Tao The Three Treasures Vol 3 10

Tenth Discourse from the series of 10 discourses - Tao The Three Treasures Vol 3 by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

The first question:
You have said that there are no goals in life, no purpose. And yet we are all here with enlightenment as our goal. Please speak on this.
If you are here with enlightenment as your goal you cannot be here. Physically you may appear to be here, but you cannot be with me. The goal is in the future, I am here! And a mind which is goal-oriented is bound to be in the future – we will never meet.
I know you are here to attain something – that’s why you are missing it. I am here to persuade you to drop the very idea of attaining anything whatever: enlightenment, moksha, nirvana, God, included. If you drop this goal-oriented mind – and there are none but goal-oriented minds, there is no other mind – if you drop it, you are enlightened.
Enlightenment is not a search, it is a realization. It is not a goal. It is the very nature of life itself. As life is, it is enlightened. It needs nothing to be added to it, to improve it. Life is perfect. It is not moving from imperfection to perfection, it is moving from perfection to perfection.
You are here to attain something. That is functioning as a barrier. Drop that barrier. Just be here! Forget about a purpose; life cannot have any purpose. Life is the purpose, how can it have any other purpose? Otherwise you will be in an infinite regress: then that purpose will have another purpose, then that other purpose will have another purpose… Life has no purpose and that’s why it is so beautiful.
Hindus have called it leela, play. It is not even a game. Now in the West the word game has become very, very important. Hundreds of books have been published within two, three years with game in the title: The Master Game, The Ultimate Game, Games People Play, and so on and so forth. But there is a difference between a game and play. Hindus have called life “play,” not a game. Because even a game has something as a purpose: a result to be attained, victory to be achieved, the opponent has to be conquered. Then play becomes a game; then it becomes serious.
Grown-ups play games, children only play. Just the very activity is enough unto itself. It has an intrinsic end, there is no goal added to it. Life is a leela, it is a play, and the moment you are ready to play, you are enlightened.
Try to understand from some other dimension. You are already that which you are trying to be. The more you try, the more you will miss. Leave all effort, simply accept yourself, just be that – and suddenly it is there. It has always been there but you were seeking so seriously, and that was the only cause of missing it.
You are here to attain something: enlightenment, samadhi, satori – or something. To me all those words are nonsense because they give you again a new line of desiring. They again open the door of desire. In the world you desire money, power, prestige. Then you get fed up with it, then you see the whole thing is just rubbish – even if you get it you are defeated, if you don’t get it you are defeated. Then you come to feel that this whole thing is nonsense. Now suddenly you start playing new games: enlightenment, meditation, Yoga, God, the other world, the other shore. Again the mind is at ease. A new world of desire has opened; now you will be after those goals.
And money is not as elusive as meditation. This world at least is solid; that shore, that world, the other world, is absolutely fantasy. Now you are in a deeper ditch than before. With the first you could realize that it is useless, with the second it will take millions of lives to realize that this too is useless.
When a person comes to discover that all goals are useless – with no exception all goals are useless – then there is nothing to do, one just has to be. One relaxes, one relaxes so totally because there is nothing to do; there is no tension. Suddenly your boundaries melt like snow melting in the morning sun. With nothing to do, you disappear; the ego disappears. With nothing to do, nothing to be, nothing to achieve, who will you be? The whole identity evaporates. This is enlightenment.
Then you start a totally different way of life. You start being playful, you start being alive moment to moment with nowhere to go – whatever life gives, you accept it with deep gratitude. Grace happens to you. This is what I call becoming a god. The moment you start playing, living in the moment, you have become a god.
I am here to persuade you that you are already gods. You may be here to become gods – that’s your trip. I’m not concerned with it. I know what I am here for: just to persuade you to look at your own face once again; to search within and not to go without, searching for something which doesn’t exist.
Life is a purposeless play, a play of infinite forces – beautiful if you don’t have an achiever’s mind, ugly if you have ambition to become something, to be something, to do something. Relax. Drop the future completely. Only this moment exists, and this moment is eternity. And this life is all that is there, don’t think of the other shore.
Just the other day I was telling you the Chinese allegory of the man who returned from the middle of the river. Why did he return from the middle of the river? – because there is no other shore, this is the only shore. And why did he start laughing? – because he suddenly realized he himself is the Buddha whom he has been seeking.
Zen masters teach their disciples that if while meditating someday you come across Buddha – kill him immediately. Don’t spare a single moment – kill him immediately! Otherwise he will lead you astray. They are right. While you are meditating, Krishna comes with his flute; it is so beautiful. Again you are dreaming, again you are caught in dreams and desires. And Jesus comes, and you are caught in the web of the mind; it is a spider’s web. And then Buddha comes, and you forget yourself.
So Zen masters say, “Kill the Buddha immediately.” Clear the way. Don’t allow anybody else to be there; that is, don’t allow any goal to be there. Just be total, alone – in your absolute purity. This is enlightenment.
I should repeat because I know you will forget and forget and forget: you are already that which you are seeking. Let this be the basic mantra. If you can understand this mantra, you have understood all.
Give it a try. To goals you have been giving – too many lives you have already given to them. Now try to live moment to moment, as if there is no future. In the beginning it will be only as if, but by and by you will become aware that that as if is the only reality. In the beginning it may be just like acting. Soon you will realize that this acting is the only reality.
You have come with a goal, but I won’t allow you to remain with a goal. If you don’t escape me the goal is bound to drop. Just hang around a little more and the goal is bound to drop. Either I can be here with you or the goal can: you have to choose.

