The Birth of Tantra
Gautama the Buddha is the greatest master who has ever walked on the earth. Christ is a great master, so is Krishna, so is Mahavira, so is Mohammad, and many more, but Buddha still remains the greatest master. Not that his achievement of enlightenment is greater than anybody else’s – enlightenment is neither less nor more – he has attained to the same quality of consciousness as Mahavira, as Christ, as Zarathustra, as Lao Tzu. There is no question of any enlightened man being more enlightened than anybody else. But as far as his being a master is concerned Buddha is incomparable, because through him thousands of people have attained to enlightenment.
It has never happened with any other master. His line has been the most fruitful line, his family has been the most creative family upto now. He is like a big tree with so many branches – and each branch has been fruitful, each branch is loaded with many fruits. Mahavira remained a local phenomenon. Krishna fell into the hands of scholars and was lost. Christ was completely destroyed by the priests. Much could have happened, but it didn’t happen; Buddha has been tremendously fortunate in this. Not that the priests have not tried, not that the scholars have not tried; they have done all that they can do – but somehow Buddha’s teaching was devised in such a way that it could not be destroyed. It is still alive. Even after twenty-five centuries a few flowers come on his tree, it still blooms. Spring comes, and still it releases fragrance, it still bears fruit.
Saraha is also a fruit of the same tree. Saraha was born about two centuries after Buddha; he was in the direct line of a different branch. One branch moves from Mahakashyapa to Bodhidharma, and Zen is born – and it is still full of flowers, that branch. Another branch moves from Buddha to his son, Rahul Bhadra, and from Rahul Bhadra to Sri Kirti, and from Sri Kirti to Saraha, and from Saraha to Nagarjuna – that is the Tantra branch. It is still bearing fruit in tibet. Tantra converted Tibet, and Saraha is the founder of Tantra just as Bodhidharma is the founder of Zen. Bodhidharma conquered China, Korea, Japan; Saraha conquered Tibet.
These songs of Saraha are of great beauty. They are the very foundation of Tantra. You will first have to understand the Tantra attitude towards life, the Tantra vision of life. The most basic thing about Tantra is this – and very radical, revolutionary, rebellious – the basic vision is that the world is not divided into the lower and the higher, but that the world is one piece. The higher and the lower are holding hands. The higher includes the lower, and the lower includes the higher. The higher is hidden in the lower – so the lower has not to be denied, has not to be condemned, has not to be destroyed or killed. The lower has to be transformed. The lower has to be allowed to move upwards… and the lower becomes the higher. There is no unbridgable gap between the devil and God: the devil is carrying God deep down in his heart. Once that heart starts functioning, the devil becomes God.
That is the reason why the very root of the word devil means the same as divine. The word devil comes from divine; it is the divine not yet evolved, that’s all. Not that the devil is against the divine, not that the devil is trying to destroy the divine – in fact the devil is trying to find the divine. The devil is in the way towards the divine; it is not the enemy, it is the seed. The divine is the tree fully in bloom, and the devil is the seed – but the tree is hidden in the seed. And the seed is not against the tree. In fact the tree cannot exist if the seed is not there. And the tree is not against the seed – they are in deep friendship, they are together. Poison and nectar are two phases of the same energy, so are life and death – and so is everything: day and night, love and hate, sex and superconsciousness.
Tantra says: Never condemn anything – the attitude of condemnation is the stupid attitude. By condemning something you are denying yourself the possibility that would have become available to you if you had evolved the lower. Don’t condemn the mud, because the lotus is hidden in the mud; use the mud to produce the lotus. Of course the mud is not the lotus yet, but it can be. And the creative person, the religious person, will help the mud to release its lotus so that the lotus can be freed from the mud.
Saraha is the founder of the Tantra vision. It is of tremendous import – and particularly for the present moment in human history, because a new man is striving to be born, a new consciousness is knocking on the doors. And the future is going to be that of Tantra, because now, dual attitudes can no longer hold man’s mind. They have tried for centuries – and they have crippled man and they have made man guilty. And they have not made man free, they have made man a prisoner. And they have not made man happy either, they have made man very miserable. They have condemned everything: from food to sex they have condemned everything, from relationship to friendship they have condemned all. Love is condemned, body is condemned, mind is condemned. They have not left a single inch for you to stand on; they have taken away all and man is hanging, just hanging. This state of man cannot be tolerated anymore.
