The 'Instant' Pathology

Second Question



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The second question:

Question 2


First, even if you do, you will not be able to push it. For a moment you may feel powerful -- that you are pushing the river -- but finally you will be defeated by it. The river is huge, the energy is huge, it will take you. Finally you will onLy feel defeated, frustrated.

That's what people are doing and that's why people look so frustrated and sad, so defeated, so depressed. They are pushing the river, fighting with life -- not trusting life but fighting with life.

A very poisonous idea has entered into the human mind -- that life is a struggle, that one has to fight, that it is a struggle to survive, that everybody is your enemy. Treat everybody as your enemy and beware. Everybody is going to destroy you. So before somebody else destroys you, it is better that you should jump on him.

Just the other day I was reading a new commandment: Do to others before they do it to you. This is a poisonous idea, very irreligious.

Religion means trust, surrender, going with the river, going with God. We belong to this universe, we are not alien, nobody is your enemy. Even the enemy is not your enemy -- that's why Jesus says 'Love your enemies.' He means that even the enemy is not your enemy, you must have misinterpreted him. In the final reckoning even your enemies are your friends. They were giving you challenges, they were creating situations for you to grow.

Don't fight with life. If you fight, you will never win. Let me give you this paradox -- and all great statements are paradoxical: If you want to win, don't try to win; if you want to be defeated, try to win.

I was reading about Alexander the Great and about his last words. The last words that he uttered are tremendously significant. Remember them. The last words that he uttered do not look like Alexander's, but he has come to an understanding -- of course, very late. But even then it is never too late. Even if you come home when the sun is setting, then, too, it is not too late.

The sun was setting, Alexander was dying. He was dying in his golden palace. He had the most beautiful palace that anybody has ever had before or since. He had all the power that a man can have and all the riches and all the beautiful women. He had all the greatest physicians of the world to take care of him and he was not very old, but he was dying.

And the physicians said, 'Now we are helpless. ' He wanted to be alive at least twenty-four hours more, just twenty-four hours, because he wanted to see his mother. He had promised his mother that he would come back. He had to go and conquer the world, but when he was leaving he promised his mother that he would come back. And the distance was very little but at least twenty-four hours were needed to reach there, or for the mother to be brought to him. and he only wanted to live for twenty-four hours more -- with all the wealth of the world and all the power of the world -- but the physician said, 'It is impossible. You cannot live for even twenty-four minutes. Life is disappearing, slipping away. We are sorry but we cannot do anything.'

Lying on a golden couch studded with valuable diamonds, how helpless Alexander must have felt. He was just asking for twenty-four hours -- not much. Not much at least for an Alexander. He was not a beggar. Twenty four hours for a man like Alexander was not too much but even that was not possible.

And when the last flicker of life was disappearing he opened his eyes, looked-at his gold palace, his generals standing around him, his immensely costly couch on which he was dying -- a poor man, a beggar -- and he laughed at the whole ridiculousness of it. And he wanted only twenty-four hours! These were his last words. He said, 'All is vanity,' closed his eyes and died.

'All is vanity.' And he struggled his whole life for this vanity. He died a poor man, empty, exhausted, utterly disillusioned.

He was a conqueror. He was pushing the river of life according to his desires. He wanted to impose himself on existence.

Please, flow with the river. You are a part, you cannot impose yourself on the whole; the whole is infinite. It is as foolish as a small wave trying to direct the whole ocean, trying to dominate the whole ocean, trying to pull the ocean in a certain direction, to certain goals. It is not possible. How can a small wave be in control of the vast ocean? And we are not even waves, we are just ripples. For one moment we are there, another moment we are gone.

With this momentary life the only thing that you can learn is to surrender, to be in a let-go, not to push. Pushing, you will be moving in a wrong direction, the direction of the ego. Surrender

Fight, all fight, is out of the ego. Don't even swim, just float with the river wherever it takes you. Finally it takes you to the ocean. If a man is courageous enough to surrender, then God takes possession of him.

Then you are directed by infinite sources of understanding, love, energy. Then you are to decide on your own no longer. And when you are not to decide on your own, all anxiety disappears -- obviously.

I have heard about a man who was a great philosopher. He was robbed -- he was coming from one town to another and he was robbed on the way. And he did not have a single PAI.

