Until You Die 08

Eighth Discourse from the series of 10 discourses - Until You Die by Osho.
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A powerful king, ruler of many domains, was in such a position of magnificence that wise men were his mere employees. And yet one day he felt himself confused and called his sages to him.
He said: “I do not know the cause, but something impels me to seek a certain ring, one that will enable me to stabilize my state.
“I must have such a ring, and this ring must be one which, when I am unhappy it will make me joyful, and at the same time, if I am happy and look upon it, I must be made sad.”
The wise men consulted one another, and threw themselves into deep contemplation. Finally they came to a decision as to the character of the ring which would suit their king.
The ring which they devised was one upon which was inscribed the legend: This too will pass.
This is a great story, great because it has been used for centuries by Sufis, and it has helped many people toward enlightenment. It is no ordinary story; it is what I call objective art. It is a device. It is not just for reading and entertainment, it is something which should become your very style of life; only then do you come to know the meaning of it.
On the surface it is so simple anybody can understand it. Nothing of special intelligence is needed, but if you contemplate it deeply, then deeper and deeper layers are revealed to you. The story becomes a weapon in your hand; with it you can cut the very knot of ignorance. It is a powerful device. Once understood, it becomes a master key to open the innermost door of your being. It is very potential, pregnant with deep meaning. But one has to contemplate over it, meditate over it, intensely. With consciousness, one has to make every effort to find the innermost meaning of it. But only that won’t help much. That will help in the beginning, but if you really want to understand the story you will have to live it. You will have to live it; only then will you come to understand what it means.
A few things before we enter the story.
Religion is not ritual. It is not something that you do, it is something that you become. So there is always a possibility of a false religion existing somewhere in the society. A false religion is when inner transformation has been substituted with outer ritual. Then you go on doing things, and those things will become a deep-rooted habit with you – but nothing is achieved. People go to the church and the temple, they repeat the same prayers again and again, and nothing is happening to them. Somewhere on the way they have missed; somewhere on the way they have lost the real coin and they have substituted it with a false coin.
Remember this: the real, authentic, religion is concerned with being, not with doing. It has nothing to do with your outer way of life, it has something to do with your center. Of course, when the center changes the periphery follows. Your outer life also changes. But the reverse is not true: you can change the periphery but the center will not change, and you will live the life of a hypocrite, a life of hypocrisy. You will have a different periphery from the center, not only different but just the opposite, the very contrary; you will be split in two.
Religion is not ritual, remember that. Religion is an inner consciousness, an inner awakening. Many things on the surface will change, but the change must occur within you first. Think of yourself as a circle with a center. The circle is concerned with others. The circle touches others’ boundaries, other circles. The circle lives, the periphery lives, in the society of other peripheries. A certain morality is needed. To live with the others, a certain regulation, rule, a system, is needed. That’s okay, but that is not religion.
Morality is how to live with others, and religion is how to live with oneself. Morality is how not to go wrong with others, and religion is the method of how not to go wrong with yourself. Religion is that which you do in your total loneliness, in your innermost shrine. Obviously, the periphery will be changed because by and by the light from the center will come and infiltrate the whole periphery. You will become luminous. Even others will start feeling the luminosity, the light that comes from you.
That light will not be the light of your actions, good actions. The light will be something that is not concerned with good and bad. The light will be just like when a flower opens and the fragrance spreads – neither good nor bad. The sun rises and the light spreads – neither good nor bad. The clouds come and rain falls – they don’t bother who is good and who is bad. When the light comes from the center it is beyond morality, good and bad; everything is dissolved. Simple light, superb in its own self, in its intrinsic value.
The word religion is very beautiful, it comes from the root religere. Religere means to rejoin, to reunite. With whom? With yourself, with the source of your being. And why re-unite? Because you are already united with the source; it is a reunion. It is not that you are reaching the source for the first time; otherwise from where will you come? You have come from the source. Deep down you are still in the source. Just on the periphery, as if the branches have forgotten about the roots. Not that they are broken off from the roots because then they cannot live; they have simply forgotten. In their ego, in their height in the sky, with the moon, in their romance, they have completely forgotten that they have roots underground which nourish them, which sustain them, without which they cannot exist for a single moment. And all this greenery, all these flowers and all these fruits, will simply disappear like dreams once they are cut from the roots.
That’s how it happens to man. You move in the branches, farther away from the roots. You come to many flowers; you are enchanted. The world is beautiful all around you, you completely forget about the roots. But it is not that you are uprooted. Forgetfulness is just forgetfulness.
That is the meaning of religion: to reunite, to remember again. This word remember is also beautiful. It means to become the member again, re-member – to become part of the source again, to go to the source and become a member of it again. Religion is reuniting with your own source. Religion is remembering, becoming again a part of the organic unity that you are. It has nothing to do with others. The ego is always concerned with others, this way or that. When you become totally concerned with yourself, the ego simply drops. There is no point in it existing.
Alone you have no ego. Try it! When you are sitting totally alone, not even thinking of others, is there any ego left? There is no possibility, the ego needs two to exist. Just like a bridge cannot exist if there are not two banks to the river; the bridge needs two to be supported. The ego exists as a bridge between you and the other. So in fact the ego is not in you; it is just between you and the other.
