The Dhammapada Vol 2 09

Ninth Discourse from the series of 10 discourses - The Dhammapada Vol 2 by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

For a while the fool’s mischief
tastes sweet, sweet as honey.
But in the end it turns bitter.
And how bitterly he suffers!

For months the fool may fast,
eating from the tip of a grass blade.
But he is still not worth a penny
beside the master whose food is the way.

Fresh milk takes time to sour.
So a fool’s mischief
takes time to catch up with him.
Like the embers of a fire
it smolders within him.

Whatever a fool learns,
it only makes him duller.
Knowledge cleaves his head.

For then he wants recognition.
A place before other people.
A place over other people.

“Let them know my work,
let everyone look to me for direction.”
Such are his desires,
such is his swelling pride.

One way leads to wealth and fame,
the other to the end of the way.

Look not for recognition
but follow the awakened
and set yourself free.
The last words of Gautama the Buddha on the earth were: “Be a light unto yourself.” Do not follow others, do not imitate, because imitation, following, creates stupidity. You are born with a tremendous possibility for intelligence. You are born with a light within you. Listen to the still, small voice within, and that will guide you. Nobody else can guide you, nobody else can become a model for your life, because you are unique. There has never been anybody who was exactly like you, and nobody is ever going to be exactly like you. It is your glory, your grandeur that you are utterly irreplaceable, that you are just yourself and nobody else.
The person who follows others becomes false, he becomes pseudo, he becomes mechanical. He can be a great saint in the eyes of others, but deep down, he is simply unintelligent and nothing else. He may have a very respectable character but that is only the surface, it is not even skin-deep. Scratch him a little and you will be surprised that inside he is a totally different person, just the opposite of his outside.
By following others you can cultivate a beautiful character, but you cannot have a beautiful consciousness, and unless you have a beautiful consciousness you can never be free. You can go on changing your prisons, you can go on changing your bondages, your slaveries. You can be a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Christian or a Jaina; that is not going to help you. To be a Jaina means to follow Mahavira as the model. Now, there is nobody who is like Mahavira and never can be. Following Mahavira you will become a false entity. You will lose all reality, you will lose all sincerity, you will be untrue to yourself. You will become artificial, unnatural, and to be artificial, to be unnatural, is the way of the mediocre, the stupid, the fool.
Buddha defines wisdom as living in the light of your own consciousness, and foolishness as following others, imitating others, becoming a shadow to somebody else.
The real master creates masters, not followers. The real master throws you back to yourself. His whole effort is to make you independent of him, because you have been dependent for centuries, and it has not led you anywhere. You still continue to stumble in the dark night of the soul.
Only your inner light can become the sunrise. The false master persuades you to follow him, to imitate him, to be just a carbon copy of him. The real master will not allow you to be a carbon copy, he wants you to be the original. He loves you, how can he make you imitative? He has compassion for you, he would like you to be utterly free from all outer dependencies.
But the ordinary human being does not want to be free. He wants to be dependent. He wants somebody else to guide him. Why? – because then he can throw the whole responsibility on the shoulders of somebody else. And the more responsibility you throw away onto somebody else’s shoulders, the less is the possibility of your ever becoming intelligent. It is responsibility, the challenge of responsibility that creates wisdom.
One has to accept life with all its problems. One has to go through life unprotected; one has to seek and search one’s way. Life is an opportunity, a challenge, to find yourself. But the fool does not want to go the hard way, the fool chooses the shortcut. He says to himself, “Buddha has attained, so why should I bother? I will just watch his behavior and imitate. Jesus has attained, so why should I search and seek? I can simply become a shadow to Jesus. I can simply go on following him wherever he goes.”
But how are you going to become intelligent by following somebody else? You will not give your intelligence any chance to explode. It needs a challenging life, an adventurous life, a life that knows how to risk and how to go into the unknown, for intelligence to arise. And only intelligence can save you, nobody else, only your own intelligence, mind you, your own awareness, can become your nirvana.
Be a light unto yourself and you will be wise; let others become your leaders, your guides, and you will remain stupid, and you will go on missing all the treasures of life which were rightfully yours. And how can you decide that the other’s character is the right character for you to follow?
A Buddha lives in his own way, a Mahavira in his, a Jesus still different. A Mohammed is Mohammed, he is not Mahavira. Whom are you going to follow? Are you going to decide your life, your destiny, just by the accident of birth? Then you will remain accidental, and the fool is accidental; the wise man never lives by accidents. He does not become a Hindu because he is born in a Hindu family; he does not become a Christian because his parents are Christian; he does not become a Communist because he is born in Russia. He seeks, he inquires.
Life is a tremendously beautiful pilgrimage, but only for those who are ready to seek and search.
Jesus says: “Seek and ye shall find; ask and it shall be given to you; knock and the doors shall be opened unto you.” He is not saying to follow, imitate. He is not saying: “Be a Christian and the doors shall be opened unto you.” He is not saying: “I have knocked on the doors and opened them for you.” He is saying: “Knock and the doors shall be opened unto you.” And everybody has to knock, because everybody has to enter by different doors. People are so unique, people are individuals.
This is your glory. Don’t deny it; otherwise you will remain a fool. That does not mean do not learn from the buddhas, the awakened ones. Learn, imbibe the spirit! Drink out of their springs, fresh springs of joy. Be in their company, become attuned to their inner music, listen to their harmony, and be filled with great joy that a man like you, just like you, has achieved, so you can also achieve. Become thrilled that a man just like you, made of blood and bones, has become enlightened, so you can also become enlightened.
A buddha has not to be followed but understood. A buddha has not to be imitated but listened to in tremendous silence, love, trust. And the more you understand a buddha, the more you will feel he is speaking not from the outside but from within, from the very core of your being. He is a mirror who reflects your original face, but he is only a mirror. All great masters are mirrors, they reflect your original face. Don’t cling to the mirror; the mirror is not your face.
These sutras of Buddha are of immense value. Go into them meditatively. And when I say go into them meditatively, I mean don’t be in an argumentative mood. That is not the way to listen. Be in a receptive mood, be feminine. Don’t be on guard, don’t be defensive. Don’t hide behind armors. Don’t bring your mind in to interpret what is being said. Put the mind aside and let the heart dance with these sutras. That’s what I mean when I say listen meditatively. Let the heart rejoice, and in that rejoicing is a totally different kind of understanding, not of the intellect but of intelligence.
You will not become knowledgeable if you listen from the heart; you will become wiser. If you listen from the head, your listening will be distorted because all your prejudices will become mingled with it, and all your a priori conclusions will be a distraction, and your mind will give its own color to what is told to you. In the first place you won’t listen to what is being said; your mind will make noise and you will listen to your own noise. In the second place, whatsoever you gather will become knowledge, not wisdom. Knowledge is superficial, it does not go deep, it cannot go deep. Knowledge is a way to hide your ignorance, it does not destroy it. Wisdom is light, it dispels darkness.
But wisdom is always of the heart, remember, it is never of the head. When you come to a buddha, forget all about your head. It is a totally different approach to your being, through the heart. Listen through the heartbeats, become attuned as if you are listening to great music. It is great music; in fact, what greater music can there be?
These sutras are the greatest poetry, the poetry of the ultimate being. These sutras are the lotus flowers, born in the lake of a consciousness of one who is awakened. Listen attentively, meditatively, lovingly, in deep trust, and you will be immensely benefited, blessed.
The first sutra:
For a while the fool’s mischief
tastes sweet, sweet as honey.
But in the end it turns bitter.
And how bitterly he suffers!
There is a famous Buddhist parable. Buddha loved to tell it again and again:

