Until You Die 10

Tenth Discourse from the series of 10 discourses - Until You Die by Osho.
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A disciple came to Maruf Karkhi and said: “I have been talking to people about you. Jews claim that you are a Jew; Christians revere you as one of their own saints; Muslims insist that you are the greatest of all Muslims.”
Maruf answered: “This is what humanity says in Baghdad.
“When I was in Jerusalem, Jews said that I was a Christian, Muslims that I was a Jew, and Christians that I was a Muslim.”
“How must we think of you then?” asked the man.
Maruf said: “Some do not understand me, and revere me. Others do not either, so they revile me. That is what I have come to say. You should think of me as one who has said this.”
A religious man is always misunderstood. If he is not misunderstood, he is not a religious man. Humanity lives with a nonreligious attitude toward life – sectarian, but not religious. So a religious man is a stranger. Whatever you say about him will be wrong because you are wrong. Remember: whatever you say about him… I am not saying that if you say something in his favor that will be right, no. Whether you are in favor of him or against him makes no difference, whatever you say about him will be wrong until you yourself have become a religious consciousness. Before that your reverence is false, your condemnation is false. You may think of him as a sage, and you have misunderstood. You may think of him as a sinner, and again you have misunderstood.
So the first thing to remember is: unless you are right, whatever you do, say, be, is going to be wrong. And a religious man is such a tremendous phenomenon, such a strange phenomenon, that you have no language to talk about him. All your words concerning him are futile. Your whole language is useless, meaningless: a religious man is religious because he has gone beyond the dualities, and the whole of language exists within dualities.
If you say he is good you are wrong because he is bad also. If you say he is bad you are wrong again because he is good also. And now the trouble arises because you cannot conceive how a good man can also be bad. You can comprehend only a part of the whole because the other part is by necessity the opposite. It has to be so.
A religious man is a miniature god. Just like a god he is paradoxical and contradictory. Just like a god he is summer and winter, day and night, life and death. Just like a god he is divine and devil both. Then the mind staggers. The mind is very efficient if you are working in polarities. If you say yes the mind can understand. If you say no the mind can understand. But if you say both yes and no then it goes beyond the mind. Unless you have gone beyond the mind you cannot have the feeling of what a religious consciousness is.
I was born a Jaina. Now, religion has nothing to do with your birth; you cannot be born into a religion. Just the contrary: religion has to be born in you. I was born a Jaina – just a coincidence. I could as well have been born a Christian or a Jew, an irrelevant fact, because religion cannot be given to you with your birth. It is not a gift, it is not a heritage. My father is a Jaina, my mother is a Jaina but they cannot give Jainism to me. I can inherit their wealth, I can inherit their prestige, I can inherit the family name, but I cannot inherit their religion. Religion cannot be a gift, a heritage; it is not a thing. It is something one has to seek for himself. Nobody else can give it to you.
So whatever is given with birth is a sect, not a religion. Hinduism, Christianity, Mohammedanism, Jainism, Buddhism, are sects, not religions. Religion is one, sects are many, because sects are the forms, dead fossilized forms. Sects are like footprints. Somebody one day walked there but he is no longer there – just footprints left on the sand, on the sand of time. A buddha walks, footprints are left, and you go on worshipping those footprints for centuries. There is nobody there now. Just a form in the sand, nothing else.
Sects are forms in the mind, just like footprints. Yes, somebody was there once but he is no longer there – and you go on worshipping those forms. You are born into those forms, you are conditioned into those forms, indoctrinated. You become a sectarian. And don’t think that you have become religious, otherwise you will miss. For religion to be there you have to seek it on your own. It is a personal growth, a personal encounter with reality, face-to-face, immediate and direct. It has nothing to do with tradition, nothing to do with the past. You have to grow into it. You have to allow it to grow in you.
Religion is a revolution, not a conformity. It is not a conviction intellectually attained; it is a conversion of your total being. How can you be born into a religion? Of course you can be born into an ideology, you can learn a theology, words about God, theories about God, dogmas and doctrines, but to know about God is not to know God. The word God is not God. And all the theologies together are nothing compared to a single moment of encounter with the divine. Then for the first time the spark, your inner light starts. You start rising in a different dimension. Religion is a personal search, it is not part of society.
I was born a Jaina. Of course they tried to force me to be a Jaina. Fortunately they failed. It is one of the misfortunes that they succeed in many cases. They failed and they have been angry with me. So if you ask the Jainas… Only rarely will you find a Jaina here and there who will say that I am a Jaina; otherwise they will say that I am an enemy of Jainism, and I am destroying their ideology and I am corrupting their sources. And both are right in a way.
Those who say that I am against Jainism are right in a way because I am against Jainism as they understand it. I am against it because it is not a religion at all. A dead fossil: of course, one of the most ancient. Jainism seems to be the most ancient religion in the world, even older than Hinduism. Even in the Vedas, in the Rig Veda, Jaina tirthankaras are mentioned, and mentioned with deep reverence. That shows Jaina tirthankaras are older than the Rig Veda, the first Hindu scripture, the oldest in the world.
When a scripture talks about a master, Rishabh, as the first tirthankara of the Jainas – the Vedas talk with so much reverence that it is almost certain that he was not a contemporary. He must have been dead for at least one thousand years; only then can you talk with such reverence. Nobody talks about contemporaries with such reverence. Followers can talk, but Hindus are not followers of Jainas. They are antagonistic religions. At least one thousand years must have passed, and the man must have become a legend.
