Discourse date: Fri, 28 August 1968 00:00:00 GMT
To feel it is easy, to define love is difficult indeed. If you ask a fish what the sea is like, the fish will say, "This is the sea. The sea is all around. And that's that." But if you insist - "Please define the sea" - then the problem becomes very difficult indeed.
The finest and the most beautiful things in life can be lived, can be known, but they are difficult to define, difficult to describe.
Man's misery is this: for the last four to five thousand years he has simply talked and talked about something he should have been living earnestly, about something that must be realized from within - about love. There have been great talks on love, countless love songs have been sung, and devotional hymns are continuously being chanted in the temples and in the churches - what all isn't done in the name of love? - still there is no place for love in man's life. If we delve deeply into mankind's languages, we will not find a more untrue word than "love".
All the religions carry on about love, but the kind of love that is found everywhere, the kind of love that has enveloped man like some hereditary misfortune has only succeeded in closing all the gates to love in man's life. But the masses worship the leaders of the religions as the creators of love. They have falsified love; they have blocked all love's streams. In this case there is no basic difference between East and West, between India and America.
The stream of love has not yet surfaced in man. And we attribute this to man himself. We say it is because man is spoiled that love has not evolved, that there is no current of love in our lives. We blame it on the mind; we say the mind is poisonous. The mind is not poison. Those who degrade the mind have poisoned love; they have not allowed the growth of love. Nothing in this world is poison.
Nothing is bad in God's whole creation; everything is nectar. It is man alone who has transformed this full cup of nectar into poison. And the major culprits are the so-called teachers, the so-called holy men and saints, the politicians.
Reflect upon this in detail. If this sickness is not understood immediately, if it is not straightened out right away, there is no possibility - now or in the future - of love in man's life.
The ironical thing is that we have blindly accepted the reasons for this from the very same sources that are to blame for love's not dawning on the human horizon in the first place. If misleading principles are repeated and reiterated down the centuries we fail to see the basic fallacies behind the original principles. And then chaos is created, because man is intrinsically incapable of becoming what these unnatural rules say he should become. We simply accept that man is wrong.
In ancient times, I have heard, a hawker of hand-fans used to pass by the palace of the king every day. He used to brag about the unique and wonderful fans he sold. No one, he claimed, had ever seen such fans before.
The king had a collection of all sorts of fans from every corner of the world and so he was curious.
He leaned over his balcony one day to have a look at this seller of unique and wonderful fans. To him the fans looked ordinary, hardly worth a penny, but he called the man upstairs anyway. The king asked, "What is the uniqueness of those fans? And what is their price?"
The hawker replied, "Your Majesty, they don't cost much. Considering the quality of these fans, the price is very low: one hundred rupees a fan."
The king was amazed. "One hundred rupees! This paisa-fan, this penny-fan, is available anywhere in the market. And you ask a hundred rupees! What is so special about these fans?"
The man said, "The quality! Each fan is guaranteed to last one hundred years. Even in one hundred years, it won't spoil."
"From the look of it, it seems impossible it can even last a week. Are you trying to cheat me? Is this outright fraud? And with the king, too?"
The vendor answered, "My Lord, would I dare? You know very well, sir, that I walk under your balcony daily, selling my fans. The price is one hundred rupees a fan, and I am responsible if it doesn't last one hundred years. Every day I am available in the street. And, above all, you are the ruler of this land. How can I be safe if I cheat you?"
The fan was purchased at the asking price. Although the king did not trust the hawker, he was dying of curiosity to know what grounds the man had for making such a statement. The vendor was ordered to present himself again on the seventh day.
The central stick came out in three days, and the fan disintegrated before the week was out.
The king was sure the seller of fans would never turn up again, but to his complete surprise the man presented himself as he had been asked to - on time, on the seventh day.
"At your service, Your Majesty."
The king was furious. "You rascal! You fool! Look. There lies your fan, all broken into pieces. This is its condition in a week, and you guaranteed it would last a hundred years! Are you mad, or just a supercheat?"
The man replied humbly, "With due respect, it seems My Lord does not know how to use fans. The fan must last for one hundred years; it is guaranteed. How did you fan?"
The king said, "My goodness. Now I will have to learn how to fan too!"
"Please don't be angry. How did the fan come to this fate in just seven days? How did you fan?"
The king lifted the fan, showing the manner in which one fans.
The man said, "Now I understand. You shouldn't fan like that."
"What other way is there?" the king asked.
The man explained, "Hold the fan steady. Keep it steady in front of you and then move your head to and fro. The fan will last one hundred years. You will pass away but the fan will remain intact.
Nothing is wrong with the fan; the way you fan is wrong. You keep the fan steady and move your head. Where is my fan at fault? The fault is yours, not that of my fan."
Mankind is accused of a similar fault. Look at humanity. Man is so sick, sick from the accumulated illness of five, six, ten thousand years. It is repeatedly said that it is man who is wrong, not the culture. Man is rotting, yet the culture is praised. Our great culture! Our great religion! Everything is great! And see the fruits of it!
They say, "Man is wrong; man should change himself," yet no one stands up to question whether things aren't like they are because our culture and religion, unable to fill man with love after ten thousand years, are based on false values. And if love hasn't evolved in the last ten thousand years, take it from me there is no future possibility, based on this culture and religion, of ever seeing a loving man. Something which could not be achieved in the last ten thousand years cannot be attained in the next ten thousand years. Today's man will be the same tomorrow. Although the outer wrappings of etiquette, civilization and technology change from time to time, man is the same and will be the same forever.
