The Empty Boat 02

Second Discourse from the series of 11 discourses - The Empty Boat by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

The man of Tao acts without impediment,
harms no other being by his actions,
yet he does not know himself to be kind and gentle.

He does not struggle to make money,
and he does not make a virtue of poverty.

He goes his way without relying on others,
and does not pride himself on walking alone.

The man of Tao remains unknown.
Perfect virtue produces nothing.
No self is true self.
And the greatest man is nobody.
The most difficult thing, almost impossible for the mind, is to remain in the middle, is to remain balanced. To move from one thing to its opposite is the easiest. To move from one polarity to the opposite polarity is the nature of the mind. This has to be understood very deeply, because unless you understand this, nothing can lead you into meditation.
Mind’s nature is to move from one extreme to another. It depends on imbalance. If you are balanced, mind disappears. Mind is like a disease: when you are imbalanced it is there, when you are balanced, it is not there.
That is why it is easy for a person who overeats to go on a fast. It looks illogical, because we think that a person who is obsessed with food cannot go on a fast. You are wrong. Only a person who is obsessed with food can go on a fast, because fasting is the same obsession in the opposite direction. It is not really changing yourself. You are again obsessed with food. Before you were overeating; now you are remaining hungry – but the mind remains focused on food from the opposite extreme.
A man who has been overindulging in sex can become a celibate very easily. There is no problem. But it is difficult for the mind to come to the right diet, difficult for the mind to stay in the middle.
Why is it difficult to stay in the middle? It is just like the pendulum of a clock. The pendulum goes to the right, then it moves to the left, then again to the right, then again to the left; the whole clock depends on this movement. If the pendulum stays in the middle, the clock stops. And when the pendulum is going to the right, you think it is only going to the right, but at the same time it is gathering momentum to go to the left. The more it moves to the right, the more energy it gathers to move to the left, to the opposite. When it is moving to the left it is again gathering momentum to move to the right.
Whenever you are overeating you are gathering momentum to go on a fast. Whenever you overindulge in sex, sooner or later, brahmacharya will appeal to you, celibacy will appeal to you.
And the same is happening from the opposite pole. Go and ask your so-called sadhus, your bhikkus, sannyasins. They have made it a point to remain celibate, now their minds are gathering momentum to move into sex. They have made it a point to remain more and more hungry, starving, and their minds are constantly thinking about food. When you are thinking about food too much it shows that you are gathering momentum for it. Thinking means momentum. The mind starts arranging for the opposite.
One thing: whenever you move, you are also moving to the opposite. The opposite is hidden, it is not apparent.
When you love a person you are gathering momentum to hate him. That’s why only friends can become enemies. You cannot suddenly become an enemy unless you have first become a friend. Lovers quarrel, fight. Only lovers can quarrel and fight because unless you love, how can you hate? Unless you have moved to the far extreme, to the left, how can you move to the right? Modern research says that so-called love is a relationship of intimate enmity. Your wife is your intimate enemy, your husband is your intimate enemy – both intimate and inimical. They appear opposites, illogical, because we think: one who is intimate, how can he be the enemy? One who is a friend, how can he also be the foe?
Logic is superficial, life goes deeper, and in life all opposites are joined together, they exist together. Remember this, because then meditation becomes balancing.
Buddha taught eight disciplines, and with each discipline he used the word right. He said: “Right effort,” because it is very easy to move from action to inaction, from waking to sleep, but to remain in the middle is difficult. When Buddha used the word right he was saying: “Don’t move to the opposite, just remain in the middle. Right food” – he never said to fast. Don’t indulge in too much eating and don’t indulge in fasting. He said: “Right food.” Right food means standing in the middle.
When you are standing in the middle you are not gathering any momentum. And this is the beauty – a man who is not gathering any momentum to move anywhere, can be at ease with himself, can be at home.
You can never be at home, because whatsoever you do you will immediately have to do the opposite to balance. And the opposite never balances, it simply gives you the idea that maybe you are becoming balanced, but you will have to move to the opposite again.
A buddha is neither a friend to anyone nor an enemy. He has simply stopped in the middle – the clock is not functioning.
It is said about one Hasid mystic, a magid – that when he attained enlightenment suddenly his clock on the wall stopped. It may have happened, it may not have happened, because it is possible, but the symbolism is clear: when your mind stops, time stops; when the pendulum stops, the clock stops. From then on the clock never moved, from then on it always showed the same time.
Time is created by the movement of the mind, just like the movement of the pendulum. Mind moves, you feel time. When mind is nonmoving, how can you feel time? When there is no movement, time cannot be felt. So scientists and mystics agree on this point: that movement creates the phenomenon of time. If you are not moving, if you are still, time disappears, eternity comes into existence. Your clock is moving fast, and the mechanism moves from one extreme to another.
The second thing to be understood about mind is that the mind always longs for the distant, never for the near. The near gives you boredom, you are fed up with it; the distant gives you dreams, hopes, possibility of pleasure. So the mind always thinks of the distant. It is always somebody else’s wife who is attractive, beautiful; it is always somebody else’s house which obsesses you; it is always somebody else’s car which fascinates you. It is always the distant. You are blind to the near. The mind cannot see that which is very near. It can only see that which is very far.
And what is very far, the most distant? The opposite is the most distant. You love a person – now hatred is the most distant phenomenon; you are overeating – now fasting is the most distant phenomenon; you are celibate – now sex is the most distant phenomenon; you are a king – now to be a monk is the most distant phenomenon.
The most distant is the most dreamy. It attracts, it obsesses, it goes on calling, inviting you, and then when you have reached the other pole, this place from where you have traveled will become beautiful again. Divorce your wife, and after a few years the wife has gained beauty again.

A film actress came to me. She had divorced her husband fifteen years ago. Now she is old, less beautiful than she was when she and her husband were separated. Their son was married last year, so at the marriage she met her husband again, and they had to travel together. The husband fell in love with her again, so she came to me and asked, “What should I do? Because now he is proposing again, he wants to get married to me again.”
She was also fascinated. She was just waiting for me to say yes. I said, “But you lived together, there was always conflict and nothing else. I know the whole story – how you were fighting, quarreling, how you were creating hell and misery for each other. Now again…?”

