RELIGION, JESUS, THE CONQUEST OF THE EGO
THE CONQUEST OF THE EGO...
The religious, the so-called
religious person is deceived by it, because it comes hiding behind religious
curtains. Sometimes it becomes humbleness, sometimes it becomes humility.
Sometimes it can even pretend egolessness: it can say 'I am absolutely egoless.'
And it is there, and now it has protected itself perfectly. You will not even
suspect its existence. Watch the so-called religious people, and you will see a
great game of the ego. The ego is there. It has become pious. But when the ego
becomes pious it becomes more poisonous. It is pious poison. It corrupts you
33. AND HE CAME TO CAPERNAUM: AND BEING IN THE HOUSE HE ASKED THEM, WHAT WAS IT THAT YE DISPUTED AMONG YOURSELVES BY THE WAY?
34. BUT THEY HELD THEIR PEACE: FOR BY THE WAY THEY HAD DISPUTED AMONG THEMSELVES, WHO SHOULD BE THE GREATEST.
35. AND HE SAT DOWN, AND CALLED THE TWELVE, AND SAITH UNTO THEM, IF ANY MAN DESIRE TO BE FIRST, THE SAME SHALL BE LAST OF ALL, AND SERVANT OF ALL.
36. AND HE TOOK A CHILD, AND SET HIM IN THE MIDST OF THEM, AND WHEN HE HAD TAKEN HIM IN HIS ARMS, HE SAID UNTO THEM,
37. WHOSOEVER SHALL RECEIVE ONE OF THESE CHILDREN IN MY NAME, RECEIVETH ME: AND WHOSOEVER SHALL RECEIVE ME, RECEIVETH NOT ME, BUT HIM THAT SENT ME.
52. THEN SAID THE JEWS UNTO HIM,
53. ART THOU GREATER THAN OUR FATHER ABRAHAM, WHICH IS DEAD? AND THE PROPHETS ARE DEAD: WHOM MAKEST THOU THYSELF?
54. JESUS ANSWERED,
56. YOUR FATHER ABRAHAM REJOICED TO SEE MY DAY: AND HE SAW IT, AND WAS GLAD.
57. THEN SAID THE JEWS UNTO HIM, THOU ART NOT YET FIFTY YEARS OLD, AND HAST THOU SEEN ABRAHAM?
58. JESUS SAID UNTO THEM; VERILY, VERILY, I SAY UNTO YOU, BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS, I AM.
The ego is subtle, its ways are subtle, its working is very complex. It is a puzzle, and a puzzle that cannot be solved -- that can only be seen through and through, but cannot be solved. There is no solution for it, because the puzzle is not anything accidental to the ego. Ego itself is the puzzle. If it were accidental, then there would be a way to solve it. Ego itself is the puzzle, it is its nature to be puzzling. So all the efforts that are made to solve it make it more complex, make it more difficult.
If you fight with it, you are fighting with yourself. There can never be any victory, you cannot defeat it by fighting. Because by fighting you will be dividing yourself into two -- the fighter and the fought. And from where will you bring the fought? It will be just ego dividing into two parts, playing the game of fight. Sometimes one part can pretend to win, sometimes the other part can pretend to win, nobody ever wins. The struggle becomes infinite and meanwhile energy is dissipated, meanwhile life is wasted. Remember, you cannot fight the ego.
Can you repress it? People have done that too. It has not helped. If you repress the ego, it goes deeper into your being. Rather than getting rid of it, you become more and more poisoned by it, because what will you do when you repress? You will force it into the unconscious; it will start going underground. But the Unconscious is far more powerful than the conscious. Ego in the conscious has not much power. Once it enters into the unconscious it becomes nine times more powerful than it was before. Rather than getting rid of it, you will be more and more in its control. And one thing more: once the ego has become unconscious, you don't know anything about it. It has gone behind you. Now you cannot even watch it. Now you are completely a victim. Now you cannot protect yourself against it. Now you cannot make any arrangements to save yourself from it. It is there pulling your strings from behind. You will become a puppet, and you will be in the hands of the ego. And you were thinking that you had repressed it. Fight does not help, repression does not help.
The third thing that has been tried down the ages is sublimation. Sublimate it -- let it be identified with higher goals. Then it becomes very decorated, it becomes enthroned. And naturally it again becomes very powerful. Identify it with your church, identify it with your country, identify it with your colour, identify it with ideology -- socialism, communism, fascism, Christianity, Hinduism. Identify it with some high value, some utopian value, or you can even identify it with God. Then it rules suprememost. Then it rules in the name of God. God is just an excuse. The real sovereign becomes the ego. And these are the three available ways: either fight or repress or sublimate. And nothing helps. Nothing can help because by its very nature the ego is such that solutions are not possible.
I have heard...
A mother is standing in a toyshop, and she says 'Isn't this a rather complicated toy for a small child?'
The toy salesman says 'This, Madam, is an educational toy, specially designed to adjust a child to live in the world of today: no matter which way he puts it together, it's always wrong.'
And that's how the ego is. No way will ever bring you out of it. There is no remedy. To see it is to be on the right path. To see the complexity, the riddling nature of the ego, the puzzling nature of the ego, to comprehend it in its totality, is the beginning of wisdom. Otherwise it will come, and it will come in more subtle forms, and you will be deceived far more deeply.
The religious, the so-called religious person is deceived by it, because it comes hiding behind religious curtains. Sometimes it becomes humbleness, sometimes it becomes humility. Sometimes it can even pretend egolessness: it can say 'I am absolutely egoless.' And it is there, and now it has protected itself perfectly. You will not even suspect its existence. Watch the so-called religious people, and you will see a great game of the ego. The ego is there. It has become pious. But when the ego becomes pious it becomes more poisonous. It is pious poison. It corrupts you deeply.
The ordinary gross ego is not such a big problem. You can see it, it is there. Even the person who is its victim knows it is there -- the disease is known. But when it becomes pious, takes religious garb, then even the victim is unaware. He lives in its imprisonment and thinks that he is free.
Start finding a remedy and you will be in more and more trouble. Why? -- because most remedies are imposed. Why most? ALL remedies are imposed. You find them from somewhere outside, you find the clues from somebody else.
You see a Buddha. He looks so humble -- he is. His humbleness is there. You see his face, his simplicity, his utter innocence, and a clue is found -- maybe this is the way to get rid of the ego. This is not the way! It is a consequence, something has happened in him which has made him egoless. You cannot copy his behaviour and become egoless. Copying the behaviour will simply make you a carbon copy. The ego will not disappear. You can eat the same food Buddha takes; you can walk the same way Buddha walks; you can imitate him perfectly. You can become very skillful in imitation, and still the ego will be there, because there is no way to see what has happened in Buddha's innermost core. All that you can watch is behaviour.
