The Wisdom of Sands Vol 1 02

Second Discourse from the series of 9 discourses - The Wisdom of Sands Vol 1 by Osho.
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The first question:
Why are you against ascetic practices? Aren't they religious? Isn't asceticism a path to God?
It is just the opposite: it is a path to the madhouse. It is pathological. It is an expression of an ill mind, it is an expression of a violent mind. Ordinarily violence is directed toward others, but violence can be directed toward oneself too. And when violence is directed toward oneself it is more dangerous, because there is nobody to defend you.
When you are violent with somebody else, the other is there to defend, to protect himself, to fight with you. When the violence turns upon yourself, it is absolute; there is nobody left to defend you.
So to me, Adolf Hitler is less dangerous than Mahatma Gandhi, Adolf Hitler is less violent than Mahatma Gandhi. It will be very difficult for you to understand it, but this has been happening down the ages: the people who are masochistic have declared themselves religious. Religion is an excuse to be a masochist: take the excuse away and the masochist is exposed.
If you go on thinking that a person who is torturing himself is a spiritual person, you are also nourishing his masochism. He’s simply enjoying torturing himself. There is a joy that comes out of torturing oneself. It consists of the feeling of power. When you torture somebody else, then too it gives you the feeling of power. That’s why violence exists. People simply go on doing violence to each other; that is their only way to feel powerful. They can destroy the other; that is their power. But there is a variety of violence where you can start destroying yourself, and you will feel powerful.
For example, the story is told – I don’t believe it is true, but it could be true – that a Hindu mystic, Surdas, was passing through a street and he saw a beautiful woman, and for a moment he forgot that he had renounced the world. He forgot that he was a saint, he forgot all about religion, discipline, Yoga. In that moment, his heart simply moved with great passion and love toward the woman. Just a moment later he caught hold of himself. He went back to his hut and destroyed his eyes, became blind, because the scriptures say if the eyes lead you astray, destroy them. He must have felt immensely powerful while destroying his eyes: “I can do even this!” The ego must have felt very, very subtle nourishment. The ego must have become stronger than ever.
It was not the eyes; it was his capacity to become unconscious. The eyes had not led him astray. How can eyes lead you astray? Eyes are just windows into the world. Standing in your room looking out of the window, you see a beautiful woman. You don’t destroy the window. And by destroying the window you will not gain anything: you will not become more spiritual, you will not become less sexual, your passion will not disappear. You will only be closed in your house and your passion will go on boiling within you. Eyes are windows.
Just a few days ago – I think just seven days ago – a woman in America cut off one of her hands because the Bible says if your hand offends you, it is better to cut it off and throw it away than to fall into hell and suffer for eternity. Do you call these people religious – Surdas or this woman, and there are millions of that type? Do you call them spiritual? They are pathological.
A religious person is a healthy, whole person. He accepts life as it is, and he accepts the joys that life brings. He dances with the dance, he sings a thousand and one songs. His approach is not antagonistic, it is not antilife.
The ascetic approach is antilife, it is suicidal. You may be committing suicide very slowly and partially – that doesn’t make much difference. Somebody jumps from a cliff and destroys himself, and somebody slowly, slowly – in installments – goes on destroying himself, takes years to destroy himself. This is slow poisoning, but there is no difference. In fact, the man who jumps from the cliff is more courageous than the man who goes on committing suicide slowly.
But down the ages we have praised these insane people, we have worshipped them. Because of this worship, humanity has remained immature and humanity has remained abnormal. The normal people are not normal, they are only called normal. They exist in great numbers, but they are not the norm and they are not healthy either. They somehow manage to live their lives. A man who is destructive to his being is insane, and the people who worship him as a saint are also insane.
I am utterly against ascetic practices because those practices are against life. I am all for life, I am all for God. God is a celebration. Look around: the whole of existence is continuously in a celebration, in a kind of “alleluia.” It continues singing and dancing, and loving and enjoying. If you watch existence, you will understand what it is to be religious. To be part of this celebration is to be religious.
I have heard…

The late Aga Khan III, leader of the Ismaili Moslem sect, was partial to the pleasures of the table. When a visitor asked him how he reconciled his predilection for worldly enjoyment with his status as a religious leader, the Aga replied, “I do not think the Lord meant the good things of this world to be enjoyed only by the sinners.”

I perfectly agree with the Aga. It is stupid that only sinners can enjoy and saints have to live in prisons called monasteries. They cannot eat, or even if they eat, they are not allowed to taste. They cannot listen to beautiful music because it is sensuous. They cannot dance because the origin of dance is in sex: the peacock dances when it wants to make love. They cannot sing because a song is nothing but an expression of sex. The birds sing; they are not reciting the Koran or the Vedas or the Gita. These are love calls. The flowers bloom; they are not blooming there for you to cut them and take them to the temple to some altar. The flowers are the expression of the sexuality of the plant. If you watch deeply, everything is sensuous; life is sensuous and everything is rooted in sex because life itself is born in sex.
The so-called spiritual person starts eliminating his life. One by one, all things disappear. He is left almost dead, he simply vegetates. I am not for that kind of existence.
My sannyasins have to be yea-sayers, not no-sayers. My sannyasins have to affirm life in its totality, in its multidimensionality, in all its possibilities and richness and variety. My sannyasin has to be rooted in existence, and my sannyasin has to live all the planes of life, from sex to samadhi. If something disappears of its own accord, that is another thing; but that is not asceticism. I know a moment comes when your energies start moving into higher planes of being, sex disappears because it is not needed. It is not needed because you are enjoying the same energy on higher planes – not because it is wrong, not because it was something ugly. It is not needed because the same energy is having higher orgasms. Samadhi is the ultimate orgasm; sex is only a glimpse of it. Sex is a momentary samadhi, and samadhi is eternal sex.
Naturally, when you have attained samadhi, sex will disappear, but it is not that you have to renounce it. If you renounce it, then you are doing something wrong. Go on moving deeper and higher, and whatever needs to disappear will disappear. Ultimately all disappears. Only God is left, only pure joy is left, uncaused joy is left. But it is not that you renounce. If you renounce, you will never attain that state.
I have heard…

