The Sword and the Lotus 04

Fourth Discourse from the series of 24 discourses - The Sword and the Lotus by Osho.
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What is the meaning of sannyas in the world today?
The word sannyas is one of the most significant in the human language. In the past it was given a wrong meaning. That wrong meaning destroyed its beauty, its joy, its laughter. The wrong meaning was renunciation. Renunciation of what? Renunciation of the body. Renunciation of all the pleasures of the body, the mind, the heart. Renunciation of the world, of the people, of those you love, of those you are grateful to. Renunciation of your parents who have given birth to you, who have sacrificed everything for you. Renunciation of your wives and your husbands who live for you and who die for you. Renunciation of small children who without you will not have a shelter in the world, without you will be orphans, beggars.
That was the old meaning of the word sannyas. It has destroyed humanity from its very roots.
On the one hand all the old religions say that God created the world, God created you, God created everything. And at the same time they say, renounce what God has created. It seems your priests are more wise than God. It seems that what God creates, your priests are against.
Let me summarize it in a single statement: all the religions and their priests are against God. If God is the creator of the world, then to renounce it or to teach renunciation is an act of sabotage. It cannot be called religious, it is not spiritual.
My sannyas gives it the right meaning it deserves. My sannyas does not mean renunciation, it means rejoicing – rejoicing in this beautiful world, rejoicing with totality, intensity, awareness, compassion, love, of all that existence has provided for you without any guilt, without any sin. All ideas about guilt and sin are created to exploit you.
Yes, man commits mistakes, but mistakes are not sin. It is human to err. Mistakes can be corrected, just a little intelligence is needed. You need not ask to be forgiven for your mistakes. You need not go to the Ganges, to take a bath to get rid of your sins – that is simply stupid. You need not go to Kaaba or to Jerusalem. All your mistakes need a little understanding so that you can avoid them.
I am reminded of a story….

A man used to sell Gandhi caps. And particularly at election times he earned enough to rest for five years. The elections were coming nearer, but the man was getting old. He was sick. He had prepared thousands of caps. He said to his young son, “I will not be able to go to the market” – which was a few miles away from his village – “you will have to go, but it is not a difficult thing. There is great demand for the caps, as the elections come closer.
“Just remember one thing: going to the market, the road is tremendously beautiful, very scenic. On both sides it has great, beautiful trees, with thick shadow, and one wants to rest, to sit for a while. I want you to be warned about what happened to me once when I was resting under a banyan tree.
“It was so calm, so quiet, that I fell asleep. When I woke up I was surprised. My bag of caps was empty – all the caps were gone. I looked all around, and then I heard monkeys giggling above me on the tree. They all had the Gandhi caps on. Just the way I was wearing one cap, they had imitated me. Although I was in great misery that they had destroyed my whole business, still I enjoyed. They looked so beautiful, as if all the great leaders from New Delhi had come on the tree! Then I remembered the advice my father had given to me, because the same thing had happened to him. History repeats. He had told me that if something like this happens, just throw your own cap. I threw my cap, and all the monkeys threw their caps. I collected the caps and went to the market….
“So you remember! In the first place, don’t stay under a tree where monkeys are. And in case you have to rest, and something like this happens, remember the advice.”
The son went, and the father was right – there was a beautiful, big banyan tree. Hundreds of bullock carts could have rested in its shadow. It was so calm and so quiet, so far away from all villages that he could not resist the temptation to rest for a while. He was tired too, it was a hot day.
He rested, and when he woke up, he found the bag was empty. He looked up. The monkeys were sitting on the tree with the caps on their heads. But he was not puzzled, because he knew the secret. He threw his cap. One monkey came down, took the cap, went up the tree. He could not believe what had happened. The monkeys had learned! And this was the only monkey who had not got a cap! They were waiting for when this idiot would throw his cap…and they had a great rejoicing.

