In this discourse, Osho speaks also about the meaning of the ’tilak’ or ‘tika’, Edgar Cayce, and that atomic energy was known and used already by the ancients.
Before I tell you about the vermillion or sandal paste mark, I would like to tell you about two events. It will make things easier for you to understand. Both of them are historical facts.
In the 1888 a person named Ramanujan was born in a poor Brahmin family in South India. He became a very famous mathematician. He could not study much, but still his genius in mathematics was unique. Many well educated mathematicians have earned a name because of their training and guidance from others for a number of years. But Ramanujan was not even a matriculate and had no training or guidance from anyone.
With great difficulty he got a clerical job, but very soon news spread that he had an amazing talent in mathematics. Someone suggested that he write a letter to the famous mathematician, Professor Hardy, of Cambridge University – he was the most eminent mathematician of those days. He didn’t write a letter, but solved two theorems of geometry and sent them to Professor Hardy. Hardy was astonished to receive them and could not believe that someone so young could solve such theorems. He immediately wrote back to Ramanujan and invited him to England. When Hardy met him for the first time, he felt that he was like a child before Ramanujan in the field of mathematics. The genius and capabilities of Ramanujan were such that they could not be due to mental powers, because the intellect moves very slowly, thinking takes time, but Ramanujan didn’t take any time in responding to Hardy’s questions. No sooner was the problem written down on the blackboard or put to him verbally than Ramanujan began to reply, without any time gap for thinking. It was very difficult for great mathematicians to understand how it happened. A problem which would take about six hours for an eminent mathematician to solve – and then too he was not sure about being right – Ramanujan solved instantaneously, unerringly.
It proved that Ramanujan was not replying through the medium of the mind. He was not very learned, he had actually failed in matriculation; there was no other sign of intellectual ability, but in connection with mathematics he was superhuman. Something happened that was beyond the human mind. He died when he was thirty-six because of tuberculosis.
When he was in hospital, Hardy, along with two or three other mathematician friends, went to see him. As it happened, he parked his car in such a place so that Ramanujan could see its number plate. When Hardy went into Ramanujan’s room, he told Hardy that his number plate was unique: it had four special aspects to it. After that, Ramanujan died. Hardy took six months to understand what Ramanujan meant, but he could only discover three of the four aspects. On his death he left a will that research work on that number should continue, to find out the fourth aspect. Because Ramanujan had said there was a fourth, there had to be. Twenty-two years after Hardy’s death, the fourth was discovered. Ramanujan was right.
Whenever he began to look into any mathematical problem something began to happen in the middle space between his two eyebrows. Both his eyeballs turned upwards, centering on that middle space. In Yoga, that space is described as the third eye spot. It is called the third eye because if that eye becomes activated it is possible to see events and scenes of some different world in their entirety. It is like looking out of your house through a small hole in the door, and suddenly, when the door opens, you see the whole sky. There is a space between the two eyebrows where there is a small aperture which sometimes opens – as in the case of Ramanujan. His eyes rose to his third eye while solving a problem. Neither Hardy could understand this phenomenon nor would other Western mathematicians ever understand it in the future.
I will tell you about another event in connection with the vermillion mark, so that you will be able to understand its relationship to the third eye.
Edgar Cayce died in 1945. Forty years before that, in 1905, he fell sick, became unconscious and remained in a coma for three days. The doctors had lost all hope and said that they could not find any way to bring him back to consciousness. They thought that his unconsciousness was so deep that perhaps he would never come out of it. All medicines were tried, but there were no signs of his regaining consciousness.
On the evening of the third day, the doctors said that they could not do anything more and that within four to six hours he would die, or if he lived, he would be mad – which would be worse than death – because as time passed the delicate veins and cells of his brain were disintegrating. But Cayce suddenly started speaking even though he was in a coma. The doctors couldn’t believe it: Cayce’s body was unconscious, but he was speaking. He said that he had fallen from a tree, that his backbone was injured, and that was why he was unconscious. He also said that if he was not treated within six hours, his brain would be affected and he would die. He suggested some herbal medicine which he should be given to drink and said that he then should recover within twelve hours.
The names of the herbs which he requested were not likely to have been known to Edgar Cayce, and at first the doctors thought what he was saying was just part of his madness because the substances he had suggested were not known to cure a condition such as his. But because Cayce had specifically mentioned them they thought they should try them. Those substances were searched for, and given to Cayce: he fully recovered within twelve hours.
After he became conscious and when the incident was related to him, Cayce could not remember suggesting any such medicine; he neither knew the names of the medicines nor recognized them. But this event in Edgar Cayce’s life was the beginning of a rare happening. Edgar Cayce became an expert in suggesting medicines for incurable diseases; he cured about thirty thousand people during his life. Whatever prescription he gave was always right; without exception, every patient who tried his medicine was cured. But Cayce himself was not able to explain it. He could only say that whenever he closed his eyes to look for some treatment, both his eyes turned upwards as if pulled towards the middle of his two eyebrows. His eyes became fixed there and he forgot everything; he only remembered that after a certain point he forgot everything about this life, and until that point, the treatment would not come to him. He suggested some wonderful remedies, two of which are worth understanding.
The Rothschilds were a very rich family in America. A woman from that family had been sick for a long time and no treatment had helped. Then she was brought to Edgar Cayce, and in his unconscious state he suggested a medicine. We have to call his state unconscious, but those who know about this mysterious happening would say he was fully conscious at that time. In fact, unconsciousness continues until our knowledge reaches the third eye.
