First, AUM is not a word, it is a pure sound, so it has no meaning as such. It is a pure sound, like the sound of a waterfall; what meaning has it? - no meaning at all. Or the sound of this aeroplane passing by; what meaning has it? - no meaning at all. The sound becomes a word when meaning becomes attached to it. A meaningful sound is a word; a meaningless word is a sound. So the first thing to be understood: AUM is not a word, it is pure sound. All other words have arisen out of it, but it itself is not a word. It is the source of all sounds; it cannot have any meaning whatsoever.
This sound AUM consists of three sounds: A, U, M. These are the seed sounds; all other sounds are created by A,U,M. All our words, the whole alphabet, is created by these three seed sounds:
A,U,M. AUM is the source of all these three.
That's why in India AUM is not written alphabetically. It has a symbol of its own. That is simply to designate: don't be confused and don't try to think about AUM as a word. AUM is the only sound in India which is not written alphabetically. It is written pictorially; it has a picture, a symbol, which is outside the alphabet. These are symbolic things. It has been kept outside the alphabet because it is the source. The source is always out, beyond, transcendental.
AUM consists of three sounds and one anuswar. Anuswar is a very subtle sound; it represents a kind of humming. When you say, "AU", that M prolonged, that humming sound that goes on reverberating, is the anuswar. Anuswar means just a dot; that too represents something. So AUM consists of four things: three visible, A,U,M, and the fourth invisible the rhythmic, humming shadow.
These four represent the whole of Indian metaphysics. "A" represents one state of the mind, when you are awake, the waking consciousness. "U" represents when you are dreaming, the dreaming consciousness. "M" represents when you are fast asleep, dreamlessly asleep - sushupti - deep, profound dreamless sleep. These are the three states of the human mind, human consciousness.
And the anuswar, the dot - that humming sound that goes on reverberating - that represents the fourth, turiya, the transcendental state when you are neither asleep nor awake nor dreaming, when you are just a witness to all that is happening: the state of a Buddha or a Christ, the state where I am, where one can declare oneself Bhagwan.
Turiya. The word "turiya" also means "the fourth", simply "the fourth". It has no other name, because it cannot be named. It is beyond names. This has to be understood first.
And then the second thing: when you have reached the fourth state, turiya, when there is nothing but a melody heard, the celestial music - what Pythagoras has called the music of the heavens, the music of the stars, the music that is the very undercurrent of existence - when you have reached the fourth state of awakening, awareness, Buddhahood, you hear a music, a music which is not produced by any instrument.
Let me remind you of the Zen Masters who tell their disciples to find the sound of one hand clapping.
That is the music: one hand clapping. That is found only in the fourth. Why one hand clapping?
You cannot produce music by one hand clapping; the clapping needs the other. Two are needed to tango, two are needed to clash, two are needed to create something. If a child is born, then two are needed, man and woman. Two are needed everywhere. Electricity needs the positive and the negative. Even life needs death as the opposite. So if you look into life, everything is dual; two are needed.
But beyond the two there is also a state, the transcendental, where two are not needed. It is called anahat naad: unstruck sound, one hand clapping. That sound is the very nature of existence.
Existence is a subtle music - but it is heard only when you have reached the fourth state, when all thoughts have disappeared, where all unconsciousness has disappeared, where you are nothing but a pure mirror, mirroring nothing. Then suddenly explodes a melody.
That melody is called AUM. It is not a mantra, as you have been told. Please never use AUM as a mantra; don't go on repeating, "AUM, AUM, AUM.... " If you repeat it you will miss something; you will become habitual.
A man fell from a ten-story building. A professor was passing by with his student. Of course he must have been a professor of philosophy; he asked the student, "Look at the situation. The man has fallen from ten stories and he has not been hurt. What do you call it?"
The student said, "It is coincidence."
The professor said, "Now, if he goes back again to the tenth story and falls and is not hurt, then what will you call it?"
