Sufis The People of Path Vol 1 09

Ninth Discourse from the series of 16 discourses - Sufis The People of Path Vol 1 by Osho.
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Hassan came upon Rabiya one day when she was sitting amongst a number of contemplators, and said, “I have the capacity of walking on water. Come, let us both go onto that water yonder, and sitting upon it, carry out a spiritual discussion.”
Rabiya said, “If you wish to separate yourself from this august company, why do you not come with me so that we may fly into the air and sit there talking?”
Hassan said, “I cannot do that, for the power which you mention is not one which I possess.”
Rabiya said, “Your power of remaining still in the water is one which is possessed by fish. My capacity of flying in the air can be done by a fly. These abilities are no part of real truth – they may become the foundation of self-esteem and competitiveness, not spirituality.”
The games of the ego are very subtle, and if one is trying to drop the ego they become more and more subtle. If one has really decided to drop it anyhow, the ultimate strategy that the ego can use to protect itself is to become egoless: is to pretend humility, humbleness; is to show, “Now there is no need to fight with me, I am not at all.”
The ego is one of the most fundamental problems that man has to face. The ways of the ego have to be understood rightly, otherwise you will never be able to get rid of it. And until you get rid of the ego there is no possibility of meeting the divine. It is the ego that functions as a barrier between you and reality.
The ego functions as a barrier because it is one of the most unreal things possible. The ego is a fiction, it is not a fact. It is maintained by conditioning, by hypnosis; it is maintained by a thousand and one props. It is a fiction because existence is one – it can have only one center, it cannot have millions of centers.
What is the ego? The ego is the idea that “I am the center of the universe.” That is what the ego is – reduced to the basic – the idea that “I am the center of the universe.” “I” cannot be the center of the universe, but everybody has the idea that “I am the center of the universe.”
And the second part of the ego is that it is separative, it is a fiction that separates you from the totality. It gives you the idea that you are independent, that you are an island – and you are not. Existence is a vast infinite continent, there are no islands. You are not separate and you are not independent.
Remember, when I say you are not independent, I don’t mean that you are dependent – because the very idea of dependence will again presuppose the ego. There is nobody to be independent and there is nobody to be dependent. We live in interdependence, in mutual existence, in mutuality. We are parts of each other, members of one another. The trees are penetrating you and the rocks are penetrating you and the rivers are penetrating you – and you are penetrating the rivers and the trees and the rocks. The furthest star is connected with you. And when you blink your eyes you change the quality of the total existence. All is infinitely interconnected, interwoven. Nobody is separate.
So nobody can be independent and nobody can be dependent. Independence and dependence are both aspects of the same coin called ego. A real person is neither. A real person simply does not exist as a person, he has no boundaries. He exists as God, not as a person.
Just the other day somebody asked a question: “What does bhagwan mean?” It means this experience of interdependence. It means this experience of infinite mutuality. It means this oneness with the whole. It means, “I am no longer separate.” And if I am no longer separate, I am not – because I can be only when I am separate. There is no way to be without being separate.
Hence on one hand the ego creates separation, on the other hand it creates anxiety, fear – fear of death. The fear of death comes out of the ego, otherwise there is no death, there has never been death. Death exists not. If I am one with the whole, then how can death exist? The whole has never died, the whole has always been there, and the whole is going to remain there always.
The ocean never dies. Only ripples and waves come and go. Once the wave thinks, “I am separate from the ocean,” then it will have great anxiety. Then death is coming – sooner or later. It is on the way; it is coming. And the fear, and the anxiety… But if the wave knows, “I am not separate, how can I die? To die you have to be separate. If I am one with the ocean, whether I am like a wave or not like a wave does not matter. That which exists in me is the ocean. It has been there before me, it will be there after I am gone. In fact, I never came and I never went, it was just a manifestation of the universe” – then death disappears and birth disappears. Otherwise the ego creates the fear that “I am going to die” and there is a constant trembling in the heart.
You can never be at ease with the ego. Your anguish is your ego and nothing else. Bhagwan does not mean the English word God – which has become very dirty with wrong associations – bhagwan means the experience of oneness, the experience that “there is no wall between me and the whole,” that “I don’t have a boundary,” that “I am not and the whole is.” If you feel a boundary you are limited, small. Then your limitation gives pain, hurts – so limited, so small. Then you want to become big.
Just see the mechanism of the ego. First the ego makes you feel small; it creates a sort of inferiority: “I am so tiny against such a big world, I have to be big – big in money, big in power. I have to be the president or the prime minister or the richest man of the world, or I have to become Alexander the Great, or something.” Because the ego makes you feel limited and nobody likes limitation. Then the desire to become bigger arises. And you go on becoming bigger, but the bigger you become the more egoistic you become – because you carry the ego.
See the absurdity of it. The bigger you become, the more egoistic you become – you start thinking, “Now I am somebody.” And the more egoistic you become, the smaller you feel. It looks paradoxical: the bigger you become, the smaller you feel. And again and again the desire arises to become big. With the ego, nobody can become big. It is impossible.
Only by dropping the ego does one suddenly become big – not big, one really becomes infinite because then you don’t have any boundaries. Then if there are any boundaries to existence those are your boundaries – and there are none. Existence is unbounded. It has no possibility of ending anywhere, neither in time nor in space. In both dimensions it is infinite, it is infinitely infinite.
But don’t start dropping the ego. You cannot drop it because it is a fiction, not a fact. If you start dropping it you will create another fiction – that “I have become egoless.” If you start dropping it, if you start becoming humble, if you practice humility, you will become egoistic again in a new way. You will start thinking, “I am the most humble man in the world, the humblest.”

