Sufis The People of Path Vol 2 14

Fourteenth Discourse from the series of 15 discourses - Sufis The People of Path Vol 2 by Osho.
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The first question:
You say there is nowhere to go. To go somewhere is to perpetuate the illusion.
And sometimes I see it….
And you say religiousness is to reject the known and one should not stand on the crossroads but dare, and commit mistakes….
You say it is already the case – the seeker is the sought….
And you say religion is self-creation, constant rebellion….
The combination and the harmony of all these things between them is singularly messy.
That’s true. Have you ever witnessed a childbirth? It is messy, singularly messy.
This is the birth of a new consciousness. You are witnessing something rare. It happens only once in thousands of years. Whenever something new is born, it is messy. You can ask the scientists what they say about the birth of the world. It was utterly messy, it was chaos. The cosmos has come out of a chaos.
And before I can create you I have to destroy you. I have to dismantle the old completely. Naturally, when the old is dismantled and the new has not yet been created, there is a period, a transition period, where everything will be messy.
But if the chaos is going to give birth to a star, it has to be welcomed. Order, system, is not always good, is not always beneficial. Disorder is not always harmful. One has to look into each case to determine it. It depends. If destruction is the goal, then destruction is violence. It is ugly. If creation is the goal, then who has ever been able to create anything without destruction? You have to be destroyed.
And that’s my device – to give you contradictory statements. That is my design. It is a naqshbandi. I contradict myself so much for a certain reason: if you go on listening to me, sooner or later you will stop believing. That is the whole purpose – because you will know it is meaningless to believe this man. Tomorrow he will contradict himself. Before you are established in a belief he will contradict it. He will not leave you settled in any shelter. Once you know this, slowly, slowly, the mind’s old habit of clinging to a certain concept disappears. It can disappear only if you are continuously contradicted.
If I am very consistent I will become your belief, I will become your church, I will become your religion. And I don’t want to become your church or your dogma or your religion – I want to become your salvation. your liberation, your freedom. The goal is utterly different. If you are seeking a kind of belief then you are in trouble.
That is why Anand Veda – who has asked this question – is in trouble. He must be seeking some security, some idea. He wants some idea to cling to; he wants a shelter to hide himself behind. He does not want to face the messy life – life as it is. He wants to prepare, he wants to be prepared to meet life with ideas, ideologies, concepts, philosophies. He wants to go to see God with a fully ready-made mind.
Otherwise God is messy. He is utterly chaos. To meet God unprepared is to disappear in him. But that is the only meeting, there is no other. If you are not ready to disappear into that chaos, you will not meet God. God is not a concept.
But you want a concept, you want a clear-cut philosophy so that you can depend on it and you can fight in the name of that philosophy and you can argue in the name of that philosophy.
Now it will be very difficult to argue for me. It is impossible to argue for me. You cannot. Anybody can see that my statements are contradictory – no great insight is needed to see that. Any stupid person can see that my statements are contradictory. Intelligence will be needed to see that my statements are not about truth, they are devices, designs, to destroy something in your mind. Great intelligence will be needed to see that.
I will not allow you ever to settle with me; you will have to move. Every day I will create and every day I will destroy. Sooner or later the understanding will dawn on you that there is no need to cling. Because you cling, it hurts when something is taken away again. So why cling in the first place? Not clinging is freedom.
These contradictory statements are not meant to be statements about truth – no, not at all. Truth cannot be said. Nobody has ever said it, nobody will ever say it. It is not possible. Truth cannot be confined to the word. And I am not saying the truth, I am simply creating a space in you – the space I call the unclinging, unattached mind, the contentless mind. Once that state is there you will know what truth is. I cannot say what truth is but I can create a device, a design, for you in which you will be able to see the truth.
When you listen to me, if you listen as if you are listening to a philosopher, you will miss me. If you listen to me as if you are listening to a theologian, then you will miss me. If you listen to me as if I am a logician, then you will miss me. I use logic only to destroy logic, I use words only to destroy words, I use scriptures only to destroy scriptures. The more silently, intelligently you listen to me, the more this fact will slowly, slowly become very, very clear to you. In that clarity there is vision; in that transparency, in that silence, when not a single idea is there in your mind about truth, truth comes in.
So these statements are contradictory. Contradiction and paradox is my design.
And I am not saying to you, “Do this, don’t do that.” That’s how you again create trouble for yourself. You listen to me with a deep desire to do something. So when you hear me saying “Do this” – or you interpret it as if I am saying “Do this” – you catch hold of it immediately; you start preparing to do it. And the next moment I say that it is wrong. Then you are at a loss. You were just ready to jump into an action and before you have even acted, it is no longer right.
I am trying to help you to drop all kinds of desires – including the desire that you have to attain to truth, that you have to attain to nirvana; including the desire that you have to be desireless.
Why are you in such a hurry to do something? Why can’t you be, simply be? Being is sanity and salvation. The moment you start doing, you get confused, because whatsoever you do – and I am saying it unconditionally, whatsoever – it will create more ego in you. Doing creates the doer and ego is the whole problem. The ego has to be dropped and the ego always waits for the opportunity to do something.
When I am trying to explain to you what meditation is, I am doing one thing and you are preparing for something else. I am trying to talk to you; I am simply sharing my insight into meditation, my experience of meditation. I am trying to do just one thing: to make you alert about what this state of meditation is. While I am talking about the state, you are planning inside how to attain it, what to do about it. You exist in a totally different dimension.
I say meditation cannot be done – one can be in meditation but one cannot do it. It is just like love. You can be in love but what can you do about it? Either it is or it is not. Listening to me, you go on interpreting, reducing everything that I say into how to do it. I am saying to you that if you can simply listen to me, that will bring enlightenment. There is no need to do anything else. lust by hearing it, just by seeing what is transpiring here between me and you, just by being with me, you will become enlightened – not by doing anything.
But that you don’t like very much because that does not give you the ego. If enlightenment happens just by being with me, then who are you? Then what are you? Then what have you done? Then how can you brag about it? It will be a gift. You will have to be thankful for it, you will have to be grateful for it. You cannot go into the world saying that you have done it. How can you say, “I have done it?” It has nothing to do with your doing or you.
No, you are not much interested in that. You are interested in doing it, achieving it, attaining it, so that you can say that you have attained it. But how can you attain enlightenment? You are the barrier to it, the only barrier.
Enlightenment comes when you are not. It is available right now; it is all around. Enlightenment is the stuff that existence is made of. It is showering in the sun rays, it is singing in the birds, it is dancing in the trees. It is in me, it is in you. You just have to come to a point where you are not doing anything – and suddenly you see the fact of it, the radiant presence of it. But it happens only when you are not in a moment of doing. Doing, you become concerned; doing, you go outward. Non-doing, you are suddenly inside yourself. Doing is the way to go outside yourself; non-doing is the way to be where you should be, to be where you really are. Doing takes you into the future in time; non-doing allows you to relax into eternity.
Paradox is my way – so that you will never be able to cling to anything I say. And you will be grateful one day that I was not consistent, because with a consistent man you can be never in that dimension called enlightenment. With a consistent man you will become a follower, with a consistent man you will become very logical, philosophical. You will have beautiful ideas to propound to the world, you will have a good, established, systematic mind. But that has nothing to do with enlightenment. You can become enlightened only with an utterly inconsistent man.
And when you are able to see what I am doing here then you will be surprised that all my statements are inconsistent and yet there is a consistency in my being. And that consistency is that I am continuously paradoxical, consistently paradoxical, consistently inconsistent. That consistency you will see one day.
On the surface I will say many things and each thing will be against other things and you will not be allowed to possess any idea. I am here to take all ideas from you, not to give you more ideas. As it is, you have already more than enough.

