Until You Die 05

Fifth Discourse from the series of 10 discourses - Until You Die by Osho.
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A man came to Bayazid and said that he had fasted and prayed for thirty years and yet had not come near to an understanding of God.

Bayazid told him that even a hundred years would not be enough.

The man asked why.
“Because your selfishness is working as a barrier between yourself and the truth,” said Bayazid.
Truth is not veiled. It is not hidden. It is always just in front of your eyes. If you miss it, it is not because of it but because your eyes are closed. The veil is not on the face of truth. The veil is on you, and not only one – many, millions of veils.
If truth was hidden, then one Buddha, one Mohammed or one Zarathustra would have been enough. Once uncovered, everybody would have known it. It would have been just as it is with a scientific discovery: you need not discover it again and again. Albert Einstein discovers something and it becomes common property. Then every schoolchild knows about it; it need not be discovered again. Once discovered, it is discovered.
But what happens? A Buddha discovers it, a Mohammed discovers it again, but you will have to discover it. What is the matter? The matter is that the veil is not on the truth, otherwise one man would have unveiled it and everybody would have realized it. The veil is on you. So everybody has to unveil himself and truth has to be discovered again and again by each and every one of you. It can never become a common property. It can never become a collective truth. It will remain individual.
But why are your eyes closed? There must be some great investment in them, in closed eyes. There is, and that has to be understood. If it is just a matter of opening the eyes, why don’t you open them? Who is holding you back? Who is preventing you? Truth is naked, absolutely nude. That is the nature of truth – you can call it God – and it is just in front of you and it has always been so. But why don’t you open your eyes? There seems to be a great investment.
It happened once…

A woman was brought to me. She was a very beautiful person. Her husband had died; they had been married for only three months. They had loved each other tremendously, against the whole society, the whole world. They had left everything just for their love. Suddenly the husband died. It was too much for the woman, the poor woman. She remained with closed eyes for three days, she wouldn’t open them because deep down she knew that if she opened her eyes… The husband is dead, the corpse is there.
People tried to persuade her, they did everything, but she would not open her eyes. And she went on saying, “My husband is not dead. Who says my husband is dead?” They couldn’t wait any longer; the body had to be burned.
The day they burned the body the woman opened her eyes. But by that time she had lost the capacity to see – a very deep investment. Her eyes were perfectly okay, no physiological trouble. The doctors were amazed. They said, “There is no problem, everything is perfectly normal.” But she couldn’t see. It was as if somebody behind the eyes had stepped back; somebody who was standing behind the eyes and looking at the world had stepped back. The window was there, but nobody to look through it.
For four weeks she remained psychically blind. In her blindness she was continuously saying, “Who says that my husband is dead? If he is dead, where is his corpse?” Even in dreams, she suddenly started saying, “Who says my husband is dead?” She knew, deep down she knew, that her husband was dead, but the mind didn’t want to believe it. The mind always likes to live in an illusion. Even an illusion is beautiful if the husband is alive, but the reality will not be beautiful if the husband is dead. They had really loved each other very deeply.
The woman was brought to me. I had known them before. When she came to me she was behaving as if she was completely blind; somebody had to help her. I said to her, “Your husband is very much troubled. Just this morning he has been to see me and he is suffering very much. Why can’t you see? The medical experts say there is nothing wrong with your eyes.” I talked as if the husband was alive.
Now this was too much. Suddenly she broke down, fell, started rolling on the ground, and said, “My husband is dead. Why do you say he has been to see you this morning? He is dead.” The eyes came back, suddenly the stony look in the eyes disappeared. She was able to see.
What had happened? Suddenly she realized that she had been denying and through the denial a false blindness had happened. Once she accepted the fact that the husband was dead, she screamed. I have never heard anybody scream that way. It must have been what Janov calls the primal scream. From her very guts she screamed. It was not a scream done by her. It was a scream that possessed her whole being, every pore of it. The whole bodymind went into a volcanic state. The whole being trembled. It took almost half an hour for her to come back to normal. But the storm had gone and she was silent, and she looked at me and thanked me.

