It has been one of the most dangerous ideas down the centuries that life can be divided into separate parts. Life is indivisible, it is an organic whole. The moment you divide it you kill it. This is one of the most fundamental things in my approach towards life: I take it as a whole.
And remember, the whole is more than the sum total of its parts. In the world of machines, the whole is exactly the sum total of its parts; there is nothing more in it. A clock is nothing more than all its parts put in a particular arrangement; it functions. Take the parts apart, and the functioning disappears.
But you can put the parts together again, and the functioning starts again. The functioning of the mechanism is not something separate.
Life is totally different from a machine. If you cut a man into different parts, life will disappear. Now you cannot put those parts together. And even if you manage somehow to put those parts together, life is not going to appear again. It categorically proves one thing, that life is not the sum total of its parts - it is something more, it is something plus. And that "plus" is the real essence of your being.
But down the ages all the religions have been committing a crime: the crime of dividing the indivisible. But it was favorable to them. A divided man is a dead man, and to control the dead is the easiest thing in the world.
An undivided man is an individual. That's exactly the meaning of the word "individual" - indivisible.
The individual is dangerous, he is alive. You cannot enslave him, you cannot oppress him, you cannot exploit him. You cannot do anything against his wish. His individuality gives him freedom to think, to express, to be.
Divisions can be made in very subtle ways.For example, "Religion should be separate from the state." What kind of stupidity is this? If religion is something real, something that vibrates in your being, something that you breathe, live, then wherever you are - in the church, in the office, in the marketplace, it does not matter - religion is your very breathing. It is going to be with you. Then it is going to decide every step that you take, every word that you utter, every gesture that you make.
How can you divide religion from art? A religious man painting is not in any way separate from his religious being. While painting he is going to paint religion; whatever he paints is going to be colored by his religion. The way he lives, the way he loves, the way he dances - all is going to be in his painting. The painting of a religious man, whatsoever the subject matter of the painting, will have some fragrance of religion in it; it is inevitable, there is no way to avoid it.
Sometimes you may not be able to see this, because things are very subtle. A man of meditation, silence, serenity, is going to have a different kind of dance from a man who is in anguish, tension, worry, despair. A man who is living his life totally, intensely, moment to moment, and a man who is thinking of committing suicide - both can dance, but their dances will have different qualities. The person who is thinking of committing suicide, his dance will have the shadow of death in it. It will stink of death, of a dead body. His movements will not be movements of life.
The other man, who loves and lives totally and has a silent space within himself - that's what I call meditation - his dance will also have a silence surrounding it. His movements, his gestures will have a grace, a beauty, a fragrance of their own.
You cannot divide man into parts.
Your question is, "Here in our commune, there is no separate time for meditation...." It is our basic approach. We cannot have a separate time for meditation. Meditation should be spread all over your life: eating, sleeping, taking a bath, or just having a walk, or just sitting doing nothing. Meditation should be in all these actions, inactions, activities, non activities. The thread of meditation should continue underground, whatever you are working at.
A great master, Nan In, was chopping wood. The king of the country had come to see him. He had heard so much about Nan In that finally he could not resist the temptation to go and see the man.
Just as he entered the monastery, near the gate was a man perspiring in the hot sun, chopping wood.
Naturally the king thought, "This man must be able to direct me to where I can find the master" - because it was a vast monastery with five hundred monks living in it. So he asked the man, who was Nan In himself, "Please forgive me for interrupting you; you are so absorbed in chopping wood, you have not even seen that I have been standing here for a few minutes, waiting. But then I thought it is better to interrupt you because you are not going to see me of your own accord."
The man said, "I am sorry, but this is how my life is. Whatever I am doing I am doing it totally. Nothing of me remains to do anything else. Chopping wood, I am simply chopping wood. There is nobody else other than the chopper of wood. So, no need to be embarrassed. What do you want?"
He said, "I want to see the master, Nan In."
Nan In said, "You go directly into that hut and wait. The master will be coming soon."
The king went and waited there. Nan In took a shower, put on his master's robe, and came in from the back door. But the king was very puzzled, because both men looked so alike. He thought, "It is almost an impossibility. There are not two men alike in the whole world, and just in this monastery, within a few hundred yards I have seen a man exactly like this man."
