Beyond Enlightenment 07

Seventh Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - Beyond Enlightenment by Osho.
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When I came to Greece to see you, everything reflected more and more of the zorba.
Now, being here in India, everything around you is reflecting more of the buddha.
Osho, does this depend on being in Greece or India?
Human history has been a tragedy. And the reason for it being a tragedy is not very complex. You do not have to go very far to find it out; it is in everybody.
The whole past of man has created a split in man; there is a constant civil war in every human being. If you do not feel at ease, the reason is not personal. Your disease is social. The strategy that has been used is to divide you into two enemy camps: the zorba and the buddha, the materialist and the spiritualist.
You are not divided in reality. In reality you are a harmonious whole. But in your mind the conditioning is that you are not one whole, one piece; you have to fight against your body. If you want to be a spiritual being, the body has to be conquered, defeated, destroyed, tortured in every possible way. This has been the accepted ideology all over the world. In different cultures, different religions, the formulations may be different, but the basic rule is the same: divide man, create a conflict in him so one part starts feeling higher, becomes holy, starts condemning the other part as the sinner.
And the trouble is that you are one, there is no way to divide you. Every division is going to create misery in you, every division will mean that half of your being is fighting with the other half. And if you are fighting within yourself, how can you be at ease? The whole of humanity up to now has lived in a schizophrenic way. Everyone has been cut into pieces, fragments. Your religions, your philosophies, your ideologies have not been healing processes; they have been root causes of inner conflict and war. You have been wounding yourself. Your right hand wounds the left hand, your left hand wounds the right hand; both your hands become wounded.
The West finally chose to go with the zorba. There was no other way to remain sane – one part had to be completely destroyed, ignored, forgotten. The West denied the inner reality of man, his consciousness – there is no soul, man is only body, and eat, drink and be merry is the only religion. This was simply a way to find some peace of mind, to get out of the conflict, to come to a decision and a conclusion, because this is accepting that you are one: just matter, just body.
The East has chosen the other way, but the basic problem is the same. The East has chosen that you are the soul, and the body is an illusion. Matter does not exist, the world is made of the same stuff as dreams are made of, so don’t be bothered about it. Renounce it, forget all about it; it is not worth taking note of.
On the surface it seems that East and West are doing different things, but essentially they are not doing different things. Essentially they are trying to find a rational way to be one, because to be two means a constant dis-ease, a conflict. It is better to drop the idea of the other.
The East says that the body is illusory, it is only an appearance, a shadow; it has no reality. The West says that consciousness is a byproduct – it does not exist in itself, it is an appearance. When the body dies nothing remains, the body is all, and the consciousness that you feel is just the combination of all the elements of the body.
For example, if you take all the parts of your car separately, or all the parts of your watch separately, do you think something like a soul will be released out of the watch? Who was running the watch? It was just because of the combination of the parts in a certain way that the watch was running, the car was running, that all machines are working; it is a byproduct. Put all the parts together again and the watch will start ticking. The soul has not gone anywhere, there has been no soul in the first place.
As far as I am concerned, I see that the fundamental reason is to somehow choose one and decide that the other is illusory, so that you can be at peace, so that there is no need to fight, torture, and be in constant fear of being defeated. Why have the East and the West chosen differently? That also has to be understood.
The Eastern mind, in search of a unitary being, tried to find out: what exactly is this inner consciousness that the Eastern mystics, saints and sages have been talking about, and calling the body illusory? To us the body seems to be real, and consciousness is just a word. But because all the saints in the East were insisting that this word consciousness is your reality, the East has tried to find out what this reality is before deciding in favor of the body. The natural tendency will be to decide in favor of the body, because the body is there, already appearing real – consciousness you have to search for, you have to go into an inner pilgrimage.
The East, because of people like Gautam Buddha and Mahavira, could not deny that these people were sincere. Their sincerity was so clear, their presence was so impressive, their words were so authoritative – it was impossible to deny. No argument was enough, because these people were their own argument, their own validity. And they were so peaceful and so joyful, so relaxed, so fearless. They had everything that every human being desires – and in a way they had nothing. Certainly they had found a source within themselves, a treasure. And you cannot just deny it without giving enough time to the search. Unless you find that there is no consciousness, you cannot deny it. We had people so fragrant… We could not see their roses, but the fragrance was so much that the East tried to look inside, and found that the soul is far more real. The body is just an appearance.
