Everything beautiful is absurd
IF YOU ARE NOT OUR LEADER, WHY DO WE GET CLEAR MESSAGES FROM THE MASTER TO DO THIS OR THAT?
I am certainly not your leader, and I never was before. The very word "leader" stinks of politics.
In the world of religiousness there are no leaders, no followers, because to be led by someone is to remain blind. He knows - you do not know. You have simply to be his shadow, following his footprints wherever he goes.
Religious experience is totally different. The function of the guide is acceptable. The guide has not to be followed, but understood. The guide can tell you about his experience, the path that leads to the peak of existence. But he also knows that every individual is unique; hence, you cannot follow the footprints of another person. You will have to find your own path. There are not ready-made paths already available - and that's the beauty, the beauty of total freedom. As you walk you create the path. By your very search you create the truth.
The guide is a friend; he is not a leader. A leader is ugly. He reduces you, insults you, humiliates you, makes you puppets. He decides for you - you are not allowed to decide for yourself. For example, Jesus says to his followers, "I am your shepherd, you are my sheep." And I am amazed that not a single disciple stood up and said, "This is humiliating. You are degrading us, putting us below human beings." Just to become a shepherd thousands of people have to be reduced to sheep - to fulfill one man's mad ego. How many million people have been reduced to subhuman levels?
The leader becomes bigger as he manages to make the follower smaller. The leader can never be your friend. And if he can never be your friend, then who is he? He is your enemy! I repeat it:
he is your enemy. He has kept you retarded, blind, unevolved. He has really made you into sheep just to fulfill his desire of being a shepherd, of being a savior. And for twenty centuries not a single Christian has raised the question that this statement of Jesus does not show compassion, love. The statement is fascist!
I am certainly not your leader. I do not want anybody to remain retarded, to remain blind, to become dependent on me. I don't want to become your father figure.
Have you ever thought why you call your priests, bishops, cardinals, "father"? They don't have any children, they are unmarried people - a very strange kind of father! You are their children, and to remain your father they have to keep you confined to your childhood consciousness. You should not be allowed to grow.
Why do all the religions call God, the father? Why not God, the uncle? - which seems more human, more soft, more intimate. But God has to be the father for a certain reason. He helps you to remain a child, dependent, always praying for help, always hoping for reward. But that never allows you to stand on your own feet.
For thousands of years humanity has remained stuck. If Charles Darwin is true, that one day, thousands of years ago, even monkeys managed to become men, then what has man been doing for thousands of years? Is evolution finished? Has man come to a full stop? It does not seem so. Looking at your misery, your suffering, your anguish, you cannot be accepted as the end of evolution.
Then what has gone wrong? Monkeys could become man because there was no priest amongst them - they were free. Man could not evolve higher consciousness, for the simple reason that your higher consciousness will take away the leadership of your priests, politicians, popes.
The word "pope" also means the father. Why so much desire for a father? You must be feeling immensely helpless, must be feeling that you need somebody to protect you, somebody who is all-knowing, all-powerful. But the very dependence is your slavery.
Each leader - political, religious, or of any other brand - is against the evolution of man.
I am not your leader. And I hate the very word from my guts, because I can see the implications of it. To be a leader means to be a criminal! Of course, the crime is so subtle that you don't see somebody being murdered. But the whole humanity is being crushed, murdered under the weight of it.
You have been told for centuries just to follow: it is not your business to think, to contemplate, to meditate, to decide for your own life. Somebody else has to decide it. Somebody else has to give you ideals, values. Your function is only to be faithful.
Faith is poison, and to be faithful means you have committed suicide. But the leader needs faithful people, committed people, surrendered people. These are good words for making people enslaved.
But the guide is a friend, he is not your leader. He has found something which you can also find. His function is to make you aware of your potentiality. His function is not to create a certain personality according to his ideas but to give you freedom, to help you come out of all kinds of conditionings so that you can become an individual.
Personality is borrowed. It is what others have made of you. Individuality is your nature. It is what you have brought from your very birth with you.
