Towards a new humanity

Fri, 30 December 1979 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 8
Chapter #:
am in Buddha Hall
Archive Code:
Short Title:
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The first question:

Question 1:



Anand Baul, the first thing to be remembered is that nobody ever gets enlightened.

Enlightenment is your nature; you are already it. It is not something to be achieved, it is not a goal to be reached. It is the source, not the goal. In the innermost core of your being you are all buddhas, and you have always been so, and you will always remain so.

Yes, you have forgotten it. So the question is not of realizing it, the question is only of remembering it. Hence Buddha says: Be more mindful, be more alert, be more watchful.

Nothing else has to be done, one has nowhere to go, no pilgrimage is sacred. All pilgrimages are just going astray. You are already there where you want to be; just look within, just turn in, tune in. This is the first thing to be remembered, that it is not a question of achievement.

You say, "If by any chance I might not get enlightened this lifetime...."

There is no chance at all to miss it. It is impossible to be other than enlightened. It is your self-nature, your very being. This whole existence is enlightened.

Then what is the difference between a buddha and you? The difference is very simple.

It has nothing to do with your quality. Your quality is exactly the same as that of Gautama the Buddha, or Jesus Christ, but you are asleep and they are awake. They know where they are, who they are, and you are dreaming. But one can come out of the dreams; dreams cannot hold you, dreams can't hinder you.

Dreams are dreams, they have no substance in them. They can't prevent you from becoming awake. Dreams, desire, sleep - they are all like darkness. When you light a candle the darkness cannot prevent it. The darkness may be very ancient, it may have existed for millions of years and the candle may be fresh and just a small candle, but that's enough. Light has a positive existence. Darkness has no existence at all; it is only absence of light. You can wake up any moment, the candle can be lit any moment, and all dreams and desires will disappear; hence devices have been invented.

What Buddha says, Patanjali says, Lao Tzu says, is that these are only devices to wake you up, alarms and nothing else.

Secondly, whether you want it or not, if you remain asleep next lifetime you are going to be a woman. Even if you don't want it, it is going to happen. There is a simple law.

This is my observation of many people's past lives, this is how mind functions, this is very fundamental to the mind: it always moves to the opposite end. If you are rich the mind thinks poverty is religious, spiritual; it has something of innocence in it, and "Look how the poor are free from anxiety, and how the beggar sleeps soundly. I have got everything and I cannot sleep, I cannot rest, not even a moment's rest... continuous worry, anxiety."

The rich man thinks always that the poor are really in a better space than he is. It is the rich people who have given the idea that poverty is spiritual. You will be surprised, take note of it, that all the TIRTHANKARAS, all the great masters of the Jainas were kings. Buddha himself was a king. All the AVATARAS of the Hindus - Rama, Krishna, they were all kings. It is because of these rich people that a deep idea has prevailed down the ages that poverty is spiritual.

There is nothing spiritual in being poor, there is nothing spiritual in being rich either.

The poor man thinks that the rich people are enjoying real life; hence the poor man projects. If he cannot be rich in this life, then let it be next life; if not in this world, then let it be in the other world. It is the poor man's projection - the paradise, the heaven, where he dreams that he will be rich, and he will have all that rich people have. Not only that, the poor man also dreams that no rich man will ever be able to reach heaven, they will be thrown into hell: "They have enjoyed enough here, now they have to suffer for it. And I have suffered enough here so I have to be rewarded."

Jesus is a poor man, he is not like Krishna, Buddha and Mahavira. Krishna, Buddha and Mahavira have not said that no rich man can enter into paradise. Jesus says: Even a camel can pass through the eye of a needle, but the rich man cannot enter through the gate into heaven. He is a poor carpenter's son; he knows what poverty is. And because of that poverty he speaks a totally different language than Buddha.

In India the idea has prevailed that if you are rich it is because of your past lives' good karmas that you are rich now. And Jesus says: Rich people cannot enter into the kingdom of God. He says: Those who are the first here will be the last there, and those who are the last here will be the first. It is not an accident that Christianity goes on spreading in poor countries; it has an appeal for the poor. It is not an accident that communism is a by-product of Christianity.

The East has not given birth to communism, it could not have done it. And whenever a country becomes rich, remember, it will start becoming Buddhist, it will start becoming more and more Hindu. It is not an accident that America is so much interested in Eastern wisdom. Whenever a society is affluent it starts thinking in a different way than a poor country thinks.

My observation is that if you are a man in this life, you must have been a woman in your past life, and if you are a woman in this life you must have been a man. That's how the pendulum of mind goes from one extreme to the other. Every man thinks - not only you, Anand Baul - that the existence of a woman is beautiful, it is juicy. But ask the woman: she desires to be a man, deep down she feels humiliated that she is a woman, a second-class citizen. Deep down she herself wants to behave like a man.