And just by the way, it will be significant to remind you that modern science has come to the conclusion that matter is illusory, that matter does not exist; it only appears. They have come to the conclusion from a very different route. By searching deeply, they have found that, as they reach deeper into matter, it is less and less substantial. And at a point after the atom, there is no matter at all: there are only electrons, which are particles of electricity – which is not matter but energy. Just a hundred years ago, Nietzsche declared, “God is dead,” not knowing at all that within a hundred years the whole of science would agree that perhaps God may be alive, but matter is dead.
The East has moved inward and found that the body, matter, is relatively non-substantial. The ultimate reality belongs to consciousness. In the West, development happened in a different way. And there are reasons why it happened in that way.
The East is ancient. At least ten thousand years of constant, consistent search for the inner reality of man – and all the genius of the East has been devoted to it. When the Upanishads were being written in the East, nearabout five thousand years ago, the West did not exist as a human society at all. In India we have Mohenjo Daro, Harrapur: cities that existed seven thousand years ago, with such refined development – they have streets as wide as those in Mumbai. They have bedrooms with attached bathrooms.
And you will be surprised at why I am saying this: because just a hundred years ago in America, there was a court case against bathrooms, which went up to the Supreme Court. The first man who made a bathroom attached to his bedroom… Christianity was against it because this is dirty – making your bathroom attached to your bedroom. This is un-Christian; cleanliness is next to godliness – and here is the bathroom next to the bedroom! Just a hundred years ago…and the Supreme Court had to decide that there is nothing unclean in it, and if somebody wants to have a bathroom attached to his bedroom it is nobody else’s business to interfere, and it has nothing to do with your religion. But the church was fighting.
In Harapur, seven thousand years ago, they had bathrooms attached to their bedrooms, they had bathtubs, and they had a very special arrangement for circulation of water in the city. Hot and cold water in your bathroom is not a new thing; it was available in Harapur, in Mohenjo Daro. They had swimming pools. It must have been a very highly cultured society.
At the time of Gautam Buddha, just twenty-five centuries ago, even then the West was not very evolved. And you can see it. We did not crucify Gautam Buddha, and the West crucified Jesus Christ five hundred years after Gautam Buddha.
And what Jesus was saying was nothing compared to Gautam Buddha. Gautam Buddha was saying that there is no God; still, nobody thought of crucifying him. Jesus Christ was not saying anything against Judaism; on the contrary, he was simply saying that he was their lost prophet. And he was repeating everything written in the Old Testament – he was not saying anything that was contradicting the old religion. And Gautam Buddha was contradicting everything in Hinduism: he said that the Vedas are idiotic, he said that there is no God, he said that all priests are the most cunning people in the world. And priests in India, the brahmins, are the highest caste. But nobody thought of crucifying him.
People challenged him for discussions, people discussed, and because they could not defeat him in argument… They could not defeat him. When they came in front of him, they were sincere enough to realize and recognize that he knew better, that their knowledge was only bookish, and his knowledge was authentic experience.
Western development is childish compared to Eastern development. It begins in Greece. But even a man like Socrates, who was neither denying God nor affirming God, who was simply saying, “I have not experienced, hence I cannot be untruthful. I cannot say whether God exists or not. And I would like everybody to be sincere about it. Unless you encounter, don’t say yes, don’t say no; remain agnostic, keep your conclusions suspended.” A very reasonable man, but he was poisoned. He has not denied your tradition, he has not denied your past, he has not denied anything – he simply argued for a more rational approach, a more logical approach. It is not a crime. And this is the reward that he gets: he is poisoned, society decides that he is a dangerous man. Those people who could have changed Western society toward inner reality are being crucified or poisoned. Naturally, the talented people became afraid even of talking about inner things, mysteries. They started talking only about objective things, matter, because matter cannot be denied. And there is no problem with going into a deep search into matter.
The crucifixion of Jesus and the death of Socrates closed the door for Western genius to move inward. Anybody who had any intelligence became aware that it is simply inviting your death; it is better to use your talents and genius in such a way that the society cannot condemn it. So the whole genius of Western humanity became a servant for creating more comforts for the body, more technology, more machines, more knowledge about matter – and everybody was happy. Even in these matters, if there was something that went against religion, immediately the church was there to stop it.
