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Chapter 8: God Still Hopes

Question 3

 

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The third question:

Question 3
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MONASTERY AND AN ASHRAM?

A lot of difference, a great difference. The difference is as much as between West and East. The difference is as much as between will and surrender.
The monastery is a Western concept. You should never transalate `ashram' as `monastery'. That is corrupting the word `ashram', destroying its whole meaning. A monastery is on the path of will: people are trying hard to know the truth, struggling hard to find God. The monastery is strenuous, tense.
The very word `ashram' means rest, relaxation. The very word `ashram' means tremendously relaxed. An ashram is a place where you go to relax, the monastery is the place where you go to seek, to search. Monastery is aggressive, male; ashram is female, passive. Ashram is effortless. A monastery is nothing but effort. In the monastery you are working to achieve God, and in an ashram you are playing: that's the difference. The ashram is a fun; the monastery is very serious.
The word `monastery' comes from `monk'. The monk is a very serious man; he has renounced the world, renounced the wife, renounced the children, renounced this and that. The monk is very dry, hence all the old Western monasteries existed in the deserts. The great monasteries existed in the deserts, dry -- dry inside, dry outside, no rest, no shade of a tree, no greenery, no flowers flowering; just effort and effort and effort; no oasis of rest. And the monk means a person who has decided to be lonely.
The word `monk' means lonely, one who has decided to live on his own. That's why from the same root come `monopoly', 'monogamy', 'monotony' -- the same root: one, alone. A monastery is a place where many people live in their loneliness, but they don't live together. The togetherness is not there. A monastery is not a community. People are there, many people may be living there, but each is living alone. Together, they are lonely. It is not a community. Each is seeking God; great effort has to be made: one has to be ascetic, one has to continuously flog one's own body, one has to torture, one has to fast, one has to destroy all attachment to the world. How can you relax? The world is a sin and you are born in sin -- how can you relax, how can you rest, how can you celebrate?
You will be surprised: the word `celebration' comes from a root CELERE, and `celere' means fasting. In the old Western monasteries, when the monks were fasting, it was called celebrating. Now, a feast can be a celebration, but how can a fast be a celebration? But that's how fasting was imposed -- as celebration. Torture, self-torture, was thought to be prayer. The world is thought to be against God, so you have to leave the world if you want to achieve God.
The ashram has a totally different perspective. The ashram means a community, a communion of people, of souls who are alike. You will be surprised: the modern Hindu ashram is not really Eastern, remember. The modern Hindu ashram is so influenced by the Christian monastery that it is not Hindu at all. If you really want to have a glimpse of a Hindu ashram, you will have to go to the days of the VEDAS. The Master was there, but the Master was not a monk. He was a married man: he had a wife, he had children, the ashram was his family. That's why the ashram was called GURUKUL. `GURUKUL' means: the family of the Master. He had children, he had a wife, he lived a relaxed life -- deep in the forest, deep in nature -- a spontaneous way of life, unhurried; not searching, but waiting; not putting God against the world, but enjoying the world because God IS in it. And the disciples who lived with him were his family, GURUKULA. It was not an institution. it was a family. They were children to him, his own kids. They may have been older than him; that is not the point -- but they were his kids.
This community lived in a very deep, relaxed way -- dancing, singing, feasting, celebrating, enjoying nature: the stars, the moon, the sun, the morning, the evening, the day, the night, and listening to God's voice in nature. Hence, the Master had moved to the forest. It was not against the world, remember. When the Christian monk moved out of the world, he was against the world. When the Eastern sage moved to the forest, he moved because he was all for the world, and in the marketplace the world has been corrupted and destroyed so much. Know the distinction: it is tremendous.
The Eastern sage used to move into nature because there, God is more present. Man has not yet interfered. It is difficult to find God on an asphalt road, howsoever hard you look. You will not even find a glimpse. It is very difficult to find God in a factory -- difficult, very difficult -- because the human noise is too much. The mechanical, the technological, is too much; the natural has gone far away.
I have heard....
There was a survey in London, and a million children reported that they had never seen a cow.
Now this is too much: a million children have never seen a cow? How will they ever be able to understand what God is if they have never looked into the eyes of a cow? God is more crystal-clear in the eyes of a cow than in the eyes of a pope or a SHANKARACHARYA. One million children have not seen a cow? Now these one million children will suffer tremendously. There are thousands and thousands of people who have never seen the Himalayas, the snow-covered peaks, the eternal snow -- virgin, never trod upon. There, God is still more present, is more throbbing, alive; man has not destroyed yet.
The Eastern sages moved into the forest, not because they were against the world but because they wanted to really know the world that God had created, uninterfered with by man. When the Christians move to a monastery they move against the world, because the world is a place of sin. They both move, but they both move for different reasons, diametrically opposite. And the Eastern word `ashram' is beautiful: it means rest. You have lived in the world, you have known the world; now to rest you go to an ashram. You have seen the world -- the ugliness of it, the futility of it, the uselessness of it, the meaninglessness of it -- now you would like to rest. Now you go deep into the forest, you sit under the shady trees, you listen to the murmur of the brooks and the song of the birds, and you see the sunrays playing on the treetops in the morning, and you watch the silent stars. You relax. By-and-by, you relax into your nature with the help of nature outside you. It becomes a harmony -- the inner nature and the outer nature. You start playing with the outer nature. It is not a seeking; a Hindu ashram is not seeking. It is a place to rest.
