From oy-veh to ole

Fri, 12 February 1985 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
From Misery to Enlightenment
Chapter #:
pm in Lao Tzu Grove
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Question 1:



THE child is the father of the man, and down the centuries we have been destroying the child. And once the child is destroyed, the whole life becomes unnatural, miserable, meaningless.

The question is, Why has every society, every civilization tried to spoil the child?

It is something very important to understand, that all that we have created up to now - social structures, religious philosophies, teaching systems - knowingly or unknowingly all need a miserable man for their existence. They are parasites.

If man is not miserable then all your so-called great institutions will disappear from the earth. Just think: no animal needs any religion, no animal needs any philosophy, no animal needs any culture, civilization. Still, the animals have been living happily, far more happily than your man has managed to live. You will not find animals in misery, in anguish.

All these institutions which exist upon your misery are bound to create more and more misery; that is their feeding ground, that is their food. A miserable man is bound, sooner or later, to end up in 237 a religion because he will need consolations. He does not have reality to support him; he will need fictions to substitute for reality.

He knows nothing about love. He has been prevented from the very beginning from knowing what love is. He has been diverted into something else which is not love, which is only a game - artificial, a hypocrisy. You can pretend, but it is not going to nourish you. It is, on the contrary, going to exhaust you. It is going to take so much out of you because it is not a simple phenomenon.

To pretend continuously is a heavy job, perhaps the heaviest in the world. You can carry a mountain on your head - that will not be so heavy as carrying for your whole life, all kinds of lies, pretensions, false faces.

You become a mess just trying to keep all those faces, pretensions, lies, together. They are all falling apart; all are against each other, and they have no roots in reality. You have to feed them your own blood, your own heart, your own marrow. Naturally it creates a miserable world.

But the priests are happy with the miserable world. They were very unhappy with pagans, so unhappy with pagans that the very word "pagan" became condemnatory.

One day I was talking to Vivek, just taking my tea. I said, "I am a pagan."

She said, "Never use that word in the West."

I said, "Why? It is such a beautiful word."

She said, "It may be beautiful for you, but Christianity, Judaism, the whole West, uses the word in a very derogatory sense."

I said, "I was not aware of it. That means now I have to use it for myself. The word has to be freed from these criminals and their hands. They have destroyed a beautiful word."

Once the pagan existed on the earth and he was as happy as any other animal; he knew nothing of misery. He loved, he lived, never bothering about ultimate questions and problems. He enjoyed eating, drinking - the simple things of life, not making everything a problem. The pagans have disappeared from the world. Religions destroyed them everywhere, all over the world.

All the religions have been against the pagans because if pagans exist then there is no possibility for religions. They cannot coexist because the pagan is not interested in what happens after death.

He is not interested in what happened before birth.

He says, "Between birth and death, it is so much just to live. First let me finish this - don't bring in unnecessary things to waste my time. Right now I am in the middle of life, let me live it. When I am in death I will try to live it too, but why should I bother about death now? - because I don't remember ever bothering about life before. Right now life is in my hands, and I want to squeeze the whole juice out of it."

I am reminded of a beautiful story; it is so beautiful that one wants.... It would have been good if it was true too; but it is very close to truth.

In paradise, in a restaurant, Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, all four are sitting gospeling. And then an apsara, a beautiful dance girl, comes dancing with a flask in her hands - it is full of wine - looks at them and says, "You are talking about life, and listening to you talk about life I wondered....

Life is available here in this restaurant; that's our special recipe. We make life, the juice called life. I have brought this flask. There is no need to discuss it, why don't you drink, taste it?"

Buddha immediately closed his eyes. He said "Birth is pain, death is pain, and between two pains there is no possibility of life being bliss. I don't even want to see it."

Jesus looked at the girl and told her, "Life is born in sin, and you are trying to tempt us? You must belong to the devil. Get out of my sight!"

Confucius was more human; he said, "I cannot be like these two guys; they are against life. I am a pragmatist." Confucius made China one of the most pragmatic countries, very practical. He said, "I am a practical man. I cannot say anything without tasting - give me a little taste of the juice you call life." He tasted it a little, gave the cup back and said, "No, it is bitter. Those two fellows are right."

Lao Tzu said, "Unless you drink the whole of it you cannot pass any judgment, because there are things which are bitter in the beginning and sweet in the end. And moreover, one has to learn tasting too. Just taking one sip, with no previous experience of drinking life... your judgment is simply worthless.

"Confucius, you are a confused man and you have confused thousands of others. You pose as if you are pragmatic, but what kind of pragmatism is this, that just by tasting a little bit you make a judgment about the whole? By knowing the part you don't know the whole. Yes, by knowing the whole you know the part, but not vice versa."

Lao Tzu took the whole flask - he was not a man to drink from a cup - drank the whole flask, emptied the flask, thanked the lady, and told all those great friends of his, "You are all idiots! It is tremendously beautiful, delicious, but one has to experience it in its totality. Less than that won't do."

