The first question:
THE WESTERN MIND IS SO ORIENTED TOWARD ANALYSIS, THE LEFT HEMISPHERE OF THE BRAIN - THE EASTERN MIND JUST THE OPPOSITE, THE INTUITIVE RIGHT HEMISPHERE. THE WEST IS FASCINATED BY THE EAST AND THE EAST BY THE WEST. EQUAL AMOUNTS OF BOTH - IS THIS THE HARMONY OF WISDOM AND THE TRANSCENDENCE OF OPPOSITES?
Prem Dhanesh, the transcendence of opposites is not a quantitative phenomenon, it is a qualitative revolution. It is not a question of equal amounts of both; that will be a very materialistic solution. Quantity means matter. Equal amounts of both will give you only an appearance of synthesis but not a real synthesis - a dead synthesis, not alive, not breathing, not with a heart beating.
The real synthesis is a dialogue: not equal amounts of both, but a loving relationship, an I/thou relationship. It is a question of bridging the opposites, not putting them together in one place.
Both are important, immensely important. Neither analysis can be discarded nor intuition. Discard analysis and you become outwardly poor, starved, unhealthy. And when one is outwardly poor, starved, unhealthy, how can he go inwards? It is impossible.
The outward poverty prevents the inward journey. You are so obsessed with food, clothes, shelter, you don't have time and space to go in, to think about the higher things of life.
In the Upanishads there is a beautiful story. Shvetketu, a young man, came back from the university full of knowledge. He was a brilliant student, he had topped the university with all the medals and all the degrees that were possible, available. He came back home with great pride. His old father, Uddalak, looked at him and asked him a single question. He said to him, "You have come full of knowledge, but do you know the knower? You have accumulated much information, your consciousness is full of borrowed wisdom - but what is this consciousness? Do you know who you are?"
Shvetketu said, "But this question was never raised in the university. I have learned the Vedas, I have learned language, philosophy, poetry, literature, history, geography. I have learned all that was available in the university, but this was not a subject at all.
You are asking a very strange question; nobody ever asked me in the university. It was not on the syllabus, it was not in my course."
Uddalak said, "You do one thing: be on a fast for two weeks, then I will ask you something."
He wanted to show his knowledge, just a young man's desire. He must have dreamed that his father would be very happy. Although the father was saying, "Wait for two weeks and fast," he started talking about the ultimate, the absolute, the Brahman.
The father said, "You wait two weeks, then we will discuss about Brahman."
Two days' fast, three days' fast, four days' fast, and the father started asking him, "What is Brahman?" In the beginning he answered a little bit, recited what he had crammed, displayed. But by the end of the week he was so tired, so exhausted, so hungry, that when the father asked, "What is Brahman?" he said, "Stop all this nonsense! I am hungry, I think only of food and you are asking me what Brahman is. Right now, except food nothing is Brahman."
The father said, "So your whole knowledge is just because you were not starved.
Because you were taken care of, your body was nourished, it was easy for you to talk about great philosophy. Now is the real question. Now bring your knowledge!"
Shvetketu said, "I have forgotten all. Only one thing haunts me: hunger, hunger - day in, day out. I cannot sleep, I cannot rest. There is fire in my belly, I am burning, and I don't know anything at all. I have forgotten all that I have learned."
The father said, "My son, food is the first step towards Brahman. Food is Brahman - ANNAM BRAHMA." A tremendously significant statement. India has forgotten it completely. ANNAM BRAHMA: food is God, the first God.
If you drop the analytical mind, science disappears. If you drop the analytical mind, you can't be affluent; you are bound to be poor and hungry, and you will lose your first contact with God.
The West is in that contact; nothing is wrong about it. This orientation in analysis is a significant step towards knowing God. I am not against it. But one should not stop at it.
Food is not an ultimate value, it is a means to an end. And if you have a meditative pilgrimage you start transforming food into prayer.
It depends. The painter eats the same food, but it becomes painting in him. The poet also eats the same food, it becomes poetry in him. The lover also eats the same food, it becomes love in him. The murderer also eats the same food, it becomes murder and destruction in him. Alexander, Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler, Gautam Buddha, Jesus Christ and Krishna, they were not eating different kinds of food; the food is the same, more or less. But in Adolf Hitler it becomes destruction, in Gautam Buddha it becomes compassion. Food is raw energy; it depends on you how you transform it. You are the transformer; you are really significant, not what you eat.
Money is not bad in itself. That's my basic approach towards existence: money is neutral, it depends on you. In the hands of a man of understanding, money is tremendously beautiful. It can become music, it can become art, it can become science, it can become religion. It is not money that is bad, it is the person. The stupid person, if he has money, does not know what to do with it; his money creates more greed. Money can free you from greed, but the stupid person changes money into more greed. It becomes anger, it becomes sexuality, it becomes lust. The more money the stupid person has, the more stupid he becomes, because he becomes more powerful to do stupid things.
