Sufis The People of Path Vol 2 04

Fourth Discourse from the series of 15 discourses - Sufis The People of Path Vol 2 by Osho.
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The first question:
Why did Van Gogh kill himself? Why did Hemingway put a shotgun in his mouth and blow the top of his head off? Why do they poison their rivers, their air and their own food? Why do they justify it all with their reasoning, psychology and laws? Why do they come here for a couple of months, and why do you have so much compassion for them? I am sick and tired of them!
The question is from Prageet.
First, there are suicides and suicides. Each suicide has something unique about it – as each life has something unique about it. Your life is yours and your death is also going to be yours. Sometimes it is possible that your life may not be yours, but it is not possible that your death may not be yours.
Life can be anonymous. If you live with others, you can compromise too much, you can imitate – but death is always unique because death is alone. You die alone. There is no society. They don’t exist in your death. The crowd, the mass, is there when you are alive, but when you die you die absolutely alone, utterly alone.
Death has a quality.
So sometimes it happens that a man may commit suicide because he has become tired of the anonymous existence. He has become tired of all the compromises that one has to make in order to live. That’s why van Gogh committed suicide – he was a rare man, one of the greatest painters ever. But he had to make compromises every moment of his life. He got tired of those compromises; he could no longer tolerate being part of the crowd mind. He killed himself in order to be himself. He was only thirty-three or something when he killed himself. If he had been in the East there would have been another alternative: suicide or sannyas. These are the two alternatives which every man who has some sense of life, of individuality, has to choose between.
In the West nothing like sannyas has been in existence. If you become a Christian monk that is again a compromise; you still remain part of the society. Even if you go out of the society you remain part of it. The society goes on controlling you – it has a remote control system. It does not allow you to really go out of it. You remain a Christian, you remain a Catholic, even when you have moved to a monastery. It does not make much difference.
In the East, sannyas has a totally different flavor. The moment you become a sannyasin you are no longer a Hindu, you are no longer a Mohammedan, you are no longer a Christian. The moment you become a sannyasin, you drop out of all collectivities. You become yourself. You will be surprised to know that in the East people don’t commit suicide as much as in the West. And the difference is big – too big to be just accidental. In the East we have created a creative kind of suicide, that is sannyas. You can still live, but you can live in your own way. Then the need for suicide disappears, or becomes very much less.
In the West it always has happened that the unique individuals have to commit suicide. The mediocre go on living, the unique have to commit suicide. A van Gogh, a Hemingway. a Mayakovski, a Nijinsky – these are unique individuals. Either they have to commit suicide or they have to go mad – the society drives them mad. The society puts so much pressure on them that either they have to yield to the society and become just anonymous, or they have to go mad, or they have to commit suicide. And all are destructive alternatives.
Nietzsche went mad; that was his way of committing suicide. Nijinsky committed suicide; that was his way of going mad. Nietzsche had the same quality as a buddha. Had he been in the East he would have become a buddha, but the West does not give that alternative at all. He had to go mad. Van Gogh had a unique quality of tremendous intelligence, creativity. He could have moved on the path of sannyas and samadhi, but there was no door open. He got tired; just going on living a compromise was hurting too much. It was not worth it. One day he completed his painting – the painting that he had always wanted to do – and that day he felt, “Now there is no need to make any compromise with anybody for any reason. I have done my paintings, I have done my best. It is time to disappear.”
He had always wanted to paint a sunrise. He had painted sunrises for years, but still something was missing and lacking and he would paint again and again. The day his painting was complete and he was fulfilled and satisfied and contented that it had happened – that very moment it was absolutely clear to him that now there was no need – “I was only waiting for this painting. I am fulfilled in it, I have bloomed. Now why make compromises? For what?” He committed suicide.
He was not mad, he was simply not mediocre. His suicide was not a crime, his suicide was simply a condemnation of your so-called society which asks for so many compromises. Mediocre people are ready to compromise; they have nothing to lose. In fact they feel very good being part of a crowd, of a mob, because in the crowd they need not think about themselves as mediocre; all are just like them. They can lose themselves in the crowd. They can lose themselves and forget themselves in the mass mind, and in the mass mind they have no responsibility. They need not bother whether they are intelligent or unintelligent; they need not bother whether they are asleep or awakened.
But a man who has some soul in him will find it continuously heavy to go on degrading himself, to go on compromising for small ordinary trivia, meaningless things – for bread and butter, for a house, a shelter, for clothes.
Van Gogh was very poor because his paintings wouldn’t sell. His paintings were at least a hundred years ahead of his time. That is always so. The greater a man’s intelligence, the bigger is the distance between the people that exist by his side and the people for whom his painting, his poetry, his assertions, will be meaningful. He comes before his time.
That’s why Buddha’s assertions are still relevant, still fresh; not rotten, not old. His time is coming now. It is as if he came two thousand five hundred years before his time.
Vincent van Gogh’s paintings are now becoming great paintings; great appreciation has arisen for him. He came a little early. They always do. His brother used to give him enough money just to keep his body and soul together, because his paintings wouldn’t sell. So just enough money…. And van Gogh would eat for half the week and for half the week he would fast to save money to paint.
Just think how difficult it was for him to live. Nobody would appreciate his painting. Once it happened that his brother made an arrangement. He told a friend, “You go and purchase at least one painting. At least once in his life he should have the joy of somebody purchasing his painting. You take money from me. Go and purchase a painting.”
The friend went. Van Gogh was very happy. This was the first man who had come to appreciate his painting. But soon he recognized the fact that the man was not interested…. Van Gogh was thrilled! He was dancing and he was showing his paintings, all the paintings that he had done. But the man was not interested, he was just fulfilling a duty. He said, “Anyone will do. You just give me any painting and take this money.”
It hurt van Gogh even more. He threw the man out with his money and he said, “I suspect it is my brother behind it. He always wanted somebody to purchase my painting and it seems he has sent you. You get out from here! I am not going to sell. I wanted somebody to love my painting, to see what I have done, but you are not the person. You don’t have any perception, you don’t have any aesthetic sense, you don’t know what paintings mean. You simply get out!”
So not a single painting was sold. Starving, fasting, he was painting three days, four days a week. And for three, four days he would be able to eat. The day he completed the painting that he always wanted to complete….
He was madly in love with the sun. The sun is the source of life. Maybe the sun was his symbol for God, maybe through the sun he was searching for God. The day he painted his sunrise, he committed suicide. This suicide is not a crime, it is simply a shout against the mediocre society that we have created in the world. It is simply a protest that for those who have life. this society is not worth living in. This society is only for the mediocre. This society is only for those who really don’t want to love, who just want to drag.
But each suicide will have a different quality to it.
You ask why Hemingway committed suicide. Hemingway’s suicide has another flavor, different from van Gogh’s. Hemingway’s whole search was the search for freedom. Birth happened; it was not your choice. You were thrown into life – as the existentialists say. You were thrown into it, it was not your choice. Nobody ever asked you whether you wanted to be born or not. So birth is not freedom. It has already happened.
The next most important thing is love, but that is also not possible to do. When it happens, it happens; you cannot manage it, you cannot will it. If you want to love a person just through will, it is impossible. It happens when it happens – -suddenly you are in love, That’s why we use the phrase “falling in love.” You “fall” into it. But you cannot will it; it comes from the unknown. It is just like birth. It is as if God manages that you fall in love with this person; it is as if the decision comes from the blue. You are not the decisive factor, you are more like a victim. You cannot do anything against it. If it happens you have to go into it; if it does not happen you can do whatsoever you want and it will not happen. Nobody can produce love on order.
And the most important three things in life are birth, love, death. Death is the only thing that you can do something about – you can commit suicide.
Hemingway’s search was for freedom. He wanted to do something that he had done. He had not managed birth, he had not managed love, now there was only death. There was only one thing which if you wanted to do, you could do. It would be your act, an individual act, done by you.
Death has a mysterious quality about it; it is a very strange paradox. If you are standing by the side of a small baby, just born, and if somebody asks you to say something absolutely certain about the baby – the baby is in his crib, asleep, relaxing – what can you say absolutely certainly? You can say only one thing: that he will die.
This is a very strange thing to say. Anything else is uncertain. He may love, he may not love. He may succeed, he may fail. He may be a sinner, he may be a saint. All are “maybes,” there is nothing certain about anything. It is not possible to predict anything. There is only one thing you can say – and it looks very absurd at the side of a baby who has just been born – only one thing is absolutely certain: that he will die. This prediction can be made, and your prediction is never going to be wrong.