The guide helps you to destroy the personality. The moment the personality falls apart, suddenly you discover your original face. And your original face is always a tremendous transformation. You have got hold of your natural being, of your spontaneity, of your freedom. And these are the basic elements which will help you on the way.
Now you can move on your own, without any leader, without any father figure, without any pope, without any God. You feel a strange contentment with yourself. You feel whole unto yourself.
So remember, whenever I say something or I give a message to you, it is simply to destroy your bondage, your chains, your imprisonment. I am not shaping your being, I am simply deprogramming you. Your being is already there, covered under so many programs - Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan, communist.
You are almost like an onion, layers upon layers. My message is: start peeling those layers. And when you come to the very center of the onion there will be just nothingness in your hands, silence.
From that silence, from that nothingness, everything becomes possible - and you need not do anything.
Just as the seed, finding the right soil, starts changing into a sprout.... The seed dies - its death is absolutely necessary for the birth of the plant. And soon there will be a lush green bush full of flowers and fragrance.
But your seed has been covered with so many layers of culture, etiquette, education, religion, country, that you have completely forgotten that you are here to grow, that you have to become a lush green bush full of flowers, fragrance, dancing in the wind and in the rain and in the sun. To me, that is religiousness.
The guide is only a friend, to help you discover yourself. I am certainly not your leader. At the most, a friend, and that too, not against your will. I have not come to you - you have come to me. I am not going anywhere. The thirsty have to come to the well. There is a saying of Mohammed, that if the thirsty cannot come to the well, then Mohammed is going to the thirsty. That is the language of the leader.
The well simply remains available. You have thirst - the well has water. You are always welcome, but the well is not going to force you, tell you, "You have to drink." It is your freedom to drink or not to drink.
I have made myself available to the whole world. Now, those who feel some kind of synchronicity with me, those in whose hearts bells start ringing... I am not responsible for it. And if they start coming to me, I cannot refuse them.
My message is to discover yourself.
I am not your ideal; you are not to become like me. You are not to have faith in me - that will not help. You will have to do hard work for transformation, and each will have to do it according to his need. I can help in many ways.
All my messages are letters from a friend. Accept them or not - that is up to you. There is no enforcement.
YOU ARE THE GREATEST. YOU ARE LIKE THE MUSIC OF MOZART, VIVALDI AND BACH AND MORE.
YOU MAKE ME LAUGH, AND ALWAYS AT A TIME WHEN I NEED IT MOST.
YOU TELL US THAT YOU FELT HURT AT THE ENTHUSIASM WITH WHICH PEOPLE DROPPED THE MALA, ETCETERA. THE RAJNEESH TIMES CALLED IT A STUNNING STATEMENT. THAT MADE ME LAUGH EVEN MORE.
I HAVE NOT BEEN WITH A ZEN MASTER - AT LEAST IN THIS LIFE. BUT I RECOGNIZE ONE WHEN I SEE ONE, AND YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY THE TOP - HITTING PEOPLE WHEN THEY NEED IT, AND IN THE MANNER MOST APPROPRIATE. OF COURSE, I'M WAITING FOR MY COMEUPPANCE - IT'S BOUND TO HAPPEN. AND THAT TOO MAKES ME LAUGH. IS JOY ALSO AN ABSURDITY?
Everything beautiful is absurd. Joy is one of those experiences which are not utilitarian. Love, peace, enlightenment - all are absurd, absurd in the sense that there is no meaning beyond themselves.
Their meaning is intrinsic.
I am reminded of Picasso. He was painting.... For almost two hours a man was standing behind him, watching; he could not figure out what the painting was, what the meaning was. Finally, he could not resist the temptation of asking Picasso.
Picasso looked at him and said, "This is something! I was really going to ask you, because you have been watching for two hours: perhaps you may have found the meaning. I was so much engaged in painting, so much into it - I was not there, only painting was happening. So I was hoping that perhaps you might be able to say to me what is the meaning of it all. As far as I am concerned, just painting it has been such a joyous experience - now no other reward is needed."
And one thing more he said. "You ask me what is the meaning of this painting, but you never ask these flowers what is their meaning. You never ask the sun, you never ask the moon, you never ask the whole sky full of stars what is the meaning. Why do you torture a poor painter? If the whole existence can remain without explaining what its meaning is, can't my small painting also remain without meaning? One thing I can say, it is tremendously beautiful."