Jainas are very old. Now historians are working on the ruins and findings in Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, and they say that there is every possibility that Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were Jaina civilizations. Before the Aryans came to India, India was a Jaina country – there is every possibility. A very ancient religion, of course, very dead. The older a religion the more dead, everything fossilized. You cannot find a deader person than a Jaina monk. He goes on cutting his life; it is a slow suicide. And the more dead he is, the more he is worshipped because death itself seems to be like a renunciation. If he is a little alive, Jainas become afraid of him. Older religions crucify their followers, they murder them.
The older the religion, the greater the weight. Like a Himalaya on the heart of a small man – burdened, crushing, you cannot move. And traditions go on gathering, they are like snowballs. They go on gathering weight, they become fatter and fatter. Dead, but still they go on gaining weight. They become monstrous, and then they kill the spirit. They always remain true to the word, and the more true to the word, the more poisonous to the spirit.
If you ask the Jainas only a few will say, “Yes, this man is a real Jaina.” Many will say, “This man is against us, the greatest enemy.” And both are right in a way, and both are wrong in a deeper way. I am a Jaina. If you look at Mahavira, I am a Jaina. Mahavira is a religious man but not because he is born into a religion. He searched, he inquired, he encountered reality. He threw out all dogmas, he threw out all civilization. Even clothes he threw away because they too are a part of the civilization and the culture; they too carry the society with you. He remained naked. For twelve years he completely stopped talking because if you go on talking you use the language of the society, and that language carries the germs of the society.
Whenever you talk, immediately you become a part of a society. A silent man is not part of any society. He may be part of nature, but he’s not part of a society. In fact, language is the only thing that makes you human and part of human society and the human world. When you drop language, suddenly you drop out of human society and civilization. You become part of the trees, rocks, the sky.
For twelve years Mahavira would not use any language. He remained completely silent. This man I love because this is a religious man. He started speaking only when silence was total within him. He didn’t speak out of scriptures, he spoke out of himself. He spoke out of his silence, and whenever a word is born out of deep silence it is alive, throbbing with life. Those who hear it directly, they are most fortunate because soon it will die. Everything born dies.
A word is born. It is alive for a few moments; it throbs around you. If you can listen to it, it will enter your being; it will become part of your being. If you don’t listen to it, if you take notes and you think that you will try to understand it back home, it will be already dead. Then you will understand something which was not said at all. You have already made a private scripture.
Mahavira spoke out of his inner silence. His words are the most wonderful ever spoken. I love that man. He is the most antisocial man you can find, and antitraditional. The other twenty-three tirthankaras, twenty-three masters of the Jainas, were all clothed. This man became nude. Tradition has it that Jainas in those days tried to deny this man. They said, “What is he doing? Our other tirthankaras have never been nude, why is he moving around nude?”
They did everything to deny this man, and because of that denial Jainism has been divided into two parts from that very day. They have two sects: those who followed Mahavira in his nudity – very few people – are called Digambaras: people who believe in nudity. The other older sect, which tried to avoid this Mahavira, tried to deny this Mahavira, are the Swetambaras. They believe in white clothes; their monks are white-robed. And the conflict has continued.
If a Jaina says, “Yes, this man Osho is a Jaina,” he is right. I love Mahavira – a rare flowering, a rare fragrance, very rare and unique. But the others are also right when they say, “This man is not a Jaina but against them, an enemy.” They are also right because I am against tradition, against all rituals and forms, against scriptures, against the past. I am all for religion, and all against sects. They are also right.
If you ask Hindus they will say, “This man is a Jaina, and trying to sabotage Hinduism from within because no Jaina has ever talked about the Gita, and no Jaina has ever commented on the Upanishads. This man is trying to sabotage Hinduism from within.” This is what the Shankaracharya of Puri says about me: “Beware of this man! He is not a Hindu.” And he is right in a sense. In the sense that he is a Hindu, I am not. But in the sense he is a Hindu, Hinduism is worthless.
I am a Hindu in the sense Patanjali is a Hindu, Badrayana is a Hindu, Kapil and Kanad are Hindus. The really religious people never belong to the establishment: they cannot. It is possible that the establishment may follow them, and someday around them an establishment may be created – that is possible. But they are never part of any establishment, either of others or their own. They cannot exist in the establishment, they are free. Freedom can never be a part of any establishment.
Whenever the establishment becomes too much, freedom dies. Then the bird cannot be on the wing; the wings are cut. The bird has then been encaged – in a golden cage, beautifully decorated, very costly, precious – but now the cage is more important than the bird. By and by, people will forget the bird completely because the bird will die and they will go on worshipping the cage, and they will go on making it more and more decorative. Temples will arise around it and a great tradition, establishment, and nobody will bother about where the bird is. A dead corpse in a golden cage.
If you believe in Hinduism as a bird on the wing I am a Hindu, as the Upanishads are Hindu, but I am not a Hindu in the sense the Shankaracharya of Puri is a Hindu – a dead bird in a golden cage.
If you ask Mohammedans, they will say I have no right to talk on Sufis or on the Koran.
Once in a town I was talking about Sufis, and the maulvi of the town approached me and he said, “You have no right. You are not a Mohammedan, you don’t know Arabic. How can you talk on the Sufis and on the Koran?”
I said, “The Koran has nothing to do with Arabic. It has something to do with the heart, not with the language.”