The second question:
The theory that we have to push, force and kick ourselves – is this true? I hate fighting myself.
Look at the question. I go on saying to you that truth is not somewhere else, it is here. You have not to struggle your way towards it. It is through the struggle that you are missing it. You are not to push the river. By pushing the river you will never reach anywhere. You will simply get tired and exhausted.
By pushing the river you are only creating the possibility of your utter failure. You cannot fight with the river. The river is huge – life’s river, the river of existence, is so huge – and you are so tiny. You are just a ripple in the ocean – a ripple trying to fight with the ocean, trying to direct the ocean, trying to achieve a private goal. It is simply ridiculous. And all struggle makes you ridiculous; all struggle makes you tired, exhausted, dull, sad, miserable.
But one thing is there in the struggle – that thing is that you feel you are. The ego feels very good. You are fighting, you are giving a good fight. Maybe you cannot win but nobody can say that you were a coward, nobody can say that you didn’t give a good fight. Maybe you cannot win, or who knows, maybe you can win – the mind goes on thinking in these ways. Maybe others have not won but you may be the exception. Maybe it is left for you to do what others have not done. Give it a good try. The ego will feel good – you are doing something. The bigger the fight, the bigger the ego will be. The more you push the river the more you feel you are. Against the river you feel “I am.” The feeling of “I am” always comes when you are against something. The more you fight and protest, the more you struggle, the more you will feel that you are – defined, well-defined.
Take the other as an enemy and he becomes your definition; take the other as a friend and your boundaries are no longer clear-cut. When you are sitting by the side of your friend or your beloved, the boundaries are not clear. They are overlapping. You are overflowing into each other. You don’t know where you end and where your friend begins. And if the friendship is really deep, something immensely beautiful happens – egos disappear.
There is an Indian myth. To understand the myth you will have to understand these three words….
First the myth. It is the myth of the creation. It is far more beautiful than any other myth of creation. Hindus say that he was alone – “he” means God. He was alone but not really alone, because he was two in one. He was man and woman together. He was in a deep loving embrace. But he was also one because there was no boundary. It was not possible to say where he ended and where his beloved began. The man and the woman were almost one in a cosmic embrace, ecstatically lost into each other.
Eternity passed and he started feeling alone. Naturally, when you don’t have a definition, then it doesn’t matter whether you are two, you feel as if you are alone. He started feeling alone. The aloneness became too heavy so he decided to separate. So he fell into two parts.
The Sanskrit word for falling apart is patpat means falling apart, to fall. From pat comes the Hindi word patanpatan means fall. He fell in two. And because of the word pat, a husband in India is called pati and a wife is called patni. He fell into two parts – one part became pati, husband, the other part became patni, wife. The words pat, and patni are derived from pat – he fell in two.
And since then, the myth says, they have been trying to reach each other again, because now they are feeling very much separated and divorced. Hence the desire for love, the immense desire for love, the search for the other – to find someone with whom you can be one again.
When you are together with a beloved one you lose identities. You cannot feel who you are because the other is involved, intimately involved, in your being. In love, ego disappears. When you hate, when you fight, when you struggle, ego arises. When you are sitting with your enemy you are perfectly well-defined because you are not overflowing, he is not overflowing. You don’t meet anywhere. There is distance.
So the whole thing is that when you struggle, it is not for truth. When you struggle, it is not for nirvana, enlightenment. When you struggle, the deep urge is to declare yourself – that you are powerful, that you are against the world, against existence. But then there is trouble also. Once you declare “I am,” there arises a great fear that if “I am” then there is every possibility that one day “I may not be.”
You have to understand this. This is one of the basic, fundamental problems each intelligent person has to face. First you try to declare “I am” and you feel very good that “I am,” that “I am somebody, someone special.” So for your whole life you try to become special, extraordinary in some way or other: become a famous painter or a poet or a politician; have more money than anybody else has; make a palace to live in so everybody feels jealous; in some way prove that you are special, you are not in an ordinary rut, you are not of the crowd, you are above the crowd; or become an ascetic, renounce the world; or stand on your head and become a yogi – but do something so that the whole world comes to know that you are not ordinary, you are special. People do so many things so different from each other, but the motive is the same. If you go deeper you will find the same motive. They want to declare to the world “I am.”
But then a problem arises. First you have to struggle to prove that you are, and then once you have proved it, anxiety comes in. The anxiety is that if you are, you can disappear too. Anything that is, is going towards annihilation. The tree was there yesterday, now it is gone. The flower was there in the morning; in the evening it has gone, withered away. The child was alive and now the child is dead. Everywhere you see that birth is continuously followed by death. - Existence is surrounded by non-existence. Life seems to be always provoking death – they seem to be parallel.
Once you have defined yourself clearly – that “I am this” – once you have become this, suddenly a great trembling arises in your being when you see that you can disappear, that you will die. How again misery settles in.
First you create the ego, then the fear comes that the ego will disappear. If you don’t create the ego there is no fear of death, it is not possible at all – because if you are not, how can you die? If you are not, then there is no death. Death is always of the ego. Once ego is not there, how can you die?