The student said, "That will be fate. Once, it is coincidence, but if he goes again and falls, that will be fate." And the professor said, "Okay. If he goes again, the third time, and falls from the tenth story, what will you call it?"
The student said, "Sir, then it will be habit. What else can it be?"
If you repeat AUM continuously, year in and year out, it will become your habit. It will become a subtle layer around you; it will prevent you from hearing the real AUM. The real AUM cannot be produced by you.
That's why I am against the so-called transcendental meditation of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It is very destructive. It is a lullaby; it only gives you good sleep, at the most. It can't awaken you. It can cool you, it can give you a little calmness; it is good for people who are suffering from nervousness, tension, anxiety. It is a psychological device, it is a psychological drug - a non-medicinal tranquilizer.
But it is not meditation, no. It is neither meditation nor transcendental; it is not at all. It simply soothes you, consoles you, helps you to go into good sleep.
And it is not accidental that America has become very much interested in the so-called transcendental meditation of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, because America is suffering tremendously from insomnia. People have lost their sleep. They want sleep at any cost; they are ready to try anything. And transcendental meditation can help you to have a good sleep.
But meditation is just the opposite. Meditation is waking up. It is not a lullaby, it is diametrically the opposite. It is a shock, it shatters your sleep and your dreams. If you are a beggar, you are no more a beggar; it shatters the idea of your beggarhood. If you are a prime minister, you are no more a prime minister; it shatters your illusion of being a prime minister. It shatters all identities. It simply reveals one fact, that you are God. It only reveals your reality and takes all illusions away.
AUM is not a mantra. So, Rajen, don't use it as a mantra. It is a scientific formula, just like H2O.
H2O is not water. You can go on repeating - when you are feeling thirsty you can sit and go on repeating - "H2O, H2O" - you can make a mantra out of it, and it may help you to fall asleep. Try, and you will be surprised: H2O can do the same as any mantra. Just try, "H2O, H2O" - sway with it - H2O, H2O - go on, go on, faster and faster and faster - and soon you will be transported into deep sleep.
And when you awake, you will feel fresh, certainly fresh, but you will still be thirsty. It can't help your thirst, it can't quench you. And not that the formula is wrong, but a formula is not a mantra.
AUM is the H2O of the spiritual transformation. It has all the secrets in it, but it is not something to be repeated. It has to be understood, so understand these things. First, AUM is not a word; it is a pure sound, the purest, the ultimate sound of existence. When all is gone, that sound remains. That is the sound of soundlessness, the sound of silence.
And, symbolically, AUM represents your waking consciousness, your dreaming consciousness, your sleeping consciousness, and the beyond - the turiya - the fourth state, where one becomes Bhagwan, where one becomes Christ, Buddha, where one is one with totality. It is a tremendously important formula; it contains the whole metaphysics of the East. But it is not a mantra. Please never repeat it. Repeating won't help; it will deceive you. Try to understand it, and then start becoming more and more aware of your waking consciousness. Walking on the road, walk with full awareness, knowing that you are walking. Then slowly, slowly transform every act into awareness.
De-automatize every act.
A man came to me. He had been suffering from chain-smoking for thirty years; he was ill and the doctors said, "You will never be healthy if you don't stop smoking. " But he was a chronic smoker; he could not help it. He had tried - not that he had not tried - he had tried hard, and he had suffered much in trying, but one day or two days, and then again the urge would come so tremendously, it would simply take him away. Again he would fall into the same pattern.
Because of this smoking he had lost all self-confidence: he knows he cannot do a small thing; he cannot stop smoking. He had become worthless in his own eyes; he thought himself just the most worthless person in the world. He had no respect for himself.
He came to me; he said, "What can I do? How can I stop smoking?" I said, "Nobody can stop smoking. You have to understand. Smoking is not only a question of your decision now. It has entered into your world of habits, it has taken roots. Thirty years is a long time. It has taken roots in your body, in your chemistry, it has spread all over. It is not just a question of your head deciding; your head cannot do anything. The head is impotent; it can start things, but it cannot stop so easily.