The Koran has nothing to do with the language. It has something to do with silence, not language. The Koran has something to do with reality, not with the symbols. And I am not a Mohammedan if you think that I am a follower of Mohammed – no, I am not. I am nobody’s follower. But I am a Mohammedan, just as Mohammed is a Mohammedan; just as Jesus is a Christian, I am a Christian – but like Mohammed and Jesus. Was Mohammed a Mohammedan? How can he be? Mohammedanism never existed before. Was Jesus a Christian? Christianity never existed before. How can he be a Christian? If Jesus is a Christian, I am a Christian. If Mohammed is a Mohammedan, then I am a Mohammedan. But otherwise I am not a Mohammedan and not a Christian.
A religious man does not belong to any sect. In fact, all sects belong to the religious man. But this is how the formal mind goes. It thinks in terms of ideology, language, ritual, and it misses the whole point: religion has nothing to do with these things. Then what is religion?
Religion is an oceanic feeling where you are lost and only existence remains. It is a death and a resurrection. You die as you are and you are resurrected totally new. Something absolutely new arises out of the death of the old. On the grave of the old, something sprouts and becomes a new flower.
Religion is an inner revolution, an inner mutation. It is not in the temples, not in the mosques, not in the churches: don’t look for religion there. If you look there you will waste your time. Look for religion inwardly. And the further inward you move, the deeper you will find the ego there – which is the barrier. Drop that barrier and suddenly you are religious. There is only one thing which is not religious and that is the ego. That can never be religious. And sects never kill it; on the contrary, they strengthen it. Through rituals, temples, ideologies, the ego is strengthened.
You go to church and you feel that you have become religious; a subtle pride arises in you. You don’t become humble; on the contrary, you become more egoistic. You do a certain ritual and you feel gratified, and you start condemning those who are not doing the ritual. You think they are the sinners and they are going to be thrown into the fire of hell. Is your heaven secured just with doing certain rituals? Whom do you think that you are deceiving?
A man sits for one hour turning the beads and he thinks his heaven is secured, but the others, who are not doing this stupid thing, are going to hell. You go to the mosque and you kneel down, and you say foolish things to the divine: “You are great.” Is there any doubt about it? Why are you saying it? “I’m a sinner, and you are compassion.” What are you doing, buttressing God’s ego? Do you think God has something like an ego? That you can say to him: “You are very great and we are very small, and you are compassion and we are sinners: forgive us”? Whom do you think you are deceiving?
The ego is playing the game. You think God is also an ego which can be buttressed? God is not a person at all, so you are talking to yourself. There is nobody else to listen to it; only the walls, the dead walls of the mosque or the temple or a stone statue. Nobody is listening.
In fact, you are doing something mad. Just go to the madhouses and see people talking to people who are not there. Even those mad people are not so mad because those somebodies may be somewhere. They may not be here; a madman may be talking to his wife who is not here in the madhouse, but somewhere maybe. But your God is nowhere; your madness is deeper, greater, dangerous.
How can you talk with existence? With existence you have to be silent; all talking should stop. You are not to say anything. On the contrary, a prayer is a listening. You have to listen to existence, not to say anything. If you speak, who will listen? If you talk and you are too involved in the words, who will listen? And every moment there is a message.
Every moment, from everywhere, there is a message for you. It is written all over; the whole existence is the scripture of the divine. The message is everywhere, on every leaf is the signature. But who will see? Your eyes and your mind are filled with yourself. Rubbish you have, but you go on rotating that rubbish in the mind. Drop it all!
This is something to understand: a prayer can be Christian, a prayer can be Hindu, a prayer can be Jewish – then they are sectarian prayers and not prayers at all. A real prayer cannot be Christian, Hindu, or Buddhist. A real prayer is just a silence, a waiting. How can you say silence is Hindu? How can you say silence is Christian? Can silence be Christian or Hindu? Silence is simply silence, neither Hindu nor Mohammedan. When two persons are absolutely silent, can you say who is a Hindu and who is a Mohammedan? In silence, sects disappear. In silence, societies disappear. In silence, civilizations disappear. In silence, you disappear. Only silence is: you are not there. If you are there, then silence cannot be there because you will do something or other, you will think something or other, you will go on chattering inside.
When you are not, society is not, sects are not – no words, no prayer. You are not reciting the Koran, not reciting the Veda, not doing a TM meditation, “Ram, Ram, Ram”; all are foolish. When you are simply silent a meeting happens, a merger happens; you dissolve. Just as ice melts and the boundaries dissolve, and then you cannot find where the ice has gone… It has become one with the sea. The sun rises, ice melts, becomes water. Silence arises, the mind, the ice-like, frozen mind, starts melting, the ego dissolves. Suddenly there is ocean and you are not. This is the moment of religion.
Religion is born in you, nobody is born into religion. Religion takes birth in you. You have to become a mother, a womb for religion to become impregnated in you, to grow in you. You have to give birth. You cannot be born into religion, you have to give birth to religion. And then it is beautiful, then it is something from the unknown, then it is not concerned with man.
That is the meaning of Jesus’ virgin birth. The whole meaning is simply this: a man like Jesus is not born out of man. Religious consciousness is not born out of man, it is born out of the unknown. Mary, Jesus’ mother, is virgin; no man has corrupted her. This is a symbolic thing; it is not that Jesus is born out of a virgin biologically. Then you miss the metaphor; the beautiful story becomes an ugly doctrine. Then you miss the poetry. For centuries Christians have been arguing and trying to prove somehow that Jesus was really born from a virgin mother. How can theologians be so stupid? It is a wonder! And they go on trying and proving, and very intellectual people, argumentative – but blind. Whenever you miss the poetry and try to create an argument out of it you destroy religion.
