Man: the greatest problem - and the only solution
WHAT IS THE GREATEST PROBLEM IN THE WORLD?
THE greatest problem or the smallest problem, it is the same: man. And when I say man, I do not mean something abstract. I mean I, you, he, she. There exists no man as such, separate from human beings.
There exists no humanity; it is only a name. The reality is the individual. And the problem arises because the reality has not been accepted. The real has been denied expression; and the unreal, the abstract, has been imposed upon it.
You have been told continuously, "Live for humanity." Where is humanity? Have you ever come across humanity? Do you think you are ever going to have an encounter with humanity? It is just like all those big, bombastic, bogus words: God, motherland, fatherland, Holy Ghost. They don't exist, they are only projected. "Live for humanity" means don't live for yourself.
Nobody has the guts to say to you directly, "Don't live for yourself." So they have found a cunning, clever, indirect way of saying the same thing: Live for God, live for humanity, live for man, live for the universe. Live for anything - XYZ - but please don't live for yourself. And here is the root of the whole problem.
291 Your life is your life, and it can be lived only one way; there is no other alternative. And the only way that it can be lived has to be found by you. It is not all ready like a super-highway, ready-made, with millions of people moving on it, going towards their goal, and you have just to join the crowd.
No, there is no super-highway to existence.
There are only small footpaths which are walked in total aloneness.
And remember, even those footpaths are not ready-made, available for you so that you can go on number eleven footpath. They don't exist other than when you walk upon them; it is through walking you create them. It is a very beautiful and mysterious way life has, that it does not make you like a railway train which runs on rails. A railway has no choice, it cannot just go anywhere it likes. Those rails are fixed, somebody else determines them. Those rails are the destiny - the train simply moves according to somebody else's dictates.
Man has no destiny - although you have been told for thousands of years that you have a destiny.
This is what I call the way of the cunning, deceiving, exploiting people. Now when it is said to you that man has a destiny, you never think of a railway train. Only railway trains have destinations, stations.
But beautiful words can go on hiding ugly realities. "Man has a destiny" - I have been hearing it from my childhood, and I have been saying each time it has been mentioned by somebody in some way, "Please don't insult me."
When I said this to one of my professors, he was shocked. He said, "I am not insulting you. To have a destiny is not an insult, it is the most honorable thing in life."
I said, "It may be for you because you don't understand what you are saying. Destiny means predetermined; my tomorrow is already predetermined by somebody. I have not even been consulted - as if it is none of my concern, I am nobody, just some playing cards in somebody's hands; whatsoever he wants he makes out of me. Whatever game he plays, that is my destiny. And this is thought to be respectful?"
And the professor was not saying something crazy. That is what is thought all around the world.
I said, "I can understand why you are shocked, because you have never thought about the word destiny. How can I have a destiny? I have not determined it. Then who is the guy who determines it? And what right has he got to determine it? He has not even asked me. I don't know him, we have not even been introduced. Just for courtesy's sake he could have asked me,'This is going to be your destiny - do you like it or not?' But nobody has even bothered that much."
Man has no destiny.
And I say unto you that it is only man who has not any destiny. Dogs have; buffalos have; donkeys have. They move on certain rails. Each donkey throughout millions of years has lived the same routine life: the birth, the love affair, and the difficulties of marriage, children, old age, all hopes shattered, all dreams unfulfilled, and the darkness of death. All the donkeys have lived that way, they are still living that way - but not man.
In fact, I want to say to you that all men are not behaving like men. A few are behaving like monkeys, a few are behaving like Yankees, but none even tries to assert, "I am a man." But that assertion contains so much, it is almost immeasurable.
So first: man has no destiny. Once you understand it, almost all your problems disappear. I say "almost" - perhaps ninety-nine percent disappear; one percent remains. I want it to remain. Ninety- nine percent of your problems are created by deviating you, by driving you into ways which are not for you. But whenever I said that this is an insult, the reaction was the same - a shock.
Slowly I became aware that people don't use words consciously. What they are saying is almost like a parrot, perhaps worse than a parrot.
I am reminded of a story. A Christian priest went into a pet shop. His own parrot had died, and that was his only companion. He was a celibate: no wife to quarrel with, no children to be engaged with. How long can you live with God alone? Once every week, Sunday morning, is good, but for the remaining six days, when the whole world goes to work... and even God worked those six days.
The poor priest has to remain in the church doing nothing.