Women all over the world are trying in every possible way to behave like men. They are wearing men's clothes, smoking cigarettes like men, and whatsoever they can do. They use language like men have always used it, becoming arrogant, aggressive, losing the feminine quality. See the women of the liberation movement: they have lost something - - something soft, feminine, receptive, passive, is no more there. They are aggressive, violent. They can't wait for another life. In this very life they are in a hurry, they want to become like men. They want the same jobs, the same kind of work, the same kind of freedom. Even if that freedom is just stupid, even if that job is hard, they want to prove that they can manage it, that they are not less than men. Their next life they are bound to be born as men.

So don't be worried about that. You will be a woman, watch out! Don't tell me then that you weren't warned. I am giving you the warning. And what do you mean by "juicy existence"?

It appears to you through the eyes of a man that the woman is beautiful; through the eyes of the woman the man is beautiful. This is a biological attraction. That's why two women cannot tolerate each other; it is impossible to find women friends. They are very jealous of each other, suspicious of each other. They cannot trust other women; they know too much about the woman's heart, about the woman's mind. They can't see any beauty. In fact, they cannot believe what man goes on seeing in women. There seems to be nothing. To a woman there is nothing, just as to a man there is nothing in man. It is the biological attraction, chemical attraction.

And the last thing, Baul: it seems you are not much acquainted with women. Become a little more acquainted. Suffer a little with women, let them torture you a little more, and then you will forget all this nonsense.

A man had decided to take a trip with his eighteen-year-old daughter. "Hey, how about me?" his wife exclaimed.

"Oh no," the man said. "You and your big mouth are not going on any vacation with me. I got enough of your big mouth all year long. I am taking our daughter and that's all."

So off they went. The train on which the man and his daughter rode was held up by robbers. They lost everything. "I'm ruined!" the man said. "Everything I own is gone!"

"No, Papa," the daughter said, "I saved the jewelry. The minute I saw the robbers coming, I took my rings, my diamonds and my bracelet and put them in my mouth."

"That's marvelous," said the father. "If your mother was here, we could have saved the suitcase."

The second question:

Question 2:



Sef Kicken, the esoteric teachings are only for the fools. The fools are very much interested in anything they cannot understand. The idea of the foolish mind is that anything it cannot understand must be very mysterious, must be very superior, must belong to higher planes.

A really religious person has nothing to do with esoteric nonsense - with theosophy, with anthroposophy, and with so many Lobsang Rampas... and all kinds of nonsense that goes on being written. It must be fulfilling some people's needs. Just as a few people like detective novels, a few others are interested in esoteric knowledge.

There is nothing esoteric in existence. Existence is nude, naked; nothing is hidden.

Once Buddha was asked, "Have you said everything, or is there something esoteric which you have not said?"

Buddha showed his hand - an open hand - and he said, "I am like an open hand, not like a fist."

And so is existence - like an open hand, not like a fist. It hides nothing; all is there, all around you. God is overflowing... and you are pondering over esoteric things - seven planes or seventeen, seven hells and seven heavens. And the more complicated is the system, the more appeal it has.

Theosophy is more or less sheer nonsense, but it attracted thousands of people around the world. It has become a great world movement. People were talking of hidden masters, guides, astral, ethereal.... And in Madam Blavatsky's room letters used to drop from the ceiling - letters from hidden masters who live in the Himalayas. Later on it was found that a man used to hide there on the roof and he used to drop those letters.

The man himself confessed in the court that "My whole work was that whenever the session of the theosophists would be there and they would wait with closed eyes and pray for masters, hidden masters, to guide them, I had instructions from Madam Blavatsky what letter to drop. Those letters were written by Madam Blavatsky." They were examined later on by experts and it was proved that they were written by Blavatsky herself. But she fooled people for years.

You ask me, "What is the use of esoteric teachings and spiritual knowledge?"

To fulfill the demands of the fools, that is the use. And there is no spiritual knowledge at all.

Spirituality is an experience, not knowledge. You cannot reduce it to knowledge; it is always knowing, never knowledge. It is an insight, irreduceable into words. You cannot put it into theories, into systems of thought; that is impossible. And those who try to do it don't know anything... only then can they do it. This is a strange phenomenon: those who know, they never try to reduce their knowing to knowledge; and those who don't know, they are absolutely free. They can create any knowledge, that is their invention.

All spiritual knowledge is the invention of the mind. Real spiritual knowing happens only when the mind is dropped, when you are in a state of no-mind.

And you ask me, "How can I find out if they are true or not?"

Why should you be worried? Rather try to find out who you are. That's the only real religious question, the only quest: "Who am I?" That's enough; no other questions are significant. Avoid all other jargon - spiritual, religious, theological, esoteric. Avoid all jargon. Just stick to a simple quest: "Who am I?" That's enough. If you know yourself you have known all; if you don't know yourself you may know everything in the world, but that is of no use. It is unnecessary burden and bondage.

