A Silent Shrine



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MAN is a quest -- not a question but a quest. A question can be solved intellectually, but a quest has to be solved existentially. It is not that we are seeking some answers to some questions, it is that we are seeking some answer to our being.

It is a quest because questions are about others. A quest is about oneself. Man is seeking himself. He knows he is, but he also knows that he does not know who he is. Hence from the very birth a great enquiry starts rising in the innermost core of man. We can repress that enquiry, we can divert that enquiry, we can change that enquiry for substitute enquiries, but he cannot kill it. There is no way to kill it because it is intrinsic to human nature. It is intrinsic to consciousness to know what it is.

That enquiry is man's very nature, and unless it is resolved, man remains searching. Of course, there are nine hundred and ninety-nine ways to go wrong, and there is only one way to go right -- so the search is full of hazards. It is not simple; it is very complex -- and it is very rare that a man reaches. But unless you reach, you will continue in agony, in turmoil. You will remain a cry in the wilderness. You will not know what joy is. Not knowing yourself, how can you be joyous? And you will not know what benediction is. Not knowing yourself, there is no benediction.

You will hear words like 'contentment', 'blissfulness', but they will remain words. They won't have any content for you. The content has to be supplied by your experience. They will remain empty words. They will create much noise around you but they will not mean anything.

Search is intrinsic to human nature. But then arises the problem that there are many ways to go wrong, How to find the right path?

This small parable is of immense significance. Each word of it has to be understood.

Carlyle has said, 'The misfortune of man has its source in his greatness. For there is something infinite in him and he cannot succeed in burying himself completely in the finite.'

There is something in man which is higher than man, bigger than man, and there is no way to bury it somewhere in the finite. You can see. You can seek money and power, but each time you succeed, you will find that you have failed. Each time you succeed, the success will bring nothing but the awareness of the failure. Money is there but you are as dissatisfied as ever, or even more so. Power is there and you are as impotent as ever. Nothing makes man more aware of powerlessness than power. Nothing makes man more aware of inner poverty than riches -- because of the contrast. You can see that there are riches outside but inside you are a beggar, still desiring and asking and hankering and searching.

From one side this seems to be a misfortune -- the misery of man. From another side it is his greatness. Carlyle is right when he says, 'The misfortune of man has its source in his greatness.' What is this greatness? This greatness is his capacity to surpass himself, to go beyond himself, to make a ladder of his life, to jump out of himself. Unless that jump has happened, you live in a wasteland; nothing will ever bloom there. You can make all the efforts possible but the desert will remain a desert; you will not come across any flowers.

Those flowers start happening only when you have started reaching somewhere close to truth. That is the quest. The quest is that man longs to become God. The quest is that man wants to become truth. 'AN-EL-HAQ!' Man wants to feel it -- that 'I am truth.' Nothing less than that will ever satisfy him.

This parable....


Go slowly and meditatively.

The first thing to be understood is the meaning of the word 'sage'. Sufis make a great distinction between the word 'saint' and the word 'sage'. And there IS a great distinction. They are not synonymous. Notwithstanding what your dictionaries say. they are not synonymous.

Man can ordinarily have two kinds of character. One is the negative character: the character of the criminal, the character of the anti-social, the character of the rebellious. Another is the positive character: the character of the conventional, orthodox. respectable.

The criminal will be punished, will be thrown into prison if caught. The society will try to destroy him because he is a danger to the society. He is disobedient. He is trying to assert himself and the society does not like that. The society exists by destroying individuals; the society can exist only by destroying individuals. The society has more power if there are no individuals around. If there are individuals then the power is less and less and less. If the whole society consists of individuals then there will be no power in the authorities -- there will be no power in the priest or the politician. So the society tries to crush. uproot, destroy the anti-social. the immoral -- the individual who wants to have his own morality, who wants to do his own thing. The society is very murderous about the negative. And naturally, on the other hand, the society respects the positive.

If you follow the society, the society honours you. So the one, the negative character, becomes criminal, and the other, the positive character, becomes a respected gentleman. If the criminal goes on moving to the logical extreme, then he will become the devil. And if the gentleman goes on moving to the logical extreme, he will become the saint. The saint is one who is for the society, hence the society is for him. And the evil character is one who is not for the society, is only for himself -- so the society is naturally against him. But there is one thing which is common to both: they are half. This has to be understood. This is one of the most important Sufi ideas: both are half, partial.

The saint has only the positive; he is missing the negative. That's why you will find your saints very boring; you will find your saints very flat, dull. You will find that to live with your saints for even twenty-four hours will be a great ordeal. The saint will not have any joy, he will be sad. He will never do anything wrong, he will be always good, but he will not have any song to sing. He will not have any uniqueness about him. He will be just a type, a stereotype. He will not have any unique taste of his own, he will be a conformist. He will be almost dead because the positive is bound to be dead. Unless the negative goes on playing with it, there is no joy. Life is a warp and woof between the positive and the negative. You cannot make the saint whole. Hence Sufis will not say that the saint is holy -- because he is not whole, he is half.

Half of him, the negative part, has been repressed, denied. All connections with the negative part have been cut. The negative is thrown into the unconscious dungeon. The saint has tried in every way not to be even aware of its existence. But it exists. There is no way to drop it. The only way to go beyond it is to absorb it, not to drop it. Let me repeat: the only way to go beyond it is to absorb it. But it needs great intelligence, it needs great understanding, wisdom, meditativeness, to transform the poison into elixir.

The negative is poisonous, but the poison can become medicinal in the right hands. The saint is a little stupid. You will find saints stupid, mediocre. They were not really intelligent people, otherwise they would have transformed their negative, they would have transformed all that is dangerous into a beautiful flowering. The saint will carry the negative in the unconscious.

