Go mad, but go really mad. Don’t just pretend

23

When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you’re not here, I can’t go to sleep.
Praise God for those two insomnias!
And the difference between them

~Rumi

Acharya Prashant: Insomnia is a restlessness. Insomnia is a breaking down of the regular pattern of consciousness. Consciousness exists as the waking state, as the sleeping state, as the dreaming state. Insomnia here refers to a breaking down of the regular patterns of mind, which is a kind of madness. To a mind which thrives on patterns, a breaking down of patterns appears so much like madness.

We have been accustomed to thinking that the Liberated One, that the one who has attained Moksha or Nirvana, behaves in a cool, composed, poised, elegant way. We have a certain image of the Buddha—walking nicely, smilingly gently, speaking softly, not being rude or harsh, offering a gentle touch, not hurting or killing, acting very very wisely, acting very intelligently (Intelligently in our own sense, whatever we call as intelligence). We have that particular image of the Liberated One.

The poet is trashing that image. The liberated one is a mad one, He cannot sleep at nights.

The Liberated One has no obligation to conform to your image of the liberated one.

A Meera was in no way subscribing to the image of the Buddha. Krishna was so well decorated with the Morpankh (the feather of the peacock), and Mahavir was totally naked. There have been Liberated ones who have been crying all their life. There have been Masters who would be very angry, and often so.

Nobody lives as per a particular code of conduct applicable to liberation. If there is one thing common between all of them, it is that the world considered them insane, surely at some point or the other—that is common. Patterns are not common among them. Their insanity is the only thing that puts them together in one bracket, in one set. Otherwise, they are all very unique and very different flowerings.

The Liberated One would be known only by his madness, by His apparent chaos.
A holy anarchy is what He would be living in.

It is very certain that He would not be subscribing to the rules, the practices, the codes, conventions of the society. He would not be very likeable! The real ones have rarely been liked by mankind. They have been treated as mad ones, even criminals. But this, as we said is a holy anarchy. It does not follow the external order given by evolution or society, but it has a beautiful inner order of its own. And because the inner order is divine, so the Liberated One will not tolerate or follow any external order.

That is one mark of the liberated one: He is someone who has stopped following orders, even his own order.

It seems tempting to us when we hear about not following orders; the ego swells up. The ego says, “Yes, I also don’t want to follow anybody’s orders, I want to live by my own sweet will.” No!

The Liberated One is the one who follows no orders, who has stopped following orders; orders of others, as well as his own orders. His orders now come from somewhere else. And since His orders come from somewhere else, they are so incomprehensible to others. To others, the divine dance looks like chaos, like utter disorder. And that is why, if you are someone who bothers too much about others and society, and validation and sanction from here and there, then Truth is not for you. Because Truth is not something public, it is not a social commodity. It neither gets nor seeks general approval.

If you are really committed to Truth, you cannot be committed to anything else. If you are really devoted to the One, then you cannot bother about ‘this and that’, it’s also petty then.

So, the Intelligent One, the really intelligent one, lives like a mad one; He lives so much like an animal. But, we are also being cautioned that it doesn’t mean that everybody who lives madly is an intelligent one.

The last two lines read: thank god for the two insomnias and the difference between them.

Yes, if you go mad in devotion, crazily you dance. A Meera danced crazily, but that doesn’t mean that if you start making a stupid show of yourself, by dancing in the name of Krishna in the streets, you will attain to devotion. For Meera, devotion comes first, attainment comes first, dancing comes later; dancing is just a fruit, an outcome. But, we confuse, we cannot see the essence of Meera; we can only see her dance. We cannot see the core of a Chaitanya; we can only see that he used to dance in the streets. The core is not visible to eyes. So what do we do? We start emulating that which can be emulated.

The Aatman(Soul) of course cannot be emulated but the physical action can be copied, so one starts copying that stuff. Now where there is the root, the shoot, and the flower and the fruit will be there. But if you keep watering the leaves and the fruit, then you will never get to the root. By copying somebody’s action, you will not attain to that person’s essence.  You will only make a fool of yourself as we do. That is why it is important to emphasize; the two insomnias and the difference between them.

Do not try to deliberately act crazy. When you are trying to act crazy, it is not craziness at all, it is planned action. It is meticulously planned madness, so it is not madness at all. You forget about madness; you live in the Truth. There would be many who would be eager to label you as mad. So you don’t have to bother yourself with that. That role can be taken up by so many others who are so eager; they will come and they will certify you mad. Just don’t be afraid when you are called mad.

In fact, here is an advice: If you are not being called mad, then there is something very dangerous happening, kindly wake up. If you’re subscribing to all the prevalent standards and benchmarks, if you’re ticking all the right boxes, then it is guaranteed that you are a creature of the same social hell, as the whole society is. If there is nothing untoward about you, if you are not on the fringes in any sense, if you belong to the mainstream in always, rest assured that you are moving towards the same destruction as everybody else. You are already a part of the same destruction. But, that again, does not mean that you will deliberately try to act as a fringe element; that does not help either. Because there are too many who deliberately try to act mad. They too are a great community.

It is very easy to seek attention by becoming some kind of a nutty minority. You get a lot of attention, ‘Oh, these people are different.’ The spiritual one is really different, he is not pretending to be different. He has not organized himself to be different. He is really really different. And because he is really different, the way he is different might not be very visible.

If you find yourself really getting out of the stranglehold of conventions, of norms, of mental patterns, don’t be afraid; it is an auspicious news, happens with everybody who ever really attains. You are welcome!