Clarence and Lulu were sitting on the front porch in Kentucky on a warm summer evening, holding hands.

Lulu turned to Clarence and said, "Clarence, say something soft and mushy."

And Clarence embarrassedly turned to Lulu and said, "Ah, shit!"

That's what esoteric knowledge is - soft and mushy!

The third question:

Question 3:



Peter Bohm, how can you resist these few madmen who are playing with atom bombs?

What will be your strategy of resistance? In fact, your resistance may bring the war sooner than otherwise; your resistance is not going to prevent it.

The only thing that can prevent the world war is that you start a totally new consciousness, that you start a new kind of humanity... a man who is capable of love, a man who is capable of meditation. Let love and meditation spread far and wide. Let meditation reach to as many people as possible. Except that, all your efforts at resistance are impotent.

You can protest and you can go on a long march, but have you ever watched the protesters, the people who are against war, the pacifists? Have you watched their processions? They look so aggressive, they themselves look mad! If they had the atom bombs, just to protect peace they would be the first to drop the atom bombs. They are as mad as the other party; there is no difference at all. Their minds are as political as the people who are in power; the only difference is that they are not in power. And their anger, their pent-up anger, you can see on their faces, in their slogans.

Every peace protest ends in a fight with the police, with the military. It ends in burning buses, post offices, police stations, cars. What kind of love is this and what kind of resistance is this? It is impotent! But they are feeling they are doing something great. It is an ego trip and nothing else.

The meek little bank clerk had his suspicions. One day he left work early and sure enough, when he arrived home, he found a strange hat and umbrella in the hallway and his wife on the couch in the arms of another man.

Wild for revenge, the husband picked up the man's umbrella and snapped it in two across his knee.

"There, now, I hope it rains!"

What can you do? Yes, you can shout and you can go for a long march with great posters, and it will give you a certain satisfaction because your pent-up energies will be released. It is a kind of catharsis. Unknowingly, you are doing Dynamic Meditation - but it would be better if you do it knowingly.

Yes, war has come to a point where it can destroy the whole humanity, and not only humanity but the whole earth. Life as such can be destroyed. What can we do?

Scientific knowledge has gone far ahead of man's spiritual growth; that is the problem, the real problem. Who are these madmen you are talking about? Are they any different from you, Peter Bohm? Richard Nixon, Brezhnev, Ayatollah Khomeini - are these different people from you? Maybe there is some quantitative difference, but there is no qualitative difference. If YOU come in power you will prove the same. And one day these people were not in power; they were also just like you. When they are in power, then their real faces show up.

Lord Acton says: Power corrupts. It is not true. Power never corrupts, but corrupted people are attracted towards power. Of course, without power they cannot show their real faces. Power only gives them the right context in which they can reveal their heart's reality. Power does not corrupt, it only reveals the truth. Powerless people may not look mad because they cannot afford to be mad. Give them power and then you will see:

they are as mad as anybody else.

I don't see any difference between warmongers and pacifists; they are the same kind of people. They appear to be polar opposites but they belong together. Deep down they are one; two ends of the same stick. Yes, I would like the earth to become a paradise and not a cemetery... but what kind of resistance?

Even if Krishna was here, at THIS juncture he would not have suggested war. I am absolutely certain about it. I say categorically that Krishna would not have said to Arjuna to fight at this moment, because this is global suicide. Five thousand years have passed since Krishna and much has changed.

We have come to the point where total war is possible. Nobody is going to be the winner, so what is the point of war? War has been significant in the past because somebody would win and somebody would lose. Now there is going to be no winner; all are going to be the losers. War has lost all significance - war is absolutely stupid today. It may have had some meaning in the past; it has none anymore.

Krishna's message is irrelevant today; Buddha's message is more relevant. Krishna's message is out of date; Buddha's message is very contemporary. But what is his message? His message is: If you really want peace on the earth, create peace in your heart, in your being. That is the right place to begin with - and then spread, radiate peace and love.

If more and more people become peaceful, joyous, if more and more people can dance and sing, if more and more people can say "Alleluia!" from their very innermost core, it will become impossible for these few mad people to create a war. Then we can put these mad people into mental asylums very easily. We can convert our capitals into mental asylums; that is not a big problem, once many many people's inner consciousness is transformed.

Be a meditator.

Be a lover.

Be a celebrant.

Create the whole existence with as much bliss and joy as possible. Make life so beautiful that nobody wants to die.

Right now, the situation is just the opposite: life is so ugly that who cares? If war happens, in fact, people will feel relieved. They don't have to commit suicide and still the war is going to do the work for them they always wanted to do themselves.