So if you look through a window into the mind of a saint while he is asleep, you will be surprised. He's doing things which you could not even have thought about him. In dreams the saint will become the negative. There will be a shift, a total shift, from the positive to the negative -- because the negative also needs a little play, a little activity. So you will find that the dreams of the saints are very criminal. That's why saints are very much afraid to sleep. They go on reducing their sleep because it is the only thing where they are without any control. The moment they fall asleep the control is lost. The conscious goes to sleep and the unconscious take possession, and the unconscious is the negative.

And they are very much afraid because in the unconscious are repressed sexuality, murderous instincts, anger, rage, hatred -- all kinds of scorpions and snakes and poisonous beings. They all start bubbling up, surfacing. Saints are very much troubled by sleep, because sleep brings one fact home, and brings it home very clearly -- that the unconscious or the negative has not been destroyed, it is still there. Saints have great nightmares.

The criminal, the anti-social, the rebellious, the negative personality is also half. The negative people are the ones who become great politicians, sometimes great revolutionaries, and release great negative poison on the world. An Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin or Benito Mussolini or Mao Tse Tung -- these are the negative type people. They are just the opposite of the saint, but in one way almost the same -- they are as half as the saint is. The difference is only one: what the saint has made the unconscious, they have made their conscious, and what they have made their conscious the saint has made the unconscious.

Josef Stalin or Adolf Hitler are not different from Mahatma Gandhi. The only difference is that what is repressed in Mahatma Gandhi is expressed in Adolf Hitler, and what is expressed in Adolf Hitler is repressed in Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi goes on repressing the negative, Adolf Hitler goes on expressing the negative. Adolf Hitler and Mahatma Gandhi are exactly the same type of person. One is just standing on his head doing a sirshasana, a headstand -- but the type is exactly the same. There is no difference. And you will be surprised to know that these great criminals have beautiful dreams, far more beautiful than the saints can ever have, because their repressed positivity comes out in their dreams. In their dreams they become great saints. They do great good things to humanity.

These are the two ordinary types of people: the saint and sinner. They go together. In a world where there are no more sinners there will be no more saints. In a world where there are no more saints there will be no more sinners. They are partners in the same business. They exist together, they help each other. Without the one the other cannot even exist, cannot survive. The sinner gives definition to the saint and the saint gives definition to the sinner.

The sage has a totally different kind of consciousness. It is whole it is not a choice. It is neither positive nor negative, it has absorbed both. It is total acceptance. Whatsoever has been given by God has to be transformed into one unity. Man has not to choose but to accept. And remember, by acceptance I don't mean tolerance. When you tolerate something you have not really accepted it. You say, 'What can be done? It is there, so okay, I will tolerate it. If it cannot be dropped, if it cannot be destroyed, then I will have to tolerate it.' Remember, acceptance is not just tolerance. Acceptance is joyful welcome -- 'What-soever God has given must have some meaning although I may not be able to see the meaning Of it right now. I will have to search for it.' But there is a tacit understanding that whatsoever is given must have some meaning, otherwise it would not have been given in the first place.

With this understanding a sage is born. A sage is a holy man because a sage is whole. He does not deny his sexuality, he does not deny his anger, he does not deny anything at all. He accepts everything with deep understanding, gratitude, welcome. And in that very understanding, in that very welcoming attitude, things start changing. A great alchemical change happens. This miracle happens in a sage -- anger becomes compassion. Anger plus understanding is equal to compassion, sex plus meditation is equal to samadhi.

There is a part which is carrying all the seeds of meditation, and there is another part which is carrying all the seeds of sexuality. The sinner denies the meditative part and accepts the sexual part; the saint denies the sexual part and accepts the meditative part. But both remain lopsided. The sage accepts both, brings them together -- meditativeness and sexuality -- and watches a great miracle happening in himself, the greatest. As meditativeness and sexuality come close suddenly there is a change -- they become one flame. And that one name has a totally new quality.

It is just like when hydrogen and oxygen meet, you have water. Now this is a miracle -- a miracle in the sense that oxygen does not have the qualities of water, neither does hydrogen. But when hydrogen and oxygen come close, get into a loving embrace, become one unity, suddenly a new quality arises in existence which was not in either of the components. You can drink as much oxygen as you want but your thirst will not go. And you can drink as much hydrogen as you want and your thirst will not go. But water is nothing but H20. Then water has something which is not contained in the parts. Something new has happened: the parts have disappeared into something new. A higher synthesis has been arrived at.

That's what I mean by organic transformation. Whenever two things meet, if there is a real meeting, a third thing is born. When a man and a woman meet and love, a child is born. Now the child will not have the qualities of the father and will not have the qualities of the mother. The child will have his own qualities, the child will be a unique individual. You cannot just reduce the child to the qualities of the parents. You cannot say, 'This quality comes from this parent, this quality comes from that parent -- and the child is just a sum total of it.' No. If the child is just a sum total of the parents then there is no soul. The child must be something more than the sum total of the parents, only then is there a soul.

Water is something more than the sum total of H20.

Only when two opposites meet does this organic trans-formation happen. Man and woman meet, then a child is born. A child cannot be born from a meeting of a man with another man, or a woman with another woman. Similars cannot create

only opposites.

Now meditativeness and love are opposites. Meditativeness needs aloneness, love needs the other. Sexuality and meditation are opposites. Sexuality is a desire, a continuous desire, unfulfilled -- it remains unfulfilled. And meditation is desirelessness. These are opposites. When they meet, suddenly there is a flare-up. Something happens which was not contained in either.

The saint is just meditative. He is carrying one part -- hydrogen or oxygen. The sinner is just sexual, he's carrying another part. When the saint and the sinner meet in you, the sage is born. When the polarities meet in you in deep embrace, are lost into each other, lose all definitions, merge, become one, the sage is born in you. The sage is the rarest flowering in existence. The saint is a faraway echo of it, as far away as the sinner.

