YESTERDAY WHILE SITTING IN ZAZEN I FELT MYSELF GET HIT WITH A STICK ON MY HEAD. BUT PRADEEPA THAT TIME HAD NOT HIT ME. ALSO TODAY DURING THE LECTURE I GOT HIT TWICE ON THE HEAD BUT NO STICK-HITTER WAS AROUND. IS THIS MAGICLESS MAGIC?
It is sheer imagination, and on the path of meditation imagination is the greatest pitfall.
Be aware of it. You can imagine so deeply and you can believe in your imagination so intensely that it can appear more real than the real.
Imagination is a great force. On the path of meditation, imagination is a barrier; on the path of love, imagination is a help. On the path of love, imagination is used as a device:
you are told to imagine as intensely and passionately as possible. But on the path of meditation the same thing becomes a barrier.
Imagination simply means that you visualise a certain thing but you put so much energy into it that it almost becomes real. Every night we all dream. While dreaming, every dream looks real. To come to know in a dream that this is a dream will be the end of it; then you will find yourself awake. The dream can continue only if you believe that it is real. And even people who are very skeptical, doubting, of the scientific attitude, even they go on believing in the night, they go on believing in their dreams.
Every morning you find that it was just imagination but again every night you become a victim to it. And again when the dream unfolds you start believing it. On the path of meditation that hold of the dream faculty has to be loosened. Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples. 'Unless you can remember in a dream that it is a dream, you will never awake.'
This whole world is a dream -- a dream is a private world, the world is a common dream.
If you cannot awake while dreaming, it will be impossible to awake while you are awake, because now the dream is very big, and it is not only your energy that is creating the dream, it is the energy of all. It will be difficult. If you cannot come to see that something in your dream is false, when you alone are to decide and nobody else can interfere.... It is nobody else's business. You cannot invite anybody else into your dream because it is so private.
It happened that two patients of a psychoanalyst tried to play a trick on the analyst. It was the first of April and perfectly appropriate.
They decided that the next day they would come, separately, and they would relate the same dream -- they decided on the details of the dream -- to the psychiatrist and watch how he feels. It is impossible to dream the same dream together, two persons have never dreamed one dream together, so they wanted to shock him.
The first related his dream. When he left the second came and he related his dream. And he waited for some hint that the psychiatrist was shocked or surprised, but he was not surprised at all. He simply listened as if there was nothing out of common, as if it was just usual, as if it were an everyday affair.
The man asked, 'Are you not surprised?'
The psychiatrist said, 'This is the third time I have heard this dream.'
The man said, 'Third time? Who is the third person?'
He was shocked because only two persons knew about the dream. Who was this third person?
The psychiatrist laughed. He said, 'You cannot play a trick like that on me, because no two persons can dream the same dream. It is impossible.'
It does not happen that way because a dream is an absolutely private world. You cannot invite anybody else into your dream, you cannot ask anybody else's opinion about your dream -- whether it is true or untrue. It depends absolutely on you. And if you cannot even awake in this, how will it be possible for you to awake in the great MAYA, the great illusion that the world is?
So Gurdjieff used to say that the first effort is to awake in a dream and see the dream as a dream. He had a few techniques for how to awake in a dream. He would teach his disciples that every night, when they went to sleep, they should go on repeating as deeply as possible, as passionately as possible, 'This time when I start dreaming in the night I will raise my hand and touch my head. And immediately when I touch my head the remembrance will happen to me that this is a dream.' For months together the disciple would think, auto-suggest. Every night falling into sleep they would repeat it again and again with deep passion, so that it entered into the very unconscious layers of the mind.
When it enters deeper than the dream then one day it happens; while dreaming, automatically the hand goes to the head and suddenly he remembers that this is a dream.
But the moment he remembers that it is a dream, the dream simply withers away, fades out. He is awake while asleep, and the dream has left him.
If it happens that you awake in a dream, in the morning the whole world has changed. It is no more the same world because your eyes are clear, you have attained to a certain clarity of perception. Now dreams cannot deceive you, now you see things as they are.
You don't project.
Beware of imagination. You would like me to tell you that yes it was me. You will feel very much fulfilled if it was me hitting your head. People like to believe in miracles; hence miracles happen because people like to believe. People feel happy believing in their dreams; they go on giving energy to their dreams. That's how you have lived for many, many lives in a dream world.
I am not going to cooperate with you in any way. It was sheer imagination, you imagined it. Now you want my help also.
I have heard.
The rabbi of Chelm was distracted by children as he was preparing a sermon. He hollered out the window to chase them away, 'Hurry down to the river where a terrible monster is in the water. He is breathing fire, and is an ugly dragon.'
The children ran to see what was going on. People followed them, the crowd grew.
As the rabbi saw the mob running, he asked, 'Where is everyone going?'
'Down to the river where there is a monster breathing fire. It is an ugly green dragon.'
The rabbi joined the race.'True, I did make it up, ' he thought as he panted.'Still, you never can tell.'
You may be creating something but if others start believing it you will start believing it.
This is your imagination. If I say, 'Yes, it was true,' then you will suddenly believe in it, and you will think that you have believed in me. You have simply taken my support for your own dream.