For example, when Galileo wrote that the sun does not go around the earth as it appears to, but that in actuality the earth goes around the sun, as it does not appear to, he was called by the pope to his court and told – and he was old, seventy-five years old, sick and almost on his deathbed – “You have to change your book because it goes against the Bible. In the Bible the statement is that the sun goes around the earth, and we are not ready to listen to any argument. Simply change it; otherwise death will be your punishment.”
Such an idiotic church, which is not even ready to listen to any argument, which only knows to dictate: “Do it or be ready to die.” Galileo must have had a great sense of humor. He said, “There is no need for you to take so much trouble to kill me. I am going to die anyway. As far as the book is concerned, I will change it, but I want you to remember that by my changing the book, neither is the earth going to change nor is the sun going to change. The earth will still go around the sun, because they don’t read my book and they don’t care what I write.” So he canceled the statement in his book. And in the footnote he wrote, “I am canceling the statement, knowing perfectly well that it makes no difference. The reality remains the same.”
When Copernicus found that the earth is not flat, as it is said in the Bible, but round, he was immediately in trouble. Now, these matters have nothing to do with religion. What has religion to do with whether the earth is round or flat? It can have any geometrical shape – religion does not have anything to do with it.
But Christianity, Mohammedanism, are very primitive religions. They don’t have the cultured, sophisticated attitude of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism. They don’t know how to argue, they only know how to fight. Their only argument is the sword: at the point of the sword, it is to be decided who is right.
It is the church – you will be surprised to know – that has prevented the West from going in the direction of inwardness. It forced Western humanity to go toward matter. The inner was the church’s absolute monopoly, and it decided everything about it. There was no need to search, there was no need to discover, there was no need to meditate. You were only supposed to believe in God. But if did something as far as matter is concerned, there would be no problem as long as it did not come in conflict with the Bible.
Copernicus said to the pope, “It is just a small thing, and I have every proof that the earth is round. It is my lifelong work, and it does not affect your religiousness.”
The pope said, “You don’t understand. The question is not whether it affects our religiousness or not; the question is that the Bible is God’s book, the holy book. If one statement in the Bible is proved wrong, that has great implications: first, that God can be wrong. We cannot accept that.”
They cannot even accept that the pope can be wrong, what to say about God? The pope is a faraway representative. Jesus represents God, and the pope represents Jesus – not directly, but through hundreds of popes who have died before him. He is connected through them to Jesus, and Jesus has a direct telephone line to God.
Just one statement against the Bible, if it is proved valid, makes God fallible. And it cannot be accepted – that’s one thing.
Secondly, if one statement is proved wrong, what is the guarantee about other statements? It creates suspicion. It destroys the very foundation of belief and faith. “So we cannot accept anything in the Bible as wrong, but you can do everything that does not go against the Bible.” Naturally only matter is left. You can do research in physics, in chemistry, in biology, in zoology, in geology. You can do all these things; you are free to do so.
The church has been like the Great China Wall, preventing people from going inward. It looks strange, but it is a fact: the Christian church has proved to be the greatest enemy of religion on the earth. Other religions have also proved to be enemies, but not that great. Genius was left to work only with matter. In the East, the genius had first preference for the inner journey. Only second-class, mediocre people would work for the outer, material things; real intelligence would always move into meditativeness.
Slowly, slowly, the distance became bigger. The West became materialist – and the whole responsibility goes to the Christian church – and the Eastern humanity became more and more spiritualist. The division, the split that was created in each man, became a split on a wider scale: as East and West.
One great poet has written, “East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” And this man, Lord Kipling, was very much interested in the East. He lived in India for years; he was in the government service. But seeing the difference: the whole Eastern consciousness moves inward and the Western consciousness moves outward – how could they meet?
My whole work is just to prove Lord Kipling wrong. I would like to say – neither West is West nor East is East, and the twain have already met.
What do you mean by east? In Mumbai, Calcutta is east; in Calcutta, Mumbai is west. This is nonsense; these words are relative words. You cannot say that a certain place is east and a certain place is west; they are all relative. For the people of Calcutta, Tokyo is east – and that’s what the Japanese think. They call their land “the land of sunrise” and they call their king “the only begotten son of the sun god.” The sun god is the real god, and Hirohito, the king of Japan, is his only son.
