satsang since childhood in her parents’ house, and she was enlightened. But the king was not in a suitable condition to listen to her instructions. It is most important that you be in very good shape to be benefited by satsang. He didn’t listen. He walked out and went away and disappeared into the forest. The queen had also learned yoga, so she sat in samadhi and her subtle body went all over the place to find out where the king was sitting in meditation looking for freedom. And she saw him living and meditating in a thatched hut. So the queen thought, “This is the right time for me to teach.”
She disappeared intto the night and went in the disguise of a young man — dressed up as a sadhu. She declared that she belonged to Vaikunth Loka. “I have come because you have rejected everything,” she said. “I have come because you are a very serious seeker of truth and I will teach you.” He was very happy. He prostrated before the sadhu and welcomed him, saying that this was the time he needed a teacher. So every night she would disappear from the palace and go and teach. The sadhu told the whole story to him, how he was the king of a certain country, he had a queen and everything but he rejected everything.
The sadhu told the king, “Your renunciation is not yet complete because what has to be renounced is not yet renounced. You renounced your palace but instead here is a thatched hut. There’s no difference between a palace and a thatched hut. You have the same attachment now with the thatched hut. Instead of your royal robes you are now wearing this soiled robe of a renunciate.” The king left the hut and threw off his robe, so he was standing nude.
“Now is my renunciation complete?” the king asked. “Not yet, not yet,” said the sadhu, “Still you are attached to something, and with attachment, freedom is not possible.” “Only the body is left,” said the king. “Only my body is there, so I am going to throw my body into the fire.” “Wait,” said the sadhu. “Wait. What harm has this poor body done to you? You do not need to throw it away. Perhaps through this body you can attain freedom. This body is inert. Why do you want to throw it away? This is a beautiful chance for you to work through this body. Something else has to be renounced, not the body. Even in your sleep you have no body, still you are not enlightened and you are not free. During sleep you do not see anybody, yet you are not free. Even at death your body is cremated, yet you are not free. You have to renounce that which has to be renounced.”
The king did not understand what had to be renounced. “You have to renounce that through which you are renouncing everything, and through which you think that you are going to have emancipation and wisdom. That has to be renounced. What is that? Mind. The mind has to be renounced. You did not do it when you were in the palace and also here you cannot do without it. You have not won freedom living in the palace and also here you are still bound. Until you renounce mind you cannot be free.”
The king agreed to do this — but how to do it? How is it possible to renounce the mind? He did not know how to renounce the mind. So the sadhu taught him. Every night this young sadhu appeared before him, spent the whole night, and then flew back to the palace in the morning to attend to the affairs of the court and the king. She had a very active day and also a very active night. At night she was a guru; in the day she was a queen.
She told him what has to be done. She told him to sit quiet and she told him how to get rid of this mind. “The mind is a vasana — a desire. Whose desire? My desire. This mind is just a thought. The prime thought, the first thought, is only the ‘I’ thought. There is no difference between ‘I’ and mind. “I,” ego, and mind are all the same thing. So how is it possible to get rid of this ‘I’? The king said, “How could I get rid of this ‘I’?”
In everything — in anything that you do — the ‘I’ is always maintained. Therefore, there is no possibility of success. No one can win freedom, whether he be in an ashram or working by himself alone on the heights of the Himalayan mountains. The ‘I’ is still maintained. “I am meditating. I am performing pilgrimages. I am doing all these things. I am chanting such-and-such a formula.” The ‘I’ is still there. Unless this ‘I’ is killed there is no use of any sadana that you do.”
This young sadhu now told this yogi, “I will tell you a way how to get rid of this mind in the shape of ‘I.’ Find out where this ‘I’ is rising from. Question yourself, ‘Where is this ‘I’ rising from?'” “It is very difficult to find,” said the king. “It is very difficult because I have never heard about this before. No one ever told me about it. No one ever asked me to question where this ‘I’ is rising from.”
We are working with this question here every day. Some say that it is very difficult, that they don’t get it; they don’t understand. A few are able to do it for some time, and I am glad. But again, after a week or so they say that the old tendencies come back. The whole-hearted jignasa — the fire of desire for freedom that is needed — is not there. It’s only for fun’s sake, reading some books and hearing from so-called teachers, going to so-called centers in the world which teach freedom. People are attracted there and sit with a teacher who doesn’t know himself — he is not free himself. He doesn’t belong to the tradition of gurus; neither did he have a guru, so he has no right to speak on gyana — knowledge. You have to see the lineage of the guru, to which lineage does the teacher belong? Otherwise you are misled, misguided and lost forever.
