The Secret 08

Eighth Discourse from the series of 21 discourses - The Secret by Osho.
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The first question:
I too, then, am a donkey. If you had given me IHMN to meditate over, I would have silently accepted it out of trust that you were giving me what I needed. Or is it a matter of trust? Can you please explain the right attitude of a disciple receiving instruction from the master?
The moment you recognize that you are ignorant, you are no longer ignorant – because only intelligence can see the point of your own stupidity. The stupid person cannot see it; that’s why he is stupid. The most fundamental stupidity is that you cannot see it. When you start seeing your unintelligence, intelligence is arising in you. When you start recognizing your confusion, you are becoming clear. Otherwise who will recognize the confusion? You are becoming separate from the confusion.
You say, “I too, then, am a donkey.” If you can really see it, then you are no longer. Then the first ray of intelligence has penetrated you. No donkey can accept it, the donkey will make much fuss about it. If you tell the donkey, “You are a donkey,” he will kick you! He will become your enemy. But if you can find a donkey who simply tries to understand the fact of his stupidity, that’s enough proof that the change has started happening.
And secondly, you did not rightly understand the meaning of the story. The person who had come to the Sufi master was not a disciple. He was just curious. He had come accidentally. Just because he was going to all kinds of people – to all masters, learned people, schools – he had come to this master too. It was just part of his accidental life. He was not there to seek and to search. He was not there to be in the company of the master, he was not ready to dissolve into the master. He was not surrendered either.
Listen to the story again:
A man who had spent many years trying to puzzle out meanings went to see a Sufi and told him about his search.
He must have bragged about his search. He had come to be recognized by the master: “Yes, you are a great seeker; you have already done so much.” He had come to be certified. He had not come as a seeker, he had not come to become part of the family of the master – because unless somebody becomes part of the family of the master, falls in tune with the master, nothing can be done for him. He was an outsider, just a visitor, was bragging about his search, which was utterly meaningless because he was simply trying to think about puzzles.
That’s what philosophy is: it is nothing but trying to puzzle out meanings. It is like a blind man thinking about light.
You must have heard the ancient Indian parable that five blind men went to see an elephant. They touched the elephant from all sides. Somebody touched his legs and thought that the elephant is like a pillar, obviously, and so on, so forth, and they all started quarreling. Everybody was proposing a philosophy about the elephant and nobody had seen the elephant. They were all blind, but a part of the elephant had been touched by each. But the part is not the whole, and if you start calling the part the whole, you are falling into one of the greatest lies possible. It is the greatest lie because it contains a little portion of truth in it. It is a half-truth, a partial truth, and a partial truth is more dangerous than a total lie because it can deceive people. You can be deceived through it, and you can deceive others because it contains a little ingredient of truth.
They all started fighting and quarreling. That’s what philosophers have been doing: this is a story about philosophers.
Each philosopher has touched a part – because the totality is not conceivable through the intellect. The totality is conceivable only when you dissolve your ego, your intellect, your heart, everything into it, when you disappear into the ocean like a dewdrop falling into the ocean. Then you know the whole of it, then you see, then you experience. Otherwise, everybody comes to touch a small portion of this infinite universe and then he starts claiming, “This is the truth.” That’s how systems of philosophy arise.
The man must have been a philosopher. He was trying out, figuring out what this reality is, who has created it, why he has created it, what is the purpose of existence, what is the goal, what is the source. And those are all puzzles, and insoluble puzzles: they cannot be solved. Only stupid people become interested in them, but these stupid people think they are religious. Seeing the man’s utter stupidity, the master gave him another puzzle – because that’s what he was interested in.
I will not give you IHMN unless I see that a donkey has arrived. Donkeys keep far away from me, they know that they will be exposed here. They never come close to me. It needs courage to come close to me because the closer you come, the more you will be exposed. The closer you come, the more naked you will be standing under the sun. The closer you come, the more your image about yourself will be shattered into pieces. The closer you come, the more you will see that whatever you have been doing up to now has been utterly absurd.
It needs guts to come close to me. It always needs guts to come close to a master.
The man had come just out of curiosity: maybe he could get another puzzle. His interest was not truth, his interest was puzzles. He wanted a puzzle so he could take the challenge and start working out a way to solve it. He was not interested in truth.
Truth is not a puzzle at all. Let me repeat it: truth is not a puzzle. Truth is not a problem, not at all. Truth is very simple, utterly simple. And truth is not a problem, but a mystery – just as love is a mystery, not a problem. You cannot solve it through logic, mathematics. You can move into love, you can be madly in love, you can have the taste of it, it can transform you. It is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived.
Truth is this mystery that surrounds you, in the form of people, in the form of trees, animals, birds, stars. This whole mystery is the truth. There is nothing problematic about it. It is already here. You are in it, how can you solve it? You are it, who is there to solve it? There is nobody except the mystery. How can a small ripple in the ocean solve the mystery of the ocean? It itself is part of the mystery. So are you.
The religious person is one who has seen the fact that existence is not problematic; it is mysterious, it is miraculous. Dive deep into it. Celebrate it. Make a festival out of it. Sing, dance, love, pray, paint, create music – but don’t try to solve it.
The musician is much closer than the philosopher; so is the poet much closer than the philosopher; so is the dancer even closer than the musician and the poet. Why is the dancer so much closer? Because in the dance you dissolve; the dancer disappears and only the dance remains. Dance is one of the deepest meditations possible.
In India we have conceived of God as a dancer, Nataraj. That is very significant – because when a painter paints, immediately he becomes separate from the painting. If the painting remains in his being, he is one with it. When it is yet hidden, just a seed, just a thought, a dream, the painter is one with his painting. The moment he has painted it, poured it on the canvas, he has become separate from it. Duality has arisen. So is the case with the poet, so is the case with the musician.
Only the dancer has something unique: the dancer remains one with the dance. Even when he starts dancing, the unity is not broken, there is no duality: utter oneness. In fact, when the dancer is thinking about the dance there is a duality – the idea of the dance and the dancer – there is a subtle duality. The moment he starts dancing even that duality disappears. Then the dancer is the dance. There is no dancer separate from the dance, no dance separate from the dancer. This is unio mystica.
God is a dancer. That means he has not painted the world, otherwise he would have become separate from it. It is not his poetry, it is not his music. It is his dance. He is in it, he is it, right this very moment: these green trees, and the sun pouring its gold through them, and the call of the bird, and you here sitting in silence, just being with me for no particular reason, just enjoying this moment, this silence. This is it.