Tantra can give you a new perspective – hence I have chosen Saraha. Saraha is one of my most-loved persons, it is my old love affair. You many not even have heard the name of Saraha, but Saraha is one of the greatest benefactors of humanity. If I were to count on my fingers ten benefactors of humanity Saraha would be one of those ten. If I were to count five, then too I would not be able to drop Saraha.
Before we enter into these songs of Saraha, a few things about Saraha’s life. Saraha was born in Vidarbha – Vidarbha is part of Maharashra, very close to Poona. He was born when King Mahapala was the ruler. He was the son of a very learned brahmin who was in the court of King Mahapala; the father was in the court, so the young man was also in the court. He had four brothers; they were all great scholars, and he was the youngest and the most intelligent of them all. His fame was spreading all over the country by and by, and the king was almost enchanted by his superb intelligence. The four brothers were also very great scholars, but nothing compared with Saraha.
As they became mature, the four got married. The king was willing to give his own daughter to Saraha – but Saraha wanted to renounce all, Saraha wanted to become a sannyasin. The king was hurt; he tried to persuade Saraha – he was so beautiful and he was so intelligent and he was such a handsome young man. His fame was spreading all over the country and because of him Mahapala;s court was becoming famous. The king was very worried and he didn’t want the young man to become a sannyasin. He wanted to protect him, he wanted to give him all comfort possible; he was ready to do anything for him. But Saraha persisted and the permission had to be given: he became a sannyasin, he became a disciple of Sri Kirti.
Sri Kirti is in the direct line of Buddha – Gautam Buddha, then his son Rahul Bhadra, and then comes Sri Kirti. THere are just two masters between Saraha and Buddha; he is not very far away from Buddha. The tree must have been still very, very green; the vibe must have been still very, very alive. Buddha had just left; the climate must have been full of his fragrance.
The king was shocked, because Saraha was a brahmin. If he wanted to become a sannyasin he should have become a Hindu sannyasin, but he chose a Buddhist master. Saraha’s family was also very worried; in fact they all became enemies: this was not right. And then things became even worse – we will come to know about it.
Saraha’s original name was Rahul, the name given by his father. We will come to know how he became Saraha – that is a beautiful story. When he went to Sri Kirti, the first thing Sri Kirti told him was, “Forget all your Vedas and all your learning and all that nonsense.” It was difficult for Saraha, but he was ready to stake anything. Something in the presence of Sri Kirti had attracted him; Sri Kirti was a great magnet. He dropped all his learning, he became unlearned again.
This is one of the greatest renunciations. It is easy to renounce wealth, it is easy to renounce a great kingdom, but to renounce knowledge is the most difficult thing in the world. In the first place, how to renounce it? – it is there inside you. You can escape from your kingdom, you can go to the Himalayas, you can distribute your wealth – how can you renounce your knowledge? And then it is too painful to become ignorant again. It is the greatest austerity there is, to become ignorant again, to become again innocent like a child.
But Saraha was ready. Years passed, and by and by he erased all that he had known. He became a great meditator. Just the same as he had started to become very famous as a great scholar, now his fame started spreading as a great meditator. People started coming from far and away just to have a glimpse of this young man who had become so innocent, like a fresh leaf, or like dewdrops on the grass in the morning.
One day, while Saraha was meditating, suddenly he saw a vision – a vision that there was a woman in the marketplace who was going to be his real teacher. Sri Kirti had just put him on the way, but the real teaching was to come from a woman.
Now this too had to be understood: it is only Tantra that has never been male chauvinistic. In fact to go into Tantra you will need the cooperation of a wise woman; without a wise woman you will not be able to enter into the complex world of Tantra. He saw a vision: a woman there in the marketplace. So first, a woman; second, in a marketplace. Tantra thrives in the marketplace, in the thick of life. It is not an attitude of negation, it is utter positivity.
Saraha stood up. Sri Kirti asked him, “Where are you going?”
And he said, “You have shown me the path. You took my learning away. You have done half the work – you have cleared my slate. Now I am ready to do the other half.” With the blessings of Sri Kirti, who was laughing, he went away. He went to the marketplace – he was surprised, he really found the woman that he had seen in the vision. The woman was making an arrow; she was an arrowsmith woman.