With the wise, everything is transformed into wisdom.
The analytical mind is not bad, the scientific approach towards reality is not bad - but it is only a means, it can't be the end. The end is self-knowledge, the end is to know God, the end is to know the eternal, the deathless. AES DHAMMO SANANTANO: that is the end, to know the ultimate law which pervades, permeates the whole existence - because by knowing it, one is liberated. Truth liberates.
The East has contributed greatly, immensely towards that ultimate end. But without means, how can you reach the end? And without the end what is the point of having all the means? It is a question of deep dialogue between East and West, it is a question of a marriage, not a quantitative combination of these two different approaches, not half East, half West, not a little bit of science and a little bit of religion. Human life is not that mathematical; it is poetic.
What is needed is a dialogue, an I/thou relationship, a love affair between East and West, a deep embrace. It is not a question of equal quantities; the WHOLE West and the WHOLE East meeting and merging into each other - not half East, half West - the whole East and the whole West melting into each other in a deep love relationship.
Then only, the real synthesis, the transcendence of opposites, will be possible.
When two lovers meet in deep orgasmic joy, there is transcendence. The attraction is there: the East feels fascinated by the West, the West is fascinated by the East, but the danger is that the people from the West who are too fascinated with the East will drop being Western, they will become Eastern; and the people who are fascinated by the West will drop being Eastern and will become Western. So nothing has changed; there has been no meeting, there has been no merger, just the same problem again. People have simply changed their places: now the Eastern is standing in the Western hemisphere and the Western is standing in the Eastern hemisphere. Now the Westerner is meditating and the Easterner is studying in Oxford, in Cambridge, in Harvard, and becoming a scientist, a physicist. This is not going to help because there is no meeting happening.
My effort here is not to change the Western mind into the Eastern, not to change the Eastern mind into the Western, but to let here be a meeting of both - not in part but in totality. And remember, when two wholes meet, it becomes one whole. When two totalities meet, it becomes one totality: that is transcendence. It is urgently needed, because without it there is no hope for humanity, no future for humanity.
What we are trying to do here is of immense importance for the future of man. It is not an ordinary experiment - in fact there is no other experiment which is more important than this. You may not be aware that you are participating in something which can save the world. Otherwise the division between the Eastern and the Western is going to kill humanity. The East is poor, too poor, and the West is becoming too rich, and the rift is becoming bigger and bigger every day. This rift is bound to create, sooner or later, a third world war - which will be destructive to both.
Before it happens we have to spread a new vision, we have to give birth to a new humanity, a man who is neither Eastern nor Western but both together simultaneously; not in equal amounts, not half Eastern, half Western - fully Western, fully Eastern.
The second question:
I WANT TO BECOME A SANNYASIN, BUT I CANNOT BECAUSE I AM ALREADY A PRACTICING CATHOLIC. HOW CAN I ACCEPT TWO MASTERS? AND AM I ALLOWED TO ASK QUESTIONS BEFORE I BECOME A SANNYASIN?
Alexander, there is no question of accepting two masters. It is not a question of masters, it is a question of surrender. If you are surrendered to Christ, you are surrendered to me. If you are surrendered to me, you are surrendered to Christ, to Buddha, to Mahavira, to Krishna. The question is of surrender. You are taking the question from the wrong end. If you know how to surrender, then all the masters are one. Then you will find Christ in Buddha, and Buddha in Christ.
The surrendered heart becomes so deeply harmonious that it can see that Krishna and Christ are not different. Certainly their language is different - Krishna speaks Sanskrit, Christ speaks Aramaic. Certainly they use different metaphors, different parables. They are different fingers but pointing to the same moon. If you can see the moon, will you be worried about the fingers? If you can see the moon, will you be obsessed with the finger - whether the finger is that of Krishna or Christ or Buddha or Lao Tzu? What does it matter? Once the moon is known, the fingers are forgotten. To become obsessed too much with the finger is a state of pathology. The Hindu is ill, the Mohammedan is ill, the Christian is ill. They have become fascinated too much, obsessed with the fingers.
There is only one moon, but it is reflected in a thousand and one lakes. Don't become too much attached to the reflection in the lakes, don't become too much attached to the lake! The lake has nothing to do with the moon; even if the lake disappears, the moon remains. The lake may become disturbed, the reflection may be lost, but the moon is there.
Yes, there are different lakes, and they have different kinds of water. One lake is salty, another lake is sweet; one lake has a bluish tinge to its color, another lake is a little green - and so on, so forth. One lake is very deep. The other is very shallow. But these differences don't make any difference to the moon reflected in those lakes.
If you are really a practicing Catholic you will not hesitate even for a single moment in becoming a sannyasin. Because you are hesitating, let me say to you: you are not a practicing Catholic. And what do you mean by "practicing Catholic"? Because you go every Sunday to the church? Because you do the Lord's Prayer every night? Because you read the Bible every day for a certain period of time? What do you mean by being a practicing Catholic? Then why are you here? For what? If you have found the answer, you need not be here. If you have not found the answer, remember, you have still to inquire, still to journey....
