Discarding the container, discovering the content

Fri, 3 November 1986 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Beyond Enlightenment
Chapter #:
pm in
Archive Code:
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130 mins

Question 1:




The first basic thing to understand is that you are not expected to jump into enlightenment. You have to climb for it -- it is higher than you, not lower than you.

So at least one fear you can drop!

And climbing to enlightenment is a simple process. It is not something tortuous, arduous.

It is something like peeling an onion; after one layer there is another layer -- fresher, younger, juicier, after that layer there are still more, juicier layers. And if you go on peeling, finally nothing is left in your hands -- because the onion was nothing but layers upon layers.

Enlightenment is a kind of peeling of the ego.

It is parallel to the onion because it has no inner substance, only layers. And those layers sometimes slip by themselves -- they become old sometimes by accident. If you watch your life, you can see it happening. It is not a theorization.

Sometimes you can see that you are not wearing the right mask for the right occasion.

When you are expected to smile, you are not smiling; when you are expected to weep, you are not weeping.

I used to live with a distant uncle's family. His wife died. In fact it is very difficult to find a husband who never thinks that if his wife died it would be good, a good riddance. And my uncle's wife was certainly a nightmare. In fact everybody was happy that she died, and everybody knew that the husband was happy that she had died, but still the convention, the tradition....

I used to sit in the garden. He told me, "I cannot remain in a miserable posture the whole day long because really I am not miserable. You know it. I cannot hide it from you -- twenty-four hours a day you are in the house -- but when relatives come, I have to show that I am very miserable." Not to be caught being happy and at ease, he told me, "You mostly sit in the garden reading, so you can just give me a signal from there that somebody is coming." So I had to give him signals.

And the miracle was that the moment I would give him the signal, immediately he would become miserable. Sometimes I would play a joke: I would give the signal and nobody would turn up. And he would be very angry: "This you should not do, because this is a dangerous joke. Sometimes I may think you are joking and somebody may turn up. You have to understand that I should not be caught enjoying myself. In fact I have never enjoyed myself -- because of this woman! She was such a pain in the neck. And even today, although she is dead, she is torturing me through these relatives -- relatives I have not seen for years, relatives I don't even recognize as relatives. They come and I have to be miserable -- whether the relative is real or false, I have to bring tears to my eyes.

"I am surprised myself that I am capable of it -- being miserable, tears flowing. And I pray to you that when I am acting this way, please don't stand so close. You just be out in the garden; you don't have to be present to watch the whole scene, because then it becomes more difficult for me to do the performance."

One day a man came. He was known to me, he was a bookseller. And I told him, "Can you pretend just for two minutes to be a far-off relative of a dead wife?"

He said, "What?"

I said, "I will explain it to you later on when I come to your shop. But remember, it has to be done in a certain way: First, I will introduce you as the best shopkeeper in town, who is not only a shopkeeper but who loves books and has a collection of rare books. `It is not just a business for him, it is his love affair.' I will introduce you first in this way. And then in the middle I will tell him, `He's also a relative of your dead wife.' I just want to see how he changes his mask."

I introduced the man. My uncle was perfectly happy. He said, "Very good, I will come some time. I don't have much time to read, but if you can suggest some rare books I will try to find the time."

And then I said, "But I forgot one thing. He has not come here to sell books; he is a relative of your dead wife." And immediately my uncle started crying, tears came to his eyes and he was so miserable....

The bookseller was also amazed at how quickly he changed. He had just been laughing and there had been no question of misery or anything.

And then I said, "Just don't harass yourself. He is not related to your wife, it is just a misunderstanding."

He said, "What kind of misunderstanding?"

I said, "Another woman in the neighborhood has also died; he is related to that woman."

And immediately all the tears were gone and he started laughing. He said, "This is a great joke! Why didn't you tell me?"