So Sufis say that the sage is not a saint. You can find many saints, that is very easy. Saints are a social phenomenon. But to find a sage is difficult because the sage is as individual as the criminal and as cosmic as the saint. He is both together. In the sage, God and Devil meet and lose all their identities. That is the highest meeting. There is no higher meeting than that. This moment of meeting within you of the sinner and the saint, of the negative and the positive, is the moment of samadhi.

The sage is no-mind. The sinner is negative mind, the saint is positive mind, the sage is no-mind. The sinner lives in constant duality. He has to fight with his saint, remember it. The sinner has continuously to fight with his saint, because the saint IS there. The sinner is going to kill somebody and the saint says, 'Don't do this, this is not right.' He has to fight. His fight is as arduous as the fight of the saint. The saint has to fight the sinner. If somebody insults him and a great desire to kill him arises, he has to fight with that desire. He cannot do it, he is a saint, he is a holy man, he is a religious man -- this and that. Both go on fighting. They have to because they live in the duality, and the repressed part goes on taking revenge. It waits for the right moments to assert itself.

In the sage there is silence, there is no duality. The sage becomes a silent shrine. There is no longer any conflict, any antagonism. There is no longer any war going on in him. There is utter peace. That's what Sufis call ISLAM. There is utter peace, silence. Those warring elements have disappeared into unity. The marriage has happened.


So when the parable says 'sage' it means an enlightened person, one who has come home.


Why he should refuse to teach?

A sage always refuses to teach. The reason? -- because truth cannot be taught. The sage is never a teacher. He is a Master, but he is never a teacher.

First, the truth cannot be taught, it can only be caught. You can catch it like an infection from the Master. You can allow yourself to be close to him, and one day you can catch the truth, but it cannot be taught. It is not a kind of information that can be delivered to you, it is an existential experience. You can partake of it but it cannot be given to you. Nobody can give you truth. And I'm not saying that the Master cannot give you truth because he doesn't have it, no. Even if he has it, he cannot give it. It is not a thing and it is not information. It is not knowledge, it is a lived experience -- you will have to live in the Master with the Master.

It will happen. In a very mysterious way it happens. Strange are the ways of God. Only untruth can be delivered, truth cannot be delivered. So the sage is never a teacher. This is the difference between a teacher and a Master. He is available to give to you, but the giving is very subtle, the giving is very esoteric, it is very occult, it is very hidden. It cannot be given as scientific knowledge is given to you. You cannot make any education out of it. You cannot put it into words, theories, clear-cut principles. It is so vast. The moment you put it into any principle, you can immediately see that something has disappeared from it; it is no longer alive.

Principles are like photographs. A bird on the wing is one thing. If you take a photograph, the photograph shows the bird on the wing -- but it is just a photograph. The bird is no longer flying, everything has stopped. It is not alive.

I have heard....

A beautiful woman told Pablo Picasso, 'The other day I saw one of your self-portraits. It was beautiful.' The woman was a bore and Picasso was fed-up with her -- and she went on and on. And she said, 'It was really beautiful, you have done such a beautiful job. And I loved the painting so much that I kissed it.'

Picasso suddenly became alive and he said, 'What happened? Did the painting kiss you?' The lady said, 'What are you talking about? How can the painting kiss me?' Piccaso said, 'Then it was not me.'

The bird on the wing is alive. The flower on the tree is alive. My hand in a gesture is a bird on the wing, it is alive. You can have a photograph of it but something very essential will be missing from it. It will be only the outline of the hand; the soul will be missing from it.

So it happens with truth. Truth is aliveness. It is eternal life. The moment you put it into words, you have photographs.

So a sage cannot teach the truth, he can only show you where you can go and see the bird on the wing for yourself. He cannot teach you principles, he can only indicate the way. He cannot inform you about truth, he can only inform you about the methods that can clean your heart, that can clarify your mind, that can subdue your inner turmoil, that can help you to stop your constant inner talk so that you are in a silent state of mind and you can see truth -- because truth is all around, just the silence of the mind is needed. The Master cannot teach you but he can inspire you. The Master cannot teach you but he can invoke you. The Master cannot teach you but he can invite you. A Master is a finger pointing to the moon. A Master is not a teacher.

And the second thing: teaching is always general, teaching is always theoretical. Teaching is like the menu: you cannot eat it and you cannot be nourished by it. Teaching is like a porno-graphic photograph. It is not the real woman or the real man. You cannot love it and you cannot be loved by it.

A Master, a sage, can advise you but he cannot teach you. What is the difference? Advice is always personal, it is never general. Advice is from person to person, heart to heart. Advice is always practical, never theoretical. Advice is always experimental, never philosophical. Advice is like food, and teaching is like a menu. Advice is like a real man or a real woman and teaching is just pornographic.

The story says:


From time to time he would advise people -- but only when he found that somebody was ready, only when he found that there was a burning desire; only when he saw that there was a quest, not only curiosity; only when he saw that there was a sincere desire to devote oneself, to sacrifice oneself, for the truth; only when he saw that here there was a gambler who could gamble, not a business man who would calculate each step.

Truth is for gamblers because it is for those who can take a risk. It is not for business people.

So only when he found that somebody was really in need would his advice be available. That's why Masters have always moved away from the masses. They create a thousand and one ways to stop the masses from coming to them. They exist only for the few, for those who are really in search. And they create devices so that they become invisible to the masses. For example, you can see that I am here, but I am invisible to Poona people. It is deliberately done. I am here only for those people who need advice, who are really searching on their own. Even if no advice is going to come they will go on searching. They will go on risking their life in the search. But if advice is available then many pitfalls can be avoided.

