Anand Shari, yes, there are no answers, because there are no questions either. Life is not a problem. Had it been a problem there would have been no need for religion -- philosophy would have solved it, science would have found all the answers. Because life is not a problem it cannot be reduced to a question or to many questions. No question is really relevant to life.
Life is a quest not a question, a mystery not a problem, and the difference is vast. The problem has to be solved, can be solved, must be solved, but the mystery is insoluble; it has to be lived, experienced. The question has to be solved so that it disappears; encountering a mystery, you have to dissolve in it. The mystery remains, you disappear.
It is a totally different phenomenon. In philosophy the problem disappears, but YOU remain; in religion the mystery remains, you disappear, you evaporate.
The ego is very much interested in questions and very much afraid of the mystery. The questions arise out of the ego. It plays with the questions, tries to find out answers -- and each answer in its own turn brings more questions. It is an unending process; that's why philosophy has not come to any conclusion. Five thousand years of philosophizing, and not even a single conclusion! It is proof enough that philosophy is an exercise in sheer futility; its claims are very bombastic.
In India we have a proverb that you dig the whole mountain and in the end you find only one rat -- but philosophy has not even been able to find the rat. It has been trying, and with great effort, to find some way out of the questions, but it gets more and more lost in the jungle. Now there are more philosophical problems than there were before, and they will go on increasing because the moment you assert a single answer it immediately explodes into many questions. It solves nothing, it simply gives you more work to do.
Religion takes life from a totally different vision. Its intrinsic quality is to be mysterious, and a mystery is that which cannot be reduced into the game of questions and answers.
You have to be utterly silent to experience it, you have to be a no-mind to experience it. It can be experienced, but the experience cannot be put into words; it remains inexpressible.
Hence Buddha has no answer. Not that he never answered questions -- he answered questions for forty-two years just to be polite to you. But if you look deeply into his answers you will find that rather than answering he is simply seducing you towards silence. The answers are not answers but strategies to bring you to a point of deep understanding that nothing can be solved. The moment you understand that nothing can be solved, your mind simply dies. The mind can live on only with questions, problems, puzzles, riddles. The moment there is nothing to be solved, the whole function of the mind is destroyed. The very earth underneath its feet has been taken away. Questions are nourishment for the mind.
I have been answering you, but none of my answers is an answer. It is simply a way of bringing you to that ultimate jump from mind to no-mind, from thoughts to no-thought, from questioning to living. And when you start living the mystery, I call it a quest. Then it becomes a totally different phenomenon -- you are not standing outside it. When it is a question, you are standing outside. You tackle the question, you look from all sides, you search all the aspects, all the possibilities; you dissect it, you look in, you try to find some clue; you propose some hypothesis, you experiment. The question is there outside you, on the table, but you are not part of it.
In a quest YOU are the question; there is no division between you and the question. The quest means you are diving deep within yourself. In a real quest there is only one question: "Who am I?" All else fades away, and finally even "Who am I?" starts dissolving. Then a great mystery descends on you; you are surrounded by miracles. The whole of life is transformed; it becomes translucent. Then it is a song, a dance, a celebration.
This is the whole approach of religion. Religion is anti-philosophical, and philosophy is basically anti-religious. There can be no religious philosophy, and there can be no philosophical religion.
Shari, you are right when you say, "There are no answers."
But before that, remember, there are no questions either.
The second question:
Moses, sannyas is a crazy way of living life. The ordinary way is very sane, mathematical, calculated, cautious. The way of sannyas is non-calculative, beyond mathematics, beyond cunningness, cleverness. It is not cautious at all; it is knowingly moving into danger.
Friedrich Nietzsche says, "Live dangerously." He had it written on his table in golden letters: "Live dangerously" -- but he never lived dangerously! In fact, a person who is not living dangerously needs to be reminded of the fact again and again every day. On his table, when he comes to work -- "Live dangerously." If you are living it, there is no need to be reminded.
Friedrich Nietzsche lived in a very cowardly way. He had great ideas -- just as all philosophers have -- but they were mere ideas. The life and the ideas of philosophers are polar opposites: they say one thing; they do exactly the opposite. There is no rhythm in their being; they are going in all directions simultaneously.