The second question:
What is the difference between reaction and response?
There is much, a lot of difference, not only in quantity but quality. A reaction is out of the past, a response is out of the present. You react out of the past old patterns.
Somebody insults you: suddenly the old mechanism starts functioning. In the past, people have insulted you and you have behaved in a certain way; you behave in the same way again. You are not responding to this insult and this man, you are simply repeating an old habit. You have not looked at this man and this new insult – it has a different flavor – you are just functioning like a robot. You have a certain mechanism inside you and you push the button. You say, “This man has insulted me” and you react. The reaction is not to the real situation, it is something projected. You have seen the past in this man.
It happened…

Buddha was sitting under a tree talking to his disciples. A man came and spat on his face. Buddha wiped it off and he asked the man, “What next? What do you want to say next?”
The man was a little puzzled because he never expected that when you spit on somebody’s face he will ask, “Now, what next?” He had had no such experience in his past. He had insulted people and they had become angry, and they had reacted; or if they were cowards and weaklings they had smiled, trying to bribe the man. But Buddha was like neither. He was not angry, nor in any way offended, nor in any way cowardly, but just matter of fact. He said, “What next?” There was no reaction on his part.
His disciples became angry – they reacted. Buddha’s closest disciple, Ananda, said, “This is too much, we cannot tolerate it. You keep your teaching and we will just show this man that he cannot do what he has done. He has to be punished for it. Otherwise everybody will start doing things like this.”
Buddha said, “Keep silent. He has not offended me, but you are offending me. He is new, a stranger, and he may have heard something about me from somebody – has formed some idea, a notion of me. He has not spat on me; he has spat on his notion, his idea of me. He does not know me at all, so how can he spit on me? He must have heard from people something about me – that this man is an atheist, a dangerous man who is throwing people off their track, a revolutionary, a corrupter. He must have heard something about me. He has a notion, an idea and he has spat on his own idea.
“If you think on it deeply,” Buddha said, “he has spat on his own mind. I am not part of it, and I can see that this poor man must have something else to say – because this is a way of saying something; spitting is a way of saying something.”
There are moments when you feel that language is impotent: in deep love, in intense anger, in hate, in prayer. There are intense moments when language is impotent. Then you have to do something – when you are in deep love you kiss the person or embrace the person. What are you doing? You are saying something. When you are angry, intensely angry, you hit the person, you spit on him – you are saying something.
“I can understand him. He must have something more to say, that’s why I’m asking, ‘What next?’”
The man was even more puzzled.
And Buddha said to his disciples, “I am more offended by you because you know me, and you have lived for years with me, and still you react.”
Puzzled, confused, the man returned home. He could not sleep the whole night. It is difficult, when you see a buddha, it is difficult to sleep again the way you used to sleep before. Impossible. Again and again he was haunted by the experience; he could not explain it to himself, what had happened. He was trembling all over and perspiring, he had never come across such a man. Buddha had shattered his whole mind and his whole pattern, his whole past.
The next morning he was back there. He threw himself at Buddha’s feet and Buddha asked him again, “What next?”
This too is a way of saying something that cannot be said in language. When you come and touch my feet you are saying something which cannot be said ordinarily, for which all words are a little narrow, it cannot be contained in them.
Buddha said, “Look, Ananda. This man is here again, he is saying something. This man is a man of deep emotions.”
The man looked at Buddha and said, “Forgive me for what I have done yesterday.”
Buddha said, “Forgive? But I am not the same man to whom you did it. The Ganges goes on flowing. It is never the same Ganges again. Every man is a river. The man you spat upon is no longer here. I look just like him but I am not the same; much has happened in these twenty-four hours! The river has flowed so much. Only in appearance I look the same. So I cannot forgive you because I have no grudge against you. And you also are new. I can see you are not the same man who came yesterday, because that man was angry. He was anger, he spat – and you are bowing at my feet, touching my feet, how can you be the same man? You are not the same man. So let us forget about it. Those two – the man who spat and the man on whom he spat – are no more. Come closer. Let us talk of something else.”

This is response. Reaction is out of the past. If you react, out of old habits, out of the mind, then you are not responding. To be responsive is to be totally alive in this moment, herenow.
Response is a beautiful phenomenon, it is life; reaction is dead, ugly, rotten, it is a corpse. Ninety-nine percent of the time you react, and you call it a response. Rarely does it happen in your life that you respond. But whenever it happens, you have a glimpse; whenever it happens, the door to the unknown opens.
Go back to your home and look at your wife with response not with reaction. I see people, they may have lived with a woman for thirty years, forty years – they have stopped looking at her. They know she is the old wife, the old woman; they think they know her, but the river has been flowing all the time. This woman is not the same one to whom they got married; that is a past phenomenon, that woman exists nowhere now. This is totally a new woman.
Every moment you are being born anew. Every moment you die and every moment you are born. But have you looked lately at your wife, your mother, your father, your friend? You have stopped looking because you think they are all old, so what is the point of looking at them? Go back and look again with fresh eyes, as you would look at a stranger – and you will be surprised at how much this old woman has changed.
Tremendous changes happen every day. It is a flux, everything goes on flowing, nothing is frozen. But the mind is a dead thing. It is a frozen phenomenon. If you act from the frozen mind you live a dead life – you don’t live really, you are already in the grave.
Drop reactions. And allow more and more responses. To be responsive is to be responsible. To be responsive, to be responding, is to be sensitive – but sensitive to here and now.

