Gautam Buddha's search is not for God; it cannot be. If God is not known already, how can you search for him? If the search depends on believing in God, then the search is falsified from the very beginning.
A true search has to be neither of belief nor of disbelief. If you believe, you will project; you will autohypnotize yourself according to your belief. There is every danger that you will find whatsoever you believe in - you will create an illusion of it.
Deep belief can create a space in which hallucinations become possible. Hence the Christian can see Christ and the Hindu can see Krishna. The Hindu never comes across Christ, the Christian never comes across Krishna. Why does it never happen? - because whatsoever you believe, you find. Not that it is there in reality but because you are projecting it on reality. The reality functions as a screen and you go on projecting your own prejudice. If you disbelieve, then of course there is no possibility of ever finding it; from the very beginning your mind is closed.
Hence Buddha's search is not for God. We don't know whether God is or not; we cannot take any standpoint. And without taking a standpoint about God there is a possibility of inquiring into his reality.
This is a basic difference between Buddha's approach and the approach of all other religions. Buddha is far superior. The other religions are very anthropocentric: their idea of God is nothing but their idea of man - projected, magnified, decorated, made as beautiful as possible, but it is man projected onto the sky.
That's why the Negro will have a God according to the Negro idea of what a human being is: the lips will be thick, the hair will be curly. The Chinese will have his own projection, the Indian will have his own idea. There are three hundred religions on the earth; there are not three hundred gods. Why these three hundred religions? And these three hundred religions have at least three thousand sects, and they all have differences about God and God's conception.
God is one, because reality is one. If God is equal to reality, synonymous with reality, then there are not many existences, there is only one existence - it can't have so many images. In fact, no image can represent it; every image will be only partial. And to claim the whole truth for the part is a sin - a sin against yourself and against humanity and against truth.
And the moment you start thinking about God in anthropocentric terms, you make an image. That image is nothing but a toy to play with. You can worship it, you can pray, you can bow down to it, but you are simply being stupid. You are bowing down to your own toy, you are worshipping your own creation! And that's what your temples, your churches, your mosques are - man-made, manufactured by man's own mind.
God cannot be manufactured. God cannot be part of man's creation. On the contrary, man is God's creation. The Bible says: God created man in his own image. But what has happened on the earth is just the opposite of it: man has created God in his own image.
And of course there are many kinds of man, so there are many kinds of God, and great quarreling continues, who is right. It is not the question of WHAT concept of God is right, the question basically is WHOSE concept is right.
God too has become an ego trip: Christians fighting with Mohammedans, Mohammedans fighting with Hindus, Hindus fighting with Jainas. And this "sorry-go- round" goes on and on.... The whole history of humanity has been ugly because of these so-called religious people. They have proved the most irreligious. They have proved to be the greatest fanatics, utterly blind, deeply prejudiced, completely closed, not ready to listen to anything that goes against them or that is a little bit different from their idea.
Religions have made people blind, deaf. Religions have made people foolish, unintelligent.
Buddha is a totally different world, he brings a totally different vision. The first thing to be remembered: he is not interested in God... and the miracle is that he finds God. His inquiry is not into God, but he ends, he lands, in God. His inquiry begins with a totally different angle, and that is the right angle to begin with. If you start as Buddha starts, you are bound to find God.
H.G. Wells is right when he says that Gautama the Buddha is the most godly man on the earth and yet the most godless. Yes, he is a paradox. He denies God, he says there is no God. He says there is no need to worship, he says there is no need to believe.
Inquire, don't believe! Search and seek, but without any prejudice for or against. Start with a totally pure and open mind. Start like a small child, in utter innocence, who has not even heard of God. And he does not say that if you start this way you will find God, because he knows the cunningness of human mind. If he says, "If you start this way you will find God," your mind will say to you, "Then THIS is the way to find God - start this way," but deep down your desire for God remains. The desire for God arises in your psychology; it is not a spiritual search.
Sigmund Freud is right that God is nothing but a search for a father or mother figure.
Buddha would have agreed with him, Buddha would have blessed Sigmund Freud.
Sigmund Freud's insight is very accurate about it. He does not go very far, but he begins rightly, though he becomes stuck in the middle because he was not aware of Buddha and he was not aware of Lao Tzu. He remained basically part of the Judaic- Christian tradition - which is not very evolved, which is not yet a metaphysics in the true sense of the term.
Christianity and Judaism are very earthly religions, more rooted in man's psychology than in man's spiritual understanding. And because man's psychology is a chaos, whatsoever is rooted in his psychology is bound to remain a chaos.
Man needs a father figure, somebody to depend upon. In the name of God people are not searching for God but are only searching for excuses for their dependence - beautiful excuses so that the dependence does not look like slavery, so the dependence also starts having a flavor of religiousness, spirituality. But to call God "the father" indicates what you have been searching for.
There are religions which call God "the mother"; it is the same, the same game - either mother or father. If the society is mother-oriented, matriarchal, then God becomes "the mother"; if the society is father-oriented, patriarchal, then God becomes "the father."