We are not prepared to review our culture and religion, yet we sing their praises at the top of our lungs, and kiss the feet of their saints and custodians. We won't even agree to look back, to reflect upon our ways and upon the direction of our thinking, to check if they are not misleading, to see if they are not all wrong.
I wish to say that the base is defective, that the values are false. The proof is today's man. What other proof can there be?
If we plant a seed and the fruit is poisonous and bitter, what does it prove? It proves that the seed must have been poisonous and bitter. But it is difficult, of course, to foretell whether a particular seed will give bitter fruit or not. You may look it over carefully, press it or break it open, but you cannot predict for sure whether the fruit will be sweet or not. You have to await the test of time.
Sow a seed. A plant will sprout. Years will pass. A tree will emerge, will spread its branches to the sky, will bear fruit - and only then will you come to know whether the seed that was sown was bitter or not. Modern man is the fruit of those seeds of culture and religion that were sown ten thousand years ago and have been nurtured ever since. And the fruit is bitter; it is full of conflict and misery.
But we are the very people who eulogize those seeds and expect love to flower from them. It is not to be, I repeat, because any possibility for the birth of love has been killed by religion. The possibility has been poisoned. More so than in man, love can be seen in the birds, animals and plants, in those who have no religion or culture. Love is more evident in uncivilized men, in backward woodsmen, than in the so-called progressive, cultured and civilized men of today. And, remember, the aboriginal people have no developed civilization, culture or religion.
Why is man progressively becoming so much more barren of love as he professes to be more and more civilized, cultured and religious, going regularly to temples and to churches to pray? There are some reasons and I wish to discuss them. If these can be understood, the eternal stream of love can spring forth. But it is embedded in stones; it cannot surface. It is walled in on all sides, and the Ganges cannot gush forth, cannot flow freely.
Love is within man. It is not imported from the outside. It is not a commodity to be purchased when we go to the markets. It is there as the fragrance of life. It is inside everyone. The search for love, the wooing of love, is not a positive action; it is not an overt act whereby you have to go somewhere and draw it out.
A sculptor was working on a rock. Someone who had come to see how a statue is made saw no sign of a statue, he only saw a stone being cut here and there by a chisel and hammer.
"What are you doing?" the man inquired. "Are you not going to make a statue? I have come to see a statue being made, but I only see you chipping stone."
The artist said, "The statue is already hidden inside. There is no need to make it. Somehow, the useless mass of stone that is fused to it has to be separated from it, and then the statue will show itself. A statue is not made, it is discovered. It is uncovered; it is brought to light."
Love is shut up inside man; it need only be released. The question is not how to produce it, but how to uncover it. What have we covered ourselves with? What is it that will not allow love to surface?
Try asking a medical practitioner what health is. It is very strange, but no doctor in the world can tell you what health is! With the whole of medical science concerned with health, isn't there anyone who is able to say what health is? If you ask a doctor, he will say he can only tell you what the diseases are or what the symptoms are. He may know the different technical term for each and every disease and he may also be able to prescribe the cure. But health? About health, he does not know anything. He can only state that what remains when there is no disease is health. This is because health is hidden inside man. Health is beyond the definition of man.
Sickness comes from the outside hence it can be defined; health comes from within hence it cannot be defined. Health defies definition. We can only say that the absence of sickness is health. The truth is, health does not have to be created; it is either hidden by illness or it reveals itself when the illness goes away or is cured. Health is inside us. Health is our nature.
Love is also inside us. Love is our inherent nature. Basically, it is wrong to ask man to create love. The problem is not how to create love, but how to investigate and find out why it is not able to manifest itself. What is the hindrance? What is the difficulty? Where is the dam blocking it?
If there are no barriers, love will show itself. It is not necessary to persuade it or to guide it. Every man would be filled with love if it weren't for the barriers of false culture and of degrading and harmful traditions. Nothing can stifle love. Love is inevitable. Love is our nature.
The Ganges flows from the Himalayas. It is water; it simply flows - it does not ask a priest the way to the ocean. Have you ever seen a river standing at a crossroads asking a policeman the whereabouts of the ocean? However far the ocean may be, however hidden it may be, the river will surely find the path. It is inevitable: she has the inner urge. She has no guidebook, but, infallibly, she will reach her destination. She will crack through mountains, cross the plains and traverse the country in her race to reach the ocean. An insatiable desire, a force, an energy exists within her heart of hearts.
But suppose obstructions are thrown in her way by man? Suppose dams are constructed by man?
A river can overcome and break through natural barriers - ultimately they are not barriers to her at all - but if man-made barriers are created, if dams are engineered across her, it is possible she may not reach the ocean. Man, the supreme intelligence of creation, can stop a river from reaching the ocean if he decides to do so.
In nature, there is a fundamental unity, a harmony. The natural obstructions, the apparent oppositions seen in nature, are challenges to arouse energy; they serve as clarion calls to arouse what is latent inside. There is no disharmony in nature.
When we sow a seed, it may seem as if the layer of earth above the seed is pressing it down, is obstructing its growth. It may seem so, but in reality that layer of earth is not an obstruction; without that layer the seed cannot germinate. The earth presses down on the seed so that it can mellow, disintegrate, and transform itself into a sapling. Outwardly it may seem as if the soil is stifling the seed, but the soil is only performing the duty of a friend. It is a clinical operation. If a seed does not grow into a plant, we reason that the soil may not have been proper, that the seed may not have had enough water or that it may not have received enough sunlight - we do not blame the seed. But if flowers do not bloom in a man's life we say the man himself is responsible for it. Nobody thinks of inferior manure, of a shortage of water or of a lack of sunshine and does something about it, the man himself is accused of being bad. And so the plant of man has remained undeveloped, has been suppressed by unfriendliness and has been unable to reach the flowering stage.