Even the good God could not manage to remain for seven days without doing anything. In six days he created this neurotic world, and on the seventh day He said, "Great! I have done a great job, now I can rest." But this poor priest... so he had his parrot and slowly, slowly he made him almost a scholar, trained him. The whole week there was no other work. The parrot knew almost all the sermons of the priest. He had become lately a nuisance because he wouldn't let the priest rest even a little while. Whenever the priest was resting the parrot would start his sermon that the priest had - with great labor and patience - been teaching him, not knowing that it was going to backfire.
He would shout at the parrot, "Shut up! You keep quiet! On Sunday I have to preach myself, and I have to hear my own words; and then seven days you torture me day and night. Whenever you see me you immediately start my sermons. I am fed up with these sermons!"
And the parrot would giggle. He would say, "What about me? And what about those fools who come to the church? Everybody is fed up. When I get bored I start the sermon - what else to do? And here I don't see anybody, no congregation; only you are my congregation."
The priest was thinking many times that if this parrot died - he was old, and if he died it would be good. By a coincidence the parrot died, and then the priest realized that it was impossible to live alone; the parrot had been a companion. Although he bored him, at least there was something - boredom; at least there was something to complain about, at least there was somebody he could shout at. Now there was nobody.
This is how habits work on people. You may be fed up with something - your husband, your wife; I call all these habits. You may be fed up with them, you may have thought many times, "If only this woman dies, or somebody takes her away... if she is hijacked.... In this whole world so many things are happening, but nothing happens to her: no accident, no hijacking, nobody elopes with her....
She seems to be accident-proof!"
And the same is what she goes on thinking, "This old foggy-head - how long am I going to suffer with him? Is he going to die or not." But once the old foggy-head dies then she suddenly feels a tremendous vacuum intolerable.
The same happened with the priest. So he went to a pet shop to purchase another parrot. He said, "I want the best one, because the one I have lost is almost irreplaceable. He was such a great scholar, and such a hot preacher. He roused his congregation - although it was not much of a congregation, only I was there; but he was really a hot preacher.
"I am a silent and tolerant man - I am a priest and I am supposed to be; but he was able to break the ice. And he was more patient than me because when I used to become angry, he used to giggle; that giggle I can still hear. And I think perhaps he understood better than me. So I need something...
really the best. I want to forget my parrot."
The shopkeeper said, "You have come at the right time. Just now I have received a parrot which is a jewel. You cannot imagine anybody to compete with this guy. You come with me."
He took him inside the shop. At the very back he had kept a beautiful parrot in a golden cage. The priest said, "What is the speciality of this parrot?"
He said, "You ask what speciality? Can't you see these two threads hanging down by his legs?"
The priest said, "Yes, I can see them."
The shopkeeper said, "If you pull the right thread - and nobody will be able to see it, nobody you have brought to introduce to the parrot.... You just slightly pull the right thread and immediately he gives the Sermon on the Mount."
The preacher said, "That is great, because my parrot used to give sermons but not the Sermon on the Mount. He used to repeat my sermons, and I was repeating others' sermons. And this parrot gives the Sermon on the Mount just with a slight hint to go? My parrot was not like that.
"He didn't know any signals; the moment he saw me he started, and unless I shouted and made much fuss, he wouldn't stop. Starting was no problem; the problem was stopping, because unless he stopped the whole sermon, it was very difficult to interrupt him. It was just a mechanical thing, he had to go all the way. But this is good. And what about the left thread?
The shopkeeper said, "If you pull the left thread he repeats the Christian prayer."
The priest was really amazed, and he said, 'What if I pull both the threads?"
"You are expecting a sermon? a Christian prayer?" said the parrot. "You son-of-a-bitch, can't you see I will fall on my bottom?"
Now, even a parrot has some sense, more than the priest asking about pulling on both his legs.
Even the parrot could see that this was sheer stupidity. What kind of man is this priest!
So I am saying to you that, just parrot-like, man has been repeating words - but perhaps parrots are more alert. Perhaps they are just playing a game, perhaps they are just befooling you. You want to be befooled; you want to be entertained, and they are doing it. But deep down....
I have thought about it. I used to have a parrot myself in my childhood - I used to collect all kinds of animals. Looking into the eyes of the parrot, I had the feeling many times that when he was repeating the words that had been taught to him, he knew that these were just meaningless words.
