Sufis The People of Path Vol 1 15

Fifteenth Discourse from the series of 16 discourses - Sufis The People of Path Vol 1 by Osho.
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A certain man who was fond of studying all kinds of systems of thought wrote to a dervish master, Abdul Aziz of Mecca, asking whether he could talk to him in order to make comparisons. The dervish sent him a bottle with oil and water in it, and a piece of cotton wick. Enclosed in the package was this letter:

Dear friend, if you place the wick in the oil, you will get light when fire is applied to it. If you pour out the oil and put the wick in the water, you will get no light. If you shake up the oil and water and then place the wick in them, you will get a spluttering and a going out. There is no need to carry out this experiment through words and visits when it can be done with such simple materials as these.
Sufism is existential, though not existentialist. “Existentialism” is a contradiction in terms. The whole approach of existentialism is that existence is not a system and cannot be converted into a system; that existence remains an experience. There is no way to make a philosophy out of it, and yet existentialism itself has become a philosophy.
The Western mind is so addicted to speculation and philosophizing that even something which is basically nonphilosophic eventually turns into a philosophy. Something which is fundamentally a nonsystem by and by becomes a perfect system.
The German mind is more systematic in that way. In Germany, Karl Jaspers made a great system out of the existentialist approach toward reality. It is amazing! The whole standpoint is that systematization is not possible. But you can systematize even this approach, this attitude. You can philosophize against philosophy, you can create a philosophy of no-philosophy, but then you are again lost in the mire of words, theories, hypotheses, propositions, logic. It is nonending.
That’s why I say that Sufism is existential, not existentialist. It has no “ism.” It has no philosophy to teach, it has no proposition to propose, it has no doctrine to indoctrinate people with. It is just a finger pointing to the moon. It is an indication – an indication toward reality, not toward words. It is experience and experiment. It abhors all kinds of philosophies because philosophy is the deepest cause of man getting lost in language and linguistic patterns. Life has no language, life is silent; or, silence is its only language, it speaks only through silence. So when you are silent you are in communion with it.
Life is meditative. It is not a kind of thinking, it is a state of no-thinking. When you are in that state of no-thinking, suddenly there is communion; all barriers between you and life disappear. You are no longer separate from it, no longer standing against it and thinking about it – you are it! And you know only when you are it, you know only when the knower is no longer there, you know only when all knowledge has disappeared. You know through being, not through knowing.
So Sufism down the ages has been very condemnatory about philosophizing. Sufism is not scriptural, it is not logical; it is very realistic, it is very pragmatic. Hence its appeal to the modern mind, to the mind which is trained more in the ways of science than in the ways of philosophy.
Science is experiment. You can’t trust speculation, you have to experiment with reality. You have to see reality as it is, not through a certain prejudice of your mind. You need not have any belief; you can simply go into reality without any belief and the reality will conclude. Reality is conclusive. The conclusion comes not by thinking, but by looking into reality. And if you have a certain a priori idea, that very idea becomes a distraction. It won’t allow you to see that which is.
So Sufis say: Don’t have any ideas, don’t have any beliefs. There is nothing to believe. Yes, there is much to know, but there is nothing to believe. There is no need to believe. All kinds of beliefs are fear-oriented.
I have heard…

An old gentleman suddenly felt that the time had come to be taken into the bosom of the church.
“Abraham,” warned his parson, “you must have faith. Do you believe everything in the Bible?”
“Yes sir,” insisted Abraham.
“Do you believe the story of Jonah and the whale? And Daniel and the lions – those hungry African lions that had not had a single thing to eat? Daniel, you know, walks right into their den and slaps them in the face and they don’t do anything to him?”
“If that is what the Bible says, I believe it.”
“And do you believe the story of the Hebrew children in the fiery furnace? They walk right into that furnace, step on the hot coals, and they aren’t even singed?”
“Not even singed? A regular fire?”
“Right! Not even singed!”
“Deacon,” said Abraham, “I don’t believe in that.”
“Then you can’t be taken into the bosom of the church.”
Abraham sadly picked up his hat and shuffled toward the door, “And parson,” he added, “I don’t believe that story about Daniel and the lions either!”

Nobody really believes these stories, not even those who pretend to believe, not even those who say they have great faith. No, it is impossible. By the very nature of consciousness, it is impossible to believe unless you know – all belief is against nature. And all belief is just a repression of your doubts. Yes, you can repress your doubts if there is great fear, you can repress your doubts if there is great greed – if you are offered heavenly pleasures in paradise and you are threatened by hellfire and devils who are going to torture you. If these things are put into your mind you start believing, but you know all the time, underneath, that you doubt.
How can one believe? How can anyone believe unless one has known oneself? Unless you have faced reality as it is, there is no possibility of having faith. Faith does not come by fear, faith does not come by greed, faith comes only through experience.
Sufis teach a different kind of world view – not based on beliefs, but based on experiments, experience, and the conclusions that come naturally through those experiments and experiences. Then there is a totally different kind of faith: no doubt is repressed in it, it is total. It does not divide you, it does not split you. Christians and Hindus and Mohammedans and all kinds of believers are split personalities, schizophrenic. Schizophrenia is one of the commonest traits of man. And why is man schizophrenic? The reason has to be found in the so-called religious teachings, indoctrinations.
When you tell somebody to believe in something you are creating a neurosis in him, you are creating a division. Now he will never be one, he will be two. One part, the real part, will go on doubting, and the unreal part, the superficial part, will go on believing. And this rift will go on becoming bigger and bigger, this rift will always create great anxiety.
Look into any of your beliefs: you believe in God, and look – you know that you doubt.
I have heard…

A little boy came home from Sunday school and his father asked, “What did you learn today?”
“Well,” said the youngster, “two thousand years ago the Jews wanted to escape from the bad Egyptians. So Moses had the Jews build this suspension bridge across the Red Sea. Then they loaded it down with dynamite. The Jews escaped across the bridge, and when all the Egyptians chased them they blew up the bridge and all the Egyptians were drowned.”
“Is that what the teacher told you?” asked the surprised father.
“No,” said the boy, “but you would never believe the crazy story he did tell us!”

