Don't take enlightenment seriously
The first question:
HOW DID YOU BECOME ENLIGHTENED?
Prem Christo, one never becomes enlightened - one IS enlightened. One simply remembers it. It is not an achievement, but only a recognition. You are as much enlightened as I am, nothing is missing. You have not lost your god, it is impossible to lose him. He is our very life; without him we cannot exist for a single moment.
So the question is not how to find him. The question is how to become more alert, aware of that which already is the case.
Enlightenment is not a process of becoming, it is a discovery of being. You don't grow towards enlightenment; hence it is never gradual - growth is gradual. It is an explosion - sudden, instantaneous. It happens in a single moment... it can happen any moment.
You are only asleep, not unenlightened. You have to be awakened. So remember it:
never think in terms of becoming. Becoming is desire, and desire is a hindrance, desire is a dream. If you want to become enlightened you will never be enlightened. Don't make it a goal, an object for desire, because all goals bring future in. And when the future comes in you are in a turmoil. That is what your so-called unenlightenment is.
When there is no goal there is no future. When there is no desire, there is no possibility of dreaming. And the moment dreaming stops, sleep disappears.
The state of that no sleep, no desire, no dreaming, no goal, IS enlightenment. Suddenly you find yourself utterly perfect. And one starts laughing, because one was searching for something which was never lost; one was seeking something which one has already been. How can you find that which you already are? It is impossible to find it. That's why enlightenment seems to be such a difficult process - because it is not a process at all, hence the difficulty.
The masters down the ages have simply been devising methods to wake you up, to shake you up, into enlightenment. They have used all kinds of methods, all kinds of devices. But all those devices are arbitrary; they have no intrinsic value of their own.
Their value depends on the master and his artfulness, his skill. If somebody else is going to try those devices they won't work. It is not a science, it is an art, a knack.
The Zen master may slap you, may throw you out of the door, may jump upon you and beat you, but it works only in the hands of a Zen master. If YOU do it you will find yourself beaten, that's all, or in jail. A Zen master has a totally different vision of life, and slowly slowly, he creates a certain energy field around himself where the device starts functioning. It cannot function anywhere else.
The Sufi master uses his own devices, they were great device-makers. The most important Sufi tradition is called Naqshbandi; NAQSHBANDI means the designers, the devisors. And strange devices they have invented. For example, Jalaluddin Rumi's Sufi dance, whirling, a very strange device. In his hands it worked tremendously, because when you really whirl you become disidentified with the body. That's why children enjoy whirling very much; they feel a great upliftment.
But for that, certain preparations are needed; certain food, certain patterns of sleep, certain exercises have to precede it. Otherwise, if you start whirling suddenly, you will simply feel nausea and nothing else; you may fall sick. No enlightenment is going to happen through it. Everybody cannot do it. A preparation is needed for the device to work, because the device is arbitrary, it is a hothouse plant.
When the master is alive he gives his life to his devices. The moment he is gone, only dead formulas are left. And people go on repeating those formulas for centuries. All those formulas appear stupid later on. In the hands of the master they had a golden touch; without the master, without the awakened one, they are just empty exercises.
Remember it: that the great masters cannot be imitated. They are unique and they should not be imitated.
A diplomatic dinner was being held at the embassy in Paris. Among the guests was an elderly dowager. She had overindulged in food, as was her wont, and as a result belched loudly. In the embarrassed silence that followed, an Englishman, seeing a countryman in difficulty, gallantly pretended that he was the offender and apologized for the faux pas profusely.
The difficult moment passed, but not for long. Once again a hearty belch rose through the murmur of polite conversation. This time a Frenchman, not to be outdone by the suave Englishman, apologized for the offensive interruption and received admiring glances for his quick thinking.
An American observing all this determined not to be outdone and placed himself in the vicinity of the dowager so that he could do honor to HIS country. Inevitably, the poor lady belched again and the American cried out, "That's alright, lady, this one is on me!"