The thing thing to be remembered about Tantra: it says the more cultured, the more civilised a person, the less is the possibility of his tantric transformation. The less civilised, the more primitive, the more alive a person is. The more you become civilised, the more you become plastic – you become artificial, you become too cultivated, you lose your roots in the earth. You are afraid of the muddy world. You start living away from the world, you start posing as though you are not of the world.
Tantra says: To find the real person you will have to go into the roots.
So Tantra says: Those who are still uncivilised, uneducated, uncultured, they are more alive, they have more vitality. And that’s the observation of the modern psychologists too. A negro is more vital than the American – that is the fear of the American. The American is very afraid of the negro. The fear is that the American has become very plastic, and the negro is still vital, still down-to- earth.
The conflict between the blacks and the whites in America is not really the conflict between black and white, it is the conflict between the plastic and the real. And the American, the white man, is very afraid: basically he is afraid that, if the negro is allowed, he will lose his woman, the white American will lose his woman. The negro is more vital, sexually more vital, more alive; his energy is still wild. And that is one of the greatest fears if civilised people: to lose their women. They know that if more vital persons are available, they will not be able to hold their women.
Tantra says: In the world of those who are still primitive, there is a possibility of starting to grow. You have grown in a wrong direction; they have not grown yet – they can still choose a right direction, they have more potential. And they don’t have anything to undo, they can proceed directly.
An arrowsmith woman is a low-caste woman, and for Saraha – a learned brahmin, a famous brahmin, who had belonged to the court of the king – going to an arrowsmith woman is symbolic. The learned has to go to the vital, the plastic has to go to the real. He saw this woman – a young woman, very alive, radiant with life – cutting an arrow-shaft, looking neither to the right nor to the left but wholly absorbed in making the arrow. He immediately felt something extraordinary in her presence, something that he had never come across. Even Sri Kirti, his master, paled before the presence of this woman. Something so fresh and something from the very source…
Sri Kirti was a great philosopher. Yes, he had told Saraha to drop all learning, but still he was a learned man. He had told Saraha to drop all Vedas and scriptures, but he had his own scriptures and his own Vedas. Even though he was anti-philosophical, his anti- philosophy was a sort of philosophy. Now here is a woman who is neither philosophical nor anti-philosophical, who simply does not know what philosophy is, who is simply blissfully unaware of the world of philosophy, of the world of thought. She is a woman of action and she is utterly absorbed in her action.
Saraha watched carefully: the arrow ready, the woman – closing one eye and opening the other – assumed the posture of aiming at an invisible target. Saraha came still closer… Now there was no target, she was simply posing. She had closed one eye, her other eye was open, and she was aiming at some unknown target – invisible, it was not there. Saraha started feeling some message. This posture was symbolic, he felt, but still it was very dim and dark. He could feel something there, but he could not figure it out, what it was.
So he asked the woman whether she was a professional arrowsmith, and the woman laughed loudly, a wild laugh, and said, “You stupid brahmin! You have left the Vedas, but now you are worshipping Buddha’s sayings, the Dhammapada. So what is the point? You have changed your books, you have changed your philosophy, but you remain all the time the same stupid man.” Saraha was shocked. Nobody had talked to him that way; only an uncultured woman can talk that way. And the way she laughed was so uncivilised, so primitive – but still, something was very much alive. And he was feeling pulled: she was a great magnet and he was nothing but a piece of iron.
Then she said, “You think you are Buddhist?” He must have been in the robe of the Buddhist monk, the yellow robe. She laughed again and she said, “Buddha’s meaning can only be known through actions, not through words and not through books. Is not enough enough for you? Are you not yet fed up with all this? Do not waste any more time in that futile search. Come and follow me!” And something happened, something like a communion. He had never felt like that before. In that moment the spiritual significance of what she was doing dawned upon Saraha. Neither looking to the left, nor looking to the right, he had seen her – just looking in the middle.
For the first time he understood what Buddha means by being in the middle: avoid the excess. First he was a philosopher, now he has become an anti-philosopher – from one extreme to the another. First he was worshipping one thing, now he is worshipping just the opposite – but the worship continues. You can move from the left to the right, from the right to the left, but that is not going to help. You will be like a pendulum moving from left to the right, from the right to the left.
And have you observed? – when the pendulum is going to thr right it is gaining momentum to go to the left; when it is going to the left it is again gaining momentum to go to the right. And the clock continues… and the world continues. To be in the middle means the pendelum just hangs there in the middle, neither to the right nor to the left. Then the clock stops, then the world stops. Then there is no more time… then the state of no-time…
He heard it said so many times by Sri Kirti; he had read about it, he had pondered, contemplated over it; he had argued with others about it, that to be in the middle is the right thing. For the first time he had seen it in action; the woman was not looking to the right and not looking to the left – she was just looking in the middle, focused in the middle.