Rothschild was a millionaire, so he could afford to search the whole of America for that medicine, but he couldn’t find it. No one could even say whether such a medicine existed. Advertisements were placed in international newspapers requesting information about the medicine. After almost three weeks a man from Sweden wrote, saying that there was no medicine of that name in existence, although twenty years earlier his father had patented a medicine of that name but never had it manufactured. He wrote that his father had died but he could send the formula. The medicine was then made up and given to the woman, who then recovered. How could Cayce have known of a drug that had not even been available on the market?
In another incident, he again suggested a particular medicine to someone; a search was made for it but it could not be found. A year later an advertisement appeared in a newspaper announcing the availability of that medicine. For that previous year it had been being tested in the laboratories; it had not even been given a name but Cayce knew of it. The medicine was given to the patient who soon recovered.
Cayce had suggested medicines which could not be found, and so the patients died. When he was told about this, he said that he was helpless, there was nothing he could do. He said, “I do not know who is seeing the patient and is speaking when I am unconscious – I have no relationship with that person.” But one thing was certain, whenever he was speaking in that state his eyes were drawn upwards.
When we are in deep sleep, then our eyes are drawn upwards in proportion to the depth of sleep. Now, psychologists are doing much experimentation on sleep. The deeper you are in sleep, the higher are your eyes; the lower the eyes, the greater is their movement. If your eyes are moving very rapidly under their eyelids you are having a very eventful dream. Now this has been scientifically proved by through experiments – that “rapid eye movement, REM,” indicates a fast-moving dream. The lower the eyes, the greater the REM; as the eyes go higher, the REM is reduced. When the REM is zero, sleep is at its deepest. Then the eyes remain steady between the two eyebrows.
Yoga says that in deep sleep we reach the same state that we reach in samadhi. The place where the eyes become fixed is the same in deep sleep and in samadhi.
I have told you about these two historical events only to indicate that between your two eyebrows there is a point where this worldly life ceases, and the life of the other world begins. That point is a door. On this side of the door this world flourishes, and inside it there is an unknown world, supernatural.
The tilak – the vermillion mark – was first devised as an indication and symbol of that unknown world. It cannot be applied just anywhere, and only a person who can place his hand on the forehead and find the spot can tell you where to apply the tilak. There is no use in putting the tilak just anywhere, because the spot is not in exactly the same place on everyone. The third eye is not found in the same place on everyone; it is somewhere above the middle of the two eyebrows on most people. If someone has meditated for a long time in his past lives and has had a small experience of samadhi, his third eye will be lower down. If no meditation has been done that place is higher up on the forehead. From the position of that spot, it can be determined what the state of your meditation was in your past life; it will indicate whether any state of samadhi happened to you in your past life. If it happened often, the spot would have come down lower; it would be at the same level as your eyes – it can’t go lower than that. If that spot has come in line with your eyes, then with just a small push one can enter samadhi. In fact the push can be irrelevant; so, many times when someone goes into samadhi without any apparent cause we are surprised.
There is a story about a Zen nun…. She was returning with a pot of water on her head after fetching water from a well. The pot somehow fell, and in that falling the woman achieved samadhi, became enlightened. The incident seems so insignificant: the pot falls and breaks – and samadhi happens! There seems to be no logical connection.
There is another such event, this one in the life of Lao Tzu. He was sitting under a tree during autumn and the dry leaves of the tree were falling. Watching them, Lao Tzu became enlightened. There is no relationship between enlightenment and leaves falling, but such things happen when because of work done in past lives your spiritual journey is almost completed and the third-eye spot has moved down so that it is between your two eyes. Then any small happening will tip the scales, and that final small happening can be anything.
If the sandal paste mark or tilak is put just at the right spot, it indicates several things. Firstly, if your master has told you to put a tilak on a particular spot, you will begin to experience something there. You may not have thought about this, but if you sit with closed eyes and someone puts his finger on the spot between your two eyes, you will have the feeling that someone is pointing his finger at you. This is the experience of the third eye.
If the tilak is the same size as your third eye and it is put at just the right spot, you will remember that spot for twenty-four hours and forget the rest of the body. This remembering will make you more aware of the tilak and less of your body. Then a moment comes when nothing else is remembered about the body except that tilak. When that happens you will be able to open your third eye. In this practice connected with the tilak, in which you forget the body and just remember the tilak, your whole consciousness crystallizes and becomes focused on the third eye. It is just like focusing the rays of the sun on a piece of paper with the help of a lens; you create enough heat to burn the paper. When those sun rays are concentrated, fire is produced. When consciousness remains spread all over the whole body, it is just doing the work of carrying on your life. But when it becomes totally focused on the third eye, the barrier to seeing with the third eye is burnt, and the door which allows you to see the inner sky is opened.
So the first use of the tilak is to show you the right spot on the body so that you remember it twenty-four hours a day. Another use of the tilak is to make it easier for the master to see the spot without having to put his hand on your forehead to see your progress – because as the place moves downwards, you will put the tilak a little lower. Each day you have to feel the spot and move the tilak to it, to where you feel the presence of the third eye.
The master may have thousands of disciples: while the disciple bows down to him, the master observes where his tilak is and does not need to ask anything about his progress. The tilak indicates whether the disciple is making progress or whether he is obstructed by something and has become stuck. If the disciple can’t feel the downward movement of the spot, it means that his consciousness is not being totally focused. If the disciple has put the tilak on the wrong place, it means he is not conscious of the exact point.