This is the difference between teaching and advice. Whatsoever I say to you is not a teaching, it is only advice. It is a provocation, it is a seduction, but not a teaching. It is a persuasion but not a teaching. It is encouragement hut not a teaching. It is to give you courage, zest, gusto, so that you can go on with more fervour, with more verve, with more energy, so that you can be more certain that there is hope. All that I say to you is just to create hope in you -- because the path is dark and there are a thousand and one pitfalls. And the path goes on branching in many wrong paths. A Master is needed to keep you on the right track.


A few things about this disciple. First, he is not a disciple. He thinks he is a disciple but he is at the most a student. There is the same difference between a teacher and a Master as there is between a student and a disciple. A student is there to collect some information. A student is there to become more knowledgeable. A student is there to know more, but without risking anything. A student is one who is not ready to pay any price. He wants to remain as he is; he just wants to accumulate more knowledge. He wants to become more intellectual, he wants to become a scholar, he wants to become a pundit, a doctor, but he is not interested in transforming himself. He wants to hold truth in his hand but he is not ready to dissolve himself into truth. He wants to possess truth but he does not want to be possessed by truth.

A disciple is one who wants to be possessed by truth. A disciple cannot think, 'I should possess truth. How can I possess truth?' In fact, the 'I' is the only barrier towards truth. How can 'I' possess truth? Truth is vast, truth is infinite. How can it be possessed by such a small head? It is not possible. You cannot possess the ocean in your fist, but you can drown yourself in the ocean and disappear. That's when a disciple is ready -- when he is ready to drown himself and to disappear. Even if the price is his life, he is ready.

When there is something more valuable than life, you become a disciple, otherwise not. If you can sacrifice your life for something, then you are a disciple. Otherwise you are a student -- just greedy. You want to have some information so that you can use it in your life, so that you can succeed in a better way.

Many people come to me even though I have created so many barriers. Sometimes, somehow, they sneak in and they ask me questions which should not be asked. They ask me, 'If we meditate, what benefit will there be in worldly ways? Will it make us more healthy, more successful? Will it help us to succeed in the world?' Or somebody comes and asks, 'Will it help to make my memory more strong? Will it help my mind to become more intelligent?' They are not interested in meditation as such, they are interested in something else. They think that if meditation can be exploited for that, good. They are students.

A disciple is one who has understood one thing: 'I don't know who I am' -- and that is the most fundamental thing to know first. Anything else is secondary. 'I must know who I am, only then can life have any meaning -- otherwise it can't have any meaning. I can go on working and accumulating things, money, prestige. But how is that going to satisfy me? -- because I don't even know who I am. I must first have absolute feeling of my being, only then can I be on the right track.'

Everybody wants to have bliss, but how can you have bliss if you are not even aware of who you are? One has to be absolutely aware of one's nature, only then is bliss possible. Otherwise you will go on searching for something which may not be at all helpful to your bliss. And you may go on missing something which is just there at the comer, and was absolutely meant for your bliss. But how can you judge? You don't know yourself; you are not aware of your nature. A disciple has only one desire: to know himself. And he is ready to do whatsoever is needed for it to be done. He is unconditionally ready to pay any price.


Now he is not a disciple. He thinks he is a disciple. He may be going to many people, so he thinks he is a disciple. But he is not even capable of learning.

The word 'disciple' comes from a root which means: capacity to learn. And he is not capable of learning. What prevents people from learning? What makes people incapable?

A few things.... One, the capacity to learn needs a state of not knowing. You must be innocent like a child, only then can you learn. If you already know, you cannot learn. You must know that you don't know. You must not carry the ego of knowledge -- that 'I know'. The second thing is that a great receptivity is needed because you will have to absorb. Openness is needed. You cannot remain closed, you cannot remain closed with your old prejudices, ideas, concepts, ideologies. Intelligence is needed.

And when I say intelligence, always remember that I never mean intellectuality. Intellectuality is a substitute for intelligence. People who pretend to be intelligent are intellectuals. A real man of intelligence is not an intellectual at all, he is existential. He knows perfectly well that intellect is uncreative, that it cannot create anything. At the most it is a good survival device, but it is uncreative. All that is created is created by something else. That is intelligence. You can call it intuitiveness -- but it is something else. It has nothing to do with your intellect.

In a university your intellect is trained. You are taught how to argue, how to prove, how to discuss, how to debate. You are taught logic. And through logic, intellect arises. Now logic is in itself very illogical because it does not cover all of life. It is very partial. Life is more than logic, it is paradoxical. So once you have got very fixed in your logic you will start losing track of life. You will become more and more of an intellectual and less and less intelligent. An intelligent person accepts logic, and accepts illogic too. An intelligent person always accepts the polarity, he never chooses. He does not say, 'I will choose the negative, or I will choose the positive, or I will choose this and I will deny that.' Intelligence accepts all.

Intelligence has no choice. That's why Krishnamurti goes on defining intelligence as choiceless awareness. And sometimes you can find it. You can find a non-intellectual person who is absolutely uneducated, he may be a primitive man living in a village, but he is of immense intelligence. In his eyes you can see intelligence, radiance; in his acts you can see intelligence. And you can see a university professor behaving very unintelligently, but he may be a great intellectual.

Intelligence means awareness. Intelligence means a kind of presence, instantaneous presence, immediate presence. It happens here every day. I can go on looking at you. Whenever I see an intellectual, I can immediately feel that he is closed in a kind of wall, a transparent wall. He listens and yet he does not listen, because he is constantly thinking about whether it is right or not, constantly thinking whether he agrees with me or not, constantly thinking, yes, no -- choosing. And in that very choosing he is losing, he is missing the whole point.