Once you have started and once you have practiced so long, you are a great yogi - thirty years' practicing smoking. It has become autonomous; you will have to de-automatize it. " He said, "What do you mean by 'de-automatization'?"
And that's what meditation is all about: de-automatization.
I said, "You do one thing: forget about stopping. There is no need either. For thirty years you have smoked and lived; of course it was a suffering, but you have become accustomed to that too. And what does it matter if you die a few hours earlier than you would have died without smoking? What are you going to do here? What have you done? So what is the point - whether you die Monday or Tuesday or Sunday, this year, that year - what does it matter?"
He said, "Yes, that is true, it doesn't matter." Then I said, "Forget about it; we are not going to stop it at all. Rather, we are going to understand it. So next time, you make it a meditation. "
He said, "Meditation out of smoking?" I said, "Yes. If Zen people can make meditation out of drinking tea, and can make it a ceremony, why not? Smoking can be as beautiful a meditation. "
He looked thrilled. He said, "What are you saying?" He became alive! He said, "Meditation? Just tell me - I cannot wait! "
I gave him the meditation. I said, "Do one thing. When you take the packet out of your pocket, for a moment go slowly. When you are taking the packet of cigarettes out of your pocket move slowly. Enjoy it, there is no hurry. Be conscious, alert, aware; take it out slowly, with full awareness.
Then take the cigarette out of the packet with full awareness, slowly - not in the old hurried way, unconscious way, mechanical way. Then start tapping the cigarette on your packet - but very alertly.
Listen to the sound, just as Zen people do when the samovar starts singing and the tea starts boiling, and the aroma. Then smell the cigarette and the beauty of it.... "
He said, "What are you saying? The beauty?" "Yes, it is beautiful. Tobacco is as divine as anything.
Even Morarji Desai is divine, so why not tobacco? Smell it; it is God's smell."
He looked a little surprised. He said, "What, are you joking?" "No, I am not joking."
Even when I joke, I don't joke. I am very serious.
"Then put it in your mouth, with full awareness, light it with full awareness. Enjoy every act, small act, and divide it into as many small acts as possible, so you can become more and more aware.
"Then have the first puff: God in the form of smoke. Hindus say,'annam brahm' - ' Food is God.' Why not smoke? All is God. Fill your lungs deeply - this is a pranayam. I am giving you the new yoga for the new age! Then release the smoke, relax, another puff... and go very slowly.
"If you can do it, you will be surprised, soon you will see the whole stupidity of it. Not because others have said that it is stupid, not because others have said that it is bad: you will see it. And the seeing will not be just intellectual. It will be from your total being, it will be a vision of your totality. And then, one day, if it drops, it drops; if it continues, it continues. You need not worry about it. "
After three months he came, and he said, "But it dropped."
"Now, " I said, "try it on other things too. "
This is the secret, the secret: de-automatize. Walking, walk slowly, watchfully. Looking, look watchfully, and you will see trees are greener than they have ever been and roses are rosier than they have ever been. Listen. Somebody is talking, gossiping: listen, listen attentively. When you are talking, talk attentively. Let your whole waking activity become de-automatized, and then you will be surprised, the moment it happens, your dream activity will have a new perspective. You will start becoming aware in your dream.
Then start watching your dreams. That is a miracle when it happens. When you start watching your dreams you are really a totally different person. Then the dreams have no impact on you. Watching your dreams, one day dreams disappear; you have de-automatized your dreaming process. And then you will be able to watch your dreamless sleep: yoU are asleep, and you are still awake. The whole body sleeping, every cell of it relaxed, the whole mechanism silent - and you are watching there, a silent witness.
When this third has happened, the fourth arises on its own: the humming sound. You are full of a new music. That music is God.