Germany calls itself "the fatherland," India calls itself "the motherland"; the difference is only in names. Whether you call the country motherland or fatherland does not make much difference, because you create the same trouble. The labels are different but it is the same politics; the labels are different but it is the same childish approach towards reality.
Why do you seek for God? Out of fear? Yes, there is fear, because there is death. If you are seeking God out of fear you will never find him. God can be found only through love, not through fear.
In all the languages of the world such phrases exist as "God-fearing"; the religious person is called God-fearing. It is utter nonsense! A religious person is never God- fearing: a religious person is God-LOVING. His prayer arises not out of fear but out of tremendous love and gratitude. His prayer is a thankfulness, not a demand. He does not ask for security, because he knows already that he is secure. He does not ask for safety, he does not ask for protection, because he knows that existence protects, that existence is our home, that we belong to it and that it belongs to us. Why should he ask for such things which are already available, which are already given, which are built in, in your very existence?
But the so-called religious person goes on demanding. Maybe he has lost his father, his mother... and everybody one day or other loses them. It is not really that your father dies, then you lose him; the moment you become mature, you start moving on your own, the father is lost, the mother is lost - and the childhood illusions are lost. And then great fear arises: up to now you were protected by the father, cared for by the mother. Now who is going to protect you and who is going to care for you? The sky seems to be utterly neutral; it does not care this way or that, whether you live or die doesn't matter. A great fear arises in one's being, a trembling. Soren Kierkegaard has exactly called it trembling; in that trembling he thinks religion is born. Yes, in that trembling religion is born, but that religion is pseudo, that religion is not true.
Religion is born when you are centered, rooted, not trembling. Religion is born in great understanding, not in fear. Religion is born when you start feeling that the existence responds with love, that it is not uncaring, that it is not cold; that it is very warm, that it is very welcoming. It is our very life - how can it be uncaring towards us?
But the so-called religious people go on asking God for protection; hence God is called "The Great Protector." The religious people go on asking God for eternal life because they are trembling, they are scared of death... and death is coming every day closer and closer. Soon it will encompass you, it will drown you into darkness. Before that you have to find a secure ground, a home. That becomes your search for God.
Buddha is not interested in such a search. He says rather than listening to the ill, pathological mind and going according to it in search of God, it is better to drop this pathological mind. It is better to drop this whole pathology, be free of it - because in that freedom is seeing, in that freedom is knowing.
Free from mind you become a knower. You become so absolutely certain of immortality, of timelessness, of deathlessness, that there is no need for any God to protect you - you are already protected. In that protection you bow down to existence in gratitude. In that protection, in that caring, in that love that goes on flowing invisibly from the universe towards you.... It nourishes you every moment. It is the universe that you breathe in and out, it is the universe that flows in your blood, it is the universe that becomes your bones, your very marrow. The moment it becomes your own experience, you have become religious.
And now you know that God is, but this is a totally different God. It is not a father figure - it is not a figure at all. It is not a person but a presence, a loving presence overflowing the whole cosmos. Now it is not a person controlling, a dictator dictating. It is not like the Old Testament God who says, "I am very jealous."
Buddha says: God and jealous? Then who is going to be beyond jealousy? Buddha says even man has to become nonjealous, only then will he be able to know God. But can it be a condition that you have to become nonjealous and then you will know a jealous God? Can it be a condition that to know a jealous God first you have to drop all your jealousies? That would be very illogical! The Old Testament God says, "I am jealous, I am angry. Those who don't listen to me will be condemned forever!"
Bertrand Russell has written a book, WHY I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN. In the book he gives many arguments; one of those arguments is worth considering. He says the Christian and Jewish God seems to be utterly unjust, unfair, because Christians and Jews believe only in one life. Bertrand Russell says, "As far as I am concerned, for all the crimes that I have committed, even the hardest judge cannot sentence me for more than four years. And if the sins that I have not committed but only contemplated are also included, then too, at the most, eight years, ten years."
In a life of seventy years, how much sin can you commit? In a life of seventy years one third is spent in sleeping, the other one third in working for bread and butter. What time do you have to commit sin and how much can you commit? And, Russell says, the Christian, the Jewish Gods say you will be punished for eternity! Now, this is unfair!
Even if you punish a man for seventy years, okay; seventy years at least he lived. If life itself is sin, if to breathe is sin, then send him for seventy years to hell - but sending him to hell for eternity, for ever and ever he will be in hell... Russell says that this is unjust. If this is your idea of God, then what is your idea of the Devil? How can God be more devilish? This is a very evil conception.
But because the so-called religions are based in fear, such ideas create more fear in people. And the priests exploit your fear; they say you will be condemned, punished.
And they have created pictures, paintings of hell, hellfire and all kinds of tortures they have invented in hell.
These people can't be saints. Even to contemplate that others should be burned forever and forever needs a very cruel mind - even to think about it, even to write about it.
