You have to go nowhere
I FEEL DIVIDED IN TWO PARTS -- HALF GOING TOWARDS THE UNKNOWN, AND HALF TOWARDS ALL THAT IS FAMILIAR FROM MY PAST. WHEN I GET CLOSE TO LETTING GO OF WHAT I BELIEVE IS MINE, I PANIC -- EVEN THOUGH I YEARN TO GO TO THE PLACE YOU TALK ABOUT.
PLEASE GIVE ME COURAGE TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP.
The real question is not of courage; the real question is that you don't understand that the known is the dead, and the unknown is the living.
Clinging to the known is clinging to a corpse. It does not need courage to drop the clinging; in fact it needs courage to go on clinging to a corpse. You just have to see...
That which is familiar to you, which you have lived -- what has it given? Where have you reached? Are you not still empty? Is there not immense discontent, a deep frustration and meaninglessness? Somehow you go on managing, hiding the truth and creating lies to remain engaged, involved.
This is the question: to see with clarity that everything that you know is of the past, it is already gone. It is part of a graveyard. Do you want to be in a grave, or do you want to be alive? And this is not only the question today; it will be the same question tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow. It will be the same question at your last breath.
Whatever you know, accumulate -- information, knowledge, experience -- the moment you have explored them you are finished with them. Now carrying those empty words, that dead load, is crushing your life, burdening your life, preventing you from entering into a living, rejoicing being -- which is awaiting you each moment.
The man of understanding dies every moment to the past and is reborn again to the future. His present is always a transformation, a rebirth, a resurrection. It is not a question of courage at all, that is the first thing to be understood. It is a question of clarity, of being clear about what is what.
And secondly, whenever there is really a question of courage, nobody can give it to you.
It is not something that can be presented as a gift. It is something that you are born with, you just have not allowed it to grow, you have not allowed it to assert itself, because the whole society is against it.
The society does not want lions, it wants a crowd of sheep. Then it is easy to enslave people, exploit people, do whatever you want to do with them. They don't have a soul; they are almost robots. You order, and they will obey. They are not free individuals.
No society wants you to be courageous. Every society wants you to be a coward, but nobody says it so sincerely; they have found beautiful words instead. They will not say, "Be cowardly," because that will look offensive to the person and he will start thinking, "Why should I be cowardly?" -- and a coward is not something respectable.
No, they say, "Be cautious. Think twice before you leap. Remember your tradition, your religion is thousands of years old; it has wisdom. You are a newcomer, you cannot afford to disbelieve in it. There is no comparison. You have just come in, and your religion has been there for ten thousand years, accumulating more and more experience, knowledge.
It is a Himalayan phenomenon.
"You are a small pebble. You cannot fight with tradition -- that is fighting against yourself, it is self-destructive. You can only submit to tradition; that is wise, intelligent.
To be with the crowd you are protected, you are secure, you are assured that you will not go astray."
In so many ways you will be told a simple thing: Just be a coward; it pays to be cowardly.
It is dangerous to be courageous, because it is going to bring you in conflict with all the vested interests -- and you are a small human being. You cannot fight with the whole world.
My grandfather used to say to me, "Whatever you say is right. I am old, but I can understand that you are saying something true. But I will suggest -- don't say it to anybody. You will be in trouble. You cannot be against the whole world. You may have the truth, but truth does not count; what counts is the crowd.
"Somebody may be simply lying" -- and all religions have been doing that, lying about God, lying about heaven, lying about hell, lying about a thousand and one things -- "but the crowd is with them. Their lies are supported by the immense humanity and its long tradition. You are nobody."
I was very friendly with my grandfather. He used to take me to the saints who were visiting the town. He enjoyed very much my arguments with the so-called saints, creating a situation absolutely embarrassing for the saint because he was unable to answer me. But coming back he would tell me, "Remember, it is good as a game but don't make it your life; otherwise you will be alone against the whole world. And you cannot win against the whole world."
The last thing he said was the same. Before he died, he called me close and told me, "Remember, don't fight against the world. You cannot win."
I said, "Now you are dying. You have been with the world -- what have you gained?
What is your victory? I cannot promise you what you are asking. I want it to be absolutely clear to you that whatever the cost... I may lose in the fight, but it will be my fight, and I will be immensely satisfied because I was in favor of truth. It does not matter whether I win or lose -- that is irrelevant, the defeat or the victory. What is important is that whatever you feel is right, you stand for it."