This is something to be remembered always: the ego is not in you, it cannot be there. It is always between you and the other – the husband and wife, the friend, the enemy: always the other. So when you go deep inside there is no ego. In your total loneliness, the ego simply drops. That’s why the ego goes on playing tricks. Even if you start searching and seeking for truth the ego says, “Help others,” the ego says, “Transform others.” And religion is again missed. It becomes a mission.
Religion is not a mission. Missionaries are again on the wrong track. They have again become concerned with the other, now in the name of religion, in the name of service. But whenever you are concerned with the other you have left the source. A religious man also helps others but he is not concerned. It is natural, it is not a mission. It is not something of the mind; he is not seeking and searching to help somebody, it is just by the way. Out of his inner treasures he simply shares. He is not changing anybody. He is not after you to mold you in a certain pattern, because that is the subtlest violence possible in the world – to try to change the other, to mold the other. That means you are cutting and being aggressive, you don’t accept the other as existence has created him. You have better proposals and you have better ideas than the divine. You want to improve on the whole. You are simply stupid. This is how the ego comes in.
I have heard about a small Sunday school…

The priest, the missionary, was teaching the boys who had been forced to go to the Sunday school to learn about the Bible, Christ and God. It is just inhuman to force children, but you can force them; that’s why so many people later on become irreligious, antireligious. They are taking revenge. In the beginning you forced religion on them; then they take revenge, they throw it out, they move to the other extreme.
Christmas was coming so the priest, the missionary, said to the boys, “Now, this is your duty: you should bring more boys to the class; each one of you should try to bring at least two boys. This is how you will help the work of Jesus on this earth.”
The boys were not very enthusiastic. They themselves had been forced and they wanted somehow to escape. They looked at each other; nobody was showing any interest. Then suddenly one boy, a new recruit – and new recruits are always dangerous because they can go too much to the extreme in their enthusiasm – a new boy raised his hand. The missionary was very happy. He said, “So you are ready to bring two boys to the class.”
The boy said, “Not exactly. Two are too much and too difficult to bring. I will try to bring only one. I have a young fellow in my neighborhood whom I can lick. And I promise you, sir, I will do my damndest to bring him.”

This is what missionaries of all religions have been doing all over the world: doing their damnedest to force people toward religion.
Religion is not a mission. You need not force anybody toward it. When the urge arises, it arises; it cannot be artificially created. Nobody can create an artificial religious urge, that is impossible. It is just like artificially creating a sexual urge in a small child. Even if a child asks questions about sex, he is not interested in sex. Even if he asks where babies come from, you misunderstand him when you think that he is interested in sex. He is simply curious about babies, from where they come. He is not interested in sex at all. Don’t start teaching him about sex because he will be simply bored. It will be nonsense to him because when the urge is not there, when he is not sexually mature, anything you say about sex just goes above his head.
The same happens with the spiritual urge. It is very similar to the sexual urge. One comes to a maturity, a spiritual maturity, something has ripened within you and then the search starts. Nobody can enforce it. All the religions have tried to enforce it and they have killed the very possibility of the urge.
The world is so irreligious because of the missionaries, the priests. The world is so irreligious because they have taught too much religion, without ever thinking whether an urge exists or not. People are fed up with those teachings. Churches simply bore. And beautiful words like God, prayer, love, meditation, have become ugly. The greatest words have become the dirtiest because of the missionaries. They have been forcing these beautiful words on you. But when something beautiful is forced it becomes ugly. You can participate in beauty, but you cannot be forced toward it. Then it becomes violence.
Religion is not concerned with others, it is concerned with you, absolutely with you. Religion is personal, it is not a phenomenon in the society. In fact, there cannot be any sociology of religion; there can only be a psychology. Society is a totally different matter; the crowd is a totally different matter – where peripheries meet. Religion is when you are so alone that there is nobody left to be met. In that total virgin aloneness, the suprememost ecstasy is born. But you have to come to ripeness.
Remember: ripeness is everything. Before it nothing can be done. You may be thinking that you are ready, or somebody else may be thinking that he is ready. Your curiosity may give you a wrong feeling, a notion that you are ready, but readiness only means that you are ready to stake your life; otherwise it is not a readiness. Religion is higher than life because life is with others, life is a relationship, and religion is a non-relationship. It is higher than life. It is the capacity to be alone. It is total independence from the other. Unless you are ready to sacrifice life to it, unless you are ready to die completely as you have been up to now, you are not ready. In that readiness, a small message can become so powerful that it can transform you. Religion is not concerned with others.
And, finally, religion is not concerned with scriptures, words. Wise words are there, but for those words you are not the target; they were never addressed to you. Krishna talked to Arjuna; it was a personal dialogue. Jesus talks to his disciples, a small group of disciples, a personal dialogue. He knows everybody; he knows what he is saying, he knows to whom he is saying it. But the Bible becomes dead, the Gita becomes dead.
Religion is not like a broadcast on the radio. You don’t know to whom you are talking, you talk to the air. The face of the listener is not there. The center of the listener is not there, there is nobody. It may be, it is possible, that nobody is listening to the broadcast and you are talking in a vacuum. Religion is like a personal letter. You write it to somebody and only to that somebody; it is only meant for that somebody.