But those two words, "Live dangerously," are significant. Sannyas is a way to live your life in total danger. What do I mean when I say sannyas is living dangerously? It means living moment to moment without any past. The past makes your life convenient, comfortable, because the past is known; you are familiar with it, you are very efficient with it. But life is never past, it is always present. The past is that which is no more, and life is that which is. Life is always now, here, and all your knowledge comes from the past. Trying to live the present through the past is the way of the coward; it is the calculated way. People call it sanity, but it is very superficial and never adequate. There is no rapport with the present.
That's why millions of people are so utterly fed up with life. Life is such a gift, and people are fed up with it. It is very strange and amazing. Why should people be so fed up with life? The reason is not life itself; the reason is they are carrying the mountainous load of the past: all their experiences, knowledge, information -- what others have told them. They have accumulated great junk and they are carrying that junk. And the load is so heavy, and their eyes are covered with so much dust, that they cannot see the beauty of the present. And whatsoever they do see is something other than the reality.
The rural preacher ended his long, dull sermon by requesting the board of deacons to remain for a few minutes after the service. In the group which stayed on was a stranger.
"Pardon me, sir," said the minister politely, "but I asked that only the board remain."
"That's why I stayed on," retorted the man. "I was never more bored in my life!"
Your religions are boring you, your philosophies are boring you, your scriptures are boring you. Thousands of years of the past are the cause of your boredom. You cannot dance -- you are chained to the past, you are imprisoned in the past.
Sannyas means escaping from that prison. The prison may be of Hinduism or Mohammedanism or Christianity or Judaism or Jainism -- it does not matter what the name of the prison is. On the earth there are three hundred religions; that means three hundred kinds of religious prisons. And there are thousands of ideologies; they are also prisons within prisons. And there are sects and subsects.... You must have seen Chinese boxes -- boxes within boxes within boxes. You open one box, then another; you open that and then another; you go on opening and you always find a smaller box within. Each prison has more prisons inside it. Ultimately you are left only in a dark cell.
Sannyas is rebellion against all slavery; it is living life in absolute freedom. To live life in absolute freedom, without traditions, without conventions, without religions, without philosophies, without ideologies -- political, social, and others -- to live unburdened is sannyas. But it will look crazy to the whole world. Freedom looks crazy because everybody is living an imprisoned life. To prisoners, the person who escapes from the prison looks crazy, because for them prison is comfortable, convenient, secure, safe.
A Hungarian secret police colonel was inspecting a strip of the border.
"Too many people have been slipping across at this point," he informed the guards. "I have been ordered to test your security precautions."
After deploying the guards at strategic points, the colonel began creeping on all fours toward the barbed wire.
"Can you see me now?" he called out. When they cried back "Yes," he started again. On the third attempt he slipped under the fence.
"Can you see me now?" he called back.
"No, Comrade Colonel," was the answer.
"Then you will never see me again!" the officer shouted as he hastened on his way to freedom.
Sannyas is an escape from the prison -- Catholic or communist, it does not matter; it is an escape into the open. To live moment to moment is a crazy way, a poetic way, the way of the lover. People are living lives of prose -- clear-cut but mundane, superficial. Anything which is very clear-cut is bound to be superficial. Life is mystery, and the only way to commune with it is through poetry, not prose.
The prose style of life is the ordinary lifestyle.
The poetic style of life is sannyas.
It is bound to be a little bit crazy -- all poets are crazy, all painters are crazy, all dancers are crazy, all musicians are crazy. All that is great on this earth has something of madness in it.
Zorba the Greek says to his boss, "Boss, everything is right in you, only one thing is missing -- a little bit of madness!"
And I agree with Zorba. Sannyas gives you a little bit of madness, but that little bit of madness brings rainbows to your life. Multidimensional is that little bit of madness. It opens many doors which have remained closed for thousands of years. It allows the sun and the rain and the wind to come in. It gives you a chance to whisper with the clouds and the stars. It is a way of falling in love with existence. To live without falling in love with this tremendously beautiful existence is very stupid, ridiculous. That is missing the whole opportunity of being, of being alive, of being intensely alive, passionately alive.
Sannyas is a risk! The people who cannot take any risk cannot be sannyasins. Hence the people who are Hindu sannyasins are not real sannyasins; they are still clinging to the safety of the Hindu tradition. The VEDAS and the BHAGAVADGITA and the RAMAYANA -- the whole past gives them the feeling that they are on the right track:
"How can so many people be wrong?" They are following like sheep -- a large crowd of sheep, ancient, very ancient, prehistoric! The more ancient a tradition is, the safer it looks.