The third question:
If one has no desire for one's own enlightenment, but only for that of others, does one have a problem?
No, you won’t have a problem but you will create problems for others – and many problems for others. There are many do-gooders; they only do harm. Never be a do-gooder because good cannot be done. You can be good, but then it flows; it is not an act on your part, you don’t do it. When you do good, harm results.
So all the people who go on trying to do good to others are the most mischievous people – they may call themselves servants of the people, servants of God. All sorts of bombastic words they may use about themselves, but they are hiding a fact, a totally different fact, under these words: they are mischief makers.
If you do not desire your own enlightenment, how can you desire it for others? If it is really something of worth you will first desire it for yourself; if it is worthless, then you can desire it for others.
Once it happened…

Mulla Nasruddin was working with his boss. The man gave him a bottle of brandy. He was surprised because he had never given anything. He could not believe it.
The next day the boss asked how it was. Mulla said, “It was perfectly right.”
The boss could not understand what he meant by “Perfectly right,” so he asked, “What do you mean by saying that it was perfectly right?”
Mulla said, “Had it been better you would not have given it to me. Had it been worse I would have given it to somebody else.”

You give things only when they are worthless.
You desire enlightenment for others? How can you desire it for others if you have not desired it for yourself? If you have not tasted it yourself how can you help others to be enlightened? Please don’t do such a foolish thing. There are many who are doing it and because of them, man lives in much unnecessary confusion. First desire for yourself – and know well that by desiring you will not attain it, but by desiring you will come to understand that desiring has to be dropped.
But remember, you cannot drop something that you don’t have. Enlightenment is attained by dropping the desire for it, but you have to have desire to drop – otherwise everybody would become enlightened; whoever does not desire enlightenment would become enlightened. So don’t misunderstand me: I am not saying that those who don’t desire enlightenment will become enlightened, no, I am saying those who drop desiring enlightenment will become enlightened; but to drop a thing you have to have it first.
Desire – and desire intensely, go completely mad desiring it and then you become capable of dropping it. When you feel the frustration… A great frustration happens before enlightenment, just exactly one minute – one second before somebody becomes enlightened the deepest frustration happens. One falls to the greatest hell. And enlightenment happens only then.
Christian mystics have called that moment the dark night of the soul. It is a dark night of the soul; before the morn the night goes on getting darker and darker, and the darker and blacker the night becomes, the nearer comes the morning.
But remember, I’m not saying don’t desire. I am saying desire, and desire hard, and desire totally, so that that beautiful moment comes in your life where you can drop desire. And become enlightened.
When you are enlightened there will be no need to desire for others, you will simply be in such a way – your very voice will be such that people will be helped, your whole being will become a door to those who are seeking. Then it is nothing on your part, you don’t do anything. I am not doing anything here, I am just being here. That just being here is enough; it is a magnetic force. The just being here is enough.
I allow you to be with me, something will happen out of it. A master is nothing more than a catalytic agent. He never does anything; it is just his presence. A master is not a doer. He lives an absolute passivity, not doing anything, because he knows the art of how to do without doing. Things simply happen on their own.
The disciple thinks the master has helped, the master knows that he has done nothing. The disciple thinks much has been done to him – and he is right also because much has happened to him, but his understanding is not clear because he thinks, “How can something happen if it has not been done?” That is the problem for the disciple. He thinks, “The master is doing so much for me.” Because the disciple cannot understand how things can happen, such great things, without anybody doing them: I am not doing them so the master must be doing them to me.
The master is also not doing. The disciple is opening himself to the master and the master is available, that’s all. He is a catalytic agent – his presence does, not he. And the disciple feels tremendously grateful, “This man has done so much” – and his gratefulness has meaning because alone he could not achieve. But when he will become enlightened, he will laugh; then he will join the master in the laughter.
In Zen there is a tradition, it has happened many times: when a disciple becomes enlightened he hits the master. The master has been hitting him for many, many years, but when he becomes enlightened he hits the master – just to show that the whole thing has been such a game. You were not doing anything, and I was thinking you were doing and so many things were happening – and nothing was needed in fact because I was already that which I was seeking.
But it is a very beautiful gesture, hitting the master. It shows the disciple himself has now become part of the master. He himself has become a master in his own right.
And the master laughs because the disciple has arrived.

