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Chapter 19: Infinite Patience

 

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THERE WAS ONCE A WOMAN WHO HAD HEARD OF THE FRUIT OF HEAVEN. SHE COVETED IT.
SHE ASKED A CERTAIN DERVISH, WHOM WE SHALL CALL SABAR, "HOW CAN I FIND THIS FRUIT, SO THAT I MAY ATTAIN TO IMMEDIATE KNOWLEDGE?"
"YOU WOULD BE BEST ADVISED TO STUDY WITH ME," SAID THE DERVISH. "BUT IF YOU WILL NOT DO SO, YOU WILL HAVE TO TRAVEL RESOLUTELY AND AT TIMES RESTLESSLY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD."
SHE LEFT HIM AND SOUGHT ANOTHER, ARIF THE WISE ONE, AND THEN SHE FOUND HAKIM, THE SAGE, AND MAJZUB THE MAD, THEN ALIM THE SCIENTIST, AND MANY MORE...
SHE PASSED THIRTY YEARS IN HER SEARCH. FINALLY SHE CAME TO A GARDEN. THERE STOOD THE TREE OF HEAVEN, AND FROM ITS BRANCHES HUNG THE BRIGHT FRUIT OF HEAVEN.
STANDING BESIDE THE TREE WAS SABAR, THE FIRST DERVISH.
"WHY DID YOU NOT TELL ME WHEN WE FIRST MET THAT YOU WERE THE CUSTODIAN OF THE FRUIT OF HEAVEN?" SHE ASKED HIM.
"BECAUSE YOU WOULD NOT THEN HAVE BELIEVED ME. BESIDES, THE TREE PRODUCES FRUIT ONLY ONCE IN THIRTY YEARS AND THIRTY DAYS."

 

ONCE UPON A TIME THERE LIVED a very poor man in a village in Italy. He desperately wanted to know the answer to the mystery of existence, so he decided to work very hard and travel to the Himalayas and find a guru. He worked long arduous hours and at the end of twenty years he had saved his fare.
He had been on a ship for about two weeks when a tremendous storm blew up and he was shipwrecked, and found himself on a desert island. He spent the next twenty years on the island when one day he managed to finally attract the attention of a tanker. They picked him up and took him to Bombay where he caught a plane. He had managed to salvage some of his money when shipwrecked.
However, during the flight he was hijacked by the hijackers. But the hijackers decided to set him free in the desert. He walked to a village and waited for the bus to take him to the Himalayas.
Within a few months the bus came and he caught it to the foothills of the Himalayas. He then spent a long time on foot but finally managed to arrive at the guru's cave. He then asked the guru his question about the mystery of life.
The guru replied, "Life is a river."
The man went crazy, threw his arms up and shouted at the guru, "For fifty years I have been trying to get to you. I had to work very hard for the fare. I was shipwrecked and then hijacked, and bloody hell -- now you tell me life is a river?!"
And the guru said, "Isn't it?"

Life is not a problem or a puzzle to be solved. Life is a mystery to be loved and to be lived. And the mystery is not something far away, the mystery is something that is very obvious, herenow. The mystery is the this-ness of existence; hence the answer of the guru, "Life is a river."
He must have been sitting on the bank of the river watching the river go by. In that moment his consciousness was full of the river, there was nothing else but the river.
Another Master was asked, "What is truth?" and he said, "The cypress tree in the courtyard." He must have been looking at the beautiful cypress in the courtyard; that was all in that moment. That moment was full of the cypress tree, that moment was nothing but the cypress tree.
And another Master when asked, "What is life?" was drinking tea. He said, "A cup of tea."
This-ness, idam, or suchness, tathata -- that's what life is.
Another, still another Master, was weighing flax, and he was asked, "What is Buddha?" and he said, "Three pounds of flax."
These answers are tremendously important. They don't appear important on the surface. It certainly can drive a person who has been working for fifty years to reach to the Master crazy, who has wasted his whole life to reach to the Master, to know the mystery of life -- and the Master says, "Life is a river," or "A cup of tea," or "The cypress tree in the courtyard," or "Three pounds of flax." It will drive anybody crazy. But the answers are tremendously beautiful.
This moment is the answer, whatever it is. There is no other answer. The facticity of this moment is the answer. Truth is herenow, but the ego is never satisfied with the truth that is herenow. The ego wants something difficult, it thrives on difficulties. The ego lives through great challenges. If life is only a cup of tea, where will your ego find the ground to stand on? If life is only the cypress tree in the courtyard, how will you become a great saint, a mahatma? There is no possibility left -- the ego will have to disappear. If truth is so simple and obvious, then the ego cannot be nourished. There is nothing left to be nourished on.
When the Master said, "Life is a river," he simply took away the very earth underneath the man. He must have wanted something of tremendous import, a revelation, God descending from heaven, great light, infinite light happening, a vision, something utterly extraordinary.
"Life is a river"? -- such an ordinary statement? But if you meditate over it you will find God descending from heaven, great light, infinite light coming to your vision, psychedelic, colorful, spiritual experiences. All are just childish. All are toys for the ego to play with.
Real religion consists of the obvious. The obvious, the ordinary, is the mysterious. The obvious, that which is always with you, has always been with you, will always be with you, is God. Between you and God there is no distance at all. Not even a single step is needed to be taken.
If you understand it, you have understood all the religions, all the scriptures.
But the ego will create trouble. Ego is never interested in simple things because on simple things it cannot soar high. The more a thing is difficult, the better for the ego. That's why religions became interested in unnecessary difficulties. They are called austerities, asceticism; they are nothing but food for the ego. They have not helped anybody to know the truth. In fact they have been the greatest barriers.
Religion became a pathology, religion went neurotic, because of the demands of the ego. The ego wants something utterly difficult so that it becomes a special privilege if you attain it -- only you have attained it, nobody else. It wants truth to be something like the peak of Everest or walking on the moon; something so special that you can claim. Through it, you become special.
Because of this, religion slowly slowly became sado-masochistic. "Torture yourself" -- the more you torture, the more religious you are. And when a person tortures himself, teaches others also to torture themselves, out of necessity he becomes doubly pathological. He tortures himself, so he is a masochist, and because he teaches others to torture themselves he becomes a sadist.
In the name of religion, sado-masochism has existed on the earth. That's why only neurotic people become interested in religion. The healthy person avoids it.
The religion I am teaching you is for the healthy person. It is for those who are not in search of fulfilling their egos. It is for those who are ready to be ordinary, utterly ordinary. It is for those who are ready to dissolve in the obvious. It is for those who are ready to make their home in this moment, this beautiful now, and who are not hankering for any paradise, who are not hankering at all; who have no desires for the other world and no desires for some god sitting on a golden throne somewhere; but for those whose god is spread all over existence, in the calls of the birds and in the green leaves of the trees and in the dewdrops and in the sunrays and in you and in me -- all over; whose god is not something separate from life and existence; whose god can be in a cup of tea, whose god can be the river flowing by, whose god can be the cypress tree in the courtyard, and whose god can be three pounds of flax. It is not sacrilegious. It is not that God is reduced, Buddha is reduced, to three pounds of flax; on the contrary, three pounds of flax is transformed into divinity, into Buddhahood, into God. It is not sacrilegious, it is one of the most sacred statements ever made.
This is one of the basic truths to be understood. Then it will be very easy to go into this beautiful parable.

