Why can modern psychologists not think or write about, or even conceive of enlightenment? Is enlightenment a new phenomenon beyond their conception? Will they ever understand a phenomenon “beyond enlightenment”?
Modern psychology is in its very childhood. It is just one century old. The concept of enlightenment belongs to Eastern psychology, which is almost ten thousand years old. Modern psychology is just beginning from scratch, it is at the ABC stage. Enlightenment and beyond enlightenment are the very end of the alphabet of human endeavor: XYZ.
Modern psychology is a misnomer because the word psychology originates from the word psyche. Psyche means the soul. The exact meaning of the word psychology would be the science of the soul. But it is a very weird word. Psychology denies the existence of the soul and still goes on calling itself psychology. It accepts only the physical body and its byproduct, the mind. As the physical body dies, the mind also dies; there is no rebirth, there is no reincarnation. Life is not an eternal principle, but just a byproduct of certain physical material things put together.
You have to understand the word byproduct. Even the idea of a byproduct is not very original. In India, there has been a school of materialists, at least five thousand years old, called charvakas. They describe mind as a byproduct of the body. Their example is very fitting. Remember, it is a five thousand year-old example. We can find modern contemporary parallels to it. In India you must have seen people chewing betel leaves, pan. It consists of four or five things – the betel leaf and three or four things more. You can eat them separately and they will not give the color red to your lips; but if you eat them together they will create the color red as a byproduct. That red color has no existence of its own, it is a byproduct.
In a contemporary example, look at a watch working.
I have heard that Mulla Nasruddin when he retired, was presented with a gold pocket watch by his friends. It was automatic, and from the very beginning he was surprised; he thought what a miracle it was that it went on and on. But after three or four days it stopped. He was very much surprised, what had happened?
When it stopped he opened it up and found a small dead ant inside.
He said, “Now I know the secret! This ant is the driver, and now he’s dead how can the watch continue? But those idiots should have told me that there is a driver! – it needs food, it needs water. And sometimes you even have to change the driver!”