The future belongs to the creative man
I AM A TWO-YEAR-OLD CHILD IN SANNYAS AT THE AGE OF SIXTY!
I CONSIDER MYSELF BLESSED TO HAVE COME INTO THE FOLD OF YOUR GRACE.
WAS THIS DESTINED TO BE SO? THEN WHY WAS IT SO LATE IN LIFE? CAN THE CHILD IN ME BECOME MATURE IN WHAT REMAINS OF MY LIFE? HOW?
Anand Yeshwant, the question you have asked has many implications. It is many questions in one.
First, you say that at the age of sixty you are a two-year-old child as far as sannyas is concerned. This reminds me of an ancient tradition in the East. We used to count life from the day a man was initiated into sannyas, not from the day he was born. Because birth does not necessarily turn into life; more often it only turns into vegetation.
There are cabbages and there are cauliflowers, but the difference is not much. The experts say that cauliflowers are cabbages with university degrees.
But most people simply vegetate; they do not live, they do not come into contact with the living waters of life. They breathe, they grow old, but they never grow up. Between their birth and their death is a horizontal line. There are no peaks of delight, no sunlit peaks of ecstasy. There are no depths of love, of peace, of silence. There is just a horizontal, flat routine from the cradle to the grave.
Nothing happens. They come and they go.
It is said that most of the people realize that they were alive only when they die -- because life was so flat, so colorless. It was not a dance, it was not beauty, it was not a blessing; there was no gratitude in the heart, that "Existence has chosen me, and not anybody else in my place," that "Without me existence will be a little less. There is nobody else who can replace me; I am occupying a unique position and I never asked for it, I never deserved it. It is a sheer gift out of the abundance of existence."
It happened that Gautam Buddha was having a meeting with one of the most intelligent emperors of those days. Just in the middle of their dialogue an old sannyasin -- must have been seventy-five years old -- came to touch the feet of Buddha. He asked the emperor to forgive him because he was interfering in their conversation, but it was out of necessity.
No Buddhist monk can travel in the night; they can move between sunrise and sunset, but at night they have to remain in one place.
"I have been ordered to go to the nearest village, and I cannot go without touching the feet of my master. The sun is going down every moment, and your dialogue seems to go on and on -- so please just forgive me."
Gautam Buddha asked the sannyasin, "How old are you?"
The emperor was very much puzzled: what was the need? -- just bless him and let him go.
And the old sannyasin said, "Forgive me, I have come very late. My age is only four years."
The emperor was even more puzzled, and he could not contain himself. He said, "This is too much! This man might be seventy-five, might be eighty, might be seventy, but not four years of age. Absolutely not!"
Gautam Buddha said, "Perhaps you do not know about the way we count age. This man became a sannyasin four years ago. Hence, the real brahmin, the one who has known the divine, the brahma is called dwij, `twice born'. The first birth is only an opportunity for the second birth. If the second birth does not happen your first birth is meaningless.
And to the sannyasin Buddha said, "Don't be worried. We have an ancient proverb." He quoted it: "The man who gets lost in the morning, if he comes back home by the evening he should not be called `lost'. Four years are plenty. Even one minute of awareness is equal to eternity."
So the first thing, Anand Yeshwant: Don't be worried about the fifty-eight years that have passed in sleep. Whether they existed or not does not matter; they were like signatures made on water -- you go on making them, and they go on disappearing.
These two years you have been a sannyasin are immensely significant -- and the significance does not require time, it requires depth. You can have the whole eternity superficially. And you can have one single moment of abysmal depth or of the height of Everest and you are fulfilled.
So the first thing I want to say to you: don't be worried about the fifty-eight years that were lost wandering in the desert. Be grateful for the two years that you have entered into the garden of God. Now it is up to you to make each moment a deep contentment, a profound silence, a joyful dance... an eternity of rejoicing, a fragrance that is not of this world... that is not of time and space but belongs to the beyond.
And as I see it, you are growing on the right path with a sincere heart... I have been listening to your songs; they have a sweet pain, a heartfelt thankfulness. Sweet because nothing can be sweeter than to come in contact with the immortal, timeless, deathless source of life.
To be in touch with a master is, in an indirect way, to be in touch with the godliness of existence.