The man who had come to the Sufi master was very knowledgeable, a thinker; he was not a disciple. Had he been a disciple, the master would have never given him IHMN – because it is utter nonsense. He gave this to the man just to see how he would react, and the man was very happy, grateful, that now he had a great Sufi puzzle; he would go and meditate. It was his ego that was satisfied. He was gratified. It was not out of trust that he didn’t ask a question, it was because of the ego that he didn’t ask a question. How could such a great philosopher ask a question? He would work it out himself, he would go home and ponder over it.
You say to me, “If you had given me IHMN to meditate over, I would have silently accepted it out of trust…” He had not accepted it out of trust. If he had known even a little bit of trust, if the master had seen even a little trust in his being, this puzzle would not have been given to him. There was no trust. The man must have been a doubter because thinkers live through doubt. They live in doubt, doubt is their very medium of functioning.
A student comes to the master with all kinds of doubts. That is the difference between a student and a disciple. When the disciple comes, he comes in complete trust.
The Sufi said, “Go away and ponder this – IHMN.”
The man went away.
Not because he trusted, not because he was a devotee, not because he was in a love relationship with the master, but just because he said, “Okay, so I will bring the answer. Just give me a little chance. I have all the capacities and the intelligence and the talent, and I have worked out many puzzles before. Soon I will be here with the answer.”
When he came back, the Sufi was dead.
“Now I shall never know the truth!” moaned the puzzler.
But he could not get anything out of those four puzzling letters, IHMN – because there was nothing to get out of them.
At that moment the Sufi’s chief disciple appeared.
“If,” he said, “you are worrying about the secret meaning of IHMN, I will tell you. It is the initials of the Persian phrase ‘In Huruf Maani Nadarad’ – which means, ‘These letters have no meaning.’”
“But why should I have been given such a task?” cried the puzzling man.
“Because, when a donkey comes to you, you give him cabbages. That is his nutrition, no matter what he calls it. Donkeys probably think that they are doing something far more significant than eating cabbages.”
The master had given such an absurd thing to meditate over because the man wanted a challenge to his ego. He was not interested in truth. He was interested in a great puzzle so he could fight with the puzzle, find out a solution to the puzzle, and feel good – “I have got the intelligence, I have got such power, I am no ordinary man; I am a great philosopher” – although he was only a donkey, and only cabbages were given to him.
You say, “If you had given me IHMN to meditate over, I would have silently accepted it out of trust…” First, I would not give such a thing to any of my disciples. But sometimes I give a few puzzles to people because they are not disciples, even if they think they are. If they are not disciples, or only pretending to be disciples, I give them a few puzzles. If they can accept those puzzles out of trust, that very phenomenon immediately makes them disciples.
There is a subtle point to be understood. If the master had seen that the man had accepted out of trust, if the man had bowed down and touched the feet of the master… If the master had seen in some way that he had accepted out of trust he would have said, “Wait, let me change it. You don’t need a cabbage, you are not a donkey.”
Trust is the greatest intelligence. Why don’t people trust? – because they don’t trust their intelligence. They are afraid, they are afraid they may be cheated. They are afraid, that’s why they doubt. Doubt is out of fear. Doubt is out of a kind of insecurity in your own intelligence. You are not confident that you can trust and you can go into trust. Trust needs great intelligence, courage, integrity. It needs a great heart to go into it. If you don’t have enough intelligence, you protect yourself through doubt. It is doubt that shows you have a very mediocre mind, although mediocre minds, people who doubt too much, think they have great skeptical minds.
It doesn’t matter what donkeys think: cabbages are cabbages. It is their nutrition, although they think they are doing something great, something very significant. Maybe they are waiting for the whole existence to be grateful to them because they are transforming cabbages into great energy! The man who doubts thinks he has great intelligence. That’s why he doubts, that’s why he is skeptical, that’s why he is atheistic and all that. That is not true.
If you have intelligence you are ready to go into the unknown because you know that even if the whole known world disappears and you are left in the unknown, you will be able to settle there, you will be able to make a home there in the unknown. You trust your intelligence. Doubt is on guard. Intelligence keeps itself open because intelligence knows, “Whatever happens, I will be able to take the challenge, to respond adequately.” The mediocre mind does not have that trust in itself.
What I am saying is, you can trust a master only if you trust yourself. If you can’t trust yourself, how can you trust a master? If you can’t trust yourself, how can you trust your trust in a master? It is impossible.
If the Sufi had seen even just a little ray of trust in the man, he would have immediately taken the puzzle back. He himself would have said, “This means nothing. You don’t need a cabbage, you are not a donkey. You are not merely a knowledgeable man, you are a real seeker. Now, rather than giving you a puzzle, I will give you a taste of the mystery that I am, and the whole existence is, and you are too – but you are fast asleep. Let me awaken you.” Then the whole thing would have been different.
I cannot give it to you because you have trust. Have you watched one thing? It is very difficult to deceive a small child. Even very cunning people find it very difficult. If a small child is carrying a note of a hundred rupees, nobody will be able to cheat the child. It will be very difficult to cheat the child. Why? – because of the trust, the innocence, the very innocence. And if you take the note from the child you will never be able to forgive yourself. That memory will haunt you forever and ever, it will create hell for you.
Have you watched some strange things like this? You are sitting on a railway platform and you tell a stranger who is sitting by your side, “Please, just take a little care of my luggage; I am going to purchase a ticket.” You don’t know the man, he is an absolute stranger, you have never seen him before. You are leaving your suitcases, all your money, all your things in the hands of an unknown stranger. Who knows, he may escape with the whole thing, but it never happens. Why does it never happen? – because of trust. How can that man deceive you? You trusted him, an unknown stranger. There was no need to trust him. You didn’t have any proof of his honesty, of his character, you knew nothing about him – but it never happens.
If you are watching your luggage, he may steal something – that is possible – but if you leave your luggage to him and go to purchase a ticket, it is impossible. What makes it impossible? Trust has its own power. Trust has its own energy, its own vibe. The very gesture that you trusted him makes it impossible, he cannot deceive you.
That means, when people deceive you, it is not only their fault. You are also at fault. You must be carrying mistrust in you – they got the vibe. If trust prevents them from deceiving you, then your mistrust about people must be creating an atmosphere in which deceiving becomes easier for them.
I would not have given it to you. I have seen the light of trust in your eyes. And even if I had given it to you, out of trust it would have changed its total quality. Then it would not have been just a puzzle, it would have become a koan. If you had accepted not out of the ego but out of trust, it would have become a great meditation. And if you had accepted out of trust and love, just repeating this sound, meaningless sound, would have led you into some deeper realms of your being.
It is said…

