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Sadhana Pada: Sutra 2.5
anityā = impermanent
aśuci = impurity
duḥkha = misery
anātmasu = Non-Self, Non-Atman, that which is not Self
nitya = permanent
śuci = purity
sukha = pleasure
ātma = Atman, Self
khyātir = misconceiving
avidyā = ignorance
Ignorance is misconceiving impermanent as permanent, impurity as purity, misery as pleasure, and Anatman as Atman
This Sutra defines Avidya.
Avidya is the misconception. Misconceiving impermanent as permanent. It is a hindrance on your path to Samadhi.
The misconception of impurity as purity is Avidya. Only the Truth is pure. Other things are impure. The things other than the Truth are impure because they are contaminated by untruth. They are not pure.
Misunderstanding misery as pleasure is the Avidya. All worldly affairs are a mixture of both misery and pleasure. A thing that gives you pleasure becomes the cause of misery. Misery leads to pleasure and pleasure leads to misery. It is a vicious cycle. What you feel now as pleasure is misery in disguise. Hence, the sage says that the misunderstanding of the misery in disguise as pleasure is Avidya.
Recognizing Non-Self as Self is also Avidya. Misidentification of the body as Atman is Avidya.
Commentary by Maharishi Vyasa
The recognition of the permanent, of the pure, of the pleasure, of the Self in what is impermanent, impure, misery, and Non-Self is ignorance
It is the recognition of permanency in impermanent things. For instance, recognizing of earth, sky, stars, celestial beings are perpetual.
Likewise, recognition of purity in impurity. The Learned ones recognize that the body is impure because of its abode, origin, sustenance, diseases, and constant need for cleaning. If we say "this is girl is as beautiful as the crescent of the moon, her limbs are formed of honey and nectar, her eyes are large like a white lotus, and she descended from the moon to refresh the world". Then, what is the nature of the body? Does any connection exist to the things we compare? There is a misconceived idea of recognizing impure as pure.
Similarly, the idea of pleasure in pain is discussed in Yoga Sutra 15 of Sadhana Pada. It is ignorance.
In the same manner, there is a misconceived idea of Self in Non-Self such as in the external aids whether perceptive and non-perceptive or in the body as the seat of outer experience or in the mind that helps the Self. In this sense, it is said, "he is in delusion who recognizes anything, that is manifested or unmanifested, as himself or who rejoices in the successes of these things, or displeases of their failures, considering as his own".
This four-fold Avidya becomes the root of unbroken series of hindrances and latent impressions of Karma together with its fruition. This word Avidya should be conceived as words like Amitra (enemy) and Agospada(trackless forest). Amitra means neither the absence of a friend nor a single friend. But it is the antonym of the word 'friend'. Similarly, the word 'Agospada' is neither a place without cows' footprints nor a place with a single cow's footprint. It denotes a specific place (country) entirely different from these two. Likewise, Avidya is neither the right knowledge nor the absence of right knowledge. But it is independent and denotes the opposite of right knowledge.
Commentary by Swami Vivekananda
Ignorance is taking that which is non-eternal, impure, painful, and non-Self, for the eternal, pure, happy, Atman (Self).
All these various sorts of impression have one source: ignorance. We have first to learn what ignorance is. All of us
think that “I am the body,” and not the Self, the pure, the effulgent, the ever blissful, and that is ignorance. We think of man, and see man as body. This is the great delusion.
Commentary by Sri Osho
LACK OF AWARENESS IS TAKING THE TRANSIENT FOR THE ETERNAL, THE IMPURE FOR THE PURE, THE PAINFUL AS PLEASURABLE AND THE NON-SELF FOR THE SELF.
WHAT IS AVIDYA?
The word means ignorance, but avidya is not ordinary ignorance. It has to be understood deeply. Ignorance is lack of knowledge. Avidya is not a lack of knowledge but a lack of awareness. Ignorance can be dissolved very easily; you can acquire know ledge. It is only a question of training the memory. Knowledge is mechanical; no awareness is needed. It is as mechanical as ordinary ignorance. Avidya is a lack of awareness. One has to move towards more and more consciousness, not towards more and more knowledge. Only then can avidya be dissolved.....
Says Patanjali, 'What is avidya? -- lack of awareness. And what is a lack of awareness? How do you know it? What are the symptoms? These are the symptoms: taking the transient for the eternal.
Look around -- life is a flux, everything is moving. Everything is moving continuously, changing continuously. Revolution is the nature of things all around. Change seems to be the only permanent thing. Accept change and
everything changes. It is just like the waves in an ocean: they are born, for a little while they exist, and then they dissolve and die. It is just like waves.