Psychologists say it is very difficult to find a man who has not thought at least four times in his life of committing suicide. But to commit suicide is not easy; it goes against the life instinct. But if somebody else can take the responsibility and somebody else can drop an atom bomb or a hydrogen bomb, then we are freed of the responsibility of committing suicide and still the suicide happens. And not only WE are dying but everybody else with us.

We have to change people's suicidal mind. Why do people think of suicide? - for the simple reason that life is ugly and they don't know how to beautify it, how to make a song out of it. It is just sadness, a long long anguish, a nightmare. That's why people become interested in war and they support war - for any stupid cause, for any excuse they are ready to kill and be killed.

And in fact, all political causes are stupid, all so-called political revolutions are stupid.

The only revolution which is not stupid is spiritual, is inner, is individual.

If you really want a world without war, create this individual revolution I call sannyas.

This is real resistance. Without resisting anybody you create a different space, a different context, in which life starts blooming, life becomes creative.

And if people are creative, blooming, joyous, politics and politicians will be things of the past. Yes, you can save a few politicians to keep them in the zoos for future children to come and see: "Look, this is Morarji Desai!" You can stuff them with straw - they are already stuffed with straw and nothing else; they won't need much more straw, just a little bit will do.

And this is possible now. It was never possible before because war was never such a danger. Politics is now the most stupid game, mad, utterly mad.

These are tremendously significant moments, because we can change the whole human consciousness from being political to spiritual.

The fourth question:

Question 4:



Kavita, presence of mind is really a state of no-mind. You can call it mindfulness, awareness, or you can call it a state of no-mind. The words seem to be contradicting each other, but they are indicative of the same state. Presence of mind means to be in the present, to be spontaneous, to be available to whatsoever is happening right now.

To be available to here and now is presence of mind. But the only way to be available to here and now is not to be in the past, not to be in the future.

And mind consists of past and future; mind knows nothing of the present. Mind is always occupied, it is never unoccupied. And whenever the mind is unoccupied, utterly without any thought, just watchful, alert, conscious, there arises a great presence. That presence functions on its own accord. That presence makes your life a life of responses, not of reactions.

Ordinary life is of reactions; you react. Reaction means you are reacting to a present situation according to the past. It never fits because life never repeats itself. History may repeat, because history is a mind phenomenon, but life never repeats. It is always new, always fresh; something new is always transpiring. You go on carrying old ideas according to your experience, and you act out of those ideas thinking that you are acting out of experience. This is reaction: you are lagging behind, you are not true to the situation.

A response means being true to the situation; not acting out of the past but acting out of the present moment. Just like a mirror, it simply reflects that which is. If there is a flower, it reflects a flower; if there is a face, it reflects the face. Your mind never reflects that which is; your mind always reflects that which WAS. That's how your mind never comes into a state of communion with reality. Then whatsoever you do is wrong.

Presence of mind is a state of thoughtlessness, but not of sleep, not of unconsciousness.

Thoughtless consciousness, contentless consciousness - a mirror utterly empty, ready to mirror anything. The beauty of the mirror is that it never catches hold of any reflection; it is not like a photoplate. The photoplate immediately catches hold of the reflection and that's why it is destroyed. You can use it only once, then it clings to the past. That's what memory is, mind is - a photoplate.

The mind of a buddha is not a photoplate but a mirror.

Try to be more and more and more responsible and less and less reactive.

A woman was driving her car at about eighty miles an hour, when she noticed a motorcycle cop following her. She did not slow down; she figured that maybe she could shake him off by doing ninety. When she looked back again there were two motorcycles following her. She boosted her speed again. The next time she looked, three motorcycles were screaming along behind her.

Suddenly she saw a service station looming ahead. She screeched to a stop in front of it, dashed out and ran into the ladies' room.

Ten minutes later, she walked demurely out. The three cops were standing right there, waiting for her. Without batting an eyelash she said coyly, "I bet you thought I wouldn't make it!"

The fifth question:

Question 5:



Shridhar, you can drop it - but only out of awareness!

The sixth question:

Question 6:


Although You keep telling us that we have to be in the marketplace - and coming from the West, that should be my marketplace - I have that strong feeling now that I want to be here near You, that this is my home. Is this also a desire?

Prem Satyam, this is the marketplace I go on talking about!

The seventh question:

Question 7:



Asango, meditate on Murphy's maxim: Don't care if you are rich or not as long as you can live comfortably and have everything you want.

That's exactly what I have been doing and that's exactly what I would like you to do.

Why bother whether you are rich or not? In fact, people go into unnecessary worries.

Whatsoever you have, enjoy it - it is already too much. You cannot look at it because your mind is constantly occupied with doing this, becoming that. And all that existence goes on giving you, you go on neglecting. You never even thank existence for it; you don't have any gratitude. Otherwise, even if you don't possess anything, you can live a very rich life.