This is the problem with every man. You know many things, but still you want to pretend against them. And there is no possibility of your ever being victorious against the truth. Nobody can be victorious. You can try for many lives more, as you have tried for many lives up to now, but against the truth there is no victory. Victory is always with the truth. You can create illusions, you can live in a blindfolded world of your dreams, you can live with closed eyes, but that makes no difference – your fictitious world is fictitious, and the truth is waiting there. And the more you live in fictions, the more you will be afraid of them being shattered. This is the investment.
For example: you believe that you are somebody. Everybody believes that he is somebody special, but you know that it is not true, that it cannot be true. Deep down you realize the fact that nobody is somebody. Nobody is nobody. That somebodiness, the ego, is a false entity, a fiction. You cling to it knowing well it is not there. Still you hope against hope, you go on pretending, you go on trying to support a false entity with money, prestige, power, knowledge, austerities. You go on trying to prove that you are somebody. You go on proving that you are the center of the whole world, and you know well that this is not true. How can you be the center of the world? The world was there when you were not, and the world will be there when you are not there. You are just a wave. Waves come and go, only the ocean exists.
You don’t have any center. You can’t have because the center belongs to the whole. A part cannot have a center. Can my hand have a center of its own? If my hand has a center of its own, then it is no longer a part of me; it exists independently. Can my leg have a center of its own? Then it is no longer a part of me. When I say I would like to go for a walk, the leg may not like to – he has a center of his own – and he will say, “No, I am not willing. At least not at this time. You will have to wait.” Or I am hungry and I would like to eat, but my hand says, “No, I am feeling sleepy and I won’t move.” No – when you feel hunger, the hand moves. Even without any order, without any specific order being given to it, the hand moves. When you want to go for a walk, the legs simply move. You don’t order them, they simply follow. They are parts, they don’t exist separately. They exist in an organic unity.
Man exists as a part of the whole, an organic part. You cannot have a center of your own. If you think you can, you are misguided. Only existence has the center. Only the center of the whole can say “I.” When you say “I,” – and if you also believe in it – you are deluded. If you use it only as a linguistic device, it is okay. But if you feel that you have an “I” within you, you are living in an illusion – knowing it well, because how can you avoid knowing the truth? There are many moments when you suddenly become aware that you are just a part of the whole, a wave, but you go on postponing this realization, you go on postponing the recognition of the fact and you go on pretending. This pretension is the barrier.
You know well that you have not loved anybody, neither your father nor your mother, neither your wife nor your husband, children, friends – no, you have not loved anybody. You know it well, but still you avoid it. You go on thinking that you love, and you go on thinking that you are a great lover. If you were a great lover, you would have already attained. Even if you had loved just one single person totally, godliness would have been unveiled already, the truth in its total nakedness would have been realized because love is the death of all pretensions.
When you love a person you cannot pretend anything which is not true. When you love a person you become completely naked, you reveal yourself. All pretensions drop in the moment of love. Suddenly you realize that whatever you have been thinking you are, you are not. Something else arises: an organic unity with the whole. The self disappears and the no-self appears. You are, but now not separate, not a stranger but a part of the whole. Not simply a part – because a part can be a mechanical part – but an organic part of the whole.
What do I mean when I say an organic part? It means that you cannot exist without the whole and the whole cannot exist without you either. This is the beauty of the realization of no-self. For the first time, when you are not, your absolute significance is realized.