An ancient Indian story: there was a dacoit, a robber. He was looting all kinds of people. One day he came across the mystic Narada. Narada was singing on his one-stringed guitar, utterly lost in ecstasy, passing through a jungle, and the robber caught hold of him. Narada continued playing on his one-stringed guitar.
The robber’s name was Vallya. Later on he became a great seer, Valmiki. He was the first man to write the story of Rama.
Vallya could not believe his eyes – because he had seen two types of people up to then, up to that moment. One was the type who would start trembling, seeing this strong man. He was a very strong man, and very dangerous and murderous. Just seeing him there, the other would start trembling and collapse, would give all that he had, voluntarily, to him. He had seen that kind: the coward, the fearful. The other kind was the brave, who would start fighting back. Either the person would start running, or the person would start fighting. Fight or flight – those had been his two experiences with people up to then.
But Narada did nothing. He was a third type. For the first time Vallya had come across the third type. He continued playing on his musical instrument with the same joy and the same ecstasy. Even Vallya started feeling the joy, the vibe. Narada was dancing and Vallya also started dancing. And Vallya said, “This is strange. What are you doing to me? I am a robber and a murderer. I can kill you. You should not trust me.”
But there was nobody to listen to him. The song continued, the music continued, that celestial vibe continued. Then, when Narada was finished with his music he asked Vallya, “What do you want?”
By that time a great change had happened. Vallya said, “I would like to be as ecstatic as you are. Can you help me? I don’t want anything else. You are the first man who is really rich. I have come across only beggars up to now – rich beggars, poor beggars, but all beggars. You are the first man who is really rich, and you have such a richness that I cannot steal it. It is your inner richness. Can I also have glimpses like this? Is it possible for a murderer like me, a robber like me, a sinner like me? What should I do?”
Narada said, “Do one thing: start chanting the name of Rama.”
Then Narada went, and Vallya really got into it. He was a man of will, very strong. He chanted day in, day out.
When you chant “Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama” continuously, when there is not much gap between “Rama” and “Rama,” slowly, slowly you will start hearing “Mara, Mara, Mara.” If you chant “Rama, Rama, Rama” continuously, the gestalt will change. The m of the Ram will become joined with the ra of another Ram that is following. Then it becomes “Mara, Mara.” Ram means God, Ram means the immortal element, the eternal element; mara means death.
Vallya was a very uneducated man, had never been in any kind of religious education. He forgot all about Ram. Slowly, slowly he chanted only “Mara, Mara, Mara.”
Months passed. Narada came back; he was surprised. Vallya was chanting “Mara, Mara, Mara” – his whole body was chanting “Mara, Mara, Mara.” Narada could feel the change that had happened to that jungle from miles away. It had a different atmosphere. When he came closer and heard “Mara, Mara,” he was surprised because the man has been chanting in a completely wrong way.
He came closer and saw Vallya. The man was totally transformed. He was luminous; the ecstasy had happened. It happened even by chanting the wrong mantra. Narada kept quiet; he didn’t say anything to him. There was no need, no point in disturbing the poor man. He had arrived.

There is a Sufi saying that even a wrong means becomes right in the right person’s hand – and vice versa, even a right means becomes wrong in a wrong man’s hand. And it is so. The ultimate result depends on your heart, not on the means used. When a master is alive, he can use any means, and they all become transforming forces. When the master is gone, all those means slowly, slowly lose their grace. Then people go on doing them for centuries, but nothing happens. Right means in wrong hands are wrong; wrong means in right hands are right.
If you had trusted, then even this meaningless sound, IHMN, would have become a great meditation to you.
And the last thing. You ask, “Can you please explain the right attitude of a disciple receiving instruction from the master?” Only no attitude is the right attitude from the side of the disciple. If you have a certain attitude, that means you are not totally open. You are open only in a certain way, in a limited way. You have your certain conditions. No, the disciple has no conditions, the disciple’s surrender is unconditional. He is just open – no attitude. Because attitude means your mind is still functioning. You are carrying a certain attitude. You are saying, “If you say this, I will follow. If you say something else, I am not going to follow. I will go only up to that limit; beyond that I am not coming with you.”
You are keeping a suspicious eye. You are judging the master from the corner of your eye, whether he is giving you the right thing – as if you know what is right. Whether he is the right master – as if you can judge who is the right master and who is not. How can you judge? You have never known light. How can you judge the eyes which have seen light?
The only approach, right approach, toward a master is to have no attitude. That’s the meaning of surrender: just being open, vulnerable. The disciple has to disappear, only then is he a disciple. If the disciple is still there, then he is only a student, not a disciple; then he has come to gather a few more bits of knowledge.
Then he will accumulate a little more knowledge and will go home – a few more feathers for his ego, a few more decorations. But he is decorating his prison cell. He can decorate it with precious stones, with diamonds, but then too it is a prison cell.
The master is there to help you to come out of your prison, come out of your ego, come out of the shell that you have become enclosed in. You can’t have any attitude toward the master. Love knows no attitude, love knows no conditions. Love is unconditional. Only then is the master allowed in, with no strings attached. Only then can the master pour into your being. And that very pouring is a transformation.

