Lalita, the spiritual path has many crossroads.
On each crossroad, one feels as if one has arrived. In a certain way it is true, too. It is a certain blessing which was never known before, a peace that is absolutely new, a silence undreamt of, and a love, the fragrance of which one has desired, longed for for lives and has never found. Naturally one feels the home has come.
This is one of the most difficult tasks for the master -- to push you on, to say to you, "This is only the beginning; there is much more waiting for you." And although it is inconceivable to you that there can be anything more than this, the trust, the love, the devotion towards the master helps you to move.
These moments come again and again. Each time it becomes in a way more difficult, in a way easier. It is difficult in the sense that each new realization, new achievement, new revelation is so vast, so absorbing, that everything you have known before simply fades away -- so it becomes more difficult to move on. But on the other hand, it becomes easier to move on because each time the master has said to you, "Move on" you have always gained more; it has never been a loss, it has always been a new door to a new mystery, a new sky beyond the old one.
So the trust also has increased. It is easier now to listen to the master and move on.
An ancient story... I have always loved it. An old woodcutter, poor, alone, had only one way to earn his everyday bread and that was by cutting wood and selling it. As he came into the forest, just near the entrance under a beautiful bodhi tree -- the same tree under which Gautam Buddha became enlightened; hence the name of the tree has become `bodhi tree'. Bodhi means enlightenment.
By the way, you will be surprised to know, scientists have found that the bodhi tree has a certain chemical which no other tree has, and that chemical is absolutely necessary for the growth of intelligence. Perhaps it is a very intelligent, sensitive tree. It may not have been just a coincidence....
The woodcutter would see this old man sitting silently, always there -- summer, winter, rain. He would touch his feet before entering the forest, and every time he would do that the old man would smile and say, "You are such an idiot."
The woodcutter would be shocked: "Why? -- I touch his feet, but rather than giving me a blessing, he simply smiles and says, `You are such an idiot.'" One day he gathered courage and asked, "What do you mean?"
The old man said, "I mean that you have been cutting trees in this forest for your whole life, and if you go just a little deeper into it you will find a copper mine. Only an idiot could miss it! Your whole life you have been in this forest... you can collect the copper and that will be enough for seven days' comfortable living, no need to cut wood every day in your old age."
The man could not believe it because he knew the whole forest -- "He must be joking!"
But perhaps he was right... and there was no harm in going a little further and being alert and watching to see whether there was some copper mine.
And he went in, and he found a copper mine. He said, "Now I know why he was continually saying, `You are such an idiot, working every day in your old age.'" Now he was going only once every week. But the old tradition continued: he would touch his feet, and the old man would smile and say, `You are such an idiot!'" "But," he said, "now this is not right! Because I have found the copper mine."
The old man said, "You don't know. If you go a little further, you will find a silver mine."
He said, "My God, why didn't you tell me before?"
The old man said, "You didn't believe me even about the copper mine -- how could you have believed about the silver mine? Just go a little further."
This time there was suspicion but not so much; there was a certain trust arising. And he found the silver mine.
He came back and he said, "Now I have found silver enough that I will be coming only once in a month. I will miss you very much. I will miss your blessing very much. I have started loving to hear from you, `What an idiot you are.'" But the old man said, "You are still an idiot, it makes no difference."
The woodcutter said, "Even though I have found the silver mine?"
He said, "Yes, even then. You are just an idiot and nothing more -- because if you go just a little deeper there is gold. So don't wait for a month, come tomorrow."
Now he thought he must be joking. If there is gold, why should he be sitting here under this tree in old rags, with no shelter from the rain, no shelter from the sun, depending on people who bring food to him... sometimes they bring it, sometimes they don't..." And if he knows where the gold is, I don't think... this time he is certainly joking! But there is no harm. He has always been right. Who knows? This old guy is a little mysterious."
He went further and found a big gold mine. He could not believe his own eyes -- this is the forest he has been working in for his whole life, and this is the forest where that old man is sitting....
