Chapter 9: Save the Cat



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Nothing is saved by the mind, by thinking, by logic, and if you try to save by logic you will lose. Life can be saved only through an irrational jump, through something that is not intellectual but total.

But the whole story seems to be too cruel. Nansen's disciples were struggling over a cat. Nansen had a big monastery and the monastery had two wings. This cat was moving from one wing to another and both wings claimed that the cat belonged to them -- and the cat was a beautiful one.

The first thing to be understood is: a real sannyasin cannot claim any ownership. A sannyasin means one who has left all possessions, or all possessiveness, which is deeper and more basic. You can leave possessions, that is easy; but to leave possessiveness is difficult because it goes deeper in the mind. You can leave the world, but the mind goes on clinging to it.

These monks, Nansen's disciples, had left the world behind -- their homes, their wives, their children -- but now they were fighting over the ownership of a cat. This is how the mind works. You leave one thing and the mind claims another, but the basic thing remains the same and it makes no difference if the object of ownership changes -- it makes no difference. The difference, the revolution, the real change, comes only when the subjectivity changes, when the owner changes. This is the first thing to be understood. Monks claiming ownership of a cat looks foolish, but this is how monks have been acting all over the world. They leave their houses, then they claim ownership of the temple, of the church. They leave everything but they can't leave their minds, and the mind creates new worlds for them continuously.

So it is not a question of possessing a kingdom; even a cat will do. And wherever possession comes in, fighting, violence and aggression are bound to be there. Whenever you possess, you are fighting, because that which you possess belongs to the whole. You cannot possess anything; you can use it, that's all. How can we possess the sky and how can we possess the earth? But we possess -- and that possession creates all types of conflict, struggle, wars, violence and so on.

Man has been fighting and fighting and fighting continuously. Historians say that within the last three thousand years there have been wars almost continuously somewhere or other on the earth. In three thousand years, we have fought at least fourteen thousand wars. Why so much fighting? It is because of possession. If you possess you have started a war with the whole.

Buddha, Mahavira or Jesus, all said, "If you possess, you can't enter the kingdom of God." Jesus said, "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." It is impossible, because when you possess you are constantly fighting with God. When you claim ownership, from whom are you claiming ownership? The whole belongs to the whole; the part cannot claim the whole. The part cannot even claim the part. Every claim is aggression. So those who possess cannot be in deep contact with the divine.

Nonpossessiveness doesn't mean you should not live in a house. Live in a house, but be thankful to the whole, to the divine. Use it but don't possess it. If you can use things without being possessive you have become a sanysain.

These followers of Nansen have left the world, but their minds have followed them like shadows. Now they claim ownership of a cat. The whole thing is foolish.

But the mind is  foolish. The mind always goes on searching for excuses to fight. If you have a mind you have a potential fighter within you who is always in search of a fight with somebody. Why is the mind always in search of a fight? By fighting, ego is accumulated, becomes stronger. Through fighting your ego grows; if you don't fight, ego disappears.

Mahavira and Buddha both insisted on nonviolence. The basic reason for not fighting is that once you stop fighting the ego cannot exist. Ego exists in fight; it is a consequence of fight. The more you fight the more ego exists. If you alone remained on the earth, nobody to fight with, would you have an ego? You would not have an ego. The other is needed to create it; the other is a must. Ego is a relationship, it is not in you.  Remember, the ego is not in you, it is not located within you. It is always located within you and the other -- somewhere in between, where fight exists.

There are two types of relationship: one is of fight, fear, hatred -- this creates ego -- the other is of love, compassion, sympathy. These are the two types of relationship. Wherever love is, fight ceases, ego drops. This is why you cannot love. It is difficult, because to love means to drop the ego, to drop yourself. Love means not to be.

So look at the strange phenomenon: lovers go on fighting. How can lovers fight? If there is love fight should drop and the ego will disappear. Your whole being thirsts for love, your whole mind thirsts for ego. So you make a compromise: you love and  you fight. The lover becomes an intimate enemy, but the enmity remains. All lovers go on fighting and go on loving. They have made a compromise: in some moments they are loving, then they drop the ego. But the mind feels uneasy, and again the mind starts fighting. So in the morning they fight, in the evening they make love, and the next morning they fight again. Then a rhythm of fight and love is created.