Just the other night I was reading a case, a very strange case. A child was born in Philadelphia. It was a premature birth, it was a miscarriage. But it was a rare phenomenon – the child was alive although it should not have been alive according to medical science. It weighed only half a pound, but it was alive.
Now the difficulty was that medical science says you cannot call a child who is born below one pound, alive – because it never happens. one pound at least to a must – even the child of one pound is not going to live, but he can be alive for a few days or a few moments. But this child did not weigh even one pound. So the doctor could not give him a certificate of birth. But the child was alive and the child lived for two days. For forty-eight hours the child lived. No birth certificate was issued.. And then the child died. Now, no death certificate could be issued because when the child was never born how can you certify that he is dead? But up to now things were simple.
But then the hospital demanded money from the parents for forty-eight hours of care and medicine and this and that. So the parents said, “But when the child was never born and it never died, about whom are you talking? What are you talking about? You say you cared for forty-eight hours, but for whom did you care?”
Now it was such a complicated case that the hospital authorities had to keep quiet, to keep mum. They didn’t go to the court because it would not have been possible. First the child should have been given a birth certificate, then a death certificate – then money for those forty-eight hours of care would have been possible.
Death is possible only if the ego is born. If the ego is not there, there cannot be any death. Then life is eternal. Then life has a different quality to it – a quality of eternity, of immortality. The ego wants to be immortal. That is not possible. You are immortal but the ego cannot be immortal. The ego will have to die – not one but a thousand and one deaths. And the ego is very, very vulnerable, very delicate. If somebody insults it, there is a death, a small death. If your business goes bankrupt, there is a small death. If something goes wrong, a small thing, there is a death. Small things, and you die many times. The ego is always ready to die because it is a false artifact, it is a pseudo phenomenon. And to keep it alive you will have to keep pushing the river.
So first conflict, struggle, violence, aggression, are needed for the ego to exist. They are the fuel, the food for it. But they create misery. And the greater misery comes when ego has been created – then fear arises, the fear of death. So the ego simply suffers. The non-ego state is the state of celebration.
You ask me: The theory that we have to force, push and kick ourselves – is this true? That’s what I have been telling you – that it is the most dangerous calamity that has happened to humanity. The idea to force, kick, push, fight – that is the most dangerous idea that has poisoned humanity. But if you want to have an ego that is the only way. You will have to drink the poison. And you will be suffering and suffering and you will remain in hell, but you will have one good feeling – that “I am.”
George Bernard Shaw is reported to have said…. When he was dying somebody asked him, “Where would you like to go? To heaven or hell?” He said, “That depends. If I can be first in heaven then I will go to heaven, but I have to be number one. If that is not possible – because others have reached before, Jesus and Buddha, et cetera – if they have already occupied important positions, if they are sitting by the side of God already, then I would like to go to hell. But I want to be first anywhere. Even hell is okay.”
He was joking against the whole human mind. What he was saying is true. You look deep in your mind – where would you like to go? To hell, if you can be made a king there? Or to heaven, if you have to be a servant there? And you will be surprised to find that you agree with Bernard Shaw. Your mind will say, “What will you do just being a servant? Forget all about it. Hell is far better. You will be the king.” Of course you will suffer but it is worth it. Kings suffer, but it is worth it. Politicians suffer, but it is worth it. Rich people suffer, but it is worth it. Poor people may not suffer that much – they don’t suffer, they cannot afford that much suffering. That much suffering is only possible when you can afford it. Nobodies don’t suffer much; there is nothing to suffer. You cannot humiliate them, they are already standing at the back. You cannot throw them further back.
Beggars don’t suffer that much. How can a beggar suffer as much as Richard Nixon? It is impossible. Where can you throw a beggar? He is already there – where can you throw him? He cannot suffer. But he is a beggar, a nobody. That is continuously like a knife in his heart – “I am nobody.” The beggar also wants to be somebody. Even if it comes through suffering, it is okay.
One has to look into this dangerous mind – that it wants to have an ego even though hell is created in getting it. The mind is not ready to be happy and sane and blissful if the ego has to be lost. And you all go on doing the same thing. I watch you doing it every day. For small things you are ready to drop your blissfulness, but you cannot drop your ego. And you are ready to suffer as much as possible, as much as you can tolerate, if it helps the ego. Beware of it.
I am not telling you to force your way; there is no need. Relax. Let go. Start flowing with the stream. Not even swimming is needed; simply let the stream take you. It will take you to the ocean. It is already going to the ocean, you need not push. Push is needed when you start trying to go upstream. When you start going against nature then push, conflict, struggle, is needed. When you are going according to nature there is no need to struggle – nature is already going that way. Relax with it. And then there is a great song in the heart because all misery disappears.
But with misery you also disappear. You cannot have both. Yourself and bliss, that is not possible. It is not possible because nature does not function that way. You will have to drop one. Either you drop bliss and you be, or you drop your ego and let bliss be. It is your choice. And that’s why I go on saying again and again that to be miserable is your choice.
You come and ask me how to drop the misery. You want to drop the misery without dropping the ego. But that is not possible. And if I say “Drop the ego” I always see in your eyes that you think I am changing the subject. You think you have come to ask how to drop the misery and I am talking about something else. I am saying “Drop the ego.” Of course it looks as if it is something else.

