First published during the solar eclipse 11th of Aug. 1999. Last update: Febuary 21. 2010

English Articles

Osho, an enlightened master, talked about Om and Aum in some of the more than 200 books that were published with his talks that he gave in his darshans.
Here is a collection of some excerpts from the following books taken from: is now offline!
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The Sun Behind the Sun Behind the Sun
Hari Om Tat Sat
Om Mani Padme Hum
Om Shantih Shantih Shantih
Death is Divine
Hidden Mysteries



The Sun Behind the Sun Behind the Sun

Talks given from 1/1/78 to 31/1/78 in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
Darshan Diary
Year published: 1980

... the sound of aum is the most significant sound, the most fundamental, the most elemental; it is the source of all sounds. It consists of three sounds, a, u, m, and those three sounds are the basic sounds behind all sounds.
It is very symbolic in the east; it is the trinity. A, u, m: those three sounds are the three energies in life. Christians call them father, son and holy ghost. The whole life consists of three energies: scientists call them electrons, protons, neutrons. Whenever you go deep you will always find a trinity and behind the trinity you will find one; that one is the sound of aum.

It is a very strange sound; it has a few special things about it. For one: it is the only sound that can be uttered with an open and closed mouth; no other sound can be uttered with a closed mouth. Or, if you try to utter any other sound with a closed mouth, from the outside it will be heard as aum. One can try any word, any letter, any sound, but from the outside it will be always heard as aum. So it is the sound that joins the outer and the inner. It is the sound that joins the body and the soul. And those three -- a, u, m -- have been used as metaphors for many things. The east cherishes metaphors very much.

The first use that has been made is that those three sounds represent respectively: the state of wakefulness, a; the state of dreaming, u; and the state of dreamless sleep, m. When all these three sounds, the whole aum, becomes silent, then arises the fourth sound, the soundless sound called turiya, the fourth. That is the sound Zen people call 'one hand clapping'. When aum has become silent you hear silence. That is the beauty of aum: if you repeat it, if you hum it and you become completely absorbed in it, when you stop for the first time you will know what silence is.

Before that experience, whatsoever you call silence is not positive silence. It is simply a negative state, an absence of noise; that's what people call silence. When there is no noise they say, 'It is very silent here.' That is absence of noise, this is not positive silence. Positive silence is when you have hummed aum, the aum disappears and you are left in soundlessness; then you hear something positive -- the still small voice of Christian mystics. That can only be experienced, that cannot be expressed.

These three have also been used as three bodies: the physical body, the psychological body, the spiritual body. And when you go beyond the third you have the cosmic body: the body of god or the body of Buddha.
This sound will be of great help to you to find your path, to move towards the unknown. Ride on this sound. This is your mantra, and this is your name. Let this become your constant companion. Whenever you have time, simply repeat 'aum' -- sometimes loudly when it is possible; when it is not possible, silently. Befriend this sound, and immense will be the benefit.


Hari Om Tat Sat

The Divine Sound: That is the Truth
Talks given on 17 January 1988 pm in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium
Year published: 1988 - The master thief sound


Question 1







Maneesha, Hari Om Tat Sat: the divine sound -- that is the truth... It is one of the mahavakyas, the great sayings which have been embedded in the hearts of the mystics since eternity. It is not something theoretical, not something philosophical, it is something existential.

Those who have gone within themselves have always heard a strange sound, which can only be called the sound of existence itself. It is difficult to reduce that sound into language. Hence for centuries, as far back as we can go, Om, the sound, has been represented not by any alphabetical word but by a symbol.

That symbol is beyond any alphabet. It does not belong to any language. Hence the Tibetans can use it, the people who are writing in Sanskrit can use it; Mahavira can use it, who was using a language called Prakrit; Gautam Buddha can use it, who was speaking in a language called Pali. There is no other symbol in the whole world which does not belong to any particular language, but is simply symbolic of a certain experience that can happen to anyone. And why have they not reduced it to some linguistic form? It is not without reason.
The sound of Om is heard only when your mind is completely silent, when you have gone beyond all language, all thinking, when there is pure silence, not even a ripple. Suddenly you hear a music. There is no instrument playing it. It seems it is simply the very heartbeat of existence. That's why it doesn't matter whether someone is a Buddhist or a Hindu or a Jaina. It does not depend on your philosophy, on your religion. It depends on the depth of your reach towards your very inner center. There, suddenly, you are overwhelmed.

It is not exactly Om, but Om comes the closest to expressing the sound. And the sound has been called the divine sound because it is not man-made. It is eternally herenow. Whoever wants to enter into the stream of eternal existence is bound to hear it. It says nothing, but it vibrates your being to such joy, to such celebration, to such dance that you have never dreamt of before.

The word `hari' is used as one of the names of God. I don't want to bring God in; I want to avoid God completely because it brings all kinds of lies behind it. Nobody has ever experienced any God. There is no evidence, no proof, no argument to support it. It is an absolutely useless hypothesis -- not only useless, but immensely harmful, because so much bloodshed has happened because of the name God. It is time that we forget the word and start using something else fresh.

The word `hari' in itself has another meaning which is far more beautiful than the word God. Hari in Sanskrit means the thief. And the sound of Om, once you come close to it, certainly proves to be the master thief because it simply steals your very heart forever. Then you are part of the existence and you are no longer a separate personality.
You are not. Existence is.

Certainly this can be done only by a master thief: you are completely stolen, absorbed, not even a mark is left behind. Those who have used the words hari om would rather say that it is the divine sound. My own preference is to say that it is the master thief sound, which has stolen millions of hearts.

But whatever you say, one thing is certain: Tat Sat. Tat means that, and sat means truth.

This sound of Om is our very truth, is our very being. We are made of it. The whole existence vibrates, and through different vibrations of the same sound there are different things, but they are simply different vibrations. A certain vibration creates a tree, another vibration creates a bird, another vibration creates a man, but the whole existence, according to the mystics, is made of sound. This sound is certainly the most sacred, the most divine, because there is nothing more beautiful, nothing more ecstatic. Once you have heard it, even from far away... just a glimpse and you will never be the same person again.

All that we are searching for in meditations is nothing but this master thief. We are searching in our being: what kind of dance, what kind of music goes on there in the living center of your life. Strangely enough all those who have entered in have found the same answer, without exception -- Hari Om Tat Sat.

Maneesha, you are asking, "When you speak, I hear the sound of truth resonating in me, yet I am not enlightened. How is it that I can recognize that which I have not realized?" There are many things in this small portion of your question.

When you hear me you are hearing existence itself, just the way you hear the wind passing through the pine trees or you hear the sound of running water. I have nothing to say to you, that's why I go on speaking continually, for years. If I had something to say I would have said it. Because I don't have anything to say, I can continue for eternity.

When you hear my sound and truth starts resonating in you it is simply a bridging between the master and the disciple. If what is coming from me originated in existence itself and you are in love, in trust, feeling one with me, you will start resonating with the same truth that is making me a vehicle. It does not need you to be anybody special, it just needs a loving heart, a trusting heart with open doors so the breeze that is coming is not obstructed, so the fragrance that is flowing can overwhelm you, can surround you, can open your heart like a rose opening its petals.

But your problem is, "How is it possible, because I am not enlightened?"

Who said that to you?

I am saying every day you are enlightened, and you are so stubborn that sometimes I also start feeling it would be better I join you and become unenlightened. Why keep this separation? Either you become enlightened or I am going to become unenlightened. There is a limit to everything!

I don't know who the person is who goes on spreading these rumors that you are not enlightened. What is the source of this knowledge? I know it, for thousands of years you have been told you are not enlightened. The people who were telling you that you are not enlightened were on an ego trip -- they were enlightened, you were not enlightened; they had arrived, your journey is going to be very long, perhaps many, many lives.

Their whole effort was to create a great distance between you and themselves so they could be superior to you. They are divine, they are God's incarnation, they are enlightened, they are messengers, they are messiahs, and you... you are just an ignorant person moving from one life to another, carrying the same load of ignorance that goes on increasing with every life. These people have insulted the whole humanity.

As far as I am concerned, I want to say not only are you enlightened, the trees and the rivers and the mountains and the stars, all are enlightened. Otherwise is not possible. I want to make it absolutely clear to you: to be alive is to be enlightened. Wherever there is life, wherever there is love, enlightenment is just hidden underneath. You may not recognize it. The whole effort is to help you to recognize it.

All the meditations are nothing but an effort to feel your enlightenment -- which is already the case; whether you feel it or not it does not matter. If you feel it you will rejoice, your life will become a dance, moment to moment, of tremendous glory and majesty, of grace and gratitude. If you don't recognize it you will remain miserable, asking all kinds of idiots, frauds, "How can I become enlightened?"

There have been masters like Bodhidharma. You ask him how to become enlightened and you will get such a good slap on your face that you will wake up immediately, saying, "I am sorry, I had just fallen asleep. I am enlightened." Those days were beautiful, when it was perfectly accepted that a master can slap the disciple. Now people have completely forgotten those beautiful moments and those beautiful days and those beautiful people.

It is said about Chuang Tzu that when for the first time he entered the hut where Lao Tzu, his would-be master, was living, Lao Tzu looked at Chuang Tzu and said, "Remember one thing, never ask me how to become enlightened." The poor fellow had come for that very purpose. But Lao Tzu made it clear, "Only on this condition will I accept you as my disciple."

There was a moment of silence. Chuang Tzu thought, "It is strange. I have come to become enlightened, that is the very purpose of becoming a disciple. And this old fellow, so beautiful and so graceful, is asking such an absurd thing: if you want to be my disciple, promise me that you will never ask about how to become enlightened."
But it was already too late. He had fallen in love with the old man. He touched his feet and he said, "I promise I will never ask how to become enlightened, but accept me as your disciple."

Immediately came a hard slap, "You idiot! If you are not going to become enlightened, then for what purpose are you becoming a disciple? I was asking this promise because I could see in you such beautiful intelligence that you might have immediately realized the point of my asking. You are enlightened; there is no way to become enlightened. There is no need. In fact even if you want to become unenlightened, there is no way."

Then why has this whole humanity become unenlightened? How have they managed? Just by forgetting, just by being too involved in other things. The world is vast, and the mind goes on taking you into new desires, new longings, new achievements, new greed. Slowly, slowly a curtain falls between you and your mind, and the mind completely forgets your being. It forgets completely that there is an inner world also, not only an outer existence.

The outer is very poor in comparison to the inner. But once you get involved with the outer, it is so vast that there is a possibility you may wander around in the universe for millions of lives. And you may not realize that you are wasting your time, that it is time to look in.

Maneesha, promise me to never ask again, "I am not enlightened, how to become enlightened?" I have my own ways of slapping, far more sophisticated. I don't use my hand because I am a lazy man; moreover I don't want to hurt my hand. But I have my own ways, and I go on slapping people -- and you know it well!