That was my feeling looking into his eyes. He was a very clever bird, because whenever I looked into his eyes, I would see a subtle smile. He knew why I was looking. I had an absolute certainty about his eyes: deep down we had not been able to deceive him. But I cannot say the same about so-called man.
Looking into the eyes of my professors who were saying, "Man has a destiny," I have not found that smile of the parrot. They really believed what they were saying, because they knew the meaning of the words; but they don't know the implications of the words. And the implications are many, and the most profound implications are indirect. They are never direct; you will not find them in the dictionaries.
I have imagined many times writing a dictionary not with meanings but with implications. But I am a lazy man; I would not even be able to work on half a page and it would be finished. So I have never started But the idea has always been there that each word has two things. One is the meaning - grammatical, linguistic, superficial, available in every dictionary. But nobody bothers about the second: the implication.
Implication is a totally different thing. For example, "Man has a destiny"; the meaning is clear, but what about the implication? What is the implication of the word destiny? There are so many implications. One is, that man is not a man at all, that man is a thing, not a being, because a thing can have a destiny. A chair can have destiny; it is made for a certain function, it Will fulfill its function.
Man is not made to order. He is not furniture.
Man is consciousness.
Consciousness cannot have any destiny.
Consciousness has freedom.
Destiny is just the opposite of freedom; that is its implication. Destiny means you are a born slave.
Even before you were born your stamp of slavery was completely sealed; you were finished before you were born. That's the meaning of destiny as far as implication is concerned. In fact you were never born, because before birth death had happened; that is your destiny. You are programmed.
Because of this idea of destiny, astrologers, palmists, and all kinds of future predictors go on exploiting man. They would not have been able to exploit you if you were not carrying the idea that you have a destiny. If you have a destiny, then there may be some ways to find out what it is:
perhaps in the lines of your hands, perhaps in the lines of your head, perhaps in the lines of your feet, or perhaps in your birth chart, in the combination and position of stars, planets. Some way must be there to read the program.
And the strangest thing is that you feel happy with astrologers telling you about your future. You are really too curious to know about the future, without ever thinking that to have a future means you are dead. If the future is already settled, then how is freedom possible? If tomorrow something is going to happen, then it is going to happen; I am just a victim in the hands of some unknown force - I am not my own master.
To have a destiny means you are not your own master.
You cannot do anything about your life.
These are the implications of that simple word, destiny. It leaves you dead. It leaves you a slave.
It leaves you without any excitement because all is determined. It leaves you without any hope, because what can you hope? Whatever is going to happen is going to happen whether you hope or not. You are no longer significant in any way in your own life. Even to call it your own life is not right:
Destiny has taken all juice out of you.
This is what has made man into a problem.
Once this is accepted, that "I am a determined being," then you are just driftwood, because you don't know what that destiny is. There is a subtle, unconscious feeling that there may be wise people who know it. Your parents may be knowing it, your teachers, your professors, your priests, your monks, your messiahs. These people must be knowing it because you don't know.
You don't know because there is no destiny to know - but all these people have managed a totally different show. They say you don't know because you are ignorant, but there are wise people who know - incarnations of God, the people who have realized themselves, messengers of God. These are the people who know. Your only wise course will be to listen to them and to follow them and to believe in them because you don't know and they do.
And certainly those people who pretend to know also pretend that they have all the authority of the past; all the scriptures, all the other prophets are behind them - they are not alone. They inherit the whole wisdom of the world, and they are the last word - perhaps the concluding word. They have weight.
In Buddha's time eight people were trying - just like politicians campaigning - for the post of the twenty-fourth tirthankara of the Jainas, because the post was vacant. And twenty-three tirthankaras had already happened, only one was left for the whole of creation to come. It was not an ordinary opportunity.
The presidential election is every five years, three years, four years; a prime minister is elected every four years, five years - if some assassin does not interfere - but that too is conditional. Twenty percent of American presidents have been assassinated; it is not a small percentage. And if this is the case in America, just within three hundred years of history, you can think what has happened around the world. And these presidents were killed by enemies, people who belonged to different, antagonistic ideologies.
But if you look into history you will be surprised. Kings are being killed by their own sons, kings are being imprisoned by their own sons; brothers are being killed by their own brothers.
In South India there is perhaps the best sculpted and the greatest statue in the world. It is in a place called Gomteshwar. It is the statue of a Jaina sannyasin, Bahubali. The word bahubali means man of strong arms; and he was really a giant of a man. He was the son of a king, and the king became a monk. The king's eldest son's name was Bharat, and because of this man's name, India's oldest name is Bharat, the land of Bharat.