The middle is the point from where the trancendence happens. Think about it, contemplate on it, watch it in life. A man is running after money, is mad, money-mad; money is the only god…
One woman was asking another, “Why have you left your boyfriend? What happened? I had been thinking that you were engaged and that you were going to be married – what happened?”
The woman replied, “Our religions are different and that’s why we have broken up.”
The questioner was puzzled because she knew that both were Catholics, so she asked, “What do you mean by saying that your religions are different?” “The woman said, “I worship money, and he is broke.” There are people whose only god is money. One day or other the god fails – it is bound to fail. Money cannot be the god. It was your illusion you were protecting. One day or other you come to the point where you can see that there is no god in it, that there is nothing in it, that you have been wasting your life. Then you turn against it, then you take an opposite attitude: you become against money. Then you leave money, you don’t touch money. You are continuously obsessed now; now you are against money, but the obsession remains. You have moved from the left to the right, but your centre of consciousness is still the money.
You can change from one desire to another. You were much too worldly… one day you can become other-worldly. You remain the same, the desease persists. Buddha says: To be worldly is to be worldly and to be other-worldly is also to be worldly; to be for money is to be mad after money, to be against money is to be mad after money; to seek power is foolish, to escape is also foolish.
Just to be in the middle is what wisdom is all about.
For the first time Saraha saw it actually there – he had not even seen it in Sri Kirti. It was really there. And the woman was true; she said, “You can only learn through action” – and she was so utterly absorbed that she was not even looking at Saraha who was standing there watching her. She was so utterly absorbed, she was so totally in the action – that is again a Buddhist message: To be total in action is to be free of action.
Karma is created because you are not totally in it. If you are totally in it, it leaves no trace. Do anything totally and it is finished, and you will not carry a psychological memory of it. Do anything incompletely and it hangs with you, it goes on – it is a hangover. And the mind wants to continue and do it and complete it. Mind has a great temptation to complete things. Complete anything and the mind is gone. If you continue doing things totally, one day you suddenly find there is no mind. Mind is the accumulated past of all incomplete actions.
You wanted to love a woman and you didn’t love; now the woman is dead. You wanted to go to your father and you wanted to be forgiven for all that you had been doing, for all that you had been doing in such a way that he was feeling hurt – now he is dead. Now the hangover will remain, now the ghost… Now you are helpless – what to do? Whom to go to? And how to ask forgiveness? You wanted to be kind to a friend but you could not be because you became closed. Now the friend is no more, and it hurts. You start feeling a guilt, you repent. Things go on like this.
Do any actions totally and you are free of it and you don’t look back. And the real man never looks back – because there is nothing to see. He has no hangovers. He simply goes ahead. His eyes are clear of the past, his visions are not clouded. In that clarity one comes to know what reality is.
You are so worried with all your incomplete actions – you are like a junkyard: one thing is incomplete here, another thing incomplete there, nothing is complete. Have you watched it? Have you ever completed anything? Or is everything just incomplete? And you go on pushing aside one thing and you start another thing and before it is complete you start another. You become more and more burdened. This is what karma is; karma means incomplete actions.
Be total… and you will be free.
The woman was totally absorbed. That’s why she was looking so luminous, she was looking so beautiful. She was an ordinary woman but the beauty was not of this earth. The beauty came because of total absorption. The beauty came because she was not an extremist. The beauty came because she was in the middle, balanced. Out of balance comes grace. For the first time Saraha encountered a woman who was not just physically beautiful, who was spiritually beautiful. Naturally, he was surrendered. The surrender happened.
Absorbed totally, absorbed in whatsoever she was doing… he understood for the first time: this is what meditation is. Not that you sit for a special period and you repeat a mantra, not that you go to the church or to the temple or to the mosque, but to be in life – to go on doing trivial things, but with such absorption that the profundity is revealed in every action. He understood what meditation is for the first time. He has been meditating, he has been strugglng hard, but for the first time meditation was there, alive. He could feel it. He could have touched it, it was almost tangible. And then he remembered that closing one eye, opening the other is a symbol, a Buddhist symbol.
