The story is one of the most ancient stories of the heart, of the world beyond words -- of knowing, not of knowledge; of utter innocence as the door to the divine.
The story contains the very essence of meditativeness.
It has many dimensions, many implications, and it is no wonder that it fills you with tears of joy. Those tears are indicative that the story has touched your heart, your very being; that you have tasted it although you don't understand what it is. You have felt its beauty, its glory, its depth -- but you find it hard to explain to yourself what it is that you have found.
You have found a world of magic, mystery and miracles.
I would love to tell you the whole story. It needs to be told thousands and thousands of times because each time you will find some new fragrance, some new sweetness, some new height, some new door opening, some new sky with new stars. And there are skies beyond skies.
I used to live in a place... I lived there for twenty years, in Jabalpur. Its ancient name was Jabalpur; it was named after a great mystic and seer of the UPANISHADS, Satyakam Jabal. And this story is concerned with Satyakam Jabal.
Satyakam was a very inquiring child. He did not believe in anything unless he had experienced it. As he became a young man -- he must have been nearabout the age of twelve -- he asked his mother, "Now it is time. The prince of the kingdom has gone to the forest to join the family of a seer. He is my age. I also want to go, I also want to learn what this life is all about."
The mother said, "It is very difficult, Satyakam, but I know that you are a born seeker. I was afraid that one day you would ask me to send you to a master. I am a poor woman, but that is not a great difficulty. The difficulty is that when I was young I served in many houses -- I was poor, but I was beautiful. I don't know who your father is. And if I send you to a master, you are going to be asked what the name of your father is. And I am afraid they may reject you.
But there is no harm in making an effort. You go and tell the truth, in the same way I have told the truth to you. Many men have used my body because I was poor. Just say that you don't know who your father is. Tell the master that your name is Satyakam, your mother's name is Jabala, so they can call you Satyakam Jabal. And as far as the search for truth is concerned, who your father is does not matter."
Satyakam went to an ancient seer in the forest, and sure enough the first question was, "What is your name? Who is your father?"
And he repeated exactly what his mother had said.
There were many disciples -- princes, rich people's sons. They all started laughing.
But the old master said, "I will accept you. It does not matter who your father is. What matters is that you are authentic, sincere, unafraid -- capable of saying the truth without feeling embarrassed. Your mother has given you the right name, Satyakam. `Satyakam'
means one whose only desire is truth. You have a beautiful mother, and you will be known as `Satyakam Jabal'. And the tradition is that only brahmins can be accepted as disciples. I declare you a brahmin -- because only a brahmin can have the courage of such truth."
Those were beautiful days. The old seer's name was Uddalak.
Satyakam became his most loved disciple. He deserved it, he was so pure and so innocent.
But Uddalak had his own limitations. Although he was a man of great learning, he was not an enlightened master. So he taught Satyakam all the scriptures, he taught him everything that he was capable of, but he could not deceive Satyakam as he had been deceiving everybody else. Not that Satyakam was raising any doubts; it was just that his innocence had such power that the old man had to confess, "Whatever I have been telling you is knowledge gathered from the scriptures. It is not my own. I have not experienced it, I have not lived it. I suggest that you go deeper into the forest. I know a man who has realized, who has become an embodiment of truth, love, compassion. You go to him."
Uddalak had heard about the man, but did not know the man personally. Uddalak was far more famous, he was a great scholar....
Satyakam went to the other man. This man taught him many new scriptures, and all the VEDAS, the most ancient scriptures of the world. And after years he told him, "Now you know everything; there is nothing more to know. You can go back home."
First he went to see Uddalak. From his window, Uddalak saw Satyakam coming on the footpath through the forest. He was shocked. Satyakam's innocence was lost; in place of innocence there was pride -- naturally, because now he thought he knew everything in the world that is worth knowing. The very idea was so ego fulfilling.
He came in. As he started to touch the feet of Uddalak, Uddalak said, "Don't touch my feet! First, I want to know where you have lost your innocence. It seems I have sent you to the wrong man."
Satyakam said, "To the wrong man? He has taught me everything that is worth knowing."
Uddalak said, "Before you touch my feet, I would like to ask you -- have you experienced anything or it is just information? Has any transformation happened? Can you say that whatever you know is your knowledge?"
Satyakam said, "I cannot say that. What I know is written in the scriptures; I have not experienced anything."