The fourth question:
Why is it that the habits I judge bad for me – smoking, overeating etc, are the most persistent?
That will be. If you judge them bad they will be persistent, because you are creating a relationship with them. To call anything bad is to create a relationship with it. To judge a thing is to be related with it.
And whenever you call a thing bad, why do you call it bad? You call it bad because it defeats you. It is powerful. You call it bad because you are impotent before it; and by name-calling, nobody is helped.
So the first thing to do is: stop judging. If you want to smoke – smoke! Smoke meditatively – forget what others say about it. Smoking can be such a beautiful meditation. Don’t fight with it, smoke meditatively, create perfect rings, and enjoy the whole thing. And suddenly one day you will find the need has disappeared. The whole thing looks so foolish.
Not that you judge, because when you judge then it is either good or bad. When you don’t judge something simply drops if it is useless. If you meditate while smoking you will find that meditation can be done without smoking, and better. So why unnecessarily bring this smoke in between? One day you will put the cigarette back on the table, on the ashtray, and you will never take one again – but it is not a judgment.
Whenever you say something is bad you are giving roots to it. And it is always the case that good is not as powerful as bad, because good is that which others tell you to do and bad is that which you want to do. Of course the good can never be as powerful as the bad because the bad is that which you would like to do, and the good is that which others are trying to force on you to do. You resist the good. It looks like a slavery, a bondage, and bad looks like freedom.
If you are forced into heaven you will run away from it and fall into hell because you will say, “At least here is freedom.” The saints, the so-called saints and the religious people, have done such terrible harm to human consciousness by forcing good things on people that it is incalculable. Rather force bad things on people so that bad becomes associated with bondage, with others’ egos, and good becomes associated with one’s own ego. Then people will be better.
It happened…

I used to live with a friend. He became worried one day because he had seen his son smoking. His son was very small, not more than ten years of age, and the father was very worried – he was a very good and religious man – so he asked, “What to do?”
I told him, “Bring me a packet, and send your son.”
I forced the boy to smoke twenty cigarettes and I threatened, if he did not finish the whole packet, I would beat him. Crying and weeping and smoking and coughing and with me standing there with a stick to beat him – finished!
He told me, “Now nobody can ever force me to smoke again!”

It is better if bad is associated with bondage – but it is not so associated. Your father doesn’t want you to smoke, your mother doesn’t want you to smoke, the surgeon general doesn’t want you to smoke; nobody wants you to smoke. Suddenly an urge arises to be free of all this. And you would like to smoke: that gives you a feeling of freedom, of independence, that gives you a feeling that you are now on your own, you don’t care what all these people say. They are really forcing you to smoke.
Prohibit something, and you are forcing people to do it. Prohibit anything, and it will become more and more prevalent. Allow, and it falls out of use.
So what to do? Smoke with meditation, don’t worry. Enjoy it. If you can enjoy it, the whole power from it will be gone. The power is very symbolic – you are rebelling against your parents, against the society – these are simple gestures of rebellion. You don’t like things as they are. But in rebelling against them you are harming yourself – that’s your foolishness.
Smoking is not bad, simply harmful. It is not sin, it is simply ignorance. So there is nothing bad about it – if you want to enjoy ignorance, enjoy. How does it matter if you live one year less? You would have lived seventy years, now you will live sixty-nine if you go on smoking two packets of cigarettes every day. You will lose a year, but what does it matter? You are going to waste sixty-nine, you would have wasted seventy. One year less means one less year of your nonsense doings in the world. In a way it is good: you are gone, the earth is less burdened.
Don’t be worried about these things and don’t create judgments. Don’t judge. If you enjoy, enjoy. If you don’t enjoy, stop. No judgment is needed, no morality should be brought in to change these things, otherwise you will never be able to change them. The more you push them, negate them, the more powerful they will become – because whenever you try to push something away from you, you are showing an interest. Whenever you say, “I am not going to do this,” you know your unconsciousness is saying, “Do it, it is beautiful.” So don’t create such vicious circles.
The other day, I was telling you a Zen monk’s saying: “When walking, walk; when sleeping, sleep; when eating, eat – above all, don’t wobble.” I would add: when smoking, smoke – above all, don’t wobble. Just take it simply. If you take it simply what will you see? You will see the whole nonsense behind it.
Smoking is not the thing. You are denying something through it, rebelling against something. Your father is standing there: you were such a small child and your father was so powerful and he said, “Never smoke.” And you wanted to deny his authority. You started smoking. The mother was there, the priest in the church, the Sunday school in the church saying, “Don’t smoke otherwise you will be thrown into hell.” You never liked that priest, you never liked that sermon, you were forced to go to Sunday school – in fact it looked like hell. You wanted to rebel from it, to put your ego right. Everybody was suppressing you, everybody was pushing and forcing and pulling, and everybody was trying to manipulate you, so you went into the bathroom and you smoked – and everything was put right. You had rebelled. You felt good!
Smoking helped you to feel good, to feel that you are not so impotent – you can rebel. This father may be very, very powerful but you can deceive even him. And this mother may be very, very all-knowing, intuitive, but she does not know a bit that you are smoking.
When you smoke silently, meditatively, all these things will be revealed to you, how it has happened. And once you come to know the cause – it is not the cigarette that is the cause, the cigarette is just a symptom, the cause is very deep and hidden – once you know the cause, then it is up to you.
The father may be dead and gone, and you are still taking revenge. And now you can understand that he never meant ill to you. He may not have done you any good, he may have tried to do good in such a wrong way that the ultimate result has been bad; but his intention was good, he wanted to help you. He may not have known how to help you – in fact he harmed you – but you cannot doubt his good intentions. Suddenly you are reconciled with your father, reconciled with your mother, and the cigarette drops from your hands – without any act on your part. You are reconciled. It was a rebellion. Now there is no point: you understand, and the thing is finished.
And do the same for other things. Then by and by you will see things change. The more you understand them, the more there is a possibility of their changing, and that change has a grace to it because it is not forced.
I am not against anything. I am only against inattentiveness, unawareness. Smoke with a fully alert mind and there will be revealed to you, you will discover, many things associated with it. It will become a primal therapy, you will go deeper and deeper and deeper into your childhood, and you will come to the facts from where it started.
How does it have such a grip on you? From where does this grip come? There must be much emotion involved! Just smoking in and out cannot have such a grip. So many millions of people smoking, doing such a stupid thing; wasting money on it, life on it, suffering a thousand types of diseases – but still continuing. There must be more behind it than appears to the naked eye. It is not simply a cigarette, it is very symbolic: it is a symptom. Deep down, many layers of many things are associated.
If you simply drop the cigarette and those causes are still within you, they will force you to pick up the cigarette again. Understand. And without understanding, never make an effort to change anything. Understanding changes; only understanding changes and transforms. Let understanding be the only law.

