From Personality to Individuality 27

TwentySeventh Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - From Personality to Individuality by Osho.
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It seems that you were going to talk about the American Constitution's idea of the pursuit of happiness as a birthright, but you forgot about it. Please can you take it up again?
It reminds me of a story…

Three old men were sitting in a park. One was seventy-five, the second was eighty, and the third was eighty-five. The youngest one said, “It seems I am getting old, because now to me the greatest pleasure is a good motion in the morning.” He said, “I can say it is better than sexual orgasm.”
The oldest one laughed and said, “Your idea of orgasm will shock and surprise even people like Wilhelm Reich, Sigmund Freud and Havelock Ellis. My son, you are not getting old, you are simply getting original.”
But the second man was silent and serious, thinking about something. He said, “Perhaps he is right. I also feel as if I’m getting older. For three nights continually I have not made love to my wife.”
The youngest of the three was really shocked. He said “What! For three days you have not made love to your wife?”
But the oldest laughed loudly and said, “Don’t take him seriously – you don’t know what he means by love. It is just like your orgasm. Before he goes to sleep he presses his wife’s hand. That is his love. I have told him, ‘Don’t make much ado about nothing; it is not love. Even if you have not made it for three days there is no harm.’”
And he said, “But you two talking about getting old makes me think that I am getting older – and certainly, I am eighty-five. This morning when I was just starting to make love to my wife, she said ‘What! What are you going to do?’ And I said, ‘Is it something that has to be explained to you? I was just going to make love.’ And my wife said, ‘You have made that nasty thing twice in the night.’ But I had completely forgotten! It seems I am getting older.”

Your question reminded me of that story, and the story reminds me about the poor rabbi in England. I feel sorry for him but I also feel jealous: I would have loved to be in his place and expelled. That expulsion from being a rabbi is such an excitement. But nobody can expel me – I don’t belong to any establishment. I don’t belong to my own religion, so nobody can expel me. That’s one joy I am going to miss.
But I should not forget the question. In fact it is not forgetfulness, I simply drift away. I am not getting older, I will never get older. Yes, I will go on growing up, but growing up is not being old. To the very last breath I will remain as fresh and young as I have always been. But drifting is a totally different phenomenon.
With each statement I am standing at a crossroads: I can move in any direction from the statement, and I don’t have any idea to which road I am going to be attracted. I leave it completely to existence to take me wherever it wants. And again on each step is a crossroad. The people who are orators and speakers have decided their route. They know what they are going to talk about, where they are going to begin, what is going to be the middle, where they are going to end, and what is their purpose.
In the first place I have no purpose: I am not utilitarian. I simply enjoy sharing myself and my experiences with you, without any purpose. You will not find another man on earth as busy without business as I am. There is no business, but I have been busy my whole life. I enjoy it, hence I have no particular direction predetermined, mentally decided – so the question of forgetting does not arise at all. Yes, you are not aware of those crossroads that I am continuously coming upon. If I have to choose, you will not see that anything is missed. But it would be something artificial: I don’t decide, I simply go on with the current, wherever it leads.
To move into the unknown is a tremendous joy. Here I go again! – I have to come back to the question. Let us first finish it. Yes, I was going to talk about this stupid idea in the American Constitution that man has a birthright for the pursuit of happiness. I call it stupid because nobody can be in pursuit of happiness. And if you are in pursuit of happiness one thing is certain: you are not going to get it.
Happiness is always a by-product, not a direct pursuit. It happens when you are not even thinking of it – what to say of pursuit? It happens suddenly, out of nowhere. You were doing something totally different; you may be chopping wood. Certainly chopping wood is not the pursuit of happiness – but in the early morning sun, when it is still cool, the noise of your ax falling on the wood, pieces of wood being thrown all around, making a noise and then leaving a silence behind… You start perspiring, and the cool breeze makes you feel even cooler than before. Suddenly there is happiness, a joy uncontainable. But you were simply chopping wood. Chopping wood has not to be mentioned as a birthright in the constitution, because then, how many things are you going to include?
I cannot forget one day… There are a few things which make no logical sense and have no relevance but somehow remain hanging in your memory. You cannot understand why they are there, because millions of far more important, far more significant things have happened and they have all disappeared. You cannot find any reason why, but a few insignificant things have remained, have left a trace behind.
I remember one such thing: I was coming home from school – my school was almost one mile away from home. Just halfway there was a huge bo tree. I had passed that bo tree every day at least four times: going to school, then in the middle of the day coming home for lunch, then going to school again, then coming back home. I had passed that tree so many thousands of times, but that day something happened.
It was a hot day and as I came close to the tree, I was perspiring. I passed under the tree, and it was so cool that without having any deliberate thought I stopped for a while, not knowing why. I simply went close to the tree trunk, sat there and felt the tree trunk. I cannot explain what happened but I felt so immensely happy, as if something was transpiring between me and the tree. Just the coolness could not be the cause, because many times when I had been perspiring, I had passed through the coolness of the tree. I had also stopped before, but never before had I gone and touched the tree and sat there as if meeting an old friend.
That moment has remained shining like a star. So much has happened in my life, but I don’t see that moment diminishing in any way: it is still there. Whenever I look backward it is still there. Neither that day was I clearly aware what had happened nor can I say today – but something had happened. And from that day there was a certain relatedness with the tree which I had not felt before, even with a human being. I became more intimate with that tree than with anybody else in the whole world. It became a routine thing to me: whenever I passed the tree, I would sit for a few seconds or a few minutes and just feel the tree. I can still see – something went on growing between us.
The day I left school and moved to another city to join the university, I took leave of my father, of my mother, of my uncles and my whole family. I was not the type who easily cries or weeps. Even when I was punished badly, the blood might be oozing from my hands, but tears would not come to my eyes.
My father used to say, “Do you have tears in your eyes or not?”
I said, “You can make my hands bleed but you cannot force me to cry and weep. And why should I? Whatsoever you are doing is absolutely right. I have done something, knowing well that this was going to be the consequence. I never lie, so there is no way to escape the punishment. What is the point of tears?”