And the last part of your question is, "How is it that I can recognize that which I have not realized?" If you can recognize it, that is an absolute guarantee that you must have realized it in some unconscious way. Perhaps you have forgotten your realization. Each child is born with the realization.

I have condemned Gautam Buddha's story many times, but this time I am going to appreciate it, just to put things in balance. The story is: Gautam Buddha is born while his mother is standing under a saal tree, and he is born standing. And the first thing he does is to take seven steps in front of his mother and declare to the universe, "I am the most enlightened person ever." I have condemned it for different reasons; now I want to appreciate it for different reasons.

In fact, every newborn child, if he could, would say the same thing, "I am enlightened." If every newborn child could walk, he would take seven steps and declare to the whole world, "I am the most enlightened person, unique." Perhaps the story is simply a symbolic way of recognizing each child's innocence as his enlightenment, as his ultimate experience.

But he will be lost in the world. Perhaps once in a while somebody comes back to his childhood again. My effort is to bring you back to your innocent childhood again. What you have not done in your first birth you can do in your second.

After I have gone from here tonight, everybody has to take seven steps and declare to the whole world, "I am the most enlightened person!" Try it, and you will really rejoice. And you will never fall back again into the old ignorance and start looking for how to become enlightened. Finish it tonight!

And you are asking how one can recognize if one has not realized. It is a question like if you are given a rotten egg in a restaurant and you say, "This is rotten." And the manager comes and says, "Are you a hen? Have you ever produced an egg? If you have never produced an egg, on what authority are you saying that this is rotten?"

There is no need. You can recognize things which you may not have consciously realized, but which must be an undercurrent of realization within you. Except that there is no other way. How do you realize when you fall in love that it is love? Certainly somewhere deep inside you there must be a hidden corner that already knows what love is. How do you recognize when you see a roseflower and say it is beautiful? Have you ever seen beauty? Have you ever realized what beauty is? But certainly you recognize that the rose is beautiful. I am simply saying that there must be a certain realization in your being about beauty, about truth, about the ultimate sound of existence. That's what makes you recognize.

You are much more than you think you are.

You are not what all the religions have made you -- sinners, condemned, just sitting in the waiting room for the train to take you to hell. And the waiting room itself is giving you enough experience of hell!

The word `sin' is used by all the religions without paying attention to the root meaning of the word. The root meaning of the word is to forget. It has nothing to do with morality, it has nothing to do with your good actions or bad actions; it has something to do with forgetting who you are. And if you have forgotten, you can remember.

Gautam Buddha continually says to his disciples, "It is not a question of realization, it is only a question of remembering. What you have forgotten you have with you"... just a little search in all your pockets -- also in the pockets which you are keeping secret even to yourself.

I have told you the story of Mulla Nasruddin.... He is traveling in a train and a ticket checker comes, and Mulla looks into everything for his ticket. He opens all his suitcases and bags and creates so much fuss that almost half of the passengers have to move to make space for all his things that he is taking out to look for the ticket.

Tired, the ticket checker says, "Forget all about it, just answer me one question and I will be satisfied. You have been looking in everything, in places where the ticket cannot be lost -- you have looked in your shoes. Why should the ticket be lost in your shoes? But you have not looked in the right-side pocket on your coat."

Mulla said, "Don't mention that. I am not going to look into that pocket. That is my only hope, that perhaps the ticket is there. I can look everywhere in the world, but not in my right-side pocket."

Everybody in the compartment said, "This is strange, the fellow thinks that perhaps... If you think that the ticket may be there, then that is the first place to look. But no, there are different kinds of logic and different kinds of arithmetic. The man also has a point. He says, `That is my only hope, don't destroy it. Let me look in the whole world first. That is the last resort.'"

Tired of his search, the ticket checker says, "You simply be quiet and collect your things, because you are disturbing all the passengers, and I will not ask anything about your right pocket."

Mulla said, "That's right. Nobody should ever make any indication towards my right pocket because I am not going to look there."

Most of us are searching for things exactly where we know they are not. Now, people are searching for God in churches, in temples, in stone statues, and nobody ever thinks, "Is God going to be met there?" The statues are man-made, the temples are man-made and nobody is looking into himself, which is the only space not manufactured by man, the only place where perhaps the ticket is. It is simply a question of remembering. But you, whether you remember or not, are by nature part of the whole.

The experience that "I am part of the whole" is enlightenment. If you recognize it you start dancing. If you don't recognize it you go on crying unnecessarily. Things which are very simple have been made unnecessarily complicated, just to cheat you, exploit you.

Religion has functioned in the world as the greatest business -- greatest in two senses. It accumulates more money than any other business and it goes on selling things which are invisible.

Now, selling things which are invisible is a great business. You purchase something invisible, you keep it carefully in your suitcase, afraid that it may get lost -- then to find it will be very difficult. So keep the suitcase locked, never open it, because who knows? -- the invisible thing may have wings, may fly out.

The most intelligent people in the world are also purchasing God -- who is absolutely invisible -- purchasing tickets for heaven, depositing bank balances in paradise. And everything they give they see with their own eyes going into the pockets of the priests. But perhaps from those pockets there are invisible ways -- the money that they are giving to the pope will reach. In the Vatican the pope has a bank. It is really a branch of the original bank; you deposit in the branch and it will reach the original bank. You need not be worried about it.

And this pope goes on wasting your money in unnecessarily traveling here and there. He came to India. And wherever he goes, the first thing he does is to kiss the earth. He could have done it in the Vatican. There was no need, the earth is the same everywhere, but certainly tastes are different.... When he touched down at New Delhi airport I was in Nepal, and I said to my people, "This is his first taste of Hinduism." Because you cannot taste earth in India unless you taste cow dung, and that is the only essential Hinduism.

And he wastes your money, which you think is going to be deposited in paradise. On a single trip to Australia he wasted six million dollars -- twice the cost of the visit of the Queen of England, Elizabeth. And three times he has been around the world, wasting six million, eight million dollars on each trip. This is your money.
Once George Bernard Shaw was asked, "Do you think a man can live joyfully just keeping his hands in his pockets and doing nothing?"

George Bernard said, "Yes, it is possible. Just one thing has to be remembered: the pockets must not be yours. Just keep your hand in somebody else's pocket."

That has been the whole religion. And they are giving you things which even an idiot can understand....

The Italian consul from Calcutta was here. Before he came here to be slapped by me he had gone to Satya Sai Baba. He seems to think himself a seeker of truth. And what happened in Satya Sai Baba's place? There they have an arrangement that in the office you fill in a form with your name, your country, your job, and what your essential question is, what you have come to ask. And then the Italian consul was taken in.

Many other people were sitting waiting for Satya Sai Baba. He was given a special place. Satya Sai Baba came in and directly pointed to him, saying, "You live in Calcutta. You are Italian. You work in the consulate." A great miracle! And all the information he had filled in.

And these idiots like Satya Sai Baba are surrounded by other idiots not only of this country, they come from far away in search of truth. And he was immensely impressed: "This is your question. You want to know this, this is your enquiry. You are a great seeker of truth."

Now, naturally he is going to write a book. I will wait for his book. Here he also got special treatment, but I don't think he will have the guts to even refer to it. He was so afraid that he had an appointment with one of our sannyasins, Azima, to go with him to a dinner, but he simply escaped. He never reached the hotel where Azima was waiting for him for the dinner, afraid that Azima was bound to ask, "What do you think about Shree Rajneesh?"

And it is not that he will not think about me. He will think about me day in and day out! He will see me in his dreams, because he avoided seeing me here. When I pointed at him, he was holding his hand over his face. I could not believe that such cowards... When I passed by the side I was looking from the window of my car; he had changed the position of his hand. Now he was keeping his hand over the side of his face. These are the people who are your diplomats, your politicians, your priests.

If religiousness means anything, it means fearlessness. It means taking a risk, putting at stake all that you have, all that is familiar, for the unknown; leaving the known and moving into the unknown. That simple step makes you religious. No other discipline is needed.

I have continually to postpone those funny and strange questions... their time never comes. One is so great that I think tomorrow morning I will begin with it. Now a few things to contemplate seriously....

Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan are the guests of the king of Saudi Arabia, who has a magic swimming pool. The magic is that if you name a liquid while jumping into the empty pool, it will immediately be filled with that liquid.

Gorbachev goes first, and ripping off his clothes, he shouts, "Vodka!" and leaps into the pool, which is miraculously full of the finest Russian vodka.

Thatcher goes next, and bouncing along in her bra and panties, she yells, "Whiskey!" She lands with a splash in a pool filled with the finest, twelve-year-old scotch.

Not to be out-done, Reagan races towards the pool in his jockey shorts, stubs his toes on the edge of the pool and falling headlong, he screams, "Oh, shit!"

Okay, Maneesha?

Yes, Beloved Master.


Om Mani Padme Hum

The Sound of Silence: The Diamond in the Lotus
Talks given from 07/12/87 am to 17/01/88 am in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium
Year published: 1987 - The music of OM






Maneesha, the only country in the world which has devoted all its genius to the inner exploration is Tibet. Its findings are of tremendous value. Om mani padme hum is one of the most beautiful expressions for the ultimate experience. Its meaning is "the sound of silence, the diamond in the lotus."

Silence also has its sound, its music... although the outer ears cannot hear it, just as the outer eyes cannot see it. We have six outer senses. In the past man knew only that we have five outer senses; the sixth is a new discovery. It is inside your ears; hence people failed to recognize it. It is the sense of balance. When you feel giddy or when you see a drunkard walking, it is the sense of balance that is affected.

Just as these six senses are used to experience the outer, exactly the same six senses exist to experience the inner -- to see it, to hear it, to feel its utter balance, its beauty. It is invisible to the outer eyes but not to the inner. You cannot touch it with your outer senses, but the inner senses are absolutely immersed in it.

OM is the sound when everything else disappears from your being -- no thought, no dream, no projections, no expectations, not even a single ripple -- your whole lake of consciousness is simply silent; it has become just a mirror. In those rare moments you hear the sound of silence. It is the most valuable experience because it not only shows a quality of the inner music -- it also shows that the inner is full of harmony, joy, blissfulness. All that is implied in the music of OM.

You are not to say it. If you say it you will miss the real thing. You have to hear it, you have to be utterly calm and quiet and suddenly it is all around you, a very subtle dance. And the moment you are able to hear it, you have entered into the very secrets of existence. You have become so subtle that now you deserve that all the mysteries be exposed to you.
Existence waits till you are ready.
In the East all the religions without exception agree on this point, that the sound which is heard in the final, highest peak of silence is something similar to OM.

