The choice is yours
ARE YOU THE ONLY ENLIGHTENED PERSON IN THIS ASHRAM? IF YES, IS IT IMPOSSIBLE TO ENLIGHTEN OR TO BE ENLIGHTENED NEAR AN ENLIGHTENED PERSON?
SINCE I BECAME ENLIGHTENED I have never come across a person who is not enlightened. You see only that which you are. Before I became enlightened, the same was the case with me - the whole world used to appear tremendously asleep, in darkness, in death, unenlightened, because you are reflected continuously everywhere. Every other person is just a mirror; you see yourself. So don't be worried about others; think about yourself. That should be your problem.
Others are not your problems. Whether they are enlightened or not, how does it concern you?
Why should you be worried about it? If somebody wants to remain unenlightened, it is absolutely his business to decide about it. If they want to play the game of being unenlightened, it's perfectly okay. If you have become fed up with the world, if you are fed up with your anguish and anxiety and you have realized that now it is time to awake, then there is no difficulty. Nobody can prevent you.
Nobody is preventing you. It is only your own decision to play the game as an unenlightened being or to play the game as an enlightened being. It is only a question of inner decision.
In a single moment, in one stroke, you can become enlightened. It is not a gradual process, because enlightenment is not something that you have to invent. It is something that you have to discover. It is already there. It is not something that you have to manufacture. If you have to manufacture it, of course, it will take time; but it is already there. Close your eyes and see it there. Be silent and have a taste of it. Your very nature is what I call enlightenment. Enlightenment is not something alien, outside you. It is not somewhere else in time and space. It is you, your very core.
I was staying at Mulla Nasrudin's. One morning when we were sipping tea, the wife of Mulla Nasrudin told him, "Mulla, you swore terribly at me in your sleep last night." Mulla Nasrudin laughed and said, "Who was asleep?"
You are not asleep. Whatsoever you are doing, you have chosen to do it; it is your choice. And I insist that it is your choice, because if it is your choice, then it can be dropped immediately, the moment you are ready to change your choice. You have chosen your life to be this way - the way of agony, anguish.
Certainly you will ask, "Why should one want to choose a life of agony, anguish, anxiety, pain, suffering? Why? Why should one choose a life of sorrow?" There are reasons, great reasons behind it: because only in sorrow can you BE. In ecstasy you disappear. Only in pain can you exist as an entity. In bliss you are lost as a drop is lost in the ocean. You are afraid to lose yourself; hence you have chosen the ways of agony. They create the ego; the more you suffer, the more you feel you are. Suffering gives you a definition. It makes you feel solid; it gives you a feeling that you are separate from the whole. That's why you have chosen it. Nobody has chosen sorrow and suffering directly. Indirectly, you have chosen to be an egoist. Hence you have to choose suffering: without suffering you cannot be an egoist. The ego cannot exist without a sea of suffering around it. The ego is like an island in a sea of suffering.
You are enjoying your ego. You are continuously strengthening it, decorating it, making it more and more valuable. This is your choice.
Once you see that the ego is deeply connected with suffering and without suffering it cannot exist, then if you don't want to suffer, you drop the ego, you forget all about the language of the ego. The language of the ego is the language of agony. And then things are very simple.
I have heard:
A little boy worrying through his very first day at school, raised his hand for permission to go to the wash-room, then returned to the class a few moments later to report that he could not find it.
Dispatched a second time with explicit directions, he still could not find it. So this time the teacher asked a slightly older boy to act as guide. Success crowned his efforts. "We finally found it," he told the teacher. "He had his pants on backwards."
This is the situation. You are enlightened beings, just your pants are backwards. You need a slightly older boy to guide you, that's all. That's what a Master is meant to be.
Nothing is missing; nothing can be missing. You are born enlightened. Then you have chosen a life of suffering and agony. You can live enlightened, you can die enlightened. It depends on you. It is a question of sheer choice.
"Are you the only enlightened person in this ashram?" In this ashram you will not even find trees unenlightened.
"If yes, is it impossible to enlighten or to be enlightened near an enlightened person?" It is not a question of being near an enlightened person. If you don't choose, you can be here forever and you will not choose. If you choose to be enlightened, you can be enlightened anywhere.
I am needed, a Master is needed, because your desire to be enlightened is not very strong, not very intense. You don't feel the urgency, you don't feel thirsty enough for it. It is not your first priority.
Maybe it is somewhere on your shopping list - just at the end. If any money is left, if time is left, and the market remains open, you will see. But it is not first. First comes the world, and then comes God. Of course, you never come to God, because the world is vast - one thing leads to another, and it goes on and on. God has to be your first priority. I am needed only to help you to put God on your list as the first priority, that's all. If you can put it there yourself, then you can become enlightened anywhere.
I became enlightened without any Master, so there cannot be any problem for you. If it can happen to me, it can happen to you. The Master is not a must. It has become a must because you are so lethargic, because you are so unwilling to move towards ecstasy, because you are so attached to the ways of sorrow and anguish.