The bookseller said, "I am very new to this locality, I have never been here, and he misled me. He told me that my relative used to live here, and she has died. I came because of my relative who has died -- but I am not acquainted with this locality and I have never seen the husband of my relative, so just forgive me. But it has been a great experience! You could have been a great actor -- within minutes, from laughter to misery, from misery back to laughter."

I said, "This is nothing. If I tell him the reality, he will be back again to tears and misery."

He said, "What reality?"

I said, "No other woman has died. He is a relative of your wife."

He said, "Listen, I have told you this is a serious affair." And again misery and tears.

And that man felt so sad for this miserable creature... he told me, "Don't torture him this way."

I said, "I am not torturing him. He is torturing himself! What is the need? The wife is dead, she cannot come back. He need not be afraid of her, at least not now. While she was alive, it was difficult to say. I knew his wife, and he was perfectly right to be afraid of her. But now he need not be afraid, she cannot come."

I said to my uncle, "You just be your natural self. If you are feeling pleasant, why change personalities? Why make your life a drama instead of a reality?"

But we are all doing that in different measures.

Your personality consists only of cultivated layers. Many masks are hanging around you - - whichever you need, you put it on. In fact, humanity has developed, by and by, almost an automatic system -- you need not do anything, it happens by itself.

The moment you see your boss, your face changes -- not that you change it. It is so unconscious that you start smiling, just like a dog wagging his tail.

Even dogs are very clever. If they are not certain about a stranger who is coming towards their house -- he may be a friend, he may not be a friend -- they do both things: they go on barking, and they go on wagging their tail also. They are just waiting to see which direction the camel turns; if the man is received by the family as a friend, the barking stops and the tail continues. And if the family rejects the man, then the tail stops and barking continues.

Poor dogs are being corrupted because of the company they keep with human beings; they have learned your tricks.

A person meeting the boss has one face. The same person meeting his servant has a different face. He behaves with the servant as if he does not matter at all, he is not human. You can pass him without taking any note of him, he is only a servant.

But as far as the boss is concerned, you have to take a joyous attitude, an ear-to-ear smile -- a Jimmy Carter smile. And you are not doing it deliberately; now it is your autonomous, unconscious functioning.

Enlightenment is simply the process of becoming aware of your unconscious layers of personality and dropping those layers. They are not you; they are false faces. And because of those false faces, you cannot discover your original face.

Enlightenment is nothing but the discovery of the original face -- the essential reality you brought with you, and the essential reality you will have to take with you when you die.

All these layers gathered between birth and death will be left here behind you.

The man of enlightenment does exactly what death does to everybody, but he does it himself. He dies in a way and is reborn, dies in a way and is resurrected. And his originality is luminous because it is part of eternal life.

It is a simple process of discovering yourself.

You are not the container but the content.

Discarding the container and discovering the content is the whole process of enlightenment.

Question 2:




It is one of the crimes that has been committed against everybody everywhere in human society: you have been continuously conditioned and told that you are unworthy.

Because of this conditioning, the major part of humanity has given up even desiring any adventure, any pilgimage to the stars -- they are so convinced of their unworthiness. Their parents were telling them, "You are unworthy." Their teachers were telling them, "You are unworthy." Their priests were telling them, "You are unworthy." Everybody was forcing the idea on them that they were unworthy. Naturally they accepted the idea.

And once you accept the idea of unworthiness, you naturally close. You cannot believe that you have wings, that the whole sky is yours, that you have just to open your wings and the sky is going to be yours, with all its stars.

And it is not a question that somewhere you have forgotten to open one door. You don't have any doors, you don't have any walls.

This unworthiness is simply a concept, an idea.

You have become hypnotized by the idea.

Since the very beginning, all cultures, all societies have been using hypnotism to destroy individuals -- their freedom, their uniqueness, their genius -- because the vested interests are not in need of geniuses, not in need of unique individuals, not in need of people who love freedom. They are in need of slaves. And the only psychological way to create slaves is to condition your mind that you are unworthy, that you don't deserve; that you don't even deserve whatever you have, you should not go for anything more. Already you owe too much for things which you are not worthy of.

