The Empty Boat 05

Fifth 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.

What is this three in the morning?

It is about a monkey trainer
who went to his monkeys and told them:
“As regards your chestnuts,
you are going to have three measures in the morning,
and four in the afternoon.”

On hearing this all the monkeys became angry.
So the keeper said:
“All right then,
I will change it
to four measures in the morning,
and three in the afternoon.”
The animals were satisfied with this arrangement.

The two arrangements were the same –
the number of chestnuts did not change,
but in one case the monkeys were displeased,
and in the other case they were satisfied.

The keeper was willing
to change his personal arrangement
in order to meet objective conditions.
He lost nothing by it.

The truly wise man,
considering both sides of the question
without partiality,
sees them both in the light of Tao.
This is called following two courses at once.
The law of the three in the morning: Chuang Tzu loved this story very much. He often repeated it. It is beautiful, with many layers of meaning. Obviously very simple, but still very deeply indicative of the human mind.
The first thing to be understood is: the human mind is monkeyish. It was not Darwin who discovered that man comes from monkeys. It has been a long-standing observation that the human mind behaves in the same patterns as the mind of the monkey. Only rarely does it happen that you transcend your monkeyishness. When mind becomes still, when mind becomes silent, when there is really no mind at all, you transcend the monkeyish pattern.
What is the monkeyish pattern? For one thing, it is never still. And unless you are still, you cannot see the truth. You are wavering, trembling so much that nothing can be seen. Clear perception is impossible. While meditating what are you doing? You are putting the monkey in a position of stillness, hence all the difficulties of meditation. The more you try to make the mind still, the more it revolts, the more it starts getting into turmoil, the more restless it becomes.
Have you ever seen a monkey sitting still and silent? Impossible! The monkey is always eating something, doing something, swaying, chattering. This is what you are doing. Man has invented many things. If there is nothing to do he will chew gum; if there is nothing to do he will smoke. These are just foolish occupations, monkeyish occupations. Something has to be done continuously so that you remain occupied.
You are so restless that your restlessness needs to be busy somehow or other. That is why, whatsoever is said against smoking, it cannot be stopped. Only in a meditative world can smoking stop – otherwise not. Even if there is danger of death, of cancer, of tuberculosis, it cannot be stopped, because it is not a question of just smoking, it is a question of how to release the restlessness.
People who chant mantras can stop smoking because they have found a substitute. You can keep chanting Ram, Ram, Ram, and this becomes a sort of smoking. Your lips are working, your mouth is moving, your restlessness is being released. So japa can become a sort of smoking, a better sort, with less harm to the health.
But basically it remains the same, that your mind cannot be left at rest. The mind has to do something, not only while you are awake but even when you are asleep. Watch your wife or your husband sleeping some day, just sit for two or three hours silently and watch the face. You will see the monkey not the man. Even in sleep much goes on. The mind is engaged. This sleep cannot be deep, it cannot be really relaxing, because work is going on. By day it continues, there is no discontinuity; the mind goes on functioning in the same way. There is constant inner chatter, you go on talking with yourself, an inner monologue, and there is no wonder you get bored. You are boring yourself. Everybody looks bored.

Mulla Nasruddin was telling a story to his disciples – it must have been a day like this. Suddenly the rain started, and a passer-by, just to protect himself, came under the shed where Nasruddin was talking to his disciples. He was just waiting for the rain to stop but he couldn’t help listening.
Nasruddin was telling tall stories. Many times the man found it almost impossible to resist interrupting because he was saying such absurd things. But he thought again and again, “It is none of my business. I am just here under the shed because of the rain, and as soon as the rain stops I will go. I need not interfere.” But at one point he couldn’t help it, he couldn’t contain himself. He interrupted, “Enough is enough. Excuse me, this is none of my business, but now you have overdone it!”
I must first tell you the story and the point where this man could not contain himself…
Nasruddin was saying, “Once it happened, in my younger days I was traveling in the forests of Africa, the Dark Continent. One day a lion suddenly jumped out just fifteen feet away from me, and I was without any arms, without any protection, alone in the forest. That lion stared at me and started walking toward me.”
The disciples became very excited. Nasruddin stopped for a moment and looked at their faces. Then one disciple said, “Now don’t make us wait, what happened?”
Nasruddin said, “The lion came nearer and nearer, just five feet away.”
Another disciple said, “No more waiting. Tell us what happened.”
Nasruddin said, “It is so simple, it is so logical, you can conclude it yourself. The lion jumped, killed me and ate me!”
At this point, the stranger couldn’t contain himself. He said, “Enough is enough. What are you saying? The lion killed you and ate you, and you are sitting here alive?”
Nasruddin looked at the man, stared at him and said, “Ha ha, do you call this being alive?”

Look at people’s faces and you will understand what he meant. Do you call this being alive? So bored to death, dragging…
Once it happened…

A man asked Nasruddin, “I am very poor. It is almost impossible, seems almost impossible to survive now. I have six children and a wife, my widowed sister and old father and mother, a big family and relatives. It is getting more and more difficult. Can you suggest something? Should we commit suicide?”
Nasruddin said, “You can do two things and both will be helpful. One, start baking bread, because people have to live and they have to eat, you will always have business.”
The man asked, “And the other?”
Nasruddin said, “Start making shrouds for the dead, because when people are alive, they will die. And this business also will always continue. These two businesses are good – bread, and shrouds for the dead.”
After a month the man came back. He looked even more in despair, very sad, and he said, “Nothing seems to help. I have put whatever I have into the business, as you suggested, but everything seems to be against me.”
Nasruddin said, “How can that happen? People have to eat bread while they are alive, and when they die their relatives have to purchase shrouds.”
The man said, “But you don’t understand. In this village no one is alive and no one ever dies. They are simply dragging along.”

