Does a flower need religion?
DOES A PAGAN LIVING A NATURAL LIFE NEED RELIGION?
It is one of the most basic questions that can be asked. The first thing to understand is, who is a pagan? It is not what Christians go on calling a pagan. The pagan is a natural man - sincere, not a hypocrite, living life naturally without an domination of the mind.
The pagan is part of existence.
He is not trying to go in some other direction but is always in a let-go and moving with existence wherever it leads.
There is no goal in the life of a pagan.
There is no question of any meaning in the life of a pagan. Life in itself is so beautiful that to ask the question of the meaning of life is simply nonsense. It has to be remembered - we ask about meaning only when something goes wrong.
If you have a headache, you certainly inquire why; you go to the doctor to find out the cause. But when you don't have any headache, what to say about headache? - you even forget about the head. Without the headache is there any head? There is no need even to remember it. When you
are healthy you never ask the question, What is the meaning of health? Such a question only arises in the mind of a man who is not healthy.
The people who ask what is the meaning of life are the people who have missed life, who are alive because they are still breathing, their heart is still beating, their pulse is still going on; otherwise they are dead. Except for these three things there is nothing in their life. Naturally the question arises:
What is the meaning?
Heart beating, breathing continuing, pulse perfectly right - but can these three things give you any fulfillment, any joy? Can these three things be the meaning of existence, the meaning of being? This is vegetating, not living. These are the people who ask, "What is the meaning of life?" - because they are missing it.
The people who are really living are in love with life, in love with the small things of life, not hankering for any great things, non-ambitious.
Sipping a cup of tea is enough of a joy for them.
Just to see the sunrise is such a glory that who bothers what is the meaning of life? They enjoy their food, they enjoy their clothes, they enjoy their houses, they enjoy their gardens, they enjoy their lovers, their beloveds. They enjoy music, they enjoy poetry.
They enjoy everything that is enjoyable, with no guilt.
Joy is not a sin, and to be happy is not a crime. On the contrary, not to enjoy is a sin, not to be happy is to be a criminal, because the person who is not happy is going to do something wrong sooner or later. He is potentially on the way to crime. If he cannot be happy, he cannot allow anybody else to be happy; that is intolerable to him. He will be destructive of other people's happiness, of other people's joys. If he cannot enjoy, he is not going to allow anybody else to enjoy either. It hurts him that others are enjoying: "What is wrong with me?"
There is certainly something wrong with you. Perhaps you are a Christian, perhaps you are a Hindu - these are diseases, and they go so deep in you, they contaminate you all the way. Your blood, your bones, your marrow - everything becomes contaminated.
Just look at the face of Jesus. If you are a Christian you should look like Jesus, always carrying the cross, always sad, with a long face because the burden of the whole world is on his shoulders. He has to be the savior.
The savior cannot be blissful. There is so much to save, so many people are drowning, dying; so many people are committing sins - and you are being blissful? Sitting silently doing nothing - and the crime grows by itself! The savior cannot have any holiday. He cannot go to a holiday resort for a few days to relax and enjoy the sun and the sand and the sea. No, it is not for saviors. This is for pagans.
The pagan is never a savior, for the simple reason that if somebody wants to be miserable, it is his birthright - let him enjoy his misery! If he is enjoying his misery who are we to interrupt? If he wants
to go to hell, then who are you to prevent him? He is not preventing you from going to heaven - you just go and take your flock with you, but leave him alone.
But saviors cannot leave people alone. That's why I say they are the most dangerous people on the earth: in the name of good they will interfere with your privacy. They won't allow you to live according to your own nature. They will force you according to their ideas of how a man should be. They have a certain mold, and they will try to fit you into that mold; and nobody is going to fit into their mold, because their mold is according to their size, their height, their weight, their shape. It is their mold - it fits them perfectly.
But all these saviors carrying this idiotic idea that what fits them is going to fit everybody; not only is going to, has to fit. The man is for the mold, not vice versa; the mold is not for the man. The mold cannot be changed according to you; you have to change according to their mold.
Perhaps Jesus enjoyed being sad and long-faced. I have no objection to it - it is his life. If he wants to paint it with dark and dismal colors, it is his birthright; but he cannot say to anybody that, "You cannot paint your life with such shiny, such colorful moments."