This is the whole approach of the pagan.

Lao Tzu is a pagan. That's why in his writings you will not find God mentioned, or heaven and hell talked about. He is solely concerned with here and now. He lived that way.

Once Confucius had asked him, "People ask me about death but I don't know anything about death.

Perhaps - you are older and wiser, and you love to move into dangerous spaces of consciousness - perhaps you have some idea about death."

Lao Tzu said, "Without dying, there is no way to know death. Commit suicide; go and jump from the hill and you will know what death is. The only way to know is to live it. Asking about death, trying to find an answer about death, is silly. Right now try to live; otherwise you will miss this too.

"And mind my advice, that you are not going to live forever; soon you will be dead. Then, Lying in your grave, meditate upon death as long as you want - nobody will disturb you.

"But don't waste your lifetime thinking about death, because those are the people who, when they are dying, will be thinking of life. That's how their mind functions. They are never where they are, they are always where they are not. That has become their routine. While alive they are worried about death - while dying they will be worried about life."

I am a pagan.

And only a pagan can drop miseries.

Only he has the guts to drop miseries.

The society won't allow you to drop your miseries - it has so much investment in them.

You are miserable, you go to the priest; he gives you fictions, consolations. Of course he takes his fee and assures you that he will take care of you; he will persuade God in favor of you. You just be patient and accept whatever happens to you, trusting in God, trusting in the holy book, trusting in the messiah. You need not be worried: these miseries will be soon over, life is so short.

For people who don't know how to live, life is so short.

For people who know how to live even a single moment is equal to eternity.

The priests will tell you, "It is just a short life, it will pass. It is just like a nightmare, but you will wake up in paradise. Just keep faith burning in your heart, don't lose your belief"

Now, if you are not miserable, there is no need to go to a priest. I have never been to a priest. I have never asked anybody how not to be miserable, because in the first place I am not miserable.

Once in a while it happens... because no system can be one hundred percent foolproof, for the simple reason that all systems are made by fools - how can they make a system foolproof? So once in a while a few people have slipped through the loopholes.

From my very childhood it has been my basic contention that blissfulness is natural, just like health.

You don't have to find reasons why you are healthy. You don't go to the doctor, worried, and say, "Doctor, for a few days I have been having this problem of health. Am I supposed to do something or just continue being healthy?" No, you don't make health a problem. Why? You accept it as natural.

Disease is not natural.

The word disease is beautiful. It simply means a state of uneasiness. Whether it is physical, psychological, or spiritual, does not matter; disease can be on any plane. Dis-ease is not going to be your nature, it is something unnatural; you have got diverted from your natural course. So whenever you find yourself miserable, that simply means you are doing something to create it.

This has been my basic contention from my very childhood, that just like health, happiness is a natural phenomenon. But unhappiness is not natural; something somewhere has gone wrong. If a person is continuously miserable, that means many things have gone wrong together. And if the whole world is miserable, that means the whole world is functioning on wrong principles.

For example: each child is told not to be himself. You may not be told so directly, but you are told in a thousand and one ways not to be yourself: you are not acceptable. You can be acceptable if you follow certain rules given by your parents, your priests, your teachers.

But neither the teacher is nature, nor the priest is nature, nor do your parents have any monopoly on nature. But they all are trying to push you into some unnatural way of life. They call it principles, discipline, ideals. They give you great ideals: you have to become like Krishna, like Jesus, like Rama.

In my town there was only one church. There were very few Christians, perhaps four or five families, and I was the only non-Christian who used to visit the church. But that was not special; I used to visit the mosques, the gurudwara, Hindu temples, Jaina temples. I always had the idea that everything belongs to me. I don't belong to any church, I don't belong to any temple, but any temple and any church that exists on the earth belongs to me.

Seeing a non-Christian boy coming continually every Sunday, the priest became interested in me.

He said to me, "You seem to be very interested. In fact, in my whole congregation - it is such a small congregation - you seem to be the most interested. Others are sleeping, snoring, but you are so alert and listening and watching everything. Would you like to become like Jesus Christ?"and he showed me Jesus Christ's picture, of course of him hanging on the cross.

I said, "No, absolutely no. I have no desire to be crucified. And a man who is crucified must have something wrong with him; otherwise who cares to crucify anybody? If his whole country, his people, decided to crucify him, then that man must be carrying something wrong with him. He may be a nice man, he may be a good man, but something must have led him to crucifixion. Perhaps he had a suicidal instinct.

"The people who have suicidal instincts are not generally so courageous as to commit suicide, but they can manage to get others to murder them. And then you will never find that they had a suicidal instinct, that they prompted you to kill them so that the responsibility falls on you."