Bharat was the eldest son and Bahubali was the youngest son - there were only two sons. Bharat was conventionally the inheritor of the kingdom. When the father became a monk and renounced the world, he did not proclaim who the successor was. When he was asked, he said, "How can I do that? A thing which I am renouncing... how can I proclaim one of my own sons to be the inheritor of something that I have rejected? It is for them: if they want it, it is there; I am not taking it away.
"But people will laugh at me: 'If you found it so useless that you simply kicked it out of your way...
you must have some deep greed, some attachment if you still want your eldest son to become the king." He said, "The kingdom is just worthless - nobody needs to inherit it. If they want to, that is their business."
Bharat, seeing that his father thought that the kingdom was not even worth his declaring somebody a successor, followed his father. Bahubali was very much interested in the kingdom; he was a very worldly man. And he was a great warrior. He knew perfectly well that Bharat was going to be the owner of the kingdom; his chances of being a king were nil. But he could shine in other fields, and the best one was to be the greatest warrior in the country. And of course Bharat was no match for him - Bharat was a simple man.
Bahubali prepared himself to be the greatest warrior. But there was trouble, and the trouble was that Bharat had not renounced the world for the simple reason that there was nothing to renounce; the father had not given him any inheritance. It is a beautiful story. The father had not given him any inheritance, thinking it was useless. So what had he got to renounce? - he was already in a state of renunciation.
But a formal declaration from Bharat was needed saying that he had renounced the kingdom; only then could Bahubali succeed. If he did not make a formal declaration... and he was not willing to because, he said, "If I have not succeeded to it in the very first place, I don't own it; how can I renounce somebody else's property?"
One year passed, and Bahubali was getting more and more agitated because this was a very strange situation. The father had left, the elder brother was meditating in the mountains, and the younger brother was in a limbo. He could not declare himself the king; for that Bharat had to renounce it formally. At least he should say, "I am no longer interested," but he had gone into silence and was simply meditating.
Bahubali went there, very angry; and he was a man of tremendous power. He took Bharat up in his hands and was going to throw him down into the valley; even pieces of his body would not have been found. But just as he was holding him up in his hands a thought arose: "What am I doing?
And for what? That kingdom, my father has renounced; after his whole life's experience he found it worthless.
"My brother loves me immensely, so much that if I had asked him to make me the successor, he would have crowned me himself. But he is also right because he is no one. And even here, while I am holding him up in my hands ready to throw him, he has not resisted even a single bit; he has just allowed me to take him up as if we are playing."
He remembered their childhood. In childhood also he was strong, and Bharat, although the elder, was a weak, delicate child; many times Bahubali used to lift him up. Tears came to his eyes; what was he about to do? What would the world say about him? Just for power, money - and some power and some money that his father has thrown as useless, and his elder brother has simply said that because it does not belong to him, he cannot even renounce it. Bahubali changed his mind.
He said, "I was going wrong." He put down Bharat and touched his feet; and Bharat went into his meditation just as before, as if nothing had happened. And this changed Bahubali's whole life.
He stands by the side of his brother; that's where his statue is in Gomteshwar. It is fifty-two feet high, the highest statue in the world, and of tremendous beauty. Fifty-two feet high... the smallest toe of the feet is the length of your side - six feet. A staircase goes around so you can see it from all sides, because the head is so big, if you see it from one side you cannot see it from the other side; you can never see it whole.
The statue is in pure white marble. It is a whole mountain of marble that has been carved. It has not been brought from anywhere else; it is the whole mountain of marble that has been carved into the statue, because - fifty-two feet high! This big a piece you could not bring from anywhere else, and particularly two thousand years ago. And it is standing on a high mountain.
On the statue is the story that Bahubali was a warrior.... Once he started the inner war, then also there was no competitor to him. He went into such deep meditation that creepers climbed up his legs. They were reaching up to his head - flowers blossoming, leaves all over his body, because the creepers did not know that he was a man; he was standing like a pillar for months. And in his ears, birds had made their nests.
Of course on this big statue it is very easy to manage, everything has been managed: marble has been sculpted into creepers, with flowers and leaves going around Bahubali's legs and arms. Marble has been cut into the shape of birds' nests in which once in a while birds actually make their nests, because where else can you find a ready-made marble nest?
