The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty 05

Fifth Discourse from the series of 15 discourses - The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

The first question:
I am here only for a very short visit. I have come to try to understand what you have here that the rest of the world does not. Can you help me?
I have nothing to offer to you – only nothing. But that is the greatest thing that can be given as a gift. My only advice to my people is to be nothing, to be nobodies, to be utterly nude of all the clothes that society has given to you – of thought, religion, philosophy – utterly empty of all the conditionings that have been forced on you by others; utterly devoid of all the inhibitions and taboos that time has gathered around you like dust. If you can be an empty mirror, then godliness is. In that empty mirror, godliness reflects – and there is no other way.
I have nothing substantial to give to you because all that is substantial is mundane. I have something intangible to give you, non-substantial, something that you cannot grasp with your hand, something that cannot be measured or weighed. It is called nothing, it is called meditation, it is called a state of consciousness without content.
But I can only point the way. I cannot give it to you. It is untransferable. It is not a thing, so how can it be transferred? You cannot purchase it, you cannot steal it – you can only allow it to happen. I am just a certain space, a certain context in which this immensely potential nothing can happen. But it all depends on you, not on me. It all depends on you. If you allow it to happen, it will open doors to the divine, it will reveal to you the mysteries of life. It is not going to answer your questions because life is not a question–answer thing; it is not a problem. It will dissolve your questions, certainly, although it will not solve them – but you will be transformed. It is not knowledge that you will gain, but knowing, eyes, insight.
But you say: “I am only here on a very short visit…” In such a hurry it is not possible. In such a hurry, you will not be able to relax, to imbibe.
An ancient Zen story says…

A young man came to a Zen master to learn about meditation. The Zen master said, “Are you capable of waiting?”
The young man, of course, asked, “How long?”
The Zen master said, “That is enough for me to reject you. To ask ‘How long?’ means you are not ready to wait. If you can simply wait without asking ‘How long?’ then you are capable of waiting.”
The young man understood the point. He bowed down and remained with the master.
One year passed and not a single word was said to the disciple. Two years passed… Three years passed… “Now it is too much. Nothing has even been started, not a single lesson. How long can one wait?” Again the question became very prominent in his consciousness: “How long?”
He went to the master and said, “I have waited three years.”
The master said, “So you have been counting? That simply shows you don’t know how to wait. Counting? Counting days with the master?
“In one sense, each moment is an eternity; in another sense, eternity is just a moment. You are unworthy! You will have to wait. You will have to learn how to wait. Be alert – from tomorrow the lessons will start.”
And the lesson was very strange. The young man was sweeping the floor when the master came from behind and hit him hard with his staff on his back. Shocked, the young man said, “Is this the beginning of meditation after three years of waiting?”
The master replied, “Yes – now be alert. I will hit you any moment, any time. Be watchful, be alert, be on your guard.” It continued for months. His whole body would ache in the night because it would happen many times in the day that the master would suddenly jump from anywhere… He was very old, but he was really a cat.
But, slowly, slowly a strange awareness started arising in the young man. Just when the master would be on the verge of hitting him, he would dodge – even from the back. And although he was occupied in his work, a subtle awareness remained there. It was bound to be so; he was suffering so much.
Pain is a must for growth, suffering is absolutely necessary for growth. Unless you suffer you cannot be aware. Suffering brings awareness and voluntary suffering brings tremendous awareness. Willingly he was suffering. He could have escaped, no one was preventing him. It was his own choice. He had chosen the master.
Now he started to understand why: “This is his teaching. This is how he is teaching meditation.” Now it dawned in his consciousness. He was immensely grateful.
The day came when the master came from behind and just before he was going to hit him, the young man jumped, dodged. The master’s stick fell on the ground and the young man was immensely happy. Something new had happened in his being. The master blessed him.
But from that day, things became even more difficult. The master started hitting him while he was asleep. Now, this was too much. In the night, any time… And the master was very old; naturally, he didn’t sleep much, so whenever he woke, he would go and hit the young man. But the young man knew. “I may not understand the process of it, but the master’s hitting in the day has been of such immense benediction, has been such a transformation, that without any question, I accept this too.” He didn’t say, “This is absurd, this is ridiculous. It is okay that you hit me in the day – I can at least protect myself, run away, escape, dodge – but what can I do when I am asleep?” He didn’t say it.
The master said, “This is a good sign. For the first time you are learning trust. You have not asked the question.”
After two, three months of being hit in the night, his body would ache the whole day. In the day he was able to protect himself. But one night it happened. The master entered the room and he opened his eyes and said, “Wait! I am awake.”
It happened more and more. It became impossible to hit him. Immediately the master entered the room, he would open his eyes – as if he was not asleep at all. That was not so. He was fast asleep, but a part of his being was released from the metaphysical sleep, the tip of the iceberg, just a small part. But it went on like a lit candle inside – watching, waiting.
The master was very happy. The next morning, the master was sitting underneath a tree reading some old sutras, some old scripture. Suddenly – the young man was sweeping the garden and an idea arose in him. “This old man has been hitting me for almost one year, day in, day out. How will it be if I try once to hit him? It will be worth seeing how he reacts.”
The master closed his sutras and said, “You stupid man! I am an old man. Don’t have such ideas.”

