Knowledge is not knowledge. It has the appearance of knowledge, hence it deceives many. Knowledge is only information. It does not transform you; you remain the same.
Your accumulation of information goes on growing. Rather than liberating you, it burdens you, it goes on creating new bondages for you.
The so-called man of knowledge is far more foolish than the so-called fool, because the fool at least is innocent. He is ignorant, but he has no pretensions of knowing - that much truth is his. But the man of knowledge is in a far greater mess: he knows nothing but he thinks he knows. Without knowing, to believe that one knows is to remain forever rooted in ignorance.
Knowledge is a way for ignorance to protect itself - and it protects itself very cunningly, very efficiently, very cleverly. Knowledge is the enemy although it appears as the friend.
This is the first step towards wisdom: to know that you don't know, to know that all knowledge is borrowed, to know that it has not happened to you, it has come from others, that it is not your own insight, your own realization. The moment knowledge is your own realization, it is wisdom.
Wisdom means that you are not a parrot, that you are a man, that you are not repeating others but expressing yourself, that you are not a carbon copy, that you have an original face of your own.
Knowledge makes you a carbon copy, and to be a carbon copy is the ugliest thing in the world. That is the greatest calamity that can happen to a man - because knowing not and yet believing that you know, you will remain always ignorant and in darkness.
And whatsoever you do is going to be wrong. You may be able to convince even others that you know, you may be able to strengthen your ego, you may become very famous, you may be known as a great scholar, a pundit, but deep down there is nothing but darkness. Deep down you have not yet encountered yourself, you have not yet entered in the temple of your being.
The ignorant is in a far better situation. At least he has no pretensions, at least he is not deceiving others and himself. And ignorance has a beauty - the beauty of simplicity, the beauty of uncomplicatedness. To know that "I don't know" immediately brings a great relief. To know, to experience, one's utter ignorance fills one with great wonder - the existence is transformed into a mystery.
And that's what God is all about. To know the universe as a miracle, as a mystery, as something unbelievable, as something impenetrable - as something before which you can only bow down in deep gratitude, you can only surrender in awe - is the beginning of wisdom.
Socrates is right when he says: I know only one thing - that I don't know at all.
To be wise is not to be knowledgeable. To be wise means to realize something of your consciousness - first within and then without; to feel the pulsation of life within you and then without. To experience this mysterious consciousness that you are, first one has to experience it in the innermost core of one's being, because that is the closest door to God.
Once you have known it within, it is not difficult to know it without. But remember: the wise man never accumulates knowledge - his wisdom is spontaneous. Knowledge always belongs to the past, wisdom belongs to the present. Remember these distinctions. Unless you understand the difference very clearly between knowledge and wisdom, you will not be able to understand these sutras of Gautama the Buddha. And they are tremendously important.
Knowledge comes from the past, from others, from scriptures. And Buddha has said:
My transmission of truth is beyond the scriptures. What I am saying, what I am imparting, what I am communing, is not written anywhere, has not been spoken anywhere - in fact, cannot be spoken at all, cannot be written at all. It is transferred in deep silence between the master and the disciple: it is a love affair. Wisdom is contagious. It is not taught, remember; you can receive it but it cannot be given to you.
You can be open and vulnerable to it, you can be in a state of constant welcoming, and that's how a disciple sits by the side of the master - ready to drink, ready to allow the master to penetrate his very heart. In the beginning it is painful, because the master's consciousness penetrates you like a sharp arrow - only then it can reach to your very core. It hurts.
Knowledge satisfies the ego; wisdom destroys the ego completely; hence people seek knowledge. It is very rare to find a seeker who is not interested in knowledge but is interested in, committed to, wisdom. Knowledge means theories about truth; wisdom means truth itself. Knowledge means secondhand; wisdom means firsthand.
Knowledge means belief: others say and you believe. And all beliefs are false! No belief is ever true. Even if you believe in the word of a buddha, the moment you believe it is turned into a lie.
Truth cannot be believed; either you know or you don't know. If you know, there is no question of belief; if you don't know, there is again no question of belief. If you know, you know; if you don't know, you don't know. Belief is a projection of the tricky mind - it gives you the feeling of knowing, without knowing. The Hindu, the Mohammedan, the Christian, the Jew, the Jaina, the Buddhist - they all believe.
To believe is cheap, it is very easy - nothing is at stake. You can easily believe in God, you can easily believe in immortality of the soul, you can easily believe in the theory of reincarnation. In fact, they remain just superficial; deep down you are not affected by them, not at all. When death will knock at your door you will know your beliefs have all disappeared. The belief in the immortality of the soul will not help you when death will knock at your door - you will cry and weep and you will cling to life. When death comes you will forget all about God; when death comes you will not be able to remember the theory - and the complicated implications of it - about reincarnation.
