The Secret 21

TwentyFirst Discourse from the series of 21 discourses - The Secret by Osho.
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Ayaz was the boon companion and slave of the great conqueror Mahmud, the Idol Breaker, Monarch of Ghazna. He had first come to the court as a beggarly slave, and Mahmud had made him his adviser and friend.
The other courtiers were jealous of Ayaz and observed his every movement, intending to denounce him for some shortcoming, thus encompassing his downfall.
One day these jealous ones went to Mahmud and said, “Shadow of Allah upon Earth! Know that, indefatigable as always in your service, we have been keeping your slave Ayaz under close scrutiny. We now have to report that every day as soon as he leaves the court, Ayaz goes into a small room where no one else is ever allowed. He spends some time there, and then goes to his own quarters. We fear that this habit of his may be connected with some guilty secret: perhaps he consorts with plotters, even, who have designs upon your Majesty’s life.”
For a long time Mahmud refused to hear anything against Ayaz. But the mystery of the locked room preyed upon his mind until he felt that he had to question Ayaz.
One day, when Ayaz was coming out of his private chamber, Mahmud, surrounded by courtiers, appeared and demanded to be shown into the room.
“No,” said Ayaz.
“If you do not allow me to enter the room, all my confidence in you as trustworthy and loyal will have evaporated, and we can never thenceforward be on the same terms. Take your choice,” said the fierce conqueror.
Ayaz wept, and then he threw open the door of the room and allowed Mahmud and his staff to enter. The room was empty of all furniture. All that it contained was a hook in the wall. On the hook hung a tattered and patched cloak, a staff, and a begging bowl.
The king and his court were unable to understand the significance of this discovery.
When Mahmud demanded an explanation, Ayaz said, “Mahmud, for years I have been your slave, your friend and counselor. I have tried never to forget my origins, and for this reason I have come here every day to remind myself of what I was. I belong to you, and all that belongs to me are my rags, my stick, my bowl, and my wandering over the face of the earth.”
La ilaha il’Allah: there is no God but God. There is no goal but the goal. And the goal is not separate from the source, the source and the goal are the same phenomenon. This is one of the most fundamental things to be understood: to reach the goal one has to reach the source. The alpha is the omega.
If you go on trying to reach the goal you will remain in an eternal wandering, and you will never come home. If you start searching for the source you will not only find the source, but you will have also found the goal. When the source is found the circle is complete.
God is not where we are going, God is from where we are coming. And our eyes are fixed on distant stars. We go on looking ahead. We are oriented toward the distant and faraway, and all those goals that we create are our own mind projections. The real goal is from where we are coming. It is in our very nature, it is in our very being, it is the very ground of our existence.

Hui Hai once went to visit the great master, Ma Tzu. The master asked him, “Why do you come here?”
Hui Hai replied, “I come seeking enlightenment.”
The master said, “Why should you leave your home to wander about and neglect your own precious treasure? There is nothing I can give you. Why do you seek enlightenment from me?”
The visitor pressed him for the truth: “But what is my treasure?”
The master answered, “It is he who has just asked the question. It contains everything and lacks nothing. There is no need to seek it outside yourself.”

Seeking presupposes that it is far away. Seeking has taken it for granted that it is not now-here, that it is not in you, that it is not you. Seeking has already supposed that it is different, separate from you and somewhere else, and it has to be sought to be found.
This presupposition creates misery for the seeker. The seeker lives in misery and frustration because he has started on a wrong journey. The seeker is never going to find God because God is not the sought but the seeker himself.
The only religious question worth asking is, “Who am I?” That means diving deep within your own consciousness, coming closer and closer to your center. And when you have reached, penetrated the center like an arrow, you will be surprised that nothing was ever lacking, nothing was ever missed. You had not left your home – you were already there – but your eyes were wandering far away. Only your eyes were wandering far away, you were rooted in your home. But your mind, your dreams, your eyes, your ideas had left you, and they were roaming all over the world.
Ma Tzu is right. He asks, “Why do you come here? What is the point of coming here?” He asks, “Why did you leave your home?” These statements are not ordinary statements, they are very symbolic. “Home” does not mean just the ordinary home. It means God. Ma Tzu is saying, “Why have you left your source? Why this unnecessary wandering? All that you need is already provided for. You have the treasure within you. Why do you come here?”
Hui Hai replied, “I come seeking enlightenment.” Now, that is the fundamental error of all seekers. Enlightenment cannot be sought, and if you seek it you will never find it. Enlightenment is when there is no seeking. Enlightenment is when there is no desiring, not even the desire for enlightenment. Enlightenment is when you are still, calm, quiet, and there is no mind, no desire, nowhere to go, when you are suddenly here and now. That very moment is enlightenment: light explodes in you, you become light.
Hui Hai said, “I come seeking enlightenment.” Everybody is seeking, in different names. You may call it bliss, you may call it God, you may call it enlightenment, you may call it truth, love, beauty; it doesn’t matter what you call it. But everybody is seeking something. All are seekers in the world, the world is full of seekers.
Remember: the man who is seeking money and power is not different from the seeker who is running after God. It is the same seeking. The object of the seeking makes no difference in the nature of seeking, the quality of the seeking is the same. What is that quality? It is a tension between that which you are and that which you would like to be. A wants to be B – this is seeking. The poor wants to be rich; the unenlightened wants to be enlightened; the ugly person wants to become beautiful; the unknown person wants to become famous. It is the same seeking. Seeking means discontentment with that which you are.
