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Taoism - Daoism - Tao - Dao
Chuang Tzu: When the shoe fits
THE AUTUMN FLOODS HAD COME. THOUSANDS OF WILD TORRENTS POURED FURIOUSLY INTO THE YELLOW RIVER. IT SURGED AND FLOODED ITS BANKS UNTIL, LOOKING ACROSS, YOU COULD NOT TELL AN OX FROM A HORSE ON THE OTHER SIDE.
THEN THE RIVER GOD LAUGHED, DELIGHTED TO THINK THAT ALL THE BEAUTY IN THE WORLD HAD FALLEN INTO HIS KEEPING.
SO DOWNSTREAM HE SWUNG, UNTIL HE CAME TO THE OCEAN. THERE HE LOOKED OUT OVER THE WAVES TOWARD THE EMPTY HORIZON IN THE EAST, AND HIS FACE FELL.
GAZING OUT AT THE FAR HORIZON HE CAME TO HIS SENSES AND MURMURED TO THE OCEAN GOD. WELL, THE PROVERB IS RIGHT. HE WHO HAS GOT HIMSELF A HUNDRED IDEAS THINKS HE KNOWS MORE THAN ANYBODY ELSE. SUCH A ONE AM I. ONLY NOW DO I SEE WHAT THEY MEAN BY EXPANSE!
THE OCEAN GOD REPLIED: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE SEA TO A FROG IN A WELL? CAN YOU TALK ABOUT ICE TO DRAGONFLIES? CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE WAY OF LIFE TO A DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY?
Life is experience, and not theory. It needs no explanation. It is there in all its glory, just to be lived, enjoyed, delighted in. It is not a riddle, it is a mystery. A riddle is something which can be solved, a mystery is something which can never be solved. A mystery is something you can become one with, you can dissolve into it, you can melt into it -- you yourself can become mysterious. This is the difference between philosophy and religion. Philosophy thinks that life is a riddle, you have to solve it, find explanations, theories, doctrines. Philosophy thinks that there is going to be some answer, that life is a question mark and one has to work hard at it. Of course, if you take life as a question mark, your effort becomes intellectual. The very assumption that life is a question leads you into more and more intellectual efforts, and in search of an answer, you decide upon theories.
Religion says that to take life as a question is basically false. It is not a question -- it is there, with no question mark. It is there as an open secret; it is an invitation. You have to become a guest, you have to move into it. It is ready and welcoming, don't fight with it! It is not a question, don't try to solve it! It is not a riddle. Come and become one with it, and you will know it. The knowing will come from your totality, not from the intellect. Intellect is a partial effort, and life needs you to be totally with it, to flow with it, so one with it that you cannot feel what is what, you cannot feel where you end and where life begins. The whole of life becomes you, the whole of you becomes life. This is what salvation is. It is not a solution, it is a salvation.
This is what Hindus have called MOKSHA: it is not a theory, a conclusion, it is a totally different way to live with existence. It is not head-oriented; really, you become 'headless,' you lose all distinctions, the periphery dissolves, you are just like a drop in the ocean. You lose your boundaries and you gain the cosmic boundaries which are infinite. The first thing to understand is not to take life as a question. Once you take it as a question you will be in trouble; you will have already moved on a wrong path -- it will be a cul-de-sac. Somewhere, in some theory, you will be stuck. Everybody is stuck somewhere in a theory, and then it is very difficult to drop the theory. You cling to it because the question scares you -- at least a theory is some consolation, at least you feel that you know. You don't know. Mind cannot know, mind can only theorise. It can go on spinning words faster and faster; it can play with words, arrange them, but they are all interpretations -- not the real, just your interpretation of it.
It is just like a map. You see the map of India? You can go on carrying that map with you, you can go on thinking that you are carrying India in your pocket, but the map is not the country. You can have a theory about a rose, about what a rose is. You can even have a photograph of a rose, but that photograph is just a photograph, it carries nothing of the living phenomenon that a rose is.
Look at a child -- he is still without a mind. He opens his eyes and just looks at the world. Bring a rose to him. He does not know the name, he cannot label it, he cannot categorise it, he cannot say what it is. Still the rose is there -- the colours flood the child, the beauty of the rose surrounds him, the fragrance reaches to his very heart. He does not know what it is but he passes through a living moment. You tell the child, 'This is a rose,' and the experience will never again be the same, never again will the child be able to experience what the mystery of the rose was. Now, whenever a rose comes before him he will say: This is a rose. Now he will carry the word. You have made him poor -- he was very rich. The whole rose was there, and he could only live it; there was no other way to describe it, to define it. A rose is a rose is a rose. You cannot say what it is, this or that. The child was silent, there was no functioning of the mind, the mind was not there, there was no barrier. The heart of the rose melted into the heart of the child, the heart of the child melted into the heart of the rose. The child could not even say where he ended and the rose began, where the rose ended and he began -- there were no boundaries. They became one in that moment of awe. For a single moment they were not two -- oneness happened. But you have told him: This is a rose. Now, the experience will never be there again. The moment the rose is there, immediately the mind will say: This is a rose. The mystery is lost, now there is an answer, now the child knows. What absurdity! Now you will say the child is growing in knowledge. But just the opposite is the case.