The distant always becomes fascinating. You can move into the same rut and then again you will start thinking of the opposite. Remember, mind always thinks of the opposite, is always fascinated with the opposite. So if you are rich you will have a fascination for poverty. All rich people think that poverty has such a freedom no rich man can enjoy. Whenever a king passes and he looks at a beggar sleeping under a tree – the traffic moves but he is not disturbed, he can sleep even in the market, what beautiful sleep – and the king feels jealous. Kings are always jealous of beggars, and kings always dream that they have become monks, sannyasins.
It is not a coincidence that Mahavira, Buddha, all the tirthankaras of Jainas were kings. They came from the palaces, they had left their kingdoms. For a king, the beggar is always the attraction. This country has been the country of kings and beggars, both. At the one extreme kings have existed, at the other extreme the beggars. And we have raised beggars to the highest peak of glory. Buddha called his sannyasins bhikkus – beggars. He was a king. He was fed up with all that being a king implies. He was fascinated with the simple life, the innocent life of a beggar.
But ask some beggar…he is not happy. If kings are not happy how can beggars be happy? He is unhappy and he is just waiting for the chance when he can also become a king. Go into his dreams and you will find him always becoming an emperor. Beggars dream of kingdoms, kings dream of becoming sannyasins, renouncing everything. Beggars dream of possessing the whole world, kings dream of not possessing anything at all.
For the mind the opposite is magnetic, and unless you transcend this through understanding, the mind will go on moving from left to right, from right to left, and the clock will continue.
It has continued for many lives, and this is how you have been deceiving yourself – because you don’t understand the mechanism. Again the distant becomes appealing, again you start traveling. The moment you reach, that which was with you is now distant, has appeal, it becomes a star, something worthwhile.

I was reading about a pilot. He was flying over California with a friend. He told the friend, “Look down at that beautiful lake. I was born near it, that is my village.”
He pointed to a small village just perched in the hills near the lake, and he said, “I was born there. When I was a child I used to sit near the lake and fish; fishing was my hobby. But at that time, when I was a child fishing near the lake, airplanes always used to pass in the sky, and I would think of the day when I would become a pilot myself, I would be piloting an airplane. That was my only dream. Now it is fulfilled, and what misery! Now I am continuously looking down at the lake and thinking about when I will retire and go fishing again. That lake is so beautiful…”

This is how things are happening. This is how things are happening to you. In childhood, you long to grow up fast because older people are more powerful, young men more powerful. A child just longs to grow up immediately. Old people are wise, and the child feels that whatsoever he is doing is always wrong. Then ask the old man – he always thinks that when childhood was lost, everything was lost; paradise was there in childhood. And all the old men die thinking of childhood, the innocence, the beauty, the dreamland.
Whatsoever you have looks useless, whatsoever you don’t have looks useful. Remember this, otherwise meditation cannot happen, because meditation means this – understanding the mind, the working of the mind, the very process of the mind.
Mind is dialectical, it makes you move again and again toward the opposite. And this is an infinite process, it never ends unless you suddenly drop out of it, unless you suddenly become aware of the game, unless you suddenly become aware of the trick of the mind, and you stop in the middle.
Stopping in the middle is meditation.
Thirdly, because mind consists of polarities, you are never whole. The mind cannot be whole; it is always half. When you love someone have you observed that you are suppressing your hatred? The love is not total, it is not whole; just behind it all the dark forces are hidden and they may erupt any moment. You are sitting on a volcano.
When you love someone, you simply forget that you have anger, you have hate, you have jealousy. You simply drop them as if they never existed. But how can you drop them? You can simply hide them in the unconscious. Just on the surface you can become loving, deep down the turmoil is hidden. Sooner or later when you are fed up, when the beloved has become familiar – and they say familiarity breeds contempt… It is not that familiarity breeds contempt – familiarity makes you bored, contempt has always been there, hidden. It comes up, it was waiting for the right moment, the seed was there.
The mind always has the opposite within it, and that opposite goes into the unconscious and waits for its moment to come up. If you observe minutely, you will feel it every moment. When you say to someone, “I love you,” close your eyes, be meditative, and feel – is there any hatred hidden? You will feel it. But because you want to deceive yourself, because the truth is so ugly – that you hate a person that you love – you don’t want to face it. You want to escape from the facticity, so you hide it. But hiding won’t help, because it is not deceiving somebody else, it is deceiving yourself.
So whenever you feel something, just close the eyes and go into yourself to find the opposite somewhere. It is there. And if you can see the opposite, that will give you a balance, then you will not say, “I love you.” If you are truthful you will say, “My relationship with you is one of love and hate.”
All relationships are love/hate relationships. No relationship is of pure love, and no relationship is of pure hate. It is both love and hate. If you are truthful you will be in difficulty. If you say to a girl, “My relationship with you is one of both love and hate; I love you as I have never loved anybody and I hate you as I have never hated anybody,” it will be difficult to get married unless you find a meditative girl who can understand the reality; unless you can find a friend who can understand the complexity of the mind.
Mind is not a simple mechanism, it is very complex, and through mind you can never become simple because mind goes on creating deceptions. To be meditative means to be aware of the fact that mind is hiding something from you; you are closing your eyes to some facts which are disturbing. Then sooner or later those disturbing facts will erupt, overpower you, and you will move to the opposite. And the opposite is not there in a distant, faraway place, in some star; the opposite is hidden behind you, in you, in your mind, in the very functioning of the mind. If you can understand this, you will stop in the middle.
If you can see – I love and I hate – suddenly both will disappear, because both cannot exist together in the consciousness. You have to create a barrier: one has to exist in the unconscious and one in the conscious. Both cannot exist in the conscious; if both exist they will negate each other. The love will destroy hate, the hate will destroy love; they will balance each other, and they will simply disappear. The same amount of hate and the same amount of love will negate each other. Suddenly they will evaporate – you will be there, but no love and no hate. Then you are balanced.
When you are balanced, mind is not there – then you are whole. When you are whole, you are holy, but mind is not there. So meditation is a state of no-mind. Through mind it is not achieved. Through mind, whatsoever you do, it can never be achieved. Then what are you doing when you are meditating?
Because you have created so much tension in your life, now you are meditating. But this is the opposite of tension, not real meditation. You are so tense that meditation has become attractive. That is why in the West meditation appeals more than in the East, because more tension exists there than in the East. The East is still relaxed, people are not so tense, they don’t go mad so easily, they don’t commit suicide so easily. They are not so violent, not so aggressive, not so scared, not so fearful – no, they are not so tense. They are not living at such a mad speed where nothing but tension is accumulated.
So if Mahesh Yogi comes to India, nobody listens. But in America, people are mad about him. When there is much tension, meditation will appeal. But this appeal is again falling into the same trap. This is not real meditation, this is again a trick. Then you meditate for a few days, you become relaxed; when you become relaxed, again activity arises, and the mind starts thinking of doing something, of moving. You get bored with it.
People come to me and say, “We meditated for a few years, then it became boring, then there was no more fun.”
Just the other day a girl came and she was saying, “Now meditation is no longer fun, what should I do?”
Now the mind is seeking something else, now it is enough! Now that she is at ease, the mind is asking for more tensions – something to get disturbed about. When she says that now meditation is no longer fun, she means that now the tension is not there, so how can the meditation be fun? She will have to move into tension again, then meditation will again become something worthwhile.
Look at the absurdity of the mind: you have to go away to come near, you have to become tense to be meditative. But this is not meditation, again this is a trick of the same mind; on a new level the same game continues.
When I say meditation, I mean going beyond the game of the polar opposites, dropping out of the whole game, looking at the absurdity of it and transcending it. The very understanding becomes transcendence.
Mind will force you to move to the opposite – don’t move to the opposite. Stop in the middle and see that this has always been the trick of the mind. This is how mind has dominated you – through the opposite. Have you felt it?
Whenever you make love to a woman, after it you suddenly start thinking of brahmacharya, and brahmacharya has such an alluring fascination at that moment that you feel as if there is nothing else to achieve. You feel frustrated, deceived, you feel that there was nothing in this sex, only brahmacharya has the bliss. But after twenty-four hours, sex becomes important again, significant, and again you have to move into it.
What is the mind doing? After the sex act it started thinking about the opposite, which again creates the taste for sex.
A violent man starts thinking about nonviolence, then he can easily be violent again. A man who gets angry again and again always thinks of non-anger, always decides not to be angry again. This decision helps him to be angry again.
If you really want not to be angry again don’t decide against anger. Just look into the anger and just look at the shadow of the anger which you think is non-anger. Look into sex, and at the shadow of sex, which you think is brahmacharya, celibacy. It is just negativity, absence. Look at overeating, and the shadow of it, fasting, which always follows overeating. Overindulgence is always followed by vows of celibacy; tension is always followed by some meditation techniques. Look at them together, feel how they are related; they are part of one process.
If you can understand this, meditation will happen to you. It is not really something to be done, it is a point of understanding. It is not an effort, it is nothing to be cultivated. It is something to be deeply understood.
Understanding gives freedom. Knowledge of the whole mechanism of the mind is transformation. Then suddenly the clock stops, time disappears – and with the stopping of the clock, there is no mind. With the stopping of time, where are you? The boat is empty.
Now we will enter this sutra of Chuang Tzu:
The man of Tao acts without impediment,
harms no other being by his actions,
yet he does not know himself to be kind and gentle.
The man of Tao acts without impediment… You act always with impediment, the opposite is always there creating the impediment; you are not a flow.
If you love, the hate is always there as an impediment. If you move, something is holding you back; you never move totally, something is always left, the movement is not total. You move with one leg but the other leg is not moving. How can you move? The impediment is there.
And this impediment, this continuous moving of the half and nonmoving of the other half, is your anguish, your anxiety. Why are you in so much anguish? What creates so much anxiety in you? Whatsoever you do, why is bliss not happening through it?
Bliss can happen only to the whole, never to the part.
When the whole moves without any impediment the very movement is bliss. Bliss is not something that comes from outside, it is the feeling that comes when your whole being moves, the very movement of the whole is bliss. It is not something happening to you, it arises out of you, it is a harmony in your being.
If you are divided – and you are always divided: half-moving, half-withholding, half saying yes, half saying no, half in love, half in hate, you are a divided kingdom – there is constant conflict in you. You say something, but you never mean it because the opposite is there impeding, creating a hindrance.
Baal Shem used to say – his disciples used to write down whatsoever he said, and he used to say: “I know that whatsoever you are writing is not what has been said by me. You have heard something, I have said something else, and you are writing still something else. And if you look at the meaning, the meaning is something else again. You will never do what you have written, you will do something else – fragments, not an integrated being.” Why are these fragments there?

