What happens when the causal layer becomes changed? Well, one day there’s a vision and it’s described in the 11th chapter of the Gita. Even then, the causal layer has not been completely changed. The Gita, which must be read by the yogic aspirant, describes with a wonderful psychological insight one point in that vision. He asks to see the Lord and the Lord says, “You can see me as the Universe.” He suddenly sees the Universe in the Divine form. Now he’s engaged in a righteous war. The chief opponent on the other side is named Karna, who is in fact, his half brother, but who has been orphaned, thrown out for special reasons and has been brought up by a charioteer.
Arjun, he’s of royal caste and when he sees all his warriors on both sides of the battle, he says, “I did them all.” He names them. He said, “And that son of a charioteer.” Even at that moment of vision, still he keeps his stance of snobbery, his stance of division. It means the causal layer has not been purified. It’s been partially purified. He has the vision and then it lapses.
Then the Gita continues with his further training. He has to overcome those distinctions. The first flash is a very important one. It’s a confirmation that what the teacher says can be fulfilled completely. If he continues his training as explained the 11th chapter, the Gita goes on to 18 chapters, then he will be able to get inspiration.
Now we can say, “Well, inspirations, what are they?” In this part of the world we think of science as the case for inspirations that can be confirmed. In the Far East they think of art. They say a scientist can guess, have a lucky guess, but no one can paint a masterpiece. We think, “Oh no science, you can confirm it. You are right or wrong; but a masterpiece, who is to say, what it is? Anyone can say, ‘I’ve written a master piece.'”
In the Chinese texts, there are many examples given of inspiration, which suddenly burst forth and makes these masterpieces – some of which we possess still. To give one example from the west. One of the most important discoveries of the century has been radioactivity. It was discovered by Henri Becquerel in 1896, by something that can’t be explained. Henri believed that uranium, which glows when it’s exposed to the sunlight (if you’ve seen it, there’s a famous sort of radiance from it), he thought that might emit X-rays when it glowed.
This was a completely false idea, but he thought that might happen and he wanted to test it. He put the uranium and then a key, and then photographic plate, and he stuck them together. Then he went out on February the 25th in Southern France to expose these to the sunshine. But the day was overcast. There was no sun at all. The records have been checked and it’s true. The skies were completely overcast. That day and the next day. He took them in, put them in a drawer.
The uranium hadn’t fluoresced. His tests hadn’t been made. On the first day of the next week, for no conceivable reason at all, he took the photographic plate from the dark drawer and he had it developed. To his amazement, the outline of the key was on it. It can’t be explained logically why he developed that plate. According to his theory, there couldn’t possibly be anything on it. It’d been in a dark drawer. Yet he did so. and this is one of the most fruitful, scientific discoveries of the century. He was concentrated. He was a man of great austerity, totally devoted to his scientific truth and he had a partial inspiration.
Inspiration in the spiritual sense is not like this at all. It’s something which awakens to the Lord within himself and to the Lord within others and is able to take part in the cosmic purpose. We can say, “Well, yes, you might get some great orator, some great saint, the Buddha, but not ordinary people,” but if we look at the history, you’ll find it isn’t so. The greatest disciple of the Buddha was Shariputra. It means the son of Shari, which is a woman’s name. It tells you that the status of the women in the time of the Buddha was not a low one at all.
In some of the Upanishads also, the teachers are known by the mother’s name. Shariputra was the great propounder of Buddhism and spread it over a large part of India. In fact, in some of the very old Jain documents, Shariputra is called himself the Buddha. He was so famous, so great. He preached; he gave us sutras and he was one of the greatest figures. If we examine very carefully, how did he come to be a Buddhist? How did he come to the Buddha? Then we come across the name of one of the Buddha’s disciples, whose name is only mentioned once in this connection. He never preached, he never did anything that’s recorded, except on this occasion. He was walking along the street and Shariputra, who was an enquirer, saw this man walking. Something about him made him run up to him and he said, “What is it you have got?” The man, looked at him and said, “My teacher is on the Vulture Peak Mountain today. You can see him there.” Shariputra ran and he met the Buddha. He was at once converted and then he began his preaching.
Shariputra had thousands, hundreds of thousands of words. That other man just walked, but something about that walk changed Shariputra. The limitations or the gifts of the external personality or the body are entirely secondary to the cosmic purpose, which can express itself equally between them.
A tiny little radio gives you the same programs as a very big one. A farmer in a country where they’re visited by typhoons was given a little radio by his son in the city. It’s very useful to know when the typhoon is coming towards you, or whether it’s moving off. He could take that with him in the fields. When his son visited him the next month, he said, “Look, would you get me a bigger radio. I’d like more details on the typhoon.”
In the same way, the spiritual teachers tell us that the gifts or the special position of a person, may reach more people, but the truth is exactly the same. As a matter of fact, as we know from two cases, where there’s only one tiny little hidden radio somewhere, from that tiny little voice, the news can get around equally well.
There’s a dance, which is called the Dance of the Old Man. He comes on wearing a mask with a long white beard. He dances, and the movements are of a very old man. With very small movements, he dances to the very slow music. It’s extremely beautiful. At the very end he looks at us. He stops and the audience claps. Then he takes off the mask and it’s a young and vigorous dancer. But it was all expressed through movements available to a very old man. It’s the Dance of the Old Man and it’s danced every year at the opening. A loud bell is rung, and then there’s another one.
One of the great Zen masters wrote a poem. “The whole body, like a bell, empty within, hanging in space. Whether the wind comes from the north, or the west, or the south, or the east, the ring is the same.