What is the way?
A MASTER WHO LIVED AS A HERMIT ON A MOUNTAIN WAS ASKED BY A MONK: 'WHAT IS THE WAY?'
'WHAT A FINE MOUNTAIN THIS IS,' THE MASTER SAID IN REPLY.
'I AM NOT ASKING YOU ABOUT THE MOUNTAIN,' SAID THE MONK, 'BUT THE WAY.'
THE MASTER REPLIED: 'SO LONG AS YOU CANNOT GO BEYOND THE MOUNTAIN, MY SON, YOU CANNOT REACH THE WAY.'
THE WAY IS EASY -- but you are the mountain and beyond lies the Way. Crossing yourself is very difficult. Once you are on the Way there is no problem, but the Way is very far from you.
And you are such a mass of contradictions! One fragment of you goes to the east, another goes to the west -- you are not moving in one direction. You cannot as you are, because to move in one direction you need an inner unity, a crystallized being. As you are you are a crowd, with many selves, with no unity.
At the most, if you make some arrangement, as everybody has to make -- if you control yourself, at the most you can become an assembly, not a crowd; and then too you will be the Indian assembly, not the British: at the most the majority of your fragments can move in one direction, but the minority will always be there, going somewhere else.
So even a very controlled man, disciplined, a man of character, of thinking, that man too never reaches the Way. He may be able to adjust to the society, but he is also unable to reach the Way from where the door towards the divine opens.
You are really a mountain.
The first thing to be understood is that the crowd must go. The polypsychic existence must become unipsychic; you must be one. That means you must be thoughtless, because thoughts are a crowd; they divide you, and every thought pulls you apart. They create chaos within you and they are always contradictory. Even when you decide, the decision is always against some part within you, it is never total.
I have heard it happened: Mulla Nasruddin was very ill -- tense, psychiatrically ill. And the illness was that he became, by and by, absolutely unable to make any decision -- not big decisions at that, but small ones also: whether to take a bath or not, whether to wear this tie or that, whether to take a taxi to the office or drive the car -- not big ones, small decisions, but he became unable to make them so he was put in a psychiatric hospital.
Six months of treatment and everything settled, and the doctors felt that now he was okay. They said one day, 'Now, Nasruddin, you are absolutely okay. You can go back in the world, take your job, start working and functioning. We are completely satisfied that now there is nothing wrong.' But seeing a slight indecision on Nasruddin's part the doctor said, 'Don't you feel that now you are ready to go into the world and start working and functioning?'
Nasruddin said, 'Yes and no.'
But this is the situation. Whether you are ill or healthy is not the question, the difference is only of degree -- but this remains the problem deep inside: yes and no, both.
You love a person? -- yes, and deep down is hidden the no. Sooner or later when you get bored and fed up with the yes, the no will come up and you will hate the person, the same person you loved. You like something but the dislike is hidden; sooner or later you will dislike this same thing.
You were mad when you loved, when you liked; and you will be mad when you hate and dislike. As you are -- yes and no, both -- how can you move towards the divine? The divine needs total commitment, nothing less will do. But how to commit totally? -- you are not a total being! This is the mountain.
The path is easy, but you are not on the path; and all the techniques, all the methods in the world, and all the masters, to be exact, they don't give you the path -- the path already exists. Their methods and techniques simply lead you towards the path; THEY are not paths. They create small pathways on the mountain so you can go beyond -- because the path is THERE; there is no need to create a path, it already exists. But you are lost in a forest. You have to be brought to the path.
So the first thing is: the more divided you are, the farther away from the Way you will be; the more undivided, the nearer the path.
Thoughts divide because they always carry the opposite within them: love carries hate, friendship carries enmity, liking carries disliking. Sosan is right when he says: 'A slight distinction between like and dislike, a slight movement in your being of like and dislike, and heaven and earth are set apart.' No distinction -- and you have reached, because with no distinction you are one.
So the first thing to remember is how to drop thoughts and become thoughtless -- thoughtless but alert, because in deep sleep also you become thoughtless, and that won't do. It is good for the body, that is why after a deep sleep your body feels rejuvenated. But the mind remains tired even in the morning, because the mind continues its activity. The body relaxes, though it too cannot relax totally because of the mind; but still, it relaxes.
So in the morning the body is okay, at least workably okay -- but the mind feels tired, even in the morning. You go to bed tired, you get up in the morning more tired because the mind was continuously working, dreaming, thinking, planning, desiring; the mind was continuously working.
In deep sleep for a few moments when you are absolutely unconscious you become one.
This same oneness is needed with a conscious and alert mind. As you are in deep sleep -- no thought, no distinction of good and bad, heaven and hell, God and the devil, no distinction of any sort, you simply ARE, but unconscious -- this has to be attained while you are alert and conscious. Samadhi, the final, the ultimate, the utter meditation, is nothing but deep sleep with full consciousness.
Deep sleep you attain, so the only thing to be attained is more and more consciousness. If you can add more consciousness to your deep sleep you will become enlightened. The mountain is transcended and the path opens -- one thing.