THERE WAS ONCE A WOMAN WHO HAD HEARD OF THE FRUIT OF HEAVEN. SHE COVETED IT.

Meditate over each word:

THERE WAS ONCE A WOMAN WHO HAD HEARD...

Many of the people who become religious, become religious only through information. That's where they miss the whole point; their first step has fallen on the wrong track.
If your life makes you religious, then it is totally different. If your very experience of life creates enquiry in you about truth, that has beauty in it. But just because you have heard -- people are talking about God and paradise and nirvana and enlightenment -- and because of their talk and constant propaganda down the centuries, and millions of books and scriptures, and churches and temples and gurudwaras and mosques, and everywhere it is being taught, from the very childhood you are being conditioned that there is a God, that there is a paradise, that you have to search for it.... If you become interested in the search because of these conditionings, your search is doomed from the very beginning. You have already moved in a wrong direction. It is not your search, it is borrowed. It is not an authentic desire in your heart, it is just in your head. It is accidental; it is because you have been told. If you were not told you would not have bothered at all. And you can see it.
When a Jaina comes to me, he never asks how to find God, because in his scriptures there is no belief about God. He asks how to attain to moksha, to ultimate freedom, liberation. God is not meaningful to him at all, because he has not been taught about God. Not that he knows there is no God, but because his mind has been conditioned in a certain way, he has given another word with totally different connotations. He has been taught that y our soul is in a bondage in the world and you have to drop the bondage and attain to ultimate freedom. Unless you attain to ultimate freedom -- when all bondages of attachment, possessiveness, domination, have disappeared, when there is no greed, no anger, no sex, when there is nobody left and you are a pure soul... then you have arrived. This is the goal, moksha. He asked about moksha.
But no Christian ever asks me about moksha, freedom. He has not been told. He asks how, by what means, one can enter into the kingdom of God. He never asks how to become God, because he has not been told. On the contrary, he has been told nobody can become God. God is God and you are you, God is the creator and you are the creature -- and how can the creature be the creator? So even the idea of becoming God will look sacrilegious, a sin, a great sin. He will never ask how to become a God, how to realize God. No! All that he wants is how to enter into the kingdom of God, that's all.
But when a Vedantin comes to me, then his enquiry is totally different. He says, "How to become God? How to become absolute truth?" He does not ask about the kingdom of God. He has been told tat tvam asi, that art thou. You are in your very essence God, so attain to your Godhood. Aham brahmasmi -- I am God -- that has been poured into him with the mother's milk. He has become saturated with the idea. He asks, how to become God? From where are these different enquiries coming?
And when a Buddhist comes he never asks how to become a God, because there is no God in his theology. His theology is without any concept of God. In fact, to call it theology is not right, because there is no theos, no God. He does not believe in any soul, so he will never ask how to realize one's own being -- there is none. Self-realization is utter nonsense for him. Because he does not believe in the soul there is no question of attaining liberation; there is nobody to be liberated. Then what is his enquiry?
He asks about nirvana. Nirvana means to extinguish this illusory flame of life. His enquiry is very negative; he simply asks how not to be. There is no question of being a soul, no question of being a God, no question of God's kingdom. His enquiry is very negative. He asks how not to be, how to be extinguished utterly, how to become utter emptiness, how to disappear into emptiness so nothing is left.
The Jaina asks how to make one's own self free, and the Buddhist asks how to be free of one's own self. But these different enquiries are all accidental, borrowed. Even your questions are borrowed, your queries are borrowed. Even your enquiry is not yours. It is not true, and when you begin with an untrue enquiry you will never come to a true conclusion.
That is one of the greatest problems every seeker has to face. Don't start with what you have heard, start with what you have felt. Can't you feel the beauty of existence and the mystery of existence? Can't you feel this utter poetry of existence? Have you to go into the Vedas to feel the poetry of existence? Have you to go into the Bible? Have you to ask Buddha, Christ, Krishna? Can't you yourself see? Don't you have eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart to feel? Then what are you doing here? What are you? Are you alive or not?
An alive person is one who will look at life, who will witness life; who will not only witness life but will witness the witness itself. And then there arises a great enquiry -- "What is all this?" It is not borrowed, it is not heard from somebody else. It arises from the deepest core of your being just like a sprout arising out of a seed. Then the enquiry is not plastic; it is a real rose. And only a real rose can have a real fragrance.

