Sufis The People of Path Vol 1 04

Fourth Discourse from the series of 16 discourses - Sufis The People of Path Vol 1 by Osho.
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The first question:
When I feel deep love, I feel sad at the same time. Why?
Real love always brings sadness. It is inevitable – because love creates a space that opens new doors to your being. Love brings a twilight situation.
In the moment of love you can see what is unreal and what is real. In the moment of love you can see what is meaningless, what is meaningful, and at the same time you see you are rooted in the meaningless – hence the sadness. In the moment of love you become aware of your ultimate potential, you become aware of the farthest peak, but you are not there – hence the sadness.
You see a vision, but it is a vision, and within a moment it will be gone. It is as if God has spoken to you in a dream and when you are awake you miss it. You know something has happened, but it has not become a reality. It was just a passing breeze.
If love does not create sadness then know well it is not love. Love is bound to create sadness – the greater the love, the greater will be the sadness in the wake of it.
Love opens the door to existence. Two hearts come close, very, very close, but in that very closeness they can see the separation – that is the sadness. When you are far away you cannot see it so clearly. You know you are separate, but when you desire to be one with somebody and you long for it and there is great passion for it, and you come close and you come close and then comes a moment when you are very, very close but beyond which you cannot go, you are stuck – suddenly you become sad. The goal is so close by and yet it is beyond reach.
Sometimes after love you will fall into a deep frustrating night. Those who have not known love have not known real misery, they have not known real anguish. They live a flat kind of life. They have not known the peaks so they are not aware of the valleys. They have not reached the maximum so they think that whatever they are doing is what life is supposed to be like. In love, for a moment you become that which you should be. But it is only momentary.
If you want it to become an eternal reality for you then love itself is not enough – then prayer will be needed. Love makes you aware of this need, and unless you start moving into prayer, love will create more and more sadness.
You cannot become one in love. You can only have an illusion of becoming one. And that is the great desire – how to be one, how to be one with the whole, how to fall into rapport with reality, how to disappear utterly. Because if you are, there is misery; if you are, there is anguish; if you are, there is anxiety. The very ego creates the problem. When you melt and disappear, when you become one, there is nobody left behind. You are just a wave in this eternal ocean of existence. You don’t have a center of your own; the center of the whole has become your center. Then anxiety disappears, then anguish disappears, then the potential has become actual. This is what is called enlightenment, this is what is called nirvana or God-realization.
Love is moving in the same direction, but it can only promise, it cannot fulfill. It cannot deliver the goods – hence the sadness. You feel you are coming very close to the point where you can disappear and yet you don’t disappear. Again you start falling away from your beloved. Again and again you will come close, and again and again you will fall back into your aloneness. But you will never become one. And unless you become one, ecstasy is not possible.
A very famous existentialist, Nikolai Berdyaev, has written a few very pertinent things, very relevant to the question. He says: “I have always been afraid of happy, joyful experiences for they have always brought me the most vivid memories of the agony of life.”
Certainly it is so. That’s why the really miserable people don’t rebel. The proletarians have never rebelled. Marx comes from a middle-class family, so does Mao, so does Lenin, so does Engels. All the revolutions and all the revolutionaries come out of the middle class, they don’t come from the lower strata. They cannot come from there. People are so miserable that they can’t believe that there is anything more. They have never tasted anything of joy. Because they have not tasted anything of joy, they cannot conceive of their life as being miserable. They have no comparison.
Unless you know what illness is you will never feel what health is. If you have been ill from your very beginning – if the day you were born you were born ill – and you have never felt that well-being called health, you will not be very miserable with your illness. You will be perfectly satisfied with it. You will think that this is what life is.
That’s why revolution does not arise from the lowest strata. It does not arise from the highest strata either because they have so much to lose. They cannot be revolutionaries; they have too much at stake. The poor have nothing to lose, but they cannot feel their misery; the rich can feel the misery, but they have so much to lose. Hence all revolutionaries are born from the middle class – those who have known both, a little bit of misery and a little bit of joy. Their perspective is very clear. They know joy is possible, and because they know joy is possible their agony is intolerable.
Berdyaev says: “On great feast days I almost invariably felt anguish, perhaps because I was awaiting some miraculous transformation of ordinary workaday life. But it never came.” Yes, on a feast day, one feels more anguish because one hopes more. When you hope more, naturally you will feel more miserable if that hope is not fulfilled.
In the moment of love there is great hope. You feel you have almost arrived – and yet you never arrive. You feel it is almost going to happen – now this is the moment – and the moment comes and passes by and you are left again in the same wasteland as you have always been in. The clouds gather and it never rains and the desert remains a desert. If those clouds don’t gather you will not be so hopeful. You know it is a desert. You accept it. You adjust to it. But one day suddenly you see great clouds gathering. You feel it in the winds that it is going to rain, you feel it all around that it is going to rain. Your heart starts pulsating that now this desert will no longer be a desert, now green trees will grow and birds will sing and there will be celebration. And those clouds start disappearing.
Have you not seen it? Whilst walking in a dark night on a dark street, suddenly a car passes by with a flood of light. And after the car has gone the darkness is more than before. What happened? You were walking in the same night in the same darkness, but those lights, those headlights of the car, suddenly filled your eyes with light for a moment. Now in comparison the darkness is greater. For a few minutes you may not be able to see at all. You will be left completely blind. This has been done by the light.
The situation is exactly the same: when you are in love you are flooded with light. But then it is gone – it comes and it goes, it is momentary. And in the wake is great sadness.
Even while love is there, those who are very perceptive know that it is not going to be there forever. It is momentary. They are still trembling. Love is there, but they know it is going to go – hence the sadness.
The question is from Abhinava. She must be very perceptive, intuitive. She must have a heart that can feel things even when ordinarily people don’t feel them. When there is love you enjoy; when it is gone you become sad. But if you are very, very perceptive you will become aware that exactly in the moment when love is there, just by the corner sadness is lurking.
Says Berdyaev: “Love in particular seemed to me to carry within itself the seed of anguish, and I have frequently been amazed that people could experience the exaltation of love as sheer joy and happiness.” He seems to be puzzled.
This man, Nikolai Berdyayev, was one of the greatest existentialists of this century. And existentialism has penetrated life’s mysteries very deeply – not to the very end, of course, but existentialism is a good beginning. One should not get stuck in it, because the beginning is negative. If you don’t go deeper into it, it remains negative. It starts turning into a positive quality only when you really go deep into it.
Buddha is also an existentialist, but he went to the very end. Sartre, Heidegger, Jaspers, Marcel, Berdyayev, they are also existentialists, but they are stuck somewhere in the middle, they have not gone to the very end. So they remain negative. But the insight is right – on the right line, in the right direction. The existentialists talk of despair, anguish, anxiety, angst, depression, sadness, misery – all that is dark, dismal. They never talk of bliss, they never talk of joy, they never talk of celebration. Yet I would like to tell you that they are moving in the right direction. If they move a little more, soon they will find joy arising.