Before you told him what was what, he knew, but he knew with his totality. It was not knowledge, it was experiencing. But then you thought he was ignorant. Now you think he knows because he carries a word in his mind. The word 'rose' is not rose, the word 'God' is not God, the word 'love' is not love. But we go on accumulating these words. And then there are clever minds who arrange these words into interpretations, theories and arguments. And the more argumentative, the more theoretical you become, the further you move from the rose.
Then even echoes become impossible: nothing comes to you, you never go to anything -- you simply live in the mind, arranging words.
I have heard an anecdote: Three Jews were going for a morning walk. They were friends, old friends, discussing many things. Then they saw the mayor's big car pass by and the mayor waved his hand and said: Hello! Now there was trouble. The first one said: Don't get so happy; he said 'hello' to me -- and he has to. The two asked: What do you mean? The first one said: I have taken ten thousand dollars from him; I borrowed the money, and for two years he has been waiting and waiting. He had to say 'hello' to me.
The other one said: You are wrong, the 'hello' was said to me -- and he had to. The reason is that I have lent him ten thousand dollars. He owes money to me and he is always afraid of me. The moment he sees me, he gets scared -- he has to.
The third laughed and the two others turned to him and said: What do you mean? Why are you laughing? He said: He had to say 'hello' to me, not to you -- there you are both wrong. He neither owes money to me nor do I owe money to him. Why shouldn't he give me a clean 'hello'? Once you start looking at reality through the mind then everything becomes a problem; then the ego start interpreting and then you have only interpretations. You may have proofs for them, and those proofs may look reasonable, but only to you, not to anybody else -- because it is your ego that gives those interpretations. And you get more and more fixed in your interpretations because you have invested so much in them.
If somebody says something which goes against Christianity, a Christian feels hurt. If somebody says something against Hinduism, a Hindu feels hurt. Why? If you are really a truth seeker, as religious people say they are, why should you get hurt? You should enquire -- he may be right. But the ego is involved. It is not a question of Hinduism being right or wrong, it is a question of you being right or wrong. How can you be wrong? If you are wrong, then your image starts shaking -- you cannot be wrong. Then for small things, very small things, you start fighting and arguing. But the real fight, the basis of all fight, is that you are fighting against life. With your answers you are trying to conquer life; with your theories you are trying to manipulate life. And you think that if you know the theories then you will be the master.
Through knowledge you strengthen your ego. So if somebody says there is no knowledge through the mind the ego simply becomes deaf. It never listens to it because it is dangerous. The mind says: This is also a theory. The mind says: Even anti-philosophy is a philosophy, even Chuang Tzu is a philosopher. Then everything is settled and you move again into your interpretations. But remember, Chuang Tzu is not a philosopher -- neither am I.
Philosophy is an attitude towards life. Attitude means a choice. And choice can only be fragmentary. A mystic never chooses. He looks at the whole without any choice on his part, he does not become a chooser. If you choose, then there is a problem immediately because life is contradictory; life exists through contradictions, and it is beautiful how life manages the impossible. The night and the day exist as neighbours, not neighbours really -- the day melts into the night and becomes the night; the night melts again into the day and becomes the day. Love and hate exist together: the love melts and becomes the hate, the hate melts and becomes the love. Life and death exist together: life goes on melting into death and death goes on melting again into life. Existence is contradictory, but there is a deep harmony between the opposite polarities.
For the mind this looks impossible, this cannot be. How can the opposite exist together? How can there be a harmony between life and death? How can there be a harmony between hate and love? The mind says: Love is never hate and hate is never love. The mind says: A is A and B is B and A is never B. Mind is logical and life is contradictory, that is why they never meet. So if you say that this man is good, you cannot believe that this man is also bad. But life is such: the sinner exists in the saint and the saint exists in the sinner. Only logic is clean-cut, with boundaries. definitions.
Life is not clean-cut, it moves into the opposite. Just look... you can be a saint this moment and a sinner the next. What is the problem for life? You can be a sinner this moment and the next moment you can rise above it and become a saint. What is the problem?
