The Wisdom of Sands Vol 1 07

Seventh Discourse from the series of 9 discourses - The Wisdom of Sands Vol 1 by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on

There was once a violent, ignorant and idolatrous king. One day he swore that if his personal idol accorded him a certain advantage in life, he would capture the first three people who passed by his castle and force them to dedicate themselves to idol worship.
Sure enough, the king’s wishes were fulfilled, and he immediately sent soldiers on to the highway to bring in the first three people whom they could find.
These three were, as it happened, a scholar, a Sayed (a descendant of Mohammed the prophet) and a prostitute.
Having them thrown down before his idol, the unbalanced king told them of his vow, and ordered them all to bow down in front of the image.
The scholar said, “This situation undoubtedly comes within the doctrine of ‘force majeure.’ There are numerous precedents allowing anyone to appear to conform with custom if compelled, without real or moral culpability being in any way involved.” So he made a deep obeisance to the idol.
The Sayed, when it was his turn, said, “As a specially protected person, having in my veins the blood of the holy prophet, my actions themselves purify anything which is done, and therefore there is no bar to my acting as this man demands.” And he bowed down before the idol.
The prostitute said, “Alas, I have neither intellectual training nor special prerogatives, and so I am afraid that, whatever you do to me, I cannot worship this idol, even in appearance.”
The mad king’s malady was immediately banished by this remark. As if by magic he saw the deceit of the two worshippers of the image. He at once had the scholar and the Sayed decapitated, and set the prostitute free.
God cannot be reduced to an image; that is one of the fundamentals of Sufi experience. I will not say Sufi philosophy, because there exists nothing like Sufi philosophy. It is an experience, not speculation. It is a vision.
The Sufi vision says that God cannot be reduced to any image, metaphor, symbol or sign, although down through the ages the human mind has been trying to reduce God to something that man can worship, that man can handle, that man can cope with. That has been one of the oldest desires of the human mind: to put God into human categories so that God can be managed, manipulated, so God can be in your hands. The Sufi experience is that this is sacrilege, this is sin. The very effort to reduce God to an image is to falsify reality.
In the first place, why do we want God to be reduced to an idol? The very enormity of existence baffles us. The very infinity, and we feel we are falling into an abyss. Out of fear man creates a god, a small god, small like man. Out of fear man creates God in his own image and then he feels at ease. To feel at ease with the enormity of existence, you will have to disappear. Either disappear into the infinity of existence, or create a manageable God. Create a temple in your home, let God be reduced to an image – then you can forget the enormity, the hugeness, the immensity.
Because of the eternal silence of existence, man wants to create a song to sing. The song may be of the Vedas or of the Koran; it doesn’t matter. Sound is consoling, silence frightening. The image feels human, part of our world. The imageless God is superhuman, it is beyond us. Unless we go beyond ourselves, we cannot meet true godliness. To avoid that meeting, to avoid that transcendence, we create a small god of our own. We start having dialogues with our created god – man-made, manufactured by the human mind. We worship, we pray, we do rituals and we are happy. It is a kind of dream. It is not entry into reality: your temples are barriers to God, not doors. They pretend to be doors, but they are not. And your ideals, your images, your philosophies, your continuous effort to fill the emptiness of existence with words, philosophies, systems, are nothing but creating a false security around you.
God is insecurity. To be with God is to be constantly in danger. To move into God is to move into the unknown and the unknowable. That frightens, that scares. One starts losing oneself, one wants to hold back. One doesn’t want to look into the enormity. Then those small gods created by yourself or by your priests out of your cunning, cleverness, skill, are of great help. They are false because you have created them.
The true God is one who has created you, the false God is one that you have created. This is one of the fundamental insights of Sufism. The temple has to be empty, empty of all that is man-made; prayer has to be silent, silent of all that man has fabricated in words. Prayer can only be a dialogue – wordless, silent – with the infinity. It can only be a disappearance on your part. You can only dissolve, melt, merge. Then you are transplanted, taken up, transported. Then the winds take you beyond the desert, beyond the wasteland of the mind.
But to be ready for it, great courage is needed. And man is always happy with toys. All your idols are toys; beware of the fact. And man is so cunning: he can create great philosophies around his falsities. He can defend, he can argue, he can rationalize. He can create such clouds of logic that you can be lost in those clouds. That’s how humanity is lost. Somebody is lost in Christian clouds, somebody is lost in Mohammedan clouds, somebody is lost in Hindu clouds. But if you go deep down into them, they are all speculative, logic chopping, philosophizing, around and around. The truth does not reflect in them.
Truth reflects only in a meditative consciousness, not in a speculative consciousness. Never. The moment you think, you go astray. Truth reflects only when you are in a state of no-thought, when nothing stirs within you. When there is not even a ripple in the inner lake of consciousness, then truth reflects in you, and that truth has no image. That truth is formless, nameless. All names are our efforts to communicate with the eternal silence, but they all fail.
Sufis have a hundred names for God – not exactly a hundred, ninety-nine. I call them “the ninety-nine names of nothingness.” The real, the hundredth, is empty. What it is, is not said, is not provoked; it is left. Ninety-nine names are given; where is the hundredth? That is the true name – which cannot be pronounced, which cannot be uttered. To utter it would be a profanity. How can the ultimate be uttered? And once uttered, how can it remain the ultimate?
Lao Tzu says, “I don’t know his name – nobody knows. Hence I will call him Tao.” It has to be called something, but no name is a true name. When all names disappear from your mind and you are there just watching, being, doing nothing, you have the first glimpse, the first penetration of the infinite into the finite. You become pregnant. The first penetration of the sky into the earth, and your seed is broken, and you start growing. That growth is a kind of happening – nothing that you do. You simply allow it. This is the first thing to be remembered.
But even Mohammedans, who have been against all kinds of idol worship, have created their own idols. It seems the human mind cannot avoid the temptation. Now Kaaba and its black stone have become the idol. Now people go to Kaaba for a haj, for a pilgrimage. Poor people gather money their whole lives to go just once to kiss that black stone. Now what is this? It is the same.
I have heard…