As the spot goes on moving downwards, the methods of meditation will have to be changed. So for the master, the tilak functions just like a patient’s progress chart in a hospital does for a doctor. The nurse goes on recording the temperature, blood pressure, pulse and so on; the doctor just has to see the chart to know the patient’s condition. Similarly, the tilak was a great experiment to indicate the condition of the disciple; the master had no need to ask anything. The master knew what help was needed or what needed to be changed. This was the value of the tilak – judging the changes needed in meditation.
Another aspect of the third eye is that it is the center of willpower. In Yoga it is called the agya chakra. We call it that because whatsoever discipline we have in our life is governed by it; whatever order and harmony there is in our life arises from this point.
Let us understand it this way…. All of us have a sex center, and it is easier to understand through the sex center because we are all aware of it; we are not very aware of the agya chakra. All our desires in life are born in the sex center. As long as the sex center is not activated, there is no sexual desire. However, every child is born with the capacity for sex and the entire mechanism for fulfilling sexual desire.
It is a strange fact that women are born with all the ova they could need for the entire length of their reproductive life. Not a single new ovum can be produced later. From the first day of her life the number of ova a woman has indicates the potential number of children she can give birth to. After she reaches puberty, every month one ovum will be released from her ovaries. If it meets and unites with a sperm from a man’s semen, a child is conceived. Then no more ova are released as long as that embryo develops and until after the newborn child is a few months old.
The desire for sex, however, does not arise until the sex center becomes active. As long as that center is inactive, even though the necessary equipment for sex is complete in the body, sexual desire is not aroused. When one reaches the age of thirteen or fourteen, that center becomes active. We know this center because we are not activating it but it becomes activated by nature. If the situation were otherwise, very few people would become aware of it. Have you ever wondered that if just a thought of sex passes through your mind, the whole reproductive system becomes active. The thought arises in the mind – far away from the sex center, but the thought activates the sex center immediately. Every idea or thought about sex is sucked by the sex center towards it. Every thought is attracted towards its relative center, just as water flows to a lower level.
The third eye center is the center of willpower. Let us understand what its function is.
People whose agya chakra is not activated in this life will remain slaves in thousands of ways. Without this center there is no freedom. We know about political and economic freedom, but these freedoms are not real – because a person who has no willpower, whose agya chakra is not activated, will always remain a slave in one way or another. He may become free from one slavery but will become a slave to something else. He does not have a center of will to make him an owner of anything, he does not have anything like will. He does not have the power to command himself; his body and senses command him. If his stomach says it is hungry, he is hungry. If his body says it is sick, he becomes sick. If his sex center says he needs sex, the sexual desire arises. If his body says it has become old, he becomes old. The body commands and he obeys.
But as soon as this center of willpower becomes active, the body stops giving orders and instead it starts to obey; the whole arrangement is reversed. If such a person asks his blood to stop flowing, it will; if he asks his heart to stop beating, it will. He can ask his pulse to stop throbbing and it will. Such a person becomes the master of his body, mind and senses. But without the activation of the agya chakra, he cannot be. The more you remember this center, the more you become the master of yourself.
Many experiments have been done in Yoga to awaken this center. If a person tries to remember this center every now and then, there will be great results. If a tilak is put there, your attention is drawn there repeatedly. As soon as the tilak is put on, the spot becomes set apart from the rest of your body. That spot is very sensitive, and if the tilak is on the right spot you will have to remember it. It is possibly the most sensitive spot in the body.
There are methods for marking this sensitive spot. After hundreds of experiments, sandalwood paste was chosen. There is a sort of resonance between sandalwood paste and the sensitivity of the agya chakra and if applied on that spot the paste deepens its sensitivity. Not just any substance can be used; some other substances, in fact, can badly damage the sensitivity of that spot.
For example, women stick a plastic coloured dot on their forehead, but tikas from the marketplace do not have any scientific basis. They have nothing to do with Yoga, and they cause harm to the sensitivity of the third eye. The question is whether a substance increases the sensitivity of the spot or decreases it. If it increases the sensitivity, it is good; otherwise, it is harmful. In this world even a small thing can make a difference; everything has its own separate effect. Keeping this in mind, some special things were found to be useful. If the agya chakra can become sensitive and be activated, it will bring about an increased integrity and dignity in you. You will begin to be more integrated, whole; everything inside you ceases to be separate and divided and you become whole.
There is a small difference between the use of the tika and the tilak. The tika was meant particularly for women. In women the agya chakra is very weak, it has to be because the woman’s entire personality is created for surrender – her beauty is in surrender. If her agya chakra becomes powerful, then surrendering will be difficult. Her agya chakra is weak, very weak compared to a man’s. That is why a woman always needs someone’s help in one form or another. She does not ordinarily venture to stand on her own but looks to a helping hand, someone’s shoulder to lean on, someone to lead her. She likes someone to tell her to do something, and her willingness to follow makes her happy.
India is the only country in which an attempt has been made to activate the woman’s agya chakra. This is only because it was felt that unless the agya chakra is activated, the woman will not be able to make any progress in spiritual life; she cannot make any progress in meditative practices without will power – that has to be made stable and strong. But it is necessary to make her agya chakra strong in a different way, because if it is done in the usual way, the same way as for a man, it will reduce her femininity and she will begin to develop the qualities of a man.
