The first question:
Prem Geetam, enlightenment is not a thought nor a feeling. In fact, enlightenment is not an experience at all. When all experiences have disappeared and the mirror of consciousness is left without any content, utterly empty; no object to see, to think about, to feel; when there is no content around you; the pure witness remains - that is the state of enlightenment.
It is difficult, almost impossible, to describe it. If you say it feels blissful, it gives a wrong meaning to it - because bliss is something contrary to misery and enlightenment is not contrary to anything. It is not even silence, because silence has meaning only when there is sound; without the contrast of sound there is no experience of silence.
And there is no sound, there is no noise. It is not the experience of one, because what can "one" mean when only one is left? One can have meaning only in comparison with the other, with many. It is not light because it is not darkness. It is not sweet because it is not bitter.
No human word is adequate to express it, because all human words are rooted in duality... and enlightenment is a transcendence; all duality left behind.
That's why Buddha says it is SHUNYA. When he says it is shunya, void, emptiness, he does not mean that it is emptiness; he simply means it is empty of all content.
For example, a room can be called empty if all furniture has been removed, not a single thing is left inside - you will call the room empty. It is empty of all that it used to contain before, but it is also full - full of emptiness, full of roominess, full of itself. But nothing can be said about its fullness, its plenitude, because human language has no word for it. We have been trying for centuries to call it God, to call it nirvana, to call it moksha, but all words somehow fail.
It is difficult to translate something from prose to poetry, more difficult to translate from poetry to prose, because prose is on a lower level, poetry is on a higher level. It is difficult to translate from one language to another language, although all languages exist on the same plane. Why is it difficult to translate? - because there are subtle nuances to words. Those nuances are lost in translating, and those are the real things.
This is impossible: to translate something for which no word exists, to translate something that is transcendental into the languages which belong to the world of duality. It is like talking about light with a blind man; talking about beautiful music to one who cannot hear, who is deaf; talking to a person who is suffering from fever and whose taste is lost about "sweet." The taste of sweetness is meaningless; he has lost all taste. But a little bit is possible because he used to taste before; he can remember.
But you cannot even remember when you used to taste God; you have completely forgotten the taste. Maybe in your mother's womb there was some experience similar - maybe not exactly the same, but similar.
I cannot tell you what it feels like, but I can show you the way. I can push you into the abyss... that is the only possibility. You can also taste it, and then you will become as dumb as I am, you will become as dumb as all the buddhas have been.
Just try to see the point of translating.
Rabindranath was given the Nobel Prize for his book GITANJALI. He had written it in his own mother tongue, Bengali. It has a different beauty in Bengali. Bengali has a music to it; it is one of the most beautiful languages in the world. It has a certain flavor of the heart. Its very constitution is poetic, it is MADE of poetry, the language itself.
Hence GITANJALI in its original form is an altogether different experience.
Rabindranath himself translated it into English, but he felt very miserable. For years he tried. He knew English perfectly well, but he could see the difference - the difference was vast. While the original was somewhere on Everest, the translation was just on the plains; the difference was vast. In translation something was lost, something which was really precious.
He asked a very famous Englishman, C.F. Andrews, to help him. Andrews was enchanted with the beauty of the book, because he knew nothing of the original. That's why you are enchanted with the words of buddhas, because you don't know anything of the original. If you knew anything of the original then the words of the buddhas would look just rubbish compared to the original; compared to those virgin peaks of the Himalayas the words will look mundane, of the marketplace. They ARE of the marketplace, they are meant for the marketplace.
Andrews was enchanted. Rabindranath said, "But I have shown you the book to help me."
Andrews suggested only four corrections; they were grammatical. Each language has its own grammar. He said, "These four words you change; they are a little bit grammatically wrong."
Rabindranath immediately changed those words. Then he went to England. In a poets'
gathering - a great English poet, Yeats, had called a gathering of the poets, the critics, and the people who love poetry, to listen to Rabindranath's GITANJALI - Rabindranath read the poetry. They were all fascinated; it was something superb, something rarely known in the West, because it has the same quality as the Upanishads.
If you have read Kahlil Gibran... it has the same quality.
But Yeats stood up and said, "Everything is perfectly right except that in four places something is wrong."
Those were exactly the four words that were suggested by C.F. Andrews.
Rabindranath said, "I am puzzled, surprised, I cannot believe it. These are the words suggested by C.F. Andrews. They are more grammatical. My own originals were these...."