There was a young man who was searching for greater and greater austerities, for he believed that nothing of real value is obtained easily. Finally, he located an ancient monastery in the Himalayas whose monks had taken the most severe vows of poverty and austerity. This monastery was on the summit of an awesome mountain peak, and the monks had to climb and descend by hauling themselves up and down the iron chains that were hammered into the mountain face. No heat was allowed in the monastery and the monks slept on the cold, stone floor. For sustenance they descended the chains each day to pry up the frozen ground in search of the few lichens that grew there. The remainder of the time they meditated, chanted, and made offerings. Now, these practices pleased the young man and he requested, and he was granted, permission to remain with them.
The monks’ form of meditation was to contemplate various riddles and shortly after the young man’s arrival, the abbot of the monastery posed this question: “How high is up?” Then he instructed the young man to meditate for one month and return with the answer. It was difficult to think about anything, since he was constantly shivering. But the harshness was a challenge to the young man, and after a month had passed he was confident of the answer.
Again the abbot asked, “How high is up?” and the young man replied, “As high as man’s mind may imagine it to be.”
But the abbot gave him a look of disdain and said, “Meditate for another month.” And the young man did.
When the month had passed, he met with the abbot and his answer was: “Up is as high as God wills it to be.” Again he was rejected and returned to his meditation. The next month when asked the same question, he said not a word, but raised one cold, stiff finger and pointed up. And again he was sent away. Each month the young man became more and more convinced that no answer could ever satisfy the abbot, and his frustration increased. The next time he saw the abbot and the question was asked, his voice was taut with suppressed anger: “This is foolishness! There is no answer!” And again he was sent away, this time with more mockery than usual, for the abbot knew the young man was close to the truth.
As he departed from the presence of the abbot, the young man vowed to make a last attempt to discover the answer. He ceased eating even the few lichens, and maintained a vigil atop the roof that was raised over the mountains. When the long month finally ended, the other monks removed him from the roof and tried to thaw him out so that he could speak with the abbot. Then the question was asked again: “How high is up?”
The young man looked blank for a second, then suddenly he screamed and jumped violently up and down several times, and before anyone could stop him, he leaped across the room and kicked the abbot so hard that he was thrown to the floor. The monks rushed to the aid of the abbot and lifted him up. As soon as he had recovered, he smiled and said to the young man: “You have got it.”
Then the young man quickly gathered his few possessions and departed from the monastery. By the time he had returned home he was filled with happiness, for he had found truth and achieved enlightenment.