That's why a certain school of psychologists, the behaviourists, go on saying that there is no soul in man; man is only behaviour. They are following a certain logic. The logic is that only the behaviour can be watched, observed. The soul has never been watched, never has been observed; nobody has seen it! Then how to accept that it exists? Anything that exists must be seen. Only that which is seen exists. Have you ever seen anybody's soul? All that you see is his behaviour, and still you know that your behaviour is not you.
But that is inner, an introspection. Inside you know 'My behaviour is not me' because many times the behaviour is there, and you are totally different from the behaviour. You see a man coming to your house and you smile, and you know that you are not smiling. That smile is false, just polite, just part of etiquette. You have to smile, so you smile -- but deep down there is no smile. Now from the outside you are smiling: that is your behaviour; the behaviourist is finished there. But from the inner you are not smiling at all: that is your soul, that is you, the more real you, not just a show, but authentically you. You go on doing a thousand and one things on the outside, and the inside may be different, may be far more different, may even be the polar opposite to your behaviour.
But this is introspection, it cannot be an objective observation.
You look at the Buddha, you watch his behaviour. From his behaviour you start taking cues. You see Jesus, you watch, you start taking notes in your mind: This is the way to sit, this is the way to stand, this is the way to walk, this is the way to sleep and eat... and these are the things to eat. This is how Jesus prays -- on his knees -- so you kneel down. These are the words that Jesus speaks when he prays. He looks at the sky and says 'Father, ABBA. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done...' And you say 'So I know prayer.' You can kneel down... Millions of people kneel down every morning, every night all around the globe, and they repeat the same words that Jesus said 'ABBA, give us our daily bread.' And they go on repeating, and nothing happens. Millions of people who pray are simply wasting their time, because it is pretension, it is not prayer. They have learned a behaviour, but their soul is not in prayer. And the question is not HOW to pray, the question is not WHAT to pray.
Just the other night Gramya was telling me that since she has become a sannyasin, she does not know whom she is praying to, but the prayer is there. Now she was a little puzzled. She asked me '... whether I am praying to God, or I am praying to you, Osho, or to whom? I don't know anything about God now.' And I told her 'This is a far better prayer -- vague, cloudy, but more alive.'
Now the prayer is not addressed to anybody in particular. It is not even addressed to God, so how can it be addressed to the Christian God? It is unaddressed. It is simply an overflow of joy, thankfulness, gratitude -- gratitude to the whole, to the total. It is a kind of thankfulness. Now it will not matter much what words you use, or whether you use words at all. Silence will do, sometimes gibberish will do -- what Christians call 'talking in tongues' -- that will do. That will be far better. Sometimes just enjoying sounds like a small child -- 'ga ga' -- that will do.
The whole question is of the prayerful attitude, the inner quality of prayer, that you are surrendered, that you are no more separate from the whole. Now this remedy cannot be imposed from the outside, otherwise you will be simply doing empty postures, empty gestures -- perfect from the outside and not at all breathing from the inside, not at all vital and alive.
Prayer is a state, not a ritual. Prayer is a state of inner silence, humbleness, love, gratitude, surrender, let-go. It has nothing to do with the outer formulations of it. But all remedies come from the outside. And people go on changing remedies. One fails, they immediately jump to another; that fails, they go on -- from one guru to another guru, from one remedy to another remedy, from one scripture to another scripture, from one temple to another temple -- they go on and on. And not seeing real fact: that no remedy is possible, that no remedy exists, that to search for the remedy is to search in vain. And why? -- because remedies are imposed from the outside either by somebody else or by yourself. And whatsoever is imposed from the outside is an intrusion, interference on your natural being -- intrusion on your natural self. They are manipulations. That creates three selves where previously there was only one self. Previously there was only one ego. If you use some remedy, there will be three egos. You have multiplied the problem, you have made it more difficult. Now it will be far more impossible for you to get out of it. And if you bring another remedy, you will have nine egos instead of three. Each remedy will bring three egos instead of one.
People have used many remedies, and they have become many egos. Mahavir has used the right word for it. He calls man BAHUCHITTAVAN -- polypsychic; man is not one mind but many minds. And that is the research of the modern psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, psychologist, too. Man is polypsychic. It is not one ego that you are carrying inside, you are carrying many egos. Egos upon egos -- they are standing in a queue, they are surrounding you from every side, they are like a crowd. You are lost in the crowd, you don't know who you are, because there are so many pretenders around you who say 'This is you. I am you. Where are you looking? I am your self.' Every desire, every fragment of your mind claims to be the master, and that's how your slavery is created.
Each remedy brings three egos into your being instead of one. How does it happen? In accepting a remedy you become the one who you are plus the one who is helping you become other than the one who you are, plus the one who you hope to become. The one that you were, now the goal that you want to become egoless, and the remedy, the help that you are using to try and pull yourself towards the goal: you are divided in three. And this division is not going to help, it will confuse you, it will make you more and more dull, insensitive, insane, neurotic, schizophrenic.
The remedy proves far more dangerous than the disease itself.
So the first thing to be understood: the ego is the basic problem that anybody who is searching for his real self has to face. Now it cannot be countered by anything outside. No remedy is going to help, no medicine is going to help, no method is going to help. Then isn't there any way to get out of it?
There is a way, but it cannot be imposed from the outside. And the way is not like a remedy, the way is clarity, transparency, to look through and through, to watch how the ego functions, to see its subtle games. You throw it out from the front door and it has come back from the back door. You throw it from one side, it starts imposing itself from another side. You think you have got rid of it, suddenly you find it is there sitting inside. So without any condemnation, the ego has to be looked into through and through, with no idea that you want to drop it. That conclusion will be a hindrance. That conclusion means you have decided before you have looked into it. So go into the ego with no conclusion, with no idea of what you want to do: with just one idea -- that you would like to understand this mystery of the ego, what it is. All the religions say it is the hindrance, all the great Masters say it has to be got rid of, all the mystics say nothing is barring your path except your ego. But you don't know what this ego is.
So, first thing: go innocently into it. Just watch its ways; its ways are very mechanical. The first thing that you will come across is its mechanicalness. The ego is not an organic whole, it is mechanical because it consists of the dead past. Your ego consists of your past. And if sometimes your ego thinks of the future, that too is nothing but the projection of the past and from the past -- maybe a little modified, sophisticated, decorated, but it is the same thing. You desire the same pleasures that you have had in the past. Of course you hope to make them a little better. Your past goes on projecting itself into the future, and the past is dead, the past is just memory -- and that's all that ego consists of.