Buddha says the search, the true search, is not for God, cannot be - because God is the need of a pathological mind. Let this sink deep in you; otherwise you will not be able to understand this very superior vision of religion.
Secondly, Buddha says religion is not a search for truth either, because the moment you start inquiring about truth you become intellectuals. The whole inquiry becomes philosophical, intellectual, rational - truth is a rational concept. Then you start thinking that you have to go through many logical processes, that you have to argue, discuss, debate, and then finally one day you will come to the conclusion - as if truth is going to be a conclusion of a logical process, as if truth is going to be a by-product of your syllogism.
Truth is not just intellectual. And what can the intellect think about truth? It is all imagination, inference. At the most it can arrive at a certain hypothesis, a workable hypothesis, utilitarian; but it can never arrive at any truth.
That's why philosophy never arrives; it simply goes on and on in circles - it moves in vicious circles. Science also never arrives at truth. At the most it comes across hypotheses which are accepted today and rejected tomorrow because tomorrow you find a better hypothesis which works more efficiently; hence yesterday's hypothesis has to be discarded.
Newton is discarded by Albert Einstein; Albert Einstein will be discarded sooner or later by somebody else. Science never comes to truth, to ultimate truth. Everything is utilitarian: if it works then it is worth using. But the question is not of truth, the question is of utility.
Buddha says truth can only be existential, not intellectual. Intellect will be a part in it, emotion will also be a part in it, the body will also be a part in it - and the center of it is going to be your witnessing consciousness. It will be a total phenomenon, not only intellectual, not only emotional.
There are two kinds of religion: the intellectual religions and the emotional religions.
The intellectual religions philosophize and the emotional religions worship, pray - but both are partial. And the truth is not just the sum total of all its parts: it is more than the sum total of its parts.
Hence Buddha says an existential approach is needed - not intellectual only, not emotional only. Neither the philosopher is going to discover it, nor the devotee.
Thirdly, Buddha says, "My search is not for bliss either..." because you cannot conceive what bliss is. Whatsoever you will conceive is bound to be somehow colored by your idea of happiness. And your idea of happiness is not very blissful, is not very close to bliss. Your idea of happiness is much closer to unhappiness. Your idea of happiness is nothing but the opposite of unhappiness - and they are both together, two aspects of the same energy. Like day and night they are joined together; the day follows the night, then the night follows the day, and it goes on and on. Happy one moment, unhappy another, happy again, unhappy another... and this way your whole life is wasted.
When you hear the word 'bliss', what notion arises in your mind? - something of happiness, something of eternal happiness, something when you will never know unhappiness again. But if unhappiness disappears, happiness cannot remain. If darkness disappears completely there will be no light. They depend on each other; they appear contradictory but they are really complementaries. So whatsoever you conceive of as bliss is going to be wrong from the very beginning. You will be searching for a new kind of hedonism - maybe spiritual, metaphysical. Maybe you are not searching happiness here, but you are searching for happiness on the other shore.
And that's what all the religions talk about in the name of heaven, paradise: what they are missing here they project in paradise. If you look into the ideas about paradise of different people you will be able immediately to know one thing: what is missing in their life. You will not know anything about paradise, but you will certainly know what is missing in the lives of the people whose conception this paradise is.
For example, the Mohammedan paradise has provision for homosexuality. Strange! But that's what was very much prevalent in the days when Mohammedanism was in its early stages. The Mohammedan countries have still remained very homosexual; it is the only paradise. So if some gay people are here they should remember it. When after death you are asked, "Where do you want to go?" immediately say, "To the Mohammedan paradise." There you will find gay clubs. But don't go to a Hindu paradise - there you will not find gay clubs at all! That has never been the idea in India; it has been a sin.
If you go to a Greek paradise you will find homosexuality very much praised. In fact, in the Greek culture man's body was thought to be far more beautiful than the woman's body; hence all the Greek sculpture is centered around the male figure. Even in the schools of Plato and Aristotle homosexuality was the rule, not the exception. The Greek idea of paradise is bound to be with the Greek mind.
In the Hindu paradise you will find beautiful women and they are all stuck at the age sixteen, for centuries and centuries, because the Hindu idea of beauty is the sixteen- year-old girl - not even eighteen, what to say about twenty-one! The Hindu idea is that at sixteen the woman attains perfection; after that there is deterioration. And because the Hindu, so-called saints were starving themselves of feminine relationship, from female energy, their minds were too much obsessed with women. Of course they had to find some consolation somewhere; their paradise is their consolation.
In their paradise women have bodies of gold, eyes of diamonds. What kind of women these will be! Utterly dead! I don't think the Hindu saints will allow blood to run through their veins - cows' milk will be far better and far purer, and holier too! And these girls go on dancing continuously, singing songs, around sages - sages who had renounced family life here on the earth. They are really on a picnic! Their paradise is what they are missing here.
