The scripture that is for you can be written only by you, by your own experience.
Is knowledge about esoteric subjects such as chakras, collective unconsciousness, energy fields, really helpful along the way, or not? Or will whatever is needed come to me through experience, in its own time?
Anything that is needed will come of its own accord, in its own time. All this so-called esoteric knowledge about chakras, energy fields, kundalini, astral bodies, is dangerous as knowledge. As an experience, it is a totally different thing. Don’t acquire it as knowledge. If it is needed for your spiritual growth, it will come to you in its right time, and then it will be an experience.
If you have an acquired knowledge, borrowed knowledge, it is going to be a hindrance. For example Hindu Yoga believes in seven chakras, Jaina scriptures mention nine chakras, and Buddhist scriptures say that there are dozens of chakras and that these are only the important ones which have been chosen by different schools. They don’t give any fixed number. Acquired knowledge will be confusing: How many chakras? And what are you going to do with that knowledge, whether there are seven or nine or dozens? Your knowledge is not going to help; it can only hinder.
My own experience is that perhaps Buddha’s experience is correct – and that does not make the Hindu Yoga or Jaina Yoga incorrect. Buddha is saying that there are energy fields, whirling energy fields, from the lowest point in your spine up to the very peak of your head. There are many; now it is only a question of a particular teaching which ones are important for it. That particular teaching will choose those. Hindus have chosen seven, Jainas have chosen nine. They don’t contradict each other, it is simply that the emphasis is on whatever chakra the teaching feels to emphasize.
As far as I am concerned, you will come across only four chakras which are the most important.
One you know is your sex center. The second, just above it, which is not recognized in any Indian school of thought but has been recognized in Japan alone, is called the hara. It is between your navel and the sex center. The hara is the death chakra.
My own experience is that life, that is the sex center, and death, that is the hara, should be very close, and they are.
In Japan, when somebody commits suicide, it is called hara-kiri. Nowhere in the world does such a thing happen except in Japan. Suicide is committed everywhere, but with a knife? Just two inches below the navel, the Japanese forces a knife – and this is the most miraculous death; no blood, no pain – and death is instantaneous.
So the first chakra is the life chakra; it is a whirling energy. Chakra means wheel, moving. Just above the life chakra is the death chakra.
The third important chakra is the heart chakra. You can call it the love chakra, because between life and death the most important thing that can happen to a man or to a woman is love. And love has many manifestations: meditation is one of the manifestations of love, prayer is one of the manifestations of love. This is the third important chakra.
The fourth important chakra is what Hindu Yoga calls the agna chakra – just on your forehead between the two eyes. These four chakras are the most important.
The fourth is from where your energy moves beyond humanity into divinity. There is one more chakra, which is at the top part of your head, but you will not come across it in your life journey. That’s why I am not counting it. After the fourth, you have transcended the body, the mind, the heart, all that is not you – only your being remains. And when death happens to such a person…
That’s why in India the hara has not been taken note of; in the Hindu or Jaina or Buddhist Yoga, they were not considering people who commit suicide. They were thinking about people who were transforming their energy from the physical to the immaterial.
So the fifth chakra is the sahasrar. The Jainas count it, the Hindus count it – because a person who dies after transcending the fourth chakra… His energy, his being leaves the body, cracking the skull into two parts; that is the sahasrar chakra, but because it is not part of your life experience, I am not counting it. The four are your life experience. This one is the death of a person who is enlightened. He does not die from the hara.
That’s why in India no school has taken note of the hara chakra. But in Japan they had to take note of it, because in Japan suicide was a form of etiquette.
You will be puzzled: the Japanese have such a totally different culture from the whole world; from small things to big things, they have their own approach.
I am reminded of one incident. A Japanese can commit suicide for small things because he cannot live a life of shame. If he feels ashamed, that is enough to finish his life – and you will not be able to conceive of what small things are thought so important that life is nothing.
A master, who was the greatest archer of Japan, was called by the king. The king wanted his son to become as great an archer as the master.
Now, it is Japanese etiquette that even when two people are going to fight with each other, first they will bow down to each other’s divinity with folded hands, even though they are going to kill. Before killing, they will respect each other. So in ordinary life in Japan, you will find people everywhere bowing down to each other – on the road, in the restaurants. It is disappearing, disappearing, as the modern Western influence is changing the whole world.
But the master archer was such an egoist that even in front of the king he waited: first the king should fold his hands, and then…
The king’s court condemned the man and said, “You have committed such a shameful act. Just go back and commit hara-kiri.” It was not such a big thing, but when the whole court had said it, the whole country would know about it.
The man went directly to his home and committed hara-kiri.
He had three hundred students. When they heard that their master had committed a shameful act, all three hundred students committed hara-kiri because it was so shameful that their master should have behaved like this.
Now this cannot happen anywhere else in the world. If the master had done something shameful – although it was not much of a shameful act, but even if it were, the students were completely innocent. But because they were the students of that master, it was enough to feel ashamed – they had followed such a man.