He has improved upon the story.
All your so-called scriptures are full of nonsense. But you go on believing just because you are afraid, because you are not grounded in your being, because you are not rooted in reality.

The father was a Christian Scientist and always carried a copy of Mrs. Eddy’s works in his pocket. Accompanied by his little son he had an occasion to cross a lot where a good-sized goat was feeding. As they approached the goat the boy showed fear, whereupon his father told him to think that it was not possible for the animal to harm them. But the boy, remembering previous encounters with the goat in which he had come out second best, did not grow any braver.
“Poppa, you are a Christian Scientist all right,” he said, “and so am I, but the goat does not know about it.”

Reality has never heard about your beliefs, your philosophies, your religions. It is completely unaware of all that nonsense that you go on carrying in your head. It has no concern with your head trips, it is simply innocent. It is neither Hindu nor Mohammedan nor Christian. It has no adjectives, it has no scriptures, no likes, no dislikes. It is simply there, naked.
To know this reality you will have to be naked of all your beliefs. Those beliefs function as your clothes, spiritual clothes – yes, that’s what they are. And because of those clothes you never come into contact with reality. One has to be naked to come into contact with the sun rays. One has to be naked to be in contact with the wind. One has to be naked if one wants to dance in the rain and to feel it showering on one’s being and body. Exactly so, one has to be spiritually naked and nude if one wants to have any participation with reality as it is.
Sufism is an effort to denude you of all your belief systems, of all words. That’s why in Sufism the master is not a teacher. The master is more like an artisan, an artist, a painter, a carpenter maybe, a weaver. The master is more like one who knows a certain skill which cannot be taught through words, which can only be taught through experience. So in Sufism there is no teacher. There are masters, but no teachers. And in Sufism the disciple is not a student, the disciple is an apprentice.
Take note of that great distinction: the master is not a teacher and the disciple is not a student. The master is an artisan who knows a certain art, who has the knack of doing a certain thing, and the disciple is an apprentice who lives in the presence of the master so that by and by, slowly, slowly he can drink more of the presence of the master and can become aware of the knack that he has. It is not an ordinary thing to be transferred because it cannot be put into words.
If you ask somebody who is a great swimmer, “How do you do it? Can you teach me? Can you give me a few lessons?” it will be difficult for him to teach you swimming while you are sitting in your room. He will ask you to come with him to the river or to the swimming pool. Swimming is an art, there is no way to teach it.
Or bicycling… You know how to ride a bicycle, but if somebody asks you, “Explain it philosophically. How do you manage to do it?” no bicyclist has been able to explain it. How do you manage to do it? It is a kind of knack. You do it! You manage to do it, but you cannot explain how. The only way is to tell the person who is inquiring to come with you and to help him to manage himself, then he will know. But when he comes to know he will also not be able to convey his knowledge through words. It is only conveyed through actions.
A Sufi master has no teaching, he is his teaching. A Sufi master does not philosophize about reality, he exposes his heart to the disciple. Even if he sometimes uses words, those words are just indicators like arrows being used on milestones – just indications that you have to go on and on. As the disciple becomes more and more attuned with the master, then fewer and fewer words are needed. Then the presence of the master is enough.
The master teaches by two things: one is his presence and, very paradoxically, the other is his absence. The master teaches by his presence and by his absence. In one sense he is utterly present, in each moment he is totally there. Each moment is luminous with his presence, his every gesture and every act is full of his presence; it is never absentminded. He is utterly there and then.
The disciple learns much from the master’s radiant presence. He starts learning to be more present, to be more alert, to be more total. And on the other hand the master is absolutely absent because he has no ego. Nothing like the idea of “I” exists in him anymore. There is absolute silence, no-selfness – what Sufis call fana. The master has disappeared.
First the disciple learns his presence, and by and by he becomes capable of entering his absence.
This is a kind of art – of being present and absent simultaneously. It is the greatest art because it is the greatest paradox: to be present and yet to be not present – present in the sense of presence, of awareness, consciousness, and absent in the sense that there is no self, no ego. This emptiness and this light which fills the emptiness cannot be conveyed, communicated through words. The disciple has to be with the master as an apprentice. He has to taste the being of the master.
This small parable will throw much light.
A certain man who was fond of studying all kinds of systems of thought wrote to a dervish master, Abdul Aziz of Mecca, asking whether he could talk to him in order to make comparisons.
Pay attention to each word. Sufis are very, very particular about words. They don’t use many words – if they do, they use them very telegraphically. A certain man who was fond of studying all kinds of systems of thought wrote to a dervish master, Abdul Aziz of Mecca, asking whether he could talk to him in order to make comparisons. This is what millions of people go on doing in the name of seeking and searching for truth.
First there are the worldly people who don’t bother about truth, who never seek and never search. Out of millions of these worldly people who go on and on doing the nonessential, sometimes somebody becomes a little fed up. Seeing the futility of all these things that he has been doing, he starts seeking for truth. He wants to know the meaning of life or who he is. But again there is a great trap. The trap is that he may start looking into scriptures, into philosophical systems. First he was lost in the world of things, now he will be lost in the world of thoughts. And the second is far more dangerous than the first! Let me repeat it, because ordinarily you think the second is better than the first. It is not so.
It is very easy to awaken from the first because it is so stupid. If somebody is really stupid and thick, only then will he go on and on seeking money and power and prestige and respectability, and he will never become aware that he is seeking rubbish – for it you need a really dense head.
If you are a little intelligent, if there is just a little intelligence, it will be enough to become alert of the phenomenon that you can accumulate as much money as you want but when you will be dying this money is not going to help. This money is not going to be with you, you cannot carry it to the other shore. It is such a simple fact: you may become very respectable, but what is the point? Unless you become joyful, what is the point?
You can see very respectable people who are absolutely joyless. You can see very rich people who have not known a single moment of celebration. You can see famous people, celebrities, but they know nothing of celebration. In fact, they are looking in a direction which is simply futile, irrelevant.
What is a person looking for when he starts looking for fame, when he wants to become a celebrity? What is he looking for? This man has missed love. He could not get love from a single human being because he could not love a single human being. He could not give love, so love has not flowed toward him. He has missed love. That joy has never happened to him. Now he lives through a substitute, he lives through people’s respect and fame: “So many people know about me!”
This is a vicarious way of fulfilling one’s desire for people to love you. But those people who know you don’t love you. They may even hate you. And even if their sympathy is for you or if they respect you, it can’t fulfill that unfulfilled gap in your being, that hole in your being that can only be fulfilled by love. It is not a substitute. No substitutes help. All substitutes are plastic.
So, one can go on and on earning fame, money, power, and deep down one remains very, very poor – a child. One knows that one has not bloomed, because there is no blooming except through love. Money becomes the substitute, or power or prestige. But it is as if you have misunderstood the menu for the food. You can have beautiful menus, but they are not going to satisfy. Real food is needed. Real food means love. And a single human being’s love is enough to fulfill you; there is no need to have the whole world love you. If a single human being has loved you, there is fulfillment. And I would like to tell you that even if you have loved yourself, it is enough.
But you don’t love yourself and nobody has loved you, and you have never allowed anybody to love you – because you cannot give, because you don’t know how to share, because you are a miser and a hoarder. So you go on hoarding money, and money becomes your beloved and power becomes your god. Or, if you are a little intelligent, these things will be finished with, then there will be knowledge, philosophy, thought – a far bigger realm of illusion than things.
When you are chasing a woman, you are at least very close to reality. When you are hankering for a beautiful house, that house is at least a real house; at least it has a material, concrete existence. But when you start roaming in the world of thoughts, dreams, projections, God, paradise – just palaces made because you can dream and imagine – then you are completely lost.
So sometimes intelligent people become aware of the futility of the world of things, but they are then trapped in the world of thoughts. Thoughts are your inventions. You can have beautiful thoughts, but they are not going to fulfill. If even things cannot fulfill, how can thoughts? Even if things prove futile, thoughts are going to prove futile too.
