The first question:
Mariel Strauss, that's exactly what sannyas is: relaxing and enjoying whatsoever is. It is not an initiation like other initiations you have been through - it is a totally different phenomenon. It is not a serious affair at all, it is basically playfulness. It is for the first time on the earth that we are trying to bring playfulness to religion.
Religion has always been of a long face, sad, serious, somber. Because of that seriousness, millions of people have remained aloof from religion. Those who were alive could not become religious because religion meant a kind of suicide to them - and it was so. Those who were already dead or dying, those who were ill, pathological, suicidal, only they were interested in the old religions.
The old religions were not dancing, singing, celebrating; they were anti-life, anti-earth, anti-body. They were purely negative; they had nothing to affirm. Their God was based on negativity. Go on negating: the more you negate life, the more religious you were thought to be.
I am bringing a totally new vision of religion to the earth: I am introducing you to a religion that can laugh, a religion that can love, a religion that can live the ordinary life with extraordinary awareness.
Religion is not a question of changing life patterns, of changing things and situations.
Religion changes you, not your situation. It does not change things: it changes the way you look at things. It changes your eyes, your vision; it gives you an insight. Then God is not something against life: then God is the intrinsic core of life. Then spirit is not anti- matter but the highest form of matter, the purest fragrance of matter.
Mariel Strauss, if you avoid sannyas that will be being serious. You have not understood that this is not the same kind of initiation. You have been into many schools, and you have gathered much knowledge about initiation and the mysteries - but this is not that kind of initiation. It is just the opposite: it is getting initiated into life, into the ordinary life. Once your ordinary life becomes suffused with your meditativeness you are a sannyasin. It is not a question of changing your clothes only - that is only symbolic - the real sannyasin is bringing meditation to the ordinary affairs of life, bringing meditation to the marketplace. Eating, walking, sleeping, one can remain continuously in a state of meditation. It is nothing special that you are doing, but doing the same things with a new way, with a new method, with new art.
Sannyas changes your outlook.
You listened to my advice and for nine months, you say, you stopped almost everything and got good results from following the advice. But somewhere deep down you are still serious; otherwise you would have taken a jump into sannyas - nonseriously. Even to ask about it is to show your seriousness. You could not accept it playfully, with a laughter.
Sannyas is just a play - LEELA. That concept is not known in the West; the West has missed much because of not knowing that concept. In the West, religion has no idea that God is not a creator but a player, that existence is not his creation but his play of energies. Just like the ocean waves roaring, shattering on the banks and the rocks, eternally, just a play of energy, so is God. These millions of forms are not created by God, those are just because of his overflowing energy.
God is not a person at all. You cannot worship God. You can live in a godly way but you cannot worship God - there is nobody to worship. All your worship is sheer stupidity, all your images of God are your own creation. There is no God as such, but there is godliness, certainly - in the flowers, in the birds, in the stars, in the eyes of the people, when a song arises in the heart and poetry surrounds you... all this is God. Let us say "godliness" rather than using the word 'God' - that word gives you the idea of a person, and God is not a person but a presence.
Sannyas is not like becoming a Hindu or a Christian or a Mohammedan. In fact, it is dropping out of all these trips - Hindu, Christian, Mohammedan, all these trips.
Sannyas is simply dropping out of all ideologies. Ideologies are bound to be serious; no ideology can have laughter as its spirit, because ideologies have to fight with each other, argue with each other, and argument cannot be done with laughter. Argument has to be serious! Argument is basically egoistic, how can it laugh? The ego knows no laughter at all.
Once it happened:
A great philosopher and thinker, Keshav Chandra Sen, went to see Ramakrishna. He wanted to defeat Ramakrishna, and, certainly, he was capable of great argument. He argued against God, against religion, against the whole nonsense that Ramakrishna was doing. He was trying to prove that Ramakrishna was a fool, that there is no God, that nobody has ever proved the existence of God. He talked and talked, and slowly slowly he started feeling a little weird because Ramakrishna would only laugh. He would listen to the argument and laugh - and not only laugh, he would jump, hug Keshav Chandra Sen, kiss him and say, "Beautiful! This argument I have never heard! It is really intelligent, clever."
Keshav Chandra Sen started feeling very embarrassed. A crowd had gathered seeing that Keshav Chandra, a great philosopher, is going to Ramakrishna; many people had come to listen, hearing that something is going to transpire there. Even they started feeling that the whole journey had been futile. "This is a strange thing that is happening!"
And Ramakrishna danced and laughed and he said, "Even if there had been any doubt in my mind about God, you have destroyed it. How can there be such intelligence without God? You are proof, Keshav Chandra - I believe in you."