Up until now you were trying to prove that you are very significant and nobody believed you, not even you yourself. Now you know that you are not, and suddenly in this empty house, a harmony comes in, a music is heard. Suddenly the whole starts celebrating your no-selfhood. Buddha has called this anatta, the realization of no-self. And this is freedom. Freedom is not of the self; freedom is from the self. You are no longer there, that’s why you are free. If you are there, you can never be free. You are the bondage.
Listen to that cuckoo. The bird is not singing, the song is happening. There is no ego inside manipulating the song. There is nobody who is trying to do anything, it is simply happening. In a state of no-self you will sing a song without the singer being there. You will dance a dance, but the dancer will not be there. You will move and live, you will be ecstatic, but there will be nobody inside the house. The house will be totally empty.
And this is the reality. You know right now that you are an empty house, but you go on pretending that you are somebody and you go on posing false postures. You have not loved, but you go on pretending that you love. If you love, then how can pain exist? If you love, then how can suffering exist? If you love, then why so much agony? It is not consistent. If you have loved then you will be ecstatic, but you are not, so you go on pretending. In the name of love you have done many other things but not loved, because unless you die you cannot love. Unless the ego disappears, the love cannot come to flower.
How can you pray if you have not loved? But you pretend. You go to the mosque, to the temple and to the church, and you pretend to pray. Whom do you think you are deceiving? You may be deceiving yourself, so your prayers are just like deserts; nothing grows out of them. Even in deserts something grows, but your prayers are absolute deserts; nothing grows out of them. You continue, nothing comes out of it; you remain the same. And life is moving out of your fingers every moment. Every moment you are dying and you go on pretending.
Your whole life becomes a long pretension of things that are not. These things which are not have become the veils on you. Godliness is not hidden. Truth is just in front of you, in its total nakedness. But you are hidden, you are covered in many veils. And you go on acquiring more veils: veils of knowledge, learning, of this and that. Drop the veils. Don’t pretend.
It will be difficult. That’s why I say you have an investment in your blindness. It is very loaded. It will be difficult, it will be painful to drop the pretensions. You will pass through suffering. But one has to pass through it, it is part of growth; nobody can avoid it. If you avoid, you are avoiding your growth. If you avoid, then whatever you want to do, nothing real can come out of it.
You will have to pass through the suffering of disillusionment: remember this word. You can live in illusions, and you can create beautiful illusions also, but if they are false – they may be beautiful – they are not going to help. You can dream beautiful dreams, you can become an emperor in the dream, but you remain the beggar. Soon the morning comes, soon you will have to open your eyes. Soon sleep will have gone and the dreams disappear. Then you will come to know that you are a beggar. Beggars always dream that they have become emperors. All your pretensions are dreams to falsify, to deceive, to deceive the fact that is always there, to deceive the truth that is always around you. But how long will you do this? And what can you achieve out of it?
Pass through the suffering of disillusionment. That’s the only austerity I know of. You need not go and stand in the hot sun. You need not prepare a bed of thorns and lie down on it. You need not go for self-torture, you need not become a masochist, you need not torture your body. Those are all foolish things, stupid. The only austerity is to see things as they are, to see that your illusions are illusions. The only austerity is to be disillusioned, to drop all hopes. And in those hopes, the hope for godliness is included, the hope for moksha, liberation, is included. In those hopes, the hope that you will attain the eternal is included. Your heaven, paradises, all are included – they are all illusions, extensions of the same ego. Disillusionment is the gate. Then you can be transformed.
Look at things in their reality, whatever the cost. If you feel that if you look at things as they are, your ego will be shattered, then let it be shattered – the sooner the better. If you feel that if you look at your being as it is you will feel like an animal, feel – that’s what you are. Your prestige in the society will be at stake, let it be. The society consists of persons just like you: deluded. To be honored by them is not an honor at all. To be honored by sleepy men, dreamers, is not worth it.
It happened…