So death has a certain quality of certainty about it – it is going to happen. And at the same time it has something absolutely uncertain about it too. One never knows when it is going to happen. There is certainty that it is going to happen and uncertainty about when it is going to happen. Both this certainty and uncertainty about death make it a mystery, a paradox. If you go on living, it will happen – but then again it will come from out of the blue. You will not be the decisive factor. Birth happened, love happened – was death also to happen? That made Hemingway uneasy. He wanted to do at least one thing in life to which he could have his own signature, about which he could say “This I did.” That’s why he committed suicide. Suicide was an exercise in freedom.
You cannot know anything about death unless you go into it. Hemingway’s attitude was that if it is going to happen then why be dragged into it? Why not go into it on your own? It is going to happen. His whole life’s concern was death, that’s why he became so interested in bullfights. Death was very close by. He was constantly. attracted by the theme of death – what it was. But you cannot know. Even if somebody is dying in front of you, you don’t know anything about death. You simply know that the breathing has disappeared, that this man’s eyes won’t open again, that this man will never speak again, that his heart is no longer beating – that’s all. But this is nothing. How can you know about death from these things? The mystery remains a mystery, you have not even touched it.
You can know it only by going into it. But if you are dragged into it there are more possibilities of your becoming unconscious – because you are being dragged into it. Almost always people die unconsciously. Before death happens they become so afraid, so very afraid, that a kind of coma surrounds them and protects them. It is a natural anesthetic. When you go for an operation, you need an anesthetic – and death is the greatest operation there is: the soul and body will be torn apart. So nature has some built-in mechanism – before you start dying you go into a coma; all consciousness disappears. In the first place your consciousness was not very much. Even while you were alive, it was just a tiny flicker. When the wind of death comes, that flicker is gone – there is complete darkness.
Hemingway wanted to go into death fully conscious. It was a conscious exercise in dying. But that is possible only through suicide or through samadhi. These are the only two possibilities. You can die consciously in only two ways. You can commit suicide; you can manage your own death. You can have your revolver ready, contemplate it, put it to your chest or your head, pull the trigger yourself consciously, see the explosion and see death. This is one possibility. It is a very destructive possibility.
Another possibility is to go more and more into meditation, to attain to a state of awareness that cannot be drowned by death. Then there is no need to commit suicide. Then whenever death comes, let it come. You will be dying fully alert, aware, watchful.
So it is suicide or sannyas, suicide or samadhi.
And in the West, sannyas and samadhi have not been available. That’s why these two very rare people committed suicide. And they have not been understood. People think that they were kind of ill, neurotic, mad, morbid, unhealthy. They were not. I am not saying that all people who commit suicide are the same. There are neurotic people who will commit suicide. There are morbid people who are more concerned with death than they are concerned with life, who enjoy destructiveness. They are self-destructive mechanisms who go on poisoning themselves.
I’m not talking about all suicides – but you have asked about these two. And there are as many as people commit suicide. But these two are very rare. These two are very potential. If Vincent van Gogh or Hemingway had been in the East or had had the Eastern attitude, they would have flowered as great sannyasins.
And then you ask: “Why do they poison their rivers, their air and their own food?” That is again creating a mass suicide very slowly.
When you live unintelligently, insensitively, you live such a dull kind of life that your interest naturally starts moving towards death. That’s why there are constant wars. And the periods that you call days of peace are not much concerned with peace, they are only preparations for a new war. So either you are in war or you prepare for war. There are only two kinds of periods in history: actual fighting and preparation for the fighting. There has never been a period of peace. The peace is absolutely false, pretentious. Underneath the peace, underground, you are preparing for another war.
Why is there so much attraction for war? – because only when people are dying do they become a little alert. When there is danger you become a little alert. You don’t know how to be alert in any other way. That’s why when there is war you will see people’s faces more alive. Something is happening. Otherwise nothing happens. It is the same old tale told by an idiot, full of fury and noise, signifying nothing. Every day you get up and the same life starts in the same rut. Every night you go to bed and you have again ended a repetition of a day. And you can be certain that tomorrow you will do the same again. When war happens, things are no longer a routine; suddenly there is news in the air; something new is happening. So people are destructive – they create war.
And they create many kinds of war. They have been constantly fighting with nature. And nature is our life, nature is our very source. But even a man like Bertrand Russell writes about “the conquest of nature.” Conquest? the very idea is aggressive. It is as if we are against nature or nature is against us. We are one. We are nature. The trees are nature – are people not nature? The air is nature and the sun and moon are nature – are the eyes and the smiles and the tears not nature?
Just as the earth goes on growing into trees, so it goes on growing into people too. It is the same nature, it is the same ecology, it is one whole – and it is interdependent. And everything depends on everything else.
But the Western mind has been very aggressive. Nature has to be conquered. You have to fight amongst yourselves, you have to fight with nature; not only that, you have to fight with yourself. These are the three fights: man fights with other men, man fights with nature, man fights with himself. When man fights with other men it is politics. When man fights with nature it is science. And when man fights with himself it is religion. This is a foolish kind of approach – as if the whole thing depends on fighting.
Whom do you call the religious man? – the one who fights with himself continuously, repressing, cutting his life into fragments, choosing, judging, destroying, becoming split and schizophrenic. This is the same attitude – an aggressive, violent attitude. It shows in politics because it is the same man. It shows in religion because it is the same man. It shows in what you do with nature.
You ask me: “Why do they poison their rivers, their air and their own food?” – because they are poisoned with violence. So whatsoever they do becomes poisonous. They are suicidal because they don’t know what life is and they don’t know how to live it. They don’t know the joy and the celebration. They don’t know that it is a gift, that it is a great gift. They don’t know gratitude. So they go on being destructive in every possible way.
The Western attitude has been growing more and more towards death and every day it is bringing death closer to this planet. Any day this planet can explode into utter annihilation. The whole intelligence – technology, science, politics, everything – is directed towards one thing: how to commit a global suicide.
But it is the same man. I would like you to become just the contrary: the man who loves, who does not fight; the man who loves himself. That’s why my religion is a love for yourself. The man who loves himself loves others. Then there will be a totally different kind of politics; it will be based on love. The man who loves himself and loves other people, loves nature too – because trees are people, birds are people, animals are people. Then there will be a different kind of science in the world. But the science has to come from religion, because religion is the deepest core. Because you hate yourself, you hate others, you hate nature. Those are just reverberations of the original hate that you go on carrying with yourself.
“Why do they justify it all with their reasoning, psychology and laws?” What else can they do? One has to justify everything. In fact, when you are doing something wrong, you have to justify it immediately, otherwise you yourself will become aware of the wrong that you have done. And you will be a criminal in your own eyes. To avoid that, you have to find rationalizations.
Once a scientist was staying with me. I love my garden to be a jungle, so I had a beautiful jungle around my house. The scientist said to me, “Are you aware of what you are doing? If you allow these trees to grow so close to the house they will run over the house. These are dangerous things. There is a constant fight between man and trees. If you don’t keep them away, within years their roots will enter into your walls and they will destroy your house.” He said, “I hate trees.”
That has been the attitude of man: destroy. If you take that attitude then everything becomes inimical – even poor trees, innocent trees. And there is some fact to it, so you can base your reasoning on it. Yes, it is true that if trees are left to grow completely in freedom then they will run over your towns and your houses. That’s true, it is factual. But to base your whole life on that small fact and make it a philosophy, is wrong.
The other thing is as much a fact as this – we exist with the trees. Destroy all the trees and you will die. You breathe oxygen in, trees exhale oxygen. You exhale carbon dioxide, trees inhale carbon dioxide. So when you are surrounded by trees you are more alive. It is not just poetry.When you go into a jungle and a great jubilation comes to your heart, you suddenly feel more alive – as if the greenery makes you also green. It is not just poetry, it is pure science. It is because there is more oxygen, more life throbbing all around, more vitality. And when you breathe that oxygen in, your blood is purified; you can throw the toxins out more easily and you live at the maximum.
So there is a partnership with the trees: they take your poison in and purify it and create oxygen for you; you take oxygen in, you use the oxygen and throw the carbon dioxide outside. Trees use carbon dioxide as their food. So there is an absolute partnership. Man cannot live without trees and trees cannot live without man.
Animals are needed for trees and trees are needed for animals. They are not separate; they are part of one rhythm. This too is a fact. And life should not avoid this. One has to understand the totality of it; and one has to live in such a way that no one fact becomes, or pretends to become, the whole. There is no need to destroy. There is no need to fight. That is the approach of Tao, the approach of Sufism, Zen.

