Certain things must be understood before we try to grasp what Kabir is saying. First, the mind is never sick nor is it ever healthy: the mind itself IS sickness. It is never quiet and so it is meaningless to say that it is restless: restlessness is the mind. The mind can never become mad because only one who is not mad can become a lunatic: the mind itself is madness.

The mind will always remain unsteady, because unsteadiness is its nature. If a wave does not move, it will cease to be a wave. It is called a wave because it is moving, because it remains in motion. What would a silent wave be? The existence of the wave is in its motion, in its restlessness.

Never hope for your mind to be quiet; it does not know how to be at peace. As long as the mind is there, there is certain to be restlessness. When the mind is no more, what remains is peace. The absence of mind is peace — to be in no-mind is peace.

The mind will always be shaky, will always remain indecisive. If you wait for a decision by the mind — if you think, “I shall do this when the mind decides” — you will never be able to do anything. To remain in indecision is the way of the mind. It will always remain divided, broken into parts. Some parts will be for something and other parts will be against it. Within the mind there is always a civil war, there is always an internal conflict, there is always a duel going on.

What is this duality? It is important to understand its roots.

In you there are three things, three factors. One is your body. Your body is a fact; it has a material existence. And then there is the flow of consciousness within you. That is your atma, your soul. That is also a fact. Between these two is the mind. The mind is not a fact; it is a false thing.

It is a little bit body and a little bit soul — it is a situation created between the two. It cannot be total, it is always divided, always with one side or the other. And so it remains partly with the body and partly with the soul. It is created by the union of these two, and so it can never be totally with the body.

The desire to be a saint, to be a holy person, is hidden in everyone; it is even hidden in the mind of the greatest sinner. Whenever you are going to do something terrible — even though you may have been doing it for lives — the mind will caution you not to. It will say, “Don’t do this. It is bad.” If the mind were only body, then nothing would be bad. At the body’s level nothing is good or bad; neither holy act nor sin can exist. In the case of the enlightened man both disappear, and for the ignorant man neither exists. For the ignorant man, there is no possibility of the existence of good or bad, and the enlightened man has reached a place where both of these are left far behind.

When you are at prayer or at worship the mind will ask, “Why are you wasting your time?” When you are going to steal something, when you are going to commit a theft, the mind will ask, “Why are you committing a sin?” When you are preparing to give something away in charity the mind will ask, “Why are you throwing your money away unnecessarily?” Then you are in a great fix trying to figure out what the mind wants.

The mind is like a bridge joining the two banks — the bank of the body and the bank of the soul. Half of the mind is on either side, and so there will always be a problem. If you follow the mind you will always be unsteady. Whatsoever you do, bad or good, the mind will repent it. Then you will fall into great difficulty and confusion; then you will be at a loss to know what to do.

When you are in good spirits you lean to one side, and when those good spirits have left you, you lean to the other. In between the two you are torn to pieces, just as a rock is reduced to dust between the stones of a gristmill.

Kabir has said:



These two stones are within you, and you are that gristmill.

Kabir says:



If you become a little alert you will be able to see this gristmill working within you; you will be able to see yourself going round and round. The mind joins the two millstones.

Because of the mind you think, “I am the body,” and because of the mind you also think, “I am the soul.” When the mind disappears, these mistaken notions that you are the body and that you are the soul disappear. They evaporate because the person who made these claims is no more. Only you, the soul, remains. Only your original nature remains; the claimant is gone. What will there be to say then? To whom will the soul speak when the body is not? That which is opposite to the body we call the soul. That is where the highest delight arises.

So the first thing to be understood is that the mind can never be whole, can never be total. The mind will always remain divided. And if you decide you need the mind’s approval before doing something you will never be able to do anything. You will never commit a sinful act or a holy deed, a religious act or an irreligious one, an act of sansara or an act of sannyas. You will not be able to do anything at all. The mind will always remain indecisive, perplexed.

During the second world war a very famous philosopher was recruited for military service because there was a shortage of soldiers. Enlistment was compulsory, and so he was recruited against his will. He was a great philosopher. He had spent his life thinking and thinking, he had never put anything into practice, he had simply thought and thought.

This world of thoughts is quite a different world, it is quite distinct. Philosophy is a kind of exercise that pleases the mind greatly, because you never do anything so there is never any question of repentance. If you simply think of sin, no harm is done because no one is hurt, and if you think about some act of merit there is no problem either, because no one is benefited. You simply sit and think. Something only happens when there is action involved; nothing happens just by thinking. Philosophers think a lot. They waste their lives thinking, and do absolutely nothing. You will not find them among the sinners, or among good people either. They just stand on the side of the road. They do not walk, they think. And they make no decisions.

This particular recruit was a very famous philosopher. The general under whose command he had been put also knew of him — he had read the philosopher’s books. The general thought, “What can this man do? Before he has to shoot he will think about it a thousand times. And the enemy won’t wait for him.”