Nature is rhythmic harmony. But the artificiality that man has imposed on nature, the things he has engineered across it and the mechanical contrivances he has thrown into the current of life have created obstructions at many places, have stopped the flow. And the river is made the culprit. "Man is bad; the seed is poisonous," they say.
I wish to draw your attention to the fact that the basic obstructions are man-made, are created by man himself - otherwise the river of love would flow freely and reach the ocean of God. Love is inherent in man. If the obstructions are removed with awareness, love can flow. Then, love can rise to touch God, to touch the Supreme.
What are these man-made obstacles? The most obvious obstruction has been the opposition to sex and to passion. This barrier has destroyed the possibility of the birth of love in man.
The simple truth is that sex is the starting point of love. Sex is the beginning of the journey to love. The origin, the Gangotri of the Ganges of Love, is sex, passion - and everybody behaves like its enemy. Every culture, every religion, every guru, every seer has attacked this Gangotri, this source, and the river has remained bottled up. The hue and cry has always been, "Sex is sin. Sex is irreligious. Sex is poison," but we never seem to realize that ultimately it is the sex energy itself that travels to and reaches the inner ocean of love. Love is the transformation of sex energy. The flowering of love is from the seed of sex.
Looking at coal, it would never strike you that when coal is transformed it becomes diamonds. The elements in a lump of coal are the same as those in a diamond. Essentially, there is no basic difference between them. After passing through a process taking thousands of years, coal becomes diamonds.
But coal is not considered important. When coal is kept in a house it is stored in a place where it may not be seen by guests, whereas diamonds are worn around the neck or on the bosom so that everybody can see them. Diamonds and coal are the same: they are two points on a journey by the same element. If you are against coal because it has nothing more to offer than black soot at first glance, the possibility of its transformation into a diamond ends right there. The coal itself could have been transformed into a diamond. But we hate coal. And so, the possibility of any progress ends.
Only the energy of sex can flower into love. But everyone, including mankind's great thinkers, is against it. This opposition will not allow the seed to sprout, and the palace of love is destroyed at the foundation. The enmity towards sex has destroyed the possibility of love. And so, coal is incapable of becoming a diamond.
Because of basic misconceptions, no one feels the necessity of going through the stages of acknowledging sex and of developing it and of going through the process of transforming it. How can we transform him whose enemy we are, whom we oppose, with whom we are at continuous war? A quarrel between man and his energy has been forced upon him. Man has been taught to fight against his sex energy, to oppose his sex urges.
"The mind is poison, so fight against it," man is told. The mind exists in man, and sex also exists in him - yet man is expected to be free from inner conflicts. A harmonious existence is expected of him. He has to fight and to pacify as well. Such are the teachings of his leaders. On the one hand they drive him mad and on the other they open asylums to treat him. They spread the germs of sickness and then build hospitals to cure the sick.
Another important consideration is that man cannot be separated from sex. Sex is his primary point; he is born of it. God has made the energy of sex the starting point of creation. And great men term as sinful what God himself does not consider as sin! If God considers sex as sin, then there is no greater sinner than God in this world, no greater sinner in this universe.
Have you never realized that the blooming of a flower is an expression of passion, that it is a sexual act? A peacock dances in full glory: a poet will sing a song to it; a saint will also be filled with joy - but aren't they aware that the dance is also an overt expression of passion, that it is primarily a sexual act? For whose pleasure does the peacock dance? The peacock is calling its beloved, its spouse. Papiha is singing; the cuckoo is singing: a boy has become an adolescent; a girl is growing into a woman. What is all this? What play, what leela is this? These are all the indicators of love, of sexual energy. These manifestations of love are the transformed expressions of sex - bubbling with energy, acknowledging sex. Throughout one's whole life all acts of love, all attitudes and urges of love, are flowerings of primary sex energy.
Religion and culture pour poison against sex into the mind of man. They create conflict, war; they engage man in battle against his own primary energy - and so man has become weak, gross, coarse, devoid of love and full of nothingness. Not enmity, but friendship is to be made with sex. Sex should be elevated to purer heights.
While blessing a newly wed couple, a sage said to the bride, "May you be the mother of ten children and, ultimately, may your husband become your eleventh child."
If passion is transformed, the wife can become the mother; if lust is transcended, sex can become love. Only sex energy can flower into the force of love. But we have filled man with antagonism towards sex and the result is that love has not flowered. What comes later, the form-to-come, can only be made possible by the acceptance of sex. The stream of love cannot break through because of the strong opposition. Sex, on the other hand, keeps churning inside, and the consciousness of man is muddled with sexuality.
Man's consciousness is becoming more and more sexual. Our songs, poems, paintings, and virtually all the figures in our temples are centered around sex - because our minds also revolve around the axis of sex. No animal in the world is as sexual as man. Man is sexual everywhere - awake or asleep, in his manners as well as in his etiquette. Every moment man is haunted by sex.
Because of this enmity towards sex, because of this opposition and suppression, man is decaying from inside. He can never free himself from something that is the very root of his life, and because of this constant inner conflict his entire being has become neurotic. He is sick. This perverted sexuality that is so evident in mankind is the fault of his so-called leaders and saints; they are to blame for it.