Yes, the ultimate state of awareness where even the footprints, the step sounds of thoughts are heard. You are in such a hurry that you cannot relax. Meditation is not a hit-or-miss affair. It needs tremendous waiting; it needs love, trust. It needs a very unhurried approach. In fact, it needs a mind which is not goal-oriented at all. But if you are in a hurry, it will be impossible.
You ask me, “I have come to try to understand…” Understanding is not something that you can try, it is not an effort. It is not something that you can concentrate, contemplate upon. Understanding is not of the mind; it is of the heart. You will have to fall in love.
That’s what sannyas is all about: falling in love with a master, for no reason at all. Just for the sheer joy of falling in love with someone who has disappeared, who is no more, who has become a great nothing, who has become a silence. Of course, that silence is full of songs and that silence is music, celestial music. That silence is not negatively empty. It is empty of noise, but full of melodies. It is empty of thoughts, but full of awareness. It is empty of darkness and death, but full of light and life.
Unless one falls in love, the process of understanding cannot be triggered. You can be here, you can listen to me, but only words will reach you. Those words will become part of your memory; they will make you more knowledgeable. But to be knowledgeable is utterly futile; it doesn’t help. To know about God is not to know God because the word God is not God. To know about love is not to know love because the word love is not love.
You will have to move in an experiential space. For that, waiting is needed, a relaxed, non-goal-oriented attitude is needed; otherwise you will not understand a thing. You will only misunderstand. The head only knows how to misunderstand. It is only the heart which knows how to understand. Love is the only way to know. Logic is a pretend. It only pretends that it knows. It befools you, it deceives you. It is only love that opens the eyes of knowing.
But see: the head goes on condemning love. The head says, “Love is blind.” Only love has eyes. Without love, everything is blind. But the head condemns the heart and the head is really very skillful in creating counterfeit phenomena. Instead of understanding, it spins and weaves knowledgeability. And knowledgeability is a false coin. It is not understanding. Understanding means you have tasted, lived, loved, been in a totally different space. You have visited the innermost core of your being.
Knowledge simply means that you have heard someone talk about it. Knowledge only goes on adding to your memory, not to your being. Understanding helps your being to grow, to mature.
If you are here to understand, forget about going so quickly. Just look; so many people here had come only for a few days. Then a few years have passed. I am happy about my people. They don’t even count and they don’t go on asking me “How long is it going to take?” They know that it is not a question of “How long?” It can happen any moment. It is only a question of your own openness, your own intensity, your own passionate desire to know, your own love.
It is unpredictable. It is not a commodity. If it had been a thing, I would have given it to you very joyously. I am helpless – I cannot give it to you. I am creating the space in which it can happen, but it happens indirectly. Understanding is not direct, it is very indirect. If you approach understanding directly, it is very shy, it escapes. It is very elusive.
When you start moving toward understanding you have to be very, very alert and watchful – in indirect ways. All that is great in life happens only indirectly. It may be understanding, or happiness, poetry, painting, sculpture; it may be art, it may even be a discovery of science. All that is great happens indirectly.
Now it is a well-known fact that scientists go on struggling to understand something. They fail again and again and again. One day suddenly, when they are not struggling at all – maybe smoking a cigar, or just resting in their bathtub, or digging in the garden – it pops up. And they have been struggling so long and it was not coming.
There is a certain secret to it. When you are too intent, too direct, too aggressive, life does not reveal its secrets. It reveals only to people who are nonaggressive. When you are too intent, too aggressive, too violent and are trying to conquer some secret of life, you become very narrow. Your consciousness closes and you are no longer wide open. And truth is so big that it cannot enter a narrow consciousness.
When you are relaxed, the narrowness disappears; you are open from all sides – maybe just playing with soap bubbles in your bathtub… That’s exactly what Albert Einstein used to do. All his great discoveries happened while he was playing with soap bubbles in his bathtub. You will be surprised to know that for many hours, he would remain in his bathtub playing with soap bubbles. His wife was very embarrassed to tell people.
One of my friends went to see him and he had to wait for six hours – because he wouldn’t come out of the bathroom. Finally his wife had to tell him the truth. “He can never be disturbed when he is in the bathroom. He can be disturbed when he is in his lab, but not when he is in his bathroom – because he becomes so utterly relaxed that all the great insights happen to him there. So nothing can be done. He may be playing with soap bubbles, but from playing with soap bubbles he has come to know about stars, faraway, faraway stars.” Playing with soap bubbles… Even stars which are so far away that their light has not reached since the earth came into existence – for millions of years the earth has been in existence; their light has not reached the earth yet. And light travels with terrific speed; a greater speed is inconceivable.
Light travels 186,000 miles per second. Light has been traveling from those stars since the earth came into existence. And still it has not reached the earth. Einstein became aware of those stars playing with soap bubbles. He became aware of the greatest discovery of this age – the theory of relativity – in his bathtub.
This is simply to say that life is ready to reveal itself when you are nonaggressive, when you are like a child playing with reality. All that is great happens in fun, in playfulness.
You are too intent. You say: “I am only here on a very short visit. I have come to try to understand what you have here that the rest of the world does not.” What I have here is everywhere, but maybe you cannot see it somewhere else. You need a certain space in which you can relax – that space is nowhere else. Religion is very serious all over the world. Here with me religion is a nonserious phenomenon. Elsewhere, life is taken as a great problem, a theological problem. Here it is thought to be a beautiful joke. Prayer is thought to be very sacred in other places. Here, just to be celebrating, anything… The whole question is just to be celebrating. If you are eating your food with celebration, it is prayer; if you are taking your bath with celebration, it is prayer. If you have joy in the heart, it is prayer. Prayer is not a ritual here. You need not repeat certain words, you need not move through certain gestures. Prayer is a quality here, not an activity – a flavor, a subtle dance of your inner energy.