A man is being chased by his enemies. They are coming closer and closer; he can hear the sound of the hooves of the horses coming closer and closer every moment. It is death! And there seems to be no way to escape, because he has come to a cul-de-sac, the road ends. He is facing a great abyss. If he jumps he is bound to die. He cannot turn back because the enemy is going to kill him. He was hoping that there may be one chance that if he jumps he may survive by some miracle, crippled, maybe, but alive; but that too seems to be impossible because he sees deep in the abyss two lions looking up at him, ready to devour him.
Finding no other way – cannot go back, cannot go ahead – he hangs from the roots of a tree, just in the middle. It is a cold morning, his hands are becoming frozen. He knows within minutes he will not be able to hold the roots at all; his hands are slipping, he is losing his grip. He knows death is becoming more certain every moment.
And then he sees that two mice, one black, one white, are eating the root, cutting the root. Those two mice represent day and night, they represent time, which is cutting everybody’s life root. Day and night, death is coming closer. So now it becomes even more absolutely certain that it is only a question of moments and he will be gone. The root is becoming weaker every moment, thinner every moment. The mice are at work; his hands are getting frozen and he can hear the lions roaring deep in the valley and he can hear the enemy approaching closer and closer. You can understand that man’s plight.
And then suddenly he sees that just on the top of the tree there is a bee hive, and a drop of honey is just slipping out of the hive. He forgets all about the enemies, all about the roaring lions, the white and black mice, his hands getting frozen, he completely forgets everything. In that moment his whole mind becomes focused on that drop of honey. He opens his mouth, the honey drops on his tongue, and it is so sweet.