Avoid imitation! That's what has happened to all the great devices invented by the masters. People go on imitating literally, not understanding the spirit - and the spirit is the real thing to understand, not the letter.
Hindus go on repeating methods invented by people like Patanjali, Manu, Yagnavalka.
Thousands of years have passed, but the orthodox mind clings to the letter; it is afraid to change anything. And without understanding the spirit of it, it goes on repeating like a parrot. And situations go on changing.
Now Patanjali cannot be applied to modern human beings exactly as he has taught to HIS disciples. Five thousand years have passed, man is no longer the same. If you want to apply Patanjali you will need another Patanjali to shift many things, to change many things, to drop many things, to add many things. He will have to create the whole methodology again, because man does not exist for any methods - all methods exist for man.
No system is so valuable that man can be sacrificed to the system; all systems have to serve man. If they serve, good; if they become useless, out-of-date, irrelevant, they have to be dropped - with deep reverence, with gratitude - they have done their work.
But the human mind is such, it always loves the past. The more ancient a method is, the more it is loved. In fact, the more useless it is: it can't change you, it can't help you to change.
Each time a new person becomes aware of his innermost being, listen to him, and while he is alive be available to him. It is going to be hard to be available to the alive master, because he will not only be teaching you words, he will be cutting chunks of your being. It hurts, because you have gathered so much unnecessary garbage around yourself; it has to be cut, mercilessly cut. Only then can your essential being be revealed in all its beauty.
A farmer gathered his sons around him and demanded, "Which one of you boys pushed the outhouse into the creek?"
The culprit did not step forward. "Now, boys," said the farmer, "remember the story of George Washington and the cherry tree. It is true that young George chopped down that tree, but he told his father the truth and his father was proud of him."
Whereupon the farmer's youngest son stepped forward and admitted that he had pushed the outhouse into the creek. The farmer picked up a switch and proceeded to whip his son soundly.
"But Pa," protested the boy tearfully, "you told me that George Washington's father was proud of him when he confessed to chopping down the cherry tree."
"He was, son," replied the farmer, "but George Washington's father was not sitting in the cherry tree when his son chopped it down!"
The situation has changed... and you go on repeating old formulas. First watch the situation. Hence, methods that have worked before are not going to work now.
Enlightenment is the most simple thing, but because man is very complex - and as time passes man becomes more and more complex - he will need more and more complex methods.
I must be the first enlightened person who is using therapeutic groups as a help to meditation, for the simple reason that in the past man was so simple there was no need for him to pass through therapies first. He was healthy in a way, saner in a way, authentic, truer, sincere and honest.
Modern man is cunning, very cunning, and very repressed, so much so that he himself is not aware what he has repressed in his being. And modern man is very clever, he is not simple. He is so clever that he can go on deceiving even himself. By deceiving others continuously he has become skillful in deceiving. The skill has become so ingrained that now no conscious, deliberate effort is needed for him to be cunning. He can simply be cunning without any effort on his own.
This changed situation demands new methods, new approaches, new windows, so new that your mind is at a loss what to do. If your mind knows what to do, the device cannot be of any help. The mind, when it is unable to find a way out, is at a loss - that is the great, precious moment when something of the beyond can happen.
A little old bearded Jew accidentally brushed by a Nazi officer and knocked him off balance.
"Schwein!" roared the German, clicking his heels.
"Solomon," said the Jew, bowing politely. "Pleased to meet you."
You see the cunningness, the cleverness!
Liddell walked into a Chinatown tavern and said to the Oriental behind the bar, "Hey, Chink, give me a drink!"
Ten minutes later Liddell called out again, "Alright, Chink, give me a drink!"
A short time passed and once again Liddell shouted, "Say, Chink, give me a drink!"
"Listen," said the Chinese bartender, "I have held my temper, but you come behind the bar and see how you like to be insulted."
The two men exchanged places. "Okay," said the Oriental. "Now, you Nigger, give me a jigger!"
"Sorry," said the black, "we don't serve Chinks in here."