So the tika was invariably and firmly associated with a woman’s husband. This association was needed because if it was just applied independently, it would increase a woman’s independence and make her self-sufficient. And the more independent she became, the more her delicateness, her beauty and flexibility would be destroyed. There is a tenderness and softness in her seeking help from others, but if she became independent she wouldn’t be able to avoid become hard and rigid. So it was thought that to make her strong directly would damage her femininity, it would create problems in her being a mother; it would make it difficult for her to surrender. Hence an effort was made to connect her will with that of her husband. This was helpful in two ways. Her femininity would not be affected but her will center would still become activated.
Let us understand it this way: the agya chakra cannot go against the person who it is associated with. If it is connected with the will of a religious master, it cannot go against him. If it is connected with a woman’s husband, she can never go against him either. If a tika is put on the right spot of a woman’s forehead, with its deep association with her husband, she will be able to follow him, but she will be powerful against the rest of the world.
If you understand what hypnotism is, you will be able to understand this associative phenomenon. If a hypnotist hypnotizes someone, then the person hypnotized will be able to hear only the voice of the hypnotist. He will hear the quiet command of the hypnotist, but he will not hear any loud noises that may be created by the spectators. This is similar to what happens when an Indian woman wears a tika: it makes her deeply suggestible. She remains open only to her husband and closed to everyone else. This happens only because of this tika. She will hear anything her husband may quietly say to her but will not feel willing even to listen to any one else’s loud command. Her agya chakra is connected with her husband.
This suggestibility, this mantra, is used in connection with the woman’s tika. She will follow only him and surrender herself only to him. Towards the rest of the world she maintains her freedom and independence, but now there will be no problem for her femininity; her womanhood can be preserved, her feminine qualities are left undisturbed. So as soon as the husband dies the tika has to be removed because now she is not to follow anybody. People have no idea about the scientific approach regarding the tika; they think that she because a woman has become a widow, the tika is removed. But there was a reason for removing it. Now she will have to live like any man for the rest of her life; and the more independent she becomes, the better it will be. Even the slightest area of vulnerability which might cause her to follow someone has to be closed.
This tika experiment was very deep. But it has to be on the right spot and of the right material and put on correctly; otherwise, it is absurd. If the tika is only decorative it has no value. Then it is only a formality. So when the tika is applied for the first time, it is done with ceremony, with a fixed ritual. Only if it is done that way will it be beneficial and not otherwise.
Now all these things have become meaningless because now the entire chain of scientific thinking behind them is lost. Now this is only an empty ritual, an outer hollow shell that we are still just carrying somehow, without any purpose, without any love.
I will tell you a few more things about the agya chakra which will be useful. The line drawn upwards from the agya chakra divides the brain in two, right and left. The brain begins at that line, and lies an inch deep. It has been observed that half our brain is not utilized; the most intelligent people among us – our geniuses – also use barely half of the brain and the remaining half is unused and undeveloped. Scientists and the psychologists are puzzled as to why this is so. Even if that half of the brain is surgically removed, everything continues to function normally; the person will not even know that half of his brain has been removed. But scientists know that nature does not create anything unnecessarily. There could be a mistake with one person’s brain, but not with the brains of the whole of humanity! But in all humans half of the brain is unused, inactive, without any movement whatsoever.
Yoga maintains that this half of the brain becomes active only after the agya chakra is activated. Half of the brain is connected with the centers below the agya chakra, and the other half is connected with the centers above the agya chakra. When the centers below the agya chakra are working, the left side of the brain is utilized. When the centers above it begin to work, the right side of the brain is activated. As long as there is no experience of the activities of that other half there can be no conception of it.
In Sweden a man fell from a train. When he was taken to the hospital, he began hearing the programs which were being broadcast on radio stations within a ten-mile radius around him. At first it was thought that there was some damage in his brain because he was describing the sound as just a humming in his ears. But after two weeks he began to hear the radio programs clearly, and he became very frightened and asked the doctor what was wrong. He told the doctor that he could hear the radio programs as clearly as if he had a radio receiver near his ears. The doctor asked him what he was hearing, and he repeated the line of a song; the doctor had just heard that particular song on the radio at his home where he had just come from. After that song, the radio transmission for that session had stopped and the doctor had left for the hospital. When transmission began again, a radio was brought into the hospital to compare what the patient heard with what was being transmitted. It was found that this man’s ears were functioning like a radio receiver. Finally he had to be operated on; otherwise he would have gone mad because there was no way to switch off the programs. He could hear the broadcasts all the time, whether he wanted to or not.
This incident made one thing clear – that the ear has a great potential. It may be possible by the turn of this century to use our ears to listen to broadcasts directly. The ear can work like a radio receiver just by providing an on-off switch fixed near the ear! This idea only came because of this man having a train accident. In this world, many new inventions have been made; new ideas and perspectives have arisen accidentally. We could never have thought on the basis of our past knowledge that some day our ears might act as radio receivers. Both the ear and the radio receiver do the work of hearing; both are receptive. In fact the radio was made after the ear, the ear served as a model; the radio is meaningful only because of our ears. The other potentialities of the ears cannot be known unless we suddenly or accidentally stumble on them.
A similar incident happened during the second world war. A man was wounded and became unconscious. When he became conscious, he began to see stars in the sky – during the daytime. Stars are always there, but because of the radiance of the sun we are not able to see them during the day; they are very far away and the sunlight intervenes.