But when I went to the tree to say good-bye, I started crying. That is the only time that I remember in my whole life, otherwise tears were absolutely unknown to me. In my childhood one of my sisters, whom I had loved more than any other of my brothers and sisters, died. In India you have brothers and sisters by the dozen. I used to tease my father, “How did you miss making the dozen whole? You have only eleven children. You should be a little mathematical, just one more child.”
And he said, “You are my son but you even try to joke with me.”
I said, “I am not joking; I am simply saying that it is so easy to tell somebody ‘one dozen’ – and that is exactly what I have been doing. If anybody asks me how many children you have, I say, ‘One dozen.’ It is simpler. You have made it unnecessarily complicated: eleven! Either you should have stopped at ten – that seems to be complete – or twelve, which is complete. But eleven? What kind of number is that?”
Out of these ten sisters and brothers, I most loved one of my sisters who died when I was very young. I must have been five years old and she must have been three years old. But even then I had not cried. I was surprised and shocked. Everybody was crying and they all thought that I was in shock because I loved my sister the most. In my whole family everybody knew it, that I loved her the most, and she loved me the most. They thought perhaps it was just because of the shock that tears were not coming, but that was not the case.
When my maternal grandfather died I did not weep – and he had brought me up. He was almost closer to me than my father because during the earliest seven years of my life, which are the very vulnerable times, he was close to me. He died in my lap. My grandmother was just losing all control: weeping, uttering words and sentences unrelated to each other. They had lived their whole lives together and they had only one child, my mother. Once she was married they had lived alone and shared each other’s aloneness. My grandmother must have been feeling really lost: her whole world was my grandfather. And to me he was not just a maternal grandfather.
It is very difficult for me to define what he was to me. He used to call me Raja – raja means the king – and for those seven years he managed to have me live like a king. On my birthday he used to bring an elephant from a nearby town. In those days in India, elephants were kept either by kings – because the maintenance, the food and the service that the elephant requires is very costly – or by saints. Two types of people used to have them. The saints could have elephants because they had so many followers. Just as the followers looked after the saint, they looked after the elephant. Nearby there was a saint who had an elephant, so for my birthday my maternal grandfather used to bring the elephant. He would put me on the elephant with two bags, one on either side, full of silver coins.
At that time the rupee was pure silver – notes had not arrived in India. Notes are not something new: in China they have existed for three thousand years. China in many ways has been far ahead of the rest of the world. Marco Polo, when he came back from China, brought printed notes, printed currency. Still he was not believed. He was called to the pope and told, “Don’t try to create fictions and stupid stories. Who can believe that a piece of paper can be used as money?”
The pope tossed a gold coin; it fell on the floor with a great sound, and he said, “This is money.” He burned the note saying, “It is all your fiction.”
In my childhood, in India, notes had not appeared: pure silver was still used for the rupee. My grandfather would fill two big bags with silver coins, hanging on either side, and I would go around the village throwing the silver coins. That’s how he used to celebrate my birthday. Once I started, he would come in his bullock cart behind me with more rupees, and he would go on telling me, “Don’t be miserly – I am keeping enough. You cannot throw more than I have. Go on throwing!”
Naturally, the whole village followed the elephant. It was not a big village either, not more than two or three hundred people in the whole village, so I would go around the village, the only street in the village. He managed in every possible way to give me the idea that I belonged to some royal family.
He loved me so much that it was impossible for me to fall sick. Now, you have no power over sickness but you can manage not to say anything about it. He would get in such a panic: if I had just a slight headache, he would get in such a panic that he would take his horse and ride to the closest doctor and bring the doctor back. It was so much trouble, more than the headache, so I would simply remain silent, not saying anything about it. Even when he died in my lap there were no tears. Even I suspected that perhaps I didn’t have tear glands.
But on that day, taking leave of the bo tree, I wept for the first and the last time. It remains a much-lighted spot. And when I was crying I had an absolute certainty that there were tears in the eyes of the tree too, although I could not see the eyes, and I could not see the tears. But when I touched the tree I could feel the sadness, and I could feel a blessing, a good-bye. And it was certainly my last meeting because when I came back after one year, for a stupid reason the tree had been cut down and removed.
The stupid reason was that they were making a small memorial pillar, and that was the most beautiful spot in the middle of the city. It was for an idiot who was rich enough to win all the elections and become the president of the municipal committee. He had been president for at least thirty-five years – the longest anybody had been president in the town. Everybody was happy with his presidency because he was such an idiot: you could do anything and he was not going to create any interference.
You could make your house just in the middle of the street and he would not bother, you just had to vote for him. So the whole town was happy with him because everybody had such freedom. The municipal committee, the members, the clerks and the head clerks were all happy with him. Everybody wanted him to remain eternally president; but even idiots have to die, fortunately. But his death was unfortunate because they looked for a place to make a memorial for him, and they destroyed the bo tree. Now his marble stone stands there instead of a living bo tree.
I do not forget things, but there are so many things to be said and language is one-dimensional. It is linear – you can go only in one line – and experience is multidimensional, it moves in thousands of lines. The problem for so-called orators is what they should say. My problem is what not to say, because there is so much waiting to be said, knocking from all sides and asking, “Let me in.” So I drift away – but don’t be shy in reminding me.
The pursuit of happiness is an impossible thing. If you look at your own experience and find moments when you were happy – which are bound to be very rare: perhaps in a life of seventy years you may have seven moments which you can claim as moments of happiness. But if you had even a single moment of happiness, one thing is certain without any exception: it had happened when you were not looking for it.
Try to look for happiness, and be certain you will miss it. I disagree with Jesus Christ on many points, even on points which look very innocent. It looks as if I am very unkind. Jesus says: “Seek and ye shall find. Ask and it shall be given to you. Knock and the doors shall be opened unto you.” I cannot agree.
The fools who wrote the American Constitution were certainly influenced by Jesus Christ. Of course, they were all Christians. When they said “the pursuit of happiness,” they must have consciously or unconsciously had in mind the statement of Jesus: “Seek and ye shall find.” But I say to you: seek, and be certain you shall never find it. Seek not and it is there. Just stop seeking, and you have found it – because seeking means an effort of the mind, and non-seeking means a state of relaxation. Happiness is possible only when you are relaxed.
