The Dhammapada Vol 9 04

Fourth Discourse from the series of 10 discourses - The Dhammapada Vol 9 by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

The first question:
This morning when you were talking about waking up and rising from sloth, I felt so stupid – and I think I am getting stupider and stupider! What to do? Is it enough to just be here with you? I feel very hopeless. And it makes me sad.
It is a good sign that you feel you are becoming more and more stupid. That simply means the borrowed knowledge is disappearing, hence the feeling. You are unlearning whatsoever you had learned up to now. Unlearning is the basic process of becoming innocent again.
But don’t call it becoming stupid; don’t use that word – it is condemnatory, then one starts feeling sad. You are becoming more innocent. You are becoming more and more unburdened from unnecessary knowledge, information. You are becoming more natural, more like a child, more full of wonder. And if you call it being stupid you will miss the whole point.
Your mind can call it stupid because the mind is losing its ground. The mind is dying, and the mind is bound to make all possible efforts to save itself, to survive. And the first step is to condemn the state of not-knowing that is growing in you. Every meditator comes across it and every meditator finds that mind condemns it. It is against the mind; you are becoming a no-mind. And who wants to die? The mind does not want to die, it wants to keep its possession of you; hence the condemnation. Beware of it.
Let the knowledge disappear. Don’t be worried at all because that knowledge has not given you anything. In the first place, borrowed knowledge creates only bondage, not freedom. It burdens you; it does not give you wings. It does not make you light, it makes you heavy. It makes you hard, it makes you more and more mechanical, because through the thick wall of knowledge you cannot see the mysterious surrounding you. And the moment you don’t see the mysterious you are almost dead.
Life is in harmony with the mysterious. Life is in being full of wonder. Life is knowing the art of wondering, of being in awe. The knowledgeable person is a poor person, very poor, utterly impoverished – and he himself is responsible. He thinks he is very rich because he knows about roses, although he has not seen a single rose. He knows all about love, although he has never loved himself. He knows about God, but to know about God is not to know God. To know about light is not to know light.
A blind man can know all there is to know about light, but he will still remain blind. He will not experience the joy that light brings, that the morning brings, that the sunrise brings. He will not see the colors of the rainbow, of the flowers, of the butterflies. He will remain utterly oblivious of the world of light and color. He is blind! He knows about light, but knowing about light is of no use if you are blind. And if you have eyes, whether you know about light or not makes no difference at all. Even without knowing light you experience it – and that is true knowing. Knowledge is not true knowing, it is not wisdom. Knowledge comes through information; wisdom comes through experience.
Don’t condemn the innocent state that is growing in you. Don’t call it stupid. That is mind playing a trick upon you; it always plays the trick. In the old scriptures, the same mind is called the Devil; there is no other Devil. It is the mind that tempts you to go wrong because the mind can exist only when you are wrong. The mind is not needed at all when you are moving toward truth, when you are right. When you are on the right track, mind has no utility; it simply loses its power over you. And that’s what is happening.
You say, “This morning when you were talking about waking up and rising from sloth, I felt so stupid – and I think I am getting stupider and stupider!” You are blessed. Go on becoming more and more stupid – stupid in the sense of innocent.
Jesus was called a fool. Saint Francis was called a fool; used to call himself “the fool of God.” Why have Jesus and Francis and people like these been called fools? Even they themselves have called themselves fools for the simple reason that there is something which the fool can know and the knowledgeable can never know. The fool is innocent. The fool is not as foolish as the knowledgeable person is. Sometimes he seems to be wiser than your so-called wise people.
It was an ancient custom in almost all the countries of the world that every great king used to have a fool in his court. Why? – for the simple reason that sometimes the fool says things which the wise – so-called wise – cannot say. The fool is so innocent that he simply utters the truth. The so-called wise are cunning; they will not say the truth, they will say that which appeals. It may be a lie – and lies have great appeal because people live in lies. Particularly in the courts, all kinds of lies remain prevalent. The king is surrounded by all kinds of cheats, all kinds of cunning people; hence a fool was needed, so that he can depend on the fool. The fool will not be cunning and he will say whatsoever is the case. He is so foolish that he will not be bothered about the consequences of it.
This is strange, but something significant to be understood. The fool was a necessary part in every great king’s court, and the fools have saved many kings many times. They have saved their kingdoms because their advice came from a state of not-knowing, utterly innocent. They have a clarity that the knowledgeable person cannot afford; he is clouded.
Your knowledge is disappearing. This is really satsang; this is what it means to be with a master. He takes away your knowledge and gives you wonder in return. He makes you a child again. And unless you are a child you will not enter into my kingdom of godliness.
But because you are calling it stupidity, condemning it, giving it a negative name, you are feeling sad, hopeless. We live through words; we have become so attached to words that we are deceived by words. Just change the word and you will see the change in your inner climate. Call it innocence and just feel the texture, the taste. Call it stupid and feel the texture and the taste. When you call it stupid you suddenly feel surrounded by darkness; when you call it innocence, as if a flower starts opening within your heart, a fragrance surrounds you.
Beware of words, what words you use, because we have lived so long with words, and through words.
I have heard…