Uddalak said, "Then go back, but now go to another person I have come to know about while you were gone. And unless you have experienced, don't come back. You have come here not more than when I sent you but less. You have lost something of immense value. And what you call knowledge -- if it is borrowed, it only covers your ignorance; it does not make you a knower. Go to this man and tell him that you have not come for more information about truth, about God, about love. Tell him you have come to know truth, to know love, to know God. Tell him, `If you can fulfill the promise, only then waste my time; otherwise I will find another master.'" Satyakam said exactly this.
The master was sitting under a tree with a few of his disciples. After listening to the request, he said, "It is possible, but you are asking something very difficult. There are so many disciples here -- they all want more knowledge. They want to know about and about. But if you insist that you are not interested in information, that you are ready to do anything, that your devotion to truth is total, then I will find a way for you."
Satyakam said, "I am ready to sacrifice my life, but I cannot go without knowing the truth. Neither can I go to my teacher nor can I go to my mother, who has given me the name `Satyakam'. And the teacher accepted me without knowing whether I was a brahmin or not, just on the simple grounds that I was truthful. Tell me what has to be done."
The master said, "Take all these cows that you see here deep into the forest. Go as deep as possible, so you don't come in contact again with any human being. The purpose is that you forget language, words. Live with the cows, take care of the cows, play on your flute, dance -- but forget words. And when the cows have grown to one thousand, come back."
The other disciples could not believe what was happening -- because there were just a dozen or two dozen cows. How long is it going to take for them to become one thousand?
But Satyakam took the cows, went as deep as possible into the forest, beyond human contact, beyond human context. For a few days it was difficult but slowly slowly, the cows were his only company. And they are very silent people. He played on the flute, he danced alone in the forest, he rested under the trees.
For a few years he continued to count the cows. Then by and by he dropped it, because it seemed impossible that they would become one thousand. And moreover he was forgetting how to count; language was disappearing.
Words disappeared; counting could not be saved.
And the story is so immensely beautiful....
The cows became worried when they became one thousand -- because they wanted to go back home, and this man had forgotten how to count! Finally the cows decided, "We have to speak; otherwise this lonely forest is going to become our grave."
So one day the cows caught hold of him and told him, "Listen, Satyakam, we are now one thousand and it is time to go back home."
He said, "I am very grateful to you. If you had not told me.... I had even forgotten about home or about returning. Each moment was so tremendously beautiful... so many blessings. In the silence, flowers went on showering. I had forgotten everything. I had no idea why I had come here, who I am. Everything had become an end in itself -- playing the flute was enough, resting under the trees was enough, seeing the beautiful cows sitting silently all around was so beautiful. But if you insist, we should return."
The disciples of the great master saw him coming with one thousand cows. They reported to the master, "We had never believed that he would come back. He is coming, and we have counted exactly one thousand cows. He is coming!"
And when he came, he stood there... just in the crowd of cows.
The master said to the other disciples, "You counted wrong. There are one thousand and one cows; you forgot to count Satyakam! He has moved beyond your world, he has entered into the innocent, the silent, the mysterious. He is not saying anything, he is just standing there as the cows are standing there ."
The master said, "Satyakam, you come out. Now you have to go to your other master who sent you here. He is an old man and he must be waiting. Your mother must be waiting."
And when Satyakam came to Uddalak, his first teacher -- who had not allowed him to touch his feet because he had lost his innocence, he was no more a brahmin, he had fallen, he had become just a knowledgeable parrot... As Uddalak saw him from the window again, he ran out the back door -- because now Satyakam cannot be allowed to touch his feet; now Uddalak would have to touch his feet. Because Uddalak is still a scholar, and Satyakam is coming not as a scholar but as one who is awakened.
Uddalak escaped from the house: "I cannot face him. I am ashamed of myself. Just tell him," he told his wife, "that Uddalak is dead and he can go now to his mother. Tell him I died remembering him." These were people made of different mettle.
Satyakam went back home.
The mother had become very old, but she had waited and waited and waited. And she said, "You have proved, Satyakam, that truth is always victorious. And you have proved that a brahmin is not born, a brahmin is a quality to be achieved. Everybody by his birth is a sudra -- because everybody's birth is the same. One has to prove by purifying himself, by crystallizing himself, by becoming centered and enlightened, that he is a brahmin. Just to be born into the family of a brahmin does not make you a brahmin."
If you meditate on the story, you will see: the very essence of meditation is to be so silent that there is no stirring of thoughts in you, that words don't come between you and reality, that the whole net of words falls down, that you are left alone.
This aloneness, this purity, this unclouded sky of your being is meditation.
And meditation is the golden key to all the mysteries of life.
