Again and again the miracle of the morning... the sun and the trees. The world is just like a snow flower: take it in your hand and it melts away. Nothing is left, just a wet hand. But if you see, just see, then a snow flower is as beautiful as any flower in the world. And this miracle happens every morning, every afternoon, every evening, every night, twenty-four hours, day in, day out... the miracle. And people go to worship God in temples, churches, mosques and synagogues. The world must be full of fools - sorry, not fools but idiots, incurable, suffering from such retardedness. Has one to go to a temple to search for God? Is He not here and now?
The very idea of search is idiotic. One searches for that which is far away, and God is so close, closer than your own heartbeat. When I see the miracle every moment I am amazed how it is possible.
Such creativity! It is possible only because there is no creator. If there were a creator you would have the same Monday every Monday, because the creator created the world in six days, then was finished with it. There is no creator, but only creative energy - energy in millions of forms, melting, meeting, appearing, disappearing, coming together and departing.
That is why I say the priest is the farthest away from the truth, and a poet, the closest. Of course the poet has not attained it either. Only the mystic attains it.... "Attain" is not the right word: he becomes it, or rather he finds that he has always been it.
People ask me, "Do you believe in astrology, in religion... in this, in that?" I don't believe in anything at all, because I know. That reminds me of the story I was telling you the other day.... The old astrologer came. My grandfather could not believe his eyes. The astrologer was so famous that even kings would have been surprised if he had visited their palace; and he came to my old grandfather's house.
It has to be called a house, but it was nothing much, just made of mud walls, not even a separate bathroom. He visited us and I immediately became a friend to the old man.
Looking into his eyes, although I was only seven, and I could not read a word... but I could read his eyes - they don't need your three Rs. I said to the astrologer, "It is strange that you traveled so far just to make my birth chart."
Varanasi in those days, and even now, is far away from that small village. The old man said, "I had promised, and a promise has to be fulfilled." The way he said "a promise has to be fulfilled" thrilled me. Here was an alive man!
I said to him, "If you have come to fulfill your promise, then I can predict your future."
He said, "What! You can predict my future?"
I said, "Yes. Certainly you are not going to become a Buddha, but you are going to become a bhikku, a sannyasin." That is the name of a Buddhist sannyasin.
He laughed and said, "Impossible!"
I said, "You can bet on it."
He asked me, "Okay, how much?"
I said, "It does not matter. You can bet any amount you want, because if I win, I win; if I lose, I lose nothing, because I don't have anything. You are gambling with a child of seven. Can't you see it? I don't have anything."
You will be surprised to know that I was standing there naked. In that poor village it was not prohibited, at least for seven-year-old children, to run around naked. It was not an English village!
I can still see myself standing there naked, before the astrologer. The whole village had gathered around, and they were all listening to what was conspiring between me and him.
The old man said, "Okay, if I become a sannyasin, a BHIKKU" - and he showed his gold pocket watch, studded with diamonds - "I will give this to you. And what about you, if you lose?"
I said, "I will simply lose. I don't have anything; no gold wristwatch to give to you. I will just thank you."
He laughed and departed.
I don't believe in astrology; ninety-nine point nine percent of it is nonsense, but point one percent is pure truth. A man of insight, intuition and purity can certainly look into the future, because the future is not non-existential, it is just hidden from our eyes. Maybe just a thin curtain of thoughts is all that divides the present and the future.
In India, the bride covers her face with a ghoonghat. Now it is difficult to translate this word; it is just a mask. She pulls her sari over her face. That's the way the future is hidden from us, just by a ghoonghat, a thin veil. I don't believe in astrology, I mean the ninety-nine point nine percent of it.
The remaining point one percent I need not believe in, it is true. I have seen it function.
That old man was the first proof. But it is strange: he could see my future, of course vaguely, with all kinds of possibilities, but he could not see his own. Not only that, he was ready to bet against me when I said that he would become a bhikku.
I was fourteen, and again traveling around Varanasi with my father's father. He had gone on business, and I had stubbornly insisted on going with him. I stopped an old bhikku on the road between Varanasi and Sarnath and said, "Old man, do you remember me?"
He said, "I have never seen you before - why should I remember you?"
I said, "You may not, but I have to remember you. Where is the watch, the gold watch studded with diamonds? I am the child with whom you gambled. Now the time has come for me to ask. I had declared that you would become a bhikku, and now you are. Give me the watch."
He laughed, and brought out from his pocket the beautiful old watch, gave it to me with tears in his eyes, and - can you believe - he touched my feet.
I said, "No, no. You are a bhikku, a sannyasin, you cannot touch my feet."
He said, "Forget all about it. You proved to be a greater astrologer than I; let me touch your feet."
I gave that watch to the first of my sannyasins. The name of my first sannyasin is Ma Anand Madhu - a woman of course, because that's what I wanted. Nobody has initiated women into sannyas like me. Not only that, I wanted to initiate a woman as my first sannyasin, just to put things in balance and in order.