The modern man cannot be helped by Patanjali or Moses. It will need a totally new approach.
That's exactly what I am doing here. You need therapies so that much garbage can be thrown out of you. Therapy is catharsis; it brings you face-to-face with your own unconscious. No old method has ever been able to do it - it was not needed in the first place, it was unnecessary. Sitting silently, doing nothing was enough. But now, if you sit silently doing nothing, that is not going to help.
In the first place, you can't sit silently - so much turmoil is inside. Yes, from the outside you can manage to sit just like the Buddha, a marble statue, still, but deep down are you still? The body can learn the trick of being still, but the mind is not so easily overcome.
In fact, the more you force the body to be still, the more the mind rebels against it, the more the mind will try to pull you out of your so-called stillness. It takes the challenge and explodes on you with a vengeance, and all kinds of thoughts, desires, fantasies, erupt.
Sometimes one wonders where all these things go when you don't meditate. The moment you sit for a few moments' silence, all kinds of nonsense things start floating in your head, as if they were just waiting; when you sit for meditation they will come.
It was not so in the past. The primitive man was simple, the primitive man never needed anything like a Primal Therapy group. He was already primitive! You have become so civilized that first your civilization has to be taken out of you. That is the function of Primal Therapy: it makes you again primitive, it brings you to the point of innocence. No primitive man ever needed anything like Encounter; his whole life was an encounter!
But now, when you want to hit, you say hello and when you want to kill, you smile.
And not only is the other deceived, you also believe that your smile is true. And people are so polite that they tolerate you, they accept you, they don't look at what you are doing. If you don't interfere with them they leave you alone. Everybody is living a double life: the social life, which is formal, and the private life which is just the opposite.
You will need some processes in which you are brought to your authentic self so your duality is dropped, so that you can for the first time see who you are. Your morality, your so-called religions, they all teach you a kind of duality, they all make you pseudo.
They talk about truth, but that is mere talk. They don't make you true, they make you polished, polite, civilized. They teach you how to be formally good. They give you a beautiful surface and they don't take any care of your inner being which is your real you. And you tend to forget your real you.
Enlightenment is seeing your real being. And you have become so accustomed and attached to the unreal. You have to be hammered back into your reality.
I have devised dynamic, chaotic methods just to give you again a glimpse of your pure childhood when you were as yet uncontaminated, unpolluted, unpoisoned, unconditioned by the society; when you were as you were born, when you were natural. The society molds you into certain patterns. It destroys your freedom. It takes all other alternatives from you; it forces a certain alternative to you. It forces and pressures you in so many subtle ways that you have to choose it. Of course, it also gives you the idea that you are choosing it.
I have heard:
When Ford started manufacturing cars he had only one color, black. He would show his cars to the customers and he would say, "You can choose any color, provided it is black!"
That's what people are doing to their children. You can be anybody you like, provided you are a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Christian. Provided you behave like this, you are free, you are absolutely free. They go on creating a facade of freedom and go on creating simultaneously a deep slavery.
You need to be thrown back to your reality. And sometimes even cruel methods are needed. Zen masters beating their disciples: you can't say this is a very compassionate method. It is a cruel method, but it is arising out of great compassion. And sometimes what cannot be taught can be provoked by the master by slapping your face.
A man went into a store to buy his wife a gift. When he received the package from the clerk he started to leave, but then turned suddenly and slapped the clerk across the face.
No sooner had he done it than the man began to apologize profusely. The clerk was naturally taken aback, but he could not doubt the sincerity of the man's apologies.
"Perhaps," suggested the sympathetic clerk, "you ought to see a psychiatrist."
A few months later the man reappeared at the store. He made a purchase but made no attempt to do the clerk any harm. "I took your advice, young man. I went to see a psychiatrist."
"How did he cure you?" inquired the clerk.
"Well," replied the man, "right after I paid him for my first visit I slapped him in the face."
"Then? Then what happened?"
"He slapped me back."