A rich life is something inner. And I am not against outer things, remember, but basically a rich life is something inner. If you are inwardly rich you can make even outer things richer by your inner light. For example, if the buddha lives in a hut, he lives in the hut as if the hut is a palace. If the buddha lives in the palace, of course he will be able to enjoy the palace more than anybody else in the world. If he can enjoy the hut as a palace, what to say about the palace itself? Wherever he is he finds ways to enjoy life.

The whole art of sannyas is to live a rich life - but the richness comes through your inner awareness. You can live a very poor life and you can be very rich outwardly; you can have a big bank balance, but you can live a dog's life.

I know very many rich people. I feel sorry for them. They have all, but they are living in such a poor way that I cannot conceive what blindness has befallen them. Can't they see their beautiful houses, their beautiful gardens? But they don't have any sensitivity. So the flowers come and go and they pass those flowers every day, but they don't see.

Otherwise a single flower is enough. And whether the flower has grown in your garden or in your neighbor's garden, who cares?

You don't possess the stars, still you can enjoy them. Or do you first have to possess them, and only then you will be able to enjoy them? You don't possess the birds in the sky, but you can enjoy them.

What you need is not more possessions. What you need is more sensitiveness, more aesthetic sensibility, more musical ears, more artistic eyes. What you need is a vision which transforms everything into something significant and meaningful.

You ask me, Asango, "Should one try to be rich or not?"

You ARE rich! You have been given already that which you need. Let it grow, and then whatsoever you have on the outside will be enough.

You can see my sannyasins living here. They have not anything really that you can call possessions, but you cannot find more happy people anywhere in the world. For no reason they are happy, there is nothing to be happy about! But something inner has started growing, something like a subtle fragrance which only people who have sensibility, sensitiveness, can feel; others can't see it.

Many people have asked me, "Why do your sannyasins look so happy?" The why cannot be answered easily, because they want to know something on the outside which is causing the happiness. On the outside there is nothing but all kinds of troubles - the Indian government, the police, the Indian rotten society and the rotten mind. There is nothing on the outside. But still, my people are immensely happy. And they are not just sitting idly, they are working hard, and working hard for no rewards, no pay; they don't get anything. But something inner is happening; that is real richness.

Asango, think of that. You are a new sannyasin; soon you will become aware of it.

The eighth question:

Question 8:



Suresh, this is what I call the rotten Indian mind! If the woman is really pure, why should she be marrying you in the first place? And why this desire, this imposition on the other? And what do you mean by purity, purity of character? Do you mean that she has not known anybody sexually before you? But that will mean marrying a woman who is immature, marrying a woman who is inexperienced.

If you are going to employ an engineer, will you ask him, "The first requirement is that you shouldn't know anything about engineering"? Then you ask about experience; you want proofs, certificates.

If you are wise you will inquire whether the woman has been loved by other people too.

If a woman has not been approached by anybody up to now, escape! What does it mean? It simply means the woman is dangerous!

Only very ugly people can have that kind of purity you are asking for. But I don't see that by having a few love affairs a person becomes impure. Love purifies. How can it make somebody impure? The more one loves, the more one becomes artful, skillful, intelligent in love.

Millions of marriages fail because two inexperienced persons are trying to work things out. If both are inexperienced, it is bound to fail.

There are a few primitive societies still existent in the world where it is thought to be a must that a woman should know a few men, that the man should know a few women, before they decide to marry. Marriage needs artfulness; it is a great effort to create a symphony between two persons' beings.

So don't ask foolish things. And if you are too much after such a kind of purity, then please, why are you deciding to make the woman impure? You will suffer for it, and she will suffer because she will be making you impure. Don't do such harm to each other. Why in the first place think of marriage? Remain pure!

"Daddy," said young David, "what is puppy love?"

"The beginning of a dog's life, my son."

Murphy says: Anything good in life is either illegal, immoral or fattening.

The three faithful things in life are money, a dog and an old woman.

So either get married to money or to a dog or to an old woman! If you are so much interested in purity, if you are so much wedded to purity, don't ask for a real woman.

Find a plastic woman. You can always clean it and soap it. Why bother with real people? Real people are real people.

Two expectant fathers paced the floor in the waiting room of the hospital.

"What tough luck," said one. "This had to happen during my vacation."

"You think you've got troubles?" said the other. "I'm on my honeymoon!"

Real people are real people. Things happen to real people, not to plastic people. Yes, even on honeymoon things can happen!

A pair of good friends, Frenchmen both, were strolling down the Champs Elysees one day when they spied two women approaching. "Sacrebleu, Pierre!" cried one. "Here come my wife and my mistress walking toward us arm in arm."

"Mon Dieu, Henri!" cried out the second. "I was about to say the very same thing."