You go to the sea. What do you see? You see the waves, just the surface. And then you come back and you say that you have been to the sea and the sea was beautiful. Your report is absolutely wrong. You have not seen the sea at all; just the surface, the waving surface. You were just standing on the shore. You looked at the sea, but it was not really the sea. It was just the outermost layer, just the boundary where winds were meeting with the waves.
It is like when you come to see me, and you just see my clothes. Then you go back and you say that you have seen me. It is just like coming to see me, and just going around the house and looking at the outer walls, then going back and saying that you have seen me. Waves are in the sea, the sea is in the waves, but waves are not the sea. They are just the outermost, the most distant phenomenon from the center of the sea, from the depth.
Life is a flux; everything moving, changing into another. Patanjali says, 'To believe that this is life is lack of awareness.' You are very, very distant, away from life, from the center, the depth of it. On the surface there is change, on the periphery there is movement, but at the center, nothing moves. There is no movement, no change.
It is just like the wheel of a cart. The wheel goes on moving and moving and moving, but at the center, something remains unmoving. On that unmoving pole, the wheel moves. The wheel may go on moving on the whole earth, but it moved on something which was not moving. All movement depends on the eternal, the non-moving.
If you have seen only the movement of life, Patanjali says, 'This is lack of awareness, avidya.' Then you have not seen enough. If you think that somebody is a child, then he becomes a young man, then an old man, then he dies -- you have seen only the wheel. You have seen the movement: the child, the young man, the old man, the dead, the corpse. Have you seen that which was unmoving within all these movements? Have you seen that which was not a child, not a young man, and not an old man? Have you seen that on which all these stages depend? Have you seen that which holds all, and always remains the same, and the same, and the same, which is neither born nor dies? If you have not seen that, if you have not felt that, Patanjali says, 'You are in avidya, lack of awareness.'
You are not alert enough because you cannot see enough. You don't have eyes enough because you cannot penetrate enough. Once you have eyes, the vision, the perception, the clarity, and the penetrating force of it, you will immediately see that change is there, but it is not all. In fact, it is just the periphery which changes, which moves. Deep down in the foundation is eternal. Have you seen the eternal? If you have not seen, this is avidya; you are hypnotized by the periphery. The changing scenes have hypnotized you. You have become too involved in them. You need a little detachment, you need a little distance, you need a little more observation. Taking the transient for the eternal is avidya; taking the impure for the pure is avidya.
What is pure and what is impure? Patanjali has nothing to do with your ordinary morality. Ordinary morality differs. Something may be pure in India and impure in China. Something may be impure in India and pure in England. Or,
even here, something may be pure to Hindus and impure to Jains. Morality differs. In fact, if you start penetrating the layers of morality, they differ with each individual. Patanjali is not talking about morality. Morality is just a convention; it has utility, but it has no truth in it. And when a man like Patanjali talks, he talks about eternal things, not local things. Thousands of moralities exist in the world, and they go on changing every day. Circumstances change, then morality has to change. When Patanjali says 'pure' and 'impure', he means something absolutely different.
By 'purity' he means natural; by 'impurity' he means unnatural. And something maybe natural to you or unnatural to you, so there cannot be any criterion. To take the impure for the pure means to take the unnatural for the natural. That's what you have done, what the whole of humanity has done. And that's why you have become more and more impure. Always remain true to nature. Just think of what is natural, find it. Because with the unnatural, you will always remain tense, uneasy, uncomfortable. Nobody can be comfortable in an unnatural situation, and you create unnatural things around you. Then they become a burden and they destroy you. When I say 'unnatural', I mean something foreign to your nature.
For example, a milkman comes, you take the milk and you say that it is impure. Why do you say that it is impure? You say it is because he has poured water into it. But if the water were pure and milk were also pure, then two purities would make double purity. How can two purities meet and the thing becomes impure? But they become impure. Pure water and pure milk meet, and both will become impure. Water will be impure, milk will also be impure because something foreign, something from the outside has entered in.
