Suraj Prakash, man is born to achieve life, but it all depends on him.
He can miss it. He can go on breathing, he can go on eating, he can go on growing old, he can go on moving towards the grave -- but this is not life. This is gradual death from the cradle to the grave, a seventy-year-long gradual death.
And because millions of people around you are dying in this gradual, slow death, you also start imitating them. Children learn everything from those who are around them, and we are surrounded by the dead.
So first we have to understand what I mean by `life'.
It must not be simply growing old.
It must be growing up.
And these are two different things.
Growing old, any animal is capable of. Growing up is the prerogative of human beings.
Only a few claim the right.
Growing up means moving every moment deeper into the principle of life; it means going farther away from death -- not towards death. The deeper you go into life, the more you understand the immortality within you. You are going away from death; a moment comes when you can see that death is nothing but changing clothes, or changing houses, changing forms -- nothing dies, nothing can die.
Death is the greatest illusion there is.
For growing up, just watch a tree. As the tree grows up, its roots are growing down, deeper. There is a balance: the higher the tree goes, the deeper the roots will go. You cannot have a tree one hundred and fifty feet high with small roots; they could not support such a huge tree.
In life, growing up means growing deep within yourself -- that's where your roots are.
To me, the first principle of life is meditation. Everything else comes second. And childhood is the best time. As you grow older, it means you are coming closer to death, and it becomes more and more difficult to go into meditation.
Meditation means going into your immortality, going into your eternity, going into your godliness.
And the child is the most qualified person because he is still unburdened by knowledge, unburdened by religion, unburdened by education, unburdened by all kinds of rubbish.
He is innocent.
But unfortunately his innocence is being condemned as ignorance. Ignorance and innocence have a similarity, but they are not the same. Ignorance is also a state of not knowing, just as innocence is. But there is a great difference too, which has been overlooked by the whole of humanity up to now. Innocence is not knowledgeable -- but it is not desirous of being knowledgeable either. It is utterly content, fulfilled.
A small child has no ambitions, he has no desires. He is so absorbed in the moment -- a bird on the wing catches his eye so totally; just a butterfly, its beautiful colors, and he is enchanted; the rainbow in the sky... and he cannot conceive that there can be anything more significant, richer than this rainbow. And the night full of stars, stars beyond stars....
Innocence is rich, it is full, it is pure.
Ignorance is poor, it is a beggar -- it wants this, it wants that, it wants to be knowledgeable, it wants to be respectable, it wants to be wealthy, it wants to be powerful.
Ignorance moves on the path of desire.
Innocence is a state of desirelessness.
But because they both are without knowledge, we have remained confused about their natures. We have taken it for granted that they are both the same.
The first step in the art of living will be to create a demarcation line between ignorance and innocence. Innocence has to be supported, protected -- because the child has brought with him the greatest treasure, the treasure that sages find after arduous effort. Sages have said that they become children again, that they are reborn.
In India the real brahmin, the real knower, has called himself dwij, twice born. Why twice born? What happened to the first birth? What is the need of the second birth? And what is he going to gain in the second birth? In the second birth he is going to gain what was available in the first birth but the society, the parents, the people surrounding him crushed it, destroyed it.
Every child is being stuffed with knowledge. His simplicity has to be somehow removed, because simplicity is not going to help him in this competitive world. His simplicity will look to the world as if he is a simpleton; his innocence will be exploited in every possible way. Afraid of the society, afraid of the world we have created ourselves, we try to make every child be clever, cunning, knowledgeable -- to be in the category of the powerful, not in the category of the oppressed and the powerless.
And once the child starts growing in the wrong direction, he goes on moving that way -- his whole life moves in that direction.
Whenever you understand that you have missed life, the first principle to be brought back is innocence. Drop your knowledge, forget your scriptures, forget your religions, your theologies, your philosophies. Be born again, become innocent -- and it is in your hands.
Clean your mind of all that is not known by you, of all that is borrowed, all that has come from tradition, convention, all that has been given to you by others -- parents, teachers, universities. Just get rid of it.
Once again be simple, once again be a child.
And this miracle is possible by meditation.
