Socrates: Mystery of Love

The Rebellious Spirit, Chapter 30

Question 1


Milarepa, I have been commenting my whole life on love, in thousands of different ways. But the message is the same. Just one most fundamental thing has to be remembered, that is: it is not the love that you think is love. Neither Socrates is speaking about it, nor I am speaking about it.
The love you know is nothing but a biological urge, it depends on your chemistry and your hormones. It can be changed very easily, by a small change in your chemistry — and the love that you thought is the ultimate truth will simply disappear.
You have been calling lust, love. This distinction should be remembered. Socrates says, „a man who practises the mysteries of love….“ Lust has no mysteries, it is a plain biological game. Every animal, every bird, every tree knows about it. Certainly, the love which has mysteries is going to be totally different from the love with which you are ordinarily acquainted. „A man who practises the mysteries of love will be in contact not with the reflection, but with truth itself.“
This love that can become a contact with truth itself arises only out of your consciousness; not out of your body, but out of your innermost being.
Lust arises out of your body. Love arises out of your consciousness. But people don’t know their consciousness, and the misunderstanding goes on and on — their bodily lust is taken for love.
Very few people in the world have known love. Those are the people who have become so silent, so peaceful… and out of that silence and peace they come in contact with their innermost being, their soul. Once you are in contact with your soul, your love becomes not a relationship, but simply a shadow to you. Wherever you move, with whomsoever you move, you are loving.
Right now, what you call love is addressed to someone, and confined to someone; and love is not a phenomenon that can be confined. You can have it in your open hands, but you cannot have it in your fist. The moment your hands are closed — they are empty. The moment they are open — the whole of existence is available to you.
Socrates is right: one who knows love also knows truth, because they are only two names of one experience. And if you have not known the truth, remember that you have not known love either. „To know this blessing of human nature, one can find no better helper than love.“
There is only one thing I would like to say about Socrates: his whole approach was logical and argumentative. His method is known as Socratic dialogue. It is a very lengthy process, like psychoanalysis. He will discuss and discuss, and destroy all your false arguments and false ideas. This was his contention, which has a truth in it: When all false ideas are demolished, that which remains behind and cannot be argued about, is your being. And from that being arises the fragrance of love.
But Socrates knew nothing of meditation. He came to know truth through the long, unnecessary route of arguments. He was one of the best arguers the world has produced; there is no parallel. But what he was doing by argument cannot become a universal phenomenon; the path is long, and unnecessarily long.
The false can disappear if you sit silently, whenever you have time, and just watch your thoughts. No need to argue, no need to fight, no need to push them out, just watch — as if you are seeing something on the TV-screen.
The East has known a greater miracle than Socrates. Socrates was not acquainted with the East at all. And the obvious reason was: he has found love, he has found truth — and he never thought that there could be a shortcut. His process is torturous. If you read the dialogues of Socrates you will feel that the process is long, and each argument creates new problems — new problems create new arguments… he is fighting with shadows.
But it was not his fault. In his time Athens was one of the most sophisticated, intellectual cities in the world. He was unaware that exactly at the same time Buddha was teaching meditation in India, Lao Tzu was teaching meditation in China, Mahavira was teaching meditation…. It was at exactly the same time, twenty-five centuries ago.
Socrates had inherited logic from his forefathers; Greece was full of sophists. Sophists were strange people, their philosophy was that there is no truth, there is no untruth — it all depends who has the better argument. If you can argue better, than your opponent, you are right. And if you come across another person who can argue better than you, then you are wrong.
So it was only the gymnastics of argument that Socrates inherited. He changed the whole process: Sophistry became philosophy. The word `philo‘ means love, and `sophia‘ means wisdom. Sophistry was simply argumentativeness. He did a great job, but it almost always happens — the people you are fighting with, even if you are victorious, leave a great impact on you.
Just by fighting with them you have to use their own methods; otherwise you cannot fight. If one country is piling up nuclear weapons, then those who fight them have to pile up nuclear weapons. Because Socrates was continually fighting with the sophists…. He wanted to destroy this idea that better argument is all, that there is no truth and there is no untruth — and he succeeded. He was a discontinuity with his past. But the people he had been fighting, he had to fight with arguments. So although the Sophists were defeated, the argumentativeness remained with Socrates himself.
He used it in a better way. He used it in discovering the truth. But he was absolutely unaware that in another part of the world, in the East, in China, in India, people had a different inheritance: almost ten thousand years of sitting silently and doing nothing.
And as silence descends on you, as thoughts start leaving, and all disturbances disappear, and the lake of your consciousness becomes almost a mirror:
You know you are the truth;