Analyze the paradise of any race, any country, any religion, and you will know what they are really missing here. The Hindu paradise is very rich - Hindus are poor. In the Hindu paradise there are rivers of milk - water does not flow there. In the real world of the Hindus you cannot even find pure water in the rivers.
I have not tasted water at least for fifteen years - I have to depend on soda water! All kinds of impurities are found in Indian rivers, Indian water, because the whole sewage system goes on pouring itself into Indian rivers, and buffaloes and cows and people are taking their baths there. Indian rivers seem to be the dirtiest - and that is the only water to drink. But they have managed beautifully in paradise; they have dropped water completely. Rivers are of milk and curd!
And there are wish-fulfilling trees; you simply sit underneath the tree, no need to work at all. Indians are tired of working, utterly tired. Just sit under a wish-fulfilling tree and whatsoever you wish is immediately fulfilled, instantly - just as you have instant coffee. That too takes a little time, but under the wish-fulfilling tree the wish arises, "A woman!" and the woman appears. "Food!" and suddenly there is food. "Coca-Cola!" and immediately there is Coca-Cola. India has been starving for centuries; the wish-fulfilling tree simply indicates the starving country, the poor country.
When these scriptures were being written many things were not there in the world, hence they are not there; otherwise Rolls Royces would have been in paradise, especially made in solid gold, for the great sages, mahatmas, saints. They have golden thrones, so there is nothing wrong about having solid gold Rolls Royces. Here you have to move in worthless cars; even they are very difficult to find. India produces the worst kind of cars in the world!
I have heard that when the manufacturer of Ambassador cars died - I knew him, he was my friend, so I believe that the story is true - he was suddenly taken to paradise.
He was very much puzzled because he was not hoping for that much. He was thinking that if he can get some good quarters in hell, that will do. This was too much! He was a little puzzled. He asked when the door was opened, he asked the doorkeeper, "Is there something wrong? - because I have been thinking that I will be thrown into hell, I have never done anything good. Why are you taking me in?"
The doorkeeper said, "You made the Ambassador, and because of the Ambassador many more people have remembered God than through anything else. Whosoever travels in an Ambassador remembers God continuously: 'My God!' You have made people so religious. Even atheists when they travel in your car start remembering God - - they have to! Hence this special concession for you: a special place has been reserved for you in heaven."
If now the scriptures are written, then there will be solid gold Rolls Royces and everything that is missing here will be there.
Buddha says: My search is not for bliss... because the moment you talk about bliss, people start thinking of pleasures. It is better not to talk about bliss, it is dangerous.
People will simply misunderstand.
Then what is his bliss for? He has chosen a word never chosen before - he says: My search is for freedom. That word is immensely important: freedom from the ego, freedom from the mind, freedom from desires, freedom from all limitations. In a way, he is very scientific in his inward journey. He is saying if you can create a space in your being where your consciousness is totally free, then all is achieved: God is achieved, truth is achieved, beauty is achieved, bliss is achieved. But only in freedom anything becomes possible.
Hence these sutras:
Not God, not truth, not bliss, but freedom. Freedom is Buddha's word which contains all: God, bliss, truth, beauty. And freedom avoids all other pitfalls. Freedom needs courage; you cannot attain to freedom if you are afraid. Freedom needs that you drop all identification with the mind and the body; otherwise you will remain confined, you can't be free.
Freedom means that you get out of this constant desiring mind. It is the desiring mind that creates paradise. If you drop desire, how can you talk about paradise? If you drop desire, sorrow disappears automatically, because sorrow is a shadow of desire. The more you desire, the more frustrated you feel, because no desire is ever fulfilled. Desire is unfulfillable; its very nature is such. It is not that YOU are incapable of fulfilling it; desire's very nature is such that it cannot be fulfilled - it goes on becoming bigger and bigger. In the beginning you ask for ten thousand rupees; by the time you have ten thousand, your desire has moved ahead of you - it is asking for one hundred thousand rupees.
It is like the horizon that surrounds the earth: it looks so close by. Move, and it moves ahead with you. The distance between you and the horizon remains always exactly the same. In fact, there is no place where earth meets the sky - there is no horizon. The horizon is a mirage: it only appears, it is not a reality.
So is fulfillment: fulfillment is only a mirage. It only appears there, very close, alluring, enchanting, inviting. You go on moving, and you waste your whole life; and by the time you are dying you have not even moved a single inch closer to fulfillment. People die on the same spot where they were born. People die in the same stupid state in which they were born.
I have heard:
Sir Henry, bored with English country life, visited a French SALON DE PLAISIR. In response to Sir Henry's request for something unusual, the madam suggested, "I can give you Hott Tung, a Chinese delicacy."
"No," replied his lordship, "I have already had one of those."
"Perhaps," asked the madam, "you would like to make a selection from our Black African group."
"I have had one of those too," yawned Sir Henry. "Actually, the only thrill I have not tried would be a little bitty girl, about eight years old."