A hunter lost his way in the forest. By the evening he reached a private land, but he was afraid to enter because just on the gate there was a big signboard saying: Beware Of Dangerous Dogs. But the night was descending and the forest was full of wild animals. It was better to encounter the dogs than to be eaten by the wild animals. He was so tired, so utterly tired; he wanted to rest. And there was some hope: if dogs are there, there may be somebody – the owner of the dogs, the owner of the land, the man who has put these big signs.
He went in, a little afraid, shaky, but there was no other way, there was no alternative. He went in just a few yards and again there was a board, an even bigger one: Beware Of The Dangerous Dogs. His heart started sinking, but there was no way to go back, nowhere to go back, so he had to go in. Again, even a still bigger board.
Then there was just a small dog, a very small dog, standing before the cottage of the owner. So small a dog that you could simply take him by the feet and throw him at least a hundred yards!
The hunter was very puzzled. He asked the owner, “Where are the big, dangerous dogs?”
He said, “There are none. This is my only dog.”
The hunter asked, “Can this dog prevent people coming in?”
The man said, “No, but the signboards do. You are the first man in years who has entered. Even if there is no dog, those signboards will do.”

People live through words. In a crowded theater, if somebody suddenly shouts, “Fire! Fire!” people will start running. Nobody will bother whether there is any fire. The very word fire starts your imagination working.
Don’t call it stupid, otherwise you create your own sadness and you are a victim of your mind. Your mind will feel happy because it has made you sad. If you are sad you will start collecting the knowledge that has fallen from you; you will put it back into its old place. You will again start collecting information so that you don’t feel stupid. Call it innocence.
Be very careful what words you use. Words have associations, deep associations. They have become almost concrete realities in our life; they are no longer words, they are things.
You say, “I feel very hopeless. And it makes me sad.” Hopelessness always comes if you have been hoping too much; it comes in the same proportion. Expect and you will be frustrated. Hope and sooner or later you will feel hopelessness. My whole effort here is to make you free from hoping. If you become free from hoping you will never be trapped in any hopeless state. Hopelessness is a by-product of hoping. Frustration is a by-product of expectation. But it is natural, in a way.
When you come to me, you come with great hopes; you want to become enlightened, you want to become a buddha. But the problem is, I cannot help you to become a buddha because you are already a buddha! There is no need for you to become a buddha. Becoming is not the question at all – the buddha is your being. And whenever you drop this idea of becoming, suddenly you will recognize the buddha within.
What I am doing here is not helping you to become somebody, but just to recognize who you are. All the devices here are just devices to make you remember – not devices to help you become, but only to remind you.

The family moved from the city to the suburbs and was told to get a watchdog to guard the premises at night. So they bought the largest dog they could find.
Shortly afterward the house was broken into by burglars who made a good haul – while the dog slept.
The householder went to the kennel-owner and told him about it. “Well,” said the dealer, “what you need is a little dog to wake up the big dog.”

That’s what you need! Buddha is fast asleep in you. Just a little device, a little dog will do – to wake up the big dog!

Mrs. Mulla Nasruddin and her neighbor were chatting about their teenagers.
“Is your son hard to get out of bed in the morning?” asks the neighbor.
“No,” replied Mrs. Mulla Nasruddin. “I just open the door and throw the cat on his bed.”
“How does that wake him?”
“He sleeps with the dog.”

My work consists of such things, throwing a cat on your bed… It is not some great work – it is sheer fun!