Stars are hundreds of times bigger than the sun and they are hundreds of times brighter than the sun, but they are farther away from the earth than the sun. Sun rays take about nine minutes to reach the earth, whereas the light from the nearest star takes four light years to reach the earth. The light from the sun travels at the speed of one hundred and eighty-six thousand miles per second. Even at this speed sunlight takes nine minutes to reach earth – and light from the nearest star takes four light years. There are stars so far away that their light might take four thousand years, four hundred thousand years, forty million years, or four billion years to reach the earth. Some scientists say that the light rays that began to travel from a distant star before the earth was born, may only reach here when the earth has disappeared. Those light rays may never know that there was something like earth that happened during their journey.
The stars that that wounded man saw exist during the day but they cannot be seen. But that man saw them! What happened to his eyes? They developed some extraordinary capacity; that incident revealed the potential of the eyes. It indicated that there is dormant potential in our eyes of which we are not aware – all our senses have much dormant potential. Whatever seems like a miracle to us is only the sudden revelation of some of our ordinarily dormant potential. It is not a miracle. There are many miracles within us, but they are not manifest, they are hidden behind locked doors.
Just a few minutes ago I was telling you that half of the brain usually remains unused and becomes active only when the agya chakra becomes active. That is the insight of Yoga. Such insights have not just come to light from recent experience, but have been known for at least twenty thousand years. You cannot rely on any conclusion reached by science because what science believes to be true today may be proved wrong within six months. But these insights of Yoga are confirmed by the experience of at least twenty thousand years. We have the illusion that ours is the first civilization, but many human civilizations happened earlier and have vanished. Many times before us man reached the same or higher heights of scientific progress, but those civilizations were destroyed.
In 1924 a center for research in atomic science was established in Germany. Suddenly one morning, a person who gave his name as Fulcanelli went to the institute and handed in a written message to the center authorities. In the letter he had written, “I and a few others know certain facts about atomic science, and on the basis of that knowledge, I warn you not to go ahead with your atomic research because before our civilization, many others destroyed themselves through explosive atomic energy. It is better to stop any further research.” Afterwards efforts were made to find the writer but without success.
In 1940 there was a very great scientist in Germany, Heisenberg, who had worked developing atomic energy areas. Again, the same person, Fulcanelli, came to his house, handed a note to his servant and then went away. The note contained the same message, and again the author could not be traced.
In 1945, when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, all twelve scientists who had helped to make the atomic bomb were sent a similar letter by Fulcanelli, telling them that even now it was not too late to stop further development of their work; otherwise, since the first step towards destruction had been taken, the last step was not far off. Oppenheimer, who was the greatest American nuclear scientist and who had contributed a great deal towards the making of the atomic bomb, immediately resigned from the nuclear board after receiving this letter and issued a statement saying, “We did wrong.” But once more this Fulcanelli could not be traced. What Fulcanelli was saying is very possible: earlier civilizations did play with the atom and destroyed themselves.
In India at the time of the Mahabharata war, the bow was used with atomic arrowheads, and a great destruction followed. This is the situation: a child becomes a young man and commits the same mistakes which his father committed. The father, who is now old, warns him not to – in his own time, his father had also warned him – but in youth such mistakes are committed, and younger generations are warned by those who meanwhile have become old. Civilizations are also destroyed by taking the same steps and making mistakes similar to those of past civilizations. Civilizations, too, pass through childhood and youth and then become old and die.
The insights of Yoga have been gained over a period of twenty thousand years; historically, the calculations for a period of twenty thousand years are fairly clear. If you want to study the youth of one man, you need to study that of ten, because what is true for one man may not be true for all men. The study of a single person and a single event are not conclusive enough by themselves. So that is why I said that the history of twelve thousand years is fairly clear.
Yoga has maintained for twenty thousand years that if you want to know what there is beyond this worldly life you have to activate that half of the brain which has been dormant and inactive. If you want to know anything about the absolute, that which is beyond matter, that other half of the brain will have to be activated. The door to that half of the brain is where we apply the tilak – the place of the agya chakra. That spot is the outward location and it corresponds to the inner center, which is about one and a half inches deep inside the forehead. That deep point, that center, gives an insight which is beyond the world of matter and of desire.
Just as in India the tilak was devised, in Tibet they devised methods of actually surgically operating on that spot to reach the agya chakra. Tibetans have made a lot of effort to find the third eye, more than any other civilization. In fact all of Tibet’s sciences and understanding about life in its various aspects is based on the understanding of the third eye.
Earlier I told you about Edgar Cayce who gave prescriptions while in a trance. He was the only such case in America, but in Tibet, people would ask for medical advice only from those who were able to go into a trance, samadhi. Tibetans tried to reach the agya chakra surgically, by breaking it open from the outside. But reaching that place surgically is quite different from reaching it internally, through Yoga practices as has been done in India. When the half brain is activated internally through Yoga practices, it is activated because of the development of consciousness. Opening the center from the outside – without any refining or purifying of consciousness – creates a danger of misusing the achievements of that half of the brain after it is activated, because the man remains the same. His consciousness is not transformed from within through meditation. What is needed is a change in consciousness through meditation.
If the half-mind is activated without that inner transformation, then the person who becomes capable of seeing beyond a wall, beyond outer earthly obstructions, may not try to save a person, for example, who has fallen into a well, but may want to dig out treasures which he can see – through the activation of his half brain – are lying hidden under the ground. If such a person knows that he can make people obey him, he might order you to do something that is wrong, to benefit himself.
External operations could have been done in India also, but Indians never attempted to do them, because the practitioners of Yoga know that if consciousness is not transformed from within, it is dangerous to activate such powers and put them in the hands of people who might misuse them. It is like giving a sword to a child. He may not only kill three or four people, he might also kill himself. So the transformation of the consciousness is necessary before new powers are activated.