He brought much gold, and he said, "I think you will not say anymore that I am an idiot."
He said, "I will continue. Come tomorrow because this is not the end; this is only the beginning."
He said, "What? Gold is just a beginning?"
He said, "Come tomorrow. Just a little deeper in the forest you will find diamonds -- but that too is not the end. But I will not tell you too much; otherwise you will not be able to sleep tonight. Just go home. Tomorrow morning, first you find the diamonds, and then come to me."
He really could not sleep the whole night. A poor woodcutter... he could not imagine that he was going to become the owner of all these mines -- gold and silver and copper, and now diamonds! And the old man was saying this was only the beginning. He thought and thought... what can be more than diamonds?
In the morning he went very early -- the old man was asleep. He touched his feet. The old man opened his eyes and said, "Have you come? I knew you would come, you couldn't sleep. First go and see the diamonds."
The woodcutter said, "Can you tell me what can be more?"
He said, "First find the diamonds -- step by step; otherwise, you will go crazy."
He found the diamonds and he came dancing to the old man. He said, "Now you cannot say that `I am an idiot. I have found the diamonds!"
But the old man said, "Still, you are an idiot."
He said, "Now I will not leave you unless you explain it to me."
The old man said, "You can see that I know all about these mines -- silver, gold, diamonds -- and I don't care about them. Because there is something more which is not in the forest but within you, just a little deeper -- not outside but inside. And because I have found that, I don't care about all these diamonds. Now it is up to you: you can stop your journey at the diamonds but remember, you will remain an idiot. And I am a proof -- because I know about all these mines and I have not bothered with them. This can make you understand that there is something more which is never found outside however far you go; it is found inside you."
The man dropped the diamonds. He said, "I am going to sit by your side. Unless you drop this idea that I am an idiot, I am not going to move from here!"
He was a simple, innocent woodcutter.
It is difficult for knowledgeable people to go in.
It was not difficult for the woodcutter. Soon he was entering into a deep silence -- a joy, a blissfulness, a benediction.
And the old man shook him and said, "This is the place. Now you need not go into the forest. And I withdraw my word `idiot` about you, you have become a wise man. You can open your eyes. You will see the same world but not in the same light; the same colors, but now they have become psychedelic; the same people, but they are no longer just skeletons covered with skin, they are luminous spiritual beings... the same cosmos, but for the first time it is an ocean of consciousness."
The woodcutter opened his eyes.
He said, "You are a strange fellow. Why did you wait so long? I have been coming here almost my whole life and I have seen you sitting under this tree. You could have said this any day."
The old man said, "I was waiting for the right moment... for the ripe moment, for the time when you would be able not only to hear but to understand it. The journey is short, but you should not stop at every achievement. Because every achievement is so fulfilling that your imagination cannot think there can be more than this."
Lalita, you are asking me what can be more beautiful than to be in the presence of the master. Why not dissolve in the presence? To be in the presence of the master, there is still separation. Why be in the presence? Why not become the presence itself? And only then you will know that to be in the presence was only the beginning of a journey that ends in becoming the presence.
I know you, and I know your heart. I have not told the story of the woodcutter without remembering the fact that you have such an innocent heart yourself.
Just don't stop anywhere.
It is possible... make it your realization. Become the light yourself, and then whatever is experienced is inexpressible.
In your dark moments, while you have been away for one year, you have heard the word `watch'. With your innocent mind, it is very simple for me to speak to you from any distance, a heart-to-heart communion. Those words were mine, and you have recognized them. Because there are things you need not bother about, you simply have to watch and they pass on -- anger, greed, jealousy. All the components of darkness have one quality in common: that if you can watch them they start dispersing. Watching is enough; you are not supposed to do anything with them.
In the life of one of the great mystics, Baal Shem, there is an incident. He used to go towards the river in the middle of the night just to be in absolute silence, alone, to enjoy the peace and the beauty of the night. Just on the bank of the river was a rich man's mansion, and a watchman was there who was puzzled about this man, Baal Shem. Every night, exactly as the tower bell was tolling twelve, Baal Shem would appear out of the darkness.