Second thing: you carry the past within you -- that creates multiplicity. You were a child, the child is still hidden in you, and sometimes you can still feel the child kicking; in certain moments you regress and become the child again. You were once young, now you are old; that young man is hidden there, and sometimes even an old man starts being as foolish as a young man.
You carry the whole past, every moment of it, and you have been many things! From the womb up to now you have been millions of persons, and they are all carried within you, layer by layer. You have grown, but the past has not disappeared; it may be hidden, but it is there -- and it is not only in the mind, it is even in the body. If, when you were a small child and you were angry and someone said, 'Stop! Don't be angry,' and you stopped, that anger is still being carried by your hand. It has to be so because energy is indestructible, and unless you relax that hand it will persist, unless you do something consciously to complete the circle of that energy which became anger in a certain moment fifty years back or sixty years back, you will carry it within you, and it will color all your actions.
You can touch somebody, but the touch won't be pure: the whole past is carried by the hand; all repressed anger, all repressed hatred is there. Even if in love you touch a person your touch is not pure, love cannot be -- because where will that anger go which is carried by the hand?
Wilhelm Reich worked very much on this somatic repression. The body carries the past, the mind carries the past; because of this loaded state you cannot be here and now. You have to come to terms with your past.
So meditation is not only a question of doing something here and now; before that is possible you have to come to terms with your past -- you have to dissolve all hangovers, and there are millions of them.
Even when one becomes old he is also a child, a young man, and all that he has ever been is there, because you don't know how to die every moment.
That is the whole art of life -- to die moment to moment so that there is no hangover.
A relationship has finished -- you don't carry it, you simply die to it! What can you do?
Something was happening and now it is not happening. You accept it and you die to it -- you simply DROP IT with full awareness, and then you are renewed in a new moment.
Now you are not carrying the past.
You are a child no more, but watch yourself and you will feel the child is there -- and that child creates trouble! If you were really a child there would be no trouble, but you are young or old....
I have heard: Mulla Nasruddin was hospitalized. He was eighty -- and then came his birthday, and he was waiting for his three sons to bring him some present. They came of course, but they had not brought anything -- because he was eighty years old! A child feels happy with a present, but an old man? Eighty years old! His eldest son was sixty. So they didn't think about it at all, but when they came and Mulla looked and they were empty-handed, he felt angry, frustrated, and he said, 'What! Have you forgotten your old father, your poor old father's birthday? It is my birthday!'
The child... at that moment you could have looked into his eyes, and this eighty-year-old man was not there, just a child waiting for some toys.
One son said, 'Forgive us, we forgot completely.'
Mulla Nasruddin said, 'I reckon I will forgive you, because it seems this forgetfulness runs in our family. Really, I forgot to marry your mother.' He was really angry.
So they all three shrieked in unison, and they said, 'What! Do you mean we are...?'
He said, 'Yes! -- and damned cheap ones at that!'
The child continues somewhere in you: when you weep you can find him, when you laugh you can find him, when somebody gives you a present you can find him, when somebody forgets to, you can find him, when somebody appreciates you, you can find him; when somebody condemns you, you can find him -- it is very difficult to be really mature. One can never be mature unless the child simply dies within you, is no longer a part of you -- otherwise it will go on influencing your actions, your relationships.
And this is not only true for the child, every moment of the past is there and influencing your present -- your present is so loaded. And millions of voices from the body and the mind go on manipulating you; how can you reach the path?
You are a mountain. This mountain has to be dissolved. What to do? It can be dissolved consciously -- one thing is to live your past again, consciously.
This is the mechanism of consciousness: whenever you live something consciously it never becomes a loaded thing on you; try to understand this. It never becomes a burden on you if you live it consciously.
If you go to the market to purchase something and you move consciously, walk consciously, purchase the thing consciously, with full remembrance, mindfully come back home, this will never be a part of your memory. I don't mean that you will forget it - - it will not be a load. If you want to remember it, you can remember it, but it will not be constantly forcing your attention towards it, it will not be a loaded thing.
Whatsoever you do consciously is lived through and is no longer a hangover. Whatever you live unconsciously becomes a hangover, because you never live it totally -- something remains incomplete. When something is incomplete it has to be carried -- it waits to be completed.
You were a child, and somebody had broken your toy, and you were crying; and your mother consoled you, diverted your mind somewhere -- gave you some sweets, talked about something else, told you a story, diverted you -- and you were going to cry and weep, and you forgot. That has remained incomplete; it is there, and any day whenever somebody snatches a toy from you -- it may be any toy, it may be a girlfriend, and somebody snatches her -- you start weeping and crying. And you can find the child there, incomplete. It may be a post: you are mayor of the town and somebody snatches the post, a toy, and you are crying and weeping again.
Find out... regress into the past, move through it again, because there is no other way now; the past is there no more, so if something has remained hanging the only way is to relive it in the mind, move backwards.
