Just throw the whole bag
The first question:
YOU SAY THAT ENLIGHTENMENT CAN HAPPEN ANY MOMENT. TO ME IT FEELS LIKE A VERY SLOW PROCESS OF LEARNING AND BECOMING AWARE OF THE UNCONSCIOUS PARTS OF MY BEING.
DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT THIS?
Dharmapriya, enlightenment is not a process of learning; on the contrary, it is a process of unlearning. Whatsoever you know has to be dropped. Knowledge, the knowledgeable mind, has to be renounced.
If it were a process of learning, then certainly it would take time, it would be gradual.
But if it is a question of dropping something then it is not gradual, it need not be gradual. You can simply drop it instantly.
Once it happened:
A man came to Sri Ramakrishna with ten thousand gold coins to offer him.
Ramakrishna accepted his offering and then said, "Now these coins are mine - you go to the Ganges and throw them all into the river." Ramakrishna lived in a temple just on the bank of the Ganges.
The man was very much shocked. "Ten thousand gold coins, solid gold coins, and this fool is saying, 'Throw them into the river!' And I have always thought that this man had become enlightened - he is simply mad!" He hesitated.
Ramakrishna said, "When you have offered them to me they no longer belong to you.
Why are you hesitating? I can send somebody else to throw them away. You please go."
The man went, reluctantly of course, and he didn't come back. One hour passed.
Ramakrishna inquired, "What happened to that man? Has he escaped with the coins?
Go and inquire."
Somebody was sent. There was a great crowd, he had gathered a great crowd, and he was throwing each single coin, one by one, and counting them!
When Ramakrishna was told, "This is what is happening - it may take a few hours more," Ramakrishna went himself, hit the man on the head and said, "Are you mad or something? When you collect coins, of course you collect them one by one, it is a gradual process. But when you are throwing them away, why are you counting? Just throw the whole bag! Whether they are ten thousand or a few more or a few less, it doesn't matter. The Ganges won't take any note of it!"
This is the situation. When you stop gathering knowledge you also unlearn slowly, not because unlearning has to be slow. It is only your clinging mind. It is the mind that does not want to renounce knowledge, hence it goes on postponing. It finds beautiful rationalizations.
The idea of gradual enlightenment is one of the most beautiful rationalizations, and it appeals to the mind because all that mind knows is gradual. The whole language of the mind is the language of time. Whatsoever the mind can do has to be done in time, it needs time.
But enlightenment does not happen in time. When I say it can happen in a moment, please don't misunderstand me - the moment is not part of time at all! I am saying it can happen immediately; it needs no time at all, not even a single moment is needed. It can happen now... but you cling. You say, "How is it possible? I have to become slowly slowly alert, aware, meditative. Chunk by chunk I have to transform my unconscious being. I have to drop greed, anger, lust, jealousy, possessiveness, hatred, and there are a thousand and one things, and each thing is going to take time. I have to drop fear, I have to drop my identification with the body and the mind, I have to drop my attachments...." And the list is almost infinite. It will take eternity for you to become enlightened; in fact, you will never become enlightened. The very idea that it is going to be a gradual process is only a strategy of the mind to postpone it.
Enlightenment is always sudden. It is a question of understanding, insight, illumination. It is like sudden lightning. It has always happened like that.
Gautam Buddha was trying for his enlightenment for six years; it was a lengthy process.
He was following many methods, many paths. He was doing whatsoever is humanly possible to do, but nothing was happening. He was moving in circles; he was where he had started, he was not going anywhere else. He was becoming tired, utterly tired.
Finally one evening this sudden illumination happened to him that his whole effort was irrelevant.
Enlightenment is not something like an achievement; one cannot achieve it. One has to disappear for it to happen. It is a happening and it happens only in the absence of the ego. And whenever you are doing something the ego becomes more and more strengthened. The ego is a doer, and enlightenment happens in a state of nondoing. It is simply the realization of who you are; it is not a question of achievement. You are already it! Just an awakening, just a turning in!
Seeing the point, Buddha relaxed; he dropped all his methods. That is the only use of methods: you get tired of them, you feel utterly bored with them. One day out of sheer boredom you drop all the methods.
That evening he dropped his whole spiritual search. He had dropped all worldly search six years before, but it is the same search whether you are seeking money or meditation, whether you are seeking power or enlightenment, whether you are running after prestige or God - it is the same thing! The mind needs some object to run after. The mind wants something to desire. It wants an objective goal; whatsoever that objective goal is doesn't matter - XYZ, anything will do.
