What is more important, the practice of life or the theory? Is it possible for someone as ignorant as I am, who used to be a really devoted roman catholic, fifty years old, to attain to enlightenment without taking much time to study all which is between heaven and earth?
The first thing: life cannot be practiced. That which can be practiced is always the theory. Life has to be lived; there is no way to practice it, there is no way to prepare and rehearse it. Life is spontaneous. Only theories, dogmas, philosophies are to be practiced; they are unreal. The unreal has to be practiced so that you can create an illusion of its reality. The real has to be lived.
If you believe in some theory of love, then you will have to practice it. Love need not be practiced, you can simply float in it. To be in love you will have to drop all theories of love, otherwise you will never be in love. And to be in the thick of life, in the intensity and passion of life, you will have to drop all philosophies of life. Otherwise you will remain clouded in your words.
The problem is not arising out of life; the problem arises out of Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism. The problem arises out of the "ism". Life is very simple. Even animals can live it; it must be simple. Even trees are living it; it must be simple. It cannot be very complicated; even birds, even rocks and rivers are living it. Why has it become so complicated for man? Because man can theorize about it. Man can weave and spin doctrines around it. Those doctrines are poisonous.
If you are a Christian, you cannot live life. If you are a Hindu, no, life is not for you. To be alive one need not be a Hindu or a Christian. One simply needs to be, one needs just to be.
The two explorers were going through the jungle when a ferocious-looking lion appeared on the track in front of them.
"Keep calm," said the first explorer. "Remember what we read in that book on wild animals: if you stand absolutely still and look a lion straight in the eyes, he will turn tail and run away."
"Fine," said the second explorer. "You have read the book, I have read the book, but has he read the book?"
The books create problems, the books puzzle you. And the thing is very absurd: they puzzle you in the name of trying to clarify things. They puzzle you through their explanations. You are caught in those explanations because you think that unless you have the explanations, how are you going to live?
Have you heard the famous anecdote about a centipede who was walking? It was a sunny morning and it was beautiful, and the centipede was happy and must have been singing in his heart. He was going, almost drunk with the morning air.
A frog sitting by the side was very puzzled -- he must have been a philosopher. He asked: "Uncle, wait! You are doing a miracle. A hundred legs! How do you manage? Which leg comes first, which comes second, third -- and so on and so forth, up to a hundred! You don't get puzzled? How do you manage? It looks impossible to me."
The centipede said: "I have never thought about it. Let me brood." And standing there, he started trembling and he fell down on the ground. He himself became so puzzled -- a hundred legs! How is one going to manage?
Philosophy paralyzes people.
You are paralyzed by your philosophies. Life needs no philosophy, life is enough unto itself. It needs no crutches; it needs no support, no props. It is enough unto itself.
This is the first thing I would like to convey to you; this is my understanding, not my theory; this is how I feel life to be. It is not a mind thing, it is my existential experience. Trust life. And if you trust in life, I call you religious. Trust in life is trust in God. God becomes a theory; when you dissolve that theory only life is left in its tremendous mystery, shimmering, just surrounding you within and without.
And you are part of it, part of its ecstasy.
"What is more important," the questioner has asked, "the practice of life or the theory?"
Practice is needed only for a theory. Life needs no practice. You have simply to live it without brooding, without bringing the mind in. Once you bring the mind in you have started distorting life.
"Is it possible for someone as ignorant as I am to attain to enlightenment?"
It is possible only for those who recognize their ignorance -- because those are the innocent people, who recognize their ignorance. The recognition of ignorance is the very door to enlightenment. If you think you know, then you will be debarred.
Pundits have never become enlightened -- they cannot. They have too much knowledge, they are burdened too much with knowledge. They are like donkeys carrying scriptures -- that's what Jalaluddin Rumi has said. And a donkey remains a donkey -- whether he carries a Koran on his back or not does not matter. You can carry scriptures in your memory, but memory is not knowledge. To memorize a thing is not to know it. To memorize a thing is a way to avoid knowing it. It is very cheap. A computer can do it; there is nothing human about it, nothing special. The computer can do better. All that your mind can do the computer can do better. So there is nothing special about it, nothing human, nothing divine. It is a mechanical thing.
You can remember, you can memorize as much information as available, but that is not going to help you. You can become a walking Encyclopedia Britannica, but the donkey will be carrying the Koran unless you become aware that life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved. Then you approach in a totally different way; the approach becomes qualitatively different. Then you approach through awareness, not through knowledge. Then you approach immediately, directly. You look into life without any clouds hindering your eyes -- Christian, Mohammedan, Hindu. No clouds; just pure eyes, just looking like an innocent child....
To become that innocent child the first requirement is to understand that you are ignorant. It is one of the most difficult things.
It is simple to renounce riches, but very difficult to renounce knowledge.
Many people renounce riches: they renounce their families, their homes, the world, but they don't, they never renounce their knowledge.
I used to know a man who renounced the world. We were together in the university. After a few years I came across him in a city; I went to see him. He had renounced everything, he had become a Jain monk. I asked him: "Are you still a Jain?"
He said: "Why not? I am a Jain, I was born a Jain."