Listening to the birds – and it is prayer. Seeing the trees, with all their green, red, gold – and it is prayer. A bird on the wing and you are simply watching with great joy, with a certain relatedness to the bird, a certain affinity, empathy, as if you are on the wing – it is prayer.
Prayer is not something special here. It is the day-to-day ordinary life, with a new quality – the quality of joy added to it, the quality of surrender and offering added to it. Any act offered to existence is sacred. If you can offer all your acts to existence, everything is sacred.
There are thousands of churches and temples in the world; there are thousands of teachers, great teachers, very learned teachers. I am not a learned man and I am not a teacher because I have no teaching to impart. I am just a silent stillness; I am just love in my heart, a playfulness. If you can be here, without any idea of when you are leaving, if you can just be here and imbibe the spirit of this buddhafield, this energy field, something is possible – something impossible is possible, which may not be possible anywhere else. And as far as I know, right now, there exists no buddhafield in the world except this.
Christians, Hindus, Mohammedans, Jainas, Buddhists – there are three hundred religious on the earth, but all are hangovers of the past. Their masters are long dead. They are traditions not religions, conventions not religions, conformities not revolutions.
Here it is not a tradition that I am making available to you. It has nothing to do with the past. It is a new beginning. And it is very fortunate to be at the beginning of something, to be at the very source of something.
The people who walked with Jesus were immensely fortunate – they were at the very source, at the purest source. The people who walked and lived with Buddha were immensely blessed, but now to be Buddhist is just meaningless. Twenty-five centuries have passed and in these twenty-five centuries Buddhism has been corrupted so much. Now it is almost impossible to sort out what Buddha said; what has been added, deleted from it. It is almost impossible to say what has come from Buddha and what these twenty-five centuries have gathered around it.
It is like a snowball rolling. More and more snow goes on collecting around it; the original face is lost. You will even be surprised that the Buddhist statues have nothing to do with the real face of Buddha. The Buddhist statues have something more to do with the face of Alexander the Great – because with the arrival of Alexander the Great, for the first time Indians became aware of Greek beauty and particularly of Greek male beauty.
Greeks were not interested in female beauty at all, remember, their whole idea was of male beauty. If you look at ancient statues that the Greek culture left, you will not find statues of women. You will find statues of men, statues of nude men. They were tremendously in love with male beauty, the male body. The female body was not thought to be beautiful in Greece.
They created beautiful statues of nude male bodies. Those statues, and those Greeks who came to India with Alexander the Great, gave the idea of how the Buddha’s face should be made. Buddha’s statues do not correspond with his real face – they are Greek in origin. And everything like that has been changed.
The day Buddha died, the monks started quarreling about each and everything. Thirty-six schools immediately arose, thirty-six sects. This one man they have all loved, this one man they all have heard – but they have heard according to their own minds. And when a man like Buddha is there, he releases great power. There are power-hungry people who immediately jump on it, exploit it. These power-hungry people are really politicians.
St. Paul, who created Christianity, is a politician. Christianity has nothing to do with Christ, and Buddhism has nothing to do with Buddha. Buddhism was created by King Ashoka, the great emperor. He spread Buddhism all over Asia. It was he – and I don’t think that he was a man of any great understanding or enlightenment; politicians never are. It became a new power trip. Someone can spread his worldly riches more and more and more, someone can spread his empire of political domination, someone else can spread his religious empire – but it is all the same. The desire is to dominate more and more people. Politicians are not very intelligent people.
Those thirty-six people who started quarreling must have been politicians. And this is something that is always going to happen. It is something in the nature of things; it cannot be avoided. Those who were really in tune with Buddha remained silent. The shock was such – Buddha’s leaving the body – that they were shattered, they were crying and weeping. They were missing their master; their hearts were no longer in their right place. They were not interested at all in creating schisms, sects, divisions, politics. But there were idiots and they are always around – seek one and you will find a thousand and one. They are always around. When one idiot goes, immediately another idiot takes his place.
Just the other day I was reading that in Uganda, Idi Amin is gone. He was known as “Idiot Amin.” Now, do you know who has succeeded him? – a man called Lulu. One idiot goes, another lulu comes. It is a very strange world. You cannot get rid of idiots and lulus.
Once the master is gone, the politicians are there immediately, ready to grab the power. And politics remains as long as the ego remains; politics is the shadow of the ego. So you can go to a Christian church or a Hindu temple; you go empty-handed and you will come back empty-handed. Unless you can find an alive buddhafield, pulsating, streaming with life – this is what is happening here…
Something is possible. I cannot promise you that I can give it to you. I can only say that the space is here and the space is becoming richer and richer every day, more and more dimensional every day. If you are ready to dive deep into the world that we are creating here – it is an invisible world – something of great value is possible.
You ask me: “Can you help me?” That’s what I am here for. That is not the real question. Can you take my help? That is the real question. Are you ready to take my help? Will you allow me to help you? Will you resist? Will you open your heart for me to come in? And my coming into your heart is great surgery. It is painful in the beginning with agony on the way, ecstasy only in the end.