Have you heard the story about the centipede? A centipede was walking – a centipede has one hundred legs – that’s why he is called a centipede. It is a miracle to walk with a hundred feet, even to manage two is so difficult. To manage one hundred legs is really impossible, almost impossible. But the centipede has been managing it.
One fox became curious – and foxes are curious. In folklore the fox is the symbol of the mind, of the intellect, of logic. Foxes are great logicians. The fox looked, she observed, she analyzed, she couldn’t believe it. She said, “Wait, one question! How do you manage, how do you know which foot has to follow which? One hundred legs! How does this harmony happen, that you walk so smoothly?”
The centipede said, “I have been walking but I have never thought about it. Give me a little time.”
So he closed his eyes. For the first time he became divided: the mind as observer, and himself as the observed. For the first time the centipede became two. He had been living and walking, but his life had been one whole; there was no observer standing looking at himself, he was never divided; he had been an integrated being. For the first time division arose. He was looking at his own self, thinking. He had become subject and object, he had become two, and then he started walking. It was difficult, almost impossible. He fell down – how do you manage one hundred legs?
The fox laughed and he said, “I knew it must be difficult, I knew it beforehand.”
The centipede started crying and weeping, tears came to his eyes. He said, “It has never been difficult, but you have created the problem. Now I will never be able to walk again.”