The second question:
What do you say about modern art?
The first thing is, it is not art. For the first time something exists in the name of art which is not art at all. It is more a therapy than an art. Look at the modern paintings and you will be convinced of what I am saying. The painters must be insane; they have poured their insanity on the canvas. It helps them because it releases some tensions inside their being. It is a catharsis, but it is not art. It is therapy through art, but not art itself.
If Picasso is prevented from painting, he will go mad. Vincent van Gogh went mad before he committed suicide. And I have been looking into his life deeply and my feeling is he went mad because he could not paint as much as he wanted. He had no money to paint. His brother was giving him just enough money to survive, and he would not eat for four days in a week. He would eat only for three days and four days he would fast to save money to paint. How long can you do that? But painting was more important for him than food – and it ended in madness. He could not paint as much as he wanted, and when he saw that there was no possibility to paint anymore – the brother was tired, the family was tired and nobody wanted to help him and nobody wants to purchase his paintings – he committed suicide.
The same would be the case with Picasso if he was prevented from painting: he would go mad or he would commit suicide. Suicide is the ultimate in insanity. But his paintings are a great help, a great relaxation.
And it is not only so with painting; it is so with poetry, music, dance. Everything modern is a little crazy because modern man is a little crazy, off center.
Gurdjieff has divided art into two categories. The modern art he calls subjective art. The ancient art – the real art – the people who made the pyramids, the people who made the Taj Mahal, the people who made the caves of Ajanta and Ellora, they were of a totally different kind. He calls that art objective art. Subjective art is like vomiting. You are feeling sick, nauseous; a good vomit helps you to feel good. The poison is thrown out, you feel relieved. It is good for you, but not good for others.
Now, in the name of modern painting, you are hanging vomited, nauseous, sickening things in your rooms. In the name of modern music you are simply getting into crazier spaces within you. It is subjective art.
Objective art means something that helps you to become centered, that helps you to become healthy and whole. Looking at the Taj Mahal in the full moon, you will fall into a very meditative space. Looking at a statue of Buddha, just sitting silently with a statue of the Buddha, something in you will become silent, something in you will become still, something in you will become buddhalike. It is objective art, it has tremendous significance.
But objective art has disappeared from the world because mystics have disappeared from the world. Objective art is possible only when somebody has attained to a higher plane of being; it is created by those who have reached the peak. They can see the peak and they can see the valley too. They can see the height of humanity, the beauty of humanity, and the sickness and the ugliness of humanity too. They can see deep down in the dark valleys where people are crawling and they can see the sunlit peaks. They can manage to create some devices which will help the people who are crawling in the darkness to reach to the sunlit peaks. Their art will be just a device for your inner growth, for maturity.
Modern art is childish – not childlike, remember, childish; not innocent but stupid, insane, pathological. We have to get rid of this trend. We have to create a new kind of art, a new kind of creativity. We have to bring to the world again what Gurdjieff calls objective art.

The farmer was looking at one of those modern, abstract paintings. “It is a perfect picture of those politicians in New Delhi,” he said. “No matter which way you look at it, it does not make sense.”

But the farmer is saying something which Picasso himself has said. Picasso has said, “The world today does not make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?”
If the world today does not make sense, that means more pictures, more music, more poetry is needed that makes sense – to help humanity to come out of this absurd state. That was the function of objective art: to help you come out of your absurd state. But Picasso says, “The world today does not make sense…” as if it was making sense in the past. It has never made any sense; the world has always been the same. But he finds a rationalization. He is saying, “If the world itself makes no sense, why should I paint pictures that do?”
If you ask me, that should be precisely the reason to make pictures that do make sense. Otherwise, how is the world going to be helped? It needs music, it needs poetry, it needs dance. It needs paintings which can help it to rise above its misery, its schizophrenia, its neurosis, its psychosis.
But Picasso himself is only a representative of the neurotic mind. Picasso became very famous for the simple reason that he represented us very clearly.

The marriage broker introduced a really ugly girl to a young man. The victim protested that the lady had misplaced eyes, a broken nose and a deformed face.
“Ah,” said the marriage broker, “it is apparent that you do not like Picasso.”

Looking at Picasso’s paintings, have you not felt it? Everything is deformed, misplaced.
I have heard…

A very rich lady wanted a portrait of herself done by Picasso. He agreed for a fantastic sum. The lady was ready to pay. Six months he took to make the portrait.
When the portrait was ready, the lady looked at it and said, “Everything is okay; I just don’t like the nose. You will have to improve it.”
Picasso looked at the lady, then he looked at the painting and he said, “It is impossible.”
The lady said, “Why? I am ready to pay. If you want more money, I am ready to pay.”
Picasso said, “It is not a question of money. I don’t know where the nose is.”