The word OM is not written alphabetically in any language of the East because it is not part of language. It is written as a symbol; hence the same symbol is used in Sanskrit, in Pali, in Prakrit, in Tibetan -- everywhere the same symbol, because all the mystics of all the ages have reached to the same experience, that it is not part of our mundane world; hence it should not be written in letters. It should have its own symbol which is beyond language. It does not mean anything as far as mind is concerned, but it means tremendously much as far as your spiritual growth is concerned.

All music, particularly the classical music, has been trying to catch the sound of silence so that even people who have not entered into their beings can experience something similar. But the similar is not the same, it is a very faraway echo. Even the greatest musician has to use sounds, but howsoever beautifully he arranges them, he cannot be absolutely silent. He gives gaps of silence in between; the whole play is between sound and silence. Those who don't understand hear the sounds, and those who understand hear the silence, the gaps between two sounds.

The real music is in the gaps.

It is not created by the musician -- the musician is creating the sounds and leaving the gaps as a contrast, so that you can experience something of what happens to the mystic in his inner world.

OM is one of the great achievements of the seekers of truth. There have been cases which are absolutely unbelievable, but they are historical....

When Marpa, a Tibetan mystic, died, his closest disciples were sitting all around him ... because the death of a mystic is as tremendously valuable as his life, perhaps more. If you can be close to the mystic when he is dying, you can experience many things, because his whole consciousness is leaving the body -- and if you are alert and conscious, you can feel a new fragrance; you can see a new light, you can hear a new music.

When Marpa died he was living in a temple. And all his disciples became suddenly surprised -- they looked all around -- from where is the sound of OM coming? Then finally they realized that it was not coming from anywhere -- it was coming from Marpa! They heard it by putting their ears to his feet, to his hands, and they could not believe it -- inside his whole body there was a vibration creating the sound of OM. He had been hearing that sound for his whole life since he became enlightened. Because of his constant inner experience of the sound, the sound had entered even into his physical cells. Every fiber of his body had learned a certain synchronicity, the same wavelength.

But it has been experienced with other mystics also. The inner starts radiating, particularly at the moment of death when everything comes to a crescendo. But man is so blind and so utterly unintelligent: knowing that the mystics experience the music of silence within them and they name it OM, people started repeating OM as a mantra, thinking that by repeating it they will also be able to hear it.

By repeating it you will never be able to hear it. Your mind is functioning when you are repeating it. But perhaps I am the first person to tell it to you; otherwise for centuries people have been teaching: Repeat OM. That creates a false experience, and you can be lost in the false and you will never discover the real.

I say to you not to repeat it but simply be silent and listen to it. As your mind becomes calm and quiet, suddenly you will become aware: like a whisper, the OM is arising within your being. When it arises on its own, it has a totally different quality. It transforms you.

Modern physics says that everything in the world is constituted of electrical energy. According to modern physics even sounds are nothing but electric waves. The physicists have been working from the outside.
The mystics say just the opposite, but I don't see that they are contradictory. They say the whole existence is made up of the soundless sound OM. And even electricity or fire are nothing but a certain condensed form of the sound.

In the East it has been known: there have been musicians who could create by their music a flame on an unlit candle. As the music falls over the unlit candle suddenly the flame arises. It was a test in the ancient days, that unless a musician could create light, fire, flame, with his music he was still amateur. He was not recognized as a master.

The explanations of physics and the mystics look different, but perhaps there is some deeper source which can withdraw the contradiction and opposition. Perhaps it is only a different interpretation, because the mystic is coming from the inside and the physicist is looking at the outside. What the physicist feels as electricity, the mystic feels as the music of the whole existence. They are both saying the same thing in different languages. And if there is a choice, I would choose the mystic, because he is experiencing it in his very center. His experience is not just an experiment on objects, his experience is an experiment on his own consciousness. And consciousness is the very cream of existence.

This mantra has many secrets in it. The first wordless word is OM, and the last is HUM. The first is the flowering and the last is the seed.

The Sufis don't use the whole name of Allah -- that is the Mohammedan name for God. They use allah hoo, and slowly, slowly they change allah hoo into simply hoo, hoo. They have found that the sound of hoo strikes exactly at the life source just below the navel. You were connected with your life, with your mother, from the navel. Just below the navel is the source of your own life.

Just try: when you say hoo the hit is below the navel. That's what we are using in our Dynamic Meditation. It is a Sufi discovery, but it can also be done in the Tibetan way. Rather than hoo -- hoo seems to be a little harsh -- hum seems to be a little softer. But the softer will take a longer time to wake up your energies. It is possible that in the particular climate of Tibet, the softer was perfectly good. They did not need such a harsh sound in order to hit the life source. But in the harsh desert of Arabia where Sufi mystics started using hoo....

I had a choice when I was working on the Dynamic Meditation, whether to use hum or to choose hoo. I tried both and I found that perhaps in India, hoo is better than in the colder heights of Tibet where things are bound to be different. Just hum is perfectly right for them.

Hum is the hit to create OM in you.

If you hit the seed of your life it starts disappearing in the soil and green leaves, sprouts start growing. Between the two -- OM and hum -- is mani padme. I don't think anybody has been able to express the ultimate experience, the ultimate beatitude, better than mani padme. You have to visualize it. The lotus flower in the East is the most beautiful, the biggest flower. And if you put diamonds on the lotus flower in the early morning sun, you will have a tremendously beautiful experience... the lotus flower with diamonds.

It is very difficult to say anything about the ultimate experience, but Tibetan mystics have tried the best. Many things have been said about it, but "diamond in the lotus" seems to be the best expression -- because it is the greatest, most beautiful experience, and they have chosen two of the most beautiful things of the ordinary world, the lotus and the diamond. It is just a visual expression of the beauty that you come to see within yourself.

This mantra om mani padme hum has a whole philosophy within it. Start with hum, the last word, and the first will arise on its own accord. And when your inner being is filled with the sound of silence, you will also have the beautiful experience of seeing a lotus with a diamond in the early morning sun. The diamond is radiating. The lotus is so soft, so feminine, so delicate -- it has no comparison in any other flower.

It became so important to the mystics... you must have seen Gautam Buddha's statues sitting on a lotus. They are showing symbolically that he has reached the ultimate; his own inner lotus has flowered. And not only the lotus has flowered, the diamond hidden behind it, inside it... as it opens its petals, you find a Kohinoor. The diamond has a quality -- that's why it has been chosen. It is symbolic of eternity. The diamond is for ever, it knows no death; it is immortal. The experience is beautiful and eternal.

But unfortunately, Tibet has fallen into a darkness. Its monasteries have been closed, its seekers of truth have been forced to work in labor camps. The only country in the world which was working -- a one-pointed genius, all its intelligence in the search for one's own interiority and its treasures -- has been stopped by the communist invasion of Tibet.

And it is such an ugly world that nobody has objected to it. On the contrary, because China is big and powerful, even countries which are more powerful than China can ever be, like America, have accepted that Tibet belongs to China. That is sheer nonsense -- just because China is powerful and everybody wants China to be on their side. Neither the Soviets nor America have challenged the claim of China. Leave America and the Soviets aside -- even India has not objected. It was such a beautiful experiment, and Tibet had no weapons to fight with, they had no army to fight; they had never thought about it. Their whole thing was an introverted pilgrimage.

Nowhere has such concentrated effort been made to discover man's being. Every family in Tibet used to give their eldest son to some monastery where he was to meditate and grow closer to awakening. It was a joy to every family that at least one of them was wholeheartedly, twenty-four hours a day, working on the inner being. They were also working but they could not give all their time; they had to create food and clothes and shelter, and in Tibet it is a difficult matter. The climate is not very helpful; to live in Tibet is a tremendous struggle. But still every family used to give their first-born child to the monastery.

There were hundreds of monasteries... and these monasteries should not be compared with any Catholic monasteries. These monasteries had no comparison in the whole world. These monasteries were concerned with only one thing: to make you aware of yourself.

Thousands of devices have been created down the centuries so that your lotus can blossom and you can find your ultimate treasure, the diamond. These are just symbolic words, but the destruction of Tibet should be known in history, particularly when man becomes a little more aware and humanity a little more humane....
This is the greatest calamity of the twentieth century that Tibet has fallen into the hands of materialists who don't believe that you have anything inside you. They believe that you are only matter and your consciousness is only a by-product of matter. And all this is simply without any experience of the inner -- just logical, rational philosophizing.

Not a single communist in the world has meditated, but it is strange -- they all deny the inner. Nobody thinks about how the outer can exist if there is no inner. They exist together, they are inseparable. The outer is only a protection for the inner, because the inner is very delicate and soft. But the outer is accepted and the inner is denied. And even if sometimes it is accepted, the world is dominated by such dirty politicians that they use even the inner experiences for ugly ends.

Just the other day, I came to know that America is now training its soldiers in meditation so that they can fight without any nervous breakdown, without going mad, without feeling any fear -- so they can lie down in their ditches silently, calm and cool and collected. No meditator may have ever thought that meditation can also be used for fighting wars, but in the hands of politicians everything becomes ugly -- even meditation. Now the army camps in America are teaching meditation so that their soldiers can be more calm and quiet while killing people.

But I want to warn America: you are playing with fire. You don't understand exactly what meditation will do. Your soldiers will become so calm and quiet that they will throw away their weapons and they will simply refuse to kill. A meditator cannot kill; a meditator cannot be destructive. So they are going to be surprised one day that their soldiers are no longer interested in fighting. War, violence, murder, massacre of millions of people -- this is not possible if a man knows something of meditation. Then he also knows not only himself, he knows the other whom he is killing. He is his brother. They all belong to the same oceanic existence.

In the Soviet Union, also, they are interested in meditation. But the purpose is the same -- not realization of yourself, but making you stronger so that you can kill and bomb and use nuclear weapons and missiles to kill whole nations.

But they are both going on a dangerous path, unknowingly. It is good, they should be helped. Once meditation spreads among their soldiers, those soldiers will become sannyasins! So I am immensely happy that their idea is different, and they don't know anything about meditation. They have only heard that it makes people calm and cool so they can fight without any fear, without looking back. Meditation gives them a feeling of immortality; hence their fear will disappear.

But meditation not only gives them the experience of their own immortality -- it also gives them the experience that everybody is immortal. Death is a fiction. Why unnecessarily harass people? They will be living, you cannot kill them. Not even your nuclear weapons are going to kill them.

Krishna, in the Gita, has a beautiful statement: Nainam chhindanti shastrani; naham dahati pavakahr. "Neither can any weapon destroy me nor can any fire burn me." Yes the body will be burned, but I am not the body....
Meditation gives you the feel, for the first time, of your authentic reality.

If humanity were a little more aware, Tibet should be made free because it is the only country which has devoted almost two thousand years to doing nothing but going deeper into meditation. And it can teach the whole world something which is immensely needed.