And Keshav Chandra has written in his memoirs, "Ramakrishna's laughter defeated me - defeated me forever. I forgot all arguments. It looked so foolish! And he had not argued against me, he had not even said a single word against me. He simply kissed me, hugged me, laughed, danced. He appreciated me as nobody has ever appreciated - and I was talking against him! He said, 'Keshav Chandra, your presence, such intelligence, such genius, is enough proof that God is!' He said this to me," Keshav Chandra writes, "but really his presence, his laughter, his dance, his hugging and kissing, proved to me that God is; otherwise, how is such a phenomenon as Ramakrishna possible?"
The uneducated Ramakrishna, the villager Ramakrishna, proved far more profound than the very sophisticated, educated Keshav Chandra. What happened? Something tremendously beautiful happened. Ramakrishna is really religious; he knows what religion is, he knows what godliness is: to take life in a dancing way, to take life singing, to accept life in all its manifoldness, without any judgment - to love it for what it is.
A sannyasin means one who is not trying to solve the mystery of life but is diving deep into the mystery itself. Living the mystery is sannyas, not solving the mystery. If you start solving it you become serious. If you start living it you become more and more playful.
Mariel Strauss, see the difference between sannyas and other initiations. There is a qualitative difference. It is not initiation in the old sense, just as it is not a learning in the old sense - it is an unlearning, and so I can say it is UNinitiation. It will bring you out of all your initiations, because if you have been to so many schools and sects and ideologies, many things must be still hanging around inside you. You need a good cleaning, you need a thorough cleaning, you need a good bath - and sannyas will give you a shower, it will cleanse your soul. It will give you back the innocence of a child, the laughter of a child, the eyes full of wonder and awe.
Don't hesitate... take the jump. It is a jump, because you cannot come to it through thinking. It is a jump because it is not a conclusion of your mind. To others it will look like madness - in fact all love is mad and all love is blind, at least to those who don't know what love is. To UNlovers love is blind; to lovers love is the only possible eye which can see to the very core of existence. To those who don't know the taste of religion, sannyas is madness; but to those who know, everything else is madness except sannyas. This is entering into sanity. I don't see anything saner than laughter, saner than love, saner than celebration.
But you are still thinking in serious terms: 'initiation' is a great word. You are still obsessed with your old ideas, still afraid that you may start trying too hard. In fact, you are still trying.
First I had suggested to you not to try too hard. Now you are trying too hard on the opposite end, on the polar opposite: trying too hard not to try hard! It is the same thing.
Become a sannyasin and forget all this nonsense. Then one transcends trying and nontrying both. A great laughter is waiting for you. And the moment the beyond starts laughing inside you, giggling inside you, then you know for the first time what it means to be a christ, what it means to be a buddha.
But Christians say Christ never laughed - this is THEIR idea about Christ. This is not true about the real Christ - I know the man! It is impossible to conceive that he never laughed. He enjoyed good food, you know, dining and wining both; he enjoyed beautiful company. And if you want beautiful company you have to find it not in the scholars but in the gamblers; if you really want good company you will have to move to those who live on the fringes of your so-called society - the fringe people, the outsiders, the gamblers, the drunkards, the prostitutes - because your society has become so dull and dead. The established society is almost a cemetery; you don't meet people there, you meet only dead bodies, corpses - walking, talking, moving, doing things... it is a miracle!
One day a small boy was asking me, "Do you believe in ghosts?"
I said, "Believe? - I am surrounded by ghosts!"
He understood the point immediately. He said, "So... so you mean... the people in the streets and the market are all ghosts?"
I said, "Yes, they are all ghosts. They are all living a post-mortem existence. They have died long ago. In fact, they died before they were ever born."
The society kills and kills slowly, skillfully. You never become aware because it is done so slowly, that's why. A child is slowly poisoned.
In the East, in the past, there used to be a certain kind of woman detective. Those woman detectives were called VISHKANYAS - poisoned girls. Certain beautiful girls were poisoned very slowly from the very beginning with the mother's milk - it is an historical fact - but the poison was given in such small doses that it would not kill them immediately; but slowly slowly their whole system would become poisoned. Poison would flow in their blood, their breath would become poison. By the time they became adolescent, they would be ready to be used by the kings, and they were so beautiful that it was very easy to allure anybody with them. They were sent to the enemy king who was bound to fall in the trap of the beautiful woman, and once the woman kissed the man that was the end of him. Just the kiss was enough to kill; a kiss of death it was.
To make love to such a woman will be the end - you will die like a few spiders die.
There are a few spiders who die while making love - because the girlfriend starts eating them while they are getting higher and higher, and they are in such ecstasy - you know spiders - trembling, and they have completely forgotten the world. They are no longer material, they are spiritual. But women are women; they are very materialistic. The moment the spider gets into his orgasmic spasms, the girlfriend starts eating him. By the time he comes back, he is no more. He was thinking he was coming - he was really going!
