Commentaries on Living [2]

Chapter - 32
Your Children and Their Success

IT WAS AN enchanted evening. The hilltops were aglow with the setting sun, and in the sand on the path that led across the valley, four woodpeckers were taking a bath. With their longish beaks they would pull the sand under them, their wings would flutter as they pushed their bodies deeper into it, and then they would begin all over again, the tufts on their heads bobbing up and down. They were calling to each other and enjoying themselves thoroughly. Not to disturb them we stepped off the path onto the short, thick grass of recent rains; and there, a few feet away, was a large snake, yellowish and powerful. Its head was sleek, painted, and cruelly shaped. It was too intent on those birds to be disturbed, its black eyes watching without movement and its black, forked tongue darting in and out. Almost imperceptibly it was moving towards the birds, its scales making no noise on the grass. It was a cobra, and there was death about it. Dangerous but beautiful, it was shiny in the darkening light, and it must recently have shed its old skin. Suddenly the four birds took to the air with a cry, and then we saw an extraordinary thing take place: a cobra relax. It had been so eager, so tense, and now it seemed almost lifeless, part of the earth - but in a second, fatal. It moved with ease and only lifted its head when we made a slight noise, but with it went a peculiar stillness, the stillness of fear and death.

She was a small, elderly lady with white hair, but was well preserved. Though gentle of speech, her figure, her walk, her gestures and the way she held her head, all showed a deep-rooted aggressiveness which her voice did not conceal. She had a large family, several sons and daughters, but her husband been dead for some time and she alone had had to bring them up. One of her sons, she said with evident pride, was a successful doctor with a large practice, and also a good surgeon. One of her daughters was a clever and successful politician, and without too much difficulty was getting her own way; she said this with a smile which implied, "You know what women are". She went on to explain that this political lady had spiritual aspirations.

What do you mean by spiritual aspirations?

"She wants to be the head of some religious or philosophical group."

To have power over others through an organization is surely evil, is it not? That is the way of all politicians whether they are in politics or not. You may hide it under pleasant and deceptive words, but is not the desire for power always evil?

She listened, but what was being said had no meaning to her. It was written on her face that she was concerned about something, and what it was would presently emerge. She went on to tell of the activities of her other children, all of whom were vigorous and doing well except the one she really loved.

"What is sorrow?" she suddenly asked. "Somewhere in the background I seem to have had it all my life. Though all but one of my children are well off and contented, sorrow has been constantly with me. I can't put my finger on it, but it has pursued me, and I often lie awake at night wondering what it is all about. I am also concerned about my youngest son. You see, he is a failure. Whatever he touches goes to pieces: his marriage, his relationship with his brothers and sisters, and with his friends. He almost never has a job, and when he does get one something happens and he's out. He seems incapable of being helped. I worry about him, and though he adds to my sorrow, I don't think he is the root of it. What is sorrow? I have had anxieties, disappointments and physical pain, but this pervading sorrow is something beyond all that, and I have not been able to find its cause. Could we talk about it?"
You are very proud of your children and especially of their success, are you not?

"I think any parent would be as they have all made good except the last one. They are prosperous and happy. But why are you asking that question?"

It may have something to do with your sorrow. Are you sure that your sorrow has nothing to do with their success?

"Of course; on the contrary, I am very happy about it."

What do you think is the root of your sorrow? If one may ask, did the death of your husband affect you very deeply? Are you still affected by it?

"It was a great shock and I was very lonely after his death, but I soon forgot my loneliness and sorrow as there were the children to be seen to and I had no time to think about myself."

Do you think that time wipes away loneliness and sorrow? Are they not still there, buried in the deeper layers of your mind, even though you may have forgotten them? May it not be that these are the cause of your conscious sorrow?

"As I say, the death of my husband was a shock, but somehow it was to be expected, and with tears I accepted it. As a girl, before I married I saw my father's death and some years later that of my mother also; but I have never been interested in official religion, and all this clamour for explanations of death and the hereafter has never bothered me. Death is inevitable and let us accept it with as little noise as possible."

That may be the way you regard death, but is loneliness to be so easily reasoned away? Death is something of tomorrow, to be faced perhaps, when it comes; but is not loneliness ever present? You may deliberately shut it out, but it is still there behind the door. Should you not invite loneliness and look at it?

"I don't know about that. Loneliness is most unpleasant, and I doubt if I can go so far as to invite that awful feeling. It is really quite frightening."

Must you not understand it fully, since that may be the cause of your sorrow?

"But how am I to understand it when it is the very thing that gives me pain?"

Loneliness does not give you pain, but the idea of loneliness causes fear. You have never experienced the state of loneliness. You have always approached it with apprehension dread with the urge to get away from it or to find a way to overcome it; so you have avoided it, have you not? You have really never come directly into contact with it. To put loneliness away from you, you have escaped into the activities of your children and their success. Their success has become yours; but behind this worship of success, is there not some deep concern?

"How do you know?"

The thing you escape into - the radio, social activity, a particular dogma, so-called love, and so on - becomes all-important, as necessary to you as drink to the drunkard. One may lose oneself in the worship of success, or in the worship of an image, or in some ideal; but all ideals are illusory, and in the very losing of oneself there is anxiety. If one may point out, your children's success has been to you a source of pain, for you have a deeper concern about them and about yourself. In spite of your admiration of their success and of the applause they have received from the public, is there not behind it a sense of shame, of disgust, or disappointment? Please forgive me for asking, but are you not deeply distressed about their success?

"You know, sir, I have never dared to acknowledge, even to myself the nature of this distress, but it is as you say."

Do you want to go into it?

"Now, of course, I do want to go into it. You see, I have always been religious without belonging to any religion. Here and there I have read about religious matters, but I have never been caught in any so-called religious organization. Organized religion has seemed too distant and not sufficiently intimate. Beneath my worldly life, however, there has always been a vague religious groping, and when I began to have children, this groping took the form of a deep hope that one of my children would be religiously inclined. And not one of them is; they have all become prosperous and worldly, except the last one, who is a mixture of everything. All of them are really mediocre, and that is what hurts. They are engrossed in their worldliness. It all seems so superficial and silly, but I haven't discussed it with any of them, and even if I did, they wouldn't understand what I was talking about. I thought that at least one of them would be different, and I am horrified at their mediocrity and my own. It is this, I suppose, that is causing my sorrow. What can one do to break up this stupid state?"

