Is this the way it is?
The first question:
IT SEEMS TO ME THAT BEING HERE WITH YOU MEANS TO LET GO OF EVERYTHING - NOT ONLY THE MISERY, FEAR, SADNESS AND THE SO-CALLED NEGATIVE SPACES, BUT ALSO THE HAPPY, LOVING, FLOWING FEELINGS, THE SO-CALLED POSITIVE SPACES THAT HAVE ALWAYS BEEN MY GOAL. BELOVED MASTER, IS THIS THE WAY IT IS?
Anand Hareesh, the positive and the negative, the night and the day, the summer and the winter, birth and death - they are not separate. If you want to let go of one, you will have to allow the other also to go.
That is one of the greatest dilemmas: people want the positive to remain with them - but if the positive remains, the negative remains as its shadow. The positive will not have any meaning without the negative. If you don't know what darkness is you will not be able to see light at all. If you want to see light you will have to be ready to experience darkness too. You cannot avoid death if you cling to life. It is life that brings death in.
And everybody wants to cling to the positive spaces and everybody wants to avoid the negative spaces. This is impossible - this is against the eternal law.
If you watch carefully you will see that if the negative is torturing you too much then the positive is only a cover-up. What do you mean when you say that you are happy?
You simply mean that "At this moment my unhappiness is covered up." What do you mean when you say that "Now I am relaxed"? It simply means that the tensions have gone deeper into the unconscious; now you are oblivious of them.
But sooner or later they will assert, sooner or later they will have their own time. You cannot remain with the positive forever. The negative and positive always balance each other: you will have as much happiness as you are ready to have unhappiness.
Hence one of the mysteries: the more affluent a society is, the more miserable it is. There is no other country more miserable than America, for the simple reason that America has now the highest peak of happiness; it cannot avoid the lowest depth. The peaks are possible only with valleys - the higher the peak, the deeper the valley.
In India people feel very satisfied. The reason is they don't know the peaks of happiness; hence they don't know the valleys of unhappiness. They live more or less on neutral ground, neither positive nor negative. This is not true contentment, this is simply absence of positive spaces - hence the negative spaces are also absent.
America is really in a mental torture, in a great psychological upheaval. No society has ever been in such a state. Individuals, of course, have been.
Gautam Buddha was the son of a king. He had all the joys - that's why he became aware of the misery of life. It is not accidental that all the twenty-four TIRTHANKARAS of the Jainas were kings. Buddha was a king, Rama and Krishna were kings, all the Hindu AVATARAS were kings. There is something in it, something very fundamental.
Why have beggars not become tirthankaras, avataras, buddhas? For the simple reason that they don't know what happiness is - how can they be aware of the misery of life?
Buddha says: Life is DUKKHA - pure misery. Only a buddha can say it because he has known the peaks. Knowing the peaks is simultaneously becoming aware of the valleys.
If you live intensely, passionately, you will be more aware of death than the person who lives in a lukewarm way, who lives only so-so, who is not intense and passionate in his life. He cannot be very alert about death. The deeper you plunge into life, the greater will be your awareness of death. The positive and the negative continuously balance each other.
The Indians have played a trick upon themselves. They have become neutral: "Don't go to the heights of joy; that is the way to avoid the depths of misery, pain, sorrow." But this is not true revolution. True revolution is not by becoming indifferent, by becoming lukewarm, by living a very very dull life. Real revolution happens through transcendence.
These two words have to be understood because the difference is very delicate and subtle: 'indifference' and 'transcendence'. Indifference simply means you avoid the positive to avoid the negative. Transcendence means you avoid nothing, neither the positive nor the negative. You live the positive in its totality and you live the negative in its totality, with a new quality - and that quality is that of a witness. You live totally but at the same time you remain silently alert, aware.
You know happiness surrounds you but you are not it; you know unhappiness surrounds you but you are not it. You know it is day but you are not it, and you know it is night but you are not it. You know now you are alive but you are not it; then when you will be dying you will know you are not it. This is transcendence.
NETI, NETI - neither this nor that - is the secret formula of transcendence: neither positive nor negative. But it does not mean NOT to live the positive and the negative. If you avoid living you will become dull, very dull; you will lose all intelligence.
That's the difference between the old sannyas and my new vision of sannyas. The old sannyas teaches you indifference, neutrality: "Don't go to the heights so you need not fall into the depths." Simple mathematics! "Don't be happy, then you will not be unhappy." How can you be unhappy if you have never been happy? "Don't rejoice, then there will be no sorrow, and don't laugh, then tears will not be possible." This is simple mathematics, but not the truth of transcendence, not the truth of real sannyas.