Or perhaps the reason he felt so good was because he was warm. Ascetic practices give you a kind of ill, morbid joy. The more you go into them, the more you feel you are becoming a conqueror, you are conquering something. The more the body says, “Don’t destroy me,” the more you become adamant. You create a rift within yourself, between you and your body, and a great battle starts.
And the body is natural. The body simply asks for that which is healthy, natural – only for that which God allows and God wants to happen. The body has no unnatural desires. All its needs are natural needs, healthy needs, and the more you starve the body, the more the body prays and asks and haunts you. But you can make it a challenge: you can think that the body is trying to seduce you, that the body is in the hands of the enemy, in the hands of the Devil. And you can go on fighting more and more, with more strength, with more violence, with more aggression. You go on fighting with the body and a moment comes when you can dull the body.
If you go on fasting for a long time, the body by and by relaxes into a kind of dullness. It starts accepting, it adjusts itself. There is no point: there is nobody who takes care. So what is the point of going on crying? The body becomes dumb. You lose sensitivity, you become thick. You grow a thick skin around yourself. Then the hot and the cold do not bother you, then starvation does not bother you. Rather, on the contrary, you feel very good deep inside: you are conquering. But you are not conquering; you are losing ground. Each moment you are losing ground because truth can only be known through the body. Truth is known by the consciousness, but known through the body. One has to remain rooted in the body.
God himself is rooted in the world. Take a tree out of the soil and it will die. The life of the tree is intertwined with the life of the earth: it needs water, it needs manure, it needs food, it needs the sun, the air, the wind. Those are natural needs; the tree exists through them. Take the tree out of the soil, and for a few days maybe you may not notice that the tree is dying. The old water that it contained in itself may keep it a little bit green; even a few buds may open, a few flowers may bloom, but not for long. Sooner or later, the reservoirs of the tree will be finished and the tree will die.
Take yourself out of your body and you will die. Your body is your earth. Your body belongs to the earth, it has come from the earth, it is a small earth around you. It nourishes you, it is not your enemy. It is not in the hands of the Devil. There is no Devil; the Devil is a creation of the pathological mind, the Devil is the creation of the paranoid mind. It has come into the world because of fear. But your so-called God has also come out of fear, so your God and your Devil have both come out of your fear. You have not known the real God. The real God is not out of fear. The real God is out of love, out of joy. The real God can only be experienced by becoming more and more sensitive, by becoming more and more open.
Be in your body. Get out of your mind and get into your senses. That is the only way to be religious. It will look paradoxical, but let me say it: the only way to be religious is to be in the world, and deeply in the world, because God is hidden in the world. There is no other world. The “other world” is the deepest core of this world; it is not separate from it.
I’m against all ascetic practices and in the future, ascetics will be treated in mad asylums, psychiatric hospitals. Out of a hundred of your so-called saints, ninety-nine have been neurotic, but because you believed, you could not see what was really happening. Once you believe in a certain thing, the belief creates the phenomenon.
If you drop all kinds of beliefs and you start looking with clarity, you will be surprised. Man has not suffered through irreligious people; man has suffered in the hands of the so-called religious. Man’s greatest misery has come out of the split between body and soul. Man has become schizophrenic because of your saints, your churches, your scriptures. I’m not saying that there have never been real saints; there have been. Jesus or Diogenes, Buddha and Krishna, Zarathustra and Lao Tzu – these people loved life. And the tradition that says something else is created by the pathological.
Now, Christians say Jesus never laughed. This is utter nonsense. This nonsense is imposed by the Christians on Jesus. They have painted Jesus as a sad, long face. The Jesus in the churches is a false Jesus. The churches have created an artificial Jesus of their own. The real Jesus, the authentic Jesus, was a man of laughter, a man of celebration. In fact, it can’t be otherwise.
My message to you is: enjoy life as totally as possible and you will be coming closer and closer to the divine, you will be coming closer to home.

