Chapter 3: Why Should I Grieve Over Him?



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THE MOST fundamental religious truth is that man is asleep -- not physically, but metaphysically; not apparently, but deep down. Man lives in a deep slumber. He works, he moves, he thinks, he imagines, he dreams, but the sleep continues as a basic substratum to his life. Rare are the moment when you feel really awake, very rare; they can be counted on the fingers. if in seventy years' life you had only seven moments of awakening, that, too, will be too much.

Man lives like a robot: mechanically efficient, but with no awareness. Hence the whole problem! There are so many problems man has to face, but they are all by-products of his sleep.

So the first thing to be understood is what this sleep consists in -- because Zen is an effort to become alert and awake. All religion is nothing but that: an effort to become more conscious, an effort to become more aware, an effort to bring more alertness, more attentiveness to your life.

All the religions of the world, in one way or other, emphasize that the sleep consists in deep identification or in attachment.

Man's life has two layers to it: one is that of the essential, and another is that of the accidental. The essential is never born, never dies. The accidental is born, lives and dies. The essential is eternal, timeless; the accidental is just accidental. We become too much attached to the accidental and we tend to forget the essential.

A man becomes too much attached to money -- money is accidental. It has nothing to do with essential life. A man becomes too much attached to his house or to his car, or to his wife, or to her husband, to children, to relationship. Relationship is accidental; it has nothing essential in it. It is not your real being. And in this century, the twentieth century, the problem has become too deep.

There are people who call the twentieth century 'the accidental century' -- they are right People are living too much identified with the non-essential: money, power, prestige, respectability. You will have to leave all that behind when you go. Even an Alexander has to go empty-handed.

I have heard:

A great mystic died. When he reached Paradise, he asked God, "Why was Jesus not born in the twentieth century?"

The Lord God started laughing and said, "Impossible! Impossible! Where would the twentieth century people ever find three wise men or a virgin?"

The twentieth century is the most accidental. By and by, man has become too much attached to 'my' and 'mine' -- to possessions. And he has completely lost track of his being. He has completely lost track of 'I'. 'My' has become more important. When 'my' becomes more important then you are getting attached to the accidental. When 'I' remains more important and 'my' remains just as a servant, then you are a master, then you are not a slave -- then you live in a totally different way.

That's what Zen people call the original face of man, where pure 'I' exists. This 'I' has nothing to do with the ego. Ego is nothing but the center of all the non-essential possessions that you have. Ego is nothing but the accumulated 'my' and 'mine' -- my house, my car, my prestige, my religion, my scripture, my character, my morality, my family, my heritage, my tradition. All these 'my's', all these 'mines', go on getting accumulated: they become crystallized as the ego.

When I am using the word 'I', I am using it in an absolutely non-egoistic sense. 'I' means your being.

Zen people say: Find out your face, the face you had before you were born; find out that face that you will again have when you are dead. Between birth and death, whatsoever you think is your face is accidental. You have seen it in a mirror; you have not felt it from the within -- you have looked for it in the without. Do you know your original face? You know only the face your mirror shows to you. And all our relationships are just mirrors.

The husband says to the wife, "You are beautiful!" and she starts thinking she is beautiful. Somebody comes, buttresses you, says, "You are very wise, intelligent, a genius!" and you start believing in it. Or somebody condemns you, hates you, is angry about you. You don't accept what he says, but still, deep down in the unconscious it goes on accumulating. Hence the ambiguity of man.

Somebody says you are beautiful, somebody else says you are ugly -- now what to do? One mirror says you are wise, another man says you are an idiot -- now what to do? And you depend only on mirrors, and both are mirrors. You may not like the mirror that says you are an idiot, but it has said so, it has done its work. You may repress it, you may never bring it to your consciousness, but deep down it will remain in you that one mirror has said you are an idiot.

You trust in mirrors -- then you become split because there are so many mirrors. And each mirror has its own investment. Somebody calls you wise? not because you are wise -- he has his own investment. Somebody calls you an idiot, not because you are an idiot-he has his own investment. They are simply showing their likes and dislikes; they are not asserting anything about you. They may be asserting something about themselves, maybe, but they are not saying anything about you -- because no mirror can show you who you are.

Mirrors can only show you your surface, your skin. You are not on your skin: you are very deep. You are not your body. One day the body is young; another day it becomes old. One day it is beautiful, healthy; another day it becomes crippled and paralyzed. One day you were throbbing with life; another day life has oozed out of you. But you are not your periphery! You are your center.

The accidental man lives on the periphery. The essential man remains centered. This is the whole effort!

LET ME tell you one anecdote. I have-heard a very beautiful Jewish story. It is tremendously significant -- it is about a man:

He was always sleepy. And always ready to sleep. Everywhere. At the biggest mass meetings, at all the concerts, at every important convention, he could be seen sitting asleep.