The mind has come into being; mind comes when you are divided. The mind feeds on division. Hence, Krishnamurti goes on saying that when the observer has become the observed you are in meditation.
The opposite happened to the centipede. The wholeness was lost, he became two: the observer and the observed, divided; the subject and the object, the thinker and the thought. Then everything was disturbed, then bliss was lost then the flow stopped. Then he became frozen.
Whenever the mind comes in, it comes as a controlling force, a manager. It is not the master, it is the manager. And you cannot get to the master unless this manager is put aside. The manager won’t allow you to reach the master, the manager will always be standing in the doorway managing. And all managers only mismanage – mind has done such a great job of mismanaging.
Poor centipede, he had always been happy. There had been no problem at all. He had lived, he had moved, he had loved, everything; no problems at all, because there was no mind. Mind came in with the problem, with the question, with the inquiry. And there are many foxes around you. Beware of them – philosophers, theologians, logicians, professors all around – foxes. They ask you questions and they create a disturbance.
Chuang Tzu’s master, Lao Tzu, said: “When there was not a single philosopher, everything was solved, there were no questions, and all answers were available. When philosophers arose, questions came and answers disappeared.” Whenever there is a question the answer is very far away. Whenever you ask, you will never get the answer, but when you stop asking, the answer has always been there.
I do not know what happened to this centipede. If he was as foolish as human beings, he would be somewhere in a hospital, crippled, paralyzed forever. But I don’t think that centipedes are so foolish. He must have thrown the question out. He must have told the fox, “Keep your questions to yourself, let me walk.” He must have come to know that division wouldn’t allow him to live, because division creates death. Undivided you are life, divided you become dead – the more divided, the more dead.
What is bliss? Bliss is the feeling that comes to you when the observer has become the observed. Bliss is the feeling that comes to you when you are in harmony, not fragmented; one, not disintegrated, not divided, undivided, one. Feeling is not something that happens from the outside. It is the melody that arises out of your inner harmoniousness.
Says Chuang Tzu: The man of Tao acts without impediment… Because he is not divided, so who is there to impede? What is there to function as an impediment? He is alone, he moves with his wholeness. This movement in wholeness is the greatest beauty that can happen, that is possible. Sometimes you have glimpses of it. Sometimes when you are suddenly whole, when the mind is not functioning, it happens.
The sun is rising…and suddenly you look, and the observer is not there. The sun is not there and you are not there, there is no observer and no observed. The sun is simply rising and your mind is not there to manage. You don’t see it and say, “The sun is beautiful.” The moment you say it the bliss is lost. Then there is no bliss, it has already become the past, it is already gone.
Suddenly you see the sun rising, and the seer is not there, it has not come into being yet, it has not become a thought. You have not looked, you have not analyzed, you have not observed. The sun is rising and there is no one, the boat is empty; there is bliss, a glimpse. But the mind immediately comes in, and says, “The sun is beautiful, this sunrise is so beautiful.” The comparison has come in and the beauty is lost.
Those who know say that whenever you say to a person, “I love you,” the love is lost. When the love has already gone it is always said – because the lover has come in, how can the love exist? The division has already come in, the manager has come in? The mind says, “I love you,” because in love there is no I and no thou. In love there are no individuals. Love is a melting, a merging, they are not two.
Love exists, not lovers. In love, love exists, not the lovers, but the mind comes in and says, “I am in love, I love you.” When I comes, doubt enters; division comes in and love is no longer there.
You will come many times to such glimpses in your meditation. Remember, whenever you feel such a glimpse, don’t say, “How beautiful!” don’t say, “How lovely!” because this is how you will lose it. Whenever the glimpse comes, let the glimpse be there. Don’t do what the centipede did – don’t raise any question, don’t make any observation, don’t analyze, don’t allow the mind to come in. Walk with a hundred legs, but don’t think about how you are walking.
When in meditation you have the glimpse of some ecstasy, let it happen, let it go deep. Don’t divide yourself. Don’t make any statement, otherwise the contact is lost.
Sometimes you have glimpses, but you have become so efficient at losing your contact with those glimpses that you cannot understand how they come and how you lose them again. They come when you are not, you lose them when you come again. When you are, they are not. When the boat is empty, bliss is always happening. It is not an accident, it is the very nature of existence. It doesn’t depend on anything – it is a showering, it is the very breath of life.
It is really a miracle how you have managed to be so miserable, so thirsty, when it is raining all over. You have really done the impossible! Everywhere it is light and you live in darkness. Death is nowhere and you are constantly dying; life is a benediction and you are in hell.
How have you managed it? Through division, through thinking – thinking depends on division, analysis. Meditation is when there is no analysis, no division, when everything has become synthesized, when everything has become one.
Says Chuang Tzu: The man of Tao acts without impediment, harms no other being by his actions. How can he do harm? You can harm others only when you have already harmed yourself. Remember this; this is the secret. If you harm yourself, you will harm others. And you will harm even when you think you are doing good to others. Nothing can happen through you but harm, because one who lives with wounds, one who lives in anguish and misery, whatsoever he does will create more misery and anguish for others. You can give only that which you have got.
I have heard…

It happened in a synagogue, a beggar came and he told the rabbi, “I am a great musician, and I have heard that the musician who belonged to this synagogue is dead, and you are searching. So I offer myself.”
The rabbi was happy, the congregation was happy because they were really missing their music. Then the man played – it was horrible! It was more musical without his music. He created a hell. It was impossible to feel any silence in that synagogue that morning. He had to be stopped, because most of the congregation started to leave. People escaped as fast as they could because his music was just anarchic, it was like madness, and it started to affect people.
When the rabbi heard that everybody was already leaving, he went to the man and stopped him. The man said, “If you don’t want me, you can pay for this morning and then I will go.”
The rabbi said, “It is impossible to pay you, we have never experienced such a horrible thing.”
Then the man said, the musician said, “Okay, then keep it as a contribution from me.”
The rabbi said, “But how can you contribute what you don’t already have? You don’t have any music at all – how can you contribute? You can contribute only when you have it. This is not music; rather, on the contrary, it is something like antimusic. Please take it with you, don’t contribute it to us, otherwise it will go on haunting us.”

You give only that which you have. You always give your being really. If you are dead within, you cannot help life; wherever you go you will kill. Knowingly, unknowingly, that is not the point – you may think that you are helping others to live, but still you will kill.

A great psychoanalyst, Wilhelm Reich, was asked once – because he was studying children, their problems – he was asked, “What is the most basic problem with children? What do you find at the root of all their misery, their problems, abnormalities?”
He said, “The mothers.”

No mother can agree with this, because every mother is just helping her children without any selfishness on her part. She is living and dying for the child. And yet psychoanalysts say mothers are the problem. Unknowingly they are killing, crippling; knowingly they think they are loving.
If you are crippled within, you will cripple your children. You cannot do anything else, you can’t help it, because you give out of your being – there is no other way to give.
Says Chuang Tzu: The man of Tao…harms no other being by his actions. Not that he cultivates nonviolence, not that he cultivates compassion, not that he lives a good life, not that he behaves in a saintly way – no. He cannot harm because he has stopped harming himself. He has no wounds. He is so blissful that from his actions or inactions only bliss flows. Even if it may appear sometimes that he is doing something wrong, he cannot.
It is just the opposite with you. Sometimes it appears that you are doing something good – you cannot. The man of Tao cannot do harm, it is impossible. There is no way to do it, it is inconceivable – because he is without divisions, fragments. He is not a crowd, he is not polypsychic. He is a universe now and nothing other than melody is happening inside. Only this music goes on spreading.
The man of Tao is not one of much action – he is not a man of action, the least possible action happens through him. He is really a man of inaction, he is not much occupied with activity.
But you are occupied with activity just to escape from yourself. You cannot tolerate yourself, you cannot tolerate the company of yourself. You go on looking for somebody as an escape, some occupation wherein you can forget yourself, where you can get involved. You are so bored with yourself.
A man of Tao, a man who has attained the inner nature, a man who is really religious, is not a man of much activity. Only the necessary will happen. The unnecessary is cut out completely, because he can be at ease without activity, he can be at home without doing anything, he can relax, he can be company for himself, he can be with his self.
You cannot be with yourself, hence the constant urge to seek company. Go to a club, go to a meeting, go to a party, a rally, move into the crowd, where you are not alone. You are so afraid of yourself that if you are left alone you will go mad. In just three weeks if you are left absolutely alone without any activity, you will go mad. And this is not something said by religious people, now psychologists agree with it. For only three weeks, if all activity is taken away from you, all company taken away, if you are left in a room – within three weeks you will be mad – because all your activity is just to throw out your madness, it is a catharsis.
What will you do when you are alone? For three or four days you will dream and talk within, an inner chattering. Then this will become boring. After the first week you will start talking aloud because at least you can hear your own voice. If it happens that you are passing along a dark street in the night you start whistling. Why? How is this whistling going to give you courage? How is this whistling going to help you? Just listening to it you feel that you are not alone, somebody is whistling. The illusion of two is created.
After the first week you will start talking aloud because then you can also listen. You are not alone, you are talking and you are listening as if somebody else is talking to you. After the second week you will start answering yourself. You will not only talk, you will answer – you are divided. Now you are two; one who questions, one who answers. Now there is a dialogue – you have gone completely crazy.