"This is outrageous!" shrieked the madam. "The very idea is criminal! I am going to summon a policeman."
"No, don't do that," said the Englishman. "I have already had one of those!"
You can have everything and yet you will not have anything at all. You can have all the wealth of the world and still you will be poor. You can have all that the world makes available and yet the discontent will be deeper than ever before - because before there were hopes, now even hopes will disappear.
AT THE END OF THE WAY, THE MASTER FINDS FREEDOM. The goal is to find freedom, but one has to start becoming a master of oneself, master of one's consciousness. That is the beginning, the first step. You are not master of your own consciousness. You are a slave of a thousand and one desires, thoughts, imaginations.
You are pulled into this direction and that. You don't know who you are and where you are going. You don't know why you are existing at all. You don't know the purpose of your life, you don't have any sense of direction. How can you be a master of yourself?
The first thing to becoming a master of oneself is to become more conscious of your acts and your thoughts. Unconsciousness is slavery, consciousness is mastery.
I call my sannyasins swamis; the word 'swami' means the master. It simply means one who is trying to become centered in his being, rooted in his consciousness, who is trying not to be pulled by desires against his wishes. But desires are very cunning and the ego plays such games that unless you are constantly alert you will remain a slave.
Rabinowitz, hiding with his wife from the Nazis in a secluded Berlin attic, decided to get a breath of fresh air. While out walking he came face-to-face with Adolf Hitler.
The German leader pulled out a gun and pointed to a pile of horse manure in the street.
"Alright, Jew," he shouted, "eat that or I will kill you!" Trembling, Rabinowitz did as he was ordered.
Hitler began laughing so hard he dropped the weapon. Rabinowitz snatched it up and said, "Now, you eat the manure or I will shoot!" The Fuhrer got down on his hands and knees and began eating.
While he was occupied, Rabinowitz sneaked away, ran through an alley, climbed over a fence, and dashed up the stairs to the attic. He slammed the door shut, bolted and locked it securely. "Bessie! Bessie!" he shouted to his wife. "Guess who I had lunch with today!"
The ego is very subtle. It can find opportunities where they don't exist at all; it can make the impossible possible. And you have to be very alert, because the mind is always rationalizing. The mind can go on rationalizing everything and it can rationalize so beautifully that even you will be allured - it is your own mind deceiving you!
Unless one is really committed to being free it is impossible to be free. It is very rarely a man becomes free, very rarely: a Jesus, a Moses, a Mohammed - only few and far between. But everyone has the capacity, everyone has the seed, the potential. You can become a Jesus, you can become a Buddha, you can become a Confucius, you can become a Socrates.
All that is needed, all that is required, is there. Only one thing is missing: you have not yet decided, you are indecisive; you have not decided to become a master of your own being. And then stupid things go on deceiving you, but you can always rationalize.
It is little known that Sherlock Holmes had a secret vice unrevealed in the stories. When Dr. Watson came around to 221B Baker Street one afternoon, the housekeeper told him that Holmes had a visitor, a schoolgirl.
Watson sat down to wait, but then heard muffled sounds coming from the study.
Fearing that the schoolgirl might be an assassin in disguise he broke open the door, only to find the great detective and the girl - a very young girl - engaged in rather a shocking form of play.
"By God, Holmes!" huffed the doctor, "just what sort of schoolgirl is this?"
Smirked Holmes, "Elementary, my dear Watson!"
You can always find ways and means to protect yourself, to deceive others and to deceive yourself - unless a very deliberate, conscious decision has been made. I call that decision sannyas.
Sannyas is nothing but a decision, a total decision, a commitment, an involvement, that "Now my whole energy is going to move into one direction - the direction of freedom; I have decided to be free, free from all desire and free from all sorrow. Freedom without bounds is my goal."
And it can be attained. Once the decision is there and you are pouring your energy into it and nourishing it, nobody can prevent you from attaining it. It is your birthright.
Buddha is saying: If you start awakening you will be surprised that your whole life you were stuck in the same place, you were not really moving. Your movement was empty, impotent. You were not moving, because you were not reaching anywhere. You were moving up and down on the same bank, thinking that by running up and down you will reach the other shore. But the other shore is as far away as ever, and you are unnecessarily wasting your breath.
THOSE WHO AWAKEN.... Those who become committed to freedom, those who take a decision that, "Now I am going to be free from all that is dark in me, from all that creates future in me, from all that is past in me - I am going to be free from it all. I am going to be a pure freedom so that I can have wings and I can soar high, to the ultimate heights of being and existence...." Unless you decide that... and it needs guts to decide.
Many people come here and they go on hesitating for months about whether to take the jump or not - and never for a single moment thinking what they have got to lose, never for a single moment realizing that time is rushing out of their hands... tomorrow may never come. If anything has to be done, it has to be done right now.
And strange is man and his ways! That which is useless he immediately is ready to do, and that which is of immense value he postpones. He goes on saying "Tomorrow," and the tomorrow never comes. Instead comes death.