But that's what all these saviors have been doing. You have to paint your life just like a blackboard in a school. The darker it is, the happier the savior feels - he has saved one soul who otherwise was going to fall into the world of colors and songs, into the world of beauty and love. He was going to be distracted. Now he will remain with the dark color.
It is not strange that Christian priests use black for their robes. Strange, they call those robes 'habits.'
I used to wonder: habit, for a robe? Then slowly I understood that really it is a habit, an idiotic habit.
It is not a robe - they are not wearing clothes - they are habits, conditionings. That black, to them, is the color of mourning too. Why should the Christian priest be in the color of mourning? That's what he wants you all to be, continuously in mourning. That's what he calls "saving people from sin."
Sin is really colorful. In the world of sin the color black does not exist ... very alive colors, smiling, laughing, roaring.
The pagan lives without any principles.
To live according to principles is not to live. To live according to principles means you have to cut much of your living according to the principle - the principle is more important than your life itself.
You have to sacrifice your life to the principle; you cannot sacrifice the principle to your life.
The pagan has nothing higher than his life.
Christians have condemned pagans; they had to condemn them because either the pagan can exist in the world, or millions of Christians - and they have destroyed the pagans almost completely. Now there are very few pagans in the world. They too have to live a double life. Just on the surface they have to show they are Christians, they are Hindus, they are Mohammedans; and underneath, underground, they have to live life as they would have loved to live it openly.
These Christians have made the whole of humanity schizophrenic. They have divided every man in two, one thing on the surface and just the opposite underneath. And the life you live underneath you
cannot enjoy fully; in fact, you feel guilty about it, you know that you are deceiving God. You know you are going against religion, you know you are not following the holy scripture.
So even those who are living something true and natural, underground of course they are not living joyously; the guilt poisons everything.
You are asking me, "Does a pagan need religion?"
I am a pagan.
I do not need religion because I am religion.
The authentic pagan has no need of religion because, whatever religion can provide, he already has it.
Religion gives you only hopes; the pagan has all those hopes realized herenow. Religion tells you that somewhere in the future, in the kingdom of God, you will be happy, continuously playing on the harp and singing, "Alleluia, Alleluia!" But sometimes I think, "How long can you play on the harp?"
And in heaven there is no other work, at least no religion says that there is any work; just be happy and go on singing alleluia.
Those saints, who must have been doing this for centuries - feel compassion for them.
And the difficulty with heaven is, there is an entrance but there is no exit. Jean-Paul Sartre has written a play, NO EXIT; it is about hell. That's where he is wrong. The book should have been about heaven. Hell has an exit but heaven has none. In hell there is so much going on - in every religion's hell. It is really a fantastic place, so much is going on. You will never be tired and bored - all kinds of colorful people are there. In heaven you will find only dodos.
I have experienced many times - because I have lived with many so-called saints - that saints are the worst company in the world. You cannot imagine: to live with a saint for twenty-four hours is enough to make you decide never to be a saint. From the morning till the night they are moving like robots, everything according to principle.
The Buddhist monk has thirty-three thousand principles. I told one Buddhist monk ... he is an Englishman, converted at an early age - now he is very old. Bhikkhu Shankra Chitta is his name, and he has lived in Kalimpong between Tibet and India, almost his whole life. He has written beautiful books on Tibetanism, and is certainly one of its authorities as far as scholarship is concerned.
Just by chance I was holding a camp in Bodh Gaya where Buddha became enlightened, and he had come to pay homage to the temple and to the tree where Buddha became enlightened. Just by coincidence I was also there sitting under the tree when he came. We became friends.
I told Shankra Chitta, "I cannot visualize myself ever becoming a Buddhist monk because my memory is not good. Thirty-three thousand principles! Following all those principles is out of the question; I cannot even remember them. And if you are following thirty-three thousand principles in such a small life, where will you find time to live or to breathe? Those thirty-three thousand principles will kill you from all sides."
But all religions have done that. They have given you guidelines without knowing you, who you are.