You are not a help; you put people off religion. Because of some absurdity in the foundation, the whole of Christianity becomes absurd. These are poetic truths, and poetic truths are not logical truths. Logical truths are nothing, they are ordinary facts. Poetic truths are extraordinary facts, so extraordinary in their quality that you cannot make an argument out of them. Argument is too narrow: they need much space. Only a poetic symbology can give that space. This is beautiful poetry. I also say Jesus is born out of a virgin mother because there is no other way.
Religious consciousness is uncorrupted by man, untouched. Religious consciousness means you have dropped all that is manmade: doctrines, dogmas, churches, words, language, prayers, forms, rituals – all that is man-made you have dropped. Then, in that silence, godliness itself becomes part of you. You become pregnant with it. You carry the pregnancy, it grows every day, and the more it grows, the more alive it becomes, the more you start feeling that now you have something more valuable than your life. A mother is always ready to die for the child. If there is a crisis and only one can be saved, either the child or the mother, the mother is always ready – the child should survive. She is ready to die.
There is another parable I would like to tell you. It is said that whenever a buddha is born the mother immediately dies. That too has created problems for Buddhists. They say if Jesus is born and Mary is alive, has not died, then Jesus cannot be a buddha because whenever an enlightened man is born the mother dies. Buddha’s mother died. Then Mahavira cannot be a buddha, Krishna cannot be a buddha, because the first thing is missing. This is how beautiful symbols become ugly. It is beautiful! I don’t know whether Buddha’s mother died or not; that is irrelevant. Whether she lived or died, that is not the point. But the point is: whenever religious consciousness is born in you, when you are pregnant with buddhahood, when you are pregnant with enlightenment and you carry enlightenment as a child within you, you will die; both cannot live.
And this is the whole message of this series of talks: until you die, nothing is possible. The mother must die for the child to be born because both cannot exist. You are the mother and you are the child; you are not two. When you become enlightened, the old must die immediately. If you cling to the old, you will cripple your enlightenment. If you cling to the old, you will suffocate the child. If you cling too much, the child will be dead before the child is born.
Always remember: religion is poetry not logic. It is not even philosophy. It is art, and art is not an argument. Art doesn’t bother about argument. Art can seduce you without argument, so why bother about argument? Art is so powerful it can seduce you without any argument. Argument is needed at the lower realms where the thing itself is not so powerful as to convince you; then argument is needed. When the thing in itself is so powerful, so hypnotic, so transforming that you are suddenly absorbed into it, there is no need to convince you.
I never try to convince you. If you are convinced, good. If you are not convinced, good. But I am not trying to convince you of anything because conviction is a very ordinary thing. If you are convinced through argument you will never become religious. You may become philosophical, you may carry a dogma in your head, but you will never become religious.
Religion is like love: you fall in it for no reason at all. You cannot prove it; proof is not needed. Proof is needed only when you are thinking of a marriage. Argument is needed only when you are thinking of an arranged marriage. Then you think about the family and the parents of the girl, and the money and the dowry and the future possibilities, political relationships: you think about everything. But when you fall in love, you fall in love. It happens so suddenly there is no time gap.
And it is the same with religion. You fall in love with a man who is religious. You cannot prove it. And if somebody argues with you against it… It is very easy to prove something against it; it is almost impossible to prove anything for it. That’s why it is a trust, a faith, a deep blindness. But in that deep blindness, for the first time your inner eye starts functioning. The deep blindness from the outside becomes a deep insight from within.
Now try to understand this story.
A disciple came to Maruf Karkhi and said: “I have been talking to people about you. Jews claim that you are a Jew; Christians revere you as one of their own saints; Muslims insist that you are the greatest of all Muslims.”
Maruf answered: “This is what humanity says in Baghdad.
“When I was in Jerusalem, Jews said that I was a Christian, Muslims that I was a Jew, and Christians that I was a Muslim.”
“How must we think of you then?” asked the man.
Maruf said: “Some do not understand me, and revere me. Others do not either, so they revile me. That is what I have come to say. You should think of me as one who has said this.”
A disciple came to Maruf Karkhi and said… Maruf Karkhi is one of the Sufi masters and it is said that hundreds of people became enlightened through him. He developed many new devices. He was a really religious man, not belonging to any orthodoxy, not belonging to any convention, not belonging to any tradition; homeless, without any roots, floating like a white cloud – absolute freedom in his being.
A disciple came… The disciple cannot be really a disciple; he must have been a student. In English translations there is a trouble because in English you don’t make much distinction between a disciple and a student; you don’t make much distinction between a master and a teacher. But in the East a vast distinction, difference, exists between these two terminologies.
A teacher can have students, he cannot have disciples: a teacher teaches. Of course, a teacher can teach only that which can be taught. Religion cannot be taught. Things about religion can be taught – that is what theology is: things about God. But God himself cannot be taught, concepts about God, theories, whether this is right or that, and there are millions of theories… Man has been inventing so many theories about God that God is completely lost in theories. He has almost become nonsubstantial. When you utter the word God, no substance is felt in it. It looks like an air bubble carrying nothing but hot air within. When you say God, no bells ring in the heart. When you say God, it falls flat. It does not carry much significance. The so-called religious thinkers have killed the word completely; they have destroyed the beauty of it. The moment you utter the word God, you put many off. The word carries much violence, ugliness, strife, the narrowness of so-called religious people. It has no poetry now.
A teacher can teach you everything about God. You can become a doctor living with a teacher, a doctor of divinity, a D.D. It is simply unbelievable that things as this exist on earth: people who carry a degree of doctorate about divinity. The divine is not a theory; it is an experience. You cannot be taught about it.