Seeing the point, "It is the same mind - I have renounced the world, but I have not renounced the mind, and the mind is the real world. And these six years I have only been changing the objects of my desire, but I have not dropped desiring. Instead of money, now I desire enlightenment. Instead of power, now I desire ultimate truth. But is there any difference? It is the same desiring mind, the same ambitious ego; in fact, it has become more subtle. It was gross before, now it is very subtle..." seeing it, he laughed. These six years he had not laughed at all, he had been serious. He laughed at the whole ridiculousness of the effort.
Spiritual effort is more ridiculous than the worldly effort. The worldly effort has a certain relevance, but the spiritual effort has no relevance.
He relaxed - obviously, naturally. Not that he made an effort to relax: relaxation came to him because there was nothing to achieve, nowhere to go. Relaxation simply came to him; from the beyond something descended. He fell into deep rest.
That night he slept for the first time without dreams. When there are no desires there are no dreams; dreams are reflections of desires. That night there was no nightmare; for six years he had been suffering from many nightmares. A nightmare simply says that you are desiring impossible things; hence your night is disturbed, your sleep is disturbed. There is no rest; it is feverish, it is pathological, it is not healthy. For the first time in his life he relaxed and slept well, totally, like a small child newly born.
Deeply rested, in the morning when he opened his eyes the last star was disappearing from the sky. Seeing the last star disappear, the last trace of the ego disappeared in him.
He had found it - but he had found it without any effort. It had happened, but it had happened not as a goal, not as an achievement - it had happened out of deep relaxation.
But remember, don't start trying to relax; that is the most absurd thing in the world.
And there are many stupid people writing books about relaxation. I have come across one book - the name of the book is YOU MUST RELAX! Now that very word 'must' is enough to keep you tense. Relaxation cannot be a "must," it cannot be an effort.
Try one night to go to sleep, make an effort to go to sleep, and it will become more and more impossible for you. Every night you go to sleep very easily. If you want to suffer from insomnia this is the sure method to suffer from insomnia. Try, make an effort to go into sleep. Toss and turn and take long breaths and count sheep and jog in the room and take a bath and do some Transcendental Meditation. And then naturally sleep will become impossible, because all these things will be disturbances, distractions. How do you go to sleep? If somebody asks you, will you ever be able to explain? How do you manage? Every night when you fall asleep you are doing a miracle! You are moving from doing to nondoing, from action to no-action. How do you manage it? Is there any art? Have you learned it? What is the trick in it? Try to think about it, and then you will never be able to sleep.
I have heard about one centipede - the centipede has one hundred legs. The centipede was taking a morning walk and a spider became very much intrigued. The spider must have been a mathematician or something like that. He said, "Uncle, can you satisfy my curiosity? How do you manage? One hundred legs! Which one to put first and which one to put next and then... a hundred legs! You don't fall, you don't get confused? Do you keep counting inside? If I had one hundred legs I am certain I would not be able to walk. My legs would become entangled with each other, I would fall immediately."
The centipede laughed. He said, "You mathematicians, you are always asking nonsense questions! You know that I am managing perfectly well - but I have never thought about it. Let me think it over."
So he tried to walk and think - and he fell down immediately. He was very angry at the spider and he said, "Listen! Never ask a centipede this question again - now for my whole life I will be in trouble! I had never thought about it, things were going perfectly well. I had never looked into the matter. Now that you have asked me I will never be at ease until I have found the answer. Trying to figure it out... you see I am in a mess!
Please never ask any centipede. You have crippled me for my whole life. Now I don't think that I will ever be able to walk. One hundred legs! Of course you are right, and I don't know how everything was being managed."
If somebody asks you how you go to sleep, don't try to find out the answer; otherwise you will suffer from insomnia from that very day. People who suffer from insomnia, all that they need is to forget about sleep; there is no need to worry about it. If you are not feeling sleepy, be happy, enjoy. Read something, listen to music, sing, dance, go for a walk - you are more fortunate than the people who are fast asleep and snoring. But forget all about sleep. Watch the stars, enjoy the stars, feel yourself far more fortunate than the others, and you will fall asleep without any effort on your part. But don't make any effort.
Enlightenment is something like that. It is not a question of making effort.
Dharmapriya, you say, "To me it feels like a very slow process." It is not a process at all - - it is a jump, a quantum leap! And it has nothing to do with learning; it is UNlearning.
You are conditioned. Enlightenment means becoming unconditioned again, becoming a child again. You were a child once so you can be a child again. You have just to put aside all kinds of rubbish that you have gathered around yourself. You have to jump out of it, that's all. It is not a question of a slow process of learning, it is simply a question of seeing the point.
