Renunciation: mortgage today for a tomorrow that never comes

Fri, 4 December 1984 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
From Ignorance to Innocence
Chapter #:
pm in Lao Tzu Grove
Archive Code:
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Question 1:



THERE is really absolutely no place for renunciation in my religion.

I can understand the question, and the difficulty of the questioner. He has not been able to make a distinction between dropping things, and things dropping by themselves.

Renunciation is the enforced dropping of things. And whenever you do anything with force, nothing really drops away.

It simply goes deeper into your unconscious. It becomes more of a problem than it was before. Now it will try to come up in different ways, garbs, masks, and you may not even be able to recognize it.

But it is going to assert itself, and with force. You have given it that force by forcing it deep down into the unconscious.

When you force something, you are giving force to it.

You are making it stronger, and you are making the enemy hide within you, in the darkness, from where you become more vulnerable. When it was in the conscious, it was in the light; you were less vulnerable.

Renunciation is repression.

That is the right psychological word for it: repression. How can you renounce sex, except by repressing?

And repressed sex becomes perverted.

It is easier to understand sex, to become more aware of it and let it drop by itself, than to understand it when it is perverted - because then it comes in an unnatural form.

First it is difficult to recognize it - that it is sex. A person too greedy for money - can you think that this greed for money can have anything to do with suppressed sex? It is so far-fetched it needs a Sigmund Freud to see it. An ordinary person will not be able to connect them at all. How? - money and sex seem to be so far away. They are not so far away.

If you repress sex, it comes as ambition.

It can become politics. The politician can completely forget about sex, because all his sexuality, his sex energy is now converted into his political ambition. He will have the same kind of enjoyment by reaching higher and higher in the hierarchy. The higher he reaches, the more he will feel a kind of sexual pleasure, which you cannot understand.

I used to live with a very rich man. He was a bachelor and he had no interest in women at all. His only interest was money - day in, day out he was working for money - but because I was living in his house, somehow he became interested in my ideas. He had a big house and he was alone; his father and mother were dead. He was unmarried with no children - just servants. I liked the place because there was no disturbance, no children, no old people in the house, and no fighting because he had no wife. It was really quiet, and the servants would go in the night, and it was such a big house that we two were almost alone.

He was not interested in anything except money. So he would close the doors of his room - there was nobody except me, but he would lock his room from inside and start working: counting how much he had gained, how much he had lost; how much was in this business and how much was in that business. Before he went to sleep, he would be perfectly clear where he was financially. Then only would he go to sleep - sometimes at two o'clock or three o'clock. By the time I woke up, at three o'clock, he was going to sleep and I was going for a walk.

I once asked him, "Do you ever think of what you are going to do with this money? You are not extravagant, you are a miser. You don't have any children for whom you are going to leave the money. You are not so generous that you give it to your friends or to those who are in need. You are not in any way parting from a single pai. What are you going to do? Are you going to take it with you when you die? What is the purpose of this money?"

Because money really is meaningless if you don't use it; its whole meaning is in its use. You may have the same amount of money as I have but you can use it in such a way that you are richer than me. The value of the money is in its use. Certainly those who know how to use money use it a thousandfold more than those who don't know. They have the same amount of money, but they are poor.

Now this man was a poor man. Money was in the safe, money was in the banks, money was in shares - but he was a poor man.

I asked him, "There seems to be no reason for you now to go on earning; you have enough. If you live even two hundred years, it will do. The miserly way you are living, it will do for two thousand years... two hundred I am saying, if you live like me; otherwise two thousand, and still you may not be able to spend it all. You may go on living just on the interest from it forever. Why are you so worried?you cannot sleep well, you don't have any time for anything - and have you ever thought about how this disease happened to you, where you got this cancer?"

He said, "I have never thought about it, but you are right. I have enough money, and I can live....

Certainly I am not going to live for two thousand years - even seventy or eighty will be enough.

My father died at seventy, his father died at seventy, so I cannot live more than seventy or perhaps eighty years. Yes," he said, "this makes sense. But can you tell me why I am doing this?"

I said, "For a simple reason: you have avoided women in your life."

He said, "But what have women and money to do with each other?"