When death knocks you, it knocks down all the structure of knowledge that you had built around yourself - it leaves you absolutely empty... and with the awareness that the whole life has been a wastage.
Wisdom is a totally different phenomenon: it is experience, not belief. It is existential experience, it is not "about." You don't believe in God - you know. You don't believe in the immortality of the soul - you have tasted it. You don't believe in reincarnation - you remember it; you remember that you have been here many times. And if this has been so in the past, this is going to be so in the future. You remember you have been in many bodies: you have been a rock, you have been a tree, you have been animals, birds, you have been man, woman... you have lived in so many forms. You see the forms changing but the inner consciousness remaining the same; so you see only the superficial changes but the essential is eternal.
This is seeing, not believing. And all the real masters are interested to help you to see, not to believe. To believe, you become a Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan. Belief is the profession of the priest.
The master first has to destroy all your belief - theist, atheist, Catholic, communist. The master has to dismantle all your structure of belief so that you are left again as a small child - innocent, open, ready to inquire, ready to plunge into the adventure of truth.
Wisdom arises within you, it is not a scripture. You start reading your own consciousness - and THERE are hidden all the Bibles and all the Gitas and all the Dhammapadas.
A great scholar once bought a parrot. When he got it home he told it, "I am going to teach you to talk."
"Don't bother," answered the bird. "I can talk already."
He was so amazed that he took it to the university. "Look! I have got a fantastic talking parrot here...." But the parrot would not talk, even though the scholar kept insisting that it could.
People bet him ten-to-one that it could not, and he lost the bet. Nothing would induce the parrot to speak. On the way home, followed by the jeers of his friends, the man cuffed the parrot and said, "You fool - look at the amount of money you lost me!"
"It is you who are the fool," said the parrot. "Take me back to that university tomorrow and you will get one hundred-to-one and win!"
Yes, parrots are far more intelligent than your professors. Parrots have more insight than your pundits, scholars, academicians. If you want to know the real fools you will have to visit a university - all kinds of pretenders, full of gibberish. Not knowing what they are really doing, but they go on doing things. Not knowing what they are teaching, but they are teachers; they go on writing great treatises.
Mulla Nasruddin had a nameplate on his home. Everybody wondered about his degrees that he had put on the nameplate. On the nameplate he had written: Mulla Nasruddin, B.S., M.S., Ph.D. Everybody was intrigued! Finally the neighborhood people gathered and they said, "Nasruddin, as far as we know you have never been to any university. What to say about any university? - you have never been to any school. In fact, you cannot read and you cannot write! From where have you got these degrees?"
He said, "Do you know what these degrees mean? B.S. is a short form."
"Short form of what?" they asked.
He said, "Think it over...!" Then they understood. "B.S. is a short form of something which is unmentionable," he said. "And M.S. means 'more of the same.' And Ph.D.
Think over it, meditate over it. Can you infer what Ph.D. means? You remember B.S., its meaning, you remember M.S., more of the same, and then what about Ph.D.? I leave it to you! If you meditate you will find, and that will make you a little wise. If you cannot find it, tomorrow you can ask in the questions!
Following more than fifty years of atheism, scientists in Russia began to be curious about what religion might be. A group of them took a book of holy quotations and decided to have it decoded by an analogical computer. They opened the book and took the first phrase they saw, typing it out onto the keyboard. The phrase was: "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." They crowded around the printout as the words began to appear.
As they read the message their astonishment increased: "The vodka is ready, but the meat is devitalized."
"No wonder religions used to mystify people," they muttered to one another.
Then one of them had an idea. He tapped out the book's title, UNCONSIDERED TRIFLES, onto the decoder. Out came the translation: "Neglected puddings."
"You see!" he shouted. "You have got the wrong book - this is one about the abuses of cookery."
They are still seeking an authentic religious text. The mind of the knowledgeable man is like a computer. He goes on interpreting things not knowing exactly what he is doing; he is not conscious enough to do it.... But I cannot continue further because I see you are all thinking about Ph.D.! Ph.D. means "piled high and deep" - now be finished with it so we can go further on....
The Buddha says:
THE WISE MAN TELLS YOU WHERE YOU HAVE FALLEN.... The first lesson in a mystery school is the original fall of man. It has nothing to do with Adam and Eve and their original fall. That story is simply a condensed parable about the whole humanity.
Each child falls in the same way. It is not something that happened in the past, in the old biblical days; it is not something that happened in the Garden of Eden. That is a poetic expression. It happens whenever a child is born. It happens again and again. It is happening every day.