Says Lao Tzu, “The Old Boy” – the name Lao Tzu means the old boy… Another parable: it is said Lao Tzu was born old – when he was eighty-four years of age. For eighty-four years he lived in the womb of the mother. When he was born he was already absolutely ancient, his hair white, wrinkled. What is the meaning? The meaning is that whenever religious consciousness is born it is always ancient: both new and ancient. Hence, Lao Tzu’s name: “The Old Boy.” Lao Tzu means the old boy – old, yet young.
Says Lao Tzu: “Truth cannot be said. And all that can be said will not be true.” A teacher is one who teaches truth which cannot be taught. He teaches about truth, he goes round and round; he beats around the bush, he never hits the center. And a student is one who is inquiring about God, not desiring God, who has come to know, not to be and whose search is intellectual, not total. A student is trying to gather more knowledge; he wants to become more knowledgeable. He wants to accumulate much information.
It is said…

One of Maruf’s students became very famous. The student became so famous that people started coming to him and asking him things, even when Maruf was alive. Sometimes it would even happen that Maruf was sitting there with the student, and people would come not to Maruf but to the student and ask him things. He became very efficient in the scriptures, he crammed all the scriptures; he was as perfect as a computer.
One day somebody came and asked a question about some passage in the scripture. The student recited the whole scripture, then recited all the commentaries that had been made about the scripture. Within minutes he had gone through all there was in the scriptures. He argued this way and that and tried to prove a conclusion.
Maruf was sitting and listening. The man was astounded – so much knowledge. He said to Maruf, “You are fortunate to have such disciples. This boy is a rare gem! So much knowledge. I have never come across such a brilliant mind, such a genius. What do you say about him?”
Maruf said, “I am always worried. I am worried because he reads too much. And I am worried that he has no time to know; his whole time is going on reading. I am always worried as to when he will know – he has no time.”

A student is not concerned about knowing, he is concerned about knowledge. A teacher attracts students, a master attracts disciples. A disciple is not a student. He has not come to know about truth, he has come to become truth, to be truth. He has not come for more information, he has come for more being. Let me repeat: a disciple asks how to gain more being, and a student asks how to gain more knowledge. He has come to the master to be. And that is a totally different inquiry, the dimension is altogether different. Not only different, it is diametrically opposite. A student goes to the West, and a disciple goes to the East.
It is said that the East and West never meet – I don’t know. They must meet somewhere because the earth is round. But one thing I know: a student and a disciple never meet; they cannot. Unless a student drops being a student he cannot become a disciple.
It is said about Maruf that whenever a person would come… Thousands were coming to him from distant corners of the world. Maruf became an institution, a university – of being, of course, not of knowledge. Whenever a student, or a disciple or a seeker would come to him, the first question Maruf used to ask was this: “Do you want to learn or unlearn? Do you want to be a student or a disciple?” This was always his first question because that would decide everything. This man who came to Maruf must have been a student. He could not have been a disciple because a disciple is one who has already attained trust.
A student is seeking. A disciple has come to a conclusion in his being: “This is my master.” Hence, he is the disciple. “This is my master. I have come to the man I was seeking. This is my shelter, my refuge.” Suddenly the disciple is born. A disciple is born out of this trust. He does not inquire about such things this man is inquiring about. He has fallen in love; he has attained faith; he has surrendered. A student is not surrendered. He will learn, watch, observe, see, and if he’s convinced – remember, if he is convinced that is – the conclusion will come out of his head.
Just the other day I was reading a very, very ridiculous thing said by an Indian guru who has become famous in the West, Sri Chinmoy. He teaches at the U.N. in Geneva. I was always wondering what he is doing there, and just the other day I came to read a statement he has made. Somebody asked him, “How to judge and how to find the master?” He said, “Use your brain.”
Now I know why he is in the U.N. It’s because politicians, stupid people, are there. “Use your brain!” And the thing becomes more and more ridiculous because then he says, “Keep in your mind one hundred marks are to be given, then watch whether the master is honest, sincere, true to his word, his morality, his behavior – watch everything and go on giving marks inside your mind. If the master gets thirty marks he is not for you; leave. If the master gets nearabout eighty to ninety marks, then he is your master.” This is ridiculous.
If you use your brain, you will find a teacher; you cannot find a master. Then, finally, you remain the decisive factor; you decide. Do you know what honesty is? First give marks to yourself – use your brain! Do you know what honesty is? Do you know what morality is? Are you certain about what is good and what is bad? Do you know what is evil and what is not evil? First give marks to yourself – use your brain. If you get thirty marks, drop yourself completely: you are useless. And if you can get eighty or ninety percent, then you don’t need a master. You are already a master. Go and seek disciples.
To use the brain is simply unbelievable! A master is not a commodity in the market. A master by his very being is an unbelievable thing. You cannot use the brain. A master, by his very being, is mysterious. Opposites meet in him; dichotomies merge in him; dualisms – he comprehends all of them.
You can find a teacher if you use the brain; then you will be a student. If you use your heart you can find a master. Only then can you become a disciple. A disciple is in love, and love is always total, not eighty percent, ninety percent. Love is total: either it is or it is not – but it is always total. If it is not, then too, it is total. And there is no compromise in it. A percentage is not possible; a percentage is the way of the brain. Totality is the way of the heart.
That man must have been a student. So, let me say: A student came to Maruf Karkhi and said: “I have been talking to people about you.” Must have been using his brain. Must have been a student of Sri Chinmoy. “I have been talking to people about you.” You have to encounter a master directly – face to face, eyes to eyes, heart to heart. What nonsense to talk about the master to other people to know who the man is!