So the first experience, if you go into the ego without any conclusion, will be this: you will be able to see that it is mechanical. And you are an organic unity! You are an alive phenomenon and ego is dead, and the dead is ruling the alive. That's why people look so heavy, dragging. Their life seems to be nothing but a long story of boredom, monotony. It is not the quality of life -- boredom is not the quality of life -- boredom is there because life is too burdened by death, life is too burdened by the dead. And the grave goes on becoming bigger and bigger, and life is encroached from every side.
The first experience, and a great revealing experience it is, is to see that ego is your past, it is not your present. Ego is never found in the present. If you go into it you will be surprised. Right at this moment, if you go into yourself, you will not find any ego. And if you do find, they will just be fragments from the past floating in the present consciousness. The present consciousness is always egoless, and THAT IS your reality. But the pact consciousness, which is not consciousness at all but memory, is dead -- and that's what your ego consists of. Your nation, your family, your education, your experiences, your certificates -- all that is no more there. It has gone down the drain, it exists not, but it goes on influencing your mind. It can destroy your whole life.
I have heard a future story:
Male Robot: 'Hello I64259.'
Female Robot: 'You can call me I64 if you like. I'm sorry I'm a bit late but I was screwing on a new face.'
Male Robot: 'That's A OK, I was a bit late too. I blew a sprocket.'
Female Robot: 'How nasty!'
Male Robot: 'Might have been worse... I thought my big end had gone. My own fault, though. I went out last night and got oiled.'
Female Robot: 'Still you'd better go down to the garage for a check-up. You might have a dirty sparking plug. I've some trouble too... My employers programmed me to do the wages but I gave out the horse racing results... I've got a new operator now.'
Male Robot: 'Was the other one sacked?'
Female Robot: 'No, retired on his winnings. Hope it doesn't happen again.'
Male Robot: 'I expect one of your woggles worked loose. And talking about woggles, what's this about your sister?'
Female Robot: 'We don't talk about her. She's eloped with a petrol pump.'
Male Robot: 'That's the spirit. Not as bad as my brother, though. He fell in love with a robot with three eyes. We didn't have the heart to tell him it was a traffic light. Eventually she blew a fuse, and he did not know whether to stop or to go. Actually now we're alone, I've got a present for you.'
Female Robot: 'It's wonderful; what is it?'
Male Robot: 'I bought it at the Geiger counter.'
Female Robot: 'But what is it?'
Male Robot: 'A Geiger counter. It comes in useful if you go Geiger hunting. They say it's made especially for girls. It's a girl Geiger!'
Female Robot: 'Oh you're so wonderful, so magnetic.'
Male Robot: 'You're only saying that because you're attracted to me! Let's run away and get married.'
Female Robot: 'But I've had my heart broken before. Look, you can see where it's been soldered.'
Male Robot: 'But this time it will be different.'
Female Robot: 'How do you know?'
Male Robot: 'I can feel it in my transistors.'
So they were joined together in welded bliss and lived mechanically ever after.
This is a future story, but the past also and the present too. This is your story. This is the story of the ego, the mechanical robot-like thing that has overpowered you. You are not alive, or only so-so alive in a lukewarm way, because the ego does not allow you to be alive. It goes on pulling you towards the past.
And remember, the past is growing bigger every day, because every moment that passes becomes the past. So the ego goes on becoming bigger and bigger and bigger. The child has a smaller ego, the old man has a bigger ego, and that's the difference between a child and an old man. The child is closer to God, the old man is far away. And if he wants to be closer to God, the old man will have to become a child again.
Why does Jesus say again and again 'Unless you are like a child, you will not enter into my kingdom of God.' Why?
He is saying that unless you become alive again like a child, which has no past... A 'child' means one who has no past: an 'old man' means one who has nothing but the past. The more you are old, the more the past goes on becoming bigger and bigger and the future starts disappearing. The child has future, the old man has past; the child thinks of the future, the old man simply remembers his past, goes into the nostalgia of the past. He always remembers how things were in 'the good old days' and always goes on fantasising that his past was tremendously beautiful. It is more or less imagination, consolation.
As you become older you will be getting more and more burdened by the past and then, even before death happens, you are dead. Those who know say people die nearabout thirty, then they are buried nearabout seventy. For forty years they live a dead life. The hippies are right when they say 'Don't trust a man above thirty.' There is some truth in it, because the man who is above thirty is less and less alive. His investment is more in the dead past. He is no more a rebel, he is no more free, he is no more responding to the present. His spontaneity has gone; everything has become fixed. He has become very knowledgeable. He goes on repeating his knowledge, and he goes on behaving in the past old ways which are not in context at all, which are not relevant. But he goes on. And nothing works in his life, because nothing can work.
Each moment life is new and you have to respond from your inner newness, you have to be available TO the new AS the new. And you have to respond, not out of your knowledge, but out of your present awareness. Only then life works, otherwise life stops working. If your life is not working, remember, it is the ego that is hindering, the mechanical has encroached upon the organic. To be free from the mechanical is to be in God, because it is to be in the organic unity of existence.
What has to be done? You have to watch, you have to learn the ways of the ego. Walking on the road, watch how the ego comes in. Somebody insults you, watch -- don't miss that opportunity -- how the ego raises its head, how the ego swells up suddenly. Somebody praises you, see how you become like a balloon and you go on becoming bigger and bigger and bigger. Just go on watching, in different situations, in different moments, what happens to your ego. And there is no hurry to conclude. It is a complicated matter, it is one of the greatest problems -- the greatest in fact, because if it is solved, God is available immediately. That very moment you are in God and God is in you.
So it is a serious problem, and you cannot be in a hurry. You have to go very slowly, very carefully, so that nothing is missed. Just for a few months watch your ego, and you will be surprised. You will be surprised that the ego can control you only if you are not aware of it. The moment you become aware of a certain functioning of the ego, that function disappears. Just by sheer awareness that functioning disappears. Wherever you put your light of consciousness, ego disappears. Then you have got the real key. Now go on bringing more and more light to your ego-functioning, and one day you will see it has disappeared from everywhere. You have not repressed it, so it cannot bubble up again. You have not been fighting with it, not at all, so you are not giving any energy to it. In fight you give energy. You have not been sublimating it; you were not making a divine ego. You have not done anything with it, you were simply watching. Watching is not a doing. And the miracle is that by non-doing, the ego disappears.
In fact, to say it disappears is not right. I have to use language, so many times I have to use incorrect expressions because they are prevalent and there is no other language. When I say it 'disappears', I mean it is not found. It was never there, it was invented. It was just our ignorance, it was just our unawareness that had allowed it to exist.