You have become so attached to the prison, you don't want to get out of it. Even if the door is left open, you don't escape. You go on deceiving yourself; you don't even look at the door. You go on deceiving yourself that the door is closed and the guard is there. And there is nobody! The door is open and the guard is not there. But you want to remain in the prison; you have become too attached. You have invested too much in the prison. In fact you have started looking at the prison as your home. The outside world looks strange and wild, and you feel afraid.
People are afraid of freedom, and people are afraid of knowing life too deeply. People are afraid to love, people are afraid to BE. They have lived long in the dark; now they are afraid of light - afraid they will not be able to open their eyes, afraid they will be dazzled, their eyes may be destroyed, afraid because their life in the darkness has become a settled routine. It is secure. Why take any chance? Why go into the unknown and the uncharted?
The darkness has become too familiar; otherwise you can become enlightened anywhere. It is your treasure. You can claim it any moment. It is a surprise why you have not claimed it up to now.
And remember, nobody else can enlighten you AGAINST yourself. If you have decided to remain the way you are, then there is no possibility. All the Buddhas and all the Christs and all the Krishnas all put together, they cannot do anything - and you will remain the same as you are. And it is good in a way that it should be so. If you can be enlightened by somebody else, against you, then that enlightenment cannot be very valuable. It cannot be a freedom. If you can be forced to be enlightened, then that too is going to be a slavery, a bondage - a new bondage.
No, it is absolutely your choice! Choose it or leave it, but remember always, it is your responsibility.
There are many people who come to a Master and surrender just so that they stop feeling responsible. That is a wrong type of surrender. Surrender means "I am ready to cooperate," that's all. It does not mean "Now you are responsible, and if I don't become enlightened then you will be responsible for it." Then even through surrender nothing is going to happen, because the surrender in the first place happened through wrong reasons.
When you come to me to be initiated, this is the whole meaning of initiation: that you tell me that "I am ready," that "I will not hinder your efforts," that "If you help me, I will welcome it," that "If you knock at my door, you will find me ready to receive you," that "I am ready to become a host to you," that "I will cooperate," that "My yes is total." That is the meaning of sannyas, the meaning of surrender: that "I will not say no," that "I will not resist," that "I will not fight you." It is not throwing away responsibility; it is simply dropping resistance. Not dropping responsibility, but only resistance. And once resistance is dropped, things start happening on their own accord. I am just an excuse.
Exactly, a Master is what the scientists call a catalytic agent. It does not "work"; its presence is enough. It simply helps by being present. A Master cannot do anything to you in reality, but his presence.... You feel more trust. You cannot trust yourself; that's why you need to trust me. If you can trust yourself, there is no need. If you feel enough unto yourself, there is no need. If you don't feel enough, you don't feel confident enough, you don't feel that you will choose the right thing, you don't feel that you will move into the right direction, then surrender is helpful. You trust somebody you feel has known, somebody you feel loves you, will not harm you, somebody you feel has more than you. You trust him. You hold his hand.
And all that happens always happens within you - and it happens without the doing of the Master.
Enlightenment is not something that can be "done" by anybody. You just relax in trust, and it starts arising in you. It was waiting there for the moment when you can say yes. If you can say yes to the whole, good, there is no need for a Master.
If you cannot say yes to the whole sky - it may seem too huge - then say yes to a window. The Master is a window; it opens towards the sky. It brings you towards the sky. The Master is just a passage. Pass through the Master in trust, in love, in surrender, and things will start happening.
WHEN I CAME HERE I WAS TENSE. PEOPLE LOOKED UNFRIENDLY, NOT OPEN. NOW ALL THAT HAS CHANGED; EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL. I HAVE HAD SIMILAR EXPERIENCES BEFORE, BUT THEY HAVE ALWAYS FADED AWAY. I HOPE IT IS NOW WISDOM AND WILL NOT FADE, BUT IF EAR IT MAY BE KNOWLEDGE AND I WILL LOSE IT.
Look at a rose flower. If it is real it will fade by the evening; if it is a plastic flower it will not fade.
Knowledge is more permanent than wisdom, because wisdom is real and knowledge is just artificial.
You are thinking in wrong terms.
You tell me that it has happened before, also - these moments, these openings - but then they fade, they disappear, they become part of your memory. Now you want something permanent. This very idea is full of greed. If you want something permanent, you will have to choose something false, because only the false is permanent. The real is momentary - the real is always momentary. It exists for a moment and then it is gone. It is strong, and fragile. It is tremendously strong: when it is there it is there in totality. When it is gone it is gone. Only the false is permanent, but out of greed we seek permanence.
Love is fragile like a rose flower. Marriage is a plastic flower; it stays. It is artificial, legal, social.