There is sweetness in your songs, and there is a certain pain too. Pain because whatever you want to express, words are impotent to express it. What you want to sing... your heart is overflowing with it, but the language is not capable of translating it. Your musical instruments, howsoever refined, are not able to bring the music of silence into the world of sound. They are two diametrically opposite dimensions.
But your pain does not destroy the beauty of your sweetness; it makes it even more beautiful, gives it depth. It shows your experience and at the same time the inability to express it.
That which can be expressed is mundane.
That which cannot be expressed is sacred.
And every artist -- musician or poet, painter or dancer -- all have been trying in different ways for millions of years to give expression to the inexpressible. Even if they can give an indirect hint, just a finger pointing to the moon, that is success enough.
And you are successful.
Sing without any hesitation, without being worried that you will be thought crazy. Unless a singer is thought by the world to be insane, he is not a singer at all; if a dancer is not forced into a madhouse, the world has not given him the certificate.
All geniuses are bound to be thought of by the world in this way... "Something has gone wrong with these poor people."
Vincent Van Gogh, one of the Dutch painters, could not sell a single painting in his whole life. Now only two hundred paintings have survived out of thousands that he painted, because nobody took care of them. He was simply distributing them to friends; nobody would purchase them. People were afraid even to hang his paintings in their sitting rooms because whoever would see them would think that they were crazy: what kind of painting are you hanging here? People were taking them -- not to hurt him -- thanking him, and throwing his paintings into their basements so nobody would see.
Now each of his paintings is worth a million dollars. What happened in one hundred years?
The man himself was forced into a mad asylum when he was only thirty-two. And he was forced because of his painting -- he was not harmful, he was not violent, he was not doing anything to anybody. But anybody who looked at his paintings was absolutely certain that this man was mad and unreliable. He should be put in a madhouse. If he could paint these things, he might do anything...."
For example, he always painted stars as spirals. Even other painters told him, "Stars are not spirals!"
He said, "I also see the stars. I see that they are not spirals, but the moment I start painting them something in me says so strongly that they are spirals. The distance is so vast... that's why your eyes cannot see exactly what their shape is. And the voice is so strong. I am simply unable to do anything else but what my inner being says to do."
And now physicists have discovered that stars are spirals. It has gone like a shock throughout the world of painters, that only one painter in the whole history of man had some inner contact and communication with the stars -- and that was a man who was thought to be mad. And because he was thought to be mad, nobody was ready to give him any service.
Every week, his brother used to give him enough money to last for seven days. And he was fasting three days in a week and eating four days -- because that was the only way to purchase canvas and colors and brushes to paint. Painting was more important than life.
He committed suicide at the age of thirty-three. Just after his release from the madhouse, he painted only one painting, which they had prevented him from painting in the madhouse. He wanted to paint the sun. It took him one year. He lost his eyes... the burning sun, the hot sun, and the whole day long he would be watching all the colors, from the morning till the evening, from the sunrise to the sunset. He wanted the painting to contain everything about the sun, the whole biography of the sun.
Everybody who was sympathetic to him told him, "This is too much. Just studying it one day is enough; it is the same sun."
Van Gogh said, "You don't know. It is never the same. You have never looked at it. I have never seen the same sunrise twice, never seen the same sunset again. And I want my painting to be a biography."
One year... the whole day watching the sun... He lost his eyes, but he painted.
And when the painting was complete, he wrote a small letter to his brother: "I am not committing suicide out of any despair -- because I am one of the most successful men in the world. I have done whatever I wanted to do in spite of the whole world condemning me. But this was my last wish, to paint the whole biography of the sun in one painting. It is completed today. I am immensely joyful, and now there is no need to live. I was living to paint; painting was my life, not breathing."
And he shot himself dead.
You cannot categorize him with ordinary suicides. It is not a suicide -- out of despair, out of sadness, out of failure -- no. Out of immense success, out of total fulfillment, seeing that now, why unnecessarily go on living and waiting for death?... "I have done the work that I wanted to do."
Every creative artist has to understand this: the moment people start thinking about him that he is a little bit off center, that something is loose in his head, he should rejoice that he has crossed the boundary of the mundane and the mediocre. Now he has grown the wings which others don't have.
And I can see in you the possibility, the potential.
Meditate, and let music become your meditation. Sing and let singing become your life, your very breathing, your very heartbeat.