But they don't bother - "whomsoever it may concern." They decide for a non-existential human being - just an imaginary idea - how that human being should be. Nobody is interested in the real human being, because it is not a question as far as the real human being is concerned - how he should be; the question is how he IS. "Should" is nonsense; "is" is the reality. But all religions are imposing the "should" on your "isness."
The pagan is one who has no shoulds; his life is should-free.
He simply lives without any guidelines, without any principles, without any savior, prophet, messiah.
He himself is his savior, his messiah, his prophet, his holy book.
The pagan is really a unique individual.
I have called him Zorba.
The pagan goes on living peacefully in harmony with nature; and without any effort on his part, religiousness flowers in him.
If a man can be authentically a Zorba he is not far away from being a Buddha. He has traveled almost half the path. And the first half is the most difficult because all the religions are against it. All the religions drag you somewhere else, away from the first half; and once you are dragged in some other direction you can never be a Buddha - because only this way goes to Buddha.
Zorba is the way to Buddha.
If you are taken somewhere else - you become a Christian, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Jaina, a Mohammedan - then there is no hope of your ever becoming a Buddha. You have been distracted from your nature; You have been taken away from the harmony between you and existence; You have been turned unnatural.
A pagan is natural - as natural as trees and birds and rivers and mountains.
Why don't you ask me, "Does a flower need religion?" What will the poor flower do with religion?
The flower blossoms. Its fragrance is released. The flower dances in the wind, in the sun, in the rain. That's its religion. What else is needed? A dance in the rain, in the sun, in the wind ... what more do you want? Your fragrance released to all directions ... what more do you want? - because this is fulfillment. You have matured, blossomed. You have come to your ultimate peak. There is nothing higher than that.
This is the religion of a flower.
A Zorba is a bud, a Buddha is a flower; but you can distract the bud, you can destroy the bud - and millions of buds are being destroyed all over the world. They never become flowers, they never come to know what it means to blossom.
To blossom is ecstasy.
When the flower opens its petals it is just like a bird opening its wings into the sky.
When the flower starts sharing its innermost treasure of fragrance with all and sundry, there is tremendous contentment. One has arrived.
The Zorba is a bud.
Yes, a bud should not remain a bud, but the bud needs no religion. It needs to go on growing the way it has been going on. The way, the same way as it has become a bud - it has to go on the same path - and the flowering will come of its own accord. And remember, when flowering comes of its own accord, it has a beauty, a grace. When it is forced, then it is just painted - make-up - but not beauty.
In Buddha's time there was one very beautiful woman; she was a prostitute, her name was Amrapali.
I remembered her at this moment because she never used any make-up. Ordinarily prostitutes use more make-up than anybody else; in fact, prostitutes always use make-up, and the older they become, the thicker becomes the make-up.
Amrapali was so beautiful. To indicate that - that she was so beautiful - the scriptures say that she never used any make-up. There was always a queue in front of her palace, of kings, princes, the super rich. It was very difficult to get permission to enter her palace. She was a singer, a musician, a dancer.
In the East, the meaning of the prostitute is different from in the West. In the West it is simply a sexual object. One goes to a prostitute - that means one goes to a woman as an object, a commodity. A man pays for his sexual pleasure.
In the East the prostitute is not just an object of sex; in fact it is not easy to persuade a prostitute to be an object of sex. Particularly in the past that was so. Still, in places like Lucknow, where the old tradition of prostitutes still continues, the prostitute is a musician, a dancer, a singer. She dances, sings, she plays on instruments. She tries to make you forget all your worries.
That does not mean you are purchasing her as an object for sex. You will have to pay for all the pleasures that you enjoyed in her music, her dance; she is an artist. It is very rare that she falls in love with somebody; then she is just a woman as any other woman. She is not purchasable, she is not a commodity.
These princes and these kings and these super rich people all hankered - and they were beautiful people - to somehow persuade Amrapali to be their queen, their wife. But she fell in love with Gautam Buddha.
Buddha was coming to the city of Vaishali where Amrapali lived. Everybody who was of any significance had gone to receive him. The king was there, the prime minister was there; Amrapali was also there in her golden chariot. Seeing Buddha - she had seen so many beautiful people in her life, but she had never seen such a man - so silent, so serene, so peaceful, so relaxed, so at home. The way he walked - because he came walking; he used to move only on his feet - the way he walked into the city ... the grace that surrounded him ....