There is a famous Zen story….
A king told his old carpenter that he would like a certain table. The old man said, “I am very old and my son is yet not ready. He is learning by and by. But I will try, I will do my best. Give me time.”
For three days the old man disappeared in the forest. After three days he came back.
The king asked, “It takes three days to bring a little wood for the table?”
The old carpenter said, “Sometimes it takes three days, sometimes three months. And sometimes you may not find wood for three years. It is a difficult art.”
The king was puzzled. He said, “Explain it. What do you mean? Explain in detail.”
And the man said, “First I have to go on a fast – because only when I am on a fast does my mind by and by slow down. When my mind slows down, all thoughts disappear. all aggression disappears. Then I am no longer violent, then there is pure compassion and love – a different vibe. When I feel that vibe of no-mind, then I go into the forest, because only through that vibe can I find the right tree. With aggression, how can you find the right tree?” And I have to ask the trees themselves whether one of them is willing to become a table. I go, I look around, and when I feel that this tree is willing…. That willingness can be felt only when I have no mind. So there is fasting, meditating – and when I become absolutely empty, I simply roam around with the trees to have a feel. “When I feel that this tree fits, I sit by its side and ask its permission – ‘I am going to cut a branch from you. Are you willing?’ If the tree says yes wholeheartedly only then do I cut – otherwise who am I to cut its branch?”