Every night make it a point to go backwards for one hour, fully alert, as if you are living the whole thing again. Many things will bubble up, many things will call your attention -- so don't be in a hurry, and don't pay half-attention to anything and then move again because that will again create incompleteness. Whatsoever comes, give total attention to it. Live it again. And when I say live it again I mean LIVE it again -- not just remember, because when you remember a thing you are a detached observer; that won't help.
You are a child again. Don't look as if you are standing apart and looking at a child as his toy is being snatched. No! BE the child. Not outside the child, inside the child -- be again the child. Relive the moment: somebody snatches the toy, somebody destroys it, and you start crying -- and cry! Your mother is trying to console you -- go through the whole thing again, but now don't be diverted by anything. Let the whole process be completed.
When it is completed, suddenly you will feel your heart is less heavy; something has dropped.
You wanted to say something to your father; now he is dead, now there is no way to tell him. Or you wanted to ask his forgiveness for a certain thing you did which he didn't like, but your ego came in and you couldn't ask his forgiveness; now he is dead, now nothing can be done. What to do? -- and it is THERE! It will go on and on and destroy all your relationships.
I am very much aware of that because to be a master is to be in a certain sense a father -- it is to be many things but very importantly it is in a certain sense to be a father. When people come to me, if they are loaded with their relationship with their father, then it becomes very difficult to be related to me because I always feel their father comes in. If they have hated their father they will hate me, if they wanted to fight with their father, they will fight, if they love their father they will love me, if they respected their father they will respect me, if they respected him just superficially and deep down they had a disrespect, it will be the same with me -- and the whole thing starts working.
If you are conscious, you can watch. Go back. Now your father is no more but for the eyes of the memory he is still there. Close your eyes; again be the child who has committed something, done something against the father, wants to be forgiven but cannot gather courage -- now you can gather courage! You can say whatsoever you wanted to say, you can touch his feet again, or you can be angry and hit him -- but be finished! Let the whole process be completed.
Remember one basic law: anything that is complete drops, because then there is no meaning in carrying it; anything that is incomplete clings, it waits for its completion.
And this existence is really always after completion. The whole existence has a basic tendency to complete everything. It does not like incomplete things -- they hang, they wait; and there is no hurry for existence -- they can wait for millions of years.
Move backwards. Every night for one hour before you go to sleep, move into the past, relive. Many memories by and by will be unearthed. With many you will be surprised that you were not aware that these things are there -- and with such vitality and freshness, as if they had just happened! You will be again a child, again a young man, a lover, many things will come. Move slowly, so everything is completed. Your mountain will become smaller and smaller -- the LOAD is the mountain. And the smaller it becomes, the freer you will feel. A certain quality of freedom will come to you, and a freshness, and inside you will feel you have touched a source of life.
You will be always vital -- even others will feel that when you walk your step has changed, it has a quality of dance; when you touch, your touch has changed -- it is not a dead hand, it has become alive again. Now life is flowing because the blocks have disappeared; now there is no anger in the hand, love can flow easily, unpoisoned, in its purity. You will become more sensitive, vulnerable, open.
If you have come to terms with the past suddenly you will be here and now in the present, because then there is no need to move again and again.
Go on moving every night. By and by memories will come up before your eyes and they will be completed. Relive them; completed, suddenly you will feel they drop. Now there is no more to be done, the thing is finished. Less and less memories will come as the time moves. There will be gaps -- you would like to live, nothing is coming -- and those gaps are beautiful. Then a day will come when you will not be able to move backwards because everything is complete. When you cannot move backwards, only then do you move forwards.
There is no other way. And to move forwards is to reach the path: the whole consciousness moving ahead every moment into the unknown.
But your legs are being pulled back continuously by the past, the past is heavy on you; how can you move into the future, and how can you be in the present? The mountain is really big, it is a Himalaya, uncharted, unmapped; nobody knows how to pass through it - - and everybody is such a different Himalaya that you can never make a map, because it differs with everybody. You have your Himalayas to carry, others have their Himalayas to carry, and with these mountains, when you meet with people there is only clash and conflict.
The whole life becomes just a struggle, a violent struggle, and everywhere you can see and feel and hear the clash. Whenever somebody comes near, you are tense and the other is also tense -- both are carrying their Himalayas of tension and sooner or later they will clash. You may call it love but those who know, they say it is a clash. Now there is going to be misery.
Be finished with the past. As you become more free from the past, the mountain starts disappearing. And then you will attain a unison: you will become, by and by, one.
Now, try to understand this parable: What is the Way?
A MASTER WHO LIVED AS A HERMIT ON A MOUNTAIN WAS ASKED BY A MONK: 'WHAT IS THE WAY?'
Every word has to be understood because every word carries meaning:
A MASTER WHO LIVED AS A HERMIT ON A MOUNTAIN....
It has been happening always, that a Buddha moves to the mountains, a Jesus moves to the mountains, a Mahavira goes into the mountains. Why do they move to the mountains, to the loneliness? Why do they become solitaries? Just to face their inner mountains immediately and directly. In society it is difficult because the whole energy is wasted in day-to-day work and routine and relationship; you don't have enough time, you don't have enough energy to encounter yourself -- you are finished in encountering others! You are so very occupied -- and to come face to face with oneself a very unoccupied life is needed, because it is such a tremendous phenomenon to face oneself. You will need all your energies. It is such an absorbing job, it cannot be done half-heartedly.