The second question:
Is it not possible at all that the great religious scriptures of the world can help the seeker in his search for God?
The real seeker cannot search for God because to start a search for God means he has already accepted that God is. He has already concluded. How can one start a search from a conclusion? He is already prejudiced. He is a believer, not a seeker. The seeker cannot search for God because he does not know. He can only search into existence, not for God. He can inquire into the reality that surrounds him, not for God.
Yes, when you go deep into reality you will find God. God cannot be the beginning of your search; it is the end, the climax, the culmination. God is the discovery. How can you begin with God?
Once a psychologist and a professor of Jaipur University came to see me. He said, “I am a man of science and I have decided to prove through scientific methods and inquiry, the reality, the truth of reincarnation.”
I asked him, “Do you know what scientific inquiry means? Scientific inquiry means that you have not decided anything at all in the beginning. The inquiry is open. You say, ‘I am a man of science.’ You are not. And you say, ‘I have decided to prove through scientific methods the existence, the reality, the truth of reincarnation.’ If you have not already proved it, how can you accept it? And if you have proved it already, then what are you going to prove, what is the point of your inquiry? Either you know the truth of reincarnation, then there is no need to inquire; or you don’t know the truth of reincarnation, then how can you decide from the very beginning that you are going to prove it? This is a prejudiced inquiry, this is not inquiry.”
Inquiry means you move without any conclusion. Maybe it is true, maybe it is not; maybe something else is true. You simply keep your doors open. Whatever the truth, you allow the truth to have its say.
I told the professor, “You are just a Hindu, already prejudiced, believing in reincarnation. Just as Christians don’t believe in it, you believe in it. A Christian also starts a “scientific inquiry” to prove that there is no reincarnation. Will it be scientific? It will only be a Christian inquiry, an effort to use science to prove your prejudices. Your inquiry will be a Hindu inquiry, not a scientific inquiry.”
A scientist cannot be a Hindu or a Christian or a Mohammedan; a scientist has simply to be a scientist. He can only inquire. Inquiry means you have not arrived at any conclusions, no a priori conclusion. That is the fundamental of all inquiry.
You cannot inquire and search for God. You can only inquire into the reality that is already available: these trees, these rocks, these rivers, these people – you. You have to go into it. No scripture is going to help you because all scriptures will make you prejudiced, and all scriptures will only be borrowed. You will become a donkey.
I have heard…

The new clergyman was coming to call, and the mother gave Emma some instructions: “If he asks your name, say Emma Jane. If he asks how old you are, say you are eight years old. If he asks who made you, say ‘God made me.’”
The clergyman arrived in due time, and putting down his hat and Bible, approached little Emma, and patting her head, asked: “What is your name, little girl?”
“Emma Jane.”
“And how old are you, Emma Jane?”
“Eight years old,” replied Jane.
“Well, well, well! Isn’t that fine! Do you know who made you, Emma Jane?”
The little girl hesitated for several moments and then she replied, “Mamma did tell me the man’s name, but I’ve gone and forgotten it.”

Borrowed, learned from others, from scriptures, from traditions, your knowledge is never going to become your knowing. It will make you only more and more ridiculous. This is not the way of a seeker.
The seeker has to begin in absolute openness, with no conclusion this way or that. The seeker has to begin without any belief or disbelief. The seeker has to begin with great trust in his intelligence, that is true – trust in intelligence but not in any conceptions.
Your scriptures can only be in your mouth, they cannot reach your heart.

Some wasps built their nests during the week in a Scottish clergyman’s best breeches. On the Sabbath, as he warmed up to his preaching, the wasps too warmed up, with the result that presently the minister was leaping about like a jack-in-the-box and slapping his lower anatomy with great vigor, to the amazement of the congregation.
“Be calm, brethren,” he shouted. “The word of God is in my mouth, but the Devil is in my breeches!”