And this has been happening many times. This is not your first life on the earth; you have lived millions of times and each time this postponement has been your root cause of misery.
Now don't postpone any more. Use this opportunity. Use this context that I am creating here. It is a buddhafield! If you are ready to take a jump into it, you will never be the same again. But the jump has to be total. You should not cling to the bank, you should leave the bank absolutely. In that very leaving, in that very renunciation of the bank, the transformation happens - you start becoming freed.
It is not the chains which are keeping you in bondage; it is you who are holding on to the chains, it is you who are clinging to the chains. This is a very absurd situation! The prison is not holding you in; it is you who are afraid to go out. And you go on believing that there is no way out: "What is there to find outside? Those who have gone have never returned. Who knows? - there are wild animals and dangers. Here I am safe, living comfortably."
Don't think in terms of comfort, think in terms of freedom. Don't think in terms of safety, think in terms of being more alive. And the only way to be more alive is to live dangerously, is to risk, is to go on an adventure. And the greatest adventure is not going to the moon - the greatest adventure is going to your own innermost core.
THOSE WHO AWAKEN NEVER REST IN ONE PLACE. Don't be stagnant, don't remain in one inner place. Move! Movement is life. Become a river. Don't remain a stagnant pool, otherwise you will stink.
That's why millions of people stink. Their life does not seem to be a benediction, a blessing. Their life gives no aura of beauty, their life does not radiate. They seem to be completely dark and dismal, utterly depressed, hiding inside their own caves, not capable to come out in the sun, in the moon, in the rains, in the wind; not courageous enough to open up like flowers, not capable of risking and being on the wing.
THOSE WHO AWAKEN NEVER REST IN ONE PLACE. That is growth. Go on growing. God is not something that you will encounter on the road; God is your ultimate growth. God is not to be found anywhere, you have to become God. In fact, you are God; you only have to discover your reality.
A real human being is one who goes on growing. Each morning the sun finds him never in the place where it had left him the last evening. Each evening the sun finds him somewhere else, not at the exact place where it had found him in the morning. He is movement, he is revolution. He goes on and on, he never looks back. He never moves on the old trodden paths; he finds his own way.
LIKE SWANS, THEY RISE AND LEAVE THE LAKE. Have you seen swans leaving the lake? I am reminded of Ramakrishna. His first samadhi, his first glimpse of God, glimpse of truth or bliss, happened when he was only thirteen years old. He was coming back from his farm - he was a farmer's son - he was coming back to his home.
On the way there was a lake. The rainy season was just to come, the monsoons were approaching. The sky was becoming cloudy, dark clouds, thunder, lightning, and Ramakrishna was almost running because it seemed that it was going to pour heavily.
He was passing by the lake of the village; because he was running he disturbed the swans in the lake and they all flew together.
Swans are one of the most beautiful birds, the whitest - symbols of purity, innocence. A long queue of swans suddenly rose high against the backdrop of the black clouds.
Ramakrishna was transported into another world. The vision was so beautiful, and the vision was such a message, he fell there on the bank of the lake in utter ecstasy. The joy was such that he could not contain it; he became almost unconscious as far as the outside is concerned.
The other farmers were returning to their homes, everybody was in a hurry; the clouds were there and it was going to rain and they wanted to reach home. They found Ramakrishna lying on the lake bank absolutely unconscious, but with such joy on his face, so radiant was his being, that they all fell on their knees. The experience was so superb, it was something not of this world.
They carried Ramakrishna home; they worshipped him. When he came back he was asked, "What has happened?" He said, "A message from the beyond: 'Ramakrishna, be a swan! Open your wings, the whole sky is yours. Don't be trapped by the lake and its comfort, security and safety.' I am no longer the same person. I have been called. God has called me!"
And since that day he was never the same person: something was triggered by the swans rising high in the sky.
Buddha says: LIKE SWANS, THEY RISE AND LEAVE THE LAKE - as if Buddha is predicting something about Ramakrishna. The distance is vast, twenty-five centuries, but the prediction is true. It is not only about Ramakrishna, it is about all those who are going to awaken ever; it is about all the buddhas.
The swan has become a symbol in the East of the awakened one, hence the awakened one is called PARAMAHANSA. Paramahansa means the great swan.
This sutra is of immense import. Drink it slowly, let it sink in your heart. ON THE AIR THEY RISE.... The world of spirituality is a subtle world; it is more like air than like earth. You can feel it but you cannot see it. You can breathe it and live on it but you cannot hold it in your fist. It is invisible.
ON THE AIR THEY RISE AND FLY AN INVISIBLE COURSE. And the course of a buddha, of one who is awakened, is invisible; hence nobody can follow a buddha. He leaves no footprints. He is like a swan flying in the sky; he leaves no footprints. He is not like a man walking on the sand.
Buddha has said again and again: "I am like a swan, a bird in the sky. I leave no footprints. Hence you cannot imitate me, hence there is no need to bother to imitate.