The man said, "That's right, it is attractive, it is beautiful; but a thing without meaning is absurd."
Picasso said, "Exactly. It is not a commodity. In the marketplace everything has a meaning. It is a commodity, it is for some utilitarian purpose. But life is not just the marketplace, and it is good that it is not so. In life there are a few things which are utterly meaningless, yet absolutely fulfilling.
"This painting is absurd. It is so absurd that I cannot figure out how I am going to hang it in my house - which way is going to be up, which way is going to be down. I cannot figure it out. If you can help - because you have been observing for two hours... how should I hang it?"
The man said, "You are mad! You are painting it, and you don't know how to hang it?"
Picasso said, "I am mad, you are not - that's why I am asking you."
The man tried in all possible ways - there are only four possible ways to hang it. It was beautiful each way. The man said to Picasso, "You and your painting will drive me crazy! It was stupid of me to stand here and waste time. And this is as crazy as you are, because you can hang it any way and it looks right."
Picasso said, "That's the beauty of it!"
But beauty is absurd. Joy is absurd. Laughter is absurd. Collect as many absurdities in your life as possible. People collect strange things - postal stamps.... Collect absurdities; and the more absurdities you have, the richer you are. The world may think you are a little off the track, but that is their problem; you are enjoying it.
In my postgraduate studies in the university, I used to go on a small street which ended, just after two miles, in front of a deep valley; that was the dead end. Only a few professors who loved silence had their bungalows on that street; there was no traffic, because in those two miles what traffic can exist?
I used to go there only when it would rain - I loved to go into the rain. The last house on the street belonged to the head of the department of physics - one of the very well-known scientists. He had been in America before I came to the university, teaching physics.
His family, it became a routine thing - whenever it would rain I would appear drenched, without any umbrella, without any raincoat, enjoying the natural shower.... The whole family would come onto their veranda - the wife, the children - and they would all watch, thinking that I must be mad.
The professor was at the university. He heard one of my talks and he was very interested. We became friends - he was an old man - and one day he said, "Why don't you come for supper today?
It happens to be my birthday."
I said, "I will come, certainly."
He had talked to his family about me many times, and the family was very much excited: "Who is the guest?" They were all waiting outside in the garden when I went in, and they all started laughing, looking at me. The professor could not understand what the matter was, because I also started laughing. The professor said, "I don't understand, but it seems you understand why they are laughing, and they understand you. And I was thinking I am going to introduce you to my family!"
I said, "I know your family, they know me. We are well acquainted, although we have never spoken.
I come here whenever it rains - this street is so silent. Your house is the last house before the road ends, and your family rushes out to see me. I know they think I am crazy, but they don't know that I think they are crazy! - because what is the point of rushing out again and again to see a crazy man? They wait for me. Whenever it rains, they stop all other work; they are simply waiting for me!
Sometimes I have to come just for them. I may have some other work, but I think of these poor fellows - that they will be waiting, and they will be unnecessarily frustrated if I don't come. They think I am mad, I think they are mad."
The professor said, "This is strange! You never told me about it."
I said, "You would not have understood the relationship that was growing between me and your family. We have become very close, very intimate - without speaking a single word."
The professor said to me, "Next time it rains, I am going to be with you if it is so joyful. I have never done anything like that."
The next time he joined me, and he was really ecstatic. Just ordinary rain on an empty street - and we both laughed. He said, "But I have missed my whole life! And how am I going to convince my family now? - they are watching both of us."
And now I was also acquainted, so we both went into the house. The wife said, "This is the strangest thing that I have seen in my husband, that he should do such a thing."
But the husband said, "You can think me crazy, there is no harm in it. But at least once, you should join us. Now we both are going every time the rain comes; you should, at least once, join us."
She said, "But what is the meaning of it?"
The professor said, "That is the difficulty. There is no meaning in it, but there is great joy."
In small things you can find joy. But if you are looking for meaning, then even in the greatest experiences you will not find meaning. Meaning is a mind interpretation. And all that is beautiful, loving, ecstatic, is something of the heart.