The person who cannot risk, deals with life in a businesslike way -- tries to cheat life, exploit life. He tries to give less and get more, because that is the way of profit.
The sannyasin does not care at all about getting anything back from life; he simply gives in sheer trust, and he receives a millionfold. But that's another matter; that is not his consideration at all. The man who is trying to exploit life will not get much out of it, and whatsoever he does get will remain inessential. He will remain a beggar and he will die a beggar. He will never know what it means to be an emperor.
The sannyasin knows what it means to be an emperor, because he simply gives; he enjoys giving, he loves sharing. And the miracle of life is: the more you give the more you have.
When you give totally, the whole sky descends on you, the whole beyond becomes your within.
Sannyas is hope -- hope against all hope. People have lost all hope; they are living hopelessly. They are living simply because they are cowards and cannot commit suicide.
The existentialist philosophers are right when they say that the most important philosophical problem is suicide: to live or not to live, to be or not to be. If this is life that ordinary people are living, then it does not seem to be worth living at all. What is the point of getting up every morning and going through the same empty gestures you have gone through thousands of times? The same breakfast, the same nagging wife, the same ugly husband; the same suspicions, the same possessiveness, the same jealousy, the same anger, the same ambition; rushing to the office, the same boss -- everything is the same, a constant repetition.
And again coming back home and sitting in front of that idiot box called the television, and looking at the same story, the same triangles -- two women and one man or two men and one woman -- the same story, the same triangle! And you already know the conclusion; in fact, you can write the whole story yourself. But what else to do? Playing cards, listening to the radio, reading the newspaper -- it is almost the same. And then to bed again, and the same nightmares.... Nothing seems to be of any significance, and you have done it all, and many times.
The existentialists are raising a significant question: Why go on living? The only reason seems to be that people are afraid of dying, they are cowardly. They are living hopelessly because at least they have not chosen to live. Death has to be chosen, and they cannot take any decision on their own.
Sannyas is choosing your life and also choosing your death. Sannyas means becoming decisive, conscious, deliberate.
No matter how bad the news might be, there was one man who had a stock comment:
"Ah well, it might have been worse."
One day a friend said to him, "I have had an experience to which you can't apply your favorite cliche. I dreamed the other night that I died, went to hell, and was doomed to everlasting torment."
"Ah well, it might have been worse," said the optimist.
"How in hell could it have been worse?" cried the other.
The optimist replied, "It might have been true!"
The way of sannyas is the way of tremendous hope, trust. Life is basically good, beautiful, divine, so if we are missing then something is wrong with us, not with life itself. Life is so beautiful that it makes even death beautiful.
Sannyas, Moses, is not a way of doing anything, it is a way of being. It changes your inner world and, of course, your outer world changes with it, but that is secondary. It changes your center, it changes your awareness, and then your behavior, your actions.
Whatsoever you do has a new quality to it, a grace that descends from the beyond -- a song said or unsaid, sung or unsung, but it is there within your heart, a dance, the quality of dance to your feet....
Hence, Moses, I say it is a crazy way of living, but that's the only way to live life rightly.
A poetic way, the way of the lover -- but only love knows.
Logic is blind, love has eyes.
Only love can see the ultimate truth that surrounds you within and without.
The third question:
Krishna, nobody knows exactly because nobody is even aware of who he is. The question of wanting is secondary; the basic question is: Who are you? Out of that, things can be settled -- what your desires, your wants, your ambitions will be.
If you are an ego then of course you want money, power, prestige. Then your life will have a political structure. You will be in constant struggle with other people, you will be competitive -- ambition means competition. You will be continuously at others' throats and they will be continuously at your throat. Then life becomes what Charles Darwin says: the survival of the fittest. In fact, his use of the word "fittest" is not right. What he really means by the fittest is the most cunning, the most animal-like, the most stubborn, the most stupid, the most ugly. Charles Darwin will not say that Buddha is the fittest or Jesus is the fittest or Socrates is the fittest. These people were killed so easily, and the people who killed them survived. Jesus could not survive. Certainly, according to Darwin, Jesus is not the fittest person. Pontius Pilate is far more fit, more on the right track. Socrates is not the fittest, but the people who poisoned him, who condemned him to death are. His use of the word "fittest" is very unfortunate.
