I was just thinking as to what should be the message for this year’s independence day. Well, I thought let me just share something on our tricolor that has sailed through all the turbulent times of our past. Let me also share with you its strength, significance not only for the present but also for the eternal future.
“It will be necessary for us Indians, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Parsis, and all others to whom India is their home to recognize a common flag to live and to die for”. This is what Mahatma Gandhi has said about the tricolor. What a powerful statement?
The top band in the flag is of Saffron color, indicating patriotism, strength and courage of the people and the country. The bottom band is of Green color, indicating greenery, fertility and growth. The middle band is of White color, indicating peace and truth. The wheel in the white band is in Navy Blue color, indicating wheel of “Dharma” (Dhamma) or wheel of law. This is the meaning and significance of the tricolor from its time of adoption to till today. But to actually come to this meaning and significance, the tricolor has evolved and gone through several transformations over a long period of time.
We have now moved into the 21st century. Our country has already been freed from colonialism long back. We are actually enjoying the fruits of our freedom fighters. The whole world is now moving towards globalization. India too is not lagging behind and is also keeping pace with the rest of the world in the areas of science, technology and also many other spheres of life.
I was just pondering if we can extend, signify and strengthen the meaning of the tricolor for the 21st century and beyond. Let me just share with all what this tricolor actually means to me for the 21st century and beyond apart from its existing meaning and significance. I am absolutely proud and passionate about my tricolor.
What does a flag really signify to a country? A flag truly signifies the continuous struggle and sacrifice of its people for the freedom of the country. Freedom from outside invasion and aggression. But, does only physical freedom of a country means everything and there is nothing further to be done after the physical freedom of the country? Can we find and extend the meaning of the tricolor in other dimensions of our life also?
To me, freedom does not only mean physical freedom of the country but also freedom of the people in many other dimensions of life, like, physical freedom, economic freedom, social freedom, psychological freedom, and spiritual freedom. I have just tried to extend the meaning of the tricolor on the aspect of human growth and development in all its facets of life from physical freedom to spiritual freedom.
The Green color in the tricolor signifies to me the beginning of human growth. The very birth of a human being. Green is the color of the nature. Green indicates our latent potential. It is just like how the whole tree, all the flowers, and all the fruits are hidden in the seed. It is a seed state. It is a beginning stage, beginning on the path of growth, flowering and fulfillment.
The Orange color in the tricolour signifies to me the path of growth and prosperity. That is, growth within and without. That is, inner growth and outer growth, both. It is a journey to be undertaken to reach the ultimate goal. It is a continuous struggle and sacrifice. It is a constant effort to reach our goal. And this journey can also mean to be a dance and celebration. It simply means that the constant struggle and sacrifice has become a dance and celebration. It is overcoming of various barriers and prejudices of cast, creed and color. It is a constant effort of removing the psychological divisions of the mind and trying to integrate and become one, indivisible, and integrated being. If there are divisions in our mind then a physical division is not a difficult thing. But if there are no mental divisions then physical division is just impossible. Orange can also mean to be a path of “Sannyas” or renunciation. And what is there to be renounced? Renunciation does not mean leaving everything and going to the Himalayas. No? We can never be able to renounce anything that way. If there is a division in the mind the same mind will reach the Himalayas. If there is ego, greed, lust, enmity then the same dirty mind will carry the same even when we go to the Himalayas. What is to be renounced is not society, family, and friends but our own ego and ignorance. Physical change alone is not the solution but a spiritual change is the solution. Physical transformation is not the only answer but a spiritual transformation is the answer. Orange colour can also mean to be walking on the path of change and transformation with full of courage, confidence, and conviction. There is no stopping until the goal is achieved and attained. It is our choice and not a destiny.