The real sannyas means: laugh deeply, but remember you are not the laughter; and cry and weep deeply, let the tears flow, be total in it, and yet alert, a flame inside watching it all.
Hareesh, you are to transcend, not to renounce. If you renounce you miss the point.
And when I say, "Let go!" I simply mean don't cling. I am not saying to you don't try to be happy. Make every possible effort to be happy, joyous, but remember that sadness will follow - that is natural. Accept it, and when it comes, don't run away from it, don't escape from it. That too is beautiful, part of life, part of growth; without it there is no maturity. Go deep into it.
Joy has something to contribute to your growth, and sorrow too. Joy brings a freshness, the freshness of the morning dew. Joy brings youth, joy brings a dance to your heart.
Sadness also brings many gifts but you escape from sadness; hence you never become aware of the gifts. Sadness brings a silence which no joy can ever bring. Joy is always a little noisy; sadness is utterly silent. Joy is always a little shallow; sadness is deep, it has depth. Joy always makes you forget yourself; it is easier to drown yourself in joy, to be intoxicated with joy. It keeps you unconscious. Sadness brings an awareness because you cannot drown yourself in it. You cannot participate, you have to stand outside - because you don't want it!
The first lessons of witnessing happen in sadness. One learns witnessing in sadness and only then, later on, the same witnessing can be applied to the moments of pleasure. But it is by witnessing that one transcends.
And when I say, "Let go of it all, the positive and the negative," I simply mean don't cling, don't be identified. I am not saying, "Renounce!" Live, and yet live above. Walk on the earth, but no, don't let your feet touch the earth. Yes, there is an art to it.
And that's what sannyas is all about: the art of living in the world without being part of it, the art of living life without being identified with it. That's what real let-go is.
The old sannyas is that of indifference. Exactly that is the word used in the old scriptures: a sannyasin becomes UDASIN - indifferent to all that is - VAIRAGYA. He becomes cold and detached. He escapes from the world of duality. He moves into a monastery or into the Himalayan caves, lives alone, lives without joy, without sadness.
A kind of death he lives: he is already in his grave, he lives not. His life is not worth calling life. He has fallen below humanity; he is closer to the animals than to human beings. Hence his search for the caves, forests, jungles, mountains, deserts - he is afraid of being with human beings. He wants to fall below human beings, because human beings are bound to be divided by this great polarity, positive and negative, and he is afraid of it.
But the real sannyasin - the sannyasin of my vision - lives in the world, in the thick of it, in the dense world. He renounces nothing. He lives life as totally as possible, because if God has given life it means there is something to attain through it. Only by living it can it be attained, only by living it is there something to be learned. Transcendence has to be learned; that is the great gift of life.
If you become more and more conscious, let-go will happen and yet you will be here and now, and more than ever before. You will eat and you will taste more. You will love and you will have deeper orgasmic experiences. You will play and your play will have something of the spiritual in it. Your ordinary life will become sacred.
Only one thing has to be introduced: witnessing.
The second question:
I AM FEELING MORE AND MORE THAT THIS LIFE IS SOMETHING MAGICAL. IS THIS HOW YOU SEE LIFE? IS THIS WHAT YOU MEAN BY THE GODLINESS ALL ABOUT US?
Yes, Anand Nur, that's precisely what I mean. By "God" I don't mean a person. By "God" I mean the magic that surrounds you, the mysterious, the miraculous. By "God" I don't mean anybody who created the world, but creation itself. The very process of creativity is God.
Hence you cannot worship God, you cannot pray to God. All prayers are false because they are addressed to a personal God - and there is no personal God. You cannot relate to God, calling him "father," "mother." He is not a person; relationship is not possible.
Then how to worship, how to pray? You will have to learn new ways of praying and worshipping.
To be creative is to worship. To be creative is to participate in the great process of creation - and participating in creativity is participating in God. For a moment you are transported. When you are painting something you are no longer there; you have become just a creative force. When you are playing music, if you are not just a technician but really a musician, a lover of music, then you disappear - then the ego is no longer there. At least for those few rare, diamondlike moments, immensely precious, some windows open. You are no longer there, not as an ego.
God is not a person, he is not an ego. And if you want to meet God you will have to be something similar: a non-ego, a nonperson. God is a presence. If you want to have any communion with God you will have to learn how to be just a presence and not a person; alert, fully alert, but without any idea of "I."
And the best way to let this "I" disappear is not through austerities, yoga, fasting - no.