A seeker is not relaxed. How can he be relaxed? He cannot afford relaxation. You will be surprised if you look around the world: you will find people in very poor countries more contented. Yes, even in Ethiopia where they are dying of starvation, you will find people who are dying but there is no suffering or anguish. You will find the greatest number of unhappy people in America. This is strange: here, the pursuit of happiness is your birthright. It is not mentioned in any other constitution of the world.
Here I go again… Just now I remembered that the other day I was talking to you about my professor of history. Ask any question and he would answer. But I started looking… Certainly he was a bookworm. I had known the word but I met the person for the first time. I told him, “I was wondering what kind of a person a bookworm is, but you solved my problem: you are a bookworm. But I don’t like to be defeated in anything.”
He said, “What do you mean?”
I said, “I will find out from where you are gathering all this knowledge.”
He laughed because he thought it was impossible. But I started looking at every book in their history department library. I looked in the town hall library, which was very old and the biggest in the whole state. Finally I found a small book, Little-Known Facts about Well-Known People. That was the book that had all the information, such as “What age was Socrates when he got married?” It was a collection of little-known facts about well-known people. So I said “Okay.”
The next day I went to his class and I just gave him the book. He looked at me, called me close and said, “Meet me after the class, and keep this book in your bag. Don’t wave it about and don’t let anybody see it. First meet me, then do whatever you want to do.”
After the class he said, “You are a strange fellow! This is the book on which I have managed my whole scholarship. Where did you get it? I stole it from the department of history so nobody could find it, and it is no longer available in the market – it is an old book. Where did you find it?”
I said, “That’s not the problem. I was going to find it even if it took my whole life. If you are a bookworm, I am a bigger bookworm. Now, remember never to answer anything from this book, otherwise I am going to open the secret to the whole university.”
He said, “I will not do anything – just keep this secret to yourself. And whatever favor you want from me I am willing to do. You are welcome to my class, I will never prevent you. Or if there is anything else you want… But just don’t bring this book with you.”
I said, “I will not bring it. But this is a very poor kind of scholarship. You have been living on this small book, it has all your wisdom. And you have stolen the book from your own department” – which was not difficult: it was his own department and was his own library so there was no problem for him to take it away.
“But do you think there are not libraries in the world somewhere or other which have this book? I could not believe that you had any way to find all these meaningless details: there must be some collection. I didn’t think that they had been collected from thousands of books, because even in the biggest history books you cannot find at what age Socrates was married. It is not a historical thing; in no way does it have any historical importance. I saw that book because I had stolen it from the town hall library.”
I told him, “The town hall library continues to write me letters, saying, ‘Please return the book.’ I go on telling them that whatever its price, I am ready to give it to them. They say, ‘It is a rare book – there is no question of price.’ But I told them, ‘When something is lost, whether it is rare or not rare, what can you do? I will try to find it. If I can find it somewhere I will give it to you. If I cannot, I am ready to give you the price of the book and any fine for losing it. What else can I do?’”
Because Rajneeshpuram is a unique city, an illegal city, a library cannot be made here. The city does not exist at all, so from whom to get the permission in a city which does not exist? There are one hundred and fifty thousand books lying in the warehouses here, rare books. But strange are the ways of politicians. Just a few days ago I heard the federal government of America wrote a letter saying that the city had been given federal funds, but now it has been informed by the state of Oregon that the city does not exist, “So please return the federal funds.”
I inquired to Sheela how much federal funds had been given. Two hundred and fifty dollars! Great America! I told her to write to them that we never asked for any funds. If the city does not exist, who is going to return the funds? And to whom are you addressing the letter? And in the first place who informed you that it is a city? The state must have informed you that this city is incorporated, which is why you started giving the funds. Now the same state informs you that the city does not exist. Ask for money from the state, and ask them, “What happened to the city? Once upon a time it used to exist – and with the city, great federal funds, two hundred and fifty dollars, have disappeared!”
This is just the opinion of the attorney general of Oregon, that the city is illegal – just the opinion of a single individual which is under consideration in the court. Until the court decides whether his opinion is right or wrong, everything should remain as it was till the litigation is over. And it is not going to be over: we will fight it till the very end of civilization. Only twenty years are left. It is not a problem to fight a case for twenty years, it is so easy. Until it is decided and there is no further way to appeal, it is a city. No single individual has the right, just by his opinion, to make it illegal, or to make it disappear.
But the attorney general is spreading his opinion that the city does not exist to other agencies, federal and state. He was pressuring the police department saying, “Cut Rajneeshpuram’s police off from the state police. The city does not exist, so what is the need for a police force there?”They informed us: “What to do?”
It is only his opinion. Unless the court decides that it is not constituted, not incorporated legally… It has been incorporated legally by the court; it has remained for two years a legal city. The government has been giving it funds for two years, and the same attorney general was there for two years. It took him two years to decide whether the city is legal or illegal? And he allowed his own government to give funds; he allowed the federal government to give funds. He allowed the police force to make our police force part of it.
Now, just because he wants to become the next governor, he wants all the Oregonian voters in his favor. My sannyasins are doing a great deal of good to many people! Now this is the only fact about Oregon which is decisive: if anybody is in favor of us, he is going to lose the election. And the whole of Oregon is for anybody who is against us and doing anything legal, illegal, moral, immoral, to harm us.
Now this man has nothing against us. He has not even the guts to come here and see whether the city exists or not. We have invited him. He should come and see with his own eyes. He has not the guts. He has not even the guts to appear on the same television program with Sheela. Such cowards!
But that’s how the political mind works. The attorney general is making arrangements for the election for governor, which is coming in one and a half years. At least for one and a half years he is going to be continuously harassing the city, saying, “You are not legal” – although it does not make any difference. Who wants to be legal? Only illegal people want to be legal. Only criminals try to be legal, constitutional. When you are not a criminal you don’t think of the law at all: only criminals think of law. I have never thought in my whole life what it is to be legal because I was never doing any illegal thing.