I have heard about a very famous lady, a very respectable lady, well-known in the highest strata of society. In a get-together party, where all the prominent people of the country were present, she became too drunk. Somebody provoked her and she became so angry that she lost her usual control. She lost her temper and said some vulgar words. People were shocked, they could not believe such ugly words could come from such a respectable woman. They had never thought about it. They were so shocked that silence fell and then she was also shocked by their shock.
Then she understood what she had done. She smiled – a sweet smile that only ladies know how to do – and said, “I am sorry. It seems I am turning existentialist.”

Right now this is the situation. Existentialism has only been talking about vulgar things, the ill, pathological, negative – the dark side of life.
It seems as if death is the object of meditation. But if you meditate long enough on death you will be surprised that in the very center of death arises life.
Berdyayev says: “Love in particular seemed to me to carry within itself the seed of anguish, and I have frequently been amazed that people could experience the exaltation of love as sheer joy and happiness. Eros is in anguish for it is concerned with and deeply rooted in the mystery of time and eternity. It concerns time athirst for eternal fulfillment and yet never attaining it.
“Likewise there is anguish in sex. Sex shows man wounded, fallen apart, and never able to attain true fullness through union. It bids man to go out into another, but he returns once more into himself and the anguish of his longing for unity continues unrelieved. The desire for wholeness cannot be satisfied through sex; on the contrary, it only serves to deepen the wounds of disunity.”
The very word sex comes from a Latin root sexus, which means division. Sex divides. It promises to unite, but it never does. In fact, it divides. But there is a great desire in man to be united. The child in the mother’s womb is united with existence. He has no separate existence. He has no separate reality. He is part of the whole. He has no self, no higher consciousness. He is, but he is not yet an ego. And that remains our deepest longing – how to enter the womb of existence again.
Psychoanalysts say that man’s effort to penetrate the woman while making love is really an effort to enter the womb again. And there is some truth in it. How to enter that state of absolute calm, quiet, when the ego has not yet been stirred, when everything is in peace and harmony?
While a man and woman are joined in love they are trying to create a unity – hence the attraction of love and hence the appeal of sex. But it never happens. Or, it only happens for such a split second that it really doesn’t matter whether it happens or not. In fact, on the contrary, it creates more desire for unity – more desire and more longing for the ultimate union. And each time frustration comes to hand. If you have eyes to see and if you have a heart to feel you will become sad; whenever you are in love you will become sad. Again the promise and again you know it is not going to be fulfilled.
Then what to do? Let your sadness in love become a pilgrimage into prayer. Let this experience of sadness become a great meditation in depth. First you have to dissolve the ego in your own inner being; you cannot dissolve it in anybody else, it will come back. Only for a moment can you create a state of forgetfulness.
So sex functions like alcohol, a natural alcohol. It is provided in the chemistry of the body, but it is an intoxicant, it is a drug. It depends on chemistry. It is as chemical as LSD, marijuana – the difference is only that it is biochemical, it is already provided by nature in the body. But it is a chemical phenomenon. Through chemistry you attain a glimpse. That’s what happens when you take LSD – through chemistry you attain a glimpse. That’s what happens through all kinds of intoxicants – for a moment you forget yourself. Even that momentary forgetfulness opens a window.
But forgetfulness is not a dissolution. You are not dissolved. You are there, waiting. Once the drug has worn off the ego will grab you again. The ego has to be dissolved, not forgotten. That’s the sadness of love: the ego is only forgotten, and that too for a moment. Then it comes back, and comes back with vengeance. Hence you will find lovers fighting continuously. The ego becomes even more solid, crystallized.
That’s why you find lovers always thinking in terms of the other cheating them. Nobody is cheating. But you desired, you hoped, you fantasized a state of unity, and you were thinking that great ecstasy was going to happen and it didn’t happen – somebody has cheated you. Of course, naturally, the other becomes the object. And the other also thinks in the same way – that you have cheated him or her. Nobody is cheating; love has cheated you both, chemistry has cheated you both. Unconsciousness has cheated you both. Ego has cheated you both. If you understand this you will not fight with each other.
This revelation of sadness through love will become a revolution, a radical change in your life. You will start moving toward a new direction where the ego can be dissolved.
That’s all that Sufism is about – how to dissolve the ego.
And love gives great insight, hence I am all for love. But remember well, you have to go beyond it. I am all for it only so that you can go beyond it. It has to become a stepping-stone. I am not against it, because people who are against it will remain below it, they will never go beyond it. People who have not known the ecstatic moment of love will not know the sadness of it – how can they know?
How is a monk living in a Catholic monastery or a Jaina muni living the life of an ascetic going to know the sadness of love? They have renounced love. In that very renunciation they have renounced sadness also.
Without knowing the sadness of love you cannot take off into the world of prayer or meditation. That experience is a must.
A few more things: the sadness that love brings is very potential, it is very deep, it is very healthy, it is helpful. It will lead you to godliness. So don’t take it negatively, use it. That sadness felt in love is a great blessing. It simply shows that your aspiration is beyond the capacity of love, your aspiration is for the ultimate. Love can only give you a momentary satisfaction, but not an eternal contentment. Feel grateful that love gave you even that one momentary satisfaction and feel grateful that love made you aware of a tremendous sadness inside you.
When people are together in love they feel very alone. Nobody else ever feels such aloneness as lovers feel. Can’t you remember it? While sitting holding the hand of your beloved on a full-moon night, have you not felt it? – utterly alone. The other is there, you are there and you are both for each other, there is no conflict – yet there is no bridge. You are alone, she is alone; two alonenesses sitting together, and each making the other more aware of his own aloneness or her own aloneness.
Love is a great experience. It makes you feel one absolute truth – that you are born alone, that you live alone, that you die alone. And there is no way to drown this aloneness in drugs – whether those drugs are manufactured by nature in the trees, or by factories, or in the body. There is no way to drown this aloneness. One has to understand this aloneness, one has to penetrate this aloneness, one has to go into its very core. And when you have reached the very core of your aloneness, suddenly it is no longer aloneness, it is the very presence of God. You are alone because God is alone.
Mohammed says again and again, “There is no God but God. God is one.” Following Mohammed, a great Sufi mystic, Shapistari, says, “Know one, see one, love one, be one.” You are already that, but you have to penetrate inside yourself.
Your beloved will make you aware that there is no way to go out and become one. The way is inward. Go in. Love naturally leads people into meditation. Lovers become meditators – only lovers become meditators.
So, Abhinava, it is a blessing that you have felt sadness while in those beautiful moments of love. Take the hint. Understand the message. Your unconscious has given you the message to now turn inward. The beloved resides in you; the beloved is not outside. The beloved resides in your very heart. No other love and no other beloved is going to satisfy except God – hence the sadness.

The second question:
Why is it thought that thoughts interfere in knowing the truth?
Because they do. A constant procession of thoughts in your mind makes you blind. You cannot see beyond them. They create a fog and you become clouded. It is just like dust gathers on a mirror; then the mirror cannot reflect that which is. The dust has to be wiped off, washed; the mirror has to be made clean – then it reflects. Otherwise how can it reflect? The dust will distort.
Thoughts are like dust. Thoughts are a continuous preoccupation. For example, you are sitting under a tree and suddenly a cuckoo starts calling – but you are absorbed in your thoughts. You will not hear the cuckoo. That beautiful song won’t enter you. You are too full of your own thoughts, you don’t have any space so it cannot enter you. It is simple arithmetic: if you want something to enter you, you have to give a little space. Your thoughts are filling your mind so much that nothing can enter.