Yeats said, "Your original words are right. Although they are not grammatical they have poetry in them, a flow. These words suggested by Andrews are grammatically right" - Andrews had the mind of a schoolmaster - "but they are like rocks in the path of a stream; they don't help the flow. You be UNgrammatical, because poetry can afford to be nongrammatical, but poetry cannot afford not to be flowing. The flow has to be maintained; the greater the flow, the better the poetry."
Even in the ordinary world, from one language to another language, it is such a problem....
"Name?" queried the immigration official.
"Sneeze," replied the Chinese proudly.
The official looked at him: "Is that your Chinese name?" he asked. "Sneeze?"
"No, Amelican name."
"Then, let us have your native name."
Now "Ah Choo" becomes "Sneeze"....
In ordinary languages, too, translation is a very difficult phenomenon, one of the most difficult arts; and the greater the poetry, the more difficult it is. The greatest poetry remains untranslated.
But to talk about enlightenment is impossible, for so many reasons: no content which can be talked about; nobody as an ego to feel, to say, to describe. The object disappears, and with the object the subject disappears, remember, because they are part of a duality - object and subject - they are together. If there is no object, the subject disappears immediately. That's why Buddha says it is a state of ANATTA, a state of no ego, of no I.
No content, no watcher... then what is left? The whole is left, the total is left! But that total can only be pointed at, not described, not defined.
And my whole effort here is to help you towards that existential state. But don't ask how it feels. There is nobody to feel it, there is nothing to feel it; there is nothing to be felt either. An absolute silence... and a silence which is not in contrast to sound. A pure love, but a love that knows nothing of hate. Fullness, but a fullness which is utterly empty. That's how words become useless, and mystics' statements look very paradoxical.
Ludwig Wittgenstein has said: Nothing should be said if the experience is inexpressible - if it cannot be said then it should not be said. But that too is a problem. The mystic cannot agree, I cannot agree. It cannot be said, yet efforts have to be made. No effort is going to do justice to the experience - all those who have known have been perfectly aware - but still efforts have been made, efforts not really to describe it but efforts to create a longing in you.
And the real longing arises not because of the master's words, but because of the master himself, his presence. If you are in love with the master then his presence starts opening some unknown doors in you. Once in a while a window suddenly opens and you have a glimpse. Once in a while you are transported into other worlds, into other dimensions. The master's presence has to be tasted - that is the taste of enlightenment.
The master's presence has to be allowed to sink deep into you; that is the only way to know something of it.
Jesus says: Eat me. The last night, when he is saying goodbye to his disciples, he breaks the bread and says, "This is me. Eat me, digest me. And whenever you eat, and whenever you break bread, remember." And then he offers wine to his disciples and says, "This is my blood - drink me, and whenever you drink wine, remember me."
Yes, it is a nourishment of the soul, hence the bread; and yes, it is wine, because it intoxicates you with the divine.
Come closer to me, Geetam! Drop your armor, drop your defenses. Drop your mind.
Forget yourself more and more so that you can come closer and closer. In that intimacy something is bound to transpire.
The second question:
Nand Kishor, the religious life cannot be tried. Whatsoever you have been doing in the name of religion must have been something else. Religion is not an effort, it is a consciousness. It is not a practice, it is awareness. It is not a cultivation; you cannot cultivate it - religious life has nothing to do with character.
Character can be cultivated. Character is moral; even an irreligious person can cultivate it. In fact irreligious people have more character than the so-called religious, because the religious person goes on believing that he can bribe God, or at least he can bribe the priest of God, and he will find some way to enter into paradise. But the irreligious has to be responsible for his life himself, towards himself. There is no God, no priest, nobody that he is answerable to; he is answerable to himself only. He has more character.
Religion has nothing to do with character. In fact, the really religious person is absolutely characterless. But try to understand the word 'characterless'; it does not mean without character, it means with FLUID character. He lives moment to moment, responding to new situations, new challenges, with no ready-made answers.
The so-called man of character has ready-made answers. He never bothers what is the challenge, he goes on responding in the old, learned ways. Hence he is always falling short and that is his misery. He is never in tune with existence; he cannot be, because he is more interested in keeping his character than in being in tune with existence. What was right yesterday may not be right today, and what is right this moment may not be right the next moment. And the man of character has fixed ideas of what is right and what is wrong; his fixation is the problem.
Nand Kishor, that must be keeping you miserable. You are not flexible, you cannot be.
The so-called man of character is absolutely inflexible. He is like dry wood. He is not like a green tree which moves with the wind, dances with the wind, bows down to let the wind pass and then stands back.