Love is unreliable. It is there, and when it is there it is tremendously beautiful. You fly in the high skies; you are turned on; everything looks full of delight, joy. The whole existence becomes a feast, a celebration, a dance. From every nook and corner God starts looking at you... and then suddenly it is gone - as suddenly as it had come one day, it is gone. The magic disappears, the charm is no more, the poetry fades; only ashes are left, dead, stale.
Afraid of this fragile reality, man has created his permanent reality against it - to be secure, to be certain. You cannot rely on a girlfriend, you cannot rely on a boyfriend. You can rely on a husband or a wife. A wife and a husband are plastic. A girlfriend is a wind; nobody knows whether she will be lingering around you the next moment or will be gone and will have chosen another part of the world or another tree to have the affair with. Nobody knows. Out of nowhere, one moment it is and another moment it is gone. It may not go, it may go, but nothing is certain about it. Afraid of this uncertainty - out of greed, out of fear - man has created marriage. Marriage is an ugly thing. Love is beautiful.
Can't you see the ugliness of a plastic flower? And why is a plastic flower ugly? In the first place, to be permanent it has to be dead because life implies death. Only dead things never die. If you are alive you are prone to dying. The more alive you are, the more prone to death. The more vibrant with life, the closer is death. In every dance of life you will find death present, deeply present.
That's why it happens when you are deeply in love with somebody, suddenly you start thinking about death. Have you watched it? Lovers start thinking about death. Money changers never think of death. A poet in a deep moment of communion with nature starts thinking of death. A dancer at the peak, when everything is exploding, becomes afraid: death is there. When you are at a crescendo of any experience, you will always find death present. Why? Because whenever life is there death is there.
People have decided not to live at the maximum, never to go to the optimum. Live at the minimum - at the minimum you can avoid death. Because at the minimum you are almost dead. The contrast is not there. When you are very, very alive, death comes very close by; the contrast becomes very clear. People are afraid of death; that's why they live at the minimum. People are afraid of change; they start loving things which don't change. A house is more unchanging. A country, a creed, a temple, a god of the theologians, seems to be more permanent. They avoid looking at the momentary - and reality is momentary, it is flux, it is a process. Everything is moving dynamically; it is riverlike.
You tell me, " When I came here I was tense. People looked unfriendly, not open. Now all that has changed...." Nothing has changed; only you have changed. The people are the same - you can ask them. They were tense because you were tense. They were unfriendly because you were not friendly. Nothing has changed. People have not changed; they have not suddenly become friendly.
You have changed. You have opened, you have relaxed. You are no longer asking that they should be friendly; rather, you have started to be friendly yourself. And suddenly you see they are friendly.
Whatsoever you are you will always find. And whatsoever you find, remember, it is you. It is nobody else.
This happens to everybody who comes here. In the beginning he comes with great expectations, as if the whole ashram will dance because he has come, and they will celebrate and there will be a great festival. These expectations lurk in the mind. And then one comes here and Sant won't even allow you easily in from the gate! And he looks very unfriendly. He is directed to be that way there.
And suddenly your hopes and expectations disappear.
I help it. They should be destroyed, because with those expectations and hopes you will continue to be an egoist. With those hopes and expectations you will remain the old. They have to be dropped.
This is a situation, this ashram is a device. Here we try in every way to put you off. If you persist, then great is the payoff. If you escape, it is good for you and it is good for me too, because as it is I have enough responsibility for enough people. Unless you are really ready to go into deeper things and you have not come here as a curious person, you have not come here with some ambition still lurking in your mind, with some politics in your mind - only if you have come here as a real authentic seeker - only then will you stay. Then you will stay whatsoever happens around. You will not bother about it. You will say, "It is okay. There must be some reason in it."
If you persist, persevere, you will start feeling that people are friendly. You have dropped your expectations; that's why they start looking friendly. They are the same people: neither friendly nor unfriendly. This ashram is very neutral. We are not interested in converts, in new converts. We are not interested at all; we don't take much interest. We are neutral. If you come it is your responsibility to come. If you choose you choose. We don't persuade you in any way. You cannot blame us later on, that "You persuaded us"; that much is certain, you cannot blame us. If you stayed, you stayed because you had chosen to stay. From the very beginning things are clear.
Now you say, "... everyone is beautiful. I have had similar experiences before, but they have always faded away." Good that they faded away. If they had remained, you would have been stuck. Then you would not have grown. Everything should come and go. It prepares you for a greater experience. It has to go away. If you are stuck with one experience, then there will be no growth in your life. Feel happy, feel grateful that they have faded away; otherwise you would not have been here. You are here because your past faded away.
But you are here, it seems, still with a wrong desire: that now you will find something permanent.
No, I don't deal in the permanent at all. I deal in the momentary and the eternal - and they are both the same. The permanent is a false thing. The momentary and the eternal are the real things. But let me explain it to you.
Ordinarily, in your dictionaries you will find "permanent" as if it is a synonym for "eternal." It is not.