And hypnotism is a simple process of continuous repetition. Just go on repeating a certain idea and it starts settling inside you, and it becomes a thick wall, invisible -- there are no doors, no windows. There is no wall either.

George Gurdjieff has remembered his childhood.... He was born in the Caucasus, one of the most primitive parts of the world. It is still at the stage where humanity was when it lived by hunting; even cultivation has not started. The people of the Caucasus are great hunters.

And any society that lives by hunting is bound to be a nomadic society. It cannot make houses, it cannot make cities, because you cannot depend on animals -- today they are available here, tomorrow they are not available here. And certainly you will kill them, and because of your presence they will escape -- either they will be killed or they will escape.

Cities are possible only with cultivation because trees cannot escape, and you have to be there to protect them, to water them, to take care of them -- so you have to live in villages near your fields.

The Caucasus is still nomadic. They are on their horses, moving from one place to another place, hunting.

Gurdjieff was brought up by a nomadic society, so he was coming from almost another planet. He knew a few things which we have forgotten. He remembers that in his childhood the nomads hypnotized their children -- because they cannot carry them continuously while they are hunting; they have to leave them somewhere under a tree, in a safe place. But what is the guarantee that those children will remain there? They have to be hypnotized. So they used a small strategy -- and they have used it for centuries.

From the very beginning when the child is very small, they will make him sit under a tree. They will draw a circle around the child with a stick and tell him, "You cannot go out of this circle; if you go out of it, you will be dead."

Now those small children believe, just like you. Why are you Christian? -- because your parents told you. Why are you Hindus? Why are you Jainas? Why are you Mohammedans? -- because your parents told you.

Those children believe that if they go out of the circle they will die. They grow up with this conditioning.

And you may try to persuade them: "Come out, I will give you a sweet." They cannot, because death.... Even sometimes if they try, they feel as if an invisible wall prevents them, pushes them back into the circle. And that wall exists only in their minds -- there is no wall, there is nothing. Unless the person who has put them in the circle comes and withdraws the circle, takes the child out, the child remains inside.

And the child goes on growing, but the idea remains in the unconscious. So even an old man, if his father draws a circle around him, cannot get out of it.

So it is not only a question of the child; the old man also still carries his childhood in his unconscious.

And it is not a question of one child. The whole group of nomads have put their children under trees nearby, and all the children are sitting there the whole day long. By the time their parents come back, it has become such a conditioning that no matter what happens, the child will not leave the circle.

Exactly the same kind of circles are drawn around you by your society. Of course they are more sophisticated. Your religion is nothing but a circle, but very sophisticated; your church, your temple, your holy book is nothing but a hypnotic circle.

One has to understand that one is living surrounded by many circles which are only in your mind. They don't have a real existence, but they function almost as if they are real.

One night it happened, it must have been nearabout twelve, a young man knocked on my door. I was still awake, writing a few letters. He fell on the ground, took hold of my feet, and said, "Just give me one glass of water with your hand."

I said, "What is the purpose?"

He said, "I have been sent by a Dr. S.C. Barat. I am his patient. I have been suffering from a stomachache for years. He has tried all kinds of medicines, nothing helps. And today he said, `Now medical science cannot help you; only a miracle can help you.' So I asked where I had to go for the miracle and he sent me to you. And he said, `Whatever happens, you go on holding his feet unless he gives you a glass of water -- just that water will be the cure."

Dr. Barat was my friend. He had told me that he was going to send this young man. He said, "He is a hypochondriac. He has no stomachache, nothing -- just he is rich, too much money and nothing to do. So he is doing stomachache, headache... he gets any kind of disease. I have not found any disease in him, he is perfectly healthy. But every day he tortures me for hours. I know that no medicine is going to help because he is not sick. In fact, to give him any medicine is dangerous.