Look at the inside phenomenon: how things melt into the opposite, how opposites exist together. You were happy, happy like a flower, happy like a star, and suddenly you become sad. Look... is this sadness something separate from your happiness? Or has the same energy become sadness? Who was happy and who is sad? Are there two persons within you or the same person having moods? And the same energy goes on moving: sometimes it is sad and sometimes it is happy. If you understand this then you don't create a contradiction between the two. And then your sadness has a flavour of happiness and your happiness has a depth of sadness also.
If a Buddha is sad you will see a blissful feeling in his sadness, you will see an undercurrent of compassion. His sadness is beautiful. And if a Buddha is happy, and if you look deep and observe him, you will feel that in his happiness there is a depth -- just the same depth as there always is with sadness. His happiness is not shallow. With you the problem is that whenever you are happy you are shallow; but whenever you are sad you may be deeper, less shallow. That is why laughter has a ring of shallowness. If you laugh it seems you are laughing just on the periphery, but when you weep, you weep from the heart. It is easy to pretend laughter, it is very difficult to pretend tears. If they do not come it is impossible to bring them. You can force smiles, you cannot force tears. The more you force, the more you will feel they won't come, the more the eyes will be dry. Your sadness has a depth, your laughter has a shallowness.
But when Buddha laughs, he laughs as deeply as tears can go; and when he weeps, he weeps as beautifully as you smile. The contradictions have lost their 'contradictoriness', they have become one. That is why to understand Buddha is difficult because he has become as contradictory as existence itself. He is an absurdity -- now he is a mystery himself.
A religious person is in search of the truth, a philosopher is in search of interpretations.
I have heard that once it happened in a men's club that three professors of philosophy were discussing, in a panel discussion, what is most beautiful in a woman. The one philosopher said: It is the eyes -- the eyes carry the whole of the woman, they are the most beautiful part in a feminine body. The second one said: I don't agree. The hair is the most beautiful part of a feminine face and body, it gives it the beauty and the mystery. And the third said: I don't agree with you, you both are wrong -- it is the legs, the way a woman walks, the curves of her legs, just the marbleness of her legs, that gives her the whole feminine beauty.
One woman, an old woman, who was listening very seriously to this discussion, elevated her nose and said: I must get out of here before one of you boys says the truth!
A woman is not a philosopher, she has no theories -- she knows.
A religious person has an intuitive grasp -- it is not intellect, it is his whole being. He feels rather than knows. And feeling hits the centre. So remember one thing -- through philosophy you will never reach the truth, you will just go about and about and about.
Omar Khayyam has said in his 'Rubaiyat': When I was young I did frequent doctor and saint. About and about they argued and I came out by the same door as I went in. He visited so many philosophers, so many saints -- but they talked about and about and he had to come back by the same door.
Nothing is gained, only life is wasted. The sooner you become alert, the better. The sooner you become aware and drop out of the trap of philosophy, the better. Because life will not wait for you and your theories, it is moving fast. Soon death will happen and you will die with your theories in your hand; and they won't help, they are just dead ashes. Chuang Tzu says: Live, don't think! That is all that those who have known have always said: Live, don't think! Drop thinking and become a being -- your totality is required. It is okay that for science you use your head, it is okay that for art you use your heart, but for religion you in your totality are required. If the head functions alone it produces dry theories; if the heart functions alone it creates fictions, dreams. Your totality is required. And when you function totally you reach the total that is the universe -- you become the same, and only the similar can know it. If you become total in your small circle then the total of the vast circle, the Brahman, is ready to receive you. This is one thing.
The second thing before we enter this parable is that mind is always conditioned. It cannot be unconditioned. Being is unconditioned, mind is a conditioning. Mind is always trained by the society in which you live, trained by the experiences through which you pass. So a frog has a frog mind -- he lives in a well, that is his whole universe. And you also have a frog mind because you also live in a well; the well of the Hindu, the well of the Mohammedan, the well of the Christian or the Jew. And you have a boundary -- it may be invisible, but then it is more dangerous because you can jump out of visible boundaries more easily. Invisible boundaries... you never feel that they are there so they just cling to you. It is easier for a frog to come out of his well than for you to come out of your Hinduism, your Christianity. It is difficult, because the well is invisible. A frog lives in a fixed well -- he can jump out of it. You live in a well that you carry around you; it is like a climate, always surrounding you; it is your invisible personality. Wherever you go you carry your well with you, you remain in it; whatsoever you see, you see through it.
All interpretations come from conditioning -- and only one who is unconditioned can know the real, can know the true. A Hindu cannot know God, a Christian cannot know, a Jew cannot know -- because these are minds. Only someone who has come to realise that he is neither a Hindu, nor a Mohammedan, nor a Christian -- only he can know.
