The pinnacle of meditation
Discourse date: Fri, 29 September 1968 00:00:00 GMT
I resume my talk with a small tale. Many, many years ago, in a certain country, there was a young and famous painter. He decided to create a truly great portrait, a lively portrait full of the joy of God, a portrait of a man whose eyes radiated eternal peace. And so, he set out to find someone whose face reflected that eternal, ethereal light.
The artist roamed from village to village, from jungle to jungle, in search of his subject, and at long last he came across a shepherd with shining eyes, with a face and features that held the promise of some celestial home. One look was enough to convince him that God was present in this young man.
The artist painted a portrait of the young shepherd. Millions of copies of the portrait were made and it sold far and wide. People felt great gratitude, just being able to hang the picture on their walls.
After a spell of some twenty years, when the artist had grown old, he decided to paint another portrait. His experience had shown him that life is not all goodness, that Satan also exists in man.
The idea of painting a picture of Satan persisted; were he to fulfill the project, then the two pictures would complement each other, would show the complete man. He had already done a painting of godliness; now he wanted to portray evil incarnate.
He sought a man who was not a man but Satan. He went to gambling dens, to bars and to madhouses. This subject had to be full of hell's fire; his face had to show all that is evil, ugly and sadistic.
After a long search, the artist finally met a prisoner in a jail. The man had committed seven murders and had been sentenced to be hanged in a few days. Hell was evident in the man's eyes; they spouted hate. His face was the ugliest one could possibly hope to find. The artist began to paint him.
When he had completed the portrait he brought out his earlier picture and set it by the side of the new painting for contrast. It was difficult to assess which was better from an artistic point of view; both were marvelous. He stood, staring at both of them. And then he heard a sob. He turned and saw the chained prisoner, crying. The artist was bewildered. He asked, "My friend, why are you crying? Do these pictures disturb you?"
The prisoner said, "I have been trying to hide something from you all this time, but today I am lost.
You obviously do not know that the first picture is also of me. Both portraits are of me. I am the same shepherd you met twenty years ago in the hills. I cry for my downfall in the last twenty years.
I have fallen from heaven to hell, from God to Satan."
I do not know how true this story is, but one thing is for certain: each man's life has two converse sides; two portraits of everyone are possible. In every man both God and Satan exist; in every man there is the possibility of heaven, and the possibility of hell. A bouquet of beautiful roses can grow in man; a heap of mud can also pile up in him. Every man swings between these two extremes.
Man can attain to either of these extremes, but most people are inclined towards the infernal. Those fortunate few who aspire to the eternal, who let godliness grow in them, are rare. Can we succeed in making our lives temples of God? Can we also become like the portrait that had the glimpse of God in it?
With this question I resume today's talk. How can man become the reflection of God? How is it possible to make man's life heaven, to make it fragrant, beautiful, harmonious? How is it possible for man to know that which is deathless? How is it possible for man to enter the temple of God?
In this context, the facts of life indicate that all our progress, so far, has been in the opposite direction.
In childhood we are in heaven, but as we grow older, by and by we land in hell. The world of childhood is full of innocence and purity, but we gradually begin traveling a road paved with lies and treachery and by the time we are mature we are old - not only physically but also spiritually. Not only does the body become weak and infirm, but the soul falls into a ruinous state as well. But we simply accept this; we simply let the matter finish there. But we also finish ourselves.
Religion is fatalistic about this question, about this downfall, about this journey from heaven to hell.
But this journey ought to be reversed. This journey should be a rewarding one - from sorrow to joy, from darkness to light, from mortality to immortality. Man's inner urge is to reach the deathless from the deathbound; this is the thirst of man's innermost soul. The soul's only search is to reach from the darkness to the light. The basic drive of our primal energy is to reach from untruth to truth.
But for that voyage, man needs to conserve his energy; he needs to allow his energy to grow. To scale truth, to reach to the soul, man must strive to become a reservoir of limitless strength; only then can he reach to the eternal. Heaven is not for the weak.
I repeat, heaven is not for the weak. The truth of life is not for those who dissipate their energy, who allow themselves to become feeble and frail. Those who squander life's energies, who become insipid and impotent within, cannot undertake this expedition. It requires great energy to scale the heights.
Conservation of energy is a prime requisite of religion. But we are a weak, sick generation, and through this loss of energy we are progressively sinking to weaker and weaker levels. Our vitality is being drained away and all that is left inside is a honeycomb of dry cells; nothing is left but a terrible emptiness. Our lives are one sad continuous story of loss; our lives are not productive at all.
Why does this unattractive situation exist? And how do we lose our energy?
The biggest outlet for man's energy is sex. Sex is a continuous drain, and it should be stopped. No one likes to lose anything, but as I told you earlier, there is an irresistible reason why man overdraws on his energy so much. Because of the blissful glimpse in sex, man is dragged, willy-nilly, into losing energy time and time again. The luminescent but transient rapture that comes with sex has such a great attraction for him that man is falling headlong into losing the very thing that is the basis of everything.