Mulla Nasruddin was sitting with a beautiful woman on a full-moon night talking about great things. He was getting very romantic. But women are very earthly, earthbound, very practical.
When Mulla was getting really too high the woman said, “Mulla, your love is okay, but will you marry me?”
Mulla said, “Listen, don’t change the subject.”

That I have seen many times in your eyes. You bring one problem, and I start talking about something else. It is only on the surface that it appears to be something else – to me it is the cause. You want to drop the misery but you don’t want to drop the ego. And misery cannot be dropped. Misery is a shadow of the ego. Only the ego can be dropped. Dropping the ego, the misery disappears. That seems to be too great a price to pay. You say, “I will think it over.” You are not really interested in dropping the misery. If you are really interested, then just by seeing the fact you will drop the ego immediately.
Sigmund Freud has said that man is naturally miserable. I don’t believe in it, but about ninety-nine per cent of people he is right. I cannot deny that. Freud feels that there is no hope for man; man is basically miserable. His misery cannot be transformed. He cannot be made happy. Man’s demands are impossible – that’s what Freud means. Man demands the impossible. He wants to have a great ego and he wants to be happy.
It is as if you want the full sun, with no clouds, but still you want the coolness of the dark night, the silence of the dark night. And you want the full sun in the sky, you want it sunny. Now you are demanding impossibilities. This is not possible. You can only pretend. That’s what people go on doing. You can pretend. You can sit on the beach on a sunny day and keep your eyes closed. This is a pretension. If you keep your eyes closed you create a darkness inside. You have both – the night and the day. But this is a pretension. It is really day; the night is just a false illusion you have created by closing your eyes. The impossible cannot be done.
The sane man always looks into his life to see whether he is trying to do the impossible. The moment he sees he is trying to do something which cannot be done in the very nature of things. he drops it. That project is immediately dropped. This I call sanity.
Insane people are those who go on fighting, not looking at the phenomenon at all – as if they are trying to make a square circle. You can go on trying but it will never happen – because a circle is a circle and can never be a square. And a square is a square and can never be a circle. You can go on trying but you will be a failure. The whole humanity is a failure – trying to do the impossible.
And you say: “I hate fighting myself.” Now that again is a fight. Hate! First you fight, that is wrong. Then you do a second wrong thing, even deeper – then you fight against fight because you hate it. I am teaching acceptance, tathata. I am teaching you a total acceptance of life as it is – everything included. Now again you will see that there is some difficulty.
For example, you see that you go on fighting. Should you accept this too? I say yes. Only by accepting it will it disappear. Through acceptance, things change. You should accept everything, even the fight. What can you do? If you are fighting and pushing the river, you will be creating another problem. If I say “Don’t fight,” then you will start fighting your fight. That will be even more subtle. It will be on a deeper level. The fight will remain. When I say “Drop fighting,” I am not saying “Start fighting against fight.” I am saying “Accept.” If you feel like pushing the river, push. Don’t create a new fight against it. Go on pushing, just seeing the whole nonsense of it. See that it is stupid, that what you are doing is stupid. The river cannot be pushed back. Go on pushing and go on watching and accept it.
In that acceptance, in that awareness, one day suddenly you will find your hands have stopped. But it is not that you have stopped them – if you stop them then you have missed. Then again it has been a fight of stopping. First you were fighting with the river, then you started fighting with your fighting – and you are somehow holding your hands so that they don’t start pushing the river again. This will not be a very beautiful state. It will be tense, there will be anguish, and you will be holding yourself You will not be flowing, you will not be streaming with joy, you will be repressing. And at any moment, at any opportunity, you will again start pushing the river. How long can you repress the desire?
So listen to me, listen very meditatively. If you are pushing the river I am not saying stop it, I am simply saying that by pushing the river nothing is achieved. Listen to it. Let this sink into your heart. And if you feel like pushing because of old habits – you have been pushing for many lives – -go on pushing, but go on seeing the fact that this is stupid, that you are being stupid. Don’t pull away from it, don’t try to control yourself. Let it happen – but with the vision that it is stupid, that it is meaningless, that nothing is going to come out of it. Let it happen – but with no expectation, waiting for frustration, knowing perfectly well that frustration is coming, that you are wasting your energy, that it is because of old habits. Go on, don’t pull back.
And one day you will see that the hands are getting slower and slower. You are not pushing as hard as you used to. And some day, when you have a clear vision, when you are transparent, you will see the whole absurdity. Seeing, there is transformation. Once seen totally, the hands simply stop. Not that you stop them, they stop of their own accord. And when they stop of their own accord there is great grace, there is great beauty.