But we are cunning, mind is very cunning. It can't accept the simple fact that we still want to avoid enlightenment. We don't want to be enlightened, we are afraid of the fact, but we are cunning and we cannot accept it. Hence we find out ways - ways to deceive ourselves that it is a slow process, a very slow process; that it takes not only one life but many lives to become enlightened. It does not take time at all, what to say about a life or many lives? It has nothing to do with time. It is immediate - it can happen now!
See the point. Allow relaxation to happen, don't try to relax. Simply relax, don't make it a "must." Rest... and if you rest you will start falling into the deep abyss of your own being, and sooner or later you will reach the rock bottom of yourself. To experience that rock bottom of yourself is to be enlightened, is to be a buddha, is to be a christ.
That's why I insist again and again it can happen any moment, just to remind you that your mind is very clever. It can deceive others, it can deceive you. Beware of the mind!
It keeps you clouded, it never allows you to see things as they are.
Enlightenment is your nature, hence there is no question of learning, no question of reaching somewhere. You are already there, it has already happened. It is your very being, your very ground. It is in your every breath and in every beat of your heart.
The second question:
WHY DON'T I FEEL ANY SURPRISES IN MY LIFE? ALL SEEMS SO DULL AND DRAB.
Gyano, I have given you the name Gyano: Gyano means knowledge. You are too knowledgeable, you know too much. And when one knows too much, life loses the quality of being mysterious. Then you are never surprised by anything. Your knowledge goes on supplying you all kinds of answers; even before you have asked, the answer is there, you seem to know everything. Knowing nothing you go on believing in borrowed knowledge, and slowly slowly, that borrowed knowledge hypnotizes you so much that you forget that you don't know. You start believing in your own knowledge - and it is not your own, it is just borrowed. You may have read the Bible, the Gita, the Koran....
Krishna knew what he was talking about, but when you read you don't know. Jesus knew what he was talking about, but when you read the Sermon on the Mount you are simply collecting, gathering words - words which are not meaningful to you at all, which cannot have any meaning because meaning comes from experience.
Jesus says: If somebody hits you on one of your cheeks, give him the other one too. You can read it, it is a simple statement. You can even try to follow it - thousands of Christians are trying to follow it.
I have heard about a Christian saint who used to talk too much about this statement. A mischievous person came and hit the saint on one cheek. Of course, true to his teaching, the saint gave him his other cheek hoping that now he would understand: "He will see how great I am, how compassionate, how considerate, how full of love!"
But the mischievous person was also a great devil; if the saint was great he was also great. He was not in any way inferior to the saint. He hit on the other cheek even harder.
Now this was too much! The saint immediately jumped upon him and started hitting him. The mischievous person was surprised. He said, "What are you doing? What happened to your teaching? What happened to Jesus?"
He said, "Jesus has said: If somebody hits you on one cheek, give him the other. I have got only two cheeks, so his teaching is finished - now I am free of the teaching. I will show you who I am! I have followed the teaching literally, exactly."
Once Buddha was asked by a man, "How many times do you say one should forgive?"
Now, the very question is enough to show the quality of the person. He is saying, "How many times...?" When you ask about how many times, you are not a man of compassion.
Buddha said, "Seven times."
The man said, "Okay."
Because of the way he said, "Okay," Buddha said, "Wait - seventy times!"
The man felt a little reluctant about accepting seventy times, but still he said, "Okay."
Buddha said, "I withdraw my words. You have to forgive infinitely; even seventy times won't do. The way you are accepting it, it seems that when seventy times are over you will take revenge. And you can do harm in a single blow, you can take revenge in a single blow. You are not a man of compassion. You don't understand me, it is not a question of how many times."
You can read Buddha, THE DHAMMAPADA, you can recite it every day; you will become knowledgeable. All questions will disappear because you will have all kinds of answers, but all those answers are borrowed. Hence they will destroy the beauty of life and they will destroy your sense of awe and wonder, which are the most essential religious qualities.
If someone asks me which is the most fundamental religious quality, I will say wonder.
And knowledge kills wonder. You start knowing about everything and the more you know, the more your life will be dull and drab, because all that dust of knowledge that gathers around you makes your mirrorlike consciousness so clouded - there are so many layers of knowledge - that you lose the quality of childlike wonder. You can't see the beauty of flowers, you can't see the beauty of a sunset, you can't see the miracle of existence. And existence is full of miracles, and surprises are everywhere, all around you.