If the same ecstasy were available by some other means, would one not stop wasting one's energy through sex? Is there any other way to obtain that same experience? Isn't there any other way to realize the very same exalted experience where we fathom the deeper-than-deep recesses of the soul, where we touch the highest peak of existence, where we are given a revitalizing glimpse of subtle bliss and pure joy, where all definitions and all limitations evaporate? Is there any other way? Is there any technique for plunging into that serene abyss within ourselves? Is there any other process for uniting with the eternal source of peace and joy that exists in us all?
This knowledge will spark a transformation in man. Then he will turn his back on Kama and will turn towards Rama; then his journey will be "from lust to the Lord." Then an inner revolution will take place; then a new door will open.
If man is not shown a new door, he will continue to revolve in the same repetitive circle and will eventually destroy himself. But man's backward idea of sex has prevented him from even thinking about any other door, about any superior outlet. And a great and disruptive chaos has been created in his life.
Nature has endowed man with one door only, that of sex, but the teachings down the centuries have slammed that door shut, have jammed that release. In the absence of an adequate outlet, the swirling energy in man travels around and around, vainly pushing upwards: disintegrating his personality, degenerating him, turning him into a neurotic.
Moreover, this disintegrated, neurotic man cannot even utilize the natural door of sex, and the onrush of energy from within shatters the walls and the windows of his being. As a consequence it erupts, and man falls and cracks his head, stumbles and breaks his arms and legs. Because it is confined by the closed, natural door, and because the supernatural door is not yet open, man's sex energy flows out through unnatural outlets. This is man's greatest misfortune. No new door has been opened yet, and the old door is already closed.
This is why I am firmly against the traditional teachings of enmity for, and suppression of, sex. It is because of the old teachings that sexuality has not only grown in man but has also become perverted. What is the remedy? Is there no other alternative?
Let us look at the situation carefully. The realization that comes in the moment of orgasm consists of two elements: egolessness and timelessness. Time freezes and the ego evaporates. Because of the absence of the ego and the stoppage of time, one has a clear vision of one's own self - of one's real self. But that glory is momentary, and then we are back in the same old rut. And in the meantime we have lost a considerable amount of energy.
The mind pines for that illumination; the mind yearns to grasp it again, but that light, that realization, is so transitory that we have scarcely glimpsed it when it disappears. What remains then is an urge, an obsession, a deep anxiety to achieve that experience again. Throughout the full span of his life, again and again man tries to grasp that glimpse, that exhilarating experience, but it never lingers.
There are two ways to attain superconsciousness, to reach the essence of the inner self: sex and meditation. Sex is the door provided by nature. Sex is the natural course: animals have it; birds have it; plants have it; man has it. So long as man avails himself of nature's door, he is not above the animals; he cannot rise above the animals. That door is also accessible to them. The day man finds a new door can be considered as the dawning of human-ness in him. Prior to that, we are not men; prior to that, our center coincides with the animals' center, with nature's center. Until we rise above this, until we transcend this, we are truly at the level of the animals. In appearance we are men. We clothe ourselves like men; we speak the language of men, but inside, at the core, at the center, we are like animals. And we can be no more than that. That is the reason the animal in us bursts forth at the first available opportunity.
During the commotion at the time of the formation of India and Pakistan, we came to know that a carnivorous animal lurks behind the mask of man. We came to know of what the people who pray in the mosques and recite the Gita in the temples are capable: they loot; they slaughter; they rape.
The very people who were seen praying in the temples and mosques the day before were seen raping in the streets. What had happened to them?
A man takes a holiday from being human whenever there's the slightest opportunity to let his obligations go - and the animal, ever ready in him, springs forth. The animal is always anxious for free rein. And man is always tense - curbing this animal, chaining it.
In a crowd, in a group, a man finds the opportunity to throw off his adopted garb of humanity and to forget himself. In a crowd, he develops the courage to forget himself, to forget the real identity he has been restraining. The animal is released. As an individual, no man has committed as many sins as he has in a crowd. A solitary man is a bit afraid someone may recognize him; he worries about what he is wearing. A solitary man will think first about what he is going to do; he is afraid others may call him an animal. But in the midst of a big crowd of people a man loses his identity; he is not worried about being spotted at all. Then he is part and parcel of the mass; then he does what the people around him are doing.
And what does he do? He hurls stones, he starts fires, he commits rape. As part of the mob, he seizes the opportunity to set his animal free. And that is why, every five to ten years, man is anxious for war, why he is always lying in wait, hoping for a riot to break out. If it is under the pretext of a Hindu-Moslem problem it is fine with him. If not, a Gujarati-Marathi cause will also suit his purpose.
If the Gujaratis and Marathis are not ripe for rioting, then a conflict between Hindi-speaking and non-Hindi speaking people will satisfy him. He needs an excuse, any excuse, to free the insatiable beast within.
The animal in man is frustrated by constant bondage; it is howling to get out. But unless this animal is vanquished, destroyed, man's consciousness can never rise above bestiality.
Our nature, our life-force, our energy, has only one easy outlet, and that outlet is sex. Sealing that channel will create problems, so before sealing it, it is very important to throw open a new door so that the energy can be diverted in a new direction. This is possible, but it has not yet happened for the simple reason that repression is much easier than transformation. It is easier to cover a thing, to sit upon it, than to tackle it, than to transform it - because the latter demands the effort of a sadhana, of a steady course of meditative action. Hence, we have chosen the internal repression of sex.