I said: "I was thinking you had renounced everything, but knowledge you have saved? You have renounced your parents, but you have not renounced that which your parents have taught you. This is something! You have renounced your home, but you are still carrying subtle impressions of the home. That's what being a Jain is! If you had been brought up in a Mohammedan family, you would have been a Mohammedan. If you were never told by anybody that you are a Jain, you could not have become a Jain. You have renounced the family, you say. You say: 'I have renounced my mother, father, my wife, my children.' Then why are you carrying knowledge that was given by them? Renounce that too!"
He looked puzzled. He said: "That is difficult."
It is easy to renounce riches because they are outside; knowledge is an inner richness.
It is easy to renounce the worldly things because they are like clothes -- you can undress. But to renounce knowledge is like renouncing your skin; it is not so easy. It is painful, very painful.
And from where does the pain come? The pain comes from the ego -- because knowledge is the food for the ego. It is the subtlest food for the ego. The more you know, the more you feel powerful.
Lord Bacon has said: "Knowledge is power." It is very difficult to renounce power. Money too is power, but nothing compared to knowledge -- because money can be robbed: the government can change, communists can come, money can be distributed. You cannot rely on the money; the bank can go broke.
But knowledge is more secure: no government can take it away, no change of politics can take it away, nobody can rob you of it, and you cannot go so easily bankrupt. Knowledge seems to be more secure. And any day, if you have knowledge, you can produce money -- not otherwise. Knowledge can bring money, not otherwise. Money may not be able to bring knowledge, so knowledge is more of a richness, a greater wealth, more powerful -- and the subtlest possession inside. The ego feels very good: "I know." That's why it is one of the most difficult things to recognize that "I don't know".
The moment you recognize that you don't know, you become innocent, you become available...the ego disappears.
The question is from Deva Geeta. She is an old Sannyasin. And she says: "Is it possible for someone as ignorant as I am to attain to enlightenment?" It is only possible for those who know that they are ignorant -- this is the beginning of real knowledge, the first sunray of wisdom penetrating into the darkness of your soul. The ego is the darkness, and this recognition that "I don't know" is the first ray of wisdom.
Socrates is reported to have said: "When I was young, I thought I knew everything. When I became a little more mature I started to feel that I knew only a few things. When I became old, one day I recognized that I don't know anything at all." That day he declared: "My ignorance is utterly ultimate and profound, and I don't see any way that I can get out of my ignorance."
Because truth is mysterious and unknowable, and cannot be analyzed and dissected. There is no way to know it. You can be the truth, but you cannot know it -- because for knowing, distance is needed. For knowledge, truth has to be there as an object, you have to be there inside as a subject, and between you two happens knowledge.
Knowledge divides the world into three parts, a trinity: the knower, the known, and knowledge.
Truth is one. Neither is there anything to know, nor is there anybody to know it, so how is knowledge possible? Truth is, existence is, life is, and we are part of it.
Socrates says: "Now I can say I don't know anything." The day he declared this, the oracle in Delphi said to some people: "Socrates is the greatest man of wisdom alive on the earth." Those people came back and said to Socrates: "Blessed you are! The oracle of the temple of Delphi has declared you the greatest wise man of the world."
Socrates laughed and said: "It is too late now. I know that I know nothing. There must be some mistake. At least this time the oracle has missed. You go back and tell the oracle that Socrates himself refuses it."
Those people were very puzzled because they were thinking they were bringing good news. What more could there be? When the gods declare Socrates to be the wisest man of the world, what more can you expect? And here is this fool; he says: "I don't know anything. And it is too late. And you go and say that something has gone wrong; the oracle is not right."
Those people, puzzled, confused, went back. They said to the god of the temple: "Socrates denies; he says: 'I am absolutely ignorant.'" And there was laughter in the temple, and God said: "That's why we declared him the greatest and the wisest man in the world. That's why! There has been no mistake."
If you can understand this, then ignorance becomes innocence. Don't call it ignorance; ignorance has a wrong association. Ignorance means that still you are thinking in terms of knowledge, still you are thinking that something is missing, something is lacking. Drop that word. That word is not right.
Innocence, childlike innocence.... And I know Deva Geeta is a childlike old woman.
"Is it possible for someone as ignorant as I am to attain to enlightenment without taking much time to study all which is between heaven and earth?"
There is no need to study anything. Everything is revealed; you just need clear eyes. Study is not needed. You are not to go into the books, you have just to see the greenery of the trees, smell the fragrance of the flowers, listen to the birds, and the sound of running water, and the beautiful clouds floating in the sky....
Everything is so perfect and everything is so tremendously beautiful. You just approach this great shrine of God. God is enshrined here in every stone, and every stone is a sermon, and He is flowering in every flower, and He is breathing in every heart. You just approach with innocence, and everywhere you will find it is holy ground.
Every bush is afire with God -- because life itself is what God is all about; the totality, the wholeness of life is what God is all about. You just approach with clear, childlike, innocent eyes. That will do. The universe is your university. And the Koran and the Vedas and the Bible and the Geeta are irrelevant -- God's greatest book is just in front of you. Turn its pages.
When you move from the trees and you look up to the sky you have turned a page. When you look at the sun, you have turned another page. When you look at your child, into his eyes, you have turned another page.