A Zen master was approached by a professor of philosophy. The professor said, “I have come to understand what truth is. What do you say?”
The professor had come uphill, was looking tired, perspiring. The Zen master said, “Sit and rest a little and I will prepare tea for you. First things first. Then we can talk later on. And that is not important. Tea is more important than truth.”
The professor could not believe it. Is this man mad? Tea is more important than truth?
But the Zen master is right. What he means is, “You are too tired and too full of thoughts. Let me help you to relax a little bit. Cool down, please.” That’s what he is saying. He is saying, “Don’t be too much concerned about truth, otherwise you will miss it.”
And then he prepares the tea, he brings it and pours the tea – and goes on pouring. The professor is holding his cup and saucer, the cup is full and the tea starts overflowing into the saucer, but he keeps silent. But then he feels that now the tea is going to overflow onto the floor so he says, “Stop! What are you doing? Why do you go on pouring? My cup is full of tea and it cannot hold a single drop more!”
And the master said, “You are so careful about your cup, but you are not so careful about your mind. Your mind is so full. I see only junk and furniture in your mind, rotten furniture. And you want to invite truth? You will have to create a little space for truth to come in.”

Truth is the ultimate guest. You will have to empty yourself utterly, only then can truth come in. Thoughts are a preoccupation. People who are too much in thoughts remain in a private kind of world. They have their own world of thoughts and dreams and projections and desires. They go on rushing here and there, but they don’t look at the trees, the greenery, the flowers, the birds, the people, the children; they can’t see anything.
I have heard a very old joke, but one of tremendous importance.

Michelangelo was working on his famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. For seven years he worked on a high scaffold. He was lying there the whole day on his back, working on the ceiling. Many times he had seen that in the afternoons, when there was nobody in the church, a blind old woman used to come to pray. Somebody would bring her in and leave her there and for hours together she would sit and pray.
One day, one hot afternoon, he was not feeling like working so he turned on his scaffold and looked down. The old woman was there and there was nobody else, the church was utterly empty. She was doing her usual prayer, and tears were coming to her eyes. Michelangelo felt like joking; he was in a joking mood.
He shouted from the top, “I am Jesus Christ. What do you want? Just tell me and I will fulfill it.” He was expecting that the woman would say what she wanted.
The blind woman raised her face and her blind eyes and said, “You shut up! I am not talking to you. I am talking to your mother!”