I told him, "That we will discuss later on, first you tell me why you avoid women."

The reason was very simple. He had seen his grandfather being harassed, nagged continually, tortured by his grandmother. He had seen his father in the same position, he had seen his uncles in the same position. They were all miserable, and their misery he thought was caused by women.

He became a woman-hater from his very childhood. And then he came under the influence of the Jaina monks, because his father was a very religious man.

People who are tortured by their wives become religious. Except for religion, there is no shelter for them. Only religion can give them some consolation: "Don't be worried, it is only a question of a few years. Next life, don't commit the same mistake; and start withdrawing yourself even in this life. The woman is powerful over you because you are sexually interested in women. It is your weakness that she is exploiting." And that's what he heard from the Jaina monks. In Jainism, sex is the first thing to be renounced, because with it many other things are renounced automatically; you need not work at them separately: sex seems to be the main problem.

Seeing the situation of his grandfather, uncle, father, neighbors and then listening to the Jaina monks, it became a decided thing in his mind that he was not going to get involved in this constant headache. I told him, "That's from where your interest in money arises. The energy needs some object, some infatuation." And I told him, "You may feel hurt, but I have to say it: I have seen you counting notes, and the way you touch the notes looks as if you are touching your beloved."

He looked at me, shocked. For a moment there was silence, and then he said, "Perhaps you are right. I really enjoy touching the notes. I count them again and again. Although I have counted them, even in the night I count them again. Just touching them gives some strange satisfaction to me - even the notes of other people.

For example, sometimes he would come into my room and if there was some money on the table - because that was the only place for me to keep it - the first thing he would do was count it, and I would tell him, "This is simply foolish. That is not your money, why are you counting it?"

He said, "I simply enjoy it... it is not so important to whom it belongs."

Can you see the point? If you become interested in somebody else's wife, do you think of who she belongs to? There is no question of whom she belongs to - she looks beautiful, that's all, so you are interested. Whomsoever she belongs to is not your business. Exactly this was the case with him:

money is money, it is nobody's really. And just to touch it, to count it, to play with it....

I told him, "If you want to get rid of this infatuation with money, which is absolutely idiotic...." I am not against money, I am against the infatuation. The man who is infatuated with money cannot use it.

He is really destroying the money, its very purpose. In every language, in all the languages of the world money's other name is currency - that is significant. Money needs to be a current, river-like, flowing, moving fast. The faster it moves, the richer is the society.

If I have a one-hundred-dollar note with me and I simply keep it in my pocket and never use it, then whether I have it or not, does it make any difference? I could have kept any piece of paper; that would have served the same purpose. But if I use this one-hundred-dollar note and it circulates in here, and everybody who gets it immediately uses it - so it passes through one hundred hands - then it is one hundred dollars multiplied by one hundred; then that much money is here in this room.

The miser is really anti-money. He is destroying its utility because he is stopping it being a "currency".

I told him, "You do one thing: become interested in a woman."

He said, "What!"

I said, "Just try. I can arrange for a few women to be introduced to you" - because so many women used to come from the university. There were many women professors from the colleges who came to visit me, to ask about meditation and things. I said, "There is no problem. You just indicate in whom you are interested, I will introduce you; and any woman is going to be interested in you."

He said, "Why?"

I said, "Because of all the money! She is not going to be interested in you, she is going to be interested in your money. And once you become interested in the woman, you will start spending money; you will relax. The energy that has become perverted will start moving in the natural way.

And you can't find anybody better than a woman to finish your money. You will not need to live two thousand years; long before that the money will be gone. And once you become interested in a woman, your infatuation with money will drop to its natural state."

He said, "I will have to think it over."

I said, "You can think it over, but don't waste too much time because right now you are almost forty- five. Once you are over sixty, then it will be difficult even for me to make an arrangement. So don't waste fifteen years. Think about it tonight and tomorrow morning when we meet, you tell me."

He could not sleep the whole night. He thought about it again and again, and slowly the thing became clear to him: "Yes, deep down it is women, and I am constantly keeping myself occupied with money in order to avoid women, because if there is no space, no time, then from where can the woman enter? And why I am so infatuated now makes sense. It is a substitute woman."