The real religious man is like a green tree - in fact, more like green grass. That's how Lao Tzu defines the religious man: he is like the grass. Let the wind come, and the grass bows down, falls on the earth, is not in any way fighting with the wind. Why fight it?
We are part of one organic unity; the wind is not our enemy. The grass bows down; the wind is gone and the grass is back again dancing. The wind has been a help, it has taken all the dust away. The grass is greener, fresher, it enjoyed the whole play with the wind.
But a big tree, egoistic, stiff, rigid, unable to bow down, will fall in the strong wind and will not be able to get back again; it is bound to be miserable. A man of character is always miserable. His only happiness is that he is a man of character, that's all. And what does character have to do with religion? You may eat something, you may not eat something; you may drink something, you may not drink something else; you may smoke, you may not smoke.... Such trivia is thought to be of immense value! And you practice it - and what do you mean by practicing it?
Nand Kishor, it must be a repression - and a man who represses is bound to be miserable, because all that he has repressed is struggling within him to come back, to be powerful again. And even though you have repressed it, it goes on pulling your strings from the unconscious. It will keep you always in a state of conflict, inner turmoil; a civil war continues inside you. You will remain tense, anxious, worried, and always afraid - because you know the enemy is there - that you have repressed and the enemy is trying every moment to take revenge. And there is a point beyond which you cannot repress any more because you cannot contain any more; there is a limit to everything.
Then all that you have repressed explodes, like pus oozing out of you.
This is what we have been told is the state of a religious man - this repressive character.
My approach is totally different. I don't say that you can practice religion and I don't say that religion has anything to do with this ordinary, moralistic, puritanical ideology.
An unshaven, bedraggled panhandler, with bloodshot eyes and teeth half gone, asked Hogan for a dime. "Do you drink, smoke, or gamble?" asked the Irishman.
"Mister," said the bum, "I don't touch a drop, or smoke the filthy weed, or bother with evil gambling."
"Okay," said Hogan. "If you will come home with me I will give you a dollar."
As they entered the house, Mrs. Hogan took her husband aside and hissed, "How dare you bring that terrible-looking specimen into our home!"
"Darling," said Hogan, "I just wanted you to see what a man looks like who does not drink, smoke or gamble."
These people are not religious people.
You say, Nand Kishor, "I have tried my whole life to live a religious life."
You have wasted your life! Don't waste it any more. Religion is not something to be tried. What do you know of religion?
Except in deep meditation, one never comes across religion. It is not written in the Gita and it is not written in the Koran. It is not written anywhere - because it cannot be written. What is written is morality. What is written is, "You should do this, you should not do that" - "shoulds" and "should nots." Religion has nothing to do with all that.
Religion is basically the science of creating consciousness in you. Become more meditative, become more conscious. Out of that consciousness a very flexible, spontaneous character is born, which changes every day with the situation, which is not attached to the past, which is not like something ready-made. On the contrary, it is a responsibility - a moment-to-moment capacity to respond to reality. It is mirrorlike; it reflects whatsoever is the case, and out of that reflection, action is born. That action is religious action.
You don't know anything about religion, Nand Kishor. How can you practice it?
And you say, "Why am I still miserable?"
Whatsoever you have practiced, you must have practiced with greed, to attain something. You must be waiting that great happiness is going to shower on you, that God is going to reward you, that you will be made the richest man in the world or the president of a country, or you will become very famous - a great saint, something like that. You have not loved religion, you have been using religion as a means to some other end; otherwise this question never arises.
A religious person cannot say, "Why am I still miserable?" because he knows, "If I am miserable, that means I am not religious."
Misery is a by-product of being unconscious. If you are conscious, misery disappears.
Not that it is a reward; it is just a simple outcome of consciousness. Bring a light, a lamp, into the house, and the darkness disappears. It is not a reward from God - not that he sees that you have brought the light, now you have to be rewarded and the darkness has to be removed. No, it is the natural law: AES DHAMMO SANANTANO - this is the eternal law. Bring light and darkness disappears, because darkness has no existence of its own; it is only absence of light.
Misery is absence of consciousness. So it is impossible to be conscious AND miserable; nobody has ever been able to do it up to now. If you can do it, you will be doing something historical, something unheard of, something incomprehensible. You will be doing a miracle which no buddha has ever been able to do. You cannot do it either; it is impossible, it is not in the nature of things. How can you keep the darkness, too, with the light burning in your room? You can keep the darkness, then you have to put out the light; you cannot keep them both together, no coexistence is possible.