In oneself or in another? One can only break up mediocrity in oneself, and then perhaps a different relationship with others may arise. To know that one is mediocre is already the beginning of change, is it not? But a petty mind, becoming aware of itself, frantically tries to change, to improve, and this very urge is mediocre. Any desire for self-improvement is petty. When the mind knows that it is mediocre and does not act upon itself, there is the breaking up of mediocrity.

"What do you mean by `act upon itself?'"

If a petty mind, realizing it is petty, makes an effort to change itself, is it not still petty? The effort to change is born of a petty mind; therefore that very effort is petty.

"Yes, I see that, but what can one do?"

Any action of the mind is small, limited. The mind must cease to act, and only then is there the ending of mediocrity.

Chapter - 33
The Urge to Seek

TWO GOLDEN-GREEN birds with long tails used to come to that garden every morning and sit on a particular branch, playing and calling to each other. They were so restless, always on the move, their bodies quivering, but they were lovely things, and they never seemed to tire in their flight and play. It was a sheltered garden, and many other birds constantly came and went. Two young mongooses, sleek and swift their yellowish fur sparkling in the sun, would chase each other along the top of the low wall, and then, slipping through a hole, would come into the garden; but how cautious and observant they were even in their play, keeping close to the wall, their red eyes alert and watchful. Occasionally an old mongoose, comfortably fat, would come slowly into the garden through the same hole. It must have been their father or mother, for once the three of them were together. Coming into the garden one after another through the hole, they crossed the whole length of the lawn in single file and disappeared among the bushes.

"Why do we seek?" asked P. "What is the purpose of our search? How weary one gets of this everlasting seeking! Is there no end to it?"

"We search for what we want to find," answered M., "and after finding what we seek, we move on to further discovery. If we did not seek, all living would come to an end; life would stagnate and have no meaning."

"Seek and ye shall find'," quoted R. "We find what we want, what we consciously or unconsciously crave for. We have never questioned this urge to seek; we have always sought, and apparently we shall always go on seeking."

"The desire to seek is inevitable," stated I. "You might just as well ask why we breathe, or why the hair grows. The urge to seek is as inevitable as day and night."

When you assert so definitely that the urge to seek is inevitable, the discovery of the truth of the matter is blocked, is it not? When you accept anything as final determined, does not all inquiry come to an end?

"But there are certain fixed laws, like gravity, and it is wiser to accept than to batter one's head vainly against them," replied I.

We accept certain dogmas and beliefs for various psychological reasons and through the process of time what is thus accepted becomes `inevitable, a so-called necessity for man.

"If I, accepts as inevitable the urge to seek, then he will go on seeking and for him it is not a problem," said M.

The scientist, the cunning politician, the unhappy, the diseased - each is seeking in his own way and changing the object of his search from time to time. We are all seeking, but we have never, it seems, asked ourselves why we seek. We are not discussing the object of our search, whether noble or ignoble, but we are trying to find out, aren't we, why we seek at all? What is this urge, this everlasting compulsion? Is it inevitable? Has it an unending continuity?

"If we do not seek," asked Y., "will we not become lazy and just stagnate?"

Conflict in one form or another appears to be the way of life, and without it we think that life would have no meaning. To most of us, the cessation of struggle is death. Search implies struggle, conflict, and is this process essential to man, or is there a different `way' of life in which search and struggle are not? Why and what do we seek?

"I seek ways and means to assure, not my own survival, but that of my nation," said I.

Is there such a vast difference between national and individual survival? The individual identifies himself with the nation, or with a particular form of society, and then wants that nation or society to survive. The survival of this or that nation is also the survival of the individual. Is not the individual ever seeking to survive, to have continuity, by being identified with something greater or nobler than himself?

"Is there not a point or a moment at which we suddenly find ourselves without search, without struggle?" asked M.

"That moment may be merely the result of weariness," replied R., "a brief pause before plunging again into the vicious circle of search and fear."

"Or it may be outside of time," said M.

Is the moment we are talking about outside of time, or is it only a point of rest before starting to seek again? Why do we seek, and is it possible for this search to come to an end? Unless we discover for ourselves why we seek and struggle, the state in which search has come to an end will remain for us an illusion, without significance.

"Is there no difference between the various objects of search?" asked B.

Of course there are differences, but in all seeking the urge is essentially the same, is it not? Whether we seek to survive individually or as a nation; whether we go to a teacher a guru, a saviour; whether we follow a particular discipline, or find some other means of bettering ourselves, is not each one of us, in his own limited or extensive way, seeking some form of satisfaction, continuity, permanency? So we are now asking ourselves, not what we seek, but why do we seek at all? And is it possible for all search to come to an end, not through compulsion or frustration, or because one has found, but because the urge has wholly ceased?

"We are caught in the habit of search, and I suppose it is the outcome of our dissatisfaction," said B.

Being discontented, dissatisfied, we seek contentment, satisfaction. As long as there is this urge to be satisfied, to fulfil, there must be search and struggle. With the urge to fulfil there is always the shadow of fear, is there not?

"How can we escape from fear?" asked B.

You want to fulfil without the sting of fear; but is there ever an enduring fulfilment? Surely, the very desire to fulfil is itself the cause of frustration and fear. Only when the significance of fulfilment is seen is there an ending of desire. Becoming and being are two widely different states, and you cannot go from one to the other; but with the ending of becoming the other is.

Chapter - 34

THE FULL MOON was just coming up over the river; there was a haze which made her red, and smoke was rising from the many villages, for it was cold. There was not a ripple on the river, but the current was hidden, strong and deep. The swallows were flying low, and one or two wing tips touched the water, disturbing ever so little the placid surface. Up the river the evening star was just visible over a minaret in the distant, crowded town. The parrots were coming back to be near human habitation, and their flight was never straight. They would drop with a screech, pick up a grain, and fly sideways, but they were always moving forward towards a leafy tree, where they were gathering by the hundreds; then off they would fly again to a more sheltering tree, and as darkness came there would be silence. The moon was now well over the tops of the trees, and she made a silvery pathway on the still waters.

"I see the importance of listening, but I wonder if I ever really listen to what you say," he remarked. "Somehow I have to make a great effort to listen."

When you make an effort to listen, are you listening? Is not that very effort a distraction which prevents listening? Do you make an effort when you listen to something that gives you delight? Surely, this effort to listen is a form of compulsion. Compulsion is resistance, is it not? And resistance breeds problems, so listening becomes one of them. Listening itself is never a problem.