If you are living in the ego, Krishna, then your life will be a struggle; it will be violent, aggressive. You will create misery for others and misery for yourself too, because the life of conflict cannot be anything else. So it all depends on you, who you are. If you are the ego, still thinking of yourself in terms of the ego, then you will have a certain stinking quality. Or if you have come to understand that you are not the ego, then your life will have a fragrance. If you don't know yourself, you are living out of unconsciousness, and a life of unconsciousness can only be one of misunderstanding. You may listen to Buddha, you may listen to me, you may listen to Jesus, but you will interpret according to your own unconsciousness -- you will MISinterpret.
Christianity is the misinterpretation of Jesus; so is Buddhism the misinterpretation of Buddha, and so is Jainism the misinterpretation of Mahavira. All these religions are misinterpretations, distortions, because the people who follow Buddha, Mahavira, Krishna, are ordinary people without any awareness. Whatsoever they do, they will save the letter and kill the spirit.
A philosopher was walking around a park and noticed a man who was sitting in the lotus posture, eyes open, looking at the ground. The philosopher saw that the man was totally absorbed in his gazing downwards. After watching him for a long time, the philosopher could no longer resist and went over to the strange fellow asking, "What are you looking for? What are you doing?"
The man answered without shifting his gaze, "I am following the Zen tradition of sitting silently doing nothing and then the spring comes and the grass grows by itself. I am watching the grass growing, and it is not growing at all!"
There is no need to watch the grass growing -- but that's what always happens. Jesus says one thing, people hear it, but they hear only the words and they give to those words THEIR meaning.
A mother took her small son to the psychiatrist and for at least three hours told the psychiatrist the whole story of her son. The psychiatrist was getting tired, fed up, but the woman was so absorbed in the telling that she was not even giving the psychiatrist an opportunity to prevent her. One sentence followed another with no gap.
Finally the psychiatrist had to say, "Please, now stop! Let me ask the son something!"
And he asked the son, "Your mother is complaining that you don't listen to whatsoever she says to you. Have you difficulty in hearing?"
The son said, "No, I have no difficulty hearing -- my ears are perfectly okay -- but as far as listening is concerned, now you can judge for yourself. Can you listen to my mother?
Hear I can; I have to. I have even been watching you -- you were fidgeting. One has to hear, but listening -- at least I am free to listen or not. Whether I listen or not, that is up to me. If she is shouting at me, hearing it is natural, but listening is a totally different matter."
You have heard, but you have not listened, and all kinds of distortions have gathered around. And people go on repeating those words without any idea of what they are repeating.
You ask me, Krishna, "What do I want?" I should ask you rather than you asking me, because it depends where you are. If you are identified with the body, then your wants will be different; then food and sex will be your only wants, your only desires. These two are animal desires, the lowest. I am not condemning them by calling them the lowest, I am not evaluating them. Remember, I am just stating a fact: the lowest rung of the ladder.
But if you are identified with the mind, your desires will be different: music, dance, poetry, and then there are thousands of things....
The body is very limited; it has a simple polarity: food and sex. It moves like a pendulum between these two, food and sex; it has nothing more to it. But if you are identified with the mind, then mind has many dimensions. You can be interested in philosophy, you can be interested in science, you can be interested in religion -- you can be interested in as many things as you can imagine.
If you are identified with the heart, then your desires will be of a still higher nature, higher than the mind. You will become more aesthetic, more sensitive, more alert, more loving.
The mind is aggressive, the heart is receptive.
The mind is male, the heart is female.
The mind is logic, the heart is love.
So it depends where you are stuck: at the body, at the mind, at the heart. These are the three most important places from which one can function. But there is also the fourth in you; in the East it is called TURIYA. Turiya simply means the fourth, the transcendental.
If you are aware of your transcendentalness, then all desires disappear. Then one simply IS with no desire at all, with nothing to be asked, to be fulfilled. There is no future and no past. Then one lives just in the moment, utterly contented, fulfilled. In the fourth, your one-thousand-petaled lotus opens up; you become divine.