Seekers have always moved into solitary existence, just to face oneself. Wherever they go -- just to face oneself; to make it uncomplicated, because in relationship it becomes complicated because the other brings his or her miseries and mountains. You are already loaded -- and then comes the other! And then you clash, then things become more complex. Then it is two diseases meeting, and a very complicated disease is created out of it. Everything becomes entwined, it becomes a riddle. You are already a riddle -- it is better to solve it first and THEN move in relationship, because if you are not a mountain, then you can help somebody.
And remember, two hands are needed to make a sound, and two mountains are needed for a clash. If you are a mountain no more, now you are capable of being related. Now the other may try to create a clash, but it cannot be created because there is no possibility of creating a sound with one hand. The other will start feeling foolish -- and that is the dawn for wisdom.
You can help if you are unburdened; you cannot help if you are not unburdened. You can become a husband, you can become a father, a mother, and you will be burdening others with your burdens also. Even small children carry your mountains; they are crushed under you -- it has to be so because you never bother to have a clarity about your being before you become related.
That must be the basic responsibility of every alert being: Before I move in any relationship I must be unburdened. I should not carry a hangover; only then can I help the other to grow. Otherwise I will exploit, and the other will exploit me! Otherwise I will try to dominate and the other will try to dominate me. And it will not be a relationship, it cannot be love, it will be a subtle politics.
Your marriage is a subtle politics of domination. Your fatherhood, motherhood, is a subtle politics. Look at mothers, just simply watch! -- and you will feel they are trying to dominate their small children. Their aggression, their anger, is thrown on them -- they have become objects of catharsis, and by this they are already burdened. They will move in life carrying mountains from the very beginning, and they will never know that life is possible without carrying such loaded heads; and they will never know the freedom that comes with an unloaded being. They will never know that when you are not loaded you have wings and you can fly into the sky and into the unknown.
And God is available only when you are unburdened. But they will never know. They will knock at the doors of temples but they will never know where the real temple exists.
The real temple is freedom: dying moment to moment to the past and living the present.
And freedom to move, to move into the dark, into the unknown -- that is the door to the divine!
A MASTER WHO LIVED AS A HERMIT ON A MOUNTAIN... alone.
You must make a distinction between two words: lonely and alone. In the dictionary they carry the same meaning, but those who have been meditating, they know the distinction.
They are not the same, they are as different as possible. Loneliness is an ugly thing; loneliness is a depressive thing -- it is a sadness; it is an absence of the other. Loneliness is the absence of the other -- you would like the other to be there, but the other is not, and you feel that and you miss them. YOU are not there in loneliness, the absence of the other is there. Alone? -- it is totally different. YOU are there, it is your presence; it is a positive phenomenon. You don't miss the other, you meet yourself. Then you are alone, alone like a peak, tremendously beautiful! Sometimes you even feel a terror -- but it has a beauty.
But the presence is the basic thing: you are present to yourself. You are not lonely, you are with yourself. Alone, you are not lonely, you are with yourself. Lonely, you are simply lonely -- there is no one. You are not with yourself and you are missing the other.
Loneliness is negative, an absence; aloneness is positive, a presence.
If you are alone, you grow, because there is space to grow -- nobody else to hamper, nobody else to obstruct, nobody else to create more complex problems. Alone you grow, and as much as you want to grow you can grow because there is no limit, and you are happy being with yourself, and a bliss arises. There is no comparison: because the other is not there you are neither beautiful nor ugly, neither rich nor poor, neither this nor that, neither white nor black, neither man nor woman. Alone, how can you be a woman or a man? Lonely, you are a woman or a man, because the other is missing. Alone, you are no one, empty, empty of the other completely.
And remember, when the other is not, the ego cannot exist: it exists with the other. Either present or absent, the other is needed for ego. To feel 'I' the other is needed, a boundary of the other. Fenced from the neighbors I feel 'I'. When there is no neighbor, no fencing, how can you feel 'I'? You will be there, but without any ego. The ego is a relationship, it exists only in relationship.
Alone the master lived -- a hermit means alone -- on a mountain, facing himself, meeting himself at every corner. Wherever he moves he is encountering himself -- not burdened with the other, so knowing well what he is, who he is.
Things start solving themselves if you can be alone, even things like madness. Just the other night I was talking to a few friends. In the West if a man goes crazy, mad, insane, neurotic, much treatment is given; too much really -- for years! And the result is almost nothing. The man remains the same.
I have heard, once it happened: a psychiatrist was treating a woman who had an obsession -- the obsession is called kleptomania, stealing things. She was very rich, there was no need, just a psychological obsession. It was impossible for her not to steal:
wherever she found an opportunity she would steal, even worthless things: a needle, a button. She was treated for years.