So this greed for money, this greed for power, this greed for fame... sex can take any form, it will depend on the type of person. You will be aware of the fact that although poets continually write poetry about women, most of the poets have remained away from women. Most of the great novelists were not interested in women. Most of the great painters were afraid of women for the simple reason that either you can paint or you can be married: you can't have two wives - together both will kill you.

There is an ancient parable in India: A man was caught as a thief in a house. He was presented in court and the magistrate said, "Do you accept your guilt?"

He said, "I accept it absolutely but I want to say one thing. You can give me any punishment, but don't tell me to be married to two women."

The magistrate said, "I have never heard of any punishment like that. My whole life I have been punishing people, but I have never punished anybody that way."

He said, "Then you are a really good man. You can sentence me to death, but not...."

The magistrate said, "But I would like to know why this condition?"

He said, "This is the reason why I was caught. I entered a house where a man lives with two wives.

One wife lives on the ground floor, the other wife lives on the floor above. And they were both pulling at the man - one was pulling him to the upper floor, the other was pulling him to the ground floor. I became so interested that I forgot why I had gone there. I became interested in knowing what was going to be the result ultimately, who would win. Certainly the man had no chance of winning - he was getting beaten from both sides.

"That's why I got caught - otherwise in the whole of my life, have you ever seen me in court? I am a born thief; my father was a thief, my father's father was a thief - this is our inherited profession. And this is the first time anybody from my family has been caught. I am ashamed. My father's soul, my grandfather's soul - they will all be ashamed of me. And there was no problem, I could have stolen things and escaped, but the story with those two women and that one man.... And a crowd gathered, that is why I got caught. They said,'Who is this man? And what is he doing here? He does not seem to be from this neighborhood.' So you can sentence me to death or life imprisonment, whatsoever you want, but please don't order me to get married to two women."

This has been the situation for the poet, for the painter, for the musician, for the dancer - any creative artist finds it easier not to get involved with women, or to get involved only casually, perhaps with strangers. Perhaps traveling in a train he may become interested in a woman because there is no fear - at the next station he is going to get out. Artists have told me that they get interested only in strangers; they don't know their name, they don't want to know their name. The strangers don't know the artist's name nor does he want them to know it - they remain strangers.

The fear is deep-rooted, and it has a reality of its own. And perhaps that is one of the causes that women have never been creative: they could not afford to live alone in this society which is absolutely man-made. A woman living alone is continually in danger. Only recently a few women started their careers - as a novelist, as a poet, as a painter. This is because for the first time, just in these last few years - and that too only in very few advanced, progressive, avant-garde places - that a woman has been able to live independently, just like a man. Then they start painting, they start composing poetry, music....

Women have all the talents but for millions of years their sex was their only creativity, and when the whole sexual energy was involved in producing children.... You cannot imagine a woman having a dozen children and composing music - or can you imagine it? Those twelve musical instruments all around doing everything that is not right... and the woman can compose music or poetry or can paint? Do you think those twelve painters will sit silently? - they will be painting before she paints!

It looks strange that poets are the least experienced people about women. Perhaps that's why they write about women - it is a perversion. Otherwise, why should poets write about women? - they don't have much experience, they are almost monks. Why do painters go on painting nude women?

Why do sculptors go on making marble statues of nude women? For what? This is all perversion!

It is better than collecting money or going into politics, but still it is a perversion. They are satisfying their natural instinct in an unnatural way. So on the one hand they go on doing their painting, music, poetry, and on the other hand they go on feeling that life is meaningless.

Artists feel the meaninglessness of life the most. It is strange: they write such beautiful poetry, they paint such beautiful paintings, yet life is meaningless. Life is not meaningless for a clerk, and it is meaningless for Jean-Paul Sartre, who wins the Nobel prize! It is not meaningless for a schoolmaster who must be the most miserable person in the world - thirty children against one poor man - but he is not feeling life to be meaningless.

In fact, the people who feel that life is meaningless are the people who have not moved naturally; their natural energies have taken an artificial, arbitrary route. They will never feel meaningful. They have moved away from life's source.