And the head can never understand the heart: there is no communication line between the two.
It is the head that asks the meaning. It is the heart that asks for joyful experiences, for ecstatic experiences, but it never asks about their meaning.
Put your head aside and try to look at life from the heart. You will find it so glorious, so infinitely luminous that you will not be able to conceive how you have been missing, how much you have been missing. And that will explain why you are miserable, why you are in anxiety, why you are always sad.
It is as if somebody is trying to listen to music through the eyes - he will not hear anything. He will say, "I want to see the music." But you cannot see the music, you can only hear it. It is better if you close your eyes and open your ears.
Meaning is of the head, and if you go on searching through the head you will come to the same conclusions as Jean-Paul Sartre and other existentialist philosophers. They say, "Life is meaningless. The only thing worth doing is committing suicide, because why go on living a meaningless life?"
Life is certainly meaningless, but tremendously joyful, hilarious... a dance, a song, a beauty. But you will have to change your gears from the head to the heart.
Look at small children - how excited they are in your bored world! You are sitting there completely bored, and your child is so excited. And you think you are right and the child is a fool. He does not know anything about life, that's why he is so excited about any absurd thing - butterflies, flowers, colored stones, seashells, anything! And you can't see any meaning in them. But the child is right, you are wrong.
The criterion is boredom: who is bored? Whoever is bored is wrong. Whoever is dancing, singing, having a good belly laughter is right! But one has to change. It is not a very big change - your heart and your head are not very far away, maybe a few inches. And the heart is closer to you, closer to your being; the head is the farthest from your being. But the whole programming going on is to avoid the heart and join your being directly with the head. That's what your schools, colleges, universities, are doing.
The heart has no function in your education - naturally, your life is a misery. A true education will be basically the education of the heart. It will make you more innocent, more childlike, more excited and ecstatic about small things. Then each moment becomes luminous.
And what are you going to do with meaning? Even if there is meaning in something, what are you going to do with meaning? The real thing is experiencing.
So it is perfectly good to accept joy, laughter, without any reason - the way you accept your health.
Are you ever worried when you are healthy, wondering: Why am I healthy? Do you go to the doctor, tremendously concerned and worried, and say, "Doctor, for seven days I have been healthy; something seems to be wrong"? No, health is natural; it need not be diagnosed, analyzed, it has to be lived.
But when you are sick, you go to the doctor. You want to know the cause of it, because sickness is not natural. When somebody is sad, he is sick; he needs to find out why he is sick, why he is sad.
But when somebody is laughing, just dancing, it is natural. In a healthy society it should be accepted without any questions.
But because the whole society is sick, and suddenly one person starts laughing, naturally the whole society points to the person, that he is going crackers. There is no reason why he is laughing.
Nobody has told a joke, nobody has slipped on a banana peel. Without any reason, he goes on laughing. But if somebody is sad, nobody says, "Without any reason this man is sad - this cannot be accepted." This is a strange state.
We have to change it completely. We have to make laughter, rejoicing, dancing, singing, part of a healthy being - just overflowing well-being. And anybody who is miserable, sad, long faced, has to be taken to the psychologist. Something is wrong with the man. He is not overflowing with energy; his energy has shrunk.
HAVE YOU EVER REGRETTED ANYTHING IN LIFE? - BECAUSE I HAVE NEVER HEARD YOU SAYING, "I'M SORRY." PLEASE SAY SOMETHING ON THIS.
I am sorry! - but I have never regretted in my life, for the simple reason that whatever I do, I do it wholeheartedly.
You regret because you never do things wholeheartedly, you are always divided. Some part of you wants to do it, some part of you is against doing it. If you do it, the part that was against is going to make you regret. If you do not do it, the part that was for it is going to make you regret. Anyway, you are in a fix.
A divided mind cannot avoid regret. He always looks backward, and he always thinks perhaps the other alternative was better. But nothing can be done about it now, except regretting.
I have never regretted in my life, because in the first place, I never do much. To regret, first you have to do something. So, basically, I am a good for nothing: why should I regret?