You must have known that man because you are that. And you must have come across that man many, many times, because how can you avoid him? -- it is you.

And he slept in every conceivable and inconceivable pose. He slept with his elbows in the air and his hands behind his head. He slept standing up, leaning against himself so that he should not fall down. He slept in the theater, in the streets, in the synagogue. Wherever he went, his eyes would drip with sleep.

Had he been a Hindu he could have even slept standing on his head in shirshasan. I have seen Hindus sleeping that way. Many yogis become efficient in sleeping standing on their head. It is difficult, arduous; it needs great practice -- but it happens.

Neighbors used to say that he had already slept through seven big fires, and once, at a really big fire, he was carried out of his bed, still asleep, and put down on the sidewalk. In this way he slept for several hours until a patrol came along and took him away.

It was said that when he was standing under the wedding canopy and reciting the vows, "Thou art to me...." he fell asleep at the word 'sanctified' -- try to remember him -- and they had to beat him over the head with brass pestles for several hours to wake him up. And he slowly said the next word and again fell asleep.

Remember your own wedding ceremony. Remember your honeymoon. Remember your marriage. Have you ever been awake? Have you ever missed any opportunity where you could have fallen asleep? You have always fallen asleep.

We mention all this so that you may believe the following story about our hero.

Once, when he went to sleep, he slept and slept and slept; but in his sleep it seemed to him that he heard thunder in the streets and his bed was shaking somewhat; so he thought in his sleep that it was raining outside, and as a result his sleep became still more delicious. He wrapped himself up in his quilt and in its warmth.

Do you remember how many times you have interpreted things through your sleep? Do you remember sometimes you have fixed the alarm clock, and when it goes off you start dreaming that you are in the church and the bells are ringing. A trick of the mind to avoid the alarm, to avoid the disturbance that the alarm is creating.

When he awoke he saw a strange void: his wife was no longer there, his bed was no longer there, his quilt was no longer there. He wanted to look through the window, but there was no window to look through. He wanted to run down the three flights and yell 'Help!' but there were no stairs to run on and no air to yell in. And when he wanted merely to go out of doors, he saw that there was no out of doors. Everything evaporated!

For a while he stood there in confusion unable to comprehend what had happened. But afterward he bethought himself: I will go to sleep. He saw, however, that there was no longer any earth to sleep on. Only then did he raise two fingers to his forehead and reflect: Apparently I have slept through the end of the world. Isn't that a fine how-do-you-do?

He became depressed. No more world, he thought. What will I do without a world? Where will I go to work, how will I make a living, especially now that the cost of living is so high and a dozen eggs costs a dollar twenty and who knows if they are even fresh, and besides, what will happen to the five dollars the gas company owes me? And where has my wife gone off to? Is it possible that she too has disappeared with the world, and with the thirty dollars' pay I had in my pockets? And she is not by nature the kind that disappears, he thought to himself.

You will also think that way one day if you suddenly find the world has disappeared. You don't know what else to think. You will think about the cost of eggs, the office, the wife, the money. You don't know what else to think about. The whole world has disappeared! -- but you have become mechanical in your thinking.

And what will I do if I want to sleep? What will I stretch out on if there isn't any world? And maybe my back will ache? And who will finish the bundle of work in the shop? And suppose I want a glass of malted, where will I get it?

Eh, he thought, have you ever seen anything like it? A man should fall asleep with the world under his head and wake up without it!

This is going to happen one day or other -- that's what happens to every man when he dies. Suddenly, the whole world disappears. Suddenly he is no longer part of this world; suddenly he is in another dimension. This happens to every man who dies, because whatsoever you have known is just the peripheral. When you die, suddenly your periphery disappears -- you are thrown to your center. And you don't know that language. And you don't know anything about the center. It looks like void, empty. It feels like just a negation, an absence.

As our hero stood there in his underwear, wondering what to do, a thought occurred to him: To hell with it! So there isn't any world! Who needs it anyway? Disappeared is disappeared -- I might as well go to the movies and kill some time. But to his astonishment he saw that, together with the world, the movies had also disappeared.

A pretty mess I've made here, thought our hero, and began smoothing his moustache. A pretty mess I've made here, falling asleep! If I hadn't slept so soundly, hc taunted himself, I would have disappeared along with everything else. This way I'm unfortunate, and where will I get a malted? I love a glass in the morning. And my wife? Who knows who she's disappeared with? If it is with the presser from the top floor, I'll murder her, so help me God.

Who knows how late it is?

With these words our hero wanted to look at his watch but couldn't find it. He searched with both hands in the left and right pockets of the infinite emptiness but could find nothing to touch.

I just paid two dollars for a watch and here it's already disappeared, he thought to himself. All right. If the world went under, it went under. That I don't care about. It isn't my world. But the watch! Why should my watch go under? A new watch. Two dollars. It wasn't even wound.