I said, "I don't have any suicidal instinct in me. Perhaps he was not a suicidal man but certainly he was some kind of masochist. Just looking at his face - and I have seen many of his pictures - I see him looking so miserable, so deadly miserable, that I have tried standing before a mirror and looking as miserable as he looks, but I have failed. I have tried hard, but I cannot even make his face; how can I become Jesus Christ? That seems to be impossible. And why should I become Jesus Christ?"

He was shocked. He said, "I thought you were interested in Jesus."

I said, "I am certainly interested, more interested than you are, because you are a mere preacher, salaried. If you don't get a salary for three months you will be gone, and all your teaching will disappear." And that's what finally happened, because those Christian families were not permanent residents of the town - they were all railway employees, so sooner or later they got transferred. He was left alone with a small church that they had made. Now there was nobody to give money, to support him, nobody to listen to him except me.

On Sundays he used to say, "Dear friends - "

I would say, "Wait! Don't use the plural. There are no friends, just 'dear friend' will do. It is almost like two lovers talking; it is not a congregation. You can sit down - nobody is there. We can have a good chitchat. Why unnecessarily go on standing for one hour, and shout and...?"

And that's how it happened. Within three months he was gone, because if you don't pay him....

Although Jesus says, "Man cannot live by bread alone," man cannot live without bread either. He needs the bread. It may not be enough, he needs many more things, but many more things come only later on; first comes the bread.

Man certainly can live by bread alone. He will not be much of a man - but who is much of a man?

But nobody can live without bread, not even Jesus.

I was going into the mosque, and they allowed me, because Christians, Mohammedans - these are converting religions; they want people from other folds to come to their fold: They were very happy seeing me there - but the same question: "Would you like to become like Hazrat Mohammed?" I was surprised to know that nobody was interested in my just being myself, helping me to be myself.

Everybody was interested in somebody else, the ideal, their ideal, and I have only to be a carbon copy? God has not given me any original face? I have to live with a borrowed face, with a mask, knowing that I don't have any face at all? Then how can life be a joy? Even your face is not yours.

If you are not yourself, how can you be happy?

The whole existence is blissful because the rock is rock, the tree is tree, the river is river, the ocean is ocean. Nobody is bothering to become somebody else; otherwise they would all go nuts. And that's what has happened to man.

You are being taught from the very childhood not to be yourself, but the way it is said is very clever, cunning. They say, "You have to become like Krishna, like Buddha," and they paint Buddha and Krishna in such a way that a great desire arises in you to be a Buddha, to be a Jesus, to be a Krishna. This desire is the root cause of your misery.

I was also told the same things that you have been told, but from my very childhood I made it a point that whatsoever the consequence I was not going to be deviated from myself Right or wrong I am going to remain myself Even if I end up in hell I will have at least the satisfaction that I followed my own course of life. If it leads to hell, then it leads to hell. Following others' advice and ideals and disciplines, even if I end up in paradise I will not be happy there, because I will have been forced against my will.

Try to understand the point. If it is against your will, even in paradise you will be in hell. But following your natural course of being, even in hell you will be in paradise.

Paradise is where your real being flowers.

Hell is where you are crushed and something else is imposed on you.

I am reminded of a story. One very famous philosopher of England, Edmund Burke, was puzzled about a question because he read, and heard also in the sermon of the archbishop of England, that those who have faith in Jesus, in God, in the Holy Ghost - those who have faith, their entry into heaven is guaranteed. Those who have not faith, they can be certain of falling into the darkness of hell.

Edmund Burke was a philosopher. Naturally, philosophers are hair-splitters; he thought about it and he came up with a question. The question was: A man who has faith but is in every way evil, bad, a sinner - what is going to happen to him? And on the other hand, a man who is very good, virtuous, compassionate, always ready to serve others, has never harmed anybody, has never done anything that you can call sin, but has no faith - what happens to him?

Edmund Burke could not figure it out himself so he went to the archbishop and said, "I am in trouble - listening to your sermon this problem has arisen."

The archbishop was also in trouble because he had never thought about it. The question was valid:

"A man can be good and without faith; there have been men.... What about Gautam Buddha? What about Socrates? These people you cannot say were bad people. Even one who is against them cannot say that they were bad people. It is difficult to find better people than those - but they were without faith. What about these people? And there have been many like that: Mahavira, Epicurus, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu - what will happen to these people?

"And we know there are, in your congregation, all kinds of sinners. In fact you even go to the prisons to give sermons to people who have committed all kinds of crimes, even murders, and are sentenced to death or sentenced for life - and they have faith."

In fact, if you think in a very clear way, only these people need faith. Why should a good person need faith? Isn't goodness enough?

That was Buddha's point, his argument against God: Is not being virtuous, innocent, harmless, truthful, honest... all the qualities of a good man - are they not enough? Is faith in a god still needed?a god for which there is no proof, which a really sincere and honest man cannot accept.