Mind is a great liar, it goes on lying to you. Beware of the tricks of the mind.
A little girl was always lying. She was given a St. Bernard dog, and this little girl went out and told all the neighbors that she had been given a lion.
The mother called her and said, 'I told you not to lie. You go upstairs and tell God you are sorry. Promise God you will never lie again.'
She went upstairs and said her prayers and then came down.
Her mother said, 'Did you tell God you are sorry?'
The little girl said, 'Yes, I did and God said that sometimes he finds it hard to tell my dog form a lion too.'
That's how it goes on. But I am not going to help you in any way, because any hint of help will be destructive for you. On the path of meditation, on the path of Zen, all imagination has to be avoided. You have to be indifferent about it.
And the more you enter into meditation, the more and more imagination will try to distract you. It is not a new phenomenon, it has always happened. All the great meditators have come across it. Buddha is distracted by Mara, the god of devils. Jesus is distracted by the devil. Sufi mystics are distracted by Satan. There is no Satan, no Mara, no devil -- the real devil is in your mind, the imagination.
There are stories of Hindu seers that when they reach to the final step of their meditation they are distracted by Indra. He sends beautiful maidens, APSARAS, to distract them.
But why should anybody distract these poor saints? Why? They are not doing anybody any harm. They have left the world, they are sitting under their trees or in their caves in the Himalayas, why send beautiful maidens to them?
Nobody is sending anybody. There is no agency like that. Imagination is playing the last tricks, and when your meditation goes deep, deeper layers of imagination are provoked.
Ordinarily, when meditation is not there, you live on the surface of the mind. Of course, your imagination is also superficial then. The deeper you move in meditation, the more the deeper layers of imagination will be revealed to you, they will be more real. They will be so real that you cannot even think that they can be imagination.
Now you can even bring proofs that they are not imagination. For example, this SANNYASIN who has been hit twice, he can even show his head and you can find the marks. Now, he will say, 'How can it be imagination? Nobody has hit me -- and these marks are here?' Then you ask people who know about hypnosis. In deep hypnosis, the hypnotist suggests that he is putting fire in your hand, and he puts nothing -- but the hand gets burnt. Now what happened? It was just that the imagination worked so tremendously. The body is also under control of imagination. So if you think yourself beautiful you will become beautiful. If you think yourself ugly you will become ugly.
Your imagination will give a mould to your body.
That's how there are fire-walkers. If your imagination takes it deeply that you are not going to be burnt and God is protecting you, you will not be burnt. You can pass through a pit full of burning coals without being burnt. But even if a slight suspicion arises in your mind, then immediately you will be burnt. Because that slight suspicion is a loophole in your imagination. Then you are no longer protected by the seal of your own imagination.
So the deeper you go in meditation, the deeper will be the games of imagination.
Sometimes it will come as APSARAS, beautiful maidens, dancing, provoking, seducing you. Sometimes it will come as tremendous fire-monsters throwing fire from their mouths. Or, anything that you can imagine will surround you. And if you get caught into it, if for a single moment you forget that this is imagination, then the imagination has destroyed your penetration into meditation. You are thrown back to the surface again.
Then you will have to seek the path again. So if you are sitting in zazen, as the SANNYASIN has said, then remember it.
But this is a good indication. That you could imagine so deeply shows that meditation is going deep. The deeper the meditation, the deeper will be the imagination. Only at the last point does meditation take over. Until the last, the struggle continues between imagination and meditation. And sometimes the imagination is so beautiful.... This is not such a beautiful imagination, you have been hit twice! Still you want to believe in it, because just to think that miracles have started to happen to you, just to think that your Master is working hard on you, just to think that he goes on making you aware and hits on your head when you were falling asleep, is very ego fulfilling.
There are many beautiful imaginations -- they will come. Flowers will shower on you and you can almost smell them. It is possible that you can imagine very deeply that roses are falling on you and you can smell them. That's okay -- but somebody else passing by your side may be able to smell your roses! Then it becomes tremendously powerful.
It means your imagination is not only passive, it has become active. You are creating a certain smell inside your body by your imagination. Your body has all that the earth has.
The earth creates the rose. If the rosebush is not there you cannot smell roses in the earth, there is no smell. But if you put a rosebush there, one day suddenly it flowers and the smell is there. The earth was containing the smell and the rosebush helped the smell to come to an expression. Your body is earth, it contains all that is contained by earth. If your imagination is tremendous, not only you will smell, others also can smell the rose.
But still it is imagination. Your imagination functioned just like a rosebush; it helped to express something that was hidden within you.
Man is earth. The word human comes from 'humus'. Humus means the earth. The Hebrew word 'adam' comes from a Hebrew root which means the earth. We are made of earth, we are miniature earths. We carry all that is hidden in the earth, that is our potentiality also.
Once you help through imagination your potential starts becoming actual.
But on the path of meditation even beautiful experiences like these are to be avoided.
Because once you get into them you are getting into the mind, and the whole effort is how to drop the mind, how to get rid of the mind. Once the mind is not there then you are completely separate from the body -- mind is the bridge, mind connects you with the body. Mind dropped, there is the body, the earth, and there is you, the sky -- totally separate realities. Then you have become a witness.