In fact, in the Second World War when the Japanese were defeated, they could not believe it. Thousands of soldiers committed suicide just out of shame – “How can it happen that God’s son should be defeated? Now there is no point in living, everything has gone wrong.” They believe that they are the real east.
Nobody is east and nobody is west. But the attitudes can be understood, and they are very prominent. And my whole approach is to bring a bridge into each individual, so that you are one whole. Don’t be against your body; it is your home. Don’t be against your consciousness, because without consciousness your house may be very decorated but it won’t have any master, it will be empty. Together they create a beauty, a fuller life.
Symbolically, I have chosen Zorba for the body and Buddha for the soul.
Your question is that when I was in Greece I was talking more about Zorba, and here in India the atmosphere seems to be closer to Buddha. Your observation is true.
In Greece I was talking about Zorba. Still they deported me. If I had been talking about Buddha, you would not have seen me again! I was talking about Zorba because that is the foundation. But I was making it clear that Zorba alone is only the foundation of the house, it is not the house itself.
In India I am talking about Buddha, but I have not forgotten Zorba. Each statement that I make – whether it is about Zorba or about Buddha – implies the other automatically, because to me they are inseparable. It is only a question of emphasis. To make the Greek mind understand, I emphasized Zorba.
The ambassador to America in Sri Lanka wrote me a letter saying, “Your followers around the world are making restaurants, discos, and calling them Zorba the Buddha. It is very insulting to Buddha. And if you do such a thing in a country like Sri Lanka, there can be violence. I advise you to drop this name.”
I told my secretary to write to him “In the first place, nobody has a monopoly on Zorba or on Buddha. Secondly, we are not concerned with Gautam the Buddha; buddha is not a personal name, it is a quality. It means the awakened one. Anyone who is awakened can be called the buddha. Gautam Buddha is only one of the millions of buddhas who have happened and who will happen. And you cannot prevent Zorba from becoming a buddha. In fact, you should help me to make zorbas into buddhas, because that is the only real revolution – that a materialist, a zorba, who knows nothing of higher consciousness, becomes a buddha.” He never replied.
Zorba has his own beauty. And the island in Greece where I was staying is the place where Kazantzakis, the novelist who created the novel Zorba the Greek… Zorba is a fictitious name; he is not a historical person. But the island where I was staying was the island where Kazantzakis was born.
And Kazantzakis is one of the best novelists of this century, and he suffered tremendously at the hands of the church. Finally, when he wrote Zorba the Greek, he was expelled from the church. By writing Zorba he was forced: “Withdraw your book Zorba; otherwise you will be expelled.” Because he did not withdraw the book, he was expelled from Christianity and condemned to hell.
Zorba is really Kazantzakis’ own individuality, which Christianity had repressed, which he could not live, which he wanted to live. He expressed that whole unlived part of his life in the name of Zorba. Zorba is a beautiful man – no fear of hell, no greed for heaven, living moment to moment, enjoying small things: food, drink, women. After the day’s work, he would take his musical instrument and dance on the beach for hours.
And the other part of Kazantzakis, which he lived in Zorba the Greek – Zorba is the servant – the other part is the master who employed Zorba as his servant. He is always sad and sitting in his office, doing his files, never laughing, never enjoying himself, never going out and always feeling deep down jealous of Zorba because he earns a little, not much, but he lives like an emperor, not thinking of tomorrow, of what will happen. He eats well, he drinks well, he sings well, he dances well. And his master, who is very rich, is just sitting there sad, tense, in anguish, in misery, suffering.
One day Zorba says to his master – which is Kazantzakis himself – “Master, there is only one thing wrong with you: you think too much. Come with me.” It was a full-moon night.
Kazantzakis objected: “No, no! What are you doing?”
But Zorba pulled him out to the beach and started dancing, playing his instrument. And he told Kazantzakis, “Try. Jump! If you cannot dance, do something.” And with Zorba’s energy and his vibe, Kazantzakis also started dancing. For the first time in his life he felt that he was alive. Zorba is the unlived part of every so-called religious person.
And when Zorba was published why was the church so much against it? It was just a novel; there was nothing for the church to be worried about. But it was so clear that it was about the unlived Christian in every Christian; this book could be a dangerous book. And it is a dangerous book.