That was the situation in India. Once I was in court; they asked me to take the oath in the name of God. I said, "No, I can take the oath in anybody's name but not God's, because I am a man of truth."

The judge said, "A man of truth, and you cannot take the oath in the name of God?"

I said, "It is obvious. A man of truth, how can he accept this fiction of God? I don't see any truth in it."

He said, "You are the first person to raise this question about the oath."

I said, "That simply means you have been meeting criminals, sinners - all these people, your advocates, and perhaps you yourself, are afraid to lose faith in God because that is your only saving device; you don't have anything else."

In India there is a proverb - I quoted it. The proverb is: For a drowning man even the support of a straw floating in the water is enough. He starts hoping that even by clinging to the straw he will be saved; he can't lose the straw. Any man of a little intelligence will know that the straw will not help you; but to a drowning man even the straw.... Perhaps there is no straw at all, just a fiction, just the drowning man dreaming that there is some support. He may not open his eyes even, because who knows? - if he opens his eyes and finds that in his hands there is nothing....

I said, "I cannot take the oath in the name of God because that will be the beginning of lying - and you want me to say only the truth. You are asking a contradiction of me. In the name of the greatest lie, I have to take the oath to speak the truth? If you want me to speak the truth please forget all about God, because you cannot prove God's truth, and without the proof I cannot take the oath."

The judge was really in trouble. He said, "But somehow the case has to be started."

I said, "The case can be started - i can take the oath on my own authority. If you can believe my oath in the name of God, whom are you believing, God or me? I am taking the oath, and if I am determined to lie, I can lie even while I am taking the oath. Who can prevent me? The oath cannot prevent me. You are trusting me if I take the oath. You can't trust me directly? A fiction is needed? I say on my own authority I will speak the truth and only the truth.

"You can start your case. If you insist on God then this case is never going to start, because for millions of years people have tried to prove God and not been able to. Now, first you prove God, then we will see."

You have been told beautiful lies, fictions. You have been persuaded, bribed, to become somebody else. And you have been trying hard to become somebody else. Of course you cannot become, it is not in the nature of things. You cannot become somebody else, hence the misery.

Because you go on failing, you go on failing, you go on failing - how can you be happy? Whatever you do makes no sense; something somehow always goes wrong. You never arrive at any goal. You don't get any juice out of life - but life is not at fault.

You are trying to get juice out of stones. There is no juice in those stones. They may look beautiful, they may have been sculptured like flowers, like fruits, they may have been painted like fruits, they may look even better than fruits, but you cannot get any juice out of them.

And if you are not getting any juice out of your life, that simply means the foundations are wrong.

The first foundation is you are trying to be somebody else - knowingly, unknowingly, that is not the point. You will have to find out what you have been trying to be. You may not be very clear. It may not be one image, it may be many images in your mind, because your father is putting something in your mind, your mother is putting something in your mind....

Your teachers - and there are so many teachers - they are putting different things in your mind. It may be a confused image, not clear-cut; you may not see Krishna, or Jesus, or Buddha, so clear-cut.

You may be born into a Hindu family, then you may have been taught by Christian missionaries in a Christian school. Now your Hinduism and your Christianity are bound to get mixed up. And it is going to be a very difficult mixture to sort out because the flute of Krishna and the cross of Jesus are so mixed up that Krishna is playing his song on the cross and Jesus is crucified on the flute of Krishna! It is going to be a maddening affair.... The head may be of Buddha and the hands may be of Krishna and the legs may be of Christ and the voice may be of Socrates.

You are in a tremendous confusion, but the confusion is rooted in the idea that you have to become somebody else.

Then many people came in your life and gave you the same idea, but with a new ideal. Now you don't know where to go. You are standing before the White House on the Pentagon. A crossroads is at least symmetrical - even if you are divided, you will be divided in four equal parts - but on a pentagon! One leg is going on one road, another leg is going on another road; one hand is moving on one road, another hand on another road; your head has run on some other road. It is a pentagon situation.

It is going to be difficult to put all your parts together again because they are all running fast to reach the goal. And who is going to bring them all together? Your parents, your society, have not left you in a position of control. On the contrary, they are in the position of control, they know how to control you. In fact, before they could control you it was absolutely necessary that you were no longer in control of yourself In my childhood it was an everyday problem with my parents. I told them again and again and again, "One thing you should understand, that if you want me to do something don't tell me, because if you tell me that I have to do it then I am going to do just the opposite - whatsoever happens."

My father said, "You will do just the opposite?"

I said, "Exactly - just the opposite. I am ready for any punishment, but really you are responsible, not I, because I have made it clear from the very beginning that if you want something to be done please don't tell me. Let me find it myself "Once I am ordered, I am determined to disobey, even though I know that what you are saying is right; but that is not the question. This small thing and its rightness does not matter much. It is a question of my whole life, Who is going to be in control? These small rights and wrongs don't matter to me - what does it matter?