An intelligent person listens attentively with no idea. There is no need to decide right now. He is immediately with me. It does not mean that he agrees with me. It does not mean that he is agreeing or disagreeing, no. He is simply listening. What is the point of agreeing and disagreeing? -- that can be done later on. And then there is a miracle: if you can listen totally, attentively. in that very listening you will know what is truth and what is not truth. There will be no need to think about it. The very quality of silent listening will make you aware of what truth is. Truth has its own revelation. When it is there you start feeling it is there. When it is not there, a thousand and one arguments cannot prove that it is there. Truth has its own solid presence; you just have to be available to it.

So the capacity to learn means intelligence, innocence, a childlike readiness to go into the unknown, to explore, to be always in a kind of wonder, to feel the mystery of life. This is the capacity to learn which makes a disciple.

And against it is the incapacity to learn: knowledgeability, intellectuality -- or call it stupidity, they mean the same, intellectuality and stupidity are synonymous -- closedness, a prejudiced mind, full of junk, full of the past, no space for the new.

A disciple is a womb -- ready to receive the truth, ready to receive the Master, ready to receive his energy. And remember, with the Master it is always a transfer of energy. Unseen by you, untouched by you, a constant shower of energy is happening. If you are receptive you will be utterly satisfied by it. Your thirst will disappear. But if you are only listening to the words and collecting the words, and proving, disproving, agreeing, disagreeing -- then you are not here, you are not present; you are almost absent. You may be physically here, but you are not psychologically here, not spiritually here at all.


Now this too has to be understood.

This matter of mystical experiences

Firstly, down the ages, all over the world, mystical ceremonies have existed. A mystical ceremony is a ritual in which you start by pretending, and later on, by and by, you are hypnotised by your own pretension. Slowly, slowly, the pretension becomes a kind of auto-hypnosis.

For example, if you participate in a mystical ceremony, it will be a ritual in the beginning. Rituals can be of many kinds -- every religion has its own. If you participate in a mystical ceremony which is based on the idea of kundalini energy, serpent-power, you have to first read about what kundalini is. Naturally you have to become acquainted with what kundalini is so that you understand the physiology of the kundalini. You read Gopi-Krishna and people like that. And you know that there are many centres and there is a passage in the spine up which the energy rises. And you know that it goes moving upwards, and where it reaches and what happens -- that it finally reaches to the head and then your whole body is shaken, trembling, and there is great light and there is great joy. These things you read. Naturally a great greed arises in you to have these experiences. And suddenly you see that something is being missed by you; that others are having great experiences and you are missing. That creates a kind of jealousy, competition, greed, desire, longing.

Just a few years ago the pope of the Vatican announced that there were one hundred and sixty-three kinds of sins. And immediately thousands of letters reached the Vatican, saying, 'Please sir, give us the whole list' -- because many felt that they were missing out. One hundred and sixty-three kinds of sins? You will also wonder what you are missing. Maybe you are doing two, three, four, five -- at the most seven. But one hundred and sixty-three? People are really having a good time. Many enquiries arrived -- 'We would like to know what these one hundred and sixty-three sins are.'

People become intrigued when they see that somebody else is having something. A great desire, a great wish arises.

So first you read about kundalini. You become suffused with the knowledge of the centres, their colours, their mantras, their places in the physical body. You visualise them. Then you participate in a ceremony. In the ceremony you see people whose kundalini is rising. Somebody is getting very ecstatic, and you feel very, very deeply depressed that you have never seen such beauty, such experiences. You sit there, you visualise. People are swaying, people are enjoying, tears are flowing, their faces are aglow. Sooner or later you also get into the ritual. You also start swaying. Man is very imitative.

The spiritual seeker has to be very much alert about imitativeness.

First you start swaying, and you know that you are just doing it yourself. Sooner or later you get into it. Your wish becomes a kind of wish-fulfilment, you auto-hypnotise yourself. And there are many people; it is great hypnosis all around you. And you start seeing light inside. Mind is very imaginative, it can imagine anything. And remember, I am not saying kundalini is wrong; remember, I am not saying that light is not seen; and I am not saying that there are no mystical experiences -- no, not in the least. I'm not saying that. But out of a hundred people, ninety-nine go on creating them by imagination -- and that is not true.

The real experience has nothing to do with your imagination. The real experience has nothing to do with your knowledge about kundalini. The real experience has nothing to do with the textbooks about kundalini. And the real experience is always unique. It never happens in the same way to two persons. Those seven chakras are there, but they are not at the same place in everyone. When you see a chart of kundalini it is just a generalised chart. It is almost like.... Here there are one thousand people, and if somebody asks for a man of average height -- the average height comes somewhere around five feet five inches, or five feet five and a half inches, that is the average height -- you can go on searching for him but you will not find him. Somebody will be five six, somebody will be five-four, somebody will be five-seven. There will be all kinds of people. The average is just a generalised form.

It happens exactly like that. There are seven chakras but they don't exist in the same Places for all people. And there are experiences but they never happen in the same way to two persons -- they happen very, very differently. So there is no need to know the physiology of the kundalini, and there is no need to know the chakras, and there is no need to know what happens finally -- because if you know it you will start hypnotising yourself, and by and by you will start getting into the ritual. And you will create a kind of dream around you. And when there are many people doing the same thing, you tend to fall into the crowd-mind. You start swaying with the crowd.

Have you watched it sometimes -- how you fall into the crowd and become one with it? A crowd, a crowd of Hindus, is going to burn a mosque. Or a crowd of Mohammedans is going to destroy a temple. You are a Hindu and you go into the Hindu crowd. You did not really think about burning the mosque, you had never thought about it before, you are not that kind of man; you are not that destructive, not that violent, aggressive. You are a... a nice person. You have never burned anything, anybody. And when you joined the crowd you were not really thinking about doing anything, you were just curious about where this crowd was going. You were just intrigued about what was going to happen. You were just going there as a kind of entertainment, with no idea in particular of doing anything.