THERE WAS ONCE A WOMAN WHO HAD HEARD OF THE FRUIT OF HEAVEN....

She had just heard; and when you hear you are bound to misunderstand.
Now, the "Fruit of Heaven" is just a metaphor. It is just a way of saying it, a poetic way of saying it. The ultimate truth cannot be expressed in words. No word is adequate to express it. Hence metaphors have to be used, similes have to be used, just to give you a little indication, a little taste. It is difficult to show you the truth directly, so some indirect ways and means have to be devised. Parables have to be told, stories, because stories don't say anything directly, they only give you subtle hints, delicate hints.
The Fruit of Heaven -- what does it mean? If you have heard it from somebody it simply means "fruit of heaven". Then you start thinking of some fruit. It is not a fruit, it is fruitfulness. The fruit only represents a state of fruitfulness. The fruit represents three F's: one is fruitfulness, another is flowering, another is fragrance. And when all these three F's exist together -- the fruit, the flower, and the fragrance -- the fourth F comes into existence. That is fulfillment. That is the real goal.
Now if you try to decipher, to decode the symbol of the Fruit of Heaven, how are you going to work, how will you decode it? The Christian will think it means Kingdom of God, and the Brahmin will think it means God-realization, and the Jaina will think it means freedom of the self, and the Buddhist will think it means freedom from the self. Again you have fallen into the trap of the herd.
Be a little more intelligent. Be a little more trusting of your own being. Decode these beautiful metaphors on your own; meditate on them.
That's why I am speaking on these stories. Nobody has ever spoken on them. Why am I speaking on these small stories? -- just to give you a few clues on how to meditate. These are not commentaries on these stories; I am not a commentator. I am simply helping you to meditate. I don't want to give you a very fixed meaning, I simply want to give you a very liquid, vague, cloudy glimpse. Then you have to search and seek and find. The conclusion has to be yours. I can give you a few clues on how to meditate. That's all that I am doing here... just clues on how to meditate, not conclusions! Don't lean upon me. I am not going to give you a single conclusion, because once a conclusion is given by somebody else it loses all truth, it becomes a falsehood. It may be true for me, but the moment I give it to you it becomes false. In the very transfer it loses all truth. To me it was a real rose; by the time it reaches you it is a plastic flower.
This is the problem of language, the great problem that has always been faced by all the mystics of all the ages of all the lands. Language is good enough to convey mundane reality: it is utterly impotent in conveying the sacred reality.
But some ways have to be found, because it has to be conveyed. A parable, a story, is a subtle way, a delicate way, an indirect way. The story does not hit, it simply triggers a process in you. It is not like a stone that hits you hard. It is like the fragrance of a flower that comes and surrounds you and caresses you.

THERE WAS ONCE A WOMAN WHO HAD HEARD OF THE FRUIT OF HEAVEN. SHE COVETED IT.