But with thought there is one possibility – there are millions of systems so you can move from one system to another. And there is a great possibility of creating your own system; just by choosing, borrowing a few thoughts from here and there, you can create your own system. And reality will never give you any resistance because reality does not bother about what you think. Nobody takes any note of your thinking. It is private, it is your business. It is nobody else’s concern, so you can go on and on thinking.
It is not accidental that great philosophers tend to become insane. It is not a coincidence that all the great philosophers in the West one day or other have to be hospitalized for insanity. When you go to the very extreme of thought you lose all contact with reality, you become insane.
What is insanity? It is losing contact with reality, becoming so absorbed in your thoughts that you think that it is the only reality there is.
A certain man who was fond of studying all kinds of systems of thought wrote a letter to Abdul Aziz, asking whether he could talk to him in order to make comparisons. Now, coming to a master like Abdul Aziz and saying to him that he wants to have a little talk, a conversation, a discussion with him so that he can make comparisons with other systems… This is absolutely foolish. It is as if you are thirsty and you have been reading about water, great poetry about water, and you have been seeing great paintings about water, and then you ask a river, “Can I come and have a little talk with you so that I can compare my thoughts about water with your idea of water!” The river will simply laugh at your ridiculousness, at your stupidity. The river is there; you can drink and you can quench your thirst.
To ask a master like Abdul Aziz, “I want to come and talk to you so that I can make comparisons,” is just the very extreme of foolishness. One comes to a master not to talk but to see. One comes to a master not to discuss because discussion will create a barrier, it will create smoke and vision will become impossible – one comes to a master to have a taste of how it tastes to be realized. One comes to a master to have a sip out of his cup. One comes to a master so that one can see through the master because he has become open. He is a window, he is no longer a wall. If you come close enough you can see through his eyes and you can hear through his ears and you can smell through his nose and you can have a little glimpse through his heart.
One comes to a master to come close. One simply asks for blessings, not for anything else. In the East it has been a long tradition, one of the ancientmost traditions.
When Westerners come to the East they cannot understand what is happening. In India, or in Iran, or in Arabia, people travel thousands of miles to see a master, just to see a master. They will not ask a single question, they will simply come. And it is a long, arduous journey. Sometimes people will travel on foot for thousands of miles just to have a glimpse of the master. The Western mind cannot understand what the point is: “If you don’t have anything to ask, why are you going? For what?” The Western mind understands how to converse, but it has forgotten how to “be with.” It knows how to ask, but it has forgotten how to drink. It knows the intellectual approach, it does not know the door of the heart – that there is a way to connect and to relate beyond words, that there is a way to participate beyond words. So Westerners have always been puzzled about Eastern people walking thousands of miles, making a long, arduous journey, sometimes dangerous, and then coming to a master just to touch his feet and ask for his blessings. Then they will go away fulfilled, happy.
Many people have asked me why when I give sannyas to Westerners I talk to them, and when I give sannyas to Indians I don’t. What is the matter? Am I not interested in Indians? Why don’t I talk with Indians? Why don’t I try to convey something through language?
The reason is not that I am not interested in Indians, the reason is that Indians know how to “be with.” Sometimes I talk to an Indian who has become almost Westernized, and sometimes I don’t talk to a Westerner if I feel that his heart is Eastern. It depends. When somebody from the East comes, he comes for a totally different reason. He comes just to be there with me for a few seconds. Those few seconds are of great joy. He has not brought a question with him, he has brought a quest. A question is superficial; the real thing is the quest. The question is in the head, the quest is in the heart. “What is there to ask? What is there to ask that I cannot understand looking into your eyes? What is there to ask that I cannot see the moment you enter my arena of vision? And why waste time asking about some futile thing – about whether God exists or not?”
For centuries the East has known a different kind, a different quality, of communication – it is of communion. A man will come, he will touch the feet, he will bow down, he will look at the master, he will just sniff the air around the master – just the fragrance – and he feels fulfilled. He has come to see if the impossible happens. He has heard that it happened in Buddha’s time, he has heard that it happened in Mohammed’s time. He has heard about great masters like Abdul Aziz. He has heard great stories – and he wants to see whether it still happens, whether a buddha is still alive, whether he can find a man of the quality of Mohammed so that the scriptures will become valid again. Each master goes on revalidating, each master is again and again a witness to the eternal truth: that truth can be realized.
In the East people travel and make faraway journeys just to see with their own eyes – because you cannot see Buddha now. Twenty-five hundred years have passed; it is past, it is part of history, you can only read about it. You cannot see Krishna now, he is myth. In the East people want to see somebody who is a Krishna or a Buddha or a Mohammed or a Christ. They want to look into those eyes so that they can again become confident, so that they can again gain trust that it still happens, that God has not forsaken the world yet, that it is not just a story of the past, that it is part of reality.
I have heard…
One evening several of Rabbi Hayyim of Kosov’s disciples – Hasidim – sat together in his House of Study, and told one another stories about the old ancient masters – zaddiki – above all about the Baal Shem Tov.
Baal Shem Tov is the founder of Hasidism – one of the greatest souls that has ever walked on earth.
And because the telling and the listening were very sweet to them, they were even at it after midnight.
Yes, it is beautiful, it is one of the most delicious experiences in life to talk about people who have attained, to tell stories about them. That’s what in the East we call satsang – talking about godliness, godly people, talking about those who have realized. Small anecdotes, parables: stories that stir your heart, that help you to sing a song, that make you aware of the unknown which is just by the corner, that fill you with desires and longings for God, that make you feel that the superhuman has happened in the past to human beings and is possible for to you too. And in Hasidism it is one of the most fundamental things to talk about masters, to enjoy, to cherish and to be nourished by that talk – in Sufism too, and in Zen. All the old stories… Those stories go on gathering and becoming more and more refined as time passes. The concern is not about historic facts. The concern is more about the essential phenomenon that godliness happens.
So it came to pass that half the night was lost.
Then one of them told still another story about Baal Shem Tov. When he had ended, another sighed from the bottom of his heart. “Alas!” said he, half to himself, “Where could we find such a man today?”
Yes, when you hear about Kabir, Nanak, Dadu, when you hear about Meera, when you hear about Mansoor, when you hear about Jalaluddin Rumi, Omar Khayyam, it is natural that a sigh will be released from your heart and you will say, “Alas! Where could we find such a man today?”
In the East, that’s why people travel. If they hear that a master has happened, they travel. People are very poor; they don’t have enough money even to travel. They save their money for years just to go to a place of pilgrimage where they can find somebody who has attained. In the East, to help these poor people, we managed a certain kind of gathering. You must have seen it happening in the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad.
India is poor and millions of people cannot go to the masters, so in the past it was agreed upon that once in a while the masters would gather together in one place so the whole country could come there – because it is difficult for poor people to go searching all over the country. Out of compassion, the masters decided that they would gather in one place so the whole country could come. Millions of people come to a Kumbha Mela because there they will be able to see many saints, many sages.
The idea was of tremendous utility – but now it is only an idea. There are not so many sages anymore. There are still masters, but not like in the ancient days. Something has so utterly changed in the world that people no longer seek God, or fewer and fewer people seek God. God has become almost irrelevant; people bypass him. People are so indifferent about God that they are not even against him, they are neither for nor against. They say, “Okay, don’t waste time. Don’t talk about useless things.” They are not even interested in denying. For the first time in the world the theists and the atheists have both become irrelevant. The world has become indifferent to both.
“Alas!” said he, half to himself. “Where could we find such a man today?”
At that instant, they heard steps coming down the wooden stairs which led from Rabbi Hayyim’s room. The door opened and Rabbi Hayyim appeared on the threshold, in the short jacket he usually wore in the evening. “Fool,” he said softly, “he is present in every generation.” Then he closed the door and went back up the stairs. The disciples, the Hasidim, sat together in silence.