Three monks were talking. One was a Trappist monk. He said, “Nobody can compete with us as far as asceticism is concerned.” Trappist monks are really very ascetic; the most neurotic of all the kinds of Christian monks.
The second was a Catholic monk. He said, “That’s right. But nobody can compete with us as far as knowledge of the scripture is concerned.”
And they both looked at the third, a Baptist monk. They wanted him to declare what goods he had. The monk said, “We are nobodies as far as asceticism goes, we are nobodies as far as knowledge goes, but as far as humbleness is concerned, we are the top.”

Humbleness and, “We are the top!”
This is how the human ego functions. You cannot drop it because it is not. How can you drop it? You can drop something if it is. You cannot fight with it, how can you fight with something that is not? You cannot kill it, how can you kill it when it is not?
Then what can one do? One can only understand. One can look into the mechanism of it – how this whole fiction functions. Once you have looked into the fiction through and through, from one corner to another, from A to Z, it is not that you drop the ego – in that very insight the ego disappears. In fact, to say that it disappears is not right, it was never there. You come to realize that you were believing in a nonentity. It was not there from the very beginning.
It is just as if you stay in a room and somebody has told you that there is a ghost in the room. Now you cannot sleep. It is not that the ghost is there, it is the idea that there is a ghost and if you fall asleep there may be some danger – the ghost may jump upon you, may sit upon you, may drink your blood or something. Ghosts are unreliable people. One never knows what the ghost will do. You cannot sleep, you cannot afford to sleep.
And the more sleepless and tired you become, the more and more you will believe in the ghost because the weaker you become, the stronger the ghost becomes. In the middle of the night, when the whole world has fallen asleep and everything is silent, you will become more afraid – now you are absolutely alone. Everybody has fallen asleep. Even the traffic has stopped. Now there is nobody. If the ghost comes you are left alone. Even if you scream now nobody is going to hear. Now you will be more troubled. And a small rat passing by, or just a bird fluttering outside in a tree, or a dry leaf moving on the road in the wind – that is enough! You can lose all your consciousness.
There was nothing from the very beginning. You created the whole thing. You had an idea and the idea became a reality. Now, you cannot fight with this ghost, you only have to see whether the ghost is or is not. You only have to understand. You have to see the mechanism of how the idea of the ghost is manipulating you. It is just an idea – and your idea.
The case with the ego is exactly the same. The ego is a ghost. It is unreal, it is utterly unreal. But it has been deeply rooted in you for certain reasons. First, the society needs it. Without creating a kind of ego in you, you will be dangerous. Through the ego you can be manipulated. Just think: if you don’t have any ego nobody can frighten you – impossible – because you don’t have any death. Only you with your ego can be frightened through death.
That is the reason why Jesus was not frightened, why Mansoor was not frightened. Many Sufis have been killed. When Mansoor was being crucified, one hundred thousand people had gathered to see. Somebody asked – because he was laughing, laughing like crazy – somebody asked, “Mansoor, have you really gone mad? You are being crucified, why are you laughing? This is death. Are you alert of the fact?”
Mansoor said, “That’s why I am laughing. They are killing somebody who is not. That is the whole ridiculousness of it, that’s why I am laughing!”
It is as if somebody is killing a wave. Maybe the wave disappears, but how can you kill a wave? It will be there in the ocean, it will still be there, it will be absolutely as it was before. Only the form is not there, but form does not matter. Mansoor says, “They are trying to kill somebody who is not there in the first place, that’s why I am laughing.”
Many Sufis have been killed and they accepted death with such joy. From where do that joy and that courage come?
It is not the courage of a soldier. No, not at all. It is the courage of a man who has come to realize that there is no ego, that “I am not, so how can you kill me?” The courage of the soldier is different from the courage of a saint. The courage of the soldier is a well-maintained courage; deep down he is afraid, deep down he is trembling like a small child. But he has been trained for years to be brave. In the army he has been trained to be brave – bravery is a trained attitude. It is his habit to be brave. But deep down is the suspicion, deep down is the fear. Even the greatest soldiers feel fear. It is natural.
The difference between a brave soldier and a cowardly soldier is not one of fear; the difference is only that the brave soldier goes to the war, to the front, into death, into fire, in spite of the fear. The coward cannot go, he escapes. But the fear is there in both. The brave man just has an idea of bravery; he has been conditioned. His ego has been strengthened in such a way that he has to remain brave. It is against his ego to escape; it is against his ego to run away – that’s all. Otherwise, he is shaking like a leaf in a strong wind, trembling.
The courage of a saint is totally different. It has nothing to do with the courage of a soldier. He knows he is not, so how can you kill him? He knows there is no death because there has never been any birth. He has dropped the fallacy of birth, so the fallacy of death disappears. He has dropped the fallacy of the ego, so all other fallacies disappear. All other fallacies hang around the basic fallacy of the ego.
And how does one drop it? – just by seeing into the ways of it, how it comes. You pull it out from one side, you push it out from one door and it comes in from another door, from the back door, in a subtler form so you cannot recognize it.
The society needs the ego, otherwise people will be uncontrollable. The state needs it, otherwise people will be so rebellious, people will be so authentically themselves, that it will be next to impossible to create slavery, to create robopathology, to create these automatons you see walking on the roads, working in the offices, factories, this and that. Exploitation will be impossible without the ego. The society needs it.
It is a political stratagem and it is utilitarian too. You have to refer to yourself in some way. It will be confusing if you start using your name to refer to yourself.