True love means the fight has disappeared, the two have become one. Their bodies exist separately but their being has mingled. The boundaries are lost, there is no division. There is no 'I' and no 'thou', no one exists.

These monks of Nansen had left everything, but the mind was there. It wanted to possess, it wanted to create a fight, it wanted to be egoistic. A cat became just an excuse. Nansen called all the monks, all the disciples, caught hold of the cat, and he said, "Say something which can save this cat."

What did he mean when he said, "Say something which can save this cat?" He meant: Say something Zen-like, say something meditative, say something of the other world, say something of ecstasy, say something which doesn't belong to the mind. This cat can be saved if you say something which comes from no-mind, which comes from your inner silence. He demanded the impossible. If there had been inner silence these monks would not have been claiming possession; if there had been inner silence it would have been impossible for them to fight.

The monks were at a loss. They knew if they said something it would come from the mind and the cat would be killed, so they remained silent. But that silence was not real silence; otherwise the cat would have been saved. They remained silent not because they were silent; they remained silent because they couldn't find anything to say which came from no-mind, which came from an inner source, from the very being, from the center. They remained silent as a strategy. It was tactics: it is better to remain silent because the master may be deceived that this silence is our response -- this is what they were saying.

But you cannot deceive a master. And if you can deceive a master, then that master is not a master at all. Their silence was false. Inside there was turmoil, inside there was continuous chattering. They were thinking and thinking, in search of one answer so that this cat might be saved. They were very troubled inside; the whole mind was functioning fast. The master must have looked at them. Their minds were not inactive, they were not inactive; there was no meditation, there was no silence. Their silence was just a false facade. You can sit silently without being silent and you can talk and be silent; you can walk and be inactive and you can sit statuelike and be active. The mind is complex. You can walk, run, move, and inside, deep at the center, nothing happens, you are inactive.

I am talking to you and I am silent. You are not talking to me and you are not silent; the mind continues. The inner chattering goes on and on and on. The mind is a monkey, It cannot sit silently. Darwin discovered that man comes from the monkeys, but in the East meditators have always been aware that whether man comes from monkeys or not, the mind definitely comes from monkeys. It is monkeyish -- jumping, chattering, doing something or other, never silent.

What Nansen said to his disciples was, "If you stop behaving like monkeys, this cat can be saved." But they couldn't help it. You  cannot help it: if the mind is there what can you do? If you try to hold it still it becomes more active; if you force it to be silent it talks more; if you suppress it, it rebels. You cannot suppress it, you cannot persuade it; you cannot do anything about it, because the moment you do something it is the mind which is doing. This is the problem.

They all wanted to save the cat, they all wanted to possess the cat; the cat was really beautiful. But how can a mind which is possessive be silent? And how can a mind which is possessive save anybody? It can only kill.

Remember, it was not Nansen who killed the cat, it was these monks who killed it; this is the secret key in the story. Nansen gave an opportunity. He said, "You can save this cat. Say something which comes from no-mind, from your very being. And if you don't say anything I am going to cut this cat and divide it in two so both parties can possess it." It was not Nansen who killed the cat. It seemed as though he killed it, but in fact the monks killed the cat. Whenever you possess a live thing, you have already killed it. Whenever you claim that you possess a live person, you have murdered, because life cannot be possessed. The cat was moving from this wing to that. The cat was alive, fully alive, more alive than these monks. She had no home, she didn't belong to anybody. She was just like a breeze -- sometimes passing through the left wing, sometimes passing through the right. And the cat never claimed that these monks belonged to her, or those monks belonged to her. She never possessed.

Animals are nonpossessive, trees are nonpossessive; only man is possessive. And with possessiveness man has missed all that is alive. You can possess only a dead thing. The moment you possess you are making something dead. You love a woman and then you try to possess her: you kill her. A wife is a thing not a person; a husband is a thing not a person.

This is the misery -- you love a person and then you start possessing. Unknowingly you are poisoning. And sooner or later the day will come when you have poisoned the person completely. Now you possess, but how can you love a thing? The love happened in the first place because the person was alive. Now the flow has stopped, now life doesn't move, now all the doors of freedom are closed. Now it has become a frozen thing. The river is frozen, now there is no movement. Certainly now this person cannot go to another. You possess him completely. But how can you love a dead person? This is the misery of love. You cannot love a dead person, yet whenever you love you start possessing. All possession creates death. Only things can be possessed.