So if next time it happens -- this magicless magic -- to you, and you feel a hit on the head, don't be concerned by the hit, simply remain aware. Just watch. Whether it is true or untrue is irrelevant, remain a witness. Simply remain a watcher, don't get involved in it in any way and soon it will disappear. And once you have learned the technique of how to drop the games of imagination it is going to be tremendously beneficial to you. Because the more you go into meditation, the more and more imagination will be coming.
Stronger and stronger waves of imagination will pass through your being, and you will have to be aware and alert.
If it is difficult for you, impossible for you, then the path of meditation is not for you.
Then the path of love, then the path of BHAKTI and devotion, where imagination is not avoided but used, is for you. Then you forget all about zazen, that path is not for you.
Then you forget all about Buddha, Mahavira, that path is not for you. Then you move into the world of Meera, Chaitanya, Mohammed. Then you move into the world of devotion.
Remember, one thing can be a help on one path, and the same thing can be a hindrance on another path. For example, there are rails, the train runs on them, they are a help, without rails the train will not run. But if you start moving a car on those rails you will be in difficulty. They are a help for trains but they cannot be a help for cars. Cars need a more free way, more freedom. So remember always, a thing which is a hindrance on one path need not be a hindrance on another path.
But if you choose zazen.... I think the SANNYASIN who has asked this question will be tremendously benefited on the path of zazen because such imagination that he could believe it to be true simply shows that his sitting is helping. He is relaxing into deeper layers of consciousness.
The second question:
WHILE PRACTICING ZAZEN, JUST SITTING, I DISCOVERED THAT I HAD BECOME THE GREATEST FOOL ON EARTH. BUT SUDDENLY I REMEMBERED ONE PROVERB: WHEN IGNORANCE IS BLISS, IT IS FOLLY TO BE WISE.
THOUGH THIS STUPIDITY HAS MADE ME A FOOL, I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO FULL AS I AM NOW. I HAVE NOW FALLEN IN LOVE WITH THIS ZAZEN STUPIDITY. I INVOKE YOUR BLESSINGS SO THAT I REMAIN A FOOL TILL ETERNITY.
Yes, there is a foolishness which is wisdom, there is a foolishness which is enlightened.
There is a foolishness of the wise. Why call it foolishness? It is foolish in the eyes of the world, in the eyes of the worldly because it belongs to a different realm. It is not of the world of calculation, cleverness. It is innocent.
Jesus looked like a fool. Lao Tzu also looked like a fool. In India for the fool we have a term, BUDDHU -- it comes from Buddha. Buddha must have looked like a fool, tremendously like a fool, hence the term BUDDHU. We call a man BUDDHU if we want to call him an idiot. BUDDHU means buddha-like.
Buddha must have looked like a fool when he renounced his empire. He was going to be the king and he became a beggar. Can you find more foolish a person? He had the most beautiful women around him and he escaped from the palace. What foolishness! When Buddha escaped, renounced, he didn't stay in his father's kingdom because the spies of his father would have followed him and they would have caught hold of him again. He immediately left the kingdom, went outside, and entered into another kingdom.
But the king was a friend of his father. So when the king came to know he came to see Buddha and he said, 'What foolishness you are doing! If you are angry with your father, don't be worried, you come to my palace. Get married to my daughter and be a king here.
If there is some trouble with your father, forget all about it. I am just as loving towards you as your father. He is my old friend, and my kingdom is not lesser than your father's kingdom. So come! But what nonsense you are doing! Begging on the street? You are not a beggar. Your family has been royal for centuries.'
Buddha laughed and he said, 'As far as I know I have been a beggar for many lives. I don't know about my family, but I know about me. And I come through my father but I don't belong to him. He has just been a passage.'
Yes, if you move deeper than the mind, you will start looking foolish to others -- even to yourself you will start looking foolish, because you will fall out of line. That is the meaning of the word 'idiot' -- one who has his own idiom of life, his own private style of life. That is the meaning of 'idiot'. If you have a language of your own nobody will be able to understand it. Then people will say, 'Why are you talking like an idiot? It is gibberish.' You may be using a perfect language of your own coinage, but unless it is social it cannot be accepted as language. Unless your life belongs to the society you cannot be thought intelligent. People who are thought to be intelligent are those who are in the rat race in this competitive world, hankering to cut each other's throat, trying to reach to the topmost, trying to become the first in the world.
Jesus says blessed are the meek, the non-competitive; blessed are the poor, those who have nothing. Of course he's talking nonsense. If Jesus is right then all the politicians are foolish. If Jesus is right then all the rich men are foolish. Then what about Alexander the Great? If Alexander the Great is right, then of course Jesus is a fool. And Alexander the Great seems to be right because the crowd believes in him. Jesus is lonely, Lao Tzu is lonely, Zen Masters are lonely -- solitary beings, idiots, they have their own idiom. They live their life according to their own being, they don't bother a bit, they don't fulfil the formalities of the society. They live as individuals, that is their foolishness. They don't live just like mechanical parts of society, they are not robots. They are alive beings.
If you are alive, if you are really alive and vibrating with life, you will look foolish; that's why children look like fools. Old people look wise because they are dead, stiff -- all life has oozed out of them. They are alive only for name's sake. They may have died a long time before.