Now this is a totally different approach. There is no fight between the man and the tree, there is a friendship. The man tries to fall en rapport with the trees, and he asks their permission. This is absurd for a Western mind. The Western mind says, “What nonsense are you talking about? Asking a tree? Have you gone crazy? And how can the tree say yes or no?” But now even Western science is gradually becoming aware that the tree can say yes or no. Now sophisticated instruments exist which can detect the moods of a tree – whether the tree is willing, whether the tree is unwilling, whether the tree is happy or unhappy? Now subtle instruments have been developed – just like a cardiogram. You can have a cardiogram of the tree. Electronic instruments can detect the moods of the tree.
When a woodcutter comes around the tree the tree is shaken with fear, is sad, is afraid, clings to her life. No Taoist will cut a tree in that state, no, not at all. If the tree is not willing, then who are we? When the tree on its own is ready to share, then only can it be cut.
Now this table will have a different quality to it. It has been a gift from the tree; it has not been taken away. The tree has not been robbed, it has not been conquered. It will not be difficult to understand that this table will have a different vibe to it. It will have something sacred about it. If you put this table in your room you will create a certain kind of space around the table which will not be possible with other tables. It will be there befriending you because you befriended it. It will be there as part of your family, not as a limb cut from an enemy.
The Western mind has been too aggressive against itself and against nature. It has created schizophrenia against people, it has created politics, war, and it has created the ecological crisis.
But things have gone now to the extreme. Either man has to turn back and drop the Western aggressive attitude or man has to get ready to say good-bye to this planet. This planet cannot tolerate man any more; it has already tolerated him for long enough.
“Why do they come here for a couple of months and why do you have so much compassion for them?”
They need compassion because only through compassion will they learn compassion. There is no other way to learn it. If they can feel my compassion and my love, they will start being compassionate and being loving. It is only in the milieu of love that one learns love. I am just creating a climate here. It is not a teaching, it is a climate.
And I don’t have anything else to give. To whosoever comes I can give my love and my compassion – because that is all that I have.
And Prageet says:I am sick and tired of them.”
If you are sick and tired of them then you are one of them. That very attitude of being sick and tired is violent.
Why this question? Such a long question has arisen in Prageet’s mind, and this is his first question. He has been here for almost two years. Why has such a long question arisen? He has a very violent mind. He is a good group leader, but a very violent one. He runs the gestalt and the bioenergetic groups and he goes on beating people. And he had never asked this question up to now. But just a few days ago one guy beat him really hard. Hence the question.
If you are tired and sick of them, you are one of them. Feel compassion, feel love. Help people through love and compassion. I know that sometimes you have to be hard too, just because of compassion, but that is another quality of hardness. Sometimes you have to push their buttons, but when you push their buttons, naturally they can go to the extreme – they can hit you. A real group leader is always in danger. That is the risk. You provoke people to bring their negativities to the surface, and when those negativities come to the surface, naturally you can be one of the targets. You are in danger.
But a group leader will accept it with gratitude. When somebody hits a group leader, he will bow down to him and say thank you – because that is what he wanted. He was creating a situation in which the anger could bubble up and burst. Once that anger has gone, the man will have a totally different kind of energy. The group process is a catharsis; it is a process of taking the pus out of your system. But when you are taking pus out of a system, sometimes a few drops of pus may fall upon your clothes – that’s natural. When you do surgery your hands will be bloody and you will need a good bath after it.
Don’t be angry. Otherwise you become part of them.
Now Prageet says, “I don’t want to lead any groups nor do I want to Rolf people. Maybe I could work in the garden?” No, not at all. I love my trees!