A very stupid idea has prevailed in the world, that only saints are religious. In fact, almost 99.9 percent of saints are not religious. The real religious people will be found in creative dimensions -- dancers, poets, painters, singers, musicians, sculptors.
The future belongs to the creative man.
The past belonged to the uncreative saints. They have not created anything; their only quality was self torture. They were really all masochists. In a better world they would have been treated, not worshipped. They were not saints, they were psychologically sick.
But because the uncreative was on the heights, was dominant, creative people suffered very much. They were thought to be sick.
The future is going to be totally different. Now nobody can be a saint just because he is capable of torturing himself. He may be good in a circus.
There is a beautiful story by Turgenev.
In a circus there was a man whose sole qualification was that he could fast continuously for forty days, fifty days -- and that was the longest time the circus would remain in one town. So for the whole time the circus was in one town, he would be on a fast. Doctors are checking, people are watching, but he will not eat.
The circus moved from one town to another town, and then it came to the capital, where it remained longer than forty days. And what is there in a man who is fasting? You can go to see him one time -- after that there is nothing intriguing, nothing interesting about it. So after a few days, people forgot all about him.
There were many stalls, but because nobody was coming to visit his stall, it was placed at the end. Finally, people completely forgot about him. Even the circus management forgot about him, because there was no need. And after forty days, he continued his fasting -- because he had forgotten to count the days. He knew only that when the circus moved from one town to another town, on the way they would give him food.
He was dying. And then somebody remembered -- what happened about the great fasting man? The manager rushed. The man was almost dying; it had been ninety days. Ninety days is the limit to how long a man can fast if he is healthy.
They asked him, "Are you mad or something? After forty days you should have reported, you should have called somebody."
He said, "There were two reasons: One, I have never counted the days. Second, I slowly became aware that the time seemed to be longer this time, but fasting has become a habit.
Now, eating is troublesome. So whenever you change towns, it is very hard for me. Forty days I am hungry... for seven days while you are changing towns, for me to put the whole mechanism back into eating and digesting is such a torture. I felt relieved that the time had become longer."
And with hunger there are few points to remember. If you fast, you will feel hunger for only three days. After the third day, hunger will start disappearing because the body has an emergency arrangement: for three days it waits for food -- it cannot wait longer. After the third day it starts eating itself. That's why you start losing weight.
Have you ever wondered where that weight disappears to?
Fasting is a kind of cannibalism, eating yourself. The worst kind of cannibalism -- eating somebody else one can understand, but eating yourself?
But these were your saints. Their qualities were all in the service of death, not in the service of life.
I want my sannyasins, Anand Yeshwant, to be saints with a new quality: the quality that serves life, the quality that nourishes life, affirms life, that makes life a little more beautiful, brings a few more flowers to it.
Meditation in the past has been life negative: renounce life and everything that makes life worth living.
To me, meditation is just the opposite of what it has been up to now.
Meditation is a silent heart, a peaceful mind which can make life more lovable, more livable, which can make life richer in every dimension.
I don't want you to renounce anything.
I want you to rejoice in everything, whatever you are doing.
You are a musician. Let music be your meditation. This is your religion -- not Mohammedanism, not Hinduism, not Christianity. Music is your religion. If you are a dancer, then dancing is your religion.
WHY DOES EVERYONE WANT TO PRETEND TO BE WHAT THEY ARE NOT?
WHAT IS THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND IT?
Narendra, everybody is condemned from his very childhood.
Whatever he does on his own accord, out of his own liking, is not acceptable. The people, the crowd in which a child has to grow has its own ideas, ideals. The child has to fit with those ideas and ideals. The child is helpless.
Have you ever thought about it? -- the human child is the most helpless child in the whole animal kingdom. All the animals can survive without the support of the parents and the crowd, but the human child cannot survive, he will die immediately. He is the most helpless creature in the world -- so vulnerable to death, so delicate.
Naturally those who are in power are able to mould the child in the way they want.
So everybody has become what he is, against himself. That is the psychology behind the fact that everybody wants to pretend to be what he is not.
Everybody is in a schizophrenic state. He has never been allowed to be himself, he has been forced to be somebody else that his nature does not allow him to be happy with.
So as one grows and stands on his own legs, one starts pretending many things which he would have liked in reality to be part of his being. But in this insane world, he has been distracted. He has been made into somebody else; he is not that. He knows it. Everybody knows it -- that he has been forced to become a doctor, to become an engineer; he has been forced to become a politician, to become a criminal, to become a beggar.