The eternal is always momentary. Look at the rose flower again. In the morning it is there; by the evening it is gone. It was momentary. But it will come again - tomorrow in the morning another flower is there. It has always been coming. The eternal peeks through the momentary, the eternal looks through the momentary. One rose flower goes, another rose flower comes, that goes, another is coming; in fact the one goes just to make place for the other. The beauty is eternal. The "roseness"
is eternal. Rose flowers come and go; the roseness is eternal.
Live in the momentary. And live in the momentary without any desire for the permanent; otherwise you will miss the eternal. Live in the moment so tremendously and totally that you forget the permanent. The permanent is a projection in the future; the permanent is your desire. It has nothing to do with reality. The eternal is the depth of the momentary - the eternal is in the moment. The permanent is horizontal, linear. The eternal is vertical.
Somebody is swimming on the surface of a deep river; that's how the permanent is. And somebody dives deep in the river; that's how the eternal is. Dive deep in the moment and you will touch the eternal. Look in the rose flower. Yes, this rose flower is momentary, but look deep, dive deep, and suddenly you will see hidden behind this rose flower is roseness. Hidden behind this momentary rose flower is beauty eternal, divine. Flowers will come and go; flowering remains. Roses come and go; roseness remains. Lovers come and go; love remains. Your woman may die, your man may disappear may escape. These are all roses. Love remains.
My teaching is trust love. Don't betray love. Love is something that will happen again and again - with another woman with another man, with another friend. It will happen again and again; it will flower again and again. Don't get stuck. Your wife has died. Of course you feel sad and you cry, and it is good, but don't get stuck. Now don't decide to remain a widower for ever and ever. This is foolish, this is stupid. And don't think that falling in love again will be a betrayal to your wife, no. You had fallen in love with your wife in the first place because of love. Another love will arise, another love will arise.... Don't betray love. Persons come and go.
Don't hanker for the permanent; otherwise you will destroy the reality of the person. If you hanker for the permanent, then you don't look into the real; then you start trying to fix it so that the wife remains forever your wife. You start becoming possessive. Thinking that this rose flower may fade away, you take it away from the plant, because on the plant you have seen flowers disappear - in the evening the petals start falling and the flower is gone. Before it is gone, you cut it from the plant. You can put it in a safe-deposit box, you can lock it up, but by cutting it from the plant you have made it already dead; now it will simply rot in your safe-deposit box. You have not even allowed it a beautiful death.
Don't be so cruel, don't be so unkind. The flower was beautiful on the plant, on the bush; it was alive there; its life belonged to the life of the bush. Let it die there. That death was beautiful; now you have taken it away. I have seen people putting rose flowers in their bibles; then they become dry and dead. You didn't allow a beautiful death to the flower.
And your bibles are also like dead flowers.
Remember, when you start possessing the woman or the man, you are killing - you are putting the flower in the safe-deposit box. And you rush to the court to get married; you are making it a legal thing. Love dies when law comes in. Love cannot exist with law. Love is lawlessness. Love is so spontaneous, how can it exist with law? It is impossible. Love has disappeared from the earth because there is too much law. Unless law disappears from the earth, there is no possibility for love to appear again. And without love there is no possibility of prayer. And without love there is no possibility for God.
Religion does not consist of laws. It consists only of one thing, and that is love.
"I have had similar experiences before, but they have always faded away." Good. This is how it should be. Don't look back; look forward. More is to come. Don't close your eyes, and don't cling to the past. More is to come; you are growing. Better and deeper experiences are waiting for you.
"I hope it is now wisdom and will not fade...." Wisdom always fades out. Only knowledge remains.
"... but I fear it may be knowledge and I will lose it." If this is your notion, you will be in trouble.
Wisdom always fades. Wisdom need not remain there as a wound. It comes and goes like a breeze.
Of course each moment of wisdom makes you wiser and wiser, but this is how wisdom makes you wise: you become aware that reality fades, that reality is momentary, that reality comes and goes, that nothing is permanent. Everything is eternal! but nothing is permanent. The permanent is the human desire; the eternal is God's nature.
Everything comes again - never the same, yet comes again. Spring has gone, will come again.
Summer has gone, will come again. It will be there again - yet never the same. Your childhood is gone, but many other children will be born. Your youth is gone, somebody else will be becoming a youth. Your old age is disappearing, somebody else is becoming old. You are dying, somebody else is getting ready to die. Death continues, life continues, love continues, and we are just vehicles of these eternal forces.
So drop the idea of the permanent. Live in the moment, and you will know the eternal.
OH, THE RELIGION! THE ADORATION OF THE PAST! THE BEAUTY AND SENTIMENTALITY AF THE PAST!
SINCE I WAS A LITTLE CHILD, I HAVE ALWAYS FELT LIKE THINKING ABOUT THE PAST AND GETTING A FEELING OF SWEET PAIN, THAT THE PAST IS GONE, AND CRYING SWEET AND WARM TEARS AND REALLY ENJOYING THE WHOLE THING VERY MUCH - THIS WHOLE THING CALLED NOSTALGIA. SOMETIMES I REALLY LOVE MY PAST. HAVING A PAST TO PLAY WITH, I FEEL BLESSED. AM I A FOOL?