Just learning words, theories, systems of thought is not going to help you at all. Deep down you will remain the same. Deep down no change has ever happened through knowledge. At the most you can cultivate a beautiful personality, a beautiful outside. Jesus has condemned such people as “whited sepulchers” – just whitewashed from the outside.
Deep inside, how can words change you? Yes, you can cultivate decorum, you can cultivate a certain character, but the character remains superficial. It is never your consciousness. And only consciousness matters, only what you can see on your own is decisive. All else will make you a donkey, and all the scriptures will prove nothing but cabbages.
You ask, “Is it not possible at all that the great religious scriptures of the world can help the seeker in his search for God?” Buddha has said again and again: “Ihi passiko” – come and see.” Don’t believe because the Vedas say so, don’t believe because the ancient masters say so, don’t believe because the traditions say so – and don’t believe even because I say so. Come and see – ihi passiko. Come and experiment. But how can you experiment with scriptures? You can experiment only with a living master.
Religion lives only while there is a living master. Once the master is gone, you have scriptures, words, memories, nostalgia, but the spirit has left. You only have the cage, the bird has flown.
That’s how all the traditions have been created. When Jesus was there, there was life in what he was saying. Those words had fire. His passion was in his words, his heart was beating in his words. Those words were hot. Now turn the pages of the Bible; those words are just ashes, just utterly cold. There is nothing left. You will have to again find a living master.
And the problem is, when Jesus is alive nobody listens to him. He is condemned from every corner. When he dies everybody worships him. The same people who had been condemning him become his worshippers. They start feeling guilty. To put their guilt right they start worshipping; worship comes out of guilt.
The same people who condemned Buddha become Buddhists and go on praising him for centuries. But when Buddha is alive he is condemned; only very rare courageous people follow him. The general masses are always against a living truth. They are too engrossed in their lies, they are too involved with their futile life, they are too ignorant to see the light or even to raise their eyes, and they become angry easily.
The presence of a Buddha or a Christ creates much anger in the masses. But when the Buddha or the Jesus is gone, the same masses start feeling guilty that they didn’t behave rightly with the man. Now things have to be put right: they start worshipping. But worship is not religion. Worship is a way of avoiding religion, and worship brings no transformation, so there is no risk. You can be a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan; there is no risk.
The risk was there when Mohammed was alive. It was dangerous to be with that man, it was a question of life and death; but now to be a Mohammedan is perfectly convenient, comfortable. And if you live amid Mohammedans it is dangerous not to be a Mohammedan. It is better to be a Mohammedan, it makes your life easier. To be a Mohammedan becomes a kind of lubricant. And so is the case with the Hindus and the Christians and the Jainas and the Buddhists. These have become social conveniences.
You will have to come out and search for a place where the fire is still alive, where God is still alive, where a Bible is still in the process of being born, where a Gita is being expressed. Soon those words will become scriptures.
Scriptures are the footprints of the buddhas – but the buddhas are gone and you are worshipping the footprints on the sands of time. It is utterly meaningless, stupid. Those footprints are not the feet of Buddha. If you had surrendered to the feet of Buddha, you would have been transported into another world. From time to eternity you would have been transported, from the finite to infinity you would have been transported, from death to deathlessness you would have been transported if you had surrendered to the alive feet of Buddha.
But Buddha is gone. On the sands of time his footprints are left. You are putting flowers and bowing down to the footprints, but footprints cannot help.
That’s what your scriptures are all about, footprints of beautiful people, but the worship of the footprints is just meaningless. You cannot get anything out of the footprints.
If you really want to know the truth of existence, you will have to be in the company of someone who has known. Seek a man who has eyes, seek a man who has love, seek a man in whose heart there is the flame of prayer. Then there is a possibility the flame may jump into your heart. You may become aflame.
Come closer to a master. There comes a moment when you are so close, in deep intimacy, that the flame from one lit candle jumps into another unlit candle. Then the disciple becomes the master himself. That’s the only way to seek and search, all other ways are just to avoid, to pretend.

The third question:
I would very much like to take sannyas but it will be totally ruinous for my career as orange clothes will not be accepted at my place of work. Is there any alternative to this?
Remember only one thing: if you really want to do something, do it. If you don’t want to do it, don’t do it, but be clear. Don’t be a hotchpotch, don’t be a mess.
When you really want to be a painter, become a painter, whatever the risk. Yes, you will not be able to become a prime minister by becoming a painter. You will not be very respectable in the society because your paintings are not useful to the society in any way. They are not utilitarian. And the greater they are, the less utilitarian they will be. The more original they are, the less they will be understood and sold. But if you want to be a painter, be a painter – even if that means to remain poor, even if that means to remain starved, even if that means you will be dying earlier.
Suffer if it means suffering – because even in that suffering you will have a subtle joy that you are doing the thing you wanted to do. You will have a tremendous contentment. Comforts you may not have, convenience you may not have, but contentment you will have, and that is the real value.
But if you think of other things, if you are considering every other thing, it is better to be a politician than to be a painter. You will become rich, you will be powerful, you will be well-known, you will be respected. Your family will be proud of you; your parents will be proud of you; your wife, your children, all will be proud of you. Everybody’s ego will be fulfilled. Your neighbors will be proud. Everybody will think that you are a precious gem, but you will be discontented.
I have heard…

A great surgeon was retiring. He had served almost fifty years. He was now seventy-five, still perfect in his surgery. All his friends, his patients, his well-wishers, his students had gathered to celebrate the occasion. Many speeches were delivered in praise of him, he was praised like anything. He was almost a demigod in his world, in the world of surgeons.
But he was sitting there looking very sad, and when finally one of his famous colleagues was praising him – saying that he was the greatest surgeon that happened down the ages, and it would take many centuries again to get such a perfect hand, such an artistic hand – the old surgeon started crying. Tears came to his eyes.
People were worried about what had happened. They asked, “Why do you look so sad and why are tears in your eyes? You should be perfectly happy. What more can one expect in life? You are one of the most successful men.”
He said, “That I know, but I know something else too. I am the most frustrated too because I wanted to become a dancer and not a surgeon. Now I have succeeded in something which I never wanted to become. My whole life has been a waste. Even if I had become only a dancer unknown to the world, I would have been utterly contented. I would have done my thing.”

Remember, if you want to become a sannyasin, become one. There will be problems, there are bound to be problems. It is not cheap. You will have to pay the price for it. Yes, you are right, it may ruin your career, but who bothers about a career except stupid people? A career? What does that mean? That you will live safe and you will die safe? That you will live with much money and you will die a rich man? But what about your inner contentment? If your soul remains crippled and paralyzed, what is the point of gaining the whole world?
The real thing is to have the joy, the joy of life, that you lived courageously in your own way, and whatever was asked as a price, you paid it. Whenever you attain something through paying for it, it is more valuable. If you can get it cheap, it loses all value.
Sannyas is costly, particularly my sannyas. If you become a traditional sannyasin, there will be no problem.

Just a few days ago a Jaina woman came and started crying. I asked, “What is the matter?”
She said, “My husband has become your sannyasin. If he really wanted to become a sannyasin he should have become a Jaina sannyasin. Then at least he would be respectable. Becoming your sannyasin is dangerous. Now people have started thinking that he has gone crazy. Even his own children are suspicious. I myself think that something has gone wrong with him.”
Now, she is ready if he becomes a Jaina sannyasin, although by becoming a Jaina sannyasin he would have to leave the house, the family.
The wife is ready. She told me, “I am ready. If he has to leave the home and the children and me, we will manage. It will be difficult, but we will manage. By becoming your sannyasin he is not leaving the house: that is the problem. Now the neighbors are asking, ‘What kind of sannyasin is he? Still living with the family, still living with the wife and the children, still going to work? What kind of sannyasin is he?’
“I am being tortured,” she said, “continuously ridiculed. I am ready if he leaves the home. It’s okay, we would manage. It would be difficult, it would be financially difficult, but we would manage. We would be poor, but that’s okay. At least we could keep our heads high, proud.”