The parable is that God has prohibited Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge. It is one of the most beautiful parables ever invented by the masters, by the real knowers - not to eat from the tree of knowledge. And what are your universities? - - trees of knowledge. And what is your education? - a tree of knowledge.
God had prohibited them to eat from it, so that you can remain innocent, because only the innocent heart can know. The moment you become full of knowledge, knowing stops. In fact, you have found a substitute for knowing - your knowledge becomes the substitute. Then there is no need to know! You go on clinging to the knowledge and it goes on giving satisfaction to your ego.
But the moment Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge, they fell - they fell from their original innocence, they fell from their childlike life. Before that there was poetry in their life, before that there was beauty in their life, before that there was ecstasy in their life - before that there was wonder and awe. Before that each and everything was extraordinary, because the whole existence was full of mystery; they were surrounded by a mysterious universe. The rainbow and the sun and the moon and the stars... it was all unbelievable. They were in constant surprise.
The moment they became knowledgeable all that wonder disappeared. Knowledge kills wonder, and in killing wonder it destroys your spirit of knowing, inquiry. Knowledge demystifies the universe - and a universe demystified is a universe without God. A universe demystified is a universe without poetry, without love, without music. Then the sound of the raindrops does not come to your heart as a message from the other shore. Then the wind passing through the pine trees leaves you unmoved, and the fragrance of the flowers does not create poetry in you. The colors of a butterfly are ignored. A rainbow remains unseen. You become too much attached to very mundane things: money, power, prestige. You become ugly because your whole existence becomes ordinary; it loses sacredness, it becomes profane. You transform the temple of God into a marketplace.
That is the original fall - but it happens every day, remember. Don't believe the Christians who say that it happened only once - it happens with each child. The moment you start the child on the journey of becoming knowledgeable, you are helping him again towards the original fall.
The function of a wise man is to tell you where you have fallen. You have fallen because of knowledge; that is the original fall. You can rise back to those clear, innocent moments; you can enter into paradise again - but you will have to renounce knowledge.
There are people who renounce the world but they don't renounce their knowledge; there are people who go to the mountains, who renounce the marketplace, but they carry the mind with themselves - and the mind is the marketplace. The marketplace exists in the mind! It exists nowhere else. They may move to the Himalayas, they may sit in beautiful silent caves, but their mind goes on and on in the same old pattern.
A man who has gone to the caves in the Himalayas still remains a Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu. Now, to be a Hindu is to remain attached to a certain knowledge that has been given to you - that is one of the ways of falling. To be a Mohammedan is another way of falling, to be a Christian still another way of falling.
Christianity is a certain kind of knowledge, so is Hinduism, and so are the three hundred other religions of the earth. They all claim to know, they all claim their scriptures are divine, written by God himself - and only their scriptures are divine and all other scriptures are false.
Buddha says scriptures AS SUCH are false, knowledge AS SUCH is false. Jesus is right, but Christianity is not right. Mahavira is right, but Jainism is not right. With Mahavira there is knowing; Jainism is knowledge. Knowledge is the fall of knowing. Knowing is individual: knowledge is a commodity, a social phenomenon - you can sell and purchase it, it is available in the libraries, in the universities. Soon you will be able to carry small pocket computers with you; you will not need to go through all the tortures of the schools and colleges and universities. You can have a small computer full of all the knowledge available in the world. A small computer can contain all the libraries of the world and is always at your service: just push a button and whatsoever you want to know the computer will tell you.
That's what your mind has been doing in the past; now machines can do it in a far better way. Your mind is also nothing but a machine, it is a biocomputer. Remember, it is not your soul; remember, it is not your consciousness; remember, it is not your reality, your authentic individuality. It is a social by-product.
If you are born in a Hindu family you attain to Hindu knowledge, and it is certainly different from Christian knowledge. If you are born in Russia you will have communist knowledge - DAS KAPITAL and the COMMUNIST MANIFESTO, Marx, Engels, Lenin: the unholy trinity. If you are born in China you will have the red book of Mao Zedong - that's the Bible. Now the whole of China is being fed with stupid statements of Mao Zedong. He is not a wise man, he is not enlightened. He has not even known himself - what revolution does he know? what rebellion does he know? - because even the first rebellion, the basic rebellion, has not happened.
The basic rebellion, the basic revolution, consists in dropping knowledge so that you can again enter into the Garden of Eden.
THE WISE MAN TELLS YOU WHERE YOU HAVE FALLEN AND WHERE YOU YET MAY FALL.... Not only does he tell you about the past, where you have been falling again and again, he makes you aware of the future also. There are many pitfalls, you can go astray any time.