It is through creativity. I teach you the yoga of creativity, because to me that is the only yoga. The word 'yoga' means union; when you are creative you are in a state of union with God. Standing on your head is not going to help much, in fact it is not going to help at all. You can stand on you head for lives - it will do only one thing: it will make you stupid!
And I am saying a scientific truth, I am not joking; I am very serious about it. If you stand on your head for long periods of time you will become stupid, because your brain consists of a very very delicate nervous system. Those nerves are so thin... they are thinner than hairs. Your small head has millions of nerves; you cannot see them with your naked eyes, they are so thin. If you stand on your head too long the blood rushes towards your head, and in that flood those nerves are going to be destroyed.
In fact, scientists say man attained to mind, brain, because he stood on two legs - upright. Animals have not attained to mind yet because they still go on remaining parallel to the earth. Their heads are getting too much blood; hence they cannot grow subtle nervous systems. It is only man who has been able to grow a subtle nervous system which can sustain great consciousness, which can sustain great intelligence.
It is very rare to come across an intelligent, so-called yogi - I have not come across one yet! The people who distort their bodies and do all kinds of circus tricks and stand on their heads, they may have good bodies - they can have; so much gymnastics is bound to give you a healthier body, more animallike - but they don't have intelligence. I have yet to come across a yogi who is really intelligent, and one of the reasons is that their subtle, delicate nervous systems are too much flooded with blood.
You cannot sleep in the night without a pillow. Do you know why? - because too much blood goes into the head. It keeps your whole nervous system vibrating. You need pillows. Pillows keep the blood flow less towards the head; you can sleep, you can rest, you can relax.
By "yoga" I exactly mean the literal translation: union, communion. When you are painting or playing music or dancing or singing, then you are in a state of yoga.
In my commune, this is going to be the yoga: you have to create. And the more you create, the more you become capable of creating. The more you create, the sharper is your intelligence. The more you create, the more you become available to infinite sources of creativity - that is, God. The more you create, the more you become a vehicle - a vehicle for the magic to flow through you.
Yes, Anand Nur, by "God" I mean the magic that surrounds you. Can't you feel the magic that surrounds you every moment - THIS very moment? The birds making sounds... the trees utterly silent, in a state of meditation... and you all here together with me, from faraway countries... a silence pervading. You are utterly tuned with me, breathing with me, your hearts beating with my heart. Can't you see the magic of the now, of the here, and the beauty of it and the benediction? This is God!
God is not found in the temples and the mosques and the GURUDWARAS and the churches. God is found only in the company of the buddhas, because it is only in the company of the buddhas that you become aware of the magical existence.
The third question:
WHY ARE PEOPLE SO MUCH AGAINST YOU?
Sudheer, they are not so much against me as they are afraid of me. Out of fear they are against, but the root cause is fear. And why are they afraid? - because they don't understand. It is misunderstanding. It always happens, it is bound to happen; it is nothing new.
I say one thing, they understand something else because their minds are prejudiced.
They have been brought up in certain traditions and I am breaking all traditions! They have been brought up to think in certain ways, and my whole effort here is to take you beyond thinking.
People are conventional, conformist, traditional. And to me religion is rebellion - rebellion against all conventions, against all conformities, against all traditions. Religion is never a tradition, can never be a tradition. Science can be a tradition but religion never.
Science is really a tradition. Withdraw Newton - for a moment think as though Newton was never born - then there can be no Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein is possible only if Newton happens first. Science is a tradition, it is a continuum. Withdraw one brick and the whole edifice falls.
But I am possible without there ever being a Christ. I am possible not because there has been a Mahavira or a Patanjali, not because there has been a Buddha or a Confucius or Lao Tzu. Religion is not a continuum; it is an individual phenomenon, it is an individual flowering. You can become awakened even if you are not aware of anybody ever becoming awakened before. You are not related with the past in the same way as science is related.
That's why scientific truths, once discovered, become the property of everybody else.
Albert Einstein worked hard for thirteen years to discover the theory of relativity; now you can read all about it within hours - you need not discover it again. Edison worked for years, at least for three years, to discover the first electric light bulb; now you can go on producing electric light bulbs - you don't need Edisons to produce them. Ordinary laborers knowing nothing of electricity can do the job - they ARE doing it.
But religious truths are totally different: you have to discover them again and again.
What Buddha discovered does not become universal property. It dies with him, it disappears with him; it is an individual flavor. That is the beauty of religion: that it never becomes a commodity in the marketplace. Hence science can be taught in the schools, colleges, universities; religion cannot be taught. Religion cannot be taught at all; you cannot be informed about religion. You have to discover it on your own.