Everybody is just dragging himself, nobody is alive and nobody ever dies because to die one must first be alive. People are just dragging along. Look at their faces – there is no need to look at others’ faces, just look in the mirror and you will find out what dragging means – neither alive nor dead. Life is so beautiful, death is also beautiful – dragging is ugly.
But why do you look so burdened? Because the constant chattering of the mind dissipates energy. Constant chattering of the mind is a constant leakage in your being. Energy is dissipated. You never have enough energy to make you feel alive, young, fresh, and if you are not young and fresh and alive your death is also going to be a very dull affair.
One who lives intensely dies intensely, and when death is intense, it has a beauty of its own. One who lives totally, dies totally, and wherever there is totality there is beauty. Death is not ugly because of death but because you have never lived rightly. If you have never been alive, you have not earned a beautiful death. It has to be earned. One has to live in such a way, so totally and so whole, that one can die totally, not in fragments. You live in fragments, so you die in fragments. One part dies, then another, then another, and you take many years to die. The whole thing becomes ugly. Death would be beautiful if people were alive. This inner monkey doesn’t allow you to be alive, and this inner monkey will not allow you to die beautifully. This constant chattering has to be stopped.
And what is the chattering, what is the subject matter? The subject matter is the three in the morning that goes on in the mind. What are you doing inside the mind? Continuously making arrangements: to do this, not to do that, to build this house, to destroy that house; to move from this business to another because there will be more profit; to change this wife, this husband. What are you doing? Just changing arrangements.
Chuang Tzu says that finally, ultimately, if you can look at the total, the total is always the same. It is seven. Whether you are given three measures of chestnuts in the morning and four measures in the evening, or the other way around – four measures in the morning and three measures in the evening – the total is seven. This is one of the most secret of laws – the total is always the same.
You may not be able to comprehend it, but when a beggar or an emperor dies, their total is the same. The beggar lived on the streets, the emperor lived in the palaces, but the total is the same. A rich man, a poor man, a successful man and a failure, the total is the same. If you can look at the total in life, then you will come to know what Chuang Tzu means by the three in the morning.
What happens? Life is not impartial, life is not partial, life is absolutely indifferent to your arrangements – it doesn’t bother about the arrangements you make. Life is a gift. If you change the arrangement, the total is not changed.
A rich man has found better food, but the hunger is lost; he cannot really feel the intensity of being hungry. The proportion is always the same. He has found a beautiful bed, but with the bed comes insomnia, he cannot sleep. He has better arrangements for sleeping. He should be falling asleep into sushupti – what Hindus call unconscious samadhi – but that is not happening. He cannot fall asleep. He has changed the arrangements.
A beggar is asleep just outside there in the street. Traffic is passing and the beggar is asleep. He has no bed. The place where he is sleeping is uneven, hard and uncomfortable, but he is asleep. The beggar cannot get good food, it is impossible because he has to beg. But he has a good appetite. The total result is the same. The total result is seven.
A successful man is not only successful, for with success come all sorts of calamities. A failure is not just a failure, for with failure come many sorts of blessings. The total is always the same, but the total has to be penetrated and looked at, a clear perspective is needed. Eyes are needed to look at the total because mind can look only at the fragment. If the mind looks at the morning, it cannot look at the evening; if the mind looks at the evening, the morning is forgotten. Mind cannot look at the total day, mind is fragmentary.
Only a meditative consciousness can look at the whole, from birth to death – and then the total is always seven. That is why wise men never try to change the arrangements. That is why in the East no revolution has ever happened – because revolution means changing the arrangements.
Look what happened in Soviet Russia. In 1917 the greatest revolution happened on earth. The arrangement was changed. But I think Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky had never heard about this story of three in the morning. They could have learned much from Chuang Tzu. But then there would have been no revolution. What happened? The capitalists disappeared, now nobody was rich, nobody was poor. The old classes were no more. But only names changed. New classes have come into being. Now it is the manager and the managed. Before, it was the rich man and the poor man, the capitalist and the proletariat – now the manager and the managed. But the distinction remains the same, the gap remains the same. Nothing has changed. Only now you call the capitalist the manager.
Those who have studied the Russian revolution say that this is not a socialist revolution, it is a managerial revolution. The same gap, the same distance remains between the two classes, and a classless society has not come into being.
Chuang Tzu would have laughed. He would have related this story. What have you done? The manager has become powerful, the managed have remained powerless.
Hindus say there are people who will always be managers and there are people who will always be managed. There are sudras and kshatriyas; and these are not just labels, these are types of people. Hindus have divided society into four classes and they say that society can never be classless. It is not a question of social arrangement – four types exist. Unless you change the type, no revolution is of much help.
They say there is a type, the sudra, who is a laborer, who will always be managed. If nobody manages him, he will be at a loss, he will not be happy. He needs somebody to order him, he needs somebody whom he can obey, he needs somebody who can take the whole responsibility. He is not ready to take the responsibility on his own. That is a type. If the manager is around only then will that type of person work. If the manager is not there, he will simply sit.
The manager can be a subtle phenomenon, it may even be invisible. For example, in a capitalist society the profit motive manages. A sudra works, not because he loves working, not because work is his hobby, not because he is creative, but he only works because he has to feed himself and his family. If he does not work, who will feed him? It is the profit motive, hunger, body, the stomach that manages.
In a communist country this motive is not the manager. There they have to put visible managers. It is said that in Stalin’s Russia there was one policeman for each citizen. Otherwise it is difficult to manage because the profit motive is no longer there. Then one has to force, one has to order, one has to be constantly nagging, only then will the sudra work.
There is always a businessman type who enjoys money, wealth, accumulation. He will do that – it makes no difference how he does it. If money is available, he will collect money; if money is not available, then he will collect postage stamps. But he will do it, he will collect. If postage stamps are not available he will collect followers – but he will collect. He has to do something with numbers. When he says he has ten thousand, twenty thousand followers, one million followers – that is just the same as saying that he has one million rupees.
Go to your sadhus – the greater the number of followers, the greater they are. So followers are just nothing but bank balances. If nobody follows you, you are nobody – then you are a poor guru. If many people follow you then you are a rich guru. Whatsoever happens, the businessman will collect. He will count. The matter is immaterial.
There is the warrior who will fight – any excuse will do. He will fight, fighting is in his blood, in his bones. Because of this type the world cannot live in peace. It is impossible. Once every ten years there is bound to be a big war. And if you want to avoid big wars, then have many small wars, but the total will remain the same. Because of the atomic and hydrogen bombs, now a great war has become almost impossible. That is why there are so many small wars all over the world: in Vietnam, in Kashmir, in Bangladesh, in Israel, many small wars, but the total will be the same. In five thousand years man has fought fifteen thousand wars, three wars per year.
This type exists who has to fight. You can change the type, but the change will be superficial. If this warrior is not allowed to fight in war, he will fight in other ways. He will fight an election, or he may become a sportsman – he may fight in cricket or football. But he will fight, he will compete, he needs somebody to challenge. Somewhere or other fighting has to be done to satisfy him. That is why, as civilization grows, people have to be supplied with more and more games. If games are not given to the warrior type, what will he do?
Go and look when a cricket, or football, or hockey match is on – how people get mad, as if something very serious is going on, as if a real war is happening. And those who are fighting, those who are playing, they are serious, and the fans around them go mad. Fights break out, riots happen. It is dangerous, the playing field is always dangerous because the type that gathers there is the warrior type. Any moment anything can go wrong.
There is a brahmin type, who always lives in words, in scriptures. In the West there is no such type as the brahmin; the name is not important, but the brahmin exists everywhere. Your scientists, your professors, the universities are filled with them. They go on working with words, symbols, creating theories, defending, arguing. They go on and on, sometimes in the name of science, sometimes in the name of religion, sometimes in the name of literature. The names change, but the brahmin goes on.
These are the four types. You cannot create a classless society. These four will persist and the total arrangement will be the same. Fragments can change. In the morning you can do one thing, in the evening something else, but the total day will remain the same.