This is the situation of the fool. This is the situation of every man on the earth. How sweet it tastes! But how long can this taste remain? Soon death will be arriving from all directions. But that’s how we go on living, for momentary pleasures, indulgence, food, sex, money, power, prestige, just drops of honey. How sweet it tastes, and in that moment we completely forget what is going to happen. The moment takes possession of us and we become oblivious of the reality of life: that it is rooted in death, that it is going to disappear.
Buddha says: For a while the fool’s mischief tastes sweet, sweet as honey. But in the end it turns bitter. And how bitterly he suffers!
Watch yourself. What are you doing here on the earth? What have you done up to now? What does your life consist of? Have you done anything really real, or have you just been living in dreams? Have you approached the eternal in any way? Or are you too occupied with the momentary? Have you made any plans, any projects, for the ultimate truth? Or are you just remaining drunk with the mundane, with the ordinary, going into the same rut every day, moving in the same rut every day? The morning comes and you rush to the marketplace, and the evening comes and you are tired and you come home, and the same circle goes on moving, the same wheel. And this has been going on and on for so many lives. When are you going to become bored with it? When are you going to become a little more alert about what you are doing to your life? This is a sheer waste.
But Buddha says that certainly, there is some sweetness, momentary, and one suffers for that sweetness. It turns, inevitably, into bitterness. Watch your life. You can earn much money, and while you are earning, it tastes sweet. But you are not aware that you are losing your life in earning rubbish, that life is slipping out of your hands, that it is a very costly affair that you are pursuing, utterly foolish, stupid.
Life cannot be bought back; not even a single moment, with all your wealth, can you purchase it back. It cannot be reclaimed. Such precious time being wasted! You are piling up wealth which will be taken away by death, and you will go as empty-handed as you had come to the earth. Then you will feel the bitterness of it, that you wasted your whole life for something which is not going to be with you. You wasted your whole life in power, politics; you wasted your whole life in becoming respectable, and now death has come and all will be taken away. And you have not tasted a single moment of your eternal reality; you have not tasted anything deathless.
This is what Buddha calls the fool’s approach toward life. Everything turns bitter: your love, your friendship, your family, your business, your politics, everything, finally, proves to be poisonous, turns into bitterness. One who is wise will become aware while there is still time and something can be done.
For months the fool may fast,
eating from the tip of a grass blade.
Still he is not worth a penny
beside the master whose food is the way.
Buddha is not saying become an ascetic. Buddha is not saying renounce the world, renounce food, starve yourself, fast, torture your body, he is not saying that. He cannot say it. He has learned a lesson, a great lesson by doing all these things himself.
When he left his palace he followed the traditional path for six years, torturing himself, fasting, destroying his body. He came to a point when he had tortured himself so much he was almost on the verge of death. In that moment he became aware, “What am I doing? First I was indulging; my whole day and night was devoted to indulgence: women, wine, good food, clothes, palaces, golden chariots, hunting, living the life of a prince. I was doing something which proved futile.”
He was only twenty-nine when he left his palace; must have been a man of great intelligence. There are people who are seventy or seventy-nine and they have not yet become aware of the foolishness of their lives. He was only twenty-nine; must have been a man of rare insight. Must have been watching, looking at what he was doing, meditating over things. Suddenly he became aware, “This whole thing is rubbish: all these women, all this wine, hunting, all this indulgence. It is not going to give me anything eternal.”
The East has always been in search of the eternal. The definition of truth in the East is, that which is eternal. And the definition of untruth? – that which is momentary. When the Eastern mystics say that something is illusory, they mean it is momentary. They don’t mean that it does not exist, they know it exists, but it is only for the moment, like a soap bubble. Sometimes a soap bubble can look really beautiful; if sunrays pass through it, it can be surrounded by a rainbow, all the colors. A soap bubble is, but its isness is so momentary, so deceptive, that it is better to say that it is not; hence the Eastern mystics say the world is maya – illusory. Not that it is not, but it is so momentary that it is almost pointless whether it is or it is not. It is better to call it illusory, because that will make you alert, wakeful.
Those twenty-nine years were enough to make him aware that he was playing with soap bubbles. He escaped, he renounced the kingdom. But as almost always happens, mind moves to the opposite. Mind is like the pendulum of an old clock: goes from right to left, from left to right – to the opposite. It never stays in the middle. And in the middle is the secret. If the pendulum stops in the middle, the clock stops, time stops, the world stops. But the pendulum goes from the left to the right, from the right to the left, and it keeps the clock running, it keeps the clock moving. It keeps time alive, and time is the world.
To go beyond time is to know something deathless; hence, in India, for time and death we use the same word, kal – the same word for time and the same word for death. It is not coincidental, it has significance. Time is death, because in time everything is momentary, everything is going to die. One moment it is, another moment it is gone, and gone forever. The moment you go beyond time, you go beyond death.
But just as the mind moves to the opposite, Buddha’s mind also moved to the opposite. He escaped from the palace. He had cared about his body; now he started torturing the body. He had been obsessed with good food; now he started fasting, long fasts. He became a famous ascetic. People started respecting him, people started following him. He was a beautiful man, one of the most beautiful who has ever walked on the earth, but these six years of self-torture and masochism destroyed his body. He became dark, he became thin, he became ugly.
But one day the great insight arose in him, “What am I doing? First I was obsessed with food, now I am obsessed with fasting, so basically I am still obsessed with food. First it was a positive obsession, now it is a negative obsession. But I have not changed a little bit. First I was obsessed with women, now I am obsessed with brahmacharya – celibacy. Basically I have not changed, I am still obsessed with sex. First I was running toward sex, now I am running away from sex, but sex remains the center of my being.”
The revelation was great. That very revelation created the context in which he became enlightened. The evening he understood this, something tremendously important happened to him. He laughed at the whole ridiculousness of his mind. He laughed at the tricky mind; he was thinking that he was going against mind, but he was not going against mind, mind had played a trick. Mind had befooled him, mind had cheated him. Mind had come from the back door. First it was coming from the front door, then it was coming from the back door, and it is more dangerous when it comes from the back door. By the front door at least you are aware of what you are doing. When it comes from the back door, indirectly, in a subtle way, hiding, it comes hidden behind a facade.
Mind is so cunning that it can hide in the garments of its very opposite. From indulgence it can become asceticism, from being a materialist it can become a spiritualist, from being worldly it can become otherworldly. But mind is mind, whether you are for the world or against the world you remain encaged in the mind. For or against, both are parts of the mind.
When mind disappears, mind disappears in a choiceless awareness, when you stop choosing, when you are neither for nor against, that is stopping in the middle. One choice leads to the left, one extreme; another choice leads to the right, the other extreme. If you don’t choose, you are exactly in the middle. That is relaxation, that is rest; that is true renunciation. It is not opposed to the world, it is not opposed to the body, it has nothing to do with the body. It is sheer awakening of consciousness. You become choiceless, un-obsessed, and in that state of un-obsessed, choiceless consciousness, intelligence arises which has been lying deep, dormant in your being. You become a light unto yourself. You are no longer a fool.
From indulgence you can move to repression; that is not going to help. That’s where all the religions have gotten hooked.