I have heard about one man who made a will when he died. And in the will he said, 'Write on my tomb: Born such-and-such year, died when thirty, buried when seventy.'
Almost always it happens that people die near about thirty, then they are buried at seventy. That's another thing: burial is one thing, dying is another thing. When society comes to know that you are dead that's another thing.
I have heard about a priest -- a Catholic priest of course -- who died, and for three days he could not understand what had happened. Then he came to his church and tried to communicate with his successor, and said, 'Be aware. I died, but for three days I did not think that I was dead because I was more dead while I was alive. I was feeling more alive so I did not think that I was dead. It took three days for me to realise the fact that I had died.'
Children look foolish, and Jesus says, 'Unless you are like small children you will not be able to enter into my Kingdom of God. In fact he is saying, 'Blessed are the fools.'
Children are fools, that's why everybody tries to make the children wise. The very effort to make them wise simply kills them. By and by they become afraid to live; their streaming life is crippled from everywhere, only a very narrow passage which is socially acceptable is allowed for them to live in. Then through that tunnel only, they somehow cling to life. That tunnel is just a very small thread -- they don't die, that's all, but they don't live either. They don't live at all. They somehow drag.
So if you sit in zazen and you move deeply into it, your mind will start falling away, and your mind has up to now been your cleverness, your so-called intelligence. Your mind has accumulated all your experiences, your past. And when the past starts withering away and you become fresh and alive in the moment, you are again like a child, again a fool.
Lao Tzu said, 'Everybody is clever except me. Everybody seems to be very calculating, I am just muddle-headed.'
It is related that Rabbi Hanuk told this story.
For a whole year I felt a longing to go to my master, Rabbi Bonon, and talk with him. But every time I entered the house I felt I was not man enough. Once though, when I was walking across the field and weeping, I knew that I must run to the rabbi without delay.
He asked, 'Why are you weeping?'
I answered, 'I am after all alive in this world, a being created with all the senses and all the limbs, but I do not know what it is I was created for, and what I am good for in this world.'
'Little fool,' he replied.'That's the same question I have carried around with me all my life.
You will come and eat the evening meal with me today.'
Ordinarily we think people who know answers are wise. They may be learned but they are not wise. They may be very well informed, but information has nothing to do with wisdom. People who are really wise, in fact, have no answers. They have a quest, an enquiry, a tremendous enquiry in them, but no answers. By and by they come to understand that all questions are meaningless, so they drop questions also. A man becomes perfectly wise when he has no answers and no questions.
Ordinarily, if you have many answers you will be thought wise. But religiously, in the Zen way, if you don't have any answers and no questions.... Questions exist in the mind and then mind tries to find out answers, then through answers mind creates more questions, and so on and so forth it goes. It is an endless chain, it goes on ad nauseam.
Once you understand this -- that this whole game is a mind game -- you simply drop it.
You don't hesitate in dropping it, you don't postpone it for tomorrow -- 'I will drop it tomorrow' -- you drop it right now. You say, 'This is just foolish.'
Then, of course, when you drop your foolishness, you will look a fool to the world. If somebody asks you, 'Who are you?' and you say, 'I don't know,' will you look wise? He will think either you are a fool or a madman.'You don't know? You don't know your name? You don't know who you are? You don't know your identity?' The man will become suspicious of you, he will report to the police immediately that here is a man who seems to be suspect, who could be dangerous. But if you say, 'Yes, my name is this. My address is this,' then everything is settled.
Socrates said in his last days, 'When I was young I knew many things, and I used to think of myself as the wisest man in the world. The more I grew, the more I became aware that I didn't know much. And then the last thing happened -- one day I suddenly realised that I knew nothing.'
It is said that the oracle at Delphi declared that Socrates was the wisest man in the world.
People who had heard the oracle came to Socrates and told him that the oracle has declared that he was the wisest man in the world. Socrates looked shocked and he said, 'There must have been some mistake, because just today I have realised that I don't know anything at all. I am the most ignorant man in the world! You please go and correct the oracle.' And they went and they told the oracle that Socrates himself says that he is the most ignorant man in the world. The oracle said, 'That's why I have declared him the wisest.'
The more open you become, the more innocent, the more childlike you become, the more the winds of existence start flowing in and out of you. The more you are knowing and have the gesture of knowledge, the more you are closed. Then you don't allow the winds of existence to enter you, then you are always distrustful, you don't trust life. A fool is one who goes on trusting; a fool is one who goes on trusting against all his experience.
You deceive him, and he trusts you; and you deceive him again, and he trusts you; and you deceive him again, and he trusts you. Then you will say that he is a fool, he does not learn. His trust is tremendous; his trust is so pure that nobody can corrupt it.
Be a fool in the Taoist sense, in the Zen sense. Don't try to create a wall of knowledge around you. Whatsoever experience comes to you, let it happen, and then go on dropping it. Go on cleaning your mind continuously; go on dying to the past so you remain in the present, here-now, as if just born, just a babe. In the beginning it is going to be very difficult. The world will start taking advantage of you... let them. They are poor fellows.