The third question:
You have convinced me. Before any question arises, before any answer can be given, I believe you, happily.
The question is from Yoga Puja.
It is not a question at all! I am happy, Puja. But just change one word in your mind. Don’t call it conviction, call it conversion. That is what you really mean. You have used a wrong word, that’s all.
Conviction is logical, intellectual, of the mind. It does not go very deep. And behind each conviction, doubt persists. Conviction does not change anybody. It is a mind thing, how can it change your totality? And conviction is borrowed. I am being very logical about something and you become convinced, but it is because I am being very logical about something. My logic appeals to you, you cannot argue against it, hence conviction. Conviction is borrowed. We get it all from others. You become a Christian, a convinced Christian, because your parents were Christian. Or you become a convinced Hindu, a staunch Hindu, a mad Hindu, because your parents were Hindus. And so on, so forth.

I have heard….
A Sunday school teacher suddenly stopped reading a passage in her Bible and asked her pupils, “Why do you believe in God?”
She got a variety of answers – some full of simple faith, others obviously insincere. The one that stopped her cold came from the son of one of Chicago’s best known ministers.
He frowned and answered, “I guess it just runs in our family.”

That’s how you get your convictions.
With me let there be conversion, not conviction; I am not interested in convincing you about anything. Truth is. It needs no conviction. Either you know it or you don’t know it. It needs no belief. Beliefs don’t help in any way. What you need is not conviction, you need conversion – conversion of the heart, a hundred-and-eighty degree turn, a total change of your vision, a change of your plane. You start looking at life from another vantage point. That is not conviction, that is conversion. It is not that your idea has changed but you have changed.
And that’s exactly what Puja means. She has only used a wrong word. She says: “You have convinced me. Before any question arises, before any answer can be given, I believe you.” Again she is using a wrong word – believe. But they are related. If you think it is a conviction then you will think it is because you have started believing in me. If you think it is a conversion then it will not be a belief – it will be trust. Belief is in what I say, trust is in what I am. They are diametrically opposite.
But my feeling about Puja is that she has only used wrong words – otherwise she means exactly that.
Good, I am happy. If you listen to me from the heart, this is going to happen to everybody. If you listen to me, not with any motive to go anywhere, to achieve anything, but just for the sheer joy of listening – as one listens to music or as one listens to the sound of a waterfall or this cuckoo – if you listen to me for no motive at all but just to be here with me, conversion is going to happen, transformation is going to happen. My flame is going to jump into you and light your unlit candle.

The fourth question:
Just when the ashram seems to be coming together we will be moving. Is it your intention that we should be living on a perpetual building site?

The fifth question:
Is there any necessity for everybody to have a religion of one kind or other?
Yes, everybody ought to have a religion of one kind or another. You owe it to yourself to know what church you are staying away from. Otherwise you will feel very miserable. You will miss.

I have heard….
Nurse: “What church do you belong to?”
Patient: “None.”
Nurse: “Well, what church do you go to when you go?”
Patient: “If you must know, the church which I stay away from the most of the time when I don’t go, is the Baptist.”