And where will I find a glass of malted? There's nothing better in the morning than a glass of malted. And who knows if my wife..I've slept through such a terrible catastrophe, I deserve the worst. Help, help, he-e-e-lp! Where are my brains? Where were my brains before? Why didn't I keep an eye on the world and my wife? Why did I let them disappear when they were still so young?

And our hero began to beat his head against the void, but since the void was a very soft one it didn't hurt him and he remained alive to tell the story.

This is a story of human mind as such. You create a world around you of illusions. You go on getting attached to things which are not going to be with you when you die. You go on being identified with things which are going to be taken away from you.

Hence, the Hindus call the world 'illusion'; they don't mean by the 'world' the world that is there -- they simply mean the world that you have created out of your sleep. That world is maya -- illusion. It is a dreamworld.

Who is your wife? The very idea is foolish. Who is your husband? Who is your child? You are not yours -- how can anybody else be yours? Not even you are yours; not even you belong to yourself. Have you watched sometimes that not even you belong to yourself? You also belong to some unknown existence you have not penetrated.

Deeper in yourself you will come to a point where even self disappears -- only a state of no-self, or call it the Supreme Self. It is only a difference of language and terminology. Have you not seen deep down in yourself things arising which don't belong to you? Your desires don't belong to you, your thoughts don't belong to you. Even your consciousness, you have not created it -- it has been given to you, it is a given fact. It is not you who have created it -- how can you create it?

You are suddenly there... as if it happens by magic. You are always in the middle; you don't know the beginning. The beginning does not belong to you, and neither does the end belong to you. Just in the middle you can create, you can go on creating dreams. That's how a man becomes accidental.

Watch out! Become more and more essential and less and less accidental. Always remember: Only that which is eternal is true; only that which is going to be forever and ever is true. That which is momentary is untrue. The momentary has to be watched and not to be identified with.

I was reading a beautiful anecdote:

An elderly Irishman checked out of a hotel room and was half way to the bus depot when he realized he had left his umbrella behind. By the time he got back to the room, a newly wed couple had already checked in. Hating to interrupt anything, the Irishman got down on his knees and listened in at the keyhole.

"Whose lovely eyes are those, my darling?" he heard the man's voice ask.

"Yours, my love," the woman answered.

"And whose precious nose is this?" the man went on inside the room.

"Only yours," the woman replied.

"And whose beautiful lips are these?" the man continued.

"Yours!" panted the woman.

"And whose...?" but the Irishman could not stand it any more.

Putting his mouth to the keyhole, he shouted, "When you get to a yellow plaid umbrella, folks, it is mine!"

This game of 'my' and 'mine' is the most absurd game -- but this is the whole game of life. This earth was there before you ever came here, and this will be here when you are gone. The diamonds that you possess were there before you ever came here, and when you are gone those diamonds will remain here -- and they will not even remember you. They are completely oblivious that you possess them.

This game of possessiveness is the most foolish game there is -- but this is the whole game.

Gurdjieff used to say that if you start getting disidentified from things, sooner or later you will fall upon your essential being. That is the basic meaning of renunciation. Renunciation does not mean, sannyas does not mean, renouncing the world and escaping to the Himalayas or to a monastery -- because if you escape from the world and go to a monastery, nothing is going to change. You carry the same mind. here in the world, the house was yours, and the wife was yours; there the monastery will be yours, the religion will be yours. It will not make much difference. The 'mine' will persist. It is a mind-attitude -- it has nothing to do with any outside space. It is an inner illusion, an inner dream, an inner sleep.

Renunciation means: wherever you are, there is no need to renounce the things because in the first place you never possessed them. It is foolish to talk about renunciation. It means as if you were the possessor and now you are renouncing. How can you renounce something which you never possessed? Renunciation means coming to know that you cannot possess anything. You can use, at the most, but you cannot possess. You are not going to be here forever -- how can you possess? It is impossible to possess anything. You can use and you can be grateful to things that they allow themselves to be used. You should be thankful to things that they allow themselves to be used. They become means, but you cannot possess them.

Dropping the idea of ownership is renunciation. Renunciation is not dropping the possessions but possessiveness. And this is what Gurdjieff calls getting unidentified. This is what Bauls call realizing 'Ardhar Manush' -- the essential man. This is what Zen people call the original face.

THERE IS a very famous Taoist story -- I love it tremendously. The story is about an old Taoist farmer whose horse ran away:

That evening the neighbors gathered to commiserate with him since this was such bad luck. He said, "Maybe."

The next day the horse returned, but brought with it six wild horses, and the neighbors came exclaiming at the good fortune. He said, "Maybe."

And then the following day, his son tried to saddle and ride one of the wild horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. Again the neighbors came to offer their sympathy for the misfortune. He said, "Maybe."