But Communist China is trying to destroy everything that has been created in two thousand years. All their devices, all their methods of meditation, their whole spiritual climate is being polluted, poisoned. And they are simple people; they cannot defend themselves. They don't have anything to defend themselves with -- no tanks, no bombs, no airplanes, no army. An innocent race which has lived without any war for two thousand years... It disturbs nobody; it is so far away from everybody -- even to reach there is a difficult task. They live on the very roof of the world. The highest mountains, eternal snows, are their home. Leave them alone! China will not lose anything, but the whole world will be benefited by their experience.

And the world will need their experience. The world is getting fed up with money, power, prestige, all that scientific technology has created -- people are getting fed up. They are finished with it. People in the advanced countries are no longer interested in sex, are no longer interested in drugs. Things are falling away, and a strange despair like a dark cloud is descending on the advanced countries -- of deep frustration, meaninglessness, and anguish. They will all need a different climate of meditation to dispel all these clouds and bring again a new day into their lives, a new dawn, a new experience of themselves, a discovery of their original being.

Tibet should be left as an experimental lab for man's inner search. But not a single nation in the world has raised its voice against this ugly attack on Tibet. And China has not only attacked it, they have amalgamated it into their map. Now, on the modern Chinese map, Tibet is their territory.

And we think the world is civilized, where innocent people who are not doing any harm to anybody are simply destroyed. And with them, something of great importance to all humanity is also destroyed. If there were something civilized in man, every nation would have stood against the invasion of Tibet by China. It is the invasion of matter against consciousness; it is the invasion of materialism against spiritual heights.

Maneesha, the word mantra is untranslatable in English, in any Western language, but its meaning, its significance, can be explained to you. A mantra is not just something to chant. It is not chanting. A mantra is something to let sink deep in your being, just as roots go deep into the earth. The deeper the roots go into the earth, the higher the tree will go into the sky. A mantra is something like a seed to be allowed to go deep into your being so that it can send its roots to the sources of your life and finally to the universal life. Then its branches, its foliage will go high into the sky, and when the right time comes, when the spring comes, it will be filled with thousands of flowers.

Unless a tree blossoms, it knows no blissfulness. It goes on feeling something is missing. You may have all the pleasures and comforts and luxuries of the world, but unless you know yourself, unless your inner lotus opens, you will go on missing something. You may not be certain what you are missing but a feeling... that something is being missed, that "I am not complete," that "I am not whole," that "I am not what existence wanted me to be." This "missing" feeling goes on nagging everybody. Only the expansion of your consciousness will help you to get rid of this feeling, of this nagging, of this anguish, this angst.

Even people like Jaspers, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Marcel, Jean-Paul Sartre, the highest geniuses of the West, are agreed on a few things: that life is nothing but boredom, that life is nothing but anxiety, anguish, that life is accidental, it has no significance... that it is absolutely futile to search for any blissful space; there exists none. And when great philosophers like these agree on such points, the ordinary masses simply follow them.

Whatever they are saying is absolutely wrong, because none of them has ever meditated, none of them has entered into his own subjectivity. They are just in their heads. They have not even moved to their hearts, what to say about their beings? What to say about their disappearing into the universal?

Unless you disappear into the universal ocean just like a dewdrop, you will not find significance. You will not find your real dignity. You will not find that existence showers so much joy and so much celebration on you that you cannot contain it; you have to share it. You become a raincloud which is so much burdened with rain that it has to shower. A man of deep insight, a man of intuition, a man who has reached to his being becomes a raincloud. He is not just a blessing to himself, he becomes a blessing to the whole world.

This Tibetan mantra om mani padme hum is a condensed form of the whole inner pilgrimage. It says how to start, what will happen when the flower opens, what will be your ultimate experience of your inner treasures.

Eastern languages are very rich in the sense that they have made very condensed statements which can be unfolded into big scriptures. The reason was that when these mantras were created there was no writing. People had to remember them. When people have to remember them, you have to be very telegraphic, as condensed as possible. Once writing came into existence, that condensedness disappeared. Now you can explain with page after page of writing. But have you ever thought that when you receive a long letter... the longer the letter, the less is the meaning. But when you receive a telegram, naturally... just eight or ten words, but the meaning is immense and the impact is immense.

These are telegrams. They can easily be remembered, they can be passed from one generation to another generation without any fear that they will be distorted.

You have not to repeat the mantra, you have to understand its meaning and let that meaning sink into you. Sitting silently, be utterly quiet, unmoving. Watch your mind. A few thoughts will be there, but as you become silent those thoughts will disappear, and suddenly you hear a humming sound all around you.

That humming sound is not made by you.

It is at the very center of existence.

It is the sound of the skies.

It is the sound of space.

It is the sound of the universe; it is its indication of aliveness. It is vibrating with dance and music.

This OM is perhaps the greatest symbol in the whole world.


Om Shantih Shantih Shantih

The Soundless Sound: Peace Peace Peace
Talks given from 26/02/88 am to 18/03/88 pm
English Discourse series
Year published: 1988
Sound is our mind -- silence is our being
26 February 1988 am in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium






Maneesha, the East has approached reality in an almost diametrically opposite way to the West. First, the simple meaning of the word should be understood, and then all the implications. All Eastern scriptures begin with OM, Shantih shantih shantih and they also end with the same.

OM is the symbol of the universal heartbeat; it is not a word. And as you come closer and closer to the universal heartbeat, the by-product is a deepening silence. Shantih means silence and it is always repeated three times because by the time you reach to the fourth, you are no more -- just the silence has remained. You have disappeared as an entity separate from the universe.

The West has not been able to begin even a single scripture with this intention. It is understandable. They never went into the deeper communion between your heart and the bigger heart of the universe. They have taken a wrong route, that of fighting, that of conquering, that of being victorious. They have chosen to be extroverts.

Their world is true, but they don't know anything about themselves.

The outside is true and the inside has not been explored.

THE BIBLE says, "In the beginning was the word." Now this can be said only by somebody who is absolutely ignorant, because the word means a sound with a meaning. These sounds made by the words are just sounds; you cannot call them words. The moment you say, "In the beginning was the word," unknowingly you have accepted that there is someone who gives meaning to it, but then the word is not in the beginning.

In the beginning is one who gives meaning to the word. And THE BIBLE says, "God was with the word." Anyone who wrote it must have felt uneasy that the world should begin only with a word. Immediately he needed someone to give meaning to it; hence the second statement that God was with the word.

If you look into things very impartially, deeply, you will be amazed how much they can reveal. Then he must have become aware to ask, "Who is first? God or the word?"

The third sentence then tries to make a compromise. It says, "God and the word were one." Nobody in the whole Eastern search will agree with it. The East has not experienced the beginning because naturally you cannot see the beginning: you are already there, the beginning has happened. In your being you have preceded the beginning, so there is no possibility of any witness of the beginning. But there is a possibility to be a witness of the end.

The Eastern meditators found as they entered into their inner being, they are first surrounded with a tremendously beautiful and musical sound. It is not the sound of any music being played, it is simply the heartbeat of the universe. And once they come in tune with the heartbeat of the universe, silence descends. They would like to dance and declare to the world about silence, but they can only say three times, "silence, silence, silence" -- and they are melting and merging.

Rather than their declaration of silence becoming louder, it is becoming more and more like a whisper and finally, they are not -- but they have witnessed the end. Now, it is a logical conclusion that the end and the beginning cannot be different.

The seed grows into a tree, blossoms, brings fruits and again seeds. In existence everything moves in a circle, the earth, the moon, the sun, the faraway millions of stars... all move in a circle that meets at a point.

The end and the beginning are the same.

That's why the Eastern scriptures begin with the declaration, Om -- the sound of the soundless, the very music of the heart of the universe. And as they go deeper, silence becomes the only reality. They want to declare silence to the world, but nobody has been able to go beyond the third because each time they say silence, it becomes more of a whisper. I am reminded...

I had one doctor friend who was perhaps the most famous doctor in those parts. I told him, "I would like to experience something for which there is no reason. You can help me. I want to go slowly and deeply into the unconscious."

He said, "This is against medical practice. You don't have any reason, and I cannot use something without reason and make you unconscious."

But I persuaded him. I said, "Find any reason, and I am not going to tell anybody. Although, I have told it to the whole world."

He put me on his table, sent all the servants and nurses away because he was doing something against the medical code. While he was covering my head so that I could not breathe anything else, he said to me, "Do one thing. While you are going into the unconscious, go on saying one, two, three, four, five... as long as you can."

Strangely, I could not go beyond three. I tried hard. I was aware of the fact that I had only come up to three, and the four would not come. Later on I told him, "This was my reason to be put into the unconscious state. I wanted to see why every scripture stops at three."

I asked him to tell me how I was saying one, two, three. He said, "One was clear, two was not so clear, three was almost a whisper, and beyond that you never uttered anything."

This was my way through a scientific experiment to see why all the scriptures stop with three. They begin with the same and they end with the same.

The beginning we cannot know: we are already here; the beginning has happened. But the end we can know -- the disappearance into absolute silence. But if we know the end, we can conclude with absolute certainty that this is how the beginning must have started: from silence, not from words.

Silence is the beginning and silence is the end, and if you are a meditator, silence is the middle.
Silence is the whole fabric of existence.

Maneesha, this is not a hypothesis, nor is it a philosophical idea. It is the experience of thousands of mystics who have entered into their own being. First they have heard Om, and as the Om becomes overwhelming, silence follows. We are made of sound and silence.

Sound is our mind; silence is our being.

Sound is our trouble; silence is our liberation.

It has been discovered by some unknown explorer of the inner, it has been followed by thousands of people -- but you are not to repeat it. That's where the masses have got lost. They think that by repeating Om, shantih shantih shantih they are doing some spiritual meditative act. In each temple in the East you will find a metal disc, and everybody who enters into the temple hits the disc with a steel rod. The whole temple becomes full of sound and then slowly, slowly the sound also disappears.

In Tibet, they have even made a very special thing, a small pot of metal with a rod -- with great calculation it has been made. When I first saw it, I could not believe that it was possible, but the thing was in front of me.

One of my friends in Patna was a great collector of all kinds of things. He was continually telling me whenever I was in Patna, "Come to my museum." Even the prime minister and the president and everybody had visited. He was a very rich man and had gathered things from other lands -- strange things. But when he said to me that he had recently received a metal pot which repeated Om, shantih shantih shantih, I could not resist....

Patna is a strange city. It is not spread in all directions, it has only one main street running by the Ganges -- because the Ganges is so beautiful everybody wants to be around it. So Patna is a very long city, perhaps twenty miles. And he used to live thirteen miles away from my place -- but I went to see the pot. It was really a great experience.