Those poisoned girls were trained... but the miracle was that so much poison didn't kill them. It was given in such mild doses, very slowly.
A scientist was experimenting with frogs: he threw a frog into boiling water - of course, the frog jumped immediately out of it. Then he gave the frog just ordinary water, normal temperature; the frog enjoyed the bucket, sat at the bottom, relaxed, and the scientist started heating it up slowly slowly, very slowly. Within hours it was boiling, but the frog didn't jump out of it... he died. He never became aware, the thing happened so slowly.
And that's what is happening in society. It takes almost twenty-five years to kill a child totally, to poison a child totally. By the time he comes from the university he is dead, he is finished; now he will live a post-mortem existence.
I can see a grain of truth in the hippie idea that don't trust a man beyond thirty. There IS some truth in it. By the time a man is thirty he is no longer alive - if he is still alive he will become a Buddha, he will be a Christ, he will be a Krishna. But by that time people die - and they die so unconsciously that they go on living as if they are alive.
Sannyas means giving you your life back. It is a process of deprogramming you, unconditioning you, unpoisoning you. You cannot decide logically to be a sannyasin, because that very mind is a problem, and you are trying to decide with that very mind.
Sannyas has to be a jump. It happens from the heart, not from the head.
Mariel Strauss, you are still thinking from the head. Please, get down from the head. At least let one thing happen from the heart - not logically but illogically, not in a prosaic way but in a poetic way. Sannyas has to be a love affair! Nonserious, full of laughter, enter into it... and you will be surprised that this is not some other initiation. This will bring out all your initiations and all your philosophy and all your systems of thought.
Sannyas is relaxing in life, trusting in life, resting in life. Nowhere to go, nothing to achieve, then the whole energy is available to dance and sing and celebrate.
The second question:
Prem Samadhi, it is one of the most delicate mysteries. No definition is possible of a disciple, but a few hints can be given, just fingers pointing to the moon. Don't cling to the fingers - look at the moon and forget the fingers.
A disciple is a rare phenomenon. It is very easy to be a student because the student is searching knowledge. The student can only meet the teacher, he can never meet the master. The reality of the master will remain hidden to the student. The student functions from the head. He functions logically, rationally. He gathers knowledge, he becomes more and more knowledgeable. Finally in his own turn he will become a teacher, but all that he knows is borrowed, nothing is really his own.
His existence is pseudo; it is a carbon-copy existence. He has not known his original face. He knows about God, but he does not know God himself. He knows about love, but he has never dared to love himself. He knows much about poetry, but he has not tasted the spirit of poetry itself. He may talk about beauty, he may write treatises on beauty, but he has no vision, no experience, no existential intimacy with beauty. He has never danced with a roseflower. The sunrise happens there outside, but nothing happens inside his heart. That darkness inside him remains the same as it was before.
He talks only about concepts, he knows nothing of truth - because truth cannot be known through words, scriptures. A student is interested only in words, scriptures, theories, systems of thought, philosophies, ideologies.
A disciple is a totally different phenomenon. A disciple is not a student; he is not interested in knowing about God, love, truth - he is interested in becoming God, in becoming truth, in becoming love. Remember the difference. Knowing about is one thing, becoming is totally different. The student is taking no risk; the disciple is going into the uncharted sea. The student is miserly, he is a hoarder; only then he can gather knowledge. He is greedy; he accumulates knowledge as the greedy person accumulates wealth - knowledge is his wealth. The disciple is not interested in hoarding; he wants to experience, he wants to taste, and for that he is ready to risk all.
The disciple will be able to find the master. The relationship between a student and a teacher is that of the head, and a relationship between a disciple and a master is that of the heart - it is a love relationship, mad in the eyes of the world, utterly mad. In fact, no love is so total as the love that happens between the master and the disciple. The love that happened between John and Jesus, the love that happened between Sariputta and Buddha, Gautama and Mahavira, Arjuna and Krishna, Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu - these are the real love stories, the highest pinnacles of love.
The disciple starts melting into the master. The disciple destroys all distance between himself and the master; the disciple yields, the disciple surrenders, the disciple effaces himself. He becomes a nonentity, he becomes a nothingness. And in that nothingness his heart opens. In that absence his ego has disappeared and the master can penetrate into his being.
The disciple is receptive, vulnerable, unguarded; he drops all armor. He drops all defense measures. He is ready to die. If the master says, "Die!" he will not wait for a single moment. The master is his soul, his very being; his devotion is unconditional and absolute. And to know absolute devotion is to know God. To know absolute surrender is to know the secret-most mystery of life.
The word 'disciple' is also beautiful - it means one who is ready to learn. Hence the word 'discipline' - discipline means creating a space for learning. And disciple means being ready to learn. Who can be ready to learn? Only one who is ready to drop all his prejudices. If you come as a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan, you can't be a disciple. If you simply come as a human being, with no a priori prejudice, with no belief, then only you can become a disciple.