SO I HEAR YOU AND AGREE WITH YOU, INTELLECTUAL, THAT THE PAST IS NONEXISTENTIAL AND UNREAL, BUT I SEEM TO FEEL DIFFERENT ABOUT IT. WHAT IS GOING ON?
IF NOSTALGIA IS JUST A TRICK OF THE EGO, WHICH IT MUST BE, THEN WHY DOES IT COMES AS A GOOD WARM FEELING?
HOW CAN THE DEVIL BE SWEET?
OR HOW CAN MY FEELINGS BE UNREAL?
OR IF MY FEELINGS ARE UNREAL, WHAT IS LEFT?
The one question is not one question; it is seven questions. So we will have to be surgical. Excuse me. We will have to cut this question into seven parts.
First: "Oh, the religion! The adoration of the past!" Religion is not the adoration of the past. It has nothing to do with the past. Religion is possibility, not past. Religion is potentiality for the future, not past. Religion is not looking backwards; it is looking forwards. Religion is not memory, but hope. But you have been trained to look at the past because you have been trained not by religious people but by Christians, Hindus, Mohammedans. These are not religious people. You have been conditioned by the priests and the popes and the SHANKARACHARYAS. These are not religious people.
If you come to a religious person, he will give you hope for the future - he will give you a fire for the future. He will not talk about the dead past. To look at the dead past is dangerous. For one thing, it cannot be repeated. Second, one who goes on looking back cannot live the future. It is as if you are driving your car looking only in the rearview mirror. You are doomed! The rearview mirror is not for that. When you reverse your car, it's okay, use it; or sometimes somebody is honking his horn from behind, look. But don't get obsessed with the rearview mirror. It may be a beautiful mirror, but please, look ahead. You are driving in the future. Looking backwards and driving in the future is dangerous; then the accident is almost predictable. It is not an accident; it is a certainty; it is going to happen.
Remember, all movement is towards the future; you cannot move towards the past. Movement is only towards the future, but you can look towards the past. And if you go on looking towards the past, still you are moving towards the future, and if your life becomes accidental, prone to accidents, and you collide and bump and this and that and your whole life becomes a misery, it is natural. Look where you are going. Don't look to the past where you have been.
No, you must have been taught by Christians. Hindus, Mohammedans; that's why you think,"Oh, the religion! The adoration of the past!" Religion has nothing to do with the past, because religion has nothing to do with the dead. It is a concern with life, a commitment to life.
"The beauty and sentimentality of the past!" There is nothing beautiful in it. How can the dead be beautiful? You don't know what beauty is then. Beauty is always in the alive. Beauty is always of the present. But if you have become blind to the present, then of course you know only one beauty, and that is of the past. And that is not beauty at all. Beauty is throbbing, pulsating with life. Beauty is always here-now; it is not in the past.
But to be here-now needs great courage. To be here-now needs great awareness. To be here-now needs great intelligence. So people have chosen not to bother with the herenow; they look back, they look at the past. Now no intelligence is needed to look at the past - any stupid person can do that. Anybody can look at that which has happened. To look at that which is happening needs subtle, tremendous awareness. And that is the way the future is going to happen.
The future is constantly turning into the present; the present is constantly turning into the past. The past is out of your hands; you cannot do anything-with it. Then don't get stuck with it, because nothing can be done about it. You cannot undo it. You cannot change it. It is impossible. It is futile to waste time with it. But there are people - millions of people, they are the majority - who go on thinking about the past, who go on decorating it in their memory. They are missing the real. They have become involved with the unreal, with the gone. These people are dead people.
There is nothing beautiful in a grave. There is nothing beautiful in a skeleton. It simply stinks. A dead body simply stinks. There is nothing beautiful in it.
Beauty needs life, because beauty needs heartbeat, beauty needs pulsation, streaming, energy, vitality. The past is just a memory. You are just playing a tape when you start looking at the past; you are just looking at a movie. It is no longer anywhere; it is just in your head. And it is mechanical.
Now scientists say that it is absolutely mechanical. They have found that if electrodes are touched at certain centers of the mind, certain memories start unfolding. You think you are free? You are wrong.
If your skull is opened and a certain spot is touched with an electrode, some electricity is given to that spot, a certain memory will start. You will see you are a child. Suddenly! You were not thinking about it. You will see you are a child, running in the garden in the morning sun trying to catch a butterfly; and you have fallen and you have broken your leg. And if the electrode is taken away, the memory stops. Again if the electrode is touched to the same spot, the same memory repeats in the same way again: you are a child in the garden running in the morning sun trying to catch a butterfly; you have fallen; you have broken your leg. Put the electrode off; the memory disappears. Put the electrode on again; the memory again starts the same way: you are a child....