Then by and by you get excited by the crowd -- these people rushing around you from all sides, with such great energy, shouting slogans and protesting. Their energy functions on you. Your energy starts being aroused. By and by you see that you are getting excited. There is all this excitement around you -- how can you be aloof? You become excited, and when you reach the mosque or the temple, and when people start burning it, suddenly you find yourself doing things you had not planned. You are burning the mosque or destroying the temple or killing a person.

People get carried away by the mass-mind.

Religion is your unique experience. It has nothing to do with the mass-mind. In the mass you lose your identity, but you fall below. In religious experience you also lose your identity, but you go above.

Let this sentence be remembered: religion is a pilgrimage, Sufis say, from unconscious anonymity to conscious anonymity. From unconscious anonymity... that's what happens in a crowd. You become anonymous, unconscious. You lose your ego but you fall below the ego, you become animalistic. That's why it is said that more crimes are committed by crowds than by single individuals.

Friedrich Nietzsche has said, 'Madness in individuals is a rare phenomenon but in crowds it is the general rule.' It is very rare that people become mad individually, but it is almost the rule that crowds become mad. The general excitement is just too much, the fire of it is too much, you start burning with it -- and it is very unconscious. And there is no responsibility any more and there is no problem of conscience -- you are not killing somebody, the crowd is killing him. You are simply participating because you were there. Nobody can catch hold of you and nobody can say to you that 'You killed!' Hindus killed, Mohammedans killed, communists killed. You were not individually responsible.

In a mystical ceremony the same happens. It is an exploitation of the crowd-mind. Beware of it.

And about mystical experiences three things have to be remembered. There are three kinds of spiritual experiences. One is pathological, neurotic, psychotic, hysterical. It happens many times that a hysterical person can become a mahatma. He falls into hysteria, foams, becomes unconscious, utters gibberish.... Do you know from where the word 'gibberish' comes? It comes from a mystic named Gibhar, who used to utter nonsense. From Gibhar the English word 'gibberish' has come. He would utter much nonsense, with no meaning, but it was thought that he was a great mystic. He was simply hysterical. In India you can find such hysterical people being worshipped. They have to be treated; they are simply pathological.

If you are pathological, hysterical, sometimes in a mystical ceremony it happens that you fall into hysteria, and people start thinking that you have gone into samadhi, ecstasy or something and they start worshipping you. And when you come back and you see people touching your feet, holding flowers and garlands and sweets for you... now you have found a trick. Now you can exploit your hysteria. And you will also start believing, because it is so nice to believe that you are becoming a spiritual person. Now their worship will help you to become more pathological. Rather than thinking that this is something wrong, you will think that something great is happening to you. And one can go farther and farther into the mire.

Remember, in the East there are many pathological people who are thought to be mahatmas. And in the West many real mystical people are put into mad asylums because they are thought to be pathological. Both attitudes are wrong. That's why I say this matter of spiritual experience is a delicate one. In the West there are many mystical people who are in the hospitals being treated, being given electric shocks, insulin shocks, because it is thought that they are hysterical.

Just think if Ramakrishna had been born in America. He would have been put into some mad asylum because from the outside his mystical experiences looked almost like hysteria -- he would fall unconscious, his body would become stiff, his mouth would start foaming, his eyes would go up. All this is what happens in hysteria; it is a fit.

This matter is delicate. If Ramakrishna had been in the West he would have been treated. And they have devised such strong methods to treat people that there is every possibility that they would have made Ramakrishna normal. But that would have been a great misfortune.

In the East just the reverse is happening. I have come across many people. Sometimes they would be brought to me with the idea that I would recognise their state. But I saw that they were just hysterical people; this was just hysteria and nothing else. They were neurotic; they needed some therapy. They had fallen below the normal. But to fall below the normal or to go above the normal sometimes looks alike. Only a Master can be decisive about it, otherwise it is very difficult to decide what is what. But there are a few things which can be given to you as indications.

If it is pathological, the person will become more and more sad, dull, listless. If it is pathological, the person will become more and more tense, anxious, worried. If it is pathological, the person will become less and less attentive, will lose presence of mind, will become uncreative. If it is pathological, the person's body will start suffering in many ways. The person will not be of any creative value to the society if it is pathological.

If it is not pathological, the person will have more life, more aliveness, more love, more compassion, more intelligence, more presence of mind. The person will have a glow. He will be drunk with the divine but his drunkenness will have a kind of awareness in it. Utterly drunk and yet utterly aware -- that's how he will be. And he will be creative. His being here on the earth will be beneficial to people.

So the first thing is the pathological. The second thing is the fake. There are fakes who can perform. Seeing that it pays well you can become a performer. You can pretend that something is happening to you. If you see that people come and touch your feet and people think that you have arrived, why not pretend? It is good business. You can start pretending.

Remember, mind is so cunning that it can go on being cunning in every possible way.

The third is the real. But there is one more complexity: sometimes if the real is not under the right guidance he can fall and become pathological. And if the pathological is under the right guidance sometimes it happens that the pathological can become real. So there is further complexity. Sometimes it happens that the fake can become pathological. He started by pretending, but by and by he got into it. Something erupted in him, some energy source ruptured in him, and he became pathological. He started on his own, deliberately, but one day he found that it was no longer deliberate; it was beyond his control. And sometimes it can also happen that under the right guidance, the fake can become the real -- because if the fake is made aware of what he is doing, and if he is really in search and has chosen just a cheap way of performance, under the guidance of a right Master he may drop his pseudo-ness and start moving towards the real.