Similarly, it is strange how monks are the most articulate against women, and they have no experience about women at all. I have asked Hindu monks, Buddhist monks, Jaina monks, Christian monks, "What experience do you have of women? You speak against them, but more experience is needed to speak against than in favor. What experience do you have?" And none of them could say that they had any experience. I said, "Then why do you go on speaking against them?"

Yes, the monks have one experience: the woman in their unconscious is continuously pulling them down from their holier-than-thou pedestal. They are projecting their antagonism against that woman - they don't know about it, it is deep in the dark - on any woman that they can find outside: all women are evil, agents of evil.

These people have no experience at all. In fact, if they stop condemning women, there is a fear that the infatuation for women may come back - it is just knocking on the door continuously. They have to keep themselves occupied, condemning them as loudly as possible so they cannot hear the knock - that the woman is there. If they stop condemning, they will hear the knock and it will be irresistible for them to open the door, and that will be their fall.

I told this friend, "You just try - there is no harm. The women who come to me are not poor and they will not ask for money or any costly present from you. And I will be introducing you only as a friend, just so that you can have a little acquaintance with women."

Next morning he said, "I am ready. And perhaps you are right, I will lose my interest in money. The whole night I thought about it, weighed it up: what should I do? But finally I thought that perhaps it is right, that what I am gathering is rubbish."

I introduced him to a woman to whom he got married within six months - and I finished his career!

He was thinking of becoming the richest man in the city... but then the woman started using his money. Every day he would see me, and he would say, "You have got me into trouble, there is no end to her demands. And I have lost interest in money, so I am no longer after it as madly as you have known me to be. If it comes it is okay, if it doesn't come I don't bother; but she is continually spending. Now, two hundred years or eighty years... I think she will finish me nearabout sixty or before. But you were right."

I said, "Now there is a possibility; before that, there was no possibility. If you had renounced money, you would have been renouncing something which is not at all a natural instinct in you. You would have been renouncing only a path of perversion without knowing that it was a perversion, and the perversion would have taken another path. You may not have been after money, you may have got involved in politics - then power would have become the same problem. But now you are on natural ground.

"Any transformation can happen only when you are a natural human being."

The philosophy of renunciation is that you renounce money.... I know - because money is an artificial thing, man-made - that even renouncing it is not going to lead you anywhere. These people will say, "Renounce the house," but what does it matter? You will be staying in the temple, you will become a burden on the society. These people say to you, "Renounce earning your own livelihood" - then you will start begging.

In India you see so many beggars but you will never come across a beggar who feels guilty that he is begging. I have never come across one. Traveling for thirty years continually, I have never come across a single beggar who thinks he is doing anything wrong. If you don't give to him, you are guilty.

One day it happened, at a station, Khandwa, a junction station.... I was coming from Indore, and from Khandwa I had to take a train for Bombay. I was alone in the compartment, and the train was to leave from Khandwa in one hour's time. So I was just sitting and looking out through the window. A beggar came and told me that his mother had just died and he needed some money for her funeral rituals, so I gave him one rupee.

He could not believe it, because he must have been begging his whole life and nobody gives one rupee. He looked at me. I said, "I have given it to you knowingly. Your mother is dead. You go home and do something."

The man thought, "This man seems to be either mad or a simpleton." He was wearing a coat, but he came back after fifteen minutes without the coat and, pretending to be somebody else told me, "My father is very sick."

I said, "It is bound to be so." I gave him one rupee and I said, "Go and help your father. Just a few minutes before somebody's mother had died. Your father may die; you just go and help."

Now, it was very difficult for the man to go and leave me alone. After fifteen minutes he removed his cap also, and he again came.

I said, "Some family trouble?"

He said, "How did you guess? My wife is pregnant; any moment she is going to give birth to a child and I have not a single pai."

I said, "You take one rupee and go fast. Today there are so many things happening. One man's wife has died - he was wearing a coat and a cap. Another man's father is almost dying - he was not wearing a coat, but wearing a hat. You don't have a coat or a cap, and your wife is in danger. You just run!"

After fifteen minutes he came back. I said, "Some family trouble?"

He said, "No. I was thinking that I am cheating you, but now I feel guilty."

I said, "For what? You are a different man - those people were different."

He said, "No, I am the same man."