At the same time, we are unaware that nothing can be destroyed by suppression; on the contrary, it is strengthened as a reaction. We also forget that repressing something intensifies our attraction for it. That which we repress not only becomes the center of our consciousness but also sinks into the deeper layers of our subconscious. We may repress it during our waking hours, but at night it flashes across our dreams. Inside it waits, anxious to lash out at the slightest opportunity.
Repression will not free man from anything; on the contrary, its roots will go deep into his subconscious and trap him as a consequence. In the process of trying to stamp out sex, man has entangled himself; he has become trapped.
Although animals have their limits and their periods, man has neither. Man is sexual each hour throughout the year. Without exception, no animal in the animal kingdom is sexual to this degree.
Animals have a specific time for it, a period, a season; it comes and it goes. And afterwards an animal doesn't think about it again. But look at what has happened to man. The thing which man has tried to repress, has tried to suppress, shoots up throughout his life. It is an ever-active volcano.
Have you ever observed that no animal is sexual all the time, but that man leans toward sex in each and every situation? Sexuality fumes inside man, as if sex were all and everything in life. How has this perversion come about? How has this disaster occurred? Why hasn't it happened to any animal? There is only one cause: man has done his utmost to suppress sex. And it has erupted throughout his personality in equal measure.
And think of what we have done to suppress sex! We have had to develop an insulting attitude toward it; we have had to degrade it; we have had to abuse it. We have had to call it sin; we have had to shout from the rooftops, "Sex is sin!" We have had to proclaim that those who indulge in sex are contemptible, are to be despised. We have had to invent countless degrading names for sex in order to justify our suppression of it. But we have never worried for a moment that these abuses and objections would eventually poison our entire beings.
Nietzsche once made a very meaningful statement. He said that although religion had tried to kill sex by poisoning it, that sex was not dead, but still alive and full of poison. It would have been better had it died, but it was not to be; it was poisoned but yet it lived on. The device misfired. The sexuality we see around us today - is the epitome of poisoned sex.
Sex also exists in animals because sex is the source of life, but sexuality only exists in man. There is no sexuality in animals. Look into the eyes of an animal; you will not find lust there. But if you look into a man's eyes you will see nothing but lust; nothing but the gross desire for sex. And so, today, animals are beautiful in a way, but there is no limit to the ugliness and stench of man, the mad repressor.
As a first step in freeing man from sexuality, children - both boys and girls - should, as I told you yesterday, receive instruction in the subject of sex. In addition to their being given this knowledge, the ugly and unnatural distance between them should be erased. As a matter of fact, they should be brought much nearer; this segregation is completely unnatural.
Men and women have become altogether different species. By looking at the separation, at the man-made compartments between them, it is difficult to believe that men and women are of the same kind, that they are both part of mankind. If boys and girls were free to move about the house without clothes, as and when they liked, it would nip in the bud the obscene and unnatural curiosity that develops at a later age. We already know full well how this ignorance of each other's bodies shows up in the inquisitiveness of children: look how all children of civilized men love to play "doctor."
Furthermore, I wonder if you know about a new movement initiated by a segment of American society, all so-called religious people. Their aim is to stop dogs, cats, horses and other animals being taken out unclothed; they want them to be dressed before they are taken into the streets. The idea behind it is that children may become corrupted if they look at naked animals. How funny it is to think of a child being corrupted by seeing a naked animal! But anyway, they are forming an association to ban unclothed animals from the streets. See how many things are being done to save mankind!
These so-called saviors are the very people who are destroying man. Have you never noticed just how wonderful and how beautiful the animals are, even unclothed? Even in their nakedness they are innocent, simple and plain. You rarely ever think of an animal as being naked, and you will never see animals as naked unless you are hiding your own nakedness inside you! But those who are afraid and those who are cowards will try anything and everything to compensate for their own fear of nakedness. Because of the invention of such remedies, mankind is degenerating, day by day.
Man ought to be so simple that he can stand up naked, unclad, innocent and full of bliss. A person like Mahavir undertook to stand up unclothed and, likewise, every man should cultivate a mentality whereby he could also stand up unclothed. People, so-called religious people, say that Mahavir discarded clothes, that he abandoned wearing garments. But I deny this. His chitta, his consciousness, became so clear, so innocent - as pure as that of a child - that he rose up, nude, to face the world. When there is nothing at all left to conceal, a man can lay himself bare.
Man covers himself because he feels there is something inside that needs to be hushed up. But when there is nothing to hide, one need not even put up with clothes. There is a great need for the kind of world where every individual will be so guiltless, so pure of mind and so serene that he will be able to discard his clothes.
Where is the crime? What is the danger in being naked?
It is a different matter if clothes are worn for other reasons, but if they are worn solely out of one's fear of nakedness then this is contemptuous. Wearing clothes because of a dread of nakedness is indicative of a greater nakedness, is proof of a contaminated mind. But today we feel guilty even wearing clothes, as if we still haven't been able to scrub away the existence of our inner nudity.
Ah! God is so childish! He could so easily have created man with clothes.