You are asking me, Krishna, "What do I want?" That simply shows you don't even know where you are, where you are stuck. You will have to inquire within yourself -- and it is not very difficult. If it is food and sex that takes up the major part of you, then that is where you are identified; if it is something concerned with thinking, then it is the mind; if it is concerned with feeling, then it is the heart. And, of course, Krishna, it cannot be the fourth; otherwise the question would not have arisen at all!
So rather than answering you I would like to ask you where you are. Inquire!
Three pigs entered a bar. The first pig ordered a drink and then asked the way to the bathroom. The second pig ordered a drink and also asked the bartender the way to the bathroom. Then the third pig came up to the bar and ordered a drink.
"Don't YOU want to know where the bathroom is?" sneered the bartender.
"No!" replied the little pig. "I am the one that goes, `Wee, wee, wee...all the way home!'" I should ask you, "Where are you? What kind of identification? Where are you stuck?"
Only then can things be clear -- and it is not difficult. But it happens again and again that people ask beautiful questions, particularly Indians, Krishna. They may be stuck at their sex center, but they will ask about SAMADHI. They will ask, "What is NIRVIKALPA SAMADHI, where all thoughts disappear, that thoughtless consciousness? What is it?
What is NIRBEEJ SAMADHI, the seedless, where even the seeds for any future are completely burnt? What is that ultimate state when one need not return to the earth, to the womb, to life again?" These are just foolish questions they are asking; they are not their questions. They are not at all concerned with their real situation. They are asking beautiful questions, metaphysical, esoteric, to show that they are higher quality beings; that they are scholarly, that they know the scriptures, that they are seekers; that they are not ordinary people, they are extraordinary, religious. That is driving the Indians into more and more of a mess.
It is always good to ask something which is relevant to you rather than to ask something which is of no concern to you. People ask me whether God exists or not, and they don't even know whether they exist or not!
Just the other day, Divakar Bharti, another Indian, asked me, "Why am I here?"
Divakar, are you really here? Ask yourself, are you really here? I don't think that you are here. Physically of course you are here, but spiritually, REALLY, you are not here.
Unless you drop that idea of being Indian, of being a Hindu, you cannot be here, you cannot be part of MY commune. You have carried all kinds of nonsense inside you and you are still clinging to it.
Krishna, it is always good to ask realistic questions, because then it can be of some help to you. If you are suffering from the common cold and you go to the physician and you ask about cancer, because a man like you -- how can he suffer from such an ordinary thing as the common cold...? Every ordinary person suffers from the common cold, that's why it is called the common cold. But you are such an uncommon person -- you are not any Tom, Harry or Dick. You are so special, you have to suffer from something very special, so you ask a question about cancer. And if the physician helps you in curing the cancer you will get into more trouble -- that treatment is not going to fit you at all. It will create more complications in you because those medicines can kill you, because there is nothing for them to work upon; there is no cancer in you and they cannot be of any use for the common cold.
In fact, for the common cold there is no medicine. If you take medicine, the common cold goes within seven days; if you don't take any, it goes within one week! In fact, it is so common that medical science has not bothered about it at all. Who cares about such small things? People are concerned about going to the moon, and about such small matters as the common cold or a leaking fountain pen, who bothers? The fountain pen still leaks!
People have reached the moon and they have not yet been able to make a one-hundred- percent-guaranteed fountain pen which is not going to leak!
Just look inside yourself, Krishna. Where exactly is your problem?
A general visiting a field hospital asks one of the bed-ridden soldiers, "What is wrong with you?"
"Sir," replies the soldier, "I've got boils."
"What treatment do you get?"
"They swab me down with iodine tincture, sir."
"And that helps?" asks the general.
"Yes, sir!" replies the soldier.
Then the general goes to the soldier in the next bed and finds out that this guy has hemorrhoids. He too gets swabbed down with iodine; it helps, and he does not have any other wishes. The general then asks the third soldier, "What is wrong with you?"
"Sir, I've got swollen tonsils. I get swabbed down with iodine, and yes, it helps."
"Anything you would like?" asks the concerned general.
"Yes, sir!" replied the soldier. "I'd like to be the first to be swabbed down."
First you have to see your situation, where you are; only then can you say what you want.
If you are being swabbed down with iodine tincture after these two fellows -- one who has got boils and one who has got hemorrhoids -- and you are suffering only from swollen tonsils, then the problem is clear!