Amrapali fell at Buddha's feet and said, "Initiate me as your disciple, give me sannyas."
The prime minister, the king and the princes, and all the so-called big shots could not believer their eyes. Buddha said to Amrapali, "It is better, Amrapali, that you think about it. You are young, you are beautiful. So many people have been waiting for you, they are ready to give you everything you want. You have not looked at any of them, I am a poor man, a beggar, and becoming my disciple means becoming a beggar. You think twice. It is a difficult life. We eat only one time a day, we travel on our feet - just look at my feet. You think again."
It is said that even Buddha felt sorry to give this woman sannyas because she had lived in such luxury, she was such a flower. But Amrapali said to him,"Yes, so many people are waiting for me, but I was waiting for you. And I don't want what they want to give me. They can give me the whole world, but I don't want that. I would love just to follow you in the dusty roads, with naked feet. I will be immensely happy just to eat food once a day. I am ready to be a beggar. Just to be under your shadow is enough."
Amrapali was a pagan; she had lived very instinctively. Buddha gave her sannyas, but gave her no guidelines. That is the most important thing. He gave sannyas to millions of people but Amrapali was the only exception: to her no principle was given, no guidelines.
Buddha said, "You go on following the way - you are on the right path. If you had not been on the right path you would not have chosen me. I have got nothing; on the other side is the whole world, and you chose me. That's indication enough that up to now you have been on the right path. Now don't ask for any guidance - that will be a distraction. You simply go on following your own innermost being."
And Amrapali became enlightened one day. Buddha not giving her any instructions shows tremendous insight which is missing in Jesus, Mahavira, Krishna. Buddha has something special about him. That's why I have Zorba the Buddha. I could have said Zorba the Christ, but that would not have been right. It would be simply a contradiction in terms. Zorba and Christ simply don't mix - like oil and water. However you try, they don't mix. Zorba will go on playing on his - Mukta, what is it? - kontukki? The instrument that Zorba plays?
You forgot! That's a good sign - my people have to forget everything. I call it "kontukki" - I think it will do. Who understands Greek anyway!
He will go on playing on his kontukki, and Jesus will go on carrying his cross. The company will be absolutely in discord, there will be no harmony. Jesus will be simply angry and tell him: "Stop it and get lost!" And Zorba is not a man anyone can stop, not even Christ.
He will say, "You shut up! You put that cross down and come with me and have a dance."
When I said Zorba the Buddha, the reason was Amrapali. Amrapali was a female Zorba. She had lived the life of music and song and dance. Buddha allowed her to remain herself. It is here that I see Buddha's insight, which is missing in every other so-called prophet and messiah of the world.
This man is not interested in interfering; if anything at all, he is interested in just helping you to be yourself, to be on your own feet. Amrapali was a pagan. She did not need any religion; that's why Buddha gave her no guidelines.
I have not given you any guidelines.
I have not given you a certain mode of life, so that you have to do this and you have not to do that.
There are no commandments in my vision.
I simply love you as you are, and I would like you also to love yourself as you are, and just go on growing, just remain simply yourself.
Be a little alert because there are so many crocodiles around, religious crocodiles. Just be watchful.
Those crocodiles have killed almost the whole humanity. They don't want human beings on the earth; they want Catholics, Protestant, Mohammedans, Hindus, communists, atheists - but they don't want anybody just to be a simple human being without any adjective.
I would like you to be just yourself without any adjective.
You don't need any religion; nobody does.
Your question is such - as if you are asking me, "Does a healthy man need medicine?" If the healthy man is a crackpot, then it is up to him; but if he is not a crackpot I don't see why he should need medicine. And if he is a crackpot then he is not healthy. To be a crackpot is enough proof that he is not healthy; he is as unhealthy as he can be. He will need all kinds of medicines, therapies, analysis, synthesis and what-not, and still he will remain a crackpot. He will go on becoming worse.
Moving from Freud to Adler, from Adler to Jung, from Jung to Assagioli, he will become more and more of a crackpot - because these are all crackpots! He will become a very learned crackpot; he will know all the theories of Sigmund Freud, he will know all the philosophy of Adler and Jung and Assagioli. But a crackpot he will remain, because these people themselves are crackpots. Their philosophies are crazy, their theories are insane. None of them is a man who has arrived home; none of them is a buddha, none of them is an enlightened person.