The poor watchman could not contain the temptation to inquire, "Why do you come here every night and sit next to the river in the darkness? What is the purpose of it?"
Rather than answering him, Baal Shem asked, "What is your work?"
He said, "I am a watchman."
Baal Shem said, "Exactly -- that is my work. I am a watchman."
The watchman said, "That is strange. If you are a watchman, then what are you doing here? You should be watching the house where you are the watchman."
Baal Shem said, "There is something to be explained to you: You watch somebody else's house; I watch my own house. This is my house. Wherever I go, I go with my house -- but I am continuously the watchman."
I love the story.
Be continuously a watchman of all dark moments. They will pass away. In fact, that is the definition: anything you watch, if it disappears by watching that means it was something wrong. If by watching it becomes more clear, closer, that means it was something to be absorbed.
There is no other definition of good and bad.
It is watching that decides -- the only criterion. What is sin and what is virtue? That which disappears is sin, and that which comes closer, becomes clearer, wants to become part of you, is virtue.
Watching is certainly the golden key of spiritual life.
Aloneness is also one of the fundamental experiences as you enter silence.
In silence there is nobody else, you are simply alone.
The deeper your silence will be, thoughts will be gone, emotions will be gone, sentiments will be gone -- just pure being, a flame of light, burning alone.
One can get scared because we are so much accustomed to living with people -- in the crowd, in the marketplace, in all kinds of relationships.
You may not be aware that in all these relationships -- with friends, with your husbands, with your wives, with your children, with your parents -- you are basically trying to avoid the experience of aloneness. These are strategies so that you are always with somebody.
It is a well-known fact, psychologically established, that if a person is left alone in isolation, after seven days he starts talking... a little like whispering. For seven days he keeps talking inside, keeps himself engaged in the mind, but then it becomes too much -- things start coming out of his mind through his mouth and he starts whispering.
After fourteen days you can hear him clearly, what he is saying. After twenty-one days he does not bother about anybody, he has gone insane; now he is talking to walls, to pillars, "Hello friend, how are you?" -- to a pillar, hugging a pillar! And this is true not about somebody special, it is true about everybody. He is trying to find some relationship. If he cannot find it in reality, he will create a hallucination.
You will see: just stand by the side of the road and watch people going from the office to the house, and you will be surprised. They are alone -- although there is a crowd all around -- but they are talking to themselves. They are making gestures, they are telling somebody something... because the crowd around them is not related to them. They are alone in the crowd, so they are trying to create their own illusion. Maybe they are talking to their wife, to their boss -- there are many things which cannot be said but right now they can say them. In front of the wife they cannot say it, but in this crowd, where everybody is engaged in his own thing, everybody is doing his own thing, they can say things to the wife. Nobody is listening, and at least one thing is certain -- the wife is not there! But they need the wife, they need someone to talk to.
And after thirty days of isolation, a dramatic change happens: it is not only one-sided; it is not only that they are talking to the pillar, the pillar also starts talking to them! They do both things: first, "Hello, how are you?" and then, "I am good. I am fine, doing well."
They answer from the side of the pillar too -- in a different voice. Now they have created a world of their own, they are no longer alone. No madman is alone.
Either you are mad or not. If you don't know aloneness, there is something of madness in you.
Only pure aloneness gives you a clean sanity. You don't need the other; the dependence on the other is no more there, you are enough unto yourself. Language is meaningless because language is a medium to relate with the other. The moment you are no longer dependent on the other, language is meaningless, words are meaningless.
In your silence -- when there are no words, no language, nobody else is present -- you are getting in tune with existence. This serenity, this silence, this aloneness will bring you immense rewards.
It will allow you to grow to your full potential. For the first time you will be an individual, for the first time you will have the touch and the taste of freedom, and for the first time the immensity, the unboundedness of existence will be yours with all its blissfulness.