Now the sutras:
AND HE CAME TO CAPERNAUM: AND BEING IN THE HOUSE HE ASKED THEM, WHAT WAS IT THAT YE DISPUTED AMONG YOURSELVES BY THE WAY?
And this is an ugly story -- an ugly story about Jesus' disciples, or maybe the story of all kinds of disciples that have existed in the world.
The disciples of Jesus were continuously arguing about who was the greatest amongst them, who was the topmost, who was closest to Jesus. Not only that, but when Jesus would die and go to his Father who is in heaven...'When we die, who will be there with Jesus... the closest? Of course, he will be standing at the right side of God, he will be the right hand of God. Who will be at the right hand of Jesus? Who amongst us?'
Those twelve were continuously arguing.
This is a subtle ego game. Even when you are around a man like Jesus, you go on thinking about your ego. How are you going to meet this man Jesus? It is impossible. Your ego will function like an iron curtain.
These disciples are not enjoying the presence of Jesus. Their whole worry is who is the topmost of them all. The same old ambitious mind, the same old games of the ego, the same old politics. Nothing has changed it seems. They are the same people. If they were in politics they would have been thinking 'Who is going to become the president of the country?' It is the same old game. Now they are thinking 'Who is to become the first? Who is the closest to Jesus? Who is his chief disciple?' The same ambition, the same cut-throat competition, the same fight, the same violence -- of course, now in the name of religion, in the name of disciple-hood, in the name of spirituality. But nothing has changed: ego has entered from the back door.
And Jesus has said many times to them... but they won't listen. Even on the last night when Jesus is taking leave forever, this is the last time that they will see him. Tomorrow morning he will be crucified. The last supper... but still they are arguing. They are going to lose Jesus forever. They may not be able to find such a man again for millions of lives, but they are not worried about that. They are not worried about Jesus' death; they are worried about their positions in heaven. 'Jesus is leaving, now what about us? What will be our position?' The last thing they ask Jesus is this! That's why I say it is an ugly story.
But ego is ugly: it is a monster. And if you are under its impact, you become ugly, you become a monster.
I have heard...
One day a man dashed into the Space Police Station, threw himself onto the counter and gasped 'Officer! Officer! We've just been attacked by a creature from outer space!'
Officer: 'Now, sir. Can you describe what happened?'
Man: 'Well, it was like this, Officer. I was out for a walk on the common with my mother-in-law when he... it... the creature suddenly appeared in front of us and made a grab for my mother-in-law.'
Officer: 'Could I have a description, sir?'
Man: 'Well, er... that is... green, glaring eyes, two big yellow-fang teeth, hair like knotted barbed wire... and an ambling, fat, ugly, sloth-like body...'
Officer: 'How terrible!'
Man: 'Yes, and wait until I tell you about the monster!'
Just now he was telling about his mother-in-law.
That monster of the ego is making you ugly. That monster of the ego is possessing you from everywhere. Your life is not beautiful because of it. And it goes on and on in new ways, in new shapes, in new sizes. Remember, the ego comes in all shapes and all sizes -- to everybody's requirement. Whatsoever fits you, the ego is ready to fit with you. It is very very adjusting. If you become religious, it becomes religious and adjusts with you. If y you become humble, it becomes humble and adjusts with you. If you become a disciple, it becomes a disciple and adjusts with you; it is very cooperative. It never creates any difficulty for you in that way. Wherever you go it simply follows you. It does not create any sound, it is very silent -- not even the footsteps are heard. It goes on working very silently, but goes on poisoning you.
Now think of these disciples...
AND HE CAME TO CAPERNAUM: AND BEING IN THE HOUSE HE ASKED THEM...
On the road he must have thought 'It is not right to ask my disciples in front of other people; it looks so ugly. My disciples... and thinking about who is the greatest, and who is the topmost and who is the real disciple and the chief disciple..."Who is next to Jesus?"' And remember, the person, who wants to be next to Jesus, if he is made next to Jesus, will try to become even more important than Jesus. That's what really happened.
Judas was the most knowledgeable disciple. Judas was the only sophisticated and educated disciple of Jesus. All the others were very common and ordinary men. Only Judas was of any worth. Naturally, many times in life he tried to CORRECT Jesus. Many times he argued with Jesus, many times he advised Jesus 'Do this, don't do that.' He was deep down, the competitor.
And this has happened always. One of Buddha's brothers was initiated by Buddha. Devadatta was his name; he is the Judas of Buddha's story. He was very educated -- as educated as Buddha. He came from the same family -- royal blood, great heritage, noble family. He was as educated as Buddha and as much cultured, sophisticated, philosophical -- maybe even more than Buddha. Now it was very difficult for him to think of himself as second to Buddha. He created the rift. He started making his own group, he started initiating people himself; he betrayed.
He tried to kill Buddha so that he could dominate the Buddha community -- the disciples of Buddha; he wanted to become the leader. Buddha was poisoned once by him. Once a rock was thrown from the mountain underneath which Buddha was meditating -- just by inches he was saved. Then a mad elephant was brought to Buddha and left alone with Buddha. The elephant was so mad, he had killed many people. But even elephants are more loving, more compassionate than Devadattas and Judases. The elephant looked at this silent man; something happened in him. He bowed down and touched the feet of Buddha. Even the mad elephant was not as mad as the ego is mad.
Judas was always feeling that he could be the leader, and be the leader in a far better way -- he 'knows better than Jesus'. Maybe that rivalry, that ego conflict created the desire in his mind to destroy Jesus. Once Jesus was removed, he would be the topmost man.
But the others are also not very different. Of course, they don't say 'We are bigger than Jesus', but they certainly want him to say and let it be decided before Jesus leaves who is the greatest among them.
This is our whole life's struggle: Who is the greatest? And we waste our life in this struggle. This is politics, this is not religion. Wherever ego is, there is politics. Once the ego goes, then there is no politics, then you don't compare yourself with anybody, because each individual is incomparable. Each individual is unique, so unique that comparison is not possible. You don't put yourself higher and you don't put yourself lower: you are simply different. There is no question of putting yourself higher or lower. You are you and somebody else is somebody else; there is no question of comparison. Remember, when ego disappears, comparison disappears. And when comparison disappears, competitiveness disappears, and there arises great peace.
What is your anxiety? What is it that creates anguish, competition, comparison, conflict in you? -- the effort to be the greatest, to be the first. And everybody is trying to be the first, hence the war-like quality that surrounds society.