The second question:
You spoke today of the necessity of having a transparent mind so one can see more clearly and thus eliminate the necessity of choice.
Aren't desires, which only come from the ego, the sole cause of the muddying of the mind? Surely with no desires there would be no need for choice – things would simply happen.
The problem then comes right back to eliminating the ego and desires. It seems to be a vicious circle whose hold is broken either through a gradual process of attrition of the ego and desires, spanning many lives, or by getting out of the circle by taking the leap or gamble into the unknown.
The second method seems to be the preferable one, but where does the motivation come from to break out of the circle? Action is generally motivated by some desire. One can let things happen, or one can act, which again means choice.
First, there are not two ways to come out of the desiring mind, there is only one way. If there were two, then again there would be choice. There is only one.
The first thing you say: “…through a gradual process of attrition of ego and desires, spanning many lives…” That is out of your muddle headedness. The first is created by your mind because the mind always wants to postpone. It always says “tomorrow,” “next life.” It creates time. Time is a mind creation because mind cannot exist without time. The mind cannot exist in the now-here. The mind can only exist in the future or in the past; it projects. So the mind says, “It is a very complex problem. You will be able to solve it only slowly, slowly, desire by desire. You will have to change, practice. You will have to do a thousand and one methods: following paths, techniques, methods. Finally, somewhere in the distant future, one day you will become enlightened. You will come out of all desiring.”
But your practicing in all these lives will be out of motivation, the motivation to become enlightened. All your methods, all your practices, will be basically rooted in the motivation for enlightenment. So for all these lives you will be feeding the motivation to become enlightened; it will become stronger and stronger. You will not be able to get out of it, you will be helping it to become stronger. It will be stronger tomorrow, the day after tomorrow still stronger, and so on and so forth, because each day you will be carrying the motive in your mind. You will be giving energy to it, you will be pouring your life juices into it. If you cannot become enlightened right now, tomorrow it is going to be a little more difficult, and the day after tomorrow still more difficult. And after that one never knows: it may happen, it may not happen at all. Now or never!
So the first alternative is not really there. It is a strategy of the mind. And the second: “…by taking the leap or gamble into the unknown. The second method seems to be the preferable one…”
There is no other. It is not preferable; that is the only thing there is. It is not a question of choosing. There is no choice in life. Life is simply choicelessly there. There are not two doors in life; it is only a single door. That is why Jesus says, “The way is straight but narrow.” It is very narrow, there is not much possibility to choose – no possibility to choose, really.
The problem is how to do the second, which is the only one. How do you do it? Because the question arises again: “Where do you get the motive from?”
Have you never seen any action arising in you which comes without any motivation? Later on, you may find out, recapitulate, reconsider the whole situation, and you may think that there was a motive. But in the actual act there was none.
For example, you come across a path and you see a snake moving. There is not time enough to think. Motivation will need time, you will have to go into a syllogism: you will have to see the snake, whether it is poisonous or not, dangerous or not. You will have to think about other experiences with snakes and other people’s opinions about the snakes. You will have to ponder. And then you will become afraid and there will be a motivation: how to protect yourself, how to jump, what to do. But all these things are just imaginary. When you face the snake, you simply jump out of the way. The jump comes first; there is no motivation, the act is total. You are the act – it is not that there is an actor and the act, and there is a mind between the two, thinking and pondering what to do. You simply act.
Your house is on fire. You rush out, you don’t ponder over it. No thinking happens: in a moment of no-thought the action arises. That action is unmotivated, although if you look backward, if you recapitulate, you can find a motive. That motive is created by the mind. The mind cannot understand anything without a motive; the mind is the motive. Even where no motive exists, the mind imposes a motive. Later on, sitting under a tree, relaxing, you will think, “I acted out of the fear motive. I was afraid of death, that’s why I jumped.” But this is wrong, this is absolutely wrong. There was no death, there was no fear. You simply acted; the act came from intuition, not from thought and intellect. The house was on fire, you simply rushed out. It was a natural phenomenon, it was a happening.
People used to come to Buddha again and again and say, “Yes, whatever you say is right, seems right, seems rational, logical. We would also like to get out of this wheel of life and death, but you make things impossible. You say, ‘Just jump without any motive because if you have any motive, then you will remain in the vicious circle of life and death. All motives are spokes of the wheel, so you will be clinging. If you have any motive, any desire, any goal, any future, you will again and again be creating the same pattern. Just come out of it with no idea.’”
People would say, “We understand. It looks logical: the world is nothing but a projection of our desires, so if we have any desire – even to get out of the world – that will create another world, ad infinitum, one behind the other. You can go on and on. Then how can you get out of it?”
And Buddha would say, “Just see the point that life is meaningless. Be clear that this life is illusory, that there is only misery and pain and nothing else, agony and nothing else.”
See that the house is on fire, and then there is no “how.” The man whose house is on fire does not consult a guidebook, How to Get Out of the House When It Is on Fire. He simply finds a way. He jumps from the window, from the back door. He is not worried about the doors and the windows and etiquette and manners; those luxuries are not possible in that moment. You can afford those luxuries only when the house is not on fire and you are resting in your house and thinking and planning: “If the house were on fire, from where would I get out?” But the “if” has to be there – then you can ponder over it, brood over it.
When I say “the clarity of mind,” I simply mean seeing a fact as it is. If it is false, it drops of its own accord from your being; you need not have any motive to drop it. Nobody has dropped anything, nobody can drop anything, because in the dropping is the clinging. You cannot renounce anything. In the very renunciation there is attachment.
You think, “My living in the family, being with the wife and the children is an attachment. It does not allow me meditativeness. It does not allow me time, space to search for God. I should go to the Himalayas, I should leave this family.” You can manage to leave, you can renounce the family, you can escape to the Himalayas, but sitting in a Himalayan cave you will think of your wife and your children, and God will be as far away as ever – in fact, further away. When you are with your wife and children, you need not think much about them. They are there, so what is the need to think? When they are not there, then you will think continuously. Then all the joys that you had enjoyed with the wife and the children – your child giggling and running in the garden, you sitting by the side of your wife, and all that nostalgia – will come in thousands of ways, in far more beautiful forms, far more luminous, far more psychedelic.
Sitting in your cave, what are you going to do? You will think of the home, the warmth of the home, the comfort of the home. The cave will only throw you back to the home again and again. The coldness of the cave will remind you of the warmth of your wife, her warm body – nobody to look after you, nobody to take care of you. And you will be thinking again and again about what you have done to yourself and how you can forgive yourself for leaving your children as orphans. That will torture, that will torture your being, that will hurt. It will become a wound. You will not be able to forget; you will not be able to forgive either.
This is a stupid way. Nobody renounces, nobody leaves anything, nobody drops anything. One who understands finds that a few things have disappeared. In the very understanding is the disappearance. I know – living in your home, living with your wife and children, a moment comes when you are no longer a husband and she is no longer a wife. In fact, when you are no longer a husband and she is no longer a wife, love arises in its greatest splendor.
To be a husband is ugly, to be a wife is ugly. It is institutional, it is legal, it is a kind of contract. Marriage is ugly. There comes a moment of understanding when marriage simply disappears. And you know – how can you become the master of a woman? The very idea is violent, the very idea is egoistic. How can you possess a woman? How can you reduce a beautiful woman into an ugly wife? She becomes a freedom again, she is no longer in the cage called wifehood. You become free again, you are no longer a husband – you both start flying in the sky, free. You are no longer caged. The marriage has disappeared; the love sky is open.
This is the way to get out of attachment: it is not by renouncing the people you love, it is by renouncing the ugly things that you have gathered around the people you love. And that renunciation comes out of a transparent clarity.
How can you say, “This is my child”? All children are children of existence. If you are in your senses, how can you claim, “This child is mine”? He comes through you, that is true; you have been a passage for the child, but you can’t own him, you can’t possess him. You can love him, you can celebrate his coming to you, but you can’t become in any way a power over the child. Understanding transforms situations.
Just try to understand what you are living, what your life is. Look deeply into it, watch deeply. There is no hurry to change anything. Never be in a hurry to change, just let your insight become profound. Seeing a thing as false, you are freed. And to know the false as the false is to know the truth as the truth. Seeing the false as the false, your eyes start moving toward the true.
That’s what I mean when I say enlightenment comes out of choicelessness. It is unmotivated. Seeing the futility of all kinds of motivation, it happens.