A man was asking his psychiatrist, “I am very worried, I talk to myself. What should I do? Can you help me?”
The psychiatrist said, “This is nothing to be worried about. Everybody talks to himself. Only when you start answering, then come to me, then I can be of help.”

But the difference is only of degree; it is not of kind, it is only of quantity. If you start talking to yourself, sooner or later you will start answering also, because how can one go on simply talking? The answer is needed, otherwise you will feel foolish. By the third week you start answering – you have gone crazy.
This world, the world of activity, business and occupation, saves you from the madhouse. If you are occupied, energy moves out; then you need not care about the inward, the inner world, you can forget it.
A man of Tao is not a man of much activity – only the essential activity. It is said of Chuang Tzu that if he could stand, he would not walk, if he could sit, he would not stand, if he could fall asleep, he would not sit. Only the essential, the most essential, would he do, because there is no madness in it.
You do the nonessential, you go on doing the nonessential. Look at your activities: ninety-nine percent are nonessential. You can drop them, you can save much energy, you can save much time. But you cannot drop them because you are afraid, you are scared of yourself. If there is no radio, no television, no newspaper, nobody to talk to, what will you do?
I have heard…

One man, a priest, died. Of course, he expected to go to paradise, to heaven. And he reached, and everything was beautiful. The house he entered was one of the most wonderful ever dreamed of, palatial. And the moment a desire came, immediately a servant appeared. If he was hungry, a servant was there with the food, the most delicious he had ever tasted. If he was feeling thirsty, the desire was there – even before the desire had become a thought, just the feeling – and a man will appear with drinks.
So it continued, he was very happy for two or three days, and then he began to feel uneasy because a man has to do something, you cannot just sit in a chair. Only a man of Tao can just sit in a chair and go on sitting and sitting and sitting. You cannot sit in a chair…
The man became uneasy. For two or three days it was okay as a holiday, as a rest. And he had been in so much activity – so much public service, mission, church, giving sermons. He was a priest and he was so much involved with the society and the community, so he rested. But how much can you rest? Unless your being is at rest, sooner or later the holiday ends, and you have to come back to the world. Uneasiness arose; he started feeling discomfort.
Suddenly the servant appeared and asked, “What do you want? This is not a want; you are neither thirsty nor hungry, just uneasy. So what should I do?”
The man said, “I cannot sit here forever and forever, for eternity, I want some activity.”
The servant said, “That is impossible. All your desires will be fulfilled. What is the need of any activity when every desire is to be fulfilled by us? For what do you need activity? It is not provided here.”
The priest became very uneasy and he said, “What type of heaven is this?”
The man said, “Who said this is heaven? This is hell. Who told you this is heaven?”
And this really was hell. Now he understood: without activity, this was hell. He must have gone mad sooner or later. No communication or talk, no social service to be done, no pagans to be converted to Christianity, no foolish people to be made wise – what could he do?

Only a man of Tao could have changed that hell into a heaven. A man of Tao, wherever he is, is at peace, at ease. Only the essential is done, and if you can do the essential for him, he is happy. The nonessential is dropped.
You cannot drop the nonessential. Really, ninety-nine percent of your energy is wasted on the nonessential. The essential is not enough, and the mind always hankers for the nonessential because the essential is so little, so small, it can be fulfilled easily. Then what will you do?
People are not much interested in having good food. They are more interested in having a big car because good food can be obtained very easily. Then what? People are not interested in having good healthy bodies. That can be attained very easily. They are interested in something which cannot be attained so easily, something impossible, and the nonessential is always the impossible. There are bigger houses, bigger cars, they go on getting bigger and bigger and you are never allowed to rest.
The whole world is trying to fulfill the nonessential. If you look at industry, ninety percent of industry is involved with the nonessential. Fifty percent of human labor is just wasted on that which is not useful in any way. Rather, fifty percent of industry is devoted to the feminine mind, the feminine body: designing new dresses every three months, designing new houses, clothes, powders, soaps, creams; fifty percent of industry is devoted to such nonsense. And humanity is starving, people are dying without food, and half of humanity is interested in something absolutely nonessential.
To reach the moon is absolutely nonessential. If we were a little wiser we would not think about it. It is absolutely foolish wasting as much money as could feed the whole earth. Wars are nonessential, but humanity is mad, and it needs wars more than food. It needs to go to the moon more than food, more than clothes, more than the essential, because the essential is not enough.
And now science has created the greatest horror, and that horror is that the essential can be fulfilled very easily. Within ten years, all the needs of humanity can be fulfilled; as far as the necessities are concerned this whole earth can be satisfied. Then what? Then what will you do? You will feel in the same position in which the priest found himself. He was thinking he was in heaven, and then he found that it was hell. Within ten years the whole earth can become a hell.
The nonessential is needed for your madness to remain engaged. So moons are not enough, we will have to go further, we will have to go on creating the useless. It is needed. To be occupied, it is needed.
A man of Tao is not a man of much activity. His actions are the most essential – those which cannot be avoided. That which can be avoided, he avoids. He is so happy with himself there is no need to move in actions. His activity is like inactivity; he does without there being anybody who is doing.
He is an empty boat, moving on the sea, not going anywhere.
Yet he does not know himself to be kind and gentle. Allow this point to penetrate deep into your heart. Yet he does not know himself to be kind and gentle – because if you know, you have missed the point; if you know that you are a simple man, you are not. This knowledge makes it complex. If you know that you are a man of religion, you are not, because this cunning mind which knows is still there.
When you are gentle, and you don’t know, when you are simple, and you are not aware of it, it has become your nature. Then you are not aware of it. When something is imposed you are aware of it. When something is alien, you are aware of it. When something is really natural you are not aware of it. Look – somebody becomes rich, and newly rich, then he is aware of his house, of his swimming pool, of his riches, and you can see that he is not an aristocrat because he is showing it so much.

A newly rich man ordered three swimming pools for his garden. They were made, and he was showing them to a friend. The friend was a little puzzled. He said, “Three swimming pools? For what? One will do.”
The newly rich man said, “No, how can one do? One is for hot baths, one for cold baths.”
The man asked, “And the third?”
He said, “For those who cannot swim. The third is going to remain empty.”