The second question:
Why do all the buddhas say the same thing?
Truth is one. Even if it is said differently, it is the same truth. Languages may differ, metaphors may differ, parables may differ, but if you really look a little deep, all parables, all languages, all metaphors, culminate in one truth. Truth is one – what can buddhas do? Although each buddha speaks in his own way, his expression has his signature on it. His expression is just his and no one else’s. But still those who can see will always find that it is the same diamond – maybe we have been shown only one aspect of it by Krishna, another aspect by Christ, still another by Mohammed, but those are aspects of the same diamond.
The diamond is one, this universe is one. All the buddhas have been saying the same thing, in different languages, in different ways. Those differences come from their individualities, not from their experience. The moment of experience is wordless, the moment of experience is thoughtless. So when Buddha experienced it, it was the same purity of consciousness as when Jesus experienced it.
Two purities cannot be different; two impurities can be different. Two healths cannot be different; two diseases can be different. Two silences cannot be different; two noises can be different. The truth is known in silence, but you cannot utter it in silence – you have to use words, language, noise. And immediately… When Buddha speaks, he speaks in Pali; that is the language that he knows, that is his mother tongue. Jesus speaks in Aramaic; that is his mother tongue. If Jesus and Buddha had met, they would not have understood each other’s language at all, but they would have looked into each other’s eyes and would have understood each other totally.
A Sufi story…