Buddha hesitated before giving sannyas to women... even Buddha! Only that thing in his life hurts me like a thorn, and nothing else. Buddha hesitating... why? He was afraid that women sannyasins would distract his followers. What nonsense! A Buddha and afraid of business! Let those fools be distracted if they want to be!
Mahavira said that nobody in a woman's body could attain to nirvana, the ultimate liberation. I have to repent for all these men. Mohammed never allowed any woman into the mosque. Even now women are not allowed into the mosque; even in the synagogue women sit in the gallery, not with the men.
Indira Gandhi was telling me that when she visited Israel and went to Jerusalem, she could not believe that the prime minister of Israel and herself were both sitting in the balcony, and all the men were sitting downstairs on the main floor. She did not realize that even the prime minister of Israel, being a woman, could not be allowed into the synagogue proper; they could only be observers from the balcony. It is not respectful, it is an insult.
I have to apologize for Mohammed, for Moses, for Mahavira, for Buddha, and for Jesus too, because he didn't choose a single woman as one of his twelve apostles. Yet when he died on the cross the twelve fools were not there at all. Only three women stayed - Magdalena, Mary and Magdalena's sister - but even these three women had not been chosen by Jesus; they were not among the chosen few. The chosen few had escaped. Great! They were trying to save their own lives. In the hour when there was danger, only women came.
I have to apologize to the future for all these people; and my first apology was to give sannyas to a woman. You will be amused to know the full story....
The husband of Anand Madhu, of course, wanted to be initiated first. It happened in the Himalayas; I was having a camp in Manali. I refused the husband saying, "You can only be second, not the first."
He was so angry that he left the camp at that very moment. Not only that, he became my enemy and joined Morarji Desai. Later on, when Morarji Desai was prime minister, this man tried in every way to persuade him to imprison me. Of course Morarji Desai does not have that kind of courage; one can't have if one drinks one's own urine. He is an utter fool... again, sorry... utter idiot. "Fool" I reserve only for Devageet, that's his privilege.
Anand Madhu is still a sannyasin. She lives in the Himalayas, silently, without speaking. Since then, my effort has always been to bring women to the front as much as possible. Sometimes I may even look unfair to men. I'm not, I am just putting things in order. After centuries of man's exploitation of women, it is not an easy task.
The first woman I loved was my mother-in-law. You will be surprised: Am I married? No, I am not married. That woman was Gudia's mother, but I used to call her my mother-in-law, just as a joke. I have remembered it again after so many years. I used to call her mother-in-law because I loved her daughter. That was Gudia's previous life. Again, that woman was tremendously powerful, just like my grandmother.
My "mother-in-law" was a rare woman, especially in India. She left her husband and went to Pakistan, married a Mohammedan even though she was a brahmin. She knew how to dare. I always like the quality of daring, because the more you dare, the nearer you come to home. Only the daredevils ever become buddhas, remember! The calculating ones can have a good bank balance but cannot become buddhas.
I am thankful to the man who declared my future when I was only seven. What a man! To have waited until I was seven just to make my birth chart - what patience! And not only that, he came all the way from Varanasi to my village. There were no roads, no trains, he had to travel long on horseback.
And when I met him on the road to Sarnath and told him that I had won the bet, he immediately gave me his watch and said, "I would have given you the whole world but I don't have anything else. In fact I should not even have this watch, but just because of you I have kept it all these years knowing that any day you are bound to come. And when I became a bhikku, Buddha was not in my mind, but you - a naked seven-year-old child declaring the future of one of the greatest astrologers in the country. How did you do it?"
I said, "That I don't know. I looked into your eyes and I could see that you could not be content with anything this world could give you. I saw the divine discontent. A man only becomes a sannyasin when he feels the divine discontent."
I don't know whether the old man is still alive or not. He cannot be, otherwise he would have searched for me and found me.
But that moment, in the life of the village, was the greatest. They still talk about that feast. Just recently a person from that village came here, and he said, "We still talk about the feast that your grandfather gave to the village. Never before and never after, has anything like that happened." I enjoyed so many people enjoying.
I enjoyed the white horse. Gudia would have loved that horse. She used to show me the horses as we passed them on the road. "Look," she would say, "what beautiful horses."
I have seen many horses but nothing like the horse that old astrologer had. I have seen the most beautiful horses but I still remember his horse as being the most beautiful. Perhaps my childhood was the cause of it. Perhaps I had no way to compare them, but believe me, whether I was a child or not, that horse was beautiful. It was immensely powerful, must have been eight horsepower.
Those days were golden. Everything that happened in those years I can again see like a film passing before me. It is unbelievable that I would ever be interested....
No.... Ashu is looking at her watch. It is too early to look at your watch. Don't be just like Canada Dry - relax. Don't be so dry. You looked at your watch at such a moment, and you don't know what you have disturbed. It is not just a plop!
What was I saying...? Those days were golden. Everything that happened in those nine years, I can again see like a film passing before me.
Good, the film is back, despite Ashu and her watch.