This is a mechanical thing. And you cannot stop it! Remember, when the electrode is there, do whatsoever you want to do - shake your head and want to get rid of it - you cannot. The tape is running, the film is moving, the film is on the projector. Your mind simply functions as a screen.
Nothing is beautiful in it; it is a mechanical thing.
To be here-now you have to be aware, not mechanical. To be in the past any machine will do; you are not needed.
Sooner or later, when a person dies, a person like Albert Einstein, they will take his tape out. Right now it is difficult, but sooner or later they will find the way to take the brain out and keep it alive as a machine, and then they can play it; it can be projected on a screen. Einstein will not be there, but his memories will be there and they will be played on a screen, and he will again and again discover the theory of relativity - and he is not there.
Mind, when functioning as the past, is a mechanism. When mind thinks about the future, again, it is the past projecting into the future. When you start thinking about tomorrow, what is your tomorrow?
Just a modified form - a little decorated, retouched here and there - just your yesterday projected again. Maybe there are a few things you don't want. Your woman nagged you too much yesterday.
You don't want her to nag you again, you don't want her to do that again tomorrow. Maybe you drop that. You were eating in a Chinese restaurant and it was tremendously delicious and you would like to eat there tomorrow again - and a little more. This is how your tomorrow comes, from the gone yesterday - a little retouched here and there, decorated, polished, modified, refined, but it is the gone yesterday projected again.
Only the present is not mechanical. Only the present is real. Only this moment is real. And only this moment is beautiful.
"... I have always felt like thinking about the past and getting a feeling of sweet pain, that the past-is gone, and crying sweet and warm tears and really enjoying the whole thing very much...." People do that, they go on enjoying the past very much, because they don't have any future and they don't have any present. These people are dead people, corpses walking on the streets.
Stop getting into the past too much. Detach yourself: Get out of your past. Yes, sometimes it can be very sweet. because you are completely free to choose. People choose good things from the past and go on dumping the bad things in their basement. That's why everybody thinks their childhood was paradise. It is not so. Ask the psychologists. They say it is a chosen part; you have chosen a few pages. Whatsoever you feel beautiful, you have chosen and you go on looking at it. And not only that, you go on magnifying its beauty, its sweetness, its goodness.
And this only shows one thing - this obsession with the past shows only one thing: your present is ugly. This shows only one thing: that you are impotent as far as the present is concerned. A really potent man or woman, a really vital person who lives in the present, will not have time to go into the past. The present is so absorbing, the present is so enchanting, the present is so tremendously alive, why should one go to the past? You go to the past only because you have not yet learned how to be in the present.
And to be in the present is to be religious. because to be in the present needs awareness. And awareness is the very key of all religion.
"Sometimes I really love my past. Having a past to play with, I feel blessed. Am I a fool?" Certainly, absolutely - and a perfect fool at that. Get out of this, and the sooner you do, the better. Be a little wiser with your life.
"So I hear you and agree with you, intellectually...." There is never any agreement intellectually. This is a way of saying that you don't agree with me. "Intellectual" agreement? It is not an agreement at all. It is as if somebody comes and says,"I love you very much - intellectually. What do you mean?
Intellectually? How can love happen intellectually? How can you agree with me intellectually'?
Maybe you cannot argue, maybe you feel yourself a little at a loss as to how to argue with me - you feel silenced - but it is not agreement. To agree intellectually is not to agree at all. Unless you agree totally, you agree not.
"So I hear you and agree with you, intellectually, that the past is nonexistential and unreal...." I am not giving you any theory or philosophy. I am simply stating facts. There is no question of agreement or disagreement. When I say the trees are green, do you agree with me intellectually, or do you disagree with me? You simply look at the trees and you say, "Right. Trees are green." When I say the past is gone, am I saying some philosophy to you, am I preaching some philosophy to you? "The past is gone" is as much a fact as "the trees are green." You know it, I know it, everybody knows it:
the past is gone. The past MEANS that which is gone. The past is the past. Do you have to agree with me about this too? Then either I am mad or you are mad!
If I say the sun has risen and you say, "Yes. I think I will agree with you".... About facts one need not agree or disagree. Just look at the fact. Either it is a fact or it is not a fact. How can you hesitate between agreement and disagreement? Either I am stating some fictitious thing or I am stating a fact. Just look into the fact.
The past is gone - you are no longer a child, or you are no longer a young man. The past is gone.
Let the gone be gone. That's what Jesus says when he says, "Let the dead bury their dead." Let the gone be gone, and look at that which is.
And now one thing to be remembered. A person who is so obsessed with the past, his past is not reliable either. Because, for example, today, right now, I am talking to you. This is the present.
Tomorrow it will have become the past and then you will think about it - Osho talking to you and how beautiful it was. Look at the foolishness of it. One doctor used to come here, and he would continuously take notes. I asked him, "What dp you go on doing?" He said, "I take notes because you say such beautiful things, I would like to remember them later on." "But when I am talking right now, then you are taking notes. Your notes are not reliable, because you don't hear me: you are concerned with the notes too much. Your concern with the notes simply says you are too concerned with changing the present into the past, and then you will enjoy."