Then I said, "Don't be worried; then I must be a different man."

He said, "How is it possible?"

I said, "Don't be worried - I must be a different man. Somebody else must have been sitting here before; otherwise an innocent person like you could not do that."

He said, "now, this is too much. Please take these four rupees you have given to me."

I said, "No. You take one more, so you need not come naked next time, because if you get rid of any more clothes.... And from where will you find more family? - your whole family will be dying, finished!"

But what he said, I have not forgotten. He said, "You are the first man who has made me feel guilty; otherwise, whenever people give to us we feel they are fools. If they don't give to us, we say these are sinners; we never think about ourselves." No beggar does. He is simply giving you an opportunity to be virtuous, you should be obliged to him. He is putting a ladder before you: you can go to paradise. No beggars, although they are begging, even feel inferior.

The mind is so cunning, it can take you in any direction and distort your simple, natural being.

Now, nobody naturally would ever like to beg, nobody is a born beggar. But the sexual instinct can take any form - it can become the greed of a rich man, it can become the greed of a beggar.

When I was a professor, one student of mine, studying in the post-graduate philosophy department, was always coming with costly clothes and looked rich. One day it happened, I was coming out of the station - because I was continually moving from Jabalpur all over India... twenty days per month I was out of town. I would come back after three days for a few hours, just to show myself in the university, that I was there - because they could not give me that much leave nor could I take that much leave; otherwise from where would I get money?

So this was the arrangement: one of my students used to take my car and park it in the same place where I would normally park it. The car was always parked there; that was a symbol that I was in the university. I told him, "So park the car there at two o'clock and at four o'clock take it away - just two hours. Everybody should know it is there because that is the rush hour, when everybody is there, and everybody knows that I never come before two; from twelve to two I sleep. So there is no problem."

So every third day or fourth day I was coming and going: coming in the morning and going in the evening. And there was this beggar who was continually getting one rupee, fixed - whether I came or went, he would get it. One day, just by coincidence, I saw this student of mine with that old man, just behind the shed where my car was parked. I went closer: What was this rich man's son doing with the beggar? And the beggar was giving him rupees.

So I went outside and called them both. They started trembling. The old man said, "Don't tell anybody - he is my son."

I said, "How much do you manage to earn? - because this boy lives the best in the university, so you must be earning nearly thirty, forty or fifty rupees."

He said, "You are right."

I said, "How much have you got in the bank?"

He said, "Now I cannot hide anything from you. He had fifty thousand rupees in the bank.

I told him, "Then why are you begging? - because you can do some business."

He said, "This is business. And with no investment, in what business can you earn fifty rupees a day in India?"

I said, "That is true."

He said, "And I am leaving enough for my son; he can live a rich life. I am not going to die for a few years yet, so I will leave enough for him; and he is now well-educated. But please don't tell anybody, otherwise his career may be affected." Now, this man is a beggar but he does not think begging is anything wrong. It is a business, without investment and with good earnings. All that you have to do is just befool people.

The sexual instinct can take many paths.

It can become greed. It can become a will-to-power. It can become a subtle ego trip: holier-than- thou.

That's what the monks are doing; otherwise they have no other enjoyment. They are torturing themselves, and have renounced everything you think of as pleasure, as joy. Then what keeps them ticking - going tick-tock? What keeps them ticking? From where do they get the energy? The energy is from a holier-than-thou attitude: you are all sinners, we are the only people who are not sinners, we are saints. And they will look down from heaven and find you there, burning in hellfire.

Renunciation can teach you to drop sex, to drop tasteful food, to drop clothes, to be naked, to drop all possessions - but in a strange way you will remain attached to all those things.

When I was in Bombay, a Hindu monk came to see me; he had a disciple with him and he wanted to know what kind of meditation would be suitable for him.

I told him, "Tomorrow morning we are meeting near the beach and we will be doing the meditation.

It is better that you come there because it is a question of a practical experience."

He said, "It will be very difficult for me to come tomorrow. The day after tomorrow I can come."

I said, "What is the problem with tomorrow?"

He said, "The problem is that my disciple has some work tomorrow morning, he cannot come."

But I said, "Let him do his work - there is no need for him to come."