His paintings are nightmarish. And it is not only Picasso; Picasso simply symbolizes the whole of contemporary art. He is the most representative modern artist. He is right, in a sense, because the world makes no sense.
The world has never made any sense, but there have been people who created such art that it helped people to find some sense in a senseless world. And that finding of sense helps you tremendously to become centered.

“It is terrible to see men looking like girls, with long hair and all. You can’t tell the difference. I was sitting in a restaurant when a girl came in. I turned to the person at the next table and said, ‘Isn’t it terrible how girls look like boys these days’?”
“That’s my son,” she said, pointing to the girl.
“Ah, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were the mother.”
“I’m not,” the neighbor said indignantly. “I’m the father!”

Things are topsy-turvy. Things are becoming more and more topsy-turvy. The world seems to be less a cosmos now and more a chaos.
In the ancient philosophies, cosmology was one of the most important things to be discussed. Now there seems to be no cosmos, no cosmology. The whole world seems to be in a chaos, as if all is accidental. Nothing seems to be essential, intrinsically valuable; everything seems to be just happening as an accident. And this is reflected in everything. It is reflected in art, it is reflected in science, it is reflected even in religion.
We need again a cosmology. I know the world is a chaos; that is a challenge for human consciousness to create a cosmos out of it. It is a tremendously valuable opportunity to create a cosmos. Just to say that it is a chaos, remain with it as it is, is to fall below human dignity; it is not accepting the challenge. It is really a great challenge to change yourself and the world. It is a puzzle, but it is a puzzle only if you have already concluded that there can be no meaning at all; otherwise it is a mystery, not a puzzle.
A mystery may not have any meaning, but it has significance, and there is a difference between meaning and significance. Significance is far more meaningful than meaning itself; significance is far more important. What meaning is there in a roseflower? – but significance certainly is there. Just think of a world without roses. It will be a poor world; some significance will be lost. What significance is there when you hear the sound of running water? Have you not felt some significance? Yes, meaning you cannot prove.
Meaning seems to be imposed by the mind upon existence; significance seems to be part of existence itself. We have lost contact with the language that can understand significance; we only understand meaning. Meaning is intellectual, significance is existential. There is no meaning in love, but great significance; no meaning in godliness, but great significance; no meaning in meditation, but great significance, great splendor.
I would like to say to my sannyasins, that they have to be not only meditative, they also have to be creative. And they have to create what Gurdjieff calls objective art. They have to create something which can help a wandering humanity to come to a resting place. Yes, much can be created that can give shelter, that can become a deep, deep experience of communion with nature.
That is the real function of art: helping people to commune with nature, because out of that communion arises religion. Science is an intellectual effort to understand nature, art is an emotional effort to understand nature, and religion is an existential effort to commune with nature. Art is higher than science, religion is higher than art. Science has to be objective; if science is subjective it will be just fiction – science fiction. Art has also to be objective; otherwise it will be fiction. And that’s what modern art is – fiction. And religion has also to be objective, really authentic; otherwise it is speculation, philosophy.

The third question:
I want to give up smoking. What do you say about it?
Why? Why in the first place do you want to give up smoking? What is wrong in smoking? Yes, it is a little stupid, silly – just poisoning your breath, taking smoke in and out, wasting money, life. But it is not a sin, it is not a crime either. You should not feel guilty about it. Maybe you will live a little less, two or three years less than you would have lived. But what is the point of living three years more? What will you do by living three years more? You will create a little more trouble in the world – so better you go a little earlier. And the world is over populated.
Nobody had thought about birth control before. Now we are thinking constantly everywhere about how to reduce the population, how to prevent new children from being born. Sooner or later we will have to think about the other end: how to help the old people to die sooner, because that is absolutely logical, part of it. If we prevent children from coming in just to keep the world a little less populated – it is already too populated – sooner or later we have to think about ways and means to help old people to go quicker, faster. We will have to make it a birthright.
If somebody decides to die, it should not be a crime. In fact, he should be supported, respected, because he is creating space for new people to come. He is helping the world, he is a great servant of humanity.
You say, “I want to give up smoking.” Why in the first place? – because you have been reading that it is bad for your health? But what will you do with your health?
There is a beautiful story about Jesus, not related in the Christian gospels. My feeling has always been that it has been deleted somewhere down the centuries because it is a dangerous story. But Sufis have kept it intact, recorded. There are a few Jesus stories which Sufis have guarded, and they should be thanked for it because they are the most beautiful stories out of all the stories that the gospels contain. This one is a beauty.