Buddha was talking in a village. Many people had gathered – very few seekers, many more just curious people, inquisitive. A buddha had come: they had gathered to see him and to listen to him. They were not sincere. Buddha said something and they all clapped. Buddha became very sad and he stopped. Ananda, Buddha’s disciple, asked, “Why have you stopped? Why have you become sad?”
Buddha said, “I must have said something wrong, otherwise how could those people have clapped? I must have said something wrong – because those wrong people cannot recognize the truth but their clapping shows they have understood me. I must have been wrong; otherwise, how can they understand?”

Buddha is reported to have said that to seek respect from persons who are almost unaware, unconscious, is just like seeking honor from the rocks – even that is better. Your social identity may be lost. You were known to be a saintly man, but if you come to reveal your reality, people will know that you are just like them or even worse. Suffer it. This is the price which has to be paid.
And remember: only disillusionment can prepare you for the next step. In fact, if you are absolutely disillusioned with the life that you have been leading, the way that you have been, almost half the journey is complete. If a man can know a false thing as false, he has already attained insight. Now he is ready to know the true as true. The first step is to know the false as false. Then the second step automatically becomes possible: to know the true as true. Truth cannot be known directly. First you have to know what untruth is because that is where you are. And you can start the journey only from where you are.
Seek, watch your pretensions, and drop them. This is what an honest, sincere, authentic man should be – true to himself. And whatever the price is, pay it; it has to be paid. If you have not loved, know well that you have not loved. And say to your lover or beloved that you have never loved, that your love was a subtle process of exploitation; that your love was nothing but a trick, a diplomatic trick to dominate; that your love was nothing but a facade for your sexual desire; that your love was nothing but an ambition of the ego. Find out what it is and let it be known to you and to others also.
This is what a sannyasin should be: dropping all illusions, remaining true to his being, whatever it is. Then suddenly many things become possible to you. Once you are unveiled, truth is unveiled because the truth was never veiled.
Look at this small incident.
A man came to Bayazid…
Bayazid of Bistam is one of the great Sufi masters.
…and said he had fasted and prayed for thirty years and yet had not come near to an understanding of God.
From the very beginning the man had a wrong attitude. He must have been a very calculating and cunning man, otherwise, how can you count moments of love and prayer? How can you say, “For thirty years I have been praying”? This calculation shows a businesslike mind. Thirty years – he’s counting. He must have been a man of this world: greedy, calculating. He has moved into the other world, but his attitude remains the same. “I have fasted so many days, I have prayed so many prayers, yet nothing has happened.”
In fact, if you know what prayer is, the result doesn’t matter. Prayer is its own result. The value is intrinsic. You pray and it is enough because prayer is happiness, prayer is ecstasy. Unto itself it is enough; nothing else is needed. But when you don’t pray, you wait for the result. Then prayer becomes a means to some end: understanding of God, realization of God – or something else. But prayer can never become the means to any end. Prayer is an end in itself. All that is beautiful – love, prayer, meditation – they are all ends in themselves, they are not means to anything else. If you convert them into means you miss the point. Enjoy them!
It is just like in the morning when you go for a walk and the sun is rising, and the new day is born, and again life resurrects. Out of the death in the night everything revives. The trees are coming back, the birds becoming alive, a fresh breeze is blowing. You go for a morning walk and you enjoy it. Do you keep a diary saying “I have been walking for thirty years in the morning, and nothing has happened yet”? A morning walk is a morning walk, an end in itself, intrinsic. You enjoyed it, every morning walk enriched you. It does not enrich you somewhere in the future; it enriches you right now.
Life is always cash. It is not a promissory note; it does not promise you. Life is cash. Immediately, here and now, it gives you whatever it can give. You feel happy, you start singing or you start dancing – do you count it? Do you keep a diary saying “For thirty years I have been dancing and singing and yet no understanding of God has happened to me”? You have not danced at all; you are not a dancer at all. You may be technically equipped to dance, but you are not a dancer. You may be a technician, but you are not a singer.
That is the difference between a technician and a dancer. A dancer dances, and in that very moment everything is achieved because in that moment he is lost, the ego dies, there is no dancer. The dance exists, but there is no center to it. It is a wave in the infinite ocean, moving, being, dissolving. Nobody is there inside to manipulate the steps of the dance. Then there is a technician, a trained dancer: he manipulates. However perfect his dance may be, it is dead because the manipulator is there. Then he will calculate: How much…?
There is a beautiful story I would like to tell you…