When I was a student in university I had a milkman. He was very famous around the university hostels. People believed that he was a very saintly man and would never mix water into milk, which is the usual practice in India. It is almost impossible to get pure milk, almost impossible. The man was really a very good man. He was an old man, an old villager; absolutely uneducated but very good-hearted. Because of his saintly nature, he was known around the university as Sant. One day I asked him, when we had become familiar with each other and a certain friendship had grown between us, 'Sant, is it really true that you never mix water and milk?' He said, 'Absolutely true!' But then I said, 'It is impossible. Your prices are the same as other milkmen; you must be running the whole business at a loss.' He laughed. He said, 'You don't know. There is a trick in it.' I said, 'Tell me the trick because I have heard that you even put your hand on Ramayana, the Hindu bible, saying that you never mix water into milk.' He said, 'Yes, that too I have done because I always mix milk into water.' Legally he is perfectly right. You can take an oath and you can swear; there will be no trouble about it. But whether you mix water into milk or you mix milk in
water is the same because mixing with something makes it impure.
When Patanjali says, 'Taking the impure for the pure is avidya,' he is saying, 'Taking the unnatural for the natural is avidya.' And you have taken many unnatural things to be natural. You may have completely forgotten what is natural. You will have to go deep within yourself to find the natural. The whole society makes you impure; it goes on forcing things on you which are not natural, it goes on conditioning you, it goes on giving you ideologies, prejudices, and all sorts of nonsense. You have to find what is natural to you on your own.
Just a few days ago a young man came to me. He asked, 'Is it good for me to get married? Because I have a spiritual inclination, I don't want to get married.' I asked him, 'Have you read Vivekananda?' He said, 'Yes, Vivekananda is my guru.' Then I asked him, 'What other books have you been reading?' He said, 'Sivananda, Vivekananda, and other teachers.' I asked him, 'This idea of not getting married, is it coming from you or from Vivekananda and Sivananda and company? If it is coming from you, it is absolutely okay.' He said, 'No because my mind goes on thinking about sex, but Vivekananda must be right that one has to fight with sex. Otherwise, how will one improve? One has to attain to spirituality.'
This is the trouble. Now this Vivekananda is water in the milk. It may have been right for Vivekananda to remain celibate; that is for him to decide. But if he was impressed by Buddha and Ramakrishna, then he is also impure.
One has to follow one's own being and nature, and one has to be very true and authentic because the net is vast and the pit. falls are millions. The road forks on many, many dimensions and directions. You can be lost. Your mind thinks of sex; Vivekananda's teaching says, 'No!' Then you have to decide. You have to move according to your mind. I told the young man, 'It is better that you get married.' Then I told him an anecdote. Socrates was one of the greatest suffering husbands ever born. His wife, Xanthippe, was one of the most dangerous of women. Women are dangerous, but she was the most dangerous woman. She would beat Socrates. Once she poured the whole teapot on his head. Half his face remained burned for his whole life. To ask such a man what to do!... One young man asked, 'Should I get married or not?' Of course, he expected that Socrates would say, 'No' -- he had suffered so much for it. But he said, 'Yes, you should get married.' The young man said, 'But how can you say that? I have heard so many rumors about you and your wife.' He said, 'Yes, I say to you that you should get married. If you get a good wife you will be happy, and through happiness, many things grow because happiness is natural. If you get a bad wife, then non-attachment, renunciation will grow. You will become a great philosopher like me. In either case, you will have profited. When you come to ask me whether to get married or not, the idea to marry is in you, otherwise, why should you come to me?'
I told this young man, 'You have come to ask me. That shows that Vivekananda has not been enough; still, your nature persists. You should get married. Suffer it, enjoy it, the pain and the pleasure. Move through both and become mature through experience. Once you become mature, not because Vivekanand or anybody else says so, but because you have become mature and ripe, the foolishness of sexuality drops; it drops. Then brahmacharya arises; the real celibacy arises, the pure celibacy arises, but that is different.'
Always remember that you are you. You are neither Vivekananda nor Buddha nor me. Don't get too impressed; the impression is an impurity. Don't get too influenced; influence is an impurity. Be alert, watch, observe, and unless something fits with your nature, never take it. It is not for you or you are not ready for it. Whatsoever the case, at this moment it is not for you. You have to move through your own experience. Suffering also is needed for you to come to ripeness, a maturity. You cannot do anything in a hurry.
Life is eternal, there is no hurry in it. Time is not lacking. Life is absolutely patient; there is no impatience in it. You can move at your own pace. No need to take shortcuts; nobody has ever been successful through shortcuts. If you take the shortcut, who will give you the experience of the long, long journey? You will miss it. And there is every possibility that you will come back to it, and the whole thing will have been a wastage of time and energy. Shortcuts are always an illusion. Never choose the shortcut; always choose the natural. Maybe it will take a long time -- let it. That's how life grows; it cannot be forced.