Even if you are cheated and deceived and robbed, let it happen because that which is really yours cannot be robbed from you, that which is really yours nobody can steal from you. And each time you don't allow situations to corrupt you, that opportunity will become an integration inside. Your soul will become more crystallised.
I have heard.
A thief visited the house of a Sufi mystic at night, and spread his shawl to wrap up the loot. After a long search he had not found anything. In the meantime the dervish sleeping on the floor had rolled over onto the shawl. When the thief came to pick up his shawl, he saw the dervish sleeping on it.
Just as he was leaving empty-handed, the dervish woke up and called after him, 'Please shut the front door.'
'Why should I?' the thief answered.'I came and supplied your mattress, someone else might come and bring your blanket too.'
So remain open, don't be worried -- even a thief cannot steal anything from you. He may supply a mattress or a blanket, that is another matter. He may give something to you but he cannot take anything from you, because that which can be taken is not yours. That which cannot be taken, only that is yours.
Be a fool. Zen is the effort of dropping the mind, destructuring it, so that your innocence that has become hidden behind the structure reveals itself again. You were born without knowing anything. You were born with clear eyes with no thoughts in them, with no clouds. Your inner sky was pure. Then you were taught, conditioned -- a thousand and one things -- and you became cluttered with knowledge, from the school, the college, the university, and life's experiences. And you were taught how to doubt -- because doubt is the intelligence of the wordly man.
Trust is the intelligence of the religious man. You were taught to doubt, trained to doubt, but because of doubt you became closed. A man who doubts cannot remain open; a man who doubts always feels;insecure. A man who doubts always thinks about the world as if it is the enemy; the man who doubts is constantly fighting. That fight is going to end in your defeat because the part cannot win over the whole. That's not possible.
So you are fighting a doomed fight. You are going to be defeated finally. You may have small victories here and there, but they don't count. Finally death comes, and all is taken away. And in this fight you could not enjoy, you could not delight in life. To delight in life one needs to be a fool, trusting.
Read Dosteovsky's 'the Idiot'. The main character in 'The Idiot' is a Zen character, a Tao character, a prince who is foolish, totally foolish. But his doors are open, he is not in any way fighting the world. He is relaxed. All tensions gather in you because of doubt, all tensions make their abode in your being because of fear, insecurity. And you are just a small wave in the ocean but you are afraid of the ocean and you are trying to fight with the ocean. You will simply waste an opportunity which could have become a celebration, which could have become festive.
The same energy which could have laughed is turned sour and bitter and becomes poisonous. To be alive.... When I say 'to be alive' I mean to be alive in the whole spectrum of life. Alive to cry and alive to laugh; alive to weep and alive to love -- the whole spectrum. I see thousands of people living half-heartedly. They have chosen a certain colour of the spetrum and they have narrowed down their being. Now they are missing, they are missing much -- because you can enjoy life only when you are a rainbow.
A man was deeply in love with a woman, but he was a very shy man. Finally he succeeded in persuading her to be at least friendly towards him.
This man was a friend of Henry Miller, and Henry Miller was asking again and again, 'What is happening in your love affairs?'
One day he came and he said, 'I was almost on the verge of succeeding. I had succeeded so much that I persuaded her to undress completely, but more than that she would not do.
What do you suggest I should have done?'
Miller said, 'Why, you should have wept.'
'Wept?' The man could not believe what he was saying.
He said, 'What else can you do? Laughter I cannot see in you, it is impossible. It is very, very far away because you have not even wept yet.'
Laughter is possible only if one is able to cry and weep deeply. The child cries -- that is the first relationship with the world. Every child born cries first. That is the first rung of the ladder. Miller says rightly, 'You should have wept because I don't know that you can do anything else. But this much you can do because this much you must have done when you were born. You should have wept.'
A fool is one who lives the whole rainbow -- he cries, tears are flowing from his eyes, he is not blocked in any way. He can cry in the marketplace, he is not ashamed of life.
Unashamedly he lives, and lives totally. That's why he is a fool, or thought to be a fool.
He laughs, and he delights. He is a rainbow. And God comes only to those who are like a rainbow.
Blessed are the fools.
The third question:
I FEEL THE WORD 'GOD' HAS NO HEARTFELT POTENTIAL, YET THE SKY AND PLANTS CAN BRING ME TO MY KNEES AND THERE IS A HEARTACHE FOR SOMETHING UNKNOWN. ZEN ATTRACTS ME WITH ITS FRESHNESS, COOLNESS, BUT ITS DEMANDS MAKE ME FEEL IMPOTENT. YOU SEEM THE MOST ATTRACTIVE, YOU WARM MY HEART AND HAVE THE COOLNESS OF A STREAM. ARE YOU POSSIBLY A THIRD WAY? BECAUSE I CAN'T DECIDE.
I am not a way at all, I am just a presence. You have to understand it because you are going to be with me. You have to understand it as deeply as possible.
I am not a way. A way leads you somewhere, it connects you with the there, and my whole effort is to bring you HERE. A way is there -- oriented, and I am here-oriented. A way is needed if the goal is far away from you. If the goal is away, distant, then the way is needed. As I see it, the goal is within you; you are the goal, you are the target. So there is nowhere to go, a way is not needed. In fact, dropping all the ways, dropping the very search and just being yourself is enough. Because you cannot do that you have to be shown a few ways to walk and get tired on. That is just to exhaust you.