Swami Ramateerth, a Hindu mystic, used to do that. He never used to use the word I, he would use Ram – that was his name. If he was feeling hungry, he would say, “Ram is very hungry.”
But it creates trouble. Then they would start saying, “Who is Ram? Who is he talking about?”
He was in New York and some people insulted him. He must have looked a little bizarre in orange clothes in New York – this happened sixty or seventy years ago, when the orange people were not known at all. He was the first sannyasin to reach America. People laughed at him, ridiculed him. He laughed, came back home.
The host asked, “What is the matter. Why are you laughing so much? What has happened?”
He said, “Ram was insulted and people were ridiculing Ram and Ram enjoyed it.”
“Ram?” the host asked. “What do you mean by Ram? Isn’t this your name?”
He laughed again. He said, “I don’t have any name. I can’t have any name. I don’t even use ‘I.’ I use ‘Ram,’ the third person. I am as far away from Ram as you are. I am as much a witness of Ram as you are.”

But this will create many problems. It will not be feasible if everybody starts using his name instead of I; it will create confusion. The I is significant, linguistically utilitarian. Nothing is wrong in using it. I will not tell you to stop using it – just know perfectly well that it is just a word, utilitarian, but it has no reality behind it.
In fact, if I had met Swami Ram I would have told him, “You are giving too much importance to the word I in avoiding it. You are making it too significant. It is not. There is no need to be so afraid of it. One just has to see the point, one just has to look into it and see that it is only a word, a label – perfectly useful, but with no reality behind it, with no substance behind it. Why do you go on avoiding it? The very fact of avoiding it so much seems to mean that you are still afraid, a little bit afraid that if you use the word I, maybe the ego will come back. So you are putting the ego away just by not using the I? That won’t help. It can come in the third person, Ram, too. It is so subtle.”
First the society needs to create an ego in you because then it can manipulate you, manage you, very easily. How does it happen? Once the ego is created, it becomes possible to manipulate the child. Then you can tell him that he has to come first in the class. If he has no ego, you cannot create ambition in him. He will laugh at the whole idea. “Why first? Why me first, why not others? What is wrong if somebody else comes first?”
Small children don’t see the point because they still don’t have a crystallized idea of the ego. A small child can come from the school and happily declare to the house, “I have failed again.” He has not yet been poisoned. But sooner or later… How long can he survive without being poisoned? The whole system of education is a subtle trick to create the ego, hence so much competition, ambition – be the first, come at the top of the list, become a gold medalist.
And that goes on and on. It doesn’t end with school, it goes on. Even old people are hankering for rewards, awards, Nobel Prizes, and things like that. They are still childish.
Once the idea has entered your bloodstream that “I am,” then everything is possible. You can be made afraid that if you don’t do this you will lose, if you do this you will profit. If you do this you will succeed, if you do this you will fail. With the idea of the ego, fear of punishment and greed for profit become possible. The whole of society exists in greed and fear.
Once a child has learned the ways of greed, then for his whole life he will be rushing after money or power or prestige. He will be losing his whole life in something absolutely nonessential. Money is not important, remember, money is important because you have the idea of the ego.
Many people drop money, they renounce money. In India it happens that people renounce their money and they think they have renounced something really essential. It is nothing – because money is secondary. One never loves money for money’s sake, one loves money for the ego’s sake. You have one million dollars, your ego feels puffed up. You can renounce one million dollars and you can go to the Himalayas and you can still feel puffed up with the idea, “I have renounced a million dollars. Many people have a million dollars, but how many renounce it?” Now you are getting still higher. The very idea that very few people can renounce such a lot of money with such ease will make your ego a little bigger. So those who renounce have very subtle egos.
If you are a president of a country and you renounce it and you say, “Now I am going to become a sannyasin and I will go to the Himalayas and meditate,” sitting there in a Himalayan cave you will still enjoy the idea that nobody has ever done that before. You renounced being president of a country – you are the greatest monk in the world. The ego has come, following you like a shadow. It will be there in your Himalayan cave too. You cannot escape from it so easily.
It is a subtle phenomenon. It needs much awareness to drop it. Just by running away you cannot drop it. How can you run away from yourself? And this mechanism is inside you, it is not outside. If it were outside, you could drop it, but it is inside you, it has become part of you. It is your very style. You have lived with it for so long that you don’t know how to live without it. So whatever way you choose to live, the ego will remain there hiding behind it.
The society needs it, the state needs it, the parents need it, the leaders, the politicians need it, the priest needs it – everybody needs the ego. Only you don’t need it. Only you become miserable because of it. Only because of it do you miss the Kingdom of God.
So you have to be very, very alert because the whole of society and the state and everybody is conspiring. They want you to have an ego.
You have to decide whether you want to go into this trip or you don’t want to go into this trip. You have to see what you have gained up to now by going into this trip. What is your gain? What joy has arrived? What bliss has happened?
You can change. You can become an otherworldly person – who is not really so otherworldly. You can say, “In this world there is nothing, this world is all nonsense. Death comes and everything is taken away. I will seek some eternal power.” But it is still power. “This world’s money is not very significant. I will seek some other kind of treasure that is eternal, that will remain with me.” Then again you become an egoist with new names – spiritual power, miraculous power.
There are three ways that the so-called spiritual man can fall into the same trap again. Either he becomes very knowledgeable – then he has the ego: “I know, and I know much more than anybody else.” Or he can become an ascetic. He can torture himself, he can be masochistic with himself. He can fast, he can start committing a slow suicide and he can tell the world, “I am the greatest mahatma. Look, I have renounced all, even my body.”
Or the third way is that he can start using psychic energy as power. He can become a miracle-monger. There are great energies in the psyche. They can all unfold. And when you start moving into deep meditation they start unfolding. The real spiritual man will not use them at all because he knows that it will be a trap that will bring you back into the mire of the world. A real spiritual man never uses any power. If miracles sometimes happen around a real religious man they happen on their own. He is not the doer.