Understand - that will do." Listen, feel, imbibe the spirit of a buddha, that's all. Be nourished by his presence, be thrilled by his being, but don't try to imitate. Don't try to become a carbon copy, because God loves only originals; carbon copies are rejected.
ON THE AIR THEY RISE AND FLY AN INVISIBLE COURSE, GATHERING NOTHING, STORING NOTHING. The man who has awakened gathers nothing, stores nothing. He remains utterly empty inside. GATHERING NOTHING, STORING NOTHING means he goes on dying to the past continuously. It is the past that you gather, it is the past that you store. You think it is very valuable - it is all junk! Even the greatest experiences of the past are junk. They were great when they were present; once they are past they are useless. Throw them away. Forget all about the past so that you can remain clean and pure and available for the new. If you become too much cluttered with the past, who is going to be available to the new? And the new is constantly impinging upon you! Remain spacious, go on creating space inside you. And the only way is not to store anything.
The past stored becomes your ego; the past creates the ego. And the ego fills you so much that it leaves no space for God to enter in or bliss to flow in or beauty to penetrate you.
The sun comes and knocks on your doors, but your doors are closed. The moon comes and waits at the door, but you don't open it - because you are too full of yourself. You are the only barrier between yourself and God. You have to disappear.
And remember that the ego will find new ways to enter inside you. If you push it out from the front door it will come from the back door. It will wear new masks. It may become knowledge, scholarship, austerities. It can pretend anything. But remember: the past accumulated in any way is bound to culminate into an ego. And the ego is always comparing, the ego is always thinking in terms of superiority, inferiority. And because of these comparisons, these ideas of superiority and inferiority, you go on suffering, you live in sorrow.
Nobody is superior and nobody is inferior, because comparison is false, comparison itself is not valid. Two persons cannot be compared because each is unique, they are not alike. You can compare two Ford cars, that's okay, but you cannot compare two individual human beings. What to say of human beings? - you cannot compare two rosebushes, you cannot compare two rocks, you cannot compare two pebbles on the seashore, because each pebble is unique. There is no one other pebble like it, not only on this earth but on any other earth anywhere, on any other planet anywhere.
Scientists say there are at least fifty thousand earths where life exists, and millions and millions of planets which are dead. And each planet must be having millions and millions of pebbles, but you will not find another pebble which is exactly like this pebble. How can you compare two dissimilar things?
Comparison is the way of the ego. Avoid comparison, otherwise you will always suffer.
You will suffer in two ways. Sometimes your ego will feel superior to somebody; that will give you airs, that will get into your head, that will make you tense. You will not walk on the earth; you will become drunk, drugged. Or sometimes it will give you the feeling of inferiority; then too you will be crestfallen, shattered. Again great anguish and pain....
And this will happen continuously, because in one thing you may look superior to somebody, and in another thing you may look inferior to somebody else. Somebody is taller than you and somebody else is smaller than you. Somebody is more beautiful, although you are more knowledgeable. But somebody is stronger, has a more muscular body, is more athletic - and you look a very poor specimen in front of him. Somebody is so ugly that you feel great compared to him, and somebody is so beautiful that you start feeling ugly. Now you will be pushed and pulled between these two; these two rocks will crush you.
Harlemite Huckley was driving his big blue Cadillac through Mississippi. He pulled up at a gas station and honked his horn.
"What do you want, boy?" asked the attendant.
"Give me ten gallons of gas," said Huckley. "Check my oil and wipe off the windshield.
And look, man, I am in a hurry."
Immediately the attendant pulled out a big .38, picked up an empty oil can and said, "You must be one of them smart ones from up north. I am gonna show you, boy, how we expect your kind to behave around here."
He threw the oil can into the air and emptied his gun at it. When the can came down, it had five bullet holes in it. The attendant tossed it to Huckley saying, "Now, you look that over and think about it."
Huckley looked at it, then got out of the Caddy and picked up an apple he had lying on the seat. He threw the apple in the air, whipped out a knife and as the apple came down, he made a few passes at it. The apple landed at the attendant's feet, peeled, cored, and quartered.
The attendant said, "How many gallons of gas did you want, sir?"
This will happen every day, this will happen every moment. There are millions of people and each individual is unique. Drop that nonsense of comparing. But you cannot drop it unless you drop the past - the past LIVES on comparison, the ego FEEDS on comparison.
Buddha says: GATHERING NOTHING, STORING NOTHING. THEIR FOOD IS KNOWLEDGE. 'Knowledge' is not a right translation of what Buddha means. It would have been more true to translate it as 'knowing', not 'knowledge'. The difference may not look great between these two words, but it is great, it is vast. It is tremendously important to understand the difference between knowledge and knowing.
Knowledge is always of the past; it is a finished phenomenon, a full point has come.
Knowing is always a present process. Knowing is alive, knowledge is dead. A buddha is not a man of knowledge but a man of knowing. A scholar is a man of knowledge, a pundit is a man of knowledge but not a man of knowing. Knowing is riverlike, flowing.