It happened in the life of a great Indian musician, Tansen. He was at the court of the great Emperor Akbar – and he is incomparable. Once Akbar asked him, “I cannot imagine that anybody can surpass you. It seems almost impossible, you seem to be the last word. But whenever I think this, a thought arises in my mind that you must have been a disciple to a master from whom you learned, and who knows, maybe he surpasses you. Who is your master? Is he still alive? If he is alive, invite him to the court.”
Tansen said, “He is alive, but he cannot be invited to the court because he is like a wild animal. You cannot invite him to the court because whenever it happens, he moves. He is not a man of the society. He is like the winds or like the clouds. He has no roots in the society; he’s a homeless wanderer. And moreover, you cannot ask him to sing or to play; that’s not possible. Whenever he feels to he sings, whenever he feels to he dances. We will have to go to him and wait and watch.”
Akbar was enchanted. He was mad after Tansen, and his master was alive – it was worth taking the trouble. “Wherever he is,” Akbar said, “I will go.”
He was a wandering fakir – his name was Haridas – so Tansen sent messengers to inquire as to his whereabouts. He was found near the river Jamuna in a hut. Akbar and Tansen went to listen to him. The villagers said, “Sometimes, nearabout three in the night, just in the middle of the night, he sings and dances, but otherwise the whole day he sits silently.”
In the middle of the night, Akbar and Tansen – hidden like thieves behind the cottage – were waiting because if he came to know, he might not sing. Haridas started singing and then he started dancing. Akbar was hypnotized. He could not utter a single word because no appreciation would have been enough. He cried continuously. When they were coming back, after the song had stopped, he remained silent and tears continued rolling down.
When he came to the palace, just on the steps, he said to Tansen, “I used to think that nobody can surpass you. I used to think that you are unique but now, now I have to say to you that you are nothing compared to your master. Why such a difference?”
Tansen said, “The difference is simple. I sing, I play to gain something else: power, prestige, money, appreciation. My music is still a means to some end. I sing to get something, and my master sings because he has got something. That’s the difference. He sings only when he has something inside. Then the singing flows, then he dances; it is a by-product. When he is filled with the divine and cannot contain it, when it overflows, only then he sings. His singing is an end in itself. He celebrates.”

And that is the difference between a real love and a false love. A real love simply celebrates. For real love there is no future.
A real prayer is a celebration. It is not an effort, not a means to something else. It arises and it dissolves into itself. A moment of prayer is an eternity in itself. And a man of prayer never counts, it is simply foolish. Even a single moment is so much, even a single moment becomes such a deep contentment – one is fulfilled, one doesn’t ask for more. Really, it is too much. A single moment of prayer is so much that you are no longer there. It fills you completely and it overflows. If you can attain a single moment of prayer, love or meditation, you will feel grateful for ever and ever. You will not complain.
The man in our story was not a man of prayer. The man was greedy; he must have been greedy in this world, in the market. He has left the market, but the mind of the market still is there. He has left the riches of this world, but the attitude is still the same. He is counting his prayer days like coins. He says that he has fasted and prayed for thirty years and yet has not come near to an understanding of God. He will never come to an understanding of God because he has not changed at all. He has carried all his worldly attitudes to the other world. And remember: your attitude is your world. You cannot take it to the other world. You will make the other world just like the world you have left.
A man came to see me. He was a very rich man and he had been donating money to many institutions, social welfare schemes, temples, this and that. He came to see me and he talked about his donations. He started introducing himself, talking about his donations and how much he had given. And his wife supplied the missing information. She said, “He has donated almost one lakh rupees.”
The man looked a little angrily at his wife and said, “Not one lakh – one lakh and ten thousand!”
Counting what you have given, keeping accounts… When you keep accounts you have not given at all, you have not shared; it has not been a gift. When you count, it may have been a bargain – a bargain for the other world. This man is bound to complain someday. He will say, “I have given so much and I have not come any nearer to the understanding of God.”
Bayazid told him that even a hundred years would not be enough.
Even a hundred lives would not be enough; it is not a question of time. If you do a wrong thing, you can do it for eternity – it is not a question of time. If you do a wrong thing, you can go on doing it, but just by repeating a wrong thing millions of times it will not become right. But if you do the right thing even only once, everything is settled.
So you can go on praying for millions of lives – nothing will happen. And I tell you: if you pray rightly even for a single moment, everything has already happened. It is not a question of time and quantity, it is a question of attitude and quality. How much you pray is not the question, but how deeply. How many times a day you pray is not the question. Mohammedans pray five times a day, and this man must have prayed five times a day for thirty years. It makes no difference how many times – five or fifty. The point is the quality you bring to it, your consciousness, awareness, love – how you pray.
There is a story in Bengal…