That’s why I have never tried to write anything except letters. Unless you are here, alive, centered, receptive, listening, I cannot say anything; it is impossible. To whom to say it? It is not a dead word. When there is a listener the dialogue becomes alive; then it has a significance which no scripture can ever have.
So everybody has to seek living masters. You can read the Gita – it is beautiful; you can read the Bible – it is wonderful. But they are pieces of literature, beautiful as literature, poetry, prose, but not as religion. Religion happens only between two persons: one who knows and one who does not know but is ready to know. Suddenly religion is born. This is the third thing.
Remember these three things, then we can move into this story.
A powerful king, ruler of many domains, was in a position of such magnificence that wise men were his mere employees.
That’s possible; you can hire wise men. If you have enough money wise men can be mere employees to you, but you will not learn that way. He had many wise men – in old days every emperor, every great king had many wise men – but I have never heard that any emperor ever learned anything from those wise men.
It is said of the great emperor Akbar that he had nine wise men in his court. He could afford them – they were called the nine jewels – but I don’t see that he ever learned anything from them because learning needs a different relationship. Learning needs that the learner should bow down, surrender. How can you surrender to your own servants? It is almost impossible! You can order them, but you cannot surrender.
It is reported…

It happened in the life of Akbar that he called his nine wise men and he was very angry and he said, “You are here, and people say you are the greatest wise men in the world today, but I have not been able to learn anything from you. What is the matter? You are here, and I remain the same; then what are you doing here?”
A child had come with a wise man. He wanted to see the court. He laughed. The wise men were silent and the child laughed. Akbar said, “Why are you laughing? It is insulting to the court! Hasn’t your father told you about manners?”
The child said, “I am laughing because these nine wise men are silent, and I know why they are silent and I know why you have not been able to be benefited by them.”
Akbar looked at the child’s face – very innocent, but very ancient also. Whenever a child is very innocent you can see the deep ancientness in his eyes because no child is a child. He has lived, experienced much; he carries all the knowledge from all his experiences in the past. Akbar said, “Then can you teach me something?”
The child said, “Yes!”
Akbar said, “Then teach!”
The child said, “Then you have to follow me. Come down here where I am sitting and I will sit on the throne. Then ask like a disciple, not like a master.”
And it is said that Akbar understood. Those nine wise men had been absolutely useless. He could not learn, not because they couldn’t teach – they could teach – but he was not ready, and he was not receptive, and he was not humble enough.
It is said that he sat down and the child sat on the throne and he said, “Now ask like a disciple, not like an emperor.”
Akbar never asked anything. And it is said that he thanked the child, touched his feet and said, “There is no need to ask. Just by sitting in a humble attitude near your feet I have learned much.”

Humbleness is the basic thing. Even without a wise man, if you are humble you will learn much. You can learn from the trees and the springs and the clouds and the winds. If you are humble, the whole existence becomes a teacher to you. But if you are not humble and a buddha is there, no intimacy happens. A buddha is around you, but no intimacy happens – you are not humble. You would like to learn, but without bending, without bringing down your ego.
A powerful king, ruler of many domains, was in a position of such magnificence that wise men were his mere employees. It is easy, you can collect wise men around you, but that is not the point. The real point is not to bring a wise man to your house; the real point is how to go to a wise man because in the very going you learn. And these wise men could not have been real wise men either because a wise man will not waste his life in the courts. They may be intellectual, very knowledgeable, great scholars, but not wise. Knowledge and wisdom are totally different.
Just the other day we were talking about the fact that the question of knowledge is very dangerous. If the doctor had told the woman, “Go on a fast for forty days,” it would have been knowledge. But he told the woman, “Now there is no possibility of any cure. Drop any idea about fertility and this and that. You are going to die in forty days.” This is wisdom, the difference between knowledge and wisdom.
Knowledge is a dead response. You have learned something and you go on applying it to everything. Wisdom is living response. You look at the situation and you respond. It is not a reaction, it is a response. When you react, you react out of the past. When you respond, you respond here and now. The doctor looked at the woman, her body – too much fat. He felt the heart of the woman, the pulse. He was a wise man; he created a device, he lied to her: “You are going to die.” And the woman was transformed.
People who go to the courts and to the capitals and can be purchased cannot have much wisdom.
It happened in Japan…

An emperor became very anxious to know about death and life beyond death. He had wise men at his court. When he asked them they said, “If we knew, we would not be here; we are just as ignorant as you. You are rich, we are poor – that’s the only difference. We don’t know. If you really want to know you will have to move out of the court, you will have to seek and search for a master. The master cannot come to you, you will have to go to the master.”
The emperor tried. He went to all the well-known persons – of course, that’s the way one seeks. He went to all the well-known saints but was not satisfied. Again he came to the court and told his wise men, “I have been searching all over the country.”
Those people said, “You are searching wrongly. You go to the well-known persons. It is difficult to find a master there because, in the first place, it is very difficult for a real master to become well-known, very difficult; it rarely happens. Secondly, a real master tries to hide himself in many, many ways, so that only real seekers can reach him, and not curious people who just by the way would like to ask something. You have been searching in the wrong places.”
The wise people said, “We know a man here, in this town, in your capital, but you will have to come to the man.”