I have heard about one scientist – his father was against his scientific research. The father always thought it useless: “Don’t waste your time. It is better to become a doctor, that will be more practical and helpful to people. Just theories, abstract theories of physics, are of no help.” Finally, he persuaded his son and he became a doctor.
The first man who came to him was suffering from severe pneumonia. He looked in his books – because he was an abstract thinker, a brahmin. He looked into his books, he tried and tried. The patient became impatient; he said, “How long do I have to wait?”
The scientist, who was now practicing as a doctor said, “I don’t think that there is any hope. You will have to die. There is no treatment; the illness has gone beyond cure.” The patient was a tailor, he went home.
Two or three weeks later the doctor was passing and he saw the tailor working, and he was healthy and full of energy. So he said, “What, you are still alive? You should be dead. I looked in the books and this is impossible. How can you be alive?”
The tailor said, “You told me that within a week I would have to die, so I thought: Then why not live? Just one week left… Potato pancakes are my weakness, so I left your office and went directly to a hotel and ate thirty-two potato pancakes. Immediately I felt a lot of energy coming over me. And now I am absolutely okay.”
The doctor immediately noted down in his diary that thirty-two potato pancakes is a sure cure for serious cases of pneumonia.
The next patient by chance also had pneumonia. He was a shoemaker. The doctor said, “Don’t worry. Now the cure has been discovered. Go immediately and eat thirty-two potato pancakes, not less than thirty-two, and you will be okay; otherwise, you are going to die within a week.”
After a week, the doctor knocked at the shoemaker’s door. It was locked. The neighbor said, “He is dead. Your potato pancakes killed him.” Immediately he noted in his diary that thirty-two potato pancakes cure tailors, kill shoemakers.
This is the abstract mind. He cannot be practical, the brahmin.

You can change surfaces, you can paint faces, but the inner type remains the same. Hence the East has not troubled itself with revolutions. The East is waiting; and those in the East who are wise, they look at the West, and they know that you are playing with toys. All your revolutions are toys. Sooner or later you will come to realize the law of three in the morning.
Now to the sutra. A disciple must have asked Chuang Tzu, “What is this three in the morning?” Because whenever somebody mentioned revolution or change, Chuang Tzu would laugh and say, “The law of the three in the morning.” So a disciple must have asked, “What is this three in the morning you are always talking about?”
Said Chuang Tzu:
It is about a monkey trainer
who went to his monkeys and told them:
“As regards your chestnuts,
you are going to have three measures in the morning,
and four in the afternoon.”