The day after that, conscription officers came to the village to seize young men for the army, but because of the broken leg the farmer's son was rejected. When the neighbors came in to say how fortunate everything had turned out, he said, "Maybe."

This is the attitude of a man who understands what is accidental and what is essential. The accidental is always 'maybe'; it is a 'perhaps'. You cannot be certain about it, you need not be certain about it. People who become certain about the accidental are going to be frustrated sooner or later; their certainty is going to create much frustration for them. Their certainty will create expectations, and they cannot be fulfilled -- because the universe is not there to fulfill your expectations. It has its own destiny. It is moving towards its own goal. It does not care about your private goals.

All private goals are against the goal of the universe itself. All private goals are against the goal of the Whole. All private goals are neurotic. The essential man comes to know, to feel, that 'I am not separate from the Whole and there is no need to seek and search for any destiny on my own. Things are happening, the world is moving -- call it God -- He is doing things. They are happening of their own accord. There is no need for me to make any struggle, any effort; there is no need for me to fight for anything. I can relax and be.'

The essential man is not a doer. The accidental man is a doer. The accidental man is, of course, then in anxiety, tension, stress, anguish, continuously sitting on a volcano -- it can erupt any moment, because he lives in a world of uncertainty and believes as if it is certain. This creates tension in his being: he knows deep down that nothing is certain. A rich man has everything that he can have, and yet he knows deep down that he has nothing. That's what makes a rich man even poorer than a poor man.

A poor man is never so poor because still he has hopes: some day or other, destiny is going to shower blessings on him; some day or other he will be able to arrive, to achieve. He can hope. The rich man has arrived, his hopes are fulfilled -- now, suddenly, he finds nothing is fulfilled. All hopes fulfilled, and yet nothing is fulfilled. He has arrived and he has not arrived at all -- it has always been a dream journey. He has not moved a single inch.

A man who is successful in the world feels the pain of being a failure as nobody else can feel it. There is a proverb that says that nothing succeeds like success. I would like to tell you: nothing fails like success. But you cannot know it unless you have succeeded. When all the riches are there that you have dreamt about, planned about, worked hard for, then sitting just amidst those riches is the beggar -- deep inside empty, hollow; nothing inside, everything outside.

In fact, when everything is there outside, it becomes a contrast. It simply emphasizes your inner emptiness and nothingness. It simply emphasizes your inner beggarliness, poverty. A rich man knows poverty as no poor man can ever know. A successful man knows what failure is. At the top of the world, suddenly you realize that you have been behaving foolishly. You may not say so, because what is the point of saying it? You may go on pretending that you are very happy -- presidents and prime ministers go on pretending they are very happy; they are not. They are just saving their faces. Now, what to say? There is no point even in saying anything -- they are not true.

In the older ages, people were truer, more authentic. Buddha was a prince, he was going to be the emperor, but he realized that there is nothing in it. He could have pretended. Mahavir was a prince; he was going to be the emperor. He realized that there is nothing in it. They simply declared their realization to the world. They simply said that riches have failed, that kingdoms are not kingdoms; that if you are really seeking the kingdom, you will have to seek somewhere else, in some other direction.

In this world there is no way to arrive.

It happened:

Theodore Roosevelt, returning from Africa, received a most affectionate and exuberant greeting as his ship steamed into New York harbor. Bands were playing; soldiers, sailors and marines saluted; pretty girls greeted him as pretty girls will do. Ships in the harbor sprayed water in a festive white arc, and the people -- throngs of people -- shouted their welcome to him.

On the same ship, a mystic, a very old wise man, was also returning. A few old friends greeted him off in a corner, trying to be heard in the tumultuous noise. One of them said, "We are sorry we can't welcome you home as Theodore Roosevelt is being welcomed."

To which the mystic answered as he pointed upward, "That's all right -- I'm not home yet."

In this world there is no home. This world is accidental. It is illusory -- just ripples on the surface, waves. And whatsoever you are doing is nothing but making card houses, or trying to sail paper boats: they are doomed to drown. This realization makes a man for the first time a little alert about his sleepiness, and then he starts moving more and more towards consciousness.

When things are no longer important, only consciousness becomes important. When things are no longer significant, a new search, a new door opens. Then you are not rushing towards the without: you start slipping into the within. The kingdom of God is within. And once you drop identifying with things, suddenly you are no longer fighting -- there is no point. You start moving with the river of existence.

Arrival at home is effortless.

Bodhi has sent me a small, beautiful story; Werner Erhard likes to tell it:

Once there was a famous medicine man in Northern Canada who was said to have enormous powers. When he waved a blanket at the northern lights they changed color. Every time he waved his blanket, the northern lights really would change color.

One day, he lost his blanket, and the northern lights changed color anyway. That ruined his reputation as a medicine man.