The man was a beggar and he lived under a bridge with other beggars. The emperor could not believe it, but something was coming out of him, some emanation, something from the beyond, that touched his heart, that changed his beat of the heart – a magnetic force. Without knowing why, without even knowing what he was doing, for the first time he touched the feet of a man. Suddenly he himself was shocked at what he had done. He had touched the feet of a beggar! But the beggar said, “You are accepted.”
This is the way one starts learning.

The man was rich: A very rich king, ruler of many domains, was in a position of such magnificence that wise men were his mere employees. Rich people can afford wise men – but those wise men will not be really wise. You cannot purchase wisdom. You can purchase everything in this world, but you cannot purchase wisdom.

It is reported in Mahavira’s life that a king came to him, a very famous king. His name was Prasenjita. He came to Mahavira and he said, “I have everything that this world can offer – I am deeply contented, there is nothing more to achieve, all my ambitions are fulfilled. Only one thing goes on and on in my mind: What is this meditation? What is this dhyana? I am ready to purchase it, and whatever the cost – say, and I will give it. This is the only thing that has been haunting me: What is this meditation, dhyana, samadhi? Only one thing I am lacking in my treasuries, only one thing is lacking and that is samadhi, dhyana. Give it to me. I have heard that you have attained it, so you can give it to me whatever the cost. Don’t bother about the cost.”
Mahavira said, “There is no need to come to me, so far away from your capital. In your capital itself there is a very poor man; he may like to sell it. And he has attained. You had better go to him.” Mahavira played a joke. He said, “I don’t need to sell it. Go to this man, a very poor man in your capital, and he will be happy.”
Prasenjita went back and immediately reached the man with many bullock carts loaded with gold coins, diamonds, emeralds, many riches, and he just emptied out all the bullock carts in front of the house of the poor man. He said, “Take all these, and if you ask for more I can give you more. Where is that dhyana? Give me that.”
The poor man started crying and weeping and he said, “I may be poor, but this is impossible. I would like to thank you for all your riches you have brought to me, but the bargain is not possible. Meditation is a state of being. I cannot give it to you. I am ready to give my life if it is needed. I love you, respect you; I am ready to give my life. You can take it right now, you can cut off my head – but how can I give you meditation, samadhi?”

Just see: even life can be given, but not dhyana. Dhyana is higher than life. You can sacrifice your life, but you cannot sacrifice samadhi: it is impossible. And life can be taken from you, anybody can kill you. Samadhi cannot be taken from you. Nobody can take it, purchase it, steal it, kill it. And unless you attain samadhi you have not come to the real treasure. Even life is not the real treasure, only that which cannot be taken away from you is the real treasure. Even death cannot take it away from you, that is the criterion.
Whatever you have, always put it to the criterion: whether death will take it away from you or not. That should become a constant contemplation. You have money – will death separate you from it or not? You have prestige, political power, fame, beauty, physical strength, body. Whatever you have put it to the criterion: whether it will be taken by death, whether you will be separated from it or not. You will find that, except samadhi, everything will be taken away by death. That’s why Sufis say it is better to die to all these things which will finally be taken away by death. Eventually they are going to be taken away. Die to them, and arise in samadhi – because that is the only thing which is deathless.
The king had everything. He had employed many wise men, but he must not have learned anything. In the first place, the wise men must not have been very wise. In the second place, when you employ a wise man how can you learn anything from him? You have to become a servant to a wise man; you have to fall at his feet and surrender, only then can you learn, only then learning is possible.
Wisdom is just like water flowing downward. Water goes on moving downward, finding holes and valleys and lakes and filling them. Become a lake-like phenomenon; near a wise man, become a valley. Don’t try to be the peak of the ego, become a valley and suddenly you will be filled.
And yet one day he felt himself confused and called his sages to him.
It comes: when you have lived too long in riches, the moment comes. The moment comes when one feels frustrated with all that riches can give. When you live in palaces a moment comes when you feel that this is not life: death starts knocking on the door. Miseries enter – you cannot protect yourself from sadness. And this king was in trouble at that time. A neighboring country was planning to attack, and the neighboring country was a very great country, more powerful than his. He was afraid – death, defeat, despair of old age. And then he started seeking.
He called his wise men and he said to them:
“I do not know the cause, but something impels me to seek a certain ring, one that will enable me to stabilize my state.
“I must have such a ring, and this ring must be one which, when I am unhappy it will make me joyful, and at the same time, if I am happy and look upon it, I must be made sad.”
He is asking for a key, a key with which he can open two doors: the door of happiness and the door of unhappiness. But he wants one key with which both the doors can be opened. He must have attained a certain understanding.
When you live a rich life with many experiences, good and bad, you attain a certain understanding. I always feel that a man who has not lived in many ways – wrong and right, moral and immoral, rich and poor, good and bad – who has not lived all the opposites, never attains a very deep understanding of life. He may become a saint, but his saintliness will be a poor saintliness. When a buddha becomes a saint, his saintliness becomes incomparable, unique. From where does this uniqueness come to a buddha? It comes from his multidimensional life. He has lived all, and when you live all, by and by you rise above all. Through living you come to understand that this is useless.
It is beautiful to remember Buddha’s life again and again.