By the way, please do not conclude that I am against the wearing of clothes. But I make no bones about stating that clothes worn out of sheer fear of nakedness do not cover nakedness; rather, they uncover it. This unnatural awareness of nakedness is contemptible, and degenerating. And this awareness has been decreed by a long social tradition.
A person can seem naked wearing clothes and a nude person can appear to be clothed. Is it necessary to elaborate further on this point after seeing the modern, skin-tight clothes for both men and women? This is the outcome of an unsatisfied desire to leer at and to display the body. If men and women were familiar with each other's bodies, clothes would automatically serve no other purpose than to protect the body. But alas, nowadays, clothes are designed to arouse sexuality.
Where is man's civilization going when clothes are no longer clothes but aids to sexuality? This is why I advocate letting children remain nude up to a certain age. They should understand that the necessity for clothes has to do with something other than sex!
Moreover, the concept of nakedness is a subjective one. To a simple mind, to an innocent mind, nudity is not offensive; it has its own beauty. But up to now, man has been fed on poison, and gradually, with the passage of time, this poison has spread from one pole of his existence to the other. Consequently, our attitude to nakedness is completely unnatural.
When I spoke on this topic at the first meeting, at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Auditorium, a lady came to me and said, "I am very upset. I am very angry with you. Sex is a scandalous subject. Sex is sin. Why did you speak about it at such length? I really despise sex."
Now, you see, this lady despises sex although she is a married woman with sons and daughters.
How can she love the husband who leads her into sex? How can she love those children who have been born out of sex? Her attitude to life is permeated with poison; her love will remain poisonous.
And so there is bound to be a basic and deep rift between this woman and her husband. There will also be a fence of thorns between her and her children because the latter, to her, are the fruits of sin.
The relationship between her and her husband is sin-oriented; she is haunted by an unconscious guilt complex where sex is concerned. Can one live in harmony with sin?
Those who slander sex have disturbed everyone's marital life. Instead of affording any kind of deliverance, this disruptive attitude against sex has had deeply injurious effects. The man who meets with an invisible barrier between himself and his wife can never feel content with her: he will look around for other women; he will go to prostitutes. All the women in the world could have been like sisters and mothers to him had he received full gratification at home, but because of its absence, he will now see all women as potential wives, always after something. It is but natural; it had to be so. He finds poison, repulsion, and talk of sin where he ought to have been blessed with bliss, with ecstasy and serenity. His basic needs are not met at home and so he roams everywhere, searching for satisfaction in every nook and corner. And what has man not invented to meet those basic needs! You would be amazed if we tried to list all the devices he has come up with.
Man has gone out of his way to devise many, many tricks but he has never thought carefully about the basic drawback. Now that which was a lagoon of love has become a pool of sex, and the pool is poisoned. And when there is an acute sense of sin, of poison; when there is a feeling of hesitation between husband and wife, this guilty approach ends the possibility of any growth in their lives together.
As I understand it, if a husband and wife can try to appreciate sex in harmony and with an understanding love towards each other, with a feeling of pure joy and without any sense of gloom, then their relationship can be transformed, elevated. And after this, it is possible that the wife, the same wife, will be there, but she will be in the form of a mother!
I have heard that Gandhi's wife, Kasturba, once went to Ceylon with Gandhiji and his party. In his welcoming speech, the host said how very fortunate they were to be honored by the presence of Gandhiji's mother, who was accompanying Mr. Gandhi on his trip and was seated beside him.
Gandhiji's secretary was floored. The mistake was his; beforehand, he ought to have introduced the members of the party to the organizers. But then it was too late: Gandhiji was already facing the mike and had begun his speech. The secretary feared the rebuke he might get from Gandhiji afterwards, but he did not know that Gandhiji would not be angry with him at all, because the woman who is able to change from wife into mother is very rare indeed.
Gandhiji said, "It is a happy coincidence that the friend who introduced me has, by mistake, spoken the truth. In the last few years Kasturba has truly become my mother. At one time she was my wife, but now she is my mother."
Together, this can happen. If a husband and wife put a bit of effort into examining their sexual life together, they can become friends and can help each other transform sex. And the day a husband and wife succeed in transforming sex, a feeling of overwhelming gratitude is born between them. But nowadays there is nothing but a subtle and inborn enmity between husbands and wives. A constant tussle exists; never a serene friendship.
A sense of profound gratification is born between husband and wife when each serves as a medium to transform the sexual desires of the other. A true friendship flowers when they become partners in ascendancy, in the transcendence of sex. That day, the man is filled with respect for the woman because she has helped him gain deliverance from lust; that day, the woman is filled with gratitude towards the man for freeing her from passion. From that day on, they live in the true harmony of love, and no longer in lust. This is the beginning of that voyage whereby the husband becomes God for his wife and the wife becomes a deity for her husband. But that possibility has been poisoned.
I stated yesterday that it is difficult to find a greater enemy of sex than I am. I do not mean to imply that I abuse or reproach sex; I said it apprehensively, as a guide in the direction of transcendence, as an indication of how lust can be transformed. I am an enemy of sex in the sense that I favor the transformation of coal into diamonds. I wish to transform sex.
How can this be done? What is the procedure?
I say that another door must be opened, a new door.