The moment you believe in somebody else's truth, you start coveting it. And truth cannot be coveted. And the person who covets truth will never attain to it.
Truth is not a commodity to be coveted. Truth is not a thing to be desired and longed for. Truth is not there outside you to be possessed. Truth is something that flowers in you; you don't take it from anybody. And if you attain to truth, it is not like money that somebody else has lost because you have it. It is not a quantity in the world, it is a quality of being.
When Buddha becomes enlightened it is not that somebody else is suffering: Buddha has usurped enlightenment, now somebody must be poor and will not be able to attain enlightenment. If somebody becomes rich, naturally somebody else somewhere will become poor. That's not the case with truth. It is not a quantity -- remember it -- it is a quality.
If I see the beauty of the moon, it does not mean that I have taken some beauty of the moon and nobody else will be able to see the beauty now, because I have possessed it. It is a quality! Millions of people can see the beauty. There is no question of competition, there is no quarrel. On the contrary, the more people see the beauty of the moon, the more beautiful it becomes.
In fact, this has been one of the greatest observations of poets, painters, and the people who move in the dimension of aesthetics: that when a poet writes a poem about the moon he reveals some beauty of the moon which was not available before. And many more people will be able to see it now; their sensitivity will be aroused.
You have seen the sun rising, but if you have seen the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh of the sun rising, the sun in the middle of the day, the sun setting, you will be surprised: he has a totally different way of looking at the sun. He was so madly in love with the sun as nobody has ever been. For one year continuously he was painting the sun and the sun and the sun, and he was standing continuously under the sun for one year. It was so hot, but he wanted to catch the sun in all its moods. He caught the sun in all its moods, in all its whims, in all its expressions, but he himself went mad. One year just standing under the sun, looking at the sun -- the heat was too much, he could not bear it. His love for the sun was such that he went mad for it.
If you see Van Gogh's paintings of the sun you will become, for the first time, aware of the beauty of the sun. When you will look at the sun, something of Van Gogh's vision will have penetrated your soul.
Nature is more beautiful because there have been nature poets. Nature is more beautiful because there have been nature painters. Nature is more beautiful because many, many people have seen beauty in it and that has become a heritage that has penetrated our beings.
Truth is not like money, truth is like beauty. The more people see it, the more clear it is. The more people have it, the more people can have it. There is no question of coveting.
But the woman had only heard, the woman had only gathered rumors about the Fruit of Heaven. Now she must be feeling very miserable, in despair: "Others have attained and I have not attained. I have to show to the world, I have to prove myself."
This is an ego trip, this is not true search; this is the same ego trip. Some people are trying to collect more and more money so they can stand on the pile of money and declare to the world, "Nobody has more than I have." Somebody else is moving into the world of power-politics so he can become the president of a country and declare, "Look! I have arrived." And then there are others who are thinking that when they have attained to the Fruit of Heaven they will show the world: "Now do you know who I am? I am a Realized Person. I have Attained and you are all Ignorant, and you are all Sinners and you are all still crawling in the mud of the world. I have gone beyond it." Then one can have that look which is known as "holier-than-thou".
This woman coveted it. If you hear about truth, God, enlightenment, there arises a great desire: "Others are having something which I am not having. I must have it."
It is just like somebody else having a beautiful house, and you covet it; somebody else has a beautiful wife, and you covet. Is truth a beautiful house? Is truth a beautiful woman?
Truth is not a thing, truth is a no-thing. Truth is not a commodity there outside you, it is an experience, it is in your interiority. It is felt, lived at the very core of your being. It cannot be possessed, it cannot be coveted -- but that's how it goes on.
Just the other day somebody has asked, "If I can convince him, he will become a sannyasin. If I can convince him that by wearing orange and the mala he will attain to bliss"... Now this is greed, and a greedy person cannot be a sannyasin. And it is not a question of my convincing you; you will have to convince me that you are worth being initiated into sannyas. You will have to convince me that you have not come to enquire just because others are talking about God, but that a great inner desire has arisen in you, a longing, a thirst, that you are aflame, that a passion has arisen in you that "Life is useless if I don't know who I am, if I don't know from where I come and if I don't know to where I am going. I have to know it, because without knowing it, whatsoever I am doing is foolish, is going to be stupid. Without knowing who I am whatsoever I do is meaningless. Meaning can arise only when I know my nature and start moving according to my nature. When there is a harmony of me and the existence that surrounds me, only then can there be joy and bliss."
Bliss is not something to be desired, bliss is not something to be coveted.
But the person who had asked must have come here hearing others saying that if you become a sannyasin you will attain to God, to bliss. Now he wants me to convince him.
I am not a salesman! I am not selling God to you! Why should I convince you? If you are thirsty you will come to the river. The river does not bother, the river is not in any need of convincing you, that "I am water and I can quench your thirst." If you are thirsty you will try. You will have to try; there is no other way.
But the problem always arises because we hear others, we don't feel any passion arising in our own being. Our passion is borrowed, superficial. And a man, who has no passion for truth of his own is not yet man. He is still part of the animal world, he is still living unconsciously. At least something -- just even a small thirst will do -- but you will have to bring a thirst of your own.
I have heard...

A tramp knocked at a cottage door, and when it was opened he said to the housewife, "Beg pardon mum, but I wonder if you would not sew a button on a coat for me."
"Why yes, my man," said the woman, a kindly soul. "Come in."
The tramp entered and handed the woman a button.
"Very well," she said, "now where is the coat?"
"Ah, I ain't got nothing but the button, mum. I was thinking maybe you would sew the coat on."

But people who start searching for God don't even have the button. I am ready to supply the coat, but at least bring the button! At least a little thirst of your own, your own heart beating a little faster, a readiness to risk, a readiness to devote something, to dedicate, a readiness to sacrifice something... a readiness to risk....

SHE ASKED A CERTAIN DERVISH, WHOM WE SHALL CALL SABAR, "HOW CAN I FIND THIS FRUIT, SO THAT I MAY ATTAIN TO IMMEDIATE KNOWLEDGE?"

Sabr or Sabar is a significant word: it means patience.

SHE ASKED A CERTAIN DERVISH, WHOM WE SHALL CALL SABAR, "HOW CAN I FIND THIS FRUIT, SO THAT I MAY ATTAIN TO IMMEDIATE KNOWLEDGE?"

These parables are pieces of objective art. Each word has significance, and each word has to be meditated upon. Why should we call this dervish Sabar? That is not his name, certainly. That's why the story says, "We shall call him Sabar."
Sabar comes from sabr: it means infinite patience. Those who are in search will need infinite patience. Patience is the greatest religious quality; if you have patience nothing else is needed. Patience is enough, enough unto itself. Patience means hope, trust, and without any hurry, without any impatience. Impatience simply shows that you are not trustful. Impatience simply shows that you want to impose yourself upon the will of God, that you want it right now. You don't want him to work on his own. Impatience means, "My will is greater than your will." Patience means, "I surrender my will to your will. Let you be my will, so whenever I am ripe, whenever -- if it takes an eternity it is okay -- I will trust, I will hope. I will not lose my heart, I will not be disheartened."
Just think of patience... it will bring a meditation on its own. The man of patience becomes meditative because he becomes contented. He says, "God is looking after me so why should I worry?"
The more God has disappeared from the world, the more worries have entered into the world. You can watch it; there is a certain relationship. When people are in trust, in faith, when people know that God is, that we are taken care of, that we are not strangers on this earth, that we belong, that there is some invisible hand that is always ready to take us in the right direction, that we can live without worry, contentment arises, peace, silence, tranquility, a serenity.
All is lost now because trust in God is lost. The moment man loses God, he loses all -- because then he has to depend only on himself, and he is tiny, and the existence is vast. Man is just an atom and the atom is trying to struggle with this infinite existence. There is bound to be tension, anguish, despair, frustration, worry, suicide, madness.
The religious person is one who is relaxed with existence, who does not push the river; on the contrary, who dissolves into the river and says to the river, "Take me wherever you are going, because wherever you are going is the goal." The religious person, the person who is patient, is one who says, "I will not seek and search a goal of my own, I don't have a private goal to seek and search. Wherever this infinite universe is going I am also going." So whatsoever is the destiny of the whole is the destiny of the part. This is patience, this is sabr.
SHE ASKED A CERTAIN DERVISH, WHOM WE SHALL CALL SABAR, "HOW CAN I FIND THIS FRUIT?..."