He said, "You don't understand - I have renounced money."

I said, "You are making it more and more of a puzzle! You have renounced money, perfectly good, but what has that to do with this man and his engagement tomorrow morning, and your coming to my meditation group?"

He said, "Are you not aware of a simple thing: "I cannot touch money, so he keeps the money for me. And in Bombay you have to go in a taxi - then who will pay? I cannot touch money, I have renounced it. He keeps the money: he pays out the money and if somebody donates money to me, he receives it. I am completely out of it; I have nothing to do with money."

I said, "Good arrangement! You have nothing to do with money, then what have you to do with this man? You will go to heaven and this man will go to hell, and he, poor man, is simply serving you continually, following you everywhere - and yet he is going to hell! If you have renounced money, then live without money, then suffer without money. Why send this man to hell? You will be responsible for sending this man to hell. You will fall into a deeper hell than this man."

People can find strange ways because they have not understood what they are doing; they are simply following a dead creed, a dead dogma. Because for centuries money has been condemned by the religious people, they are renouncing it. I said, "But it is becoming more complicated. It would have been simple to put your hand in your own pocket; now you have to put it in somebody else's pocket. That is pickpocketing." I said, "You are also a thief What are you doing? And you are a bigger pickpocket than others because at least they use their hand - you use his hand, picking up money from his pocket. His pocket, his hand, and you are completely above it - superior."

I said to the disciple, "You escape right now, leave this man here. I will not allow him to go with you. Just escape as far as you can, where he cannot find you again, because he is managing and arranging for your hell. And whatever money you have, it is yours, because he has renounced money. He cannot claim it."

He said, "Is it so - all the money?"

I said, "What do you mean by'all the money'?"

He said, "Right now when we go somewhere, I keep just two or three hundred rupees in my pocket - but at our temple we have thousands."

I said, "All that money is yours. You simply go. I will keep this man here, so you take all that money and escape. And if this man leaves here I will give him to the police because he has renounced money. He cannot even report to the police that his money is stolen."

The monk said, "What! I came here to learn meditation."

I said, "I am teaching you what renunciation means. And what you are doing is just cheating yourself, cheating this poor man, cheating God - cheating everybody."

Renounce anything and you will become more attached to it than when you had not renounced it.

Your mind will move around and around it.

An ancient parable.... A man was continually wanting to learn the secret of miracles. He had heard so much about it - that there are sages in Tibet, in the high peaks of the Himalayas who can teach you, who know all kinds of miracles. So he was always serving any kind of sage. In India there are so many sages - just as here there are so many sage bushes. When I first came here and I came to know that there are so many sages here also, I said, "These people are not going to leave me alone!"

He found a very old, ancient sage and he was continually massaging his feet, bringing him food and doing whatsoever the poor man could do. The old sage knew, the whole town knew, why he served these people. The old sage said again and again, "I am a simple man, and I don't know any miracles."

The man said, "That's the true sign of a sage. Those who claim - they are worthless. You are the person who knows the secret."

He said, "It is very difficult. If I say I know then there is difficulty - you say,'Teach me.' And I am telling you the truth, that I don't know any miracle and I don't think that anybody does except people like you, who go on creating myths around somebody; otherwise there is no miracle."

But the man would not leave; day and night he was serving the sage. One night the old man wanted to sleep but the man was massaging him. So he said, "Stop!"

The man said, "I am not going to stop until you tell me - if you want to sleep tonight, just tell me a simple secret so I can do miracles."

The sage said, "Okay, I am going to tell you. It is very simple. You go home, take a shower, sit down in the lotus posture... and this is the mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum, the Tibetan mantra. Just say it five times and in the morning you will be able to do any kind of miracle that you want to do."

Hearing this, the man simply jumped up and out of the room. The old man said, "Wait! You have not heard the condition."

He said, "In the morning I can come again."

The old man said, "No, the condition has to be followed, otherwise the mantra won't work."

The man said, "What is the condition?"

The sage said, "The condition is, while you are repeating the mantra five times, you should not think of a monkey.

The man said, "Don't be worried. In my whole life I have never thought of a monkey. I always think of sages and saints, so this condition is nothing."