For example, I am telling you that all knowledge is stupid, that you need not cling to the Bible or to the Vedas or to the Koran. You love me, you trust me - you may drop your clinging to the Koran, to the Bible, to the Gita, but you can start clinging to MY statements, you can start making a Bible out of my ideas. You are back in the same trap; you are back, from the back door. Again you are the same person. Now you don't have the Bible but now you have me.
THE WISE MAN TELLS YOU... WHERE YOU YET MAY FALL.
The last statement of Gautama the Buddha to his disciples was: Be a light unto yourself.
They were crying and weeping, naturally - the master was leaving and they had lived with the master for almost forty years; a few older disciples had lived with him the whole time. These forty years were of tremendous joy, of great experiences. These forty years had been the most beautiful time possible, humanly possible. These forty years had been days of paradise on earth. And now the master is leaving! It was natural, they started crying and weeping.
Buddha opened his eyes and said, "Stop crying and weeping! Have you not listened to me yet? Why are you crying?"
His chief disciple, Ananda, said, "Because you are leaving, because our light is leaving.
We see, we feel darkness descending upon us. I have not yet become enlightened and you are leaving. If I could not become enlightened while you were alive, what is the hope for me now when you will be gone? I am in great despair, my anguish is incalculable, I have wasted these forty years. I have been following you like a shadow, it was tremendously beautiful to be with you, but now you are leaving. What is going to happen to us?"
Buddha said, "You are crying because you have not heard me yet. I have been telling you again and again: Don't believe in me - but you have not listened. Because you have believed in me, and now I am dying, your whole structure is falling apart. Had you listened to me, had you created a light into your being rather than becoming knowledgeable through me, if you had experienced your own self there would have been no need to cry.
"Look at Manjushree!" he said - Manjushree was another disciple of Buddha, one of the greatest. He was sitting under a tree just close by, with closed eyes, so serene, so quiet, so utterly blissful, that Buddha said, "Look at Manjushree! Go and ask him why he is not crying."
They asked Manjushree. He laughed and said, "What reason is there to cry? Buddha has helped me to know my own light. I am thankful, I am grateful, but there is no darkness descending. And how can Buddha die? I know I cannot die - how can Buddha die? He will be here. Just as a river disappears in the ocean he will disappear into the cosmos.
But he will be here! He will be spread all over the cosmos. It is going to be something tremendously beautiful. Buddha was confined to a small body; now his fragrance will be released, he will permeate the whole of existence. I am tremendously happy that now Buddha will be spread all over space. I will be able to see him rising in the sun and I will be able to see him flying in a bird and I will be able to see him in the waves of the ocean... and I will be able to see him everywhere.
"He is simply leaving his body. It was a confinement. And how do I know it? I know it because I have known my own soul. I listened to him and you have not listened to him - - that's why you are crying."
Buddha said, "Let me repeat again: APPA DIPO BHAVA - be a light unto yourself."
Then he closed his eyes and disappeared into the cosmos. But his last statement was also his first statement. In fact that was his whole message - the whole of his life he was repeating the same message again and again and again.
THE WISE MAN TELLS YOU WHERE YOU HAVE FALLEN AND WHERE YOU YET MAY FALL - INVALUABLE SECRETS! FOLLOW HIM, FOLLOW THE WAY.
When Buddha says, "Follow me," he does not mean imitate him. When he says, "Follow me," he does not say let him be a model to you; make your life according to his life - no, not at all. "Following" him has a totally different meaning.
There is a Zen story:
A Zen mystic was celebrating a certain festival which is celebrated only on your master's birthday. But people were puzzled. They asked him, "As far as we know you have never had any master. We have also heard rumors that you had approached a great master, Bokuju, many times, but he always refused to accept you as a disciple. Not only that, he used to chase you out of his hut. We have also heard that because of your continuous persistence, he had beaten you a few times, and once he had thrown you, physically, out of the window of his hut. He never accepted you, he never initiated you - why are you celebrating this day? This is to be celebrated only on your master's birthday."
And the mystic said, "Yet, he was my master. His refusal, his throwing me out, his constant rejection, was his initiation. He was saying, 'Be a light unto yourself - there is no need to follow me.' Because of his continuous refusal I became enlightened sitting under a tree. There was nobody to cling to.
"The only beautiful man that I have known was Bokuju. If he had allowed, I would have become a shadow to him. If he had allowed, I would have become another Bokuju. I have loved the man, I would have imitated him in detail: I would have eaten the same things, I would have walked the same way, I would have said the same things... I would have been a carbon copy of him.
"But he was great, he was my master - he refused. He knew where the pitfall is. The moment he looked into my eyes he knew my future, that if he allows I am going to be a pseudo phenomenon, I will never be an authentic individual. Knowing this he was very hard on me. But now I know his hardness was because of his compassion. It is because of him that I became enlightened. Hence I am celebrating this day - it is my master's birthday."