One evening, Mulla Nasruddin is sitting in the village square plucking the strings of a sitar. Little by little, an expectant circle of villagers gathers around him. He keeps on playing just one note. Finally, one villager inquires, “That’s a very nice note you are playing, Mulla, but most musicians use all the notes. Why don’t you?”
“Those donkeys,” retorts the Mulla, “they are searching for the note, but I have found it!”

Truth is one – when you have found it, you can go on repeating it, you can find different ways to repeat it, unique ways to express it. You can devise your own methods. Many methods have been devised, because of the compassion of the enlightened ones. Strange methods, very contradictory to each other.
If you go to a Sufi saint, he will be very polite to you, he may even touch your feet – because the Sufis respect godliness in all forms. That is their device. When a Sufi master touches your feet, just think of that moment, contemplate over the moment – a Bahauddin, a Jalaluddin Rumi, a Farid; great masters, diamonds of the purest water. A Bahauddin touching your feet, it is a device. In that moment when Bahauddin touches your feet, you are bound to fall silent, however noisy your mind. When Bahauddin touches your feet, a great silence will descend on you. He is giving you a taste of his meditation in this way; this is his device.
A Zen master is just the opposite. When you go to him, you have to bow down seven times. You ask some innocent question and he jumps on you, hits you on the head – so unexpectedly. A very different device, but just think: a Bodhidharma, a Rinzai, a Bokuju, jumping on you, hitting you on your head. For a moment all thinking stops – so unexpected. You had asked a simple question, “Is there a God?” and he became furious. You cannot figure it out – why? And he gives you no time to figure it out; he gives you no time to escape either.

It happened once that when Bokuju met his master and asked something about Buddha, the master took him physically and threw him out of the window – and from a three-story building! The poor fellow fell onto a rock and smashed himself. The master was looking from the window and asked, “Do you understand now?” The whole ridiculousness of it; the silence of the garden, the silence of the accident – the shock. The master’s smiling face, those compassionate eyes and his asking, “Now do you understand?”
In that moment, Bokuju became enlightened. He said, “Yes, yes, master. Can I come in and touch your feet in gratitude?”
“You are welcome,” the master said, “to have a cup of tea with me.”
And they are sipping tea together.

Something immensely valuable has happened. In that moment, in that dangerous moment when you are falling, it is almost as if you are going to die – you are finished. How can you think? In dangerous moments thinking stops. When you come across a snake, suddenly thinking stops. You don’t decide to jump out of the way, remember – you jump first and then you decide; then you can think over it, then you can afford to think over it. But you jump first.
Gurdjieff used to say that the mind is very slow in action. He is right. The body is far quicker. The mind is very lethargic. It goes round and round in circles. So whenever there is some urgency, your existence does not allow your mind to go round and round through logical processes to come to a conclusion because it will be too late. By the time you have decided… For example, if a snake is passing by and you give it to the mind, there is trouble. First the mind will say, “Ninety-seven percent of snakes are nonpoisonous, so there are only three chances out of a hundred that this snake is poisonous. Out of a hundred people who are bitten by snakes, they don’t all die. Only five percent die, ninety-five percent are saved. And those five persons who die, maybe they were going to die anyway. So what is the hurry? Why bother? One has to die one day.”
Such great philosophical ideas about death and the immortality of the soul – and snakes don’t care about these things. They are absolutely nonphilosophical; they won’t give you that much time. The snake may strike you before you have come to any conclusion.
Gurdjieff is right. He says that whenever there is any urgency, the body immediately takes over from the mind. It does not give the mind any chance to do – it does it on its own. The body has its own wisdom, it jumps out of the way. It is almost an inbuilt response, so no thinking is needed.
That’s what Zen people have been doing with their disciples.

A Zen master had this habit that whenever he would talk of God, of Buddha, of the higher dimensions of life, he would raise one of his fingers toward the sky. It became so characteristic of him that one of his small sannyasins, a young boy – must have been about the age of Siddhartha – became very interested in this one finger pointing upward. And he was always in attendance just to do something for the master – if he needs some tea, he would run and bring it, or just to be by his side and to help him get rid of the mosquitoes.
He learned the trick and playfully, whenever the master was not looking at him, he would show one finger to the audience. The master knew. The people would laugh, or smile and he would know who was doing the trick.
One day – and this can be done only by a Zen master – he simply caught hold of the child when he was making the gesture of one finger pointing to heaven and cut the finger off with a sharp knife. Now, just think of doing such a thing to poor Siddhartha… The child cried, screamed and the master said, “Stop! Put the finger up!” And his shout was such, it was such a thunder-like shout, that the child forgot all about his finger – that it had been cut off and blood was oozing out – and he showed the finger which was no longer there because the master had ordered it.
In that moment when he was showing the finger which was no longer there, he became aware of the invisible. The master was not pointing to something visible, but something invisible. And the child started laughing and the master took him into his embrace and said, “You have understood.”