This courage is in everybody. It is not a quality to be practiced; it is something that is part of your life, your very breathing. It is just that the society has created so many barriers against your natural growth that you have started thinking from where to get courage?
from where to get intelligence? from where to get truth?
You have to go nowhere. You contain in the seed form everything that you want to be.
Realizing this and seeing the other side... The people who live with the crowd -- what is their gain? They lose everything. In fact they don't live at all; they only die. From their birth they start dying, and go on dying till the last breath. Their whole life is a long series of deaths. Just look at the whole crowd of people. You can be with them, but the same is going to be your fate.
It is so simple if you see it: the only way to live life is to live on your own. It is an individual phenomenon, it is an independence, it is freedom. It is a constant unburdening of all that is dead, so that life can go on growing and is not crushed under the weight of the dead.
YOU ARE MY INSPIRATION.
I HAVE HEARD YOU SAY YOU NEVER HAD A MASTER; BUT WAS THERE ANY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION FOR YOU WHEN YOU BEGAN YOUR JOURNEY?
Life itself is enough.
Seeing people all around -- walking corpses -- is inspiration enough not to move with them, not to go their way, but to find a small footpath of your own if you want to be alive.
I have never had a master, and I am fortunate that I never had a master. I have been, in my past lives, with a few living masters. They were beautiful people, lovable, but one thing has been clear all along to me -- that nobody can be a source of inspiration for me, because that word `inspiration' is dangerous.
First it is inspiration, then it becomes following, then it becomes imitation -- and you end up being a carbon copy. There is no need to be inspired by anybody. Not only is there no need, it is dangerous too. Just watching, I have seen... each individual is unique. He cannot follow anybody else.
He can try -- millions have been trying for thousands of years. Millions are Christians, millions are Hindus, millions are Buddhists. What are they doing? Inspiration from Gautam Buddha has made millions of people Buddhists, and now they are trying to follow in his footsteps. And they are not reaching anywhere; they cannot.
You are not a Gautam Buddha, and his footprints won't fit you, neither will his shoes fit you; you will have to find the exact size of shoes that fit you. He is beautiful, but that does not mean that you have to become like him. And that's the meaning of the word `inspiration'. It means you are so much influenced that the man becomes your ideal, that you would like to be like him. That has misled the whole humanity.
Inspiration has been a curse, not a blessing.
I would like you to learn from every source, to enjoy every unique being that you come across. But never follow anybody and never try to become exactly like somebody else; that is not allowed by existence. You can be only yourself.
And it is a strange phenomenon: the people who have become an inspiration for millions of other people were themselves never inspired by anybody -- but nobody takes note of this fact. Gautam Buddha was never inspired by anybody, and that's what made him a great source of inspiration. Socrates was not inspired by anybody, but that's what makes him so unique.
All these people whom you think of as sources of inspiration have never been inspired by anybody else. That is something very fundamental to be understood. Yes, they learned; they tried to understand all kinds of people. They loved unique individuals, but nobody was to be followed. They still tried to be themselves.
So please don't be inspired by me; otherwise you will never become a source of inspiration. You will be just a carbon copy, you won't have your authentic, original face.
You will be a hypocrite: you will say one thing -- you will do another. You will show your face in different situations with different masks, and slowly, slowly you will forget which one is your real face; so many masks...
I have heard about a man... One hundred years had passed since Abraham Lincoln was shot dead, so for one year a great celebration was arranged in his honor all over America.
One man looked like Abraham Lincoln; just a few touches here and there and he was almost a photographic copy of Abraham Lincoln.
He was trained to speak the way Abraham Lincoln used to speak, with his gestures, his emphasis, his accent, everything, small details -- even the way he walked -- for twenty- four hours a day... and he was to perform this drama of the life of Abraham Lincoln all over the country, moving from one place to another place the whole year.
He was shot dead so many times, every night in every show, sometimes even twice a day.
That year was a long year -- he died so many times -- and his part in the drama became almost his second nature. So when the celebrations were finished, people were surprised:
he walked out of the hall the same way Abraham Lincoln used to walk -- he used to limp a little. He was limping.
His wife said, "Come to your senses!" -- because he spoke in the same way, in an accent one hundred years old. His wife said, "Don't stretch the joke too much. Just become your real self and come home."