I am offering my hand and you say, "How can I hold two masters' hands?" Do you think you are holding Christ's hand? Look again! Your hands are empty. If you cannot hold the hand of a living master, how can you hold the hand of a master gone for two thousand years? You cannot even be certain whether he ever existed or not. There are people who think that it is only a story, that there has never been an historical person like Christ. There are people, great scholars, who think that this is only an ancient folk drama, this whole story of Jesus has never been a reality.
How are you going to drop these doubts? And if you look into the story, it will create a thousand and one doubts in you. Jesus walking on water, Alexander, can you really believe it? And when I say "really" I mean REALLY. Can you really believe it - somebody walking on water? Can you really believe Jesus, touching blind people's eyes and giving them sight? Can you really believe Jesus bringing Lazarus back to life from death? Do you believe Jesus is born out of a virgin mother? Is it possible? Do you believe that Jesus came back from death after three days, resurrected?
Look deep down: you will have a thousand and one doubts. In fact, it is so difficult to believe even a living master, how to believe in a dead master? And around dead masters stories are bound to be created by the disciples, out of their foolishness. They think that by creating these stories they will help the message to spread. And for a time being it may be so - there were days when Jesus became important only because he was born out of a virgin mother. Buddha was not born out of a virgin mother, Mahavira was not born out of a virgin mother, Krishna was not born.... So it was something rare, unique; nobody else could claim it, it impressed people. But as people became more and more educated, as intelligence grew, as people became more and more thinkers, the same thing became the problem. Now one hesitates even to mention it.
Resurrection helped Christianity to spread all over the world, because Jesus was the only one who came back from death: of course, he has firsthand knowledge about what happens after death. Buddha, Mahavira, they are alive and talking about death and beyond, but they don't have any authentic experience. Jesus has. This helped Christianity to spread all over the world. But now the same thing has become a disadvantage. Now to talk about resurrection is to be laughed at.
What do you mean that you are a practicing Catholic? If you were really a practicing Catholic, there are only two alternatives: either you would not have been here, there would have been no need; or if you had felt the presence of Christ-consciousness here, then there would have been no hesitation on your part in becoming a sannyasin. That will be really becoming a Catholic, that will be becoming a christ.
Don't be a Christian; that is not enough. Unless you are a christ, nothing has happened.
Try to be a christ, not to be a Christian. The Christian is only a believer, and the believer is always blind. The christ has eyes. And remember, when I use the word 'christ' I don't mean Jesus only. Christ is a state of ultimate consciousness: in the East we call it the state of being a buddha, the state of being a JINA. These are the same words. Jesus is only one of the christs - Buddha is another, Lao Tzu is another, and there have been so many, and there will be so many. It is a long procession of lights.
And there is always a living christ somewhere or other. You can call him a buddha, you can call him a christ; it simply depends what language you are using. But don't be a fanatic, don't be sectarian; that creates stupidity, that does not help in growing, it does not help in attaining more consciousness.
As an experiment, two scientists decided to mate a male human with a female gorilla.
They agreed only someone really stupid would submit to such an act, so they went down to the docks and grabbed Fanelli who had just gotten off the boat. "We will give you five thousand dollars to go to bed with a gorilla," proposed one of the scientists.
"Will you do it?"
"Okay, I do it," agreed Fanelli. "But on three conditions."
"What are they?" asked the men of science.
"First-a, I am-a only gonna do it-a once," said the Italian. "Second-a, nobody can-a watch. And-a third-a, if a kid is born, it is-a gotta be raised a Catholic."
Alexander, enough of Catholics, enough of Protestants, enough of Hindus and Mohammedans. Now be finished with all that nonsense. Let a new humanity emerge, where Jews and Hindus and Jainas and Buddhists will not be constantly fighting, quarreling, trying to destroy each other, trying to impose their own ideas upon others; where man will be free to choose. You don't seem to be free to choose. Your being a Catholic seems to be like chains on your feet, your being a Catholic seems to be like a prison wall around you. You are not free.
You say, "I want to be a sannyasin...." Then who is preventing you? You want to be a sannyasin yet your being a Catholic prevents you. It is a wall, it is not a bridge.
True religion is always a bridge and never a wall.
McGuinty sat in the confessional. "Father," he said to the priest, "I don't feel I need forgiveness for my various adulteries."
"Why not?" asked the astonished priest.
"Well," said McGuinty, "The only married women I have relations with are all Jewish!"
"Oh, you are right, my son!" said the priest. "That's the only way to screw the Jews."
You are allowed to do the same thing to a Jew which you are not allowed to do to a Christian. You are allowed to do happily, welcomingly, something to a Mohammedan which you are not allowed to do to a Hindu. What kind of religiousness is this? What kind of humanity have we created? Neurotic it is, psychotic it is. We need a healthier human being.