The fifth question:
If I don't do anything, I find that I start feeling invisible instead of feeling rooted in the earth. Is it possible to be both?
Yes, it is not only possible, it is absolutely necessary. Whenever it is happening it will happen in both these ways, they will happen together. When you are not doing anything, the ego feels uprooted because the ego is the doer. The more you do, the better the ego feels; it feels rooted, feels on the earth, has a foothold. When you are not doing anything the ego is invisible, it loses its force – and you are identified with the ego so you feel you are becoming invisible, you are becoming vaporous, evaporating, you are losing solidness. This is one part.
The other part: you will soon become aware that if you allow this invisibleness to happen, this evaporation to happen, and you don’t fall again on the ego and start doing something, then you will see that you are rooted. That rootedness is of the being. And the disappearance is of the ego. Before the ego disappears completely and you come to realize the rootedness of your being, there is going to be a gap. And that gap is the dark night. In that gap you will be very apprehensive, afraid – what is happening? Are you going mad? Are you losing everything? Because all that you have now is ego-identity; if it slips out of your hand you will feel that everything is gone. There will be a temptation to cling to old things so that you feel rooted. Don’t be worried. Let the ego go and evaporate into the sky.
If you can remain in that blank state for a few days – the more you accept it, the less will be the interval. If you can accept it totally, in the next second you will feel the rootedness, but it is difficult to accept it totally. You are doubtful. The mind says, “What is happening? The old house has fallen and where is the new? The old being is gone and where is the new?”
But time is needed, a gap is needed, in which the old house has disappeared, and all the turmoil and chaos that was created by the disappearance of the old house has cleared, and your eyes are clear and there is no smoke and dust in them – then you suddenly become able to see the new house, the being. It happens together, so don’t be afraid; allow it to happen, help it to happen.

The sixth question:
When I become aware of my thoughts or my breathing, they immediately change. Is this natural, or an ingrained habit of subtly not accepting what is?
It is natural. Whenever you become aware of anything you bring a new quality to it, it changes. If you become aware of your breathing, the breathing will change its rhythm. Don’t try to change it, there is no need to make any effort; you simply become alert that you are breathing in and out and there will be a change felt. The rhythm will not be the same because now you are consciously breathing. First you were unconsciously breathing, now something new has come into it – consciousness.
You walk: ordinarily you walk unconsciously, there is no need, the body works as a mechanism. But then you walk consciously, bring consciousness to it and suddenly you will see that your walk has taken a different quality: it is more graceful, more aesthetic, more beautiful, and you are not dragging. Rather, deep down you have started dancing.
When the breathing changes with consciousness you will feel a subtle silence surrounding you suddenly. With the change of breath your whole vital body changes: you feel more alive, more intensely alive. Whatever you do, there will be more totality in doing it. If you eat, you will eat more totally, there will be fewer thoughts in the mind roaming about. If you walk with conscious breathing, you will see that the mind is more centered, there is no inner chattering. And then you will be able to see more clearly. With your breathing conscious, you will see the beauty of flowers more intensely; they will have more colors than they ordinarily have, as if something like LSD has been released within your being. You will see trees as more green, and you will see each tree as a different green. There are thousands of shades of green: you simply see one green because you don’t see at all. Otherwise each tree has its own green, and each leaf has its own being.
The more you become aware, the more beautiful life will be. It is a cosmic dance, it is a cosmic symphony. But only when your being is in a symphony do you come to be in tune with it. It is natural. But remember, become very, very slowly aware, don’t force concentration on breathing – these are two different things. You can force concentration, then whatever I have said will not happen; then on the contrary you will feel drained. If you concentrate on breathing that means you force yourself on breathing, you narrow down your consciousness and look at your breathing. You will be in a tense mood. Then you will not be able to see the flowers, the sun, the sky, the sands and the sea – no, because when you see them you will forget your concentration.
Concentration is not awareness. Awareness is totally different: you are simply aware without any effort in it. If you forget, that too is okay. Forget, don’t feel guilty about it. When you remember again, look again. A relaxed awareness is needed, otherwise there can be such a strain on the breathing it can be fatal; it can be dangerous to the body, and you can create many illnesses out of it.
So – not concentration, but simple alertness. It gives really a totally different quality. You will feel very, very graceful, in tune, at home.