The pot is made of many metals, and you move the rod in the pot round and round for a certain number of times... then you stop. And suddenly, the sound comes from the pot, Om, shantih shantih shantih. These things may be beautiful, creative, but they are not in any way religious. Every Hindu temple is resounding with the sound, everybody is praying, but they have misunderstood the whole thing. It is not your repeating Om that is going to lead you to the reality; it is your becoming utterly quiet, and from your very being arises the sound Om.
You are just a witness, you are not a doer.

nd as the sound settles, you feel silence, silence, silence.... Then everything disappears, there remains only a universal reality of which you are just a part. Just as a dewdrop disappears in the ocean, you disappear in the ocean of existence.

The East has found this to be the only spiritual experience, not God, not your holy scriptures, not your prophets; they are all creating fictions. Not even your prayers because they are nothing but your desires. The only thing that is really significant is to be quiet, centered, grounded, in the very life source, in your very being. This sutra of Om, shantih shantih shantih is heard when you are at your very center. It is not by your repeating it that you will reach to it. It is not exactly the same either. We have invented it... approximately, just to communicate what has happened: something similar, but far deeper; something similar, but far more delicate; something similar, but not the same.

The mystics' writings start exactly the way the universe has started, and they end exactly as the universe finally goes to rest. There is a statement relevant to this sutra by Gautam Buddha. It is very significant. He says that it is absolutely foolish to think the way all the theologians of the world think about the beginning -- how the world began.

I can see the significance of a statement that you can never come to a conclusion about how the world began -- because you were not there. How can you be before the world began? -- you are part of the world. So all that you say about the beginning is just imagination, hypothesis, guesswork.

Buddha says that the mystic is not interested in how the world began, his interest is in how it ends, because in that very ending you will find the beginning too. But without finding the ending, you can only guess and argue and fight about the beginning -- and it is all futile. The philosopher's work is absolute nonsense. The mystic is very earthbound, very pragmatic, very realistic. Buddha says, "First find how it ends" -- and it is to be found within you.

You cannot wait for the whole world to end. That way it never ends. It is always there -- beginningless, endless. But within you how did the world begin? And within you how does the world end?

Those who remain clinging with the world are the materialists. Others start looking inside and try to find how everything ends, and still you are -- but just a pure consciousness, just a pure awareness.

The flower disappears.

Only fragrance remains.

I agree with Gautam Buddha that if you have found the fragrance within you, you know the whole secret of existence, because every individual is a miniature universe. What is happening on a vast scale in the universe is happening on a very small scale within you.

If you have tasted a simple dewdrop, you have tasted all the rivers and all the oceans and all possibilities of water anywhere. And you are the dewdrop.... Rather than running here and there, just taste yourself.

The East has approached reality in a very different way. And certainly because it has reached in a different way, it has produced a different kind of enlightened people.

The West has produced popes -- and the worst is a Polack pope. And now, the Nobel Prize committee is nominating him for a Nobel Prize! A Polack and a Nobel Prize...? In this way the Polack is not given respect; in this way the Nobel Prize loses all nobility, all grace.

And what experience has the Pope? What is his authority? He represents Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ himself does not seem to be enlightened. Because an enlightened person does not bother about saying, "God is my father... I am the only begotten son of God...." Who cares? We have seen thousands of enlightened people in the East. None of them has claimed that he is the only begotten son of God. That would be laughed at for centuries: "That man has gone mad!"

So in the first place he represents Jesus Christ -- who seems to be a lunatic. Either his nuts and bolts are loose, or too tight. He does not show the grace of a Gautam Buddha. Neither does he show the dance of a Meera nor the grace of a Mahavira.

What he goes on talking about he has gathered from the society -- because he is uneducated. And popes, hundreds of popes in these two thousand years have represented him. It is a hierarchy: the pope, Jesus, God... you cannot go unless you follow the proper channel! And I have always wondered that even the intelligent people in the West never think what is the contribution of these popes? A man who is a representative of God must show something, some sensitivity, some grace, some blissfulness; some fragrance should surround him. But the pope is elected!

It is so hilarious that people elect somebody as enlightened. Enlightenment is not an election campaign. Many candidates can stand up and say, "I am enlightened."

Enlightenment is an inner opening of the rose. Those who are in search of the truth of their being, will immediately be pulled towards the man of enlightenment.

It is not dependent on anybody's election or nomination. It does not represent even God or anybody. It simply declares its own heart and invites and welcomes anybody -- any wayfarer who wants to share this juice, this music of the eternal Om, one who is in search of finding a living silence and a dancing silence.

This sutra contains the whole -- the beginning and the end. But it starts from the end and reaches to the beginning. The statement of Gautam Buddha was: "Ignorance has no beginning and enlightenment has no end, and both make a circle." You know you have been utterly ignorant of yourself because now you are so alert, so full of joy, so much is dancing in your every cell, every fiber. This is an experience; it is not a hypothesis, and it has never been argued.

There have been Hindu mystics, there have been Buddhist mystics, there have been Jaina mystics... but as far as this sutra is concerned they have never quarreled about it, they have never argued. This is simply accepted because it is the experience, it is not theoretical guesswork. It is not philosophy. It is philosia, it is darshan.

They have seen it within, in their own being and there is no way not to agree with others who have also seen it. But by repeating it one is simply being stupid.

One has to come to an inner space where it explodes on its own and you are just a witness. Then it transforms your being, gives it beauty and grace, gives it sincerity and truth.


Death is Divine

Talks given from 1/10/78 to 10/10/78
Original in Hindi
10 Chapters
Year published: 1994 - Die O yogi die
1 October 1978 am in Buddha Hall


Question 6




It is short, very brief:


This is my teaching also. LAUGH, PLAY, MAKE MERRY... Be merry! In ecstasy, in joy, in bliss. God has given so much: dance, hum a tune, sing! A song of thanksgiving wants to rise from your heart. This is prayer.

Laugh. If you cannot laugh then know that you can never become religious.

Your so-called religious people have completely forgotten laughter. They cannot laugh, laughing is a fault, a sin. This is why you cannot remain very long with your priests. Just go, quickly touch their feet, salute them and leave. You will find difficulty in staying twenty-four hours. Your own laughter will be taken away. People become serious going to the priests. People go to the sadhus and become stiff -- become dried out, serious, extremely serious! Laughing seems to be a sin.

But listen, what the greatest sadhu Gorakh says: LAUGH, PLAY...! Laugh and play! Don't take life as more than acting, take it as play, take it as theater.


And just be like this, be merry. Let delight be your life. Let delight be your way.


And then you will find that lust and anger have started leaving on their own. They have parted company with you, they don't need to be dropped. All your energy goes into laughing, playing, singing songs, prayers, ecstasy, dancing. That same energy had gone into lust and anger -- who has the time now? The wealth of one who has begun to purchase diamonds and jewels will no longer purchase rubbish! The dimensions of your energy have changed now.



Let songs arise! Songs need to be in your every breath, then only can you be religious.

Religion is poetry, great poetry. Religion is not prose, it is verse. Religion is the art of singing life. Religion is music, religion is dance.


Sing your song and in song let your consciousness become steady, let it come together, let it come to rest -- and everything will happen. Everything else will happen by itself. You do this much, existence will do the rest.



Everything has been born from this higher music. God is the great sound -- omkar. 'Ek omkar satnam' -- the sound of om is truth. SOUND IS THE LOCK, SOUND IS THE KEY... In this highest sound is the lock, in this highest sound is the key also. The lock is of music, the key is of music. The lock is of rhythm, the key is of rhythm. Within you the silent music will arise, the silent song will awaken -- wordless, void of words -- pure music will awaken. Enough, you have the key!


And this is what happens near a master. The master strums on the strings of his veena, plucks his own sound, and the sound sleeping within you starts ringing. In your inner sound an echo begins to arise.



And drowning into the master's music, drowning into the master's vibe, drowning into the master's fundamental sound, one becomes acquainted with himself.


And then music, the whole music of life becomes absorbed into that great music.

The world is sound. The meaning of sound is music manifested.

God is silence. The meaning of silence is sound dissolved back into its fundamental source.

Then dance, sing:




Hidden Mysteries

Talks given from 01/4/71 to 31/10/71
Original in Hindi
The Secret of Shapes, Sounds and Fragrances
26 April 1971 pm in Woodlands, Bombay, India


Though godliness is everywhere and human beings are also present everywhere, only in some specific circumstances within us do we become attuned to that godliness. So temples served as centers of receptivity to enable us to feel the divine existence, godliness, spiritual elevation. The whole arrangement in temples was motivated with this end in view. Different types of people thought up various arrangements, but that is not of much consequence. It makes no difference if various manufacturers produce radios incorporating their own specialities, with different shapes and forms, as long as the ultimate purpose is the same.

The temples in India were mostly constructed from one of three or four patterns; other temples were just copies of these. The domes of the temples were based on the model of the sky. There was an underlying purpose to this. If I sit under the open sky and repeat "Aum", my voice will get lost, because the strength of an individual voice will be enveloped by the vastness of the sky. I will not be able to hear the reverberation, the echo of my chanting -- all my prayers will get lost in the vastness of the sky.

Domes were constructed so that the resonance of our prayers can rebound on us. The dome is just a small, semi-circular prototype of the sky. It has the same shape as the sky touching the earth on all four sides. Whatever prayers or chantings are made under its canopy will not get lost as they would in the vast sky, because the dome will throw them back towards the supplicant. The rounder the dome, the easier it is for the sound to travel back, and its echo increases in the same proportion.

As time passed even stones were discovered which could multiply the resonance to a tremendous degree.
There is a Buddhist prayer hall in the Ajanta caves where the stones echo sound with the same intensity as that of the Indian musical instrument, the tabla. If we strike those stones with the same force as is used in playing the tabla, they will give out the same volume of sound. Ordinary stones used in the construction of domes do not possess the capacity to echo certain very subtle sounds, and so that specific type of stone was employed.

What is the purpose behind all this? The purpose is that when anyone chants "Aum", and it is done very intensely, the dome of the temple makes the sound reverberate, forming a circle of the chanting or sound. The dome of the temple, by the very nature of its design, helps in the formation of a circle by echoing the sound. Such a sound circle is unique. If "Aum" is chanted under the wide open sky, no sound circle will be formed, and you will never experience that joy.

When the formation of the circle happens, you don't remain just a humble supplicant before the divine, but you become a recipient -- that is to say, the one whose prayers are answered. And with that resonance, the divine experience begins to enter you. Although the sound produced in the chanting is human, when it is echoed it resounds with a new speed, and as it is imbibed, other potentialities are released.

The dome-shaped temples were used to form sound circles through the chanting of mantras. If one does the chanting sitting all alone in perfect peace and silence, then as soon as the sound circle is formed, thoughts will stop. On one side the circle is formed, and on the other, thoughts come to a stop. As I have often said, a circle of energy is formed even in the act of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman, and when the formation of such a circle takes place -- that is the moment pointing toward superconsciousness.