The attorney general knows perfectly well that he will be defeated in the case, but all he wants is for it to be postponed, prolonged till the governorship election happens. He knows that then he will withdraw the case. He should not be allowed to withdraw it so easily. But that’s the politician’s mind: just to go on prolonging, postponing, and that’s what he is doing. The date goes on being postponed; he has to go on postponing it.
It makes no difference. In fact, it is perfectly good if it is postponed for twenty years. When everything is finished, we will be the only people left around. Then we can make a sane constitution for the first time. This American Constitution is absolutely insane: “pursuit of happiness”? Nobody has ever succeeded in it, and those who have tried have become very unhappy and miserable in their lives.
When I was a student at my university, I used to go on a particular street which was very silent, with no traffic, because it was a dead end after just one and a half miles. There were several beautiful bungalows for professors but they were few and far between. It was a silent place with huge trees on both sides.
I used to go down that street only when it was raining, because even when the rain stopped, it continued to rain on both sides because of those huge trees: water went on dripping from their leaves. So, one could be certain that if it were raining, it was not going to stop just because it stopped raining in the middle. You could always depend on the trees. I very much loved to go there while it was raining.
The last bungalow was the bungalow of the professor of physics. His wife, his daughter, and his son had become accustomed to me: whenever it rains this strange fellow comes without an umbrella – and for no reason, because there was a dead end, and from there I had to go back. So whenever it was raining, they were all waiting on their verandah, thinking that I was bound to appear. And unfailingly I used to appear.
They were saying to the professor of physics, “A strange student with long hair, a beard and wearing wooden sandals which we can hear from half a mile away, comes for no reason at all, and only when it rains. Otherwise he never comes down this road. He comes to the very end and stands there. We don’t know what he does there – and then he goes back.”
The professor said, “Are you certain he uses wooden sandals?” They said yes.
Then he said, “I know him, because there is only one student who uses wooden sandals, so I will find him.”
He inquired of my professor, the head of my department, “What type of person is this young man?”
My professor said, “Certainly he is a type, a strange type. We have not been able yet to categorize him – but he is not normal.”
The professor of physics, Professor Shrivastava, was a professor here, in America. When I was in Pune somebody coming from America had brought the news that he met Professor Shrivastava in Harvard where he was teaching. He said he sent his regards to me and that he remembered me, and remembered me coming to his house when it was raining. He told the whole story to the American who became a sannyasin.
Hearing that I am abnormal, Professor Shrivastava said, “Abnormal?”
My professor said, “Not below normal, above normal. That is his definition: he counts all these people as abnormal: Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tzu, Confucius. And we cannot argue with him. But he belongs to the same type of people.”
Professor Shrivastava became even more interested. He wanted me to be introduced to him. My professor, Professor Saxena, said, “Why are you getting into unnecessary trouble? Everybody here is trying to have him somehow pass the university courses so that he goes somewhere else.”
But Shrivastava said, “I am interested, my wife is interested, my children are interested. They all want to see him and meet him.”
So I was introduced to him and we became very friendly. He was an old man, but he loved the idea when I explained to him: “It is such a joy to be just under the sky when the whole sky becomes a shower on you. I feel so happy that it is indescribable.”
He became so influenced that he said, “Then one day I am also going to come with you. Are you really sure that you feel happiness?”
I said, “I am absolutely sure. There is no question about it; otherwise, why should I bother, every time it rains, to come down your street?”
He said very confidentially, leaning close to my ear, “I am also interested in happiness.”
I said, “Then it is a little difficult. You can come with me but I cannot assure you or guarantee you anything. Happiness happens to me but I am not in search of it: that is such a great difference. You will be continually looking around thinking, ‘It has not come yet. Where is it? When is it going to come?’ You have to forget the whole idea of happiness.”
Professor Shrivastava said, “This is a strange condition. I am coming only to have some experience of happiness, and you make a strange condition from the very beginning. This is tricky – that I have to forget the whole idea of happiness.”
“But,” I said, “that’s how it works.”
He said, “Okay, I will try.”
I said, “No, trying is not the thing; you have simply to forget about it.”
He said, “Okay, I will forget about it.”
He came with me. I looked again and again at his face. He was feeling really miserable – and more miserable than ever because all the professors, their wives, and their children, were looking from the windows: “This young man has got hold of that old fool also. Why is he walking in the rain? He may get sick, pneumonia, double pneumonia, or something. That young man can manage, he is healthy enough, but why this old fool?”
When we reached the end, hearing my sandals, his family came running out to see. And when they saw, when his wife saw that her husband was also standing with me at the end of the road, which faces a very deep abyss, they could not believe their eyes. What had happened? Had I convinced him to look for something there in the valley, or what? They all came out. Of course they had their umbrellas and raincoats. They all came over and asked, “Daddy, what are you looking for?”
Professor Shrivastava said, “Don’t say anything. It has not happened up to now, and if you mention it, he will say, ‘The condition is broken.’”
I said, “It is already broken. I have been watching you all the way: you were miserable, more than you have ever been, and you are a miserable person – I have seen you.”
Professors are miserable types. It suits their profession. It makes them look serious, sober, very deep in their thinking. Professionally, it is helpful.
I said, “I watched the whole way: you were so miserable.”
He said, “I was trying hard not to remember happiness, but what to do? The idea went on coming. That made me more miserable, the thought that I was going to lose it because the condition was not fulfilled.”
I said, “Not only have you lost it, you disturbed my happiness because even to keep company with the wrong person is not good. The proverb is right: you are known by your company. For the first time happiness has not descended on me – because of you.”
He said to his wife, “Listen! Instead of me complaining to him, he is complaining to me that his happiness has been missed.”
His wife said, “Whatsoever it is, you both come inside and have a cup of tea. He has come for the first time and we always wanted to invite him, but we thought we didn’t know who he was, what type of man – mad or sane. But he is not mad, that is certain.”
Professor Shrivastava said, “He is mad, and he made a fool of me because tomorrow the whole university will be asking, ‘What were you doing walking in the rain? – you had your car.’”
I had told him, “Leave your car at the department so when we come back we can take your car home. By sitting inside the car, happiness is not going to happen – it only comes with the rain.”