"So I have been giving him just colored water, especially prepared for him. I have a whole cabinet full of colored water in bottles; I make a mixture from these bottles and give it to him. He says, `Yes, a little relief but the pain remains.' And if it disappears from one place, it starts appearing in another place. I am tired. And because of him, I am losing many patients. So you have to save me from this rich young man. His father has died and he has a big inheritance, enough money to throw away on anything. But he is destroying my business."

I said, "I don't understand -- how is he destroying your business?"

He said, "It is very simple -- because my other patients see him, and see that he has been coming for ten years and I have not been able to cure him. It creates a bad impression. So I am sending him to you, and you have to do the miracle."

I said, "I don't do miracles, and miracles don't happen. But if you want, I will try."

So when the young man came, I went on denying him: "Just water touched by me is not going to help. You should go to another doctor -- why are you after this Dr. Barat? If one doctor has failed, go to another doctor. If one `pathy' fails... change from allopathy: try ayurveda; if ayurveda fails, try homeopathy; if homeopathy fails, try naturopathy. And by that time you will be dead, don't be worried. Whether the disease goes or not, you will be gone!"

He said, "But I want to live! I am too young to die right now." And he was not more than twenty-six. He said, "I am not even married. Because my father died, I have enough money -- many people are after me. They want me to marry their daughters, and I don't want to be encaged. And first I want to take care of my health. Getting married means bringing more sicknesses, more diseases into the house. You have to give me a glass of water!"

I said, "It is very difficult, because miracles don't happen."

I was staying in a friend's house. His wife was listening as this whole conversation was going on and on, and he was crying.... Finally the woman came out and said, "I never thought that you are so hard. Whether it helps or not, just give him a glass of water. Half of the night has passed; neither are you going to sleep, nor are you allowing anybody else in the house to sleep -- because we are all excited, waiting to see what happens, whether the miracle happens or not."

I said, "Because you say so, and because I don't want to torture your family... Bring a glass of water."

And I told the young man, "Remember, you are not to talk about it to anybody -- because I don't want it to happen that from tomorrow the whole day long a queue of patients is there. I don't have time for all this. So promise me that you will not talk."

He said, "I promise that I will not talk, but you also have to promise me one thing."

I said, "What is it?"

He said, "You will have to promise me that once in a while I can come with a bottle of water and you will touch it."

I said, "What you are going to do with it?"

He said, "I will not say anything to anybody about you. But if the miracle happens and my stomachache disappears, there are many people who are suffering. I can distribute the water. But I promise I will not talk."

So I said, "Okay, it is a promise. But don't bring anybody here!"

I gave him a glass of water, and as he drank the water -- just drinking it, you could see his face changing. And he said, "My God, the pain is gone!"

My friend's wife was standing behind me. She said, "You did it!"

I said, "I have not done it -- and remember that you are not to talk about it to anybody."

She said, "I may not talk, but everybody in the house knows -- everybody is hiding, all the children are there. Now...." She said, "If this was going to happen, why did you waste one hour?"

I said, "Without wasting that hour, the water wouldn't have helped. It was not the water; it was my insistence that I wouldn't give it to him. He became more and more convinced that the water was going to work. And when I told him that he had to promise not to talk to anybody, he was absolutely convinced that the miracle was going to happen."

He started distributing the water.

And people told me -- even Dr. Barat told me, "It is strange. You cured my patient and now he is curing my patients. I was thinking I was finished with him -- now he comes with a bottle into my dispensary. He sits there and says, `Don't bother about this medicine, it won't help. Take the miraculous water.' That young man seems to be my enemy from a past life! And he has cured a few of my patients!"

Seventy percent of sick people are only sick in their minds, they don't have a real sickness.

Hence it has been found that all the pathies -- allopathy, ayurveda, yunani, naturopathy, homeopathy -- they all succeed in seventy percent of cases. In seventy percent of cases anybody can do miracles, one just has to make the right arrangement so the mind is convinced that the miracle is going to happen.

It is simply a conditioning that you are unworthy.

Nobody is unworthy.

Existence does not produce people who are unworthy.