"What matters to me it is a life and death question is who is going to be in control? Are you going to be in control, or am I going to be in control? Is it my life or your life?"

A few times they tried and they found that I was determined. I would do just the opposite. Of course it was not right, what they wanted was certainly right. And there was no denial of the fact from my side that "what you wanted was right. But that you wanted it was not right; you should have allowed me to want it. You were impatient; you forced me to take the opposite action. Now who is responsible that things have gone wrong?"

For example, my grandfather was sick. My father was going out and he told me, "You are here, and you are such a great friend to your grandfather, so just take a little care. This medicine has to be given at three o'clock, and that medicine has to be given at six o'clock."

I did just the reverse - I gave the medicine that was to be given at six o'clock at three, and gave the medicine at six o'clock that was to be given at three... changed the whole order. Of course my grandfather became more seriously ill. And when my father came he said, "This is too much. I had never imagined that you would do this."

I said, "You should have imagined. You should start imagining, visualizing. When I have said it, I have to do it even if it means putting my grandfather into danger. And I have told him that I have reversed the order because I have to do it this way. And he agreed with me."

He was a jewel of a man. He said, "You do exactly what you have said. Remain determined. My life I have lived, your life is ahead. Don't be controlled by anybody. Even if I die, never feel guilty about it."

He did not die, but I had taken a risky decision. My father stopped telling me to do things from that day. I said, "You can suggest, you cannot order. You have to learn to be polite to your own son, because as far as our beings are concerned, who is father and who is son? You don't possess me, I don't possess you; it is just an accidental meeting of two strangers. You had no idea to whom you were going to give birth. I had no idea who was going to be my father, my mother. It is just an accidental meeting on the roads.

"Don't try to exploit the situation. Don't take advantage because you are powerful, you have money, and I don't have anything. And don't force me, because this is ugly. You suggest to me. You can always give me a suggestion that 'this is my suggestion - you can think over it. If you feel it is right, you do it; if you feel it isn't, don't."'

And slowly it settled that my family started giving only suggestions. But they were in for a surprise, because I started giving suggestions too. My father said, "This is some new development. You had not told about that."

I said, "It is simple. If you can give suggestions to me because you are experienced, mature, I can also give you suggestions because I am inexperienced. And that is not necessarily a disqualification, because all the great inventions in the world have happened through inexperienced people. Experienced people go on repeating the same - because of their experience they know the 'right' method; they cannot invent anything."

For invention you have to be ignorant of the "right method that has always been done, only then can you break new ground. Only an inexperienced person will have the guts to go into the unknown.

So I said, "You have a qualification of experience, I have a qualification of inexperience. You are mature, but maturity also means that your mirror is no longer as clean as my mirror is; much dust has gathered over it. Yes, you have seen much of life - so that is your qualification.

"My qualification is I have not seen any of life. No dust has gathered on my mirror - my mirror reflects more clearly, more accurately. Your mirror may simply imagine that it is reflecting. It may be just an old memory floating, not a real reflection of the objective reality.

"So this has to be: if you can give suggestions to me, I can also give suggestions to you. I am not telling you to follow them. It is not an order. You can think over it just as I think over your suggestions."

But each child has to fight from the very beginning; this is the trouble. Children fight, but fight for wrong reasons, wrong things. I have never asked for a single toy. My father used to go at least three, four times to Bombay, and he would ask all the children, "What would you like?" And he would ask me also, "If you want anything I can note it down and bring it from Bombay."

I never asked him. Once I said, "I only want you to come back more human, less fatherly, more friendly, less dictatorial, more democratic. Bring a little more freedom for me when you come back."

He said, "But these things are not available in the market."

I said, "I know they are not available in the market, but these are the things I would like: a little more freedom, a little bigger rope, fewer orders, fewer commandments, and a little respect."

No child has asked for respect. You ask for toys sweets, clothes, a bicycle, and things like that. You get them, but these are not the real things which are going to make your life blissful.

I asked him for money only when I wanted to purchase more books; I never asked money for anything else. And I told him, "When I ask for money for books you had better give it to me."

He said, "What do you mean?"

I said, "I simply mean that if you don't give it to me then I will have to steal it. I don't want to be a thief but if you force me then there is no way. You know I don't have money. I need these books and I am going to have them, that you know. So if money is not given to me then I will take it; and remember in your mind that it was you who forced me to steal."

He said, "No need to steal. Whenever you need money you simply come and take it."

And I said, "You be assured it is only for the books," but there was no need for the assurance because he went on seeing my library growing in the house. Slowly there was no place in the house for anything other than my books.

And my father said, "Now, first we had a library in our house, now in the library we have a house!

And we all have to take care of your books because if something goes wrong with any book you make so much fuss, you create so much trouble that everybody is afraid of your books. And they are everywhere; you cannot avoid stumbling on them. And there are small children...."

