Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Four Natural Enemies on the Path to Knowledge


This fascinating article should give us food for some thought.How Clarity can Almost be a mistake.And how Power proves the undoing of many a man.And, of course, that creeping thing called Old Age,which can undo all clarity, power and knowledge.

Instead of living for the glory of That Pulsating Presence within all of us, which has been conveniently called God,we live to satiate our senses, ego and our intellects.Instead of being guided by the God Within, we place ourselves at the mercy of the so called "experts" with their bookish information about life.

If all our action is surrendered to That Mighty Presence Within, we may,perhaps,be surprised,again and again, by the Bounty and Abundance of this Majesty of a thing we have for a life.


A man of knowledge is one who has followed “ every step of learning is a new task ”

When a man starts to learn, he is never clear about his objectives. Hispurpose is faulty ; his

intent is vague. He hopes for rewards seem so nebulous.And,yet,he has no choice but to hang on with fortitude,and with unbounded hope.

Carlos Castaneda


Carlos Castaneda ( 25th December 1925 - 27th April 1998 ) was a Peruvian born American anthropologist and author.

Carlos Castaneda was the enigmatic author of several best-selling books about the mystical teachings of don Juan Matus, a Yaqui Indian shaman from Sonora, Mexico, first introduced to audiences in the year 1968’s The Teachings of don Juan : A Yaqui Way of Knowledge.

Castaneda’s other books continued the story, with don Juan ( or his companion, don Genaro ) playing the wise descendant of ancient Mexican shamans and Castaneda playing the dim but earnest student. The short version : Castaneda met don Juan at a bus station in Arizona in the year 1960 and learned that getting stoned in the desert opened doors to new perspectives on reality. Castaneda, though, had a tough time overcoming his Western rationalism and grasping ancient Mexican mystical stuff.

Starting with “ The Teachings of Don Juan ” in the year 1968, Castaneda wrote a series of books that describe his training in sorcery. The books, narrated in the first person, \relate his experiences under the tutelage of don Juan Matus. A few excerpts from the book “ The Teachings of Don Juan ”. materialize for he knows nothing of the hardships of learning. He slowly begins to learn .. bit by bit at first,

then in big chunks. And his thoughts soon clash. What he learns is never what he pictured, or

imagined, and so he begins to be afraid. Learning is never what one expects. Every step of learning is a new task, and the fear the man is experiencing begins to mount m e r c i l e s s l y ,

unyieldingly. His purpose becomes a battlefield. “ first enemy .. fear ” And thus, he has stumbled upon the first of his natural enemies : FEAR !

A terrible enemy .. treacherous and difficult to overcome. It remains concealed at every turn

of the way, prowling and waiting. And if the man, terrified in its presence, runs away, his enemy will have put an end to his quest and he will never learn. He will never become a man of knowledge. He will perhaps be a bully, or a harmless, scared man ; at any rate, he will be a defeated man. His first enemy will have put an end to his cravings. “ one must not run away ”

Therefore, he must not run away. He must defy his fear, and in spite of it he must take the

next step in learning, and the next, and the next. He must be fully afraid, and yet he must not stop. That is the rule ! And a moment will come when his first enemy retreats. The man begins to feel sure of himself. His intent becomes stronger. Learning is no longer a terrifying task.

“ defeat of the first enemy ” When this joyful moment comes, the man can say without hesitation that he has defeated his first natural enemy. It happens little by little, and yet the fear is vanquished suddenly and fast. Once a man has vanquished fear, he is free from it for the rest of his life because, instead of fear, he has acquired clarity .. a clarity of mind which erases fear. By then a man knows his desires ; he knows how to satisfy those desires. He can anticipate the new steps of learning and a sharp clarity surrounds everything. The man

feels that nothing is concealed. “ second enemy .. clarity ” And thus, he has encountered his second enemy : CLARITY ! That clarity of mind, which is so hard to obtain, dispels fear, but also blinds. It forces the man never to doubt himself. It gives him the assurance he can do anything he pleases, for he sees clearly into everything. And he is courageous because he is clear,

and he stops at nothing because he is clear. But all that is a mistake ; it is like something

incomplete. “ make-believe power .. clarity ” If the man yields to this make-believe power,

he has succumbed to his second enemy and will be patient when he should rush. And he will

fumble with learning until he winds up incapable of learning anything more. His second enemy has just stopped him cold from trying to become a man of knowledge. “ clarity is almost a mistake ” He must do what he did with fear : he mustdefy his clarity and use it only to see, and wait patiently and measure carefully before taking new steps; he must think, above all, that his clarity is almost a mistake.And a moment will come when he willunderstand that his clarity was only a point before his eyes. And thus he will have overcome his secondenemy, and will arrive at a position where nothingcan harm him anymore. This will not be a mistake. It will be true power. He will know at this point that the power hehas been pursuing for so long is finally his. He can do with it whatever he pleases. His ally is at his command. His wish is the rule. He sees all that is around him. SPIRITUAL INDIA 2 4 May - June 2011 “ third enemy .. power ” But he has also come across his third enemy : POWER ! Power is the strongest of all enemies. And naturally the easiest thing to do is to give in ; after all, the man is truly invincible. He commands ; he begins by taking calculated risks, and ends in making rules, because he is a master. A man at this stage hardly notices his third enemy closing in on him. And suddenly, without knowing, he will certainly have lost the battle. His enemy will have turned him into a cruel, capricious man, but he will never lose his clarity or his power. “ one who is defeated by power ” A man who is defeated by power dies without really knowing how to handle it. Power is only a burden upon his fate. Such a man has no command over himself, and cannot tell when or how to use his power. Once one of these enemies overpowers a man there is nothing he can do. It is not possible, for instance, that a man who is defeated by power may see his error and mend his ways. “ defeating the third enemy ” If he is temporarily blinded by power, and then refuses it, his battle is still on. That means he is still trying to become a man of knowledge. A man is defeated only when he no longer tries, and abandons himself. He has to come to realize that the power he has seemingly conquered is in reality never his. He must keep himself in line at all times, handling carefully and faithfully all that he has learned. If he can see that clarity and power, without his control over himself, are worse than mistakes, he will reach a point where everything is held in check. He will know then when and how to use his power. And thus he will have defeated his third enemy. “ final enemy .. old age ” The man will be, by then, at the end of his journey of learning, and almost without warning he will come upon the last of his enemies : OLD AGE ! This enemy is the cruelest of all, the one he won’t be able to defeat completely, but only fight away. “ unyielding desire to rest .. old age ” This is the time when a man has no more fears, no more impatient clarity of mind .. a time when all his power is in check, but also the time when he has an unyielding desire to rest. If he gives in totally to his desire to lie down and forget, if he soothes himself in tiredness, he will have lost his last round, and his enemy will cut him down into a feeble old creature. His desire to retreat will overrule all his clarity, his power, and his knowledge. “ slough off tiredness ” But if the man sloughs off his tiredness, and lives his fate though, he can then be called a man of knowledge, if only for the brief moment when he succeeds in fighting off his last, invincible enemy. That moment of clarity, power, and knowledge is enough.

material excerpted from the book “ The Teachings of Don Juan ” by Carlos Castaneda .. published by Washington Square Press Publication of Pocket Books

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