These monks had already killed the cat. Nansen was not going to kill it, he was only going to make manifest what had already happened. This story has been used against Zen monks, Zen masters, to show that these people are violent. Think of a Christian theologian reading this story: he will say, "What type of religious man is this Nansen? He killed the cat, a poor cat. Those monks who claimed it were better. At least they were not killing. What type of master is this? What manner of man?" If Jainas -- not Mahavira, if Jainas read this story, they will throw Nansen into hell. He has killed a cat.

Nansen is violent in appearance only to those who cannot understand. To those who can understand he is simply manifesting a thing which has already happened. The cat was dead the moment it was possessed, the moment people started claiming it. He gave them one more opportunity, but they couldn't use that opportunity. They remained silent. But if the silence had been real the cat would have been alive. The silence was false, the silence was only on the surface, on the faces, skin-deep. Inside, the mad mind was functioning fast. It was whirling, spinning. Many answers must have come to those monks, but not the answer. So Nansen had to kill. He chopped the cat in two, one part to the left-wing claimers, another part to the right-wing claimers. Those monks must have been happy, happy in the sense that at least they possessed half the cat. That is what is happening to you all. Whenever you fight, life goes dead and is divided. A father and mother fight over a son -- there is continuous fighting over children. The father says that the son belongs to him, that he should follow him, and the mother thinks the son belongs to her, that he should follow her. Claiming, they are killing. Sooner or later the son will be divided in two halves, chopped. Half of the son will belong to the father, half to the mother. And his whole life is destroyed, because now it will be very difficult for him to be whole. Half of his heart will always belong to the mother and half always to the father. One half will be against the mother and one half will be against the father. Now he is divided. Now this division is going to follow him his whole life. He is chopped in two.

This is what Nansen was saying by chopping the cat in two: Don't fight over a person, don't try to possess a person, because you will chop him. Visibly he may seem one, but deep down in his heart he has become two, and now there will be constant conflict.

The mother and father were fighting over the son; now the mother may be dead and the father may be dead, but they will go on fighting within the son -- sometimes the voice of the mother, sometimes the voice of the father. The son will always be at a loss whom to follow, and he cannot be whole.

You come to me in search of being whole, and I always say: To be whole is to be holy. There is no other way to be holy; just be whole. Divisions within you must fall, you must become a unity. But you are a conflict. Your father is fighting, your mother is fighting, your brothers are fighting, your teachers are fighting, your gurus are fighting -- everybody is fighting to possess you. There are many claimants. They have fragmented you, they have chopped you into many parts. You have become many, you are not one; you are a crowd. Neurosis comes out of it, madness comes out of it, comes out of it. Have you ever observed how many souls you have, many selves you have? You are not one, that is certain.

In my university days I used to live with a boy. He would never get up in the morning at five, but every day he would set the alarm. So I asked him, "Why do you set it? Why do you bother? -- because you never get up. You always turn the alarm off and go to sleep again. So why bother and why be disturbed every morning?

He laughed, but his laugh was hollow. He knew himself that he would not get up. But in the evening another self said, "No, tomorrow morning I am going to get up."

I said, "Okay, try." And at the time he was setting the alarm he was confident, absolutely confident that he would get up in the morning at five. There was no suspicion. But this was only one fragment who said, "Absolutely, you have to get up. You have slept enough. No more time is left; the exam is coming near."

At five I was waiting for him. He looked at me when the alarm went off. He looked at me -- I was aware, I was sitting on my bed -- he smiled, put off the alarm, changed sides and went to sleep again.

Later in the morning, at eight o'clock when he used to get up, I asked him about it. He said, "I thought, Just for a few minutes... And what is wrong in just sleeping for a few minutes more? I was feeling so sleepy, and the night was so cold. But tomorrow you will see, I will get up."

These are two different fragments -- and he was not aware that the one who said, "Get up at five," was a different part, completely unaware of the part who would say, "Go to sleep. The night is very cold."