Life is also that way. No matter what you do, life only turns out the way it turns out. Struggling with life does not help at all. Struggling is simply destructive; there is no point in it. Effort is not needed. Effort is needed only in the accidental world, and even then there too it fails finally; eventually it fails. It gives you hope, but eventually it fails.

In the inner world no effort is needed. Once you start slipping withinwards, you suddenly see everything is happening as it should. Life is perfect. There is no way to improve upon it. Then celebration starts.

When life is felt as perfect, when you suddenly see the tremendous beatitude, the tremendous glory surrounding you; when you suddenly see that you have always been at home -- there was nowhere else to go; when you suddenly feel in your innermost core of being that you are with God and God is with you, that you are floating with the Whole, you don't have a private destiny... the destiny of the Whole is your destiny also, so wherever this existence is moving, you are also moving. You don't have any private goals; you are no longer idiotic.

The word  'idiot' is very beautiful. It comes from the same root as 'idiom'. It means a person who is trying to live a private life; a person who is trying to move against the Whole. A person who has his own idiom -- that's what an idiot is. The whole world is going to the south: he is going to the north -- that's what an idiot is.

The accidental man is idiotic. Such a vast universe, running so smoothly... Look at the stars, look at the change of seasons; rivers running from the Himalayas to the ocean, clouds coming and showering. Watch nature -- everything is running so smoothly! Why not become a part of it? Why create any conflict? Conflict creates anxiety; anxiety brings anguish.

If you have a private goal you are going to get mad. Relax! Drop out of the accidental world so you can drop into the essential world. Then one starts accepting things as they are. Then one starts loving things as they are. Then one starts cherishing things as they are. And they have always been beautiful. Once you are not fighting, not going anywhere, you can feel the music, the celestial music that is surrounding. You can see the infinite beauty, and you can feel grateful for it. It is a gift. There is no need to steal it -- it is already given to you. By being alive, God has already accepted you. By being alive, He has already loved you.

If you don't like the word 'God', you can drop it. I am not a fanatic about language. You can call it 'the Existence', 'the Unknown', 'the Truth', 'the Ultimate', 'the Absolute' -- or anything. Any name will do -- X, Y, Z -- because it has no name. It is not particular so it cannot have any name; it is not particular so it cannot have any adjective. It is the Universal. It is That which is.

S0 THERE are two ways of living. One is the accidental way. The accidental way is the worldly way. The worldly way is against God, against the Whole. Then there is another way of living, another style -- tremendously graceful, with no anxiety, no anguish.

I have heard:

A botanist, a great scientist, came across a valley in the Himalayas where beautiful flowers were flowering, but there was no approach. It was very difficult to reach into the valley -- thousands of feet down. And he had never heard about these flowers. He had studied about all flowers; this was some new species, undiscovered. He was enchanted, intrigued. He wanted to get those flowers but there was no way -- what to do?

In a desperate effort, he took his small child, tied a rope under the child's arms, and dropped the child into the valley -- afraid, perspiring, trembling... something may go amiss. And then the child reached and he picked a few flowers. And the father shouted from the top of the hill: "Are you okay, my son? Are you not afraid?"

The son laughed. He said, "Why should I be afraid? -- the rope is in my father's hands."

The father may be afraid, but the child is not afraid. That's what a religious man feels: The rope is in my Father's hands. Then, suddenly, all anxiety disappears.

In the accidental world you have to struggle. In the essential world you have simply to surrender. In the accidental world you have to doubt. In the essential world you simply trust -- and this trust is not like belief. Belief is against doubt. Trust is simply absence of doubt -- it is not against doubt. You simply feel trustful!

So the question is not how to believe; the question is how to change your consciousness from being accidental to essential -- how to come to your center, how to start feeling your center again. Trust will arise -- trust is an outcome, a by-product. When one comes closer to one's center, one starts trusting more and more.

But ordinarily our whole training is how to fight. We have been trained as soldiers. As I see it there are only two types of people in the world: the soldiers and the sannyasins. The soldiers are those who have been taught to fight, to struggle against, to achieve their goals; to force, to be violent, to be aggressive, to coerce. And the sannyasin is one who knows that there is no need -- life is already going that way: "I have just to be in tune with life. I have just to be a part of this vast orchestra. I have just to become a note in harmony with the Whole. I have to surrender." The sannyasin is not a warrior, not a soldier. He is surrendered.

Once it happened:

Mulla Nasrudin had harnessed a kitten to his broken-down Cadillac. When bystanders pointed out that this was absurd, he replied, "You all may think so, but I got a horsewhip."

There are people who think that just by forcing, anything is possible -- just a horsewhip is needed; just you have to do it a little harder. If you are not succeeding, that simply shows that you are not working hard at it -- work a little harder. If you are still not succeeding, then you are not putting all your energy -- put a little more energy into it. This is the logic of the accidental world.