This is preoccupation. Who bothers about Jesus Christ? “Shut up!” she said.
When you are in a certain thought or in a certain thought process you become closed. Only that much of a tunnel remains open. You move into that tunnel. And that tunnel of your thoughts has nothing to do with reality. It is your thought. It is just a vibe in your mind, just a vibration. That’s why it is said that if you are too much in your thoughts you cannot know the truth.
All kinds of meditations presuppose one thing – thoughtlessness. And this point has to be understood in reference to Sufism too. Just as there are thoughts in the mind so there are emotions in the heart. Thoughts have to go if you want knowing to arise, and if you want loving to arise in your heart then your sentimentality and your emotions have to go.
People are ready to accept that thoughts have to go – then your intelligence is pure. But they have not contemplated upon the second thing: that your heart is pure only when your emotions and your so-called sentiments have gone. Many people think sentimentality to be feeling; it is not. Thoughts are not intelligence, and sentimentality is not love. And there are only two ways. Sufis have two names; all the religions talk about two ways. Sufis say the first way is marifa; marifa means the way of knowing. And the second way is mahaba; mahaba means the way of love. These are what Hindus call jnana-marga and bhakti-marga – the way through intelligence or the way through love.
But both need one thing: if you are searching through intelligence then drop thinking so that intelligence can function unhindered; and if you are working through the path of love then drop emotionality, sentimentality, so that your love can function unhindered. Either you will see God through the heart, the mirror of the heart, or you will see God through the mirror of your intelligence. Both are perfectly good – whatever you choose or whatever you feel is more in accord with you.
Half of the people of the world will follow marifa and half will follow mahaba. It is exactly proportionate – just as there are half women in the world and half men. The yin and yang is divided that way in many dimensions. The path of the heart is the feminine path and the path of intelligence, meditation, knowing, is the male path. But remember one thing: you may be a male biologically, you may not be a male psychologically; you may be a female biologically, you may not be a female psychologically.
You have to look into yourself psychologically. The physiology does not decide; the physiology is not decisive about it. Many women will find through knowing and many men will find through loving. So don’t just take it for granted that because physiologically you have a male body then the path of knowledge is your path, no.
A man is both man and woman, and a woman is both man and woman. In many ways these two points meet. The only difference is of emphasis. And if you are a male in one way you will be a female in another way, to compensate. If you are a woman in one way you will be a man in another way, to compensate – because the total unity has to be absolutely in equilibrium. All your women inside and all your men inside – biological, physiological, psychological – have to come to a synthesis otherwise you cannot exist. They all have to be absolutely balanced.
So look into your own self. Find out who you are. What gives you enthusiasm – knowing or loving? What makes you ecstatic – knowing or loving? What gives you a song in your being?
Now, Albert Einstein cannot go through the path of mahaba. His joy is his intelligence. And you can offer existence only your joy, nothing else. That is the offering, the only offering. You cannot offer flowers from trees, you can offer only your flowering. Einstein has flowered as an absolutely beautiful intelligence – that is the flower that he has to offer to existence. That is his flower. In his own tree that flower has bloomed.
A Chaitanya or a Jesus, they are a different kind of people. Their hearts have opened. They have flowered in love – they can offer their flower. You can only offer your flowering. And to flower you will have to remember to remove hindrances. A real intelligence is without preoccupation with thoughts. That’s why all the great scientists say that whenever they have discovered something, they have discovered it not by thinking, but when the thinking had stopped and there was an interval, a gap. In that gap was the insight – the intuitive flash like lightning. When thought stops, your thinking is pure. It will look paradoxical. When thought stops – let me repeat – your thinking is pure, your capacity to reflect reality is pure. When emotions disappear, sentimentality disappears; then your love energy is pure.
Every seeker has to find it. If you cannot find it then ask your master – because sometimes it will be very confusing for you to decide. There are marginal cases who are forty-nine percent feminine and fifty-one percent male, or vice versa, and it is very difficult for them to decide who they are. And in the morning the proportion may be forty-nine percent man, fifty-one percent woman; in the evening the proportion may change. You are a flux. In the morning you may decide that you are on the path of love and by the evening you decide that you are on the path of knowing. In the morning everybody is more loving. By the evening it is very difficult to remain loving – the world is too much. By the evening everybody hardens, everybody becomes a more solid rock.
That’s why beggars beg in the morning, not in the evening. They don’t come in the evening because they know every door will be closed and they will be shouted down from everywhere. In the morning they can hope. People have relaxed in the night, dreamed beautiful dreams, have become children again, become lost in a dreamless state. The ego was forgotten. In the morning they are more fresh, innocent, young. You can trust that they will have some compassion. They may not give you anything, but they will not shout you down. Or they may give.
Hence all the religions have prescribed prayer in the morning. In India we call that special moment brahmamuhurt, the moment of God – just before the sunrise. That is the best moment to pray. Why? Because the whole night you were out of the world, out of the competition, jealousy, possessiveness, hatred, anger; out of the mathematical, out of the calculating mind. You had become part of nature for those seven, eight hours. Your eyes will be cleaner and your heart will be fresher – and prayer is possible. By the evening it will become more and more difficult. Seeing the people and their dishonesty and seeing the cutthroat competition all around, the violence, the aggression, the war, the exploitation – the misery that is being created by everybody for everybody else – one hardens, one loses heart.
If you cannot decide then ask your master. The master has many functions: one is – the first, the beginning thing – he has to decide for you because he can look deeper into you. He can see your potential. And sometimes it happens that on the surface you are one thing and potentially you are another. Sometimes it happens that a man looks very, very manly and deep inside he has a very soft heart. Maybe it is just because of the soft heart that he has created an armor around himself of strength, of aggression – he is afraid of his own softness. He is afraid that that softness will make him vulnerable. He is afraid that if he opens his heart he will be exploited and cheated by everybody else, he will be nowhere in this competitive world. Being afraid of his softness he has become closed, he has put a China Wall around his heart. He has become very aggressive. He has become aggressive in the same proportion that he feels he is soft and vulnerable.