On hearing this all the monkeys became angry…
Because in the past they had been getting four measures in the morning and three in the evening. Obviously they got angry: “What do you mean? We were always getting four measures of chestnuts in the morning and now you say three. We cannot tolerate this.”
So the keeper said:
“All right then,
I will change it
to four measures in the morning,
and three in the afternoon.”
The animals were satisfied with this arrangement.
The total remained the same – but monkeys cannot look at the total. It was morning, so they could only see the morning. Every morning it was routine to get four measures and they were waiting for four measures, and now this man says, “Three measures in the morning.” He is cutting one measure. It cannot be tolerated. They became angry, they revolted.
This monkey trainer must have been a wise man; otherwise it would be difficult to become a monkey trainer. I know it from my own experience. I am a monkey trainer.
The monkey trainer said, “Okay, then don’t get disturbed. I will follow the old pattern. You will get four measures in the morning and three in the evening.” The monkeys were happy. Poor monkeys – they can be happy or unhappy without any reason for either. But this man had a bigger perspective. He could see, he could add four plus three. It was still the same – seven measures were to be given to them. How they took it, in what arrangement didn’t matter. The two arrangements were the same, the number of chestnuts didn’t change, but in one case the monkeys were displeased and in the other case they were satisfied.
This is how your mind goes on working, you just keep changing the arrangement. With one arrangement you feel satisfied, with another you feel dissatisfied – and the total remains the same. But you never look at the total. The mind cannot see the total. Only meditation can see the total. Mind looks at the fragment, it is near-sighted, it is very near-sighted. That is why, whenever you feel any pleasure, you jump into the pleasure immediately; you never look at the evening. This has been your experience but you have not become aware of it – that whenever there is pleasure there is pain hidden in it. But the pain will come in the evening and pleasure is here in the morning.
You never look into that which is hidden, into that which is invisible, into that which is latent. You just look at the surface, and you go mad. You do this all your life. A fragment catches you. Many people come to me and say, “In the beginning when I married this woman, everything was very beautiful. But within days everything was lost. Now it has all become ugly, now it is misery.”
Once it happened…

There was a car accident. The car turned upside down in a ditch by the side of the road. The man was lying on the ground completely crippled, almost unconscious. A policeman came and he started to fill in his diary. He asked the man, “Are you married?”
The man said, “I am not married. This is the biggest mess I have ever been in.”

It is said that those who know will never marry. But how can you know what happens in marriage without getting married? You look at a person, at the fragment, and in the end sometimes when you think about it the fragment will look very foolish.
The color of the eyes – what foolishness! How can your life depend on the color of your eyes or somebody else’s eyes? How can your life become beautiful just because of the color of the eyes? – a small pigment, three or four pennies’ worth. But you get romantic: Oh, the eyes, the color of the eyes. Then you go mad and you think, “If I am not married to this woman life is lost, I will commit suicide.”
But you don’t see what you are doing. One cannot live by the color of the eyes forever. Within two days you will become acquainted with those eyes and you will forget them. Then there is the whole life, the totality of it, and then misery starts. Before the honeymoon is finished, misery begins; the total person was never taken into account – the mind cannot see the total. It just looks at the surface, at the figure, the face, the hair, the color of the eyes, the way the woman walks, the way she talks, the sound of her voice. These are the parts, but where is the total person?
The mind cannot see the total. The mind looks at fragments, and with fragments you get hooked. Once you are hooked, the total comes in – the total is not far away. Eyes don’t exist as separate phenomena, they are part of a whole. If you are hooked by the eyes, you are hooked with the whole person. And when this whole emerges, everything becomes ugly.
Who is responsible? You should have taken account of the whole. But when it is morning the mind looks at the morning and forgets the evening completely. Remember well – in every morning the evening is hidden. The morning is constantly turning into evening and nothing can be done about it, you cannot stop it.
Says Chuang Tzu:
The two arrangements were the same –
the number of chestnuts did not change,
but in one case the monkeys were displeased,
and in the other case they were satisfied.
Monkeys are your minds; they cannot penetrate the whole. This is the misery. You always miss, you always miss because of the fragment. If you can see the whole and then act, your life will never be a hell. And then you will not be bothered about superficial arrangements, about morning and evening, because then you can count – it is always seven. Whether you get four in the morning or three makes no difference – the total is seven.
I have heard…

A small boy came home puzzled. His mother asked, “Why do you look so puzzled?”
The boy said, “I am in a fix. My teacher seems to have gone crazy. Yesterday she said that four plus one make five and today she told me three plus two make five. She seems to have gone mad, because if four plus one is already five, how can three plus two be five?”