Many of you also do the same here. You move around, you talk to people about me. Why not come directly to me? Why waste your time with people? This is the foolishness of the human mind: you never know the person you are talking to about me, but you trust that person and you cannot trust me.
If you are really a brain-oriented person, then talk about that man to other people, and about those other people to other people. First you have to decide about the man, whether he is sincere, believable: “Whatever he says about the master, can we take it to be true?”
You ask A about me. Why not ask B about A first? And then C about B? Then you will be in an infinite regress. And if A says something wrong about me, you take it; now it will always be a part of you. Or if A says something good about me, you take it and that will be a part of you, and that will decide the whole thing. You never ask about this A, who this A is. Why go round and round in circles? There is no end to it.
There is only one way to come to the master: face to face, eyes to eyes, heart to heart. And don’t ask anybody else because then you will carry a prejudice either for or against, and that prejudice will always be between the master and you; it will become a barrier. You will always be seeking whether that prejudice is right or wrong, it will color your mind. And any foolish man can prejudice your mind.
You are so unaware that any man – the taxi driver who brings you to this place – can corrupt your mind. You can ask about me, and many of you must have asked taxi drivers because the mind goes on seeking information, what others are saying: “They must know.” You must ask the neighbors here: “They must know.” And they are the last people in the world to know about me. Neighbors – they cannot know. Jesus has two sayings. One saying is: Love your enemies just as you love yourself. And the second: Love your neighbors just as you love yourself. It seems enemies and the neighbors are the same people.
This man must have been an ordinary inquirer. He said: “I have been talking to people about you. Jews claim that you are a Jew; Christians revere you as one of their own saints; Muslims insist that you are the greatest of all Muslims.”
He must have met the disciples, the people who had fallen in love with the master. Maruf lived near Baghdad. Baghdad became a capital of religious consciousness when Maruf was alive. This man must have met the disciples, those who had already fallen in love. If the disciple is a Jew he will say, “My master is the most perfect Jew possible.” I have many Jews here and they know that I am the most perfect Jew. Once you are in love, whatever is beautiful, great to you, you project on the master. I have amongst my disciples almost all sorts of people, belonging to all sorts of religions – Jews, Hindus, Mohammedans, Christians, Jainas, Buddhists. They all think… If a Buddhist comes to me and falls in love with me he will think that I am the most essential Buddhist, and he will find everything which will convince him that this is true.
Maruf answered: “This is what humanity says in Baghdad.” That means: “My disciples, my people, my community. You should have been in Jerusalem. This is what humanity says in Baghdad – that is my community people, my people.”
“When I was in Jerusalem, Jews said that I was a Christian, Muslims that I was a Jew, and Christians that I was a Muslim.” Enemies. For a religious man to find enemies, the best places are Jerusalem, Kaaba, Kashi. These are the best places to find enemies because these are the sectarian strongholds: Kashi for Hindus, Jerusalem for Jews, Kaaba for Muslims. These are the sectarian strongholds, fortresses, where the fossilized religion is protected and saved; where the dead body is continuously decorated, painted, for believers – to deceive them that the body is not dead. Where religion is continuously modified to suit new situations so that there is no need to drop it; where dead continuity is continued. There is the problem.
If you want to find people antagonistic to a religious man go to these sacred places, holy places. In fact, they are the unholiest in the world; they have to be because the dead corpse of religion stinks. Can you find a dirtier place in the world than Kashi? Everything stinks of dead religion. But if you are a believer, you don’t listen to your senses, you don’t listen to your own consciousness. You go on seeing things which are not there. You go on projecting things which are not there.
Said Maruf: “This is what humanity says in Baghdad. When I was in Jerusalem just the opposite was the case. Everybody was saying that I don’t belong to them, I am the enemy. Jews thought I was a Christian, the enemy. Muslims thought I was a Jew, the enemy. Christians thought I was a Muslim, the enemy. And in all these three religions, nobody, nobody was ready even to accept me in their fold.”
Religious persons cannot be accepted in any fold. They can be accepted only in the loving heart, but in no organization. They cannot be accepted because organizations have no hearts. A religious man cannot be absorbed in any establishment. Only a personal feeling, a loving heart, can become a shrine for him.
The man must have been puzzled. He had come to inquire who Maruf was. Perhaps the man was a Muslim and he wanted to be convinced that this Maruf was a Muslim so that he could follow him. The man may have been a Jew and wanted to be convinced that this Maruf was a Jew so that he could follow him. You follow yourself, you never follow any master. If you are here because I say things which you already know are right, then you are not with me. Then I am only voicing your own mind. If you are here because you see in me a Jaina because you are a Jaina…
When I talk about Mahavira I can immediately count how many Jainas are here. Their eyes simply change. Their backbones become straight. They look very intense. Now for the first time they are alert, otherwise they were falling asleep. If I talk about Jews I can count immediately how many Jews are here. And if I cannot decide who you are, only then are you with me. If you are a Jew and you listen to me, and you feel that whatever I am saying is what Jewish religion is, then you remain a Jew. I am just a support for your convictions, just an outside support. I have not entered you; you have not allowed me to enter you.
Many people come to me and they say, “Whatever you said was beautiful because this is what I have believed my whole life, and you said it better than I can say it.” So that’s all. He’s finished with me and I am finished with him. There has been no meeting. He has heard his own voice in my voice; he has interpreted his own mind. And he remains a believer in his own ego, he has not dropped even a bit of his old luggage. Rather, on the contrary, he is now more convinced of the old luggage and he will carry it with more strength and with more conviction.
No, remember this: I am not here to make you a Jew or a Hindu or a Christian – no. I am here only to make you a religious man.