Seek, and you will never find -- because the very seeking makes you tense. The East says: Seek not, and He will find you. Seek and you will never find, seek and you will seek in vain. Blessed are those who can rest in prayer, who can rest and trust, and who can say, "Okay, whenever you feel like coming, come. I am not in a hurry." The East is not in a hurry, the East has no time-consciousness. It says, "Okay, if in this life, good; and if you decide to come next life, good. You will find me still here. There is no hurry."
The West is too much in a hurry. In the West the concept of one life has made such a tense knot in the human mind. Only one life? -- seventy years? -- three score and ten years, and finished? And of these seventy years, twenty-five years are lost in education, for almost twenty-five years you will be sleeping, and for the remainder, shaving and going to the office, coming from the office... and the traffic and the conflict and the children and the court and the divorce -- all these things. What is left? If you count everything, you will be simply surprised: not even seven minutes are left for God. A great hurry arises: move fast! Do something! Otherwise, how will you find God?
God is not something to be found. It is something you relax in, it is an inner space. When you are not, it is there. And when you are not, you are only not when you are not a seeker. The seeker holds you as an ego. WHO is seeking?
The ashram is a totally different concept: you relax, you just be. You do small things. You feel hungry -- you eat. You feel tired -- you go to sleep, with no hurry, with no worry. You just allow God to come in His own way, in His own time. This is the concept of the ashram.
If you really want to know a real ashram, my ashram is the only ashram -- because all other ashrams are ABSOLUTELY corrupted by the Christians; they think they are Hindu but they are not. Because there is a certain attraction in the Christian argument, it appeals. First, the very idea of will appeals: you have to work hard. The Christians have given a work ethic to the world. Work! Play? Forget about play. Play is for children. You work, you are a grown-up, you work hard, you work for your whole life, and then in the end -- like a carrot dangling -- you will have your reward. In the end! And that end never comes. You work and work and work and you die working. One day you fall into your grave.
In the East we don't have that work ethic. We say: Relax, enjoy, play, fool around, have fun, don't be serious. And the end is not in the end, and the end is not in the result; it is in the process itself. Let me repeat: "Heaven is all the way to heaven. Has He not said: I am the Way?" This relaxed attitude by-and-by helps you to disappear, to disappear utterly. And when you are not, suddenly one day you see God is there. And you see... you are amazed that He has always been there. If you were not seeking Him, you would have known Him at any time. Your very seeking was the hindrance -- because the sought was hiding in the seeker, and you were rushing hither and hither.
The monastery is of the West; the monastery is the argument of the West. The ashram is of the East, the argument of the East. And I say to you that all the other ashrams in India have become Christian, because the Christian monastery appeals very much. The modern world is made by the West; the East is no more East.
Will helps you to feel more egoistic. Everybody wants to feel that he is somebody, and you can feel that you are somebody only if you do something. Just fooling around, you cannot feel like somebody. Just having fun, you cannot feel like somebody. You have to do something to prove that you are somebody. And then the Christian ethic says: Religion is service, so go and serve people.
The Eastern attitude is: Religion is not service. Service may come as a by-product but it is not synonymous with religion. Religion is meditation, prayer, relaxation. Religion is to go into yourself. I you have arrived deep into your own being, maybe -- and that is a maybe, a perhaps -- you may start serving people. But the service will not be a duty, it will be just sharing. And the East says: It is just a "perhaps", because it may not happen to everybody in the same way. Each is so unique. When it happened to Meera, she started dancing; she forgot all about service. Of course, there were poor people, and it would have been more economical if she had served poor people, but she simply started dancing and singing. And I say she did well. If she had served a leper or a poor person, or if she had opened a school and had made a hospital, that would have been a great loss -- because her songs are so tremendously beautiful. Her dance has changed the quality of human existence: she has pulsated a new tune. No, it would not have been good. It is good that she allowed her own expression. There have been people who never went anywhere when they became enlightened; they remained under their trees. That's how it happened to them.
In the East we accept the uniqueness of the individual. We don't enforce any ethic on top of him. We simply say: When you have come home, then whatsoever happens is good. Then whatsoever God wills through you, let it be so. Amen. You don't interfere. If He wants to be silent in you under a bodhi tree, then let Him be silent. Through silence He will create pulsations which will change the centuries the coming centuries. For thousands of years those pulsations will help people to attain higher states of consciousness, altered states of consciousness. So don't bother and don't interfere. If He wants to remain quiet and silent, let Him be. If He wants to dance in you, let Him. If He wants to go and serve poor people, let Him. If He wants to become a Meera, good; if He wants to become a Chaitanya, good; if He wants to become a Buddha, good. Whatsoever He wills, let His will be done.
But the Christian argument is important: The world is poor, people are suffering, and you are meditating? Go and serve people! It is logical, it appeals to reason. The ashram has disappeared.
I am trying to create a new commune -- new in the sense that it no longer exists; otherwise it is the most ancient one. It existed once, now only the memory remains -- not even the memory. It has disappeared, faded away: a commune where people are simply relaxing and doing their things, moving through their feeling, not through reasoning; functioning through the heart not through their heads... and taking it easy.
Yes, the very word `ashram' means: take it easy.

 

 

Next: Chapter 8: God Still Hopes, Question 4

 


    Energy Enhancement           Enlightened Texts           Kabir            The Path of Love

 

 

Chapter 8:

 

     

 

ENERGY

ENHANCEMENT MEDITATION

MEDITATION HEAD

 HOME PAGE

 

GAIN ENERGY APPRENTICE LEVEL1

THE ENERGY BLOCKAGE REMOVAL PROCESS

LEVEL2

THE KARMA CLEARING PROCESS APPRENTICE LEVEL3

MASTERY OF  RELATIONSHIPS TANTRA APPRENTICE LEVEL4

 

STUDENTS EXPERIENCES  2005 AND 2006

 

MORE STUDENTS EXPERIENCES

 - FIFTY FULL TESTIMONIALS

2003 COURSE

 
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