Nan In said, "You wanted to see master Nan In - master Nan In is now here."
The king said, "That I will enquire about later on. First I want to know who was chopping wood at the gate."
Nan In laughed. He said, "At that time I was a chopper of wood. Now I am going to chop your head; now I am a master. We live each moment, moment to moment, but we are indivisible. The chopper was also master Nan In. If you had eyes you could have seen my involvement with the movement, my totality of action, my intensity of being.
"If you had eyes you could have seen him there; you would not have asked about master Nan In.
You had already met him, but you didn't know. Now I am a chopper of heads. That's the function of a master: to make you so egoless, to make you so thoughtless that you are almost without a head, just the heart pulsating with love, with compassion. Have you come only to ask some questions?
Are you really a seeker? Are you ready to lose something?"
The king was just confused, shocked, even afraid of the man. He had never been afraid of anybody, but this man was simply crazy - he was talking of chopping his head!
The king said, "You have confused me too much and I am almost falling apart. Please forgive me this time. I will come another time, because I have forgotten for what I came."
Nan In said, "You need not come again. I am going to come to you, and I will follow you wherever you go. Now you cannot escape, because I can see something really authentic in you. Yes, it is unconscious; you are not aware of it, much garbage is hiding it. You think you are a king. Even sitting before me you are still thinking you are a king. This is garbage - you are just a beggar. And the beggar that I am is really a king."
The king said, "I don't understand all these puzzles. Please talk to me without puzzling me."
Nan In said, "There is no puzzle in it, it is simple. I am a king because I don't need anything in the world. You are a beggar; although you have a big empire, your desires are unending. You are desiring more and more and more. The mind that goes on desiring more is the mind of a beggar.
And the consciousness that is content with itself as it is, utterly content, is the consciousness of an emperor.
"Strange," he said. "You think you are a king, and you look on me as a beggar. The reality is just the opposite. Go back - and I will be coming to visit you." And Nan In followed the king continuously till he made him aware of his innermost treasure.
It is dangerous to go to a master, because then escape is almost impossible. Wherever you go - even if you go to Santa Fe - I am there. Nothing can save you. Once a master has seen within you a heart that can grow, that can expand, that can become universal, he is not going to leave you.
I don't need to go to Santa Fe. I have my own ways, far more subtle than Nan In's. I am continually there; they are talking only about me, they cannot talk about anything else. Whom are they befooling? Whether you talk for me or against me does not matter, just go on continuously talking about me. That's enough; that is going to change you.
Here, in the commune, whatever you are doing.... Here we call work, worship, for the simple reason that work is not just work, it is meditation also. That's why we call it worship. Other than this we don't have any God to worship. We have only this existence around us. So you can worship it as a gardener, you can worship it as a farmer, you can worship it as a roadmaker, you can worship any way you choose to. But whatever you are doing, you are doing with existence.
So the question is, if you are doing it lovingly, if you are doing it meditatively, and if, while you are doing it, you are nowhere else, you are just there with all of your being, nothing is missing - then work becomes worship. Work becomes worship because meditation has entered into it.
But I can understand your question, because all the religions have preached that there should be a separate time for meditation. That is just idiotic. It is as if somebody is saying there should be a separate time for breathing, that one hour in the morning you breathe and then forget about it, and for twenty-three hours you do other things. You need not be disturbed by having to breathe; you can do other things, breathing continues.
A thousand and one things continue in your body: the blood goes on circulating, the pulse goes on functioning, the heart goes on beating.... Scientists say the body of man is perhaps the greatest miracle in existence because so much is going on in it. Almost seven million living cells are continuously working within you. You are the biggest city in the world.
Seven million living beings are living in you, and they are doing all kinds of work and doing it perfectly, without any guidance and without any education, without anybody being the overseer - I mean no God as overseer. You may go on doing anything, your organic processes continue.
To me meditation is an organic process. To other religions it was not; hence, all those religions have failed. They were bound to fail. It is not an accident, it was destined; their very base was wrong.