You are doing the same: you decide a thing and the next moment you have simply forgotten what you decided. You say you are not going to be angry again, and even the next moment is very far away. If someone starts arguing with you, saying no, you will become angry. You may become angry because he is arguing -- immediately anger can come to you, and you had decided not to be angry. A divided house you are. There are many rooms in your house not connected with each other; the connections are broken, the bridges have dropped. You exist as a polypsychic being with many minds, so whatsoever you possess you will chop it. You are already chopped.

Those monks could not save the cat because they were divided. Nansen was saying, "Do something, say something, in a whole way, in a holy way, undivided. Act as a unity and this cat can be saved." Not a single one could act, and the cat was chopped.

A question arises: How could Nansen cut the cat? Is it just a parable, a symbolic story, or did he really chop the cat? There are people who would like to save Nansen; I am not one of them. He really did cut the cat. It is not a parable, it is not an anecdote, symbolic, metaphorical. No. Literally, it happened exactly the way it is said. He cut the cat in two. Could a saintly man do that? I say to you: Only a saintly man can do that.

That's what Krishna said to Arjuna in the Gita: Then don't bother! Chop these fellows. These who are standing against you, cut them down, kill them, but remember only one thing: that which is hidden in them cannot be destroyed. Only the body can be destroyed, because the body is already dead. Only what is dead can be destroyed. What is alive remains alive; it is eternal, nothing can be done to it. Fire cannot burn it, weapons cannot cut it. NAINAM CHHINDANTI SHASTRANI --  no weapon can cut it, no fire can burn it -- only the form. But don't bother about the form, because form is unreal, it is part of illusion.

This Nansen must have been in the same state of mind as Krishna, in the same state of consciousness as Krishna. He chopped the cat. He knows the soul of the cat cannot be destroyed; he knows that only the form can be changed.

And one thing more which is very difficult to understand, because moralists have created so much confusion and smoke around it: when a cat is chopped by a Nansen, it is beneficial to the cat, is is a blessing to the cat. This cat must have been rare -- and now this cat will not be reborn as a cat, she will be reborn as a man. To be chopped by Nansen is a rare opportunity, and the cat must have been wandering around the monastery waiting for this moment.

Nansen changed the form. The cat will be reborn as a higher being just because Nansen has chopped her.In that moment the cat was more silent than the monks, the cat was more ecstatic than the monks. And being chopped by Nansen is not an act of aggression, it is an act of love. Nansen freed the cat from the form, from the form of cat. She will be reborn as a higher being. But this is difficult to follow, and I am not telling you to go and free people from their forms so they will be reborn as higher beings. Don't chop anybody -- you would like to, you would enjoy it. But for Nansen, it was an act of deep prayer. He must have been watching this cat. This cat was no ordinary cat. There are animals who are crying out to be freed from their forms.

It happened at a camp in Matheran. I was staying very far away from the campus ground. The first evening, when I was going to my bungalow, a dog followed -- really a rare dog. Then the dog remained continuously. Three times I would go to conduct the camp, and three times I would return. It was half an hour's journey. Three times I was asleep, and he would sit just on the veranda. Even when he went to eat something he never left me. For the whole camp this was his routine. He would follow me to the camp, and when others were meditating he would sit more silently, more deeply, than those who were attending the camp. And then he would go back with me.

The last day, when I left Matheran by train, he followed the train. He was running by the side of the train, and the guard took compassion on him and he took him in. Up to Neral he came. This train was a slow train, a toy train, coming from Matheran to Neral, traveling just seven miles in two hours, and the dog could follow. But from Neral it is a fast train, when I took the train from Neral to Bombay others were standing there on the platform weeping and crying, and the dog was also standing there in tears.

I know that cat must have been extraordinary; otherwise Nansen would not have taken such trouble to chop it. He created an opportunity for his disciples, and he used that opportunity for the cat also. He hit two targets with one stone. This is possible. If you are ready, then your form can be destroyed and you will receive a higher form, because your higher form depends on the moment when you die. The cat died in the hands of Nansen -- a very rare opportunity. Such a silent man was Nansen, the cat must have caught the silence; such an ecstatic being, the cat must have been filled with his ecstasy. And then he chopped it. The cat was not afraid, she must have enjoyed the game. It was a surgical act. The cat must be born in the next life as a very much higher soul. But that is an inner story and cannot be understood by ordinary morality. And persons like Nansen don't follow ordinary morality, they follow the inner rules, the inner laws. Ordinary morality is for ordinary men.