Even monkeys learn.
It seems only man does not learn.
Your old sannyas has in every way destroyed your life. It has made everything condemned. Your love is sin, your being comfortable is sin, your being rich is sin…Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Can anybody who has a little sense, agree with Jesus that “blessed are the poor”? If the poor are blessed, then why is everybody trying to remove the poverty from the world? Then let the poverty grow because it is a blessing! The more poor you are, the more blessed you are.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. You are blessed according to Jesus. You should be happy. You will enter into the kingdom of God before any American.
In fact, the American cannot enter at all, because another statement of Jesus is: “A camel can pass through the eye of a needle, but the rich man cannot pass through the gates of paradise.”
These people have helped you to be poor. And I don’t see that poverty has any spirituality in it. I don’t see that you cannot meditate living in a comfortable house – that you have to meditate only when you are uncomfortable, that you have to stand on your head, that only then can you reach paradise.
It is very strange, because I have seen thousands of descriptions of God, but I have not come across a single description in which he is standing on his head. If God is not doing shirshasana, then why should you be bothered? Why should you torture your body? I have not come across a single description where God goes on fasts. Then why should you fast?
But the whole old idea of sannyas was that to attain to paradise you have to live in misery, you have to go through suffering. I don’t see that there is any need. I say to you: you can go singing, you can go dancing, you can go rejoicing. And this is my absolute trust – that God, or existence, cannot be against laughter, cannot be against rejoicing, cannot be against joy.
I don’t think that in suffering, poverty, torturing yourself, torturing others because of your renunciation, you are becoming beloved of existence. You are going farther away from the source of life; you are coming closer to death, and death is not the goal of religion. The goal of religion is eternal life, and life includes rejoicing.
Hence I teach a sannyas which is just the opposite of the old sannyas – diametrically opposite. I want my people to go to heaven, to paradise – all the way dancing, singing songs of joy. And I think they will be the first to enter into the kingdom of God, not the people who are basically sick.
I would like you to remember what the old religions have been teaching to people. They have been making them schizophrenic. They have been creating a split in their personality. They are making them divided against themselves. There have been saints, whose only quality and contribution is that they were very efficient in torturing themselves. You know perfectly well they will lie down on a bed of thorns. This is tapascharya, this is austerity. But do you think existence wants you to lie down on a bed of thorns? Is existence a sadist that it wants you to be tortured?
There have been Christian sects – they are still in existence – which wear shoes with nails inside protruding into their feet, so when they walk they are continuously hurting, wounding their feet; continuously blood is flowing. They have belts around their waists with the same device – nails reaching deep into their skin. The wounds remain for their whole life, because those belts cannot be removed. They are locked, and their keys are thrown away. They have taken that austerity for their whole life. Do you think this is something healthy, something sane?

In Soviet Russia, before the revolution, there was a great Christian sect – the most prominent and the most respected. But you will be surprised when you come to know the reason for their respectability. They used to cut off their genitals. They were real celibates, because a man can take the vow of being a celibate but his genitals are there intact. Who knows? He may be deceiving…!
Thousands of Christian monks would cut off their genitals publicly. The women were at a loss, but they came up with an idea – they started cutting off their breasts. This was thought to be a great spiritual act. And the same kind of thing, more or less, has prevailed all over the world in the name of sannyas.
I want the beautiful word sannyas to be taken away from all its old associations, and I want to give it a new meaning, a new fragrance, a new health, a new wholeness. I want you to remember a simple fact: that what is natural is divine, and what is unnatural is evil.
Celibacy is evil because it is unnatural. To follow the course of nature, to remain in a deep contact with all that is natural, not fighting it but in a deep friendship, in a let-go – that is my definition of sannyas.
You can swim against the river, against the current – that was the old sannyas. I don’t say to you even to swim. I want you to float and go with the river in a deep let-go, in a deep trust, wherever it leads. Existence cannot deceive you. We are born of it, we are its children. How can it deceive us? It does not deceive the rosebushes; it brings them beautiful roses. It does not deceive the lotuses. It does not deceive the birds. It does not deceive the sun, the moon, the stars. Why should it deceive its greatest creation, human consciousness – its highest peak? No, it is impossible.
Existence is with you.
You just have to learn how to be with it.
And to be with it totally, without any conditions, is what I mean by sannyas.

