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Series I - Chapter 15 - ‘Facets of the Individual’

Series I - Chapter 15 - ‘Facets of the Individual’

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Commentaries on Living

HE CAME TO see us surrounded by his disciples. They were of every kind, the well-to-do and the poor, the high governmental official and the widow, the fanatic and the young man with a smile. They were a pleasant and happy lot, and the shadows were dancing on the white house. In the thick foliage, parrots were screeching, and a noisy lorry went by. The young man was eager and insisted on the importance of the guru, the teacher; the others were in accord with him and smiled with delight as he made his points, clearly and objectively. The sky was very blue, and a white-throated eagle was circling just above us with hardly a flutter of the wing. It was a very beautiful day. How we destroy each other, the pupil the guru, and the guru the pupil! How we conform, break away to take shape again! A bird was pulling out a long worm from the moist earth.

We are many and not one. The one does not come into being till the many cease. The clamorous many are at war with each other day and night, and this war is the pain of life. We destroy one, but another rises in its place; and this seemingly endless process is our life. We try to impose the one on the many, but the one soon becomes the many. The voice of the many is the voice of the one, and the one voice assumes authority; but it is still the chattering of a voice. We are the voices of the many, and we try to catch the still voice of the one. The one is the many if the many are silent to hear the voice of the one. The many can never find the one.

Our problem is not how to hear the one voice but to understand the composition, the make-up of the many which we are. One facet of the many cannot understand the many; one entity cannot understand the many entities which we are. Though one facet tries to control, discipline, shape the other facets, its efforts are ever self-enclosing, narrowing. The whole cannot be understood through the part, and that is why we never understand. We never get the view of the whole, we are never aware of the whole, because we are so occupied with the part. The part divides itself and becomes the many. To be aware of the whole, the conflict of the many, there must be the understanding of desire. There is only one activity of desire; though there are varying and conflicting demands and pursuits, they are all the outcome of desire. Desire may not be sublimated or suppressed; it must be understood without him who understands. If the entity who understands is there, then it is still the entity of desire. To understand without the experiencer is to be free of the one and of the many.

All activities of conformity and denial, of analysis and acceptance, only strengthen the experiencer. The experiencer can never understand the whole. The experiencer is the accumulated, and there is no understanding within the shadow of the past. Dependence on the past may offer a way of action, but the cultivation of a means is not understanding. Understanding is not of the mind, of thought; and if thought is disciplined into silence to capture that which is not of the mind, then that which is experienced is the projection of the past. In the awareness of this whole process there is a silence which is not of the experiencer. In this silence only does understanding come into being.