Existence is not unintelligent. If existence produces so many unworthy people, then the whole responsibility goes to existence. Then it can be definitely concluded that existence is not intelligent, that there is no intelligence behind it, that it is an unintelligent, accidental materialist phenomenon and there is no consciousness in it.

And this is our whole fight, our whole struggle: to prove that existence is intelligent, that existence is immensely conscious.

It is the same existence which creates Gautam Buddhas.

It cannot create unworthy people.

You are not unworthy.

So there is no question of finding a door; there is only an understanding that unworthiness is a false idea imposed on you by those who want you to be a slave for your whole life.

You can drop it just right now.

Existence gives the same sun to you as to Gautam Buddha, the same moon as to Zarathustra, the same wind as to Mahavira, the same rain as to Jesus -- it makes no difference, it has no idea of discrimination. For existence, Gautam Buddha, Zarathustra, Lao Tzu, Bodhidharma, Kabir, Nanak or you are just the same.

The only difference is that Gautam Buddha did not accept the idea of being unworthy, he rejected the idea. It was easy for him to reject it -- he was the prince of a great kingdom, the only son of the king, and the king was thought to be almost a god. So he had no idea of unworthiness.

But what about Kabir? What about Raidas the shoemaker? What about Gora the potter?

These poor people were burdened by the society with the idea that they were unworthy, but they rejected it.

In Kabir's life there were clearcut examples. Kabir lived his whole life in Kashi. For centuries Hindus have believed that to die in Kashi is the greatest thing you can do in life, because for one who dies in Kashi, his paradise is guaranteed. It does not matter what kind of man he was, whether he was a murderer, a thief, a saint or a sinner -- these things are all irrelevant. His dying in Kashi erases everything and he becomes qualified for paradise.

So in Kashi you will find old people, old women who have come there just to die. They have not done anything in their life, but they don't want to miss paradise.

And Kabir lived his whole life in Kashi, and when he was going to die he said, "Take me out of Kashi to the other side, to the small village." Just on the other side of the Ganges was a small village.

His disciples said, "Are you mad or something? People come to Kashi, the whole of Kashi is full of people who have come here to die. You have lived your whole life in Kashi, what kind of nonsense is this? And the village you are pointing to is a condemned village; people say whoever dies there is born again as a donkey."

But Kabir said, "I will go to that village, and I will die in that village. I want to enter paradise on my own worth, not because of Kashi. And I know my worth."

They had to take him. Against their will they had to take him to the other side, and he died there.

This man is so certain of his worth.

He was a weaver. It is not certain whether he was Hindu or Mohammedan because his name, Kabir, is Mohammedan; it is one of the names of God. He was found on the Ganges -- a small child, just a few days old, abandoned by his parents.

One great Hindu scholar, Ramananda, had gone for his early bath and he found the child.

And he could not be so hard as to leave him there, so he brought him into his ashram -- he had an ashram and hundreds of disciples. So the child was brought up by a brahmin.

But on his hand was written the name `Kabir'. He didn't change his name.

It is still uncertain whether he was Mohammedan or Hindu. He never cared.

Once there was a great conference in Kashi. It used to convene only after each twelve years to decide about certain spiritual matters, problems which may have arisen about scriptures. Naturally Kabir was not invited because it was not even certain that he was a Hindu, and only brahmins could be allowed.

But about a certain point in the scriptures they could not come to a conclusion. One man said, "You have to forget about whether Kabir is Hindu or Mohammedan, it doesn't matter. He is the only man alive in Kashi who can immediately decide the meaning, the insight of this scriptural passage."

I am telling you about this incident for a particular reason.

At that very time Meera was also in Kashi, she had just come. She was traveling around India.

Reluctantly, the scholars asked Kabir: "You are invited to the conference because we are stuck at a certain point, and nobody has the experience. And there are many people in the conference who say, `Kabir has the experience.' This passage needs to be interpreted only by one who has known himself; so although we are not certain whether you are Hindu or Mohammedan or brahmin, still we are inviting you, against all precedents."