He said, "I am my real self, I am Abraham Lincoln." For one year continuously he had lived as Abraham Lincoln, he died thousands of deaths as Abraham Lincoln; he had completely forgotten that he was ever anybody else.
He was brought to a doctor. The doctor talked to him, but he was still in his dramatic role. The doctor said, "Just forget that drama."
The man said, "What drama?"
The doctor turned to his wife and said to her, "This man won't listen unless he is shot dead!"
The family was getting mad. He lost his job; nobody was ready to treat him because he was not sick. He was simply glued with a mask. One year is a long time, and every day, twenty-four hours a day, he was Abraham Lincoln. And to be Abraham Lincoln for one year and then suddenly become an ordinary human being -- who would like it? He had seen the glorious days, the golden days, and he was clinging tightly to them.
That man lived for a few years as Abraham Lincoln; he used to sign "Abraham Lincoln" exactly the same as Abraham Lincoln used to sign. Would you say this man has attained something or lost something? He has lost himself, and what he has gained is just a dramatic act. He has become absolutely phony.
And this is the situation of almost everybody in the world -- not so dramatic, not so outstanding -- but everybody is playing a certain role that has been taught to him, for which he has been brought up.
A child is born -- he is not Christian, he is not a Jew, he is not Mohammedan -- and then we start putting a mask on him. His innocent face disappears. And he will die believing that he is a Christian. So don't laugh at that poor man who died believing that he was Abraham Lincoln, because everybody else is doing the same. People are dying as Hindus -- they were not born as Hindus.
It was a continual trouble for me whenever there was census. The officers would come to me to fill out the form, and when it came to religion, I would say, "I don't have any religion."
They would be shocked, but they would say, "You must have been born into some religion. Your parents must have been Hindus, Mohammedans, Jainas."
I said, "That does not make any difference. My father can be a doctor or an engineer -- that will not make me a doctor or an engineer. He may be a Hindu or a Mohammedan -- that is his business. He cannot biologically transfer his religion to me. If he cannot transfer his medical knowledge to me, how can he transfer his spiritual knowledge to me?
It is a deception, and I don't want to be part of any deception."
People are being trained as actors; in this whole big world you will find everybody acting. Everybody is brought up to act... beautiful names -- "etiquette," "manners" -- but hidden behind is a subtle psychology to make you forget your originality and imbibe some actor which the vested interests want you to be.
Never be inspired by anybody.
When you see a beautiful sunset, you enjoy the beauty of it... when you see a Buddha, enjoy the beauty of the man, enjoy the authenticity of the man, enjoy the silence, enjoy the truth the man has realized -- but don't become a follower. All followers are lost.
Remain yourself -- because this man Gautam Buddha has found because he has remained himself. And all these beautiful names -- Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu, Bodhidharma, Nagarjuna, Pythagoras, Socrates, Heraclitus, Epicurus -- all these beautiful names which have been a great inspiration to many people were themselves never inspired by anybody.
That's how they protected their originality; that's how they remained themselves.
I have been with masters, and I have loved them. But to me the very desire to be like them is ugly. One man is enough; a second like him will not enrich existence, it will only burden it.
To me, uniqueness of individuals is the greatest truth.
Love people when you find them in some dimension true and authentic, blossoming. But remember, they are blossoming because of their authenticity and originality; so be mindful not to fall in the trap of following them. Be yourself.
The famous maxim from Socrates is: "Know thyself." But it should be completed -- it is incomplete. Before "Know thyself" another maxim is needed: "Be thyself"; otherwise you may know only some actor that you are pretending to be. Knowing thyself comes second; first is being thyself.
The real great masters have been only friends, a helping hand, fingers pointing to the moon; they have never created a slavery. But the moment they died they left such a great impact around them that cunning people -- theologians, priests, scholars -- started preaching to people, "Follow Gautam Buddha."
Now the man is dead and he cannot deny anything... and these people started exploiting the great impact that Buddha had left. Now the whole of Asia, millions of people, for twenty-five centuries have followed in the steps of Gautam Buddha, but not a single Gautam Buddha has been created. It is enough proof: two thousand years and not a single Jesus again; three thousand years, not a single Moses again.
Existence never repeats.
History repeats itself because history belongs to the unconscious mob.
Existence never repeats itself. It is very creative and very inventive. And it is good; otherwise, although Gautam Buddha is a beautiful man, if there are thousands of Gautam Buddhas around -- if wherever you go you meet Gautam Buddha, in every restaurant! -- you will be really bored and tired. It will destroy the whole beauty of the man. It is good that existence never repeats. It only creates one of a kind, so it remains always rare.