If you are miserable, that simply shows you have not understood what religion is and you have been trying something else in the name of religion. You have been trying to be a moralist, a puritan. You have been trying to create a character. Why? For what?
Because character is praised, because the society respects character. It is an ego trip - very subtle, but an ego trip all the same.
And ego creates misery. Your so-called saints are all miserable. I have come across thousands of your saints - Hindu, Jaina, Buddhist, Mohammedan, Christian - and they are all miserable. They are all hoping to be rewarded after death.
Real religion is instant: here you become conscious and immediately misery disappears.
You need not wait for the other life, you need not wait for tomorrow even.
And that's what Buddha means when he says: Be quick in doing good. The greatest good is to be conscious - because all other goods are born out of it. Being conscious is the source of all goodness, all virtue.
The third question:
Prem Asang, the beginning has to be always from one side, from one aspect; in the beginning you cannot manage to enter from both the doors. If a temple has two doors you cannot enter simultaneously from both the doors.
How will you manage it? But there is no need either to enter from both doors simultaneously; one door is enough. By entering by one door you have reached the inner shrine. The people who have entered from the other door, they have also reached to the same inner shrine. The meeting happens in the innermost experience.
Whether you enter from love or from meditation it does not matter - you reach to the same point. The same point of egolessness is arrived at through love or through meditation. The same point of mind disappearing is arrived at by love and by meditation, and the same point of going beyond time is reached by both. The ultimate result is the same, so you need not worry.
You are not to enter from both doors. If you try to enter from both doors you will not be able to enter even from one, because one step you will take in one door, then you will rush to the other; one step you will take in the other door and you will rush back to the first one. And you will be running between these doors OUTSIDE the temple. But this is absurd, there is no need!
If the person entering from the door of love was missing something that the person entering from the door of meditation is gaining, or vice versa, then there would have been a problem - but they both reach to the same point. From both polarities they come to the same middle... and the middle point is the point of transcendence.
Don't be worried that you can only approach one side at a time. You reach to the innermost shrine, then all the sides are yours. Love, and you will know what meditation is; meditate, and you will know what love is.
Love is for those whose energy is naturally extrovert, and meditation is for those whose energy is naturally introvert. Meditation means being with yourself in utter joy, enjoying your aloneness. Love means being with the other, enjoying the togetherness.
Meditation is like playing on the flute solo; love is like two instruments playing together in deep rhythm - flute with the tabla. It is a JUGALBANDI - it is a communion between two instruments going together hand in hand, dancing together.
There are people who will find it easier to come to themselves through the other; it is a little longer way, love is a little longer way, remember, but immensely beautiful, because on the way there are beautiful trees and flowers and birds. Meditation is the shortest way possible because you don't go anywhere; you simply close your eyes and dive deep within your own being - where you already are.
Love is coming to yourself through the other, via the other; meditation is coming to yourself directly, immediately. But it is a little dry because there is no path - there are no trees on the path, no birds, no sunrise, no sunset, no moon, no stars. It has a beauty of its own: the beauty of the desert. Have you been to the desert? The silence, the eternal silence of the desert... sands spreading unto eternity... a purity, a cleanliness. Yes, those are the beauties of meditation.
It depends on you: there are desert lovers. Many Christian mystics have gone to the desert and have attained to God in the desert. Going to the desert is only symbolic of going into meditation.
You have to watch yourself, whatsoever appeals to you. In the ultimate reckoning both are the same but on the way both are different - different songs, different music, different taste. But people are different.
There are two types of people: the masculine and the feminine. The feminine type will find it easier to move through love. And remember: by 'feminine' I don't mean the female; a man can be a feminine type. Chaitanya was a feminine type, just like Meera; there is no difference in their type. Meera is female, Chaitanya is male, but their type is the same; both are the feminine type, both moved through love. Both needed Krishna; only through Krishna they could reach themselves.
And in the same way, by 'masculine' I don't mean the male. Mahavira and the great woman mystic of Kashmir, Lalla, both are exactly the same - both are masculine types.
Mahavira lived naked, Lalla also lived naked. She is the only woman mystic who has lived naked. Both were the same type, the meditative type.
The male type will find it easier to go into himself directly; the feminine type will find it easier to move through the other. Neither is higher or lower because both reach to the same.
So, Asang, just watch, find out your own type, and move accordingly. And don't be worried that you cannot manage both aspects together; nobody has ever managed. Yes, a few people have tried, but they have all failed; nobody has ever succeeded.