When I went there, there were actually two eggs in one ear and a bird was sitting on top of those two eggs. The ears are so big; you can imagine - a fifty-two-feet-high man, then how big will be the ears? You can sit in the ear, what to say about a bird. You can lay eggs and sit on them. I have seem many, almost all of the beautiful statues in India, but nothing to compare with Bahubali.
This man became man because he changed some act which he was just going to commit. He proved his freedom. He was almost on the verge of throwing Bharat; but even from the last step you can come back, there is nobody to prevent you. And a man who was ready to kill his brother for the kingdom - because after his death he would be free to be the king - changed so much that he forgot all about the kingdom. He went into such deep meditation that he became enlightened before Bharat.
And when the father came to their side, seeing both his sons meditating and Bahubali enlightened, he was puzzled. He had never thought about Bahubali becoming enlightened. He was a wrestler, a warrior; he would have conquered the whole world - but to become enlightened.... Even his father could not believe that man has so much freedom.
And what happened to Bharat who was always almost enlightened? He was just on the verge - and he was still there. What was preventing him? When Bharat opened his eyes and saw his father and his brother - and his brother was just a luminous light, a peace, a silence so dense and thick - he asked his father "What happened? - because I had come before him and I have been meditating here."
The father said, "Nothing, just the idea that you have done something unprecedented in history, something unique. There have been kings who renounced the world, there have been kings who have not renounced the world. You are the only king who has not even accepted a kingdom; the question of renunciation did not arise. You are unique - and that small idea is a thin layer of ego that is preventing you.
"Your brother, although rough, raw, uneducated had no such ideas. He had come to kill you, but at the last moment he saw what he was doing. And he is not a great scholar or thinker, to ponder over it; to do it or not to do it. He just saw the point, the simple point that 'this is stupid' - and he dropped the idea.
"And he had no idea that he had dropped the idea that he had saved his brother, that he had renounced the kingdom, and he had done all that. He had no idea, not even a shadow of the idea, of renunciation, saving - nothing. That's why you started before him but he arrived before you."
If man has a destiny then there is no possibility of turning off anywhere. And we have been told for millions of years, "You have a built-in program." Now from where are you going to know what this built-in program is? Somebody has to tell it to you. Those are the manipulators, all around you; like an octopus, they go on sucking your blood from every possible side. And they go on filling you with ideas that you have to become this, you have to become that, you have to become somebody who has nothing to do with your nature. This is what has made man a problem.
In fact, man can be the solution, not only of himself, but of the whole existence, because he is the highest peak of consciousness.
He is at the topmost peak of existence; but he is in so many knots, puzzles, that he cannot figure out himself what he is, what existence is.
Man lives a problematic life, and dies a problematic death. From the very beginning to the end he is just a long, long problem. That creates anxiety, anguish, tension, suffering, and a constant feeling that something is being missed. And that feeling is true. Not only something, everything is being missed.
But if you just stand a step back and look at the whole situation, and see how the problem is being created, then to solve it is just a child's game.
I am reminded of a story. Gautam the Buddha one day comes into his morning discourse; ten thousand sannyasins are waiting for him, just like every day. But today there is something surprising.
Everybody is puzzled and looking at each other, because Buddha is coming with a handkerchief It is very costly - perhaps some king has presented it to him.
But he does not accept that kind of thing, so everybody is looking, thinking, What is the matter?
And why should he bring it just in his hand ahead of himself almost saying to everybody, "Look, look well"? And then he comes and sits; and keeping the handkerchief in his hand, says to his sannyasins, "Look very carefully."
They all look. There is nothing to look at, just a beautiful silken handkerchief And then Buddha starts putting knots in the handkerchief; he puts five knots in it. There is immense silence... everybody is simply watching what he is doing. Then Buddha asks them, "Is this the same handkerchief the same that I had brought with me, or is it a different handkerchief?"
Sariputta, one of his chief disciples, stands up and says, "Why are you joking with us? You have never done such a thing. This is the same handkerchief"
Buddha says, "Sariputta, think once again - because the handkerchief that I brought had no knots, and this has five knots. How can this be the same?"
Sariputta could see the point. He said, "I am sorry. I do understand. Although it is the same handkerchief now it is in a very knotted condition - such as a man in anguish. He is the same man; a man in suffering is the same man but in knots."