You see, if you become a traditional sannyasin your parents may not be so angry. In fact they may enjoy it. People will say, “Look, your son has become a great sannyasin. You are fortunate; the tree is known by the fruit. Look, your son… Such a great sannyasin. He has renounced the world.” And your father will feel proud, your mother will feel proud. Even your wife – who will be suffering very much because you have left her – will feel proud that she is the wife of somebody who has renounced the world, a traditional value. And everybody will be thinking highly of you and your family.
If you become my sannyasin you are crazy, you are mad: “You have fallen in this man’s trap, and he is just hypnotizing people and doing nothing. You are a victim.” Everybody will advise you, “Why don’t you go to the psychiatrist and take some help? Why don’t you go to the mountains and rest a little?”
Yes, Ghurye, you are right, it may ruin your career. It is dangerous. In the days of Mahavira it was dangerous to become a Jaina sannyasin. Just wait two thousand years, then my sannyasins will be respected. It will help their career. By that time everything will be dead; whatever I am saying will have lost all fire, all rebellion, things will have become formal. Ghurye, you will have to wait at least two thousand years. Then you can become my sannyasin without ruining your career, and your wife will be happy, and your children and your parents, and everybody will be happy – but you will have to wait for two thousand years.
If you want to become a sannyasin right now, there are going to be problems. But a real man is born out of facing problems and challenges.
Never decide for a career. Think of consciousness because that is the only richness. And think of the inner journey. Always be authentic to yourself. For no other consideration should you compromise. A compromising person has no soul. The more you compromise, the less soul you have. By and by you are just nothing, just apparently alive, but deep down, dead. Beware of that.
Ghurye has been asking many questions. I had not answered him yet. This is the first question I am answering. And I am answering this question to provoke a respect for his own soul in him. Nothing else is more important. If you cannot respect your own longing, you are disrespectful to God. If you cannot assert yourself in the way you want to be, you are a coward, you are compromising. Then you will never be centered, you will never have an integrated being, you will never find yourself crystallized. You will always remain a hazy, cloudy thing.
The soul is born through such sacrifices. I am not saying that there will be no problem. There will be problems – many more than you can think of right now, many more than you can even imagine. Friends will turn into enemies, your own family will start looking at you as if you have fallen from grace, and certainly, wherever you work, your colleagues will start putting you out of their circle, as if you have become an outsider, a foreigner.
But all these problems are worth facing. These are the steps of the temple of God. This is real sacrifice, austerity. And slowly, slowly when one passes through such fire, the gold that you are carrying within you becomes pure – and only through the purity of your inner gold, one day, the golden flower blooms.
I am all for individual freedom, and freedom is the door to God. What do I mean by freedom? To live fearlessly is freedom, to drop fear is freedom. Fear creates our chains.
Now you are afraid of your job, career, family, neighborhood. These are all chains made of your fear. Drop these chains. Live in freedom. Live authentically the life you really want to live. Don’t try to be somebody else, just be yourself.

A great Hasidic mystic, Josiah, was dying and somebody asked him, “Master, why don’t you pray now to Moses because you are now on your deathbed? Pray to Moses. He will help you in the other world.”
Josiah opened his eyes and said, “Stop all this nonsense! God is not going to ask me, ‘Josiah, why were you not Moses?’ He will ask me, ‘Josiah, why were you not Josiah?’ Moses has nothing to do with this. I will have to answer for myself, why I was not myself, why I betrayed my innermost being. That’s the question!”

Freedom means don’t betray yourself, whatever the cost. Remain true to yourself, and you will be true to God.
A parable…

In the land of the moths, there is the legend of the Old One. It says that one night, when a very young moth was flying about with his friends, he happened to look up and saw a wondrous white light hanging between the branches of a tree. It was in fact the moon, but as all moths are so preoccupied with candles, street lamps, and other lights that they are constantly circling, our hero and his friends had never seen it before.
With this sight came a sudden and firm resolution: our moth would never again settle for flying around anything else but the moon. And so every night, when the moths would venture out from their resting places and each head for a suitable light, our moth headed upward toward the heavens.
But the moon, although it always seemed so near, remained always beyond his finite capacity for flight. He never, however, allowed his frustrations to overcome him, and in fact his efforts, though unsuccessful in making him into a lunar astronaut, yielded him an unexpected dividend.
For while his friends and family, his neighbors and co-citizens of moth land all reviled and ridiculed him, they all preceded him to the grave in the fiery incinerating death of their kind, burned to a crisp in one of those accessible flames they had set as their goal.
The Old One died peacefully at a very ripe age, beneath the cool white shine of his beloved.

Sannyas means you have become interested in the moon. Sannyas means you have become interested in attaining the impossible. Sannyas means now you are entering a journey for the unknown shore. It is dangerous, but through this danger one is reborn. Through this impossible longing – passion for the impossible – something integrates in you.
Other moths are bound to be angry with you. They will ridicule you because you are insulting them. They feel the insult because they are only living around candles and street lights, and they think that is the only goal worth achieving in life – to go round and round around a candle and then die.
The people who are living for money and power and prestige are going round and round around street lamps. They will naturally be offended by you when you raise your heads toward the moon. They will ridicule you, they will call you mad. They will say, “Nobody has ever attained it. Don’t be foolish. Be normal. Come, how beautiful is this candle and this street light!”
Sannyas means love for the moon. That very love transforms. It is not a question of whether you reach the moon or not. That very love transmutes, that very love becomes the alchemy. You are no longer part of the ordinary world, you start living in an extraordinary world. Poetry is born in you, the music of the unknown is heard, a dance starts happening. That’s what God is all about. Sannyas is an invitation for God to become a guest in your being. Sannyas is readiness to be a host for God.