I said, "Small children are not a problem to me; the problem is the older children. The smaller children - I respect them so much that they are very protective of my books."

It was a strange thing to see in my house. My younger brothers and sisters were all protective of my books when I was not there: nobody could touch my books. And they would clean them and they would keep them in the right place, wherever I had put them, so when I needed any book I could find it. And it was a simple matter because I was so respectful to them, and they could not show their respect in any other way than to be respectful to my books.

I said, "The real problems are the older children - my uncles, my aunts, my father's sisters, my father's brothers-in-law - these are the people who are the trouble. I don't want anybody else to mark my books, underline in my books, and these people go on doing that." I hated the very idea that somebody should underline in my books.

One of my father's brothers-in-law was a professor, so he must have been in the habit of underlining.

And he found so many beautiful books, that whenever he used to come he would write notes on my books. I had to tell him, "This is simply not only unmannerly, uncivilized, it shows what kind of mind you have.

"l don't want books from the libraries, I don't read books from the libraries, for the simple reason that they are underlined, marked. Somebody else has emphasized something. I don't want that, because without your knowing, that emphasis enters your mind. If you are reading a book and something is underlined with red, that line stands out. You have read the whole page but that line stands out. It leaves a different impact on your mind.

"l have an aversion to reading somebody else's books, underlined, marked. To me it is just like somebody going to a prostitute. A prostitute is nothing but a woman underlined and marked - notes all over her from different people in different languages. You would like a woman fresh, not underlined by somebody else.

"To me a book is not just a book, it is a love affair. If you underline any book then you have to pay for it and take it. Then I don't want that book here, because one dirty fish can make the whole pond dirty. I don't want any book prostituted - you take it."

He was very angry because he could not understand. I said, "You don't understand me because you don't know me much. You just talk to my father."

And my father said to him, "lt was your fault. Why did you underline his book? Why did you write a note in his book? What purpose did it serve to you? - because the book will remain in his library. In the first place you never asked his permission - that you wanted to read his book.

"Nothing happens here without his permission if it is his thing; because if you take his thing without permission then he starts taking everybody's things without permission. And that creates trouble.

Just the other day one of my friends was going to catch the train and he took away his suitcase...."

My father's friend was going crazy: "Where is the suitcase?"

I said, "I know where it is, but in your suitcase there is one of my books. I am not interested in your suitcase, I am simply trying to save my book." I opened it - I had said, "Open the suitcase," but he was very reluctant because he had stolen the book - and the book was found. I said, "Now you pay the penalty, because this is simply barbarious.

"You were a guest here; we respected you, we served you. We did everything for you - and you steal a book of a poor boy who has no money: a boy who has to threaten his father that 'if you don't give me money then I am going to steal. And then don't ask, Why did I do it? - because then wherever I can steal, I will steal.'

"These books are not cheap - and you just kept it in your suitcase. You cannot deceive my eyes.

When I enter my room I know whether my books are all there or not, whether something is missing."

So my father said to the professor who had underlined my book, "Never do that to him. Take this book and replace it with a fresh one."

My approach is simple:

Everybody has to be assertive, not aggressive.

Those two words are totally different. You can be assertive and very humble. You cannot be humble and aggressive. Aggressive is trespassing somebody else's right. Assertion is simply making your right proclaimed, clear. These are totally different processes.

Assertion is everybody's fundamental right: "If you are not capable of understanding then I have to shout, but I am not interfering in any way in your life. I am simply saying, please keep away from my territorial prerogative. I will never trespass your territory, but the same I expect from you."

That's what I would like our small children to be from the very beginning - assertive, not aggressive; humble, but not ready to be enslaved by anybody.

The whole of humanity is enslaved, and enslaved by such beautiful names: God, religion, morality, truth, motherland, father, mother, family. In all these good names are hidden the very poisonous seeds of your slavery.

This type of man cannot be blissful; so misery in the world is simply the outcome of all this. Now we cannot do anything about the past - that is gone - but you can start from this very moment to live an assertive, individual, humble but clear-cut life: it is your life, and you want to live it this way. And you will have to insist because from everywhere there will be pressure that "you should not live this way, this is wrong. We know the right way, you do it the right way."

I was just reading a news item that in Israel a great problem has arisen and has stirred the whole Jewish community around the earth, particularly in America. The question is, Who is a Jew?

Because only a Jew will be allowed entry into Israel, so first it has to be defined who a Jew is.

It is not so easy.

So they have defined that first, his mother has to be Jewish - because about the father one can always only infer, one can never be absolutely certain. The mother has to be Jewish, born Jewish, then the person can be allowed.

Second, because of Christianity and Islam... the Jewish community is surrounded by both these, Mohammedans and Christians, and both are converting religions. Judaism is not a converting religion, just like Hinduism is not a converting religion. They are the oldest religions; they had no need to convert anybody. But both have had to submit to the times; otherwise they were losing their people and they were not getting anybody from the other folds.