So whatever happens in silence -- either sadness or aloneness -- remember, in silence nothing wrong can ever happen. Whatever happens is going to enhance the beauty of it, deepen the charm of it; anything that happens will bring more and more flowers, more and more fragrance to it.
Rejoice! Whatever happens in silence is your friend, it is really your bosom friend. It is going to take you to the ultimate peak of ecstasies.
It is a very difficult question.
In the beginning, God used to do it! But there are many hypotheses about what happened to God: some say he died a natural death, some say he committed suicide, some say he got into an accident. Some say he was murdered by man -- because without murdering him, man could not really be free.
I will not go into what happened to God.
One thing is certain: he is missing.
In the beginning, he had chosen the Jews to be the chosen few -- "God's own people." But since then, he has had no opportunity. Although Jews have been praying continuously in every synagogue all over the world, "Now it is time for you to choose somebody else; we have suffered enough!"
And it is true. If God had not chosen them they would have lived just like everybody else.
But because he chose them, he made everybody else their enemies -- great jealousy and competition.
I remember that once, India's first prime minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was asked, "Who are you going to choose as your successor?"
He said, "I am not going to choose anyone, because whoever I choose would have to face immense difficulties. Everybody else who is ambitious and wants to become the prime minister would all be together against one single person, and there would be no possibility for that person I have chosen to succeed me. So I will keep my mouth shut."
And you are asking who is choosing here?
Here, it is a very different process. Here, the moment you become a sannyasin you have chosen yourself.
Every sannyasin belongs to the chosen few, and nobody is doing the choosing -- it is you who are doing it; hence there is a freedom. If you feel difficulties, you can drop out of it.
Nobody prevents you from becoming a sannyasin, nobody prevents you from dropping sannyas. Your freedom is intact.
So remember: here, nobody is choosing. Everybody is choosing by becoming a sannyasin. So no need to kill me; I have learned from the lesson of God -- I will never choose anybody, because it is dangerous! And to choose anybody is to put him in difficulty.
Now Jews have suffered so much in four thousand years for the single reason that they were the chosen few. All over the earth, nobody else has suffered so much. It gave them a superiority complex, a feeling that they are holier than thou -- and naturally nobody likes people who think themselves holier than thou.
So in every country, in every place, they have been put down and given evidence that they are not holier or higher.
Just in Germany alone Adolf Hitler killed six million Jews. The responsibility lies with God, because the reason these Jews were coming into conflict with Adolf Hitler was that he was saying that the nordic Germans were the highest race. Jews have to be completely eradicated from the earth because as long as the Jews remain, you cannot proclaim that nordic Germans are the highest. Jews are an old race, with a four-thousand-year history, and they have proved in every way that they are more intelligent. No Jew is a beggar; they are all rich, they know how to produce wealth. They are all cultured and well educated. Forty percent of Nobel prizes go to Jews, and the other sixty percent to the rest of the world -- it is simply unimaginable.
It was difficult for Adolf Hitler in the presence of Jews, because they had all the intelligence, all the riches, everything that proved that they were somehow more intelligent than others.
To make the nordic Germans a superior race, Jews had to be completely eradicated from the earth.
The fault lies with God; he should not have chosen the poor Jews. And even if he had chosen them, he should have whispered in the ear of Moses and told him, "Please don't tell anybody. Just keep it in your mind that you are the chosen few -- but it should not leak out, it is a secret."
But there is no joy if it is a secret. The joy is when you proclaim it.
Here I am not proclaiming anybody as chosen, but I am giving you an opportunity. If you want to be chosen, there will be difficulties. My sannyasins everywhere are going through all the difficulties.
One has to pay for everything. You want to be the chosen few for free? -- it is not possible. You will have to pay for it.
There is no possibility.
A disciple becomes a disciple only when he drops all doubts. So in the very nature of things, a disciple cannot doubt.
If he doubts, he is not a disciple.