A man came to Jesus, touched his garments, and was healed. He wanted to thank Jesus. He was thankful, he had been ill for years and the doctors had said that there was no remedy for him – and now he was in perfect health. He could not believe his own eyes.
He fell at the feet of Jesus to thank him and Jesus said, “Man, you need not thank me at all. Thank God. In fact, thank yourself – it is your own faith that has healed you. I have nothing to do with it.”

This is the quality of the real spiritual man – if something happens he is not the doer. Yes, miracles happen, but they are not done. And when a person starts doing them – like Satya Sai Baba and other people – when a person starts doing them he is no longer spiritual, not at all. He has fallen to the status of a magician. Now there is nothing of spirituality left. Just as people want to show their money, he wants to show his psychic powers. But the showman is there – so he is as much a part of show business as anybody else.
Miracles happen around a spiritual man, real miracles. These are not real miracles – that you can produce ash or you can produce a Swiss-made watch – these are not miracles, these are simple tricks. Around a really spiritual person real miracles happen. People transform, people change, people start attaining new spaces of being. People start moving into new dimensions of joy and life and eternity. People start being more loving and more compassionate. People start blooming. Fragrance arises. People start dancing; their hearts for the first time pulsate with celebration. These are real miracles. People start feeling that God is, people start trusting that God is. People start becoming aware of who they are. People start losing their sleepiness. Their eyes start opening. People become whole, no longer fragmentary, integrated. These are real miracles. These happen.
But they are not done; nobody is doing them. If somebody is there to do them, the ego still exists. And with the ego, the world; with the ego, all the darkness.
So you have to be alert. Nobody will be in favor of you dropping your ego. Your wife will not be in favor, your husband will not be in favor, your children will not be in favor – because once the husband drops the ego he has no ambition, so the wife will not feel good. The wife wants you to go on and on earning money, purchasing bigger and bigger houses, having more diamonds, more gold, more money in the bank, bigger insurance policies, and all that.
If you lose the ego your ambition disappears. Then you are no longer concerned with ambition, then you are no longer driving yourself mad. Of course you will be healthy, but who bothers about a healthy husband? You will not have ulcers, that’s right, but wives are not interested in whether you have ulcers or not. They are interested in having a bigger house, two houses – one in the country, one in the city. They are more interested in you having a yacht, they are more interested in you having power and prestige and pull. If you have ulcers, that is your business.
You will not have ulcers once the ego disappears. The ulcers will disappear. Ulcers are the footprints of ambition. You may not have cancer anymore, the cancer may not be possible at all because cancer is chronic anxiety. When anxiety becomes too much for the body to tolerate, the body starts moving toward death. The body starts creating situations where it can die easily. Cancer is an effort to die – things have become unbearable, now there is no point in living. You want to die. Cancer simply shows your will to death. You may not be courageous enough to recognize it, but your unconscious is helping you to die easily – that’s why there is no cure for cancer. The man has really lost his joy of life. He has lost his joy of life in futile things.
But wives are interested in having bigger houses, their own airplane – you can have cancer, that is okay, that you can afford. Children are also interested. They will drive the father mad.
And the husband is also interested that his wife should be beautiful – not that he loves his wife, she is a showpiece, he takes her around. He can brag around that he has the most beautiful wife in the world. He does not care for her a bit. He may not have seen her face for many years. While making love to her he may be thinking of other women or he may be lost in a thousand and one thoughts. He wants the woman to remain young, he wants the woman to remain beautiful, he wants the woman to remain attractive so he can take her around society. She is something that helps his ego.
The ego feels very hurt when you start moving with an ugly woman, naturally. “So this is what you have?” There is no other interest; not at all in the person of the woman, only in the personality – and that too for worldly ends.
This is how things are. So if you start dropping your ego nobody is going to support you, nobody at all. Everybody will be against it because everybody’s interest is that you remain egoistic. Even people who teach you to be egoless – if you really drop the ego they will not feel very good, because then who are they going to teach to be egoless? Even the priest who goes on teaching you to be egoless will be disturbed if you really become egoless. He will not like the idea at all.