There are all kinds of forces around.
In Bombay there are people whose whole business is to steal children and make them crippled, blind, lame, and force them to beg and each evening to bring all the money that they have gathered. Yes, food will be given to them, shelter will be given to them. They are being used like commodities, they are not human beings. This is the extreme, but the same has happened with everybody to a lesser or greater extent.
Nobody is at ease with himself.
I have heard about a great surgeon who was retiring, and he was very famous. He had many students and many colleagues. They all gathered, and they were dancing and singing and drinking -- but he was standing in a dark corner, sad.
One friend came up to him and asked, "What is the matter with you? We are celebrating and you are standing here so sad -- don't you want to retire? You are seventy-five; you should have retired fifteen years ago. But because you are such a great surgeon, even at seventy-five nobody can compete with you, nobody comes even close to you. Now, retire and relax!"
He said, "That's what I was thinking. I am feeling sad because my parents forced me to become a surgeon. I wanted to be a singer, and I would have loved it. Even if I was just a street singer -- at least I would have been myself. Now I am a world-famous surgeon, but I am not myself. When people praise me as a surgeon, I listen as if they are praising somebody else. I have been given awards, doctorates, but nothing rings a bell of joy in my heart -- because this is not me. This being a surgeon has killed me, destroyed me. I wanted to be just a flute player, even if I had to be a beggar on the streets. But I would have been happy."
In this world, there is only one happiness and that is to be yourself.
And because nobody is himself, everybody is trying somehow to hide -- masks, pretensions, hypocrisies. They are ashamed of what they are.
We have made the world a marketplace, not a beautiful garden where everybody is allowed to bring his own flowers. We are forcing marigolds to bring roses -- now from where can marigolds bring roses? Those roses will be plastic roses, and in the heart of hearts the marigold will be crying, and with tears, feeling ashamed that "We have not been courageous enough to rebel against the crowd. They have forced plastic flowers on us, and we have our own real flowers for which our juices are flowing -- but we cannot show our real flowers."
You are being taught everything, but you are not being taught to be yourself. This is the ugliest form of society possible, because it makes everybody miserable.
I have heard of another great man, a great professor of literature who was being retired from the university. All the university professors had gathered, all his friends had gathered, and they were rejoicing. But suddenly they became aware that he was missing.
One of his friends, an attorney, went out... perhaps he in was the garden. But what was he doing there? He was sitting under a tree.
The attorney was his closest friend, a boyhood friend. The attorney said, "What are you doing here?"
He said, "What I am doing here? Remember fifty years ago? -- I came to tell you that I wanted to kill my wife. And you said, `Don't do any such thing. Otherwise -- fifty years in jail.' I am thinking that if I had not listened to you, today I would have been out of jail, free. He said, "I am feeling so angry that a desire comes to me -- why should I not at least kill you! Now I am seventy-five. Even if they put me in jail for fifty years they cannot keep me there for fifty years. Within five, seven years I will be dead. But you were not a friend; you proved to be my greatest enemy."
To be what you don't want to be, to be with someone you don't want to be with, to do something you don't want to do is the basis of all your miseries.
And on the one hand the society has managed to make everybody miserable, and on the other hand the same society expects that you should not show your misery -- at least not in public, not in the open. It is your private business.
They have created it -- it really is public business, not private business. The same crowd that has created all the reasons for your misery finally says to you: "Your misery is your own, but when you come out, come out smiling. Don't show your miserable face to others."
This they call etiquette, manners, culture. Basically, it is hypocrisy.
And unless a person decides that "Whatever the cost, I want just to be myself.
Condemned, unaccepted, losing respectability -- everything is okay but I cannot pretend anymore to be somebody else"... This decision and this declaration -- this declaration of freedom, freedom from the weight of the crowd -- gives birth to your natural being, to your individuality.
Then you don't need any mask. Then you can be simply yourself, just as you are.
And the moment you can be just as you are, there is tremendous peace that passeth understanding.
COULD YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRUSTING EXISTENCE AND FATALISM?
The difference between trust and fate is very subtle.
On the surface it seems they mean exactly the same thing, but in reality they are diametrically opposite experiences.