Of course, there is one way... if you want to know both the ways. Then the only possible way was tried by Ramakrishna: first you enter by one aspect, one door, reach to the innermost shrine, then come back out and go in again from the other door. That is good as far as scientific experimentation is concerned, just to be certain whether the other also reaches the same place or not. Ramakrishna tried all the religions possible.
And once you have reached the inside shrine, things are easier. If it took you years to reach from the first door, from the second door it will take only days, because in fact you have already reached the goal; you are simply trying the other way, whether it also reaches there or not.
If you are doing some experiments like Ramakrishna, Asang, then it is perfectly okay.
But then too even Ramakrishna could not enter two doors together, simultaneously; it is impossible. First you enter one, reach, experience; then, if you are interested.... In fact, nobody cares then. Why? For what? You have arrived - and you can see people arriving from the other door also; there is no need for you yourself to go and experiment.
You will meet there Meera and Mahavira, both sitting together. You will meet there Lao Tzu and Krishna and Mohammed and Christ sitting together... sipping tea and gossiping! What else is left?
But if you are interested, if you want to really inquire whether the other way also comes to the same place, you will have to come out and move through the other way. And the other way will be easier now because your consciousness is already inside; only your body will be coming out. And you can move through the other and you can see....
Ramakrishna did one great experiment: he proved, existentially, that all religions are equal. It has been said before too, but nobody has proved it existentially; it was a logical inference. But Ramakrishna went, practically, into every possible method and reached again and again to the same state.
Ramakrishna heralds a new vision, Ramakrishna begins a new phase. After Ramakrishna, in fact, there should not be so many religions - even if the variety is beautiful, the antagonism should disappear; the Hindu should not be fighting with the Mohammedan - because this man Ramakrishna has arrived to the same experience from all the religions.
Asang, if you are interested in doing some experiment like Ramakrishna, then it is okay; otherwise there is no need to be worried. Enter from one door and you have entered from all the doors.
The fourth question:
Prem Vidya, there is nothing more to it. It is a simple phenomenon: consciousness is intrinsically blissful. Bliss is not a result; it is inbuilt in consciousness. It does not come from the outside; it flowers inside consciousness. It is the fragrance of the flowering consciousness. When the rose of consciousness opens, the fragrance is bliss.
And when your being closes in unconsciousness, that dead and stale air, that stink, that darkness, is misery. That too is intrinsic, because now the fresh air cannot flow through you; your doors, your windows, are all closed. Now the sunrays cannot reach inside you. You are not available to rain, to wind, to sun. You have become isolated from existence. You have become a monad, windowless. You have become encapsulated, completely closed into your own self, into your own ego. You have disconnected yourself from this immensely beautiful, blissful existence; hence, misery. It is not really a result; it is unconsciousness itself, another name for it.
And people ARE living unconsciously, but they don't see it. They go on saying they are living in misery and they want not to live in misery, but they always throw the responsibility on something else, somebody else. Either it is fate or it is the society, the economic structure, the state, the church, the wife, the husband, the mother - but always somebody else.
Religion starts in your life when you take the responsibility on yourself. To take the responsibility for your misery is the beginning of change, because even to accept that "I am responsible for whatsoever I am," is the beginning of consciousness. You are coming out of a state of drunkenness in which you have lived for centuries.
Poteen is an Irish illegal brew that can burn holes in steel plate. After a pint of it Flaherty saw so many animals in his room that he put a sign on his house, FLAHERTY'S ZOO.
The local sergeant went to reason with him and was no sooner in than he was offered a glass of the Mountain Dew. When the policeman staggered out thirty minutes later he raised his hand for silence, although there was nobody. "Ish alright, men. The worst is over. He sold me half the elephants."
You are living in a state of drunkenness. You don't need alcohol - alcohol is circulating in your blood already. You don't need marijuana, LSD, mescaline, no - you are already stuffed with it. You are born unconscious! But because everybody else is like you, you never become aware of it.
Only when awakening starts happening in you, then you become aware, comparatively, that up to now you have lived in a kind of sleep, that you have been a sleepwalker, a somnambulist, that whatsoever you have done up to now has been done unconsciously.
And because you were doing things unconsciously and moving blindly in life, like driftwood, with no sense of direction, with no idea where you are going, with no idea who you are, how can you hope to be blissful? You can only be miserable, more or less.
When you are a little less miserable you call it happiness. It is not really happiness, but a little less misery than the normal. When it is a little too much you enter into anguish.
But these are all degrees of your misery, sometimes less, sometimes more, but you have not known happiness yet. Yes, you have known pleasure....
Pleasure is when you forget your misery. Misery remains - you forget your misery.