I have heard about a dog who was a kind of preacher. He used to preach to other dogs of the town that God has made the dog in his own image. “Look,” he used to say, “even the word dog is just made of the same letters as God. Just see – it is God in reverse. Just a question of changing the direction and the dog can become God.”
It appealed to other dogs. Only one thing was difficult: he was very against barking. The priests are always against something that is impossible to stop. Now, it is impossible for dogs to stop barking; that would be too much against their dog nature. They enjoy barking, that is their joy, that is their poetry, their dance, their celebration. When they feel happy, what else can they do? They bark. When it is the night of the full moon, they bark. The full-moon night is a great celebration for dogs. They go almost mad. It is so beautiful – what else can they do?
He was against barking. The priests are very, very cunning in finding things that you cannot drop. They have found sex – you cannot drop it. They are against it. They have found taste – you cannot drop it. They are against it. They have found all those things that are difficult for you to drop. They are against them. You are not going to drop them and they will go on preaching to you, “Drop them!”
He preached day and night. Wherever he found a dog barking he would immediately go and start preaching. The dogs were tired of it although they knew that he was right – it is useless to bark. They also knew it, there was no need to convince them. And he was very logical.
But one day they decided, “Our leader has grown so old and we have never given him any joy; at least for one night we should not bark.” It was the great leader’s birthday so they thought, “This will be a good present. Let him be happy at least once. Tonight we are not going to bark at all.” They decided.
It was a full-moon night and it was very difficult. It was almost impossible. They were just lying down in dark holes, holding themselves somehow – in yoga postures. Repressing, repressing – and the more they were repressing, the more the bark came to their throats.
The leader went around and he looked, and not a single dog was barking. He became puzzled. What has happened? It was going to be a surprise gift, so nobody had told him. What has happened? Have dogs really changed? Then he became worried, “Then what will I do? If they have really stopped then my whole business has gone. Then what am I going to do?” He went around. He trusted dogs’ natures; they would bark. He knew them very well. His whole life he had been teaching and nobody had stopped barking. Sometimes he would find a few disciples who would stop for one or two days and then they would escape. They would say, “This is too much. We don’t want to go to God. Please let us remain dogs.”
But what has happened? A miracle? He went around and around and he saw that dogs were not even visible and nobody was barking, and he could not teach. It was getting late, it was the middle of the night, and for the first time he himself felt a great urge to bark. In fact, it had not been felt before because he had to talk so much – morning, evening, night – that there was no energy left to bark. For the first time he had not found a single disciple to teach.
The energy accumulated and a great urge to bark arose. He was surprised because he had not barked for many years. He had almost forgotten how to bark. A great thrill came to him. He said, “There are no dogs here, why should I not try? What is wrong in it?” And all those kinds of thoughts that come to everybody: “Once it is okay. It can’t be such a sin. Not all dogs are going to hell.” He knew that it was natural, but he had lived such an unnatural life, the life of a priest.
So he went into a dark corner in a street and started barking. The moment he started barking, suddenly there was a great explosion all over the town. All the dogs started barking. Everybody was boiling within. When they saw that one had broken the vow, they thought that it was somebody from amongst themselves – they could not think that the priest would do this, that was impossible. They had known him for years. Somebody had broken the vow so there was no need to repress anymore. The whole town exploded into barking. It had never been like that!
Then out came the leader and started teaching them again that this was not good: “It is only because of barking that we are not kings of the world, otherwise we would be the kings of the world. Just this one thing is destroying our potential.”

The priests who go on telling you to drop your egos won’t be very happy if you drop them because the moment you drop your egos, you will be beyond the control of the priest.
So you will have to move into this direction alone, all alone. Nobody will be helping you and everybody will be against you. But unless you understand that the ego is your hell, you cannot be blissful.
Now this beautiful story:
Hassan came upon Rabiya one day when she was sitting amongst a number of contemplators, and said…
Rabiya al-Adabiya is one of the rarest women in the whole of human history. There are only a few names that can be compared to Rabiya, but still she remains rare, even amongst these few names – Meera, Theresa, Laila. These are the few names. But Rabiya still remains rare. She is a Kohinoor, the most precious woman ever born. Her insight is immense.
Hassan is also a famous mystic, but at a very much lower stage. And there are many stories about Hassan and Rabiya.

One day Rabiya is sitting inside her hut. It is early morning, and Hassan comes to see her. The sun is rising and the birds are singing and the trees are dancing. It is a really beautiful morning.
And from the outside he calls her forth, “Rabiya, what are you doing inside? Come out! God has given birth to such a beautiful morning. What are you doing inside?”
And Rabiya laughs and she says, “Hassan, outside is only God’s creation, inside is God himself. Why don’t you come in? Yes, the morning is beautiful, but it is nothing compared with the creator who creates all the mornings. Yes, those birds are singing beautifully, but they are nothing compared with the song of God. That happens only when you are in. Why don’t you come in? Are you not yet finished with the outer, with the without, with the outside? When will you be able to come in?”

Such stories, small, but of tremendous significance…

One evening people saw her searching for something on the street in front of her hut. They gathered together – the poor old woman was searching for something. They asked, “What is the matter? What are you searching for?”
She said, “I have lost my needle.” So they also started helping.
Then somebody asked, “Rabiya, the street is big and night is just descending and soon there will be no light and a needle is such a small thing – unless you tell us exactly where it has fallen it will be difficult to find.”
Rabiya said, “Don’t ask that. Don’t bring that question up at all. If you want to help me, help, otherwise don’t help, but don’t bring up that question.”
They all stopped – all those who were searching – and they asked, “What is the matter? Why can’t we ask this? If you don’t say where it has fallen, how can we be of any help to you?”
She said, “The needle has fallen inside my house.”
They said, “Then have you gone mad? If the needle has fallen inside the house, why are you searching here?”
She said, “Because the light is here. Inside the house there is no light.”
Somebody said, “Even if the light is here, how can we find the needle if it has not been lost here? The right way would be to bring light inside the house so you can find the needle.”
And Rabiya laughed, “You are such clever people about small things. When are you going to use your intelligence for your inner life? I have seen you all searching outside and I know perfectly well, I know from my own experience, that what you are searching for is lost within. The bliss that you are searching for, you have lost within.
“And you are searching outside. Your logic is that because your eyes can see easily outside, and your hands can grope easily outside – because the light is outside – that’s why you are searching outside.
“If you are really intelligent,” Rabiya said, “then use your intelligence. Why are you searching for bliss in the outside world? Have you lost it there?”
They stood dumbfounded and Rabiya disappeared into her house.