The child cannot see that five can come out of many arrangements – there is not only one arrangement in which the total will be five. There can be millions of arrangements in which the total will be five.
Howsoever you arrange your life the religious man will always look to the total and the worldly man will always look to the fragment. That is the difference. The worldly will look to whatever is near, but the far is hidden there. The far is not really far, it will come, it will become near. The distant is not very distant, it will happen soon. The evening is coming.
Can you have a perspective in which the total life is seen? It is believed, and I think it is true also, that if a man is drowning, suddenly his whole life, the total, is remembered. But when you are dying, drowning in a river, no time is left, and suddenly in your mind’s eye your whole life is revealed from beginning to end. It is as if the whole film passes across the screen of the mind. But what use is it, now that you are dying?
A religious man looks at the total every moment. The whole life is there, and then he acts out of that perspective of the whole. He will never repent, as you will always do. There is no possibility for you not to repent. Whatsoever you do you will repent.
Once it happened…

A king went to visit a madhouse. The superintendent of the madhouse escorted him to every cell. The king was very interested in the phenomenon of madness, he was studying it. Everybody should be interested because it is everybody’s problem. And you need not go to a madhouse – go anywhere and study people’s faces. You are studying in a madhouse!
One man was weeping and crying, hitting his head against the bars. His anguish was so deep, his suffering was so penetrating, that the king asked, “Tell me the whole story, how this man became mad.”
The superintendent said, “This man loved a woman and couldn’t get her, so he went mad.”
Then they passed to another cell. There was another man with a picture of a woman, spitting on it. The king asked, “And what is the story of this man? He also seems to be involved with a woman.”
The superintendent said, “It is the same woman. This man fell in love with her too, and he got her. That is why he went mad.”

If you get what you want you go mad; if you don’t get what you want you go mad. The total remains the same. Whatsoever you do, you will repent. A fragment can never be fulfilling. The whole is so big and the fragment is so small that you cannot deduce the whole from the fragment. And if you depend on the fragment and decide your life accordingly, you will always miss. Your whole life will be wasted.
So what should we do? What does Chuang Tzu want us to do? He wants us not to be fragmentary – he wants us to be total. But remember, you can look at the total only when you are total, because only the similar can know the similar. If you are fragmentary, you cannot know the total. How can you know the total if you are fragmented? If you are divided in parts the total cannot be reflected in you. When I speak of meditation I mean a mind which is no longer divided, in which all fragments have disappeared. The mind is one undivided whole.
This one mind looks deeply to the very end. It looks from death to birth, it looks from birth to death. Both polarities are before it. And out of this look, out of this penetrating vision, the action is born. If you ask me what sin is, I will say: action out of the fragmentary mind is sin. If you ask me what virtue is, I will tell you: action out of the total mind is virtue. That is why a sinner always has to repent.
Remember your own life, observe it. Whatsoever you do, whatsoever you choose, this or that, everything goes wrong. Whether you get the woman or lose her, in both cases you go mad. Whatsoever you choose, you choose misery. Hence Krishnamurti goes on insisting on choicelessness.
Try to understand this. You are here listening to me. This is a choice, because you must have left some job undone, some work incomplete. You have to go to the office, to the shop, to the family, to the market and you are here listening to me. This morning you must have decided what to do – whether to go and listen to this man or go to your work, to the office, to the market. Then you decided, you chose to come here.
You will repent – because even while here, you cannot be totally here. Half the mind is there, and you are simply waiting until I finish so you can go. But do you think that if you had chosen otherwise, gone to the shop or to the office, would you have been totally there? No, because that again was a choice. So then you will be there and your mind will be here. And you will repent: “Why am I wasting time, who knows what is happening there, what is being talked about? Who knows what key is to be transferred this morning?”
So whatsoever you choose, whether you come or whether you decide not to come, if it is a choice it means half of the heart, or a little more, has chosen. It is a democratic decision, parliamentary. With the majority of the mind you have decided, but the minority is still there. And no minority is a fixed thing, no majority is a fixed thing. Nobody knows – members go on changing parties.
When you came here you decided. Fifty-one percent of your mind wanted to come, forty-nine wanted to go to the office. But by the time you arrived, the arrangement had changed. With the very decision to go and listen there is a disturbance.
The minority may have become the majority by the time you arrive here. If it has not yet become a majority, by the time you leave it will have become so because by then you will think, “Two hours lost – now, how will I make them up? It would have been better not to come – spiritual things can be postponed, but this world cannot be postponed. Life is long enough, we can meditate later on.”
In India people say that meditation is only for old people, those who are on the verge of death. They can meditate; it is not for young people.
Meditation is the last thing on the list, for when you have done everything else. But remember, this point when you have done everything never comes. Or when you cannot do anything because your whole energy has been wasted – then meditation.
But when you cannot do anything, how can you meditate? Meditation needs energy, the purest, the most vital – meditation needs overflowing energy. A child can meditate but how can an old man meditate? A child is easily meditative, an old man – no, he is wasted. There is no movement of energy in him, his river cannot flow, he is frozen. Many parts of his life are already dead.
If you choose to come to the temple, you suffer, you repent. If you go to the office or the market, you suffer, you repent.