But Zorba is tremendously beautiful. Kazantzakis sends him to purchase some things from the city, and he forgets all. He drinks and goes to the prostitutes and enjoys, and once in a while he remembers that it seems many days have passed but still, the money is with him. Unless all the money is finished, how can he return? The master will be very angry, but nothing can be done about it – it is his problem. And after three weeks he comes back, and he had gone only for three days, and he does not bring anything that he was sent for. And he comes with all the stories: “What a great journey it was, you should have been there. I met such beautiful bubalinas…and such good wine.”
And the master said, “But what about the things? For three weeks I have been sitting here boiling.”
He said, “When there are so many beautiful things available, who bothers about such small things? You can cut my salary every week, by and by, slowly, and take your money back. I am sorry I could not come earlier. And you should be happy that I have come – because the money was finished I had to come. But next time when I go, I will bring all the things.”
He said, “You will never go again. I will send somebody else.”
Zorba’s whole life is a life of simple, physical enjoyment, but without any anxiety, without any guilt, without any botheration about sin and virtue and…
I would like this man Zorba to be alive in everybody, because it is your natural inheritance. But you should not stop at Zorba. Zorba is only the beginning. Sooner or later, if you allow your zorba full expression, you are bound to find something better, higher, greater. It will not come out of thinking; it will come out of your experiences, because those small experiences will become boring.
Buddha himself had come to be a buddha because he had lived the life of a zorba. That thing has not been noticed by the East: that for twenty-nine years Buddha lived as no Zorba could ever live. Zorba was so poor in comparison.
Gautam Buddha’s father had arranged for all the beautiful girls to be picked from the whole kingdom for Buddha’s enjoyment. He made three beautiful palaces in three different places for different seasons. He had beautiful gardens and lakes. Buddha’s whole life was just luxury, pure luxury. But he got bored.
One of the most significant experiences that he comes across was when one night beautiful girls were dancing He was drinking, they were drinking, and then everybody fell asleep drunk. In the middle of the night he woke up and looked around, and he was shocked, and that shock was one of the turning points in his life. Some girl was snoring – she was a beautiful girl, but her mouth was open and snoring she looked so ugly; the saliva was coming out. Somebody’s nose was flowing. He said, “My God, this is what beauty is!” He was finished. Those girls were dispersed the next morning. “I don’t want any girls in my palaces. Enough is enough.”
In fact, it was too much. In twenty-nine years he lived almost the equivalent of four or five lives of an ordinary man. With all that luxury, he soon found himself tired and bored, and a question became very prominent in his mind: “Is this all? Then what am I going to live tomorrow for? Life must mean something more; otherwise, it is meaningless.” It was out of the zorba that the search for the buddha, started. Not everybody becomes a buddha; and the basic reason is that the zorba remains unlived.
Do you see my argument? My argument is: live Zorba fully, and you will naturally enter into the life of a buddha.
Kazantzakis has written Zorba the Greek. He’s dead. If he had been allowed to live longer… He was sick, he was very tense; he remained very miserable because he was always afraid of sin. And then when he was expelled from the Christian church – that means condemned to hell; only Christians can go to paradise – it was such a shock that he could not survive. He was really killed by the Christian church expelling him.
If he were alive, I would have told him: “Your book is half. You need to write another book, Zorba the Buddha. Then it will be a complete phenomenon. But you can write the other book only if you live your zorba. You have not even lived zorba; how can you live the buddha?”
Enjoy your body; enjoy your physical existence. There is no sin in it. Hidden behind it is your spiritual growing, is your spiritual blissfulness. When you are tired of physical pleasures, only then will you ask, “Is there something more?” And this question cannot be only intellectual, it has to be existential. “Is there something more?” And when the question is existential, you will find within yourself something more.
There is something much more. Zorba is only the beginning. Once the buddha, the awakened soul, takes possession of you, then you will know that pleasure was not even a shadow. There is so much bliss. This bliss is not against pleasure. In fact, it is pleasure, which has brought you to bliss. There is no fight between Zorba and Buddha. Zorba is the arrow – if you follow it rightly, you will reach the Buddha.
Certainly in Greece there is an atmosphere different from that in India. The Greek personality has remained materialistic. In India, the basic, essential atmosphere is that of the awakened soul. Whether you go on sleeping, it doesn’t matter, but the atmosphere around you is that of the sunrise. The birds are singing, the flowers are blossoming, and from everywhere the indication is for you to wake up.