Jesus came to a village. He saw a man lying in the gutter, shouting, talking incoherently, making a noise. It was difficult to understand what he wanted to say; he was completely drunk.
Jesus came close just to understand what he wanted to say, to see if he needed some help. When he came close he recognized the face. He shook the man. The man opened his eyes, and Jesus said, “Don’t you recognize me? I recognize you.”
The man said, “I also recognize you, but please leave me alone.”
Jesus said, “As far as I remember you were ill, very ill, almost on the verge of death, and I cured you. I have done a miracle and I don’t see any gratitude in your eyes.”
The man said, “Gratitude? I was going to die and that would have been a rest from this ugly life. You made me healthy again and now I am suffering again. Who is responsible? Why did you make me healthy again? Who gave you the right?”
Jesus was shocked – he had never thought about it. Jesus said, “But you are healthy – you can use your health.”
And the man said, “That’s what I am doing. When one is healthy one drinks, eats, enjoys the things of life. What else can I do with my health?”
It is really a very pertinent question: what will you do with your health? Eat, drink, be merry! And the man seems to be almost angry at Jesus.
Jesus walked away very puzzled, and he saw another man who was running after a prostitute. He stopped the man and said, “Young man, I know you perfectly well. You were blind and I gave you eyes.”
And the man said, “What else should I do with the eyes? The eyes are meant to look and search for beauty. And that woman – have you not seen how beautiful she is? Leave me alone! I have no more time for you.”
Jesus was very sad because he was thinking he had helped these people. He came out of the village and a man was preparing to kill himself. He asked the man, “Life is so valuable! Why are you killing yourself?”
The man looked at Jesus and he said, “Don’t you recognize me? I had died and you are the man who disturbed my death and you brought me back from my death. It is too much! I cannot bear this life any longer. Enough is enough! And please, you have come again just as I have made every preparation to kill myself. Don’t do your miracle again – I don’t want any of your miracles!”

This is a strange story, but of great significance. Man is such, so blind, that he will do something wrong if he is healthy, he will do something wrong if he is alive, he will do something wrong if he has eyes – he will see something wrong. Unless you are conscious you are going to do wrong.
That’s why in the East, Buddha, Mahavira, Lao Tzu and people like them have never done any miracles. Or they have done only one miracle, and that miracle is the transformation of unconsciousness into consciousness – because unless that happens everything is going to be wrong. It is giving a sword into a child’s hand: either he will cut himself or somebody else. You don’t give poison to a child to play with; it is dangerous. Man is unconscious, almost in a state of drunkenness.
So what will you gain out of it if you stop smoking?

O’Leary walked into a bar and ordered a beer and a whisky. He drank the beer and poured the whisky into his vest pocket. O’Leary repeated this routine several times, and finally the puzzled bartender asked, “What is the idea?”
“None of your business!” said the Irishman. “And what is more, you are so nosy I have a good mind to punch you in the eye!”
Just then a mouse stuck his head out of O’Leary’s vest pocket and said, “And that goes for your damned cat too!”

Man is unconscious. He only appears conscious, he is not conscious at all. So rather than asking me what I have to say about it, you should watch. The most important thing is not to stop smoking; the most important thing is to watch why you smoke in the first place. If you don’t understand the cause of it and if the cause is not removed, you can stop smoking, but then you will start chewing gum, because the basic cause is there and you will have to do something. If you don’t start chewing gum, then you may start talking too much.
I don’t smoke. If any day I have to stop talking I may have to start smoking! You will do something…

This amorous playboy cornered the girl in the back seat of his sedan and was eagerly trying his hand at her. She kept resisting and pushing him away, but he kept coming with more hands than an octopus.
She finally slapped him away and hollered, “I don’t know what has come over you. You have always been so restrained and gentlemanly.”
He said, “Yes, I know, but I just can’t help it. I am trying to give up smoking.”