And to me the White color in the Tricolour indicates our ultimate goal. It means transcending all divisions and dualities of life. Just see !! The White color actually transcends all colors. It absorbs all colors. The White color in the Tricolour is now saying, “I am neither this nor that. Either I am all or beyond all. I contain all and yet beyond all”. We must transcend all divisions of our cast, creed and colors and get dissolved into one religion called the “Humanity”. We are all the same human beings with the same blood and same consciousness. We are all “Many” in our bodies, minds, opinions, thoughts, philosophies, professions but we are all “One” in our consciousness. Minds are many, thoughts are many but the no-mind, no-thought, or silence is one. The soul is one, the spirit pervading the whole creation is one. Let this spirit be our common goal. Let this be our ultimate flowering state. It is a state of both flowering and fulfillment. The reaching of our goal means reaching our home. Now there is no where to go. Now there is no other goal to achieve. All goals have now been merged into one common goal. All different goals have been culminated in one single goal. To me, the White color in the Tricolour can also signify to be the goal of Sannyas. When someone moves on the path of Sannyas, he reaches the ultimate goal called the Samadhi. Samadhi simply means “Samadhan” or the solution. And what was the problem? The problem was of division and plurality. And what is the solution? The solution is of oneness or singularity. Samadhi means being one with the Divine. We have now reached our ultimate goal and there is nowhere to go now. This is our highest personal achievement. Self-Realization or Enlightenment is our ultimate goal. This is like re-claiming our lost innocence. The innocence that has been lost after the childhood. That’s why Socrates keeps on saying, “Know Thyself”. Buddha called this achievement as “Nirvana”. We have again become like a child but with full of awareness and consciousness. Nirvana simply means the ultimate happiness and ultimate ecstasy. When somebody asked Jesus as to who can enter into the kingdom of his God, he simply said, “One who is child-like”. He said, “Child-like” and not a “Child”. This difference we must constantly remember. That is, being a child is only a beginning and not the ultimate goal. The innocence of the child is out of ignorance and not out of awareness and consciousness. The child simply means a hidden or latent potentiality. It is yet to be actualized and realized. It is the beginning stage. It is a seed stage. It is a potential state. It is the stage of the nature, that is, the stage of the Green color in the Tricolour. Now the child has to move from the Green band to the Orange band and then finally to the White band. This is the journey. This is the “Life-cycle”. This is the “Wheel of law” or the wheel of “Dharma”. In the ancient Indian tradition it is called the “Sanatan Dharma” or the Eternal Dharma. At the very center of all the beings lies this Dharma. The very center of our being is the Dharma. Swadharma means the very center of the individual human being. And it is not only the center of the Individual Being but is also the center of the Cosmic Being. In the Riga Veda this Cosmic Being is termed as the “Virat”. Buddha also said not to move to the extremes but to remain in the middle and always strike a Golden-mean. And that is also the reason why to me the White band is in the middle of the Tricolour. Therefore, Green is our beginning, the Orange is our path and the White is our goal.
But how can we attain to this goal? How can we reach to this goal? This “How-To” has always been very important to me. How can we walk on this path? What is it that will carry us on this path? What tools, what methods and what skills? This is where we come and stumble upon the wheel of the Dharma. And the wheel of Dharma is at the very center. It is not only everybody’s center but also the center of the whole. At the very center of our being lies the Dharma. The wheel of Dharma is our vehicle. And this wheel of Dharma will take us to the goal. The wheel of Dharma has the spokes. These spokes are the great virtues or values. One spoke comes-up and the other spoke goes down and the wheel of Dharma moves on. And unless we create these values in our lives the wheel of Dharma of our life will not move. And creating these virtues and values in our lives is a great responsibility and a great challenge. And this responsibility and challenge is what I call the Enlightened Leadership.
What do these spokes mean to us then? What are these virtues and values that we must inculcate and imbibe? The whole philosophy of the East can actually be summed-up in just three words. The Upanishads, the Vedas, all the Sages, and all the Buddhas of the past and present have always been saying that all our misery is because of our “Ignorance” and the only goal is “Enlightenment” and the only method that leads us to this goal is “Meditation”. These three words - ignorance, meditation, and enlightenment, have always been immensely important to the whole of the East. Ignorance is the beginning, meditation is the method, and enlightenment is the goal. Unconsciousness is our ignorance and is our past, consciousness and awareness is our present, and super-consciousness is our future. The super-consciousness is already there and it can not be created. It can only be experienced and realized. It can not be made into a knowledge. Meditation is basically an alchemy. It is a master-key. The moment we are aware the unawareneness goes away. The moment we are conscious the unconsciousness goes away. The moment we know the ignorance goes away. The moment we bring in a candle the darkness in the room disperses. This is the power of the meditation. In fact Buddha says that everybody is a Buddha. Even a child is a Buddha. And the only difference is that the child is a potential Buddha, he is an unconscious Buddha. The only difference between a Child-Buddha and an Enlightened-Buddha is that of the degree of awareness and consciousness. Meditation is a method or a tool to attain to this awareness and consciousness. Buddha simply means an enlightened one. “Buddhahood” is everybody’s birthright.