I will go to Greece again because I have been enjoying all these deportations. And next time I have to talk about Buddha – because I have talked only about Zorba, and I never leave anything incomplete. And already, the minister of interior in Greece has invited me: “We will make arrangements, you come.”
I said, “I will come but, at least for three weeks, don’t deport me” – because no country seems to be able to have me for more than three weeks. A few countries are so stupid that they cannot even have me for thirty-six hours.
England proved to be the worst. They would not allow me six hours to sleep at the airport – not even entering England, but just the airport lounge. They wouldn’t allow me to sleep there for six hours.
I said, “What reasons have you got?”
And the airport officer said, “We have no reasons. This is the file, the information from the prime minister is that this man is dangerous and should not be allowed in.”
But I said, “I am not entering England, and from the lounge there is no way to enter into England. And you have checked me well – I am not carrying any bombs or anything. And sleeping six hours in the airport, what danger can I cause? Just think…”
He said, “Don’t put me in trouble, because tomorrow it is going to be in parliament and then I will be answerable – ‘Why did you allow him?’”
So I had to go to jail for six hours. They said, “The only place we can allow you to remain is in jail.”
And the next day in parliament the question was there, and I am always surprised that the question is asked and the same answer is given, that the man is very dangerous. But nobody in the parliament has the intelligence to ask, “What danger could he have been just sleeping in the lounge at the airport? He may be dangerous, but what danger could he have been?” Nobody in the parliament asked.
So I have informed the minister in Greece that I will go. I have to go. I was really thinking to stay longer, and I had fifteen more days on the visa to stay, but the archbishop of Greece threatened the government that if they didn’t deport me immediately then they were going to burn down the house where I was staying – burn me alive and all the people who were staying with me, – dynamite the house. And the government was threatened, and they thought, “Some problem may arise, it is better to send this man away immediately.”
I was asleep when I was arrested. You don’t arrest people when they are asleep. And they had no reason, because I had not gone out of the house for fifteen days. I said, “You have to show some reason why you are deporting me.”
They said, “We don’t have any reason, just orders from above.” And all the orders were based on the threat of the archbishop. It is the same archbishop who expelled Kazantzakis.
And these people are living almost out of date, out of time. They are not contemporaries. Because the day they deported me from the island, the people of the island, who had no idea about me, just rumors… But seeing the threat of the archbishop they all felt ashamed. And they asked me, “What can we do? We are poor people.”
I said, “All of you go to the airport to show the archbishop how many people are with him and how many people are with me – although I have been here for only fifteen days and they have been here for two thousand years.” And there were only six old women with the archbishop in the church, and three thousand people, the whole island, at the airport.
Still they don’t understand that they are no longer needed, that their time is finished. And they talk about loving your enemy and loving your neighbor, and God is love – and they threaten a man, who has not done anything, that they will burn him alive, with all his friends. At least twenty-five people were staying in that big mansion.
This shows that somehow the Western mind has not grown toward inwardness, toward love, toward non-violence. Their whole approach is materialistic. Two thousand years after Jesus was crucified, and this man is threatening me – Jesus Christ’s representative in Greece is threatening me – that he will burn me alive. Does he represent Jesus Christ or was he also one of the rabbis who crucified Jesus Christ?
The mind of the priest in the west has been a hindrance to Western growth toward meditation. But a strange time of revolution has come – at least for the new generation, because the new generation is not with these old priests and these old churches. And the new generation in the West is looking toward the East. That’s a great hope.
That is Zorba searching for Gautam Buddha.

Thoughts of death have been a frequent visitor during my disciplehood. How can a disciple die in a master's presence, especially when the master is physically distant?
Osho, is Mahakashyap the only answer?
The question is not whether or not you are in the presence of the master, but whether or not you are filled with love and trust for the master. Physical closeness means nothing. Only spiritual closeness is significant. Your love, your trust is enough. You can be on the moon and the master will be by your side – really, the master will be inside you – because as your love deepens, something of the master, his energies, start melting and merging with you. The fear of physical distance is the fear of lack of love and trust.
Mahakashyap alone is not the answer. Everybody has to be an answer unto himself. Mahakashyap remained with Buddha, and after Buddha’s death he died; he could not survive separately. But that is Mahakashyapa’s uniqueness. It is not the only answer.