The seventh question:
You said recently that to reach enlightenment you first have to go through a total frustration where you completely lose hope. But it seems impossible to lose hope when you know that a master is helping you by his presence.
Don’t you be worried about that. I will see to it that you become completely frustrated.

The eighth question:
Lao Tzu seems to be the most truthful man, but George Gurdjieff used to paint sparrows and sell them as canaries. Lao Tzu says to do nothing and realize, Gurdjieff says only a superhuman effort will do. Is Gurdjieff's realization as great as Lao Tzu's? How do you explain the difference?
Yes, there are no degrees of enlightenment; either it is or it is not. Lao Tzu and Gurdjieff are both enlightened, and there are no degrees, so nobody is more enlightened and nobody is less enlightened. But their working is different, their time is different, the age they live in is different; the people they have to tackle and the disciples they get are different.
Lao Tzu lived in a very primitive world. People were very simple, humble, not tense, not in a hurry – in fact they had no time sense, they were more natural. Gurdjieff lived in a totally opposite time. Lao Tzu lived in the East and Gurdjieff lived in the West – and in the twentieth century, the maddest century ever, almost everybody is neurotic.
Gurdjieff had to devise different things for this different type of person. This type of man had not existed in Lao Tzu’s time. He may sometimes have come across such a man as an exception, but now it is the rule; and the man who was the rule at Lao Tzu’s time is now the exception. So everything has changed.
“Lao Tzu seems to be the most truthful man…” He is. And Gurdjieff does not seem to you to be so truthful – he is also as truthful as Lao Tzu, but he has compassion for you, and if he needs to lie to help you, he lies. And you are such a liar that Lao Tzu won’t be of much help to you. Even a Gurdjieff finds it difficult to help you. He is just the right type of person for the West.
Lao Tzu, in the first place, will not appeal to you because he is so simple and so innocent. In fact if he had been born in the twentieth century he would have been called an idiot. Even in those old days there were many people who thought that he was an idiot. He himself says, “Everybody else seems to be very clever, only I am stupid” – and that too twenty-five centuries before. Now everybody would think him an idiot. Not only that, if he had been born in the West they may even have psychoanalyzed and treated him, to bring him back to normal.
They have done that same thing to many other people. In Western mental asylums there are many people who are not mad, who are simply very innocent people. But they cannot be liars and they cannot be in tune with this lying century; that’s their difficulty. Gurdjieff was exactly the right person. He lied very easily. But those lies were meant to help you. You need lies.
Gurdjieff says superhuman effort is needed – and Lao Tzu says: no effort. Both are superhuman. When you make a superhuman effort you come to a point where Lao Tzu becomes immediately meaningful to you. Only after passing through Gurdjieff will you be able to drop all effort.
An immediate approach toward Lao Tzu is not possible now. In fact, you are so cunning and clever that if you listen to Lao Tzu and read Lao Tzu, it is not possible that you will drop all effort; it is more possible that you will cling to laziness. I see people here, when I start talking about Lao Tzu they start asking questions, the “right” questions: “Then what about in the ashram where we have to work? Shouldn’t we stop working?” They want to stop working.
Not that they have understood, because if they had understood they would not ask that. Lao Tzu is not saying to stop working; he is saying to stop making an effort. Do without making an effort, do naturally. He is not helping you to become lazy, saying, “Don’t do anything, just lie down” – and that too is good if you don’t expect others to come and feed you, that too is perfectly good. But then you are looking all around: are people coming or not to respect you as a great paramahansa, as one who has realized? You will become lazy.
Gurdjieff is perfectly right: he says make a superhuman effort. He forces people to make an effort. He brings them, he drives them, to such a point that beyond which there is nowhere to go. Then the effort drops by itself – you cannot drop it, you have been clinging to it so much.
I was reading once in somebody’s memoirs: Gurdjieff was making an ashram near Paris, in Fontainebleau. The structure was being built, and he told one man to work continuously – the carpenter, a disciple: “Don’t go to sleep. Go on working.” Eight hours, ten hours, twelve hours, twenty-four hours, and still he was working. After thirty-six hours Gurdjieff suddenly rushed to where he was. The carpenter was sitting on top of the roof completely asleep, with his tools in his hand. If a little noise had been made he would have fallen from there – and it was dangerous, so Gurdjieff told everybody to keep quiet.
Just like a cat he moved to the roof, got hold of the man, and shook him. The man opened his eyes – he could not believe where he was, what had happened. Thirty-six hours of continuous work… That day Gurdjieff told him, “Now you need not work.” It dropped itself.
If the man had dropped it, he would have come down to sleep; if the man himself had dropped the effort, then he would have come down because sitting on the roof was dangerous, you can fall. But it was not a question of his conscious decision; he did whatever he could do consciously, then a moment came and he simply slipped into sleep. He did nothing on his part. Everything stopped. Even the tools were still in his hand. On his part he was still ready to work. He may even have been working in his dream. But that day Gurdjieff released him; he said, “Now start meditating.”
Sometimes he used to force people to do such purposeless things that it would drive you crazy. He would tell them to dig a ditch one day and another day to refill it, and a third day to dig it again and a fourth day to refill it. And it would continue for months. People who were too rationalistic would say, “This is absurd.” They would leave. Only people who were really surrendered would continue without raising questions.
If you can follow a master to such an extent, that you don’t ask, you don’t raise a question – you simply think that there must be something in it. When he says, “Dig the ditch the whole day” – that was ten hours work – and then “Fill it again,” and then “Dig it again,” and “Fill it again,” what is he doing? He is trying to pull you out of your reasoning.
Superhuman effort. For three months somebody would be doing the same thing every day – you can understand that after three months that man will be totally different; now he is ready for meditation.
Gurdjieff would not give you meditations just in the beginning. First he would test you from every point, from every corner of your being he will see whether you can surrender – surrender to some absurdity also? He helped many people. He was the right person for this age, particularly in the West.
Don’t try to see any contradiction between the two – there is none. All awakened people have been showing the same thing, saying the same thing. Their words differ, they may appear contradictory to you. They cannot be contradictory. If they appear contradictory to you then something is wrong with your reasoning. Go deeper. One day you will come to the stratum where you will see that they are saying the same thing.
Gurdjieff says do as much as you can, and Lao Tzu says don’t do, let things happen – and both are saying the same thing. Because only after doing too much will you able to understand Lao Tzu. Lao Tzu would have understood Gurdjieff perfectly. If they had both worked in collaboration, that would have been perfect.
That’s what I am trying to do: Gurdjieff and Lao Tzu both. That’s why you will see many contradictions in me. In Lao Tzu there is no contradiction in himself. In Gurdjieff there is no contradiction in himself. If you bring them together, then you see the contradiction. But in me you will see contradiction every moment. There is no need to bring any other enlightened man to find my contradictions. I am contradictory. Because I see that life is polar.
You have to be forced to the utmost of doing – only then does surrender happen, let-go becomes possible.