Then what is non-seeking? Non-seeking is: A is perfectly happy in being A and has no desire to be B. Contentment is the beginning of enlightenment. Contentment is the seed which becomes enlightenment. The seeker is discontented, tense, worried. He is continuously going to face frustration because whatever he is going to do is doomed to fail.
Remember this because there are religions, priests, pedagogues who go on teaching people, “Don’t seek worldly things, seek otherworldly things.” They only change the object of seeking. They say, “Don’t seek money, seek meditation.” And it appears on the surface as if they are transforming your being. They are not. They are only giving you a new toy to play with. But the old seeking will continue. You will remain the same old person with the same old rotten mind, with the same old wandering, tensions, frustrations, worries. Nothing is going to change by that. That is not conversion.
Then what is conversion? Conversion is when you understand the nature of seeking – when you see the point that it is seeking that is debarring you from getting; that it is seeking that is the wall; that it is seeking that keeps you separate from the sought; that it is seeking itself that has to be dropped and nothing else. Seeking is worldly, non-seeking is otherworldly. When the seeker becomes a non-seeker he becomes religious.
But how to become a non-seeker? One can become a non-seeker only if this understanding arises: rather than going for a goal, the first and most necessary thing to know is, “Who am I? From where do I come? What is my source?” If the wave looks for its source, it will find the ocean. And if man looks for his source, he will find God.
We are waves in the ocean of God. If a leaf of a tree starts looking for its source, it will find the roots of the tree. It will find the earth, it will find its very source. We are leaves of the tree of God, waves of the ocean of God.
But if the leaf starts looking outward… There is the beautiful moon hanging so close by; it looks so enchanting, and the leaf becomes troubled, starts to dream. And the wave certainly dreams of the moon. When the moon is full, the waves start rising high, higher and higher; a great longing arises to reach the moon.
You will be surprised to know that scientists have found that it is not only the waves that rise when the full moon is in the sky. Even the earth… Even the earth starts rising six inches, almost six inches, whenever the moon is full. It also tries hard to reach the moon. When the full moon is there, the earth forgets all its solidity, becomes a little liquid, behaves as if it is made of rubber, tries to reach the moon. And man is made of eighty percent water and twenty percent earth. That’s why the full moon has so much hypnotic power on man – eighty percent ocean in him, twenty percent earth in him, and both start rising toward the moon.
The fact has been known down the ages that the moon drives people crazy. Hence the word lunatic; it means struck by the moon. Lunatic comes from the word luna, the moon. The moon is so close by, it attracts.
And there are many “moons” in life; you are surrounded by many attractive goals. There is power, there is money, there is prestige, respectability, fame. There are a thousand and one things. You are constantly pulled in this direction and that. Life provides you with many goals, and there is only one goal: that goal is God.
But to call God the goal is very paradoxical because he is also the origin. Only the origin, the source, can be the goal because ultimately, when you have reached back home and the circle of your life is complete and perfect, there is fulfillment.
Ma Tzu is right. He says, “Why should you leave your home to wander about and neglect your own precious treasure? There is nothing I can give you.” No master can give you anything. Truth has never been given. It is not a thing to be given or taken. And you don’t need it in the first place from anywhere else because you already have it there within you. You are it. The master only makes you alert that the treasure is within you, the kingdom of God is within you. He provokes you, he shakes you and shocks you, so that you can become aware of who you are. The master cannot give it to you. It is not a thing in the first place, and in the second place you don’t need it. The given truth will be borrowed, and the given can be taken away. The truth has to arise in you, only then can it not be taken away.
Ma Tzu is really a great master. He says, “There is nothing I can give you. Why do you seek enlightenment from me?”
The visitor pressed him for the truth: “But what is my treasure?”
The master answered, “It is he who has just asked the question.”
Meditate over it. A tremendously significant statement: “It is he who has just asked the question.” It is your consciousness that is your treasure. Diving deep into your consciousness you will touch the source, the rock-bottom of your being.
It is there where God is found, and enlightenment, and freedom, and love, and beauty, and bliss, and all that you have always wanted and was never happening. All suddenly happens simultaneously. The experience of the source is a multidimensional experience. Ma Tzu says, “It contains everything and lacks nothing” – your consciousness – “There is no need to seek it outside yourself.”
Hui Hai became a master in his own right later on, and a great master too. This was the beginning, this was the seduction from Ma Tzu. Listening to this – when Ma Tzu said, “It is the one who has just asked the question” – a great trembling arose in Hui Hai, a great energy started moving. The frozenness disappeared, he melted. He bowed down to Ma Tzu, and in that very moment he had his first satori.
This is what I am trying here, provoking you, seducing you into that which you already are. But you have forgotten about it; I am only reminding you of it.
Sufis say there are two things the whole of religion consists of. One is faqr: nobodiness, nothingness, egolessness, humbleness. In faqr, all these things are implied. The basic point is that you are not separate from existence. To think yourself separate from existence causes the phenomenon of the ego. The ego gives you the idea that “I am somebody,” and then, “somebody special.” Then you have to prove, then you have to compete, then you have to be ambitious and succeed. Then you have to leave your footprints on the sands of time, you have to leave your name in history. And then all kinds of desires start arising in you.