And then by the evening another monk came in from outside, another disciple who had not been in the monastery. Nansen told the story to him, "This has happened, and I had to cut the cat. I had to divide it in two because there was no way.... These foolish fellows couldn't save the cat. They couldn't save the cat -- they couldn't utter a single word, they couldn't act in a Zenlike way, they couldn't prove their Zen. Only Zen could have saved the cat, nothing else."

The disciple listened to the story, put his shoes on his head and walked out. Nansen called him and said, "If you had been here, the cat would have been saved."

This was the right man. What did he do? He took his shoes off, put them on his head, and walked out. He said many things without speaking. The first thing: He listened to the story and didn't comment on it. The monkey was silent; the mind was not chattering. He didn't try to think out an answer, he simply acted. That action was not from the mind, the action was from his total being. And what did he do? He put his shoes on his head. Absurd! But he said that the mind, the head, is no more valuable than the shoes. Shoes, the meanest thing -- he put them on his head. He said by this act, "The mind is nothing but shoes. The mind is valueless, thinking cannot help. The mind has to be thrown to the shoes. Even shoes are more worthy and command more respect than the mind." That's what he said, and then he simply walked out.

And Nansen said, "Had you been here this morning, you could have saved the cat. The cat would have been saved.

Here was a man who didn't believe in the mind, who didn't believe in answers. Here was a man who could act spontaneously. Life can be saved only if you can act spontaneously -- not only the cat's life, your life also. Throw the mind to the shoes. It is not more worthy in any way. And shoes have not troubled you so much; sometimes they may pinch, but only sometimes, and if they are the right size they are always okay. But the mind has been pinching you for many many lives, and it is never the right size, it is always the wrong size. The mind is never  the right size. Shoes can be the right size, but the mind is always the wrong size. It goes on pinching. The mind is  the wrong size. You cannot make a good mind, there is no possibility. You cannot make a beautiful ugliness, you cannot make a healthy disease, that is impossible. The mind is always wrong. It goes on pinching. And whether you think or whether you pray, if the mind is there everything goes wrong. The mind is the factor which creates wrongness in life. This is the source of error, perversion, neurosis. Life can be saved only when you drop the mind.

What did this disciple do? It was difficult to drop the head, it was easier to put the shoes on the head. But it was symbolic. He was saying, "I have dropped the head. Don't ask me foolish questions" and he acted, that's the thing.

Meditation is not contemplation, it is action -- action of the whole, of the total being. In the West particularly. Christianity has created a false impression, and meditation looks like contemplation. It is not. Because of Christianity the West has missed many things, and one of them is meditation, the rarest flowering of a human being, because they have made it equivalent to contemplation. Contemplation is thinking. Meditation is no-thinking.

For DHYAN, Zen, there exists no equivalent in the English language, because meditation itself means thinking -- to meditate upon. Some object is there. Remember, dhyan is the original word. Dhyan traveled to China with Bodhidharma and in the Chinese language it became CH'AN. And then from China it traveled to Japan and in Japanese it became first ZAN, and then ZEN; but the original root is dhyan -- Ch'an, Zan, Zen. In English there is no word equivalent to it. Meditation also means thinking, a consistent thinking. Contemplation means thinking too. It may be thinking about God, but it is thinking, and dhyan or Zen is a no-thinking state. It is action, without thought. Thought needs time.

In the morning the monks were sitting thinking what to do. They thought and thought and couldn't find. Thought will never find the right answer. The cat had to be chopped. Life became death because thought is poisonous; thinking leads to death, not to more life. The cat had to be chopped. Nansen couldn't help -- those monks killed the cat.

This man, this disciple who came in the evening, listened to the story without commenting, without saying anything. He simply took off his shoes, put them on his head and walked out. He acted -- he said something through his action, not through his mind. He didn't use words, he used himself. And he didn't wait, he didn't contemplate, he didn't try to find the answer to how the cat should have been saved.

If you had been there in the evening and you were told the story, you would surely have started to think: How? When the how comes, mind has come. This disciple acted without the how; he simply acted, and the act was spontaneous, very symbolic. Putting the shoes on his head he said something -- he said the head is valueless.