The head nun is accosted by a thief one evening while coming back from the bank where she has deposited the charity collection of the week. “You are wasting your time, young man,” she tells the robber. “I have no money. I put it all in the night deposit at the bank.”
“We will see about that,” he says grimly, and begins rumpling up under her black gown to search for the money.
“Oh! What are you doing?” she cries. “Oh! Oh! Oh Jesus, Mary! Don’t stop now – I will write you a check!”

Repression is not the way, cannot be the way. All that you have repressed is waiting for its opportunity. It has simply gone into the unconscious; it can come back any moment. Any provocation and it will surface. You are not free of it. Repression is not the way to freedom. Repression is a far worse kind of bondage than indulgence, because through indulgence one becomes tired sooner or later, but through repression one never becomes tired.
See the point: indulgence is bound to tire you and bore you. Sooner or later you will start thinking about how to get rid of it all. But repression will keep things alive. Because you have not lived, how can you be bored? You have not lived; how can you be fed up? Because you have not lived, the charm continues, the hypnosis continues; deep down, it waits.
The people who indulge are in a way normal compared to the people who repress; the repressing person becomes pathological. The indulgent is at least natural – that’s how nature has made you – but to repress is to become unnatural. It is easy to go from lower nature to higher nature. It is very difficult to go from being unnatural to higher nature. Buddha calls the ultimate truth, “ultimate nature” – aes dhammo sanantano. “This is the ultimate nature, the ultimate law,” he declares. What is the ultimate law? The eternal, the undying, the pure consciousness.
It is easy to reach this eternal law from nature, because nature is lower but still it is nature. And you can step from the lower to the higher; the lower can become a stepping-stone. But the moment you become unnatural it becomes very difficult, from being unnatural, there is no way to supreme nature.
Hence, my suggestion is, if you are going to choose, choose indulgence rather than repression. The best thing is not to choose, to remain choiceless, to be just a witness, to see your instincts, desires, and not get identified with them, for or against. The best thing is just to be a witness because in witnessing, in the fire of witnessing, all desires are burned, and not only desires, but the very seeds of desires are burned. One becomes nirbeej – seedless.
But don’t choose the negative. Once you become repressive, you become pathological, you are ill. In fact, only pathological people become interested in repressive systems of thought.

All the nuns but one in a Belgian nunnery are found to be pregnant just after the war. The cardinal makes a personal inquiry and learns that the nuns have all been raped by German soldiers.
“But why didn’t they rape you?” he asks of the one thin, little, ugly and repulsive looking nun who is not pregnant.
“Who, me?” she says. “I resisted!”

The pathological can also find rationalizations. You know the old Aesop’s fable?

The fox says, “The grapes are sour,” because the fox could not reach the grapes as they were too high. She looked around, she tried hard to reach, but the grapes were too high, beyond her reach. She looked around, there was nobody. She walked away, but a hare was watching, hidden behind a bush. And the hare said, “Auntie, what happened? Couldn’t you get to the grapes?”
The fox said, “No, it is not a question of getting to the grapes, they are not yet ripe, they are very sour.”

The people who cannot get to the grapes can rationalize that they are sour. These rationalizations may deceive others, but how can they deceive you? The fox knows perfectly well that she had not been able to reach. Now, it is a rationalization, and mind is very clever in rationalizing.

Jake came home in the middle of the afternoon. He was met at the door by his wife and his son. His son exclaimed, “Dad, there is a bogeyman in the closet!”
Jake rushed to the closet and flung the door open. There, huddled among the coats was his partner, Sam. “Sam,” shrieked Jake, “why in hell did you come here in the afternoon and scare my kid?”