But the root of all desires is in the acceptance of a false idea – that “I am.” When a person drops that idea, he is a fakir, he has attained faqr. This is the real meaning of fakir. It does not mean just a beggar, it does not mean just poverty. Real poverty consists of egolessness. That’s what Jesus means when he says, “Unless you are poor in spirit, you will not attain the Kingdom of God.”
Poor in spirit… It is very easy to renounce one’s wealth and become poor outwardly, it is very easy. But rather than helping one to become inwardly poor it may hinder – because the person who renounces becomes very egoistic. He starts thinking, “Look, I have renounced so much. I am no ordinary mortal. I am a great sage, a saint, a mahatma; I have renounced all.”
And deep down in him he starts comparing himself with those who have not renounced. He becomes holier-than-thou. He starts pretending that he is on a high pedestal, that everybody else is condemned, that everybody else is going to hell except him – because he has renounced the world, the joys of the world, the things of the world. Rather than becoming inwardly poor, he has become inwardly very rich. The ego is strengthened. The ego has become stronger, it is more solid than before. It is almost a rock.
That’s why I don’t say to my sannyasins to renounce the world. I say renounce the ego! Let the world be as it is. Who are you to renounce it? In the very idea of renouncing, you accept one thing, that it belongs to you. How can you renounce something which does not belong to you? See the simple point: nothing belongs to you.
You come into this world without a thing, and you go from this world without a thing. You come empty-handed and you go empty-handed. Nothing belongs to you, so how can you renounce? Renunciation is possible only if possession is possible. Possession is just an illusion, you don’t possess anything. How can you possess anything? Death will come and will separate you from all your possessions, and you will not be able to take a single thing with you.
The first illusion is of possession, and the second illusion is of renunciation. Both are based in the same ego. First the ego tries to possess as much as it can – the more it possesses, the more it is. Then comes a point when one has possessed so much that the ego loses all interest; it becomes boring.
That’s why rich people look so bored; you will not find poor people so bored. Rich people are always bored, utterly bored. The richer they get, the more bored they are. From where does their boredom come? Their boredom is coming from their possessions. They have everything they ever hoped for, dreamed of; now what else is there to do? All their hopes are fulfilled, and nothing is fulfilled in their being. A great boredom starts settling. They have enjoyed all that the world can give, and all those joys have proved superficial, momentary. They have done those things so many times, they have repeated all those things so many times, that now there seems to be nothing new. They are constantly hankering for some new amusement, some new entertainment. They are utterly bored.
The poor person is not so bored. He still has many things to hope for. Tomorrow he is going to have a better house, the day after tomorrow a better car, and so on, so forth. He can hope, his eyes are full of hope. There are surprises still waiting for him in the future. For the rich man there is no future; for the poor man the whole future is there, he is excited.
For the rich man all is past, there is no future. In the future there is only death and nothing else; nothing else is going to happen to him. He has the biggest house, the most beautiful woman or man, all kinds of gadgets that technology can supply. What else is there? The future seems bleak – only death somewhere, nothing else. In the dark night of the future only death is lurking.
The rich man becomes bored; he is bored to death. He’s afraid, he is in a panic. He cannot hope, and to be in a hopeless state is the most miserable state to be in. Then he starts renouncing. That brings excitement again, the future becomes hopeful again. Now he thinks, “I will renounce all that I have. I will become the humblest person in the world, the poorest. I will become a great sage, and the world will know how much I have renounced – nobody has done that much before. I will be the greatest saint in the world.” Again there is hope. The ego has taken another life, another incarnation; now he starts renouncing, he goes on renouncing.
Just as there is no end to possessions, there seems to be no end to renunciation. He goes on renouncing: clothes, food, house, everything – companionship, friendship, relationship, people. He escapes to a Himalayan cave or goes deep into the forest, or escapes into a monastery. He goes on renouncing, but one day the end comes again. He has renounced all and nothing is gained. He is bored again.
Go into the monasteries and you will see the same boredom on the monks’ faces as you see on rich people’s faces. There is no difference. I don’t tell my sannyasins to renounce the world. Through renunciation the ego survives again, and survives in a more subtle way – becomes more poisonous because now it can pretend to be holy.
To be poor in spirit means to see the point that “I am not.” “God is, I am not. The whole is, the part is not. The ocean is, the wave is not.” This is inner poverty, this is faqr. Then you can be in the monastery or in the marketplace, it makes no difference. You know you are not, so whatever is, is God’s will. If he wants you to be in the monastery you are in the monastery, if he wants you to be in the marketplace you are in the marketplace. “Thy will be done”: that is faqr. “I have no will of my own, your will is all. I have no destination of my own; wherever you are going, I am simply coming with you. I will be your shadow, I will not be a separate entity in my own right.”
And the second thing Sufis say the fundamental of religion is, is zikr, remembrance of God. God has not to be achieved, God has not to be discovered, God has not to be invented either. God has only to be remembered. We have only forgotten him. All that is needed is an awakening. That is called zikr.
These two small words, faqr and zikr, are the very soul of Sufism. And this beautiful story is the story of these two words. These two words are two aspects of the same coin. If you remember God, you disappear; if you disappear, remembrance of God starts happening. Faqr brings zikr: inner poverty, egolessness, brings remembrance of God. And zikr brings faqr: remembrance of God makes you aware that you are not, only he is.