My sannyasin is not getting involved in a sect; this is not a sect because we don't have any ideology. I don't preach any ideology. Even atheists are here and they are sannyasins and they don't believe in God. And I don't make it a basic requirement.
There are no basic requirements, except your longing for truth - but that is not a thing that makes you sectarian. In fact, the inquiry for truth, the longing for truth, makes you absolutely nonsectarian.
And a religious person is nonsectarian. He is simply religious - not Christian, not Hindu. He cannot afford to be Hindu or Christian. How can he afford to be so limited?
He cannot afford to get involved in prejudices; he cannot believe in conclusions already arrived at by others. He is on his own journey: he wants to know truth with his own eyes, he wants to hear God with his own ears, he wants to feel life and existence with his own heart. His search is individual.
Sannyasins are not part of a sect. This is the meeting of individuals; we have met because we are on the same journey. There is no ideology binding my sannyasins with each other; it is just because of the same inquiry for truth that accidentally we have met on the same road. We are fellow-travelers. Nothing binds one sannyasin to another sannyasin; there is no bondage of belief, tradition, scripture. And in fact sannyasins are not connected with each other at all directly - their connection is with me.
One sannyasin is connected with me, another sannyasin is connected with me, hence they are connected with each other via me. There is no other organization. I am functioning only as a center and they are all connected with me, hence they feel connected with each other.
That's how a commune arises, a SANGHA is born. A commune can be alive only when the buddha is present, when the christ is present. Once the christ is gone, the commune disappears and becomes a community. The commune disappears and becomes a sect. I would not like my sannyasins to become a sect ever.
Alexander, you also ask, "And am I allowed to ask questions before I become a sannyasin?"
You have already asked a question, and I have already answered it. Yes, you are absolutely welcome. In fact, after becoming a sannyasin it becomes more and more difficult to ask questions - they look so stupid. The longer you are here, the less you ask. And those who have been here longest have completely forgotten to ask anything.
Don't be worried about that. You can ask questions just for questions' sake; you need not be a sannyasin.
And in fact I am more interested in questions which come from nonsannyasins, because then I can seduce them.
The Russian rabbit fled across the border at Brest and did not stop until a Polish rabbit assured him he was in Poland. "Why are you running?" asked the Polish rabbit.
"Because they are castrating all the camels in Russia," said the Russian bunny.
"But you are not a camel, you are a rabbit!"
"Yes - but they castrate first and ask questions afterwards."
The third question:
IN REBIRTHING A PART OF ME THAT HAD BEEN KNOWLEDGE BUT NOT KNOWN HAPPENED. FIRST THERE WAS PAIN AND FEAR, THEN AN EXPLOSION IN ME THAT FELT LIKE A WILD ANIMAL, FOLLOWED BY TREMENDOUS RELIEF AND JOY. I FELT THAT A DARK CLOUD I HAVE CARRIED A LONG TIME PASSED OUT OF ME. YET STILL I KNOW NOTHING OF WHO I AM. PLEASE COMMENT.
Prem Gyanam, "Who am I?" is not really a question; hence it can never be answered, neither by others nor by yourself. Then what is it? It is a koan. "Who am I?" is utterly absurd. By asking it, don't hope that one day you will get the answer. If you go on asking, "Who am I? Who am I?" - if you make it a meditation, as Raman Maharshi used to say to his disciples.... He used to give only one simple meditation: just sit and repeat, first loudly, then not so loudly, then just in your throat; then even the throat is not to be used, just deep down in your heart let it resound: "Who am I? Who am I?" Go on asking....
And people used to think that if they follow the instructions rightly, one day suddenly they will know the answer. That is not true; you will never come to the answer. But by asking it, first all your answers that you had before, ideas about yourself, will disappear too.
"Who am I?" is like a thorn. It can pull out the thorn that is in your feet. You can use this thorn; you can use this thorn to pull out the thorn that is already hurting you in the foot. When both the thorns are out, you can throw both of them. You need not keep the second one because it has been such a blessing to you, it pulled out the first. You need not put it in the place of the first just out of reverence, gratitude.
"Who am I?" is just a subtle device; it is as absurd as Zen koans.
Zen masters say to the disciples, "Go and meditate: what is the sound of one hand clapping?" Now, one hand cannot clap. The master knows it, the disciple knows it - that one hand cannot clap - but the master insists, "Meditate on it. Go crazy meditating - ask and ask and ask, and let the question go deeper and deeper. Let it sink in your heart, in your very soul."
When the master says, the disciple has to do it. Sometimes ten years, sometimes twenty years pass, and the disciple goes on asking this absurd question, knowing perfectly well that one hand cannot clap. And the master says, "If you come across some answers, bring them to me." And sometimes the disciple invents answers, because he gets tired of the question. Sometimes he hopes, "Maybe this is the answer," and he brings it to the master. He says, "The sound of running water, that is one hand clapping."