Now she is asking a wrong question. She says, "How can I find this fruit?"
Remember Lao Tzu's famous statement: "Seek and you will never find; do not seek and it is already found." In seeking you go astray, because seeking means "my will", non-seeking means let-go, disappearance of the ego. And whenever you are not, God is. Lao Tzu is right: seek and you will miss; do not seek and find.
Non-seeking is the way to find. It will look very strange, illogical, but this is how it is. This existence is illogical; that's why we call it a mystery. If it were logical there would be no mystery. If the existence were logical then there would be no need for religion, science would have been enough. Science would have discovered everything if the existence were logical. But it is not; fortunately, it is not. Logic only goes to a certain extent, and then it flops. And when logic flops the real existence begins.
Existence is a mystery. The way to it is not logic but love. The way to it is not prose but poetry. The way to it is not the head but the heart.
Now this woman says, "How can I find this fruit?" The question of "how" is the question of the head, and the idea of finding this fruit is egoistic: "I must possess. " It is the desire to possess and conquer and be, "so that I may attain to immediate knowledge." Now the whole desire is how to attain the fruit so immediate knowledge is possible.
People are in a hurry -- they want instant God, just like instant coffee. They cannot wait. And when you cannot wait you simply say that you don't care much. If you care you can wait; the more you care the more you can wait. If you really care you can wait for eternity. If you don't care then you are in a hurry. You say, "If it is possible right now, instantly, okay; otherwise I am not going to waste time, it is not worth wasting time."
And God is not a seasonal flower, it is a cedar of Lebanon -- it takes time to grow. To reach to the clouds, it takes time. In fact time is not enough, it takes eternity. Time falls short.
And I am not saying that God is not available now. Another paradox to be understood: eternity is always now. The now is the door to eternity. But that door is available only to the patient one, because those who are in a hurry and say, "Instantly I want this," their very hurry creates such cloud and clamor in their minds; they cannot see the now. To see the now one needs a very unclouded consciousness. And the consciousness is unclouded only when there is no desire, no hurry, no impatience, no longing. The consciousness is unclouded only when you are not going anywhere. Just sitting silently, doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself. That is patience.

"YOU SHOULD BE BEST ADVISED TO STUDY WITH ME," SAID THE DERVISH. "BUT IF YOU WILL NOT DO SO, YOU WILL HAVE TO TRAVEL RESOLUTELY AND AT TIMES RESTLESSLY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD."

That's what anybody who knows will say: "You would be best advised to study with me." What does he mean?
The word "study" has not that quality that Sabar must have used.
In India we have a word, swasthya. It can be translated as study, but it misses the whole point. In fact, swasthya means self-study, studying the self. It is not a question of reading scriptures, it is not a question of going more and more into information. Rather it is a question of going more and more inwards, into transformation.
And when Sufis say, "Study with us," they simply mean "Be with us." Being with a Master is the study; just being with the Master, adab, just being in the presence of the one who knows, drinking his presence, savoring his being, tasting him, digesting his energy. You will be surprised: if you come to a Sufi study circle, it has nothing to do with the study circles that exist in the West. In a Western study circle you read a book, then questions are raised and then questions answered, and discussion follows.

In a Sufi study group no question is raised, no book is read. People sit silently for hours, and maybe somebody starts swaying. But the one thing to be remembered is: nobody has to do anything. If it happens it is good. Somebody sometimes starts saying something, but the rule has to be followed: nobody should try to say anything. If it happens on its own, if one finds that something needs to be said, on its own is ready to be said, is just on the tongue, wants to come out "in spite of me", then it's okay.
It is just like the Quaker prayer meeting. Quakers learned it from the Sufis. In the Middle Ages Sufis penetrated deep into European countries. Quakers learned how to sit silently from the Sufis. The Quakers sit silently for hours, then somebody may stand up and may start saying something; but those statements are very inspired. They are not from the person himself -- as if God has taken possession of him. He has become just a hollow bamboo, a flute, and some unknown energy has started singing through him.