This is what the real Veda, the real Koran, the real Bible is. This is the book, and all other books are man-made.
Only this universe is the book that God has written Himself.
Have you observed that all religions claim that their books are not man-made? Hindus claim that the Vedas are aporsheya: not made by man but made by God Himself; and Sanskrit is the divine language, not human. You will find the same type and the same foolish claim everywhere. Mohammedans say the Koran has descended from God, and so with Jews and Christians. Everybody is trying to claim that his book is the divine book and nobody bothers to look at the real divine book.
You are also a page in that divine book! And everything is part of it. These books are beautiful; I am not saying that anything is wrong with them. The Koran is beautiful -- recite it, sing it. The Vedas are beautiful, but remember, don't be lost in them. Let them be stepping-stones towards the real book of life.
In answer to a dream I sent you, you say dreams are dreams, without any meanings. Why say such a thing? I don't understand.
I am not only saying that dreams are dreams; I say that whatsoever you see when you think you are awake is also a dream. The dreams that you see with closed eyes in your sleep, and the dreams that you see with your open eyes in your so-called awake state -- both are dreams and both are meaningless.
The questioner must have felt hurt -- because you would like even your dreams to have meaning. That's how psychoanalysis has become so important. People are foolish: they want their dreams also to have great meaning. Even their lives are meaningless! And they think their dreams are meaningful.
You don't have any meaning right now -- you cannot have. Meaning arises only when you are in flow, flowing with God. Meaning is a happening between you and God, when you are in tune: there is no other meaning. All other meaning is just illusion.
Try to understand what I mean by "meaning". Meaning is when there is a harmony between you and the whole. When there is a subtle dance and you are in step with the whole, there is meaning. Life is an orchestra, and if you start playing your flute solo and you forget the orchestra, then there is no meaning. Then you are a nuisance. And whatsoever you are doing is not only meaningless, it is against meaning. It is better that you stop. For God's sake, stop! When you are flowing with the total and there is no individual left, no ego left, there is meaning. With the ego there is no meaning -- because ego is a jarring note, ego is a noise, ego is a resistance against the whole.
The ego says: "I am separate and I have my own private destiny." Hence, egoistic people always feel deep down that their lives are meaningless. In the west now meaninglessness has become almost a common thing, a cliché. Everybody is talking about meaninglessness.
People are rich, people are well-fed, they have good shelters. In fact, for the first time in history a few countries have come to a point where they are free of poverty, of all the ugliness that comes through poverty and all the limitation that poverty brings. They are free. But the moment they become free, they start feeling meaningless.
Poor persons are not so aware of meaninglessness. Because they have to earn money, there is meaning; they have to send their children to the university, there is meaning; they are going to make a good house somewhere in the future, they are accumulating, by and by, a little money for it, they will have an Ambassador car someday; there is meaning.
One day suddenly you have all: a good life, good clothes, good food. Then meaning disappears.
A poor man always seems hopeful. You can always see a glimpse of hope in the eyes of a beggar. But rich men's eyes become dim, dull; the hope disappears.
The rich man's eyes become like a desert, with no oasis, with no hopes. What happens? All that he had been thinking up to now as meaningful has become meaningless because he has achieved it. And suddenly he becomes aware of the total emptiness within.
Meaning happens, real meaning happens only when you start falling in tune with God, or the whole, or call it cosmos, existence, or whatever. When you are in tune with the whole there arises great benediction. Great grace surrounds you. Your heart is full, fulfilled; a deep contentment and peace and serenity. There is meaning.
That's why I said that dreams are dreams; don't be too bothered by them. And if you want to have some meaning, you can have it. You can go to the Freudian psychoanalyst -- he will find meaning in it. He has some meaning already prepared for you. Whatsoever dream you bring, he will enforce his meaning on it.
You saw the Taj Mahal in your dream? He will say these are phallic pillars. So the dream is sexual. Go to the Adlerian: he says that all problems arise out of an inferiority complex. You have seen the Taj Mahal? So you want to be like the Taj Mahal -- superior, great, unique. Go to the Jungian and he will find some other meaning.
You can go to many psychotherapists and they will all find different meanings. And this is something that nobody looks at: the whole thing that the meaning is not coming from your dream, the meaning is coming from the analyst.
I have heard about President Sukarno of Indonesia. He was strictly a sex man, strictly a libido man, strictly Freudian. He could never pass a statue without patting it on the derrière. All his conversation away from the affairs of state -- and he had some of the greatest affairs in his state -- was always about the ladies. Here is his description of women:
A woman of twenty is like the continent of Africa -- wild and untamed.
A woman of thirty is like Asia -- hot-blooded and passionate.
A woman of forty is like the U.S.A. -- overly-trained and too well-techniqued.
A woman of fifty is like Europe -- decaying and falling apart.
A woman of sixty is like Australia -- everybody knows where it is, but who wants to go there?
So you can go and take your dreams to some Sukarno; he will find nothing but sex. Even geography becomes symbolic only for sexuality. Even Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia -- suddenly they have a totally different meaning you have never heard before. You project.
I am not a psychoanalyst. And people feel very good when they go to a psychoanalyst and the psychoanalyst listens very attentively to your nonsense. Nobody listens to your nonsense so attentively. And why should anybody listen? The psychoanalyst has to listen; you pay for it, so he listens very attentively. It is your time! In fact, who bothers? Even the psychoanalyst just pretends that he is listening.
