Chapter 14: Life is a Lovesong,

Question 3



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The third question

Question 3


Prem Neera,

MAN HAS BEEN TOLD AGAIN AND AGAIN to be in a hurry, because life is short and much has to be done, many desires have to be fulfilled, many pleasures have to be attained, many goals achieved. And life is certainly short, and you have so many desires, and so much to do, and in fact there is not much time to do it.

If you live sixty years, twenty years will be gone in sleep, one third, so only forty years are left. Then another twenty years will be gone in earning your bread and butter, just the routine of going to the office, to the factory, rushing in the morning towards the factory or the office, and rushing in the evening back to the home -- twenty years will be gone in that.

Only twenty years are left. And in these twenty years, almost fifteen years will be lost in such stupid activities: watching the television, going to the movie, playing cards, gossiping with the neighbours -- fifteen years! So only five years are left. And in those five years, you have to manage many kinds of illnesses, and you have to go to friends' marriages and social functions, and you have to talk to your wife and to your children -- just out of the sense of duty -- and you have to quarrel with your wife, and you have to throw pillows... and a thousand and one things. You can just go on making the list.

Those who have made such lists, they say in the whole sixty years' life not more than a few months are left for you -- and in those few months, all the desires, millions of desires, are to be fulfilled. Naturally, great hurry arises -- and in the West more so, because in the East we have a beautiful concept that there are many lives, so there is no hurry. If you die this time, nothing to be worried about -- next time you will be born again, and again and again and again.

In the West, all the three religions that are born outside of India -- Judaism, Christianity, Islam -- they believe in one life. They have all come from the same root, Judaism. In fact, there are only two religions in the world: Judaism and Hinduism. A few religions are offshoots of Judaism and a few religions -- Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism -- they are offshoots of Hinduism. Hinduism believes in many many lives. Hence you find the Indian utterly lazy. His problem is not hurry: his problem is laziness. His problem is that he has no motive to do anything.

That's why India is poor -nobody is willing to do anything, everybody goes on postponing: tomorrow or the next life, and why be worried? There is enough time, infinite time available. This idea of infinite time has helped in one way: it has not created the Western hurry, it has not created the Western speed -- it has not created the Western anxiety and tension, that constant state of remaining tense. It has created another problem, just the opposite, that nobody wants to do anything, that everybody is lazy and lousy.

The reason, Neera, for your hurry, is that you come from the West, from the Judaic-Christian tradition: only one life and so many things to do. Naturally, one has to be in a hurry; always running. People are not even resting in their sleep; in their sleep also they are on the go, in their sleep also they are travelling, to faraway lands. Even in their sleep they are not in their rooms, they are not where they are -- they are always somewhere else.


You are brought up in the Judaic tradition: Do! Doing is respected very much. Be active! And do it quick and fast.

The Devil had been away from Hades for a couple of months' terrestrial duty. He had been in England and was looking forward to putting his feet up by the fire and having a nice drop of brimstone, followed by a variety of unmentionable after-dinner pursuits.

At last he got home. You can imagine his surprise when he flung the Gates of Hell open to be confronted by a landscape dotted with cool mango groves and fields of nodding corn.

"Those goddammed Jews and their irrigation schemes!" he howled.

Wherever Jews reach, they will bring their planning -- even in hell they will not leave the Devil in rest. That is the Judaic tradition: one life, a short life, and much has to be done, all has to be done.

Neera, you have to drop that Judaic tradition, you have to come out of it. And I am not saying become an Indian either, because that is moving from one wrong to another wrong. Just come out of all traditions. To Hindus I say come out of your Hindu tradition of laziness and lousiness, and to Jews, Christians and Mohammedans I say come out of your tradition of remaining in a constant hurry and tension.

Enjoy life. Act, but act in a relaxed way. The greatest art in life is to learn how to act in a relaxed way. Action is a must -- you cannot live without action -- but action can be almost inaction. That's what Lao Tzu means when he uses the word WU-WEI. That is very fundamental to Lao Tzu and that is very fundamental to me too: I would like you to learn WU-WEI. WU-WEI means action without action -- doing a thing in such a way that you are not tense in doing it, doing a thing in such a way that you are playful about it, doing a thing in such a way that you are not worried about it, doing it and yet remaining detached, doing it and yet remaining a witness.