So many stories like that – of immense insight.
This story is also beautiful. Hassan came upon Rabiya one day when she was sitting amongst a number of contemplators… Contemplation in Sufism is zikr; it means people sitting in deep remembrance of God – not repeating any name, not saying anything verbally, not even using a mantra, just sitting silently, absorbing. And when you are around a mystic saint like Rabiya, what else can you do? The fountain is flowing, you can drink as much as you want. They must have been drinking the energy that Rabiya was, they must have been drinking the light, they must have been drinking the silence, the presence. That’s what contemplation is in Sufism.
The English word does not connote the right meaning. Contemplation in English means thinking, contemplating. In Sufism it does not mean thinking at all. Those people were not sitting there thinking about something. They were not thinking at all, they were simply being there – which in India we call satsang, just being in the presence of the master. One is not doing anything in particular, one is just in the presence – open, ready to receive, with no idea of what is going to happen, with no expectation either, just open. If something comes from the master, one is ready to receive it.
The baraka, the grace, is always flowing from the master. If you are ready you will receive it. If you are open you will be filled by it. If you are closed you will miss it. The master’s very existence is baraka, grace. Vibrations are constantly spreading around his being. And it is not only that you have to be in the physical presence of the master. If you love, then you can be on another planet and it will not make any difference. You can drink from your master’s fountain wherever you are.
This is the fountain Jesus talks about.

One day Jesus comes upon a well. He is tired. And he asks a woman who is drawing water from the well, “I am thirsty, give me some water to drink.”
The woman looks at him and she says, “But I come from a very low strata of the society and I think people like you don’t even like to touch us. And my pots and my hands have already touched the water.”
Jesus laughs and he says, “Don’t be worried. Give me your water. If you give me your water I will also give you some water. I will give you some water – water of such quality that your thirst will be quenched forever.”
The woman looked at Jesus. This statement was so sudden, she was taken aback. The statement was so sudden, so absurd, that it must have broken her sleep a little. And when a Jesus, a man like Jesus, asks a woman at the well to give him a little water, it is not really that he asks for some water for himself – he simply wants to make a contact with this woman.
In fact, a man like Jesus needs nothing from you. Even if sometimes he asks for something from you it is just in order to give to you, it is just in order to give you something, something immensely valuable.
And the woman understood it. She bowed down and touched the feet of Jesus and she ran into the town and she called to everybody in the town, “Come, I have been drawing water from the well for my whole life and I have come across a man who has quenched my thirst forever. Just looking into his eyes it has happened. Come and see this man!”
The woman became an apostle, she became a messenger. The very presence of Jesus, just a look into his eyes, transformed the quality of the woman. She became awakened.

In Zen this kind of awakening is called satori.
When Rabiya is sitting with a few meditators… It would be better to call them meditators rather than contemplators. Even the word meditation is not very good because again, in English that means thinking – to meditate upon. In English you don’t have a term to translate dhyana into because nothing like that has existed in the West – only thinking, concentration, meditation, contemplation, nothing like dhyana. Dhyana means a state of no mind; dhyana means sitting silently doing nothing; dhyana means a gap, a thoughtless gap, an interval where no thought is moving. When thoughts are not moving, the master can move in you. When thoughts have stopped, for even a single moment, suddenly the energy of the master rushes toward you. That is called baraka.
Hassan came upon Rabiya one day when she was sitting amongst a number of contemplators, and said, “I have the capacity of walking on water. Come, let us both go onto that water yonder, and sitting upon it, carry out a spiritual discussion.”
Now, this is absolutely stupid of Hassan. But he was a man like Satya Sai Baba. He was more interested in power trips. He must have learned how to walk on water, now he wanted to show it to Rabiya. He wanted to have some certificate from Rabiya. He wanted Rabiya to recognize that he had become a great mystic or something. He had not seen the people who were sitting there, he had not seen what they were doing there. He was more interested in showing some power that he had attained.
When powers start happening in your spiritual growth, the greatest courage is needed not to show them.

It is said of a disciple of Zen master Rinzai that a disciple of another religious master was talking to him. And the other master’s disciple said, “Our master is a man of miracles. He can do anything he wants. I have seen him doing many miracles, I have witnessed them myself. What is the great thing about your master? What miracles can he do?”
And the disciple of Rinzai said, “The greatest miracle that my master can do is not to do miracles.”