Smoking is keeping many people from many things which will be far more dangerous. Your hand is engaged, your mouth is engaged, your mind is engaged. And you are not harming anybody in particular, only harming yourself. That is your birthright, that is your freedom. Otherwise you will do something else.
Have you seen that whenever you feel nervous, tense, you start smoking? It helps you to cool down, to relax a little bit; otherwise life will become too much. When you are not feeling nervous, when you are enjoying, when you are relaxed, you don’t think about smoking. Hours may pass and you may not smoke simply because there is no reason to smoke. Otherwise you become afraid you may do something wrong. Better to keep yourself engaged.
My suggestion is: first go deep down into your smoking habit. Meditate over it, why you smoke in the first place. It may take a few months for you to go into it, and the deeper you go the more you will be freed of it. Don’t stop smoking. If it disappears on your understanding, through your understanding, that is totally a different matter. If it disappears because you went to the root cause of it and you saw the point…
For example, it may be that your mother’s breast was taken away from you earlier than you wanted and it is just a substitute.
To many people I have suggested – and it has been of help to smokers – I say, “If you really want to stop smoking, then start sucking your thumb.” They say, “But that will look very stupid!” That is true; smoking looks as if you are doing something great! You are doing the same thing, in fact a little more harmful. Just sucking on your thumb is not harmful at all, but smoking is harmful. But because everybody is smoking and it is an accepted thing and it seems to be a very grown-up thing…
Small children want to grow up, if not for anything else than just to be allowed to smoke. Seeing grown-up people smoking, they feel very inferior because they are not allowed. They are told, “You are too small, wait a little. This is something which only grown-up people can do.” It symbolizes a grown-up person. And if you are really smoking costly cigarettes, costly cigars, rare, exotic, then it shows your success, it shows that you have arrived. It gives you dignity.
Go deeply into it. It may be that your mother’s breast was taken away too early. Then my suggestion is: in the night before you go to bed, Mahendra, have a bottle with a rubber nipple fixed to it and suck it. Every night before you go to sleep become a child again. Go on sucking on it. Fill the bottle with warm milk. That’s what the smoking is doing. The warm smoke going in and out symbolizes the milk of the mother. You will have to go deeply into the causes.
One of the great things in life is that if you understand the root cause of something you can overcome it without any trouble, without any willpower. If you use willpower to stop it you will find some substitute – you will have to find some substitute. Maybe you are not allowed to speak; in the office the boss won’t allow you, in the home the wife won’t allow you. She goes on talking, she gives you no time to talk. And you are also afraid if you talk you will get into trouble; whatsoever you say is wrong. The wife jumps upon it, takes the cue from that and starts nagging you. So in the home you have to hide behind a newspaper. Whether you read the newspaper or not is not the point, but you have to hide behind the newspaper. You have to look engaged, occupied, so you need not talk and you need not hear what the wife goes on saying.
Women all over the world, except for a few countries in the West, don’t smoke, for the simple reason that they talk too much. Their lips have so much exercise, there is no need! In a few countries in the West they have started smoking and the reason is the Women’s Lib movement. They have to compete with men in everything; whether it is sense or nonsense doesn’t matter. I am very much afraid they may start pissing standing any day, because they are equal to men! Howsoever stupid it is, they will do it.
Go into the cause of it, Mahendra, and if you can find the cause it will simply melt away. But don’t stop by force – let it go on its own accord, through watchfulness, through awareness.
So I will not say to stop smoking or stop anything, but I will suggest always: watch, meditate, be aware, go into the roots. This is a fundamental law of life: if you can understand the root of something it disappears, it evaporates. Unless you understand the root it will continue in one form or another.

The fourth question:
I am in love with a beautiful girl, but she is poor. There is a hag with lots of loot in love with me. Shall I marry the rich girl or the poor girl?
Marry the rich girl and be good to the poor!

The fifth question:
I am in love. What should I do?
The only cure for a man in love is marriage. If that does not cure him, nothing will.