Is there any possibility for enlightenment for a nonserious meditator?
There is only possibility of enlightenment if you are a nonserious meditator because seriousness is sickness, seriousness is not health. Seriousness is a tense state of mind, it is sadness; it is not overflowing joy. Yes, the old traditions will tell you, “Be serious.” I cannot say that to you. Why be serious? The birds singing in the morning are not serious. The stars in the night are not serious. The flowers in their different colors and fragrances are not serious. Except man, have you anything else in existence which is serious? The oceans, the rivers, the mountains…nothing is serious, except man.
Who has made man serious? It is your old traditions which have created the idea that life is not a rejoicing, that life is not playfulness; that life has to be serious, only then can you enter into paradise, only then can you meet God. But I want to tell you, even God will not give you an audience if you reach there with a serious, long face. You have to go there like an innocent child, playful, joyous. You have to learn something of the sense of humor. All your old religions are lacking in that dimension – a sense of humor. They are all serious.

In my village, as happens all over the East, every year Ramleela was played – the life of Rama.
The man who used to play the part of Ravana, the enemy of Rama who steals Rama’s wife, was a great wrestler. He was the champion of the whole district, and the next year he was going to stand for the championship of the whole state. We used to take a bath in the river almost simultaneously in the morning, so we became friends. I told him, “Every year you become Ravana, every year you are being deceived. Just the moment that you are going to break Shiva’s bow so that you can get married to Sita, the daughter of Janak, a messenger comes running in and informs you that your capital of Sri Lanka is on fire. So you have to go, rush back to your country. And meanwhile, Rama manages to break the bow and marry the girl. Don’t you get bored every year with the same thing?”
He said, “But this is how the story goes.”
I said, “The story is in our hands if you listen to my suggestion. You must have seen that most of the people are asleep because they have seen the same thing year after year, generation after generation – make it a little juicy.”
He said, “What do you mean?”
I said, “This time you do one thing I say.”
And he did it!
When the messenger came with the message: “Your capital, the golden Sri Lanka, is on fire, you have to get there soon,” he said, “You shut up, idiot” – he spoke in English!
That’s what I had told him! All the people who were asleep woke up: “Who is speaking English in the Ramleela?”
And Ramana said, “You go away. I don’t care. You have deceived me every year. This time I am going to marry Sita.”
And he went and broke the bow of Shiva to pieces, and threw it into the mountains – it was just a bamboo bow. And he asked Janak, “Bring…where is your daughter? My jumbo-jet is waiting!”

It was so hilarious. Even after forty years, whenever I meet somebody from my village, they remember that Ramleela. They said, “Nothing like that has ever happened.”
The manager had to drop the curtains. And the man was a great wrestler, and at least twelve people had to carry him out.
That day the Ramleela could not be played. And next day they had to change Ravana; they found another person.
By the river, Ravana met me. He said, “You disturbed my whole thing.”
I said, “But did you see the people clapping, enjoying, laughing? For years you have been playing the part and nobody has clapped, nobody has laughed. It was worth it!”

Religion needs a religious quality. A few qualities are missing. One of the most important is a sense of humor.