And the master hits him with the staff on his head and says, "You fool! This is not the answer. Go back" - because the sound of running water is not one hand clapping, the sound is because of the rocks. Remove the rocks and the sound will disappear. So there are two things clashing, not one thing.
Then he goes and he meditates. And while he is meditating he hears the distant call of a cuckoo, and he thinks "This is it! This MUST be - so beautiful, so tremendously otherworldly. This is the celestial music; this must be the real thing." And he comes running, and is beaten again.
Zen masters are really experts in beating... not only beating; sometimes throwing you out of the window, sometimes closing the door in your face. They can do anything to wake you up, their compassion is such. And you are again given a good beating, and the master shouts that you are utterly stupid: "This is not it. Go again and meditate."
And so on, so forth, it continues, continues, many answers. And no answer is ever accepted; no answer can ever be accepted.
Sometimes it happens, even before the disciple has said what answer he has got, the master starts beating him - because it is not a question of what answer he brings; that is utterly irrelevant. Whatsoever answer he has brought is going to be wrong. All answers are wrong.
But one day he comes and the master hugs him, because he can see in his eyes, the way he walks, the grace that surrounds him, the climate that he has brought with himself, the silence: no question, no answer. Not that he has brought any answer; on the contrary, this time he has come even without the question, he has forgotten the question itself. He is not asking any more. He comes utterly silent, not even a ripple in his mind.
And the master recognizes it immediately.
Sometimes it has happened that the disciple has not turned up and the master had to seek and search for the disciple, because he felt deep down in his heart that the question had disappeared. And now the disciple is feeling, "Why bother the master unnecessarily? What is the point? There is no answer, no question." And the silence is such, and it is so tremendous, that he does not want to come out of it.
And the master comes and says to him, "Now that you have the answer, what are you doing here? Why didn't you turn up? I have been waiting for you."
Once it happened:
When Rinzai was taking leave of his master - because the master had said, "You go for a three-year pilgrimage, go to all the temples and all the monasteries" - and before he was leaving, he started beating him. Rinzai said, "But I have not said anything, I have not done anything. What kind of farewell is this? I am going for a three-year pilgrimage on foot" - in those ancient days it was dangerous - "I may come back, I may not come back."
The master said, "That's why. I may not have another chance to beat you. I am suspicious. You are just on the verge of that great silence descending. Just the last part of the question, not even 'Who am I?' but only the question mark is there. And any day it will disappear, and then nobody knows whether you will come or you may not come.
And I am an old man; where will I come and search and seek you? This is my last opportunity to beat you - I cannot miss it!"
And yes, it was so; it was the last opportunity. Rinzai came back after three years, but he was enlightened. He came back and slapped the master and said, "You rascal! You were right. Just once I also want to hit you. You have been beating me at least for twenty years. Just for once...!"
The master was laughing and he said, "You are entitled. You can do it whenever you feel like doing it, but just remember that I am a very old man."
Gyanam, you say, "Yet still I know nothing of who I am." Nobody has ever known.
Then what is the difference between a buddha and you? You also don't know who you are, the buddha also does not know who he is - then what is the difference? He is not bothered by it. He laughs at it, he takes it for granted that life is a mystery. There is no question and there is no answer.
Life is not a question-answer game. It is not a puzzle to be solved, it is a mystery to be lived.
"Pa, I wanna go to college," said Leon.
"Do you know what is what?"
"Do you know what is what? Go into the bathroom and think for a few minutes, and if you find out what is what, I send you to college."
Leon went into the bathroom, thought a few minutes, came out and said, "Pa, I don't know what is what."
"Sure you don't know what is what. Go out and get yourself a job and when you find out what is what I send you to college."
Leon left, went to a nearby bar, and began drinking. He met Alice, a blonde sitting at the bar. Soon they wound up at her apartment. After a few drinks she said, "Excuse me while I slip into something more comfortable."
Alice returned a few moments later, completely nude. Leon looked at her and said, "What is this?"
"What is what?"
"If I knew what's what I would be in college, not here."
Now you tell me what is what. This is a koan. This Leon's pa must have been a Zen master: what is what.
Now you are asking, "Who am I?" You are yourself, you are you. To ask, "Who am I?"
means you are asking for some identity, whether "I am A or B or C or D." You are simply yourself! You cannot be A, you cannot be B, you cannot be C. You are just yourself, you are nothing else. So there is no way to answer it.
Then why is this question given to you? This question is given to you so that it can destroy; it is like a hammer, it can destroy all your old identities. For example, you think, "My name is Ram, so I am Ram." When you ask, "Who am I?" the question will arise, "What about Ram? I am Ram!" But you can see that that is only a name; it is not your reality, it is a given name from the outside. Your parents had to call you something: they called you "Ram." They could have called you "Rahim," they could have given you any name, and any name would have been as relevant as Ram, because you are a nameless reality. So asking, "Who am I?" you will forget this identity with Ram.