Look at the statues of Buddha and Mahavira in padmasan or siddhasan. These indicate other methods for the formation of such circles. When we sit putting both our feet together and our hands on our legs, then the whole body begins to act as a circle. Then the body electricity cannot escape, and a circuit is created. As soon as the circuit is created, one becomes thoughtless. If we use the language of an electrical engineer, it could be said that the crowd of noisy thoughts within the mind is because of our not creating a circuit of inner electricity. As soon as the circuit is created the inner energy becomes balanced and silent. So, creating a circle of energy with the help of the temple's dome was a great process, and this was its purpose and deep significance.

We find big bells or gongs at the entrance of temples, and these serve the same purpose. When you chant "Aum", although you may be doing so very quietly and your attention may be elsewhere, the sound of the bell will instantly bring your attention back to the circle of sound created by the vibrating bell. It is just like when a stone is thrown into a pond, creating ripple upon ripple.

In Tibetan temples instead of a bell or gong they keep a bowl-shaped vessel made from various metals, and a wooden stick to revolve inside it. The stick is rotated within the vessel seven times, and then it is struck once on the bowl with a loud bang. The vibrations created in the bowl produce a sound like, "Mani padme hum" -- the whole mantra. The bowl echoes the sound, "Mani padme hum," not once, but seven times. Turn the stick inside the bowl rapidly, seven times, strike the bowl and then take the stick out -- and then you will hear the echo of the mantra, "Mani padme hum," seven times. Though the sound will gradually become softer and softer, it will be heard seven times.

Similarly, in a domed temple create within yourself of the mantra, "Aum mani padme hum," and listen: the temple will echo it. Every cell of your body will receive the vibration and return it with a deeper resonance. After a few moments neither you nor the temple will be there -- only circles of energy will be left.

It should be remembered that sound is a subtle form of electricity. Now even science agrees with this. In fact, everything is a form of electricity. But the Indian sages go one step further and say that electricity is a form of sound, that sound is the base, not electricity. That is why they call the supreme being shabda-brahma -- "sound is the ultimate reality."

There is now a great similarity of approach between Eastern thinkers and modern scientists, the only difference being over which of the two is primary. The scientist says that electricity is primary, whereas the sage says that density of sound produces electricity. This means that in the near future science will have to research the absolute aspect of sound.

The sage's understanding stems from the experience of the sounds produced under the dome of a temple. When the intense sound of "Aum" is created in a temple by a devotee, within a few minutes he feels that neither he nor the temple is there, but only electricity remains. This conclusion is not reached in any laboratory -- those who made such declarations had no laboratories, their temple served as their only laboratory. There they experienced that although they started with sound, what remained in the end was electricity.
To experience this transformation of sound, dome-shaped temples were made.

When Westerners saw Indian temples for the first time, they thought they were very unhygienic. By the very nature of their conception the temples could not have many doors and windows. There could only be one door, and that too was very small. The idea behind this was to ensure that the circle of sound being created in the temple didn't become obstructed. It is no wonder then that those Westerners went away with the impression that the temples were dingy, dark and dirty, and that even fresh air could not enter them. By comparison, their own churches were airy and clean and had many big doors and windows through which light and fresh air could easily enter and keep them hygienic.

I have told you earlier that when the secret of using a key is forgotten, all sorts of difficulties crop up. Today not one person in India will be able to say why temples were not provided with windows and many doors. So when asked we also felt inclined to agree that our temples are unhygienic; no one could argue that in these temples lived the most healthy people and that no disease had been allowed to enter. The people who used to pray and worship there happened to be some of the healthiest people, in the true sense of the term.

Why? Slowly it began to be realized that the sound produced by the chanting of "Aum" has a unique purifying effect. There are certain sounds which have a purifying effect, and there are others which contaminate. Some particular sounds act as deterrents for diseases, and there are others which invite disease. The whole science of sound, however, is lost.

Those who have said that sound is the absolute being have said the ultimate that can be said about sound. There is no experience greater than the absolute being, and they had not known anything deeper than sound which they could use to express themselves.

All the melodies and modes and their modifications are born in the East. These are the extensions of the experiences of theabsolute being in the form of sound. Musical compositions, as well as all dance forms, originated in temples and later on developed elsewhere as specific arts. It was only in the temple that a devotee experienced the effects of sound in its innumerable variations -- so many that it is difficult to keep any count.

Just forty years ago there lived a recluse in Varanasi called Vishuddhananda. He gave hundreds of demonstrations to prove that through some special sound it is possible to kill somebody. This sadhu used to sit under a dome in a temple, a temple which could be said to be utterly unhygienic according to modern terminology. For the first time, in the presence of three doctors from England, an experiment was carried out. The doctors took a sparrow into the temple with them. Vishuddhananda made certain sounds: the sparrow fluttered about for a while and then fell dead. The doctors examined it and pronounced it dead. Then Vishuddhananda made some other sounds: the sparrow came back to life and began fluttering about again. Then it was realized for the first time that the impact of sound can produce specific effects.

Now we readily accept that certain effects are produced by certain sounds because science can prove it. We now say that if a particular light ray falls on your body, it will bring particular results; if a specific medicine is administered to a patient, it will produce specific results; if special colors are used, they bring about special effects. Why then shouldn't special sounds cause certain effects?

Now there are some laboratories in the West which are actively engaged in investigating the relationship between sound and life, and two or three laboratories have arrived at conclusions of deep significance.

In two laboratories scientists succeeded in proving that special sounds can produce more milk in lactating mothers. Through certain sounds plants can be made to blossom within two months instead of the usual six months. And cows yield double the quantity of milk if soft music is played at the time of milking. All the dairies in Russia today employ this latest method at the time of milking. And the day is not far off when all fruits and vegetables will be grown with the help of special sounds. Demonstrations have already been made in laboratories, and it is only a matter of time until it is done on a broader scale. If fruit, vegetables and milk are influenced by sound, should not be influenced by sound.

Disease and health are dependent on special sound waves, so in the past people made hygienic arrangements in their temples which were not in any way dependant on air. They did not believe that only an abundant air supply lead to good health. Otherwise, it is inconceivable that over a period of five thousand years they could not hit upon the idea of proper ventilation in their places of worship.

The Indian recluse usually sits in caves where no light or air enters, or he sits in temples with small doors where one has to bend low to enter. There are some temples where you have to lie down and crawl in to enter; and there are even some temples one can enter only by chanting. In spite of this, there were no ill effects on the health of devotees. That is our experience over thousands of years. But when, under the influence of Westerners, we can began to doubt that for the first time, our temple doors were made bigger and windows were installed. We modernized the temples; but in doing so we converted them into ordinary houses.

The acoustics and the architecture of a temple have a deep connection.

There is a specific stipulation as to the angle at which a sound is to be made. There are stipulations for making a sound while standing and while sitting. It is even stipulated which sounds can be made only while lying down, because the impact of the sound will have a certain affect when made standing, and will change again when made while you are sitting down. It is also clarified which sounds should be made together and which are to be made separately. So it is interesting to note the confusion that was created when vedic literature was translated into Western languages.

Western languages emphasize the linguistic rather than the phonetic, whereas the vedic view gives more importance not so much to the meaning of the written or spoken word as to the special sound it should produce, and the composition of that sound. Hence the Sanskrit language is phonetic, not linguistic; the emphasis is more on the sound than on the word. And so, for thousands of years it was felt that these valuable scriptures should not be written down, because it was natural that no sooner would it be written down than the emphasis on sound would be lost. The insistence was that the knowledge be passed on by word of mouth, rather than in writing, because in writing words down -- they would be mere words, and the subtle sensations associated with the sound would be lost and so become meaningless.

If we write down the word Rama, those who are reading it will say the word in many different ways. Someone will put more emphasis on "r" and someone else, more emphasis on "a," and still somebody else will put more emphasis on "m." It will depend on the individual reader. So as soon as a word is written down, the effect of sound is destroyed. Now, to understand the effect of the sound of those words, a whole decoding exercise to pronounce the words correctly will have to be done. So for thousands of years there was a strong insistence on not writing down any scripture, because the ancient seers did not want the phonetic arrangement lost. The scripture had to be passed on to others directly by word of mouth, so scriptures were known as shrutis, meaning that which is learnt by listening.

What was passed down in the form of written books was never accepted as scripture. It was all scientifically based on the arrangement of sound. At some places the sound had to be soft, and at others it had to be loud. It was very difficult to write these words in script form. The day the scriptures were reduced to writing, the essential, inherent, original, inner arrangement of sound was lost. It was no longer necessary to understand only through listening. You can read a scripture -- it is available in the market. Now there is no relationship or relevance to sound.

It is important to note that the emphasis of the scriptures was never on the meaning. The emphasis on meaning became relevant later, when we reduced those scriptures to writing. If some thing written down has no meaning it will look insane, so meaning has necessarily to be given to the written word. There are still some parts of vedic lore where no meaning could be deciphered -- and these are the real parts, because they are totally phonetic. They do not convey any meaning.

For example, the question about the meaning of the Tibetan mantra, "Aum mani padme hum", does not arise because its significance is totally phonetic. Similarly, there is no question of any meaning in the mantra, "Aum", but it has a sound-based impact which creates a special effect. When a meditator repeats, "Aum mani padme hum", again and again, the sound affects the various chakras and they are activated. The question is not of the meaning, the significance concerns the sounds themselves. So the fact that the old scriptures did not lay any stress on the meaning, but on their utility -- the purpose for which they could be used and the benefits which could be derived from them -- deserves our special attention.

Buddha was once asked, "What is truth?" He replied, "Truth is that which can be used." The definition of truth is that which can be used. Science will define truth in the same way. Its definition will be pragmatic: Truth is that which can be made use of in life and which can be demonstrated.

If it is said that when hydrogen and oxygen are mixed, water is created, we don't care whether that statement is true or not; if we can see that water is made from mixing hydrogen and oxygen, it is true, otherwise not. The statement in itself has no validity, its validity is its utility. If it is possible to create water that way, it has to be proved by actual demonstration. Now science has adopted this definition of truth which religion accepted five thousand years ago. In religion utility was the test to verify a truth.

The mantra "Aum", has no meaning but it has utility; a temple has no meaning but it has utility. To make use of it is an art, and there is an inherent flow in all the arts which cannot be taught, but must be absorbed.

I have read that there was an emperor in China fifteen hundred years ago, who was very fond of meat -- so much so that he would have a cow or bull slaughtered right before his eyes. The same butcher slaughtered cattle in front of him regularly every morning for fifteen years. One day the emperor asked, "I haven't seen you sharpening your axe once in fifteen years. Doesn't its edge become blunt?"