Blind people are trying to lead other blind people. They are going to fall in a ditch all together - but then it will be too late.
Do you know that more psychoanalysts commit suicide than any other profession? The number is exactly double that of any other profession. Strange, that psychoanalysts should commit suicide twice as much as any other profession. They go mad also twice as much as any other profession.
The world of the psychiatrist, the psychoanalyst, is a very strange world. Sometimes the patient is more healthy than the doctor.
I have heard of one patient who was going through psychoanalysis for months, two sessions every week. The psychiatrist was getting fed up with the man because his problem was only one; anybody would get fed up. But because he was paying, what could you do? For money, people are doing
all kinds of things - even psychiatry. Siddha is here - he is a psychiatrist. But for money people can commit suicide, people can murder, people can do any crime. They can even do psychiatry, psychoanalysis!
This patient was really driving the psychoanalyst crazy. But he was paying, he was never late in his payments; his checks were exactly on time. He would never be late even for one moment; at the exact time he would enter in ... and the same problem.
The problem was very simple, nothing great. The problem was that he had this fantasy that some kind of strange creatures go on crawling up all over his body the whole day; even in the night he cannot sleep, they go on crawling up, and he goes on throwing them off. And after all this psychoanalysis there was not even a single creature less - the same number, the same problem.
He sat in the chair and started scratching. The psychoanalyst said, "Wait! Don't throw them on ME!"
This profession is the strangest in the world. Sooner or later the psychoanalyst has to go to be psychoanalyzed by another psychoanalyst. This is the only profession where they psychoanalyze each other.
A pagan is healthy and whole.
He needs no religion, but religion comes to him.
So please don't misunderstand me. I am saying he needs no religion, but religion happens to him.
Without the pagan needing religion, it blossoms in him.
Does the rose bush need the rose flowers? What need can there be? The rosebush is perfectly good without rose flowers; but they come. If the rosebush is healthy, well-nourished - the soil is good, the watering is right and the gardener is not a psychoanalyst - then those roses are bound to come. They're on the way. The rosebush just has to be perfectly healthy: out of its health, out of it overflowing vitality, those flowers will blossom. And the more vital the rosebush is, the more fragrance will be there.
I have, my whole life, loved trees. I have lived everywhere with trees growing wild around me. I am a lazy man, you know, so somebody had to look after my trees. And I had to be careful about those people who were looking after them, because they were all prophets, messiahs, messengers of God: they all tried to do something to the tree, they wouldn't allow the tree to be itself. They would prune it, they would cut it.
I had one gardener in Jabalpur - a beautiful old man - but I told him, "The moment I catch you cutting anything, you are fired. I love you, I respect you, but I love and respect my trees more, so be careful! Don't be caught."
He said, "What kind of garden is this? And I am a gardener - I have to cut. I cannot allow trees to go wild, the whole garden will be destroyed. And if I don't cut" - he was just working on a rosebush.
He said, "If I don't prune this rosebush then the flowers will be small. I have to go on cutting many
buds, then there will be few flowers but really big. And I have been winning prizes my whole life for my flowers' bigness."
I said, "You will have to forget about your prizes now, I am not interested in your prizes. I don't care whether the flower is big or small. If the tree wants to blossom in a hundred flowers, who are you to manage just to create one flower? I understand, your logic is simple: if all the buds are cut then the whole juice of the tree moves into one flower; it certainly becomes big."
He had been winning prizes. Each year there was a state-wide competition and he was always winning the prizes. In fact I got hold of him just because of that, because that year he had won the prizes, and I saw his flowers and I could not believe .... So I told him, "You just come and be my gardener."
He said, "What about my salary?"
"Salary" I said, "you decide; gardening I will decide." Poor man - he was getting only seventy rupees per month, wherever he was working. Now a poor man cannot even imagine much.
I told him, "You decide."
He must have stretched his whole imagination, and he came up with one hundred and forty - double.
He could not believe that I was going to say yes.
He said, "If it is too much then ...."