Mind is very cunning and clever in rationalizing things, in finding ways and means. The mind can suggest repression to you very easily, because if you repress you will be far more in the power of the mind than you ever were when you were in a life of indulgence. And the mind will have a far stronger grip on you.
Buddha learned it through his own experience, through six years of great torture. With Buddha the world entered into a new phase of religiousness. Before Buddha nobody had said that repressiveness, austerities, fasting, torturing your body, is not going to help. With Buddha, humanity entered into a new phase, a higher phase.
Buddha is a very, very significant milestone in the evolution of human consciousness, but he has not been understood rightly, because again the interpreters were those old scholars, pundits, priests. They again started interpreting Buddha almost completely against his own experience. They started talking much about those six years; Buddhist scriptures are full of the description of those six years. And if you read Buddhist scriptures you will find that it seems as if it is because of those six years of austerities that he attained enlightenment. It is not so. It is not by those six years of austerities that he attained enlightenment; he attained enlightenment the day he dropped all those austerities. It was by dropping them that he attained enlightenment, not by or through them.
But if you read the scriptures, particularly those written in India, you will be given a totally false impression. They make it appear as if Buddha has not contributed anything new to human consciousness, as if he is just the old type of ascetic, maybe far more intelligent in expressing, far more convincing, logical, far more deep-going in his insight, but nothing new. It is the same old religion which he has brought in new words, with new logic; the same old wine in a new bottle, that’s all. That’s what Indians have made Buddha look like. That is a falsification. Buddha does not represent the old. He is a stepping beyond the old. He is a new phase. And just as he took a new step, another step is again needed. Twenty-five centuries have passed.
My new commune is going to be that new step; a further step in human evolution, in human consciousness.
Although Buddha dropped asceticism, he did not talk much against it; he could not, because he had to communicate with people who were full of the ancient lore and the ancient ideology. He had to talk to people who would have been absolutely incapable of understanding if he had talked like I talk, and even I am not comprehensible to people. Twenty-five centuries have passed and people are still stuck. It is very rare to find a contemporary. People are in the twentieth century, but only physically; spiritually they are thousands of years back. Buddha could not even make an effort. He did say to his closest disciples, “It is not through asceticism that I have attained. I have attained by dropping asceticism, that was all foolishness.” These sutras were given to his closest disciples.
He says: For months the fool may fast, eating from the tip of a grass blade. Still he is not worth a penny beside the master whose food is the way. If you really want a transformation, then make dhamma your food; let the very way to God be your food. Nourish yourself on it! Jesus says it in another way: “Eat me!” He says to his disciples: “Drink me! Absorb me, digest me.”
Buddha says: …whose food is the way. The way means dhamma, religion, the ultimate law, that keeps the whole world in harmony. One who starts eating out of this harmony attains, not by fasting. It is not by fasting from the gross food, but by eating the subtle food that one attains.
Yes, there is a subtle food available. When you look at a roseflower, just watch. Let the beauty of the rose be absorbed in you, and you will feel nourished. You have not eaten the rose but something subtle that surrounds the rose, the aura of the rose, the dance of the rose in the wind, the fragrance which is invisible. Have you not felt it? Seeing a beautiful flower, suddenly you feel saturated, contented. Looking at the sky full of stars, have you not felt nourished? Watching the sunrise or the sunset, or just listening to the faraway call of a cuckoo, a distant song, have you not felt yourself becoming full of something unknown?
Your body needs food, your soul also needs food. The bodily food is gross, obviously; the body is part of the gross world. The spiritual food is invisible; it is in music, in poetry, in beauty, in dance, in song, in prayerfulness, in meditation, taking you deeper and deeper toward the spiritual nourishment.
Buddha says: “It is not by dropping the gross food, by fasting, that one attains, but by eating the way.” A strange expression – by eating the dhamma. What is dhamma? Just the other day somebody asked, “Osho, I love it when you say: Aes dhammo sanantano, but what exactly does it mean?” It means the harmony of existence, it means the melody of existence, it means the ultimate dance that is going on and on. It means the celebration that is everywhere. The trees are celebrating and the birds and the animals and the rivers and the mountains; this whole existence is made of the stuff called bliss.
That’s what Buddha means when he says: “Aes dhammo sanantano – this is the ultimate law, inexhaustible. You can go on eating out of it, but you cannot exhaust it. And the more you eat, the more soul you will have. The more you eat it, the more divine you become. Buddha is saying: “I am not teaching fasting, I am teaching you a new way of indulgence, a higher kind of indulgence.” He is not saying it exactly in that way, but I am saying it. I am teaching you a higher way of love, a higher way of rejoicing, a higher way of dance, a higher way of absorbing the energy of existence into yourself, becoming more and more receptive and feminine so you can be pregnant with godliness.
He calls the man a fool who goes on fasting. But those fools are worshipped in India, and not only in India, almost all over the world. In fact, the majority of the crowd consists of fools; hence, whenever a fool starts following the rotten, trodden path, the traditional path of the crowds, the crowds are very thrilled. Their egos are very satisfied. This man proves that they have been right, their parents have been right, their heritage is proved right: “Look, this man is fasting!” And spiritual people have always been fasting, that is their idea.
Yes, sometimes it has happened that a spiritual person has fasted, but the reason is totally different from what you think. Mahavira fasted, and fasted for twelve years, and for long, long periods. It is said that in those twelve years he took food for only three hundred and sixty-five days, the equivalent of only one year. One month he would fast and then he would take food. In those twelve years, he ate for one year, which means that after twelve days on the average he ate for one day. That was his way of fasting.
But Mahavira never became tired and Buddha became tired after six years. What was the matter? And he attained as much as Buddha attained. Buddha attained by dropping his fasting and austerity; Mahavira never dropped it. Now, both cannot be right, but I say to you both are right. But the reasons are so different, almost inconceivable.
Mahavira’s fast has a totally different quality. He is not an ascetic, he is not fasting; in fact, he is eating so much of the harmony of existence that he does not feel the need to eat. His soul is so overflowing with subtle energies that his body feels satisfied. He does not feel the need to eat. In fact, to say that he fasts is not right. If I am allowed then I will say: he cannot eat. And you have also sometimes observed it.
When I used to come to Pune, I used to stay with Sohan, and she was very puzzled. One day she asked me, “What is the matter? Once or twice a year you come to Pune. I wait the whole year long – you will be coming, you will be coming – and then for three or four days you come. For these three or four days I cannot eat at all. What is the reason I can’t eat? I am not fasting,” she told me. “I want to eat, but I simply can’t eat. I feel so full.”
I told her, “Whenever you are tremendously happy, you will not be able to eat. Your blissfulness is so overflowing it leaves no appetite, it leaves no emptiness in you. Not only is your soul overflowing, your body starts being affected by the soul. Your body is a shadow to your soul.”
You will be surprised: miserable people eat more, happy people less. A miserable person feels so empty that he wants to fill himself, stuff himself with something or other. The miserable person goes on eating, he goes on stuffing this and that inside. He feels so utterly empty and lost that he does not know what to do. It seems easy to go to the fridge and eat something more; maybe that will give you a feeling of fullness. And certainly it does give, on the very gross level, a feeling of fullness.
Now, America suffers most from overeating, and the reason is simple: America is now suffering from great inner emptiness. The reason is spiritual, hence no dieting can help. And how long can you diet? You can diet for a few days with great willpower; you have to force yourself. Then after a few days you become tired of making the effort and then you jump upon the food with a vengeance; and you will gain more weight than you had lost by dieting.
In America this is a problem, and in all rich countries this is going to be a problem, because you have both food and you have emptiness available. Only food is left to fill yourself with, sex is left to fill yourself with. Go on purchasing new gadgets, new things; if you cannot have anything else you can at least go on accumulating furniture. You can fill the house if you cannot fill your being. It is just a vicarious way of feeling full. Just the opposite happens when you are really happy, joyous, when you are flying, when you are feeling weightless.
I told Sohan, “This is perfectly logical. This is real fasting.”
In Sanskrit, the word for fast has a beauty of its own. The English word does not have that quality. The English word fast simply means starving through willpower. The Sanskrit word is upawas – it means “being close to God.” Literally it means being close to God; it has nothing to do with fasting. It means being so close to God, so full of God, that you forget all about your body, that you forget all about your body nourishment. You are so nourished by the subtle food, the subtle energy, that goes on showering on you.