Fate is a consolation. You are poor, and you see others getting richer and richer -- some consolation is needed. You do everything and you do it honestly, truthfully, morally. You never use wrong means; still you are a failure. And you see others being dishonest, cunning, insincere, immoral, criminal, using all kinds of wrong means and succeeding, becoming richer, attaining power, prestige. How to explain it?
It is not new. Since the very beginning man has been puzzled by it. And he had to create some idea as a consolation. Fate, kismet, destiny, God -- everything is written in the lines of your hand, in the lines of your forehead; everything is predetermined in your birthchart, you cannot do anything against it. The forces that have determined your life are too big. You are going to fail; it is better to accept your failure as destiny. It hurts less to say it is fate; it gives consolation. It is not your doing, it is not your failure -- what can you do against the stars? You cannot determine your birth time and the day and the year.
You come into the world just like an actor, comes onto the stage fully prepared. He cannot change anything.
Once in a while actors can change things, because a drama is a drama....
I have heard that in a village... All over India, every year at this time every village is playing the drama of the life of Rama, the Hindu god. And in the beginning... it is just like any film story: a triangle -- two lovers, one woman. Sita is the woman, and Rama and Ravana are the two lovers. Rama is a young man. Ravana is very strong.
In those days, the daughters of kings particularly had the right to choose any device for selecting their husbands. Sita had asked... because in their family they had the bow that had belonged to the god, Shiva. It was such a big strong bow that even to pick it up needed a great wrestler; it was not easy for one person to raise it. As a device Sita chose that anybody who could raise the bow, and not only raise it but break it with his hands alone -- it was a steel bow -- that man she would choose as her husband.
Hundreds of kings, great wrestlers, archers... Rama was also present there. But nobody thought he would be of any use; he was too young. Everybody was worried that Ravana - - who was a huge man, dangerous, had ten heads -- was going to win. And everybody was worried -- Sita's father was worried, everybody concerned was worried that Sita would fall into the hands of this idiot. Somehow she had to be saved.
So just as the others were coming forward -- and they could not even move the bow, raising it was out of question; they were becoming laughingstocks....
Before Ravana stood up, a man came running... it was a device to send Ravana back to his kingdom. He was the king of Sri Lanka. And the man said, "What are you doing here?
Sri Lanka is on fire. Your whole kingdom is burning."
Ravana forgot all about getting married to Sita. He rushed off to see what was happening in the kingdom first. It was a false strategy; there was no problem, Sri Lanka was perfectly okay. But by the time he came back, Rama had broken the bow, married Sita, and gone.
This was a conspiracy, and Ravana could not forgive it. He was continuously in search of Sita, to steal her. Finally he stole her, and for three years he kept her imprisoned. That's how the whole story goes.
In every village it is enacted every year.
In this particular village, the man who played the part of Ravana was really in love with the girl who was playing the part of Sita. But they belonged to different castes; marriage was not possible.
Every year it was happening: the moment he would stand up, the man would come out shouting: "Sri Lanka is on fire!"
This time he was determined -- because outside the drama they wouldn't allow the marriage. They were not of the same caste and in India you cannot marry in another caste. And the man who played Ravana was in a lower caste; the girl was a brahmin. This time he thought, something has to be done.
The man came running and he said, "Sri Lanka is on fire!"
Ravana said, "Let it be. This year I am not coming!" Everybody laughed, nobody could believe it.
The prompter was behind the curtain: "What are you saying?"
And he said, "This year I am going to marry Sita!" And he went up -- and it was just an ordinary bow, everybody had just pretended that it was so heavy that nobody could pick it up; it was just ordinary bamboo. He took it up, showed it to the audience, broke it, threw the pieces into the audience and told Sita's father, "Bring your daughter! Enough is enough, and the story is finished!"
Even people who had fallen asleep woke up -- "What is happening? Something new!"
The director didn't know what to do. For a moment there was silence.
And Ravana was shouting, "Where is Sita? Now fulfill the promise!"
And nobody could say to him, "You are not following the part that has been given to you" -- because that would not be right to say in front of the public.
But the king -- Sita's father -- was a very wise man. He said to his servants, "You idiots, this is not Shiva's bow; this is the bow my children play with. Take it away. Bring the real bow."
So the servants took away the broken parts. The curtain was pulled down, and they all jumped on Ravana and said, "You idiot, you are going to destroy the whole story."
He said, "This time I am determined."