"But to me it is. I want to listen correctly because I feel that what you are saying has deep significance, but I can't go beyond its verbal meaning."

If I may say so, you are not listening now to what is being said. You have made listening into a problem, and this problem is preventing you from listening. Everything we touch becomes a problem, one issue breeds many other issues. Perceiving this is it possible not to breed problems at all?

"That would be marvellous, but how is one to come to that happy state?"

Again, you see, the question of `how', the manner of achieving a certain state, becomes still another problem. We are talking of not giving birth to problems. If it may be pointed out, you must be aware of the manner in which the mind is creating the problem. You want to achieve the state of perfect listening; in other words, you are not listening, but you want to achieve a state, and you need time and interest to gain that or any other state. The need for time and interest generates problems. You are not simply aware that you are not listening. When you are aware of it, the very fact that you are not listening has its own action; the truth of that fact acts, you do not act upon the fact. But you want to act upon it, to change it, to cultivate its opposite, to bring about a desired state, and so on. Your effort to act upon the fact breeds problems, whereas seeing the truth of the fact brings its own liberating action. You are not aware of the truth, nor do you see the false as the false, as long as your mind is occupied in anyway with effort, with comparison, with justification or condemnation.

"All this may be so, but with all the conflicts and contradictions that go on within oneself, it still seems to me that it is almost impossible to listen."

Listening itself is a complete act; the very act of listening brings its own freedom. But are you really concerned with listening, or with altering the turmoil within? If you would listen, sir, in the sense of being aware of your conflicts and contradictions without forcing them into any particular pattern of thought, perhaps they might altogether cease. You see, we are constantly trying to be this or that, to achieve a particular state, to capture one kind of experience and avoid another, so the mind is everlastingly occupied with something; it is never still to listen to the noise of its own struggles and pains. Be simple, sir, and don't try to become something or to capture some experience.

Chapter - 35
The Fire of Discontent

IT HAD BEEN raining quite heavily for several days, and the streams were swollen and noisy. Brown and dirty, they came from every gully and joined a wider stream that ran through the middle of the valley, and this in turn joined the river that went down to the sea some miles away. The river was high and fast-flowing, winding through orchards and open country. Even in summer the river was never dry, though all the streams that fed it showed their barren rocks and dry sands. Now the river was flowing faster than a man could walk, and on both banks people were watching the muddy waters. It was not often that the river was so high. The people were excited, their eyes sparkled, for the fast-moving waters were a delight. The town near the sea might suffer, the river might overflow its banks inundating the fields and the groves and damaging the houses; but here, under the lonely bridge, the brown waters were singing. A few people were fishing, but they could not have caught much, for the current was too strong, carrying with it the debris of all the neighbouring streams. It began to rain again, yet the people stayed to watch and to take delight in simple things.

"I have always been a seeker," she said. "I have read, oh, so many books on many subjects. I was a Catholic, but left that church to join another; leaving that too, I joined a religious society. I have recently been reading oriental philosophy, the teachings of the Buddha, and added to all this, I have had myself psycho-analysed; but even that hasn't stopped me from seeking, and now here I am talking to you. I nearly went to India in search of a Master, but circumstances prevented me from going."

She went on to say that she was married and had a couple of children, bright and intelligent, who were in college; she wasn't worried about them, they could look after themselves. Social interests meant nothing any more. She had been seriously trying to meditate but got nowhere, and her mind was as silly and vagrant as before.

"What you say about meditation and prayer is so different from what I have read and thought, that it has greatly puzzled me" she added. "But through all this wearisome confusion, I really want to find truth and understand its mystery."

Do you think that by seeking truth you will find it? May it not be that the so-called seeker can never find truth? You have never fathomed this urge to seek, have you? Yet you keep on seeking going from one thing to another in the hope of finding what you want, which you call truth and make a mystery of.

"But what's wrong with going after what I want? I have always gone after what I wanted, and more often than not I have got it."

That may be; but do you think that you can collect truth as you would money or paintings? Do you think it is another ornament for one's vanity? Or must the mind that is acquisitive wholly cease for the other to be?

"I suppose I am too eager to find it."

Not at all. You will find what you seek in your eagerness, but it will not be the real.

"Then what am I supposed to do, just lie down and vegetate?"
You are jumping to conclusions, are you not? Is it not important to find out why you are seeking?

"Oh, I know why I am seeking. I am thoroughly discontented with everything, even with the things I have found. The pain of discontent returns again and again; I think I have got hold of something, but it soon fades away and once again the pain of discontent overwhelms me. I have tried in every way I can think of to overcome it, but somehow it is too strong within me, and I must find something - truth, or whatever it is - that will give me peace and contentment."

Should you not be thankful that you have not succeeded in smothering this fire of discontent? To overcome discontent has been your problem, has it not? You have sought contentment, and fortunately you have not found it; to find it is to stagnate, vegetate.

"I suppose that is really what I am seeking: an escape from this gnawing discontent."

Most people are discontented, are they not? But they find satisfaction in the easy things of life whether it is mountain climbing or the fulfilment of some ambition. The restlessness of discontent is superficially turned into achievements that gratify. If we are shaken in our contentment, we soon find ways to overcome the pain of discontent, so we live on the surface and never fathom the depths of discontent.

"How is one to go below the surface of discontent?"

Your question indicates that you still desire to escape from discontent, does it not? To live with that pain, without trying to escape from it or to alter it, is to penetrate the depths of discontent. As long as we are trying to get somewhere, or to be something, there must be the pain of conflict, and having caused the pain, we then want to escape from it; and we do escape into every kind of activity. To be integrated with discontent, to remain with and be part of discontent, without the observer forcing it into grooves of satisfaction or accepting it as inevitable, is to allow that which has no opposite, no second, to come into being.

"I follow what you are saying, but I have fought discontent for so many years that it is now very difficult for me to be part of it."

The more you fight a habit, the more life you give to it. Habit is a dead thing, do not fight it, do not resist it; but with the perception of the truth of discontent, the past will have lost its significance. Though painful, it is a marvellous thing to be discontented without smothering that flame with knowledge, with tradition, with hope, with achievement. We get lost in the mystery of man's achievement in the mystery of the church, or of the jet plane. Again, this is superficial, empty, leading to destruction and misery. There is a mystery that is beyond the capacities and powers of the mind. You cannot seek it out or invite it; it must come without your asking, and with it comes a benediction for man.