His training began. The first time the order “Left turn” was given everyone turned accordingly, but the philosopher stood where he was. He was asked, “What are you doing?” He answered, “I can’t do anything without thinking it over first. When I hear ‘Left turn’ I ask myself, ‘Why? What is the reason? What harm is there if I don’t turn left? What is the advantage if I do?'”

If all soldiers were to ask such questions you can imagine what would happen, but because he was a very famous philosopher and because he could see no other way out, the general decided to give him a very small and unimportant job. He sent him to work in the kitchen.

On the very first day the philosopher was given a dish of peas and told to separate them, to put the big peas on one side and the small peas on the other. After an hour the general went to check on his work. He found the philosopher sitting in front of the dish with his eyes closed. The peas were untouched. He was thinking. The general asked, “What are you doing?” “A great problem has arisen,” he said. “If I put the big peas on one side and the small ones on the other, then where shall I put the medium-sized ones? It is not right to start anything until the whole thing has been settled.”

The mind is a great philosopher — it is unable to decide anything. Philosophers have never been able to decide anything.

Look at it in this way — knowledge that is associated with the body is science, knowledge that is associated with the mind is philosophy, and knowledge that is associated with consciousness is religion. Science has certainly accomplished some very substantial things; it has been able to do much in fact. Religion has also done a lot. Philosophy has not been able to do anything because philosophy is associated with the mind. Philosophers simply go on thinking, they simply go on finding arguments for and against. And there is no end to it. The chain is endless. That is why, even after thousands of years of thinking, philosophy has not yet reached a decision. Not one single decision has been made. There have been questions, thousands and thousands of questions, but not one single solution.

Do not bother about pleasing the mind — you will be wasting your life. Just set the mind aside. If you can do that, then your life will be meaningful. If you understand the mind correctly you will see that it is only a process, only a series of thoughts. No action is born out of the mind, it just thinks a lot. At times you mistakenly believe the mind has arrived at a particular decision. You go to a temple, for example, and you vow never to tell a lie from that moment on. And hiding in its dark corner the mind laughs at your vow, at your decision, because it is a decision made by half a mind, by a partial mind, and you have not consulted the other half. Then you go to the market or sit in your shop and begin your business. You enter the world of business and then that hidden part of your mind will induce you to lie.

Your vow is a challenge to the mind. You did not consult it before you made your resolution and your mind will not be still until it breaks it. You have taken many vows, and many times you have broken them. The only reason you keep doing this is that you take your vow after listening to the mind. The real vow is born when you give up the mind.

There are two kinds of vows. One is the kind you take following the dictates of the mind. You hear a sadhu or a saint and you like what he has to say. But who likes it? It is liked by the mind. The half of the mind near the soul is delighted to hear such talk, is enchanted by these words; it will become enraptured by them and will take a vow. This vow is taken, but you have not yet consulted the other half of the mind. Now the other half will take revenge. It will never pardon you, it will immediately start some game to make you break your vow.

Even in small matters, challenges play a great part in life. When a person decides not to smoke, for example, this becomes a challenge to the mind. If today you decide to fast, then the half portion of the mind that belongs to the body will decide to break your vow. For the whole day it will make you think of food, it will make you dream about food. It will try to entice you in a thousand and one ways. And the opposite of this is also true. If you follow the dictates of the body, then the other half of the mind will create trouble for you.

The man who follows the mind is like a traveler who is trying to sail in two boats, and each boat is going in a different direction. Such a person will always be in a quandary — he will always remain suspended in the middle. He will have no place to stand; he will be neither of the earth nor of the sky.

There is another type of vow which I call MAHAVRATA, the great vow. This is not taken by the mind. This vow is taken after the full realization that the mind is afflicted by duality, that the mind is duality, that the mind is conflict. In taking such a vow the mind is set aside. It is not that the mind makes a vow it will not speak the truth. When you have realized what the mind is, the feeling that arises in your consciousness is not this sort of vow. The feeling comes because you have realized what falsehood is and what the mind is, and now your understanding, your realization itself becomes the greatest vow.

The man who has understood what smoking is does not have to throw his cigarette away; the cigarette falls from his hand by itself. And the man who has realized what wine is watches the bottle slipping from his hand. When you quit something it is the mind that is giving it up; if it goes away by itself it is mahavrata, the great vow. But if it is you that is putting something aside, you will surely pick it up again.

Mulla Nasruddin once went to address a meeting. It generally happens that speakers say one thing but act differently. You may be surprised at this, but it is what usually happens. It is not their fault, and you are mistaken if you think they are deceiving you on purpose. On such an occasion it is that part of the mind nearer the soul that begins to function.

