In my childhood I used to go early in the morning to the river. It is a small village. The river is very very lazy, as if not flowing at all. And in the morning when the sun is not yet arisen, you cannot see whether it is flowing, it is so lazy and silent. And in the morning when there is nobody, the bathers have not come yet, it is tremendously silent. Even the birds are not singing in the morning – early, no sound, just a soundlessness pervades. And the smell of the mango trees hangs all over the river. I used to go there, to the furthest corner of the river, just to sit, just to be there. There was no need to do anything, just being there was enough, it was such a beautiful experience to be there. I will take a bath, I will swim, and when the sun will arise I will go to the other shore, to the vast expanse of sand, and dry myself there under the sun, and lie there, and sometimes even go to sleep.
When I came back my mother used to ask, ”What have you been doing the whole morning?” I
will say, ”Nothing,” because, actually, I had not been doing anything. And she will say, ”How is it
possible? Four hours you have not been here, how is it possible that you have not been doing
anything? You must have been doing something.” And she was right, but I was also not wrong.
I was not doing anything at all. I was just being there with the river, not doing anything, allowing
things to happen. If it FELT like swimming, remember, if it FELT like swimming, I would swim, but
that was not a doing on my part, I was not forcing anything. If I felt like going into sleep, I would go.
Things were happening, but there was no doer. And my first experiences of satori started near that
river: not doing anything, simply being there, millions of things happened.
But she would insist: ”You must have been doing something.” So I would say, ”Okay, I took a bath
and I dried myself in the sun,” and then she was satisfied. But I was not, because what happened
there in the river is not expressed by words: ”I took a bath” – it looks so poor and pale. Playing with
the river, floating in the river, swimming in the river, was such a deep experience. To say simply,
”I took a bath,” makes no sense about it; or to just say, ”I went there, had a walk on the bank, sat
there,” conveys nothing.
Even in ordinary life you feel the futility of words. And if you don’t feel the futility of words, that shows
that you have not been alive at all; that shows that you have lived very superficially. If whatsoever
you have been living can be conveyed by words, that means you have not lived at all.
When for the first time something starts happening which is beyond words, life has happened to
you, life has knocked at your door. And when the ultimate knocks at your door, you are simply gone
beyond words – you become dumb, you cannot say; not even a single word is formed inside. And
whatsoever you say looks so pale, so dead, so meaningless, without any significance, that it seems
that you are doing injustice to the experience that has happened to you. Remember this, because
Mahamudra is the last, the ultimate experience.
[Tantra: The Supreme Understanding.
Discourses on Tilopa’s Song of Mahamudra]