Yes, there are people.... There is a certain category of people called the "tourists." It is a sort of neurosis. They go to the Himalayas. They don't look at the Himalayas - they are continuously clicking their cameras and looking at the guidebook and listening to the guide. The Himalayas are not a concern at all. And if you ask them they will say, "Yes, back at home, resting in our armchairs, we will look at the album."
Don't be a tourist. "Tourist" is a certain sort of neurosis. When you are facing the Himalayas, tell the guide to keep quiet, because whatsoever he says is meaningless. The Himalayas are there, you are facing Gourishankar; let everybody keep quiet. Look at it, face it, encounter it. It is tremendously beautiful. Don't bring your camera in; the camera will falsify it. And the camera can give only one aspect; just a small window will open. The whole of the Himalayas was available in its totality, and you missed that. And you will look back home - with nostalgia - at how beautiful were the Himalayas.
And you were never there! You were with your camera and you were listening to the guide and you were looking at the guidebook and the map - and you were never there. Maybe when you were in the Himalayas you were thinking about your home - with nostalgia!
I cannot trust you that you had a real past. Your past is gone, and even that past cannot be very real. Because you don't know how to live in the present, how can your past be real? Not even as a memory is it worth trusting. First live in the present - let the present have its total impact on you - then your past will have something, a true memory. Otherwise your memory is not reliable. You may be imagining it; you may be dreaming about it.
While I am talking to you, be here with me. When you are in Poona, be in Poona. Otherwise there are people: when they are in Poona they think of Philadelphia, and when they are in Philadelphia they will think of Poona. They go on falsifying everything.
"If nostalgia is just a trick of the ego, which it must be, then why does it come as a good warm feeling?" Because you don't know how to be warm here-now. Because you don't know how to be loving here-now. You are cold and frozen here-now, so you seek warmth in memories. You are tremendously poor. I feel sorry for you.
"How can the devil be sweet?" The devil is always sweet. God is sometimes bitter too, but the devil is always sweet. He has to be sweet; otherwise how will he deceive you? He cannot afford to be bitter. He has to always buttress you.
"How can my feelings be unreal?" I am not saying that your feelings are unreal. I am saying feelings exist in the present. In fact the word "feel" has no past tense. I don't know about language and the grammarians, but I say to you, the word "feel" has no past tense - cannot have. "Feel" means "feel here-now." Thinking is always past; thinking has no present tense. You cannot think here-now. The moment you think, you are lost, you have lost track of the present. Feeling is always of the present; thinking, always of the past.
You try it. And I am stating a fact. You try it. If you think, you always think of that which is gone or that which has not come yet; both nonexistential. Thinking is nonexistential. Feeling is existential. If you love a person, and you feel the love, you feel here-now. How can you have the feeling of yesterday?
You will THINK that you felt yesterday; you cannot FEEL it. And to think that you felt is not feeling; it is thinking. It is a deception.
And, "If my feelings are unreal, what is left?" I am not saying your feelings are unreal. I am saying you are unreal. And when you are not left, God is. God knows only the present; God has no past and no future. God always is. You cannot make a sentence "God WAS"; it will be meaningless.
You cannot say "God WILL BE"; that too will be meaningless. God is always is; God is isness, the absolute present.
When you are not there.... And you are nothing but your past. What are you? Just a collection of the past. Drop your past, and you are not. The ego is nothing but a collective name for your whole past; and when you don't live in the past, you start living egolessly. Then moment to moment you go on dying to the past, you go on renouncing the past, and each moment you are fresh, young, virgin.
And in that virginity is God.
The soldier returned home unexpectedly on a fast leave. A few minutes later he was in bed with his wife when the janitor knocked on the door. "My God," he screamed, jumping out of bed, "it is your husband!"
"Don't be silly," said his wife. "My husband is in Germany."
Get it? They both forgot the present. The soldier has come on a fast leave and immediately gets into bed with the wife, and the janitor knocks on the door. Of course he must have become afraid, as he must have been becoming afraid in other people's houses with other people's wives, and he suddenly jumps off the bed, and he says, "My God, it is your husband!" And he is the husband!
"Don't be silly," says his wife. "My husband is in Germany." She must be sleeping with others. And both are in the past. People are so unaware of the present. People are not in the present at all.
That's how they are missing God. God is the present, and you are not in the present. To be present - in the present - is to be in meditation. That's all meditation is about. To be present is to be prayerful.
ONCE IN A WHILE, MY MIND LOOKS AT YOUR CLOSE DISCIPLES, LIKE THE TALL ENGLISH GUY WITH THE SAD FACE. ONE HEARS HIS SAD VOICE AS HE READS THE SUTRA. THE GUY NEVER SMILES, NEVER LETS GO. DO PEOPLE BECOME VERY SERIOUS IF THEY ARE SO NEAR YOU?