Then deep down somebody says, "I am a Jaina," "I am a Hindu," "I am a Jew." That too is an accidental identity - accidents of birth - you are not it. How can you be a Jew?
What does it mean to be a Jew or a Hindu? Just that you have been brought up by Hindus or Jews, that's all. If a Jewish child is taken away from his home and is brought up by Hindus he will never come to know, never will dream that he is a Jew. Although born of Jewish parents he will never become aware of it - unless he is told. He will think that he is a Hindu. He may even fight for Hinduism with a Jew, he may kill a Jew for the sake of Hinduism, not knowing at all that he himself is a Jew.
Now in India there are millions of Christians. They think they are Christians, but they have always lived here; their parents were Hindus, their parents' parents were Hindus.
For centuries they have been Hindus! Now they have been bribed, persuaded, convinced, converted, and they have become Christians. They can kill Hindus; if the need arises they can fight.
There are millions of Mohammedans in India; they have all been converted forcibly. At least Christians have been persuaded sophisticatedly - but millions of Hindus have been forced at the point of daggers. The choice was: "You can live as a Mohammedan or you have to die." And who wants to die? Lust for life is so deep that it is better to live, even if you have to live as a Mohammedan it's okay. Now those millions of Mohammedans who live in India basically have the blood of Hindus. But they can kill Hindus - they have been killing - and they are being killed by Hindus. Hindus are killing their own children; now they are called Mohammedans. Just change the label... and such a great change happens just by changing the label.
When you ask, "Who am I?" you will come across that point. You will see that you are neither a Mohammedan nor a Hindu nor a Christian; these are accidents of birth, upbringing. If you have been born in Russia you would not have been either Hindu, Christian or Mohammedan; you would have been a communist, a practicing communist - just as you are a practicing Catholic now. You would have denied God, you would have denied prayer, you would have denied the whole religion - because the state is powerful, and nobody wants to go against the state; it is dangerous.
The state has never been so powerful as it is in Russia today. The individual has never been reduced to such impotence as he has been in communist countries. He cannot pray according to his own choice, he cannot go to the church or to the temple according to his own will; the state decides everything. If the state says, "This is so," this is so. You cannot defy the state, otherwise the consequences are great. You will be thrown into imprisonment or sent to Siberia or you may be simply killed. Or, even more dangerous, you may be forced to live in a mental hospital where you will be given electric shocks, insulin shocks; you can be declared to be mad. If you are not communist in Russia you can be declared insane. And you are absolutely helpless; if the doctors say you are insane, you are insane. There is no way to fight with them.
Mulla Nasruddin was dying, on his deathbed, almost in a coma. The doctor came to see him. The doctor was drunk; he took his pulse but could not find any pulse because he was holding the hand in the wrong way. He looked at Nasruddin's face and said to his wife, "I'm sorry to say it, but your husband is dead."
At that very moment, Nasruddin opened his eyes and said, "What! I am alive!"
The wife said, "You keep quiet. He knows better, he is a doctor, an M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.S.
You have some nerve to deny an authority! Keep quiet!"
That's how it is in Soviet Russia: if the psychologist says you are insane, you are insane.
You know you are not, but you are utterly helpless; the monster of the state is so huge, and you are caught in the teeth of the monster. If you were born in Russia you would not be Catholic, you would not be Protestant, you would not be Hindu, you would not be Mohammedan.
When you meditate on "Who am I?" you will come across this point, and it will dissolve. And the deeper you will go... then deeper questions will come: first sociological, theological, then biological. You have a man's body or a woman's body: the question will arise, "Am I a man or a woman?" The consciousness is neither. The consciousness cannot be male or female. The consciousness is simply consciousness; it is just the capacity of being a witness. Soon you will pass that barrier too; you will forget that you are man or woman.
And so on, so forth. When all the old identities are dropped, nothing remains, only the question resounds in the silence: "Who am I?" The question cannot go on, on its own; it needs some answers, otherwise it cannot persist. A point comes when asking becomes absurd... the question also evaporates. That is the moment which is called self-knowing - ATMAGYAN. That is the moment when, without receiving any answer, you simply know, you feel, who you are.
Prem Gyanam, go on inquiring. A few dark clouds have disappeared from your being:
feel grateful. There are many more; they all have to disappear. These are all dark clouds - Catholic, Protestant, Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan, Jaina, Buddhist, communist.
These are all dark clouds - Indian, Chinese, Japanese, German, English. These are all dark clouds - white, black, man, woman, beautiful, ugly, intelligent, stupid. These are ALL dark clouds! Anything that you can become identified with is a dark cloud.
Let them all go. The beginning has happened. But don't be in a hurry and don't wait for any answer - there is none. When all questions and all answers have been left behind and you are alone, totally alone, absolutely silent, knowing nothing, no content, no object to know - that purity of consciousness, that pure sky of consciousness, that's what you are.