You can see if a man has newly acquired wealth – he will be showing it. A real aristocrat is one who has forgotten that he is rich. A man of Tao is the aristocrat of the inner world.
If a person shows his religion he is not yet really religious. The religion is still like a thorn, it is not natural, it hurts, he is eager to show it. If you want to show your simplicity what type of simplicity is this? If you exhibit your gentleness, then it is simply cunning, nothing gentle exists in it.
A man of Tao is an aristocrat of the inner world. He is so attuned to it, there is no exhibition – not only to you, he himself is not aware of it. He does not know that he is wise, he does not know that he is innocent – how can you know if you are innocent? Your knowledge will disturb the innocence.
It is said, once it happened…

A follower of Hazrat Mohammed went with him to the mosque for a prayer, the early morning prayer. And when they were returning, many people…it was summertime, early morning, and many people were still asleep in their houses or just on the street, a summer morning and many people were still asleep…
The man very arrogantly said to Hazrat Mohammed, “What will happen to these sinners? They have not been to the morning prayer.”
And this man has gone only for the first time. Yesterday he was also asleep like these sinners. A newly rich man wanted to exhibit, to show off, even to Mohammed: “Hazrat, what will happen to these sinners? They have not been to the morning prayer, they are still lazy and asleep.”
Mohammed stopped and said, “You go home, I will have to go back to the mosque again.”
The man said, “Why?”
He replied, “My morning prayer is wasted because of you; keeping company with you has destroyed everything. I will have to do my prayer again. And you remember please, never to come again – better that you were asleep like the others; at least then they were not sinners. Your prayer has done only one thing – it has given you the key to condemn others.”

The so-called religious person is only religious so as to look at you with a condemning eye, so he can say that you are sinners. Go to your saints, your so-called saints, and look into their eyes. You will not find the innocence that should be there. You will find a calculating mind looking at you and thinking about hell: “You will be thrown in hell, and I will be in heaven because I have been praying so much, five times a day, and I have been fasting so much.” As if you can purchase heaven…! These are the coins – fasting, prayer – these are the coins he is trying to bargain with.
If you see condemnation in the eyes of a saint, know well that he is a newly rich man; he is no aristocrat of the inner world, he has not yet become one with it. He knows it – but you know something only when it is separate from you.
One thing has to be remembered here: because of this, self-knowledge is impossible. You cannot know the self, because whenever you know it, it is not the self, it is something else, something separate from you. The self is always the knower, never the known, so how can you know it? You cannot reduce it to an object.
I can see you. How can I see myself? Then who will be the seer and who will be the seen? No, the self cannot be known in the same way that other things are known.
Self-knowledge is not possible in the ordinary sense, because the knower always transcends, always goes beyond. Whatsoever it knows, it is not that. The Upanishads say: neti neti – not this, not that. They say: Whatsoever you know, you are not this; whatsoever you don’t know, you are not that either. You are the one who knows, and this knower cannot be reduced to a known object.
Self-knowledge is not possible. If your innocence comes out of your inner source you cannot know it. If you have imposed it from the outside you can know it; if it is just like a dress you have put on you know it, but it is not the very breath of your life. That innocence is cultivated, and a cultivated innocence is an ugly thing.
A man of Tao does not know himself to be kind and gentle. He is gentle, but he doesn’t know; he is kind, but he doesn’t know; he is love, but he doesn’t know – because the lover and the knower are not two, the gentleness, the kindness, the compassion and the knower, are not two. No, they cannot be divided into the known and the knower. This is the inner aristocracy, when you have become so rich you are not aware of it. When you are so rich, there is no need to exhibit it.
I have heard…

It happened once, Henry Ford came to England. At the airport inquiry office he asked, he inquired about the cheapest hotel in town. The man at the office looked – the face was famous. Henry Ford was known all over the world. Just the day before there were big pictures of him in the newspapers saying that he was coming. And he was, asking for the cheapest hotel, and his coat looked as old as he himself.
So the man at the inquiry office asked, “If I am not mistaken, you are Mr. Henry Ford. I remember well, I have seen your picture.”
The man said, “Yes.”
The clerk was very puzzled, and he said, “And you are asking for the cheapest hotel, and your coat looks as old as you yourself. I have also seen your son coming here, and he always inquires about the best hotel, and he comes in the best of clothes.”
Henry Ford is reported to have said, “Yes, my son’s behavior is exhibitionist, he is not yet attuned. There is no need for me to stay in a costly hotel; wherever I stay I am Henry Ford. Even in the cheapest hotel I am Henry Ford, it makes no difference. My son is still new, afraid of what people will think if he stays in a cheap hotel. And this coat, yes, this belonged to my father – but it makes no difference, I don’t need new clothes. I am Henry Ford, whatsoever the dress; even if I am standing naked, I am Henry Ford. It makes no difference at all.”

When you are really attuned, really rich in the inner world, you are not concerned with exhibition. When you first go to a temple, your prayer is a little louder than others. It has to be. You want to show off.
Showmanship is part of the ego, what you show is not the problem. You show, you exhibit, then the ego is there, the boat is not empty – and a man of Tao is an empty boat. He is gentle, not aware; he is innocent, not knowing; he is wise, that’s why he can move as a fool, not worried. Whatsoever he does makes no difference, his wisdom is intact, he can afford to be foolish. You cannot.
You are always afraid that somebody may think you a fool. You are afraid, if others think you to be a fool, you will start suspecting it. If so many people think you a fool your self-confidence will be lost. And if everybody goes on repeating that you are a fool, sooner or later you will come to believe it. Only a wise man cannot be deceived, he can appear as a fool.