The third question:
What stands in the way of my saying yes to life, to surrendering totally? And is it always right to say yes?
It is difficult to say yes to life because you have been taught to say no. And the conditioning is very ancient. Not only is the conditioning there – which does not allow you to say yes – there is some inner mechanism also that does not allow you to say yes.
When a child is born he is a yes-sayer. Slowly, slowly, as he starts feeling himself an individual, the no arises. When the child starts saying no, you can be certain this is the time the ego is born. The ego cannot exist without saying no, so each child has to say no. It is an inner necessity to become an individual. If the child goes on saying yes to everything, he will never become an individual, he will not have any definition to his being. How will he be able to be defined? “Yes” gives you no definition; “no” gives you definition. When you say no, you know it is “I” saying no. When you say yes, there is no “I” in it.
Life and you remain one when you say yes. When you say no, you demark a line, you assert yourself. That is the meaning of the Biblical story of Adam disobeying God, saying no. It is a must, otherwise Adam would never have become separate from God. He would never have had any individuality; he would have remained vague, a kind of cloud, nebulous. He has to say no, he has to disobey, he has to rebel.
And remember, this is not something that happened in the past and happened only once; it happens with each new Adam, with each new child of man. Each child lives in the Garden of Eden for a few months, a few years, and then slowly, slowly he has to deny, he has to rebel, he has to disobey. The father says, “Don’t do this,” and he has to do it just to say, “I am myself. You cannot go on ordering me like that. I’m not a slave. I have my own preferences, I have my own likes and dislikes.” Sometimes the child even does something which he does not like to do much, but he has to do it because the father is saying don’t do it.
Children start smoking cigarettes. No child likes smoking a cigarette for the first time – nobody can like it. Tears come to the eyes, the child starts coughing, the throat feels miserable, the heart does not like it – but he has to do it because the father is saying, “Don’t smoke.” He has to go against the father; that is the only way to have a separate existence. He has to go against the mother, he has to go against the teacher. There is a time for each child to say no, and that is good as it is. I am not against it, otherwise there would be no more individuals. But then you become accustomed to saying no.
There is a time, a season to say no, and there is a time to learn to drop unnecessary no’s. Otherwise you will never attain unity with the divine. Just see the point: no helps you to become separate from your father, your mother, your family, your society. It is good, as far as it goes, it is good. But then one day you have to learn to say yes to existence. Otherwise you will always remain separate, and the separation creates misery, the separation creates a kind of struggle in life, a fight. Life becomes a war, and life should not be a war. It should be a relaxed joy. So one has to say yes one day.
You ask me, “What stands in the way of my saying yes…?” You are afraid of losing your ego. You stand in the way, your ego stands in the way. It was good that it helped you to get rid of your past heritage, history, your parents, your family, your church. It is good, but its work is finished; you are no longer a child. Now don’t go on fighting. Just don’t go on carrying the old habit of saying no; otherwise you will remain childish.
See the paradox: if a child never says no he will never grow, and if a grown-up man goes on saying no he will remain childish. One day you need to say no with your total heart, and one day you need to drop the no too.
And you ask, “And is it always right to say yes?” No, not always. No has its own utility. One should not be addicted to it, that’s all. No is not bad in itself. There are moments when you have to say no, there are moments when you have to say yes. One should be free to say yes or no; that’s what I have been telling you. One should not be addicted to either. A free person is one who looks at each situation and says yes or no – whatever the response is, whatever he feels like in that moment. That yes and no should not come from the past, should not come from the memory. It should not be a reaction; it should be a response.

A man was alone out in a rowboat on the Potomac shouting, “No! No! No!”
Somebody was watching: “Why is this man saying, ‘No! No! No!’?” And there was nobody else, he was alone on the boat. And not only was he saying it, he was shouting to the sky, “No! No! No!” The watcher was naturally puzzled.
“Nothing to worry about,” said a passing policeman to the puzzled man. “He’s just a White House yes-man on vacation.”

A balance is needed. If you go on saying, “Yes, yes,” if you are a yes-man, that will be lopsided and you will need a vacation. You will have to go on some boat alone and shout, “No! No! No!” Then you will feel good.
Yes and no are like inhalation–exhalation; you need not choose. You have to inhale and you have to exhale, and both are needed. Your house is on fire and you rush out: this is no. You are saying to the fire, “I am going out.” A snake crosses your path and you jump out of the way; you say no. You may not be actually saying no, but there are a thousand gestures which are a no.
A man should be free to say yes or no. If you are obsessed with yes, you will not have any individuality. If you are obsessed with no, you will have only the ugly ego. A man in a tremendous balance of yes and no is healthy and whole.
And to say yes is not always right; it cannot be. Nothing is always right, and nothing is always bad. But you have been taught fixed ideas again and again: this is bad and this is right. Rightness and wrongness change; they change as circumstances change. No act in itself is right, or can be right, or wrong, or can be wrong. Each situation is new, and one ever knows. Never carry fixed ideas, fixed ideas are obsessive. Remain free to act. A religious person is one who responds, who is free to act in each and every situation, whose reactions are not fixed reactions, who is not mechanical.