Charlie was taking his out-of-town pal for a stroll through the city. The friend observed a good-looking girl and asked Charlie if he knew her.

"Yes, that is Betty. Twenty dollars."

"How about that one?"

"That is Dolores. Forty dollars."

"Here comes one that is really first class. Do you know her?"

"That is Gloria. Eighty dollars."

"My God, aren't there any nice, respectable girls in this town?"

"Of course, but you could not afford their rates."

Suresh, either get rid of this idea of marriage or get rid of the idea of purity of character.

If you keep both the ideas together you will be in trouble.

And who are you to decide about others' character? If you love the woman, you love the woman with all her limitations, with all her imperfections; she loves you with all your imperfections and limitations.

But this is what - particularly to the Indian mind - is very significant: perfection. And to demand perfection is a kind of neurosis. It will drive the other neurotic, and as far as you are concerned, you are already neurotic. If you ask perfection in any human being you will create trouble for yourself and for the other, and your life will be nothing but misery.

The real man of understanding and intelligence accepts the imperfections of the other and still loves. Love is great enough; it can even love people who have no character, people who are not pure according to your ideas, people who sometimes go astray, people who sometimes commit small sins. Love is big enough to accept all this and to transform it too.

The ninth question:

Question 9:



Murphy.... My God, are you the same Murphy I have been quoting and misquoting?

You should have told me before! But you must be, I hope, some other Murphy, because if you were the same Murphy you would not ask such a question. That old guy is so wise he only gives answers, he never asks questions.

You ask me, "Why do so many people become sannyasins?"

Everybody does so for a different reason; hence it is very difficult to answer. The real sannyasins cannot even give any reasonable answer why they have become sannyasins.

It is a kind of love affair; they fall in love with this madman. It is utterly mad, it is absurd. They simply find some inner communion; something happens to their heart, not to their head. And when something happens to the heart it is unanswerable.

But a few people become sannyasins out of the head; then they are only pseudo sannyasins. They can give you answers why they have become sannyasins.

So this much can be said: one who can answer WHY he has become a sannyasin is a wrong sannyasin, a pseudo sannyasin; the real one can only shrug his shoulders. He can say, "I don't know, it simply happened." He will not be convincing to you - he can't be - but try to be sympathetic with the person. It is a love affair.

Who has ever been able to say why he has fallen in love? One simply falls in love for no reason at all. Suddenly something clicks; it clicks in such a subtle way that you cannot figure out why. The why is unanswerable. And whenever it is answerable, the person is not a real sannyasin. This is the paradox: those who can answer, they are not real sannyasins; those who cannot answer, they are real sannyasins.

And then there are different people and they come with different backgrounds, they come here for different reasons. They open up to me in different ways, they take different time, they have different paces.

A modern-day Lewis and Clark exploration team had returned from a two-year exploration of the upper Amazon. Having bravely gone where no men had gone before, they were greeted by members of the press from every nation.

"Tell us, sir," asked a reporter of the first explorer, "what made you go?"

"I had to go," he replied. "I had to meet the challenge, to test my mettle, to meet the unknown, to face hardship, and to ponder the real meaning of life."

"And you, sir," he inquired of the second explorer, "why did you go?"

"You should meet my wife," came the weary reply.

Different people will have different reasons. Somebody is here for the exploration of the unknown; somebody is simply here because of the wife. Somebody is here because this has been his search for many lives; somebody is here accidentally. He was just passing Poona, from Kabul to Goa, and seeing so many crazy orange people he became intrigued. He said to himself, "Man, something far out is going on!" And then he got hooked... then he forgot all about Goa. Then slowly slowly, people forget about the whole world. Then this small place becomes their whole world.

Anxious to be on time for his date, Carl stopped at the drugstore for a hasty purchase.

The druggist gave him a knowing smile, and he told the druggist about a lovely chick he met at a party. He was going to spend the evening with her, and her parents would be out at the opera.

When he got to her house, she and her mother were waiting for her father to return from work.

When her father walked in, she introduced both parents to Carl, and Carl said, "Say, why don't Nancy and I join you this evening?"

"You children don't want to spend your evening with us old folks," said Nancy's mother.

"Sure we do," said Carl.

"I didn't know you liked opera," the bewildered Nancy said to her date, as he was helping her on with her coat.

"No, and I didn't know your father was a druggist, either," he said.

So there are different reasons. I cannot give you a single answer. I cannot say why people become sannyasins.

All that I can say is that I am utterly mad, and a few people find themselves in tune with me.

The last question:

Question 10:



Shivananda, yes, the question arises and is significant too. It is like the fish asking, "What is the ocean?" Obviously the fish cannot see the ocean; it has lived in the ocean always, from the very beginning. It was born in the ocean, it opened its eyes in the ocean, it has lived as part of the ocean. The ocean is so close, the fish does not feel itself separate from it. There is no space between the fish and the ocean to know about it.