Lao Tzu seems to be the way out for Jews and Hindus. And this is strange that no tradition arose out of Lao Tzu, no religion. Jews have created three great religions, Hindus have created three great religions -- all the six great religions belong to these two peoples. Lao Tzu remained an individual. Yes, a few people followed him; down the centuries, a few individuals have moved into the world of Lao Tzu, but only individuals -- no religion came out of it, because the whole Taoist approach is such that it cannot create fanatics. And unless you can create fanatics, you cannot create a religion. The whole of Lao Tzu's philosophy is such that it gives you such balance, such tranquillity, such serenity, that you cannot become a fanatic -- Hindu, Christian, Mohammedan. It is impossible. These things happen only to neurotic people.

Hindus create one kind of neurosis, and Jews create another kind of neurosis, and both have created great religions in the world. And I absolutely agree with Sigmund Freud that these so-called religions are nothing but collective obsessions. A Buddha, a Jesus, a Lao Tzu, a Zarathustra, they are not religious people in the sense Christians, Mohammedans and Buddhists are. They are very balanced, they are so whole, they are so tranquil, they cannot become parts of crowds, they cannot fall that low.

People join together in churches just because alone they feel so afraid of their inner neurosis -- they would like to join with people of the same kind so they can feel at ease, that they are not alone in the difficulty. And when there are many people just like you, you forget all about your neurosis.

Humanity lives such a neurotic life that either it moves to one extreme and remains stuck there, or it moves to the other extreme and remains stuck there.

The really healthy person is not stuck anywhere, he is not stagnant, he is dynamic. He can be in great action and yet he can remain inactive -- he knows the way of WU-WEI, he knows the way of action through inaction. You will have to learn that.

Neera, hurry is something very symbolic of the Western mind. And because of the hurry the West has created more and more speedy vehicles. The East has remained contented with the bullock cart. There have been great scientists in the East, but they never worked. They never worked hard enough to create better roads, better vehicles, aeroplanes, spaceships -- they were not interested in hurry. What is the point? Why rush?

The West is continuously creating more and more speedy vehicles. They have broken the sound barrier; now man is travelling faster than sound. And the whole Western technology is bent upon breaking the light barrier -- man wants to travel faster than light. And nobody asks, "Where do you want to go? And even if you reach there, what are you going to do there?" You can reach the moon, you can reach some day some star, but what will you do? You will do the same thing that you are doing in California, because you will be the same person. You will create the same kind of nonsense and nuisance there: you will pollute the poor star, you will destroy its rivers, you will destroy its oceans, you will pile up your junk everywhere. What are you going to do there? And you will create the same ideological wars, both cold and hot. You cannot remain peaceful there either; you will immediately divide: somebody will become communist and somebody will become democratic and the fight starts. And you will create atom bombs and hydrogen bombs, or you will carry them from here.

The West is too much interested in speed, too much in action. And the action is futile, because it is simply the occupation of a neurotic mind. And the East is not interested in action at all; that is again another kind of neurosis, the opposite kind -- people are lazy. They philosophize very much about their laziness. They talk about renouncing the world; they say, "What is the point of earning, of working? one day one has to go, one day one has to die, so why bother? rest as much as you can before you die." But then what will you do when you die? You can rest when you die.

MAN NEEDS A BALANCE, and that balance is possible only if you learn the art of being active and yet remaining inactive inside. And that's what we are trying to do here, and in the bigger commune you will have more facilities to be active and inactive together.

People who come to the ashram are a little puzzled. Many have written to me, "Everybody is working but nobody seems to be tense." In the office so many people are working, in the workshops, in the press office... so many people are working. Nearabout three hundred people are constantly working, and with no holiday -- the Sunday never comes. But nobody is tense.

Work is beautiful if it can be done without any tension, if it can be done playfully, if it can be done without any hurry and yet without relapsing into laziness. It is a very subtle and delicate art. Then you are neither Eastern nor Western -- that's what I call the new man. He will not be Eastern, he will not be Western, or he will be both together. It has never happened before: my sannyasin has to prove it. Lao Tzu talked about it and a few people have tried it, but I am making an effort to create such a big space that millions of people can try it. It is such a blessing to know how to act without acting that everybody should have a little taste of it.

When you are working, remember it; if you have gone for a walk, remember it -- there is no need to be in a hurry. A walk has to be enjoyed. Go slow. There is no goal! Enjoy the trees surrounding the way, and the birds and the sun and the sky and the clouds, and the people that are passing and the smell of the earth -- enjoy everything! Be alert.