There was a man, a very, very logical man, a grammarian, nearabout five hundred years ago. His name was Bhattoji. He was a famous Sanskrit grammarian. He never went to the temple.
He was old – sixty – when his father called him and said, “Now it is too much.” His father must have been ninety. The father said, “I have been going to the temple, praying every day. I have not told you anything about it because I was hoping you might come to the understanding yourself. But it is getting late. Now you are also old, sixty. It is time to go. It is time to prepare for the other world. When will you go to the temple and pray?”
Bhattoji said, “Seeing you going to the temple every day and coming back the same, I have been wondering whether the question is not of how many times, how many years, you pray. The question seems to be of how you pray. The question is of quality. I have been watching you every day for so many years. Twice a day you go to the temple and you come back the same; the prayer doesn’t seem to work. And how is it possible? There must be something wrong.
“I will go tomorrow. Tomorrow is my birthday and I will go and do whatever I can do. I will put my whole being in it. I will pray only once – but I will not leave anything inside me. I will move totally into it, but only once. If something happens, it happens; if nothing happens I am finished with it. I will never go again because what is the use. There is no point.
“If I put myself totally at stake and nothing has been left behind, then I cannot do more the next day. If I have done whatever can be done with a total mind, more is not possible. Once I will pray – if something happens it happens. If not, I am not going to pray again.”
The father laughed. He said, “You are foolish. One has to pray for many lives, only then does something happen. But let us see. Go tomorrow and try.”
Bhattoji went to the temple and never came back again, he died. Standing before the deity of the temple he prayed once and died. He really moved totally into it, nothing was left.
A prayer, a love, needs you in your totality. Not even a part of you should be left behind watching and calculating, manipulating. You should be in it, not a fragment of you, but you in your wholeness. That’s why prayer becomes holy, because you are wholly in it.
To be whole is to be holy and there is no other holiness.
Bhattoji died. This is the meaning of the saying “until you die.” He disappeared, attained. He became enlightened. Only his body was there, the body fell down.
When Bhattoji didn’t come back and it was getting late, his father sent a messenger to see what had happened. Bhattoji was not there, only the dead body was there, but you could see on the face a transformation, a divine beauty. Even the dead body was showing an aura of the unknown. He was transfigured.

Remember this: whatever you do should be true, not a pretension: should be done not with a greedy mind, but with a loving mind; should be done without any calculations because prayer, or love, or God is not a question of arithmetic.
Bayazid told him that even a hundred years would not be enough.
The man asked why.
“Because your selfishness is working as a barrier between yourself and the truth,” said Bayazid.
The word selfishness has to be understood. Ordinarily you call a man selfish if he works everything for his own self, if he manipulates everything for his own self. That is superficial selfishness. You can become unselfish on that level; it is not difficult. There are unselfish people – people who are always working for others, serving, always helpful. Unselfish people you know, but they are as dangerous as the selfish people, and sometimes even more. You can escape a selfish person but you cannot escape an unselfish person. He is very dangerous because he is out to help you, and he is working for you. He creates a burden. And deep down, very deep down, this unselfishness is again selfish because through it he wants to achieve the divine.
Go and see the Christian missionaries. They work really hard, they serve people, they are great servants, but deep down their whole service remains selfish because through it they are waiting to cross to the other shore. Through the service they are creating rungs in a ladder, and on that ladder they are moving toward heaven. Heaven is the goal, service is the means. They are in the same trouble as that man who came to Bayazid must have been.
I will tell you a story. It happened…