The second question:
In answering my question, you kept referring to me as “she.” So you have found me out. Even growing a beard, I could not deceive you. Only one small request: may I keep the swami in the front of my name?
Sorry, Ma Anand Sucheta. I goofed again.
Yes, it has happened. Just the other day Swami Anand Sucheta asked a question and I continued to refer to him as she.
Now there are two other Suchetas, both are she. One Sucheta is he, two Suchetas are she. They have also written questions to me. But the swami who asked the question has really understood the point of it. “Swami” was clearly there, “swami” was written on the question – but for two reasons I was goofing. One was that Anand Sucheta really has the heart of a woman. By growing a beard it makes no difference.
There is a biological he and she and there is a psychological he and she. Sometimes when I am giving sannyas to a person I have to think twice whether to call him ma or swami. Not to create an embarrassing situation for you I go on giving swami and ma according to your biological body. But sometimes it is very clear that to call this person “swami” seems absolutely wrong. He has such a feminine heart and his path is going to be love. He is so receptive.
Just the other night Prabha was here. Now he has a heart of a woman. He is a very big man physically, but he has a very, very soft vulnerable heart of a woman – a very loving heart. His psychological being is a she. And that is really more important because my work is concerned not with your biology but with your psychology.
But I am happy that Anand Sucheta understood the point. He says: “In answering my question, you kept referring to me as “she.” So you have found me out. Even growing a beard I could not deceive you. Only one small request: may I keep the swami in front of my name?”
That you can go on keeping. But go on knowing that you are feminine. And be joyous about it – because my understanding is that the feminine mind is closer to God than the masculine mind. The masculine mind is the Western mind and the feminine mind is the Eastern mind. The masculine mind is aggressive and the feminine mind is receptive. And God comes easily to those who can receive him – like a womb; to those who can become pregnant with him.
Go on keeping your swami name. That is for others. But for your own self go on remembering. Become more and more feminine. Allow your femininity to take possession of you.
Secondly, although Swami Anand Sucheta asked the question, the question was more relevant to one of the Ma Anand Suchetas. She did not ask it but really she should have asked it. It was more relevant.
So when sometimes I goof, I goof for reasons. Try to find out why. Meditate over it. When I make a mistake, meditate over it and you will always be enriched by it.