EVERYBODY is your enemy! Even those who are your friends are your enemies, because they are also fighting for the first place as you are fighting. How can you be friendly? With the ego there is no possibility of friendship. Then friendship is just a mask. The real nature of life is that of the jungle: the big fish goes on eating the small fish. Even if you pretend to be friendly, that is just show, strategy, diplomacy. Nobody can be a friend here unless the ego disappears. Once the ego disappears the whole life has a quality of friendship, of love. Then you are friendly, simply friendly -- and to everybody, because there is no problem. You are not trying to be the first, so you are not more a competitor, this is real dropping out.
You can drop out from the school, from the college, from the university. That is not going to help. In your hippie community you will try to be the first -- to be the hippiest amongst the hippies. But then it is the same, it makes no difference. You have created another society, and you have started playing the same games again: the same comparison, the same competition.
Just see... Jesus' disciples -- they were so fortunate to be allowed to live with Jesus so closely, but yet the old mind continued. That's why I say ego is very subtle.
AND HE CAME TO CAPERNAUM: AND BEING IN THE HOUSE HE ASKED THEM...
It would have looked ugly for him to mention the subject that they were discussing on the way. They must have discussed it the whole way. That was their basic problem: they were not interested in the kingdom of God, they were not interested in meditation, they were not interested in prayer, they were not interested in Christ and Christ-consciousness; their whole interest was 'Who am I? Where do I stand? Am I the first or not?'
WHAT WAS IT...
... THAT YE DISPUTED AMONG YOURSELVES BY THE WAY?
He must have asked this many times. This story is a condensed story, representative of many stories. It must have been a daily thing. It was so with Buddha, it was so with Mahavir.
Mahavir's chief disciple betrayed him. First he tried to become the chief -- his name was Gosala. Once he started feeling that he was the chief, then the problem was how to topple Mahavir. This is how the ego goes. Then he went against Mahavir. The ego is dangerous. To be against a man like Mahavir seems inconceivable. If you cannot even be with a man like Mahavir, Buddha, Jesus, then you cannot be anywhere. Then you cannot ever be in love.
WHAT WAS IT THAT YE DISPUTED AMONG YOURSELVES BY THE WAY?
BUT THEY HELD THEIR PEACE...
They remained silent. Not that they were silent -- how can the egoistic mind be silent? They were full of turmoil; there was no peace in their mind -- their mind was in pieces, there was no peace. They were not together at all. But why did they keep silent? Because it has happened many times before too, and each time they are caught Jesus says something which hurts. But again and again they fall back into the trap: the ego comes back in subtle ways.
It is so subtle that you may not even be aware that it comes. You have to be very very careful, then only will you know, because it comes like a whisper, it does not shout. It raises its head so silently that nothing stirs. Once it has taken possession of you, then it is very difficult.
Those disciples must have felt embarrassed again and again. But again and again they would forget Jesus. Jesus was walking with them on the road... Maybe he was a little ahead and they were following at the back, or maybe they were a little ahead and he was following -- but there must have been a little gap, and that gap helped them to discuss their basic problem again: 'Who is the greatest?' Jesus must have seen it, must have seen it on their faces. And when they kept silent, when they remained quiet, Jesus spoke.
... FOR BY THE WAY THEY HAD DISPUTED AMONG THEMSELVES,
WHO SHOULD BE THE GREATEST.
Jesus knew what they were discussing. It was not necessary for Jesus to listen to what they were discussing, he knew it. That was their basic problem continuously. And as the days were coming closer to Jesus' death, they were becoming more and more agitated: 'Who will be the head when Jesus is gone?' As if deep down they wanted Jesus to go so that somebody among them could be the head.
The mind is very cunning, the mind is very violent.
BUT THEY HELD THEIR PEACE FOR BY THE WAY THEY HAD DISPUTED AMONG THEMSELVES, WHO SHOULD BE THE GREATEST.
AND HE SAT DOWN, AND CALLED THE TWELVE, AND SAITH UNTO THEM, IF ANY MAN DESIRE TO BE FIRST, THE SAME SHALL BE LAST OF ALL, AND SERVANT OF ALL.
This he was saying again and again -- but who listens? This he was repeating every day, but people are deaf. And they have seen this man Jesus who has become the first because he has become the last. He has come to the top because he has become capable of remaining the last.
He was saying again and again 'The first will be the last in my kingdom of God, and the last shall be the first.'
But mind has its own calculations. Sometimes the mind says 'Okay. If the first should be the last in your kingdom of God, and the last shall be the first then I will try to be the last so l can be the first.' But this is the same game. You have missed the point. Logically you have understood, but spiritually you have missed. Now, a person can even TRY to be the last, can make all kinds of endeavours to be the last, can torture himself to be the last IN ORDER to be the first. Then he is not the last, because it is the same desire and the same ambition .
When Jesus says 'Those who are the last shall be the first' he is not giving you a strategy, he is not giving you a technique how to be the first; he is simply stating a fact! This has to be understood.
Sometimes people come to me and they want to go into meditation, they REALLY want to go into meditation. But they have motives. They say 'If we go into meditation, shall we see God?' I say to them that if they have a motivation like that, meditation will not happen, because a motivated mind can never be meditative. Motivation is desire, desire is disturbance. How can you meditate with disturbance? Meditation is possible only when you are unmotivated: you don't have any desire. When there is no desire, there is meditation. Meditation is a state of desirelessness.
They understand logically, and they say 'Okay. So we will drop the motive. Now if we drop the motive will it be possible for us to see God?' They are ready to drop the motive but the motive is still there. It has slipped deep down the unconscious. They say 'Okay, if you say so, if this is the condition to be fulfilled, we will fulfill it. But are you certain that then we will see God?' So where has the motive gone? It is still there; it has gone underground.
Jesus was saying again and again 'Those who are the last will be the first.' This is simply a statement, a simple statement. It is not a question of cause and effect. He is not saying that if you want to be the first be the last. He is saying 'If you are the last you will be the first.' And there is a great difference between these two. Linguistically, not much; logically, not much. You will say 'What is the difference whether you say it this way or that?' But existentially there is such a big difference.
Be the last. Enjoy being the last and not because by being the last you will be the first. By being last with such joy, you are already the first! Now where else can you be? What higher state can you be in? Standing last, enjoying it... because to stand last is a very very beautiful space, because nobody competes for it, nobody comes to struggle with you. You are the last already.
Lao Tzu used to say 'I am the last, that's why I am the most peaceful, because nobody comes to fight with me.' Who is ready to fight with the last? Everybody has compassion for the last; everybody feels 'Poor man.' And who is ambitious to be the last? Nobody comes and throws him off his place.