In Tibet they tried to make a hole with physical instruments on the spot where we apply the tilak, so Tibetans came to know and experience many powers of the dormant mind, but as far as spiritual discipline is concerned, Tibet could not become a great country. It is surprising that although Tibet did a great deal, it could not give birth to a buddha. It developed many powers, it came to know many unique things, but it used them for trivial matters.
India did not try to experiment with physical instruments, but tried to concentrate and focus the total energy on the agya chakra from within so that the third eye would open by the very force of that surging energy. It is a great discipline to bring the flow of consciousness up to the third eye; the mind has to be elevated to high levels of discipline. Normally, the mind gravitates downwards; in fact our mind normally flows towards the sex center. Whatever we may be doing – earning money, increasing our status, anything – in a subtle way, it is our desire for sex that is the motivating force. If we are earning money, it is only in the hope that we can buy sex. We seek higher positions only to be powerful enough to be able to select and secure sexual partners.
That is why in days past the reputation of a king was measured by the number of queens he had! And that is the right measure, because what is the value of your power? So, power and status and money are in a roundabout way only meant for the satisfaction of that fundamental sex drive. As long as your energies are flowing downwards towards the sex center it is possible that you will be spiritually undisciplined.
If you want to direct the energy to higher levels, then the direction of sex energy will have to be reversed. The complete direction of the flow has to be changed. You have to make an about turn, and shift your entire attention to an upward direction. There must be an upward vertical movement – and this will be a great moral spiritual discipline. At every step there will be confrontation and a need for sacrifices. You will have to lose all that is inferior, lower, to gain that which is immense and sublime. This price has to be paid. And when you achieve higher powers at such a cost, how then can you misuse them? There is no question of misuse because the person capable of misusing any power will be finished before he reaches the goal.
It is because of this that in Tibet black magic was born – because of those external operations. There was very little spiritual growth, but evil practices could thrive.
Among Sufis there is a story about Jesus…. In Christianity there is no mention of this anywhere – there are many such stories about Jesus with the Sufis, stories which Christianity does not have. Even Moslems have accounts of some important events in the life of Jesus which are not found in Christianity. This story is recorded by the Sufis….
Jesus had three disciples who said to him that they had heard about his power to revive the dead. They did not want any salvation or the kingdom of God, but they wanted him to tell them the secret of raising the dead so that they could have that power. Jesus told them that they would never be able to use the mantra for themselves, because once they were dead, how could they use it? How would they benefit in making others come to life? He told them that instead he would show them how not to die at all, but the disciples said that they were not worried about their own deaths, that they were interested only in knowing how the dead could be made alive.
Finally Jesus became tired of them and he showed them the method. Immediately all three left him to search for a dead body somewhere, to try out the mantra before they forgot something or made some mistake. Unfortunately, in the first village they reached, they couldn’t find a dead body, so they went to another one, and on the way they found a skeleton. As they could not find a dead body, they thought that they would try the mantra on the skeleton. It was the skeleton of a lion. They used the mantra and immediately the lion came to life and killed them all!
Sufi say that only such can result – the curiosity of an unethical mind can take one into great danger. So much secret knowledge was kept hidden so that it would not fall into the wrong hands. Anything given to an ordinary person was given in such a way that they would come to understand them only when they deserved to.
You may wonder why I have been telling you all this in relation to the tilak. A tilak was put on every child’s forehead when he did not understand anything about it. But as he grew up and came to understand such things, the child would figure out the mystery of the tilak. Until then, just a hint about the right spot was given. Whenever the child’s consciousness was capable, he could make use of that mark. It does not matter if out of one hundred people only one is able to use the tilak; that one is enough. If it only made one person aware of the tilak and the third-eye center, it had served its purpose.
There is so much value placed on the tilak that on all special occasions such as a marriage or a victory, the tilak is applied. Have you ever stop to wonder why the tilak is applied on every occasion of respect and honour? It is because of the law of association. Our mind is very interesting. It wants to forget the moments of misery and wants to remember the moments of happiness. That is why the mind forgets all events that brought unhappiness and remembers only the moments that gave happiness. That is why we always feel that the past was happy. An old man always thinks that he was happy in his childhood. It is because the mind drops all memories that are painful, and keeps those that are pleasurable. So when a person looks back to the past, he only sees happiness. In between, whatever unhappiness was there, is dropped.
No child ever says that his childhood is full of happiness. Children want to grow older fast – old people say their childhood was full of happiness. There is some misunderstanding somewhere. If you ask a child what he would like to become, he will say he wants to grow up. If you ask old people what they want, they will say they want to be children again. The child always tries to look grown-up and tries to become older. He begins to smoke cigarettes only because he feels that smoking is a symbol of being grown up. Psychologists say that seventy percent of children begin smoking because it is a symbol of prestige. They think only big, strong, successful people smoke. So when a child smokes, he holds himself straight and he feels he is somebody – not just an ordinary person.
If a film is declared “For adults only,” boys will put on artificial moustaches to try and get into the show. Why? There is a burning desire in children to grow up quickly. But old people say that childhood was very happy. Why? The only reason is that the mind makes us forget the unhappy times; unhappiness is not worth remembering.