Mahavira was not fasting in the same way that Buddha was; Mahavira was eating God, and Buddha was simply fasting. Mahavira’s fast was upawas – being close to God. His fast was what it means in Sanskrit; Buddha’s fast was what it means in English – just starving. Hence Mahavira attained without dropping his fast. It was not fasting in the first place, there was no need to drop it. Buddha had to drop it, it was just the opposite of indulgence. He was simply starving himself with the motive that by starvation one can attain.
How can you attain God by starving the body? What logic is this? What scientific reasoning is there in it? Do you think God is someone like Adolf Hitler who enjoys your tortures? Who enjoys seeing his children hungry and dreaming of food? Who enjoys seeing people becoming ugly, ill? God is compassion, God is love. He would like you to be full of him. And when you are full of him you may not feel the need to eat. Mahavira was not fasting, he was simply not feeling like eating, that’s all. And that’s a great difference.
Buddha says: For months the fool may fast, eating from the tip of a grass blade. Still he is not worth a penny beside the master whose food is the way.
One day he discovered that there is another kind of food: one can eat out of the harmony of existence, one can become part of the harmony, one can become part of the celebration, the festivity that goes on and on, with no beginning and no end. Then you are full and fulfilled.
Fresh milk takes time to sour.
So a fool’s mischief
takes time to catch up with him.
Like the embers of a fire
it smolders within him.
If you do something, it takes time for its result to come. And you may not even be able to connect the two, the cause and the effect.
Do you know that in Africa, there are still primitive tribes which have no conception that the birth of a child has anything to do with intercourse because the gap is so big, nine months? And not only is the gap so big, they have no way of calculating time, so for them nine months is really a long time; they cannot keep track of time. They have no calendar, no watches, no idea of time at all. They live in a really primitive world where time has not been invented yet, so how can they conceive that the intercourse between a man and a woman can be the cause of the birth of a child?
And then there are other reasons: it doesn’t always happen. You may make love to a woman and no child may come, so it is not an inevitable thing. Then how is the child born? The child is born not by intercourse, not by sexual relationship, it has no biology behind it; it comes as a gift from God, whomsoever he chooses. If you follow the tribe’s religion, you will be blessed with children; otherwise there is no possibility.
When Christian missionaries for the first time discovered this tribe, they could not believe that these people for centuries have lived, given birth to children, and have no idea at all of cause and effect. And that’s how we all are, primitive in so many ways.
Today suddenly you start feeling sad for no reason at all; you cannot find any reason in close proximity, nothing has happened. In the night when you had gone to bed, everything was good; you were flowing, glowing, and in the morning you are suddenly sad. Nobody has insulted you, nothing has happened, no bad news has arrived, so why this sadness? From where has it come? You must have done something; maybe there is a time gap, maybe three months’ gap or three years. And those who have gone deep into this phenomenon, they say maybe even in the past life; sometimes a few seeds take very long to sprout.
And because of this, the fool goes on living in the same way, in the same foolish way, because he cannot see that his life’s suffering is caused by his own choices. Those choices may have been made long before. You may have thrown the seeds a year before, and then you have completely forgotten about those seeds. Rains come, the seeds start sprouting, and you are surprised. From where are these plants coming up? And, of course, the seeds that we go on sowing in our souls are very, very invisible. You may have been angry, violent, jealous, and it has remained inside you.
Buddha says: Like the embers of a fire it smolders within him. It goes on inside you, getting ready, waiting for the spring to come, and then it explodes suddenly. Man is responsible for whatsoever happens to him. The wise man becomes aware of it and stops sowing seeds of misery and starts sowing seeds of joy. Sooner or later you will be ready to reap the harvest.
That’s what heaven is: a wise man sowing seeds of bliss, love, compassion. And one day the garden is ready. Did you know that the word paradise comes from Persian? It has a beautiful meaning. In Persian it is firdaus; from firdaus it has become paradise in English. Firdaus means a walled garden of truth. If you go on sowing seeds of joy, beauty, dance, song, meditation, prayerfulness, soon you will create a walled garden of truth, that is paradise. Otherwise, you are bound to create hell. Live unconsciously, live mechanically, live foolishly, and hell is going to be the outcome of it.
Whatever a fool learns,
it only makes him duller.
Knowledge cleaves his head.
The fool is not very interested in becoming intelligent, because intelligence is dangerous. Intelligence is rebellious, hence it is dangerous. Intelligence brings individuality to you, and the moment you become an integrated individual the crowd starts turning against you; they cannot tolerate an individual. They cannot forgive a Jesus or a Buddha. They are very happy with the fools, because the fools are just like them in fact, a little more magnified, a little more decorated, a little more sophisticated. They are very happy with the fools. They are happy with politicians, they are happy with professors, they are happy with pundits but they are not happy with a Jesus or a Socrates or a Buddha. Why? – because the presence of a buddha makes them look stupid. At the very presence of a buddha they start feeling silly. How can they forgive him?
They don’t want to be intelligent themselves, because it is a long journey and there is no shortcut to it. It is hard, arduous. To become intelligent means to sharpen your consciousness continuously; to become intelligent means to be full of love. Love is the center of intelligence, logic the center of intellectuality.
The fool becomes intellectual; then he can brag that he knows. He is interested in knowledge. He will read the Bible and the Vedas and the Koran, he will cram information. He turns his mind into a computer, he becomes a walking Encyclopedia Britannica. That is easy, that is simple, that can be done by a machine; it does not need any intelligence. And your schools, colleges and universities only make people computers.
We have yet to create universities where intelligence is sharpened. Our universities only dull the intelligence because they prepare slaves for the society. The universities are in the service of the vested interests; they are agents of the established status quo. They don’t serve the future of humanity, they serve the past, they serve the dead. They are not interested in creating people who are intelligent, creative, alert, aware; they are interested in people who are dull, stupid, but efficient: clerks, deputy collectors, stationmasters, efficient people who can just do their work very efficiently. And remember, machines are more efficient than men, so they are not interested in men; they are interested in reducing men to machines.
Buddha says: Whatever a fool learns, it only makes him duller. The more knowledge he gathers, the duller he becomes, the more stupid he becomes. And that is my observation too. I have seen ignorant villagers far more intelligent than the so-called PhD’s and DLitt’s and professors of the universities, deans, vice-chancellors and chancellors. They seem to be the dullest people in the world. A villager, a woodcutter, seems to be far more intelligent. He has no information, of course; he is not knowledgeable, but he is innocent, and innocence is part of intelligence. To be knowledgeable is to be machinelike and machines are dull. Have you ever seen any machine which is intelligent? Just look at the machine, and look at the dean and the vice-chancellor!
In fact, the duller you are, the greater is the possibility that you will become a vice-chancellor, because the politicians will not like a Buddha to become a vice-chancellor, they will not allow Socrates to become a vice-chancellor. The crime Socrates was accused of was corrupting youth. Socrates corrupting youth? And these foolish magistrates and vice-chancellors and prime ministers and presidents are not corrupting youth? Socrates is corrupting the youth, what do they mean by it?
In a way, they are right: he is corrupting the youth because he is preparing them for the future. He has to destroy the past, he has to create doubt, inquiry, he has to create seekers, not believers. And the society wants believers, and the dull people are good believers: a Mohammedan, a Christian, a Hindu, a Jaina, the duller they are, the more they believe, and the better they believe. The dull person cannot inquire, he cannot risk; he is afraid. He knows that he is not capable of knowing the truth on his own, he has to believe somebody else.
Knowledge cleaves his head, says Buddha. Knowledge does not help him but becomes a burden, a Himalayan weight on his being.
For then he wants recognition,
a place before other people,
a place over other people.
His knowledge becomes an ego trip, and the ego is the greatest bondage there is. To be free of ego is to be redeemed. But the fool only learns how to become famous, to be recognized as an authority, to be an expert. The fool accumulates knowledge so that he can brag and exhibit, so that he can show people how intelligent he is. And intelligence is not of the ego; intelligence comes only when you are in a deep egoless state. Intelligence is the disappearance of ego, meeting and merging with the whole, forgetting your separation, becoming a wave in the ocean of existence – then you are intelligent.
“Let them know my work,
let everyone look to me for direction.”
Such are his desires,
such is his swelling pride.