An Indian cannot know the truth, a Japanese cannot know the truth, a Chinese person cannot know the truth, because truth has no boundaries. Nationalities create conditionings, they have to be dropped. One has to become absolutely naked before the truth, with no clothes, no conditionings; neither a Hindu, nor an Indian, nor a Mohammedan, nor Chinese -- just a being, a pure being with nothing to cling to. Then you are out of the well. And if you cling to the well, how can you reach the ocean? And if you carry the conditionings of the well, even if the ocean is there you won't believe it, you won't see it, because your eyes will be closed to this vastness. They can know only that which is narrow, like a well.
The third thing to be remembered is that mind always wants to live with inferiors, it is always afraid of the superior. So everybody goes on searching for the inferior -- friends, wife, husband -- just the inferior to you, so you can feel superior.
In India, they have a proverb that a camel never wants to come to the Himalayas. That is why he lives in deserts -- there he is the Himalayas. If he comes near the Himalayas then what will happen to the ego? That's why you escape whenever there is any fear for the ego. If you come to a Buddha you will escape, because a camel never wants to come to a Himalaya. You like your desert -- at least you are somebody there. George Bernard Shaw is reported to have said: If I am not the first in heaven I would not like to go there. Even hell is preferable if I am first. If I am to be second in heaven, it is not for me.
He is saying something about you. Just think, will you be at ease in heaven where you are not the first, and you cannot be? Because Jesus will be there, Buddha will be there, they are already occupying the queue, you will be far behind. But in hell there is a possibility of your being first -- and it is also easier. You can be in misery, but you would like to be first, the foremost, somebody -- you would not like to be blissful and nobody. And this is the problem: only nobodies can be blissful, somebodies will always be in misery because the very feeling that 'I have to be somebody' creates misery. Then you are in competition and conflict, then there is continuous tension with everybody -- everybody else is the enemy. And the mind always seeks the inferior, it surrounds itself with inferiors. Then you become the supreme most.
Look at this tendency. If it persists you will go on falling and falling and falling, and there is no end to it. Always seek the superior if you are really seeking the truth, because truth is the superior most. If you are seeking the inferior then finally you will end with some ultimate lie.
If you really want to go to the Divine, then seek the superior, because the superior is the glimpse of it. Always seek the superior. But then you have to be humble, then you have to bow down, then you have to surrender. This is the problem for the ego, for the mind.
Mind tends to seek the inferior, that is why mind can never reach the superior-most, the highest peak of life. Mind will finally reach hell -- mind is the hell, and no mind is heaven.
Now we will try to penetrate this beautiful parable:
THE AUTUMN FLOODS HAD COME. THOUSANDS OF WILD TORRENTS POURED FURIOUSLY INTO THE YELLOW RIVER. IT SURGED AND FLOODED ITS BANKS UNTIL, LOOKING ACROSS, YOU COULD NOT TELL AN OX FROM A HORSE ON THE OTHER SIDE.
THEN THE RIVER GOD LAUGHED, DELIGHTED TO THINK THAT ALL THE BEAUTY IN THE WORLD HAD FALLEN INTO HIS KEEPING. SO DOWNSTREAM HE SWUNG, UNTIL HE CAME TO THE OCEAN. THERE HE LOOKED OUT OVER THE WAVES TOWARD THE EMPTY HORIZON IN THE EAST, AND HIS FACE FELL.
GAZING OUT AT THE FAR HORIZON HE CAME TO HIS SENSES AND MURMURED TO THE OCEAN GOD: WELL THE PROVERB IS RIGHT. HE WHO HAS GOT HIMSELF A HUNDRED IDEAS THINKS HE KNOWS MORE THAN ANYBODY ELSE. SUCH A ONE AM I. ONLY NOW DO I SEE WHAT THEY MEAN BY EXPANSE!
The Yellow River is one of the greatest rivers in the world, and one of the most dangerous. And of course, when the river is in flood, autumn flood, and thousands and thousands of torrents, streams, small rivers and rivulets, are falling into it, and it is flooded, it becomes a small ocean in itself. And the River God thought: Now there is nobody comparable to me, and the whole beauty of the world has fallen into my keeping. Now I am vast, incomparably vast, there is nobody else who is so vast. This is what is happening to every ego. Every ego is the Yellow River.
When you are a child it is a small current -- just at the very source, not very big or vast. Then streams fall into it, you gather many experiences, much knowledge, certificates, money, wealth, prestige, respect. You go on gathering. Thousands of torrents fall in and the river goes on becoming vaster and vaster, bigger and bigger. This is the autumn flood that comes when you are young -- then you think no one is comparable to you, you are incomparable. Then you are filled with the ego, puffed. Everybody in his young age becomes puffed -- the autumn flood. And then he thinks: Now, the beauty of the whole world has fallen into my keeping. You ask any person. Whatsoever he says, don't listen. Just look at the way he says it. He may say that he is a humble man, but look in his eyes -- he is saying: I am the most humble man, there is no comparison to me. He may be saying that he is not so beautiful as others; but look, he is waiting for you to contradict, to say: No, you are wrong. And if you nod and say, 'Yes, you are right,' you are creating one more enemy. He was being diplomatic. What he wanted to say was something else but he wanted to hear it from you.