This Nansen, the master, used to ask people,"What is the most valueless thing in the world?" He used to give it as a meditation to his disciples: think, what is the most valueless thing in the world? His master also gave this koan to him. He meditated, meditated, then one day he came and told his master, "The head. The master asked, "Why?" So Nansen said, "Cut a head and go to the market and try to sell it. Nobody will purchase it."

This is what Nansen's disciple did. By putting shoes on his head he said, "Worthless head!" And you go on insisting, asking head-questions. There is no answer. How can the shoes answer? He walked out, and Nansen said, "You could have saved the cat. Had you been there this morning the cat would have been alive and kicking. Some absurd act was needed -- absurd, spontaneous. Rational? No, something irrational was needed, because "ir-reason" is deeper than reason. That's why if you are too much head-fixated, you cannot fall in love, because love is irrational, absurd. The head goes on saying, "This is useless. What will you gain out of it? There is no profit, you may even get into trouble. Think about it."

It is said of Immanuel Kant, one of the greatest systematizers, that one girl proposed to him. In the first place it is bad that the girl should propose, it is always the boy who proposes. But the girl must have waited and waited and Kant wouldn't propose; the idea never occurred to him. He was so much rooted in his head, the heart was denied. So the girl, feeling too much time had been lost, proposed. Kant said, "I will think it over."

How can you think about love? Either it is there or not. It is not a question to be solved, it is a situation to respond to. Either your heart says yes or your heart says no and it is finished. What will you think? It is not a business proposal. But it was a business proposal to Kant. Too much head-orientation makes everything businesslike. So he thought, and he not only thought, he went to the library and concentrated on the books about love, marriage. Then he noted down in his notebook all that was in favor of marriage and all that was against. And he thought and thought and thought, and it is said that weighing the pros and cons, he decided in favor of marriage because a few points were more in favor than against. So it was a logical decision.

Then he went and knocked at the girl's door, and the father said, "She is already married and a mother of three children. So much time passed... you come a little late."

Time is needed for the mind. The mind is always late because time will be needed and the situation will be lost. And when you knock at the door, the girl has moved -- she is already a mother of three children. And this is happening every moment. Remember, a situation is there, so act, don't think, because if you think the situation will not wait for you. The girl will have moved. And when you are ready to respond there will be nothing to respond to. Kant was ready, but the mind takes time and situations are moving. Life is a flow, a flux, it is not static; otherwise the mind would have found the answer. If the girl had remained.... But the girl was getting old, she was missing life. She could not wait, she had to move, make a decision.

Life is not static. If life were static there would be no need for meditation. The mind would do. Then you could think, and whenever, after many lives, you knocked at the door, the girl would be waiting for you. But life is a flux, a movement. Every moment it is changing and becoming new. If you miss a moment, you have missed.

This disciple didn't miss a single moment. He heard the story, took off his shoes, put them on his head and walked out. If he had waited a single moment to think Nansen would have beaten him. I tell you, he would have been beaten. Because the cat was not there any more he might have chopped this disciple -- but he acted.

Action without the mind is the most beautiful thing possible. But you are afraid because you think if you act without the mind you may do something wrong. Because this fear exists the mind exploits it -- think first, then act. But you go on missing the train. Leave this fear, otherwise you will never be meditative. Act! In the beginning there will be a deep shaking and trembling, because you have always been acting out of thinking.

It is just like a man who has been living in a prison, in a dark cell, for many years. His eyes have become attuned to darkness. If he is suddenly brought out of the cell he will not be able to open his eyes. The sun will be too much, the light will be too much. His whole being will tremble and he will say, "Let me go back to my cell.

This is what has happened to you, to everybody. We have lived in the mind for many many lives, and we have become attuned to its darkness, its ugliness, futility. When you act without the mind, your whole being trembles. You are moving on a dangerous path.

The mind says, "Be alert! Think first, then act." But if you think first and then do something, your doing will always be dead, stale. It will be out of thought, it will not be real and authentic. Then you cannot love, then you cannot meditate, then you cannot really live and you cannot die. You become a phantom, a phony existence. Love knocks at your heart and you say, "Wait! I will think about it." Life goes on knocking at your gates and you say, "Wait! I will think about it."