Yes, you can get the inspiration, but inspiration is not information. You can be inspired by the presence of a buddha, you can become afire. You can attain to a burning longing to be like a buddha, but you will have to discover everything on your own. And you will not be able to give it to your children as a heritage. All that you can give, all that you can impart, is an intense longing for truth, that's all - but not truth itself.
Hence it is very difficult for the masses to understand what I am saying. It was difficult when Buddha was here, it was difficult when Jesus was here - it will be difficult always because the masses live according to the past. They are fed, continuously brought up, in traditional ways. They have been told what is right, what is wrong; they have been told whether God exists or not, and they have learned all these things. And they have accumulated so much information that their minds are full of knowledge; they think they already know.
So when anybody comes and brings a new dispensation into the world, when anybody brings a new revelation, when anybody becomes available to God, becomes a vehicle of God, the people are disturbed, their prejudices are shattered. Their old conceptions are not strengthened - on the contrary, they start feeling, "If this man is right then we have been wrong all along... not only we but our forefathers and their forefathers." This goes against their ego. They would rather cling to their own ego than listen to the truth.
And then because of their prejudices they go on hearing something which is not said. I say one thing, they immediately interpret it according to their own ideas. They don't listen in silence; they listen through all kinds of barriers of thoughts.
For example, there are Jews, Mohammedans, Hindus, Christians, Jainas, Buddhists, Sikhs - all kinds of people are gathered here. Do you think when I say something the Jew hears the same as the Jaina, the Mohammedan hears the same as the Christian, the Buddhist hears the same as the Hindu? Impossible! The Mohammedan has his own ideas....
For example, if I am talking about rebirth, then the Christian, the Jew and the Mohammedan are a little on guard, unconsciously, because they have been told there is only one life; they cannot trust that there are many lives. But when I am talking about rebirth the Hindu is happy, absolutely willing. The Buddhist is willing, the Jaina is willing, absolutely willing. There is no problem in their minds. Not that they are agreeing with me - they are happy because I am agreeing with them! And that's how it is about each single statement.
Words don't have any clear-cut meanings - they can't have; otherwise each communication will become very scientific. Words have many meanings, many nuances, so when you hear a word you can give it a color of your own. You can hear in your own personal, private way. You have your own private meaning.
When I talk about God, the Buddhist listening here will immediately stop listening, it is absolutely automatic. Automatically he will be turned off. God? - he has been told that the whole idea is nonsense. And when Buddha has said that the whole idea is nonsense, it has to be so. And not only Buddha - for twenty-five centuries many other mystics who have attained to the ultimate have been telling him that God is not there. But the Hindu, the Mohammedan, the Christian, the Jew, they are absolutely willing, immensely happy that yes, I am talking about God - their God! The Jaina and the Buddhist will not be happy; they don't believe in God.
When I talk about the soul, the Jaina will be happy, the Hindu will be happy, the Mohammedan, the Christian, the Jew - everybody except the Buddhist. He does not believe in the soul either. He says there is no individual entity, everything is a flux. Just as the Ganges goes on changing every moment, just as you cannot step in the same river twice, you cannot meet the same individual again. There is nothing permanent, nothing at all. Except change, everything changes. The Buddhist, the moment I talk about soul or God, stops listening. He says, "This is not for me." Not that he does it consciously - these are unconscious habits, conditionings.
It is not so much that people are against me; the reality is they don't understand what I am talking about, or they understand something totally different which is not being talked about. They are not aware what I am doing here. They don't come here, they depend on newspapers. Some third-rate journalist comes and reports something - what can he report about meditation? He has never meditated.
Look at the stupidity of the world! You don't send a journalist to report about a surgeon if he does not know anything about surgery - or do you? If there is going to be a conference of surgeons, you send somebody who is well acquainted with the world of surgery; only he can report. If physicists are meeting, papers are read and discussed and you send somebody, you have to send an expert who knows what physics is. And modern physics is a very very evolved phenomenon; it needs years of studies. One has to be a physicist. You can't depend on a general journalist who goes on reporting about mediocre politicians and their stupid speeches. You don't send the same type of journalist to report when physicists are talking; you have to send a special person or you have to appoint a physicist to report about the conference, because only he will be able to understand.
It is said that when Albert Einstein was alive, only twelve persons really understood - all over the world - what he was talking about. Now, who is going to report about him?
Only one of these twelve may be able to report about Albert Einstein and his theory of relativity in such a way that at least some glimpse becomes possible to the common masses.