They stopped me meeting their actors. They made it clear to every actor that if anybody listened to me or met me, he would not be allowed to act. But they forgot to tell one man who was not an actor….
He was a carpenter. He used to come to do some work in my house also. So I said to him, “I cannot approach the actors this year. Last year was enough! Although I did no harm to anybody – everybody loved it, the whole city appreciated it. But now they are guarding every actor and they don’t allow me close to them. But you are not an actor. Your function is some other work. But you can help me.”
He said, “Whatever I can do, I will do, because last year it was really great. Can I be of some help?”
I said, “Certainly.”
And he did it….
In the war, Lakshmana, Rama’s younger brother, gets wounded by a poisonous arrow. It is fatal. The physicians say that unless a certain herbal plant from the mountain Arunachal is brought, he cannot be saved, by the morning he will be dead. He is lying down on the stage unconscious. Rama is crying.
Hanuman, his most devoted follower, says, “Don’t be worried. I will go immediately to Arunachal, find the herb, bring it before the morning. I just want some indications from the physician how to find it, how it looks. There may be so many herbs on the Arunachal, and the time is short, soon it is night.”
The physician said, “There is no difficulty. That special herb has a unique quality. In the night it radiates and is full of light so you can see it. So anywhere you see a luminous herb you can bring it.”
Hanuman goes to Sri Arunachal, but he is puzzled because the whole of Arunachal is full of luminous herbs. It is not the only herb that has that special quality. There are many other herbs which have the same quality of being luminous in the night.
Now the poor Hanuman – he is just a monkey – is at a loss what to do. So he decides to take the whole mountain, and put the mountain there in front of the physician to find the herb.
The carpenter was on top of the roof. He had to pull the rope on which Hanuman comes with a cardboard mountain with lighted candles. And I had told him, “Stop exactly in the middle. Let him hang there, with the mountain and everything!”
And he managed it!
The manager rushed out. The whole crowd was agog with excitement at what was happening. And Hanuman was perspiring, because he was hanging on the ropes with the mountain also in the other hand. Something had got stuck in the wheel on which the rope was going to be rolled. The manager rushed up. He asked the carpenter…and the carpenter said, “I don’t know what has gone wrong. The rope has got stuck somewhere.”
In a hurry, finding nothing, the manager cut the ropes, and Hanuman with his mountain fell on the stage. And naturally he was angry. But the thousands of people were immensely happy. That made him even more angry.
Rama continued repeating the lines he had been told to say. He said, “Hanuman, my devoted friend…”
And Hanuman said, “To hell with your friends! Perhaps I have fractures.”
Rama went on saying, “My brother is dying.”
Hanuman said, “He can die any moment. What I want to know is, who cut the rope? I will kill him.”
Again the curtain had to be dropped, the Ramleela postponed. And the manager and the people who were organizing all approached my father saying, “Your son is destroying everything. He’s making a mockery of our religion.”
I said, “I’m not making a mockery of your religion. I’m simply giving it a little sense of humor.”

I would like people to laugh. What is the point of repeating an old story every year? Then everybody is asleep because they know the story, they know every word of it. It is absolutely pointless.
But it is very difficult for the old traditionalists, the orthodox people to accept laughter. You cannot laugh in a church. Have you seen any picture or statue of Jesus in which he is even smiling? Laughter is miles away. He cannot even smile. Have you seen Buddha or Mahavira laughing? No, they are all serious people, very serious. Even if you are laughing, when you come across Mahavira you will stop. He carries an atmosphere of seriousness around himself.
My approach is to create a world where laughter is good, is healthy, is supported not condemned. I would like our temples to be full of laughter, singing, dancing. I would like our churches to be full of music. I would like all our religious places to be playful.
How strange it is that you continuously go on saying that the world is God’s leela, and you never understand the meaning of the word leela. Leela means playfulness. If God is playful, then who are your saints not to be playful? If the whole of existence is divine play, then our lives should also be a part of it, a divine play.
So don’t be worried about meditating nonseriously; in fact, that is the right way to meditate. Meditate playfully, nonseriously, because whenever you meditate seriously you become tense. Meditation needs relaxation. Meditation needs a joyful heart. It is not work, it is play.
So you can meditate anywhere – taking a shower you can meditate, sleeping in your bed you can meditate, making love to your wife or your husband you can meditate – because meditation has no barriers, no conditions.
Meditation simply means a silent state of mind. You can do anything with the silent state of mind. And whatever you do will become more graceful, will become more creative, will bring better flowers, better fruits. Your life will become in every dimension richer. I am all for richness, in all the dimensions of life. Money alone is not richness.
There are so many greater things than money. If you can meditate in the different areas of your activities you will be making different dimensions richer, deeper. But don’t be serious. If a serious person is disturbed, he is angry.
I remember, my grandfather was a very serious meditator….