When he was born the astrologers said, “This boy will either become a chakravartin – a king of the whole world – or he will become a sannyasin. These are the two possibilities.” Two extreme possibilities: either the king of the world, or a man who has renounced all and become a beggar on the street – homeless, rootless, a vagabond, a sannyasin. Two extremes.
The father asked, “How is it so? You talk about two extremes, what is the meaning of it?”
The astrologers said, “This is always so. Whenever a man is born to become a chakravartin” – chakravartin means the emperor of the whole, of the whole earth – “whenever a person is born who is capable of becoming a chakravartin, the other possibility is always there.”
The father still could not understand. He said, “Tell me in detail.”
The astrologers said, “We don’t know much about the phenomenon of sannyas, but this much is said in the scriptures: when a man has everything, then suddenly an awakening dawns in him that everything is useless.”
Only a beggar hankers after the palace; the man in the palace is already finished with the palace. A man who has not known women, beautiful women, always hankers. A man who has known is already finished. Only knowledge, experience, changes you. So if this man is going to have the whole world, how long can he remain in it? Sooner or later he will renounce. All the buddhas were born kings, all the Hindu avatars were born kings, all the Jaina tirthankaras were born kings. There is something to it, it is not just coincidental. They lived, they indulged, and they indulged so totally in everything that there was no barrier to them. Sooner or later they came to the bottom of the whole phenomenon – there was nothing.
It is just like when you go on peeling an onion – what happens? If you peel one layer, another layer is there fresher than the first, younger. You peel another, an even fresher layer is there, younger. You go on. If you don’t peel the onion to the very last, you will always think that something must be there still. But if you peel the onion completely, suddenly a moment comes when the last layer is broken and there is nothing in it – emptiness.
That’s what happens to an emperor. He goes on peeling the onion of life; he can afford it. A beggar cannot afford the whole onion, he remains just on the periphery. If he can peel the first layer, that is too much: “There are other layers!” He always hopes somewhere inside, “I have not attained bliss in this world because I don’t have the whole world in my hand. If I had the whole world, who knows, maybe I would have become blissful, I would have attained deep contentment.” That haunting desire remains. With an emperor the whole onion is in his hands.
The astrologers said to Buddha’s father, “This is always so. A chakravartin always has the alternative of becoming a sannyasin.” And from the other end also it is true – it was not said there, but I would like to add it to the story – that a sannyasin is always a chakravartin. Whenever sannyas happens to a man that means he has lived through many, many lives, through all the experiences: he is finished. That is maturity. A chakravartin has the alternative of being a sannyasin. If you really become a sannyasin, that shows only one thing: you have been a chakravartin, not in one life but in many lives, spread out, you have lived all.
Buddha’s father was very worried and he said, “Then what to do? I have only one son, and he too was born in my old age. I am no longer young, and my wife died immediately when Buddha was born so I cannot hope for more sons. The whole kingdom will go to ruins. What to do? You suggest something to me.”
And they suggested, they suggested very knowingly. This is how knowledge fails. They were not wise people. They were great astrologers, they knew the scripture, they knew the word, but they didn’t know the spirit. They suggested an ordinary course such as any man of knowledge would have suggested, but not a man of wisdom. They suggested, “Do one thing: don’t allow this boy to come to face any misery, any pain, any unhappiness. Don’t allow him to know that old age comes, don’t allow him to know that people die. And arrange as many beautiful women around him as you can manage; let him live a life of total indulgence and no frustration. Without frustration, nobody ever becomes a sannyasin.”
This was pure logic, and this was done. There was no difficulty; the father could manage. Three houses were made for Buddha, for three seasons, in different places. He would live in a cold region in the summer, and then he would change. Every four months he would move to another house, great palaces. All the beautiful girls of the kingdom were called. Never has a man remained with so many beautiful women together.
Buddha lived in indulgence. It is said that even in the garden of Buddha’s palace no flower was allowed to die. Before it started dying it had to be removed. Buddha never saw a dry leaf. It had to be removed in the night so that the idea of death would never arise and he would never come to think about the fact that life is going to end, because if that thinking came, he would start thinking of renouncing the life which is going to end.
Buddha knew only the beautiful things, he knew only the dreams, he lived in those dreams. But reality penetrates every dream. You cannot avoid reality; however you manage, even with an emperor father managing everything, you cannot avoid reality. It bumps into you from here and there; you stumble upon it. How can you manage to dream continuously twenty-four hours a day?
One night Buddha was enjoying: the girls were dancing, there was great music and dance, and he enjoyed it. Then he fell asleep. It was midnight and he was tired, and all the girls fell asleep. Suddenly in the middle of the night he awoke and he looked at the girls – the beauty was not there. Saliva was flowing, somebody’s mouth was open and it was looking ugly. Somebody else was in a nightmare and she was crying and weeping. Suddenly he became aware: “I was thinking all these women are so beautiful, and suddenly they have become ugly?” That night, reality penetrated. He kept it to himself.
One day he was going to participate in a festival. On the way he happened to see an old man – he had never seen one before. He happened to see a dead body being carried to the burning ghat – he had never seen one before. He asked his driver, the driver of the chariot, “What is the matter? What has happened to this man? Why has his face become so wrinkled? And why is his back bent? What calamity has fallen upon him?”