Inquire, look for the exact place where you are. As far as I am concerned, all desire is a sheer wastage, all wanting is wrong. But if you are identified with the body I cannot say that to you because that will be too far away from you. If you are identified with the body I will say: move a little towards higher desires, the desires of the mind, and then a little higher, the desires of the heart, and then ultimately to the state of desirelessness. No desire can ever be fulfilled. This is the difference between the scientific approach and the religious approach. Science tries to fulfill your desires and of course science has succeeded in doing many things, but man remains in the same misery. Religion tries to wake you up to that great understanding from where you can see that all desires are intrinsically unfulfillable.
One has to go beyond all desires; only then is there contentment. Contentment is not at the end of a desire, contentment is not by fulfilling the desire, because the desire cannot be fulfilled. By the time you come to the fulfillment of your desire, you will find a thousand and one other desires have arisen. Each desire branches out into many new desires. And again and again it will happen, and your whole life will be wasted.
Those who have known, those who have seen -- the buddhas, the awakened ones -- have all agreed on one point. It is not a philosophical thing, it is factual, the fact of the inner world: that contentment is when all desires have been dropped. It is with the absence of the desires that contentment arises within you -- in the absence. In fact, the very absence of desires IS contentment, IS fulfillment, fruition, flowering.
Krishna, move from lower desires to higher desires, from gross desires to more subtle desires, then to the subtlest, because from the subtlest the jump into no-desire, into desirelessness, is easy. Desirelessness is NIRVANA.
Nirvana has two meanings. It is one of the most beautiful words; any language can be proud of this word. It has two meanings, but those two meanings are like two sides of the same coin. One meaning is cessation of the ego, and the other meaning is cessation of all desires. It happens simultaneously. The ego and the desires are intrinsically together, they are inseparably together. The moment ego dies, desires disappear, or vice versa: the moment desires are transcended, ego is transcended. And to be desireless, to be egoless, is to know the ultimate bliss, is to know the eternal ecstasy.
Krishna, that's what sannyas is all about: the quest for the eternal ecstasy that begins but never ends.
The fourth question:
Premo, courage means going into the unknown in spite of all the fears. Courage does not mean fearlessness. Fearlessness happens if you go on being courageous and more courageous. That is the ultimate experience of courage -- fearlessness; that is the fragrance when the courage has become absolute. But in the beginning there is not much difference between the coward and the courageous person. The only difference is, the coward listens to his fears and follows them, and the courageous person puts them aside and goes ahead. The courageous person goes into the unknown in spite of all the fears.
He knows the fears, the fears are there.
When you go into the uncharted sea, like Columbus did, there is fear, immense fear, because one never knows what is going to happen and you are leaving the shore of safety.
You were perfectly okay, in a way; only one thing was missing -- adventure. Going into the unknown gives you a thrill. The heart starts pulsating again; again you are alive, fully alive. Every fiber of your being is alive because you have accepted the challenge of the unknown.
To accept the challenge of the unknown in spite of all fears, is courage. The fears are there, but if you go on accepting the challenge again and again, slowly slowly those fears disappear. The experience of the joy that the unknown brings, the great ecstasy that starts happening with the unknown, makes you strong enough, gives you a certain integrity, makes your intelligence sharp. For the first time you start feeling that life is not just a boredom but an adventure. Then slowly slowly fears disappear; then you are always seeking and searching for some adventure.
But basically courage is risking the known for the unknown, the familiar for the unfamiliar, the comfortable for the uncomfortable arduous pilgrimage to some unknown destination. One never knows whether one will be able to make it or not. It is gambling, but only the gamblers know what life is.
An African delegation to Moscow was being treated to all aspects of Russian culture.
One of the secret service agents was telling an African how to play Russian roulette with a six-shooter handgun with only one bullet in the chamber.
"You put it to your head," he said, "and pull the trigger."
The African was not impressed. "African roulette is much more fearsome!" he said.
"Impossible!" exclaimed the Russian, "Please explain."
"There are six naked women," said the African, "and each one will give you a blowjob -- you just choose any one."
"That needs no courage," sneered the Russian.
"Aha!" exclaimed the African. "But one of them is a cannibal!"
Enough for today.
Come, Come, Yet Again Come