As a student he can doubt as much as he wants. When all his doubts are finished and a trust beyond doubt has arisen, he enters into the world of disciplehood; now there is no possibility of doubt arising. If it arises, the disciple immediately falls back into the category of student.
So as far as the master and discipleship is concerned, doubt is an impossibility.
My hands are empty.
I don't have any answer.
You have questions; I don't answer you, I simply destroy your questions. And before destroying your questions I have to look at my hand because it is not only with my language that I destroy your questions, it is also with my hands.
So I have to prepare them, to ask "Are you ready?"
When they say, "Yes, master, go ahead" I start!
Without my hands, I cannot answer you. They do almost most of the work. My words keep you engaged, and they go on doing the real work.
So you are not seeing wrongly; you are seeing absolutely right.
I look at them -- not for answers, but just to see whether they are ready or not.
Laughter is one of the things most repressed by society all over the world, in all the ages.
Society wants you to be serious. Parents want their children to be serious, teachers want their students to be serious, the bosses want their servants to be serious, the commanders want their armies to be serious. Seriousness is required of everybody.
Laughter is dangerous and rebellious.
When the teacher is teaching you and you start laughing, it will be taken as an insult.
Your parents are saying something to you and you start laughing -- it will be taken as an insult.
Seriousness is thought to be honor, respect.
Naturally laughter has been repressed so much that even though life all around is hilarious, nobody is laughing. If your laughter is freed from its chains, from its bondage, you will be surprised -- on each step there is something hilarious happening.
Life is not serious.
Only graveyards are serious, death is serious.
Life is love, life is laughter, life is dance, song.
But we will have to give life a new orientation. The past has crippled life very badly, it has made you almost laughter blind, just like there are people who are colorblind.
There are ten percent of people who are colorblind -- it is a big percentage, but they are not aware that they are colorblind.
George Bernard Shaw was colorblind, and he came to know it when he was sixty years old. On his birthday somebody sent a present, a beautiful suit, a coat, but the person forgot to send a tie. So Bernard Shaw went with his secretary to find a matching tie. He liked the suit very much. He looked at ties and he chose one, and the secretary was surprised; she could not believe it -- because the suit was yellow and the tie was green.
She said, "What are you doing? This will look very strange."
He said, "Why will it look strange? It is the same color."
The manager, the salesman... they all gathered, and they tried in many ways to find out....
He could not distinguish between yellow and green; they both appeared the same to him.
He was colorblind.
But for sixty years he was not aware of it.
And there are ten percent of people in the world who are colorblind. Some color they are missing, or maybe they are mixing it up with some other color.
The constant repression of laughter has made you laughter blind.
Situations are happening everywhere, but you cannot see that there is any reason to laugh.
If your laughter is freed from its bondage, the whole world will be full of laughter. It needs to be full of laughter; it will change almost everything in human life.
You will not be as miserable as you are. In fact, you are not as miserable as you look -- it is misery plus seriousness that makes you look so miserable. Just misery plus laughter, and you will not look so miserable!
In one apartment house... And modern apartments have such thin walls that whether you want to or not, you have to hear what is going on on the other side of the wall. In a way, it is very human.
The whole apartment house was puzzled about one thing.... Every couple was fighting, throwing pillows, throwing things, breaking cups and saucers, shouting at each other, husbands beating wives, wives screaming -- and they don't need any loudspeaker systems or anything, and the whole apartment house enjoyed.
The only problem was with one sardarji. From his flat they never heard any fight; on the contrary, they always heard laughter. The whole crowd was puzzled: "What is the matter?
These people never fight. There is always laughter -- and both are laughing so loudly that the whole building can hear it!"
One day they decided that it had to be looked into: "We are missing so much, and they are enjoying so much. What is their secret?"
So they caught hold of the sardarji as he was coming from the market, carrying vegetables and other things. They all caught hold of him and they said, "First you have to tell us that what the secret is -- why do you laugh when everybody fights?"
The sardar said, "Don't force me, because the secret is very embarrassing."
