One ever-burning question that people keep asking me is if they can attain mukti in this lifetime. First of all, let’s understand what mukti is. Birth and death are two phases of the same dimension. There are various dimensions to life – infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. A dimension has proportions, something that can be defined, described, grasped, and understood. What we are referring to as mukti is dimensionless – it cannot be defined, described, or grasped. “Will I attain mukti?” Never! Nobody will. When you cease to be any dimension – not physical, not metaphysical, not this, not that, nothing – when you become dimensionless, that’s mukti.
Dimension means there is a boundary. Mukti means there is no boundary, no bondage. This is all negative terminology, but it is a very positive possibility. Mukti is non-existence. Shiva means non-existence – that which is not. Mukti means to become like that. It is wrong to even refer to Shiva as “him” or “her,” because gender is a dimension. Shiva is dimensionless non-existence. Non-existence does not mean it is not there at all. Right now, your experience of anything in existence is as a certain dimension – this or that. Dimensionless-ness means there is no this or that. What is neither this nor that is not a neuter – it is beyond. There is no way to grasp or understand mukti – the only way is to become that. But do not aspire to become that. You cannot aspire to become something that is not yet in your experience, perception, or understanding.
The only thing you can do is keep cutting down whatever binds you. If everything that binds you is cut down, if nothing binds you – neither life nor death, neither this nor that, neither god nor devil, neither heaven nor hell – that is mukti. Don’t seek mukti – only seek how to be free from every kind of bondage. If you want to fly in the sky, you don’t have to know much about the sky – you just have to know what is holding you on the ground. It is the understanding of gravity that allows you to fly, not your understanding of the sky. It is not a question of how to grasp the sky but how to beat gravity. So do not try to grasp mukti. Do not even aspire for it, because that will lead to hallucinations.
The mind is made in such a way that it cannot remain in a state of “I do not know.” Either it has to know, or it will make assumptions about what it does not know. If you make mukti a dimension in your mind, it will unnecessarily take you round in circles. Keep chopping what binds you. One day, when you see there is nothing more to chop, what has to happen will happen. There is no need to aspire for it, because if you aspire, you will imagine. All imagination comes from an exaggerated memory, which is not good, because you will be projecting the past into the future. Maybe in a different form, in a different color, but still your imagination is supported by your memory, and memory is past.
Imagination is a renewed past. We are twisting the past into various shapes and get excited about it. Nothing completely new can ever happen in our imagination – it is permutations and combinations of the past – so many that every time, it looks new and exciting to you. When we were children, we made our own kaleidoscope with three pieces of mirror and bits of broken bangles in different colors. You can spend days looking at it. Every time, there is a new design and a new possibility, but it is the same old pieces of bangles, rearranging themselves in many ways to excite your childish mind. The same thing is happening with life – it’s a kaleidoscope.
You are always building your own kaleidoscopes. This is okay for entertainment, not for finding the ultimate nature of life. Non-existence means to become that which is neither this nor that. This is how far language can go. Since language is a product of our mind, beyond a certain point, it won’t make sense to describe something that is beyond the mind. So to come back to the concern, “Will I make it in this lifetime?” Realization is not an achievement, not a race to win, not an attainment. Realization means to see what was already there.
It is not self-achievement, self-attainment, or self-victory – it is self-realization. You do not invent anything; you do not achieve anything; you do not climb and stand on a peak. You just realize the stupidity of being right here and not seeing the obvious nature of life. That is why when someone realizes, they generally withdraw, because they feel blissfully ashamed. “Something that’s always been here, I could have known any moment. But it took me lifetimes of doing circus to know this. How to show my face, that I’ve been so stupid?” When you don’t know you are stupid, you can be proud and brave with the world. The moment you realize, you are embarrassed, but the whole world wants to worship you – it’s an awkward situation.
Don’t have concerns about mukti. When you are young and you want to do circus – do it. When you ripen a little more, just leave it to me. I don’t care whether you realize or not, but I want to succeed as a Guru. If I say, “I love you. I care for you. I want you to realize,” today it looks nice. Tomorrow you wonder, “Come on…” I don’t care whether you realize or not, but I don’t want to be a failure in my life. Struggle for some time if you like, if you think without struggle, you won’t be anything. When you are ready, just leave it to me. I want to be a successful Guru – you can trust that.
I will make sure mukti happens for you, but you must leave it to me. At least when you start shaking with age. But if you place it in my hands right now, we can help you hang on at the last rung of life and enjoy it. If you like your own circus, do it for a while. I know when you are done with the circus, many of you will turn around. The sooner the better. Do it when I am still here and kicking, find liberation or mukti and make me very successful. See I win both ways…