After the five-year-long treatment -- thousands of dollars had gone down the drain -- after five years the psychiatrist who was treating her, the Freudian psychoanalyst, asked, 'Now you look normal, and now there is no need to continue the treatment. You can drop out of it. What do YOU feel?'
She said, 'I feel perfect. I feel fine. Everything is good. Before you started treatment I always used to feel guilty about stealing things -- now I steal, but I never feel guilty.
Fine! Everything is good. You really did it. You helped me a lot.'
This is all that happens. You simply become accustomed, attuned to your illness, that's all.
In the East, particularly in Japan -- because of zen -- a totally different treatment has existed for at least one thousand years. In zen monasteries... these are not in any way hospitals, not meant for ill people, but in a village, if a zen monastery exists, it is the only place; if someone goes mad or neurotic, where to go? In the East always they bring the neurotic people to the master because if he can treat normal people, why not neurotics?
The difference is only of degree.
So they will bring the neurotic people to the zen monastery, to the master, and they will say, 'What to do? You take charge of him.' And he will take charge.
And the treatment is really unbelievable! The treatment is -- no treatment at all. The man has to be given a solitary cell somewhere at the back of the monastery, in a corner; the neurotic has to live there. He will be given food, every facility -- that's all. And he has to live with himself. Within three weeks, only three weeks, with no treatment, the neurosis disappears.
Now many Western psychiatrists are studying this as a miracle. This is not a miracle.
This is simply giving the man a little space to sort it out, that's all! Because he was normal a few days before, he can be normal again. Something has become too heavy on him and he needs space, that's all. And they will not pay him much attention, because if you pay a neurotic person much attention, as it is being paid in the West, he is never going to be back to normal again because nobody paid him so much attention before. He is never going to be back the same, because then nobody bothered about him, and now great psychoanalysts are bothering -- great doctors, names, world-famous names, and they talk to him or her: the patient lying on a couch resting, and a great name just sitting behind, and whatsoever he or she says is listened to carefully, every word. So much attention! The neurosis becomes an investment, because people NEED attention.
A few people start behaving foolishly because then the society gives them attention. In every old country, in every village, you will find a village fool -- and he is not a mediocre man, he is very intelligent. Fools are almost always intelligent, but they have learned a trick: people pay them attention, they feed them, everybody knows them, they are already famous without holding any post -- the whole village looks after them. Wherever they pass, they are like great leaders, a crowd follows them: children jumping and throwing things at them -- and they enjoy it! They are great ones in the town, and they know that this being a fool is an investment, a good one! And the village takes care of them: they are well fed, well clothed -- they have learned the trick. No need to work, no need to do anything -- just be a fool and it is enough!
If a neurotic person... and remember ego IS neurosis and ego needs attention; pay it attention, and ego feels good. Many people have murdered simply to get the attention of the newspapers, because only when they murder can they be covered by headlines. They become suddenly very, very important -- their pictures are given, their names, their biographies are covered: suddenly they are not nobodies, they have become somebodies.
Neurosis is a deep hankering after attention, and if you give it attention, you feed it -- that's why psychoanalysis has been a complete failure.
In zen monasteries they treat a person within three weeks: in Freudian psychoanalysis they cannot treat him in thirty years, because they miss the very point. But in zen monasteries no attention is given to the neurotic person, nobody thinks that he is somebody important -- they simply leave him alone, that is the only treatment. He has to sort out his own things; nobody bothers. Within three weeks he comes out absolutely normal.
Solitariness has a healing effect, it is a healing force. Whenever you feel that you are getting messed up, don't try to solve it there. Move away from society for a few days, for at least three weeks, and just remain silent, just watching yourself, feeling yourself, just being with yourself, and you will have a tremendous force available which heals. Hence, in the East, many people have moved to the mountains, to the forests, somewhere alone, somewhere where there is nobody else to be bothered with. Only oneself... so one can feel oneself directly, and you can see what is happening within.
Nobody is responsible for you except yourself, remember. If you are mad you are mad -- you have to sort it out: it is your deed! This is what Hindus say: your karma. The meaning is very deep. It is not a theory. They say, whatsoever you are it is your own work, so sort it out! Nobody else is responsible for you, only you are responsible.
So go into solitary confinement -- to sort out things, meditate on your own being and your problems. And this is the beauty: even if you can just be quiet, living with yourself for a few days, things settle automatically, because an unsettled state is not natural. An unsettled state is unnatural, you cannot prolong it for long. It needs effort to prolong it.
Simply relax and let things be, and watch, and make no effort to change anything, remember; if you try to make any change you will continue the same because the very effort will continue to disturb things.
It is just like sitting by the side of a river: the river flows, the mud settles, the dead leaves go to the sea; by and by the river becomes absolutely clean and pure. You need not go into it to clean it -- if you go, you will muddle it more. Simply watch, and things happen.
This is what the theory of karma is: that you have messed yourself up; now move alone.
So you need not throw your problems on others, you need not throw your diseases on others -- you simply move alone; suffer them in silence, watch them. Just sit by the bank of the river of your mind. Things settle! When things settle you have a clarity, a perception. Then move back into the world -- if you feel like it. That too is not a necessity, that too should not be an obsession. Nothing should be an obsession, neither the world nor the mountain.