It happened once that a monk died. He was a very famous monk, he was known all over the country. Many people worshipped him, he was thought to be enlightened. On the same day a prostitute died. She also lived just in front of the monk’s house, the monk’s temple. She was also a very famous prostitute, as famous as the monk. They were two polarities living together and they died on the same day.
The angel of death came and took the monk to heaven; other angels of death came and took the prostitute to hell. When the angels reached heaven the doors were closed and the man in charge said, “You are confused. This monk has to go to hell and the prostitute has to come to heaven.”
But they said, “What do you mean? This man was a very famous ascetic, continuously meditating and praying. That is why we never inquired, we simply went and brought him. And the prostitute must have reached hell because the other group has taken her, and we never thought of asking why. It was so obvious.”
The man who was in charge at the gate said: “You are confused because you have looked only at the surface. This monk was continuously thinking that he was meditating for others. For himself he was always thinking, ‘I am missing life. What a beautiful woman, and available. Any moment I can cross the street, and she is available. What nonsense I am doing, just praying, sitting in a buddha posture and attaining nothing.’ But because of his fame he didn’t dare.”
Many people are virtuous because they are cowards. He was virtuous because he was a coward – he could not cross the street. So many people knew him, how could he go to the prostitute? What would people say?
Cowards are always afraid of the opinion of others. So he remained an ascetic, fasting, but his mind was always with the prostitute. When there was singing and dancing, he would listen. He sat before the statue of Buddha, but Buddha was not there. He was not worshipping, he was listening to the sounds coming. He would dream and in his fantasy he would make love to the prostitute.
And what was happening with the prostitute? She was always repenting, repenting and repenting. She knew she had wasted her life, she had wasted a golden opportunity. And for what? Just for money, selling her body and soul. And she would always look at the monk’s temple, so jealous of the silent life he was living. “What meditative phenomenon is happening there? When will God give me one chance to go inside the temple?” But she thought, “I am a prostitute, unholy, and I should not enter the temple.”
She could not go there, so she would walk around the monk’s temple from the outside, she will just look from the street. What beauty, what silence, what blessing inside. And when there was kirtan and bhajan, singing and dancing, she would weep and cry, and scream about what she was missing.
So the man in charge said, “Bring the prostitute to heaven and take this monk to hell. Their outer life was different, their inner life was different, but like everybody both are repenting.” The prostitute repents, the monk repents.

We in India have invented a word which does not exist in any other language in the world. Heaven and hell are found everywhere; all languages have those words. We have different words, moksha or nirvana or kaivalya – the absolute freedom which is neither hell nor heaven.
If your outer life is hell and you repent, you will reach heaven. If you are a prostitute, but constantly desiring the world of meditation and prayer, you will reach heaven. And if your outer life is heaven and your inner life is hell, like the monk who desired the prostitute, you will go to hell. But if you make no choice, have no regrets, if you are choiceless, then you will reach moksha.
Choiceless awareness is moksha, absolute freedom. Hell is a bondage, heaven is also a bondage. Heaven may be a beautiful prison, hell may be an ugly prison – but both are prisons. Neither Christians nor Mohammedans can understand this point because to them, heaven is the ultimate. If you ask them where Jesus is, their answer is wrong. They say: “In heaven with God.” This is absolutely wrong. If Jesus is in heaven, then he is not enlightened. Heaven may be golden, but it is still a prison. It may be good, it may be pleasant, but it is still a choice, the choice against hell. The virtue which has been chosen against sin is a decision of the majority, but the minority is waiting for its own chance.
Jesus is in moksha, that’s what I say. He is not in heaven, he is not in hell. He is totally free of all imprisonments: good/bad, sin/virtue, morality/immorality. He did not choose. He lived a choiceless life. And that is what I go on telling you: live a choiceless life.
But how is a choiceless life possible? It is possible only if you can see the total, the seven; otherwise, you will choose. You will say this should happen in the morning, that in the evening, and you think that just by changing the arrangement you are changing the total. The total cannot be changed. The total remains the same – everybody’s total remains the same.
Hence I say there is no beggar, and no emperor. In the morning you are an emperor, in the evening you will be a beggar; in the morning you are a beggar, in the evening you will be an emperor. And the total remains the same. Look at the total, be total, and then all choice drops.
That monkey trainer simply looked at the total and said, “Okay, you foolish monkeys, if you are happy with it, let this arrangement be as it is.” But if he had also been a monkey, then there would have been a fight. Then he would have insisted, “This is going to be the arrangement. Who do you think is the leader, you or me? Who do you think is the master? Who do you think is to decide, you or me?”
Ego always chooses, decides and forces. The monkeys were rebelling, and if this man had also been a monkey, he would have gone mad. He would have had to put them in their place, where they belonged. He would have insisted, “No more four in the morning. I decide.”
It happened once…

It was the sixtieth birthday of a man – after a long married life of almost thirty-five, forty years of quarrels and conflict. But he was surprised. When he came home his wife was waiting with two beautiful ties as a present. He never expected it from his wife. It was almost impossible that she would wait with two ties as a present. He felt so happy, he said, “Don’t cook the dinner, I will get ready in minutes and we will go to the most beautiful hotel.”
He took a bath, got ready, put on one of the ties, and came out. His wife stared and said, “What? Do you mean you don’t like the other tie? Isn’t the other tie good enough?” A man can only wear one tie, but whichever tie he had chosen, the same would have happened: “So what do you mean? The other tie is no good?”
It is the old habit of quarreling, fighting. It was said about the same woman that every day she would find something to fight about. And she would always find something because when you search, you will find. Remember this: whatsoever you are in search of you will find. The world is so vast, and existence is so rich, that if you are really keen to find something, you will find it.
So one day she will find some hair on her husband’s coat, and then there will be a fight, that he has been with some woman. But once it happened that for seven days she could not find anything. She tried and tried but there was no excuse to fight. So on the seventh day, when her husband came home, she started screaming and beating her chest. He said, “Now what are you doing? What is the matter, what happened?”
So she said, “You rascal, you have finished with other women and now you are going around with bald women!”