The sixth question:
For forty-five years I lived in prison, mostly made by myself. Now I know it is possible to become more and more free. But what to do, when you feel you need a safe place, a good climate to grow? Another prison? How to be free anywhere, any time? I feel sorrow and rebellion in me about that.
Freedom has nothing to do with the outside; one can be free even in an actual prison. Freedom is something inner; it is of the consciousness. You can be free anywhere: chained, in a jail, you can be free – and you can be unfree outside the jail, in your own home, visibly absolutely free, but you will be a prisoner if your consciousness is not free.
You are confusing outer freedom with inner freedom. As far as the outside is concerned you can never be absolutely free – let it be clear once and forever. As far as outside is concerned you are not alone, so how can you be absolutely free? There are millions of people around you. On the outside, life has to be a compromise. If you were alone on the earth you would have been absolutely free, but you are not alone.
On the road you have to keep to the left. And you will feel this is a great bondage: “Why? Why should I be forced to be on the left? I am a free man. If I want to walk on the right I will walk on the right. If I want to walk in the middle of the road I will walk in the middle of the road.” In India you can do it – India is a free country, remember! It is the greatest democracy in the world, so right, left, middle, you can walk anywhere!
But one man’s freedom becomes so many people’s problem. You are free to be yourself, but you should not interfere in other people’s lives.
A man of understanding will respect his freedom as much as he will respect others’ freedom, because if nobody respects your freedom, your freedom will be destroyed. It is a mutual understanding: “I respect your freedom, you respect my freedom, then we both can be free.” But it is a compromise. I have to not interfere with your being, I am not free to trespass on you.
You want to sing loudly in the middle of the night. Of course you are a free person, and if you cannot sing loudly in your own house, what kind of freedom is this? But the neighbors have to sleep too; then there has to be a compromise.
On the outside we are interdependent. Nobody can be absolutely independent. Life is an interdependence. Not only with people are you interdependent, you are interdependent with everything. If you cut all the trees you will die because they are constantly supplying you with oxygen. You are dependent on them – and they are dependent on you because you are constantly giving them carbon dioxide. We take oxygen in and exhale carbon dioxide; the trees do just the opposite, they exhale oxygen and inhale carbon dioxide.
So when people like Mahendra are smoking, trees must be feeling tremendously happy because more carbon dioxide is being created for them! Listening to me these trees will be feeling very sad that I am telling you to go to the root cause of it and then smoking will disappear. That means trees won’t get as much carbon dioxide as they were getting before!
We are interdependent, not only with the trees – with the sun, with the moon, with the stars. Everything is an interdependence.
Tomorrow there is going to be a solar eclipse, a total eclipse. It will have tremendous effects on the life on earth. If you look at the sun directly you can go blind forever. Avoid looking at the sun – in fact, don’t come out. There will be every temptation to come out because in the middle of the day, nearabout four-thirty in the afternoon, you can see stars in the sky; just as in the night you have always seen them, in the middle of the day you can see stars. There will be great temptation to come out and see, but avoid it, don’t come out. It is dangerous to the eyes, it is dangerous to your nervous system, it is dangerous to your mind mechanism. Many people will go berserk, many people will go blind. Women who are pregnant should absolutely avoid coming out because the child in the womb is very, very vulnerable. He has no safeguards yet; he is soft, so soft he can be affected by anything. And in the solar eclipse, when it is total, dangerous rays enter the atmosphere.
So when the eclipse happens I would like all my sannyasins to go inside their rooms, close the doors, sit in deep meditation. It will last only a few minutes. Avoid the temptation of coming out, and don’t try to find devices through which you can see it without being harmed. No device is absolutely foolproof; it is better to avoid it.
Now, life is so interdependent… The sun is so far away that it takes ten minutes for the rays of the sun to reach to the earth, and rays move with tremendous speed – one hundred eighty-six thousand miles per second. But we are related to other suns and other solar systems too. Everything in existence is interdependent, so you cannot be absolutely free on the outside – and there is no need either.
Enjoy this interdependence. Don’t call it bondage. It is not dependence, it is interdependence. You are dependent on others, others are dependent on you. It is a brotherhood, it is relatedness. Even the smallest grass leaf is related to the greatest star.
But in the inner world, in the inner kingdom, you can be absolutely free. So the whole question is of the inner. And then you will not feel sad and rebellious; there is no need. Understand that the outer interdependence is a must, it is inevitable; nothing can be done about it. It is part of how things are. Accept it. When nothing can be done about it, acceptance is the only way. And accept it joyously, not as a resignation. Accept it! This is our universe; we are part of it. We are not islands, we are part of the whole continent. We are not egos.
Your idea of freedom is rooted somewhere in the idea of the ego. We are not egos. The ego is a false entity; we are not separate, how can we have egos? It is good as far as language is concerned; it is utilitarian to use the word I, but it has no substance in it. It is pure shadow, utterly empty. A useful word, utilitarian, but not real.
But inner freedom is possible. It happens as you go deeper and deeper into awareness. Watch your body, watch your thought processes.
Just the other day, in the sutra, Buddha said: “Watch, witness the whole process of your thoughts.” And slowly, slowly you will see you are neither anger nor greed, neither Hindu nor Mohammedan nor Christian, neither Catholic nor Communist. Slowly, slowly you will be aware that you are not any thought, you are not mind at all. You are a pure witness. The experience of pure witnessing is the experience of total freedom, but it is an inward phenomenon. And a man who is inwardly totally free has no hankering to be outwardly free. He is capable of accepting nature as it is.
Create inner freedom through witnessing. Sannyas is only for the inner freedom. Live out of inner freedom and then you will be able to see the interdependence on the outside. It is beautiful and it is a blessing. There is no need to rebel against it. Relax into it, surrender to it. And remember: only a person who is really free can surrender.