What they called meditation was nothing but some kind of thinking. The Christian was thinking of Christ, praying to God with folded hands, kneeling down. He knows neither whether God exists or not, nor whether Jesus Christ is really a messiah or just a charlatan. He knows nothing, but out of fear, out of misery, out of anguish, he is praying; and this, Christianity calls meditation.
And what is he asking God? He is asking for all those things which he is missing here in this life, which he cannot manage to create here for himself. He is asking God, "At least in the other life, give them to me; I have suffered enough." He is asking - in fact, deep down it is a complaint.
All prayers are complaints; otherwise, what have you got to pray for if there is no complaint? Every prayer simply means you are condemning God. You are saying, "You are doing it wrong. Please do it this way."
Even Jesus on the cross condemns God when he says, "Have you forsaken me?" What does he mean? One thing is certain, he means that he knows better than God. He knows that somewhere God has gone wrong. He is angry, he is complaining. He wants God to do a miracle, to prove to the world that he is his only begotten son, that he has been sent by him. He is his messenger and he has sent him for the whole world's salvation.
But from the skies no voice comes. On the clouds no angels appear with their harps, playing "Alleluia" - no sign of God anywhere. In anger Jesus shouts, "Have you forsaken me?" He is saying, "Have you betrayed me? Have you gone against your word? You have left me in this helpless situation. And I believed in you!" This is the moment to prove that God is love. This is the moment to prove that God comes to save those who trust in him. But nobody comes.
All prayers are complaints. All prayers are saying to God, "We know better than you do."
One man came to me - his wife was dying. He was a very religious man. Every day from three o'clock in the morning up to seven - for four hours - he was doing all kinds of crazy things. He had so many gods. In India they are not so miserly about gods. About everything else they are poor, but about gods they are the richest people in the world: thirty-three million gods. So everybody who is really religious has a whole roomful.
Thirty-three million of course you cannot... but a few representatives, the topmost, the bigshots, you can keep around. This man had at least sixty. Now, sixty gods, and only four hours - you can see, it was not much time. He was in such a hurry, doing a prayer to this god and rushing to another, then rushing to another, and looking at his watch continuously because in four hours he has to finish.
And the fear that if he leaves any god, and the god becomes angry....
Such a religious man - and his wife was dying, and the doctors were not able to do anything. They simply said, "She has lost the will to live. Deep down she does not want to live; hence, no medicine is effective." Unless you have a will to live you lose resistance; you really want to die. Just medicines cannot do much unless a great support from your will is there.
So he came to me one day and said, "What should I do? I have done four hours of prayers each day my whole life, and still my wife is dying, and out of those sixty gods not a single one is helping. And I cry and weep."
I said, "Please answer me one question. Do you think yourself more intelligent than God?"
He said, "No. How can I think myself more intelligent than God?"
Then I said, "If God wants your wife to be freed from the body you should be happy, you should be thankful. But your prayer is against God's will. Those sixty gods that you have cannot help you in any way. You are not a religious man at all."
But he said, "I have done prayer four hours every day for years."
I said, "You can pray twenty-four hours, that too will not make any change, because your whole attitude is wrong. You are demanding from existence, you are not surrendering to existence."
Meditation is a surrender, it is not a demand. It is not forcing existence your way, it is relaxing into the way existence wants you to be. It is a let-go.
But all the religions have been doing prayers in the name of meditation. And what kind of stupid prayers! In fact any prayer that a man can do is going to be stupid. "Don't let my wife die" - do you think that is something very intelligent? If that dodo was a little bit intelligent - God was making him free, and he is praying against his own freedom.
But if you look in the scriptures you will be surprised what kind of prayers are there. In the VEDAS, the most holy scriptures of the Hindus, the great seers.... I cannot even conceive how for centuries those people have been called great seers. They should be called the great blind men! Seers! - they were praying to God: "Please increase the milk of my cow, decrease the milk of the cow of my enemy, my neighbor. This time let rains fall only on my field." Great seers, great saints and sages - and these are their prayers. But what else can you ask?
The Christian asks, "Give me my daily bread." Don't you have anything else to ask? Can't you produce even your daily bread? Even that has to be provided by God? So what are you doing here?