Secondly, if circumstances, situations, are such that I have to do something, then I do it totally. And I never look back because there is nothing to look back for. Whatever I did, I did totally; there is no part of me which can say, "I was telling you, don't do it." So who is going to regret? And whatever has been done cannot be undone. So what is the point of crying and weeping over spilled milk?
So I can say to you I am really sorry - but I am helpless: this is the way I am. And I have enjoyed not doing; I have also enjoyed doing anything totally. There is no reason to regret anything.
You regret only because you think that things could have been better. To me, they have always been better. Whatever it was, to me it was the best. I enjoyed it fully.
I am reminded.... I was traveling in a bus. I was going to a place where no buses, no trains were going, so for eight miles I had to go by bullock cart.
But some misunderstanding happened. I had to get down at a place eight miles from my destination.
I asked the passenger sitting by my side, "Is this the right place, the nearest?"
He said, "No. If you stop at the next stop, it will be easier. It will be closer and you will be able to get a bullock cart. Here, you will not get a bullock cart."
Thinking that he knew that area, I went to the next stop. When I got down there, the bus left, and I inquired. People said, "You have missed. It was the last place from where you could have got some vehicle to the place you want to go. From here it will be very difficult, and it is long. And the bus comes only once in twenty-four hours, so if you want to go back to that place you will have to wait.
The same bus will come tomorrow."
Seeing me in difficulty, a man offered me his hut, saying, "You can stay here for the time being."
I have never been in such a poor place in my whole life. Not only poor, but utterly dirty, stinking. The man used to sell kerosene oil, so it was really awful. He offered me a bed for the night - the bed was smelling of kerosene oil and nothing else.
I could not turn over, because to keep my nose as far away from the bed as possible, the only position was just to lie down straight and look up. But I enjoyed it really - remaining in the same position, looking at the roof, the stink of the kerosene oil all around, bedbugs, mosquitoes... everything that you could conceive to make a man suffer. I laughed.
The man was on the veranda. He said, "What is the matter? Why are you laughing?"
I said, "I am laughing because of this little experience of hell. I have always been intending to go to hell; this is a good training! And I promise you that once in a while, whenever I pass through here, I will be your guest."
He said, "I was afraid, because although I do this business, the stink is so much that even after doing it for years I have not become accustomed to it. The mosquitoes are so big, the bedbugs are there; and I can see you are not even lying on your side. I know the reason," he said, "but I am sorry. I don't have anything else to offer to you."
I said, "Don't be sorry. I am rejoicing in the whole experience. It is so new to me, and everything that is new is a great adventure and excitement."
Next day, when I was leaving, he asked me, "Are you really thinking of coming back again?"
I said, "Certainly." And I went to his hut at least four times. Whenever I passed through there, I always stopped at the wrong stop, reached the hut. And the man could not believe it: "Either you are crazy, or something... because now you know where to get down. The first time it was a mistake, but why are you doing it again and again?"
I said, "I am not making any mistake - I enjoyed that night so much. I could not sleep at all, and I had had no experience of bedbugs, mosquitoes. It is always good to be acquainted with new people.
One never knows where one will end up.... New acquaintance is always good. And your kerosene oil makes me feel I am in hell. I don't know whether there is any hell or not, but I don't want to miss any experience. Perhaps there is no hell after life; then I will have had this experience. And I am immensely grateful to you."
Whatever happens, you can always look into it and find something really precious. Now, once in a while sleeping on my back, looking up, I remember and I laugh. That experience has made all my life's nights far more beautiful. Now the comparison exists. Before it there was no comparison, it was stale: no bedbugs, no mosquitoes, no kerosene.
I don't regret, I don't feel that it should have been otherwise. No, whatever has been should have been exactly the same as it has been. And I am perfectly happy with every act and with every consequence, because everything has been a tremendous teaching. It is just that you have to change your outlook, and the whole of life becomes a terrific drama.
And you are not victims, you are just actors in it. You can keep your witness untouched by whatever happens. And the witness knows no regret, the witness cannot say, "I am sorry."
CAN I DOUBT YOU?
Yes, absolutely yes - including this statement!