Two men were out mountain climbing when one of them said, “I’m more experienced than you. I’ll go in front and show you how it is done.” So he went up in front and fell down a great big hole about 250 feet deep. The other fellow shouted down, “Are you all right?”
“No, I have broken both arms.”
“Well, climb up with your legs.”
“I have broken both legs too.”
“Well, then climb up with your teeth.” So he climbed up with his teeth and it took him ages. He was almost at the top when the fellow shouted down, “Are you all right?”
And the answer came: “YEEEEEEeeeeessss” and he went down again.

Yes is not always right.

The fourth question:
“Trust in Allah, but tether your camel first.” I love this Sufi saying, but I don't know who or what the camel is.
It changes. The camel is not a fixed entity; it comes in all shapes and sizes. The camel is only a symbol. It simply says one thing: don’t be passive. God has no hands other than your hands. Trust in Allah, trust in God, but that should not be an excuse for becoming lousy, lazy.
There are three types of people in the world. One who thinks he has to do something; he himself is the doer. He does not trust the whole, the encompassing whole. He simply lives on his small energy, and naturally is defeated again and again and proves a failure. If you live on your very small energy against this vast energy that surrounds you, you are going to be a loser, a goner. And you will suffer great agonies and anguish. Your whole life will be nothing but a long, long misery.
Then the second type of person is one who thinks, “When God is doing everything, I don’t need to do anything. I’m not supposed to do anything.” He simply sits and waits. His life becomes more and more lazy and there comes a point when he no longer lives; he simply vegetates.
These two types represent West and East. The West represents the doer, the active type, and the East represents the non-doer, the passive type.
The West is driving itself crazy. The problem of Western humanity is too much action, no trust, too much dependence upon oneself – as if “I have to do everything,” as if “I am alone,” as if “Existence does not care a bit about me.” Naturally it creates anxiety, and the anxiety is too much, unbearable. It creates all kinds of neuroses, psychoses; it keeps people always on the verge, tense, nervous. It is murderous, it is maddening. The West has succeeded in doing many things, has succeeded in getting rid of the idea of God, has succeeded in dropping all kinds of trust and surrender, has dropped all kinds of relaxing moods, knows nothing of let-go – has forgotten completely. That’s why in the West people are finding it more and more difficult even to fall asleep, because sleep needs a certain kind of trust.

Once I came to know a man who could not sleep at night. He would keep himself awake. He would sleep in the day, but he would keep himself awake at night. His wife told me, “Do something, because this is creating many problems. He cannot work because he sleeps in the day, and the whole night stays awake and also keeps us awake. He is driving me mad!”
I inquired as to what the phenomenon was. The man was a great doubter, an untrusting man. He told me, “I cannot sleep at night because everybody is asleep. If something happens to me, then who is there to take care? I sleep in the day because the children are awake, my wife is awake, the neighbors are awake, the whole world is awake. If something happens to me, it can be taken care of. If I die at night, then…? If I stop breathing in the night, then…?” He was a madman.

But that is exactly what is creating insomnia in the West. People think they cannot fall asleep, that something has gone wrong in their bodies. Nothing has gone wrong in their bodies. Their bodies are as healthy as ever, in fact, healthier than ever. But something has gone so deeply into their minds: they have to do everything. And sleep cannot be done; that is not part of doing. Sleep has to be allowed. You cannot do it, it is not an act; sleep comes, it happens. And the West has completely forgotten how to let things happen, how to be in a let-go. So sleep has become difficult, love has become difficult, orgasm has become difficult. Life is so tense and strained that there seems to be no hope and man asks again and again, “What is there to live for? Why go on living?” The West is on the verge of committing suicide. That moment of suicide is coming closer and closer.
The East has succeeded in relaxing too much, in being too much in a let-go. It has become very lazy. People go on dying, starving – and they are happy with it, they are not worried about it. They trust existence; they adjust to all kinds of ugly situations, they never change anything. They are good sleepers, and they have a certain calm and quietude about them, but their lives are almost like vegetating. In the East, millions of people die every year just because of hunger. Neither do they do anything, nor does anybody else bother about it: “It must be the will of Allah!”
This Sufi saying wants to create the third type of man, the real man: who knows how to do and who knows how not to do; who can be a doer when needed, can say yes and who can be passive when needed and can say no; who is utterly wakeful in the day and utterly asleep in the night; who knows how to inhale and how to exhale, who knows the balance of life.
“Trust in Allah, but tether your camel first.” This saying comes from a small story…

A master was traveling with one of his disciples. The disciple was in charge of taking care of the camel. They came in the night, tired, to a caravanserai. It was the disciple’s duty to tether the camel, but he didn’t bother about it; he left the camel outside. Instead of that, he simply prayed. He said to Allah, “Take care of the camel,” and fell asleep.
In the morning the camel was gone – stolen or had moved away, or whatever happened. The master asked, “What happened to the camel? Where is the camel?”
The disciple said, “I don’t know. Ask Allah because I told him to take care of the camel. And I was too tired, so I don’t know. I am not responsible either because I told him, and very clearly – there was no missing the point. In fact, not only once; I told him thrice. And you go on teaching ‘Trust Allah,’ so I trusted. Now don’t look at me with anger.”
The master said, “Trust in Allah, but tether your camel first because Allah has no other hands than yours.”