Simpkin had been shipwrecked for twenty years on a desert island when finally he was rescued by a passing ship.
“What did you do to keep busy all those years?” asked the captain of the rescue vessel.
“I went into the building business,” replied Simpkin, whereupon he took the captain to a corner of the island and showed him a beautiful synagogue.
“That’s incredible!” said the sailing master.
“That’s nothing,” said Simpkin. This time he led him to the opposite side of the island and displayed another magnificently constructed house of worship.
“I don’t understand,” said the captain. “You are the only person on the island. Why did you need two synagogues?”
“This one I belong to,” explained Simpkin, “but the other one I would not set foot inside if they paid me!”

These are your ways to define yourself. These are the ways of the ego to define itself. You are a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Buddhist. You are Indian, German or Italian. You are a Catholic or a Protestant. These are ways to define yourself, who you are.
In fact, a religious person need not have any religion. A religious person is religionless. A religious person has a quality of religiousness, certainly, but that quality is very indefinable. It is more like a poetry around him, more like a radiance. Yes, in his actions you will see a grace, in his life you will see gratitude, in his behavior you will see compassion. But he is not Hindu or Mohammedan or Christian. These are very mediocre ways to become religious. These are not the real ways to become religious.
Religion is basically an art: how to live and how to die; how to live and enjoy, and how to die and enjoy; how to live gracefully and how to die gracefully; how to make your whole life – death included – a celebration.
Religion has nothing to do with the Bible, the Gita, the Koran; religion has something to do with an alchemical transformation of your being. So whenever you find a really religious person you will not find him as a Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian, Jew – you will simply find him with an unknown quality present in him, which defines him. But this definition is not of the ego; this definition is just of his life style.
Yes, around Jesus you will find a quality of religiousness, so will you find it around Buddha or around Mohammed or around Nanak. You will find a quality of religiousness, but you will have to watch. You will have to have a certain vision to see it.
It happened in Nanak’s life that he came to visit a town in which there were many saints – Mohammedans, Jainas, Buddhists, Hindus. The town was full of the saints. And, of course, when there are too many saints there is much conflict, controversy. And a new prophet was coming.
So the old saints thought, “This is too much. We are already overcrowded here.” So they called a conference and they sent a message to Nanak – he was staying just outside the town. The message was: “It is too crowded here. We are already too many here. Already business is not good because there are only a few clients and many saints. Please go somewhere else.”
And they knew that Nanak’s name had reached the town; his fame had reached the town. If he came, even those few clients that they could divide among themselves would be gone. So they did a beautiful thing. They thought about how to send the message so that Nanak did not feel offended. They were worried that he would feel offended – because it was offensive. Who were they to prevent Nanak from coming? But they were cunning people. They searched in the scriptures and they found a way.
They sent a cup full of oil – not even a single drop more could be added. It was almost overflowing, on the verge. They sent the cup as a symbol that this town was so full of saints and religions that not a single drop more could be accepted. There was no more space.
Nanak was sitting near a well under a tree with his disciple, and the disciple was singing a song, playing on his instrument. The people came with the cup. Nanak looked at them, understood the message, took a flower from the side of the well, a wildflower, and floated the flower on the oil in the cup. The flower was so small it simply floated. It didn’t take any space. No oil came out of the cup. And Nanak said to them, “Go back and give this cup to the people who have sent you to me.”
The disciple was puzzled. He said, “I don’t understand what is transpiring between you and these people. This cup was very mysterious. What exactly did they mean?” Nanak said, “They mean that there are too many saints here and there is no space. But,’ Nanak said; “a religious man needs no space. That’s my answer. I will not be fighting with anybody. I will not be in any competition with anybody. A religious man needs no space. A religious man is not a businessman. They need not be afraid of me. I will be here just like this flower floating on top of the full cup. And I will be here just like the flower – one day I will be here, tomorrow I will be gone. They need not be worried about me.”
Now this is religiousness – non-competitiveness, no conflict with anybody, no aggression. And one knows that one is here just for a few moments. It is a caravanserai – an overnight stay. By the morning we are gone, just like flowers.
A religious person has nothing to do with organized religion, but he has something to do with the inner poetry, the poetry of life. He has something to do with the inner dance; he has a dancing energy. He is in deep romance with life, he is in romantic love with life. He is immensely grateful for each moment of joy that God goes on giving. And we are not even worthy. We don’t deserve it. We have not earned it. It is a gift.
You ask: “Is there any necessity for everybody to have a religion of one kind or another?”
The second thing: there are not two kinds of religion. Religiousness is one – although formulations may differ. It is just like you make your house in one way, another makes his in another way and the third one has chosen a third architect to design his house. But the inner thing is one – that you need a shelter, you need a roof. Somebody cooks in an Indian style, somebody in a Chinese style and somebody in some other style, but the real thing is hunger – that you need food, that you need nourishment.
So these so-called religions are nothing but different styles of nourishment. You can choose. But that is not important. The important thing is to have refuge in God, surrender – what Sufis call islam; and commitment – what Sufis call iman; and a transformation of life through trust – what Sufis call ihsam.