In youth, everyone is in a flood, and then the whole outlook is tinged and coloured by the ego. Then you walk, then you talk, behave, relate, but everything is tinged, coloured, by the ego. Much misery of course happens because you are thinking yourself to be that which you are not, and you are believing in the shadow. Soon the flood will recede, the autumn is not going to be forever. You will become old, torrents will not fall into you, streams will become dry, banks will appear, summer will come, and this vast looking Yellow River will become just a tiny stream. You may become just a dry bed of sand and nothing else.
It happens in old age. Then one feels very irritated, cheated -- as if existence has been cheating you. Nobody has cheated you, you simply magnified yourself foolishly. Your own ego created the whole problem -- now you feel cheated. You cannot find a man who is old and yet happy. If you can find one, live with him -- he is a wise man. You can find happy young men, that is nothing. If you can find a happy old man, that is something. When the summer has come and the autumn flood is no more and an old man is happy, then he has known something else: he has found some eternal source.
When you are young, you have a dance in your feet -- that is nothing, it is just the flood. When you are old and everything has been taken back, nobody even remembers you, nobody bothers about you; you are simply neglected, out of the way, thrown away like rubbish, garbage, and you are still happy....
Buddha has said that when you find an old man as happy as a youth, there is something there -- bow down to him, listen and learn from him. In India, it was the tradition that whenever we found an old man happy, dancing, we would make him a master. He would move to the forest, he would create a small university around him -- A GURUKUL, a household of the master -- and disciples would start pouring in from all over the country.
In India we have never made a young man a teacher. Only an old man can be a teacher, and that is right. Exceptions may happen, but generally it is right. Only an old man can be a teacher, one who has lived through all seasons of life, who is seasoned and still happy and blissful. To be in flood and happy is nothing special, it is ordinary, but to be happy and ecstatic when the stream is almost dry, when only sands are left, when one's whole body is just a ruin.... To be alive at the peak of life and to dance is nothing. But when death comes near and you go dancing to meet it, then it is something. Then the rare has happened, the extraordinary has entered into the world of the ordinary, then the Divine has penetrated.
If you are happy because you are young you will not be happy for long, soon your happiness will be shattered. And if you can become aware before it is shattered, it is good. This is the beauty: if you can become sad while you are young, you will be happy when you become old. Otherwise you will become sad because now this is just a flood. If you look at it, it is not you; it is the thousand torrents falling into you that is giving you the impression that you are vast. Soon that which is given to you will be taken, and if you can be happy when everything is taken only then is your happiness unshakeable. Then your happiness has become bliss. This is the difference between happiness and bliss.
Happiness depends on others -- the thousand torrents falling in -- bliss depends just on you, it is independent. It has no conditions to be fulfilled, it is unconditional. It is simply because of you; it has no casuality, nothing causes it. If you are happy with your girl friend, your boy friend, your lover, then somebody is causing your happiness. Soon it will be taken away, because it is an autumn flood. Seasons will change, the wheel of life will go on moving -- it will be taken away. That which is caused cannot be forever; that which is uncaused can be forever. Remember that always whenever you are happy; remember... is it something uncaused or caused? If it is caused then it is better to be sad, because it is going to be taken away. It is already on the way, it has already left you -- sooner or later you will realise it has gone. Because causation is part of the world which is in a flux, this dream world that Hindus have called MAYA, this illusion which goes on moving like a dream. And if you believe in it, it becomes a nightmare. If you don't believe it, you can discard it -- then you can look at the witness, which is uncaused.
The River God became swollen. SO DOWNSTREAM HE SWUNG, UNTIL HE CAME TO THE OCEAN. And someday or other you will come to the ocean. What is the ocean? Death is the ocean -- vast. Life has a source to it, death has no source. Life has banks to it, sometimes flooded -- then it looks vast; sometimes not flooded -- then it becomes a tiny stream. But death has no banks to it, it is oceanic.
And just like every river has to come to the ocean, so every river of consciousness has to come to death. Wherever you are going, whatsoever path you choose, whichever direction, it makes no difference -- you will reach the ocean. The Ocean surrounds you in all directions. You will reach death, and near death all your dreams will be shattered -- the whole ego will be shaken.
SO DOWNSTREAM HE SWUNG, UNTIL HE CAME TO THE OCEAN. THERE HE LOOKED OUT OVER THE WAVES TOWARD THE EMPTY HORIZON IN THE EAST, AND HIS FACE FELL.