A Sufi seeker who later on became a great master, Bayazid of Bistun, was going for a haj, for a pilgrimage. By chance, he came across a master – at least by chance on his part. It was not chance on the part of the master. The master had been waiting for Bayazid, but Bayazid was unaware. He was just staying for the night by the side of the master, and the master was sitting under a tree.
In the morning, the sun was rising, and it was beautiful and cool and birds were singing, and the pilgrims started moving – and Bayazid was also getting ready. And the master called him close and said, “Look into my eyes.” And Bayazid looked into those eyes. Something enormous opened, he was transported to some different dimension. When he came back, the master was laughing, and he said, “Now you can make the pilgrimage around me and go home. You have come to Kaaba. There is no other Kaaba. Forget all about that black stone.” And Bayazid understood it. He walked around the master as people do around the Kaaba stone, kissed the feet of the master, and went back home.
And then people gathered together, the villagers, and they asked, “Have you been to Kaaba?”
He said, “Yes, to the real Kaaba. I have seen the enormous, I have seen the undefined.”

And once seen, it is never forgotten; it enters your very existence. It is no longer a memory in the head. Every cell of your body resounds it, every part of your being dances in tune with it.
Sufis are not liked very much by the Mohammedans; they cannot be. Real religious people are never liked by the people who have created a false consolatory religion for themselves. How can you like a person who calls your toy a toy? He destroys your joy. You cannot forgive a person who calls a spade a spade. It is impossible to forgive him because you were imagining, you were creating a hallucination for yourself, and here comes a man who simply says that you are a fool, that the idol that you are worshipping is nothing but a stone, that the scriptures that you are reading are nothing but rubbish. “Burn it and throw away the idol. Get rid of all this unnecessary baggage and enter silence. Only through silence will you come to know that which is. Only through a state of no-mind will you enter the real temple.”
The real temple is not outside; the real temple is you. If you can enter your own being, you will be entering existence itself. There is no need to go anywhere, not even a single step is needed. And you need not create a God, because whatever you create will be false.
I have heard…

There was once a child who was lying before a fire and scribbling on a sheet of paper. His father came up to him and said, “What are you drawing there, son?”
“God,” said the child.
Out of his greater knowledge, the father told the child, “But no one has ever seen God, son. Nobody in all the world knows what he looks like.”
The child answered, “Well, I haven’t finished yet.”

And that is not only so with children; that is so with great philosophers too. They all think that once they have drawn, painted, described, the whole world will know. Millions of philosophies have existed and disappeared and ignorance about God remains the same. In fact, there is no way to know God, so to call it ignorance is not right.
Let me explain it to you. You can call something knowledge. If knowledge is possible, then the state before knowledge is ignorance. But if knowledge is impossible, then the state before it cannot be called ignorance. Ignorance is ignorance only compared to knowledge.
Sufis don’t call the state of man ignorance. They call it innocence. And innocence is destroyed by knowledge. You don’t become a knower; simply your innocence is destroyed – which is a loss, not a gain, because God can be felt through innocence, never through knowledge.
Don’t think that you are ignorant; you are simply innocent. And God cannot be reduced to knowledge. God is not just the unknown. God is really unknowable. The unknown will be known sooner or later; only time is required. Something was unknown yesterday, today it is known; something is unknown today, tomorrow it will be known. It is only a question of time: between the known and the unknown, the distance is of time. But God is not unknown, God is unknowable, intrinsically unknowable. God is a mystery. You cannot demystify existence. In fact, the more you know it, the more you feel knowing is impossible. The more you know, the less you know. And when you really come to know, all knowledge simply disappears. You again become ignorant, innocent, like a child.
The camel is very full of knowledge, hence he is called the camel – because he accumulates, assimilates. The lion throws away knowledge, but becomes anti-knowledge, gets hooked by the opposite. The child is free from both polarities – knowledge, anti-knowledge, philosophy, anti-philosophy. The child is simply free of all dualities. The child is innocent. He knows nothing of knowledge and he knows nothing of ignorance. He simply is. That state of a child is the Sufi state of consciousness. Knowledge is almost a deception, not only to others but to yourself, because you go on repeating the borrowed.

A sailor who had been abroad for some years came home on leave, and as he had some time to wait for his train, entered a hall nearby where a conjurer was entertaining. The sailor had a parrot with him, and knowing that he could not stay very long, sat near a door at the side of the hall so that he could slip out just before his train was due.
The sailor found the conjurer very entertaining and remarked every now and then, “That’s a very pretty trick. I wonder what he will do next.” Presently the sailor thought he would like a smoke, so he lit a cigarette and threw the match through the open door.
Now, as it happened, there was a gas leak outside the hall, and the next thing was a tremendous explosion and a wrecked hall. A few minutes later, a very bedraggled parrot remarked from its perch on a church spire about a mile away, “That’s a very pretty trick. I wonder what he will do next?”