You get it? And that cured him, that was the treatment. That brought him back to his senses. Sometimes it is needed, and only a cruel method can become a breakthrough.
A chaotic, a dynamic meditation, is a very cruel method. It is not like sweet prayer, it is bitter, but it can cleanse much dust off your being. It can bring great awakening to you.
It can become your first satori. Just a hundred-percent commitment is needed.
Christo, you ask me, "How did you become enlightened?"
The first thing: I never became enlightened. I had always been enlightened just as you are, just as everybody is. All that happened is, I recognized it. And the journey was as arduous as you can imagine. It was more arduous than it is for you, because I had no master to guide, to indicate.
In India there are thousands of pseudo teachers. Masters have disappeared long ago.
India has become so pseudo a country that today there exists no other country which is as pseudo. India is unique, incomparable! But this was going to happen for a certain reason, for a certain historic inevitability it was going to happen.
India has produced Patanjali, Gautam Buddha, Mahavira, Nagarjuna, Bodhidharma, great masters, and when you produce great masters, naturally imitators arise. Imitators can arise only when the real exists; when the real is not in existence you cannot have the false. If there is real currency, then you can have false notes, but if there is no real currency at all then you cannot have false notes. The false is possible only because of the real.
And economists say that there is a law: the false currency tends to put the real currency out of work. It pushes the real currency out of its function. You can observe it, it is a simple law. If you have two ten-rupee notes in your pocket, one real and one false, first you will try the false because you want to get rid of it first - the sooner the better. The real can be used any time, but the false, who knows? Somebody may catch hold of you.
So you will be in a hurry to push the false into circulation so it moves away from you and you are freed from the burden. If all the people have false notes, they will hide the real notes in their treasures and the false will become the currency.
And that's exactly what happens in the world of spirituality too: the true masters become nonexistential, nonfunctioning, and the untrue become leaders of men... for simple reasons. One is that the true master will never fulfill your expectations; hence you will like more to be with a false teacher because he will fulfill your expectations. He will be more than willing. He wants to catch hold of you, he wants you to be his disciple. He will be ready, very much ready, to fulfill your expectations so that you don't leave him.
The true master lives according to his light. You cannot expect anything from him.
Unless you are ready to drop all your expectations you can't live with the true master.
The false master will always buttress your ego. He will say, "You are great, you are virtuous." He will give you small tricks to feel virtuous: "Go every Sunday to the church and you will be virtuous, religious, spiritual." Now, just by going to the church every Sunday do you think you become spiritual? Is spirituality so cheap? But he will give you cheap things which you can easily purchase and feel great.
With the true master, real work has to be done. The real master works on you just like a sculptor, with the chisel and hammer in his hand. He starts dismantling you, because that is the only way to transform you, to give you a new birth. He starts killing you! A real master is a death, because only after death is there a possibility of resurrection.
I was without a master. I stumbled in darkness on my own. It was hard work, it was maddening, because nobody was there even to give me hope, any guarantee - even to give me just simple sympathy that I am on the right track. I was moving into the uncharted sea without anybody encouraging me.
You are far more fortunate. I can tell you when you are right and when you are wrong. I can tell you, "Go on, you are on the right track, the moment is not far away when things will start changing; the spring is just on the way. Any moment it will be here. In fact, the first flowers have started appearing. You may not be able to see those first flowers. I can see."
Now in medical circles there is great discussion and great hope that sooner or later we are going to find ways in which a disease that is going to happen after six months can be predicted beforehand. It has become possible through Kirlian photography. It gives the photograph of your body energy, and it shows where the body energy is going wrong. Six months before you may actually fall ill, Kirlian photography starts giving you indications. If those indications can be well understood, you can be treated before you are ill. Then you will never be ill.
A master can see flowers which are going to happen to you after a few days, which are not yet visible to you or to anybody else - but can be visible to the master. He can recognize the signs, the invisible indications. He can decipher the language of the unknown and the unknowable. He can tell you, "Go on!" Buddha says to his disciples again and again, "CHARAIVETI! CHARAIVETI! Go on! Go on! Don't be worried. I can see the dawn is not far away."