Buddha said, "Exactly right. That's what I want to show to you: that the man who is in suffering is not different from Gautam the Buddha. I am just a handkerchief without knots. You are a handkerchief with five knots." Of course Buddha has his philosophy of five basic problems that trouble man:
violence, greed, untruthfulness, unawareness, and the ego. You can find many more knots; these are just the main ones according to him.
Secondly he said, "I would like to ask you one thing more. I am trying to open these knots. Look at me - will this help to open the knots?" He pulled both the ends of the handkerchief; the knots became smaller and tighter. Somebody shouted, "What are you doing? This way those knots will never open. Such fine silk and you are pulling so hard! The knots are becoming so small that it will become almost impossible to open them again."
Buddha said, "You can understand about this handkerchief so clearly - can't you understand yourself? Can't you see yourself in the same, understanding way? Have you been pulling your knots or not? Otherwise why do they go on becoming smaller and smaller, and tighter and tighter?
"A child is loose, relaxed. Look at the old man, just knots and knots. Certainly, whatever you are doing is wrong. You are pulling the handkerchief. You are trying hard; your intention is good, you want to open the knots. You are taking much trouble - but your doing is your very undoing. You are making things more and more complicated, worse and worse. And the more complicated they become, the harder you pull, because you think, What else to do?"
Buddha asked, "Then I would like to ask you, what do you suppose I should do?"
One monk stood up and he said, "I would like to come close, and first I would like to see how the knots have been put together."
Buddha said, "That's a scientific way. Before you can undo something, you have to know how it has been done, because if you know how it has been done, you have already known all that is needed to undo it; you have just to reverse the process."
The monk looked at the handkerchief and he said "The knots have been done in such a way that if we relax the handkerchief and allow the knots to become looser rather than tighter, and help them to become loose, it is not going to be very difficult. They are simple knots."
Buddha gave the handkerchief to him and the man opened the knots one by one. Buddha said, "Today's sermon is finished. I am not going to speak anymore today. Just go and meditate about your knots, and how you have managed to make them so tight. And just do the reverse."
Any small problem, just look at it, at how you have been trying to solve it, and it goes on becoming worse and worse. Certainly in your doing there is something which is becoming a nourishment to it rather than a killer. You are not poisoning it, you are nourishing it, feeding it. And don't try to work on so many knots together. Just choose one small knot, the smallest you can find in yourself; by smallest, I mean the most insignificant.
People have the tendency to choose the most significant; even when they are choosing to solve their problems, they choose the greatest problem first. Now, that is simply foolish. Just become a little aware, alert. Start from the small things, very small things.
In one sermon Buddha was speaking, and a man sitting in front of him was moving his toe continuously. Buddha was not like me; otherwise he would have stopped him immediately. He tolerated it, tolerated it, tolerated it - but it was too much, because the man was just in front of him and he went on, went on, went on.
At the end Buddha said, "What is wrong with your toe?" The moment he said, "What is wrong with your toe?" the man stopped. Buddha said, "This is what is wrong with your toe: you are not aware of it. You were not doing it, it was happening almost unconsciously. It is just a habit; you must be doing it everywhere you are sitting. Now it goes on doing it by itself knowing that the master needs it. The master is not even aware that it is happening, because the moment I asked you about it, it stopped immediately. That means the moment your awareness went to the toe there was a complete break."
Now, start with such small things which have not much investment in them. People start with their ego - they want to become egoless. Now, you are taking on such a big problem. You are so small, and the problem is so big, that you are going to fail.
In fact that's why you have chosen the big problem, because you want to fail, you don't want to succeed. Perhaps this too is the way of the ego, to choose the biggest problem. You are no ordinary man trying to change small things here and there; when you want to change, you want to change the real problem. Perhaps this is the ego coming in from the back and deceiving you.
Now choose something very insignificant, which makes not much difference. But the beauty is, the smallest problem has the same properties as the biggest problem, the same ingredients as the biggest problem and the same solution as the biggest problem.
All problems are one problem.
If you can solve a small problem - dissolve it, get rid of it, be finished with it - you know the master key.
Now you can go on opening all the locks in your house. And there is not going to be any trouble.
The basic key is awareness.
And while solving a small problem, you are starting to learn the ABC of awareness.
Choose something meaningless with no investment; it will be easier to work with. And once you have worked with it, you will be surprised: you have the secret, the whole secret of your puzzled, knotted life.
Solve it, then man is born in you.
Before that, you are only a problem.