Sex does not rear its head as soon as a child is born. The body gathers energy, the cells gain strength, and still there is time before the full-fledged development of the body takes place. The energy will slowly muster itself, and then it will push open a door that has been shut for the first fourteen years - and this is the child's introduction into the world of sex.
Once one door is open it is very difficult to open a new door. Because of the nature of the life-force, one's full vitality, one's entire energy, rushes along in the direction it has forced open. Once the Ganges has set its course it continues to flow along it; it does not seek out a new course every day.
Fresh water may pour in daily, but it will continue to flow through the same channel. Similarly, man's life-force digs out a course for itself and then continues to travel it.
If man is to be cured of sexuality, it is very important to create a new opening before the door of sex opens. That new opening is meditation.
Each child in his tender years should be taught meditation, should be instructed in meditation. False teachings against sex should be abolished, and meditation should be taught. Meditation is a positive door; it is a higher opening. A choice between sex and meditation must be made, and meditation is the superior alternative. Do not condemn sex; teach children to meditate.
Being opposed to teaching children about sex only alerts them to its existence. And this is a highly dangerous approach. Later, it leads to the perversions of immature sexuality. As yet, when no door has opened, when both the doors are shut, when the energy is still safe, either door can be pushed open - but this constant harping against sex is like knocking on sex's door.
A supple young plant can be bent in any direction; it can also bow humbly of its own accord. But as it grows, it hardens. If you try to bend it then, it will become misshapen, it will break. The case here is the same.
It is very difficult to attain the state of meditation when one is older. Older people trying meditation is like sowing seeds after the season is over. The seed of meditation can easily be sown in children, but man, as he is, only shows interest in meditation towards the end of his life. He is anxious to meditate then - when his energy has ebbed, when all the possibilities of progress have dried up.
Only then does he inquire about meditation and yoga. He wants to reform himself when the die has already been cast, when transformation is very difficult indeed. A man with one foot in the grave asks if anything can be done to attain freedom through meditation. This is strange. The notion is quite mad.
This planet can never be at peace until we launch a journey into meditation in every young mind. But it is futile to try this with people who are at the end of the road, with people who are in the evening of their lives. Even if it were to be attempted by them it would demand enormous effort and, also, would not be to much advantage. But it could have been achieved had it been attempted earlier in life, when it does not call for so much effort.
So the first step towards the transformation of sex is to begin meditation in small children - to coach them to be calm and to keep their own counsel, to teach them to be silent and to enlighten them about the state of no-mind. Although children are already calm and peaceful by adult standards, if they were guided in the right direction and taught to practice reticence and serenity even for a little while each day, a new door would open before they were fourteen years of age. Then, when sex rears its head, when the energy wells up and is about to spill over, it would flow through the new door that has already been opened. They would already have realized the serenity, the bliss, the joy, the timelessness and egolessness of meditation long before the experience of sex. This familiarity would prevent their energy from moving into wrong channels; it would divert it onto the right path.
Instead of teaching the tranquility of meditation, we teach children to abhor sex. "Sex is sin, sex is dirty," we say. We tell them it is ugly and bad; we say that it is hell. But name-calling does nothing whatsoever to alter the actual situation. On the contrary, children become curious; they want to know more about this hell, about this evil, about this dirty thing that makes their parents and teachers afraid and panic-stricken. They look anywhere and everywhere for the answer; they are anxious to understand what the commotion is all about.
And within a very short time, children come to know that their parents themselves are engaged in the very same pursuit; day and night, their parents are doing the very thing they are not allowed to know anything about. The instant and automatic result of the discovery of this fact is the end of their admiration for their parents. Modern education is not responsible, as it is generally believed, for the great decrease in the reverence for parents; the parents themselves are to blame for this. Children quickly observe the paradox; they soon come to know that their parents are completely submerged in the very thing they are being taught to hate.
Children are very acute observers. They see that your night-life is different from your day-life, that your preachings and your practices differ widely. They see what goes on in the house. Despite what father calls "dirty" and mother calls "bad," they see that the same things are afoot at home. They understand what is happening and, this being the case, lose all reverence for their parents. Parents are tricky, hypocrites, the children conclude.
And remember, children who have lost their faith in their parents will never be able to develop any faith in God. Children have their first glimpse of faith, their first glimpse of God, through their parents.
If this faith is shattered, they will surely grow up to be atheists. Children have their first recognition of God in the righteousness of their parents, and if that proves to be illusory, it will be difficult to turn those children to God. The rapport between them and God will be broken because their first deities betrayed them, because their mother and father proved to be dishonorable.
Today, the modern younger generation denies the existence of God, ridicules the idea of liberation and calls religion humbug, not because they have searched for themselves and therefore arrived at their own conclusions, but because of this betrayal by their parents. Their parents have exiled them to lives of cynicism.
This feeling of betrayal has come about because sex has been wrongly represented by their elders.
It should be openly explained to them that sex is part and parcel of life, that we are all born out of sex, and that sex is also part of their lives. This will help them to understand their parents' behavior in its proper perspective, and when they grow and experience life for themselves they will be filled with reverence for the honesty of their parents. The beginning, in a child, of this faith and reverence will lay the foundation for a religious life. Children today suspect that their parents are hypocrites; hence the present ideological clash between the younger and the older generations. The suppression of sex has separated husband from wife and has set children against their parents.