The rule has to be followed. But in a Quaker group it is very difficult to follow the rule, because the basic thing is missing -- the Master is missing.
In a Sufi group the Master is a must. The Sufi group arises only when the center is there. The Quaker group is just a traditional thing.They learned it from Sufis but they missed one thing. They learned the outward, adab, the etiquette, how to sit in silence -- and it is good even if without a Master; sitting in silence is good -- but the mind is very cunning. Your mind may play tricks; your mind may like to say something, your mind may enjoy the idea that "Now I am the vehicle of God." And it is not that you are trying to deceive others; your mind can deceive you and you may stand up, and you will feel as if you are not doing anything. But there is no check in a Quaker group.
When you are with a Sufi Master there is a check. He will immediately stop you; he will know when it is from your mind. Maybe it is from your unconscious mind but it is still from your mind. You may not be aware of from where it is coming; that does not mean that it is coming from God. It may be coming from your own deep unconscious of which you are not aware, so it looks as if it is coming from God. A Master is needed, one who can see through and through, who is a mirror not only of your conscious mind but of your unconscious too, before whom you are utterly naked, before whom you cannot hide a thing. His very presence prevents all strategies of the mind.
That is the meaning of being with a Master, adab. That's what Sabar means when he says, "You would be best advised to study with me, be with me, learn to be here. Just watch what is happening here."
But the woman was in a hurry. Study? She had not come to study. She wanted to know immediately where the tree was, where was that garden, and where was the Fruit of Heaven. She was not there to waste her time in studying some nonsense. She wanted immediate results, she was in a hurry. Sabar must have immediately felt it. So first he said, "You would be best advised to study with me, but if you will not do so..." He must have seen the mind of the woman -- that she was not going to do it. She was too much in a hurry; she could not be in the presence of a Master.

"YOU WILL HAVE TO TRAVEL RESOLUTELY AND AT TIMES RESTLESSLY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD."

Then you can go, but one thing I must remind you of. Remember, you will have to go throughout the world, resolutely and at times very restlessly. The journey will be long. If you want it in such a hurry then the journey will be very long. If you are ready to wait, the journey can be very short. If you can wait infinitely it can happen right now too, but if you cannot wait then it may take years or even lives. It is up to you.
The woman missed. The people who are in a hurry always go on missing the Masters, because the basic requirement to be with a Master is patience, and they are impatient. She must have thought, "It is better to go to somebody else who can show me a shortcut."

SHE LEFT HIM AND SOUGHT ANOTHER, ARIF THE WISE ONE.