Ayaz was the boon companion and slave of the great conqueror Mahmud, the Idol Breaker, Monarch of Ghazna.
Meditate on each important word used in this parable. Islam does not believe in idols, but that has been misunderstood by the Mohammedans. It is one thing not to believe in idols, it is another thing to start destroying other people’s idols. In fact, to destroy somebody’s idol is a negative belief in the idol; otherwise why should one be concerned? It is none of his business.
Mahmud was a fanatic Mohammedan. He destroyed many temples of this country. His whole life’s work was to destroy temples and idols, and he thought he was doing a great service to God. That’s how one can misunderstand great truths.
Mohammed is right when he says that there is no possibility of making an idol of God. Moses also says the same thing. There is no possibility of making any idol of God because God is vast, immense. How can you make a representation of him? If you want to worship him, worship him as he is, in the mountains, in the trees, in the stars, in the clouds. He is all over. Only he is – la ilaha il’Allah – there is nobody except him.
There is no need to make a stone idol or a wooden image. It is pointless. This is something of immense value, but Mohammedans missed the whole point. They started breaking other people’s idols. If God is everywhere, he must be in the idols too. Now, look at it from another standpoint: if God is everywhere, how can he not be in an idol? Then he is in a stone idol too. If he is in an ordinary rock, why is he not in a carved rock? There is no need to destroy anybody’s idol or anybody’s temple.
And you still go on making temples. What is a mosque? A temple without an idol of God. But then the mosque itself becomes the idol! When people pass by the side of the mosque, they become very respectful. They bow down, it is no ordinary house. What is the difference between an ordinary house and a mosque? From where does the extraordinariness of the mosque come?
It has become an idol. It has already become the house of God, it is already a temple. The mosque is just without an idol, but deep down it itself has become the idol. Mahmud converted many temples into mosques. It is simple: destroy the idol, and the temple becomes a mosque. And he thought he was serving God.
Many times, great truths become dangerous in the hands of foolish people. It is like a sword in the hands of a child. That has been happening again and again. Great truths have fallen into the hands of stupid people, then those great truths have become the sources of much misery in the world.
What is the Kaaba, where Mohammedans go to from all over the world? It is a stone. In fact, no other stone has been worshipped so much as the stone of Kaaba. No other stone has been kissed so much as the stone of Kaaba. Millions and millions of people every year go on pouring into Kaaba, kissing the stone. If kissing makes something dirty, that stone must have become the dirtiest. Millions of people must have transferred many kinds of infections through their kisses – because in a single kiss at least one hundred thousand germs pass. Beware!
And what is all this nonsense of kissing a stone? It is the same old trip. You have broken idols; now you are worshipping a stone.
Man is so foolish that he goes on remaining the same although he goes on changing his labels. A Hindu becomes a Mohammedan, a Mohammedan becomes a Christian, a Christian becomes a Jew, a Jew becomes a Jaina; but no difference ever, just the label.
Understanding is not just a change of the label. It is a change of the heart, it is a change of vision and perspective.
Ayaz was the boon companion and slave of the great conqueror Mahmud, the Idol Breaker, Monarch of Ghazna. He had first come to the court as a beggarly slave, and Mahmud made him his adviser and friend.
This is the story of every person. When you enter the world you enter as a beggarly slave. Why? Because a child comes into the world utterly helpless. The child cannot survive if he is not supported by others, if the parents and the family don’t support the child. He comes as a beggar. He is continuously begging for food, for warmth, for care. And he is so helpless that he is a slave.
Because of this situation, the parents, the society, the state, the church have exploited children down the ages. They give him food, they give him nourishment and support, but with conditions. They make many conditions on the child, and he has to accept those conditions because he is helpless. It is a question of survival. The child cannot say no. He will not be able to survive at all by saying no, he has to say yes. That is his slavery.
We have not yet become so human, not yet so capable that we can avoid exploiting small children. Children are the most exploited people of the world. Just as there is now a great movement arising in the world, women’s lib, someday children’s lib will be needed.
Children have suffered tremendously, nobody else has suffered like that. And it is almost impossible to take them out of this structure because they are dependent, they are helpless.
The parents think they love, but love is not love if it is conditional. The parents try to transform the child into a Christian or a Mohammedan or a Hindu. This is a game of politics you are playing on your poor child. You condition his mind. You tell him what is right and what is wrong – you yourself don’t know. You condition his mind about whether God exists or not and you yourself have not inquired. You go on pouring all kinds of your rubbish knowledge into the child’s head. Before he becomes aware, all these things will have taken root in him. They will create confusion in him, neurosis in him. He will suffer his whole life because of your so-called love. It was not love in the first place. The child was helpless, and you enjoyed helping him because when you help somebody you feel great. The helpless person gives you the idea that you are comparatively strong.
That’s why people love sympathizing. People love it very much. If you are in trouble, people love to sympathize with you very much because then they are higher and you are lower, then they are fortunate and you are unfortunate. They never come to participate in your joy. If you make a beautiful house, nobody comes to participate in your joy, to celebrate. But if your house is on fire, acquaintances and non-acquaintances all come to sympathize with you. Deep down they are enjoying it, you are in trouble and they are not in trouble. God has been good to them. Deep down they know why you have suffered – because of your sins, because of all the wrong things you have done. This is exactly what should have happened to you, you deserved it. But on the surface they are sympathizing with you. And they had never participated in your joy, they were jealous.