That is how old men become sad. Their faces fall, happiness disappears, the zest, the enthusiasm, the dream, everything simply dies. They look and see nothing but a soulless ocean in which they are going to be merged and dissolved -- they will be no more. Every river falling into the ocean feels the same. And every river, it is said, looks back to the days when she was something; looks back before she falls into the ocean, remembers the past, the floods, the autumn, the days when she was somebody. But you cannot go back. There is no possibility of going back in time. One has always to move further and further; and every river has to fall. It falls crying. Go to the ocean and sit near a river falling into the ocean -- you will feel such sadness in the river.
Every old man, all old persons start looking backwards. Old people always go into memories, the days when they were something, somebody, the days when they were loved and respected and honoured. They go on again and again. Just listen to old men and you feel they are very boring. Why do you feel they are boring? Why do you feel irritated? Because they go on repeating the same story of the old days. Always they start in the good old days. Why the good? Why aren't the days good now? No old man can believe that the days are good now -- they were always in the past, the golden past, the good old days when things were like this and that. This is not a question of things, or economic situations or political situations -- nothing. They were young and everything was good. They were flooded. It happened that a chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States went to visit Paris after he was retired. He had been once before, thirty years before. His old wife was also with him. Looking at Paris for two or three days, he became very sad and he said: We were waiting for this, to come and see Paris, but nothing looks like it was before. The wife laughed and said: Everything is as it was before, only we are not young. Paris remains the same.
But now other rivers are in autumn flood. Your summertime has come, and when you are old how can Paris be the same as when you were young? Paris is the symbolic city of young people indulging. There are cities in different seasons: Varanasi is the city of the old people, Paris is the city of the young people. Paris indulges, Varanasi renounces. In India when people want to die, they go to Varanasi to live there and to die there -- it is the city of the old, the summertime. When you become old, the whole world seems to be old and dying. But the world remains the same, only you go on changing.
Look, and drop your mind, then you are neither young nor old, then there are no seasons -- because the innermost spirit has no seasons to it, no autumn, no summer, nothing. It remains the same, it is eternal. Otherwise, whenever your river comes to the ocean your face will fall, you will become sad -- sad and burdened with old memories, thinking about the past because now there is no future. A child never thinks of the past because there is no past. A child is just fresh -- a blank page. Things are going to be written on it but as yet nothing is written. He cannot move backwards, he always thinks of the future.
Ask a child and he is always thinking of how to grow, how to grow soon and fast, how to become like Daddy -- and he doesn't know what is happening to Daddy. In what trouble Daddy is, he doesn't know. He wants to become powerful, strong, tall, somebody, soon. He would like a miracle to happen -- to go to sleep at night and in the morning to be old and grown up. Every child thinks of the future. Childhood thinks of the future, because for childhood there is expanse in the future. Seventy years to live -- nothing lived before. There is no past, that is why a child has not much memory. If a child becomes angry, he forgets it immediately; immediately he can laugh because there is not much past which can become a burden. He goes on forgetting the past because his whole energy is moving towards the future; he cannot look back, no child looks back. A young man in youth remains in the present. He is just in the middle, he lives here and now. No need to go to the past because the present is so beautiful, he is so flooded, the ego is so high; no need to go to the future because the future cannot be better than this.
There are old countries just like old men. For example, India is an old country, it always thinks of the past, ancient ages. There are young countries, for example, America; it lives here and now, just this moment. There are young countries, for example, China. China is a young country now -- reborn, it looks to the future, much is going to happen, soon the world will become a utopia.
Countries move just like persons. Young men live in the present, everything is so good, nothing could be better. But this cannot continue forever. Soon the old days set in and the old man thinks of the past. Mind is either in the past, or in the present, or in the future, because past, present, and future are, all three of them, parts of mind. They are not tenses of time, but parts of mind. But when you drop the mind you are in eternity; it is neither past nor present nor future. You have transcended all three; then there is no season for you. Then you are sad in your happiness and you are happy in your sadness. Then you are old in your youngness and you are young in your oldness. Then you are a child at the time of death and then you are an old man at the time of birth.
It is said of Lao Tzu, the master of Chuang Tzu, that he was born old, eighty years old, that he remained in his mother's womb for eighty years. It is a beautiful story. And it is said that he was born old with a white beard, and white hair -- snow-white. This is just the other aspect of the coin. Jesus says: If you are a child again you will enter into the Kingdom of God. This is one aspect. Lao Tzu has another aspect; He says: If you are born old you have already entered. But both are the same -- and this is the problem for the mind to understand: one who is born old will be a child when he dies. If you are a child when born, you will be old when you die. So either become old when you are born, which is difficult -- very, very difficult, but there are methods -- or die and then become a child. But both are related, because life and death are a circle.