The driver said, “It is not a calamity, sir. It happens to everybody. It is a natural thing; everybody becomes old and wrinkled.”
The reality penetrated. Then he asked, “What has happened to this other man? Why are people carrying him on their shoulders?”
The driver said, “This man is dead, sir. This is the next step after old age.”
Buddha suddenly said, “Stop the chariot! Am I also going to die?”
The driver hesitated. He knew what Buddha’s father was doing. But he was a very true man, simple and authentic. He said, “I am not allowed to say, but since you have raised the question I cannot also be a liar to you. This man is dead, and just like this man you will also be dead. Everybody who is born is going to die.”
Then suddenly a sannyasin who was following the dead man appeared. Buddha asked, “And what has happened to this man? Why this orange robe?” He had never seen a sannyasin before. Really, unless you see a dead man, how can you see a sannyasin? It is a logical sequence: old age, death, sannyas.
The story is beautiful – whether it happened or not is not the point. But the story is beautiful and true. Whether it happened or not, it is true because after death, encountering death, what else remains but sannyas?
The chariot driver said, “This man has understood life; he has understood that life ends in death, and he has renounced.”
Buddha said, “Turn back to the palace. I have renounced.”
At that moment even the driver couldn’t understand what Buddha was saying. By the night, he had left the palace.

When you live life in its totality, you have to renounce it. Only those who have not lived rightly, who have not lived at all or who have lived lukewarm and tepid lives, cling. Clinging shows an ignorant mind which doesn’t understand. Renunciation is simple; it is a natural outgrowth, it is a maturity.
Those astrologers were men of knowledge. They helped Buddha, really, not at all knowingly, to renounce. If it had been asked of me, if Buddha’s father Shuddhodana had asked me, I would not have suggested this because this is the natural way to renounce life. I would have suggested: “Starve this man; don’t give him as much food as he needs. Starve him so much that he thinks and dreams about food. Don’t allow him to touch a woman, or come near to a woman; keep all the beautiful women at a distance so he hankers and desires; starve him sexually also. And don’t make too many palaces; let him live a beggar’s life. Then he will never renounce.”
That’s what has happened to you all. You cannot renounce because you have lived a beggar’s life. Only beggars are unable to renounce: emperors are always ready to renounce. Only emperors can become sannyasins, not beggars. How can a beggar think of renouncing? He has not got anything. How can he renounce? You can renounce only that which you have got. If you don’t have anything you cannot renounce. What will you renounce?
This king, in a deep crisis, came to understand that happiness and unhappiness are not different. He was wiser than his wise men. That’s why he asks for one key which can open both the doors. In fact, happiness and unhappiness are not two things, they are one phenomenon: two faces of the same thing, two aspects. So one key will open both.
Watch: when you are happy, can you say with absolute certainty that no unhappiness exists side by side? Happiness may be in the center, but in the corner is not unhappiness waiting for you? Is not somewhere in your happiness a seed of unhappiness already sprouting? When you are unhappy are you absolutely certain you are simply unhappy? Or is there some possibility gaining strength which will transform unhappiness into happiness?
It is just like in the morning when the sun rises. You cannot see the evening coming, but in the morning the evening is hidden. It has already come. With the morning it has entered. When there is a noontide of light and the sun is at its peak, at its omega point, who thinks about night and darkness? But in that very omega point the seed of the night is there, growing, waiting for its time. And at the omega point the sun has already started setting, it is already moving toward the west. In the darkest night the morning is pregnant; it is there in the womb – and the same is true of all the opposites.
When you are in love, hate is there as a seed. When you are in hate, love is there as a seed. When you are happy, already you have started to move toward unhappiness. When you are unhappy, just wait a little. Happiness has already knocked on or entered the door. The opposites are together. This is a great understanding, and once this understanding is there the key is not far away.
“I do not know the cause,” said the king… Nobody knows the cause. You have come to me – do you know the cause? Why have you come to me? Nobody knows the cause. But a deep unconscious desire has brought you toward me. And you will never be the same again, you cannot be. I have become a part of you, a member of you. Even if you forget me completely you cannot be the same again. I will remain in your forgetfulness.
Do you know the reason why you have come – from so many countries, from so many different corners of the world – to a man who has nothing to give you, or only nothing to give you? What is the reason? Why have you come here? You may not be aware right now because the cause is in the unconscious, but the deeper your meditation goes, by and by you will become aware that it is life that has thrown you toward me. It is life with its miseries; it is life with its frustrations. Of course, there are moments of happiness, but the misery is so much that even those moments of happiness become poisoned by it. You have loved; you have enjoyed a few moments, peak moments. You were ecstatic, but then you again fall back into the valley. You have come to me because you unconsciously have felt that happiness and unhappiness are one, and that if you go on desiring happiness, you will go on becoming unhappy.
The king said: “I do not know the cause, but something impels me to seek a certain ring…” There is a story behind this story.