And that's actually the case with unawareness. You are born in unawareness, you live in unawareness, you sleep in unawareness... you wake up in unawareness. You walk in unawareness, you talk in unawareness... you read Bibles, Korans, Gitas, in unawareness. It is so close, you are so permeated by it; it is in your every fiber and cell.

There is no distance between it and you. Hence the question is very significant and one has to ask it. Only then can one move slowly out of unawareness towards awareness.

Unawareness is a state of robotlike existence. You go on repeating mechanically. You go on living without any alertness in it; sleepy, a somnambulist you are.

Out of ten people, one person can walk in his sleep, do you know it? That is a big number. Out of a hundred, ten people are capable of walking in their sleep. If you have ten persons in your family, that means one person is capable of walking in his sleep.

People get up, they can walk in darkness, they can reach the fridge, they can eat things, they can come back to the bed. In the morning they have forgotten all - and then they are worried why they go on becoming fatter and fatter! In the day they fast or diet and in the night they compensate as much as they can.

You will have to be a little separate from your acts; then you will be able to know what unawareness is. Somebody insults you; immediately, instantly, anger arises. It is like pushing a button and the light comes on. There is no gap: you push a button and the light comes on. The light has no time to think whether to come on or not. Somebody insults you; he pushes a button and immediately you are enraged.

Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples, "Wait at least for five minutes. What is the hurry?

Let him insult you, let him finish first. Then you close your eyes and wait for five minutes, and watch what is happening inside you - anger boiling."

Gurdjieff himself became enlightened through this simple procedure: that whatsoever is mechanical in man he tried to make it nonmechanical. And all is mechanical in you - anger, lust, greed, jealousy - all is mechanical. It simply is there whenever somebody pushes a button. You are functioning like a robot. Become a man.

That's what meditation is all about, that's what sannyas is all about. Create a little distance. Next time somebody insults you, give it five minutes, sit silently for five minutes, and then you can become angry. I am not saying "Don't become angry" - because that will be too much. I am saying that just for five minutes allow a gap, and you will be surprised: after five minutes it is not the same anger that it would have been five minutes before.

Dale Carnegie remembers an incident in his life. He delivered a radio broadcast on Abraham Lincoln. He mentioned a few wrong facts about Lincoln; even his birthdate was wrong. He received one letter, a very angry letter, from a woman, calling him a fool, calling him stupid. "If you don't even know the right birthdate, what right have you got to speak on Abraham Lincoln?"

He became enraged, and he immediately wrote an angry answer. But it was too late in the day, so he thought, "Tomorrow morning I will post the letter."

Before posting it he read the letter again. It looked too angry - twelve hours had passed. He read the woman's letter; it was not so insulting as it had appeared at the first glance. So he changed his letter, he wrote it again. When he was writing it again he said, "Why not wait twenty-four hours more and see what happens? What is the hurry? The woman is not going to die."

So he waited twenty-four hours and read his letter again. Now he was even more cool, and still the letter looked a little too strong. He changed it and thought, "Why not wait forty-eight hours? Let it be an experiment! I can always send the letter, but after twelve hours I had to change it, after twenty-four hours I had to change it much more. Let us see what happens after forty-eight hours."

After forty-eight hours he had to change it totally. All anger had disappeared. He said, "Now I will wait two days more and then I will send it."

And when finally he wrote the letter he apologized; he was no longer angry. The woman was right: what right has he if he does not know the facts? At least he should have checked the facts before going to broadcast. It was absolutely right on her part to get angry.

So he wrote, "You are perfectly right. Next time I will not commit such a mistake. I am deeply sorry that I hurt your feelings. I apologize. If any time you happen to be in this city, please come to see me, or, if I come to your town, I will come to see you. I would like to know more about Lincoln - because I feel you know more than I know."

Naturally, the woman was tremendously impressed by the humbleness of the man; she was not expecting that he would be so humble. Next time she came to that town where Dale Carnegie lived she phoned him. He went, received her, invited her for a dinner.

And finally the woman and he became so friendly, they fell in love!

It looks like a fairy tale - does not happen in real life! In real life only tragedies happen.

But we are responsible for all those tragedies because of our unawareness.

So the first thing I will suggest, Shivananda, is that if you want to know what unawareness is, allow a gap. This is the process of de-automatization. You have become automatic, you function automatically. You have to reverse the whole process, de- automatize it, slowly slowly, in small matters.

For example, you have gone for a walk. Don't walk the same way as you walk every day. Go slow or go fast, but don't just repeat the same routine. And you will be surprised: if you go slow you are more aware, if you go faster you are more aware; if you go exactly the same speed as you follow every day, you lose all awareness.