When you die here, you are born somewhere else. If you can die here as a child -- fresh, unburdened, innocent -- you will be born old. Because you will be so experienced, you will be so wise, you will be old. That is what it means -- to be wise from the very first moment. If you die fresh and young you will be born wise because wisdom happens in an empty and innocent mind. And if you are born wise, old, you will not move in the ordinary foolishness that everybody is prone to, and you will remain fresh, wise. Then there is no death.
So a wise man is born only once, all other lives are just preparations. Only once can he come back before his final merging into the universe; before his MAHANIRVANA, he can come once.
If you die almost a child you will be born once more, but you will be born as an old man. You will be wise from the first day and then there will be no more birth; then you attain to the birthless and deathless.
GAZING OUT AT THE FAR HORIZON HE CAME TO HIS SENSES AND MURMURED TO THE OCEAN GOD: WELL, THE PROVERB IS RIGHT. HE WHO HAS GOT HIMSELF A HUNDRED IDEAS THINKS HE KNOWS MORE THAN ANYBODY ELSE. SUCH A ONE AM I. ONLY NOW DO I SEE WHAT THEY MEAN BY EXPANSE!
When you come to the superior, when you come to a man of Tao, only then do you realise what it means to be wise, what it means to be intelligent, what it means to be mature, what it means to be expanding, what it means to be really conscious, total, integrated. When you come to an enlightened person only then do you feel what it means to be here at all. Before, you moved in a dream, in shadows, you never came into the sunlight, you were never under the sky. You lived in dark caves, caves of the ego.
THE OCEAN GOD REPLIED: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE SEA TO A FROG IN A WELL?
It is impossible, because the language differs. The frog in the well speaks the language of the well.
You must have heard this story: Once a frog from the ocean came and jumped into a well. He got acquainted with the frog in the well and the well frog asked: From where do you come? He said: I have come from the ocean. The well frog asked: Is it bigger than this well? Of course suspicion was in his eyes, doubt in his mind: How can anything be bigger than this well, where I live? The ocean frog laughed and said: It is very difficult to say anything because there is no measure. The well frog said: Then I will give you some measure so you can. He jumped one quarter of the well, one fourth of the way up, and said: Is it that big? The ocean frog laughed and said: No. So he jumped up half of the well, and said: Is it that big? Again the ocean frog laughed and said: No. Then he jumped three quarters and said: Is it that big? Again the ocean frog said: No. Then he jumped the whole well, the whole length, and said: Now, now you cannot say no. The ocean frog said: You may feel hurt, and I don't want to be offensive, but still the answer is no. Then the well frog said: Get out from here, you liar. Nothing can be bigger than this well!
Whenever you doubt it is always the well frog in you. Nothing can be bigger than you, nothing can be higher than you, nothing can be more divine than you, nothing can be holier than you. No! That is why you go on rejecting Buddhas, Christs; you have to, because they come from the ocean. They bring a message of the Immeasurable, and you have your measuring sticks. You should not be too hard on the well frog because what can he do? You can only have compassion; you cannot be too hard because that is all he has known. He has never been to the ocean so how can he conceive of it? Hence the compassion of the Buddhas. You go on disbelieving them and they go on giving their compassion because they know -- what can you do? You have lived in a well and for so long. A well frog even looks at the sky, but the sky is also surrounded by his well, it is just a hole. Even the sky is not bigger than his well because he cannot know that his well is just a window and that the sky is not fixed in the window. But you are standing behind the window. Then the same structure of the window becomes the structure of your sky and you think: The sky is the same as my window. This is how everybody thinks.
And Buddhas cannot do anything else but be compassionate. Jesus died on the cross and still he said: God, forgive these people because they don't know what they are doing.
This is what that well frog was doing. And the ocean frog must have prayed in the depth of his heart: God, forgive this frog because he does not know what he is doing and what he is saying. He said: Get out from here, you liar. You cannot deceive me, you must have some plans to deceive me. I cannot believe in such an absurdity -- that anything can be bigger than this well.
THE OCEAN GOD REPLIED: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE SEA TO A FROG IN A WELL?
That is why Buddhas cannot talk about what they know, it is impossible to communicate. It is incommunicable because languages differ; you have a different pattern of language. If it is put in that pattern of language then the ocean will have to be put in a well, but the ocean will not go, so everything will become false. That is why Buddhas go on saying: Whatsoever we say, just by saying it, it becomes untrue.
Says Lao Tzu: The truth cannot be said. And that which can be said is no longer true. This is the problem -- not the truth. You are the problem, and your language of the well is the problem, not truth. Truth can be said, but then two Buddhas are needed to talk about it. And they don't need to talk about it because when two Buddhas are there there is no need to say anything -- they show. They are the Truth. There is no need to talk. And whenever there is any need to talk the problem arises.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE SEA TO A FROG IN A WELL? CAN YOU TALK ABOUT ICE TO A DRAGONFLY?