But when you send a journalist here, you never inquire, you never require that he should be a meditator, that he should know something about meditation, something about yoga, something about Sufism, Zen, Tao, Tantra. No, these are not the requirements.
Any Tom, Harry, Dick is thought to be perfectly capable of reporting about meditation, about Tantra, about Tao, about Zen, about Sufism. And people depend on his reports, and he has never meditated in his life. He has never had a single moment of meditation.
He knows nothing of a state of no-thought. He knows nothing of those intervals, those spaces, where mind disappears, ego disappears, time disappears. How can he understand?
Just by watching people sitting silently, will you be able to understand anything? If somebody is sitting silently with closed eyes...? You can take a picture of the person but you will not be able to take a picture of the inner happening. You can see people dancing, you can see them like Sufis, whirling dervishes; you can see them dancing and you will report that you saw people dancing, jumping - but how are you going to know their inner world?
You should participate! You should dance yourself. You should have a taste of it. Only then you may be able to report something of it - only something, not all of it, because all of it is impossible to report, all of it is inexpressible.
And when these people report, who don't understand, their report is only sensational.
And then the masses read them, and they read even that report according to their own ideas. Then misunderstanding upon misunderstanding, layers and layers of misunderstanding! I must be the most misunderstood man in this country at this moment.
Carolyn, a curvaceous traveling saleslady, was waiting her turn to register at a motel when she overheard the desk clerk tell Zabroski, the man in front of her, that he had just gotten the last room. She waited for the Pole to leave the desk and then approached him.
"There is not another motel within miles and I am dead tired," she pleaded. "Look - you don't know me, I don't know you, they don't know us, we don't know them. How's about me spending the night with you?"
"I don't care," said Zabroski.
They went to his room; he took off his clothes and so did she. "Listen," she said, "you don't know me, I don't know you, they don't know us, we don't know them. Let's have a few drinks. I've got a bottle."
After they had gotten a little high, she cuddled up to him and whispered, "You don't know me, I don't know you, they don't know us, we don't know them - let's have a party."
"Hey," said the Pole, "if I don't know you and you don't know me and they don't know us and we don't know them - who the hell we gonna invite?"
Now the word 'party' is creating the trouble! The Pole is going to understand according to his idea of a party. Carolyn has something else in her mind - a real party!
What I am saying is totally different from what is being understood by the outsiders.
But that is natural and I accept it. I have no grudge, no complaint about it. It's how it is going to be.
I can be understood only by those who are in deep love, who are in deep trust with me.
I can be understood only by those who are ready to put their minds aside. In that state of silence, something from me can stir your heart, can trigger a process of understanding.
The fourth question:
WHERE DO REBELLION AND SURRENDER MEET?
Prem Rajo, rebellion and surrender meet in the idea of the ego. Drop the ego and simultaneously surrender happens, and rebellion too.
I know what you mean by your question. You mean that rebellion and surrender seem to be polar opposites - how can they meet? How can one be rebellious AND surrendered? That's your question. That's how mind thinks about rebellion and surrender; through the mind you cannot see them meeting anywhere.
A man who is surrendered will look nonrebellious. A man who is rebellious will always be disobeying - how can he surrender? He may die, but he will not surrender.
You know only one kind of surrender: the surrender that is forced on you, the surrender that is not done by you but you are made to do it - at the point of a dagger you are forced to surrender. That is not the surrender I am talking about.
I am talking of a totally different kind of surrender. You are not forced - you see the ugliness of the ego, you see the misery of the ego, you see the stinking ego, and you use the master as an excuse to drop the ego. The master is always an excuse - remember.
When you surrender to me you are not surrendering to anybody in particular - because I am not there as a person. And when you surrender I am not accepting your surrender, remember - because there is nothing to surrender, just a false idea of the ego.
It is like a man who believes that he is rich and he is not, and he comes to me and he says, "I surrender my whole kingdom to you." I say, "Okay, I accept."
I accept so that you can get rid of this nonsense. You don't have it, so it is not going to create any trouble for me.
Two hippies were resting under a tree. It was a full-moon night, and they were really high. One looked long at the moon and then said, "I would like to purchase it, and I am ready to pay any price."
The other said, "Forget all about it, because I am not going to sell it."
When you surrender your ego you are not surrendering anything which is real, just an idea. If it was really something, then the master would be burdened by so many egos, he would be killed! He would have to carry a Himalaya of egos; it would be impossible for him to live; even to walk, even to breathe. I have one hundred thousand sannyasins in the world - now, if I have to keep one hundred thousand egos, then Vivek will go mad!