Whatsoever you feel is natural, whatsoever you feel is good and heals you, whatsoever you feel you are whole in, not divided -- that is the path. The mountain is crossed. You have reached the path -- now follow it, now flow into it!
The mountain is the problem. The path is available when you have crossed the mountain.
And you have accumulated this mountain in many lives -- your karmas, whatsoever you have done. It is now heavy on you.
A MASTER WHO LIVED AS A HERMIT ON A MOUNTAIN WAS ASKED BY A MONK -- a seeker -- 'WHAT IS THE WAY?' 'WHAT A FINE MOUNTAIN THIS IS,'
THE MASTER SAID IN REPLY.
Looks absurd -- because the man is asking about the Way and the master is saying something about the mountain. Looks absolutely irrational, outlandish, because the man has not asked anything about the mountain.
Remember, this is my situation. You ask about A, I talk about B; you ask about the Way, and I talk about the mountain. If you love me, only then can you feel; if you simply listen to me, I am absurd -- because I am not talking relevantly. If I talk relevantly I cannot help you; that is the problem. If I say something which seems relevant to you it will not be of much help, because YOU are the problem; and if I talk relevantly that means I adjust to you. Even if to you I look relevant, it means something has gone wrong. I have to be irrelevant by the nature of the phenomenon itself.
I will look absurd, irrational. And this gap between the question and the answer can only be bridged if you have trust. Otherwise it cannot be bridged -- how to bridge it? The gap between the seeker and the master, the disciple and the master, the gap between the question and the answer -- because you question about the Way and the answer is given about the mountain -- how to bridge it?
Hence trust becomes very very significant; not knowledge, not logic, not argumentative capacity -- no, but a deep trust which can bridge the irrelevant answer, which can see through the irrelevance deeply and can catch a glimpse of the relevancy.
'WHAT A FINE MOUNTAIN THIS IS,' THE MASTER SAID IN REPLY.'I AM NOT ASKING YOU ABOUT THE MOUNTAIN,' SAID THE MONK, 'BUT THE WAY.'
He sticks to his question. If you stick you will miss -- because YOU are wrong, your question cannot be right; that's impossible! How can you ask a right question? If you can ask a right question the right answer is not very far away, it is hidden there. If you can ask a right question you are already right! And with a mind which is already right, how can the answer remain hidden? No, whatsoever you ask, whatsoever you say, carries YOU.
It happened: Mulla Nasruddin was getting fatter and fatter, stouter and stouter. The doctor advised a diet.
After two months Mulla went to see the doctor. The doctor said, 'My God! It is a miracle!
You are even fatter than before -- I cannot believe my eyes! Are you strictly following the diet I gave you? Are you eating only that which I prescribed and nothing else?'
Nasruddin said, 'Nothing whatever! Of course I'm following your diet.'
The doctor couldn't believe it. He said, 'Tell me, Nasruddin, nothing whatever?'
Nasruddin said, 'Of course! Except my regular meals.' Regular meals PLUS the diet the doctor has prescribed.
But this has to be so. Your mind moves in whatsoever you do, you ask, you think -- it colors everything. You cannot ask a right question. If you can ask a right question there is no need to ask, because the right is the thing, not the question and not the answer. If YOU are right, you ask the right question -- suddenly the right answer is there. If you can ask a right question you simply have no need to go anywhere; just close your eyes and ask the right question and you will find the right answer there.
The problem is not with the right answer, the problem is not with the Way; the problem is the mountain, the problem is the mind, the problem is YOU.
'WHAT A FINE MOUNTAIN THIS IS,' THE MASTER SAID IN REPLY. 'I AM NOT ASKING YOU ABOUT THE MOUNTAIN,' SAID THE MONK, 'BUT THE WAY.'
THE MASTER REPLIED, 'SO LONG AS YOU CANNOT GO BEYOND THE MOUNTAIN, MY SON, YOU CANNOT REACH THE WAY.'
Many things to be understood -- to be felt, rather.
THE MASTER REPLIED, 'SO LONG AS YOU CANNOT GO BEYOND THE MOUNTAIN, MY SON, YOU CANNOT REACH THE WAY.'
Why suddenly 'my son'? Up to now the master has not used a single loving word; why suddenly 'my son'? Because now the trust will be needed, and you cannot create trust in a person just by saying something, even if it is the absolute truth. A trust can be created only if the master is loving, because only love creates trust. On the side of the disciple a trust, SHRADDHA, is needed, a deep faith is needed. But the faith arises only when the master says 'my son.'
Now the thing is moving differently. It is not an intellectual relationship, it is becoming one of the heart. Now the master is becoming more a father than a master; now the master is moving towards the heart. He is making a heart relationship now.