The butcher replied, "No, Your Majesty, it doesn't. The edge becomes blunt only when the butcher is not an expert, if he does not know where to strike. The butcher must know where there are bones and joints, and then the axe can cut the animal in two with one blow. This art of cutting is passed on from one generation to the next. So not only does the edge not become blunt, it becomes sharper daily, with every fresh stroke."
The emperor asked the butcher to teach him the art.

The butcher replied, "It would be very difficult too. I have not learnt this art but imbibed it from watching my father since my early childhood. It wasn't taught to me, I absorbed the art through watching my father every day. Sometimes I would fetch the axe for him, and sometimes I would stack up the limbs of the animals. That was how I learnt the art. If you are ready to do the same -- standing beside me, sometimes handing over the axe to me and then putting it back, sometimes simply sitting and watching -- then perhaps you will learn the art. But I cannot teach it to you."

Science can be taught, but art has to be imbibed.

All these mantras have no meaning, but they have pragmatic value and we have made our children absorb them at a very early age. They used to learn the use of the temple without ever even being aware of what they had learnt. They would learn the art of entering a temple, how to sit there and how to make use of the sacred precincts.

henever there was an emergency or any difficulties, they would run to the temple and then return home, having regained a balance and tranquility. Each morning they would go to the temple, because what they got there was not possible to find anywhere else. But all of this was not taught to them, they incorporated it at a very early stage in childhood. It was not taught to them but imbibed by them. Wherever there is art, it cannot be taught.
The effects of sound in the temple, and the temple itself, was an arrangement for experimentation. As long as the effect of the sound of a word was not understood, the whole experiment was meaningless.

For example, it was a convention that a mantra should only be given to a disciple by a master. The emphasis was on the mantra being recited by the master in the disciple's ear. You might have known the mantra for a long time, but still the master would whisper it in your ear.

You might wonder, "What is new in this? Couldn't I have done it without the master? Everybody knows how to repeat a mantra, and still this master has whispered it to me as if it is a great secret!" But what is to be understood is that when the master says it in the disciple's ear, he does it in a particular way, so as to emphasize certain sounds -- something which is not known to all. As a matter of fact there are various phonetic variations of "Ram" that have different effects.

We know the story of the sage Valmiki, but this tale has now lost its true significance and so seems rather childish. It is said that Valmiki was illiterate and a mere rustic. His master told him to repeat the mantra, "Rama, rama," but after some time he forgot and started chanting it in reverse, "Mara, mara" -- and became enlightened!
When the real keys to unravel such mysteries become lost, all sorts of troubles arise. The fact is that while chanting the mantra, "Rama, rama," after a period of time you automatically begin to chant, "Mara, mara," so creating a circuit. When "Rama, rama" is chanted quickly the chanting turns into "Mara, mara"; then it has the right phonetic emphasis. Then something unique happens: you cease to be, you are no more, and in that very moment when you cease to be or you die to your identity, the mantra becomes complete. That is the moment of real experience -- when you have ceased, your ego has died.

It is interesting to note that if this process is completed properly -- you will begin with the repetition of "Rama, rama," and very soon the moment will arise when you will be repeating, "Mara, mara" instead, and even if you want to say, "Rama," you will not be able to; your whole being will repeat, "Mara, mara".... At that moment you will die to yourself -- and that is the first step of meditation. When your dying to yourself is total, you will suddenly find that "Mara, mara" is beginning to revert to, "Rama, rama." When that "Rama, rama" begins from within you, without you doing it you will actually experience rama -- but not before that. In between, the transformation to "Mara" is essential.

So there are three parts to the mantra. Begin with "Rama," lose your identity in "Mara," and then the mantra will evolve into "Rama." The second step of "Mara" is the necessary part of the process; unless that happens in the middle, the real, ultimate rama experience in the third step won't happen. If you know the true phonetics and if you chant it properly -- if you lay stress on "ra" and less on "m," only then will "Rama" change into "Mara." When "m" has less emphasis, it becomes like a valley, and "r" becomes the crest, the highest peak. In your repeating the "m" of "rama" with less emphasis the transformation happens and very soon you will find that "m" becomes the peak and "r" becomes the valley. Then you are repeating, "Mara, mara" without your knowing it.
Like waves in the ocean, after every crest there is a valley. Like waves in the ocean, sound also has waves like a crescendo and diminuendo in music. Unless you are aware of the proper phonetic pronunciation, you can go on repeating a mantra but it will produce no results.

Whoever wrote this story about Valmiki repeating "Mara, mara" because he was illiterate and an ignorant rustic, is far from the truth. Valmiki was illiterate and a rustic, but in this particular instance he was quite clever. He knew the whole science of how to chant "Rama" to transform the sound into "Mara." Only after that intervening transformation will Rama be born. That "Rama" will not be the one spoken by you, because during that second step of "Mara" you cease to be. Who will repeat it? The real "Rama" that is born within you at the end of the second step will not be spoken by you but will be just a happening, in spite of you. It will happen automatically, it will not be your repetition.

The value of the shrutis -- meaning the scriptures that are heard or listened to -- is the phonetic emphasis. Only a person who knows the science of phonetics can pass on the knowledge of shruti; then only will it be useful. Otherwise the words will be the same as written in the book -- anybody can read them -- but the science will remain unknown. That science of sound -- its ascents and descents and the lengths of soundless intervals -- constitutes the whole mystery. tes the whole mystery.

There used to be a complete scripture of mantras, and temples served as laboratories where they were tested. This was of great value for the seeker. The number of people experiencing god-realization within the precincts of temples has always been more than of those who have experienced it outside the temple. This has happened in spite of the fact that godliness is present outside the temples as much as inside.

People like Mahavira, who had to experiment outside temples, had to find different methods, more painstaking than the ones used in temples. Mahavira had to spend years mastering many different types of postures so that he could create the circuit of energy within. He didn't want to use the help of the temple, but the alternative was a lengthy process of difficult practices which took years and which could only be accomplished by a man with the iron will of Mahavira.

Buddha also attained enlightenment without the help of a temple. But soon after the deaths of both Mahavira and Buddha temples had to be constructed because what a temple could offer to the ordinary man was not necessarily what was given by either Buddha or Mahavira. What Buddha and Mahavira advocated was not always possible for the common man to achieve.

Today, if we can fully understand the science of sound circuits we can invent better instruments than a temple. Now some research is already going on in this direction. It is possible to invent better instruments because now we know a lot about electricity. But such experiments can be dangerous too. Still, if properly scientific arrangements are set up, whatever help a temple used to give will be got from scientific technology, because the circle of energy that was created in a temple will now be created by some other method. Now, you can keep a small instrument in your pocket, which can activate an electric circuit within you. On that electronic instrument, you may even be able to store recorded sounds which may create circuits within you. Some research is presently in progress in this area in America.

Seven or eight scientists in America are now engaged in a fascinating study aimed at showing that all our experiences of pleasure and pain are nothing but electrical currents passing through some centers of the body.
For example, if your body is pricked all over with a needle, at some of those points you will not experience pain. There are a few dead spots in your body where you won't feel anything. If someone pricks your back at a dozen spots or so, three or four of those places will have no sensation. Exactly in the same way, there will be five or ten spots of great sensitivity where even the slightest pricking will cause a lot of pain.

Our head has many sensitive spots. There are millions of cells in the brain, and each one has a particular sensitivity. When you say you feel happy, electricity is flowing through one particular cell giving you a sense of happiness. Suppose you are sitting next to your beloved, holding her hand, and you say you are feeling happy. What is happening? If a scientist described this phenomenon, he would say that electricity is flowing through a particular center in your brain, and that it is only your past mental association with this person which makes you so happy in her presence. But you may not feel that happiness after two or three months, because if you use a certain center very often, letting the electricity flow through it frequently, that cell becomes insensitive.

For example, if you repeatedly prick your foot at a particular spot with a thorn, the pain will become less and less. Tomorrow the pain will be less than today, and the day after that it will be even less. If you go on doing it, that spot will develop a knot which will become insensitive and will not feel any pain at all. People who play the sitar develop insensitive surface skin on their fingers. Then any amount of plucking on the instrument's strings does not make any difference; their fingers don't feel any pain.

So if you feel that your love has died after three or four months, or become less, it does not mean that your love was fragile, it only means that the point within you from where the feeling of happiness was coming has become insensitive because of frequent use. If she goes away for three or four months, when she returns she can make you feel happy again.

Scientists' experiments on mice are very revealing. They opened up the brain of a mouse, and a sort of window was kept open to observe what happens when a mouse is having sexual intercourse. The particular point through which the electric current was passing mouse ejaculated was marked. After that, that point was connected to an electrode, and the "window" was closed. The other end of the electrode was connected to a machine which can release a controlled amount of electricity. There was a switch, which could be operated by pressing it, which would release electricity -- the same intensity of electricity as flowed at the time of the mouse's ejaculation.

The mouse was taught how to operate the switch, and whenever it pressed it, the required amount of electricity was released by the machine, and that activated the point of the brain connected at the other end of the wire, giving the mouse the same pleasure as in sexual intercourse. The mouse felt very happy when it pressed the switch; it was so happy that it began to press the switch again and again. You will be surprised to know that the rat did not do anything else after that for the next twenty-four hours. It simply went on pushing the button -- six thousand times within each hour. It did not bother to eat or drink or sleep, but just kept pressing the switch until finally it collapsed, exhausted!

The scientist who was doing the experiment said that the mouse enjoyed the pleasure of sex so much -- more than it had ever done through intercourse, although it was not actually having intercourse but only experiencing sexual pleasure because of the electrical current released in its brain. The scientist claimed that very soon that same sensation would lose its charm for the mouse and become very ordinary.

The day we are able to connect the human brain to an electrode to receive the right electrical current at the right point, we will not be able to find anyone who will actually want to take part in sex -- because he gains practically nothing, and loses a lot of energy. He can have a small battery-operated device in his pocket, and whenever he wants to he can activate the sex center and experience the same joy as in sexual intercourse. But this has its own dangers.

Once it is possible to locate the various centers in the brain for doubt or for anger and so on, those centers can be surgically removed. The center connected with rebellion can be disconnected and man will become very docile. The government can misuse such scientific achievements.

Scientists do not know it, but it may be that with the help of scientific instruments we can provide a milieu like that which exists in a temple. The experiences which took hours, months and years to obtain with sound effects in a temple can be more easily created with scientific instruments. So I am saying that the temple was based on a very scientific foundation, and through using the medium of sound, feelings of happiness, peace, love and bliss were aroused. And in the presence of those feelings your whole attitude towards life was transformed.

On the other hand, what the scientists might do might be full of great dangers. The main danger is that whatever science does becomes technological, and consciousness does not play a part in it. It may be possible, with the use of electrical instruments, to bring about the same state as is possible through being in a temple, but then real transformation of consciousness will not be possible. The heights of consciousness and transformation cannot happen that way; what a man can get by pressing a switch will not bring about any fundamental transformation.