When you are happy, people are jealous. And if people are jealous when you are happy, how can they be sympathizers when you are unhappy? That is very illogical, it makes no sense. The person who is jealous when you are happy will be happy when you are unhappy. That is logical. But he will show sympathy. Deep down he will feel very happy that now you are cut down to size, now you have been forced to be in your place, now you know who you are. But on the surface they will sympathize.
People enjoy children very much because they are helpless, and they give you an idea that you are strong, powerful. And you do all kinds of power trips with your children. You try to make them your imitators. You try to force your ideals on them. You try to make them replicas of you, and you know perfectly well that you are unhappy, miserable; still you go on making replicas of yourself.
Hence the world remains in misery because the parents create the children. They were miserable; they create miserable people again. Each father wants his son to be like him, and each mother wants her daughter to be like her. This is how the pattern of misery continues. This is how there seems to be no possibility of making human beings happy.
Somewhere the continuity has to be broken. If the parents really love the child, one thing is certain: they will not help the child to be like themselves. They know perfectly well they have lived in misery, they have suffered enough. At least they will try in every way so that the child is not like them, so that he never suffers, or at least he tries some other way of being. Who knows, he may not suffer. But one thing is certain: he should not be like them. That must be the basic understanding of a really loving parent.
He will give his love, but he will not give his knowledge. He will give all his care and caressing to the child, but he will not impose his ideology on him. He will not make him a Christian, a Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Mohammedan, communist, etcetera. He will lead the child to be himself. He will share his experiences, but he will not enforce them. He will be friendly to the child. He will not play the game of power on the child. But that’s what is being done. That’s why I say every child comes into the world as a beggarly slave.
Ayaz …had come first to the court as a beggarly slave, and Mahmud made him his adviser and friend. We come into the world as an empty canvas, and then something is painted on us. We come utterly empty and blank, then something is written on us. We become something in the world, we come as nothings. We come as nobodies, then we become somebody.
That somebodiness is accidental. That somebodiness is not your essence, it is not your original face. That is only your personality, it is not your individuality. And personality is very deceptive, it deceives you. You start thinking that it is your individuality.
Remember the difference between the personality and the individuality. Personality is that which is conferred upon you by the society, by the people who bring you up. Individuality is that which you bring into the world with yourself. Individuality means your original face. Personality means the mask, the painted face.
Nobody comes as a Christian or a Hindu, hence the Christianity and Hinduism that are imposed upon you are part of your personality. They are not part of your essence, your essential core. Nobody comes into the world with adjectives, all adjectives are added to you.
People come into the world as beautiful empty zeros, and then everything is added. All that is added is not you, and you become too identified with it.
Remember again and again who you are, and don’t be identified with that which has been added to you. Don’t be identified with the persona, with the mask, with the idea implanted in you about yourself. This is the religious revolution: not to be identified with the personality and continuously reminding yourself, “Who am I?”
The other courtiers were jealous of Ayaz…
Naturally. That’s how this world is. This whole world is political and everybody is jealous of everybody else. And the more you succeed, the more enemies you will have in the world. The more famous you are, the more people will be against you. This is an obvious thing: they also want to be famous, and they have failed and you have attained. They will take revenge. They are angry at you.
They will rationalize their anger. They will find fault with you. If they cannot find, they will invent – because just to be in a rage against you without any reason will make their jealousy very apparent. They have to hide their jealousy. They have to give it a beautiful camouflage, at least a beautiful form on the outside.
The other courtiers were jealous of Ayaz… And it was the court of Mahmud. He himself was a very violent, stupid person, and there must have been many stupid people, violent, ambitious, in his court. His court must have reflected him.
The politicians are the most jealous people because their whole life depends on being successful, famous, powerful. Their whole longing is to be more and more powerful. They are constantly at each other’s throats. You can go into any capital – you can go to New Delhi – and you can see how politicians are constantly at each other’s throats. Politicians cannot be friends, they can only be enemies because their goal is such that they are all competitors against each other. One person is going to become the prime minister of India – and there are millions of politicians in India, and they all want to become prime minister. Naturally, it is going to be a cutthroat competition, utterly violent. And these politicians talk of nonviolence and peace. It is impossible.
Unless politics becomes less and less powerful, war cannot be avoided. It is a natural outcome of the political game. Unless politics loses importance… It can lose it. The only way out of the political trap is make people more and more free – economically, politically, spiritually. Decentralize power.
But the whole trend is going in just the opposite direction. States are becoming more and more powerful, and they are hiding their power greed, their lust for power, behind beautiful names. They call it “nationalization.” Then it looks very good; nationalization is a good thing. But all that it means is more power to the state. Nationalize the banks, nationalize the industries, nationalize agriculture, so more and more power goes to the state. The state becomes the only owner, and when the whole economy is controlled by the state, there is no freedom left. Naturally, the politician becomes more and more powerful as the state becomes more powerful. The prime minister, the president become powerful.
The only way to take away the power of the politicians is to denationalize things. Give more and more things to people to do on their own. All nationalization should disappear. Even railways, the post office, and things like that should be run by the people themselves; the government need not come in. Slowly, slowly power has to be withdrawn from politics. Then the politician will automatically be neglected, he will lose importance.