But as he was coming down the steps of the temple, wherever he looked he started finding monkeys in the trees, they were hiding in the bushes....

He said, "My God! So many monkeys tonight!" They were always there, it was just that he had not renounced them; today he had renounced them. By the time he reached his house, he could not believe whether it was true or untrue: a crowd of monkeys all around him, making faces. But he said, "First let me take a bath - perhaps that will help."

Nothing was going to help. While he was taking a bath, the monkeys were inside the bathroom.

He sat in padmasana, closed his eyes, and just... the monkey - not one, a whole crowd! He could not even repeat "Om mani padme hum" - just a small mantra - even once. The monkeys were continuously there. He tried the whole night: again a bath, again the posture, but those monkeys....

Before the morning, he rushed to the temple. The sage was laughing but the man was really angry; he said, "This is no time to laugh. Is it funny?"

The old man said, "I have always told you that I don't know any miracles, secrets, mantras, or anything - ut you wouldn't listen to me, hence I had to lie.

The man said, "If you had to lie, you could have at least kept your mouth shut about the monkeys.

The old man said, "But without the monkeys, the mantra is incomplete. Did the monkeys trouble you?

The man said, "Trouble me! You are an old sage and I have accepted you as my Master, otherwise would have killed you!"

Once you renounce something forcibly - and the very word renunciation means that you are forcing yourself against yourself - you are dividing yourself. All renunciation creates a schizophrenic condition in you: one part renouncing, another part becoming more infatuated - you are being split.

All these religions are criminal because they have made the whole of humanity split.

You can be one only if you are natural.

And I can understand the difficulty of the questioner. But the difficulty is that he has not understood a very clear-cut distinction. Yes, my sannyasins find that many things, many habits which they had long tried to drop, have simply disappeared on their own. They have not even made an effort. In fact, if they want to revive those habits, it is impossible to revive them.

But this is not renunciation, this is transformation As you become more aware, more natural, mol silent, more at ease with yourself, not fighting, in a deep let-go, you start seeing habits which are meaningless; and it simply becomes impossible to continue to do them. It is not that you stop doing them just the opposite: you simply find, one day...

what happened? A certain habit which used to be with you twenty-four hours a day has not been there for many days, you have not even remembered it.

There was one professor, my colleague in the university, who was a chain-smoker. The doctors were against it, his wife, his children and all his colleagues were against it because he was burning his lungs, destroying his health. The doctors said, "If it continues, no medicine is going to help.

The moment you wake up, the first thing is a cigarette, and the last thing at night is a cigarette - continually." You never found him without a cigarette. When one cigarette was finished, another cigarette was lit from the one that he was finishing. He never carried a lighter with him, there was no need; he only carried cigarettes - in all his pockets.

One day I was sitting in the common room. One chair had become, without any effort, my chair.

Somehow... it was just accidental that the first day I entered, that chair was empty and I sat on it.

Slowly it became known that that was my chair. In the common room there was nobody's personal chair. It was a common room and all the professors could use any chair they wanted, and they were using them.

Just that chair was mine because people were somehow afraid of me because I was not interested in their gossips, I was not interested in the movies, I was not interested in their politics, not interested in who was going to win the election for dean or who was going to win the election for vice-chancellor, and this and that. And they were completely clear that I thought it was all crap. So not only my chair, but two chairs on this side and two chairs on that side - I had five reserved chairs. Only once in a while would somebody come, very afraid, and ask, "Can I sit?" And I would say, "There is no problem."

This man came one day and almost shaking, with his cigarette in his hand, trembling. I can still visualize him... his fingers were burned, his lips were burned. I said, "Yes, you can sit. Can I be of any help? - because nobody comes unless he feels I can be of some help."

He said, "Only one thing: I want to drop smoking. My doctors are after me, my family is after me, my friends are after me - everybody is angry. And it is not that I don't want to stop - I have tried in every possible way, but I cannot exist without cigarettes. Even for a few moments I cannot sit without cigarettes. And it is sure that I am going to die from them. Can you help me?"

