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What is innocence?

It may seem strange to speak of innocence after talking about intensity, but in the truest sense, you cannot be intense in anything you do unless you are innocent of other agenda. The innocence I speak of may not be what your own dictionary defines as innocence. What I speak about is the innocence of a child. A child is intense about anything that it does. Adults have lost that power, but it can be regained.

What is innocence?

Constantly, we are asked to be good, to be pure, and to be innocent. The idea of innocence is forced upon us. Constantly we are taught by society, by moralists, that something is right, something is wrong, something is pure, something is impure, something is good, and something is bad, something is innocent and something is corrupted. Constantly we are taught the idea of good and bad. We are forced to practice something that is good or what society thinks is good.

But life is no way related to what society believes in. Life is totally different. What society believes is different from what life is. There is a beautiful saying, ‘When you think, you think in a generalized way. But when you live, you can’t generalize.’ This is like what they say in marketing, ‘Think globally but act locally.’

 Situations can’t be generalized. In your life there are so many things where generalization is not possible, where you can’t decide what to do and what not to do based on popular guidelines. All your ideas about morality, about right and wrong, might not have any relevance practically. Somebody asked me, ‘Swamiji, why do our ancient Hindu scriptures not speak of gambling? Only the epics speak about gambling.’

 I tell them that at that time there was no gambling, then how do you expect them to speak about gambling? Naturally no Hindu scripture bans gambling or drugs because at that time these problems did not exist. When it comes to morality it depends completely on the situation. Morality is relative, not existential.

Innocence means purity of the inner space, not being affected by thoughts or engraved memories. Let you be very clear, even if you are not expressing your emotions like anger, greed and lust, if they are present in your inner space, you are not as yet a total and innocent person. Socially you may be pure, that’s all. On the other hand if you express your anger, lust and greed but nothing touches your inner space and you live like an innocent child, then be very clear, you are a pure being.

You can see children get a n g r y . Children are greedy also. They build their personality mostly on greed. That is why they are so aware and conscious of ‘mine’ attitude. Try to take away a toy from a child. The child will behave as if his life is taken away. He will scream and shout. This is because his whole personality is built upon ‘mine’ attitude. Children have greed and anger, but you cannot call them impure. This is because whatever you may think as impurity does not affect their inner space. They will sit and play with their toys and after a few hours they will throw them and go away. They don’t carry anything in them. Their inner space is beautiful and pure.

You can’t call them thieves even if they have stolen something because they don’t have an idea that something belongs to someone and that you cannot take it from them. The idea that an object is someone’s property does not exist in them. Innocence is purity. Knowing that an object is someone’s property, even if you don’t steal it but if you covet it some way, you have not become a thief as yet only because of the police, that’s all.

Innocence is directly related to the inner space. It is in no way related to the outerworld. In the Shiva Sutras, Shiva gives us techniques to achieve this innocence. If you follow Shiva’s life as is described in the Hindu mythological stories, you will not be able to see any social or traditional innocence in him. But there will be the pure and ultimate innocence. The place where he lives or the way in which he lives is not directly related to his purity or innocence. Shiva lives in a cemetery where bodies are cremated, surrounded by spirits and ghosts.

The word Shiva in Sanskrit means causeless auspiciousness. This causeless auspiciousness, the energy to create bliss wherever he is, wherever he happens, arises out of his innocent inner space.

In the vedic tradition, there are scriptural writings called Upanishads. The word Upanishad in Sanskrit refers to teachings of a master to his disciples as they sat with him. There are 108 such Upanishads. They are the essence of the enlightenment science handed down by the great masters of the vedic times. One of these, the Chandogya Upanishad* describes a beautiful story:

A boy by name Satyakama goes to a master seeking enlightenment. The master gives him four hundred cows telling him, ‘Take these cows. Go live in the forest and look after them. When these multiply into a thousand cows bring them back to me.’

Satyakama goes to the forest and lives with the cows, waiting for them to multiply. It takes many years for the cows to multiply to one thousand. For all those years he sits not talking to anybody, just being with the cows. Soon, he forgets the human language. In deep silence, not relating with any human being, he slowly loses his outer world identity. By the time one thousand cows happen, he forgets how to count. He simply sits waiting, with a beautiful feeling of ecstasy. Finally a cow comes to him and says, ‘Sir, we have become one thousand now. We can go back to master.’ He replies, ‘Is that so? Alright.’ Satyakama is in ecstasy. He has forgotten the way back. The cows lead the way. On the way back, animals, birds and even the fire that he kindles to cook his food instruct him on the nature of the Brahman*, the ultimate Truth. When Satyakama returns to the master, the master looks at him and smiles. He says, ‘You look so radiant like theknower of the Truth, Satyakama. Who taught you?’

Satyakama tells him how he had understood the Truth through animals and birds and requests the master to teach him the Truth in his own words.

The master says, ‘You already know the Truth,’ and blesses him.  