I have heard an anecdote about Freud.
A young apprentice was working with him. He was young and full of energy, but to listen to people's nonsense dreams the whole day is tiring business, uninteresting, boring. But he was always surprised to see Freud: he was always full of energy. never bored. One day, by the evening when he was leaving his master, he asked Freud: "You are old, aged, but you are never tired. And from the morning to the night you are continuously listening to neurotic things, meaningless. But I get tired -- after two, three patients, I'm completely exhausted."
Freud laughed. He said: "Who listens?"
You have just to pretend that you are listening, you have just to learn the trick of pretending that you are listening, that you are tremendously interested. You are interested only in the money that he is going to pay.
But the patient feels very good: "Here is somebody who listens so attentively." There is a great desire in human beings that somebody should listen to their miseries. It unburdens them, and it gives them a feeling that somebody loves, cares. That's why you go on talking about miseries
Everybody goes on talking about his miseries, illnesses, this and that, and wants the other to sympathize.
You feel you are not alone. And when you are telling nonsense dreams and the psychoanalyst brings beautiful explanations, great theories, suddenly you feel you are very meaningful, you are no ordinary person -- just see what beautiful dreams you have! Maybe you have not created a great painting like Picasso and you have not written a great book like Shakespeare, but so what? You have dreamed such beautiful dreams that even a Freud, a Jung, an Adler is interpreting them -- and they really interpret very beautifully.
But this whole business is nonsense; a dream is a dream.
And the whole effort in the East has been totally different: we have never bothered about the meaning of dreams. Our whole effort is to make you aware so that dreams disappear.
I have been telling you again and again a famous Zen anecdote....
A Zen Master woke up in the morning and he saw a disciple passing by. He called him: "Come here! I had a very beautiful dream. Would you like to interpret it?"
He said: "Wait. Let me bring a bucket of water. You please wash your face."
The Master waited. The disciple brought a bucket of water and the Master washed his face. By that time another disciple was passing, and he called. He said: "Listen, come here! I had a beautiful dream. Would you like to interpret it?"
He said: "Wait. You have washed your face? I will bring a cup of tea for you." And he brought a cup of tea.
The Master was very happy and he said: "If you had tried to interpret, I would have thrown you out of the monastery!"
This is the right interpretation: you had a dream? Wash your face, be finished! Still lingering a little? Have a cup of tea, but get out of it! It is a dream! What is there to interpret?
Only one thing has to be remembered: that you dreamed because you were unconscious. And now you are trying to interpret it; still you are clinging to it. It happened because you were fast asleep.
For a Buddha dreams disappear; they don't happen, they cannot happen -- because he becomes so alert that even in sleep a subtle layer of awareness remains. He never loses his awareness. That's what Krishna means when he says in the Geeta: "When everybody is fast asleep, the yogi is awake."
It does not mean that the yogi just stands in the room and remains awake -- he would go mad! He also sleeps, but somewhere deep down a substratum remains alert, a small lamp continues burning inside. And in that light, no dreams can penetrate.
Buddha is reported to have said that dreams are like thieves: if the house is dark and there is no lamp inside, the thieves become interested in the house. They come closer, they look from the windows. And if the master is fast asleep, then even better. And if the guard is no longer on duty today, then perfect -- they enter.
Dreams are like thieves.
When there is a guard sitting at the door, thieves stay away. When the light is inside the house and the windows are full of light, they don't dare to come close. And when they see that the master is fully awake and moving, and there is talk and singing and people moving around, and shadows, they don't come at all.
Dreams happen because you are not aware in your sleep. And dreams continue to happen in your waking state also, because then too your awareness is just so-so, very lukewarm, nothing much.
So think of dreams only as symbolic in this sense: they prove that you have not yet become alert enough -- that's all. That's the meaning when I said that to you.
The questioner had written a long letter relating a dream. This was my message: that dreams are dreams, without any meaning; don't be too bothered by them. Only one thing is important: when dreams are happening in your sleep you lose all your consciousness. In the daytime also you are not very conscious; so become more conscious. Don't pay much attention to dreams, otherwise it can become a very dangerous game.
You start playing with dreams -- their meaning, their symbols, their myth, and you go in and in -- one layer upon another layer, and you will be lost!
Mulla Nasruddin was walking into town one evening when he suddenly came across a pile of cow shit on the path. He bent over slightly and looked at it carefully.
"Looks like it," he said to himself.
He leaned closer and sniffed: "Smells like it."
He cautiously put his finger in it, then tasted it: "Tastes like it. I'm sure glad I didn't step in it!"
Beware of analysis!
The observer is not the observed -- then where does the observed spring from? And what about our continual projections? Is it all illusion? And yet, can't the nature of the illusion throw light on its creator-observer?
The word maya has to be understood. In English there is no equivalent word: "illusion" is not right.
In the east we call real that which is eternal, timelessly there; has always been, will always be, there was never a time when it was not -- this eternal we call the real, the true. Exactly opposite to it is the unreal, the untrue -- which has never been, will never be. Between the two is maya. Maya means that which appears to be and yet is not. It is just in the middle of the real and the unreal. It is a lie but it appears like truth. It is a decorated lie, and very convincing. When it is there it appears absolutely true; you know it.