One way leads to wealth and fame…
Buddha says: “But let me make you aware that if you want wealth and fame, then follow the way of the fool.” The foolish person is capable of becoming famous more easily than the intelligent person. If the intelligent person becomes famous, that is just accidental, he never tries. If the intelligent person is well known, that is not because of his effort. His fragrance may have reached people, but there is no positive effort on his side to be recognized. He knows his being, he does not depend on others’ recognition. He knows who he is, he does not need anybody else’s certificate.

When I came out of the university I went to see the education minister. I told him, “These are my qualifications. If you can give me some place anywhere, any place will be okay.” He looked at my qualifications, was very impressed – people are impressed by nonsense – because I was a gold-medalist, first-class, first. He was very impressed. He said, “I will immediately appoint you as a lecturer. But you will have to do one thing: have you got a character reference?”
I said, “I have a character, but no character reference. Look into my eyes, hold my hand. I can hug you…”
He said, “But that…that is not the point. Where is the character reference?”
I said, “I have no character reference.”
He said, “You can go to the vice-chancellor, or the head of your department, just get one character reference. It is a formality.”
I said, “I cannot ask the vice-chancellor, because I don’t believe that he has any character at all. What weight will his reference carry? And the head of my department? I know him better than he knows himself. I cannot give him a character reference.”
He was very puzzled. He really wanted to help; in fact, he became interested in me. He had never come across such a man – so many people must have approached him, but nobody had said, “Look into my eyes, or hold my hand and feel. Or I can come and live with you for one week, in your house. Just see my character in every possible way. I will not even lock the door of my bathroom. I will keep everything open, so you can just go on watching!”
He said, “These things are not needed at all. Just a simple character reference.”
So I said, “Then I can write a simple character reference to myself.” And that’s what I did. I wrote a certificate, in front of him, and he said, “What are you doing? But this has never been done: you yourself giving a character reference to yourself? Somebody else’s signature is needed.”
So I said, “Okay, then I will sign for the head of my department, on his behalf. This is a true copy,” I told him, “and the original I will take from the head of my department.”
So I went to the head of my department. I said, “I have given this character reference in your name, you please give the original.”
He said, “This is strange! The original is needed first.” But he loved the idea and he gave me an original.