America seems to be the only country where politicians are not as powerful as they are in other countries, and the reason is that now there are so many corporations which have become almost as powerful as the state itself – multimillionaire corporations – and their power is great. They have international power, intercontinental power.
Spread the power to people, more and more. Slowly, slowly all the work has to be withdrawn from politics. Only leave the essentials, and the essentials are not very many. There is only one hope for the world: if politics becomes less powerful. Then the world can live at peace, otherwise it is impossible. The whole foundation of politics is jealousy, greed, lust.
I have heard…

The old retired politician from New Delhi was assigned the topic for an after dinner speech, “Honesty in Politics.”
When he was called upon he arose, bowed and said, “Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: Honesty in Politics – there ain’t any.” And he sat down.

Politics cannot be honest. Greed, lust, how can they be honest? Politics cannot be peaceful. Ambitious people, how can they remain peaceful? If they remain peaceful they lose time. They have to fight. They have to fight in every possible way. They can’t lose any opportunity to fight. Any excuse to fight has to be used, and molehills have to be made into mountains because it is through fighting that somebody becomes powerful.

The politician was homeward bound one night when he was waylaid by three thieves. He defended himself with great courage and obstinacy, and the struggle that followed was long and bloody. At length, however, he was overpowered. The thugs, anticipating a rich booty after the extraordinary resistance they had experienced, began to go through his pockets. They were baffled to find that the whole treasure which the politician had been defending at the hazard of his life was a bent sixpence.
“Only a sixpence!” exclaimed one of the disgusted rogues, nursing his bruises.
“Well, we are lucky at that,” said another. “If he had had eighteen pence he would have killed all of us.”

Politics is a violent struggle and naturally the courtiers must have been very jealous. Suddenly, Ayaz became the most important person in the court.
And the reason why Ayaz became the most important person in the court was his simplicity, his nonpoliticalness, his nobodiness, his faqr. And somewhere deep down was zikr. He was a Sufi. He had a subtle radiance, almost invisible, but it still affected people – more so because it was invisible, so one cannot defend oneself.
Ayaz was a Sufi. He had wandered all over the earth as a poor man, “poor in spirit,” constantly remembering his source. That’s how he suddenly became so important in Mahmud’s court. And he was a very cheerful person, always happy. He was like a roseflower. Just to be with him, just to be in his presence, would have made anybody cheerful. He had a vibe.
The other courtiers were jealous of Ayaz and observed his every movement, intending to denounce him for some shortcoming, thus encompassing his downfall.
That is the whole desire of the politicians: how to create downfalls for others so they can replace them.
One day these jealous ones went to Mahmud and said, “Shadow of Allah upon Earth!”
The politician is always jealous of those who are in power – and always a flatterer too. He has no self-respect; he cannot have. A man who has any self-respect and self-love will not go into politics. It is utterly degrading, it is humiliating.
Now, to call Mahmud “Shadow of Allah upon Earth” is ridiculous. Mahmud was one of the most murderous people who have lived on the earth. He belonged to the same category as Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Nadir Shah. He was one of the most murderous, violent persons.
India knew him very well. He attacked India about eighteen times in his life. He butchered, murdered, looted, raped. He left many wounds in India. To call such a man “Shadow of Allah upon Earth” is ridiculous, but that’s how politicians move upward. Politicians are flatterers. They are always ready to bow down wherever they see power. Power simply hypnotizes them.
“Know that, indefatigable as always in your service, we have been keeping your slave Ayaz under close scrutiny. We have now to report that every day as soon as he leaves the court, Ayaz goes into a small room where nobody else is ever allowed.”
Now, Sufis say that whenever you want to pray, pray alone, in utter privacy. Prayer should not be done loudly; you should not shout it. It is not a performance, there is no need to exhibit it to others. It should be done in utter silence, stillness, privacy, so nobody ever comes to know about it. Sufis say, “Even your wife should not know when you pray.” They say, “In the middle of the night, when your wife has fallen asleep, sit silently in your bed and pray.” Only God should know. You should not brag about it, you should keep it a secret.
And there is something more to it, the idea of keeping prayer secret. If you can keep something secret, it deepens in you. The tendency of the mind is to tell everything. That is a way of throwing it out. That is a way of getting rid of it. It is a subtle vomiting. If you know something in which people will be interested or people may be curious about, you immediately start talking about it. It is very difficult for people to keep a secret, and if they are told to keep it a secret, it becomes even more difficult. It starts coming up again and again; it becomes a turmoil within them.
Sufis say if you can keep something a secret it goes deeper in you. Everything moves. Either it moves outward or it moves inward. If you don’t allow it to move outward, it will automatically move inward. This is a fundamental rule. Nothing is static, everything is in movement, so be very mindful of it. If you want something to go deep in you, please don’t talk about it. If some spiritual experience happens to you, don’t start talking about it. If it is very difficult for you, go to your master and relate it to him and then forget all about it – but don’t talk about it.
If you talk, the ego enjoys talking about it. You start feeling as if you are becoming special. You had seen lights, kundalini rising, chakras opening, and all that jazz. And then you are rushing, trying to find people, whoever is wishing to be a victim. You catch hold of people and you start pouring your knowledge – you don’t even bother whether they want to listen to it or not – but you are destroying something beautiful.