The knowledgeable person is just like that parrot: he’s simply repeating something he does not understand. He is repeating something because he has heard it being repeated. He is repeating without any meaning in it.
When Buddha speaks, there is meaning; when a Buddhist scholar repeats the same words, they are parrotlike. When Mohammed sang the Koran, there was great significance in it. It was not in the words. It was in Mohammed himself, it was imparted by Mohammed’s being to those words. Those words are ordinary; anybody can learn them, everybody knows them. Mohammed was not a very educated person – in fact, not at all educated, an uneducated person, an innocent person. He had no idea of any knowledge. He was so immensely humble in his innocence that when for the first time, meditating on a mountain, no-mind happened to him, when satori bloomed, when he opened up to existence, when this world disappeared and the other started becoming real to his being – he was very afraid. And then he heard somewhere deep in his being, “Recite! Recite! Recite the name of Allah!”
From the word recite comes the word Koran. Koran means recite. That was the first thing that he heard from his innermost core: Recite! Recite! Recite the glory of God! He was entering a glorious universe, he was entering the splendor of life and being. His whole heart was dancing. But he knew that he was an uneducated man. He said, “But I am absolutely uneducated! I don’t know language. How can I recite? How can I read? How can I say anything which will be relevant? I am an ignorant man.” But the voice continued, “Recite!” And he became so frightened, he had a great fever.
He went home, told his wife that he was suffering from a great fever. The wife said, “But just before you left you were perfectly healthy. What has happened? And I see something very mysterious around you. You are not the same. Your eyes have such a depth I have never seen, and you have such passion on your face, such fire. You are aflame with something. What has happened? Tell me. This is not ordinary fever. You have stumbled upon some truth.”
Mohammed confessed. He said, “Yes, something has happened.” And actually what he said is beautiful. He said, “Either I have gone mad, or I have become a poet.”
“Either I have gone mad, or I have become a poet.” They are really synonymous. Unless you are mad you can’t be a poet, and unless you have the capacity to be a poet, you can’t be mad either.
He said, “But don’t ask any more, because what has happened will take time for me to recapitulate. The immense has happened! I cannot contain it, I cannot understand it. And why should it have happened to me? I am not a scholar, I am not an ascetic, I have not been in any way a knowledgeable person. I have never been educated, never been to school or college. I am a simple man – what they call an ignorant man. Why should it happen to me?”
But it has always been happening to those who are innocent. It has always been happening to those who are humble. It has never happened to the knowledgeable. Let me repeat: sinners have been known to know God, but not pundits, not scholars, not theologians.
Then the greatest sin is the sin of knowledge. And of what exactly does the sin called knowledge consist? It consists of reducing godliness to a metaphor, of reducing God to a sign, of reducing God to a symbol, of reducing God to an idol. The idol can be of stone, of wood, of words – that doesn’t matter: But if you think God can be represented by anything whatever, then you are creating an idol.
God is all, and there is no way to represent the all because there is nothing except it. I say to you: I am God, you are God, trees are God, rocks are God. Only God is. Isness and God are not two phenomena, just ways of saying the one thing, different ways of saying the same thing. In fact, to say “God is” is repetitive because “God” means “is.” The table is, the house is, the tree is, the man is. But to say “God is” is not right because one day the tree is, another day it is gone; its isness is temporary. Even the mountains will disappear, but God always is. God cannot be “is not.” So God is isness, God is pure existence.
This totality cannot be represented by anything except the total. The total is the only metaphor for the total, the total is the only sign for the total. The whole is the only image of the whole; there is no other way to create any other image. All images will be false because they will be small, they will be inadequate. They will say something, but will not say the whole thing – and whenever truth is partial, it is more dangerous than the lie.
Those who have known have always remained silent about defining God. They say ten thousand other things – they inspire you to make the journey, they provoke you, they seduce you into the journey, they create a great thirst and longing in you for truth – but they never define what that truth is. It has to be tasted, it has to be seen to be known; it has to be lived.
Religion cannot be anything apart from life. Life can either be religious or irreligious, but you cannot have religion apart from life. You cannot say, “I am religious for one hour every day: I go to the temple or to the mosque and I pray,” or, “Every Sunday I go to the church and I pray.” Religion cannot be a Sunday religion. Either your full life, your whole life is permeated by a kind of religiousness… That aroma surrounds you always, day in, day out. Even when he is asleep, a religious man has a different quality than a nonreligious man. If you enter a room where a religious person is fast asleep, you will find a totally different kind of vibration. Even in his sleep he is religious, because even in his sleep he’s relaxed into God. In fact, a religious person does not relax into sleep, he relaxes into God. When he moves, he moves into God, when he sits, he sits in God, when he sleeps, he sleeps in God. He eats God, he drinks God, he looks at God. If all is God, then all has to be godly.
Sufis insist that God should not be represented by anything. There should be no idol, no image. Idols and images have created false religions in the world.
This story:
There was once a violent, ignorant and idolatrous king. One day he swore that if his personal idol accorded him a certain advantage in life, he would capture the first three people who passed by his castle and force them to dedicate themselves to idol worship.
Now it is very rare to find a king who is not violent, not ignorant, not idolatrous. If a person is not violent, he will not be a king, he cannot be a king. Even if he finds himself accidentally born as the son of a king, he will renounce it. Buddha renounced, Mahavira renounced. Only a violent man can be a king. In fact, only a violent man is interested in political power. All power is violence, and remember: even if you are interested in spiritual power, then you are violent. Any interest in power is violent. Power means power over others in some way or other – it may be political, it may be financial, it may be religious or spiritual.
So many people, in the name of religion, are only hiding their inner politics. They are searching for kundalini power or searching for how to levitate – foolish and stupid desires. They don’t transform your life; even if you can start flying in the sky, nothing will be transformed. So many birds are already flying in the sky and they are not saints and they are not spiritual. If you start living in the deepest ocean, like a fish, you will not become spiritual. So many beings are already living there as fish; they are not spiritual either. Even if your spine vibrates with great energy, you will not become spiritual. Spirituality has nothing to do with power. Even if you attain magical powers, miraculous powers, and you start acting like a magician, that is not going to make you spiritual either. That is sheer nonsense. That is an absolute indication that there is a foolish mind behind it.
Whenever you see a man who is trying to do miracles, know well he is a politician. He cannot be a religious person. I am not saying that miracles don’t happen around a religious person. They happen, but they are not done; they happen on their own accord. The religious person is not interested in doing them, the religious person is not a showman. The religious person is not interested in impressing others: “Look, I can create holy ash,” “Look, I can produce Swiss watches through my miraculous power.” Now that man is on a political trip, an ego trip, and those who become interested in him are also somehow interested in politics. They also want to gain power. They will hang around such a person. Thousands hang around such people just in the hope that someday they will also learn the trick – they will have siddhis and they will also do miracles.
Miracles happen around a religious person. Those miracles are not visible, those miracles are concerned with the transformation of energies, but they are not done, never done. Whenever a person is doing something he is a magician, a politician. Something happens on its own accord around a person, in the space that is created around him, in the hollow that is created around him; in that hollow, miracles happen, people are transformed, people are transported into new realms of being. That’s another matter. But all political search, all search for power, is ugly and violent.
There was once a violent, ignorant and idolatrous king. One day he swore that if his personal idol accorded him a certain advantage in life… Remember, whenever you go to worship an idol you are not concerned with God, you are concerned with some advantage in life. All your prayers are worldly prayers: you are asking for something. Real prayer never asks for anything. Real prayer, on the contrary, pours everything into God, asks nothing. The real worshipper is one who goes and cries out his heart and says to God, “Accept me. I am not worthy, still accept me. Take me away from myself. Dissolve me, destroy me, annihilate me.” He does not go to ask, “Give me money or give me power,” or give me this and that. The really religious person goes to give, not to get.
This has to decide the quality of your prayer. If in your prayer somewhere, apparent or hidden, is a desire to get something, then it is not religious prayer. And because of these kinds of prayers, man had to create false gods. A false mind creates false gods. A false mind needs false gods.
Now this king one day: …swore that if his personal idol accorded him a certain advantage in life… And remember, God is impersonal, idols are personal: the Hindu has his own, the Christian has his own, the Buddhist has his own. And not only that, each worldly person has a certain idea of God and an idol of God which he wants to possess totally. The worldly mind is possessive.