Somebody asked him, "But your life-style does not show any indication of Bokuju. Your statements are utterly different - not only different but sometimes contradictory to his statements. How can you say that he was your master and you are his follower?"
And the mystic said, "Yes, I say he was my master although he never initiated me formally. But formal initiation is immaterial, irrelevant. And I still say that I am his follower, though I cannot prove it by any documents - but there is no need to prove to anybody. I know, that's all. I am his follower!"
The people insisted, "How can you say that?"
And the mystic said, "He never followed his master; I never follow him. That was his basic characteristic: he never followed his master. And I never follow him - that's how I follow him. I am a follower and he was my master."
INVALUABLE SECRETS! Yes, these are invaluable secrets. The life of a real seeker is not an ordinary life. It cannot be confined to a certain pattern, it cannot be confined to a certain style of life - Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan. The life of a real seeker is the life of freedom.
And when Buddha says: FOLLOW HIM, FOLLOW THE WAY... he does not mean to become a carbon copy, he simply means: try to understand his life. Watch, analyze, meditate, and then let your meditation, your watchfulness, your witnessing, become the way.
And following the wise man is really not following the wise man himself, but the way - the way that has made him wise.
What is that way that makes one wise?
Two things... first the negative: drop knowledge. And second the positive: enter into meditation.
A whole band of saints was being admitted to heaven, and the doors swung open just enough to let each one in.
As soon as one was in, without any ceremony the doors closed and then opened for the next who went in without any hesitation, as if he was quite expecting to be admitted.
Right at the end came a scholar with a reverend beard and majestic gait, large turban and confident look. As he stepped forward, the gates swung open and trumpets sounded while tremendous applause broke out from an assembled multitude. A shining figure came forward to escort him within.
"This is most gratifying," said the scholar to himself, "to know that the learned no longer will have to give themselves airs and graces. Here, at least, our importance is recognized."
To the apparition he said, "Why all this ceremony?"
"Well," said the angel, "it is something of an occasion - you see, this is the first time that we have had an academic among us."
It is almost impossible for the knowledgeable to enter into heaven. It must have been an occasion! Hence saints were not received with great ceremony, but the academician, the scholar, the pundit, was received with great ceremony. It was so rare.
It is very rare, in fact it is impossible.... This story must be an invention. Scholars are not known to enter into heaven; to be a scholar is to be in the original fall. And to follow a life pattern from the scriptures is bound to be erroneous, because who is going to interpret? Your stupid mind will go on interpreting, and you will follow your own interpretation. You will be going in circles, you will remain the same.
A man was limping as he walked down a street, and wincing with pain.
A doctor stopped him and said, "If I were you I would get yourself seen to - you need your appendix out."
So he had his appendix out. Presently he went to another doctor claiming that he still had the same trouble, so he was put on a course of tranquilizers. This did not help and he went to a hospital where they prescribed him a diet and remedial exercises.
Some weeks later he had to go to another surgeon because those medicines were not helping at all. The surgeon said, "Your tonsils have to be removed..." so the tonsils were removed. And this way he went on going from one doctor to another, from one surgeon to another, and parts of the body were slowly slowly disappearing. But the problem remained the same!
Then one day he was strolling in the marketplace and one of the doctors saw him. He said, "Glad to see you - you look better! You look perfect!" said the physician. "How did it happen? Who helped you finally? - because we had all failed. Was it my service that helped you?"
"Service my eye!" said the patient. "Both the pain and the limp went away the moment I took that nail out of my shoe!"
Sometimes things are very small, but if you go to knowledgeable people they look with magnifying glasses; they magnify everything. They are clever and efficient in creating problems, because they know the solutions. Their solutions are useful only if they create problems.
Go to any expert, and immediately he will tell you so many problems that you were never aware of. He has to, because his whole expertise depends on your having many problems, and the more complicated they are, the more happy he is because now he has an opportunity to show his knowledge, his skill.
The real problem may be very small. The real problem is REALLY small! The problem is that you live in the head. Come down from the head to the heart. The head can become knowledgeable, the heart can never become knowledgeable. The heart can become wise.
The heart knows in a totally different way. Its knowing is direct, immediate - it is not logical, it is intuitive. It is not inference, it is not a conclusion after a long argumentation. It is a simple vision! One simply knows....
The heart is not a process of knowing: it is the opening of an eye.
The mind is mischievous. It goes on befooling you; it plays so many mischiefs upon you that you are not aware of. The first mischief is: the wise man shares his wisdom and you immediately jump upon it and reduce it into knowledge. The second mischief is: the wise man helps you to be yourself and you start hard work in imitating the wise man - you try to be like him.