Do not waste your life this time, this human incarnation. It is very difficult to maintain the desire for freedom in human life. Most human beings are just two-legged animals, two-legged beasts interested only in sex, food and sleep. This is what animals and man have in common: food, sex and sleep. The only difference between animals and man is that we have the option, we have discrimination, to utilize this blessed human temple of God for the sake of freedom. We have had better sex as a pig. We have had better food as a wolf. If you overeat you have to go to the doctor in the evening. We don’t even have the stamina to eat that a wolf does. And animals sleep much better that we do. Man has to use sleeping pills and other drugs to be able to sleep.
Coming back to the story, the king slowly learned from the young sadhu and he came to know the Truth. He said, “Respected guru, I prostrate before for you. I searched, I have found the place where this ‘I’ is rising from, and I don’t see anything there.”
This is the experience of everyone who comes and sits in front at satsang. Yesterday I received a letter from a girl was here and has now gone back to Holland. She wanted some clarification. “I learned, and I am practicing here also, but I don’t find anything. I don’t find anything. I don’t see anything. I just see that I am very happy in this moment. Is this the right state or is there any mistake in this?”
Those who have this experience have to stay a little longer so that they do not forget it. Why not finish up the whole thing here and now? It doesn’t take time. You have come for this purpose and I am very happy that we are here to share our experiences with each other. We have to make sure that we are all happy so that we can go back home and help our friends also. In this way this will spread through the whole world like a wild fire. This is the right time. I am seeing the result. One single person who goes from here is quite enough.
This king told the sadhu, “I am very happy about what has occurred, but what is freedom? What was this idea of freedom?” The sadhu replied, “You have entertained a concept that you were bound. You were bound so you wanted to be free. This is the direct path to freedom where this concept of bondage has now vanished. When the concept of bondage has vanished, the concept of freedom also goes. While walking barefoot in the forest we may be pricked by a thorn in the foot. So we try to take another thorn to take the first thorn out, and then we throw both of them away. In the same way, bondage is only a concept. To remove this thorn we need another concept of freedom. When the time comes that both the thorns are thrown away we do not know anything, we do not know what happened. Now you will have to put all your strength to not be recalled by habits which are millions of years old. These old habits are also a concept. Where do the habits go when you sleep? Then there are no old habits and no new habits either. There is no bondage and also there is no freedom.”
The king was staying in this state and the sadhu was still waiting with him. One week passed in this state and he was absolute blissful, in a stateless state. So the sadhu came and asked him, “What more do you want? What more do you need? This is freedom. Remain as this wherever you are, even sitting in the palace with your queen. Isn’t this possible?”
“I was very attached to my queen, and these attachments could not have helped me,” the king replied. “Therefore I had to reject them all. I do not know if she could have taught me. She was a stupid woman and said she could teach me knowledge. It’s a good thing that it was my good karma to be blessed by you, my satguru.” Then he prostrated again and again; he went around the sadhu many times. The queen said to herself, “He’s all right now,” and removed her disguise. She removed the appearance of sadhu and became his queen and prostrated before the king. “Let us return to our palace,” she said. The king wondered to himself, “Why I didn’t listen to you then?” He decided it didn’t matter. The king and queen were both enlightened and in constant Satsang.
Yesterday someone asked about harmonious life. A question arose in my house about the harmonious life between a wife and husband, and we had a discussion about this over lunch. Everyone is living in great fear. A harmonious life means living together in wisdom, understanding our relationship with our partners, with our friends, with our relations. This can be called a harmonious life. We are here from all over the world. Could there be any better bond of love between all of us? People are living here as more than brothers with brothers, and sister with sisters, and parents with parents. What better harmonious life could there be than Satsang? A harmonious life is only when all of us have the same enterprise, the same thing, the same path, the same goal. When we are always speaking about that: This is going to be a harmonious life. There can be no other harmonious life in the world than sitting in Satsang, in great love with each other.
To be prepared for Satsang we have to be willing to reject all our past vasanas. We know that our vasanas are finished because this desire for freedom will come only once in a cycle. Not once in a life, once in a cycle; which means 35 million years. Only then will this desire for freedom arise; and whenever it comes make the best of it. Sit down wherever you are so that this moment is not gone. Immediately, this is the right time to win freedom. Do not postpone for the next moment or for the next day. This is the right time — when this desire arises — not that you read it in a book, not that you were told to come, not that someone said, “I will give you enlightenment.” not that it was imposed on you. It has to come on its own. It has to come from within. The wave has to rise from the ocean, not from the desert. If it does come from the desert it is something else and not actually the wave. Whenever this desire for freedom comes, sit down where you are and keep quiet. This is the right time.
21 July, 1992