The second question?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING A HOLLOW BAMBOO, A FLUTE ON THE LIPS OF GOD, AND BEING A PUPPET MANIPULATED BY GOD THE PUPPETEER?
IT all depends on you.
Why not just be a hollow bamboo? Why be on the lips of God? That's where your ego is coming in You are not a hollow bamboo, you are already full of crap, otherwise, from where have you produced this God. It has come from your crap. It is a creature made out of the crap... must have slipped out of your hollow bamboo.
Otherwise, I have been looking for God and I don't find a trace of Him anywhere. And you people go on meeting Him everywhere. And you were not doing anything great, just being a hollow bamboo, and there comes God - not only comes, but puts you on His lips.
Next time it happens, stop Him, because there is always a fear of AIDS, particularly from the lips of God. Avoid this fellow as much as you can, because His whole company is gay, and if for eternity you know a gay company, they are bound to do something stupid, something perverted. Avoid Him; even if you meet, just tell Him, "Please forgive me, but find some other hollow bamboo. Those days are passed, because in those days there was no fear of AIDS. You go!"
A hollow bamboo on the lips of God.... You cannot be hollow; otherwise just a hollow bamboo is more than enough. Nothing else is needed, nobody's lips are needed.
And then a fear arises in you, a question: "What is the difference between the lips of God and a puppeteer? Playing on the flute, or playing with His puppets, it's the same. So the fear arises that being a flute in God's hands, you are nothing but a puppet. Because of the ego, first you wanted to be on the lips of God; now, because of the same ego, the question arises that you are only a puppet.
So what is the difference, whether the puppeteer is a god or a devil? It make no difference as far as you are concerned; you are just a puppet.
Who plays the song through you? What kind of song passes through you? Does it make any difference? You are just a hollow bamboo. In every case you are just a means, not an end; you are being used. There is no difference, there will never be, unless you decide to remain just a hollow bamboo.
There is no need for any God or any puppeteer. You can sway in the winds. Winds passing through you can sing and dance their songs. Perhaps by chance wind passing through your hollowness may create sweet melody, but as far as you are concerned, you are utterly contented with your hollowness.
The beauty is in that hollowness, emptiness, nothingness.
But man is so idiotic that he will spoil everything that iS being given to him. I have told you before to be hollow bamboos. But I know that if I simply say to you Be hollow bamboos" - that's what I am saying now, just be hollow bamboos. But ten years ago I was saying, "Be hollow bamboos on the lips of God," because otherwise it was so difficult to persuade you to be hollow bamboos.
A God was needed, God's lips were needed. It was very kind of you, you never asked about lipstick, what make of lipstick God uses. Otherwise I would have talked about that too, because anyway I wanted you to be hollow bamboos. So if you wanted not a direct and immediate approach and you were in need of some meaningless support, I was giving that. But I am finished with all that.
To me, a hollow bamboo is holy:
God is just nonsense.
But you wanted nonsense, and without nonsense there was no way to catch hold of you. I said, "Okay have nonsense to your heart's content. And later on we will have to pump it out again." And that's what I am doing now, pumping it out again.
Now it is going to be a problem for new people who will be listening to me and reading me. They are in a difficulty. You cannot understand their difficulty You can laugh easily. They cannot laugh because they are in the same situation you were one day, but they missed. And what can I do? My ship is ready and I have to leave. So before I leave, at least I want you to pump out all the nonsense that I have filled you with.
So I am finished with it, and existence cannot complain to me, "You filled so many people's heads with so much rubbish." Before I leave you I am going to empty your heads completely. Even if I have to behead you, I am ready for it, but the rubbish must come out. I am responsible for putting it in; I must be responsible for taking it out, so you are left just hollow, alone, silent.
And to be in that space is all religion is about.
Just be as if you are not - and you have found what you have been searching for, for lives together.
In your hollowness all problems are left far behind.
Now, don't create any other problem, of God as puppeteer. They are all puppeteers, and you have always been on somebody's lips: Christian puppeteers, Hindu puppeteers, Mohammedan puppeteers. Now be finished. Be on your own. Just see the beauty and joy of just being on your own, and you are bound for a surprise - that so much beauty and so much grandeur and so much blessing simply arises from nowhere and fills your whole hollowness.
It is waiting there; just because you are not hollow it cannot fill you.
When everything else has been removed from you, and nothing is left, suddenly out of your own innermost core arises the fragrance.