A disciple is the rarest flowering of human consciousness, because beyond the disciple there is only one peak more - the master. And one who has been totally a disciple one day becomes a master. Disciplehood is a process of becoming a master. But one should not start with the idea of becoming a master; otherwise one is going to miss, because then it is again an ego trip. One should come simply to evaporate.
You have lived through the ego, and your life has been just a misery and nothing else.
Enough is enough! One day the realization comes that, "I have wasted a great opportunity by constantly listening to my own ego. It has been driving me onto unnecessary paths which lead nowhere, and it has been creating a thousand and one miseries." The day one realizes that "The ego is the root cause of my misery," one starts searching for a place where the ego can be dropped. The master is an excuse to drop the ego.
You can drop your ego only if you come across a person who catches hold of your heart so tremendously that his being becomes more important than your own being, that you can sacrifice all that you have for him.
Just a few days ago, I received a letter from Gunakar from Germany. In German newspapers a statement of Teertha's has been given too much importance and has been criticized - and it can be criticized, manipulated, because what has happened in Jonestown has become the talk of the world. Somebody, a journalist from Germany, has asked Teertha, "If your master asks you to shoot yourself, to kill yourself, what are you going to do?" And Teertha said, "There is no question of thinking at all. I will kill myself immediately."
Now, this statement can be manipulated in such a way that the place that I am creating is going to be another Jonestown. Teertha has said it out of his heart; he has not been political, diplomatic; otherwise he would have avoided such a statement. He had simply said what a disciple is bound to say.
The disciple is ready. In fact to say that he is ready to die is something less than the truth. The disciple has already died into the master; it is not going to happen in the future, it has already happened. It has happened the day the disciple accepted the master as his master: since then he has been no more, only the master lives in him.
Slowly slowly, the presence of the master overfloods the disciple. And the presence of the master is not really the presence of the master himself: the master is overflooded with God. The master is only a vehicle, a passage, a messenger; it is God flowing through the master. When the disciple surrenders to the master totally he is really surrendering to God in the guise of the master. God he cannot see yet, but the master he can see, and in the master he can see something godly. The master becomes the first proof of God to him. Surrendering to the master is surrendering to the visible God.
And, slowly slowly, as the surrender deepens, the visible disappears into the invisible.
The master disappears. When the disciple reaches into the innermost heart of the master, he does not find the master there but God himself, life itself - indefinable, inexpressible.
Prem Samadhi, your question is significant. You ask, "What does it mean to be a disciple?"
It means death and it means resurrection. It means dying into the master and being reborn through the master.
The third question:
Premananda, do you think I am crazy or something? I am myself. Why should I be Christ or somebody else? Christ is Christ. He is not Krishna and he is not Buddha and he is not Zarathustra. Buddha is Buddha; he is not Yagnavalka, he is not Lao Tzu. And Socrates is Socrates; he is not Mahavira and he is not Patanjali.
I am myself. Why should I be Christ? In fact nothing in existence is ever repeated.
Existence is so creative, it always creates new people. And it is not true only about Christ, Buddha and me - it is true about you too. There has never been another individual like you, and there will never be. You are absolutely unique. Existence never repeats, remember it; hence you are incomparable, neither higher nor lower. That's why I say there is no hierarchy in existence. Each is superb and each is unique and each is alone. But such questions continuously go on arising. There are reasons for such questions.
Premananda, you must have been taught from your childhood about the second coming of Christ. Now you have fallen in love with me, and you would like somehow to reconcile your childhood mind with your new experiences that are happening here.
You would like to bridge what has been told to you and what is happening to you. If somehow it can be bridged you will feel a little at rest. If it cannot be bridged then there will remain a little tension inside you. You will have to decide this way or that.
You cannot serve two masters - that is the problem, that's why these questions arise.
Now the problem is, "What to do? Should I remain with Christ?" But you don't know anything about Christ except what has been told to you. Christ is only a myth to you.
He was a reality to John, to Luke, he was a reality to Matthew. He is not a reality to you, Premananda.
I am a reality to you; I will not be a reality to your children. You will teach your children about me, and one day if they come across a master the problem will arise:
now what to do? To choose the past or to choose the present? That is the problem.
You are hesitating. You are afraid that if you choose me you will be betraying Jesus. No, I am not Christ. But by choosing me you will not be betraying Jesus, you will be fulfilling him. I am not Buddha, but by choosing me you will not be betraying Buddha; you will be making him as happy as possible, because by choosing me you will be choosing the essential core of religion. It is not a question of Christ, Buddha or me; these are only forms. Don't be too attached to forms: remember the essential core.