So in Hinduism there has been a movement, arya samaj, of very scholarly people, but not saintly at all. Maharishi Dhyananda inaugurated and founded Arya Samaj. It is a fanatic sect to convert everybody into Hinduism.

In the same way, the Jews had to take some steps. Orthodox Jews were of course very reluctant. So the unorthodox ones, particularly the Hassidic Jews, started conversion; they have converted many people. And they have something beautiful which appeals; people can get caught in the whirlwind of Hassidism.

Hassidism is really something, one of those rare flowers that have come into the history of human consciousness. Zen, Taoism, Sufism, Hassidism: these four seem to be the four pillars that have arisen out of the whole of history - something tremendously beautiful. But to be that beautiful they had to be unorthodox, they had to be rebels, they had to be life-affirmative.

So they are condemned everywhere by the orthodox people. Zen is not liked by orthodox Buddhists; it is condemned. Sufis are not liked by Mohammedans; they are murdered, killed, they have to remain in hiding. You will not find Sufis if you go inquiring in the middle East, "I want to meet some Sufis." It is not that they have signboards; you cannot find them that way. That is not the way.

No Sufi will you find, because Sufis are in hiding, otherwise they are killed. So unless you have some source, some contact.... If I send you somewhere, to go to Istanbul and meet this goldsmith at this address, then this goldsmith will take you to the meeting of the Sufis.

And it will depend on the goldsmith and the Sufis as to when they allow you, so you will have to wait.

Only if you have a contact - then too you are not directly sent to the Sufi community. You are sent to somebody who can inform the Sufi community, which meets irregularly in different places, to ask their permission - whether to admit this man or not.

Then the Sufi community will give a time: "Wait for four weeks," because for four weeks their people will watch this man to see whether he is worth allowing in the community, or whether he may create unnecessary trouble. If they decide in favor of the man, only then will he be allowed.

The Hassids are thought to be a lower kind of Jew - fallen Jews, not the right kind. But they are the people who have converted people to Judaism. Now there is trouble. The trouble is, eighty percent of converted Jews are converted by the Hassids, and they are not accepted as Jews in Israel.

If a converted Jew is to be accepted, he has to be converted by orthodox Jews, and orthodox Judaism has nothing of appeal in it - who wants to become an orthodox Jew? - unless you are some kind of crackpot or.... For what reason? And to be converted to orthodox Judaism is such a process that no intelligent person would submit to it.

So there is a great stir about what will happen, because eighty percent of Jews converted in America are converted by unorthodox people. These people will not be entitled to enter Israel or become part of that country - and these are the people who have been contributing millions of dollars to Israel.

So why should they contribute? If that is not their country and if they are not even Jews, then why should they bother about Israel?

But do you see the point, why this question of who is a Jew has arisen? A Jew has to be absolutely a slave of orthodoxy, of convention, of all that is old. He should not think in terms of freedom, individuality, enlightenment, meditation. These are not part of orthodox Judaism. He should not think of dancing and singing and enjoying; that is not religion.

Every religion wants you to be a slave to the old, to the dead.

How can you be happy?

To be happy you have to be alive.

To be alive you have to assert your right.

You have to throw all that hinders.

And you tell me that you would like to be as blissful as I always am. No, don't be: Your bliss will be your bliss. It has not to be just like mine; that's again your slave speaking. Take note of that slave.

I try to bring him out from one cell, and he immediately slips into another cell. He has become so accustomed to darkness and solitary confinement that he cannot bear the light. Why should you be just like me? I am not "just like" anybody else, that's why I am blissful. And if you try to be just like me you have started the game of misery again - a fresh game, but again on the road.

And remember one thing:

I am not here to create replicas of myself One enough.

Now everybody has to actualize his potential a contribute to existence something new. Unless you present something new to existence, you have failed and you will, be miserable. You have not been creative you have not been able to repay existence for all the favors that it has showered upon you.

Just be yourself.

You can be certain you will not be like anybody else in the world, so don't be worried about that; be happy about it.

And the second thing is very fundamental:

Your love, your joy, your silence, will have some thing in it of you - the flavor, the fragrance, the aroma.

My joy, my blissfulness, my meditation, will have something of me. There is no need even to compare. My blissfulness has not to be copied. Yes, my blissfulness can create a great urge in you to be blissful. But you blissfulness will be yours, authentically yours.

We use the same names because there are so man people in the world that if we start using different words for everybody's experience, language will become impossible. So we use one word, love, but have you not felt it? - that every man's love has a different quality to it, something unique to it.

Have you not felt - you have so many friends, and every friend's friendship, friendliness has a different taste, a different warmth? The same is true about all qualities: they are individual.