In the night when you dream you never suspect. Even very skeptical people, atheists, don't suspect. In a dream there is nobody who suspects. Even great doubters who suspect everything don't suspect the dream; when the dream is there it appears absolutely true. Absurd things also look true.
When the dream is there it is real. It is so real that even absurdity does not make you doubt. In the morning when you open your eyes, suddenly it is unreal. Now from where had it come? It had come from your own unawareness. It was your projection. It was not there outside you, it was inside you; it was your game. And when you were so lost in it it became real. In the morning you are awake, the projection is withdrawn; you can see now that it was unreal.
Now what to call a dream? Call it real? It is not real because there was a time when it was not, and now again there is a time when it is not. Should we call it unreal? But then it was there in the middle. In the evening it was not, in the morning it is not again, but in the night it is there. So how can you call it unreal? So in the east we invented a new term. We call it maya: what is unreal but appears as real because of our unconsciousness.
Maya is almost like magic -- something which is not but can be made to appear as if it is. It shows something about you.
A dream shows something about the dreamer.
For example, if you dream about women, sex, and things like that, that simply shows that in your waking life you must be trying to be celibate, or you must be trying to go beyond sex. You must be repressing sexuality. The repressed bubbles up in your dream, becomes a projection. If in the night you dream always about fasting and dinners and things like that, that simply means you must be trying to starve yourself in some way or other. You must be fasting, or you may be a food-maniac. You must be doing something wrong; your body is not satisfied. That dissatisfaction arises in your dream. Or you are repressing something that arises in your dream. It simply shows that your life is not going rhythmically. There is something disturbing its rhythm. That disturbance arises in the dream, becomes a projection.
It shows something about the person who is dreaming.
"The observer is not the observed -- then where does the observed spring from?" It springs from the observer -- but the observer is fast asleep, has not yet become really an observer, is only potentially an observer, not actually. Out of that sleepiness, slumber, stupor, arise all sorts of illusions: you create them.
"And yet can the nature of the illusion throw light on its creator-observer?" Yes, it throws some light.
Let me tell you one very famous story of Idries Shah. Listen to it very attentively.
A certain quiet dervish often used to attend the weekly meals given by a cultivated and generous man. This circle was known as the "Assembly of The Cultured". The dervish never took part in the conversation but simply arrived, shook hands with all present, seated himself in a corner, and ate the food provided.
When the meeting was over he would stand up, say a word of farewell and thanks, and go his way. Nobody knew anything about him, though when he first appeared there were rumors that he was great saint. For a long time the other guests thought that he must indeed be a man of sanctity and knowledge and they looked forward to the time when he might impart some of his wisdom to them. Some of them even boasted of his attendance at their meetings to their friends, hinting at the special distinction which they felt in his presence.
Gradually, however, because they could feel no relationship with this man developing, the guests came to suspect that he was an imitator, perhaps a fraud Several of them felt uncomfortable in his presence. He seemed to do nothing to harmonize himself with the atmosphere, and didn't even contribute a proverb to the enlightened conversation which they had come to prize as a necessary part of their very lives.
A few, on the other hand, became unaware that he was there at all, since he drew no attention to himself.
One day the dervish spoke. He said: "I invite all of you to visit my monastery. Tomorrow night you shall eat with me."
This unexpected invitation caused a change in the opinions of the whole assembly. Some thought that the dervish, who was very poorly dressed, must be mad, and surely could provide them with nothing. Others considered his past behavior to have been a test. At last, they said to themselves, he would reward them for their patience in bearing with such dreary company. Still others said to one another: "Beware, for he may well be trying to lure us into his power."
Curiosity led them all, including their host, to accept the hospitality. The following evening the dervish led them from the house to a hidden monastery of such size and magnificence that they were dazed. The building was full of disciples carrying out every kind of exercise and task. The guests passed through contemplation halls filled with distinguished-looking sages who rose in respect and bowed at the dervish's approach. The feast which they were given surpassed all powers of description. The visitors were overwhelmed. All begged him to enroll them as disciples forthwith. But the dervish would only say to all their entreaties: "Wait until the morning."
Morning came and the guests, instead of waking in the luxurious silken beds to which they had been conducted the night before, clad in gorgeous robes, found themselves lying stiff and stark, dispersed on the ground within the stony confines of a huge and ugly ruin on a barren mountainside. There was no sign of the dervish, of the beautiful arabesques, the libraries, the fountains, the carpets.
"The infamous wretch has tricked us with the deceits of sorcery!," shouted the guests. They alternately condoled with and congratulated one another for their sufferings and for having at least seen through the villain, whose enchantments obviously wore off before he could achieve his evil purpose, whatever that might be.
Many of them attributed their escape to their own purity of mind. But what they did not know was that by the same means which he had used to conjure up the experience of the monastery, the dervish had made them believe that they were abandoned in a ruin. They were in fact in neither place.