Chapter - 36
An Experience of Bliss

IT WAS A VERY hot and humid day. In the park many people were stretched out on the grass or sitting on benches in the shade of the heavy trees; they were taking cool drinks and gasping for clean, fresh air. The sky was grey, there was not the slightest breeze, and the fumes of this vast mechanized city filled the air. In the country it must have been lovely, for spring was just turning into summer. Some trees would just be putting forth their leaves, and along the road which ran beside the wide, sparkling river, every kind of flower would be out. Deep in the woods there would be that peculiar silence in which you can almost hear things being born, and the mountains, with their deep valleys, would be blue and fragrant. But here in the city...!

Imagination perverts the perception of what is; and yet how proud we are of our imagination and speculation. The speculative mind, with its intricate thoughts, is not capable of fundamental transformation; it is not a revolutionary mind. It has clothed itself with what should be and follows the pattern of its own limited and enclosing projections. The good is not in what should be, it lies in the understanding of what is. Imagination prevents the perception of what is, as does comparison. The mind must put aside all imagination and speculation for the real to be.

He was quite young, but he had a family and was a businessman of some repute. He looked very worried and miserable, and was eager to say something.

"Some time ago I had a most remarkable experience, and as I have never before talked about it to anyone I wonder if I am capable of explaining it to you; I hope so, for I cannot go to anybody else. It was an experience which completely ravished my heart; but it has gone, and now I have only the empty memory of it. Perhaps you can help me to get it back. I will tell you, as fully as I can, what that blessing was. I have read of these things, but they were always empty words and appealed only to my senses; but what happened to me was beyond all thought, beyond imagination and desire, and now I have lost it. Please do help me to get it back." He paused for a moment, and then continued.

"I woke up one morning very early; the city was still asleep, and its murmur had not yet begun. I felt I had to get out, so I dressed quickly and went down to the street. Even the milk truck was not yet on its rounds. It was early spring, and the sky was pale blue. I had a strong feeling that I should go to the park, a mile or so away. From the moment I came out of my front door I had a strange feeling of lightness, as though I were walking on air. The building opposite, a drab block of flats, had lost all its ugliness; the very bricks were alive and clear. Every little object which ordinarily I would never have noticed seemed to have an extraordinary quality of its own, and strangely, everything seemed to be a part of me. Nothing was separate from me; in fact, the `me' as the observer, the perceiver, was absent, if you know what I mean. There was no `me' separate from that tree, or from that paper in the gutter, or from the birds that were calling to each other. It was a state of consciousness that I had never known.”

"On the way to the park," he went on, "there is a flower shop. I have passed it hundreds of times, and I used to glance at the flowers as I went by. But on this particular morning I stopped in front of it. The plate glass window was slightly frosted with the heat and damp from inside, but this did not prevent me from seeing the many varieties of flowers. As I stood looking at them, I found myself smiling and laughing with a joy I had never before experienced. Those flowers were speaking to me, and I was speaking to them; I was among them, and they were part of me. In saying this, I may give you the impression that I was hysterical, slightly off my head; but it was not so. I had dressed very carefully, and had been aware of putting on clean things, looking at my watch, seeing the names of the shops, including that of my tailor, and reading the titles of the books in a book shop window. Everything was alive, and I loved everything. I was the scent of those flowers, but there was no `me' to smell the flowers, if you know what I mean. There was no separation between them and me. That flower shop was fantastically alive with colours, and the beauty of it all must have been stunning, for time and its measurement had ceased. I must have stood there for over twenty minutes, but I assure you there was no sense of time. I could hardly tear myself away from those flowers. The world of struggle, pain and sorrow was there, and yet it was not. You see, in that state, words have no meaning.

Words are descriptive, separative, comparative, but in that state there were no words; `I' was not experiencing, there was only that state, that experience. Time had stopped; there was no past, present or future. There was only - oh, I don't know how to put it into words, but it doesn't matter. There was a presence - no, not that word. It was as though the earth, with everything in it and on it, were in a state of benediction, and I, walking towards the park, were part of it. As I drew near the park I was absolutely spellbound by the beauty of those familiar trees. From the pale yellow to the almost black-green, the leaves were dancing with life; every leaf stood out separate, and the whole richness of the earth was in a single leaf. I was conscious that my heart was beating fast; I have a very good heart, but I could hardly breathe as I entered the park and I thought I was going to faint. I sat down on a bench, and tears were rolling down my cheeks. There was a silence that was utterly unbearable, but that silence was cleansing all things of pain and sorrow. As I went deeper into the park, there was music in the air. I was surprised, as there was no house nearby, and no one would have a radio in the park at that hour of the morning. The music was part of the whole thing. All the goodness, all the compassion of the world was in that park, and God was there.

"I am not a theologian, nor much of a religious person," he continued. "I have been a dozen times or so inside a church, but it has never meant anything to me. I cannot stomach all that nonsense that goes on in churches. But in that park there was Being, if one may use such a word, in whom all things lived and had their being. My legs were shaking and I was forced to sit down again, with my back against a tree. The trunk was a living thing, as I was, and I was part of that tree, part of that Being, part of the world. I must have fainted. It had all been too much for me: the vivid, living colours, the leaves, the rocks, the flowers, the incredible beauty of everything. And over all was the benediction of...

"When I came to, the sun was up. It generally takes me about twenty minutes to walk to the park, but it was nearly two hours since I had left my house. Physically I seemed to have no strength to walk back; so I sat there, gathering strength and not daring to think. As I slowly walked back home, the whole of that experience was with me; it lasted two days, and faded away as suddenly as it had come. Then my torture began. I didn't go near my office for a week. I wanted that strange living experience back again, I wanted to live once again and forever in that beatific world. All this happened two years ago. I have seriously thought of giving up everything and going away into some lonely corner of the world, but I know in my heart that I cannot get it back that way. No monastery can offer me that experience, nor can any candle lit church, which only deals with death and darkness. I considered making my way to India, but that too I put aside. Then I tried a certain drug; it made things more vivid, and soon, but an opiate is not what I want. That is a cheap way of experiencing, it is a trick but not the real thing.

"So here I am," he concluded. "I would give everything, my life and all my possessions, to live again in that world. What am I to do?"
It came to you, sir, uninvited. You never sought it. As long as you are seeking it, you will never have it. The very desire to live again in that ecstatic state is preventing the new, the fresh experience of bliss. You see what has happened: you have had that experience, and now you are living with the dead memory of yesterday. What has been is preventing the new.