So the police had to be called, and Ravana was sent to the police station: "Take him, because he is destroying our whole drama."
In a drama it is possible that you can change things. But in life you don't know exactly what is written in your fate, so whatever happens has to be accepted -- "This must be written in my fate."
The belief in fate is simply a consolation because we cannot accept our failure as failure.
And we cannot accept our failure for another reason -- because it has implications for all our moral values: "We were honest, we were moral, we followed right means, we were truthful, and yet we failed. And the other person was dishonest, cunning, insincere, immoral, criminal, and yet he succeeded."
Now, the whole moral system teaches that truth is going to win, that morality is going to win, that honesty is going to win. But in life we see that all the honest people are losing and immoral people are gaining. The cunning, the clever become powerful. The simple and the innocent are crushed. Our whole value system is at stake.
So it was necessary for the priests and the prophets to find a way in which your failure would not be your failure. "You cannot do anything, it is written in your fate. Your failure is not the failure of your sincerity, morality, honesty. And the other person's success is not the success of wrong means, dishonesty, cunningness -- it is his fate. And as far as fate is concerned, nothing can change it -- neither honesty nor dishonesty. Yes, because you have been honest you will have a better fate in your future life. Because he has been dishonest, he will have a bitter fate in his future life.
So this was a beautiful consolation, and a beautiful defense -- rational -- for our moral system.
But it is all bogus.
The truth is, the man has succeeded because of dishonesty, not because of his fate. He has succeeded because of his immorality, he has succeeded because he does not care what kind of means he is using.
Existence gives you birth as tabula rasa. No fate is written; there is no destiny such that whatever you do, it has to happen.
Existence is freedom. Fate is slavery.
Freedom means it is up to you to decide what is going to happen.
Fate is a bogus hypothesis.
But trust is a totally different thing.
Trust is not fate. Trust simply means that "Whatever happens, I am part of existence and existence cannot be intentionally inimical to me. If sometimes that it feels it is, it must be my misunderstanding."
I have always loved to remember a Sufi master Junnaid. He was the master of al-Hillaj Mansoor. He had a habit: after each prayer... and Mohammedans pray five times a day.
After each prayer he would say to the sky, "Your compassion is great. How beautifully you take care of us, and we don't deserve it. I don't even have words to show my gratefulness, but I hope you will understand the unexpressed gratitude of my heart."
They were on a pilgrimage, and it happened that for three days they passed through villages where orthodox Mohammedans would not allow them even to stay in the villages; there was no question of giving them food or water.
For three days without food, without water, without sleep -- tired, utterly frustrated... The disciples could not believe that this man Junnaid, their master, still goes on saying the same things. Before, it was okay -- but still he goes on saying, "You are great, you are compassionate, and I don't have words to express my gratitude."
On the third evening when he had finished his prayer, his disciples said, "Now it is time for an explanation. For three days we have been hungry, we have not had water, we are thirsty; we have not slept, we have been insulted continually, no place has been given to us, no shelter. At least today you should not say, `You are great, you are compassionate.'
For what you are showing your gratitude?"
Junnaid laughed. He said, "My trust in existence is unconditional. It is not that I am grateful because existence provides this and that and that. I am -- that's enough. Existence accepts me -- that's enough. And I don't deserve to be, I have not earned it. Moreover, these three days have been of tremendous beauty because I had an opportunity to watch whether anger would arise in me, and it didn't arise; whether I would start to feel that God had forsaken me, and the idea did not arise.
There has been no difference in my attitude towards existence. My gratitude has not changed, and it has filled me with more gratitude than ever. It was a fire test, and I have come out of it unburned. What more do you want? I will trust existence in my life and I will trust existence in my death. It is my love affair.
"It is not a question that somebody is rich and somebody is poor, that somebody is successful and somebody is not. It has nothing to do with anybody. It is my personal, intimate contact with reality. And there is great harmony. I am completely at ease and at home."
Trust is the outcome of deep meditation.
Fate is the outcome of your failures, and a mind consolation.
They are totally different.
WHY DO I LIKE SO MUCH TO CRITICIZE PEOPLE AND COMPLAIN AGAINST LIFE?
Everybody likes it.
To criticize people, to complain against people, gives you a good feeling. Criticizing others, you feel you are higher; complaining about others, you feel you are better. It is very ego fulfilling.