So if he thinks, he will think he is a very hard man, a warrior type, a very calculative man, and he may be misguided by his own armor, he may be deceived by his own deception. He had managed that deception for others, but this is one thing to be understood: you dig a ditch for others and finally you fall into it yourself.
Or there may be somebody who looks very, very feminine – soft, graceful, elegant – and deep down he may be a very dangerous man, an Adolf Hitler or a Benito Mussolini or a Genghis Khan. That too is possible, that too happens. When a person becomes very afraid of his own aggression and violence he creates a soft armor around himself, otherwise nobody will relate to him. He is afraid that nobody will relate to him so he becomes very polite, he learns etiquette, he is always bowing to people, always smiling so that nobody can see his violence that he is carrying like a poison, like a dagger. If you have a dagger you have to hide it, otherwise who is going to relate to you. You show carry it, you have to hide it somewhere. And once you have hidden it somewhere, by and by you yourself forget about it.
The first function of the master is to look into your potentiality because that is decisive – not your armor, not your character, not you on the surface, but you in the deepest core of your being. You as existence has created you, not you as the society or you yourself have created you. Only from that point do things start growing.
If you start working on yourself with your armor you will never grow – because armor can’t grow, it is a dead thing. Only your being can grow. Structures don’t grow, they are not alive. Only the life in you can grow – life that has been a gift from existence. But how are you going to see it?
You will need somebody who can see to the very depth of your being. And you will have to allow somebody to go into your depth, that’s why surrender is needed. A master will not be able to function if you are not surrendered. You will not open up, you will not allow him passage; you will protect yourself even against him, you will be defensive even against him, you will keep a distance, you will not allow him too close an approach to you. Then there is no possibility.
What is surrender? Surrender is only a trust that you are going to open your heart. It is a risk. Who knows what the master will do to you? Certainly it is a risk. That’s why religion is not for those who are very cowardly. And cowardly people are very cunning people – they go on rationalizing. They say, “Why should I surrender? Why should I surrender to anybody?” They think that surrender is a kind of weakness.
They are absolutely wrong. Surrender is possible only if you are very strong. To surrender needs great strength, great courage, great risk. Weak people cannot surrender. They cannot trust themselves so much and they cannot be courageous enough to open their hearts before somebody else.
Weaklings can never surrender, remember. Weaklings continuously go on fighting. They are afraid of their weakness; they know that they are weak. They cannot afford surrender – only very strong people can. This is my experience here. Whenever a strong person comes to me he is always ready to take a jump, and whenever a weak coward comes he talks and thinks and broods and finds rationalizations and explanations. And you can always find explanations, the mind is very fertile for that. For lies the mind is very fertile; for truth it is impotent.
This is the beginning – the master has to look and decide what is your path; he has to decide what is going to be your tariqa, the method; he has to decide in what direction you are going to move and from what point in your being you have to work.
Then there are a thousand and one functions. On each step of the journey there are problems because this journey is not like a plain highway. At each point there are diversions, at each point there are bypaths. It is a very zigzag journey. It is almost a riddle; it is a labyrinth. Unless there is somebody who has gone the whole way and knows the way, there is a greater possibility that you will be lost somewhere, that you will take a wrong route. From each step the wrong route is available. And of a hundred routes, only one is right, ninety-nine are wrong. This is the situation. You will need somebody to help you at each point of the journey.
But as you grow, trust will also grow. When you take the first step with the master you will see something has happened. Then more trust naturally arises and something more becomes possible. Then something more happens, then more trust. By and by, trust becomes absolute and the disciple disappears. And the moment that the disciple has disappeared, the disciple is born. Now there is not going to be any trouble. Now things will become very smooth and the journey will be a joy, it will not be an anxiety. Alone, it will create anguish.
And then at the ultimate point the master is needed finally to give you a push – because at the ultimate point everybody hesitates. It is death. The Sufis call it the great death. It is no ordinary death – in ordinary death only the body dies. It is the great death. In this death even the self dies, you are utterly annihilated. That’s why Buddha called this state nirvana, the blowing out of the candle. You are utterly annihilated. But only out of that annihilation does something arise.
A great Sufi master, Master Farid al-Din’ Attar, relates the tale of the phoenix. It is a symbolic, mythological tale of the ultimate utter death of the disciple.
The phoenix is a wonderful bird. It has no mate and dwells in solitude. Its beak is long and hard like a flute, and contains nearly one hundred holes. Each hole sounds a different tone, and each tone reveals a mystery. A mystic friend of the bird taught it the art of music.
When the phoenix utters these sounds, all the birds of the sky and fish of the sea are affected. All the wild beasts are made silent by the entrancing music and experience of ecstasy.
The phoenix lives about a thousand years. It knows the time of its death, and when this knowledge is tearing at its heart it gathers a hundred trees, heaps them in one spot, and begins a fire. Then it places itself in the middle of the fire. Through each of the holes in its beak it sounds a plaintive cry, out of the depth of its soul it utters its dying lament, and then begins to tremble.
At the sound of the music all the birds gather. The wild beasts assemble to be present at the death of the phoenix. At this time they all become aware of their own death. When the moment arrives for it to draw its last breath, the phoenix spreads its tail and feathers and with these it kindles a fire that spreads swiftly to the woodpile and begins to blaze. Soon the fire and bird become one red-hot mass. When the glowing charcoal is reduced to ashes and only one spark remains, a new phoenix arises into life.
But how can you trust that the new phoenix is going to arise? You will be gone, you will be utterly gone. The Buddhists say: “Gate, gate, parasamgate – you will be gone, gone, gone forever.” But in that very going something is new. You release the energy, the old pattern disappears, but that eternal energy takes a new form, a birth. It is a resurrection. That is the last thing the master has to do – to help you die, to help you disappear.
Sufis say that without a master there is no way, because without the master it is almost an impossibility for a seeker to reach.

