Mysticism is the experience that life is not logic, that life is poetry; that life is not syllogism, that life is a song. Mysticism is the declaration that life can never really be known; it is essentially unknowable.
Science divides existence into two categories: the known and the unknown. The known was unknown one day; it has become known. The unknown is unknown today; tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, it will also become known. Science believes that sooner or later a point of understanding will arrive when there will be only one category: the known, all will have been known. The unknown is slowly being reduced to the known.
Mysticism is the declaration that life consists of three categories: one, the known; another, the unknown; and the third, and the most important, is the unknowable — which has not been known and which will never be known. And that is the essential core of it all.
That unknowable can be experienced but not known. It cannot be reduced to knowledge, although your heart can sing its song. You can dance it, you can live it, you can be full and overflowing with it — you can be possessed by it — but you will not be able to know it.
It is like, a river disappears into the ocean. Do you think the river comes to know the ocean? It becomes the ocean, but there is no knowing. In fact, when you become one with something, how can you know it? Knowledge requires division; knowledge is basically schizophrenic. The object has to be separate from the subject; the knower has to keep a distance from the known. If the distance disappears, there will be no knowledge possible.
And that’s what happens in mysticism: the seeker becomes one with the sought, the lover dissolves into the beloved, the dewdrop slips, falls into the ocean and becomes the ocean. There is no knowledge. In such unity knowledge is not possible. In such unity there is only experience, and experience not of something outside you, but something inside you. It is experiencing rather than experience.
The word “mysticism” comes from a Greek word, mysterion, which means “secret ceremony“. The people who have touched the unknowable gather together to share. The sharing is not verbal; it cannot be verbal. The sharing is of their being; they pour their being into each other. They dance together, they sing together, they look into each other’s eyes, or they simply sit silently together. That’s what was being done with Buddha, with Krishna, with Jesus, in different ways.
The lovers of Krishna were dancing with him. That was a mysterion, a secret ceremony. If you look from the outside at what is happening you will not be able to know what is really the case. Unless you become a participant, unless you dance with Krishna, you will not know what is being shared, because that which is being shared is invisible. It is not a commodity, it cannot be transferred from one hand to another; you will not see anything happening like that. It is not objective. It is the flowing of one being into another, flowing of the presence of the Master into the disciple.
These kinds of secret ceremonies in India have been called ras; in the tradition of Krishna they are called ras. Ras means dancing with the Master, so that your energy is flowing and the Master’s energy is flowing. And only flowing energies can have a meeting. Stagnant pools cannot meet, only rivers can meet. It is only through movement that meeting is possible.
But the same was happening with Buddha too, with no visible dance. Buddha was sitting silently, his disciples were sitting silently; it was called satsang, “being with truth”. Buddha has become enlightened, he is a light unto himself. Others who are not yet lit, whose candles are yet unlit, sit in close proximity, in intimacy, in deep love and gratitude, come closer and closer to Buddha in their silence, in their love. Slowly, slowly a moment comes, the space between the Master and the disciple disappears — and the jump of the flame from the Master to the disciple. The disciple is ready to receive it; the disciple is nothing but a welcome. The disciple is “feminine”, a receptivity, a womb. This too is a mysterion, a secret ceremony.
It was happening again and again, with Zarathustra, with Lao Tzu, with Jesus, in different ways. This is what is happening here.
While I am talking to you, if you are just a curious person who has come here to listen and to see what is happening, you will only listen to my words. You will miss the real treasure. The words are spoken only to those who cannot listen to silence.
But those who have become intimate with me, those who have become sannyasins, they are listening to the words, but they are not in any way intellectually dissecting, analyzing, arguing with the words. The words are heard as one hears music; the words are heard as one hears wind blowing through the pine trees; the words are heard as one hears raindrops falling on the roof, or the roar of the waves in the ocean. And while the mind is hearing the music, the heart starts absorbing the being, the presence. This is a mysterion, this is a secret ceremony.
But why is it called “secret”? It is not secret in the sense that we are hiding somewhere in a cave. It is secret because it is available only when you are related to the Master in deep love. Others are allowed to come in, but for them it will remain invisible; hence it is called secret. When Buddha is sitting with his disciples, he is not hiding somewhere in the mountains — he is in the world, people can come and go and see — but still the ceremony is secret. This secretness is something to be understood. Those people who will come and see, they will only see a few bodies sitting silently, that’s all. They will not see the transfer of light, the transfer beyond the scriptures that is happening.
That’s the case here too. Every day watchers, spectators come; they see you sitting here listening to me, or dancing, or meditating, and they think they have known. They go and they start giving “authoritative” reports about the place. They may have been here just one day or two days, and they become experts. They are being simply stupid. They don’t know a word, they don’t know anything about mysticism. All their reports are false, bound to be false. To know something of what is going on here, you will have to become a participant, you will have to fall in deep harmony with me and the space that is being created here. You cannot be a spectator; you cannot observe from the outside. These things are not observed from the outside: they are secret.
You have to dissolve yourself. You have to risk. Only then, some taste on your tongue; only then some experience in your heart; only then, some vibe that penetrates you and becomes part of your life.
That is the meaning of “secret ceremony”. It is available for everybody to see, but only those who are initiated into it will really be able to see it.
[The Secret – 12]