The man must have been puzzled. “How must we think of you then?” asked the man. “You have puzzled me. You confuse me.” All religious people are, in a way, confusing. They create a chaos in you because first you have to be uprooted, first you have to be demolished. No religious person is interested in renovating you because however renovated, you will remain the old, the dead thing – modified, of course, but not fresh and young. A religious person is interested in demolishing you completely, in pulling you down to the very roots, and then in helping you to arise again.
Until you die, nothing is possible. A master is a death on the one hand, resurrection on the other. A master is a crucifixion, a cross. As you are, you die. And you, as you should be, are born.
The man was puzzled. “How must we think of you then?” said the man. Maruf said: “Some do not understand me…” Listen to these words – very significant. “Some do not understand me, and revere me.” They do not understand, hence they revere. People are really foolish. If they don’t understand a thing they start revering it because they think it must be something very mysterious: “If I cannot understand – I, such an intelligent and genius man – if I cannot understand, it must be something very, very deep and mysterious.” And many people exploit such attitudes. Many people.
If you read Hegel’s books you will see that is what he is doing. He goes on trying to make everything as difficult as possible. It is not difficult! It is a good exercise to study Hegel, a German philosopher, in his own day thought to be the greatest. But as time passes again and again he comes lower and lower and lower because as you understand him his mystery is lost. And nothing is there, just verbiage. If he can say a thing in a single word he will use a hundred pages. If he can say a thing in one sentence, he will go on and on, round and round, in pages. You will not be able… He writes long sentences, sometimes one sentence on one page. You will not be able to remember the beginning of the sentence when you reach the end. You will have to read it again and again. And he mystifies.
There are many people, mystifiers, exploiting the human stupidity of believing that whatever you cannot understand must be something superb, of the sublime, of the unknown, of the mysterious. These people are exploiters.
Just the reverse is the case with people who are really wise. They speak in short sentences. Their sentences are not complicated, they are simple. Whatever they say can be understood by anybody who is normally intelligent. They don’t mystify. Whatever they teach is very, very simple – simple as life is simple, simple as existence is simple, rivers and mountains are simple, birds and trees are simple.
Wise men are simple. But the more you understand them… To understand them is simple and the more you understand them, the deeper you penetrate their simplicity, the more you see new dimensions of mysteries opening. Their words are simple, but what they want to indicate is mysterious. Their indication is simple, but the indicated is mysterious. Look at my finger – a simple thing. I indicate with my finger toward the moon. The moon is mysterious, not the finger. The finger is a very simple phenomenon, nothing to say about it. Words are like fingers and they point, they finger, indicate, toward the mysterious.
“Some do not understand me, and revere me.” And you have revered many people and you have revered many doctrines, just because you cannot understand them. There are many followers of Gurdjieff. Because they cannot understand him they follow him. Gurdjieff is not like Hegel, he is not mystifying, but he has something else to do. He does not want unwanted people to come near him, so he writes in such a way that unless you are very patient you will not be able to penetrate him. He is not difficult; he is simple. But the methodology is that he puts you off; you cannot read more than a few pages. I have not come across a single person yet who has read his All and Everything completely. People have gone through it, but… And he knew that this is going to be so. He writes in a tedious style, he bores you. And this is a very considered method. He puts you off.
When the book, All and Everything was published for the first time, the pages were not cut. Only the introductory pages, a hundred pages, were cut and the other pages were not. And there was a note on the book saying that if you can read the one hundred pages, then open the others; otherwise return the book to the shop and take your money back. First try with the one hundred pages, and if you are still interested then open the other pages, cut them; otherwise, don’t destroy the book. Many books were returned, many were not returned, but that doesn’t mean people read them. They were just curious. They thought, “Maybe it is a trick and only in the introductory pages he is boring, inside he may not be.” But if you cut, you couldn’t return the book.
I have not come across a single person who has read the whole book thoroughly. People skip, then they miss because here and there he hides the diamonds and everything else is just a camouflage. Here and there, in the bushes of words, he hides the diamonds. Those diamonds can be sorted out and can be written on a postcard. And that book has one thousand pages!
Many people follow Gurdjieff because they cannot understand. Suddenly, when you cannot understand, you feel there is some mystery. It is not so; truth is very simple. Everybody has the capacity to understand it. Truth is as simple as anything can be. You have to be just silent, understanding, ready, and it is revealed to you.
Maruf said: “Some do not understand me…” – hence their reverence – and “…others do not either, so they revile me.” There are the people who, if they cannot understand – they cannot believe that anything can exist which they cannot understand – they revile. It is against their egos. But remember: both are egoistic viewpoints.
One ego thinks, “I understand easily. If I cannot understand, there must be something mysterious.” Another ego says, “If I cannot understand, then there cannot be anything at all. This man is simply deceptive. There is nothing. If there were something, then how come I cannot understand it? A genius like me will understand everything.” Both are egoistic standpoints. And one has to drop out of both of them. Only then can you understand a master.
One has to drop both. Don’t revere a thing because you don’t understand. Don’t revile it because you don’t understand. In fact, don’t refer the thing to your ego, don’t bring it into the context of your ego. That is useless. Just listen to the thing. If you cannot understand, try to understand – meditate more, contemplate more, become more silent. Come to it again and again from different standpoints. And finally come to it with no standpoint at all. You will understand and the mystery will be revealed. If you cannot understand, don’t start reviling it; you are not the last word in understanding. You are not the last capacity of understanding. You are not the omega of understanding. You are just a beginner on the first rung of the ladder – and the ladder is vast and long.