Meditation is simply a strange surgical method which cuts you away from all that is not yours and saves only that which is your authentic being. It burns everything else and leaves you standing naked, alone under the sun, in the wind. It is as if you are the first man who has descended onto earth -- who knows nothing, who has to discover everything, who has to be a seeker, who has to go on a pilgrimage.
The second principle is the pilgrimage.
Life must be a seeking -- not a desire, but a search; not an ambition to become this, to become that, a president of a country or a prime minister of a country, but a search to find out "Who am I?"
It is very strange that people who don't know who they are, are trying to become somebody. They don't even know who they are right now! They are unacquainted with their being -- but they have a goal of becoming.
Becoming is the disease of the soul.
Being is you.
And to discover your being is the beginning of life. Then each moment is a new discovery, each moment brings a new joy; a new mystery opens its doors, a new love starts growing in you, a new compassion that you have never felt before, a new sensitivity about beauty, about goodness.
You become so sensitive that even the smallest blade of grass takes on an immense importance for you. Your sensitivity makes it clear to you that this small blade of grass is as important to existence as the biggest star; without this blade of grass, existence would be less than it is. And this small blade of grass is unique, it is irreplaceable, it has its own individuality.
And this sensitivity will create new friendships for you -- friendships with trees, with birds, with animals, with mountains, with rivers, with oceans, with stars. Life becomes richer as love grows, as friendliness grows.
In the life of St. Francis, there is a beautiful incident. He is dying, and he has always traveled on a donkey from place to place sharing his experiences. All his disciples are gathered to listen to his last words.
The last words of a man are always the most significant that he has ever uttered because they contain the whole experience of his life.
But what the disciples heard, they could not believe....
St. Francis did not address the disciples; he addressed the donkey. He said, "Brother, I am immensely indebted to you. You have been carrying me from one place to another place with never a complaint, never grumbling. Before I leave this world, all that I want is forgiveness from you; I have not been humane to you."
These were the last words of St. Francis. A tremendous sensitivity to say to the donkey, "Brother donkey" and ask to be forgiven.
As you become more sensitive, life becomes bigger. It is not a small pond, it becomes oceanic. It is not confined to you and your wife and your children -- it is not confined at all. This whole existence becomes your family, and unless the whole existence is your family you have not known what life is -- because no man is an island, we are all connected.
We are a vast continent, joined in millions of ways.
And if our hearts are not full of love for the whole, in the same proportion our life is cut short.
Meditation will bring you sensitivity, a great sense of belonging to the world. It is our world -- the stars are ours, and we are not foreigners here. We belong intrinsically to existence. We are part of it, we are heart of it.
Secondly, meditation will bring you a great silence -- because all rubbish knowledge is gone. Thoughts that are part of the knowledge are gone too... an immense silence, and you are surprised:
This silence is the only music there is.
All music is an effort to bring this silence somehow into manifestation.
The seers of the ancient East have been very emphatic about the point that all the great arts -- music, poetry, dance, painting, sculpture -- are all born out of meditation. They are an effort to in some way bring the unknowable into the world of the known for those who are not ready for the pilgrimage -- just gifts for those who are not ready to go on the pilgrimage. Perhaps a song may trigger a desire to go in search of the source, perhaps a statue.
The next time you enter a temple of Gautam Buddha or Mahavira just sit silently, watch the statue. Because the statue has been made in such a way, in such proportions that if you watch it you will fall silent. It is a statue of meditation; it is not concerned with Gautam Buddha or Mahavira.
That's why all those statues look alike -- Mahavira, Gautam Buddha, Neminatha, Adinatha.... Twenty-four tirthankaras of Jainas... in the same temple you will find twenty- four statues all alike, exactly alike.
In my childhood I used to ask my father, "Can you explain to me how it is possible that twenty-four persons are exactly alike? -- the same size, the same nose, the same face, the same body...."
And he used to say, "I don't know. I am always puzzled myself that there is not a bit of difference. And it is almost unheard of -- there are not even two persons in the whole world who are alike, what to say about twenty-four?"
But as my meditation blossomed I found the answer -- not from anybody else, I found the answer: that these statues have nothing to do with the people. These statues have something to do with what was happening inside those twenty-four people, and that was exactly the same.
And we have not bothered about the outside; we have insisted that only the inner should be paid attention to. The outer is unimportant. Somebody is young, somebody is old, somebody is black, somebody is white, somebody is man, somebody is woman -- it does not matter; what matters is that inside there is an ocean of silence. In that oceanic state, the body takes a certain posture.