Buddha says – psychologists will agree with him now; after two thousand and five hundred years psychology has come to that point where Buddha was so long before – Buddha says half the mind reasons and half the mind intuits. The mind is divided in two parts, in two hemispheres. The left-side hemisphere is the faculty of reason, logic, discursive thought, analysis, philosphy, theology… words and words and words and arguements and syllogisms and inferences. The left side mind is Aristotelian. The right-side mind is intuitive, poetic – inspiration, vision, a priori consciousness, a priori awareness. Not that you argue – you simply come to know. Not that you infer – you simply realise. That is the meaning of a priori awareness: it is simply there. The truth is known by the right-side mind. Truth is inferred by the left-side mind. Inference is just inference, it is not experience.
Suddenly he realises that the woman had closed one eye: she had closed on eye as symbolic of closing the eye of reason, logic. And she had opened the other eye symbolic of love, intuition, awareness. And then he remembered the posture.
Aiming at the unknown, the invisible, we are on the journey to know the unknown – to know that which cannot be known. That is real knowledge: to know that which cannot be known, to realise that which is unrealisable, to attain that which cannot be attained. This impossible passion is what makes man a religious seeker.
Yes, it is impossible. By impossible I don’t mean that it will not happen, by impossible I mean that it cannot happen unless you are utterly transformed. As you are it cannot happen. But there are different ways of being, and you can be totally a new man… then it happens. It is possible for a different kind of man. That’s why Jesus says: Until you are reborn, you will not know it. A new man will know it.
You come to me – you will not know it. I will have to kill you, I will have to be drastically dangerous to you; you will have to disappear. And the new man is born, a new consciousness comes in because there is something indestructible in you which cannot be destroyed; nobody can destroy it. Only the destructible will be destroyed and the indestructible will be there. When you attain to that indestructible element in your being, to that eternal awareness in your being, you are a new man, a new consciousness. Through that the impossible is possible, the unattainable is attained.
So he remembered the posture. Aiming at the unknown, the invisible, the unknownable, the one – that is the aim. How to be one with existence? The nondual is the aim – where subject and object are lost, where I and thou are lost.
There is a very famous book and a great book of Martin Buber, I and Thou. Martin Buber says the experience of prayer is an I-thou experience. He is right. The experience of prayer is an I-thou experience: God is the thou, you remain an I, and you have a dialogue, a communion with the thou. But Buddhism has no prayer in it, and Buddhism goes higher. Buddhism says: Even if there is an I- thou relationship, you remain divided, you remain seperate. You can shout at each other, but there will be no communion. The communion happens only when the I-thou division is no more, when subject and object disappear, where there is no I and no thou, no seeker and no sought… when there is unity, unison.
Realising this, seeing into this woman’s actions and recognising the truth… The woman called him Saraha. His name was Rahul; the woman called him Saraha. Saraha is a beautiful word. It means he who has shot the arrow: sara means arrow, ha(n) means have shot. Saraha means one who has shot the arrow. The moment he recognised the significance of the woman’s actions, those symbolic gestures, the moment he could read and decode what the woman was trying to give, what the woman was trying to show, the woman was tremendously happy. She danced and called him Saraha, and said, “Now from today you will be called Saraha: you have shot the arrow. Understanding the significance of my actions, you have penetrated…”
Saraha said to her, “You are not an ordinary arrowsmith woman. I am sorry to have even thought that you were an ordinary arrowsmith woman. Excuse me, I am tremendously sorry. You are a great master and I am reborn through you. Till yesterday I was nto a real brahmin; from today I am. You are my master and you are my mother and you have given me a new birth. I am no longer the same. So, right you are – you have dropped my old name and you have given me a new name.”
You ask me sometimes, “Why do you give new names?” To drop the old identity, to forget the past, not to be any more in any attachment with the past, a clean break is needed. You have to become discontinuous with the past. Rahul became Saraha.
The legend has it that the woman was nobody but a hidden buddha. The name of the buddha given in the scriptures is Sukhnatha – the buddha who had come to help the great potential man, Saraha. Buddha, a certain buddha of the name Sukhnatha, took the form of a woman. But why? Why the form of a woman? – because Tantra believes that just as a man has to be born out of a woman, so the new birth of a disciple is also going to be out of a woman. In fact all the masters are more mothers than fathers. They have the quality of the feminine. Buddha is feminine, so is Mahavira, so is Krishna. You can see the feminine grace, the feminine roundness, you can see the feminine beauty. You can look into their eyes and you will not find the male aggressiveness.