The mind is always in search of trouble. And don’t laugh, because this is about your mind. By laughing you may be simply deceiving yourself. You may think it is about somebody else – it is about you. And whatsoever I say, it is always about you.
Mind chooses and always chooses trouble, because with choice there is trouble. You cannot choose God. If you choose, there will be trouble. You cannot choose sannyas. If you choose, there will be trouble. You cannot choose freedom. If you choose, it will not be freedom.
Then how does it happen? How does godliness happen, sannyas happen, freedom happen, moksha happen? It happens when you understand the foolishness of choice. It is not a new choice, it is simply the dropping of all choosing. Just looking at the whole thing you start laughing. There is nothing to choose. The total remains the same. In the end, by the evening, the total will be the same. Then you are not bothered whether in the morning you are an emperor or a beggar. You are happy, because by the evening everything comes to the same, everything is leveled.
Death equalizes. In death nobody is an emperor and nobody is a beggar. Death brings out the total; it is always seven.
The two arrangements were the same. Remember, the amount of chestnuts didn’t change. But in one case the monkeys were displeased and in the other case they were satisfied.
The keeper was willing
to change his personal arrangement
in order to meet objective conditions.
He lost nothing by it.
A man of understanding always looks at objective conditions, never at his subjective feelings. When the monkeys said no, if you had been the monkey trainer you would have felt offended. These monkeys were trying to rebel, they were trying to be disobedient. This could not be tolerated; monkeys are animals, and very superior animals. You would have felt hurt inside.
You get angry even at dead things. If you are trying to open the door and it resists, you get mad. If you are trying to write a letter and the pen is not functioning well, smoothly, you get angry. You feel hurt, as if the pen is doing it knowingly, as if there is somebody in the boat. Even in the pen’s boat you feel somebody is there and trying to disturb you.
And this is not only the logic of small children, this is your logic also. If a child crashes into a table, he will beat the table, just to put it right. And he will always remain an enemy of that table. But you are the same – with dead things you also get angry, you get mad.
This is subjective, and a wise man is never subjective. A wise man always looks at the objective conditions. He will look at the door, and if it is not open, then he will try to open it. But he cannot get angry – because his boat is empty. There is nobody there trying to shut the door, resisting your efforts.
…In order to meet objective conditions, he changed his personal arrangement. He looked at the monkeys and their minds, he didn’t feel offended – he was a monkey trainer, not a monkey. He looked and he must have laughed within, because he knew the total. And he yielded. Only a wise man yields. A foolish man always resists. Foolish people say it is better to die than to bend, it is better to break than to bend.
Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu always say: When there is a strong wind the foolish egoistic trees resist and die, and the wise grass bends. The storm goes by and again the grass stands straight, laughing and enjoying. The grass is objective, the big tree is subjective. The big tree thinks so much of himself: “I am somebody, who can bend me? Who can force me to yield?” The big tree will fight with a storm. It is foolish to fight with the storm, because the storm has not come for you. It is nothing special, the storm is simply passing and you are there, it is coincidental.
The monkeys are not offending the monkey trainer. Monkeys are just monkeys; that is the way they are. They cannot look at the total, they cannot add up. They can look only at the near, they cannot look at the far – the far is too far. It is impossible for them to conceive of the evening, they only know about the morning.
So monkeys are monkeys, storms are storms. Why get offended? They are not fighting you. They are only following their own routine ways, their own habits. So the monkey trainer was not offended. He was a wise man, he yielded, he was just like the grass. Remember this whenever you start feeling subjective. Somebody says something, and immediately you feel hurt, as if it has been said to you. You are too much in the boat; it may not have been said to you at all. The other may be expressing his or her subjectivity.
When somebody says, “You have insulted me,” what is really meant is something else. If he had been a little more intelligent he would have said it the other way. He would be saying, “I feel insulted. You may not have insulted me, but whatsoever you have said, I feel insulted.” This is a subjective feeling.
But nobody considers their subjectivity and everybody goes on projecting their subjectivity onto objective conditions. The other always says, “You have insulted me.” And when you hear it you are also subjective. Both boats are filled, much too crowded. There is bound to be a clash, enmity, violence.
If you are wise, when the other says, “You have insulted me,” you will look at it objectively and you will think, “Why is the other feeling insulted?” You will try to understand the other’s feelings, and if you can put things right you will yield. Monkeys are monkeys. Why get angry, why feel offended?

It is said of Mulla Nasruddin that when he was old he was made an honorary magistrate. The first case to come before him was a man who had been robbed, and he told him his story. Nasruddin heard his story and said, “Yes, you are in the right.” But he hadn’t yet heard the other’s story.
The clerk of the court whispered in his ear, “You are new, Nasruddin. You don’t know what you are doing. You have to listen to the other before you give judgment.”
So Nasruddin said, “Okay.”
So the other man, the robber, told his story. Nasruddin listened and said, “You are right.”
The clerk of the court felt confused: “This man is not only inexperienced, he looks absurd.” Again he whispered in his ear, “What are you doing? How can they both be right?”
Nasruddin said, “Yes, you are right.”