It is said that Sufis have a ring – a very occult way of saying things. They have a ring and if you can get that ring, you will go beyond life and death, you will go beyond darkness and light, you will go beyond day and night, you will go beyond misery and happiness – you will go beyond dualities. Sufis have a ring. If you can get hold of that ring…
The king must have heard about it, so he said: “I don’t know the cause but something impels me to seek a certain ring, one that will enable me to stabilize my state, my being. I must have such a ring, and this ring must be one which, when I am unhappy it will make me joyful…” He’s asking for a secret alchemical formula: “When I am joyful, it will make me miserable, sad; when I am sad, it will make me joyful, happy.” What is he asking?
He is asking for mastery of his moods – and this is the only mastery. When you are unhappy you are unhappy; you cannot do anything, you are just a victim. You say, “I am unhappy, I cannot do anything.” When it comes it comes – you are unhappy. Sometimes you are happy; nothing you can do about it either – when it comes it comes. You are not a master.
What is he saying? He is saying, “I am in search of a secret formula so that I can become master of my moods – and when I want to transform my happiness into sadness I can, and when I want to change my sadness into ecstatic happiness I can.” What is he saying? He is saying that he wants to become master of his moods, he wants to create his moods; he doesn’t want to be a victim. He wants to create whatever he wants. There is a formula, and there exists a ring with a secret message in it which can transform. Then it is simply wonderful when you can change your moods. You can just turn them on and off.
“…when I am unhappy it will make me joyful, and at the same time, if I am happy and look upon it, I must be made sad.” With the first you will agree. With the second you will say “What is the necessity?” But they both exist together. If you become master of one you become master of the other also. And there is nothing wrong in being sad if you are the master. Sadness has a depth to it which no happiness can ever have. Sadness has a beauty of its own, a very soft beauty – deep, soft. No happiness can have that.
Happiness has a shallowness about it, a vulgarity about it. Sadness has a depth, a greater plenitude than any happiness can have. You have not enjoyed sadness because you have not been able to bring your awareness toward it. When a man becomes more and more aware he enjoys everything, even sadness. Then sadness settles around him like evening settling, and everything becomes silent. Even the birds don’t sing, even the winds don’t blow – everything becomes silent, and everything settles in a deep relaxation. Sadness is beautiful if you know. If you don’t know that even happiness is not beautiful, how can sadness be beautiful?
The king said, “I want to become a master of my moods,” and that is why he says to stabilize my state. If you are not the master of your moods and they blow on their own, how can you have a stability? How can you have a crystallized being? A mood comes suddenly and you are unhappy, and everything starts trembling within you. Another mood comes and you are happy; again there is excitement and everything trembles within you.
Have you observed that a long mood of happiness also tires you? It is an excitement. You cannot be happy for a long period otherwise it will be too much for your body, for your mind; for your psychosomatic being it will be too much. You cannot be because it makes you tremble, it is like a fever. People cannot remain happy forever. They will die; they will have heart attacks, blood pressure, and many things.
It happens that miserable people live longer than happy people because miserable people are less excited; happy people are more excited. Excitement is a burden on the heart. Successful people have more heart attacks than failures do: in fact, unsuccessful people don’t have heart attacks. What is the use of having a heart attack? A heart attack is a medical certificate that you are a successful man. It comes about forty – between forty and forty-five – because that is the peak of a man’s success. Then the heart attack comes because success brings more and more excitement.
Miserable people, sad people, live longer; on average they live five to ten years longer than people who are happy, successful. What is the matter? Sad people are more settled; in their gloom they are less in excitement. If you try to understand both the phenomena deeply you will find they are interrelated and that each turns into the other. It is like a wheel: sometimes the spoke of happiness is at the top, sometimes it is at the bottom, then the other spoke is at the top. It goes on moving. And you are in the grip of the wheel, as if you are tied to the wheel and you move with the wheel. How can you stabilize yourself?
The king is right. He said, “So that my state becomes a stabilized state, so that I can become settled within my own being, I would like to have the ring Sufis have been talking about. Where is that ring?”
The wise men consulted one another…
That’s why I say they were not very wise. Experts consult, never wise men. “Experts” means people who are knowledgeable; they consult each other because you may not know something, the other may know. But a wise man simply knows: it is not a question to think about. A wise man is not a thinker, he simply knows and he responds with his total being. There was not a single wise man – they consulted.
The wise men consulted one another, and threw themselves into deep contemplation.
A wise man need not throw himself into deep contemplation, he exists in it. He is deep contemplation. Only fools contemplate – a wise man never contemplates. He is the contemplation, the very quality. But they were not wise men, they were not wise people.
Finally they came to a decision as to the character of this ring which would suit their king.
I know another version of the story, and I think the other version is better. The other version is that they couldn’t come to any conclusion. And that seems right. They can fight, argue… Have you ever known people who are argumentative – philosophers, theologians – come to any conclusion? No. Even if you give them a conclusion already concluded, on that conclusion they will fight and move in different directions. That’s how it has been happening always.
It happened in this century with Freud, a man of much knowledge, not a wise man – not wise in the sense a buddha is wise – but a very deep, penetrating thinker. By and by, all his disciples, Carl Gustav Jung, Adler and others, who had come to him thinking that there was a conclusion, that something had been found… It simply proved to be a crossroad from where they separated. All his disciples went in different directions. Those who remained with him were minor figures; amongst those who remained with him there was not a single genius. All the geniuses departed – argued, fought, departed and became enemies. It is impossible for men of knowledge, knowledgeable men, to conclude anything.