We do not need this repression of sex; clarification of sex is the need of the hour. As soon as children mature, as soon as they inquire, parents should lay the principal facts of life before them in a palatable manner. This ought to be done before children become unnecessarily or harmfully curious, before they begin to nurture unhealthy attractions that can lead them to satisfy their curiosities in wrong quarters. Otherwise, as is the case today, children find out what they want to know, but they find it out from the wrong people, they find it out under abnormal conditions and through dangerous practices. These ways are detrimental and ruinous. The results pain and torture them for the rest of their lives, and ultimately a wall of shame and secrecy exists between children and their parents.
Parents never know about the sex lives of their children, just as children are ignorant of the sex lives of their parents. The alienation that results from this game of hide-and-seek is very dangerous indeed. Children must be properly educated about sex; they must be given the right education.
Secondly, children should be taught to meditate - how to remain calm, serene, silent; how to reach the state of no-mind. Children can learn to accomplish this very, very quickly. Every home should have a scheduled program to help children move into silence. And that will only be possible, when you, as parents, also practice with them. A daily hour of sitting silently should be compulsory in every home. One should even do away with a meal if necessary, but an hour of silence must be observed at all costs. It is wrong to call that house a home where an hour of silence isn't observed daily. It can not even be called a family.
A daily hour of silence will conserve energy. And then, at the age of fourteen, it will surge in a tide and push open the door of meditation - that state of meditation where man touches timelessness and egolessness, where he glimpses the soul, where he glimpses the Supreme. A meeting with that summit before the experience of sex would put a stop to the mad rush after sex; the energy would have found a better, more blissful, more exalted path.
This is the first stage in the process of celibacy: to transcend sex. And the way is meditation.
The second fundamental is love. Children should be taught love from infancy. The common fear is that teaching love will lead man into the labyrinths of sex. But this fear is groundless. Teaching sex can lead man to love, but teaching love will never drag him into sexuality. The truth is at odds with the general belief. The energy of sex is transformed into love.
A man is able to spread love to those around him in direct proportion to the love that grows within him. Those who are empty of love are filled with sex. And sex-minded they remain. The less a man loves, the more he hates; the less love there is in a man's life, the more spiteful his life will be. And those who are devoid of love are filled with jealousy to the same degree. The less a man loves, the more strife he will know. People are worried and unhappy in direct proportion to the lack of love in their lives. And the more a man is engulfed by worry, jealousy, vanity, lies and the like, the more his energies will weaken, will become frail and feeble; he will be tense all the time. And the only outlet for this crude, crass, low and debased group of emotions is sex.
Love transforms energies. Love is fluid, creative, flowing; it fulfills. And the gratification of love is much deeper and much more valuable than that obtained through sex. One who knows that contentment will never look for any substitute, just as the man who acquires jewels will never search for stones.
But a man full of hate can never find contentment. He is always restless; he destroys everything in his path. And destruction never brings happiness; only creation can shower a man with a feeling of gratification. A man full of jealousy is belligerent and competitive, but being like this never brings contentment. An aggressive man only encroaches upon others.
Bliss can only be attained by giving, never by taking. Grabbing and hoarding everything in sight will never bring peace of mind, but it can be had by giving, by beneficial distribution. An ambitious man hops from one post to another; he is never at peace - but those who are not after power but are in pursuit of love, those who distribute love anywhere and everywhere, live in exalted bliss. As full of love as a man is, such is the depth of the contentment, of the deep satisfaction, of the joy, of the sense of achievement he will find in his heart of hearts. Such an enlightened man will not bother with sex; he will not even have to try not to look in its direction. Because the contentment and bliss to be found in sex is perpetually available to him from love.
The next motto: grow to the fullness of love. We should adore love; we should bestow love; we should live in love. But to love other men alone is not the name of the game; to be devoted to love is to replenish one's whole personality with love. I am speaking of a total education in loving. We should be able to pick up a stone as if we were lifting a friend; we should be able to shake hands with an enemy as if we were holding the hand of a friend.
Some men handle material things with loving care, while some give other men the kind of treatment that should not even be handed out to non-living things. To a man preoccupied with hate, humans are no better than inanimate objects; but a man full of love even imparts an individuality, a personality, to everything he touches.
A learned traveler once came to see a celebrated fakir. For some reason the man was upset, probably because of a difficult journey, and he angrily undid his shoelaces, tossed his shoes into a corner and pushed the door open with a heavy thud.
In anger, a man will take off his shoes as if the shoes were his worst enemy. He will even open a door as if there were great hostility between him and the door. The man threw open the door, went in, and offered his respects to the fakir.
The fakir said, "No, I do not accept your homage. First go and apologize to the door and to the shoes."
"What is wrong with you?" he asked. "Apologize to a door? And to a pair of shoes? Why? Are they alive?"
The fakir replied, "You didn't consider that when you took your anger out on those inanimate objects.