And it is very important to remember, as far as Buddha is concerned, that he did not believe in nouns, he believed in verbs. He says the noun is only a convenience. In fact, in reality nouns don't exist, only verbs. When you say, "This is a tree," your statement linguistically is acceptable but not existentially, because by the time you said, "This is a tree," this is no longer the same tree - one dead leaf has fallen, one new leaf has started coming up, the bud has opened. The bird that was singing on the tree is no longer singing. The sun that was shining on the tree is hidden behind a cloud. It is no longer the same tree, and it is growing, continuously growing.
A tree, to be true, should be called treeing, not a tree. A river should be called rivering, not a river. Everything is growing, moving, everything is in a flux. Verbs are true, nouns are false. If some day we are going to create an existential language, it will contain no nouns, it will contain only verbs. You are not the same person that had come this morning to listen to the discourse. When you leave you will be a totally different person - so much water has gone down the Ganges, so much has changed. You may have come very sad and you may leave laughing. You may have come very serious and you may leave very playful. These changes are tremendously important.
Hence I will translate it: THEIR FOOD - the food of the awakened ones - IS KNOWING. 'Knowledge' is not the right translation. They continuously are in a state of awareness, consciousness; they are continuously learning, knowing. They never say, "I have known." They only say, "I am available, open to know, more available, more open to know." The full point never comes, the process continues.
Life is a process, not a thing, not a commodity. It is an unending river, no beginning, no end. Inexhaustible it is: AES DHAMMO SANANTANO. This is the very law of life, that everything goes on changing. Buddha has said: Except change, everything changes.
Heraclitus would have agreed with Buddha, Buddha would have agreed with Heraclitus; they would have embraced each other. And they were contemporaries, almost contemporaries.
It has always happened in the world that whenever some insight happens in one part of the world it is always echoed all over the world in different parts, in different languages, by different people - as if something triggered in one part invisibly affects other sensitive souls everywhere else.
When Buddha was alive in India, Greece was rich with Heraclitus, with Socrates, with Pythagoras. China was rich with Lao Tzu, Confucius, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu. And all these people have something very similar, although their languages are different.
Heraclitus says: You cannot step in the same river twice. Buddha will agree absolutely; in fact he will say you cannot even step in the same river once, because the river is constantly flowing. And it is not only the river that is flowing, you are also flowing.
One man came and insulted Buddha very much; Buddha listened to him silently. The next day he felt sorry, came to apologize. Buddha said, "Forget all about it, because I am not the same man whom you had insulted, and you are not the same man who had insulted me. So who is going to apologize to whom? And what can I do now? - that man is no more, it is finished forever! You will never see that man again, so don't be worried. And you are not the same either! How can you be the same?"
Ananda, Buddha's disciple, who was sitting by the side, said, "Sir, this is too much! This is the same man - I cannot forgive him ever! He insulted you so much, he said such ugly words, he abused you badly. It hurts still in my heart. I could not say anything because you wouldn't allow it. I had to swallow it all, otherwise I would have shown this man!"
Buddha said, "Ananda, can't you see this is not the same man at all? The man who had come yesterday was abusing, was insulting - this man is apologizing. How can they be the same? Do you think insult and apology are the same? This is somebody else! Just look into his eyes - tears are flowing from his eyes. Do you remember the other man?
Fire was in his eyes! He wanted to kill me, and this man is touching my feet! And you still say, Ananda, this is the same man?"
Nobody is ever the same. To know it is knowing, to be constantly aware of it is knowing. Their food is knowing....
THEY LIVE UPON EMPTINESS. And because they go on discarding the past they always remain empty. Their emptiness has a purity of its own. They are utterly spacious, like the sky without clouds. THEY LIVE UPON EMPTINESS....
THEY HAVE SEEN HOW TO BREAK FREE. And this is the way: THEY HAVE SEEN HOW TO BREAK FREE. Drop knowledge, become a knowing awareness, alertness, watchfulness, witnessing - all verbs, remember. Forget the past and remain available to the present and don't project the future, and you will remain empty. And to remain empty is the way of the free man.
Freedom is utter emptiness, but in that utter emptiness descends something from the beyond which Buddha leaves undescribed, unexpressed, because it is inexpressible. He does not call it truth, he does not call it God, he does not call it bliss. He does not call it any name; he simply keeps quiet about it, utterly silent. He says: Come and see.
Unless you also become a master - master of your own inner being, of your consciousness - unless you also become empty, you cannot go with the buddhas, you cannot fly with the swans.
And if you can keep the company of a buddha you will also be free. You will also rise on the winds. You will also start the flight of the alone to the alone. You will also start moving to the ultimate.
Buddha calls this ultimate freedom, nirvana - cessation of the ego, cessation of your personality. Freedom means freedom from your personality. Then whatsoever is left is God, is truth, is bliss.
Enough for today.