I have heard about a Buddhist nun who used to carry a small, golden Buddha with her, a personal idol of Buddha, because she was very much averse to worshipping public Buddhas. In a temple, a Buddha is public – everybody worships, thousands of people pray to him. The woman wanted to possess her own Buddha. It was a small Buddha, but it was her own Buddha. She would worship only her Buddha.
Once she was staying in a temple. The temple had ten thousand Buddha statues, the whole temple was full of Buddha. Early in the morning, she woke up and started praying to her small statue. There were colossal Buddhas, the whole mountain was carved with Buddhas, but she was worshipping her own Buddha. Then an idea came to her mind. She used to burn incense, but you cannot possess incense. Once you burn incense, the fragrance spreads; it may go to other Buddhas – the whole place was full of Buddhas, crowded. So she made a small pipe, maybe a hollow bamboo, fixed the pipe to the nose of her personal Buddha and then burned the incense so it was carried through the pipe to her Buddha’s nose. And don’t laugh; this is what is happening all over the world. This is human stupidity. It is very common, it is almost universal.
She was very happy that she had found a way. Now no other Buddha would be sharing her worship, her prayer. But when she removed the pipe, she started crying because the Buddha’s face had become black.
The master of that temple, a Zen master who was watching all this stupidity, laughed uproariously. He said, “Look! Not only are you drowned, your Buddha is also drowned with you. You have destroyed your Buddha!”

The moment you possess, you destroy. Possessiveness is destructive; God cannot be personal. In fact to know God, you will have to disappear as a person. And you do just the opposite: you reduce God, the impersonal, to a person. Rather than you dissolving and becoming impersonal, you reduce God to your status. These are the two ways: one is to become like God, become impersonal; then you have a meeting. The other is to reduce God to a person, make an idol of him, give him a face and a form and a name. Then he is like you, then there is a possibility of having a dialogue.
Your personality is false. You are not really a person; it is just an illusion that you are a person. The deeper you go into yourself, the more you will find the universal. You are the whole universe, just as each wave is the whole ocean. If you dig deep into the wave, you will find the ocean, not the wave. Exactly the same is the case with every person. A person is just a wave; God is waving in you in one form, waving in me in another form, waving in still another way in other forms. All forms are existence. Go behind the form, go deeper, pull the curtain, and you will find one impersonal existence.
The right way to have a dialogue with God is to drop your personality. The wrong way to have a dialogue with God is not only not to drop your personality, but to create a personality around God. That’s what idol worship is: make God a Rama, a Krishna, a Christ, a Buddha, then relate with the Rama, with the Krishna, with the Christ. Now you are creating a dream. It is your own work; it has nothing to do with God. What goes on in the name of God has nothing to do with God, and what goes on in the name of religion has nothing to do with religion. There is only one religion, and that religion is the art of disappearing as a person so that you can commune, become one with the impersonal force – the impersonal energy, the impersonal existence.
One day he swore that if his personal idol accorded him a certain advantage in life, he would capture the first three people who passed by his castle and force them to dedicate themselves to idol worship. Now this too is something to be understood. He is asking for some advantage, and if it is fulfilled then he is going to catch three people, three innocent people who have nothing to do with the deal, who have no part in it. He is going to force those three people to worship.
This has always been done, in many ways. These Sufi stories are just indicative of many things. For example, in India and in other countries also, millions of animals have been sacrificed to your gods. Now what do those animals have to do with your gods? Because your desire is fulfilled, you sacrifice an animal. That animal has not desired, has not prayed, has not said anything. He has nothing to do with it. If you want to sacrifice, sacrifice yourself.