If Allah wants to tether the camel, he will have to use somebody’s hands. He has no other hands. And it is your camel: the best way, and the easiest and the shortest, is to use your hands. Trust Allah. Don’t trust only your hands, otherwise you will become tense. Tether the camel and trust Allah. You will ask, “Then why trust existence if you are tethering the camel?” Because a tethered camel can also be stolen. Do whatever you can do. That does not make the result certain, there is no guarantee. So do whatever you can and then whatever happens, accept it. This is the meaning of tether the camel: do whatever is possible for you to do, don’t shirk your responsibility, and then if nothing happens or something goes wrong, trust Allah. Then he knows best. Then maybe it is right for us to travel without the camel.
It is very easy to trust Allah and be lazy. It is very easy not to trust Allah and be a doer. The third type of man is difficult – to trust Allah and yet remain a doer. But now you are only instrumental; God is the real doer, you are just instruments in his hands.
And you ask: “I love this Sufi saying, but I don’t know who or what the camel is.” It depends on the context. The content of the camel will be there, but the context will be different. Each day it happens: you could have done something but you didn’t do it, and you are using the excuse that if God wants it done, he will do it anyhow. You do something and then you wait for the result, you expect, and the result never comes. Then you are angry, as if you have been cheated, as if God has betrayed you, as if he is against you, partial, prejudiced, unjust. And there arises great complaint in your mind. Then trust is missing.
A religious person is one who goes on doing whatever is humanly possible, but creates no tension because of it. Because we are very, very tiny, small atoms in this vast universe, things are very complicated. Nothing depends only on my action; there are thousands of crisscrossing energies. The total of the energies will decide the outcome. How can I decide the outcome? But if I don’t do anything, then things may never be the same. I have to do, and yet I have to learn not to expect. Then doing is a kind of prayer, with no desire that the result should be such. Then there is no frustration. Trust will help you to remain unfrustrated, and tethering the camel will help you to remain alive, intensely alive. And the camel is not a fixed entity; it is not the name of a certain entity. It will depend on the context.

The town was in an uproar. An inmate of the local lunatic asylum had escaped and had raped two women. Everybody was horrified. Late that afternoon the local newspaper’s headline ran: “Nut Bolts and Screws.”

Now if you read the headline alone, you would never know the meaning of it – “Nut Bolts and Screws.” You would have to read the whole story; the meaning depends on the context.
Unfortunately, the lives of most people reflect the insight in the following exchange between two businessmen:

“It is remarkable! You have been in the market for only six months and you end up with a million dollars? How did you do it?”
“Ah,” the response was, “it’s very easy. I started with two million.”

The camel is not a fixed entity. You will have to look into the whole context; it will go on changing. But the saying is of immense value: it is the Sufi approach to create the third man.

The fifth question:
What is the law of karma?
It is not in fact a law because there is nobody behind it who is a lawgiver. On the contrary, it is intrinsic to existence itself. It is the very nature of life: whatever you sow, you reap. But it is complex, it is not so simple, it is not so obvious.
To make it clearer, try to understand it in a psychological way because the modern mind can understand only if something is explained in a psychological way. In the past, when the law of karma was talked about – when Buddha talked about it and Mahavira talked about it – they used physiological, physical analogies. Man has gone far away from that, man has moved far away from that. Now man lives more in the psychological; so this will be helpful.
Every crime against one’s own nature, every one, without exception, records itself in our unconscious, what the Buddhists call alaya vigyan, the storehouse of consciousness – each crime.
And what is a crime? It is not because of the court of Manu that it is a crime, because that court is no longer relevant; it is not because the Ten Commandments say it is a crime, that too is no longer relevant; and it is not because a certain government says it is a crime, because that goes on changing. Something is a crime in Russia and the same thing is not a crime in America. Something is a crime according to the Hindu tradition and the same thing is not a crime according to the Mohammedan tradition. Then what is crime? There has to be a universal definition for it.
My definition is: that which goes against your nature, that which goes against your self, your being, is a crime. And how can you know it is a crime? Whenever you commit that crime, it is recorded in your unconsciousness. It is recorded in a certain way: it is recorded and starts giving you a feeling of guilt. You start despising yourself, you start feeling unworthy, you start feeling you are not as you should be. Something inside you becomes hard, something closes inside you. You are no longer as flowing as you were. Something has become solid, frozen. That hurts, brings pain, and brings a feeling of unworthiness.
Karen Horney has a good word to describe this unconscious perceiving and remembering. She says, “It registers.” I like it: “It registers.” Everything you do registers itself automatically. If you have been loving, it registers that you are loving, it gives you a feeling of worth. If you have been hateful, angry, destructive, dishonest, it registers and gives you a feeling of unworthiness, a feeling of being something below human, a feeling of inferiority. And whenever you feel unworthy, you feel cut off from the flow of life. How can you flow with people when you are hiding something? Flow is possible only when you expose yourself, when you are available, totally available.
If you have been cheating on your woman and seeing another woman, you cannot be with your woman totally. It is impossible because it registers: deep in your unconscious you know that you have been dishonest, deep in your unconscious you know that you have betrayed, deep in your unconscious you know that you have to hide it, that you are not to reveal it. If you have something to hide, if you have something to keep secret from your beloved, there will be distance. The bigger the secret, the bigger the distance will be. If there are too many secrets, then you are completely closed. You cannot relax with this woman, and you cannot allow this woman to relax with you because your tenseness creates tenseness in her, her tenseness makes you even more tense, and it goes on creating a vicious circle.
Yes, it registers in our books, in our beings. Remember, there are no books which God is keeping. That was an old way of saying the same thing. Your being is the book. Whatever you are and whatever you do is constantly being registered. Not that there is somebody writing it; it is a natural phenomenon. If you have been lying, it is registered that you are lying; and now you have to protect those lies, and to protect one lie you will have to tell one thousand lies. And again to protect those one thousand lies you will have to go on and on and on. You become, by and by, a chronic liar. Truth becomes impossible for you because to tell one truth will be dangerous now.
See how things go together: if you tell one lie, then many lies are invited. The same attracts the same, and now truth is unwelcome because the darkness of the lies will not like the light of truth. So, even when your lies are not in any danger of being exposed, you will not be able to speak the truth. If you speak one truth, many other truths are invited: like attracts like. If you are naturally truthful, it is very difficult to lie even once because all that truth protects you. And this is a natural phenomenon. There is no God keeping a book. You are the book. You are the God, your being is the book.
Abraham Maslow says, “If we do something we are ashamed of, it registers to our discredit. And if we do something good, it registers to our credit.” You can watch it, you can observe it. The law of karma is not some philosophy, some abstraction. It is simply a theory which explains something true inside your being. The net result is either we respect ourselves, or we despise and feel contemptible, worthless and unlovable.
Every moment you are creating yourself; either a grace will arise in your being or a disgrace. This is the law of karma. Nobody can avoid it. Nobody should try to cheat on karma because that is not possible. Watch, and once you understand it, things start changing. Once you know the inevitability of it, you will be a totally different person.