She goes mad about other things she has to arrange. So many presents come to me and she wants to dispose of them immediately, because it becomes a burden on her to go on collecting them and to keep track of where they are and to keep them clean. Now she is very much worried about my fountain pens. She goes on asking every day, "When are you going to distribute these?" - because it is becoming a problem for her. I think I must have two hundred or more, and I am waiting so that at least I can give one fountain pen to each sannyasin - I am waiting! Right now it will be a problem for me; whom to give and whom not to give, so I go on telling Vivek, "Wait a little, wait." And I tell many people, "Go on bringing them!" Now Niranjana is going especially to the West to bring as many fountain pens as possible. But if I have to keep all these egos it will be impossible - Lao Tzu House is too small!
I accept your ego happily because there is no problem in accepting it. You are not giving anything to me, I am not taking anything from you. But you are getting rid of an idea, a fantasy, and your getting rid of it is the point. It is not surrender forced on you; it is surrender out of your own understanding.
And then rebellion happens on its own accord, because a man without the ego is the most rebellious in the world. Again remember: when I use the word 'rebellion' I don't mean it in the political sense. A man without the ego cannot have any politics. Politics needs great egoists; the whole game of politics is the game of ego, it is an ego trip.
When you are no longer burdened by the ego, when you have been unburdened, when the master has taken your so-called ego away from you, your life will be that of a rebel, of tremendous revolution. You will not be a Hindu and you will not be a Mohammedan and you will not be a Christian and you will not be a Jaina. This is revolution. You will not be a German and you will not be a Japanese and you will not be an Indian. This is revolution. You will not belong to any religion, to any sect, to any society, to any tradition. This is revolution.
And because there is no ego, God can flow through you; great creativity becomes possible. THIS is revolution! And you will live now in a total let-go; in fact God will live through you - not you. And God cannot be a slave, and God cannot be reduced to any slavery, and you cannot be reduced to any slavery either now.
Prem Rajo, rebellion and surrender certainly meet - in dropping the ego. But don't just go on trying to understand these things theoretically. Do something existential so that what I am saying becomes your experience - because only experience liberates.
The fifth question:
I hear the Indians bragging too much about their spirituality. What do You say about it?
Sahajo, Indians have nothing else to brag about! Forgive them, be compassionate to them. They don't have money, they don't have big houses, they don't have big cars, they don't have anything of science, technology. It is very difficult for them to maintain their ego; spirituality is their shelter. And spirituality is a commodity. You can brag about it very easily because nobody can prove that you don't have it, neither can you prove that you have it. It is so invisible that either you accept it or you don't accept it - but you cannot prove it.
And why particularly, spirituality? It sometimes happens that if you are very greedy you will pretend just the opposite, because that is the only way to hide the greed. If you are a very angry person, you may pretend to be very polite, compassionate, loving, because that is the only way to hide your anger. If you are obsessed with sex, you may start talking about BRAHMACHARYA - celibacy. The opposite is the way to hide it.
The Indian mind is utterly materialistic, and the only way to hide it is to talk about, brag about, spirituality. Yes, there have been a few people in this country - a Buddha, a Mahavira, a Patanjali, a Krishna - who were utterly spiritual. But such people have been everywhere! Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plotinus, in Greece - the same type of people, the same quality, the same fragrance. Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu, Mencius, in China - the same perfume. Christ, Eckhart, Francis, Bohme - the same dimension. Spiritual people have been everywhere; it is nobody's possession. But Indians brag about it, I know.
Sahajo, I can understand your question, because what you see all around is just the opposite. That's why they brag about spirituality. Each Indian thinks that just by being an Indian he is a Buddha. It is not so easy to be a Buddha! And Buddha has nothing to do with being an Indian.
In fact, Buddha was not an Indian, he was a Nepalese. He was born on the border of India and Nepal; in fact, now that part is in Nepal. And the statue of Buddha that you see does not look like a Nepalese, or does it? It is not a true statue. It does not look like Bahadur! Nepalese are closer to Chinese, Tibetans, Japanese - the Mongol type.
Buddha's statue does not look like a Nepalese, not at all.
The statues were not made at the time of Buddha nor when he died. The statues were made five hundred years later. And you will be surprised to know, they were made in imitation of Alexander the Great. Alexander had come to India by that time, and he had a beautiful face, the Greek features. The statue of the Buddha is Greek! The man himself was Nepalese; the statue is Greek.
And all the scriptures that you read about Buddha are not original. Some have been translated from Tibetan, some from Chinese, some from Japanese. The originals were destroyed by the Hindus - and now the same Hindus go on proclaiming that they are the inheritors of Buddha. Buddhists were killed by the Indians!