The sixth question:
Four years ago I had a reading which said that my blood disease was gone due to the guru's blessings. When I told you, you said, “from the day you took sannyas your cancer was gone.” I remember feeling that your saying that might have been a design and not a real fact. I always accepted that your truths may not be facts. Did I miss because of this?
The first thing: truth has no obligation to be a fact. Fact is a lower phenomenon: truth is a higher phenomenon. Sometimes the truth may be factual, sometimes not. The fact cannot be decisive about it. There are higher experiences in life which cannot be contained by facts.
But I can understand. The question is from Chinmaya. The Western mind is too much addicted to facts. Anything that is factual seems to be real and anything that is not factual necessarily seems to be unreal. This is a Western obsession. Truth is sometimes factual, sometimes not – that’s why I say truth has no obligation to be factual. Because of this, the Western scientific mind cannot accept the human soul – because it is not factual. The body is factual; the soul is truth, not fact.
And the way facts are known, truths are not known; the approach has to be completely different. For example, you see a rose. The beauty is truth but not fact. You cannot prove it. There is no way to prove the beauty of the rose. You can prove its color, you can prove its weight, you can prove its chemistry, but you cannot prove its aesthetics.
But there is something even higher than beauty. Tennyson is reported to have said, “If I can understand a single flower, root and all, I would have understood the whole existence” – because the flower contains something which is more than the fact: its hidden reality, its intrinsic reality. But that reality cannot be approached by the gross instruments of scientific experimentation. Truth has to be approached in a different way – through meditation, through love.
Chinmaya says: “Four years ago I had a reading which said that my blood disease was gone due to the guru’s blessing. When I told you, you said, ‘From the day you took sannyas your cancer was gone.’”
Cancer is basically a psychological disease; it is basically a disease of the mind, not a physical one. When the mind becomes very tense, so tense that it is intolerable, it starts affecting the body tissues. That’s why cancer exists only when civilization becomes very, very sophisticated. In primitive societies you cannot find cancer. People are not so sophisticated. The higher – by “higher” I mean complicated – the more sophisticated, the more complex a society is, the more cancer will happen.
So when I said to Chinmaya, “From the day you took sannyas your cancer was gone,” I was saying many things. Sannyas is dropping the mind. Sannyas is exactly that – that you surrender the mind. Sannyas means you surrender all your complexities, obsessions, neuroses. Sannyas means that now you are ready to live a simple, ordinary life. Sannyas means that you are ready to become primal, innocent, childlike.
Cancer has to disappear. Cancer can exist only in a certain neurotic state of mind. If the mind relaxes, sooner or later the body will follow and will relax.
It is because of this fact that scientific investigation has not yet been able to find a cure for cancer. It is almost impossible to find a cure for cancer – and the day they find a cure for cancer they will create even more dangerous diseases in the world – because the cure will mean repression. The day they can find strong enough drugs to repress cancer, then some other disease will erupt. That poison will start flowing through some other channel.
That’s how it has happened down the ages. Simple diseases, were cured and difficult diseases came into being. You cure one disease, another disease comes in. And the second one is more complex than the first. The first was a natural reaction of the body, the second is an unnatural, abnormal reaction of the body. You repress the second and the third will come and the third will be even more difficult to tackle. And so on, so forth. Now cancer is at the top. If cancer is repressed then even more difficult diseases will erupt in the human body and the human mind.
When I said to Chinmaya, “From the day you took sannyas your cancer was gone,” I was not talking about any fact. I was indicating a truth. And if he had trusted me, it would have been gone. But a subtle doubt must have persisted in him. He says: “I remember feeling that your saying that might have been a design and not a real fact.” A design is higher than a fact. A fact is a very ordinary thing, a design is a higher thing. But we believe in the very, very lower reality, that’s why we go on missing the higher reality. Yes, the color of the flower is a fact, and the chemistry is a fact – but the poetry, the beauty, the joy that the flower creates in you when you look at it, the awe that suddenly arises in your heart…. It is not factual, true, but is it untrue because it is not factual? No, it is a higher truth.
The higher need not agree with the lower; the lower has to agree with the higher – this is the Eastern approach. The Western approach is to reduce the higher to the lower; the Eastern approach is to raise the lower to the higher. For example, if you go and watch a lotus growing, it grows out of the dirty mud. If you show the lotus to the Western thinker his approach will be, “What is it? Nothing but mud.” “Nothing but” is the approach – “Nothing but mud.” And he is factual – about that there is no doubt. It has come out of the dirty mud, stinking mud. So he says, “What is the source of it? Reduce it to the source. Go to the cause.” The cause is the dirty mud, so this lotus is nothing but dirty mud.
That’s why Freud goes on saying that the experience of samadhi is nothing but sex. The experience of samadhi is a lotus blooming, but he goes to the source. And he is true, true in the sense that he is factual. He cannot be refuted on that ground. All your so-called mahatmas together cannot refute him on that ground. He is valid as far as factuality is concerned. Samadhi is the flowering of sexual energy, but in the same way as the mud becomes a lotus. Can you really call a lotus just mud, nothing else? Is it not something utterly new? It comes out of the mud, certainly, but can you reduce it back to mud?
The Eastern approach is that even the mud is respectable because a rose may be hidden in it, a lotus may be hidden in it. In the Western mind the lotus becomes condemned because it comes out of mud; in the Eastern mind the mud becomes sacred because it produces a lotus. We look to the ultimate, we don’t go backwards. We go forwards. We see the ultimate possibility. The West goes on seeing the source, we see the goal. We are not worried about where it comes from, we are more worried about where it is going. The potential, the ultimately potential, that’s what truth is.
In the Western mind, man becomes body; in the Eastern mind, man becomes God. In the Western mind, the world is just materialistic; there exists nothing else but matter. In the Eastern mind, there exists nothing but God, but soul. Matter is also soul – asleep. Matter is potential soul – one day it will become soul. These are different visions. And if you have to choose, choose the Eastern vision because it has reverence for life, reverence for truth. Fact is an ordinary thing. Don’t be too much entangled by the fact.
You say: “I remember feeling that your saying that might have been a design….” When Chinmaya is saying “might have been a design” he means “might have been a lie.” A design is neither a truth nor a lie. A design is just a creative device. If you trust in it, it works; if you don’t trust in it, it doesn’t work. It is up to you. You can miss. If the idea arises in you that it may be just a design, what are you saying? You are saying that it may be just a lie. That very idea will be enough to become a barrier. The bridge is broken.
Remember, a design is higher than fact. It is lower than truth but higher than fact. It leads you from the fact tot he truth; it is a bridge between the two. It is neither factual nor true; it is a lead.