If you ask head-oriented questions and the master goes on answering them, it may be a dialogue on the face of it, but it cannot be a dialogue. You can crisscross but you cannot meet that way. When people talk, listen to them: they crisscross each other but they never meet. This is not a dialogue! They both remain rooted in themselves, they never make any effort to reach the other. 'My son' is an effort on the part of the master to reach the monk. He is preparing the way for the disciple to trust.
But then again a problem arises because the disciple can think, 'This is too much! I have not come here in search of love, I have come here in search of knowledge.' But a master cannot give you knowledge. He can give you wisdom, and wisdom comes only through the vehicle of love. Hence suddenly the master says, 'MY SON, SO LONG AS YOU CANNOT GO BEYOND THE MOUNTAIN YOU CANNOT REACH THE WAY.'
One thing more he said:
'WHAT A FINE MOUNTAIN THIS IS.'
To an enlightened person even madness is beautiful. To an unenlightened person even enlightenment is not beautiful. The whole attitude changes. He says, 'What a fine mountain.' To an enlightened person even your neurosis is a beautiful thing, he accepts that also; it has to be transcended, but not destroyed. One has to go beyond it, but it also is beautiful while it lasts. One has to reach somewhere else, but the goal is not the thing -- the thing is: each moment, living the goal here and now.
For an enlightened person everything is beautiful and for an unenlightened person everything is ugly. For an unenlightened person there are two categories: less ugly, more ugly. No beauty exists. Whenever you say to a person, 'You are beautiful,' in fact you are saying, 'You are less ugly.' Watch when you say it again and then find out what you really mean. Do you really mean beautiful? -- because that is impossible for your mind; your mind cannot see beauty, you are not so perceptive. At the most you can manage to say that this person is less ugly than others -- and less ugly can become more ugly any moment, with just a change of mood.
Your friend is nothing but the person least inimical towards you. You have to be that way because your mind is so messed up, it is such a chaos; everything is muddled, murky, you cannot see direct. Your eyes are covered with millions of layers, it is really a miracle how you manage even to see; you are completely blind.
You cannot hear, you cannot see, you cannot touch, you cannot smell. Whatsoever you do, it is impure; many things come into it. You love, and millions of things are there:
immediately you start being possessive, and you never know that being possessive is part of hate, not part of love. Love can never possess. Love is giving freedom to the other.
Love is an unconditional gift, it is not a bargain. But to your mind love is nothing but less hate, that's all. At the most you think, 'I can tolerate this person; I cannot tolerate that person so I cannot love him. This person I can tolerate.' But the valuation remains negative.
When you are enlightened the valuation becomes positive. Then everything is beautiful; even your mountain, your neurosis is beautiful -- even a madman is something beautiful.
God may have gone a little astray and sinned, but it is God.
So nothing can be wrong for an enlightened person. Everything is right -- less right, more right. The difference between the devil and God is nothing, the difference is only of less and more. God and the devil are not two poles, enemies.
Hindus have beautiful words; no other country has been so understanding about words.
Sanskrit is really something which exists nowhere else -- very perceptive people! The English word devil comes from the same root as DEVA; deva means god. Devil and god come from the same root: DEV. Dev means light; from the same dev comes the devil; and from the same dev comes deva, DEVATA, the divine. The words divine and devil come from the same Sanskrit root dev. It is one phenomenon. Your seeing may be different, your standpoint may be different, but it is one phenomenon. An enlightened person will say even to the devil: 'How beautiful! How divine! How wonderful!'
It happened: one Mohammedan mystic woman, Rabiya al-Adabia, changed many lines in her Koran. Wherever it is said, 'Hate the devil,' she crossed it out. Then once another mystic, Hassan, was staying with Rabiya, and on the journey he had forgotten his own copy of the Koran somewhere, and in the morning, for morning prayers, he needed it. So he asked for Rabiya's copy; Rabiya gave it to him. He was a little surprised in the beginning because the Koran had collected so much dust -- that meant it was not used every day. It was not used at all it seemed; for many months it had not been used -- but he thought it would be impolite to say something so he opened the Koran and started his morning prayer.
Then he was surprised even more, even shocked, because NOBODY can correct the Koran, and there were many corrections. Wherever it is said, 'Hate the devil,' Rabiya had simply crossed it out completely, rejected it.
He couldn't pray, he was disturbed so much: this Rabiya had gone heretic, she had become an atheist, or what?... because it is impossible for a Mohammedan to conceive that you can correct the Koran. It is God's word, nobody can correct it. That's why they say that now no more prophets will be coming, because if a prophet comes again and he says something which is not in the Koran, it will create trouble. So the doors have been closed after Mohammed -- he is the last prophet.
And they are very clever. They say there have been many other prophets in the past: he is not the first, but he is the last. And now no more messages will be coming from God -- he has given the final one with Mohammed. So how dare this woman Rabiya! She is correcting the Koran? He couldn't pray, he was so much disturbed. He finished somehow, went to Rabiya.
Rabiya was an enlightened woman. Very few women have become enlightened in the whole world; Rabiya is one of them. Looking at Hassan she said, 'It seems you couldn't do your prayer. It seems the dust on the Koran disturbed you. So, you are still attached to things like dust? And it seems my corrections in the Koran must have shocked you very much.'