You dashed the shoes down as if they had been guilty of something, and you opened the door in such a fashion that it seemed to be your enemy. When you can acknowledge their individuality by taking out your anger on them, you should also be prepared to beg their pardon. Please go and offer them your apologies. Otherwise, I am not inclined to continue this interview with you."
The traveler figured that since he had come so far to meet this illustrious fakir, it would be ridiculous to end the conversation over such a trivial matter, so he went to the shoes and with folded hands, said, "Friends, pardon my insolence." To the door he said, "Sorry. It was a mistake to push you like that in anger."
What a moment for him!
In his memoirs the traveler has written that he felt very ridiculous at first, but that when he had finished making his apologies something new had dawned in him: he felt so calm, so serene, so peaceful. It was beyond his wildest imaginings that a man could feel so quiet, so collected and so joyful just by asking forgiveness of a door and a pair of shoes.
After he had made his apologies, he went in and sat down by the fakir, who began to laugh and said, "Now it is okay. Now you are attuned. Now we can talk. Now you have shown some love and are unburdened. Now there can be a rapport between us."
The principle is not just to love human beings alone, it is a question of being filled with love.
To say one should love his mother is wrong; it is a misrepresentation. If a father asks his child to love him just because he is his father it is deception; he is giving a reason for love. Similarly, if a mother tells her child he must love her for the simple reason that she is his mother, it is an imposition. The love that has the strings of "because" and "therefore" attached to it is misnamed. Love should be motiveless; it should not be bogged down with reasons. The mother says, "I looked after you; I brought you up, therefore love me." She is giving a reason. And there, love ends. If a child is forced, he may unwillingly show some affection because she is his mother, but the aim of teaching love is not to force the child to express love for some reason, but to create an environment in which the child will be full of love.
It must be brought home to you that a child's growth, his whole personality, his entire future, depends on this joy at being loving to anybody or anything he meets - be it a stone, a human being, a flower, an animal, whatever. The point is not just to love an animal or a flower or his mother or someone else, the whole point is for the child to be full of love. On this depends not only his future, but the future of mankind. The tremendous possibilities for the flowering of joy and of happiness in a man's life depend on how much love there is inside him. A loving man can also be freed from sexuality.
But we do not bestow love; we have no zeal for love.
Do you think a man can love one person and hate another at the same time? No, it is impossible.
A loving man, even when he is alone, is full of love because love is his nature; it has nothing to do with your relationship to him. An angry man is angry even when he is alone; a man full of hate hates even when he is alone. Observe such a man when he is alone and you will feel his anger even though he may not be showing his anger to anyone in particular at the time. His whole being simply overflows with hate, with anger. Conversely, if you see a love-filled man, you can feel him brimming over with love even when he is alone.
Flowers blooming in the jungle spread their fragrance whether there is anyone there to appreciate it or not, whether anyone is passing by or not. To be fragrant is a flower's nature. Do not be under the illusion that a flower emits its fragrance just for you!
People should simply be full of love; it should not depend on "with whom." But the lover wants the beloved to love only him, to love no one else. "Love me alone," he says, but he does not know that those who cannot love all cannot love one. The wife says her husband should love only her and not show affection to anybody else, but she does not realize that such love is false and that she has caused it to be so. How can a husband who is not always full of love for everybody be loving towards his wife?
To be loving is the nature of life. One cannot be full of love for one person and devoid of love for everyone else. But mankind hasn't been able to see this simple truth. The father asks the child to love him, but has he ever taught the child to love the old servant in the house? Isn't he a man too?
The servant may be old, but he may also be someone's father. No, he is just a servant, and so there is no question of being courteous or loving towards him. But this father does not realize that when he has grown old he will complain when his sons do not show him any affection. His sons could have grown into men filled with love had they been taught to love all. And then they would have revered their old father as well.
Love is not a relationship, love is a state of mind. It is an essential component of a man's personality.
Therefore, the second stage in the teaching of love is to teach the child to love all. If a child does not even replace a book properly, his attention should be drawn to the fact that it is unseemly to replace the book that way. He should be made aware of what people will think of him if he treats the book in that fashion. If you have behaved brutally, even to your dog, it indicates a shortcoming in your personality; it is proof that you are devoid of love. And one who is not full of love is not a man at all.
I recall the story of a fakir who lived in a small hut. One night, about midnight, it was raining heavily and the fakir and his wife were asleep. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door: someone wanted shelter.
The fakir woke his wife. "Somebody is outside," he said. "Some traveler, some unknown friend."
Have you noticed? He said, "Some unknown friend." You do not even befriend those you know. His attitude was one of love.
The fakir said, "Some unknown friend is waiting outside. Please open the door."
His wife said, "There is no room. There is not even enough room for the two of us. How can one more person come in?"
The fakir replied, "My dear, this is not the palace of a rich man. It cannot become any smaller. A rich man's palace seems smaller if even one more guest arrives, but this is the hut of a poor man."
His wife asked, "How does the question of poor and rich come into this? The plain fact is that this is a very small hut!"
The fakir answered, "If there is enough room in your heart, you will feel that this hut is a palace, but if your heart is narrow, even a palace would seem small. Please open the door. How can we refuse a man who has come to our door? Up to now, we have been lying down. Three may not be able to lie down, but at least three can sit. There is room for another if we all sit."