You can only see that the night is becoming darker and darker, but when the night is really dark, that is only an indication that the dawn is very close, that soon on the eastern horizon the sun will rise. But this can be seen only by one who has seen the sunrise before.
I worked hard in every possible way, but the day I came to know who I am was a great surprise. I had never thought about it, that it was going to be so. God was never missed, I had only forgotten the language. God was already there, always has been there; god is our innermost nature. The day I recognized it I started laughing. That day I knew that life is a great joke - god playing a great joke, a great game of hide-and-seek; but a game all the same. Don't take it seriously.
Christo, don't take enlightenment seriously. Take it playfully. And the more playful you are, the closer you will be to it.
The second question:
DO I EVER SEE ANYBODY OR ANYTHING AS THEY REALLY ARE?
Prem Shanta, mind is incapable of seeing. Mind is blind - blind with a thousand and one prejudices, blind with concepts, ideologies, philosophies, religions, blind with your past experience. Your eyes are so much covered with dust, layer upon layer, that you can't see that which is. And whatsoever you see is your interpretation of reality, not reality itself. You never hear what is said to you, you never see what confronts you. You see that which you want to see; you see that which you are capable of seeing. And you hear that which you want to hear; you hear that which you already believe in.
Your mind continuously goes on screening; it allows only that which fits with it, it does not allow anything in which does not fit with it. It is on a constant vigilance; it guards.
I am talking to you here: three thousand people, that means three thousand meanings!
When I am saying anything I am saying it with one particular meaning, but when it reaches to you it takes an individual color - you give it your own color. Immediately it is something else. Unless you learn how to listen without the mind, how to see without the mind....
That's what meditation is all about: putting the mind aside, seeing without any prejudice, without any a priori conclusion, without any conclusion at all. When your eyes are functioning just like mirrors, simply reflecting that which is, neither condemning it nor appreciating it... when your eyes are nonjudgmental, when you don't say, "This is good, this is bad. This should be, this should not be" - when you don't say anything, you simply reflect... then you see that which is - otherwise not, ordinarily not.
You have to disappear to see the reality as it is. If you are there, the more you are there, the less you see the real.
A number of showgirls were entertaining troops at a remote army camp. They had been at it all afternoon and were tired and very hungry. At the close of their performance, the major asked, "Would you girls like to mess with the enlisted men or the officers this evening?"
"It really doesn't matter," spoke up a shapely blonde, "but we've just got to have something to eat first."
Preoccupied mind! They are hungry, the hunger is too much there. Now everything they hear they will hear through this hunger.
Fast one day and then go to M.G. Road, and you will see only restaurants, hotels, and you will not see anything else. And for the first time you will start smelling food smells coming from the restaurants and hotels. And you have passed the same road many times, but you have never smelled so intensely. Fast two, three days and your nose becomes so sensitive to food odors, to the aroma of food, that you will be surprised - your nose has never been so sensitive.
If you are hungry and you look at the full moon, you may see just a chapati! It is impossible to see the full moon.
The Jewish lady and her son were walking along the beach when a tidal wave crashed on them. When the water receded the boy was gone.
"Ah Merciful Father," the mother pleaded. "Please return my beautiful child. I will be so grateful - I will never cheat on my income tax or my husband again, I will stop smoking, I will do anything - anything!"
Just then another wave loomed up and her small son was standing there. She clasped him to her bosom, looked at him a moment and once again turned her eyes heavenward.
Looking up she said, "But he had a hat!"
Now, the Jewish mind... she can't forget the hat! The son is back - so what! Where is the hat?
Everybody has a certain mind. All minds are your choices. When you look without the mind you look without any choice. Then you are choicelessly aware. That's the real way to see things as they are.
Shanta, ordinarily you don't see the real existence, you only project your ideas. That's why you go on missing the great beauty that surrounds you, the splendor that is all over. You cannot see god, not because he is absent but because your mind is so full of ideas ABOUT god - Christian ideas about god, Hindu ideas about god, Jewish ideas about god. You can't see god if you go on carrying these ideas.