Hassan said, 'How... how could you know?'
Rabiya said, 'I passed by when you were praying and I felt all around you much disturbance; it was not a prayerful prayer at all. It was so neurotic, the vibrations -- so what is the matter? Tell me and be finished with it!'
Hassan said, 'Now that you have started yourself, don't think I am impolite, but I couldn't believe a woman like you could correct the Koran!'
Rabiya said, 'But look first at my difficulty: the moment I came to realize, the moment I came face to face with the divine, after that, in every face I can see that same face. No other face is possible. Even if the devil comes to stand before me, I see the same face. So how can I hate the devil now that I have realized the face of the divine that I have come to see? Now every face is his. I had to correct, and if ever I meet Mohammed I have to tell him frankly that these words are not good. They may be good for the ignorant because they divide; but they are not good for those who know, because they cannot divide.'
Hence the master says:
'WHAT A FINE MOUNTAIN THIS IS.'
Everything is beautiful and divine for a man who knows.
'I AM NOT ASKING YOU ABOUT THE MOUNTAIN,' SAID THE MONK, 'BUT THE WAY.'
Have you ever observed that you never ask any question about yourself, about the mountain, you always ask about the Way? People come to me and they ask, 'What to do?
How to reach God? How to become enlightened?' They never ask, 'What to BE?' They never ask anything about themselves, as if they are absolutely okay -- only the path is missing. What do you think? You are absolutely okay, only the path is missing? So somebody can say, 'Go to the right and then turn to the left and you are on the path'?
It's not so simple. The path is just in front of you. You are not missing the path at all. You have never missed it, nobody CAN miss it -- but you cannot look at it because you are a mountain.
It is not a question of finding the Way, it is a question of finding yourself, who you are.
When you know yourself, the Way is there; when you don't know yourself, the Way is not there.
People go on asking about the Way, and there are millions of ways proposed -- but there cannot be. There is only one Way. The same Way passes before Buddha's eyes, and the same Way passes before Lao Tzu, and the same Way before Jesus. Millions are the travelers but the Way is one, the same. That is the tao, the dhamma, the logos of Heraclitus -- it is one.
Millions are the travelers but the Way is one. There are not a million ways, and you are not missing it; but you always ask about the Way, and you always get entangled in the ways because when you ask, when foolish people ask, there are more foolish people to answer them. If you ask and insist on an answer, then somebody has to supply it -- this is the law of economics. You demand, and there will be a supply. You ask a foolish question and a foolish answer will be given because don't think that you are the ultimate fool -- there are better ones. Smaller ones become disciples and better ones become 'masters'. You ask, and they supply the answer.
Then there are millions of ways, and always in conflict. A Mohammedan saying is: You cannot reach through that way because it never leads anywhere, it goes into a cul-de-sac.
Come to our way! -- and if you don't listen we will kill you. Christians are persuading:
Come to our way! They are cleverer than Mohammedans; they don't kill really; they bribe, they seduce, they give you bread, they give you hospitals, they give you medicine, and they say, Come our way! Where are you going? They are merchants, and they know how to bribe people; they have converted millions, just by giving things to them. There are Hindus, they go on saying: We possess the whole truth -- and they are so arrogant they don't bother even to convert anybody, remember: You are fools, you need not be converted. They are so arrogant, and they think: We know the Way. If you want to you can come. We are not going to bribe you or kill you -- you are not that important. You can come if you want, but we are not going to make any effort.
And then there are three hundred religions in the world, and each religion thinking: This is the only Way, THE Way. All others are false.
But the question is not of the Way, the question is not: Which Way is true? The question is: Have you crossed the mountain? The question is: Have you gone beyond YOU? The question is: Can you look at yourself from a distance, a watcher? Then, the one Way.
Mohammed and Mahavira and Krishna and Christ -- they all walked on the same Way.
Mohammed is different from Mahavira, Krishna is different from Christ, but they walk on the same Way -- because the Way cannot be many: how can many lead to one? Only the one can lead you to the one.
So don't ask about the Way and don't ask about the method. Don't ask about the medicine.
First ask about the disease that you are. A deep diagnosis is needed first, and nobody can diagnose it for you. You have created it and only the creator knows all the nooks and corners. You have created it, so only you know how these complexities arise, and only YOU can solve them.
A real master simply helps you to come to yourself. Once you are there, the way opens.
The way cannot be given but you can be thrown upon yourself. And then the real conversion happens: not a Hindu becoming a Christian or a Christian becoming a Hindu, but an outward-moving energy becomes an inward-moving energy -- that is conversion.
You become an inward-looking. The whole attention moves inwards, and then you see the whole complexity -- the mountain. And if you simply watch it, it starts dissolving.
In the beginning it looks like a mountain; in the end you will feel that it was just a molehill. But you never looked at it because it was at the back of you, and it became so big. When you face it, immediately it decreases, becomes a molehill, you can laugh about it. Then it is no longer a burden. You can even enjoy it and sometimes can go in it for a morning walk.