I have heard about one wise man who was known as The Madman. Nobody knew anything else about him, his name or anything, he was just known as The Madman. He was a Jew, and Jews have created a few really wise men, they have something of the inner source. That is why Jesus could be born among them.
This madman behaved in such a foolish way that the whole community became disturbed because nobody knew what he was going to do. On the religious days, Yom Kippur or other festivals, the whole community was afraid because it could not be predicted what this rabbi would do, how he would appear there, how he would behave. His prayers were also mad.
Once he called the court, the Jewish court, all the ten judges of the court. The court came because the rabbi had called, and he said, “I have a case against God, so you decide how to punish this fellow, God. And I will give all the arguments which prove that God is unjust and a criminal.”
The judges, the people, became very afraid, but they had to listen because he was the rabbi, the chief of the temple. And he gave all the arguments like a lawyer in court.
He said, “You created the world, and now you send messengers telling us how to renounce it. What foolishness! You gave us desires and now all your teachers go on coming and saying: “Be desireless.” So what do you think you are doing? If we have committed any sins it is really you who are the culprit, otherwise why did you create desire?”
What should the court have decided? He was right, but the court decided that this man had gone completely mad. So the court decided to expel this madman from the temple.
But this man is really saying a fact. He loves God so much – it is an I/thou relationship, so intimate. He asks, “What are you doing? Enough now, stop, no more fooling.” He must have loved the divine so much that he could behave in that way.
And it is said, in the story, that God immediately stopped when he called. He had to listen to this man.
It is said that the angels asked, “Suddenly you stopped, what happened?”
God said, “That madman, he is praying. I have to listen, because whatsoever he says is true, and he loves me so much that there is no need to follow any manners.” In love, in hate, everything is permitted, everything is allowed.
This madman was passing and a woman came to him. She asked, “I have been longing and longing for a child for forty years now. And if within three or four years a child does not come, then it will not be possible. So help me.”
The madman said, “I can help, because my mother was in the same trouble. She waited and waited for forty years and no child came. Then she went to Baal Shem, a mystic; she told him, and he intervened. My mother gave him a beautiful cap. Baal Shem put the cap on his head, looked up and said to God, ‘What are you doing? This is unjust. There is nothing wrong in the demand of this woman, so give her a child.’ And after nine months, I was born.”
So the woman said, beaming, happy, she said “I will go home and I will bring you such a cap, more beautiful than you have ever seen. Then will the child be born to me?”
The madman said, “You have missed. My mother never knew the story. Your cap won’t do, you have missed. You cannot imitate religion, you cannot imitate prayer. Once you imitate you have missed.” So whenever people came to this madman, he would say, “Don’t imitate, throw away all the scriptures.”
When this madman died he had all the books that had been written about him burned. And the last thing he did, he said to his disciples, “Go around the house and have a search, and tell me that nothing is left, not even a single letter written by me, so that I can die at ease. Otherwise people will start following, and when you follow, you miss.” So everything was gathered and burned. When everything was burned he said, “Now I can die easily, I am not leaving any traces behind.”

This type of wise man is not afraid. How can a wise man be afraid of anybody? What he says is meaningless. He can to all appearances be a fool, he need not exhibit his wisdom.
Have you observed yourself? You are always trying to exhibit your wisdom, in search of a victim to whom you can show your knowledge, ability, just searching, hunting for somebody weaker than you – then you will jump in and you will show your wisdom.
A wise man need not be an exhibitionist. Whatsoever is, is. He is not aware of it, he is not in any hurry to show it. If you want to find it, you will have to make effort. If you want to know whether he is gentle or not, that is going to be your discovery.
He does not struggle to make money,
and he does not make a virtue of poverty.
Remember this. It is very easy to make money and it is also very easy to make a virtue out of poverty. But these two types are not different. A man goes on making money, and then suddenly he gets frustrated. He has achieved, and nothing is gained – so he renounces. Then poverty becomes the virtue, then he lives the life of a poor man and then he says: “This is the only real life, this is religious life.” This man is the same, nothing has changed. The pendulum moved to the left but has now gone to the other extreme.
He does not struggle to make money… This you will understand; the other part is more difficult.
…he does not make a virtue of poverty. He is neither poor nor rich. He is not making any effort for money, he is not making any effort to be poor – whatever happens he allows it to happen. If a palace happens, he will be in the palace; if the palace disappears, he will not look for it. Whatever is happening, he will be with it, his bliss cannot be disturbed. He is not struggling for money, he is not struggling for poverty.
He goes his way without relying on others…
This you can understand easily.
He goes his way without relying on others,
and does not pride himself on walking alone.
The opposite has to be dropped immediately. You depend on others, your wife, your children, your father, mother, friends, society; then suddenly you drop – and you escape to the Himalayas. Then you start priding yourself: “I live alone, I don’t need anybody, I am free of that world.”
Even then you are still not alone because your aloneness still depends on the world. How could you be alone if there was not a world to leave? How could you be alone if there was not a society to renounce? How could you be alone if there was not a wife, children, a family to leave behind? Your aloneness depends on them. How could you be poor if there was no money to be left? Your poverty depends on your riches.
No, a perfect man, a man who is really a sage, the man of Tao, he goes his way without relying on others. Because if you rely on others you will suffer, if you rely on others, you will always be in bondage. If you rely on others, you will become dependent and weak. But that doesn’t mean that you pride yourself that you walk alone. Walk alone, but don’t take pride in it. Then you can move in the world without being a part of it. Then you can live in a family without being a member of it. Then you can be a husband without being a husband. Then you can possess without being possessed by your possessions. Then the world is there outside, but not within. Then you are there, but not corrupted by it.
This is true loneliness – moving in the world without being touched by it. But if you are proud, you have missed. If you think, “I have become somebody,” the boat is not empty, and again you have fallen victim to the ego.
The man of Tao remains unknown.
Perfect virtue produces nothing.
No self is true self.
And the greatest man is nobody.
Listen… The man of Tao remains unknown. Not that nobody will know him, but it is up to you to discover him. He is not making any effort to be known. Any effort to be known comes from the ego, because ego cannot exist when you are unknown, it exists only when you are known. It exists, feeds, when people look at you, when they pay attention to you, when you are somebody important, significant.
But how can you be significant if nobody knows you? When the whole world knows you, then you are significant. That is why people are after fame so much, and if fame cannot be achieved then they will settle for being notorious – but not for being unknown. If people cannot praise you then you will settle for being condemned, but they should not be indifferent to you.

I have heard about a politician. He had a great following once, many followers, many who appreciated him when he was not in power, because in politics everything is momentary. When you are not in power, you look very innocent because when there is no power, what can you do, how can you harm? So your real nature comes only to be known when you get power.
Look at the Gandhians in India before independence – so saintly. And now everything has gone to the opposite extreme. Now they are the most corrupted. What happened? A simple law: when they were not in power they were like doves, innocent; when power came they became like serpents, cunning, corrupted, exploiting.
Your real nature is known only when you have power. When you can harm, then it is known whether you will harm or not.
Lord Acton has said: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” No, that is not right. Power never corrupts, it only brings corruption out. How can power corrupt? You were already corrupt but there was no opportunity. You were already ugly but you were standing in darkness. Now you are standing in light, so will you say that light makes you ugly? No, light only reveals.
This politician was very much appreciated, loved, he had a charismatic personality. Then he came to power and everybody was against him. Then he was thrown out of power, his name became notorious, he was condemned everywhere, so he had to leave his town because people would not allow him to live there, he had done such harm.
So with his wife he was looking for a new residence in a new town. He traveled to many towns just to look and see where he should stay. In one town people started throwing stones at him. He said, “This will be the right place, we should choose this town.”
The wife said, “Are you mad? Have you gone crazy? The people are throwing stones.”
The politician said, “At least they are not indifferent.”