The third question:
Every time you come and go in the lecture, I am worried you may miss a step and fall.
PS You look so drunk.
That’s true. But I have been drunk for so long that you need not be afraid. For twenty-five years I have been that way. In the beginning it really was difficult to walk. I was very much afraid myself that I might fall any moment. Somehow the body had become so distant and there was such a gap – earth and sky apart. It took time for me to settle down. Although everything has settled down, that drunkenness is still there. This is God-drunkenness. Once you have drunk from the spring of the divine you are never in a state of being undrunk. Once is enough. A drop of it is enough to drown you forever. You need not drink again and again; you will never become thirsty again.
I can understand your question, but don’t be worried. Somehow…. I call it “somehow” because I am not managing it. I cannot manage it because I am not there to manage it; it has managed itself. Somehow I remain drunk and I remain aware.
Sufis have a particular principle about it – it will be meaningful to understand it. They call it an oscillation between the two states, ahwal. The two states are baka and fana: individuality and dissolution of the individuality. Between these two there has to be a kind of rhythm, a synchronization. There are people who are in their baka, but they don’t know anything about fana. Then there are people who are in their fana, but they forget how to come back to baka. Both are lopsided.
A kind of balance is needed between the two – drunkenness and awareness. One has to be drunkenly aware, or alertly drunk. That is the highest alchemy – where opposites meet and they become one. That is the greatest synthesis.

It is said of al-Junnaid, master of al-Hillaj Mansoor, that he used to impose disciplines to establish a rhythm between these two polarities. It is reported that the master once ordered a disciple, al-Shibli…al-Shibli later on became a great master himself. This man, al-Junnaid, created many masters. He had a great creative energy to create masters. He was one of the masters of masters. When al-Shibli attained his satori. his samadhi, his fana, he became incapable of coming back to the baka. He was so drunk, so lost, that the master was very angry with him.
He said, “You listen, Shibli! First you were clinging to your baka state. Now you have moved to the other and now you cling to it. Clinging remains. Clinging has to go. one has to be more liquid. One has to be capable of moving from one to the other easily, smoothly – just like a pendulum that swings from left to right, right to left. Without any hitch, hesitation, without any clinging, one has to attain to that smooth movement.”
But al-Shibli could not follow. Then the master said, “If your self-discipline is not sufficient to restrain your mystic states, ahwal, it is better that you admit yourself to a mad asylum for a time. “
This is strange advice from a master – “Go to a madhouse, admit yourself, and stay there until you attain a discipline by which you can be alert and drunk together.”
This has been one of the greatest problems on the path of the ultimate ecstasy, and you will find this phenomenon in many ways. You see Buddha. Buddha is drunk and alert together. Ramakrishna is not alert. He is drunk. Something of the balance is missing. If you ask me, I cannot tell you to make Ramakrishna a goal. When Ramakrishna would get into his fana state, for days he would remain almost unconscious. Once he remained unconscious in a coma for six days. And when he came out of it he started crying, and he started asking God, “Take me back. Let me go into that again.” He became like a child. It is better than the state of baka – this ecstasy is good – but there is a higher stage to it. That is Buddha’s state. He is drunk and yet alert. One has never seen him unconscious. He has managed the ultimate synthesis.
The way of ecstasy is also the way of sobriety, because it is the science of the knowledge of states. As Sheik ibn Ajiba has said, “A drunkenness with consciousness of the state is higher than drunkenness with forgetfulness. Ecstasy is not the goal but the means; nevertheless an absolutely essential means.”
So you need not be afraid. I am drunk and alert together. My drunkenness takes care that I don’t become so much alert that I am fixed in the baka. My awareness takes care that I don’t become fixed in the state of fana. They help each other like the two wings of a bird – they are opposite and yet complementary. With one wing you cannot fly, you will need both wings.
And that is my teaching. My whole effort here is to make you alert and drunk together. Hence I go on telling you to dance and abandon yourself in dance, and I go on teaching you ways of meditation, awareness, vipassana – so that both can grow together. The day you are drunk, suddenly you will find a light burning in you which keeps you alert. And certainly, as Ajiba says, a drunkenness with awareness is higher than a drunkenness with forgetfulness.