And the last thing, remember, the real can sometimes become fake -- because the spiritual experience is such that it happens when it happens. For example, one day it happens and suddenly you are in it, completely gone and lost, utterly blissful. Then people start gathering around you, then people start gathering to see the mystical experience. Then one day they are there and it is not happening. And now your whole prestige is at stake. You can pretend, you can become fake.

So complexity becomes double or triple. Right guidance is needed, otherwise you can fall into any trap of the mind.



Now look at the question: HOW CAN I BEST PROFIT...?

The idea is of profit, greed. The idea is to accumulate, the idea is to become more powerful. The idea is not to dissolve, to disappear.


And there is a misunderstanding -- because sages have no teachings. Sages have messages but no teachings. advice but no teachings. Sages open the door to the unknown, but don't supply you with any theories, philosophies, ideologies.


The man must have been happy. He asked,



Now you will be surprised about this method. Is the sage joking? Is he making the man look foolish, ridiculous? No. The sage cannot do that. It is impossible in a state of compassion. No, he is giving him a method, it looks absurd.


But that is exactly what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has given to the West. It is a Transcendental Meditation: 'Close your ears and think of radishes.' Anything can become a mantra. That's why I say there is no need to repeat 'aum', there is no need to repeat 'Allah'. You can repeat 'Coca-Cola'. That will do! And more so, because now Coca-Cola has disappeared from India. There will be more desire for Coca-Cola than for aum. Who bothers about Allah when Coke is missing? Or you can repeat your own name -- that will do.

The great poet, Tennyson, has written in his memoirs that when he was a child, sometimes his parents would not be at home and he would feel very afraid. So not knowing what to do being alone, he would simply repeat his own name -- Tennyson, Tennyson, Tennyson -- just to give him a feeling as if somebody was there, as if his mother was calling him -- Tennyson -- or his father was there. Being so afraid and not knowing what else to do he would repeat his name, and that would help him and soothe him and he would fall asleep. So he found a Transcendental Meditation. And by and by he entered into it, and that became his meditation for his whole life. So whenever he would find any anxiety, any trouble, any fear arising, he would repeat his name a few times and everything would cool down. Or whenever he would find that he could not sleep, he would repeat his name and fall asleep.

Yes, it is possible -- because 'Allah' or 'Tennyson' or any word will do. The situation is that if you repeat it, if you think only of it, all other thinking disappears. You become focused. In that focusing you become silent. But this is the lowest kind of meditation.

The sage is not ridiculing the man; he is not laughing at the man.


He's saying, 'This is where you are. More than that won't do. This will be enough for you. You are very childish, juvenile. Just repeating a name or thinking of something will do.'

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's meditation is very juvenile; it is very childish; it is for the beginners. Yes, it gives a kind of consolation, it helps to soothe you. It is just like a tranquilliser. And for people who are in search of anything, in a very, very juvenile way.... America in particular is in great search for something to hang on to, because all that is available -- money, power -- has become meaningless. All has become meaningless. They have everything; for the first time a society has become affluent. All is there so there is no hope in it, and everybody is asking, 'What else? What now?' So people are searching. And when people search and there is no long tradition, no long continuity of search.... And America is one of the most childish societies too, because it has existed on the earth for only three hundred years. It has no past to refer to, no past in which to have a context, no SILSILA -- what Sufis call 'continuity of spirituality'. It is the first urge. America is a kind of kindergarten land as far as spirituality is concerned. So any person can go and any person can become a guru. It is so easy to become a guru in America. People are searching for anything -- harmful, meaningful, meaningless -- anything.

There are two gurus, the greatest gurus in America: Maharishi Hashish Yogi and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. People are trying even hashish to attain to God. There is no sense of direction.

This man must have been childish, juvenile. He had been to many mystical ceremonies and many mystical teachers and he had been going from one school to another and collecting a few bits of information from here, a few from there -- and creating garbage inside his mind.

When the sage said, 'You simply stop up your ears and think about radishes,' he was not joking. He was saying exactly what corresponded to this man's capacity. More than that would not be applicable right then. More than that would be dangerous. He had to be broken in to the world of spirituality from the point at where he was.

In America any kind of thing goes -- for the simple reason that people are in search but they don't have any direction and they don't have any reference to the past. Their parents have never searched for spirituality, their parents were in search of money. Their parents were in search of money and they succeeded. And in that very success, everything failed. Their parents had only one thing that was enough to keep them drunk, and that was power. How to have a big house? How to have a big car? How to have more money? -- more power. They were drunk with power. And they had only one thing as their religion and that was work. Work is the American ethos. Work hard so that you can achieve many things in the world. And they succeeded; unfortunately, they succeeded. And now their children are at a loss. Now what? Money is there, house is there, car is there, everything is there -- now it doesn't make any sense just to rush after them when they are there. Why rush after them? They are already available. Something else is needed. Anything will do. Sex will do. Psychedelics will do. Yoga will do. Tantra will do. Anything will do. And any pretender can become a guru.

Listen to this....

A grey-haired lady climbed three flights of stairs, opened a carved mahogany door and walked into an exotically furnished reception room. A gong sounded, and out of a cloud of incense appeared a beautiful brunette Oriental.

'Do you,' she said softly, 'wish to meet with His Omnipotence, the wise, all-knowing, all-seeing guru, Maharishi Naru?'

'Yeah,' said the elderly woman. 'Tell Irving his mama is here from the Bronx!'

It is happening. It is happening for a certain reason. People are in search and they don't know what they are searching for. Any pretender can promise -- he can promise rose gardens, can promise paradise -- and the promise will do. And Americans know how to promise. They know how to advertise. They know how to persuade people to purchase anything. In that they are one of the most skilled people. So now God has become the commodity.