I said, "No, it is not too much. I was wondering how far you could stretch your imagination: only seventy rupees more? Seventy has become a fixed idea in your mind, and asking for one hundred and forty you are feeling guilty. That is decided - if you had asked any amount I was going to give it to you. But now I am sorry - you have asked one hundred and forty, you get one hundred and forty.
But gardening you have to do according to me. No more big flowers, no more exhibitions, because the rosebushes are not interested in exhibition. And they don't get the prize, you get the prize."
Perhaps Jesus gets the prize because he has cut so many buds and made so many Catholics and so many Christians. Perhaps Krishna gets the prize. But what about these people you are cutting in the name of saving them?
I said, "This is your last year of prizes. Now - if my garden goes wild, let it go wild; that's what nature wants it to be."
But his whole life .... Whenever I was out - I would go to the university and he would start doing his thing. I had to come in the middle of the day when he was not expecting me. I had to leave my car far away so he could not see the car coming. And then I would come and I would catch the old man.
He would say, "Excuse me - just an old habit! I cannot see this garden being destroyed. And I feel guilty that I am getting double the salary - for what? Just letting this garden get destroyed?"
I said, "It is not destroyed. You have to understand. This is the way it would have been if we were not here; if all men disappeared, it would be this way. Let it be the way it would be if man had not interfered. You can support, you can help, you can be a friend, but don't be a savior."
A pagan is a natural human being.
He needs no religion.
Do you think I need religion?
What will I do with religion?
I don't see that it has any utility, it will be just useless junk.
I have lived without religion my whole life, and I have never missed it, for the simple reason that the bud has become the flower.
And I have this immense feeling of arriving.
Now there is nowhere to go, nothing to achieve.
I have become what nature, existence, life, wanted me to become. Good, bad, famous, notorious, it doesn't matter what; but this is what existence wanted me to be.
I feel immensely blissful that I have not in any way interfered with nature, life, existence; I have not let them down.
I am a religionless man.
Every religious person is a religionless man.
Only those who are religionless in the sense that they don't need religion, are fulfilled. If you need religion something is wrong with you.
If you need God something is really very very wrong with you; otherwise what are you going to do with God? Have you ever thought that if by chance you meet God .... People have come to me asking how to see God, how to meet God. I said, "That I will arrange. But first tell me, what will you do if you by chance meet God? What is your next program? You will look silly, God will look silly; and once you have found God then your life will be pointless." That's why nobody ever finds God.
Life remains a searching, a seeking.
God is like the horizon: it seems to be just there, so close; it is meeting the earth, the sky is meeting the earth. You go on and on and on, but the distance between you and the horizon remains exactly the same. As you move, the horizon goes on moving away from you. The horizon does not exist, it only appears to.
And remember, appearance is not reality. The sky and the earth meet nowhere. It is an illusion.
God does not exist. But the hungry, starving, unfulfilled, discontented human mind wants something there - close enough so that you can believe in it; and yet, however, whatever way you try to reach it, the distance remains the same.
"God" is as distant from Judas as it is from Jesus, equally distant - because it is a horizon. It doesn't matter if you are a Judas or a Jesus: "God" is as far away from the greatest criminal of the world as it is from the greatest saint of the world. It doesn't matter because it doesn't exist, it is simply a horizon point. That horizon point is called religion.
You need it if you are not fulfilled here and now.
If you are fulfilled here and now, who bothers about the horizon?
I have never bothered, I have never tried to reach the horizon; there is no need. And even if I meet the horizon what am I going to do with it? I will have to come back home again.
Religion is the need of the sick mind - a pagan is not sick.
Religion is not his need, but religion is his gift to existence.
I don't need religion, but whatever I have been giving to the world is religion.
And only a man who does not need religion can give. If you yourself are in need, how can you give it? I don't need it. In fact I am so much burdened by it that I go on giving it to anybody.
I am reminded of an ancient parable. A sage in the Himalayas refused throughout his whole life to initiate anybody. He became famous for that, that he is the greatest sage because he does not hanker for followers. Kings came to be initiated; he refused point-blank, telling them, "Just get lost!"
He had only one boy, a poor orphan who had no place anywhere to go to; so he said, "You can live with me and you can do a few things for me." That was the only person who was with the old sage.