The fourth question:
During the day when I am bouncing around, I completely lose myself. I am enjoying, but where does meditation come in?
The very enjoyment is what meditation is all about.
The question is from Vidya. Now she is hankering for some misery. She is enjoying but she cannot enjoy enjoying; she wants to create some trouble for herself. It is very difficult to be really happy and happy with happiness. Once you are happy you start looking for some trouble. You cannot believe that you can be happy, that you can really be happy. Something must be wrong. When you are miserable you are perfectly happy – that is your state, you know it, you are well acquainted with it; that is your identity. When you are miserable you are happy, because you know that this is how you are – but when you are happy then you start becoming miserable. You cannot trust happiness, it is so unknown.
That’s what meditation is: to enjoy, to celebrate.

Hoping to develop his son’s character, a father once gave him a penny and a quarter as he was leaving for Sunday school. “Now, Peter, you put whichever one you want to in the offering plate,” he said.
When the boy returned, his father asked which coin he had given. Peter answered, “Well, just before they sent around the plate the preacher said, ‘The Lord loveth a cheerful giver,’ and I knew I could give the penny a lot more cheerfully than I could give the quarter, so I gave it.”

I perfectly agree with the boy. Whatsoever is cheerful is good. Whatsoever makes you cheerful is religious. Let cheerfulness be your only religion, the only law. Let there be no other law. Just enjoy and enjoy tremendously, totally. Meditation will come like a shadow. It is meditation coming; it is the sound of the footsteps of meditation coming to you.

The fifth question:
It is a long, long journey between the preparation and the ultimate; between the state of robopathology and enlightenment. Must one suffer during the period of the “journey” or is there a possibility of peace? Please explain.
It depends on you. It depends on what attitude you take about it. Waiting can become great joy if you trust that it is going to happen, if you trust that it is coming closer every moment. If you trust that it has already started happening because you have started moving towards it, then each moment that passes will make you more and more joyous. The home is coming closer.
But you can be very miserable if you take the. attitude – “How long do I have to wait? How far is the goal? Why have I to wait so long? Why have others reached? Why are others reaching before me?” Then you can create a thousand and one problems for yourself and you can get miserable. And remember, the law is that the more miserable you get in your waiting, the longer the waiting will be – because God cannot happen in a miserable mind. The happier the waiting, the closer you are coming. If your waiting can be your total joy, God will happen this very moment – no time gap is needed. It all depends on your patience.
But when I say patience, I don’t mean a negative quality, I mean a joyous patience – thrilled, expectant. It is going to happen! When it is going to happen is not the point – it is going to happen.
It all depends on how you interpret. Interpretation is a process that has to be understood very deeply. You can see a rosebush and you can start counting the thorns. If you count the thorns, there are millions. And in that very counting you will become incapable of seeing the rose. Counting the thorns, being hurt by the thorns, your hands will be bloody. You will be angry, you will be frustrated, you will be in despair – and your eyes will not be capable of seeing the rose. How can you see the rose with so many thorns? Thorns will be floating in your eyes. Your eyes will be covered by thorns; you will not be able to see the rose. Even if you have a glimpse of the rose you will not be able to trust. How can the rose happen? You know only thorns, you know only the pain of the thorns. The rose seems to be an impossibility. Maybe it is a dream, maybe you have imagined it, maybe it is a hallucination or something. But in the very nature of things it cannot happen – it is so contrary to the experience of thorns. Then it becomes impossible. By and by you will become oblivious of the rose. Then it no longer exists for you.
But if you look at the rose, if you feel the rose, if you become rosy with the rose, if you allow the fragrance to move into your innermost core, if you feel the wetness of the flower, the dewdrops on it, the sunrise dancing, if you see the utter joy of the flower, the incomparable beauty of it – in that very vision of the rose the thorns start receding. They may be on the bush but they don’t exist for you. They can’t exist for you; your eyes are full of the rose. And when your eyes are really full of the rose – not only your eyes but your heart too – then you will be surprised to find that the thorns don’t matter. Even if there are ten thousand thorns for one rose, only the rose matters, the thorns don’t matter. Your whole outlook has changed and you will look at thorns with a new vision. You will see the thorns not as enemies of the rose but as bodyguards of the rose. They are guarding it; they are friends; they protect – otherwise it will not be possible for the rose to survive. Those thorns are a must.
Once you have started seeing the beauty of life, ugliness starts disappearing. It becomes at the most a shadow. If you start looking at life with joy, sadness starts disappearing. You cannot have both heaven and hell together, you can have only one. It is your choice. And you can have it any moment. If you want hell, you can have it right now. If you want the heaven, you can have that too. It is absolutely your responsibility; it is your choice.
It depends how you interpret.

I would like to tell you a few anecdotes….
Thirty nuns arrived in purgatory. “Now girls,” said the angel in charge. “I want every one of you who was ever sexually involved in any kind of relationship on the earth to stand up – and remember, no fibbing. I have ways of checking up on you.”
Sheepishly twenty-nine of the nuns stood up, but the thirtieth remained seated.
The angel nodded and put in a phone call to the devil. “Satan,” he said, “I’m sending down thirty nuns to you – and I advise you to be particularly careful of one. She’s stone deaf!”