The only difference between a Buddhu and the Buddha is that of Enlightenment. The mind of the Buddhu is filled with the darkness of ignorance and the mind of the Buddha is filled with the light of Enlightenment. And this difference is infinite !!
In the very beginning the spoke was only One, the value and virtue was only one and that is “Dhyana” or Meditation. The humanity has evolved over a long period of time. Many Buddhas have come and shared their approaches and experiences to transform the humanity. Even the tools, methods, and approaches to the ultimate goal have undergone a change. Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, talked about his noble 8-fold path. They are: (1) Right Understanding, (2) Right Intention, (3) Right Speech, (4) Right Action, (5) Right Livelihood, (6) Right Effort, (7) Right Mindfulness, (8) Right Meditation. Sage Patanjali has also given us the Ashtang Yoga. When Sage Patanjali himself learned Yoga from his teacher there were only 6-limbs. Sage Patanjali improvised them over a period of time and transformed them into Ashtang (8-limbs) Yoga. These eight limbs are integrated and inseparable. We can not jump from one to the other. They are integrated. We have to move step by step. Yoga is all comprehensive. Yoga is a total health and it is a total life. The goal of Yoga is health and happiness. One has to go through all these in a process to reach the ultimate goal. The eight limbs of the Ashtang Yoga are: (1) Yam, (2) Niyam, (3) Asan, (4) Pranayam, (5) Pratyahar, (6) Dharana, (7) Dhyan, and (8) Samadhi. Samadhi is the last limb, the 8th limb and the final goal. The circle is completed. And then Osho comes as a 21st Century Buddha and gives a new meaning to everything. He comes as a contemporary Buddha. He makes things very simple. He brings in further calrity to the mysterious world of spirituality. He gives a simple tool of awareness and meditation. And we are transformed. The wheel of Dharma is completed and one attains to one’s own Dharma. Dharma means one’s inner nature. One attains to one’s self-nature. One reaches one’s real home. Dharma means the nature of the nature. Dharma means the nature of the existence. Dharma means the nature of the creation. Dharma means the law of the whole. We are all part of the whole. Our ultimate nature can not be different from the nature of the whole. And our real nature is a Sachitananda. Our real nature is truth, consciousness, and bliss. In the ancient Indian tradition this Dharma is called the Sanatan Dharma. This is called the Eternal Dharma. That is, it was same in the past, it is same in the present, and it is going to be the same in the future.
What is one’s inner nature? What is one’s self-nature? What is one’s Dharma? Dharma is a Sanskrit word for Religion. What is one’s religion? The religion or Dharma or nature of Water is that it flows to the lowest. The religion or Dharma or nature of Fire is that it burns and flows upwards. The religion or Dharma or nature of Air is that it flows in all directions. The religion or Dharma or nature of the Earth is that it creates life. The religion or Dharma or nature of the Sky is that it is empty and still holds everything. What is our inner nature then? Our religion or Dharma or nature is what the Upanishads call, a Sachitananda. That is, Truth, Consciousness, and Bliss. This is our true Dharma. This is our true Religion. This is our innate nature. This is our self-nature. The Upanishads proclaim, “Aham Brahmasmi”. That is, we are all that infinite consciousness. And we can be only that which is, and can not be anything otherwise. Brahma means that which is infinite, eternal, ever-growing, and expansive. Our consciousness and awareness is infinite, eternal, ever-growing and expansive. The circle of Dharma in the Tricolour is of Navy Blue color, indicating depth. The Blue colour indicates the depth and height of our awareness and consciousness. If the “words” indicate the height of our consciousness, then the “silence” indicates its depth.
The wheel of Dharma at the center is circular. The Zen masters have called it “enso”, the “Circle of Enlightenment”. Lao Tzu calls it “Tao”. Lao Tzu says, “It has no name but just for the sake I call it “Tao”. Our consciousness or the experience of enlightenment is actually circular. The only limitation of our enlightenment, if there is any, is that we can never go beyond our consciousness. We have to ultimately return back to our own true consciousness. There is nothing that goes beyond the consciousness.