The third question:
You said that life is a pilgrimage without a goal. Is this only for the unenlightened? When an enlightened being leaves his body, does the pilgrimage continue?
Yes, the pilgrimage continues, but the pilgrim is no more. The pilgrim disappears, the pilgrimage continues.
In you, just the opposite is the case: the pilgrim is there and the pilgrimage is not there yet. The pilgrim is too much, hence it obstructs the pilgrimage.
The dancer disappears, but the dance continues; the singer disappears, but the song continues. The song cannot die because the song comes from God. The dancer cannot live eternally because the dancer is only exists in your mind, just a fiction. The dance is the reality, the dancer is just a fiction – hence Sufis have developed many methods through dance: the whirling dervish, the turn.
What happens in the turn? What happens for the whirling dervish when he goes on dancing and whirling and whirling and whirling? What happens? A moment comes when the whirler disappears, there is only whirling; the turner is no more, there is only the turn. There is energy, but there is no center to that energy. In that very moment there is meditation.
Dance is one of the ancientmost methods, tariqa – hence my strong insistence for dance. Many people come to me – orthodox Jainas. Catholics, Buddhists – and they say, “Why is there so much dance?” Because they think that meditation can only happen when you sit silently under a tree with an absolutely unmoving body.
Meditation can happen in two ways. Either all movement disappears – then you sit like a Buddha, stonelike, statuelike. When all movement disappears the mover disappears, because the mover cannot exist without the movement. Then there is meditation. Or, you dance. You go on dancing and dancing and dancing and a moment comes of such ecstasy, of such extreme movement of energy, that in that movement the rocklike ego cannot exist. It becomes a whirlwind. The rock disappears and there is only dance. The movement is there, but the mover is no longer there. Again, meditation has happened.
For those who are following the path of love, mahaba, dance will suit perfectly. For those who are following the path of knowing, sitting buddhalike, in yoga postures, unmoving, will be helpful.