The wise man wants you only to have insight into things so that you have your own light. But you don't want insight, you want clear-cut instructions. You don't want to see yourself, you want to be guided. You don't want to accept your responsibility towards yourself; you want to throw the whole responsibility on the shoulders of the master, on the shoulders of the wise man. Then you feel at ease. Now he is responsible; if something goes wrong, he is responsible. And everything is going to be wrong, because unless you take your responsibility nothing is ever going to be right.
Nobody can put you right except you yourself.
The master simply teaches you to be a master of yourself - that is the true function of a master. He does not want you to depend on him. But the mind goes on playing these mischiefs. The mind wants you to depend. The mind is always in search of a father figure or a mother figure; you want somebody to hold your hand. You want somebody to guide, to lead.
The master can only indicate. He is a finger pointing to the moon. But the mind plays a mischief: it clings to the finger - you may even start sucking the finger.
A Zen master, Nan Yin, used to say to his disciples, "Please don't bite my finger - look at the moon!"
But people are childish. Just like small children suck on their thumbs and believe that they are getting nourishment, grown-up children suck on the fingers of the masters and think they are being nourished. Beware of the mischief of the mind!
And the mind always tells you, "This is simple, to believe in the master. You need not work hard - what is the point of working hard? Just look: Albert Einstein discovered the theory of relativity, now nobody else needs to discover it again and again. Once he has discovered you can read it in the books. It took years for him; for you it may take only hours to understand it. Why bother to discover it again?"
That is true about outer knowledge, that is true about the outside, objective world; but it is not true abut the subjective, inner world. There one has to discover again and again.
Buddha discovered, but that discovery is of no use to you. Jesus knew, but that cannot become your knowing. Mohammed understands, but there is no way to transfer it to you. These people can only indicate how they have attained; they can share their whole journey with you. But then you have to move on your own.
The mind is always for the shortcut; and the mind is always for the easier, for the cheaper way. And those are the things which drive you again and again into wrong paths. Beware! Mind always gives you sugarcoated poison. But it tastes sweet only in the beginning; in the end it is going to poison you. Wisdom may not taste so sweet in the beginning - it in fact never tastes so sweet, it is bitter - but it purifies you.
Knowledge is sweet in the beginning, wisdom is sweet in the end. And whatsoever proves sweet in the end is the true thing.
The story is told about a man who died and was met by an angel who said to him, "During your life you were always of a mind to believe that things over here could not really be as bad as you thought. Would you like to see heaven and hell and choose your own destination, just as you have always chosen in your earthly life?"
Of course he agreed, and the angel opened a door marked "Hell." Inside there were revelers and people dancing and drumming; a constant debauch seemed to be going on, men and women cavorting, demons and spirits prancing about. It all seemed very active and interesting.
Then the angel threw open the door marked "Heaven." Inside it were rows of saintly people sitting and lying around in a state of aseptic bliss. But it all seemed rather cold, dull and dead.
"I will take the first one," said the man, because he did not want to spend all eternity doing nothing.
They went back to the first door and the angel opened it. He found himself pitchforked into a cavern full of flames and grime, soot and fumes, with demons lashing the inmates and a constant roar of thunder. Painfully and breathlessly he struggled to his feet and stopped a passing devil: "I was taken on a tour and opted for hell, but it was not anything like this!"
The demon grinned: "Oh, but you were only visiting at the time. That was simply for the tourists!"
The mind can allure you, it can give you sweet dreams in the beginning - but only in the beginning. Once you are trapped, once you are in it, once you have chosen, you will suffer. That's how millions of people are suffering.
Buddha says: LET HIM CHASTEN AND TEACH YOU AND KEEP YOU FROM MISCHIEF.
And remember: a wise man is always hated by the world, is bound to be hated by the world. His presence is a disturbance to those who are fast asleep and snoring, because he goes on shouting "Wake up!" He goes on telling you that whatsoever you are doing is all illusory. He goes on shaking you, shocking you into awareness, and you may be dreaming sweet dreams, beautiful dreams. He goes on pulling you out of your dreams and your sleep, and your sleep may be comfortable, safe, secure. And he does not allow you rest; he gives you great work to do upon yourself.
The ordinary humanity has always hated a wise man - he may be a Buddha or a Socrates or a Zarathustra or a Lao Tzu, it doesn't matter who, but down the ages the wise man has been hated by the ordinary people, by the masses, by the crowds. The wise man has been loved only by a few seekers of truth, a few lovers of truth, a few good men. Remember it!