If you are the last you are left alone, then you are never disturbed by anybody, then you can simply be yourself. And when you are ready to be the last, you can be in the present -- never otherwise. If you want to be the first you will have to remain in the future, because you will have to think 'How to be the first? How to drag people who are already there out of their places so I can make some place for myself? How to fight? How to manage? What to do? What not to do?' You will be in the future. To try to be the first is to be in the future: if you want to be the first you will have to project, worry about the future. And from where will you get your ideas? -- from the past. So you will remain in the past and in the future, and you will go on missing the present.
And the present is the only thing that really is. Now is the only real time.
A man who is ready to stand last -- not as a strategy to go first, but just as an understanding that it is foolish and stupid to compete... What is the point of it all? Why not enjoy life? You can only do one thing: either you can compete or you can celebrate. If you compete you cannot celebrate, IF YOU celebrate you cannot compete; it is the same energy. Either you can enjoy or you can fight. Either you can love or you can struggle; both together are not possible.
So the person who stands last -- not as a desire to be first, but as an understanding that to be first is just the stupidity of the mind, the mediocre mind, the foolish mind. Seeing the foolishness of it, seeing the uselessness of it, seeing the people who are standing first and looking like hell -- in that very understanding one has become the first. Can you see it? Do you understand it?
In understanding that, one has become the first. This is the meaning of Jesus.
AND HE SAT DOWN, AND CALLED THE TWELVE, AND SAITH UNTO THEM, IF ANY MAN DESIRE TO BE FIRST, THE SAME SHALL BE LAST OF ALL...
Now, the language creates trouble. You can misinterpret Jesus' language.
IF ANY MAN DESIRE TO BE FIRST...
... THE SAME SHALL BE LAST OF ALL...
then he has to become the last.
But the language can be dangerous. He uses the word 'desire' -- IF ANY MAN DESIRE TO BE FIRST... And all those twelve are desiring to be the first. They can again get a clue from it. They can say 'Okay, so l will be the last because I want to be the first. Jesus says "one who wants to be the first" so this is the way to be the first. I will do all that I can do... I will do all that I can do to be the first, even if it is needed to stand last, I will stand I will suffer that But I have to be the first ' Then the message is missed.
To be the last means: no desire for being first. That is the meaning. To be the last means: all comparison has been dropped, all competition has been dropped, all aggression, arrogance has been dropped. One starts enjoying this moment -- the peace, the bliss of it, the benediction of it. One is in sheer delight because one can breathe, because one can see the flowers, because one can watch the birds, one can listen to the song of the birds or the rain falling on the roof, or the smell of the wet earth -- small things.
Jesus says 'Look at the lilies in the field. They toil not, they think not of the morrow -- and how beautiful, how incredibly beautiful they are. Even Solomon was not so beautiful attired in all his precious dresses, sitting on his golden throne studded with diamonds. And these poor lily flowers -- just standing alone in the field... Look how beautiful they are: how silent, how blissful, how meditative, how prayerful.'
What is the beauty of the flowers? -- they are non-competitive. What is the beauty of the stars? -- they are non-competitive. What is the beauty of existence? -- it is not competing. It is not going anywhere, it is not trying to be something that it is not.
That is where man has gone wrong, has gone insane. To exist with the ego is to exist in a kind of neurosis. It is a state of madness. It is the original fall. To be in the ego is to be a sinner. Not to be in the ego is to become a saint.
But remember again, I am not saying become a saint. Otherwise ego comes back and says 'Look, I am such a great saint. Look! I don't think of the morrow. Look! I am no more worried about any competition.' Then the ego has arisen again. Then there can be a competition! If somebody else is trying to be the last you will fight with him 'What are you doing? I am the last! You cannot be the last. You can be second to me but you cannot go ahead of me.'
I have heard...
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A great king was praying in a synagogue early in the morning. The rabbi was there to accompany the king. It was dark, and a beggar had also entered.
The king prayed, and said 'God, I am nobody. I am just a nothingness.'
And the rabbi also prayed. And he also said 'God I am nobody. I am just a nothingness.'
And then they heard the beggar who was just standing there. And he also prayed and he said 'God, I am nobody. I am just a nothingness.'
And the king said to the rabbi 'Look who is trying to be nobody! Look who is pretending to be a nothingness! -- a beggar? How dare you... before a king? When I am saying I am nothing, a nobody -- and a beggar dares to pretend that he is also nothing, a nobody? This is offensive.'
This can happen, then you can start fighting about who is the last. And it is the same game, only the names have changed. Be very careful when you listen to a Buddha or Jesus; be very careful because they have to use your language.
It is a necessary evil. But try to be very careful so that you don't misunderstand them.
IF ANY MAN DESIRE TO BE FIRST, THE SAME SHALL BE LAST OF ALL, AND SERVANT OF ALL.
And Christians missed it: they started becoming servants of all. 'Service' became the key word, and the Christian missionary has become a servant. He runs the hospital, the school, the orphanage; he goes on serving people. But look into his eyes, look, and there on his nose is sitting the ego. 'I am the servant of the people. Nobody is serving the people as I am serving.'
A story I have heard... a very beautiful story...
In China, in some village, there was a great fair. And a man fell into a well, because there was no protective wall surrounding the well. So he shouted from the well 'Save me!'
And there came a Buddhist monk. He looked down, and the man was crying -- he said 'What are you looking at? DO something! I am dying.'
And the Buddhist monk said 'Listen to me. Buddha has said "Birth is suffering, life is suffering, death is suffering. All is suffering." So what is the difference whether you are suffering in a well or somewhere else? Accept it. Buddha has said "TATATHA -- accept. In acceptance there is deliverance." '
But the man prayed, and he said 'I will listen to your sermon, but first please take me out, then you can bore me as much as you want! But this is no moment right now -- I am not in a state to listen to your great philosophy.'
But the Buddhist monk said 'Buddha has said "Don't interfere in anybody's life." I cannot interfere. You must be suffering because of your past KARMAS. It is not a question of there being no wall and that's why you have fallen in -- because there are so many people and nobody else has fallen in. It is because of your past KARMAS! You must have thrown somebody in a well in some life. You are suffering for that, and I don't want to interfere, because if I take you out you will have to fall in again somewhere, some time. Buddha has said "Never interfere in anybody's life."'
And he went on his way perfectly calm and quiet. He thinks he has understood Buddha's message. And he is quoting rightly. All the words are Buddha's; this also can be the interpretation. And it is not just a story.
In India there is a Jain sect -- TERAPUNT. They say: If you find somebody dying by the side of the road, thirsty, go on your way, don't interfere. Even if he is dying of thirst and you have a thermos flask and you can give him a little water, don't give it, because he is suffering from his past KARMAS. Let him finish it, let him go through it; otherwise he will have to go into it again. And you will be responsible then: you will be prolonging his suffering.
