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Series III - Chapter 38 - “Why Did You Dissolve Your Order Of The Star?”
BATHED IN THE light of the evening sun a fisherman came swinging down the road with a smile on his face. He wore a piece of cloth attached to a string around his waist, but was otherwise completely naked. He had a magnificent body, and you could see that he was very proud of it. A car went by, driven by a chauffeur, and the lady inside was all dressed up. She must have been going to some party. She had jewels round her neck and in her ears, and there were flowers in her dark hair. The chauffeur was doing all the driving, and she was absorbed in herself. She didn’t even look at the fisherman, nor was she aware of anything else about her; but the fisherman looked at the car as it went by, to see if he was noticed. He was walking quite fast, with a long easy stride, never slackening his pace; but as each car passed he turned his head. Just before reaching the village he took a newly-made road of bright red earth, which in the last rays of the setting sun was redder than ever. passing through a palm grove and along a canal, where there were some light barges loaded with fire-wood, the fisherman crossed a bridge and took a narrow path that led to the river.
It was very quiet by the river, for there were no houses nearby, and the noise of traffic didn’t come that far. Land crabs had made large round holes in the damp mud, and a few cattle were about. The breeze was playing with the palms, and they were stately in their movement; they were all dancing, as if to music.
Meditation is not for the meditator. The meditator can think, reason, build up or tear down, but he will never know meditation; and without meditation, his life is as empty as the shell by the sea. Something can be put in that emptiness, but it is not meditation. Meditation is not an act whose worth can be weighed in the market place; it has its own action, which cannot be measured. The meditator knows only the action of the market place, with its noise of exchange; and through this noise, the noiseless action of meditation can never be found. The action of cause becoming effect, and effect becoming cause, is an everlasting chain that binds the meditator. Such action, being within the walls of his own prison, is not meditation. The meditator can never know meditation which is just beyond his walls. It’s only the walls that the meditator himself has built, high or low, thick or thin, that divide him from meditation.
He was a young man, just out of college and full of high spirits. Moved by an urge to do good, he had recently joined some movement in order to be more effective, and would like to have devoted his whole life to it; but unfortunately his father was an invalid, and he had to support his parents. He saw the drawbacks of the movement as well as its merits, but the good outweighed the bad. He was not married, he said, and would never be. His smile was friendly, and he was eager to express himself.
“The other day I was present at your talk, in which you were saying that truth cannot be organized, and that no organization can lead one to truth. You were very definite about it, but to me your explanation was not altogether satisfactory, and I want to talk it over with you. I know that you were once the head of a large organization, the Order of the Star, which you dissolved, and if I may ask, was this because of a personal whim, or was it motivated by a principle?”
Neither. If there is a cause for action is it action? If you renounce because of a principle, an idea, a conclusion, is it renunciation? If you give up one thing for the sake of something greater, or for some person, is that giving up? “Reason doesn’t play a part in giving up anything; is that what you mean?”
Reason can make one behave in this manner or in that; but what reason has put together, reason can undo. If reason is the criterion of action, then the mind can never be free to act. Reason, however subtle and logical, is a process of thinking, and thinking is ever influenced, conditioned by personal fancy, by desire, or by an idea, a conclusion, whether imposed or self-induced.
“If it wasn’t reason, principle or personal desire that made you do it, then was it something outside of yourself, a superior or divine agency?”
No. But perhaps it will be clear if we can approach it differently. What is your problem? “You said that truth cannot be organized, and that no organization can lead man to truth. The organization to which I belong maintain that man can be led to truth through certain principles of action, through right personal endeavour giving oneself to good works, and so on. My problem is, am I on the right path?”
Do you think there’s a path to truth? “If I didn’t think there were, I wouldn’t belong to this organization. According to our leaders, this organization is based on truth; it’s dedicated to the well-being of all, and it will help the villager as well as people who are highly educated and who hold responsible positions. However, when I heard you the other day, I was disturbed, and so took the first opportunity to come to see you. I hope you understand my difficulty.”
Let’s go into the matter slowly, step by step. First, is there a path to truth? A path implies going from one fixed point to another. As a living entity, you are changing, reshaping, pushing, questioning yourself, hoping to find a permanent, immutable truth. Isn’t that so? “Yes. I want to find truth, or God, in order to do good,” he answered eagerly.
Surely, there’s nothing permanent about you except what you think is permanent; but your thinking is also transient, is it not? And has truth a fixed place, without any movement?
“I don’t know. One sees so much poverty, so much misery and confusion in the world, and in one’s desire to do good, one accepts a leader or a philosophy that offers some hope. Otherwise life would be terrible.”
All decent people want to do good, but most of us don’t think the problem through. We say that we cannot think it through for ourselves, or that the leaders know better. But do they? Look at the various political leaders, the so-called religious leaders and the leaders of social and economic reform. They all have schemes, each saying that his scheme is the way to salvation, to the eradication of poverty, and so on; and individuals like you, who want to act in the face of all this misery and chaos, get caught in the net of propaganda and dogmatic assertions. Haven’t you noticed that this very action breeds further misery and chaos?
Truth has no fixed abode; it’s a living thing, more alive, more dynamic than anything the mind can think of, so there can be no path to it. “I think I see that, sir. But are you against all organizations?”
It would obviously be silly to be ‘against’ the postal or other similar organizations. But you are not referring to such organizations, are you?
“No. I am talking about churches, spiritual groups, religious societies, and so on. The organization to which I belong embrace all religions, and anyone who is concerned with the physical and spiritual improvement of man may be a member. Of course, such organizations always have their leaders who say they know the truth, or who lead saintly lives.”
Can truth be organized, with a president and secretary, or with high priests and interpreters? “If I understand you correctly, it looks as though it can’t be. Then why do these saintly leaders say that their organizations are necessary?”
It doesn’t matter what the leaders say, for they are as blind as their followers, otherwise they wouldn’t be leaders. What do you think, apart from your leaders? Are such organizations necessary? “They may not be strictly necessary, but one does find comfort in belonging to such an organization, and in working with others of the same mind.”
That’s right. And there is also a sense of security in being told what to do, is there not? The leader knows, and you, the follower, do not; so under his direction you feel you can do the right thing. To have an authority over you, someone to guide you, is very comforting, especially when on all sides there is so much chaos and misery. That is why you become, not exactly a slave, but a follower, carrying out the plan laid down by the leader. It is you, the human being who have made all this mess in the world, but you are not important; only the plan is important. But the plan is mechanical, it needs human beings to make it operate; therefore you become useful to the plan.
Then there are the priests, with their divine authority to save your soul, and from childhood you are conditioned by them to think in a certain way. Again, you as a human being are not important; it is not your freedom, not your love, that matters, but your soul, which has to be saved in accordance with the dogmas of a particular church or sect. “I see the truth of this, all right, as you explain it. Then what is important in the midst of all this confusion?”
The important thing is to free your mind of envy, hate and violence; and for that you don’t need an organization, do you? So-called religious organizations never liberate the mind, they only make it conform to a certain creed or belief.
“I need to change; there must be love in me, I must cease to be envious, and then I shall always act rightly. I won’t have to be told what right action is. I see now that this is the only thing that matters, not what organization I belong to.”
One may follow what is generally considered to be right action, or be told what right action is; but that does not bring about love, does it. “No it quite obviously does not; one is merely pursuing a pattern created by the mind. Again, I see this very clearly, sir, and I now understand why you dissolved the organization of which you were the head. One has to be a light unto oneself; following the light of another, other only leads one into darkness.”