Until man frees himself from such teachers, moralizers and religious leaders, and from their phony sermons, the possibility of love surfacing in him is nil.
I remember a tale:
One Sunday a poor farmer was leaving his house and at the gate he met a childhood friend who had come to see him.
The farmer said, "Welcome! But where have you been for so many years? Come in! Look, I have promised to see some friends and it would be difficult to postpone the visit, so please rest in my house. I will be back in an hour or so. I will return soon and we can have a long chat."
The friend said, "Oh no, wouldn't it be better if I were to come with you? Yet my clothes are very dirty. If you can just give me something fresh, I will change and come along with you."
Sometime before, the king had given the farmer some valuable clothes and the farmer had been saving them for some grand occasion. Joyfully, he brought them out. His friend put on the precious coat, the turban, the dhoti and the beautiful shoes. He looked like the king himself. Looking at his friend, the farmer felt a bit jealous; in comparison he looked like a servant. He began to wonder if he had made a mistake, giving away his best outfit, and he began to feel inferior. Now everyone would look at his friend, he thought, and he would look like an attendant, like a servant.
He tried to calm his mind by thinking of himself as a good friend and as a man of God. He would think only of God and of noble things, he decided. "After all, of what importance is a fine coat or an expensive turban?" But the more he tried to reason with himself, the more the coat and the turban encroached on his mind.
On the way, although they were walking together, passers-by only looked at his friend; nobody noticed the farmer. He began to feel depressed. He chatted with his friend, but inside he was thinking about nothing else but that coat and turban!
They reached the house they were intending to visit and he introduced his friend: "This is my friend, a childhood friend. He is a very lovely man." And suddenly he blurted, "And the clothes? They are mine!"
The friend was stunned. Their hosts were also surprised. He realized as well that the remark had been uncalled for, but then it was too late. He regretted his blunder and reproached himself inwardly.
Coming out of the house, he apologized to his friend.
The friend said, "I was thunderstruck. How could you say something like that?"
The farmer said, "Sorry. It was just my tongue. I made a mistake."
But the tongue never lies. Words only pop out of one's mouth if there is something on one's mind; the tongue never makes a mistake. He said, "Forgive me. How such a thing was uttered, I do not know." But he knew full well that the thought had surfaced from his mind.
They started for another friend's house. Now he had firmly resolved not to say that the clothes were his; he had steeled his mind. By the time they had reached the gate he had reached an irrevocable decision that he would not say the clothes were his.
That poor man didn't know that the more he resolved not to say anything, the more firmly rooted the inner awareness that the clothes belonged to him became. Moreover, when are such firm decisions made? When a man makes a firm resolution, like a vow of celibacy for example, it means that his sexuality is pushing desperately from inside. If a man resolves he will eat less or will fast from today on, it implies he has a deep desire to eat more. Such efforts inevitably result in inner conflict. We are what our weaknesses are. But we decide to curb them; we resolve to fight against them - and naturally, this becomes a source of subconscious conflict.
So, engaged in inner struggle, our farmer went into the house. He began very carefully: "He is my friend" - but he noticed that nobody was paying any attention to him; that everybody was looking at his friend and at his clothes with awe, and it struck him, "That is my coat! And my turban!" But he reminded himself again not to talk about the clothes. He was resolved. "Everybody has clothes of some kind or another, poor or rich. It is a trivial matter," he explained to himself. But the clothes swung before his eyes like a pendulum, to and fro, to and fro.
He resumed the introduction: "He is my friend. A childhood friend. A very fine gentleman. And the clothes? Those are his, and not mine."
The people were surprised. They had never before heard such an introduction: "The clothes are his and not mine"!
After they had left, he again apologized profusely. "A big blunder," he admitted. Now he was confused about what to do and what not to do. "Clothes never had a hold on me like this before! Oh God, what has happened to me?"
What had happened to him? The poor fellow did not know that the technique he was using on himself is such that even if God himself tried it, the clothes would grab hold of him also!
The friend, now quite indignant, said he would not go any further with him. The farmer grabbed his arm and said, "Please don't do that. I would be unhappy for the rest of my life, having shown such bad manners to a friend. I swear not to mention the clothes again. With my whole heart, I swear to God I will not mention the clothes any more."
But one should always be wary of those who swear because there is something much deeper involved when one resolves something. A resolution is made by the surface mind, and the thing against which the resolution has been taken remains inside in the labyrinths of the subconscious mind. If the mind were divided into ten parts, it would only be one part, just the upper part, that was committed to the resolve; the remaining nine parts would be against it. The vow of celibacy is taken by one part of the mind, for example, while the rest of the mind is mad for sex - while the rest is crying out for that very thing that has been implanted in man by God. But for the moment, be that as it may.
They went to a third friend's house. The farmer held himself back rigorously. Restrained people are very dangerous, because a live volcano exists inside them. Outwardly they are rigid and full of restraint, while their urge to let go is tightly harnessed inside.
Please remember, anything that is forced can neither be continuous nor complete because of the immense strain involved. You have to relax sometime; sometime you have to rest. How long can you clench your fist? Twenty-four hours? The tighter you clench it, the more it tires, and the more quickly it will open up. Work harder, expend some more energy, and you will tire even more quickly.