I will tell you a few other stories around Buddha so you can understand:

Ananda lived with Buddha for forty-two years. Nobody else lived so long with Buddha, nobody was allowed to live so long with him. But there was a problem. Ananda was Buddha’s cousin-brother, and older than him, and the Eastern tradition… Before taking initiation – Ananda was the elder brother – he said to Gautam Buddha, “Siddharth” – Siddharth was his family name – “Listen, after initiation, whatever you say I will have to do. I will be your disciple; you will be my master. Right now I am your elder brother, you are my younger brother; whatever I say you have to do. Three things you have to remember – don’t forget them when I become a disciple.” It is a beautiful story.
Buddha said, “What are the three things?”
Ananda said, “First, I will always live with you; you cannot send me anywhere else to spread the message. Second, if I want anybody to meet you – even in the middle of the night – you cannot say no; that is my personal privilege. And thirdly, I will sleep in the same room where you sleep. Even in sleep, you cannot make me stay in a different place.” Buddha promised, and these three conditions were followed for forty-two years. But Ananda did not become enlightened. You can understand his pain and his anguish – people who had come long after him became enlightened, and he remained in his ignorance just the same as before. The day Buddha died he said, “What will happen to me? I could not become enlightened even though I was with you for forty-two years, day in, day out, twenty-four hours a day. Without you, I don’t see any hope.”
Buddha said, “You don’t understand the dynamics of life. Perhaps you will become enlightened only when I am gone; I am the barrier. You take me for granted. “The day you asked those three conditions, I thought that those conditions were going to be a barrier for you. You cannot forget that you are my elder brother, even now. You cannot forget that you have a certain privilege over others. You cannot forget that I have agreed on three conditions only for you, for nobody else. Perhaps my death will help.”
Buddha died. And after twenty-four hours, there was a great meeting of all the enlightened disciples to write down whatever Buddha had said in those forty-two years. But the problem was that nobody had been with him continuously for forty-two years except Ananda – but he could not be allowed in the meeting because he was not enlightened. An ignorant man, unenlightened – you cannot rely on what he is saying, whether he heard it or imagined it, whether he has forgotten something, whether he has put his own interpretation on it. It was difficult.
And the scene was really tragic. The conference was inside a hall and Ananda was sitting outside on the steps crying. Because he had lived with Buddha for forty-two years, he knew more than anybody else. He remembered each single moment, but he was unenlightened. Crying, sitting there outside the hall, something transpired. He had not cried his whole life. With those tears, his ego disappeared; he became like a child. They opened the door to see whether Ananda was still sitting outside – because they had told him, “Sit outside. If we need some confirmation from you, we will ask you, but you cannot enter the conference.”
They saw a transformed being. The old Ananda, the old egoist had gone. An innocent being with tears of joy…and they all could see the light surrounding him.
They invited him, “Come in. Now there is no need for us to be worried. But it is strange. You could not become enlightened for forty-two years, and just after twenty-four hours you have attained that state” – and this situation had been continually emphasized by Gautam Buddha.
Ananda said, “It was my fault. His death became the death of my ego too.”

All the scriptures that are in existence were related by Ananda. There were other enlightened disciples who did not die with Gautam Buddha. It was asked – when Mahakashyap died, it became a very significant question, it was asked of other enlightened disciples – “If Mahakashyap has died, how are you living?”
One of the disciples, Moggalayan, said, “I have to live now for my master’s message. I am not living anymore – I died with him; now he is living in me. That was one way, the way of Mahakashyap – to dissolve into Gautam Buddha. This is another way. I have also dissolved, but dying is not going to help anybody. And there are so many blind people in the world who need eyes, there are so many people in darkness who need light. I will live. I will live as long as it is possible; I will live for Buddha.”
So it is not a question of one person being decisive. Each person has to be unique in his own way. Somebody dies for the master, somebody lives for the master, and you cannot say who is greater – perhaps no comparison is right. Both are themselves.
Just remember one thing: your love. Then wherever you are, space and the distance in space do not matter. And at a certain depth, even time does not matter.
And when both time and space are immaterial, then you have really touched the feet of the master. Then whatsoever transpires in you – to live for the message or to die, whatever comes naturally and spontaneously – let it happen.

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