Yes, masters are always there – sometimes more, sometimes less. That depends on the receptivity of a certain age, on the receptivity of a certain consciousness, on the receptivity of the time. But it has never happened that they are not there. More or less, right; but they are always there. It cannot happen in the very nature of things that out of millions of people not even a single person will not be realized.
So if there is someone, and rumor spreads, people start traveling. But they go to see with their own eyes, they go to touch. They want to see how it feels to touch a God-realized man. They want to have a concrete experience. They want God to be tangible, visible, and God is not tangible and not visible. It happens only rarely that he descends in a man. When a man becomes utterly empty God descends in him, then he becomes tangible, visible. You can look into his eyes and you can hold his hand and you can walk with him and you can sit by his side. In the East, people come not to talk but to listen, not to talk but to see, not to talk but to feel.
This man must have been a very, very Western man – sophisticated, educated in the ways of philosophy. He wrote to Abdul Aziz asking whether he could talk to him in order to make comparisons. What comparisons? With whom?
No master is comparable to any other master. Each master is so unique that he’s incomparable. You cannot compare Buddha with Mohammed. If you compare, it will be sheer stupidity, and whatever you conclude will be wrong. You cannot compare Buddha even with Mahavira. Both were contemporaries and lived in the same province, moved in the same towns. They sometimes stayed in the same city, and once stayed in the same dharmsala, but you cannot compare them. They are poles apart. Mahavira is Mahavira, Buddha is Buddha. They are so unique that not even a single point of comparison exists. If you start comparing you will miss the whole point, you will miss their reality. That reality is unique. Masters cannot be compared.
If you look into them with no comparison in your mind you will find the same reality – hence darshan. A master’s darshan is enough. To see him is enough. You should look deep into his being – not with thoughts to compare, not with prejudices, not with a priori ideas; just silently, with no thoughts flickering in your mind, with no clouds. You should just look into him, and then you will be surprised. Masters are unique in their manifestation and they are one in their innermost core. Buddha, Mahavira, Krishna, Christ, Lao Tzu, Zarathustra – they are all one in their innermost core. Their circumference is really very, very unique, and their center is one. But to see the center you will have to be utterly silent.
Now, this man says, “I want to make a comparison.” If you want to make a comparison, how can you be silent? If you want to make a comparison, you will have to carry all the thoughts that you want to compare. You will have to carry all your scriptures, your memory. You will have to have logical criteria about how to compare. You will have to carry scales to compare. You will be so burdened with your idea of comparison that you will not be able to see into the reality.
Each master is unique, and yet represents the universal.
The dervish sent him a bottle with oil and water in it, and a piece of cotton wick. Enclosed in the package was this letter…
Sufis are known to do such things, things which look absurd on the surface. The man has asked one thing and the master is doing something else. The man wanted to come to him to have a philosophical understanding about what his message was, so that he could compare it with other messages. He wanted to have a look into his systems of thought so that he could compare it with other systems of thought and could decide which is better, which is good, which is to be followed.
Now, this Abdul Aziz: …sent him a bottle with oil and water in it, and a piece of cotton wick. Enclosed in the package was this letter… All scriptures, Sufis say, are like this letter. They have certain instructions, not certain dogmas. They have certain instructions. If you follow those instructions you will have a door opened to you. But they are not theories to be believed in. They are just like “how to do” books – manuals, instruction manuals. They don’t preach any philosophy, they simply give you instructions: “Do this and this will happen. Do this and this will happen. Don’t do this, otherwise this will happen.”
Buddha used to say, “My whole concern is to give you a few instructions through which buddhahood can happen to you. If you ask anything else I am not interested.” And he used to say, “I am an instructor. I simply give you a few instructions. Follow those instructions and things will start happening. I don’t say anything about truth, I only say something about the way – how it is reached. Follow the way and you will reach the truth. And truth is indefinable. Nothing can be said about it.”
Sufis say that all real scriptures are not philosophical, they are instructive. They simply give a few instructions like this letter.
Dear friend, if you place the wick in the oil, you will get light when fire is applied to it. If you pour out the oil and put the wick in the water, you will get no light. If you shake up the oil and water and then place the wick in them, you will get a spluttering and a going out. There is no need to carry out this experiment through words and visits when it can be done with such simple materials as these.
Now, this philosopher must have laughed at this whole ridiculous letter. What nonsense is this Abdul Aziz talking about? And what does it signify? He had asked something else, and this Abdul Aziz sends a bottle with oil and water in it, with a wick. This is absurd!
Many times the master’s answer will look absurd because you cannot understand the significance of it. First try to understand what the significance of it is.
The first thing he says is, “There is no need to come to me. Why travel so far away? If you really want to see reality, it is within you. Just do a few experiments and you will enter yourself, and there you will find me too!”
Just the other night a sannyasin was saying to me, “I feel that it is very difficult to surrender to you.” I can understand. It is always very difficult to surrender. But I told him that it is difficult because he doesn’t understand. By surrendering to me you are really surrendering your false self to your real self. I am nobody in it, it is just an excuse. Via me, your false self disappears and you reach your real self. If you can do it directly, if you can short-circuit, you can. But if it is not possible then you can do it via me. The master is just a via media. When the master says, “Surrender to me,” he does not mean surrender to him. He simply means, “Whatever you are right now is not the real you. Put aside this whole false idea of yourself, give it to me. Give this poison to me!”
By surrendering your false, you become the real. And the real can never be surrendered so the master is not worried about the real. The real can never be surrendered, there is no way to surrender it. Only the unreal can be surrendered. Or let me say it in this way: you can surrender only that which you really don’t have; you cannot surrender that which you really have. You cannot surrender that which you are, which you really are. That is impossible to surrender. You can only surrender that which you have come to believe you are, but you are not. The master only takes the false.
When you come to a master, you in fact come to yourself. And this should be the criterion to judge whether you have come to a real master, or you are fooling around with a cheat, a fraud. If the master tries to overpower your reality, then beware. That man is your enemy. If a master simply takes your unreality and helps your reality to grow in your uniqueness…
The real master always goes on throwing you to yourself. Yes, he will snatch away all that is unreal, he will pluck away all that is unreal. He will take all the weeds out of your being so that the roses can grow. But he’s not going to take the roses; the roses cannot be taken away. It is impossible to surrender your essential self. It cannot happen; it is not in the nature of things.
The master sends him a simple letter with a very absurd thing: a bottle with oil and water and a wick. Now first try to understand what he signifies.
If the man was really a man of some intelligence he would have understood, but the story does not say anything about him. So there is every possibility that he didn’t understand, otherwise the story would have mentioned it. He must have laughed at the foolishness of this man, Abdul Aziz, and he must have thought, “It is good that I never went, it would have been futile.” He must have told other people, “Look! This foolish man is pretending to be a master. I inquired about a subtle thing – a comparison of his system with my system or other systems – and this is what he sends as a reply. This man is either mad or a fool!”
First, try to understand what Abdul Aziz’s message is: Dear friend, if you place the wick in the oil, you will get light when fire is applied to it – first. Second: If you pour out the oil and put the wick in the water, you will get no light. Third: If you shake up the oil and water and then place the wick in them, you will get a spluttering and a going out. First these three things have to be understood.
Man is a trinity – body, mind, soul – and that’s what those three things represent. The bottle represents the body, the water represents the mind, and oil represents the mind if it becomes meditation. So the mind has two possibilities: either it can be water or it can be oil. If it is with thoughts, it is water; if it is with no thoughts, it is oil. And the soul is the fire. These are the three things.
We have the bottle and we have the possibility of filling it either with oil or with water. Both are possibilities of the mind. With thoughts the mind becomes water – then you can go on applying fire to it and darkness will remain there. That’s why you live in darkness – your mind is water, and the fire is continuously being put out.