The wife had to open the door. The man came in, soaking wet. They sat together and started to chat. After a while, two more people came and knocked on the door.
The fakir said, "It seems someone else has come," and asked the guest sitting nearest the door to open it. The man said, "Open the door? There is no space." The man, who had himself taken shelter in this hut moments before, forgot that it was not the fakir's love for him that had given him a place, but that he had found shelter because there was love in the hut. And now, some new people had come. And love must accommodate the newcomers.
But the man said, "No, it is not necessary to open the door. Don't you see the difficulty we're having, squatting here?"
The fakir said, "My dear man, didn't I make room for you? You were allowed in because there is love here. It is still here; it has not ended with you. Open the door, please. Now we are sitting apart from each other, so we will simply huddle together. Moreover, the night is cold and it will give us warmth and pleasure to sit so snugly together."
The door was opened and the two newcomers came in. They all sat together and began to get acquainted.
Then, a donkey came and pushed at the door with its head. The donkey was wet; it wanted shelter for the night. The fakir asked one of the men, who was almost sitting on top of the door, to open it.
"Some new friend has come," the fakir said.
Peeking outside, the man said, "This isn't a friend or anything like a friend. It's just an ass. It's not necessary to open up."
The fakir said, "Perhaps you are not aware that at the door of the rich, men are treated as animals, but this is the hut of a poor fakir and we are accustomed to treating even animals as human beings.
Please open the door."
In unison, the men groaned, "But the space?"
"There is plenty of space. Instead of sitting, we can all stand. Don't be upset. If it becomes necessary, I will go outside and make enough room."
Can love not do this much as well?
It is imperative to have a heart full of love. A loving attitude is what we all should have.
Humanness is only born in a man when he has a loving heart. And with a loving heart comes a feeling of deep contentment, a deep and delightful contentment. Have you never noticed, after you've shown a little love to someone, that a great wave of contentment, a great thrill of joy pervades your entire being? Have you never realized that the most serene moments of contentment were those which came in moments of unconditional love?
Pure love can only survive if it is not adulterated by conditions; a conditional love is not love. Have you never had a feeling of contentment after having smiled at a stranger in the street? Didn't a breeze of peace follow it? There is no limit to the wave of tranquil joy you will feel when you lift a fallen man, when you support a fallen person, when you present a sick man with flowers - but not when you do it because he is your father or because she is your mother. No, the person may not be anyone in particular to you, but simply to give a gift is itself a great reward, a great pleasure.
Love should well up inside you - love for plants, love for human beings, love for strangers, love for foreigners, love for those on their way toward the moon and the stars. Your love should be ever on the increase.
The possibility of sex in a man's life lessens as love increases within him. Love and meditation will open that door which is the door to God. Together, love and meditation touch God, and then celibacy flowers in a man's life. Then the entire life-force ascends through a new passage. Then it does not leak out gradually; then it never recedes. The energy rises upwards from within; it rises on its voyage to heaven. Our journey, at present, is towards the lower levels. By nature, the energy only flows downward, into sex, but celibacy is the upward journey. And love and meditation are the basic ingredients of celibacy.
Tomorrow, we will talk about what we attain through celibacy. What do we acquire? To what heights does it lead us?
Today I spoke to you of two things: love and meditation. I told you that training should begin at the infant stage, but you should not infer from this that since you are not children any more nothing remains for you to do. In that case, my labors go to waste. Whatsoever your age, this good work can be begun any day. Although it becomes harder with the advent of age, the journey on this path can be undertaken at any time of life. It is better to begin this journey in childhood, but it is good to undertake it at any stage in life. You can begin today. Older people who are willing to learn, who have an aptitude for learning, are still children even if they are old in years. They, as well, can start afresh; they, as well, can learn, if they haven't taken for granted that they already know everything or that they have already achieved everything desirable.
Gautam Buddha had a disciple who had been a devotee for many years, and one day Buddha asked him, "Monk, what is your age?"
The monk replied, "Five."
Buddha was surprised. "Five years old? You look at least seventy. What kind of answer is this?"
The monk replied, "I say this because the ray of meditation entered my life five years ago, and only in the last five years has love showered in my life. Before that, my life was like a dream; I existed in sleep. When counting my age I do not consider those years. How can I? My real life only began five years ago. I am only five."
Buddha told all his disciples to note the monk's answer well.
You should all count your ages in this manner; this is the standard for calculating age. If love and meditation are not yet born in you, your life, up to now, is negated; you are not born yet. But it is never so late that you cannot start trying. We should all strive for a higher life. And for that it is never too late.
So do not conclude from my words, because you have passed through childhood, that this talk is meant for future generations only. At no time has any man gone so far on the wrong path that he cannot return to the right one; no man has become so wayward that he cannot benefit from the true light.
Comparatively speaking, this journey does not require much endeavor. The returns in accomplishment and satisfaction at the dawn of enlightenment are much greater than any efforts you have made. The mere glimpse of that ray of light, of that joy, of that truth, gives us the feeling we have achieved such a lot with such little effort; it shows us we have attained the invaluable with very insignificant efforts indeed.
Please do not view my words in the wrong frame of mind. This is my humble request to you all.