Meditate on it. “The greatest miracle my master can do is not to do miracles.” When miraculous powers start happening, only the weaklings will do them. The stronger one will not do them because he knows that now this is another trap. Again the world is trying to pull him back.
This is the last trap. If you can avoid psychic energies, silently witnessing, if you can pass them by without being entangled by them, without being imprisoned by them, only then do you arrive home. It is a great ensnarement.
Hassan must have stumbled upon this, now he wants to show… Naturally he must have come to Rabiya, the greatest mystic of those days.
“I have the capacity of walking on water. Come, let us both go onto that water yonder…” And he may be thinking deep inside that maybe even Rabiya does not have this power.
“…and sitting upon it, carry out a spiritual discussion.” Now, there is no possibility of any spiritual discussion ever. Spirituality knows nothing of discussion. Spirituality knows of dialogue, but it knows nothing of discussion. Spirituality knows no argument. Sufism has no argument in it. It has knowledge, but it has no argument in it. A master can share what he knows, but there is no discussion in it.
While I was traveling in India for many years it used to happen almost every day. People, knowledgeable people, would come – pundits, scholars, learned men – and they would say, “We want to discuss something with you.”
And my response was always, “If you know, you tell me, share with me. I will be happy and glad to receive it. If you don’t know, then I know something, I can share it with you. Then receive it. If we both know then there is no need to talk at all. If we both don’t know, what is the point of talking? Discussion is meaningless. These are the only possibilities: either we both don’t know, then we can go on arguing and argument will not bring any conclusion. That’s how man has argued down the ages – great argumentation, to no end. Or we both know, then there is no point in saying anything.”
Kabir and Farid, two mystics, met and sat silently for forty-eight hours. Not a single word was uttered. There was no need. Both looked into each other’s eyes and found the same reality. Not a single word. Yes, that will happen. If Jesus comes to meet Buddha, that will happen. If Zarathustra comes to see Lao Tzu, that will happen. What is there to say? You know, the other knows, there is no way to talk, there is nothing to talk about.
The third possibility is that one knows and one does not know, then whoever knows… That has been my approach. I used to say to those people, “If you know, just tell me. I will receive it. If you don’t know, then don’t be foolish and argue. I am ready to share whatever I know, then you receive it. But I don’t see that there is any point in discussion.”
This Hassan must be an egoistic fellow. First he wants to show the miraculous power he has attained, next he wants to discuss. Truth is. You cannot argue about it. Either you know or you don’t know. There is no other way. These are the only two simple alternatives – either you know or you don’t know. If you know, you know; if you don’t know, you don’t know.
Rabiya said, “If you wish to separate yourself from this august company, why do you not come with me so that we may fly into the air and sit there talking?”
She must have seen the foolishness of this man. She must have seen the ego functioning in this man. Now he had stumbled upon a toy. It always happens – when you stumble upon a toy you think you have come upon truth.
It happened in Ramakrishna’s time…

Ramakrishna had a disciple, Vivekananda, who felt great power the first time he had a satori. And in the ashram of Ramakrishna there was a very simple innocent man whose name was Kalu. He was so innocent and so simple, so childlike, that Vivekananda always used to tease him. Vivekananda was an intellectual type, argumentative. And this Kalu was a simple villager.
And Kalu used to worship: his room was a temple and in his room there were almost hundreds of gods – in India you can purchase as many gods as you want. Any stone can become a god; just put red color on it and it becomes a god. So he had almost three hundred gods in his small room. There was not even any space left for him to sleep. And he had to worship these three hundred gods every day; it used to take six to eight hours. By the evening he was finished with the worshipping, then he would take his food.
Vivekananda was always saying, “This is stupid, this is foolish. Throw all these gods into the Ganges. Be finished. This is nonsense. The god is within.”
But Kalu was such a simple man that he said, “I love those stones. They are beautiful. Don’t you see this stone? See how beautiful it is. And I have found it by the Ganges; the Ganges has given it to me. Now how can I throw it back into the Ganges? No, I cannot do that.”
The day Vivekananda attained his first satori, he was sitting in another room just close by Kalu’s room. With the first power rush the idea came into his mind that Kalu must still be worshipping. It was afternoon, but he must be worshipping. So just to have fun he thought of an idea, he projected an idea into Kalu’s mind from his room: “Kalu, now take all your gods and throw them into the Ganges.” He felt that the power was there. He could project the thought and it would be received.
Ramakrishna was sitting outside. He saw this whole game – what Vivekananda had done. He must have seen the thought being projected. But he waited. Then Kalu came out with a big bundle; he was carrying all the gods in one big bag. Ramakrishna stopped him and he said, “Wait, where are you going?”
Kalu said, “An idea came into my mind that this is foolish. I am going to throw all these gods away. I am finished with them.”
Ramakrishna said, “Wait. Call Vivekananda.” Vivekananda was called and Ramakrishna shouted very angrily and said, “Is this the way to use power?” And he told Kalu, “Go back to your room, put your gods back in their places. This is not your idea, it is Vivekananda’s.”
Then Kalu said, “I felt as if somebody was hitting me, like a stone, as if it had come from the outside. But I am a poor simple man, I didn’t know what was happening. And the idea took such possession of me and I was trembling with fear – what am I doing? But I was almost possessed.”
Ramakrishna was so angry with Vivekananda that he said, “Now I will keep your key. You will only receive this key just before you are dying, just three days before. You will never have any more satoris again.”
And this is how it happened. Vivekananda didn’t have another satori again. He cried and wept for years but he didn’t have another satori, he could not have. He tried hard. And then Ramakrishna died. When Ramakrishna was dying Vivekananda was crying and saying to him, “Give my key back.”
Ramakrishna said, “You will get it just three days before you die – because you seem to be dangerous. Such power cannot be used in such a way. You are not pure enough yet. Wait. Go on crying and you go on meditating.”
And exactly three days before Vivekananda died he had another satori. But then he knew his death had come, only three days were left.

