Hardbound, 245 pages
I have been in love with Heraclitus for many lives. In fact, Heraclitus is the only Greek I have ever been in love with - except, of course, Mukta, Seema and Neeta!
Heraclitus is really beautiful. Had he been born in India, or in the East, he would have been known as a buddha. But in Greek history, Greek philosophy, he was a stranger, an outsider. He is known in Greece not as an enlightened person but as Heraclitus the Obscure, Heraclitus the Dark, Heraclitus the Riddling. And the father of Greek philosophy and of Western thought, Aristotle, thought that he was no philosopher at all. Aristotle said, "At the most he is a poet," but that too was difficult for him to concede. So later on he said in other works, "There must be some defect in Heraclitus' character, something wrong biologically; that's why he talks in such obscure ways, and talks in paradoxes." Aristotle thought that he was a little eccentric, a little mad - and Aristotle dominates the whole West. If Heraclitus had been accepted, the whole history of the West would have been totally different. But he was not understood at all. He became more and more separate from the main current of Western thinking and the Western mind.
Heraclitus was like Gautam Buddha or Lao Tzu or Basho. The Greek soil was absolutely not good for him. He would have been a great tree in the East: millions would have profited, millions would have found the way through him. But for Greeks he was just outlandish, eccentric, something foreign, alien; he didn't belong to them. That's why his name has remained just on the side, in a dark corner; by and by he has been forgotten.
What is the message of Heraclitus, the deepest message? Understand so you can follow.
He does not believe in things, he believes in processes -- process is God to him. And if you watch closely, you will see that THINGS don't exist in the world; everything is a process. In fact to use the word "is," is existentially wrong, because everything is becoming. Nothing is in a state of isness, nothing!
You say, "This is a tree." By the time you say it, it has grown; your statement is already false. The tree is never static, so how can you use the word, is? It is always becoming, becoming something else. Everything is growing, moving, in a process. Life is movement. It is like a river - always moving. Says Heraclitus, "You cannot step in the same river twice," because by the time you come to step into it the second time, it has moved. It is a flow. Can you meet the same person twice? Impossible! You were here yesterday morning also - but am I the same? Are you the same? Both rivers have changed. You may be here again tomorrow, but you will not find me; somebody else will be here.
Life is changing. "Only change is eternal," says Heraclitus -- only change never changes. Everything else changes.