The essential man knows that it is not a question of putting more energy, it is not a question of fighting at all. It is a question of allowing existence to happen. Nothing is needed on your part to be done. Only one thing: a deep trust and surrender.

But sometimes it happens, just like the waving of the blanket of the medicine man, that you wave the blanket and something happens -- you think it is happening because of the waving of your blanket. Had you waited a little, it would have happened on its own. You simply wasted your energy by waving the blanket.

Sometimes it happens that you have been struggling for something yet it happens -- that gives the idea to your mind that it has happened 'because of my effort.' Then you are in a vicious circle. When you fail you think 'I have not been making as much effort as needed.' When you succeed you think 'I have done as much as was needed.' But, in fact, things go on happening of their own accord; they don't happen by your effort. Sometimes it is a coincidence that they happen even when you are making an effort.

All that is beautiful, true and good, simply comes as a grace. It descends on you. And once some effort succeeds, you are in a mad mess. Then you think, now...

An architect was having a difficult time with Mulla Nasrudin, a prospective home-builder. "But can't you give some idea," he pleaded, "of the general type of house you want to build, Nasrudin?"

"Well," replied the Mulla hesitantly, "all I know is: it must go with an antique doorknob my wife bought the other day."

He has only an antique doorknob and he wants to make a house. Now, the only thing he knows: it must go with the antique doorknob. That's how we are working. A small effort has succeeded, so you have an antique doorknob -- now you are trying to create the whole house of life accordingly. You are creating trouble for yourself. And that antique doorknob is also not because of your efforts. It is better to say that it happened in spite of your efforts. Somehow, you coincided with the universe.

This is the whole philosophy of the religious man: that 'I have nothing to do -- just to celebrate, let things happen to me; just to dance and sing.' It does not mean that a religious man becomes inactive. No. He becomes more active, but in his action there is no effort, there is no strain, there is no violence. It is not that he becomes inactive, dull, lethargic. No. He radiates with energy, he overflows with energy, because all that energy that was being wasted in effort is no longer wasted. He has too much of it -- he can share. But now he functions as a vehicle. Now he has given his whole energy to the Whole. Now, wherever the Whole takes him, he goes. Now he is with the Whole and not against it.

Whether you go in a church or in a temple or not is irrelevant. If you are with the Whole, you are a religious person. Whether you are a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan is irrelevant. If you are with the Whole, you are a religious person. And remember this with me: I am not here to convert you to become a Hindu, to become a Mohammedan, to become a Christian. All that nonsense is not for me. I am here to help you to become religious -- with no adjective attached to it.

And once you start understanding this, the world takes on a totally new color. Even sometimes when there is pain, you are understanding. Sometimes it hurts -- yes, even then it is not all roses. It cannot be, but you start understanding it. In fact, you start seeing that thorns are there to protect the roses; that night is needed to help the day to be born; that death is needed to refresh life. Once you start understanding, you become positive. Then whatsoever happens, you can always look deeper into its meaning, its significance.

I was reading a poem:












Even a dancer needs a rest, even a singer needs a rest. Even a happy person needs rest. One cannot remain in one mood continuously -- there is no need. When there are so many climates available, why get attached to one? Why not be enriched by all?

A man who has attained to his essential center moves on dancing in different situations. Sometimes it is hot, sometimes it is cold; sometimes it is joy, sometimes it is sadness -- but now everything brings him some message from the Whole. Everything has become a messenger.

THIS STORY, today's story, is a very simple story but very significant. And it always happens that significant things are very simple, and simple things are very significant.






A very simple parable, but tremendously significant, very meaningful. Enter into it layer by layer:


It is very difficult not to grieve when somebody you loved so much has died. It is possible only if you have known something of the essential. It is possible only if you have tasted something of the deathless. It is possible only if you have transcended the accidental. He did not grieve, he was not sad. He was not weeping or crying, he was not broken. He remained just the same as he was before.

The wife was disturbed. She said:


Ordinarily, this is our logic, that if you love a person too much you will grieve too much when he is gone. The logic is fallacious; the logic has a very deep flaw in it. In fact, if you have loved a person really, when he is gone he is gone; you will not grieve much. If you have not loved the person deeply, then you will grieve very much. Try to understand this.

Your father dies, or your mother dies. If you have loved him totally while he was alive, you will be able to say goodbye to him without any grief -- because you loved him. That experience of love was total and fulfilling; nothing is left undone; nothing is hanging over your head. Whatsoever was possible has happened; now you can accept it. What more was possible? Even if he had been alive, what more would have been possible? The experience is complete.