You are also one of a kind. You just have to blossom, to open your petals and release your fragrance.
I HAVE HEARD IT SAID THAT SOME SANNYASIN THERAPISTS NOW IMAGINE THAT THEY ARE ON THE SAME PLANE AS YOU ARE, DOING THE SAME KIND OF WORK -- IF PERHAPS ON A SOMEWHAT SMALLER SCALE.
THEY NO LONGER EVEN MENTION YOUR NAME, AND APPEAR TO HAVE DISCARDED THE MALA AND RED CLOTHES ENTIRELY.
HAVE THEY ACHIEVED -- OR WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON WITH YOUR THERAPISTS?
What is going on is hilarious.
These people think they have become individuals, they have attained freedom. But they don't even see a simple thing... I said to them, "You can drop your malas, and you can drop your clothes, and you can be free" -- and they immediately followed! They proved that they are followers -- chronic followers! If I had not said that, they would have been wearing the mala and red clothes still. Their freedom is not their attainment, but just my joke!
Naturally when I said, "I am your friend," they started thinking that they are my friends.
These are two totally different things! When I say I am your friend, that does not mean that you are my friend. For the second to be real, you will have to travel long.
I say out of my compassion that I am your friend, and you say out of your ego that you are my friend. Naturally, when you are my friend, then you are doing the same work as I am doing. It is just out of humbleness that they are saying, "Perhaps you are doing it on a bigger scale and we are doing it on a smaller scale." But deep down they may be thinking that they are doing it on a bigger scale -- or a more personal and intimate scale.
They have been with me for years, but they have been less with me than with their patients. The people who have missed me most are the therapists.
Once I declared some people enlightened -- and they became enlightened! And when I said it was just a joke, they became unenlightened again. I had told them, "You are now free." So they are free! Tomorrow I can call them back and put them in red clothes and in the mala: "This much freedom is enough; more than that is dangerous. Just come back and be your old self!"
If you are really understanding me, you will see the point: I give you chances to show your ego to yourself, to show your reality to yourself. And that's what is happening, and it is really hilarious. I saw one therapist who has even shaved his beard and mustache.
Perhaps he thinks by shaving the beard and mustache, he has shaved himself spiritually too. And all that he looks like is like a well-shaved ape -- just stupid.
It is unfortunate but it is true that the therapists have missed me most, for the simple reason that in the commune they were working on people's psychology and they started getting a subtle ego that they are helping my work. They forgot completely that they have not even started working on themselves.
They had a certain knowledge of therapy; they were useful for people and they helped to bring people close to me. Their patients became more intimate to me, more open to me, became more understanding of my work than the therapists. Because they were therapists and they were answering questions from people, running groups, they would not ask questions to me about themselves.
They had come for themselves, but they got lost because they had brought a load of knowledge. It was useful for others, and I told them that they should help people. But all their knowledge was not able to indicate a simple small thing to them, that "we have come here to realize ourselves. We can do the therapy, but that is not what we have come here for."
They went on doing therapy, and when the commune dispersed, they went back to their countries thinking that now they are doing exactly the work I am doing -- and they don't know even the ABC of my work. They were the most blind and the most deaf, because they were the most knowledgeable people.
They have missed the first opportunity. Now in the second opportunity, all those therapists who are just behaving like buffoons will be called back and put to some other work -- not therapy. They have to be completely removed from their knowledge; otherwise it is very simple for them to think like this.
They are afraid to mention my name because that may create the feeling in people that they are still not free of me. Their fear shows that they are not free of me. If they were really free of me, there would have been gratitude. They would have taken my name to different parts of the world with great respect and love if they were really free.
But they know they are not free; hence the fear. If somebody discovers that they have been my sannyasins, then what will happen to the sudden mastery that they have attained? A few of them have become "enlightened," a few of them have become "liberated" -- and they are simply proving one thing, that they are utter fools. And the sooner they realize it, the better!
IT SEEMS TO ME THAT PERHAPS ALL THE MASTER NEEDS TO DO IS TO HAND OUT TO EACH OF HIS DISCIPLES A LENGTH OF ROPE. OVER THE COURSE OF TIME, WE EITHER USE THAT ROPE TO SKIP WITH OR TO HANG OURSELVES WITH.
That's true -- it needs no comment!