God is a simple reflection; it is not a philosophy, it is not ideology. Knowingly, unknowingly, we are all full of ideologies - political, religious, social - and we go on looking through them.
A politician was bitten by a dog, and a few days later his doctor told him that the lab tests were positive, that the dog had rabies, and that he too was infected.
The politician pulled out a notebook and began writing furiously.
"Now, take it easy," said the doctor. "No need to start writing your will. You will pull through."
"Will, hell!" snapped the politician. "This is a list of the people I am going to bite."
Now before he forgets, before he really goes insane, he wants to make a list. A politician is a politician, even if he is on the verge of going mad! He must be making the list of all his political enemies. He is not much concerned about his own problem - he wants to use his problem to create problems for others. He is much more concerned about who he is going to bite; he wants to be ready for that. That is the basic political mind: the political mind is not interested in himself; it is more interested in harming others, how to topple others, how to destroy others.
The religious person is much more interested in his own joy. The politician is much more interested in seeing others miserable; his joy is only in seeing others miserable.
Now, such a mind is incapable of seeing anything good in life - impossible. He can't see any beauty, he can't see any grace. He has none, how can he see it? You can see only that which you are.
And if you want to see that which is, then you have to disappear completely. You have to be utterly empty, a nobody, a no-mind, just an empty space. Then life bursts forth with all its splendor.
The third question:
I AM UNABLE TO UNDERSTAND WHY GAUTAMA THE BUDDHA RENOUNCED HIS BEAUTIFUL WIFE.
Kamalesh, it seems you must be a bachelor!
Murphy's definition of a bachelor: A rolling stone who gathers no boss.
Murphy's definition of marriage: A man is incomplete until he is married; then he is really finished.
You don't understand what poor Buddha suffered! Only married people know it, but very few married people have the courage to say it.
I have heard an anecdote:
Maxim Gorky, Anton Chekhov and Leo Tolstoy, the three great Russian novelists, were sitting on a bench in a park and chitchatting. Naturally they started talking about the phenomenon called woman.
Chekhov was very bitter; he was abusing women like anything. Gorky was also not in any way sympathetic.
When they both were finished they asked Tolstoy, who was keeping quiet. Tolstoy said, "If you really want to hear the truth you will have to wait."
They said, "What do you mean by 'You will have to wait'? How long?"
He said, "I can't say how long, but you will have to wait. I can say the truth only when one of my legs is in the grave. I will say the truth and jump into the grave! Then I don't want to be outside the grave, because if my wife comes to know about it then my life, which is already hell... I don't know what will happen to me!"
And remember, the same is the case with women: if you ask them, they will tell the same stories about the husbands.
There is an ancient Arabic saying:
The gods gave man fire, and he invented fire engines. They gave him love, and he invented marriage.
Marriage, up to now, has been such a suffering! It is because of marriage that monasteries have existed - the whole credit goes to marriage! Otherwise there would be no monks and no nuns. It is seeing the ugliness of marriage, millions of people simply decided never to get into it, or even those who had already got into it escaped.
The woman has suffered much, but her suffering has been of a different quality: she has suffered because her freedom has been taken away from her. Man has dominated her, made her a slave. Man has also suffered... because remember one simple law of life: If you make others suffer, the suffering is bound to rebound on you. Man made the woman a slave, physically... and the woman? She made the man a slave spiritually. In fact, man's suffering has been much deeper than the woman's suffering.
There is now the Women's Liberation movement. Some daring men are needed to start a Men's Liberation movement, because man's slavery became spiritual - and spiritual slavery is far more dangerous.
Murphy's definition of cooperation: An exchange between a woman and a man in which she coos and he operates.
Kamalesh, you seem to be absolutely unaware of the phenomenon of marriage - which is destructive to both man and woman. Love is creative, marriage is destructive. But love is not dependable: this moment it may be there and the next moment gone. And man wants permanent things; he is obsessed with permanent things. He wants security, safety, he wants to cling. Hence love is not reliable, so he created marriage.