I said, "Yes, I can help you. The first thing is, you tell all your friends, doctors, your wife, your parents, your children,'I am going to smoke and you have to stop telling me about it. I have heard enough about it, and if you don't stop, I will disappear from the house.' And," I said, "you can come to my house, and that will do; that threat will be enough. Tell them,'I will never come back to this house if anyone mentions cigarettes."' And I told him, "Tell them,'If it is possible, now I am going to start smoking even in my sleep' - but make it absolutely clear."

"But," he said, " How am I going to stop?"

I said, "You don't have to stop, you just do what I say. Stop the very idea of stopping it, this is the first step. The second step is: smoke, but be conscious."

He said, "What do you mean?"

I said, "When you take your packet, take the packet from your pocket consciously." I told him, "Show me how you do it.

He simply took it out.... I said, "That is unconscious. You were not alert that you were doing a certain action: your hand, the packet, the weight of the packet, the feel of the packet, the texture of the packet - you have to be alert to it. Try it in front of me."

He tried. He said, "It seems to be different."

I said, "That's okay. Now take a cigarette out - not the way you usually do. Be alert. And not the way you go on tapping it on the packet, but consciously. If you usually tap it three times, tap it six times, there is no harm - but be conscious. Put it in your mouth... wait a little, there is no hurry. And start carrying a lighter with you. Wait, be alert, then do the same with the lighter. Light the cigarette, but continue to be alert.

"Start smoking, take the smoke in, but be alert that the smoke is going in, that the smoke is going out - be alert. This is what Buddha was doing, without a cigarette," I told him. "He was just doing it with pure air. You are a modern man, you are doing it with impure air, that's all - there is no harm - but the consciousness will be the same. Whether you do it with pure morning fresh air or with dirty cigarette smoke - it doesn't matter.

"And whether you die two years earlier or two years later, what does it matter? What will you do if you live two years more? - you will smoke more! So don't be worried. And these people will torture you more, so forget about it. Smoking has not to be renounced, it has to be watchfully understood, what is happening."

He was really a very intelligent man, because within only twenty-four hours he reported to me, "I am feeling completely different. I can do the same thing just by breathing."

I said, "There is no harm. You try it just by breathing. Don't use cigarettes, but keep the cigarettes with you. Any moment you feel uneasy, bring out the cigarette, but the new way, in the new style."

In just seven days the man was doing vipassana with his breathing. I asked him, "Did you have to drop the cigarettes?"

He said, "No, they have dropped on their own. And this awareness has not only helped me drop cigarettes, it has helped me in many other ways of which I was not aware."

A sannyasin will find many habits dropping from him, but he is not dropping them.

So I repeat categorically, that in my religion there is no place for renunciation. But that does not mean that you will remain the same.

I am giving you a potential methodology of transformation, which will take away all that is meaningless, all that is unnecesssary, all that is stupid, all that you are doing just out of habit, all that you are doing because others have said not to do it, and just to retaliate, as a reaction, you are doing it.

Yes, out of you will be born a new man who will find it difficult to relate to the old self - naturally, obviously, because the old self was nothing but a bundle of all the old habits which you have forgotten somewhere on the way. Where you have left it, you don't know.

And the new self is sharpened by your awareness, cleaned by your awareness, is continually rejuvenated by your awareness.

Only one thing I want my sannyasins to learn, and that is awareness. It will take care of all your problems.

Without awareness, whatsoever you do you will create more and more problems; they will be farther and farther away from your nature, and it will be very difficult to solve them, because they are phony.

Even if you succeed in solving them you have not solved anything: your perversion will start moving in another direction, it will take another shape. It may not come in from the same door; it will find another door - your house has many doors, of which many are not even known to you.

But with the light, with the flame of awareness inside you, you know your house for the first time with all its doors and with all its windows.

And when the house is lighted, then I don't say, "Do this, do not do that;" there is no need - you will do only whatsoever is right.

People ask me continually, "What is right, and what is wrong?

My answer is: that which comes out of awareness is right. That which comes out of unawareness is wrong. Actions are not right and wrong, it is the source from where they come.

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"In our country there is room only for the Jews. We shall say to
the Arabs: Get out! If they don't agree, if they resist, we shall
drive them out by force."

-- Professor Ben-Zion Dinur, Israel's First Minister of Education,
   1954, from History of the Haganah