I was always watching. Whenever he meditated I would disturb him. Anything was enough. Just pulling the lobe of his ear – and he is meditating – or closing his nose…And he would be furious. I would say, “A meditator is not supposed to be so angry and so furious. And I know perfectly that when there is a customer in the shop, even meditating, you tell him to wait. This is strange. You don’t get angry about that. Then you forget all your seriousness. A dog enters in the house, and you are meditating and you start pointing to the dog saying, ‘Throw him out.’ What kind of meditation is this?
“The best will be: don’t pretend to be serious, be human, and there is no problem. You can continue to be silent and take care of the customer. You can remain silent and take care of the dog. You can remain silent and take care of me.”

But all the so-called religious people are very angry people. They think they have earned so much virtue that they can afford to be angry. On small matters they are ready to burst and freak out. This is because of their seriousness.

“Otherwise,” I told my grandfather, “if you are really in meditation, and I come to you, you can hold my hand, you can dance with me. You can play with me and still your inner world remains silent, watchful.”

Meditation is totally an undercurrent activity, so nothing touches it. There is no need to be serious. In fact, seriousness is dangerous. It won’t allow you to be meditative.

I am reminded of a man who was a very angry type, so much so that once he burned his own house. He was so angry with the architect that he burned his own house. Another time he was so angry with his wife, that he pushed her into the well and she died. That was too much!
At that very time there was staying in the village a famous Jaina monk, and this man was also a Jaina. The house was burned, the wife was dead; he had no children, no parents, all was finished. And this is how your old sannyasins used to be: when everything was finished, they would become sannyasins, they would renounce the world. The reality was that the world had renounced them!
He went to the Jaina monk and he said, “I want to renounce the world” – now there was no world left – “but I am a very angry man. I have destroyed my whole life because of my anger, and I have come to your feet, to be initiated. All I want is you to somehow help me to get rid of my anger.”
In Jainism there are five stages of initiation. At the fifth stage the sannyasin has to become naked. Slowly, slowly he has to drop things: some clothes, less clothes, then one cloth, and then finally he becomes naked.
The master asked him, “At what stage do you want to be initiated?” He said, “Is that a question to ask me? At the final stage.”
This is the same man who had burned the house, who had killed his wife – the same angry man.
But the Jaina monk was very happy. He said, “So many have come to me, but they always start from the first stage. You are really courageous.”
He was not courageous, he was simply an angry man, revengeful. Now he was taking revenge with himself. He had been angry to his wife, he had been angry to the architect, he had destroyed everything in anger. Now he wanted to destroy himself. The anger was turning upon himself.
But the Jaina monk misunderstood; he was not a master. He initiated him and because of his anger he gave him a new name, Muni Shantinath. Shantinath means master of peace. And Shantinath started great austerities – very soon he had defeated his master. It was a question of his old ego and his anger. He started torturing himself as much as possible. It was the same anger. If there had been a master with eyes to see, he would have seen that the man was not changing, he was the same man. The actions were different, but the approach, the attitude, the energy was the same.
Shantinath became very famous. After twenty years, when he had become famous all over the country, one of his friends came to see him. He was staying in the capital. There were thousands of followers and they said they had seen many monks, but they had never seen such austerity, such asceticism, such sacrifice, such devotion, such utter renunciation of all comforts.
The friend went to see. He looked at the face; he could not see any difference. Those eyes were still burning with anger. It was not the fire of self-realization, it was the fire of anger. He came close to the stage where the great master, Shantinath, was sitting. He asked him, “Master?”
Shantinath had seen him, had recognized him, but it was below him to recognize that he had recognized him. He was a great master, and the friend was an ordinary human being.
The friend could see that he had recognized him, but that he did not want to accept it. He came closer and said, “I’m very much impressed by Your Holiness. Just one thing I want to know: what is your name?”
And Shantinath was already angry. He said, “You don’t listen to the radio? You don’t watch the television? You don’t read newspapers?”
He said, “I’m a poor villager, uneducated. It will be great kindness of you if you can tell me your name.”
Shantinath said, “My name is Muni Shantinath Maharaj.”
The man said, “Many, many thanks.”
After a few minutes he asked again, “Sir, I have forgotten your name. Just once more.”
And Shantinath was afire. He said, “You idiot. I have just told you my name and you have forgotten within two minutes. The whole world knows my name. My name is Muni Shantinath Maharaj. And this is the last time, remember. If you forget again, then nobody can be worse than me. I will teach you a lesson.”
The man said, “No, I will not forget. I am continuously repeating it to remember.”
Within two minutes he came even closer and he said, “Your Holiness?”
And Shantinath took his staff into his hand. He said, “Yes?”
The man said, “Please don’t be annoyed with me, I’m a poor villager. I simply want to know what your name is.”
And Shantinath hit him on his head and said, “This will make you remember my name. My name is Muni Shantinath Maharaj.”
The man said, “I’m from your village, your friend. I simply wanted to know whether you had changed or not. Twenty years have gone down the Ganges without any change in you. You are the same person. You can deceive the whole world, but how are you managing to deceive yourself?”