Yes, it was a golden time. In fact more than golden, because my grandfather not only loved me but loved everything that I did. And I did everything that you could call a nuisance.
I was a continuous nuisance. The whole day he had to listen to complaints about me, and he always rejoiced in them. That is what is wonderful and beautiful about the man. He never punished me. He never even said a single word like "Do this," or "Don't do that." He simply allowed, absolutely allowed me to be myself. That is how, without knowing it at all, I came to have the taste of Tao.
Lao Tzu says, "Tao is the watercourse way. The water simply flows downwards wherever the earth allows it." That is how those early years were. I was allowed. I think every child needs those years.
If we could give those years to every child in the world we could create a golden world.
Those days were full, overfull! So many events; so many incidents that I have never told to anybody....
I used to swim in the lake. Naturally my grandfather was afraid. He put a strange man to guard over me, in a boat. In that primitive village you cannot conceive what a "boat" meant. It is called a dongi.
It is nothing but the hollowed-out trunk of a tree. It is not an ordinary boat. It is round, and that is the danger: unless you are an expert you cannot row it. It can roll at any moment. Just a little imbalance and you are gone forever. It is very dangerous.
I learned balance through rowing a dongi. Nothing could be more helpful. I learned the "middle way"
because you have to be exactly in the middle: this way, and you are gone; that way, and you are
gone. You cannot even breathe, and you have to remain absolutely silent; only then can you row the dongi.
The man who was put on guard to save me, I called him strange. Why? Because his name was Bhoora, and it means "white man." He was the only white man in our village. He was not a European; it was just by chance that he did not look like an Indian. He looked more like a European but he was not. His mother most probably had worked in a British Army camp and had become pregnant there.
That's why nobody knew his name. Everybody called him Bhoora. Bhoora means "the white one." It is not a name but it became his name. He was a very impressive-looking man. He came to work for my grandfather from early childhood, and even though he was a servant he was treated like one of the family.
I also called him strange because although I have come to know many people in the world, one rarely comes across such a man as Bhoora. He was a man you could trust. You could say anything to him and he would keep the secret forever. This fact became known to my family only when my grandfather died. My grandfather had entrusted to Bhoora all the keys and all the affairs of the house and the land. Soon after we arrived in Gadarwara my family asked my grandfather's most devoted servant, "Where are the keys?"
He said, "My master told me, 'Never show the keys to anybody else but me.' Excuse me, but unless he asks me himself I cannot give you the keys." And he never gave them the keys, so we don't know what those keys were hiding.
Many years later when I was again living in Bombay, Bhoora's son came to me and gave me the keys and said, "We have been waiting and waiting for you to come, but nobody came. We have taken care of the land and looked after the crops and put aside all the money."
I gave him the keys back and said to him, "Everything now belongs to you. The house, the crops and the money belong to you, they are yours. I am sorry that I did not know before, but none of us wanted to go back and feel the pain."
What a man! But such men used to exist on earth. They are disappearing by and by, and instead of such people you find all kinds of cunning people taking their place. These people are the very salt of the earth. I call Bhoora a strange man because in a cunning world, to be simple is strange. It is to be a stranger, not of this world.
My grandfather had as much land as one could desire, because in those days, in that part of India, land was absolutely free. You had just to go to the government office in the capital and ask for the land. That was enough - it was given to you. We had fourteen hundred acres of crops which Bhoora attended to. When my grandfather became sick, Bhoora had said he would never be able to live without him. They had become so close. When my grandfather was dying we took him from Kuchwada to Gadarwara because there were no facilities in Kuchwada to care for the sick. My grandfather's house was the only house in the village.
When we left Kuchwada Bhoora had given the keys to his sons. On the way to Gadarwara my grandfather died, and because of the shock, the next morning Bhoora did not wake up from his sleep; he died in the night. My grandmother, my father and mother did not want to go back to Kuchwada because of the pain it would cause us, because my grandfather had been such a beautiful man.
Bhoora's son is around the same age as me. It is only just a few years ago that my brother Niklanka and Chaitanya Bharti went back just to take pictures of the house and the pond.
The house in which I was born, they are now asking ten lakhs rupees for it, knowing that one of my disciples may be willing to purchase it. Ten lakhs! That is one hundred thousand dollars. And do you know? - it was worth thirty rupees at the time my grandfather died. Even that was too much.
We would have been surprised that anybody would be ready to give us even that.
It was a very primitive part of the country. Just because it was primitive it had something which is now missing from man everywhere else. Man also needs to be a little primitive, at least once in a while. A forest, a jungle, rather... an ocean... a sky full of stars.
Man should not be only concerned with his bank account. That is the most ugly thing possible. That means the man is dead! Bury him! Celebrate! Burn him! Dance about his funeral! The bank account is not the man. Man, in order to be man, must be as natural as the hills, rivers, rocks, flowers....
My grandfather not only helped me to know what innocence is, that is what life is, but he also helped me to know what death is. He died in my lap... of that sometime later on.