With a mind too full of thoughts the spirit disappears, the fire disappears, the soul is no longer there. Unless the body is filled with no-mind, unless the body is filled by thoughtlessness, or a thoughtless mind, you will not be enlightened. Once the mind is no longer watery, once thoughts have disappeared and there is silence, purity, innocence, it becomes oil – and suddenly you will see a light arising. The fire is there; just the oil is needed. The bottle is there, the fire is there, but between the two there is water. And with water there is no possibility of fire. You live without fire and without light.
Abdul Aziz says: …if you place the wick in the oil… Remember, in the oil. If the soul is placed in the oil – in a meditative state, in samadhi – you will get light. Then there will be no trouble; you will become enlightened. So don’t bother about coming here or going anywhere else. Do a simple thing: let the mind disappear, let no-mind arise. If the body and the soul are connected by no-mind, they are in tune. And suddenly there is song and there is dance and there is celebration. There is joy, there is eternal joy, what Hindus call sat-chit-anand – truth, consciousness, bliss – all are there.
Once your trinity is in tune… If the trinity is not in tune you will remain in darkness. If the mind is there continuously creating more and more thoughts, you are filled with water. This is the state of the worldly man, the man who continuously thinks, day and night, day in, day out, from birth to death – he continuously goes on thinking. He lives without fire, he lives without light, he lives without joy. In fact, he lives a very dead life.
Or, there is one further possibility: the state of the so-called religious people, the otherworldly people. You can have a mixture of the mind and no-mind. Then there will be a spluttering and a going out. Then sometimes you will have a few glimpses, but they will go. Nothing will really be yours. Just like dreams they will come and go.
The mind can have these three states: the ordinary state of thinking, the extraordinary state of contemplation… This is the state of contemplation: a water–oil mix. And in the West people have never searched beyond contemplation. All their words for dhyana or zikr mean only contemplation; even the word meditation simply means to think in a better way, to meditate. Contemplation means to think in a better way, but thinking remains. It just becomes more concentrated, it is less zigzag. It has a direction, it has a goal. It is not insane, it has a certain purpose and meaning, but it remains thinking. It is no longer mad, so something of the no-mind enters it, but it is only “something.” Water and oil are mixed. And sometimes there will be a spluttering and a going out. Sometimes the fire will be there and sometimes it will not be there. There will be lightning experiences.
That’s what has happened to Christian saints. Their experiences about God are not like Mansoor or Abdul Aziz or Buddha. Their experiences of God are just glimpses – they come and they disappear. They are better than nothing, but they are nothing compared with that experience which comes and never goes again, they are nothing compared with enlightenment.
So these are the three possibilities: either the water and oil are mixed, or there is only water, or there is only oil. The worldly man remains with water, the religious man remains with a mixture, and the spiritual man starts seeing the point and fills his being with no-mind, with dhyana, with a thoughtless awareness, with a contentless consciousness. He is simply alert; not alert of anything in particular, just alert. He is awake.
This wakefulness is all that one has to do. That is the message of Abdul Aziz. But you have to decode it. And I feel sorry for the man to whom Abdul Aziz sent this. I don’t think he was able to decode it, otherwise the story would have mentioned it – that’s how Sufi and Zen stories go. If something happens they certainly mention it, it has to be mentioned. But the story says nothing.
Dear friend, if you place the wick in the oil, you will get light when fire is applied to it. If you pour out the oil and put the wick in the water, you will get no light. If you shake up the oil and water and then place the wick in them, you will get a spluttering and a going out. There is no need to carry out this experiment through words and visits when it can be done with such simple materials as these.
Sufism is existential, experimental, experiential. It insists that God can be known by simple methods, that there is no need to philosophize.
Many times people come to me, people who are knowledgeable, and they say – particularly Indians: “What is the meaning of dancing? How can one attain God by dancing?”
Dancing is an experiment, an experiment to bring your body, your mind, your soul, in tune. Dance is one of the most rhythmic phenomena. If you are really dancing there is no other activity which creates such unity. If you are sitting, the body is not used; then you use only your mind. If you are running very fast – your life is in danger – then you use your body and you don’t use your mind.
In dance you are neither sitting nor running for your life. It is movement, a joyful movement. The body is moving, the energy is flowing, the mind is moving and flowing. And when these two things are flowing they melt into each other. You become psychosomatic. A certain alchemy starts happening.
That’s why you see a new kind of grace on the face of the dancer, it is alchemical – the body-mind meeting, merging, the body-mind becoming one tune, one rhythm, one harmony. When this harmony has happened then the third, the soul, starts entering it. The soul can enter your existence only when your body and mind are no longer in conflict, when your body and mind cooperate, when your body and mind are deep in love, embracing, hugging each other. That’s what happens in dance. Then immediately you will find the third entering also. When the body-mind is really in harmony, when the two are no longer two, the third enters. For the first time you become a trinity, a trimurti. Those are the three faces of God.
And while you are dancing something is happening. It is an experiment. It is not just contemplation – just sitting and thinking about God – it is allowing God to enter you, it is opening yourself to God. It is like a flower opening in the morning. When the flower opens, suddenly sun rays start dancing on its petals. When you open, God starts dancing in you. God can be met only through dance. There is no other activity which is more harmonious than dance. That’s why all the primitive religions were dance-based, and all the modern religions – the so-called civilized, sophisticated religions – have nothing like dance in them; they are dull affairs.
A church looks more like a cemetery than like a temple. You can’t dance there, you can’t be joyous there, you cannot – it is not allowed. You have to be serious. You have to be very, very serious, sad, as if you are doing something wrong. The joy is missing. The joy is missing because people are just sitting, not doing anything. The preacher in the church talks about God and the people listen to it; the preacher and the congregation think that God is a thought, not an act.
Here in this place God is not a thought; it is an act, it is a dance. And the dance has to be of the total: body, mind, soul. Nothing has to be denied because if you deny anything, something will be missing, something will certainly be missing. And then your synthesis will not be the highest possibility, it will remain somewhere low, it will not reach the ultimate Everest.
These people who come here to watch and see people dancing or doing the Kundalini or Dynamic meditations, they become very puzzled because they have an idea that one should sit and read the Gita and think about God. That is all nonsense! By reading the Gita and thinking about God you are not going to go anywhere. If you really want to go somewhere you have to be experimental, you have to use a method.
Sufism has a method and has no philosophy.
There is no need to carry out this experiment through words and visits… Because how can you carry out an experiment through words and visits? Yes, words can be used for instruction – that’s what I go on doing every morning. These are just instructions. Then for the whole day words disappear from this ashram. Then you dance, then you hum, then you shake, then you sit, then you watch, then you love, you pray, you meditate.
Every morning I start with instructions, and then the whole day is for you to experiment in. Words can be used, but only as instructions, not as propositions. Here I am not creating any belief system in you. I am destroying all belief systems. I am simply giving you a few methods, a few techniques. If you know how to use them, and you are really interested in the search and you use them, there is no reason why you should not attain. There is no reason at all why you cannot become God-realized. If it has happened to me, it can happen to you.
If you cooperate with me it is going to happen to you. A master goes on taking everything from you. First he teaches you to become a disciple, and then one day he will take your disciplehood also – because a master cannot be satisfied unless you have become masters in your own right. A satguru is one who creates satgurus.
A master goes on creating masters. First he teaches you to surrender so that all that is false disappears. Once the false has disappeared he will tell you to surrender too. Once the false has disappeared he will now tell you to surrender your disciplehood too. A master is satisfied only when he has created another master.
In the vicinity of a master a chain starts working – one flame jumps into other lamps and they start burning. Then they in their own right will start jumping into other unlit lamps, and then many more will be burning. People come to me and ask why I am not going into the world. I need not go. I will create many satgurus, I will create many masters, just sitting here. They will be traveling, they will be my ambassadors; they will go around the world to share their light.
But one has to go deep into experimentation because only through experimentation is there experience.
Through philosophizing people avoid taking risks.
I have heard…