A time came after Buddha's death, after seven or eight hundred years, when all the Buddhists either were killed or they had to escape out of India. India was completely cleaned of Buddhists. Yes, they were killed, burned alive. Those who were fortunate escaped. In a way that was a blessing, because the people who escaped, the monks, they escaped to Tibet, to China. Those who were not too much afraid, they escaped to Tibet - - Tibet was very close. Those who were very much afraid went to China, to Mongolia, to Korea, to Taiwan, they simply never stopped, they went on and on! That's how the whole of Asia was converted to Buddhism. The whole credit goes to the Hindus. And now these same Hindus go on claiming that, "We have given birth to Buddha." Feel ashamed!
But India is poor and very materialistic. Poor people cannot be otherwise; a poor person is bound to be materialistic, grossly materialistic. But then where to feed one's ego?
India has nothing else to brag about. Spirituality is a good commodity - invisible, unprovable. Anybody can say, "I have experienced God." You cannot disprove it.
Maybe he is right, maybe he is not right, but it is beyond proof this way or that.
But don't be worried about these stupid people who go on talking about spirituality, not knowing even the ABC of it. Yes, they may know something about the Vedas and the Upanishads. They may have crammed a few sutras, they may repeat them parrotlike, but they don't understand what they are saying - because their lives belie it.
"Excuse me, sir," said the Indian, "but aren't you the gentleman that fetched my son out of the lake yesterday?"
"Why, yes, I am," said the embarrassed rescuer. "But that's alright - let's just say nothing more about it."
"Say nothing about it?" shrieked the Indian. "Indeed, man, where is his cap?"
He is not even grateful! He has not come to say thanks to the person that, "You have saved the life of my child." He is worried about the cap....
A Mexican, an Italian and an Indian were discussing what they would do if they awoke one morning to discover that they were millionaires. The Mexican said he would build a bullring.
The Italian said he would hire thirty hookers - one for each night of the month.
The Indian said he would go to sleep again and see if he could make another million.
If you watch the Indian mind, it IS materialistic. And it is not that it is materialistic only today - it has always been, because twenty-five centuries ago Buddha was telling people not to be materialists, and he was talking to the Indians. And even before Buddha, almost twenty-five centuries before Buddha, Parshvanath was telling Indians not to be materialists.
India has given the greatest materialist philosophy to the world: the philosophy of the Charvakas. The Greek philosopy of Epicurus is nothing compared to the philosophy the Charvakas have given to the world. The word CHARVAKA is significant; it comes from CHARUVAK. Charuvak means sweet message, beautiful message. Another name of the philosophy of the Charvakas is LOKAYAT. Lokayat means popular; in which the majority of the people believe.
Maybe it is because of the Indian materialism that a Buddha, a Mahavira, a Parshvanath, a Neminatha, were possible. When people are too materialistic, a few intelligent people are bound to get bored by the whole thing. It becomes nauseating, it becomes sickening! Life works in a very strange way: when the society is materialistic, a few avant-garde people start becoming spiritualists.
Now the West is very materialist, and a great longing for spirituality is arising there.
That's why you have come here. You don't see many Indians here. They believe they already know. They believe they have nothing to do - no more research, no more inquiry. And they have become very cunning. Poor people are bound to become cunning.
Poverty is the root cause of all sins, of all crimes. So they start learning devious ways.
They start becoming hypocrites: they say one thing, they do another thing. They start learning how to wear masks. You can see it, not only in the ordinary people, but in the so-called leaders and saints, political and religious. You will not find such hypocrites anywhere else.
An airplane crossing the Atlantic ran into engine trouble. After dumping all the baggage to lighten the load, the pilot informed the passengers that three people would have to jump in order to save the rest.
"We need three volunteers," announced the pilot.
Immediately an Englishman left his seat, shouted, "God save the Queen!" and jumped out.
In a little while a Frenchman got up and said, "Long live France!" and took the plunge.
Five minutes later an Indian politician in pure snow-white, handspun clothes, stood up, screamed, "Long live Mahatma Gandhi!" and threw a Mexican out the door.
The last question:
WITH THE THREAT OF NUCLEAR DESTRUCTION, HOW CAN WE BE "JOYFUL AND SERENE"?
Julia Bradley, what else can you do? Time is short - dance, sing, be joyous! If there were no nuclear destruction possible, no threat, you could have postponed. You could have said, "Tomorrow we will dance." But now there may be no tomorrow; you cannot postpone.