A man in a restaurant calls for the waiter and exclaims, "Waiter! There's a fly walking on my soup."
The waiter falls on his knees, raises his hands and cries, "Jesus is back on earth!"
And I know that Jesus has promised that he will be coming back, but I don't think that he can be so mad as to fulfill the promise. Remember what you have done with him?
And if he still comes after what you have done with him he will be really crazy. It is impossible; he cannot come. He may have promised but he cannot fulfill it. If he fulfills it you will crucify him again; you cannot do otherwise. That's how you have been treating all the awakened people all over the world. You cannot tolerate them when they are alive, and when they are dead you worship them: this has been your tradition.
When they are alive they are dangerous; you would like to kill them in some way or other. When they are dead they are very consoling; then you will carry their corpses for centuries.
Remember, Jesus was not crucified by criminals, sinners. He was crucified by the rabbis, the priests, the politicians - the respected people. What was he doing to these so-called respectable people? He was becoming a danger to their very life-style. He was creating great guilt in their being; his very presence was a thorn in their flesh: if he was right, then they were all wrong.
And this was difficult, almost impossible for them to accept - that this son of a carpenter, absolutely uneducated, unsophisticated, too young to be wise enough.... He was only thirty when he started preaching, and they could not tolerate him even for three years. By his thirty-third year he was crucified; his ministry lasted only for three years.
Buddha was far more fortunate: he was able to work for forty-two years. But Buddha was in a totally different kind of land - not that the Hindus were behaving in any way differently from the Jews, but Hindus have their own cunning ways of destroying truth.
The Jews were more straightforward: seeing the danger, they killed the man. Hindus are far more cunning, bound to be because they are the most ancient race on the earth.
And Buddha was not a new buddha they had to encounter; they had encountered many buddhas, they had encountered twenty-four Jaina TIRTHANKARAS. They had seen Krishna and Rama and Parasuram and Patanjali and Kapil and Kanad and thousands of others. They have become very clever and cunning about how to prevent these people from affecting people, from influencing people.
There was no need to kill; they knew far better methods to kill, without killing. They started interpreting Buddha's words, Buddha's sayings, in such a way that they lost all their significance. There was no need to kill the Buddha; this was an easier way:
interpret Buddha according to old scriptures, as if he is simply repeating the old scriptures. Their method was, "He is not saying anything new. It is written in the Upanishads, it is written in the Vedas - so what? We have already got all this; he is not original."
And he was utterly original. It is NOT written in the Upanishads, and it is not written in the Vedas, because in the first place it can't be written at all. Yes, the people who wrote the Upanishads must have known it, but it is not written.
Hindus were very clever. They started writing commentaries on Buddha and they distorted his whole philosophy. They created so much philosophical argument, so much noise, that Buddha's still, small voice was lost, utterly lost. And the day he died, Hindus created thirty-two schools of Buddhist philosophy; each word was interpreted in thirty-two ways. They created so much confusion that the whole point was lost.
In fact, if they had crucified Buddha it would have been far better. Jesus was killed, but Jews have not commented on Jesus at all. Once they killed him they thought, "Now it is finished and that is that!" They forgot all about Jesus, they never mentioned even his name in their scriptures. They never thought of writing any commentary on his statements. They thought they have killed him and sooner or later people are going to forget all about him and there is no problem left.
In a way, Jesus' sayings have been saved far more accurately than Buddha's sayings, because the brahmins, the clever and cunning brahmins who gathered around Buddha, distorted everything that he was saying. It was distorted so much that if Buddha comes back he will not be able to believe his own eyes what has happened.
But these people never come back. A buddha can only be here once. Once a person has become a buddha or a christ, he evaporates and becomes a fragrance of the universe. He cannot materialize again.
Jesus may have promised because he had to leave his disciples so early. Nothing was ready... the disciples were not ready - not even a single disciple had yet become enlightened. And they were at a loss what to do without the master. They had just come close to him; only three years' time is not much. They have not yet imbibed his spirit. To console them, to help them, to keep them integrated so they don't start falling apart, he must have promised. He must have said, "Don't be worried, I will be coming back again soon."
This promise was only a device. Remember, devices are neither true not false, they are only devices. It was a device to keep the spirit in the disciples flowing, to keep them integrated, to keep them confident, centered, rooted. It was simply a device! And it has helped, the device has worked; otherwise there would have been no Christians at all.
Those poor disciples would have dispersed and slowly slowly would have forgotten all about Jesus. That's what rabbis and the priests were thinking was going to happen.
But Jesus was far more insightful. He gave them a promise that, "Wait! Don't be worried, I will be coming back. I cannot leave you, I will never leave you."