An old couple were listening to a radio broadcast church service. Both sat in deep contemplation and half an hour went by. Then suddenly the old man burst into a fit of laughter.
“Sandy,” exclaimed his wife in a horrified tone, “why this merriment on the Sabbath?”
“Ah,” said Sandy, “the preacher has just announced the offering, and here I am safe at home.”

People want to remain safe, uninvolved, uncommitted. They want to grow, but they don’t want to commit themselves; they want to grow, but they don’t want to sacrifice anything. They want to grow for nothing, they don’t want to pay. These people never grow. Growth is through sacrifice. One has to put all one has at stake. Growth is a gamble, it is a risk.
So if you are trying to save yourself – let me warn you, if you are trying to save yourself you may be successful. You may succeed in saving yourself, but then nothing will happen. You have to be open; you have to be ready to lose yourself, not save yourself.
Philosophy is very good because it never touches your reality, it simply goes on like a cloud, hovering around your mind. You can enjoy it. It is an easy-chair thing. You can go into great thoughts, there is no fear. You are always safe – anchored in your home, anchored in your security, safety. That’s why I insist on sannyas. Sannyas means that now you are becoming committed, now you are getting involved, now it is not just a philosophy with me. You are ready to go into danger, into the unknown, into the insecure.
Many people ask, “If we listen to you and we meditate, will it not help? Why is there a need to become sannyasins?” The need is to be committed, the need is to get involved. The need is that you should not stand aloof, saving yourself, and then trying something – if you can grab something by trying, good. But you don’t want to get into anything. You don’t want to get into any trouble. But these people are the losers. Their cleverness is not going to help them, their very cleverness will prove to be their doom.
Philosophy is simply a mind journey; you don’t go anywhere, you remain where you are. It is a dream projection; you can sit here and close your eyes and you can be in Kolkata or in Chicago. You can close your eyes and you can be anywhere you like, but whenever you open your eyes you will find yourself sitting here in Pune. That’s what philosophy goes on doing. You can think great thoughts and while you are thinking, you are thrilled. And whenever you come back and open your eyes, you are exactly the same as you have always been. Nothing ever changes through philosophy because philosophy is an avoidance. It simply goes on labeling things: this is this, that is that. Philosophy is labeling. And remember, you are not kidding anybody but yourself.
It happened…