The next day the whole university was talking about Professor Shrivastava. I told him, “The best is that you say it happened, otherwise they will think you are a fool.”
He said, “That’s a good idea.” And he spread the idea: “What he says is absolutely right – it works.” He told me, “A few other professors are getting ready, so what to do now? You are creating trouble for me. Your professor was right, it would have been better not to be introduced to you. First you made a fool of me, then you told me to say that it happened. And I saw the logic of it, that if I said it didn’t happen others would say, ‘You are a fool. If happiness happens with the rain, anybody can get it.’ So I thought it is better to say, ‘Yes, it happened, and if you want to check, you can come.’ Many are ready.”
I said, “Let them be ready. It is going to work in the same way. Let all of them come!”
He said, “They will kill me.”
I said, “Don’t be worried: the whole responsibility is on me. I will convince them too that it happens.”
And that’s what happened. Six professors stood before the abyss, and they told Professor Shrivastava, “To us it has not happened.”
Professor Shrivastava said, “To me also it has not happened. It happens only to him, because the first condition is unfulfillable: don’t ask for it, don’t seek it. But if you don’t ask, if you don’t seek, why in the first place should you bother to walk in the mud and the rain and get sick? For what? But just as I told you that it happened, you also have to say it happened, otherwise you will be thought a fool.”
Those six looked at each other and they said, “We are caught in this mess. This is going to be troublesome because if we say that it happened then other people… Your master teaching you the art of happiness is going to turn the whole university to walking in the rain!”
This is the trouble. Happiness happens. Perhaps that’s why you call it happiness because it happens. You cannot manage it, you cannot manufacture it, you cannot arrange it. Happiness is something which is beyond your effort, beyond you. But in just digging a hole in your garden, if you are totally absorbed in it – if the whole world is forgotten, including you – it is there. Happiness is always with you.
It has nothing to do with rain, it has nothing to do with chopping wood, it has nothing to do with digging a hole in the garden: happiness has nothing to do with anything. It is just the non-expecting, relaxed, at-ease state of your being with existence. And it is there: it does not come and go. It is always there, just like your breathing, your heartbeat, the blood circulating in your body.
Happiness is always there, but if you seek it you will find unhappiness, because by seeking you will miss happiness. That’s what unhappiness is: missing happiness. So, unhappiness has a certain relationship with pursuit, a partnership. If you pursue, you will find unhappiness. And the American Constitution has given the idea to all the American people: pursue.
They are pursuing desperately – in money, in power, in religion – and they are running all over the world looking for somebody to teach them how to find happiness. The real thing is to just come back home, forget all about it. Do something else which has nothing to do with happiness. Paint. You need not learn painting. Can’t you throw color on a canvas? Any child can do it. Just throw colors on a canvas and you may be surprised: you are not a painter, but something beautiful happens. Just the colors themselves have become mixed in a certain way and have created something. You cannot name it.
Modern paintings are without titles, and the ultra-modern paintings are without frames because existence has no frame. You look from your window, you see the sky, framed, but the frame is in your window, not in the sky: the sky has no frame. So there are ultra-modern painters who don’t paint on a canvas; they paint on the walls of houses, on the floors, on the ceiling. Strange places – people have never done that before, but I can see their insight.
They are not interested in making a painting; they are more interested in getting involved in the very act of painting. It is not for sale. How can you sell your ceiling? And who is going to buy it? But while they are so absorbed, from some unknown corner something starts slipping into their being. They start feeling joyous for no reason at all.
That’s why I condemn the word pursuit. These people who made the American Constitution are big shots, perhaps it was Jefferson – but about anybody who wrote this word pursuit, I can say without knowing his name, without knowing anything about him, that he must have been an utterly miserable man. He had never known happiness. He had been pursuing it; hence he tried to give to every American the same birthright that he has claimed. And nobody has criticized it in three hundred years; nobody criticized a simple thing.
A poet, a painter, a singer, a dancer, yes, once in a while attain to happiness. But one thing is always there: whenever happiness comes they are not there. The pursuer is not there, the pursuit is not there.
Nijinsky, one of the most significant dancers of our world, of the whole of history – as far as I am concerned, I consider him the best dancer that humanity has produced. He was a miracle when he used to dance. Once in a while he would take such a big leap that it was against gravitation: it was not possible, scientifically it was impossible. That huge, high leap was absolutely impossible: gravitation wouldn’t allow it. Even the people who compete in Olympic long jumps are nothing compared to Nijinsky when he used to jump.
Even more miraculous was his coming back: he came back like a feather – slowly. That was even more against gravitation, because gravitation would pull the weight of a human body suddenly, quickly. You would fall with a thump, you might get a few fractures.
But he used to come down just the way a dead leaf falls from the tree: coming slowly, lazily, in no hurry, because there is nowhere to reach. Or even better, featherlike, because a leaf comes a little faster. The feather of a bird is light-weight, very light-weight, it comes dancing. In the same way Nijinsky used to come back down. And there was not even a sound when he came back to the platform on which he was dancing.
He was asked again and again, “How do you do it?”
He said, “I don’t do it. I have tried to do it, but whenever I have tried, it has not happened. The more I have tried, the more it was clear to me that it is not something which I can manage. Slowly, slowly I became aware that it happens when I don’t try, when I am not even thinking of it. When I am not even there, suddenly I find it is there, it is happening. By the time I am back to figure out how it happened, it is no longer there, already gone, and I am back on the floor.”
Now, this man knows happiness cannot be pursued. If Nijinsky was also on the board making the constitution of America, he would have objected and said that pursuit is absolutely the wrong word. Simply, happiness is everybody’s birthright, not its pursuit. It is not like a hunter pursuing game: then you would run for your whole life, chasing shadows, never arriving anywhere. Your whole life would go in sheer wastage.
But the American mind has got the idea, so they are pursuing in every sphere: politics, business, religion. The Americans are always on the go, and going fast, because when you are going, then why not go fast? And don’t ask where you are going – because nobody knows. One thing is certain: they are going with full speed, with all the speed that they can maintain, all that they can manage. What more is needed? You are going, you are going with full speed: you are fulfilling your birthright.