The last question:
Why is the West becoming more and more interested in meditation? And also, why is the East losing interest in its own spiritual treasures?
A lawyer made his way to the edge of the excavation where a gang was working, and called the name of Timothy O’Toole.
“Who is wanting me?” inquired a heavy voice.
“Mr. O’Toole,” the lawyer asked, “did you come from Castlebar, County Mayo?”
“I did that.”
“And your mother was named Bridget and your father Michael?”
“They was.”
“It is my duty then,” said the lawyer, “to inform you, Mr. O’Toole, that your Aunt Mary has died in Iowa, leaving you an estate of 60,000 dollars.”
There was a short silence below and then a lively commotion.
“Are you coming, Mr. O’Toole?” the lawyer called down.
“In one minute,” was bellowed in answer. “I have just stopped to lick the foreman.”
It required just six months of extremely riotous living for O’Toole to expend all of the 60,000 dollars. His chief endeavor was to satisfy a huge inherited thirst. Then he went back to his job. And there, presently the lawyer sought him out again.
“It is your Uncle Patrick this time, Mr. O’Toole,” the lawyer explained. “He has died in Texas and left you 40,000 dollars.”
O’Toole leaned heavily on his pick and shook his head in great weariness. “I don’t think I can take it,” he declared. “I am not as strong as I once was, and I misdoubt me that I could go through all that money and live.”

That’s what has happened in the West. Man in the West has succeeded in attaining all the affluence that the whole of humanity has been longing for down the ages. The West has succeeded materially in becoming rich and now it is too weary, too tired. The journey has taken all its soul. The journey has finished the Western man. Outwardly all is available, but the contact with the inner is lost. Now everything that man needs is there, but the man is no longer there. Possessions are there, but the master has disappeared. A great imbalance has happened. Richness is there, but man is not feeling rich at all. He is feeling, on the contrary, very impoverished, very poor.
Think of this paradox: when you are outwardly rich, only then do you become aware of your inner poverty, in contrast. When you are outwardly poor, you never become aware of your inner poverty because there is no contrast. You write with white chalk on blackboards, not on white boards. Why? – because only on blackboards will it show. The contrast is needed.
When you are outwardly rich, suddenly a great awareness happens: “Inwardly I am poor, a beggar.” And now a hopelessness also comes as a shadow: “All is attained that we had thought – all imagination and fantasies fulfilled – and nothing has happened out of it, no contentment, no bliss.” The West is bewildered. Out of this bewilderment a great desire is arising: how to have contact with one’s self again.
Meditation is nothing but again putting your roots into your inner world, into your interiority. Hence the West is becoming very interested in meditation and very interested in the Eastern treasures.
The East was also interested in meditation when the East was rich; this has to be understood. That’s why I am not against richness and I don’t think that poverty has any spirituality in it. I am utterly against poverty because whenever a country becomes poor, it loses contact with all meditation, all spiritual efforts. Whenever a country becomes poor outwardly, it becomes unaware of the inner poverty.
That’s why you can see a kind of contentment on Indian faces that is not found in the West. It is not real contentment; it is just unawareness of the inner poverty. Indians think, “Look at the anxiety, anguish, and tension on the Western faces. Although we are poor, we are inwardly very content.” That is utter nonsense, they are not contented. I have been watching thousands of people, they are not contented. But one thing is certainly there, they are not aware of the discontent – because to be aware of the discontent, outer richness is needed. Without outer richness nobody becomes aware of the inner discontent. And there are enough proofs of it.
All the avatars of the Hindus were kings or sons of kings, kings or princes. All the Jaina tirthankaras, all the Jaina prophets, were kings, and so was Buddha. All the three great traditions of India give ample proof.
Why did Buddha become discontented, why did he start a search for meditation? Because he was rich. He lived in affluence; he lived with all that was possible, all the comforts, all the material gadgets. Suddenly he became aware. And he was not very old when he became aware, he was only twenty-nine when he became aware that there was a dark hole inside.
Light is outside, hence it shows your inner darkness. Just a little dirt on a white shirt and it shows. That’s what happened.
He escaped from the palace. That’s what happened to Mahavira, he also escaped from a palace. It was not happening to a beggar. There were beggars also in Buddha’s time. In fact, the story is that Buddha renounced the world when he saw a beggar for the first time, and an old man, and a dead body, and a sannyasin. Beggars were there.
Buddha was going to participate in a youth festival, he was to inaugurate it. From his golden chariot, he saw a beggar for the first time – because his father had managed his whole life that Buddha should never see a beggar, or an ill man, or an old man, or a dead man. Astrologers had told the father when Buddha was born that if he ever saw those things he would immediately renounce the world, so not to allow him to see them. So wherever Buddha would move, beggars would be removed, old people would be removed or forced to remain in their houses, not come out. Even in Buddha’s garden, no dead leaf was allowed. Every dead leaf was removed during the night so in the morning when Buddha would come there he could only see youth, young leaves, young flowers. He had never seen a flower withering.
When he saw a beggar for the first time… And the parable is beautiful, it says the gods became worried: “The father is succeeding too much. Twenty-nine years have passed, and Buddha has the capacity to become one of the most awakened persons in the world.” The gods became worried: “The management of the father is such that he may never come across a beggar or an old man. He may miss.” So they pretended – one god walked like a beggar, another like an old man, another became like a dead man, another like a sannyasin.
There were beggars, but they didn’t renounce anything. They had nothing to renounce, they were contented. Buddha became discontented.
When this country was rich, many more people were interested in meditation; in fact, all of the people were interested in meditation. Sooner or later they would start thinking of the moon, of the beyond, of the inner. Now the country is poor, so poor that there is no contrast of the inner and the outer. The inner is poor, the outer is poor. The inner and the outer are in perfect harmony, both are poor. That’s why you see a kind of contentment on Indian faces that is not true contentment. And because of this, people have become accustomed to thinking that poverty has something spiritual in it.
Poverty is worshipped in India. That is one of the reasons why I am condemned continuously – because I am not in favor of any kind of poverty. Poverty is not spirituality, poverty is the cause of the disappearance of spirituality.
I would like the whole world to become as affluent as possible. The more affluent people are, the more they will become spiritual. They will have to, they will not be able to avoid it. And only then does real contentment arise.
When you can create inner richness and there comes a moment when again a harmony happens – outer richness meeting inner richness – then there is real contentment. When outer poverty meets inner poverty, there is false contentment. Harmony is possible in these two ways. The outer and inner in harmony, and one feels contented. India looks contented because there is poverty on both sides of the fence. There is perfect harmony, the outer and inner are in tune; but this is ugly contentment, this is really lack of life, lack of vitality. This is a stupid kind of contentment, dull, insipid.
The West is bound to become interested in meditation, there is no way to avoid it. That’s why Christianity is losing its hold on the Western mind – because Christianity has not developed the science of meditation in any way. It has remained a very mediocre religion; so has Judaism.
The West was poor: that is the reason. Up to now the West has lived in poverty. When the East was rich the West was poor. Judaism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism, all the three non-Indian religions, were born in poverty. They could not develop meditation techniques, there was no need. They have remained the religions of the poor.
Now the West has become rich and there is a disparity. The Western religions were born in poverty; they have nothing to give to the rich man. For the rich man they look childish, they don’t satisfy. They can’t satisfy him. The Eastern religions were born in richness; that’s why the Western mind is becoming more and more interested in the Eastern religions. Yes, the religion of Buddha is having a great impact. Zen is spreading like fire. Why? – it was born out of richness.
There is a tremendous similarity between the Western psychology of the contemporary man and the psychology of Buddhism. The West is in the same state as Buddha was when he became interested in meditation. It was a rich man’s search. And so is the case with Hinduism, so is the case with Jainism. These three great Indian religions were born out of affluence, hence the West is bound to be attracted to these Eastern religions.
The East is losing contact with its own religions. It cannot afford to understand Buddha. It is a poor country. You will be surprised – poor Indians are being converted to Christianity. Rich Americans are being converted to Buddhism, Hinduism, Vedanta. And the untouchables, the poor, the poorest of the poor in India, are becoming Christians. Do you see the point? Those religions have a certain appeal for the poor. But they don’t have any future because sooner or later the whole world is going to become rich.
You will not find many Indians here either because I don’t praise poverty, I have no respect for poverty. Poverty is illness, disease. It has to be uprooted completely. Man has to be given both kinds of richness. Why not both? Science has developed the technology to make you outwardly rich. Religion has developed the technology to make you inwardly rich: that is Yoga, Tantra, Taoism, Sufism, Hasidism – these are the technologies of the inner.
A story…