"Do you mean to say that I must put away and forget all that has been, and carry on with my petty life, inwardly starving from day to day?"

If you do not look back and ask for more, which is quite a task, then perhaps that very thing over which you have no control may act as it will. Greed, even for the sublime, breeds sorrow; the urge for the more opens the door to time. That bliss cannot be bought through any sacrifice, through any virtue, through any drug. It is not a reward, a result. It comes when it will; do not seek it.

"But was that experience real, was it of the highest?"

We want another to confirm, to make us certain of what has been, and so we find shelter in it. To be made certain or secure in that which has been, even if it were the real, is to strengthen the unreal and breed illusion. To bring over to the present what is past, pleasurable or painful is to prevent the real. Reality has no continuity. It is from moment to moment, timeless and measureless.

Chapter - 37
A Politician Who Wanted to Do Good

IT HAD RAINED during the night, and the perfumed earth was still damp. The path led away from the river among ancient trees and mango groves. It was a path of pilgrimage trodden by thousands, for it had been the tradition for over twenty centuries that all good pilgrims must tread that path. But it was not the right time of the year for pilgrims and on this particular morning only the villagers were walking there. In their gaily-coloured clothes, with the sun behind them and with loads of hay, vegetables and firewood on their heads, they were a beautiful sight; they walked with grace and dignity, laughing and talking over village affairs. On both sides of the path, stretching as far as the eye could see, there were green, cultivated fields of winter wheat, with wide patches of peas and other vegetables for the market. It was a lovely morning, with clear blue skies, and there was a blessing on the land. The earth was a living thing, bountiful rich and sacred. It was not the sacredness of man-made things, of temples, priests and books; it was the beauty of complete peace and complete silence. One was bathed in it; the trees, the grass, and the big bull, were part of it; the children playing in the dust were aware of it, though they knew it not. It was not a passing thing; it was there without a beginning without an ending.

He was a politician and he wanted to do good. He felt himself to be unlike other politicians, he said, for he really was concerned with the welfare of the people, with their needs, their health, and their growth. Of course he was ambitious, but who was not? Ambition helped him to be more active, and without it he would be lazy, incapable of doing much good to others. He wanted to become a member of the cabinet, and was well on his way to it, and when he got there he would see that his ideas were carried out. He had travelled the world over, visiting various countries and studying the schemes of different governments, and after careful thought he had been able to work out a plan that would really benefit his country.

"But now I don't know if I can put it through," he said with evident pain. "You see, I have not been at all well lately. The doctors say that I must take it easy, and I may have to undergo a very serious operation; but I cannot bring myself to accept this situation."

If one may ask, what is preventing you from taking it easy?

"I refuse to accept the prospect of being an invalid for the rest of my life and not being able to do what I want to do. I know, verbally at least, that I cannot keep up indefinitely the pace I have been used to, but if I am laid up my plan may never go through. Naturally there are other ambitious people, and it is a matter of dog eating dog. I was at several of your meetings, so I thought I would come and talk things over with you."

Is your problem, sir, that of frustration? There is a possibility of long illness, with a decline of usefulness and popularity, and you find that you cannot accept this, because life would be utterly barren without the fulfillment of your schemes; is that it?

"As I said, I am as ambitious as the next man, but I also want to do good. On the other hand, I am really quite ill, and I simply can't accept this illness, so there is a bitter conflict going on within me, which I am quite aware is making me still more ill. There is another fear too, not for my family, who are all well provided for, but the fear of something that I have never been able to put into words, even to myself."

You mean the fear of death?

"Yes, I think that is it; or rather, of coming to an end without fulfilling what I have set out to do. Probably this is my greatest fear, and I do not know how to assuage it."

Will this illness totally prevent your political activities?

"You know what it is like. Unless I am in the centre of things, I shall be forgotten and my schemes will have no chance. It will virtually mean a withdrawal from politics, and I am loath to do that."

So, you can either voluntarily and easily accept the fact that you must withdraw, or equally happily go on doing your political work, knowing the serious nature of your illness. Either way, disease may thwart your ambitions. Life is very strange is it not? If I may suggest, why not accept the inevitable without bitterness? If there is cynicism or bitterness, your mind will make the illness worse.

"I am fully aware of all this, and yet I cannot accept - least of all happily, as you suggest - my physical condition. I could perhaps carry on with a bit of my political work, but that is not enough."

Do you think that the fulfilment of your ambition to do good is the only way of life for you, and that only through you and your schemes will your country be saved? You are the centre of all this supposedly good work, are you not? You are really not deeply concerned with the good of the people, but with good as manifested through you. You are important, and not the good of the people. You have so identified yourself with your schemes and with the so-called good of the people, that you take your own fulfilment to be their happiness. Your schemes may be excellent, and they may, by some happy chance, bring good to the people; but you want your name to be identified with that good. Life is strange; disease has come upon you, and you are thwarted in furthering your name and your importance. This is what is causing conflict in you, and not anxiety lest the people should not be helped. If you loved the people and did not indulge in mere lip service, it would have its own spontaneous effect which would be of significant help; but you do not love the people they are merely the tools of your ambition and your vanity. Doing good is on the way to your own glory. I hope you don't mind my saying all this?

"I am really happy that you have expressed so openly the things that are deeply concealed in my heart, and it has done me good. I have somehow felt all this, but have never allowed myself to face it directly. It is a great relief to hear it so plainly stated, and I hope I shall now understand and calm my conflict. I shall see how things turn out, but already I feel a little more detached from my anxieties and hopes. But sir, what of death?"

This problem is more complex and it demands deep insight, does it not? You can rationalize death away, saying that all things die, that the fresh green leaf of spring is blown away in the autumn, and so on. You can reason and find explanations for death, or try to conquer by will the fear of death, or find a belief as a substitute for that fear; but all this is still the action of the mind. And the so-called intuition concerning the truth of reincarnation, or life after death, may be merely a wish for survival. All these reasonings, intuitions, explanations, are within the field of the mind, are they not? They are all activities of thought to overcome the fear of death; but the fear of death is not to be so tamely conquered. The individual's desire to survive through the nation, through the family, through name and idea, or through beliefs, is still the craving for his own continuity is it not? It is this craving, with its complex resistances and hopes, that must voluntarily, effortlessly and happily come to an end. One must die each day to all one's memories, experiences, knowledge and hopes; the accumulations of pleasure and repentance, the gathering of virtue, must cease from moment to moment. These are not just words, but the statement of an actuality. What continues can never know the bliss of the unknown. Not to gather, but to die each day, each minute, is timeless being. As long as there is the urge to fulfil, with its conflicts, there will always be the fear of death.