The whole effort is to exhaust you. When the effort is exhausted and you are really tired and you fall down, and you say, 'Now I don't want to go anywhere,' and you relax... you reach. Seeking is not the way to reach, but seeking is needed because you are very active.
Even to reach God, ways are needed -- and God is here-now. He is your surround, he is within you and without. It is as foolish as a fish seeking the ocean and living already in the ocean. You are in truth because there is no other way; only in truth can you be. You may have forgotten it or you may not be able to recognise it because it is so obvious. It is so close that there is no distance to see it -- distance is needed to have a perspective, you cannot see things from very close. And God is not only close, he is not only the closest -- he is you. God is not a 'seen', he is in the see-er; God is not a goal, he is in the seeker. The seeker is the sought.
So I am not a way. I talk about ways because you are mad. I talk about medicines because you are ill and you cannot understand the vision of no-way. You will have to walk, seek, get frustrated. When I say there are two ways, I mean there are two ways to get frustrated.
One is of love, and another is of meditation.
But I am not a way. I am just a presence. And those who will understand me will not need anything more than just being with me. That's what in the East we call SATSANG - - just being with me, just being in my presence, just relaxing in my presence, just allowing me to enter you, not resisting, not fighting with me.
And suddenly one day you will start dancing, singing, celebrating. One day suddenly you will start laughing. What were you seeking? You were seeking yourself. How can you seek yourself? You are already that.
The questioner says: I FEEL THAT THE WORD 'GOD' HAS NO HEARTFELT POTENTIAL.... I know it. Theologians have killed it. They have killed a very beautiful word, 'God'.
Jews were right because they were very reluctant to call the name of God in any way.
They were very reluctant. They were right because if you use the name of God, too much use will destroy its beauty. Before Jesus, Jews were not allowed to utter the name of God.
Even now, if you look in Jewish books, and if they write God, they don't write G-o-d.
They simply write G-d; they leave out the 'o'. Because how can you pronounce his name in totality? He is so big. Whatsoever you call him is going to be incomplete, so they write G-d, not G-o-d -- the 'o' is left out. And it is good that they leave out 'o' -- 'o' is the symbol of emptiness, SHUNYA. 'O' is void, zero. That is the very soul of God, 'O', zero, that is his very being -- so they leave it out.
For many centuries only the high priest in the temple of Jerusalem was allowed to utter the name of God, and that too only once in a year, and that too in total aloneness. People would wait, millions of people would wait together outside the temple. Then the high priest would go into the innermost shrine, all the doors would be closed, nobody will be able to hear, and there, in the innermost shrine, he would whisper the name. That's all.
It was good because words like 'God', 'love', should not be used too much otherwise their beauty is lost. Theologians killed the beautiful word 'God'. Now it is almost ugly, it is almost vulgar.
How theologians have killed it has to be understood. Each of you has a theologian inside.
You have been conditioned for so many centuries that the theologian has almost become a part of you. God is wild, has to be, but the theologian is always afraid of the wild God, the theologian is always afraid of anything alive. So by and by he cuts out all wildness from God. He polishes, trains, and conditions the very word 'God'.
If you go to the old scriptures of the world, God was wild, as wild as you can imagine. He used to be angry also; he used to fall in love also; he used to run after women also. He was very human, down-to-earth, and very alive, throbbing and kicking.
But then it was not acceptable to the theologians because it was difficult to categorise him and it was difficult to use him. So by and by, limb by limb, they destroyed God. Now only a mummy, a dead body exists, preserved by chemicals, in churches. Churches are the tombs of God, their God has died. They made God more and more further away from man because it was impossible for their egos to understand that God could be in any way related to man. The creator and the created, the creator and the creature, how can they be related? No! The creator is far away in the seventh heaven and we are just like worms crawling on the earth, sinners asking to be forgiven. They condemned man and they went on raising God higher and higher. A moment came when the bridge broke.
It is so simple to see that the creator has to be related with the creation. A poet is deeply related with his poetry, has to be so, he loves his poetry. A painter is deeply related with his painting -- it is his life, his flowering, his expression. A sculptor loves the statue he has made. Watch a sculptor when he has finished a statue, how he touches and feels it -- almost as if it is the girl of his dreams, his beloved. Watch a sculptor when, in difficult circumstances, he has to sell his art work. Tears come to his eyes.
If God is the creator, he has to be close to creation, he has to be deeply in love with his creation. But then you cannot condemn man and then you cannot make man feel guilty.
And if you cannot force man to feel guilty, then churches cannot exist, then their whole business disappears. The whole business of the church exists only if you are guilty.
Because of your guilt you need their help; because of your guilt you need salvation.
If God is already close to you, and if God is already breathing in you, singing in your heart, then what is the need of any salvation? If God has created you, then how can you be sinners? Then you cannot be condemned, the signature of God is on you.
But then the whole business of religion disappears. So they went on making God more and more clinical. Now he smells almost like a hospital -- no life, but everything clean.