Now, arif means the knowledgeable. If you go to a real Master, a perfect Master, he will demand many things from you. He will demand utter surrender, just as Krishna says to his disciple Arjuna: Sarva dharma parityajya mamekam sharnam braja -- "Leave all your religions et cetera, and come to my feet, surrender. "
The real Master will demand, and the greater the disciple, the greater the demand is going to be, the more the potential, the more the demand is going to be. The real Master is not there just to inform you, he is there to transform you. But who wants to be transformed? People want something without paying for it.
That's why the woman went to Arif. "Arif" means the knowledgeable one. He is not a Master, he is a teacher. Teachers are many, Masters very rare and very few. That's why Sabar said, "You will have to go around the whole earth, you will have to travel the whole world. Then too, if you can find the Master again, it will be a rare fortune."
You will meet many teachers; they exist everywhere. And they have great appeal too, because they never demand. On the contrary, they supply, they give you information, they make you more knowledgeable. "Arif" means one who is very knowledgeable, a learned man who knows the scriptures, knows doctrines, dogmas, can explain difficult problems of theology, can go into subtleties, into very deep, logical complexities of systems. But information can never satisfy. It is as futile as informing a hungry person about bread: it is about and about, the bread is never supplied. Great talk about the bread, but how can bread, just by being talked about, be satisfying? The talk of the lamp will not create light.
So soon the woman must have become frustrated. She must have gathered a great knowledge, but she must have become frustrated. She moved.
That's how people go on moving from one teacher to another teacher. Even if they come across a Master, there is every possibility of missing the Master -- because they come with expectations. And no Master ever fulfills anybody's expectations; that is an absolute criterion. If somebody fulfills your expectations he is a teacher. In fact he is a follower of yours -- he is fulfilling your expectations. The real Master never fulfills your expectations. On the contrary, he goes on destroying your expectations. Whatsoever you expect, he will never do; he will just do the contrary. Why? -- because if he fulfills your expectations he will never be abIe to change you.
You have to be changed, utterly changed. You have to be burnt, in toto. Your expectations come from your mind; your mind has to be destroyed. Only then and only then is God possible. So how can a real Master fulfill your expectations?
People go on changing from one teacher to another. A few days they are on a honeymoon with one teacher, and then as every honeymoon fades away, after a few days they are finished. When they first come across a teacher they are very enchanted; it seems as if now the time has come for fulfillment of their desire. But soon knowledge is supplied, and knowledge cannot quench your thirst.
The woman must have felt frustrated, so she went to another, Hakim the Sage. "Hakim" means the man who has character, "arif" means the man who has knowledge. Now she is finished with knowledge. She has seen a learned scholar but what is that to do? Now she wants some man who is not only knowledgeable, but who has practised, who has something in his character to say that he knows.
So she must have gone to another, Hakim the Sage. Now the man of character has more appeal than the man of knowledge, because the man of knowledge lives in an intellectual world which very few can understand, but the man of character is very earthly, you can understand him. He eats only once a day, he lives in poverty -- it is so visible -- he is a celibate. Any stupid person can see. No intelligence is needed, no intelligence is at all required, so foolish people become very much attracted to character. And the people who create character around themselves are also mediocre, because by creating a character nothing is changed, never. Only your surface is painted in a better way, your inner reality remains the same.
But it has-great influence on people. They can see, "Yes, this man is not only a learned man, this is a man of God. Look how he lives, with what simplicity, with what humbleness, how egoless he is." It is so plain on the surface; anybody can see.
So she went to the teacher, Hakim, the man of character. But sooner or later you will see the hypocrisy. If you live long enough with the man of character you will see the duality, that there are moments when his real being surfaces, there are moments when he cannot manage his so-called character. If you live long enough and if you watch the man of character you will be able to see the contradictions of his life, the hypocrisy. He is not one, he is many -- or at least two. One is his real essence which comes once in a while at certain moments, through certain provocations. He may be a man of very great compassion if everything goes according to him. If something goes against him, anger may surface. For that anger you will have to be with such a man for a long time, because once in a while he will flare up. He may have repressed his sex, may have become celibate, but once in a while the repressed desire may come to the conscious mind -- he may behave contradicting his character. Because the duality has not been dissolved, it is bound to assert -- so she must have been tired, seeing the hypocrisy.
She went to Majzub the Mad. "Majzub" means the mad. In a way she was coming closer. First she went to the man of knowledge, Arif, which is very superficial. Then she went to the man of character, which is a little bit more practical, not just heady. He had tried to do something with his life, even if he was wrong; but his sincerity could not be suspected. He may have been full of errors but he was sincere. He had tried to do -- in a stupid way of course -- but he had tried to do.
Now she went to a madman, Majzub. "Majzub" means one who is utterly drowned in God, lost, has attained the state of fana, is no more. She had come to the best man.
But there is a problem with a majzub: he cannot be a Master. He is so mad, he cannot help. He is utterly lost, he is not in any way capable of helping. In fact, he himself needs the help of an enlightened person so that some sanity can be brought back to him.
This kind of work has rarely been done in the world, but one of the greatest Masters of this age, Meher Baba, did it. He was also here in Poona, and the Poona people were as much against him as they are against me, for the same reasons -- because he would not fulfill their expectations. He was a man of God. He did something so tremendously valuable that it is rarely done, but no history books will ever mention it because histories are written by fools about other fools. Histories are written by people who don't know anything about the deeper phenomenon that goes on happening. Histories are written about politicians, stupid politicians, Adolf Hitler and so many books....
If you want to see all the books about Adolf Hitler, you can go to Samarpan's room. He has them all, he is the expert; so many books. And people go on writing as if there is something important. Can't you forget these stupid, neurotic people? Is there any need to keep their memory alive forever? It will be very good to drop them out of history. They are wounds! But flowers are not talked about, only wounds.
Meher Baba is not part of history. Nobody has tried to see the great experiment that he did. He travelled all over the country to catch hold of all kinds of majzubs, madmen, because they are just very close to God. Only one thing is needed: somebody is needed who can shake them back to their sanity. Then they can become great Masters. Just a little sanity will be needed; then their madness will have a method in it. Right now they are only mad without any method; they cannot help. And to follow them may be dangerous, hazardous. To follow them, you will be only following yourself because they will never give you any clue. And whatsoever they will say, if you follow it, can lead you astray. It can throw you into deep pitfalls, because they are not in their consciousness; they have drowned themselves in God so much that they are drunk, they are drunkards. They have known God but they have no way to relate it to you. They cannot be Masters.
Each Master becomes a majzub before he becomes a Master -- he goes through great madness -- but all majzubs are not Masters. If a majzub dies as a majzub, he will attain to God but without helping anybody at all.
Now she had come to a right person, but the person was not a Master and could not be a Master. He could not supply any method.
So she started moving again to somebody who could supply a method. So she went to the fourth, Alim. "Alim" means the scientist, the methodologist, one who can give you the methods. She has again moved far away, because it is not necessary that the person who can give you the method knows what he is doing, because methods can be gathered from scriptures. You can read Patanjali's YOGA SUTRAS and you can start giving methods to others; that is not going to help.
A majzub cannot give methods. And the person who gives methods, if he has not been a majzub, is of no use. The majzub cannot be followed -- it is dangerous, because you will be following a madman -- and you cannot follow Alim, the scientist, because he himself does not know anything. He has gathered about methods, he is interested, he is a collector of methods.
There are many people who go on writing commentaries on the YOGA SUTRAS of Patanjali, and they have never meditated, they have never known what meditation is. But they know all about meditation. Many times they have come to me; they have written beautiful commentaries, they are very knowledgeable, learned, scholarly. You cannot find any fault with their language, with their exposition, but there is no experience to support what they are saying. There is not much difference between them and the ignorant people.

... AND MANY MORE. She went to many more.
SHE PASSED THIRTY YEARS IN HER SEARCH. FINALLY SHE CAME TO A GARDEN.

The garden is again a symbol. The story of the world starts with the garden, the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, and life was eternally beautiful and blissful. The garden is the beginning of existence. And then Adam and Eve were thrown out, or threw themselves out, by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
The moment you become knowledgeable you lose innocence. And innocence is the garden. In innocence, flowers bloom. In innocence, fragrance is released. In innocence, all is bliss. The garden is a symbol for innocence. And since Adam and Eve left the garden, man has been searching for the garden again and again.
The teqir, or the school of the Master, is called the garden of the Master -- because with a Master you start vomiting the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. The Master is nothing but a process of taking out all the poison of knowledge from your system so that you can become innocent again. And when Adam is innocent, Adam becomes Christ. He enters the garden again -- paradise lost, paradise regained....
And do you know what the word "paradise" means? It comes from a Sufi word fIRDHAUS. Firdhaus means a walled garden. That is from where the word "paradise" comes. Paradise is the garden. We have lost the garden somewhere in the past: we have to regain it. We have to be again as innocent as children and immediately we are back in the garden. In fact we have always been in the garden, but our eyes are so full of knowledge that we cannot see the garden. When the eyes are cleaned of knowledge and the dust of knowledge disappears from the mirror of consciousness, suddenly the whole garden explodes.