Buddha came across a ceremony going on. A great crowd had gathered. He asked, “What is happening?” and they said that the man who was worshipping had asked for something and it had been fulfilled. Now he was sacrificing a bull, he was killing a bull; it was a religious ceremony.
Buddha said, “But what has the bull to do with it? If that man feels that existence has given something to him, has been favorable to him, he should sacrifice himself.”
Buddha entered the crowd and asked the man, “What are you doing? Why are you being violent to this poor bull? He has not done anything.”
The man was a brahmin, a scholar, a knower of scriptures. He quoted scriptures and he said, “You don’t know. I am not being violent to the bull; the scriptures say, the Vedas say, that if in a religious ceremony an animal is crucified, killed, murdered, butchered, the animal soul goes directly to heaven. I’m not being violent to him. He will go to heaven.”
Then Buddha said, “Why don’t you kill your father or your mother or yourself? Why are you missing the opportunity to go to heaven? This bull may not want to go to heaven. If this is certain, then kill your father or kill your mother. Or kill yourself; the best thing is to kill yourself.”
The brahmin listened to Buddha. Buddha’s presence made it so clear to him: he dropped the weapon there, he renounced the religious ceremony and he asked Buddha, “Now tell me how to be religious, because I have been doing these things my whole life. You have shocked me, but you have made me awake too.”