You have observed it yourself, but you have not been alert. When you are angry, have you observed? -- your body takes a certain posture. In anger you cannot keep your hands open; in anger -- the fist. In anger you cannot smile -- or can you?
With a certain emotion, the body has to follow a certain posture.
Just small things are deeply related inside.
So those statues are made in such a way that if you simply sit silently and watch, and then close your eyes, a negative shadow image enters into your body and you start feeling something you have not felt before.
Those statues and temples were not built for worshipping; they were built for experiencing. They are scientific laboratories. They have nothing to do with religion. A certain secret science has been used for centuries so the coming generations could come in contact with the experiences of the older generations -- not through books, not through words, but through something which goes deeper -- through silence, through meditation, through peace.
As your silence grows; your friendliness, your love grows; your life becomes a moment- to-moment dance, a joy, a celebration.
Do you hear the firecrackers outside? Have you ever thought about why, all over the world, in every culture, in every society, there are a few days in the year for celebration?
These few days for celebration are just a compensation -- because these societies have taken away all celebration of your life, and if nothing is given to you in compensation your life can become a danger to the culture.
Every culture has to give some compensation to you so that you don't feel completely lost in misery, in sadness. But these compensations are false.
These firecrackers outside and these lights outside cannot make you rejoice. They are only for children; for you they are just a nuisance. But in your inner world there can be a continuity of lights, songs, joys.
Always remember that society compensates you when it feels that the repressed may explode into a dangerous situation if it is not compensated. The society finds some way of allowing you to let out the repressed. But this is not true celebration, and it cannot be true.
True celebration should come from your life, in your life.
And true celebration cannot be according to the calendar, that on the first of November you will celebrate. Strange, the whole year you are miserable and on the first of November suddenly you come out of misery, dancing. Either the misery was false or the first of November is false; both cannot be true. And once the first of November is gone, you are back in your dark hole, everybody in his misery, everybody in his anxiety.
Life should be a continuous celebration, a festival of lights the whole year round. Only then you can grow up, you can blossom.
Transform small things into celebration.
For example, in Japan they have the tea ceremony. In every Zen monastery and in every person's house who can afford it, they have a small temple for drinking tea. Now, tea is no longer an ordinary, profane thing; they have transformed it into a celebration. The temple for drinking tea is made in a certain way -- in a beautiful garden, with a beautiful pond; swans in the pond, flowers all around... guests come and they have to leave their shoes outside. It is a temple.
And as you enter the temple, you cannot speak; you have to leave your thinking and thoughts and speech outside with your shoes. You sit down in a meditative posture. And the host, the lady who prepares tea for you -- her movements are so graceful, as if she is dancing, moving around preparing tea, putting cups and saucers before you as if you are gods. With such respect... she will bow down, and you will receive it with the same respect.
The tea is prepared in a special samovar which makes beautiful sounds, a music of its own. And it is part of the tea ceremony that everybody should listen first to the music of the tea. So everybody is silent, listening... birds chirping outside in the garden, and the samovar... the tea is creating its own song. A peace surrounds....
When the tea is ready and it is poured into everybody's cup, you are not just to drink it the way people are doing everywhere. First you will smell the aroma of the tea. You will sip the tea as if it has come from the beyond, you will take time -- there is no hurry.
Somebody may start playing on the flute or on the sitar.
An ordinary thing -- just tea -- and they have made it a beautiful religious festival, and everybody comes out of it nourished, fresh, feeling younger, feeling juicier.
And what can be done with tea can be done with everything -- with your clothes, with your food.
People are living almost in sleep; otherwise, every fabric, every cloth has its own beauty, its own feel. If you are sensitive, then the clothing is not just to cover your body; then it is something expressing your individuality, something expressing your taste, your culture, your being.
Everything that you do should be expressive of you; it should have your signature on it.
Then life becomes a continuous celebration.
Even if you fall sick and you are lying in bed, you will make those moments of lying in bed moments of beauty and joy, moments of relaxation and rest, moments of meditation, moments of listening to music or to poetry. There is no need to be sad that you are sick.