Kabir said, "There is a condition: I will come only if Meera is also invited."

Now that was even more difficult for the male chauvinist mind -- a woman! What does a woman have to do with it? When wise scholars are deciding things, a woman's function is in the house.

Kabir said, "Then Kabir is not coming. Kabir can come only if Meera is allowed to come.

When you are ready to allow Kabir -- whose caste is not certain, whose religion is not certain -- what is the problem about Meera? -- because she can also decide. Even if I don't come, she also has the same experience as I have."

And the scholars had to agree.

This has happened only once, that a woman and a non-brahmin joined with the highest hierarchy of Hinduism to interpret their scriptures. And their interpretation was accepted.

Kabir's disciples asked, "From where did you get such authority?"

He said, "If existence accepts me, if existence gives me life, that is enough to prove that I am needed, that existence cannot do without me."

So drop the idea of unworthiness, it is simply an idea. And with the dropping of it, you are under the sky -- there is no question of doors, everything is open, all directions are open. That you are is enough to prove that existence needs you, loves you, nourishes you, respects you.

The idea of unworthiness is created by the social parasites.

Drop that idea.

And be grateful to existence -- because it only creates people who are worthy, it never creates anything which is worthless.

It only creates people who are needed.

My emphasis is that every sannyasin should respect himself and feel grateful to existence that he has been required to be here at this juncture of time and space.

Question 3:








George Gurdjieff is right when he says that man is a machine, but by `man' he means all those who are living unconsciously, who are not aware, who are not awake, who do not respond to reality but only react.

Ninety-nine point nine percent of human beings come in the category of machines. With these machines, astrology is possible.

In fact, predictions can be made, guarantees can be issued only about machines. A watch can be guaranteed for five years, a car can be guaranteed for a certain time -- because we know the capacity of the machine, how much it can work, how long it can go. Its scope is limited. And it cannot do anything on its own accord, it can only react to situations -- which are almost predictable.

For example, at a certain stage a boy and a girl will become sexually mature, and their hormones and their biology will start forcing them towards each other. They will call it love because nobody wants to be categorized as a machine. But two machines cannot love, two machines can only be together, can struggle, can stumble against each other.

And it is not coincidence that in every language, love is called `falling in love'. It is an unconscious process, it is a fall. You cannot answer why you love a certain person.

And now the science of human biology, genetics, has grown much more mature. It is possible to inject hormones into you which can make all your love disappear, or which can make you a great lover. But these are hormones; it is chemical. You are not consciously involved in it.

It happened in Bombay nearabout twenty years ago -- an astrologer came to see me. I told him, "You will be disappointed. Astrology won't work with me."

He said, "It is not a question of you or anybody else, there are no exceptions in astrology."

I said, "Then do one thing: Write down twelve things that I am going to do in one year.

You keep one copy and I will keep one copy, I will write on both copies that these are the twelve things that I will not do. That's the only way to decide whether your astrology works or not."

He got a little afraid because he had not thought of this possibility.

I said, "Even to the extent... if you say that I will live, I will die -- just to make the point clear that astrology won't work with me."

He said, "Now I now have to study more in depth. And after three days I will be coming back."

Twenty years have passed; he has not come.

And whenever I have been in Bombay, I have inquired, "Phone the astrologer and ask when that in-depth study is going to be complete -- because twenty years have passed.

Has he dropped the idea?"

If you are enlightened, then astrology cannot function for you. Then you can love, then you can do, then you can act, then you have a certain mastery over your own being.

But unconscious, you are just moving hither and thither as the wind blows.

And anybody who has studied human nature deeply.... There are many astrological schools which have studied for centuries how the mechanical man works. They have come to certain conclusions, and their conclusions are almost always correct. If they are incorrect, that means the astrologer is not well prepared, his studies in human nature and unconscious behavior are not complete.