If you search around the globe, there have existed thousands of religions with this stupid idea that God has favored you. Now you are favoring God by finding three innocent people to worship your idol.
Sure enough, the king’s wish was fulfilled…
The fulfillment of all wishes is just coincidental. If you go on asking God, a few wishes will be fulfilled. God has nothing to do with fulfilling them: a few will not be fulfilled. When a wish is not fulfilled, the worshipper thinks, “I have not been praying rightly. The rituals have not been done rightly. The scripture has not been followed rightly. My performance was not exactly as it should have been. The mantras were not chanted as they should have been chanted. There must have been something wrong if the wish is not fulfilled.” If the wish is fulfilled, then he thinks, “God has been so favorable to me. Now I have to give something as a gift to show my gratitude.”
God has nothing to do with your wishes. In fact, God is experienced only when you have no more wishes left in you. Only a desireless consciousness comes to know what God is, and only a desireless consciousness becomes divine. All desires are worldly. Fulfilled or not fulfilled, it is your game. This is how it goes on happening around the world.
You go to a saint and your wish is fulfilled. Then you go again; if it is not fulfilled, you go to some other saint. Someday, somewhere, the coincidence will happen and your wish will be fulfilled. Then that saint becomes your god because your wish is fulfilled there. Just try it, it is just a gamble. If you throw a coin, fifty times is the probability that it will fall on this side, fifty times is the probability that it will fall on that side. And if you throw the coin millions of times, then it will come closer and closer to fifty percent. But it is just coincidence. People are very deeply exploited; beware of this.
Sure enough, the king’s wish was fulfilled, and he immediately sent soldiers on to the highway to bring in the first three people whom they could find.
These three were, as it happened, a scholar, a Sayed (a descendant of Mohammed the prophet) and a prostitute.
Three people, and Sufis have much to say about these three types. The first is the scholarly type, the pundit, the knowledgeable man; the second is the virtuous type, the pious type; the third is the sinner, the prostitute. Try to understand the story deeply because there is a great message in it.
Having them thrown down before his idol, the unbalanced king told them of his vow, and ordered them all to bow down in front of the image.
The scholar said, “This situation undoubtedly comes within the doctrine of ‘force majeure.’ There are numerous precedents allowing anyone to appear to conform with custom if compelled, without real or moral culpability being in any way involved.” So he made a deep obeisance to the idol.
This is how the knowledgeable man reacts, responds to reality. He can always find ways to do whatever he wants to do. He is clever enough that he can always find jargon and always find a loophole. His is the way of the legal expert. If he wants to do something wrong, he will find a way. If he does not want to do something right, he will find a way. He’s never in the wrong. He always supports himself; he has a great body of knowledge to support him. He is argumentative, and arguments are just a game with words. You can find a for and against for whatever you want. The argument has no commitment to anything: the argument is not committed to truth, the argument is just sophistry.
In ancient Greece there was a great school of Sophists. Their whole teaching was that there is no truth and no untruth. If you are clever you can prove anything to be true, if you are clever you can prove anything to be untrue. It all depends on your cleverness. The only thing that counts is cleverness: there is no truth, no untruth. They used to teach sophistry, they used to teach how to argue. Argument was all. This kind of sophistry has existed in all the countries of the world. It still exists, and it is such a game that you can be lost in it and you can forget what you were searching for. Sophistry is a way to defend your ego.
Now this man is faced with a problem. This man must be a Mohammedan – the story comes from a Mohammedan country. His religion does not allow him to worship an idol. And now this mad king forces him, and he knows if he does not worship he will be killed. He has to find a way. He says to himself, “This situation undoubtedly comes within the doctrine of ‘force majeure.’”
Now he finds a doctrine for it, an explanation, support from the scripture: “There are numerous precedents allowing anyone to appear to conform with custom if compelled, without real or moral culpability being in any way involved.” “If this mad king wants me to bow down to this idol, I can bow down without really bowing down to it. I can only pretend. I can deceive. I have to save my life.”
But rather than seeing the fact: “I am more interested in life than in religion. I am more interested in saving myself than searching God for godliness. I am more interested in protecting myself out of fear” – rather than seeing this exactly as it is, he starts creating a cloud of jargon around himself. You can always find ways and you can go on playing the game of words for millions of lives. There is no end to it. This is what is happening in actual life too: you never see the reality, you hide it. You are afraid, and you will say something else.
Just the other night somebody was here. Sannyas creates a fear, a deep fear, but nobody accepts that. They don’t say, “I am afraid, that’s why I cannot take sannyas.” They say something else. They say, “But what is the point of wearing orange? What is the point of changing the name? Can’t we remain in ordinary dress? Can’t we remain sannyasins without declaring it to the world?” “And the real thing has to be inner,” they say. “Why should it be outer?” And all the things that they are saying look beautiful, but this is not the truth. Deep down they are simply afraid of what people will say. People will think you are a fool or a madman. People come to me and they say, “Here it is okay, but when we go to the West there will be trouble.” But very rarely does a person come who says it exactly as it is, authentically as it is. He finds ways and means.
There are people who have taken sannyas – cunning people. Then they go to their countries and they simply don’t tell anybody that they are sannyasins. They simply hide their orange, their malas, and they continue as they were. And whenever they come across a sannyasin and he asks, “What has happened? Have you dropped sannyas?” they say, “No, but we have heard an inner voice: Osho has said to us, ‘I make you free.’” Rather than being true, they also bring me into their game – that I have made them free. When they come back to India they are again in orange. Then maybe again I have said to them, “While in India, don’t be free.” They hear the inner voice.
Remember, it is good to be authentic, it is good not to be a hypocrite; it helps your growth. All falsities that you go on protecting are poisonous – they will destroy your inner being. And the arguments can be very logical, and the arguments can be very convincing; yet if they are not authentic, they are all rubbish. The real thing is not the validity of the argument as an argument, but the truth.
Now this man could have seen the simple truth: “I am afraid to die, that’s why I will do it.” And that would have been a great religious act. To see the truth would have helped him. Or maybe, seeing the truth that he was a coward, he may have resisted and said, “Okay, kill me. But I am not going to bow down.” Either he could have bowed down out of fear – then he would have become humbler, knowing: “I am a coward” – or maybe, seeing the fear, he could have stood his ground and said, “Okay, I am not going to be a coward. Kill me, but I am not going to do something that has no appeal for me.”
Now, arguing in a roundabout way he has saved himself. But saved from what? – saved from God, saved from truth. He has been cunning. A cunning mind is a suicidal mind.
The Sayed, when it was his turn, said, “As a specially protected person, having in my veins the blood of the holy prophet, my actions themselves purify anything which is done, and therefore there is no bar to my acting as this man demands.” And he bowed before the idol.
Now comes the so-called virtuous: the man who thinks that he is protected, that he is special, that he is one of the chosen few, that he belongs to the chosen few. Now what does Mohammed’s blood have to do with it? Blood is blood, and just because you are born in the same line does not make any difference. You may have the blood of Buddha in you and you may be the most stupid man on the earth. Many must have the blood of Buddha, knowingly or unknowingly. Many must have the blood of Krishna, many must have the blood of Moses. But what has that to do with it? Your blood makes no difference, your heritage makes no difference, your tradition makes no difference. Unless your awareness comes in, nothing makes a difference.
This man protected himself with the idea, “I am special, specially protected, a descendant of the Holy Prophet Mohammed. God must be protecting me. And whatever I do becomes pure because it is done by me.” He has an even deeper cunningness than the scholar – the scholar may have some doubts, but he can’t have any doubts. His deception is total.
Remember, nobody is protecting you – neither Christ nor Mohammed nor Krishna. Nobody can protect you except yourself. Don’t throw the responsibility on the other. People are doing it all the time.
A Christian missionary came to me and he said, “Jesus was born to liberate all from sin.” I asked him, “Are you liberated from sin? Jesus has already been here. How many people are liberated? And you go on saying, ‘Jesus was our salvation,’ as if salvation has happened and all are liberated. Who is liberated? And how can Jesus liberate you?”
This seems to be so illogical. You create the bondage and Jesus comes to liberate you. Why should he? He has no responsibility. And if you are bent upon remaining in bondage, how can he liberate you?
It happened that a man asked Sri Aurobindo, “You are so cool and so indifferent to things that sometimes a problem arises in my mind. If you are standing on the bank of a river and somebody is drowning, will you save him?” Aurobindo said, “No, I will not save him unless he asks to be saved.” The man said, “But this seems to be hard, uncompassionate.” Sri Aurobindo said, “I can save him, but he will drown himself again. If he is bent upon drowning himself, he will find another river, he will find another bank, he will find another time and he will re-drown himself. I can save him, but he will re-drown himself. So what is the point? Unless he asks, he cannot be saved.”
And in spiritual growth, asking is being saved. If you ask, you are saved – not that Jesus saves you. Remember those beautiful words of Jesus: “Ask and it shall be given. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you.” Those doors are really open; they are just waiting for your knock. In fact, God has already given it to you, but because you have not asked you have not recognized the gift yet. The gift is already given. You have the gift with you, but because you have not asked you cannot recognize it. The moment you ask, you will recognize it.
Nobody can save anybody else, and it is good that nobody can save anybody else. Otherwise, even your liberation would be a kind of enforcement. It would be as if you have been forced to enter heaven – two people following you with naked swords and forcing you to enter heaven. What kind of heaven would it be? It would be hell: hell is when something is forced upon you. What it is does not matter. Heaven is when you ask for something and you grow in it. Whatever it is, it is salvation.
Just being a descendant of Mohammed makes no change, no difference. You are not saved just by being born a Christian. Just by being born in this land, in India, you are not saved. The Indians have the idea that this land is the Holy Land: just being born in India you are saved. They have the idea that if you go and die in Varanasi, you will go directly to heaven – just by dying in Varanasi!