Things have to go deeper in you, and the only way to let them move deeper is not to let them move outward. They have to move. If you don’t give them an outlet for the outside, they will choose to move inward. Just as a seed has to go deep into the earth to die there, in utter darkness and privacy, so your prayer, the seed of prayer, has to go deep into your heart and die there.
The courtiers reported to Mahmud:
“Ayaz goes into a small room where nobody else is ever allowed. He spends some time there, and then goes to his own quarters. We fear that this habit of his may be connected with a guilty secret…”
People who live a guilty life always think and project their guilt on others. Remember: when you say something about somebody else, the first thing to be thought and pondered over is that it may be a truth about yourself and not about the other. The person who is really interested in self-knowledge will always ponder over the fact: “What I am saying about the other, is it truly about the other, or is it just a projection of mine and shows something about me, not about the other?” And you will be surprised: out of a hundred cases, ninety-nine you will find to be your own mind.
But the mind is very cunning; it projects. It always uses a kind of transference. For example, if you are sexually repressed and you see a couple hugging, caressing each other, you immediately jump upon them and you start talking of morality, culture, society, and all that. You start saying, “This is not right.” But watch. Have a little insight in your own being as to what is really happening. You have a repressed sexuality. Seeing them in a deep, loving embrace, your sexuality that is repressed starts surfacing. It becomes stirred and you become afraid of it.
Rather than accepting the fear of it, rather than looking into and watching it, rather than doing something about it, you become angry. Fear becomes anger when transferred, fear takes the form of anger. You become angry at the couple, and they are not doing anything to you.
There is a beautiful story. Indians need to be reminded of it. It happened…

Buddha was meditating underneath a tree. It was a full-moon night, and a few young people from the city close by had come to the forest to have a night of delights. They had brought much wine and a beautiful prostitute with them. Just very close to where Buddha was meditating, they started drinking and eating and dancing, and they stripped the woman naked. And they must have been doing nasty things to the woman because they were all drunk. Seeing them all drunk, the woman escaped.
Only in the middle of the night, when it started becoming a little cooler, they came to their senses a little bit and became aware that the woman was not there, so they started searching for her. She must have been frightened by them because she had not even taken her clothes; she had simply escaped, naked.
They searched. They could not find the woman, but they found Buddha. He was meditating under a tree. They asked him, “Have you seen a naked woman, a very beautiful woman? You must have seen her,” they said, “because this is the only way for her to go to the city; there is no other way.”
Buddha said, “Somebody did pass, but it is very difficult for me to say to you whether the person who passed was a man or a woman. It has been long, long ago that I have dropped being interested in bodies, man or woman. That desire has disappeared in me, so it is difficult.
“If you had told me before, I would have been more alert. I am sorry. Somebody has passed, but it is difficult for me to tell whether the person was young, old, beautiful, ugly, because these are no longer my concerns. This too is difficult for me to tell – whether the person was naked or clothed – because that too is no longer my concern.”

What was Buddha saying? Buddha was saying that now nothing was repressed in him, all repressions were dissolved. Buddha was saying he no longer thought in terms of man and woman, beautiful and ugly, he no longer thought in terms of nakedness or clothes. Those words had become irrelevant. He was again a small child, innocent.
Indians have to be reminded of this story, particularly those Indians who think it is their duty to “save Indian culture.” They don’t know anything about Indian culture. This is Indian culture, this: Buddha’s statement and state is Indian culture.
But it always happens that you go on projecting and transferring your own ideas on others. Now, these courtiers think there must be some guilty secret, otherwise why should he hide it? Why does he never allow anybody to enter the room? You always think the way you are. You cannot understand beyond yourself; anything that is beyond yourself becomes incomprehensible to you.
Ayaz must have been incomprehensible because he was not a politician, he was a Sufi. He was not allowing anybody in the room because it was a private phenomenon, it was his meditation.
said the courtiers,
“…he consorts with plotters, even, who have designs upon your Majesty’s life.”
Now, these must have been their ideas that they were projecting on poor Ayaz.
For a long time Mahmud refused to hear anything against Ayaz.
This is rare. This does not show anything about Mahmud, this simply shows something about Ayaz. His presence must have been of tremendous power. Otherwise, a man like Mahmud, a murderer, must have immediately become afraid when he was told, “There may be some plot, even against your life.” People who are murderers are always afraid of being murdered.
Adolf Hitler was very afraid, Nadir Shah was very afraid, Genghis Khan was very afraid, and Mahmud must have been very afraid. When you kill so many people, naturally the fear arises – any day you can be killed. Kings always remain in fear of being killed.
So this does not show anything about Mahmud. It simply shows that even a man like Mahmud could not become suspicious; the trust that Ayaz’s presence created must have been really powerful.
Otherwise people become very interested in such things. And when there is something like a secret, a guarded secret, it creates curiosity. If you tell a man there are three hundred billion stars in the universe, he will believe you. But if you tell him a bench has just been painted, he has to touch it to be sure.
People are foolish like that. They may believe big things because they are so big, and to inquire into them would be a great effort. Three hundred billion stars… People say, “Maybe – who cares? Three hundred or four hundred or six hundred, let them be.” But if someone finds a notice that a bench has been freshly painted, great curiosity arises. He would like to touch it and see.
Now, the secret chamber was in the king’s palace. Ayaz was going there every day. It would have been perfectly logical, simple, understandable, if Mahmud had gone the first day he was told about the secret. But Sufis have their own magnetism, as all people who meditate have. He must have been under Ayaz’s great influence.