Even your daily bread is not to be created by you. Just by providing daily bread to all these millions of Christians for centuries, God must have gone bankrupt!
Nobody ever thinks of God. Just seeing his misery and anguish I declared, "There is no God!" In just a single blow I finished all his misery, all his trouble, all his anguish - past, present, future, everything; I made it completely clean. Now, let everybody produce his own daily bread and, if you have some intelligence, a little butter will also do - but don't torture God anymore. He is not there; he has never been there.
Why should you keep a separate time for meditation? It is based on the idea of the separation of the sacred and profane. But in life there is no separation of the sacred and the profane. Life is one, so totally one that you can call something sacred if you want, you can call it profane if you want.
Christians call sex sin, and Tantra, a great Eastern philosophy, calls sex sacred, the most significant life energy - because all transformation is going to happen through that energy. Don't condemn it.
There are people who are condemning sex continuously in every possible way.
You can take anything... there are Zen people in the East who say that even sipping a cup of tea in the morning can be something sacred. And they have made it sacred. If you have seen, in a Zen monastery they have a small temple for tea ceremonies, and when anybody goes to the tea ceremony he enters into a sacred space.
He leaves his shoes outside; there are special wooden sandals provided inside. Everybody is silent, because the samovar is boiling the tea and a beautiful music is coming out of it. It has to be listened to. People sit on their knees, just the way they sit in the temple, around the samovar. They all listen silently to the boiling noise of the tea, and they smell the fresh and rejuvenating fragrance of the tea.
And absolute silence falls on them.
Then the server, who is usually a woman, comes; and in a very sacred manner she provides cups and saucers, which are all handmade. In a Zen monastery they don't use cups and saucers purchased in the market; those are produced inhumanly, mechanically, for nobody particular. They are just for the market.
In the Zen monastery they make their own cups, their own saucers, with love, with meditation.
Something of their love and meditation certainly enters into their cups and saucers and pots. And the way the woman places them before you - she places them as if she is serving a god. Christians don't even know how to move Jesus' statue from one place to another.
Then she pours the tea; just the sound of the tea being poured is listened to - no talk at all. And then people start sipping tea, enjoying it, forgetting the whole world. Just sipping tea has become sacred. It depends on you.
There is nothing profane in the world, nothing sacred in the world. The world is neutral. Now it depends on you what you want to make of it. Meditation makes it sacred; then every act becomes meditative.
I am reminded of a butcher in Japan who was considered to be a great master - and he was a butcher! The whole day he was cutting animals and selling meat; that was his business. One Buddhist scholar could not believe that this man was thought to be a saint. He was simply a scholar.
He went to the butcher and said, "This is something absolutely mad. Who are the people who think that you are a saint? How can a butcher be a saint?"
The butcher laughed. He answered, "Just by mixing meditation in the butchery. When I am cutting up an animal I am not angry, I am not hateful. I am full of love, I am full of compassion. I have great hope that next time he will be born in a human form; perhaps he will become a buddha. With all my blessings I am sending him on a new journey, releasing him from this prison.
"And moreover, my father was a butcher, my forefathers were butchers, and I am a poor butcher. I have never told anybody that I am a saint. If people think so, that's their business. You should go and argue with them.
"As far as I am concerned, I am absolutely content with my profession because whatever you do, the question is not what you are doing but how you are doing it. The question is not the act; the question is the consciousness with which the act is being performed. Yes, I am killing animals, but I know that they will be killed anyway. If I am not killing them, somebody else will kill them. And he will not kill them with such love, with such compassion. How can I leave this profession?
"These animals are going to be killed. If I don't kill them somebody else will kill them and he is not going to kill them with such meditation, with such love. So I would be leaving these poor animals in the hands of some butcher. I cannot do that. If I am going to be thrown into hell for being a butcher, that is acceptable. But I cannot leave these poor innocent animals in the hands of somebody who knows nothing of love."
Can you see the point of this butcher? It is very subtle. He is ready to suffer in hell if that is going to be the consequence of his actions. But he cannot leave these poor animals in the hands of somebody who will simply kill them and not even bother about what he is doing.