Something is certainly similar, that's why we give them one name. The fragrance of a rose and the fragrance of the night queen are totally different fragrances; but something is similar - they are fragrances. Their being a fragrance, only that much is similar; otherwise a rose is a rose, a night queen is a night queen.

In India I was searching in many botanical gardens, because I was moving all around the country, and I had my own crazy ideas. I was always concerned... because I had beautiful plants of night queens around my house, and when they all blossomed in summer my neighbors complained that they could not sleep - the fragrance was so much. And I had them all around my house, at least two hundred plants. And when they blossom, they blossom all together in one night, and each plant has thousands of flowers - a very small flower, but with so much fragrance that my neighbors started complaining: "You have to cut these trees."

I said, "I cannot. You can move away. There is no law... I don't enter your house, but I don't think there is any law that the fragrance of my flowers cannot enter your house. You go to the court, we will see you in the court."

They said, "Who is talking about courts? We are bothered: the whole day we work, and in the night we cannot sleep. And it is beautiful for a few moments, but the whole night? - it is too much!"

I was always inquiring, "If there is a night queen, is there something like a day king?" and the gardeners would say, "Never heard of it."

I would say, "There must be, because queens cannot be without kings." And finally I found out there is a plant in Kulu-Manali in the Himalayas which is actually called the day king. It is exactly the same plant, the male, just a little bigger flower - but the same leave everything the same. It is of the same species, but not having that fragrance, a different fragrance.

When you are by the side of a night queen you are almost taken into an embrace; it surrounds you from all over. It is not just your nostrils, it surrounds you from all over. Like a cloud it comes and you are surrounded by it. The male plant is not the same. Th fragrance also is different - more subtle and less aggressive. The female plant is really aggressive; you cannot escape, you are simply caught by the lady. She simply pulls you by the hand, she possesses you - that was my feeling.

I brought the male plant also to my garden just to see how different they were, and I could see that the female plant's fragrance has something of the woman in it - the jealousy of a woman, the possessiveness of, woman. The male plant looks almost like a hen-pecked husband, like a husband entering in his house, afraid repeating some mantra. In the same way the male plant's fragrance enters the house, step by step, cautiously. The female's fragrance simply comes and fill your whole house, not bothering about you, knocking everything out of the way.

I can see that on my drive every day. There are men trying to dance, moving, but it looks like they are doing some exercise; and the feminine sannyasins are just possessed. The dance is not an exercise, the song is no an exercise - they are completely into it, they have for gotten themselves.

The man cannot forget himself. He keeps his composure, remains standing up straight, just the way he used to stand in his principal's office where he was called. And this is not your principal's office.

And when he sees all around, when he looks all around at what the women are doing, he starts moving a little bit, otherwise it will look odd. Otherwise if he is allowed, he will put his hands into his pockets and stand there, a little apart, as if to say, "Let these mad women do what they are doing."

But here nobody is allowed to keep his hands in his pockets - nobody is allowed to be out of the line. And the women are pushing the fellow from all sides; sooner or later he says it is better to go with the wind. But those differences are there....

So my blissfulness will remain my blissfulness.

There is no question of superiority or inferiority - your blissfulness will have its own unique qualities.

And it is absolutely up to you if you want to be blissful. Let the whole world remain in misery, you start being blissful. At least the part of the world that you are, you can change. Perhaps that may trigger the process of change in others.

So don't be bothered that the whole world is in misery, or why the whole world is in misery. Forget it.

Let them - if they choose to be miserable that is their birthright. What can we do? We cannot force them to be blissful.

You start being blissful.

And remember, blissfulness is not something that is to be learned, that you have to be trained in.

You have just to relax and allow it.

It is there inside you, it is your very nature.

Just drop those idiotic ideas, ideals, principles, disciplines that are surrounding you; just be finished with them. Be a free man - free from nations, free from cultures, free from religions - just a pure freedom. And you will see arising within you a tremendous joy that you have never seen before.

And it may help others. When you are lighted up it is bound to help others to see why they are in darkness. And I want very ordinary people to be lighted up. If somebody in a monastery becomes enlightened, it doesn't help the world at all, because people say, "For twenty years he has been meditating in the mountains, in a monastery; he has renounced the whole world - and perhaps for many lives he has been doing it - it is not for us ordinary people."

I want to destroy this whole stupid idea.

Enlightenment is your birthright.

It has nothing to do with a monastery, nothing to do with renunciation. So I want you to be blissful sitting in a restaurant, in a disco, gambling....

I want you to be blissful.

I want my people to become enlightened in places where nobody has ever dared to become enlightened.

Only that will help humanity, because that will make it clear: This man became enlightened in a disco! Under the bodhi tree is one thing, sitting in a forest for six years... but this Milarepa, killing so many ladies, became enlightened drumming!

Somebody just told me, "Have you heard that Milarepa is going to England?" - sannyasins are having a group tour of England - "what do you say about it?"

I said, "What can I say about it? I can only say, God save the queen!"

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