Two lions were in a zoo. One of them had been there for several years, while the second one was a newcomer.
At feeding time the new lion noticed that he received a few figs, nuts, and bananas, while the older one was given a luscious, juicy chunk of meat.
After this had gone on for several weeks, the young lion plucked up courage enough to inquire why this was so.
“I know you have the seniority around here, but why do you always get the meat while I get fruit and nuts?” he asked.
“Well,” explained the older lion, “the zoo manager is a philosopher, and the zoo is so poor that he only has room for one lion, so he has listed you as a monkey.”

Now, by listing a lion as a monkey, a lion does not become a monkey. But the old lion says, “Because he is a philosopher…he thinks that by labeling, things are finished. He treats you as a monkey.” That’s what philosophy goes on doing. You go on labeling things. Once you have labeled them you start treating them that way.
Beware of this habit. Everybody has it. You are sitting by the side of somebody and you inquire, “Who are you? Where are you going? What is your religion?” This and that. This is just an effort to label the man. If he says he is a Jew, you have labeled him. Then you know that you have to protect your pockets – he is a Jew. Now you have labeled him. And he may not be a man that you can label as a Jew – Jesus was also a Jew. Even if Jesus was sitting by your side he would have said, “I am a Jew.” How are you going to label him? Would you have labeled him a “Jew”? He was the least Jewish man in the world.
Or the man says, “I am a Mohammedan,” and you think that he is dangerous. Or the man says, “I am a Hindu,” and you think he is a hypocrite. People have universal labels. And once they have labeled someone, they behave with the label, they don’t think about the person at all. Each person is so unique; he represents nobody else, he represents only himself. So nobody can be labeled. No label is good.
Philosophy goes on doing that. It goes on labeling the whole of existence. Once the philosopher has labeled everything, he thinks he is finished, he has accounted for everything, and he starts living in a very comfortable, labeled world. God is in heaven, and hell is underneath the earth and heaven is high in the sky and this earth is just in the middle. He has made a map and he knows what is right and what is wrong, and if you do right you will go to heaven and if you do wrong you will go to hell – everything is categorized, finished! Now he knows all. And a philosopher knows nothing.
To know, philosophy is not the door; to know, experimentation, religion, is the door.
It happened…