That is the meaning of a spiritual commune: FIND FRIENDS WHO LOVE THE TRUTH - because alone you may not be able to gather that much courage to go into the uncharted sea. But when you see many are going, a great courage may arise in your heart. It is there, lying dormant; it may become active. Hence a commune is needed - Buddha created a SANGHA, a commune - where seekers can gather together, where lovers of truth can hold hands with each other, where meditators can share their experiences with each other, where people can feel that they are not alone, where they can create an alternative society.
And that's exactly what I am trying to do here: create an alternative society - the society of the friends of truth, the society of the seekers, the society of people who can feel a deep communion with each other, of love, of trust, because this is going to be an arduous journey and a long journey, and you will have to pass through many deserts and many mountains and many oceans.
Alone you may not be able to gather that much courage, alone you may feel hopeless.
But when you see many people dancing, singing, rejoicing in their journey, great courage arises in your heart, great trust arises in yourself. You become confident that it is possible in this life to be a buddha.
DO NOT LOOK FOR BAD COMPANY.... What is "bad company"? People who are not interested in truth. ... OR LIVE WITH MEN WHO DO NOT CARE. And avoid people who are indifferent to truth, because they are going to waste their life. To be with them you will have to be like them. To be with them you will have to behave in their ways.
Find people who are in a love affair with existence. That will help your search tremendously; you will be immensely benefited.
DRINK DEEPLY.... And when you have found a wise man, a master, a buddha, when you have found a community of seekers of truth, a sangha, then drink deeply, then don't be miserly, then don't hold back. You have been thirsty for lives and lives. When the time arrives, don't allow your old habit patterns to prevent you - drink deeply, unhesitatingly, courageously. Go ahead!
To be with a master is really to be a drunkard. A master is sharing his wine! A master is sharing some inner juice that has started flowing in his being. The source is inexhaustible; you can drink as much as you want - you cannot exhaust it. To be with a master is to learn how to drink him, how to eat him, how to digest him. To be a disciple is really to be a cannibal! The master has to be eaten, drunk, digested, so he starts flowing in your blood, in your bones, in your marrow... so that he becomes part of your being. DRINK DEEPLY. LIVE IN SERENITY AND JOY.
And when you are around a master, don't be sad and don't be serious. That is not the way to commune with a master. You are bridged only by rejoicing. Of course, your joy has to be very serene, calm, cool. Real joy is not feverish, it is cool, it is very silent. It sings a song, but the song is that of silence. It does not shout, it whispers.
LIVE IN SERENITY AND JOY - because the more serene you are, the more you are available to the master. And the more joyous you are, the more you are close to the master. These are the ways of being closer.
Many sannyasins ask me, "How to be close to you, Beloved Master?" Be serene, be joyous... and you are close! Be sad, be serious, and you are far, far away. Physically you may be close, but if you are sad you are not close. Physically you may be thousands of miles away, but if you are in joy, rejoicing that you have a master, rejoicing that you have found a buddha, rejoicing that the earth is not yet abandoned by God, that he goes on sending his messengers, rejoicing that Christ still walks on the earth, that Mohammed is not dead but is born in another form, rejoicing that consciousness still blooms and becomes a lotus like a buddha... and you have found a lotus!
You are fortunate, you are blessed. Rejoicing in it brings you closer and closer to the master. It is a spiritual closeness; it has nothing to do with physical closeness.
And if you live joyously, in deep serenity, if you drink without holding yourself in any way back, if you go wholeheartedly with the master, you start becoming wise.
THE WISE MAN DELIGHTS IN THE TRUTH.... Then whenever you hear truth, whenever you see truth, you delight. Your delight is immense. Your delight is not of this earth, it is something of the beyond.
... AND FOLLOWS THE LAW OF THE AWAKENED. And slowly slowly you become aware of the law of the awakened. AES DHAMMO SANANTANO! The world is not a chaos, it is a cosmos. The universe is not accidental; there runs through and through in it a certain law. Buddha calls that law dhamma - he calls that law God. His approach is tremendously scientific. He does not preach any God who sits on a golden throne in the sky and dominates and controls the world, and gets jealous and gets angry - if you don't follow him he throws you into hell; if you follow him, if you praise him, if you bribe him through prayers and priests, then he rewards you in heaven with beautiful women who never age, who are stuck at the age of sixteen. Buddha does not believe in any God who rewards or punishes. His approach is scientific.
He says God means the ultimate law that keeps the whole universe together. The universe is a garland - you see the flowers but you don't see the thread running through the flowers; it is hidden. That thread is God, and that God is known only by the awakened, by the buddhas.
Drink deeply from the master, absorb his being, absorb his presence... melt into his presence. Let his warmth and compassion help to melt the ice of your ego. Become one with him. Drop duality. Be bridged.