Millions of things are waiting for you to be. You are just at the door, you have not even entered the shrine. Maybe you are just on the steps, or maybe just on the path, not even up to the steps, not even at the door. Don’t bring your ego in either way. You are not the deciding factor as to whether it is mysterious or nothing. Listen. The more you listen to a man who has attained, you will understand more and more. And the more you understand, the more it will become mysterious.
The mystery of life is not something which can be solved or which is ever solved. It has to be lived. It is not a problem to be solved; it has to be lived.
The more you know the less you feel that you know. The more you know the more you feel the unknown surrounds you from everywhere. And in the final moment of knowing, all knowledge drops; you know nothing. That final moment of knowing is like vast ignorance, a vast dark night. But only out of that dark night is the morning born. Out of this vast ignorance a light which is knowing, which is understanding arises. Buddha calls it pragya, sambodhi; Patanjali calls it samadhienlightenment.
Maruf said: “Some do not understand me, and revere me. Others do not either, so they revile me. That is what I have come to say. You should think of me as one who has said this.” The man was asking to label Maruf somehow – whether he is a Jew or a Mohammedan or a Christian. Once labeled, you think you have understood. Labeling is a trick. You label a certain thing and you feel you have understood.
I show you a flower, an outlandish flower you have never seen before, and immediately you ask, “What is its name?” Why are you so anxious to know the name? How is the name going to help you? X, Y, Z, whatever the name may be, how is it going to help you? If I say X, you think now you know it, you have labeled it. Now you can show to your child that this is X flower. You have become a knower. What have you known about the flower? Just the word X. I could have called it Y or Z, they would have been as relevant as X. How do you know it?
I was reading Gertrude Stein’s book. When she said in a poem, “A rose is a rose is a rose,” it became world famous. She goes on that way with many things; she does not define, she doesn’t say anything: “A rose is a rose is a rose.” Nothing is defined; nothing is said really.
Somebody asked, “Why have you said this? We all know a rose is a rose is a rose. It makes no sense. It adds nothing to our knowledge.”
Stein said, “Because poets have been talking about roses for millennia. Millions of poems about roses, everybody has read them, sung them, and repeated them. The word rose has lost its rosiness. It doesn’t say anything anymore. That’s why I had to repeat – a rose is a rose is a rose – so that you are awakened out of your sleep, so that you are shaken a little. ‘What is this woman saying? The absurdity of it – a rose is a rose is a rose!’ Then you may listen. Otherwise just rose, who listens? Everybody knows.” And she said, “Repeating this I have brought the redness to the rose again.”
Words can’t say much. And if you think that just by knowing the names and labels you have known, you will miss everything. Try to avoid words. Don’t try to label. You immediately label. Labeling is such a great disease; it is an obsession. You see a man, you say “Beautiful!” You see a woman and you say “Ugly!” Why in such a hurry? Wait! The woman has many faces. Even the ugliest woman sometimes has a beautiful face no beautiful woman can compete with – the ugliest. I have seen the ugliest woman in a certain posture, in a certain mood, in a certain climate, so beautiful that your Miss Universe will look a little pale in front of her. And I have seen the most beautiful woman ugly in certain moods. Wait: don’t label, otherwise your label will not allow you to see the reality.
Even beautiful women, in anger, in jealousy, in possessiveness, become so ugly – and their ugliness is deeper than the ordinary ugliness of a body. Their ugliness is spiritual and inner, and it comes all over their body like a rash. When a woman is jealous and possessive, she may be beautiful on the surface but something emanates around her – poisonous, snakelike; she’s ugly. You touch her in that moment and you will feel that you have touched a reptile, not a woman. Poisonous – fumes coming out of her poison.
Don’t label. Reality doesn’t believe in labels. Reality goes on moving and changing; it is flux, a river. You cannot step twice in the same river – not even once. It is moving all the time.
Don’t categorize. You have pigeonholes in the mind. Immediately something is there you put it in a pigeonhole, and finished. And you think you know – this man is good and that man is bad. Have you not ever observed bad becoming good, good becoming bad? Have you not seen an honest thief? Have you not seen a very, very sincere criminal? Have you never seen a sinner, but holy? Categories don’t belong to life, they belong to the mind. Categories are your games. Don’t categorize.
This man had come to ask Maruf, “How to categorize you? Where to put you?” Maruf is an alive man. If he was dead he would have said, “I am a Mohammedan, of course, a humble Muslim, a Sufi,” but he is not a dead man, he won’t allow categorization. He is alive, utterly alive.
He says, “Remember me by only this. Nothing else. That is what I have come to say. You should think of me as one who has said this. Remember just this much: those who don’t understand me, they revere me, and those who don’t understand me, they revile me. In Jerusalem, Jews think I am a Muslim and Muslims that I am a Jew. And in Baghdad, where people are in love with me, in my community, Jews think I am the most perfect Jew, Christians that I am a reborn Christ, and Muslims that I am the last word in being a Muslim. More I will not say. This much I say to you. And if you want to know how to remember me, you can only do this: You should think of me as one who has said this.
He remains uncategorized, unlabeled. He does not give any clue. Rather, he becomes more mysterious. The man may have come with something, some prejudice, some idea about this master Maruf. And Maruf has demolished his mind completely, he has cut through all his prejudices, he has left him in the vacuum. That’s what a master does. He leaves you in emptiness, but that is the most beautiful gift that can be given to you – nothingness, emptiness, a vacuum.
In that vacuum arises all. In that nothingness arises all. In that emptiness the absolute is born. But until you die, that’s not possible.
You are here. Let me be your death and direction and resurrection.
Enough for today.

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