Chapter - 38
The Competitive Way of Life

THE MONKEYS WERE on the road, and in the middle of the road a baby monkey was playing with its tail, but the mother was keeping an eye on it. They were all well aware that someone was there, at a safe distance. The adult males were large, heavy and rather vicious, and most of the other monkeys avoided them. They were all eating some kind of berries that had fallen on the road from a large, shady tree with thick leaves. The recent rains had filled the river, and the stream under the narrow bridge was gurgling. The monkeys avoided the water and the puddles on the road, and when a car appeared splattering mud as it came, they were off the road in a second, the mother taking the baby with her. Some climbed the tree and others went down the bank on each side of the road, but they were back on it as soon as the car had sped by. They had now got quite used to the human presence. They were as restless as the human mind, and up to all kinds of tricks.

The rice fields on either side of the road were a luscious, sparkling green in the warm sun, and against the blue hills beyond the fields the ricebirds were white and slow-winged. A long, brownish snake had crawled out of the water and was resting in the sun. A brilliantly blue kingfisher had alighted on the bridge and was readying itself for another dive. It was a lovely morning, not too hot, and the solitary palms scattered over the fields told of many things. Between the green fields and the blue hills there was communion, a song. Time seemed to pass so quickly. In the blue sky the kites were wheeling; occasionally they would alight on a branch to preen themselves, and then off they would go again, calling and circling. There were also several eagles, with white necks and golden-brown wings and bodies. Among the newly-sprouted grass there were large red ants; they would race jerkily forward, suddenly stop, and then go off in the opposite direction. Life was so rich, so abundant - and unnoticed, which was perhaps what all these living things, big and little, wanted.

A young ox with bells around its neck was drawing a light cart which was delicately made, its two large wheels connected by a thin steel bar on which a wooden platform was mounted. On this platform a man was sitting, proud of the fast-trotting ox and the turnout. The ox, sturdy and yet slender, gave him importance; everyone would look at him now, as the passing villagers did. They stopped, looked with admiring eyes, made comments, and passed on. How proud and erect the man sat, looking straight ahead! Pride, whether in little things or in great achievements, is essentially the same. What one does and what one has given one importance and prestige; but man in himself as a total being seems to have hardly any significance at all. He came with two of his friends. Each of them had a good college degree, and they were doing well, they said, in their various professions. They were all married and had children, and they seemed pleased with life, yet they were disturbed too.

"If I may," he said, "I would like to ask a question to set the ball rolling. It is not an idle question, and it has somewhat disturbed me since hearing you a few evenings ago. Among other things you said that competition and ambition were destructive urges which man must understand and so be free of, if he is to live in a peaceful society. But are not struggle and conflict part of the very nature of existence?"

Society as at present constituted is based on ambition and conflict, and almost everyone accepts this fact as inevitable. The individual is conditioned to its inevitability; through education, through various forms of outward and inward compulsion, he is made to be competitive. If he is to fit into this society at all, he must accept the conditions it lays down, otherwise he has a pretty bad time. We seem to think that we have to fit into this society; but why should one?

"If we don't, we will just go under."

I wonder if that would happen if we saw the whole significance of the problem? We might not live according to the usual pattern, but we would live creatively and happily, with a wholly different outlook. Such a state cannot be brought about if we accept the present social pattern as inevitable. But to get back to your point: do ambition, competition and conflict constitute a predestined and inevitable way of life? You evidently assume that they do. Now let us begin from there. Why do you take this competitive way of life to be the only process of existence?

"I am competitive, ambitious, like all those around me. It is a fact which often gives me pleasure, and sometimes pain, but I just accept it without struggle, because I don't know any other way of living; and even if I did, I suppose I would be afraid to try it. I have many responsibilities, and I would be gravely concerned about the future of my children if I broke away from the usual thoughts and habits of life."

You may be responsible for others, sir, but have you not also the responsibility to bring about a peaceful world? There can be no peace, no enduring happiness for man as long as we - the individual, the group and the nation - accept this competitive existence as inevitable. Competitiveness, ambition, implies conflict within and without, does it not? An ambitious man is not a peaceful man, though he may talk of peace and brotherhood. The politician can never bring peace to the world, nor can those who belong to any organized belief, for they all have been conditioned to a world of leaders, saviours, guides and examples; and when you follow another you are seeking the fulfilment of your own ambition, whether in this world or in the world of ideation, the so-called spiritual world. Competitiveness, ambition implies conflict, does it not?

"I see that, but what is one to do? Being caught in this net of competition, how is one to get out of it? And even if one does get out of it, what assurance is there that there will be peace between man and man? Unless all of us see the truth of the matter at the same time, the perception of that truth by one or two will have no value whatever."

You want to know how to get out of this net of conflict, fulfilment, frustration. The very question `how?' implies that you want to be assured that your endeavour will not be in vain. You still want to succeed, only at a different level. You do not see that all ambition, all desire for success in any direction, creates conflict both within and without. The `how?' is the way of ambition and conflict, and that very question prevents you from seeing the truth of the problem. The `how?' is the ladder to further success. But we are not now thinking in terms of success or failure, rather in terms of the elimination of conflict; and does it follow that without conflict, stagnation is inevitable? Surely, peace comes into being, not through safeguards, sanctions and guarantees, but it is there when you are not - you who are the agent of conflict with your ambitions and frustrations.

Your other point, sir, that all must see the truth of this problem at the same time, is an obvious impossibility. But it is possible for you to see it; and when you do, that truth which you have seen and which brings freedom, will affect others. It must begin with you, for you are the world, as the other is.

Ambition breeds mediocrity of mind and heart; ambition is superficial, for it is everlastingly seeking a result. The man who wants to be a saint, or a successful politician, or a big executive, is concerned with personal achievement. Whether identified with an idea, a nation, or a system, religious or economic, the urge to be successful strengthens the ego, the self, whose very structure is brittle, superficial and limited. All this is fairly obvious if one looks into it, is it not?

"It may be obvious to you, sir, but to most of us conflict gives a sense of existence, the feeling that we are alive. Without ambition and competition, our lives would be drab and useless."