This is the meaning of disciplehood, this is what sannyas is all about, and slowly slowly you will start seeing what is true and what is false. To know the false as false is to know the truth as the truth; to know darkness as darkness is the beginning of knowing light as light. And when love for truth arises in you, it is not far away when you will become enlightened in your own light, when you will be awakened.
Before that happens, follow the law of the awakened, be in tune with the awakened, be in harmony with the awakened - because it is a synchronicity.
Listening to beautiful music you feel like dancing. It is not caused by music, because all those who are hearing the music may not feel like that; so it is not the law of cause and effect, it is a totally different law. Carl Gustav Jung has called it the law of synchronicity; he has given it a beautiful name. It has been known down the ages, but he is the first who has rediscovered it in the West.
In the East we have called it SATSANG: to be in tune with the master, to be so attuned that his being starts sinking in you, that you start overlapping. Then something starts happening in you which has never happened. The master is not doing it, you are not doing it - there is nobody who is doing it - it is simply happening. Just like listening to music you feel like dancing; being in tune with the master you feel an awakening happening to you.
Once some fragments of wisdom have happened to you, direct your mind towards the awakened. The disciple is continuously directing his mind towards his master - even after the disciple becomes enlightened he continues to direct his mind.
Sariputta became enlightened - he was one of the great disciples of Buddha. When he became enlightened he was very afraid to go in front of Buddha. Why? - because he knew now Buddha will tell him to go and spread the word; he will have to leave the master.
It is said that for many days he was hiding from the master, but finally Buddha inquired, "Where is Sariputta? - because he has become enlightened, and you cannot hide a light. Bring him, fetch him wherever he is!"
He was hiding in a cave. He was brought forcibly. He said, "I don't want to go. I know what he is going to do to me. He will say, 'Now you go, roam, wander, preach. Now you have become awakened, wake up others!' And I don't want to leave the master.
How will I live without his constant presence?"
But he had to leave. When he came to Buddha, Buddha said, "Now go to the east and spread the word. You have attained, now share it." And when the master orders, it has to be followed.
With tears in his eyes he touched the master's feet, went towards the east. But every morning the first thing he would do, he would get up, bow down towards the west where the master was dwelling.
People would ask him, "Sariputta, you are now yourself a buddha in your own right - what are you doing? Why do you go on bowing down every morning towards the west?"
He said, "It doesn't matter whether I am enlightened or not. It is irrelevant, it is not the point. My master is dwelling in the west; although I am far away, I am still nourished by his presence. I can drop my enlightenment but I cannot drop my master.
Enlightenment is nothing compared to the attunement with the master."
... THE WISE MAN DIRECTS HIS MIND - to truth, to the ultimate law of existence, to the awakened people. And when you direct your mind towards the awakened people, or towards the law of existence, slowly slowly the old mad mind starts settling, the old chattering disappears. You become more and more silent and serene and tranquil. You become a silent lake, all waves gone, not even ripples to be found. Only then is truth reflected in you.
And then you are like a mountain: nothing can shake you. And then praise or blame are not in any way different to the wise man - they are all alike. Whether the ignorant person, the unawakened person, praises you or blames you, what difference does it make? Both come from his sleep. It is like a man in a dream shouts - blames, or praises you. Will you take any note of it? Will you differentiate between the two? A man in a dream may condemn you or may praise you - you know he is dreaming, he is asleep. It doesn't matter! There is no difference. What he is saying is all nonsense. When he wakes up he will laugh at it all himself, it will look so ridiculous.
Hence, you can praise the buddha, you can condemn him - millions will condemn him, very few will praise him - but it makes no difference to him. He remains like an unmoving mountain, an immovable mountain.
He is not only clear - Buddha says he is clarity, clarity itself. To be clear is a very ordinary thing; once in a while you are also clear. Once in a while you can rise to a certain clarity. But the mind is always there to play mischief again; again you will fall.
You can jump for a moment and you are beyond the law of gravitation - but for how long? A few seconds at the most, and you are back again under the same law of gravitation.
To be clear is a momentary phenomenon.
The wise man, the awakened man, is not only clear - he is clarity. You cannot take it away from him. He is clear through and through. He is utterly clear. All the weeds have been taken out of him - he is only roses and roses, a row of roses. He has become pure light, pure capacity to see. His vision is no longer clouded, his sky is without clouds.
HE IS LIKE A LAKE, PURE AND TRANQUIL AND DEEP. His consciousness becomes a lake, and in that lake are reflected all the stars and all the suns and all the moons and the whole sky... and the whole truth, the whole existence. In his silent lake of consciousness is reflected that which is, and that is another name for God - that which is.
Meditate over these sutras; not only meditate - imbibe their spirit. Buddha is sharing his invaluable treasures with you, invaluable secrets.... FOLLOW HIM, FOLLOW THE WAY.
Enough for today.