Please don’t think of meditation as seriousness. It is a very playful activity. Make it as light as possible. It should not be a burden on your heart.
It should give you wings to fly in the sky.
It should not become a Himalayan weight on your soul.

First, what happens to the body, mind and soul when enlightenment happens?
Second, why is one enlightened person different from another enlightened person?
Third, what is satori and what is its impact on the body?
First, satori is simply the Japanese name for samadhi. It is the same as enlightenment.
Second, why do enlightened people differ from each other? They differ because existence does not like duplication.
Existence does not believe in carbon copies, it loves originals – and how can they be the same? Their circumstances are different, their times are different, their own past lives are different, their talents are different. Everything is different.
For example, how can I be Rama? Even if it were possible, I would refuse. It is good that it is not possible.
Rama’s wife is stolen. I don’t have a wife – of course, I could manage! If you all can manage it, why can I not manage? But I cannot do what Rama did. I cannot collect all the monkeys, and all the wolves, and all the squirrels, and all kinds of animals to fight with me to get my wife back. I think you will not do it either!
I have heard about a man whose wife had escaped with one of his friends….

After three days he reported, “Please write the report: My wife is missing for three days. My friend is missing also. The possibility is that she has escaped with him.”
The man on the register said, “I’m sorry for you. I have all the sympathy for you, but I am the wrong person. This is a post office. You should go to the police station. In the first place, where have you been for three days? And in the second place, even when you come after three days, you come to a post office to report it! Don’t you know where the police station is? It is just across the road!”
The man said, “I know where it is, but my wife has escaped before. I reported it to the police and those idiots brought her back! I’m not going to report to the police. That much is certain. If you want to take the report, take it, otherwise I am going home.”

