TRUTH IS. Truth simply is. It is neither old nor new. It is eternal, it has no reference to time at all; it is beyond time.
That is the meaning of the eternal. Eternal does not mean forever, because forever has a reference to time; eternal does not mean permanent, because permanency has a reference to time.
Eternal simply means timeless. It is.
Truth is never past and never future. It knows only one tense, the present.
Truth knows only one time, now - which is not time at all; but it is timelessness.
And truth knows only one space, here - which is not space at all; it is transcendence of space. Truth is always now-here.
Truth has no history. History belongs to the world of lies. Politics has history, religion has no history.
This is the first thing to be understood: that truth cannot be old and cannot be new either.
If truth can be new then one day it will become old. Whatsoever is new today will be old tomorrow.
Truth is never old, hence it can never be new.
Truth is equivalent to existence.
In a way, it can be said that it is as old as the mountains, and as new as this morning's dewdrops - but that is only a way of saying. What is being said is that truth is eternal.
But there are people who are very much interested in the old. They are past-oriented. They believe in something only if it is very old. The older it is, they think, the better it is.
All that is old is gold for them. They go on trying to prove that their scripture is the oldest scripture in the world, their religion the most ancient.
There is another group of people who think the new is always better than the old because it is new.
It is more evolved, more improved, more refined.
These are the two kinds of people; both go on missing the truth. One is past-oriented, the other is future-oriented; and truth exists now, neither in the past nor in the future.
Now this small story.
BAHAUDIN SHAH ONCE GAVE AN ADDRESS ON THE PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES OF THE SUFIS.
A CERTAIN MAN WHO THOUGHT THAT HE WAS CLEVER AND COULD BENEFIT FROM CRITICIZING HIM, SAID, "IF ONLY THIS MAN WOULD SAY SOMETHING NEW! THAT'S MY ONLY CRITICISM."
Bahaudin gave an address on the principles and practices of the Sufis....
There is only one principle, and there is only one practice. What is the principle? The principle is that only God exists.
There is no god but God: that is the principle, that is the very seed of Sufism.
Only God is - in millions of forms. Forms are different, personalities are different, but deep down, if you go on searching for the innermost core, you will always find God and nothing else.
So this is the fundamental principle; all other principles are secondary.
This is the cornerstone of the temple of Sufism: God is.
And God cannot be new or old. You cannot use words like "was" in reference to God; you cannot say "God was", you cannot say "God will be".
You can use only one tense, the present tense, for God: God is.
God always is, so how can it be new or old? Yes, expressions can be old, but not the truth expressed.
Bottles can be new but not the wine.
What I am saying is only a new bottle for the eternal wine. That's what Bahaudin was saying.
But you can always criticize, and criticism can have two possibilities;
One is: you can say, "This is something new."
There are people for whom it is enough criticism to say that "This is something new."
New means wrong, because if it were truth then others would have found it before you. How did it wait so long? If it is new it must be wrong.
Why is it not in the Vedas? Why didn't Jesus say anything about it? Why did Buddha keep quiet about it? If they were knowers they must have known it, so if it is not there, then something is wrong.
This is one criticism: the people who always like the old, for whom if something is old it is bound to be right - as if only Jesus is old and Judas is not old; as if only Rama is old and Ravana is not old; as if only Krishna is old and not the people who were against him. They are as old, so just anything being old does not mean that it is right.
And then there is the other party; this man must have belonged to the other party. He says there is only one criticism: "If only this man would say something new. That is my only criticism."
He is saying: "You are just saying old things which everybody knows. There is no need to talk about old things, saying 'God is, truth is, truth is eternal.' This has been said so many times. Why go on repeating it?
Say something new! If you have something new to say, say it! "
It is not a question of saying it, it is not a question of repeating it. Bahaudin is not repeating Mohammed. What he is saying is his own experience.
Now what can he do if his experience and Mohammed's experience coincide?
What I am saying is not a repetition of Buddha or Mahavira. I am saying it on my own experience, on my own authority. It is my experience; in that sense it is new. But what can I do? - it has been the experience of all the Buddhas too; so in a Sense it is as old as the mountains and as new as the dewdrop on the grassleaves in the early sun.
This is the paradox of truth: that everyone has to know it on his own, then it is new - but it is the same truth.
Buddha went to the sea and tasted it, and he said, "It is salty." After twenty-five centuries I went to the sea and tasted it and I said, "It is salty. "
Now the question is: is what I am saying just a repetition of Buddha? If I had not gone to the sea, and just reading scriptures I would have repeated like a parrot that the taste of the sea is salty because Buddha says it so - and I trust him, he must be saying what is right; who bothers to go to the ocean?
When Buddha has said so, it is finished, it is decisive forever - then it would have been a repetition.