So it is very symbolic that a buddha took the form of a woman. Buddhas always take the form of a woman. They may be living in a male body, but they are feminine – because all that is born is born out of the feminine energy. Male energy can trigger it but cannot give birth.
A master has to keep you in his womb for months, for years, sometimes for lives. One never knows when you will be ready to be born. A master has to be a mother. A master has to be tremendously capable of feminine energy so that he can shower love on you; only then can he destroy. Unless you are certain about his love, you will not allow him to destroy you. How will you trust? only his love will make you able to trust. And through trust, by and by, he will cut limb by limb. And one day suddenly you will disappear. Slowly, slowly, slowly… and you are gone. Gate, gate, para gate – going, going, going, gone. Then the new is born.
The arrowsmith woman accepted him. In fact she was waiting… a master waits for the disciple. Old tradition says: Before a disciple chooses a master, the master has chosen the disciple. Exactly that’s what happened in this story. Sukhnatha was hiding in the form of a woman waiting for Saraha to come and be transformed through him.
And it seems more logical too that a master should choose first – because he is more aware, he knows. He can penetrate the very possibility of your being, the very potentiality. He can see your future, he can see that which can happen. When you choose a master you think you have chosen. You are wrong. How can you choose a master? You are so blind, how can you recognise a master? You are so unaware, how can you feel a master? If you start feeling him, that means he has already entered in your heart and has started playing with your energies – that’s why you start feeling him. Before a disciple ever chooses a master, the master has chosen him already.
She accepted. She was waiting for Saraha to come. They moved to a cremation ground and started living together. Why to a cremation ground? – because Buddha says unless you understand death you will not be able to understand life. Unless you die, you will not be reborn.
Many Tantra disciples have lived in the cremation ground since Saraha; he was the founder. He lived in a cremation ground… people would be brought, dead bodies would be brought and burned and he lived there, that was his home. And he lived with this arrowsmith woman, they lived together. There was great love between them – not the love of a woman and a man, but the love of a master and a disciple, which is certainly higher than any man-woman love can ever reach; which is more intimate, certainly more intimate – because a man woman love affair is just of two bodies. At the most sometimes it reaches the mind, otherwise it remains in the body. A disciple and a master – it is a soul love affair.
Saraha had found his soulmate. They were in tremendous love, great love, which rarely happens on the earth. She taught him Tantra. Only a woman can teach Tantra. Somebody asked me why I have chosen Kaveesha to be the group leader for Tantra – only a woman can be a Tantra group leader, it will be difficult for a man. Yes, sometimes a man can also be, but then he will have to become very, very feminine. A woman is already, she has already those qualities, those loving, affectionate qualites; she naturally has that care, that love, that feeling for the soft.
Saraha became a tantrika under the guidance of this arrowsmith woman. Now he was no longer meditating. One day he had left all the Vedas, the scriptures, knowledge; now he left even meditation. Now rumors started spreading all over the country: he no longer meditates. He sings, of course, and dances too, but no meditation any more. Now singing was his meditation, now dancing was his meditation, now celebration was his whole lifestyle.
Living in a cremation ground and celebrating! Living where only death happens and living joyously! This is the beauty of Tantra: it joins together the opposites, the contraries, the contradictories. If you go to the cremation ground you will feel sad; it will be difficult for you to be joyous. It will be very difficult for you to sing and dance where people are being burned, and where people are crying and weeping. And every day death and death… day and night, death. How will you rejoice? But if you cannot rejoice there, then all that you think is your joy is just a make-believe. If you can rejoice there, then joy has really happened to you. Now it is unconditional. Now it doesn’t make any difference whether death happens or life, whether somebody is born or somebody is dying.
Saraha started singing and dancing. He was no longer serious. Tantra is not – Tantra is a playfulness. Yes, it is sincere, but not serious; it is very joyous. Play entered his being. Tantra is play, because Tantra is a highly evolved form of love – love is play.
There are people who would not like even love to be a play. Mahatma Gandhi says: Make love only when you want to reproduce. Even love they change into work – reproduction. This is just ugly! Make love to your woman only when you want to reproduce – is she a factory? Reproduction – the very word is ugly. Love is fun! Make love to your woman when you are feeling happy, joyous, when you are at the top of the world. Share that energy. Love your man when you have that quality of dance and song and joy – not for reproduction! The word reproduction is obscene. Make love out of joy, out of abundant joy. Give when you have it!