Whether the spoke is one or eight or twenty-four, unless we inculcate and imbibe these values and virtues we can never reach our ultimate goal. These values have to become our very blood, bone, and marrow. They have to become our very being. To me, the 24 spokes of the wheel of Dharma in the Tricolor also mean 24 hours of the day. This means to me that every moment of our life has to be a part of the Dharma. We can not afford to waste our time. The 24 spokes of the wheel also indicate to me that each moment of our life is so precious that we can never afford to waste and use it for any uncreative and destructive purposes. Every moment is precious to us. But what is time? Time is also resting on a further bigger principle called the timelessness or eternity. What is time really then? Something that is moving is time and something that is non-moving is timelessness. What is moving is in fact the time and what is not moving is the timelessness. Everything is moving within the non-moving. What is moving in fact is our mind and what is not moving is our No-mind. What is moving in fact are our thoughts, and what is not moving is our silence. The moment we become aware and conscious of our inner silence, we become aware and conscious of the super-consciousness. And this super-consciousness will always be of the beyond, transcendental, inexpressible, and unknowable. All expressions of this will only be just pointers or indicators. That’s why Lao Tzu says very clearly in the very beginning of Tao Te Ching that the absolute Tao can never be said and the moment it is said, it is no more an absolute Tao. Moving mind is time and moving time is space. Our mind is always moving in the past and the future. Every moment it is moving like a pendulum from one end to the other. The mind can never rest and can never live in the present and will always be moving from the past to the future, and from the future to the past. The time is a product of our mind. The movement of time is a projection of our mind.
In our above example, the wheel of law is always dynamic and ever moving, one spoke comes up and the other spoke goes down and the wheel of law is thus moving eternally. Movement is a life of the wheel of Dharma. And being static or stagnant is a death of the wheel of Dharma. And we must also understand that the moving wheel is always resting on the axle which is non-moving. In the same way our moving mind is always resting on a far bigger principle called the no-mind which is non-moving and is eternally at rest. And Dharma is a far beyond principle which is transcendental and is far beyond our mind and the no-mind.
“You just close your eyes and go deep in contemplation and meditation. You will be surprised to discover that nothing is actually moving and everything is eternally at rest and relaxation”. Our mind is moving and our no-mind is eternally at rest and relaxation. Our thoughts are moving and our no-thoughts or silence is eternally at rest and relaxation. All the monkeys have agreed and concluded the philosophy of their life, “Everything in life is moving and changing and nothing is ever permanent and only one thing that is never changing is the change itself. Change is the only thing that is ever permanent and never changing. Change is the very nature of our life and existence. We must all accept change and never say no to change”.Let me share with you a small story. There were four monkeys and they were all sitting on a mango tree and enjoying their life. All of a sudden there was a huge gale and the branch on which they were all sitting is broken and all fell down in a river. The river was overflowing because of a deluge. All the four monkeys were drowning and struggling to save their lives. Some how all of them tried to catch hold of the branch of the mango tree which was flowing in the river. They could save their lives by holding on to the branch. They were again enjoying their joy ride with the mangoes. They all have now decided to share the philosophy of their life. The first monkey said that only the water in the river is moving and neither they nor the branch on which they were all sitting. The second monkey said that only their mind is moving and neither they nor the branch on which they were all sitting. The third monkey said that only their thoughts are moving and neither they nor the branch, nor the river. And the fourth monkey said,
Albert Einstein used to say that time and space are not two different things but only one. And that’s why he used to indicate it by one word only and he called it “spacio-time”. He has also said that he could see and feel the fourth dimension of existence but could not express it by words or equations. Probably nobody can express the fourth dimension of existence either by gestures, words, hypotheses, equations or philosophies. That will always remain inexpressible. Moving mind is time and moving time is space. Non-moving mind and non-moving time is timelessness or eternity. The moment there is no time we come to know the timelessness. The moment we are in no-mind we come to realize the timelessness. And the moment there are no thoughts or when the thoughts are ceased, we come to know the no-mind or experience the timelessness or the eternity or the ever present or simply the “here-now”. We experience something that is eternal and inexpressible. We experience something that is both beyond time and beyond space. We realize something that is ever elusive, unexplainable, and inexpressible. This is the experience of “Spiritual Singularity”. And this eternal thing is called Dharma, and this immortal thing is called Brahma. In the ancient Indian tradition this is called the Sanatan Dharma. This Dharma is present and breathing in each one of us. Enlightenment simply means the experience of this Dharma which is always here and now.
All the best. Happy independence day, 15th August, 2009. Jai Ho !!