It is said that the small child had his first satori. And later on became a famous enlightened master.
Different approaches, but the truth is one. The truth is silence – a single note of silence. Be silent and know and you will also know the same thing that the buddhas have always known and will always know: truth is eternal. It has nothing to do with time, it never changes.

The last question:
Is it not good to teach children something of religion? Will it not benefit, help them, to know something about Jesus Christ?
Religion cannot be taught to children or to grown-ups. It cannot even be taught to grown-ups, so how can it be taught to children? Religion as such cannot be taught. It can only be caught if you live a religious life. And by “religious life” I don’t mean the life of a Christian or a Hindu; by “religious life” I mean a life full of love, prayer, celebration, joy, cheerfulness, gratitude. If you live a religious life, children are bound to catch it. Teaching is needed because you don’t live a religious life, so you tell them theories. Those theories are not going to help at all. When a child is thirsty, don’t talk about H2O – give him water. He needs water. Don’t tell him, “H2O is the formula which contains water, which contains all the oceans – don’t worry. Just remember H2O is equivalent to water.”
The child will say, “How can I drink H2O?” And then the ridiculous thing happens. The child will think if you repeat H2O, H2O, H2O, H2O, then maybe someday, by repeating it constantly – intensely, chanting it again and again, using it as a mantra – a miracle will happen.
People are chanting “Rama, Rama, Rama,” “Ave Maria,” “Jesus,” “Allah” – a thousand and one formulas. You can go on chanting – they are all H2O, H2O, H2O. You are simply wasting your time and not only wasting your time, you are destroying your intelligence too.
The man who gets in such a repetitive routine becomes stupid. He loses the sharpness of his intelligence. What are you going to teach the children? What is religion after all? Is there some way to teach it? Yes, you can teach Christianity because Christianity is a doctrine; you can teach Buddhism because Buddhism is a doctrine. A doctrine can be taught, but religion has nothing to do with doctrine. Religion is not a doctrine, it is an experience.
You cannot teach it, but you can create the context. You can live in such a way that the child slowly, slowly imbibes the spirit. And children are very vulnerable, very flexible and very attentive too. They are always ready to learn. If something of immense beauty is felt by them, they learn it, they drink it, they digest it.
But you teach them stupid doctrines. For example, you teach them that Christ was born of a virgin mother – now the child will laugh at you because now children know much more than you think.

A small boy gave the following summary of his Sunday school lesson: “There were these Jews who had broken out of a prison camp in Egypt. They ran and ran until they came to a wide lake. The prison guards were closing in, so the Jews jumped into the water and swam out to some boats that were waiting for them. The guards got in submarines and tried to torpedo the boats, but the Jews set off depth charges and blew up all the submarines and made it safe to the other side. Everyone called the Admiral by his first name, Moses.”
The boy’s father asked, “Son, are you certain that that is what your teacher told you?”
“Dad,” responded the boy, “if you can’t believe my story, you would never believe the one the teacher told.”

Now, telling children these stupid stories is not helping them to become religious; on the contrary, you are helping them to become anti-religious. When they grow up they will know that all those religious doctrines were fairy tales.
Your God, your Jesus Christ, will turn into Santa Claus later on in the child’s mind – deceptions, fables, to keep children occupied. Once children know that what you have been telling them as absolute truth is just lies and nothing else, you have destroyed something very valuable in their being. They will never become interested in religion at all.
My own observation is that the world is becoming more and more irreligious because of religious teaching. No child should be taught any religious doctrine.
Yes, when you are praying, let the child be present there. When you are dancing, let the child be present there. The child will soon join you. How can the child resist joining a dance? Let the child know that life has grace in it; let the child know that life is not only suffering but ecstasy too. Let the child know that laughter is good, divine, that love is good, godly.
And these things are not to be taught; they have to be imbibed by the child. You have to create the vibe. Sooner or later the child will start becoming aware of many more things which cannot be seen just by the physical eyes because you will have given him more sensitivity. Otherwise you can go on teaching him and no one even remembers. How much do you remember that was taught to you? No one even remembers; everything is thrown in the garbage.