This is for the first time that tomorrow is absolutely doubtful. It has always been doubtful, but this time it is absolutely doubtful. Individually it is always doubtful:
tomorrow may never come, even the next breath may not come in. Individually death is always imminent, but this time it is something global, universal. The whole earth may disappear, may explode; not only all human beings, birds, animals, trees, the whole life on earth may be gone.
Now it is up to you, Julia Bradley. You can cry and weep and you can beat your head against the wall; that will not stop nuclear destruction and its threat. In fact it may bring it closer and faster because sad people, miserable people, are dangerous people. Misery creates destructiveness.
But if the whole humanity can start dancing, rejoicing, feasting - seeing that the threat is very close by.... The third world war can start any moment. The foolish politicians have enough atomic energy piled up to destroy this earth not only once but seven hundred times. That many atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs, have accumulated that we can kill each person seven hundred times - although a person dies only once. But politicians don't want to take any chance, so seven hundred times you can be killed. It will not be needed, one time will do - because we have heard only one story of resurrection; that is Jesus Christ. And even if Jesus Christ is resurrected and everybody is gone, what is he going to do? He will have to commit suicide.
Rejoice! - because then there is a possibility. If the whole earth can become full of joy it will be less possible to destroy - because who is going to destroy it? We are the people; it is up to us to decide that we want to live or that we want to commit suicide. If we start a new climate in the world - of rejoicing, of dancing, of singing, of meditation, of prayer - and if people become full of bliss, cheerfulness, laughter.... If the world is full of laughter, there is every possibility we can avoid nuclear destruction, because joyous people don't want to destroy, they want to create.
And anyway, Julia Bradley, you are going to die. Whether the whole earth remains or not does not matter. YOU are going to die, that much is certain. How does it matter to you whether the world continues after you or not? If it continues, good; if it does not continue, good. How does it matter to you? You will not be here anymore. As far as you are concerned, death is absolutely certain. Still you love, still you sing, you listen to music, so what difference does it make?
If destruction has become global, we have to make laughter and dancing also global, in the same proportion, to counteract it. Why be sad? And what are you going to gain by sadness? Is it going to help in any way? It may be just a trick of the mind to keep you sad, it may be just a defense. You must be sad; now you are trying to find more and more rationalizations for remaining sad. And this is a beautiful rationalization, that, "What are you talking about? Telling people to dance and sing and rejoice, and the world is on the verge of destruction? Tell people to be sad; tell people to cry and weep and forget all laughter and forget all love!" Is that going to help in any way? It will bring the universal suicide closer.
But somewhere deep down in you there is a sadness that does not want to leave you, and that sadness is trying to find rationalizations.
David came from an orthodox family. One day he announced, "Mama, I am going to marry an Irish girl named Maggie Coyle."
The woman froze in shock. "That's nice, David," she said, "but don't tell your papa. You know he has got a weak heart. And I would not tell your sister, Ida - remember how strongly she feels about religious questions. And don't mention it to your brother, Louis - he might give you a bust in the mouth. Me, it is alright you told. I'm gonna commit suicide anyway."
Somewhere deep down you must have a suicidal instinct. You are just finding rationalizations.
Yes, I know the world is facing a danger, but each individual has always faced the danger of death. Still Jesus says: Rejoice and rejoice! And again I say unto you, rejoice!
And in fact, Jesus was saying to people, "This world is to be destroyed soon. The Day of Judgment is very close by." It was never so close as it is now. Jesus was wrong! Twenty centuries have passed, and he was saying to people, "In your very life you will see the Day of Judgment!" His prophecy was not fulfilled.
In fact he was not a prophet, he was a mystic. He was saying these things for a totally different purpose. He was saying, "The Day of Judgment is very close by - transform yourself! Don't waste time, don't postpone!"
Now the day of universal death is really close by, so, Julia, don't postpone. Rejoice, rejoice, I say unto you again and again, rejoice - because if you can die rejoicing, you will transcend death, you will go beyond death.
One who can die blissfully never dies, because in death he comes to know immortality.
And if the time is short, then you have to spread this orange laughter all over the world.
Then it is time that we should make people more and more joyous. Tell them that death can take over this earth any moment - the days are numbered - because the politicians are fools, and the fools have so much power now that it is a sheer miracle that the third world war has not happened yet. It should have happened. Why it has not happened yet is a mystery. Having all these stupid politicians all over the world having all the power.... Just pushing a button and the process can be triggered, and within ten minutes the whole earth will be on fire - a fire that can melt steel and rock, a fire that will melt everything. The whole earth can explode.
This is good news! You don't have time to waste. Julia, come on - join the dance!
Enough for today.
The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 4