Meditation always opens doors, different doors to different people.
Sadness is not necessarily something bad. Don't judge it as a bad or negative quality.
When a person who has never been silent, for the first time becomes silent, the very silence feels sad because there is no excitement, no firecrackers.
You can misunderstand your first acquaintance with silence as sadness, but it is not sadness. It is just that you have been always engaged in a thousand and one things and now they have all disappeared. You feel a little lost. Before silence becomes a song, a small period, a transitory period, is absolutely necessary.
You know sadness. And sadness has something of silence in it -- whenever you are sad, you are a little silent. So there is an association between your sadness and silence. When you become silent for the first time, the only thing you can feel from your past experience is sadness.
Allow it to deepen. Don't judge it as sadness, because that very judgment may become a barrier. The moment you say something negative you are trying to get rid of it. Don't say anything negative about it.
Just accept it as a bridge between silence and song.
Just wait a little, and you will start feeling that this silence is not dead, it is not the silence of the graveyard. It is a silence which is very much alive, a silence which is not empty but too full, overflowing....
Overflowing with what? Again, a new experience is waiting for you. You have known only songs with words. You have never known a pure song without words, music without sound.
Just a little waiting, and the sadness will start turning into a song with no words, into a music with no sounds, into a dance with no movements.
Everything is going perfectly right, just a little bit of patience is needed.
When you are sick, in the hospitals you are called `patients'. Have you ever thought about why? -- because healing takes time, and you have to be patient.
This is inner healing, and you need a deeper patience.
But if silence is there and meditation is happening, then there is no problem at all. Spring will be coming soon with all its colors and all its flowers and all its beauty.
Just wait a little.
It is not only with you but with everybody, exactly the same.
You are what you are seeking.
You are standing at exactly the place towards which you have been traveling -- for seven years or seventy years or seven hundred years.
Your reality is within you, it is not somewhere else. But to understand the point, sometimes it takes years. You knock on many doors before you come to your own door...
and then you are puzzled, because this is the house you had left and this is the house you have been searching for.
But the search has not been useless; it has given you the eyes to recognize.
I have often told a Sufi story. A man renounces the world, his wife, his home. He is young and he is going in search of a master.
Just outside his village under a tree, an old man is sitting. The sun is just setting, and darkness is descending. The young man asks the old man, "You look as if you are a traveler; you certainly don't belong to my village. I am a young man and I am in search of a master. You are old; perhaps you have come across a master in your journeys, and will be kind enough to help me with some directives, some guidelines -- because I am feeling at a loss, where to go."
The old man said, "I will give you exact details. The master looks like this" -- and he described the face of the master, the eyes of the master, the nose of the master, the beard of the master, his robe. "And he sits under a certain tree" -- and he described the tree.
And he said, "You will find him; just remember these details. Whenever you find a man who fulfills these criteria, you have found your master."
Thirty years passed. The young man became old, tired. He never came across anybody fitting the description given by the old man. Finally he gave up the whole idea of finding a master: "Perhaps there is no master anywhere."
He went back to his village. And as he was entering the village, under the same tree... It was sunrise, there was more light. The old man had become very old. The last time they had met he must have been sixty; now he was ninety. And because for thirty years the man had been looking for certain eyes, a certain nose, a certain beard, a certain robe, a certain tree.... As he saw the tree and he saw the old man he said, "My God, so you were describing yourself! Why didn't you tell me? Why did you force me to travel unnecessarily around the world for thirty years searching for you, while you were sitting here?"
The old man said, "First throw out all your tantrums and your anger; then I will tell you the truth. Thirty years ago you were too young. The time was not right; it was sunset, darkness was descending. And you were in such a hurry to go in search, that if I had told you that I was the master you would have laughed and said, `This is strange that you are sitting just outside my village!' And you cannot blame me because I explained every detail, but your eyes were looking far away. You were listening to me, but you were not looking to see that I was describing my eyes, my nose, my beard, my robe, that I was describing the tree under which I was sitting. You were not ripe.
"These thirty years have not gone to waste; they have matured you. Now you can recognize me. Just look; it is sunrise, the right time. And it is not the beginning of your journey, you had already given up. I am meeting you at the end of thirty years of long, arduous effort. That which you can get cheap you cannot recognize. You had to pay these thirty years and all the troubles that you went through just to be mature enough to recognize me.
"I could have told you on that day too -- but it would have been pointless, and you would have missed me.