The fourth question:
Often it seems that a successful therapeutic relationship results in spiritual growth for both client and therapist. Please explain: To what extent is the relationship between client and therapist similar to that of disciple and master?
It is not similar at all, for many reasons. But the most fundamental reason is that the client and the therapist relationship is a relationship, and a relationship between a disciple and master is not a relationship at all because the disciple has to disappear into it. The client, the patient, has not to disappear into the therapist; they retain their identities. They remain two. In the relationship with the master, the disciple has to disappear, and when there is no disciple, naturally the master has disappeared also – because the master cannot be there without the disciple.
The master is the idea of the disciple. When the disciple has disappeared the master has disappeared and there is only existence; one existence.
This is very significant. Remember it. If you are ready to disappear I am already not there. I exist only in your mind. As far as my own existence is concerned, it is not there. If you are ready to dissolve, suddenly you will become aware that you have dissolved into a nothingness; there is neither master nor disciple. How can there be a relationship? The relationship is possible between the teacher and the taught, yes, but not between a master and a disciple.
There are two kinds of people around here. Those who are disciples… For them there is no relationship with me – I am them, they are me. But there are a few who are students. Then there is a relationship: I am the teacher and they are the students. There may be a few who are here as patients too – then I am the therapist and they are the patients. It depends on you. But the relationship between a patient and a therapist is a relationship.
The second thing to remember: the patient and the therapist are not different as far as their beings are concerned. The therapist may be suffering from the same pathology as the patient, he may have the same problems. But he is an expert, a knowledgeable person. He knows more than the patient. He is not more than the patient, he knows more than the patient. He can be helpful.
He is like a plumber. The plumber knows more than you about your bathroom, but that doesn’t mean that he is more than you. When something is wrong – the heater is not functioning and the water is not flowing – you call the plumber. He knows more; he will be helpful, he is an expert.
The therapist is the plumber of the mind. Something is blocked – he knows, he will help you. I have many plumbers around here and they do good work, they really know what they are doing – but remember, a plumber is a plumber.
A master is not a plumber. A master is not quantitatively different from you; he is qualitatively different from you. Sometimes it can happen that the disciple may know more than the master. It is possible, there is no problem in it, but the disciple is not more than the master. And that is the difference.
The master has being; he has arrived. He has no problems, his problems have disappeared – because he has disappeared, the basic problem has disappeared. The problem-creator has disappeared. He has no problems. When you relate to a master you are relating to a person who has no problems. He is utterly quiet. There is absolute silence. No question, no problem, nothing to be solved, nowhere to go, nothing to do. All has already happened. There is no more to happen. Happening has disappeared. He simply is. It is a pure isness, a pure existence.
A therapist is a man just like you, but he has a certain expertise. He can help you so far.
I have heard…

A fellow had two parrots and he wanted to know which was the male and which was the female. A man standing near said, “I am a bird expert, and I can tell you.”
“If you look you will notice that every time the birds eat worms, the male bird always eats the male worms and the female bird eats the female worms.”
“Well, how do you know which is the male and which is the female worm?”
“Well, I don’t know that. I’m just a bird expert.”

A therapist can go so far, but don’t push him too much. Take his help. He knows much more about how the human mind functions and how man behaves than you know. He has studied it. He can be helpful. If your mind is not functioning well he can put things right. He can make you readjusted.
A master does not readjust your mind, he helps you to dissolve it. He is not concerned in adjusting you to the society, adjusting you to particular norms, standards, principles. He is not concerned with adjusting you at all – because this society is sick. It is as sick as it can be. To adjust you to this society is to adjust you to great sickness. This society is mad, it is neurotic. And all your psychotherapists are in the service of this neurotic society. When somebody starts going beyond the limits of the commonly accepted neurosis the psychotherapist has to be brought in – you are going too far. Come back. He helps you to come back to the accepted boundaries. He makes you normally abnormal, that’s all. He is in the service of the society.
That’s why psychotherapy is very anti-revolutionary. If it is a capitalist society, the therapist will adjust you to the capitalist society. If you live in America, he will adjust you to the American society, the American way of life. If you live in Soviet Russia, he will adjust you to the communist society, the communist way of life. He serves the state. He serves the status quo. Wherever he is, he is in the service of whomsoever happens to be in power.
A master serves no power. A master serves no society. A master is basically rebellious. Rebellion is his very flavor. He serves no imprisonments, he serves no conditionings. He makes you simply free – free of all conditioning, free of all societies, free of all man-made laws and disciplines. He gives you freedom.
A psychotherapist gives you a psychological readjustment so that you can function better, that’s all. The psychotherapist looks at you as a function in the society. You are a doctor, you were doing perfectly well, then one day you go cuckoo. Now the psychotherapist comes and helps you to get back to doing your things in the same way you were doing them. You were doing such a good service to the society, you were such a good physician, you were a good professor, and then something goes wrong. You were doing such a utilitarian thing, you were such a good commodity.