At the same time, don’t pretend that it is happening to you, it is very easy to fake. “Oh! You know, in the nights I am seeing some kind of blue light; it’s happening with me.” Some lizard or some reptile keeps rising up my spine; it is happening with me. Don’t pretend! Don’t fake. Because these things can’t be objectively proven. So, you can claim anything and you can only deceive yourself by claiming all such stuff.

Do not go for the externals; the externals are easy to obtain but equally worthless. Do not copy the looks of a Jesus or a Buddha or a Muhammad. Yes, Mahavir went naked, but everybody who is walking nude is not a Mahavir. The Gurus would not cut their hair, would have long beards, but everybody who is keeping a long beard is not a Guru.

Now, the beard is easy to get, and if one can only see the exteriors, then just by keeping a beard you can act as a Guru. Easy! Why go through the suffering of dropping the ego? Simply, get a beard. Cool! Why go through the horror involved in dropping identities? Just get a tattoo. A tattoo is such a nice substitute for Truth.

(Silence)

Go mad, but go really mad!

Go to the sidelines, leave the society but go really to the sidelines. Don’t just pretend! If you have left a commercial centre and come to a spiritual centre, you are still very much in the fold of society. That was a socially approved social pace; this is a socially approved spiritual space. You are still following all the rules and subscribing to all the stereotypes.

Be really different. The Real One, the really different one, goes neither with the crowd nor goes against the crowd. He goes just with the Truth, with himself. It must be beautiful to not to sleep at night, may you be blessed with loss of sleep.

Krishna says in the Bhagwad Geeta, “Ya nisha sarvbhootanam, tasyaam jagriti sanyami”.  (When it is night for the entire world, then the real one is awake.) May you be awake when it is night for the entire world. That doesn’t mean being awake at nights will give you liberation. We have many places here where people are awake at night, smoking weed. That only gives you a tipsy head, nothing more.

Listener: So, someone who is liberated like that, he still has basic needs like food, clothes. How does he do that?

AP: He doesn’t do that. The basic needs take care of themselves. The body needs food, the body arranges food. The lungs need air, the lungs suck in air. The throat needs water, the throat arranges water. He is at peace. He is still not doing anything.

It is possible for you to eat, sleep, walk, drink and yet not do anything. Just as you are not doing anything when your heart is beating, similarly, it is possible to live a life not doing anything even when you appear to be doing a lot. The needs will be taken care of.

Don’t imagine. Just a while back we had said that if we start imagining then we will get a very horrifying picture. “Oh! I quit my job, bankruptcy, desperation, no food to eat, starvation. So, no Truth please! Truth is starvation.”

No, Truth is not starvation. The day you are born, you are born in an entire system. There is exactly that much oxygen in the air as your lungs need. What if the proportion of air in oxygen is forty percent, not twenty percent or just five percent? Would you survive?

You are a product of this entire system, you are one with it; you are the system. You have come out of this soil, and the soil has everything that is needed to sustain you. When you are not responsible for your birth, why do you think that you are responsible for your upkeep? Just as you come without your volition, you will also survive without your volition. You will survive as the plants do, as the animals do, as the river does.

Do you see that there is as much sunlight as you need? A little more sunlight and you would disappear. Do you see that the temperatures are just right to help us survive? Do you see that? Do you see that the atmospheric pressure is just right to let us survive? Had it been a little less, we would have exploded. Had it been a little more, we would again have exploded, imploded rather. Everything is just perfect! Now, where is your role in all this? Why do you think you are needed? You are not needed; you are redundant unnecessary. So you can go and sleep.

The system would still function. It is like the machine is functioning on its own, and you are assuming yourself to be the operator, and denouncing around in worry and desperation and anxiety with a wrench in your hand. The machine doesn’t need your intervention at all, it is self-sufficient; it is a divine machine, not made by you. But, you want to improve the machine. You say, “You know, I can do better than God”. That’s what the ego always says, “God! I will show who the boss is”. The stars, the sand, the river — they know everything about you; they know how to provide for you. Have faith! Don’t be so tense. Relax.  It happens; happens on its own.

The stars, the sand, the river — they know everything about you; they know how to provide for you. Have faith! Don’t be so tense. Relax.  It happens, on its own. It is most beautiful when you don’t have to do it. When it is coming for free, take it! Don’t like that? You want to be responsible.

L: Being in the search for Truth, I see myself running into these black holes, and I see more and more is falling away and it’s getting darker. Why am I running? Or why do I want the Truth? What’s the point if it’s already there? Why look for it?

AP: That’s a perfectly wonderful question. That’s the obvious question one must ask: Why must one do anything, to attain anything?

L: I guess that’s it?

AP: That’s it. Have fun!

(Everybody laughs)       

L2: How did we get so messed up in the first place?

AP: By asking too many questions.

It doesn’t matter how it happened. What’s important is that it can be sorted out. It doesn’t matter that how the whole thing got tangled. What’s important is that it can be very easily untangled.


Excerpts from a Shabda-Yoga Session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on Rumi: Go mad, but go really mad. Don’t just pretend


Further Reading:

Book of Myths

myth-for-blogThis is the most challenging book one can ever come across. It will questions all the popular beliefs one harbours. Never imposing itself on the reader, at the same time the book facilities a thorough enquiry of popular knowledge which is blindly accepted as an obvious fact. It demolishes our so called holy concepts.

If you are someone who has read anything on self-help or on spirituality this book is a must for cleaning of spiritual information.

Paperback: https://goo.gl/VVD8Yg

Kindle: https://goo.gl/VsIucH

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