And I am saying almost everybody does it. A few people do it out loud, a few people do it just within themselves, but the enjoyment is the same.
Only rarely are there people who don't criticize, who don't complain; those are the people who have dropped their egos. Then there is no point -- why should you bother about it? It is none of your business, it no longer pays you. The ego was helped, nourished.
Hence my emphasis is: drop the ego. With the dropping of the ego, you will find almost a whole world disappearing. The whole world that was knit around the ego falls away completely, and you start seeing people in a new light. Perhaps the same person that you might have criticized in the same situation... instead of criticizing him you feel a great compassion for him, a great love, a deep desire to help. The same person and the same situation you would have complained against, now your eyes are different; you see things differently. Perhaps you will see that in his place in this situation you would have behaved in the same way, there is nothing to complain about.
Your outlook will become more human, more friendly... a deep acceptance of people as they are.
You know only some part of them; you don't know their whole life. And it is not good to decide from a small fragment about the whole person. That small fragment may be absolutely fitting and right in the whole context.
But the situation is this: it is very easy to criticize. It does not need much intelligence.
I have often told a story of Turgenev's, THE FOOL. In a village, a young man is very much disturbed because the whole village thinks he is an idiot. A wise man is passing through the village and the young man goes to him and says, "Help me! For twenty-four hours a day I am criticized; whatever I do I am criticized. If I don't do anything I am criticized. If I speak I am criticized, if I don't speak I am criticized. I don't know any way out."
The wise man said, "Don't be worried...." He whispered the secret in his ear, and told him, "After one month I will come back. Meet me then and tell me how things are going."
The young man went to the marketplace and started working on the formula given by the wise man.
Somebody said, "What a beautiful sunset!"
And he said, "What is beautiful in it? Prove what is beautiful in it!"
The man who had said it was a beautiful sunset was shocked. It was a beautiful sunset, but what was the proof? Is there any evidence? Do you know what beauty is? Everybody knows, but nobody can prove it.
The man remained silent. Everybody started laughing.
And everybody said, "Strange, we used to think this man was an idiot. He is a great intellectual."
This was the formula given by the old man: criticize anything; just roam about the village watching and when anybody says anything, does anything, criticize it. And particularly criticize things which are taken for granted and nobody questions. Somebody uses the word `God' -- immediately catch hold of him: "Where is God? What nonsense are you talking about?" Somebody talks about love -- catch hold of him: "What is love? Where is love? Put it here in front of everybody!"
Somebody would say, "Love is in the heart."
And he would say, "No, there is nothing in the heart. You can go and ask any surgeon -- in the heart there is nothing like love. There is only a blood-circulating system which just pumps blood and purifies it. What does it have to do with love?"
After one month the old man came back. By that time the idiot had become a wise man.
He touched the old man's feet and he said, "You are great! That trick worked; now the whole village thinks I am a wise man."
The old man said, "Just remember one thing: don't assert anything from your side, so nobody can criticize you. Let them assert things; you just criticize and complain. And always be aggressive, never be defensive. Don't take a defensive attitude. Attack, be aggressive, criticize each and everybody, and they will all worship you."
And the idiot becomes the wise man.
It does not need much intelligence to criticize or to complain. And cheaply you become wise; cheaply you become very intelligent.
One of my professors... He used to teach me logic. Within a few days I found out that even if I mentioned the name of a book which did not exist, a fictitious writer, he would immediately criticize it: "I have read that book, and there is nothing in it."
I went to the vice-chancellor and I told him the whole thing. I said, "This is sheer dishonesty, because first he criticized those who have really written books. And seeing his attitude -- that he criticizes everybody, I suspected that he had not read them but was just trying to show that he is so well-read, so wise, so intelligent. So I tried a few fictitious names and he criticized them also. He said: `There is nothing in those books.
Those writers know nothing.'" And I said, "Those writers don't exist. Those books don't exist!"
The vice-chancellor said, "This is strange. I used to think that man was a responsible man."
I said, "Call him in sometime, and I will drop in casually, by the way." I wrote down three or four names of books which don't exist, have never existed and will never exist, with writers who are just fictitious. I gave those names to the vice-chancellor and I told him, "I will come when he is here and we will talk, and just by the way you bring up these names and see what his reaction is."
And he brought up those names and the professor immediately said, "Don't waste time.
Those are all ordinary, mediocre writers, and the books they have written have nothing original in them."