"And you think you have been in trouble for thirty years? Just think about me -- for thirty years I have been sitting under the same tree, because I described this tree. I have not left it for a single day because I was aware that any moment you might come, and if you didn't find me here I would have been proved to have spoken lies. I have been sitting here for thirty years continuously -- day in, day out; summer, winter, rain, but I have been sitting here. And you see I am old. I was worried that if I died before you came back, it would be a tragedy. So I have been trying to somehow cling to life -- because as far as I am concerned there is nothing left; I have realized myself. Life has given everything that it can give. I have been sitting just for you."
The story is strange, but significant.
It takes time to realize that which you are.
Basically there is no need: you can realize just now, this very moment. But to realize it you will need a certain maturity, a certain centering, a certain awareness, a certain silence.
Seven years are not long. And don't be worried that you have not seen a thousand suns rising in you; it is not necessary. Everybody experiences his innermost being in his own way.
Somebody experiences it as light, but that is his type.
There are people who have realized it as immense darkness.
You are hearing the firecrackers all around. Two religions in India, Hindus and Jainas, celebrate this festival, the festival of lights. They have different reasons; it is just a coincidence that something has happened on the same day in the history of both religions.
Hindus celebrate it because Rama, one of the Hindu incarnations of God, was victorious over Ravana. He came back after fourteen years of wandering in the forest and the mountains to his capitol, Ayodhya. And because he was coming back after fourteen years, the capitol celebrated with lights and firecrackers and rejoicings. That is the Hindu reason.
For Jainas this is not the reason.
Mahavira became enlightened on the same day, and Mahavira is the most important individual in the history of Jainism. Jainas are celebrating because Mahavira attained liberation. And he attained liberation in a unique way....
Gautam Buddha became enlightened on a full-moon night. And except for Mahavira, anybody who has become enlightened has become enlightened either on a full-moon night or close to it. Mahavira is unique in that he became enlightened on the night of amawas, no moon, complete darkness. He is alone; there is nobody else who has become enlightened on the night of amawas.
Gautam Buddha was born on a full-moon night. He became enlightened on a full-moon night. He died on a full-moon night. This cannot be just coincidence. His type has something to do with a synchronicity with the full-moon night.
There are saints, mystics... when they become enlightened, they smell some perfume which is not of this world. Because of this experience, among Sufi mystics perfume has become very significant, and Sufi mystics of different schools use different kinds of perfumes. Because their master experienced a certain perfume, they use something parallel to it. It cannot be exactly the same, but something parallel, on the lowest rung of the same ladder which the master experienced on the highest rung. They use that perfume as a remembrance of their master.
Some have heard unworldly music, anahat nad.
Because people are of different types, their ultimate experience is also going to be of a different type; it is going to have their signature on it.
So don't be worried if you are not seeing a thousand and one suns rising in you.
Kabir has seen them. Gautam Buddha has not seen them. Mahavira has not seen them.
But there are a few other mystics who have seen them.
Just as you are unique in your ordinary life... You know people who have a sensitivity for music, and there are others who don't have any ear for music.
Mulla Nasruddin's wife bought two tickets for a classical concert. Mulla tried hard, but could not escape; he had to go to the concert. It was classical Indian music. So when the musician started doing his aalap, tuning his instrument, Mulla Nasruddin's eyes became full of tears. His wife said, "I never thought you loved classical music so much."
He said, "It is not the classical music. I am crying because this man is going to die!"
The wife said, "What gave you the idea this man is going to die?"
He said, "You wouldn't understand. One night one of my goats started doing exactly what this man is doing. And I said, `What is the matter?' I tried hard to stop her but she wouldn't listen, and in the morning she was dead. I can guarantee that by morning this man is going to be dead; this is the beginning of the disease. This is not music."
He had never heard classical music. Poor fellow had one similar experience... a natural conclusion.
There are people who are sensitive to certain things, for example paintings, and there are a few who are not at all sensitive to paintings.
In the life of Michelangelo there was one incident....
Just a few years ago, you may have read in the newspapers: a man, a madman destroyed one of the most beautiful statues in the Vatican. It was of Jesus Christ lying in his mother's lap after he was taken down from the cross. That statue was thought to be the best statue in the whole world, and certainly it was so alive. Michelangelo had put all his art into it, it was his masterpiece. And this man simply destroyed it with a hammer because he wanted to become world famous. He became world famous.
This incident in Michelangelo's life concerns the same statue.
Michelangelo went into a shop in the market where there were shops selling marble. Just in front of the shop on the open ground there was a big rock -- a huge marble rock that had been lying there for years. And he asked, "How much is the price?"