So Americans are rushing from one woman to another woman, to another woman, to another woman; from one man, to another man, to another man; from one business to another business, from one job to another job – in the pursuit of happiness. And strangely, it always looks as if it is there and somebody else is enjoying it, so you start pursuing it. When you reach there it is not there.
The grass beyond your fence is always greener, but don’t jump the fence to see whether it is actually so. Enjoy it! If it is greener on the other side of the fence, enjoy it. Why destroy things by jumping the fence and finding out that it is worse than your own grass?

It happened that a man was trying to sell his house for many years. He had made it really beautiful. He had put a lot of money into it, had hired the best architects; everything was the best that he could find. He was in pursuit of happiness. The house was built, a beautiful mansion, all marble. For a few days he looked in the house for happiness to come, but the marble was cold; the house was dead. It was a beautiful house but dead, with no warmth.
Then he started thinking of selling it. It had been an absolute loss. He contacted an agent, a real estate agent. The agent said, “We will sell it, but first we have to place a good advertisement in the best newspapers and magazines, with a picture, because it is such a beautiful house.”
The man said, “That’s good, do it, but I want to get rid of it. The next day he read in the newspaper that there was a very beautiful house for sale. It looked just as if poetry had been written in marble, or a song had become frozen in marble, with big lawns and beautiful trees – old, ancient trees, which you cannot grow in a day. The description was so beautiful!
Of course only the phone number of the agent was given, so the man immediately phoned him: “Whatsoever the price, settle it for me. I have been in search of such a house my whole life.”
The agent said, “I will settle it. There is no problem. I am coming to you right now. Negotiations can easily be done.”
When the agent came the man could not believe it, because he was the same agent. The man asked, “Where is this house?”
And the agent said, “You phoned me?”
The man said, “It was your phone number?”
The agent said, “Of course! I described your house. So many phone calls were coming but you disturbed them. Couldn’t you figure out that it was your house?”
He said, “My God! This house?”

You can fall in love with your own wife if somebody else describes her. It depends on the description.
But people are running after everything: perhaps this will give them what they have been missing. Nothing can help. You can live in a palace but you will be as miserable, perhaps more than you were in an old hut. In the old hut at least there was a consolation that you were miserable because you were in an old, rotten hut. There was an excuse; you could have explained away your miserliness, your misery, your suffering. And there was also a hope that someday you would be able to manage a better house – if not a palace, then at least a good, beautiful, small house of your own.
It is hope that is keeping people alive, and it is their excuses and explanations which keep them trying again and again. It has become the philosophy of America to try again and again and again. But there are a few things which are not within the area of trying, which happen only when you are completely finished with trying. You simply sit down and you say, “Enough is enough – I am not going to try.” That’s how enlightenment happened to Gautam Buddha:

Gautam Buddha must have been the first American, because he was in pursuit of happiness. Because of the pursuit, he dropped his kingdom. He is a pioneer in many things; he is the first dropout. Your hippies have not dropped much. To drop something, first you have to have it. He had it, and he had it more than any man ever had it. When he was born the astrologers said, “He should be kept absolutely unaware of misery, pain, old age, sickness, death and sannyasins.”
He was the child of an old, aged king, an only child, born when his father was very old. The king asked, “Why does he have to be kept unaware of all these things?”
The astrologers said, “This man is going to either be a buddha, an awakened one, an enlightened one, or he can become a chakravartin, a world emperor. But for his enlightenment he will renounce the kingdom, the palace, the family everything. He will go in pursuit of truth, of bliss.” Chakravartin is a special category that only exists in India. It means one who rules over the whole world without any competitor. Alexander the Great was trying to become a chakravartin but could not.
Up to now chakravartins exist only mythologically in ancient Indian literature, they are not historical figures. Many have tried to become chakravartins – one wonders for what. Even if you have the whole world you will be the same, perhaps in a worse condition because you will be worried about all the problems of the world, and you will be responsible for all the problems of the world. At least right now you are only responsible for your own misery; it is a very tiny thing. Just multiply it by billions! What are you going to gain?
But the astrologers said, “Either he is going to become a chakravartin, a world emperor, ruling over the world or a buddha. But it all depends on you. If you can protect him from knowing that life consists of misery, suffering, pain, sickness, old age, death; and also from knowing that there are people who are searching for something higher than life – the sannyasins… You have to protect him.”
The king said, “It will not be difficult” – and he arranged it. He made three palaces for the three different seasons. In India, the seasons used to be very clear-cut. Every year, on the same day, at the same time, summer would begin; on the same day, at the same time, the summer would end. The rainy season, the winter, everything was clear-cut. Even in my childhood it was clear-cut. It was only after the atomic explosions around the world that the Indian climate became uncertain. The whole atmosphere is shaken.
So the king made three beautiful palaces in three different places: for summer, a place on a high hill, on a beautiful lake; in the rains, a place where it did not rain too much, just enough to enjoy – not to create a Big Muddy Ranch, just showers; and one for winter, a place where it was always warm and cozy. Buddha was surrounded by all the beautiful women from the kingdom, so no desire remained unfulfilled: he had the best of food, hundreds of servants, huge gardens.
The king was so particular that his son should not even see any dry leaf, any pale leaf, any flower which was withering away that he had them removed in the night. The gardeners worked the whole night to make the garden absolutely young and fresh. Otherwise the idea that things get old, that flowers die, might provoke, might trigger some anxiety in Buddha: “Then what about man?”
Nobody who was sick was allowed to be seen by him. He had not seen anybody dead or sick or old, up to the age of twenty-nine. He was kept in such seclusion and in such luxury, drowned in music, women, wine. And the king was satisfied that now that Buddha was married – he had found one of the most beautiful women, he had fallen in love – now there was no fear.
They used to have a youth festival every year, and it was the custom that the prince who was going to succeed the king should inaugurate the youth festival. The roads were cleared; old and sick people were removed from where Buddha’s chariot was going to pass.