You should be happy that everybody is in the office and you are in your bed like a king, relaxing -- somebody is preparing tea for you, the samovar is singing a song, a friend has offered to come and play flute for you.... These things are more important than any medicine. When you are sick, call a doctor. But more important, call those who love you because there is no medicine more important than love. Call those who can create beauty, music, poetry around you because there is nothing that heals like a mood of celebration.
Medicine is the lowest kind of treatment.
But it seems we have forgotten everything, so we have to depend on medicine and be grumpy and sad -- as if you are missing some great joy that you were having in the office! In the office you were miserable -- just one day off, and you cling to misery too; you won't let it go.
Make everything creative, make the best out of the worst -- that's what I call `the art'. And if a man has lived his whole life making every moment and every phase of it a beauty, a love, a joy, naturally his death is going to be the ultimate peak of his whole life's endeavor. The last touches... his death is not going to be ugly as it ordinarily happens every day to everyone.
If death is ugly, that means your whole life has been a wastage.
Death should be a peaceful acceptance, a loving entry into the unknown, a joyful goodbye to old friends, to the old world. There should not be any tragedy in it.
One Zen master, Lin Chi, was dying. Thousands of his disciples had gathered to listen to the last sermon, but Lin Chi was simply lying down -- joyous, smiling, but not saying a single word.
Seeing that he was going to die and he was not saying a single word, somebody reminded Lin Chi -- an old friend, a master in his own right.... He was not a disciple of Lin Chi.
That's why he could say to him, "Lin Chi, have you forgotten that you have to say your last words? I have always said your memory isn't right. You are dying... have you forgotten?"
Lin Chi said, "Just listen." And on the roof two squirrels were running, screeching. And he said, "How beautiful" and he died.
For a moment, when he said "Just listen," there was absolute silence. Everybody thought he is going to say something great, but only two squirrels fighting, screeching, running on the roof.... And he smiled and he died.
But he has given his last message: don't make things small and big, trivial and important.
Everything is important. At this moment, Lin Chi's death is as important as the two squirrels running on the roof, there is no difference. In existence it is all the same. That was his whole philosophy, his whole life's teaching -- that there is nothing which is great and there is nothing which is small; it all depends on you, what you make out of it.
Start with meditation, and things will go on growing in you -- silence, serenity, blissfulness, sensitivity. And whatever comes out of meditation, try to bring it out in life.
Share it, because everything shared grows fast. And when you have reached the point of death, you will know there is no death. You can say goodbye, there is no need for any tears of sadness -- maybe tears of joy, but not of sadness.
But you have to begin from being innocent.
So first, throw out all crap that you are carrying. And everybody is carrying so much crap -- and one wonders, for what? Just because people have been telling you that these are great ideas, principles...
You have not been intelligent with yourself. Be intelligent with yourself.
Life is very simple; it is a joyful dance. And the whole earth can be full of joy and dance, but there are people who are seriously vested in their interest that nobody should enjoy life, that nobody should smile, that nobody should laugh, that life is a sin, that it is a punishment. How can you enjoy when the climate is such that you have been told continuously that it is a punishment? -- that you are suffering because you have done wrong things and it is a kind of jail where you have been thrown to suffer?
I say to you life is not a jail, it is not a punishment. It is a reward, and it is given only to those who have earned it, who deserve it. Now it is your right to enjoy; it will be a sin if you DON'T enjoy.
It will be against existence if you don't beautify it, if you leave it just as you have found it. No, leave it a little happier, a little more beautiful, a little more fragrant.
Adima, it raises a few fundamental questions.
First, if you cannot understand enlightenment, how can you understand that which is beyond it?
You are MISunderstanding.
Your misunderstanding is that perhaps beyond enlightenment means below enlightenment.
And you are feeling happy, but I cannot feel happy with your happiness. I feel sorry for it. You are feeling happy that I have come close to you. You should feel happy when you come close to me.
Just think: if I say that I have dropped even "beyond enlightenment," that it was all fiction -- enlightenment, beyond enlightenment... I am just one of you who had a few imaginative, fictitious ideas -- you will feel even happier. Now there is nothing for you to worry about, nowhere to go, nothing to achieve, you are perfectly okay.