There is always a reaction to an action, and it is always just as prompt. Your hand can remain open all the time, but it cannot remain clenched in a fist all the time. Anything that tires you cannot be a natural part of life. Whenever you force something, a period of rest is bound to follow. And so, the more adept a saint is, the more dangerous he is. After twenty-four hours of restraint, following the rules of the scriptures, he will have to relax for at least an hour, and during this period there will be such an upsurge of suppressed sins he will find himself in the midst of hell.
So, the farmer held himself rigorously in check so as not to speak of the clothes. Imagine his condition. If you are even a little religious, you can imagine his state of mind. If you have ever been sworn in, or taken a vow, or restrained yourself for some religious cause, you will understand the pitiable state of his mind very well.
They went into the next house. The farmer was perspiring all over; he was exhausted. The friend was also worried.
The farmer was frozen with anxiety. Slowly and carefully he uttered each and every word, of the introduction: "Meet my friend. A very old friend, he is. A very nice man, he is."
For a moment he faltered. A huge push came from inside. He knew he was washed up. He blurted aloud, "And the clothes? Pardon me, I won't say anything about them, because I have sworn not to say anything at all about the clothes!"
What happened to this man has happened to the whole of mankind. Because of condemnation, sex has become an obsession, a disease, a perversion. It has become poisoned.
From an early age children are taught that sex is sin. A girl grows and a boy grows; adolescence comes and they are married - then a journey into passion commences in the set conviction that sex is sin. In India the girl is also told her husband is God. How can she revere as God someone who takes her in sin? The boy is told, "This is your wife, your partner, your mate." The scriptures say that woman is the gate to hell, a well of sin, and now the boy feels he has a living demon as his life's partner. The boy thinks, "Is this my better half - a hell-bound, sin-oriented better half?" How can any harmony happen in his life?
Traditional teachings have destroyed the marital life of the whole world. When married life is full of prejudice, full of poison, there is no possibility for love. If a husband and wife cannot love each other freely, basically and naturally, then who can love whom? But this disturbing situation can be rectified; this muddled love can be purified. This love can be elevated to such lofty heights that it will break all barriers, resolve all complexes and engulf husband and wife in pure and divine joy. This sublime love is possible. But if it is nipped in the bud, if it is stifled, if it is poisoned, what will grow out of it? How can it flower into a rose of supreme love?
A wandering ascetic camped in a village. A man came and told him he wanted to realize God.
The ascetic asked, "Have you ever loved anybody?"
"No, I am not guilty of such a mundane thing," the man replied. "I have never stooped so low; I want to realize God."
The ascetic asked again, "Have you never felt the pangs of love?"
The seeker was emphatic. "I am telling the truth," he replied.
The poor man spoke honestly. In the realm of religion to have loved is a disqualification. He was sure that if he said he had loved someone the ascetic would ask him to rid himself of love then and there - to renounce the attachment and to leave all worldly emotions behind before seeking his guidance. So even if he had loved someone, he felt he must reply in the negative. Where can you find a man who has never even loved a little?
The monk asked for the third time, "Say something. Think carefully. Not even a little love - for somebody, for anybody? Haven't you even loved one person a little?"
The aspirant said, "Pardon me, but why do you keep harping on the same question? I wouldn't touch love with a ten-foot pole. I want to attain self-realization. I want Godhood."
To this the ascetic replied, "Then you will have to excuse me. Please approach someone else. My experience tells me that if you had loved somebody, anybody, that if you had even had a glimpse of love, I could help enlarge it, I could help it to grow - probably to reach God. But if you have never loved, then you have nothing in you; you have no seed to grow into a tree. Go and make inquiries of someone else. My friend, in the absence of love I do not see any opening for God."
Similarly, if there is no love between husband and wife.... You are sadly mistaken if you think that the husband who does not love his wife is able to love his children. The wife will only be able to love her son to the same degree she loves her husband, because the child is the reflection of her husband. But if there is no love for the husband, how can there be love for the child? And if the son is not given love, if his nourishing and his rearing are not with love, how do you expect him to love his mother and father? A family is a unit of life; the world itself is a large family. But family life has been poisoned by this condemnation of sex. And we moan that love is nowhere to be found! Under the circumstances, how do you expect to find love anywhere?
Everyone says he loves. Mothers, wives, sons, brothers, sisters, friends - all say they love. But if you observe life in its totality, there is no love evident in life at all. If so many people are full of love there ought to be a shower of love; there ought to be a garden full of flowers, more flowers and even more flowers. If there were a lamp of love shining in every home, how much light there would be in this world! But instead, we find a pervading atmosphere of repulsion. There is not one single ray of love to be found in this sorry scheme of things.
It is snobbery to believe that love is everywhere. And so long as we remain immersed in this illusion, the search for truth cannot even begin. Nobody loves anybody here. And until natural sex is accepted without reservation there can be no love. Until then, nobody can love anybody.
What I want to say is this: sex is divine. The primal energy of sex has the reflection of God in it. It is obvious: it is the energy that creates new life. And that is the greatest, most mysterious force of all.
End this enmity with sex. If you want a shower of love in your life, renounce this conflict with sex.
Accept sex with joy. Acknowledge its sacredness. Receive it gratefully and embrace it more and more deeply. You will be surprised that sex can reveal such sacredness; it will reveal its sacredness to the degree of your acceptance. And as sinful and irreverent as your approach is, that is how ugly and sinful the sex that confronts you will be.
When a man approaches his wife he should have a sacred feeling, as if he were going to a temple.