The owner said, "There is no price; it has been lying there for almost ten years, and you are the first person even to ask about it. If you can take it away, it is yours. It will be enough payment that our grounds are cleared and we can put out other rocks for show.
That rock is taking so much space. And every artist comes here; no artist has ever seen any possibility for that rock."
And Michelangelo cut from that same rock this statue that was destroyed a few years ago.
When the statue was ready, he invited the shop owner. The man could not believe it. He said, "Where did you get such a beautiful piece of marble?"
Michelangelo said, "This is the same rock that you gave me at no charge."
The man said, "My God, but you have created the most beautiful statue I have ever seen.
How could you manage to think, looking at that ugly rock, that you would be able to do it?"
He said, "I have not done anything. It was just that Jesus cried out to me, `Michelangelo, I am encaged in this rock. Make me free.'" This is genius.
Jesus was there, Mary was there. But to see the possibility in that ugly rock, you need a certain insight.
Now, if Michelangelo becomes enlightened, his experience will have something to do with his genius. If Yehudi Menuhin becomes enlightened, his enlightenment will have something to do with his musical genius.
Each individual is unique in ordinary life. The uniqueness becomes even more sharp and clear, crystal clear, when the person becomes enlightened -- because only then his pure genius, his pure individuality, uncontaminated, unpolluted, is revealed.
So never be concerned that what has happened to others should happen to you.
Sometimes it can happen because in this big world, millions of people have lived before and thousands of people have become enlightened; you may have something similar. You may have something which will look strange to others.
Ashok Bharti has asked a question which is unique -- because it happened only once before. Since he has been here -- and he has been singing songs; those who have been here can see that the quality, the joy, the celebration has been growing -- but something else has been happening that you cannot see.
He has written in his question, "Bhagwan, my breasts are growing like women's breasts.
And feminine qualities which I was not aware of before are becoming more and more expressive." If he says this to anybody else, they will think he is mad: "You just go to some doctor, you have some hormonal disturbance."
But it happened in Ramakrishna's life, and something much more... because after his enlightenment Ramakrishna tried whatever methods were available. He wanted to see whether he could reach the same experience through other methods, because he wanted there to be only one religion in the world. Every religious person should have that desire.
It is ugly to see that there are three hundred religions in the world, continuously fighting and continuously destroying each other; talking about love and killing each other.
In Bengal, there is a small religion which believes that Krishna is the only man and everybody else is a woman. It is a strange kind of idea, and everybody else laughs about it, and particularly at the behavior of those people because they sleep with a statue of Krishna close to their bosom at night, just like a woman sleeps with her husband or her lover.
Ramakrishna tried their ideology also, and in six months time his breasts became just like those of women. But what was even more strange was that he started having a menstrual period. The sincerity of the man, the totality of the man... whenever he followed anything, whenever he did anything he did it completely.
So it is possible: singing songs of love... your mind is the creator of your body, it affects your body.
You can see it happening in the West in the women who are concerned with the liberation movement. Their breasts slowly disappear because they don't want to be women, they want to be men. And they want in every possible way to be exactly like men -- in their dress, in their behavior, in their language.
For example, nowhere in the East will any woman use a four-letter word; that is simply ungraceful. But in the West, that is part of the liberated woman -- to smoke cigarettes and to use four-letter words. One is just waiting for the day when they start pissing standing up. They may start! Equality is equality. One can go to stupid lengths.
But in the West, the breast has suffered immensely.
The Eastern woman is still rich as far as breasts are concerned.
Your mind has immense power over your body. If your mind takes up a certain idea, sooner or later the body will follow it. The body is slow, but it will follow it.
But even beyond the mind, your individuality is intact. No two individuals' experience is exactly the same. That has been the cause of a great tragedy, because Mohammed experiences something which Mahavira does not experience, and then the followers start making criteria: if they follow Mahavira then Mahavira's experience becomes the criterion; unless somebody experiences the same, his experience is not right. The same is true of the followers of Mohammed or Moses or Zarathustra.
But the truth is -- and nobody has been insisting on it -- that all are unique people, they all grow different flowers. The similarity is in blossoming but not in the color of the flowers or in the fragrance of the flowers. The color and the fragrance is going to be unique -- and it is good, because it makes spiritual life rich; otherwise it will be very monotonous.
So don't be worried about anybody's experience.
And if you are fed up with the journey, perhaps you are coming back to your village and I am sitting there under the tree.
Just recognize me! I have been telling you in every possible way who the master is.
I am addicted to you!