Your question makes me understand why Gautam Buddha remained with enlightenment - - although he was seeing it, the stars beyond were calling him. He was the first man to see beyond enlightenment, but he didn't go beyond; he remained at the stage of enlightenment.
Perhaps it was for people like you. Because you will not be able to understand the person who goes beyond enlightenment; in a way he will become almost ordinary -- and there is the danger. Your ordinariness and his ordinariness are poles apart -- but both are ordinariness, and the danger is that you will misunderstand. He has come back home.
You have not even started the journey.
It is almost like meeting someone on a staircase -- you are both standing on the same step; one is going, one is coming. Both are on the same step -- in a way equal -- but one is going up, one is going down. Hence, they are not equal, their equality is illusory.
I thought perhaps that in the twenty-five centuries after Gautam Buddha man might have become a little more intelligent -- and someone some day has to try going beyond and see what happens, how people take it.
The way you have understood it is absolutely wrong.
I have not come closer to you, I have gone farther away.
And you cannot avoid enlightenment; if you avoid it, you cannot reach beyond it. It is simple arithmetic. That's what is making you happy, that perhaps enlightenment can be avoided -- when one has to go beyond it, what is the need to first go to enlightenment and then go beyond it? We are already beyond it!
You are not beyond it.
You are behind it.
And in any case enlightenment cannot be avoided. One has to pass through that fire, through that great experience.
So drop that idea that I have come closer to you.
My being closer to you is not significant. What is significant is your being closer to me.
You say, "Now you are a friend to us."
I have always been a friend to you. The question is from your side: are you a friend to me? And my friendship will enhance and enrich my life, not your life. It is your friendship that is going to enhance and enrich your life. And if you can be a friend to one who is enlightened you have taken a long jump, you have extended your hands for a faraway star, you have stretched your being to its fullest. This will give you an evolution.
And only after you have reached the point of enlightenment can you see that there are skies beyond skies, that enlightenment is not the end. Existence is not exhausted yet; there is still much more ahead, the journey continues.
It is good and fortunate that nothing satisfies you completely and entirely. That means you don't become stagnant, that means you have to keep moving.
Slowly slowly, you will understand that there is no home, that movement itself is the home; that there is no end to the pilgrimage but the pilgrimage itself is the end.
It is very difficult to understand because we are accustomed to a certain logic: if we want to go somewhere, going is always just a means, reaching somewhere is the end.
But as far as the universal life is concerned, there cannot be a place where you can say "I have come and now there is nothing further."
It is inconceivable that you will find a place which will be the end and there will be a fence and a board saying, "Here ends the world." And even if you can find such a place, I would like you to jump the fence -- because there must be something beyond the fence. If the fence cannot just stand by itself, there must be something beyond it. Somebody is playing a joke by putting up a board -- "Here ends the world" -- and fixing a fence there.
Don't be deceived.
You will come to many places where you would like to make your home -- because it is so blissful, so peaceful, you feel so fulfilled; you don't see the point... why should you continue?
But I say unless you continue, you will never know that there is much more. But if you stop, nobody is going to prevent you.
You need a master to go on goading you, to go on destroying every home you make, so finally you decide not to make any home -- it is better to be homeless under the sky and continue the journey.
In the life of al-Hillaj Mansoor, a beautiful incident is related. He was a poor man. He collected money from people because he wanted to go to Kaaba, the sacred place of pilgrimage for the Mohammedans. And everybody contributed because he was going to Kaaba, and whoever contributes also gets a share in the virtue that he will get by reaching there. It is according to how much you give. So people gave him money -- those who could give more, gave more. People even gave beyond their capacity; they borrowed and gave him money.
The next day he was back. And they said, "So soon?" -- because in those days the journey from his place to Kaaba and back used to take three to six months. "What happened? And where is the money?"
He said, "A strange man met me on the way just as I was going out of town. He said, `Listen, where are you going?' I said, `I am going to Kaaba.' He said, `There is no need.' I said, `But every scripture says there is a need.' He said, `I am a living master, and I am saying there is no need. You just go around me seven times and put all the money in front of me. I am Junnaid, the great master. Give the money first.' So I said, `If you are Junnaid, then...'" Junnaid's name was known all over the country. So al-Hillaj said, "If Junnaid says something he cannot be wrong. I gave given the money to Junnaid, went around him seven times, and he told me to go back home."