And when a wife goes to her husband she should be full of the reverence one has nearing God. In the moments of sex, lovers pass through coitus, and that stage is very near to the temple of God, to where he is manifest in creative formlessness.
My conjecture is that man had his first luminous glimpse of samadhi during the experience of intercourse. Only in the moments of coitus did man realize that it was possible to feel such profound love, to experience such illuminating bliss. And those who meditated on this truth in the right frame of mind, those who meditated on the phenomenon of sex, of intercourse, came to the conclusion that in the moments of climax the mind becomes empty of thoughts. All thoughts drain out at that moment. And this emptiness of mind, this void, this vacuum, this freezing of the mind, is the cause of the shower of divine joy.
Having unraveled the secret up to this point, man dug further. If the mind could be freed of thoughts, if the thought-ripples of consciousness could be stilled by some other process, he reasoned, he could attain to pure bliss! And from this developed the system of yoga, from this came meditation and prayer. This new approach proved that even without coitus the consciousness could be stilled and thoughts evaporated. Man discovered that the delight of amazing proportions obtained during an act of intercourse could also be obtained without it.
By the nature of the process, an act of coitus can only be momentary because it involves the consummation of a flow of energy. To the pure joy, to the perfect love, to the beautiful solace in which a yogi exists all the time, a couple only reaches for a moment or so. But, basically, there is no difference between them. He who said that the vishyanand and the brahmanand, that the one who indulges his senses and the one who indulges in God are brothers, has stated an inadvertent truth.
Both come from the same womb. The only difference is the distance between earth and sky.
At this stage I wish to give you the first principle. If you want to know the elemental truth about love, the first requisite is to accept the sacredness of sex, to accept the divinity of sex in the same way you accept God's existence - with an open heart. And the more fully you accept sex with an open heart and mind, the freer you will be of it. But the more you suppress it the more you will become bound to it, like that farmer who became a slave to his clothes. The measure of your acceptance is the measure of your deliverance. The total acceptance of life, of all that is natural in life, of all that is God-given in life, will lead you to the highest realms of divinity - to heights that are unknown, to heights that are sublime. I call that acceptance, theism. And that faith in the God-given is the door to liberation.
I regard those precepts which keep man from accepting that which is natural in life and in the divine scheme as atheism. "Oppose this; suppress that. The natural is sinful, bad, lustful. Leave this; leave that." All this constitutes atheism, as I understand it. Those who preach renunciation are atheists.
Accept life in its pure and natural form and thrive on the fullness of it. The fullness itself will elevate you, step by step. And this very same acceptance of sex will uplift you to serene heights you had not imagined possible. If sex is coal, the day is certain to come when it shows itself as diamonds.
And that is the first principle.
The second fundamental thing I want to tell you is about something that has, by now, become hardened within us by civilization, culture and religion. And that is the ego, the consciousness that "I am".
The nature of the sex energy goads it to flow towards love, but the hurdle of "I" has fenced it in like a wall and so love cannot flow. The "I" is very powerful, in bad as well as in good people, in the unholy as well as in the holy. Bad people may assert the "I" in many ways, but good people also drum the "I" loudly: they want to go to heaven; they want to be delivered; they have renounced the world; they have built temples; they do not sin; they want to do this; they want to do that. But that "I", that guiding signal, is ever present.
The stronger a person's ego is, the harder it is for him to unite with anybody. The ego comes in between; the "I" asserts itself. It is a wall. It proclaims, "You are you and I am I." And so even the most intimate experience does not bring people close to each other. The bodies may be near but the people are far apart. So long as there is this "I" inside, this feeling of otherness cannot be avoided.
One day, Sartre said a wonderful thing: "The other is hell." But he didn't explain any further why the other was hell, or even why the other was the other. The other is the other because I am I, and while I am I, the world around is the other - different and apart, segregated - and there is no rapport.
As long as there is this feeling of separation, love cannot be known. Love is the experience of unity.
The demolition of walls, the fusion of two energies is what the experience of love is. Love is the ecstasy when the walls between two people crumble down, when two lives meet, when two lives unite.
When such a harmony exists between two people I call it love. And when it exists between one man and the masses, I call it communion with God. If you can become immersed with me in such an experience - so that all barriers melt, so that an osmosis takes place at the spiritual level - then that is love. And if such a unity happens between me and everyone else and I lose my identity in the All, then that attainment, that merging, is with God, with the Almighty, with the Omniscient, with the Universal Consciousness, with the Supreme or whatsoever you want to call it. And so, I say that love is the first step and that God is the last step - the finest and the final destination.
How is it possible to erase myself?
Unless I dissolve myself, how can the other unite with me? The other is created as a reaction to my "I". The louder I shout "I", the more forceful becomes the existence of the other. The other is the echo of "I".
And what is "I"? Have you ever thought calmly about it? Is it in your leg or your hand, in your head or your heart? Or is it just the ego?
What and where is your "I", your ego? The feeling of it is there, yet it is to be found in no particular place. Sit quietly for a moment and search for that "I". You may be surprised, but in spite of an intense search you will not find your "I" anywhere. When you search deeply inside you will realize there is no "I". As such, there is no ego. When there is the truth of the self the "I" is not there.
The well-revered monk Nagsen was sent for by the Emperor Malind, to grace his court.
The messenger went to Nagsen and said, "Monk Nagsen, the emperor wishes to see you. I have come to invite you."
Nagsen replied, "If you want me to, I will come. But, pardon me, there is no person like Nagsen here. It's only a name, only a temporary label."