The last question:
I think that a man of knowledge is better than an ignorant man. Am I absolutely wrong?
A man of knowledge is a totally different phenomenon. I was saying that the man of knowledge and the knowledgeable man are not the same. The man of knowledge is what a buddha is: one who knows. But the knowledgeable man is not a buddha; he does not know. He has accumulated great information, but that information is borrowed. It is from the scriptures, from the books, from others. He has not experienced it; it is about and about. He can talk, he can write, he can sermonize, but he knows nothing. He talks about God; he has no idea what God is. He has no glimpse even – what to say about experience.
The priests all over the world of all the religions are knowledgeable people. Jesus knows, but the pope is not a man of knowledge. He is a knowledgeable man, he has great information. He can quote scriptures.

One of the great thinkers of the West was Ingersoll. He was a great orator and whenever he would deliver discourses he would make a mysterious sign in the air with his finger before he started to speak. And again when he would end, he would make something with his fingers – some very mysterious thing in the air. He was asked again and again, but he would laugh and he would not answer.
When he was dying somebody asked, “Now please tell us, otherwise we will be always curious and wondering – what were you doing your whole life? Is there some magic in it? Why do you make some mysterious signs before you speak and then again when you end?”
He said, “There is no magic in it, but I could not tell it before. Now I can tell it. Before I started my speech I was making the sign of inverted commas, and after I ended I had to close the inverted commas. I was saying to myself and to you too that it is all just quotation, it is not my experience. The whole thing is borrowed – it is within inverted commas.”

That is a knowledgeable man. But Ingersoll is sincere at least, honest. The knowledgeable man is not better than the ignorant man, remember. The man of knowledge is certainly better than the ignorant man, of course, obviously, but the same is not true about the knowledgeable man. The knowledgeable man is even worse than the ignorant man. The ignorant man at least knows that he is ignorant; he has no pretensions, he has no facade. The knowledgeable man has a beautiful facade, a mask.
The problem is that if you go on deceiving others, slowly, slowly you become auto-hypnotized. You start thinking that you know. But there is no difference: the knowledgeable person is only on the surface painted with great knowledge and the ignorant person is not painted; he is raw. The knowledgeable person is a little polished. But deep down they are the same person. Both will be greedy, both will be full of lust, both will be full of anger, both will be full of ego. Their lives will be nothing but ego trips. Their lives will be nothing but sexuality, violence, greed, jealousy, possessiveness. There will be no difference at all.
Remember, you have to become a knower on your own. If you quote me, that is knowledgeability; if you know it on your own, that is knowing. And knowing brings freedom, knowing brings truth. Knowledgeability is respectable; you become an expert. The more you know, the more people think you are great, but deep down you go on living the same animal kind of life, no difference at all – or maybe only one difference: you are a bigger hypocrite than the ignorant man.

Norman Bush had a terrible stutter. His wife Rose suggested that he go and see a specialist. Reluctantly he was persuaded to visit the best man in Harley Street who told him, “Well, Mr. Bush, there is only one thing we can do about this stutter of yours. You see, the problem is your balls are too big. However, we should be able to transplant a smaller pair. That would undoubtedly cure your ailment.”
Norman was given a week to think it over and reluctantly accepted to undergo surgery. When he came out, his speech fully restored, his wife was delighted. Then came those long nights when Rose was eager and Norman showed no interest. As the weeks went by she grew more anxious and frustrated.
Then one night she said to him, “You know, I think I preferred you the way you were before, with your big balls and your stutter. I would go and see that doctor again and have the operation reversed.”
Reluctantly, Norman was dragged off again to the specialist. “You know, Doctor,” said Norman, “my wife says she liked me better the way I was before with my stutter and all, and, um, well, ah, do you think I could have my old balls back again?”
“Not f-f-f-fucking likely!” said the doctor.

Enough for today.

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