You know you are love;

You know you are divine.
In a single step — from mind to no-mind — all the treasures, all the mysteries of love, life, truth, blissfulness, open their doors. There is no need to argue against the false.
My contention is: even to argue against the false is to give some credit to the false, and that has been the eastern contention for thousands of years. You don’t argue with your shadow: Don’t come with me today, I don’t like you, when I don’t want you, why do you go on following me? You don’t run away from your shadow — because the shadow will run too.
A Sufi story says: „A man was afraid of his shadow, because he had read in a book that death was almost like a shadow — that when it comes, it comes like a shadow. And it became such an obsession in his mind, that he became afraid even of ordinary shadows.
He would run, and he would do everything… he would try to fight — and he was a warrior! But even your sword cannot do any harm to a shadow — the shadow does not exist. He was so tired that he asked a mystic, „What to do with the shadow? I have done everything that can be done, but nothing happens. I have broken my sword. I have been running so much to avoid it that my feet are oozing blood.“
The mystic laughed, he said, „You do one thing. Under that tree, just sit down, and then tell me, where is your shadow?“
Under the tree there was much shadow. To have a shadow you need the sun, the light. But when he went under the tree, and sat there and looked all around, there was no shadow. He said, „What a miracle you have done! You have not even moved from your place, and my shadow is gone.“ The mystic said, „Your very approach was unnecessary. To fight with the false is to give credibility to the false. In your fight you have accepted that the false also has some reality.“
The East has never fought with the mind; it has found a totally different method. Its method is just to be a watcher on the hills.
Let everything pass.
Don’t judge, don’t condemn, don’t evaluate.
You are only a mirror; these are not your functions. You simply reflect — and they will all pass. If you don’t take any note of them, if you can ignore them, they will stop coming to you; they don’t want to be uninvited guests. Perhaps because of the old habit, for a few days they may continue; but you will be able to see that the traffic is becoming less and less; otherwise it is twenty-four-hour rush hour.
Once the mind is silent, empty, spacious, you have found the golden key, the master key, which opens all the mysteries of love, of truth, of eternal life.
Socrates‘ idea is basically right, but about his method I do not agree. His method is unnecessary. If you are going to come home, why run miles away and then come back home? You are already there. Just close your eyes and be silent, and relax. But the conclusion is right: „A man who practises the mysteries of love will be in contact, not with a reflection, but with truth itself. To know this blessing of human nature, one can find no better helper than love.“
Either you can start by increasing your love, expanding your love… but where will you expand it? Your mind is standing like a China wall all around you. First that China wall has to disappear — and that is the function of meditation.
Socrates could have been for the West their Gautam Buddha, and the whole history of the West would have been totally different. He has created the basic path for the western mind: argument. And argument by and by, rather than discovering love, has discovered atom bombs, nuclear weapons, science, technology.
The East has not been able to discover these things because it has never given any credit to argumentation, to reason. Its whole concentration has been on expanding consciousness — and to give it space, it has to get rid of the mind. Once the mind is not there you don’t have any boundaries, even the sky is not the boundary. You are all over the place. This feeling of being all over the place is love; and knowing it, that it is arising from the very center of your being, is truth.
But, Milarepa, Socrates is not talking in California. He is not talking to so-called lovers all over the world. He is talking to a few disciples who have come in search of truth. He helped a few people; he could not help many, for the simple reason that with everybody the process was so long.
But the East has been fortunate to discover a single-step pilgrimage: from mind to no-mind — and you have arrived home.
You have always been there. You have never left it for a single moment! Just, your mind has been wandering all over the world, but you have never been anywhere else; you are exactly where you should be.
If the wandering of the mind stops, suddenly — the revelation.