The dragonfly lives in fire; how can you talk about ice to a dragonfly? She has never known it, ice never existed for her, fire is her world. You can talk about fire, you cannot talk about ice. You cannot say that there are things as cold as ice. She will not believe you because to her everything is fire.
Can bliss be taught to you -- to you who live in the fire of misery and DUKKHA? Can bliss be taught to you who live in anguish, who are dragonflies? How can you understand the cool of a Buddha? You cannot understand. How can you understand that in the head of a Buddha there are no thoughts moving, no clouds. You don't know, you have not even had a glimpse; not even for a single moment has the process of thought stopped. You know your head as a mad crowd, how can you believe that a Buddha simply sits and there is not a thought in his head. That is inconceivable. You live in fire; Buddha lives in a cool, very cool world. And there is no bridge between fire and ice. Unless you become cooler and cooler and cooler you will not be able to understand. Buddha becomes communicable only when you become more silent and cool, otherwise everything is missed.
AND CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE WAY OF LIFE TO A DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY?
Impossible! And I will tell you that it is possible sometimes to talk about the sea to a well frog, it is possible to talk about ice to a dragonfly, but it is not possible to talk about truth to a philosopher, to a doctor of philosophy. Why? Because howsoever small the well may be it is still part of the ocean -- at least the water is part of the ocean. And howsoever opposite the fire may be to the ice, they are degrees of the same phenomenon.
Heat and cold are not two things, but the same energy. Energy becomes heat, the same energy becomes cold; the energy is the same, degrees differ. That's why with one thermometer you can measure both heat and cold, because the energy is the same. Where does cold become heat, can you say exactly where? At which degree does the cold cease to be cold and become heat? You cannot say, it depends.
Try a simple experiment. Put one hand, your left hand, on an ice cube and your right hand near a fire. Let the right hand become hot, let the left hand become cool. Then put both the hands together in a bucket of water and tell me whether it is cool or hot. You will be in difficulty, because one hand will say it is hot, and one hand will say it is cool, it is cold. What is it -- cold or hot? They are degrees of the same energy.
So I say to you, even to a well frog it is possible to communicate something about the sea. And if the messenger is really inventive, he can create devices to communicate. That is what a Buddha is doing, a Jesus is doing -- creating devices to communicate something of the sea to well frogs -- because there is one thing in common, the water. If there is one thing in common, then communication is possible, a bridge exists.
Even to a dragonfly something can be communicated about ice. Even if we say it is not hot like the fire, something has been said about the ice -- negative, of course. That is why all great scriptures are negative. They don't say what truth is. They always say what truth is not, just to make the message meaningful to dragonflies. So we cannot say what the ice is, but we can say that the ice is not fire -- this much can be communicated.
But even by that method it is impossible to talk to a philosopher about the way of life, or to talk to a philosopher about existence. Even if the philosopher is an existentialist, then too it is impossible to talk about existence, because between a word and the corresponding reality there is no bridge. A rose and the word 'rose' are not related in any way,' all relationship is arbitrary. What is the relationship between the word 'rose' -- R,O,S,E -- and the rose? If there is some relationship then you cannot call it GULAB. There are three hundred languages in the world and three hundred words for rose; there is no relationship, all relationship is arbitrary. Cold is related to hot, well is related to the ocean. Their relationship, howsoever indistinct, is there -- real, not arbitrary.
But between a word and reality there is no relationship, they are not related at all. So you can have your own words, a private language, you can call anything by any name. If you like to call it something else the rose will not fight in a court. And nobody can prove that their word is more correct than yours, nobody can prove it because no word is more correct or less correct -- words are irrelevant, they are not related. And a philosopher lives in words. A philosopher is the falsest thing in existence, and the more you become philosophic, the less you live. Then you think about love, you never love, then you think about God, you never become divine. Then you go on talking and talking and talking and your whole energy is wasted in words, there is not a single moment to enter into existence.
Chuang Tzu says be aware of all philosophies because their base is the same -- they depend on words. And reality is not a word. Move into the real -- you are real, existence is real -- move into the real. Don't create a wall of words between you and reality otherwise it is impenetrable, you will be closed in, within your wall. And then it will become almost impossible to come out of it.
Don't be a philosopher -- and everybody is a philosopher. It is difficult to find a man who is not a philosopher. Some philosophers are good, some bad, but everyone is a philosopher. Some are more logical, some are less, but everybody is a philosopher. Drop out of the trip -- the trip of philosophy. Only then you enter the real, the existential.