And the last question:
What is intensity?
It is important because it is only through intensity that one arrives. When all your desires, when all your passions, fall and become one flame, it is intensity. When there is only one left inside you and your total being supports that one, it is intensity.
It is exactly what the word says: intensity. The opposite word is extensity: you are spread out, you have a thousand and one desires, many fragmentary desires, one going to the north, one going to the south. You are being pulled apart. You are not one, you are a crowd. And if you are a crowd you will be miserable, if you are a crowd you will never feel any fulfillment. You don’t have any center. Intensity means creating a center in yourself.
There are two words which are significant to understand. One is centrifugal: it means arrows moving from the center going in different directions, extroverted. Small pieces, small parts of your being flying all over the place, in all directions, in all possible directions: that is centrifugal. That’s how people are: they are centrifugal. Another word is centripetal: when all the arrows are coming toward the center, when all the fragments are joined together. In the first you are falling apart, you are in a kind of de-centering. In the second you are falling together. A kind of integration arises; you are getting centered, concentrated in. That is the meaning of intensity.
Sometimes you have known moments in danger – suddenly, in a dark night you are faced with a naked sword and you know what intensity is. Suddenly all your thoughts disappear, the crowd becomes one. In that moment you are one single individual. The word individual means indivisible. You will be undivided, you will be a unity – not only a unity, but a union. You will be utterly one. Your death facing you has created the intensity.
Or in love sometimes: you fall in love and there is an intensity. All else becomes irrelevant, peripheral. Only the love is the all and the whole of your heart. When such intensity arises in meditation, it brings you to God, or into prayer, then it brings you to God.
A story…

The scene was the last Olympic Games. In the quarters of the American wrestling team stood John Mack, the trainer, warning his protégée, Mike “Bull” Flamm, about the forthcoming match.
“You know,” Mack said, “the Russian wrestler you are about to tackle, Ivan Katruvsky, is one of the greatest wrestlers in the world. But he really is not as good as you are. The only thing he’s got that makes him a terror is his pretzel hold. If he ever gets a man in his pretzel hold, that man is doomed. He has used the pretzel hold on twenty-seven competitors, and in each case his opponent gave up within ten seconds.
“So listen to me, Bull, you have got to be damned careful. Never let him get you in that pretzel hold. If he once clamps you in it, you’re a goner!” Bull listened carefully to Mack’s instructions on how to avoid that crippling grip of Ivan’s.
For the first three minutes of the bout, neither the American nor the Russian could gain an advantage. The crowd was on edge. Then, suddenly, pandemonium broke loose – Bull Flamm had fallen into the clutches of Ivan’s pretzel hold and was moaning in agony. Mack knew the match was lost and he left the arena in deep gloom. Down the corridor, the echoes of Bull’s anguished cries still reached him.
And then, as Mack was about to enter his quarters, he heard an enormous shout arise from the stadium, a cheer the likes of which he had never heard in all his long experience. The stands were in absolute uproar. From the shouts, Mack knew that Bull had won the match, but he couldn’t understand it. What could have caused the unthinkable turnabout?
A minute later, Flamm came trotting into the American dressing room. His trainer threw his arms around him, and said, “Bull, how in hell did you ever get out of that pretzel hold?”
“Well,” answered Flamm, “he twisted me into such shapes that I never felt such agony in my life. I thought my bones were going to break. And as I was just about to faint, I saw two balls hanging in front of me. With one desperate lunge, I bit those balls. Well, Mack, you can’t imagine what a man is capable of when he bites his own balls.”

Enough for today?

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