But the moment you start becoming conscious, you start becoming really a man -- not a machine.

When Gurdjieff said for the first time that man is a machine, it shocked many people. But he was saying the truth. Only the truth is applicable just to 99.9 percent of people -- 0.1 percent of people have to be left out of it.

Gautam Buddha was born....

And in the East those were the days of the highest possibilities for human genius. In all directions in which the East was working, it reached the very peak, the climax... to such an extent that you cannot find a new Yoga posture; Patanjali exhausted all the possibilities of postures, the science is complete. Five thousand years have passed, and in five thousand years thousands of people have tried but there is no way to find a new posture.

You cannot find a new sex posture; Vatsyayana has completed all the postures possible -- and a few which may even look impossible!

Shiva completed all the techniques -- one hundred and twelve. You can play with new combinations, but nothing new is possible.

Astrology was at its peak.

And as Gautam Buddha was born, the son of a great king, the king immediately called the best astrologers. They all studied the birth chart and they all remained silent.

Only one -- a young astrologer -- said to the king, "These people are silent because this is a strange boy, and we cannot be decisive about him. There are two possibilities" -- and astrology never speaks in that way. Astrology means you have to predict what is going to be; you are not there to predict all the possibilities -- that will not be prediction.

But the young astrologer said, "These are old wise people, they will not even say this. I am young and I can stick my neck out, I can risk, because I don't have any reputation.

There are two possibilities: either this boy will become an emperor of the world, a chakravartin, or he will become an enlightened, awakened liberated soul -- but then he will be a beggar. Either he will be the emperor of the whole world or he will be just a beggar with a begging bowl in his hands. And it is not in our power to say what the outcome will be."

And all the old astrologers agreed. "The young man is right. We were silent because this is not the way astrology functions -- we say, `this is definitely going to happen.' But about this boy we cannot say. And the possibilities are so diametrically opposite -- either the emperor or the beggar."

And that's what happened.

The king asked all those wise astrologers, "Then tell me how to protect him so that he does not move towards becoming a beggar but becomes the world emperor. That has been my lifelong desire. I could not achieve it -- but he has the possibility. So just tell me how to prevent him from becoming a beggar."

They gave all their advice, and their advice turned out to create just the opposite to what they intended. They had suggested, "Give him all the luxuries. Don't let him know about death, old age. Don't let him know about sannyas. He should not be given time to think, `What is the meaning of life?' Keep him engaged continuously in singing, in dancing, wine and women, drown him completely."

And that's what created the trouble -- because for twenty-nine years he was kept so isolated from the world, so ignorant about the ordinary reality of the world where people become sick, people become old, people die, there are sannyasins, there are seekers of truth... If he had been allowed from the very beginning, he would have become immune - - from the very beginning he would have seen that people become old, people become sick, a few people become sannyasins. But for twenty-nine years he was kept completely aloof.

And after twenty-nine years when he came into contact with the world -- one day, one has to come into contact with the world -- then it was a great shock. He could not believe his eyes that people become old; he could not believe that life is going to end in death. He could not believe that he had been kept in darkness while there were people searching to find the meaning of life, trying to find out whether there was something immortal in man or not.

The shock would not have been so much. It is not such a shock for anybody else -- from the very childhood, everything... one becomes, slowly slowly, accustomed. But for him the shock was tremendous.

That very night he left the palace as a sannyasin in search of truth.

The father was trying to save him from the begging bowl, and that's what he adopted that night.

It was possible he might have become Alexander the Great if he had not been kept in darkness. But in a way it was good, because Alexander the Great and his kind have not helped human consciousness.

This man alone, with his begging bowl, raised humanity more than anybody else towards the stars, towards immortality, towards truth.

About such a man, astrology is not possible.

It is good to accept that you are functioning like a machine. Don't feel offended -- because if you feel offended, you will defend yourself and you will remain what you are.

Try to understand your behavior -- is it mechanical or not?