People have been committing hara-kiri in Japan for centuries. So when Buddhism reached there for the first time, about fourteen hundred years ago, and they started meditating, they were the first people to discover the hara center – because they had been using that center for centuries, so it was throbbing and vibrating and alive.
It all depends. In different cultures it may be a little different where the center is.
For example when Japanese started coming to me for sannyas, I was a little bit puzzled – because all over the whole world when you want to say yes, you move your head up and down. And the Japanese, when they want to say yes, move the head from side to side – which means no. All over the world, that is the sign for no – but that is their sign for yes, and the head moving up and down is their sign for no.
So when I would ask them something I would be very puzzled; I could not believe that they had come to take sannyas. They were sitting before me and I was asking, “Are you ready for sannyas?” and they would shake their heads. “Then why have you come? You have unnecessarily traveled here from Japan and you are sitting here in front of me just for that purpose, and you are saying no?”
Then my interpreter said to me, “You don’t understand; that person is saying yes. In Japan, the head moving from side to side is yes; the head moving up and down is no.” So you have to remember it when you are talking with the Japanese. Otherwise there is going to be great confusion – you will say something, they will understand something else. They cannot speak but they can understand.
In the Caucasus, where Gurdjieff was born, they have a system of chakras which is slightly different. It seems to be the difference between the people of the Caucasus and other people.
In India, three religions, Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, all have exactly the same points. They may count five or seven or nine, but the places are exactly the same. The centuries have affected their bodies in a different way.
In the Caucasus, there are thousands of people who are older than a hundred and fifty years. The Caucasus is the place with the oldest people in the whole world – and they are not old; at the age of one hundred and eighty, a person is still young. He is working on the farm just like any young man.
In the Caucasus, people always die while very young; they don’t grow old. Naturally their bodies have developed in a different way. Their food has something to do with it, the climate, the geography, their land. It has created a different psychology.
Throughout the whole world, it is thought that seventy years is the time for everybody to die – that is the average; you can be five years earlier or five years later, but the average is seventy.
When George Bernard Shaw became seventy, he started looking in the small villages around London at the gravestones in their cemeteries, to see how long people in that village had lived. His friend said, “You are mad. Why are you wasting your time?”
He said, “I don’t want to die at seventy. I have never been average in anything, and I cannot be average in death. So I am looking for a place where people don’t believe that seventy is the average age to die, because that place will have a psychology of its own.”
Finally he found a village where, on many stones in the graveyard, he found that it was written: This man lived one hundred and eight years, and died untimely.
He said, “This is the right place – where a man lives one hundred and eight years and still people think the poor fellow has died untimely, that it was not yet time to die.”
After seventy years he moved from London – he had lived there for seventy years – to a village, after checking the cemetery. And he lived a hundred years. He proved that village had the psychology, that village had the vibe, that village had the idea that one hundred years is nothing.
When he would ask people if he could live to one hundred, they would say, “One hundred is nothing; everybody lives to one hundred. You can go to the cemetery and see – one hundred and forty, one hundred and thirty; people live that long very easily. A hundred? – that is too early.”
He lived one hundred years.
Certainly he proved one fact: that your psychology, your mind, your body, are impressed by the vibrations in which you live.
So you will come to experience chakras, you will come to experience energy fields, but it is better not to be knowledgeable because that is a difficult problem. You may read a book written five thousand years ago by a certain kind of person and you may not be of the same category. You may not find that chakra at the same place, and you will feel unnecessarily frustrated. And you will find a chakra in a place where the books don’t mention it; then you will feel that you are abnormal, something is wrong with you. Nothing is wrong with you.
Energy fields, chakras, and all the esoteric things should be experienced. And keep your mind clean of all knowledge so that you don’t have any expectation; wherever the experience happens, you are ready to accept it.
Each individual has differences, and differences come in such small things that you cannot conceive. For example, in the East, people sit on the floor. In cold countries, people cannot sit on the floor; a chair is absolutely necessary. Naturally their backbones, their spines will have a different shape than those of the people who sit on the floor, and their experiences of their kundalini will be different.
There are people who eat only once a day. For thousands of years they have never eaten more often than that. In South Africa there are tribes which eat only once in twenty-four hours. When they came across American missionaries, there was such laughter. “These idiots are eating five times a day! Breakfast – there is no fast at all and they are having ‘break-fast.’ And the whole day, something or other; and then coffee break, and tea break, and they go on… And in between they are chewing gum. These people have come to teach us religion and they are simply mad!”
In a way they are right, because they have beautiful bodies, they live longer, their bodies are not fat. Their bodies are like a deer’s; they can run like deer – they have to because they are hunters. Their eyes are very clear, very perceptive; their bodies are very proportionate.
Now these people will have a totally different experience of their physiology. The meat eaters and the vegetarians will find differences to one another.
So it is better not to memorize from scriptures. Those scriptures are the experiences of certain people, of certain times, of certain circumstances; they were not written for you.
The scripture that is for you can be written only by you, by your own experience.