And this promise has helped in another way too: because this promise has been there, the Christian mystic has been able to remember Christ far more concentratedly than a Jaina can remember Mahavira - because there is no promise. Mahavira has not said that, "I will come back," he has not said, "I will help you," he has not said, "I will be available to you after I am gone." In fact he has said, "You have to depend on yourself only." It is true, but it is going to be hard for the disciples.
And remember, Gurdjieff used to say that a man like Buddha or Christ CAN lie. And I agree with Gurdjieff perfectly. If they see that the lie is going to serve the truth, they will not be worried. They will not feel ashamed or guilty; they will use the lie in the service of truth. The lie becomes a device. Buddha calls it UPAYA - a device.
Christian mystics have been able to remember Jesus far more deeply because this confidence that he will be helpful, that he is around, that whenever he is called he will be coming back.... Not that he will come, not that he is around, not that he is going to help, but this very idea that his help is available makes you centered. So in a way, without helping you, he HAS helped. The lie becomes true; the lie is no longer a lie, it becomes truth.
But don't take such promises seriously. There is no need for me to be a christ just to console you. You have to drop your old ideas; otherwise it is going to be a real problem for me. Here are Hindus, Mohammedans, Christians, Jainas, Buddhists, Parsis, Sikhs, and if the Sikhs say, "Are you Nanak?" and the Jainas say, "Are you the Jaina?" and the Buddhists say, "Are you the Buddha?" it will become troublesome. I cannot be all these people.
This is a gathering not of one religion, this is a gathering of all the religions of the world. This is a true human gathering, this is a true international gathering, a universal brotherhood.
Don't pay much attention to such promises, they are devices. But now they are of no more use to you. I am available here alive - what is the point of thinking of a device which was invented two thousand years before? I am inventing devices every day for you, and while I am alive, please use them. It will be far more beneficial and easy to be benefited by them.
They met at a party. He was overwhelmed by her great beauty and vivacity. "I suppose that you have more invitations than you can possibly accept." he said.
"I cannot go out very often," she answered somewhat evasively, "because I work. But when I don't want to go out with a man, I simply tell him that I live in the suburbs."
"What a clever idea," he said, laughing. "And where DO you live?"
"In the suburbs," she answered sweetly.
Be very alert. Jesus certainly said, "I will come." It was just to wipe the tears from his disciples' eyes, it was out of compassion. But a man who has attained to God cannot come back. It is impossible; in the very nature of things it is impossible - because he cannot enter into the body again. To enter into the body, you need a certain desire, a tremendous desire. And the man who has attained God has no desires left. It is through the doors of desire that a man enters into the body. If all desires are gone, then there is no way to enter into the body, to enter into the womb.
Hence, in the East, we know that once a buddha is gone he is gone forever. You can try to understand his teachings, but far better will be if you can find a buddha alive somewhere. And it never happens that if you search you will not find a buddha somewhere. If you really search you are bound to find a buddha somewhere or other.
Somewhere or other in the darkness of the world there are always a few flames; they are always there because God is still hopeful, because God is still compassionate, because existence cares for you.
If you can come across a living buddha, a living christ, forget all about the past buddhas and past christs. He contains all, and yet he cannot be identified with anyone in particular. He himself is a buddha, he himself is a christ in his own right.
So I don't claim that I am Christ, I don't claim that I am Buddha. I simply claim that I have arrived, that I am at home. And I have thrown my doors open. If you are really a seeker, a lover of truth, don't miss this opportunity....
The fourth question:
Dharma Chetana, I had also heard the laughter. It did not come from the heaven - the ghost of Jugal Kishore Birla was just standing by the side of Shiva. He played a trick on Charlie who is my engineer and mechanic for the Benz. He tricked Charlie: he connected the battery in a wrong way. Now, a German engineer, especially a mechanic for Mercedes Benz, a trained expert, highly intelligent, connected the battery wrongly!
How is this possible? The ghost of Jugal Kishore Birla tricked him, so something got burned, and I had to come in Jugal Kishore Birla's car - an Ambassador.
Certainly he was waiting here by the side of Shiva. Shiva may have even felt it, because he was looking all around; he must have felt something. And Chetana, you heard rightly.
Jugal Kishore Birla was the manufacturer of Ambassador cars. He has died. We had met a few times. He was a Hindu chauvinist, and he wanted me to become an ambassador to the world for Hinduism. For that purpose he had met me a few times; that's how we became friendly. He said to me, "I can help you with as much money as you want." In fact he was the richest man in India.
I said, "I can take more money than you have, but with one condition."
He said, "What is that condition?"
I said, "I will take it unconditionally. You cannot make any conditions with me. I can take all that you have."
He said, "Unconditionally? But one condition I have to make; that's why I am ready to give all support."
I said, "Please, don't mention it." But he still mentioned. He said, "My condition is very simple: can't you become a messenger to the world for Hinduism? Hinduism needs somebody to propagate it in such a contemporary and modern way that it appeals to the world mind."