But unless you rise in your capacity to learn, unless you rise in your capacity to seek and search, you can call your search a search for truth, but it will remain something else.

This man was simply stupid, mediocre. unintelligent. He was wasting his time and others' time. But he was collecting information from here and there, and he was enjoying the ego that feels, 'I am becoming knowledgeable.' Now it was by chance that he fortunately stumbled at the door of this sage. The sage said,




I am reminded of a woman who went to her doctor. The doctor was very much troubled by the woman. Every year she would give birth to a child. She already had one dozen and now the thirteenth was coming. And the doctor said, 'Enough is enough! Now you stop!'

The woman said, 'Now I am also thinking that it is becoming tiring. I am exhausted. Will you suggest something for me that will prevent me from becoming pregnant?'

The doctor said, 'Yes. Drink a cup of hot water.'

The woman said, 'Before or after?'

The doctor said, 'Instead.'

'Neither before, during, or after the lectures and exercises. Drop all those exercises. They are stupid. And drop all those lectures, they are meaningless. The first thing that you have to do is to become a little more collected, calm. To close your ears will be the best thing you can do. You have already allowed your ears to take in too much for you to carry. You are already burdened.'

So 'close your ears' is simply symbolic. 'And don't gather any more information. It is already too much, it is driving you mad!' Close your ears means: there is no need to know about truth. To know about truth is not to know truth, so drop this going round and round in circles, this going about and about. Close your ears. And, of course, he says, 'just think of radishes.' Maybe the man has only that much capacity.

I have heard a Hindu parable....

A man came to a sage and asked what he should do. He was a simple man. The sage asked, 'Do you love somebody?'

The man said, 'No, I am a poor man and, you can see, I am ugly too, so no woman ever agreed to marry. I am unmarried. I am a bachelor. Nobody loves me.'

The sage says, 'Then it will be a little difficult. Still, you think.... Nobody loves you? That's okay, but do you love somebody? Anything will do -- a tree, a dog -- anything.'

The man said, 'I love my buffalo.'

The sage said, 'That will do. You just go home and meditate on your buffalo. See God in the form of the buffalo. Look at the buffalo and feel the divine -- because wherever your love is, from exactly that point one has to proceed. Let the buffalo be the first point of your journey, the departure point. The arrival will always be God, but the departures will differ.'

Somebody loves nature, then that is the beginning of his meditation. Somebody loves music, then that is the beginning of his meditation.

There are people who have no musical ear. If you tell them to make music their meditation, it will be impossible, it will become a barrier. They will never arrive at God. There are people who are completely dead about nature; nature has no appeal for them. These immense colours all around -- this green and red and the leaves and the foliage and the flowers, don't make any sense to them. They have not seen them. They have no eye for it. They are blind as far as beauty is concerned. Then this cannot be their door to the divine.

The advice is very practical. You have to start from where you are, there is no other way to start. Everybody has to start in his own way, and as you grow, better meditations will be given to you. Meditations have to be given according to your capacity. As you start growing, more meditations -- higher, deeper -- will be given to you. And the final stage is that when you have really grown Up, all meditations will be taken away from you. The final stage of meditation is the disappearance of meditation. When meditation has become perfect, you have to drop it. To cling to the meditation at that moment will be the last barrier; you have to drop it too.

Meditation has to become one day so natural -- like breathing -- that you need not do it, it is always there. It is a kind of presence around you, within, without. Asleep, you are meditative; walking, you are meditative; talking, you are meditative; doing this and that, you are meditative. Your meditation never leaves you, it has become your shadow. Then a man has really become a meditator.

Remember this paradox: when meditation has arrived, it has to be dropped. And one has to begin as one's capacity allows.

The Master said, 'The first thing is to stop hearing more about truth. You have already heard much.'

The after-dinner speaker was boring and long-winded. One after another the guests nodded off to sleep at their places. The exasperated and embarrassed master of ceremonies frantically banged his gavel. In his wild banging he hit the snoring man next to him on the head.

'Hit me again,' said the snorer, 'I can still hear the son of a bitch.'

The Master says, 'You have heard enough. You have read enough. You already know more than you need. Close your ears. And your capacity is so low that whatsoever you have heard you will go on misinterpreting. It will never be relevant, it will be always irrelevant -- because your being is very low and your knowledge is very high. They don't meet. Your being will interpret. Your knowledge will be interpreted by your being and it will always be a corruption. It will always be irrelevant and out of context. Maybe the man who was saying it had a context for it, or the book you read it in had a context for it, but in you it will simply become a fragment floating -- unrelated to you, unrooted in you. It will be a burden. It will not enlighten you. It will burden you more; it will not unburden you.'

A man and his wife were standing in front of the gorilla cage at the zoo. Suddenly, the gorilla reached through the bars, pulled the woman into his cage and started to rip off her clothes.

She screamed, 'Herman, what do I do now?'

Herman shrugged his shoulders and replied, 'Tell him you have a headache, dear.'

One thing may be relevant in one context. It is not relevant in all contexts. But the context comes from your being. So never know more than you are. Be more, know less, and you will always be moving in the right direction. Know a little, but do it, absorb it, digest it -- otherwise knowledge can become a kind of indigestion. It can create nausea. You will have to vomit it.

Eat a little, but let it be digested so it becomes blood, bones and marrow.

Sufis are very practical people, very down-to-earth. The sage must have looked into the man and seen that his capacity was very poor. If he had to be helped, he had to start from there. It is not insulting. The sage is not ridiculing. It is out of his compassion that he says, 'You do two things. One is: stop gathering knowledge -- no more. In fact, unlearn all that you have learned. Close your ears and think of something that you like. Think of something that you love. Think of something with which you can fall en rapport, whatsoever it is. That will be the first glimpse of God in your being. And the journey starts from there.




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