Just look, but look with open eyes. The knowledgeable person is blind; the most blind person in existence is the knowledgeable person.
Gyano, I have given you the name just to remind you again and again that that is your problem, that is your main characteristic. Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples, "The first thing for the disciple is to know what his main characteristic is." Your main characteristic is knowledgeability.
Look around without carrying your burden of knowledge, and then you are stumbling continuously into new surprises and life again becomes worth living, worth rejoicing.
Life again becomes a mystery to be loved and lived. It is not a problem to be solved, it is a mystery to be lived.
"Brothers," said the colored preacher, "the subject of my sermon today is 'liars'. How many in this congregation have read the sixty-ninth chapter of Matthew?"
Nearly every hand went up.
"You are the very people I want to preach to," the reverend said. "There is no such chapter!"
But nobody wants to accept that he does not know. Sixty-ninth chapter of Matthew....
Everybody wants to pretend. And I will not say that they were doing it very consciously, deliberately. Maybe they were thinking that they had read it, maybe they were believing that they had read it, and seeing so many hands going up they must become convinced that yes, there is such a chapter.
In the old days down South, a minister had a Negro named Ezra in his household. Ezra was smart and ambitious, but he could not read or write.
One Sunday the minister saw Ezra in the church, scribbling away industriously through the sermon. Afterwards, the minister asked him, "Ezra, what were you doing in church?"
"Taking notes, sir. I's eager to learn."
"Let me see," said the minister, and he glanced over Ezra's notes, which looked more like Chinese than English.
"Why, Ezra," he chided, "this is all nonsense!"
"I thought so," said Ezra, "all the time you was preaching it!"
Your preachers have poisoned you. Your knowledge has destroyed you; it has taken away the simple joy of not-knowing. Regain that joy of not-knowing. That's the whole purpose of meditation: coming out of knowledge just as a snake slips out of its old skin.
Slip out of your knowledge, Gyano, and then life is full of surprises. Every moment you will come across so many wonderful things. A seed becoming a sprout is a miracle. A bud opening in the morning is a miracle. A flower releasing its fragrance is a miracle.
The night full of stars... what more miracles do you need? The whole existence is in a constant celebration!
And still you say, "I feel dull and drab and dragging"?
Then you must be at fault somewhere; nobody else is responsible for it. But we cling to our knowledge because it fulfills our ego.
D.H. Lawrence was walking in a garden with a small child. And, as children are prone to, the child asked, "Why are the trees green?"
D.H. Lawrence is one of the people I love and I respect. D.H. Lawrence is one of the people of this century who had tremendous insight into things. He stood there, thought for a moment, closed his eyes, meditated.
The child said, "Is it such a difficult question for you? Don't you know why the trees are green?"
D.H. Lawrence said, "The trees are green because they are green."
The child said, "Right! That's the right answer."
But you will not agree; no knowledgeable person will agree with D.H. Lawrence. He will say trees are green because of chlorophyll or some other nonsense. But his answer is tremendously beautiful: "Trees are green because they are green!"
And the child was immensely happy. He said, "Right, that's what I also feel. We agree about it!"
Drop your knowledge, become more childlike, and regain your joy in life. To rejoice in life is sannyas. My sannyas is not renunciation: it is rejoicing, it is celebration.
The third question:
YOU HAVE SUSSED ME OUT. NOW IS THE TIME TO TELL MY DREADED SECRET!
I AM ONE OF YOUR POLACKS. WHAT TO DO?
Prem Veechi, that's the most beautiful thing about Polacks I love and like. You are not the first Polack who has declared it. Asha wrote a note saying that, "Beloved Master, I am also a Polack." Anupama wrote a note saying that her lover, Amitabh, is a Polack.
And many others. This is beautiful!
And see what the British are doing. One British lady, Prem Lisa, has written saying, "We ARE superior so what can we do?"
Veechi, it is beautiful to be a Polack. It is beautiful to be a little foolish, not so superior as the British.
Why don't they have ice-cubes in Poland?
Because the woman with the recipe died.
One Polack arrived in New York seeking his fame and fortune. As he strolled down the sidewalk he noticed a great long ladder propped against the side of a building, stretching upward as far as the eye could see. He started to pass on by, but a voice high in the clouds called down, "Climb up the ladder to success!"
Somewhat nervously he began to ascend, rung by rung, all the way to the top of the fifty-story edifice. When he got there, a slender, blond, blue-eyed boy seated on the ledge of the building smiled sweetly at him.
"Hi, there!" he said. "I am Cess!"
The fourth question:
IF GOD IS A SHE, WHY DO YOU KEEP ON CALLING HER A HE?