So he went to a farmer -- he was a man of pride -- and he said, 'I am hungry and I have been robbed. I would like to work for you -- any work you can give me -- so that you can give me something to eat and a shelter for the night. In the morning I will start moving again.'

The farmer took pity on him. He was a poor man and he had no work really but he could see this man's pride. So he said, 'Okay.' He took him into his house where there was a big pile of Irish potatoes and he told him, 'You have to sort them out. Make one pile of the biggest, another of the smallest, and just in the middle, of those which are between the two -- neither big nor small.' He left.

After four, five hours he came back. Not even a single potato had been moved. And the philosopher was perspiring and was very anxious. The farmer asked, 'What has happened? You look so tired and so exhausted and I don't see that any work has been done.' The philosopher said, 'What you are talking about? The deciding, all this deciding, is driving me mad. Which one is the bigger and which one is the smaller and which one is just in the middle.... All this deciding is driving me mad. I have not been able to decide.'

If your life is becoming insane just look deep down -- you will find that all this deciding is driving you mad too. What to do? What not to do? Where to go? Where not to go? All is unknown and mysterious. And whatsoever you do, there is doubt about whether this is right or not. If you don't do it there is doubt -- maybe it was right. All this deciding.... If you want to push the river you will become insane.

Relax. Let God do it. Don't be a doer. This is one of the most fundamental principles of Sufism -- don't be a doer, let God do it.

I have heard....

A Baptist minister rushed down to the train station every single day to watch the Sunset Limited go by. There was no chore he wouldn't interrupt to carry out this ritual.

Members of his congregation considered this eccentricity rather juvenile and asked him to give it up.

'No, gentlemen,' he said firmly. 'I preach your sermons, teach your Sunday school, bury your dead, marry you, run your charities, act as chairman for every drive you conduct. I won't give up seeing that Southern Pacific train every day. I love it! It's the only thing in this town I don't have to push!'

You need not push anything. You can just relax and let God do. You can become a vehicle, you can become an instrument -- what in India we call nimitta. You can become instrumental.

That's what Krishna goes on teaching to Arjuna in SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA. The whole teaching can be condensed into one thing, into one essential point -- that you need not be a doer. Let God do it.

Arjuna was worried, naturally, because he was thinking that it was a decision to be made by him -- whether to fight or not, whether to kill or not, whether to go into this massacre or not. It was going to be a great war, many would be killed, it was going to be murderous. And he started thinking, and he became worried whether it was worth it. A great religious idea arose in his mind that this was too violent and meaningless and what was one going to gain by it? It was not worth it. He became very, very depressed by the whole idea. He fell into despair.

Krishna, his friend, his Master, his charioteer, argued long to convince him, 'Whatsoever is going to happen is going to happen. God has already decided it. It does not make any difference whether you do it or not -- somebody else will do it. These people you are seeing alive are already dead. Their death has already happened. You are not the one to decide whether they should live or die. Who are you? You cannot even decide about your own life, how can you decide about somebody else's life? God has decided it already. He has chosen you as an instrument. If he wants you to kill, relax, if he wants you to renounce, renounce, but leave the decision to him. Don't you decide -- because through decision comes the ego.'

Krishna was not saying that you necessarily have to go into war, remember. That is a fallacy. Many people have thought that Krishna was forcing him to go into war. On the surface it looked like Arjuna was a pacifist and Krishna was a warmonger. It was not the case. Krishna was not saying anything about war in fact -- and nobody knows whether this war ever happened. It may be just a parable... that is more of a possibility. It may be a metaphor.

But the message is immensely significant. The message is that you don't decide, you don't stand in the way, you disappear. If God decides that you renounce and go to the Himalayas, then you go, but let it be God's decision, not your own. Or if he wants you to fight, then it is perfectly okay. You are not responsible when you don't decide.

This is the life of a sannyasin. The life of a sannyasin is the life of one who has dropped deciding, who has relaxed, and who says, 'Let God do. I will function as an instrument. I will be a hollow bamboo. If he Wants to sing a song, he will make a flute of me; if he does not, I will remain a hollow bamboo. But I will be a hollow bamboo.'

You cannot sing any song on your own. All songs are his. And whenever you dance it is he that dances, and whenever you celebrate it is he that celebrates. Your life is not really yours, it is his life. All life is his.

So please, don't push the river. Relax in the rivet. The river is already going to the ultimate goal. It will take you with it.


Next: Chapter 12, The 'Instant' Pathology, The third question


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