SHE PASSED THIRTY YEARS IN HER SEARCH. FINALLY SHE CAME TO A GARDEN. THERE STOOD THE TREE OF HEAVEN, AND FROM ITS BRANCHES HUNG THE BRIGHT FRUIT OF HEAVEN.
STANDING BESIDE THE TREE WAS SABAR....

You can imagine the shock the woman must have gone through. Sabar? And he was the first one she had come across.

STANDING BESIDE THE TREE WAS SABAR....

That too is a beautiful metaphor: if you want to attain to the Fruit of Heaven, you will have to pass through the custodian, sabar, patience.
Patience is the door back to the garden.
The First Dervish was standing by the side of the tree."

WHY DID YOU NOT TELL ME WHEN WE FIRST MET THAT YOU WERE THE CUSTODIAN OF THE FRUIT OF HEAVEN?" SHE ASKED HIM.
"BECAUSE YOU WOULD NOT THEN HAVE BELIEVED ME. "

A truth can be told only when you are ready for it. A truth can be given to you only when you are worthy of it. A truth can be transferred only when you have become a receptacle, not before it, not a single moment before it. When you are ripe, mature, ready, then not even a single moment passes by; Immediately... here you are ripe and there you are given the truth.
The Master cannot load you with something that is unnecessary. The unnecessary load will be heavy on you. It will be destructive, it may turn into poison, it will not nourish you. It may give you weight but it will not give you vitality.

"BECAUSE YOU WOULD NOT THEN HAVE BELIEVED ME. BESIDES, THE TREE PRODUCES FRUIT ONLY ONCE IN THIRTY YEARS AND THIRTY DAYS."

Even if you had believed you would have had to wait. Even if you had believed, this time had to be passed in infinite patience; for that also you were not ready. So the best course was this: that I should allow you to go from one teacher to another, from one school to another school, and come back again when the time was ripe. You are ripe now, because you have seen through all the falsities.
You have been to Arif, the man of knowledge, and it was not enough. How can knowledge ever be enough? Knowledge is knowledge. To know about water is not going to quench your thirst.
You went to Hakim, the man of character, but the real man has no character. The real man lives moment to moment. The real man has consciousness but no conscience. The religious man knows nothing of morality; although he lives in morality he knows nothing of it. The real man has no character; he is characterless, although only he has character.
What do I mean by this contradiction? He has no programed character, he does not live in a readymade way, he is not predictable. Each moment he responds in a fresh way. He is true, he is one, he is integrated, but these things are not imposed on him. He has not practised them. He has only worked for one thing: he has tried to become more and more conscious. Now out of his consciousness, each moment characters arise and disappear. But he does not carry the load of a structure around himself. He has no armor of the character. He is continuously free; he is freedom.
You went to Hakim, and then you knew that all character, imposed character, carries hypocrisy in it.
Then you went to Majzub and he was a real man, but he was so mad that he could not teach you anything. Seeing that he could not teach you any method, you went to Alim, the methodologist, who knows everything about methods. But he had never done anything; it was not based in his own experience.
All this was needed, everything was good, and you have come back right in time, because "this Tree produces fruit only once in thirty years and thirty days." Even if you had believed -- which was impossible -- you could not have understood. Even if I had said, "I am the custodian," you may have thought, "This man is very egoistic -- claiming himself to be the custodian?" That may have put you off. You could not have understood it, because you had come with the expectation that the man of knowing is humble.

The man of real understanding is neither arrogant nor humble. He simply is not, he only states the fact. It can hurt you, but that is your responsibility, that is your problem. He does not want to hurt you, ke has no desire to hurt anybody but his statements can hurt. And when they hurt, you will think they are being made in arrogance, in anger. They are not made in any anger or arrogance; be is simply stating a fact, as it is.

Sabar says: "BECAUSE YOU WOULD NOT THEN HAVE BELIEVED ME."

And it was better not to say anything that you could not believe. It was better for me to wait for you; and I have also been waiting. And I am Sabar, I can wait; that's why I am the custodian. And you have come right in time. Now don't feel worried and don't think those thirty years have been a wastage. Nothing is a wastage. All those experiences -- even going through false teachers, even going through unnecessary paths -- have helped you. It has ripened you, it has made you mature. Now you are ready; I can deliver the fruit to you."
And that's what is happening here: many come, only a few stay. Many come, but I cannot tell them that now there is no need to go anywhere, you have arrived home. I can tell that only to a few people, only to those who are ready to understand, who are ripe to understand. Otherwise I have to tell people to go, to search, to seek. Hopefully, after thirty years and thirty days, if I am here and you come back, you may be able to understand, and I may be able to give to you what i can give to you right now, but you will not take it.
The greatest thing in life is to be ready to take, to receive, to be feminine, to be a womb. And the real disciple is one who becomes feminine, who becomes a womb. When he is with the Master he is just receptive, passive. He drops all seeking, all searching, all hankering. He forgets all about truth, all about God and paradise and all that. He simply goes on allowing the Master to enter him; he becomes the host for the Master.
And when you disappear completely and the Master has filled you completely, the Master also disappears. And in the disappearance of the disciple and the Master is paradise, the garden. You have come back home.

 

 

Next: Chapter 20: The World Of No-Thing, Question 1

 


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