Whenever an experience is complete, you are ready to say goodbye very easily. But if you have not loved your father as you always wanted to, you have not been respectful towards him as you always wanted to, you will feel guilty. Now the father is gone; now there is no way to fulfill your desire -- now there is no way to show your respect, your love. Now there is no way, you will feel yourself hanging in the middle, in mid-air, in a limbo. You will not be at ease; you cannot say goodbye. You will cry and weep and you will be broken, and you will say that you are broken because your father is dead, but the real thing is something else.

You are broken because now the possibility to love him, to respect him, is gone. Now there is no possibility -- the doors are closed and you have missed an opportunity. The son will cry more if he has not really loved his father. If he has loved his father he will be able to accept the fact -- love is very accepting and very understanding.

Once an experience is complete, you can get out of it very easily -- you can just slip out of it as the snake slips out of his old skin. If you love a woman and you have been constantly quarrelling with her, and it never became a deep satisfaction, and she dies... now she will haunt you, her ghost will haunt you for your whole life. You could not do something that was possible, but now it is no longer possible. Now something incomplete will always be there in the heart, hurting; it will become a wound.

This is the understanding of all the sages, that while you are loving a person, if you love him totally there is going to be no misery. If you love him totally, if you enjoy and delight in him totally, and the person is gone -- of course, one feels a little sad but it is not grief; one misses a little but one is capable of remaining centered, one is not distracted.

If you are in love, love totally, so nothing remains hanging. Otherwise, that hanging, incomplete experience, that unlived experience, will haunt you. These unlived experiences go on piling up and they become heavy burdens.

And the problem is that now there is no way -- what to do with them? You cannot complete them because the person has disappeared. You cannot drop them because incomplete experiences cannot be dropped. It is just like a ripe fruit drops of its own accord. When it is ripe, it drops; when it is not ripe, it is difficult to drop. Whenever an experience is complete, it is a ripe fruit -- it drops of its own accord. It leaves no scar behind, no wound.


She is giving the argument of the accidental mind. That is the argument of the accidental man: Why don't you grieve? In fact, the accidental man was not really happy while the person was alive, but he becomes very unhappy when the person is gone.

I used to know a woman who was very unhappy with the husband -- almost in hell, continuously fighting, quarrelling, nagging. The husband started drinking too much, just to avoid all this. Then the fight became even more fierce, because the wife started fighting against his drinking. It led him to even more drinking. When he was only thirty-six he died -- died because of too much drinking.

The woman was never happy. She lived with him for almost seven years, she was never happy. All those seven years I used to know them -- they were next-door neighbors to me -- and always the husband would come with his miseries, and the wife would come with her miseries -- I was a silent watcher. Then the husband died, and the woman became so sad. Months passed and she was crying and crying, and she was going mad!

One day I went to her, and there was nobody else so I told her, "Now I can be true to you: Stop this nonsense! -- because you were never happy with this man. In fact, many times you have told me that if this man dies it will be good. Now he is dead; he has fulfilled your desire, so why are you crying and weeping? I can't see any point in it! Are you missing all those fights? Are you missing all that misery? -- because I cannot see that you are missing the man, because there was nothing in it!"

She was shocked. She had never expected something like that from me or from anybody else. People in such situations expect sympathy. I said, "Stop this nonsense! I know that you were never happy. Now you can be happy! He is no longer there to create any trouble."

She looked at me, shocked. Her tears dried and she said, "It is shocking, but you have made me alert about one thing: I am not missing him at all. I am simply crying and weeping because I could not love him. It is not his death -- it is my own missed experience of love. I loved that man, but I could not love him. We wasted the whole opportunity in quarrelling over futile things. Now I know those things mean nothing; now that he is gone, I know those things were just trivia. I can't even remember the reasons why we were fighting continuously."

If you love a person totally, and the experience is complete, has enriched you, you can say goodbye. Of course, there will be sadness but there will be no grief. And sadness is natural. It will disappear in time; it is nothing to be worried about. You will miss the person a little while -- natural -- but you will not be in grief.

The accidental man says if you don't cry when a person is dead, that means you never loved him. That's what the wife was trying to point out: "You loved him so much. At least you pretended to love him so much, as if nobody has ever loved his son so much. Now what has happened? There is no grief! What type of love is this?" If you ask me, I say it is because he really loved the child. Now that he is gone, he is gone!

Love is understanding. And love is so understanding that not only does it understand life, it understands death also.


This is the logic of the essential man. He says: "There was a moment in my life when the son was not there, and I was happy without him. I had known no grief then. Then the son came and I was happy with him. Now that he is gone, I am again in the same situation as before, before he was born. And I was not in grief then so why should I be in grief now? Again I am in the same situation: the son is not there; I am not a father again. Once I used not to be a father, then I became a father. I am again not a father. Something has happened, disappeared... I am left in the same way as I was before."

IT IS said about a great sage who was a prime minister: When he was appointed prime minister to a king, he was almost a beggar on the streets. But the news of his wisdom spread, rumors started coming to the palace, and the king started going to him and he was impressed. He was tremendously impressed by the man and his insight -- he appointed him his prime minister.