When Patanjali says, 'Lack of awareness is taking the impure for the pure, ' purity means your 'naturality', as you are, uncontaminated by others. Don't make an ideal of anybody. Don't try to become like a Buddha; you can become only yourself. Even if a Buddha tried to become like you, it would not be possible.
Nobody can become like anybody else. Everybody has his own unique way of being, and that is purity. To follow your own being, to be yourself is purity. It is very difficult because you get impressed because you get hypnotized. It is very difficult because there are logical people who convince you. It is very difficult.
They are beautiful people; their beauty impresses you. There are wonderful people around; they are magnetic, they have charisma. When you are around them you are simply pulled; they have gravitation.
You have to be alert, more alert of great persons, more alert of those who have a magnetism, more alert of those who can impress, influence, and transform you, because they can give you an impurity. Not that they want to give it to you; no Buddha has ever tried to make anybody like himself. Not that they want it, but your own foolish mind will try to imitate, make the ideal of somebody else and strive to become like that. That is the greatest impurity that can happen to a man.
Love Buddha, Jesus, Ramakrishna, be enriched by their experiences but don't be impressed. It is very difficult because the difference is very subtle. Love, listen, imbibe, but don't imitate. Take whatsoever you can take but always take it according to your nature. If something fits your nature, take it -- but not because Buddha says to.
Buddha insists again and again to his disciples, 'Don't take anything because I say it. Take it only if you need it if you have come to the point where it will be natural for you.' Buddha becomes a Buddha through millions of lives, millions of experiences of good and bad, sin and virtue, morality and immorality, pain and pleasure. Buddha himself has to pass through millions of lives and millions of experiences. And what do you want? Just listening to Buddha, being impressed by him, you immediately jump and start following him. That is not possible. You will have to go on your own way. Take whatsoever you can take but always move on your own way.
I always remember Friedrich Nietzsche's book THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA. When Zarathustra was taking leave of his disciples, the last thing that he said to them was very beautiful. It was the last message; he had said everything. He had given his whole heart to them and the last thing he said was, 'Now listen to me and listen as deeply as you have never listened. My last message is, "Beware of Zarathustra! Beware of me!"'
This is the last message of all enlightened people because they are so attractive; you can fall victim. And once something outside of you enters your nature, you are on the wrong path.
Says Patanjali, 'Lack of awareness is taking the impure for the pure, the painful as pleasurable.'
You will say, 'Either of the things that Patanjali says may be true but we are not so foolish to take the painful as pleasurable.' You are. Everybody is -- unless one becomes perfectly aware. You have taken many things as pleasurable which are painful. You suffer the pain and you cry and weep, but still, you don't understand that you have taken something which is basically painful and cannot be changed into a pleasure.
Every day people come to me about their sexual relationship saying that it is painful. I have not come across a single couple who has said to me that their sex life is as it should be -- perfect, beautiful.
What is the matter? In the beginning, they say that everything was beautiful. In the beginning, it always is! With everybody, the sex relationship is beautiful in the beginning, but why does it turn sour and bitter? Why after a little while, even before the honeymoon is over, does it start becoming sour and bitter?
Those who have words on human consciousness, deeply they say, 'The beginning, the beauty, in the beginning, is just a natural trick to befool you.' Once you are befooled, the reality comes up. It is just like when you go fishing and you use a little bait; in the beginning, when two persons meet, they think, 'Now this is going to be the greatest peak experience in the world.' They think, 'This woman is the most beautiful woman,' and the woman thinks, 'This man is the greatest man there has ever been.' They start in an illusion, they project. They try to see whatsoever they want to see. They don't see the real person. They don't see who is there, they just see their own dream projected; the other becomes just a screen, and you project. Sooner or later the reality asserts. And when sex is fulfilled, when the basic hypnosis of nature i6 fulfilled, then everything turns sour.
Then you come to see the other as he is: very ordinary, nothing special. The body is no more a fragrance -- it perspires. The face is no more divine -- it has come nearer to an animal's. From the eyes, now God is no longer looking at you, but a ferocious animal, a sexual animal. The illusion is broken, the dream is shattered. Now the misery starts.