A hospital secretary moved to a new post, and decided immediately to tighten up on security. He set up a man in the gatehouse with very strict instructions to challenge all comers. Those not on business were to be turned firmly away. The man who was put on the door was a great thinker.
Quite soon a young woman marched up, seeking to enter. “Hi, wait a bit, what is your business?” shouted the gatekeeper, the thinker.
“I’m a maternity patient,” said the girl.
“Can you prove it? Are you pregnant?”
“Don’t be daft. I have not seen anything for six months.”
“Ah, I thought so, you’ve come to the wrong place, the Eye Hospital is further down the road.”

The people who are addicted to thinking have their own logic; they don’t listen, they don’t see. They are always garbed behind their own thinking. The woman says, “Don’t be daft. I have not seen anything for six months.” And the thinker concludes. “Right. I thought so. You have come to the wrong place, the Eye Hospital is further down the road.” He has missed the whole point.
Thinking is like that – it goes on missing the whole point. If you really want to have any contact with reality then thinking is not the bridge, it is the barrier.
Just within three hundred years science has touched great heights. And the reason? The reason is simple. The reason is that Bacon introduced the experiment to the world of science. In just three hundred years so much has happened – it did not happen in three thousand years or even in thirty thousand years. It is because of one man, Bacon. He changed the whole course of science and the whole course of human consciousness just by creating a new door of experimentation. He said, “Speculation is not going to help. People have speculated down the ages and nothing has happened. They go on quarreling about theories and those theories don’t mean a thing.” He introduced the experiment.
You will be surprised to know from where Bacon obtained the idea of experimenting. You will not believe it! He obtained it from Sufism. He was a great reader of Sufi books, he was immensely interested in Sufi books, and from the Sufi ideas he had the idea that if the experiment is the door to the inner world, why could it not be the door to the outer? Science owes much to Sufism because of this. If the right sources are searched for some day, then the real fathers of science will be the Sufis, not the Greek philosophers, Aristotle, Plato and others, no. They were all speculators.
From where did the idea of the experiment enter the mind of Bacon? It entered from Sufism. He may have read this story or something else, but it entered from Sufism, because Sufis are very persistent on experiment.
And if religion is also going to grow, then experimenting has to become its very foundation. Just as science has reached such a great height within such a small time limit – three hundred years – so religion can also have great possibilities if it becomes experimental. Religion has much to learn from Sufism. Sufism is the essential-most religion – that’s why I say it is existential, experimental, experiential.
Enough for today.

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