The courtier reported to the emperor that Nagsen was a very strange man: he had replied he would come, but had said that there was no such man as Nagsen there. The emperor was struck with wonder.
Nagsen arrived on time, in the royal chariot, and the emperor received him at the gate. "Monk Nagsen, I welcome you!" he exclaimed.
Hearing this, the monk started to laugh. "I accept your hospitality as Nagsen, but please remember there is nobody named Nagsen."
The emperor said, "You are talking in riddles. If you are not you, then who is accepting my invitation?
Who is replying to this welcome?"
Nagsen looked behind him and asked, "Isn't this the chariot I came in?"
"Yes, it is one and the same."
"Please remove the horses."
It was done.
Pointing to the horses, the monk asked, "Is this the chariot?"
The emperor said, "How can the horses be called a chariot?"
At a sign from the monk, the horses were led away, and the poles used to tie the horses were removed.
"Are these poles your chariot?"
"Of course not, these are the poles and not the chariot."
The monk went on, ordering the removal of the parts one by one, and to each inquiry the emperor had to reply, "This is not the chariot."
At last nothing remained.
The monk asked, "Where is your chariot now? To each and every item taken away you have said, 'This is not the chariot.' Then tell me, where is your chariot now?"
The revelation startled the emperor.
The monk continued. "Do you follow me? The chariot was an assembly; it was a collection of certain things. The chariot had no being of its own. Please look inside. Where is your ego? Where is your 'I'?"
You will not find that "I" anywhere. It is a manifestation of many energies; that is all. Think about each and every limb, about each and every aspect of yourself, and then eliminate everything, one by one. Ultimately, nothingness will remain. Love is born of that nothingness. That nothingness is God.
In a certain village a man opened a fish shop with a big sign: "Fresh Fish Sold Here."
The very first day a man came into the shop and read, "Fresh Fish Sold Here". He laughed. "'Fresh Fish'? Are stale fish sold anywhere? What is the point of writing 'fresh' fish?"
The shopkeeper decided he was right; besides, "fresh" gave the idea of "stale" to the customers. He deleted "fresh" from the signboard. The board now read, "Fish Sold Here."
An old lady, visiting the shop the next day, read aloud, "'Fish Sold Here'? Do you also sell fish somewhere else?"
"Here" was erased. Now the board read, "Fish Sold."
The third day yet another customer came to the shop and said "'Fish Sold'? Does anybody give fish for free?"
The word "Sold" was deleted. Only "Fish" was left now.
An aged man came and said to the shopkeeper, "'Fish'? A blind man, even at a distance, could tell from the smell that fish are sold here."
"Fish" was removed. The board was now blank.
A passer-by asked, "Why a blank board?"
The board was also removed. Nothing remained after the process of elimination; every word had been removed, one by one. And what was left behind was nothing, an emptiness.
Love can only be born out of emptiness. Only a void is capable of merging with another void; only zero can unite totally with another zero. Not two individuals, but two vacuums can meet, because now there is no barrier. All else has walls; a vacuum has none.
So the second thing to remember is that love is born when individuality vanishes, when "I" and "the other" are no more. Whatsoever remains then is everything, the limitless - but no "I". With that attainment, all barriers crumble and the onrush of the ever-ready Ganges takes place.
We dig a well. Water is already there, inside; it doesn't have to be brought from anywhere. We just dig up the earth and stones and remove them. What is it we do exactly? We create an emptiness so that the water that is hidden inside can find a space to move into, a space in which to show itself.
That which is inside wants room; it wants space. It craves an emptiness - which it is not getting - so it can come out, so it can burst forth. If a well is full of sand and stones, the moment we remove the sand and stones water will surge upwards. Similarly, man is full of love, but love needs space to surface. As long as your heart and soul are saying "I" you are a well of sand and stones, and the stream of love will not bubble up in you.
I have heard that there was once an ancient and majestic tree, with branches spreading out towards the sky. When it was in a flowering mood, butterflies of all shapes, colors and sizes danced around it. When it grew blossoms and bore fruit, birds from far lands came and sang in it. The branches, like outstretched hands, blessed all who came and sat in their shade. A small boy used to come and play under it, and the big tree developed an affection for the small boy.
Love between big and small is possible, if the big is not aware that it is big. The tree did not know it was big; only man has that kind of knowledge. The big always has the ego as its prime concern, but for love, nobody is big or small. Love embraces whomsoever comes near.
So the tree developed a love for this small boy who used to come to play near it. Its branches were high, but it bent and bowed them down so that he might pluck its flowers and pick its fruit. Love is ever ready to bow; the ego is never ready to bend. If you approach the ego, its branches will stretch upwards even more; it will stiffen so you cannot reach it.
The playful child came, and the tree bowed its branches. The tree was very pleased when the child plucked some flowers; its entire being was filled with the joy of love. Love is always happy when it can give something; the ego is always happy when it can take.
The boy grew. Sometimes he slept on the tree's lap, sometimes he ate its fruit, and sometimes he wore a crown of the tree's flowers and acted like a jungle king. One becomes like a king when the flowers of love are there, but one becomes poor and miserable when the thorns of the ego are present. To see the boy wearing a crown of flowers and dancing about filled the tree with joy. It nodded in love; it sang in the breeze. The boy grew even more. He began to climb the tree to swing on its branches. The tree felt very happy when the boy rested on its branches. Love is happy when it gives comfort to someone; the ego is only happy when it gives discomfort.