And you had promised that you would love the woman forever; the woman had promised that even for future lives she would be your shadow. Now you are tricked by your own promises, trapped. Now how can you fall back? Now you have to carry it. Hypocrisy enters, pretensions, anger. Because whenever you are pretending, sooner or later you will get angry; pretension is such a heavyweight. Now you take the hand of the woman and hold it, but it simply perspires and nothing happens; no poetry, only perspiration. You want to leave it but the woman will feel hurt. She also wants to leave it but she also thinks that you will feel hurt, and lovers have to hold hands. You kiss the woman but there is nothing but a bad mouth odor. Everything goes ugly, and then you react, then you take revenge, then you throw the responsibility on the other, then you try to prove that the other is guilty. He or she has done something wrong, or she has deceived you; she pretended to be something which she was not. And then, the whole ugly affair of marriage.
Remember, lack of awareness is taking the pain as pleasurable. If something is a pleasure in the beginning and in the end it turns painful, remember that it was painful from the very beginning; only lack of awareness has deceived you.
Nobody else has deceived you, only lack of awareness. You were not alert enough to see things as they were. Otherwise, how could pleasure turn into a pain! If there were really a pleasure, as time passed, it would have become a greater and greater pleasure. That is how it should be.
You sow the seed of a mango tree; as it grows, will it become the fruit of a neem tree, bitter? If in the first place the seed was of the mango, it will be a mango tree, a big mango tree. Thousands of mangoes will come out of it, sweet. But if you plant a mango tree and in the end, it turns out to be a neem tree, bitter, absolutely bitter, what does it mean? It means the tree has not deceived you but you mistook the seed of a neem tree for the seed of a mango tree.
Otherwise, pleasure grows more pleasurable, happiness grows happier and happier. Finally, it turns into the highest peak of bliss; but then one has to be aware when one is sowing the seeds. Once you sow the seeds, you are caught because then you cannot change. Then you will have to reap the crop also. And you are reaping the crop. You always reap the crop of misery and you never become aware that something must be wrong with the seed. Whenever you have to reap misery, you start thinking that somebody else has been deceiving you: the wife, the husband, the friend, the family, the world, but some. body else. The devil or somebody is playing tricks on you. This is avoiding facing the reality that you have sown the wrong seeds.
Lack of awareness is taking the pain as pleasurable. And this is the criterion. Ask Patanjali, Shankaracharya, Buddha; this is the criterion: if something turns finally into pain, it must have been painful from the beginning. The end is the criterion, the final fruit is the criterion. You should judge a tree by the fruit; there is no other way to judge it. If your life has become a tree of misery, you should judge that the seed was wrong, something that you have done wrong; move back.
But you never do that. You will commit the same mistake again. If your wife dies and you had thought many times that if she died it would be good -- it is difficult to find a husband who has not thought many times that if his wife died it would be good -- 'I am finished and I am not going to look at another woman again' -- but the moment the wife dies, immediately the idea of another woman comes into the mind. The mind starts thinking again, 'Who knows? This woman was not good but the other woman can be. This relationship didn't come to a beautiful end but that doesn't close all the doors; other doors are open.' The mind starts working. You will fall into the same trap again and you will suffer again.
And you will always think, 'Maybe this woman and that woman....' It is not a question of a woman and a man, it is a question of being aware. If you are aware, then with everything that you do you will do looking at the end. You will be fully alert to what is going to be in the end. Then if you want it to be painful, if you want to live in pain and misery, it is up to you to choose. But then you cannot make anybody else responsible. You know perfectly well that
you sowed the seed and now you have to reap it. But who is so foolish that alert, aware, he will sow bitter seeds? For what?
AND LACK OF AWARENESS IS TO TAKE THE NON SELF FOR THE SELF
These are the criteria.
You have taken the non-self for the self. Sometimes you think you are the body, sometimes you think you are the mind, sometimes you think you are the heart; these are the three traps. The body is the outermost layer. When you feel hungry have you not always said, 'I am hungry'? -- lack of awareness. You are just the knower that the body is hungry; you are not hungry. How can consciousness be hungry? Food never enters consciousness; consciousness is never hungry. In fact, once you come to know consciousness, you will find that it is always satiated, never hungry. It is always perfect, absolute; it lacks nothing. It is already the very pinnacle, the very peak, the ultimate growth; it is not hungry. And how can consciousness be hungry for food.? -- body needs it.
A man of awareness will say, 'My body is hungry.' Or, if awareness goes even deeper, he will not say 'my body'; he will say, 'This body is hungry, the body is hungry.'
One great Indian mystic went to America. His name was Ramteerth. He always used to speak in the third person. He would never use 'I'. It looked awkward because people who didn't know him couldn't follow what he was saying. One day he went back to the house where he was staying in America. He went in laughing, enjoying, his who]e body laughing a belly laugh. The whole body was shaking with laughter. The family asked, 'What is the matter, what has happened? Why are you so happy? Why are you laughing?' He said, 'It happened on the street. A few urchins started throwing stones at Ram' -- Ram was his name -- 'and I said to Ram, "Now see!" And Ram was very, very angry.