You go to the movie, you become so much focused on the movie, you become so much involved in the story, that you forget yourself, that for two, three hours you are as if you are not. But outside the movie house you are back to your routine self and to your routine misery.
The stupidity is that because of your unconsciousness you suffer, and when you want to avoid your suffering you drink alcohol so that you can forget your suffering. It is because of unconsciousness that you are miserable; then you try to become more unconscious so that you need not know that you are miserable. This way you go on deeper and deeper into the unconscious. And these states of coma you think are very very great. These are just blank spaces when you become fast asleep, so totally unaware that you cannot remember that you are miserable.
And in these unconscious states, created by chemicals, you can believe that you are having some happiness, you can imagine; it depends all on your imagination. Many people have experimented with LSD - the most evolved psychedelic up to now. And the result of many experiments is that people who are hoping that they will attain to great bliss come out reporting that they reached paradise and they saw angels and light and color and had beautiful poetic experiences. And the people who go into the experiment with the idea that this is wrong, that this cannot give bliss, that it is bound to give misery, come back reporting that they have been in hell and they have suffered much - they have suffered hellfire.
The reason is clear: whatsoever you imagine starts looking real under the impact of LSD. If you are against it, if you believe that it is evil, you will come across evil. It simply magnifies your imagination, whatsoever the imagination. If it is dark and black, then you fall into a black hole.
If it is beautiful then, like Aldous Huxley, because he believed that LSD is the latest religious discovery, that LSD can take people to ecstasy, to samadhi.... What Buddha attained after six years and Mahavira attained after twelve years, and Kabir and Nanak etcetera, after years of struggle with the unconsciousness to become conscious, can be attained through LSD very easily - just a very small quantity of LSD has to be taken.
He believed that sooner or later we will refine LSD more and more and we will create the ultimate psychedelic he called SOMA, in remembrance of the old Vedas - because in the Vedas it is said that the seers used to drink a certain juice called SOMA RASO, and that juice used to bridge them to God. Huxley says in the future the ultimate psychedelic will be soma. You can inject it yourself into your body and you will be transported into paradise.
Now this is sheer foolishness! This is all nonsense. But Huxley is a sincere man. What he is saying is not false; he has experienced it through LSD, because he believed in it. It is his belief projected, it is his imagination magnified.
Another person of the same integrity, Rahner, who is against LSD and against all psychedelic trips, came with just the opposite report: that LSD takes you to hell, that it throws you into hellfire, that it creates such tortures that you cannot imagine - even Adolf Hitler could not have dreamed about them. And he is also sincere. Both are right because both have been deceived by their own minds.
Man is already unconscious; now these people are trying to make him even more unconscious, as if this much unconsciousness is not enough!
Vidya, as far as buddhas are concerned, as far as I am concerned, consciousness cannot be attained by any chemical. Unconsciousness can be produced by chemicals, because unconsciousness is a very gross, lower phenomenon. Consciousness is the highest peak of growth, of opening, of coming home; it is not possible through the chemicals. It is possible only if you go on sharpening your intelligence; if you go on working on your witnessing soul; if you become more and more a witness of all that you do, of all that you think, of all that you feel. If you are miserable - as everybody is - then remember, it simply shows you are unconscious.
Don't fight with misery; that won't help. You can push misery from here and there; it will remain. Don't throw responsibility on others. Don't say, "Because of this wife I am miserable; if I change the wife I will not be miserable." You can go on changing - no woman of this world is going to make you blissful. If you think, "The husband is the cause of my misery," you can change....
In America people are changing very fast, but misery is growing, not lessening. You can count a person's misery by knowing how many divorces he has gone through. The more divorces the more miserable he becomes, because the more divorces, the more hopeless he becomes.
In a country like India you can hope. You cannot divorce easily; the major part of the country cannot even conceive of divorce. The only possible way to get rid of your wife is to hope for another life - even then one never knows! You may become too much hooked to each other that in other lives you also may continue. And particularly women go on praying in the temples, "Give me the same husband again - for a hundred lives!" And if their prayers are fulfilled then there is no hope. But at least one can postpone: "After death.... This life is finished, nothing can be done. Now this woman or this man is my fate." So accept it and console yourself. Remain contented.
Hope for the best and expect the worst!
But in India people seem to be more at ease because they know: "This woman is creating trouble." At least this much is a great consolation: "This man is creating trouble." But in America even that hope is not possible - people have changed their husbands and wives so many times.
I have heard:
A man and a woman were sitting taking their breakfast and their children were playing in the garden - and then a fight broke out among the children.