He now approached the company as if from nowhere and said: "We shall return to the monastery." He waved his hands and all found themselves back in the palatial halls. Now they repented, for they immediately convinced themselves that the ruins had been the test and that this monastery was the true reality. Some muttered: "It is as well that he did not hear our criticisms. Even if he only teaches us this strange art it will have been worthwhile."
But the dervish waved his hands again and they found themselves at the table of the communal meal, which they had in fact never left.
The dervish was sitting in his customary corner eating his spiced rice as usual, saying nothing at all. And then watching him uneasily all heard his voice speak as if within their own breasts, though his lips didn't move.
He said: "While your greed makes it impossible for you to tell self-deceit from reality, there is nothing real which a dervish can show you -- only deceit. Those whose food is self-deceit and imagination can be fed only with deception and imagination."
Now all that you come to experience in life is nothing but your own desire.
Because you want to experience it, your mind conjures. Mind is a great magician. It is very tricky, it is the greatest magic show...your own mind. If you want to conjure something you will convince yourself. Even an ugly woman can become beautiful if you are full of desire.
Mulla Nasruddin always goes to a hill-station. Sometimes he goes for three weeks but comes back in ten days; sometimes he goes for four weeks and he's back within two weeks.
I inquired of him: "What is the matter? You had gone for six weeks and you are back within ten days."
He said: "There is a way to decide how long I should stay there."
I said: "Tell me what is your way? How do you decide?"
He said: "I have kept a very ugly woman to take care of my house there on the hill-station. She is so ugly and nauseating, repulsive. When I go to the hill-station, this is my way to judge how long I should stay: when by and by I start seeing beauty in that woman, I escape."
Sexuality goes on accumulating, your desire to have a woman goes on accumulating. Then there comes a point when you don't see what is; you see what you want to see. Then even an ugly woman, nauseating, repulsive, can become the most beautiful woman, can become a Cleopatra.
It is your desire that creates the trick. You can force yourself to believe anything whatsoever.
This mind is the origin of maya, of all the illusions that you live through. Once you start becoming aware of the mind, awareness is totally different from the mind. Then the observer arises, then you become an awareness.
When you become an awareness and you can see the games of the mind that have been playing with you for so many lives, suddenly you start laughing at the whole ridiculousness of it.
It depends on you. You kiss a woman's lips, you think it is very beautiful -- it depends on you. There are tribes in the world, primitive tribes, who never kiss. And when they came to know that people kiss each other, they laughed. They could not believe it.
In Thailand there is a primitive tribe which has never kissed, down through the centuries -- because they say it is so ugly to put lips on anybody else's lips and to exchange saliva. it is so ugly! If they ever came to know about the French kiss they would die laughing! Tongues moving into each other's tongues! But ask a Frenchman....
In fact, the French people think only they know how to kiss; nobody else knows. It is just a conditioning. These same people, this primitive tribe which has never kissed, rub noses with each other -- and they like it very much. It is their kiss. Now, you will feel a little awkward if somebody comes and starts rubbing his nose with your nose. You will say: "What are you doing? Have you gone crazy or something? Lips can be rubbed, but not noses. What are you doing?"
In love, you can kiss each other. There are tribes who salute each other by touching each other's tongues; that is their salute. Westerners have been laughing about it. Just see: each tribe has managed to believe its own way. Many African tribes don't like women with hair. The women are shaved, then they become beautiful. Now, you cannot think women beautiful when they are shaved. They look like Buddhist nuns! And one feels an urgent desire to escape from them. Skulls without hair look ugly -- but that too is an idea. Thin lips are thought to be beautiful, but in Africa they like thick lips. They hang weights on their lips to make them more thick. Girls hang stones on their lips so their lips become very, very thick. You will think this is ugly, but this is beauty to them.
What is beauty and what is ugliness?
Just a mind concept. Nobody has yet been able up to now to define what beauty is, and nobody is ever going to be able to define what beauty is -- because beauty is nothing but your idea of it. You create beauty and you can believe in it; then it is beautiful. You can believe in ugliness, and it is ugly.
Just watch, and you will see that your mind conditions you towards certain things. And then you start looking for those things. And then you will project in your dreams, and by and by while you are awake you will project.
This is now a scientific finding: that if you are left alone, in isolation, for three weeks, you start conjuring up all sorts of dreams. If you are just left in a cave, everything supplied to you, but you are not allowed to talk to anybody -- food comes from a hole, water comes from a hole, and you are comfortable in the cave, you see no human being for three weeks -- just after the fourth day you start talking a little loudly. Ordinarily you talk inside, you go on chattering. But after four days of isolation your lips start moving. After the first week you start talking very loudly. What is happening?
And by the second week you are not only talking, you start answering too. You also talk for the other person who is not present. By the third week you are almost insane. What is happening? What happens in just three weeks' time? Left alone, the mind is starved of all outside things. It cannot remain without occupation, it creates its own occupation. It finds an image; it starts thinking a woman is sitting by your side. First you will laugh: "This is just a play!" First you will say: "I know that it is just to find occupation." But by and by you will forget completely, and the woman will become real You may start making love to the woman; you may start fighting, talking, quarreling. Now you are fully awake, with your eyes open, and the dream has become real.
Modern research about isolation and what happens in isolation is tremendously revealing.
Bring more awareness to your mind, otherwise you are always on the verge of going mad, of becoming mad.