They became so afraid of the germs of life that they killed all the germs. But God also is killed.
The word 'God' has lost the heartfelt potential.
One of my SANNYASINS has sent a beautiful anecdote to me. Listen to it, meditate over it.
Yesterday somebody knocked on my door, and I opened it and it was God. And he asked me if he could use my bathroom. I said, 'Sure, come on in.'
When he finally came out of the bathroom, he explained that he had been having some trouble finding somebody who would let him use their bathroom because most people like to think God never has to go to the bathroom. Then he thanked me and told me he was looking for somebody to be the Messiah and he thought I showed promise.
I asked him if he really thought so. And he said he liked my bathroom.
God is eccentric, otherwise why should he create such an eccentric world?
But theologians have killed him completely. They cannot think that he needs a bathroom, there is no provision in heaven for that. He simply sits on his throne, he never goes to the bathroom. An inhuman God is a dead God. God has to be made alive again, he has to be brought home. Then your heart will start throbbing for him. If you drop theology then religion is beautiful, but if theology is always there between you and religion, then the theology is ugly and it makes religion look ugly also.
I FEEL THAT THE WORD 'GOD' HAS NO HEARTFELT POTENTIAL, YET THE SKY AND THE PLANTS CAN BRING ME TO MY KNEES. AND THERE IS A HEARTACHE FOR SOMETHING UNKNOWN....
That's good. That's how one should approach God, without theology. Don't use even the word 'God', there is no need, because the word 'God' is not God. The word 'love' is not love -- drop the word, you just carry the innermost core of it, the significance of it, the song of it. That's the only real way to enter into his temple -- nature, the trees, the birds, the sun and the stars. He is all around you, calling you in many, many ways. Don't go to the church. That is the last place you can hope for him to visit. Last! Maybe in some crisis, but otherwise not.
He's alive in the flowers, he's alive in the rainbows, he's alive in the birds. Listen to him.
In fact, if you learn how to listen, you cannot avoid him for long. Love -- if you know how to love you cannot escape from him for long. Love is his shrine and listening is the way to help him come into you.
There is an anecdote in the annals of Hasidism.
'Where is the dwelling of God?' This was the question with which the Rabbi of Coates surprised a number of learned men who happened to be visiting him.
They laughed at him.'What a thing to ask, Rabbi! Is not the whole world full of his glory?'
Then the Rabbi answered his own question.'God dwells wherever man lets him in.'
Let him in. He is knocking at your doors, allow him in. You need not go anywhere. Just relax, trust. His hand is already searching you. Just allow him to find you, and immediately a great transformation happens.
So that is the right way.
...THE SKY AND THE PLANTS CAN BRING ME TO MY KNEES AND THERE IS A HEARTACHE FOR SOMETHING UNKNOWN.
Yes, God is the eternally unknown. Even by knowing him, one never knows him; even by knowing him, he remains unknown. His unknowability is his mystery. And it is good that man cannot know him, otherwise he will become part of science, otherwise he will be just caught in a test tube somewhere in a lab. And you know what scientists can do. They will torture him if they can find him. They will poke him from here and there to find out secrets, just as they are torturing monkeys and other animals. They will torture God if they can find him.
No, God can never become knowledge. The word 'science' means knowledge. God can never become knowledge and can never become science. He is not a riddle to be solved, he is a mystery to be lived, a dance to be danced, a song to be sung, a love to be dissolved in. Yes, you can come to feel him but you can never come to know him. The unknown God is the only God there is.
There is a story about St. Paul. When he came to Athens to the Greek world to preach Christianity, he was very much surprised. In the centre of Athens there was a temple dedicated to the Unknown God. There was no image, the temple was absolutely empty and silent. There was no one inside it. Just on the door of the temple there was an inscription: Dedicated to the Unknown God. And people used to come to pray there, to feel God there. There was no priest and there was no theology and no philosophy around it.
St. Paul destroyed it because he started teaching people and he laughed at the stupidity of this temple. He is reported to have said that it was absolute foolishness. How can you love an unknown God? Here he was and he would show them the known God. God had become known in Jesus Christ.
He was thinking that he was doing a great service to humanity but he is one of the greatest criminals. He destroyed the concept, or no-concept, of an unknown God. That is the only God there is. He may have been reflected in the eyes of Jesus but he still remains unknown. In fact, by knowing him, he is not known, you also become part of his mystery and become unknown. Jesus has become a mystery by knowing him -- not that he has become known through Jesus. There is no way. He is so vast it is impossible to put him down as a formula, as a theory, as a dogma, as a creed.
Forget the word 'God'. Don't make that your obsession. It has nothing to do with God.
You can drop the word. Dropping the word will be helpful, because with that word, all that theologians have done up to now will be dropped. You just look around, look into the eyes of a child, or into the eyes of your beloved, your mother, your friend -- or just feel a tree. Have you ever hugged a tree? Hug a tree. And one day you will come to know that it is not only that you have hugged the tree but that the tree also responds, the tree also hugs you. Then for the first time you will be able to know that the tree is not just the form, it is not just a certain species the botanists talk about, it is an unknown God -- so green in your courtyard, so full of flowers in your courtyard, so close to you, beckoning you, calling you again and again.