Kabir lived his whole life in Varanasi and when he was on his deathbed, he suddenly jumped out of bed and told his disciples, “We have to rush out of Varanasi!”
The disciples said, “But why? You are so ill, you are on your deathbed, and the physicians have said that you will be alive only for a few hours. You cannot live even for a day.”
Kabir said, “This one day has to be used. Rush and run as far away from Varanasi as possible!”
But they said, “Where? And why? People come to Varanasi to die.” People go and live in Varanasi in their old age just to die there because that is the holiest spot on the earth, the city of Shiva, the ancientmost city, the holiest of the holy. If you die there, that’s enough; your sins are no longer counted. Your very death in Varanasi is a purification: you are saved, you go immediately, directly to heaven.
Kabir said, “I will go to Maghar” – a small village near Varanasi.
And they said, “Out of all places, Maghar!” There is a tradition that says that if you die in Maghar, you will be born a donkey. “Of all places, Maghar! Have you gone mad? You must be mad! You are dying, and you have lost all your senses.” They tried to keep him in Varanasi, but he wouldn’t listen. He left Varanasi and went to Maghar and died there.
And when they asked, “But why Maghar?” he said, “If I die in Maghar and go to heaven then it is something. If I die in Varanasi and go to heaven it is pointless. That heaven is not of much worth. If I die in Maghar, where it is said that people dying in Maghar are born as donkeys, and go to heaven, then it is something of my own, authentically my own. I depend only on myself.”
And dying, he said to his disciples, “Depend on yourself. Don’t think that just because you follow Kabir you will go to heaven. Heaven is not so cheap.”
The Sayed, when it was his turn, said, “As a specially protected person, having in my veins the blood of the holy prophet, my actions themselves purify anything which is done, and therefore there is no bar to my acting as this man demands.” And he bowed before the idol.
The prostitute said, “Alas, I have neither intellectual training nor special prerogatives, and so I am afraid that, whatever you do to me, I cannot worship this idol, even in appearance.”
The prostitute has nowhere to hide her head and that is her authenticity, her beauty. The prostitute has no intellectual jargon. She knows she cannot hide herself behind scriptures, she knows nothing of the scriptures. She knows she is not virtuous, she knows she does not belong to Mohammed’s family, she has no holy blood in herself. She knows she is a sinner. Knowing this – that she is a sinner, unprotected by any prerogative, unprotected by any intellectual, philosophical argumentation – she’s vulnerable; she cannot be false.
Because she cannot find any argument, any protection will be false; she cannot defend herself. She will never feel happy with herself if she bows down to this idol. She will never be able to forgive herself. The scholar will not feel any guilt: he knows that scriptures allow it, that there are precedents. The Sayed will forget all about it. But the prostitute cannot forgive herself if she does something false. A strange story: it is the sinner who is authentic.
And this is my own experience too, this is my observation: sinners are more authentic than the so-called virtuous. Ignorant, innocent people are more true than the so-called sophisticated and cultured. Civilization only makes people cunning. They lose all innocence and they lose all the fragrance that comes only out of innocence.

Remember Mary Magdalene? She seems to me the only true follower of Jesus. Her authenticity, her daring, is immense. Jesus came to her house and she poured precious perfume on his feet, washed the feet with the perfume, then wiped the feet with her hair. She was sitting there crying tears and tears, and naturally the virtuous were offended.
Somebody said to Jesus, “This is not right. She is a sinner and she should not be allowed to touch you!” This is how the egoistic, the virtuous, the intellectual has always behaved.
Judas was also not happy with this. Judas seems to be a communist or a socialist. He said, “This is wastage. This perfume is so costly, why waste it? People are starving. The perfume could have been sold; it is rare. We could have fed a few people.”
It looks logical. You will tend to agree with Judas rather than with Jesus. What Jesus said is very illogical; he said, “But the poor will always be there; when I am gone, you can take care of them. You don’t understand the heart of this woman. I cannot say no to her. Let her do what she wants to do. Let her unburden herself, let her cry, let her touch me. Let her pour the perfume – costly, not costly, that is irrelevant. I cannot say no to her. I can see a great feeling arising in her heart. This is prayer. She is in a prayerful mood; I cannot disturb her prayer.”