Listen to this….
A Bavarian farmer wanted to sell his pig in nearby Switzerland to get a better price. To avoid paying customs he dressed the pig in his black suit with sunglasses and a hat and put it in the back of his Mercedes.
At the border the custom officer looked inside the car, then gave the farmer the sign to drive on. He turned around to his friend and exploded with laughter.
“What happened?” asked his friend.
“There was a guy sitting inside,’ he answered, with tears of laughter, “who looked exactly like a pig!”

This is a design. It worked! The whole point is that it worked. Whether it is a lie or a truth does not matter. It is not factual, that is true; it is not true, that too is there – it is just in-between.
And to be with a master is to be available to his design.

The last question:
You sometimes use the word accident or accidental to describe an event. Are there any accidents in life in reality?
In reality there are only accidents and accidents, and nothing else. The factual world is the world of cause and effect; the world of truth is the world of freedom. Freedom means that causes don’t work at all. Freedom means that now everything is accidental, now everything is possible. Nothing is impossible in the world of reality. From the moment you become enlightened everything becomes possible. Now no cause and effect have any hold on you.
But I understand your question. It comes again from the same ideology – that how can anything be accidental? The world is confined to cause and effect. Everything can be reduced to cause and effect. Nothing happens as a miracle. That is the scientific approach.
That’s why men like B. F. Skinner or Pavlov and other behaviorists go on saying that the idea of freedom is just stupid. There is no freedom. Man has no freedom because everything is predestined by cause and effect. If Skinner is right, then Buddha cannot be right. If Skinner is right, then the whole heritage of religion is wrong. Then everything is predestined by cause and effect. You do a certain thing just as a machine does it. You don’t have any freedom.
And these men are right about ninety-nine per cent of people. If they watch ordinary people, they will find every support – that’s how they have come to these conclusions.
When I am talking, there is a meeting of two different dimensions. You live in the world which is determined by cause and effect, I live in the world which is of freedom. When I look at you I will talk about cause and effect, when I look into myself I talk about freedom. In the real world, in the world of truth, all is absolute freedom. Nothing is pre-determined. And that’s the beauty of it. That’s why in India we have called it moksha. Moksha means freedom, absolute freedom.
Man is neither naturally good nor bad. He is free and he becomes good or bad according to how he accepts or denies his freedom. To exist is to be obliged to be free. What is left to us is the way in which we will be free – and in the end there are just these two ways: to use our freedom against freedom or to use it for freedom.
“Existence is the self’s possibility to be or not to be itself.” This is an existentialist statement. I agree with it. Man is freedom. It is not only that man is free – man is freedom. Freedom is man’s essential core, and that is man’s dignity. Animals are less free, trees are even less free, rocks even less free. That’s how we decide who is more evolved – according to freedom.
A rock is not very free; a tree is a little more free. It can grow according to some inner vision. It can feel sad or happy. It can make some effort. It can struggle, compete. It cannot leave its ground; in that way it is unfree. It is rooted. Animals are a little more free. They can move; physically they can move. Birds are even a little more free. They can fly into the faraway sky. Man is even more free. He can move not only physically, he can move mentally. His mind can move.
And a buddha is total freedom because not only his mind but his soul is free. Freedom goes on growing, layer upon layer. It becomes more. When freedom becomes absolute, you have arrived home.
You ask me: “You sometimes use the word accident or accidental to describe an event. Are there any accidents in life in reality?”

One early morning in heaven three men arrived at the same time. St. Peter was surprised, as hardly anybody came at this time. So he asked the first, “How come?”
‘Well,’ he said, “I came back home from a journey and found a man’s coat hanging up and shoes hanging around, and my wife naked in bed looking very happy. So I searched for the man but could not find anybody and got so furious that I smashed the TV and threw the fridge out of the window. Then I took a gun and killed myself.”
“And you?” St. Peter asked the second.
“Well, I was making love to my secretary when she said suddenly, ‘Ah, my husband!’ So I jumped into the fridge to hide. But then the fellow threw the fridge out from the third floor, so I am here!”
“I don’t know,” said the third. “I was just waiting for my bus in the morning when suddenly a fridge came out of the blue and brought me here!”

Enough for today.

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