One day suddenly he called the boy and said, "Go down to the plains and tell anybody you meet, 'If you want to become a disciple, don't waste time - go immediately. This is the last day of my master.
By the evening, as the sun is setting he will leave the body.'"
The boy could not believe it, because he had seen even kings being refused. He said, "Anybody? or do I have some guidelines about whom I have to tell? - because you have refused great scholars, great saints. Whom am I to call? And so suddenly - where am I going to get them? And by evening you will be gone so there is not much time. I will run, but I cannot promise you that I will bring persons who are qualified, because I have seen every kind of person refused by you; nobody was qualified."
The old man laughed, and said, "You don't understand. You simply go. Everybody is qualified, you just bring anybody! And when I say 'anybody' I mean anybody; anybody you meet just bring. Time is short - by the evening I will be gone."
The boy went. By the afternoon he came with thirteen people, a strange bunch. One man was going to commit suicide, he was just climbing up the mountain. The boy met him first. The boy said, "First take initiation, then you can jump. What is the hurry? And my master is willing today. This will be simply foolish ... I am not against your suicide - that is your business - but my business is right now to find people, anybody."
The man said, "Will he give me initiation?"
The boy said, "Certainly. You just follow me. And we have to find more people: evening is coming close."
He said, "Okay, I can commit suicide at any time, that's not a big deal. I was going to commit suicide because of my wife. This is better; becoming a sannyasin, one is finished with the wife, one has renounced the world - this is better than suicide. You came at the right time. But will he accept me?
- because I am in every way disqualified. I am a thief, I have been in and out of jail many times; I am a drunkard. There is nothing evil that I have not done in my life. Will he accept me?"
The boy said, "Don't be worried, you just come with me." Shopkeepers, unemployed people who were standing before the employment office ... the boy said to them, "At least today don't waste your time - you can stand here tomorrow. Come take the initiation. The great master is willing."
They said, "If he gives initiation, then who cares about employment? Just to be known as his disciple will be enough. Even this employment exchange officer will come and touch our feet. We are coming!"
It was a strange lot. The boy was worried: "I don't think that these people that I am taking ....
He will hit me, but what can I do? Where can I find kings and great scholars in this small village?
And there is no time for me to go to Varanasi and find real scholars, wise people. He did not give them the chance when they came before. He is such a strange old guy."
Very afraid, he entered. He said, "I have brought thirteen people. I could not manage to bring more because somebody was too busy with his work, somebody was going in a marriage procession; they said, 'Today it is not possible. After three days ....' Only thirteen people I have brought, and they are not qualified in any way. All are the rottenmost people because they were uselessly sitting there. They said, 'Okay, let us see what this initiation is. They are not even religious.":
The old man said, "Don't be worried - you bring all of them."
The boy said, "All of them?"
"Yes," he said, "all of them, because time is short and I have to initiate them."
He initiated all those thirteen people. Those thirteen people were also shocked. They said, "You are going to leave? Then this will always remain a mystery, that your whole life you refused, refused such qualified people - anybody would have been proud to have them as his disciples. And you are accepting us - just third-rate, rotten people living in this village. And we have come here just because we had nothing to do, so we thought, 'Let us see what is this initiation.' We don't know anything about religion, about initiation."
The old sage said, "Don't be worried. There is no mystery in it. The times I refused were the times I had nothing to give. It was not a question of their qualifications, it was a question of my qualification.
I had nothing to give them. I had not blossomed myself, and I cannot cheat people.
"Today I have blossomed, but unfortunately I am the kind of flower which blossoms in the morning and by the evening the petals fall and disappear. Now I have something to give. It doesn't matter who you are - qualified, unqualified does not matter at all. Does a flower ask you, 'Are you qualified to receive my fragrance?' So why should I ask that? You just take it, I am burdened; before I leave this world I want to share something. I want to go with the contentment that I am not a poor man, that I am dying an emperor, not a beggar."
Religion is given by those people who have no need of religion.
Only a pagan can become a buddha.
And only a pagan becoming a buddha releases the fragrance called religion.
But it is not his need.
His need is to share it.
His need is to shower it on all - known, unknown, familiar, stranger, it doesn't matter.