The other version says…

…they couldn’t conclude so they went to a Sufi saint and asked his advice. The Sufi saint had the ring already – wise men always have the ring already. He just took the ring off his finger, gave it to them and told them, “Give it to the king. But tell him there is one condition: only when he feels that now something is impossible to tolerate should he open the ring. Hidden underneath the stone is the message, but he should not open it just out of curiosity because then he will miss the message. The message is there, but a right moment in your consciousness is needed to meet it. It is not a dead message that you can open and read. It is written under the stone, but a condition has to be fulfilled: when everything is lost and the mind cannot do anything more, the confusion is total, the agony perfect, and you cannot do anything else, you are absolutely helpless, only then should it be opened – and the message will be there.”
And this is right. I would also like to make this condition, because without this condition it means the message is there and anybody can read it – then the message is not of much value. You have to rise to a certain consciousness; only then can you understand. The understanding is not in the words; the understanding is within you. The words will only trigger the understanding, that’s all. But it has to be there to be triggered.
The king followed the message. The country was lost, the enemy victorious. Many moments came when he was just on the verge of taking out the stone and reading the message, but he found that it was still not total: “I’m still alive. Even if the kingdom is lost I can regain it, it can be reconquered.” He fled from the kingdom just to save his life.
The enemy is following him, he can hear the horses, their sounds coming nearer and nearer. And he goes on running. Friends are lost, his horse dies, then he runs on his feet. The feet have become bloody, cut everywhere. He cannot move even an inch and he has to run continuously. He’s hungry, and the enemy is coming nearer and nearer. Then he comes to a cul-de-sac: the road finishes, there is no more road ahead, there is just an abyss, and the enemy is coming closer and closer. He cannot go back; the enemy is there. He cannot jump; the abyss is so big he will simply be dead. Now there seems to be no possibility – but he still waits for the condition. He says, “I am still alive. Maybe the enemy will move in some other direction. Maybe if I jump into this abyss I will not die – the condition is not yet fulfilled.”
Then suddenly he feels the enemy is too close. And when he looks to jump he sees two lions who have just now come into the abyss and they are looking at him – hungry, ferocious. Now there is no moment left and the enemy is coming nearer and nearer and nearer; he can count his last moments just on his fingers.
Suddenly he takes the ring, opens it, looks underneath the stone. There is a message – and the message is “This too will pass.”
Suddenly everything is relaxed – “This too will pass.” And of course it happens: the enemy has moved in another direction and he cannot hear their noise so much; they are moving further away. He sits down; he has a good sleep, rests. And within ten days he collects his armies, comes back, reconquers the country, and is again in his palace. There is great jubilation and celebration. People are going crazy, they are dancing in the streets, there is much color and light and fireworks. And he is feeling so excited, and so happy, and his heart is beating so fast that he thinks that he may die because of happiness. Suddenly he remembers the ring, opens it, looks into it. It is written there: “This too will pass.” He relaxes. It is said that he attains the perfect wisdom through this message: “This too will pass.”

Whenever a mood comes to you – anger, hatred, passion, sex, misery, sadness, happiness, even while meditating, a moment of bliss – always remember: this too will pass. Let it become a constant mindfulness: this too will pass.
What will happen to you if you can remember it continuously? Then happiness will not be happiness, just a phase, a cloud that comes and goes: it is not you. It comes and passes: it is not your being. It is something accidental, it is something on the periphery. You are the witness.
When you remember, “This too will pass, this too will pass, this too will pass,” suddenly you are separate from it. It comes to you, but it is not you. It goes away, you are left behind – intact, untouched. Misery comes; let it come, but just remember that it too will pass. Happiness comes, but just remember that it too will pass. And by and by a distance is created between the moods and you. You are no longer identified with them; you have become a witness. You just look at them, a spectator. You are no longer concerned, you have become indifferent.
A silence descends on you – a silence which is not created by you, a silence which is not a forced stillness; a silence which suddenly descends from unknown sources, from the divine, from the whole. And then you are crystallized. Then nothing shakes your foundations, then nothing makes you tremble. Nothing! Happiness, unhappiness, then you know they are both the same. If the face is of happiness, the back is of unhappiness; if the face is of unhappiness, the back is of happiness – they are the same. When happiness comes toward you it looks like happiness; when it goes away from you look at the back. It was unhappiness. The more distance, the more awareness. The more awareness, the more distance. You become settled. You become a buddha under the bodhi tree.
But this will not happen to you until you die as you are. This is a resurrection, the birth of the absolutely new. The old has to give way. Your old attitudes, concepts, philosophies, ideologies, your old identity, the old ego, they have to give way for the new. The new is always there, but there is no space in you for it to come. The guest has come but the host is not ready. Give space – become more spacious within you. Create room, emptiness.
And this message is wonderful. This is a master key. Remember it.
The ring which they devised was one upon which was inscribed the legend: This too will pass.
Let it become a constant remembrance. Let it become so deeply continuous that even in sleep you know: this too will pass. Even in dreams you know: this too will pass. Let it become like breathing, continuously there, a presence. And that presence will transform you. It is a master key; it can open the secretmost door to your own being, and from there, via there, to the very being of existence.
Enough for today.

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