AND ANOTHER QUESTION: YOU SAY THE ENGLISH ARE LADIES AND THE ITALIANS, WOMEN. WHERE WOULD YOU PUT THE GERMAN FEMALES?
Prem Prageeta, the German females are precisely that - females - neither ladies nor women. 'Female' is more scientific and more German, more scholarly, neutral; it has no evaluation in it.
And God, in fact, is neither he nor she.
So if you say he is a he I will say he is a she; if you say he is a she I will say he is a he - simply to unhinge you from your convictions.
Once it happened:
Buddha entered a village. A man asked him as he was entering the village, "Does God exist?"
He said, "No, absolutely no."
In the afternoon another man came and he asked, "Does God exist?"
And he said, "Yes, absolutely yes."
In the evening a third man came and he asked, "Does God exist?"
Buddha closed his eyes and remained utterly silent. The man also closed his eyes.
Something transpired in that silence. After a few minutes the man touched Buddha's feet, bowed down, paid his respects and said, "You are the first man who has answered my question."
Now, Buddha's attendant, Ananda, was very much puzzled: "In the morning he said no, in the afternoon he said yes, in the evening he did not answer at all. What is the matter? What is really the truth?"
So when Buddha was going to sleep, Ananda said, "First you answer me; otherwise I will not be able to sleep. You have to be a little more compassionate towards me too. I have been with you the whole day. Those three people don't know about the other answers, but I have heard all the three answers. What about me? I am troubled."
Buddha said, "I was not talking to you at all! You had not asked, I had not answered YOU. The first man who came was a theist, the second man who came was an atheist, the third man who came was an agnostic. My answer had nothing to do with God, my answer had something to do with the questioner. I was answering the questioner; it was absolutely unconcerned with God.
"The person who believes in God, I will say no to him because I want him to drop his idea of God, I want him to be free of his idea of God - which is borrowed. He has not experienced. If he had experienced he would not have asked me; there would have been no need.
"The person who believed in God, he was trying to find confirmation for his belief from me. I was not going to say yes to him - I am not going to confirm anybody's belief. I had to say no, I had to deny, just to destroy his belief, because all beliefs are barriers to knowing the truth. Theist or atheist, all beliefs, Hindu or Christian or Mohammedan, all beliefs are barriers.
"And the person with whom I remained silent was the right inquirer. He had no belief, hence there was no question of destroying anything. I kept silent. That was my message to him: Be silent and know. Don't ask, there is no need to ask. It is not a question which can be answered. It is not an inquiry but a quest, a thirst. Be silent and know. I had answered him also; through my silence I gave him the message and he immediately followed it - he also became silent. I closed my eyes, he closed his eyes; I looked in, he looked in, and then something transpired. That's why he was so much overwhelmed, he felt so much gratitude, for the simple reason that I did not give him any intellectual answer. He had not come for any intellectual answer; intellectual answers are available very cheap. He needed something existential - he needed a taste. I gave him a taste."
Remember this: God is neither man nor woman; he cannot be man or woman. Either he is both or he is neither. God is the ultimate synthesis of all opposites. Man is one extreme, woman the other. God is not an extreme, he is the whole existence. He is vast enough to contain the opposites; all opposites become complementaries in God.
So don't cling to my answers; they are not answers. I am not a teacher at all. I am not here teaching you a certain dogma, a certain creed. I am simply trying to help you to be unburdened of your knowledge so that you can be silent with me. And I am in a hurry because soon I want to go into silence, so you also have to be quick. Don't linger too much. Don't go on postponing because I will not be talking for ever and ever. Soon I want to be silent. You can sit in silence with me then, you can sing, you can play music, you can dance, but I want to stop all kinds of intellectual communications between you and me. I want to be existentially related to you. I am simply preparing the ground - I am pulling out weeds.
So it depends: whatsoever your belief is I am going to destroy it. I am against all beliefs.
That's why you will find Christian priests against me, the Catholic pope against me, the Hindu shankaracharya against me, the Mohammedans against me, even the communists against me; for the simple reason that I am against all beliefs, communist or Catholic, Hindu or Buddhist, it doesn't matter - belief is belief.
I want you to be in a state of no-belief, in a state of not-knowing. I want you to function from that state of not-knowing, from that innocence. Only in that innocence will you be able to know. So if you have communist weeds in you I will pull them out. If I need the help of Catholic instruments, I will use Catholic instruments to pull out communist weeds. If you are a Catholic and communist instruments are needed, I will use communist instruments to pull out Catholic weeds.