Buddha told his disciples to walk very slowly, as slowly as possible. Try it and you will be surprised. A great awareness arises if you walk very slowly. You speak in a certain way; one day try to speak in some other way. Speak slowly, and you will be surprised that the slowness of the speech makes you alert. Suddenly something is changed, because you are not functioning according to the robot.

Mind has two parts: one is the learning part, the other is the robot part. The learning part learns; whenever you are learning something you are more aware. For example, if you are learning driving you are more aware - you have to be. The moment you have learned it, the learning part gives its information to the robot part. Once you have learned driving, then you don't need any awareness; you simply go on doing it mechanically. You turn towards your house, you arrive in your garage, you lock the car.

You are doing everything like a robot.

And this is the story of your life, twenty-four hours a day. Change it!

Gurdjieff's method was this: if some vegetarian had come to him as a disciple, the first thing he would insist was, "Eat meat!" Now this is a very shocking thing for a vegetarian - to be told to eat meat. And Gurdjieff was a tough master; he would throw you out if you didn't listen to him, if you didn't follow the command, if you didn't follow the discipline. He would force you to eat meat. Now, when a vegetarian eats meat he becomes very conscious - he has to. He has no idea in the past, no experience in the past, of eating meat. Just think of Mahatma Gandhi eating meat... he will become tremendously aware!

And if there was a meat-eater, then Gurdjieff would say, "For a few weeks you be just vegetarian. Don't eat meat at all - no eggs, no meat, no milk, no animal food of any kind. Just go on eating vegetables." The whole body system had become accustomed to a certain pattern. He would change people's eating hours. If you were eating every day at one o'clock, he would say, "Eat at nine." If you were going to sleep every day at twelve, he would say to go at two or at ten. He would change everything. A man who had never been drinking wine, he would force to drink wine just to change and shatter his pattern. The man who had been a drunkard, he would stop him from drinking.

Gurdjieff was puzzling to people, but the method is simple: he was trying to de- automatize. He was one of the greatest masters of this age, very much misunderstood.

Naturally, everybody was against him. Who has ever heard of religious masters forcing their disciples to drink? - FORCING, actually forcing. And he would sit there....

The greatest thing in his commune was the dinner. It used to last four, five, six, seven hours. Every evening it would start... and it would end in the middle of the night. And he himself would take care of everybody, of what was being eaten, of what was given to them - and he would go on forcing. People would become so drunk they would fall on the ground, and they would start saying things in their drunkenness - and he would sit by the side and listen. He also used to drink with them, but he had worked hard on the way. He was a tantra master. He had been to India and to Tibet too, just to learn tantra.

Tantra has special methods how to go on drinking and yet remain aware. YOU cannot be aware even without drinking. Tantra has methods to slowly slowly drink, and keep awareness, not to lose track of your awareness. Slowly slowly, the quantity of your drug has to be increased as you increase in your awareness. A moment comes when - you will be surprised to know, still there are people in the East who practice it - a moment comes, when no drug can affect your consciousness at all.

Then the last thing they try is this: they keep poisonous snakes and they allow the snake to bite them on their tongue; that is the last method. Ordinarily a man will die.... These snakes are absolutely poisonous. Three percent of the snakes in India are dangerous; you cannot survive their bite - once bitten you are gone. But these tantra masters will remain alert even in that moment and they will not die. Their bodies have become accustomed to all kinds of poisons and they have become alert, so alert that no drug can affect them.

Gurdjieff used to use that method with his disciples, simply to shatter your settled habits.

My approach here is to send you to this group, then to another group, then to still another group. When you go to different groups for two, three months, each group has its own structure and pattern and each group destroys other groups' patterns and structures.

And finally I send you to Zazen or to Vipassana. They are beyond all ordinary structures. Those are the methods given by Buddha himself. Then you are in a very simple state, watching your own breath - the breath going in, the breath going out, and you are simply watching.

This watchfulness will make you aware of what unawareness is and what awareness is, both. You become aware of both simultaneously.

It was springtime, and two lovers were cuddling in a meadow on a dark, new-moon night.

The young man whispered to his girlfriend, "I sure wish we had a flashlight!"

The girl replied, "I do too. You have been munching on grass for the last five minutes!"

Get it? - otherwise I will have to tell another! Meditate over it later on!

Marlene, a pretty Philadelphia secretary, was taking her first trip across the United States. Driving through the desert she ran out of gas. An Indian gave her a ride, sitting behind him on his pony. Every few minutes as they rode he let out a wild, whooping yell that echoed across the desert. Finally he deposited her at a gas station and went off with a last "Yaa-hoo!"

"What were you doing," asked the station owner, "to make that redskin do all that hollering?"

"Nothing," said the girl. "I just sat behind him with my arms around his sides holding onto his saddle horn."

"Miss," said the man, "Indians ride bareback!"

Enough for today.

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