Addressing a gathering, who will speak out in favor of sin? It is only talk, no doing is involved, so one can speak of high ideals and of great deeds. It is only discussion. Nothing is at stake, there is nothing to lose. So at the time he is speaking, a speaker will talk about nonavarice and not about greed, about nonviolence and not about violence, about truth and not about falsehood. When he is speaking, the speaker becomes a pious man, a sadhu — when he is speaking.

The Mulla also spoke about great and wise things — about truth, nonviolence, about honesty. The audience was surprised. And the Mulla’s son, who was also there, was surprised as well. The Mulla explained that anyone could achieve liberation by climbing the steps of truth — by being honest, by practicing nonviolence, celibacy and nonpossessiveness. “This ladder is right in front of you,” he said. “You just have to begin to climb.” I was present the next morning when the Mulla’s son said to him, “I had a dream last night, and I saw the ladder you spoke about yesterday.”

Seeing that his talk had greatly impressed his son, the Mulla was eager to hear more. “Go on,” he said. “What happened next?”

His son replied, “The ladder rose high towards heaven — its top was lost, far away in the sky. At the base of the ladder there was a noticeboard with sticks of chalk, one foot long, kept near it. The instructions on the board said that whoever climbed the ladder was to take a stick of chalk with him and make a mark on each step for each one of his sins.”

The Mulla was becoming more and more excited. He said, “Go on. What next?”

The son continued, “I took a stick of chalk, made my first mark, and began to climb. After climbing a little I heard the sounds of someone climbing down.”

The Mulla asked, “Who was it?”

The son said, “I wondered that too, so I raised my eyes and saw that it was you climbing down.”

The Mulla said, “Me? Climbing down? What are you talking about? Why should I climb down?”

The boy said, “I asked you the same question and you replied, ‘I am going back down to get more chalk.'”

Actions are full of sins, while talk is only about great deeds. You keep on sinning and at the same time go on taking vows that you will perform acts of great merit. And so both parts of the mind are satisfied. The part of the mind near the body is satisfied with sin and the other is satisfied with the scriptures. You sail in both boats and seem very pleased with yourself. But you never reach anywhere, you cannot. No one has ever reached anywhere this way. Even if you choose one boat the difficulty remains the same — both boats belong to the mind.

Kabir says that those who sit in a boat, in either boat, drown. The voyage across the ocean of life is such that those who accept the help of a boat are the ones who sink. One has to swim oneself — there is no need for any boat at all. Both the boats are of the mind; their names are sin and holiness.

And so you remain divided, in duality. I see that the man sitting in the shop is divided; I see that the man sitting in the ashram is divided as well. The man in the shop thinks about holy acts because he is committing sins, and the man in the ashram performs holy acts and thinks of sinful things. There is no difference in their perplexity; both are in difficulty. So you have to give up the mind completely. The mind is madness. And to give it up means to understand it. When you understand the nature of the mind it will be easy to let it go.

Now let us try to understand these words of Kabir:


The mind is mad. This is not poetry; what Kabir has to say are direct truths of life. Madness is another name for the mind. There is no need for anybody to explain this to you; you are very well acquainted with your mind. If you have even the slightest ability to see through it, to see through the workings of your mind, you will realize that it is mad.

The mind is always asking you to do something over again, something you have already done so many times before. And every time you see that by doing it nothing is achieved. What else can madness be?

Many times you have tried to extract oil from sand, but it does not work. You know that sand is sand, that oil cannot be extracted from it, and yet you do the same thing over and over again. If this is not madness, what is?

You have indulged in the pleasures of the flesh countless times, innumerable times, and yet you have achieved nothing. You still do not know what real joy is, you still do not know what ecstasy is. You simply remain thirsty and miserable, weeping and repenting what you have done. And in spite of this experience, the mind induces you to repeat things over and over again. If this is not madness, then what else is it?

To be mad is to keep repeating something that has already been seen as useless, as worthless. To be mad is not to do something even though there may be a little substance in it, not to go near something that has a glimpse of some substance in it.

People come to me and they say, “We practiced meditation for a few days and then gave it up.” I ask them how they found those few days. They say, “We experienced great joy and peace.” This seems very surprising, giving up meditation in spite of the fact they experienced peace while doing it. They say, “It was the mind that made us stop.”

Do you give up those things that make you unhappy and miserable? You have been angry many times. Have you ever experienced any joy from your anger? Has it brought you joy even once? Whenever you have been angry you have experienced unhappiness — but the mind does not give anger up. Whenever you meditate or pray, or go to a temple and sit in silence, you feel happy — yet your mind asks you to give it up. And you take its advice!

You do things from which nothing but misery results because the mind says, “Make another attempt. This time you might succeed. It may have borne no fruit up to now but you might get some in the future, so keep on. Who can definitely say you won’t get it just because you haven’t obtained it up to now? So keep on seeking. Keep on making an effort.”

And so your mind pushes you on a fruitless journey. What else can madness be?

OSHO, The Great Secret
Come what may, allow

Wordpress Seo Plugin