The story is beautiful. From here it becomes mythological, but still it is significant. The story is that Indira, who was the chief of all the gods, became worried that a man who was capable of becoming an enlightened one was being completely distracted. Something had to be done. Existence should not be allowed to miss an enlightened being. So it is said that Indira took a few gods with him to earth. The street was cleared, it was impossible for any man to enter: only gods could enter. That’s why they had to create the mythology – because gods are invisible and they can become visible any moment.
First, a god, sick and feverish, passed by the chariot. If the street had been full of traffic perhaps Buddha would have missed seeing him. But the street was empty, the houses were empty. There were no other vehicles, only his golden chariot.
Buddha saw this man trembling, and he asked his charioteer, “What has happened to this man?”
Now, the man who was driving the chariot was in a dilemma because the orders of the king were that Buddha should not know that anybody is sick. This man was so sick that it seemed as if he was going to fall down there and die. But Indira was helpful. He forced the charioteer to tell the truth: “Ultimately your commitment is not toward that old idiot, your commitment is toward truth. Don’t miss this point, because this man is going to become an enlightened one, and you will be immensely blessed because you are becoming the cause of triggering the process. Don’t miss it – you may not find it again in millions of lives.”
Of course it was clear. The charioteer said to Buddha, “I am not supposed to say this, but how can I lie to you? The truth is that all sick people have been removed. I wonder from where this sick man has entered, because everywhere there are guards and the army. Nobody is allowed to enter the path where the chariot is moving. This man is sick.”
Buddha said, “What is sickness?”
The charioteer explained that sickness is something we are born with, that we are carrying all kinds of sickness in the body. If sometimes, in a certain situation, a weakness, a sickness, which you are carrying within you, gets support from outside, you get an infection: you are sick.
Then an old man appeared, another god, almost a hunchback, so old that Buddha could not believe his eyes: “What has happened to this man?”
The charioteer said, “This is what happens after many sicknesses: this man has become old.”
Then another god posing as a dead body came by with four gods carrying him.
Buddha asked, “What is happening?”
The charioteer said, “This man is at the last stage. After that old man, this is what happens.”
Buddha said, “Stop the chariot here and answer me truthfully. Is all this going to happen to me too?”
At that moment he saw a sannyasin, another god, just pretending, like you – wearing orange robes and everything – a neo-sannyasin. Buddha said, “And what kind of a stage is this? A shaven head, a staff in his hand, a begging bowl?”
The charioteer said, “This is not a stage after the other; this is a type of man who has become aware of life’s misery, suffering, anguish, sickness, old age, death. He has dropped out of life and is in search of truth, in search of finding something which is immortal: the deathless, the truth.”
Buddha said, “Return to the house. I have become sick, sick unto death. I have become old, old even though to all appearances I am young. But what does it matter if old age is only a few years ahead of me? Soon it is going to be walking by my side. I don’t want to be like that dead man. Although I am alive for all ordinary purposes, I died with that dead man. Death is going to come; it is only a question of time, of sooner or later. It can come tomorrow. Anyway, someday it is going to happen.
“Tonight keep the chariot ready. I am going to be the last type of man: I am renouncing. I have not found happiness here. I will seek it, I will pursue it, I will do everything that is needed to find happiness.”
For six years Buddha did everything that anybody can do. He went to all kinds of teachers, masters, scholars, wise men, sages, saints. And India is so full of these people that you need not seek and search; simply move anywhere and you meet them. They are all over the place. If you don’t seek them, they will seek you. Particularly in Buddha’s time it was really at a peak. The whole country was agog with only one thing: how to find something which transcends death.
But after six years’ tremendous effort – austerities, fasting and Yoga postures – nothing happened. One day… I have been to the place and to the river: Niranjana is the name of the river, a small river near Bodhgaya, where Buddha became enlightened. That’s why the name of the city has become Bodhgaya: the place where awakening happened.
Niranjana is a small river, not very deep. Buddha was fasting and doing austerities and torturing himself in every way, and he had become so weak that when he went for a bath in the Niranjana, he could not cross the river. The river was small, but he was so weak, that somehow he could just manage to keep himself there, by holding a tree root hanging by the side of the bank. Otherwise the river would have taken him away. While he was hanging onto the root, the idea happened to him that the sages say, “Existence is like an ocean.” That’s what in India is called bhavasagar – the ocean of existence.
Buddha thought, “If existence is an ocean, then whatever I am doing is not right, because if I can’t cross this poor river, Niranjana, how am I going to cross the ocean of existence? Whatever I have been doing I have simply wasted my time, my life, my energy, my body.” Somehow he managed to come out of the river, sat under the tree and dropped all effort.
That evening it was a full-moon night and for the first time in six years he slept well, because there was nothing to do the next day: nowhere to go, no practice, no exercise. The next day there was no need even to get up in brahmamuhurt, the early morning before sunrise. The next day he could have as much sleep as he wanted. For the first time he felt a total freedom from all effort, seeking, search, pursuit.
Of course he slept in a tremendously relaxed way, and in the morning as he opened his eyes, the last star was disappearing. It is said, with the last star disappearing, Buddha disappeared too. The whole night’s rest, peace, no future, no goal, nothing to be done…

For the first time he was not an American. Lying down, in no hurry even to get up, he simply saw that all those six years looked like a nightmare. But it was past. The star disappeared, and Buddha disappeared. This was the experience of bliss, or truth; of transcendence, of all that you have been seeking but you have been missing because you have been seeking. Even Buddhists have not been able to understand the significance of this story. This is the most important story in Gautam Buddha’s life. Nothing else is comparable to it.
I am not a Buddhist – I don’t agree with Buddha on a thousand and one things, but I am the first man in twenty-five centuries who has brought emphasis to this story and made it the central focus, because this is where Buddha’s awakening happened. But Buddhist priests and monks cannot even relate this story, because if they relate this story, what is their purpose? What are they doing? What are they teaching? What exercises? What prayers?
Naturally, if you tell the story that it happened when Buddha dropped doing all kinds of religious nonsense, then people will say, “Then why are you teaching us to do religious nonsense? Just to drop it someday? So if we have to drop it finally, why begin in the first place?” It will be difficult to convince the priests; their whole business and their whole profession will be destroyed.