He said, "I am so concerned with these animals and I love them so much - I cannot leave them in somebody else's hands. Whatsoever happens to me, that I am ready to face."
I can see why the people who could understand called him a master, a saint. He never gave a sermon, he never preached anything. He was illiterate, he knew nothing of the scriptures, but he lived religion in a very irreligious situation; that's something tremendously important. He lived religion in something which is very irreligious. And yet he managed to live religiously. He must have been a great alchemist who transformed the whole act, gave it a new quality; something utterly profane and ugly became so beautiful, so graceful.
It is said that his fame spread far and wide and people started coming to see him while he was cutting up animals. Even the emperor of Japan came to see him while he was cutting because he had heard that the way he cuts, nobody has ever cut - such grace, such love, tears flowing from his eyes. And the miracle was that although human beings were not able to understand, perhaps the animals were able to understand.
Ordinarily when you want to kill an animal he tries to escape, but from this butcher no animal tried to escape. He hugged the animal. The animal was not bound by anything, tied with anything. He was completely free. It was as if deep down he wanted to die by this man's hand.
And the emperor asked one thing, about the knife that he used to kill the animals. The knife looked so shiny, as if it had just been sharpened. The emperor asked, "Do you sharpen your knife every day?"
He said, "No, this is the knife my father used, and his father used, and it has never been sharpened.
But we know exactly the points where it has to cut the animal so there is a minimum of pain possible - through the joints where two bones meet. The knife has to go through the joint, and those two bones that meet there go on sharpening the knife. And that is the point where the animal is going to feel the minimum pain.
"For three generations we have not sharpened the knife. A butcher sharpening a knife simply means he does not know his art" - he used the word "art" - "He does not know the art and he does not know how to do it lovingly."
My commune is in meditation twenty-four hours a day; whatever you are doing, or not doing, is immaterial. Just be loving, be alert, do it with joy. Whatever you are doing, do it as if this is the greatest thing in the world at this juncture of time. It may be just cutting the grass, watering the road; it may be anything. Washing the floor, do it as if the whole existence depends on what you are doing, it is indispensable; without it, the whole universe will collapse.
When you do anything with such intensity, with such love, with such respect, as if without it the whole universe will collapse, then there is no need to have a separate time for meditation. And those who are doing meditations as separate from life are simply deceiving themselves and nobody else.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi teaches his people, "Do transcendental meditation ten minutes in the morning, ten minutes in the evening, and that's enough." And what is his transcendental meditation?
Just repeat any stupid name... go on repeating "Rama, Rama, Rama" - that is a Hindu name - or, "Ave Maria, Ave Maria, Ave Maria." Any name, in fact your own name will do - just go on repeating it. Repeat it as fast as possible because that's the whole secret of the technique.
If for ten minutes you go on repeating a single word fast enough continuously, you autohypnotize yourself. After just four or five minutes you start falling into a deliberate kind of sleep which is called hypnosis. Yes, after ten minutes you will feel good, you will feel fresh, you will feel relaxed. So nothing is wrong with it - but it is not meditation. It is just a way of resting, having a good nap.
You can do it, but remember, it has nothing to do with meditation. It is perfectly good, healthy, psychologically and physically relaxing, but that's all it is. It has nothing to do with transcendence; it is not transcendental at all. It is not going to take you into your innermost being, it is not going to take you into some higher state of consciousness; it is not going to take you anywhere. After ten minutes you will be back where you were. You will remain the same person. You will not be transformed by it.
And unless something transforms you it is not meditation: something that makes you a new being, a new man, a new consciousness; which knows no fear, which knows no greed, which knows no hate; which knows nothing of those dark emotions, sentiments - ugly, sick, nauseating. ... a new consciousness, which knows only that which uplifts you, that which goes on uplifting you - there is no end to it.
Meditation brings you to a state where you are above the stars, bigger than the whole universe. That experience is what I call transformation, illumination, enlightenment.
So don't be worried that there are not separate times for you to meditate. It is not an oversight, it is done with full consideration. I don't want to give you the impression that meditation can be done separately from your life and its work.