The ninth question:
How can man best reach the stars?
There is no need, you are already on the star, Earth. There is no need to go anywhere. And wherever you go, you will be the same. Move within.
Earth itself is a star. Because it is too close to you, you don’t see it. When you go to another star you will not see that star, it will be too close – then the Earth will look like a star from that faraway space. Man cannot see that which is close. Man can see only that which is far away and distant.
Try to see that which is close. In fact, try to see that which is you. You already are on a star, you already belong to the stars; there is no need to go anywhere. And all this search of going to the moon and to Mars is in a subtle sense foolish. The real thing is to change yourself, not to go somewhere else – because you will remain the same. Wherever you go you will create the same world, the same miserable world there. Stars won’t help, only an inner transformation can.

The tenth question:
I feel so much freedom and love to hear you say: if you do not like to meditate, until the time you feel like doing so, there is no harm in doing something else that interests you. But regretfully, how and why is it that some of your disciples who do not meditate expect others to do so, at times through indirect criticism, as if it is a must!
Because they have much compassion for you. What I say may look good to you, but what they say – please follow them, it will do something good to you. And what I am saying you will be able to understand only when you have done what my disciples are saying to do.
It always looks good if I say, “Be free,” if I say, “Don’t do anything,” if I say “You are already that which is to be achieved” – it feels very good, ego enhancing. And when my disciples say to meditate, do something – it becomes difficult. Because you don’t want to do anything; you want to be lazy. And if this is the situation you will not be able to understand me – what I am saying. When I am saying, “Nothing is to be done,” I am saying the absolute truth. But you can misunderstand it.
When my disciples are saying something, they are saying something that is practical, which you cannot misunderstand. Either you do it or you don’t do it. And when they are saying to do it, it has some meaning. It is not they who are saying it to you, it is again I who is saying through them to you, to do it. And don’t be bothered whether they are doing meditations or not; that is for me to think about – you need not bother. If you can do something for yourself, that is enough. And what I am saying will be possible for you to understand only when you have done deep meditations, otherwise not.
This is a question not from a sannyasin but a visitor. In fact I am not very interested in visitors because there is every possibility that they will misunderstand me. Unless you are closely working with me, ready to move into deeper depths of your being, whatever I am saying can be even harmful to you because I am saying it for those who are working, who are making every effort to change their being. They will be able to understand me rightly, what I am saying.
But visitors come – listening is good because you don’t have to do anything. I talk here – you simply sit there and listen. You become knowledgeable, you go home, you know more. Your ego is enhanced. But if somebody says to you “Meditate” then there is trouble, and particularly with Indians. They think that they know all about meditation just because they are born in India. You don’t know!
And remain alert – soon the West will know more than you because you are too egoistic about it, believing that you know already, so what is the need to do it? The West is more humble to learn and to seek and to practice, and to move into a discipline. You are at the most ready to listen – and with that too, you will listen only when it suits. If it doesn’t suit you, then, “He is wrong.” You are always right.
If it suits you, then it is right. If it doesn’t suit you, then he must be wrong because the truth is already with you.
This smug-mindedness has been the fall of the Eastern world. The Eastern consciousness has been falling every day lower and lower, and soon the unfortunate moment will come when you will have to go to the West to learn meditation. But before that happens, a few possibilities are still here. Don’t waste them.
Listening is beautiful because nothing is to be done, you simply sit there. You can even sleep and listen, you can rest. But to do meditation is to move into an inner turmoil, chaos. Of that you are afraid – what will people say? Others will laugh: you and jumping and dancing and catharting? No, it is for foolish people, not for you; you are already too knowledgeable.
Drop all this knowledge, otherwise listening to me won’t help much. What I am saying is true, but first you have to do much, only then can you understand what it is that Lao Tzu calls “doing by non-doing.”