I am not serious, and a certain balance is needed. Teertha balances me. He has to be serious on purpose. When the Master is not serious, disciples have to be serious.
You can ask Narendra, one of our sannyasins. His father is a beautiful man - a little crazy. For thirty, forty years he has been crazy. Small children will watch him - his own children will watch him - because he can steal. He can take things from the money box and disappear. Hmm? the father. So small kids, they will just sit there in the shop and watch. When the father can steal, then the children have to watch. Otherwise ordinarily it happens the other way: the father watches, and the kids steal.
This is how it is happening here. The Master is nonserious: the kids have to be serious. It certainly balances. Teertha is not serious; he has to be on purpose.
But you need not be worried about others. That is not mannerly, and that is not good at all. It is impolite, inhuman. You should not be concerned with others. Why should you be worried? And who are you to decide what others should do? The very idea that you have to decide that "others should do like this" is a deep political ambition to become powerful, to manage, to suppress.
Now, you say, "Once in a while, my mind looks at your close disciples...." Don't waste time. Look at yourself. In fact there is not much time; you cannot afford it. Life is short and much has to be done.
Don't waste your time, because God will not ask you why Teertha was serious. He will not ask you; it is not anything to be asked to you. If he wants to ask, he will ask Teertha. He will ask you about you, and then you cannot say, "I cannot answer because I was too busy looking at other people and what they were doing and my whole life was wasted in that."
"The guy never smiles, never lets go." But it is possible that if somebody lets go, the smile may disappear. If the smile is forced, pretentious, then let-go will help the smile go. It is not necessary that when you relax you will smile. It depends. Somebody may start crying when he relaxes - and he may have been laughing before. Now he relaxes and he starts crying. Somebody may have been very, very sweet and smiling, and when he relaxes, suddenly he becomes serious. There is no necessity about it. If his smile was false, then when he relaxes he cannot smile. If his sweetness was false, when he relaxes he cannot be sweet. If his softness, politeness, was just hypocrisy and he relaxes, then he cannot be polite. It depends.
So there is no necessity that in a let-go everybody has to smile. These ideas of how everybody should be are wrong. When I say let go, I am simply saying be natural. If to somebody it happens that he feels natural when he is serious, then it is perfectly good. Then don't impose on him that he has to laugh. Why? Who are you? You never seem to allow people freedom. Sometimes you say they have to be serious - don't laugh. And sometimes, if you turn to the other extreme, you start saying, "Now nobody is allowed to be serious - laugh!" Both are wrong.
Allow the other his being. If serious is natural, good. The whole world cannot laugh. In the world there exists a certain balance. Just as half are women and half are men and half are introverts and half are extroverts and half are people with will and half are people with a tremendous quality of surrender, in exactly the same way, half the people when they are relaxed will laugh and half the people when they are relaxed will become serious. That's a balance. The world is a great balance.
But I have the feeling that the person who has asked must himself have suffered from seriousness.
Otherwise why should he be worried? You can laugh. Teertha's seriousness is not a hindrance to you. He is not going to prevent you. But if you feel that somebody is serious and you feel a certain hindrance for yourself to laugh, that means deep down in your unconscious you have been a serious person. In fact you are finding ways and means to be serious here; you are finding a rationalization. So now if you think, and if I can say to you, that people who are very close to me become serious, then you would also like to become serious and come close to me. You are trying to find a rationalization. It is your outlook, and your outlook always shows something about you.
I have heard an anecdote of the night Houdini, the great magician, first introduced the trick of putting a a dozen needles and a piece of thread into his mouth, and then producing them all neatly threaded.
"I want a gentleman in the audience," he announced, "to examine the needles and thread, and then look into my mouth to make sure nothing is concealed there." An elderly little man climbed up to the stage, and peered intently into Houdini's bridgework. "Well," said Houdini finally, "don't just stand there. Tell the audience what you see."
The little man said, "Pyorrhea."
He was a doctor. When you say something about somebody, you say something about yourself.
Never be concerned about others. My whole effort here is to give you all freedom, total freedom, to be whatsoever you can be. Seriousness is also beautiful if it is natural. Then it is a flowering. The whole world laughing and nobody serious will not be a very deep world. It will be very superfluous.
Laughter has a beauty of its own, a flowering, but seriousness.... When I say don't be serious, I mean don't be UNNATURALLY serious. When I say laugh, I don't mean laugh anywhere for no reason at all. When I say laugh, I mean ALLOW laughter; if it comes don't repress it. And the same I say about seriousness. If it is natural to you, if it is a natural climate to you and you feel good and happy in it, then perfectly good. There is no need to be worried about it.
Remember, the unnatural has to be dropped and the natural has to be allowed flowering, expression.
If you are here in this world to sing a serious song, sing it. That's your destiny. If you are here to dance and laugh, dance and laugh. That's your destiny.