He wanted to do something but I didn't cooperate, I stood aside.' The family said, 'We cannot follow what you mean. You are Ram. About whom are you talking?' Said Ramteerth, 'I am not Ram, I am the knower. This body is Ram and those urchins cannot throw stones at me. How can a stone be thrown at consciousness? Can you hit the sky with a stone? Can you touch the sky with a stone?'
Consciousness is a vast sky, a space; you cannot hit it. Only a body can be hit with a stone because the body belongs to matter; matter can hit it. The body belongs to matter. It feels hungry for food. Food can satisfy it, hunger will kill it. Consciousness is not the body.
Lack of awareness is when you take your body as yourself. Ninety percent of your lives' miseries are because of this: lack of awareness. You take the body as yourself and then you suffer. You are suffering in a dream. The body is not yours. Soon it will not be yours. Where were you when your body was not there? Where were you before your birth, what face had you then? And after the death, where will you be and what will your face be? Will you be a man or a woman?
Consciousness is neither. If you think that I am a man, this is a lack of awareness. Consciousness? How can consciousness be divided into sex? -- it has no sex organs. If you think you are a child or a young man or an old man, you are again lacking in awareness. How can you be old, how can you be young?
Consciousness is neither. It is eternal, it is the same: it is not born, it doesn't die and it remains -- it is life itself. Or, take the mind -- that is the second, deeper layer. And it is more subtle and nearer to consciousness. You take your mind to be yourself. You go on saying: 'I, I, I.' If somebody contradicts your idea you say, 'This is my idea,' and you fight for it. Nobody debates for truth; people discuss and debate and fight for their 'I'. 'My idea means me. How dare you contradict? I will prove that I am right!' Nobody is bothered about the truth. Who bothers? -- it is a question of who is right, not a question of what is right. But then people are identified, and not only ordinary people, even people who are religious.
A man renounces the family, the children, the marketplace, the world, and goes to the Himalayas. You ask him, 'Are you a Hindu?' and he says, 'Yes.' What is this Hinduism? Is consciousness Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian? It is the mind.
Lack of awareness is if you get identified with the non-self and think it is the self. And then there is the heart, the nearest to consciousness but still far away. There is the body, thought, and feeling. When you feel, you have to be very, very aware to feel that it is not you who feels. It is again a part of the mechanism. Of course, it is the nearest to consciousness. That's why the heart is the nearest to consciousness, head just in between, and body the farthest away. But still, the heart is not you. Even feeling is a phenomenon: it comes and goes; it is a ripple, it arises and dies; it is a mood, it exists and then doesn't exist. You are that which will always exist, always and always, forever and forever.
LACK OF AWARENESS IS TAKING THE NON SELF FOR THE SELF.
Then what is awareness? Awareness is to be aware that you are not the body, not because the Upanishads say so or Patanjali says so -- because you can cram it into your mind that you are not the body. You can go on repeating every morning and evening, 'I am not the body -- that will not help. It is not a question of repetition, it is a question of deep understanding. And if you understand, what is the point of repeating?
Once a sannyasin, a Jain monk stayed with me. Every morning he would sit and chant a Sanskrit mantra: I am not the body, I am not the mind; I am the purest Brahma. He chanted and chanted and chanted for one and a half hours every morning. On the third day, I said to him, 'Have you not known it? Then why do you chant? If you have known it, it is foolish. If you have not known it, it is again foolish because just by repeating how can you know?'
If a man goes on repeating, 'I am a man of great potential, the sexual potential,' you can be certain that he is impotent. Why repeat, 'I am a man, and very potent and powerful?' And if a man repeats this for one and a half hours every morning, what does it mean? It shows that something that is just the opposite is in the mind; deep down he knows that he is impotent. Now he is trying to befool himself with, 'I am a very powerful man.' If you are, you are. There is no need to repeat it. I told the Jain monk, 'This shows that you have not known. This is a perfect indication that you are still identified with the body. And by repeating, how can you get out of it. Understand that repetition is not understanding.'
To understand, watch. When hunger comes, watch whether it is in the body or in you. When illness comes, watch where it is, in the body or in you. An idea comes, watch where it is, in the mind or in you. A feeling arises, watch. By being more and more watchful you will attain awareness. By repetition, nobody has ever attained.