Marriage is a plastic flower. Love is a real rose, but the real rose is beautiful in the morning; by the evening it is gone. Nobody can say when it will disappear, when the petals will start falling. Just a strong wind and it is no more, just a strong sun and it is no more. But the plastic flower will be there; come rain, come sun, come anything, the plastic flower will be there. In fact, plastic is the only permanent thing in the world.
Now ecologists are very much worried about plastic because you cannot destroy it. You go on throwing plastic bottles and containers and they all go on accumulating in the earth or in the sea. Sooner or later they will surround the whole earth and they will destroy the fertility of the earth, because they cannot melt, merge, become one with the earth.
The real flower goes back to the earth, becomes earth again. Then again a new flower will arise. But the plastic flower sticks, remains forever. It is dangerous; it is a hindrance in the circulation of life processes.
Marriage is a plastic flower - marriage is an institution. And who wants to live in an institution?
If Buddha escaped, you should not be worried; it is understandable. He must have suffered!
"Daddy, what is polygamy?"
"Polygamy is a situation in which a man can have more than one wife."
"Okay. So what do you call a situation in which a man can have only one wife?"
"Monotony, my son, monotony."
Marriage is monotonous, it is utter boredom. Two persons are just hooked with each other.
Buddha was courageous - at least he escaped. Not much of a courage, but some courage still is there: he escaped.
I am teaching my sannyasins a far more courageous way: don't escape, but try to live in love. And start forgetting the whole idea of marriage - slowly slowly.
A recently divorced man was feeling so depressed he decided to consult a psychiatrist.
The doctor listened to his complaints and then had this to recommend, "I think you ought to get married again, Mr. Jones.... Buy a house, have some kids; live like other men. You will be back to your old self in no time."
"No thanks, Doc," said Mr. Jones. "I would rather commit suicide."
Once you have known the ugliness of marriage there are only two possible ways. One is, escape from it like Buddha, which I don't approve of because that doesn't change much. Yes, it helps Buddha - he gets out of it - but the world continues the same.
My own suggestion is, drop the very concept of marriage - live in love. And if love continues, good; if it disappears, good. What is the harm in it? Anything that appears one day is bound to disappear one day; that's how things are - the way of things, the natural way. Allow it. Don't cling, don't be possessive. Live passionately while it is there, and when it is gone it is gone. Feel grateful for all that it has done to you. Say goodbye. Don't complain, don't have any grudge.
The newspaper account of George's tragic death read: "His friends could give no reason why he should have committed suicide. He was a bachelor."
Kamalesh, you must be a bachelor! One thing is good about being a bachelor: you will not commit suicide. And if you commit suicide you will leave everybody in a puzzle.
Nobody will be able to figure out why. You are not yet experienced about this so-called relationship business. You seem to be utterly inexperienced. Hence you say, "I am unable to understand why Gautama the Buddha renounced his beautiful wife."
Certainly he had a very beautiful wife, but beauty of the body is so superficial that within a week you start not looking at it. You start ignoring it, you start forgetting it.
Ask any husband for how many years he has not looked at his wife's face - and he used to think before that she is a beautiful woman. Ask any wife how long she has not looked at her husband's face. Years may have passed.
Do a small experiment: close your eyes and try to remember your wife's or your husband's face. You will not be able to remember it. You may be able to remember the face of your neighbor's wife, but not your own wife; it is almost impossible. If you can do it you are a rare specimen, you are a wonder! It does not happen. If you try to remember your wife's face, everything will go dizzy. Thousands of other faces will appear, but not your wife's face. Why?
You have not looked at the poor woman for years, for the simple reason that marriage makes things so certain. Marriage makes things so dead and dull. Marriage takes all surprise and wonder away. Marriage makes you take your wife for granted, your husband for granted. What is the need to look at your wife? She will be there tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and forever. You look at people when you know you may not be able to look at them again. Marriage kills; it makes something tremendously beautiful very ugly.