Jesus understood that Mary Magdalene had a beauty of the heart. She was the first one who recognized Jesus after the resurrection. There were only three women there when Jesus was taken down from the cross; one was Mary Magdalene. All those great apostles had disappeared. And you must remember, Judas was the only scholar of Jesus’ followers, the only professor, the only intellectually well equipped, the only scholarly person. And he betrayed. It is symbolic: intellect betrays.
The mind is cunning. The mind always creates conspiracies against truth. Let Judas be a symbol of the mind. He was the most intellectual, the most articulate person. If he had not betrayed, he would have become the founder of the church. Why did he betray? The mind betrays, logic betrays. Your mind is against your being.
The prostitute had no mind. She had lived a very simple existence of selling her body. She knew nothing of the scriptures, she had no time to read them. She could not have the ego of a virtuous person. How could she have? She was simply humble, crying. She couldn’t have any ego and that is the door to the divine. The prostitute said, “Alas, I have neither intellectual training nor special prerogatives, and so I am afraid that, whatever you do to me, I cannot worship this idol, even in appearance.”
I have been with saints and I have been with sinners. My own observation is that the so-called sinners are the most authentic people in the world, and the so-called saints the most inauthentic people in the world. The saints are just pseudo. The sinner has a reality and out of that reality, the quantum leap is possible. Only the authentic can go to the authentic. The false remains false, cannot have any meeting with truth.
So remember, the greatest barrier between you and God is your ego, and the ego feeds on knowledge, and the ego feeds on virtue, and the ego feeds on respectability – name, fame, power. Remember it, and don’t feed the ego.
Become humbler: see your limitations, see your mistakes, see your errors and become humble. That very seeing will make you humble. In that humbleness prayer arises on its own accord, and great courage arises out of that humbleness. Humbleness is strong, ego is very weak. You will think this is a paradox. It only appears so: ego is weak. In fact, the ego is an effort of a weak person to protect himself. Ego is an armor: the person knows that deep down he is very weak. The ego is an effort to protect his weakness. The weakest person will have the biggest ego. They are complementary: the weaker you are, the bigger the ego you need to protect yourself. The really strong person doesn’t need an ego. He needs no protection; he can live unprotected, he can live insecure, he can live vulnerable.
The scholar was a weak person. So was the Sayed. This prostitute had a strength, the strength of a roseflower – vulnerable, soft, delicate, yet so strong. Have you not watched a roseflower in the morning playing with the winds? So delicate yet so strong, having a love affair with the sun; so delicate, raising its head high, delicate and yet strong.
Lao Tzu calls it the strength of water. The ego has the strength of a rock; the humble person has the strength of water. And Lao Tzu says, “Become like water – the Watercourse Way.” Become soft like water and you will win, finally. Remember, hardness brings defeat. Your very resistance to life sooner or later destroys you. It is your own hardness, your own ego, that becomes poison to you.
See a waterfall falling on a great rock, and the rock cannot even think that this humble water, soft, feminine, is going to destroy it. But a day will come when the rock will be gone, will have become sand, and the water will continue on in the same way. Rocks die out of their own hardness. The ego is like a rock, humbleness is like a roseflower. The ego seems to be strong – is not – and humbleness seems to be weak but is not. Don’t be deceived by appearances.
The prostitute said, “Whatever you do you can do. I’m not going to be false, not even in appearance.” This strength of humbleness, this purity of sin, this power of a roseflower, did something like a magical phenomenon to the king.
The mad king’s malady was immediately banished by this remark.
What happened? He could not believe his eyes. It was such a shock. He had forced the great scholar, and he was lying down in deep obeisance. He had forced the Sayed, the descendant of the prophet Mohammed. And a prostitute? He could never have imagined that the prostitute would stand so strong. Such a delicate woman, such a sinner; from where does such power arise in her? Out of innocence – she had no pretensions, she was unguarded.
The mad king’s malady was immediately banished by this remark. He had a satori it seems. He could not believe it, it was so shocking. His eyes opened.
As if by magic he saw the deceit of the two worshippers of the image. He at once had the scholar and the Sayed decapitated, and set the prostitute free.
This is a symbolic story. These stories are parables, these are not historical facts. The parable is saying that before God you will be reduced to nothing if you carry falsities, that you will be decapitated, that you will be thrown unto dust. You will not be able to stand before God. Your untruth will kill you.
…and set the prostitute free. And before truth, only that power that comes out of humbleness, that knowing that comes out of innocence, only that is set free, only that is liberated. Freedom is for those who are free of the ego; there is no other kind of freedom. Freedom means freedom from the ego. That is moksha, nirvana, and even a prostitute can attain that freedom – and even a great scholar can miss it. Even a descendant of the prophet Mohammed can miss it. Only one thing is decisive: if you are defending your ego, you will miss God. If you are ready to drop your ego, you will find him. In that very dropping is the finding.
“Man and God are not two,” say all those who know. But then why are they separate? From God’s side you are not separate; only from your side are you separate. And why? – because you think you are separate, your thinking makes you separate. You are not really separate; it is make believe, it is autohypnosis. You have been thinking and thinking that you are separate, hence the idea has become a fixed phenomenon in you. This is the ego. Thinking yourself separate from existence is the ego. Thinking yourself one with existence is trust.
Don’t protect yourself. Protection means you have believed the false idea that you are separate. Don’t push the river. Go with the flow of existence. While alive, be alive; while dying, be really dying; while dead, be dead. Waking, wake. Sleeping, sleep. Let there be no separation between you and the life that surrounds you.
And don’t act out of a state called knowledge. That is creating the separation. Always act out of no-knowledge, act out of no-mind, act out of no-past. Act in the present and act authentically. And whoever you are – you may be a prostitute – if you can act out of the present, if you can respond to reality truly, authentically, sincerely, then there is no barrier between you and God.
The only thing that helps you merge and meet with the divine is an authentic response in the present, a truthful response to life. That’s what I call prayer.
Enough for today.

Spread the love