The vice-chancellor could not believe his eyes. He said, "Do you know that these four books do not exist at all? Neither have these four men ever existed. Why are you criticizing them?"
And before the vice-chancellor, he became afraid. He said, "Never existed? How did I get the idea that...."
I said, "Don't try to befool anybody, because I have been asking you about other books which have not existed. This was only a proof. I wanted to show the vice-chancellor that a professor should at least be sincere enough to acknowledge that he has not read a particular book."
I said to the vice-chancellor, "What kind of respect does this man want from us? My feeling is that he has not read anything; he has simply read Turgenev's story, THE FOOL."
I had brought the book, and I read the story to the vice-chancellor. And I said, "This man is the idiot from this story. You should make him alert that if it happens again in the class, we are going to boycott him completely. Either he will have to find the book and prove.... He never even goes to the library!"
I had looked into all the records before I went to the vice-chancellor. The professor had never been to the library. Under his name -- and he had been in the university for ten years -- not a single book was issued. And this man was ready to criticize anybody.
I said, "A wise man, an intelligent man is always humble."
Your question about why we are so ready to criticize, to complain is very simple. The psychology behind it is that this is the simplest way, the cheapest way to prove that you are somebody special, that you know more. But in fact you are simply proving that you are the idiot of Turgenev and nobody else.
Be humble in the world of wisdom.
Before criticizing anybody, look into the fact from all directions, from all angles, from all possible viewpoints, and you will be surprised: there is very little that can be criticized or complained about. And if you pay that much attention, then whatever you criticize will be accepted, and accepted with gratitude because it is not to fulfill your ego; it is just to help the other person on the path.
But you have to do so much work.
One of my professors had written his doctoral thesis on Shankara and Bradley. I told him, "I have read the thesis, and now I am studying everything possible about Shankara and Bradley before I say anything about your thesis."
He said, "You are strange, because I have given my thesis to many professors and they have all given their opinions."
I said, "I cannot give you my opinion in such a cheap way. I will look at all the sources you have looked into; I will look into other sources that you have not looked into." And it took me almost six months to study Shankara and Bradley.
When I gave my opinion to him he said, "My God, it is good that you were not one of my examiners; otherwise, I would never have been able to get the doctorate. I worked on it for six years, and in six months you have gone through all the sources that I have referred to. You have even gone to other sources which I have not even heard of...."
I said, "Your treatise is juvenile, it is written by an amateur. Shankara and Bradley are very mature philosophers of the East and West. You have not paid enough respect to these two geniuses. You have done a clerical job. You have looked at a few books of Shankara, a few books of Bradley, taken a few pieces from here, from there, and your thesis was ready. Your thesis does not contribute a single original point. And unless a thesis contributes an original point, it does not deserve a doctorate; it is at the most a beautiful essay. You can publish it as a book, but not for a doctorate." But he was a humble man; he accepted it. He said, "You are right. I myself was feeling that I had not done them justice. Six years were not enough to cover Bradley's whole life and Shankara's whole life. These two are the very highest peaks of genius; six years are not enough. But nobody pointed it out to me, not even my examiners. The examiners will not point it out because to do that they would have had to read it, they would have had to go through the whole thing. Who bothers? In fact, perhaps some of their students gave me the marks and the examiners have not even looked at the thesis." Nobody is interested in praising anybody, in finding those qualities which everybody has... Nobody is ready to help those qualities grow; everybody is afraid -- if all are growing, what about him? His whole concern is that his ego should go on becoming bigger, and the easier way is to criticize everybody, to complain against everything: Be negative, make negativity your very approach. And for this you don't need intelligence, any idiot can do it. But to be really critical, one has to be very compassionate, very loving. And one has to be ready to devote time and energy and intelligence. Then it is not criticism, then it is not inimical, it is not antagonistic; it is a friendly suggestion, a sympathetic approach. Everyone here should learn to be sympathetic. Your meditation should help you, not to criticize but to appreciate. And if you are intelligent enough, you can appreciate in such a way that whatever you wanted to criticize will be understood without being said.
THE BUDDHA IN ME CONDEMNS THE ZORBA, AND THE ZORBA ENVIES THE BUDDHA. HOW CAN THESE TWO BELOVEDS WITHIN ME BECOME FRIENDS?
Just let them fight one day more. Tomorrow we will settle it!