Yes, Buddha had a beautiful wife, but then he became tired - tired of the whole repetitive game. He was a very alert man, intelligent. If he was as stupid as millions of others are he would have lived without any effort to go through a radical change. He would have simply repeated the whole circle of life - eating, drinking, reproducing - he would have lived and died. But he became aware that life can't be only this repetition. Life must be something more, life has to be something more. There must be some hidden secret in it which we are missing because of our repetitiveness.
He escaped not exactly from the wife: he escaped to know the truth of life. It was not basically escaping from the wife; it was not an escape FROM but an escape FOR. That's why, when he attained the truth, the first thing he did was to come back to the palace to share his new vision, his insight, with his wife. He remembered her.
He felt that this much he owed to her. He had come to ask her forgiveness because he had escaped, left her. He had not even asked her permission. He had not even told her that he was going away. He escaped like a thief and had come back to apologize. A man of great grace: even after becoming enlightened he came to apologize to somebody who is not enlightened.
His disciple, Ananda, said to him. "This does not look right, an enlightened person going to the unenlightened to apologize, to ask her, 'Forgive me.'" Buddha said, "I know it does not look right, but this much I owe to her. I have to complete, finish things; otherwise something remains hanging. And more than that, my going to her will help her to come to me; otherwise - she is a very proud woman - she will not come to me. And she will go on carrying that grudge, that wound; she will suffer unnecessarily. And what I have found I am going to share with everybody, why not with my wife? What wrong has she done to me?"
He went to his wife. The wife was very angry, naturally. She shouted, screamed; she did all that a woman will do in such a situation. And Buddha stood there utterly silent, not even uttering a single word. Then suddenly she became aware that he has not said a single word. She wiped her tears, looked at Buddha, saw that he is so silent and so beautiful, and a totally different kind of beauty: the beauty of the inner. He is radiating, he is luminous.
She asked him, "Why are you not answering me?"
Buddha said, "How can I answer? I am no longer the same person that had left you. You look at me, you observe! Look into my eyes, feel my presence! I am not the same person - that person is dead. I am a totally new being, I am reborn! And I have come to share my joy, my finding, with you, because I love you. And the old love was not love, it was exploitation; this new love is really love. The old love was just lust. Now I want to give all that I have known to you, for no other reason, but just for giving's sake. Just sharing will make me so blissful. If I can help you in any way I will feel tremendously obliged."
The wife became a sannyasin; she was initiated.
You ask me, Kamalesh, "I am unable to understand why Gautama the Buddha renounced his beautiful wife."
In fact he has not renounced the wife: he has renounced the whole marriage system, he has renounced the old way of life. The wife was just a part of it. He renounced the way he had lived up to that moment.
When he left his palace he was twenty-nine years old; when he came back, twelve years had passed... he had become enlightened. He had come to know the truth, the meaning, the significance, of existence. He had come to know the great celebration that goes on and on: the celebration you call God. He had come to share his celebration with his wife, with his child, with his father, with his stepmother, with his friends. Whosoever was ready, he was ready to give to them. And he transformed their lives.
Gautama the Buddha is the only man in the whole history of human consciousness who has transformed so many people. The debt of humanity is immense, unpayable.
The last question:
WHEN YOU SAY, "WAKE UP, BE CONSCIOUS, COME OUT OF YOUR DREAMS!" - AND TO MAKE IT CLEAR YOU GIVE EXAMPLES - INSTEAD OF GOING DEEPLY INTO IT WE LAUGH AS IF IT IS A JOKE. HOW DO YOU FEEL?
Abhinav Bharti, I also laugh! But I am not allowed to laugh loudly in front of you, because that is against the art of telling jokes. The joke teller must be serious. But I laugh in my room! When there is nobody, I have a hearty laugh. And in fact, this whole thing is a joke: your misery, my enlightenment.
Enough for today.
The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 7