Three Italians were driving fast on the expressway when their car collided with a truck and they were instantly killed. Finding themselves at heaven’s door, they knocked and God answered. “What do you want?” God asked.
“We want to come in,” they replied.
God said, “Before you can enter you must answer a question.” He pointed to one Italian and said, “You, Vito, tell me, what is Easter about?”
Vito paused, then with an Italian accent answered, “Thatsa when there are lotsa parades alla over America. Fireworks are shot at night and the people go ona picnics. Itsa celebrated in July.”
“Sorry, Vito,” God said, “but you must go to hell.”
Pointing at Pietro, God said, “You, Pietro, tell me what Easter is about?”
Pietro smiled and replied, “I know, God, thatsa when some time ina November the family gathers together and eatsa turkey, pumpkin pie, potatoes…”
“Sorry, Pietro,” God said, “you must go to hell.”
Looking at Giuseppe, God said, “You, Giuseppe, you have been an altar boy for ten years. You go to church every Sunday. You tell me what Easter is about.”
Giuseppe replied, “Thatsa when the people who did not like your poor son and what he said hung him upa on a cross. For three hours your son he hang there before he died. Thena his mother and friends, they take him down from the cross, wrap his body up and put the body in a cave and they roll a huge stone in front of the cave. For three days your son was in the cave and on the third day he wakes up from the dead, rolls back the stone, goes out of the cave. Hea no seea his shadow, so he goes back in for sixa more months.”

You can go on teaching – no one is listening. Children are helpless; they have to go to Sunday school, so they go. They have to listen, so they listen – but they are not there. Later on they say and they know that it was all just nonsense. They may not say anything, but they know certainly that it was all nonsense.
This is not the way to help the world become more religious. This is the way we have tried for centuries – and we have failed. Instead of the earth becoming more religious, it has become more and more irreligious every day. As the teaching has spread, as there have been more and more missionaries, more and more teachers, more and more people indoctrinating others, the world has turned more and more irreligious – not only irreligious but anti-religious too.
It is time to understand that something is basically wrong. This is not the way to teach religion. Religion can only be caught and not taught. Yes, it happens with a Jesus because Jesus creates the space where it can happen.

A disciple once asked Jesus, “What is prayer?”
Do you know what he did? He simply fell on his knees and started praying; tears started rolling down his cheeks. This is creating a space. Now he is creating prayer itself. What is the need to say anything?
Seeing it, the disciple fell on his knees. For the first time he felt the tremendous beauty of surrender and a great joy in feeling grateful to God. Tears started flowing down his cheeks too. They were both crying – in joy, in gratitude.
Finally, Jesus asked him, “Now do you know what prayer is.”
He nodded and said, “Yes, master. Now I know what prayer is.”

This is the way to teach. Not giving theoretical answers, not giving absurd, outdated, metaphysical doctrines, which may have looked relevant one day, but now look simply stupid. Now, say to a child that God created the world just four thousand and four years before Jesus Christ and the child will smile at you. The child knows that “Either you are befooling me, or you are in utter ignorance.”
The world has existed for millions of years. In fact, there has never been a beginning. God is not the creator in reality but the creativity. To say to a child that God finished the world in six days and then rested on the seventh because he was tired – now, that means that since then he has not bothered about us at all.

A man went to his tailor and asked, “How long is it going to take for my suit to be ready? You have been promising it already for six weeks and you say again and again, ‘Come again, come again…’ And do you know that God created the world in only six days? In six weeks you have not been able to even create my suit.”
Do you know what the tailor said? He said, “Yes, I know – and look at the world, then look at my suit and you will see the difference. The world is in a mess. This is what happens when you create something in six days.”