Now this is your interpretation. This shows more about the mind of the angel than anything about the woman who has kept silent and has not stood up.

Another scene….
The Pearly Gates. St. Peter interviewing a new arrival.
St. Peter: “Name?”
New Arrival: “Melvin.”
St. Peter: “Did you ever gamble, drink, or smoke when you were on earth?”
Melvin: “No.”
St. Peter: “Did you ever steal, lie, cheat, or swear?”
Melvin: “No.”
St. Peter: “Were you promiscuous?”
Melvin: “No.”
St. Peter: “Tell me what kept you there so long?”

This shows the mind of St. Peter, nothing about Melvin.

The third…. “Rabbi Jacobs, I need fifty dollars to get out of debt,” sobbed Gottlieb. “I keep praying to God to help, but he has not sent it!”
“Don’t lose faith,” said the rabbi. “Keep praying.”
After Gottlieb left his house, the rabbi felt sorry for him. “I don’t make much money” he thought, “but that poor man needs it. I will give him twenty-five dollars out of my own pocket.”
A week later, the rabbi stopped Gottlieb and said, “Here God sent this to you!”
Back in his home, Gottlieb bowed his head, “Thank you, Lord!” he said, “But next time you send money, don’t send it through Rabbi Jacobs – that crook kept half of it!”

It all depends on you, on how you look at things. You can see each day surrounded by two nights or you can see each night surrounded by two days. And it really makes a lot of difference. Let your waiting be joyous. You are waiting for God. Let it be a song in your heart. Let it be prayerful. Let it be a celebration. Only celebration is sacred.
Just the other day I was reading a statement of a German philosopher, Martin Heidegger. He says, “I have not come across anything in the world which can be called sacred.” Now this man must have lived a very poor life, an utterly poor life, if he could not name, could not vouch for, could not be a witness to a single thing that he could call sacred. His life must have been one of utter frustration. He has not known any song, he has not known any joy. He has not seen a smile on a child’s face, he has not seen tears. He has not heard the birds singing and he has not seen roses and lotuses flowering, and he has not looked at the stars. He has missed.
The whole of life is sacred.
Once it happened that Buddha asked one of his disciples, “Can you find anything which is worthless in life? If you can, then bring it.” The disciple thought for many days and Buddha inquired every day, “What is happening? Have you not yet found anything worthless?” And after a month or two the disciple came and he said, “Sorry. I looked all around. I looked very hard. I could not sleep because you had put a question and I had to find the answer. But I could not find anything worthless.”
Then Buddha said, “Now another task. Find anything which has worth. How many days will you take for it? You took months for the first.” And the disciple laughed. He said, “No need to take any time.” He just took a straw from the ground and gave it to Buddha. And he said, “This is enough proof. This has worth.”
Buddha blessed the disciple and he said, “This is how one should look at life. This is the right attitude – samyak drishti, right vision.” And Buddha said, “I am happy with you – that you took months and still you could not find anything worthless. You could not find a single instance of something meaningless. And now for the meaningful, for that which has worth, you have not taken even a single second. Yes, this is how it is. The whole life is sacred.”
Buddha has lived a rich life, spiritually rich. Heidegger must have lived in misery.
How can you say that life has nothing sacred in it? Each moment is sacred. But you need the eyes to see that sacredness. God is not missing from existence; only your vision is not yet tuned to it.
You ask: “It is a long, long journey between the preparation and the ultimate….” The length of that journey depends on you. It can be long, very long; it may not be so long. It may be very short. The goal depends on you – how long is not a fixed phenomenon. It cannot be measured. It becomes long if you look through misery, anguish, anxiety, antagonism. If your eyes are full of sadness, you create a long distance. If your eyes are full of joy, it is here, it is now, it is this.

The sixth question:
You are so crazy!!! How does it feel to be totally crazy?
Just far out!!!

And the last question:
Has it happened? Has it finally happened? Is that you inside my heart, so clear and constantly with me now?
Yes, it has happened. But don’t grab it – otherwise it can disappear again. Let it be there, but don’t become greedy – otherwise out of your greed you can crush it. Let it be there but don’t take it for granted. The moment you take it for granted, it disappears. It is there, it has happened.
It is going to happen to all as it has happened to you. But remember, it is very fragile, it is very subtle. You cannot keep it in a fist. The moment you close, you kill it. If you remain open, it will be there. Never expect it to be there and it will be there. If you start expecting then you create hindrances.
Yes, it has happened. But now you will have to be even more alert not to destroy it. It is not so hard – when it has not happened it is not so hard, the work is not so hard. The real work starts when it starts happening, because then you have to be very, very careful and very conscious. A single moment of unconsciousness and you can destroy it.
Enough for today.

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