With the passage of time the burden of other duties came to the boy. Ambition grew; he had exams to pass; he had friends to chat with and to wander about with, so he did not come often. But the tree waited anxiously for him to come. It called from its soul, "Come. Come. I am waiting for you." Love waits day and night. And the tree waited. The tree felt sad when the boy did not come. Love is sad when it cannot share; love is sad when it cannot give. Love is grateful when it can share. When it can surrender, totally, love is the happiest.
As he grew, the boy came less and less to the tree. The man who becomes big, whose ambitions grow, finds less and less time for love. The boy was now engrossed in worldly affairs.
One day, while he was passing by, the tree said to him, "I wait for you but you do not come. I expect you daily."
The boy said, "What do you have? Why should I come to you? Have you any money? I am looking for money." The ego is always motivated. Only if there is some purpose to be served will the ego come. But love is motiveless. Love is its own reward.
The startled tree said, "You will come only if I give something?" That which withholds is not love.
The ego amasses, but love gives unconditionally. "We don't have that sickness, and we are joyful,"
the tree said. "Flowers bloom on us. Many fruits grow on us. We give soothing shade. We dance in the breeze, and sing songs. Innocent birds hop on our branches and chirp even though we don't have any money. The day we get involved with money, we will have to go to the temples like you weak men do, to learn how to obtain peace, to learn how to find love. No, we do not have any need for money."
The boy said, "Then why should I come to you? I will go where there is money. I need money." The ego asks for money because it needs power.
The tree thought for a while and said, "Don't go anywhere else, my dear. Pick my fruit and sell it.
You will get money that way."
The boy brightened immediately. He climbed up and picked all the tree's fruit; even the unripe ones were shaken down. The tree felt happy, even though some twigs and branches were broken, even though some of its leaves had fallen to the ground. Getting broken also makes love happy, but even after getting, the ego is not happy. The ego always desires more. The tree didn't notice that the boy hadn't even once looked back to thank him. It had had its thanks when the boy accepted the offer to pick and sell its fruit.
The boy did not come back for a long time. Now he had money and he was busy making more money from that money. He had forgotten all about the tree. Years passed. The tree was sad. It yearned for the boy's return - like a mother whose breasts are filled with milk but whose son is lost.
Her whole being craves for her son; she searches madly for her son so he can come to lighten her.
Such was the inner cry of that tree. Its entire being was in agony.
After many years, now an adult, the boy came to the tree.
The tree said, "Come, my boy. Come embrace me."
The man said, "Stop that sentimentality. That was a childhood thing. I am not a child any more." The ego sees love as madness, as a childish fantasy.
But the tree invited him: "Come, swing on my branches. Come dance. Come play with me."
The man said, "Stop all this useless talk! I need to build a house. Can you give me a house?"
The tree exclaimed: "A house! I am without a house." Only men live in houses. Nobody else lives in a house but man. And do you notice his condition after his confinement among four walls? The bigger his buildings, the smaller man becomes. "We do not stay in houses, but you can cut and take away my branches - and then you may be able to build a house."
Without wasting any time, the man brought an axe and severed all the branches of the tree. Now the tree was just a bare trunk. But love cares not for such things - even if its limbs are severed for the loved one. Love is giving; love is ever ready to give.
The man didn't even bother to thank the tree. He built his house. And the days flew into years.
The trunk waited and waited. It wanted to call for him, but it had neither branches nor leaves to give it strength. The wind blew by, but it couldn't even manage to give the wind a message. And still its soul resounded with one prayer only: "Come. Come, my dear. Come." But nothing happened.
Time passed and the man had now become old. Once he was passing by and he came and stood by the tree.
The tree asked, "What else can I do for you? You have come after a very, very long time."
The old man said, "What else can you do for me? I want to go to distant lands to earn more money.
I need a boat, to travel."
Cheerfully, the tree said, "But that's no problem, my love. Cut my trunk, and make a boat from it. I would be so very happy if I could help you go to faraway lands to earn money. But, please remember, I will always be awaiting your return."
The man brought a saw, cut down the trunk, made a boat and sailed away.
Now the tree is a small stump. And it waits for its loved one to return. It waits and it waits and it waits. The man will never return; the ego only goes where there is something to gain and now the tree has nothing, absolutely nothing to offer. The ego does not go where there is nothing to gain.
The ego is an eternal beggar, in a continuous state of demand, and love is charity. Love is a king, an emperor! Is there any greater king than love?
I was resting near that stump one night. It whispered to me, "That friend of mine has not come back yet. I am very worried in case he might have drowned, or in case he might be lost. He may be lost in one of those faraway countries. He might not even be alive any more. How I wish for news of him! As I near the end of my life, I would be satisfied with some news of him at least. Then I could die happily. But he would not come even if I could call him. I have nothing left to give and he only understands the language of taking."
The ego only understands the language of taking; the language of giving is love.
I cannot say anything more than that. Moreover, there is nothing more to be said than this: if life can become like that tree, spreading its branches far and wide so that one and all can take shelter in its shade, then we will understand what love is. There are no scriptures, no charts, no dictionaries for love. There is no set of principles for love.
I wondered what I could say about love! Love is so difficult to describe. Love is just there. You could probably see it in my eyes if you came up and looked into them. I wonder if you can feel it as my arms spread in an embrace.
What is love?
If love is not felt in my eyes, in my arms, in my silence, then it can never be realized from my words.
I am grateful for your patient hearing. And finally, I bow to the Supreme seated in all of us.
Please accept my respects.