Look at the logic: You will be prolonging his suffering. This time maybe two hours more and he would have been finished with the KARMA. YOU give him water. Now those two hours have remained; he will have to account for them. On some other day, in some other life maybe again he will have to fall by the side of the road, thirsty. You have disturbed his life pattern, and not only that, because you have disturbed his life pattern, you have accumulated a wrong karma for yourself; you will have to suffer. So you have not helped.
That's why you will not find a Jain monk running a hospital or a school, no. That is impossible. 'People are suffering from diseases because of their past KARMAS. They have to suffer. Help them to accept.' The Jain monk will say 'Please be silent and meditate.' And he has the thermos and he can give the water, but he will not give it.
So this is not just a story. It has happened in the East.
And then comes another man: a Confucian monk. And he looks into the well, and the man says 'Take me out! Take me out, sir, otherwise I will not survive. A few minutes more and I will be gone!' And he is shivering and he is cold.
And the Confucian says 'Don't be worried. We will create a revolution in the world. We will not leave a single stone unturned. We will force the government to make protective walls around every well!'
He says 'But what is the point of that? That will take years and I will die!'
And the Confucian says 'You are not the question... the society! Individuals come and go, society remains. Social reform is needed! Every well should have a wall!'
This is what the communist says. He says 'If you are dying, there is nothing to be worried about. If you are poor, there is nothing to be worried about. Wait. When the revolution comes and communism comes, everything will be okay.'
You will say 'I will die' -- that is not the point. You are not the question, the question is of society. The society has to be changed first. Only when the society is changed, the economic structure is changed, the state, the law is changed, then only will people be happy. Nothing can be done about you.
And the Confucian goes, stands on a high stage, and gathers people around him and says to them 'A revolution is needed! Every well should have a wall!' And the man is dying...
Then there comes a Christian missionary, as if he was in search of somebody who has fallen into the well. He looks and says 'My God! Good! I was in search... I wanted to serve somebody. You did well!' He pulls a rope from his back. He is carrying it ready-made -- he is in search, because it is through service... Jesus has said that you have to be the servant of all. He throws the rope in, takes the man out.
The man is very happy. The man touches his feet, and he says 'You are the real religious person. The Buddhist monk came and he started preaching, and the Confucian came and he has gone... And look! there he has gathered a big crowd and he is teaching people about reform and how society has to be changed and the law. You are the only religious person. If you had not come I would have died. But tell me one thing: why were you carrying the rope? That is strange.'
And the Christian missionary is very happy because he has done a good work. He says 'I always carry a rope. I carry many things, because I am always ready. I am a servant.'
And the man says 'How should I thank you? I would like to do something for you -- you have saved me.'
And the Christian says 'You do only one thing. Teach your children also to go on falling into wells, because that is the only way to go to God. If people stop falling into wells, if this Confucian fool succeeds, then there will be no opportunity to serve. If this Buddhist monk succeeds in teaching people to accept everything, then there will be no need to serve them. They will not accept service. So just do one thing: go on falling into wells. Teach your children too.'
You will be surprised. You will think that this seems to be a little far-fetched. No, it is not.
In India, there is a Hindu MAHATMA -- Karaptraji Maharaj. He has written a book against communism. And the basic, the most fundamental question he has raised is: If there is nobody poor then religion will disappear. The poor are needed because only if the poor are there can you donate and open hospitals and DHARMASHALAS and things like that. If ALL poor people disappear, if communism succeeds, then what will happen to religion? Because Hinduism says to donate is the greatest of religions, to share your riches is the greatest thing. But if everybody is rich, then nobody would like to share your riches; and you won't have riches to share if everybody is equal. If the society becomes communist, then religion will disappear. And this man thinks that he is a religious man.
It is not far-fetched; that's how people have understood things. He quotes the Vedas and the Gita and the Upanishads where to serve the poor is praised because 'that is the only way': If you serve the poor, you serve God. But if there is nobody poor, then how will you serve the poor and how will you serve God? Then the bridge will be broken. So the logical conclusion is: Keep poverty, keep people starving. They are needed, otherwise what will MAHATMAS do? They won't have anything to do.
Down the ages, words of Buddha, Jesus, Mahavir have been misunderstood, because they have to use your language. And when they use your language it is always inadequate -- and they have no other language. And even if they have another language, they cannot speak it to you because you won't understand.
IF ANY MAN DESIRE TO BE FIRST, THE SAME SHALL BE LAST OF ALL, AND SERVANT OF ALL.
He is simply stating a fact: that the man who has understood the ugliness of the ego, the ugliness, violence, poisonousness of ambition -- in that very understanding will not compete, will be happy wherever he is. And in that happiness he will see that God is everywhere. And in that very experience that God is everywhere, he will become a servant.
Not that he will have to practise, not that he will have to search where to go and how to serve. Wherever he is, all is God, and the part is the servant of the whole. There is no deliberate effort to serve. Service comes when you are silent. Service flows from your being when you are happy, when you are so full of energy that wherever need arises, you serve.
A dog is dying and you serve. A tree is drying out and nobody has given it water, and you give water. And you don't go on pretending and posing that you have served. You don't go on shouting to everybody 'Look how great a servant I am! I have helped this tree to become green again.' That is not the point. In helping the tree to be green, you have made your life green. It is already the reward, there is no other reward. In helping the dying dog you have helped yourself -- because it is all one.
When you hit somebody, you are hitting yourself. When you kill somebody you are killing yourself -- because we are all one. And when you serve you serve yourself, so there is no need to brag about it. You don't become a great missionary, a great servant of the people, and things like that. You don't become anybody, it all comes naturally. When a person is happy his compassion is natural, out of happiness he is compassionate.
AND HE TOOK A CHILD, AND SET HIM IN THE MIDST OF THEM: AND WHEN HE HAD TAKEN HIM IN HIS ARMS, HE SAID UNTO THEM,
WHOSOEVER SHALL RECEIVE ONE OF SUCH CHILDREN IN MY NAME, RECEIVETH ME: AND WHOSOEVER SHALL RECEIVE ME, RECEIVETH NOT ME, BUT HIM THAT SENT ME.
And then Jesus takes hold of a small child. A child is a symbol of helplessness and of innocence.
And he says
WHOSOEVER SHALL RECEIVE ONE OF THESE CHILDREN IN MY NAME...
Wherever you find somebody helpless, help. And wherever you find something innocent, embrace it, love it.