A lazy person becomes unalert. The very speedy person is so much in speed that he cannot be watchful of what is happening around him; he is rushing with such force that he cannot see anywhere else, he is focussed, obsessed with some goal. And the lazy person is so lazy, so unalert, so unconscious, that he cannot see. Both are blind.

You have to find a synthesis. Be alert as the active person is, and be relaxed as the lazy person is. And once both these two are there together, you are balanced, and your life will have a new flavour, a new joy, a new ecstasy, which knows no bounds.

Silverstein, the inveterate joiner, came rushing home, proudly holding a membership card to his newest organization.

"Look," said Silverstein to his son, "I just joined the Prostitute Club!"

"What?" said the boy. "Let me see that card."

After reading it, he announced, "Pa, that's the Parachute Club!"

"All I know is," said Silverstein, "they guaranteed me three hundred and sixty-five jumps a year."

There are these people who are constantly joining this club and that, and this organization and that. They are simply afraid of being themselves, simply afraid of being left alone. There are people who are constantly rushing -- don't ask where, they themselves don't know. But in the rush they are occupied, and the occupation keeps them away from themselves, away from looking into their own inner hollowness.

This constant hurry is nothing but an escape from your inner self. And there is a truth in it of great significance: if you go on hurrying, if you go on speeding, if you go on running away from yourself, if you keep yourself occupied constantly, you will become more and more afraid of looking at yourself, because not knowing what beauties emptiness contains you will become more and more afraid. You would not like to come across your inner emptiness.

In fact, the inner emptiness is the greatest experience of life -- that is enlightenment: knowing that there is nobody, knowing that there is utter silence, not even a word, knowing that there is nothing at all, no person, no ego, no identity, is the greatest experience, the ultimate joy. But if you don't look into it then you are simply suspicious of a certain hollowness, of a certain emptiness inside. And remaining suspicious, you go on occupying yourself People keep themselves occupied the whole day, and then they fall asleep and become occupied in their dreams -- twenty-four hours a day it is constant occupation.

Meditation means giving a few minutes to non-occupation. Neera, start giving at least one hour to non-occupation. Just sit doing nothing. In the beginning it will be very difficult -- the MOST difficult thing in the world in the beginning, in the end the most easy. It is so easy, that's why it is so difficult. If you tell somebody to just sit and not to do anything, he becomes fidgety; he starts feeling that ants are crawling on the leg or something is happening in the body. He becomes so restless, because he has always remained occupied. He is like a car with the ignition on and the engine humming although the car is not going anywhere, but the engine is humming and becoming hotter and hotter. You have forgotten how to put the ignition off. That's what meditation is: the art of putting the ignition of.

For a few minutes, a few hours, as much time as is possible, just sit silently. In the beginning it is difficult. It will take at least three months to six months to be able to sit silently doing nothing -- not even chanting is needed because that is again an occupation. People sit, then they start chanting "Rama, Rama, Rama" -- that is again occupation, another kind of occupation, a religious kind of occupation. No, not even chanting, no mantra is needed.

The word 'mind' and 'mantra' both come from the same root. They both come from MAN -- MAN is Sanskrit for mind. And that which keeps mind running is called 'mantra', that which keeps nourishing mind is called 'mantra'. So somebody's mantra is money -- he thinks of money, that is his mantra. Somebody's mantra is politics -- he thinks of politics, that is his mantra. And somebody simply repeats "Rama, Rama, Rama" -- that is his mantra. But every mantra feeds the mind, and mind is the problem, and we have to get out of the mind.

Sit silently, Neera, for three to six months; then remind me again -- if you are left by that time. If you are finished, so far, so good. If you really sit silently for one hour a day for six months, you will not remind me -- because you will have experienced something so tremendous, so beautiful: just your pure being, just the heart pulsating, the breath coming and going... and the music of your inner existence is exhilarating. It becomes overflowing. It is not only that you will be con-tinuously radiant, bubbling with joy -- whosoever comes in contact with you will also be infected by it, your joy will become contagious. And there will be no hurry. There will be a grace, an elegance a peace will surround you.

When joy is inside the heart, when silence is inside, peace surrounds you, grace surrounds you, God surrounds you....


Next: Chapter 14: Life is a Lovesong, Question 4


Energy Enhancement            Enlightened Texts           Kabir           The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty



Chapter 14






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