I said, "Then I cannot accept a single PAI from you."
He said to me, "This is strange - because even Mahatma Gandhi had accepted my conditions."
I told him, "That's why I never call Mahatma Gandhi 'Mahatma' Gandhi. I call him the so-called Mahatma Gandhi; otherwise how can anybody accept your conditions? If he knows, he will not accept any conditions from anybody just for money. I know what the world needs. It is not Hinduism, it is not Christianity, it is not Islam. Enough of all this nonsense! The world needs a purely religious consciousness, with no adjectives attached to it."
But he was a good man in a way. When he was old he tried many times; whenever I would go to Delhi he would invite me to his palace and he would again bring up the subject in some way or other. I said to him, "You have done enough service to humanity; now there is no need for any more service. You have made this Ambassador car - this is really something wonderful! All the parts of it make noise except the horn.
What more service do you want to do to humanity?"
So naturally when I said something about him just a few days ago, he must have got very angry. He tricked Charlie. This is very rare - an Indian ghost befooling an alive German!
He was here, Chetana, you heard him rightly. But please don't start hearing the laughter of ghosts; otherwise you will be in trouble. Ghosts are always there; because you don't hear them you remain oblivious to their presence. So Chetana, don't grow this capacity any more; it is dangerous. It is enough to hear me; there is no need for you to hear other heavenly voices. There are a few mystics here too who go on hearing heavenly voices. Every day I receive letters saying, "I hear this and I heard that." I am teaching you to be silent and I am teaching you not to hear anything. And all those voices are in your head; they don't come from heaven. It is really a very distant call - it won't work, particularly in the rainy season, and not in India.
Remember one thing: all that is heard, all that is read, is trivia. Only your silence - that hears, that silence in which the sounds come - that silence is significant. Shift your consciousness from every object to subjectivity, from what you hear to the one who hears, from what you see to the one who sees.
But Chetana has joked, so I am not worried about her. And I love such small jokes: they keep the idea of playfulness alive. They keep my idea of religion alive.
The last question:
Nagesh, why are there so many languages in the world? - because there are so many people, so many ways to express. And it is not bad, it is good; the world is richer because of it. So many languages make the world tremendously rich. It gives variety, like so many flowers in the garden and so many birds.
Just think: only one flower all over the world, the marigold, and the whole world will look ugly; or the rose - just one flower all over the world. And what will you do with those roses? Nobody will write any poetry about roses anymore then. And if you will compare your woman's face with the flower of the rose she will become angry, she will threaten you with a divorce. Roses will lose all meaning; they are beautiful because there are millions of other flowers too.
I don't think that the world needs one religion. The world needs religious consciousness, and then that consciousness can flow into as many streams as possible.
In fact, my own idea of religion is that there should be as many religions as there are people - each person having his own religion.
It is difficult to have your own language; each person cannot have his own language, otherwise nobody will understand it.
Mulla Nasruddin has applied for a job. The manager looked at him and did not feel that he's even qualified to apply for it. He asked him, "Can you read and write?"
Mulla Nasruddin said, "I cannot read, but I can write."
The manager was surprised; this is a rare situation - he could have never conceived of a man who cannot read but can write. He said, "Then write!" He gave him a paper and Mulla immediately started writing on it. He went fast - one page, two pages, three pages.
The manager said, "Now you stop! You please read what you have written, because I cannot read."
Nasruddin said, "That I have told you before - I can only write! I can't read."
If you speak a language that only you understand, it will be impossible to communicate with people. But a religion - you can have your own, because religion need not be communicated. Religion is not a dialogue between you and other people; religion is a dialogue between you and existence. So any language will do, or no language, or any invented languages - Esperanto, or anything.
All these religions should be taken as different languages, then fanaticism loses its danger. Then it is beautiful! There are churches and temples and mosques and GURUDWARAS - if we think these are all different languages, there is no problem.
You don't see people fighting about which language is the true language - Hindi, Marathi, English, German, French. Which language is the true language? Nobody will ask such a question, because all languages are arbitrary, made-up. They are not true or false, they are useful.
An Englishman, a Frenchman and a German were arguing about the respective merits of their languages. The Frenchman said, "French is the language of love, the language of romance, the most beautiful and pure language in the world."
The German announced, "German is the most vigorous language, the language of philosophers, the language of Goethe, the language most adaptable to the modern world of science and technology."
When the Englishman's turn came he said, "I don't understand what you fellows are talking about. Take this" - and he held up a table knife. "You in France call it UN COUTEAU, you Germans call it EIN MESSER. We in England simply call it a knife, which, all said and done, is precisely what it is."