My function here is that of a surgeon. I am not much interested in what instruments are being used - surgery has to be done. Something has to be pulled out of you. Your soil has to be completely cleared of all stones, of all weeds. Only then will your nature start growing roses.
So you will be puzzled. Many times you will find my statements contradictory - they are, and I don't want to hide the fact. They are contradictory, they are absurd! Because I will say one thing one moment and I will contradict it the next moment. And I am not at all consistent - or I am only consistent in one thing: about my inconsistencies, that is my only consistency. I am consistently inconsistent, that's all. I am always contradictory, for the simple reason that you have come here from different backgrounds and I am trying to destroy all backgrounds, all conditionings. So it depends on you.
God is neither a man nor a woman. In fact, God is not a person at all. The very idea of God being a person is anthropocentric. There is no God, in fact, but only godliness.
Drop the idea of God as a person. You all have that childish idea of God as a superfather sitting somewhere on a golden throne in the sky, pulling everyone's strings - a puppeteer or something, controlling, managing, a superboss, a great manager, engineer, architect. You have this idea of God.
God is not a person at all; God is the ultimate harmony of existence. Remember the harmony, the accord, the music, the melody, the faraway, distant call of a cuckoo... and there is godliness in it. This bird calling... and there is godliness in it. This silence here in which you are all drowned... and there is godliness in it. Godliness certainly exists.
I perfectly agree with H.G. Wells; he has made one of the most profound statements about Buddha ever made. He said that Buddha was the most godless yet the most godly person who ever walked on the earth. The most godless and yet the most godly?
Yes, that's how existence is. It is a godless existence but tremendously godly. Godliness has to be remembered, God has to be forgotten. If you remember God you will go to the church and to the temple and to the mosque and you will do all kinds of stupid things which have been done down the centuries. If you remember godliness then it is not a question of going to Kaaba or Kashi; then it is a question of living it. Then live in a way which is godly. Live in harmony, live beautifully, live aesthetically, live sensitively, live lovingly. Let your life be a tremendous love affair.
Then there is no need for prayer, because there is nobody to hear it. It is a question of meditation, not of prayer. Then don't go on calling on God; you are wasting your time.
Be silent, more and more silent, and live out of that silence, act out of that silence. Meet people and animals and the trees and the rocks with deep reverence because all is divine.
Existence is nothing but God.
Existence is synonymous with God.
The fifth question:
I AM A TOURIST. I AM HERE ONLY FOR ONE DAY. CAN I ALSO RECEIVE YOUR GRACE?
Tom, so you have come! I was always waiting. Where are Dick and Harry? And you are from California - of course, you can't be from anywhere else. Californialand consists only of tourists!
"Tourist" is a new species: they are not ordinary human beings. That is a new development, a breakthrough - or a breakdown. A tourist is a strange kind of person:
he is always rushing to nowhere, he does not know why - from one place to another place. When he is in Kabul he thinks of Poona, when he is in Poona he thinks of Goa, when he is in Goa he thinks of Kathmandu. He is never where he is, he is somewhere else; he is all over the place except the place where he is. He is never at home. You will never find him in his own home; he has always gone somewhere else, he is always dreaming of other places.
The tourist goes on missing everything; he is in such a rush that he can't see anything.
To see things you have to be a little more relaxed, a little more restful. But the tourist is always on the go. He will take his breakfast in New York, his lunch in London, and he will suffer indigestion in Poona!
He carries a camera, inevitably, because he cannot see anything right now, so he goes on taking photographs. Later on he makes albums - he is a bum and makes albums!
And then later on, when it is all over, he looks at the Himalayan peaks, at the Goa beach - and when he was there he was not there! The camera was doing his work. He need not be there; in fact, why does he bother at all? He can purchase these photographs anywhere, better photographs than he can take because he is amateurish; professionals are already taking photographs. He can get beautiful albums and, sitting at home, he can look at them. But now the problem is that he cannot sit down.
It is one of the qualities that a few people are completely losing; they cannot sit. They have to do something, they have to go somewhere, and they have to go fast. They don't want to lose any time - and they are losing their whole lives in not losing time! They will not appreciate anything because appreciation needs intimacy.
If you want to appreciate a flower you have to sit by the side of the flower, you have to meditate, you have to allow the flower to have its say. You have to experience the joy, the dance of the flower in the sun, in the wind, in the rain. You have to see all the moods of the flower in the morning, in the afternoon, in the hot sun, in the evening, in the full moon. You have to see all the moods of the flower. You have to become acquainted, you have to create a friendship. You have to say "hello" to the flower; you have to get into a dialogue, an existential dialogue. Only then can the flower reveal its secrets to you.