Those people said, "You idiot. First, have you inquired whether he is Junnaid or not? It seems some cheat has deceived you. Let us go and find out. If he was really Junnaid, he will be sitting there."
They reached, and Junnaid was sitting there. Junnaid said, "So you all have come. Put your money here, whatever money you have. Take seven rounds -- I am a living Kaaba -- and then go home. And whenever you have money you can come again."
So the poor fellows had to put their money there and took seven rounds, sadly. "This is strange, we never thought that Kaaba would come just outside our village."
But the news spread. People started coming from other villages. They said, "If Junnaid says so, it must be right. That is a dead stone in Kaaba, and this is a living master."
Somebody asked him, "We have come. We heard that you were here, so we have come for the pilgrimage."
He said, "Just give the money and do the pilgrimage."
But the man said, "I have a question: After taking seven rounds around you, is the journey finished? Is the pilgrimage over?"
He said, "No, whenever you have money again, you can come. This pilgrimage is never going to end. And if you don't find me here, you will find somebody else. You can do this pilgrimage around anybody -- you just have to be sensitive to see the real, the living god within. It is not only within me, it is within you also. If you are alert, you can take seven rounds around yourself -- no need to waste the money and no need to go anywhere.
Remember, there is no home. Or, the home is everywhere -- both are true."
I will not say to you that the home is everywhere -- although it is true.
I will say there is no home.
If you can continue your pilgrimage with this sincerity -- that there is no home and there is no place you are going to, that just the going is in itself the beauty, the joy, the blissfulness, everything... the going itself -- then the second will also be true: that wherever you are, it is home. But the second can be deceptive -- because people are very cunning, even cunning with themselves. They have misused all truths, they have managed to give them meanings which support their own ideas. If I say "Everywhere is home" then they will relax wherever they are, then there is no need.
So I say: There is no home, and the journey has to be continued. It has to be a dance.
Take your guitars and go on, and never stop anywhere.
That does not mean that you cannot rest for a while. There are caravanserais but no homes -- stay over for the night, but in the morning we have to go.
This ongoing process is what life is.
The moment it stops, it is death -- and there is no death.
And why do people hanker for the home? -- security, safety. But in the name of security and safety, they don't make homes, they make prisons -- and they are the jailed and they are the jailers, but because they have the keys in their own hands, they think they are free.
They are not free. Only a constantly moving river... sometimes slow, sometimes fast, sometimes falling from the mountains, sometimes moving very slowly on the plains... but moving all the time....
Movement is life, change is life.
Stay for a while if you feel tired, but stay only to regain enough energy so that tomorrow morning you can move again.
The home is everywhere -- but that home is just a caravanserai.
Never make anything in life stable. That's how things die, that's how things start stinking.
Allow movement -- it keeps things fresh, it keeps things alive. It keeps the adventure alive, the excitement, the ecstasy of the discovery of the unknown and finally the unknowable.
It is perfectly good. It is as it should be, because this is not a kindergarten school where you have to remember every word spoken by me.
Here the emphasis is not on remembering; the emphasis is on listening. If you have listened in silence, then whatever is significant will be absorbed by the heart. You may forget the words....
Words are only containers, not the content. The content will be absorbed in the heart, and the containers have to be thrown away. You cannot carry all the containers always.
Listen perfectly. Never bother about remembering -- because that is a disturbance. Doing the two things together, then one starts taking notes -- if not visibly, then inside in the mind. No, don't create disturbance; just listen. If something is true, your heart will simply absorb it.
And the heart has no memory system.
The memory system is in the head.
But whatever the heart absorbs will be changing your actions, will be changing your behavior, will be changing you. It will bring a transformation.
It will not bring you knowledge, it will bring you transformation. It will make you a new man.
So don't be worried about memory at all.
Latifa, there is only one way. And you have done it -- you have become a sannyasin.
A sannyasin is neither German nor Indian, neither Chinese nor Japanese. A sannyasin declares that he is simply a human being. He drops all boundaries, all limitations of nations, of religions, of ideologies. And that you have done; now don't be worried.
Now the whole of Germany is afraid of sannyasins.
You need not be worried about being a German. You just be a sannyasin and make more and more sannyasins, and Germany will disappear!
We are going to make Germany the first sannyas land.