The last question:
How is progress, whether in civilization, culture or religion, possible if we accept life as it is and do not seek to change it in any way?
There is no need for any progress. Progress is the most false god created by man. There is no need. What does progress mean? Progress means deep down to sacrifice the present for the future. You sacrifice today to live tomorrow. Then tomorrow, again it is not tomorrow, it is today; again you sacrifice it for tomorrow. The father sacrifices for the children, the children sacrifice for their children, and nobody ever lives life.
One generation sacrifices for another because there has to be progress – and then nobody ever lives it. There is no need for progress. The very word progress moves you into the future. And there can never be an end to it. You cannot come to a state when you can say, “Now progress has been achieved,” because progress is not a thing to be achieved, it is a process. “Now everybody can enjoy, progress has been achieved” will never come. Progress will remain always a process.
This is how up to now humanity has tried to live. In the name of progress, all bliss has been sacrificed. There is no need to sacrifice anymore. Forget about the future. Live for yourself. While the time is there, live totally. Your children will live their own life – don’t sacrifice yourself because sacrificing fathers are very dangerous. They never forgive their children, and then those children are always against their fathers because they cannot forgive this attitude that they have sacrificed. Everybody has been taught to become a martyr for somebody else.
This is foolish, simple, sheer stupidity, but it goes in the name of progress. Don’t bother about progress. The birds have not bothered – what is wrong with them? What have they been missing? The trees have not bothered, the Himalayas have not bothered – what are they missing? They enjoyed a thousand years before, they enjoyed always, they are enjoying now, they will be enjoying in the future forever and ever – only man has a disease called progress. It is a cancerous thing.
Then you go on sacrificing. You say, “How can I enjoy? Today I have to work hard so that tomorrow there is money, and then I will enjoy,” but that tomorrow never comes. Then how can you enjoy? You have children, you have to work hard so that your children can enjoy, and they will have their own children, and their own children will have their own children – when does it come to the point where anybody can enjoy? Your mother sacrificed for you, she was a martyr, she never had a single moment of delight because she was working for you and sacrificing for you. Now are you enjoying? Because your mother sacrificed herself for you? You are not enjoying because she has taught you the trick to sacrifice yourself for somebody else: for the country, for the religion, for humanity – but sacrifice. The gods have been different, but the sacrifice has remained the same. Sometimes it is for the nation, sometimes it is humanity, sometimes it is Christianity, sometimes it is Islam…but sacrifice.
One secret has always remained with man and it has been killing him, poisoning him. No, no more talk about sacrificing. No more talk about progress. Live your life and if something happens out of it, it is okay. If nothing happens, you are not responsible. You are not running the world.
And all that you call progress: big houses, technology, big cars, have they added in any way to human bliss? In fact on the contrary they have killed all possibility. You may be living in a palace, but a palace is not happiness; you may be moving in a Rolls Royce, but to move in a Rolls Royce is not to be blissful. You can be as miserable there as anywhere.
The whole question is how to make man happier – and if this progress goes on poisoning you, man can never be happy. It is a trick, a conspiracy, to force you to commit suicide – for others – and then force others to commit suicide for others. The whole world has become hell. Drop this continuous madness about progress. Everything is good as it is today, and you are here for just now – live it. And if out of your living something happens, it is beautiful – and I say it will happen out of living. But I don’t call it progress, because the very word is ugly. It is future-oriented. I call it rather growth, not progress.
You live this moment, out of that life grows another moment – of course it is going to be finer and richer than the first. Then you live it more deeply because you have learned how to live deeply, you are learning constantly – and each moment becomes more and more intense. Out of each moment another moment is born; out of today is born tomorrow – richer, more blissful, more ecstatic. And out of you are born your children, and you give them birth in ecstasy. You were not in fact trying to give them birth, you were enjoying your love. In fact you were not concerned directly for them. Out of your ecstasy, out of your orgasmic experience, they are born.
You share your ecstasy with them, they grow with you, they learn how to be ecstatic, how to be blissful. Their children will grow with them. This is growth, not progress.
In progress, nonessential things grow and the essential dies. In growth, the nonessentials are nonessential: if they are there, good; if they are not there, even better. But the essential grows. What is essential? Bliss is essential, inner happiness is essential, orgasmic experiences, peak experiences, are essential.
You don’t have big palaces but you have peak experiences. That’s perfect. You may be living in a hut – that will do. You may not have very expensive clothes, but they are not needed – you have a rich being. A different, totally different dimension opens with growth.
Up to the last generation, progress has been dominating the human mind, but for the new generation, growth has become a more meaningful word. All growth groups: encounter, growth trainings, therapies – they are not worried about progress, they are worried about growth. And to me that word is meaningful.
Growth is present-based. Progress is future-oriented. Growth comes out of living and progress comes out of sacrificing. Growth is life, progress is suicide.
Enough for today.

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