But the tourist is pathological. Why is he rushing? - for the simple reason that he does not know what to do with himself if he is left alone, if he is not to go anywhere, if he has just to sit silently. He does not know what to do with himself. He feels awkward, embarrassed; he has to do something.
Man has become a doer. He has lost the quality of being a witness, a watcher.
The tourist cannot understand the Zen approach, the essential Buddhist approach of sitting silently doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself.
Zen people sit for years doing nothing - just sitting, watching... what is outside and what is inside, watching their breath....
Now, the tourist will think this is absolutely ridiculous. Why watch your breath? What is the point of it all? Why not watch TV, some horror film? They are glued to their chairs only when the TV takes them into some torture story, into some murder, into some sexual orgy, into something so they can become participants. They are no more spectators, they become identified with the characters. They start becoming part of the story.
Now new dramas are being developed in the West in which the spectators can participate, for the simple reason that spectators cannot sit for three hours, so they are allowed to come on the stage. At least they can come on the stage from this side and go from that side, and the play goes on. Or they can say something, they can have a little chitchat with the actors - on the stage! Now they are even developing new techniques where the stage should be just in the middle and it's okay if anybody wants to come in, sit on the stage, do something, do some yoga postures. Now in a Shakespearean drama somebody comes and stands on his head... that will help! The people who have fallen asleep will wake up - something is happening! Otherwise who wants to see Shakespearean drama? The universities have bored people to death with Shakespeare; people are finished with Shakespeare. Once they get out of the university they don't want to even hear the name of Shakespeare. It feels like a dirty word! But the real reason is that people cannot sit there for three hours; they have to do something. They have to be allowed some action; then they can sit.
A strange quality has happened to humanity, a very insane quality: that nobody can sit silently. And that is what meditation is all about.
You ask me, "I am a tourist. I am here only for one day."
I am grateful that you are here for one day, Tom, because there are tourists who are not here even for one day.
"Can I also receive your grace?" you ask.
My grace is available, but are you available to my grace?
An American tourist was gazing into the crater of a Greek volcano. "It looks like hell," he said.
"Ah, you Americans," said his guide, "you've been everywhere!"
Where are you going? And what is the hurry? Can't you be here a little longer? You will be going to Goa - it is almost certain, it is predictable. What are you going to do in Goa?
You can do all those stupid things here!
We run almost one hundred therapy groups - for what? Just for people who can't sit silently, just to tire them. So they are pushed and pulled and they are massaged and Rolfed. Do you know what the latest thing in hell is? - Rolfing! Learn it here because otherwise you will be in difficulty there. Ida Rolf has died and gone to hell; now she is training people there! But we have managed all kinds of groups here. If you pass through these one hundred groups and you can survive, then you need not be afraid of hell at all. In fact, the Devil and his disciples will be afraid of you! The moment they see the orange people coming they will close the doors. They will say, "Go to the other place!"
And we do all kinds of stupid things with expertise. In Goa you will be just amateurish!
Here we have the best experts in the world - and package deals!
Tom, just be here a little bit more....
The sixth question:
I CAN'T MAKE UP MY MIND WHETHER I WANT TO BE A PSYCHIATRIST OR AN AUTHOR.
Veetrag, why not toss for it - heads or tales? Get it...?
The seventh question:
I THOUGHT I HAD FOUND A NICE-A BOX-A, BUT SHE TURNED INTO AN ICE-A BOX-A. WHAT IS THIS KARMA THAT THIS NEW YORK JEWISH BOY HAS TO WORK OUT WITH GERMAN WOMEN?
Prem Samvid, every nice-a box-a turns into an ice-a box-a finally; it is nothing special about you. "Nice-a box-a" is only the label - "ice-a box-a" is the reality! But you are fools, you go on being befooled by the labels. Nobody else is responsible for it.
Every ice-a box-a carries a beautiful facade written in big neon letters: NICE-A BOX-A.
Once you are caught, then you know: every woman is a nun!
Hattie and Aretha were standing on a street corner talking when two nuns passed.
"Say," asked Hattie, "why do they call them ladies nuns?"
"Because," replied Aretha, "they ain't had none, they ain't got none, and they ain't never gonna get none."
"No wonder they wear mourning!"
But every woman basically is a nun - and no man is a monk! That is the trouble. God loves troubles! He creates puzzles, jigsaw puzzles. There is no way to solve them; one simply learns to accept.