“God” is still creating. In fact, to think of God as a separate person from existence is not experiential. Those who have experienced, they say “God” is the very creativity of existence – he is not a creator. Existence creates itself. It is a self-creating process. It is unending and eternal. And how are you going to describe God? – a very, very old man with a long white beard, sitting on a throne up in heaven. Do you know what ideas come to children’s minds? You will be surprised.
Carl Gustav Jung in his memoirs writes… He was the son of a clergyman, so he used to listen to the sermons about God sitting on the throne and watching everyone from there. Jung says, “The idea that always came to my mind was that if he starts urinating, then what will happen? Sitting on top – and sometimes he must feel like pissing, then what?”
Children are children. When you talk to children, be very alert. They have their own ideas. And he would start giggling at the whole idea because his father knew nothing about it.
One day, his father asked him, “Why do you giggle whenever I talk about God sitting on the throne?” So he told the father. His father said, “Shut up! Never think such things!”
Jung said, “This is nothing. I think even worse things.” And Jung relates that that idea persisted and persisted – even when he became older. Once in a while, whenever he would see a picture of God up there in a church, immediately the idea would come.
Your teachings cannot be of any help – only your life. Live. If you really love your children, live in such a way that they start feeling that there are things which are not visible but still they are. You need not convince them. They don’t ask for proofs, they don’t understand proofs. They are not asking for arguments – they are asking for existential experiences.
They are always ready to go on any adventure – more ready than you. You may be afraid for safety, security and a thousand and one things. Children are never afraid. Children are more fearless than you. They can have a more immediate contact with godliness than you can ever have.
But we give them so many rotten theories. In the name of religion, too, we go on teaching them a kind of ambitiousness, competitiveness. “Be better than others! Be more religious than others. Be holier than others. Be purer than others, more virtuous, more righteous. Then God will reward you – and if you are not, you will be punished in hell.”
This is psychological conditioning; making them afraid and making them greedy. And you call this religion? To make a person fearful is religion? Religion is when a person becomes fearless. To make a person greedy for rewards in the other life is religion? Religion is when there is no greed.
And you make them competitive. “Compete with others! Be more virtuous, more saintly. Look at other boys, how well-behaved they are, how religious they are!” You are creating a subtle ego in their minds, a pious ego, so when the boy goes to the church he feels holier than everyone else. He looks around – he knows he is higher. He has risen on the ladder and soon paradise will be his.
This is poisoning your children with competitiveness. This competitiveness is there in the marketplace, it is in the monastery too. In the marketplace it can be forgiven, but not in the monastery. When people are rushing for money, it’s okay, understandable, that they will be competitive. But for virtue too, the same rush?
Once the goal becomes too important, the means loses all importance. When the end becomes all-important, then any means will do, fair or foul, but one has to attain the end.
This is not creating religiousness. A religious mind is noncompetitive, utterly unambitious. He has nowhere to go – no hell to fear, no heaven to attain. He is in God right now, in this very moment. This moment is all and all. And he never compares himself with anyone else. Your saints go on comparing. Who is higher? Who is a bigger saint? All these so-called saints are just stupid children, still thinking in terms of what they have learned in their schools, still not out of their teens.
I have heard…

Once, a newly married deaf and dumb couple were on their honeymoon. They took off their clothes to have some fun when the wife signaled in sign language, “Did you bring the safes?”
“Oh no,” replied the man in sign language, “I forgot.”
Using her fingers, she said, “You will have to get dressed and get some because I am not going to do it without safes.”
“But I am deaf and dumb,” cried the man. “How am I gonna get the man at the drugstore to understand what I want?”
“Oh, that’s easy,” replied the wife. “You just go to the counter, lay down a ten dollar bill, take your prick out and lay it on the counter; the man will know what you want.” The man went out and came back a half an hour later looking very sheepish.
“Well, did you get them, did you get the safes?” asked the expectant wife.
The man just hung his head and said no.
“Well, did you do what I said?” asked the now frustrated wife.
“Yes,” he replied.
“So, what happened?”
“Well, I went to the counter and put down the ten dollars. Then I pulled out my prick and put it on the counter. Then the man behind the counter put ten dollars on the counter and pulled out his prick and put it on the counter.”
“So, what happened?” asked the curious wife.
“Well,” replied the husband, “his was bigger so he took all the money!”

Competition, competition, competition – everywhere competition. And this story is not just a story. If you ask Sigmund Freud, he will say that this is exactly from where competition arises. Small boys become very worried about their genital organs. “Who has the bigger one?”
All competition is rooted there, originates there. Then it spreads all over your life. It is basically sexual. It takes many forms, many masks and facades. Who has the biggest car? It is nothing but the same story. Whose prick is bigger? Who has the biggest house? It is the same story again. These are different symbols for the same sexual competition.
Who is the greatest saint? – the story is not different.
Enough for today.

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