There is not much difference between mad people and sane people. Sanity and insanity are only different by degrees. If you are sane you can become insane any moment. The bank goes bankrupt, or your wife dies, or your daughter elopes with somebody: just a little push and you go mad.
Madness is boiling within you; you are just close to it. Become aware. Mind is what maya is -- and all that is created by the mind is illusory, "mayic", magical. Mind is a magician, and if you watch this magician you will be surprised. It is beautiful to watch what beautiful games and dramas it creates. Watching it, by and by, it subsides. One day mind disappears; there is body and there is soul, but mind disappears.
When there is only body and soul and the mind has disappeared, you are enlightened. Enlightenment means the disappearance of the magician.
I am always looking for signs of movement, different energy states, telepathic happenings, even new gray hairs will do. Spiritual materialism, yes. But what to do?
The mind is always hankering. The mind is nothing but hankering, desiring something to happen. Sometimes it is thinking about money, to have more money, to have bigger houses, to have more respectability, to have more political power. Then you turn towards spirituality; the mind remains the same. Now you want to have more psychic powers -- telepathy, clairvoyance, and all sorts of nonsense. But the mind remains the same -- you want more. And if you want more you will remain ill.
Health is in being contented with this moment. Health is when you are totally in this moment and happy and blessed. Illness is if you are asking for more.
You can change the objects; that's very simple. That's what we go on doing. Small children play with toys and we tell them that these are toys. They have small cars, toy cars and toy trains and toy airplanes, of course. But you watch: when your boy has a toy airplane he goes out to show everybody in the neighborhood. To the other boys he says: "Look what I have got! I have an airplane!" He feels tremendously great.
What are you doing later on? Those toys disappear; bigger toys appear. Now if you have a big car, you would like everybody to become aware of it -- otherwise what is the point? Now if you have an airplane, you would like to advertise it so that everybody knows that you have such a big airplane.
The same game continues....
Now telepathy, or clairvoyance, or psychic powers: "If you can do this, I can do more than this. I can read people's thoughts thousands of miles away."
There is a Zen story. It will be good for you to meditate over it.
A man came to Master Lin Chi. The man said: "My master is a great psychic man. What do you say about your Master? What can your Master do, what miracles?"
Lin Chi asked: "What miracles has your Master been doing?"
The disciple said: "One day he told me to go to the other bank of the river, and I stood there with a piece of paper in my hand. The river was very wide, almost one mile. He was standing on the other bank and from there he started writing with a fountain pen, and the writing came on my paper. This I have seen myself, I am a witness! What can your Master do?"
Lin Chi said: "My Master does greater miracles than this; this is nothing. When he is hungry he eats, and when he is sleepy he goes to sleep."
The man said: "What are you talking about? You call these miracles? Everybody is doing that!"
Lin Chi said: "Nobody is doing that. When you sleep you do a thousand and one things. When you eat you think a thousand and one things. When my Master sleeps he simply sleeps; no tossing, no turning, not even a dream. He simply sleeps, he is totally in sleep. Only sleep exists in that moment, nothing else. And when he feels hungry he eats. He is always wherever he is."
The man was puzzled. He said: "I cannot see yet what there is in this."
Lin Chi said: "But this is the miracle, the greatest miracle!"
What is the point of writing from one bank to another bank? It is just foolish. Only foolish people would be interested in it. What is the point?
Somebody went to Ramakrishna and said: "My Master is a great man. He can walk on the water."
Ramakrishna said: "Foolish! Because I can simply go to the ferryman, and with just two paisa he takes me to the other side. How many years did your Master have to practice to do this miracle?"
He said: "Eighteen years."
He said: "This is too much; just two paisa is the value of it! Your Master is a fool. Go and make him aware that he should not waste his life. It can be done so easily."
Yes, this is what Ramakrishna is saying: all miracles are ego-trips. A real man of religion is a miracle, but his miracle is very subtle.
Mulla Nasruddin came to me the other day and he said: "Osho, I ran a hundred yards in six seconds!"
I told him: "Nasruddin, but that is not possible; the world's record is more than nine seconds."
He said: "That's right, but I know a shortcut!"
First you become interested in miracles, and when you don't know how to do them you find a shortcut, you start deceiving. Then you start playing tricks with people. That's what your Sai Babas and others are doing. They have found shortcuts -- just deceiving, cheating.
But there are foolish people who will be impressed by these things. In fact only a fool can be interested and can be impressed by these things. Otherwise, what is the point? There is no point in it.
Life in itself is a miracle, but the ego is not ready to accept that. It wants to do something special, something that nobody is doing, something extraordinary.
The husband was primping before the mirror before leaving for his big speech. He was a political leader.
"I wonder how many great men there are in the world?" he mused.
"One less than you think," said his wife.
Always remember that: whenever the idea arises of how many great men there are in the world, always remember there is one less. At least you should not get into that nonsensical trip.
"I am always looking for signs of movement, different energy states, telepathic happenings, even new gray hairs will do. Spiritual materialism, yes. But what to do?"
It is neither spiritualism nor materialism; it is simply stupidity. Drop it -- because to live with stupidity any longer is dangerous. One tends to become accustomed to it. One tends to make a habit of it.