But I went to the sea; I tasted the sea and I found that it is salty. Now what should I do?
Just because Buddha has also said it is salty, should I not say it is salty because people will think it is a repetition?
But then I would be lying! Should I say that it is sweet? But then it would be untrue.
I have to be truthful, so I have to say two things: one, that I have tasted it myself, and the second, that now I am a witness that Buddha was right.
I am not saying it on Buddha's authority, I am saying it on my own authority. In fact, I am giving Buddha a witness, an eye-witness, that whatsoever he had said twenty-five centuries ago was true, was right. I know it through my own experience.
Man has existed for centuries; truth has been discovered again and again and again.
Many people have reached to the ultimate light; they have expressed it in their own ways.
Their languages are different but their message is the same.
It is like, a few people go to see the sunset. One is a painter; he paints it. He is thrilled by the beauty of the sunset. He immediately goes to work - he is lost in his painting, he forgets everything, he has to paint the sunset. It has stirred his whole heart.
That is his way of expressing it.
Another man, seeing the same sunset, may simply sit silently and watch it. He is also thrilled, but he goes into a deep meditation.
You can see the grace on the man's face. You can see that it is not only that the sun is setting, something is disappearing in the man too.
Maybe it is the ego that is setting. He has fallen into a deep harmony with the sunset; he is no more separate, he is part of it, part of the whole scene. He has disappeared as a spectator, he has melted into it.
And the third may start playing on his flute; the sunset has become a song in him. And the fourth may start dancing. The message is the same, but the mediums are very different.
Now if later on you come to hear a record of the flute, and you see the film of the dancer, and you see the painting of the painter, and you see a photograph of the meditator, will you be able to recognize that the source of it all was a sunset?
Will you be able to logically reach the conclusion that they have all expressed the same thing? It will be impossible.
Logically it is impossible, because what relationship will you be able to find between the flute and the painting?
What relationship is there between sound and color? How will you deduce that these colors represent the same thing as these sounds?
And how will you be able to see that one man started dancing and another became so silent that he looked like a statue?
How can the same sunset stir such different manifestations? Still it was the same sunset.
It created dance in Krishna, it made Buddha a marble statue, it made Jesus sacrifice his all, it made Mahavira go naked, in utter innocence like a child.
Different manifestations, but the source is the same.
But how can you deduce it logically?
Logically there is no way - unless you have also come upon the sunset.
If you have seen the sunset, then you will be able to understand that the dance and the song on the flute and the painting and the man meditating are all using different languages -
Because they are talented in different languages, because they know different ways of expression - but the experience that has triggered those different manifestations comes from the same source, the same sunset.
Bahaudin speaks in his own way, but the truth remains the same.
Truth is eternal. Truth is.
Truth simply is.
It is never new, it is never old, or, it is as old as mountains and as new as the dewdrops on the grassleaves in the early sun. It is both and it is neither; it is both and beyond.
But you cannot arrive at this conclusion only by thinking, you will have to move into experiencing.
Truth has to become an existential phenomenon to you: you have to live it.
Only by living it will you be able to know it, not vice versa; not by knowing it will you be able to live it, no.
That's what has been traditionally told to you: know about truth so that you can practise and live it.
That is utter nonSense.
Live truth so that you can know it.
Living comes first, experiencing comes first, and then the shadow falls on your intelligence too and your intelligence can make an understanding out of it.
Each Master has his own way, but the truth is the same forever and forever.
A monk asked, "When I wish to become a Buddha, what then?"
Joshu said, "You have set yourself quite a task, haven't you?"
The monk said, "When there is no effort, what then?"
Joshu said, "Then you are a Buddha already."
YOU ARE TRUTH. There is no need to know about it; you have to be silently listening to it in your inner world. You have to become still, calm and quiet, and suddenly the truth arises in you. TRUTH IS ALREADY THE CASE.
Once Joshu was asked about the "holy" person, the "purified" person. He responded, "There is no room in my place for such a rascal! Why should one be purer than one originally is? And moreover there is no one to be pure or impure inside."
Then he was asked, "Who is Joshu?"
He said, "A rustic." And that is what he happened to be - a Chinese peasant.
And then he was asked, "Then who is the Buddha?"
He laughed and pointed to the field and said, "The man leading his oxen, it is He."
You are divine, you are Buddhas. You have forgotten about it, that's all. It has to be remembered.
All that is needed is remembering.
Nothing has to be achieved - you are it already. Truth is
fallen in a kind of sleep. Awake, and you will know it; and you will not know it as an object, you will know it as your very subjectivity.
Soren Kierkegaard says, "Truth is subjectivity. " He is right. Truth is your innermost core.
And that is the only principle of the Sufis: Only truth is, or, Only God is.
And how to practise it? Then too there is only one single practise, zikr - remember.