This is the wise man who looks at the objective conditions. He will yield. He is always yielding, he is always saying yes – because if you say no, then your boat is not empty. No always comes from the ego. So if a wise man has to say no, he will still use the terminology of yes. He will not say no outright, he will use the terminology of yes. If a foolish man wants to say yes, even then he feels it difficult to say yes. He will use the terminology of no, and even if he has to yield, he will yield grudgingly. He will yield offended, resisting.
The monkey trainer yielded.
The keeper was willing to change his personal arrangements in order to meet objective conditions. He lost nothing by it. No wise man has ever lost anything by saying yes to foolish people. No wise man can ever lose anything by yielding. He gains everything. There is no ego, so there cannot be any loss. The loss is always felt by the ego: I am losing. Why do you feel you are losing? – because you never wanted to lose. Why do you feel you are a failure? – because you always wanted to be a success. Why do you feel you are a beggar? – because you always desired to be an emperor.
A wise man simply takes whatsoever is. He accepts the total. He knows – beggar in the morning, emperor in the evening; emperor in the morning, beggar in the evening. Which is the better arrangement?
If a wise man is forced to arrange he would prefer to be beggar in the morning and emperor in the evening. A wise man never chooses, but if you insist, he will say it is better to be beggar in the morning and emperor in the evening. Why? – because to be emperor in the morning, then beggar in the evening, will be very difficult. But this is the choice.
A wise man will choose pain in the beginning and pleasure in the end, because pain in the beginning will give you the taste, the background, and then the pleasure will be more pleasing than ever. Pleasure in the beginning will destroy you, and will give you such a background that the pain will be too much, unbearable.
East and West have made different arrangements. In the East, for the first twenty-five years every child had to go through hardship. That was the principle followed for thousands of years until the West came and started dominating the East.
That was the principle followed. A child had to go to the master’s house in the jungle, he had to live through every possible hardship. Like a beggar he would just lie on a mat on the floor – there would be no comforts. He would have to eat like a beggar; he would have to go to town and beg for the master, he would have to cut trees for wood, he would have to take the animals to the river to drink, to the forest to feed.
For twenty-five years he would lead the most simple, austere life whether he was born a king or a beggar – there was no difference. Even the emperor’s son would have to follow the same routine, there was no distinction. And then life was so blissful.
If the East was so content, this was the trick, the arrangement, because whatsoever life gives, it is always more than you know in the beginning. The child comes to live in a hut, and it looks like a palace. Before, he was just lying there on the ground, without any shelter, crowded. He has an ordinary bed and it is heavenly. Ordinary food – bread, butter, and salt is paradise enough because even butter was not available at the master’s house. So whatsoever life gives, he will be happy.
Now, the Western pattern is quite the opposite. They have things. When you are a student every comfort is given to you. Hostels, beautiful universities, beautiful rooms, classrooms, teachers – every arrangement is made. Medical facilities, food, hygiene, everything is taken care of. And after twenty-five years you are thrown into the struggle of life. You have become a hot-house plant – you don’t know what struggle is. Then you become a clerk in an office, a master in a primary school and life is hell. Then your whole life you will be grunting, your whole life will be a long grump, just complaining, complaining, everything is wrong. It is going to be so.
The monkey trainer said, “Three measures in the morning and four in the evening.”
But the monkeys insisted: “Four in the morning and three in the evening.”
Four in the morning and three in the evening – then the evening is going to be cloudy. You will compare it with the past, with the morning. Emperor in the morning and beggar in the evening – then the evening is going to be miserable. The evening should be a climax, not misery.
The monkeys are not choosing a wise arrangement. In the first place a wise man never chooses, he lives choicelessly because he knows that the total is going to be the same. In the second place, if he has to choose because of objective conditions, he will choose three courses in the morning and four in the evening. But the monkeys said, “No. We will choose. We will have four in the morning.” That trainer, the keeper, was willing – in order to meet objective conditions. He lost nothing by it. But what happened to the monkeys? They lost something.
So whenever you are near a wise man let him arrange, don’t insist on your own arrangements. Because whatsoever you choose, in the first place choice is wrong, in the second place whatever choice you monkeys make, it will be wrong. The monkey mind will only look for immediate, instant happiness, right now. He is not worried about what happens later on. He doesn’t know. He has no perspective of the whole. So let the wise man choose.
But the whole arrangement has changed. In the East the wise men decided. In the West there is democracy – the monkeys vote and choose. And now they have converted the whole East to democracy – democracy means that the monkeys vote and choose.
Aristocracy means that the wise men will choose the arrangement and the monkeys will yield and follow. Nothing can work like aristocracy if it is run properly. Democracy is bound to be a chaos. But the monkeys feel very happy because they are choosing the arrangement. The world was happier when the choice was with wise men.
Remember, kings would always go to ask the wise men for a final decision. The wise men were not kings because they would not like it, they couldn’t be bothered with it. They were beggars, they were living in their huts in the forest. But whenever there was a problem the king would not run to the constituency to ask the people, “What is to be done?” He would run to the forest to ask those who had renounced all – because they have a perspective of the whole, no attachment, no obsessions. Of their own choice they have nothing. They are choiceless; they can see the whole and decide.
The truly wise man,
considering both sides of the question
without partiality,
sees them both in the light of Tao.
This is called following two courses at once.
To look at the total means to follow two courses at once. Then it is not a question of four in the morning, three in the evening. It is a question of seven in the whole life.
Arrangement is immaterial. Things can be arranged according to objective conditions, but seven in all, two courses together. The wise man looks at the whole of everything. Sex gives you pleasure, but he looks also at the pain that comes out of it. Wealth gives you pleasure, but he looks at the nightmare that comes with it. Success makes you happy, but he knows the abyss that follows the peak, the failure that will become intense, unbearable pain.
He looks at the whole. And when you look at the whole you have no choice. Then you are having two courses at the same time. Morning and evening are together now – four plus three are together now. Now nothing is in fragments, everything has become a whole. And to follow this whole is Tao. To follow this whole is to be religious. To follow this whole is Yoga.
Enough for today.

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