The beggar came to the palace. The king said, "Now you can drop your robe." Beautiful clothes were ready for him. He was given a good bath; beautiful robes were given to him, ornaments -- and as befits a prime minister.

Then everybody became intrigued by the fact that in one room he had something like treasure locked. And every day he used to go, unlock the door -- he would go alone, he would not allow anybody inside -- lock the door again, and he would remain there for at least half an hour, then come out. Everybody became suspicious: What is happening in that room? What is he having in that room? Is there some conspiracy? Is there some secret? And, of course, the king also became interested.

One day the king said, "I would like to come with you in your private room. I could not sleep last night. I continuously worried about what is there."

The prime minister said, "There is nothing. And it is not worthy of your eyes. I will not take you."

The king became even more suspicious. He said, "There seems to be some danger! I cannot allow this to happen in my palace. You will have to take me in!"

The prime minister said, "If you don't trust me then I will take you in -- but then this is the end of my prime-ministership. Then take my resignation and come into the room. Otherwise, trust me and never ask about the room!"

But the king was really suspicious. He said, "Okay, you give your resignation but I am coming into the room.

With his whole court they entered. There was nothing... his old robe. Just the old robe hanging on a nail in the room. They looked around: there was nothing -- the room was empty. They said, "Why do you come here?"

He said, "Just to see this robe -- to remind me that once I was a beggar, and any day I will be a beggar again. Just to remind me so that I don't get too much attached to this prime-ministership."

He dropped out of his dress, took his robe. The king started weeping and crying; he said, "Don't go!" But he said, "Now, enough is enough. You could not trust me, and when there is no trust there is no point in my being here. I must go."

But he left the palace the same way he had entered one day. Those ten, twelve years he remained the prime minister meant nothing; that was just an accident.

This is what this man is saying: "I had no son, and when I had no son I did not grieve. I never missed this son when he was not there. When I was not a father, I never missed him, so why now should I miss him? Again the same situation has come back: now that he is dead, it is the same as it was before when I had no son. Why should I grieve over him?"

This is the way to watch life. Whatsoever is accidental... you are living in a big house, in a palace. Remember that if this palace is taken away from you, there is no point in becoming depressed. Once you were living outside the palace, so again you are under the sky. You become very respectable, and then something happens... you are condemned by the society. What is the point to be worried about it? One day you were not famous at all and you were happy -- again you can be happy.

One day you were not in this world! When you were not born, do you remember that you were in any way unhappy? -- then why be worried when you die? You will be again in the same state. You were not, and you don't remember any unhappiness. One day you will again disappear... why be worried? You will be again in the same state: you will not be again -- at least not in the way that you are here.

This is what Zen people say: Find out your original face -- the face that you had before you were born, and the face that will be there when you are dead. Find out the eternal, and don't pay much attention to the accidental.

If you can drop out of the accidental, you have dropped out of the world. There is no need to go anywhere: it is an inner attitude.

REMEMBER remain alert that you don t get too much attached to the accidental -- and all is accidental except your consciousness. Except your awareness, all is accidental. Pain and pleasure, success and failure, fame and defamation -- all is accidental. Only your witnessing consciousness is essential. Stick to it! Get more and more rooted in it. And don't spread your attachment to worldly things.

I don't mean leave them. I don't mean leave your house, leave your wife, leave your children -- but remember that it is just an accident that you are together. It is not going to be an eternal state. It has a beginning; it will have an end. Remember that you were happy even before it began; and you will be happy when it has ended. If you can carry this touchstone, you can always judge what is accidental and what is essential.

That which is always is truth. That which is momentary is untrue.

In the East and in the West there is a difference in the definition of truth. In the Western philosophy, truth is equivalent to the real. In the East. truth is equivalent to the eternal -- because in the East we say even the momentary is real: real for the moment; but it is not true because it is not eternal. It is just a reflection. The reflection is also real!

You see the moon in the sky and the reflection in the lake -- the reflection is also real because it is there! There is a difference between the reflection and no reflection, so it is real. Even a dream is real, because when you dream it is there! It is real as a dream, but it is real. The only difference between the dream and the waking state is that the dream lasts only for a few moments -- the waking state lasts longer. But in the East we have come to the ultimate awakening also. Then this waking state also looks momentary, then this too is dreamlike.

The eternal is true. The temporal is untrue. Both are real. The accidental is also real and the essential is also real, but with the accidental you will remain in misery. And with the essential the doors of bliss open, the doors of satchitanand -- of truth, of consciousness, of bliss.

Remember this story in your day-to-day life. Imbibe its impact. If you can remember it, it can become a transforming influence on your life, it can transfigure you -- it can help you to reach to your center.


Next: Chapter 4: Man is Always an Opening, Question 1


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