WHOSOEVER SHALL RECEIVE ONE OF THESE CHILDREN IN MY NAME, RECEIVETH ME...
Jesus says 'He has received me, he has opened his heart to me.' In love you become close to Christ. Jesus is saying 'Not through competition, not by being the first, but in receiving, helping innocence, in receiving life energies that surround you, and in pouring yourself wherever the need arises, you come close to me.'
... AND WHOSOEVER SHALL RECEIVE ME, RECEIVETH NOT ME, BUT HIM THAT SENT ME.
And Jesus said 'You don't know about God, you have known me. And you don't know this child, that the innocence of this child is my innocence. In his innocence my innocence is hidden. And if you go into my innocence, you will find in my innocence God's innocence is hidden.'
Look into a flower, penetrate deep into the heart of the flower and you will touch Christ. And when Christ is touched, go a little deeper still, and you will touch God.
'You can touch God in every leaf and in every drop of water and in every pebble, in every stone -- God is everywhere. Just a penetration... And it is not a question of being first, it is a question of being last, it is a question of being egoless. Only then can you respect a child; otherwise you will respect a king, not a child. You will respect a rich man, not a helpless child. Have you ever respected a child? If you have not respected a child, you don't know how to respect Christ. You will say 'For what?'
We respect people because they have some capacity. He is a great painter, you respect him. He is Picasso, you respect him. Why, because he is world famous? Because he has a very famous ego? Because he is somebody and you would like to be associated with Picasso? This man is a great musician, this man is a great poet, this man is a great philosopher; this man is a great man of God -- a Christ, a Buddha. You would like to respect them, because you would like to come closer. By coming closer you will feel satisfied in your ego, you are so close to Christ, you stand by his side.
This is not real respect. A real respect is not for fame, for name; a real respect is a totally different thing. You respect a flower because God is there fully alive. You respect a bird because God is on the wing. You respect a child because in those eyes is innocence, those eyes are exactly like Christ's. You respect animals, trees, stones, because God is hidden everywhere; his signature is everywhere.
THEN SAID THE JEWS UNTO HIM, ART THOU GREATER THAN OUR FATHER ABRAHAM, WHICH IS DEAD? AND THE PROPHETS ARE DEAD: WHOM MAKEST THOU THYSELF?
Listening to such words as 'If you love a child, respect a child, you have loved me and respected me. And if you have loved me and respected me, you have loved God', the Jews that were standing there must have felt offended. So what is this man claiming? Is he claiming that he is God? Who is this man... the son of the carpenter Joseph or the son of Mary? And one is not even certain whether he is a legal son, legitimate or illegitimate -- because people say he was born out of the virgin Mary. Maybe he is illegitimate.
This illegitimate son of a woman, of an ordinary carpenter is saying 'If you come close to me you come close to God.' He must have looked like a pretender, a deceiver. The Jews must have felt offended.
ART THOU GREATER THAN OUR FATHER ABRAHAM...
Because even Abraham has not said that. Even Abraham said 'I am just a servant of God.' And Jesus says 'I am the son of God, not the servant.' Jesus really says 'I am God; I am in God and God is in me. If you have seen me you have seen my Father who is in heaven.'
ART THOU GREATER THAN OUR FATHER ABRAHAM, WHICH IS DEAD? AND THE PROPHETS ARE DEAD...
Are you greater than our prophets?
... WHOM MAKEST THOU THYSELF?
Who do you think you are?
YOUR FATHER ABRAHAM REJOICED TO SEE MY DAY...
Now again there will be difficulty with the language. He is saying exactly what the truth is, but the language becomes very very inadequate.
YOUR FATHER ABRAHAM REJOICED TO SEE MY DAY: AND HE SAW IT, AND WAS GLAD.
Just think: If I say to you that Jesus rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and w as glad...
Now somebody who is a Christian here will feel offended. So who do I think I am? And naturally the question will arise that Jesus' days -- two thousand years -- have past. How could he see MY DAY, and how could he rejoice?
There is something very symbolic in it. Whenever anybody becomes enlightened, all the enlightened persons, all that energy which has become enlightened before rejoices, because one more person has come back home, one more person has bloomed, one more person has entered into God.
In India there are beautiful stories:
When Buddha became enlightened all the gods showered flowers from the sky, all the enlightened people sang songs around him. That day was the day of great rejoicing. The whole forest bloomed; trees bloomed out of season, dead trees sprouted again. There was music and song, and gods sang and danced, because one more had become enlightened. Enlightenment is such a great phenomenon that this should be so, the whole existence should rejoice. But Jesus is saying something which the Jews cannot understand.
YOUR FATHER ABRAHAM REJOICED TO SEE MY DAY: AND HE SAW IT, AND WAS GLAD.
THEN SAID THE JEWS UNTO HIM, THOU ART NOT YET FIFTY YEARS OLD, AND HAST THOU SEEN ABRAHAM?
Now, two different planes talking to each other... dialogue seems to be impossible. The Jews are talking about time, and Jesus is talking about eternity. The Jews are talking about the past, and Jesus is talking about the present.
BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS, I AM.
Now, he is not talking about Jesus, he is talking about Christ-consciousness. The Jews are talking about time, he is talking about eternity. The Jews are talking about Jesus, and he is talking about Christ! That's the whole difference: two different planes. Christ-consciousness is eternal, timeless. It knows no beginning, no end; it is not confined to time or to periods. Christ-consciousness has always been there. Jesus has participated in it NOW, but once you participate in it you disappear .
It is like a drop of water entering the ocean. The moment the drop enters the ocean it is no more there. Now the drop can say 'I have been always' because now it is the ocean saying it not the drop. The river has fallen into the ocean. Jesus has fallen into Christ-consciousness... that oceanic feeling. Now he is no more there, now he is not the son of Mary or Joseph, he is not the carpenter of the village, he is not young, he is not the body, he is not the mind. Now he is the transcendental, the fourth state of consciousness: TURIYA. He is Christ, he is Buddha. That's why he uses two different tenses.
VERILY, VERILY, I SAY UNTO YOU, BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS, I AM.
He does not say 'Before Abraham was, I was' -- that would be wrong. That's why this statement is really great. He says 'Before Abraham was...' Abraham he uses as a past tense.
BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS, I AM.
Before Jesus was, I am.
Abraham participated in Christ-consciousness and disappeared. So Jesus participated in Christ-consciousness and disappeared. Now there is no question of time, now time exists not. Now there is no more any time and no more any space. This state is what Buddha calls NIRVANA, and Jesus calls the 'kingdom of God'.
Meditate on these sutras. They are incredible. Go into them, and you will be immensely benefitted. Great will be your grace if you can understand them.
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