This disciple must have been deep in meditation. He acted, he simply acted. He could have saved the cat. This means he has already saved it -- he has already saved all that is alive. Don't think about the story, otherwise I will have to chop the cat. You can save it; otherwise the cat will have to be chopped again, and you  will be responsible. Act!

But the story won't help you. Don't try to put your shoes on your head, that won't help. It helped that disciple but it won't help you. The cat will have to be chopped if you put the shoes on your head and walk out, because that will be false again, that will be from the mind. You know the story. The mind cannot give you the real; whatsoever you do, don't imitate.

I have heard that in a Chinese town there was one big restaurant, very rich, the most beautiful, rich restaurant in the town. And just near that restaurant lived a poor Chinese. He couldn't go in the restaurant, it was too costly. But the smell of food, the aroma.... He used to sniff it, and when he took his lunch or dinner he took a chair out of his house and went as near to the restaurant as he dared, and he would sit there and sniff the aroma, the smell that was coming from the restaurant, and eat his food. He enjoyed it. He ran a small laundry.

But one day he was surprised. There came a man, the owner of the restaurant, with a bill for the smell of the food. That poor man ran into his house, brought his tiny money box, rattled it in the ears of the owner and said, "Hereby I pay for the smell of your food, by the sound of my money."

The mind is just smell and sound, nothing real. Whatsoever you do, the mind is smell and sound, nothing authentic. It is the source of all falsity.

So you have heard the story: don't try now to imitate it. You can do it easily now, now the secret is known. You can put the shoes on your head and walk, but the cat will be chopped. It will not save it, it will not help it. Act spontaneously. Put aside the mind and do something, and doing it you will come to know the cat has never been chopped, because the cat cannot die. Putting aside the mind you will come to know your own eternity, and the very same moment you know the eternity of the cat also. The mind is mortal, not you. You are immortal. The mind has a death waiting for it, not you. You are deathless. Putting aside the mind you will laugh, and you will say this Nansen played a trick. The cat cannot be killed.

That's what Krishna went on saying to Arjuna: "Don't you be worried. You chop these fellows, because nobody can be killed."

The Gita is very dangerous. Nowhere on the earth does such a dangerous book exist, so nobody has followed it. People recite it but nobody follows it. It is dangerous, and even people who love it very much and respect it very much, never listen to what it says. Even a man like Mahatma Gandhi, who called Gita his mother, wouldn't listen to it. How could Mahatma Gandhi listen to it? He believed in nonviolence and this Krishna said, "Chop these fellows! Nothing exists; it is like a dream. And I tell you, nobody is killed, so don't bother about it."

How could Gandhi believe? So he had to play a trick. This is how the mind plays tricks. He said, "This is a parable, this is metaphorical; don't take it literally, the fight is not real. The Kauravas and the Pandavas, these two groups of warriors, are just a story. Kauravas represent evil and Pandavas represent good. It is the fight between good and evil, between God and the Devil, it is not a real fight." But this was Gandhi's mind playing tricks.

There have been Buddhist interpreters of Nansen also. They said, "This is just a parable. There was no real cat, and this never happened."

But I tell you this happened. The cat was real, as real as Nansen, and the cat was chopped. Nansen could do it. Nansen was a Krishna. He knew nothing is destroyed.

This word, the English word destruction, is very beautiful, meaningful. The word destruction means de-structuring -- nothing is destroyed, only the structure changes, a new structure arises. The old structure goes out of existence and a new structure arises. Destruction means de-structuring. Only the form changes. The cat may be sitting here -- it is more possible than anywhere else! When you go back home, look in the mirror. You  may be the cat, and you have come here again. Do something, otherwise I will chop you again.

And remember, now nobody can save you. That time the monks could have saved you. This time you are a monk, so nobody can save you except yourself. Action out of immediacy, spontaneous action, saves life. That is the only savior. There exists no other savior.

Anything more?


Next: Chapter 9: Save the Cat , Question 1


Energy Enhancement                Enlightened Texts                Zen                 A Bird on the Wing



Chapter 9


  • Talks on Zen, A Bird on the Wing Chapter 9: Save the Cat

  • Talks on Zen, A Bird on the Wing Chapter 9: Save the Cat, Question 1





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