Whenever you feel that something stupid is there, immediately drop it, drop it like poison. Don't go on playing with it, not even for a single moment -- because even that single moment can prove fatal. In that single moment the stupidity can enter into your bloodstream, can become part of you, can start hiding somewhere.
One thing has to be remembered as a criterion: this moment is all.
If you can live in this moment you will have an allness, and if you ask for the next moment you will have an illness. Just this moment is enough.
This continuous hankering for the next moment is a subtle discontent: "This moment is not fulfilling, so maybe the next moment...." -- Hope for the next.
My suggestion is: live this moment, whatsoever it is. Even if it is painful, live it -- because that is the only moment there is. The next moment never comes. Don't wait for it. Ambition always waits, ego always waits.
Mulla Nasruddin was sitting in the audience once, listening to some poor soul drone on until there was nobody left but him.
"This is terrible: " he said, looking out at the empty seats. "I really don't know what to say."
"You could say good-bye," the Mulla shouted up.
"Anyway," the speaker continued, "it is nice of you to stay."
"What nice!," the Mulla growled. "I'm the next speaker!"
Waiting for the next moment, waiting, bored, but waiting for the next moment; waiting, exhausted, tired, but waiting for the next moment.... Only death will come. The next moment is death; life is this moment.
So don't try to hide your old desires in new names: don't call it telepathy, don't call it clairvoyance, don't call it spiritual power. It is the same; it is the ego. Spirituality knows nothing of power.
Spirituality is a tremendous peace. I am not saying it is powerless -- but it knows nothing of power. It is tremendously powerful, but there is nobody to feel powerful in it. The ego has disappeared; you are gone, gone forever. Only God is. Of course, God is powerful.
The Jews call God "Elohim", it comes from a root "el". The root is the same as from where the Mohammedan word "Allah" comes. It means the source of power, the powerful. Allah means the powerful; "Elohim" means "the powerful."
God is powerful. When you are not, He is there. But there is nobody to claim power. A spiritual man is powerful, but there is nobody to claim it. When the claimer goes, only then does the power come; they never meet together.
So forget about all your spiritual desires. You simply be in the moment -- that's what I call being spiritual.
While you are sitting in Chuang Tzu auditorium telling stories about me, I am sitting in the Turkish bath telling my disciples stories about you. All I have to do is mention the name Osho, and everyone bursts into uproarious laughter.
That's true: I am nothing compared to Mulla Nasruddin. He is a great storyteller. He can manage to tell stories in such a way that even the mention of a name is enough.
Let me tell you one anecdote.
The large and friendly prison was getting a new warden. On the last day of office the old warden was introducing the new warden to the inmates, and made his farewell speech. In closing he said: "A little anecdote: number twenty-eight." The crowd of prisoners burst into wild laughter and applause, and the old warden stepped down.
Afterwards, the new warden who had listened to the proceedings, asked the old warden about his final remarks, especially why the mention of number twenty-eight seemed to be so hilarious.
"Well, you see," the old warden said, "these men have been here so long and have heard my jokes so many times that instead of telling them the whole story, I just tell the number. The men remember the story and laugh accordingly."
"Amazing," the new man said. "You must write them all down for me and I will use one tomorrow in my opening talk."
The next day the new man made his first speech to the inmates. He was a little nervous and decided a joke would be good.
"In conclusion," he said, "a little anecdote -- number fifteen."
A hush fell over the crowd. The warden became more nervous, smiled, and stepped down from the rostrum. Afterwards he asked the old warden, who had stayed to see if all went well: "What happened? Yesterday they seemed to love your story. Today I fell flat on my face."
"I guess," said the old warden, "some people can tell a story, some people can't."
Mulla Nasruddin is superb. There is no comparison to him. He can tell a story just by mentioning the name. The way, the gesture, his whole presence may create a great hilarious situation.
It is said about Mulla Nasruddin that when he was a small student in school, the headmaster cursed him -- because whenever he would go to school he would start telling stories, little stories. And children would giggle and laugh, and it was a great disturbance. All the teachers were very annoyed.
One day the headmaster went to see what was going on. It was there: Mulla Nasruddin was telling the class something -- he was the last-bencher -- and the whole class was laughing uproariously.
The headmaster cursed Mulla Nasruddin: "Let this be my curse: wherever your name is ever mentioned, people will start laughing just in listening to your name. And if somebody tells one story about you, at least seven stories will be told immediately -- somebody will tell another, and somebody else will tell another."
And this has continued; the curse has been working.
Once Mulla Nasruddin went to a meeting. Of course he was hoping that they would receive him, but the meeting had already started. The great Tamurlaine was sitting in a chair; he was the chairman. Nobody paid any attention to Mulla Nasruddin. He sat where people had put their shoes, but he started telling jokes. By and by, people turned. All the people turned towards Nasruddin, and they had their backs to Tamurlaine.
He became very angry and he said: "Nasruddin, stop all this!"
He said: "I cannot -- because wherever I am, I am the chairman. It makes no difference where I am sitting."
He may be telling stories about me in his Turkish bath. Naturally, it has to be so: I pay him so much respect; he has to pay respect to me.
OSHO : The Discipline of Transcendence, Volume 4, Chapter 8