Forget the word. Forget all words! If you can dedicate your being to the unknown, that is the best dedication possible. Theologians, priests, and people who do the business of religion have different things in their minds. They are not concerned with you or with God. Religion has become a great investment. In fact, it is the biggest trade in the world.
No millionaire is so rich -- and he cannot be -- as churches are. No company Burmah Shell or Standard Oil -- is so rich, they cannot be. When religion becomes an investment, then there are other reasons than religious, other considerations.
I have heard an anecdote -- it happened in a Jewish temple. Jewish temples and synagogues do not pass the plate as do the Christian churches, consequently they have to raise money in other ways. One of them is the sale of tickets for reserved seats for the high holy days when business is best.
On one holiday a young man went to the synagogue in Philadelphia to look for his uncle.
The guard refused him admittance because he had no ticket.
'Look', the youngster said,'it is very important.'
'Not a chance,' said the guard.'Everybody says that. Nobody gets in here without a ticket.'
But the boy pleaded,' It is a matter of life and death. Please, I will only be two minutes.'
'Well okay, if it is so important,' the guard said.'But don't let me catch you praying!'
This can happen in this ashram also. This happens always. Because whenever something of the unknown descends on the earth, immediately man's cunning mind starts changing it into a commodity that can be sold in the market. Immediately the profit motive comes in. The word 'God', the churches, the temples, the synagogues, they have become marketplaces. You cannot find your heart there. The only way to find your heart is to see the unknown again. You will have to move alone, you will have to go alone. You cannot follow a crowd. If you follow a crowd you will reach some temple, or some synagogue, or some church. If you want to find the wild God, the God of this universe, the unity, the cosmos, then you will have to seek on your own, alone.
Pray to a tree, pray to a river, pray to a rock. Feel, there is no need for words. Let your heart communicate. Melt yourself into the world and let the world melt into you. This communion is prayer.
The person who has asked the question will be helped if he moves on the path of love.
Zen will not be helpful for him. He has a very feeling heart. Listen to the heart.
Many other questions are there, questions about making a synthesis of love and meditation, of heart and mind, of thought and feeling -- because many people would like to move on both the ways together.
Synthesis comes, but you cannot make it. If you follow the path of meditation, one day you will attain to love as a consequence. If you follow the path of love, one day you will attain to meditation as a consequence. Synthesis comes, but you will have to follow one path. If you try to follow two you will be in confusion. Synthesis comes at the end on its own accord, so don't be worried.
It is always so: if meditation happens, love is bound to happen. If love does not happen, then that simply shows meditation has not happened yet. If love happens, meditation also happens as a shadow. If meditation has not happened through love, then your love is not yet real. If it has not happened yet, you may be thinking about it, but you have not moved into the world of love. So don't be worried about synthesis. You cannot make a synthesis.
It is not for you to worry about it. Follow one, whichever feels more close to you.
There are a few questions which ask, 'Both seem to be almost fifty-fifty, so what to do?'
If both seem fifty-fifty, then Zen is your way. Because a person who cannot decide is not the man of the heart; a person who cannot decide is the man of the mind. If it is heart it is always decisive. Have you ever fallen in love with two women together, fifty-fifty? If you fall that way, then one thing is certain, it is not love. There may be other considerations. One is rich, another is a daughter of a prime minister or something like that. Love is not a consideration. If love is the consideration then immediately you choose one, then there is no problem.
So if you have a problem to decide, then it is decided: you are the mind type, you will have to follow Zen. If you can decide, then good; if you cannot decide then take it for granted that the very doubt, the indecisiveness, shows that you are a mind type, thinking, doubting, analyzing, thinking about pros and cons. And then your greed says, 'Is there not a way to make a compromise of both?'
Remember, compromise is not a synthesis. Compromise is a dead thing; synthesis is organic unity. You can make a compromise but through compromise nobody has ever grown; you cannot make a synthesis, it comes.
You start growing on one path, because both the paths use different devices, not only different, diametrically opposite. If you try to make a compromise, it will be impossible because one goes to the south, another goes to the north. So one leg will be going to the south, another will be going to the north. You will not be able to reach, you will be divided, you will become split. In making the compromise you will become a schizophrenic. That's how the human mind has become schizophrenic, split.
Don't bother about compromise. It always comes. Those who have attained through zazen have attained to the same love as those who have reached through devotion, BHAKTI.
A man, a Christian, came with the Bible to a Zen Master and started reading the Sermon on the Mount. After a few lines the Master said, 'Stop, there is no need. Whosoever has said these words is a Buddha.'
He had never known anything about the Bible, he had never heard anything about Jesus, he used to live in a far-away cave, completely out of the society. But he said, 'No need to read it anymore. Even one sentence is enough. It has the taste of the sea. Whosoever has said this is a Buddha -- is enlightened.' If you ask Buddha, Meera is enlightened, Chaitanya is enlightened. If you ask Meera and Chaitanya, Buddha is enlightened, Bodhidharma is enlightened.
Let me put in this way. If you follow love, devotion, surrender, one day you will suddenly find you are full of meditation. If you follow meditation, one day you will find the beloved has come, he has knocked at the door.