For a long time Mahmud refused to hear anything against Ayaz. But the mystery of the locked room preyed upon his mind until he felt that he had to question Ayaz.
One day, when Ayaz was coming out of his private chamber, Mahmud, surrounded by his courtiers, appeared and demanded to be shown into the room.
“No,” said Ayaz.
Now, this no has to be understood; it is of tremendous value. It is not negative. Ayaz is saying it in tremendous trust. He has loved Mahmud, he has served Mahmud, he has given all that he can give to Mahmud; he has the right to say no.
And he is not a politician, otherwise he would have said yes. Politicians are yea-sayers. Whenever there is somebody powerful like Mahmud, they will always say, “Yes, sir.” It is only a man like Ayaz who can say no to Mahmud, knowing perfectly well that the man is dangerous. But he relied on the love that he had been showering on him.
And he wanted to understand whether his no could be accepted or not. He had always been open, trusting, available to Mahmud. He had never said no at any time before this time. Now his whole life’s intimacy… Could not one “no” be understood by love, by friendship? If it could not be understood, then that friendship was not of any worth, it was meaningless.
Yes is impotent if no cannot be said. Yes is potent only when you leave open the option that no can also be said. If you love somebody, you don’t expect that yes should always be said. If you love somebody, you give freedom to say yes or no. You respect, you don’t expect. Whatever comes from the other side is respected, even a no is respected. If Mahmud had loved the man, he would have simply dropped the idea. Love can trust even a no. Hate cannot even trust a yes.
“No,” said Ayaz. His no was sincere, authentic. Yes would have been just a hypocrisy, a pretension. He really wanted his prayer to be a secret, he wanted his zikr to be a secret. He did not want to declare to the world that he was a Sufi. He wanted that to be something only between him and his God. And Mahmud was not more important than that.
“If you do not allow me to enter the room, all my confidence in you as trustworthy and loyal will have evaporated, and we can never thenceforward be on the same terms. Take your choice,” said the fierce conqueror.
People like Mahmud don’t know what love is or what friendship is. Their love is conditional, and a conditional love is not love at all. Their love is full of ifs and buts.
Mahmud said: “If you do not allow me to enter the room…” then all is finished. Whenever you make a condition you destroy love. Remember, never make conditions on love. Let your love be unconditional, and never force the other to fulfill your expectations. Let your love be a sharing of freedom, in freedom.
Real lovers, real friends, make each other free. The more they love, the more freedom arises. Unreal lovers, pretenders, have a thousand and one ifs and buts surrounding their love. Their conditions have to be fulfilled, only then can they be loving. But this is not love at all. Love knows no conditions.
Ayaz wept…
Why did Ayaz weep? He wept because he had loved. He wept because he had really showered all his friendship. He wept because he saw that from the other side the response had not come. He wept because Mahmud had missed one friend, one real friend. Mahmud had lost a lover. He wept because he saw that Mahmud had no heart.
Ayaz wept… seeing the murder of love.
…and then he threw open the door of the room and allowed Mahmud and his staff to enter. The room was empty of all furniture. All that it contained was a hook in the wall. On the hook hung a tattered and patched cloak, a staff, and a begging bowl.
These are the symbols of a Sufi. When he had come to Mahmud, all that he had were these symbols. He had kept them in this secret place. Twenty-three hours a day he was in the court, a worldly man, surrounded by all kinds of foolish politicians; for one hour he used to disappear into his world. For one hour he used to forget all the court and the palace and the nonsense of it. For one hour he was again a Sufi wanderer, in faqr, in inner poverty, in zikr, in inner remembrance.
That was his temple, and that was his way of reminding himself of who he was.
The king and his court were unable to understand the significance of this discovery.
When Mahmud demanded an explanation, Ayaz said, “Mahmud, for years I have been your slave, your friend, and counselor. I have tried never to forget my origins, and for this reason I have come here every day to remind myself of what I was. I belong to you, and all that belongs to me is my rags, my stick, my bowl, and my wandering over the face of the earth.”
This is a parable, the parable of remembering your origin, the parable of remembering your original face, the parable of remembering your essence and not the personality. This is a beautiful story, but you have to decode it.
The conclusion of the story is that when you come into the world, you come as a clean slate, as a pure virgin emptiness. Then things are added to you and you become lost in those things that are added. You become identified with the knowledge that you accumulate, the wealth that you gather, the respect that you command, the fame that spreads. You become more and more identified with all that happens after birth, and you completely forget who you were before the birth.
The Zen people say, “Remember who you were when your parents were not born” – not even you, but your parents were not born… Remember who you were: that is your original face. To see it is to be free from all dreaming and all desiring. To see it is the goal of all religion. And to see it is to see God – because God is not the goal, but the source.
La ilaha il’Allah: there is no God but God. There is no goal but the goal. And the paradox is that the goal is in the source. You have it already within you. It is there, vibrating, pulsating in your being. Don’t go anywhere. Move into privacy, into secrecy, into your own innermost chamber. Don’t talk about it. Let it be a secret. If it becomes unbearable, talk to your master, otherwise keep it a secret. Let the secret go deeper and deeper into the soil of your heart. Let it reach the very core. Only when it reaches to the core does one become aflame.
Then only God is: la ilaha il’Allah.
Enough for today.

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