The central figure of this story is one of those persons who accepts everything that happens as the manifestation of a divine power. Not for him, he said, to question the workings of a Divine Providence.
All his life misfortune had been his, yet never once did he complain. He married, and his wife ran away with the hired man. He had a daughter, and the daughter was deceived by a villain. He had a son, and the son was lynched. A fire burned down his barn, a cyclone blew away his home, a hailstorm destroyed his crops, and the banker foreclosed on his mortgage, taking his farm. Yet at each fresh stroke of misfortune he knelt and gave thanks to “God Almighty for his interminable mercy.”
After a time, penniless but still submissive to the decrees from on high, he landed in the county poorhouse. One day the overseer sent him out to plow a potato field. A thunderstorm came up but was passing over when, without warning, a bolt of lightning descended from the sky. It melted the plowshare, stripped most of his clothing from him, singed off his beard, branded his naked back with the initials of a neighboring cowman, and hurled him through a barbed wire fence.
When he recovered consciousness he got slowly to his knees, clasped his hands and raised his eyes toward heaven. Then, for the first time, he asserted himself: “Lord,” he said, “this is getting to be plumb ridiculous!”

That is the situation in the East: “This is getting to be plumb ridiculous!” But the East goes on thanking God, goes on feeling grateful. There is nothing to feel grateful for anymore! The East is utterly poor, ill, starved; there is nothing to be grateful for. But the East has forgotten how to assert, the East has forgotten to do anything about its condition.
So the East cannot meditate. The East is living almost in a kind of unconsciousness. It is too hungry to meditate, too poor to pray. Its only interest is in bread, shelter, clothing. So when a Christian missionary comes and opens a hospital or opens a school, the Indians are very impressed – this is spirituality. When I start teaching about meditation they are not interested. Not only not interested, they are against it: “What kind of spirituality is this?” People come to me and they ask, “Can meditation give us bread?” And I understand. They need bread, they need shelter, they need clothes.
But it is because of their mind that they are suffering. On the one hand they need bread, shelter, clothes, better houses, better roads, and on the other hand they go on worshipping poverty. They are in a double bind. The East cannot meditate yet. First it needs scientific technology to make it a little physically better. Just as the West needs religious technology, the East needs scientific technology.
I am all for one world, where the West can fulfill the needs of the East and the East can fulfill the needs of the West. The East and the West have lived apart too long, there is no need any more. The East should not be the East any longer, and the West should not be the West any longer. We have come to that critical moment where this whole earth can become one – should become one – because it can survive only if it becomes one.
The days of nations are over, the days of divisions are over, the days of the politicians are over. We are moving in a tremendously new world, a new phase of humanity, and the phase is that now there can be only one world, only one single humanity. And then there will be a tremendous release of energies.
The East has treasures, the religious technologies, and the West has treasures, the scientific technologies. If they can meet, this very world can become a paradise. Now there is no need to ask for another world; we are capable of creating paradise here on this earth for the first time. And if we don’t create it, then except for us, nobody else is responsible for it.
I am for one world, one humanity, and ultimately one science which will take care of both – a meeting of religion and science – one science which will take care of both the inner and the outer.
That’s what I am trying to do here. It is a meeting place of East and West; it is a womb where the new humanity can be conceived, can be born. You are fortunate. You may not be aware that you are participating in something of eternal value, a great experiment upon which the whole future of humanity depends. If you become more conscious of it, it will be better because then you will be more helpful.
Enough for today.

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