The story says that just by being, just by listening to what nature has to say, Satyakama established himself in the Truth. He became enlightened.

Total innocence leads to enlightenment. Satyakama asks the master for enlightenment and the master asks him to multiply cows! Many of you will ask, what do cows have to do with enlightenment?

Fortunately Satyakama was not so intellectual. Fortunately he did not receive formal intellectual education. So he did not ask this question! He was simple, innocent and humble, ready for the transformation to happen. He had no logic to use.

Understand, unless you are without logic, or tired of logic, you cannot be ready for the transformation. Logic cannot help you understand even your own life. Logiccannot help you look even into your own mind. How can it help you change?

People ask me, ‘Swamiji, why are you against logic?’ I am not against logic. I am only telling you that all your suffering is because of logic without intelligence. Your logic creates so much politics inside you from morning till evening.

What is politics? It is nothing but differing opinions on the same subject, is it not? Now watch your mind. It says one thing in the morning and a different thing in the evening on the same subject. This creates the dilemma in your mind. Your mind itself is such dilemma.

People say that in all spiritual organizations there is so much politics. I ask them, ‘What do you mean?’ [/one_half]

There is politics inside the very persons who make this statement! To create politics, you don’t even need two people. One person is more than enough. One single person with logic is enough because in the morning his logic will say something and in the evening it will say something else! Naturally the fight between you and you is politics! Am I right? Then why are you making the statement that even spiritual organizations have politics?

If you place the decisions that you make in the morning and the decisions that you make in the evening together in front of you, you will see a politician sitting inside you!

Logic does not allow you to be simple and innocent. It does not allow the transformation to happen easily. Logic has to be overcome for the transformation to happen. Only when there is no logic there can be innocence. Innocence is the space for transformation to happen.

In the case of Satyakama, fortunately he was not bitten by logic.

The disciple goes to the master for enlightenment and the master tells him, ‘Alright, take these cows, go to the forest and stay there till they become one thousand cows. Then come back!’

If today’s seeker was in that disciple’s place he would have said, ‘I think the master is trying to exploit me. He wants a thousand cows, which is why he is telling me to do this work. He is using me to get his work done.’ Innocence is lost to logic! That is why no modern day seeker receives such amazing techniques.

Understand, this is not a mere story. It has got a great truth behind it. With innocence, Satyakama simply followed what the master said. Further, he lost his logic of counting. He was completely lost in ecstasy and joy. The mind stoppedfunctioning. He didn’t care about one thousand or two thousand. Just the innocence and acceptance caused the greatest happening of enlightenment in him! When you completely accept, you don’t need the mind. The mind is necessary only when you live with struggles, only when you are fighting. Just this moment accept yourself in the outer world and the inner world. You will go out enlightened.

For so many years, completely accepting what the master said, Satyakama just was. What else can happen to him but enlightenment?

You may think, ‘How can simple acceptance do such a big job?’ The problem is that even spiritual knowledge is approached by us with the space of an intellectual mind. It is from that intellectual space that we ask the ‘how’. Intellect always questions. Innocence straightaway starts practicing what the master says. That is the difference.

 Shiva says in the Shiva Sutras, ‘Absorb the ultimate truth, senses shut down, and be liberated.’ Why is he using the words ‘senses shut down’? How do you find out if you are completely lost in something? Your senses will not work! You will not see or hear! That is the way to find out. If your senses still work, you are still not lost. Shiva says, ‘Absorb the ultimate truth, senses shut down, and be liberated. ’ When your senses are working you may think you are hearing, but you may not be actually listening. The sense organ may work, but not the energy that activates the sense organ. Hearing is different from listening. If you are only hearing then the intellect is still at play. If you are listening then you are lost. Then the intellect is no more. The click happens. You sit completely melting. You exclude everything except you and the master. You are utterly innocent and open like Satyakama. Then just one word from the master is enough and you become enlightened!

He means that in that utterly innocent and open state, initiation is enlightenment. Just a word is enough to enlighten. Shiva is giving initiation itself as a technique. He says, ‘Just listen while the master is expressing the truth, and become enlightened!’

How can mere listening lead to enlightenment? Why did it happen to Satyakama when it is not happening to us? First thing, he was innocent and therefore intelligent to receive the master’s instruction. Second, he was courageous enough to live with it. He had complete trust in the master. Innocence always comes with trust.

I am not asking you to get me a thousand cows. No! I am asking you to come with the same mood as Satyakama. Come with the same innocence. You don’t have to do exactly what Satyakama did. But you have to be like Satyakama. If your being is like that, in this moment the transformation can happen. Just in this moment the transmission of light can happen.


* Chandogya Upanishad – One of the oldest and primary Upanishads or vedic scriptures.

* Brahman – Absolute, Cosmic Consciousness, formless god etc, all referring to the universal energy source of which the individual energy of soul is a holographic part.

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