Samvid, you accept the ice-a box-a. And it is summer and you will need an ice-a box-a!
And when winter comes, we will see. Who knows about tomorrow? By that time you may be befooled by another box-a.
And it has nothing to do with any karma; it is simply the sheer stupidity of the human mind. Women are always attractive when they are not available to you. They are seducers, they are all coquettish. That is natural, that comes just naturally, part of their femaleness. And man is constantly befooled, again and again. Once he is befooled he thinks for a few days, becomes very wise - but only for a few days. That wisdom does not last long; after a few days again he is deceived. He starts thinking, "Maybe all women are not the same." But I tell you: all women are the same and all men are the same!
Be more aware. Either accept things as they are... then you are not miserable about it because you have no more expectations; you know this is how things are going to happen - a deep acceptance of things as they are. Or, don't be deceived again, if you are fortunate to get out of this trap this time - which is not easy, which is very difficult. To get into the trap is always easy.
And the beauty is that it is the man who tries in every possible way to get trapped. The woman knows there is no need to go after you, she simply waits. She believes perfectly in your stupidity, that you will come. The more aloof she remains, the more you are attracted. Once a woman starts running after you, you will escape, you will become afraid. That is like a mousetrap running after a mouse! The mousetrap simply sits there, knowing perfectly well that the mice are bound to come. Where else can they go? And they circle around.... And the mousetrap has all the allurements - bread and butter and everything... spaghetti! And once the mouse is in, there is no way out - no exit!
Jean-Paul Sartre has defined hell as "No Exit." Once you get in, you are in forever, you cannot get out of it. That's why it is called hell. And even if by some chance you get out of it you will feel very lonely. You have become so accustomed to the comforts of the mousetrap, to the security. There is some security; if you are inside a mousetrap, no cat can catch you. You see the security, the safety! Outside the mousetrap there is always danger. So sooner or later you will enter into another mousetrap - of a different color.
The hair will be different, the nose will be different, the body will be different - just a few differences, but the inside is the same.
Once this is understood - that every man and every woman carries on the same program - once this is understood, you can deprogram yourself, you can decondition yourself. Then you can remain with a woman; there is no problem about it. She has turned into an ice-a box-a because you still want her to be a nice-a box-a. If you don't want her to be a nice-a box-a, then what does it matter what she is? Let her be a nice-a box-a or an ice-a box-a - it is perfectly okay! You become cool and calm.
And the same is the problem with the woman from the other side. Again and again she thinks that this man will fit, this man is going to deliver the goods. No man ever delivers the goods, no man can ever deliver, that is beyond their capacity. No man is responsible really, but your expectations are so high that nobody can meet them. They are impossible; hence everybody falls short. Every woman finds sooner or later just a henpecked husband and nothing else. And who loves a henpecked husband? No woman can love a henpecked husband.
Just watch your life, whether you are man or woman, watch your program, your biological program. Be aware of it so it can be deprogramed. Then wherever you are you will be free of it because you will be free of expectations.
The last question:
I AM A RUSSIAN. CAN YOU TELL ME A JOKE ABOUT THE RUSSIANS?
Darshan, I am never miserly about jokes. If you ask me for one I will tell you two. The first:
Brezhnev, the head of the Russian Communist Party, invites his aged mother to leave the village where she has always lived to come visit him in Moscow. When she arrives he proudly shows her his huge luxury flat inside the Kremlin... the priceless Persian carpets, the imported Swedish furniture, the antique silverware and crystal tableware, and the latest labor-saving machines from America.
"It's beautiful, son," she says.
"That's not all, Mama," he replies.
So he takes her in his huge, chauffeur-driven limousine to his country villa outside Moscow and shows her his private forest, the swimming pool, the stables full of race- horses and the household staff of fifty servants.
"So what do you think of all this?" he asks, sweeping his arm around the estate.
His mother looks a bit worried and whispers, "But, Leonid, what will you do when the communists come back?"
And the second:
Ivan, a small Russian boy, is having great difficulty grasping the basic principles of Soviet communism. After several hours of instruction, his father finally says to him, "Well, look at it this way. Imagine that I, your father, am the party, that your mother is the motherland, that your brothers and sisters are the unions and you are the people."
Ivan still cannot understand the relationship between these institutions, and in a fit of rage his father locks him inside a cupboard in the parental bedroom.
Later that night, forgetting Ivan is still there, his father makes love to his mother. When he is finally released by an embarrassed father the next morning, Ivan exclaims:
"Now I know what you meant, father. The party rapes the motherland while the unions sleep and the people stand by and suffer!"
Enough for today.