The wife said, "Look! Your children and my children have ganged together and they are beating our children!"
One boy, a small boy, was bragging about his daddy, and he was saying, "He is the greatest daddy possible."
The other boy said, "That's nothing! He has been my daddy before. I know him - we have discarded him. He is very old-fashioned, out of date; you have got a secondhand daddy!"
I have heard about one man who changed his wife eight times, hoping that this time he would find a better woman who will not create misery, but each time he was surprised to know that he had found the same kind of woman again.
In fact, if the chooser is the same how can you choose something different? You fall in love with the same kind of woman again and again, because YOU remain the same.
Your state of consciousness or unconsciousness remains the same, your MIND is the same. Who is going to choose? You fall in love with a certain kind of woman - who walks this way, who has a certain kind of nose and a certain kind of voice and face and figure. A certain type of woman - a certain type of psychology she has - and you become attracted towards her. When you come closer and live together you find misery.
You divorce. Again you start looking. But you are the same person - you will again find the same kind of woman. How can you find another kind of woman? You will not be interested in another kind. The same kind of woman will attract you, will fascinate you, and again you will be in the same trap. Only the name changes, the trap remains the same.
Don't throw your responsibility on others; that's what keeps you miserable. Take the responsibility on yourself. Remember always, "I am responsible for my life. Nobody else is responsible. So if I am miserable then I have to look into my own consciousness; something is wrong with me, hence I create misery around me."
This is the beginning, a great beginning, the first seed of transformation. You are already becoming conscious if you take the responsibility on your own shoulders. You are already becoming conscious; the first ray has happened.
Yes, Vidya: consciousness is intrinsically blissful and unconsciousness, intrinsically miserable. There is nothing more to it; it is very simple.
Laws of life are always very simple. Truth is always very simple. Truth is not occult, truth is not esoteric. Truth is very obvious - and because it is very obvious, that's why people don't see it. People go on missing the obvious, people go on missing the simple, because they think truth must be very complex. Hence they go on looking for something complex - and truth is not complex. They go on looking far away - and truth is very close by. They go on looking into mysteries, into mystic, occult, esoteric teachings.
And there are people who go on exploiting because they know there are people who cannot be satisfied with simple truth. They write rubbish but in such a way that it looks very occult. They write in such a way that you cannot really understand what they are writing. And people think that if they cannot understand then there must be some great mystery in it.
Truth is very simple, and because it is very simple you don't look at it. You will have to learn, you will have to become aware, of the simplicity and obviousness of truth. There is nothing more to it. It is simply this: consciousness is bliss, unconsciousness is misery.
The last question:
Raja, I don't think about such things - in fact, I don't think at all! I am certainly interested in communes, but not in communism. The moment something becomes an "ism" it becomes dangerous. The idea of a commune is beautiful: people living together in a nonpossessive way, neither possessing things nor possessing persons; people living together, creating together, celebrating together, and still allowing each one his own space; people creating a certain climate of meditativeness, of love, and living in that climate.
I am certainly interested in the idea of the commune - it simply means where communion is possible. In the world there is no communion possible. Even communication is not possible, what to say about communion! Communication means a dialogue between two minds - even that is not possible - and communion means a meeting of two hearts. Where communion is possible, there exists a commune.
The idea of the family is rotten now. It has worked, it has done its work, it is finished.
There is no future for the family. In fact, the family has been one of the causes of calamity. The family makes you identified with a very small group - the mother, the father, the brother, the sister - a very small group becomes your whole world. A man needs to grow more variety.
A commune means more variety: not just your father but many uncles, not just your mother but many aunts. A commune means the children will have more people to learn about, more people to love, more people to become accustomed to. They will become richer.
Psychologists say that when a child lives with the mother and the father, the small unit of the family, he knows the mother as the representative of all womanhood and the father as the representative of all manhood - which is wrong, utterly wrong. His father does not represent all the types and his mother does not represent all the types either.
And he becomes slowly slowly focused on the mother; the mother becomes womanhood incarnate.
Now there will be trouble! His whole life he will be searching for his mother in his wife and he will not find her - and that creates misery. No wife will be a mother to him, and that will be his deep search, unconscious search, because he knows only one woman.
That is his idea of a real woman, how a woman should be. And the girl will always be looking for the father, and no husband will be a father to her.
This fixation is creating great psychological tension and anxiety in the world. A commune means you will not be so much fixed. You look at our little Siddhartha! For days he disappears from the mother; he lives with other sannyasins for days together.