There was a great festival somewhere in China, and many people had gathered. There was a well without any walls around it and a man fell into it. He cried loudly, but it was a big festival and the crowd was very large. It was so noisy that nobody could hear him.
A Buddhist monk, a bhikku, came to the well. He was feeling thirsty. He looked down. The man was crying and weeping and saying, “Save me!”
The bhikku, the Buddhist monk, said, “Nobody can save anybody else – this is what Buddha said: ‘Be a light unto yourself.’ Nobody can save anybody; that is impossible. Don’t wait for it. And moreover Buddha has also said that everybody has to suffer his own karmas. You must have committed some sins in the past and you have to suffer, so suffer silently. Don’t cry and make so much noise because by crying and complaining you are again creating karmas.”
The man said, “First save me and then I will listen to your sermon. At this time it is impossible for me to listen.”
But the Buddhist monk went on his own way because Buddha had said, “Don’t interfere in anybody else’s karma.”
Then a Confucian came, another monk. He looked into the well. The man said, “Save me! I am dying and nobody seems to listen.”
The Confucian said, “Confucius is right. He has said that every well should be made with a wall around it. And don’t you worry. We will create such a great movement; we will change the whole society, and we will force the government to make walls around every well, don’t worry.”
The man said, “But by that time I will be dead. And how is it going to help me? I have already fallen.”
The Confucian said, “That is not the point; the individual is not the point. Individuals come and go. The question is the society. But you can die with the deep consolation in your mind that it will not happen again to anybody else.” Confucius was a social reformer.
Then a Christian missionary came by. He looked into the well. Even before the man said anything he took a bucket and a rope from his bag. The Christian missionary was ready to serve even before the man said anything. The man was feeling tired and was thinking, “Now there is no possibility, and all these religious people are coming…”
The missionary threw the rope and the bucket and told the man, “Catch it and I will pull you out.”
The man was very, very thankful. When he came out he fell at the feet of the missionary and said, “You are the only religious man!”
The Christian missionary said, “Don’t be misguided. This is what Jesus says: until you become a servant to the least and the last amongst you, you will not be able to attain the Kingdom of God. Service is sadhana. It is through service that one reaches heaven. So remember: fall again and again into the well because I am not the only missionary. And teach your children also to fall into the well so we can come and save them. How are we otherwise going to get to heaven if you don’t fall?”

Deep down, even unselfishness remains selfish, a part of greed, and very dangerous. When a person feels he is good, he becomes authoritative, dominating, and he tries to change you. He takes you in his hand like a piece of mud and tries to give you a shape, a shape according to his ideology.
Missionaries are murderers. All social reformers are dangerous. And people who are seeking service can be very, very violent, aggressive. They are. If you are in the grip of a good man it is very difficult to escape. You are imprisoned – and he is doing everything for your sake. And whatever he is doing, he is trying to find a way through you to his own heaven. You are just the means. This is the most immoral act in the world, to treat a man as a means. I call it the most immoral act, the greatest sin, to treat a man as a means. Every man is an end in himself.
Share if you can share, but don’t try to transform anybody. Who are you to transform? Who are you to change somebody? Who has given you the right? Help if you can, but don’t make this help a means. Otherwise, in the name of religion you will remain the same calculating, cunning, clever person, exploiting people out of your selfishness. So, on the surface this is one meaning of selfishness and unselfishness.
But real selfishness is when there is no self. Working for your own self is selfishness, working for others’ selves is unselfishness. But behind both the self is present. They are two branches of the same tree, not very different; the innermost core remains the same. Real selfishness means no-selfness; then whatever you do, whether the world calls it selfishness or the world calls it unselfishness, it doesn’t matter. It comes out of a no-self, unmotivated. The distinction is subtle.
Selfishness is a motivated action: you want something for yourself. Unselfishness is again motivated: you want something for the other, and through the other, deep down, you want something for yourself –via the other the same motive moves. Real selfishness remains the same, the form differs.
To me, selflessness is the real thing. You must come to understand the state of your being as no-self. Then prayer is there but it comes from a no-self, unmotivated. Then you don’t calculate and count; you enjoy it and celebrate it. Then love comes unmotivated, it flows spontaneously for no reason at all. You cannot help it. It is there. It is natural.
When the self is absent, everything becomes unselfish; it cannot be otherwise. Otherwise, you can go on doing things but they will remain the same, the quality will not change, and you will always feel something is missing. You can do prayers for years and you will feel something is missing. You can love many people and you will feel something is missing. You will remain like a wedding party where the guests have arrived, the feast is ready and the musicians are playing. There is much singing and everybody is ready, but the bridegroom is missing. You will be like a wedding ceremony where the bridegroom is missing.
If the self remains you will always miss something; whatever you do you will miss something. Once the self is not there the bridegroom has arrived. Now whatever you do will be a feast, whatever you do will be a celebration.
Die first as you are so that the divine can be born in you. The Sufis are right when they say that you cannot achieve anything until you die.
Enough for today.

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