One way leads to wealth and fame… If you follow the fool’s way, you can become very rich, you can become famous. You can become the president of a country, the prime minister of a country, you can become anything. You can have as much wealth as you want, just follow the fool’s way. Don’t be intelligent, remain stupid, because in fact, except for a stupid person who wants to run after money? Yes, sometimes it happens, money comes to the intelligent person, but it comes running after him, he does not seek it. Fame also sometimes comes to the intelligent person. It comes on its own; he is not interested at all.
…the other to the end of the way.
But if you want to end this whole nonsense that has persisted down the ages for so many lives – the same repetitive wheel of birth and death moving – if you want to stop it, then the other, the way of the intelligent person, the way of the wise, is to be a light unto yourself.
Look not for recognition
but follow the awakened
and set yourself free.
Don’t be bothered, don’t desire recognition. If millions of fools recognize you, what does it matter? Millions of fools recognizing you simply proves that you are a greater fool than them. Nothing else is proved.
…but follow the awakened… What does Buddha mean when he says …follow the awakened…? He does not mean imitate. He simply means become awakened as the awakened has become awakened. Be awake, that is following the awakened. Not following in the details: how he lives, what he eats, when he goes to sleep, that is stupidity. Follow the awakened in becoming awake.
…and set yourself free. It is only awareness, the state of an awakened consciousness that brings freedom. Intelligence is freedom. Meditation is freedom. Awareness is freedom. Those who live mechanically, unconsciously, unintelligently, live in prisons; and to live in a prison is to suffer.
Freedom is the ultimate value of life.
…follow the awakened
and set yourself free.
Aes dhammo sanantano
Enough for today.

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