Somebody insults you -- how do you react? Is that reaction mechanical or conscious? Do you think before you become angry? Do you meditate for a moment before you respond?

Perhaps what the man has said is right, and if you had not got angry immediately, instantly, without giving a small gap for meditation, you might have been grateful to the man rather than being angry -- "You are right."

In fact, things which are right hurt you much more.

Lies don't hurt you at all.

Just the other day, Nirvano brought a newspaper cutting. A Western traveler coming from Tibet gave his first press conference, and in the press conference he said, "My greatest experience was meeting with Bhagwan in Tibet."

Now people can lie like anything, and whoever reads it will believe it. The printed word has a certain impact on people.

Just a few days before, there was another news item -- no ifs and no buts, a certainty -- that "Bhagwan is going to appear in Israel very soon. He has decided to become converted to Judaism, and after converting to Judaism, he will declare himself to be the reincarnation of Moses."

Now what can you do with these people? You can laugh, but you cannot be angry. You can enjoy, you can thank them for their imagination. These are the people who keep the world going!

Just watch your actions, and try not to be mechanical. Try to do something that you have never done before in the same situation.

That's what the meaning is when Jesus says, "When somebody slaps your face, give him the other cheek too." The real meaning is, simply act non-mechanically -- because the mechanical thing would be when somebody slaps you, you slap him. Or if you are not capable of slapping him right now, then wait for the right moment. But to give him the other cheek is behaving non-mechanically, is behaving very consciously.

But people can make anything mechanical.

I have heard about a Christian saint who was continuously quoting the same thing: "Love your enemy, and if somebody slaps you on one cheek give him the other too."

One day a man who was against Christianity found the saint alone, hit him hard on one of his cheeks, looked into the eyes of the saint.... For a moment the saint wanted to hit him back -- but being a saint, remembering all his teachings and remembering that this man sits in his congregation in the front, he gave him the other cheek, thinking that he would not hit it. The man hit him harder on the other cheek! -- and that very moment the saint jumped on the man, hitting him hard on the nose. The man said, "What are you doing?

You are a Christian, you have to love your enemy."

He said, "Forget all about it. Jesus only talked about two cheeks -- about the third, I am free. Now there is no third cheek to give you. And he has not said that when he hits you on the second, give him your nose too!"

Because Jesus has not said why....

Gautam Buddha in one of his sermons said, "Try to be non-mechanical as much as possible. If somebody hits you, insults you, humiliates you, forgive him seven times. Be conscious."

Jesus was saying only one time -- because you have only two cheeks, and one he has hit already. Only one is left, so there is not much.... Buddha is saying seven times.

One of the disciples stood up and said, "What about the eighth? Seven times we will keep patience, but what about the eighth?"

Even Buddha was silent for a moment. So deep is man's mechanicalness.... He said, "Then change it, make it seventy-seven times."

The man said, "You can make it any number, but the question will remain the same -- what about the seventy-eighth time? We can wait seventy-seven times...."

You can behave in a saintly way, but if it is mechanical it doesn't change anything.

Be alert and see that yesterday you have done the same thing. Today make a little difference -- you are not a machine.

You said the same thing to your wife, make a little difference -- you are not a machine.

And if in twenty-four hours time you continually go on changing, slowly slowly you will slip out of the mechanical behavior and a consciousness will arise in you.

That consciousness makes you really human. Before, you only appear human; in reality you are not.

Beyond Enlightenment

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A Vietnam-era Air Force veteran (although his own Web site omits that
fact), DeFazio rose to contest the happy-face rhetoric of his
Republican colleagues in anticipation of Veterans Day next Wednesday.

DeFazio's remarks about the real record of the self-styled
super-patriots in the GOP deserve to be quoted at length:

"Here are some real facts, unlike what we heard earlier today:

150,000 veterans are waiting six months or longer for appointments;

14,000 veterans have been waiting 15 months or longer for their
"expedited" disability claims;

560,000 disabled veterans are subject to the disabled veterans tax,
something we have tried to rectify.