Play entered into his being. A lover has always the spirit of play. The moment the spirit of play dies you become a husband or a wife; then you are no longer lovers, then you reproduce. And the moment you become a husband or a wife, something beautiful has gone dead. It is not more alive, the juice flows no more. Now it is just pretention, hypocricy.
Play entered his being, and through play true religion was born. His ecstacy was so infectious that people started coming to watch him dancing and singing. And when people would come and watch, they would start dancing, they would start singing with him. The cremation ground became a great celebration. Yes, bodies were being burned still, but more and more crowds started gathering around Saraha and the arrowsmith woman, and great joy was created on that cremation ground.
And it became so infectious that people who has never heard anything about ecstacy would come, dance and sing, and fall into ecstacy, go into samadhi. His very vibration, his very presence, became so potent that just if you were ready to participate with him, it would happen… contact high. Those who came around him – he was so drunk that his inner drunkenness started overflowing to other people. He was so stoned that others started becoming stoned and more stoned.
But then the inevitable.. the brahmins and priests and the scholars and the so-called righteous people started vilifying and slandering him – that I call the inevitable. Whenever there is a man like Saraha the scholars are going to be against him, the priests are going to be against him, and the so-called moral people, puritans, self-righteous people. They started spreading absolutely biased rumors about him.
They started saying to people, “He has fallen from grace – he is a pervert. He is no longer a brahmin; he has given up celibacy, he is no longer even a Buddhist monk. He indulges in shameful practices with a low-caste woman and runs around like a mad dog in all directions.” His ecstacy was just like a mad dog to them – it depends on how you interpret. He was dancing all over the cremation ground. He was mad – but he was not a mad dog, he was a mad god! It depends on how you look.
The king was also told these things – he was anxious to know exactly what was happening. He became worried… more and more people started coming to him. They knew him, they knew that the king was always deeply respectful towards Saraha, that he wanted to appoint him as his councilor in the court, but Saraha had renounced the world. The king had much respect for his learning, so they started coming to the king.
The king was worried. He had loved the young man and respected him too, and he was concerned. So he sent a few people to persuade Saraha and tell him, “Come back to your old ways. You are a brahmin, your father was a great scholar, you yourself was a great scholar – what are you doing? You have gone astray, come back home; I am still here. You come to the palace, be part of my family. This is not good.”
The people went and Saraha sang one hundred and sixty verses to those people who had come to convert him. Those one hundred and sixty verses… and those people started dancing and they never came back!
The king was even more worried. The king’s wife, the queen, was also always interested in the young man. She wanted the young man to marry her daughter, so she went there. And Saraha sang eighty verses to the queen… and she never came back.
Now the king was much puzzled: What is happening there? So the king himself went there – and Saraha sang forty verses and the king was converted! And he started singing in the cremation ground like a mad dog!
So there are three scriptures available in the name of Saraha. First, The People’s Song of Saraha – one hundred and sixty verses; second, The Queen’s Song of Saraha – eighty verses, and third, The Royal Song of Saraha – forty verses. One hundred and sixty verses for the people because their understanding was not great; eighty for the Queen – she was a little higher, her understanding was a little higher; forty for the king because he was really a man of intelligence, of awareness, of understanding.
Because the king was converted, the whole country by and by was converted. And it is said in the old scriptures that a time came when the whole country became empty. Empty… it is a Buddhist word. It means people became nobodies, they lost their ego trips.
People started enjoying the moment. The hustle and bustle, the competitive violence dissapeared from the country. It became a silent country. It became empty… as if nobody was there, the men as such disappeared from the country. A great divineness descended on the country. These forty verses were at the root of it, the very source of it.
Now we enter into the great pilgrimage.: The Royal Song of Saraha. It is also called the Song on Human Action – very paradoxical, because it has nothing to do with action. That’s why it is also called the Song on Human Action. It has something to do with the being, but when being transformed, action is transformed. When you are transformed, your behaviour is transformed – not vice versa. Not that first you change your action and then your being changes – no. Tantra says: First change your being and then your action changes automatically, of its own accord. First attain to a different kind of consciousness, and that will be followed by a different kind of action, character, behaviour.