This is how religions have been arguing. Exactly like this has been the argument between religions: who is right? Christians, Hindus, Mohammedans, Buddhists, Jainas - - these are only different languages to express the same phenomenon. If once this is understood then there is no problem; I would like many MORE religions to evolve.
In fact in a better world every person will have his own religion, because religion is your way of expressing the inexpressible. It is like aesthetics: if you love roses and I don't love roses, there is no problem. We don't fight it out; we don't take swords and we don't go on a crusade: "Who is right? - because this man says lotuses are beautiful, and I say roses are beautiful. Now it has to be decided on a battlefield."
How will you decide? You can kill me, but that won't make any difference. Even dying, I will go on saying lotuses are the most beautiful flowers; my death will not make any change in my vision. You can kill a Hindu, you can kill a Mohammedan: that does not change anything at all.
But this is what, down the ages, people have been doing to each other - fighting ridiculously. Somebody calls God "Allah" - he is wrong. Why? Somebody calls God "Ram" - he is wrong. Why? - because you call him "God." God, Ram, Allah, are all names, invented names for something which has no name of its own, which is a nameless experience.
There are so many religions, Nagesh, because there are so many people, different types of people. Different people have different likings, different people have different approaches towards reality, and reality is multidimensional.
Hence my emphasis is: we need a religious consciousness, a universal upsurge of religious consciousness. Of course it will take many forms, but forms don't matter; as far as the spirit is alive, forms don't matter. And each form is beautiful. There are so many people: each has a different face, a different beauty. Each person's fingerprints are different from every other person's in the world - but this does not create any trouble.
Each person's footprints towards God's door are going to be different.
Once we understand it a great brotherhood is possible. Otherwise this nonsense of religious fanaticism - that "Only I am right" - has been very destructive. It has destroyed religion itself; it has condemned religion and religious people. That's why there are so many irreligious people, antireligious people. It is what religion has done to humanity up to now that has created antireligious people - atheists, godless people, God-denying people. The responsibility is of the priests, rabbis, popes, pundits, shankaracharyas - these are the responsible people. They have made religion so ugly, so inhuman, so violent, so stupid, that any rational person feels a little ashamed of being part of any religious movement.
We have to destroy the ugly heritage of the past. We have to clean the space for the future. All are accepted: the Bible has its own beauty, so has the Koran, so has the Gita.
And if you are religious you will enjoy the Bible as much as you will enjoy the Koran and the Gita, because you will know only languages are different. And the difference of languages creates different beauty. Sing the Koran, and you will see the difference. The Bible cannot be beautiful that way; the Koran has a singing quality to it. You can sing the Koran; even if you don't understand the meaning, the very music of it will be a transforming force. In fact, the Koran does not have much meaning; it has great poetry but not much meaning.
Many Mohammedan friends, many Mohammedan sannyasins, ask me when I am going to speak on the Koran. I have thought many times. Many times I have taken the Koran into my hand, looked here and there, and postponed it again - because the Koran has not much meaning. It has poetry, it has a totally different beauty. It is a piece of art!
If you want meaning then the Gita has more meaning, but not that much poetry; then the Bible has more meaning, but not that much poetry. The Bible has its own beauty. It is so simple, the simplest scripture in the world, and because it is simple it has innocence, purity. Jesus speaks in the language of a villager: the parables and the metaphors are all primitive. But because they are primitive they have a purity, they are unpolluted - unpolluted by the modern mind. They are straight, they go direct to the heart like an arrow. But if you want meaning then you should look into the Vedas, which are full of philosophy. They have their own beauty - the beauty of intellectuality.
Each scripture has something to contribute to the world, and no scripture can do everything. But because you don't understand different languages, the problem arises.
It will be good to have a few encounters with different religions.
That's why I go on speaking, sometimes on Buddhism, sometimes on Hinduism, sometimes on Christianity, sometimes on Judaism, on Hassids, on Zen, on Sufis - for a certain reason: to give you different visions, so your own eyes can become rich, so that you can understand different language also a little bit.
Foster, in Tokyo on business, knew no Japanese. Even so, he persuaded an attractive girl, who spoke no English, to come to his hotel room. All during their lovemaking, the Oriental kept shouting "Machigai ana!" with great feeling.
Foster felt proud that he could get the girl so aroused to keep yelling, "Machigai ana!"
Foster must have been thinking that this is something like "Fantastic! Far out!"
The next afternoon he played golf with a Japanese industrial tycoon. When the Oriental made a hole-in-one, Foster attempted to make a good impression and exclaimed "Machigai ana! Machigai ana!"
"What do you mean," snapped the tycoon, "the wrong hole?"
It is good to know a little bit of other languages too. It will be a great help to you to have a few glimpses of the Koran, the Bible, the Gita, THE DHAMMAPADA. That will make you more liberal, more broad-minded, more human.
Enough for today.