This Hassan thinks he has attained a great power. Rabiya is joking. Rabiya says:
“If you wish to separate yourself from this august company, why do you not come with me so that we may fly into the air and sit there talking?”
Hassan said, “I cannot do that, for the power which you mention is not one which I possess.”
Remember, you can possess power, but you cannot possess God, so power can never be spiritual. With God you have to be possessed by him, you cannot possess him. If you possess something then the ego will be there. Who is this one who claims that “I possess”? “I possess money, I possess a political post, or I possess spiritual power” – but the I continues to possess. The I is possessiveness. Through possessiveness the ego exists. That’s why the ego goes on possessing. It wants to possess as much as possible. It wants to possess all. It is never satisfied. Whatever you possess, the moment you possess, it becomes meaningless. Your hankering for more – it is always for more. You can possess the whole world and still you will be hankering for more.
It is said that an astrologer once saw Alexander’s hand and by seeing his hand he said, “One thing, sir, I have to tell you. You will be victorious and you will become the emperor of the whole world, but remember, there is only one world to win.”
And it is said that Alexander became very sad with the idea that there is only one world to win. Then what will he do? What will happen to that “more,” that mind that continuously hankers? He has not yet been victorious; there is just an idea that one day he will be victorious and he will be the emperor of the whole world. The astrologer said, “But then you will be in difficulty because there is only one world, sir, so what will you do then? Where will you project your ‘more’? Where will you put your hope? How will you desire? Without desire you will be stuck.”
This is how it goes on. You can possess and then there is the “more.”
Immediately Rabiya made him aware that he did not possess the power to fly in the air. He immediately felt inferior. Now that bragging was no longer there. Suddenly he was back on the earth. He said: “I cannot do that, for the power which you mention is not one which I possess.” He had become poor again. Rabiya punctured his balloon just by creating “more” in it. The same was done by the astrologer. He must have been a very, very wise man. He punctured Alexander – there was no other world.
It is said that in the great Emperor Akbar’s time there was a great wise man, Beebal. One day the great emperor came into his court, drew a line on the wall, and said to his courtiers, “You have to do something. Find a way to make this line that I have drawn on the wall smaller – but you are not allowed to touch it. It has to be made smaller without touching it.”
It looked impossible. How to make it small if you can’t touch it? You could make it small by touching, by reducing it. And then came Beebal and he drew another line just below it, a bigger line, without touching the first line, and it became small – comparatively, relatively.
What is small? Nothing is small in itself and nothing is big in itself. It is all comparative.
Rabiya drew a bigger line. She said, “If you really want to do it then we should go into the air.” She drew a big line. Hassan must have felt very poor. In that moment the ego could not brag. He felt hurt. He said, “That power I don’t possess.”
Rabiya said, “Your power of remaining still in the water is one which is possessed by fish.”
It is nothing very valuable – otherwise all the fish would be spiritual saints.
“My capacity of flying in the air can be done by a fly.”
So that too is not much, otherwise all the stupid flies would be great buddhas.
“These abilities are no part of real truth – they may become the foundation of self-esteem and competitiveness, not spirituality.”
This is a great lesson to be remembered. If anything of competition enters your mind, you are falling away from godliness because with competition, ego is created. Competitiveness is nothing but an effort to create the ego.
Yes, you can have great self-esteem, but the greater your self-esteem is, the farther away you are from the universal self. The greater you think you are, the farther astray you have gone. And remember, I am not saying that you should start saying, “I am very small, I am just the dust underneath your feet.” No, I am not saying that – because again that is a claim.
A real spiritual man has no idea of whether he is big or small, he has no idea at all.
When the Emperor Wu asked Bodhidharma, “Who are you?” Bodhidharma said, “I don’t know.” This is a spiritual answer. “I don’t know.” Great silence. Indefinable silence. Utter silence. “I don’t know.”
The man of spirituality does not know who he is. There is no way to define. In fact, he is no more. He has become part of the whole, he has disappeared into this great orchestra. He is a simple note in this great rich orchestra. He is just a small color in this colorful existence. He is no longer separate. He is not and he possesses nothing – neither power of this world nor power of the other world. He possesses nothing. He is possessed by God.
That’s why Sufism insists on surrender. Surrender and be possessed by God. Don’t try to possess God, don’t try to grab God. Many start with the idea that they have to possess God. Many seekers move with this tremendous ego: that they have to search, their ego is at stake. But they will never find. You can find God only when you have disappeared. When the seeker is no more, suddenly only God is left. And then you start laughing because God has always been there. Just because you were so much of a seeker, you were so full of yourself, you could not see him. He has always been there. He is the reality. You cannot possess him. You cannot have God in your fist. If you have a fist you will go on missing him. You can have him only with open hands. He is there when your heart is like an open hand and not like a fist. Then you have him. Only then he is.
This is a great lesson to be remembered. You have to understand the ways of the ego. This Hassan has fallen into a subtle trap of the ego again. He has left the world, now he possesses spiritual power. Now he can walk on the water.

Once a man came to Ramakrishna. He was a great yogi. And he declared the same thing to Ramakrishna. He said, “Can you walk on the water? I can.”
And Ramakrishna laughed and he said, “What is the point of it? How much effort and how much energy and how much time did you have to waste to learn this?”
He said, “Eighteen years.”
Ramakrishna said, “This is foolish. Just by giving two paise to the boatman he takes me to the other side. Just a thing worth two paise – eighteen years? Are you stupid or something?”

This has always been the approach of a real spiritual person like Rabiya or Ramakrishna. What is the point? Even if you can walk on the water, what is the point in it? How is it relevant with your life problems? How is it going to help you? How is it going to make you happier? Just by walking on the water, will you become happy? So why are you not happy while you are walking on the earth? Just by flying in the air, will you become happy? So who is preventing you? Why can’t you become happy right now?
This is not the spiritual approach, this is the egoistic approach. Beware of the ego because the ego is the only wall between you and God.
Enough for today.

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