They said, "Embarrassing? But we thought you are doing great. We always hear laughter -- either you laugh or your wife laughs... no fight."
The sardar said, "What happens is, she throws things at me. If she misses, then I laugh; if she hits me then she laughs. The same things are going on, but it is just that we have made a different arrangement -- what is the point? So I have learned how to dodge her, and she is learning how to...."
After twenty years the same sardar wanted to divorce his wife. The magistrate had heard about them, that this was the only couple in the whole city who had never been known to fight. They simply laugh -- the whole city knows them as the laughing couple.
The magistrate said, "What has gone wrong? You are so famous."
The sardar said, "Forget all about that -- just give us permission to divorce."
But the magistrate said, "I have to know the reason."
He said, "The reason is very clear -- she hits me. And it is too much; I have been getting those hits for years."
The magistrate asked, "How long have you been married?"
He said, "Almost thirty years."
The magistrate said, "If you have been able to cope with the woman for thirty years, then just ten, twenty years more...."
He said, "That is not the point. At first I used to dodge, but now she has become such a good... there is no way that I can dodge! So only she laughs, I have not laughed for ten years. This is unbearable. In the beginning it was perfect; it was almost fifty-fifty, there was no problem. I was laughing, she was also laughing. But now a hundred percent of the time she laughs, and a hundred percent I am just standing there, looking like a fool. No, I cannot tolerate it any more."
Just look around at life and try to see the humorous side of things.
Every event that is happening has its own humorous side, you just need a sense of humor.
No religion has accepted the sense of humor as a quality.
I want a sense of humor to be a fundamental quality of a good man, of a moral man, of a religious man. And it does not need much looking; you just try to see it, and everywhere....
Once I was traveling in a bus when I was a student. The bus conductor was in trouble because there were thirty-one passengers and he had money only for thirty tickets. So he was asking, "Who is the fellow who has not given his money?"
Nobody would speak.
He said, "This is strange; now how am I going to find out?"
I said to him, "Do one thing: tell the driver to stop the bus, and tell the people that unless the person who has not given the money confesses, the bus will not move."
He said, "That's right."
The bus was stopped. Everybody looked at each other, now what to do? Nobody knew who the person was....
Finally one man stood up and said, "Forgive me, I am the person who has not given the money. Here it is."
The bus conductor asked, "What is your name?"
He said, "My name is Achchelal." Achchelal means "a good man."
And I was surprised that out of thirty people, nobody laughed! When he said "Achchelal" I could not believe it -- a "good man" doing such a thing... and nobody seemed to see the humor in it.
Seriousness has become almost part of our bones and blood. You will have to make some effort to get rid of seriousness, and you will have to be on the lookout -- wherever you can find something humorous happening, don't miss the opportunity.
Everywhere there are people who are slipping on banana peels -- just nobody is looking at them. In fact, it is thought to be ungentlemanly. It is not, because only bananas slip on banana peels.
Laughter needs a great learning, and laughter is a great medicine. It can cure many of your tensions, anxieties, worries; the whole energy can flow into laughter. And there is no need that there should be some occasion, some cause.
In my meditation camps I used to have a laughing meditation: for no reason, people would sit and just start laughing. At first they would feel a little awkward that there was no reason -- but when everybody is doing it... they would also start. Soon, everybody was in such a great laughter, people were rolling on the ground. They were laughing at the very fact that so many people were laughing for no reason at all; there was nothing, not even a joke had been told. And it went on like waves.
So there is no harm... even just sitting in your room, close the doors and have one hour of simple laughter. Laugh at yourself.
But learn to laugh.
Seriousness is a sin, and it is a disease.
Laughter has tremendous beauty, a lightness. It will bring lightness to you, and it will give you wings to fly.
And life is so full of opportunities. You just need the sensitivity. And create chances for other people to laugh. Laughter should be one of the most valued, cherished qualities of human beings -- because only man can laugh, no animals are capable of it.
Because it is human, it must be of the highest order. To repress it is to destroy a human quality.