We’re all busy planning for, waiting for, and dreaming about our next vacation. Whether it’s just a simple weekend or a long, winter break, taking a holiday is an integral part of working life, a time when we feel we can finally relax. And then when our working life is over comes the perceived bliss of retirement. But isn’t what we’re doing just an escape from ourselves?
“I ask you to become aware, not to escape… Yes, to become aware of the whole, of everything, because escaping means we are choosing something from the whole, from the total, to leave, and something else to hold on to. This is the only way to escape. Escaping means, ‘We will drop something and hold onto something else.’
“If we were to drop everything then where would we escape to? If we were to accept everything then where would we escape? If renunciation is total then escaping is not possible. Where will you escape to? The place you may be escaping to will have already been renounced as part of your total renunciation. Where will you escape to: Mecca? Medina? Kashi? Haridwar? If the renunciation is total then escape is impossible. There remains no need to escape anywhere.
“These are all games around something that is incomplete, games around the partial. Those who are living and experiencing half-heartedly have the possibility of holding on, and those who are renouncing half-heartedly have the possibility of giving up. But for those who live wholeheartedly, there is neither anything left to be lived nor anything left to escape from. For them there is only something to be known, to wake up to.
“So the question is not of escaping, the question is of waking up. The question is of seeing, just seeing, of looking into the depths. The question is not of running away from the material – because wherever you escape to, the material will be there. The question is of looking deeply into the material so that the divine, the superconscious can be seen in it – and then there wouldn’t be any need to escape.
“Where will someone who is running away from forms, from the material, go? He will end up with another set of forms. If he runs away from one place, he will end up in another place. If he runs away from one home, he will end up in another. If he runs away from one crowd of people, he will end up with some others.
“Where can you escape to? Wherever you go, the world is there. You cannot run away from the world. Whatever place you reach, you will realize that the world is still there. Then you have to run away from that place, and from the next place…and in this way you will have to keep running.
“Even if we were to move at the speed of the light that is coming from the moons and the stars, we would not be able to escape from the universe. No moon or star has ever succeeded in escaping; no ray of light has ever been able to escape from the universe so far. The journeys that light rays make are infinite, but still they are within the bounds of the universe. They cannot escape from it. In fact, the universe will always be there, however far they go – otherwise how can they go? Where will they find the place, the space to go to?
“Awakening is possible. A wise person is one who awakens; an ignorant person escapes. Of course, an ignorant person escapes in two ways. Sometimes he runs after women, sometimes he runs away from women. Sometimes he runs towards money, sometimes he runs away from money. Sometimes he faces the world and runs, sometimes he turns his back on the world and runs. But neither can he attain the world by facing it, nor can he drop the world by turning his back on it.
“That which can neither be attained nor renounced is called sansara, the world. Dreams can be neither attained nor renounced. The unreal can be neither attained nor renounced. One can only wake up to the unreal, to asat. One can only wake up to the dream. A person trying to run away from a dream is in an even deeper dream, because one who has chosen to run away from a dream is certain about one thing: that the dream is not a dream. He is finding it worth escaping from. To this extent he is still finding it real.”