So I do not see any possibility that such instruments will fulfill the need for temples.

You may wonder if temples can be used today in these changed times. Yes, it is possible, but the conventional orthodox priest who is in the temple today will not be able to explain what was happening and how, in temples in ancient times. He still has the key but he does not have any idea of the hidden secrets behind it. The whole philosophy and science of temples can still be of use today. And we can create better temples now because we have better building materials. We can set up a whole sound system in such a way that sound can be magnified a thousandfold. Walls can be made that are so sensitive that if you chant the mantra "Aum" once, the walls will echo it thousands of times.

Today we have better instruments, but we should know the key which unlocks the secrets of our being.
In the old days there had to be at least one door in a temple, but now we can build a temple without any doors. In the old days generally the people who built the temples were living in houses like huts, made of cow-dung and clay. They did the best they could within their limitations, and what they did was great. Today we have wonderful technological skills, but we are not able to benefit from them.

So far we have been discussing the benefit of temples on those who entered them. But temples have their external significance and utility as well. So far we have discussed how a devotee would go into a temple and go deeper into meditation and prayer. But even a person just passing by a temple was also benefitted, though now that does not happen; today even those who go inside come out with nothing. But in those days the temple could help a person who had just been near it because those who were inside the temple were really doing something. Hundreds of devotees in the temple were activating special sound vibrations by which the whole atmosphere of the temple became charged. The temple was not just vibrating within, it was also vibrating outside, and spreading subtle waves outside as well. The whole environment became alive because the temple itself was alive.

The significance of a living temple was only this much. A living idol signified the same thing; they affected even those who had not come there for any particular benefit. A temple could only be called living if someone could pass by it casually and suddenly sense that the air had changed and the atmosphere had been transformed, even though he might not have known that there was a temple in the vicinity.

Suppose you are walking along a road on a dark night, and when you pass by a temple you experience some sudden change within you.... You were thinking of doing something wrong, and suddenly your thoughts change. You were thinking of killing someone, and suddenly you feel full of compassion. But this can happen only if the temple is charged. Every brick and stone of that temple, the doors and gates, should have become vibrant; then the whole temple will vibrate with sound.

A unique method is used to charge the bell that hangs in front of temples: whoever enters, rings the bell. He does it with total consciousness, not with a sleepy mind. When you ring the bell of a temple -- not half asleep but with alertness -- that creates a discontinuity in your thoughts, a sort of break in the chain of your thoughts, and you become aware of a changed atmosphere. There is a similarity between the sound of the bell and the sound of "Aum"; in fact there is some inner relationship. The sound of the bell continues charging the temple all the day long and the sound of "Aum" also charges the temple with its vibrations.

Many other things like that were made use of in the temple, they have their inner connections. It might be an earthen lamp filled with ghee, the burning of incense, or the use of sandalwood paste or flowers or any other fragrance -- all were related. It was not a question of a particular deity liking a specific flower, it was a question of the harmony of the temple. What type of sound and what type of fragrance was harmonious with the temple was decided through experiences. Only a certain flower with a certain fragrance which blended harmoniously with a certain sound was used; others with different fragrances were prohibited.

In a mosque only lobhan, benzoin oil creosote, could be used as incense, and dhoop and agarbatti incense in a temple. All these had their connections with sound. With the sound of "Allah," there is an inner harmony with the fragrance of lobhan. These links or connections were all discovered through the inner search for the ultimate; they were not found through any thinking process. I will tell you how this was done.

You may sit in a room where no lobhan has been burnt and repeat, "Allah" -- not just "Allah" but "Allahooh" with a special emphasis on "hoo." You will find that slowly that "Allah" sound disappears and automatically only "hoo" will go on being repeated. When this happens, suddenly you will find that your whole room is fragrant with the smell of lobhan. It was discovered that lobhan is similar to a substance that emanates from you. So lobhan is burnt in mosques with a view to helping people repeat "Hoo." Then the process is twofold: the emanation of the fragrance from within a person may take some time, but the same fragrance can initially be provided outwardly in the mosque. But the repetition of "Aum" can never bring about the fragrance of lobhan. This sound strikes another center which cannot produce this smell.

There are separate areas of fragrance within our body, and these are linked with our thoughts and feelings.

That is why Jainas believe that Mahavira's body never gave out any bad odor. His body had a certain fragrance, on the basis of which it was possible to recognize a tirthankara. In Mahavira's time, eight other people claimed to be tirthankaras, but this particular fragrance was not coming from them. None of them was less knowledgeable than Mahavira, they were of the same spiritual stature, but they were not practitioners of that system of spiritual discipline which produces this fragrance, so their claims were rejected.

Buddha also was in no way inferior to Mahavira. He was of the same caliber and state of consciousness as Mahavira, but because he was not following the same method as Mahavira, his body could not emit the same type of fragrance. That fragrance had also emanated from Parshwanath, a tirthankara who had died long before Mahavira's time. His contemporaries were still living and they confirmed that Mahavira's fragrance was similar to Parshwanath's. The ultimate result of a certain mantra process was that particular. The ultimate result of a certain mantra process was that particular fragrance.

This was a memory-based arrangement for determining the authenticity of a tirthankara. So though Mahavira never claimed that he was a tirthankara, he was readily proclaimed to be one. Makhkhali Goshal, on the other hand, did make the claim but could not prove it. You may wonder at how fragrance was used as the criterion. The test had to be that deep and infallible -- words cannot be relied on. The whole individuality of that person should emit the special fragrance that would indicate that a certain flowering had happened within him, that the culmination of the mantra process which gives birth to a tirthankara had happened.

Makhkhali Goshal, Ajitkesh Kambal and Sanjay Vilethiputra were all claimants, were very knowledgeable, were of equal caliber to Mahavira -- each of them had thousands of followers who claimed that their master was a tirthankara -- but they all disappeared into oblivion. On the other hand, Mahavira was absolutely silent on this point and never made any claim. But in the end it was decided that only that person's body that omitted that particular fragrance could be a tirthankara.

Every mantra creates its own fragrance. Those who have practiced chanting "Aum" have known a certain fragrance. Similarly, every mantra produces a particular type of inner light. How much light should be provided in a temple was decided on the basis of that inner light -- neither more nor less. The ignorance of those who sit under dazzling electric lights in temples is simply amazing. They are not needed at all, because only that much light is needed as is within the inner sky -- a very soft and inoffensive light. So a ghee lamp was used because it is not at all offensive and does not dazzle the eyes.

It may not be easy to understand the difference between a kerosene light and the ghee light because we have never experimented with meditating on light. Light a lamp filled with kerosene oil and concentrate on the flame for one hour: your eyes will start burning and become tired and painful. Then light another lamp with ghee in it, and concentrate on that flame for one hour: your eyes will feel cooler and soothed. The inner experiences of thousands of people revealed all this, and parallels were found which became external aids. Of course, it is not possible to provide a lamp exactly the same as the inner light, so only the most approximate was found. The exact fragrance which is produced within you after chanting a particular mantra cannot be found outside, so we have to be content with the nearest approximation.

Sandalwood paste became popular in all temples. The place on the forehead where the sandalwood paste is applied is called the agyna chakra in Yoga. Practicing certain mantras produces an inner experience of sandalwood perfume, but the source of that fragrance is the agya chakra. Whenever the third eye experience intensifies, the sandalwood perfume is given out, so the sandalwood perfume has become symbolic of that experience, hence we apply sandalwood paste to the forehead. When the agya chakra emits this fragrance there is a sort of coolness felt, as if you have put a piece of ice on the third eye. There is a difference between cooling things and soothing things -- just the same as between a kerosene oil lamp and a lamp filled with ghee.

Ice is cold, but it is not balmy or soothing. The cooling sensation of ice lasts only a short while and is followed by a feeling of heat. Ice is certainly cold, but not soothing or balmy. The ultimate feeling is bound to be that of heat; you feel a little more hot than before. But sandalwood paste is balmy and not cold; it only soothes. Coolness has a kind of depth. If ice is put on the agya chakra it will only make the surface cold. If sandalwood is applied to the agya chakra you will feel that its soothing effect is seeping into deeper layers beyond the skin. The coolness has to penetrate to where the third eye is located.

Those who experienced the working of the agya chakra and felt its balmy effect looked for a parallel and found it in sandalwood paste. It has the same fragrance as that which emanates from within.

All these external aids are just parallels. And when a temple is equipped with them, it becomes charged. So there is a stipulation that no one should go to a temple without a bath. Taking a cold bath breaks one's mechanicalness and thought associations. Nobody was allowed to enter the temple without ringing the bell. And nobody was to go into the temple in old or dirty clothes; in fact silk clothes had to be worn when visiting a temple, because silk helps in generating body electricity and protecting it, so silk clothes always remain fresh, however much you wear them.
All these precautions and arrangements made the temple charged, and so anyone also just passing by was affected by the magnetic field of the temple.

It is said about Mahavira that within a certain radius around him -- wherever he might be -- it was impossible to commit any violence. It was his charged field, within which no violence was possible. He was like a walking temple, and within that sphere anything happening would suddenly be changed.

Teilhard de Chardin coined a new word, noosphere, in place of "atmosphere." Atmosphere means the external environment. Noosphere means the mental or psychological situation, and within that field, certain types of happenings do not take place at all.

In earlier days, schools were conducted by rishis. The surrounding atmosphere of the schools was considered pure, inviolable. If anything wrong happened among the disciples, the rishi punished himself, not them, because it meant that the field had lost its essential quality -- so the disciples couldn't be blamed. To reprimand them was futile; some untoward event only meant that the field had lost its sanctity. So the master himself would repent, undergo a fast and purify himself.

But this idea was misunderstood by Gandhi. Self-purification was not meant to be a way to reprove anyone else, it was not intended to put pressure on another person. The idea was not to torture oneself or to go on fasting to death to change someone else's heart or conscience. Gandhi didn't understand. The rishi was not purifying himself to change somebody else, he was doing it to recharge the field or purify the surroundings. If the thinking pattern is transformed, if the mental sphere is transformed, If the thinking pattern is transformed, if the mental sphere is transformed, the man living within it will also become transformed. There was no question of changing someone's conscience but of changing the surroundings and the magnetic field everybody carries around themselves.

People like Mahavira were like walking temples. Such people cannot be expected to stay permanently in one particular place. So we need something else, more stable, which can become the center of life for a whole town -- something around which the lives of people will go on being transformed. We need a place, a temple, where we make our daily offerings and receive something in return. We may not even be aware what is happening, everything happens by itself. Anyone passing by the temple received something invaluable. There was a huge magnetic field created around it, and just as an iron filing attracted by a magnet is caught in its magnetic field, so anyone passing by the temple would be attracted and influenced by its energy. The field of a temple was like that.