Since you are maintaining this competitive way of life, your children and your children's children will bread further antagonism, envy and war; neither you nor they will have peace. Having been conditioned to this traditional pattern of existence, you are in turn educating your children to accept it; so the world goes on in this sorrowful way.

"We want to change, but..." He was aware of his own futility and stopped talking.

Chapter - 39
Meditation -- Effort -- Consciousness

THE SEA WAS beyond the mountains to the east of the valley, and through the centre of the valley a river made its way leisurely to the sea. The river flowed full all the year round, and it was beautiful even where it passed by the town, which was quite large. The townspeople used the river for everything - for fishing for bathing, for drinking water, for sewage disposal, and the wastes of a factory went into it. But the river threw off all the filth of man, and its waters were once again clear and blue soon after it had passed his habitations.

A wide road went along the river to the west, leading up to tea plantations in the mountains; it curved in and out, some- times losing the river, but most of the time in sight of it. As the road climbed, following the river, the plantations became bigger, and here and there were factories to dry and process the tea. Soon the estates became vast, and the river was noisy with water falls. In the morning one would see brightly-dressed women, their bodies bent, their skin turned dark by the blazing sun, picking the delicate leaves of the tea bushes. It all had to be picked before a certain time in the morning and carried to the nearest factory before the sun became too hot. At that altitude the sun was strong and painfully penetrating, and though they were used to it, some of the women had their heads covered with part of the cloth they wore. They were gay, fast and skilful in their work, and soon that particular task would be over for the day; but most of them were wives and mothers, and they would still have to cook and look after the children. They had a union, and the planters treated them decently, for it would be disastrous to have a strike and allow the tender leaves to grow to their normal size.

The road continued up and up, and the air became quite cold. At eight thousand feet there were no more tea plantations, but men were working the soil and cultivating many things to be sent down to the towns along the sea. From that altitude the view over the forests and plains was magnificent, with the river, silver now, dominating everything. Going back another way, the road wound through green, sparkling rice fields and deep woods. There were many palms and mangoes, and flowers were everywhere. The people were cheerful, and along the roadside they were setting out many things, from trinkets to luscious fruit. They were lazy and easygoing, and seemed to have enough to eat, unlike those in the lowland, where life was hard, meagre and crowded.

He was a sannyasi, a monk, but not of any particular order, and he spoke of himself as of a third person. While still young he had renounced the world and its ways and had wandered all over the country, staying with some of the well-known religious teachers, talking with them and following their peculiar disciplines and rituals. He had fasted for many a day, lived in solitude among the mountains, and done most of the things that sannyasis are supposed to do. He had damaged himself physically through excessive ascetic practices, and although that was long ago, his body still suffered from it. Then one day he had decided to abandon all these practices, rituals and disciplines as being vain and without much significance, and had gone off into some faraway mountain village, where he had spent many years in deep contemplation. The usual thing had happened, he said with a smile, and he in his turn had become well known and had had a large following of disciples to whom he taught simple things. He had read the ancient Sanskrit literature, and now that too he had put away. Although it was necessary to describe briefly what his life had been, he added, that was not the thing for which he had come.

"Above all virtue, sacrifice, and the action of dispassionate help, is meditation," he stated. "Without meditation, knowledge and action become a wearisome burden with very little meaning; but few know what meditation is. If you are willing, we must talk this over. In meditation it has been the experience of the speaker to reach different states of consciousness; he has had the experiences that all aspiring human beings sooner or later go through, the visions embodying Krishna, Christ, Buddha. They are the outcome of one's own thought and education, and of what may be called one's culture. There are visions, experiences and powers of many different varieties. Unfortunately, most seekers are caught in the net of their own thought and desire, even some of the greatest exponents of truth. Having the power of healing and the gift of words, they become prisoners to their own capacities and experiences. The speaker himself has passed through these experiences and dangers, and to the best of his ability has understood and gone beyond them - at least, let us hope so. What then is meditation?"

Surely, in considering meditation, effort and the maker of effort must be understood. Good effort leads to one thing, and bad to another, but both are binding, are they not?

"It is said that you have not read the Upanishads or any of the sacred literature, but you sound like one who has read and knows."

It is true that I have read none of those things, but that is not important. Good effort and wrong effort are both binding, and it is this bondage that must be understood and broken. Meditation is the breaking of all bondage; it is a state of freedom, but not from anything. Freedom from something is only the cultivation of resistance. To be conscious of being free is not freedom. Consciousness is the experiencing of freedom or of bondage, and that consciousness is the experiencer, the maker of effort. Meditation is the breaking down of the experiencer, which cannot be done consciously. If the experiencer is broken down consciously, then there is a strengthening of the will, which is also a part of consciousness. Our problem, then, is concerned with the whole process of consciousness, and not with one part of it, small or great, dominant or subservient.

"What you say seems to be true. The ways of consciousness are profound, deceptive and contradictory. It is only through dispassionate observation and careful study that this tangle can be unravelled and order can prevail."

But, sir, the unraveller is still there; one may call him the higher self, the atman, and so on, but he is still part of consciousness, the maker of effort who is everlastingly trying to get somewhere. Effort is desire. One desire can be overcome by a greater desire, and that desire by still another, and so on endlessly. Desire breeds deception, illusion, contradiction, and the visions of hope. The all-conquering desire for the ultimate, or the will to reach that which is nameless, is still the way of consciousness, of the experiencer of good and bad, the experiencer who is waiting, watching, hoping. Consciousness is not of one particular level, it is the totality of our being.

"What has been heard so far is excellent and true; but if one may inquire, what is it that will bring peace, stillness to this consciousness?"

Nothing. Surely, the mind is ever seeking a result, a way to some achievement. Mind is an instrument that has been put together, it is the fabric of time, and it can only think in terms of result, of achievement, of something to be gained or avoided.

"That is so. It is being stated that as long as the mind is active, choosing, seeking, experiencing, there must be the maker of effort who creates his own image, calling it by different names, and this is the net in which thought is caught."

Thought itself is the maker of the net; thought is the net. Thought is binding; thought can only lead to the vast expanse of time, the field in which knowledge action virtue, have importance. However refined or simplified, thinking cannot breakdown all thought. Consciousness as the experiencer, the observer, the chooser, the censor, the will, must come to an end, voluntarily and happily, without any hope of reward. The seeker ceases. This is meditation. Silence of the mind cannot be brought about through the action of will. There is silence when will ceases. This is meditation. Reality cannot be sought; it is when the seeker is not. Mind is time, and thought cannot uncover the measureless.