Rama also did not treat Sita, his wife, in a very gentlemanly way. You will be surprised that when Sita came back after the war – Rama had won the war and Sita came to his camp – his first words were utterly ugly. He could not say anything loving to her. He could not even say anything nice to her. What he said is very disrespectful of womanhood. He said, “Listen, woman. I have not fought the war for you. I can have as many women like you as I want. I have fought the war for the glory of my own family, my heritage, my forefathers, their name, their respectability. That is the cause of the war. You are just a superficial excuse.”
Do you want me to say such a thing? I cannot conceive….
And then he forced her to go through a fire test to see whether she was still chaste or not.
If he had really been a man, he would have gone together with Sita through the fire test. He also was three years away from the wife. And it is a known psychological fact that women can remain celibate longer than men, because women’s sexuality is negative and men’s sexuality is positive.
It was beautiful of Sita that she did not ask him to come along with her into the fire test. That woman has proved something higher, something superior, something spiritual in her. Rama failed utterly.
He had some nerve to ask her to go through the fire test. You should not have double standards. You should have a single standard for both. At least that much should be expected from a man who is being worshipped by millions of people as an incarnation of God.
There are so many things, but one particularly I would like to emphasize. One fourth of the Hindus are sudras, untouchables. For centuries the Hindu religion, the Hindu priesthood has deprived one fourth of their brothers and sisters of all the rights of being human. They have been treated like cattle…even worse. They have not been allowed to read the Vedas or even to listen. They have been deprived of all spiritual evolution.
A brahmin brought one untouchable to Rama’s court and told Rama, “This untouchable was listening to the Vedas we were reciting. He was hiding behind the trees. It needs your judgment.”
And what was Rama’s judgment? – so inhuman that you cannot believe. He ordered that lead should be melted on the fire and poured into both of his ears. That was his punishment!
Do you want me to do such things?
Even this single instance is enough for me, that Rama has no claim on enlightenment. He is simply in the hands of the priests – a puppet and nothing else.
So one thing: the enlightened people that you think are enlightened, are not necessarily enlightened. It may be just a traditional idea that you have never thought about, you have never bothered about. Or perhaps you are afraid to think about such things because they will shake your faith. Most of your enlightened people are not enlightened. Those who are enlightened are bound to be different, for the simple reason that each enlightened person has a unique quality to his being.
Buddha cannot be Mahavira; Mahavira cannot be Bodhidharma; Bodhidharma cannot be Basho. Basho cannot be Baal Shem, for the simple reason that Basho is a poet, a poet of the highest quality. Before he becomes enlightened he is already at the height of his poetic creativity. And when he becomes enlightened, naturally his enlightenment flows through his poetry.
Mahavira has no poetry in his life. You cannot expect that when he becomes enlightened he will write poetry – that is impossible. That is not his preparation, that is not his talent, and that is not his genius.
Basho writes the smallest poems. In Japan, they are called haikus – just a few words. Nowhere in the world have such small poems existed, and with so much meaning – so profound, so deep. One of his haikus will help you to understand what my sannyas is – let-go.
Basho’s haiku is:
Sitting silently,
Doing nothing –
And the grass grows by itself.
That’s all, but it has been proclaimed by the great geniuses of the world as one of the greatest expressions of religiousness. “Sitting silently, doing nothing – and the grass grows by itself.” All that you have to do, is not to do anything. You have just to sit silently and wait. You need not pull the grass for its growth, it will grow by itself. In silence, in absolute inaction your spirituality grows by itself.
He has written another haiku which will explain the meaning of meditation – and nonserious meditation:
An ancient pond…
Just visualize, because he has few words. If you miss…and the only way to miss is if you don’t visualize, if you get stuck in the words. The words are very few, but by the time you figure out what they mean, they are gone.
The ancient pond,
A frog jumps in –
This is the whole poem. Just let me help you to visualize: an ancient pond, absolute silence everywhere – not even a ripple in the pond. And a frog suddenly jumps in. His jumping in the pond, and there is sound: plop!
But the sound deepens the silence of the ancient pond. That is what he is wanting to say without saying it. That sound of the frog deepens the silence when it disappears. Perhaps you were not aware of the silence. It was so much there, you may have taken it for granted. You may have forgotten it, but the frog has reminded you. By jumping and creating a little sound, and then suddenly the whole silence, you will feel grateful to the frog. It is not a disturbance; you will not feel angry. If you were a serious meditator you would like to kill the frog.
You came so far away to the ancient pond to meditate – and this frog seems to be some enemy out of your past life. And is this the point, the time…to disturb? If you are serious you have missed. If you are nonserious, playful, you will enjoy the frog. You will be grateful to the frog because it has deepened the silence.
And there is nothing more than that – a deepening silence, which goes on and on and on….
I am all for this life, and I want this life of yours to be a beautiful experience, a tremendous journey into ecstasy, moment to moment.
To me, spirituality is something not connected with holy books, not connected with religions. It is something that grows within you if you can manage a little sense of humor, a little sense of playfulness, and a little time for being near the ancient pond.
Allowing silence to be…Silence is the only secret there is.

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