One psychologist, Piaget, after experimenting with children for forty years, has found that the memory of the first five years of life is very poor, almost nil – because those years are so unhappy that the child does not want to remember them. If you try to remember events of your early life, according to Piaget you will remember back to when you were five years old, or at the most four years old. Was there no memory formation before then? There was. Were there no events before you were five years old? There were. In those early days did no one abuse you? Did someone not love you? All these things happened. But then why is there no memory of those first four or five years?
Piaget says that early childhood days were full of unhappiness for the child; the child feels weak, helpless, and so dependent that he suppresses the memory of them, he simply drops those days from his memory. If asked about them, he simply says, “I don’t remember anything before the age of four” … Because when his father told him to get up he had to obey; if his mother told him to sit down he had to obey. Everyone around him was more powerful and he couldn’t go against them – he was as helpless as a dry leaf in the wind. He had to do whatever he was told; he was dependent on others for everything. Just the hint of anger in the other’s eye and he was frightened.
So he just closes up and forgets that he had any life before he was four years old. But if he is hypnotized, and asked to remember events from before he was four, or even when he was in his mother’s womb, he will remember and describe them. If during the pregnancy his mother fell over, under the influence of a hypnotist the child can remember the shock it felt in her womb. But usually such memories cannot be recalled in ordinary consciousness.
There was a strong reason to associate the tilak with one’s moments of happiness. Whenever there is a happy event, let a tilak be put on your forehead. Both the happy event and the tilak will be remembered through association. Here it is necessary to know a little about the law of association.
Pavlov, the Russian scientist, did many experiments in this area. He said anything can be associated with anything else – our lives are just the sum total of our associations. One of his experiments is well known. It involved him offering food to a dog. Pavlov would keep some food at some distance so that the dog would start salivating while he was looking at the food. Then Pavlov rang bell. There is no connection between a bell and the secretion of saliva, but whenever the food was offered to the dog the secretion of saliva began and then the bell was rung. This was done for fifteen days; the mental association between the bell and the saliva was now established. On the sixteenth day there was no food, but when the bell was rung the dog began to salivate. The ringing of the bell activated the dog’s memory of the food: the bell became a symbol for the food.
This same law of association has been used with the tilak: it has become associated with happiness. Whenever a happy event occurred, a tilak was used; so the tilak and happiness gradually became so associated that the tilak could never be forgotten. So whenever you become happy, you will first remember the agya chakra. We always like to remember happy moments, and whether we were really happy or not, we live in happy memories. Even small happinesses are exaggerated; we magnify the happy events and minimize the unhappy ones.
When you first met your beloved, how happy you were! Today when you think about it, it was such a great event. But if you actually meet her today, the happiness will become contracted. Then again within twenty-four hours you will magnify it. There is so much unhappiness in life that if we don’t magnify the happiness it would be difficult to live.
If the tilak is associated with happiness, as the happiness is magnified, so also is the tilak. With this happening frequently the happiness is associated with the agya chakra. When this happens, understand that you have made use of happiness for opening the third eye. We can use this stream of happiness to activate the agya chakra. The more we activate it from different directions, the more helpful it is.
Those countries which have not used the tilak have not known what the third eye is. Countries which had even a slight inkling of the third eye have made use of the tilak. Those countries which had no concept of the third eye could not invent the tilak; there was no basis for it. Some society will not suddenly get the idea to start applying a tilak to the forehead without any reason. There is no reason to apply a tilak just at random on any spot. So it is not just accidental, and such a practice can survive only if there is a deep reason for it.
I will tell you a few more things about this third-eye spot. You may have noticed that whenever you are anxious there is a pressure on your third eye. Because of that your forehead contracts and wrinkles are formed. the tension builds up just on the spot where the tilak is placed. Those who are continuously tense and constantly thinking and reflecting, invariably indicate the location of the spot by the pressure which they feel on their forehead.
People who have worked hard on the third eye in their past lives have, at the time of birth, a sort of tilak on the forehead right at the third-eye spot. That spot appears slightly worn, just as if a tilak had been there. If you touch that spot on the forehead with your finger it will feel a little swollen – just there, where in past lives a tilak was worn. Behind a tilak or tika is hidden the third eye.
There was a small experiment carried out by hypnotists…. Charcot, in France, was a great psychologist who worked on the subject of influencing a person by focusing his eyes on the other’s forehead. If you try to concentrate your gaze on someone’s forehead, he will become very angry and won’t let you continue. It is thought ill-mannered and rude to do so. From the forehead the agya chakra is about one and a half inches inside – very close to the surface. If someone is walking in front of you, and you fix your eyes on the back of his head, approximately at the level of his third-eye spot, you will find that within a few seconds that person will turn to look around behind him. If you continue this experiment for a few days, and after that if you mentally give him some suggestions, he will carry them out.
Try to understand: if you focus your gaze at the back of his head for a few seconds without even once letting your eyelids close, the person will look behind him. Then, just at that moment, you can mentally command him to do something. If you ask him to turn left he will do so, although he will feel very embarrassed; he may have been wanting to turn right. If you do this experiment for some time, you will be surprised at the results. From the back the distance to the third-eye spot is longer, but from the front the distance is only one and a half inches. From the front the results are more surprising….
Those who experiment in shaktipat, transmitting energy, are able to do so through the agya chakra. If some saint or sadhu makes you sit in front of him with your eyes closed, you might think that he is doing something – he is only fixing his eyes on this spot on your forehead and mentally giving you a suggestion. If he says, “There is bright light within you,” you will feel that there is light inside you. But that light does not remain with you; as soon as you are away from him it vanishes. Sometimes that illusion of light may persist for two or three days, and then it dies out. It is not really shaktipat, but only a small experiment on your agya chakra. The third eye is a unique gift, and there are innumerable uses of it.