He has many friends, grown-up friends; women, men. He comes back to the ashram very late in the night - two o'clock. So busy! Laxmi called him and asked him, "Siddhartha, this is too much - two o'clock! You have to be in by eleven."
He said, "Is this a rule only for me or for all? Is this rule applicable to grown-ups too?"
Now, this is maturity! He is becoming grown-up! And he said, "A few days I have to stay with others too - they invite me!" Now he is living with many families. He will become aware that his mother is not the only woman in the world; there are many other women. He will become acquainted with many facets of womanhood. His idea of woman will be richer, and there is more possibility that he will be contented with a wife than otherwise. He knows many uncles and fathers. His vision of man is not linear, it is multidimensional; it is bound to be multidimensional.
I am interested in the idea of the commune because a commune will help people to get rid of many psychological hang-ups which our upbringing has been giving to us. The upbringing is so rotten, so old-fashioned! For five thousand years there has been no change. Everything else has changed - from the bullock cart we have come to the jet plane - but as far as human life is concerned the same old rotten family remains. With man we are very orthodox; hence we have better machines but not better human beings.
We have better EVERYTHING - just man is not better; and the reason is that about man we are very orthodox and conventional.
A commune will change the idea of the family; it will make the family very flexible.
Just a few days ago, Bipin came from America and he said, "Strange! - after just one year I am coming and all the couples have changed! And I used to think of a few couples that they were permanent couples - for example, Satya and Chaitanya, Sheela and Chinmaya. Even the permanent ones that I used to think would remain, even they are no longer there! New combinations of people have happened." He was asking, "What is our Beloved Master doing?"
I am not doing anything - this is not MY work! This is bound to happen in a commune.
People will become more flexible, more available to each other, more loving, relate more, be less possessive.
I am certainly interested in the idea of a commune, but not in communism.
Communism is ugly. Communism is a great epidemic. The sooner it disappears from the world, the better. It has destroyed great values - the greatest value of freedom has been destroyed. And communism is antireligious.
If communism continues there is no hope for buddhas to be born; it won't allow it. If Gautam Buddha were born in Soviet Russia he would be forced to live in a mental asylum. This is not a good prospect! Even Jesus Christ will find himself in more difficulty. They will not crucify him, certainly not, but they will put him in a mental asylum. He will be declared neurotic or psychotic because he hears voices; he talks with the Devil and God. This is neurosis, this is absolutely a madman! He will be given electric shocks, remember, not crucified anymore.
If Jesus is planning to come back I want him to be aware of the situation. This time they won't kill you, they will keep you alive, but they will inject you with chemicals, they will give you electric shocks, insulin shocks, and if you are still dangerous they will give you tranquilizers, they will make you very very sleepy. They can force you to live almost in a coma, to vegetate, which will be far more ugly than to crucify a man.
When you crucify a man you cannot humiliate him. He can keep his pride, he can keep his head high: "Okay, you crucify me, so you crucify me - but you are not forcing me to change my spirit or my ideas or my vision of life. I am ready to sacrifice."
One can die with dignity - Socrates died with dignity, Jesus died with dignity - but in Soviet Russia, if Socrates is born, or Jesus, or Buddha, no dignity will be available. In fact nobody will ever hear about them. They will be forced to live in a mental asylum.
Doctors will take care of them, and nobody will ever hear what they wanted to say, what their message was.
Two Russian workers were walking along side by side. Their heads were bent low and their faces were sad and drawn. They were not talking to each other. Suddenly one of the Russians spat on the ground and the other immediately did the same. "That's enough!" said one to the other. "If we continue, they will think we are discussing politics."
I have heard another story:
In Russia the communists were conducting a purge. An old gypsy was brought before the commissar. "How long," asked the commissar, "have you been in the party?"
"Many years, commissar."
"And your father?"
"Ah, he was a member too, and my grandfather and my great-grandfather."
"Now listen," said the commissar dubiously, "back in those days there was no party."
"Ah, that didn't make any difference," replied the gypsy. "We were stealing anyway!"
Communism is a violent, forced state of affairs. It is transforming the whole country into a concentration camp. It is not allowing people any freedom to be themselves; it is reducing them into numbers. It is destructive of individuality - and I am all for individuality and the freedom of the individual, because if the freedom of the individual disappears, then there is no possibility of inquiring into the reality of God.
And that is the whole purpose of life.
The real destiny of life can only be fulfilled when you know that God is, within and without. He is your consciousness and he is this universe.
I am against communism, but I am all for communes.
Enough for today.
The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 4