A professor of philosophy told his class that if any of them could answer one question he would allow that individual to forego the regular examination. The question was: “If a boat floats five miles downstream while a crow flies eight miles across an open field in the same time that a sparrow flies ten and half miles counter-clockwise, then how old am I?”
“You are forty-four years old, sir,” answered one of the pupils.
“Remarkable!” exclaimed the professor. “Tell me, exactly how did you arrive at that figure?”
“That was easy, sir,” replied the student modestly. “You see, I have a nephew who’s twenty-two, and he’s only half crazy.”

Now this professor will need a psychotherapist to bring him back. He has gone too far – far out.
The psychotherapist helps the society to remain as it is. Freudians, Jungians, Adlerians and all, they are all anti-revolutionaries because they all serve the society. Whatever they say, howsoever they guard their principles, basically they serve the status quo.
They are the modern version of the priest. In the ancient days the priest used to serve the same function. He used to keep people under rule, under control; he was serving the king. There was a conspiracy between the priest and the politician. The politician would touch the feet of the priest and the priest was enforcing a certain kind of society on people in the name of God. Then by and by God died. Naturally the priest became unemployed. The kings disappeared. Now there are only five kings – four of playing cards and one of England. The others have disappeared. The king disappeared, the priest disappeared, God disappeared, the society became democratic.
But the society needs the priest. Without the priest the politician cannot function. The priest has come back with a new name: the psychotherapist is the new priest and psychotherapy is the new religion, religion in the sense all so-called religions have been. It is not Sufism, it is not Zen, it is not Hasidism; it is Judaism, Mohammedanism, Hinduism, Buddhism. It is the new religion, and the psychotherapist is the new priest and they are serving old purposes – old wine in new bottles.
The master has always been against the priest and the master is going to remain against all kinds of priests, whatever their name.
The relationship between a master and a disciple is something utterly different. First it is not a relationship; second it has nothing to do with society, adjustment, normality. In fact, the master helps the disciple to go beyond the mind. The therapist keeps the person below the mind, in the mind. Their functions are almost contrary.

And the last question:
Why did Gurdjieff use to say that if you want to get rid of religion, live close to a priest?
It is simple. The priest remains significant only if you don’t know his heart, if you don’t know his reality. If you start knowing his reality you will be surprised: the priest is the last person to believe in religion. He never believes, he only pretends. It is his profession to believe. The priest is the only person who knows that God does not exist, but he cannot say it because his whole business depends on it. It is his trade secret. Gurdjieff is right.
Listen to a few stories. That will do!

A member of the Catholic Church approached her priest and said, “Father, my dog died, and I want to know if you think it is all right to have a funeral for him.”
The priest said, “Yes, I think it’s all right, if you desire one.”
“And who do you think would be a good minister to conduct it?”
The priest wasn’t too happy with the thought of this funeral so he said, “I know a good Presbyterian minister down the street. I believe he will conduct it for you.”
“Oh, thank you, Father, and just one more question. How much do you think I should pay him for it – two hundred dollars or three hundred dollars?”
The priest’s eyes lit up, and as he slipped his arm around his parishioner, he said, “Why, my friend, why didn’t you say it was a Catholic dog?”

And another:

A Baptist Deacon had advertised a cow for sale.
“How much are you asking for it?” inquired a prospective purchaser.
“A hundred and fifty dollars,” said the advertiser.
“And how much milk does she give?”
“Four gallons a day,” he replied.
“But how do I know that she will actually give that amount?” asked the purchaser.
“Oh, you can trust me,” reassured the advertiser. “I’m a Baptist Deacon.”
“I’ll buy it,” replied the other. “I’ll take the cow home and bring you the money later. You can trust me. I’m a Presbyterian Elder.”
When the Deacon arrived home he asked his wife, “What is a Presbyterian Elder?”
“Oh,” she explained, “a Presbyterian Elder is about the same as a Baptist Deacon.”
“Oh dear!” groaned the Deacon, “I have lost my cow!”

Gurdjieff is right. If you want to remain religious in the old sense never go close to a priest, it is better to keep away. If you really want to become religious then it is very good to go and watch a priest as closely as possible. That will show you the reality of the so-called priests and the reality of their so-called religions. That will annihilate Mohammedanism, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism in your mind.
And then for the first time you will inquire. You will start inquiring what true religion is beyond the dogmas and the churches and the creeds, beyond the conflicts, beyond the theologies. You will start inquiring what true God is.
And that makes a man a Sufi or a Zen seeker or a Hasid.
Enough for today.

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