The last question:
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MASTERY OVER THE SELF AND CONTROL?
Divya, they are contraries. Mastery over the self has no self in it; it is utterly selfless.
Mastery is there, but there is no self to master; there is nothing to master or to be mastered, there is only pure consciousness. In that purity you are part of God; in that purity you are the lord of existence itself. But there is no self.
When we say "self-mastery" we are using a wrong language. But nothing can be done because all language is wrong at those heights; in those moments of plenitude no word is adequate. In control there is self. In control there is more self than ever. The uncontrolled person has not that much self, that much ego - how can he have? He knows his weaknesses.
That's why you will come across a very strange phenomenon: your so-called saints are more egoistic than the sinners. The sinners are more human, more humble; the saints are almost inhuman because of their control - they think they are suprahuman. Because they can control their instincts, they can go on long fasts, they can remain sexually starved for years or for their whole life, they can remain awake for days together, not a single moment's sleep - because they can have such control over the body, over the mind, it naturally gives them a great ego. It feeds their idea that, "I am somebody special." It nourishes their disease.
The sinner is more humble. He has to be; he knows he cannot control anything. When anger comes he becomes angry. When love comes he becomes love. When sadness comes he becomes sad. He has no control over his emotions. When he is hungry he is ready to do anything to get food; even if he has to steal he will do it. He will find every possible way.
A famous Sufi story:
Mulla Nasruddin and two other saints went for a pilgrimage to Mecca. They were passing through a village, it was the last phase of their journey. Their money was almost finished; just a little bit was left. They purchased a certain sweet called halva, but it was not enough for all the three and they were too hungry. What to do? - and they were not even ready to divide it because then it will not fulfill anybody's hunger. So everybody started bragging about himself that, "I am more important to existence, so my life has to be saved."
The first saint said, "I have been fasting, I have been praying for so many years; nobody here present is more religious and holy than I am. And God wants me to be saved, so the halva has to be given to me."
The second saint said, "Yes, I know, you are a man of great austerities, but I am a great scholar. I have studied all the scriptures, my whole life I have devoted in the service of knowledge. And the world does not need people who can fast. What can you do? - you can only fast. You can fast in heaven! The world needs knowledge. The world is so ignorant that it cannot afford to miss me. The halva has to be given to me."
Mulla Nasruddin said, "I am not an ascetic, so I cannot claim any self-control. I am not a great knowledgeable person either, so that too I cannot claim. I am an ordinary sinner, and I have heard that God is always compassionate to the sinners. The halva belongs to me."
They could not come to any conclusion. Finally they decided that, "We all three should sleep without eating the halva, and let God decide himself. So whosoever is given the best dream by God, in the morning that dream will be decisive."
In the morning the saint said, "Nobody can compete with me anymore. Give me the halva - because in the dream I kissed God's feet. That is the ultimate that one can hope - - what greater experience can there be?"
The pundit, the scholar, the knowledgeable person laughed and he said, "That is nothing - because God hugged me and kissed me! You kissed his feet? He kissed ME and hugged me! Where is the halva? It belongs to me."
They looked at Nasruddin and asked, "What dream did you have?"
Nasruddin said, "I am a poor sinner, my dream was very ordinary - very ordinary, not worth even telling. But because you insist and because we have agreed, I will tell you.
In my sleep God appeared and he said, 'You fool! What are you doing? Eat the halva!'
So I have eaten it - because how can I deny his order? There is no halva left now!"
Self-control gives you the subtlest ego. Self-control has more self in it than anything else. But self-mastery is a totally different phenomenon; it has no self in it. Control is cultivated, practiced; with great effort you have to manage it. It is a long struggle, then you arrive at it. Mastery is not a cultivated thing, it is not to be practiced. Mastery is nothing but understanding. It is not control at all.
For example, you can control anger, you can repress it, you can sit on top of it. Nobody will ever know what you have done, and you will always be praised by people that in such a situation where anybody would have become angry, you remained so calm and collected and cool. But you know that all that calmness and coolness was on the surface:
deep down you were boiling, deep down there was fire, but you repressed it in the unconscious, you forced it deep down into your unconscious and you sat upon it like a volcano, and you are still sitting on it.
The man of control is the man of repression. He goes on repressing. Because he goes on repressing, he goes on accumulating all that is wrong. His whole life becomes a junkyard. Sooner or later, and it is going to be sooner than later, the volcano explodes - because there is only a certain limit you can contain. You repress anger, you repress sex, you repress all kinds of desires, longings - how long can you go on repressing? You can contain only so much, then one day it is more than you can control: it explodes.