Indifference hurts you most because the ego cannot exist in indifference. Either for me or against me, the ego can exist, but don’t be indifferent to me because then how can I exist, how can the ego exist? The man of Tao remains unknown. That means that he is not seeking people who should know him. If they want to know, they should seek him.
Perfect virtue produces nothing. This is one of the basics of Taoist life.
Perfect virtue produces nothing, because when you are perfectly virtuous nothing is needed. When you are perfectly virtuous there is no desire, there is no motivation. You are perfect. How can perfection move? Only imperfection moves. Only imperfection desires to produce something. So a perfect artist never paints a picture, and a perfect musician throws away his sitar. A perfect archer breaks his bow and throws it away, and a perfect man like Buddha is absolutely useless. What has Buddha produced – poetry, a sculpture, a painting, a society? What has Buddha produced? He seems to be absolutely unproductive, he has done nothing.
Perfect virtue produces nothing, because it needs nothing. Production comes out of desire, production comes because you are imperfect. You create something as a substitute because you feel unfulfilled. When you are absolutely fulfilled, why should you create, how can you create? Then you yourself have become a glorious creation, then the inner being itself is so perfect, nothing is needed.
Perfect virtue produces nothing. If the world is virtuous, all utilitarian goals will be lost. If the world is really virtuous there will be play and no production. Then the whole thing will just become a game. You enjoy it, but you don’t need it. A perfect sage is absolutely useless.
No self is true self. When you feel that you are not, for the first time you are, because the self is nothing but a synonym for the ego. That is why Buddha, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, they all say there is no self, no atman. Not that there is not – they say there is no atman, there is no self, because your ego is so cunning it can hide behind it. You can say, “Aham brahmasmi, I am brahman, Ana’l haq, I am God,” and the ego can hide behind it.
Buddha says there is nobody to claim, there is no self within you. Buddha says you are like the onion: you peel, you go on peeling the layers, and finally nothing remains. Your mind is like an onion, go on peeling. This is what meditation is – go on peeling, go on peeling, and a moment comes when nothing is left. That nothingness is your true self.
No self is true self. When the boat is empty then only for the first time you are in the boat.
And the greatest man is nobody. It happened: Buddha renounced the kingdom. Then he was searching from one forest to another, from one ashram to another, from one master to another, walking. He had never walked without shoes but now he was just a beggar. He was passing a river, walking by the side of the river, on the sand, and his footprints were left.
While he was resting in the shade of a tree one astrologer saw him. He was coming back from Kashi, from the seat of learning. He had become proficient in astrology, he had become perfect, he had become a great doctor of astrology, and he was coming back to his home town to practice.
He looked at the footprints on the wet sand. He became disturbed because these footprints could not belong to a man who walks on the sand without shoes in such a hot summer, at noon. These feet belong to a great emperor, a chakravartin. A chakravartin is an emperor who rules the whole world. All the symbols were there, that this man was a chakravartin, an emperor of the whole world, of the six continents. But why should a chakravartin walk on the sand with naked feet, without any shoes, on such a hot summer afternoon? It was impossible!
He was carrying his most valuable books. He thought, “If this is possible I should throw these books in the river and forget astrology forever, because this is absurd. It is very, very difficult to find a man who has the feet of a chakravartin. Once in millions of years a man becomes a chakravartin and what is this chakravartin doing here?”
So he followed the footprints and he reached Buddha. He looked at him sitting, resting under a tree with closed eyes. He became more disturbed, this astrologer, he became absolutely disturbed because the face was also the face of a chakravartin. But the man looked like a beggar, with his begging bowl just there by his side, with torn clothes. But the face looked like that of a chakravartin, so what to do?
He asked, he said, “I am very disturbed, put me at ease. I have only one question to ask. I have seen and studied your footprints. They should belong to a chakravartin, to a great emperor who rules over all the world, the whole earth is his kingdom – and you are a beggar. So what should I do? Should I throw away all my astrology books? My twelve years of effort in Kashi have been wasted and those people there are fools. I have wasted the most important part of my life, so put me at ease. Tell me, what should I do?”
Buddha said, “You need not worry. This will not happen again. You take your books, go to the town, start your practice, don’t bother about me. I was born to be a chakravartin. These footprints carry my past.”
All footprints carry your past – the lines on your hand, your palm, carry your past. That is why astrology and palmistry are always true about the past, never so true about the future, and absolutely untrue about a buddha, because one who throws off his whole past moves into the unknown – you cannot predict his future.
Buddha said, “You will not come across such a troublesome man again. Don’t worry, this will not happen again, take it as an exception.”
But the astrologer said, “A few more questions. I would like to know who you are. Am I really seeing a dream? A chakravartin sitting like a beggar? Who are you? Are you an emperor in disguise?”
Buddha said, “No.”
Then the astrologer asked, “But your face looks so beautiful, so calm, so filled with inner silence. Who are you? Are you an angel from paradise?”
Buddha said, “No.”
The astrologer asked one more question: “It is not good manners to ask, but you have created the desire, the urge. Are you a human being? If you are not an emperor, a chakravartin, if you are not a deva from paradise, then are you a human being?”
And Buddha said, “No, I am nobody. I don’t belong to any form, to any name.”
The astrologer said, “You have disturbed me more now. What do you mean?”
This is what Buddha meant:
And the greatest man is nobody. You can be somebody, but you cannot be the greatest. There is always someone greater somewhere in the world. And who is somebody? You are the measure. You say that this man is great – but who is the measure? You.
The spoon is the measure of the ocean. You say, “This man is great.” You say, and many like you say, “This man is great” – and he becomes great because of you.
No. In this world, whosoever is somebody cannot be the greatest, because the ocean cannot be measured by spoons. And you are all teaspoons measuring the ocean. No, it is not possible.
So the really greatest will be nobody among you. What does it mean when Chuang Tzu says, “The greatest will be nobody”? It means it will be immeasurable. You cannot measure, you cannot label, you cannot categorize, you cannot say, “Who is this?” He simply escapes measurement. He simply goes beyond and beyond and beyond and the teaspoon falls on the ground – immeasurable.
God must be nobody. He cannot be somebody because who will make him somebody? You? – then you have measured. Then you have become greater than God, then the teaspoon has become greater than the ocean. No, God cannot be measured. He will remain a nobody.

I’m reminded of this madman again, this Jew. He used to say in his prayers, “God, you and I are two strangers in this world.”
So one day a disciple heard his prayer that he was saying: “God, you and I are two strangers in this world.”
The disciple asked, “What do you mean? God and you, strangers?”
He said, “He’s nobody and I’m also nobody – immeasurable – neither can you measure him nor can you measure me.”

Somebody means you are measured. You are labeled, categorized. You are known. Nobody means you remain unknowable. Howsoever you know, whatsoever you know, your knowledge will not exhaust him. You will know that this is not the boundary. And the more intimate you become, the greater he becomes, the more immeasurable. A moment comes and you simply throw your teaspoon, you simply stop the effort to measure. And only then are you intimate with the great man, the man of Tao.
Enough for today.

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