Tantra believes in being, not in action and character. That is why it is also called the Song on Human Action – because once being is transformed, your actions are transformed. That is the only way to change your actions. Who has ever been able to change his actions directly? You can only pretend.
If you have anger in you and you want to change your action, what will you do? You will supress the anger and you will show a false face; you will have to wear a mask. If you have sexuality in you, what will you do to change it? You can take the vow of celibacy, and you can pretend, but deep down the volcano continues. You are sitting on a volcano which can erupt any moment. You will be constantly trembling, constantly afraid, in fear.
Have you not watched the so-called religious people? They are always afraid – afraid of hell – and always trying somehow to get into heaven. But they don’t know what heaven is: they have not tasted it at all. If you can change your consciousness, heaven comes in you, not that you go to heaven. Nobody has ever gone to heaven and nobody has never gone to hell. Let it be decided once and for all: heaven comes to you, hell comes to you – it depends on you.
Whatsoever you call, it comes. If your BEING changes, you suddenly become available to heaven – heaven descends on you. If your being does not change you are in a conflict,you are forcing something which is not there. You become false and false and more false, and you become two persons, you become schizophrenic, split… You show something, you are something else. You say something – you never do it, you do something else. And then you are continuously playing hide and seek with yourself. Anxiety, anguish, are natural in such a state – that’s what hell is.
Read this while in meditation – or deep contemplation – this is the essence of Tantra…
The Royal Song of Saraha.
I bow down to noble Manjusri,
I bow down to him who has Conquered the finite.
As calm water lashed by wind
Turns into waves and rollers,
So the king thinks of Saraha
In many ways, although one man.
To a fool who squints,
One lamp is as two,
Where seen and seer are not two,
As! the mind works
On the thingness of them both.
Though the house lamps
Have been lit,
The blind live on in the dark.
Is all-encompassing and close,
To the deluded it remains
Always far away.
Though there may be many rivers,
They are one in the sea.
Though there may be many lies,
One truth will conquer all.
When one sun appears,
The dark, however deep,
As a cloud that rises from the sea
Absorbing rain, the earth embraces,
So, like the sky, the sea remains
Without increasing or decreasing.
So from spontaneity that’s unique,
Replete with the
Are all sentient beings born,
And in it come to rest.
But it is neither concrete
They walk other paths
And so forsake true bliss,
Seeking the delights
That stimulants produce.
The honey in their mouths,
And to them so near,
Will vanish if at once
They do not drink it.
Beasts do not understand the world
To be a sorry place.
Not so the wise
Who the heavenly nectar drink
While beasts hunger for the sensual.
To a fly that likes the smell
Of putrid meat,
Of sandalwood is foul.
Beings who discard nirvana
Covet coarse samsara’s realm.
An ox’s footprints filled with water
Will soon dry up;
So with a mind that’s firm
But full of qualities
Thar are not perfect,
Will in time dry up.
Like salt sea water that turns sweet
When drunk up by the clouds,
So a firm mind
That works for others,
Turns the poison of
Sense-objects into nectar.
Never is one unsatisfied,
It must be bliss itself.
Though from a cloud
One fears the thunderclap,
The crops ripen
When from it pours the rain.
It is in the beginning,
In the middle,
And the end;
Yet end and beginning
Are nowhere else.
All those with minds
Deluded by interpretative thoughts
Are in two minds
And so discuss nothingness and
Compassion as two things.
Bees know that in flowers
Honey can be found.
That samsara and nirvana
Are not two
How will the deluded
When the deluded in a mirror look
They see a face, not a reflection.
So the mind that has truth denied
Relies on that which is not true.
Though the fragrance of a flower
Cannot be touched,
‘Tis all pervasive
And at once perceptible.
So, by unpatterned being-in-itself
Recognise the round
Of mystic circles.
When in winter
Still water by the wind is stirred,
It takes as ice the shape and
Texture of a rock.
When the deluded are disturbed
By interpretative thoughts,
That which is as yet unpatterned
Turns very hard and solid.
Mind immaculate in its very being
Can never be polluted by
Samsara’s or nirvana’s impurities.
A precious jewel deep in mud
Will not shine, though it has luster.
Knowledge shines not in the dark,
But when the darkness is illuminated,
Suffering disappears at once.
Shoots grow from the seed
And leaves from the shoots.
He who thinks of the mind
In terms of one or many
Casts away the light and
Enters the world.
Into a raging fire
He walks with open eyes –
Who could be more
Deserving of compassion?