Chapter - 40
Psychoanalysis and The Human Problem

THE BIRDS AND the goats were all somewhere else, and it was strangely quiet and far away under the wide-spreading tree which stood alone in an expanse of fields, well-cultivated and richly green. The hills were at some distance, harsh and uninviting in the midday sun, but under the tree it was dark, cool and pleasant. This tree, huge and impressive, had gathered great strength and symmetry in its solitude. It was a vital thing, alone, and yet it seemed to dominate all its surroundings, even the distant hills. The villagers worshipped it; against its vast trunk there was a carved stone on which someone had placed bright yellow flowers. In the evening no one came to the tree; its solitude was too overpowering, and it was better to worship it during the day when there were rich shadows, chattering birds, and the sound of human voices.

But at this hour all the villagers were around their huts and under the tree it was very peaceful. The sun never penetrated to the base of the tree, and the flowers would last till the next day, when new offerings would be made. A narrow path led to the tree, and then continued on through the green fields. The goats were carefully herded along this path until they were near the hills, and then they ran wild, eating everything within reach. The full glory of the tree was towards evening. As the sun set behind the hills, the fields became more intensely green, and only the top of the tree caught the last rays, golden and transparent. With the coming of darkness the tree appeared to withdraw from all its surroundings and close upon itself for the night; its mystery seemed to grow, entering into the mystery of all things.

A psychologist and an analyst, he had been in practice for a number of years and had many cures to his credit. He worked in a hospital as well as in his private office. His many prosperous patients had made him prosperous too, with expensive cars, a country house, and all the rest of it. He took his work seriously, it was not just a money making affair, and he used different methods of analysis depending upon the patient. He had studied mesmerism, and tentatively practiced hypnosis on some of his patients.

"It is a very curious thing," he said, "how, during the hypnotic state, people will freely and easily speak of their hidden compulsions and responses, and every time a patient is put under hypnosis I feel the strangeness of it. I have myself been scrupulously honest, but I am fully aware of the grave dangers of hypnotism, especially in the hands of unscrupulous people, medical or otherwise. Hypnosis may or may not be a short cut, and I don't feel it is justified except in certain stubborn cases. It takes a long period to cure a patient, generally several months, and it is a pretty tiring business.

"Some time ago," he went on, "a patient whom I had been treating for a number of months came to see me. By no means a stupid woman, she was well read and had wide interests; and with considerable excitement and a smile which I had not seen for a long time, she told me that she had been persuaded by a friend to attend some of your talks. It appeared that during the talks she felt herself being released from her depressions, which were rather serious. She said that the first talk had quite bewildered her. The thoughts and the words were new to her and seemed contradictory, and she did not want to attend the second talk; but her friend explained that this often happened, and that she should listen to several talks before making up her mind. She finally went to all of them, and as I say, she felt a sense of release. What you said seemed to touch certain points in her consciousness, and without making any effort to be free from her frustrations and depressions, she found that they were gone; they had simply ceased to exist. This was some months ago. I saw her again the other day, and those depressions have certainly cleared up; she is normal and happy, especially in her relationship with her family, and things seem to be all right.”

"This is all just preliminary," he continued. "You see, thanks to this patient, I have read some of your teachings, and what I really want to talk over with you is this: is there a way or a method by which we can quickly get at the root of all this human misery? Our present techniques take time and require a considerable amount of patient investigation."

Sir, if one may ask, what is it that you are trying to do with your patients?

"Stated simply, without psychanalytical jargon, we try to help them to overcome their difficulties, depressions, and so on, in order that they may fit into society."

Do you think it is very important to help people to fit into this corrupt society?

"It may be corrupt, but the reformation of society is not our business. Our business is to help the patient to adjust himself to his surroundings and be a more happy and useful citizen. We are dealing with abnormal cases and are not trying to create super-normal people. I don't think that is our function."

Do you think you can separate yourself from your function? If I may ask, is it not also your function to bring about a totally new order, a world in which there will be no wars, no antagonism, no urge to compete, and so on? Do not all these urges and compulsions bring about a social environment which develops abnormal people? If one is only concerned with helping the individual to conform to the existing social pattern, here or elsewhere, is one not maintaining the very causes that make for frustration misery and destruction?

"There is certainly something in what you say but as analysts I don't think we are prepared to go so deeply into the whole causation of human misery."

Then it seems, sir, that you are concerned, not with the total development of man, but only with one particular part of his total consciousness. Healing a certain part may be necessary, but without understanding the total process of man, we may cause other forms of disease. Surely, this is not a matter for argumentation or speculation; it is an obvious fact that must be taken into consideration, not merely by specialists, but by each one of us.

"You are leading into very deep issues to which I am not accustomed, and I find myself beyond my depth. I have thought only vaguely about these things, and about what we are actually trying to accomplish with our patients apart from the usual procedure. You see, most of us have neither the inclination nor the necessary time to study all this; but I suppose we really ought to if we want to free ourselves and help our patients to be free from the confusion and misery of the present western civilization."

The confusion and misery are not only in the West, for human beings the world over are in the same plight. The problem of the individual is also the world's problem; they are not two separate and distinct processes. We are concerned, surely, with the human problem, whether the human being is in the Orient or in the Occident, which is an arbitrary geographical division. The whole consciousness of man is concerned with God, with death, with right and happy livelihood with children and their education, with war and peace. Without understanding all this, there can be no healing of man.

"You are right, sir, but I think very few of us are capable of such wide and deep investigation. Most of us are educated wrongly. We become specialists, technicians, which has its uses, but unfortunately that is the end of us. Whether his specialty is the heart or the complex, each specialist builds his own little heaven, as the priest does, and though he may occasionally read something on the side, there he remains till he dies. You are right, but there it is.”

"Now, sir, I would like to return to my question: is there a method or technique by which we can go directly to the root of our miseries, especially those of the patient and thereby eradicate them quickly?"

Again, if one may ask, why are you always thinking in terms of methods and techniques? Can a method or technique set man free, or will it merely shape him to a desired end? And the desired end, being the opposite of man's anxieties, fears, frustrations, pressures, is itself the outcome of these. The reaction of the opposite is not true action, either in the economic or the psychological world. Apart from technique or method, there may be a factor which will really help man.

"What is that?"

Perhaps it is love.