Your so-called saints, men of self-control, can be provoked very easily. Just scratch a little, just scratch, and you will be surprised: the animal comes up immediately. Their saintliness is not even skin-deep; they are carrying many demons in them, they are somehow managing. And their life is a life of misery, because it is a life of constant struggle. They are neurotic people and they are on the verge of insanity, always on the verge. Any small thing can just prove the last straw on the camel. They are not religious in my vision of life.
The religious man controls nothing, the religious man represses nothing. The religious man understands, tries to understand, not to control. He becomes more meditative: he watches his anger, his sex, his greed, his jealousy, his possessiveness. He watches all these poisonous things that surround you. He simply watches, tries to understand what anger is, and in that very understanding he transcends. He becomes a witness, and in his witnessing the anger melts as if the sun has risen and the snow has started melting.
Understanding brings a certain warmth; it is a sunrise inside you and the ice starts melting around you. It is like a flame inside you and darkness starts disappearing.
The man of understanding, meditation, is not a man of control - just the opposite. He is a watcher. And if you want to watch, you have to be absolutely nonjudgmental. The man who controls is judgmental, continuously condemning, "This is wrong"; continuously praising, "This is good, this is evil, this will lead to hell, this will lead to heaven." He is constantly judging, condemning, praising, choosing. The man of control lives in choice, and the man of understanding lives in choicelessness.
It is choiceless awareness that brings real transformation. And because nothing is repressed, no ego arises, no self arises. And because understanding is a subjective, interior phenomenon, nobody knows about it, nobody can see it except you. And ego comes from the outside, from other people, what they say about you: it is their opinion about you which creates the ego. They say you are intelligent, they say you are so saintly, they say you are so pious - and naturally you feel great. Ego is from the outside. It is given by others to you. Of course, they say one thing in front of you and they say something else, just the opposite, behind your back.
Sigmund Freud used to say that even if for twenty-four hours we decide that every person on the earth will say only the truth, ONLY the truth, then all friendship will disappear, all love affairs will dissolve, all marriages will go down the drain. If a decision is taken that the whole humanity will practice only truth and nothing else only for twenty-four hours.... When a guest knocks on your door you will not say, "Come in, welcome, I was just waiting for you. How long it has been that I have not seen you!
How long I have suffered. Where have you been? You make my heart throb with joy."
You will say the truth that you are feeling. You will say, "So this son-of-a-bitch has come again! Now, how to get rid of this bastard?" That is deep inside, that you are controlling. You will say it to somebody else behind the back.
You watch yourself, what you say to people to their face and what you say behind their back. What you say behind the back is far truer, closer to your feeling, than what you say to the face. But ego depends on what people say to you, and it is very fragile - so fragile that on each ego it is written: Handle with Care.
Pieracki, a Polack, Odum, a black, and Alvarez, a Mexican, were out of work and living together. Pieracki came home one night and announced he had got a job. "Hey, fellas, wake me up tomorrow at six," he said. "I have to be at work by six-thirty!"
While Pieracki slept, Odum said to Alvarez, "He got a job because he is white. We can't get one because I am black and you are brown."
So during the night they put shoeblack all over Pieracki. Then they agreed to wake him late.
Next morning when Pieracki arrived at work, the foreman said, "Who are you?"
"You hired me yesterday," he replied. "You told me to be here at six-thirty!"
"I hired a white man - you're black!"
"Yes, you are! Go and look in the mirror!"
The Polack rushed over to the mirror, looked at himself and exclaimed, "My God! They woke up the wrong man!"
Your ego depends on mirrors. And every relationship functions as a mirror, every person you meet functions as a mirror, and this ego goes on controlling.
And why does it control in the first place, Divya? It controls because the society appreciates control, because the society gives you more ego if you control. If you follow the ideas of the society, their morality, their puritanism, their ideas of holiness, it praises you more and more. More and more people come to pay respect to you; your ego goes higher and higher, soars higher.
But remember, ego will never bring any transformation to you. Ego is the most unconscious phenomenon that is happening in you; it will make you more and more unconscious. And the person who lives through the ego is almost drunk with it; he is not in his senses.
Fernando was getting married. There was a big wedding feast and the wine flowed like water. Things were going fine until Fernando couldn't find his beautiful bride. After looking over the guests, he found his pal, Luis, was also missing.
Fernando started searching the premises. He looked into the bridal chamber and discovered Luis making love to his bride. Fernando closed the door softly, and crept down the stairs to his guests.
"Queek! Queek! Everybody come look!" he shouted. "Luis ees so drunk he theenk he ees me!"
The ego keeps you almost in a drunken state. You don't know who you are because you believe what others say about you. And you don't know who others are because you believe what others say about others. This is a very make-believe illusory world in which we live.
Wake up! Become more conscious. By becoming conscious you will become a master of your own being. Mastery knows nothing of self, and the self knows nothing of mastery.
Let that be absolutely clear to you.
And, Divya, my teaching is not for self-control, self-discipline. My teaching is for self- awareness, self-transformation. I would like you to become as vast as the sky - because that's what really you are.
Enough for today.