When Christian missionaries came to southern India for the first time, some of them began applying the tilak to their foreheads. Because of this, about a thousand years ago a situation arose in the Vatican court in which an explanation was demanded from these missionaries in India. Some of them had begun to wear the sacred thread, some had applied the tilak, and some even wore wooden slippers on their feet: they had begun to live like Hindu sannyasins.
The Vatican court felt that those missionaries were doing something wrong. Those missionaries who had begun to live in this way in India replied that they were not becoming Hindus by applying the tilak, but that by doing so they had come to know a secret. By wearing wooden slippers on their feet they had not become Hindus, but they had come to know that if they wore wooden slippers while meditating, the energy doesn’t get discharged and so results that would have taken months without the wooden slippers, came about within a few days. They also said that if Hindus have come to know certain secrets, Christian missionaries would only be fools not to learn them.
Certainly the Hindus know many things – it would be really surprising if they didn’t, having been on a religious quest for twenty thousand years. For twenty thousand years all their most intelligent and wisest men have devoted their lives to the same end – to the search for truth. They were possessed with only one desire: to know the truth that is hidden behind this existence, to see that which is invisible, and to encounter that which is formless. It would be really amazing if such people didn’t know anything, after having single-mindedly dedicated all their intelligence to this single quest, and that too for twenty thousand years continuously. It is only natural that they would know – and they do! But during the last two hundred years, certain things happened which are very disturbing.
It is worth understanding. In this country there have been hundreds of foreign invasions, but no invader could ever attack the vital core. Some invaders looked for wealth, some occupied land, others captured palaces and forts, but none could attack the interiority of India – the attention of invaders was not drawn towards it. But then, for the first time, attacks were made of its interiority by Western civilization. The easiest way to attack it was to disconnect the country from its long history, and to destroy the past. A gap was created between the people and their history. In this way people became uprooted and powerless.
If today Western civilization were to be destroyed, there would be no need to destroy its buildings, its cinemas, its theatres or its hotels. If just the five most famous universities were destroyed, the whole Western culture would disappear. Western culture does not reside in its cinemas, hotels or night clubs – it makes no difference if they continue – but if the most eminent universities were destroyed, Western civilization would slowly die and become lost. The real basis of all cultures is its sources of knowledge. The roots of a civilization are in its long chain of knowledge. If the history of just two generations is taken away, a country will become cut off from all possibilities of further progress.
That is the difference between a man and an animal. Animals are not able to make progress because they do not have any schools. They do not have any way to transfer knowledge from the older generation to the new generation. At its birth an animal begins life right from where its father began, and its offspring will do the same. The human being, through education, can help his child’s life to begin from where he left off. So there is a continuity of knowledge. All human progress depends on the transfer of accumulated knowledge from generation to generation.
Just imagine if for twenty years all adults decided not to teach anything to their children. The loss wouldn’t just be of twenty years’ of knowledge but all the knowledge which has been collected over twenty thousand years could become lost. And such a loss could not be made up in twenty years, it would need twenty thousand years to make up the gap, because a discontinuity would have been created in the accumulation of knowledge.
In this way, these two hundred years of British dominance in India created a great gap. Most of its links with the ancient knowledge and wisdom were broken, and its identity was established with a totally new civilization and culture with which its older civilization had no relationship. Indians think that theirs is a very old civilization, but they are mistaken; they are only a two hundred year old community. The British are now a far older community than the Indians. Whatever knowledge India has is just rubbish, and that too is just left-overs. That which the West chooses to give India is now its knowledge. Whatever India knew before two hundred years ago was lost in one stroke.
When the threads of a branch of knowledge are lost people just seem like ignorant fools. If you go out now with a tika on your forehead, and someone asks you why you are wearing it, you will feel ashamed because you have no answer. You can only say, “No reason. My father insisted on my doing it, and so I had to. What to do? Certain things have to be put up with.” So these days, applying a tika cheerfully is difficult, if not impossible. Of course, a simpleton can do it – he has no fear of others. But he is doing it not because he knows its purpose but because he has been told to.
When the links of real knowledge are broken, the outward symbols of it become difficult to carry. Then a certain tragedy results: those with intelligence keep away. And a thing remains meaningful only as long as intelligent people are involved in it. So it is interesting to note that whenever such a misfortune overwhelms a civilization, whenever it loses its connection with past knowledge, the intellectuals drift away from it because they don’t like to look foolish. The illiterate try to preserve the symbols and follow the rituals, and so the symbols and rituals will continue for some time and then die a natural death.
But sometimes it happens that some valuable things are preserved by illiterate and backward people. Those who claim to understand run away at the first opportunity. In this life there are many mysterious roles that people play. If India wants to restore its broken links with its past, then people will have to look at every ritual that is being performed by the so-called ignorant and illiterate people. What they are doing is not without reason. Their outward symbols are linked with a past of twenty thousand years. They may not be able to explain why they are doing certain things, but there is no need to frown upon them. Some day we may have to thank them for at least having saved the symbols of that knowledge – symbols on which research can be done.
So in India today what those illiterate people are doing needs to be reconnected with the knowledge we had prior to two hundred years ago. Only by doing that can we revive and give new life to the deep understanding that has grown over a period of twenty thousand years. Then we will be surprised at how foolish we have been in busily committing suicide.
Osho, Hidden Mysteries, Ch 3 (translated from Hindi)