One Buddhist monk, the most famous in India, Bhadant Anand Kausalayan, lives in Nagpur. I was in Nagpur and he came to see me. He said, “I have come to see you only to say one thing: I have been reading your books, and you are not a Buddhist, but you bring out things from Buddha’s life which for twenty-five centuries no Buddhist scholar, no Buddhist priest, no Buddhist commentator, has ever bothered about. How do you manage it?” He repeated a story which he had read in one of my books. He said, “In my whole life I have never heard this story; nobody tells it. And I myself have been an ordained monk for almost thirty years. I read it for the first time in your book.”
I said, “Don’t be worried. Does it appeal to you?”
He said, “But the thing is whether it is historical or not.”
I said, “Even if it is not historical, does it appeal to you?”
He said, “You are changing the subject.”
I said, “I am not changing the subject. If you start on about history then you will be in great trouble: you will have to prove everything historically, and in Buddha’s life there are thousands of things which you cannot prove historically. Can you prove historically that Indira came down and arranged the whole thing, the whole scene, and befooled Buddha? Is that historical?”
He said, “No, that is difficult to prove.”
I said, “Then don’t bother about history – take it on my authority. If you meet Buddha you can ask him. Only he can say, because it is not reported. The reporters were priests, and this story they have not reported at all.”
I told him, “Just forget whether it is historical, reported or not reported. Just look at the fact and whether it makes any sense to you.”
He said, “It makes great sense, but do you mean to say I have to drop all my practices?”
I said, “Of course, if you have found truth by your practices, continue. If you have not found it, then try what I am saying.”
He was at least a sincere and honest man. He said, “I have not found anything by my practice. In fact, that’s why I came to ask you.”
I said, “When I say that this is what happened, write it down in any book, and read it: then it is written. If you believe in the written word it is written in my book. But that is not the problem. The problem is, are you courageous enough to drop that which has not given you anything? Thirty years are enough. Buddha dropped everything after six years; you have gone five times longer. Do you think you are being more intelligent than Buddha?”
He said, “I was told by my friends that it would be better not to meet you, and perhaps they were right because now I will live in a dilemma: to drop it or not to drop it? Because after thirty years’ practice it becomes so close, you become addicted to it.”
I said, “Think it over. Be in a dilemma. Perhaps someday the understanding will dawn on you.”
But I could see that although he was a sincere man, honest, he was not courageous. Whenever I went to Nagpur I inquired, “What is Bhadant Anand Kausalayan doing?”
I had told my host to keep an eye on the Buddhist monk, so he would say, “He is doing the same, continuing the same.”
The last time I saw Bhadant Anand Kausalayan was in ‘65. Just by chance we met on the plane going from Mumbai to Delhi. He was trying to avoid me, trying to look as if he had not seen me. But I went up and just sat by his side. It was not my seat, it was somebody else’s seat. When they came up I said, “Forgive me – just take my seat. I need only five or seven minutes, then I will go.” I went on hitting Bhadant Anand Kausalayan with my hand and he went on moving away. But I went on, again and again.
Finally he said, “What are you doing?”
I said, “What are you doing? Do you think you can escape in this way? And from whom are you escaping? From me or from yourself? You have seen the truth of what I have said in the story. Now accept that you are not courageous enough to follow it.”
He said, “Yes, I am not courageous enough. But the story is right, whether it is written in any scripture or not.”
Buddhists have dropped it; they have not collected it for the simple reason that the priesthood needs some means of livelihood. The priests are parasites, and can live as parasites only if they can show you how to pursue, how to find, how to seek. The “how” is important. But I am telling you it is not at all important, it is the only hindrance. Drop the “how” and just be. Just be, for no reason, and happiness starts showering on you like flowers showering.
Here there are no such trees, but in India there are trees called madhukamini. If you sit under the tree, flowers shower like rain. In the morning you find a whole carpet under the tree, a complete carpet of the flowers. The whole night the madhukamini showers: it blossoms in the night, showers in the night and by the morning all the flowers are on the ground. It is so fragrant that from half a mile you can become aware that somewhere the madhukamini is flowering.
In my house, I had made it a jungle. That’s what I have been doing all my life. I had planted a madhukamini just in the middle compound, in the inner courtyard of the house. When I went to university, I knew it… My father was just like Mukta – and it is strange, they were friends too. He could not understand Mukta’s language, Mukta could not understand his language, but they were great friends. Even going to school I had to tell my mother, my aunts and everybody, “Watch my father and see that he does not start pruning my tree.”
Sometimes I had to take his scissors with me to school. My master said, “What? Now you are bringing such instruments? Are you going to kill somebody? With garden scissors you could cut somebody’s neck. For what have you brought this? What is the purpose? Just leave it outside, and you remain outside.”
I said, “I have not brought it for any purpose. It is just to protect my poor tree, because when I am in school my father goes on pruning. He seems to be a born Englishman.”
When I went to university they removed all the trees, but even my father did not dare to touch the madhukamini. When I left, I told all of them, “You can cut the whole garden if you want, and I know you will, because every day you are harassing me: ‘We need one more bathroom here – remove your trees. We need to extend the kitchen here: there are more children in the house, people are getting married, their wives are coming, and more rooms are needed. You have made it a jungle.’”
But I was adamant and said, “No. Once I am gone, it is okay: you can do whatsoever you want.” The day I left I told them, “Remember, everybody, that whatsoever you want to do, do with all the trees, but nobody touches my madhukamini. If I come back and find that my madhukamini is missing I will not enter the house again in my life.” Only with this threat could I save my madhukamini.
But in 1970, when I said, “I will not be coming again,” they cut it down because now there was no point in keeping it: the threat was no longer relevant.
The madhukamini is such a beautiful tree. To sit underneath it and just to feel its flowers falling all over you… They continue the whole night. When it flowers, it flowers in thousands of flowers.
Bliss also showers exactly like that. Truth also showers exactly like that. You just have to be sitting, doing nothing, waiting – not waiting for Godot, just waiting. Not for anything in particular but simply waiting, in a state of awaiting, and it happens.
And because it happens, it is perfectly right to call it happiness.

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